Saturday, February 3, 2007

Quotable

One day the end of the world will come as a result of a 'justified' war. – Mikhail Gofman, Antiwar.com reader

Friday, February 2, 2007

Will Oklahoma join the Rebel Alliance?

Montana is the latest state to join in on the fight against the intrusive Real ID legislation that got pushed through Congress in 2005. Maine recently voted to resist as well. Currently, there is legislation pending in the OK state legislature. Here's what the Oklahoma Libertarian Party has to say about Real ID (scroll down to the Jan. 9, 2007 meeting notes):
Michael Hammer, Independent candidate for state house 59, spoke to the OKC Libertarians about the Oklahoma Defense of Freedom Project (ODFP), which he recently founded. ODFP is addressing the potential abuses of privacy and property rights with the Real ID Act and the National Animal Information System (NAIS). Mr. Hammer started his talk by saying, "It is dificult to undervalue to concern of liberty...Nothing could have provoked me to run for office except concerns for liberty." He then related a recent comment by John McLaughlin: "Authoritarianism is on its way out...Libertarianism is on its way."

Mr. Hammer said the Real ID Act is an "enormous expansion of federal power into the domains of the state." The act was passed in 2005 and May 2008 is the deadline for compliance. Mr. Hammer said that it: established national standards for drivers licenses, gave standard setting power to the Dept. of Homeland Security (which has not issued final standards yet), opened up possibility of biometrics requirements, and requires all state drivers license information to be shared in a federal database.

"What if a state does not agree?" asked an audience member. Mr. Hammer responded that New Hampshire almost opted out, which would have meant drivers licenses would not be accepted as valid federal ID. But they eventually capitulated, and were one of just three states to get money for complying. "That $3 million was their 30 pieces of silver." But the hope is that if just a few states opt out then the logic and support of the process will fall through.

"It's simple to stop the Real ID," said Hammer, "We just add one line with legislation that stops DOT from complying...We could be the ones to set the trend nationally." He also added that national legislation has been introduced that could repeal some of the onerous provisions of the Real ID Act. "We'll fight this on two fronts," said Hammer.

The National Animal Identification System (NAIS), which will require livestock to have a RFID chip implanted by 2009, threatens due process and property rights, said Mr. Hammer. Although the program is still technically voluntary, it places disproportionate cost on small farmers. It originated with the USDA and is an expansion of bureaucratic power. This reminded Mr. Hammer of former state speaker Todd Hiett's reasoning for getting into politics: federal agents almost put his farm out of business with a supposed disease control program.

Once registered with the program, if an animal leaves your grounds, you must report it to the federal system (apparently run by a private group). "This is an unprecedented architecture of monitoring...and a shift in how we view property rights to being given permission for ownership," said Hammer.

Whereas Texas has implemented the NAIS program already, only 3% of Oklahomans have enrolled in the voluntary program so far. The Oklahoma Cattlemen's Assoc. has expressed resistance to the program. Although large ranches may voluntarily comply with the system because of economic pressures (one of the reasons Japan said they banned US beef is the lack of a system to track back just 72 hours, but the NAIS is much broader than what international requests.), but small ranchers may not want or need to track cattle, especially they focus on a domestic or local market. He also noted, "If we promote a market based alternative to NAIS, the we have a more coherent argument."

"It's about concentration of power," said Hammer about his concerns regarding the Real ID and NAIS. "I highlight these two issues because we have the potential to inform and motivate enough people to act for change."
And this via Orcinus is well worth a read for understanding the problems this piece of crap legislation poses for our civil liberties:
The always-insightful Trefayne wrote something on the Real ID thread below that was simply too good to leave buried down there at Comment #43. Here's his description of just how the Real ID database might be used against anyone who disagrees with anyone in power -- and to drive the point home, he names names:
There are plenty of U.S. fascists, proto-fascists, and pseudo-fascists who are not currently in office. If these private authoritarian forces ever came to greater power (for example, by election, appointment, or the creation of private intelligence agencies, private armies, or paramilitaries), I expect that they wouldn't mind having access to very-detailed databases and mandatory "papers" that would be even more invasive than Real ID. Heck, how do we keep the currently-recorded data from being leaked to these folks now?

Looking at a person's personal data can help a political street-thug or budding dictator identify the opposition. Remember, they don't have to kill us all. As Ann Coulter pointed out, you only need to harm a few to intimidate the rest.

You could use various forms of identification to tag immigrants, dissidents, particular ethnic groups, former Gulag prisoners, and other "risk groups". (see here) Deny them jobs and bank accounts, limit their residence and travel to certain areas (see here), force them to pay arbitrary spot-fines that no one else has to pay, etcetera. Basically make them so miserable they have to learn their "place" or leave the Mother-/Father-/Homeland. That is, of course, if they are allowed to.

(Remember that passports were revived around World War One to keep potential soldiers and other useful people from leaving their home countries. Even now you can't emigrate from the United States without a letter of clearance from the FBI. What if they say, "No, he's more of a threat to The Leader if he can speak freely abroad. We'll keep him here, thanks.")

Don't think there are any "populists" who would love to have this kind of power? Think again:
Jim Gilchrist
Bo Gritz
Patrick Buchanan
Samuel Francis
Lyndon LaRouche

Hey, while we're at it, let's add RFID chips to each card, so you can scan people from a few feet away. It makes it easier for the political beat-cops to find the right people to harrass in the street. (see here).

