Apr. 15th, 2013 03:45 pm
mellowtigger: (Terry 2010)
blood on sidewalkStuff can be replaced; people can't. Life should not be expendable.

The last mile of today's Boston Marathon was dedicated to the victims of the Newtown school massacre. Families of Newtown were seated in the VIP section near the end of the race route. That's where one of the two explosions detonated today.

Other devices were found and are being detonated in a controlled process by authorities.  They temporarily have shut down cell phone service there, to prevent potential remote detonation.   (Edit: Associated Press has reversed their original claim.  The cell phone outage was a result of heavy usage.)

No one has yet claimed responsibility.  I fear that "red-blooded Americans" are to blame.

I gladly recommend breaking laws that are unjust. Murder, however, seems hard to justify for any political expediency.  I oppose the near-daily deaths of civilians subjected to American influence today, and I oppose this violent demonstration in Boston.

Compassion is the shared distress that one unharmed observer feels for one harmed victim.  Injuring the observer does not create compassion.  It merely doubles the misery.

I wanted to leave the country before this stuff started happening, before civility broke down.  Throughout history, only a lucky few get to claim asylum in civilized nations as an escape from uncivilized conditions.  I guess I should resign myself to being part of this story.  I wish I could think of something I'm able to do that would actually help.  I've already written stories about the need for an altogether new economy and some new rules of government.

Change happens, though, only when the pain of staying the same finally exceeds the fear of change.  We are stupid that way.
mellowtigger: (Terry 2010)
During the last week, military helicopters have fired machines guns over buildings and highways in Miami and Houston as part of poorly-publicized training scenarios.

"If it's to protect our kids, I'm all for it", said one of the guys in the Houston video 1.  Um, I disagree.  Why do we even have military bases, if the military is entering civilian metropolitan areas for training?  And from what is the military protecting our kids?  And why was there no extensive warning of these military maneuvers?  Schools, fire departments, and hospitals apparently did not have advance warning that helicopters were going to be firing machine guns in civilian air space.

I was previously dismissive of the loons who worried that the evil gummint was on the verge of throwing everyone into concentration camps.  Now, though, buying mountains of ammunition and weapons doesn't seem nearly as irrational.
mellowtigger: (flameproof)
Today's choice of theme song is brought to you by recent shenanigans in Texas. I can accept simple dismissal of secessionist rants from other southern states, but I caution everyone to think differently about that mindset in Texas. Of course, the federal executive branch has no authority to release states from the union, so I don't expect anything interesting to come from this petition.  The mere existence of the petition, though, is surely stirring rumblings from like-minded folk in Dixie.

Freeze a yankee!, Drive 75 and freeze 'em alive.
Freeze a yankee! Let your thermostat rise and give 'em a surprise.
Governor Briscoe promised us that if any damn Yankee raised a fuss,
He’d turn off the gas, cut off the oil, and let 'em all freeze and boil.

They don’t want an oil rig around their seashore. Lord, it’s a terrible sight.
And don’t you try to drill in their dirty old water. If you do, you’re in for a fight.
Senator Kennedy told me himself
that he wouldn’t let us drill on the continental shelf.
So, when they tried to get Texans to drill another well
We can tell them all to go to …… Hyannis Port!

Now, President Carter was a good ole boy, a southerner thru and thru.
But when he asked all Americans to sacrifice, he really meant …you know who.
He wants all our oil and our nuclear fuels
What does he take us for? Silly fools?
The President wants us to pass our gas
Now ain't that a kick in the..

Cram them yankees in little bitty cars while we ride around in limousines.
There ain’t nothing in the world any more fun than pumpin’ gas in those big mo'chines.
Us Texans love our Cadillacs,
Big Continentals and Pontiacs
We’re gonna keep all the gas we can make
And let them yankees shiver and shake.

Well, them yankees say they need our oil, and they gotta have gasoline.
But don’t you put no refineries a way up north, they wanna keep their air real clean.
They only got enough lignite to last 'til midnight, not enough fuel to keep their beer real cool.
But we'll send you lots of oil, now don't you fear, if you promise not to move down here.

Freeze A Yankee
Save your Confederate credit cards
The South want to rise again

(Note: southern drawl turns 'want to' into more of a 'wonta' sound.)


