Centrifugal Force: How Many of My Predictions Came True?


Three years ago last month I published my first book, the agorist science fiction novel Centrifugal Force. Though I hate to toot my own horn (there’s some false modesty for you) many of the things I wrote about in this book either have come to pass or are in the process of doing so. The major difference is that Centrifugal Force dealt solely with North America, and these phenomena have been global in scope.

As I predicted in my book, on-line business models are replacing and bypassing traditional regulated industries. Examples of this are Uber, Airbnb, and the online music and publishing industries. Unlike my fictional scenario, these are currently above-ground, legal efforts. However, competing institutions (such as taxi drivers’ unions) are striving to outlaw Uber, and rapacious cities are imposing their exorbitant hotel taxes on Airbnb participants. There’s no reason these businesses couldn’t exist underground, on a peer-to-peer basis. This will become more likely if the current economic situation worsens.

Continued, escalating acts of “terrorism” are giving governments an excuse to crack down on what little freedom we have left, such as free speech, freedom of movement, and financial privacy. The difference from my novel was again that terrorism has been a world-wide phenomenon, particularly in Europe and Africa. France takes the place of the despotic fictional US, where Joel Walter is forced to go into hiding. Since the Paris 11/13 attacks, the country has closed its borders and declared a state of emergency. Thankfully this hasn’t come to America yet, but I’m sure that our government is only one major terrorist attack away from doing the same.

Centrifugal Force featured the Undernet, an unregulated pirate alternative to the Internet. In real life we have the Dark Web and the notorious Silk Road drug marketplace. My book had E-barter, we have Bitcoin and other digital currencies. Politicians are simply apoplectic about these developments, and are even making noise about outlawing encryption. I was not surprised by the draconian punishment meted out to the Dread Pirate Roberts, though in my opinion, he’s a hero! Yet I believe the government’s efforts will fail in real life as they did in the novel.

In my book, several characters went underground to escape harassment or prosecution, staying in the US because of the difficulty of crossing the border. In the real world, many such activists have gone overseas, for example Edward Snowden in Russia or Glenn Greenwald in Brazil. Probably the most analogous real-life equivalent to Nephi Snow’s hacker network is Anonymous – assuming this group isn’t, as many claim, a CIA front.

Secession is a major theme of my book, because I believe this is the most plausible way to deal with the arrogant, rapacious, unaccountable American Empire is to break it up. Considering the roadblocks thrown at any serious reformer (such as Ron Paul), working “within the system” is not an option. Again, this has come to pass in Europe, with Catalonia seceding from Spain and Scotland almost leaving the UK. Here in America, a more current controversy is state nullification of Federal law, which causes many a progressive to shriek in outrage. The recent round of secession petitions at whitehouse.gov – and yes, I signed one for Arizona – gave me cause for hope. This might become more realistic if our Kenyan President keeps trying to rule this country by decree.

Other predictions include surveillance drones becoming commonplace (obviously true) and organized criminals posing as police to rob their victims. The latter seems largely confined to Mexico, but given the lawless behavior or police in many parts of the US, I expect it’s only a matter of time. Has political correctness gone crazy? Check; to the mainstream media, government opponents are evil racists. Also, we have seen curfews, like the one in Boston after the Marathon bombing. This one’s a no-brainer: anti-smoking fascism has definitely increased. Thankfully, though, we haven’t yet seen the activation of FEMA camps. I expect the Federal government will need to take a different approach to detainment of its enemies, due to the justifiable paranoia of the libertarian and patriot communities.

On the other hand, I was wrong about the following:

  • The Draft has not been reinstated, thank God! Not that I believe a slave army is ever necessary in any nation or circumstance, but in this time of drone wars and bombing campaigns, conscription would be especially redundant. Yet it still may happen, because it would be an effective way to control and indoctrinate America’s youth, particularly if females were included.
  • The District of Columbia did not become a state. This movement appears to be dead for the time being, but I expect it to be resurrected if Hillary becomes President, as it would provide two more guaranteed Democrats in the Senate. (And yes, no need to speculate; she’s the inspiration for the evil female President in my book.)
  • 3D printing – I missed this completely. This is a wonderful vector for revolution, enabling home-based manufacture of guns and other contraband items.
  • Ethnic self-defense/vigilante militias did not, to my knowledge, come to pass. In my book, Muslim-Americans banded together to protect themselves from harassment and violence, and to punish those who had wronged them. I haven’t seen evidence of this, even in Europe (if you don’t include terrorist groups, which was not my intent — those are all state-sponsored, anyway.) Even the Donbas rebels in eastern Ukraine, who are wildly popular in their area, are essentially a government-in-waiting.
  • The resurgence of Russia – another thing I missed entirely. There were Russian mafia characters in my book, but I didn’t address the possibility that Russia itself could be the “black swan” that could bring down he US Corporatocracy. This subject is, of course, a matter of great debate in alternative media circles. Is Vladimir Putin a hero, a villain, or a New World Order collaborator? That’s a question I’ll address in a future post.

