Deja vu

Nov. 6th, 2016 08:42 pm
danalwyn: (Default)
Seriously, can the FBI just be done with this shit? I feel like I'm watching the election's worst moments eternally on rerun. Let's get back to the work of actually having an election here.
danalwyn: (Default)
There's an interesting piece in the New York Times on the criticisms of the Chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff, Admiral Mullen, of the entire concept of strategic communication.

Strategic Communication is the latest attempt by the US to reach out to the Muslim world, an attempt to combat the multi-level propaganda campaign put together by Islamic extremists, the narrative in which the US is a global empire, seeking to put the entire world under its sway. And, unfortunately, it hasn't been working very well. Mullen thinks he knows why, and points out the bear hiding in the telephone booth.

"That’s the essence of good communication: having the right intent up front and letting our actions speak for themselves,” Admiral Mullen wrote. “We shouldn’t care if people don’t like us. That isn’t the goal. The goal is credibility. And we earn that over time."

America may be a powerful nation, and an international brand, but at heart it is about an alarmingly simple idea, one that we have borrowed from and shared with the rest of the world. That we the people hold forth as self-evident the truth that all men are created equal, and that they must not be judged by their sex, their beliefs, or the color of the skin, but by the content of their character, and that protecting the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness should be the goal of a government by the people, of the people, and for the people. To the billions of people who live under the hand of incompetent, corrupt, cruel and totalitarian governments around the world, it stands as a shining promise of liberation.

But America has not often lived up to her promise. The nation that supports freedom and equality at home supports those nations abroad which shun those very values; she turns her back on movements aligned with her own ideals while propping up dictators that serve her current interests, and is then surprised when those same dictators later prove intractable.

In the short term, nations, peoples, and the world will follow us when our interests coincide, but that does not often lead to long-term results. If we want the rest of the world to look upon us favorably for the next century, to stand by us when we need allies, and to ensure basic human rights, we will need the support and admiration of their people, a task beyond the scope of diplomatic agreements. This level of trust has to be earned, and it can only be earned by treating the world not as clay to be shaped, but as a garden to be cultivated. Sometimes a promising plant will bear no fruit, sometimes what we thought was an apple will turn out to be a pear, but we must not use that as an excuse to supplant, to tear down, but only see it as a minor check on our way to the harvest.

If we want a world full of friendly and trustworthy democracies, then we should start encouraging those movements and those people now, even if it hurts our short term interests. Otherwise we'll still be trying to reach out to our enemies in a hundred years.
danalwyn: (Default)
If you were wondering if the world is still a fucked up place, well then I have your answer; it still is.

The survey size is small; the survey itself is geographically limited, but still. One in four? One in four? And more then once? I don't have to crunch the ugly statistics for you to get an idea of what this means on the victim side of the equation.

Witty and scathing are both failing me here. Maybe arson would be more apt method of demonstrating my opinion.
danalwyn: (Default)
There is no way I think I can say this without getting into lots of trouble. Yet I don't think I can keep my mouth shut, another one of my less admirable traits. So feel free to fire away, or hate me forever, or whatever. I think I deserve it.

There are things that you normally do not discuss in polite conversation, whether personally or through the anonymity of the internet. However, [ profile] flamingchords posted a long rant which actually managed to touch one of the few nerves I have left, so hence you get an angry, impromptu response. Now, anyone who reads both of these pieces will rapidly come to the conclusion that I am overreacting, and I would like to apologize to [ profile] flamingchords in advance, since he is the catalyst and not the cause of this reaction, I don't even think you're guilty of doing anything wrong (morally or otherwise). I would also like to apologize to all the readers I am about to send over the edge into outright hatred of me for the stress on your body and mind. But I think this is one of those cases where I need to express an irrelevant, but still perhaps important opinion.

Unfortunately, to do that, I'm first going to have to discuss abortion.

On Abortion in America )

All right, thus endeth the incoherent sermon, or whatever. Let the flamings, hate mail, and mass de-friendings commence.
danalwyn: (Default)
Dear Asshats, Fucktards, and other assorted Bastards,

I noticed that the web servers that supply us with information concerning evacuation zones are down. Both of them. Probably due to excess traffic.

Did it ever occur to any of you witless wonders, who probably make more in a day than I do in a week, that in case of a real emergency people would not be content waiting at home, that they would want to find out just what was going on? Did you not realize that, with the evidence of disaster falling all around us in clouds of gray ash, that people would realize that something was wrong? Would it have killed you to make the emergency web server system robust enough that people could actually access it in case of, you know, an emergency? Or was this concept beyond the ability of your foresight to grasp?

