Sunday, December 28, 2003


(courtesy of the Citizen Intimidation Agency, hereinafter "CIA"; inspired by reality)

T: Teacher (devout CIA employee) J: Johnny Composite Eyewitness

T (entering room): Welcome class! So glad to see you all this morning. I trust your ride here wasn't too bad, huh? (smiles) Did you get to ride in a big bus?

J: Bus...

T: Ye-e-es! It was big and SHINY, wasn't it?

J: Shiny! (smiles)

T: Well, I hope you all came ready to learn! We have a lo-o-o-ot to cover today. So! Who brought... a PENCIL?

J (looks down at pencil in his hand): Pen-cil.

T: Good! Here is a bra-a-and new pad of paper for you to write on.

J: Pa-per.

T: OK class, today we're going to watch...a MOVIE!

J: AAAAAH! MOVIE!! MOVIE! (bangs pencil on desk)

T: Yes! And it's a really special movie! We -- the CIA -- made it really special, just for you. The FBI helped us too. This movie is really important, and we want you to be sure you remember what's in the movie. OK? So take good notes while you're watching the movie. (smiles) Can you do that?

J: Ummmm... ummm... (hurriedly) cah-I-go-bafroom?

T: Bathroom? Oh, Johnny, didn't you go before you came to school?

J: Uhhhhhhh... mmm, hee hee, yeah, I did. I f'rgot.

T: OK. So we can watch our movie now, right?

J: Mmmm... yeah kay. Movie.

T: Good. Now, eyes front! (starts movie of CIA animation depicting TWA 800 "zoom-climb" theory)

T: Now, who can tell me wha-a-a-at... THIS is? (pointing to plane)

J: Mmmmm......mmmmmmmmmmm.... MMM! I know!

T: Yes Johnny?

J: It's SHINY!

T (chuckling): Yes, it is shiny! But that's how it _looks_. Can you tell me what it _is_?

J: Mmmmmm... it's BIG!

T (chuckling again): Well, yes, that's right Johnny, it IS big. It's big, and...

J: and SHINY!

T (smiling a bit wanly): Yes, big and shiny. Well, OK, this big shiny thing... now what do you suppose it could _be_?

J: Ummmmm.... it's... ummmmmmmm... a bus? (looks concerned)

T: No, Johnny, it's not a bus, but it _is_ big and shiny, like a bus. What else do we know that's big and shiny?

J: Mmmmmmmm.... mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.... mmmmmmmmmMMMMMMISSILE!!!

T (becoming angry): NO! It's NOT a missile!

J: Not... a missile?

T: No, it's not a missile! Now what do we know that's big, and shiny, and it's not a bus and it's NOT a missile?

J (tentatively): It _looks_ like a missile...

T: NO, Johnny! It's NOT a missile! OK? Not a missile. (regaining composure, barely) Now _other_ than a missile, and a bus, what's big and shiny? And goes up in the air like this? (points at the plane)

J: Ahhhhhhhhh.... (rolls head back, squishes his nose up with a finger pressed flat against the bottom of it, and speaks in nasal tone) Naybe it's a secret nissile. Heeee, hee.

T: Johnny! I told you, it's NOT a missile! It isn't any kind of missile at all, not a secret one or anything else. OK? Now think hard. What looks like this (points to plane again) but is _not_ a missile or a bus?

J (excitedly): I-saw-a-missile-one-time!-It-was-big-and-shiny-and-it-went-WWWOOOOOOSHHHHHH...

T (interrupting): JOHNNY EYEWITNESS!! Do NOT make me call your mother!!! I _will_ send you home if you don't stop fooling around!

J (moodily): 'kay. (seems less than convinced but is quiet)

T (sighs loudly): Alright, now concentrate.

J (frowns): Connnnn...

T: Concen--oh, ah... PAY ATTENTION.

J: Ho-kay.

T: Good. Now, one more time: what is this? (points to plane)

J (looks thoughtful for a moment, then raises hand): Um... a missilebus?


(remainder of tape, approx. 4 seconds, garbled)

Friday, December 26, 2003

There's an informative -- to the wise -- speech online here. It was delivered (at least I presume it was; the page simply says "prepared") to the leadership of the ADL in April 2002. Here are a few bits from it with my comments.

