political punishment

Power… is conceived not as a property but as a strategy, its effects of domination are attributed not to ‘appropriation’, but to dispositions, manoeuvres, tactics, techniques, functionings; one should decipher in it a network of relations, constantly in tension, in activity, rather than a privilege one might possess; one should take as its model a perpetual battle rather than a contract regulating a transaction or the conquest of a territory. In short this power is exercised rather than possessed; it is not the ‘privilege’, acquired or preserved, of the dominant class, but the overall effect of its strategic positions – an effect that is manifested and sometimes extend by the position of those who are dominated… This means that these relations go right down into the depths of society.
—  Foucault, Michel. (1977) Discipline and Punish. Penguin. p.26

A lot of radical feminists only support ex muslims who say what they’ve deemed as the right thing to say about Islam but don’t care about muslim women, about non-religious women who are racialized as muslim in the west who don’t consider themselves to be ex muslims, about christian or hindu women who are racialized as muslim in the west and others who aren’t politically convenient to them. Radical feminists need to stop with the moralising conditional support and stop viewing these women through a solely political lens and realise that they are a diverse group of women all equally oppressed under patriarchy and white supremacy.

“Killing is killing - whether done for duty, profit, or fun.

People in this day and age are brainwashed, and programmed like a computer, at being nothing more than puppets.

This country is founded in violence. Madness is something rare in individuals - but in groups, people, and ages - it is the rule.”

- Richard Ramirez (Night Stalker)

So today in the UK it is Remembrance Sunday, during which we remember those who died as a result of World Wars 1 and 2. As many as 50 to 80 million died as a result of these wars.

However, I’d like to introduce you to a person you may or may not have heard of, whose name I have not heard mentioned once today, even though his work shortened World War 2 by up to two entire years.

This is Alan Turing (born 1912) who worked behind the scenes, and invented a machine to crack Nazi codes, meaning the British could read their messages and were able to save thousands of lives.

Turing was well known for his exceptional brains, which made him an excellent mathematician and computer scientist. His machinery which is considered the beginning of the modern computer. Without him, the outcome of World War 2 could have been very different. Hitler could have won.

However in 1952, the British arrested Turing for ‘homosexual acts’. He chose to take oestrogen instead of going to jail. What the chemical would have done to his body would mean he could never commit a homosexual act again (in effect, a chemical castration).

This was one of many drugs the British Law Enforcement made him to take, with aim to ‘cure’ his homosexuality.

The drugs destroyed his mind completely. He was unable to do basic puzzles by the end of his life, and in 1954, aged 41, he committed suicide. Isn’t it wonderful, to see how Great Britain thanked the man who saved their lives?

In 2009, the British Prime Minister made a public apology for the appalling way he was treated, and in 2013, Turing was ‘pardoned of his crimes’.

For me, that’s not good enough.

Turing was one of many LGBT persons destroyed for simply being who he was. I think that’s disgraceful, and these pardons have come far too late. We lost him. It’s too late to apologise to him. It’s too late to bring him back and save him. Nothing is going to change what happened to him, and nothing ever will. You may think that’s dismal. Well, it is.

I wanted to post about him today, because I am remembering him on Remembrance Day, when it seems no one else will. I wish there was a way I could go back in time, and apologise to him for what society did.

It would be great if you could remember him too. Thanks for reading.

anonymous asked:

How do you conceptualize boycotts as illiberal?

I see the great triumph of liberalism to be the divorce of the public and private spheres.  Anything that brings them together, then, is basically illiberal and also bad.

One of the great innovations of the Enlightenment was the ability to tolerate and economically interact with people with whom you have fundamental religious and ideological disagreements.  It allowed diverse metropolises of people who don’t all agree–and the diversity is a precondition for the metropolis, because the more you limit who’s allowed in the clubhouse, the smaller the clubhouse membership has to stay.

When I buy groceries, I don’t know what religious beliefs the people I’m buying from have.  I don’t know their political beliefs.  I don’t know their personal beliefs.  I don’t know them.  And this is a good thing.

Why is it a good thing?  Because it creates space for them to be them, without having to worry about economic consequences.  Because their ideology isn’t held hostage to their paychecks.  Because it protects their self-determination.  