Maybe someone should have taught you how people respond during disaster scenarios. They get worried, they get nervous, they panic, and do you know why? It's because they don't know what's going on, and in the absence of knowledge, fear takes hold. People imagine that the fires are getting closer, that somehow they were missed in the evacuation order. People don't know whether their families have been evacuated, their homes have been lost, a lifetime of memories burned into ash. Their are entire neighborhoods where the television claims that a mandatory evacuation order is in force, and yet nobody there has been told, by anyone, to leave. What are they to do? Panic? Wait until the fire is at their door, or rush out now and get caught in the logjam? Are they supposed to evacuate on their own or what?

The key to a successful evacuation, or a successful management of any disaster, is keeping people informed. If you tell people that you're evacuating one neighborhood at a time, they get out of their cars and go back inside, not trying to race away at the first sign that the wind is shifting. People stop panicking once they know what's happening where, and there's no better way to get that information to the public than via a webpage that you can continually update - one that people can access at work, where they might not have a television. Now there's no coordination. People with kids are sitting at home, with no idea whether they were supposed to have left already, with no idea where they are supposed to go, waiting for the telephone to ring, or the police car to speed by with its megaphone.

Because if a real natural disaster, or a terrorist attack, hits San Diego, you may be dealing with something a thousand times worse. How are you intending to distribute information to a public who may have to be evacuated then? Telegraph? Semaphore? All that fancy tactical equipment you bought so cops could fight terrorists might come in handy, because you're going to have riots on your hands if you can't tell people how to evacuate, and where, and when, and whether they have to do something. Because if you don't have that, you're going to have another Hurricane Katrina on your hands.

And if I find out that you've spent all that DHS money on buying yourself some fancy SWAT cars, I'm going to take that equipment and cram it up your ass.

An Unhappy Citizen

P.S. I've noticed that the commercial news sites are beginning to go under as the web traffic keeps pounding on them. Do you have any idea how retarded it is for the government to depend on the news outlets to give out emergency information when they can't do it themselves?
danalwyn: (Default)
Sometimes, in this world, a country has an outbreak of AIDS. What do you do when this happens? Well, you can begin promoting "safe sex" practices, educating people about the risks, and setting up clinics to take care of the patients in order to mitigate the wave of infections. Or you could set up a series of research labs to investigate a cure, work out a treaty for receiving cheap medical treatments from western pharmacies, and increase the coverage of your health program. In either case you should step up and take some responsibility for what's about to happen to your country. It's what you get paid for.

But, if you absolutely cannot handle taking any form of action, you can instead go to one of your hospitals, arrest some foreign medical workers, accuse them of infecting children with AIDS, hold a trial, extract some confessions under torture, ignore essentially every expert in the freakin' book, and then sentence them to death.

Libya claims that if they receive 10 million Euros in compensation, that they will release the prisoners. Bulgaria has so far refused this blatant extortion. I'm not so sure. I think the EU should pay the compensation in goods. Explosive goods. Delivered from high altitude. Because arresting foreign workers, holding a show trial, and condemning them to death in order to excuse your own piss-poor health system crosses the line from political stunt to justifiable casus belli. It may be too late to save these medics, no matter what we do, but this scenario cannot be repeated. Aid workers are literally holding Africa together with their teeth at this point. If dictators discover that arresting them and holding them for ransom will solve their political problems, the entire continent could come apart, and nobody wants that.
danalwyn: (Default)
I confess at this point - I have people in my head.  Most of them are more or less under my control, and only rarely do strange things, so it's not like what some people get.  Many of them just reflect certain points of view.  They argue a lot with each other, and it often dissolves into slapstick by the end.

I let them argue about the situation in Lebanon.  This was probably a mistake.  Nobody could come to a conclusion that made any sense, and in the process it gave me a giant headache.  Although I generally don't support Israel's maneuvers in this affair, I have to admit, they have some supporters in my head.  The argument went long and hard.

Because I haven't horrified you guys recently, I thought I would give you a peek into how my thought process goes.  I've translated these points-of-view into their nearest recognizable counterpart (they sometimes appear to me to be fictional characters only I know about), but the translation is a little off, so don't be surprised if they act in ways that you don't expect.  Then I condensed it.  So now you can watch me argue with myself about whether Israel's invasion of Lebanon will get them anything, the way I think about it.