We in the FBI tremendously value your perspectives and your partnership. Your insights and research into extremism are particularly helpful to us, shedding light on the changing nature of the terrorist threats facing America. Your support of hate crime and terrorist investigations, which are now front and center in the work of the FBI, is essential to us. And the training and education you provide for the FBI and for law enforcement have never been more relevant. That includes the conference on extremist and terrorist threats you are sponsoring later this month at the FBI Academy. Bleah. Trusting the ADL to help identify terrorists makes no sense, as anyone who honestly investigates the ADL can see. Real patriots are considered enemies by false ones -- like the ADL.

Eight months after the attacks -- even after all the information we've turned up, as one reporter put it, from "caves and credit cards" -- we have yet to find a single piece of paper outlining any element of the attack. Maybe they should search the Mossad. Oh, I forgot: that would be anti-Semitic; the Mossad are of impeccable character and would never do anything sneaky like stage a terrorist incident and blame it on someone else to further their policy goals. Their official motto of "By way of deception thou shalt do war" is just a joke. Right? Yes, of course; if the Mossad were up to anything really bad, the ADL would certainly alert us, and would never think of aiding in the deception. Right? We can trust them. (The alert reader may detect a hint of sarcasm here.)

We are working hard to overcome the legal, technical, and often cultural issues that prevent us from exchanging information and intelligence more effectively. Remember, a dictatorship is the most efficient government, but that doesn't make it the most desirable. I'm reminded of the saying that one should always find out why a fence was put up before taking it down. Why are there "legal issues" being "overcome" here? Mueller gives no detail, so I don't know. Should we just trust the FBI -- especially after Waco, Ruby Ridge, Vince Foster, WTC 1993, COINTELPRO, TWA 800, etc. -- to restrain itself in these matters? Do you trust them? Do you trust judges to restrain them for you? We've selected two new high level Bureau executives to focus on improving partnerships with our 650,000 [!!] state and municipal law enforcement counterparts. One is a seasoned professional from the ranks of local law enforcement who begins work later this month. His job is to help us integrate our state and municipal counterparts into the war on terror and into major investigations. Again, think about fences. Why were these "integrations" not done before? Whatever made them not desirable then, do you suppose we should just assume that it's changed now? "Condi" the CFR wonder-girl says 9/11 changed everything, so maybe so. Maybe we should just stop trying to figure anything out and let the government do it for us. They're the experts, after all. Right?

The September 11 terrorists spent a great deal of time and effort figuring out how America works. They knew the ins and outs of our systems. Boy, those terrorists sure were thorough, weren't they? Would that Americans cared that much about how their own government really works. Anyway, somehow, while -- apparently, from Mueller's confident pronouncement here -- leaving enough evidence behind to justify this remark, those darn terrorists simultaneously left literally no scrap of evidence behind indicating any part of the 9/11 plan. Now that's precision work! Or, maybe, they weren't the ones who actually did it. Our analysts do some great work. When they're allowed to, yes. But we need more of them so that we can do more of the kind of strategic thinking that helps us stay one step ahead of those who would do us harm. Our new office of Intelligence will be devoted to strengthening these very capabilities. An office of Intelligence in the Federal Bureau of Investigation? What next, an office of Investigation in the Central Intelligence Agency? Aww, that's a cheap shot; I couldn't resist though. Must be sugar OD.

...nearly $600 million... will move us towards a near paperless environment... All the better to erase your tracks? I guess that's not a concern, since the FBI can be trusted. Right?

The Bureau today has a sense of urgency. I'm going to tell you about that phrase, "a sense of urgency", but not right now. Remind me, if I forget. For America and for the FBI, prevention must include an international offensive capability in which the intelligence and law enforcement resources of the global community are integrated into a program to disrupt and attack terrorist operations in their infancy. Do I smell the foul odor of the evil U.N. seeping under the door?

Thank you for all you do. I’m looking forward to a long, productive partnership. This echoes the fawning tone of the opening part. If the FBI were honest, it would have nothing to do with the character assassins of the ADL and their vituperative smear tactics. But, alas, the opposite is true.

Honest Americans, take heed. "Your" government is groveling at the feet of a nest of liars. This is not a good thing.
I hope your Christmas was happy, safe, and blessed with all other attributes of how life ought to be (but can't and won't ever fully be while it remains in its present fallen state). The day is meant to serve as a reminder that God is working to repair the Fall. I hope, too, that you took -- or take -- time to reflect on that amidst the commercial bustle and family arrangements which tend to crowd it out.