(Note that this doesn’t apply to cases where the ideology is the product.  I don’t “boycott” Sean Hannity.  I just don’t watch his show because it’s deeply unappealing.  Similarly, I wouldn’t “boycott” a doctor who doesn’t believe vaccination.  The problem there isn’t his personal beliefs but his actual product).

The logic of boycotts is a logic of judging and discrimination.  If your position is that firing people for some classes of personal beliefs is okay, but firing them for others isn’t, then you don’t actually believe that discrimination is bad; you believe that some personal beliefs should be elevated.  

If you think that firing people for engaging in pro-LGBTQ activism is unethical, but that firing people for engaging in anti-LGBTQ activism is ethical and in fact ethically mandated, then you are not behaving liberally.  You believe in treating people unequally with respect to their political beliefs.  

(If you put the force of law behind these beliefs–if you think, say, that pro-LGBTQ activism should be a legally protected behavior, but that the converse should not be–then you are asking the government to legally enshrine different standards for differing political views, which is utter anathema to the liberal project.  

Using the government to differentially support one political viewpoint and punish another doesn’t magically become liberal because you’re supporting a group that happens to be progressive.  Or even a group that happens to be correct).

But suppose we leave the government out of it, since that seems to be the point of the boycott.  Then you’re not working to build an illiberal governmental order, of course.  But you’re building an illiberal society.  You’re building a society where the public and the private are entangled.

The point of liberalism is to make personal beliefs protected.  When you start creating economic penalties for personal and political beliefs, you’re working against that logic.

'Saturday Night Massacre': Key figures in Nixon's 1973 Justice Department purge
An illustrated guide to key figures in Nixon's "Saturday Night Massacre" by artist Steve Brodner.
By Los Angeles Times

In  1973, President Nixon ordered the firing of special prosecutor Archibald Cox because he wouldn’t obey Nixon’s order to stop looking into Watergate. Two of the Justice Department’s top leaders resigned in protest rather than following Nixon’s directive to fire Cox. It became known as the “Saturday Night Massacre,” an instance of the president using his power to punish political enemies within the Justice Department.

It’s a phrase that came up again Monday after President Trump ousted acting Atty. Gen. Sally Yates, just hours after she said the Justice Department would not defend the president’s controversial executive order temporarily banning all refugees and travelers from certain countries.Three years ago, on the 40th anniversary of Nixon’s actions, artist Steve Brodner drew this guide to the key players.

On Oct. 20, 1973, the two highest-ranking members of the Justice Department, Atty. Gen. Elliot L. Richardson and his deputy, William D. Ruckelshaus, quit rather than follow President Nixon’s order to fire Special Prosecutor Archibald Cox. Cox and the courts were pressing the president to release White House tape recordings that might shed light on whether he had a role in covering up a break-in at Democratic Party headquarters in Washington’s Watergate office complex.

Nixon’s move to block the special prosecutor was for most Americans their first up-close look at what the Watergate fuss, by then more than a year old, was all about: naked presidential power.

Nixon badly miscalculated on Oct. 20, 1973. When Richardson got the order to fire a defiant Cox, the attorney general instead went in person to the White House to quit his job. Ruckelshaus, next up at the Justice Department, was handed his orders by phone, and he too refused and resigned.

“You owe a duty of loyalty to the president that transcends most other duties,” Ruckelshaus told a gathering of former U.S. attorneys in 2009. But “there are lines…. In this case, the line was bright and the decision was simple.”

Read All

Trump’s Firing of Comey is HIS replay of Nixon’s Firing of Archibald Cox, the Special Prosecutor investigating Watergate, at the time.


…[I]n a lot of addiction rhetoric, enabling is a dirty word akin to aiding and abetting addiction — conspiring with the enemy. It’s based on the creed that a person struggling with drugs has to “hit bottom” and suffer enormous loss and intolerable pain before they’re ready for help. Never mind that research actually contradicts the “hitting bottom” model; too many addiction counselors and self-styled experts still consider it an article of faith and warn us in dire terms against enabling. Does someone in your life have a drug problem, and you don’t want to cut them off, break up with them, fire them, kick them out? You’ll be accused of enabling them by interrupting their trajectory towards hitting bottom.

