I Call, Show Your Hand

From Beck:

[Howard Dean] — and all like him — have been playing a game of studied ignorance ever since about three days after 9/11, in order to not grasp the facts and implications of a stridently anti-American Saddam’s Iraq in the wake of everything that made up 9/11. The fact that George Bush made a bloody hash out of the problem in his pre-war arguments as well as in having anything to do with post-Saddam Iraq politics does not relieve Howard Dean — or anybody else — of the responsibility to grasp the facts that added up to nothing but the imperative to destroy Saddam.

(emphasis his)

Let’s see those facts that made it an imperative for me to be compelled to assist in attacking Iraq.

Root Causes

At the Lewrockwell.com blog, Daniel McAdams notes some disconnects in regards to Secretary Of Defense Donald Rumsfeld’s recent firing:

Said Rumsfeld, “The first war of the 21st century is not well-known, it was not well-understood, it is complex for people to comprehend.”

OK, I’ll bite. One: US participation in this new kind of war has in duration nearly surpassed US participation in World War II. Is that not enough time to adequately explain to the American people the nature of this new kind of war? And if after all that time they still cannot comprehend it, one can only wonder if the flaw is in the terminally stupid student, or an incompetent teacher.

Two, and most important. If Bush and Rumsfeld were so determined to redirect our understanding of this war away from the old, WWII model and to a new kind of thinking, exactly why is it that both Bush and Rumsfeld continuously cite World War II when explaining the the war on Iraq and Afghanistan?

Let’s see what kinds of answers we can find to those questions. The “student” in this case (the electorate) isn’t necessarily terminally stupid, but definitely has no incentive at all to pay serious attention to the Iraq war. Think for a second: do you get a better Iraq war if you pay attention to it? No, you get whatever Iraq war that this government serves up. You can devote all the time and effort you care to into studying military history and tactics, Arab culture, or what have you, and at the end of the day you get the same Iraq war as everyone else.

The “teachers” in McAdams’ analogy (the various elected government officials) not only have to “teach” such students, but at the same time have to deal with the fact that their students can fire them every couple of years. Faced with an overwhelmingly uneducable “student body” that has veto power over their jobs, is it any wonder that the “teachers” devote far more time to placating the students than trying to teach them? What kind of school lets the students continue to attend if they openly refuse to learn, anyway?

It’s no wonder that Rumsfeld and Bush tried to sell the Iraq war as another World War 2: that war holds an enormous amount of emotional sway with the voters. Unlike conficts since then, in the eyes of the voters, WW2 had a Good Side and a Bad Side and the Good Side won decisively. There isn’t any of the moral ambiguity that’s present in later conflicts, and that’s what Bush & Co. are trying to harness with regards to the Iraq war.

McAdams seems content to leave this as it stands, simply pointing out the surface deceptions of the current administration. That’s fine, they’re liars and theives and as such deserve to be exposed. However, it’s well worth thinking about the root causes behind these lies: why does Bush lie so consitently and transparently? Why compare the Iraq war to WW2 when it’s clear that there is little to no substatial basis for comparison? The answer is, as usual, that that’s how the incentives are arranged. The lies that surround the Iraq war are a natural consequence of a representative democracy.

Kip Condor Is A Lazybones!

I was working my way through the search line at the airport. Lost in thought, I was pondering how to get more production out of certain writers at No Treason. I got to the point where I was asked to turn over my toiletries in a clear plastic bag, and for some reason I suddenly scrawled “Kip Condor Is A LazyBones!” on it.

“What’s this about?”, asked an impertinent TSA screener, holding up the bag.

I pinned him with an icy stare, like a matador would stare down…

…well, in this case, a sheep.

“It’s… a… long… story…”, I spat the words softly, lacing each syllable with infinite contempt.

“Whatever”, he replied, looking terribly bored as he passed the bag along.

“Have a nice flight”, droned the insufferable quisling as I was collecting my belongings.

I froze him the patented icy stare again, this time for a full three seconds, until I summarily dismissed him with a scornful, “See you later.”

As I turned away, I could swear I heard him say, “Baa, now.”

Torture for a Good Cause

“Is C-SPAN worthwhile?” asked a contributor to Wendy McElroy’s forum?.

Well, it’s not as messy as waterboarding and it doesn’t leave any marks.

And speaking of worthwhile efforts, Brad Spangler is looking for a few good dungeonmasters to help him “stand before the Balrog”. Kennedy, who identified the madness of sanctioning State torture three years ago, has volunteered to help.

Spangler:

I want to get waterboarded. In order to call attention to this heinous practice and make it the subject of broader public condemnation, I believe it needs to be shown to people. I’m volunteering in order for it to be so shown — online, as a video. These are the sort of dark times that demand a Gandalf to stand before the Balrog and shout “You shall not pass!“. That’s not me, but I can take my best shot at it.

Here’s the plan…

I’m asking for the following volunteers:

1) A lawyer to help us put together all of the appropriate waivers and confirm we can do this without government intervention.
2) A psychiatrist or other trained mental health professional to confirm for all interested parties that I am not acting on any self destructive impulse or urge to do myself harm. I’m not. This is a political statement.
3) A doctor or certified paramedic willing to stand by and administer treatment if it looks like things have gone to far.
4) A videographer to document it.
5) At least one trusted friend willing to help me — by torturing me.

Kennedy:

I volunteer for # 5.

Who says we’re not team players? Who says we’re not willing to get down in the trenches and put our shoulders to the wheel for liberty?

Friendly Service, More Leg Room, and Inflight Headlocks

Last May Seth Stein was restrained on a flight by a fellow passenger who claimed to be a New York City police officer.

As he settled down with a book and a ginger ale, the father-of-three was grabbed from behind and held in a head-lock.”This guy just told me his name was Michael Wilk, that he was with the New York Police Department, that I’d been acting suspiciously and should stay calm. I could barely find my voice and couldn’t believe it was happening,” said Mr Stein.

American Airlines offered Stein $2000 to forget the incident, but later withdrew the offer. He could sue the airline, to be sure. However, it looks like Michael Wilk, the phantom passenger who subdued Stein, might be getting difficult to track down.

In a twist to the story, Mr Stein has since discovered that there is only one Michael Wilk on the NYPD’s official register of officers, but the man retired 25 years ago. Officials have told the architect that his assailant may work for another law enforcement agency but have refused to say which one.

It wouldn’t be unfair to reckon by about 50/50 odds that the character who identified himself as Michael Wilk is an air marshal. The Federal Air Marshal Service is, after all, chock full of knotheads. At best, it’s a waste of flesh and, at worst, it’s a menace.

Indeed, there is little to be admired in the way the Federal Air Marshal Service handles incidents. Their half-smart smoke and mirror spin tactics are contemptable and I find it a tad distressing that their incompentence is so well-tolerated by the media and the public, in general. It’ll be interesting to see how this case pans out.

Who Knew We’d Still be Alive?

The protection racket gets a seal of approval over at BitsBlog.

On Monday he offered,

The right to life itself, simply to live, has been upheld to a greater extent than anyone thought possible five years ago this morning… Think back to your thoughts and feelings on the middle of September, 2001. How did you envision your immediate future? Did you even dare to conjecture a long-term future?

I dared, Bithead.

On the morning of 9/11/01, I was a passenger on American Airlines flying from Connecticut to Los Angeles. My travel plans were disrupted at the halfway point, but I was not in the least bit pessimistic about my future on that day or in the weeks that followed. My biggest concern was – and is – that the Government’s reaction to 9-11, and the inevitable hysteria about it, would amplify the State’s invasion into my life. I was right.

Government seeks to disarm me, confiscates my property, and invades my privacy. The Terrorists represent less a threat to me than the DEA, ATF, or FBI. That was so five years ago and it’s doubly so now.

The Secret Airline/TSA/Homeless Shelter Conspiracy

Maybe:

EUGENE, Ore. (AP) — Airport discards in the response to a terror plot have turned into balm for the homeless in Eugene.

The St. Vincent de Paul Society of Lane County has started picking up some of the things people have jettisoned for security reasons as they board flights at the Eugene Airport.

Charley Harvey, assistant executive director of the charity, dug through trash bags Tuesday and took every bottle of shampoo and shaving cream he could find. The items will be distributed at the organization’s First Place Family Center.

After investigators said they uncovered a plot in Britain to blow up aircraft, travelers tossed the items into trash bins in compliance with new rules prohibiting most liquids, lotions and gels in carry-on luggage.

Liquids are banned from aircraft because they supposedly might be disguised explosives. Yet, rather than the bomb squad trucking the confiscated hair gel, toothpaste, and Preparation H off to an abandoned quarry and detonating it, Homeland Security is dumping the items en masse into trash cans and allowing the local homeless shelter to harvest what they want.

One explanation for this apparent contradiction is that this is a secret plot to get rid of poor people being perpetrated by the TSA, charity organizations, and the airlines:


“Go ahead and take that ‘toothpaste’, homeless guy. Heh, heh, heh!”


TSA screeners are so dedicated to this plot that they willingly risk their lives by handling potentially explosive liquids as roughly as if they were nothing more than harmless toiletries. Or maybe they’ve all been brainwashed by the KGB. Or aliens! It might be true, you know.

After all, what other explanation could there be? That all those things really are harmless, that the government’s just trying to put on a big show? That’s crazy talk.

Libertarian View of War Cleared Up, Let’s Have a Drink

Over at Catallarchy, debate begins anew about the justice of the Iraq War, sparked by a post about the libertarian split over the war at the Volokh Conspiracy. Fortunately, our esteemed senior editor cleared up this little spat a few years ago in “The Wrong Hill”:

It doesn’t matter if there is a right side in the war, neither side can have any right to require Charlie Anderson to participate in any way. This is the argument libertarians need to make, not that war is evil, but that it can never be moral to force others to participate. It will do no good to win the argument that a war is evil while implicitly accepting that it is legitimately a collective decision; that’s the wrong hill. The right hill is the one where we reject the collectivist premise first.

