What a shocker!

OMG YOU GUYS GUESS WHAT?? The Texas shooter had a history of domestic violence and investigators say his killing rampage was linked to a “domestic situation”:

SUTHERLAND SPRINGS, Tex. — Investigators said Sunday’s church massacre in Texas occurred amid an ongoing “domestic situation” involving the gunman and his relatives, at least one of whom had attended the church.

Kelley, 26, was court-martialed in 2012 and sentenced to a year in military prison for assaulting his spouse and child, making him the latest mass attacker or suspect with domestic violence in his past. He was reduced in rank and released with a bad-conduct discharge in 2014.

This has never happened before! It’s just a shame that virtually every mass shooter in recent times doesn’t fit a profile like, say, “violent entitled men who abuse women and children” or something. Then it might be easier to do something to address it? We could maybe ensure such exemplars of American masculinity never have access to guns? Too bad, so sad that they’re each a Lone Wolf living in a cultural vacuum without any common behavior in their backgrounds to trigger an intervention.

Well. At least we have an endless supply of thoughts-n-prayers to offer the victims and their families.

F*CK YOUR THOUGHTS ‘N PRAYERS.

excellent-news-the-first-truckload-of-your-thoughts-and-prayers-has-just-arrived

It’ll probably do fuck all because cowards gonna cow, but please sign and share this petition if you are willing and able (via CREDO* Action):

Emergency petition: Thoughts and prayers are not enough. We need gun control now.

Tell Republicans in Congress:

“It is time to put your constituents before the National Rifle Association. Reject currently pending legislation that would gut regulations on gun silencers and armor piercing bullets, block the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act, and take immediate action to ban weapons of war, including assault weapons and large capacity magazines, which have no place in the hands of private citizens.”

Sign the petition.

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Tragedy in Ft. Lauderdale.

As of this writing, five people are dead and eight remain hospitalized after a gunman fired a barrage of bullets in a baggage claim area at Ft. Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport in Florida. The alleged shooter was taken into custody, and the airport was (and still is) on lockdown.

When the news first broke earlier today, my heart did too. My first thoughts went to the survivors, and to the loved ones of those who were killed and injured. I hope they get all the support and assistance they need after a(nother) senseless tragedy. Especially those with medical expenses that our wonderful society likes to charge to hapless victims of injury and illness.

My next thoughts were not quite so empathetic.

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Fucking hell, people.

[CONTENT NOTE: Orlando mass shooting and related issues; rape; mental health. No violent images or graphic descriptions.]

I was quite literally rendered speechless upon learning of the tragedy in Orlando Sunday morning. I cannot say I was surprised, though; mass public shootings in the US have been increasing, and it’s no secret that conservatives have been cranking up the hate against the LGBTQ community (just as they have against women, immigrants, religious minorities, the poor, the disabled, etc., and of course none of this is a coincidence). But I did (and do) feel traumatized—as in anxious, dissociating, difficulty concentrating, overwhelming sadness and anger, waking through the night with my heart pounding, super fun stuff like that. For an artist and writer who uses art and writing to process life and the world around her, such a state is nothing short of devastating. (<-See? Dissociating. I just referred to myself in the third person for no fucking reason FFS.)

I don’t write a lot about my personal life online, for many reasons I won’t go into here. But in this case some of that is relevant, and I think perhaps worth sharing.

Continue reading

#youareDylannRoof

[CONTENT NOTE: racism, ableism (mental health-flavored), transmisogyny.]

ericksonBecause it just wasn’t terrible enough for Fox News to frame a mass murder of nine black people at their church by an unequivocally racist white man as an “attack on faith,” here comes Fox pundit Erick Erickson to straighten everybody out about the Real Problem™. You see, liberal society is plagued by “a mental illness” characterized by “overwhelming narcissism and delusion” — yes, a conservative actually said that with a straight face — and therefore “cannot recognize what crazy or evil looks like.” Exhibit A for this little theory? Caitlyn Jenner. That’s right: accepting trans people is proof positive that liberals are ignoring “real evil” and allowing mental health problems to run rampant.

