Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Governing Ourselves is now at the publisher

Those who have followed my blog know that I have been working on one of my life's major goals -- writing a book. Governing Ourselves: How Americans Can Regain Their Freedom. Publication will be completed as soon as I have resolved a few copyright questions, and is expected in February 2012. Right now, I am delving into the business end -- hiring an editor and setting my marketing plan.

When the book hits the street, please be assured that you will be the first to know!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

A concurring opinion about secession

Western Australia has sought independence from Australia since 1933, and has found the doors slammed in its face, in part because the mineral wealth of the West has helped fund government for the rest of the nation. Businessmen there are particularly unsettled by an Australian law imposing a carbon tax, scheduled to take effect this summer. This issue has been brought forward in a piece by Sukrit Subhlok in The National Forum. Like mainstream politicians here in America, the Australian establishment views secessionism as "the work of a lunatic, right-wing fringe in the Liberal Party".

As in America, the constitutionality of secession is debatable; however, Mr. Subhlok makes an important point, echoing my own from Nov. 3:
The legality or otherwise of secession is a moot point. If secession is to occur, it will never happen with the High Court's approval, simply because the court is appointed and funded by the federal government and will therefore tend to rule in favour of Canberra. Hence, in an important sense the legal arguments of Williams and Craven are irrelevant to the issue at hand. The debate over secession must occur primarily in the political rather than the legal arena.

For the sake of argument though, is the legal case against secession really as strong as Williams and Craven say it is? The answer is no. When Australia's colonies agreed to come together as a federation under the Constitution, they did so on the assumption that the federal government would be limited to the powers enumerated in section 51, and that the states would retain their reserved powers. Common-sense, not to mention elementary contractual principles, dictates that if the federal government oversteps its bounds and encroaches into areas of state responsibility then a state is justified in exiting the constitutional compact.

For Americans "section 51" is Article I, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution. A literal reading of Article I, Section 8, should make it clear that our federal government has far overstepped its bounds and encroached into areas of state responsibility.

I shall let Mr. Subhok make the closing point:
As more people become aware of the positive effects of secession, let it not be said that it is an idea only supported by the 'loony right'. Secession is an idea whose time has come. Everyone should seriously examine its merits.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Václav Havel, 1936-2011

CNN reported yesterday afternoon that Václav Havel, former President of Czechoslovakia, and later of the Czech Republic, died at the age of 75. There are very few people on this earth for whom I have as much admiration as I do for this man, who skillfully used the power of the pen to undermine the Communist régime in his country. In that effort, he suffered imprisonment for 4½ years; but emerged victorious in the Velvet Revolution that ended Communism in Czechoslovakia. The last Communist Parliament elected him President of the republic, an office he held until the "Velvet Divorce" that established the independence of Slovakia. Mike Tuggle at Rebellion aptly described Mr. Havel's approach to Slovak independence:
Faced with a secessionist movement by the eastern half of Czechoslovakia, he took the role of the anti-Lincoln, and respected the Slovaks' right to govern themselves. The two nations continue to live in peace.
He later returned to serve as President of the Czech Republic. During his presidencies he displayed moral leadership to an exceptional degree, which has been recorded in his speeches (particularly his first New Year's speech as President of Czechoslovakia) and writings, such as his book The Art of the Impossible. (He wrote several other books, but this one stands out for me).

He was a modern man, in that he was a playwright in the absurdist style and liked rock and roll music. In fact the Charter 77 declaration that established him as a dissident was inspired by the Communist arrest of a Czech rock band.

He was the rare leader that did not allow power to go to his head, but acted as a servant of the people. He continued that role to the end of his life. Last year, he protested the arrest of a Chinese dissident whose movement was modeled on Charter 77.

He will be missed; but more importantly, he provides a model of statesmanship that we would do well to follow.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Blunt truth of the day

From Jennifer Smith, political director of the Franklin County Libertarian Party, via Facebook:
Just so that everyone knows what our civil-liberties-stomping president just signed: ANYONE who fits a very broad definition of activist (Tea Partiers and Occupiers, for example) can be swept to Guantánamo Bay by the MILITARY. No trial. No due process. No police. No proof of anything. If you know any Obama supporters, share this story with them. If they STILL support him, then you know they're war mongering, anti-civil rights bigots. Because this is it.
The following article, which Jennifer linked, is to a Politico piece about the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012 being sent to the White House for signature.