About 20 years later, they did a live show and talked about the origin of the song, which is interesting.  The song mocks liberals for wanting energy independence from the middle east.  (America learned something after its long and continuing wars there.)  The song mocks liberals for wanting to keep their shoreline unpolluted.  (America learned something after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.)  In short, the liberals were right about the very things that this song mocks.  I wonder what they'd say about it if they did a live show today.  Even the group's name, "The Folkel Minority", conjures the image of last week's election and the realization that old conservative white guys are a diminishing minority voting bloc that throws a loud tantrum when they don't get their way.

Anyway, "the South want to rise again", regardless of any obstacles imposed by that pesky liberal-biased reality.
mellowtigger: (Terry 2010)
Another week, another mass shooting in America. This time, though, the stupidity of bigotry seems apparent. I'm sure we'll eventually hear more details about the killer's motives, but I'm guessing that he mistakenly thought the Sikhs he was killing were "Muslim dangers to America".

Sikhs follow their own unique religion. Literally, the word Sikh means student. They think that humans are always learning important lessons throughout their lives. When their religion was founded, turbans were worn only by kings and other people of high status. Sikhs wore turbans to remind everyone of the equality and importance of every individual person. They believe that each human life is more precious than diamond.  Selfless service is part of their faith. Sikhs are not pacifists, and they have repeatedly fought on behalf of European interests during the last century.

Perpetrating a killing rampage on Sikhs is akin to slaughtering Quakers or Amish. It's absurd. The multicultural ignorance of fearful Americans is shameful.  Xenophobia is a destructive spasm that helps nobody at all.

p.s.  I thought of a better metaphor later while bicycling to work.  Given their focus on service, learning, and cooperation, they're more like the Arab world's version of Unitarian Universalists.  Disagree with them, sure, but how could anyone consider them a mortal threat?
mellowtigger: (flameproof)
I recommend against annoying people who are dangerous.  Escalation of tensions rarely results in any productive outcome.  If you find yourself in a hopeless situation with nothing left to lose, however, it is possible to take a psychological swipe at a certain kind of villain.

I learned this particular weakness of the Ku Klux Klan psychology some 20 years ago when I had my own personal homophobe threatening my life online.  Don't worry.  The police got involved, and apparently they convinced him that it would go badly for him if I suddenly wound up injured or dead.  At the time, I made a dismissive comment online about him just being another clueless skinhead.  His detailed reaction to my dismissal was very illuminating.

I called him a "skinhead" because their group was in the news back around 1990 as the latest version of witless intolerance to grace America's social landscape.  My dear homophobe responded with righteous indignation to my unintended insult.  It turns out that he valued the (supposed) long history of white supremacy and the ritual of brotherhood.  He repudiated skinheads for valuing nothing.  Hatred, it seems, has levels of cultural purity.  Cultured thugs who kill their supposed inferiors find it insulting when they are mistaken for common thugs who kill their supposed inferiors.

If you want to annoy a Klansman, simply dismiss the culture that he finds so deeply satisfying.

Even longtime readers at my blog would not have known the details of this encounter or similar ones in my life.  The worst of these experiences happened during a time before "the internet" was a phenomenon.  I don't like discussing them because doing so means reliving moments that I'm better off abandoning to forgetfulness.  I mention this incident now only because it can serve a useful purpose.  The Klan, you see, is openly advertising for a good, old fashioned cross burning.

Know your enemy.

I worry about the future for everyone, so I rarely write about the unpleasant episodes of my own past.  If I make the world better for everyone, then by extension the world is also a better place for me.

I want out

Apr. 19th, 2012 02:47 am
mellowtigger: (Daria)
I said before, "I hope, when the time comes, that I have the presence of mind to escape." That time has come.

Feeling trapped in a crowd of dangerous people is a stressful condition. I guess I can excuse myself for feeling so out of sorts lately. I've increasingly lacked energy and motivation in recent months. I assumed it was just vitamin B12 problems, but now I'm wondering if persistent pessimism is taking its toll on me. I keep seeing bad (very bad) trends everywhere I look, and I feel dread, and I want escape.

Stone Soup

My government wants to keep u
p appearances rather than fix actual problems:

In West Saint Paul, about 20 miles southeast of where I live, economic conditions are so bad that some people are using laundry detergent as an alternate form of money. Other people throughout the USA are doing the same. Infrastructure cannibalization continues in Saint Paul as thieves stole $10,000 worth of copper tubing from a water pump station last summer and $2,500 worth of copper electrical wiring from Christmas lights last winter.

The Minneapolis 4th Ward is where I commute (by car or bicycle) between work and home. This area has a bad reputation locally. The 4th Ward, for instance, is where a good samaritan was killed last week for his bicycle while he was riding it to carry food to a neighbor. It's also where the tornado last summer did its worst damage to local homes.

Barbara Johnson represents the 4th Ward on the Minneapolis city council. It would be nice if she were concerned about the problems of the poor and needy, but she's actively working against them. She submitted a resolution to outlaw sleeping on public plazas. It's obviously aimed at inhibiting the Occupy protest. It's predictable that the proposal comes from Barbara Johnson, though, since she previously worked to ban outdoor couches while urging, "Our city can either look good or it can look tacky, and tacky is not what we want." Similarly, Minneapolis prohibits tents anywhere, whether on public or private property.

Nationally, Republicans are trying to cut food aid, even as record numbers of American citizens rely on it for meals. It seems that government is unwilling to address the problems of homelessness and poverty in any reasonable way.

My government wants to keep a well-armed domestic military:

Yes, I wrote "domestic". A company in Anoka, about 15 miles northwest of where I live, has recently secured a contract with the Department Of Homeland Security for 450 million rounds of ammunition. Another company has a separate contract for 200 million rounds. The USA population is only 313 million people, so that's enough ammunition to kill every man, woman, and child in America... twice. This department is not really a military force, so why is it arming to the teeth? There are also rumors (I can't confirm) that "the Feds" are buying up ammunition stocks at surplus stores.

Meanwhile, there are military helicopters running training missions in downtown urban centers. Chicago officials tried to reassure people with the explanation that the maneuvers are meant to "improve the military's ability to operate in urban environments". Whose urban environments? Ours? Nevermind that USA military force supposedly is forbidden by various laws from operating domestically.

My conservative "neighbors" want to be militarily armed and active:

Somebody in Arizona says that his group has planted land mines on the US-Mexico border and that his group is trying to buy a tank. Yes, a tank. Somebody in Texas threw not one but two small fire bombs at the office door of a liberal (Democratic) state senator. Somebody in California went into the home of a 32-year-old Iraqi mother and beat her to death with a tire iron and left a note telling her to "Go back to your own country." Neo-Nazis claim (no evidence yet) they are arming themselves for street patrols in Florida after the Trayvon Marton killing.

Not to be outdone by everyday citizens, conservative lawmakers join the escalation of power-demonstration. A state senator in Missouri is trying to nullify federal authority in the same broad way that the Confederacy did during its last attempt at secession (that led to civil war). But that's old news, right? Lawmakers in Arizona tried the same thing last year. Not to be upstaged this year, though, Republicans in Arizona have chosen Jesse Kelly as their candidate in this election to replace Gabrielle Giffords. Kelly previously urged people to join him in shooting a fully automatic M16 to help remove Giffords from office... shortly before a nutcase attacked Giffords with a gun and injured her brain while killing others. She is leaving elected office so she can work on her recovery. Welcome back to the American political process, Jesse Kelly.

I want out:

There's more, but I just can't keep up with all of the bad news.

I had considered moving to Canada, but I recently learned that they deny citizenship even to employed visitors if anyone in their family has an autism diagnosis. There's no chance that I, with my own autism diagnosis, could live there. I don't know where I could easily move. Any suggestions? I looked for my passport, but I can't find it. I guess I should start the long process of getting another one.

sources section 1: detergent currency, copper theft, 4th ward map, bicycle murder, sleeping ban, couches ban, aid cuts, record food aid
sources section 2: contract 450 million, contract 200 million, population 313 million, Chicago helicopters, domestic military
sources section 3: Arizona mines and tank, Texas bombs, California house invasion, Florida Neo-Nazis, Missouri secession, Arizona secession, Arizona guns
sources section 4: immigration denial

mellowtigger: (people not profits)
The good news is that economic equality improves many societal problems. The bad news is that America is not on any path to recovery.

