the quality of the arguments shows something about the intelligence of our leaders in various walks of life. but i do particularly like the portrayal of snowden as 'solitary' by brooks and others. this has a variety of rhetorical functions, even though it has no logical force. it's a typical bit of 'mere' rhetoric: the idea is a kind of ersatz peer pressure. even if it were real peer pressure, of course, it wouldn't be a reason. so, first off, if snowden were standing as a solitary sentinel against injustice - all alone at tremendous cost - that would be even more admirable, because even more courageous. but he's not alone. even these polls that people are trumpeting show 40% support or something. there are plenty of people who accept every word of the argument he made and who would have made it themselves. for all you know, he had a little group of libertarian friends.
he's 'solitary' only insofar as the state is the social in its entirety: the same old saw about the state being all of us all together. anyone who doesn't agree with that is a howling savage, beyond the pale, an isolate. no, actually, such a person might have plenty of real community. there are many ways to make connections, and many ways that dissent or revelation contributes to the social fabric. the unity you're recommending is false because coerced, but you're identifying it with the possibility of human community per se. the actual means that you're using to form all of us up into one community is a secret program to watch everyone all the time. really, time to face up to it: you are a person who could make an argument like that for a conclusion like that. but even the mainstream community depends on its defectors and subversives and truth-tellers for whatever decency and truth it possesses.
i do think that being in an elite and in particular exercising authority has an epistemically distorting effect. it's really like these people have lost their reason. what you do instead of giving easons when you have authority is just keep repeating yourself more loudly, or start to rant and screech at individual victims in your proximity.
it is amazing what's happening to edward snowden. the outpouring of revulsion is remarkable: it shows you every flavor of the authoritarian personality. also it is bullshit. jeffrey toobin on cnn practically jumps out of his skin with hostility and - like many others - constantly makes reference to snowden's age. i suppose 29 is too young to do the obviously right thing. say rosa parks had been 29; she'd have been a laughingstock. and he goes with 'you just can't do that' as an argument; just a sheer repetition of the authoritarian imperative. here are david brooks's complaints today:
He betrayed honesty and integrity, the foundation of all cooperative activity. He made explicit and implicit oaths to respect the secrecy of the information with which he was entrusted. He betrayed his oaths.
keeping your promises is one dimension of honesty and integrity, but it can be over-ridden by other moral imperatives, including the moral imperative to help other people. understand, that is exactly what snowden took himself to be doing.
He betrayed his friends. Anybody who worked with him will be suspect. Young people in positions like that will no longer be trusted with responsibility for fear that they will turn into another Snowden.
this is assistant principal bullshit. everyone will be punished for your transgression.
He betrayed his employers. Booz Allen and the C.I.A. took a high-school dropout and offered him positions with lavish salaries. He is violating the honor codes of all those who enabled him to rise.
to repeat, honor codes are important. they can be over-ridden by other considerations, and for that matter other honor codes. here the argument is that it's obligatory to violate your own basic values if you're being paid lavishly. that i guess is what david brooks would call a social contract.
He betrayed the cause of open government. Every time there is a leak like this, the powers that be close the circle of trust a little tighter. They limit debate a little more.
this is unbelievably tendentious, fallacious claptrap. on brooks's view, it serves the cause of open government for it to be a secret that everyone is under surveillance at all times. revealing that just causes more secrecy. truly, the logic is depraved.
He betrayed the privacy of us all. If federal security agencies can’t do vast data sweeps, they will inevitably revert to the older, more intrusive eavesdropping methods.
this 'backlash' style of argument has got to go. your resistance to oppression is wrong because we'll double the oppression. the correct answer is then we'll double the resistance. seriously, here's why keeping all your crap secret is a bad idea: it forces us to reveal your ass to the world. don't make us do it. you'll have only yourselves to blame. you're just serving the purposes of julian assange again.
