A Coup Either Way

Turkey was doomed once the coup began. Either there would be rule by a military dictator who seized control or there would be rule by a democratically elected dictator who seized control. The coup cut both ways. As soon as it began, democracy itself was the toll.


Reactions to Terrorism

I read an article about how the West doesn’t show the same attention to terrorism in places like Iraq and Bangladesh than it does to France (the whole je suis paris thing, the flags, etc). On one hand, I totally get that. Why is everybody so aghast about terrorism in France and the US, but when there’s terrorism in Mali or Tunisia, not much of anything?

I think there’s four reasons. The first and most simple is just that a country full of Europeans being attacked is clearly going to resonate with more with Europeans or Americans. It’s a matter of likeness. It’s got to do with putting yourself in that situation. For instance, I simply cannot put myself in Bangladesh. It just doesn’t work. I can’t imagine being a Syrian. That just doesn’t compute. Not to say that makes it okay, because obviously it does not. More, I mean to say, similarities make the horror much more visceral.

There’s also a matter of scale and method. A gunman in a crowded place is viciously effective. The attack on the Bataclan is what we remembered the most. The attack on Pulse in Orlando. We don’t as much remember the smaller attacks that happened on the same day as the Bataclan attack because they weren’t nearly so terrible. Now, in that regard, the terrorist attacks in Turkey and Iraq are on par with the attack on the Bataclan.

That brings us to the third part. It’s difficult for most Westerners to distinguish between Turkey and Iraq. Sure, you and I know that Turkey is a very, very different country. For instance, Turkey is full of Turks and some Kurds. It’s not full of Arabs. Syria? Many Arabs and also some Kurds. That’s literally the first thing that comes to mind. The differences beyond that are diverse and expansive. But my point is, the attacks on Turkey didn’t have the same reaction because it’s harder for most Americans to distinguish Turkey from the other areas of the Middle East.

Now that we’ve established that, let’s move on to the fourth part: the most important difference between an attack on Iraq and the US is merely one of repetition. Ever since the early days of the US occupation in Iraq, there’s been tons of suicide bombings. The amount of terrorism in Iraq has numbed us. It’s impossible to be too shocked. If Iraq didn’t have any more terrorist bombings, I’d be pleasantly surprised. But that’s absurd. We all know there’s going to be more terrorism in Iraq. It’s going to be a long time before that’s fixed.

And there’s Bangladesh. The assassination of the bloggers shocked and concerned me. I was horrified that progressives were being targeted. Then came the massacre at the cafe and now a shooting a festival. We’re running into that repetition thing again. The more it happens, the less notable and the less shocking it is.

So, to the irritated and lonely people across the world wondering why the West is silent, there’s four reasons why. A few more attacks in Paris and it’ll be nothing more than a news item. It’s a sad excuse, I know, but that doesn’t mean that people in Europe and America don’t care. If nothing else, I care, I know which country is which, and I’m with you guys.

Fear wins

As most of you probably heard by now, the UK voted to leave the EU. That is, rural England voted to leave the EU. Scotland sure as fuck didn’t vote to leave and London was strikingly remain. But the totals are clear. On this Financial Times article, someone left a remarkable comment that’s been bouncing around the various media.

A quick note on the first three tragedies. Firstly, it was the working classes who voted for us to leave because they were economically disregarded and it is they who will suffer the most in the short term from the dearth of jobs and investment. They have merely swapped one distant and unreachable elite for another one. Secondly, the younger generation has lost the right to live and work in 27 other countries. We will never know the full extent of the lost opportunities, friendships, marriages and experiences we will be denied. Freedom of movement was taken away by our parents, uncles, and grandparents in a parting blow to a generation that was already drowning in the debts of our predecessors. Thirdly and perhaps most significantly, we now live in a post-factual democracy. When the facts met the myths they were as useless as bullets bouncing off the bodies of aliens in a HG Wells novel. When Michael Gove said ‘the British people are sick of experts’ he was right. But can anybody tell me the last time a prevailing culture of anti-intellectualism has lead to anything other than bigotry?

