Sunday, March 18, 2018

Admitting My Error

I think I've made a mistake.

I think I continued to make it for almost two decades.

I used to be that guy who showed up at every LP meeting and invited everyone who was in attendance to make that next step, and to join the LP. I sent well over 1,200 new or renewal memberships to the LP between 1996 and 2016.

I think it was a mistake because the LP's membership efforts -- mine included -- have been too successful...

Too successful at enlisting people who Just Don't Get It.

In the seventies, even many minarchists would have been at great pains to describe even one government regulation that they agreed with; and which they could justify being left among the powers allowed to government.

Now we have self-styled anarchists who have no trouble suggesting that there are, indeed, government regulations that have a libertarian justification for supporting them.

In the past week, I have read commentary by two people I have known for a long time, saying that there is a libertarian case to be made for preventing people under 21 from owning a firearm.

A month ago, a whole bunch of self-styled anarchists jumped on the "under 18 cannot consent" bandwagon -- despite the fact that it is just another government regulation like any other.

We appear to have a deep-seated misunderstanding of what anarchism and even libertarianism actually mean.

You become a libertarian when you understand that it's wrong to run the lives of others.

You become an anarchist when you understand that there simply are no exceptions.

We have spent the last forty years allowing ourselves to swallow Leviathan's propaganda that "it's for the children!! and that only Leviathan can ever be the arbiter of who is competent to own a weapon, drive a car, have sex, take drugs, or set up a business.

We have become Leviathan's "good little junior partner" in the charade.

How far we have fallen.

I am deeply sorry for my error.  My penance is that I am going to take a long break from recruiting LP members, at least until I can find a better way to enlist the people who are already out there in the millions who completely understand that the entire construct of our government is one big fraud and long con.

The LP is not talking to them.  Instead, we're talking to valium-popping
socialist soccer moms and beer-swilling sports-bar union thug dads -- who both joined the Leviathan parties when they were in their teens either because that's what their parents were or because they were rebelling against what their parents were.

We've spent forty years talking to that audience, and the result has been 40 years of banging around between 10,000 and 25,000 annual donors.

There must be more.  We need a quarter-million annual donors, and walking softly isn't getting us introduced to them.

We need to be offensive to the rest to appeal to the best.

And make no mistake, Libertarian ideas themselves are TOXIC to Republicans and Democrats.  You can't make them like it; nor can you make them not be offended by our ideas.  They are simply not capable of any other reaction.  We should stop trying to be inoffensive and non-threatening to them, because in doing so, we sell our real cohort down the river -- without any benefit to us.

It appears to be reality that the LP is now on a path from which it will not easily diverge.  There are vanishingly few Libertarians who understand that we're ignoring our core market -- and they're getting more and more scarce every day.

Arvin Vohra, who has been trying something very different, will be replaced at the national convention in 2018 with someone far more milquetoasty who will go in the exact opposite direction.

The die is cast, and it will likely stay cast.

The LP is now part of the "loyal" opposition.

It has become a whipped puppy -- instead of the junkyard dog that it was supposed to be.

Thursday, March 01, 2018

Tips for Potential National Convention Delegates / 2018

So You Want to Be a National Convention Delegate!
By Marc Montoni, LP Radical Caucus


Really, in most states, being a supporting member of your state and national Libertarian Party costs $50 or less for both.

I am in favor of all delegates being allowed to do their jobs without being required to pay a floor fee; however, I am also in favor of requiring **every** delegate to be a dues-paid member of **both** the national and state parties (at least -- in many areas they could also be supporting a local committee as well).

You can help us eliminate the Deformer's "freeloader" argument by making sure you have made at least the basic dues donation for both your national and state membership.


You are not required to purchase a package to attend only the Business Session under the LP Bylaws;but be aware that in some years various LNC members attempt to require a hefty fee.

BAD IDEA: Forget to register.

Your state LP sends its delegate list to the Credentials Committee, and it is the members of the CC who decide who is qualified to take part on the convention floor.

DO NOT fail to verify that the Credentials Committee has credentialed you, especially if you're planning to attend only the Business Session.

BAD IDEA: To forget your colleagues are human.  Trust, but verify.


