Category Archives: Morality

NEW COLUMN: No Pardons For Neocon War Crimes (Part 2)

Foreign Policy, Intelligence, Iraq, Just War, Morality, Neoconservatism, The State, War

NEW COLUMN, “No Pardons For Neocon War Crimes” (Part 2), is on WND.COM and The Unz Review.

An excerpt:

“HOW does America change if our intelligence agencies were more accurate in their assessment of Saddam Hussein’s chemical and nuclear weapons programs?”

The question was posed, just the other day, in “Make America Competent Again,” by David French, at the Dispatch, a neoconservative website. The tract is an agony aunt’s meander that calls on shoring-up competency in state and civil society.

But first: Dissecting, deconstructing and exposing the neoconservative mindset and machinations matters. The reason is this:

Thanks to President Trump, neoconservatives are not exactly having a moment—they’re down in the doldrums. But they’ll be back. For neoconservatives and liberal interventionists make up the Permanent State. The ideology the likes of David French, formerly of National Review, and his ilk promote—foreign-policy bellicosity, endless immigration, mindless consumerism, racial shaming, “canceling” of deviationists and conformity to an American identity that’s been melted away in vats of multiculturalism—is in our country’s bone marrow, by now.

Therefore, the fighting words in response to French’s framing of the invasion of Iraq as a mere glitch in intelligence are these:

Oh no you don’t, you so-and-so!!

No creedal neoconservative should be able to get away with the claim that a problem of criminality is really just a problem of competency.

You’d think that a military man like Mr. French would know that fixing problems rests on defining them with precision. Recasting state corruption and war crimes as incompetence cures neither state crimes nor incompetence.

America’s war on Iraq was a war crime, plain and simple. It was a reflexive collaboration between elements in a vast, by now familiar, intelligence bureaucracy, comprised of neoconservative and liberal interventionists, whose aim was to help The Powers that Be pulverize a country, Iraq, for the purpose of making it over in the image of America.

Contra Mr. French, the war on Iraq cannot be reduced to systemic incompetence. Anyone who doggedly tracked and documented the ramp up to war, as this column did, can attest that the United States bullied its way to war, monomaniacally. …

… READ THE REST. NEW COLUMN, “No Pardons For Neocon War Crimes” (Part 2), is on WND.COM and The Unz Review.

American Society’s Unnatural Attitude to Aging Naturally

Culture, Ethics, Family, Morality, Pop-Psychology, Psychiatry, Relatives, The Zeitgeist

In “No Country for Old Age,” The Hedgehog Review’s Joseph E. Davis writes, in essence, of the cruel biological reductionism and medicalization of old age, a natural stage of life that ought to be valued:

“When it comes to old age, illness, and death, little remains to us of common meaning or shared social rituals.”

Here are some of many profundities excerpted:

… In our society, to come directly to my point, old age is understood and framed in ways that lead inevitably to its devaluation. Its status is low and arguably is falling.
… old age [is seen as having] no value in itself. ‘Old’ signifies bodily decline, while “success” involves a ceaseless battle to defeat degeneration, and hope is always invested in the prospect of overcoming limits through self-reliance and technological interventions.

There is no space here for stillness or release, no sense of value or consolation in the evening of life. Even cultivating spirituality is framed instrumentally in terms of promoting ‘better physical and mental health in old age.’ An imperative to defeat aging and even death can only consign these realities to fear, shame, and avoidance.

…Representations of old age that add censure and shame to greater dependence and loss of one’s powers can only make matters worse.

… the sociologist Norbert Elias argues that, over time, these weakened bonds and other common features of the later years have been compounded by increased individualization and the isolation of the “ageing and dying from the community of the living.” In contemporary society, Elias argues, older people are “pushed more and more behind the scenes of social life,” a process that intensifies their devaluation, emotional seclusion, and loss of social significance. A physical and institutional sequestering and a pervasive cultural tendency to “conceal the irrevocable finitude of human existence” have made it harder for them and those around them to relate to, understand, and interact with one another. The aged and dying are less likely to receive the help and affection they need, and more prone to different forms of loneliness and painful feelings of irrelevance. “Never before,” Elias writes, “have people died as noiselessly and hygienically as today in [more developed] societies, and never in social conditions so much fostering solitude.”

… Health and longevity are the ends to which remedial action is directed and by which outcomes are evaluated. Even in discussions that include exhortations to build strong connections and communities, loneliness and isolation are treated as individual conditions, and references to community easily coexist with talk of genetic hardwiring, the role of the prefrontal cortex, and the ways in which neural mechanisms might generate feelings of loneliness.

… Typical advice is often some form of self-help: “take a class,” “get a dog,” “volunteer”; build your confidence with social skills training; seek out behavioral therapy. With therapy—highlighted for its positive “impact”—the aged lonely can be helped to see that their low self-worth, perceived isolation, or feelings of being unwanted are probably just cognitive misapprehensions that need to be “restructured.” Once this restructuring is accomplished, the aged can better match what they want in social life with what they have and get on with aging with more success. The status quo can now appear in a new, more uplifting light.

Current constructions of old age in individualistic terms of self-reliance, the fit body, productive accomplishments, or an imperative to deny or defeat aging technologically cannot but deepen our predicament and the need to render it invisible. This is what makes the cultural logic of these constructions irredeemable. They leave us in a cul-de-sac, hemmed in by a predatory commercial culture, a punishing ideology of health, fewer and weaker social ties, an ethic of active striving and mastery, and a mechanistic picture of ourselves. Moving beyond the devaluation of old age requires other orientations and other practices for which we must look elsewhere—to other societies, past or present, and to older traditions. …

… The social orientation of the evening of life need not be individualistic, but toward family and the localization and strengthening of social relations. Similarly, the view of the life cycle need not take its bearings from youth and middle age but from roles and identities appropriate to old age, with their own norms and rewards. These norms and rewards need not be defined in terms of active striving and productivity, but in terms of release, such as from social climbing, and a more contemplative attitude toward the world.

