Bush Suggests War on Terror Cannot Be Won .
Aug 31st, 2004 by Ken Hagler

Bush Suggests War on Terror Cannot Be Won. Bush Suggests War on Terror Cannot Be Won

By SCOTT LINDLAW, Associated Press Writer

NASHUA, N.H. - President Bush (news - web sites) ignited a Democratic inferno of criticism on Monday by suggesting the war on terrorism could not be won, forcing his aides to scramble to defend his remarks just as he had hoped to bask in convention accolades.

Bush sought to emphasize the economy - New Hampshire's appears to be on a rebound - but his comments on terrorism dominated national attention.

In an interview on NBC-TV's "Today" show, Bush vowed to stay the course in the war on terror, saying perseverance in the battle would make the world safer for future generations. But he suggested an all-out victory against terrorism might not be possible.

Asked "Can we win?" Bush said, "I don't think you can win it. But I think you can create conditions so that the - those who use terror as a tool are less acceptable in parts of the world."
[...] Read more! [Michael Badnarik's Operation American Freedom]

Of course it's been obvious all along to anyone with the least bit of sense that the "war on terror" was just a con, not a real war that could be won. So naturally the response to Bush's comment by the Democrats is a loud chorus of "it can too be won." Just more proof that anyone who wants the US to stop trying to pick fights with the entire world will be wasting their vote if they vote for Kerry.

I’m testing CityDesk from Fog Creek Software.
Aug 29th, 2004 by Ken Hagler

I’m test­ing City­Desk from Fog Creek Soft­ware. It’s a con­tent man­age­ment sys­tem for small to medi­um web­sites, and sells for a rea­son­able price (unlike the bloat­ed sys­tems used by big cor­po­ra­tions). I’ve used “Fron­tier” exten­sive­ly in the past, and it’s inter­est­ing to com­pare the two. They both store all the web­site con­tent in a sin­gle data­base file, have tem­plates, and a script­ing lan­guage. The inter­face of City­Desk is much bet­ter, but its script­ing lan­guage is rel­a­tive­ly prim­i­tive.

Election 2004: Alien vs.
Aug 28th, 2004 by Ken Hagler

Elec­tion 2004: Alien vs. Preda­tor []

Some­one else has picked up on my com­par­i­son.

And How About This Other Shirt? The One That Says You Go to Grayson “High” School? .
Aug 26th, 2004 by Ken Hagler

And How About This Oth­er Shirt? The One That Says You Go to Grayson “High” School?. Read­er “Zorel” points us to the sto­ry of a Geor­gia teenag­er who got into trou­ble for wear­ing a t-shirt to school that said “Hemp­stead, NY 516.” An admin­is­tra­tor thought it was a pot ref­er­ence.

Accord­ing to the Asso­ci­at­ed Press, the stu­dent “was allowed to return to class after con­vinc­ing school offi­cials to do an Inter­net search, which con­firmed that Hemp­stead was a real town.” [Hit & Run]

I won­der if those pub­lic school morons would has­sle a stu­dent for read­ing a his­tor­i­cal nov­el with a set­ting where hemp was com­mon (such as the many nov­els about 18th cen­tu­ry sail­ing war­ships).

Bad day in Najaf .
Aug 26th, 2004 by Ken Hagler

Bad day in Najaf. NAJAF — I don’t know what the news is from the rest of Iraq or even what’s going on with the gov­er­nor of Najaf. I do know what’s hap­pen­ing with the police depart­ment, how­ev­er. They’re raid­ing the Sea of Najaf hotel and round­ing the 100 or so jour­nal­ists at gun­point and sub­ject­ing them to mass arrest. [Back to Iraq 3.0]

I find it inter­est­ing that mem­bers of the sup­pos­ed­ly evil Mah­di Army are pro­tect­ing jour­nal­ists, includ­ing Amer­i­cans, from Fed snipers, while the Feds are send­ing their sepoys to threat­en jour­nal­ists.