The convention website says the LP convention rate is sold out.  However, there are people looking for roommates, and there are alternative hotels nearby.

If you seek roommates, begin seeking them now.  The below page was established for the '14 cnvention but people are still using it for this one:

or perhaps:

BAD IDEA: Waiting until the last minute to make your travel plans.

The above Facebook group has rideshares offered & needed also.

BAD IDEA: Failing to figure out how you're getting there.

Find out what the procedure will to seek a delegation seat with your state LP.

If you don't win a delegate seat this year, then start working on the next cycle.  Have some accomplishment behind you.  Don't wait to organize a booth, do a fundraising round for the Party, recruit candidates and members, or organize your home precinct.  DO IT NOW.  Next week is too late; next month is too late.  Do nothing and show up at your state convention and those who have done their homework will be first in line for those precious delegate seats -- ahead of YOU.  Get away from the computer, get off the couch, and engage in a real political act.

BAD IDEA: Ignoring your state party's convention call.

SHOW UP at your state LP convention, with your LP activity resume in hand, and do what you need to do to be among those considered for a delegate seat.  This is a fairly complete schedule:

BAD IDEA: Failing to show up.

Do a thorough read of the Delegation Chair's Manual.


Study up on the Convention Committee structure:


Here are the Delegate Allocations by state:


BAD IDEA: Remaining unfamiliar with or clueless about convention procedures.

Read through the current LP Platform, such as it is:


It's a lot shorter that it used to be, and it says a lot less.  Not a bad idea to pick a couple of previous platforms so you understand what used to be in it:


BAD IDEA: Not being fairly familiar with what the Party actually says.

Take anything said about the LP platform and how it "compares" with the platforms of other parties with a grain of salt.  Review the opposition's platform(s)for yourself:


BAD IDEA: Remaining ignorant of what our competition has in their platforms.

BAD IDEA: Allowing the individuals on the Platform Committee -- some of whom want us to say nothing about anything -- to make up your mind for you.

a)  Check out who is on the Platform Committee:


b)  Review what the majority on the Platform Committee has planned for the Platform; and keep in mind that a majority of the Platform Committee wants the LP platform to say very little:


c)  This committee had a meeting in March:


d)  Minutes from that March meeting:


Familiarize yourself with the current LP Bylaws:

BAD IDEA: Remaining unfamiliar with the current LP Bylaws.

a)  Check out who is on the Bylaws Committee:


b)  Study the Bylaws Proposals from the Bylaws Committee, and be sure to review any comments on each proposal:


BAD IDEA: Taking every idea in the Bylaws Committee Report at face value.  Some items will have a hidden agenda.

13: Get yourself a copy of Roberts Rules In Brief; optionally the full text of Roberts Rules.

Watch "Parliamentary procedure made simple: how to conduct a meeting".  Available at most large-ish public libraries.  Example:

If you can't find it at your local library, don't forget your municipality's law library, as well as school and college libraries.  I saw a few university copies available on this search:

BAD IDEA: Complaining when parliamentary tricks are used to silence and bypass you, and you don't know how to counter them.

BAD IDEA: Relying on the advice of "Registered Parliamentarians", who can't seem to understand the part of their training that dictates they must recuse themselves from offering opinions if they have a stake in what they are interpreting.

BAD IDEA: Relying on the advice of witch-doctor shamans who want you to believe they have special insight *you* could not possibly have.

I don't go because I think all of my ideas, candidates for LNC positions, or whatever will all win.  I go because I want to see that crazy remnant I enjoy spending time with so much.  Go for the drinking games, the parties and the socializing, and have a good time.

See you there!

-- end --

Originally written January 2008, by Marc Montoni <>, for the Libertarian Party Radical Caucus.  This version released 2018.  License to use hereby granted under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported. See .  All use of this or derivative works must include an unedited copy of this attribution statement as well as an unedited copy of the above original article (if used in a derivative work).
For more information about the Radical Caucus, see or see the Facebook group  .

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Short Answers to the “Can You Win” Question

By Marc Montoni

Most of the many thousands of Libertarians who have run for office since 1972 (estimated to be in excess of 25,000) have faced the inevitable question from reporters (and voters as well, but especially reporters), “do you think you can win?”