A brief message to Bernie diehards

So you don’t like Clinton. Whatever, I understand that. Last time we had to choose, I didn’t like her either. I liked Obama. HOWEVER, she’s clinched the nomination. There’s way no way Bernie can win. It’s not possible.

And continuing to rag on Clinton only hurts the progressive platform. Sure, she’s not as liberal as we’d like, but you’ve got to think about the consequences here. Again, Trump. Now, you might say, there’s no difference. And you’d be wrong. Let me briefly give you two incredibly important things. No matter what else can happen, these two factors are VITAL.

FIRST: Supreme Court. The next president will definitely get AT LEAST one nomination. You remember that whole gay marriage thing? Pretty sweet, right? Vote Trump and he promises to nominate hardline conservative (aka bigots) to the court. If we elect Clinton, we’ll get a court that will strike down the obviously illegal laws that are currently in effect (including the absolutely incorrect view of the 2nd Amendment).

SECOND: Veto power. Do you want to repeal Obamacare? I sure as fuck don’t. That’s the only reason I can afford health care right now. The only reason why Republicans haven’t defunded our health system is Obama’s veto power. That also goes for discriminatory anti-gay bills, bills that would eviscerate EBT and so on.

When effort and outcome is not the same thing – the case of Greece — The Market Monetarist

Greece has made yet another other deal with the EU and IMF on its deal situation. Or rather as one EU official described it to the Financial Times “If it looks like we are kicking the can down the road that is because we are”. Said in another way, this is not really a deal […]

via When effort and outcome is not the same thing – the case of Greece — The Market Monetarist

Remember when South Carolina was gassed with Chlorine?

From a retrospective article:

Graniteville shook the morning of Jan. 6, 2005, when a Norfolk Southern train smashed into a parked rail car in the yard at Avondale Mills, the community’s major employer.

A railroad crew that had parked the rail car forgot to flip a track switch, causing the swift-moving Norfolk Southern train, engineered by Chris Seeling, to divert off the main track and onto a side rail. There, it collided with the parked tanker car, carrying chlorine. The tanker car ruptured, prompting a flurry of 911 calls from people afraid of the poisonous gas that blanketed Graniteville. All told, 11,500 gallons of chlorine seeped out.

The rail yard of Avondale Mills was gassed. The trains collided and this random local company was hit with 11,500 gallons of motherfucking chlorine gas.

“I don’t want to be alone; I can’t breathe,’’ an Avondale Mills worker told a 911 dispatcher at the time.

“My lungs hurt so much. Oh God! I don’t know if I’m going to make it or not.’’

And that’s just one person at the time. In another article, a worker at the mill offered up this:

“We worked with bleach and enzymes and had bleach ranges where we actually bleached the cloth white,” Smith said. “When we started smelling the bleach, we thought we had a ruptured pipe. So, instead of trying to get away from the smell, we were actually going to the part of the plant where it smelled the worst to try to find it. It was probably 30 to 45 minutes after the train wreck before we realized it was something that had happened outside the plant.”

Now that sounds pretty bad, but it gets worse:

The Gregg Plant sits on low ground below street level in a valley, and chlorine gas is two-and-a-half times heavier than air and tends to sink to the ground and flow downhill. Also, dozens of ventilation fans designed to cool the plant on both sides of the building pumped the gas into the plant.

Nine people died from being gassed to death. Nine fucking people were killed, but that’s hardly the total cost. There’s a lot of people still suffering from damage to their lungs. The casualties are far worse than a base statistic of “nine people died.”

Even worse, a lot of the emergency response parroted the standard message of, “stay where you are.” Well, needless to say, it’s a bad idea to stay in a cloud of chlorine gas.

It was bad. It was the kind of thing you expect from previous eras, not 2005. And people are still suffering.