Thursday, October 28, 2010

How to vote on election day.

Uh, no, this isn't some traditional, inane list of endorsements, nor a badgering exhortation not to miss This Incredibly Important And Historic, Life Changing Election. Why, you ask? Don't worry, that will become self-evident very quickly.

No, this is just a simple description of the mechanics of casting any vote in a political election--without all the doublespeak/sophistry that usually accompanies it. Consider it a public service to those who might be on the fence. (It also serves as a more complete response to those who insist that I Do My Part, although this is probably not what they have in mind.)

So! Here's what it takes to vote on election day. Are you up to it?

Step 1: Delude yourself that you are not simply legitimizing the problem.

Fail to recognize that voting, within any system that uses the political means to achieve its ends, is simply legitimizing aggression through mob rule. Fail to recognize that bickering about the size and shape of the armed mob does not make the mob, its purpose or its actions anything other than what they are. Fail to recognize that a vote "for the lesser of evils" will never, ever, ever, ever, ever be interpreted as anything other than a "mandate" for the victor--and at the end of the day is still a vote to legitimize evil.

Fail to recognize that no one in history has ever voted himself real liberty--much less liberty for his neighbor. Fail to recognize the inherent conflict of interest attendant to the same entity creating, interpreting, and enforcing the set of rules that (said same entity insists) are supposed to bind us all. Then, fail to recognize the singular source of all those catechisms about working within the system, being a good citizen and upholding the rule of law as the ultimate demonstration of your humanity.

Invent excuses for those you deem "swell guys". They, alone and unlike every other that came before them, would never, but never abuse their power or make things worse. That is: fail to recognize the racket for what it is. (Hint #129: anyone who represents any sort of real change will be invited off the stage by the traditional players.) Convince yourself that "if voting could change anything, it would be illegal" is just a clever semantic joke without any real substance.

Consider or invent any sort of sophistry imaginable, just so you can continue to convince yourself that working within the system is the only way to actually achieve results.
Tell ya what, I'm going to just stop there, rather than go on for hours.

Step 2: Play the Ultimate Absolution Fantasy Quest game.

Observe the "choice" of Establishment-approved candidates from which you are allowed to choose. (It is getting increasingly difficult to tell these apart, since their only differences, despite all the clamor and noise to the contrary, are trivial and usually simply prurient.) Cast a vote for the wannabe tyrant of your choice. (Yes, they're all wannabe tyrants. By definition. They want the power to force others to Do The Right Thing via the strongarm of the state, in your name, and with everyone's money. Remember, you chose to ignore all that in Step 1. Just pick the most velvety glove you see and go with that.)

Then, you do the Absolution Shuffle: free your mind from further worry. You have Done What You Can Do. It's in The System's hands now. If things go south from here, you can always absolve yourself further by proving you voted for The Other Guy. You have now validated your License To Bitch.

Step 3: Revel in your moral superiority.

For days on end after voting, affix various physical and virtual "pieces of flair" to yourself, sanctimoniously offering to the world that "I voted". Well, good on you. You have discharged the duty you learned about in Civics class, and proven that you know how to take orders and follow the rules. You have played your part in deciding who gets to play with the guns of the state for the next term, without raising any serious challenge to the legitimacy of the very Establishment you are voting to "fix". (Oh, it's fixed, all right: did you not choose from among the Establishment-approved candidates in the Establishment-approved election constructed, monitored and interpreted by Establishment appointees?) Yes, you're a Cool Kid now. Come get your cookie.

If "your guy" wins, gloat tribally at every opportunity (rallies! stickers! signs! slogans!), and by all means milk the opportunity to use the Mob Rule justification for your actions: "the majority has spoken". But since the election was probably close, you wonder--openly--how so sizeable a minority could be so idiotic, uninformed, and in need of being Kept In Line (or, if those words are a little too jarring, try Kept From Getting Out Of Control). If things go south from here, it can only be because that annoying minority is being "obstructionist" or otherwise mucking up the perfect works. If "your guy" loses, predict the end of the world. But be careful: the only reason the world might end is because The Other Guy got elected instead of yours--which only proves that most people are idiotic, uninformed, and probably need to be better controlled.