The question itself reveals the intellectually lazy view of politics as a horse race.  There's no room in that religion for ideology, belief, passion, or anything else of any substance.  There's nothing in a horse race that really means anything.  Well, except winning.

Essentially, reporters asking it have reduced politics to a simple race of nothing vs. nothing.

How to get around it?

How do you lead someone with such a short attention span back to real issues?

Libertarians have come up with many ways to steer the reporter back to their reason for running.  We share them with you below so you will have them ready in your verbal arsenal.

Here is how a candidate who was professionally coached answered the question: Ed Clark, when asked if he would win, and how many votes he would get, had probably the best answer I've heard:

"I'm trying as hard as I can to win.  We have a serious message, we
want to address serious problems..."

Clark's answer avoided both self-marginalization on the one hand, and overblown expectations that any moron, much less a reporter, could see right through on the other.

The essay I quote below appeared on "libernet" in the early nineties, but I did not record who wrote it:

In 1982, Ed Clark put together an audio tape of fifty ques-tions and answers, and on this particular matter, the conversation went like this:

Question: Do you really expect to win?"

Answer: "I'm trying just as hard as I can to win.  Libertarians have the right solutions for today's problems, they have the ethics of individual liberty--the only correct ethics for politics--and we have been gaining strength and we are going to get a lot of votes this time".

Question: "How many votes are you going to get?"

Answer: "We are going to get a lot of votes in 1982.  More than we have had before and enough to show the public that Libertarians are a very strong alternative in American politics".

Mr. Clark then went on to say:

"If you note the way I have answered the last two questions, these are perhaps the only two in the whole set of questions where you do not give a direct answer, because if you ever answer a question "Do you really expect to win" with a "yes", in many cases people will discard you as somebody who is obviously not realistic in your answer.  If you answer that question with a "no" you eliminate one of the principal reasons that people are going to follow your candidacy and there is the possibility that you might win.  So these questions call for strong affirmative answers, but not to answer the question precisely".
You are, of course, never under any obligation to give a direct answer to any question, and indeed few politicians do, often preferring to give an answer that they think will put them in the best possible light, whether it relates to the subject at hand or not.

There are sound reasons for reconsidering your answers.  You do not know for sure that you are not going to win, even if you think you might not.

Let me take a little more of your time by relating an event which occurred here in British Columbia within the last three months.  The term of our governing Social Credit (conservative) Party was drawing to a close following a five year term which had been plagued by scandal and corruption, including the resignation of the Premier under allegations of conflict of interest.

They and the New Democratic (socialist) Party both ran a full slate of candidates.  The provincial Liberal (wishy-washy) Party had been pretty well defunct for the last twenty years until recent times when a very energetic fellow started making really strenuous efforts to revive it ready for this last election.  The net result of his efforts was that he persuaded enough people to run as candidates so as to give them a full slate.  This then gave him sufficient leverage to persuade the powers that be to include him in a Party Leader's debate on local television.  This proved to be the turning point from which they never looked back.

The final result was New Democrats 51 seats, Liberals 17 seats, and the once ruling Social Credit 6 seats.

Knowledgeable commentators forecast that at best the Liberals might take a handful of seats.  Instead, they are now the official opposition.

Here are some additional sound bite-ish answers:

"If I wanted chaos, I could sit on my couch and vote for Democrats and Republicans."

"I want liberty.  I want freedom.  I can't get either of those things voting for Democrats or Republicans.
"I want government to protect my rights, and get out of my wallet and my bedroom.  The other guys will give me the opposite."
"I am running because I want liberty.  Voting for Democrats and Republicans is a lost cause; because both of them work to expand government and restrict liberty."

"Doing the same thing over and over - in this case, voting for Democrats and Republicans - and each time, expecting the results to be different, is insanity.  These guys refuse to protect individual rights, they are taxing the middle class into bankruptcy; they've saddled us with hundreds of thousands of laws no single person can be expected to know; they take our homes and give them over to developers; they've lied us into '100 years of war', and have made our money just about worthless.  Why give them a pat on the back and return them to office yet again?  I'm running because I refuse to give them that pat on the back."
For Libertarians in my homes state of Virginia, you can also make it a point to say that you're also running because Virginia doesn't have registration by party, and this is the only way we have to discover new Libertarians so we have a larger support base for the next election.  Along these lines, you might say:

"I'll count my race as a 'win' if I can find new libertarians and get them ready to support our candidates next year.  We Libertarians believe we're in a marathon, not a one-year sprint."

It is important for every Libertarian to remember the following:  You’re not going to get fiscal conservatives to vote for you; at least not en masse.

You're not going to get a mass number of liberals, either.

For that matter, winning is out of the question without a campaign war chest equal to the sum of both of your opponents.  Your campaign should pursue the swing voters who aren't married to either camp; and it should specifically target those who are already libertarian.

Below I provide you with several more brief articles on how to address “The Question”.  Enjoy!  And above all, good luck and have fun with your race!

Donny Ferguson says:

I would respond with:

1) There have been hundreds, if not thousands, of elected Libertarian officials.

2) There have always been independent and third party members of Congress, and they all beat Republicans and Democrats to get there.  Right now we have two independ-ent U.S. Senators.

3) Any candidate can win as long as you vote for him.

James R. Stevenson says:

Start off by saying that right now you have a 33% chance of winning.  If you can get your message out and people realize they are in agreement, then you can certainly win.

I would avoid using the word 'conservative' in any incarnation.  Say you are trying to appeal to those people who believe in personal liberty and fiscal responsibility.  This way you can appeal to any disaffected constituent, Democrat, Republican, or independent.  If you use the word 'conservative' you automatically lose all Democratic tribalists.  Similarly, if you use the word 'liberal', you automatically lose the Republican tribalists.

It is unfortunate that Bob Barr is already campaigning as a 'true conservative'.  He has already marginalized his campaign, just as Ron Paul did. Quite stoopid if not downright idiotic.

Probably the most important thing you can say is "If the media responsibly reports on your positions, then you have a great chance to win. If the media censors your candidacy, you will have little chance of winning".

Steve Damerell says:

One of the best answers is to say "I'm running to win, be-cause people don't run in elections to lose."  Then immediately delve into WHY you're running.

That lead-in sentence is neither defeatist nor delusional, and from there, you can bring the question back around to the issues, your strong point.

Rick Sincere says:

The classic response in this genre was, of course, William F. Buckley, Jr.,  running as a Conservative Party candidate for Mayor of New York in 1965.   Asked, "what's the first thing you'll do if you're elected?," Buckley  replied:  "Demand a recount."
I'm not saying you should copy Buckley, but you should be prepared with  something similarly pithy and funny -- something quotable that will get you noticed.


Marc Montoni serves as the President of the Libertarian Practical Politics Association as well as the Chief of the Annoyance Caucus of the Libertarian Party.  A long-time resident of Virginia, primariy Richmond and Harrisonburg, Montoni has served as the Membership Chairman for the Libertarian Party of Virginia as well as many other posts over four decades of service.  He now resides in Colorado with his family.

See his blog at:

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Yes, The Campaign Against Vohra *IS* a Witch Hunt

Do you know where the term "witch" originated?

It is thought to be descended from words used to describe midwives in ancient Roman times.

Midwives found abortifacients and antifertility effects in various herbs, spices, and roots.  One of the theories about the disastrous decline in population of the Roman Empire was the primary reason for its collapse: It no longer had anywhere near enough young bodies to fill military needs.

Over time, midwives went underground, and their go-to kit containing things like peacock flower went underground with them.  As Europe became more and more paternalistic, and more emphasis was placed on the need for women to squirt out babies, anything that disrupted that model became something that had to be stopped by any means necessary.  A "witch" was a woman who learned how to take control of their reproduction -- and thus since few knew how chemicals worked, the myth that these women were putting spells on men to make them impotent or unfertile became more and more common.

Thus, burning witches.

Which brings us to the current outrage-of-the-day, regarding Arvin Vohra.  Many have described the campaign to remove him from our ranks as a "witch hunt".

Of course, the outrage fetishists are whining that such a characterization is "unfair".

Is it unfair?

It's actually pretty accurate.  It IS a witch hunt.

