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death camps

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  Messages 23-22 deleted by author 03-15-2006 03:52 PM
Charlie StrossPerson was signed in when posted
08:49 AM ET (US)
I can't see fandom going nuclear on a trans-Atlantic basis, so it's settled.

(But I'm serious about dropping comments from henceforth.)
Gary Farber
03:47 AM ET (US)
I do promise, by the way, that by the Astral Leauge, and Roscoe and other fannish oaths, I will never nuke the fans of Britain unless a true fannish war has been declared.

Should we all settle on this sort of solemn promise?
Gary Farber
03:43 AM ET (US)
"Frankly, the behaviour of the corrupt junta running your country fills me with such fear that if the fucking Tory party were to run the next election on a platform of building lots of ICBMs and pointing them at Washington DC, I'd hold my nose and vote Tory."

Duly noted, Charlie. I'd love to sit in a pub for a couple of day's worth of rounds about this, as I think that while you have a bunch of valid concerns and fears, you're also actually out of your fucking mind on this, whatever the merits, I expect we'd have a grand timd settling the topid, and rambling about many others.

The simple version is that I know what you're concerned about, adn I think its bugger bugger bugger exaggerated.

Of course, I may be wrong, and my other more hysterical compatriates more correctly alerted. We shall see.

My claim is that my mother was a communist, and I'm well familiar with the dangers, and the exagerations. The counter-claim is that it's all new this decade this decade, despite our hyper-alternes. I actually thin out hyper-alternetness works. If not, how did I or you miss it?

But so it goes.
Charlie StrossPerson was signed in when posted
04:18 PM ET (US)
I'd like to apologize for any impression that last post gives to the effect that I'm anti-American. I'm not. But I find the current US government so terrifying that I think the only rational response to it is one that involves pointing large numbers of nuclear missiles at the White House until you guys vote in a different weasel -- one who isn't clearly a psychopath.
Charlie StrossPerson was signed in when posted
04:14 PM ET (US)
Gary, I'll thank you to bear in mind that, but for a dose of summer 'flu in August 1939, my father would have ended up in Birkenau. (That's where the cousins he was due to spend September with ended up.)

I know exactly what I'm doing when I use emotionally laden terms like "death camps" and I am using them with intent. Frankly, the behaviour of the corrupt junta running your country fills me with such fear that if the fucking Tory party were to run the next election on a platform of building lots of ICBMs and pointing them at Washington DC, I'd hold my nose and vote Tory. (Realitically, this ain't going to happen -- they're even more wilfully blind to the hideous danger the neoimperialists -- sorry, neoconervatives -- pose to us than their opposite numbers in the Labour party. But I'll stand behind my words, if it comes to it. See: hostage to fortune. Okay?)

Your government scares the shit out of me for ideological reasons to about the same degree as Osama bin Laden -- and unlike ObL, they've got nukes and a track record of invading countries that offered them no threat.
Gary Farber
10:47 PM ET (US)
"Can someone explain to me a reason why the current Republican administration in the US want to run up a budget deficit that even the US economy can't pay off?"

Of course. I thought it was common knowledge that their extremist Republican ideology calls for this as a means to, in later years, force drastic cuts in domestic spending, to keep the deficit in check, and eliminate all those nasty domestic programs they believe government should not be engaged in. They are, of course, scum for believing in this, for the most part. In my view.

See? Very simple.

On the other hand, for the record, I'm immensely offended at your posting this or any other posts under "death camps." "Death camps" has a very simple meaning. It refers to a camp -- the Germans were the only ones in world history to yet do this, but certainly others could do so at present or in the future -- in which industrial processes were used to engage in mass killing of the inhabitants. As you know perfectly well, the Germans did this to millions of people.


It does not refer to execution of individuals on an individual basis, no matter how much or little you may disagree with such prosecutions, or with the death penalty at all (and I am, in point of fact, an opponent of the death penalty).

