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Monday, March 26, 2012

Science Doesn't Exist to Republicans • Racist Republicans Buy Racist Anti-Obama Stickers • The Trayvon Martin Shooting • Lying Republicans • Carbon Emissions Hit New High • USA: Killing People Without Guilt

- Science and Santorum
    Now that it appears that Rick Santorum is more than a flash in the hot (albeit not globally warmed) evolutionary pan, I confess to an oversight that occurred in this space in 2011 when I suggested that Michelle Bachmann and Rick Perry were the only ones among the Republican presidential candidates who believed that evolution was nothing more than a theory. I did Mr. Santorum a disservice by failing to acknowledge his long-standing support of creationism and his contempt for the idea of global warming. His support for creationism in the classroom goes back at least as far as 2001.
- Racist Anti-Obama Sticker Makes Rounds On Facebook
    A photograph of a bumper sticker that features racist, anti-Obama language has gone viral on Facebook and other social networks.
    The sticker reads "Don't Re-Nig In 2012," in large white type, above smaller text that reads: "Stop repeat offenders. Don't re-elect Obama!"

    The offensive design appears to have originated at a site called Stumpy's Stickers, where it can be purchased. The site sells variations on the same idea, including another "Don't Re-Nig" design featuring a caricature of a black man's face with a missing tooth, a picture of a chimp that reads "Obama 2012," and another with a drawing of several Ku Klux Klan members that reads "The Original Boys In The Hood."
- Trayvon Martin’s Death, LeBron James and the Miami Heat
    The senseless killing of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin by a self-appointed “neighborhood watch captain” has provoked anguish, rage and now, at long last, resistance. We’ve seen rallies, demonstrations and walkouts at dozens upon dozens of high schools in Florida alone. Even more remarkably, this resistance has found expression in the world of sports. An impressive group of NBA players from Carmelo Anthony to Steve Nash to the leaders of the NBA Players Association have spoken out and called for justice.
- This Week in Poverty: Paul Ryan's Focus on Dignity
    [This week Republican Congressman Paul Ryan] released his budget proposal....  as clear clear a statement of one’s principles and priorities as there is in politics.
    Here are the results, and they’re not pretty. Nation readers with young children should probably ask them to leave the room before reading onward.
- Can Americans Trust Government Again?
    Americans turned against government in frustration and fear in the 1970s. But those same Americans from every corner can rediscover the value of government, throw off the blinders of the past generation and lead their policy-makers to a wiser path. This is the urgent mission of our times.
- MEDIA MATTERS: How often different media outlets blamed Obama for gas prices (graph)
    This is how often different media outlets blamed Obama for gas prices. Guess which is Fox?
- Carbon emissions hit a new record
    GREENHOUSE gases have risen to their highest level since modern humans evolved, and Australian temperatures are now about a degree warmer than they were a century ago, a major review by the CSIRO and the Bureau of Meteorology has found.
    The national climate report, to be released today, said Australia's current climate ''cannot be explained by natural variability alone'' and that emissions resulting from human activity were playing an increasingly direct role in shaping temperatures.
- Blood Money: US Well-Practiced in 'Apologizing for Carnage'
    Media reports in the days since the massacre of 16 civilians in Aghanistan have indirectly shed light on the callous realities of warfare: that the military has quantified the price of a life and believes that death can be compensated with blood money, and that the U.S. has "had a lot of practice at apologizing for carnage."

America's 300 Year-Long Lucky Streak Continues
Posted March 20, 2012 on A Tiny Revolution

One of the great things about being American is we're just lucky. Lots of countries have killed millions of people, and it made their families really angry and sad. So the countries sometimes had to feel bad about it. But when WE'VE done it, we've always been lucky enough to do it to people who turned out not to mind being killed. So no harm done.

Most recently, Steve Inskeep of NPR pointed out that Afghans haven't gotten all bent out of shape about a U.S. soldier massacring sixteen of them, because "human life is already cheap" way over there.
That's great journalism. However, it would have been even better if Inskeep had found out whether life is not just cheap in Afghanistan, but also plentiful, like it was in Vietnam:
WILLIAM WESTMORELAND: The Oriental doesn't put the same high price on life as does a Westerner. Life is plentiful. Life is cheap in the Orient.
And what about Iraqis? Were they whiny bitches when we killed them? No way:
FRED KAGAN, ARCHITECT OF IRAQ "SURGE": If anyone has seen pictures of Ramadi or Fallujah, they looked like Stalingrad. Cities absolutely crushed...
The interesting thing is that when we were fighting those battles and doing that damage, on the whole the Iraqis were not bitching about collateral damage...the Iraqis don’t on the whole say "darn it, you shouldn’t have blown up all of our houses." They sort of accept that.
We know this is correct because Iraqis felt the same way in the twenties when they were being slaughtered by the British:
"The natives of these tribes love fighting for fighting's sake," Chief of Air Staff Hugh Trenchard assured Parliament. "They have no objection to being killed." The military's argument was that, though the often indiscriminate air attacks might perturb some civilized folks back in London, such acts were viewed differently by the Arabs. As one British commander observed, "'[Shiekhs] not seem to resent...that women and children are accidentally killed by bombs."
Then we come to Koreans. Here's a review of Curtis LeMay's autobiography, in which LeMay explained why massive carpet bombing of North Korea during the Korean War didn't make them surrender:
LeMay [argues] that bombardment failed because of an "undying Oriental philosophy and fanaticism." He says, "Human attrition means nothing to such people," that their lives are so miserable on earth that they look forward with delight to a death which promises them "everything from tea parties with long dead grandfathers down to their pick of all the golden little dancing girls in Paradise."
Of course, all this might make it seem like it's an Eastern Hemisphere thing, which it's not. People in the Western Hemisphere have never minded being killed by America, as U.S. soldiers have observed:
Marine major Julian Smith testified that the "racial psychology" of the "poorer class of Nicaraguans" made them "densely ignorant...A state of war to them is a normal condition." Along the same lines, Colonel Robert Denig observed in his diary, "Life to them is cheap" ... When asked if he ever witnessed American brutality in Haiti, General Ivan Miller replied that "you have to remember that what we consider brutality among people in the United States is different from what they consider brutality."
Finally, in Notes on Virginia, Thomas Jefferson investigated and found out that his African slaves didn't feel emotions like white people do:
Their griefs are transient. Those numberless afflictions, which render it doubtful whether heaven has given life to us in mercy or in wrath, are less felt, and sooner forgotten with them.
Other scholars discovered that Africans were less physically sensitive too:
Negroes...are void of sensibility to a surprising degree...what would be the cause of insupportable pain to a white man, a Negro would almost disregard.
So there you have it: maybe we've done some things that would have been bad if they'd happened to sensitive people like us, but in each case we've lucked out. Right now I'm getting the feeling that very soon Iranians will turn out not to mind being killed.

HA HA BUT SERIOUSLY: I've sent email to Steve Inskeep with all of these quotes and asked for his reaction. I'm especially curious what he thinks about the fact that in 2012 a journalist (him) was expressing a sentiment that in every other case came from the people directly inflicting the suffering.
—Jon Schwarz