Friday, December 29, 2006

12.29.06-Even Hangmen Die


The buttinsky's of the Western world ought to shut up about Saddam Hussein al-Tikriti already. Especially about whether the Iraqis now in power hang him, that is. It is the height of imperialistic hubris and chutzpah and not to mention disrespect, to even offer an opinion about this here folks. It is their society, the crimes Hussein committed were (principally) against the Iraqi people, and in the end, it is their call about how to judge him and what form that judgment shall take. Period.

Personally, I oppose the death penalty, period; the only exception being for personal or collective self-defense. That is; if you attack me or my community, we have a natural right to defend ourselves with appropriate levels of force, up to and including, killing you. But other than this one exception, I oppose the infliction of violence or death.

However, I don't live in Iraq, and neither do you guys criticizing Hussein's fate here either. How do you imagine it would have gone down with the American people if some theocratic regimes had demanded during the Clinton impeachment in 1998 that he be stoned to death as an adulterer, because that is what they deem appropriate in their culture’s and tradition’s? Not very well, no doubt. That issue was America's business, and we’ll decide for ourselves.

The current Iraqi state is a US puppet; this goes without saying. But that doesn't mean it isn't acting on an accurate assessment of the will of the Iraqi people though. And so let’s let them decide, okay?

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Wednesday, December 27, 2006

12.28.06 – An Anarchist Meets the Mainstream Media

I've been blogging a lot lately about the controversy swirling around the idea of "rebranding" anarchism and/or libertarianism in order to make it more palatable to the media and the sheep that read, watch and listen to it.

I've given my views on that topic; which are that the press, academics, and the punditry will just trash the rebranded nomenclature too, and the politically illiterate won't be any more educated, interested or enlightened than before, either. If you want to rehash or inform yourself about that whole affair, go here and here and here.

I was politically active as an LP libertarian (card carrying no less!), an independent "coalitionist" (i.e. I tried to form ad hoc coalitions with Democrats, Republicans, LPers, the Green Party, and interest groups to accomplish specific political goals), and as a anarchist working with liked minded fellow anarchists. So I've been there, and done that. Maybe not as much as some others, but I've been in the trenches before, and not just kibitzed from the sidelines.

So with that preamble of my bona fides, let me say that the mainstream media is never gonna buy a new tag. Nope, never. Oh they may report on it to their readers, viewers or listeners sure, but the reporting will just as bad, misinformed, slanted, and just plain false as it is now. For example:

I gave a short speech before a demonstration in front of my local city hall once, and it was reported on in the local press and I even had a ten second or so sound bite on the local TV news.

Some days later I was contacted by a columnist/reporter who specialized in local issues and politics for a daylong interview. I guess I was flattered. At least a first. I checked up on this mook, and what he really liked to do was portray the subject of his interviews as a kooky, illiterate rabble-rouser and nut, unless you were a “mainstream” Republican or Democrat. And that was if he liked you. If not, well you got the "Michigan Militia" treatment. (More on that syndrome later, but not right now.)

Mr. Media liked to interview his victims in their native element, hopefully, their home. He jokes around with you like a regular guy, chatting on local stuff. Schools, sports, local issues and personalities and such. Then he explains that he grew up in Chicago, where his father was a member of the Republican Party; in fact the only one in the neighborhood, so he knows what it's like to be ostracized and slagged for being in the political minority.

Now hopefully having gained your sympathy and trust, he moves on. Do you own a gun? Oh yeah, how many? Can I see them? How's about we go out in the back so my photog can snap a few pics of "us" popping off a few shots? Can I tour your home too? Just quick look around. Is this your home office here? My, what interesting books you have! Did you read 'em all? Why so many by Marx, Bakunin, Proudhon, and Lenin? Whoa! You have The Turner Diaries!? I thought you said you were an anarchist?

Careful reflective answers avail you nada. Guess what kind of news article you get written about you? No really, take a guess.

Snarky comments about the decor and style of your home furnishings, what nutso books you read (complete with a list of the most inflammatory and controversial authors and titles to be sure!), along with few pics of you popping off a few shots in the backyard with your AR-15. And so whatever kind words Mr. Media has for you or your politics (few at best, and delivered in a very condescending manner) are all completely undone by images and reportage about the Gadsden Flag on the wall of your study, your odd books, and your huge and scary lookin' rifle. That is what you get when you’re an anarchist, libertarian, Constitution Party, Taxpayer’s Party or are otherwise affiliated with some similar third-party outfit, and especially so if the words "liberty", "constitution", or "people's" are included in your name.

So, in the end, do you really think Mr. Media is gonna give you a fair shake cuz you call yourself a "freedom lover" or "abolitionist"? I don't think so.

PS. - I met Mr. Media at a coffeehouse near where I lived. And I was impeccably dressed, direct, honest, and scrupulously accurate and precise in my responses to the questions put to me, whether political or personal, too. And the story never ran and Mr. Media and his photog stuck me with the lunch tab, too. Go figure?



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12.27.06 – Et tu, Paul?



What's up with all these libertarian intellectuals defending Pinochet? First it was George Reisman, a notorious crank and pseudo-libertarian fascist, and now Paul Craig Roberts too, as well? I have to admit I don't understand this from Roberts at all. The ex-Reaganite Treasury department apparatchik and Wall Street Journal and National Review editor/columnist has denounced the neo-cons and the Bush administration in the most scathing terms, even to the point of questioning Bush's sanity and calling him a nascent fascist tyrant for illegal imprisonments and wire tapping in his “war on terror” and yet Roberts defends Pinochet because he "only" killed 2300 Chileans? "Only “2300”, Paul? Most people who kill (directly, or by giving orders to, which is morally the same thing) are called psychopathic serial killers, not “heroes of national salvation” [sic]. I have to admit I don't understand this at all.

