mlknchz: (Default)
To have a healthy democracy, the peaceful expression of dissenting opinions is not just ALLOWED, it is vitally necessary.

I'm surprised I have to remind people of that.
mlknchz: (Default)
In local Sacramento news, The Sacramento Bee reported yesterday that "Vets Say Pets Will Not Look at the Sun, are Safe During Eclipse"

Did someone ACTUALLY have that concern? Because, as far as I know, no animal EVER stares at the sun to the point it will damage its eyesight...well, except people.
mlknchz: (Default)
As a place-holder, because it seems we have to have this idiot "The Civil War wasn't fought about slavery" argument AGAIN, here goes

PLEASE realize the "States Rights" argument was nothing but an afterthought when The South was trying to find European allies. No European state would ally with the South precisely because of the issue of slavery. Even when ending slavery would have made the survival of the Southern cause possible - indeed the ONLY thing that would have done so - the South refused to even consider it. Was the war ONLY fought about slavery? No. Was it the PRIMARY cause? Most assuredly.
The argument is CLOSED


Aug. 14th, 2017 02:52 pm
mlknchz: (Default)
You don't need to agree with this, but I think it's important to take on board if you want to have the barest inkling of how many of your fellow Americans feel, and have felt for a long time. It was written in 1935.

Let America Be America Again

Langston Hughes, 1902 - 1967

Let America be America again.
Let it be the dream it used to be.
Let it be the pioneer on the plain
Seeking a home where he himself is free.

(America never was America to me.)

Let America be the dream the dreamers dreamed—
Let it be that great strong land of love
Where never kings connive nor tyrants scheme
That any man be crushed by one above.

(It never was America to me.)

O, let my land be a land where Liberty
Is crowned with no false patriotic wreath,
But opportunity is real, and life is free,
Equality is in the air we breathe.

(There’s never been equality for me,
Nor freedom in this “homeland of the free.”)

Say, who are you that mumbles in the dark?
And who are you that draws your veil across the stars?

I am the poor white, fooled and pushed apart,
I am the Negro bearing slavery’s scars.
I am the red man driven from the land,
I am the immigrant clutching the hope I seek—
And finding only the same old stupid plan
Of dog eat dog, of mighty crush the weak.

I am the young man, full of strength and hope,
Tangled in that ancient endless chain
Of profit, power, gain, of grab the land!
Of grab the gold! Of grab the ways of satisfying need!
Of work the men! Of take the pay!
Of owning everything for one’s own greed!

I am the farmer, bondsman to the soil.
I am the worker sold to the machine.
I am the Negro, servant to you all.
I am the people, humble, hungry, mean—
Hungry yet today despite the dream.
Beaten yet today—O, Pioneers!
I am the man who never got ahead,
The poorest worker bartered through the years.

Yet I’m the one who dreamt our basic dream
In the Old World while still a serf of kings,
Who dreamt a dream so strong, so brave, so true,
That even yet its mighty daring sings
In every brick and stone, in every furrow turned
That’s made America the land it has become.
O, I’m the man who sailed those early seas
In search of what I meant to be my home—
For I’m the one who left dark Ireland’s shore,
And Poland’s plain, and England’s grassy lea,
And torn from Black Africa’s strand I came
To build a “homeland of the free.”

The free?

Who said the free? Not me?
Surely not me? The millions on relief today?
The millions shot down when we strike?
The millions who have nothing for our pay?
For all the dreams we’ve dreamed
And all the songs we’ve sung
And all the hopes we’ve held
And all the flags we’ve hung,
The millions who have nothing for our pay—
Except the dream that’s almost dead today.

O, let America be America again—
The land that never has been yet—
And yet must be—the land where every man is free.
The land that’s mine—the poor man’s, Indian’s, Negro’s, ME—
Who made America,
Whose sweat and blood, whose faith and pain,
Whose hand at the foundry, whose plow in the rain,
Must bring back our mighty dream again.

