Thursday, December 23, 2010

$50 Lesson

The folks down the street came walking by a few days ago with their seven-year-old daughter and stopped to say 'Hi'.

During small talk chat I asked the little girl what she wanted to be when she grows up. She said she wanted to be President some day. Both of her parents, liberal Democrats, were standing there, so I asked her, 'If you were President what would be the first thing you would do? '

She replied, 'I'd give food and houses to all the homeless people.'

Her parents beamed with pride.

'Wow...what a worthy goal.' I told her, 'But you don't have to wait until you're President to do that. You can come over to my house and mow the lawn, pull weeds, and sweep my yard, and I'll pay you $50. Then I'll take you over to the grocery store where the homeless guy hangs out, and you can give him the $50 to use toward food and a new house. '

She thought that over for a few seconds, then she looked me straight in the eye and asked, ' Why doesn't the homeless guy come over and do the work, and you can just pay him the $50? '

I said, 'Welcome to the Libertarian Party.'

Her parents are no longer speaking to me.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

A Canadian View of President Obama - Answered!

This was sent to me by a friend, and I just have to share it with everyone.

Anyone with an active e-mail correspondence periodically gets one of these: a letter forwarded by a friend from a friend from a friend... Often, the ones that come from outside the US are supporting one or another political view of events here in the US, and this one is no different. But sometimes, the forwarded document is so blatantly wrong that it demands a response. This is such a one. I've removed any names or references that could identify anyone in the chain, and then put my own response in italics after each paragraph or section.

Sometimes, it takes an astute outside observer to show people what they are doing to themselves. This was forwarded from a Canadian friend ...
I just received this last night from a dear friend. Why is it that the rest of the world can see what is happening in the US, but people here are so blind? I thought this was well worth sending on to all of you.
With love, XXXX

America - He's your President for Goodness Sake!
By William Thomas
Posted: Friday, October 1st, 2010

There was a time not so long ago when Americans, regardless of their political stripes, rallied round their president. Once elected, the man who won the White House was no longer viewed as a Republican or Democrat, but the President of the United States. The oath of office was taken, the wagons were circled around the country’s borders and it was America versus the rest of the world with the president of all the people at the helm.

Suddenly President Barack Obama, with the potential to become an exceptional president has become the glaring exception to that unwritten, patriotic rule.

How incredible that Mr. Thomas sees Mr. Obama "with the potential to become an exceptional president" - exceptional in what way? In his "preparation?" In his "past experience?" In his writings? In his management skills? In his military background?
Not only that, but exactly how is Mr. Obama "the glaring exception?"

Four days before President Obama’s inauguration, before he officially took charge of the American government, Rush Limbaugh boasted publicly that he hoped the president would fail. Of course, when the president fails the country flounders. Wishing harm upon your country in order to further your own narrow political views is selfish, sinister and a tad treasonous as well.

Clearly Mr. Thomas did not bother to listen to Limbaugh's actual words (readily available on-line in many places) or to Limbaugh's explanation of what he said (which has never changed since that January 16th, 2009 broadcast). Nor is it appropriate to call it "boasting." Limbaugh explained that the President-elect's campaign platform, his political appointments, his actions before inauguration (no other president in the history of the United States has EVER created an organization the size of the "Office of the President-Elect" (much less a seal for a podium with that boastful phrase) before he took office), and Mr. Obama's own writings made it clear that he intended to transform America into a new entity little resembling that America of the past, and for that reason he hoped that he failed. Mr. Williams seems to have bought the line of the likes of Ed Schulz and other far-left, transnational-progressives. As for "when the president fails the country flounders," I have to make two comments. First, the country was already floundering in January 2009, and had been for a year or more. Second, American history has continually demonstrated that the "failure" of a president has always in the past been easily overcome and the Union has continued: whether we are talking the first Harrison, the first Johnson, Grant, Wilson, Harding, Hoover, Nixon, Ford, or even Clinton. Even though Mr. Williams may not agree with Limbaugh's views, he should (and could have) surely recognized that in Limbaugh's own eyes, his political views ARE for the good (not harm) of the country - his "sinister" and "a tad treasonous" is just adding insult to injury.

Subsequently, during his State of the Union address, which is pretty much a pep rally for America, an unknown congressional representative from South Carolina, later identified as Joe Wilson, stopped the show when he called the President of the United States a liar. The president showed great restraint in ignoring this unprecedented insult and carried on with his speech. Speaker Nancy Pelosi was so stunned by the slur, she forgot to jump to her feet while clapping wildly, 30 or 40 times after that.

Sadly, Mr. Thomas understands neither the United States Constitution nor its customs nor the value we place on honesty. The "State of the Union" address is a MANDATORY Constitutional obligation of the President to report to the Congress. It is NOT a "pep rally" and it is NOT the Queen's Speech to Parliament, NOR is the President a monarch by grace of God. Would that more Congressmen had had the guts and honesty to stand up not just at this speech but many others! Of course, Mr. Williams has to insult Rep. Wilson, branding him as "unknown," as if ANY M.C. is "unknown." Of course, the last sentence of this paragraph makes me wonder if Mr. Williams is actually being incredibly sarcastic.

Last spring, President Obama took his wife Michelle to see a play in New York City and republicans attacked him over the cost of security for the excursion. The president can’t take his wife out to dinner and a show without being scrutinized by the political opposition? As history has proven, a president in a theatre without adequate security is a tragically bad idea.
Remember: “Apart from that, Mrs. Lincoln, how did you enjoy the play?”

Once more, Mr. Thomas twists the comments for the sake of making his argument. The attack by the GOP (and others) was not about "security" costs but about the total cost of that little excursion. Abe did not take Mary to the play by having the government hire a train to and from NYC, and the regiment of troops that was used to protect him on the road. And as a result, Mr. Williams misses the entire point (maybe he is so much a Monarchist that he believes that Barack and Michelle need to be treated as if they WERE Elizabeth and Phillip), that Mr. Obama has acted more like Nero or Caligula or Louis XVI than the elected leader of a free and republican nation.

At some point, the treatment of President Obama went from offensive to ugly and then to downright dangerous.

Of course, this may have been more because of how Mr. Obama's treatment of the American people and his political opponents (whom as I recall he calls "enemies") went from disdainful and condescending to arrogant and overbearing and even dictatorial.

The health-care debate, which looked more like extreme fighting in a mud pit than a national dialogue, revealed a very vulgar side of America. President Obama’s face appeared on protest signs white-faced and blood-mouthed in a satanic clown image. In other tasteless portrayals, people who disagreed with his position distorted his face to look like Hitler complete with mustache and swastika.

Again, Mr. Thomas seems to forget the long tradition of American politics and political lampooning - and especially the fact that Mr. Obama's immediate predecessor was treated exactly the same way (of course, the "satanic clown" image was taken from Heath Ledger's protrayal of the Joker in a movie that came out in July 2008 - else portrayal of GWB would have used the Joker imagery far more than they have. Hitler? Actually, I think virtually EVERY American president since FDR has been called Hitler by someone at some time. When your policies and your attitudes bear some resemblance to National Socialism or its tactics or its cult of personality, this should be no surprise..

Odd, that burning the flag makes Americans crazy, but depicting the president as a clown and a maniacal fascist is accepted as part of the new rude America.

Distasteful as the GOP, the Tea Party activists, and many Libertarians doing this is to me, I have to again point out - it is not the FIRST president to be so treated, and if Mr. Thomas thinks we are rude now, he would go into shock if he had seen how Americans behaved during (to name just a few) the election contest of Jackson vs. Adams in 1828, Jackson vs. Clay in 1832, the four-way race in 1860, or the three-way race of Wilson, Taft, and Roosevelt in 1912. But Mr. Jackson apparently thinks that America should follow the Roman system of making our head of state and government into a deified god.

Maligning the image of the leader of the free world is one thing, putting the president’s life in peril is quite another. More than once, men with guns were videotaped at the health-care rallies where the president spoke. Again, history shows that letting men with guns get within range of a president has not served America well in the past.