But to fail to distinguish between a death penalty for individual prisoners, and a "death camp" is one of the worst distortions of words possible, and seems to me as if it should fall under Godwin's Law. Frankly, Charlie, I think it's a disgusting and outrageous distortion of usage, for propaganda purposes, and I'm extremely disappointed in you in going for that propaganda point. I think it's entirely fair to criticize, debate, or condemn, a bunch of aspects of Guantanamo, and US anti-terrorist law, but use of the words "death camp" is over the line, in my opinion, until the day we're funneling people in camps en mass into gas chambers.

Maybe this somehow seems like a small distinction to you, but I think it's an entirely meaningful distinction.

As a separate point, that Australian article was anonymously sourced, and hasn't been backed up by anyone. It's not useful to one's credibility to cite anonymously sourced, obviously unreliable, "journalism," that happens to conveniently agree with one's prejudices. I'm not saying it might not prove, eventually, to be accurate. I have no idea. But right now, it's junk journalism. Yet you push this sort of stuff, because you want to believe it. Understandable, but not lending to credibility.

This is similar to all those articles about how overthrowing the Taliban was impossible, or would take decades of quaqmire and massive coalition death. Ditto Iraq.

Funny how none of that happened.
Arthur Wyatt
05:39 AM ET (US)
"The linked article about the Dollar v Euro is one of the most bizarre pieces of creative writing I have come across in a long time."

Strangley as a non-economist its utter bizarreness makes it even more plausible to me.
Justin Mason
02:26 PM ET (US)
Hi Charlie -- good blog!

'Back in the 1970's not-so-good SF was anticipating wars fought over the last oil reserves in the 1980's and 1990's. I'm beginning to wonder if maybe those predictions aren't starting to come true.'

I remember back in the 90's, there was a lot of talk in Ireland about neutrality and Europe; one (scary) comment at the time was made by Mitterand (IIRC) about how Europe needed a strong army "for the resource wars of the 21st century". So Mitterand must have been reading some bad SF ;)
Duncan Lawie
12:34 PM ET (US)
The linked article about the Dollar v Euro is one of the most bizarre pieces of creative writing I have come across in a long time. I really need some convincing that various reserve banks around the world are propping up their currency with bales of US notes or that oil is actually bought and sold in US currency.

Surely when an Australian Oil Company pumps crude out of Bass Strait the product is processed in Aus and sold to Australian car-owners in Australian dollars even though the company is probably a subsidiary/branch of BP or Shell. It may well count up the number of barrels which came up the pipe and multiply that by the price of crude in Yankee Dollars for the benefit of the parent companies balance sheets, but I can't see how that strengthens US currency.

Surely, when Iraq was selling oil to the French in, say, the 1970s, the French paid in Francs; they didn't go down to the Post Office and get dollars which were neither theirs nor Iraqs.

In any case, the financial press (e.g. FT) are currently suggesting that the weakening of the USD against the Euro has been a clever and timely trick and that the States has got one over Europe again.
Nick Smale
05:25 PM ET (US)
Paul Krugman gave a disturbingly plausible rationalisation for the US budget deficit in the New York Times recently:

It's no secret that right-wing ideologues want to abolish programs Americans take for granted. But not long ago, to suggest that the Bush administration's policies might actually be driven by those ideologues ? that the administration was deliberately setting the country up for a fiscal crisis in which popular social programs could be sharply cut ? was to be accused of spouting conspiracy theories.

Yet by pushing through another huge tax cut in the face of record deficits, the administration clearly demonstrates either that it is completely feckless, or that it actually wants a fiscal crisis. (Or maybe both.)

Here's one way to look at the situation: Although you wouldn't know it from the rhetoric, federal taxes are already historically low as a share of G.D.P. Once the new round of cuts takes effect, federal taxes will be lower than their average during the Eisenhower administration. How, then, can the government pay for Medicare and Medicaid ? which didn't exist in the 1950's ? and Social Security, which will become far more expensive as the population ages? (Defense spending has fallen compared with the economy, but not that much, and it's on the rise again.)