Sure, call me any ugly name you choose—
The steel of freedom does not stain.
From those who live like leeches on the people’s lives,
We must take back our land again,

O, yes,
I say it plain,
America never was America to me,
And yet I swear this oath—
America will be!

Out of the rack and ruin of our gangster death,
The rape and rot of graft, and stealth, and lies,
We, the people, must redeem
The land, the mines, the plants, the rivers.
The mountains and the endless plain—
All, all the stretch of these great green states—
And make America again!
mlknchz: (Default)
Let me be clear; I DO NOT, for one second, condone what has happened in Charlottesville. Neo-Nazis and white supremacists are the scum of the earth. Further, I do not equate BLM with neo-Nazis or white supremacists. But I do deny, completely, the principle of violent protest, regardless of the motivations behind the protests. Finding justification for any violent protest, is, I believe, to justify the PRINCIPLE of violent protest, which is abhorrent to democracy. It is also UTTERLY counter-productive. You lose your argument when you raise your fist.
mlknchz: (Default)
"But we also have to acknowledge the plain fact of resilience. The stuff that people tend to say in the aftermath of an atrocity – that London, Manchester, Madrid, Paris, Brussels or New York will never be the same again – is well meant. But it’s not true. And saying it only feeds the narcissistic delusions of the terrorists. It is what they want to believe, and believing it justifies in the zealot’s overheated mind the cruelties he inflicts. The truth is that places recover with shocking alacrity. Even after the mega-terror of 9/11, New York quickly went back to being New York.
It’s much, much harder to terrorize a population into submission than official and unofficial purveyors of mass violence always think it is. Normality isn’t a fixed state but a spectrum with a remarkably wide range. Terrorists are contemptible for many reasons, but one of them is the stupidity of not knowing this. They try to magnify themselves with epic acts of cruelty. In the end they are diminished and defeated by the strange ability of human beings to step around the pools of blood, keep going and forget."

What we forget was that the London blitz, Hitler's attempt to terrorize Great Britain into surrender by attacking the citizens of its capitol, failed for exactly this reason. People got up the next morning, shook off the dust, cleaned up the debris, mourned the dead, and went back to their lives. The resilience of human beings, and their capacity to just keep going, is nearly infinite.
mlknchz: (Default)
People tend to think of authoritarian dictatorships as all-powerful entities. Let's not forget the White Rose and the Rosenstrasse Protest

“And how we burned in the camps later, thinking: What would things have been like if every Security operative, when he went out at night to make an arrest, had been uncertain whether he would return alive and had to say good-bye to his family? Or if, during periods of mass arrests, as for example in Leningrad, when they arrested a quarter of the entire city, people had not simply sat there in their lairs, paling with terror at every bang of the downstairs door and at every step on the staircase, but had understood they had nothing left to lose and had boldly set up in the downstairs hall an ambush of half a dozen people with axes, hammers, pokers, or whatever else was at hand?... The Organs would very quickly have suffered a shortage of officers and transport and, notwithstanding all of Stalin's thirst, the cursed machine would have ground to a halt! If...if...We didn't love freedom enough. And even more – we had no awareness of the real situation.... We purely and simply deserved everything that happened afterward.”

― Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago 1918-1956
mlknchz: (Default)
I did much better today at the range. Still a lot of room for improvement, but 58 out of 75 isn't TOO shabby - nearly 80%
mlknchz: (Default)
Apparently, I have to keep repeating myself because the message isn't sinking in; universities do a disservice to their students when they don't allow people to speak on their campuses simply because their students disagree with them.


Citing "security concerns" in prohibiting controversial speakers is not only transparently a cop-out, it allows fringe elements too much power; all one need do now is phone in a threat, and the university has a ready-made excuse for cancelling a speaker without admitting it was actually about the content of the speech.