It’s a cruel philosophy that has caused immeasurable damage, both to people who use drugs and those who love them. Parents, partners and families seeking help and support have been taught the gospel of enabling, held responsible for their loved ones’ addictions, and blamed for their relapses. The taboo against enabling aims to strip away any and all forms of support, compassion, and aid for people who use drugs. Those who preach against the evils of enabling are deeply, almost sadistically, invested in seeing people who struggle with drugs isolated, and punished, as if they’d somehow be purified through suffering. No matter if that punishment takes the form of a fatal overdose — at least nobody enabled them.

On Monday, the Southern Poverty Law Center filed an ethics complaint against Judge Wiggins, saying he had committed “a violation of bodily integrity.” The group also objected to the hearing beyond the matter of blood collection, calling the entire proceeding unconstitutional.

Payment-due hearings like this one are part of a new initiative by Alabama’s struggling courts to raise money by aggressively pursuing outstanding fines, restitution, court costs and lawyer fees. Many of those whose payments are sought in these hearings have been found at one point to be indigent, yet their financial situations often are not considered when they are summoned for outstanding payments.

Several people who were at the hearing on Sept. 17 said they were unsure whether they were being ordered to pay the entire amount due or their usual monthly payment, which many had already been paying on time, often for offenses dating back a decade or more.

Mr. Green, 43, who owes thousands of dollars in connection with two marijuana-related convictions — one from 1998 — said he had offered to pay as much as he could but had been led to believe that he had to give blood anyway.

“He told us we got to go there and give some blood or we go to jail,” Mr. Green said. He said he had willingly given blood before but, like others there on that day, did not want to be compelled to do so.

On Brexit negotiations

The sheer level of spite that the other european countries & the commission of the EU have shown since the British people delivered their verdict is in my opinion, even more damning evidence that we made the right call. The other 27 clearly do not, nor did they ever have, our best interests at heart & this political union seeks to ‘punish’ nations that leave it, like an abusive partner in divorce proceedings. Their malice only strengthens my confidence we made the right choice. 

An open letter to Tumblr about Net Neutrality

To Whom it May Concern (which is basically everybody),

As a regular Tumblr user, I was disappointed to see Tumblr’s open support of so-called “Net Neutrality.” I find it terribly ironic that a company which is able to exist solely because of the current state of internet freedom, supports regulation that would essentially hand over internet liberty to the federal government. “Save the Internet”? From what, exactly? Conditions that allowed your company to flourish? How…unselfish of you.

In the spirit of liberty, I celebrate everyone’s right to openly express any opinion, regardless of how much I might disagree with it. That being said, I’d like to exercise my right to free speech by pointing out that your support of “Net Neutrality” is either misguided or intentionally misleading. 

1.  Net Neutrality is a solution for a problem that doesn’t exist.

Supporters of so-called “Net Neutrality” will tell you that the government needs to have the power to regulate how ISPs prioritize their connection speeds to ensure that they don’t favor one internet user over another. But here’s what they never tell you: It’s a fictitious problem. It only exists theoretically. This, of course, is nothing new. The government is famous for concocting problems that it can only “solve” by assuming more control. Understand, I’m not suggesting that ISPs don’t prioritize connection speeds. They do. But often this is a good thing, not a bad thing. An internet company should be able to prioritize, say, Netflix over CrazyAndSillyCats.com. It only makes sense.

But here’s the rub: it is natural for the free to self-adjust, but history has shown that it is decidedly unnatural for the Federal Government to do so.  If CrazyAndSillyCats.com suddenly becomes an international success, and consumers suddenly demand faster access, they get to vote with their pocketbooks and only the service providers who adjust will succeed. Ten years ago, nobody could have imagined the success that a company like Netflix would have streaming HD movies on demand.  At first, the service was clunky and slow, but now that consumers have demanded the content, ISPs have adjusted and Netflix movies and shows can be streamed without interruption.  The Federal Government is not capable of that kind of rapid adjustment.

2.  Net Neutrality will ultimately lead to censorship.

The only developed countries in the world that do not a have free and open internet are countries where the government will simply not allow it to be free. The internet is censored in China. The internet is censored in Cuba. The internet is censored all over the Middle East. This is something that we in America have never had to fear because the government lacked the legal authority to censor, but by deeming the internet a “public utility,” that’s exactly what would happen. Why would we want to voluntarily give the power to censor to government?

