Domestic terrorists

It seems to me that it is in the interest of the public to have a list of all known domestic terrorists and terrorist groups–that is, individuals or minorities who attempt to use fear and terror to accomplish their political goals.  Since the other lists I’ve seen are unreliable (I’m told Occupy Wall Street has been added to one such list), I thought I’d step up and offer to make the list right here.

For starters, obviously, we have:

The Department of Homeland Security.

After that, some obvious choices are:

Michael Bloomberg


Rudy Guilianni

The Oakland PD

Okay, that’s a good start.  Who else should we add?  Speak up.

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0 thoughts on “Domestic terrorists”

  1. Would the Fox News Channel’s “War on Christmas” hysteria qualify, for its attempt to make people fear for their culture being destroyed?

  2. David: LAPD was already there, but thanks for the link. The list gets stronger with more documentation.

    Well, Fox News and some of the others open up an interesting can of worms. Can we call them terrorists when they do not wield or command lethal force. I mean, Fox News is certainly fear-mongering in defense of minority interests. Not sure which side of that I’m on.

  3. Most government organizations (as they exist, I’m not anti-government, I’m for proper government.)

    Let’s also specify Congress.

    Most media organizations.

    Most media outlets.

  4. I think “Death Panels” Palin should probably qualify for the list, even if she did quit actual political office a while ago.

  5. You have to include the paymasters of the organizations that use physical force – e.g., Bank of America.

    Tim Bruhn @ 4: TSA aren’t terrorists. They’re a theatre company.

  6. Operation Rescue and its ilk. They’ve *killed* more people than any group named, and more than many groups on the official lists. They fit all the definitions of a terrorist group – but they are ignored because of politics.

  7. You know, ever since I watched the cops drag off the bastard neighbour that threw his aunt down the stairs and luckily only broke her leg… I haven’t found things like this even remotely funny. The nightmare world the police live in every day so that we can pretend that people are good and nice and should be assumed innocent… well…

    And then when I count all the NYPD that died alongside the NYFD on 9/11, regardless of who you think caused it… that you could add them simply makes me want to vomit.

    And I’m freakin’ Canadian. It wasn’t my countrymen they were trying to save.

    Frankly, this is a new low for Words Words Words.

  8. Kriestor: I was 13 years old when some cops decided our demonstration against Wallace speaking at the Minneapolis Auditorium needed to be stopped, so they backed us into a corner, broke some of our heads with nightsticks, and maced us. I took permanent eye damage. They did it, I imagine, because they hoped that if they terrorized us enough, we’d give up our First Amendment rights. That’s what cops do. It isn’t all cops do, but I described is not some rogue individuals misbehaving, but the police force carrying out its function. The story of your neighbor is underwhelming.

    I’m sure you can come up with a definition of terrorist by which the groups and individuals I named do not qualify; I am equally sure it would not be a useful one.

    What’s your damage?

  9. “Can we call them terrorists when they do not wield or command lethal force”

    There are lots of competing definitions of terrorism. Most of them are willing to include (performance or threats of) significant economic or environmental harm as well as direct physical violence. One could make an argument that Fox has caused such harm, though it’s not clear that it’s a *good* argument. That standard *would* clearly apply to Wall Street’s collective behavior over the last few years. “Too big to fail” is precisely such a threat.

    On the other hand, by the standard put forth in your original post, “individuals or minorities who attempt to use fear and terror to accomplish their political goals”, Fox clearly qualifies.

  10. Vice-President Cheney, I’d think. Actually, anyone who holds the office of President or Vice-President would fit, but the Penguin is the one who most seemed to revel in the power to inspire fear and hate.

  11. “individuals or minorities who attempt to use fear and terror to accomplish their political goals.”

    That would be the screaming majority of absolute rulers and oligarchs since first day that groups of humans decided to be ruled by absolute rulers and oligarchs. I would guess it would also be the majority of those groups or individuals that opposed said rulers and oligarchs by way of active means.

    One man’s terrorist is another man’s hero.

    I wonder if the two Georges of 1776 saw their respective opposites accross the Atlantic as the terrorist.

  12. “because they hoped that if they terrorized us enough, we’d give up our First Amendment rights. That’s what cops do. It isn’t all cops do, but I described is not some rogue individuals misbehaving, but the police force carrying out its function.”

    While I can say that isn’t quite the most offensive thing I have had said to me, I will say that it rates as you are someone that I respect for your words and thoughts. If that is truly what you think that is “what cops do” and the function of a police force, well, I won’t try to convince you otherwise as I can’t even begin rationalize your method of thinking. Suffice it to say, that is not, nor has it ever been, my function. Nor have I participated in actions similar to that or allowed such actions to take place, despite my involvement with one or more of the organizations that you have labeled “domestic terrorist organizations”. Good day sir.

  13. Let’s not forget that domestic terrorist of yesteryear, Wilson Goode, first person to order a bomb to be dropped on a US city.

    The city was Philadelphia, and Wilson Goode was the mayor at the time. This was 1985.

  14. “They did it, I imagine, because they hoped that if they terrorized us enough, we’d give up our First Amendment rights.”

    Are you 100% certain that was the only Right involved? I find that demonstrators are often entirely ignorant of the Courts’ decisions on how and when various Rights apply.

    For instance, do you know that you are not allowed to demonstrate in a major intersection without a parade permit? Do you know why?

    Because your Right to demonstrate is not greater than another individual’s Right to get aid from emergency vehicles. Emergency vehicles need advance warning to warn their drivers that detours are necessary to get around planned events that cross emergency vehicle corridors. You don’t get to KILL someone in your ignorance of Public need for medical assistance just to speak your mind, so in fact, your Right to speak is less important than the Right to medical aid, and the demonstration gets shut down. This was a major flaw in demonstration tactics last year in G20 Toronto (60 miles from me, I watched it all on a great local 24hr news station that had cameras everywhere). They blocked intersections all over Toronto and expected that their Right to demonstrate was the ultimate protection. Wrong, it’s not more important than other Rights.

    JUDGES, not cops, decide which Rights take priority, and the cops enforce them the way previous legal cases have told them they should. YOU ARE DIRECTING YOUR ANGER IN THE WRONG PLACE. If you want the First Amendment to be more important than every other Right, then you need to convince the Judges of that priority. (Good luck with that.) But in your myopic vision you can’t see past the enforcers to those that tell them what must be done. Not on a second by second basis, but three years earlier by the Judge of the legal case launched by someone injured by a demonstrator at the last event. Cops do the dirty work, but they don’t decide where the dirty work gets done without the guidance of previous the Court decisions on the matter.

    So, at your demonstration… were you blocking traffic? Interfering in individuals Rights to walk on Public streets? That’s another thing the First Amendment isn’t more important than. You can’t block me from walking to the Mall to FORCE me to listen. You can talk, but you can’t force me to listen. I have my Rights, too, and yours are not more important than mine.

    Occupy in Canada has been removed from all locations now, for the exact same reason. Judge after Judge says the same thing. Everyone has the Right to use Public Property, and no one individual can keep all others from using it for more than a short temporary period. (Have a picnic or throw a ball and use the land, but don’t make a house so no one else can.) Permanent residence interferes with everyone else’s Right to use that land. So, good bye, and it’s the Cops enforcing the eviction because no one else has the legal power.

    I am sorry that you got injured, Steven. And I’m not going to sugar coat it: cops are human too, and like you, they make mistakes, and sometimes that involves the Lawyer advising them misinterpreting the Courts. Were they trying to make you afraid? Sure, it’s not uncommon for cops to use fear to ensure young idealists don’t repeat stupid choices. Since you aren’t willing to study your Rights and find out what is and is not allowed, they’ll make you afraid of repeating the wrong choice. You call that terrorism? I don’t. Why? Because they are making YOU fear your OWN personal injury or incarceration. Terrorists make you fear someone else’s pain and suffering. If the cops were terrorists, they would blow up your parents house, not drag you off to prison.

    Now, I am going to point out that I don’t believe everything someone says about an event they participated in. Remember that news channel and the G20? Well, at about 5PM on Sunday after every leader was long gone, a group of demonstrators were in the intersection across from the news station, blocking traffic, and the cops surrounded them. It had been sunny, but cold rain moved in. People were shivering and cold in July. Some got out by showing ID that they were just passing by (locals) and not protesters. They were pressed tighter and tighter over two hours. After four hours, they were finally released and the G20 protests were over. Now, keep in mind that this was constantly televised from rooftop fixed cameras, so everyone watching saw the entire thing in real time. Including me.

    Some protesters passed the News Station, and four were drawn in by a cute blond reporter. She spoke to the first two — a pair of journalism students at one of the Universities. When asked what happened, they launched into a tale about being surrounded by cops, people were beaten with truncheons and dragged off in vans, and the reporter stopped them dead right there and said, “That didn’t happen.” and ignored them. It didn’t. I watched all four hours. No beatings. No one dragged off to the warehouse jail. Everyone eventually set free — cold, tired, and embarrassed.

    So, I’m sorry, but the grain of salt comes out. I know, from experience, that protesters lie about the police. I’m sure there are some naive and ignorant friends of those two liars that believe everything they claim happened, and that is the tragedy. How can I vilify the police for anecdotal evidence that comes from individuals with an anti-authoritarian agenda that have no qualms lying in order to make themselves martyrs and the cops doing the job correctly into villains?

  15. I assumed your list was meant to be tongue-in-cheek until I saw your comment about the Wallace event. To respond to your challenge –

    I’m sure you can come up with a definition of terrorist by which the groups and individuals I named do not qualify; I am equally sure it would not be a useful one.

    I offer the best definition of terrorism I’ve come across: “a strategy of violence designed to promote desired outcomes by instilling fear in the public at large”[*]. Your list is not accurate because no police force or executive office in the US has as its primary objective the creation of fear, nor is violence used as a systematic tactic to overwhelm the population. That you, personally, have had a bad experience, one with life-long results, is tragic, but by no means a basis for declaring all police to be terrorists. Terrorist groups have several points in common, such as being self-selected and not answerable to anyone outside the group. The police are answerable to the city/county, the state, the federal government; they can be brought to heel by the local or national media. When the police academy is closed to the public, when their training is hidden from view, their assignments unknown and their targets local citizens, then you can start to make a case for their being a terrorist group.

    Another point terrorist groups share is the unknown target. No one ever knows when she’ll be a victim of a terrorist bomb, a kidnapping or a mass-shooting; terrorists kill people sympathetic to their goals simply because they were present. 99% of the time, the police move in full view; the 1% of unexpected raids are generally well-known after the fact, with indictments, warrants et al. available for scrutiny and subject to legal challenge.

    There is a thing called “bias confirmation”, when people see what confirms their prejudice and ignore what doesn’t. This leads to a tendancy to, for example, say violence commited by Occupy Wall Street protestors is the result of an individual’s behavior, and not the fault of the movement itself, while violence by police officer is attributed to the very concept of police and not to the individual person. In your case, you want to call NYPD a terrorist organization for, I assume, their handling of the Occupy protestors, while ignoring the thousands of people they assist and crimes they deal with every year, actions that harm no one but the criminal. One public event thus confirms your prejudice, while the small, everyday events are ignored.

    [*] From “Origins of Terrorism”, Walter Reich, ed., a collection of essays on the psychology of terrorism, including one by David Rappoport, editor of “The Morality of Terrorism”, another fascinating study of the subject. Also see the various papers published by RAND ( for excellent analyses of both police forces and terrorist groups.

  16. Jeff et. al. Sorry if you’re offended. But that is what police do. It is their job. They protect property, and they protect the system of property. Things that threaten that system must be stopped. They take an oath to do that. Many of them are decent human beings; or were before a few years on the job. But the ones who attacked me, and OWS demonstrators in Oakland, NY, UC Davis &c, were doing exactly what they were supposed to and anyone who writes it off as “well, some cops are bad,” is just blind.

    L. Raymond: Seems to me all the groups I named are terrorists by that definition,

  17. skzb: beware of becoming that which you hate. Fearmongering…fostering an “us versus them” polarity where there should only be us…closed-mindedness….

    To anyone who’s interested, here’s a link (I hope) to the better of two free archived newspaper articles I found about the Wallace demonstration skzb cited above:,1106384

    No, he wasn’t “important” enough to be named, or even identified by age. I just thought others might be as curious as I was about the broader context of the event.

  18. “I was 13 years old”

    Hold it. Thirteen? In the midst of the violence of the ’60’s protests?

    Who the FRACK put a thirteen year old in the line of fire? You were not old enough to make that choice, and you should have been sent home without your guardian.

    I know who the terrorists were.

    They were the protest organizers for letting a thirteen year old attend a protest that, if consistent with previous Wallace events, would turn violent.

    And your parents, who at the least didn’t stop you from attending, or at worst, took you in hopes that you might be hurt as a headline.

    Thirteen year olds, no matter how studied, lack the capacity to determine the rightness of a cause. They attend these things because they believe what some other person tells them. They follow the crowd, not their nascent beliefs, because they are trying to find where they fit in, desperate to be accepted.

    Regrettably, some activists have no qualms putting their own children in the line of fire, when they know they are doing something the police will have to prevent. David Suzuki attended many protests with his own daughter, at ages of as little as 4.

    From the text in that paper, which seems consistent with your statements… you were trying to prevent Wallace from exercising his own First Amendment Rights in front of people that actually wanted to listen to him. How can you claim you have First Amendment Rights and Wallace does not?

    I have said it before: suppression of speech is attempting to prosecute thought crime, since you are trying to suppress ideas, not criminal activity. You are the one guilty of taking us towards Orwell’s 1984, if you are criminalizing anyone (even Wallace) for his thoughts, no matter how much you hate them. If you want to be listened to, then show others how to listen by example!

    And I am going to point out that Wallace recanted his support for segregation. Have you recanted participating in an illegal demonstration against him?

    Who turned out to be the bigger man?

    Your vilification of the police in this matter is entirely misplaced. You were protesting in an illegal location, trying to suppress another individual’s First Amendment Rights, and violent enough that chemical warfare was authorized. They had lower standards for that in the 60’s, but the Protesters would have been aware of that. You placed the police in a position where they had no choice but to remove you, and you’re vilifying them for doing exactly what protest organizers knew they must, and they endangered children in doing so. That is the essence of a disingenuous argument.

    But you were thirteen. You were just a kid, and you have spent your life trying to rationalize your presence, and righteousness, at this event. You blame the police, when you should be blaming whoever took you there in the first place. That adult, the one that convinced you that suppression of speech is an expression of the First Amendment, is the criminal, not the police that tried to protect Wallace’s Rights.

