I recently had the opportunity to pose several questions to Christine Smith, a Libertarian Party candidate for President of the United States. Long time Flea-readers will recognize where our points of view diverge. You will also know I am not an American citizen so can only have an indirect stake in your Presidential politics. Nonetheless, those stakes are very high and it is consequently my great honour and pleasure to have had the opportunity to correspond with Christine Smith. In contrast to political talk all too often focused on process rather than policy, I found Smith's views to be direct, substantive and philosophically consistent. I believe her responses are interesting in themselves and are critically important to any Republican disenchanted with their party candidate and considering a Libertarian vote in November. While it remains to be seen who will get their presidential nod, I believe Smith's answers suggest there is at least some remaining support in the Libertarian party for Ron Paul's world view.
The following is addressed to Christine Smith.
Thank you for taking the time to consider these questions. I can only imagine the pressures of undertaking a presidential campaign. While it is my impression my views are more hawkish than yours on foreign policy, I am very curious to learn how you would resolve problems I believe are attendant to the Libertarian party platform particularly with regard to Iraq. Many of my readers – from the United States, Canada and overseas – have a libertarian perspective on many policy issues. I am certain they will be as grateful as I am for this opportunity.
Reading interviews with Libertarian candidates, I notice a common question concerns the viability of third parties and the role of third party candidates as advocates for specific issues or, more generally, for more meaningful electoral choices. I believe this ground has been covered and am therefore directing my questions to a future Libertarian presidency. I am primarily interested in the philosophical basis for a Libertarian presidency as distinct from either or both the Democratic and Republican parties, their past Presidents and current nominees. My questions are meant to address issues which are important in themselves but which hopefully will help shed light your political philosophy.
I hope you will respond to these questions in light of the powers and limitations of the office of President should you be elected to that office. I will publish your responses unedited.
1. On April 29, 1975, America withdrew completely from Saigon; it had been two years since the bulk of American forces had been removed from the country as part of the American obligation under the 1973 Paris peace accords. On April 30, 1975, the Republic of Vietnam surrendered to the communists. An estimated 1.5 million Vietnamese and others became refugees in the aftermath, as many as 400 thousand sent to prison camps and tens of thousands of citizens killed in the rout of South Vietnamese forces (1).Vietnam remains a dictatorship to this day.
President Bush and others have warned of a similar consequence for Iraq should American forces withdraw before the elected government is fully capable of defending itself. Do you agree with this assessment? If not, I would be grateful if you could outline what you believe to be the consequences for Iraq given your promise to immediately withdraw United States forces. Given that we cannot know for certain the outcome of an American withdrawal, I am yet more concerned to understand the philosophical basis for making your decision. What responsibility, if any, does the United States owe to the people of Iraq?
Christine Smith: The U.S. government owes the American people, the Iraqi people, and the world a foreign policy of non-interventionism. I will order the immediate withdrawal of all U.S. troops and all U.S. government personnel from Iraq. The consequences, unavoidably and unfortunately, will be more bloodshed. But is their civil war, not ours. Who they have as leaders and the type of government they have is their business - not ours. It was a mistake for us to have invaded the sovereign nation of Iraq, and I believe the quickest way to correct a mistake is to go 180 degrees in the opposite direction - thus I am for immediate withdrawal. We owe the people of Iraq the return of their nation to them. We should withdraw from Iraq, just as we should withdraw from many areas of the world.
2. Would the withdrawal of forces from Iraq be accompanied by withdrawal of United States forces from Afghanistan, Western Europe, Japan and South Korea? If so, would these withdrawals be conducted for the same reasons as the promised withdrawal from Iraq? I am particularly curious to understand your decision in light of the decades American forces have remained in, for example, Germany and South Korea following the end of major hostilities. Should American forces have been withdrawn from Germany immediately following the end of World War II?
Christine Smith: Yes. I will end U.S. government in the meddling and affairs of other nations. Such unnecessary military presence is for one purpose only - the maintenance and justification of enormous Pentagon procurement with our government's goal of establishing governments that are U.S. government friendly in regards to perceived geopolitical advantage (which often means support of governments including tyrants and dictators who cruelly treat their own people). All U.S. military presence in the Arabian peninsula should be withdrawn, and all military bases in any area of the world which does not directly threaten the soil and waters of the United States should be closed. Our military men and women, and our resources, must be used only for the defense of our nation not claimed "democracy spreading," nor imperialistic empire building.
In answer to your question about our troops in Germany, it implies we've withdrawn our presence, and we haven't. To this day, we have approximately 70,000 U.S. troops yet on German soil.
