Thursday, April 30, 2009

Targeted For Termination - Political Assasination in the Twenty-First Century

Joint Force Quarterly has recently published an article by Colonel Peter M. Cullen, the Staff Judge Advocate, 101st Airborne Division at Fort Campbell, on the legality and suitibility of military and covert use of "Targeted Killing" against non-state actors. Targeted Killing is a euphemism for Assasination used in a military context, though the term "Extrajudicial Punishment" is also used, mostly by critics. The process of targeted killing was pioneered in modern warfare by Israel, (of which much has been written) but has been adopted to some measure by the united states since 2001, primarily outside of the realm of public scruitiny.

In the article Col. Cullen states:

This article examines the legality, morality, and potential efficacy of a U.S. policy of targeted killing...

The conclusion is that, in spite of the genuine controversy surrounding this subject, a carefully circumscribed policy of targeted killing can be a legal, moral, and effective tool in a counterterror campaign. (emphasis mine)

While the United States has not explicitly acknowledged pursuing a policy of targeted killing, insights can be gleaned from published national security documents and official statements that shed light on U.S. willingness to employ targeted killing as a tactic in the campaign against terror.

This was most recently demonstrated in January 2007 by the use of an Air Force AC–130 Spectre gunship to target suspected al Qaeda terrorists in Somalia. Based on publicly available information, if the capture of designated terrorists is not deemed feasible, the United States is prepared to use Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) or U.S. military assets to target them in lethal operations.8 In addition to the recent operations in Somalia, targeted killings attributed to the United States since 2001 have included attacks in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas of Pakistan and in Yemen.These actions resulted in the deaths of numerous civilians,

The campaign against transnational terrorism represents a new paradigm with which international law has yet to come to terms. Public international law, accustomed to regulating actions by states, is in uncharted territory when dealing with nonstate actors and their involvement in the changing face of war.

The case for targeted killing must demonstrate that the United States is authorized to use force against terrorists in compliance with the law of conflict management, or jus ad bellum, and that the manner in which targeted killings are executed complies with the law on the conduct of war, or jus in bello.

Article 2 of the United Nations (UN) Charter outlaws the use of aggressive force by a state in its international relations. One recognized exception is a state’s inherent right of self-defense as found in Article 51 of the UN Charter. This authorizes a state to use military force to defend itself against an armed attack and the continuing threat of such an attack.13 The limitations on this right of self-defense are that the force used to defend against the attack must be both “necessary” and “proportionate.”

Clearly, al Qaeda’s actions on 9/11 constituted an armed attack on America, and its subsequent actions and statements confirm that it represents a continuing and serious threat to the United States against which America is entitled to defend itself through the use of force, specifically the targeting of key al Qaeda personnel. It has been argued that the right of selfdefense only applies to interstate conflicts and not to a conflict with a transnational terrorist organization such as al Qaeda and its associated movements (AQAM).

This textual interpretation of the UN Charter, however, is overcome by customary international law, which recognizes a state’s inherent right of self defense. This permits the United States to use force against nonstate actors such as transnational terrorists. It is a right that has not been challenged by the UN Security Council. Since AQAM are a continuing threat, the targeted killing of their key personnel is a military necessity to prevent future attacks. It is not designed to be punitive in nature or serve as a reprisal. This tactic is also a proportionate, or reasonable, response given the serious threat that AQAM pose to America. Article 2 of the UN Charter also requires the United States to respect the sovereignty of other nations. If America wishes to conduct a targeted killing on the sovereign territory of another nation, it must obtain the permission of that government.

Legality of the Tactic of Targeted Killing (Jus in Bello). Although the United States is authorized to use force in self-defense against AQAM for as long as they remain a threat, each specific use of force, such as a targeted killing, must comply with the law on the conduct of war. The primary sources of jus in bello are found in the four Geneva Conventions of 1949 and their two Additional Protocols of 1977.

Application of the law of war is triggered if a state of “armed conflict” exists between America and AQAM. Treaties do not define this term. It is broader than “war,” which is limited to interstate conflict. Commentators recommend looking to the nature, intensity, and duration of the violence to make this determination.

Even if U.S. targeted killing of terrorists is legal under international law, it is also necessary to determine its legality under U.S. domestic law. Some commentators have pointed to Executive Order 12333 and its prohibition on assassination. Although this executive order regulating intelligence activities does have legal effect, it does not apply to actions in time of war or to the Armed Forces. Accordingly, it does not impact military operations that target terrorist operatives outside the United States.

While Executive Order 12333 presents no legal impediment to targeted killings executed by the Armed Forces, it could impact such operations conducted by CIA personnel, who are considered noncombatants under the law of war.

In the context of the armed conflict between the United States and AQAM, this means that active members of AQAM are combatants and may be lawfully targeted at will. Given the status of AQAM operatives as combatants, the United States is under no obligation to attempt to arrest individuals before targeting them. This combatant status remains in effect for the duration of the armed conflict unless the individual takes some action to renounce this status. This analysis raises the question of how active members of a terrorist organization are properly identified.

Unlike combatants in international armed conflicts, they are not required to display “a fixed distinctive sign recognizable at a distance.” Nor should their combatant status be limited to the time that they have a weapon in their hands. The answer lies in designating as combatants those members of the terrorist organization who have taken an active part in hostilities.

Proponents of this position argue that this status is established if the individual takes a direct part in hostilities by planning, directing, or executing attacks or “if there is other evidence of his or her combatant role.” Such evidence will be primarily derived from intelligence information, often supplemented by the statements and admissions of the individuals themselves.

A difficult issue is whether an individual who provides purely financial support for terrorist activities can be targeted as a combatant. Given the critical enabling role of financing in terrorist activities, such individuals should be viewed as having an active role in hostilities

According to the magazine: Joint Force Quarterlyis published for the Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff, by the Institute for National Strategic Studies, National Defense University, to promote understanding of the integrated employment of land, sea, air, space, and special operations forces. The journal focuses on joint doctrine, integrated operations, coalition warfare, contingency planning, military operations conducted across the spectrum of conflict, and joint force development.

The article, (which no longer seems to availiable online) has much more to say, and I'd recomend it as a frightening bed time story to any of you, if you can find it. Email me and ill send it to you, or call up the chairman himself, im sure he has lots of copies. (dont you wish you had a magazine published just for you? and its a pretty, full colour magazine, no newsletter here...)

There is plenty of room for concern here, even if you dont include the moral implications of robot armies, starting with the intended targets. While the article itself is very specific in using the term al Qaeda and its Associated Movements (AQAM), none of the "decentralized" network structure of "al Qaeda" is easily identifiable (hence the use of the word decentralized) and none of the "Associated Movements" are defined at all. What he really means to say (in the context of US Military policy) is "Terrorist!", that infamous and vague term that is so loved by totalitarian statists worldwide.

