in praise of edward snowden

Writing for The London Review of Books, David Bromwich summarizes the state of our union:

Since the prosecutions of whistleblowers, the abusive treatment of [Bradley] Manning and the drone assassinations of American citizens have been justified by the president and his advisers, a dissident in the US may now think of his country the way the dissidents in East Germany under the Stasi thought of theirs. ‘The gloves are off.’ Nor should we doubt that a kindred fear is known even to the persons who control the apparatus.

I offer the following thoughts in the nature of commentary.

Shortly after 9/11 Dick Cheney proclaimed that it will be necessary for us to be a nation of men, and not laws. Shortly after Edward Snowden disclosed the scope and extent of NSA surveillance, giving the lie to its sworn denial by the parties responsible for its execution, Barack Obama sought to reassure us that he wasn’t Dick Cheney. That is right, in so far as the limited surveillance of foreign communications advocated and implemented by Cheney, has been extended to all Americans under the Obama administration.

In the wake of Snowden’s disclosures, Obama has sought to reassert “the system of checks and balances” around NSA surveillance and to “set up and structure a national conversation” on cyber surveillance and civil rights. Ironically, up to now, the system of checks and balances has been stymied, as the Supreme Court shut down the last attempt to adjudicate the legality of NSA surveillance for want of standing. In other words, it found the plaintiffs unable to prove their injury by snooping so secret that it couldn’t be publicly acknowledged. Snowden has single-handedly removed this obstacle to judicial scrutiny. He cannot be faulted for the crimes he committed in doing so, just as he cannot be faulted for taking our manly overlords at their lawless word. In a system whose executive branch has arrogated the unalterable authority to execute its citizens without a trial, whose courts have renounced their power to deny any warrant or check any prosecution in the matters of national interest, an individual willing and able to expose the abuses of power under the color of authority, has every right to place himself above the law, even as the state loses its authority over a challenger to its corruption. That’s what it means to live in a nation of men, and not laws.

Eighteen years ago, Claire Wolfe observed: “America is at that awkward stage when it’s too late to work within the system, but too early to shoot the bastards.” I am grateful to Snowden for increasing our odds of fixing the system from within, before our bastards are fit to get shot.

the last biggest lie

What are the five biggest lies?
    “The check is in the mail.”
    “I won’t come in your mouth.”
    “Some of my best friends are Jewish.”
    “Black is beautiful.”
    “I’m from your government, and I’m here to help you.”

— Blanche Knott (Ashton Applewhite), Truly Tasteless Jokes, 1983, p. 104

“I am obliged to confess I should sooner live in a society governed by the first two thousand names in the Boston telephone directory than in a society governed by the two thousand faculty members of Harvard University.”

— William F. Buckley Jr., Yale alumnus, Rumbles Left and Right: A Book about Troublesome People and Ideas, 1963, p. 134

notice of peaceful protests in the san francisco bay area

Dear Bay Area law enforcement personnel,

Over the following year, I shall reside and appear in your jurisdictions, exercising my fundamental rights under the First and Second Amendments to the Constitution of the United States in the course of ongoing peaceful public protests, as documented at and The attached images and the article "Man with semi-automatic weapon protests on Sand Hill", published in a local newspaper, should give you an adequate idea concerning the parameters of my performances.

I conduct my protests in response to independently witnessed and officially documented death threats made against me and my family in order to deter us from pursuing claims recorded in a lawsuit subsequently filed in California Superior Court, County of Santa Clara as case No. 1-02-CV-809286, Zeleny v. Zhu and WebEx, in the names and on the behalves of Min Zhu and WebEx Communications, Inc. The evidence of these threats and their gravity sufficed for Judge Jacob Adajian of Los Angeles Superior Court to acquit me on 11 April 2003 of weapons carry charges on the grounds of necessity, in a bench trial of case No. 2CR11665. In accounting for his acquittal, he ruled:

He wouldn't get a gun permit. He wouldn't get a gun permit. We just don't issue those in L.A. unless you're a movie star or somebody who shouldn't have one. But they manage to get one. Attorney's [sic.] should have one. I couldn't get one when I was an attorney. I know when I became a judge, a responsible person, I was able to get one. Not as an attorney. I think he had a good-faith belief in the threat. He did go to the police. He did do the right thing.