A few favorite quotes regarding the proper place of America in the world: George Washington: "The great rule of conduct for us in regard to foreign nations is, in extending our commercial relations to have with them as little political connection as possible." Thomas Jefferson: "Peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations – entangling alliances with none." and perhaps the one most specific about what has become the terrible foreign policy the .S. government has maintained for decades: John Quincy Adams: "America...Wherever the standard of freedom and independence has been or shall be unfurled, there will her heart, her benedictions and her prayers be. But she goes not abroad in search of monsters to destroy. She is the well-wisher to the freedom and independence of all. She is the champion and vindicator only of her own. She will recommend the general cause, by the countenance of her voice, and the benignant sympathy of her example. She well knows that by once enlisting under other banners than her own, were they even the banners of foreign independence, she would involve herself, beyond the power of extrication, in all the wars of interest and intrigue, of individ-ual avarice, envy, and ambition, which assume the colors and usurp the standard of freedom. The fundamental maxims of her policy would insensi-bly change from liberty to force. The frontlet upon her brows would no longer beam with the ineffa-ble splendor of freedom and independence; but in its stead would soon be substituted an imperial diadem, flashing in false and tarnished lustre the murky radiance of dominion and power. She might become the dictatress of the world: she would be no longer the ruler of her own spirit..."
3. In my opinion, Senator Fred Thompson has been the most articulate and consistent nominee for either the Republican or Democratic party on the subject of States rights as are made explicit under the Tenth Amendment, even when his consistency places him in apparent opposition to those Republicans who advocate a constitutional ban on abortion. I would be grateful to learn your opinion on the relationship between States rights and those rights reserved to the people under the Tenth Amendment. I am particular curious to learn your intention as President with regard to the Commerce Clause (Article I, Section 8, Clause 3) of the Constitution. Has this Clause been used to run roughshod over the Tenth Amendment? (I admit this is a leading question!)
Christine Smith: In my opinion, Ron Paul has been as you say,"the most articulate and consistent nominee for either the Republican or Democratic party on the subject of States rights as are made explicit under the Tenth Amendment." I am a firm advocate of states' rights, but with any area of fundamental rights protected by the 14th amendment.
In regards to the Commerce Clause, I believe it is being misused and again the federal government is wielding its power, its force unjustly, for example when Congress claims it can regulate private growing of marijuana. Permitting this, means we're letting Congress regulate virtually anything. The Constitution serves to limited and enumerate the powers of the federal government. Such areas as private marijuana growth and usage doesn't threaten interstate commerce at all. The federal government has no authority to regulate drugs, but is using the Commerce Clause and claiming it as justification so they can continue their insane "drug war," while overstepping, again, the sovereignty of states. States should not be interfered with by the federal government in such matters.
Further, the power authorized to Congress under the Commerce Clause cannot violate other parts of our Constitution such as the General Welfare Clause. The rationale behind the Commerce Clause was simply to stop states from interfering with trade between people in different states. Its power is being misinterpreted and misused.
4. Regarding jury members, President John Adams wrote, "It is not only his right but also his duty… to find the verdict according to his own best understanding, judgment, and conscience, though in direct opposition to the direction of the court." While court rulings have consistently upheld jury nullification, defense counsel has consistently been denied the right to inform juries of this power. Given the mixed history of jury nullification in United States law during, for example, the Prohibition era versus the Civil Rights era, what is your view on jury nullification? Should a federal law be enacted mandating that juries be informed of this power?
Christine Smith: Such conscientious citizens were indeed a major reason Prohibition was ended. Jury nullification gives the power to the people in protecting individual rights - when a law may itself be debated to itself be unjust or unconstitutional. It opens up many possibilities - easily argued positive and potentially negative in regards to "justice.". But as to whether juries should be informed of this power - yes. If it exists as it does now, they should be informed fully. The oaths jurors must take often declare they will uphold the law, thus forcing a juror to potentially perjure himself later should he choose to practice jury nullification. As a juror you have power over someone's else's life, and I believe one must be true to their conscious before being true to a law. As long as jury nullification exists, jurors should be informed of it and/or they must not be forced to take oaths in which they swear to uphold the law - something they may or may not be able to do in good conscience once a case is heard. Jury trials themselves are a means to prevent oppression from the government, thus, a citizen's power to interpret and rule must not be effectively removed simply by neglecting to inform them. It is and must remain the right of citizens to also judge the law and refuse to apply a law. If a jury is not allowed to judge the law it essentially becomes a trial by the government rather than by the jury.
5. Candidates for both the Democratic and Republican parties have stressed the importance of faith in their lives as a way of explaining and asserting aspects of their character and their fitness for office. A recent Gallup poll (2) suggested Americans might be more likely to support or woman or an African-American as President than a Mormon or an atheist.