Unlike Reisman, who in my estimation is a clear and obvious crank, Roberts always struck me as a natural and steadily evolving voice for anti-statism and anti-authoritarianism that stayed true to his Goldwaterist views even as the GOP morphed into a big-spending, big-deficit, big-government outfit and a War Party with neo-Wilsonian imperialist designs. But now this?

And just as with Reisman, PCR ignores the embezzlement of by Pinochet of Chilean state funds into his own private bank accounts which he stashed overseas. Now come on Mr. Roberts why would a man bent on "national salvation coup"[sic] find it necessary to steal money for himself and stash it away overseas? Actions speak more accurately to true intent than speeches and decrees in my observation, and it also speaks volumes as why Roberts Reisman and other defenders of the coup never mention this inconvenient truth let alone try to explain or defend it, eh?

And the Letelier assassination by car bomb in Washington DC in 1976 is nothing more than a state sanctioned terrorist murder. Letelier was in America, not Chile, so how and why was he such a threat, this one lone powerless and near penniless exile, that Pinochet's junta found it necessary to commit a double homicide outside its own borders?

The fact that Allende only got 36% of the vote for President and that he began taking steps toward land reform and ending the sweetheart deals the international mining companies had enjoyed for so long, was hardly a good enough reason for all this bloodshed, and certainly no reason for engaging in state sanctioned terror bombings and murder, stealing money for his own personal use, and illegal imprisonments and extra-judicial executions. And the torture and rape of dissidents is, or should be, beyond the pail, regardless of political or economic problems, for civilized people.

Reisman and now Roberts, seems to believe that you can fight terror with bigger, better, and more brutal terrorism, fight disorder with chaos, and reign in an over-reaching state with a bigger and more over-reaching authoritarian state.

Roberts’s reputation has certainly taken a big nose-dive in my opinion. I'll never read his anti-Bush, anti-state, and anti-war screeds with the same enthusiasm again, if in fact I ever bother with 'em at all. It really makes me wonder about the LvMI blog and Lewrockwell.com websites, ostensibly devoted to liberty, that they seem to endorse this view of revolution and counter-revolution on their websites.

[A note on sources here. I didn’t have the time today to add the hyperlinks to this post giving my sources for some of the statements of fact. Scroll down to the posts on Pinochet for the preceding days and you’ll find ‘em there. I extend my apologies for the inconvenience.)

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Tuesday, December 26, 2006

12.26.06 - Disable the New RFID Infested US Passports with a Hammer?

Nice try, but this probably won't work out as intended

I saw this article at Wired.com and reposted at Slashdot.org saying that, in effect, the only surefire way at present to disable the RFID ensconced in passports is to give them a few hard whacks with a hammer. I believe that this will in fact work, in the sense that it'll destroy the functionality of the damn things. Well & good, as far as it goes. But consider the possible unintended consequences.

I don't know what the federal law is on this matter, but I know that in Michigan people who use marking pens to blot out their SSN or otherwise alter, deface, bend, fold, spindle or mutilate this government issued identity document are faced with criminal sanctions. And that's just the "official" response. Let's consider next how cops, TSA goons, federal agents, and other state agents and their "on the ground and in your face" enforcer's are likely going to react to this.

In Michigan they'll confiscate your license right on the spot and give you a summons to appear in court if it looks like you altered or mutilated your DL deliberately. They will do this as well if they think it happened accidentally too, but they won't give you a summons usually; they'll just take it, and tell you to go get a new one, pronto. Some time back a friend of mine got his Michigan license plate confiscated from right off his truck on the side of the road because a MSP trooper couldn't read it clearly at fifty feet because it was rusty and bent. (Michigan DOT and local road commission workers salt the hell out of the roads here come winter, and the state issued plates aren't coated, and whose fault is that? But I digress...)

I can only imagine what kind of trouble you'd get from the Border Patrol, ICE, DHS, TSA inspectors, who-the-hell-all-else if your passport is not working properly in their swipe slots or card readers, and especially so if it appears that you caused them all this extra grief (that is, made them work harder on a busy day), intentionally.

And if you think or are banking on the idea that Mr. Federal Agent is just gonna wave you through with a big smile and call the 800 number for contractor maintenance to come out and check his scanner or swiper, guess again folks. No, more likely he'll hold all of you back in some holding area or have you stay in line for however long it takes until the technician figures out what's the matter; the passport RFID or the reading devices. And guess what'll happen when they figure out its you? Nothing good, that's for damn sure.

“... [B]e careful – tampering with a passport is punishable by 25 years in prison," says the original Wired.com article," not to mention the 'special' customs search, with rubber gloves. Bon voyage!"

My point exactly. All you hackers out there, just keep on trying, eh? This "hammer time" approach just isn't gonna work out well for you.


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Sunday, December 24, 2006

Some interesting stuff to read if you get bored this Christmas Holiday



Anarchy in the Here and Now
by Joe Average
"To be fair, much anarchist thought and action in the past and present is equally useless. Many anarchists used to feel that it was enough to just rise up and destroy the state, afterwards instituting 'spontaneous' social organizations to co-ordinate work life and civic life. To me, this is an absurd idea for today's political and social situation. To begin with, the state is too powerful at this time for people to overthrow directly and militantly. This is by no means to say that militant confrontation with authorities is to be ruled out: in fact, it is crucial that we DO confront authorities when the need arises so that they are always aware that we are here and that we oppose their brutality and oppression. But to imagine that we could topple all the powerful institutions such as the police and army, the FBI and the CIA, schools and the IRS with militant street fighting alone is an exercise in futility."