Check out the definition.

A crowd of people, both on the LNC and off, who are calling for Vohra's immediate removal.  They're not interested in censure, they're not interested in waiting until the convention, they want him purged *now*.

He has also been doxxed, threatened with violence either now or at the National Convention in New Orleans, has had complaints against him filed with the police, his business has been attacked, and he has been slandered in many ways; chief among them the hundreds of claims that because of his opinion on Age of Majority, that he is ipso facto a pedophile -- despite not one single shred of evidence being presented.

Pretty much all falls under definition #2 of "witch hunt".

If it ends up going further than that, it might even fall under definition #1.

Certainly all of this is "free speech".

Of course it is.

So is any speech inciting to riot.

"Witch Hunt" is an accurate word.

Outrage fetishists should maybe stop being offended by words or phrases that are accurate.

Thursday, November 09, 2017

Private Roads?



        Libertarians ask why the state government of Virginia acts more as an impediment to solutions to transportation problems than as a facilitator. 

        In this country, this is a development coincident with the arrival of the misnamed Progressives, the socialists of the early 1900's, who encouraged the governments at all levels to take over the means of transportation.  Before the socialists, roadways were provided by the private sector -- examples include the Brook Turnpike (now US Route 1), Three Chopt Road (the traditional name of what is now US Rt 250), Telegraph Road in Northern Virginia, etc.

        These examples provide refutation of the popular idea that if roads weren't provided by the state, no one would build them.   Indeed, the state would rather you didn't know that the majority of pavement put down here is built almost entirely by developers.  However, state law makes it all but impossible for developers to retain or sell roadways, so in most cases the road is ceded to the state or local government upon completion of each development.

        Further, it takes a bunch of legal wrangling with the state and local authorities to build a road not on the Department of Transportation's wish list.  It takes all that and an act of the General Assembly -- or several of them -- to build a private toll highway like the Dulles Greenway.  Even then, so egregious are the government's restrictions and requirements even when approved that the ability of those roadways to pay their investors back is hobbled to the point of being a guaranteed money-loser.

        The biggest boon to be realized from allowing the private sector to provide roadways is that they would be built and used more efficiently.  For example, governments have never used demand-based pricing.  That's why many government roads turn into parking lots around rush hour, and it's why buses and trains remain basically empty most of the time.  It's also why a relatively rigid 9 - to - 5 work-hour mindset now pervades the nation.  Most importantly, free government roadways have directly caused explosive urban sprawl.

        Consider: a private road operator would see the massive demand around 9:00 and 5:00, and would adjust the prices (tolls) charged to get on the road during those hours, to reflect the heightened demand.  As a result, road users would have a greater incentive to use alternative means to avoid the rush hour pricing -- riding buses & trains & carpools, moving closer to their work, pressuring their employer to offer alternative work hours and telecommuting. 

        With state ownership or control of the transportation system, there will always be massive resistance to making efficiency improvements of any sort, so no one should be surprised at the super-jams in Northern VA and the growing jams around Richmond and Tidewater.  Nor should anyone be surprised at empty mass transit vehicles, and explosive urban sprawl.

        Privatizing the means of transportation would allow new ideas to be brought into an industry that has been horribly stagnant since governments took it away from the private sector in the twenties and thirties.  The prime example is AVI -- Automatic Vehicle Identification -- a method of charging tolls without stopping the vehicle to exchange money.  AVI has been around for forty years but was effectively shelved until only very recently because the state had no incentive to develop it.  Who knows what other conveniences and efficiencies could be obtained by getting the slow, inertia-laden hand of the state out of the transportation business?

        There is the problem of government (and corporate) tracking of your movements with AVI.  That is a problem, and there are ways to address it, but that could be a long discussion that is outside of the scope of this article.

        Libertarians would abolish invasive agencies such as the DMV and instead allow any notary public to document vehicle ownership changes.  Private entities should be allowed to sell license plates to car owners.

Further, Virginia's Vehicle Inspection regulations and insurance requirements should be repealed.  Once roads are privatized, road owners would be free to require the equivalent if they wish, and the road owner's liability insurance provider would also be free to set their coverage rates appropriately.

