fighting extremism with democracy, ocean steps giant’s causeway wallpaper, drug helps with leber’s blindness

Glenn Greenwald on Norway’s response to the terror attacks of right-wing Christian conservative Anders Behring Breivik, An un-American response to the Oslo attack

Over the last decade, virtually every Terrorist plot aimed at the U.S. — whether successful or failed — has provoked greater security and surveillance measures.  Within a matter of mere weeks, the 9/11 attacks infamously spawned a vast new surveillance statute (the Patriot Act), a secretly implemented warrantless eavesdropping program in violation of the law, an explosion of domestic surveillance contracts, a vastly fortified secrecy regime, and endless wars in multiple countries.  As it turned out, that massive over-reaction was not a crisis-driven anomaly but rather the template for future actions.

The failed Christmas Day bombing over Detroit led to an erosion of Miranda rights and judge-free detentions as well as a due-process free assassination program aimed at an Muslim American preacher whose message allegedly “inspired” the attacker.  The failed Times Square bombing was repeatedly cited to justify reform-free extension of the Patriot Act along with a slew of measures to maximize government scrutiny of the Internet.  That failed plot, along with Nidal Hasan’s shooting at Fort Hood, provoked McCarthyite Congressional hearings into American Muslims and helped sustain a shockingly broad interpretation of “material support for Terrorism” that criminalizes free speech.  In sum, every Terrorist plot is immediately exploited as a pretext for expanding America’s Security State; the response to every plot: we need to sacrifice more liberties, increase secrecy, and further empower the government.

The reaction to the heinous Oslo attack by Norway’s political class has been exactly the opposite: a steadfast refusal to succumb to hysteria and a security-über-alles mentality.  The day after the attack — one which, per capita, was as significant for Norway as 9/11 was for the U.S. — Oslo Mayor Fabian Stang, when asked whether greater security measures were needed, sternly rejected that notion:  “I don’t think security can solve problems. We need to teach greater respect.”


I Like the response of Norwegian prime minister Jens Stoltenberg who swore that Norway would not be “bombed into silence” after the attacks. Furthermore that “You will not destroy us. You will not destroy our democracy or our ideals for a better world,”. A truly unique and non-American answer to anyone that would seek to destroy democracy. Glenn’s post is good, but something of an echo of some pundits after 9-11, who on observing the deep erosion of civil liberties said that to at least some degree al-qaeda had won. Isn’t a large part of the agenda of al-qaeda to push back against the modern western style democratic state with all its modernity, freedom, and privacy. No wonder conservatives and conservative Democrats went along with the erosion of those rights. In a bit of serendipity the modernity that pissed off al-qaeda is also what pisses off American and European conservatives who would like to push much of our culture back to pre-Enlightement days.

It would be taking political correctness to the heights of absurdity to not acknowledge there are radical homicidal Muslims among the world’s 1.2 billion Muslims. equally absurd is professional Isalmophobe Pamela Geller’s assertion, after the Norway attacks and the news that she among others were part of Breivik’s reading material, “If anyone incited him to violence, it was Islamic supremacists,” she wrote. Geller and others strongly imply that no one can commit acts of terror except Muslims even when they are not committing, their mere presence, their words give people no other choice but to grab a gun and murder children. If one gets on the net and reads nothing but Geller’s Atlas Shrugged (as her blog title suggests she apparently has no sense of irony), Gates of Vienna or Jihad Watch one easily get the impression the only groups of people committing terrorism in Europe are Muslim. The EU TERRORISM SITUATION AND TREND REPORT(pdf) says otherwise: In 2009 out of a total of 294 failed, foiled or successfully executed attacks 1 was Islamist, 237 were Separatist, 40 were extreme Leftist, 4 were Right-wing, 2 were single issue based and 10 were unspecified. Of the number of arrested suspects in 2009 per 13 European members states reporting 100 arrests were Islamist, 413 were Separatists, 29 were extreme Left, 22 were extreme Right, 2 were single issue, 11 not specified for a total of 587 arrests. The total number of terror related attacks and arrests have declined every year 2007 through 2009. Decreasing from 581 attacks in 2007 to 204 in 2009.

I’m not a particularly big fan of organized religion and its inherent dogma and orthodoxy. In the mind of the right person much of what they teach can and has provided the basis for violence directly or by proxy. It is also true that the majority of the time especially since the Age of Enlightenment, individuals have acted on their own and should be held responsible for the choices they make. In free market ountires bsuinesse are free to sell fat laden hamburgers, fires and sugary drinks. Both have been shown to have addictive qualities. When people become addicted to this food it is their fault. They made the choice. But because the food is addictive and the large chains that sell it know this, they bear at least a little responsibility to do better. To act a little more ethically in their business practices. Freedom doesn’t mean to toss out the social contract as just so much baggage. The same is true for the far Right pundits who paint this very dire, threatening, one dimensional portrait of Islam – or for that matter liberals, feminists, Latinos, or anyone else that flies into their eliminationist radar.

ocean steps giant’s causeway wallpaper. the Unwitting Traveler has a collection of photos and some background on the geological history of the Giant’s Causeway here – The Giant’s Causeway: Part Geology – Part Mythology

Solar Energy Is the Fastest Growing Industry In the US

Hugh Pickens writes “According to Rhone Resch, the last three years have seen the U.S. solar industry go from a start-up to a major industry that is creating well-paying jobs and growing the economy in all 50 states, employing 93,000 Americans in 2010, a number that is expected to grow between 25,000 to 50,000 this year (PDF).


We might be parsing some semantics but I think the health care industry ( hospitals, clinics, pharmaceuticals, technical medical professionals, lab techs, nursing homes)  is actually the fastest growing segment of the economy.

warm and cool autumn wallpaper

Daily drug restores sight to hereditary blind

A hereditary form of blindness has been delayed or reversed for the first time by a daily drug treatment. The drug is the first to benefit people with a disease of their mitochondria, the energy powerhouses of cells.

There had been no way to halt the rapid onset of blindness in people with the most common mitochondrial disease, called Leber’s hereditary optic neuropathy. It strikes men in their twenties, leading to total blindness within three to six months of the first symptoms appearing.

The drug is called idebenone. It should not be considered a cure, but if caught early enough, such as confined to one eye, the chances of vision improvement are greatly increased.