Pharyngula

Birth pangs of a police state

Minneapolis is hosting the Republican National Convention this summer, and that means we’re seeing an uptick in sleaze (you might want to avoid public restrooms when these guys are in town). The most bizarre part of it all is that the FBI is looking for villains in all the wrong places.

What they were looking for, Carroll says, was an informant–someone to show up at “vegan potlucks” throughout the Twin Cities and rub shoulders with RNC protestors, schmoozing his way into their inner circles, then reporting back to the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force, a partnership between multiple federal agencies and state and local law enforcement. The effort’s primary mission, according to the Minneapolis division’s website, is to “investigate terrorist acts carried out by groups or organizations which fall within the definition of terrorist groups as set forth in the current United States Attorney General Guidelines.”

Vegan potlucks now fall within the definition of a terrorist cell, as defined by the US Attorney General? What are they going to do, threaten a mass assault by kumbaya-singing hordes in birkenstocks armed with lumps of tofu?

This is not about protecting citizens. It’s about silencing the expression of dissent, no matter how mild.

Comments

  1. #1 dan
    May 21, 2008

    worse still I hear some of those birk wearing, tofu gumming folk have an education. Now there is something the fear mongering FBI should target.

  2. #2 daenku32
    May 21, 2008

    The proper link:
    http://articles.citypages.com/2008-05-21/news/moles-wanted/

    This makes me want to go to vegan potlucks now…

  3. #3 Gene
    May 21, 2008

    I couldn’t agree more. What’s even more disturbing is that the vegans could be declared enemy-combatants and sent to Guantanamo (or worse) and never be seen nor heard from again and it would all be perfectly legal.

    So much for America, home of the free…

  4. #4 HumanisticJones
    May 21, 2008

    It makes me feel glad to be an atheist where we only have our great big books of porn, bags of money, and Wednesday night orgies. All that terrorism stuff those vegans are into is even more of a downer than the fact that I can’t bring my Modest Proposal Surprise to the potlucks.

  5. #5 Ranson
    May 21, 2008

    It’s things like this that make me wonder if we’re set to see another round of “criminal syndicalism” laws. The gubbiment (Executive branch, at least) certainly acts like it. Then again, they seem to disagree that they even need a law.

  6. #6 Blake Stacey
    May 21, 2008

    we’re seeing an uptick in sleaze (you might want to avoid public restrooms when these guys are in town).

    The surest sign I haven’t had my caffeine yet today is the length of time it took me to get this joke.

  7. #7 Julian
    May 21, 2008

    Its amazing how paranoid conservatives can be isn’t it? I guess that, because they would firebomb the democratic national convention if they could get away with it, then they figure libs would do the same to them. Unfortunately for their monomania, we just consider them pathetically bad jokes.

    To speak to the issue though, the first time the courts, the congress, and the people allowed Bush to segregate his supporters from potential dissenters at a speech; the first time the secret service ejected or detained someone because of the t-shirt they wore to a rally and no legal punishment followed for their overreach; the first time that the Republican party decided to declare their fellow citizens a bigger threat to the country than foreign enemies and enforce policy accordingly, an incident such as this became inevitable.

  8. #8 Dianne
    May 21, 2008

    Minneapolis has the Repubs this year? My condolences. NYC had them in 2004 and it was awful. Midtown was blocked off, police everywhere, the normally fairly decent mayor acting like a fascist and putting people in jail for more than 48 hours without charging them with anything at all. Interestingly, I never saw a single conventioneer, at least not one that could be identified as such. I was expecting that during the convention NYC would be full of people wearing Bush buttons and acting goofy. But it wasn’t. The delegates apparently never so much as left their hotels for a drink at the nearest bar. They just shuttled back and forth to the convention and holed up in their rooms (completely negating the supposed benefit of the convention, which was increased tourism). In short, they acted like they were in a city that they had conquered and still had to be careful of the restive natives than in a city that was hosting their convention and hoping to show them a good time. Given the deep blue nature of NYC, perhaps they had a point…

  9. #9 Dianne
    May 21, 2008

    All that terrorism stuff those vegans are into is even more of a downer than the fact that I can’t bring my Modest Proposal Surprise to the potlucks.

    Just tell them that the soylent green is made of kelp. They’ll never know the difference.

  10. #10 JeffLaw
    May 21, 2008

    @ #4.

    I’m going to curtail my long-time lurking to be the first to congratulate you on the phrase “Modest Proposal Surprise.” That is hilarious.

  11. #11 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    May 21, 2008

    I fully expected you to come out calling for riots at the RNC convention. But then again that would be irresponsible and unhinged behavior and no one would really call for tha…

    oh nevermind.

  12. #12 ennui
    May 21, 2008

    If you have to eat a not-dog, then the terrorists already have won.

  13. #13 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    May 21, 2008

    If you have to eat a not-dog, then the terrorists already have won.

    no kidding

  14. #14 Julian
    May 21, 2008

    Dianne: That doesn’t surprise me. They were probably afraid that if they wandered outside they might catch libralidis and mutate into an effete, decadent New York intellectual or something. “I tell ya Dale, 5 minutes in unadulterated New York air is enough to become a Pagan transexual with 2 husbands and an adopted Nigerian child named Apricot! Run for the Hills!!!”

  15. #15 True Bob
    May 21, 2008

    IIRC, the first “free speech zone*” was in the Clinton administration. It’s still Police State BS, no matter who does it.

    Also, I think ACLU is suing Denver, so they can get info on enforcement, and Denver won’t pony up the goods.

    *free speech zone my ass. The entire Nation is a free speech zone.

  16. #16 wazza
    May 21, 2008

    You’re going to be there with your citation needed placard, aren’t you, PZ?

    Or maybe “Down with this sort of thing!” a la Father Ted.

    Speak for those that have no voices, like the other two billion citizens of the free world who aren’t allowed to vote for their leader.

  17. #17 Zeno
    May 21, 2008

    Omigawd! The chairman of my math dept is a vegan! Are we all at risk now? Damn, damn, damn.

    However, I do think he was recruited into the lifestyle by his wife, so perhaps he’s not hardcore. Maybe he can be “turned” and rejoin the forces of liberty and democracy (that is, in the contemporary sense of the words “liberty” and “democracy”, which are antonyms of their former meanings).

  18. #18 Scott D.
    May 21, 2008

    I feel safer knowing that he FBI and local police have stopped worrying about gun smugglers, bank robbers, and those who engage in human trafficking, and have begun to focus on the real threats to safety and national security. Those liberal vegan cyclists who participate in street theater.

    I, for one, now walk confidently down dark allies.

  19. #19 Ryan F Stello
    May 21, 2008

    Next on 24: Heroic super-duper patriot Jack Bauer has to defuse a nuclear device made of potato salad and Paprika. Chloe has another mental breakdown.

  20. #20 Scott D.
    May 21, 2008

    Make that “alleys”

  21. #21 Lev
    May 21, 2008

    News Flash: Dissent against meat and dairy industries is not particularly mild stuff. This is “big business” intent on, as always, maximising profit and they hold immense collective sway. Ever wonder why our food pyramid and the general dietary advice is this so screwed up.

  22. #22 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    May 21, 2008

    You’re going to be there with your citation needed placard, aren’t you, PZ?

    Or maybe “Down with this sort of thing!” a la Father Ted.

    I’ll be there with this sign.

  23. #23 Sili
    May 21, 2008

    But are they militant vegans?

    I say stalk out the restrooms but make sure to have surveillance in place. Can’t hurt.

  24. #24 JeffreyD
    May 21, 2008

    Nope, no silly signs, no Bush is a moron placards, just show up with signs that say “Ezekiel 23:20″ and enjoy the confusion.

    Not to make light of this, it is appalling what is being done to our liberties in the name of security and deserves to be reported, yelled about, and voted against. I have spent my professional life in the security, intelligence and, of late, counterterrorism fields abroad and from that optic, this is horrifying. Were it not disgusting, it would be pathetically funny. I am not alone in this, I think the Bush people have literally no idea how shallow their support is in the US government and the military, especially among those who actually deal with real security issues vice imagined ones.

    The above being said, trying to imagine the horror of a vegan potluck, the vegetable holocaust, the slaughter of of all the little tofs needed to make tofu. I need to go pull a couple of steaks out of the freezer to calm myself. (shudder)

    Ciao

  25. #25 SebastesMan
    May 21, 2008

    You know, that granola can be a deadly weapon, so don’t laugh.

  26. #26 haelduksf
    May 21, 2008

    This sounds a lot like COINTELPRO to me. Didn’t that stir up a shitstorm when it was discovered?

  27. #27 Peter Mc
    May 21, 2008

    PZ, we in Britain are well on the way too.

