RedFlag: Charlie Hebdo and the hypocrisy of pencils.
“Of course the pen has played its role as well. The pens that signed the endless Patriot Acts, anti-terror laws and other bills that entrenched police harassment and curtailed civil rights. The pens of the newspaper editorialists who whip up round after round of hysteria, entrenching anti-Muslim prejudice and making people foreigners in their own country. But the pens of newspaper editors were strong not by virtue of their wit or reason, but insofar as they were servants of the powerful and their guns.”
Well, you may not agree. But it does mention Algeria, and these events are inextricably linked with the history of France/Algeria. If someone starts calling out Muslim extremism in general as a result of these attacks, without referencing Algeria ... time for you to call BS. A whole mess of opinion out there right now, and 1% of 1% is worth the electricity you’re using to read it ...
Later: Note, some are making hay from Charlie Hebdo merch.
France 24 [Article from 2011]: Govt targets Marseille’s AK47-wielding gangsters.
I was wondering how easy it was to obtain AK-47s in France. Very easy, apparently.
Then there’s America.
The Register: Paris terror attacks: ISPs face pressure to share MORE data with governments.
“The take-away from politicians on both sides of the pond today, once you set aside the posturing about freedom of expression: demands for greater surveillance of citizens’ movements online are back on the agenda in a big way.” Hmmm. Blogging via postcard?
Slate: AP “Piss Christ” - Image apparently self-censored after Charlie Hebdo-related complaints.
I have a terrible feeling, between The Interview, Charlie Hebdo and this, that a new wave of ‘shock and offense’ is going to hit the art world.
Widening out a bit: I was discussing the other day, “Is nothing sacred?” As Plato argues, are some acts impious because the Gods say they are, or are Gods saying those acts are impious because they are so by their very nature? Religious texts are pretty quiet on necrophilia, for instance. Plato’s argument may be missing the forest for a couple of trees. There seem to be taboos that religions have missed completely. Makes one wonder what ‘sacreds’ they’ve also missed. The smell of rain in the desert, after a long dry spell, comes to mind.
MSNBC: Warren - ‘The GOP is inventing a Social Security crisis’.
Amazing, the damage a handful of humans can do in such short order.
The Economist: Blasphemy - Dangerous words.
“The belief that casual, satirical or profane mention of the divine is a grievous sin belongs to prehistory. It has roots in all three Abrahamic religions. But to live in 2015 requires bringing ancient beliefs into consonance with modern values.”
Kottke.org: Healthcare - America’s Bitter Pill.
Hear, hear. My own options are dreadful, and the great coverage I had has gone stratospheric to meet ACA demands.
codelitt: How will we ever get back our casual web browsing experience?
“Sure, I and others with solid technology backgrounds can connect through the TOR network, encrypt every single email with PGP, keep our drives encrypted with Truecrypt, and use OTR protocols for our IMs - but what about the billions of casual web browsers? Do they no longer deserve their right to privacy because they didn’t have these skills?”
Ghost in the Machine: America’s Moral Collapse.
Nobody says it better. Any form of torture is unacceptable, no matter the rationalizations or ‘creative legal definitions’. Close Guantanamo. Prosecute those who came up with this concept. I accept nothing less. O has been a grave disappointment here. America leads by example, and what an example we’ve set. Preemptive war, torture ... the list goes on.
ArtDaily: Disgruntled Italian entrepreneur Marcello Di Finizio climbs St Peter’s Basilica - again.
TG’s Political Wire: Obama Should Prosecute the Torturers.
“The question is whether the nation will stand by and allow the perpetrators of torture to have perpetual immunity for their actions.” This is arguably the most important article in the news today, and many can’t read it because of the paywall. The impact is therefore limited. Important news should be free; how we structure that, I don’t know. Perhaps front page access should be free, but viewing by section is all pay-for?
Telegraph.UK: Female codebreakers reunited at Bletchley Park.