The article states that President Obama lifted his veto threat when it became clear that Congress had the votes to override. I am not surprised. Please note (and I am repeating myself): The President's signature to this legislation will provide ample grounds for declaring Ohio's independence (See Trigger #1 on the right sidebar). If we value our freedom at all, we must act to ensure that this provision of law never touch otherwise law-abiding citizens within the State of Ohio. First step: Press our state legislators to NULLIFY Sections 1033 and 1034 of the Defense Appropriations Act of 2012. If this effort fails, then a declaration of independence will be justified.

Update Dec. 16: Another friend of mine on Facebook reports that he struggled for 11 years to obtain U.S. citizenship for his wife, who was born in the Soviet Union. Now he feels that they are no better off than before.

Monday, December 12, 2011

How did the U.S. end up owing so much money?

This chart makes it very clear:

Click to enlarge.
Sources: Office of Management and Budget, U. S. Treasury, and the Bureau of Economic Affairs.

It's about the OATH, stupid!

As we all know, journalists like to create controversy in the oddest places. One of the questions that arose in last Saturday's debate was "Is marital fidelity important in a President?" The other candidates took potshots at Newt Gingrich.Here are the highlights of last Saturday's ABC News/Yahoo! Republican debate, which includes his answer to this question. 

Ron Paul gave the correct answer, which is that obeying an oath is a sign of character. Dr. Paul said that while marital vows are important, the oath that really matters is to "preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States."

Dr. Paul is the only candidate who has consistently worked to do just that over 30 years. That should speak volumes about his character, and about what he would do as President.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Amen, sister!

Karen Kwiatkowski, again. This time in her own words, from, about Christmas, Christianity, and fascism. The entire article is well worth reading.
Christmas is a Christian celebration, but it is truly something that should be celebrated each day, in peace, in forbearance, in humble joy and gratefulness for God’s love, His generosity and His guidance. I’d like to think that we Christians might someday be able to show that Gandhi was wrong about us – that we do indeed follow the Prince of Peace in our daily lives, in our relationships at home and at work, and through our participation in politics. It is impossible for a true Christian to cheer war, to celebrate death, disease, destruction and poverty, to wish ill on others. It is downright devilish for Christians to claim their faith while exalting human governments that seek war on the basis of lies, that sow fear and loathing in the name of empire or government survival, and governments that would steal the very future from their own children in the name of patriotism. All I want for Christmas is a glimpse of real Christianity, in our lives and in our politics... [Emphasis added]

God knows what we need even before we ask Him, so I’ve been taught. That being the case, maybe I should see to it that I love liberty more passionately. I’ll add a grain of pure courage to my morning coffee, and I will try to think more independently, and step away from the party lines. I’ll see if I can live my Christianity in a more honest way. All that would make for a lovely Christmas, and it would be more than enough.
But Santa, if there is room for one more gift, please give me the opportunity to vote Ron Paul for President in 2012. Merry Christmas, America!
One more good reason she should be Vice President (if not President) of the United States!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Quotation of the day

Karen Kwiatkowski
I have little interest in streamlining government or in making it more efficient, for I mean to reduce its size. I do not undertake to promote welfare, for I propose to extend freedom. My aim is not to pass laws, but to repeal them.
-- Barry Goldwater (1960: Conscience of a Conservative), echoed by Lt. Col. Karen Kwiatkowski (Ret.), libertarian candidate for the Republican nomination for Congress in the Sixth District of Virginia, and my top choice for Ron Paul's running mate.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

We the sheeple of the United States...

Mike Adams at Natural News reports of a study conducted in the early 1960s, known as the Milgram experiments, which shows that 70% of people will administer painful, even lethal, electrical shocks if told to do so by a researcher. Now this is psychological research, and no one was really harmed. The "shocks" were signals given to an actor to feign pain. The researchers used psychological tricks like warning the subjects that they would ruin the project or do serious harm to the individual if the shocks were not administered as ordered.

The study was replicated in 2008 at the University of California at Santa Clara ... with the same results.

Mr. Adams writes:
For many years, psychologists speculated the original studies must have somehow been flawed. Humans beings couldn't be so cruel and gullible, could they? But now this repeating of the study immediately clobbers any debate on the subject and forces us all to confront the terrible reality: Most human beings of all ages, races, religions, cultural upbringings and professions will actively torture, harm and even kill fellow human beings if ordered to do so. [Emphasis in the original]

Why is this important to understand? Because it explains the sheeple effect that's so dominant in society today. Why do consumers obey apparent authorities so blindly? Why do they do what they're told even when it goes against all common sense and their own ethics?

According to Mr. Adams, we were all raised to be mind slaves:
Think about it: From the very first day you go to kindergarten, you're punished for getting out of line (literally), talking out of place, expressing your own ideas or refusing to follow commands. This psychological brow-beating goes on for thirteen years, and it's enforced by most parents, counselors and other authority figures.

And in most universities, the browbeating continues through the college and graduate school years. Very few of us are really taught to think for ourselves.
He cites a common example of this kind of conditioning, done at Costco and Sam's Club:
[P]eople just wait at the exit for some lame worker to check their receipt and mark it with a pen. People actually line up like cattle even after they paid for their stuff! I just walk out the door with the stuff I paid for, utterly ignoring the silly "receipt checkers" who keep screaming "Sir! Sir! Sir!" What I've learned is that after three or four screams, they just shut up and go back to the line of sheeple. Just slap on a pair of headphones, crank up your iPod and walk right out of the store, folks. Why are you giving up your Constitutional rights and submitting yourself to illegal search and seizure for a cart full of stuff you just paid for? [Emphasis added]
This explains the conundrum faced by libertarians. We want our people to be free, but only 30% of us know that we are not -- and even among that 30%, only about 3% of the population is motivated to do anything about it. Even intelligent people (or myself for that matter) sometimes get caught acting like one of the "sheeple." In everyday situations like the Costco one, it is probably harmless; but we need to heighten our awareness, so that we do not let ourselves be lulled into more harmful invasions of our rights, like the TSA scanners and police ID checks. 

The women's liberation movement realized that the first step to success was to raise the consciousness of the population to how women were being discriminated against. Libertarians need to do the same thing with the general population. I hope this post has been a small contribution in that direction.

Virtual buckeye to The Liberty Voice.

Update Dec. 7: Here is a concurring opinion from Bruce E. Levine at AlterNet. He cites eight reasons why young Americans are not fighting the system. I will refer you to the article to read the details, but here is the list:
  1. Fear they cannot repay their student loan debt
  2. Misuse of psychiatry and drugs to quell non-compliant behavior
  3. Schools that educate for compliance and not democracy
  4. "No Child Left Behind," a federal program that bases aid on test scores, which forces teachers to teach to the test, and not helping the child learn how to think for himself
  5. Confusing the difference between education and schooling. Young people are taught that disliking school is the same thing as disliking learning.
  6. Normalization of surveillance -- beginning at home as parents monitor their children's computers and social networking pages.
  7. Television -- for sixty years, the opiate of the people
  8. Fundamentalist religion and "fundamentalist consumerism," which destroy self-reliance and foster self-absorption.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Now the military is infiltrating the police

This story is nothing new -- we reported on an armored vehicle being used by the Fairfield County Sheriff in July 2009. A commenter on that post called it "the optics of clampdown."

However, it is getting worse. As reported by Benjamin Carlson in The Daily, the Pentagon has a surplus of military equipment which has given to law enforcement agencies nationwide since 1997 under the "1033" program. Through this program the military gave away nearly $500 million in surplus equipment in federal fiscal year 2011, ending Sept. 30. This is more than double what they gave out under the program the previous year. Equipment being provided includes grenade launchers, helicopters, military robots, M-16 assault rifles, and armored vehicles. Data provided to The Daily by the Defense Logistics Agency indicates that requests this fiscal year have increased 400% over last year.

While local law enforcement agencies like the program for its free goodies, it dangerously changes the mentality of police officers. The article tells of a story in which a grandfather in Framingham, Massachusetts not suspected of any wrongdoing was accidentally killed by a SWAT team earlier this year. The mayor of a small Maryland town had his door broken down, his two Labrador retrievers killed, and was interrogated for hours about a drug ring with which he had no connection.

Joseph McNamara, former chief of police in Kansas City and San Jose, California, puts it this way:
“It’s totally contrary to what we think is good policing, which is community policing,” he said. The profile of these military police units invading a neighborhood like the occupation army is contrary to what you want to do as a police department. You want the public to feel comfortable calling you to report crime and supporting you in working against crime and coming forward as witnesses.

“The idea that some police have that by being really super tough and military and carrying military weapons is a way to prevent crime — this is false,” he continued. “We have a lot of evidence on how to prevent crime and the major component is to win support for police, that we’re not this aloof occupation army.
Exactly. Never mind posse comitatus or amendments to the National Defense Appropriations Act for 2012 -- the ruling elite can accomplish the same purpose by militarizing our local police and sheriffs. This should become a political issue in every county sheriff campaign in Ohio next year. The purpose of law enforcement is to protect and to serve, not to dominate and kill. We need to make sure our local police and county sheriffs know that we want law enforcement to be community-friendly, and that acquiring 1033 hardware is not the way to achieve that objective.

Update Dec. 6: Five minutes after posting this, I get a Facebook comment about how Brimfield Township in Portage County got an M113 armored personnel vehicle. Send me news stories of 1033 donations in your area, and I will post them in this space. Another friend had already shared the article.

Virtual buckeyes to Mike Tuggle and Gabe McGranahan

Friday, December 2, 2011

Speedbump on the road to tyranny

In the interest of accuracy and full disclosure, I need to report that the following amendment to the National Defense Appropriations bill (S. 1867) was approved Dec. 1 by a vote of 99-1:

SA 1456. Mrs. FEINSTEIN (for herself, Mr. Levin and Mr. Durbin) proposed an amendment to the bill S. 1867, to authorize appropriations for fiscal year 2012 for military activities of the Department of Defense, for military construction, and for defense activities of the Department of Energy, to prescribe military personnel strengths for such fiscal year, and for other purposes; as follows:

   On p. 360, between lines 21 and 22 [Section 1032], insert the following:

   (e) Nothing in this section shall be construed to affect existing law or authorities, relating to the detention of United States citizens, lawful resident aliens of the United States or any other persons who are captured or arrested in the United States.

The lone dissenter was Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Arizona). This is good news, but we need to remain vigilant. My post yesterday remains true enough. Still makes me want to rethink going to Canada next summer...

The truth is stranger than fiction

In my update to yesterday's post, I addressed the conspiracy theory (actually well-grounded in fact) that the destruction of the World Trade Center on 9-11 was not only the attack by commercial jetliners, but a controlled demolition as well. This has led to a Facebook conversation with a skeptic (whose name I am withholding), which I thought deserved a larger audience.

Skeptic: Who set the charges?

HT: As I indicated in my post, we do not know. If it was a false-flag attack (conspiracy theory alert), it would probably have been done by undercover CIA operatives, possibly agents of al-Qaeda on the CIA payroll, as suggested by my link to Michael Chussodovsky [director of the Canadian think tank Global Research, often quoted in this space]. I do not know -- we may never know.

Skeptic:  really!? Our own CIA was in on destroying two of the most expensive buildings in the world and killing thousands of people and doing incalcuable harm to the American economy. okay, gotcha.

HT: I know it's hard to believe. I get that. The problem is that our federal government has been manipulated for years (I'm not sure how many) by people intent on using it for their own benefit at the expense of the rest of us. These people have no problem with murdering thousands (even hundreds of thousands, if you include Iraqis and Afghans) and cleaning millions of Americans out of their savings (through bank and currency manipulations) to maintain their wealth acquired through an imperialist American foreign policy. I'm not speculating about Jews, Illuminati, and Freemasons -- I'm talking about New York bankers (and by extension, the Federal Reserve Bank, which prints our money), arms merchants, and people like George Soros, a billionaire who profited heavily from our moratorium on oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico (by buying into a Brazilian oil company that is drilling in the Atlantic and ... the Gulf of Mexico), and is trying to replicate on the dollar his feat of profitably crashing the British pound about a decade ago -- effectively stealing billions in savings from the British people. [To which I should have added a host of very corrupt Congressmen, like inside traders John Boehner and Nancy Pelosi and those who donate heavily to their campaigns.] The endgame is to reduce all but a small elite of the American people to poverty, so they will willingly enslave themselves to the rich that remain in order to survive. It serves their interest to have Americans more interested in football, Lindsay Lohan, and Dancing with the Stars, and in what would be (but for Ron Paul) a meaningless Republican primary, than to understand what is really going on.

A future historian might well entitle their work on the last fifty years, While American Slept: The decline and fall of the United States of America.

Wednesday night, I attended a meeting of an organization of which I have been a member for sixteen years. Before it started (it is a small group), I briefly went over the Defense Appropriation Bill's detainment provisions and their implications (essentially what I wrote Nov. 29), and asked them if this was the kind of government they really wanted to pledge their allegiance to (They know I have not recited the Pledge of Allegiance since I joined them). And again, even with this warning, I remained the only one not to stand up for the pledge. Our people are very confused, and I am beginning to wonder what, if anything, will shake them out of the myth that we still live, and always will live, in a "sweet land of liberty."