What is everyone so afraid of? That they might be swayed by the speaker into changing their minds? That the speakers ideas may "infect" people? Debate is about refuting your opponents stance, it is not about stifling your opponents ability to make an argument. Listen to what they say, then take down their argument piece by piece. It's only people who cannot debate who want their opponent to be unable to make their argument.


You learn by debate. You learn nothing by saying, in effect, "shut up". Universities are places of learning, are they not? Should they not be places where controversial, even down-right wrong, arguments can be debated and refuted?


Are you so unsure of your beliefs that you can't afford to have them questioned? Strengthen them by debate, don't tell someone to "shut-up" to try to safeguard them.


Lastly, do you not understand the huge publicity value you're giving to these speakers by denying them the ability to speak? You're allowing them to say "See, liberals think my ideas are so dangerous that they wont let me even speak on the campuses"
This gives the people you oppose WAY too much power.


Don't demonstrate, don't riot, don't physically fight with their supporters. Politely hear them out, refute what they have to say, and go on with your lives.
If you do that, these people fade into the obscurity they so richly deserve. That is the worst thing you can do to these people. Say to them, "We've heard you, this is why you're completely wrong. You've been given a chance to make your argument, Bye Felicia."



Apr. 15th, 2017 02:58 pm
mlknchz: (Default)
I watched the first episode of the new Netflix season last night. I was pretty disappointed. This is NOT a series that throwing more money at will make better. Much of the charm of the original series was from it's DIY imagination. There was also a sense that it was a sort of a secret geek club that most people wouldn't understand. That time has passed; geek culture has "won" to such an extent that EVERYONE is a geek in one way or another, so the secret club aspect of the show is gone.
Secondly, it's simply not nearly as witty as it was. The jokes seem a lot more contrived, a lot less spontaneous.
Making Tom Servo fly? WTF kind of gimmick is that? Letting Gypsy into the theatre from the rafters? Again, a gimmick with no real purpose. I'm sad because I was a fan of the original show, and hoped this new series would be able to recapture its goofy FUN.

Not everything needs to be re-booted.
mlknchz: (Default)
The problem with calling people who aren't really Nazis "Nazi" is that you then have nothing meaningful to call actual Nazis. Also people comparing themselves to "the Resistance" who have nothing to offer but blog posts and Facebook shares? The "resistance" was filled with courageous people who risked life and limb to fight for their beliefs. This "new resistance", safe in their homes on the right side of the digital divide, never risk a thing.
mlknchz: (Default)
So far, I like Dreamwidth well enough. One thing I miss (or maybe just haven't found yet) is an equivalent to LJs "Top LJ" page. I've met new friends through the one on LJ, and think that would be a good way to meet people here, too.
mlknchz: (Default)
To state it for the record, I DO NOT have any intention to follow the "laws of the Russian Federation". To do so would be to condone their heinous treatment of LGBT people. I only agreed to the new TOS under duress. Sixteen years of writing, commentary and memories were being held hostage pending my "agreement". Once those have been migrated, I am done with LJ until such time as it re-enters the community of civilization.
mlknchz: (Default)
Well, I'm all unpacked here at Dreamwidth. From now on, I'll be posting here and cross-posting to LJ. Too much BS over there after 16 years. I will NOT be censored by some nekulturny comic-opera apparatchik.


Apr. 7th, 2017 11:47 am
mlknchz: (Joe)
We're not going to war against Russia; it's just posturing to re-start the Cold War...the "War on Terror" isn't generating enough cash for anybody's military-industrial complex. New body armor and infantry weapons systems are small potatoes. We need BIG enemies so we can spend trillions on BIG weapons. ICBM submarines! new main battle tanks! artillery systems! Simple as that.
mlknchz: (Joe)
How does one migrate one's content to Dreamwidth?
mlknchz: (Joe)
I'm over at Dreamwidth under the same nom-de-whatsit


mlknchz: (Default)
The Lord of Desultory Manor

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