Richard Wilkinson gave a great lecture at TED last year. He showed some amazing correlations that he found between income inequality and a wide range of measures for societal health: lifespan, mental illness, homicide, literacy, trust, social mobility, and more. The same trends held true across nations of different backgrounds and also across the states within the USA. This 17-minute video is well worth your time.

"So what we're looking at is general social dysfunction related to inequality. It's not just one or two things that go wrong; it's most things. ... Sweden has huge differences in earnings, and it narrows the gap through taxation, general welfare state, generous benefits, and so on. Japan is rather different, though. It starts off with much smaller differences in earnings before tax. It has lower taxes; it has a smaller welfare state. In our analysis of the American states, we find rather the same contrast. There are some states that do well through wealth redistribution, and some states that do well because they have smaller income differences before tax. So we conclude that it doesn't much matter how you get your greater equality, as long as you get there somehow. I'm not talking about perfect equality, I'm talking about what exists in rich, developed, market democracies."

murdered catOur politicians will not take the steps necessary to improve wealth equality in America. Everything "liberal" has become so thoroughly demonized that it's impossible to have bipartisan discussions on real issues any more. For example, somebody murdered a political leader's cat and scrawled "Liberal" on its corpse. That's the level of discourse that we have nowadays because evidence-based reasoning is ridiculed.

Meanwhile, the economic hard times continue. Daily life is not getting better, regardless of what the pundits are claiming about the economy. I go to the gas station convenience store, and I see an old man digging in the trash can for food. I talk to college students (and recent graduates) who are barely holding things together. I talk to people my age who cancel annual vacation plans because they can't afford it. I know my former boss is still unemployed after job hunting for an entire year, and I know others who are also unemployed.

Outsiders are finally beginning to see past the published lies and the political rhetoric. This recent BBC presentation documented the kind of America that I'm seeing.

adult: Leslie is 6. She was more withdrawn than the others.
child: My mom eat rats.
adult: Eating rats? Is that something that you eat a lot, or it just happened once?
child: Once.
adult: It just happened once? Was that because she ran out of food?
child: *nod*
adult: Yeah? How did that make you feel?
child: Sad.

One woman in that documentary tells her husband who needs surgery, "What are they going to do if we can't pay the bill? They can't come eat us. They can't kill us and eat us." And that's how far America has fallen. The rich seem to know it too, since they arm themselves in case the peasants finally decide to eat the rich. The politicians seem to know it, since they have already assembled the obvious data. Instead of addressing the issues, however, they divert us with the reliable distractions of birth control, union organizers, gay marriage, military deployments, and oil development.

Go back to that TED video, and tell me what evidence-based reasoning would suggest that we follow as a useful legislative agenda for solving our social problems? If we can't do those things, then we'll continue killing cats and eating rats.
mellowtigger: (break out)
I remain committed to the pacifist ideals that I mentioned two years ago. I think it's a very good sign that the Occupation itself is focused on peaceful efforts that draw attention to the greed that manifests as corporate hypocrisy and government negligence.

Tea Party activists brought weapons, brought posters that mentioned spilling the "blood of patriots", and generally presented themselves in provocative ways. I had worried that they would be responsible for drawing blood as they lashed out against government and citizens. Occupiers, in contrast, bring food dishes and potted plants, bring renewable energy sources, and host yoga or meditation sessions for their calming influence. It's clear that they are the ones sacrificing their own blood to government desperation and outsider aggression.

I'm still hopeful, but some trends make me nervous. The militarization of police forces in America has badly skewed the relationship between these "peace keepers" and the average citizen. I'm beginning to think that England had the proper approach to disarm their officers. Instead, ours keep acquiring military hand-me-downs. Denver has become the next city to use tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse its Occupation tent city. The bigger cities are beginning to acquire angry combat veterans who are willing to fight because of wartime aggression used in cities like Oakland and New York City. The marines even have their own website.