This is probably why girls avoid me.
danalwyn: (Default)
Indonesia Facts:

Number of men under arms:  250,000

Number of squadrons flying F-16 fighter jets: 1

Number of reported Armored Fighting Vehicles: 840

Total reported military budget (without extortion and graft added in): $2.36 billion

Number of lives lost due to incomplete and non-functional tsunami warning system: 341

Some things are priceless.  For everything else, Jakarta will foot the bill.

I would demand an explanation but I expect I don't actually want to hear the answer.
danalwyn: (Default)
And, fresh off the presses for today, it's:
danalwyn: (Default)
Dear Mr. Joseph Kony,

For several years we have been accumulating evidence from reputable news sources and from direct interviews about the activities of the organization you claim to represent.  We have documented cases of children being kidnapped, either to be pressed into service as soldiers, or to be used as sex slaves.  We know of those children who are forced to flee their homesteads at night to avoid being abducted.  There are numerous accounts of your attacks on both local civilians and aid workers, and your abuses against those who could not defend themselves against you.  Do not confuse inaction with ignorance; we have catalogued your deeds past the point of toleration for most humans, until our pens bled in our hands, in the hopes that sheer weight of words would dilute the stench of your moral depravity into the mere banality that you deserve.

"Wasn't me" is not an acceptable defense.

Hoping you get stabbed in the testicles with a rusty pitchfork,
The rest of the world

For those of you confused about what I'm talking about, the article that set me off is here.
danalwyn: (Default)
In which danAlwyn is a total bastard.

This is a total complete of time, and it's religiously offensive to boot (for some). Don't say I didn't warn you:

danAlwyn's Brief History of Modern Radical Islam and Fundamental Christianity )
danalwyn: (Default)
Because I'm beginning to feel my temper fray just a little bit around the edges...

Dear US Democrats... )
danalwyn: (Default)
My random thoughts for the day, just for nobody's amusement.

So, it looks like, in some parts of the world, WWIII is kicking off earlier than expected.

We all knew it was coming sooner or later. The gap between Western culture and some of the other world cultures is currently too large to be easily spanned by overtures of friendship. At least, not without a lot of legwork. And sooner or later, as world cultures started to integrate, we knew that values were going to clash. Well, it's happened, and it's running way the hell ahead of schedule. The disaster currently unfolding in the Middle East will probably be over in a month or two. The perpetrators have already been identified by the usual means, the agitators marked. As usual, nothing will happen because of it.

What this has done is outline the differences between the West and the Middle East, especially in our attitudes. Neither side is willing to compromise on this issue, although I expect the Muslim world will return to the status quo in the end. But the West should certainly not compromise on their principles. Free Speech is not Free Speech if it has a clause at the end saying "Everything you like, unless it offends people" We all know that a lot of people are easily offended, and pretty soon you won't be able to say anything. Nor can we reasonably give one group special privileges when it comes to not being offended.

Sooner or later there's going to be a fight. Hopefully it will be done with words instead of bombs, but it's a fight that the West must not lose. After all, in the end, Islamic culture has lived for years with people in foreign countries blaspheming against them. But Western culture may not survive a loss of freedom of speech.

So we must choose the battleground wisely and well. We would perhaps be served by forcing an encounter to take place, instead of in a crowded city, in the most morally corrupt, intellectually bankrupt, foul, filthy, and derogatory bastion of free speech on the entire planet. What might seem to be a battle of high moral principals can perhaps be forced into an uneasy stalemate by forcing people to march through the muck of moral decay in a place where the stench of wretchedness overpowers the senses.

I am speaking, of course, of the internet.

Haven of Free Speech and Free Stupidity )

Now wasn't reading that a waste of your time?

I thought so.
danalwyn: (Default)
I know. People are still dying in the streets. Famine is tracing its muddy fingers all over New Orleans, followed by Pestilence, War, and at last, Death. It's too damn early to be pointing fingers at people.

But I can. And will. I've been stuck at work all day, constantly reading the news updates and getting increasingly disgusted with the way this whole affair has been handled, on all sides. The comparison to 9/11 is imminent, but you'll notice how, where 9/11 had heroes all over the place, from police and firemen, to the citizens of New York, the military, and Giuliani, the media hasn't created many heroes in this fiasco. And although there are a lot of people who deserve the title, they're being overshadowed by all the blame that's going around.

So, because I'm a lazy American bastard, I thought I might as well offend half of the US, and exercise my right to free speech and rant about it. And I'm feeling bitter and ranty. You'll have to live with it.

Report Card )

Whew. I'm sorry. I had to get that out of my system.


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