Ten months after this decision, my father Isaak Zelyony, plaintiff in a related lawsuit No. 1-02-CV-810705, styled Zelyony v. Zhu, suffered fatal injuries in an apartment fire that appeared to start at two locations at once. A thorough investigation of causes and origins of this fire, which a retired Los Angeles Fire Department captain undertook on my behalf, failed to rule out the likelihood of foul play. My father was important to me. I am seeking amends for unlawful threats of violence that were followed by his violent death under suspicious circumstances. As of this writing, I have a pending lawsuit in federal court against callers who warned me that my father’s death was not an accident and promised to arrange for me to rejoin him. I am protesting the ongoing institutional and individual support of a violent sexual deviant, who represents a grave personal threat to me and my family.

As law enforcement officers, you are well placed to assess my situation. For starters, you might consult the 1988 sealed police report of childhood sexual abuse made by Min Zhu's then 14 year-old daughter Erin. On numerous occasions Erin recounted Min's prior use of the terms that failed to dissuade me from pursuing my claim against him and his company, to persuade her to yield to his sexual advances. Her subsequent complaints of her molestation by Min Zhu can be found on newsgroup alt.sexual.abuse.recovery via Google Groups search for the terms "Erin Zhu sexual abuse". Additionally, they can be found along with her draft complaint against Min Zhu for childhood sexual abuse, her email correspondence with Blixa Bargeld to that effect, and various declarations by third parties attesting to the same facts, as matters of public record in Santa Clara Superior Court case 1-02-CV-809286, Zeleny v. Zhu & WebEx. Erin Zhu has authenticated the accounts of her rape by her father that she had authored and relayed or publicized, in sworn depositions in that case. Moreover, in a sworn deposition taken by John Walton on 3 November 2003, in Zelyony v. Zhu, Santa Clara Superior Court Case Number CV-810705, she confirmed under oath having settled her childhood sexual abuse claim against her father Min Zhu for $300,000, paying her lawyer David Affeld a contingency fee of 2.5%. She admitted having participated in the preparation of the draft complaint, which included a graphic description of her rape by Min Zhu. She acknowledged that after she settled her claim against them, her parents made her the beneficiary of a trust; and although she denied linking it to the settlement, she later settled a claim by her lawyer, who sued her for a contingency fee portion of the trust. While denying on that occasion that her childhood sexual abuse by her father involved "penetration", Erin Zhu confirmed under oath having told her lawyer when they prepared the draft complaint that it did involve penetration, and never having told him otherwise; and she further confirmed under oath that this sexual abuse occurred between 1 and 20 times. I urge you to consult the relevant parts of the transcript of Erin Zhu's referenced deposition, as entered in evidence and permanently consigned to the public record in NEA v. Zeleny, San Mateo Superior Court Case No. CIV499465, in the context of California Penal Code Section 263 providing: "The essential guilt of rape consists in the outrage to the person and feelings of the victim of the rape. Any sexual penetration, however slight, is sufficient to complete the crime."