You could mine the data to see who belongs to the right churches. In fact, you could put a little code or symbol on the card to indicate what someone's religion is. Connect the travel records with the spending profile to see who is showing up at church AND financially supporting it.

R.J. Rushdoony
Gary North

You could indicate the person's race and religion on the card or in the database. Who needs yellow stars or colored triangles? The card will tell you how (or if) to treat potential customers and subjects, er, citizens.

Tom Metzger
William L. Pierce
David Duke
Willis Carto
Don Black

Ultimately, this kind of snooping makes it easier to figure out who to kill or intimidate.

Timothy McVeigh
Eric Rudolph
William Krar
Demetrius Van Crocker

If you want to catch up with what this blog is about, read Dave Neiwert's "The Rise of Pseudo Fascism" (see here). Fascist tendencies are a problem in this country, a genuine threat, and not one limited to the Cheney Regime. (And those Democrats you mentioned may be fools, but I don't think they're fascists.) If you really do believe in liberty _for everyone_ (and no special rights for men, for whites, for straight people, for Christians, etcetera) we'll be happy to have you join us in our fight against the authoritarian and totalitarian forces in our midst.
Nicely done.
Indeed. My hope is that there is a sufficient libertarian streak among our legislators in OK to join Montana and Maine in fighting a federal government that's gone wild.

Thursday, February 1, 2007

Winning the hearts and minds

....girl, she was probably like 15 years old. Yeah, she was hot dude. The body on that girl, yeah, really tight. You know, hadn't been touched yet. She was fucking prime. So....

***

One of the guys started pimping her out for 50 bucks a shot. I think at the end of the day, you know, he'd made like 500 bucks before she hung herself.
Need I say more. There is a Zeitgeist that goes way beyond a couple military prison guards: one that characterizes contemporary America aptly. It is an imperialist Zeitgeist that has existed in one form or another since the land was first colonized, and that has only metastasized in the intervening centuries: one that views those "Others" as subhuman, unworthy of empathy, of humane treatment. I'd suggest that rather than focus on the "bad apples" as no doubt the US media spin machine will do, we focus on the tree that bore the tainted fruit.

Partisan blogging code of ethics

"I’m more interested in helping my candidate win than anything"

Amanda Marcotte of Pandagon & now in charge of John Edwards' campaign blog
That's pretty much the mentality I've seen at places like Daily Kos et al. Screw dialogue. It's all about getting your party's candidates elected. Of course, dare to mention that the pet candidate du jour is less than fantastic and expect the now tried-and-true "purity" rebuttal. In the meantime, as blogtopia's sharks continue to play their games, people will continue to die painfully in distant lands.

Tip o' the hat to Marisacat.

Project much?

"I am concerned about the undermining of democratic institutions. And we're working to help prevent that from happening and strengthening democratic institutions."

Some definitions of projection as a psychological defense mechanism:
a person's thought or emotion about another person, place or thing is too troubling to admit, and so, that thought or emotion is attributed to originate from that other person, place or thing. For example: "He hates me", when it is actually the speaker who hates. A variation on the theme of Projection is known as "Externalization". In Externalization, you blame others for your problems rather than owning up to any role you may play in causing them. (via Mental Help Net)
attributing one's own unacknowledged feelings to others; includes severe prejudice, severe jealousy, hypervigilance to external danger, and "injustice collecting". (via Psychiatry 101 - Defense Mechanisms by Dr. Sanity)
As Dr. Sanity mentions, projection is a Level 2 defense mechanism:
Level 2 Defense Mechanisms are seen frequently in adults and are common in adolescents. For the user these mechanism alter distress and anxiety caused by reality or other people; while for the beholder, people who use such defenses are seen as socially undesirable, immature, difficult and out of touch. They are considered "immature" defenses and almost always lead to serious problems in a person's ability to cope with the world. These defenses are seen in severe depression, personality disorders, and adolescence.

Reason 1,079,854.178 why I would never vote for Biden

The dude's a freakin' racist. Via Americablog:
Here is the latest from the man who bragged he came from a slave state. Biden on Obama:
“I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy,” he said. “I mean, that’s a storybook, man.”
The dude's been on the wrong side of enough other issues (the bankruptcy bill from 2005 comes immediately to mind) that I had written him off long ago. Steve Gilliard's open letter puts it best:
Dear Sen Biden.

Sen. Obama is the "first mainstream African-American who is articulate"?

I would expect a gradute of Columbia and Harvard Law who was a former law professor to be articulate. His race should have nothing to do with that.

Would you say that John Lewis is inarticulate? Or Keith Ellison?

Senator, anyone running for office is by definition articulate. Unless you can't see past skin color..

Are Albert Wynn and Maxine Waters dirty and dull?

Senator, the fact that you rely on stereotypes, not once but on several occasions, should render you unfit to be President.
Gilliard has plenty more to say on the matter.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

The corruption inherent in the prison-industrial complex

Some of the shit going on in the California prison system is quite instructive of not only the fleecing of those incarcerated, but those who pay for the scam via their tax dollars. Letter from Soledad Prison is worth a read.

RIP Molly Ivins

Suffice it to say, she will be missed.

One gets the distinct impression

that the English-speaking world (and especially the right-wing and militarist hardline contingent thereof) hasn't a clue about Islam or Muslims.