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Safe Skies 2

28 October 2016 by Mike Gogulski
Posted in diary | No Comments »

“Mommy, how high does the airplane go?”

“On a flight like this, maybe up to thirty-three thousand feet,” I tell Casey.

Casey drags her My Little Pony suitcase . “How high is that?”

“About six miles.”

“How much is a mile?”

Casey is five, and curious as we approach the ticket counter for her first airline flight. The line moves quickly. Twenty minutes to takeoff, plenty of time.

“Will I see clouds?” Casey asks.

“No, I’m sorry. I told you. You can’t see anything during the flight.” I shift my purse to get a better grip on my rolling suitcase.

“Aww,” she says as we step up to the counter. I hand over our ID cards. The ticket agent plugs mine into a reader and checks my face against her monitor.

“DNA scan, please, ma’am,” she says. I press my thumb to the terminal. “Thank you. And what’s your name, little one?” she asks my daughter.

“Casey. I’m five.”

“Delightful,” says the ticket agent. “DNA scan, please, miss.” Casey thumbs the terminal, just like at school.

“Thank you. Okay, are you checking any bags today?”

“These two and my purse,” I say, hefting my suitcase and handbag onto the conveyor. “Come on, Casey, put your suitcase up.” She does, and the agent tags each bag with a sticker. My Little Pony whisks away at a few taps at a keyboard.

“All right,” says the ticket agent, “I’m coding your pod routings to your ID cards. Pod Lounge B, follow the signs. And for you, Casey, here’s a happy kitty sticker you can put on your pod! Have a great trip!” She winks at Casey, who smiles at her sticker as we walk away.

Fifteen minutes until flight time. I used to hate flying. 9/11 and the fear everywhere, machine guns at the airport. Super-sensitive metal detectors, shoes and belts off, hassle and delay at the checkpoints. The new system is so much easier.

“Mommy, can we get ice cream?” Casey asks.

“When we arrive. We need to get to our pods now.” We’re approaching Pod Lounge B.

“Do I have to go alone?”

“Yes, honey, but everything will be fine. I’ll be right next to you. It’s perfectly safe. You’ll see,” I tell her, smiling and squeezing her hand. We step into Pod Lounge B behind a big family: grandmother, mom, dad, four young children.

Flying is so much nicer now without all the security stuff. The shoe guy and the underpants bomber made the government introduce tough screening procedures.

First were the terahertz nudity machines. You could skip them, but they’d search by hand. I didn’t mind – better than being fondled and having your crotch examined by those cold blue rubber gloves.

Later the body scans were mandatory, along with the hand searches. Nobody liked that. Many quit flying altogether. More airlines went bankrupt. Governments bailed them out. The vagina bomber came, and then the cavity searches. I always took the fast-acting tranqs the Bureau of Transportation Safety gave out in the security lines.

Then there was Norman Greer. Militia. Veteran. He had C-4 in his hollow metal femurs. 523 people died that day.

“I don’t wanna go in the pod!” yells the youngest child. Casey looks nervous. Dad grabs a tranq off the wall, dials a dose and presses it to the girl’s neck. She goes limp, and mom and dad load her into her pod. They smooth their daughter’s happy puppy sticker over it and feed in her ID card. A low beep, a green light, and they go to settle the rest of their family.

“Here we are, Casey,” I say, approaching our own silver pods. I point to a spot on Casey’s pod, under the rim of the open lid. “Put your sticker on here.”

Casey peels off the happy kitty sticker and smooths it down. “Hop in.”

Casey gets in the pod and lies down. “Will I dream, Mommy?” she asks.

“No, you’ll sleep and Grandma will be there to give you a big hug.”

“Okay,” she says. I kiss her and close the pod lid. I push Casey’s ID into the slot. A green light, a beep, and I can hear the gas.

They say the pods freeze you to just above absolute zero. Nothing can explode when it’s so cold, so there’s no way to launch a terrorist attack. Luggage is handled the same way. Baggage and passenger pods are all racked into the planes by robot loaders. Very efficient, much cheaper.

I get into my pod, gaze at the happy kitty, and shut the lid. I push my ID into the slot overhead and breathe the gas.