    “Ministers are to consider plans for a database of electronic information holding details of every phone call and e-mail sent in the UK, it has emerged.” BBC story here:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/7409593.stm

    Every phone call, every email. And that’s from a supposedly ‘progressive’ Labour government. I think this could be the straw that has us riotiong and dragging the gobshites from Parliament to be thrashed through the streets.

    The excuse? National security. When our own governments resort to measures like this, AL Qaida don’t need to do much else.

  28. #28 Geoffrey Alexander
    May 21, 2008

    Are they planning on infiltrating the Right Wing with as much zeal? I can just see those FBI moles faking the talking-in-tongues in some Assemblies of God conclave whilst taking attendance notes….

    An affront to anyone’s liberties (including the Fundies themselves) is an affront to all, of course. But something tells me our Opposite Number is getting a pass on this kind of thing. I don’t know whether to cry foul, or fouler.

    This country is totally screwed, in anycase.

  29. #29 Ryan F Stello
    May 21, 2008

    Joking aside, this has been going on for a long time: http://www.nytimes.com/2005/12/20/politics/20fbi.html

    And the US intelligence agencies have an even longer history of stalking members of civil rights movements.

    There’s a patent phobia of COMMUNISM, but we rarely hear hear reports of the FBI infiltrating religious communes that foster cult-ish beliefs.

    Priorities.

  30. #30 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    May 21, 2008

    Are they planning on infiltrating the Right Wing with as much zeal? I can just see those FBI moles faking the talking-in-tongues in some Assemblies of God conclave whilst taking attendance notes….

    In other words, behaving exactly like the other parishioners.

  31. #31 Aaron
    May 21, 2008

    Reminds me of the book I’m reading right now: “Letter to a Young Patriot” by Naomi Wolf. It outlines the 10 steps that every fascist government takes to quash democracy. November can’t come too quickly.

  32. #32 BlueIndependent
    May 21, 2008

    Is it just me or do republicans get their own corner office at the intelligence agencies? They are almost always the ones enabling this crap, and it inevitably is always to protect them over anyone else.

    Fear makes people evil.

  33. #33 spgreenlaw
    May 21, 2008

    It looks like I picked a bad time to go vegetarian.
    *equips cloak of paranoia +4*

  34. #34 True Bob
    May 21, 2008

    And where do those names go?

    http://pacificfreepress.com/content/view/2623/1/

    I was taught that we wore Teh White Hat, and the filthy commies wear the Black one. Now we abuse prisoners for the Red Chinese.

    http://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/story?id=4894921&page=1

  35. #35 Tony
    May 21, 2008

    Being a potluck-attending vegan for the past 12 years I would have to say that this is beyond hilarious and fucking scary. I guess I should have known that my years of eating dinner with my friends was equivalent to being a terrurrist.

    Maybe that’s why my wife buys so much nutritional yeast. It is clearly the main ingredient for those ever-so-destructive Vegan IEDs!

  36. #36 Geoffrey Alexander
    May 21, 2008

    Rev.BDC@30:

    Yes, but I would hope the moles at least would know they were faking. I would hope.

    …Anyway, they’ll probably have to resort to the venomous snakes to weed out the True Believers from the rats. And then we’ll have another Anonymous Star go up on the Memorial Wall in Langley — “Yeah,” they’ll whisper, “that was Agent Smith, he got popped by a Black Adder while infiltrating the First Pentecostal Church in Luverne, Georgia….”

  37. #37 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    May 21, 2008

    Anyway, they’ll probably have to resort to the venomous snakes to weed out the True Believers from the rats.

    NOW you’re talking. There’s no faking a snake bite from a Crotalus adamanteus.

  38. #38 SC
    May 21, 2008

    In the fine tradition of arresting members of Food Not Bombs for distributing food to homeless people

    http://www.foodnotbombs.net/fnb_resists.html

    and putting FNB on terrorist watch lists.

  39. #39 True Bob
    May 21, 2008

    If only Agent Smith had been in possesion of a cunning plan…

  40. #40 Niobe
    May 21, 2008

    Maybe they don’t get their meaning for blowin’ out.

  41. #41 Mark B
    May 21, 2008

    “Yeah,” they’ll whisper, “that was Agent Smith, he got popped by a Black Adder while infiltrating the First Pentecostal Church in Luverne, Georgia….”

    What was Rowan Atkinson doing in a church in Georgia?

  42. #42 Bodach
    May 21, 2008

    When they came for the tofu, I said nothing. When they came for the falafel, I said nothing. When they came for the porcini mushrooms sprinkled with vegan cheese and spicy peppers, I went back to the bus and changed by Birkenstocks for combat boots and a flack jacket. Nobody messes with my shrooms!

  43. #43 TheWireMonkey
    May 21, 2008

    Good Luck! We had them here in NYC last time and it was a huge pain in the ass. I took part in the massive protest, which was incredibly peaceful. I talked to a cop who was stationed along the route. He was carrying a machine gun and was in full body armor. He was really pissed off by the whole thing too–Funding for 9-11 victims was being held up and Homeland Security funding for NYC was too low. First responders were totally given the shaft by the same Republicans that made a show of weeping over what used to be the WTC. Basically, the cops were pretty much on the side of the protestors. I think the only problems we had were with the hired thugs that they brought in from outside.

    It was a really interesting moment of solidarity among New Yorkers though–just about everybody had some button or t-shirt or sticker that expressed displeasure with the status quo. On the way to work, on the subway, a businesswoman (I’m guessing by the hair, shoes and suit), just sort of lost it and started yelling at a group of fanny-packed conventioneers. Everybody else on the subway cheered. I (almost) felt bad for them. OK, not really.

    When the movie trailer for Cloverfield came out I yelled “Oh, a documentary about the Republican Convention” That got lots of laughs.

  44. #45 Armchair Dissident
    May 21, 2008

    Peter Mc (#27), I would hardly call Labour “progressive” – supposedly or otherwise. They’re down-right authoritarian, and not above outright lying. Together with this new attempt to access our private lives, I’d also like to point out the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act, the so-call “voluntary entitlement card” that (not-so-)mysteriously morphed into a compulsory identity card. 48 day detention without trial. The shambles that was the Hutton enquiry. I could go on (whatever happened, for example, to their ’97 pledge to introduce proportional representation) and on (“anti-terrorist” stop-and-search laws being used for anything other than anti-terroism). In short, I agree; the US are far behind us in the race to become a police state.

  45. #46 Tony
    May 21, 2008

    Also, can we lose the idea that all vegans are dreadlocked hippies with Burkenstocks? Sure, its funny to imagine us like that, but almost all of the vegans I know (myself included) come from a punk/hardcore background.

  46. #47 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    May 21, 2008

    Also, can we lose the idea that all vegans are dreadlocked hippies with Burkenstocks? Sure, its funny to imagine us like that, but almost all of the vegans I know (myself included) come from a punk/hardcore background.

    And it’s not any funnier imagining you the other way?

    I kid.

  47. #48 True Bob
    May 21, 2008

    No Tony, we cannot. It would be unamerican, like atheists without puppy blood slushies.

  48. #49 Benjamin Franklin
    May 21, 2008

    How can you spot the real terrorist at a vegan potluck?

    They’re the one bringing the turkey hot dogs.

    DAMN YOU, Soy Protein!

  49. #50 Dan
    May 21, 2008

    It all makes sense. GWB choked on a pretzel… which is, you know, a vegan food.

    He’s trying to “smoke us out”…

    ~Dan, the friendly neighborhood vegeterrorist (wink wink)
    http://jazzsick.wordpress.com/

  50. #51 Pierce R. Butler
    May 21, 2008

    Don’t worry, comrades, you’ll be able to spot the infiltrators with no trouble: just look for the guys bringing coleslaw and potato salad from take-out bar-b-q joints. (The ones bringing bowls of pork ‘n’ beans from which all the pork has been painstakingly pulled out are from your local sheriff’s office.)

  51. #52 Aquaria
    May 21, 2008

    #28 – No, they will not. They’re doing exactly what the Bushies want (whether admitted or not), so no harm no foul.

    If you think it’s about national security, it’s not. These morons don’t give a shit about that. Invade Iraq because it might have WMDs? Sure! But what happens when someone really does have WMDs?

    Well, you be the judge of how these bushist traitors might not give a shit about WMDs set to be used against Americans. Not really. Not unless it’s something that can be used to silence the “opposition” or vilify brown people and furriners.