 Centrifugal Force cover design by Kyle Dunbar.


Why I’m Not Voting in This Election

I cast my first vote at the age of 19. Since then I’ve participated in every significant election, both Presidential and mid-term. I once ran (unsuccessfully) for the Arizona State Legislature. I’ve given money to campaigns and I spent two years as the secretary of the Arizona Libertarian Party. As of now, I’m done with all that, and here’s why.

There’s no significant difference between major-party candidates. Though their rhetoric may differ, once in office they do the same thing as their predecessors. Barack Obama could have ended the wars, vetoed extensions of the so-called Patriot Act, closed Guantanamo and ended NSA spying, but he didn’t. In many ways, his administration was worse than that of George W Bush.

Third parties are locked out. The only candidates who advocate real change are in alternative parties such as Libertarian and Green, but the powers that be put huge hurdles against them getting on the ballot. Including these extra candidates would “confuse the voters,” the politicians say, as if we’re children. Third parties spend all their meager funds collecting signatures to achieve ballot access. If they do get on, the corporate media treat their candidates like a joke, or more commonly ignore them completely.

The system – both the media and the party hierarchy – discriminates against those who work for real change. Congressman Ron Paul tried for the Republican Presidential nomination in 2008 and 2012 against incredible odds. He was immensely popular, yet the pundits dismissed his successes in the primaries as flukes, or failed to report them at all. The party apparatchiks rigged convention rules to prevent Paul’s representatives from speaking or even being seated.

Voting machines enable fraud, which I suspect is widespread. Many jurisdictions use machines manufactured by companies such as Diebold. The software on this devices is secret and there is no audit trail. Machines are in the custody of party hacks who have the ability to change the votes. This almost certainly happened when John Kerry lost Ohio to Bush in 2004, yet no charges were ever filed.

If the people don’t vote the way the elite want, they keep bringing the issue back until they do. Initiatives and referenda are a powerful tool for democracy, ye the system prevents them from working. Here in Arizona, the public turned down boondoggles for riverside development and public transit, but both projects were repackaged and approved years later. If, on the other hand, a measure threatens the system, such as an initiative we had years ago to repeal the state income tax, it is subject to close scrutiny and “disqualified.”

Although big money dominance of the elections is a problem, campaign finance reform won’t work. Campaign laws are most often used against the little guy, or anyone who challenges the status quo. Congressman George Hansen of Idaho, an outspoken opponent of the IRS, was convicted in 1984 of irregularities in his filings and spent 15 months in Federal prison, enduring unspeakably brutal treatment. Personally, I believe campaign finance restrictions to be an unconstitutional limitation on free speech. Some kind of disclosure requirement might be helpful, but I don’t expect the wealthy 1% would ever be held accountable.

Voting in 21st Century America is a waste of time and a distraction from the real issues. It’s time that would be much better spent researching government wrongdoing, finding ways to safeguard our privacy and beat the system, or engaging in nonviolent civil disobedience. In the words of Emma Goldman, “If voting changed anything, they’d make it illegal.”


Remember, Remember

“Remember, remember, the fifth of November and the gunpowder treason and plot.”

– English nursery rhyme

Today is Guy Fawkes Day in the United Kingdom, which commemorates the 1605 discovery of a plot by Roman Catholic rebels to blow up the British Parliament building. It is traditionally celebrated with fireworks, bonfires, and the burning of effigies of the infamous traitor. In the modern world, Guy Fawkes and his day have taken on a new significance as symbols of the rejection of authority.


One of the staples of the November 5th celebration is the Guy Fawkes mask, which is now recognized around the world, ever since it figured prominently in the 2006 film V for Vendetta. Based on a graphic novel written by Alan Moore and illustrated by David Lloyd, the movie featured a mysterious rebel who fights the fascist government of a post-nuclear-war Britain. The character “V” wears the Fawkes mask to hide his identity, and possibly also to hide the effects of horrific government experimentation he had suffered previously.

The movie was tremendously popular in America, where fans drew parallels between its fictional neo-Nazi government and the war-obsessed surveillance state of George W. Bush. Guy Fawkes was quickly adopted by both libertarians and left-wing radicals as a symbol for anti-government protests. The Internet hacker group Anonymous wore the mask in protests against the Church of Scientology in 2008. The mask also appeared in the Occupy Wall Street protests and in Egyptian protests during the 2011 Arab Spring.

Guy Fawkes Day was also the occasion of the first “money bomb,” a new kind of unofficial political fundraiser, invented by grassroots libertarians to aid the 2008 Ron Paul Presidential campaign. It was a call for as many people as possible to donate money on that day, as a special show of support. The day was an appropriate metaphor for the word, since Fawkes and his cohorts meant to literally bomb the House of Lords. But it also drew fire from neo-conservative detractors of Dr. Paul, who claimed that the choice of day was an endorsement of terrorism. I would argue that Fawkes was not a terrorist, but a would-be assassin, since his plot targeted not civilians but enemy politicians. Still, the connotation of violence was problematic for those lacking a sense of humor.