My revelations of these facts failed to diminish the support of Min Zhu by the Menlo Park venture capital firm New Enterprise Associates (NEA). By NEA's accounts, its business relationship with Min Zhu began in 1999 when it invested in the company that he founded, WebEx Communications, Inc. According to SEC filings, NEA's General Partner Scott Sandell was on the Board of Directors of WebEx until February 2002. In his sworn declaration Sandell testified that "Min Zhu was a consultant at NEA, with the title Venture Partner, from March 17 2004 through March 2008." NEA has acknowledged that in 2004 I emailed them about Erin Zhu's claims concerning her childhood sexual abuse by her father Min Zhu. In my communications I pointed out that Erin verified under oath having made these claims between 1991 and 2001 in conversation with her friends, associates, and employees; in public Usenet postings and letters to her husband Blixa Bargeld; and in statements to her lawyer David Affeld in connection with the claim for childhood sexual abuse that he presented to her parents and settled on her behalf. My notices went unanswered and had no effect on NEA's support of Min Zhu and his position at WebEx. Meanwhile, WebEx’s CEO Subrah Iyar attempted to cover up Min Zhu’s rape of his daughter. In the course of defending against my lawsuit under his leadership, WebEx filed sworn corporate declarations claiming that there was “absolutely no truth” to the allegations that Min had raped his daughter seven years prior to its founding, while allowing him to use its corporate assets as hush money to buy her silence about his crimes, and employ its corporate counsel in defending against my claims made against him as an individual, independently of his connection with WebEx. Min Zhu resigned from WebEx and fled the United States to China only after I exposed him as a child rapist at the WebEx User Conference in San Francisco, on 2 May 2005. Yet in September of the same year, NEA funded Min Zhu's next venture in China, in full knowledge of the foregoing events. Witness this pointed observation published by China Venture News on 23 September 2005: "What's missing in the Private Equity Online article or any NEA release is any mention of the previous controversy surrounding NEA's venture partner, Min Zhu, who joined NEA in 2004, after his forced resignation as WebEx President and Director." Another side of Min Zhu's character is captured in the 2007 report of a joint investigation of WebEx by FBI and NSA, which found it illicitly transferring the records of its customers' confidential communications to China. To connect the dots, NEA's knowing sponsorship of a duplicitous child rapist has been an open secret in the venture capital community for over seven years. This is especially noteworthy in an industry, whose foundations can be shaken by a female partner's displeasure at receiving a copy of Leonard Cohen's The Book of Longing from her male colleague.

According to Min Zhu, as of 2008, NEA continued to invest money in his company Cybernaut. I have no reason to doubt that their business relationship has continued to this day. By all accounts, Min Zhu has established himself as an excellent profit earner, inspiring investments from numerous profit-seeking institutions and individuals undeterred by scruples about his character. In bringing to light its defects, I look forward to finding out, how far the turpitude of Silicon Valley capital is matched by its shamelessness.

Please be assured that I am sensitive to your concerns for public safety. Accordingly, in the course of my Constitutionally protected activities, I pledge to abstain from any unlawful actions, including, without limitation, the following:

  • loading any firearms in the absence of a reasonable fear for life or limb;
  • deploying or firing any deadly weapons or firearms in the absence of a clear and present danger to life or limb;
  • making any threats of unlawful violence, including, but not limited to, drawing or exhibiting any deadly weapons or firearms in the presence of another person, in a rude, angry, or threatening manner;
  • stalking, accosting, or harassing any individual, including, but not limited to, making harassing telephone calls to any individual or institution, or sending harassing correspondence to any individual or institution by any means;
  • making any statement or engaging in a course of conduct that would place a reasonable person in fear for his or her safety, or the safety of his or her immediate family, and that serves no legitimate purpose; and
  • capturing visual images or audio recordings of any individual who has a reasonable expectation of privacy, or otherwise attempting to frustrate such an expectation.
I am pleased to point out that my prior events in San Diego, Milpitas, Menlo Park, and Santa Clara were unmarked by any disturbances. I hope that the same will be the case on this occasion of scaling up my activities within the bounds of legitimacy sanctioned by the authorities of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and the United States Supreme Court. Owing to substantial gains in my quest for legitimate remedies, my protests shall include topical artistic performances by bagpipers, clowns, rappers, and a brass band. I shall employ portable generators, high-intensity floodlights, and night vision devices to discover the identities and whereabouts of other friends and supporters of Min Zhu. It is my position that the mounting of these performances and the use of these instruments are protected under the First Amendment, and therefore are not subject to local permit requirements. However, as an accommodation provided in the spirit of courtesy, I shall consider reasonable requests for placing time, place, and manner constraints on my performances on a case-by-case basis. Lastly, I continue to claim the right protected by the First Amendment, to hold press conferences at the sites of my protests and to film all passerby there being questioned as to their opinion of their subject matter. I hope to forestall dangerous misunderstandings and futile litigation bound to be costly and disappointing to your taxpayers by giving you this advance notice of my plan.

My protests will take place, without limitation, at the public grounds adjacent to the following institutions and residences:

  1. New Enterprise Associates (NEA), 2855 Sand Hill Road, Menlo Park, CA 94025;
  2. Cisco/WebEx, 3979 Freedom Circle, Santa Clara, CA 95054;
  3. Silk Road Software & Services, Inc. (SRS2), One Market Street, San Francisco, CA 94105;
  4. Subrah and Rupar Iyar, 15292 Kennedy Rd, Unit A, Los Gatos, CA 95032
  5. Scott Sandell, 120 Deer Meadow Ln, Portola Valley, CA 94028;
  6. Forest Baskett, 24 Alexander Ave, Sausalito, CA 94965;
  7. Robert J. Garland, 636 Melville Ave, Palo Alto, CA 94301;
  8. C. Richard Kramlich, 3699 Washington St, San Francisco, CA 94118;
  9. Jake R. Nunn, 2120 Ashton Ave, Menlo Park, CA 94025;
  10. Arno Allan Penzias, 19 Calle Del Mar, Stinson Beach, CA 94970;
  11. Brooke A. Seawell, 1155 Trinity Dr, Menlo Park, CA 94025;
  12. Peter Sonsini, 350 Olive St, Menlo Park, CA 94025; and
  13. Sigrid Van Bladel, 1338 Masonic Ave, San Francisco, CA 94117.
This list will be extended and updated in future online postings and email communications. My protests will continue until I receive full satisfaction for Min Zhu's offenses against me and my family. All concerned parties may address their communications to my lawyers Michael D. Pinnisi <>, Pinnisi & Anderson, 410 East Upland Road, Ithaca, NY 14850, phone: (607) 257-8000, and David W. Affeld <>, Affeld Grivakes Zucker LLP, 12400 Wilshire Boulevard, Suite 1180, Los Angeles CA 90025, phone: (310) 979-8700, fax: (310) 979-8701. I may be reached at the number listed below. —- —- | 7576 Willow Glen Rd, Los Angeles, CA 90046 | 323.363.1860
Wronged by the high and mighty? Cut them down to size with legally safe and ethically sound degradation of unworthy moguls and scrofulous celebrities.

“i’m somebody now!” © 1979 navin r. johnson

Man with semi-automatic weapon protests at hotel

With due respect to Buffalo Springfield, there’s a man with a gun over there, and what he wants ain’t exactly clear.
    “There” is a corner of Sand Hill Road at the entrance to the Rosewood Sand Hill hotel near Interstate 280 in Menlo Park. The man with the gun said he is Los Angeles resident Michael Zeleny, who showed up there on Thursday (Feb. 9).
    He’s wearing a surplus military uniform complete with combat helmet and bullet-proof vest. He’s carrying a semi-automatic M14 military rifle that he says is unloaded, and a long-lens camera.
    Police arrived, questioned the man, but made no arrest. [And so on, with photos and comments.]

By Dave Boyce
Almanac Staff Writer

UPDATE: To clarify, here is my comment, partially redacted by the Almanac because “[their] forum is not the place to make allegations of criminal wrongdoing”:

Thanks to Dave Boyce for this fair and balanced report.

In regard of my demands, the hotel complex at which I am holding my protest also houses New Enterprise Associates (NEA), self-described in their court filings in connection with this matter as our world’s wealthiest and most important venture capital firm, with over $11 billion under management. It is also the firm that funded its protégé Min Zhu, the founder of WebEx Communications, right after my outing of him as a rapist of his 14-year old daughter at the 2005 WebEx user conference in San Francisco caused Min to resign from his job and flee the United States. The public deserves to learn the lesson Min had taught me, that a violent incestuous paedophile will treat his business partners like family.

I might have overlooked this matter even after receiving independently witnessed death threats against me and my family, made in the names and on the behalves of Min Zhu and WebEx, in the course of our $70 million business dispute. I went public with my story only after my father Isaak, plaintiff in a related lawsuit, died from injuries sustained in an apartment fire of suspicious causes and origins. As the poet said, there is some shit I will not eat. An apology from all responsible parties is in order.

You can find my story along with links to supporting documentation at

here goes nothing

Mass Means Mail – Re: Resumption of Public Protests at Rosewood Sand Hill Compound

Mass Means Mail
Michael Zeleny

Re: Resumption of Public Protests at Rosewood Sand Hill Compound

Michael Zeleny

Wed, Feb 8, 2012 at 8:37 PM

Subrah Iyar <>,,, "David W. Affeld" <>, Ajay Vashee <>, Ali Behbahani <>, Amita Shukla <>, Arno Penzias <>, Brooke Seawell <>, Chip Linehan <>, Chuck Newhall <>, David Mott <>, Dick Kramlich <>, Ed Mathers <>, Forest Baskett <>, Frank Torti <>, George Stamas <>, Harry Weller <>, Hugh Panero <>, Jake Nunn <>, James Barrett <>, Jay Graf <>, Jimmy Treybig <>, John Nehra <>, Jon Sakoda <>, Josh Makower <>, Justin Klein <>, Krishna 'Kittu' Kolluri <>, Louis Citron <>, Mark Perry <>, Mike O'Dell <>, Mike Ramsay <>, Mohamad Makhzoumi <>, Nitin Sharma <>, Patrick Chung <>, Patrick Kerins <>, Paul Hsiao <>, Paul Walker <>, Peter Barris <>, Peter Behrendt <>, Peter Morris <>, Peter Sonsini <>, PM Pai <>, Ralph Snyderman <>, Ravi Viswanathan <>, Richard Whitney <>, Rick Yang <>, Robert Croce <>, Robert Garland <>, Rohini Chakravarthy <>, Ryan Drant <>, Sara Nayeem <>, Scott Gottlieb <>, Scott Sandell <>, Sigrid Van Bladel <>, Sujay Jaswa <>, Suzanne King <>, Tim Schaller <>, Tom Grossi <>, Tony Florence <>, "Michael D. Pinnisi" <>, "Hawk, Robert B." <>

Dear NEA and associates,

Please be advised that our hitherto postponed protest will begin tomorrow and continue indefinitely, according to the terms previously announced in the email copied below.

I am attaching an image of a bumper sticker that we have created for your benefit, licensed under the terms of Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported (CC BY-ND 3.0). Please feel free to use it in advertising your investment practices. —- —- | 7576 Willow Glen Rd, Los Angeles, CA 90046 | 213.290.4699
Wronged by the high and mighty? Cut them down to size with legally safe and
ethically sound degradation of unworthy moguls and scrofulous celebrities.

On Fri, Sep 23, 2011 at 4:53 PM, Michael Zeleny <> wrote:

Dear NEA,
I share your relief at settling our dispute regarding my access to your private property. As you know, I will no longer appear in front of your office. I am equally relieved that your single claim challenged only my "conduct in repeatedly trespassing on private property, leaving [me] free to express [myself] as [I desire], at any lawful place and time, with the sole exception that [I] cannot make unauthorized entry onto the NEA office complex." You objected to the location of my protest but did not dispute its content.

Starting on 31 October 2011 and continuing indefinitely, I shall resume my protest against your abhorrent investment practices. I shall do so on the public easement near the entrance to your complex. I shall also protest against anyone who would do business with you, based on their implicit endorsement of your immoral practices. I shall take photos and record videos of everyone entering your complex, post the images online and distribute them on bills posted throughout the San Francisco Bay Area, and offer rewards for the first correct identification of names and addresses of everyone who does business with your child rape sponsoring enterprise. I shall display signs and banners illustrating the purpose of my protests. As before, I shall be armed with legal counterparts of U.S. military rifles and pistols, in full compliance with all applicable federal, state, and local ordinances. As before, I invite you to comment on my plans, should you have any legitimate objection to the time, place, or manner of my expression of my Constitutionally protected message. | | 7576 Willow Glen Road, Los Angeles, CA 90046 | 323.363.1860 | | "All of old. Nothing else ever. Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better." — Samuel Beckett

netcops galore

Поскольку доносчику—первый кнут, постольку виртуальному блюстителюнравственности”—первый “хуй” в “жопу”. Виртуалу причитается исключительно виртуальное наказание, что здесь и имеет место. Всё остальное находится за пределами этого сообщества. Иначе придётся вызывать транссексуала с кульком муки.

sperm batters live barricades

Philipp Bakhtin, editor in chief of Russian Esquire, distinguished himself this month mainly by putting up and taking down a nine-story banner featuring the cover of its April issue posing the question: “Why do ballerinas and gays join United Russia?” His magazine interviewed nine professionally creative and sexually venturesome Russians, eliciting their reasons for joining the ranks of Putin’s dominant political party. These reasons included the following:

  • a wish to mimic the makeup of Italian parliament that included a prostitute defending the interests of her class;
  • support for the slogan issued by party leadership: “Parliament is no place for discussions”;
  • belief in the importance of national unity and faith in the only party capable of sustaining it;
  • a yearning for an ideology defining and advancing the national mission of Russia;
  • disenchantment with the principle that some things are not to be bought or sold;
  • lack of alternative political leaders worthy of enthusiastic support;
  • a craving for shelter in the breast of hegemonic officialdom; and
  • enthusiasm for state propaganda of healthy lifestyles.