  52. #53 ice9
    May 21, 2008

    As a suburban Minneapolitan with some free summer time, I’m contemplating what the best bit of good-natured interference might be at the convention. Being white and portly and well-groomed, with a few political connections, I considered infiltrating the convention itself, but that would be too weird and though I could use the weight-loss, the nausea would spoil the fun. Maybe I should set up an organization to attract the FBI, some kind of fringe group, show up at the vegan potlucks (pork potstickers and deep-fried cheese curds safely hidden away) and do some recruiting, see if I could get myself infiltrated…that might be fun too. I’ll take a practical suggestion.
    But I will certainly join a few protest lines, though the free speech zones are located in southwestern North Dakota. Any sign ideas?

    ice

  53. #54 BlueIndependent
    May 21, 2008

    “…like atheists without puppy blood slushies.”

    If I were injesting anything when I read this, it would be orbiting the planet right now.

  54. #55 Kevin
    May 21, 2008

    No, no, no. You read this wrong. Not Vegans with the long ‘e’, Vegans with the long ‘a’. You know, illegal aliens from Vega.

  55. #56 qbsmd
    May 21, 2008

    I’m amazed at the lack of skepticism displayed here. I haven’t seen a post even attempting to look at the other side. After a brief search, I found an article describing actual domestic terror organizations that the FBI would be justified in investigating.
    The reaction here (Paranoid republicans, suppressing dissent, harmless vegans) seems disturbingly like the reaction of creationists (dogs don’t turn into cats, that’s silly, and you’re trying to suppress our religion).

  56. #57 rowmyboat
    May 21, 2008

    Ok, so in 2004 Bush and the RNC came to Manhattan, one of the most dense Democratic locations in the country, and nothing went wrong. In fact, the 100k people protesting there were pretty damn peaceful. And now they worry that about this convention? — you know they are making shit up.

  57. #58 bsd
    May 21, 2008

    Maybe their source was vegetariansareevil.com

  58. #59 Disciple of "Bob"
    May 21, 2008

    Some day, I’d like to meet a vegan who could disabuse me of my suspicion that veganism is falls somewhere on the [mostly harmless end of the] cult spectrum.

    My sample size is admittedly tiny, but the vegans I’ve known have had the following traits in common:

    * the belief that veganism (and in a couple of cases, veganism alone) could solve global problems
    * they had a strong tendency to isolate themselves from non-vegans, and there was subtle peer pressure to avoid associating with non-vegans, aka “omnis”(!)
    * also in more than one case, I knew vegans who inflicted their dietary regimen on their cats and/or dogs.

    But terrorists? Pfft. Just think of the pigeons and cockroaches that might accidentally be collaterally-damaged in a vegan terrorist attack.

  59. #60 reason
    May 21, 2008

    qbsmd
    So Animals Rights fanatics are going to attack the RNC? Surely PZ is more in danger?

  60. #61 Doug
    May 21, 2008

    Careful PZ, those wooden pellets they shoot at bystanders can cause some serious injury. But look on the bright side, the number of prostitutes will increase during the convention. Then again, half of those prostitutes will be guys, it is after all, a Republican convention.

  61. #62 Blake Stacey
    May 21, 2008

    Disciple of “Bob” (#59):

    That doesn’t sound like the vegans I’ve known.

  62. #63 True Bob
    May 21, 2008

    …I haven’t seen a post even attempting to look at the other side.

    What other side? The side that thinks vegans and Quakers are dyed-in-the-wool terrrrrrsts? I would surmise that folks here are aware that there are actual terrrrst groups, and it’d be good for the FBI to investigate terrrst actions. That isn’t “the other side” of “infiltrating peaceful protester groups is a good thing”.

  63. #64 Steve LaBonne
    May 21, 2008

    People like qbsmd give me a good laugh. The surest way for a real terrorist organization to operate with complete impunity would be to have the Keystone Cops at the Federal Bureau of Ineptitude on their trail.

    By the way, if there is another attack, we’re all on the secret list of “dangerous” people to be roudned up: http://tinyurl.com/4hrb7m

  64. #65 SC
    May 21, 2008

    Does anyone else remember this incident in Quebec last year?:

    http://youtube.com/watch?v=gAfzUOx53Rg&feature=related

    My favorite part of this particular report is the reporter’s pronunciation of “ageaaaaahnts provocateeueuuuuuurs.”

  65. #66 Aquaria
    May 21, 2008

    sI’m amazed at the lack of skepticism displayed here. I haven’t seen a post even attempting to look at the other side. After a brief search, I found an article describing actual domestic terror organizations that the FBI would be justified in investigating.

    You’ve heard of that bridge people want to sell? Nice to see you in line with your pennies to buy it.

    The FBI can scream all it wants about eco-terrorists, but the reality is that few of the vegan pot luck crowd has chemical weapons. How many of them have bombed federal buildings? How many of them have huge stockpiles of weapons, like, oh those wackos in Waco?

    How much did you hear about William Krar? Can you imagine how this administration would have behaved if he had been brown, foreign and/or leftist? You know Gdub and his buddies would have been screaming their heads off if PETA were caught red-handed with chemical weapons. When it’s a white supremacist, this administration’s response is, eh what’s the big deal?

    I’m not saying some eco-terrorists aren’t a potential problem, but they pale in comparison to the right wing loonies that are operating in plain sight–and hardly getting looked at. Go after the white supremacists/fundaloonies with the same zeal, with the same priorities, and pursuing the same punishments for their crimes–without having Fed arms twisted into it, then I’ll be more willing to listen to the “other side.” Until then, going after one side that doesn’t have a record for being as extreme as another that has proved, over and over, that they are capable of harming their fellow Americans is outright discrimination and a danger to this country.

  66. #67 DaveX
    May 21, 2008

    The Feds are welcome by for veggie din-din at my place anytime, providing they bring a 24-pack of Cokes, and a silly kung-fu movie.

  67. #68 Kadath
    May 21, 2008

    #59:

    The only distinguishing characteristic of vegans is a bizarre insistence that vegan “cheese” is just like the real thing. I think it’s a defense mechanism in the face of the vileness of said “cheese.”

  68. #69 Joshua
    May 21, 2008

    You laugh, but happy hippies with ukuleles are absolutely terrifying if you’re an easily frightened, insecure idiot. Like 30% of the country apparently are.

  69. #70 mayhempix
    May 21, 2008

    The genesis of this story has been traced back to an email typo by a rookie FBI agent fresh from BYU claiming that the Vegan motto is to “Meet Is Murder”.

    Next thing you know Jack Bauer will use torture to locate and diffuse a Google Bomb aimed at Dick Cheney.

  70. #71 SC
    May 21, 2008

    ice9 @ #53,

    This always makes me laugh when I think of it:

    At the American Party Conventions, Billionaires for Bush (or Gore) dressed in high-camp tuxedos and evening gowns and tried to press wads of fake money into the cops’ pockets, thanking them for repressing the dissent. None were even slightly hurt–perhaps police are given aversion therapy against hitting anyone in a tuxedo. The Revolutionary Anarchist Clown Bloc, with their high bicycles, rainbow wigs and squeaky mallets, confused the cops by attacking each other (or the billionaires). They had all the best chants: ‘Democracy? Ha Ha Ha!’, ‘The pizza united can never be defeated’, ‘Hey ho, hey ho–ha ha, hee hee!’, as well as meta-chants like ‘Call! Response! Call! Response!’ and–everyone’s favourite–’Three Word Chant! Three Word Chant!’

    http://www.newleftreview.org/A2368

  71. #72 Mark B
    May 21, 2008

    Bongwater is a potent chemical weapon. Especially if it’s been a while since you’ve changed it.

  72. #73 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    May 21, 2008

    You laugh, but happy hippies with ukuleles are absolutely terrifying if you’re an easily frightened, insecure idiot. Like 30% of the country apparently are.

    Don Ho was a hippie?

  73. #74 qbsmd
    May 21, 2008

    #60, I did not say that. I just meant that there are terrorist groups the FBI has a legitimate interest in investigating, and this seems like a way to find them.
    #64, That may be true, but if the FBI is too inept to do anything, then what should the country do about crime?
    #66, I would agree that the government should react to all groups according to the threat they pose. I don’t have enough information to analyze those threats myself. If you post a resource on attacks by domestic terror groups or government effort spent on dealing with each one, I’ll look at it.

  74. #75 Mark B
    May 21, 2008

    but if the FBI is too inept to do anything, then what should the country do about crime?

    It’s not that they’re inept, it’s that the leadership at the top seems to be using them for suppressing political dissent instead of actually investigating crimes and criminal activities. The solution is obvious, they need new leadership.

  75. #76 BruceJ
    May 21, 2008

    Birth Pangs?

    Nah, this is the same old shit, and long grown up: Cointelpro anyone? Up for a game of “Spot the Fed”?

    I knew it was a police state when they erected the “Free Speech Zone” cages in Boston in 2004.

    Too damn bad we don’t have a generator attached to Eric Blair’s corpse…we could power half the country.