Oh, please, Mr. Thomas, how foolish can you be? For every man who ever fired or attempted to fire a shot at a president of the United States, there have been literally HUNDREDS of thousands of men and women carrying firearms within range of a serving (or do you prefer "reigning," Mr. Williams) president. Indeed, the presence of peaceful free citizens bearing arms in defense of themselves and others actually probably makes the president safer. Your blue nose is showing, Mr. Williams; remember, Canadians were once free subjects of Her Majesty with a Englishman's traditional (and God-given) right of self-defense by bearing arms, but that was in the past.

And still the “birthers” are out there claiming Barack Obama was not born in the United States, although public documentation proves otherwise. Hawaii is definitely part of the United States, but the Panama Canal Zone where his electoral opponent Senator John McCain was born? Nobody’s sure.

I now see that not only is Mr. Thomas unfamiliar (or willing to ignore) even common basic law (law which we share with Canadian provinces), but he is willing to not just twist but ignore the truth. Whether or not Mr. Obama was born in Hawaii as he claims or not, what is a matter of public record is that HE has taken action, through various means, to prevent the release of this "public documentation" Mr. Williams refers to - while attempting to foist off a variety of other documentation which has been demonstrated to be meaningless. This is entirely Mr. Obama's fault - he could have completely undercut the "birthers" by simply releasing his REAL birth certificate or authorizing the State of Hawaii office to do. (Assuming, of course, that he WAS born where he and his handlers say he was.) As for Senator McCain and the Panama Canal Zone, I cannot believe that Mr. Williams does not know that the PCZ issue WAS raised even before Senator McCain won the nomination and that he DID release a real birth certificate issed by Gorgas Army General Hospital and that the courts have repeatedly determined that the PCZ was as much a part of the United States at McCain's birth as was the Territory of Hawaii, Territory of Alaska, or District of Columbia. [Indeed, MOREso - because the US not only bought the PCZ from Columbia AND from the new Republic of Panama, but they bought every square inch from a private landowner as well. The Congress didn't pay Maryland a dime for what is now the District of Columbia.]

Last month, a 44-year-old woman in Buffalo was quite taken by President Obama when she met him in a chicken wing restaurant called Duff’s. Did she say something about a pleasure and an honour to meet the man or utter encouraging words for the difficult job he is doing? No. Quote: “You’re a hottie with a smokin’ little body.”
Lady, that was the President of the United States you were addressing, not one of the Jonas Brothers! He’s your president for goodness sakes, not the guy driving the Zamboni at “Monster Trucks On Ice.” Maybe next it’ll be, “Take Your President To A Topless Bar Day.”

Well, Mr. Thomas, you really can't blame the entire nation - or even a large section of it - for a woman who is either a flat-out liar or has really, really bad taste. Her inappropriate words remain her responsibility, and perhaps to some degree blame can be laid at the feet of her parents and the popular (check-out stand) media. But she obviously assumed that the president would accept her "compliment" based on his own actions - his "beer summits" and his comments about various people (including comments made on popular cable shows) and the mere fact that he was at a place called "Duff's" in a town like Buffalo. (Not that New Yorkers are exactly polite, but Buffalo has the misfortune of being both in New York AND very, very close to Canada.)

In President Barack Obama, Americans have a charismatic leader with a good and honest heart. Unlike his predecessor, he’s a very intelligent leader. And unlike that president’s predecessor, he’s a highly moral man.

At this point, words fail me. Charismatic Mr. Obama is - he is an accomplished demagogue (at least when he has a teleprompter available). But his actions both before his term began and since that term began lends very strong evidence that his heart is neither good or honest. Volumes have been written about his lies - and not including his "misstatements." His mastery of Chicago politics, and his adherence to the political philosophy of progressivism, are strong arguments that it is a vile slander to call him "good." If a man is judged by his companions, his allies, and his supporters, this characterization is even more at odds with his real character: from ACORN and the SEIU to Raum Emmanual, Jesse Jackson, Wright, Harry Reid, and Nancy Pelosi, he is known by the company he keeps. As for whether he is more intelligent than George W. Bush, well, we don't really know, do we? Bush's scholastic and military records we can see and review; Mr. Obama has made sure that his school and college records are sealed, and of course, he HAS no military records. As for whether he is more "moral" than William Jefferson Clinton - well, I shall leave that to the Lord to decide, but I have my suspicions.

In President Obama, Americans have the real deal, the whole package and a leader that citizens of almost every country around the world look to with great envy. Given the opportunity, Canadians would trade our leader, hell, most of our leaders for Obama in a heartbeat.

Oh please, BE MY GUEST. I've known a few Canadian leaders, and I think I'd even be willing to accept Pierre Elliott Trudeau, much less a McDonald or a Harper. I've certainly not seen (at least not since the election of 2008) the mass appeal of Mr. Obama in the UK (which he has insulted repeatedly), Germany, France, and certainly not Korea, China or Japan. Indonesia does seem to like him, but then, he was one of them for a while; Kenya seems to really take after him - for the same reason, I guess. The fact that Canadians (according to Mr. Thomas - many of my friends in Canada would not agree) would trade for him demonstrates more of the shortcomings of the Canadian electorate (and political leadership) than the merits of Mr. Obama.

What America has in Obama is a head of state with vitality and insight and youth. Think about it, Barack Obama is a young Nelson Mandela. Mandela was the face of change and charity for all of Africa but he was too old to make it happen. The great things Obama might do for America and the world could go on for decades after he’s out of office.

Mandela is such a WONDERFUL role-model, isn't he? (Sarcasm intended.) Yes, Mr. Obama has youth, and he has physical vitality: his political vitality is just a wee bit enervated these days. As to insight, well, as Chicago politicians go, yes, he has insight. As far as REAL insight into anything: government, politics (outside Chicago and Democratic backrooms), the Constitution, economics, freedom, liberty, military affairs, foreign affairs, or how to treat people... I guess I'm from Missouri, Mr. Williams: Show me. As for his continuing "value" for decades after his out of office - well, we've learned from Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton just how painful THAT is; I don't think even many of Mr. Obama's supporters are looking forward to that.

America, you know not what you have.

Oh if that were only the case. But thanks to both his own machine, the Democratic Party, talk shows, the daily news, and bloggers, we know all too well what we have. Like I said, "be my guest." I'm sure that Ottawa will soon be trying to give him away to Bermuda or Jamaica or Kenya or someplace...

The man is being challenged unfairly, characterized with vulgarity and treated with the kind of deep disrespect to which no previous president was subjected. It’s like the day after electing the first black man to be president, thereby electrifying the world with hope and joy, Americans sobered up and decided the bad old days were better.

I agree, Mr. Thomas, that some of the challenges and characterizations are unfair, since Mr. Obama is reaping the lashing back of eight years of progressive/liberal and Democratic attacks on his predecessor: his opponents figure that they can use the same tactics used against one of their people. But you obviously were in isolation between 2001 and 2009 if you do not believe that previous presidents have never received this kind of treatment. To say nothing of your lack of knowledge of such presidents as Thomas Jefferson, Andrew Jackson, Abraham Lincoln, and Richard Nixon.

President Obama may fail but it will not be a Richard Nixon default fraught with larceny and lies. President Obama, given a fair chance, will surely succeed but his triumph will never come with a Bill Clinton caveat – “if only he’d got control of that zipper.”

No, at least for now, what Mr. Obama and his minions are stealing is being done "in accordance with the law" - however immoral their actions might be. But the lie part is already there - a long list of usurpations and abuses is tied with outright lying and shading of the truth that resembles graffiti on a railroad car more than it does the tones on a pencil sketch or painting. And given the obvious size of Mr. Obama's ego, I'd not think you wise to place any bets on him NOT following in Clinton's steps.

Please. Give the man a fair, fighting chance. This incivility toward the leader who won over Americans and gave hope to billions of people around the world that their lives could be enhanced by his example, just naturally has to stop.