He betrayed the Constitution. The founders did not create the United States so that some solitary 29-year-old could make unilateral decisions about what should be exposed. Snowden self-indulgently short-circuited the democratic structures of accountability, putting his own preferences above everything else.
this is mindless. i don't know what the founders thought about 'solitary 29-year-olds,' but brooks does. i want to say this: edward snowden is not alone. he is not a solitary figure. what he did, he did at tremendous cost to himself and out of an evident commitment to actual public service. he has a worldwide community.
the community brooks appeals to is an imaginary community simulated by secrecy and coercion. every one of these arguments is an argument that everyone should be secretly under surveillance at all times. but the arguments are just this anthology of desperate manipulations, meaningless spasms of the authoritarian mind, real stupidity.
no evil committed by an institution, whether a state or (for god's sake) a defense contractor cannot be justified by arguments like this. you could transpose these arguments directly to any fascist or communist dictatorship in the world; they could be and have been the ideology of every genocide. they are arguments that your conscience does not count, and hence you should do what we say. you don't even deserve to know the basis on which we're making our decisions.
you know, arguing for evil is annoying, but it's really the logic i find discrediting. so, your argument against revealing a massive secret police program to its victims is that the person who did it was a high school dropout. what's sweet about this as an example is that it both implicitly accuses snowden of stupidity on an inadequate basis (have you heard him talk?) and itself enacts stupidity (it's derangedly irrelevant, like a kind of incompetent surrealist poetry).
more notes: of course, anarchists are not the biggest fans of 'the rule of law' and the question of who's a criminal is not what interests me. but just for the hell of it, the constitution including the 4th amendment is the supreme law of the land, and hence snowden has exposed a vast criminal conspiracy.
so one of the people the administration is standing up there to threaten snowden and present a completely incoherent defense of this massive volation of our sacred way of life is james clapper, the director of national intelligence.
Over the last decade, much of the company’s growth has come from selling expertise, technology and manpower to the National Security Agency and other federal intelligence agencies. Booz Allen earned $1.3 billion, 23 percent of the company’s total revenue, from intelligence work during its most recent fiscal year.
The government has sharply increased spending on high-tech intelligence gathering since 2001, and both the Bush and Obama administrations have chosen to rely on private contractors like Booz Allen for much of the resulting work.
Thousands of people formerly employed by the government, and still approved to deal with classified information, now do essentially the same work for private companies. Mr. Snowden, who revealed on Sunday that he provided the recent leak of national security documents, is among them.
As evidence of the company’s close relationship with government, the Obama administration’s chief intelligence official, James R. Clapper Jr., is a former Booz Allen executive. The official who held that post in the Bush administration, John M. McConnell, now works for Booz Allen.
from wikipedia, summarizing clapper's resume omitting booz hamilton.
James Robert Clapper, Jr. (born March 14, 1941) is a retired lieutenant general in the United States Air Force and is currently the Director of National Intelligence. He was previously dual-hatted as the first Director of Defense Intelligence within the Office of the Director of National Intelligence alongside the position of Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence. Clapper has held several key positions within the United States Intelligence Community. He served as the director of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency(NGA) from September 2001 until June 2006. Previously, he served as director of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) from 1992 until 1995.
the state/corporate interface is the very center of this total info regime: google, apple, verizon, booz hamilton and entire defense-contracting infrastructure, intelligence agencies with facilties all over the country and all over the world, integrated with drone targeting and a thousand other aspects. they are developing databases for all global locations and all individuals at all times.
The gargantuan $1.2 billion complex at a National Guard base 26 miles south of Salt Lake City features 1.5 million square feet of top secret space. High-performance NSA computers alone will fill up 100,000 square feet.
The Utah Data Center is a data farm that will begin harvesting emails, phone records, text messages and other electronic data in September.
talking to a leftish friend last week, he was doing a common theme: i don't pay enough taxes. i want us to help each other... we're paying for the power that subordinates us. some of us are happy about it!
so all these mofos are on television saying 'string him up'. he's a felon. his felony was revealing the sheer fact that everyone is under surveillance all the time. he didn't reveal the content of anthony kennedy's email; he revealed a fundamental fact about everyone's lives, a ground-level reality. that really is a felony.
if you are opposed to everyone knowing that everyone is under surveillance all the time, i think you really had better think about who you are and what you represent. it's surprisingly easy to become a monster, and you might want to go on a journey of memory, trying to figure out exactly when you turned that corner. reflecting on that moment might show us all something important about how evil gets into the world.
the kinds of arguments they're already giving are obscene: snowden is 'making his own rules,' for example. 'you just can't do that.' no: but it is admirable according to the rules to do evil as the rules demand. i want you telling god that shit later on.
from wikipedia on booz hamilton, the company snowden went back and forth to and from to nsa/cia. squishy totalitarianism; merger of state and corporate sector. correct? snowden is perfectly articulate; he speaks better for himself (and all of us) than anyone else.
