Maybe we should quit teaching history in schools.  One only has to look at current events to realize that it's all happened before.  Oh, the players change.  The good become evil, and the oppressed become the oppressors,  but the events stay the same.

I was reading an article recently, and was a few paragraphs into it before I realized that it was written in 1961 - almost a half century ago.  It could have been written yesterday.

On one hand, it depresses me that we've learned so little.  On the other hand, I have hope that we'll get through this dark time in American history, and some semblance of reason will eventually return.

A certain amount of Irish fatalism tells me not to hold my breath...

If China jumped off a bridge...

Entirely too many WTF moments on the Internet as of late.  Joe Lieberman wants to give the President executive power over the Internet.  An effective "kill switch" for the Internet in case of some cyber attack. 

Let me get this straight.  A person (or persons) attacking the Internet would, I assume want to somehow disable it.  So in order to protect ourselves, we need the ability to break the Internet.  Huh?  I don't know the President's position on this, nor do I care.

His reasoning is that China has this capability, so we should, too.  In the words of Jon Stewart, "Well, if China says it's OK...".

(Comedy Central won't let me embed...)

Daily show 6/21

Zero Tolerance

Tolerance, empathy, reason, compassion, diversity.  Growing up, I'd always believed these to be good things.  Apparently, I was wrong.  I've been trying to assimilate everything that has happened over the last couple of years.  In that, I've failed.  The hope, however fleeting, I felt when Obama was elected is a distant memory.  Tea parties, corporate malfeasance, firearms at Presidential speaking engagements, threats of violence from public officials, more corporate malfeasance, an unconstitutional immigration law, a vendetta against education by public officials...

This goes on ad nauseum. I've felt all along that all this nonsense had a ring of familiarity about it.  The anti-immigration sentiment, especially, reminds me of Nazi Germany, just after they took power.  People hate that comparison, but it is valid.  The Nazis were in power for over a decade before their "final solution".  They started off small, too.

I recently read an article at Metafilter, regarding the American Third Position, yet another white supremacist group that is trying to gain a foothold here in Arizona.  A comment made on that article stated it more eloquently than I ever could:
This is the pattern. There are always a small percent of people who blame somebody, and somebody will always be someone different. Skin color and religious symbols are easy targets, but ask the Irish how much good being white, christian and english speaking did them.

In good times, these idiots get little traction. In bad times, however, people get depressed and angry, and when someone comes up with something along the line of "You'd have a job if it weren't for those fucking Martians...." and suddenly, they start getting traction.

The worse the economy, the more traction it gets -- more people are depressed and angry, and they're more depressed and angrier as it gets worse. Now, add in hopelessness -- they become convinced that things won't change, so they don't really care if they survive. Now you have angry people who are willing to fight because they don't really care if they die.

Then we get the fucktards, now flying high, with the "If we just kill all the fucking martians, and the fucking government who supports the fucking martians" and suddenly, things get very ugly very quickly.

This is why the extremist's first target is the moderate. Moderates provide moderation and rationality, which directly cuts the fuel off from the extremist. The extremist goal is to remove the moderates -- force the opponent to one extreme, and get rid of those in the middle. Suddenly, the *only* message is "Kill the Martians, and we're just the government you need to kill the Martians."

Oh, I mean Jews. Or Slavs. Or city dwelling Cambodians. Or any number of minorities in the past. This is an old trick, killing the people who don't look like you in bad times goes all the way back to ancient Egypt, if not further.

Hitler and Pol Pot were just reading a script that has been read hundreds of times before -- and, it seems, we're now in rehearsals for the next big production of Kill The Minority.
I read a great suggestion recently regarding the immigration law.  Enforce it to within an inch of it's life.  Make everyone show proof of citizenship.  No exceptions.  You show it when you check out a library book, or pay a water bill.  Let's see how long it lasts, then.

I know of no method to secure the repeal of bad or obnoxious laws so effective as their stringent execution.
                                                              -Ulysses S. Grant

It's been a year...

Almost a year ago, I wrote about Neda Agha-Soltan after I, and most of the rest of the world saw a video of her murder.  A video that went so viral that it is now said that it is the most widely witnessed human death in history.  At the time, I knew little about her.  I've since learned a little more.  She was an aspiring singer and musician, who was studying violin.  She had ordered a piano, which had yet to arrive.  She was studying the Turkish language, and worked for her family's travel agency.  She had a fiancĂ©, and in all other respects, a bright future.

She was murdered by a Basij gunman, who had been hiding on a nearby rooftop.  He was later captured, then freed.  Aside from hardships imposed on her family and those close to her, little has changed in Iran since then.  Ahmadinejad is still in power, and will hopefully only be remembered by history as the murderer and madman that he is.  Neda's grave has been desecrated.  Dr. Arash Hejazi, who tried in vain to save her life, was later accused of her murder by the state and has since fled Iran.

History keeps repeating itself.  Oh, the roles change.  The oppressed become the oppressors, but nothing is learned.  But on June 20th, and every year until it's time for me to go, I will light a candle.

And remember.

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