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How could something so violent and callous happen?

The details suggest that while the military put strict rules in place to protect civilians, the Special Operations task force repeatedly used other rules to skirt them. The military teams counting casualties rarely had the time, resources or incentive to do accurate work. And troops rarely faced repercussions when they caused civilian deaths, [such as the deaths of 80 Syrian women and children].

How the U.S. Hid an Airstrike That Killed Dozens of Civilians in Syria, New York Times, November 13, 2021

I mean, that there is the stuff of Clausewitz, you know, the famed military strategist also known as the God of War…

In his masterpiece, On War (1832), Clausewitz had warned against the “kind-hearted” fiction that a nation could wage a war “without too much bloodshed.” Not only was it useless, but morally reforming war could exacerbate its evil. “Mistakes which come from kindness are the very worst.” Treating the carnage in war as a sin for which to atone or—worse—a blemish on the most beautiful activity in life was something like a moral error. “It would be futile—even wrong—to try to shut one’s eyes to what war really is from sheer distress at its brutality,” Clausewitz explained. Concerns about how gory and gruesome the commitments to intensity could become were petty. “The fact that slaughter is a horrifying spectacle must make us take war more seriously,” he allowed, “but not provide an excuse for gradually blunting our swords in the name of humanity.” As he observed, “Sooner or later someone will come along with a sharp sword and hack off our arms.”

“I Would Not Take Prisoners.” Tolstoy’s Case Against Making War Humane, Literary Hub, September 10, 2021

Maybe such violence and callousness in the U. S. military is because its 1.3 million or so members are influenced by the violent and callous rhetoric and examples of our societal leaders just as much as anyone else…

Obviously Trump comes to mind with all his many, many examples of violent rhetoric and of his openly endorsing police brutality and of his pardoning convicted war criminals and of course of his incitement of a resurrection against our government.

But if we are going to lay blame on our political leaders for our violent and callous national temperament, then we must hold our cultural leaders equally accountable…

Obviously Travis Scott comes to mind for his incitement of fights and riots and, most recently, deadly stampedes.

Certainly, these are issues for consideration when considering the cause behind such violent and callous behavior by all spectrums of our prism-like society, but so are the violent movies and video games we watch and play, not to mention the violent books we read…

But if we are going to blame external violent and callous influences, which I’m not sure I agree we should be doing, for our violent and callous societal behavior, then where does the excuse of influence end and the responsibility for personal behavior begin?

I don’t know the answer to that, except in my mind it should begin as soon as is viably possible, focusing more on the external influences during the early development years, particularly the influences that poverty, crime, and mental health issues have on childhood development.

Nothing new there. And even if we were to raise all today’s children to be compassionate and ethical, we’re still left with the violent and callous reality of now.

When dealing with such abnormal and illegal misanthropic behavior, it’s obvious to me that our societal organizations that hold the legal monopoly on violence — our military and police forces, for example — should be held to a much higher standard of ethical behavior and face a much stiffer penalty when unethical behavior is committed.

I sure would like to take a look at what our military and police cadets are being taught today at their service schools regarding ethics and codes of conduct.

I have some idea, but it’s almost been 20 years since I was on active duty so I’m sure times have changed.

But while education in ethics and codes of conduct for our magistrates of violence is surely important and must continue, nothing in my mind is as important as the education and examples one receives in the formative childhood years.

For it is then our brains get stuffed with the stuff we base our lives on for the rest of our lives…

Such stuff as our prejudices and stereotypes and how to love and how to hate…

You know, the near indelible and indestructible stuff that one university freshman course in ethics can ne’er overcome.

Yeah…

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Only in North Carolina*

Image courtesy NBC News

A man who alleged in a lawsuit that he was fired from a hospital system because he is a white man has been awarded a $10 million verdict by a North Carolina jury, according to court documents.

Jury awards $10M to former exec who said he was fired because he is white male, NBC News, October 28, 2021

My guess is that many on the jury that awarded this poor, victimized dude $10,000,000.00 for his misfortune of being born white and male overlapped with the University of North Carolina board of trustees who denied tenure to Nikole Hannah-Jones, a Pulitzer Prize-winning writer for The New York Times Magazine, for her blasphemously accurate reportage of the United States’ bleak history of slavery…


*And by North Carolina, I mean South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas… you get the picture.

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Empty Words of the Privileged

It’s hard to believe so many people have to live so miserably in the richest, most powerful country in the world.


This has become cliché and empty to say, especially from those of us speaking from our privilege, but since there are so many pockets of wretched poverty all around the country such as described in the following article, it’s hard not to say it.