What importance should Americans grant, if any, to considering the religious and spiritual views of people elected to public office, particularly the office of the President? It is up to each individual American to determine the importance he places upon a candidate's beliefs. Your question to me is phrased with "What importance should..." and I am in no position, nor is any other American - presidential candidate or not - to declare what Americans should do in such a personal matter. Americans need only follow their conscience and its values to determine the importance (or lack thereof) they place upon a candidate's beliefs.
What role, if any, does religion and spirituality play in your life?
Christine Smith: My spirituality is based on one belief "Love is the answer." For me, love is strong, bold, courageous...it is recognizing and being devoted to liberty. Liberty is the natural result of my definition of love. Loving others recognizes their fundamental right to live as they choose as long as it harms no other. I base all my personal beliefs and life upon the one principle of love - endeavoring to maintain an introspection of the choices I make - in light of what is truly loving and correcting, as best I am able, mistakes. It is my spiritual belief in love as being the only true guide for my life which has led me to be politically active my entire life.
And, assuming it does, how does religion and spirituality inform your views on public policy or your judgment and character as a potential President of the United States?
Christine Smith: Personal beliefs of "right" or "wrong" determine the way I choose to live my life - the choices I make for myself personally. It would be arrogant for me to ever allow my personal beliefs on any issue to govern my positions on government policy which would be forced upon others. As a libertarian, I oppose the use of government to impose the will of any group (or individual) upon other citizens. Government is force. It must not be used to promote any agenda of one group/belief versus another. Truth is my highest priority. As a presidential candidate and in the case of becoming President of the U.S., the U.S. Constitution and literal interpretation of the Bill of my Rights would be my guide. I would swear to uphold the U.S. Constitution, but unlike past presidents, I would actually do it.
Extra comment for your readers:
I am a libertarian. I am a firm believer in individual liberty, personal responsibility, free markets, and always a small government limited only to its constitutionally authorized functions - the principles America was founded upon and which once made us both great and greatly admired worldwide. Our nation achieved that greatness and respect, and we reaped the fruits of our labor because we lived in a society that welcomed innovation, creativity, and self-reliance. We didn't look to a government to care for us or protect us, we looked to ourselves - and it worked! And you know what? It will still work - if we return to the values we as a people once cherished.
Granted, the socialist mentality is inbred in generation after generation thanks to government schools which raise our youth to be good little slaves - obedient to social conformity - and to all its masters with the government being their primary source of provision and security. Children are taught not to question, but to accept. Thus, we have millions of Americans who actually believe government serves them by protecting them both as a nation and even as an individual should they require help in their personal lives. They're not about to challenge the status quo - it's always been this way so why challenge it? - or so goes such a line of thought.
But it has not always been this way. Americans were once a strong people who valued independence. We were a nation of people who had a strong self identity as individuals, a greater understanding that we own ourselves, are responsible for ourselves, and are entitled to the fruits of our labor. We for years had an ingrained abhorrence for taking what was not ours, much less allowing others to steal from us and give it to others, and yet somehow we as a society have devolved into a weak people who look to government to take care of them from birth to grave. But for 126 years Americans were free from being taxed on their income. We worked, we invested, we bought homes. Our income and savings had value. We were far freer than today personally and economically.
Many think they are free in midst of a society where the invasive government is becoming more arrogant each day in its alarmingly self-granted authority over the American people. The safeguards of due process have been eroded - but this fact and its repercussions remain unknown/not understood by many. After all, consider how many still get their news and commentary from their TVs and newspapers. Thus, many Americans aren't comprehending that basic Constitutional rights are being discarded though it is they, and those they care for, who will ultimately suffer.
Thus, today, we're dealing with a people that are as Goethe so accurately described in which: "None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free."
My message: Americans Awake!
I believe you - far better than a government bureaucrat - can best spend your money to benefit you and your family. I don't think you need government bureaucrats to make economic and social decisions for you. I trust you can do a much better job for yourself! That's why I want to get the government out of our lives. You should make the decisions for your life. I should make the decisions for mine. You should be free to control your life - as others must be free to control theirs. Tyranny or liberty - it's your choice.
Visit my campaign website to learn where I stand on issues in greater detail. And I invite READERS to sign up for my free campaign email newsletter.
Libertarian Candidate for President
(1) These figures are taken New York Times Pentagon correspondent and Huffington Post blogger, Thom Shanker writing for the New York Times, August 23, 2007.
(2) Reference: February, 2007.
Yes, I said I would not respond to any blog "meme" but here I go. It was difficult to refuse Mr. Taylor once I recognized my own competitive jerk behaviour. And so, for your consideration, six unimportant things about the Flea:
1. Following Mr. Taylor's sixth unimportant thing: I too move at best possible speed on public transit even if I am not in a hurry. I board and exit subway trains through specific doors calibrated to place me closest to the escalator or stairway I need to get to my destination. This behaviour was even worse in London than it is in Toronto. I still take enormous satisfaction in having memorized at a reflexive bodily level the quickest routes through Bank, Angel and Tottenham Court Road stations.