  19. @24 Seems to me all the groups I named are terrorists by that definition

    They’re not, as I explained. They don’t meet the criteria for purpose or methods.

    You’re guilty of cheapening the language: “I don’t like X, therefore X are terrorists”. Casting the world in black and white like this is why fundamentalists are fundamentalists, and it’s what makes ideology so scary.

  20. Article: Pretty funny. “Wild protest demonstration?” There was nothing wild about it–until the cops charged us. And what was that crap about shouting down Wallace? He hadn’t even appeared when we were attacked; there was a country-western band playing. And, much I was intolerant of country-western at that age (hey, I was young), no one tried to interfere with the music.

    But I do remember one thing: when the police formed their line, the audience broke into a chant of “White power!”

    Actually, mea culpa. I was 12, not 13. Old enough to make a decision at that time. There were kids my age dying in defense of their homes in Vietnam.

    But here we get to the meat of it:”And your parents, who at the least didn’t stop you from attending, or at worst, took you in hopes that you might be hurt as a headline.”

    I’m afraid you’ve rather exposed yourself there. In other words, my parents should have known to expect violence at a peaceful protest? They should have known the cops would mace us? That is your claim? The implication, then, is that such an attack is right and proper–that protest should be met with violence. Well, all right, at least now we know where you stand.

  21. Kreistor came out pro-force on the other populism thread. At least he is consistently immoral.

    Regarding the police. Individual police officers are to be evaluated individually, as are various city and town forces. However, many such as NYPD and LAPD have engaged in cover-ups of brutality and wrongdoing by their members. That action tars the organization as being in support of violence and violation of individual rights. thousands of good dead does not erase one brutal murder or beating covered up.

  22. “Actually, mea culpa. I was 12, not 13. Old enough to make a decision at that time. There were kids my age dying in defense of their homes in Vietnam.”

    Not old enough to make the decision to join an army, according to the UN and the Geneva Conventions. You were a child. the Vietnamese children had no choice, because the war came to them. You were not given a choice, because you were not old enough to decide. Anyone under 15 is considered a child soldier, who are known to be exceptionally vicious because they have not yet developed a true conscience. At 12, you to lacked a fully developed conscience, and therefore the capacity to decide to go to war… or a protest.

    “I’m afraid you’ve rather exposed yourself there. In other words, my parents should have known to expect violence at a peaceful protest?”

    100% absolutely, because there was no intent for a “peaceful” protest when you’re intentionally going to encounter someone like Wallace. The organizers knew without a doubt that there would be no tolerance for disruption. They had the choice to disperse at the first sign of police. They stayed. That means the organizers were prepared for, and expected, police disruption of the protest.

    But, in this case, you were involved and are therefore not objective. You were also 12, and children’s memories are generally not admissible in court because they are not reliable, and are used only when there is no alternative. You have had 40 years to manipulate that memory, and simply are not a reliable witness. That reporter cannot be demonstrated to not be objective, and so his account stands as admissible. You may be remembering what you want to: I know many people that have manipulated their own memories to obscure something they don’t want to remember. The older of my two sisters remembers being hit over the head with a rake by the younger, but that’s not how anyone else remembers it… the younger couldn’t have picked up that rake. The older hit the younger on the head, and twisted the memory around as ego defense. (I, unfortunately, fully remember whipping my youngest sister with a willow branch, not aware how effective that was as a weapon. Never picked up a willow branch for that again.) If you don’t want to believe whoever took you there was actually using you for publicity, then you will have manipulated that memory to ensure that person is not responsible for what happened to you.

    “They should have known the cops would mace us?”

    100% absolutely. It happened at previous protests, did it not? What’s that definition of insanity? Repeating an action and expecting a different result the second time? Protests in those days often turned violent, caused by BOTH sides. I own the Anarchist’s Cookbook. I know violence was performed by the protesters, not just the police. The author wouldn’t have written a description of how to make Nitroglycerin safely, if people weren’t blowing their hands off trying to make it. Pretending that only the police were violent in those days is simply prejudicial.

    “That is your claim?”

    Damn straight. And the Courts support the idea of previous events changing the allowed police response to similar events. For instance, the previous Canadian G20 in Ottawa had protesters at the fence trying to tear it down to get over the barricades and through to the world’s leadership. That precedent allows the police to alter the way they handle the next G20 (in Toronto), in order to prevent violent protest getting close to the fence. (It didn’t: the fence was untouched. They moved it out to the downtown. No cops anywhere near, so you can’t blame that violence on authority. The Black Bloc was all by itself, no cops in 2 klicks, but lots of cop cars were unattended there. Which they burned.)

    Expecting the police to believe rhetoric about a “peaceful” protest is self-centered foolishness when there was ample evidence that nothing of the sort was expected. Only protesters expect police to act naive every time they protest.

    “The implication, then, is that such an attack is right and proper–that protest should be met with violence.”

    No. What it means is that police powers change in response to a changed expectation of violence. We now have evidence from Toronto G20 that without ANY police in sight, protesters will burn cop cars, smash store windows, and commit great violence ON THEIR OWN. This will justify future G20’s having large scale police patrols much further into the chosen city to suppress riots and violence across the entire city, not just at the fence as happened at Ottawa.

    Expecting police to ignore previous protester actions every time a protest occurs is considered foolish by Judges. And me. the police learn and respond to changes in tactics by protesters. You would have them reset to some illusory default state and ignore that people got hurt last time.

    “Well, all right, at least now we know where you stand.”

    I do. Anyone that expects the police to put their own lives at risk is an idiot. No Judge supports any idea that police should be inherently in danger through intentional ignorance, by giving the benefit of the doubt. Every peaceful protest that turns violent ensures that protests claimed to have peaceful intent can’t be assumed to be peaceful. People were caught carrying bags of urine, caustic substances, and other injurious chemicals down towards the G20 Fence in Toronto. Expecting the police to assume non-violence just because organizers spout the rhetoric of pacifism is simply delusional.

    At the G20, what we saw was violent protesters hiding themselves inside the peaceful protesters, but the peaceful protesters doing NOTHING to turn them over to the police. They provided willing camouflage for criminal activity. If you are peaceful, join the police in fighting violence. If you tolerate violence in the name of your cause, though you do not perform that violence yourself, you are complicit in the conspiracy, and equally guilty regardless of your rhetoric.

    Oh, and I will reiterate a previous statement from someone else. Terrorists vilify a people for the action of the individual. You are vilifying all police for the actions of a few, 40 years ago, which is consistent with a terrorist mentality. Police before the Toronto G20 infiltrated the protester organizations, gathered taped evidence of planned violence, and picked out individuals from the crowd for which they had evidence of criminal intent. That is targeted prosecution, not consistent with broad scale vilification of protesters by a terrorist police. In case you think they had no justification for that belief in potential violence, you should review the Black Bloc activities at the last Winter Olympics in Vancouver, 6 months prior to Toronto.

  23. Terrorists vilify a people for the action of the individual.

    This statement is complete horseshit. Terrorists create fear for the purpose of altering the power structure. That has nothing to do with what you said, and certainly nothing to do with Steve still distrusting police 40 years after the Wallace protests.

  24. Hard to believe anyone would consider coordinated police action to be terrorism. After all things like this never happen.

  25. Kriestor has exposed himself as too utterly reactionary for words to be useful. For the rest of you, I am astonished that some of you seem to think that one incident is what determines my opinion of the police. That’s like saying the moon landing determined my opinion of gravity. There are a million other incidents and wealth of scientific study. The incident sucked, but it wasn’t any sort of epiphany.

  26. No, Steven, I do not oppose socialism. I oppose the method of establishing it that some people want to impose (specifically, sudden and immediate change to a socialist system). I do not oppose the slow advance and increase in social welfare as general prosperity affords.

    Over the years, we have seen the lower class shrink as a proportion of population, the relative wealth of middle class compared to the poverty line rise, and that equates to the capacity to increase taxation in order to fund ever more and larger social programs. While I am highly amused by the 1% thing, there’s nothing to tax. The increase in “wealth” of the 1% is a measure in the increase in value of their companies and stocks. You can’t tax that until they sell it.

    (Yes, I just said that I support increasing taxation as prosperity increases.)

    I oppose the immediate theft of property from the 1% for redistribution, because:
    1) There’s no one else that could buy the property to turn it into something the 99% could use, except the government
    2) It’s such a small amount of money relative to the individual that it’s not going to seriously help anyone. ($1 Million split 100 ways is…? $100 Billion split 400 Million ways is?)
    3) Most of the 1% are your grandparents RRSP’s (RSP in USA, I think). Steal from the elderly to feed the young? Much less than 1% of the population is a CEO of a multinational. Who exactly makes up the majority of the 1%? Evil Banksters that make $75000 per year, with three kids, a mortgage, and grandparents to support? No, it’s the evil Teacher that retired 10 years ago after making a killing on the Ontario Teacher’s Fund (best performing mutual fund in Canada) and is resorting in Florida this winter.

    I sat down and calculated the amount every American would receive if the wealth of the top 20 billionaires was redistributed. How much would you get? Tick tock…

    Did you say $5000? If you didn’t, you were wrong. So we force them to sell all of their companies and holdings, put them in the hands of the government (the only entity large enough to buy them all because we just stole from everyone that could have), and then expect them not to be run into the ground by incompetent bureaucrats, destroying the economy in the process? Yeah. Right. Why not put them in the hands of socialists to ensure they aren’t greedy? For the same reason we don’t put a random person off the street in a NASCAR race. You have to prove yourself competent at turning a profit to be put in charge, just as you have to drive go-karts to demonstrate you aren’t going to crash into the wall.

    So while the reactionary claim is amusing, it is also based on many assumptions.

  27. skzb: With you all the way on kreistor. That’s why it disturbs me how much like him you manage to sound at times. Best solution for someone like him is the exact treatment you generally give me–ignore the sucker completely. Unlike me (and Fred), he won’t be able to stand the lack of attention without going apeshit. And then, one can only hope, going elsewhere.

    I also agree that there are fundamental issues with the use and abuse of police powers in this country. Blowing the police off as terrorists, however, does not bring us any closer to understanding, let alone grappling with, those issues.

    I never thought your opinion of the police was formed solely on the basis of ANY single incident. As a contemporary of yours, and a native Minneapolitan, I was honestly curious about an event that rang no bells in my own memory.

    But letting the bloviator continue to goad you over it is Not a Good Thing.

  28. I’ve worked with cops, competed with cops (kendo), had friends married to cops, known cops, worked on way too many cop shows. Cops come in all different flavors. A lot of the time I’m pretty convinced this stuff is just journalists making stories. I mean calling protesters hippies? Wouldn’t most hippies be in their 60’s by now? It’s a buzz word. A remember word. I was willing to give the cops the same amount of slack, but the piece by the writer from Family Guy and the video of the woman being stripped to her underwear in Australia, those are brutal. Something else is going on here and it’s just unbearably sad.

  29. knob_e: “Unlike me (and Fred), he won’t be able to stand the lack of attention without going apeshit.”

    Far too experienced with this to go “apeshit” over anything. Heck, I posted on the original alt.conspiracy before it ever split. I’ve seen it all, and countered it all.

    And you need to notice one thing. I stop. Every time. Steven gets the last word. Every time. (Sometimes he chooses not to take it.) I do not lack respect. This is his house, and he tolerates my presence. All he needs to say is, “Go.” and all you’ll see is my footprints.

    BTW, a little package from Amazon arrived today. .ca had a sale on Tiassa earlier this week, and I told family. I’ll spend Christmas alone (and working) for the first time in my life, but guess what I’ll be reading?

  30. Some of the most honorable, honest, and genuinely kind people I know are police officers.

    That doesn’t mean they are all so.

  31. Wow, while this was amusing at first, and I had a couple of suggestions for the list, its actually become an educational study for me. Please continue, on a civil level…

    My two suggestions for domestic terrorism though, were going to be 1st:

    As we are all aware, he has publically admitted he has at times actively manipulated the news being distributed and what was considered newsworthy. We all should immediately recall that the internet was telling us about the Occupy protests for several weeks before I ever saw a single television broadcast about it.

    And then there is the puppet, or was he the puppeteer, former Prsdnt. GWBusch (typo on purpose). I don’t have it confirmed yet, but there is an online story about him buying an 100,000 acre ranch in Paraguay and that he is retreating to it to avoid being extradited for war crimes. . .

  32. skzb: “I’m sure you can come up with a definition of terrorist by which the groups and individuals I named do not qualify; I am equally sure it would not be a useful one.”

    OK, I’ll bite. “Terrorist”, as it is commonly used, refers to people who get their power /principally/ from terror; they are not widely recognized as legitimate authority figures.

    Widely recognized authority figures who have significant legitimate means of power and augment them through terror and fear would, to my mind, be more properly known as “tyrants” (and, for the police department, “tools” or perhaps “lackeys”). If you want to describe Bloomberg and Guiliani that way, I wouldn’t argue.

  33. The LAPD. There’s even a joke about it:

    The LAPD, the FBI, and the CIA are all trying to prove that they are the best at apprehending terrorists. The President decides to give them a test. He releases a rabbit into a forest and each of them has to catch it.

    The CIA goes in. They place animal informants throughout the forest. They question all the plants and minerals conclude that rabbits do not exist.

    The FBI goes in. After two weeks with no leads they burn the forest, killing everything in it, including the rabbit, and they make no apologies. The rabbit had it coming.

    The LAPD goes in. They come out two hours later with a badly beaten bear. The bear is yelling: “Okay! Okay! I’m a rabbit! I’m a rabbit!”

  34. I am astonished that some of you seem to think that one incident is what determines my opinion of the police. That’s like saying the moon landing determined my opinion of gravity. There are a million other incidents and wealth of scientific study. The incident sucked, but it wasn’t any sort of epiphany.

    I assumed you described the first negative incident, not the only one, but your experiences don’t excuse your attempt to classify police as terrorists. They don’t fit any definition used by those who deal with terrorists on a daily basis, nor the more generic meaning the average person of the street would be likely to use. No amount of data detailing the less-than-perfect behavior of police alters that, since terrorism is a concerted approach to using violence in order to secure desired political change. You haven’t explained how you think police and executive officers (mayors, governors) fit the definition of “terrorism” I used in #23, you’ve only asserted they do. Would you please expand on that?

  35. Alaska Fan: Oh, I like that!

    “a strategy of violence designed to promote desired outcomes by instilling fear in the public at large”

    Sorry, I’m still trying to wrap my head around the idea that there’s someone who thinks the doesn’t describe the LAPD. Does not compute.