    The half that isn’t destined for a camp…:-(

    Oh, and Aquaria? When the neonazis start firebombing expensive wilderness lodges under construction and Hummer dealerships instead of blowing up people, well, then they’ve damaged something important, and they’ll be hunted down with great zeal. Let no Hummer go unavenged!

  76. #77 Nullifidian
    May 21, 2008

    I’m amazed at the lack of skepticism displayed here.

    Skepticism towards what exactly, and how is the cause of skepticism aided by pointing out that there are domestic terrorist organizations? I think that was rather the point. There are domestic terrorist organizations, and they are unlikely to be holding vegan potlucks.

    If you think skepticism towards the idea that this is an FBI action is required, then you should really hang out with some authentically left wing organizations for a bit, because in my experience this kind of ham-handedness from the FBI is hardly new. Informants, provocateurs, and the suspicion of harmless leftist organizations (like calling Food Not Bombs an “anarcho-vegan” terrorist organization) are par for the course.

    In 2003, an organization I was affiliated with held a protest at the inauguration of the Dole Institute of Politics on the KU campus. It turned into a police riot at the encouragement of people who were known FBI agents from the Topeka and Kansas City regional offices.

    In 2004, many of these same people were served with federal subpoenas, thanks to the FBI, in order to prevent their participation in the protests at the Republican convention. They also had an informer, which was subsequently confirmed by documents obtained pursuant to a FOIA request.

    We’ve also had agents provocateurs in our war protests, in the truly obvious ways that only an infiltrator from the latter-day Red Squads can manage. It’s frightening to think what these people might be able to achieve if they possessed any competence.

  77. #78 Chris (in Columbus)
    May 21, 2008

    Aww, man! I’ll be in Minneapolis in a few weeks. Luckily I’ll be out before they start pouring in!

  78. #79 wÒÓ†
    May 21, 2008
  79. #80 jre
    May 21, 2008

    For those who were wondering, now we know: creeping authoritarianism tastes like chicken!

  80. #81 Aquaria
    May 21, 2008

    Anyone remember the peace group in Fresno that Michael Moore featured in Fahrenheit 9/11? Yep, those crazy peaceniks, with their their fresh baked cookies, and their little old ladies crocheting, like some kind of latter day Madame deFarges.

  81. #82 craig
    May 21, 2008

    It was odd to see most of the protesters at a Cheney appearance willingly let themselves be herded into a distant, fenced-off “free speech zone.”
    A few of us refused, and I got a secret service sniper rifle poked in my chest for my troubles.

    Interesting thing was, though, talking to one of the trench-coated guys supervising security – he also thought the “free speech zone” was bullshit. Or maybe he was just humoring me.

  82. #83 LightningRose
    May 21, 2008

    What a fabulous opportunity to feed the Feds dis-information!

    The only problem is the vegan pot-luck itself.

    “What did you bring?”
    “Tofu casserole, and you?”
    “Tofu casserole.”

  83. #84 Nullifidian
    May 21, 2008

    #60, I did not say that. I just meant that there are terrorist groups the FBI has a legitimate interest in investigating, and this seems like a way to find them.

    By INFILTRATING VEGAN POTLUCKS?!?!?!

    How on earth could you consider that a viable pathway to finding the genuinely dangerous domestic terrorists, who are largely on the right wing? Would attending vegan potlucks have put anyone on the trail of William Krar? Or Robert Goldstein? Or the Jewish Defense League? Or The Order? Or any of the other hundreds of right-wing terrorist organizations and individuals active in the United States today?

    That’s where the genuine threat originates, both in terms of planned and executed terrorist acts.

  84. #85 Mikey M
    May 21, 2008

    The United States Attorney General has guidelines?

  85. #86 Michael Vieths
    May 21, 2008

    I need to find someplace to which I can flee while they’re in town. I already warned my coworkers I’d be either working from home or on vacation since both downtowns are between home and office.

    Have you checked your class for infiltrators, PZ? There might be some clues in their genetics finals…

  86. #87 Rahein
    May 21, 2008

    When I got to the original article it is blank.

    Coincidence, I think not.

  87. #88 Nullifidian
    May 21, 2008

    Nah, this is the same old shit, and long grown up: Cointelpro anyone? Up for a game of “Spot the Fed”?

    I knew it was a police state when they erected the “Free Speech Zone” cages in Boston in 2004.

    Those cages look like the ones which were erected for “Free Speech Zones” in during the 2000 LA Democratic National Convention, and I think we all know who was president then: the same guy who pressured Mayor Paul Schell to crack down violently on the Direct Action Network’s protests and unilaterally declare an illegal curfew and 50-block “No Protest Zone”.

    Both parties, alas, are equally as bad as each other when it comes to suppressing dissent; the Democrats merely don a velvet glove before seizing the rubber truncheon.

  88. #89 Julian
    May 21, 2008

    True Bob: Seriously? I don’t remember ever hearing “free speech zone” until the current admin, so thanks for pointing out Clinton’s use of this. Gives me something to look up :)

  89. #90 Aaron Golas
    May 21, 2008

    @ #31: Yep, step 5 (chapter 6 of “The End of America”): Infiltrate Citizens’ Groups.

  90. #91 Greg Laden
    May 21, 2008

    Thankfully, Minneapolis will NOT be hosting the convention in 2008. Indeed, I cannot imagine the circumstances under which Minneapolis would EVER host the Republican National Convention.

    Please stop spreading these nasty rumors about Minneapolis.

    Now, St. Paul, that is an ENTIRELY different story. More different than most people realize.

  91. #92 Cynodont
    May 21, 2008

    Why do I get the odd feeling the choice of bunking in a
    Re-education And Elimination “Workshop Getaway” or becoming a Good German is a possibility in the near future?

    Then again, I reassure myself that will _never_ happen in the great land that is The United Parking Lot.

    (places Rose colored glasses back on and listens to the latest pop “sampling”)

  92. #93 True Bob
    May 21, 2008

    Julian, yes indeedy, they didn’t start with shrubco. 1988 DNC convention in Atlanta is first cite here:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free_speech_zones

    Of course, shrubco has made them as onerous as they are now. Soon they’ll only allow free speech in Gitmo, but then it’ll be classified.

  93. #94 sjburnt
    May 21, 2008

    Thanks, Nullifidian, for at least including the suggestion that there are wingnuts of both right-hand and left-hand thread. When the RNC comes to ST. PAUL I will avoid both cities like the plague.

    I suspect that the FBI is equally as interested in the right-handers as the left.

    Within an otherwise excellent blog like this, which appeals to me as a source for reasoned thinking, I am always surprised at the knee-jerk political jabs. I do not see either side distancing themselves from the religious base.

  94. #95 Itzac
    May 21, 2008

    What are they going to do, threaten a mass assault by kumbaya-singing hordes in birkenstocks armed with lumps of tofu?

    You know what’d be fun… >D

  95. #96 Peter Ashby
    May 21, 2008

    Maybe that’s why my wife buys so much nutritional yeast. It is clearly the main ingredient for those ever-so-destructive Vegan IEDs!

    Don’t laugh, I make ginger beer the old fashioned way except I use modern screw top PET bottles. First batch I left too much air space, the amount those bottles stretched and how hard they got (MUCH harder than commercial soda bottles) was truly frightening. And that was just with baker’s yeast. I am on brewer’s yeast now, primarily for the better taste profile but also because they are less into CO2 production. Dangerous stuff yeast, I nearly called the bomb squad, took HOURS to let that pressure out, oh so slowly….

  96. #97 Monado, FCD
    May 21, 2008

    In the 60s? 70s? the FBI were infiltrating feminist groups, where they dutifully reported on what Gloria Steinem wore at each meeting.

  97. #98 Peter Ashby
    May 21, 2008

    Armchair Dissident, the true intent of the RIPA was shown when the govt declined to prosecute Phorm under it for the BT snooping trial which was clearly in contravention of it.

    Rule of law my virgin arse, Us: look, look a law breaker!
    Govt: yawn, move on, nothing to see here. I said move on or we will arrest you!

  98. #99 GregV
    May 21, 2008

    #59: There are some people in the vegan community that have a faith-esque approach to it, who are willing to believe false claims to support themselves and use propaganda or sophistry to “evangelize” the cause. For many, it’s just an ethical concern that drives specific choices. I’ve personally known both types. But veganism is not a faith, even if it is to some people, much in the same way that Dawkins’ #7 (100% no-belief) category atheism is a faith statement, as it’s unfalsifiable in the same way you cannot prove “there are no black swans” unless you find an extant counterexample.

    Do you accept that *other* people have met non-cultist vegans, or must you meet one for yourself?

  99. #100 Nullifidian
    May 21, 2008

    I suspect that the FBI is equally as interested in the right-handers as the left.

    Your suspicion is not borne out by the evidence. For example, the FBI had information that William Krar was in possession of fake identification badges that would have gained him admittance to various federal facilities, and they sat on that information for over a year. The family that discovered the cache of fake IDs when the package was misdelivered went to the local police, and it wasn’t until the local police were about to move that the FBI swept in. There was far more FBI activity that year in Lawrence, Kansas when they were instigating the police riot I talked about earlier.

    Time and time again, the focus of the FBI domestically has been in its role as political police, while right-wing terrorist attempts are foiled largely by accident or by investigation at the local level. Sooner or later, one of them is bound to succeed, like McVeigh did. It could have very well been Krar, whose hydrogen cyanide weapons could have killed everyone within in a 30,000 square foot building.

  100. #101 Umlud
    May 21, 2008

    Going along with Sili (#23) in asking whether they are militant vegans. I mean if they are, I can understand why the red-meat-eating RNC members (who support a rancher-President) might be worried. (I mean, some of those people can be really up-in-your-face about the immorality of eating meat to the point of mild annoyance and real contemplation of walking away.)

    “Go strike force USA!” Erm. I mean, “Go FBI!”

    *yay*

  101. #102 hibob
    May 21, 2008

    Two less savory aspects of republican conventions I haven’t seen mentioned here are 1, the huge cost born by the host city for extra security (the RNC ain’t to generous in that regard, and has a tendency to forget their IOUs), and 2, the increase in vice. When San Diego hosted the RNC, there were prostitutes imported from all over the country to satisfy the excess demand, so to speak, and a budget deficit that ended up gutting our general fund . Said deficit ended up getting paid up via the pension fund … next thing we knew we were getting called Enron by the Bay.

    Minneapolis could nip both problems in the bud by increasing the number of officers doing prostitution stings accordingly, and then offering an accelerated get-out-of-jail-in-time-to-vote-for-McCain settlement process to the out of town johns for a slight extra fee … say $10K?

  102. #103 Quiet Desperation
    May 21, 2008

    Woot said, “(.)(.)”

    I think you made the most reality based post, Woot, or at least the one with the least panty pissing.

  103. #104 Peter Ashby
    May 21, 2008

    Nobody has commented on what is the most disturbing thing about the whole piece. The Feds said Carrol would get paid, but only if there were arrests! Is nobody else troubled at all by that little dangerous incentive?

  104. #105 Philippe
    May 21, 2008

    RE: free speech zone.

    I just read the Wiki on it.

    And I’m still having trouble grasping the fact that they exist in a “free country”.

    and, apparently, we have them here too, in Canada.

    merde.

    There is something very very very wrong going on here.

  105. #106 True Bob
    May 21, 2008

    Peter, what’s the issue? It worked so well in rounding up terrrrsts in Afghanistan…

  106. #107 Peter Ashby
    May 21, 2008

    Well it wasn’t me whose taxes paid for those bounties in the NW Frontier old boy. Or To put them up in open air hotel rooms in Cuba with 24/7 room service and security. So my outrage is merely on human rights grounds…

  107. #108 Ugly In Pink
    May 21, 2008

    The Feds said Carrol would get paid, but only if there were arrests!

    This does indeed deserve more attention.

  108. #109 Marion Delgado
    May 21, 2008

    Weenies.

    We can put a man on the moon, but we can’t come up with a little anti-venom prophylactic drug? I believe in America, man!

    Besides, there is the Schadenfreude after your agents have taken up the snakes. Now it’s put p or shut up for the ringleader, or at least the lead pastors and deacons.

  109. #110 You're all cowards
    May 21, 2008

    There’s a more important question to be asked.

    Which Party’s convention attracts the best hookers?

    Everything else is old news even if the specific names of the bogeymen change from decade to decade.

    You’ve heard of that bridge people want to sell? Nice to see you in line with your pennies to buy it.

    Everyone is buying “Paul Carrols” bridge with exactly *ZERO* corroboration, so why not?

    There is *ZERO* skepticism being displayed here.

  110. #111 Armchair Dissident
    May 21, 2008

    Peter Ashby; Spot on with Phorm. And their excuse was laughable; first claiming their activities were legal, then discovering that they were, in fact, illegal, but they couldn’t chase them because they weren’t a government organisation. Yet a council is entitled to use the same act to spy on a family because of the school they’d registered their child to attend.

  111. #112 beagledad
    May 21, 2008

    I dunno what the fuss is about. All the vegans I know are vicious terrorists. Where I have a meat locker, they have a cache of RPGs. When they get together with the amoral, baby-eating athiests, it’s quite a sight. Tho’ there’s a bit of controversy over whether baby-eating violates vegan principles.

  112. #113 natural cynic
    May 21, 2008

    The real reason that the FBI wants to infiltrate vegan potlucks instead of nutwing religious cults is that the agents have a better chance of getting laid. Hippie chicks are easier because the cult leaders will keep all the followers to himself.

  113. #114 Nullifidian
    May 21, 2008

    Everyone is buying “Paul Carrols” bridge with exactly *ZERO* corroboration, so why not?

    The corroboration may be found in Beyond Bullets: The Suppression of Dissent in the United States by Jules Boykoff, Agents of Repression and The COINTELPRO Papers by Ward Churchill and Jim vander Wall, in the fact that they have previously designated Food Not Bombs as an “anarcho-vegan” terrorist organization, in the previous experiences of leftists all the way from the 50s and 60s to the present day of FBI COINTELPRO tactics, and its use of a stable of paid snitches like the infamous “Anna Davies”.

    In short, the FBI has done enough in its history to make this story entirely plausible, and indeed rather weak broth compared to its history of subversion of New Left groups and its targeted arrests and assassinations.

  114. #115 TheWireMonkey
    May 21, 2008

    Toward the question of vice: I recall an article I read in where the author interviewed prostitutes. The sex workers said they always made more money at Republican events.

    From Rocky Mountain News via HuffPost:
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/02/04/sex-workers-say-they-get-_n_84860.html

  115. #116 John
    May 21, 2008

    #20: OTOH the gubmint doesn’t seem to be having any qualms walking down dark allies.

  116. #117 DLC
    May 21, 2008

    (going from memory here, but . . .)
    Probably the first use of what later became known as COINTELPRO to the general public was FBI operations against communist groups in the 1930s and later against groups like the Deutsche-American Bund in the years leading up to the second world war. They would infiltrate, gather information and then agents would move in. This was later used in the early 1960s against racist groups like the KKK. FBI also infiltrated groups like the SDS and Martin Luther King’s group of Civil Rights activists. On the other side of the coin, FBI has routinely attempted to put agents in place within or seek informants inside groups like The Order, Posse Cumatatis and the White Aryan Resistance. So, spying on groups has been fairly well documented as being aimed at both extremes of politics. I should note here that no one should take any of this to mean that I approve of such tactics, I am only offering a bit of historical background.

    Do Vegens even have politics ? Are the majority of them left-leaning or liberal ? Never been to a vegan potluck in my life. Probably never will, being the sort of man who thinks Salad is what food eats.

  117. #118 Ray Frenden
    May 21, 2008

    As a vegan, atheist, liberal, educated, artist, I’m screwed!

  118. #119 jsn
    May 21, 2008

    It’s about silencing the expression of dissent, no matter how mild.

    *picks self up off floor after being knocked flat by that gigantic mass of irony*

  119. #120 Inoculated Mind
    May 21, 2008

    Although there are some in the alt-foodie crowd that commit acts of vandalism, against crop research, that is clearly not what this is about. This is a terrible mis-use of government authority to try to undermine a peaceful opposition. I like how the republicans are going to lose big this year, and they’re worried about VEGANS! LOL.

    The stuff about police infiltrating Critical Mass events is pretty disturbing, too. Intimidation. :(

  120. #121 You're all cowards
    May 21, 2008

    The corroboration may be found in…

    …a book published before Paul Carrol’s supposed encounter with the feds. Was that even supposed to be a remotely sane response?

  121. #122 CalGeorge
    May 21, 2008

    Speaking of vegans, it’s World Vegetarian Week.

    Time to lay off the consumption of your fellow earthlings.

    Trouble getting motivated? Watch Earthlings.

  122. #123 Quiet Desperation
    May 21, 2008

    So, spying on groups has been fairly well documented as being aimed at both extremes of politics.

    Oh, leave the ideologues alone. They need to think they are the first generation to see such things as this. Just pat them on the head and say, “Yes, dear, we are heading full bore to a police state. They’re looking for you, along with the Masons. You are doomed. They’re everywhere.”

    It makes them feel special and all rag tag rebel fleety. It’s the Battlestar Syndrome, or in this case Battlestar By Proxy Syndrome.

    Quick! Someone queue The Imperial March!