2. I shave in the following order: Neck, sides of face, upper lip, crown of head, sides of head, back of head. Blades do not stand up well to tougher hair on the back of the head so best to shave the sensitive skin first. Even with a new blade, small nicks are almost inevitable. I have found the best way to address these is to wrap a paper towel around the back of my head while it is still wet. Let it dry for a few minutes and any small cuts have completely sealed up. This presents an unedifying spectacle but it does the trick. I have been doing this for a couple years now and no longer remember how I arrived at this solution.
3. I eat some foods straight that are meant to be eaten as ingredients or at best as condiments. These include spoonfuls of peanut butter, Ovaltine powder and especially Dijon mustard. Also sea salt, coffee beans, whole garlic cloves and raw lemon.
4. My book collective is organized thematically. This is handy as I do not have to remember where a book is to find it. Instead I decide where I would put the book and that is where it is. Despite the utility of this system I find it quite boring. My favourite classification system was developed by an Argentine sociologist, the father of a high school girlfriend. His books were organized by colour of spine with the whole wall taking on the appearance of a colour palette. I have utility, he had elegance.
5. I was up at 4am this morning for about half an hour and sent out three emails. The two emails directed at Pisces were answered within minutes. I have no obvious rational basis for believing this fact to be significant and yet I do.
6. I am quite vain about my eyebrows. I think they are as fine as any eyebrows commonly seen on television or in film.
I realize I am supposed to tag people now I am done but there is only so far I will go breaking my no blog "meme" pledge. I you have six unimportant things to share please do so, let me know and I shall post a link here.
"You know, at the end of the day I'm an officer and you're supposed to be able to look after everybody and that's the way it is -- you come last." - Cornet Harry Wales
I am not a monarchist but I would follow this prince. Now the story is out, it is truly, literally majestic: Prince Harry in Afghanistan. News to me via Hotair, though I gather Drudge blew opsec earlier today.
And this is from the Guardian (!):
I do not love the bright sword for it's sharpness, nor the arrow for it's swiftness, nor the warrior for his glory. I love only that which they defend.
And via Mr. Taylor, Dust My Broom: If We're Going To Have A Monarch, He Might As Well Be Awesome.
Update: Jura Watchmaker of the Drink Soaked Trots is also impressed.
And Scribbles in the comments:
Foto_decadent offers much Christina Ricci for the cubicle bound; one of those challenge/opportunity situations (via Coilhouse). So, is it just me or is Ricci and exceptionally hot last name? Just saying.
The first archaeological evidence for the druids may have been unearthed near Colchester (hat tip to a Celtic Warrior Queen).
They really do think like this. No joke.
* Ok, except a couple or three things having just watched most recent Terminator episode, "The Demon Hand".** First, this was perfect television. It could not have been more what it was supposed to be. Exactly right. Second, Summer Glau is the best casting imaginable and her character perfectly ambivalent, the scariest on television. Third, and I think the most interesting, this series has transcended the original film(s)*** in a particular way. A dear friend of mine and I have talked for some time about how "this is the time when Kyle hides in the department store" and so forth whenever we watch the first film. The time-bending narrative lends itself to watching with one eye on the future and one on whether the present will once again fail to unfold quite as it should. With the new series and its deliberate retcon play, It now seems obvious the stories transcend any particular articulation of what is properly a myth. These new players in the television series are doing an excellent job of bringing the story to life, of retelling it so that its truth is once again made relevant in times which have changed over the last twenty years; most notably following September 11, 2001. The new production has retroactively rendered the original players**** just another group interpreting the truth - albeit revealing it for the first time - rather than being the truth against which all others are imitation. The result is a peculiar simulation. A phenomenon where signifier and signified are decoupled and signifieds are determined in relation to other signifieds does not in this case terminate meaning, stranding us in a postmodern relativistic morass. Instead the new telling of the story creates an origin exterior to any particular articulation of the text, i.e. the simulation creates a transcendent essence.***** In this sense, signification is not reification but the expression of a Pauline dialectic****** where John Connor is fully cognate with Jesus Christ. The Terminator is now something like a Passion Play to be re-imagined with new actors in new times, the stories those of a revolutionary community struggling to believe in either the future or in the past, hoping against hope their saviour will be born. A familiar story and one which would see us through a new Dark Age. Assuming, of course, we survive the present.
** Presumably a tip of the hat to Demon with a Glass Hand.
*** Not counting the third film which was even more heretical than the Star Wars prequels.
**** Yes, even Arnold Schwarzenegger. It seems obvious Summer Glau is now more important to a faithful rendition.
***** Much as H.P. Lovecraft's consistent literary conceits inadvertently brought the Necronomicon into being.
****** If you meet the Terminator in the road, kill him!
One of the most beautiful track ever recorded. Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.
Spiegel reports the board of the Kinderhäusl was composed entirely of Scientologists. Munich's Education Department was reportedly informed of the issue by the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution within weeks of the school's opening.
We have come a long way from the days of Joint Army and Navy Basic War Plan -- Red* and Defence Scheme No. 1.** World Net Daily reports a Civil Assistance Plan was signed, February 14, 2008 at U.S. Army North headquarters, Fort Sam Houston, Texas, by U.S. Air Force Gen. Gene Renuart, commander of NORAD and U.S. Northern Command (USNORTHCOM) and Canadian Air Force Lt. Gen. Marc Dumais, commander of Canada Command. The Civil Assistance Plan*** allows the armed forces of the United States and Canada to support the armed forces of the other nation during a civil emergency.
In related news, sales of tin foil are expected to rise as news of the agreement spreads in moonbat/wingnut media. This is sure to be read as either the loss of United States sovereignty to a North American Union or the loss of Canadian sovereignty to a latter day American manifest destiny.
Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.
Spengler writes on a secret revealed by Senator Obama's women: He hates America. Make of this claim what you will; I am fascinated to learn about Obama's mother. Ann Dunham was an anthropologist, a fact Spengler believes is far more important to Obama's upbringing and world view than whatever the influence of a Muslim father. Spengler expresses strong reservations about the discipline.
Which may be the most awesome description of anthropology I have ever read. Just started work on the paper I am presenting to the Canadian Anthropology Society this spring, btw.
Update: I had not realized Spengler is himself rumoured to be an anthropologist. Lisa Schiffren writes:
And this: More Spengler, this being a piece on Geert Wilders, the Archbishop of Canterbury and Europe in the dar al-Harb.
That last sentence sums up everything I have been trying to express for some time. I had a fairly heated conversation recently in which I advocated bringing a variety of matters to head with the aim of preempting a far greater violence that I believe is otherwise to come. It is easy to sound like an advocate for violence - which, strictly speaking, I am - with this sort of talk. Not something Lincoln shied from in the end; Churchill neither. But then a hypodermic needle injures a body, so too the attenuated strain of the virus is injects. Better this than plague.
Writing as Vernon Lee, lesbian bluestocking Violet Paget wrote Amour Dure: Passages from the Diary of Spiridion Trepka. Wonderful to discover yet another masterpiece of Victoriana I had never heard of let alone enjoyed.* This one is crying out for a film adaptation (with, say, Christina Ricci as Medea da Carpi).
Which is a sentence and a half, I am sure you will agree. A whirlpool of mountains... magnificent. Though it has got me thinking about a clear divide along gender lines in vampire fiction. Lestat and Henry Fitzroy on the one side and Blade on the other. I have yet to check if my hypothesis stands a particular test but can anyone imagine Kate Beckinsale's Selene was written by a woman? I think not (and just as well, too).
* I gather Vernon Lee was a contributor to The Yellow Book which, by way of decadence and aestheticism, was apparently on the mind of Robert W. Chambers as he created The King in Yellow; a bit like discovering Oscar Wilde inspired the Necronomicon.
The Elder Thong puts a new spin on unmentionables (possibly nsfw).
No offense to Aleister Crowley in life but he is much hotter now he is being channeled. This inter-dimensional portal interview is made possible by conflicted, gamine and South African Desteni who also channels Anton LaVey, reptilian minds and at least one beauty demon. Though to my mind the most obvious candidate from beyond has to be her Audrey Hepburn experience; just lovely.
Exit question: I keep dating women like this and yet retain the capacity to be surprised at my life. They are quirky and cute, yes. But, you know, teh crazy. And still I expect the quiet life. Ok, that is more of a statement than a question.
Conventional wisdom on the relative dangers of different drugs was challenged by British documentary series, Horizon under the catchy title "Britain's most dangerous drug". A list of twenty substances was compared using three metrics: what it does to the person. who takes it, how addictive it is and finally the consequences of its use to society. I am delighted to say I have never heard of Vitamin R, Flatliner or Subbies; my slide into pop senescence is underway! It is an interesting exercise but, given the claimed 40% of tobacco users who supposedly die from its use I cannot see why it is not at the top of the list.*
Then again, alcohol was my guess for No. 1. I am with William Burroughs on the subject of heroin.** From what I can gather, the substance has two side effects, viz addiction and constipation. Otherwise the risk is down to accidental overdose. This is a personal tragedy, of course, but hardly worth the marginal deterrence offered by the law in exchange for entire strata of society dedicated to street robbery, burglary and prostitution. The illicit trade also finances - to point to only two examples among many - the Taliban and the Burmese military junta. When the law is constructed so as to bring about so much misery, and enrich so many of the enemy, one is tempted to conclude there is an ulterior motive. Justifying ever more intrusive government intervention on the part of police and public health agencies leaps to mind; time to apply Heinlein's Razor.
