Thursday, April 30, 2009

Glenn Greenwald on CBC Drug Legalization Debate

Hemp for Victory Mug mug
A toast to Common Sense in a
Hemp for Victory Mug by webcarve

Via CBC Radio: The Current

Ten years ago, Portugal had a serious drug problem. Throughout the 1990s, just about every indicator from the rate of drug use, to drug-related crime, to sexually transmitted diseases was pointing the wrong way. But instead of responding with more arrests or harsher penalties for drug traffickers, the Portuguese Government decided to decriminalize drugs including so-called hard drugs such as cocaine and heroin. At the time, critics predicted an explosion in drug use and all of the social problems that go with it.

But according to Glenn Greenwald, decriminalization has worked in Portugal and it might work elsewhere too. He is a constitutional lawyer and the author of a new report for the American think-tank, The Cato Institute. The report is called "Drug Decriminalization in Portugal: Lessons for Creating Fair and Successful Drug Policies."

I strongly support legalization of Hemp in the US and Canada, for all uses, granting the need for moderate and minimally intrusive regulation and such taxation as may be required to sustain the costs of such efforts. I can see no sustainable, legitimate justification for the continuation of the continental War on Drugs. Arguments against rational hemp policy are based on assumptions that range from the presumptious to the nonsensical and serve no public, humanitarian good.

That should be the single most compelling argument. But the economic and ecological benefits of hemp, as well as the potential of allowing cannibis back into the legitimate pharmacopa are easily as compelling. Against them stands decades upon decades of prejudice and pandering to narrow industiral interests.

Basement Bunker Libertarians

First fruits of getting the Blogrolls working - snorting coffee through my nose.

If you keep emailing me, the mockery will continue

Andrew Sullivan continues to send his minions to attempt to annoy me to death. He fails to understand that this is Pandagon, and we are professionals at the art of pointless blog warring. He also fails to understand that I know cartoonists who also consider the entire existence of the Cheeto-munching moral and intellectual midgets that drive the continued popularity of Ayn Rand novels to be as hilarious as I do. You can click them to get the full size.

August’s take on libertarians.

Harrmumph. As a Libertarian, I must take slight exception. I wish both critics and cricised would stop confusing Libertarianism with Malignant Narcisissm. I know, I know, there's that whole pile of Ayn Rand to confuse the issue. But in point of fact, John Galt was an arsonist who betrayed the interests of his client and tried to justify it to himself. The fact that Rand portrays him as a hero speaks a great deal about her, and a great deal more about the ethics of those who point to Galt as an example of Principle.

I was particularly amused by this one comment - as often is the case, I find the comments to be as good or better as the original - and I do so envy such blessings...

I actually think this whole thing is wonderful fun; I hope Amanda continues forever. I really, really like the No True Scotsman supporters who take such furious umbrage that Amanda uses “libertarian” in the way it de facto means instead of the way that (according to them) it de jure means. Heh. smile

Essie Elephant on 04/30 at 01:04 PM
As a conscious, de jure Libertarian; and antiauthoritarian to the very core of my being - I have more than once observed that in terms of outcomes - the greatest individual Liberty for the greatest number - Canada is a FAR more Libertarian country than the United States.

You see - and you will find this point made in core libertarian writings - liberty requires social infrastructure in order to ensure basic, common wants; otherwise those wants and needs can be and WILL be used by the minority against the majority to reduce them to a state of permanent serfdom.

Unless you can afford to say "take this job and shove it," you are not free. Arguably, it should not be a trivial step, without consequence, but it absolutely MUST be possible - or you are not living in a free society.

Likewise, there must be robust regulations and vigilant guardians watching over the markets and the commons, so that - well, so that what is happening in economic terms in the US and Europe, does not happen. And in Canada, that is the case. Canada has not abandoned regulatory oversight of critical industries in order to pander to would be Madoffs and Enrons and the result is more - not less - economic opportunity and practical liberty for more people.

But US Libertarians are of the opinion that Liberty is the same as License. It is a movement of the self-indulgent, those who cry that "I have mine, and you are a luser who deserves nothing from me."

This of course denies reality - that all persons who succeed in life to any degree are aided in this success by the entire matrix of society and it's infrastructure - benefited by education, libraries, early learning opportunities, the Internet, access to government funded research data, materials science developed at public universities, transportation networks funded by taxpayers by one means of social investment or another - in other words, they were free to act to their own benefit - and the consequent benefit of others - because their society affirmatively invested in and agressively defends that individual liberty.

People who think that living in a mountan-top bunker stocked with five years of food, water and ammunition is the ultimate expression of Liberty are, sadly, idiots. They are as restricted in their practical opportunities as any person languishing in a medium-security prison. Furthermore, they are institutionalizing their children with their various ignorance initiatives. But I digress.

Liberty is for everyone, with opportunity as broadly spread, and with a dedication to the eradication of the serfdom of poverty, or it's simply a chaotic struggle for dominance on a winner-take-all basis.

There is never any way of predicting who will win such a struggle - but having high motivation for a better life, and the grim reality of having little or nothing left to lose - has been a consistent factor in throwing out the old bastards and throwing in the new.

Real libertarians believe that taking the profit OUT of authoritarianism and putting it into advancing the total amount of collective cussedness and amused tolerance of The Other is the only route to a truly free, open and Libertarian culture.

And if this be Socialism, make the most of it.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Glenn Beck accuses Daily Kos of infiltrating tea parties

"Just here to get some pictures for the blog. Could you hold that sign about "faggits" a little higher? Yeah, you, the guy with the noose."

"Glenn Beck accuses Daily Kos and Huffington Post of publicly conspiring with ACORN to infiltrate his tea bag parties."read more | digg story

For what, a voter registration drive? That's not just stupid, it's Glenn Beck Stupid!

Cafe Oppressed?

Quite frankly, I'm amazed when some of them sell. My "Graphictruths" are designed without consideration of the potential consequence of wearing them in public. Often they are one-offs, or designed using a generic template that I can simply throw text into. That is not a usage Cafepress, or indeed many other services lend themselves to.

I used to rely heavily on Cafepress for my core graphics sales. Well, no longer. Cafepress has decided to compete against the people that made it a success, to undercut our price-points and generally, treat us as a resource to be exploited. It's as if they didn't realize there are competitors out there...

It's been some time since I've featured a Cafepress product on this blog. One change after another made it less and less appealing to me from the viewpoint of marketing - which is important, as it pays my server costs - and from the viewpoint of easily indulging my fetish for creating editorial shirts.

The first such choice was to switch to a new affiliate tracking "solution" that I could not get an account for. So, rather than be bothered to figure it out, I fairly much moved to Zazzle, leaving my cafepress designs to fend for themselves in the Marketplace; as several did.

But they also do well on Zazzle.

Irregular Times: CafePress Announces Big Price Hikes for Buyers, Big Commission Cuts for Sellers

CafePress may try to dress up today’s announcement with a barrel full of hand waving, a slapdash cloudiness of vocabulary and a few other mixed metaphors’ worth of dazzling PR-speak, but what their news release all boils down to is this:

1. Come June 1, the print-on-demand corporation CafePress will increase the prices shoppers pay for its shirts and other gear.
2. Come June 1, CafePress will decrease the commissions paid to the sellers who make designs available on CafePress products, especially on non-apparel items.
3. Starting now but especially after June 1, CafePress will work to undercut designers who maintain their own shops and also sell on CafePress’ “marketplace” search engine.

The result: less independence for designers who work through CafePress and a greater profit margin for the CafePress corporation.

I'll be removing my designs from the Cafepress Marketplace and moving them to Zazzle and one or two other services. If you use Cafepress, I encourage you to do the same - even if you only have a few token products. In this matter, it's not merely about the money - although, of course it is. It's also about the unethical exploitation of artists and designers - and without artists and designers providing them high-quality work for free, they will be forced to hire people, or reconsider this policy.

'Hannity: My Money Where Your Mouth Is' by Keith Olbermann: Update 3

Ironically enough, I had just finished creating this particular design and still had the quote on my clipboard, when I saw a link from Josh to this story in my digg shouts.

'Hannity: My Money Where Your Mouth Is' by Keith Olbermann

[Sean Hannity's] offer the other night to Chuck Grodin to 'prove' that waterboarding isn't torture by allowing it to be done to him, is too important to pass up, because of the image it will certainly produce. No matter what he says afterwards or how he tries to laugh it off, Hannity's certitude will be smashed by Hannity's natural, human panic.
And then Keith raises the ante. There are several conditions, to keep Hannity honest - but here's the nub of it.

I will donate $1,000 (one thousand dollars) for every second of water-boarding Hannity endures. We will start the clock the moment the first water is poured on him. The clock will stop when Hannity confesses or begins to shout or scream on a prolonged basis, or the medical supervisor determines he is danger of organ failure.

If Hannity admits afterwards he was afraid for his life and that waterboarding is indeed torture, I will double my total contribution.
And I will repeat this offer each night on Countdown until he agrees or declines.

Waterboarding; one of the favorites of interrogators, since it leaves no evidence. Keith, allow me to offer several refinements.

First, he must be restrained; otherwise the experience is not authentic. Pallet wrap is a superior choice, because it's simple to use and leaves no ligature marks that might indicate abuse to Red Cross inspectors. If the subject is largely encased, it adds thermal stress, as well as creating an intense sensation of helplessness.

Further - as any interrogator trained at the School of the Americas could tell you - water is one of a variety of choices. One can intensify the experience simply by using your choice of fresh or stale urine, for example. But one of the true classics is, oddly enough, Coke. (Preferred over Pepsi due to it's higher concentration of phosphoric acid.)

The technique is simple. Take a nice cold can of Coke. Shake hard, and crack open under the subject's nose, just after having suffocated them for a few moments, so they are inhaling.

Laugh heartily at their distress, repeat ad libidum. Feel free to try it for yourself. Properly done, it's no more dangerous than ordinary nasal irrigation. (Of course, you should irrigate with clean water afterward, there is a risk of yeast infection.)

Meanwhile, in Europe; people of conscience are shocked enough that they are willing to begin procedures to bring to dock those who ordered, excused, and performed such barberic acts.

European officials and lawyers seek to criminalize former US officials over torture charges amid the reluctance of President Barack Obama.

A number of European authorities and human rights groups have expressed dissatisfaction with Obama's failure to press charges against ex-CIA authorities who sanctioned or administered the so-called 'enhanced interrogation methods' to terror suspects, saying that they will make an effort to delve into the torture case under a "universal jurisdiction" code.

Civil rights campaigners say the legal code adopted by some EU countries, authorizes lawyers across the globe to file lawsuits against war criminals, perpetrators of genocides and other human rights offenses, regardless of their country of residence.

In Spain and Germany, lawyers and social liberties activists have brought charges in domestic courts against former US authorities including the ex-defense secretary, Donald Rumsfeld.

I encourage Canada to join the chorus. Some things must not stand.

UPDATE: The Dark Wraith has a few ideas to add to the authenticity of the experience:

To Sean Hannity: Contact me, son. I know a waterboarding method that will rock your world. Let me do that one to you.

Yes, you're going to be stripped naked, and then mocked and otherwise humiliated; but that's not the worst of it, junior: you don't get a blindfold. That's what makes this waterboarding technique so cool. You, yourself, get to watch the action. Some people have said they actually see themselves while it's happening.

Ten seconds in; then I pull you, ask you a question you will most definitely not want to answer on national TV, and if you don't tell me what I want to hear, you get 10 more seconds.

I promise, that first 10 seconds will be the longest of your miserable life. The second 10 seconds will make the first 10 seem like a walk in the park. We'll let the viewing audience do a call-in vote on when we stop if you haven't already cracked on one of the first two pulls. Most definitely, you're not the one who decides the parameters of this game. You have to be powerless, just like the detainees to whom we do these things. Maybe even if you tell me what I want, I'll tell you you're a liar and keep at it. That's how it works with state-sponsored violence.

When we're done, I'll share with you something really important. Even though you might be shaking, even though you might be blubbering like a baby, even though you might be soiling yourself, I'll tell you the big news, and I'll say it like this, right in your ear, just the way the drill sergeants used to tell it to all the boot camp trainees to tear them down so they'd die on command like so many pack animals:

"You, Sean Hannity, ain't nuthin' but a pussy."
UPDATE: for those interested in learning about the International Criminal Court and the possibility of prosecutions under international law, After Downing Street has a suggestion, and some observations you should read for yourself.

One of the best books published in Canada last year is one of the best books published in the United States thus far this year: "The Sun Climbs Slow: The International Criminal Court and the Struggle for Justice," by Erna Paris.
UPDATE: Over at dKos, there's a fundraiser and some thoughtful insights to be found amid the sound and fury. I don't usually go there - their infrastructure and my computer do not get along at all well - but for some reason, this has become a partisan issue. I find that truly amazing - to the extent that I may actually dust off my diary account there and post to that effect.

Some helpful soul regisered a domain - - for the information and enlightenment of Sean Hannity, featuring several informational videos.

Meanwhile, it occurred to me that if one looks to television to excuse and justify torture (Jack Baur, 24), one can easily find television that makes the opposite case with equal or greater power.

I give you a scene from "La Femme Nikita."

The use of rats is a classic, based on the same principles as the actually authorized technique of placing "stinging insects" into contact with the "subject." I assure you, the only fiction herein are the charactors and dialogue - and perhaps the use of an EEG.

Most professionals find that involuntary cues - struggling, screaming and voiding - more than sufficient to their needs.

There is - or should have been - a solid, ethical, moral foundation for saying something like this to the American people:

"War crimes will be prosecuted, war criminals will be punished and it will be no defense to say, 'I was just following orders'." --GW Bush

But, as he said it in 2003, we may be a tad skeptical. The timeline argues that it's only a "war crime" if the prosecution for "war crimes" is simply another way of separating the "winners" from the "lusers." In other words, just like waterboarding and the whole "Gitmo" experience.

Update - Still nothing from Hannity - the amusement continues here..

Monday, April 27, 2009

Assume The Moral Position, Mr. Bush!

I just found this via Reddit

"War crimes will be prosecuted, war criminals will be punished and it will be no defense to say, 'I was just following orders'." --GW Bush
It's a CNN transcript of a speech from 2003 - which, oddly enough, is some time after torture - those would be war crimes - had been authorized and butt-coverage issued by Yoo, et al. (TPM)

Nonetheless, it is a statement that is founded solidly in both international and domestic law. Uttered as it was and by whom it was, it may be and should be taken as the official position of the United States. Indeed, it always has been. We were not supposed to learn of the conditional exceptions; the Pentagon and White House went to rather great lengths to keep these things out of the news. No doubt this was in some part motivated by the very clear understanding that these are criminal acts, war crimes, and, in the quaint language used during other such tribunals - "Crimes Against Humanity."

It is no defense to say "I was just following orders" - despite the Obama administration's offering of that precise defense so justly rejected at Nuremberg - and there can be absolutely no defense at all for issuing them in the first place. Nor has there been any reasonable doubt as to the fact that they did issue those orders.

Now many offer many reasons why those guilty should not be held accountable; offered rather conspicuously by those rather closely connected to people not yet solidly demonstrated to have been complicit, but who could hardly have been entirely innocent of any knowledge.