    Probably never will, being the sort of man who thinks Salad is what food eats.

    Huh. That makes the Chicken Caesar salad I had for lunch quite the conundrum! :-)

  123. #124 Nullifidian
    May 21, 2008

    …a book published before Paul Carrol’s supposed encounter with the feds. Was that even supposed to be a remotely sane response?

    Of course it was, as you might have seen were you capable of reading past a half sentence.

    If you had gotten to this section…

    In short, the FBI has done enough in its history to make this story entirely plausible, and indeed rather weak broth compared to its history of subversion of New Left groups and its targeted arrests and assassinations.

    …you might have seen the point in it.

    Do you have any further trolling to entertain us with?

  124. #125 Nullifidian
    May 21, 2008

    Oh, leave the ideologues alone. They need to think they are the first generation to see such things as this.

    Excellent point, because if the suppression of dissent can be “grandfathered” in, then that makes it perfectly okay!

  125. #126 Quiet Desperation
    May 21, 2008

    Speaking of vegans, it’s World Vegetarian Week. Time to lay off the consumption of your fellow earthlings.

    Oh, so you are not inclusive of plants in your little “Earthling” group? RACIST! Speciesist! Vegetable rights and peace!

    Just wait for the uprising of the Army Of Green in all it’s chlorophyllic vengence! Just wait! Wait. Here it comes! Onward Cellulosian warriors!

    Any second now. Hmm. It’s a tad cloudy. Maybe you could come back tomorrow when it’s a bit sunnier and the chlorophyllically vengeful Army Of Green is a bit less gippy. KTHX!

  126. #127 Jams
    May 21, 2008

    I’ll take up the FBI side! A few points…

    - The argument that the FBI should instead focus on “white supremacists” and other right-wing groups in their efforts to secure the RNC is ridiculous. Right-wing organizations are far less likely to present a risk to the RNC than left-wing organizations. We should observe too that the FBI DOES infiltrate white supremest organizatioons in the United States. Yay!

    - The argument that most terrorists are right-wing is errant. The Homeland Security definition of terrorist act casts a very broad net encompassing many activities fairly common on the left and right. I believe tree spiking is considered a terrorist act. Certainly, one’s definition of what constitutes left-wing and right-wing also muddies the pot.

    - Of course, not all vegans are terrorists, or anything even approaching terrorists, but that’s not the point. Being vegan is often a political (left-wing) posture indicative of extreme stances, and well, extremists are the ones who tend to blow things up. (granted, this is the weakest point, and I’m really straining it there).

    - How then, if not potlucks? Ok, I’m in the FBI, and I want to infiltrate left-wing organizations. Vegan potlucks sound like friendly environments where one might luck into a social network of activists who may or may not have a dangerous bent. Perhaps Jamborees or Poetry Jams would be better? Would you really want to subject an FBI agent to a poetry jam? Come on people. Be reasonable.

  127. #128 Quiet Desperation
    May 21, 2008

    Excellent point, because if the suppression of dissent can be “grandfathered” in, then that makes it perfectly okay!

    Wow. Nice hallucination between the lines there! (QD pats Nullifidian on head).

    Judges?

    USA: 9
    Ansterdam: 9
    Brobdingnag: 8
    Afghanistan: 8
    Tuvalu: 9

    Excellent scores! Now here’s a juice box.

    http://www.babiestravellite.com/Merchant2/graphics/00000001/MinuteMaidAppleJuiceLarge.jpg

  128. #129 CalGeorge
    May 21, 2008

    Twin Cities Vegans!

    Test for FBI infiltrators by offering up slices of Tofurkey Roast at your next potluck.

    If anyone expresses delight with the taste, you’ve found your special agent!

  129. #130 Brownian, OM
    May 21, 2008

    I hate potlucks. Infiltrate ‘em all.

  130. #131 Nullifidian
    May 21, 2008

    QD, thanks for the juice box, but I would prefer a “draught of vintage…tasting of Flora and the country-green, dance, and Provençal song, and sunburnt mirth….”

    But what I would really like most of all is for you to explain your elliptical and idiotic statement, if you think you can manage it.

  131. #132 Nick Gotts
    May 21, 2008

    I’m trying to get a feel for how bad the political situation in the USA is – do people really feel there is an imminent threat of theocracy, dictatorship or something similar? To make it more specific, suppose by September, it looks like Obama is going to beat McCain (as I think will be the case). What do people here, Americans particularly, think the Republicans will do?

  132. #133 Quiet Desperation
    May 21, 2008

    But what I would really like most of all is for you to explain your elliptical and idiotic statement, if you think you can manage it.

    Geez, you’re way too easy. :-)

  133. #134 Quiet Desperation
    May 21, 2008

    I’m trying to get a feel for how bad the political situation in the USA is

    Lucifer hisself will be eating our children come Christmastime. Dogs and cats will sleep together. Brimstone will flow freely from people’s faucets. Light bulbs will only be available in 40W clear. Abortions will be mandatory and performed at sidewalk kiosks. The selection at grocery stores will be reduced to sickly looking organic vegetables, Nutrasweet laden “health” waters and 95 flavors of Spam. Bill O’Reilly and Rugh Limbaugh will get married in California. Angels will be heard on high. The Dodgers will be heard on low. A full score more of media format wars will commence, and the bittorrents will flow in the streets like blood. Oh, Discordia!

    What do people here, Americans particularly, think the Republicans will do?

    Have a potluck for the seven of them that are left.

  134. #135 Mark B
    May 21, 2008

    Being vegan is often a political (left-wing) posture indicative of extreme stances, and well, extremists are the ones who tend to blow things up.

    Sorry, this sentence started me laughing so hard that I couldn’t read the rest of the post. I guess I could see someone in the Bush administration thinking like that, but that would be because they were really, really, really stupid.

  135. #136 SC
    May 21, 2008

    Actually – to add to the historical contextualization – governments and local police were infiltrating and acting as agents provocateurs within anarchist organizations in Europe/Russia in the 19th century.

  136. #137 Nick Gotts
    May 21, 2008

    Members of both “hard left” and “deep green” organisations in the UK have told me that it’s always useful to have an SB (Special Branch) agent in your group, as they will do far more than their share of all the boring stuff like printing and distributing leaflets or selling newspapers.

    The UK is of course under much less of a terrorist threat than 20-30 years ago, when the PIRA was fully active – compared with them, the Islamist terrorists so far have been amateurs, though obviously capable of causing considerable destruction. There is also a significant far-right threat, and a few animal rights groups have gone as far as arson and assault, though that seems to have decreased. Despite the decreased threat, however, the government has taken a lot of new “anti-terrorist” powers, which are actually being used against entirely peaceful groups and protests. The worst of it is, this has happened under what was supposed to be a progressive government. (I have to say, they didn’t fool me. Before the 1997 election I noted that Labour in power always moves to the right, so if elected, I expected Blair to launch an attack on Poland. Admittedly, I picked on a country he never quite got round to.) So if we put the other main party in, we’ll be even worse off.

  137. #138 Albatrocycle
    May 21, 2008

    Perhaps here is the reason why they are so paranoid about vegans: http://news.yahoo.com/s/huffpost/20080519/cm_huffpost/102387;_ylt=Allx03puDqZp_Qt9UrGL83Ed6sgF

  138. #139 Nick Gotts
    May 21, 2008

    …A full score more of media format wars will commence, and the bittorrents will flow in the streets like blood. Oh, Discordia! – quiet Desperation

    The rest of the night will be fine, but with occasional showers.

  139. #140 Jams
    May 21, 2008

    “Sorry, this sentence started me laughing so hard that I couldn’t read the rest of the post.” – Mark B

    Too bad. The laughs get better as you go.

  140. #141 CalGeorge
    May 21, 2008

    Being vegan is often a political (left-wing) posture indicative of extreme stances, and well, extremists are the ones who tend to blow things up.

    Keep Dennis Kucinich away from the halls of Congress!

  141. #142 SC
    May 21, 2008

    Nick Gotts,

    You may be interested in this bill in the US, which passed the House easily:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Violent_Radicalization_and_Homegrown_Terrorism_Prevention_Act_of_2007

    Its current situation in the Senate is something of a mystery. A frightening piece of legislation.

  142. #143 Amplexus
    May 21, 2008

    I don’t see why not! Republicans have destroyed this country for the last 7 years, constantly lowering the standards of the government all the while denouncing government ineffectiveness. They are the enemy of free society. Osama bin Laden cannot change our laws and make us live in a conservative regressive society, but the republicans can and did.

    If muslims were to try to impose Sharia law on the United States, liberals like myself would be the first ones to pick-up a rifle and fight them off. Instead Fox News Anchors and commentators have been trying to portray liberalism as being an ideological cousin to fundamentialist Islam. It’s actually the opposite.