No Country for Old Age,” by Joseph E. Davis, The Hedgehog Review.

Aztec Princess Ana Navarro Has No Christian Mercy For Roger Stone, Only Irrational Vengeance

Classical Liberalism, Crime, Criminal Injustice, Individual Rights, Justice, Law, Morality

A man can be robbed of his liberty for life for lying to professional liars: to politicians. Politicians, in turn, may lie—and do lie—to citizens whenever they open their gobs, but are not legally liable for their lies. This is what occurs in a system in which those in power set the rules for themselves.

But the blood-thirsty Ana Navarro, every bit the Aztec princess, doesn’t care about mercy and justice. She brings to the United States an all-consuming, utterly un-Christian and un-American, lust for the blood of her political opponents, and proportional punishment, namely justice, be dammed.

How Second World. Ms. Navarro-Cárdenas is from Nicaragua. She is a Republican.

Via Mediate:

The CNN commentator … told the network she was rejoicing in Donald Trump confidante Roger Stone’s conviction, saying she hopes Stone “rots in jail and then in hell.”

“I have to tell you, the Sacred Heart nuns told me not to rejoice over another person’s grief and distress, but I can’t be happier that this guy got convicted on all seven counts,” The View co-host told CNN Newsroom anchor Fredricka Whitfield Sunday afternoon.

“Why’s that?” Whitfield asked.

“Because he has been incredibly misogynistic,” Navarro responded. “He’s been racist, he’s been a jerk. He’s attacked people like me, he’s attacked Donna Brazile, he’s attacked Don Lemon, he’s attacked Roland Martin, he’s attacked so many friends of mine in the vilest of forms and guess what … we are all people of color. He is a racist and misogynist… and frankly I hope he rots in jail and then in hell.”

In the First World we are not supposed to imprison a man for life for being a “jerk,” a “racist,” and having neem mean to Ana.

What a bad, bad person is Ana Navarro-Cárdenas

UPDATED II (12/14/020): DRUDGE Clearly Cares Deeply About Animals, All Animals

Conservatism, Culture, Environmentalism & Animal Rights, Ethics, Media, Morality

To his great credit, DRUDGE Report alerts almost daily to stories of abuse of wild and companion animals.

Drudge is also clearly trying to raise consciousness about the destruction of animal habitat at the hands of humans, that is if thematically consistent headlines on the site are any indication.

And DRUDGE does not appear to be one of those ethically challenged individuals who’ll tell you, “I’m a dog person; fuck the lions who’re being culled in canned hunts.”

My impression from following this news aggregator’s headlines for years is that DRUDGE cares deeply about animals and their fate.

Today, the item on Drudge raised awareness about “the complex relationship between humans and animals.”

Yesterday, Drudge linked to a story of a starving elephant made to carry tourists until she dropped dead.  Disgusting culture that would allow this.

I will keep you updated with a daily Drudge on animals.

UPDATE I (12/26/019):

Via DRUDGE: “Elephants in Thailand ‘broken’ for lucrative animal tourism…

UPDATE II (1/14/020): Parrots are innately kind.

UPDATE II (2/14/020):

“Meet the Wildlife Police: An unsung group of conservation heroes often stands between human predators and species on the edge of extinction”:

One of these critter cops is Andy McWilliam, a veteran English police officer who joined the NWCU at its inception in 2006. Mr. McWilliam has tracked down taxidermists and collectors of rare birds and mammals; prosecuted real-estate developers who destroyed the habitats of protected water voles and brown long-eared bats; and helped lead a national campaign to arrest egg collectors, a fraternity of largely middle-aged men who raid nests in England, Scotland and Wales, threatening protected species from kingfishers to golden eagles.
Even within their own departments, wildlife police sometimes struggle for respect. Mr. McWilliam recalls being taunted by colleagues in Liverpool after he returned to the station house with an egg collector in custody. “Put him before the beak,” they joked, using a slang term for a magistrate. …

… In 2017, Mr. McWilliam gathered intelligence in England for his American counterparts that led to the arrest, conviction and jailing of a Connecticut taxidermist who had stuffed and smuggled dozens of rare, protected birds, in violation of both the U.S. Migratory Bird Treaty Act and the Endangered Species Act.

The NWCU has inspired other wildlife-crime units. Belgium, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Latvia and the Netherlands all established or strengthened environmental-crime divisions in recent years. Operation Blizzard, a 2019 investigation overseen by Interpol and Europol, mobilized wildlife agencies from 22 countries against the illegal global trade of reptiles. The operation, according to Interpol, “resulted in the seizure of 2,703 turtles and tortoises, 1,059 snakes, 512 lizards and geckos, and 20 crocodiles and alligators.”
More in Ideas

The case of Jeffrey Lendrum, a notorious bird thief and smuggler who trafficked live peregrine eggs to wealthy falconers in the Persian Gulf, brought the NWCU its greatest encomiums—and showcased the increased cooperation of wildlife cops across international borders. In 2010, Mr. McWilliam led the investigation against Mr. Lendrum in Birmingham, England, for peregrine smuggling that sent him to prison for a year. In October 2015, Mr. Lendrum flew to Patagonia on another egg-thieving mission. A hotel clerk who’d read about the Birmingham arrest six years earlier tipped off Chile’s wildlife police, but Mr. Lendrum had already departed for Brazil. The Chileans alerted their Brazilian counterparts, who nabbed him in São Paulo’s airport as he was about to board a flight to Dubai. Wildlife agents seized four rare, white-breasted peregrine eggs stolen from Patagonia’s cliffs. …