  36. “Sorry, I’m still trying to wrap my head around the idea that there’s someone who thinks the doesn’t describe the LAPD. Does not compute.”


    1) There is no strategy of violence enacted on a daily basis against the public at large, only against suspected criminals that evidence a desire to resist arrest.

    2) They are trying to instill fear in only the criminal element, not the general public.

    While I am certain you can cite more than the Rodney King case for the LAPD being violent, even the Rodney King case was not intended to instill fear in anyone. Instilling fear requires that the violent events be made public. Without that publicity, there is no fear. Without the tape, King would have gone away and you would never have heard about the attack, and thus no one would be afraid of what they did not know happened.

    Violence, when kept secret, does not inspire fear.

  37. Kreistor seems to have a point. The LAPD is less a terror organization and more of a mafia organization.

  38. Since the LAPD organization also do not run prostitution, gambling dens, extortion/protection rackets, drug houses, chop shops, or any other criminal enterprise, that’s a bogus analysis, too. (Individual corrupt cops may be involved in some of these, but that’s not the organization willingly involving itself. If that becomes our standard for judging the LAPD, then all I have to do is find a single violent protester, and then I can call every protest group inherently violent.)

    Criminals, inherently, fear police. That is unavoidable. They fear the punishment for being caught, and so fear those that bring them to justice. It cannot be any other way.

    If that somehow fits Steven’s definition of terrorism, that an organization that inspires fear is inherently terrorist, then all police are, to him terrorist, but also, no Law enforcement arm can ever not be terrorist. Consequently, to him, terrorism should not be fundamentally evil, because those doing fundamentally good work of protecting our Rights are inherently terrorists simply by existing.

    I would be interested to know how Steven thinks police could do their work without inspiring fear in the criminal element. Rather than vilifying men for doing what can’t be avoided, how about demonstrating how it could be avoided. Show us how your methods will eliminate criminal fear and end the need for SWAT, because every criminal will willingly go to jail because they don’t fear it.

  39. Police can’t do their jobs unless the rules they enforce are correct. It’s the same with judges.

    Appeals to authority fail when the authority is viewed as being beyond question.

    This is one of the reasons several of Kreistor’s arguments fall flat immediately. Just because something is a law does not make it right.

  40. Some of the best men and women I have known have been police officers. And a few of the worst also, but the good outweigh the bad by a considerable margin.

    Protesting is fine, and a protected right, so long as you respect the rights of others. This includes property rights. If you don’t respect my rights, including my property rights, I have no obligation to respect yours. Without mutuality of obligation, one becomes the master and the other a slave.

    Labeling police and other US Government departments and agencies as terrorists may seem amusing, but I’m not laughing. Get back to me when the LAPD decides to strap a bomb on a child.

  41. So, let’s start at the beginning with defining our terms:

    Terrorist and Terrorism:

    I see some people have tried this with wide varying definitions. Steve above clearly defines it as groups that strap bombs to a child. IS it just them, or others too?

  42. Fear of the police will come naturally, at least for me. Every time those lights flash behind me, my heart skips. Because I’m a criminal? No. It’s because they, along with other organizations, are one of the few people who can, on a whim*, relieve me of my freedom. I’ve walked around “bad” neighborhoods in the dead of night with less fear than I get when a cop comes up to my car window. It may be “baseless”, but it’s there. And yes, I’ve had excellent encounters with the nicest cops around, and I’ve friends in the “business”, so it’s not individuals, it’s the nature of the “beast”.

    *-On a whim? Yes. It may be contested, you may be released, but they can detain you for most any reason and deprive you of your freedom. And a reason can be fabricated. My uncle was a Park Ranger, and he used to say, half-jokingly, “There is no law when you are the law”. And this is just a Ranger. Beyond that are police. And beyond that is military and intelligence officials.

    As for a definition, the dictionary will suffice, I think: Systematic use of violence and intimidation to achieve some goal

  43. I’ve known a lot of cops, both as friends (particularly within the martial arts community) and as folks coming at me with batons, pepper spray, tear gas, rubber bullets, and several other means of “non-lethal” weaponry for daring to use my free speech rights. The critique of the police as a terrorist organization is not a critique of individual people, but a recognition that the way in which the police function in an intrinsically non-egalitarian system is problematic at best. And as such a system moves toward totalitarianism using patently terrorist means, all functionaries within that system become culpable for the crimes of that system, regardless of whether or not they are good people. This is especially true in regards to organizations who’s role it is to enforce the rules and regulations of the system in question.

    Again, this does not mean that I think all cops are bad people. Hell, I honestly believe that most of them are good people, for whatever that is worth. But it doesn’t change the facts of their role, and what their role means. This is true for groups like Al-Qaeda as well: I feel confident that many of the people involved are “good people”, who really believe that what they are doing will make the world a better place for all of us… but it doesn’t really change what Al-Qaeda is: a terrorist organization.

  44. “Police can’t do their jobs unless the rules they enforce are correct. It’s the same with judges.”

    Which only demonstrates Ethan does not understand Precedent Law and how the legal system works. Judges that find a Law to be unconstitutional are required to throw it out. No Law that fails to meet the standards laid down by the Constitution (Candaa has one, too) and the International Treaties a country has signed can be enforced. Judges have as much power as the Executive and Legislative branches. In other words, just because a Law is written, that doesn’t mean a Judge can’t toss it out.

    For instance, a few years ago, Canada’s Federal Government wrote a law that allowed individuals to carry a limited amount of marijuana if prescribed by a physician. An individual was caught buying mj on the street and arrested. He went before the courts and said, “I have a prescription, but MJ cannot be bought in a pharmacy, only on the street illegally.”

    The Judge saw he was correct and said, “Until a legal means of buying marijuana is provided, the sale of marijuana cannot be illegal, because the police cannot know who has a prescription and who does not.” So, for a period of about three months, buying marijuana on the street was legal and the previous laws prohibiting it made temporarily void (up to the limit set in the medical use law). In short order, a legal source for THC bearing marijuana was channeled, and the old marijuana laws restored.

    You clearly know nothing of the power of the legal system in the US and Canada to toss nonsensical and improperly created Laws out into the trash.

  45. “1) There is no strategy of violence enacted on a daily basis against the public at large, only against suspected criminals that evidence a desire to resist arrest.”

    You clearly do not know the LAPD.

  46. Chris. O. is exactly right.

    It isn’t about is this person-who-happens-to-be-a-cop a good person; nor is about is this cop-who-happens-to-be-a-person a good cop. It’s about the job.

    There are also the valid questions: What sort of person wants to do this job in this day and age, and, what does doing that job do to a person over several years. But neither of those are what I’m addressing here.

    It’s the nature of the beast. In any major city, they use terror.

    In other matters: I wonder about including Bush and Chaney. It is 100% obvious that they were terrorists when in office, but it isn’t clear they are now. I’d keep them on the watch list.

    Obama belongs on the list.

  47. You don’t live in LA. What makes you think that you know and I don’t? I get the same media as you — Fox, CNN, BBC, etc. — and a few that you don’t — CBC, CTV — which if anything are more objective because they are not American and not involved in US politics. And I have friends in LA, too. I’ve been there twice. I expect you’ve been far more often. How many times arrested without cause in the last 20 years? Picked up off the street because you’re black, Asian, or have green hair?

    While your rhetoric is amusing, it isn’t evidence of the validity of your position. “I know and you don’t, nyah nyah” is straight out of the schoolyard. Toss me something I can talk about, that you think I’ve missed.

    Because from what I know, the LA campaign against the Gang violence in the 90’s was met with enormous public support by the poor that were the prey of the gangs, and stopped only because of bad press by the socialists that never understood how effective it was in protecting the people on the streets.

  48. It requires an astonishing degree of privilege or an almost inconceivable level of blindness not to realize that most people fear the police.

  49. @57 You’re not really interested in opposing opinions, are you? You’re making emotional statement after emotional statement, but not addressing what others point out.

    Do most people fear the police? I doubt it. Most people run into them only during traffic stops, and they’re worried about a the financial impact of a ticket, not the officer who pulled them over.

    Police forces are provided by whichever level of government they work for, and as such have been chosen by the citizens of the county, state, city or the nation as a whole, because we elected the people who established and maintain those forces, and we have not passed referendumns ending the public funding of the forces, nor have we demanded an accounting of these myriad evils that have so angered you. All of those and more are doable at the polls, yet the majority of people are perfectly satisfied with the police as they are.

    Who wants to do this job in this day and age? My mom worked for the FBI. My brother-in-law is a detective, my uncle was a sergeant, and a cousin recently retired as a small town lieutenant and took over as chief of another small town. What they want is to be the ones who help, the one who solved the double homicide, which was my bil’s first case after promotion. The one who helped deal with the aftermath of the Murrah building bombing, which team my mother volunteered to work with. They want to be the ones neighbors look to when the car is stolen or the house vandalized, the sorts of small town problems the others dealt with.

    There are psychological tests to pass before being accepted into most police academies, and while they cannot be 100% accurate, they do weed out most of those who can’t be trusted with authority. For the rest, if you hate what you see, it’s up to you to act, to put laws up for a vote limiting thier jurisdiction or the actions they can take. If in fact most people fear the police, that will be easy. However, when you try to collect signatures for a ballot initiative I think you will learn just how many people actually consider the police a helpful and necessary part of society, and not as terrorists to be controlled.

  50. Just checking: Do you actually believe, as it appears, that “most people fear the police” and ” a helpful and necessary part of society” are mutually exclusive?

  51. It seems there is a ton of emotional statements and false dichotomies being offered here.

    ” However, when you try to collect signatures for a ballot initiative I think you will learn just how many people actually consider the police a helpful and necessary part of society, and not as terrorists to be controlled.”

    So the choice is, if they are helpful they shouldn’t be controlled?

    I’ll say this, I wouldn’t want to be a cop. It’s something of a thankless job. Bad laws, bad people, politics, and the ones who just want to help can be lost in a system where they can’t fix things and are attacked from without and within.

    In any case, these arguments are somewhat pointless as we are merely discussing symptoms of a more fundamental problem.

  52. With you on most of your list, though I think you left out a couple of key groups, notably the Senate willing to allow the President the right to detain US citizens without due process and the President willing to endorse that right. Anytime Feinstein and Rand are aligned, it should make you worry about the Demagogues and Repugnantones they’re aligned against:

  53. Steven, you again ignore the obvious question:

    Can law enforcement exist without some level of fear in the population it protects?

    People are paranoid. It’s not paranoia created by the police, but a natural human state: people fear change. Police represent change, be it incarceration, or added financial burden that may prevent people from buying the things that they want. They represent the removal of loved ones that have made mistakes. And a hundred thousand other ways they change people’s lives, without violating any laws.

    What normal people do not fear is a cop dragging them from their car and beating them on a normal traffic stop. In all my encounters with the police, I have never feared that they were going to hurt me, except once when I was being stupidly smart and trying to help. He would have shoved me back inside the apartment to keep me away from the drugged out neighbour (same one, BTW), that was butt naked on his balcony. (Yeah, a real winner.) He would have been protecting me from my ignorant self, with possibly a minor injury to keep me from the major one.

    So I will ask:

    Since police inherently represent unwanted change, how can they do their jobs without inspiring fear?

  54. Actually, I have a better question.

    Steven, you suffered injury for attempting to Prottest George Wallace’s speech. Do you honestly believe that the police, faced with a similar protest against a figure vilified by the Left Wing, will always face such peaceful protests with violence?

    And if they do not, is that adequate evidence to demonstrate that the police are not inherently terrorist?

  55. “Can law enforcement exist without some level of fear in the population it protects?”

    Almost certainly not. If you are going to have private property, you are going to have a State to protect it; and that means people with weapons, and that means either using fear, or using those weapons in many situations. Using fear is preferable to shooting, in my opinion.

  56. Steve @64 is exactly correct. In fact the proper role of the police is to protect people and their property from one another.

  57. Ethan: Heh. Funny. I’m kind of working on a book that asks exactly that question. Ask me again if I ever finish it.

  58. Then, Steven, since the fear they inspire is not intended, but inherent in the system, they cannot be Terrorists. Terrorists inspire fear in the populace as a primary mechanism to achieve their political goals.

    The police, even if they do not want to use fear, cannot avoid that fear, since it is a natural human reaction. Thus, the fear itself is not evidence of terrorism on their part, because we cannot differentiate it from intentional fear: assigning intent when it may be unintentional is prejudicial. But we can say for certain that the general fear (rather than the specific one you suffered), if intentional, is not being used to achieve a political goal, but an anti-criminal one.

    And you didn’t answer the other question, which you of course knew I was prepared for. Police do not always suppress political protests against Right Wing governments or speakers.

    Your good friend dubba-ya. Since police do not always suppress protest against such speakers, your own case is not evidence of the intent of all police to suppress protest. For all police to be terrorist, all police must act to create the fear you suffered. Since some (if not most) do not, or do so only in specific circumstances (ie. planned illegal protests), the intent to use fear in those locations is not an intent to create fear of the police for a political goal, but fear of replicating those circumstances to prevent further illegal activity.

  59. “Then, Steven, since the fear they inspire is not intended, but inherent in the system, they cannot be Terrorists”

    That’s rather amusing. The term Terrorism comes from the Terror after the French Revolution; later, the Red Terror during the Russian Civil War. In both cases the terror was, by definition, systemic. Much–I’d say, most–later terrorism has been systemic. Certainly Israli terrorism against Palestine has been.

    “Intent of all police to suppress protest.” Huh, what? Did someone somewhere claim all police suppressed all protest all the time? Who? Please point him out to me so I can snicker at him.

  60. Again, we are getting into changes of definition. Modern terrorism has nothing to do with the systematic murder of the guillotine to feed the public need for entertainment.

    “Comrades! The kulak uprising in your five districts must be crushed without pity … You must make example of these people. (1) Hang (I mean hang publicly, so that people see it) at least 100 kulaks, rich bastards, and known bloodsuckers. (2) Publish their names. (3) Seize all their grain. (4) Single out the hostages per my instructions in yesterday’s telegram. Do all this so that for miles around people see it all, understand it, tremble, and tell themselves that we are killing the bloodthirsty kulaks and that we will continue to do so … Yours, Lenin. P.S. Find tougher people.” Comrade Lenin

    Terror was the purpose of the Red Terror. It was clearly stated and organized. Please demonstrate a quote from a police chief in the last twenty years where terror was intended to control the people in a Western Society.

