"If the major opportunities for future growth of government lie in the area of conventional taxation, are there any defenses available to the citizenry? ... Perhaps the most fruitful advice comes in two parts. The first piece of advice is to avoid war and the rumor of war: this is history's greatest boon to the tax man. ... The second piece of advice is to seek ways of inhibiting government's ability conveniently to increase its collections. Possibly the very increase in that ability that is in prospect can be turned to account by a constitutional provision which forbade the income tax, and perhaps even the storage of information regarding individual incomes by third parties, including government." ~ Benjamin Ward
My Nominations for the Nobel Peace Prize
The Nobel Peace Prize was named after some inventor named Alfred Nobel who invented an efficient way to blow things up. Keeping that spirit in mind, I'd like to nominate a couple of lowly paid young fellows for this year's prize. Despite resistance from all quarters, but with scads of allies and admirers, my nominations also attempt to blow things up. Using nothing but words and a willingness to put themselves close to the battle lines, they attempt to demolish the icons of deception, to obliterate the frauds and liars, and to unmask the secret schemers of war.
An unembedded journalist in Iraq, Jamail looks like an average Joe, possesses a trustworthy face and a functioning heart, a guy more comfortable interviewing the legions of angry, disenfranchised Iraqis and giving them a needed forum. It takes a whole lot of courage "to seek out and boldly go" anywhere in Iraq without armed bodyguards. I imagine that country is awash in Jihadists, Mossadists, CIA spooks, US Marines with hair triggers, Sunni Avengers, and outlaw heretics looking for their next ransom victim. Rather than hide in the Green Zone, recording the words of Pentagon spokesmen, Jamail attempts to get a true, man-in-the-street perspective, in the tradition of Robert Fisk and John Pilger.
I wholly expect to read of Dahr's death one day--killed by the CIA, Mossad or some stressed Marine sniper--or perhaps eliminated by some rogue element of the Iraq militia or zealot splinter group. Truth is a dangerous business to serve, and investigating the truth in a war zone might be the most dangerous job of all--more deadly than being a blind kid in a petting zoo filled with poisonous snakes. Lots of powerful people on both sides would like to see Dahr killed, I imagine. All it takes is one bite, one bullet.
My other nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize is an unknown guy, wholly intent on taking down Bush, Cheney, Wolfowitz, Rumsfeld and the Nefarious Neocons, or at least mocking these power-mad pretenders. A self-effacing guy with a wicked sense of humor and thirst for the truth, The Freeway Blogger kicks ass, upsetting thousands of pompous pricks (mostly the mainstream media), while enlightening and amusing many millions more. He skewers the frauds who wield supreme power in America, and does it from the biggest soapbox of all--the Los Angeles and Orange County freeway system.
Anyone who drives a car and possesses an open mind and a pair of eyes is forced to reflect on the unknown Freeway Blogger's comments. And like a true patriot--Tom Paine of the Overpass? Paul Revere of the Interstate?--he's enlisted a legion of loyal emulators nationwide. Isn't that the best measure of a Nobel Prize nominee?
So, for every lying Bush, Bolton, Rumsfeld or Cheney, for every mendacious columnist (a more literate liar) with a lifetime soapbox, the Freeway Blogger has enlisted an equal or surpassing number of Truth Tellers and, best of all, truth listeners and seers. They counter the entire, Orwellian disinformation machine with pithy, hand-printed, humorous barbs. The kind of grassroots movement that would have charmed Ben Franklin, originator of the phrase "We must all hang together or we shall all hang separately."
My nominees are only a couple of average guys, people like you and me. Of course I would love to hear of YOUR nominations for the Nobel. I'm sure you know of a couple of deserving people. Maybe even yourself.
I'd like to give a Pulitzer nod to all those webmasters and bloggers who sustain an important source of information. Without the Robs, Bollyns, Renses, Joneses and Moores, without the Riverbends, Pennimans, Nusbaumers, Rupperts, Cockburns, Garrises and hundreds of others throughout the world, the mainstream media would have a free pass to lie and deceive, more so than they do now. None of these Internet guys will ever receive an "Excellence In Journalism" award but damn if they ALL don't deserve one more than anyone in print. Mostly unpaid, scratching along from month to month, these editors deserve your best work and any surplus bucks (Donate Now) from regular readers. Someday there will be a Tom Paine Internet Journalism Award. I know several guys I'd nominate for that.
I'm sure there are thousands, millions more, who are waging a daily counter-offensive against the tyranny that seems to encircle our globe a little bit more each day. Guys and girls and geezers like me, chiseling that mortar from between the bricks in the wall. One brick at a time or toppling entire walls.