Courtesy New York Times

“Hundreds of miles of roads are unpaved, so it can take up to three hours to get a sick person to help. It’s difficult to self-isolate because families live in one-room homes called hogans. Up to 40 percent of Navajo households don’t have running water, making it hard to wash hands. Cellphone service and Wi-Fi are limited, so it’s difficult to keep in touch and to get information about the epidemic.”

A Life on and Off the Navajo Nation, New York Times, May 13, 2020

#alonetogetherwithourprivilege

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The Bird As Language

The systematic looting of language can be recognized by the tendency of its users to forgo its nuanced, complex, mid-wifery properties for menace and subjugation. Oppressive language does more than represent violence; it is violence; does more than represent the limits of knowledge; it limits knowledge. Whether it is obscuring state language or the faux-language of mindless media; whether it is the proud but calcified language of the academy or the commodity driven language of science; whether it is the malign language of law-without-ethics, or language designed for the estrangement of minorities, hiding its racist plunder in its literary cheek – it must be rejected, altered and exposed. It is the language that drinks blood, laps vulnerabilities, tucks its fascist boots under crinolines of respectability and patriotism as it moves relentlessly toward the bottom line and the bottomed-out mind. Sexist language, racist language, theistic language – all are typical of the policing languages of mastery, and cannot, do not permit new knowledge or encourage the mutual exchange of ideas…

From Toni Morrison’s Nobel Lecture, December 7, 1993

#maysherestinpeace
#maysherestinpower


FEATURED IMAGE COURTESY OF WIKIPEDIA

 
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What is Gotham Trying to Say about Interracial Marriages?

Even though I grew up a comic book nerd, I’m pretty much over all the Marvel/DC Comics superhero movies. I used to watch them religiously at the movie theater – because if one must watch a big budgeted bloated bonanza of bombastic visual proportions, then it must be watched while on the big screen – however, I’m trying very hard to wean myself off of them. Key word: trying.

Despite the fact that I know without a doubt I’m going to be hugely disappointed at the movie’s end, I still find it hard to resist them. For instance, the buzz around the Black Panther movie is phenomenal so chances are pretty good I’ll make the trek to my local Frank’s Theatre and hope for the best… while still expecting the worst.

Fortunately, thanks to the likes of HBO, Netflix, Amazon Prime, and the… like, the superhero genre has not been left behind during this amazing renaissance of television we’re happily going through.

As for there being any good content on broadcast television, I wouldn’t know. I haven’t watched anything on any of the broadcast channels, other than sports, since Happy Days went off the air… what has it been? a year or two ago?

Except for one broadcast show, that is.

Gotham.

I am off on a hardcore wide-eyed binge on that show, which should tell you that I don’t actually watch it when it’s broadcasted on Fox. No way. Never again will I be a slave to a network time slot.

I watch Gotham as any discerning 21st Century viewer would, at my leisure on that amazing little channel of an app called Netflix.

With all its dark, demented, hyper-violence, let me tell ya… Gotham is good. Real good. It actually feels like a comic book has been brought to life, making it exactly what a discerning 21st Century television viewer like yours truly wants…

And deserves.

Anyway, onward to the point of this overly prolific post…
Continue reading What is Gotham Trying to Say about Interracial Marriages?

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Why does it seem stars from my generation* have such a hard time staying alive?

What gives, yo?

I mean, life’s a bitch and all but come on Gen Xers, don’t let all that depressing music from the Nineties go to your head…

Or your heart.

Man**…

I tell ya, last year we lost such notable Gen Xers as Chester Bennington and Chris Cornell*** and, before them, Scott Weiland a couple years ago, not to mention all those Gen Xer stars we lost early in their prime: Kurt Cobain, Tupac, Biggie, Layne Staley, Shannon Hoon, Bradley Nowell, and god knows how many others I’ve failed to mention.

And now this year we continue the tragic Gen X endings with the tragic death of Dolores O’Riordan.

By the time my generation gets in its natural zone of death, it seems all the stars from it will be long gone with no big names left for me to pay tribute.

But, as is evident by Delores’ recent passing, it’s painfully obvious the premature dying off of famous Gen Xers will continue unabated and I sincerely would like to pay a heartfelt tribute to the life of Dolores, for hers was a unique and beautiful voice that defined my generation*.

Sadly, like the death of Scott Weiland, I kind of saw it coming
Continue reading Why does it seem stars from my generation* have such a hard time staying alive?