Scottish Ban?

General discussions of interest to readers and fans of Harlan Ellison.

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FrankChurch
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Re: Scottish Ban?

Postby FrankChurch » Tue Sep 01, 2009 12:51 pm

Things like My Lai were going on all the time in Vietnam. The use of defoliant was worse than that, in my view.

Sure, the whole government should have went to jail, but we focused too much on Watergate, which was a minor matter.

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Steve Evil
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Re: Scottish Ban?

Postby Steve Evil » Wed Sep 02, 2009 8:59 am

I repeat, did anyone associated with that particular atrocity serve time?

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FrankChurch
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Re: Scottish Ban?

Postby FrankChurch » Wed Sep 02, 2009 10:19 am

Nope, just Calley.

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Ezra Lb.
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Re: Scottish Ban?

Postby Ezra Lb. » Wed Sep 02, 2009 11:39 am

And if memory serves, Calley was pardoned by Nixon.


Steve Evil, and all you other foreigners, lookee here.

Sumpin you may have noticed but which I wish to make explicit.

Americans are congenitally incapable of admitting they've made a mistake. This follows from our general hatred of any kind of self-reflection. (Most Americans would rather have their epidermis removed by a butter knife than do any kind of critical self-analysis.)

Try an experiment (I have done this). I must warn you that it has at least the potential to be somewhat dangerous for reasons we shall see.

Find a conservative (or anyone who will defend our actions during the Bush administration and the War on Terror).
Point out that,
A. During WW2 (the big one) the US govt prosecuted (and executed) Japanese soldiers for using the same torture methods our intelligence agencies used in interrogating prisoners in Iraq.
B. The argument that "we were just following orders" or "the state department lawyers said we what we were doing was ok" is essentielly the same argument the German officers used to defend themselves at the trials at Nuremburg.

You will generally have two reactions depending on the test subject.

If they are ethical sorts their brain will sieze up like Robbie the Robot in FORBIDDEN PLANET, caught in a dilemma between their ethics and their inability to process critical information.

If they are not they will exhibit classic metabolic fight/flight symptoms and either shout you down or even attack you (most likely symbolically by accusing you of being "Un-American" but possibly even physically).

So remember folks, IT'S OK WE"RE AMERICANS.
“We must not always talk in the marketplace,” Hester Prynne said, “of what happens to us in the forest.”
-Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter

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Re: Scottish Ban?

Postby Moderator » Wed Sep 02, 2009 12:03 pm

Ezra hits the "Conservative Hypocrisy" square upon its bitty little nose.

In my view, Conservatives -- and this is not a complete layer of paint, only a partial one using a gernally good-sized brush -- react precisely as Ezra notes. There' seems to be a sort of acceptable world-view that if the world doesn't conform to their standards, the world is wrong. If circumstances don't conform to their world view, circumstances are mininsterpreted. And if facts don't conform, they aren't facts.

I am seeing, unfortunately, a lot less freezing up and a good lot more shouting down of opposing viewpoints. Though it gets me accused of a lot of nastiness, the last two times we've seen this sort of thing were the brownshirts in Germany and the red-scare tactics of the 1950s. Rampant paranoia and the feeling of helplessness make people react quite angrily to any percieved slight -- which the Limbaugh's, etc, feel quite justified to fan into rage.

It isn't at all productive, nor is it ethical, but it's where we seem to be drifitng.
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FrankChurch
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Re: Scottish Ban?

Postby FrankChurch » Wed Sep 02, 2009 12:38 pm

Self reflection? Self deflection is more like it.

All countries are nationalistic in some ways, but at least the people in those lands can look at themselves a bit more honestly. We just have better propagandists.

In fact, all empires have this disease. Britain thought it was doing India a favor; France, Africa, Vietnam. Power never takes the humbleness pill. Swallowing that would take a contraption of HG Wells like extremes.

Remember that the new patriots are us and the new anti-Americans are them..lol

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Steve Evil
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Re: Scottish Ban?

Postby Steve Evil » Thu Sep 03, 2009 4:05 pm

The response I most often get from Conservatives, and tend to see in newscolumns and tv interviews is some variety of:

a)THEY are very bad people
b)WE are just trying to protect you.
c) Where do you get off defending THEM?

Paradoxically, there tends to be some mention that WE at least punish OUR wrongdoers, all the while fighting tooth and nail to prevent any said wrongdoers from being punished, or even admitting that any wrongdoing was done. Usually OUR wrongdoing is compared with THEIR atrocities, and we're told how much worse THEIRS are - the unspoken assumption being we should just forget about OURS.

It reminds me of my campers when they're caught punching someone. They won't deny punching anyone, but they'll always point out all the crimes the OTHER kid did, as if it negates their own.

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Re: Scottish Ban?

Postby Ezra Lb. » Fri Sep 04, 2009 8:33 am

The sad part is that there is, even if only potentially, a legitimate "conservative" point of view. In any political discussion I always want someone around to remind us that the greatest threat to liberty is unbridled state power.

But to these goobers who accuse Obama of "socialism" and "totalitarianism" I would just ask,

"Where were YOU when Bush was shredding the constitution? Where were YOU when he was holding American citizens incommunicado, without due process? Illegally spying on American citizens? Interrogation methods that were illegal and toture by any definition? (People don't seem to realize that over a hundred prisoners died as a result of interrogations. A third of these were originally investigated as outright murders! Agents of the USA tortured prisoners to death. This is why I want to puke when I hear folks lament that an investigation would "demoralize" the CIA.)
“We must not always talk in the marketplace,” Hester Prynne said, “of what happens to us in the forest.”
-Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter

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Re: Scottish Ban?

