Oct. 4th, 2017 10:20 am
dexeron: (Default)
This was originally going to be a Twitter thread, but it would have ended up being over 100 posts long. No one is going to take the time to read all of that, so I'm reformatting it as a post here.

So, let's talk guns.

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My tweets

Mar. 14th, 2017 12:15 pm
dexeron: (Default)
dexeron: (ultima)
I think it will be important to remember this scene from an old comic book in the years ahead.

There was a scene in the original Civil War comics where Peter Parker (Spider-man) speaks with Steve Rogers (Captain America) about the burden of going against the popular sentiment of the nation. As background, Captain America had positioned himself against Iron Man in the debate over the Superhero Registration Act (which enjoyed considerable public support.) Captain America believed that the Act was a violation of fundamental rights, and even when his refusal to comply branded him as a traitor in the eyes of the public, he still refused to change his mind (and continued to lead the Secret Avengers: other heroes who refused to comply.)

Peter Parker had been, initially, on the pro-registration side, but changed his mind after learning that heroes who had refused to register and got arrested were going to be detained indefinitely. Parker went from a national sensation and rising star to a "Benedict Arnold" in the eyes of the American public almost overnight, and he asked Captain America how someone can deal with that kind of a weight on their shoulders.

Captain America smiled, and Parker realized he had a story to tell. Parker demanded of Rogers: "When the whole country is against you... when it's all bearing down on you like some kind of ten-ton weight, and you don't know your own heart anymore sometimes -- how does someone like you deal with it? I mean, you practically are the country. How does the man who is the country react when the country goes a different way?"

Captain America answered:

"I remember the first time I really understood what it was to be an American...What it was to be a patriot.

I was just a kid...A million years ago, it seems sometimes. Maybe twelve. I was reading Mark Twain. And he wrote something that struck me right down to my core...something so powerful, so true, that it changed my life. I memorized it so I could repeat it to myself, over and over across the years. He wrote --"

"In a republic, who is 'the country?'

Is it the government which is for the moment in the saddle? Why, the government is merely a temporary servant: it cannot be its prerogative to determine what is right and what is wrong, and decide who is a patriot and who isn't. Its function is to obey orders, not originate them.

Who, then is 'the country?' Is it the newspaper? Is it the pulpit? Why, these are mere parts of the country, not the whole of it: they have not command. They have only their little share in the command.

In a monarchy, the king and his family are the country: In a republic it is the common voice of the people. Each of you, for himself, by himself and on his own responsibility, must speak.

It is a solemn and weighty responsibility, and not lightly to be flung aside at the bullying of pulpit, press, government, or the empty catchphrases of politicians.

Each must for himself alone decide what is right and what is wrong, and which course is patriotic and which isn't. You cannot shirk this and be a man.

To decide it against your convictions is to be an unqualified and inexcusable traitor, both to yourself and to your country, let men label you as they may.

If you alone of all the nation shall decide one way, and that way be the right way according to your convictions of the right, you have done your duty by yourself and by your country. Hold up your head. You have nothing to be ashamed of."

"Doesn't matter what the press says. Doesn't matter what the politicians or the mobs say. Doesn't matter if the whole country decides that something wrong is something right.

This nation was founded on one principle above all else: The requirement that we stand up for what we believe, no matter the odds or the consequences. When the mob and the press and the whole world tell you to move, your job is to plant yourself like a tree beside the river of truth, and tell the whole world--

--No,you move."
dexeron: (Angst)
Once again, leaving public because I'm linking from outside of Livejournal.

Today is the anniversary of President Kennedy's assassination, and I'd like to share an image from that time period. I think it has some currency in our own political discussions today:

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dexeron: (Angst)
Although my Livejournal is, in general, friends-only, I've made this post public so that I can link others to it from other platforms.


Yesterday, I talked to folks who should have voted for Clinton but didn't. Today I'd like to talk to Trump supporters, because there are a couple of things that I feel you need to understand, and also a couple of things I feel that you have an obligation to do.

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dexeron: (Angst)
Although my Livejournal is, in general, friends-only, I've made this post public so that I can link others to it from other platforms.


