Que sera, sera, whatever will be, will be, but first I need more coffee.

Category: Politics (Page 1 of 4)

Breach

In the summer of 2004 my wife and I went to the Red Cross Museum in Geneva, Switzerland. It was one of the most moving places I’ve ever been. If real compassion can be said to institutionalized and embodied in an organization it is the ICRC. The only place more moving that I’ve visited is Kilmainham Gaol in the summer of 2006.

ICRC never reveals the contents of their reports to anyone except the country’s government who is holding the detainees or prisoners. This is a book based on that report. How it was acquired is unknown.

Book Cites Secret Red Cross Report of C.I.A. Torture of Qaeda Captives
http://www.iht.com/articles/2008/07/11/america/11detain.php

The Red Cross does not release these reports to anyone except the government holding the detainees or prisoners. It’s so they can continue to have access to them and work to improve humanitarian conditions and effect their release. However, that does not prevent officials from releasing or leaking those reports. I highly recommend a visit to the Red Cross Museum in Geneva. Few places can show you the best and worst humanity is capable of.

Note: I wrote the draft of this post on 11 July 2008 the day the article came out. The original link was to the International Herald Tribune which appears to have been purchased by the New York Times, so the link goes to the same article on NYT. Also, we weren’t married yet in 2004.

Armistice Day

Fun fact: Up until the 11th minute of the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, soldiers were still shooting and killing each other until the moment The Great War (aka World War I) ended. Thank’s to the punitive surrender conditions, it helped to lead to the even more devastating World War II.

Today it is known as Veteran’s Day. When that change took place, I don’t know. I’m too lazy to look it up at the moment, but a number of people including Kurt Vonnegut it should still be Armistice Day. Veteran’s Day should be a different holiday. We should be commemorating the end of a war. Veteran’s Day means we need will continue to create new veterans. The best thing we can do for Veteran’s Day is to stop creating veterans.

When I was a boy, and when Dwayne Hoover was a boy, all the people of all the nations which had fought in the First World War were silent during the eleventh minute of the eleventh hour of Armistice Day, which was the eleventh day of the eleventh month.

It was during that minute in nineteen hundred and eighteen, that millions upon millions of human beings stopped butchering one another. I have talked to old men who were on battlefields during that minute. They have told me in one way or another that the sudden silence was the Voice of God. So we still have among us some men who can remember when God spoke clearly to mankind.

Breakfast of Champions, Kurt Vonnegut. 1973

 

Three Quotes That Define America

When I saw the last quote I was reminded of the other two. I think all pretty define the problem we face in America. But is it really a problem? Short answer Yes. Long answer,  I’ll try to explain in a later post.

There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there always has been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that “my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.

Newsweek: “A Cult of Ignorance” by Isaac Asimov, January 21, 1980, p. 19.
https://aphelis.net/cult-ignorance-isaac-asimov-1980/

Science is more than a body of knowledge; it is a way of thinking. I have a foreboding of an America in my children’s or grandchildren’s time—when the United States is a service and information economy; when nearly all the key manufacturing industries have slipped away to other countries; when awesome technological powers are in the hands of a very few, and no one representing the public interest can even grasp the issues; when the people have lost the ability to set their own agendas or knowledgeably question those in authority; when, clutching our crystals and nervously consulting our horoscopes, our critical faculties in decline, unable to distinguish between what feels good and what’s true, we slide, almost without noticing, back into superstition and darkness.

The dumbing down of American is most evident in the slow decay of substantive content in the enormously influential media, the 30 second sound bites (now down to 10 seconds or less), lowest common denominator programming, credulous presentations on pseudoscience and superstition, but especially a kind of celebration of ignorance

Carl Sagan, The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark, 1995

Americans are, of course, the most thoroughly and passively indoctrinated people on earth. They know next to nothing as a rule about their own history, or the histories of other nations, or the histories of the various social movements that have risen and fallen in the past, and they certainly know little or nothing of the complexities and contradictions comprised within words like “socialism” and “capitalism.” Chiefly, what they have been trained not to know or even suspect is that, in many ways, they enjoy far fewer freedoms, and suffer under a more intrusive centralized state, than do the citizens of countries with more vigorous social-democratic institutions. This is at once the most comic and most tragic aspect of the excitable alarm that talk of social democracy or democratic socialism can elicit on these shores. An enormous number of Americans have been persuaded to believe that they are freer in the abstract than, say, Germans or Danes precisely because they possess far fewer freedoms in the concrete. They are far more vulnerable to medical and financial crisis, far more likely to receive inadequate health coverage, far more prone to irreparable insolvency, far more unprotected against predatory creditors, far more subject to income inequality, and so forth, while effectively paying more in tax (when one figures in federal, state, local, and sales taxes, and then compounds those by all the expenditures that in this country, as almost nowhere else, their taxes do not cover). One might think that a people who once rebelled against the mightiest empire on earth on the principle of no taxation without representation would not meekly accept taxation without adequate government services. But we accept what we have become used to, I suppose. Even so, one has to ask, what state apparatus in the “free” world could be more powerful and tyrannical than the one that taxes its citizens while providing no substantial civic benefits in return, solely in order to enrich a piratically overinflated military-industrial complex and to ease the tax burdens of the immensely wealthy?

Three Cheers for Socialism
Christian Love & Political Practice
By David Bentley Hart February 24, 2020
https://www.commonwealmagazine.org/three-cheers-socialism

Should I blog more?

Yes, yes I should.

Currently surviving COVID-19 pandemic.  Staying safe as best we can.

Could things be better? Yes, yes they can.

Will they get better? Unknown.

Are other countries doing better? Yes, there are countries less advanced than ours that have the pandemic under better control.

Stand up for Net Neutrality

July 12 is the day of action, read more over at EFF.org who is dedicated to fighting for your online rights. There is absolutely no reason to create a two tier system for the internet for the haves and have nots. Back in the late 1990’s a lot fiberoptic cable was laid in this country and to this day  most of it is not being used. The real problem is the last mile problem that is getting the high speed connection from the internet backbone into the home. Infrastructure is a shared resource we all benefit from.

The internet backbone is the 21st century of the interstate highway system. The highway system is a great example of a public-private partnership.  We own our vehicles and our taxes pay for the roads that everyone can use. Now we have seen an increase in toll roads that are encroaching on that public road system. The internet backbone is mostly privately owned now, but in reality should be treated as a public utility just as the highway system is.

Net Neutrality like the highway system lets you access the internet regardless of whether you have a in expensive PC, a mobile device, or a top of the line gaming system. As a freelancer my work is dependent on the internet, and small business it the main job creator not big business. If I had to pay more to access the internet and my clients too they would have less incentive and not participate fully in our vibrant economy which would no longer be vibrant without our active participation.

It is also vital for free speech and is as much a First Amendment issue. The internet is now without it’s dangers and predators, but we with net neutrality active and tech savvy citizens can spread the word easier to help protect their families and communities.

« Older posts

© 2022 Christopher Merle

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