Step 4: Burn the witches.

Never forget: this will all come around again in the next cycle. So, once you've chosen teams, you must start immediately the process of marginalizing your opposition anew. You know they're gearing up to come after you, so there's no time to lose.

It's a well-known fact that the intelligence of people who disagree with you drops precipitously following every election return. Make sure you let everyone know who cannot be trusted, who needs to be regulated and restrained--and always make sure that the Establishment has the right power to carry it all out. Your mantra words: "people like that just shouldn't be allowed to..."

Save your greatest bile for the heretics--the non-participants. Since the whole political process is propped up only by the legitimacy implicitly conferred by participation, under no circumstances can non-participation be tolerated. That, you see, is just irrational. My God, some of these people actually don't believe in Working Within The System--why, they must be knuckle-dragging prehistorics, of such limited intelligence that they can only breed themselves out of existence by not contributing to their own inevitable future.

Always interpret any insinuation that you, the voter, may have been deceived within or by the political enterprise itself, as prima facie evidence of simple provocateuring by The Other Team. No other explanation is acceptable. This just reinforces the evidence that your continued participation in the game is more important than ever before. After all, you've got skin in the game now, and have a reputation to protect.

Most of all, hold your head up high. You're better than they are. You've done your part. Now go tell everyone about it.

That's all there is to it. With these four simple steps, you're ready to rinse and repeat. (Don't worry, things will be just the same next time--your investment in the process can be reused year after year.)

Remember: you're principled, and rational, and now you can see how it works. The importance cannot be overstated. Others are counting on you to do principled, rational things. And so, dutifully, you vote.

Because not voting is insane.

Above comics from xkcd. Thanks again to Randall Munroe for the use of his work; please do not hold him responsible for mine. :-)

Flying Pasties

Oh, hell yeah.

Behold...Flying Pasties.

"On Freedom's birthday, Flying Pasties launched a new website at Flying Pasties are meant to provide airplane travelers adequate protection from intrusive full body scanners while not interfering with airline security. For until now, citizens haven't had a proper way to voice their displeasure over the intrusive nature of airport scanners."

The art of the stickfinger salute is still alive, despite every Orwellian attempt to quash it. (Yes, I can see that the verbiage is altogether too soft on "being respectful" of our abusers even during the very act of the abuse--is not the name of the scanning device Rapiscan?--but it's still funny, and still indicative of that endearing human ingeneuity.)

Hat tip to this commenter at Claire Wolfe's Living Freedom blog.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Words fail me.

Actually, that's not quite true. I really can't come up with anything suitable about the idea itself...but I can offer a suggestion about its application.

We should get one of these into the hands of every enforcement thug we possibly can, with all the hype and hoopla possible. Even better, make 'em full-auto G18s. You know, so that the cops can stay ahead in the arms race (an easy sell these days).

And then, sit back and watch natural selection work.

Some problems just might take care of themselves.

Hat tip to Joel at The Ultimate Answer To Kings.

(I suppose I do have an idea about the concept, after all. This is the best candidate for the Waffenpƶsselhaft award I have seen in...well, probably ever.)

Monday, October 25, 2010

Denninger on the economic nature of the problem

Only thing worse than a gloom-and-doom economist is one who is probably right.

Karl Denninger seems to keep popping up on my radar, and he does have a way with the words, sometimes:
Funny how everyone forgets that the nuclear device that started all this crap is still sitting on the board room table, it's still ticking, and someone still has tape over the timer window so nobody can see how many more "ticks" we've got.
Now that's an image. That was from this recent piece. From another, there is this potentially powerful outreach to the public:

That latter article also is worth reading, despite Denninger getting a little form-letter-happy with all the emphasis and markup. One of the, ahem, "money moments":
Since the "corporatists" took over the Tea Party, starting with their bull**** invasion funded by the Kochs and the Palin clan, there has not been one word from ANY of them about bank fraud, wire fraud, corporate executives, Federal Reserve Chairmen and Treasury Secretaries STEALING the wealth of Americans.
I count myself among those who figured all along this would be the inevitable result of the "Tea Party", so this is hardly news. However, what it is, is an excellent summation of the problem in a single sentence. Why could I never support the Tea Party? Because it is inherently a political vehicle, which uses the political means to achieve its ends--and therefore because the above result was as inevitable as sunrise.

