Home > politics > Spotting the (terrible) denominator

Spotting the (terrible) denominator

I recently finished reading The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism. It’s one of the grimmest books I’ve ever read, but I persevered.

I can’t hope to change the world without first understanding it.

In almost 600 pages full of reflections both painful and useful, one sentence stood out for me:

Just as ecologists define ecosystems by the presence of certain “indicator species” of plants and birds, torture is an indicator species of a regime that is engaged in a deeply anti-democratic project, even if that regime happens to have come to power through elections.

I have waited a lifetime to find words like these, but would never have found them had I not intentionally begun learning to speak politics.

For many years of my youth, my father was a prison guard.

He didn’t often show up for visitations, but I’ll never forget a short exchange we had one weekend he did.

We were driving through the Oregon wilderness when he mused aloud, “I want one of the prisoners to try and escape so I can shoot him.”

Until he spoke those words, I’d thought he abused my mom, my siblings, and me because he had poor anger management skills.

The moment he spoke them reframed the situation for me: his abuse was a part of something deeper and more sinister than that.

Wanting to shoot someone was an indicator species of something else. I just didn’t know how to express this for another 25 or so years.

When my just younger sister was in high school, she met a group of guys that would become her lifelong friends.

I loved almost all of them. One gave me an uneasy feeling I couldn’t explain rationally to any of our common friends.

When he gave my sister a titty-twister, knowing full well that she had been molested, I chewed him out initially and kept my distance thereafter. In addition to being repulsed by him, keeping him too close felt dangerous.

I mostly stopped trying to explain to my friends. I left it at, “That is not something a loving person does.”

He later committed murder-suicide. I fretted for years over how my inability to explain might have played a role in this. The murder-suicide was not inexplicable. It was simply the severest expression of an underlying darkness a titty-twister had once laid bare.

Many of you know that I once planned on voting for Hillary Clinton.

My changed vote reflects many factors, core among them one 12-second video.

I was going to describe it, but I’d like you to watch it.

Before Clinton-pushed U.S. (pretextual) intervention, Libya was a flourishing direct democracy.

Thanks to Clinton’s push for regime change, achieved by the brutal murder of Muammar al-Qaddafi, it is now a ruined shell on the brink of economic collapse. Countless Libyan lives have been taken by the U.S., directly by its own acts and indirectly by the acts of those enabled by the subsequent chaos.

Clinton’s reliance on information from conspiracy theorist Sidney Blumenthal, whom President Obama would not permit to work within his White House, quite literally led to the toppling of not only Qaddafi but Libya. How else, after all, could Clinton have possibly helped Obama’s ratings in the Quinnipiac poll?


I later found ample supporting evidence corroborating the horror I felt watching Clinton laugh in the video linked above, but watching the video was when I knew: what I was seeing wasn’t some anomaly. It was an indicator species of something more sinister, and something for which I could not–under any circumstances–grant my vote.

“We came, we saw, he died.”

I’m not laughing.

This 11/2/16 post transferred from L2SP 9/18/17.
Please see here for why I’m reposting this.

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  1. September 18, 2017 at 5:15 pm

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