After dismissing out of hand the obvious and proven solution of gun control to virtually eliminate mass murders, Erickson said:

“A society that looks at a 65 year old male Olympian and, with a straight face, declares him a her and ‘a new normal’ cannot have a conversation about mental health or evil because that society no longer distinguishes normal from crazy and evil from good.”

Now because conservatives are constitutionally incapable of meaningful self-reflection, their dehumanizing rhetoric and vile policies can never be the problem. This is why they resort to all sorts of fact-free rationalizations, victim-blaming, denialism and projection, rather than ever admit to being factually and morally wrong and changing their views accordingly. If conservative policy isn’t working, well, that just means we clearly need more of it. Q.E.D. Let’s arm the clergy!

I can damn well recognize what evil looks like. It looks like Dylann Roof. It also looks like Erick Erickson. Because he will never, ever take a hard look in the mirror and own his repulsive, deadly and toxic shit, I have taken the liberty of illustrating what the rest of us see when we look at him.

erickericksonErick Erickson.
If the bowl cut fits… #youareDylannRoof.

[h/t the fierce and fabulous feminace for inspiring this graphic, by calling Roof “RacistFuck McBowlCut.”]

Reading.

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Wrinkles in Spacetime: The Warped Astrophysics of Interstellar. Rogers, A., Wired (Oct. 2014). (“Most Interstellar viewers will see these images—the wormhole, the black hole, the weird light—and think, ‘Whoa. That’s beautiful.’ Thorne looks at them and thinks, ‘Whoa. That’s true.’”)

World’s Longest Snake Has Virgin Birth—First Recorded in Species: An 11-year-old reticulated python produced six babies without mating. Qui, L., National Geographic (Oct. 2014).

School Shooter Identified as Freshman Football Player. The Wall Street Journal via Associated Press (Oct. 2014).

GM’s hit and run: How a lawyer, mechanic, and engineer blew open the worst auto scandal in history. Penenberg, A.L., Pando Daily (Oct. 2014).

S4E7 – #GamerGate. Olson, D., Chez Apocalypse (Oct. 2014). (“A look at Base Assumptions as a critical tool as applied to the GamerGate movement.”) (VIDEO) (FIVE STARS.Ed.)

Palestine2Ferguson Contingent Shows Power of Unity. US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation (Oct. 2014).

There’s a surprisingly strong link between climate change and violence. Mooney, C., The Washington Post (Oct. 2014). (“Bottom line: In an ever warming world, expect more wars, civil unrest, and strife, and also more violent crime in general.”)

Easter Islanders also made voyages to the New World. Graham, K., Digital Journal (Oct. 2014). (“Rapa Nui people met with early South Americans, well before Europeans came visiting.”)

Entitlement Culture War. Thibeault, J., FreeThoughtBlogs (Oct. 2014).

You already have bed bugs. Now get ready to deal with rat mites. Holmes, D., Pando Daily (Oct. 2014). (Jeezus. –Ed.)

Which Foods are the Worst for the Environment? Berger, M., The Weather Channel (Oct. 2014).

20 Things New Yorkers Older Than 40 Did. And will never do again. It was a great time to be a New Yorker. copyranter, BuzzFeed (Jul. 2013). [h/t Josephine.]

Houston Man Charged with Raping Teen, Toddler, Both of Whom Now Have HIV. Edwards, B., The Root (Oct. 2014). [TRIGGER WARNING: rape, child sexual assault.]

Evo Morales: A Bolivian idol. Bolivia’s president talks about the country’s ongoing socio-economic transformation and his third term in officeAl Jazeera (Oct. 2014).