Mr. Thomas, it is clear that we are fighting Mr. Obama for the heart, the soul, and the future of America and our liberties; when the stakes are that high, to paraphrase that great American Bill Cosby, "we ain't gonna play fair, and we ain't gonna give 'em a fighting chance. You Brits wear red jackets and march in straight lines and wear shiny brass and fire in volleys; we'uns will wear buckskin and hide behind trees and sneak around in the dark and bushwack you with every dirty trick we'un can think of. So there." Ditto for a transnational progressive elitist. The hope of the billions of people of the world rests in liberty and freedom which leads to peace and prosperity and a future worth living in. And America won't help reach for that hope if Mr. Obama continues to pretend to be the leader of this nation and of the free world. If they follow HIS example, may the Lord have pity on them in their chains and poverty.

Believe me, when Americans drive by the White House and see a sign on the lawn that reads: “No shirt. No shoes. No service,” they’ll realize this new national rudeness has gone way, way too far.

I won't even be able to respond to this last sentence, because you just aren't making sense, Mr. Thomas. But then, looking back at your writing, you didn't really make that much sense from the start. I am glad that so many Canadians don't agree with you.


I do applaud Mr. William Thomas' willingness to sign his name to this strange little article. I assume, though, that there are enough William Thomases in the BC phonebook to give him that luxury. But don't worry, here in the United States we still have (for now) and still honor (for now) free speech. I understand you used to have that in Canada, too, another of those legacies of being Englishmen.

Here ends my friend's commentary. I have deleted his name and address, just as he did for his correspondents, because I know how much trouble he is in already and don't want him to get into more for speaking the truth about this American President and refuting the claims of this British Columbian writer.

Monday, December 06, 2010

MADD's Addictive Behavior - The Solution!

MADD for more than 25 years has demanded and received the passage of numerous draconian laws and a tyrannical enforcement of those same laws; today, a growing movement challenges their basic claims and their accomplishments, pointing out that not only did the harsh laws NOT solve the problems of drunk-driving deaths, but has actually aggravated other problems in society.

But if we get rid of the MADD solution which is no solution, what can we do about drunk driving, about the thousands killed and tens of thousands injured, many maimed, by alcohol abuse?

The libertarian solution is to hold parents responsible for their children, which today is defined as anyone under 18; and to hold anyone who is an "adult" responsible for the RESULTS of their actions as well as their actions.

While this might be done through various government actions (even in a minarchist society), history shows that it is best done through private, voluntary, society-wide actions. Indeed, the one good thing that MADD has done is to create a general condition in society that drinking and driving while intoxicated is wrong and that those who do so are shunned and punished voluntarily by their friends, families, and neighbors. It is a solution which has worked well in many other nations, and even in many elements of society and localities in the United States: consider Utah, tee-total Baptist and Christian communities, and indeed, many colleges. For these situations, the draconian federally-mandated laws about underage drinking often do serve only to weaken the society's own systems.

Failing that solution (which many will call utopian), there are many other alternatives to the current age-based strictures. Not all are libertarian, by any means, but offer advantages over the MADD-addictive behavior we now suffer.

One of the reason for high death rates in many areas in the pre-21 law era was the irresponsible behavior of those who lived near borders of states with lower drinking ages. For example, high death rates from alcohol-related accidents were a given in the 1970s and 1980s on US-85 between Greeley, Colorado (home of University of Northern Colorado) and Cheyenne, Wyoming; and US-287 between Fort Collins (home of Colorado State University) and Laramie, Wyoming (home of University of Wyoming). Wyoming was an 18-state, and Colorado a 21-state. It was NOT UW students or Air Force personnel from Cheyenne that were dying on those roads: it was 18-20 year-old Colorado college students who were going to Wyoming, getting drunk, and then driving 50-80 miles home that were killing and getting killed. Same thing in border college towns in South Dakota (next to Wyoming) and Kansas (next to Missouri). College students weren't being, and aren't being, held responsible for their actions.

I seriously doubt that fewer CSU and UNC students are drinking today (and drinking underage) - they are just doing it in their home town, instead of playing law games and doing it "legally" in another state. And so they are less likely to be driving, and not having to drive as far, while plastered. But they are, as the college presidents point out, growing used to ignoring, indeed scorning, the law and the breaking of the law just adds to the enticement of rebellion.

One size does NOT fit all - whether that size is measured in years of age or percentage of alcohol in the blood.

One (admittedly governmentally-based) solution is to allow only "responsible citizens" to drink. How do you define responsibility? It could be based on very easily measurable standards, like a high school diploma and a responsible job, degree from college, or completion of a first tour of duty in the military; or by more exact and not so easily determined standards, like supporting yourself withOUT government or parental grants and loans; or demonstrating maturity in some other way. (Those not demonstrating responsibility and competence might get "driving permits" which prohibit their driving during certain times of day, or which require additional safeguards like on-board testing of reflexes or breath.) But that will only work IF people are held accountable for their actions. If they demonstrate that despite their degree or their duty or their income-earning ability that they are NOT responsible, then they need to be treated accordingly: if they lose their right to drive, so too should their right to vote, their right to sign contracts, indeed, their right to be an adult, be removed.

The only real justification for prisons (as compared to restorative justice - paying back what is owed) is the same as for capital punishment: to protect society from someone who has demonstrated that they cannot be trusted to not harm others. No, I am not advocating prison for drunk drivers; but I am saying that instead of treating all 18-20 year olds as criminals and the lowest dregs of society, let us treat ALL abusers of alcohol as children who must be prevented from harming themselves and the rest of us.

This of course has to be tied into an accurate identification of what constitutes "impaired" and "under the influence." People ARE NOT THE SAME. One person may be dead drunk at 0.12 but another at 0.15; one may have their reflexes and judgment seriously impaired at 0.08, another at 0.12, but a third at 0.06. But tests for content (breath or blood) are simple and mandated. What is needed is a test of results: a modern day version of walking the line and other sobriety checks. Frankly, some people couldn't pass a proper range of tests demonstrating they are capable of handling an automobile at high speeds if they were stone-cold sober since Nixon resigned - and shouldn't be allowed to drive any more than the woman who blew 0.41.

Whatever is done, we have to end once and for all the idea that government - whether "guided by" MADD or not - is the solution to every problem.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Pearl Harbor 1941 - Lessons Learned

There are lessons to be learned from Pearl Harbor, 69 years later.

The North County (San Diego) Times published the usual “Pearl Harbor Day” piece this year for the 69th Anniversary of the attack that began WW2 for most Americans.

There are only nine members of the Survivor’s Association in North County left, and most of them spoke to the reporter. Here is some of what they said:

Walsh said, he still considers it an important duty to speak to schoolchildren, telling them about that day, its consequences and what lessons it holds for current and future generations.
"Particularly the high school kids," he added. "Half of them don't even know where the hell Pearl Harbor is ---- that was really startling."
He was referring to a visit several years ago to an Escondido high school, where he was compelled to find a globe to point out the vast span of the war in the Pacific.

Another survivor:

Michelle Leslie's daughter, Lauren, wanted to know: "Is there anything our generation could learn from your generation?"
"Always be prepared, always be on the lookout," answered Greenhouse, who was stationed at nearby Marine Corps Air Station Ewa on Oahu at the time of the attack. "Get your training today, because it will sure help in the future. We were caught by surprise; the main thing is, be prepared for whatever happens."

Today, there are still lessons, great and important lessons, to be learned from Pearl Harbor. Let us ignore the events and the duplicity and conspiracies which preceded it, and which led to it. Let us ignore the propaganda that demonizes one or both sides, the arguments about legality and provocation, and all the rest. Let us even ignore the consequences of the nearly four years of the Great Pacific War which followed.

The lessons we need to learn, in the United States and elsewhere, from that Sunday attack on a huge and unprepared naval base in the center of the Pacific, are the same lessons that need to be learned from battles and events around the world, from the Rape of Nanking to the Soviet-Russian attack on Poland to the invasion of the Falklands to the invasion of Kuwait to bloody Troubles of Northern Ireland and the subways of Madrid.