Understanding the Global Crisis: Reclaiming Rand’s Radical Legacy
By Chris Matthew Sciabarra
“Even though I support relentless surgical strikes against terrorists posing an imminent threat to the United States, I have argued that America's only practical long-term course of action is strategic disengagement from the region. In the long-run, I stand with those American Founding Fathers who advocated free trade with all, entangling political alliances with none. If that advice was good for a simpler world, it is even more appropriate for a world of immense complexity, in which no one power can control for all the myriad unintended consequences of human action. The central planners of socialism learned this lesson some time ago; the central planners of a projected colonialism have yet to learn it.”

At least some Objectivists are starting to see that embracing the anarcho/libertarian values of anti-imperialism and neutrality in the affairs of other people are a pretty good idea after all. Let’s hope the nutcakes at the Ayn Rand Institute start to see the light too. It’s only rational after all, eh? - AF

Old Anarchist Traditions Die Hard
By Rob los Ricos
"In revolutionary Spain, the leadership of the syndicalists were in position to take over the Republic, but chose instead to preserve the state in a coalition with the Democratic, Communist and Socialist parties, much to the chagrin of the rank-and-file workers, who ignored the dictates of their professed leadership and proceeded to valiantly demonstrate to the world that true revolutionary change was possible in the industrial age by abolishing money, seizing the means of production, transportation and communication and redistributing the land to the peasants who worked it. In the end, the Republican forces, led by the communists, crushed the anarchist revolution, while the syndicalist leadership watched in horror or bemused disinterest ("We told them not to take over the factories!").

The lessons to be learned from the past are obvious: for a truly Libertarian society to emerge, it will take a great deal of effort, along a broad front by all Anarchists. (And that communists are back-stabbing lackeys of the bourgeois.) In the Cold War era, anarchism became more of a philosophy than a living movement. But, during the turbulent era of the '60's and '70's, particularly with the emergence of the punk scene, anarchist ideas were once again being brought up and taught, written about and argued over, particularly with communists, who - to this day - believe that what anarchists really need is a little leadership (theirs, of course) to steer them in the right direction."

Rothbard's Time on the Left
By John Payne
"[Murray] Rothbard argued that most of the original opposition to the Cold War came from right-wing Republicans, but within a few years, the Old Right had been taken over by the National Review crowd that was heavily populated by former Communists like Frank Meyer and James Burnham, now eager to bomb their erstwhile comrades into oblivion. Rothbard recounted how these warmongers led him to conclude that the New Right was not, and could not be, his ally.

He claimed:
'[T]he right wing has been captured and transformed by elitists and devotees of the European conservative ideals of order and militarism, by witch hunters and global crusaders, by statists who wish to coerce 'morality' and suppress 'sedition.' " (pdf)

Saturday, December 23, 2006

12.23.06 – Reisman Continues to Defend Pinochet

A Pinochet minion protecting the public from the Red Menace, Franco-style

No, really!

Fascist apologist Reisman defends himself against charges of neo-Francoism (i.e. “[K]ill all the Reds!”, although he seems to actually mean all of the social democrats, socialists, communists, independent reformists, trade unionists, clerics, journalists, NGO social welfare groups and anyone else who isn’t a state symbiotic kleptocrat living off state-sanctioned economic privilege) on the LvMI blog yet again today.

I disagree in whole with Riesman’s opinions about Pinochet. However, even accepting his argument that a fascist dictatorship held in place by military and police death squads is somehow preferable to a reformist social democratic regime, (which followed the rule of law, and which could have been removed in the next election if they FUBAR’d the economy too badly), was it really necessary to use such techniques as torture, rape, kidnapping of family members, and worse, to enforce the dictatorship’s “national salvation” program? Even Lenin, Stalin and Castro never used those tactics.

And further, if Pinochet was only motivated by the desire not to have Chile become a Cuban-style communist state, why did he find it necessary to embezzle millions of dollars in Chilean state funds and put them into his personally owned bank accounts overseas? Reisman never touches that issue apparently because it goes directly to the heart of the “I did this (coup) for the salvation of the Chilean people!” meme, and which to my mind, is the best proof of Pinochet’s disingenuousness.

Apparently in the twilight of his life, Reisman wants to go out with a bang. Having been purged a while back from the crypto-fascist Ayn Rand Institute for “deviationism” [sic], and having retired from teaching economics at the Pepperdine University, he now wants to tell us all what he really thinks, since his retirement is secure and he has nothing left to lose by holding back. I’ve always disagreed with Reisman, but his support for violence and dictatorship to save us from things which are worse (worse how he doesn’t say; maybe being shot by a red firing squad is somehow worse than being shot by a fascist one, perhaps?).

Why the LvMI poobahs continue to permit him posting privileges on their blog is really hard to understand. Maybe they like the extra web traffic it brings in. Who knows?


Friday, December 22, 2006

12.22.06 - Past Time to Abandon the Word 'Libertarian' Too, Says Ms. Maravillosa



“Regular readers have probably noticed that for some time now,” says Sunni Maravillosa, “I’ve been using the term pro-freedom instead of the more common libertarian. It was a deliberate shift, as I saw while working at Free-Market.Net (and continuing since then) that some individuals and groups that self-identify as libertarian didn't consistently uphold freedom-friendly values, or offer solutions to problems that were freedom enhancing. They ranged from seemingly small things, like libertarian think tanks offering studies and opinions that further entrench state boondoggles like mass transit, to fundamentals such as supporting various flavors of victim disarmament or more restrictive abortion laws. And, of course, in the past few years the shift has escalated, to the point where libertarian can mean anything from a thoroughgoing love of liberty to a republicanesque fa├žade that distills to Freedom for me, but not for thee at its best and quickly tails off.”

