Friday, April 07, 2017


Terrier and Terrierman on badger patrol

Terrierman asks on his website:  Would you prefer your kids and family be killed by a Russian barrel bomb, an American JDAM bomb , or Syrian gas? Asking for a friend.

I've been struggling with this sort of thing.  Is it better for a child to be immediately choked by sarin or to die over a longer period of time because of deregulation of industrial effluent or to be blown apart rather than smothered?  Why are we more moved by the death of a child instead of the death of a mature person with the investment of many years of study, training and worthy contributions?  Is our response to our children purely biologically driven or is it ecological/evolved because people who don't protect their children die out as a group?  Was it cruel of Assan's parents to let him grow up?  Was it cruelty to his nation to teach him to kill children?  (Don’t tell me it’s “Islamic” religion because it’s not.)  Is it okay if they're not one's own children?  Would it be better to keep a suffering child alive than to smother him or her?  But what if they would have a miserable life in a destroyed country?

Is it better to be a gormless president who hangs onto ideas from the Fifties -- but is consistent -- or rather a president with "neck-snapping reversals"?   Oh, look, a squirrel!!!

We were taken by surprise so we couldn’t interfere with opinions and delays, but then we discover that the persons concerned had known this was going to be done for weeks, maybe months, and they carefully prepared — like arranging to be out of town.  Or in the case of Xi, at the table in the open air situation room.  

There have been previous sarin attacks just as bad but US authorities — both Trump and Tillerson — said it was none of our business.  In their opinion, it was all Obama’s fault anyway.

If one steps aside from human animosity, competition, greed and cruelty, and looks at all this as if it were some kind of insect battle for territory, would it tell us more or guide us as to what to do or even justify the dynamics?

I do think there is no use in blaming individuals and keeping up the fantasy that a simple assassination would change the world.  In fact, it can boomerang with enormous power, not in favor of the killers.  Consider Jesus.  Of course, today’s’ far right Christians have the values of Roman elites.

Just now looking at Reuters, I find the story framed in terms of “market volatility” and the reporter says,  “We are used to American armed attacks on this area of the world and I doubt that it will have much effect.”  In other words, it’s okay to kill kids so long as it doesn’t perturb the great gambling machine that we call investment.

We were anxious to know whether Xi’s presence had any influence on Trump’s decision but all we know is that Trump ordered the strike before going in to dinner.  The reports I’ve seen so far claim that only six people at the airstrip were killed.  No report on what happened with the bunkers of sarin gas that would have been released by a strike.  We’re told all aircraft were destroyed and the buildings are burning still.  But other sources say that the runways are intact, the airplanes had been removed for the event, and they are bombing again today.

Is there a computer program something like the weather-tracking systems that can reveal macro-changes and their biological consequences across the planet?  Probably weather needs to be factored in, because that’s the platform for food, and famine is both a cause and result of war and governance changes that trigger revolution.  At my ground level, unknowability is part of the ethical equation at my ground level, but a man who shuns daily information and takes the advice of a Leninist is an ignoramus.  Everyone around the president is invested in cooking the books, stroking the ego, finding the angle.  No wonder he trusts no one.

Our charge then, is to examine the numbers, stay out of reach of bad temper, and spot the angles.  If we can.

Discovering the identity of leakers, the identity of those spied on, and now the identity of any Twitter Tweeters who badmouth Trump, should put us all on notice.  Because the next step will not be tanks coming down the streets — rather they will be predator drones making a nighttime visit.  Militarization of police enforcement is a way to destroy democracy and Trump was not the first one who thought of it.  

In the Sixties we used to worry about federal agents coming house-to-house to make lists of the guns we owned, so that if there were signs of insurrection, they could collect them all.  This was a favourite John Birch Society scenario.  But what does a predator drone care about your hunting rifle?  We’d better keep bazookas under our beds.

North Dakota is the only state that allows police to use weaponized drones, but limits the use to "less lethal" weapons, including stun guns, rubber bullets and tear gas.”  These are the weapons used on the Native American demonstrators.

Another innovation is “micro-drones” which operate like mosquitoes with ESP, so that they can perform group actions.  Sarin is deadly in such trace amounts that they could be delivered by these tiny bombers, who could then disperse so quickly, or even self-destruct, that they could never be traced.  It’s the sort of thing that nice people think is bad to think about, as it is only distressing.  Anyway, it’s better not to warn kids not to put beans up their noses, or they might try it.  A nice boy and his professor rigged a drone so it could fire a handgun.  Nice people thought this was terrible.  I’m not very nice.  In fact, in the Nineties in the house where I grew up, a nice neighborhood in Portland, OR. that became ghettoized for a while, there was shooting every night and always unaccountable.  We did not shoot back.  We turned out the lights and sat on the floor.  What turned the tide was that gas became so expensive that nice people who commuted to downtown Portland began to buy up the low-rent houses because they were close to their jobs.  In short, gentrification trumps [sic] crime housing.

Last night I sat up late to watch the unfolding news.  At 3AM I had a nosebleed — a sign of high blood pressure.  Tonight I’ll stick to my BBC gentrified murder series, the ones written before there were smart phones.  But then I'll go back to confrontation of today's more slippery atrocities.

No comments: