"...it's not the training to be mean but the training to be kind that is used to keep us leashed best." ~ Black Dog Red

"In case you haven't recognized the trend: it proceeds action, dissent, speech." ~ davidly, on how wars get done

"...What sort of meager, unerotic existence must a man live to find himself moved to such ecstatic heights by the mundane sniping of a congressional budget fight. The fate of human existence does not hang in the balance. The gods are not arrayed on either side. Poseiden, earth-shaker, has regrettably set his sights on the poor fishermen of northern Japan and not on Washington, D.C. where his ire might do some good--I can think of no better spot for a little wetland reclamation project, if you know what I mean. The fight is neither revolution nor apocalypse; it is hardly even a fight. A lot of apparatchiks are moving a lot of phony numbers with more zeros than a century of soccer scores around, weaving a brittle chrysalis around a gross worm that, some time hence, will emerge, untransformed, still a worm." ~ IOZ

Jun 17, 2013

How To Kill

If you can't dispute a man's actions on the merit of those actions, feminize him:

The Washington Post's Richard Cohen seemed likely to win the contest when he confusingly dubbed Snowden a "cross-dressing Little Red Riding Hood."

Because, you know, being just like a young girl at the mercy of a predatory beast is a condemnation of...

...well, obviously, not the predators.

(original quote from the H-Post)

Jun 13, 2013

Contamination Testing Kit

1. Introduce the FBI, CIA or NSA into a conversation. The more randomly done, the better.

2. Make "outrageous" claim, along the lines of: "The real problem isn't that the FBI, NSA and CIA don't communicate, or that as organizations they torture, spy and frame up with near impunity. It's that their members aren't required to dress up as circus clowns whenever on official business."

3. Contemplate the bright beauty of NSA snoops sitting at their terminals, garishly attired, faces a'painted in sideshow colors, noodling through sensitive materials in search of a pay raise or a promotion. Or, if your tastes run to the baroque, the image (captured as if frozen in time) of a CIA case manager briefing an asset in a Lebanese McDonald's parking lot, each astride an oversized tricycle seat - the agent dressed as Bozo, the asset as a rodeo clown.

4. Wait.

5. Suggest that appointment to the CIA, NSA or FBI be made only on the basis of a sliding scale of preference for Frosted Flakes, Grape Nuts or generic brand Cocoa Puffs. People who like Frosted Flakes are assigned positions at random in the FBI. Grape Nuts aficionados are shunted off directly to the NSA, where they will spend their first week of orientation being fitted for custom, clown nose and performance accessories. Week two will be scheduled entirely for training in make up self-application. People who like store brand chocolate corn ball cereal are put on a boat for which the only port of call is Mersin, Turkey. If they make it back , they have to nominate a complete stranger to take position in the CIA, using only the "pick a random name out of the phone book" method. If they don't make it back, they're the Turks' problem.

6. Count the number of seconds until the respondent uses the words "national security," "law," "order," "prevention," "terrorism" or "crime." Multiple the number of seconds by one if this reply includes the word "Islam" or "Muslims." Multiply by two if it makes reference to "cartels," "illegals," "Mexicans," "Latin America" or "the inner city" and "gangs." Multiply by 2.5 if the concern centers on "leftists," "ecoterrorists," "union thugs" or "militias." Multiply by three if the response insists upon "threats" from Russia or China. Multiply by four if it includes a redirection to "organized crime" or "the mentally ill."

7. The lower the final number, the more likely it is this person will be able to not only justify your arrest, torture, incarceration or death-by-government to his or herself, but also to actively support it.

There is nothing occurring anywhere on the planet which reasonably justifies the existence of the CIA, the FBI or the NSA. The degree to which someone disagrees with this assertion is the degree to which that person can be relied upon to sacrifice you and your interests should the occasion ever arise.

Jun 10, 2013


Goodbye, Iain Banks. You were one of the finest to ever take up the quill.


Not knowing enough about Edward Snowden to do more than check the spelling of his name, I will nonetheless steal a moment to consider his distinction from our other, more notorious leaker of government secrets, Bradley Manning.

Before I do that for the six readers I have left (finally, I'm back where I belong), here's a redirection towards Tarzie. It's worth a read.

For mine own, I think it's worth noting that the professional security state operator, Snowden, who is an alum of both the CIA and the NSA as well as a private contractor, showed far greater understanding of the system in which he chose to play his hand, than young Mr. Manning.

This is not, you would understand, a critique of Bradley Manning. Manning is no dummy, and I reject the notion that he was a misguided naïf, on the evidence. But, Manning did what he did without seeking egress from that system. He played his hand while betting his life.

He risked everything while he was still at risk.

Snowden, it would appear, was far more sanguine to how the network operates. By the time he decided to go public with his name, he was safely ensconced in the embrace of the Middle Kingdom, where efforts to "extract" him will come up against the rough reality of "international incidents."

As a matter of temperament, this recommends Snowden to me. He was clever enough to have an escape plan. For all that I appreciate his apparent skill in striking a blow at empire, I trust him less for having been smart about it. This is the mistrust that comes from recognizing a player of high stakes games for what he is.

We can admire his gamble, and the consequences of it, but it would be smart to remember that unlike Manning, Snowden's was the gambit of someone who knows how to adapt to and exist within a predatory environment.

This isn't a moral judgment against Snowden, who I don't know, or a backhanded swipe against Manning, whom I've also never met. But, on the surface and at examination, these are different men. And it costs nothing to keep that in mind.