* * *

Waking up from pod sleep is strange. It’s hard to focus. Things sound odd after the lid opens. I sit up and spot Casey’s pod among the others, the happy kitty identifying her, rampant BTS eagle right beside. Groggy passengers stagger from the pod lounge toward baggage claim.

No sign of Grandma yet. Casey’s pod is closed, so I walk over. Two more minutes, the display says. Suddenly, a scream. Children’s cries join in.

I see the happy puppy sticker. The little girl tranquilized in the pod lounge before we left. The lid is open. Mom and the other children scream as they look inside, dad ashen, grandma agape.

Casey’s pod beeps. The light turns green. I open it. She blinks at the light. We both start; a crashing noise behind us. The screaming stops. I lift Casey out of the pod and we walk toward baggage claim to look for Grandma.

The screaming starts again. We glance back. The happy puppy pod fell off the rack. A thick, reddish goo flows out, pooling around the family’s feet.

Ah well. There hasn’t been a terrorist attack in three years.

“Hey Casey! How about some ice cream?”

“Yeah! I want blueberry!”

My latest science fiction short story

14 August 2015 by Mike Gogulski
Posted in art, crime, war | No Comments »

RING. The Queerphone app alert is unmistakable.
“Yes?” Me, drowsy.
“It’s time.”
“Full go?”
“Continuous release. Godspeed.”
I roll over onto the phone. Just a few minutes more…

Kill Americans (per Ken MacLeod)

24 July 2014 by Mike Gogulski
Posted in art, politics | No Comments »

The songs that had given voice to many people’s hatred of the war machines and the posthumans had been adapted from songs that had given voice, before the war, to a more sinister hatred. It was not that he and Calder had shared it themselves, not exactly, not in their better moments, not when they were sober and in the daylight. They had adapted to it. They had literally played along to it if it had gone down well with the audience. All those pubs and halls: the English electric folk scene, the Scottish radical left, rabid in their patriotic passion and pro-war zeal. You could pick up an old Phil Ochs number or Billy Bragg cover version and twist it into something that made people want to go out and kill Americans.

– Ken MacLeod, Newton’s Wake

The Turin Test

21 July 2014 by Mike Gogulski
Posted in technology | No Comments »

Sister Agnes, a Catholic nun reincarnated in a prosthetic body, is arguing with Lobsang, an AI who claims to also be a Tibetan motorcycle repairman:

“Look,” Agnes said, “you’re going about it all wrong. You’re not a human. You can’t be a human. You’re a very intelligent machine. You’re more than human. Can’t you live with that? Being human isn’t about the brain, it’s all tied up with messy things like — well, organs and juices and instincts.”

“You are describing your body, not yourself. In fact your former body.”

“Yes, but –“

“Externally you were an animal, but that was not your self. Externally I am a machine, but you should not judge by appearances.”

“OK, but –“

“We could try the Turin test,” said Lobsang.

“Oh, machines have been able to pass the Turing test for years.”

“No, the Turin test. We both pray for an hour, and see if God can tell the difference.”

And she had to laugh.

– Stephen Baxter & Terry Pratchett, The Long War

Human Beings do not Need Citizenship, They Need Equality

28 November 2013 by Mike Gogulski
Posted in diary, mind control | 3 Comments »

This brief essay is part of my application to present a paper at the First Global Forum on Statelessness at Tilburg University, the Netherlands, 15 – 17 September 2014.

Human Beings do not Need Citizenship, They Need Equality

Human beings do not need permission to be born, to live, to work, to love and to otherwise fully participate in and benefit from society. Statelessness is not a problem of a lack of citizenship. Rather, it is a problem of the bad behavior of certain human beings towards others who lack citizenship.

The fact that people can be displaced from their homes and permanently barred from returning, for example – on pain of imprisonment for illegally crossing a border and even death for attempting to resist and evade such injustice – due to a war between states or the collapse of some treaty signed by people long dead is not “a problem that the international community should address,” but rather a problem with the existence of nations themselves and with the crimes carried out in their names.