Occupy Denver policeOccupy Denver rubber bullets

I think that Minneapolis has benefited from two factors. First, we have our own port-o-potties paid by donations, so sanitation and civility here have been maintained much more effectively than in other cities. Second, we still have no tents, so authorities may maintain hope that winter weather will break up our occupation without direct human intervention. (Hint: we won't stop because of the bad weather.) The local Veterans For Peace have created a permanent space at our occupation, although I see it attended by them only occasionally.

John Lennon quoteOccupy winter

I encourage people to break out of the military mentality. Creative solutions can allow a peaceful transition to the next stage in human civilization. The encouragement of greed is subtly incorporated throughout our economic processes.  Profit is not the problem, but perpetual greed is absolutely the root of the problem.  There is no unoccupied arable land left on Earth. We must establish a zero-growth solution (for our economy, population, and resources) that can sustain us indefinitely. Give us some time to work out the details. We are committed to this action.

Please pardon our peaceful chaos...
mellowtigger: (kill)
In case you haven't yet heard the news, a U.S. Representative was shot in the head at a public event today. Miraculously, she has so far survived the assault, although at least 6 other people have died, with many more wounded. The culprit is already in custody and asserting 5th Amendment rights ("No person... shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself...") , so I assume that means he is not cooperating with investigators trying to identify his motive.

Authorities are searching for another person who assisted the man by driving him to the scene. Early on, authorities on television said they were checking with all Representatives to make sure they were safe and that this incident was not part of a coordinated effort. Sad, but that's how far America has fallen already. When people talk for long enough about overthrowing their duly elected government, eventually the sick reality of what it means will seep in: overthrow means mass murder.

I'm disappointed that Prensa Latina news has no mention of this important story at all.  It did make headline news at the BBC, Times of India, and even Al Jazeera (although they chose a photo of Mrs. Giffords with a man in U.S. military uniform).  A British reporter is already lamenting how politicized this event has become in America, but that's exactly where I'm taking my comments too. I'm pessimistic enough to assume this young man was motivated by Tea Party rhetoric. That he was apparently also batshit crazy does not reduce my pessimism in the least.

You see, I'm going to offer views of two different female politicians in the landscape of America's national government.  One is Sarah Palin, previously a nominee for Vice President, presumably running for President in 2012.  The other is Gabrielle Giffords, the U.S. Representative who was shot in the head today while holding a public discussion at one of her local grocery stores.

TUCSON - U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords will host her first "Congress on Your Corner" of the year on Saturday, Jan. 8 at a supermarket in northwest Tucson.
"Congress on Your Corner" allows residents of Arizona's 8th Congressional District to meet their congresswoman one-on-one and discuss with her any issue, concern or problem involving the federal government.
Giffords has hosted numerous "Congress on Your Corner" events since taking office in January 2007. As in the past, the congresswoman's staff will be available to assist constituents.
Previous "Congress on Your Corner" events in Tucson, Oro Valley, Green Valley, Sierra Vista, and Douglas have attracted between 75 and 150 people.
For the media, "Congress on Your Corner" is an excellent opportunity to view the congresswoman interacting with constituents or ask questions about any topic.
This Saturday's "Congress Your Corner" comes at the conclusion of the first week of the 112th Congress. Giffords took the oath of office for a third term on Wednesday and on Thursday she participated in a reading of the U.S. Constitution on the floor of the House.
Among the congresswoman's first official acts this week was a vote for Speaker of the House and theintroduction of legislation to cut congressional salaries by 5 percent. Giffords was interviewed about her bill this morning on Fox news.
WHAT: "Congress on Your Corner" with U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords WHEN: 10-11:30 a.m., Saturday, January 8, 2011 WHERE: Safeway, 7110 N. Oracle Road (southeast corner of Oracle and Ina)
Palin tweetsGiffords tweets

Notice that one of Sarah Palin's targets in gun site crosshairs is Gabrielle Giffords, the woman who was shot today.

I wanted to cheer Sheriff Clarence Dupnik when I saw him on CNN television saying these words to our nation:

When you look at unbalanced people, how they respond to the vitriol that comes out of certain mouths about tearing down the government. The anger, the hatred, the bigotry that goes on in this country is getting to be outrageous. And, unfortunately, Arizona I think has become sort of the capital. We have become the Mecca for prejudice and bigotry.

