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Same-Sex Marriage: Public Life — The Policy ThinkShop reflects and comments

People are all deserving of dignity and happiness.  We live in a society that’s supposed to make it happen.  Well…. happiness within reason.  Perhaps Norman Rockwell’s four freedoms.  Perhaps those four are not enough?

All men are created equal, it’s just that we have all not evolved equally.  Hmmm… That’s a loaded statement.   Let us clarify.

Women and men of voting age in our society have full citizenship rights.  Which is to say, they theoretically have the right to understand and exercise their rights.  However, we know that the plying field is not leveled and that we all have differing resources in our pockets, sort of speak.  So even rights must be moved if you will with resources.  If rights are theoretically equal the exercising of those rights is not.

America continues her journey in the pursuit of her nobility of values: life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

For America, as a metaphorical entity, this makes perfect sense. But for a divided, fractured and haunted by racial, gender and economic diversity America, it is quite something else.

Noble values and pursuits aside, our American family is trying to get along and it is acting like a typical family–bickering, blaming, competing and demanding.

The difference here, though, is that yet another segment of our polity is claiming that it is alienated from the whole–that it needs legal remedies in order to ensure its proper place and, perhaps most importantly, the full exercise of its citizen status under our framework of laws and rights.  “Our framework of laws and rights?”  Indeed, if by “our” we do not mean the entire polity then it seems meaningless to say that we are one nation.  And so it goes that our citizenry is divided because our laws, our economic way of life and our burgeoning diversity seem inadequate for a nation that clamors for more in the face of world recession, political division, perpetual war, a broken healthcare system, and a global security problem that threatens to let drones loose in our backyards… Hmmm…. wait a minute, it already has.

What is essentially a tax, health coverage and inheritance problem is now morphing into the next semantically charged issue that will mobilize the next electorate and shape our political future in ways that go well beyond civil rights issues here at home.   But our house seems ever more divided and our ability to clamor for more “from a broken house” is akin to the lung filled screams of a baby, saying: “MAMA! I want more!”  Perhaps naively groups form, put together leadership and a voice and clamor in the public square, the courts in this case, for their dignity and their dollars.  Others have clamored, have achieved their screams in legal code and yet are left wanting… Yet here we go again–like The Who song goes…

“The U.S. Supreme Court has handed down two landmark same-sex marriage rulings, one striking down a major provision of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and the other leaving uncertain the fate of California’s Proposition 8, the 2008 ballot initiative that prohibits gay and lesbian couples in the state from …”

via Same-Sex Marriage: High Court Strikes Down DOMA but Leaves Fate of Calif. Ban Uncertain – Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life.

Filed under: Blogosphere, Crimes and Misdemeanors, Culture Think, Demographic Change, Discrimination, drone attacks, Economic Recession, News, Policy ThinkShop Comments on other media platforms, symbolic uses of politics, symbols as swords, , ,

“Killer drones: Out of the shadows” or are they?

Technology is changing war but legal concepts and international law are not as mutable.  As governments and leaders enthusiastically move forward with technological efficacy, the legal morass and moral quandary caused by social, psychological and economic destruction promises to create new problems that may haunt us for generations.  But technology moves fast, corporate America knows how to package and sell it, and the American public is the last to weigh in.  Democracy is increasingly purchased in the ongoing divided American electorate and the internecine warfare election politics now represent.  Like the proverbial Pyrrhic victory, we crush and pick off our enemies as the facts of our deeds slowly leek out and we potentially stand in ubiquitous and unforgiving popular judgement at home and abroad.

We seem to be getting farther and farther away from “though shall not kill” and “violence begets violence”

At last we have a technological equivalent to hackers threatening social and economic information exchange where the government is “anonymous” and civilization itself is the victim.  It is legion, expect it…

“WHEN it comes to lethal drone strikes against foreign targets, America’s government and Congress should be aware that “what is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander”, says …”

via Killer drones: Out of the shadows | The Economist.

Filed under: Blogosphere, Changing Media Paradigm, Crimes and Misdemeanors, Culture Think, Death and Dying, drone attacks, News, Policy ThinkShop Comments on other media platforms, political plots, Political Violence, propaganda and spin, symbolic uses of politics, symbols as swords, Technology and You, waging war, WeSeeReason, , ,

Pentagon chief vows to ‘fix’ military’s sexual assault problem | Reuters

The army has relied mostly on brawn for the greater part of its existence.  Its culture has been shaped by a resilient gender segregation that the dependence on male power has perpetuated.  However, today’s army is increasingly computer and technologically driven–gender may be mattering less and less.  Drones are replacing the boys but the boy culture changes much slower than the technology.  The values and psychology of today’s army boys is tethered to the attitudes which their parents have embedded in them.  Those ties cannot be broken.  They can be mediated by rules and incentives (negative and positive), but they cannot be completely eradicated in the average soldier who joins a tradition of male discipline and aggression honored and admired by the women in their lives and expected by their male heroes.

To be sure, today’s army would look like camp scouts compared to the savage herds that define the  history and origins of war itself.   But it is an uncomfortable place for young heroic women who grew up in an age that promises them equality in all areas of their lives.  Ironically, the fight to change the deep male traditions that form our fighting forces may be more difficult than field combat itself where they can pull a trigger or a button and wipe out a dozen men they may not even get to visualize or even hear.  Such is the challenge for today’s army–we have technological power and intellectual power beyond our enemies but the real enemy our army faces today is our inability to get along as fellow patriotic Americans or simply human beings.  Of course, that is also the reason we go to war against other nations in the first place.

“Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel ordered top military chiefs on Friday to redouble their effort to address the problem of sexual assault, saying the frequency and perceived tolerance of the crime was …”

via Pentagon chief vows to ‘fix’ military’s sexual assault problem | Reuters.

Filed under: Blogosphere, Culture Think, Demographic Change, Discrimination, drone attacks, Gender, Gender Policy, Intolerance, News, regulations, Women's rights, , , , ,

Torture and Obama’s Drone Program : The New Yorker

Drone is relatively cheap technology.  It is easily available on the open market…   Do we really want to popularize this death from the air, drone thing?

 

“Last week, John Yoo, the Bush Administration lawyer who authored the infamous “torture memos,” which offered a legal rationale for waterboarding …”

via Torture and Obama’s Drone Program : The New Yorker.

Filed under: Blogosphere, Culture Think, drone attacks, , , ,

Drone surveillance: We are not alone… The Policy ThinkShop … Rise of Drones in U.S. Spurs Efforts to Limit Uses – NYTimes.com

Could the post September 11th climate of state power and police surveillance and this decades’ recessionary pressures on local budgets and community policing costs be the perfect storm for the spread of drones in our neighborhoods?

“They can record video images and produce heat maps. They can be used to track fleeing criminals, stranded hikers — or just as easily, political protesters. And for strapped police departments, they are more affordable than …”

via Rise of Drones in U.S. Spurs Efforts to Limit Uses – NYTimes.com.

Filed under: Blogosphere, Culture Think, drone attacks, News, Public Policy, , , ,

John Brennan: The debate over drones | The Economist

To kill or not to kill?  Seems to be the question for a post cold war America that struggles to find a useful venue and vehicle for its newly found monolithic world power status and the ways in which that lonely status make it an irresistible target for any group looking to be taken seriously and seeking a megaphone for its cause.

No one is raising the important issue of how simple and relatively inexpensive it might be to deploy this drone technology against the US and its allies.  It seems logical that drone technology would be simpler and cheaper to create and deploy than a nuclear weapon, or a so called “dirty bomb.”  So, what is really at stake here might be who is angry at the US and why?  How can the US justify unilaterally searching out its defined enemies and taking them out gangster style no matter national sovereignty or international law.

The London Economist tackles this issue in a straightforward way yet with a focus and a lens that seems a bit ideologically myopic and perhaps a bit nostalgic for the cowboy days of George W.  

You be the judge:

“T WAS so much simpler when George W. Bush was president. Outlining America’s plans for Osama bin Laden a few days after the September 11th attacks in 2001, Mr Bush declared: “there’s an old poster out West, I recall, that says, ‘Wanted: Dead or Alive.” For all those at home and abroad made uncomfortable by sweeping assertions of American power it was a moment of predictable provocation. Without surprise, they heard a swaggering Republican president vowing to make his country’s attackers pay, and seeming to pay no more heed to legal niceties than a cowboy bent on a lynching.

Yet 12 and a half years later, the cautious, lawyerly Barack Obama—a Democratic president with nothing of the…”

MORE via John Brennan: The debate over drones | The Economist.

Filed under: Arab Spring, Blogosphere, Culture Think, Death and Dying, drone attacks, European Alliances, geopolitical, International Relations, ,

John Brennan and the Truth About Drones : The New Yorker

There may be no more important breakthrough in warfare than the stealth, quiet and precise murder and mayhem America can deliver through its drone program.

Of course, as the drone system becomes more popular in use and infamous in its impact, regarding those whom are targeted and whose social peace is disrupted when neighbors are crushed by a drone visit, it is now getting and will continue to get increasing popular attention.

At last, the American media and the popular imagination are being challenged as the role of these gadgets becomes more and more visible in American efforts to get and crush the bad guys.  The New Yorker magazine, takes a go at the issue in its most recent issue:

“When I read the news that John Brennan was set to appear before the Senate in hopes of becoming of the C.I.A. director, I thought of the group of villagers I met at a seaside hotel in Yemen two years ago. They had driven many miles to see me, coming from the Yemen countryside in a pair of battered taxis, and they were waiting in the hotel parking lot. There were about a dozen of them in all. It was a …”

via John Brennan and the Truth About Drones : The New Yorker.

Filed under: Arab Spring, Blogosphere, Culture Think, Death and Dying, drone attacks, , , ,

Israel and Gaza: Edging closer to war | The Economist

The Obama victory and the Arab spring have ushered in a new era for the Middle East as the extremes write the next chapter …  What’s next?

“IF THE latest round of violence between Israel and Hamas, the Palestinian Islamists who run Gaza, were to end this weekend, everyone involved—except for the families of the …”

More via Israel and Gaza: Edging closer to war | The Economist.

Filed under: Arab Spring, Blogosphere, Death and Dying, drone attacks, Election 2012, ethnicity in politics, faith-based, geopolitical, human offal, International Relations, Intolerance, Masacre, Mass Media and Public Opinion, Middle East Freedom, News, political plots, Political Violence, propaganda and spin, symbolic uses of politics, symbols as swords, waging war, WeSeeReason, ,

Cheap smart weapons: Rockets galore | The Economist

MONEY, as Cicero observed more than two millennia ago, is the sinews of war. That is still true today. But lately, from the American point of view, things have got ridiculous. Guided …

More via Cheap smart weapons: Rockets galore | The Economist.

Filed under: Blogosphere, Culture Think, Death and Dying, drone attacks, ethics, geopolitical, International Relations, News, , , ,

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