From Friedrich Nietzsche to Garry Davis to Jeff Knaebel to me, there have been a small number of people who have quit their citizenships intentionally and lived stateless for the remainder of their lives. Certainly, this is a risky proposition in the modern world, where the varnish of a bogus consensus reality allows and even encourages some people to actively discriminate against, exclude and even imprison stateless persons for merely existing, and statelessness is not a status chosen or even desired by the vast majority without citizenship.

Citizenship, or the lack of it – along with gender, immigration status, sexual orientation, religion and race – is used as the basis and justification for social exclusion and discrimination both active and passive. We should allow nobody – whether cloaked in the presumptuous officialdom of state authority or not – to behave in such fashion toward other people without consequence.

Let us strive not to be citizens, but true equals everywhere on this, the only planet we have.

Family of Ross Ulbricht, alleged operator of Silk Road, launches legal defense fund

20 November 2013 by Mike Gogulski
Posted in activism, prison | No Comments »

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Defense Fund Launched for Ross Ulbricht, Accused Silk Road Marketplace Operator

New York, NY, November 20, 2013 – The family of the man accused by the US government of operating the Silk Road online marketplace has launched a fund for donations to their son’s legal defense.

Ross Ulbricht, 29, was arrested on October 1st and charged with creating and operating the web marketplace Silk Road, under the pseudonym “Dread Pirate Roberts”. The allegations include a variety of conspiracies, including narcotics trafficking, computer hacking and money laundering, as well as planned acts of violence. Ulbricht denied all charges in federal court in San Francisco in October. He will appear at a bail hearing at the United States District Court, Southern District of New York at 11:00 am EST on Thursday, November 21.

On their website, the Ulbricht family states: “Our goal is to provide Ross with what every American citizen is promised: a fair trial. In the USA we are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. We firmly believe in Ross’s innocence and are working hard with the best legal team to prove it.”

The family has retained New York-based attorney Joshua L. Dratel to defend their son in court. Mr. Dratel stated: “It is crucial that we have a level playing field for defending Ross, and that requires resources from the communities that support him.”

The Ross Ulbricht Legal Defense Fund LLC is a Wyoming-based corporation established by the Ulbricht family. All donations are used solely to pay attorney fees, fund accounting fees and ancillary legal expenses.

###

SOURCE: Ross Ulbricht Legal Defense Fund LLC, www.freeross.org

CONTACTS:

Joshua L. Dratel
Joshua L. Dratel, P.C.
29 Broadway, Suite 1412
New York, New York 10006
United States of America
jdratel@joshuadratel.com
Office: +1 212 732 0707
Fax: +1 212 571 3792
www.nycriminallawfirm.com

Ross Ulbricht Legal Defense Fund LLC
www.freeross.org
freerossulbricht@gmail.com

Leonard Cohen – First We Take Manhattan

5 November 2013 by Mike Gogulski
Posted in art | No Comments »

Leonard Cohen – First We Take Manhattan – YouTube.

Buckethead – Jordan (Live)

1 November 2013 by Mike Gogulski
Posted in art | No Comments »

Enjoy the badassery that is Buckethead!

Buckethead – Jordan (Live) – YouTube.

The Ross Ulbricht Defense Fund

4 October 2013 by Mike Gogulski
Posted in activism | No Comments »

Folks,

I have launched the kernel of what I hope becomes a fully-fledged legal defense funding, public relations and support effort for Ross Ulbricht, alleged operator of the Silk Road anonymous online Bitcoin-only (primarily) drugs marketplace, also known (allegedly) as Dread Pirate Roberts.

The website for this effort is at https://www.rossulbricht.org/ . Please add your voice, donate some Bitcoins, popularize it, whatever.

Long road ahead. More to come.

 

Peace,
Mike

Vote Joerg Platzer for the Bitcoin Foundation board

1 September 2013 by Mike Gogulski
Posted in diary, people | 1 Comment »

If the world needs Bitcoin, then the Bitcoin Foundation needs Joerg Platzer.

Vote for Joerg! Vote early! Vote often!

Here are some handy propaganda materials you can use to promote Joerg’s candidacy:

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