And later, he reportedly added:

Let me just say one thing, because people tend to poo-poo this business about all the vitriol that we hear inflaming the American public by people who make a living off of doing that. That may be free speech. But it's not without consequences.

That's what I've been warning all along.  Even if you're not pulling the trigger, you're providing the rationale and urgency.  Someone with less self-restraint eventually listens to your plea.
mellowtigger: (kill)
So many more interesting things are happening in the world, but this teabagger nonsense is what I finally settle to pondering today.

The irony is rich. I think these people are the same ones who spent their lives believing that minorities should be kept in their (lower) place. Now that they themselves are the minority, they don't understand what has gone wrong in their lives. Why has their democratic authority disappeared? They don't realize (even as they saw it happening) that minorities gain what they want by cooperatively soliciting help and intelligently describing their plight so as to warrant compassionate response from the majority. They've experienced no compassion themselves for the suffering of other minorities, so it doesn't occur to them that they could receive such generosity too. Instead, they're reaching for their weapons while claiming that they're the ones trying to save the democracy that they care so much about.

I said before in my own words that I do not trust these people: "I'm arguing that the threshold of violent behavior has already shifted and will continue to shift." It's no longer about political disagreement.  It's about people who failed to make their intellectual point, who failed to make their democratic point, who now want to rely on bully threats to win their way.

These people seem comfortable with abandoning the current government in favor of something else.  I wish they were smart enough to correctly name the "something else" that they want.  Unfortunately, they're not that smart.  They keep insisting that they want to save democracy... which is the very process that they're unhappy with because they aren't getting what they want.  Is it too late to explain to them that minorities get what they want by asking for the help of other empowered groups?  Blacks in America convinced whites to fight on their behalf; women in America convinced men to vote on their behalf; gays in America are convincing straights to argue on their behalf.  Democracy is powerful and transformative.

Republicans still think the teabaggers are on their side.  They're trying to nullify the recent health care legislation.  One (Reagan era) former administrator says "similar attempts at "so-called nullification" led to the Civil War."  Republicans are almost cute in their childlike ignorance; they still think they can control the teabaggers even while goading them onwards.  At least one of them knows better, though: "The thing that sustains a strong Fox network is the thing that undermines a strong Republican party."

Ah well.  I'll leave you with their images and their words.  As Rachel Maddow warns today (after bricks shatter glass at some Democratic party headquarters), let's see what happens here in America on April 19th.

Cut because it is heavy on photographs... )
mellowtigger: (kill)
Wrong religion depicted in my icon (if I may be bigoted long enough to judge choice of religion simply by a few names), but images of Muhammad are harder to come by.

"Brian Buckelew, spokesman for District Attorney Kamala Harris, said the video showed the 16th Street attack and BB rifle shootings aimed at 11 other men. Police say the video depicts the suspects laughing as they fire."

Yep, the nation is still on track.
mellowtigger: (kill)
It's not yet time to review my predictions for their accuracy, but informally I think that things are still on track.

Last Saturday morning (Feb 20), two men wore their gay softball team shirts in downtown Austin Texas, and they were beaten by four attackers who yelled antigay slurs while enjoying their righteous offensive.  I wouldn't say there was anything really unusual about such an incident (I mean, that's the "Land Of The Free" America that I've lived in for 42 years) except for a prior incident that gives me pause.

Two days earlier (Feb 18), also in Austin Texas, Joseph Stack flew zheir airplane into the regional IRS building.  That's bad enough, since murder-suicide against government agencies is not being called terrorism.  Zheir daughter condemns the action, but then Samantha goes on to insist that Joseph was still a hero for maintaining zheir opinions about the government.  I happen to agree with many of the things that zhey said in the suicide-note screed, but fanaticism of any sort isn't what I would call heroic.  Some people do... and that's why I think my prediction is still progressing nicely.

In other news, Wired magazine continues their practice of reviewing technological gadgets and gizmos for their computer geek readership.  Their latest review? Bullet proof vests.

Yep, this nation is right on track.  I repeat my statement from five months ago:

"I distrust these people who obviously feel that they no longer hold any (or sufficient) political power.  I disbelieve that they will employ peaceful and lawful means of reasserting their (self-perceived) political power."
mellowtigger: (Default)
You heard about the recent racist (and anti-Obama) attack in Brooklyn Park, right?  In addition to the rally held Thursday evening, there is one planned for this weekend.  Curiously, the local Nazis plan to counter-protest.  (Unlike Republicans, these guys are smart enough to actually know definitions for Nazism and National Socialism.)

