Friday, October 30, 2009


On October 30, 1938, Orson Welles and the Mercury Theatre on the Air presented an adaptation of H.G. Wells' The War of the Worlds. The show was presented in the form of news bulletins reporting an invasion from the planet Mars, which led many to believe an actual invasion by the Red Planet was occurring.

Orson Welles, Radio Maestro

There was a very good TV movie made about the famous broadcast that premiered on October 31, 1975, on the ABC television network, called The Night That Panicked America.

Max Allan Collins wrote a mystery novel (that I'm currently reading) called The War of the Worlds Murder , with Welles and other historical figures involved with the Halloween eve broadcast as characters.

Ayn Rand and The Morality of Altruism

Vox Day: The Return of the Great Depression

Vox Day says "I certainly hope that I am incorrect and the Great Depression 2.0 is not in the process of unfolding, but unfortunately, I have yet to see any evidence suggesting otherwise that is not based on the very same assumptions and models that caused mainstream economists to fail to foresee the current recession". His new book is called The Return of the Great Depression.

At present, the mainstream consensus is that the structural flaws in the global economy that caused the financial crisis 2007 have been solved, that the recession is over, and that the recovery has already begun. While a few famous economists are hedging their public bets by speaking incoherently of a jobless recovery, virtually no one is willing to assert that not only are there no jobs being created, there is in fact no economic recovery occurring!

The Return of the Great Depression

High-Tech Sweatshops

Vimal Patel was studying for a master's in business administration in London when he saw an advertisement for work in the U.S. The ad offered a job in the tech industry, as well as sponsorship for the kind of work visa that allows foreign nationals to take professional-level jobs in the country. So Patel applied and paid his prospective employer, Cygate Software & Consulting, in Edison, N.J., thousands of dollars in up-front fees. But when Patel arrived, Cygate had no tech job for him. He ended up working at a gas station, and Cygate nevertheless took a chunk of his wages for years, according to documents in a criminal case against Cygate.

America's High-Tech Sweatshops

Outsourced, Homeless and Blogging

An unemployed, skilled IT worker, now homeless: (h/t to

While qualified American tech workers are sleeping in their cars, companies are running sham ads under U.S. Department of Labor rules that require them to first show that there are no willing and qualified U.S. workers for the position, before hiring a foreign worker sponsored under an H-1B visa.

These ads are called PERM (Program Electronic Review Management) Ads (see this "one-stop" service for the "Employer/Sponsor").

When an employer wishes to sponsor an H-1b worker for a green card, they are required to run a few ads in the Sunday newspaper as "good faith" recruitment to demonstrate that no qualified Americans are available for the position.


The employer has no intention of hiring any of the applicants - there is no job opening since the H-1b worker already holds the position. The employer only runs these ads so that they can submit copies of them to DOL along with the green card application.


The ads are fraud upon the unemployed readers who take the time to respond to these ads.-Majority of Tech Help Wanted in Sacramento Bee are PERM Sham Ads

Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Face of War

He believed that he was fighting for his country. He was actually fighting for the power and greed of a few.

In a way, I believe this picture is symbolic. It shows the inner monster that develops as a result of war. He was probably a happy young man at one time, but now he is a scarred, demonic product of the war machine. Chewed up and spit out, just like that.

All the bullshit "freedom'n'democracy" rhetoric that the Hannitoids and Rushbots were spewing in 2004? Just mindless Republican propaganda that lost any relevancy years ago. Nobody cares. It's old news. Was it worth getting his face blown off for the short-term political fiesta of the GOP and its media shills?

Just some things to consider before you volunteer to be a murderous, trigger-happy tool of the state. The state does not give a FUCK about you.

Meet the face of war.


On another forum, I'm debating a left-anarchist who is literally defending Stalin (not to mention praising the US military and Pentagon for supposedly creating the internet--which is in itself questionable). Stalinism, he claims, "far surpasses" the record of market economies.

Oh, and did it ever!

In real terms, the workers' standards of living tended to drop, rather than rise during the industrialisation. Stalin's laws to “tighten work discipline” made the situation worse: e.g. a 1932 change to the RSFSR labor law code enabled firing workers who had been absent without a reason from the work place for just one day. Being fired accordingly meant losing “the right to use ration and commodity cards” as well as the “loss of the right to use an apartment″ and even blacklisted for new employment which altogether meant a threat of starving[2]. Those measures, however, were not fully enforced, as managers often desperately needed to hire new workers. In contrast, the 1938 legislation, which introduced labor books, followed by major revisions of the labor law, were enforced. For example, being absent or even 20 minutes late were grounds for becoming fired; managers who failed to enforce these laws faced criminal prosecution. Later, the Decree of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet, 26 June 1940 “On the Transfer to the Eight-Hour Working Day, the Seven-day Work Week, and on the Prohibition of Unauthorized Departure by Laborers and Office Workers from Factories and Offices″[3] replaced the 1938 revisions with obligatory criminal penalties for quitting a job (2–4 months imprisonment), for being late 20 minutes (6 months of probation and pay confiscation of 25 per cent) etc.

While undoubtedly marking a tremendous leap in industrial capacity, the first Five Year Plan was extremely harsh on industrial workers; quotas were difficult to fulfill, requiring that miners put in 16 to 18−hour workdays. Failure to fulfill the quotas could result in treason charges. Working conditions were poor, even hazardous. By some estimates, 127,000 workers died during the four years (from 1928 to 1932). Due to the allocation of resources for industry along with decreasing productivity since collectivization, a famine occurred. The use of forced labor must also not be overlooked. In the construction of the industrial complexes, inmates of labor camps were used as expendable resources. But conditions improved rapidly during the second plan. Throughout the 1930s, industrialization was combined with a rapid expansion of education at schools and in higher education.

From 1921 until 1954, during the period of state−guided, forced industrialization, it is claimed 3.7 million people were sentenced for alleged counter−revolutionary crimes, including 0.6 million sentenced to death, 2.4 million sentenced to labor camps, and 0.7 million sentenced to expatriation. Other estimates put these figures much higher. Much like with the famines, the evidence supporting these high numbers is disputed by some historians, although this is a minority view. The peak of the repressions was during the great Purge of 1937–8, and it had the effect of greatly slowing down production in 1937.

Of course, if you're a leftist or an arch-conservative Pat Buchanan type, "industrialization" for the sake of "industrialization" is the goal, regardless of the famine, theft, mass death, gulags, etc.

It's hard to follow the logic of people who consider working at Starbucks to be the pinnacle of tyranny, but working in a blood-stained labor camp to be the fullest expression of individual freedom.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Book Review: ‘Mass Casualties’

Anyone thinking about going into the military would do well to read Specialist Michael Anthony’s memoir, Mass Casualties: A Young Medic’s True Story of Death, Deception, and Dishonor in Iraq. While the title might suggest that this is the work of some renegade peacenik, another soldier-turned-antiwar-activist, Anthony in fact seems proud of his military service, and he never criticizes the US mission in Iraq. Not that any of that matters. Mass Casualties isn’t about the politics of war. It’s simply what it claims to be, a memoir, one soldier’s remembrance of his time in Iraq.

