Saturday, September 18, 2004


Remembering Haymarket

A memorial to all involved, or an insult to the clarity of anarchist statements?

We Retort, You Deicide

Sunday, September 12, 2004


Three years forward, three steps back

Sandusky, OH - On the third anniversary of the worst terror attack in American history, the images are indelibly written in our minds: The crash of aircraft, the falling towers, the 3,000 dead. Unfortunately, says Libertarian presidential candidate Michael Badnarik, the lessons of the experience remain unlearned.

"There's a natural, understandable, necessary desire for retribution," says Badnarik, in Ohio this weekend to address the 2004 National Property Rights Conference. "On that, I think Americans agree. We have to defend ourselves. We have to track down murderous thugs like those who planned and carried out the 9/11 attacks.

"But we also have to look at why those attacks happened, and what made them possible. Three years of investigation, recrimination and even war haven't translated into lessons learned yet."

Badnarik, 50, of Austin, TX, favors gun rights and a non-interventionist policy. The lessons he draws from 9/11 reflect those views -- and they've drawn both support and condemnation from those who hear his message.

"Look," he says. "Nineteen thugs with boxcutters hijacked four aircraft. They were able to do so because government didn't trust the law-abiding citizens on those planes to be armed for their own protection. It's been proven, time and time again, that respecting Americans' right to keep and bear arms reduces violent crime. That's just as true in the passenger cabin of a 747 as it is on the street, in your home or in your car."

Guns? On airplanes? Yes, says Badnarik. "Let's not be unclear. Let's not pussyfoot around the subject. Thousands of Americans died. They died because their government said 'we don't trust you to defend yourselves.' A gun in the hand of a law-abiding American poses no danger to anyone except a violent criminal. Frangible ammunition that won't puncture an aircraft hull is available. A terrorist will find a way to get a weapon on board. Why should government require the law-abiding to be victims to those who respect no law? More metal detectors, more searches, more guards are just Band-Aids[TM] that cover up the wound without healing it. Ultimately, we have to acknowledge that a diffuse threat requires a diffuse defense."

Of course, Badnarik continues, the US would have fewer concerns with terrorism in the first place if it looked to its own defense and its own interest instead of becoming embroiled in foreign arguments.

"Osama bin Laden didn't wake up one morning hating America. Mohammed Atta didn't flip a coin and say 'oh, tails -- I guess I'll become a terrorist instead of an engineer or a doctor.' Even if these people have hidden agendas -- even if the root of their actions really is an irrational hatred of the West -- it's our continued intervention in the Middle East that curries support for them. Our presence there is the water that feeds their roots.

"We need to get back to a foreign policy of 'speak softly, and carry a big stick.' When an Osama bin Laden attacks the US, we have to react immediately, forcefully and effectively. But we can greatly reduce the chances of such an attack happening in the first place by staying out of other people's back yards."

So, what is Badnarik's opinion of the military reaction to 9/11?

"In a word, it's idiocy," he says. "Instead of targeting al Qaeda in Afghanistan, US forces spent six weeks 'nation-building' in the lowlands while bin Laden and his gang moved their most important people and assets elsewhere. Now we're stuck in the mud in Afghanistan. The Taliban still controls much of the country. And al Qaeda has metastasized into a larger, more well-funded, more decentralized, more popular network in Southeast Asia and everywhere in the Muslim world.

"So what did we do next? We attacked Iraq, the bulwark of secularism and anti-Islamism in the Arab world. We instantly added 24 million people to al Qaeda's prospective recruit and donor pool. And we put America's military men and women in a disadvantageous tactical environment, where more than a thousand of them have already lost their lives."

Not a shy man, this Michael Badnarik fellow. He's just attacked the presumed pillars of American airline security, international policy and military strategy.

But could he be right?

Reactions are mixed, he admits.

On guns and airplanes: "Some people feel, against all the evidence, that firearms restrictions are necessary. They're trading real security for a false sense of safety, and I've not found a way to convince them. But you'd be surprised at how many people tilt their heads, think for a minute, and say 'you know, you're right. I never thought of it that way before.'"

Foreign policy and the war issue are even more divisive. "America has a century-long tradition that to support the troops, one must support whatever war the nation's leaders send those troops to fight. I've been called everything from a traitor to a pacifist. I'm neither." He pauses, looking reflectively into the distance. "I'm a proud American. I respect the sacrifices that America's warriors have made in our defense. And it appalls me to see that dedication, that willingness to fight for one's country, misused."

Still, he says, most of those with whom he speaks agree. "My experience matches the polls. The majority of Americans think the war in Iraq is a tragic mistake. They're looking for a way out of that mistake. And neither of my 'major party' opponents are offering them one."

Badnarik favors a 90-day phased withdrawal of US troops from Iraq, beginning on the day of his inauguration. And while he admits that reaching that day is a long shot, he doesn't think that his policy proposals are.

"The American people ultimately get what they want. I may not be the man they pick to give them that, but ultimately they'll make their desires known. I'm just the messenger."

Friday, August 20, 2004


File Under "Bizarre"

"[W]hile another group has not been approached, some of its members say they will vote this year anyway, even though voting rubs them the wrong way. A number of anarchists say they are in the 'ABB' -- Anyone But Bush -- camp."

Read more

Thursday, March 11, 2004


Poem: Red Sea Parting

past neon guitars and
over starry bronze memorials
crackling clear cold night like a circuit
closed, connecting earthskyauras

(a spark at every sole separation propelling
across the cracks and over the confetti
sandwich wrappers swizzle sticks garlic is king)

A beer! A beer you say!
but the hops cannot slake this thirst and
I must take the train tapping its electric mantra
to the station on the landing and run down the bank and bathe
in a river wide enough to wash away my sins

(down to Memphis, to Graceland
and on past, down to New Orleans where
they can learn to speak French and eat crawdads)

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