vaecrius: The infamous cartoon of Darwin's head on a chimp's body, superimposed with a MSPainted Nazi armband. (are you a monkey)
Been a long time since I've linkdumped here. But the series of links from Wednesday followed such a clear thematic pattern I have to save this.


Post-Christian America: Gullible, Intolerant, and Superstitious

One may rightly object to that last comment as a general thing, but given the links that I will link to below, it turned out to be prophetic.
Ross Douthat has written powerfully about the political consequences of post-Christian conservatism. It turns out that when men and women shed their faith, they don’t necessarily get more liberal, but they do get more tribal and vicious. Many members of the alt-right, for example, famously shun Evangelical Christianity (calling its adherents “cuckstians”). Indeed, as we learn from the battle between social-justice warriors and their right-wing counterparts — the emerging class of godless, angry populists — when you remove from your moral code any obligation to love your enemies, politics hardly improves.

The damage extends far beyond politics, of course. If there’s one abiding consequence of the shallow theologies and simple superstitions of our time, it’s the inability to endure or make sense of adversity. It’s a phenomenon that fractures families, fosters a sense of rage and injustice, and ultimately results in millions of Americans treating problems of the soul with mountains of pharmaceuticals. ...


South Park raised a generation of trolls
Is it just me or has South Park gone full cuck?” wondered fans on Reddit’s The_Donald immediately after that episode aired, and probably not for the first (or last) time. But in the aftermath of Trump/Garrison’s election, those same, vigilant cuck-watchers were back to crowing over how South Park had really stuck it to politically correct types in a scene where Trump/Garrison tells PC Principal, “You helped create me.” That South Park positioned this as less of a triumphant comeuppance than a suicidal backfire didn’t seem to matter. And the show more or less left it there—portraying Trump/Garrison as a dangerously incompetent buffoon, but also as the ultimate “u mad?” to all those liberals they fucking hate.

All of which makes Parker and Stone’s recent declaration to lay off Trump in the coming 21st season a real disappointment at best, cowardice at worst. The duo is, of course, under no obligation to tackle politics—or anything else they don’t want to, for that matter. They’re also right that mocking Trump is both redundant and “boring,” and also that everyone does it. For two dyed-in-the-wool contrarians, Trump comedy feels every bit as bland, lifeless, and sitcom-safe as an episode of, say, Veronica’s Closet. Furthermore, Parker’s complaints of the show just “becoming CNN now” and not wanting to spend every week endlessly restacking the sloppy Jenga pile of Trump-related outrage is completely understandable. Believe me, I get it.

That said: Man, what a cop out. South Park has already spent the past 20 years being CNN for its CNN-hating audience. Meanwhile, Parker and Stone have proudly, loudly thumped for a “fearless” brand of satire that’s willing to mock everyone from George W. Bush to Scientology to Mormonism to Muhammad, even under death threats. To shrug now and say, as Parker did, “I don’t give a shit anymore”—right when, by their own admission, the influence of the show’s worldview has reached all the way to the White House—feels especially disingenuous, and suspiciously like caving to the young, Trump-loving fans with whom they have forged such an uneasy relationship. (“South Park bends the knee on their fake-news-fueled portrayal of President Trump,” one The_Donald post gloated, followed by many, many more.) If they truly believe that those trolls in the mirror are “horrible people” who are helping to “fuck the country up beyond repair,” it would be truly fearless to tell them why, with no hint of ambiguous, everything-sucks irony that can be willfully misinterpreted.