I am in love with the LSD orange girl about 15 minutes in, btw.
* Though the most dangerous drugs are, of course, not pharmacological but memetic; a suicide cult will kill you faster - and do more harm to society - than any drug on that list.
** Related: The Last Words of Hassan Sabbah.
When I heard yesterday's fire was at Queen and Bathurst there were several frantic minutes trying to figure out if they really meant Queen and Bathurst. We navigate by intersections in downtown Toronto so the expression could be short hand for something several streets away. Unfortunately, they meant Queen and Bathurst. It was the south side which took the hit so Savage Garden - immediately facing the fire to the north - appears to have been spared. Not so for several Toronto alt.culture landmarks, Duke's Cycle, National Sound and, as Dave Delaney writes, the Queen W location of Suspect Video.
Which sounds like an extraordinary claim. All I can say is I spent four years in England - two in London, two in Manchester - looking for a video store like Suspect and nowhere found anything even close. In those long ago pre-torrent days, before the age of YouTube, this was the only place on earth I knew to rent a copy of the long suppressed Star Wars Christmas special (Baltimore broadcast) or the five hour Japanese television broadcast of David Lynch's Dune. This was a holy place.
Even those Flea-readers not suffering from local nostalgia might be interested to see what it looks like to fight a six alarm fire in a cold country. There are a lot of icicles involved.
Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.
Anonymous asks the question: Did Scientologists kill Shawn Lonsdale? Something fascinating about this fracas is the emergence of, for want of a better term, freelance pronouncements by Anonymous. The pits of YouTube comment cannot agree whether this is integral to the rhyzomatic structure of Anonymous ("We are Legion") or whether these are non-canonical statements posted by "newfags". The Shawn Lonsdale piece appears to have been issued by a newfag individual or collective.
Yet more interesting is a Message to Anonymous by a Scientology Believer; it is wonderfully sinister and threatening and, consequently, could as easily be part of Anonymous agitprop or authored by a Scientologist as it claims. Either way, it has attracted what appears to be a canonical Third Video reply from Anonymous.
Ronald Reagan: Yes we can.
Though in some ways john.he.is is better. Maybe a hundred... that's fine with me. "Like hope, but different." Yes, like hope, but true.
I came across Adam Curtis documentary, The Mayfair Set through a Center for Public Integrity article about mercenaries and the Special Forces Club. Curtis is admirably even-handed in his treatment of the material; while his story is clearly critical of the men he takes as his focus - "right wing" aristocrats, in particular - he avoids making prescriptive statements about what should have been done in a succession of awkward situations. Rather than dwelling on the merits of his story about markets taking over from management, or the Special Forces Club article through which I found it, I want to point in particular to the first installment of Curtis' documentary.
"Who Pays Wins" chronicles Colonel David Stirling, the formation of the SAS and the privatization of UK military power cum foreign policy as an extension of the balance of trade after the War. I am embarrassed to admit I knew nothing about the Aden Emergency before watching this piece. Much of what we are going through now is anticipated - explained - by British policy at that time.
* (Cough) torrent (cough cough).
Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.
Brought to you by the Empire Tea Marketing Bureau, these war time tea making tips still come in handy. Just be certain to bring the pot to the kettle and not the other way round.
Related: King George VI and Queen Elizabeth welcomed on their Canadian tour, May 22, 1939.
The women watching on the banks could see it fall, beam by beam -- could see every moment the gap widening between the three brave men and the bridge. Wider and wider it grew, and with one voice the Romans cried, 'Jump! Horatius, Lartius, Herminius! Jump while you can!'
Lartius and Herminius obeyed. Again rose the cry --
'Horatius, come while there is time!'
- Of Horatius, how he kept the bridge
It turns this will not be Max Gogarty's first trip to Thailand. He is the son of - wait for it - a Guardian travel writer. On the surface this story has all the break out from nowhere, independent artist excitement of Lily Allen's MySpace page (cough cough); a know-who vs know-how situation. But I am reminded more of David Simon's self-regarding fifth and final season of The Wire in which the best show on television is reduced to a platform for his old grievances with the Baltimore Sun. It is a bit much to spend four years in the slums of Baltimore and expect us to be broken up over the hard lives of journalists.
That said, The Beach was a great film; seriously underrated. Will, you will like the bit about local farming cooperatives.
Looking through the apparently vast list of submissions to this project, I am struck not only at how clever - even beautiful - so many of them are but at the recycling of culture involved. This is probably the only use younger contributors have ever made of an earlier generation's vinyl. I am, sadly, old enough to have been assistant manager at an A&A Records and Tapes and to remember the excitement and trepidation that came with the introduction of the CD. It was not just the new colder sound of these things but a sense of loss at all that acreage of cover art reduced to the CD's smaller footprint. They were so compact we used to shelve each CD in a cumbersome plastic box three times its length; the new digital format seemed all too easy to steal. Little did any of us see where that logic would lead.
Now is the time at the Flea when we dance (nsfw, obviously).
Having lived in Londonshire and Manchestershire I was fascinated to learn more facts about England. Though admittedly I would watch Paperlilies read the telephone book.* I think I still have some umbrella tax owing.
Though there has been much curiosity at the identity of anti-Scientology Crusaders Anonymous, I have yet to come across any concrete speculation. You know who is really well organized, well funded and dislikes Scientology? Trey Parker and Matt Stone. Has anyone seen Anonymous in the same room as those guys? Just saying. (Goddess image pictured above lifted from Warren Ellis, btw.)
While the identity/identities of Anonymous may never be known, I can link to a film whose director is known but whose website would suggest he had nothing to to with it. Do not watch The Bridge because Brett Hanover was a young man when he made it or because he disavowed the project within weeks of screening it. Watch it because it is a moving story about a woman's growing disillusionment with her beliefs and because this copy has yet to be yanked from YouTube (there is always this copy and this copy too just in case).
Yes, the characters and situations depicted are fictional.
* An update later in the day. I should add I had mixed feelings linking to this piece despite its being so beautiful. I am delighted to report good news as Steven Spielberg withdraws as adviser to the Beijing Olympics. Predictably, UK government ministers are outraged... with Spielberg.
And a fat lot of good that does if critics of the ChiComs are themselves criticized for objecting - including and especially British athletes - and if the objection to China is limited to Darfur. The Red Chinese government has so much else to account for: The ghosts of Tienanmen Square have no rest tonight.
Frank Frazetta's Death Dealer is a touchstone to a generation of metalheads. Now the Death Dealer Axe (and matching helmet!) is available in a limited edition of 1000 pieces by FilmSwords. Not a replica, this is the real deal.
Just like Commander Data? Much as the Death Dealer Axe's hand-rubbed haft sounds appealing, and as handy at the helmet would be for British Iron Age shows, if I could only pick one item on the site it would be a Martian Longsword; just the ticket for duels hanging from the rigging of the old aetheric battle zeppelin. More along the same lines at Jody Sampson's limited edition swords website.
The Great Archives determine I have gone by the identity Elijah Blanchard known in some parts of the world as Him of The Lost. What is your vampire name?
Related: Darker baby names suitable for goths and vampires.
Posting at The Torch, Damian posts a slide show of the longest drive.
Not sure I would look at this at work; got something in my eye. Forward this to everybody.
All debate has ceased. Now to crush the enemy, drive him (or her) before us, and hear the lamentation of the women.
Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.
Related: Your Internet Girlfriend 2.0.
Bill Ardolino posts an introduction to Iraqi politics to the Long War Journal (Part I, Part II). This is a view of the situation too complicated to fit onto a protester's banner or a thirty second television ad. Or, for that matter, into my often bleak assessment of the War as a whole. The blogosphere: Doing the work American journalists won't do. This passage struck me in particular.
Blame administration (you will usually be right to do so).
I have been gorging on Old Time Radio since I found the massive OTR.Network Library. A recommendation: The radio adaption of Sax Rohmer's The Shadow of Fu Manchu.* With title music running at two minutes plus and just over fourteen minutes an episode it is a little light on content. But thematically the show's "wily oriental" conspiracies echo not only the theory panic which has possessed the entirety of today's higher education but today's global conspiracy against civilization, viz al Qaeda and the like, i.e. an actual oriental conspiracy. Not to mention the ChiComs. Entertainment that these days might only be read ironically should instead be read literally.
Old-time Flea-favs X Minus One and Escape (especially the gothic "Ring of Thoth" and "Casting the Runes") are here. But what I am really looking forward to is I Was A Communist for the FBI. Topical! Now to track down a copy of the film...
* The first half of the series written by Sax Rohmer himself as is Rohmer's sketch of Fu Manchu pictured above.
Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.
James Lileks considers the state of the nation.*
This via Rantburg whence Procopius2k comments:
Now is the time at the Flea when we dance. This is a little racy toward the end as is their, ahem, tongue-in-cheek rendition of Flea-fav Gaudete... their lyrics stray ever so slightly from the original.
Writing for Eurozine, Per Wirtén considers poverty in Europe rendered invisible by European fixations on everything that goes wrong in America.