A natural storyteller, Anthony populates his book with memorable characters, some loveable, some not so loveable. There’s Denti, a fellow operating room medic. “Denti’s always been a storyteller, and I quickly learned to never believe anything he says, including the fact that he was a pimp, a drug dealer, gang member, and a weightlifting power-lifter—he says he only joined the Army because he wanted to get away from the hectic lifestyle.” There’s also Gagney, the staff sergeant in charge of the operating room who’s not exactly the world’s most gracious loser. “Then a month ago Gagney, Reto, Denti, and I were playing Risk, a game of global domination. I had an alliance with Reto, and we attacked Gagney’s armies. Gagney flipped out, knocked the game board over, called us all ‘fucking idiot cheaters,’ and stormed off.”

One can’t read Mass Casualties without at some point being reminded of M*A*S*H. People are often joking around. People are often—okay, usually—okay, almost always—having sex—lots and lots of sex. But, more to the point, nobody wants to be there. This isn’t summer camp. This is the Army. This is war. And everyone knows that at any given moment his life could come to a sudden, tragic end.

The more we read, the more we realize that the practical jokes and adulterous escapades are really just a desperate attempt to create some sense of normalcy. But, of course, normalcy can’t be created in the hellishness of war. No matter how hard Anthony and his cohorts try to escape the horrors of their present reality, there they find themselves, operating on a soldier who’s just had his face blown off, running into a bunker as mortar rockets rain down from the sky. “When I close my eyes,” Anthony writes, “I dream of death and war. When I open my eyes I see death and war. I blink and as my eyes close I see images of death, and as they flutter open I see death—there is no escaping it.”

Many who went to Iraq undoubtedly had it worse than Anthony. Indeed, his experience appears to have been a relatively good one. (Let me stress the word relatively.) And this is precisely why those wanting to join the military should read Mass Casualties. Because, as Anthony so masterfully illustrates, war thrusts all of its participants, even those who don’t end up getting shot full of holes, into a situation that the human psyche is simply not equipped to handle.

Contrary to what most eighteen-year-olds think, war isn’t like a game of Halo. It’s certainly nothing like the latest Army recruitment video. And to make matters worse, the military is largely run by a bunch of self-absorbed, even sadistic, people who don’t seem to give a damn about those serving under them. At one point, Anthony describes how a colonel postpones treating a severely wounded soldier so he can finish attending an awards ceremony. Another time, the unit’s officers refuse to send a suicidal soldier away to receive the care he needs, fearing that doing so might make them look bad.

Yes, the military might “make you a man,” that is, if you come back alive. But, as Mass Casualties demonstrates, as the record number of soldiers returning home with drug and alcohol addictions, with brain damage, with PTSD and other mental disorders, further demonstrates, it’s also likely to destroy you.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Alan Grayson is right: Linda Robertson IS a k-street whore!

I was unfortunate enough to stumble onto FOX's ridiculous "Hannity" tonight. Hannity was talking with the idiot Christian-reconstructionist turd Rick Santorum about Alan Grayson's supposed "left-wing extremism." Why is Grayson "extreme" you ask? Because, in the words of one Dailykos blogger, he called a whore a whore:

Beltway Insiders are beginning to realize that attacking Alan Grayson comes with a price: you get crushed... like a bug. Before Grayson went off to law school and began a career holding war profiteers and corporate Bush cronies accountable, he studied economics... at Harvard. And then, unlike any other members of Congress, worked for several years as an economist. So last month when Enron's head lobbyist, Linda Robertson, reborn as the Fed's head lobbyist, attacked congressmen pushing for an audit of the Fed-- primarily Grayson and Ron Paul-- as ignorant of the difference between monetary policy and fiscal policy, Grayson reacted by pointing out that Robertson has a long and well-known career as a "K Street whore." She shills for whoever pays her. When it was Enron, she helped them steal billions of dollars from taxpayers and rate-payers and now that it's the Fed, she is crawling around DC starting whispering campaigns about members of Congress who are demanding the audit that the Fed dreads more than anything. Her problem, of course, is that more than half the members of Congress have signed on to the bill calling for the audit. So she's going after Ron Paul and Alan Grayson, the two who are pushing this the hardest.

In other words, acknowledging simple reality makes you a "left-wing extremist." Ooohh, but it's a woman. Isn't it wrong to call a woman a whore? In this case, no. Grayson was obviously using the term in a strictly political sense. The real outrage is due to the fact that he dared to call a spade a spade. (Obviously I disagree with Grayson on much, but he was exactly on the mark here.)

Nonetheless, he has "gone too far" according to the MSM. Horrors!

Finally, a leftist with SOME economic sense

Wow! The other night I came across a fantastic (and quite funny) article by David Schweickart that totally demolishes parecon (a ludicrous economic theory created by Michael Albert).

Despite being a "market socialist" (advocate of what could be considered a statist version of mutualism), many of Schweickart's criticisms of a non-market economy echo my own. And he is right: it would be the most unworkable mess you've ever seen if our society was insane enough to put these ideas into practice.

World poverty is...declining?

Apparently so.

Alderson Warm-Fork: Is the Revolution Going to Come?

It occurred to me that I’ve never directly discussed the issue of grand historical expectations – in particular, the expectation, widespread on the hard left, that sooner or later there will be a worldwide social convulsion of some sort in which, over however long and protracted a period, power structures will be dismantled, property will be socialised, freedom may or may not ring, and rule will be replaced with self-rule.

Is the Revolution Going to Come?

Be Prepared!

Be prepared, that's the Boy Scout motto, and it should probably be yours as well. If you're a reader of "pessimism porn" (the mainstream lapdog media's derisive term for the forecasts of economists who don't simply regurgitate the phony optimism of state propaganda) then you're well aware that what may be coming soon isn't going to be pretty.

In this piece, Paul B. Farrell reports on Marc Faber's warning that "The future will be a total disaster, with a collapse of our capitalistic system as we know it today."

Mr. Farrell ends his article with this:

Downsize your lifestyle expectations, trust no one, not even media.

Faber is uncertain about timing, we are not. There is a high probability of a crisis and collapse by 2012. The "Great Depression 2" is dead ahead. Unfortunately, there's absolutely nothing you can do to hide from this unfolding reality or prevent the rush of the historical imperative.

So be ready. Get set for major change (that is what you want, isn't it?), change that may facilitate a move to a more libertarian society (Gerald Celente predicts the coming collapse may lead to a breakup of the United States, which would mean having the opportunity to throw off the oppressive yoke of our slave masters in Washington, D.C.). Decide what kind of a world you want, and then work to make that a reality by being true to your liberty-loving principles.

On a personal level, it might not be a bad idea to begin stocking up on things like canned goods so that you have an emergency supply of food on hand to last you for an extended period. When you see a bargain at the local market, take advantage of it.

It may not even be at the kind of store you normally shop at, but if they're offering a loss-leader item you can use, buy it. Example: I walked into a CVS drug store recently just to kill a few minutes by browsing. Walking down the aisles of miscellaneous junk, I came across two displays, one with cans of Van Camp's Pork & Beans for only 33 cents a can with a limit of ten to a customer at a time. I immediately went to the front of the store for a basket, loaded it up with ten cans, then followed my bargain radar to a shelf offering BumbleBee Solid White Albacore tuna for just 77 cents a can, limit six cans at a time. I then proceeded to put the allowed number of tuna tins in my basket as well. I went back to the store several more times over the next couple of weeks to repeat the ritual, before the bargain prices expired.

Another thing you can do to prepare for economic collapse is to have extra items for trade and barter should that become necessary. Things people will need if they're not readily available at stores; razor blades, toilet paper, liquor, you get the idea.

I'm not the survivalist type, but I'm doing what I can, and while the future may look bleak on one level, on another, it gives those of us who long for real freedom the hope that out of the ashes of the current corruption a new and brighter (and freer) world will eventually emerge.

Baggy Pants: The Real Cause of School Shootings

What we really need is a zero tolerance policy toward the publik skools. Abolish the tax-supported and parasite-run child prisons, and leave baggy pants alone.

The public schools are evil. If you have children, the best thing you can do for them is to keep them away from the psychotic "educators".

Monday, October 26, 2009

Unsafe At Any Speed Limit

Driving home from work yesterday (yes, I work Sundays) I decided to drive exactly at the speed limit, which in the city is 65 mph on the highways. I don't often go much faster than that anyway, considering the car I drive and the fact that on my income I try my best to save gas, but this time my speedometer needle stayed exactly on that 65 mark all the way home.

I was interested in seeing if I, traveling at the legal maximum speed, would be the slowest vehicle on the road, and with only two or three exceptions, I was. All the other cars were going much faster, and the majority at least 80 mph.

This lead me to wondering why the official limit is only 65. Don't we live in a democracy? Haven't the people who actually use the highways spoken with their accelerators? Don't you "progressives" and "liberals" trust the judgment of the common man? After all, it was "progressives" that pushed for the modern initiative and referendum process, designed to allow the people to bypass state legislatures. These same "progressives" were also responsible for the 17th Amendment, providing for the direct election of U.S. Senators (previously chosen by the state legislatures).

So, obviously, "progressives" trust the people and want more democracy, which means the people should directly decide, by their driving behavior (that, as opposed to a vote on the issue, would be real democracy) what the speed limit should be, which from just my experience yesterday and in general, is always way above whatever the posted speed limit happens to be on any particular road.

Since libertarians are in the minority, I would suppose that of those who take an interest in politics (and who also drive) there are many statists of the Republican and Democrat variety behind the wheels all those vehicles zooming past me everyday. Democrats and Republicans love government and believe we can't do without it and its rules and regulations, and yet for some reason, they disregard the State's speed limits and act like anarchists when they get in their cars, doing their own thing and setting their own speeds!

The ultimate solution might be to just privatize the roads:

Music Monday

I first encountered The Boxer Rebellion a few years ago with The New Heavy, which was one track on a "free" multi-artist CD that came with a music magazine I'd purchased.

The Boxer Rebellion, Live

The Boxer Rebellion - Official Site

Somalia After State Collapse

Many people believe that Somalia’s economy has been in chaos since the collapse of its national government in 1991. We take a comparative institutional approach to examine Somalia’s performance relative to other African countries both when Somalia had a government and during its extended period of anarchy. We find that although Somalia is poor, its relative economic performance has improved during its period of statelessness. We also describe how Somalia has provided basic law and order and a currency, which have enabled the country to achieve the coordination that has led to improvements in its standard of living.

Somalia After State Collapse: Chaos or Improvement? [PDF]

"Despite the seeming anarchy, Somalia's service sector has managed to survive and grow. Telecommunication firms provide wireless services in most major cities and offer the lowest international call rates on the continent. In the absence of a formal banking sector, money exchange services have sprouted throughout the country, handling between $500 million and $1 billion in remittances annually. Mogadishu's main market offers a variety of goods from food to the newest electronic gadgets. Hotels continue to operate, and militias provide security."
-CIA factbook

see also: Stateless in Somalia, and Loving It

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Political Scmoozery

I went to a local political event this evening. It is one of those dress up and spend money to help the cause sort of things. This one was a liberal themed one and was benefitting mostly liberal causes and drawing a mostly liberal crowd. There was Entertainment, speakers, a silent auction and all of the usual trappings of this sort of thing.

Although I am active in local politics it is not the sort of thing I would normally attend. As a Libertarian I find that there are few causes that I wish to support. There are a few such as PFLAG and the food bank that are worth contributing to but that is about it. There are others who's goals I support but who's methods I disagree with. Some wish oppressive regulation to achieve a goal that could be accomplished through boycotts and education. Most want or are already receiving tax dollars when they should be privately funded. Anyway I prefer to contribute quietly to those causes I support and stay away from the public fund raisers.

I attended this one not for political reasons but because my daughter was performing. She was dancing and Taiko drumming with a group from her school and My wife and I went to watch her. That part was fun, and I did enjoy the social event as well, largely because of my seven year old son. We walked the silent auction tables and talked about what he would like to bid on. He has a little money and I told him he could make bids, but he wisely decided to hold on to his savings. We ate snacks and free ice cream provided by some local shops. We greeted our mayor and a state senator. My son was far more enthusiastic about the whole thing than I was and that made it fun. My wife was mostly concerned with my daughters performance, although she spent some time socializing with friends from the community and checking out the auction. After her performance my daughter joined us and we spent some time looking at all of the tables and exhibits.

It was a nice family night and hopefully educational for the kids. It did however remind me how out of the mainstream I am politically. I can't connect with either liberals or conservatives. The former are too in favor of oppressive government control and regulation of our lives and the latter are too in favor of oppressive laws and government control of our lives. It seems that there are few people in this "Land of the free" that actually want freedom.

I can understand that, freedom is hard. To be free you have to be strong and willing to care for yourself. You have to have ethics and responsibility. Also freedom requires that you respect the freedom of others. You have to accept that other people will do things you don't like or live in ways you find immoral. Some people can't handle that and I understand. However just because I understand it doesn't mean I respect it. I will always support freedom even to my detriment. As Benjamin Franklin said "He who would trade liberty for some temporary security, deserves neither liberty nor security." That is what keeps me voting Libertarian despite having my candidates lose. That is what keeps me opposing both the social oppression of the liberals and the moral oppression of the conservatives. The fact that Liberty is far more important and worthy of support than material security or moral bigotry.

Cross Posted from my personal blog

Penn Jillette: Nicholson Baker's New Book

Penn Jillette on Nicholson Baker's latest novel, The Anthologist:

Alex Peak: The Two Lefts

I have some running thoughts that I’d like to share on the nature of the left-wing. This post shan’t be well-formulated, I must warn the reader. It will not constitute good writing. It won’t even be well-argued, since my intention is not to prove that I am right, but rather merely to quickly and effortlessly convey the thoughts swimming through my head at the moment. Let us begin.