Porn is Destroying Dicks, and My Job
I should probably explain that I am Tantric healer, which means that I touch penises for a living. It's certainly not all I do, as an ordained priestess who supports men in cultivating sacred, conscious relationship with their authentic sexual expression, and the Divine Feminine herself. But, for our intents and purposes, all you really need to know is that I touch a lot of penises.
...
What's wrong with bucking and clenching and grinding? they ask. Well, these are the actions that speak to Voon's findings, which state that the porn addicted subjects "had greater impairments of sexual arousal and erectile difficulties" than those "healthy volunteers" we referenced earlier. The bucking and the clenching and the grinding are all indicative of desensitization, and of my clients' desperate attempts to generate some real-life arousal, because—as we've already determined—they have become tolerant to subtle sensations, and now require gross and exaggerated stimulation to feel themselves at all, let alone to achieve orgasm. [Graphic description follows of what to expect of a healthy male and a broken one.]
...
It's one thing to be numb and unreachable on your Tantrika's massage table. It's quite another when you are entwined in your lover's arms, and she wants to share a connected, mutually-satisfying, erotic experience, but all you can do is pummel and pound while clenching your eyes and your nether regions, calling up any number of online scenarios in your imagination to trick yourself into a semblance of turn-on. Because this is yet another downside of porn addiction: It makes your partner's needs and wants and humanity kind of irrelevant, if not downright annoying, because the porn addict is used to pixelated, 2D "women," who are so much easier to (not have to) deal with than the real life-version, what with their emotions, and their periods, and their clits.

"I prefer seeing you, because honestly, I feel sort of resentful when I have to give my partner foreplay," admitted a twenty-seven year-old client.


I spent 23 years as an elite fighter pilot, and it taught me that motivation is meaningless
A cure? A diagnosis? Pride and lust are wonderful motivators.
In real life, when fear, fatigue, and doubt set in, no speech can provide the motivation you need to keep going. The only thing you and your team can rely on is discipline.

"Discipline Equals Freedom" is Jocko Willink's formula for achieving success. ...

Literally overnight, my motivation evaporated – as did most of my interest in spending a career flying from a carrier. For the first time in my life, flying wasn't fun. I realized that the dream job was just that: a job. And it was a job that was going to require me to do things I didn't enjoy or find easy.

Fear can debilitate a carrier aviator, especially in combat. To succeed, I had to get past it. My self-discipline was all that I could rely on, and I needed every ounce that I had. ...

Most of my time was spent with men like Chris Kyle, who would sit next to me on rooftops, motionless for hours, observing the city through the scope of his rifle. Day in and day out, I watched him do the tedious, thankless, and unrewarding work they don't show you in recruitment videos or movies. Few things can sap your motivation and focus like Ramadi's suffocating dust and 115 degree heat. The only thing that gets you through an environment like that is discipline. And although that discipline often goes unrecognized, it doesn't go unrewarded: It allowed Chris to save countless lives and made him the most successful sniper in SEAL history.


DoD spends $84M a year on Viagra, similar meds
Not to suggest at all that the porn caused this too. But they are both repeated exposure to destructive, dehumanizing evils with significant neurological consequences.
A report published in September found that the incidence rate of ED among active-duty personnel more than doubled from 2004 to 2014.

Researchers at the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Center found that the overall incidence rate of ED climbed from 5.8 cases per 1,000 person-years in 2004 to 12.6 cases in 2013, or more than 1 percent of the total population.

According to the report, 100,248 cases of ED were diagnosed among active-duty members from 2004 to 2013.

More than half of those were classified as "psychogenic," meaning the dysfunction was related to psychiatric rather than physical causes.

A number of factors can contribute to ED, from mental health conditions like post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and anxiety, to medications for treating physical and mental conditions as well as injuries, illness and aging.


"Everything Except Country and Rap": What You Really Mean
Relevant for this one line at the end:
Do you really like everything, or do you just like everything you’re told to?
vaecrius: The blocky spiral motif based on the golden ratio that I use for various ID icons, ending with a red centre. (Default)
Wherein man learns. o_o

[livejournal.com profile] flemco gets a bigger picture.