    On 9-11 2700 people died in the world trade centers. Every month ~3000 people die of auto accidents in he united states. Every year hundreds of thousands die of chronic and preventatable disease.

    What we spend money on is completely fucking insane. The Dept of Homeland security has a multibillion dollar budget, but the Sept. 11th attacks were almost discovered by measures already in place.

  143. #144 Quiet Desperation
    May 21, 2008

    governments and local police were infiltrating and acting as agents provocateurs within anarchist organizations in Europe/Russia in the 19th century.

    It was quite common for Cro-Magnons to send agents into Neanderthal communities as agent provocateurs. They would hit someone on the head with a club, and blame another Neanderthal, a method the FBI still uses to this day.

  144. #145 Robert Thille
    May 21, 2008

    Aaron @ #31.

    I finished reading “The End of America: Letter to a Young Patriot” and then emailed the publisher and bought 20 copies to give out to people. I still have some copies, so if anyone wants one, and will read it and then pass it on, email me @ web-scienceblogs-eoa@rangat.org and I’ll see about sending you a copy.

  145. #146 Nullifidian
    May 21, 2008

    I’m trying to get a feel for how bad the political situation in the USA is – do people really feel there is an imminent threat of theocracy, dictatorship or something similar? To make it more specific, suppose by September, it looks like Obama is going to beat McCain (as I think will be the case). What do people here, Americans particularly, think the Republicans will do?

    I may be an unconventional American, but I feel in no immediate threat from a Republican-led putsch. Instead, I find both political parties equally frightening, and I think that between them they are creating the architecture for a dictatorship.

    I don’t think the Republicans will be doing anything in case McCain loses to Obama, although I can probably always be proved wrong when it comes to underestimating my fellow Americans. McCain doesn’t have the support among the doctrinaire right-wing whose support would be necessary in any putsch situation.

    And frankly, I find that disturbing. It hints to me that the unification of the ‘two’ political parties has become so complete that the business interests no longer care which party is elected. McCain is certainly a glove puppet for American corporations, but if they had wanted to they could have had a glove puppet with better conservative credentials in the form of Fred Thompson. A Fred Thompson presidency was always a distinct possibility, but I don’t think a McCain presidency has anywhere near the same likelihood.

    The problem is long-term, namely that the recent activity of the U.S. in the world suggests that they’re going to enter a Cold War scenario for control of basic resources like oil, food, water, and natural gas. Such a thing is only possible with a firm commitment to even more military engagements, silencing protests at home by paramilitary force, and generally shutting out any possibility for the common person to change what the corporate interests have already deemed “good”. It is in this climate that I think a dictatorship is not only possible but probable, and I would put the emergence of a full-blown dictatorship in America in approximately thirty to fifty years, with it possibly being expedited in case of a terrorist attack.

    Nothing would please me more if it would be wrong, but I don’t think it will be.

  146. #147 SC
    May 21, 2008

    Quiet Desperation @ #144,

    My primary source for that assertion is my own archival research.

    Do you have anything to contribute to this discussion other than sneering?

  147. #149 tguy
    May 21, 2008

    “I know you’re hiding somewhere with your damsons and prunes. Well, I’m ready for you!”

  148. #150 SC
    May 21, 2008

    This may also be of interest, though I can’t vouch for its accuracy:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Okhrana

  149. #151 Carlie
    May 21, 2008

    At least there’s already a theme song for it.

    Seriously, could we become any more stupid looking to the rest of the world? Not to mention that if anyone wanted to harm the Republican party, violently crashing their convention, thereby engendering sympathy for them and possibly more votes, would be the wrong way to do it, and most people with brains know that.

  150. #152 Quiet Desperation
    May 21, 2008

    My primary source for that assertion is my own archival research. Do you have anything to contribute to this discussion other than sneering?

    Sweet Molten Bubbling Jesus, SC, I didn’t post that to oppose you. I was merely kidding by projecting to a silly extreme, *and* I took a dig at the FBI, which should have been the total giveaway of my intentions. Don’t be so sensitive.

    Here. Juice box for you, too.
    http://www.babiestravellite.com/Merchant2/graphics/00000001/MinuteMaidAppleJuiceLarge.jpg

  151. #153 SC
    May 21, 2008

    QD,

    Perhaps you should try a bit more quiet and a bit less desperation.

  152. #154 SteveM
    May 21, 2008

    JuiceBox

    Here’s how:

    &lta href=http://www.babiestravellite.com/Merchant2/graphics/00000001/MinuteMaidAppleJuiceLarge.jpg&gtJuiceBox&lt/a&gt

  153. #155 SteveM
    May 21, 2008

    [preview is not always your friend]

    JuiceBox

    &lta href=URL&gtText&lt/a&gt

  154. #156 SteveM
    May 21, 2008

    okay, I give up. I thought I knew how to do links, but apparently not :(

  155. #157 SteveM
    May 21, 2008

    last try, promise!

    JuiceBox

    &lta href=”URL”&gtText&lt/a&gt

    include quotes around the URL

  156. #158 Mark B
    May 21, 2008

    Hi Steve: I think you’re doing the HTML correctly, but the parser that processes your post is probably a little picky. It is probably requiring you to put the URL in quotes, in order to render it as a link. The standard is that all attribute values should be quoted, but a lot of browsers will accept them unquoted.

  157. #159 Mark B
    May 21, 2008

    D’oh, I started typing my reply before Steve posted his.

  158. #160 Quiet Desperation
    May 21, 2008

    Perhaps you should try a bit more quiet and a bit less desperation.

    Wow. I *never* heard *that* one before in all the time I’ve been using this handle.

    Just trying to lighten things up a bit. :-P

    Man, the Intertubes get less jolly every year. :-(

  159. #161 Quiet Desperation
    May 21, 2008

    SteveM: Ya got orange juice? I’ll take two. With vodka.

  160. #162 SC
    May 21, 2008

    QD,

    Well, given my knowledge of the history and current situation, I do tend to be a bit touchy about people insisting on trying to “lighten up” discussions about the advancing security state and implying that people concerned about it are hysterical. I also generally find people who seem to take pride in impish behavior rather irksome (the fact that you’ve heard that about your pseudonym more than once should maybe tell you something). Hence my reaction to your remarks, despite the fact that I had made some lighter comments of my own above. No big deal, though. Enjoy your juice.

  161. #163 Pimientita
    May 21, 2008

    It’s been like this for awhile, PZ, as you probably know.

    If you remember the NBC report in 2005 that listed various Pentagon “threat” targets, the Quaker Meeting House in Lake Worth, FL was on the list because local anti-war activists often met there. I lived in West Palm Beach, Florida until 2004 and I was active in the local peace and justice movements and, while I hadn’t been inside the Quaker Meeting House for any purpose since the late 90′s, I had many friends who went there and I attended various gatherings with these people elsewhere. None of us ever even spoke of violence (not even the self-described anarchists – one of whom is now a city commissioner! :) ) except to condemn it, rather using art and words (and the promise of yummy food!) to convey our messages.

    It’s disgusting that our government targets peaceful protesters while letting the hateful and often violent rhetoric of various “mainstream” Christian leaders go unchecked.

    Expect a lot more where this came from. I live in NYC now and was a part of the RNC protests in 2004. I didn’t get caught in the sweep of arrests, but many of my friends did. If you don’t remember, they literally corralled peaceful protesters into dead end “nets” and then locked them up in cages on the west side piers, some for more than 48 hours (which was illegal, btw, but they got away with it).

    I’ll be keeping an eye out for more reports from the Twin Cities and I hope you will, too.

  162. #164 Neil
    May 21, 2008

    I don’t mind a good joke, even when it seems wildly innapropriate. But I’ve read every comment, and the only good one I remember is the monty python reference at #149.

    I’ve known quite a few vegans, and every one has been as moral and steady a person as you could care to meet, even the ones with far-left political views. As noted above, it reminds me of the persection that Food Not Bombs has come up against, simply because they like to help homeless people and discourage violence. I know that there are a few vegans who “liberate” lab animals, and a very few who have damaged some property for political reasons. But if that is justification for random infiltration of vegan groups by the feds just to make paranoid republicans feel safe, then I want them to have an agent in every conservative church as well. For that matter, why aren’t law enforcement agencies infiltrating the RNC itself, the biggest terrorist organization on earth? Oh, yeah-because most high-level law enforcement agents are already memebers!

  163. #165 Quiet Desperation
    May 21, 2008

    No big deal, though.

    OK. :-)

    It might clarify a bit to state that I, over the past 10 years or so, have become a cold, black hearted misanthrope, so I have a hard time taking ANY of this seriously. I’m at the point where I find my fellow citizens getting pushed around by government to be utterly hilarious, especially when it’s groups that traditionally support a bigger State.