Right now, internet content is free and open and controlled by no one (generally speaking). People can exchange information freely precisely because of the fact that the government doesn’t control it. Users aren’t required to have licenses to post things deemed controversial by those in power. I know, I know…you might think that it’s far fetched to suggest that the federal government would suddenly start blocking certain users from saying certain things online. That’s tinfoil hat stuff. but the truth is, it’s already happening. The FCC censors what can and can’t be said or shown on over-the-air television, radio and satellite mediums because these have been deemed “public utilities.” Why are we so confident that this won’t happen to the internet – with this administration or when a new one comes to power?

Furthermore, in the past, this hasn’t just applied to obscene content, it has applied to political speech as well:

The Fairness Doctrine was a policy of the United States Federal Communications Commission (FCC), introduced in 1949, that required the holders of broadcast licenses to both present controversial issues of public importance and to do so in a manner that was, in the Commission’s view, honest, equitable and balanced.

In other words, every political view shared by every broadcaster had to be monitored and approved by government. This isn’t liberty. On the contrary. Fortunately this terrible law that censored broadcasters has been repealed. Look, if you think the government won’t attempt to regulate political speech (or punish certain behavior or try to control certain behavior) on the internet by fines, selective licensing, or other coercive measures, you’re being short-sighted and utterly naive.

3.  Net Neutrality will usher in internet taxes.

There are some that claim that this isn’t true because taxes aren’t mandated in the FCC regulations, but read the fine print. By changing the classification of the internet, the federal government opens up the possibility of state and local utility taxes, which is, of course, another way of saying that local and state governments will tax the internet (because that’s what governments do. If they can tax it, they will). Here’s one analysis from the Progressive Policy Institute:

By regulating broadband service under Title II…broadband would likely become burdened with a host of new state and local taxes and fees, the kind we pay on our monthly home and/or wireless phone bills. These taxes and fees are normally passed on to consumers; when they rise, consumers end up paying more. Expect the same with broadband.
According to Litan and Singer, these new state and local fees will increase by $15 billion, impacting consumers to varying degrees. The average American household with a fixed broadband connection would pay in the range of an additional $51 to $83 per year, and those with one smartphone or other wireless broadband device (tablet) would pay $72 more annually.

But local taxes aren’t the only ones that will show up on the average consumer’s bill. The FCC has long required fees of all of the entities it regulates in order to support its so-called “Universal Service Fund.” Allow Wikipedia to explain:

The Universal Service Fund (USF) is a system of telecommunications subsidies and fees managed by the United States Federal Communications Commission (FCC) intended to promote universal access to telecommunications services in the United States. The FCC established the fund in 1997 in compliance with the Telecommunications Act of 1996. The fund reported a total of $8.33 billion in disbursements in 2013, divided among its four programs. The fund is supported by charging telecommunications companies a fee which is set quarterly. As of the fourth quarter of 2014, the rate is 16.1% of a telecom company’s interstate end-user revenues.

So they won’t tax you, per se. They’ll just charge you fees. Sound familiar?  That’s exactly what happened with Obamacare. They might not call it a “tax,” but make no mistake, getting several billion dollars into Uncle Sam’s pockets is one of the primary reasons for Net Neutrality, not fairness (however that’s defined). New taxes will come if the FCC’s plan comes to fruition. It’s not a question of if, but a question of when.

4. There is no reasonable argument for Net Neutrality.

I’ve seen memes. I’ve seen Facebook posts. I’ve read progressive articles. I’ve listened to progressive politicians. And when it comes to Net Neutrality, they all have the same argument: “We need to #SaveTheInternet from the evil cable companies.” It’s the same tactic that has been used to push through countless other liberty-killing bureaucracies, laws, taxes and regulations: a fear and hatred of corporations. But this is an argument based on emotion and personal bias rather than reason, history, principle or fact.

First of all, as has already been stated, there is no problem. Internet users in America have the ability to blog about whatever they’d like, watch Netflix almost immediately – even on their phones, listen to religious broadcasts, participate in things that some might find offensive, share controversial ideas, criticize government and, yes, even rail against evil corporations. No one is censored. No one is threatened (legally). No one has their rights violated. There is no problem. The government shouldn’t be going around solving problems that don’t exist.