We learn from Rothbard in 1965 that libertarians and classical liberals are members of the true, radical left. Richman, in 2007, makes the point that “[o]ne could say that the Left itself had left and right wings, with the laissez-fairists on the left-left and the state socialists on the right-left.”

McElroy, in 1982, points out that libertarianism has grown thanks to the introduction of Austrian economic thought, particularly the introduction of the subjective theory of value. It’s essentially the same libertarianism that existed in the nineteenth century, and it’s just as individualistic today as it’s ever been, but it now has a better foundation in understanding the nature of value.

I often make the point, particularly when I’m speaking to conservatives, that there are two rights and two lefts, an anti-establishment right exemplified by the likes of Ron Paul and a pro-establishment right exemplified by the likes of G. W. Bush. On the left, I would say there is an anti-establishment left exemplified by the likes of Mike Gravel and a pro-establishment left exemplified by the likes of Barack Obama.

But really I’m being disingenuous. Ron Paul and Mike Gravel both occupy the same place on the spectrum: the left. Neither are on the absolute left, where I am and where Rothbard, McElroy, and Richman more or less are, but they are both certainly on the left. Likewise, both Bush and Obama occupy the same place on the spectrum: the right. Neither are as far right as Mussolini or Mao, but both are certainly on the right.

So we find ourselves with two lefts, an anti-establishment left (the libertarians) and a pro-establishment “left” (the pseudo-“liberals”).

Enter John Markley, who recently wrote on his blog: “I expected most of the American Left to lose interest in the war issue once Obama was in office, and especially once Obama started to escalate American military efforts in Afghanistan. Similarly, I expected them to start finding torture, attacks on civil liberties, and unrestrained executive power much less bothersome once they were wielding those weapons themselves. Perhaps above all else, I expected their whole ‘dissent is patriotic’ shtick to fade away as well. However, I really didn’t expect the change to be quite so abrupt. It’s a demonstration of an important lesson libertarians need to keep in mind—neither liberals nor conservatives are actually very good on the issues they’re supposedly on the right side of.”

Liberals, with whom do you want to associate? The establishment “left” that tells us we must “respect the office of the presidency”? The pro-war “liberals”? The so-called “left” that want you to believe it is unpatriotic to question the government or to yell at politicians (whether at townhall meetings or elsewhere)? The so-called “liberals” who are only outraged at oppressive government when the red team is at the helm, not also when it is the blue team at the helm?

Or would you rather associate with us radicals, we who fail to see the difference between Obama’s statism and Bush’s statism, we who still believe that dissent is patriotic, we who mourn the deaths in Afghanistan, we who demand that Guantánamo be shut down this week instead of a year from now, we who refuse to support a man who voted in favour of illegal wiretapping and renewing the USA PATRIOT Act, we who believe that this administration doesn’t care about homosexuals? Sure, by siding with us, you will be siding with people who reject Obamacare, but at least we don’t reject it for the same reasons as the right. We don’t reject it out of some irrational fear of immigrants being treated as equals in our society, we oppose it because we reject the underlying tenets of imperialism and statism. We reject it because we are consistent.

Liberals, you have every reason to join us libertarians on the radical left. After all, unlike the establishment “left,” we’ll never ask you to pledge your loyalty and servitude to the president, regardless of to which party she belonged. All we ask is that you never initiate force or fraud against your fellow human, that you never hire some gang to initiate force or fraud against your fellow human, and that you never ask a government to initiate force or fraud against your fellow human.

Hopefully you will join us because—that other “left”?—they are looking more and more like the right every day.

Alexander S. Peak

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Nouveau Poor Face Discrimination From Old Poor

"What makes America so special is that no matter how many advantages you were born with, you too might wind up sleeping underneath a highway overpass eating nothing but mustard and relish packets."

The Israel Lobby’s New Butt Boy

It looks like the Israel Lobby has found itself a new butt boy in Robert Bernstein. And I know what you’re thinking. “Don, did you really just say butt boy?” And, yes, I did just say butt boy. Not sure why, but I’ve been trying to work that into a post for some time now.

Anyway, writing in the New York Times, Bernstein complains that Human Rights Watch, which he once headed, has lost its way. Specifically, he feels that HRW has been unfairly singling out Israel over the past few years. The Middle East, he writes, is “populated by authoritarian regimes with appalling human rights records. Yet in recent years Human Rights Watch has written far more condemnations of Israel for violations of international law than of any other country in the region.”

Now I’m not sure if HRW does in fact spend more time criticizing Israel than its neighbors. As a regular reader of HRW’s news feed, I can tell you that it produces lots of reports on lots of different nations. But, for the sake of argument, let’s assume that Bernstein is right in this accusation. In response, I can only say, so what? Really, so what?

As readers of this blog can testify, I myself spend much more time criticizing Israel than its neighbors. But this isn’t because I’m anti-Semitic. This isn’t because I hold a special place in my heart for ruthless Arab dictatorships. I don’t spend much time condemning the regimes in such places as Iran, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia for the simple reason that there’s no need to. Everyone already knows how the governments in Iran, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, etc., etc., oppress and brutalize their people.

But Israel’s a different story. Most people don’t see through the establishment’s rhetoric. Most people don’t understand the full extent of Israel’s crimes, not just in the Occupied Territories, but also in Israel Proper. Most people don’t understand that Israel has become a terrorist state. Therefore, I tend to focus on Israel, not because it’s worse than its neighbors, but because, unlike its neighbors, its sins still need to be brought to light. So if it’s true that HRW spends a disproportionate amount of time chronicling Israeli human rights abuses, then I imagine its being guided by similar motives.

Butt Boy Bernstein doesn’t buy this, however. “At Human Rights Watch,” he continues, “we always recognized that open, democratic societies have faults and commit abuses. But we saw that they have the ability to correct them—through vigorous public debate, an adversarial press and many other mechanisms that encourage reform. That is why we sought to draw a sharp line between the democratic and nondemocratic worlds, in an effort to create clarity in human rights.”

He makes a point, of course. There certainly is a difference between democratic and nondemocratic societies. I just wonder what this has to do with the State of Israel. Israel, you might have heard, currently rules over 11 million people. And of those 11 million people, 4 million of them (that is, everyone living in the West Bank and Gaza Strip) cannot vote. Now I don’t know about you, but that doesn’t exactly sound like a democracy to me.

Bernstein continues in this vein, at one point all but justifying Israel’s January assault in the Gaza Strip, telling us that “there is a difference between wrongs committed in self-defense [Israel’s war crimes] and those perpetrated intentionally [Hamas’ war crimes].” Not surprisingly, he never explains exactly how killing defenseless Palestinians is a wrong “committed in self-defense.” Nor does he explain why dropping bombs in civilian population centers isn’t a wrong “perpetrated intentionally.” Call me crazy, but it seems pretty clear to me that if you know that civilians are living in a certain neighborhood but go ahead and bomb that neighborhood anyway, then you’re intentionally killing civilians.