Bakhtin’s less notable but equally provocative contribution was the following editorial extolling modern Russian man spermatozoa coursing through the cunts of American deer mice as the summit of creation:

Оказывается, шимпанзе не бросают сирот. Немецкие ученые в течение 27 лет пристально наблюдали 36 маленьких, оставшихся без родителей шимпанзе, 18 из которых были взяты под опеку другими взрослыми шимпанзе, и 10 из этих 18—выжили. Приемные родители раскалывали для них орехи, защищали в драках и спасали от леопардов, причем нередко это делали самцы, которые обычно не интересуются воспитанием потомства. То есть в течение месяцев и даже лет волосатые шимпанзе делали что-то, что было либо обременительно, либо опасно для них лично, но полезно для вида в целом.
    Мало того, оказывается, сперматозоиды американских хомячков Peromyscus maniculatus способны объединяться в стайки, чтобы обгонять конкурентов из чужих семенников—примерно так, как это делают во время эстафеты конькобежцы в шорт-треке, подталкивая друг друга в спину. Легкомысленные самки этих Peromyscus maniculatus (оленьих хомячков) спариваются сразу с несколькими партнерами, но сперматозоиды умеют отличать своих от чужих, объединяются с родственниками и вместе несутся к финишу. И тем самым демонстрируют еще один пример альтруистического поведения, поскольку оплодотворить яйцеклетку сможет только один конькобежец.
    Почему шимпанзе и сперматозоиды делают это? Потому что природа таинственным образом научила их жертвовать личными интересами ради интересов своего вида. Но вот что удивительно: сперматозоиды американских хомячков природа наделила этим даром, а (возьмем сегодняшний пример) сотрудников Первого батальона Первого спецполка ГИБДД—нет. 5 марта эти представители тупиковой ветви эволюции среди ночи перекрыли МКАД автомобилями мирно ехавших по своим делам граждан (в том числе беременных), чтобы остановить машину с преступниками (укравшими сумочку), которые успешно протаранили кордон и уехали. И это просто первая попавшаяся на глаза новость—завтра будет еще триста таких же.
    Почему эти монады в ушанках так поступили? Потому что когда-то давно природа таинственным образом наделила их самосознанием, которое, как теперь стало ясно, плохо уживается с альтруистическим поведением. Разглядевший самого себя шимпанзе поумнел, изобрел колесо, компас, паровой двигатель, википедию и съедобные трусы со вкусом малины, но почти начисто утратил чувство ответственности за любых сородичей, кроме ближайшей родни и сокурсников по юрфаку ЛГУ (например). Теперь, чтобы выжить, этот вид животных должен начать экономить свет и воду, отказаться от использования полиэтиленовых пакетов, перестать покупать и выбрасывать лишнюю еду, избавиться от бензиновых двигателей, договориться о квотах на выброс парниковых газов, демонтировать ядерное оружие, остановить вырубку лесов и уничтожение диких животных, потратить миллиарды на технологии безопасной утилизации всего на свете и разобрать по семьям 600 тысяч (только в России) сирот. Но, к сожалению, польза от этого будет общественная, да и то в будущем, а каждому отдельно взятому сегодняшнему человеку окончательно достанутся исключительно хлопоты.
    На всякий случай: общество, способное объединиться и заботиться об интересах всех своих в целом нынешних и будущих членов, называется гражданское общество (если не слышали, поинтересуйтесь в интернетах). Но, согласно последним сведениям ученых, самое гражданское из всех существующих обществ расположено в пизде у американских оленьих хомячков.

—Филипп Бахтин, «Творению-венец», Esquire, April 2010

It turns out that chimps do not abandon orphans. German scientists over the past 27 years have observed 36 young, orphaned chimpanzees, 18 of which were adopted by other adult chimpanzees, and these 18 survived. Adoptive parents cracked nuts for them, defended them in fights, and saved them from leopards, and often all that was done by males, who usually lack interest in raising offspring. That is, for months and even years hairy chimps undertook something that was either burdensome or dangerous for them individually, but useful for the species as a whole.
    Moreover, it turns out that spermatozoa of American rodents Peromyscus maniculatus can associate in flocks, in order to overtake competition from foreign sperm, more or less the way it is done by relay skaters in a short track, pushing each other in the back. Frivolous females of Peromyscus maniculatus (deer mice) mate with several partners, but the spermatozoa are able to distinguish their own kind from others, join forces with their kin, and race as a pack to the finish. And thus they demonstrate yet another example of altruistic behavior, for only one skater can fertilize the egg.
    Why do chimpanzees and spermatozoa do it? Because nature in her mysterious way has taught them to sacrifice personal interests for the interests of their kind. But here is the surprising part: nature has bestowed this gift upon the spermatozoa of American deer mice, but (to take the current example) not upon the members of the First Battalion of the First Special Regiment of the State traffic police. On March 5, these representatives of an evolutionary dead end branch blocked Moscow Ring Road in the dead of the night with the vehicles of citizens peacefully going about their business (including pregnant women), in order to stop the car full of criminals (purse-snatchers), who successfully rammed the cordon and drove away. And this is just the first news item to come along—tomorrow there will be three hundred more of the same.
    Why did these fur-hatted monads do it? Because once upon a time nature mysteriously bestowed upon them self-awareness, which, as is now clear, has a hard time coexisting with altruistic behavior. Having scrutinized himself, the chimp wisened up, invented the wheel, the compass, the steam engine, Wikipedia, and edible raspberry-flavored panties, while almost completely losing its sense of responsibility for his fellow tribesmen, except the nearest kinfolk and classmates from the Law School of Leningrad State University (to take one example). Now, in order to survive, this species must start saving water and power, put an end to plastic bags, stop buying and wasting extra food, get rid of the gasoline engine, agree on quotas for greenhouse gases, dismantle nuclear weapons, stop deforestation and destruction of wildlife, spend billions on technology for safe disposal of everything, and find family homes for 600 thousand orphans (in Russia alone). Unfortunately, the benefits of all that will accrue only to the society at large, and only in the future, yielding nothing but trouble for every single present-day individual.
    Just in case: a society that can unite and promote the interests of all its current and future members, is called a civil society (if you haven’t heard of it, ask the internets). But, according to the latest scientific findings, the most civil of all existing societies is located in the cunts of American deer mice.

—translated by MZ

Peromyscus maniculatus

It is heartening to have glossy Russian media attend to the humble Peromyscus maniculatus, the deer mouse that along with congeneric species counts as the most common native North American mammal, ranging from Alaska to Central America. One of the latest scientific findings in its regard is the account of the cooperative behaviour of spermatozoa given by Heidi S. Fisher and Hopi E. Hoekstra in a letter to Nature 463, 801-803 (11 February 2010), “Competition Drives Cooperation Among Closely Related Sperm of Deer Mice”. Fisher and Hoekstra begin by observing that sperm of Peromyscus polionotus, a monogamous species ipso facto lacking sperm competition, indiscriminately groups with unrelated conspecific sperm. Then they show that by contrast, sperm of the highly promiscuous Peromyscus maniculatus are significantly more likely to aggregate with those obtained from the same male than with sperm from an unrelated conspecific males and even with sperm from siblings. They conclude that sperm from promiscuous deer mice discriminate among relatives and thereby cooperate with the most closely related sperm, as a result of an evolutionary adaptation likely to have been driven by sperm competition.