        Separation of Transportation and State is a long-overdue idea.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Take a Knee To Smash the State

In all of the fake outrage over taking a knee (or NOT taking a knee) in NFL games, there are a few things missing in the discussion.

Keep in mind that the gladiatorial arenas are provided by coercion: Taxpayers are forced to pay for them.

It's also very important to keep in mind WHY some players have chosen to kneel: because of the behavior of police.  American police have killed roughly 1,400 Americans in each of 2015 and 2016; and they are on track to kill a similar number in 2017.  Even though about a third of those killed are running away, or are unarmed and not resisting, vanishingly few of the responsible officers are even brought to trial, much less given the same prosecutorial aggression Average Joe would be faced with for committing the exact same act.

There are far more whites killed by police -- but it is true that blacks are killed at a higher rate relative to their population.

In any case, there are roughly 1,400 deaths annually at the hands of police -- and tens of thousands more who are alive but injured or permanently and horribly maimed (just ask Walter DeLeon).

Who hires those cops, and refuses to fire them when they can't keep their fingers off the bang switch?

City governments.

The very same entities that will send the same costumed revenue enhancers around to your house if you refuse to pay their extortion that pays for those stadiums and those subsidized multi-million-dollar salaries of the professional sports class.

Football players (along with most other pro sports enterprises) are essentially taxpayer-funded welfare queens.

Beginning with stadiums but hardly limited to just those, American gladiatorial sports spectacles are endowed with a truly impressive network of subsidies.

It starts with the lavish spending on school sports.  These are subsidies to jocks, and the main beneficiaries are the vanishingly few who will go on to professional sports.

Think of the message government schools send to the most intelligent kids:

"We might let you play with other nerds on the Battle of the Brains team, which won't be televised or reported in your local newspaper.  We'll allow the jocks to harass you as you walk through the school, and to laugh at your accomplishments.  But the jocks -- we're going to turn them into stars for the whole student body to worship and cheer.  We'll build gigantic facilities for them to practice in.  Oh, and you and your parents are going to pay for it all, too."

The best of the jocks are offered full or partial rides to college, and then get a break on what kind of classes they must take -- and pro scouts will sniff out the best of them.

Most of the large sports colleges are themselves largely taxpayer-funded, to the tune of over $80 billion annually by the feds, with a similar amount coming from states.  A large fraction of those billions goes to sports and athletes.

Then, once an athlete turns pro, they will be the recipient of further taxpayer loot: Many pro sports stadiums are funded by cities, states, and even the federal government.  For instance, the federal government has -- for decades -- paid the gladiators to do the patriotic circus before each game, at least partly as an indoctrination measure but also to boost military worship and recruitment.  This week, because of all the ginned-up outrage over "taking a knee", the NFL refunded three-quarters of a million back to Leviathan.

The players who make it to those professional teams are the privileged of the privileged of the privileged.

Every last side in this fiasco -- from the posturing players, to the posturing bureaucrat class, to the outraged "patriotic" class, is a hypocrite.

If the NFL players really wanted to protest injustice, they should be protesting government involvement in sports, from elementary school right on through their paychecks.

But more importantly, they should be demanding the Abolition of  the Police.

Because for all of the five thousand years of civilization, government police have *always* been a brutal occupying force.  There is no "reform", because the incentives are completely wrong.  Millions of people have tried to reform police; or to protest, or even to resist their worst aggression.

But nothing changes.

The experiment has failed.  It is beyond time to Abolish the Police.

Tuesday, February 07, 2017

Erdogan's Reichstag Fire

Islamists and the American political left have been attempting mightily to portray ISIS as a project of Israel.

It would be hilarious if normal people didn't think it was a credible story.

It is true that American money and material support has found its way to the murderous 8th century bigots of ISIS.  But ISIS would not exist without Turkey.  It is a proxy militia that was created, armed, and supported by Turkish intelligence. 

Who has profited the most from events in Syria?  Recep Tayyip Erdo─čan, the wannabe sultan of The Restored Ottoman Empire.  De-stabilizing Syria at the moment of Arab Spring was a golden opportunity Erdogan couldn't pass up.
The Syrian civil war is largely an Erdogan project.   He hated Assad.  Further, he wanted to drive a wedge through the heart of the Christian, Alawite, Kurd, and other political and religious minorities that live along the border region in both Turkey and Syria.