Anyway, I’m not going to spend any more time dealing with Robert Bernstein and his non-arguments. He is, after all, just a butt boy.

Commonly Misunderstood Terms: Education

via Blotting Out Reality

The Black Mouse

Time for the annual Halloween "poem". Last year it was The Pumpkin Patch, and this year a tail tale of a cat and mouse. Now, I like cats and have many cat stories to tell, some of which I'm sure will eventually appear here, but for now, in the holiday spirit, we present a mouse of a different color, so to speak. He could be white, but is actually gray, but in reality is black and there he'll likely stay.

A feline fiend was after me

a tiny mouse, not a monster, you see.

And he (the cat) was big and fat

and here I was not even a rat!

Did I do anything to deserve to die?

I'd only made his hysterical mistress cry.

But here I was running for my life,

chased by a cat with tooth and claw sharp as a knife.

I didn't think I'd survive the race,

'till I ducked under a curtain with some lace.

The cat soon approached but did not see

the lacy drapes hiding little old me.

He turned his head in a moment though,

and I dared a peek and saw a hungry mouth begin to grow.

And that is when the cat went flying by,

through the curtain, out the window, down several stories to die.

Just another "clever" cat who was really a kitty

falling to a death that wasn't pretty.

A dreadful feline to cross off my list,

one more dead cat, I never miss!

I seek out and enter the enemies house,

making me among my kind a hero, The Avenging Mouse!

And that's how our little mouse makes a living, causing cat owners to do a lot of grave digging.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Sibel Edmonds 101

A name you should know

Sibel Edmonds is a name that every American should know.

Because of our derelict media, however, most people have never heard of her, and many of those who have don’t know why she’s so important. But I hope to remedy all this. Not singlehandedly, of course. But I’m determined to do my part, and in what follows I’m going to provide a brief overview of her story.

It’s a fascinating story, one that unfolds much like a John Grisham novel. It’s a story that involves espionage and blackmail. It’s a story that implicates high-ranking members of the US Congress, State Department, and Pentagon of treason.

It’s a story that, you’ll soon realize, needs to be heard.

Turkish spies?

Born in Iran in 1970, Sibel Edmonds fled with her family to Turkey shortly after the 1979 Islamic Revolution. After graduating from high school, she moved to the United States, went to college, and eventually became an American citizen. Just days after the September 11 attacks, she went to work as a translator for the FBI. Her job there was to listen to wiretapped conversations and decide which conversations were “pertinent” and needed to be translated and passed on to her supervisors.

One Sunday morning, fellow FBI translator Melek Can Dickerson and her husband, Air Force Major Douglas Dickerson, paid Edmonds an unexpected visit. Before long, it became clear that the Dickersons had an agenda—to get Edmonds to join the American-Turkish Council. If the ATC knew that she worked for the FBI, Douglas said, they’d be more than happy to see that all her financial needs were taken care of. He proceeded to describe how he and his wife had benefited from their “network of high-level friends.”

Aware that the FBI was currently investigating the American-Turkish Council, Edmonds reported this conversation to Special Agent Dennis Saccher. Saccher in turn asked Edmonds and another colleague to go back and translate some of the wiretaps that Melek Can Dickerson had marked “not pertinent.” In one of these conversations, a Turkish official could be heard offering $7,000 to a US State Department official in exchange for certain undisclosed secrets. In another conversation, officials discussed paying a Pentagon official for weapons. In yet another conversation, Turkish officials implied that they’d been putting doctoral students inside various US institutions in order to obtain information about nuclear weapons. By marking these wiretaps “not pertinent” and thus not translating them, Dickerson had prevented them for being heard by anyone else in the bureau.

Needless to say, this seemed to suggest that she was engaging in treason, and Saccher immediately passed the information onto FBI Headquarters. But, to his surprise, they told him not to investigate the matter any further, calling it a “can of worms.” Undeterred, Edmonds appealed to the two Justice Department agencies responsible for investigating the FBI, as well as the senior members of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Just the tip of the iceberg

All the while, Edmonds continued listening to wiretaps, some of which she claims involved other American officials—including high-ranking members of the US Congress, State Department, and Pentagon—engaging in similarly treasonous behavior. The Dickersons, it seemed, were just the tip of the iceberg.

Though Edmonds subsequently shared this information with the Senate Judiciary Committee, the 9/11 Commission, and the Department of Justice’s Inspector General, a 2002 Bush administration gag order prevented [.pdf] any of it from becoming public. The nature of the gag order seemed to suggest that she was telling the truth. As former CIA analyst Philip Giraldi has noted, the gag order “was not requested by the FBI but by the State Department and Pentagon—which employed individuals she identified as being involved in criminal activities. If her allegations are frivolous, that order would scarcely seem necessary.”

The FBI fired Edmonds in March 2002, claiming she had a “disruptive effect” on her department.

Though unable to give specifics, she spent the next six years telling parts of her story to anyone who would listen. In 2004, she told The Independent that, contrary to the claims of National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice, senior US officials knew months before 9/11 that al-Qaeda was planning to attack major American cities with airplanes. In 2008, she told the London Times that a high-ranking State Department official had knowingly provided Israeli and Turkish “moles” with “security clearance to work in sensitive nuclear research facilities.” She further claimed that Turkish officials “often acted as a conduit for the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), Pakistan’s spy agency.” Given everything we know about the ISI, this means that some of these secrets were very likely passed on to al-Qaeda, as well as Pakistani nuclear scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan.


This past August, former Ohio Congressional candidate David Krikorian subpoenaed Edmonds to testify in a libel case that indirectly involved several Turkish organizations. In what came as a surprise to many, the Obama Justice Department didn’t step in, and Edmonds was finally able to elaborate upon some of her allegations and even name names.

First, she identified former Undersecretary of State Marc Grossman as the State Department official from the London Times story. According to Edmonds, Grossman was receiving money from various Turkish operatives. On one occasion, he allegedly arranged for a State Department colleague to go and collect a bag filled with $14,000 in cash. Aside from providing Israeli and Turkish moles with “security clearance to work in sensitive nuclear research facilities,” she claims that Grossman “assisted his Turkish and Israeli contacts directly, and he also facilitated access to members of Congress who might be inclined to help for reasons of their own or could be bribed into cooperation.”

Edmonds further alleges that Grossman was working closely with Richard Perle and Douglas Feith, both of whom provided him with the names of Pentagon employees with access to top-secret information relating to policy, weapons, and nuclear technology. She contends that Perle and Feith also gave Grossman “highly sensitive personal information” about these individuals—information, for instance, disclosing that “this person is a closet gay; this person has a chronic gambling issue; this person is an alcoholic.” Turkish operatives in turn could have used this information to blackmail government secrets from these employees.