Today I have just one quick thought: beware of "folksy" language employed in an argument. It often masks a weak point. Colloquialisms tend to procure sympathetic reactions in people (at least in us commoners ;-), and this can be taken advantage of by someone who wants you to accept his point but lacks the substance to establish it through valid argumentation. If someone tries this with you, take a good look at his point and be sure it holds up even without the chummy veneer. (One way to do this is to try "re-explaining" it yourself in a more analytical tone; if you can't, or it doesn't seem credible that way, you'd better go back and look harder at the source. Either you didn't "get it" or else it just isn't solid.)

Saturday, December 20, 2003

While reading the latest alarmist email about how our country is in need of our patriotic spirit in order to save us from moral and spiritual decay (all of which is true, but that's not my point right now), I found myself again feeling the perpetual emotional sine wave of the Remnant. That is, optimism founded in the knowledge that tyranny doesn't work and that God's laws will triumph no matter what the enemy tries, trading off with despair at how, no matter how much we push, we can't seem to turn the ship of state -- or society -- around from its destructive course. Around and around those feelings go, and neither can vanquish the other.

Maybe because I live in the Beaver State, an image came to mind of a beaver gnawing on a tree. When he takes a bite of a tree, especially if it's the first bite, he knows that bite may do nothing in itself. The tree won't fall down from one bite. But, eventually, after a whole bunch of bites, it will. The last bite may not even feel like the last bite while it's being taken, but then... keeee-RACK! Down comes the tree, and, what do you know, that was the last bite! Exactly which bite will bring it down, the beaver probably has no clue. But -- and here's our object lesson -- he doesn't care. He just keeps on gnawing until it does fall down.

I'm not sure what the moral of the story is, in soundbite form. "Tyranny bites"? "Take a bite for freedom today"? "Hey jackboots, chew on THIS!"? "Dam this tyranny, and the 'national security emergency powers' it rode in on"? You can probably come up with something too. What I do know is, if we keep on gnawing, eventually it's going to fall.

(Note: no animals were harmed during production of this blog entry. Well, at least not here.)

Wednesday, December 10, 2003

One of my pastimes is computer games. I've loved them since the first one I encountered back in about 1981 (a text-only adventure game). One feature of modern computer games is NPCs, which stands for Non-Player Characters. NPCs are controlled by the computer, as opposed to player characters which are of course controlled by a (presumably) human player. NPCs have a predetermined set of choices for what they can do/say. Those choices are established by the game programmers. If you interact with an NPC, you will be given only the choices predecided by the programmers for that situation.

A lot of our perceived options in life are similar. We ask someone whom we consider to be authoritative what we ought to do in some situation. They list our options according to their understanding, which, in turn, depends on wherever they got their information. (Naturally there are also times when we _are_ the "experts" giving out advice to others.) Sometimes, "experts" coordinate their advice, either by voluntary consensus or by deference to some "higher" source.

This can be a good thing; for example, it's reassuring to know that if I have a broken bone, I can go to any doctor in the country and be told basically the same thing: it must be carefully set and then held in place while it knits back together. There is virtually no chance that I will be told, say, to take aspirin in order to fix the problem. So coordination of advice can be highly desirable when it leads to elimination of error.

However, there is another possibility. Sometimes, coordination of advice leads to elimination of the right choice! In those instances, the presumption of authority can be detrimental, causing us to obey unsound advice simply because someone presumably knowledgeable issued it, or because all the "experts" agree that the right choice is "off the table".

The concept of the computer-game NPC comes into play here. If I go to a mechanic and ask what options I have for addressing some car problem, I can expect to get a list of whichever options that mechanic happens to be aware of. I don't expect him to present any other options, since that's impossible for him to do -- just like an NPC can only offer the choices they are programmed to have available. The programmer of the NPC, though, can add or remove choices. In life, we are -- or at least, we can be -- our own "programmers". We are not limited to only the options presented to us by someone else; we are free to look for other alternatives. If we happen to find one, we can promulgate that option among our associates.

What happens when that new choice catches the attention of the other "experts", or the "higher source" from which most experts get their information? Will everyone take a healthy, scientific interest in determining how valid the new option is? Or will its introduction from an outside source be perceived as a threat to the reputation of the existing expert(s)? Never underestimate the influence of egotistical pride -- or corporate "bottom line", which is analogous, at least in this context -- on human decisions.

One man I've come to value highly as an "alternative source" is David Martin. The mass media certainly don't share my appraisal, but I think that's due to the factors mentioned in the preceding paragraph. Here's a snippet from a book by Upton Sinclair, quoted by Martin here:

Also I met one of the high editors of the Times, an important personage whom they feature. Talking about the question of journalistic integrity, he said: "Sinclair, it has been so long since I have written anything that I believed that I don't think I would know the sensation."

