No Moral High Ground Whatsoever

So, this is now the sixth time that Israel has targeted refugees in Gaza.  Can all such incidents be waved off as either accidents or because Hamas was using the refugees as human shields by putting missile launchers in those same refugee centers? Highly unlikely, particularly when UN officials themselves have typically reported otherwise.

Over 1,200 have now been killed in Gaza. Due to the nature of the Palestinian armed struggle, which is not organized into a formal army with formal military bases, it’s impossible to say how many of those 1,200 are civilians in the true sense of the world (i.e. not combatants). But let’s be very generous to Israel and assume 50% of those dead were in fact fighting for Hamas.

That leaves 600 civilian deaths. Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 had less than half that number aboard when it went down over the Ukraine. The West’s reaction to Russia’s arming of the separatists, accused of firing a missile that downed that plane, has been to order Russia to stop arming the rebels and impose sanctions until Russia complies.

The response to the deaths in Gaza is quite different. While there has been a measure of hand-wringing in public about all the killing, arms shipments are being made to Israel so that it can continue its murderous actions. Actions, as the old saw goes, speak louder than words.

There is no moral high ground to be found in the ruling elite of West when it comes to any objection to the destruction of innocent life. None whatsoever. Any assertions otherwise are an insult to the intelligence of any thinking person.

Thank You, Seattle City Council

You’ve helped to cement my move out of your city that I made last year by helping to ensure that I won’t be moving back any time soon, thanks to making the sort of housing that would appeal to me illegal to build.

I’ve never really been able to understand this Seattle mindset that there’s basically only two types of housing that residents should be offered: large houses on large lots and apartments/condos crammed up against busy streets. And if you don’t want (or cannot afford) the former (what’s wrong with you, weirdo?), then you deserve the latter. It’s an attitude that befits a neurotic suburb, not a major city.

Oh well, good riddance.

Yesterday’s Experiment

I ran an experiment of sorts yesterday.

I deliberately chose to be as visibly anarchistic as possible (in the sense of what popular stereotypes about anarchist dress and mannerisms are), yet at the same time to scrupulously avoid causing any sort of lasting damage to any living beings or inanimate objects, and to refrain as much as possible from participating in any physical conflicts or clashes.

You see, I normally don’t dress all in black at demonstrations. It’s something I regard as trite (and, face it, it is trite). So yesterday’s experiment was to get an idea, by personal experimentation, of just how much repressive measures are directed against anarchists per se, as opposed to any unlawful conduct by individual anarchists. I don’t normally find myself the least bit personally at risk, even at demonstrations which are later portrayed as violent or unruly. How much of that immunity is the result of not adhering to stereotypes and thus being seen as not an anarchist and therefore not “deserving” repression?

And after narrowly avoiding getting injured or arrested in what can only be described as a brief police riot, and then again avoiding injury pretty narrowly when one of the so-called superheroes assaulted the march pretty much at random and without provocation, well, there’s the answer.

At neither time did I note any violence or property damage happening before either group attacked the march without warning (had I observed any such things, I would have physically distanced myself from them). That’s not to say that neither happened, only that neither happened near me; both conflicts were initiated not by myself or any other anarchist but by forces in opposition to us.

And note, this Seattle May Day is being reported in the media as tamer than other recent ones.

Yeah, Right

“No nation has the right to simply grab land from another nation.” — Vice President Joe Biden

Except if the nation having the land grabbed from it is Serbia or some other nation whose government the US ruling elite doesn’t like. Then it’s perfectly fine to grab land from other nations.

Because imperialism is only okay when we do it.

Along similar lines, egging on demonstrators to storm and occupy public buildings is also only OK when we do it. If we do it, it’s promoting democracy. If someone else does it, it’s instigating a coup.

Again, because imperialism is only OK when we do it.

If imperialists didn’t have double standards, they would have absolutely no standards at all.

The Irony of Durian

The nations where it’s the most popular and beloved — Singapore and Malaysia — happen to both be repressed, right-wing, authoritarian sorts of places with a very harsh attitudes towards illegal drugs. Yet they’re both nations of junkies, where an addicting substance, capable of producing euphoria in those who consume it, is sold openly in the streets, even to children.

One would think the general lack of harm caused by this one substance might help promote tolerance for consenting adults to engage in other sorts of voluntary, pleasurable activity (tellingly, both nations are also repressive to those of us who are not heterosexual). But, no.

Never underestimate the ability of hypocrites to rationalize double standards.

Two Ravenous Hyenas, Snarling at Each Other Over a Carcass

That’s what the brouhaha between Russia and the West over Ukraine strikes me as.

Really: the country that went into Iraq in an invasion of choice, and whose purportedly “opposition” party leaders refuse to even entertain the thought of prosecuting those responsible, acting as if it has some sort of principled moral objection to imperialist land grabs? It is to laugh.

And on the other side, the country that was so purportedly upset in principle when the West grabbed a chunk of Serbia, doing basically the same thing to the Ukraine? Statecraft, thy name is rank hypocrisy.

If that uprising had toppled a pro-Western regime, you can bet that the same talking heads bleating in unison about national sovereignty would instead be bleating in unison about the need to “restore order” via military intervention.

Pay no attention to the rhetoric; the words have no meaning in any real sense. It’s just how the hyenas snarl.

Finally, a Smartphone that Tempts Me

This phone is tempting, despite still having all the disadvantages inherent in a smart phone.

Alas, I suspect the temptation to be mostly academic. If the phone can do all which is claimed of it, then expect the government to promptly ban it. If not officially, then behind the scenes by getting the cell phone carriers — who have a track record of being the willing lackeys of the surveillance state — to agree to not support it, by deliberately crippling their networks, if need be.

The latter wouldn’t be hard to do; just block all serial numbers in the Blackphone’s range.

Unfortunately, I Told You So

Remember back when the Establishment media were waxing triumphant over the defeat of the Tamil Tigers? I was skeptical that it would result in any improvement of human rights in Sri Lanka, given the past record of the racist government there.

Well, it looks like I was right on the money. In case that Reuters article disappears, here’s the report from Human Rights Watch that it cites.