Second, as anyone who is vaguely familiar with economics would surmise, even if a cable company did begin to throttle particular users and allocate resources for reasons other than traffic demand, they would begin losing customers to competitors and the problem would be immediately fixed. That’s how the free market works. It can adjust to market forces and demand instantaneously. The government? Not so much.

Third, not only is there no problem, but the competition in the free marketplace has been an undeniable success. In 1994, there were dial-up modems that supplied internet at a laughable (by today’s standards) 28.8 kbit/s. Now, gigabit connections are available in many communities nationwide. That means that our internet is 35,000 times faster now than it was just two decades ago. No government agency made that happen. The free market did.

Fourth, you may not like them, but corporations do not have the power that government does. Corporations can’t put you in jail. Corporations can’t coerce you. Corporations can’t tax you. Corporations can’t pass regulations that infringe upon your rights in any way. Government, however, can do all of these things. It has the monopoly on force.  If you think dealing with Comcast or ATT is bad, you should be petrified of dealing with the Federal Government.

5. Net Neutrality will create yet another way for corporations to get in bed with politicians.

Everyone claims to hate crony-capitalism, but when we have a real chance to curb corporate influence on government, we rarely take it. In fact, often laws, taxes, regulations and spending projects are initiated, not because they are needed, but because a corporation with powerful lobbyists pays off, bribes, or blackmails politicians to get them passed because they know it will benefit them in some way. And giving the government the power to grant (or not grant) internet licenses will likely cause this problem to increase exponentially.

You might slyly ask why many large ISP companies would be in favor of such a law if it truly will regulate them, raise taxes, take away liberty, usher in unprecedented amounts of red tape and raise the price of virtually everything related to the internet. The answer: The elimination of competition. Why is Amazon in favor of the proposed internet tax that they’ll have to pay? Is it because Amazon is so noble that it is just chomping at the bit to build more roads and bridges? Hardly. It’s because Amazon knows that its smaller competition couldn’t possibly afford to compete with its deep pockets and they would eventually go out of business. It’s not all cupcakes and rainbows when the government and corporations mix. I regularly hear people of all political stripes decry the cozy relationship that corporations have with politicians, and rightly so. So why would we want to encourage it?

6. Net Neutrality takes away liberty.

You may hate corporations. More specifically, you may hate cable companies and ISPs. That’s super. Good for you. But that doesn’t mean that they don’t (or shouldn’t) have the right to run their businesses as they see fit. Please understand, if they violate the Constitutional rights of someone, then they should face consequences. No question about it. But apart from that, they, like everyone else, should be allowed to conduct business without the thumb of government on them.

The vast majority of the time, people enter into contracts with ISPs for their internet service. These contracts generally outline the pricing structure, define the terms of service and often lock a user in for a limited time. But notice, the ISPs don’t come to anyone’s house, hold a gun to their head and force them to sign anything. These people enter into binding contracts of their own free will. And, a person who enters into a binding contract is obligated to abide by the terms of that contract, plain and simple. If they don’t have to abide by them, then what’s the point of the contract? And if the two entities agree that an ISP has the right to allocate bandwidth, then the ISP has the right to allocate bandwidth. No need for government intervention.

There are some who would argue that as long as communication companies receive special privileges, tax breaks and, in some cases, subsidies from the government, they need to be regulated. I could not agree more. This is why we need to eliminate these special considerations for all companies, regardless of the type of business they conduct. Just as all people should have exactly the same rights, companies should be treated exactly the same by all governing bodies.

Furthermore, I personally want my ISP to be able to be able to allocate bandwidth as it sees fit. I would expect that a large telecommunications company would know the most efficient way to serve its customers, including me. Think about it, supporters of these regulations are demanding that it be illegal for me to enter into a private contract with a company that might prioritize bandwidth. Even if I want to. Again, this isn’t liberty. It should never be illegal for two consenting entities to enter into contracts with one another. But it seems that it has become impossible for most people to separate the things they don’t like from the things that they believe should be illegal.