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For the Quote collection:

I have no regrets – in fact, I am pleased to have expelled the US ambassador, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and to have closed the US military base in Bolivia. Now, without a US ambassador, there is less conspiracy, and more political stability and social stability. Without the International Monetary Fund, we are better off economically. –Evo Morales, Bolivian President

When the United States was in control of counternarcotics, the US governments used drug trafficking for purely geopolitical purposes …. The US uses drug trafficking and terrorism for political control …. We have nationalised the fight against drug trafficking. –Evo Morales, Bolivian President

Military men are just dumb, stupid animals to be used as pawns in foreign policy. –Henry Kissinger, Secretary of State under the Nixon and Ford administrations

The issues are too important to be left for the voters. –Henry Kissinger, Secretary of State under the Nixon and Ford administrations

Before the Freedom of Information Act, I used to say at meetings “The illegal we do immediately. The unconstitutional takes a little longer.” … But since the Freedom of Information Act, I’m afraid to say things like that. –Henry Kissinger, Secretary of State under the Nixon and Ford administrations

I don’t see why we need to stand by and watch a country go communist due to the irresponsibility of its own people. –Henry Kissinger, Secretary of State under the Nixon and Ford administrations (Meeting of the “40 Committee” on covert action in Chile 27 June 1970)

Power is the ultimate aphrodisiac. –Henry Kissinger, Secretary of State under the Nixon and Ford administrations

America has no permanent friends or enemies, only interests. –Henry Kissinger, Secretary of State under the Nixon and Ford administrations

It is not a matter of what is true that counts, but a matter of what is perceived to be true. –Henry Kissinger, Secretary of State under the Nixon and Ford administrations

The war is just when the intention that causes it to be undertaken is just. The will is therefore the principle element that must be considered, not the means… He who intends to kill the guilty sometimes faultlessly shed the blood of the innocents…In short, the end justifies the means. –Henry Kissinger, Secretary of State under the Nixon and Ford administrations

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NOTE: Acquisition of links and/or bon mots for the Palace Library does not imply the Palace’s 100% agreement with or endorsement of any content, organization or individual.

Recent reads.

library4The (Socialist) Malala Yousafzai the US Media Doesn’t Quote. Norton, B., bennorton.com via The Greanville Post (Oct. 2014). (“When the courageous activist speaks of the importance of education and nonviolence, the West shouts her words loudly from the media mountaintops. When that same activist criticizes predator drones and, that most sacrosanct entity of all, capitalism, the silence is deafening.”)

Feminist cancels USU talk after guns allowed despite death threat. Alberty, E., The Salt Lake Tribune (Oct. 2014).

After California decriminalized marijuana, teen arrest, overdose and dropout rates fell. Ingraham, C., The Washington Post (Oct. 2014). (“marijuana decriminalization in California has not resulted in harmful consequences for teenagers, such as increased crime, drug overdose, driving under the influence, or school dropout. In fact, California teenagers showed improvements in all risk areas after reform.”)

The Government War Against Reporter James Risen. Solomon, N. and Wheeler, M., The Nation (Oct. 2014). (“The vendetta against him and whistleblower Jeffrey Sterling reflects an antidemocratic goal: the uninformed consent of the governed.”)

DHS raids investigative journalist; seizes confidential list of whistleblowers. Police State USA (Oct. 2014). (“I never in my wildest dreams thought something like that could happen in this country.”)

5 Stupid, Unfair and Sexist Things Expected of Men. Christina, C., AlterNet (Oct. 2014).

Meet the CIA’s 10 Favorite Drug Traffickers. Alexandrov, N., AlterNet via Substance.com (Oct. 2014). (“The agency has supported — even created — many of the world’s most notorious drug kingpins. Just as long as they serve U.S. foreign policy.”)