First, we forget our history, or at least most of us do. Those who remember are both blessed and cursed: blessed because they can see that the same things can and will happen again, and perhaps they can take some action, however small, to reduce the possibility that when these things happen again, that the outcome will be different. But the failure of so many to take any action will haunt them all their lives. Those who forget (or never learned) the history of peoples and nations and wars and technology, are to be pitied indeed: they will suffer more when those events are repeated, and they will drag millions with them into suffering and cruelty and untimely death and all the rest of the evils that man can do to other men. Especially in 2010, there are billions of people – especially in the West and China – who believe that we are in some bizarre era of “post-history” – that the wars and attacks and invasions and diseases and atrocities of the past will never repeat themselves. They are doomed, for that has not been the case for six thousand years, and man has not changed in the last 60 or 50 or 40 years.

Second, Greenhouse’s words are not “trite” or “pro forma” or “hackneyed.” The lesson, for young and old, for today and tomorrow – the lesson that too many will not learn, and that those who learn seem to forget – is to “be prepared, be on the lookout, and get your training now.” Wise words from a very old man: words that 99% of humanity ignore time and again, and ignore to their peril.

Be prepared: enemies change, but the dangers of tyranny, of the power mongers, the sociopaths and psychopaths, the liars and perveyors of evil. Slightly changed perhaps, but still present. The enemies are both internal and external to a nation: as they were in 1941, so they will be in 2011. The tactics and strategies will given new names or scents or colors, but still will be used: lies and promises, appeals to fear and patriotism and always, ALWAYS, twisting of good into evil. And people will still bleed, still scream, and still die. Prepare for the worst, and enjoy anything better. As part of being prepared, set your goals and your objectives. Is it security or liberty, long life or health or family? Events should not set aside your goals as a free man or woman, IF you are prepared.

Be on the lookout: eternal vigilance is necessary, whomever the enemy, whatever the cause, whatever the methods of attack and defense. Do not take first appearances, or “common knowledge” for the truth. Do not listen to any one side of anything. Question everything – especially authority. Understand that what appears to be a solution to one problem will cause other problems, and that opportunity exists for both the good and the evil. Above all, do not allow yourself to be blinded by wishes or ‘normalcy.’

Get your training now. Being prepared and being alert is nothing that you simply happen to do. Americans in the 1910s did not train for the manmade catastrophe of the Great War; Americans of the 1920s did not train for the Great Depression, and those of the 1930s did not train for the Second World War. Americans of the 1990s did not train for the events of the 2000s. Most did not, at least. The list of training to get is endless, but the objectives and the plan must be clear and set forth. Train to survive, with and without technology. Train to raise a family (which includes educating them and helping them survive). Train to create a community, and to identify the threats and dangers faced by a community and OF a community. Train to defend yourselves, your family, and your community against those threats and dangers. And above all, train yourself to do what is necessary so that you are prepared to reach your goals and accomplish your objectives. Such training is physical, economic, academic, political, and spiritual. Without it, no attempt to be prepared or be on the lookout will succeed.

And you will join the 99% of humanity who cannot and will not learn from history, including Pearl Harbor.

Saturday, December 04, 2010

MADD's Addictive Behavior - The Problem

MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) and its associated organizations (Students... Teachers... etc.) is one of the most prominent and active of the Nanny State's "non-governmental organization" (NGO) allies in remaking American society. Organized as an advocacy and lobbying group, they have more in common with ACORN than virtually any of their members or leaders is willing to admit, and have totally skewed the national scene regarding highway safety.

The referenced article (click on the headline) is a brief look from a politico-religious perspective (and one somewhat right-libertarian) on a growing movement to FIGHT MADD, and to repeal or at least revise the current nationwide ban on drinking under the age of 21.

The legal ban (hardly an absolute ban) on drinking for almost 1/4 of our nation's population is a product of the era of the end of federalism. It is an example of the nanny-state at its worst, and of the triumph of emotion and hype over reason. Passed in 1984 and signed into law by President Reagan in a betrayal of his principles of federalism, it was the product of Mothers Against Drunk Driving, ( an organization which is the epitome of liberal AND conservative hypocrisy.

Although it was claimed (then and now) that forcing all states to treat thousands of its adult citizens as second-class would "end" the drunk driving menace on American highways, the evidence of the last two+ decades has shown otherwise. MADD claimed (and still does) that it was THE solution to drunk-driving fatalities in this continent, a steady stream of further attempts to solve the problem which supposedly has already been solved is impressive, and sickening: the zero-tolerance laws, the 0.08 blood-alcohol laws, and more. All done in violation of the Constitution and through a very nasty (and sadly effective) mechanism: withholding of highway user trust fund money from the states until they lick the boots of the Congress that supposedly works for them - a form of extortion, since the money being withheld was stolen from the people of the States to begin with.

Like anti-gun activists who push for "just one more" law - indeed, like the drunk who wants "just one more" for the road, MADD and their ilk are addicted to lobbying and laws, proven by the way that they continue to push for more and more laws, more and more punishment, more and more "enforcement" - claiming each time that THIS will once and for all solve the problem.

Like the gun-haters and the alcoholic, MADD is ever willing to lie to themselves and others to get their way. Even in the early 1980s, the majority of DUI deaths were not caused by the 18-20 year olds who have been turned into plebes by this law; far more were the result of older (if not "more mature") chronic drinkers who often are multiple offenders. But to read MADD's own propaganda you would think it is the 18-20 age group - until you study their own statistics very closely. (After all, old alcoholics and drunks make poor "poster children.")

In the same way, in one place they claim that 30,000 lives have been saved "each year" by the 21-law. But when you look at the chart on their home page (use "print screen" to look at it for more than 10 seconds), you find that almost 10,000 of the 30,000 per year drop that they claim happened BEFORE the 1984 law was passed. In fact, in 1986, drunk-driving deaths were back at pre-law levels. And it took a decade (and apparently a lot more laws) for the "30,000" drop to be reached. In fact, since about 1992, the number of drunk-driving fatalities has basically been frozen at just about 20,000 per year. Nor can they deny that (again, by their own claim) there are still 500,000 alcohol-related injuries on highways each year: some "final solution." Worse, they exaggerate about other highway fatalities increasing (claiming a 34% rise in 25 years) by ignoring the billions of miles more we drive each year, and the tens of millions more motorists on the roads in 2007 as compared to 1982. And they totally ignore the last half-decade of steadily dropping fatalities, in both real numbers and per miles driven.

The college presidents (135 of them as of December 2010) have some strong points (

A culture of dangerous, clandestine “binge-drinking”—often conducted off-campus—has developed.
Alcohol education that mandates abstinence as the only legal option has not resulted in significant constructive behavioral change among our students.
Adults under 21 are deemed capable of voting, signing contracts, serving on juries and enlisting in the military, but are told they are not mature enough to have a beer.
By choosing to use fake IDs, students make ethical compromises that erode respect for the law.

Obviously, there are many pros and cons, but they are not calling for an outright change - merely an informed debate. MADD and the usual knee-jerk liberals who believe that NO one can control themselves, don't want to talk about it - except to slander and revile the people suggesting we talk about it.

Both sides are, to a degree, wrong. It is NOT government's place, and especially not the FEDERAL government's place, to regulate alcohol sales, except to prohibit states from collecting tariffs or duties on imports and exports from other states, as provided by the Constitution and the "Commerce Clause" when properly understood and applied. It is ESPECIALLY not government's place to tell people how to raise their children, and to take action which takes away the responsibilities of parents for their children.

In the next part, I’ll look at the solution to the problem.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Armed People are Polite People

"No kingdom can be secured otherwise than by arming the people. The possession of arms is the distinction between a freeman and a slave. He, who has nothing, and who himself belongs to another, must be defended by him, whose property he is, and needs no arms. But he, who thinks he is his own master, and has what he can call his own, ought to have arms to defend himself, and what he possesses; else he lives precariously, and at discretion."
-- James Burgh (1714-1775) was an English Whig politician
Source: "Political Disquisitions: Or, an Enquiry into Public Errors, Defects, and Abuses" (London, 1774-1775)
A "kingdom" of course, means a nation, an "earthly kingdom." That kingdom may be part of a larger nation, and therefore a community, a neighborhood, a rural area, or a town, county or region.
History shows us that if only warriors (whose reason for existence is to defend the tribe, the vill, or whatever) are armed, their dedication to defense against external threats soon takes second place to bullying the very people that they supposedly are defending. As Burgh says, the unarmed man (or woman) "lives... at discretion." The discretion of the bully. This starts out as a kind of "parental" toleration which becomes contempt and disdain for the unarmed person - who is now somewhat "lower caste," and goes from there.