As one responder to my blog post about the alleged “need” to change from calling ourselves anarchists to calling ourselves abolitionists [sic] noted that in the public mind and in mainstream political culture, “libertarian” is conflated to refer to a meaner nastier breed of plutarchy-loving Republican with a taste for Social Darwinism. The lackluster ex-talk show host Bill Mahr (formerly of ABC’s Politically Incorrect with Bill Mahr, and a self-proclaimed libertarian himself), said that libertarians, “[A]re just Republicans who like to smoke dope and party, look at porn, and blow off going to church”. So much for the term libertarian in pop culture today, eh folks?

"However,” Maravillosa goes on to say”, I'm not calling for us to completely abandon the term [libertarian]. It seems to me that, by choosing to identify ourselves as pro-freedom or some other, equally precise descriptor [NAPper? ZAPper? ZAPA?], we can accomplish two things: 1] We offer an unequivocal statement of our position on what freedom is, our valuing of it, and how it is to be applied; and 2] we offer a channel for identifying the muddled state of the libertarian concept, and educating those who are interested as to its real meaning and history. Without that kind of conversation, the word is going to remain hopelessly unclear, and useless to those of us who remember what it once stood for."

Okay, but I am still a little confused here. If whole point of this exercise in re-branding the freedom movement in such a way as to be more palatable to the sheep and more self-defined, so as to take away the tendency of the mainstream media, academics, the punditry, and the Hollywood, pop-culture, late-night comedian types to define us wrongly, what is to stop them from doing it again? What’s the point?

If you are against rule by states, you are an anarchist by definition, whether that makes some 10th grade civics teacher blanche with outrage, or whether political cartoonists show us as bomb throwers and rioters, or if Jay Leno, George Carlin, Bill Mahr, and Stephen Colbert continue to mock and misrepresent us. The point is that these pricks will do all this anyway, for their own unique reasons of course, but they will do it all the same, whatever label some would have us adopt.

Maybe Allport and Maravillosa would have us bring in some high-tech, new-age marketing types who could set up some focus groups of soccer moms, NASCAR dads, gen-X’ers, or who-ever-the hell-all else their target audience is, and find some name for this movement that sells easier and goes down smoother?

The two main points that I want to make regarding the issue of re-branding libertarians and anarchists are these.

First, as Ayn Rand famously noted, “A, is A.”, AKA Aristotle’s law of identity: (i.e. A thing is what it is; or a as the Bard of Avon noted, “[A] rose by any other name would smell just as sweet.”) If you oppose the existence of state entities and the practice of statism, you are by definition an anarchist. So fookin’ what if the sheep, media poobahs, professors, pundits and TV funnymen can’t handle it? They can’t handle any other form of accurate philosophical or political nomenclature either. Calling “gun control” [sic] “victim disarmament” [sic] hasn’t changed the views of the anti-gun soccer moms, the NY Times editorial board, or David Letterman either, so what the hell good does it do? You tell me cuz I don’t see any gain from it at all. People that aren’t willing to dig a little deeper into the causes and meanings of things aren’t gonna start doing so now because of a name change or re-branding effort. Those sorts are never gonna be part of us because they don’t really desire freedom or liberty at all; Just a cushy, comfortable life paid for or subsidized by the theft by proxy of the thugs they elect or support.

Second, as A.J. Nock noted we are the “remnant.” And we always will be unless we set up deliberate communities to change that status. We aren’t a race or ethnicity but persons who share a more or less congruent core set of principles (i.e. no initiation of force, any state entities, and truly free markets and enterprise). The sheep want health care, police protection [sic], tax breaks, affirmative action, public education, public morals, and all the rest of their wish list, codified into law, enforced by armies, police, courts and prisons, and paid for or heavily subsidized by taxes on others. The political culture in America today amounts to; “Why should I vote for you? What’s in it for me?” And so I don’t see calling myself a “freedom-lover,” “abolitionist”, or whatever the hell else they come up with, changing a damn thing.

But hey you guys go for it with my best wishes, and prove me wrong.

Monday, December 18, 2006

12.18.06 – “Abolitionist”? Nah, I’m Still An Anarchist




Glen Allport wrote a column at Strike the Root.com today whose thesis is that the term "anarchism" is bad. Not anarchism itself mind you, (i.e. opposing states and statism), but the label "anarchist" because the definitionally illiterate in the mainstream media equate anarchy with chaos and violence. And STR's owner and publisher apparently agrees with Allport too, given his endorsement in the tag line ("recommended" [to read] ), and making the column the first item in the article list.

"Civil society", says Allport, "requires nothing less than complete abolition of initiated coercion. If history and current events teach us nothing else, they teach us that initiated coercion is evil, and that when used widely and systematically (as every government does) it becomes, all too often, an evil of epic proportions. All excuses, schemes, and rationalizations for initiating coercion against others only create more coercion. We’ve tried 'the divine right of kings.' We’ve tried 'dictatorship of the proletariat.' We’ve tried 'democracy.' It doesn’t matter how you dress it up: initiating force or threats of force against peaceful human beings is a crime, and creates nothing but injustice, violence, and misery. Using the term ‘abolitionism’ points out that ALL forms of initiated coercion must go; belief that it is necessary or benign to initiate coercion for this or for that reason, or in some special manner, is delusional and dangerous.