The answer is that it can't. The government can borrow to make up the difference as long as investors remain in denial, unable to believe that the world's only superpower is turning into a banana republic. But at some point bond markets will balk ? they won't lend money to a government, even that of the United States, if that government's debt is growing faster than its revenues and there is no plausible story about how the budget will eventually come under control.

At that point, either taxes will go up again, or programs that have become fundamental to the American way of life will be gutted. We can be sure that the right will do whatever it takes to preserve the Bush tax cuts ? right now the administration is even skimping on homeland security to save a few dollars here and there. But balancing the books without tax increases will require deep cuts where the money is: that is, in Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security.
Andrew Reeves
02:12 AM ET (US)
Uh, Charlie, I think that your politics are somewhat altering your perception of the whole Guantanamo Bay thing. Yes, if Bush is the very essense of pure distilled evil who is chomping at the bit to institute fascism, then allowing for the execution of people convicted of terrorism by a unanimous decision from a tribunal might just be the first step in GW's sinister plans. Then again, it's a peculiar concentration camp that has its inmates put on an average of 14 pounds and also releases people with a handshake, a new Q'ran, and a pair of blue jeans. It's also funny that those fascists make sure that all of the food their prisoners eat is halal.

A while back you wrote of the sinister U.S. government disappearing innocent peace activists in the dead of night which turned out not to have been the case. To say words to the effect of "It's scary because even if Bush and Company aren't secretly disappearing peace activists, they would, because that's what fascists do." is a lot like saying (http://groups.google.com/groups?selm=20000...l.com&output=gplain) "Note the "if" in my statement. I do *not* believe that Vince Foster was murdered. I believe that *if* he was murdered that Clinton is the most likely culprit."

That way madness lies.
Edited 05-30-2003 02:12 AM
SteelydanPerson was signed in when posted
08:39 PM ET (US)
ON the bankruptcy issue: The Republicans and their stateless multinational sponsors hate the government and they hate social services. These are people who look at 1984 not as a warning, but as a model. I'm sure Ken can give you the appropriate quotation from Marx or Lenin or Gramsci about how all this works. I live in a very very sick democracy that's run entirely by big money. The democrats are funded by the same people who fund the Republicans, except less effectively, which probably isn't an accident. The only counteroption would be raising taxes to fund what are already underfunded social services...Remember: a lot of our schools are physically falling apart, we have no national health care, we're practically helpless against both the military complex and high roller insurance and media lobbies. It's a fucked up situation. What can you do in Europe? For christ sake fight for a democratic EU, make it more democratic, not less...fight for a referendum process, something...don't become the US in order to fight the monster, become something better...
David Bell
06:15 PM ET (US)
If the US Government wants to deal with prisoners in a night and fog style, a firing squad is a little conspicuous. Some sort of distinct facility, for "processing" prisoners convicted by a military court, would make sense. And once you have that you can pick a few executioners, maybe not even brutal men, who would see themselves as carrying out the regrettable sentence of a proper court.

Much more discreet...
Duncan Lawie
05:02 PM ET (US)
Surely if they were planning military trials and executions they don't need either a death row or an execution chamber. The guilty are slung back in a cell for the night and then taken out on the parade ground and shot. Much simpler all round.

As for extradition, the UK has signed up to the European Human Rights Charter. Under that treaty, the UK can not allow extradition to countries with the death penalty if it thinks there is a reasonable likelihood that such a penalty might be applied in the case of the crimes cited in the extradition (if I recall correctly).

Thirdly, speaking of Budgets, the Aussies 'accidentally' overstated the value of the national telecommunication company Telstra by A$3 billion : http://www.abc.net.au/news/newsitems/s867109.htm so it may just be the old fashion politician's disease of untruth.
Jon Meltzer
03:39 PM ET (US)
No, that's not Kristalnacht. That's Poland 1939. Bad enough, though.

As for the budget deficit, that's basic MBA economics: if you know that your company is about to tank, get as much personal loot out of it before it does.
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