Which could just as easily describe Canada's schizophrenic foreign policy, systemic human rights violations by "human rights" commissions, dismal record on carbon emissions and air quality, generational domestic violence in aboriginal communities, nepotist banking and media oligopolies, a second-rate two-tier health care system, tenuous guarantees of freedom of speech and expression particularly in English in Quebec, the vanishing chance of decent employment let alone a proper house for graduates of our ever expanding degree mills, etc. etc. etc. So long as somebody can point a finger south of the border there is no problem at home that cannot be ignored.
Eurostar, London and Continental Railways and Land Securities have stumped up £2m for a landmark in view of the Channel Tunnel railway and points south. At 50m, twice the height of Antony Gormley's (justly) famed Angel of the North, the proposed Angel of the South should not only impress foreigners on their way to the metropolis but raise a finger pointedly at the people of the north of England.
Not everyone is impressed. The Guardian's Jonathan Jones is "horrified by the latest commission in Britain's apparently insatiable quest to build the biggest, most imposing, most monstrously public work of art" (via the Drink Soaked Trots*).
Which sounds fantastic (literally) to me. Jones appears to be less worried about neo-Norse monumentalism than the prospect of once edgy artists having been adopted by the establishment. I could weep. It is post-punk in a minivan, yearning for a lost, and largely fabricated, youthful art-school rebellion. This sort of personality not only destroyed art in the 1920s, destroyed music in the 1970s and destroyed the social sciences in the 1980s, it now insists on whinging on at the thought of public art that might be enjoyed by the public. Self-regarding, vanguardist, Guardianista prats.
I say bring on the Argonath.
* And from Will in the comments: The Singing, Ringing Tree.
Facts about Mitt Romney.
This is Ronald Reagan's birthday. He deserves to be remembered for what he achieved, not invoked as a saint by latter day Pharisees. And, no, I do not mean Governor Romney, I mean every carpet-bagger who has the temerity to question Senator McCain's honour, his decorated war record, or the "government service" of generations of his family including two sons in the military.
Update: Bill Whittle is thinking along the same lines (quoted at Instapundit).
Update: Kudos to Hugh Hewitt, a sensible man and above all a gentleman.
FHM UK features Bond girl Olga Kurylenko in her first ever magazine cover shoot (via Ultimate James Bond Fan). The caption: "Olga Kurylenko is the new Bond Girl! (The proper one, not the one he bangs and then dies)." Classy. More enlightening is the news Ms. Kurylenko loves pole dancing.
Which presents what I am confident to describe as an existential problem.
I have watched Excalibur every two or three years since I was young enough to regard Helen Mirren with something like superstitious awe. Actually, that feeling has not gone away... John Boorman's over-the-top Arthurian spectacle is not everyone's cup of tea but it is one of my favourite films. People have their complaints, primarily due to historically inaccuracy - whatever that might mean in this context - and liberties with the text, as if there was some canonical Arthur Boorman should have emulated. Such are but minor quibbles when set against the aforementioned Helen Mirren. No, my irritation with the film had to do with a little mystery concerning one of its best hooks, a spell "Merlyn" uses to conjure the Dragon.
It took 25 years but, thanks again to the intertubes, I finally know the meaning of the words of the Charm of Making; it is a riff on Old Irish, apparently. This just leaves my quest for a Merlyn hat of awesomeness in my lifetime To Do list.
The above lore is thanks to the fantastically named No Smoking in the Skull Cave, also the source of an unspeakable horror: There may be some parallel universe where John Boorman secured the financing for his adaptation of The Lord of the Rings.
I gather this monstrosity is locked in a vault somewhere; hopefully in a stack somewhere further back than the Ark of the Covenant.
This is a masterpiece of editing. In fact, it feels almost churlish to criticize it. The feelings it evokes are authentic as are, presumably, those of the man who inspired it. But one is forced to raise one's hand from the back of the class and ask...
"Ok. Got it. Yes we can... Umm. What is it we are doing exactly?"
And while the answer to that question is being pondered, perhaps the best target for this sort of optimism and enthusiasm is the audience of Al Jazeera. There are some folks who think strapping bombs on to women with Down Syndrome and detonating them in a pet market is better politics than the most uplifting oratory. Unless Senator Obama has a better suggestion than convening a parliament of dictators to air their grievances and abandoning the peoples of Iraq to their fate, I remain to be convinced.
Though Ms. Johannson really is quite extraordinary.
Also spotted by Technoccult, The Mindscape of Alan Moore. William Blake's Ghost of a flea makes a brief cameo in minute 48...
* Ragged Robin, if you happen to be reading this: I hope you are well and am eagerly anticipating my Vishanti T-shirt...