So call me an abolitionist, please. I hope you will consider joining me in use of the term."

I guess it doesn't occur to Allport that the politically illiterate journalists, pundits, and academics will eventually conflate "abolitionist" with the anti-slavery movement in American history and begin to say, "[W]hat a crock! We don't have slavery in America any more. So what is this all about?" And then go on to dismiss or misinterpret what "abolitionists" must be about. And so the circle of misstatement is again complete.

Here is the email I sent Allport in re his column.

"Glen,
I agree with what you wrote here somewhat, but here is what I see as the problem. What will prevent politically illiterate mainstream journalists, academics and the punditry from redefining your new terminology negatively as well? As Ayn Rand famously noted 'A is A.’ If you don't believe in states or statism you are an anarchist by definition, and so calling yourself an ‘abolitionist’ changes nothing. So in the end, what is the point? To draw people into the freedom movement by making a name change that embarrasses them less? Good luck with this, but I don't think it'll work. You can call it a calamari sushi roll if you want to, but in the end you're still eating squid.” (12.18.06)

Life is short, and so you have to choose your goals and objectives carefully if you expect see any results in your lifetime, and this particular word game that Allport suggests we all enter into seems to me to be a sure bet to end up being a major and ultimately futile and time consuming waste of effort. That's how I see it anyhow.

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Saturday, December 16, 2006

12.17.06-George Reisman: Libertarian Apologist for Totalitarian Rule

Gracias, Senor Reisman!

And all posted on the Ludwig von Mises.org blog of all places, too. Go figure?

"The General is denounced again and again", says professor Reisman, "for the death or disappearance of over 3,000 Chilean citizens and the alleged torture of thousands more. It may well be that some substantial number of innocent Chilean citizens did die or disappear or otherwise suffered brutal treatment as the result of his actions. But in a struggle to avoid the establishment of a Communist dictatorship, it is undoubtedly true that many or most of those who died or suffered were preparing to inflict a far greater number of deaths and a vastly larger scale of suffering on their fellow citizens."

Aside from the obvious nonsense of what he implies here, (i.e. that a fascist dictatorship is somehow better than a communist or socialist one), Pinochet killed, tortured, exiled, imprisoned and suppressed not only the democratically elected government but also labor unions, news media (independent, socialist, communist, and essentially all voices that opposed his coup), academics, (political and non-political), religious groups and clergy, and embezzled Chilean state funds for his own personal use. Pinochet didn't merely kill the supposed Communists and their allies, but essentially any and all who opposed his dictatorship.

How the hell can Reisman support such an undertaking, one that lasted some seven long, dark years? Read the above-cited paragraph carefully please; it could be written as a justification for Hitler, Idi Amin, Robert Mugabe, Castro, Mussolini, Pol Pot, Kim Jong-Il or any other dictator, the way I read it.

But Reisman gets worse.

"Their deaths and suffering should certainly not be mourned, any more than the deaths of Lenin, Stalin, and Hitler, and their helpers should be mourned. Had there been a General Pinochet in Russia in 1918 or Germany in 1933, the people of those countries and of the rest of the world would have been incomparably better off, precisely by virtue of the death, disappearance, and attendant suffering of vast numbers of Communists and Nazis. Life and liberty are positively helped by the death and disappearance of such mortal enemies. Their absence from the scene means the absence of such things as concentration camps, and is thus ardently to be desired."

I wonder what Reisman thinks of the innocent people Pinochet and his apparatchiks killed? Merely collateral damage I would guess, based on what he says here.

In 1976 the Chilean state intelligence service paid to have anti-Castro Cuban exiles detonate a bomb in Washington, DC under a car passengered by former Chilean ambassador Orlando Letelier, killing him and an assistant (a native born American citizen) and injuring two others. An act of state sponsored terrorism by any other name, no? But Reisman says deaths like these "should not be mourned", but celebrated evidently.

Reisman has revealed himself as a pro-fascist and anti-liberty nutjob who really has no business at all calling himself a libertarian. Reisman’s authoritarian and pro-violence initiation views have lately gotten him booted from even such an extreme outfit as the Ayn Rand Institute, an organization well known for its apologetics for statism and war as well, but with this screed he goes straight into the ranks of kookery such as is found at Stormfront.com and other such ilk. WTF is he doing writing stuff like this on the LvMI blog anyhow, and why the hell hasn't it been take down yet?

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Friday, December 15, 2006

12.15.06 - Some Thoughts on Armed Uprisings



I wrote yesterday about the Brady Campaign's belief that an armed population is useless in preventing tyranny by the state. And now I want to add a few more thoughts.

If a foreign power were to occupy your hometown and impose its culture, laws, and political, economic and religious views on you and your neighbors, how long do you think it would be before that occupier and its dupes and lackeys started getting victimized by IEDs, ambushes, snipers, and other such clandestine armed resistance? My opinion is not very long at all. And why do I say this? Because such resistance works! As numerous examples from modern history show us.

The IRA drove the English to negotiate with them over the status of Ireland (1916, 1997), the Vietnamese drove out the US (1975), and the Afghans drove out the Soviets (1989), just to name a few examples. Some of these nation-states went easily, and some went hard, after thousands of deaths, casualties, and much money spent, but they all eventually went, and that is my point.

Some states, such as Russia, have dug in their heels, (as they have in Chechnya) for strategic and/or economic (i.e. the oil) reasons they believe are vital, and so it will take longer and result in more deaths, but eventually I predict, they too will go. Long term war is sure bet for political unpopularity and unrest (even for despots) and is a proven economy killer. Skimming off money, which would otherwise be used privately for productive purposes, to make war, eventually bankrupts even the richest of societies, as the modern history of imperialism has shown. The US and Russian empires will be no exception to this dynamic.