Those border residents are descended from refugees who fled the genocide of millions by Muslim Turks in the early 1900's.  As far as the Turks are concerned, those damned Jews/Christians/Kurds/Armenians/etc simply can't move far enough away from the Fatherland -- we have to reach out and kill them wherever we find them!

Erdogan had the same designs on Iraq but that one was easy because the central government was impotent.

Erdogan is a mafia don who is no different from 1500 years of Ottoman corruptocrats, and his family is profiting immensely from his racist, bigoted policies. The Restored Ottoman Empire will make his family rich beyond their wet dreams.

Of course, there is no doubt that US material and money has gotten to ISIS in a dumb attempt to support "rebel" groups that US spooks don't really know a damned thing about.

Turkish spooks aren't nearly as stupid as American spooks.  They are all over Syria, Iraq, and Lebanon, and they're much better at blending in.

The Syrian rebellion was sprinkled from the beginning by Turkish black ops assets.

No, this is a Turkish war of destabilization, and then ultimately, reconquest; in the long term.  Short term, profit for Erdogan's family (various estimates place his family's worth now well in excess of a half-billion dollars -- all riches gained in the last ten years and amassed largely from profits from looted oil fields in Syria and Iraq, gun running, and illegal (under Syrian law) trade in antiquities and looted mine products.  And from opium smuggling.

Now about that "coup" attempt.

The "coup" was engineered by Erdogan to rid the military and police of those who did not demonstrate perfect loyalty -- to Erdogan.

Up until the coup, Erdogan was struggling with sagging approval ratings and a restive population.  What to do but generate a swell of nationalism with which to cape himself?

So Erdogan goes on a vacation to a secret location hidden even from the military. When the military overthrew Morsi in Egypt, what was the very first thing on their to-do list?  To capture Morsi.  In Chile?  Capture Allende.  In Turkey?  Capture a bridge.


That was simply too dumb to have been anything but a feint set up by Erdogan.

a)  Erdogan convinced top allied generals to spread news of a coup

b)  Fed-up officers who didn't like Erdogan "join" the coup and mobilized their soldiers, believing they are part of a majority of the army.

c)  As the day progresses, opposition officers quickly figure out they were tricked and are a minority.

d)  Worse yet, they have been revealed.  Cornered, some of them decide to fight anyway, but it´s a battle they've already lost.

e)  Erdogan now knows which officers that not only are against him, but that would also participate in coups, and he now has an excuse to slaughter them outright, and if they are not killed, to torture and kill them later.

f)  Erdogan now has a good excuse to increase his powers, which he had done during previous opportunities.  Turkey is well on its way to one-man-rule.  He declares martial law, and purges 100,000 teachers, judges, civil servants, officers, and other bureaucrats he wanted to get rid of anyway, who had committed the crime of being in the political opposition.

g)  Erdogan stirs up nationalist sentiments among the low-information populace.

h)  Most army units on the streets who were participating in the coup surrendered peacefully; but some massacred civilians.

That may have happened as a REACTION, after all, Erdogan itself clamored for his supporters to take arms and FIGHT the coup perpetrators. (really, ask civilians to fight with bricks and handguns to fight tanks and choppers to protect HIS POWER?). Cornered officers and soldiers. A single shot against them, may have mass panicked and run the tanks over people. Plus some that may have done so out of pure cruelty.

Self coups are extremely common, and in Ottoman days, they were perfected to an art form.

What should "be done" about the situation?
Nothing, at least, nothing by the United States or NATO.

Savages and religious bigots stuck in the 8th century will remain savage and bigoted.  No effort by us will ever change them.

We should disengage.

No American government assets, troops, or dollars should go anywhere near any nation in the region.  Ottomans have sought to dominate and forcibly convert all minorities for well over a thousand years.  Nothing has changed in this century.  Being on the losing side in 1915 was a temporary setback for the empire, nothing more.

Let the Russians, Indians, and Chinese deal with them, because eventually they will have to.