Another controversy, related to some of the senior staff of Booz Allen (past and present) and related to its performance on some specific U.S. intelligence agency contracts, was brought to light on January 12, 2007 in an interview conducted by Democracy Now! with Tim Shorrock, an independent investigative journalist, and separately in an article he wrote for the Salon online magazine. Through investigation of Booz Allen employees, Shorrock asserts that there is a sort of revolving-door conflict of interest between Booz Allen and the U.S. government, and between multiple other contractors and the U.S. government in general. Regarding Booz Allen, Shorrock referred to such people as John M. McConnell, R. James Woolsey, Jr., and James R. Clapper, all of whom have gone back and forth between government and industry (Booz Allen in particular), and who may present the appearance that certain government contractors receive undue or unlawful business from the government, and that certain government contractors may exert undue or unlawful influence on government. Shorrock further relates that Booz Allen was a sub-contractor with two programs at the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA), called Trailblazer and Pioneer Groundbreaker.
he's not less safe by going public, i believe. but he's definitely not safe.
well, you sort of figured they were scooping everything. really, obviously, most of us only depend for the non-detection of our crimes on the fact that there's too much information to actually read, though i'm sure the algorithims get better here as in china. but however: understand that anyone is arrestable at any time, in virtue of their tax posture, drug consumption, possessions of one sort or another, associations. that is really the squishy totalitarian sine qua non or some shit. yo y'all want this. you need to be safe! neo-cons and safetynetters agree. you have already been searched.
remember last week, when you were arguing that the government is all of us, working together, our agent of collective identity, our collective justice? funny what it takes to make that shit happen.
one thing you see immediately: the government regulates these communications companies, and these communications companies maintain an oligopoly, and they and it are all one big sprawling machine when it comes to processing your information. also health-care, benefits, taxes are all worked in; you are never not embroiled. but you just just try to chill and there's no real reason you should particularly come to anyone's attention. can't intern everybody! but we could intern anybody.
where is russ feingold? paging russ feingold!
squishy totalitarianism: the political/economic/aesthetic/psychological system or syndrome shared in common, for instance, by contemporary China, the European Union, Iran, and the United States. It is characterized by a complex so-called 'technocratic' merger of state and capital; large-scale mechanisms of subject-formation such as compulsory state education and regulation/monopoly ownership of the media; welfare-state or 'safety-net' programs that enhance consumption and give large parts of the population a sense of dependency and security; a relative tolerance for some forms of diffuse dissent and scope for individual choice, particularly in consumption, combined with pervasive state and corporate surveillance; overwhelming police and military force and sprawling systems of incarceration; entrenched extreme hierarchies of wealth and expertise; regulation of the economy by monetary policy and central banks in cooperation with banking concerns; an international regime of national sovereignty combined with international state/corporate mechanisms for the circulation of wealth.
dzhokhar left a note, probably in a botttle.
The note, scrawled with a pen on the interior wall of the cabin, said the bombings were retribution for U.S. military action in Afghanistan and Iraq, and called the Boston victims collateral damage in the same way Muslims have been in the American-led wars. "When you attack one Muslim, you attack all Muslims," the note added.
one thing on which all the parties to the worldwide war of/against terror are agreed is that the locus of moral responsibility is collective. so, blowing up random people on the streets of boston is attacking 'america,' which is in turn attacking islam. the whole interpretation of the event frames it as an attack on america, the city of boston, and so on. if people were not actually distinct from one another, then attacking random bodies on the street would be a rational way to wage war on a collectivity, sort of. that it is demented should show you something about the premise.
what's encouraging about this wave of terrorism is the whole slapstick quality, both of the perpetrators and the heroic first responders, the relentless all-too-human flamboyant mediocrity of it all, hedged about by a relentless hyperbolic rhetoric of earnesteness and non sequitur super-americanism. boston strong, son. next time be ready with a better writer for your sticker. that's basic preparedness.
anyway, the tsarnaev brothers, in their carjacked vehicle, improvise in collaboration with the car's owner a plan to bomb times square. later, they're chucking large exploding items of cookware out the window of the car at the cops and sort of getting away. finally, all the police in the world are searching watertown mass, overlooking for many hours the poor little wounded chump shivering in the boat two blocks away as they chase various vehicles hither and thither throughout the metro area. they pull him out of the boat in a fallujah-style fully armoured and mechanized mega-assault, disabling him with robots and percussion devices before unleashing a hail of automatic-weapons fire, somehow leaving him alive. dzokhar tsarnaev, like so many of us, no doubt owes his life to the incompetence of others, whose courage has made them heroes.