It’s easy to see why the Fawkes mask became associated with rebellion after its use in V for Vendetta. The reasoning behind Moore’s choice of the Guy Fawkes theme is not so straightforward. He meant the character V to be morally ambiguous, possibly a hero, or maybe a madman. The historical Fawkes was a suitably complex character, and was no angel, though not quite a demon either. He plotted the violent deaths of hundreds, though at least he targeted his enemies in government rather than innocent civilians. He fought the tyrannical rule of King James I, whose discriminatory laws made life hellish for English Catholics. If the plot had succeeded, however, the rebels would have imposed a Catholic monarch who likely would have been just as oppressive to Protestants.

Upon his arrest, Fawkes was initially defiant, gaining the admiration of King James, though not his mercy. He resisted hours of brutal torture but finally broke, implicating and dooming his co-conspirators. All were tried and given the particularly sadistic sentence of death by drawing and quartering. On the day of his execution, Fawkes cheated the authorities of their brutal revenge by jumping off the gallows platform, thus breaking his own neck.

Though the movie version of Vendetta made the face of Guy Fawkes into a world-wide meme, Alan Moore was highly critical of the adaptation. He felt the script had simplified the V character to made him more of an unambiguous hero, and also softened the graphic novel’s anarchistic message. Personally, as much as I enjoyed the movie and rooted for V, I still felt conflicted about him. I found his imprisonment and psychological torture of his protege Evey (supposedly to break her fear of death and assure her love of liberty) to be quite disturbing.

Regardless of the controversy surrounding the historical Fawkes, November 5th has become an important day for those who love liberty around the world. It is no longer just for the English to remember.


On Memorial Day, Honor the Heroes of Peace

This Memorial Day, I want to say thanks to a different kind of veteran. This is not a generic, blanket commendation to those who participated in US wars, most of which (since 1945, anyway) had very little to do with “freedom.” Instead, I wish to thank those that risked their reputations, careers and personal freedom to reveal war crimes, blow the whistle on wrongdoing, or refuse to participate in illegal military actions. In addition, I thank those who, after having served in the military, have spoken out to denounce the unnecessary death and suffering caused by US foreign policy.

The first veteran I wish to honor served in World War I and numerous US foreign interventions: Major General Smedley Butler, the most highly decorated man in the history of the US Marine Corps. In 1935, after his retirement, he wrote a book called War is a Racket, which was highly critical of US foreign policy. He supported veterans in the “Bonus Army” in their 1932 march on Washington and refused to participate in the 1933 “Business Plot” in which wealthy businessmen conspired to overthrow FDR in a fascist coup. I pay homage to Butler in my novel Centrifugal Force, in which a group of rebellious veterans, with grievances similar to those of the real-life Bonus Army, call themselves the “Smedley Butler Brigade.”

Next is a man with whom most of you are probably familiar: retired Congressman Ron Paul of Texas. Paul, who is also a medical doctor, served as a flight surgeon in the US Air Force from 1963-1965 and then in the Air National Guard for another three years. During his years in the US House of Representatives, Dr. Paul was an outspoken critic of US foreign intervention. After the 9/11 attacks, he was one of the few Republicans who did not jump on the Afghan War bandwagon, insisting that the pursuit of Osama bin Laden should be a matter of international law enforcement and not a cause for military conquest. He refused to support the illegal Iraq War or the inhumane sanctions on Iran, and probably could have become President if he had compromised. Today he continues the fight for a just foreign policy through the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity.

Finally I wish to honor a man who has been much maligned: former US Army Private Bradley Manning, who languishes in prison for the alleged crime of giving classified material to the website Wikileaks. Notable among these materials is the “Collateral Murder” video, which shows US helicopter pilots in Iraq gunning down unarmed civilians, including journalists. Though none of the materials subsequently released by Wikileaks has endangered American military personnel in any specific way, Manning was of course arrested and stripped of his rank. In the intervening years, the government has subjected him to unbelievably harsh treatment, including solitary confinement. The media has also attacked him, minimizing his heroic actions by calling him “unstable” and by calling attention to his homosexuality. He is still awaiting trial. Patriotic Americans who realize that Manning is not a traitor but a hero for opposing US government war crimes (which endanger us all by inspiring terrorists around the world) should contact the Bradley Manning Support Network.

These men are only three of the many veterans who not only served in the military, but maintained the capability for independent thought. They acted on the strength of their convictions, in defiance of the jingoistic herd mentality that surrounded them. This is the true spirit of America – not unthinking obedience, but an unswerving dedication to the ideals of freedom, justice, and peace.