Turkey should be thrown out of NATO, the US should dismantle its base at Incirlik, it should end its ties with Europe and all of the 8th-century bigot regimes in the Middle East...

And then go the hell home.

Bottom-Shelf Sustenance

[Editor's Note: This article was written in 2010 by Chad Quella, who retains all rights to it.]

With a cartful of our staple groceries at the usual family trip to the Mechanicsville Kroger, we got into the shortest checkout line and waited.  But after a while of staying in one spot and not advancing in line, I began to pay attention to what was going on ahead of me.

It appeared that there was a new trainee on the register with a more seasoned employee beside her, but what had caused the delay was a non-standard transaction that required some hands-on training.  She would get plenty of experience with that type of transaction by the time her customer finished checking out.

Lined-up on the conveyor belt were five separate clusters of items, each topped with a receipt-like strip of paper.  It immediately struck me as poor decision-making that this customer in front of me had selected several gallons of milk, but also several pints of milk.  The milk in a pint bottle of course is more expensive than the milk in a gallon bottle, and anyway I couldn’t imagine what might be going on in this woman’s home that would require that much milk, or even allow it to all get drank before it spoils.  But hey, it isn’t my milk.

There were a few other things too, I recall a package of individually-wrapped cheese food slices, and a tub of cottage cheese.  Big dairy fan, I chuckled to myself.  But there was one last cluster of items, different from the rest in that it didn’t have a slip of paper on top, and rather than dairy, it was a package of seafood salad, a styrofoam tray containing a pair of deviled crabs, and a bag of fresh lobster from the seafood counter.

As I stood and waited and watched, these clusters of food slowly made their way down the conveyor belt being rung up in separate transactions, I realized that the little slips of paper were not coupons or shopping lists, they were being used as payment!

For the first time, I took a look at who was making these purchases.  A couple, probably in their mid-30’s, both quite overweight, sporting sweat pants and t-shirts.  No kids were to be seen.  I began to put together that the paper slips must be some kind of government-issued vouchers, and the pints of milk and other small items were probably rounding out the value of each voucher.  I was informed later that this is the form that WIC benefits are paid in, and the fact that it was the first of the month made this the likely case.

I watched, incredulous, as the gallons upon gallons of milk went back into the cart, and the lobster, crabs and seafood salad were rung up.  The lady produced a card for payment of these items.  I couldn’t see what kind of card it was, but the standard “debit or
credit” question went unasked.  The dairy-laden couple went on their way, allowing the Kroger bagger to take their load out for them, and leaving us to bag our own items.

Now maybe I’ve led a sheltered life, but I don’t recall ever having seen such a thing before.  I went home and googled “WIC lobster” on a whim.  Turns out I’m not alone!  A quick search turned up these results:

Almost right on cue, local media added a little more insight – just not in the way they intended.  First, a story in the 8/10/10 issue of Style Weekly highlighted a Whitcomb Court mother of six, and her monthly early-morning dash to the nearest supermarket to exchange her government-provided purchasing power for food.  The story was meant to call attention to the “food deserts” that exist where, coincidentally, the few food stores that remain do almost all of their business at the beginning of the month, and almost exclusively in government benefits.

Then, our local TV news monster ran a similar story into the ground on their channels 12, 35, and 65 afternoon, evening, and night broadcasts on 9/1/10.  It was meant to highlight another Whitcomb Court resident who was fit to be tied because a government computer system snafu had delayed the automatic deposit of money-for-nothing into her account.

The TV story even went so far as to bemoan the plight of a sink full of dirty dishes – dirty because the woman couldn’t afford to buy soap.  But after she called an automated service for the umpteenth time that day and discovered that she had received her handout, the last shot in the story showed her at last standing over the sink scrubbing a frying pan. 

What the article and TV news report really did for me was provide some perspective on the welfare state and the establishment and political attitudes that produce it.  In neither case did the journalist inquire about how these poor, downtrodden mothers ended up single, living their pathetic existences in government-funded housing, clinging to government-provided money to go to some horrible store and use it to buy bottom-shelf sustenance for themselves and their children.

All they focused on was the fact that they were waiting for that check, and couldn’t wait to spend it when it came.


Chad Quella lives with his family near Richmond, Virginia.