Libertarians and War .
Aug 26th, 2004 by Ken Hagler

Lib­er­tar­i­ans and War. Once upon a time, the U.S. over­threw a demo­c­ra­t­ic gov­ern­ment in Iran
run by a prime min­is­ter named Mohammed Mossad­eq. Our replace­ment was
absolute rule by a guy named Moham­mad Reza Pahlavi, who styled him­self
the king of kings, and we spent a lot of effort keep­ing him in
pow­er. Even­tu­al­ly, peo­ple in Iran got fed up with him doing things
like run­ning tor­ture cham­bers and oper­at­ing the coun­try as his own
pri­vate pig­gy bank, and they over­threw him. Sad­ly they replaced him
with a nut­ty theoc­ra­cy run by a guy named Ruhol­lah Khome­i­ni, but you
couldn’t real­ly blame them — des­per­ate peo­ple rarely pick the
right rev­o­lu­tion to fight for.

Did the U.S. say “hey, we under­stand that they’re upset with
us, we’ve got a long his­to­ry of screw­ing them, lets leave them alone?”

Of course not, because we didn’t even remem­ber that they had a rea­son
to be pissed off at us. The U.S. has about zero nation­al mem­o­ry of all
the times we’ve screwed var­i­ous third world pop­u­la­tions to the wall in
the name of “Realpoli­tik”. We
then act puz­zled about why they might dis­like us — the
know-nothings in the White House go so far as claim­ing that the
prob­lem is that var­i­ous peo­ple around the world “hate
, as though the mur­der­ous thugs in third world coun­tries
who tor­ture their cit­i­zens with our fund­ing were a form
“free­dom”. (None of the 911 hijack­ers came from “free” coun­tries as
we under­stand the term, but they all came from coun­tries that could
claim to be strong allies of the U.S., and in many cas­es these
coun­tries are the recip­i­ents of lots of U.S. aid which funds the local
dic­ta­tor­ship. I sup­pose that is how we show our sup­port for

Any­way, back to our nar­ra­tive. After the Iran­ian Rev­o­lu­tion, we
decid­ed that one of Iran’s neigh­bors, Iraq, was a great proxy for our
war on them, so we hand­ed that country’s brand new dic­ta­tor, a fel­low
named Sad­dam Hus­sein, lots of help. Hell, we sent Don­ald
Rums­feld to go and shake his hand
, and tell him that it was okay
if he went off and killed a bunch of his own peo­ple for good mea­sure,
so long as he attacked Iran. We knew he was a mur­der­ous thug, but it
seemed like a good idea at the time. Lat­er he turned around and
invad­ed one of our even more spe­cial friends, Kuwait, and we were
forced to break off our good work­ing rela­tion­ship with him.
Even­tu­al­ly, of course, we end­ed up decid­ing to get rid of him —
why we picked the par­tic­u­lar time we did is unclear, but the pub­lic
excuse was that he had bio­log­i­cal or chem­i­cal weapons, and that he’d
been involved with ter­ror­ism against the U.S., although it turned out
that nei­ther was the case. Who have we paid off and propped up this
time to help us meet our goal? Every­one in sight.

Mean­while, recall that the Sovi­ets invad­ed Afghanistan in the late
1970s. We could think of no bet­ter solu­tion at the time than to hand
lots of mon­ey, weapons and train­ing to var­i­ous “free­dom fight­ers”,
such as a fel­low named Osama bin Laden, who
we hoped would take care of the Sovi­ets for us. Even­tu­al­ly, of course,
this lead to lit­tle prob­lems like the Tal­iban tak­ing over Afghanistan,
and giv­ing shel­ter to bin Laden and com­pa­ny, who turned out not to
real­ly be our friends. We decid­ed to invade, but we didn’t have any
near­by bases. Did that stop us? No! Fol­low­ing our usu­al pat­tern, we
found dic­ta­tors in near­by coun­tries like Turk­menistan who were will­ing
to give us use of their mil­i­tary bases in exchange for our look­ing the
oth­er way and hand­ing them a bunch of mon­ey.

Why has all this stu­pid­i­ty hap­pened? Because the U.S. is run by a
gov­ern­ment, and gov­ern­ments pret­ty much always end up behav­ing
stu­pid­ly. When a busi­ness acts stu­pid (and they all do even­tu­al­ly),
the mar­ket pun­ish­es it by tak­ing away its mon­ey and pow­er. When a
gov­ern­ment acts stu­pid, there is no mar­ket mech­a­nism to pun­ish it, and
no com­pet­ing gov­ern­ment to womp it in the mar­ket­place, so it almost
always per­pet­u­ates the stu­pid­i­ty instead of get­ting rid of it.

What I want to know, though, is not why gov­ern­ments act stu­pid —
thanks to lots of good research over the years I think that’s now
ful­ly under­stood. I’m not even ask­ing why most peo­ple trust their
gov­ern­ments — that just strikes me as a sub­set of the gen­er­al
ques­tion of why so many peo­ple believe utter­ly unbe­liev­able things,
such as the idea that the Bible is the per­fect­ly accu­rate mes­sage of a
super­nat­ur­al being.

What I want to know is why so many seem­ing­ly ratio­nal peo­ple who claim
to be lib­er­tar­i­ans are out sup­port­ing this mad­ness. Take, for exam­ple,
the folks over at Samiz­da­ta. Most of the time
they seem to be per­fect­ly rea­son­able folks, but for the last cou­ple of
years they’ve been seized by the notion that the war in Iraq is not
mere­ly jus­ti­fi­able but indeed laud­able. I’ve seen this same dis­ease
afflict­ing many lib­er­tar­i­ans around the world. They ignore the
hun­dreds of bil­lions in forcible tax­a­tion need­ed to pay for the war,
they ignore that the excus­es for the war proved ulti­mate­ly false, and
they ignore all the inno­cents killed, all on the basis of var­i­ous
vague jus­ti­fi­ca­tions like “fight­ing ter­ror­ism” (though there is no
evi­dence that the war in Iraq has done any­thing at all to reduce the
threat of ter­ror­ism) or the fact that Sad­dam Hus­sein was a ruth­less
dic­ta­tor (ful­ly ignor­ing all the oth­er ruth­less dic­ta­tors we’re
active­ly sup­port­ing world­wide with mon­ey tak­en by force from
U.S. tax­pay­ers.)

Worse, these “lib­er­tar­i­ans” even for­get straight­for­ward lib­er­tar­i­an
prin­ci­ples about the use of force in acquir­ing resources. Sure, a
per­son can decide he wants to sup­port some “good cause” like can­cer
research or knock­ing off a third world mur­der­er — but to a
lib­er­tar­i­an, no amount of “good” to be done by sup­port­ing a cause
jus­ti­fies tak­ing mon­ey by force to pay for it. If a large num­ber of
Samiz­da­ta con­trib­u­tors (or any­one else) want­ed to per­son­al­ly sup­port
efforts to depose third world dic­ta­tors, that would be one thing, but
what they advo­cate instead is that my mon­ey be used to
achieve their goal, and that it be tak­en from me by force if
I won’t agree. Indi­vid­u­als can do what­ev­er they want with their own
resources, but they can’t decide to com­mit oth­er people’s
resources. That vio­lates the Non-Coercion Prin­ci­ple.

So, at last get­ting to my ques­tion of the day, does any­one have a good
expla­na­tion for what has got­ten into these “lib­er­tar­i­ans” who are out
cheer­ing for the war? I’d be very curi­ous to hear people’s
expla­na­tions. No, I don’t want to hear more of their ratio­nale for the
war — I’m famil­iar with their argu­ments and I don’t need them
repeat­ed. I’m inter­est­ed into some sort of insight into their men­tal
state. What takes a per­son who dis­trusts all uses of gov­ern­ment to the
point where they’ll sup­port some­thing as inde­fen­si­ble to a lib­er­tar­i­an
as the Iraq war, and par­rot obvi­ous­ly false claims like “this will
stop ter­ror­ism”? (Some might say this hap­pened because 911 deranged
a lot of peo­ple, enrag­ing them so much that they can’t think clear­ly,
but that seems like a poor expla­na­tion to me — I watched the
Trade Cen­ter tow­ers fall live and in per­son, with peo­ple I knew
inside, and I’m not out argu­ing that we should invade ran­dom­ly
select­ed third world coun­tries.) [Dimin­ished Capac­i­ty]

I would say the answer is simple–the “lib­er­tar­i­ans” cheer­ing for the war were nev­er real­ly lib­er­tar­i­ans at all. They’re actu­al­ly either con­ser­v­a­tives, who are in favor of small gov­ern­ment except for all their favorite gov­ern­ment pro­grams, or else Repub­li­can par­ti­sans.

Inside the Imam Ali Shrine .
Aug 24th, 2004 by Ken Hagler

Inside the Imam Ali Shrine. A day in the Shrine [Back to Iraq 3.0]

This is the best on-the-spot report I’ve seen.

CNet .  Next generation Push-to-Talk (PTT) phones are running into trouble with the government.  As with most new forms of decentralized comm
Aug 24th, 2004 by Ken Hagler

CNet.  Next gen­er­a­tion Push-to-Talk (PTT) phones are run­ning into trou­ble with the gov­ern­ment.  As with most new forms of decen­tral­ized com­mu­ni­ca­tions tech­nol­o­gy, there isn’t a clean way to mon­i­tor their usage. [John Robb’s Weblog]

Nat­u­ral­ly there’s noth­ing in the arti­cle to even sug­gest that there might be any­thing wrong with the gov­ern­ment spy­ing on peo­ple using these phones. Nor is there any men­tion that all of the alpha­bet soup of Fed­er­al agen­cies that have tak­en an inter­est are ille­gal under the US Con­sti­tu­tion.

CyberCafe Violence .
Aug 24th, 2004 by Ken Hagler

Cyber­Cafe Vio­lence. Anti-violence rules in effect at L.A. cyber­cafes: Appar­ent­ly there’s vio­lence in and around “cyber­cafes” in L.A. I’m assum­ing “cyber­cafe” is a trendy way of say­ing “cof­fee shop with kiosk machines and wifi.”


Los Ange­les is the largest of sev­er­al South­ern Cal­i­for­nia cities to enact restric­tions on Inter­net gam­ing par­lors. The ordi­nance was pro­posed after sev­er­al shoot­ings in 2002 near cyber­cafes, two of them fatal.

A police analy­sis found that most of the peo­ple arrest­ed at cyber­cafes were minors who vio­lat­ed cur­few or tru­an­cy rules. Offi­cials were con­cerned that the cafes were havens for gang activ­i­ty.

First of all, why cyber­cafes of all places to cen­ter gang activ­i­ty? Sec­ond, why the vio­lence? Did some­one take the “good” com­put­er or some­thing?Click here to com­ment on this entry [Gadgetopia]

There’s not any log­ic behind this, it’s just anoth­er case of the LA City Coun­cil using tem­po­rary hys­te­ria to expand the grip of fas­cism on the city.

Reuters .  Kennedy — one of the most recognizable figures in American politics — told a Senate committee hearing on Thursday he had been blocked several time
Aug 20th, 2004 by Ken Hagler

ReutersKennedy — one of the most rec­og­niz­able fig­ures in Amer­i­can pol­i­tics — told a Sen­ate com­mit­tee hear­ing on Thurs­day he had been blocked sev­er­al times from board­ing com­mer­cial air­line flights because his name was on a “no-fly” list intend­ed to exclude poten­tial ter­ror­ists. [John Robb’s Weblog]

The irony is that as a mem­ber of the Sen­ate, Kennedy is prob­a­bly the clos­est that list has come to con­tain­ing an actu­al ter­ror­ist.

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