What more can I do, than get a tear in my eye and clap for these ladies? We owe them almost as much as we owe Churchill.
Reuters: Obama vows ‘do everything I can’ to close Guantanamo.
TechDirt: Tennessee Town Passes Policy Banning Negative Comments About The Town’s Government.
Well. Does TechDirt moderate comments? I can’t tell from their site. I’m not defending the town, mind you. But another article on TechDirt quotes this opinion in positive manner: “I do delete comments from time to time. If I notice them and they are ‘excessively violent’ or ‘harassing’ or ‘otherwise objectionable,’ I delete them. Why? First, its my blog, so my fucking rules. You have a right to express yourself, but not necessarily here.” My italics.
Everyone loves the First Amendment until it ends up bristling and ugly in their own comments section or social channels.
I come down on the side of, “If tax money is being used to support those sites, then any taxpaying citizen can comment.”
ABC News: Six in 10 See CIA Actions as Justified As Many Question Committee Report.
ArtDaily: Native American sacred masks sold by the Eve auction house in France despite protests.
“While the sale of sacred Indian artefacts has been outlawed in the United States since 1990—legislation which has allowed the tribe to recover items held by American museums in the past—the law does not extend to sales overseas.”
Vox: Bill Cosby’s wife invoked the Rolling Stone sexual assault story to defend him.
This just gets more distasteful by the hour. First, he pulls the race card (“the black media needs to stay neutral”); now she pulls the “rape allegation” card.
Slate: Dick Cheney defends CIA’s torture.
Hmmm. And cast that Administration’s actions against the Nuremberg principles. “The fact that a person who committed an act which constitutes a crime under international law acted as Head of State or responsible government official does not relieve him from responsibility under international law.” We have judged others by these rules; how can we not judge of ourselves?
ABC News, 2012: Guantanamo Bay - Still Open, Despite Promises.
Trolling back to what we were sold in ‘08. Those campaign promises, as piecrusts ...
Vox: Amal Clooney married down. She’s way more fascinating than George.
I kinda like the idea of George being Amal’s ‘arm candy’.
BBC News: Angelina Jolie: US must lead on torture policy.
“We can’t expect to break certain rules and behave in a certain manner and [believe] that won’t affect the way other people behave and won’t encourage how other people behave. So if we are to be who we represent ourselves to be as Americans and as a democracy, we have to lead the way and handle ourselves in a manner which is respectful to other human beings.” It has struck me as wrong, for so many years now, that we have to rely on entertainers to say the things we wish our politicians would.
Techdirt: Despite Racking Up 3 Unanimous Votes, FOIA Bill Killed Off By Rep. John Boehner.
“The wonders of our political system continue. Something that received unanimous support - not only on both sides of legislative branch, but on both sides of the partisan divide - was dismantled by one man. One man who stood in front of a House that had passed the bill 410-0 and said, ‘Whatever.’”
Fiscal Times: CRomnibus Disaster Signals a Sad New Normal in D.C.
BPSResearchDigest: Use of torture in “time bomb scenarios” influenced by desire for retribution.
“Moreover, their finding that people’s support for torture is influenced by the identity and the culpability of the suspect shows that the practice is often endorsed as a form of punishment, not as a way to extract information. Taken altogether the researchers conclude their findings “cast serious doubt on the use of ticking time bomb scenarios as an argument for legalized torture”.” Interesting.
New Republic, 12/4/14: Law Requires US to Compensate Guantanamo Torture Victims.
I’ve been thinking about this. Those who were tortured should have the ability take their cases to court. Internationally? In Islam, there is Qisas (retaliation) and Diyya (blood money). If we wish to maintain good relations internationally, we must be making restitution in meaningful ways. Meaningful ways to those who were so wronged. Many of these torturees have to be permanently scarred mentally and physically. America has a moral debt, red in our ledger. Will we even attempt to wipe it out?