As more and more people are beginning to realize, we're not votin' our way out of this mess.

Hat tip to Pete at WRSA, among those who first clued me in to Denninger, and whose refrain is among the most resonant out there: "Do you understand yet?"

The 'torture euphemism generator'

Because sometimes you just gotta laugh, or you'll have to do something else.

From, on Friday:
Reading the NYT's stories about the Iraq War logs, I was struck by how it could get through such gruesome descriptions — fingers chopped off, chemicals splashed on prisoners — without using the word 'torture.' For some reason the word is unavailable when it is literally meaningful, yet is readily tossed around for laughs in contexts where it means nothing at all. It turns out the NYT has a reputation for studiously avoiding the word, to the point of using bizarre bureaucratic alternatives.

It must be awfully hard work inventing these things. So I thought I'd help out by putting together a torture euphemism generator that the New York Times' reporters can use to help avoid the T-word in their thumb removal and acid bath coverage.
Give it a look-see, here. A valuable public service for those who practice...uh...enhanced denial strategies.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

The New Eugenics, again.

Eugenics. It's baack!

In discussing the state abduction of Cheyenne Irish, William Norman Grigg (who is on your short list of must-reads already, right? :-) gets around to discussing the attitude that the authoritarians have regarding, uh, right-thinking. In his article, he quotes one Dr. Scott Hampton, of the sanctimoniously named Ending The Violence project, which Jonathan Irish was apparently required to patronize as part of his, uh, reprogramming. Grigg quotes Hampton thus:
"Tolerance does not require that you give up your hatred. It just tells you how to act when you hate. Not good enough," sniffs Hampton in his new book Tolerant Oppression. "It is time that we teach people how not to hate." What this requires, of course, is court-ordered reconstruction of individual attitudes using whatever leverage may be necessary -- apparently up to and including child abduction.
William Norman Grigg is not usually a man of understatement, but history suggests that he is absolutely so here. What we're talking about here is, ah, re-education, is it not? Look, peasant, you'll "give up your hatred", period, or else we'll have our thugs kill you.

Sure, huff and puff that "we're not there yet"...but remember, Jonathan Irish did not resist the forcible kidnapping of his newborn daughter in any meaningful way. Who wants to make the bet that, if he had, he would not be a dead man today? Would you bet your life on it?

Mark this episode well. Kinder, gentler words and an updated facade do not make an atrocity something other than what it is. The standard no longer is documented harm caused to another human being. It is no longer even socially outcast behavior that causes no harm, which was bad enough while we had that. No, the standard here appears to be political associations and even one's internal thinking.

Let's be plain. This is eugenics, all over again.

And the punchline is that even saying that--pointing out that it is just exactly the same sort of thing that led neatly into those tens of millions of state-murdered corpses in the twentieth century alone (not even countin' the wars, folks--this is just governments killin' their own people)--will get you a sanctimonious eye-roll, an accusation of "pulling a Godwin"--and of course the attention of the New Inquisition, in the form of the SPLC/DHS.

See how that works? Ya damn heretic...

You could try to convince a rational person that it really can't happen here, but you'll sound like an idiot trying to ignore the mounting evidence that it's already happening here.

Watch what happens. Things will get worse. History is unambiguous about that.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Uh, yeah, this is serious.

Whether or not this is setting up an October Surprise--who knows?--this is serious.