Imperial powers will be the first to go into extinction, followed by the huge multi-ethnic imperialist nation-states. Smaller entities will emerge as the norm. Where it'll all go from there I don't know, and can't honestly predict. I am not a Marxist historical determinist or Fukuyama-ist neoconservative that believes in so-called "scientific laws" of historical progression. Instead I believe that as Mark Twain observed, "[H]istory doesn't repeat itself, but it does rhyme.”

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

12.13.06 - Second Amendment Lessons from Iraq



Here are high points of the essay that I want to comment upon, but I recommend you read the whole thing.

Second Amendment Lessons from Iraq by William R. Tonso

" 'The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence/Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence' claims, 'According to media reports, Iraq is one of the most heavily armed countries in the world. It is believed that there are enough guns in Iraq for at last [sic] every person in Iraq to possess one, a level similar to gun ownership in clans in Yemen and Somalia, as well as in the United States. With a population of approximately 24 million, that means there could be millions of small arms in the hands of civilians. The gun culture is pervasive in Iraq. There is even an Iraqi saying, ‘Give everything to your friend, except your car, your wife, and your gun.’

Which is very good advice too, no matter how the "Brady Bunch" and their ilk try to slander and misinterpret this bit of Iraqi folk wisdom. Kinda condescending and racist too.

In a place like the Middle East where feuds, tyrannies, invasions, and civil disorder is commonplace, why would you not arm yourself? Gandhian style passive resistance would be totally ineffective there. A single man or community having some AK-47s couldn't obviously repel a national army bent on doing its will, but it does make it possible to keep bandits, political, religious, and ethnic rivals, and other smaller, (but just as real), enemies from your doors, and that is why they possess them.

"This anti-gun organization goes on to report that 'in February, 2003, Saddam’s governments [sic] held a parade of thousands of small arms-bearing civilians to march down the streets of Mosul to demonstrate the capacity of ordinary Iraqis to wage war.' What kinds of guns? All kinds, many old but also many new, the latter including AK-47 true assault rifles capable of full-automatic fire, and 'Israeli Uzis and German MP5 submachine guns.' Civilians even had rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs). A retired Army Special Operations officer with whom I swap e-mails now and again confirms that that part of the world, with which he is very familiar, is awash in guns. And a soldier returned from Iraq once told Limbaugh about the widespread civilian possession of guns in that country. Rush was surprised, but I’ve never heard him mention it again. So, if Iraqi civilians were actually heavily armed even before they were 'liberated' (Ha!), why didn’t the Iraqi people rise up against their brutal dictator and save the United States the trouble of 'liberating' them?"

Well, the Kurds did, establishing an independent enclave in northern Iraq, the Shia tried to (the Basra Uprising of '91, which failed) and the Sunnis, then being in control, liked things as they were. So, the Brady Campaign again gets its facts wrong, or more likely just uses them selectively, to justify their logical contortions to reach an already pre-determined conclusion. Much as anti-rights constitutionalists do, (i.e. "the constitution says you have a right to bear arms, but, although that's what it says, that isn't what it really means".) Playing post-modernist linguistic deconstructionist word-games will not protect your liberty though. It merely confuses the real issue and wastes your time. Which is why I don’t often bandy words arguing with them. But I digress.

Abraham Lincoln, (I know, I know, who was a statist dictator, but even so..) is reputed to have said that “[P]eople are just about as happy as they make up their minds to be". And so too with liberty. People are born into this world with liberty and they keep as much as they are willing and able to assert. The Iraqis under Saddam Hussein had the means to assert their liberty but mostly chose not to. Like a millionaire who starves himself to death, this is odd. But that was their choice. They had the means but not the will. Go figure?

"What Americans mistakenly do is transfer their beliefs regarding distrust of government onto others. The vast majority of people around this world believe government to be a good, not evil, force in their lives." Well put. Even an well-armed populace can be oppressed if it doesn’t have the will to rebel. I might add that even in the United States, detractors of the Second Amendment, and even many of its supporters, tend to trust government too much and see it as a force for good as long as their side is in power."

Tonso has written a book on this topic Gun Control=People Control, which I intend to read. I don't usually bother much with "constitutional rights" articles and books, because I don't believe that documents, no matter how skillfully written, can protect your liberty. Only you and I can. The right to self-defense is a natural right that people have inherently, and that requires no sanction from a piece of paper written long ago by people long dead. As Thomas Jefferson wrote, the "the earth belongs to the living.” We can't grant liberty to other people who haven't been born yet after we're dead. The people living in the future must assert it for themselves. But shouldn't we give them a "fighting chance" to do so? I think so, and the means to take advantage of that fighting chance are a logical necessity of that premise. Guard your guns as you would any other necessity of life, for that is what, in the end, guns are.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

12.12.06 - The Diplomat-Parking-Violation Corruption Index


Hey Kofi! Don't Let the Door Hit You in the Ass on the Way Out!

An interesting article from the NY Times Magazine illustrating yet again what a complete fookin' fraud the United Nations is. The UN diplomats and their entourages routinely blow off parking laws and rules of courtesy in NYC, because they have immunity. The UN types park in places where the common riff-raff (that actually live in Manhattan) are ticketed, fined and towed away for parking. Go figure.

They want to bring the "rule of law" to international relations and blah, blah, blah, but, see, they can't be bothered with fire hydrants, no-parking zones, handicapped spaces, and other such stuff. The link is here if you want read further of the abuses they routinely engage in.