Several weeks back, I made a post (over on Facebook, since I'm so rarely here these days) about making a conscious effort to be less abrasive in political posts, to do better at trying to balance integrity with compassion, and practicality. I also asked to be called-out when I fail at that, so I'll ask for a bit of forbearance with regards to this post, because I'm quite emotional now, writing this. The day after any election is a heated time. The day after this election, well, I'm sure you can all understand.

I'll try to be more magnanimous tomorrow.

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dexeron: (Mr. Salt)
cross-posted to [ profile] talk_politics. Left as public because it was posted elsewhere.

The so-called "alt-right" is an American political movement described as containing elements of nativism, white-nationalism (sometimes including separatism or supremacy,) a belief that Christianity is a core and essential element of "Western Civilization," as well as sometimes antisemitism and neo-reactionary opposition to Democratic forms of government. While this kind of movement is certainly not unique to the U.S., its popularity is, and that demands some examination.

As stated above, while the adherents of "alt-right" philosophy would deny that it has any one specific definition, it's become clear that it is, if not fundamentally aligned with, at least friendly with white nationalism and christian dominionism, and is at least somewhat hostile to democracy. This presents a problem: the vast majority of American citizens reject these things (or at least their most overt manifestations.) Most Americans were raised to believe in the ideals of the Enlightenment, the ideals held by the Founding Fathers: ideals of democracy, equality of race and gender, and freedom of religion. Admittedly, the U.S. has not always adhered to these ideals perfectly (sometimes not at all,) but they have always been held up a goal, an ideal to strive towards, and our understanding of them has only broadened over the centuries. In the early twentieth century, it likely would not have been hard to find folks who'd agree, at least in part, with the philosophy espoused later by the Nazis. Today, it would be much harder to find people willing to agree with that.

Enter the alt-right. The alt-right is facing a problem: most folks reject what they are offering, when it's presented openly and honestly. Most Americans do not want nativism, white nationalism (or white separatism,) neoreactionism, or dominionism.

The alt-right has a solution to this problem.

16 points. )

Cognitive Dissonance )

What does this have to do with the alt-right? )

Sunlight )
dexeron: (Angst)
Leaving public because over the next four years this will either be proven entirely wrong, or horrifyingly correct. I hope for the former.


That is quite a subject line. "Trump is a fascist." Some might call it inflammatory, harsh, even premature.

I believe it is timely, and accurate.

There are a few terms that often get incorrectly thrown around in political discourse, and I usually hate seeing them. "Treason" is one. Treason is a crime with a specific definition in our Constitution, but often the term is thrown around against anyone we disagree with. "Obama/Bush/Clinton should be tried for treason!" cry conservatives and liberals alike, displaying nothing more than their misconception of what treason actually means. "Nazi" is another often misused word, as is "Hitler," and "fascism."

Yet I just called Trump a fascist above. Am I contradicting myself?

My case for Trump as a fascist. )
dexeron: (Angst)
Leaving public because it relates to my previous post about fear. Action taken in fear, without thought and merely for the sake of action, is wrong, regardless of which party does it.


The latest attempt by Senate Democrats to pass a "no-fly, no buy" bill was defeated. The bill would have prohibited firearms purchases by people on the Terrorist Screening Center's "No Fly List." I've heard lots of people blame the Republicans for preventing passage of the bill. I've heard them called "obstructionist," or that they are "standing in the way." I've heard the claim that they are, in effect, "voting for terror suspects to buy guns."

Let's take a moment to discuss the No Fly List. )
dexeron: (ultima)
Leaving public because I think it's worth repeating.

When we are faced with moments of crisis, it is all too easy to fall back on reactions that served us well in the wild, and have remained ingrained within us: fight or flight. Something happens, and we perform a stress response. The problem with this kind of response is that it is automatic, and often unthinking. It might work when suddenly confronted with a predator, but when we're dealing with issues that affect the lives of millions of people and exist in the world of realpolitik, an unthinking response is the last thing we want to perform. Had world leaders during the Cold War reacted to every threat and perceived slight without measured thought and consideration of consequences, we would have all perished in nuclear fire. Yet all to often, we (meaning all of us humans) can so easily resort to such quick, but harmful methods of reaction.