    “Huh, what? Did someone somewhere claim all police suppressed all protest all the time? Who? Please point him out to me so I can snicker at him.”

    I have to go. I’ll deal with this later.

  61. Kreistor, you aren’t stupid; quit acting like you are. Neither the original Terror nor the Red Terror had anything whatever to do with entertainment, and you know it very well. It was the same as contemporary terror: the use of fear to further a political agenda.

  62. “The world is about two things: power and control.”
    -Maxim Horvath “The Socrcerer’s Apprentice”

  63. And neither the French Revolution nor Red Terror had anything to do with normal police work, since both were times of extreme chaos during political transitions.

    So, what’s your point?

  64. No, you brought them up earlier than that. You thought they were important for some reason, which seemingly has nothing to do with police work. Something to do with the origin of the word “terrorism”. You failed to connect those two events to the topic at hand, that is how the police themselves are supposedly terrorists.

    The guillotine was a well known public execution method that both inspired fear in the enemies of the state, and cheers from those in the audience. (Executions were public spectacle world-wide, even as late as 1936 in the USA.) Keeping the population happy became a matter of feeding that entertainment, and so the “counter-revolutionaries” placed in it became increasingly suspect. It is that entertainment value I was referring to, since feeding teh guillotine kept some semblance of public order in a time of chaos.

    I never said anything about the Red Terror being about entertainment. I simply pointed out that since terror was a declared goal of the Red Terror, as demonstrated in the Lenin quote, and supported by other sources BTW, that there is no parallel to modern police work, where no one has stated that terror is the goal of daily police activities. (Funny how I walked into a police station today to do a background check and I didn’t feel terrified. Nor did the three cop cars I passed on the way particularly worrisome.)

    So, again, what is the relevance of these two events to modern police work?

    BTW, there’s another difference between the Reign of Terror and modern police. The victims of the RoT were not executed by the police, but by executioners after sentencing by the Counter-revolutionary Council. Modern police do not execute sentences, so are not responsible for the punishments for anti-establishment activity.

  65. What makes the Red Terror unique is that the Bolsheviks–as was their habit–called it by its right name. That others are less honest doesn’t change the nature of the beast. I doubt Osama bin Ladin would have identified himself as a terrorist; does that mean he wasn’t one?

    (Oh, incidentally, the quote from Lenin is incorrect; I don’t know where you got it. In fact, he did propose hanging 100 kulaks while the kulaks were systematically staving the people, but the proposal was never adopted or carried out).

    Terrorists are those who use terror to further a political agenda, such as the LAPD, Guilianai, and the others I listed above. What’s so scary about that?

  66. “Terrorists are those who use terror to further a political agenda, such as the LAPD, Guilianai, and the others I listed above. What’s so scary about that?”

    Gangs don’t prey on the rich and well-off. They prey on the poor — the people YOU think Communism is supposed to help most. The efforts of the LA and NYPD’s to fight the gangs were protecting the poor, not the rich who were far from the drive-bys and drug dealers controlling the streets of the slums.

    I’ve seen interviews with the poor in those regions that you think were “terrorized” by police. Their response wasn’t based on Human Rights or theoretical socialism, but on the effects on their own safety. Universally, they applauded the efforts. They could go back to the parks that had been full of stoned users, desperate for their next fix. They could walk the streets without worrying about being shot or robbed to pay for drugs, or stumbling onto a deal and being threatened not to tell the cops. Over and over, they were angry that the anti-gang programs were shut down and they would go back to being preyed upon.

    That, Steven, is the curse of ideological thinking. What is more important to YOU? The Rights of a Criminal being trampled on? Or the poor having their lives made better?

    I don’t know if there really were civil rights abuses. Some say the NYPD shot some unarmed people. I don’t really care that much if there were, and I know that will disgust you, but that does not meet your own definition of Terrorism. To achieve a political agenda through fear, and event must be Public knowledge, and those never were. Now, you’re going to be tempted to take my statements over the top. I do not support the systematic abandonment of civil rights abuses to end crime. I do not believe that was part of the programs instituted in NY or LA. I believe that a few individuals got angry and blew it, going too far. If abuses happened, they shouldn’t have been suppressed, and the individuals should have been punished appropriately. But that they happened should not have been justification for ending programs that were ending the constant fear in the general populace of the regions dominated by gangs. And that is exactly what eventually happened, and would have happened. Because of that overreaction, there was validation for choosing to suppress the abuses. The programs worked, and not because of “terrorist” tactics, but because the police were ever-present and taking the gangs’ cash source (drug addicts) off the street. When your source of cash can’t hang around, you find a new source of cash.

    What I care about is that those poor, the prey of the criminal element, stopped living in constant fear. They didn’t feel terrorized by the police that were around 5 minutes per day, but by the criminals that lived beside them 24/7.

    So you can add this to your “Domestic Terrorism” list: the Crips, Bloods, Rock Machine, Hells Angels, Mafia, Russian Mob, Colombian cartels, and a hundred others.

    And the Black Bloc.

    My sources for Lenin’s statement:

    Nicolas Werth, Karel Bartošek, Jean-Louis Panné, Jean-Louis Margolin, Andrzej Paczkowski, Stéphane Courtois, The Black Book of Communism: Crimes, Terror, Repression, Harvard University Press, 1999, ISBN 0-674-07608-7


    Edvard Radzinsky Stalin: The First In-depth Biography Based on Explosive New Documents from Russia’s Secret Archives, Anchor, (1997) ISBN 0-385-47954-9

    Lots of new information has become available now that the Wall fell and old Soviet archives are accessible. You may want to update your knowledge of what Lenin said, now that a lot more of that is public knowledge. This was all held in inaccessible KGB archives until the ’90’s. You can’t base your knowledge on what was printed in the ’70’s anymore. And the 100 kulaks? Soviet records now reveal that it was 500 killed. Same sources. They went a little further than Lenin ordered.

  67. ” the people YOU think Communism is supposed to help most”

    Yeah, once you start telling me what I think, we’ve gone totally off the rails.

    “I don’t know if there really were civil rights abuses.”

    And that says it all, doesn’t it?

    “. Some say the NYPD shot some unarmed people. I don’t really care that much if there were,”

    Yeah. I’m done with you.

  68. Regarding police terror, I think it’s crucial to recognize that the problem isn’t just cops beating/killing people, it’s cops as a key element of America’s tiered justice system, which guarantees elite immunity for those “too big to jail” while imposing draconian punishments on ordinary citizens who break even minor laws. (Too Big To Jail is the name of the 3rd chapter of Glenn Greenwald’s insightful new book “With Liberty and Justice for Some.”)

    To the list of domestic terrorists, I’d add John Yoo, architect of the Bush torture regime.

    Also… the Phoenix Guard.

  69. Alas, all good things must come to an end, just to be trite for once. You’re a Communist, and I would have loved to dance on the Wall that day in Germany when I knew Communism was finally done forever… when the most violent oppressor of human rights finally crumbled and broke against the sea of truth. Sooner or later I was going to say something you would find vile.

    What’s too bad is that I didn’t get to where I was going: What do YOU mean by Trotskyism? I already established that you don’t have a standard definition for Fascism: is it the same for Trotskyism? You seem to think pacifist protests are great, but Trotsky believed in Permanent Revolution… and we’re not talking daisies in rifles hippie-style revolution. And how would that not be inherently terrorist, since revolutions kill, maim, destroy, and make people fearful of the random death that conflict creates? Trotsky commanded armies, not free lovers.

    Or is it all a disingenuous game? Are you really a firm believer in the Revolution, and all the pain and terror that entails, and it is the fear that others have of violence that you use against them… pretending that Capitalism is terrorist, when even cursory examination of Communism demonstrates that system to be far more violent, far more repressive, and far less caring of Human Rights.

    Because that’s what I think this little thread of yours is all about. Use the guilt of compassionate people against the system to bring about its destruction, only to replace it with one that will crush the soul of the people far more effectively. All in the name of preventing, what? Greed? Communism doesn’t have a way to prevent greed. Oppression? You’re only replacing it with another form of oppression. Freedom of thought? Communism doesn’t permit counter-revolutionary thought, crushing the First Amendment you hid behind earlier.

    Ah, but you won’t respond.

  70. Kreistor

    I’m not waving the banner for Trotskyism, but it seems that some your arguements involve painting that school of thought with the same brush for the ideologies adopted by past and present “communist” countries.

    I’m guessing if you want some in-depth details on the grounds of what Steve’s politics lay, go to – plenty of stuff there. You may not agree with most of what they say (you might be even offended by some of it) but you may be impressed by the level of critique, rigour and grounding behind their arguements.

  71. “…when even cursory examination of Communism demonstrates that system to be far more violent, far more repressive, and far less caring of Human Rights.
    …Communism doesn’t have a way to prevent greed.”

    To my mind, communism has yet to be done correctly on this planet. Yes, greed being a major stopping point.

    However, capitalism caring more about human rights? I think not. Capitalism, as practiced today, *creates* third world countries. Africa, for example, is a very wealthy country; only its people are poor. Capitalism ensures that the wealth of that country does not go towards helping its people, but those outside of it.

    Oh, and FYI–I’m not a communist, socialist, or capitalist. I’m an individual mutualist who understands that his ideal form of governance cannot exist on this planet in his lifetime. Bummer, but what are ya gonna do, ya know? :)

  72. schmarf: “I’m not waving the banner for Trotskyism, but it seems that some your arguements involve painting that school of thought with the same brush for the ideologies adopted by past and present “communist” countries.”

    You mean like judging Capitalism on what happened in three Fascist countries?

    Only doing unto Communism what has been done unto Capitalism. “Those don’t count, because it’s not true Communism!” Yeah, they do, if we can’t say, “Those don’t count because Fascism isn’t true Capitalism!” And it’s not. In the slightest. If you get to reject examples, so do we.

    ChrisO: “To my mind, communism has yet to be done correctly on this planet. Yes, greed being a major stopping point.”

    We’re human, not machines. A solution must compensate for human desire, including greed, ambition, pride, rage, love, fear, and any other human trait, both positive and negative. Re-education to eliminate them is another word for brainwashing, and an end to Free Will.

    A solution that requires gills and fins isn’t going to work for humans.

    “However, capitalism caring more about human rights? I think not.”

    Yeah, definitely does. Consider Afghanistan. The USA recognized and punished at least some of the people that committed offenses in Abu Ghraib. The Soviets had their own prison, and for 5 years no Human Rights observers were permitted inside the country. (I went down to Amnesty International and actually got photocopies of the reports for 1982-87 on that region for a previous argument on exactly this subject.) No one has ever been held accountable for the accusations of torture and murder by Soviet Intelligence and Military forces.

    Further, in interviews with Soviet soldiers (Privates and NCO’s), they were under orders to shoot ANY lone Afghani man in the desert on the presumption he was committing anti-Soviet activities. Intentional murder of civilians, without any presumption that weapons were present. That was stated by former Soviet soldiers to a camera, not claimed by some random reporter or report from a potentially biased source. No claim of mistaken identity here. Killed for being alone, because sometimes the man might have a Stinger. It was shoot first, and don’t bother looking for the Stinger after because you might get shot down proving the man was an insurgent.

    So many people forget that the Soviets were there first, and with Hungary and Czeckoslovakia under their belts already, they were already used to suppressing the desires of civilians not interested in their form of government.

    We can also discuss the treatment of the Sixth Army that surrendered at Stalingrad, and how many went home. Did you know the Geneva Convention demands all PoW’s be shipped home once their side ceases hostilities? The regular soldiers of the Sixth Army should have been sent home in ’46 (not counting the Officers or those that may have committed war crimes, but the regulars that spent their time fighting, not enforcing Nazi policy behind the lines… the Sixth were a front line force), but many were kept into the 50’s. what was that number? 1 in 10 that surrendered got back to Germany?

    And then there’s the newly released documentation of US airmen kept in Siberia after the Korean conflict ended. Held in secret, without trial, for life, without telling the USA, just to learn about US pilot training. Another violation of the Rules of War and Human Rights.

    And the various massacres I listed in another thread, that outnumber the worst the US has committed by 1000:1.

    Yeah, completely equal treatment of human rights.

    Want to go into known assassinations? Murder by intelligence forces in foreign nations? Oh, but that’s no Human Rights violation, right?

    How about the Rape of Berlin?

    And the one I love?

    Killing people because they committed the thought crime of greed. 500 kulaks, was it? Comrade Lenin, the great protector of human rights… unless it was convenient to send a message by the new State to its enemies. Enemies of the Revolution don’t deserve trials or human Rights. Not like Mao did it. Or the North Koreans. Or the Vietnamese.

    “I think not. Capitalism, as practiced today, *creates* third world countries.”

    Name one Third World country that was not third world before.

    They are third world because they have nothing anyone wants to buy. No mineral resources. Only a few foods people can afford after long distance shipping. It is shipping costs that keep third world countries from making the money they need: people won’t pay “fair trade” prices because other alternatives are cheaper because they are grown closer. That gets worse as crude oil production peaks soon, and transport prices really skyrocket. When you can’t get a banana to a Canadian supermarket without multiplying the price by 10x due to the cost of the oil to move it there, apples are a lot more attractive.

    My hope is that what is happening in Asia continues to spread. While some people think manufacturing is moving to China, it’s not. Manufacturing left for Japan and Taiwan long ago. It’s shifting from there to China, because labour is cheaper. As the money flows, the economy strengthens, and wages rise. This makes other places in the world attractive to manufacturers, so Japan and Taiwan lose that manufacturing. I am hoping that this will continue to spread and eventually move manufacturing to Africa and Central America. And it might be an exponential system, because as more of the world advances into first world status, there is a greater percentage of the population needed to manufacture for them. (Instead fo 10% of the world being first world, when 30% is, you need 3x as many people manufacturing for the first world, moving 3x as many regions towards first world in the same time frame.)

    Blaming “capitalism” for what Communism failed to fix with its allies in Africa is simple prejudice. Capitalism can’t do what you’re accusing it of. Where it isn’t a lack of resources, it’s the prevalence of corruption. Communism is no more immune to graft than Capitalism. In both systems, you need a dedicated, idealistic law enforcement to prevent corruption at the bureaucratic level. You don’t magically get that in Communism any more than Capitalism.

    “Africa, for example, is a very wealthy country; only its people are poor.”

    Do you mean South Africa?