"Social scientists who study corruption," says the article, "have long debated the relative importance of legal incentives and cultural norms ("people like us don't do that") in the decision to act for or against the public good. Many economists lean toward the view that most people will act similarly, given similar incentives, and that cultural norms are less important.

In an ingenious study published in June, however, the Columbia University economist Raymond Fisman and Edward Miguel of the University of California at Berkeley argued that culture plays a powerful role. The two scholars studied parking tickets that were racked up in Manhattan by diplomats from 146 countries who were posted to the United Nations. In a situation in which every diplomat essentially received an invitation to be corrupt, diplomats from nations with 'clean' governments [sometimes] said, 'No, thanks.' "

Imagine that! Keep all this in mind as you read the praises of the soon to be former Kleptocrat-in-Chief of the World Legislature, Kofi Annan's great service to the world community, eh? What garbage. Statist bureaucrats are mainly crooks no matter what place in the world they hail from.

Monday, December 11, 2006

12.11.06 - I Don't Buy Stuff From Slave Owners


I saw a very nice SKS rifle at a gunshop this weekend. And very reasonably priced too, ($149 USD). But I didn't buy it though. See, Norinco, the (so-called) People’s Republic of China state arsenal’s commercial entity, manufactured it. I have no problem with buying ex-Soviet or former Warsaw Pact state arsenal surplus weapons and ammo. But I won't buy anything from a current slave state. I'm funny that way. I'd even buy an ex-Nazi weapon if it was a good value and I needed or wanted to buy it. But not from a current slave state.
No way.

L. Neil Smith and some others suggested a boycott of Smith & Wesson, Ruger and some other US gunmakers who weaseled for public relations and political reasons and supported the Brady Law, Assault Weapons and High Capacity magazine bans. Why reward such weaseling eh? And LNS had a good point. I kind of feel the same way. I am not gonna buy from some Commie state commercial entity just to get a better deal when I could get one from a former commie liberal democracy, even ones as tainted as Russia, Romania, and Bulgaria are.

Call me strange, but I just won't do it.

Wednesday, December 6, 2006

12.06.06 Cultural Snobbery & its Enablers



Reading this short article sure opened my eyes about the effects of ideology in the marketplace for ideas

Thomas DiLorenzo wrote:

"Shortly before his excellent book Bully Boy, a biography of Teddy Roosevelt, was published my friend Jim Powell emailed me that something called 'Publishers Weekly' had attempted a 'preemptive strike' on the book by slandering it on Amazon.com. The obvious objective of this attack was to try to stifle sales before the book was even released.

I had noticed this outfit before and thought it very odd that it often has the very first comments about newly-published books on Amazon.com and other book sites, yet the comments are all anonymous. Who are these people, and why do book sellers give them such a prominent place?

Searching the internet, I discovered that its anonymous 'reviews' (which are actually catty little diatribes) are distributed to hundreds of publishers, libraries, and booksellers. The editor-in-chief of this shadowy operation is one Sara Nelson, formerly of Glamour and Self magazines, those pinnacles of American intellectual rigor and serious scholarship.

It is well known that the commercial publishing industry in America, like universities, Hollywood, and so many other institutions, is almost totally dominated by liberals and leftists. So much so that it was newsworthy a few years ago when Random House established a division (Crown Forum) that would publish conservative books, as did a division of Penguin Publishing. Before that, only Regnery Publishing was known to publish conservative or libertarian books on a regular basis. So it was big news when, all of a sudden, there were three – out of hundreds – of commercial publishers that would not automatically censor manuscripts submitted by conservatives or libertarians."

Go figure! I wrote something along those lines myself on this blog a few days ago in re podcasts noting the snotty reaction non-mainstream culture critics express toward writings that conflict with their core beliefs, whether they make good points or not.


Tuesday, December 5, 2006

12.05.06 - A Local Soldier Comes Home in a Flag Covered Box

US Army 2nd Lt. Emily Perez, West Point's First Female Grad Killed in Iraq, is Laid to Rest

Nothing brings the consequences of our wars abroad home like these kinds of events. A nice local kid (age 20) returned home from his deployment in Iraq in a flag-covered box. Dead of course. He was not a Pat Tillman or a famous West Point grad or anything "special," so don't expect a NY Times story about him in the national media. But he was a smart, handsome young stud, a star athlete in the local Catholic high school league and made the honor roll every semester. Why he chose to enlist in the US Army instead of going to college or something better than enlisting, I'll never know.

I met him a few times and I see his grandmother frequently at the neighborhood gas station. The local newspaper is full of letters to the editor about what a great kid he was and what potential he had. The common themes of these letters are that "he died for his country" and "this is the price we pay for being free," ad nauseum. Whatever.

In this rural part of Michigan I inhabit now people are very pro-Bush, pro-war, and solidly Republican. And yet it these people that seem to bear the impact of the War Party's bloodletting personally. That is to say with the flesh and blood of their own children. I have to believe that this viewpoint is some sort of psychological defense mechanism people use in order to justify the unjustifiable to themselves.

They pay in other ways for Bushism too. W's Social Darwinian corporate welfare policies have cost Michigan more jobs than any other state in America; paying your bills and keeping a roof over your head becomes steadily more difficult here. And yet they vote GOP cuz it's "pro-life" or for similar social policy issues. Go figure?

Thomas Franks wrote a book a few years back asking the same questions that I'm pondering now. Why do people knowingly and consciously support politicians that do their level best to degrade their well-being, ruin the economy, kill and injure people far from our shores, and get their own children killed and injured in doing so? Why indeed?