My answer was: "I have been writing on public questions for twenty years, and I can say that I have never written a single word that I did not believe."

Isn't that odd? An editor, a man who writes opinion pieces for a living, presumably deemed to be a reliable source by many, confessing that he spews untruths continuously! The question naturally arises, why?

Whom to believe?

Choose carefully -- and remember that your choices may be more numerous than you presently realize.
Outrage comes easily and naturally against evil which harms us or impairs our enjoyment of life. What, though, about evil which brings with it some benefit, whether real or perceived? How do we tend to respond to that? It is certainly well within the definition of the concept of temptation. We ought to be as outraged about "beneficial evil" as we are about "detrimental evil", and perhaps even more so. After all, if it brings no benefit, then everyone will denounce it, there being no inducement in any other direction. But when evil comes bearing gifts, some will always succumb to its entreaties. It's then that the rectitude of moral sobriety is most needed. Even if you are the only one to speak out, you still must do so; if there is no contrary voice, weaker innocents will have no cover and will tend to quail miserably within the safety of the multitude.

Monday, December 08, 2003

This news story is fairly calm in its tone, but the message is quite alarming. Is Putin following in the footsteps of Hitler and Castro?

"We warned the government that they must stop the abuses but they don't care what we think."

Boy, it must be lousy to have a government like that.

Sunday, December 07, 2003

Here's a cheap, easy, no-risk way to help sink America's Federal Mafia.

Fighting tyranny doesn't get much easier than that!

(Thanks to American hero -- and generally nice guy -- Joe Banister for the tip. Thanks to the legendary Irwin Schiff, of course, for the IRS nickname.)

Monday, December 01, 2003

Democracy is just like fire: my desire for it is exceeded only by my desire not to live in one.

In case that's too subtle, let me elaborate. The word "democracy" has (at least) two meanings. One is a condition, and the other is a form of government. There is a parallel situation with the word "fire"; it can mean either flame, in general, or a particular conflagration. Our republican -- note the small "r" -- form of government is distinct from a democracy, despite what everyone, including U.S. Presidents (including big "r" Republicans, who presumably ought to know better) may say on television. What's the difference? Good question. Maybe you should look it up. ;-)

It seems to be presumed both that a democracy is democratic, and that any democratic government is a democracy. The first is true; the second is false. (As we would have put it back in Basic Logic, all a is b but not all b is a, or, b is a proper subset of a.) We in the United States, for example, live in a democratic republic -- at least, that's the law; whether the law is actually followed these days is another matter. It is wonderful that our government is democratic, just as it is wonderful to marry a statuesque blonde. It is not wonderful to have a democracy for one's government, just as it is not wonderful to marry a statue.

Do we live in a democracy? You ought to know the answer to that question, and, if you don't, you ought to learn the answer. Start by reciting the pledge of allegiance, paying particular attention to the word right before the "for which it stands" part. (This goes for you, too, Mr. President.) Then retrain your brain and your mouth to know the difference between these things, and stop illustrating what Orwell talked about (see my September 18, 2003 entry on that subject).

Now go and tell a friend or 300 million.

[Note: it has been brought to my attention that my a and b comment is backwards: as described above, a is a proper subset of b, not vice versa. Sorry for the goof-up. --JJ, Dec-7-03]
A Chinese woman is about to receive a complete facial -- cosmetic surgery, that is. This might sound like a very exciting moment in her life, and no doubt it will be. However, something bothers me about this, and it's been bothering me ever since I noticed the increasing popularity of personal appearance-altering actions in our -- and now, apparently, the Chinese -- society (breast implants being probably the most egregious example, although cosmetic surgery can be more extreme in some cases).

Those who alter their natural appearance in order to be perceived as more socially desirable are behaving deceptively. They want to be accepted on the basis of an appearance which is not actually "theirs". You may ask, what's wrong with that? The problem that I see is that, no matter what you do to yourself, your children inherit your genetic appearance, not your altered appearance. If we condition ourselves, individually and collectively, to prefer an unnatural appearance to a natural one, we doom our progeny to an unpleasant choice: self-alteration or ostracization. This could, in the extreme, even lead to self-loathing.

Now, don't flood me with hate mail about how I don't look like a caveman ergo I'm a hypocrite; I'm not a hard-liner on this issue. I just want you to consider this perspective.