How easily we give into fear... )
dexeron: (Angst)
Leaving public for two reasons. Firstly, it relates to the previous two posts (that I left public.) Secondly, the comments section below is worth reading, because it exemplifies exactly the attitude I'm warning about here.


Why did I share the two posts immediately preceding this?

It's so tempting, in the wake of horrible tragedy, to simply accept the narrative we're being sold that lumps everyone even slightly different than us into an "other" category and blame them for all of our misfortune. It's easy to say: "we are at war with Islam" or to blame the refugees for these actions. Even some who would not go so far will still say: "ISIS is exploiting the refugee crisis, thus all refugees are suspect/the borders should be closed." It makes us want to think of the world in stark black/white terms - yet that is exactly what the terrorists want us to think. That is how they think: that the world is the stage for a conflict between "the West" and "Islam," and they want that war. They want the everyday Muslim to be marginalized and victimized by folks in the countries that they have wounded. They want mosques to be burned down (as just happened in Ontario.) They are in the minority, but they want to get more people onto their side, to see their way of thinking.

They want us to do their work for them.

The real world is, of course, far more complicated than some fantasy of "good" vs "evil." Yes, the actions of ISIS are evil, but too many who buy into this black/white mindset are unwilling to differentiate "ISIS" from "Muslim," or ask "Why aren't Muslims fighting or speaking out against ISIS" when so many Muslims are, every day, putting their lives on the line to do so. Understanding these complexities is vital to moving on to find real solutions to these problems, instead of continuing to follow policies that ultimately just further the cycle.

If you haven't already, please go down and read the previous two posts made to my journal, both shares of the words of another, but important words that discuss some of the facts of what's really going on in this ongoing conflict.

Let me close this by quoting yet another friend from Facebook. I won't link this one directly, or give his name, because he chose to keep the post restricted:

"Do not side with terrorists:

A friend posted an image saying that we are at war with Islam. This worries me, as I do NOT want to be on the same side as the tiny Salafist takfiri extremists who want the West to be at war with all of Islam. It is how they hope to take control of the average Muslim. Remember: DAESH, killer of too many fellow Muslims to count, ~wants~ the French and the rest of the West to react in anger and fear and wage war against all of Islam. Please do NOT promote what they want."

Understand who the enemy actually is. Fight the enemy, if it is required. But do not let their quest to make us give in to fear and hatred succeed. Do not do their work for them. Fight them first and foremost by refusing to follow their dance.
dexeron: (Angst)
As with the previous post, I'm leaving this public because I think it will continue to have currency.

This is another post by Tim Clancy, and I think it's worth sharing as well. It's related to what was said in the previous one. Here is the link to the original post:

His words follow:


"(#INS) Information Mullet: For any who ask "where can we find Muslims confronting ISIS" I offer as one of many possible answers the coallition of Islamic Kurdish forces that are in the process this weekend of retaking Sinjar; occupied by the Islamic State for 16months. It's a notable military defeat of ISIS in Iraq and easily overlooked in a weekend where so much attention is focused on the tragedies and horrors inflicted by ISIS elsewhere.

Read more... )
dexeron: (Angst)
Leaving as public, because I think this discussion will continue to have currency for the foreseeable future.

These are not my words, but they are good words, so I got permission to share them here. This was written by Tim Clancy, a friend of a friend over on Facebook. Here is a link to the original post, including the discussion in the comments that followed:

The text of the post is below:


(‪#‎INS‬) Information Mullet: In light of the Paris attacks for those who want to (rightfully) avoid the fallacy of generalizations (1) in describing the attackers I recommend using the term "Salafist Takfiri" to *specifically* describe militant members of groups such as AQ, ISIS, AQAP, Boko Haram etc. who share a common set of behaviors and beliefs. These behaviors and beliefs are *not* the same as Muslims or even Islamists and understanding the difference is key to working together with our allies in this fight and isolating those who are our enemies.

In 2006 the West Point Center for Combating Terrorism released it's Atlas of Militant Ideology with a very handy segmentation (2) that I roughly reproduce below.

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