My allegiance to the United States government is conditional on its fidelity to the Constitution, which represents the basic principles of our Founding Fathers. My desire for Ohio independence is to replace that government with a smaller one that is faithful to the same principles, as the Ohio Constitution is (in some ways better than the U.S. Constitution). If we see a miracle next year in the election of a President and Congress who are faithful to the Constitution, I will reconsider my position, but I am not confident that such a miracle will happen.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

A lesson from history

Reichstag fire
Compare the following account in Conservapedia with the logic behind Sections 1033 and 1034 of the Defense Appropriations bill, which we discussed Tuesday. I found the comparison rather chilling:
On February 27, 1933, the Reichstag in Berlin was destroyed in a fire that had plainly been deliberately set. Exactly who set the fire remains a question never fully resolved. Most contemporary observers both in and outside of Germany blamed and still blame the Nazis themselves, though [author William] Shirer admits in The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich that “The whole truth about the Reichstag Fire will probably never be known...”
Didn't all this hysteria over terrorism start with 9-11? Like the Reichstag fire, the whole truth of how the World Trade Center was destroyed will probably never be known.* In response, Congress passed several acts designed to restrict the freedom of the American people, notably the USA PATRIOT Act, creation of the Department of Homeland Security (which makes it possible for the federal government to create a secret police apparatus), the REAL ID Act, and those Transportation Security Administration gropers and scanners.

The article continues:
A day later a “defensive measure against Communist acts of violence endangering the state” was passed:
“Restrictions on personal liberty, on the right of free expression of opinion, including freedom of the press; on the rights of assembly and association; and violations of the privacy of postal, telegraphic and telephonic communications; and warrants for house searchers, orders for confiscations as well as restrictions on property, are also permissible beyond the legal limits otherwise prescribed.”  [Does the part in italics sound familiar?]
Thus, the first taste of Nazi state terror was rendered “legal,” as over the next week Brownshirts took into “protective custody” several thousand Communist officials and many Social Democrats and liberals. These prisoners, often snatched from their homes and off the streets, were loaded onto trucks and carried off to SA barracks and hastily set up prisons where many of them were held, tortured and killed without the formality of a hearing or trial. The rationale for these drastic measures, Hitler’s government insisted, was the dire threat posed by the communist menace... 
Not to be alarmist, but if the Defense Appropriations bill stands, our soldiers will be able to do exactly the same thing, and not just to suspected al-Qaeda terrorists! And then there are those empty FEMA camps... Continuing in Conservapedia:
“The burning of the Reichstag was to be the signal for a bloody insurrection and civil war…it was ascertained that today was to have seen throughout Germany terrorist acts against individual persons, against private property, and against the life and limb of the peaceful population, and also the beginning of general civil war.” 

Compare this paragraph with Senator Lindsay Graham's statement about Al-Qaeda on our shores in the Defense Appropriations bill debate (from The Hill):
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) argued that al Qaeda members are enemy combatants and should be held and prosecuted by the military. He and fellow Republicans have been critical of reading terror suspects Miranda rights.

“When they say, ‘I want a lawyer,’ you tell them, ‘Shut up,’ ” Graham said. “ ‘You don’t get a lawyer. You’re an enemy combatant, and we’re going to talk to you about why you joined al Qaeda.’ ”
At this point, the democratic Weimar Republic became Adolf Hitler's totalitarian Third Reich. Let me suggest that we may have a point of comparison here with a statement of President Obama's (July 27):
[The President] admitted that “the idea of doing things on my own is very tempting” when it came to dealing with Congress over the debt deal. And while he added the caveat that our democracy doesn’t work like that – the crowd was cheering the possibility of Obama side stepping Congress and doing things his own way.
The Third Reich built a system that enriched Germany's largest industrialists at the expense of everyone else. We call that system Fascism. In one of my early posts (January 2008), I listed ten steps to fascism. This act effectively completes Step 10 (to suspend the rule of law). The only remaining step is Step 9, to assert that dissent is the same as treason, and I expect that shoe to drop very shortly. We are already close to that, as evidenced by this Washington Times interview April 6 (which I reported a month later) and this Homeland Security advisory dated April 7, 2009.

When I was a student at Ohio Northern University, I lived on the west end of a large open space on campus. I could see the sunrise (or a moment or two after, because of buildings and trees in the distance). I once had a horrific dream where I saw the sun rise, on which was emblazoned a black swastika. In the midst of the Red menace when I went there, that would have seemed ridiculous; but it convinced me then that Fascism would be a greater threat to this country than Communism ever was.

This is one dream that I do not want to come true.

(Source of the Reichstag fire account: William Shirer, Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, volume II)

* Update 12/2: I have encountered some skepticism about this claim, because it suggests that I am a so-called "Truther". There is considerable evidence gathered by professional architects, engineers, and demolition experts that the World Trade Center could not have fallen the way it did solely from the planes crashing themselves through the buildings. The collapse of each building, in their professional opinion, and from films I have seen of controlled demolitions, suggest that the crash was supplemented by a controlled demolition. See the 911 Architects and Engineers for Truth site for this evidence. Also see my Dec. 2 post.