It is the concern of these people that following the breadcrumbs wherever it may lead would "tear the country apart." That it could, or would, lead to civil unrest, or even civil war. That people might seize upon this as an issue and rend the US apart. Well, more to the point of actual concern, it might rend the citizens might rend from themselves the blessings of their current leadership, and the Military Industrial Complex that pays them for their most devoted services.

What would you, dear citizen, do without such leaders? How would you survive without them?

One can only wonder to what backrooms and boardrooms that might be suddenly illuminated by an honest investigation into these matters. What firms provide child-sized testicle electrodes might come to light. And in thinking of the implications of being led by those who would think that a good idea, some might argue that the sort of foreign policy that depends on crushing testicles and stiff diplomatic cruise missiles might not be the best investment in a future you would wish for your progeny.

Frankly, there are worse rocks upon which for a bankrupt nation to founder. And the cause of the Rule of Law - well, there far worse things to fight for. It's so nice when people line up and charge the guns in the name of Torture. It makes shooting them a much less ambiguous act, ethically speaking.

But, fortunately, I think; the entire issue of war crimes may allow most American to quite literally "dodge the bullet." There is a process to be followed, and there are legitimate and deserving scapegoats for the guilt of the people to be released upon, it may be that the quite inevitable and necessary breakup and reformulation of the American Experience.

Frankly, this is symptomatic of the end of empire and nation. Which is not exactly a bad thing; Empires and nations come and go, but civilizations and people remain, their values, if not their innocence intact.

To the extent that civilization existed in the first place, one might say. But such a one might well be French.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

The Abuse Excuse

A Disgruntled Republican: Regarding Torture:
"It is worth keeping in mind, that the CIA was not operating in a vacuum. This was not just George W. Bush and Dick Cheney acting independently or the CIA going it alone. There was Congressional oversight. Top legislators knew of interrogations. The CIA briefed Democrats and Republicans on the congressional intelligence committees more than 30 times about the use of enhanced interrogation techniques. Congress could have stopped it. Congress did not object or withhold funding.

Among those who were briefed and tacitly approved the techniques were many of the same Democrats, including Nancy Pelosi, who now want to prosecute George W. Bush. We should keep in mind, that these techniques occurred in the aftermath of 9/11 when everyone thought that another attack was eminent. If I would I have been one of the congressmen who sat in on the CIA briefing, would I have objected and publicly condemned it? I don’t think I would have. Maybe later I would regretted that I did not, but at the time, I would have probably acted no differently than the congressmen who sat in on those briefings. If Bush is prosecuted for approving the use of torture, so should Nancy Pelosi and every congressman who acquiesced and did not publicly object and try to stop it at the time. That is all of them."
I've written and blogged a fair bit about torture and abuse over the years, and have a rather personal perspective on the effects and causes of it, having suffered more than my share.

"Quantity has a quality of it's own," as the old Soviets used to say. I shall spare you and your readers the details; simply put, though, a child who is abused both in school and at home has no safe place or people to trust.

I have galloping PTSD and have suffered from chronic depression since grade school. Aside from being on the Autistic Spectrum - something I was born with - I became as a consequence a polyfragmented multiple personality as a means of survival. I've been involved in various awareness campaigns over the years, and in each and every attempt to bring attention to the consequences of abuse by the "pillars of the community" against those weaker and less well connected, one feature is always some socially-justified apologea such as this.

Perhaps the argument is novel to the writer, it is not to me. It's a transparent attempt to evade personal and collective guilt by making responsibility for the evils committed so universal as to be meaningless. And that, frankly, is bullshit.

"If I would I have been one of the congressmen who sat in on the CIA briefing, would I have objected and publicly condemned it?"
Yes. I would have. No doubt this would have precluded my being briefed in the first place. Or are you so naive as to think that anyone on those "oversight committees" is one likely to operate from any genuine ethical or moral perspective? Those unwilling to "go along to get along" are always excluded from the club. But then, such a club is one I would not knowingly join, for I intuitively know the price of such moral compromise - as do we all, now.

These are people who have played the political game since grade school, have profited and triumphed along the way, having left metaphorical and perhaps even a few literal corpses in their wakes; certainly shattered hopes, ruined careers and frustrated dreams. In order to look at themselves in the mirror every morning, they have internalized the emotionally convenient myth that the opportunity to abuse someone proves that that person deserves to have been abused. They are "losers" and "losers" exist to prove that the winners won.

There are ways to explore this dynamic ethically and to the mutual satisfaction of those with complementary kinks for submission and domination - but I do not see much evidence of the concept of Safe, Sane and Consensual evidenced in the halls of Congress or Parliament.

The effect upon my life by people like Dick Cheney and Nancy Pelosi has been catastrophic; quite reasonably comparable to surviving childhood in a war zone.

This in turn led to a lifetime fascination with the sorts of people that would do that sort of thing, and what means they would use to make it seem needful to those who might otherwise interfere with them. And I say it having had unfortunately intimate experience with both sides of the coin. Having been raised by a sadist and a masochist, I have lived my life with that as my primary perspective of natural human relationships. Unlike my parents, I preferred to explore alternatives to accepting my fate as part of a package labeled "Traditional Family Values," so I've managed to avoid harm more often than not.

I can tell you, the most usual way to deal with the inevitable blow-back is to make the resistance to authority abuse a mandate for yet more abuse. CF: War On Terror, War On Drugs, scholastic Zero Tolerance policies. Goodness, the US BATF can trace it's roots to The Whiskey Rebellion! It's quite a fulfilling little pattern of denial - for professional perps.

Ultimately, I've found no better answer than what I wrote here; None Dare Call It Sadism.

It's about power, and the pursuit of power and it's exercise over others is a perfume with appeal that is irrelevant to partisan politics - and subversive of any principles that one on the quest for power might yet retain when they grasp the rose.

Human nature leads us to lash out, to focus our rage and fear upon a target and make them live with the insecurity we felt. It is, indeed, quite cathartic, even vicariously. And, as one can easily discern from just a slight insight into the political dynamics in Washington surrounding the commission of unquestionable, documented, brutal war crimes; complicity in a crime "for the greater good" is one of the better tools for building and maintaining a power base.

This might also give you some insight into the real reason for warrantless wiretapping. If there's no need for warrants, one does not need to explain exactly why one wishes to tap Nancy Pelosi's telephone.

Speaking for myself, I can say with certainty that while I completely understand the urge to punish those associated with grave crimes and extract from them whatever they may know about other participants in the process of making them justly suffer - I am also absolutely convinced that it is futile, largely by the experiences of those who have done it, and had it done to them.

Torture gains you words that you wish to hear, not information that you need to know. It's emotionally rewarding, but it in no way serves the task of making any nation or person safer. But then, a genuinely safer nation is not at all in the interests of those who's power base depends upon a strong "national security" infrastructure. The perceived threat must exist to justify the expense and the moral compromise. So the paradox is both inevitable and necessary; that the offenses committed in the name of security create new and greater threats to the security of the people.

The horrific and incompetent injustices committed upon the innocent and the possibly guilty alike have made cause for those outraged to hang all the slights, insults and offenses of the last century upon, and ram them home with the full force of international law.

It could, conceivably, become a pretext for war - for George Bush set the precedent for that, citing the mistreatment of political prisoners as one reason to invade and "clean up" Iraq.

And yet, people like Sheriff Joe Sheriff Joe Arpaio and Sheriff Tim Swanson are allowed to run around and brag about their approaches to criminal justice.

You see, torture becomes excusable when we are already numb to the routine abuse of authority, when is seen as a tool to be used when necessary for the greater good - and it's misuse can be cloaked in the wishful misunderstanding that anyone who IS mistreated must therefore have deserved it.

This, in regards to the notorious Hope Steffey case.