Sunday, December 3, 2006

12.02.06 Some Paranoid Rumblings


Is this rifle and others like it about to be banned?

Rumor has it (from the usual suspects), that the new Democratic majority in Congress will again pass an Assault Weapon & High Capacity Magazine Ban into law. And this one won't expire or sunset like the old one did in 2004.

Cobbling together a majority to pass this vampire-like measure (that some of us thought it was dead!) with the help of "moderate" Republicans and "common-sense" but ostensibly pro-Second Amendment Dems likely won't be that difficult, eh? Especially given the opportunism and the fecklessness of the Bush Administration. WTF, Bush doesn't have to face the voters again, so who cares if gun owners and the NRA are pissed if he can trade a sign-off on a new AWB for something he really cares about? Bush might veto such a law, but then again he might not. But why take the chance? Hit your local gun show and stock up now folks! Word to the wise.

Saturday, December 2, 2006

12.02.06 Not Everyone Agrees with My Take on the Boston Tea Party

Police Decry Web Site Naming Narks & Informants
I bet they do.(Associated Press)



Not Everyone Agrees with My Take on the Boston Tea Party
To each his own.(Anarchism.net)

What's the Coolest Thing You've Ever Built?
Short list: Time machine, dead cat catapults, grocery conveyors. Hilarious. (via Slashdot.org)

Never Mind Your Credit Score, What's Your ATS Rating?
"The DHS Automated Targeting System (ATS) is used to create threat ratings for travelers based on ATS' analysis of their travel records and various other information, including data on where they are from, how they paid for tickets, their motor vehicle records, past one-way travel, seating preference and what kind of meal they ordered." (The Shadowmonkey blog)

Third World $100 Laptop to Retail for $450 in US
Go figure. (Beat the Press blog)

Killing Habeas Corpus
"In habeas-corpus proceedings, the government is required to bring a prisoner—the body—before a judge and provide a legal rationale for his continued imprisonment." The GOP controlled lame duck congress' parting gift to national security. (The New Yorker)


The Muses (2003)

Journey from 'Nebraska'
"How an artist who restricted his canvases to the basic elements of shape, light, and color developed over the next forty years into the one who painted The Muses is one of the great stories of American art in our time(...)"
(New York Review of Books)

EP078: The Shoulders of Giants
"The Pioneer Spirit was a colonization ship; it wasn’t intended as a diplomatic vessel. When it had left Earth, it had seemed important to get at least some humans off the mother world. Two small-scale nuclear wars—Nuke I and Nuke II, as the media had dubbed them—had already been fought, one in southern Asia, the other in South America. It appeared to be only a matter of time before Nuke III, and that one might be the big one.
SETI had detected nothing from Tau Ceti, at least not by 2051. But Earth itself had only been broadcasting for a century and a half at that point; Tau Ceti might have had a thriving civilization then that hadn’t yet started using radio. But now it was twelve hundred years later. Who knew how advanced the Tau Cetians might be?"

A short story podcast from EscapePod.com/

Friday, December 1, 2006

Why Do the Words "freedom" or "liberty" Make People Roll their Eyes?




Remember the Name of this National Landmark, Anyone?

I was listening to a Radio Free Liberty podcast in a coffeehouse in a medium sized mid-Michigan college town near where I live earlier today. I had the volume down, but it was still audible beyond the close immediate area near my table. (And no, I wasn't using the earbuds).

It seemed as if every one of the upscale college and professional types who encountered my podcast and who asked me what I was listening to had a greatly diminished opinion thereafter, and usually did the "eye-roll" thing as well, when I told them it was a podcast from “Radio Free Liberty.com”. It seems that the mainstream media has so inculcated these sheep with the idea that anyone or anything that upholds, supports, and advocates for liberty is now viewed as some sort of off-the-wall extremist nutcake.

Have the American people become so cowed and fearful that most of them find the very thing that is best about American culture is now seen as a shameful thing that embarrasses them to even have mentioned?

Well, not completely. About dozen or so scruffy lookin' types (i.e. non-white collar, non-university types, in other words real people) asked for RFL’s web address. They must have been sincere too, because most wrote it down.

More Airport Security


A "sanitized for public viewing" example of what TSA screeners will see. The actual image is much clearer and shows more details.

This new technology is creepy. But it will probably prove somewhat useful and it is certainly less embarrassing than being patted down and frisked or being told to undress and be searched in a public area.

As for the shills selling this technology to the TSA and others, well their disclaimers go like this:

“[The] TSA said the X-rays will be set up so that the image can be viewed only by a security officer in a remote location. Other passengers, and even the agent at the checkpoint, will not have access to the picture.

In addition, the system will be configured so that the X-ray will be deleted as soon as the individual steps away from the machine. It will not be stored or available for printing or transmitting, agency spokesman Nico Melendez said.”

Not yet anyway. And how long do you think it’ll be before Britny Spears’, Lindsey Lohan’s, Brad Pitt’s, and other persons of interest to the tabloids x-ray scans make their way onto the pages and websites of the yellow press? Given the potencial financial rewards now made possible to the low paid TSA drudges, not very long, I’m thinking.

The more troubling aspect is what will happen when shopping mall security types, local cops, and other dubious sorts get their hands on this technology? Nothing good I fear. As with most of this stuff, for every person caught trying to enter a courthouse or airport with a knife or bomb they'll be many, many more of us who get "caught" wearing a truss or leg brace, wig or toupee, with a dildo, pocket knife, or some other embarrassing but private, and wholly legal, item. Not to mention "suspicious items" that will require more scutiny. But now the whole wide-world will know about it and have hard copy and digital images to bandy about, too. Creepy.