Postby Moderator » Fri Sep 04, 2009 9:14 am

Ezra - They will blame the Democratic congress (ignoring the six years of Bush prior to that point, and also ignoring the ADMITTED out and out lying of the CIA to Congress on the subject of torture.)

This is what is so frustrating. You cannot work with people who refuse to at least start the discussion at "Reality".

Even were you to say exactly what you said, they wouldn't hear it and simply repeat a talking point. My comments on Facebook got some truly offensive responses, one of which was from a man who felt the bludgeon of his own military service should shut me the fuck up.
- I love to find adventure. All I need is a change of clothes, my Nikon, an open mind and a strong cup of coffee.

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FrankChurch
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Re: Scottish Ban?

Postby FrankChurch » Fri Sep 04, 2009 1:52 pm

Authoritarian state power is bad, to be sure. Conservatives and radicals agree on that. But what Obama is doing doesn't even come close. Where were these conservatives when we were marching against the Patriot Act?

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Re: Scottish Ban?

Postby Moderator » Fri Sep 04, 2009 2:54 pm

FrankChurch wrote:Authoritarian state power is bad, to be sure. Conservatives and radicals agree on that.


But this is the rub: while they SAY it is, their actions -- as in the Bush Administration and the Republican Congress' actions between 2000 and 2006, belie that claim.

And the accusation that Obama is launching some sort of new authoritarianism is as wrongheaded as accusing him of nazism (a far right wing nationalist rule with corporate participation).

Again, folks, this is the result of an uninformed public.

I had what for me was a mindbending epiphany today, however. As a theory it genuinely explains the fear and clashing going on.

Until the latter half of the 20th Century almost every community in America had some degree of insulation against the others. Communications had not yet become so pervasive that the experiences in South Bend would be the same as they were in Miami, or Portland or the desert outside Phoenix. Detroit was a dot on a map, not a rusting hulk of a city. New York was that city of dreams in the movies starring Fred Astaire.

Small towns, in particular, were insular, warm and generally reassuring to the folks who lived there.

Then comes mass communications, but that's okay because TV only reflected a small influence on the actual day-to-day lifestyles of the people around the country. The rest of the world was still a comfortable distance away, and the rest of the town was still there to reassure us that OUR way of life was just peachy.

In the latter half of the 20th century came the great revolutions of cable, satellite and the internet. Suddenly that world was NOT comfortably adjacent, but it was RIGHT HERE.

Bill's Cafe was now a California Pizza Kitchen. The WalMart put Jake's Hardware out of business. Things were changing, and the tv channels all said we oguht to be alike. A daily dose of "things I don't like and things I don't want to do" became the regular diet for most Americans. (I use the small town aura as an example only, but the same thing has happened in the big cities. But if you note, the most conservative big cities have been the ones with the greatest growth since the 1950s -- so the model fits.)

And now we see conservative voices raised to tell us it's gone too far. They want to be reassured by Rush and Hannity and Ann and Glenn that it's OKAY to be angry about the loss of "our way of life". It's okay to hold the "democrats" responsible because -- let's face it folks, we're the "big city" kids in the grand scheme of things.

It's a mind set. They want their world to have borders again. They want to be comfortable in their own homes. They don't WANT big government, even though their champions committed the worst acts of growing government in the last forty years. ("But they SAY the don't and I believe them." "Reaganomics works!" "No, no, no,no. NOT WITH MY KIDS YOU WON'T!')

(I've often thought you could judge the thoughtfulness of a poster by the number or times they use exclamation points or all caps when arguing politics. But that's just me.)

They don't want the big government messing with their relationship with their doctor, and no matter how many times you reinforce that this isn't the case, there's a well-paid talk show host whispering "boogedy booo!" in their ear.

I understand it now.

I don't agree. But I understand it. Why it's occuring NOW. Why the vehemence. Why the anger. Why the panic. And why it seems to be heavily Conservative in nature -- because that's where the greatest amount of upset is occurring.

We're asking them to move in our direction, and they can't. They just can't. It's too much.

And while I can understand the mindset, I still cannot fathom the lack of civility.

(Which leaves me very cynical about the future of this country.)
- I love to find adventure. All I need is a change of clothes, my Nikon, an open mind and a strong cup of coffee.

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Lori Koonce
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Re: Scottish Ban?

Postby Lori Koonce » Fri Sep 04, 2009 3:11 pm

Barber, you're in the wrong line of work dear. That is a beautiful piece!

May I have premission to send it to the Huffington Post, with proper accreditation.

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FinderDoug
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Re: Scottish Ban?

Postby FinderDoug » Fri Oct 02, 2009 10:32 am

Secret rewards? 50 visits by detectives? Witnesses undisclosed to the defense?

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/oc ... ss-megrahi

But it doesn't count, because Megrahi withdrew his appeal. Tell me that releasing him wasn't some kind of face-saving move.

Maybe we need a Meddling American ban...

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FrankChurch
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Re: Scottish Ban?

Postby FrankChurch » Fri Oct 02, 2009 1:53 pm

Barber, you saying I'm uninformed?

Obama will not prosecute Bush or Cheney, that's bad enough.

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Re: Scottish Ban?

Postby Moderator » Fri Oct 02, 2009 2:24 pm

FrankChurch wrote:Barber, you saying I'm uninformed?

Obama will not prosecute Bush or Cheney, that's bad enough.


Huh?

Did I say that by mistake somewhere??? I've suggested your views tend to be one-sided, but you're not uninformed. :twisted:
- I love to find adventure. All I need is a change of clothes, my Nikon, an open mind and a strong cup of coffee.


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