During her deposition, Edmonds also identified former Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert (R-IL). She allegedly heard Turkish individuals claiming that they’d “arranged for tens of thousands of dollars to be paid to Hastert’s campaign funds in small checks.” According to journalist David Rose, who has interviewed others familiar with the wiretaps, “the recordings also contained repeated references to Hastert’s flip-flop, in the fall of 2000, over an issue which remains of intense concern to the Turkish government—the continuing campaign to have Congress designate the killings of Armenians in Turkey between 1915 and 1923 a genocide.” In August 2000, Hasteret promised to bring the resolution to a vote before the entire House. “He had a clear political reason, as analysts noted at the time: a California Republican incumbent, locked in a tight congressional race, was looking to win over his district’s large Armenian community. Thanks to Hastert, the resolution, vehemently opposed by the Turks, passed the International Relations Committee by a large majority. Then, on October 19, minutes before the full House vote, Hastert withdrew it.” Rose notes that “a senior official at the Turkish Consulate is said to have claimed in one recording that the price for Hastert to withdraw the resolution would have been at least $500,000.”

Along with Hastert, Edmonds claimed that Congressmen Roy Blunt ( R, Mo) and Dan Burton (R-IN) and former Congressmen Tom Lantos (D-CA), Bob Livingston (R-LA), and Stephen J. Solarz (D-NY) have performed favors for various Turkish connections in exchange for money. Lantos, she told Philip Giraldi in a recent interview, had an associate named Alan Makovsky working “very closely with Dr. Sabri Sayari in Georgetown University, who is widely believed to be a Turkish spy. Lantos would give Makovsky highly classified policy-related documents obtained during defense briefings for passage to Israel because Makovsky was also working for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC).” AIPAC would then weed out the information that they believed would be helpful to Israel. “The Turks would go through the leftovers, take what they wanted, and then try to sell the rest. If there were something relevant to Pakistan, they would contact the ISI officer at the embassy and say, ‘We’ve got this and this, let’s sit down and talk.’ And then they would sell it to the Pakistanis.”

Edmonds claims that many other government employees—including Congressional staffers and several lesser known officials at the Pentagon and State Department—were also involved in such illicit activities.

“She’s credible”

“If Sibel Edmonds is a fabricator,” writes Philip Giraldi, “she is a damned good one. I would also note that there is a fundamental flaw to the criticism of Sibel, which is that she claims that every single statement made by her is backed up by actual documents in FBI investigative files dealing with the activities of foreign agents who were suborning our elected officials and senior bureaucrats. She has even provided the numbers of the files. At the end of the day, either the files and the evidence they contain are there or they are not. If they are not, then the government should make its case publicly that fraud is being committed by Sibel and her supporters and take whatever legal action they consider to be appropriate. I would suggest that the silence from the government over this matter in itself confirms that the allegations are true in every detail.”

Senator Chuck Grassley, the senior Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, has found Edmonds trustworthy. “She’s credible,” he told 60 Minutes in 2004. “And the reason I feel she’s very credible is because people within the FBI have corroborated a lot of her story.”

After conducting a fairly extensive investigation into some of Edmonds’ claims, the Justice Department’s Office of the Inspector General concluded that "many of her core allegations” regarding Melek Can Dickerson were “supported by either documentary evidence or witnesses other than Edmonds.” Regarding “an allegation that focused on the co-worker’s [Dickerson’s] performance, which Edmonds believed to be an indication of a security problem, the evidence clearly corroborated Edmonds’ allegations.”

The report further notes that both Edmonds and Dickerson had been given lie detector tests in March 2002. Both women passed their tests, but the report notes that an FBI Security Officer and other FBI managers later complained that Dickerson was not asked any specific questions about Edmonds’ claims.

More recently, former FBI Counterintelligence and Counterespionage Manager John Cole has corroborated many of Edmonds’ claims. He’s confirmed that the FBI spent several years investigating Marc Grossman and that the case was ultimately “buried and covered up.” Moreover, Cole “says that from 1993 to 1995 alone, he had ‘125 open cases’ of Israeli espionage, representing nearly half of all the investigations carried on in his Global Unit.” “Inside the FBI itself, Cole said, tracking suspected Israeli spies was hush-hush. In a sharp break with FBI procedures, he was prohibited from notifying field offices when an investigation crept into their jurisdictions. ‘No one was supposed to know we were investigating the Israelis.’”

There is also considerable circumstantial evidence supporting her allegations. For instance, upon retiring from the State Department in 2005, Grossman became a consultant for a Turkish holding company and began earning a salary of $100,000 a month. Kind of smells like payback money to me. Similarly, since leaving Congress, Hastert, Livingston, and Solarz have all received enormous salaries lobbying for the Turkish government.

Call to action

Although Congress has previously investigated all sorts of relatively trivial matters, from steroid use in Major League Baseball to consensual oral sex in the White House, there’s been no move to investigate any of Edmonds’ allegations. Given that Edmonds has implicated both Democrats and Republicans, this is hardly surprising. In the same way, Clinton would have never been impeached had Republicans learned that he’d been fellated by New Gingrich and not some unknown intern.

If you go to Edmonds’ website, you’ll see that she’s asking people to send the following message to their representatives in Congress:

I am requesting the immediate release of the entire report completed in July 2004 by the Department of Justice’s Office of the Inspector General (DOJ-IG) of its investigation into confirmed reports by FBI Whistleblower Sibel Edmonds, but which has remained classified; and further insist that it be followed by a joint investigation by Congress, including open public hearings, into those reports of wrongdoing, criminal activities, and cover-ups against the security and interests of the United States and its citizenry.

Of course, writing to Congress isn’t enough. In order to force investigations, it’s important to get her story out there. The mainstream media—and I hate to break it to you Republicans out there, but this includes Fox News—has its own corporate-mandated agenda and has refused to do its job. Which means that the burden falls to us.

So go to it, fellow bloggers.

For more on Edmonds’ story, see:

Thursday, October 22, 2009

O'Reilly Scaremongering on the Demon Weed

Bill O'Reilly fears for the kids. Not that they'll be sent to die for war profiteers in the Middle East, or that they'll be indoctrinated into religious fundamentalism, but that they'll smoke the demon weed! Poor John Stossel makes a futile attempt to talk some sense into the moron.

UPDATE: I couldn't help but re-post Rorshak's response.

"The kids!"

You know what? Fuck the kids. Because I'm sick of every authoritarian douche bag trotting them out every time they want to grab more control over people's lives.

Too true.

Hitler Reacts to Balloon Boy Hoax

via LRC Blog

There Is No Recovery

"The U.S. economy is not recovering from anything, it's actually getting sicker."-Peter Schiff

Meanwhile, Politico accuses Matt Drudge of focusing on negative stories about the decline of the U.S. Dollar:

Drudge’s interest in the brutal year for the buck is intensifying. According to a search of the website, which is not affiliated with Drudge himself, the Internet pioneer has already posted more stories on the dollar in October than he did the month before, when he posted links to 13 stories about the currency.