What does all that have to do with Moscow traffic cops? Not so much. The practice of police commanding assistance from the public, epitomized by Popeye Doyle commandeering a civilian’s 1971 Pontiac LeMans to chase the French Connection, is both legal and widespread in this most civil of all possible societies. The novel twist contributed by the makers of “live barricades” deployed against fleeing criminals on Moscow Ring Road, is compelling civilians to put themselves along with their property in the way of rapidly approaching harm. The Connecticut Supreme Court addressed this issue in State v. Floyd, 217 Conn. 73, 584 A.2d 1157 (1991). The trial judge in Floyd, Jon C. Blue, elaborates upon this case in “High Noon Revisited: Commands of Assistance by Peace Officers in the Age of the Fourth Amendment”, May, 1992, 101 Yale Law Journal 1475, by posing an analogy between the command of assistance and the notorious British practice of impressment, forcible induction of men into military and especially naval service. He argues that subjecting ordinary citizens to summary impressment into hazardous police duty is inconsistent with our basic notions of constitutional liberty, pointing out that the ruling in the Floyd case construed Connecticut’s commanding assistance statute as authorizing such commands “only when such assistance is both demonstrably necessary and reasonable under all the circumstances”. This provision grafted a reasonable appearance upon a practice that by its nature requires split-second decisions involving the safety of the person, where the person commanded will have no ready means of identifying a deficient command. Judge Blue points out that, given a widespread concern that Fourth Amendment law is too confusing to be understood by policemen on the beat, a generalized rule of reasonableness reduces the law to a morass where no one, policeman or citizen, can determine his rights and responsibilities in advance. As Anthony Amsterdam has observed in “Perspectives on the Fourth Amendment”, 58 Minnesota Law Review 49, 394 (1974):

If there are no fairly clear rules telling the policeman what he may and may not do, courts are seldom going to say that what he did was unreasonable. The ultimate conclusion is that “the people would be ‘secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects,’ only in the discretion of the police.”

Judge Blue concludes that it would be far better to have some hard and fast rules that citizens of this country could intelligently follow: “Given the realities of modern life, it behooves us to decree that commands of assistance that subject the person commanded to the possibility of personal danger are inconsistent with the Fourth Amendment and the commands of due process.”

It is undisputed that on 5 March 2010 Moscow traffic police commanded and obtained assistance that subjected the persons commanded to the possibility of personal danger. But it is unclear whether or not that assistance was both demonstrably necessary and reasonable under all the circumstances. While the formation of a live barricade may appear to Western legal analysts as an excessive response to an incident of purse-snatching, judging it to be so would sell short the importance of purses to the Russian soul. The unisex leather purse (барсетка) first emerged in the “Roaring Nineties” to become a signifier of mobbed-up New Russians along with crimson sport coats, heavy gauge gold jewelry, the chrome dome, and the “mano cornuta”. Of these traits, only the purse endured into the third millennium as an indispensable accoutrement of business élite. It persists as a potent reminder of the feminine side of Russian toughness, long renowned in the West for being naturally inclined to sodomy and buggery. And the traditional contents of the Slavic purse are as important as its formal aspects. Recall that two months ago, while Kiev mayor’s daughter Kristina Chernovetskaya was stuck in traffic in the northern suburbs of Paris, a man wrenched open the door of her luxury hire car and made off with her handbag containing jewelry with a value of more than $6M. Notably, great personal stockpiles of Russian wealth far exceed piddling clusters of Ukrainian booty. And going by the historical precedent, each must be regarded as a temporary loan held precariously by its current possessors on the sufferance of Russian populace. Hence the lasting adversity between Russian forces of law and order and purse-snatchers (барсеточники). All that adds up to a sound rationale for subjecting ordinary Russian drivers to summary impressment into hazardous police duty of preserving the honor and integrity of Russian bags.

Let us return to our American deer mice. The same rodent sperm that joins in packs with its congeners to outrace competitors issued by another male, will congregate with the former in the formation of another kind of live barricades, copulatory plugs meant for intercepting the latter. Even among us primates, female promiscuity correlates with copulatory plug formation. Which is to say that live barricades will always be with our skanky cunts.

the good thief

Gerald Blanchard; pencil on paper; by Charles Sabba Jr.

Blanchard’s full participation came under consideration when he pled guilty to 16 charges on November 7, 2007. He agreed to sell his four condos and pay restitution to the Canadian government. And he was willing to take a longer sentence for himself in exchange for leniency toward his coaccused, whom he refused to testify against. None of his partners served jail time.

—Joshuah Bearman, “Art of the Steal: On the Trail of World’s Most Ingenious Thief”, Wired, 22 March 2010

If you are going to take the rap, that’s the way to do it.