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Finally, a little Nietzsche for our Quote collection. Yes that Nietzsche, who held some, *ahem*, problematic views. But the man also had some good ideas and expressed them so well:

There is not sufficient love and goodness in the world to permit us to give some of it away to imaginary beings. –Friedrich Nietzsche

After coming into contact with a religious man, I always feel I must wash my hands. –Friedrich Nietzsche

Mystical explanations are considered deep; the truth is, they are not even shallow. –Friedrich Nietzsche

When we hear the ancient bells growling on a Sunday morning we ask ourselves: Is it really possible! This, for a Jew, crucified two thousand years ago, who said he was God’s son? The proof of such a claim is lacking. Certainly the Christian religion is an antiquity projected into our times from remote prehistory; and the fact that the claim is believed — whereas one is otherwise so strict in examining pretensions — is perhaps the most ancient piece of this heritage. A god who begets children with a mortal woman; a sage who bids men work no more, have no more courts, but look for the signs of the impending end of the world; a justice that accepts the innocent as a vicarious sacrifice; someone who orders his disciples to drink his blood; prayers for miraculous interventions; sins perpetrated against a god, atoned for by a god; fear of a beyond to which death is the portal; the form of the cross as a symbol in a time that no longer knows the function and ignominy of the cross — how ghoulishly all this touches us, as if from the tomb of a primeval past! Can one believe that such things are still believed? –Friedrich Nietzsche

The surest way to corrupt a youth is to instruct him to hold in higher esteem those who think alike than those who think differently. –Friedrich Nietzsche

One will rarely err if extreme actions be ascribed to vanity, ordinary actions to habit, and mean actions to fear. –Friedrich Nietzsche

When virtue has slept, she will get up more refreshed. –Friedrich Nietzsche

In reality, hope is the worst of all evils, because it prolongs man’s torments. –Friedrich Nietzsche

The reasons and purposes for habits are always lies that are added only after some people begin to attack these habits and to ask for reasons and purposes. At this point the conservatives of all ages are thoroughly dishonest: they add lies. –Friedrich Nietzsche

God is dead; but given the way of men, there may still be caves for thousands of years in which his shadow will be shown. — And we — we still have to vanquish his shadow, too. –Friedrich Nietzsche

In the mountains of truth you will never climb in vain: either you will get up higher today or you will exercise your strength so as to be able to get up higher tomorrow. –Friedrich Nietzsche

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NOTE: Acquisition of links and/or bon mots for the Palace Library does not imply the Palace’s 100% agreement with or endorsement of any content, organization or individual.

Recent reads.

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The Last Gasp of Climate Change Liberals. Hedges, C., Truthdig (Aug. 2014). [h/t SJ]

Errors and Emissions: Could Fighting Global Warming Be Cheap and Free? Krugman, P., The New York Times (Sep. 2014).

The Coming Climate Revolt. Hedges, C., Truthdig (Sep. 2014).

A Guide for Men with Good Intentions. xenologer,  Dissent of a Woman (Aug. 2012).

White Fragility. DiAngelo, R., International Journal of Critical Pedagogy, Vol 3 (3) (2011). (pdf)

The racial divide in America’s gun deaths. Ferdman, R.A., The Washington Post (Sep. 2014).

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NOTE: The acquisition of links for the Library does not imply the Palace’s 100% agreement with or endorsement of any content, organization, source or individual.

This week in surveillance, guns, drones and weed.

So this is a thing that is happening:

Thieves in UK Are Using Drones to Locate and Steal From Cannabis Farms
The burglars seek out cannabis operations in order to burglarize or extort them.

Miscreant techies in the United Kingdom are following in the footsteps of law enforcement, adopting the use of heat-seeking drones to locate pot farms, which often rely on heat-intensive hydroponic lights. However, the enterprising thieves are detecting the cannabis operations in order to burglarize or extort them.

The proliferation of drone technology is nothing new in the UK, but this particular application is the first of its kind, according to Halesowen News. The newspaper, which serves the West Midlands of England, spoke to one of these pioneering criminals about the development of the technique.

“I bought my first drone for a few hundred quid and learned how to fly it over wasteland and fitted a Wi-Fi camera to it so I could look into people’s windows,” the unnamed source said.

Well he seems like an all right d00d.

“However, I noticed police helicopters used thermal-imaging cameras to find cannabis farms because of the heat the hydroponic lights give off, so I bought a secondhand heat-seeking camera online and hooked it up to my iPad.”

