Machine Guns and a Camera Lens

Aug 31

(Source: cosmicdojo, via theohpioneer)

Isis losing the fight for soul of Mosul after tide of death -


The Times
Jerome Starkey, in Baghdad

For some, it was the executions. For others, it was seeing young men flogged in public and old women harangued by teenage jihadists for infringements of the militants’ rules.

One man could not tolerate the destruction of historic tombs. Yet residents in Iraq’s second city, Mosul, said their main complaints with Islamic State were over shortages of food, money, medicine and electricity.

“Every five days, we get just one hour of electricity. Water, every three days. We get a just a small bit of water,” a labourer in the city’s northern suburbs said. “There’s a shortage of food, a lack of medicine. No one has been paid since June.” He added that he had seen a young man hit with sticks for “joking with a girl”.

Some people welcomed the militants from Islamic State (also known as Isis) when they advanced across Iraq in June, because they were tired of abuses by the Iraqi army. Residents in Mosul said that soldiers ran a kidnap racket, arresting young men for ransoms. Yet three months after the soldiers fled, patience with their replacements is wearing thin. (Read more…)

Aug 29

(Source: itinsightus, via thinknorth)

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(via bvit)

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(Source: zeldatopia, via lookcloserandyouwillsee)

What to Remember on Memorial Day


When news outlets and social media share photos of tearful mothers, fathers, wives, and children mourning their lost loved ones, my heart breaks at the senseless death and unnecessary sorrow. The state claimed a life, and then marked its claim by adorning the casket in its symbolism. And too few people earnestly ask why.

You’re told to remember “sacrifices” today. That certain people “died for your freedom.” 

They didn’t.

You’re told to “honor your country” today. That its government is an extension of the people’s will by way of the consent of the governed.

It isn’t.

What you should remember today are the millions of lives and countless liberties lost at the whim and behest of the state. 

You owe the state and its minions the same a victim owes his attacker: animosity and contempt. Freedom is free. Anyone who says otherwise is only preaching subservience and acquiescence. As I said on Veterans’ Day: “we should not be wiled by trite propaganda into supporting militarism under the guise of requisite defense of freedom.”

You should no more be grateful to the metastatic state than you should be grateful to metastatic cancer. Anything good the state ever does can always be done without the state’s monopoly on force (and, without its inherently lumbering and corrupt bureaucracy, in a more just and efficient manner). There is no such thing as a necessary evil as evil can never be a prerequisite for good

Ultimately, the state is unnecessary, and its democratic pretenses purporting its validity are illegitimate

Those blinded by uncritical “patriotism” will no doubt find these truths “disrespectful,” but to echo previous remarks from last Memorial Day: “The most respectful way to honor fallen troops is to not continue sending more troops to die in unprovoked and unnecessary wars.”

We can not properly memorialize the very real human beings who have died very real deaths - the very real losses of countless families - by celebrating needless war, promoting wanton destruction, and glorifying the very state that made those tragic losses possible.  People who truly follow a desire to protect others, and are even willing to surrender their own lives for the well-being of not just their loved ones but complete strangers, certainly possess qualities that should be admired. But let’s not allow the genuinely honorable idealism that permeates many of those when they enlist - to protect their fellow man, to honor the principles of individual liberty codified in the constitution, to stamp out evil in the world - to cloud the sad reality of what those soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines eventually become: tools for the political and economic whims of politicians, bureaucrats, despots, overlords, oppressors, and their cronies. The worst thing one can do for a fallen soldier is to dehumanize and transmogrify him into a symbol for the exaltation of the state.

The state is not you. Unless you’re a politician, plutocrat, or connected crony, it doesn’t serve you except whatever minimum is required to buy your quiet compliance. As I’ve said previously, “The state and its symbols are not synonymous with society. Nor are they representative of you or any other individual in particular. When your identity is intermixed with your government and your patriotism becomes sacerdotal reverence, you become a mindless minion of the state to be manipulated into agreeing to whatever loss of liberty best suits your god government.

Be a good neighbor to your fellow man, not a doting subject to the state.

On Memorial Day, you’re supposed to “remember the men and women who died while serving in the United States Armed Forces.” By all means, remember them - and reflect on how most of them had their lives unnecessarily and prematurely extinguished for and by the state. Grieve for their families who not only lost loved ones in a likely pointless endeavor but were fed lies as to the true reason for their loss. Ponder what little value those in power, contrary to their empty platitudes, place on the lives of even the most noble member of the military. Consider how many more youths, riled by the pomp and pageantry of such memorializations, will naively follow the same ruinous paths as those who are remembered today.

Mark this day as one to contemplate the state’s tragic acts on its own people, and how it masks its atrocities with the rhetorical drapes of “honor,” “sacrifice,” “bravery,” “heroism,” and - when ugly truths arise - “just following orders.” Let this day be one of shame for those in power who send our neighbors, friends, and family members to die for their own selfish causes, and let it be a day of shame for the fooled and compliant masses who support, obey, agitate, glorify, conspire with, and cover for the state.

And if you feel inclined to hoist a flag today, make it a black one.

May 24

The modern “liberal,” the reactionary in disguise, suspects every businessman of an intent to bilk him. On the other hand, he trusts every bureaucrat and trade union officer to look out for his interest. I, on the contrary, suspect everybody of looking out for his own interests, be he businessman, bureaucrat, union officer, consumer, Congressman, workman, or the ordinary citizen. I am somewhat willing to trust a businessman to serve me well since any attempt to bilk his customers will mean that he will lose business to competitors. This, at least, means that it is to his self-interest to serve me well.

The average politician I trust a great deal less since he is quite willing to serve my interest badly if the support he gains at my expense is crucial to his election. Besides, he can confuse the issue by offering a few items in his platform which have some appeal to offset the other things which are distasteful. In every election, I have had to choose either the grab bag of proposals offered by one party, 95 per cent of which are distasteful, or the grab bag offered by the other party, 97 per cent of which are distasteful. That is hardly a choice. At least, when I buy a General Motors automobile, I do not have to buy GM gasoline, GM schools for my children, GM garbage collection service, GM old age annuities, or GM anything else. In a free market, I can separate my decisions on what automobile I buy from my choice of what gasoline I consume, which service station I patronize, which mechanic I go to for repairs, or which company insures my car or administers the funds I save for my retirement income.

” — Yale Brozen, ”The Revival of Traditional Liberalism

(Source: laliberty)

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