Noted comentarian Kenneth Anderson states that "...terrorist groups can be strategically understood as a guerrilla organization engaged in a strategy of logistical raiding – in which civilian morale and resulting manipulation of political will is the logistical target" "Manipulation of political will", of course, being the goal of any political movement worldwide, period, and any organization that either arises organically, or outside of state influence, will qualify as a "guerrilla" in nature. Anything between the two is simply a matter of, well, "logistics." Definitions such as these are designed to actually point to any one person, rather, by design, they are inclusionary terms, drawn up so as to provide a label that can be used to justify an action against any opposing force. Now consider that they added to this inclusionary term, which essentially says "any member of a non-state political movement" and turned it into "any financial or material supporter of a member of a non-state political movement." So basicly, Either you sit in front of the TV and do nothing, hold no political goals, and dont get involved with anyone who does have political goals, or Whammo! Its a hellfire missile for you.

Of course, in the past (the fairly recent past, i might add) it has been consistently held that no further protections are granted to members of these vast qualifying terms, even if only suspected, based on their nationality or citizenship, including one particularily american in nature. As of yet, no legal ruling, or even official position from the white house, has reversed this, and in a sobering essay published by Foreign Policy, former Bush administration National Security Council member Philip Zelikow points out that there simply is no legal firewall protecting U.S. citizens from the torture methods used against foreign terrorist suspects.

None. At all.

As such, advocating the legality of mass assassination, outside of the rules of either law, or war, in such a perversion of intention to justify the means is a dangerous possition to take, as if it can be applied so liberally over there, it can be applied just as easily here. But even if it was only intended for targets in Iraqi and Afghanistani militia's, and not against the American variety; Whats the difference?

An excelent, if older, article tackled the subject of the propiety of full utilization of technology against an organic militia movement such as what we see in Iraq and afghanistan. You can, and should, read it here, but here is an excerpt:

The US military has been fighting a war against the people of Iraq. The Iraqi “militias” are directly equivalent to the well regulated militia that the Founding Fathers discussed as the last line of defense against government oppression - US government oppression. The fact that this oppression is occurring in Iraq rather than on US soil does not change the role of guns as tools of self-determination. The Second Amendment is guarantee of a right, but that right is based in observable reality. It is operating in Iraq today, and the streets run with blood as people exercise their right to die and kill for what they believe, however misguided it may be.

The Iraqi people are demonstrating the Second Amendment.

The US must not develop the ability to win in future wars against populations like we see in Iraq if it wishes to remain a good nation.
The focus of the article is very different, focusing on technology rather than tactics, but the end conclusion is the same:

If it can happen over there, it can happen here.

And further; I'd say that any country that can reasonably justify the targeted annihilation of an organic idealogical political movement, at will, outside of these guidlines of law or active combat, within its enterpretation of propriety, legality, and morality, will be incapable of supporting any organic political movement of its own.

A good nation will always require the ability to adapt beyond its established systemic doctrines in order to cope with its generational and situational challenges, past examples, of course, ranging from secession to the civil rights movement. The key phrase to consider here is proportionality. While any system, of any sort, will always, naturally, suppress any challenges or adaptations to it structure, an unjust system will act ill proportionally to any challenges, oversuppressing the direct challenges, without alleviating the underlying situational or generational changes that were precursive of those direct challenges, in effect creating a powderkeg that will, at some further point explode in some other, much more violent way, instead of resisting proportionaly and assimilating those changes neccisary to establish ballance.

According to the Wall Street Journal, President Obama is currently reviewing a potential escalation of exactly the type of "Targeted Killing" we are talking about here, in the tribal lands of pakistan, with concerns that it will further destablize the already tumultuous pakistani government, and justly so, as years of US puppetry in the region have left it with little trust in its own non representative state, which is now divided upon invisible lines into two countries within one land. Attacking the rural of the two will only create more outrage against the official government and create further challenges to its authority, or even its desirability. Most of these missions will be flown from the pilots complex that was built in the center green of CIA headquarters, again, the legality of which is not a position that even the bold and hawkish article presented here supports, but seems unchalleneged by the White House.

As this month was the deadliest month in Iraq in over a year, you would think this sort of pressure = escalation might be better understood, but this article clearly shows that at least some of the people involved, are absolutely unconcerned, and would seek to drive us right to the edge of a terrible and tumultuous robot war against any and all dissenting voices, no matter the price to our liberty or freedoms.

Compare this to the much more logical warnings against secret wartime assassination and covert war outside the legal protections of war in J. Kinsella's Rise of the Shadow Warriors.

And then, consider if you have ever belonged to, listened to, or supported in any way, a grassroots, or non state sanctioned, movement, that sought to challenge or influence the existing political will?

Tempus Fugit

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Some Semblence of Privacy (in Browsing.)

In a more technical than political vein, I'd like to document how i have created a semi private browsing experience i can take with me, use from nearly anywhere, and then have little fear of finding my name on some new-fangled Homegrown Terrorist list, or some other governmental nonsense, for something google pre-cached, or that came up in a pop up window. This also has the very much wanted side effect of blocking most ads, and seems all around like a handy thing to have.

This solution uses Google Chrome, the newest browser on the scene, but you can in fact use any browser that you can run as a standalone, ie; without having installed directly on the computer.

Before we get started, go ahead and visit and make a note of what it shows as your ip.

I started with an ordinary USB Thumb Drive, which these days you can pick up for nearly nothing at any electronics store. 

I then reassigned the drive letter, so that no matter what computer we end up plugging our drive into, that letter will not be in use, and our later references to it can remain static. If you want to skip this, it doesn't effect the functionality at all.

Reassigning the drive letter:
This is done (at least in XP) by 
1)going to Start>Settings>Control Panel>Administrative Tools>Computer Management.
2)Then double click on Disc Management under the Storage heading in the Left Pane. 
3)Locate the USB Drive 
4)Rightclick on it and select 'Change Drive Letter and Path' This will allow you to set the drive letter to something specific, Y: in this example.

Install Chrome Portable:
Opening the drive, I installed Chrome Portable, which you can download from HERE. You can download the initial file to anywhere, it doesn't extract anything until you run it. When prompted, ask it to extract all files to root of your Y: drive (again, if that's the drive letter you chose) This will extract all your needed files into a folder named "Y:/Chrome-Portable-blah-blah-blahXXX" Go ahead and rename this folder to just "Chrome", for ease in remembering later.

Running Chrome:
Thats all you need to go ahead and start using the internet's newest and most formidable browser, with its own built in 'Incognito Mode' (just right click on any link and ask it to "Open in Incognito Window" and it will then not keep any privacy info like cookies or history entries when that window closes) from any windows pc with a usb port, just by going into your "Chrome" folder and running ChromeLoader.exe

But we want to go a step further and anonymize it. There are many software solutions out there but i went ahead and chose Privoxy (which blocks certain types of content, including ads, and if properly configured, tracking scripts embedded into some webpages) in combination with Tor (which makes it very difficult to tell exactly where a particular electronic packet of data came from, or is going, let alone, who is responsible for originating it.)  These two, excellent pieces of software which you can obtain, and learn much about at do us quite nicely, in our quest for some semblance of privacy, on the internet.

Since both of these are designed really to run on only one machine after they are installed, we are going to cheat a little to get it to run smoothly hand in hand with our thumbdrive portable version of Chrome. That is where PortableTor comes in, fantastically.

The application, which will fit nicely on our thumbdrive, is a tweaked bundle of the TorVidalia package and the proxy-server Privoxy. Once you extract PortableTor and fire it up, it automatically launches the two apps and connects to the Tor network. From there out all you have to do is make sure that your web browser is configured to use a proxy (we will get to that in a bit) and all your traffic will be sent on a privacy-producing trip through the many layers of the Tor network. You can download it here or by navigating through the PortableTor Homepage to make sure you have the most recent version.

The file you download is just a self extracting archive, so just extract its contents onto the thumbdrive. It extracts its own folder, so the root of the drive is fine. 

If you like, just go into that folder, "PortableTor" and run PortableTor.exe, it should pop up with a window that shows itself connecting to the Tor network, and finally, that it successfully connected. Pretty easy, right?

Well, not so fast, as by default, Chrome will still just connect directly to Internet content, and give us all away, instead of connecting to the Tor Network and anonymizing us. We need to configure Chrome to use the proxy we have just set up and started.

Configure Chrome to Use a Proxy*:
1) open the Chrome browser from Y:/Chrome/ChromeLoader.exe
2) Click on the Wrench icon in Chrome in the upper right corner
3) Choose "options"
4) Open the tab titled "Under the Hood"
3.) Underneath the Network title, select "Change proxy settings"
4.) A windows box pops up, click the box that says "LAN settings" 
5.) Check off “Proxy settings” or "Use a proxy server for your lan" depending on if you are running XP or Vista and in the address setting add "" and in the port "8118" (without the quotes.
6.) If you have the option, you can also check off “Bypass proxy for local settings”
7.) Click “Ok”, close chrome and restart it.

Now that is the slightly disappointing part, as you may not be able to do this on every computer, depending on permissions, and it has to be done on every computer you want to comandere anonymously, be it the local library, work, or any number of other public accesses that one would use for completely secure or sensitive browsing. 

Fortunately, we only have to do it once for a personal computer, as theres no harm in using a proxy (Privoxy) all the time, even if we dont want to use our anonymizer (Tor.) Why wouldnt we want to use our anonymizer, you ask? well, secure practices are never without their downsides, and in this case, its speed. While the Tor network isnt tortoise slow, you will probably notice the difference, and as it relies entirely on private volunteer servers, we really cant complain. 

Besides, as my friend Vistonie says, you have to slow down, if you want to be sneaky.

With that done, you can now test your new found security by visiting either one of these two sites: and
  the first one should display something other than your actual IP, and the second should congratulate you on using Tor. 

Now you can take your drive anywhere, and browse securely:
1)Plug drive into USB
2)Open the drive in My Computer
3)Go to the TorPortable folder and run TorPortable.exe
4)Go to the Chrome folder and run ChromeLoader.exe
5)Follow the proxy configuration above (you may want to keep it in a text file on the drive)

Welcome to the privacy elite of the internet.

If it didnt work, go back to the proxy configuration in Chrome, and make sure you configured it properly, or read any error messages you find.

Tor has alot of options, which are well covered on the Tor page, but works pretty well right out of the box. I will mention one option, that is of some interest, is the setting up of your own Tor relay, not only is plain nice to give back to the people who are helping you, its a good practice, as a particular packet of information, if ever traced back to your computer, network traffic will show little to no forensic evidence that it was requested by your computer. Plausible Deniability is the word of the day.

The main Tor window, after showing a successful connection, can be closed, which doesn't really close it, but instead sends it to the system tray, in the form of a small green onion icon. right next to it is a blue P icon, that is Privoxy.

If this is your first introduction to Tor, here are a couple links with a decent overview: how to browse the internet anonymously with Tor or this guide to anonymous web browsing for a great overview of how Tor protects your privacy.

There are also a lot of individual settings you can look at, and customize at will. Browse away anonymously anywhere you like, any computer running windows that you have access to.

When you are done, you will need to remove the proxy settings you added, essentially a reversal of what you did earlier.
1) Chrome should already be open, if not open it as before.
2) Click on the Wrench icon in Chrome in the upper right corner
3) Choose "options"
4) Open the tab titled "Under the Hood"
5) Underneath the Network title, select "Change proxy settings"
6) A windows box pops up, click the box that says "LAN settings" 
7) uncheck  “Proxy settings” or "Use a proxy server for your lan" depending on if you are running XP or Vista.
8) Exit Chrome
9) Rightclick on the Green Onion in the systray and select "Exit"
10)Rightclick on the Blue P in the systray and select "Exit"
11) Remove your thumbdrive, and make a stealthy exit, knowing you have just pulled one over on big brother...

Remember, we only have rights as long as we exercise them, and we must, frequently, if we wish to keep them.

Ill add an update when i can make this a little faster.

Nordyke and The Nunchukas

I stated in my discussion of the 9th circuit's Nordyke ruling, the incorporation language held there may be extended to other states of the plaintiff files an appeal with the Supreme Court of the United States, and if the court decided to hear it, but it appears that we may not have to wait that long.

Somewhat surprisingly, the case now most likely to reach the Court first on that issue will not be about guns, but about “chuka sticks.”  Still, those are treated, at least by New York state, as a personal weapon, and the legislature there has banned even their possession in the home.  Formally named a “nunchaku,” a chuka is two pieces of rigid material joined by a thong or rope.  The legislature found they could be used to injure — or even kill — someone by striking them or choking them with one of the sticks while holding the other.  But martial artists also use them in training exercises.

A Port Washington, N.Y., lawyer, James M. Maloney, was arrested for having a chuka stick in his home nearly nine years ago. His case has become a significant test of whether he had a Second Amendment right to have that weapon for personal use. 

Maloney’s petition, his lawyer wrote, will argue “that the individual right conferred by the Second Amendment should be held incorporated against the states,” through the Fourteenth Amendment.  The Second Circuit, in a decision Jan. 28 (Circuit docket 07-581), dismissed Maloney’s challenge to the New York law.

That conclusion, however, conflicts directly with the Ninth Circuit Court’s decision last Monday in Nordyke, et al., v. King, et al. (Circuit docket 07-15763).   That is the sort of conflict that can lead the Supreme Court to step in to resolve the dispute. If the lawyers in the Nordyke case pursue an early appeal to the Court (a decision not yet made), both cases could be up for consideration together by the Justices.


The Maloney case on “chukas” — and perhaps the Nordyke case on guns, as well — could be ready for the Justices’ action early in the new Term starting in October.

This is particularily interesting, as not only did i bring up Nunchukas in my original discussion of Heller, but because i happen to know that in Arizona, which is in the 9th circuit, there is an outright ban on these particular weapons of ninja self defense. 

So, AZ, do we move now for the restoration of rights involved here, as the 9th circuits holding of incorporation in this district already primes the ground for the dismissal of that unjust law rooted in racist anti-turtle history, do we wait to see if a Nordyke appeal tosses out the incorporation talk or reinforces it,  or if the supreme court hears Maloney and makes it abundantly clear that not only do such radical awesome tiny pieces of wood connected with a little chain not only qualify as "arms" but that the second amendment is in fact held to be incorporated against the states and their status, in all cases, should be legal? 

What to do?

Untill y'all figure it out, ill be at the dojo, getting ready to take on the Foot Clan in the open again, its been rough having to hide my  quest all these years...

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Confronting The Cost of Addiction

In the comments section of The Smallest Minority, on this link to a post written at WRSA, about Americas destructive and clinical addiction to Big Government, some Pro-LeviathanStatist (but Anti-Obama, of course, ~eyeroll) by the name of Bilgeman, took issue with the idea that we even need to, or would find it desirable to, recover from that addiction, stating, at the end of a fairly long supposed justification: 

"We can survive quite nicely with a Federal prison system, Food and Drug safety regulations and enforcement, (if they'd the regs they have), a strong military and naval establishment, and border enforcement."

To which i replied, and will repost here:

And we could not just survive, but excel, without the unjust burden of supporting them.

We run the federal prison system (which didnt exist until about 1900) like a business, a business that wants to, and does expand daily. Incarceration has become a growth industry, and today honest americans are forced to support the largest prison population in the world, at immense cost, because there is money to be be allocated there, instead left for the building a more civil or free society.

the FDA is the reason most of the people i know travel out of their home country to buy the medicine they need to ensure their health, when the other countries have similar regulations, but the drugs are cheaper, because their parasitic regulator cartels haven't yet grown as fat, and without such massive parasitism and protectionism, the general cost of health care would be a fraction of what it is today, as evidenced by the market of "medical tourism", a sad state of affairs if ever ive seen one.

As to the notion of Federal Armies providing for our national security, that is nothing but the abdication of personal responsibility, and i think the following quote should be familiar to everyone. 
"There are instruments so dangerous to the rights of the nation and which place them so totally at the mercy of their governors that those governors, whether legislative or executive, should be restrained from keeping such instruments on foot but in well-defined cases. Such an instrument is a standing army." --Thomas Jefferson to David Humphreys, 1789.
Im not sure exactly what you mean by border security, (movement of people, or goods) but both of the land borders of the US were basically completely open until 1929, and there was essentially no problem with illegal immigration in this country until 1965 saw the passage of The Immigration and Naturalization Act, which set quotas for immigration arbitrarily, drastically undercutting the demand for migrant, non permanent, workers, while at the same time tremendously changing the ethnic and political makeup of the United States by doubling the annual immigration rate. Many older folks who lived in the southwest, near the border, remembered working with Mexicans who would actually drive home to Mexico at night, and to work in the US, something that became practically unheard of as the regulatory chokehold set in on free trade and market demand.*

Forgive me if i not only fundamentally disagree with your assertion, but don't beleive our country's history, traditions, or the evidence support those assertions in any way.

There is not only very little the government does so well that i think they should do more of it, there are even fewer things i think it does so well as come anywhere close to justifying the cost of paying it to do so.

*Not to mention the real cause of the increase in demand for cheap labor, which exceeds those arbitrary quotas, which can be directly linked to the inflationary monetary policy of the fed.

I guess Bilgeman's response boils down to "My addiction isn't that bad, besides, it helps me deal with my problems", a classic case, if ever I've seen one, the only difference is that he applies it to some theory of "Society at Large" If nothing else, go read the Original Post by Pete, which one commenter stated made him realize "I am only a recovering socialist, not yet the Libertarian that I strive to be!"

Its a long road to recovery.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Curing Corruption in Government

requires identifying the cause of that corruption

Here, in the following video, the Cato Institute's Dan Mitchell does a fairly good job of doing so.

Unfortunately I think the introduction of a flat tax (which usually is proposed as a neutral revenue gain system) would do little to effect any of the wanton over-expansion of federal influence, with the exception of simplifying the convoluted tax code, and is a bit like putting a bandaid on a vesuvian zit, when in fact it must be popped like the balloon at the end of the video. It should be pretty clear, though, that federal expansion must be not only curbed, but reversed, if we want to return to anything resembling representative government. 

Revenue-neutral tax reform, while palatable, is no solution, unfortunately, to a government that is spending us, and our progeny, into the poorhouses of tomorrow, and seems too stupid to realize it.

Taxation is theft, doubly so when the spoils go only to fools and leeches.


You Can't Teach Stupid...

... It looks like you have to elect it.

From AP:

The Senate has agreed to spend $5 million to investigate the cause of the economic crisis as it moves toward passing a $245 million bill that would substantially increase the number of FBI agents and prosecutors working mortgage fraud.
Keeping in mind that the FBI has long had a "white collar crime" division, but that many of the agents involved there were reassigned to fight the War on Indiviualism (the misnamed War on Terror) but instead of reasigning them back to their original, and probably much more effective, less invasive, directive, we are going to replace them, at great taxpayer expense, to further expand federal policing powers. So, in the end, the FBI can have its tanks and eat it too. But for a second lets go beyond that nonsensical expansion of tax-fueled MIBery in the midst of an unprecidented recession, and go back and read that AP headline again. 

"Senate wants $5M to study financial crisis"

The mind reels.

Spending money to find out why you are broke. Seriously? An eleven year old couldn't be talked into that. "Hey kid, don't you wish you had enough money to buy that game you want? Well, I'll tell you what, why don't you give me what money you do have, and I'll put together a research group to find out why you don't have enough." Give me a break. Its stupidity like this, that makes me think I've already have the problem figured out, and a quick scan of some other recent AP headlines seems to bear out my hypothesis.

And those are all from the last week or so. You got that? Demand for production has dropped, so we need to spend more money to make stuf no one wants, money that, by the way, we will get from taxing the people who still do make stuf that people did want, at least until it became so taxed no one could afford it, and mortgages aren't worth the paper they are written on, so we need to buy some, and the fuel tax revenue used to expand and improve the highway system has dropped because no one is driving on them, so we need to increase the burden elsewhere so we can have the most impressive whiz bang empty highways in the world. and we spent too much on weapons we never needed, so in order to have less of them, we have to create a new fund to pay to get rid of them (garage sales wont work i guess) and the real reason this whole economy is in the shitter is the brown grass in front of the statue of that great federal expansionist Abraham "lets kill 600,000 Americans to preserve expand the tax base" Lincoln.

So, I think I've found the problem. Its what happens when you mix Taxation and Regulation with Stupidity. We live in a country where there has never been a successful "Temporary Government Program", where everything from cheese to housing to charity to childrens toys to balloons is subject to the increased cost of government regulation, inspection and taxation.

If i have to make it any clearer, maybe an illustration or two will help.

No? How about this one:

Starting to get the picture?

Now explain to me how this is sustainable when not only does the government not produce jobs with all this wanton spending, its own sole source of income is the coerced tribute paid by those members of society that do have jobs, a number that, by the way, is rapidly shrinking, and by any historical account will continue to shrink for some time, well after all these checks are written out in their names. And so, i guess they will just have to increase those taxes again, to protect all these venerable federal programs, penalizing whatever sector or individuals are still able to make ends meet... And the cycle continues, to what end? This is just the tip of the iceburg.

Yeah, thats what I thought. At least one person in all this government-sponsored-mess (GSM) figured out who to blame. 

So, now that I have answered the 5 million dollar question, Ill just have to sit and wait for my check to show up, which is good, because today, I became one of those countless unemployed in America. I wont be looking for federal handouts of taxpayer money, but i also wont be paying much of a tribute, for a while.

Ill be looking for a job. I hope these people will do the same, very soon, or at the least, consider David Kellerman's solution. 

Faber est suae quisque fortunae

Friday, April 24, 2009

Nudged into the Herd.

Mike V. thinks that we are being led by the noses.

I might agree. Go read what he has to say.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Rights-Shmights, and Unwarranted Fights

The Day After the Aniversary

It seems that over 200 years later, Poor General Gage has been vindicated by the 9th circuit court. It turns out that our "Fundamental Natural Rights" are, in fact, subject to the whims of ruling governments and their minions, and that, this whole event was just a simple misunderstanding.

It turns out, that when Colonists resisted the call to disperse and lay down their arms, at Concord and Lexington, as they felt they had a fair and natural right to self defense, and to in fact defend themselves, they were grossly mistaken.

No, not because they weren't allowed to assert that natural and god given right, but instead, because of where they tried to assert it.

You see, our poor misguided colonial heros, when confronted by a confiscatory and aggressive imperial army, assembled on the Town Green, a central square used by the community for events, gatherings, festivals, and faires... In fact, Public Government Property.

Uh oh. Well, now, we learn from the 9th circuit court of Appeals, thats a big no no.

The decision that was handed down of course, has little to do with the troubles with the redcoats, but does have a whole lot to do with natural rights, the abrogation of the rights by uppity "officials" in a position of power, and the nature of Public Government Property, and when it comes down to it, i'd say the parallels are noticable.

The case in question, is Nordyke v. King. On April 20, 2009 The Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, in deciding that case, held that the Second Amendment was in fact incorporated.

The defendants in this case claimed that the Alemeda County's decision to ban firearms from county property (and therefor from the county fairgrounds, and therefor outlawing the county fairground's hosting of the local gunshow from which they obtain their lively-hood) was an abrogation of their rights as enumerated by the second amendment of the United States Constitution.

This is stupendously noteworthy, as, previous to last years Heller ruling, in the eyes of the court system, even exactly what right was protected by the second amendment, the right to keep and bear arms, was in question, and no court has ever held the second amendment to be incorporated, or binding to the laws of each state.

As strange as it may seem, the Bill of Rights, as the pinnacle of human rights protection and legal development and a beacon for freedom around the world, in fact, like most of the constitution, was never intended for limiting anything other than Federal Powers, and until the introduction of the 14th amendment, none of these rights were protected from usurpation by State Powers (an equally insidious bunch at times.) After the adoption of the 14th Amendment, that, however, fundimentally changed, but of course, it would take a long time to sort out exactly how it had changed. The Supreme Court, instead of just applying the Bill of Rights en mass, decided to incorporate them on a case by case, right by right basis. It was decided the federal courts should only apply those sections of the Bill of Rights to the states whose abridgment or abrogation would "shock the conscience," This was a slow process, but eventually, every right in the Bill of Rights was in fact incorporated, with five exceptions that remain unincorporated by the Supreme Court as it interprets the 14th amendment.
Amendment II
Right to keep and bear arms

Freedom from quartering of soldiers

Amendment V
Right to
indictment by a grand jury

Amendment VII's
Right to jury trial
in civil cases

Amendment VIII
Protections against "excessive"
bail and "excessive" fines
(in a very complicated way, as this is still
protected in all 50 state constitutions)

As i wrote in my initial sumary of the Heller ruling, last year:

As D.C. is a federal district, nothing in this case specifically applies to state laws, like Illinois which may forbid or control the ability to bear arms. Luckily more than a dozen states (Mine included) specifically, and clearly affirm a right for the individual to bear arms in defense of self or state. Does yours? The Court did not explicitly incorporate the Second Amendment against the states, but it did cite several state cases in its decision supporting the idea that the second amendment protects an individual right, as well as stating, as i mentioned above, that the right does not originate in the second amendment. This leads many to speculate that the Court would be open to incorporation in a future case where a state law is challenged.

Well, this is that law, and this is that case, and the Ninth Circut Court of Appeals has in fact held that the second amendment is incorporated to the states, as a binding ruling. This of course, not being SCOTUS, is only binding to courts and states in the 9th Circuit, which includes, Montana, Idaho, Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada, and Arizona.

In the courts ruling, which you can read here, if you want, it very clearly states that the Second Amendment is incorporated, and that its protections are extended to the citizens of the seperate states. This ruling was made in direct influence of the Heller ruling, even overruling its own pre-heller ruling in Hickman, which was a case it heard on California's discriminatory and often abused "may-issue" concealed carry laws (As I predicted; opening the path for appeal in those cases.)

So, victory! One more section of the bill of rights, and its legal defense of Natural Fundimental Rights, now applies to people who live in at least some of the western states, right?

Well, not exactly, as thats not where the ruling ended.

The court says that since Heller realy didnt provide an acid test for what qualifies as infringement of the second amendment, they sorta just had to feel it out. The way they see it, the infringement in Heller, which was D.C.'s outright gun ban, would not have withstood any level of scrutiny, as it was an out and out ban on a fundimental natural right, and really, no one can get behind that. (Brady Bunchers and other American'ts Need Not Apply) But then, it distinguished the infringement here from the one in Heller. The ordinance here, it says, "does not directly impede the efficacy of self-defense or limit self defense in the home. Rather, it regulates gun possession in public places that are County property."

Because the infringement is less, the standard of review might not be a stringent. "not every law which makes a right more difficult to exercise is, ipso facto, an infringement of that right."

"If we apply these principles here, we conclude that although the Second Amendment, applied through the Due Process Clause, protects a right to keep and bear arms for individual self-defense, it does not contain an entitlement to bring guns onto government property."

So the court finds, although yes, The Second Amendment can be incorporated against the state and protect your right to have guns in your home for self-defense, that doesn't mean you also have the right to take a gun to a county-owned fairground.

"the Ordinance does not meaningfully impede the ability of individuals to defend themselves in their homes with usable firearms, the core of the right as Heller analyzed it. The Ordinance falls on the lawful side of the division, familiar from other areas of substantive due process doctrine, between unconstitutional interference with individual rights and permissible government nonfacilitation of their exercise."

The fairground, you see, is, fundamentally, a central square used by the community for events, gatherings, festivals, and faires. Public Government Property (sound familiar?) And according to the esteemed opinion of the 9th Circuit Court, that is an area where Fundamental Natural Rights are not necessary, and do not deserve either respect, or protection under the law.

Alot of people are citing the Incorporation language in this ruling as a victory for the realization of full civil rights for gun owners, but in the end, the fact is, the defendants lost their appeal, and are still denied both their Second Amendment Right, (now, only in certain officially defined areas, and in certain "reasonable" ways) and their lively-hood.

If you would like to know more about the 14th Amendment, and Incorporation of the Bill of rights, this very thorough article may be of use to you.

I expect, if this case does proceed to the Supreme Court, (the defendants can appeal further) and that court finds the same way, that the official apology to the late General Gage, and the eventual reconciliation of the colonies to its rightful ruling crown, will be forthcoming, and as swiftly as possible. This terrible misunderstanding about us measly Americans having Natural Unalienable rights has caused so much difficulty and division over these many years, but i am confident the wounds can be healed, now that we know the truth, and I give my thanks to the 9th for being so kind as to have cleared it up.

As Commenter Bodicea at Arms and the Law made the point, in a more thorough illustration than i think i could muster, laws passed under the guise of "reasonable regulation" that is here used to justify the denial of a basic right, is nothing more than the ghost of a soon to be dead right. His comment, from this page, was as follows:

In every case, whatever gun restriction is being challenged will be upheld as "reasonable."

Soon enough there will be no lawful (that is "reasonably restricted") way to have a gun unless you inherit it from someone who bought it before 1968. That's assuming you can even get a personal-firearms-possession-license-- the license fee will be 10% of your Form 1040 Line 38 Adjusted Gross Income, and your license may be refused or revoked anytime without notice on the "reasonable" whim of any sheriff, police chief, or deputy State attorney. You'll have to store your gun at all times, other than your reasonably-allowed (single) annual trip to the (only) State-licensed shooting range, disassembled in a government approved floor safe (which you must remove if you ever sell or vacate your home), subject to warrantless surprise inspections four times yearly (inspection fee $350 per inspection). Also you will have to pay a $200 fee to re-register each gun annually (with confiscation and possible prosecution for unlicensed possession the punishment for late renewal).

Your credit card, supermarket affinity card, and bank records will be provided to the Brady Campaign and if you ever purchase beer, liquor, cigarettes, red meat, Kraft cheese, or Hostess Twinkies (or attend a boxing match) the Brady bunch will report you to the State Attorney's office which will revoke your personal firearms possession license, then immediately indict you for unlawful possession.

Reasonable restrictions on ammunition will limit you to buying or reloading one box of 50 or fewer cartridges in any 13-month period. Of course you'll have to order cartridges or components 3 months in advance since both bullets and cases must be individually engraved with your Social Security Number plus a unique serial number and the propellant must contain 1% taggants marked with your personal firearms possession license number. Anyway, you won't need much ammo because you will be reasonably restricted to firing it at the state's (only) licensed shooting range, where range staff must count and log by serial number all of the ammo in your bag on the way in, and again on the way out, so the State has a reasonable record of which cartridges you fired lawfully.

During warrantless surprise inspections of your licensed gun safe you will have to produce all unfired cartridges which State records indicate you ought to possess. If any are missing you will be presumed (rebuttably, of course) to have fired them unlawfully. You will be tried on one count for each missing component (case, bullet, propellant charge, primer) of a cartridge, for each day it was missing (that is, since it was last logged by personnel at the (only) State-licensed shooting range, unless you confess to unlawfully firing it or leaving it where a child could take it on a specific date prior to the date the inspectors discovered you could not produce it) but the maximum penalty for each count will be just 360 days, so you will not be entitled to a jury trial-- none of the "missing ammo" charges against you will be "felonies," even though the penalty upon conviction on all counts will be decades in prison.

There is no end to the parade of "reasonable" restrictions antigun fanatics will dream up and write into law. As soon as an appeals court lets any restriction pass as "reasonable" the underlying Constitutional right has been thrown down the cloaca maxima.

If none of this seems terribly important to you, I would venture that you are probably not a gun owner, and while a certain level of disinterest is understandable, I, of course, think that all Civil Rights, the Natural Fundamental sort especially, are equally as important, and should be evenly applied, protected and honoured, for all people, everywhere. PERIOD. If you will humor me, imagine that the right that is being regulated to increasing nonexistence is something like Free Speach, or the Right to Assemble, or to practice the religion of your choosing, and you might begin to see why i find this all very troubling.

After all, it was the doctrine of "permissible government nonfacilitation of the exercise of a right." which led us to these:

Havent seen one? Look for them, they are often behind chain link fences.

I think they have one at your local county fairgrounds...

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Aniversary pt. 2

By the rude bridge that arched the flood,
Their flag to April's breeze unfurled;
Here once the embattled farmers stood;
And fired the shot heard round the world.

The foe long since in silence slept;
Alike the conqueror silent sleeps,
And Time the ruined bridge has swept
Down the dark stream that seaward creeps.

On this green bank, by this soft stream,
We set to-day a votive stone,
That memory may their deeds redeem,
When, like our sires, our sons are gone.

O Thou who made those heroes dare
To die, and leave their children free, --
Bid Time and Nature gently spare
The shaft we raised to them and Thee.

RW Emmerson

April 19th is an important day in american history, arguably the most American day of all of them. Commonly called Patriot's Day, all but now forgotten, and only an official holiday in Mass and Maine. I just thought id give a reminder to you of those who have gone before you, in this great country, that you might remember them, and learn from them.

I think John Parker, leader and Captain of the Lexington Irregular Militia can do a better job than I of explaining what happened the morning and afternoon of that April 19, 1775, so ill let him speak first, before i try and explain what those happenings meant, and mean, to you.

"I, John Parker, of lawful Age, and Commander of the Militia in Lexington, do testify and declare, that on the 19th Instant in the Morning, about one of the Clock, being informed that there were a Number of Regular Officers, riding up and down the Road, stopping and insulting People as they passed the Road; and also was informed that a Number of Regular Troops were on their March from Boston in order to take the Province Stores at Concord, ordered our Militia to meet on the Common in said Lexington to consult what to do, and concluded not to be discovered, nor meddle or make with said Regular Troops (if they should approach) unless they should insult or molest us; and, upon their sudden Approach, I immediately ordered our Militia to disperse, and not to fire:—Immediately said Troops made their appearance and rushed furiously, fired upon, and killed eight of our Party without receiving any Provocation therefor from us."

So, there you have it, thats the gist of it. But what were soldiers doing in Lexington, and why were they worried about irregular militiamen, plainclothes farmers who carried rifles once or twice a week, drilling in the town squares and in fallow fields?

Well, you see, by the mid-1700s the New England colonies had already begun a long legacy of self reliance and self government. Due to the great distance to the old country and its own government, they had been accustomed for generations to managing their own affairs, with little oversight from England. Because England had incurred a great deal of debt from its frequent wars with France, the British Parliament decided in the 1760s and early 1770s, to try to raise some revenue by taxing the colonies directly, something it had not done before. These taxes were not terribly burdensome, but a great many people were disturbed by the principle: the colonies had always governed and taxed themselves, and they resisted the idea of having to contribute to what they saw as an "external" government. When ordered by the Royal Governor not to hold a town meeting, the Boston representatives held it anyway. A local crowd harassing a group of young British soldiers was fired upon in what came to be called the Boston Massacre. For several years these tensions built and built, until they came to a head in the first few months of 1775.

Parliament had ordered the Port of Boston closed, a heavy economic burden for a major trading cente, and had ordered the towns to cease holding local meetings. Massachusetts was effectively put under military rule, but since there was only one major garrison, in the city of Boston itself, most of the people in the countryside ignored the orders and continued to act as they always had. They did, however, begin to collect arms and ammunition, and to reactivate their militia system that had fallen into disuse since the end of the French and Indian War a decade earlier.

The collecting of muskets, gunpowder, cannon, and other arms for use of the town militia was a violation of the orders of the military governor, General Thomas Gage. Gage was aware that these stores were being collected, and his garrison had carried out several missions to confiscate them in the months prior to April 1775. On one occasion, troops had successfully marched from Boston and captured a large supply of colonial gunpowder that was being stored in the nearby town of Somerville. This maneuver enraged the local population, as much because they had been caught off guard as because they had lost their powder. Determined never to let that happen again, the towns refined their elaborate system of alarm riders who were responsible for spreading word of troop movements throughout the countryside. The system was mobilized in February when another military force was sent by ship to the coastal town of Salem to seize a store of powder and arms. Advance warning to the local population allowed them to raise an intervening drawbridge and move the munitions away, and the troops arrived late, and left empty handed.

As the spring came, General Gage received orders from Parliment instructing him to take decisive action to put down the rebellious town governments and to capture those inciting the rebellion. In response to these orders, Gage decided to make another move into the countryside to capture the largest colonial munitions supply, the one at Concord in Middlesex County, about eighteen miles west of Boston. The plan was to move quickly soon after dark with complete secrecy, be at Concord by dawn to seize the supplies, and then return to the garrison in Boston by midday before the colonists could even spread word of what had happened. But the colonists were watching too carefully, and in the small space of Boston secrecy turned out to be impossible.

With advance warning of the government raid, the systems put in place after the Somerville raid sprung into action, from flags to rowboats to gunfire signals through the woods, by the time soldiers reached lexington, no sign of the majority of the muskets, balls and powder they were sent to seize was found. The town's civilian militia, numbering 38, expecting the british before dawn had gathered on the square, in formation, in the middle of the night. When the government soldiers arrived, shortly after dawn they drew a battle line across the green from them and they ordered the militia members to lay down arms and disperse. Some began to disperse at once, being outnumbered by nearly 130 men, but some hesitated, and none layed down their arms, simply walking off towards the town halls. The situation of course was very tense, and there was much yelling to disperse, lay down arms at once... etc, When, suddenly, without warning, and of unknown origin, a shot rang out. Whatever its origin, that first shot started the soldiers firing, without orders, into the dispersing militia. They were immediately ordered to cease fire, but it was too late. When the smoke cleared from those very few minutes of confusion, eight Lexington militiamen had been killed and nine wounded, some bleeding on the steps to their homes facing the green.

The soldiers, who werent quite sure what they were doing at this point, or what their main objective now was, having never been briefed before marching, grew increasingly nervous as they were now told they had to march another several miles to concord, reaching concord about 7am, even as millitia members and citizens gathered on the other side of the bridge having heard, no doubt, that something was afoot at lexington. Again the government soldiers found nothing of the majority of the muskets, balls and powder they were sent to seize. The larger and mostly immobile artillery pieces they were particulary eager to sieze at concord, and expected to find in the usual place, on or near the central green, had been whisked into predug holes in nearby fields and plowed over. As the numbers of those gathering near the bridge broke 100 armed men and women, the safety in numbers the military men had previously held began quickly to errode, as tensions built.

In the center of the town the government search parties set fire to some smaller gun stores they found, and the militiamen assembling near the North Bridge saw the plume of smoke and believed the troops were beginning to burn the town. They marched forward to the bridge positions held by the soldiers, and the troops again opened fire. The Militiamen returned fire, and several more were killed on both sides.

The government soldiers were driven back to the center of the town, and soon the entire force began to march back the way it had come, down the long road to Boston. Even as the regular army fled these citizen soldiers, word of the attack spread through the system of alarms and ready systems now in place. By the hour, more and more militia companies and citizens were arriving from the surrounding countryside, and the troop's retreat turned into a brutal route, a battle three hundred yards wide and eighteen miles long. At every turn of the road a militia company was waiting and fired into the soldier's ranks. The soldiers ordered out by General Gage were fired upon from many houses along the road, and in response their advance parties began burning nearly every building they came to. In the village of Menotomy, between Lexington and Cambridge, the fighting was especially fierce, and the exhausted and terrified British soldiers forced almost every house along the road and killed all the inhabitants.
About eight o'clock on the evening of the nineteenth, the column finally reached the safety of its own lines across the river from Boston. They had been marching for almost twenty-four hours, through the night, the last six hours under heavy fire, They had suffered more than 272 casualties, including sixty-five killed. The fighting civilians had suffered ninety-four casualties, including fifty killed. Twenty-three seperate towns had at least one member of their militia killed or wounded.
No one had called it, and even, perhaps, no one had known it at the time, but the American Revolution had begun. It began in these few new england towns, but soon, it would spread across what would soon be a new nation.

Within two days, 15,000 men from across New England had assembled and surrounded Boston, and the soldiers of the crown were never able to move more than a short distance off that small peninsula again. Three months later, at the request of the Continental Congress in Philadelphia, a Virginian rode north to take command of that citizen army that had laid siege to the city. His name was George Washington, and the 15,000 New England militiamen became the American Army. Eleven months later, the garrison at Boston was evacuated by sea and was never seen in New England again.
In a day where news often took weeks to to travel even a few hundred miles, news of this battle spread at almost supernatural speed. By the evening of the nineteenth—the same day—the news of Lexington had reached New Hampshire to the north and Rhode Island to the south. Within four days it had reached New York City, two hundred miles away. By April 26th the news of Lexington had arrived in Baltimore, Maryland, and Alexandria, Virginia. New Bern, North Carolina, heard the Lexington alarm by May 3rd, carried via ship from Newport, Rhode Island. Wilmington, North Carolina, heard by May 8th, and Charleston, South Carolina, by May 9th, also from the sea. The Shenandoah Valley on what was then the western frontier received the news overland about the same time. And when it reached a far western hunting camp on another part of the frontier, the hunters decided to name their camp "Lexington." That camp today is the city of Lexington, Kentucky.

A forty-year-old Massachusetts lawyer named John Adams, who had been arguing for some time for a political separation from Britain, heard the news on his farm in Braintree that afternoon, and immediately went to see for himself what had happened. He rode that evening along the battle road for many miles, and saw burned out houses, groups of people burying the dead, and refugee families trying to escape farther into the countryside. Adams remembered that day's ride as a turning point in his life; it convinced him that "the Die was cast, the Rubicon crossed." Within a year he would be working with Thomas Jefferson on the Declaration of Independence, and would go on to become the second President of the United States. Thomas Paine in Philadelphia had previously thought of the argument between the colonies and the Home Country as "a kind of law-suit", but after news of the battle reached him, he "rejected the hardened, sullen-tempered Pharaoh of England forever." George Washington received the news at Mount Vernon and wrote to a friend, "…the once-happy and peaceful plains of America are either to be drenched in blood or inhabited by slaves. Sad alternative! But can a virtuous man hesitate in his choice?"

One of the men in Concord on the nineteenth was the town's minister, the Reverend William Emerson. His house that day became a sanctuary for frightened women and children trying to escape the fighting. More than sixty years later his grandson, Ralph Waldo Emerson, would write one of the defining pieces of American literature for a ceremony commemorating the battle at the North Bridge, that poem with which began this history.
"The fight had been the hinge," said the novelist Henry James, many years later, "on which the large revolving future was to turn."

As JAMES M. NICHOLS wrote in his own remembrance of those who fought at Lexington and Concord, in his history of the revolutionary war, in 1886:

It was one of those great days, one of those elemental occasions in the world's affairs, when the people rise, and act for themselves. Some organization and preparation had been made; but, from the nature of the case, with scarce any effect on the events of that dav. It may be doubted whether there was an efficient order given the whole day, to any body of men as large as a regiment. It was the people, in their first capacity, as citizens and as freemen, starting from their beds at midnight, from their firesided, and from their fields, to take their own cause into their own hands.

Such a spectacle is the height of the moral sublime; when the want of everything is fully made up by the spirit of the cause, and the soul within stands in place of discipline, organization, resources. In the prodigious efforts of a veteran army, beneath the dazzling splendour of their array, there is something revolting to the reflective mind. The ranks are filled with the desperate, the mercenary, the depraved; an iron slavery, by the name of subordination, merges the free will of one hundred thousand men in the unqualified despotism of one; the humanity, mercy, and remorse, which scarce ever deserts the individual bosom, are sounds without a meaning to that fearful, ravenous, irrational monster of prey, a mercenary army. It is hard to say who are most to be commiserated, the wretched people on whom it is let loose, or the still more wretched people whose substance has been sucked out to nourish it into strength and fury.

But, in the efforts of the people -- of the people struggling for their rights, moving not in organIzed, disciplined masses, but in their spontaneous action, man for man, and heart for heart, though I like not war nor any of its works, there is something glorious. They can then move forward without orders, act together without combination, and brave the flaming lines of battle without intrenchments to cover, or walls to shield them.

No dissolute camp has worn off from the feelings of the youthful soldier the freshness of that home where his mother and his sisters sit waiting, with tearful eyes and aching hearts, to hear good news from the wars; no long service in the ranks of a conqueror has turned the veteran's heart into marble; their valour springs not from recklessness, from habit, from indifference to the preservation of a life knit by pledges to the life of others. But in the strength and spirit of the cause alone they act, they contend, they bleed. In this, they conquer.

The people always conquer. They must always conquer. Armies may be defeated; kings may be over thrown, and new dynasties imposed by foreign arms on an ignorant and slavish race, that care not in what language the covenant of their subjection runs, nor in whose name the deed of their barter and sale is made out. But the people never invade; and, when they rise against the invader, are never subdued.

If they are driven from the plains, they fly to the mountains. Steep rocks and everlasting hills are their castles; the tangled, pathless thicket, their palisado; and Nature-God, is their ally. Now he overwhelms the hosts of their enemies, beneath his drifting mountains of sand; now he buries them beneath a falling atmosphere of polar snows; he lets loose his tempests on their fleets; he puts a folly into theIr counsels, a madness into the hearts of their leaders; and never gave, and never will give, a full and final triumph over a virtuous, gallant people, resolved to be free.

So, remember, this patriots day, lest these actions, and the lessons they beget, be forgot.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Set Bad Phoenix Cops on Fire*

Aleksandr I. Solzhenitsyn wrote in 1967 that "You can have power over people as long as you don't take everything away from them. But when you've robbed a man of everything, he's no longer in your power."

Solzhenitsyn, of course is the Russian born, Nobel prize winning author who was arrested in 1945 for comments he made, critical of Stalin, in a letter to a friend, and was sent to the Gulags. He claimed the comments originally were "only jokes" but Solzhenitsyn, after his ten year experience of incarceration, was rarely joking in his writing as he became the worlds foremost critic of communist totalitarianism in the world, a feared and greatly respected man who's very words effected soviet policy for decades. A fire was lit in a young Aleksandr when he was arrested on unjust censorship charges, and in the end, that fire burned Aleksandr far less than his conviction burned the state which sought to punish him, and which he eventually outlived.

This is the principle of blowback, which has gained prominence in recent years after a book of the same name was published. The basic idea, both from a personal and intelligence perspective, is that meddling unjustly in other people's affairs, to help your own interests, is gonna come back to bite you on the ass. Not only is it usually quasi-illegal, it is so, because, quite frankly, its a bad idea.

But still, some people haven't learned yet, so id like to ask you to help teach them a very important lesson.

As JD Tuccille writes in his Examiner column here:

Perhaps the best publicity a critic of the powers-that-be can ever get
for his cause is to be the target of over-the-top official retaliation. That
automatically validates what the critic is saying while at the same time
massively expanding the audience for his message. So, in an odd way, Jeff Pataky
owes a "thank you" to the Phoenix Police Department for raiding his home and
hauling away computers and other material related to a
Website and blog he maintains that focus attention on misdeeds involving the Phoenix PD.

Read the first link for the full story, and when you are done, especially if you live in the Valley of the Sun (as I do) spread the word about both the web page and the blog, and why you dont think that criticisms of public officials (especially crooked ones) is justification for deprivation of property, liberty, or any other sort of harassment. The more traffic that can be sent to both the website, and the blog, the more apparent that retaliatory violation of the constitutional rights of those critical of a public official is not just illegal, immoral, reprehensible, and generally wrong, but that its going to directly result in a complete backfire of the intended suppression, and a large updraft of public awareness.

Again, the links to the blog, and the webpage.

I expect to see your posts linking to them shortly.

*I am in no way advocating the the torching of police officers, but rather, supporting the publics interest in promoting and visiting a site that explains why others sometimes do.