Solidarity Against Racism!
Saturday, October 3rd.
10am - 1pm (vigil 1pm-5pm)
Midtown YWCA (2121 East Lake St, Minneapolis)

I cross-post this information after learning about it from another list....

mellowtigger: (kill)
Yes, the sky is still falling.  It's not a good time to live or work in Dixieland.
A private group called PEER, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, tracks violence against employees who enforce environmental regulations. The group's executive director, Jeff Ruch, said it's hard to know about all of the cases because some agencies don't share data on violence against employees.

From 1996 to 2006, according to the group's most recent data, violent episodes against federal Bureau of Land Management and Forest Service workers soared from 55 to 290.

"Even as illustrated in town hall meetings today, there is a distinct hostility in a large segment of the population toward people who work for their government," Ruch said.

"Feds probe US Census worker hanging in Kentucky"
The hanged man had the word "fed" (federal government) written on his chest. 

It's like pulling a band-aid off slowly, wondering what new shocking thing will happen each week that proves civility is waning in America.


edit 11:19pm: I learned while watching Rachel Maddow tonight that the original AP news story on which this article is based may have stated details incorrectly.  Authorities are being very tight-lipped about explanations.   This man died of asphyxiation, yes, and he had rope around his neck that was tied to a tree.  He might or might not have been hanged.  He might or might not have had "fed" written on his body.

edit 9/26/2009 1:30am:  Apparently it's all true as initially stated.
mellowtigger: (Default)
Dismiss me for continuing to be paranoid if you want.

Hill, by all witness accounts, politely asked West to be careful, officials said. ... West threw her to the ground and hit her in the head with his fists and feet, police said. During the exchange, witnesses said West could be heard screaming racial slurs at the victim.

Meanwhile, one of my relatives on Facebook has asked people to friend Glenn Beck on the site. Yeah, that "news" figure who says (without retraction or correction) that millions of people were at the recent D.C. March because the university of "I don't remember which university" counted that many people from the video footage.

I distrust these people who obviously feel that they no longer hold any (or sufficient) political power.  I disbelieve that they will employ peaceful and lawful means of reasserting their (self-perceived) political power.

This journey is leading nowhere that I want to go.
mellowtigger: (Default)
A Christian pastor says on a radio interview that gay people should be killed (because the Bible tells him so) and other things.  He's a professional pain in the ass, though, as he also spends his time giving grief to border patrol.  I want to try to understand the point that these scary people are making, but I try to listen and end up just confused instead.  I'm really not feeling very reassured about living in this country "of the free".  :(  I always thought that Europeans had it horribly wrong by making Holocaust denial a crime.  Now.... I'm just confused about what I believe on the issue of thought crime.

Several people (gay, straight, or whatever) on my reading list have posted in recent weeks about dealing with the depression in their lives.  I've nearly reached the point where I'm willing to delve into the unpleasantness of my own past to explain my own crisis.  I dislike that so many people are turning to chemicals to keep their lives whole.

I think that chemicals can be a good short-term solution.  There was a time when I should have been using them myself.  I'd be happy to hand someone a prescription bottle for whatever it is that will help them get by a little longer with their ailment, but only if I can simultaneously ask them, "If you could redesign yourself or society to make this chemical unnecessary for yourself, what would you change?"

It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.
- Jiddu Krishnamurti

I still have stressors to deal with in my own life.  I shouldn't be allowing curiosity to take me into additional, unnecessary stress.  Me being incurious, though... wouldn't that be an awful state of living.  Ick.

