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It's what the words mean.
July 7, 2013 2:10 PM   Subscribe

The dictionary of the Global War on You
A first attempt to “rectify” American names in the era of the ascendant national -- morphing into global -- security state.
Secret: Anything of yours the government takes possession of and classifies.
posted by adamvasco (22 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite

 
They've got some updating to do...
posted by anarch at 2:57 PM on July 7, 2013


It's reading stuff like this that really reminds me that elections DO matter. Who knows if Gore actually held on in 2000 whether ANY of this fucking nonsense would ever have happened. Maybe he would've taken the warnings seriously. And he certainly would not have had the band of misfits, monsters and morons that built this whole thing. This made me so angry I couldn't even read the whole thing, and I really like tomdispatch.

Really scary and depressing when it's all laid out like that. It's been such a parade of horrors that I had forgotten a few of them, just because there's too much to keep in your head. Jesus.
posted by nevercalm at 3:01 PM on July 7, 2013 [4 favorites]


Except the 2008 and 2012 elections, I guess?
posted by anarch at 3:04 PM on July 7, 2013 [6 favorites]


My feelings about Obama aside, I don't think Gore's response would've been two wars (or even one war), an all out assault on the public and building the largest surveillance machine known to god and man. He wouldn't have been that craven. And then Obama wouldn't have had to spend two entire terms putting out fires started for the LAST president, and he wouldn't have had that power. And I really don't think Obama would've built it. But as any student of US history knows, once they have the power, they generally fight til the death to keep it. So he walked into the Oval Office and discovered the keys to the biggest infodump ever? Of course he can't walk away from it.

Of course, there are marginal improvements. Gitmo has fewer prisoners, but they've been getting forcefed for months. End two wars, but still have robot death overhead. So we have drones killing families from the other side of the world. I suppose that's marginally better than our military destroying two entire countries.

They will NEVER end the surveillance thing. They said they ended it back in 2002 or whenever when everyone freaked out. But they just took it underground. That's what they'll do again.
posted by nevercalm at 3:18 PM on July 7, 2013 [2 favorites]


That "insider threat program", I think I read about it somewhere before... someone tell these guys that 1984 was NOT a book of suggestions.
posted by windykites at 3:21 PM on July 7, 2013


Gore would not have wanted a security state? You don't remember the Clinton WH classifying encryption software as a munition to prevent export or the Clipper chip?
posted by absalom at 3:46 PM on July 7, 2013 [4 favorites]


Is there any reason why the US should not now be considered a rogue state?
posted by seanmpuckett at 3:56 PM on July 7, 2013 [2 favorites]


In ancient China, when a new dynasty came to power, it would perform a ceremony called “the rectification of names.” The idea was that the previous dynasty had, in part, fallen because a gap, a chasm, an abyss, had opened between reality and the names available to describe it.

This is a fascinating idea. IIRC, there's also a "Ching Ming" festival / holiday in Hong Kong (China?) ... and "Ching Ming" means something like "use words with precision."

Is this a cultural thing in China, ie. investing extra effort (compared to other cultures) in clear communication? My impression of the Chinese languages is that they offer LESS opportunity for precise communication out of the gate than Western languages.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 4:29 PM on July 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


absalom: "Gore would not have wanted a security state? You don't remember the Clinton WH classifying encryption software as a munition to prevent export or the Clipper chip?"

Aaaaaaah, back in the days when I knowing became an international arms deale-what?
posted by Samizdata at 4:35 PM on July 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


Gore was pro-Clipper, Ashcroft was anti-Clipper.
posted by Sticherbeast at 5:11 PM on July 7, 2013 [2 favorites]


(When they were Senators.)
posted by Sticherbeast at 5:12 PM on July 7, 2013


Who knows if Gore actually held on in 2000 whether ANY of this fucking nonsense would ever have happened.

The word "this" is vague. To what does "this" refer?

Because charges about the NSA/other government snooping and overclassification was going on for years before the latest brew-ha-ha-ha-haa of Snowden/NSA. Assuming "that" is the "this" you ment.

