playing catch-up

From: Neil Blanch (
Date: Thu Dec 27 2001 - 23:21:25 MST

My PC had something of a nervous breakdown over the last few days, and
someone tried to burn down Sydney (nearly did it too!) so this is something
of a mixed bag of thoughts on the last few issues of v6:

In v6#354 Mike Lorrey said: "the Japanese government has never apologized
for this treatment, generally denies that it took place in their history
books, and has never paid a dime to the survivors or their families,"

In a wider context this is true, however there have been recent (small)
victories by the so-called "comfort women", women, usually of Asian decent,
who were forced into sexual servitude for Japanese soldiers, their treatment
in many cases so bad that they were virtually kept in "rape camps". In SOME
countries these women have won compensation (albeit tiny), however no
apologies have been given by the Japanese government. There are numerous
documentary sources for these, and other, atrocities, one of the best the
recent "Hell: War in the Pacific" series recently broadcast on Australian
TV. It should be noted however, that these atrocities were not one-sided -
the aforementioned TV series also depicted through interview and previously
unreleased film footage, atrocities committed by Allied troops, particularly
in regard to the killing of surrendered soldiers and Japanese nationals
including women & children.

In v6#355 Mike Lorrey said: "In Afghanistan, Afghan and al Qaeda
prisoners are not tortured in any way by US forces, no drugs, no
physical force is used."

Mike - unfortunately this statement (at the moment anyway) cannot be proven
(or disproven), however I should point out that the US has a far from
sterling history in this regard, often using & training operatives from
client countries to perform the dirty work of torture (eg El Salvador,
Vietnam, Laos etc). Given the tight press restrictions the US places on
coverage on the war in Afghanistan (as they did in the Gulf War), we back
home have next to no idea of what may or may not be actually occurring, and
given events like Mai Lai & US actions in numerous countries over the last
40 years it would be foolish to assume that the US is acting beyond any
reproach, something I'm sure the Pashtar tribesmen of Afghanistan would
happily tell you (funny how 60 odd prominent but "difficult" tribal
representatives could be killed "accidentally" by US forces, no?).

In v6#355 Technotransendence wrote: "As for the United States and other
nations, the best foreign aid policy is no foreign aid. Let people trade if
they want to, but don't take money forcibly from anyone here to give to
anyone anywhere else - or vice versa. (An extra special added bonus of this
"no aid" policy no
one can never accuse you of meddling or neo-colonialism.:)"

Techno - a very easy statement for you to make - you have access to power, a
computer, the internet, clean water and hospitals. Most of the world does
not. We as a species really do need to learn not to live in luxury at the
expense of the majority - if we don't learn this NOW, how the hell will we
cope when new technologies make the majority of jobs redundant? When only a
tiny percentage of the population can find ANY meaningful paid employment,
who will feed you, your friends and family? Should you then live in shit,
disease & starvation? I somehow suspect you will have a very different idea
of "welfare" & "foreign aid" then.

In v6#356 Mike Lorrey wrote: "Then they are far more predisposed to support
the establishment of the sort of police state repressions needed to launch a
socialist revolution."

This seems to be conspiracy theorist nonsense to me, or at least an excess
of imagination...why would these people want a socialist revolution? And
what do you mean by socialist? If you are referring to the monolithic
stupidity & horrific excesses of countries like the People's Republic of
China or the old USSR, even the most ardent leftists are not interested in
repeating those mistakes...

I find it really strange that some extropians (& other transhumanist &
futurist movements) are so frightened of core socialist ideals (like sharing
& joint public ownership of assets) while at the same time espousing
technologies that should lead to a culture of superabundance & a new type of
economy that quite probably will have some of it's roots in garden variety
socialism, & (given technical advances that will change so much of
manufacturing & the very notion of "work") may by sheer necessity involve
some form of "welfare" for the majority of citizens (the SF Ian M Bainks is
a good place to look for a dynamic post human, post singularity society that
"works", despite the fact that just about no-one works)

(please do not think I'm picking on you by the way - I may not agree with
you, but I do admire your courage in sticking to your convictions as a
(political) conservative in a primarily liberal forum)

In vol6#356 "Eliezer S. Yudkowsky" said a whole bunch stuff. Bravo! Me Too!
While I do not deny the dangers that we as a species face, including the
much feared "hard takeoff", I see the coming spike as our chance to FINALLY
bring about some real change as MORAL BEINGS, our chance (if we avoid the
pitfalls) to finally live up to our evolutionary potential & step outside
the awful scrambling for dominance & resources that has made so much of
human history and achievement a bloodbath. Becoming transhuman should mean
more than just having better bodies, or better brains, or being better
adapted to new environments & technologies, it should be about becoming
better people as well. Without an ethical revolution, any of our
technological victories will be as empty as the nightmares of the hard
takeoff advocates.