"A people armed and free forms a barrier against the enterprises of ambition and is a bulwark for the nation against foreign invasion and domestic oppression."
-- James Madison
(1751-1836), Father of the Constitution for the USA, 4th US President
Notice that Madison speaks of both internal and external threats. The two are often (but not always) related. Foreign invasion is often triggered by the actions of the same government which is oppressing its people domestically: either because they are greedy and seek more power and more wealth that their own subjects can provide, or because they are willing to seek foreign adventures to distract their subjects from their condition.

But when we consider "domestic oppression" we need to remember that it is not just government that is a source of such oppression: it can be bandits and outlaws (as was often the case in England in the Middle Ages and in the United States in such places as "Bleeding Kansas" of the 1850s and strife-torn Missouri in the 1860s and the vicious gangs of pre-vigilante San Francisco and the mining camps of the 1850s), it can be landowners (such as some of the cattle ranchers of which Louis L'Amour writes) or corporations such as the railroad companies in Texas or the mining companies of Colorado in the 1910s.

Even the most vicious and nasty of thugs - whether hired guns or the owners or the foreman - tend to back down and be much more polite when the people they face are armed and able and ready to defend themselves.

"Before a standing army can rule, the people must be disarmed as they are in almost every kingdom in Europe. The supreme power in America cannot enforce unjust laws by the sword because the whole body of the people are armed, and constitute a force superior to any band of regular troops that can be, on any pretense, raised in the United States."
-- Noah Webster

(1758-1843) American patriot and scholar, author of the 1806 edition of the dictionary that bears his name, the first dictionary of American English usage.
Defined the militia similarly as "the effective part of the people at large."
Source: An Examination of the Leading Principles of the Federal Constitution, Philadelphia, 1787
Sadly, this has changed from 1787 to 2010: the Federal Government found pretense to raise a massive band - bands - of "regular troops" - not so much the Regular Army, Army Reserves, and National Guard (which are concerned more with external duties - foreign occupation) but the massive numbers of police agencies and police officers of all types from the small local town forces to the oversized (and heavily armed) urban police forces and sheriffs' offices to the massive State Police and dozens of Federal "law-enforcement" agencies and branches of agencies which are an internal occupation force: THIS is the modern standing army which has taken away liberty.

At the same time, the disarming of American citizens NOT in one of these agencies has proceeded apace: more and more types of weapons considered "military" or (even worse) "law enforcement" in nature have been taken out of the hand of civilians on a variety of pretexts. Reduced to hunting weapons and semi-automatic weapons of small caliber and small capacity, without modern technology such as silencers and night-vision-scopes and specialized rounds, this makes possible the domination of the modern standing army.

And with this disarmament and rise of the standing army of police, the contempt and disdain for the civilian - relatively if not totally disarmed - grows more evident with each passing year. Witness the attitude of the TSA - perhaps not EVERY TSO, but certainly many including supervisors right up to the Secretary of Homeland Security and the White House. Witness the attitude and the evidence of corruption, of concealment of lawbreaking, and rejection of civilian control on anything but a pro forma basis of too many metropolitan and even state forces. As in Europe and Latin America in the past, the uniformed (and plain-clothed) police see no more need for true politeness: the words "sir" and "ma'am" in the mouths of too many police officers is nothing but rote mouthings. When spoken by a man or woman in uniform, one hand on the belt near their pistol, the other hand out for "papers" or on the key of a radio microphone connecting to back-up, the words are meaningless.

In a truly free society, politeness is a necessity because an offended person need not look to a "protector" for succor or assistance - the offended person is armed and capable of responding appropriately to the offense, regardless of age or size or sex or physical condition.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Stupidity rampant in Arizona

This was posted by a friend to a website in response to the article cited. While his rhetoric is a bit overblown, I think he still makes some great points. - Edward

Arizona: State Senator Proposes New Militia [sic]
Arizona Capitol Times
Sen. Jack Harper, a Republican from Surprise, said he plans to introduce legislation next year that would create a government-sanctioned militia that would be allowed to patrol the border to observe illegal activity and report it to enforcement authorities. Under Harper’s plan, the civilian force would be under the supervision of the Arizona National Guard. Its members would be allowed to carry weapons for self defense. Volunteers would need a fingerprint clearance card or undergo a background check to qualify... The proposal is yet another example of Arizona’s attempt to take matters into its own hands, which arose from a widely shared belief among the state’s residents and lawmakers that the federal government has failed in its job to secure the border. But the idea of deploying a state-sponsored militia on the U.S.-Mexico border raises red flags for some legal scholars. Paul Bender, a professor of constitutional law at Arizona State University, said a civilian militia would not be allowed to stop illegal immigrants from crossing the border because that authority is reserved for the federal government. Any direct action by the state or a militia to stop illegal immigrants from crossing the border may violate the U.S. Constitution, he said...
Arizona Border Patrol by the numbers: National Guard deployment along the U.S.-Mexico border: 559 in Arizona; 284 in Texas; 260 in California; 82 in New Mexico[.] Estimated cost of National Guard deployment for a year: $135 million, which will be shared by U.S.[.]

Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Department of Defense Border Patrol troops along the Southwest border: 17,500[.]
— Source: National Guard Bureau


Where to begin? With this many stupid people out wandering around, I’m afraid to even drive through Arizona, much less get out of my car there. Harper may have thought about this a lot, but a scholar - especially a MILITARY scholar, he ain’t. First, militia ARE military when they are called up by ANYONE: local sheriff, state, or federal. They aren’t “civilians” any more. Second, there is no such thing as a “state-sponsored [or “government-sanctioned”] militia” - the state would be activating a PART of the militia under state control. Harper is an idiot, who can’t write a law: he probably can’t READ one, either, and I wonder if he could write directions on how to go home.

Now, on to the next idiot, this “constitutional scholar” at ASU, Bender, who says: “a civilian militia would not be allowed to stop illegal immigrants from crossing the border because that authority is reserved for the federal government. Any direct action by the state or a militia to stop illegal immigrants from crossing the border may violate the U.S. Constitution.” Let me say it again: Bender is an IDIOT. The Constitution gives Congress authority to do exactly TWO things related to immigration IF THAT. Article 1 Section 8 gives Congress power: “To establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization,” and Section 9 of the same article gives Congress one other power: “The Migration or Importation of such Persons as any of the States now existing shall think proper to admit, shall not be prohibited by the Congress prior to the Year one thousand eight hundred and eight, but a tax or duty may be imposed on such Importation, not exceeding ten dollars for each Person.” This did NOT prohibit many states from prohibiting the migration or importation of slaves before that time - or AFTER. It would presumably apply to ANY other persons, as indeed states like California determined that people from certain oriental countries could not migrate to the state, and many states prohibited migration by American Indians.

Now, some people claim that another part of Section 8 gives Congress power over immigration: “To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes;” This clause, the Commerce Clause, is perhaps THE most abused clause of the Constitution, and is used to justify almost anything. But logically, it does not work: if immigration (actually, migration - emigration AND immigration) is “commerce” then Congress would be able to enact and enforce laws regulating the movement of people across STATE lines as well. And so far, at least (giving no one ANY ideas), they haven’t and can’t do that. The closest they have come was the idea of federal law making it a crime to drag women and minors across state lines for “immoral purposes” - but since the courts have determined that there ARE no immoral purposes any more, that law is gutted. AND IT DOES NOT PROHIBIT STATES FROM ENACTING AND ENFORCING THEIR OWN LAWS. For decades, northern states, smug in their hypocrisy, prohibited slaves from being imported into NY, MA, PA, etc. even when it was still illegal for the FedGov to prohibit importation. States can STILL ban importation of certain fruit from other states, based on health and agricultural issues.