“There’s definitely an appetite from a fairly large number of people for these kinds of stories,” said former Bush Treasury and White House spokesman Tony Fratto, who is now a CNBC contributor. “People are looking for cheat sheets for how the economy is doing, and they look to the Dow, the unemployment number and now the value of the dollar.”

Many economists say one reason for the slumping dollar is the strengthening global economy. In the darkest days of the financial collapse last year, investors flocked to the dollar — largely because it is seen as a safe, if low-return, investment in troubled times.

What’s more, there’s one economic upside to a soft dollar: increased exports for U.S. manufacturers. Reporter Nelson Schwartz noted in an article in The New York Times on Sunday: “A weak dollar could prove beneficial to the American economy by aiding long-suffering manufacturers, rebuilding a stronger industrial base and lifting exports even if it makes life harder for trading partners around the world, especially in Europe.”

But that Times article, titled “In Dollar’s Fall, Upside for U.S. Exports,” did not receive a link from Drudge.

Drudge didn't link to a story about how a collapse of our fiat currency is actually a good thing! How dare he only link to stories about how our ruling class of banksters and government parasites are destroying the value of our money. Terrible!

The Smart Hand

Why doesn't God heal amputees? Because only science can do that. Science and technology, more powerful than an "all-powerful" god!

video via Unreasonable Faith

Sam Harris (and others): The Neural Correlates of Religious and Nonreligious Belief

While religious and nonreligious thinking differentially engage broad regions of the frontal, parietal, and medial temporal lobes, the difference between belief and disbelief appears to be content-independent. Our study compares religious thinking with ordinary cognition and, as such, constitutes a step toward developing a neuropsychology of religion. However, these findings may also further our understanding of how the brain accepts statements of all kinds to be valid descriptions of the world.

The Neural Correlates of Religious and Nonreligious Belief

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

United Anarchists of America

How many anarchists did it take to organize the recent Southern California Anarchist Conference? No one is really sure. Not even the organizers. Yes, the idea of a conference for anarchists sounds like a punch line waiting to happen. Anarchists find that troubling. “The mainstream recognition of anarchism is chaos and breaking stuff,” says Sara Galindo, sounding exasperated. “We have to redefine it time and time again.”

Galindo and others involved in planning the conference sit in front of the Library for Social Studies and Research in South Central Los Angeles. Technically, the conference is taking place inside the library, but the important discussions occur outside, on the sidewalk.

A handsome 20-something man elaborates on Galindo’s thoughts. “Blowing stuff up is what people think of when they think of anarchy,” says the man, who introduces himself as D’Angelo but declines to give his last name. “Busting a window, I don’t consider it violence. Bombing a baby — that’s violence. The Anarchist Cookbook is not a book anarchists live by. Yes, there’s bomb-making equipment in that book. But this government makes bombs. They make bombs for profit.”

Proponents of anarchy believe that no human being should dominate another. The ideal society is decentralized, with no coercive rulers, no hierarchies, and everybody equal. Anarchy is a great refusal to follow authority.

“We don’t plan to overthrow the U.S. government in 10 years,” Galindo says. “The core of it is changing relationships. With the people we meet on the street. The people we ride the bus with.”

As D’Angelo says, “We don’t want to overthrow the state only to become the state. Not just the U.S. government, but all governments are the problem. It’s not some monster living on the hillside. It’s people.”

Read the rest: Anarchists Unite

Unconstitutional Nobel

Article I, Section 9, of the Constitution, the emolument clause, clearly stipulates: "And no Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them, shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince or foreign State."

The award of the peace prize to a sitting president is not unprecedented. But Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson received the honor for their past actions: Roosevelt's efforts to end the Russo-Japanese War, and Wilson's work in establishing the League of Nations. Obama's award is different. It is intended to affect future action.

Sort of interesting article, and oh if only it would affect the future action of our President Messiah to move toward peace and away from war.

I have seen the issue of the constitutionality of Obama accepting the award raised elsewhere, but I really can't generate much concern about it, seeing how just about everything our Federal overlords do is unconstitutional anyway.

I have the same feeling about Obama giving the prize money to charity and getting the tax deduction, rather than have it go to the government under the apparent requirement that such money "legally" belongs to the US Treasury (I don't concede that the state has the right to own anything), as if nearly all politicians aren't crooks to their very core.

As for the last paragraph of the article, the irony of spouting pro-Israel propaganda while feigning alarm at attempts by foreign governments to meddle in American politics is apparently lost on this guy.

h/t to Bill Gnade

Music Monday Special Preview

Just trying this out, so I'm posting this on a Wednesday, but look for Music Monday this coming and every, well, Monday.

Heart in a live performance from 1976 on The Midnight Special:

Come join Music Monday and share your songs with us. One simple rule, leave ONLY the actual post link here. You can grab this code at LJL Please note these links are STRICTLY for Music Monday participants only. All others will be deleted without prejudice.

PS: Because of spamming purposes, the linky will be closed on Thursday of each week at midnight, Malaysian Time. Thank you!

Police Protection, The Public Option

The New Testament is a sham!

If there ever was something that proves that the New Testament is a fraud, it is the events described below. If they had actually happened, something of this magnitude would have been the greatest events in the history of the world. However, in all of recorded history, there is not one mention of these events outside of a few verses in one New Testament book. Do you want to know why? The answer is simple. It is a lie—it never happened. It is so sad to know that people become so delusional they trust of this document of lies, the New Testament.

The Events

The unknown author of Matthew, and only Matthew ― not the books called Mark, Luke, John, James, Peter or even Paul ― tells us that a profound event occurred after Jesus gave up the ghost and rose to heaven. Let's read about it from the King James Version of the New Testament (Matthew 27.45-53).

"Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land unto the ninth hour. And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? Some of them that stood there, when they heard that, said, This man calleth for Elias. And straightway one of them ran, and took a spunge, and filled it with vinegar, and put it on a reed, and gave him to drink. The rest said, Let be, let us see whether Elias will come to save him. Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost."

"And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent; And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many."

The New Testament's Greatest Events

Fishless Future?

The cod is finally disappearing. It's not only cod, however, that's been over fished, but other species as well, such as bluefin tuna.

But it's the cod that is the staple of a traditional comfort food, fish and chips, often referred to in England by fish fans as the more precise cod and chips, which I wished it had been named on the menu at a favorite local seafood eatery that my family has frequented for decades, a family habit that existed long before I was born. My mother has related tales of her visits as a young woman with her mother and sister to the original (and no longer existing) 1940s downtown location.

The family-owned restaurant at its peak had 4 or 5 locations around town, gradually reduced until today there are only two, on opposite sides of the county. Thankfully those two are the ones I've been visiting since my own childhood, so the memories are refreshed each time I patronize them (though regrettably, a major remodeling at one of them a few years back erased much of what my memory holds of those warm, happy dining experiences, leaving only those fading images in my brain, the concrete reality gone forever).