meanwhile, the ricin lame-attempt-to-assassinate-everybody case has broken down into an academic super bowl, a world chess championship of sheer white trash douchebaggery, pitting the elvis impersonator against the child molester. first they charged the elvis impersonator, which i could have told them was futile, as he was obviously framed by the envious child molester, who's also a martial arts entrepreneur and politician. the latter gentleman now appears to have absconded (?), which would be outstanding and remarkable. where is h.l. mencken in this golden age?
8:15 bolo on a dark-skinned individual in a black hoodie. if anyone sees anything like that, shoot to kill. dude. it's trayvon martin. while you're at it, intern all white male loners.
7:25 sources tell me that the winklevoss twins are under suspicion. those fuckers hate america.
6:12 or wait. of course. it's a coup by ben bernanke.
6:00 PM obviously, the obama administration staged the explosions in boston so they could declare martial law and fully implement nationalized healthcare. no doubt they justify this to themselves with the fact that they'll be able to offer treatment to the victims of their own dastardly crimes!!
be sure to listen for anagrams and codes in the president's statement.
give it up for rand paul. it's kind of amazing that the objections to, say, homeland security deploying predator drones, are actually coming from what is thought of as the far right, and it should make you re-think the shape of the american political spectrum. rand would be saying the same about a republican admin, like his daddy did. i'd like to see the situation fall apart into several political parties; obviously the republicans are at least two even now. if they split and the dems don't, of course, then the dems will control the government for quite some time. but i personally mind that no more than the other way round, and it would certainly be worth it to compromise the two-party system. one problem is, in a world of talking points, media is completely boring when there are only two emails, two sets of consultants, two pollsters, and so on. you want the thing to disintegrate just to create a minimum standard of variety in entertainment.
i've heard many a progressive just laugh off the whole question of whether something is or is not constitutional as anachronistic. but the constitution can be extremely practically useful, because of the many good things that are in it due to, um, the intentions of the framers and, in particular, the meaning of the text. look seriously, i guess plenty of people argue that there's no fact of the matter about what any text means. i say that's just silly, though obviously questions arise. i don't know, are you going to read a jane austen novel and then say you have no idea what happened or what any of the characters are like, or that no one in principle could? well, better stop reading stuff, then,
obviously, we got beat in afghanistan. it's actually the 'green on blue' stuff that turned out to be the decisive tactic in the war. people purport to be puzzled by the whole phenomenon; with a straight face, they're like 'after all we've done for them...' now, i do think trying to smash al qaeda immediately was both morally necessary and practically imperative. but, you know, looking at it from their point of view...we occupied their country, blew even more of it and them up, and unilaterally imposed on them the most corrupt government in the world.
also if you don't see romney all over this immediately, they are even more imcompetent than i thought, if that is strictly possible. this is, actually, defeat, which perfectly fits the picture romney wants to paint of obama.
turns out that the sikh temple shooter was kind of a nazi punk rock star. for a little world, it's a world. the vid below is popping up with 2,500 hits: kind of surprising because i think wade michael page might actually be on stage?
i listened through a lot of fascist punk in the course of doing political aesthetics; here's a bit.
It is worth worrying about the use of fascist or Nazi symbolism in punk music and about explicitly white supremacist and anti-Semitic punk music of the kind issued by labels such as Die hard or Victory. When punks defined themselves as the opposite of hippies, they took on a right-wing politics by default, and many of the fundamental hardcore bands had moments that could be construed as right or white-wing. MacKaye talked about being a "white minority"; DC was Chocolate City. The song was later appropriated by European white supremacists. Black Flag did a song called "Guilty of Being White," in which they made fun of leftist guilt about racism. Seminal New York hardcore bands such as Agnostic Front and Cro-Mags flirted more enduringly with anti-pc themes, though they could not be termed fascist. The early LA hardcore band Fear featured hilarious and appalling racism and sexism - "the trouble today with women: the mouth don't stop" - and a back-to-back 'F' symbol that was a kind of fuck-you swastika, along with American/German eagles etc. Skinheads in Britain in the late seventies became associated with the anti-immigrant quasi-fascism of the National Front, ironic given the sub-culture's use of black Jamaican music as the source of its beat. At latest since the hardcore era (1980-84) there has been a world underground of racist or anti-immigrant punk music (already in 1983 the Dead Kennedys could sing "Nazi Punks Fuck Off"), distributed hand-to-hand, inbox to inbox in the old-fashioned DIY manner. Such bands have garnered predictable, occasional attention, and are sometimes prosecuted under anti-Nazi laws in Germany or Austria. Here is a lyric from the band Ethnic Cleansing, and though it is obviously repugnant, we also should begin to wonder about its possible parodic quality.