Pace the argument at Catallarchy, the war may or may not be moral (though I don’t think it is) and it may or may not be utility-maximizing (I think the idea is incoherent in itself), but what matters is that no one has the right to require my money or my body to fight it.

Interestingly enough, at the Volokh post, Rose Friedman says, “And we will!” in response to a quip from Milton Friedman about winning the war. There’s the wrong hill right there.

I’ll have a gin and tonic.

The Current War In A Nutshell

Fred Reed:

An intelligent enemy knows that America cannot be beaten at industrial war. So he thinks, “What then are America’s weaknesses?” The first and crucial one is that the American government enters into distant wars in which the public has no stake. Do you want your son to die for—get this—democracy in Iraq? You diapered him, got him through school-yard fist fights, his first prom, graduation from boot camp, and he comes home in a box—for democracy in Iraq?

Coffee, Tea, Or A Bullet In The Head?

Bovard:

Brian Doyle, the #2 spokesman for the Department of Homeland Security, has done yeoman work in helping Americans understand how the Transportation Security Administration is protecting them. After TSA air marshals gunned down Rigoberto Alipizar outside of a plane in Miami last December, Doyle justified the killing to the media: “He threatened that he had a bomb in his backpack.” Other TSA spokesmen claimed that Alipizar had shouted that he had a bomb as he ran up and down the plane aisle.

None of the passengers on the plane heard Alpizar say anything about a bomb.

But false statements by federal spokesmen are public service, not a federal crime.

Doyle is getting more press coverage today than ever before.

Like Bovard I’m far more concerned about the fact that Doyle appears to have been part of a conspiracy to cover up a government homicide than the fact that he was caught chatting up a 14 year old girl online.

The government has has still failed to produce a single witness who will support their story that Alpizar said he had a bomb. Quite the contrary.

This isn’t a case of the word of multiple eyewitnesses against the word of Federal Air Marshals – it’s multiple eyewitnesses against nobody but flacks like Doyle.

The Gulag Du Toit

The spectacle of hispanic protests winding through the streets of America has riled the ranks of cultural conservative freedom fighters, it’s given the straight-shooting Liberty Belles a case of the vapors, and it’s even got Kim du Toit laying in the framework for American labor camps.

Addressing the concern that immigrants might get over or under an American Wall constructed at the border, du Toit proposes:

And we catch them doing it, and either repatriate them (first offense), or imprison them in tented labor camps for five years (subsequent offenses). They wanna work here? Fine. Let them do it as convicts, earning $1 per hour.

Du Toit implies that his labor camp solution could be a joke, but it stands to reason that he’s at least half-serious about it in the face of the high stakes game that du Toit, himself, outlines below.

Jokes aside, here’s the thing.

Illegal immigration costs us an untold amount of money each year, in social services, law enforcement and unpaid taxes. That’s just pure currency we’re talking about.

Now add to that the harm done by drug smuggling, terrorist infiltration and increased gang violence.

Ask me again whether the cost of securing our southern border is too much.

Expense, drug crime, terror, and unpaid taxes inflicted on the country as a result of the unauthorized crossings of a line on a map. That’s du Toit’s justification for apprehending and detaining illegal immigrants at gunpoint, but if the consequences of illegal immigration in the form of drug smuggling and unpaid taxes are unacceptable, then why stop at throwing wetbacks into the labor camps when there’s plenty of tent space left for domestic drug dealers and tax evaders, as well? That’s the beauty of your gulag, Kim. It’ll not only keep Club America exclusive, it’ll also re-educate red-blooded American druggies and tax deadbeats.

U.S. Government Official Validates Anonymous Government Officials on Alpizar Shooting

It’s no surprise that the U.S. Ambassador to Costa Rica, Tomás Dueñas, is taking the official line on the killing of Rigoberto Alpizar last month by Federal Air Marshals.

Dueñas said by telephone that he met with officials of the State Department and the investigative team, but did not reveal the names of the officials…

Officials told Dueñas that Alpizar was sitting at the rear of the airplane, when he suddenly got up and carrying a handbag. when a stewardess told Alpizar to sit down, he went out of control and made the claim of carrying a bomb. One of the bilingual security officers says he told Alpizar to stop, which he didn’t and ran out of the aircraft, security officials giving chase. When Alpizar, now on outside the aircraft and on the loading ramp, put his hand in the bag, agents fired.

After closely following this story since the day of the shooting, I know of no first hand account by an eyewitness, be it a passenger, a member of the cabin crew, or an air marshal, who will corroborate the above version of events. To date, there is no public statement made by anyone on that plane who heard Alpizar say anything threatening or to the effect that he had a bomb. In fact, several passengers’ statements directly contradict the official story.

Needless to say, the Alpizar’s family isn’t satisfied with the Ambassador’s endorsement of the government’s story. They’re asking for more information, but I have to wonder if this incident, with all it’s vague fourth hand explanations and anonymous accountings, will soon be swept right out of the public’s consciousness.