There was only one item on the menu we ever ordered as an entree, the fish and chips, with choice of salad or coleslaw as the side. The other strange things on the menu were for the seafood nuts to eat, items we avoided like the plague. Lobster, oyster, crab, abalone? Fish with weird names served with their heads still attached? Never! One of our favorite places to eat was a full service seafood haven that we, with our narrow culinary focus, had transformed into a mere fish and chips stand.

A few years ago I wanted to share that fish and chips with a good friend. We went finally one sunny afternoon. After we received our plates of battered fish and steak fries, I soon discovered something fishy about the fried fish on my fork. It was not consistent with the product I'd been eating there my whole life. Unlike the flaky cod, this fish was soft and mushy and refused to flake when you cut into it.

"This isn't the fish and chips they usually serve," I told my friend. She looked at me like she didn't believe me. I could tell, though, that she was no more fond of the fraudulent substitute fish than I was. She politely kept saying how good it was, however. It seemed cod had gone up in price or was in short supply at that time, and though they would eventually go back to the version of the dish that I loved, my friend missed out on it that dismal day. I fear it may one day disappear on a more permanent basis.

About ten years ago, when I was taking a cooking class for my food service certificate, our instructor told us that seafood as we knew it was going to be a thing of the past in our lifetime, due to extreme overfishing of the seas. I hope that prediction isn't coming true.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Witch hunts in India

Literally. And just as I returned from there!

India, while an interesting place to visit, is not a place where I would ever choose to live. It is the most polluted, crowded, noisy, impoverished and ultraconservative (women don't even wear shorts there) country I've ever been to. I thought Moscow was in shabby shape when I visited it back in the day, but it's got nothing on India.

Slip and Slide

Yes, go ahead, but do it in the backyard, not in the bathtub. I almost nearly barely (didn't have no clothes on) possibly killed myself by slipping in the bathtub while taking a shower. I started to fall, my feet slipping out from under me, and caught myself just in time. This was a major near accident, as I really thought I was going down, right out of the tub, through the shower curtain and who knows where after that.

Off now to buy some better bathtub anti-slip things.

Are you perfectly happy with your invisible food?

Internet Police?

Capitalist pig Eugene Kaspersky (Kaspersky Lab), who, like nearly all CEOs, hates all liberty except the liberty of corporations and big business to use government to further their ability to engage in exploitation, wants "Internet police":

If you had the power to change up to three things in the world today that are related to IT security, what would they be?
Internet design--that's enough.

That's it? What's wrong with the design of the Internet?
There's anonymity. Everyone should and must have an identification, or Internet passport. The Internet was designed not for public use, but for American scientists and the U.S. military. That was just a limited group of people--hundreds, or maybe thousands. Then it was introduced to the public and it was wrong…to introduce it in the same way.

I'd like to change the design of the Internet by introducing regulation--Internet passports, Internet police and international agreement--about following Internet standards. And if some countries don't agree with or don't pay attention to the agreement, just cut them off.-source

h/t to Evolved and Rat/i/onal

Monday, October 19, 2009

"Limited government:" the great oxymoron

From PBS, of all places:

The Anti-Dawkins Delusion

I'm currently about halfway through Richard Dawkins' The God Delusion. If it took me a while to get to it, it's because I suspected I would already be familiar with most of his arguments. And indeed I am. Yet it's nice to have all of them neatly summarized in one book.

The responses from Dawkins' critics (such as the laughably ineffective Dinesh D'Souza) posted online are truly amazing, even for the religious crowd. Almost none of them give any indication whatsoever that the critic actually read the book. The critics simply trot out the same old batch of arguments, apparently unaware that Dawkins has already addressed each and every one of them in exhausting detail. The negative reviews are written *by* people who have never read the book *for* people who have never read the book.

If you think Dawkins' answers are flawed, then fine. But at least acknowledge that Dawkins has addressed them in the book. Instead of responding to Dawkins' rebuttals to their arguments, theists merely repeat the exact same arguments. I'm not sure that I've come across a single intellectually honest least not yet.

If theists were honest, they would simply say: "We're deeply uncomfortable with the book and its conclusions, therefore we hate it." Just skip any pretense of countering the arguments and cut to the chase, guys. It would be a refreshing change for once.

Obama should be tried for war crimes, not given a "peace prize"

When I was in India last week, I nearly spit out my chai tea when the news flashed across the BBC channel: Barack Obama had won the Nobel "peace" prize. I was outraged, but said nothing since mom is apparently an Obama fan (yuck).

Third parties across the political spectrum (Greens and Libertarians) have condemned this lunacy; not that anyone will ever listen to them. Only the opinions of the corrupt two-party duopoly count.

The fact that the militarist mass murderer Woodrow Wilson won the Nobel "peace" prize in 1919 should tell you all you need to know. Shit, Adolf Hitler HIMSELF was nominated for the prize at one point.

Obama's win only further cements how meaningless the award is.

Any way you cut it, taxation IS theft!

An anarchist-leftist pwns a statist leftist:

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Graveyard of Empires

Video via The Humble Libertarian

Video via Scunnert Nation

"What Happened to Global Warming?"

Skeptics have been saying for decades that the warming from about 1978 to 1998, which was after all only 0.40C, was probably due to natural causes; now AAAS says that the flat or downward trend since 1998 is due to natural causes, which had nothing to do with the rise between 1978 and 1998. They told us that the temperature of the earth would continue to rise, and when it did not, they said, see, our critics were wrong.

People who argue this way are not scientists, but lawyers with a bad case.

Excuses for Lack of Global Warming

h/t to Iliocentrism

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Karl Marx, Tax Resister

Image by Ben Heine

From FSK:

This quote was very interesting. Karl Marx said "Refusal to pay taxes is the primary duty of the citizen!"

Sometimes, I wonder if Karl Marx really was one of the top free market thinkers of all time. When I was in my State brainwashing center, I remember learning "Marx and Communism are evil!" However, we didn't spend any time reading things he actually wrote.

The context of the above Marx quote is the Revolutions of 1848, a time of great political unrest in Europe.

From Wikipedia:

During the Revolutions of 1848 in the German states, the royal and military aristocracy prohibited the first popularly-elected parliament from assembling, and that parliament responded by declaring the government out-of-business

So long as the National Assembly is not at liberty to continue its sessions in Berlin, the Brandenburg cabinet has no right to dispose of government revenues and to collect taxes.

Karl Marx, via his newspaper, the Neue Rheinische Zeitung, published this decree, adding: “From today, therefore, taxes are abolished! It is high treason to pay taxes. Refusal to pay taxes is the primary duty of the citizen!” Marx was later prosecuted for promoting tax resistance, but was acquitted after arguing that it was not illegal to promote tax resistance against an illegal government.

Hmm, acquitted because it's not illegal to promote tax resistance if the government is itself illegal. Since the US government is highly illegal, and in constant violation of the US Constitution every moment of its existence, it follows that Karl Marx would approve of American tax resisters.

Karl Marx, anti-tax hero!

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