But without nailing down the jello of what was meant by "this" its hard for anyone to dig up examples to have you re-examine your position about how much direction the President is able to have.

Andrew Jackson didn't like the way some 'vipers' were acting and got shot. Kennedy was his own special snowflake of activity but in that blizzard of snowflakes wanted to see some change and disbanding of certain power structures - and that did not end well for him. Ronald Reagan had nothing kind to say about George Bush - and look who was his running mate....what 'realpolitik' happened there?

What makes you think that some, magically President Gore, would have bucked the embedded various interest and not had the band of misfits, monsters and morons that built this whole thing.? Other than a blind article of faith - I'm not seeing a history of conduct that supports such a conclusion. So if you have more than blind faith or 'he was not the other guy' - do explain how you got your conclusion.
posted by rough ashlar at 7:41 PM on July 7, 2013 [2 favorites]


Is there any reason why the US should not now be considered a rogue state?

Because the brass plate on the wall says that is not true.

If you ever doubt - do just look at the press releases, the tri-fold glossy brochure, and that brass plate.

They will NEVER end the surveillance thing. They said they ended it back in 2002

Just like after the Church Commission came out with its findings - all those wrong things never ever happened again. If in doubt, go read that other brass plague.....
posted by rough ashlar at 7:46 PM on July 7, 2013


Is there any reason why the US should not now be considered a rogue state?

First you have to define what a rogue state is, rather than using the term as bat for whatever you don't like.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:04 PM on July 7, 2013 [2 favorites]


To be fair, that would be a step beyond where the US on that front, too.
posted by DoctorFedora at 8:59 PM on July 7, 2013


The US is not a rogue state for exactly the same reason that bombing Pakistan is not terrorism.
posted by flabdablet at 9:00 PM on July 7, 2013


OK, this is a really shitty FPP - full of slanted hyperbole, and not a single fact in sight. But the link goes straight to more of the same.

Just how deeply do I have to click to reach anything more than breathless, liberal politics-porn?
posted by IAmBroom at 9:59 PM on July 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


It's reading stuff like this that really reminds me that elections DO matter.

*very muted and discouraged chuckle*
posted by telstar at 12:21 AM on July 8, 2013


"Ching Ming" means something like "use words with precision."

As a Mandarin and dialect-speaking Chinese, I did not know the words "Clear" and "Bright" had this meaning (other than as a name for the traditional tomb-sweeping festival). Can you direct me to a dictionary or resource that explains this?

While my Chinese is not as proficient as my English, I don't think that precise communication is harder in Mandarin or dialect than the "Western languages" (since I can only speak English, I can't really compare how clear the other "Western languages" are for communication). Chinese has many many synonyms, which usually have subtle differences in terms of formality, connotation and of course meaning. When I read Chinese authors describe things, I find that they can be extremely precise in their descriptions.

Another possible reason amongst others for the need for a new dynasty to "rectify" names, is that words which are the same or similar to the names of the rulers were usually taboo. With a new dynasty, therefore, words which were associated with the previous dynasty are no longer taboo, while a new set of terms associated with the current dynasty would become taboo. I vaguely recall an anecdote about a scholar sitting for the imperial exams who went mad because the question he had to write an essay on involved events which used words that contained the names of both his father and grandfather. He could not write the essay without committing a taboo act of using his seniors* names.

*here is an interesting example of where I find Chinese more precise than English. The term 前辈 means a person of a generation older than yours. The word "senior" which is the closest I can come to, is nowhere as precise.

Apologies for this long off-topic comment.

posted by Alnedra at 1:33 AM on July 8, 2013 [6 favorites]


Did you know there are 200 English words meaning "snow job"?
posted by telstar at 2:08 AM on July 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


A first attempt to “rectify” American names

The rectification of the Americans? Oh God, it's the return of Gozer the Gozerian, Gozer the Destructor, Volguus Zildrohar, the Traveller, isn't it?
posted by octobersurprise at 6:25 AM on July 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


Sorry, I forgot to laugh.
posted by Twang at 10:24 AM on July 8, 2013


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