7.   Net Neutrality is nothing but a usurpation of power.

For some reason, there is a belief among millions of Americans that, in spite of the overwhelming evidence, the federal government generally has the best interest of the American people at heart. I’m not sure how this belief system got started, but it is astounding how prevalent it is. But at best, the government is made up of imperfect people who want to get reelected. At worst (which is unfortunately the most common state) it is made of up of power-hungry bureaucrats hell-bent on gaining control of every aspect of our lives. Liberty (or even pragmatism) is rarely, if ever, the goal. Power is. And they’ll bribe, lie, get in bed with corporations, backstab and blackmail to get it. Whatever gets the job done.

Again, I ask you not to be naive. It kills the statists in Washington that the government doesn’t control our internet communication. After all, one of the planks of Karl Marx’s Communist Manifesto is to centralize the means of communication in the hands of the state. That’s precisely what this is. No, I’m not suggesting that supporters of this law sleep with copies of Communist Manifesto under their pillows at night, but this belief that the government is good and that the private sector is bad is instinctual to statists. It’s something they all have in common, by definition. Perhaps every American politician until the end of time will be noble and honorable and Net Neutrality will never be used in a sinister way at all. But maybe it will. Why would we risk it?

8.  Net Neutrality should be abhorrent to Liberals and Conservatives (and everyone else too!)

Up to this point, most of the vocal opposition to Net Neutrality has come from conservatives and libertarians. However, there was a time in the not-so-distant past when anyone who called themselves a “liberal” would be automatically and unequivocally opposed to any proposal that might give government the power to regulate speech or any other form of communication. Those days are gone. Liberals, those who once supported liberty in all forms, especially in regards to speech, are now eager to grant virtually unlimited regulatory power to a small panel of unelected bureaucrats, all under the guise of keeping the internet “neutral” – a term that seems more closely to resemble the Newspeak of George Orwell’s 1984 than something heard in The United States of America.

Tumblr, I implore you to reexamine your views on Net Neutrality. Or, at least admit that there might be a few reasonable arguments against it. You have thousands and thousands of users with political views all over the map. Please don’t continue to alienate those with whom you disagree by publicly taking sides on such a controversial issue.


                                            Cersei Lannister || Jane Shore

When Game of Thrones has Cersei Lannister take a naked walk of penance after her imprisonment at the Sept, part of the point is that she’s all alone. In a crowd of the clothed masses, she is naked. A ringing bell draws attention to her plight. She leaves a single trail of bloody footprints. But, despite all that, she’s not actually alone: Cersei is part of a long history of medieval “walk of shame” participants.

George R.R. Martin has cited one particular such walk as an inspiration for what happens to Cersei: Jane Shore, a mistress of King Edward IV of England, who did her penance in 1483. Edward had fallen and Richard III—against whose rise she had conspired—took the throne that year. Though Richard’s reasons for hating her were largely political, her punishments were tied to her harlotry. So, as would have been a common punishment for adultery, she was made to walk through the city in her undergarments, with bare feet.

But, though there’s an obvious link between Jane Shore and Cersei, the history goes back even deeper, according to Larissa Tracy, author of Torture and Brutality in Medieval Literature. “[Jane Shore] wasn’t naked,” Tracy points out. “The naked part is very specific to adultery.”

In particular, Tracy points to the customary laws of 13th- and 14th-century France, a time and place in which that kind of public shaming was a prominent punishment. Though conviction for adultery had tough standards—the couple had to be caught in the act—the naked walk of shame that followed such a conviction could pretty much ruin a person’s life. The punishment was often for the woman alone, Tracy adds, though in rarer cases the man involved could also have to do public penance as well. In some accounts, trumpets are used to herald the passing of the penitent, so that everyone in the town would come out to see. “The goal is to create a lasting stigma,” she explains. “In the middle ages, your legal standing was largely determined by your reputation and by your social standing in the community.” {x}


“You’re pwetty,” Silver announced, feeling it necessary that the woman know. He reached out and grasped her clothing. Swinging a foot back and forth, he gave her a large smile. “Do you wanna pway?” he asked. Most adults didn’t, instead forced to politely decline, afraid of punishment should they upset him. The woman, however, looked a lot nicer and she had lovely red hair. 

In the back of his mind, Silver could vaguely recall grasping a soft, red curl. Lips pressed to his cheek while he squealed with laughter. He blinked at the woman, breaking the memory. For some reason, his tummy and chest hurt. He leaned into her, looking for a bit of comfort.