It turns out that in recent years pot growing operations have been proliferating across Britain—with one entirely predictable result being a rise in people stealing the weed. The source for the article calls his targets “fair game.”

“It is not like I’m using my drone to see if people have nice televisions,” he said. “I am just after drugs to steal and sell. If you break the law then you enter me and my drone’s world.”

It’s his world, people: we just live in it. He seems nice. Wait, no. What I mean is that he’d make a nice authoritarian conservative panty-sniffer. Britain should thank the Lard it doesn’t have our gun access problem. Ooh! Hey Hollywood! I’m picturing an exciting arms race between police and drug thieves over the skies of the UK: “Copter Coppers vs. Druggie Drones.” Can they avoid crashing into each other in their efforts to be the first to capture the weed? Video game franchise, kids’ play sets, etc. etc. Hit me on my cell.

Speaking of gun access:

1 of 6 victims shot at FedEx facility remains critical; dead suspect identified as a package handler

A 19-year-old package handler, who was armed ‘like Rambo,’ opened fire on his co-workers at a FedEx facility in Kennesaw [Georgia] early [yesterday] morning, injuring six people, before killing himself.

The gunman has been identified as Geddy Kramer. Cobb County police say the man walked into the FedEx warehouse on Airport Road and opened fire. Six men and women between the ages of 19 and 52 were taken to WellStar Kennestone Hospital, where one of them remains in critical condition.

Here in the Land of the Free to be Shot™, tragic stories of mass shootings are only too common. What is uncommon about this particular story is this:

The Georgia facility is located in Kennesaw, near Atlanta, a quiet suburb unique in the U.S. for mandating every household own at least one gun.

What.

The law is not enforced, so the Kennesaw gun ownership rate hovers around 50 percent, according to its police chief. That’s still higher than the average rate of gun ownership in the U.S., estimated to be about 34 percent.

Oh, okay. So there are obviously fewer mass shootings in Kennesaw than there otherwise would be if its citizens only owned guns at the average national rate (34%?! Jeezus Haploid Christ.). Of course if everyone would just comply with the gun ownership requirement there would be even fewer still—and of course this particular tragedy would have been avoided entirely. Q.E.D.

Fortunately, Georgia seems to be on the right track in combating gun violence:

The incident comes just one week after Georgia enacted what may be the nation’s most expansive concealed carry law. The National Rifle Association-sponsored “Safe Protection Act” allows gun owners to bring firearms into most public spaces, including schools, bars, churches, airports, and government buildings, even though researchers have generally found that more people die from gun homicides in areas with higher rates of gun ownership.

“Researchers,” as we all know, is just a code word for “godless inteeleckshuls paid to enforce the New World Order,” so we should absolutely ignore them. And Melissa McEwan says about the incident, “So much for arguments about how more guns prevents mass shootings,” but I’m afraid I have to disagree. According to an eyewitness:

FedEx employee Liza Aiken told the Atlanta Journal-Constitutional she saw the shooter with an assault rifle and “bullets strapped to his chest like Rambo. I mean he looked like he was heading into war.”

What this clearly means is that everyone in Kennesaw must now carry an assault rifle and strap on enough ammunition to kill an entire enemy regiment. It’s the only way to ensure the citizens of Kennesaw are safe from people like Rambo Junior here, people.

Interestingly, FedEx is one of at least 34 corporations that support the NRA. It offers discounted shipping to NRA members.

Finally, via AcronymTV, here is a very good ten-minute discussion of some of the implications of the U.S. surveillance state and some thoughts on the legitimacy of the U.S. government. Enjoy?

Proof that the Zombie apocalypse is here.

While watching this, I was imagining how Americans would act if they were after something they actually needed—like food—and then the caption at the end made the same point.

It could be worse, of course. It’s not like the population is heavily armed, or anything.

Are Americans the greatest people ever to live on the planet, or what?

[h/t nubs]