Just to give you an example of some of the things being said on the Internet:

Wow. I can’t believe how much you guys are throwing a fit over this. The LEOs knew two things:

1) She was trying to get someone arrested and prosecuted for a violent offense for which he would probably end up imprisoned and beat/raped.
2) She was lying to them.

And you think that they’re wrong for what they did?! What the effin eff?!
posted by jock@law at 6:52 PM on

I guess we can’t expect much from a guy who calls himself “jock@law”.

Of course, far from enhancing the rule of law, such actions and excuses for such actions make contempt for the law - and law enforcement professionals - normal and expected.

Mercenaries almost always prefer massive overkill - because it minimizes their personal risks. Of course, it also means they consider themselves separate from and not answerable to the folks they may find themselves shooting. Hell, Hessians didn't even consider themselves part of the same physical Empire!

Now, when I see street cops expressing that same attitude, of not even being in the same empire as the ordinary schlubs they deal with every day, it seems to me that we have become two entire empires - those who get to tell the police who to beat up, and those the police get to charge with the "crime" of scuffing the officer's shoes with their objectionable asses.

In fact, torture and more generally, the abuse of power against those weaker is inherently corrupt, can never be excused nor permitted, for when it becomes commonly allowed, it pervades and corrupts the society as a whole - from family to government, and every single human institution in between.

It saddens me that I say nothing greatly different than would have Jefferson, Hamilton, Locke or Mill; indeed, I say nothing here that Sun Tsu would disagree with.

The last couple-hundred years have made it clear that the resolution to act justly in the face of perceived threat is more difficult than might have been thought - but that price is still lower than the price of becoming what we abhor.

In order to deal with genuine threats justly and appropriately, we must abandon the idea that it is ever a reasonable thing to torture another human being, to impose our will upon others to force them to do as we would have them do, to make them bend the knee and serve our desires, whether it be abstractly - for power, prestige and petroleum, or in the ultimate personal sense, for the sense of personal victory, or sexual conquest.

For at the root, it's no different, and the stain is no less persistent for being a collective debt. Further, in pandering to the false idea that security is something that people in power over us are able to provide - rather than co-ordinate and inform - we abandon our own ethical and practical responsibilities to one another. We are our brother's keepers - and no artificial distinctions between peoples and nations changes that elemental fact. Where there is hunger and poverty, where there is strife and fear, any policy that increases those deficits will also increase those risks - and, by fact of being crimes, justify, in a legal or at least arguable sense, attempts to gain recompense.

That is not a philosophy of "Liberal Appeasement," it's a matter of fact as illustrated by history, empowered by the most basic insights into human nature. If you do not wish to be the target of terrorism, the first and most basic policy is to make it a matter of practice to NEVER scare anyone so badly nor place them in such an impossible situation that it seems both reasonable and the only possible course of action.

Only those who profit - financially or emotionally - from the direct or vicarious abuse of others find this to be arguable. So if you find yourself arguing with me - don't expect me to regard your arguments with much sympathy. I've heard them. They were not novel in the times of Sophacles or Jesus. They were dismissed by the Buddha and embraced by Sun Tsu as a fatal weakness to be exploited in an enemy. These insights led in great part to the various victories of Mao Tse Tung, Fidel Castro and Ho Chi Minh - as much due to the complling lack of moral standing held by western powers as to the moral and philosophical high ground they claimed. Indeed, they did not have to be far above moral sea level to shine by contrast in light of what the various popular movements had directly experienced. Hell, they only needed to keep their moral nostrils above water to benefit!

And in each case, it took a great deal of rhetoric and scare-mongering to excuse the history we had been culpable of facilitating, profiting by or directly participating in.

I am in my fifth decate of life, and I have yet to see an example in practice of the ends having justifed the means in retrospect. At best, I can say that there have been some examples of the triumph of the lesser evil - but that that any advancement of the greater good has been largely in spite of such outbursts.


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