However stupid Arizona’s idea may be, it just is NOT “unconstitutional.” And both Harper and Bender are IDIOTS. There are a few more idiots quoted, but let me move to the end of the article, written by the IDIOTS who call themselves the staff (newsroom and editorial, no doubt) of the Arizona Capitol Times. Two things, and I’m going to drop it: First, the Border Patrol is NOT a part of the “Department of Defense.” It probably SHOULD BE - because there is no authority for anyone OTHER than military troops to be used to defend the country, but it isn’t. No, it is part of that bureaucratic rathole for money called DHS. Second, Border Patrol have “CIVILIANS” and not “troops.” There may be 17,500 “sworn Border Patrol civilian officers” along the SW Border, but everyone tells us that COPS are NOT soldiers. If Border Patrol “sworn officers” are soldiers, then so is EVERY federal “sworn officer” whether they work for the Federal Protective Service or the FBI or the Secret Service or the EPA or the Park Service; and so likely is every state and local police officer, right down to that parking-meter maid and the local dog-catcher. But the “fine newspapermen” (and women) at the ACT are too STUPID to know any different: they are IDIOTS. Of course, if they weren’t so stupid, they would point out that Harper and Bender and the rest ARE stupid.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

"I won't quit."

Ah, yes, we WERE warned. At the one-year anniversary of the First Citizen's accession (or is it ascension?) to power, Mr. Obama told us that he won't quit. And it is clear that he has not, as we pass the 22-month anniversary.

Others have commented on his arrogant stance, his egotism, his concentration on himself and not the Union, his insults and commands, all contained within the incredibly long and stirring speech he made back in January of this year; the same kind of speech we've heard (or at least some of us) from Sgnr. Mussolini, Herr Hitler, Sr. Franco, Sr. Peron, Gospodin Lenin, and Gospodin Stalin. And through the rest of the year, including the mid-term elections, he said the same thing over and over again.

But I want to concentrate on what this promise means to my nation, and to my Union. What does this mean to Wyoming, to Montana or my original homeland of Texas? What does this mean to myself, my children, the rest of my family, my friends, my neighbors, my clients, and the rest of the American people and the people of the world?

It appears that "not quitting" has included:

- Not quitting spending money -another 1.5 trillion on top of the FY2010 budget was planned for FY2011, and so far, as we pass the midpoint of the first quarter, the spending is on track.
- Not quitting borrowing money - as the spending gallops away, the national debt is past $11 trillion and climbing, while more accounting games are played with the Fed's Quantitative Easing 2.0, and more to follow.
- Not quitting printing money - banks and others will continue to "create" more FRNs, either electronic or paper, and inflate the dollar still more.
- Not quit treating more and more Americans as enemies of the state: not just the new TSA procedures (the scanners and patdowns and arrests), but treating soldiers and ex-soldiers, tea-party movement members, conservatives, even some cops like dirt, and worse.
- Practicing reverse racial profiling: black extremists get additional "Get-out-of-jail" cards even after they AGAIN try to intimidate voters; Muslim women are promised "special consideration" by TSA; more and more services are provided for Spanish-speaking clients of government; and more.
- Wasting more and more money - Obama is the most-traveled president in US history, flying in an aircraft that costs nearly $200,000 PER HOUR to fly, and taking hordes of syncophants, including hairdressers and basketball players around the world.
- Continuing to demean US allies like the UK, ROK, and Germany, while sucking up big-time to Arabs and Chinese.
- Enslaving us more and more through evil actions like the ObamaCare edicts, even to the extent of ignoring Congress when it doesn't do what he wants, like taxing carbon emissions.

How much longer can and will this go on? Americans have become extremely long-suffering: we put up with 8 years of Bill Clinton and center-left "socialism lite" and then with 8 years of George W's "compassionate conservative" brand of socialism and a growing police state; are we going to put up with four or eight years of even more blatant socialism and Gestapo-type tyranny? Are we so desperate for life and security and a nanny to tuck us in at night that we give up everything that makes us Americans? Forbid it, Almighty Lord!

"Let this be our last Thanksgiving under duress."

Please visit this link and read the article by Murray Sabrin, We are all German Jews now? and comment and support it.

This is a good analysis, and a reminder of what can and has happened in the past.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Liberty = NO TSA

A friend gave me this website (click on the headline above), which contains images (one or two of which are rather graphic) which encourage people to fight against the TSA.

He pointed out that it is NOT just the latest outrages that should cause us to demand that TSA be outlawed, but the entire concept of illegal searches (whether they are "administrative" or not) and the idea that government has any authority to provide security for private businesses. If terrorists start to threaten to blow up Wal-Marts (and maybe do blow up one or two), is it now suddenly necessary (and does Congress have the authority) to create the "Shopping Security Agency" or SSA?

I, for one, am thankful this holiday for the many, many people who have decided that enough is enough and are fighting back against this kind of gross abuse of our liberty with the excuse of security.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Too Simple and Too Easy?

Wayne Allen Root today weighed in on the TSA controversy, in which a barely tolerated situation has suddenly aroused a lot of anger and gotten a lot of press. This was forwarded to me by a friend:

There are two simple solutions to this TSA mess. First and most importantly, hand airline security over to the private sector. Let airlines manage their own security, with their own private security forces. Get government out of the way. Government isn't the solution, they are the problem.

We must put Delta, American, U.S. Air, Southwest and all the other airlines in charge of their own security -- just like all other private sector companies. That puts incompetent bumbling idiots, creeps and perverts, aka TSA agents, on the sidelines. It also ensures the usual private sector success. American business usually gets it right. Businesses will weigh the right amount of security versus customer privacy, civil rights, and satisfaction. And if they fail we as consumers can simply stop using that airline and choose another. The ones who get it right will succeed. The ones who don't will fail. That's called free markets. Capitalism works. Perhaps the U.S. government should allow for it sometime.


The simple Part Two of this solution is to end political correctness -- private airlines can best prevent terrorism by adopting the Israeli model of PROFILING. No, not racial profiling, but rather "terrorist threat profiling." No need to argue -- it works to perfection. Israel has the safest airports and the safest airline (El Al) in the world. There has NEVER been a successful terrorist attack at an Israeli airport or airline. Why? Because their security experts rely on profiling, not political correctness. They ask a series of rapid-fire questions of all passengers. There is no time to lie. If you try to lie, it is easy to detect inconsistencies in your story. At that point you are pulled aside for a more detailed screening or body search. But everyone does not need to endure the health threat of major radiation, or the privacy violation of intrusive cavity searches. It is time to leave grandma and my baby daughter alone, and look for real terrorists.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Freedom Filks

For those that do not know the science fiction and fantasy communities, filk songs are a style of folk song in which different words are set to familiar tunes. The saga of the TSA Porn-scanners and Fondling-Pat-Downs has generated several. Here is my nomination for the best two:

Steve Varus, for using Kris Kristofferson's ballad:

Take the ribbon from your hair
Shake it loose and let it fall
Leave your shoes right over there
Now get up against the wall

I'll run my hands inside your thighs
Up your legs and out of sight!
But you can trust the TSA
To help you make it to your flight

We don't profile that'd be wrong
Just ask the ACLU
We'd rather check your nooks and crannies
Every inch of you

Got no life except my job
But I don't mind it's all right
I get to grope you legally
If you want to take a flight

This badge and uniform we wear
Might look like a rent a cop
But your life is in our hands
We like it that way, especially if you're hot

Awful lonely being me
No girlfriend, boyfriend, husband, wife
So let me squeeze you, oooh, right there
If you want to take a flight

You can trust the TSA
You'll be in our dreams tonight

See and hear this at the first link.