Via Wendy McElroy:
According to the father, the gist of the story behind this YouTube: because Oath Keepers is classed as or with 'militia' by the state, a man's (and woman's) new-born daughter was taken away. Apparently the man's connection to Oath Keepers is listed in official documents regarding the 'state-kidnapping'. I do not know if other reasons are listed as well.
That I first ran across it at McElroy's site is saying something in and of itself. Vanderboegh was certainly on it too. I suspect others will follow soon.

The statement at Oath Keepers, by Stewart Rhodes, is crafted about as well as it could be, given his position. (I can't in conscience actually support OK, since membership means literally being a part of the systemic problem--but if ya just gotta work within the system, Rhodes actually seems like just the sort of guy you want doing it.) From the OK statement:

We are doing all we can to confirm and document this. But if is IS accurate, and a newborn child was ripped from her mother’s arms because the parents were “associated” with Oath Keepers by simply being members of our online ning discussion forum, then this is a grave crossing of a very serious line, and is utterly intolerable. It cannot be done. It cannot be allowed to stand.

If it is true, then I will do all in my power to stop it. We will pull out all the stops, every lawful means of seeing that this child is returned to her parents and that all persons responsible are held accountable to the fullest extent of the law. There can be no freedom of speech, no freedom of association, no freedom to even open your mouth and “speak truth to power,” no freedom AT ALL, if your children can be black bagged and stolen from you because of your political speech and associations -- because you simply dare to express your love of country, and dare to express your solidarity and fellowship with other citizens and with active duty and retired military and police who simply pledge to honor their oath and obey the Constitution. It was to prevent just such outrageous content based persecution of political dissidents that our First Amendment was written.

If true, then this is as bad, and in fact worse, than any of the violations of liberty that our Declaration of Independence lists as the reasons for our forefathers taking up arms in our Revolution and for separating from England. We no longer have freedom at all if this is allowed to be done. And we will not let it stand.


This is the camel’s nose under the tent. We need to fight even this one instance of such a violation of the right to associate and to peaceably assemble, and we need to push back against the new world of thought crime that is being relentlessly pushed upon us. If this listing of mere association with Oath Keepers is allowed to be used in this case to justify, even in part, removing a newborn from the custody of her parents, with nothing else alleged about Oath Keepers except that the father “is associated” with this organization, that will have a sweeping chilling effect on the First Amendment protected rights of freedom of speech, peaceable assembly, association, and petition for redress of grievances for all of us -- and it will only be the beginning.

There is much more. Read the whole thing, and get the word out.

The serious part, of course, is what happens next. This is clearly, probability approaching one hundred percent, a test case. For anyone who's been paying attention to this landscape for the last few years, what it looks like is a fucking goad.
"Here's an idea...If nobody wants a 'civil disturbance,' why in heck don't they quit disturbing us?" - MamaLiberty

UPDATE 10/9: Goad, indeed. Grigg is on it.
The "association" referred to in that document consists of occasional involvement by Irish and his fiancee in an on-line discussion group involving the Oath Keepers. Mentioning this tenuous connection served the immediate interests of the child abduction bureaucracy, since it created a caricature of the father as a potentially dangerous "extremist." But it also serves the long-term interest of the Homeland Security bureaucracy by using Jonathan Irish as an indispensable defendant in a potentially precedent-setting case.
As with pretty much all things Grigg, highly worth reading.

I effin' knew it.

I've for a time suspected that Establishment shill Mark Potok was jonesin' for a Cabinet position.

How about this useful step along the path? According to Oath Keepers:
As the below document makes clear, Southern Poverty Law Center is Now Officially Part of DHS. The CEO of SPLC now sits on the DHS “Working Group on Countering Violent Extremism” along with the leaders of other So-called Non Government Organizations (but can we really call them such now that they are part of the government?) And select “law enforcement” officers such as the Clark County Nevada Sheriff, Doug Gillespie. What does the working group do? Make recommendations on training and how to use all of the local resources – police, social services, media, NGO’s, you name it – to fight “extremism. So, now no need to file a FOIA request to discover that SPLC is writing the reports naming constitutionalists as possible terrorists. Now it is in your face and the mask is off.
(Understand, in principle I can hardly support Oath Keepers, both because to qualify as a member you have to be part of the systemic problem, and also because I would rather abandon the rigged system than continue the futile effort to work within it. However, if someone is going to try, honorably, to work within the system to repair it, or at least retard the current slide into despotism, OK would seem to be a good place to start.)