    Capitalism does not inherently prevent the nation from profiting off resources. Consider softwood lumber. You might remember a trade conflict with Canada over that a few years ago. The USA was charging lumberjacks $6 for the same area Canada charged $5. Point there is that the government could choose a higher price for its resources. It’s not anti-Capitalist to charge a larger amount. This is an implementation choice, not a fundamental flaw in Capitalism. They’re choosing between raising the cost of buying softwood lumber and suppressing housing construction (by raising prices) or increasing housing construction (and thereby creating more construction jobs) by making lumber cheaper and making more and bigger houses cheaper.

  73. All so called “capitalist” countries are really mixed-economies, that is capitalism mixed with socialism. Government is used as a club by some companies to control markets and destroy competition.

    In the book “Debt” which Steve recommends, the author explains how businesses (banks) used governmental influence to victimize 3rd word countries. It a good example of the worst offenses of the mixed economy.

  74. @Jyenie,

    Don’t forget the Walt Disney,J.K. Rowling, Flouride in the water, and the Illuminati too!

    Let’s remove the epithet “terrorists” and just say people and organizations we hate. I don’t think anyone here has defined terrorist yet, but the whole thread needs that first….otherwise the conspiracy wackos think that it’s free reign time.

  75. Ethan: The deliberate or intentional* use of terror to further a political agenda.

    *deliberate and intention used in the legal sense.

  76. Regarding skzb’s definition, does “use” mean pereptrating acts, or also funding them?

    It’s an interesting question because the US has designated as terrorists individuals who provided funding for terrorist* groups. Think about who is providing the funding for US government-sponsored domestic terror. Me and you. (Except for the Canadian on this chain.)

    *by the US definition

  77. Hi Steve,

    That’s fine, but it’s good to be clear. Word often have different conceptual structures in people minds. To some, your definition of “terrorist” would not be “correct.” However, if we keep context with it here we should be safe :-)

  78. “Think about who is providing the funding for US government-sponsored domestic terror. Me and you. (Except for the Canadian on this chain.)”

    Oh, but Canada kicked the Occupy people out of public areas, too, so we’re all terrorists by your and Steven’s definitions.

    When a definition becomes so broad that all humans are incapable of not being included in it, it has no meaning except, “Human.”

  79. And dropping a concrete block on taxis driving scabs isn’t intended to cause fear?

    Oh, right… it’s intended to kill. That never causes fear. Nothing like real terrorism at all.

  80. Wyrdson, if that’s your standard, then Steven is a terrorist for inciting fear of the LAPD and NYPD. Talking heads spouting paranoia isn’t unique to the Right Wing (the whole Occupy movement is paranoia of Wall Street). That others act upon such fears does not transfer guilt to the one that pointed out a worst case scenario. Todo that would again turn every single human into a terrorist, because we all fear some obscure possible future. You’d have to include UFO abduction and invasion, meteor strike, economic collapse, Super Hurricane, Yellowstone supervolcanic eruption…

    Any fear can be used to manipulate people towards a political goal, not just fear of a competing political entity. So that standard has also got to be rejected.

  81. Kreistor- congratulations, I think you have stifled all rational conversation in this thread with your incessant blather. And, no, I don’t think that inciting the murder of a 70 year old academic is equivalent to pointing out that the LAPD has a history of civil rights violations breathtaking in scope. ;-p

  82. I’d just like to add God to this list. Nearly all the gods of human creation, really; but even the one with the big G. In all his forms, Judaic, Christian and Islamic. Don’t do what God says and you’re screwed. How is that not terrorism?

  83. Wyrdson, individuals violating civil rights are not evidence of terrorism, or a campaign of repression. You need a declaration by the organization supporting these acts DIRECTLY to make that connection. Guilt by implication is just prejudice.

    I was referring to this:

    where two striking miners dropped a cement block from a bridge on a taxi carrying a scab to a work site, killing the completely innocent taxi driver. If rhetoric from the Union forgives it of this obvious case of trying to prevent scabbing by threatening life and creating fear of traveling to the mine, then the police force MUST be forgiven in EXACTLY the same way. To find the police guilty in this way, but not the Union is a clear case of prejudice.

    In short, if the Union is not a terrorist organization for the acts of fear by its members, then the LAPD is not guilty of terrorism for the acts of its members.

  84. The comment about Osama bin Laden not believing that he was orchestrating terrorist attacks is more important than has been recognized. Everyone in this debate seems to agree that whatever Osama bin Laden THOUGHT, he certainly DID order/help fund/inspire terrorism.

    Police and legal officials take a variety of oaths having to do with upholding the law, legal order, and the like. Taking that at face value is silly. Words have meaning in context, after all.

    Broadly speaking, intent of action matters far less than effect of action, and of even less importance is what the actor SAYS of the action. And whether one is a good guy or a bad guy is irrelevant to determing the effect of an action. (As a side note, FBI interrogators don’t torture foreign terror suspects because they want intelligence about evolving and future threats more than a conviction, and know damn well that treating a human with respect engenders the same over time. When bad guys do this, it’s called ‘Stockholme Syndrome.”)

    Final attempt to surround the issue obtusely: There is no need to fear to approach an officer of the law if one is not engaged in criminal activity. Very, very few of us are confortable being approached by the police. Change the verb from active passive, and the heart rate goes up by half again-plus. That’s not fear of change happening in the switch, it’s the fear that whether you have done something wrong matters far less than whether the officer of the law believes you have done so.

    So…, what do we call an organization whose purpose is to protect property, even at the expense of human life? Further, this is in a system in which stability is a critical aspect of continued growth of established property, which also becomes a positive good to protect? Best to make a few examples, get the word out that we’re serious, y’all/youse better knock it off: this is called “nipping it in the bud.”

    The police, generally, are about protecting a system through laws. That’s all it says. If the system is one of perfect justice, hard to imagine why we need the police. Of course, ain’t no perfect justice this side of heaven, so every social system will have its ills, sure. Marx observed (not particularly originally) that social systems seem to get up by them that have to keep what they have from them that don’t have. But what Marx did add was see a direction in the way that these systems changed over time, with greater productivity yielding more haves and less oppressive systems. Sucked to be a serf, but not as bad as it sucked to be a slave. This does not mean that being a wage slave isn’t a step up from serfdom, but a wage-salvery system (okay, capitalism) is just another way of them that got keeping it from them that ain’t.

    Such systems will make examples of systemic threats to keep them from spreading. It’s usually the job of the basic police to do this, because the laws are there to protect property and usually can be made to serve and their servitors to. And style plays into this — can anyone imagine what Rudy Giuliani would have done differently than Bloomberg did? Not in ultimate objective, but just how?

    If one party to this argument is thinking of police as agents of a system that is itself unjust and provocative of challenges (which themselves are more on the side of justice), and another party to the argument more or less takes what organizations say about themselves (when corroborated by other official public sources) at face value, — well, in this context, don’t see how the argument can go forward.

  85. Way to go, Steven, for telling things as they are!

    I’ve been a fan of yours since I was 15, almost 10 years ago when I borrowed a copy of Dragon from my local library.


  86. JP “This does not mean that being a wage slave isn’t a step up from serfdom, but a wage-salvery system (okay, capitalism) is just another way of them that got keeping it from them that ain’t.”


    Of the top 5 richest people in the world right now, did ANY of them inherit their fortune?


    Bill Gates began a software enterprise wiht his mother doing reception. And turne dit into an empire. A “have-not” became the ultimate “have”.

    Others started with even less.

    Capitalism is a competition, and only a fool believes that all men are created equally Get super-rich takes a combination of entrepreneurial spirit (often crushed by people saying things liek the above, that it is useless to try), the capacity to notice an opportunity (often innate and not a learned skill), hard work (oppressed by those that demand no one should work more than others), charisma (totally environmental, but a part of every environment from teh slums to the hills), and total blind luck of being in the right place at the right time. Look through the top 100 richest people, and you’ll see that pattern repeated over and over.

    But people don’t try. DOn’t have the ambition. Grow complacent with their lives. Fear change. Fear risk. Capitalism doesn’t keep them poor. They do that themselves.

    Because they listen to negative comments like that.

  87. If you think Bill Gates was a have not, you are misinformed. The main opportunity that gave Bill the chance to become one of the first software experts was being in a wealthy neighborhood that got time shared computers before most colleges had access.

  88. That makes him a billionaire “have” to start? He was solid middle class, with a lawyer father, but hardly a millionaire’s kid born with a silver spoon in his mouth and not in your infamous 1%. At the very least he increased his family wealth by over 10000% and jumped from middle-middle class to upper-upper class. You can’t say he was slowed by a class barrier. Nor can you say that about anyone in the top 5.

    And that is only one of the top 5 examples. Did you even look at the history of the currently wealthiest man in the world? Or just gut react the most well known example. Are you certain none of the 5 were dirt poor to start? Checked the history of the family that started Walmart? How about the top 100? Looked into all of them?

    Because I only need to find ONE.

    Like Mike Mathers. Gene Simmons. Or any of a thousand sports stars. That’s an obvious vector for exiting poverty. Didn’t happen historically? Marylin Monroe. Capitalism isn’t limited to business methods for entering the 1%. The fundamental competition in the sports indusrty is a direct parallel to the competition between employees, stores, and industries under Capitalism. Winners sell product.

    I won’t pretend that the upper class begins with an inherent advantage. That’s obvious. But that the disadvantage cannot be overcome is clearly just rhetoric and does not stand up to close examination.

  89. People who want everyone to start from exactly the same place are looking to deny cause and effect. Good luck with that. You can’t have your cake and eat it too. Equality of rights and equality of results are too entirely different things.

  90. Kreistor- I can’t believe I am bothering to answer your latest inanity, but demonstrating that American style capitalism can turn a tiny handful of middle class into super-upper class does not demonstrate the fairness of the system. Not when millions of other have suffered a steady degradation of their political and economic power. So, the beneficiaries of capitalism are somehow randomly chosen, rather than the inheritors of their parents’ wealth? Even if it is true, it only shows that the wealthy are fools to support it as well.

    As for your contention that the entertainment industry is somehow a meritocracy that rewards hard work, that is pure ignorance. You can not believe that chance played no part in the rise of moguls and sports stars. For every success, there are 1,000 others just as hard working and talented, who don’t make it because they went to the wrong school, or were injured or sick before the big game/performance, or just are never recognized by the starmakers. The myth that any poor child can rise to stardom is fostered for the same reason that the lottery is pushed so hard: it is a safety valve for the discontent that would otherwise flow from oppression and lack of opportunity.

  91. People who want everyone to start from exactly the same place are looking to deny cause and effect. Good luck with that. You can’t have your cake and eat it too. Equality of rights and equality of results are too entirely different things.

  92. Wyrdson,

    The beneficiaries of capitalism are not randomly chosen, unless you count the lottery. Those who worker harder, more efficiently, or more creatively tend to benefit more than those who don’t.

    On the issue of inherited wealth, over the long term is ceases to be an issue. While the right hand side of the bell curve overachievers establish great wealth, it is only a matter of time before heirs who are much closer to the left hand side of the bell curve squander it all.

    Look what happens to most lottery winners. They or their heirs rarely stay wealthy long.

  93. So, if the police and other governmental organizations are acting in a fashion that appears like mob rule I’m minded of what Heinlein wrote in “Methusla’s Children”: “I am not in danger from my friends and neighbors, and you are not in danger from your friends and neighbors; but you are in danger from my friends and neighbors and I am in danger from yours.”
    Sure, lots of people know nice, friendly cops, and these cops would never assult them; but put them in an “enforcement” situation with strangers and they do as they are told.

  94. Wyrdson wrote, “I can’t believe I am bothering to answer your latest inanity, but demonstrating that American style capitalism can turn a tiny handful of middle class into super-upper class does not demonstrate the fairness of the system.”

    As Ethan stated, what is “fair”? There are two sides to the socialist coin. While a disadvantaged person is aided by social programs, the advantaged are hurt by having their wealth taken from them. Those that have studied and worked hard to gain their possessions would say that it is unfair that dropouts that squandered their highschool years on drugs and parties should be allowed to steal their hard work, just because they lacked the insight to see that their opportunities would be limited by that hedonism. Don’t try to tell me that people don’t hamstring themselves.

    And “Not when millions of other have suffered a steady degradation of their political and economic power.”

    What a load of socialist tripe. You have no less political power than your grandparents, and far more than your great-great-grandparents. The number of poeple below the poverty line in Canada and the US has remained steady, while population rises, making the percentage of the population in the lower class diminish. The wealth of the average citizen relative to the poverty line has RISEN constantly. People compare themselves to the 1%… that is no measure of relative wealth to poverty, only to the mightily advantaged. We’re poorer because the really wealthy have proportionally more, even when you have proportionally more than the true poor? Hardly.

    And how on earth are you measuring “economic power”? People can still start businesses the old fashioned way… by walking into a bank, making a good case for their enterprise, and getting the loans necessary. That has always been their strongest economic power, and it still works. We still have corner stores, specialty stores, and amall+medium business are still the largest employers in our countries by far. I don’t know what “economic power” you think you have lost, but you have always voted with your wallet by buying the best product available for you, and not forced to buy what some socialist think tank thinks will do the job as happened in the Soviet Bloc. There is more competition in the economy than ever before, with more manufacturers, more varieties… go back to the 50’s and tell me how many toasters sat on the shelves to choose from. And now?

    “As for your contention that the entertainment industry is somehow a meritocracy that rewards hard work”

    I said no such thing. I said it was a vector to get out of lower class and into upper class. The previous poster demanded that you can’t cross class boundaries, and that’s easily proven wrong. There is no limit of examples in every industry: I chose visible ones that should have inspired absolutely no debate. You have completely misrepresented my position to create a straw-man argument that I never supported.

  95. Interesting conversation Mr. Brust. You certainly know how to get a reaction. I like the insight into law enforcement. I hadn’t considered the use of terror a necessity before.

    I am forced to agree that I prefer it to being shot. I suppose that will have to do for now.


  96. Zaphod (#104): What do you mean by “wealthy neighborhood that got time shared computers before most colleges had access”? Neighborhoods didn’t get computer access, people (generally due to status like being a student at a particular school or an employee of a particular company or in a particular summer program) did.

  97. Well, an examination of the successful members of Western society will clearly show you that a relatively deep presence on the psychopathic spectrum is the most guaranteed path to success.

    People may warble talking points about hard working small business owners and those awful liberal arts students stealing their tax dollars but at the end of the day, the ability to profit at the expense of others with no sense of guilt is what gets you to the top.

    Fun fact #1- people on the psychopathology spectrum lacking in business acumen often gravitate to professions where they can wield power in a more direct sense. Professions like the police force and the military.