You know hardcore has gone to shit
When niggers and faggots are in the pit
Maximum Rock'n'Roll [a punk magazine] supports this crap
Says sucking dick is where it's at
I beg to differ, I disagree
Punk's for straights, people like me
Green Day's got AIDS and they piss from cunts
Cock-sucking Kikes who call themselves 'punk.'
Were I to try to give a serious reading of such material, it would go like this. It is parodic in the sense that it is not produced without an intentionality and distance that gives it the whiff of irony; it is specifically constructed or tailored as a provocation or an anthology of offenses, of forbidden words. On the other hand, the views expressed are not without effects, and one would be rash to say that the person who wrote this is not a potentially violent homophobe. The racism and the anti-racism of punk are spectacular; they are a matter of hyperbolic signs that reflect ambiguous or multiple intentions.
Really the audience for that lyric is probably ultimately left-wing anarcho-punks, as the reference to the leftist punk periodical Maximum Rock n Roll shows. Punk enacts a schism from the get-go or fragments into a million bits in a happier or less deadly recapitulation of what happens within the defeated liberation front in a third-world country. First the right broke with the left over the swastika and the hammer and sickle, then each side started splintering, with leftist anarcho-punk especially notorious for schism. This half self-conscious tribalism comes from reading Lord of the Flies in middle school and leads to various audible and visual cues of belonging and exclusion.
Without excusing the fascism of some punks (or of anyone else), I point out that one feature of punk is that it always avails itself of the most extreme possible symbolism. Early on, in the Pistols and their comrades, the point was simply the transgression, not the content, and putting swastikas on the Queen's eyes was almost nothing but a provocation. Anarchism and fascism, whether we consider them as related (through Georges Sorel, let's say, or even Mussolini) or as at opposite ends of the spectrum, have a similar preternatural ability to freak decent people out: a potency as word or symbol virtually unmatched in our vernaculars; they almost cannot be heard, which is why to use them has the flavor of raving meaninglessly. The Dead Boys tossed around the word 'schweinhundt,' but probably really didn't care whether they were anarchists or fascists as long as they weren't Democrats or Republicans. As well, the fascists in particular, as we have seen in spades, had a vivid symbolic repertoire of iron crosses and swastikas and lightning symbols: adapted by right punk as instant infinitely reproducible (xeroxable, stencilable) signs of transgression that everyone could read in shock. The punks availed themselves of the symbolism before they thought through the politics. And when they did, they split into camps, right and left punks, anarchist and fascist punks. In Britain the right railed against immigrants; in the US they tossed around supposed Klan affiliations. A few of the musicians or hangers-on who casually adopted the swastika on their torn-up leather jacket (in fact an early version of the Clash was called "London SS") eventually set up shop in secret revolutionary enclaves, Falangist squats (Clash: "Spanish bombs, they killed Garcia Lorca"), and militia camps; one rightist group adopted the name "Rock Against Communism," as though this was 1930s Germany, but with electric guitars. Fascism and anarchism have in common a global attack on the established order, which both regard as diseased and inauthentic. Punk - the musical style - expresses this critique perfectly, even as it avails itself of musical signifiers that were long in construction, such as Jamaican elements or militaristic drums. These elements function in immediate political expression, argument as beat.