Maybe I should swear off LiveJournal and Facebook and news sites until I make a constructive post about my own past, my own crisis and Remaking.  Remembering is unpleasant business.  It appears, though, that maybe the tipping point has arrived, where the potential benefit finally outweighs the cost.
mellowtigger: (Default)
re: boyfriend
Wanting but not having is unpleasant business.  I'll be glad when it passes (again).  I've spent too much time around people lately, I think.  A few weeks alone might help cool such thoughts.

re: health
My left leg hurts again.  It happens a few times a year because of a car accident that I had long ago.  I think it's a nerve problem (one among many) in my lower back that causes pain down one side of my body below my waist.  The only thing that solves it is taking a long soak in a hot bath while drinking a glass of whiskey.  I'll go buy the whiskey shortly and take my bath soon after.

re: democracy
Some people are thinking of new ways to conduct democratic conversation.  That's more optimistic than my recent ponderings.

re: civil war
My recent ponderings, however, continue to find justification.  Regarding militia training groups, ""This is the most significant growth we've seen in 10 to 12 years," says one. "All it's lacking is a spark. I think it's only a matter of time before you see threats and violence.""  Southern Poverty Law Center has a financial incentive (donations) to encourage fearful discussions, so their opinion should be taken with that small caveat in mind.

p.s. (3:08pm) Crown & Royal whiskey is expensive.  Thankfully, Mr. Bubble is not.  Leg is feeling better.  Now to lay down flat for a while to make sure the cure "sticks".

mellowtigger: (Default)
I hope, when the time comes, that I have the presence of mind to escape. Failing that... I hope, when the time comes, that I have the bravery to die rather than kill. I'm not certain of my own pacifist leanings, but I can at least hope to be a better example of a thoughtful person than my attackers.

Some 15 years ago, my boss (on the political right) and I (on the political left) were discussing politics and we both agreed that America would see civil war within our lifetimes unless civil discourse found a revival. People need to keep rational minds and civil tongues in order to safely explore opinions and to find points of compromise or at least find ways to live together in tolerance.

My subconscious seems ready to accept that civil discourse has ceased. I blame mostly the "right" for this effect (see: Nazi, death panels, gun stealing, constitution shredding, and other claims without any rational justification that I can find (and I have tried to look for it)), but the "left" is finally waking up to the fact that they are trying to debate with irrational people. I expect civility to collapse before Obama's first term is out. I voted for him because I hoped he had the brains and the voice to hold this country together through such tearing.

It is a deadly serious matter to me.
"God never "felt" anything about it, he commanded it and said they should be taken out and killed. ... You want to know why sodomites are recruiting? Because they have no natural predators."


"Go find one of these queer churches, they'll put the faggot behind the pulpit. ... Our country is run by faggots. ... He's a pedophile. He has been arrested for interacting with boys that are in their teenage years when he's in his 50s. ... That's Barney Frank. That's who just sold our country into fascism. ... I'm not going to stand by and let a faggot run the church. It's bad enough that we've got a lot of faggots running the government."

- both available at
I don't usually hang out at such websites, but I am trying to examine both far-right and far-left news this week. I could find no news article justifying the claims by this man about Barney Frank.  The closest that I could locate was an old Washington Post article, and it refutes his claims.  The "recruiting" argument is so ludicrous that it doesn't even deserve refutation here.

I'm beginning to wonder if the immediate dissolution of the United States might actually be the most peaceful outcome available. The "right" is getting shrill in a way that involves weaponry. Peaceful or deadly resolution? A matter of choice.

I hope that I choose to die rather than kill. Peaceful protest may lose as many lives as outright warfare, but it leaves its soldiers unscathed by moral compromise. I find it curiously coincident that God hates the same outsiders as the people themselves already hate.  God can kill humans by divine will. God has angels that can kill humans.  Why does God need angry mobs to kill for him, and on schedules that fit their own political tide?
"What does God need with a starship?"
- Captain Kirk, Star Trek V: The Final Frontier,
I find that certainty about who should live and who should die is a poison that seems to consume some people through and through.  Following the Abrahamic metaphor, the apple and the Knowledge Of Good And Evil seems to have poisoned some souls more than others.  A great many people seem certain of who is Good and who is Evil and what order should be established for every human on the planet.

They have a lot more certainty about such arrangements than I do.  I cannot be allowed to exist in their world, so they believe.  My own father has hunted queers as a group sport.  Is this brand of fun poised for a comeback?  When rationality and civility are totally lost, how will I respond?

I hope that I choose to die rather than kill, when they come for me.  But here too I lack their certainty.  Perhaps soon we will be able to distinguish the correct one (if any) among the four theories of human violence.


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