Some dude rags on car culture:
On the streets of Park Slope, the most dangerous driving seems to occur when drivers are in the throes of the illusion that they are "catching up." To explain: If a driver feels that a safe and pleasant speed on a residential street is 15 miles an hour, but an obstacle (such as a double-parked delivery van) temporarily forces the driver to slow down or even stop, he often responds, once he has passed the obstacle, by "catching up." That is, he suddenly accelerates to thirty miles an hour, and holds that speed for half a block or more. What he is "catching up" to is where he thinks his car would be if he hadn't been forced to slow down. It wasn't his choice to slow down; it was (and I am rankly indulging here in a fantasy of driver's psychology, which isn't such a stretch for me because I, too, drive) somehow unfair that he had to slow down. By revving the engine, he expresses his anger at this injustice and recovers for himself the timespace that the universe, in the form of a double-parked delivery van, had tried to take from him.
I would never think to do something like this on foot against another person on the sidewalk, except in the most cranky, withdrawn and hypoglycemic state. But I know exactly this feeling and when I'm driving it's the sort of thing I'd do even while otherwise perfectly content - basically I'd fall into this impulse as long as I wasn't primed to pay specific attention to the phenomenon. I wonder how much this has to do with the enclosed nature of the car and the missing interpersonal cues associated with that.

Nothing new, but
Somali doctors and nurses have expressed shock at the conduct of film crews in hospitals. They rush through crowded corridors, leaping over stretchers, dashing to film the agony before it passes. They hold bedside vigils to record the moment of death. When the Italian actress Sophia Loren visited Somalia, the paparazzi trampled on children as they scrambled to film her feeding a little girl-three times. This is disaster pornography.
akjlhsd;lskhdfjshdf;lksdfj

That said, I was not aware of this:
The truth is that, even in the areas of the country stricken by famine, outright starvation is the exception. Most deaths are the result of disease. The great majority of people will survive-largely due to their own efforts. International food aid is much less important than food grown by local farmers, the maintenance of animal herds, having roots and berries to eat and charity of relatives and friends.
"Charity of relatives and friends" further reinforcing, of course, the fact that what the aidists show us is not endemic or likely even representative.
vaecrius: The blocky spiral motif based on the golden ratio that I use for various ID icons, ending with a red centre. (Default)
Glenn Greenwald has a great follow-up post.
But there's a serious danger when incidents like this Iraq slaughter are exposed in a piecemeal and unusual fashion: namely, the tendency to talk about it as though it is an aberration. It isn't. It's the opposite: it's par for the course, standard operating procedure, what we do in wars, invasions, and occupation. The only thing that's rare about the Apache helicopter killings is that we know about it and are seeing what happened on video. And we're seeing it on video not because it's rare, but because it just so happened (a) to result in the deaths of two Reuters employees, and thus received more attention than the thousands of other similar incidents where nameless Iraqi civilians are killed, and (b) to end up in the hands of WikiLeaks, which then published it. But what is shown is completely common. That includes not only the initial killing of a group of men, the vast majority of whom are clearly unarmed, but also the plainly unjustified killing of a group of unarmed men (with their children) carrying away an unarmed, seriously wounded man to safety -- as though there's something nefarious about human beings in an urban area trying to take an unarmed, wounded photographer to a hospital.

...

As the video demonstrates, the soldiers in the Apache did not take a single step -- including killing those unarmed men who tried to rescue the wounded -- without first receiving formal permission from their superiors. Beyond that, the Pentagon... not only found that every action taken by those soldiers was completely justified -- including the firing on the unarmed civilian rescuers -- but also found that there's no need for any remedial steps to be taken to prevent future re-occurence.
[emphasis original]

I'm considerably more hesitant to click on the videos embedded in "Update II" than the previously leaked vid.

Whatever the context would be needed to help understand what was really going on, I think it's quite clear that by the time the leaked video started the gunners had long established in their minds that whoever they saw there was going to be an insurgent. Dudes? Insurgents. Dudes with things? Armed insurgents. Van? Insurgent van. Dudes suddenly popping up long before the shooting should've ended to try to get the wounded out as quickly as possible? Obviously insurgents doing something... insurgential with the bodies.

Insurgents? Targets.


Also from the post, a link to a footage-free but much worse incident.
On February 12 of this year, U.S. forces entered a village in the Paktia Province in Afghanistan and, after surrounding a home where a celebration of a new birth was taking place, shot dead two male civilians (government officials) who exited the house in order to inquire why they had been surrounded, and then shot and killed three female relatives (a pregnant mother of ten, a pregnant mother of six, and a teenager). The Pentagon then issued a statement claiming that (a) the dead males were "insurgents" or terrorists, (b) the bodies of the three women had been found by U.S. forces bound and gagged inside the home, and (c) suggested that the women had already been killed by the time the U.S. had arrived, likely the victim of "honor killings" by the Taliban militants killed in the attack.
All our country's most compelling reasons for staying in that arena can be found in summary here.