    Fun fact #2 – there are a LOT of psychopathological people in our society. The stereotype of crazed killers is incorrect – many function perfectly well in society, they just lack certain emotional response systems.

    Fun fact #3 – I’d say there is strong support for an evolutionary background to the persistence of psychopaths in human society (they are natural survivors) and their rise to many dominant roles has allowed them to shape social conventions to *protect* them. So many of the conservative talking points you hear are simply ways of encouraging the sheep to lie down with the wolves. And no, you don’t get politically progressive psychopaths…

    Also, as an inhabitant of a nation far away from the US I’d just like to say YOU PEOPLE SCARE ME. Not all of you, just those of you who endorse aggression against your own people should they dare to speak freely about the inequality clearly inherent in your society.

    The rest of you I want to hug :)

  98. Geez, Kreistor.

    All’s I said was that you don’t even begin to glimpse how some of us understand the police to agents enforcing a system that is inherently unjust. And those who agree with the above, don’t get your reliance on what the system has to say about itself. It’s a communication problem, not sharing common definitions of the most basic things.

    To wit:

    Mr Gates did not invent the computer, did not invent the desktop computer, did not develop the idea of either basic OS nor one for a desktop platform, did not invent the electrical grid, did not develop the internet, but has benefitted tremendously from all of them.

    Through the critical element of luck (right time, right place, and, I’d add, right way of getting his idea to market).

    So, his wealth-generating machine benefitted inordinately from IBM, EDS, Apple, various co-ops and for-profit enterprises, the Rural Electrification Commision and the TVA, Ma Bell, and DARPA. Plus right time right place.

    One of several exceptions that proves the rule. You can come up with hundreds of examples through publications like Forbes. I can come up with hundreds of throusands through various US dailies, the US Census Bureau and similar public sources.

    But highjacking the argument about domestic terrorism to argue that Bill Gates or anyone else deserves their obscene level of wealth (in light of the widespread poverty in their respectuve societies) sorta misses the point, yeah?

  99. Maybe I’m showing my naivite here, but I’ve always thought that police forces don’t have a political agenda–presumably they have an agenda of sorts, but I’ve never thought it was a political one. Therefore perhaps it isn’t the police forces that are defined under Brust’s definition as terrorists, but the governments that weild them.

    News and media services often use fear for both non-political and political ends. So presumably when they’re using it for political ends, they’re terrorists, and the rest of the time they’re just scaring people.

    This is an interesting thread–especially the definition-of-terrorism part. I’ve always thought that it was the result that made a terrorist, not the motivation. But that falls down when you think of serial murderers–nobody, I think, has ever thought that a madman weilding an axe for no particular reason, whose actions scare people into staying inside, was a terrorist.

    As for the hopping the class divide–I wouldn’t say that ‘anyone’ can do it. I’ve worked with working-class, was raised by middle-class, and was educated at a school with the upper-class. The greatest difference between them seems to be in the assumptions they have been raised in. The things the upper-class think as normal–that they have a right to be waited on in restaurants (when they want to, rather than when the waiters have time), that if they have a problem they can change the situation, rather than work through the problem itself–are things that I, raised as middle-class, never thought of. The things that the working-class assumed–that it is normal to be stuck in a job that you dislike, that it would be impossible to find anything in common with your high-class boss’ boss because you’re just that fundementally different–those are things I had never thought of, either.

    The thing about what you think is ‘normal’, your assumptions about the world, is that it’s incredibly hard to tell what they are. I still haven’t figured out what mine are–what privliges I assume, what restrictions I impose on myself. Hopping the class divide, I think, isn’t about working hard–the working class work harder than any other, from what I’ve seen–but about circumventing your assumption that ‘you can’t do that’ (and then working hard in a different way). You can circumvent it by accident, by epithany, but if you don’t, I’m pretty sure you just stay where you are.

  100. Cegorach: thank you for the completely prejudiced, totally unstudied bunch of urban myths yet. Thank you for perpetrating stereotypes and planting yourself entirely in the same category as the KKK.

    That others do it doesn’t make it right for you to.

    “All’s I said was that you don’t even begin to glimpse how some of us understand the police to agents enforcing a system that is inherently unjust. ”

    Unjust to whom, specifically? I’ll do a strawman example, because I know there are a bunch of approaches.

    The legal system is unfair to the poor because they can’t afford the best lawyers.

    False. This is not a flaw of the legal system, but of an economic system that permits wealth. The idea that all lawyers are equally talented is delusional, just as trying to suggest that you’re as good a basketball player as Jordan in his prime. Even in a totally flat income system, that disparity of legal talent can’t disappear. One person is always going to have superior or inferior representation, and all you’re doing is changing the method of selection from monetary wealth to blind luck, if you do not permit lawyers to differentiate and charge differently. There is no possible system where everyone is equally well represented.

    If the police are enforcing an unjust system, then it is not the police’s fault. You blame them for the laws that do not fail the constitutional tests that could discard them, but that is not, and never was, their job. Introducing the idea that police should enforce laws based on “conscience” is foolish, because you don’t get to define what a cop’s “conscience” should tell him. Different people have different concepts of morality, so by suggesting a cop should pick and choose the laws he applies, you are placing him in a position where he can enforce a subset of the law to his OWN choosing, not YOURS. That is what leads to police abuse of the system, and ensures that what you don’t want to happen (to whit, police enforcing an unjust system) definitely happens (since the police can nowredefine Justice to mean whatever is convenient to the individual officer, ensuring an inconsistent system).

    Emziln: “those are things I had never thought of, either.”

    I guess I’m just too arrogant. Despite lower-middle class upbringing, I never had a problem talking to anyone in a company.

  101. Unstudied? I bow to your superior knowledge of the field of psychology and humbly take on board your prejudicial perspective of a serious mental illness, while shamefully doffing my white pointed hat in the face of your no doubt extensive experience in matters psychopathological.

    I’ll also email all the researchers in the field and tell them to burn their work as clearly their, and my, use of the term ‘spectrum’ is all about enforcing ‘stereotypes’. I’ll just tell them to get in touch with you so you can write them a small novel or two to set them straight.

    Also, while I applaud your desire to force your ideological views down the throats of others while villifying anyone else engaging in same, I’d like to suggest that maybe if you calmed down and paid more attention you’d get a more free flowing discourse.

    For example. JP queries why the police support an unjust *system*. You seem not to think beyond the obvious and immediately launch into a sprawling tirade on the legal system, ending with a sweet, sweet passive aggressive sting in the tail.

    Just putting it out there, but given the context of where the discussion has gone (due in no small part to yourself), do you think that maybe the *system* that JP refers to, and so clearly needs your wisdom regarding, might not actually be simply the legal system? Now before you hop up on the box ,I do know that the legal system is the one directly related to law enforcement. However, and this might get rocky so hold on, there are certain schools of thought who suggest some things might have an effect beyond their direct role of action. Like for example, the legal system being just one of the tools used to perpetuate the inequalities of late stage kleptocracy (or capitalism as you may know it).

    Before replying, realising that in this case admitting to error would allow you to write ANOTHER stinging diatribe to put the hand waving anarchists in their place!

    Wow, this rambling, passive aggressive unfounded ad hominem stuff is GREAT, I can see why you do it!

  102. Oh by the way, as I am not a North American, please understand the term of reference to use in regards to my post is ‘sardonic’ and towards the more positive, even instructive, end of the spectrum. If you believe in those sorts of things that is.

  103. Cegorach:
    “However, and this might get rocky so hold on, there are certain schools of thought who suggest some things might have an effect beyond their direct role of action. Like for example, the legal system being just one of the tools used to perpetuate the inequalities of late stage kleptocracy (or capitalism as you may know it).”

    In this age of 1-4% margins, I have no idea how anyone can think of Capitalism being in a state of theft. You are getting almost everything you buy at darn near cost for the retailer. They are all operating on the knife edge of bankruptcy. And having worked for the manufacturers, I know their mark-ups are 2-15%, depending on level of competition. (I was stunned at my first price-setting meeting, and actually said, “How can we survive on that kind of margin? You haven’t included development costs!” Company didn’t survive, actually.)

    Can’t comment on distributors and shippers, though. Don’t know their margins. Do know shipping costs rise with fuel, though.

    The only thing you demonstrate when you call Capitalism theft is that you have no familiarity with the actual system as it is implemented today. You base your ideas on theory, instead of practical application.

    “towards the more positive, even instructive, end of the spectrum.”

    As determined by whom? People have told you that your sardonic attitude is a positive experience for others? Or is that your self-delusion speaking? No one gets to hear themselves, and no one gets to determine how others receive their words. You will never see me characterize my own presentation. That is for the reader to decide. Maybe you hope that you achieve that goal, but I assure you, you instruct me not. “the legal system being one of the tools” is just more socialist drivel, repeated over and over and just as helpful as quoting stats out of Guinness. It’s tired old rhetoric, uncreative and lacking in unique insight. Sardonic attitudes are unhelpful, because they are inherently insulting and they only make you feel big when you use them in a place with a predetermined audience that supports you.

    I know I am on enemy ground here. I’m not saying what everyone wants to hear.

    But what I do want to teach, if anything, is something from the Art of War, by Sun Tzu.

    “Know your enemy and yourself, and you will never lose.”

    So many socialists do not know their enemy. They read what they want to hear, create constructs of thought, and wonder why their solutions fail. They failed because you didn’t understand the people you were trying to help. You didn’t understand the system you were trying to replace. You thought you were smarter than those you fought against. You fail because you only know yourself, and have much to learn about the enemy. The self-declared Intelligentsia blind themselves in their belief of their own superiority.

  104. I’m a socialist?

    I’d better go update my birth certificate then!

    Thank you so much for the education, it’s clear that my government-funded liberal arts background has left me woefully unprepared for the realities of existence.

    I can but aspire to be as open-minded and knowledgeable of others as yourself.

    So, while tempting as it is to make any one of a number of jokes at your horrendous lack of humour, I’ll just say –

    You paint such a pity-inducing picture of capitalism, industry just scraping by on the leanest of margins, working their fingers to the bone with none of the gold plated yachts the filthy socialists keep moaning about.

    It sounds terrible, I mean schoolbook Communism terrible, since in your picture apparently no one is reaping massive benefits.

    So I ask – is there any way I can donate to these poor starving capitalists?

    Do they take Paypal?

  105. The ones that lose on their investments, sure. Investment is risk, and some people lose their bets. I know a millionaire that lost everything. Said he almost committed suicide. But he went back to work as a salesman, moved into life coach, and you can find him in Toronto Ontario. How you respond to adversity demonstrates strength of character. I didn’t like the guy, but he kept it together and found a way back. Through hard work he didn’t want to do. Just like everyone else at the bottom.

    So laugh about his life for me. Mock him for investing in the wrong company, and seeing millions slip into nothing. Go ahead. Show me what lesson you could teach that is superior to his very life, that demonstrates that you can come back from losing everything.

    Sorry, but you are the laughable one here. You’ve got nothing. You could make jokes, but life is not a joke for all too many, from the rich to the poor… who are the same people more often than you realize.

  106. Wow. Just wow.

    I honestly do get the notion that everything is fair, that millionaires are hard-workers who deserve every damn thing they have. I don’t believe it, because I have a different understanding of the world in which we live than those who “taught” me that view of the world. And I still read widely enough in publications that support entirely that view of the world, because I believe it’s important to know where people are coming from.

    Because… If you cannot counter an argument on its own basis, you’ll never actually communicate with the other side, just exchange insults and polemics — which is what I’ve read in this entire thread.

    How did Bill Gates “earn” his tremendous wealth? I gave you the story as I understand it, and earn it he did not, just a longer-term lottery system combined with knowledge of how to avoid anti-trust law (for the most part) and wipe out the competition so his company coujd be an effective monopoly (except for the Apple weirdos, and the Linux nerds).

    Capitalism, without the kind of adjustments that socialist generally call for as the basis for a more just system, and which the capitalist system admits on the barest precepts because the wiser heads running those systems can recognize, will ruin itself when run only on its own logic.

    This explains why Bismark’s government granted far more to workers than any other government of the time in Europe. Without those adjustments, the possibility of labor peace in his state would have approached nil, and that would weaken the capitalist system.

    The current economic crisis, which would be even worse than the Great Depression if not for the social safety nets established in response to that and subsequent crises, is precisely the result of the capitalist system running according to its own logic:

    Make as much money as you can, screw everything else.

    And everything else includes the long view.

    Thanks to Ronald Reagan, Georger H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush and the Congresses with which they worked, the country in which I live (the U.S.) has the most unequal districution of income and wealth than any but 41 other nations in the world — according to the CIA World Fact Book. Yep, a step worse than Lesotho and a step better than Bulgaria.

    Why? Combination of the tax code ever lower for the wealthy while staying the same for everyone else, doing everything possible to destroy unions, and tax policies that make it ever easier for companies to ship jobs overseas. That has let the rich get richer, at the expense of everyone else. And yes, the stratification of wealth (in this country, at least) has become more, not less, entrenched.

    Pontificate to the choir all you want. ‘Til you actually argue with an awareness of a point of view other than your own, you are truly doing no more than speaking in your own echo chamber.

  107. “The current economic crisis, which would be even worse than the Great Depression if not for the social safety nets established in response to that and subsequent crises, is precisely the result of the capitalist system running according to its own logic:”

    This is a funny statement. The current economic crisis could not have happened without the socialist policies of the government trying to level the field. Period. Without it, the idiot investments would never have been made because the risk could not have been off-loaded.

  108. Uh, no.

    “The current economic crisis could not have happened without the socialist policies of the government trying to level the field. Period. Without it, the idiot investments would never have been made because the risk could not have been off-loaded.”

    That isn’t even funny in the delusional-people-are-funny sense.

    The so-called sub-prime mortgage crisis happened at all because folks working for mortgage companies were incentivized to approve and book as many mortgages as possible without the necessity of anything like the knowledge that the buyer could pay the loan. Loans were offered on terms that a sizable percentage of buyers could not remotely afford. So no surprise there that the whole thing could come tumbling down.

    Incentivizing short-term profits over any form of common sense is basic to capitalism. (An idea structure that calls something like pollution an “externality” that has no bearing on the system is divorced from common sense at an early age.) Still, without a particularly idiotic act of deregulation, this would have been little more than a repeat on a grander scale of the S&L crisis of the 1990s.

    However, thanks to the repeal of the Glass-Steagal Act, big banks could get into areas that have nothing to do with banking, like mortgage-backed securities and derivative swaps. So when the mortgage mess blew up, it took down a few banking houses, and threatened a cascading fall of most of the rest of the global financial system.

    Saving those banks had nothing to do with Socialism or even socialism. (In either case, it would have been a case of , okay you screwed up, now we own AND run your institutions the way we see fit. Never happened.) Rather, the bailouts had everything to do with keeping the global economy humming. All those doohickeys we buy from China and elsewhere, and all the thing-a-ma-jigs we ship elsewhere would have stopped where they were, credit to anything would have frozen, and like the tin man without oil, the whole shebang would have tipped over. And IF that had been allowed to happen, socialism would have been among the milder possible consequences.

    System saved itself. For the cost of bailing out the big banks, we could have paid down half of all the mortgages and had people refinance with the equity and solved most of the deal. But that would have screwed the banks at the expense of the majority. We opted for the reverse.

    Under no sane understanding does that even approach egalitarianism.

  109. Uh, yes.

    “That isn’t even funny in the delusional-people-are-funny sense.”

    Ha Ha.

    “Incentivizing short-term profits over any form of common sense is basic to capitalism. ”

    Absolutely false. Capitalism is based on both short and long-term goals. The only reason people behaved irresponsibly was that they were allowed to by knowing that they would be absolved of responsibility since someone else will always pick up the pieces and bail them out. When not held accountable or responsible for their actions, people begin to be less responsible.

    We do not live in a capitalist society. We live in a mixed economy, which is the wowrse of both worlds.

  110. “I honestly do get the notion that everything is fair”

    Where on EARTH did I say anything in life is “fair”. I watched a 19 year old girl waste away to bone cancer. I know unfair. My aunt was left mentally retarded from a childhood illness. Totally unfair. Nature does not create all people equally capable in all things, so some people will make money easily, and others will not have a clue how to get rich. Change the system, and most of those same people will still figure out how to make their lives better.

    “How did Bill Gates “earn” his tremendous wealth?”

    He hung around a computer group as a neophyte, was the only one smart enough to talk to the IBM suits looking for an OS, converted a bit of Freeware into an OS for them, sold it to IBM for darn near nothing, then forced the clone makers to pay through the nose for his OS because they all wanted to be IBM compatible. He saw an opportunity where others were lead by paranoia, he undercut any possible competition, and then found the way to make billions. Good business acumen, and nothing improper about any of it. No one else WANTED to deal with IBM. The only possibly unethical thing he did was the OS conversion to DOS, but by the time anyone else got their hands on the code, he had changed it enough to no longer be recognizable anyway.

    You can find anti-trust in some of MS’s dealings, but it’s only a tiny fraction of their value, not the lion’s share. Millions, not trillions. For instance, putting anti-browser code in wasn’t making them big bucks, since IE was only a tiny part of the overall OS, and browser companies have never been big money earners.

    “The current economic crisis, which would be even worse than the Great Depression if not for the social safety nets established in response to that and subsequent crises, is precisely the result of the capitalist system running according to its own logic:”

    The current global crisis is not an issue of Capitalism, but of poor implementation of economic theory.

    There are TWO parts to Lord Keynes’ theories. You are familiar with one. It is called Stimulus this recession. Spend on roads and building projects to get construction worlers spenidng money, because they (classically) spend more of their income, which causes secondary economic growth, which causes tertiary, etc. We’ve used that to exit every recession since WW2 quickly.

    The second part is that in the good times between recessions, you pay off the debt in order to have the borrowing room for the next recession’s Stimulus. A low-profile Austerity if you will, since you’re not supposed to be in massive debt from one recession’s Stimulus. Unfortunately, only one nation paid off any debt since 1957 when most Western nations finished paying off their massive WW1 and WW2 debt loads. That was mine, Canada. Canada successfully negotiated the recession relatively unscathed, despite massive amounts of our economy devoted to export to the USA, because our Stimulus isn’t bankrupting us. We paid off debt from ’95-’08, cutting about 20% down.

    The economists had the knowledge to prevent this crisis. Only one nation listened to the Central Bank that was warning them of the coming crisis. BTW, that prophet was John Crow, Governor of the Bank of Canada. he warned about this in 1987. Quite a crystal ball, don’t you think?

    The problem isn’t in the Capitalists. It’s in the Politicians. They gave you all you wanted in promises paid with borrowed money, when they should have been balancing budgets. they bought your votes with added debt load. it doesn’t matter what it was for… you didn’t vote them out for deficit financing.

    Intersting factoid: every budget Ronald Reagan submitted to Congress was balanced. Every budget he got back from the Senate was deficit financed. Look it up, if you don’t believe me. Yet you blame Reagan. Hunh.

    “Saving those banks had nothing to do with Socialism or even socialism.”

    No, it had to do with preventing a Run on the Banks, and Depression, just as you said. That’s how the Great Depression started… with a Run on the Banks. When people lose trust in one bank, they Run on it to get some of their money back. And that gets infectious, and like in the GD, they Run on healthy banks, too. That’s why the Fractional banking laws were enacted to force Banks to keep a %age of Savings in the vaults (it’s 10% in the USA now? or 5%? i forget. 0% in Canada, though, but the Bank of Canada protects Savings up to $100K, so it’s not necessary). This was done to ensure that if a Run happened, the banks could always give back 10c on the dollar immediately in such an emergency. (Or do you believe that BS the anarchists cooked up for Youtube about fractional banking creating money? It’s a Law. Look it up in a Law book, not Youtube. Total disinformation designed to bring down your gov.)

    The head of the Fed wanted to let that first bank that reported its failure go under as a warning. It’s clearly stated in the record of this crisis. But a bunch of the other bankers came and told him it was too late… they were ALL going under. He reversed that decision because the warning was years too late.

    “All those doohickeys we buy from China and elsewhere”

    What’s wrong with that? People buy what THEY want. You don’t get an opinion on other people’s wants.

    And since taxes are generated off GDP, and GDP is generated off money moving… anything that makes money move faster and more often generates taxes that pay for social programs. More doohickeys = more economy = more taxes = more social programs. That’s why the Soviet Union had crappy social programs. No internal economy meant no taxes. Well, one of the reasons.

    “For the cost of bailing out the big banks, we could have paid down half of all the mortgages and had people refinance with the equity and solved most of the deal.”

    Source, please. This is, frankly, pure BS. The cost of propping up the banks was chicken feed compared to the mortgages, since it was only the toxic mortgages allowed by deregulation that were dragging the financiers down. And since the Banks did NOT get this money for free (your gov is now a 1/4-1/3rd stakeholder in all bailed out banks, so if they make dividends, your gov is raking in up to 1/3rd of it), if you parallel it, the mortgages would simply change ownership to the gov from the banks, NOT become free housing. The banks didn’t get the money free, so the homeowners shouldn’t, either.

    “The so-called sub-prime mortgage crisis happened at all because folks working for mortgage companies were incentivized to approve and book as many mortgages as possible without the necessity of anything like the knowledge that the buyer could pay the loan.”

    1/2 the story. It’s right, but there’s one more bit of nastiness. The bankers knew that these were high risk. They thought, “If these go bad and threaten us with bankruptcy, the Fed will bail us out. They always bail us out as a defense against Depression.” So they thought there was no risk: if the mortgages worked out, lots of profit. If they didn’t, they’d be kept stable by the Fed.

    Ooops, first came for the bailout and found the Fed saying, “No, you’re going to be an object lesson.” Already discussed that above. Fed saying no scared the beejeebers out of them, because that was different.

    “Capitalism is based on both short and long-term goals.”

    Capitalism is not inherently based on either. Some Capitalists want slow steady profit. Others want to get rich quick. That’s why there are so many varieties of investment strategies offered for your retirement savings plans.

  111. @Kreistor:
    [Gates] was the only one smart enough to talk to the IBM suits looking for an OS, converted a bit of Freeware into an OS for them, sold it to IBM for darn near nothing, then forced the clone makers to pay through the nose

    This overlooks his leaping the barrier to getting a meeting with IBM through his mom’s connections, something other untried software publishers didn’t have, that he sold them an OS without having one to sell, and that he ended up buying a clone product (Q-DOS) of an existing OS (CP/M) already available from IBM. Essentially, he sold them a knockoff of something they already had, so of course he was able to undercut the price of the licensing.

  112. Wow, that article is totally kind to Bill.

    1) Bill didn’t buy QDOS. Paterson claimed for decades (and on several documentaries) that QDOS was freeware and Bill committed an illegal act selling it. Problem was, they couldn’t prove Bill had actually used it except through de-compiling, which wasn’t considered adequate for a legal case at the time. He had some philosophical reasons for not going after Bill, too. Not sure when Paterson changed that tune, but I’ll bet it took a boatload of cash.

    2) IBM didn’t “seek out” Microsoft. They went to one of the hobbyist gatherings looking for anyone with an OS that could do their job. Bill talked to them. No one else did. There are lots of interviews on record from people that saw Bill talking to suits at that meet. No “Mom” involved at all. She was only his receptionist, called in to make Microsoft look professional when IBM came to his new storefront.

    3) Selling something you haven’t made yet is perfectly normal engineering practice. Edison pretty much made that an art form, and it’s standard engineering practice today. There is nothing heinous about it. Brust sells books that he hasn’t written yet. Why can’t Bill sell software he hasn’t written yet?

    As for the cost of writing an OS? Me and three other guys wrote an OS more complex than DOS in one week in 1990. (Ours was an RT OS, and far superior and more complex.) 20 other teams in our class did it in 2-3 weeks. Bill might not have been able to write it on his own, but if one wasn’t available for him to convert, he could have grabbed a bunch of the hobbyists and knocked DOS out in a couple weeks. Couple thousand bucks, tops: he just had to make sure they had no idea it was headed for IBM.

  113. Since I was so clearly put in my place by the mighty Kreistor regarding sociopaths, I’ll avoid discussing the fascinating confluence of authoritarian-libertarian views and psychological conditions such as paranoia, mania and narcissism.

    Anyway, the evidence speaks for itself.

  114. I find that statement most interesting because I could find no place in this thread where we ever discussed “sociopaths”.

  115. My favorite hobby is watching people desperate for the last word that have added absolutely nothing to the conversation squirm in their irrelevant attempts to gain an ego boost.

    At worst, I have acted as a foil for others to present their opinions. What exactly have you achieved? Or are you just an ego leech?

  116. My hobby is observing the hypocrisy apparent in authoritarian cognitive dissonance.

    Your last post was very fulfilling in that respect but I’d place good money on the fact said cognitive dissonance would prevent you from grasping why.

  117. Love your books Steve, but it saddens me to see that you demonstrated against George Wallace. He was a great man(unless you’re one of those fellows who was anti-segregation).

    More importantly, where’s your next Taltos novel? I need the massively convoluted plots that only you seem to be capable of writing to satisfy my literary dietary requirements.

  118. Yeah, I was and am against segregation. I assume that was irony, Mike?

    I’m working on Hawk now. Been stuck for a couple of weeks dealing with the death of an ex-lover and my sister’s surgery, but I got a bit done today so I should be getting back in the groove. Thanks for asking.

  119. C: “My hobby is observing the hypocrisy apparent in authoritarian cognitive dissonance.”

    That would be cool, except you haven’t proven I’m authoritarian, and have not demonstrated any inconsistencies in my stance. You assume I am because I argue against socialists. Your assumptions don’t hurt me.

    Steven: “Yeah, I was and am against segregation.”

    We agree on that. Unfortunately, a study in Toronto involving disenfranchised young black boys has cast some doubt on it.

    It involves culture. First, understand that Canadian demographics are radically different. We didn’t have Slavery to the US extreme, and though the underground railroad ended near Chatham Ontario, the freed slaves tended to return to the US to free their family. So blacks are a much smaller %age of our population.

    The young black boys had adopted US hip-hop culture, and no longer identified with anyone else. And given their individual isolation due to demographics, they were not getting the same peer feedback for positive behavior (ie. good test scores), so were failing. The boys didn’t identify with teachers because they couldn’t identify with their chosen hip-hop culture, so they couldn’t get through the barriers the boys threw up.

    In an experiment just 3 years ago, all of these boys were taken for a year to a single class with a black male teacher. Suddenly, they were positively supporting each others’ success and providing peer support. the black male could identify with their chosen culture and break down the boys’ barriers, and the boys themselves were congratulating each other on how smart they really were, providing positive feedback.

    There was a lot of pressure to end the program and I don’t know where it is now. People complained that more money was being spent on these boys than other students (true, but only really in busing them to the single location), and felt that was unfair to everyone else. And of course, since it defied the anti-segregation theories, there was pressure against it from the black community, too.

    And I think that points at the real problem that needed (and still needs to be solved) in the US. Equality of education funding may have been responsible for a lot of the problems identified with segregation in the first place. Fewer teachers, older texts, lack of equipment… all of these are known causes of poor education. Anti-segregation solved some of that… but was it the racial inequality, or the financial inequality that was causing poor performance of students?

    I am not arguing for segregation. But I do argue against isolation. I don’t know how to find that delicate balance where as many children get the positive peer feedback that they need. I can solve a lot of problems, but this one is such a mess of idealisms. I tend to prefer to offer solutions rather than just indicate problems, but this time I haven’t got one.

  120. Oh Steve.

    I googled who I thought you may be implying in 138.

    Buddy. I am so, so sorry – for you and everyone else who’s lives she was a part of.

  121. Several people were ranting about Microsoft. Out of varying degrees of ignorance in each case.

    There are plenty of thing to rant about with them BUT they did not steal or rip-off anyone with Q-DOS . They paid for it. It was never open source nor was it free. They did not tell where they got it but neither they disguise it.

    Paterson claims to have created it based on the manual for CP/M to supply a need for a 16bit OS, with no access to the source code. He has worked for MS three different times since then. He does not claim Bill ripped him off and would be bloody weird for him to keep going back to work for MS if he thought way.

    IBM was going to buy CP/M from Gary Kildall but that fell through when he managed to be unavailable the day IBM came, and he knew they were coming.

    MS took a major risk working IBM because IBM paid them pretty much crap in comparison what they got EXCEPT Bill got them to take DOS on a non-exclusive license basis. IBM thought there would never be anyone else to sell DOS to. Bill bet the company on them being wrong.

    Patterson’s website

    Wiki on MS-DOS

    If you want to get closer to the truth the movie Pirates of Silicon Valley is pretty close to reality and is based on Fire the Valley which is even closer. As far as I know it is as close as such a thing can get.

    Another good source is Triumph of the Nerds

    I am pretty sure it lurking on YouTube.