    I’ll be retiring early and overseas within a decade, so, honestly, just I don’t give a damn anymore, and it’s all just dark cabaret to me.

    It’s the idea that it will all be just tickety-boo and hunky-dory if we get juuuuuuust the right people in charge of tUSA, Inc. The reality is that you might just get a slightly different set of folks getting persecuted. Meet the new boss, same as the old boss. Have we forgotten the lessons that classic rock taught us already? ;-)

    I’m totally going to vote for Obama. Oh, the hilarity that will ensue from that when the Messiah’s followers finally have it dawn on them what’s happening? I can’t wait.

    Enjoy your juice.

    Mmm. Fresh squeezed. :)

  164. #166 sara
    May 21, 2008

    Vegan potlucks harbor terrorists? Only red-meat-eating Americans are true Americans?

    Encourage the right-wingers in this idea, and they might all die prematurely of heart attacks, sparing the nation.

  165. #167 tony (not a vegan)
    May 21, 2008

    Damn!

    Does this mean I need to admit to being a martian?

    I’m the commenting Tony – not the Tony commenting on this thread, but the Scottish one who’s commented on others.

    Tony (prefer my steak ‘tartare’ if possible, and fish should be sashimi – but chicken gots to be cooked)

  166. #168 Julie Stahlhut
    May 21, 2008

    T-shirt idea:

    I INFILTRATED A TERRORIST CELL
    AND ALL I GOT WAS THIS GREAT RECIPE FOR TEMPEH BURGER CASSEROLE

  167. #169 Emmet Caulfield
    May 21, 2008

    it looks like Obama is going to beat McCain

    I hope you’re right — Obama is probably the only candidate with a hope in hell of redeeming the US’s international standing — but I don’t think he has any realistic chance of being the next POTUS. I think that the campaign will turn dirty with lots of “Barack Hussein Osama” innuendo; latent racism and dog-whistle politics will erode his lead and swing the popular vote to within a couple of percent of 50/50: enough for corrupt disenfranchisement, via voting machine allocations and obstruction, and Diebold “errors” to do the rest. Sure, a few people will notice, but it won’t get mentioned on Fox News, and it won’t raise any more broad voter suspicion than the blatant vote-rigging in the last two elections. McCain will be “elected” by a narrow margin. For the sake of national harmony, Obama will lie down just like Gore and Kerry did, the whole world will take it up the ass from the GOP and their corporate pals for another 4 years, and nobody will do a damn thing about it.

  168. #170 soy milk
    May 22, 2008

    #83: I’ve never yet tasted tofu casserole (although that joke just never gets old, does it?). At our last vegan get-together we had chocolate cake and ice cream, maple nut orbs, corn fritters, chocolate, sushi, potato chips and grapes.

  169. #171 Caveat
    May 22, 2008

    Birth pangs? More like adolescence. I guess you pups weren’t around in ’68.

    How much more can be eroded before the Big Box shopping, Ooey Gooey eating, Magic Lantern enthralled citizens revolt? (active voice for revolt, wiseacres!)

  170. #172 Nick Gotts
    May 22, 2008

    Re #142 Thanks SC – UK has a whole series of acts strengthening police powers and weakening civil liberties – starting before 9-11: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Regulation_of_Investigatory_Powers_Act,
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anti-terrorism,_Crime_and_Security_Act_2001,
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prevention_of_Terrorism_Act_2005,
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Serious_Organised_Crime_and_Police_Act_2005.
    We’ve probably got most of the necessary legislation and institutions to impose a dictatorship in place, but I think myself that possibility will be kept in reserve in both the US and UK – for use only if a serious challenge to ruling elites arose. My guess is that Nullifidian’s right, there’s very little danger of an imminent Republican or theocrat power grab, because most elements of the US elite are not worried at the prospect of an Obama presidency, and are confident he would not actually withdraw from Iraq or take serious redistributive measures; if the Democrats looked like getting a sweeping victory across Presidency and Congress after a campaign focused on Iraq and/or domestic inequality, they’d be worried, but in those circumstances I doubt that fixing the election would be feasible: the right would look to undermine Obama and get him out in 2012. Unless there’s something they see approaching (or have planned) for which they absolutely must be in full control…

  171. #173 Blaidd Drwg
    May 22, 2008

    @ tony (#35) You said “those ever-so-destructive Vegan IEDs!” – is it just me, or does the phrase “Salad-Shooter” come to mind?

    Also, Dr. PZ, in the article it spoke of the “FBI’s Joint Terrorism Taks Force” Where is Axel Foley when you need him???

  172. #174 X9
    May 22, 2008

    How much more can be eroded before the Big Box shopping, Ooey Gooey eating, Magic Lantern enthralled citizens revolt?

    Well, when the call to revolution is so insulting and assholish, how can they possibly resist? Honestly, some of you people *have* to be doing some sort of performance art where you play act at being conceited asshattty tools, completely lacking in charisma and empathy, and possessing the personality of 120 grit sandpaper. And then you wonder why no one comes about to your way of thinking. Hint: it has nothing to do with facts and figures.

  173. #175 Pocket Nerd
    May 22, 2008

    Sheesh. What’s next, infiltrating my Sunday night RPG group?

    “This is agent codename ‘Dice Bag’ checking in. Subjects spoke extensively this week about a ‘critical hit’ on the ‘dungeon boss.’ Suspect this may be code language for an attack on Washington…”

  174. #176 Dandrettti
    May 22, 2008

    Birkenstocks are not vegan. Just thought I would put that out there.

  175. #178 KYKing
    May 22, 2008

    Revolution changes little, voting changes even less.

    I’d like to see the following options on the election ballot next November…

    DO you want the next President to use:

    1) Traditional KY

    2) Self warming KY

    3) AstoGlide(tm)

  176. #179 The Reality-Based Dave
    May 22, 2008

    Reminds me of an old joke:
    Q-What’s the difference between Republicans & Democrats?
    A-Sometimes the Dems use vaseline.
    **************************
    ok.
    Of course the feds will be inserting agent provacateurs in as many organizations as possible. Their agents will be the first ones commiting vandalism & violence. After 5 people broke windows, the news media will show repeated loops of the 100 people getting smacked around by the cops for resisting arrest.
    *******************************
    The feds will stop at nothing. They have already done illegal spying on Quakers. A group of Quakers said they were against the invasion of Iraq. The feds tapped their communications & did a few illegal searches, all the while proclaiming that the Patriot Act gave them the legal authority.
    Assholes.

  177. #180 Alveno
    May 22, 2008

    I know for a fact the majority of the inmate population in this country, would vote democrat in the next election. Also many more of them (convicts) are atheist, then are Christian. Also the most of those that are Christian became so, after they were convicted.

  178. #181 Kseniya
    May 22, 2008

    I know for a fact that you’re a blithering idiot. Oh, and a liar. Nothing you’ve said is true. I challenge you to prove otherwise.

    Good luck.

  179. #182 Etha Williams
    May 23, 2008

    @#180 Alveno –

    I know for a fact

    Well thank goodness you included that obviously true statement! Real overwhelming evidence, right there. I’m so glad you didn’t tell me to “just google it.”

  180. #183 Kseniya
    May 23, 2008

    Yeah, he really saved us a lot of time and effort by simply telling it like it is!

    (Is “Synchronized Eyerolling” an Olympic event yet? No? Dang.)

    Snorkles like this guy almost make me miss Kenny.

  181. #184 ait10101
    May 24, 2008

    The vegan agenda is completely contradictory to the Christian foundations of the nation. Jesus himself said, “It is meat, and right so to do.” His very words.

  182. #185 The MadPanda
    May 24, 2008

    In regards to post 175…with apologies for going mildly OTS

    It isn’t just roleplayers who will come under the Watchful Eye of Your Friend Big Brother! Why, old guard wargamers do some subversive things, too! Some of them must be closet Nazis or Commies or Zulu sympathizers or something. And (ghasp!) some even play Ayyy-rabs! Something about rehashing the Crusades as part of a librul revisionist plot.

    Story has it, ages and ages ago, there was a group of brave souls playing Diplomacy by post in the UK. At the time, there was an IRA bombing scare going in, and the French player reportedly sent a telegram to the German player along the lines of

    “Attack on Liverpool agreed.”

    Said game promptly came to the attention of MI-5. Alas, the version of this tale I heard did not explain whether a) the game continued without France and Germany going into permanent No Moves Received mode or b) the game got shut down or c) MI-5 got a clue, had a laugh, and forgot about it.

    So if you’re a Dippy player, be careful how friendly you are to The Sultan of Turkey. He might be a DHS plant…

    The MadPanda, FCD

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