In V6#358 Mike wrote : "Most large cities have far more restrictive gun laws
than the states in which they are located, and states and cities that are
dominated by the Democratic Party politically have far more restrictive gun
laws than those that are not (note that most laws restricting carrying of
concealed weapons date back to the passage of Jim Crow laws, to prevent
blacks from protecting themselves from KKK raiders, who were usually armed
by local law enforcement authorities.)

San Francisco, New York City, Chicago, Washington DC, St. Louis, and many
other such cities highly restrict the carrying of concealed weapons by law
abiding private citizens, if not banning such outright. These cities also
exhibit the highest violent crime rates. If you remove the crime data
originating from such restrictive jurisdictions from US violent crime rates,
you will find that the corrected crime rate is far lower than most other
industrialized nations (you will also find that removing these large
democrat controlled cities from the mix helps to make the US demographics to
compare more similarly to other industrialized nations)."

Now it all becomes clear: Democrats emit a substance, similar to phlogiston,
that creates murderous & violent impulses in those exposed, especially those
of lesser races, driving them to commit all sorts of barbarous acts against
decent, law abiding, gun carrying, Republican voting, white folks. The San
Francisco strain is of Democrat seems to be particularly dangerous, driving
normally god-fearing folks to sodomy, mongrelisation & the eating of
seafood! Damn those evil Democrats! They must be in league with the ACLU,
the NEA & Satan himself!

Really Mike. If you remove all the areas where there are homicides involving
guns, because you claim it somehow skews the data, then of course liberal
gun laws look safe. Your theory that it's restrictive gun laws that make
areas like LA dangerous does not hold up to close scrutiny when you account
for the fact that while LA's gun laws may be strict by your standards, they
are still incredibly loose in comparison to the gun laws in other non-USA
cities (like Sydney or Tokyo) that have very low homicide & gun related
injury rates. Twisting the statistics to fit your own desired outcome is
just bad science, bad form, and, I would have thought, beneath you.

On the same topic: V6#358 Kai said: "Ah, I see. This would mean, that US
Americans are about four times more violent and potential criminals than
citizens of other western countries. Hm. The USA a 3rd world country? Hm.
This brings Mikes argument about not trusting non-residents and immigrants
back into mind. Europe, Asia and Australia should, following this argument,
not trust US citizens to behave
according to our civil, low crime society here and restrict visas and such.

Spot on Kai. If you discount guns as a major factor in American violence
then it MUST be American society & the American people who are so very
violent. A pretty scary thought considering all the deadly toys you people

V6#358 Spudboy100 said: "Notice that the Japanese electorate seem content to
live in a less, plush, economy during the last 10 years, while the USA
enjoyed the longest prosperity in its history." (italics added)

Don't you people notice the growing income disparity in the USA? The fact a
smaller & smaller percentage of people are hoarding more & more of the
wealth while the country goes to hell? The number of homeless? The appalling
state of public medicine? The increasing violence? The high suicide rate?
The huge growth in your prison populations? The falling education standards?
The slow death of work for those with poor educations, poor grades or just
plain poor? The rise of a culture of blame but no action, of litigation over
invention, of convenience over justice, of lies over truth, of mine, mine,
mine & screw everyone else? Is this really what we mean by prosperity?

V6#358 J.R. Molloy said: "Europe, Asia, and Australia have been quite
restrictive about immigration. IIRC Australia only recently lifted
restrictions on immigration. Do you know what year it was that Australia
finally lifted immigration restrictions?"

Actually, Australia's stance on immigration has sunk to new lows in the last
few years. We automatically detain refugees (sorry "asylum seekers"), the
ONLY country to do so. We detain many of these people in total isolation,
literally, in jail, in the desert. We break international maritime law. We
break UN human rights agreements that we are signatory to. We keep already
traumatised children in jail, where they are regularly searched, subjected
to roll calls at all hours, & where they witness the more desperate refugees
self harm themselves (some have seen self immolation, hangings and the good
old wrist slash). There are allegations that some of these children have
been physically and even sexually abused, not just by other "asylum seekers"
at the detention centres, or whilst in their native land, but by the STAFF
at these "detention centres" (the government refuses to allow a formal
inquiry or even entertain the idea of an independent medical examiner for
this or other health based issues). These children have no access to any
form of psychiatric care. We hold all these people, and, if we do not have
diplomatic relations with their homeland, we hold them indefinitely, without
review. We treat people who are fleeing the Taliban in fear of their lives,
and who are recognised by the UN as genuine refugees, WORSE than we have
ever treated POW's, despite the fact that they are fleeing a regime that we
are at WAR with. Criminals convicted of violent crimes, including rape &
murder have more rights than these poor unfortunates, many of whom have
given up everything & risked their lives (over 150 died recently as one of
their boats sunk) to seek shelter in Australia

Words cannot express the sheer disgust I feel for my country, and my
government at the moment. The Australian public has been consistently lied
to by it's government & manipulated by the basest of emotions: fear. I love
my country, but now...I'm just so ashamed.

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