EDIT: The best, most evenhanded thing I've seen in defence of the actions seen in the vid.
My real problem with this video, as media, is that it takes conclusions drawn after careful and repeated analysis and includes those conclusions in the videos for others who are seeing it for the first time. Try to imagine watching the video WITHOUT the giant textual labels stating who each of the men are, or without the prior knowledge that two of the men are journalists and they're carrying massive camera equipment, or without the selectively enlarged segments near the end of the video that the pilots never had access to.

It is by no means obvious, without those labels, that the giant cylindrical object that Namir Noor-Eldeen is peeking out from behind the wall with is not an RPG, especially for an Apache gunner whose mind is immediately directed to the US troops down the street he believes this man is probably preparing to fire at. Saeed Chmagh had the misfortune of being on his cellular phone on top of all of these other circumstantial misfortunes, and the cell phone detonation is a classic element of a complex attack involving small arms, RPGs and radio-controlled IEDs.

Keep in mind also that an Apache cockpit has two Soldiers - a pilot and a gunner, and while you are seeing the gunner's IR footage, it is not necessarily conveying what the pilot saw on his monitors or with his own eyes.

I won't speak as to why they fired on the van after the initial attack. They were cleared by the ground commander after accurately conveying what was going on over the radio, and I don't have a comprehensive enough understanding of the Law of Land Warfare. I must say that my stomach turned watching the video at the tragic misunderstanding of it all, and the residual questions about what I would have done have kept me awake for hours now. If there is one act that this video validates an investigation beyond what's already been conducted, firing on the van would be it.
And regarding that the "gunners had long established in their minds that whoever they saw there was going to be an insurgent", [livejournal.com profile] 3horn infers that troops in the area were already taking fire on the ground. [livejournal.com profile] kavitykrunch and [livejournal.com profile] vorzac can probably attest that identifying the proper target to shoot at, when you're restricted to only a noisy voice communication, is hard.

But that still says nothing about the van.
vaecrius: The blocky spiral motif based on the golden ratio that I use for various ID icons, ending with a red centre. (g)
In which some guys see what they're really, really, really itchin' to see. And kill them.

Here's a video. [livejournal.com profile] flemco refuses to embed it to distance himself. Which gives you an idea that there's some really bad shit behind the link.

I just think it's important enough to be be viewed in a separate tab. Watch it before it's taken down.

I've refused to donate to a whole lot of causes this year, but Wikileaks has just earned it.

More
vaecrius: a crude scrawl of a grinning, blazing yellow sun. (hier kommt die sonne)
  1. All words are always loaded.
  2. Never let the definition cover anything you are not willing to destroy.
  3. Keep your finger off the Send button until your senses are on the referent.
  4. Be sure of your referent and what is beyond it.



Also, remember that guy with the oughts being ises? He's got a furthermore to show you.
vaecrius: The blocky spiral motif based on the golden ratio that I use for various ID icons, ending with a red centre. (Default)
Take the number of metal bands who sing about war, death and destruction.

Subtract it from the number of metal bands with personal experience of such matters.

If you arrive at the number minus 345 billion then you’ve done the math correctly.

If you want real talk about war then you should meet the members of Acrassicauda.

In 2003, George W. Bush bombed the fuck out of their home city of Baghdad and killed a lot of their family and friends.

In the resulting American occupation even more friends and family were killed. Their practice space was blown to bits and they started to receive threats from the death squads that roamed the streets.

After leaving everything behind, they were forced to live like refugees running from Baghdad to Syria to Turkey. Several months, people, and filled-out forms later, the band finally arrived in New York, where they recorded the music you hold here in your hands.
(hat tip to [livejournal.com profile] flemco for the link)

I know this

if life is illusion, then I am no less an illusion, and being thus, the illusion is real to me. I live, I burn with life, I love, I slay, and am content.

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