Another excellent one uses an old Frank Sinatra song, Come Fly With Me:

Comply With Me*
(With deepest apologies to Sammy Cahn, Jimmy Van Heusen & Frank Sinatra)

Comply with me, before you fly away
Remove those shoes and take a cruise
Through my peekaboo X-ray
Comply with me, I'm your friendly TSA

Comply with me, you domestic coach class bums
If you opt out I'll just give a shout
To my icy-handed chums
Comply with me, bend over here it comes

Once I get all up there where your hair is ticklish
I'll just fish
Got my wish
Once I get all up there you'll be squirming like an eel
You may squeal
At the feel
When we're together

Proctology is such a lovely trade
I'll show you love with my rubber glove
Try not to be afraid
I'd be a perfect gentleman, if you had just obeyed
Comply with me, I'm GS8 pay grade

Janet Napolitano says to spread 'em wide
Have you tried Astro-glide?
Janet Napolitano knows your clothes are off
Head aloft
Turn it and cough
When we're together

Don't crack wise or I'll ruin your whole day
Please don't frown when I pat you down
It alerts the CIA
It's perfectly legal practice except at Gitmo Bay
Comply with me, comply comply
Comply with me, obey, obey, obey!

Check out the security risks on that one! Yeah!

Friday, November 19, 2010

New owner - Fighting Mad

Liberty is threatened and freedom is in danger.

A very good friend (and distant relation) of mine started this blog and maintained it sporadically for several years now, but has had to give it (and others) up due to a combination of work pressure, political pressure, and just plain a lack of time. So he asked me to take over, and he challenged me to try to make this live up to the potential that it has to spread a message of hope and liberty to Americans and to the world.

Liberty is such a precious and rare commodity through history, that we often fail to appreciate how much we had in the past - and now that we are losing it, it seems little more than a dream. But it is a dream that we CAN reclaim - that we MUST reclaim.

I don't pretend to be the writer or to have the breadth of knowledge that my friend did - and if it weren't for spell-checkers, more people would know that. But I shall strive to live up to his dreams - and to my dreams, of freedom and liberty.

I do (and must) remain even more anonymous than my friend was, but I suppose some secrets will inevitably get out. Of course, in some eyes I am already a marked man for what I've done in the past. So we cannot hope to hide as completely as some folks do. But then, what I am doing is standing up for what is right: I will try not to flee into darkness if someone does not like what I say.

Let me know what you think - I DO like feedback, and ask anyone reading this to toss back some thoughts to me.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Lessons Learned from our Southern Neighbor

American front - Failed states
Mexico celebrating 200th birthday - Arizona Republic (see link)
"Mexico celebrates its 200th birthday tonight, kicking off a two-day bicentennial extravaganza of lasers, fireworks and music aimed at lifting citizens' spirits in the midst of a recession and a bloody war against drug cartels. Even as crews tested hundreds of lights in Mexico City's main Zocalo Plaza on Tuesday, riot police and armored vehicles practiced crowd-control techniques because of worries that cartels might stage an attack during the festivities. Two years ago, attackers hurled grenades during an Independence Day festival in the central city of Morelia, killing seven people and wounding 132. 'We're in bad shape, as far as violence goes ... but you can't deny people a party if they want to celebrate something,' said Francisco Segura, 52, a building contractor." (09/15/10)

This news story gives us an opportunity to reflect back on the past and present conditions in Mexico. As I’ve mentioned before, borders - whether between two totally separate polities (“national”) or between two associated polities (“states of the Union” for example) are MORE than just imaginary lines on the ground and pretty lines on maps: they are REAL in the minds and actions of people, AND in the differences between the two sides of the border. Nowhere in my personal experience has that been more visible than on the Inter-German Border (IGB) between the Ostzone (East Germany) and the Bundesrepublik Deutschland in the mid 1980s, whether from the ground or especially from the air. But the border between the United States of America and the Estados Unitos Mexicanos (United Mexican States) is also very distinct: from the ground, from the air, and from the society and people. It was the first international border I crossed as a child, and even then, I saw the difference. Today that distinction is even clearer based on the way bullets fly and bombs shatter the night and the way bodies are found, day after day after day.
Why? It is clear in the history of the two nations - and of the states on both sides of the border. The land called Mexico today has a VERY long history - much of it has been “civilized” by the usual standards of historians and archaeologists since 1800 BC. By the standards of libertarians, most of it has NEVER been civilized: its history is one of bloody tyranny and repression and a constant trading of masters and varying degrees of slavery that make pre-1865 slavery in the United States look almost benign. Modern Mexico, like ancient Mexico, is a land and society and people which is VERY different - starkly contrasted - from the United States.
Unlike Anglo-French North America (that is, the part to the north of Mexico), Mexico does not have a history in which a dominant civilization came in and overwhelmed a number of various smaller (and weaker) civilizations and large barbarian areas; a dominant civilization (English-British) built on a painfully developed foundation of human freedom and liberty forged in centuries of conflict and migration and a series of fortuitous events. Rather, Mexico is the product of a clash and then merger of two civilizations that were themselves products of long cruelty and abuse and evils. The clash was initiated and “won” by a newly-merged Spanish civilization that had just emerged from 700 years of bloody tyranny by Islamic forces and a similar period of rebellion and warfare to overthrow that tyranny. In the process, that Spanish civilization had taken on many of the characteristics of its enemy. Facing it was perhaps the most evil and tyrannical empire known in mankind’s long and black history: the Azteca rule over central Mexico. Why do I make that claim? No other human “civilization” has been documented as having not just killed hundreds of thousands (or millions) of its enemies and subjects on the battlefield or in killing fields but by planned and carefully orchestrated mass-human sacrifices in their temples - and no other “civilization” has made a common practice of actually eating the dead bodies of its enemies and subjects. None that I am aware of. Ironically, this clash was initiated by what was essentially a private-enterprise (though officially approved by the crown) free-booting expedition. What they found was a tyranny and society that was even more evil, more perverse, more tyrannical than the Islamic system which they had finally driven off their home peninsula mere decades earlier; and they responded as they had been bred to do.
What developed, in Mexico and the rest of Meso- and South America, can be readily identified as the product of its antecedents: Iberian Islamic, Visigothic Iberian (Hispanic), and Aztec. Even in 2010.
Perhaps the difference between this Mexican civilization and Anglo-American civilization can best be illustrated by looking at this 200th Anniversary of Mexican “Independence.”
The United States celebrates its Independence Day on 4 July, the date of its Declaration of Independence. That incredible document was the product of many, many hours of work, deliberation, prayer, argument, and thought by a body of men which represented all of the thirteen British colonies that formed the original United States, meeting in the most populous and important city in those colonies. Contrast that to the Independence Day of Mexico, which celebrates 16 September, the day that a lone priest (Miguel Hidalgo) in a small and unimportant town (Dolores, Guanajuato) and about 300 of his followers proclaimed rebellion against a French-installed (and therefore technically usurping) Spanish monarchy in support of the deposed Spanish king, and then led an “army” (mob) on a months-long killing spree, failed to conquer Mexico City, and was defeated. Hidalgo was ultimately betrayed and captured on 21 March 1811 and executed on 30 July 1811. It was not until 06 November 1813 - more than two years later - that a Congress was assembled in Chilpancingo and wrote and signed the "Solemn Act of the Declaration of Independence of Northern America" that was followed by six years of war before Spain recognized their independence as the “Mexican Empire” - complete with an emperor. So much for freedom and liberty.
There is NOTHING comparable to this in the history of the United States. NOTHING. It is as though we claimed Independence Day as celebrating the day that Nathaniel Bacon began his Rebellion in Virginia in 1676, or perhaps the 5th of March (the day in 1770 when some Boston citizens attacked British troops and triggered the Boston Massacre), or maybe 16 December (the Boston Tea Party in 1773). But only if Samuel Adams had been a dissolute, immoral, Church of England priest who then led a mob of crazed killers in an attempt to occupy New York and Philadelphia in support of Bonnie Prince Charlie as rightful king of Britain. And only if eight years of war had led to the Treaty of Paris in which the UK recognized American independence and George Washington then declared himself Emperor of United America.
We may, as Americans, decry the many, many mistakes that these United States made, up to the most recent abrogation of our Constitution - mistakes which many of us believe include replacing the Articles of Confederation with that Constitution, the “imperialism” of the Mexican-American War, Abe Lincoln’s Republican (Socialist)-led tyranny and its catastrophic fallout, the nanny-state progressive imperialism of Wilson and Roosevelt, and all the rest. But when we compare American history to the series of catastrophes and evils that make up Mexican history since 1810, it is light contrasted to utter blackness.
Mexico was built on class warfare between the pure Indio (the survivors of centuries of Aztec and Olmec imperialism), the mixed-blood Mestizos, and the relatively pure European descendents, and on religious-political conflicts. Its first empire lasted only two years, followed by the 1824 republic which quickly deteriorated into a military dictatorship (Santa Ana’s) (and led to independence movements in Texas, the Yucatan, and on the Rio Grande). That was followed by the war with the United States and a new attempt to establish a republic, a military occupation by France (and the Second Empire), another republic deteriorating into a dictatorship (Porfirio Diaz), followed by another revolution and another republic (Constitution of 1917), which slid into a one-party “republican” state for more than 70 years. This is a pattern followed by most Hispanic societies and rooted in the 700 years of the Reconquista struggle against Islam in Iberia itself. Only for a brief period of time (from perhaps 2000 to 2006) was there even a shadow of the political life and relative lack of tyranny enjoyed by the United States; then the current troubles began which by 2010 have deteriorated into yet another war: call it “revolution” or “civil war” or “narco-war” as you will. Mexican condemnation of American “imperialism” in annexing California and New Mexico in 1848 and the Gadsden Purchase in 1853) is hypocritical at best, given its several attempts to reconquer Texas, its annexation of Chiapas in 1824, the Soconusco Annexation in 1842, and the Annexation of the Republic of Yucatan in 1848, to say nothing of Mexico’s Indian Wars, which lasted until 1830. At best, Mexico’s imperialism has been less successful than the United States, but no less fervent.
I have many friends and even relatives that are of Hispanic and Mexican descent - virtually NONE of them would ever want to live in Mexico or “enjoy” Mexican (or Hispanic) culture and society and politics. Some of my ancestors were Mexican citizens (in Texas) - others of my ancestors “enjoyed” the attention of the Ejercito Mexicanos (Mexican Army) and Federales for a long time - and the Spanish army and militias for centuries. It was not pleasant, even when compared to having to deal with the US Army for a few decades of the 1800s. Sadly, for 200 years, Mexican celebration of Independence Day has been as great a bitter farce as Independence Day threatens to become in the United States in 2010. At the same time, we should be grateful for object lesson so clearly displayed just on the other side of that “imaginary line” called the border.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Shrove Tuesday