Nevertheless, one might argue that the aesthetics of punk are more suited to an anarchist than a fascist use, and indeed Nazi and racist punk is a fairly small sub-genre, and far more frequently the politics are libertarian/leftist, in my experience; the ratio might be 90/10 with local variations. First of all, punk design and punk music are often what we would merely call anarchic, using the term not primarily in a political but in an aesthetic sense. That is, the material presented is apparently disorganized, purposefully disordered, undisciplined, arbitrary, or not rule-bound. Punk proceeds by collage and by at least the signs of improvisation. It is notoriously undisciplined, even where it becomes a convention or a fashion. That punk is anti-authoritarian is compatible with it being fascist in a situation wherein the power that it is responding to is not itself fascist, but, say, social democratic. It is hard to imagine the sorts of skinhead punks attracted to the right merging into a Hitler youth or a disciplined corps of soldiers or workers. Certainly right-wing punk never produced a Führer. But it not at all hard to imagine punks living without a state; many have tried to do so even in the midst of state power. In the course of researching this chapter, I've been a bit stunned by the pervasiveness and seriousness of the anarchism in punk: it's everywhere from Vancouver to Sydney, from magazines to album covers to lyrics to interviews. As you examine the politics of all the seminal bands, from the Pistols and Clash to Black Flag and D.O.A., from Dead Kennedys to Minor Threat, from Bad Religion to Anti-Flag, it's hard not to see the thing as a whole as an anarchist movement, the first in the West since the early twentieth century.
governor hickenlooper of colorado yesterday said of holmes: 'this person...almost a creature.' i understand this impulse: we want to make something and someone like this alien, inhuman, completely incomprehensible. one thing we're doing when we express this is saying i would never do something like that, which is indeed an important thing to say to oneself and to other people. i certainly do not want to connect to someone like that, but on the other hand i do want to say that the indiscriminate rage and obsessive thinking cannot be entirely incomprehensible to people who have had a range of human experiences. i think that the first step would be to try to understand how an action like that emerges from human beings like us. consciously, pointedly rendering it incomprehensible isn't fully honest and it's not helpful in trying to understand what happened.
right now the cliche explanation is 'social isolation.' again it's amazingly non-explanatory, and just another fad. even if it's true that most people who do something like that at least feel themselves to be socially isolated, it's at least as likely that they are isolated because they're weird as that they're weird because they're isolated. it gives you the vague idea that everyone would be ok if they were just relentlessly social: well, that's your own vision of what human life should be. but this is really what happens with something like aurora: without regard to the facts, we just feed it into our machine and explain it in a way that would, if taken seriously, drive our other agendas. on the morning after the massacre, i heard some 'expert' on cnn blaming "facebook, text messaging, and iphones," portrayed as elements in social isolation. that's probably even less engaged with reality than instantly blaming marilyn manson for columbine without any information about anything. you might see if you can respond by letting the event be what it is, at least for a few moments. a plausible explanation would begin by taking the specific, bristlingly complex event seriously as something you do not yet understand. one problem is that we want a sense of control over events like that and what they suggest about events in the future, so we leap instantaneously to any explanation we have already pre-cooked.
it's worth saying that the two impulses - 'of course we cannot make sense of someone like that at all' and 'it's facebook' - are completely opposed: the event is both inexplicable and explained instantly. these are responses of people who are called upon to talk but who just do not actually know what to say.
yeah the point at which my infiltration of your group is over is the point at which you start strapping petn to my stuff.
i realize that charles taylor is sort of a relativist, sort of a post-modernist, sort of a 'we-are-the-stories-we-tell' linguistic constructivuist, and (this is getting bad, i know), sort of a hegelian. still i wouldn't necessarily regard these as war crimes, though possibly the designation 'crimes against humanity' makes sense.
after the seventeenth time this week you heard 'this is not who we are' from leon panetta, the secret service, the gsa, you surely surely eventually have to get to the question: well, who are we?
people seem to be wondering why iraqis aren't more grateful to the united states. how can they be cuddling up to iran after all our sacrifice of blood and treasure? and we gifted you with so much automatic-weapons fire and some amazing explosions.
obviously, one should greet the military's assertion that the lost drone was flying in afghanistan and went offcourse into iran - which, typically, cnn is reporting as a fact - with skepticism.
puzzled that iran would try to kill the saudi ambassador (well, if they did)? there are many continual flashpoints of difficulty between the two. but one word that might come up is 'bahrain.'
i have to admit, the idea of flying explosive model planes into the capitol had occurred to me, long about 1974. we got pretty far in our plan to stink-bomb the place (a better idea), but never quite got it together.
i've often wanted carefully to wire myself up and detonate my own head, if it doesn't explode on its own. but i think when push came to shove it'd be hard to push the button. of course, it is a difficult choice whether to blow up your head or your crotch, a la the "underwear bomber." both my head and my crotch have caused me numerous problems. but honestly, i don't know where they come up with a whole stream of people who are willing to do stuff like that. seems like hard work.