Recent news is full of the absurd--the Voltaire sort of absurd. ("Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.") And so now we have an organization which serves just exactly the same function as the Spanish Inquisition, doing such a great job at spottin' those heretics that the lovely folks at DHS want in on some a dat action.

Just wait. It'll get better. It always does.

Aw, someone rainin' on your tyranny parade? Just wave the Commerce Clause at it!

I originally saw this via Claire Wolfe, but it was Joel's words that hit me most:

You gotta admit, the thing is just...Awesome!

U.S. District Judge, George Streeh, of the Eastern District of Michigan ruled that Congress does have the authority to enact a key part of President Obama's healthcare law reform, requiring US citizens to obtain coverage by 2014. The day Obama signed it into law, the Thomas More Law Center had filed a lawsuit arguing that it was an unconstitutional tax outside Congress authority. The latest ruling said that under the ...

Wait for it...

... Commerce Clause of the American Constitution ...

THERE it is!

... a penalty could be imposed on those who did not get insurance coverage.

Ah, the U.S. Constitution's Commerce Clause! Is there nothing it can't do?

Y'know, the mornings have been getting pretty nippy lately. I wonder if I could get the CC to let the dogs out and bring me coffee in bed? 'Cause that'd be pretty cool. And much less annoying than this.

Ah, the gift for snark. Props, Joel.

Radley Balko covered it too, and his question,
For those of you who support this ruling: Under an interpretation of the Commerce Clause that says the federal government can regulate inactivity, can you name anything at all that the feds wouldn’t have the power to regulate?
got me to thinking about recent events. Regulating inactivity...

...hey, that's it! A new Establishment motto is born!
Yes, peasant. We can now regulate your inactivity. Hope you're on board. No pressure.

(If you didn't get that joke, look here, here, here, here, and here.)

Saturday, October 2, 2010

From the "Wish I'd Said That!" Files...

Deep tip of the hat to Joel at The Ultimate Answer to Kings.

In response to some hoplophobe's snotty list of twenty questions, designed to illustrate just how obviously we all need to submit to more authoritarian intrusions to solve any of our problems, one of Joel's readers began a response with this:
The answer to all twenty questions is the same:

You and I are different. I will not use violence to achieve my personal goals...
Okay, that sounds great but I've heard a lot of folks start with that and never go anywhere.

Not this time, brother. This is brilliant.
You and your ilk use violence to get what you want. Whether it is market outcomes that displease you or tools you fear and loathe violence is your first and only tool. It's quite pathetic really, how limited your imaginations have become. You can't even imagine solutions to most problems that don't involve violence. I typically have to choose from a myriad of options when negotiating a solution to a problem that troubles me; all you can ever do is demand new laws.
Unh. And just in case Miss Snottypants is unaware of the mechanics of how "laws" translate into violence:
You're also a coward, and unwilling to do the dirty work required by your reliance on violence. So you rely on others to pass "laws," hire men armed with the very same guns that so terrify you, give them costumes and costume jewelry, steal the money to pay for these parasites from their victims, and then set them upon me.
Unh. So much said in so little space. Why can't I manage to be that compact?

And then, the wrap. Whoever this reader may be, he--or she--nails it:
There's your answer. There is no frontier here, only a bleeding edge. Because you will try to have me killed if you can't make me agree with you, while I will go my peaceful way and do my best to ignore and shun you. I have trades to make and a life to live. There's really no point to further discussion with you, since the outcome has already been decided. By you.
Unh. While nobody "speaks for me", I sure do wish I had said that, 'cause it's near-effin'-perfect.

Oh, and Miss Snottypants? How's this for Supporting Exhibit A? (Full disclosure: I did not first run across this example at Joel's site, but he did have a link to it right there... :-)