  122. I’m not ignorant. I’m just aware of more than one source. Stories have changed over the years. I don’t deny that is the current story. I just deny that it was always this story.

    And given the “Bill stole Q-DOS” story is the one that disappeared, and Microsoft has a ton of money (and jobs) to throw at someone… well, I am less impressed with the current story than older ones.

  123. The sources I used covered more than one decade.

    Think about what sort of silliness was posted by you guys.

    Free but stolen. Right.

    Paterson was ripped off Bill yet he worked THREE times for Microsoft for a greater amount each time.

    You had bad sources. Or your memory failed you. I have NEVER seen some of those claims and I have been using computers since 1979. For you this may be history, for me, I remember this stuff but had better sense that to just go on my memory.

    Can you actually produce a source for your claims. Bill did not have millions the first time Paterson went to work for him. Try thinking the things you hear from the ignorati on-line through. They often make no sense at all.


  124. That’s the wonderful thing about past sources. They become unavailable. Documentaries stop airing. Books no longer get republished. Cease-and-desist, and all that.

    No, the documentation is no longer available. I, wonder of wonders, didn’t predict the change and make copies of the documentaries or keep the texts. They were oh so stupendously important that I had to keep them.

    Doesn’t make me wrong.

    History can be controlled. All it takes is $. And lawyers.

    Bill stole Q-DOS. He made no deals for it. He seems to have paid after the fact to make the bad press go away. The idea that Paterson cloned CP/M for sale is absurd. At the time, those hobbyists shared everything they did, because there was no computer market to sell into. The Apple 2 didn’t even exist, yet. No PC’s. Only mainframes, and that was Corporate and not of interest to these young kids creating a whole new idea in computing. Paterson cloned CP/M because he could. Cloning, in this way, is a copyright violation… you do realize that, right? It’s called “Look and feel.” He could NOT sell Q-DOS. He can get away with saying he cloned it because he didn’t actually sell it. He never had intent to sell it. He did this so other hobbyists had OS’es and didn’t have to write their own, and that’s all.

    They’ve created a nice believable history for you… but it’s just not quite consistent with the realities of those years.

  125. Some people were around at the time.

    Bill bought the right to use it *on the 8088 processor*. He paid $50,000 for that.

    He then used it on the 80286 and 80386. There was a lawsuit over that. It was eventually settled by Microsoft buying the company that was suing them. (There are more facts there around which a conspiracy theory could easily be built. I’m not reporting them.)

  126. Way too many comments to read. Making a list:

    + FOX News

    + Every key figure at FOX News

    + AIPAC

    + Anti-Defamation League

    + MADD (Terrorizing young college kids into not drinking, what terrible people!)

    + U.S. Department of State

    + Senate Foreign Relations Committee

    + HUAC (I’ll bet you ten grand they’re still out there somewhere…watch out! And stay American!)

    + Isolationists (Complicit in ignoring terrorism = terrorist? Quite an irony to consider…)

    + Former President George W. Bush

    + Former President Andrew Jackson

    + Former President George Washington (Pretty awesome guy, considering he was a terrorist and revolutionary insurgent)

    + Give and take a little, the entire United States Federal Government

    + Well, expanding on that, virtually every federal government in the world, if we’re taking into account structural violence

    + Expanding upon that, every government that has ever ruled any large territory in world history

    Yeah, that should cover it.

    Let’s go ahead and add Alexander the Great, Genghis Khan, and Hitler to that group. Throw Stalin in there too. And those ass holes who ran the Spanish-American colonies, and King Leopold II and the Belgian colonizers of the DR Congo.

    I don’t like Mitt Romney. Let’s add him to the list and see if Bain Capital can buy off the FBI.

    Hm. Let’s also throws Robespierre in there. Just for kicks.

    That should be about it.

    + Glenn Beck.


  127. I forgot about the United States Armed Forces! And every other military in the world. It really isn’t fair to say that one military is a terrorist group and another is not, simply because their orders come from different people. The definition of terrorism as the intentional targeting of civilians is a false veneer. Militaries target civilians. They bomb factories, towns, schools, and residential areas with the intent of demoralizing enemy populations, lowering those populations, and stifling wartime production for the enemy’s troops. Every armed force is a terrorist organization, if we mean to apply the term fairly.

  128. Hmmm… accepted on the dates on DOS vs. Apple 2. I was definitely off on the Apple 2 series. And I have no excuse for not realizing it, because a friend had Mac in ’86, and I knew the Apple 2 shipped long years before the Mac did.

  129. “Bill stole Q-DOS.”

    Your stubborness on this won’t change reality. MS paid for it.

    “He seems to have paid after the fact to make the bad press go away.”

    No. MS was sued by Paterson’s employer. For one megabuck so they didn’t have much to sue MS over.

    “The idea that Paterson cloned CP/M for sale is absurd. ”

    I agree. He didn’t clone it. He reverse engineered the manual.

    “At the time, those hobbyists shared everything they did, because there was no computer market to sell into.”

    You have no idea what you are talking about. It was not some fantasy land. People that work many hours a week need some way to make a living. Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs SOLD the Apple 1. Yes they shared a lot but the really major stuff was sold. On cassette tapes. Those were a pain.

    “The Apple 2 didn’t even exist, yet. ”

    Funny I was using one, well it wasn’t an Apple 2 it was an Apple ][+ the SECOND generation. My brother bought one in 1979. Again you don’t know what your talking about.

    Ah I see you have figured you were wrong on that one. Problem is you have very little at all right.

    “. Only mainframes, and that was Corporate ”

    Get a clue. Bill and Paul wrote a BASIC for the Altair before the Apple 1 was made.

    “Cloning, in this way, is a copyright violation… you do realize that, right?”

    I realize that it wasn’t. He didn’t clone it. He used the manual and reverse engineered it. CP/M was a knock off of Unix.

    “It’s called “Look and feel.” ”

    No. That isn’t copyright. That is a PATENT or TRADEMARK.

    “They’ve created a nice believable history for you… but it’s just not quite consistent with the realities of those years.”

    I lived through it. It would take you just a few minutes of looking around with Google to see how much you had wrong besides the Apple and the Altair which was SOLD and ran MSs BASIC on it, oddly enough Bill and Paul got paid for it.

    Do you really want to keep making silly errors when you can get it right with so little effort.


  130. “And those ass holes who ran the Spanish-American colonies”

    How about Francis Drake? He scared the hell out of the Spaniards. Hated them.


  131. ME: “It’s called “Look and feel.” ”

    Ethelred: “No. That isn’t copyright. That is a PATENT or TRADEMARK.”

    Ah, no. You can’t Patent an operating system. (The restrictions on what software can be patented is pretty severe.) You can’t Trademark an entire operating system, only some symbols that are used by an OS. The way an OS looks is solely covered by Copyright. Bill changed two things — the Drive letters, and “/” to “” in the directory structure — to change the look and feel. Barely enough, but it was enough.

    “Reverse engineering” cannot be done from a manual. Reverse engineering is the systematic analysis of a product to determine functionality. In the case of an OS, it would involve de-compiling it to reproduce the original code.

    Using a manual as a guidebook for developing a product doesn’t really have an official term, but “cloning” would be as accurate as anything else.

  132. This thread is likely dead so this post is probably a waste of time. Nevertheless, Mr Brust, protesting at 13 is utterly righteous. And you’re completely correct about police institutions. I like to give them the finger. It’s a good finger and I’ve been using it regularly for almost 40 years. They used to pull me over but now they just wave and say, “Nice car (it really is a nice car).”. Did the cops get better? No. They got sued (Ekas v Clackamas).

    When people used to ask me why I sued them I told them, “Because I will not tolerate two rules of law.” I am of the firm belief that most people who enter into law enforcement do so from a desire to help. I’m an optimist. I can’t count the number of times I’ve heard about “bad apples” whenever the Police behave badly. It’s either that or “terribly stressful job”.

    Regarding the bad apples. Bullshit! The apples WERE fine, it’s the barrel (police institutions) that’s rotten and if the job is stressful, STFU and quit. I’ve had crappy jobs too and I’ve never shot, tased, bludgeoned, or deployed a chemical weapon against another human being. I’ve wanted to a few times ….

    Oh, and Kriestor, you probably won’t read this but you’re mostly full of shit. Your posts reinforce the idea that you’re one of those “mountains of knowledge” that is expert on all things. You’re not, sorry mate. Oh, and you annoy those of us who are.

    Those are my 2 Imperials, and Mr. Brust, I love your work and I’ve admired it for decades. Now I’m even more impressed … demonstrating at 13 is just bad ass!

  133. One of those guys with the nice car that cops want to see the inside of? Yeah, heard about those pullovers. It’s a slight abuse of power, but it’s also human nature — it’s called curiosity. “Annoying” isn’t “terrorism”.

    I find it interesting that you want one Rule of Law. I assume you hate double standards, then? So do you have an opinion of the terrorist nature of dropping a concrete block on a taxi and killing the driver? Is that terrorism, or are such acts terrorism only when talking about cops? Can you explain the difference between that act and what you criticize the cops for?

  134. A slight abuse of power and merely annoying … Well, I don’t know about the scale you’re using to measure abuses of power. I suspect my scale lacks the subtleties and complexity that yours does. My scale is digital: zero or one, true or false. I don’t really give a shit how grand the abuse. I care more that there are so damn many of them.

    Perhaps in Canada your law enforcement agencies differ from ours. I’ve never been to Canada: I can’t get used to seeing the Queen on all the oddly colored money.

    And, as I have little to no practical experience with what is real in Canada I suspect the same can be said of you and the U.S. Oh, you may have visited a few times, maybe played the tourist and seen the sights. Perhaps you have family here or maybe you lived in one of our cities for a year or so. But, you are Canadian. You will never understand what it is like to be native to America. Before you start, just leave the Meso-Americans out of your reply, and yes, I’m nearly certain you will have one; you can’t help it.

    With regard to the concrete block reference … What the fuck do I know of British politics, circa 1984? The fact that you would reference it only proves my original assessment of you to be accurate. What happened in the UK in the 80’s has very little to do with present day American institutions and your attempt to appear “in the know” was feeble, and you’ll forgive me … or not, pathetic.

    So, Mr Canadian, instead of challenging the perceptions of those of us who see, hear, feel, smell, and even taste the corruption and oppression of the weakest of us by the strongest; perceptions born because we are immersed in it day after day, week after week, decade after decade, I offer a more useful use of your time. Take two baguette slices, lightly toasted, buttered and rubbed with garlic and insert a slice of your people’s contribution to world cuisine: Canadian bacon, which was gently fried in a skillet lightly coated with pepper seasoned extra virgin olive oil (my homage to Dzur) – take that sandwich, stick it in your mouth and STFU!

  135. “With regard to the concrete block reference … What the fuck do I know of British politics, circa 1984? The fact that you would reference it only proves my original assessment of you to be accurate. What happened in the UK in the 80’s has very little to do with present day American institutions and your attempt to appear “in the know” was feeble, and you’ll forgive me … or not, pathetic.”

    With regard to the Wallace protest reference … What the fuck do I know of American politics, circa 1968? The fact that you would reference it only proves my original assessment of you to be accurate. What happened in the America in the 60’s has very little to do with present day American institutions and your attempt to appear “in the know” was feeble, and you’ll forgive me … or not, pathetic.

    See what I did? I just used your words, changed slightly to reference Steven’s protest injury in the 60’s to discount his experience as equally irrelevant. He’s using the actions of people decades ago to vilify modern cops that weren’t even born and that’s okay for you. But I do the same with an even more recent event and somehow everyone not a cop has changed and it’s not relevant. Personally, I call that a double standard. Your acceptance of these cops actions is a general acceptance. Your dismissal of everyone else’s actions is equally general. That is indicative of prejudice.

    I don’t understand your interpretation of what “Terrorism” means. You have somehow convinced yourself that cops stopping you to check out your ride is Terrorist. Terrorists, in some way, try to control you with fear, usually towards a political end. These cops are only finding an excuse to check out your ride. How you get from curiosity to terrorism is beyond me. I don’t think it’s okay, don’t get me wrong in that. It’s not fair, certainly, and it shouldn’t happen. But there is no intent to cause you fear, because this kind of traffic stop isn’t going to stop because when they successfully cause you to stay afraid; therefore, their intent isn’t to cause fear, and thus not terrorist. Wrong, but not terrorist.

    When your definition of terrorism has expanded to include anyone that does anything wrong, regardless of intent, then everyone in the world is terroist and the term has lost meaning.

  136. Where you dropped on your head as a child?

    First of all, the actions of AMERICAN cops in the 60’s has everything to do with how AMERICAN cops behave today: Institutional evolution, or stagnation.

    Second of all, they didn’t stop me to ‘check out my ride’. I don’t know how you got fixated on the whole ride issue other than completely missing my original point. But then, I’m not really surprised because you’ve done the same thing in previous posts. You grab a sliver of information, reconstruct the whole, and then write expertly about it.

    And finally, terrorism is just what it sounds like. Do I think Police Departments should be called terrorist organizations, yes and no. While I’m not in fear of them, fuck them, others are. I will defer to the others who do fear them and accept that they are terrorists. Is the idea that terrorism has a subjective component too complex for you?

    So, were you dropped on your head? If not, why are you driven to appear so much smarter than everyone else?

    All the previous questions were rhetorical in case you missed that subtlety. I don’t care what your damage is or whether you have finally gotten a clue. The truth is, I don’t care if you fall off of the planet. But I will tell you that I think you’re right in all things universally and no one else can possibly approach your brilliance for fear of being blinded, if you would just SHUT THE FUCK UP. Cheers.

  137. So whose subjective opinion counts? Obviously not mine, since I objectively and subjectively don’t apply “Terrorists” to cops. Who gets a vote? Anyone is terrorist that anyone else thinks is terrorist? That makes you a terrorist, because as an American (or Westerner at least), Muslim fundamentalists accuse you of being terrorist just by being American.

    No, a subjective definition is unacceptable. If a term has no objective definition, it is a useless term that can be safely ignored because it fails to identify the methods and goals of the individual or organization to whom it has been applied.

  138. I find it interesting and sad that no one has posted these two:


    Humane Society of the United States (which is NOT to be confused with the Humane Society)

    These two organizations conduct domestic terrorism.

  139. skzb: Please finish the next book. With perhaps a little more kick-ass action by Vlad (at least some flashback memories even if he’s gotten too mature to do so in his “old” age ;) ). Pretty please.

    ok, I’ll stop harassing the author now…

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