Terrible Tax Tuesday (Shrove or Pancake Tuesday)
Ah yes, welcome to the end of Carnival (Goodbye to Meat; Latin carnem levare, meaning "to take away the flesh"), Shrove Tuesday. For modern lovers of liberty, this day and its history has a lot of meaning. Originally, saying goodbye to meats, fats (hence, French "Mardi Gras" or "Fat Tuesday); was a fact of life: in ancient and medieval times, you finished eating the last of the fresh produce (meat-includinig fats, vegetables, sugar, fruit, etc.) from the last Harvest: in a pre-freezer/refrigeration society, and even before the invention of modern home-canning, that day came inevitably, and you were reduced to the preserved stuff. You had to make sure that you didn't eat eggs that needed to be next season's chickens; that you had enough left to provide the next generations of animals and protein for the spring planting (and wartime) before the new litters were big enough to be able to eat. You had to eat everything up before it went bad: it was better to store as fat in your body than as something moulding and stinking in the root cellar. As it so often did, the medieval (Roman Catholic) church made virtue out of necessity, and dictated that there was to be no consumption of meat, eggs, and sweets during the forty holy days leading up to the Spring festival of Easter; which became Lent. So the three days before the official beginning of Lent (Ash Wednesday) and its contemplation and fasting was supposed to be a period of preparing yourself for the Lenten feast: clean out the house, use up the last of the prohibited foods (the last slices of meat were traditionally eaten on Collop (Slice or Chop) Monday (Rosenmontag) and the fat saved until Tuesday to cook pancakes in), and go see the priest to shrive yourself: hence the English term "Shrove Tuesday" (Also known as Pancake Tuesday, to use the last of the jams and preserves and fat and eggs.)

The clearing out of the foods became (especially for the upper classes, who didn't have to worry as much about starving to death in the next six weeks before the winter wheat and other crops came available and the litters started dropping) an excuse for feasting - and feasting of course means parties. The shriving on Tuesday evening was an excuse to go out and be quite debauched - since the priest would be told everything and "forgive" everything shortly, and you entered the holy season in a state of grace. But. Three days of partying was too much for the medieval and Middle Ages Catholic Church and Carnival was reduced to just one day (officially - by the way, don't tell the Germans). So people partied harder, just shorter, and the Age of Reason gave an excuse to forget the shriving (and any associated repentence, penance, or restitution). When the tradition was carried from France, Portugal, and other European climes to the Americas, it became more, shall we say, intense or concentrated, and today, we have the BIG parties in N'Orleans and Rio-de, and the smaller parties all over the place: excuses for wholesale debauchery and lewdness and all that even Paris or Lisboa would have shunned. A virtue turned on the wheels of if and became a vice - actually, a whole collection of vices.

In the same way, all the virtues of the Republic, here as we enter into an accelerated decline, have spawned vices. As if we know we are entering the Lenten season of the second American civilization, we gorge ourselves to excess, bloated deficits and cataclysmic spending; expansion of military actions and occupations; expanding of government size and "duties" and privileges; fresh and new and huge crops of enemies - usually barbarians - internal and external. The emperor (or First Citizen) parades in his new clothes; the whores of L Street occupy their corners and push out into the street, stopping the traffic; the sluts of the legislative branches invite more and more lovers into bed with them and try to outdo their sisters with more and more obscene tricks. Almost totally oblivious to the fact that tomorrow is Ash Wednesday; when not just repentence but penance and punishment come due: the "Little Judgment" is upon us, however unaware we are of its coming.

It is ironic, and fitting, that all these days of commemoration, days of remembrance, all fall together this year: Lincoln's Birthday, the Iranian Islamic Revolution, St. Valentine's Day, Lunar New Year, President's Day, Collop Monday and Shrove Tuesday and Ash Wednesday. Some predict the end of the "world as we know it," in two and a half-years time, more or less; but the signs of the coming doom are there for us to read. Too many of us are too drunk (or too hungover) to make it to the chapel at midnight and get that cross of ashes marked on our forehead, too blind and too distracted to stop and confess and repent and turn away from the evil of our days; too submersed in the filth of a spiritual and political Bourbon Street to recognize our danger. The meat and fat and sugar and eggs and fresh fruits and vegetables that were laid down in the early days of the Republic, paid for by the blood of tyrants and patriots, has been eaten: the cupboard, the pantry, the cellar, and the silo are all empty - the time of self-denial returns instead to its earlier pagan incarnation as the time of starving and fear and evil expectation: the joy of looking forward to the Eternal's resurrection is not there; because our society's, our civilization's faith is dust. Groundhog or not, shadow or not, the days of winter lay long and heavy before us: and no ordinary political or social or physical winter. No, a fimbulwinter, perhaps, an ice-age winter and spring and summer; a nuclear-winter.

Is there any hope? As the Lord told Elijah (I Kings 19:18) - "Yet I have left me seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal, and every mouth which hath not kissed him." Even in these days of the First Citizen's Carnival, a circus the like of which has not been seen since Nero Caesar, there are still those people who have not bowed the knee, who will still stand for liberty and our rights as God's children: the heirs of Hebrews and Greeks and Romans and Schweitz and Englishmen and Americans who will keep that heritage. I hope that you and I are among that number: who will wear the ash humbly, repenting and making restitution for what we have and for what we look forward to. As for the rest, well, let me quote Sam Adams: "If ye love wealth greater than liberty, the tranquility of servitude greater than the animating contest for freedom, go home from us in peace. We seek not your counsel, nor your arms. Crouch down
and lick the hand that feeds you; May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen."