Why the Movie Studies and Record Companies Want to Kill Youtube – SOPA Ain’t What You Think It Is! By Jim March

The “Stop Online Piracy Act”, if passed, will allow “content owners” (studios, TV networks and record labels mainly) to order entire websites taken down if anybody posts “pirated content” there or even links to same. With so many videos being uploaded to Youtube and the like, monitoring or pre-approving videos is impossible and Google is on record as saying this bill will kill off Youtube completely.

The existing piracy controls are bad enough: the “content owners” can issue take-down notices when they spot piracy, but as long as Youtube or the like takes the stuff down (barring a counter-notification), Youtube can’t be held legally responsible.

The classic role of the record companies going back to the first years of rock was to sign up a good bar band, lock ‘em into a ghastly contract, get ‘em radio time, promote the hell out of their album(s), get ‘em concerts and pay them a relative pittance for the first few years. That was the norm.

That norm is breaking down because via Youtube and the like, brand new artists can connect directly with their audiences. The artist makes more money off of google adsense than they would as an obscure act on a large label, they can sell direct on iTunes or the like and they also sell CDs directly. Via the tracking on Youtube for number of views they build proof of their audience – which leads to either concert gigs and/or a contract with a record label that doesn’t rape them.

This is exactly what Justin Beiber did.

Here’s some other examples – pay attention to the number of views:

Ronald Jenkees  - almost 8 million hits on that one song and over a quarter mil subscribers to his channel.

Andy McKee  - 42 million views! He’s signed with a small label specializing in acoustic/folk, which is probably a much better deal than a major label.

This sort of thing is pure poison if you’re one of the execs at a big parasitic label. SOPA is how you stop it.

And it’s not just music – the same model is now breaking over into movies. The classic case so far is Freddiew – ever week he does a 2min or so video (usually “action”) and puts it on his Youtube channel, like so: Whose gun is it, anyway?

He has almost 3 million subscribers, over 500 million video views. He’s making enough cash off of google ads to pay himself and at least two others a full-time salary, plus finance the making of a full-length movie (in progress). He’s also gotten big enough to do web ads for the Battlefield games and did a spin-off of “Cowboys And Aliens” featuring the director of same.

In 10 years it’s a dead cinch Freddie will be directing more and better full-blown movies. No question. Will there be a studio as his “master”? I’d bet against it! He might well cut deals with direct-to-online outlets like Hulu, or sell exclusive-for-a-while rights to anybody from Netflix to DirecTV, and later break out completely into theaters.

THIS is the threat the major media sees out of Youtube – not piracy! They want to remain parasites between the artists and audience and will stop at nothing to prevent that…and they’ve bought off enough federal legicritters to be a threat to do it.

Note that this isn’t just “me talking” – researchers as highly placed as Harvard U are coming to very similar conclusions, at least as far as music goes.

PS: there is an alternate theory going around as to SOPA’s real ends that I think has some weight, but for reasons I’ll explain I think my theory is the more “dominant”. The other line of thinking is that “the powers that be” don’t like how much exposure of government abuses are being played on Youtube and the like.

I think this is a lesser factor, and might explain some quiet push being put on some of the legislators in the back rooms from the US-DOJ or the like. But it does not explain the fervent effort being put forward by all of the major media players in the music and movie industries. We know that’s where most of the money and lobbying for SOPA is coming from and again, this obvious connection between Youtube and the direct artist-to-audience links is a terrifying thing – for the parasites.

No Flags in Churches by Kaiser Leib

I’ve written before on the meaning of Romans 13, that chapter of the Bible which includes the admonition to “render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s.” That chapter does not mean that Christians are to be ultimately beholden to their governments. In context, it is an indictment against violence, and a statement about the duties of government.

But today’s church ignores this. Today’s church is often a cheerleading platform for the state and the military as much as for God and for charity. The clearest examples of this are the flags which often stand behind the pulpit: the stars and stripes of the united states, and the Christian flag developed in the late 19th century. This represents a dangerous conflict of interest: are we to regard our allegiance to God as equal with our allegiance to the government?

The traditional separation of the church from the state in this country serves not only to keep religious law from interfering with the laws of the land, but also to protect religions from the state. Remember, the early Puritans, the ‘Pilgrims’ of the Thanksgiving story, fled England to escape the British crown’s oppression of their faith. While kings and governments are ordained and permitted by God, our universal submission to them is not; witness the children of Israel, resisting Pharaoh, and King Herod’s fear and persecution of Jesus.

When we stand the battle flag of our country in a church, we endorse an unholy union between the church and the state. No longer can we say “Go ye therefore unto all the world;” no, we say “Worship the government of this country.” We endorse all the wars and taxes and evils committed in the name of the state, claiming that they are done in the name of God as well.

The Bible tells us that we are in the world, but not of the world (John 17), and that man cannot serve two masters (Matthew 6:24). When we place the flag of any nation in our churches, we make a statement that we are of the world, and that we choose that state as a master, not only for ourselves but for our entire church.

So fly the flag, if you wish, in your home. Place a flag bumper sticker on your car. But by flying the flag in church, you set up another master as equal or superior to God, and you must be wary of that.

Distraction via False Dichotomy by Kaiser Leib

The Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms willfully delivered firearms into the waiting hands of the Mexican drug cartels. You may speculate as to their reasons for doing so, but these activities were certainly illegal and immoral. Knowledge of this operation, called “Fast and Furious,” reaches at least as high as the United States Attorney General’s office, and therefore the current Attorney General, Eric Holder, should be made to answer for his wrongdoing.

Holder is a Democrat, as could be expected in a Democrat’s administration. This leads some Republicans to blame “the Democrats” for BATFE’s wrongdoing.

Arizona’s SB1070 is perhaps the most racist piece of legislation authored so far in the 21st century. This bill allows unreasonable search and seizure without basis at the discretion of police officers. Arizona State Senate President Russel Pearce, recently removed from office in a recall election, was a lead sponsor of this bill.

Pearce is a Republican, as might be expected in a state full of Republican voters. This leads some Democrats to blame “the Republicans” for Pearce’s wrongdoing.

George W. Bush was president during the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan and the first part of the latest market downturn, so these things are his fault, and by extension the fault of the Republican party. Barack Obama was president during the implementation of the latest bailouts, the NATO invasion of Libya, and the economically ridiculous “Cash for Clunkers” program, and so of course everyone who carries a (D) ought to be burned at the stake for those crimes.

“The Republicans” want to ban gay marriage, boo and hiss. “The Democrats” want to increase taxes and redistribute wealth, for shame. And if only we’d all see the evil of one party or the other, then the right people would gain power, and we’d see real change and Utopia, right?

The Occupy movement, much like the Tea Party before it, has been co-opted and turned into a partisan distraction. Popular anger is inappropriately redirected against the other half of the population, rather than against the ideas of government which have brought us to this state. By continuing to blame figureheads and people instead of institutions and ideas, we guarantee that the future will be as bleak as the present. I weep for future generations.

One Nation Under Occupation by Chris Dates

“Now something must be done about vengeance, a badge, and a gun”
-Zack de la Rocha

The picture above is probably the most powerful picture I have seen in a long time. As my mind dissected this picture, I had a thousand thoughts, and not one word. I had read the caption under the picture so I knew this young man’s name was Scott Olsen. I know he is a 24 year old Marine Veteran, and he had served two tours in Iraq.
This man is laying bleeding from his head in the arms of people he has probably never met. He has part of his military uniform on, perhaps a uniform he was issued. It looks like he has some kind of military pack on. The pack is splattered with blood, and his hair is matted into the blood on his forehead. This Marine is badly in need of medical attention. As this young man lay horizontally in the arms of strangers, his unbuttoned camouflage blouse had draped to either side of him. Under that blouse was a black undershirt with a white dove pictured on it. I stopped and focused on that dove for a minute. The photographer had managed to place it almost directly in the middle of the picture. My eyes were stuck on that dove as I wondered what events had taken place in his life that drove him to be an advocate for peace. Words can not accurately describe the power of this picture, so I won’t even try. If it was up to me, one of these pictures would be handed out to every returning soldier with these two words, “welcome home.”

All of these thoughts quickly disappeared when I thought to myself, why is this man not on a stretcher? Why is this man being cared for in this manner? Why is he being carried around like this?

 Then I watched the video….
That is a War Zone.

That young man was in a war zone. Many things have been said about the OWS protesters, and they have been called many names. I’d like to add one more name to the protesters who got this young Marine the hell out of there: Heroes.
It’s not everyday that your average American works up the courage to run into a situation where flash-bang grenades are being used; where tear gas canisters pop all around them; where they are being fired upon with rubber bullets and bean bags by those who have sworn to protect them. To watch that video is to witness bravery in action. I do not want to give commentary on the video, because like the picture above, it speaks for itself. Please take notice of the flash-bang grenade that is thrown by a member of law enforcement into the crowd of courageous folks who went back into harm’s way to try and rescue this man.

One word came to my mind when I watched that video: chaos. Chaos caused by jack booted thugs under the authority of the state. Chaos is the reason most folks I talk to reject the stateless society. They are unable to see that it is the state that causes chaos. Authority without accountability is chaos. It’s always the same excuse, chaos will ensue if we have no government. To those who would say this, I would ask this question; what the hell do we have now? It sure ain’t order.

If there is one thing the OWS movement has been good at it’s pointing out the real occupation force in this country: American Law Enforcement.
This essay was written from occupied territory.
Resist.
“Badges don’t grant extra rights”
-Copblock

21st Century Abolitionists by Chris Dates

Editor’s note: Chris has a sense of serendipity, and has supplied another insightful essay while Bill and I are occupied at Libertopia. If you’d like to contribute an essay, please email them to kaiserleib@gmail.com. We may edit your essay for mechanics, but never for content. -KL

“No man can put a chain about the ankle of his fellow man without at last finding the other end fastened about his own neck.”
~Frederick Douglass

This essay is a follow-up to my last essay that was posted here at ZeroGov. I don’t think I properly got my point across, and I do not want to appear as a man who does not take freedom seriously enough to take the time to explain how it would work. Please allow me this opportunity to explain myself a little further.

I have read many books, essays, and such explaining how the people will have to be shown concrete alternatives to the state apparatus before they have the courage to abandon it. They will have to be shown how they would travel, and not just traveling by automobile, an explanation has to be given for air travel and air traffic control also. They need to be explained how they would receive justice in a free society, or shown examples of how justice has been handled in the past and present absent the state. Certainly the problem of pollution cannot be left up in the air when trying to explain why a free society would be better. These are only a few problems that exist now, and will undoubtedly exist in a voluntary society. Somehow we will have to show working alternatives to every one of these problems before the people throw off the shackles they have placed upon themselves. And this is the reason why we will fail at this monumental task of trying to explain freedom, although our minds are free, our bodies are not. We can build in our heads, but we lack the right to build with our hands.

The abolitionists of the past did not know of companies like, John Deere, Kubota, or International Harvester. They would never witness the invention of the tractor and all of the wonderful implements that can be attached to them that make life on a farm so much easier. They would never witness the fabulous invention known as the internal combustion engine, or the introduction of hydraulic systems that make all of this technology possible. They were not concerned with any of this, they did not care about what would replace the slave; they only fought to end the horrible institution of chattel slavery. This is the root I was trying to strike with my last essay. I only wish to abolish slavery. I see something as wrong, I should not have to devise a working model as an alternative to this wretched practice. Is it not enough to expose the slavery in the system to get my fellow humans to throw off their shackles? Do I have to tempt them with new systems? Chattel slavery, although practiced for many, many centuries, is now seen as a horribly immoral institution. Slave owners of the past were not presented with cost benefit analysis, or return on investment sheets. The moral argument was presented, and it was supported with the fact that man is a self-owner, no matter the color of his skin.

When comparing slavery and the state, some may think it’s a bit over the top, or is meant to invoke emotion. I assure you that the comparison is accurate and correct. To be a self-owner, one needs to believe in self-ownership. If one believes in ownership, then one also believes in possession. Let me give you an example: let’s say you find someone’s keys in a parking lot, and you pick them up. At this time, you are in possession of the keys, but they are not yours. The owner comes along and makes a claim on his property; he can stake an ownership claim. You being the good and helpful person you are gladly hand this man his keys, because he is the true and rightful owner. Let’s turn the tables, you have lost your keys, and you find a man in possession of them in a parking lot. As you approach this man you give him your gratitude for finding the lost set of keys, but instead the man runs away. He runs because he understands that you are the rightful owner, and he is merely in possession of the keys. It is not his property and he knows it. He is the wrongful owner.

Humans understand this concept with just about all property, except for their own bodies, and more specifically their labor. This principle also, and most importantly, applies to your body. Either you own it, or you are only in possession of it, and someone else can make an ownership claim on it. The law of the excluded middle works for ownership. Your labor would not exist without you, so it is only logical that it is yours. Either you own yourself and therefore your labor, or you don’t. There is no middle ground here. The difference between chattel slaves and 21st century slaves can be measured in degrees. Just as slave owners staked ownership claims on their slaves, the government stakes an ownership claim on you. The two masters are exactly the same in the fact that both wish to only extract your labor, the state just found a more efficient way of doing it. By claiming ownership of your labor the state has staked an ownership claim on to your own body.

Let’s go back to the guy running off with your keys. He now has to be on the look out because he is afraid that you will come looking to collect your property and violence may ensue. He still knows that he is only in possession of them and he is not the rightful owner. If you catch him, you will not accept only one key, or two keys, no you want the whole ring of keys, they are yours. The only way this man can keep your keys is through force, or the threat of force. He can pull out a gun to try and defend his possession, but the reason he has to pull the gun in the first place is because he is not the owner. This is the exact reason why the state has to employ the use of force to extract your property, they are not the rightful owners of it. The only rightful way property can be exchanged is through voluntary interaction; this is the only true way ownership can be transferred. Just as the chattel slave owners used shackles and chains, the state uses the same thing, but they have tricked us into putting them on ourselves and our neighbors. A happy slave is a more productive slave. The reason Marxism will never work is because it uses the negation of ownership as it’s principle; possession. The reason why capitalism does and forever will work is because it uses ownership as it’s principle. It’s time for us to abandon the middle, just like Marxism all of the lite flavors of it will also not work. It is false.

I’ll tell you the reason I do not feel the need to have to explain how freedom might work. Look back at the last couple of hundred years. Look at the explosion in technology. Look at the advances in the medical field. Look at the marvels taking place in the computing world. My goodness, look at the Internet itself. Everywhere we look we see human genius at work. This boom started to happen right around the same time chattel slavery was abolished in many countries. Do you think this is a coincidence? When men could no longer own other humans, and force those humans to labor, they had to come up with alternatives. Necessity is the mother of invention, and when you own slaves, there is no need for invention or innovation. This is the reason why I consider myself a 21st century abolitionist, I only have to look to the recent past to know that the abolition of slavery leads to amazing things. This is why I do not spend time explaining freedom, I spend my time explaining slavery. Along with being an abolitionist, I am also a capitalist. I have been fond of saying, “I have my ideas, but they are mine.” If you need some advise on how to live your life without the use of slaves, I’ll start a business called the “Freedom Consulting Firm”, and then you can pay me for my ideas.

When my son was very young, he would grab his toys from his cousins and say “MINE!”, we can grasp these concepts at a very young age. It’s time for us to look at the state and simply say, “MINE!”

“The labourers have the most enormous power in their hands, and, if they once became thoroughly conscious of it and used it, nothing would withstand them; they would only have to stop labour, regard the product of labour as theirs, and enjoy it. This is the sense of the labour disturbances which show themselves here and there. The State rests on the – slavery of labour. If labour becomes free. the State is lost.”
~Max Stirner

I Recant: Confessions of an OWS Opponent

Yet, clever people fall for far more dangerous ideas of the exact same form. In Philadelphia, a group of remarkably intelligent men came together to form a government. These men had seen full-grown governments before, had in fact just freed themselves from one. Yet here they were, feeding and nourishing a small baby government, playing with it, considering it so cute and adorable that they just had to have one.

-Joshua Katz, “Don’t Buy a Tiger

My previous piece was an attempt at a polite hatchet job on the OWS movement. That was hypocritical and wrong. I apologize, more to my friends who read it and agreed than to the OWS types who (like the rest of the world) remain largely unaware of the existence of ZeroGov.

I stand by my criticism of the unfocused nature of the protests. I agree with the sentiment of frequent ZeroGov commenter mot, who wrote:

“They ask evil to protect them from evil….” That’s the old Biblical example of trying to cast out Beelzebub in the name of Beelzebub. It simply doesn’t happen.”

And I still oppose the sentiment of this young man and those like him who, rather than being upset that the fruits of their labor has been wrongly appropriated by those in power, instead demand a share of the spoils.

But these protests are, so far, spontaneous order without coercion or force (although there are some disturbing omens that the will of the many might soon be imposed on the few). Until force is used, until laws are imposed and enforced, these protesters are absolutely doing the right thing. The protesters are respectfully using and maintaining the “occupied” property. This is anarchism in action by any reasonable definition: that no person or group imposes its will on another.

I am still worried that OWS, like the Tea Party before it, will be co-opted by new or existing powers. I do not like the rumblings of a coherent demand for increased regulation instead of the removal of existing Protectionist, Corporatist and Crony Capitalist government policies. I do not like the near-complete absence of anti-war sentiment among the protesters on the Youtube videos and articles I’ve seen.

But popular anger at a system of power that has done harm, I like. Spontaneous order and cooperation without coercion, I like. And so I hope and pray that this movement does not coalesce into Soviet communism, Nazi fascism, or American imperialism. I hope that anger at the powers that be, anger at the tax collectors and Apparatchiks and banksters does not devolve into a cult of personality around the elites who make false promises.

I hope, that is, that my last essay was wrong.

HL Mencken and the Occupation of Wall Street by Kaiser Leib

“Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard.”

-H. L. Mencken

In the etymological sense, all societies are democracies. No government could remain in power, even with the support of the police and the military, if every citizen were simply to pick up a rock and throw it. Therefore, any government which remains in power has the tacit consent of the people, or at least a plurality of motivated people.

It seems that the American government is losing this tacit consent. The Occupy Wall Street protests and the copycat movements across the country are evidence of that. These protesters are not a majority of the people. They are not a plurality of the people. They do, however, represent one majority opinion: that the nature of the present relationship between government and high finance is intolerable, and must be changed.

The rest of the protesters’ message is unclear, because it is unfocused. Polling would indicate that the protesters want more government regulation, but determining the nature of that regulation would be left to existing powers – leaving us exactly where we are now, albeit with shiny new lipstick on our pig of a financial system. And what of the wars, against “terrorism” and “drugs?” Have those been forgotten, or are the prison-industrial and military-industrial complexes simply a smaller threat to our well being than the undefined greed of the “1%”?

The Occupy Wall Street movement is composed of people who have every reason to be angry. Their property has been appropriated, their opportunities are repeatedly limited by government interference. They’ve been sold a package of unjust wars, useless education, and dubious protection from threats less real than the Bogeyman. To be sure, crony corporatists and congressman have colluded to commandeer the future of this country, and of the entire world. But OWS doesn’t seem to be about that. OWS asks for more regulation, more government meddling in our affairs. They ask evil to protect them from evil, and don’t understand the similarity between the 1% of high finance and the 1% of government.

Mencken’s snide dismissal of democracy is too kind. These common people, these “99%,” don’t really know exactly what they want. Unfortunately, the getting will be just as “good and hard” regardless.

Conversations with Normal People: Part One by Chris Dates

“You have rights antecedent to all earthly governments: rights that cannot be repealed or restrained by human laws….” ~ John Adams

As I have mentioned before, I am an Auto Mechanic. As part of my job I test drive customer vehicles to verify a complaint, and to recheck my work when it’s completed. The other Technicians I work with do the same thing, so when Law Enforcement has set up a speed trap, or are actively running radar in the area where most of us test drive, word spreads like wildfire.

But this time was different….

My buddy walked down to me and explained to me that he had just got stopped by the cops. I thought to myself that he must have been speeding, or committed the heinous crime of rolling through a stop sign, or some other arbitrary traffic infraction so I asked him what he had done. He told me that he had done nothing wrong, but a roadblock had been set up, and he went through it. He told me that the road was blocked off in either direction, and they were stopping both sides of the road. He explained the roadblock was rather large, and it was a collaboration between Local and State Law Enforcement. I asked if any Military was present, he said no, but said they sure did look and act like the Military.

He was not in his personal vehicle when they stopped him, and he was also wearing gloves.  Technicians wear gloves to protect themselves from chemicals, and other substances that could cause harm. He was asked to produce his license and registration. He pulled out his license, and held up the work order explaining to this Jackboot that this was not his vehicle.  He pointed to the Honda emblem on his shirt, and also pointed out the rest of his uniform.  The Officer then asked if there was anything in the van that he should know about. My buddy responded, again, that this was not his vehicle, and he has no idea what’s in the van. The Officer then noticed that he was wearing gloves, and for some odd reason became very alarmed. The officer asked him why he was wearing gloves. He said it’s for protection from oil, brake clean, and other harmful fluids in the shop. The officer then asked him if he was sure that was the reason he was wearing gloves. My friend, at this point puzzled, responded with yes. The Officer then took his license and work order and walked away. He came back in about two minutes and told him he was “cleared to leave”. It’s important to note that the armed State Employee who was busy interrupting the daily commerce of everyone who happened to drive down that road was concerned by my friend’s uniform. How bizarre, an armed man standing in the middle of the road with the rest of his armed gang was alarmed my a man trying to fix this person’s vehicle.

I asked him why they were stopping people, and he said they were looking for suspended licenses, expired registrations and vehicle inspections. I asked him if that was the official reason, if that was the story he had gotten from the cops.  He said no, but many of the numerous cars that were pulled over on the side of the road had expired vehicle inspections, and registrations(he is a State Inspector, it’s part of his job to notice these things). I asked him what he thought of the roadblock, and he told me he didn’t mind it, because he wasn’t doing anything wrong.  At this point the Activist in me wanted to grab my Best Friend (who I work with), and my camera to go and film this Tyranny, but the Father in me told me it was a bad idea, and that I was sure to end the day in a cage. Besides, we had started to build quite the audience of people anxious to hear about the roadblock. I thought to myself what a great opportunity to inject some freedom principles into the conversation.

After the story was retold we all sat around discussing what happened. The usual grumbling ensued, you know, the kind that usually follows any cop story. I asked the group if the cops have the right to do this, and EVERYONE responded with a yes. They said basically, yeah, it sucks, but they believe it has to be done for protection against drunk drivers and “illegals”.  I asked about the Bill of Rights, specifically the fourth amendment, and everyone gave me a blank stare like they were waiting for me to tell them what their rights were as human beings, so I did….

Amendment IV

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

I then explained how this roadblock was a violation of individual rights, and completely illegal. I then heard a voice say, “Oh, no it’s not, it’s completely legal”, it was a co-worker of mine who is a former Sheriffs Deputy, he was walking up with three other men. At this point the conversation had swelled to more than ten individuals. I was anxious to hear this man’s explanation on exactly how this sort of thing is “legal”.  He said as long as there is a pattern, and not random, it’s legal. He said as long as Law Enforcement was stopping every third car, or every red car, or every truck, it was legal. He said this is how it was legal to set up DUI checkpoints and still be Constitutional. He explained to the group that driving was a privilege, and that you give “implied consent” the moment you enter your vehicle and motor onto public roadways. Anyone who has read my articles knows I hate the phrase “implied consent”, and I was itching to question him on his logic. I asked him if it was legal for Law Enforcement to search every red house or every third house. He said that was different, because driving requires a license, owning a house does not. I asked him if I could opt-out of the mandatory tax that goes to fund the roads I am privileged to drive on, and he told me no. I wanted to clarify for the group, so I repeated, “so, let me get this straight, I am forced to pay for these roads under penalty of law, but it’s a privilege that I get to use them?”  I then asked, “tell me, how can an Officer force me to produce my license when I have done nothing wrong? Isn’t that unreasonable?” He said the reason this is legal is because the State issued that license and it’s really not mine, it’s State property. I then questioned the need for drivers licenses, since I can be made to hand over State property at any given time, do I really need to have it?

When I questioned the need for licenses the crowd kind of mumbled, and some started to question where I was going with this, I mean, licenses make us safer, right? I posed a question to the former Sheriffs Deputy, “if the State licenses me to drive a vehicle, and I prove myself unfit to operate that vehicle,  I crash and severely injure a person and destroy property, can the State be sued?”  He said no, that’s a job for the insurance companies to handle. I then asked, “OK, so what’s the purpose of the license?” He said, “Well, it’s just needed.” I pressed on, “No, why do we need them? If a private company is the entity that takes care of rectifying the loss of life or property, why do we need the damn license?”  He said, “well, insurance companies won’t insure you without a valid license.” I then asked, “isn’t that called Fascism?” I then addressed the group, “can anyone give me one good reason for the licensing of drivers?” I also reminded them that they were all Auto Mechanics, and that they needed no licensing when spinning wrenches, even though what we do, or fail to do could kill people. I could see the light bulbs starting to turn on at this point.

I returned to the point I was trying to make about the searching of houses. I asked the group what would happen if they stopped paying their property tax. Most of the group responded that if the failure to pay went far enough, the property would be seized by the county. I then asked, “well isn’t this a privilege then? Isn’t owning a house a privilege?” All that’s needed now was the license, and bang, the State could randomly search your house, and it would be completely legal. The former Deputy chimed in and said, “all these Officers were doing was following orders.” I was waiting for that old line to come out. I reminded this man that he once took an oath to defend the Constitution, and not to enforce the laws that dance around the Bill of Rights. I am an anarchist, and I see the Constitution as nothing more than a blueprint for a perpetual slave machine, but when it comes to freedom, I’ll take what I can get. I asked one more question of the former Deputy, “there are more than 20,000 gun laws on the books even though 2A clearly states–shall not be infringed– if a law was passed where you were made to turn in your guns, would you?” He reluctantly said, “yes….if it’s the law, I must respect it.” I said, “no you don’t have to respect it, the Bill of Rights does not grant you rights, it merely protects the rights you naturally have.” He said he was “impressed”‘with my knowledge of the Constitution and we both agreed to finish the conversation over a couple of beers.

I told the group that we are losing our rights one by one. One man spoke up and said, “we are not losing our rights, they are just trying to protect us so that we have more rights.” I asked him to enumerate just one right that he thought we were not losing, he couldn’t name one.

How can we say we are losing our rights if the majority of Americans don’t even know what rights they have? How can we say we are losing America if the majority of of Americans don’t even know what the idea of America was?

“When men yield up the privilege of thinking, the last shadow of liberty quits the horizon.” ~ Thomas Paine

 

Winners and Losers in Libya and on Earth by Kaiser Leib

Foreign intervention is the pride of American policy. It has been our raison d’être for a century, beginning with the Spanish-American war in the late 1890s and continuing without meaningful interruption. The people of these united States are amenable to these constant entanglements, it seems, because our enlightened system of democracy allows us to decide what is best for the rest of the world.

Our latest humanitarian effort is the destruction (and forthcoming rebuilding) of Libya. Our intervention in Libya is justified by international consensus, the dictator’s evilness, access to natural resources, and perhaps the specter of weapons of mass destruction. For this reason it is different and more justified than our entanglement in Afghanistan, which was justified by international consensus, the Taliban’s evilness, access to natural resources, and the bad acts of a wealthy Saudi; or our invasion of Iraq, which was justified by international consensus, the dictator’s evilness, access to natural resources, and the specter of nonexistent weapons of mass destruction.

Libya, I am told, is in Africa, a continent full of people who cannot be trusted with their own governance. This is obvious due to how poorly they’ve behaved themselves when conquered, ruled, armed and raped by Europeans. Furthermore, Africans are incapable of conducting successful revolutions without outside help; this is evidenced by the terrible situation in South Sudan. For this reason, it was absolutely necessary for the Western nations to render the rebels assistance against the Gadaffyduck regime, which had been previously armed by Western nations. After the promised short days (not weeks) of fighting, Gadaffyduck is deposed, and NATO forces have left the country.  This all occurred in March, several months ago.

The new Libyan government will be democratic, in the spirit of Afghanistan, Iraq, and the first French Republic. This will guarantee that the human rights of the Libyan people will be respected, and that the NATO powers will have uninterrupted access to Libya’s oil reserves. The National Transition Council (NTC), Libya’s interim government, is largely Muslim; this meets with popular approval after years of secular rule. Muslim populations ought to be allowed to select Muslim leaders, except in Palestine and Iran.

The Korean war persists into its sixth decade, complete with military bases and US troops. Okinawa and Rammstein remain occupied, just in case. Our boys at Guantanamo Bay remain ever-vigilant against the Spanish threat of the 19th century. Poland is a member of NATO, which still has a purpose years after the dissolution of the Warsaw pact. The sun rises, the sun sets, and hastens to the place from which it rose. Still I Hope for Change.

London Glaziers Praise Youth for Economic Stimulus by Kaiser Leib

The Worshipful Company of Glaziers and Painters of Glass has released a statement in support of the economic stimulus activities undertaken this week in London. “Over the past three nights,” said guild spokesman JM Keynes, “The brave young people of London have taken it upon themselves to guarantee the economic health of our city for years to come.” Keynes went on to explain that the Glaziers expect a 10,000% increase in demand for new glass windows over the coming weeks, which will employ hundreds of new glassmakers, who are paid as much as six francs for each new window produced.

Shopkeeper F Bastiat took a rather dimmer view of the stimulus package, citing its cost to his business. “Look here,” he said, gesturing to his store’s broken window. “They broke that, broke the door, came in and took things right off the shelves.” Bastiat expects that his insurance will cover some of the damages, but that much of his inventory will be a total loss. “I had a year’s profits tied up, just in what was on the shelves,” he explained. “And some of it they just destroyed! This television was too heavy to steal, I suppose, so they just smashed it.”

Bastiat’s selfishness, though, is not representative of most Londoners.  In addition to creating jobs and increasing private spending, the stimulus is providing an increased standard of living for some participants. ”I got tones of stuff todayyyy!” explained one of the stimulus agents via twitter, ” … whop whop … wat ev;; it was free so i took it ennit,, didn’t get caught so[.]”

The London Olympics, set for 2012, could bring economic stimulus to countries the world over. “Just imagine,” said Keynes, “What would happen if some of these elite athletes had their possessions appropriated by another stimulus, or if they were injured? And there’ll be millions of attendees, too! All these people will have to buy replacement goods and seek health care upon return to their home nations. Everyone will benefit!”

Bastiat could not be reached for further comment at press time.

Of Straws and Camels

This is drivel, drivel in disagreement with drivel; my short sermon to you, my members of a silent choir in a forgotten cathedral. We had a good run; we tried, and volumes of history will be written in Red, White and Blue ink.

Our dear leaders are nearly finished yelling at each other for the time being, and have settled on a course of action which will allow them to continue on toward catastrophe. Republicans cheer for fiscal responsibility; fiscal responsibility is confused, because he was not invited to the party. Democrats decry the impending doom the Republicans have wrought this term, ignoring the centuries of proud expansion and deficit spending which have brought us to our fate.

Here’s the problem: borrowing is only right when you can pay back your creditors. US policy is to fund our debt payments with additional debt. Tax revenues, even vastly increased tax revenues, cannot pay back the present debt. Growing that debt more slowly is not a solution; if the federal government can’t pay its bills without perpetual borrowing now, how is it supposed to pay those bills later? At some point, some creditors must be left holding the bag.

But our elected representatives provide us with political theater in the meantime. They’ve agreed to “cut” the deficit by $2.3 trillion over the course of the next decade or so. In order to do this, the debt ceiling must be increased $2.1 trillion dollars. I am not sure how the latter can possibly lead to the former… but I am certain that greater problems are ahead, and that there’s a limit to how much debt our government can issue before there’s nobody left to buy it.

Capital Idea! Greece Defaults by Kaiser Leib

The Greek default isn’t total, yet. Perhaps it won’t be. But more defaults, across Europe and the rest of the world, are an inevitable consequence of modern banks’ and governments’ twisted corruption of capitalism.

Modern capitalism is built on the idea of investment: that by stockpiling more resources than are immediately needed and dedicating those resources to productive tasks instead of consuming them, you can end up with more resources. This works very well, and has been the policy of every Homo sapiens sapiens who bothered to plan past his next meal. Capital accumulation allowed us to progress past our hunter-gatherer roots, although we didn’t have a name for it at the time.

The concept of capital accumulation leads directly to the idea of lending. If you have more resources than you can effectively employ, you might as well lend those resources to someone else, so that he can use them to go produce even more. In exchange for this loan, you expect to receive your resources back, plus a share of those the borrower has produced.

Once you’re comfortable with the idea of lending, another concept might occur to you: that of fractional reserve banking, the backbone of modern finance. In fractional reserve banking, depositors lend their money to a bank, which then lends it back out at interest. This works because the depositors will not, presumably, come to the bank en masse and request the full return of their deposits. There is a tacit understanding that depositors will at some point have access to the funds they’ve put in the bank, just not “right now.”

Fractional reserve banking is hugely important. It makes credit much more accessible, which allows entrepreneurs to do things like discovering the Americas and founding small businesses. Unfortunately, this easy credit market also makes it very attractive for governments to take on impossibly huge obligations in order to win short-term political victories. Governments issue bonds in order to fund these obligations, which are purchased mostly by banks and investment funds. Greece funded their citizenry’s early retirement pensions and short work hours on such bonds; their tax revenues were not and are not nearly sufficient to maintain that standard of living.

Now, if it were possible to make good on these loans, the problem would be restricted to Greece. The Greek people’s standard of living would fall and that would be difficult for them. Unfortunately, there is no way the Greek government can repay what they owe; if the required austerity measures were implemented, the Greek people would simply tear the country apart, form a new government and repudiate the debt, leaving the lenders holding the bag. This is a huge problem for the European Union, of which Greece is a member state. Therefore, the wealthier and more responsible EU members (most importantly Germany) will make further bad loans to Greece, prolonging the problem but cushioning the blow, at least in theory.

If it works – if the partial default makes it possible for the Greek government to meet its obligations, and the lenders are compensated under the new terms – this still only solves the problem for Greece. A number of other EU nations, notably Ireland and Spain, are still similarly troubled – and the Germans only have so much excess capital to share. How long will the wealthier nations of the EU carry the poorer nations? What would be the fallout if they were to stop?

The best solution, perhaps the only solution, is to allow the lenders to deal with the consequences of their bad loans. Greek debt was a bad risk to take, and those who took it should not have their losses socialized.

In any case, we in the united states have the advantage of seeing this unfold from afar. We can learn the difficult forthcoming lessons by watching the European situation unfold, rather than facing our own states’ forthcoming defaults without any reference. The question is whether we’ll pay attention to those lessons.

The Tip of the Spear By Chris Dates

“It is impossible to introduce into society a greater change and a greater evil than this: the conversion of the law into an instrument of plunder.” ~ Frederic Bastiat

I had business to attend to all week in Richmond, VA. I live west of Fredericksburg, just past the Wilderness Battlefield. Ironically, I live off of the Constitution Highway. Those who read my work might find that a bit funny. I take mostly back roads that wind me through the Old Dominion, until I eventually get dumped out on to I95. Any Virginian knows in the morning, I95 is jammed packed from DC to Richmond, there is just no way around it.

While sitting in traffic just outside of the old Confederate Capitol I saw something very disturbing. A Virginia State trooper had backed his vehicle out of the way of an on-ramp where commuters were trying to merge onto the busy Interstate. The going was slow on the merge, and cars were at a complete stand still. There, this Trooper was standing at the end of the on-ramp checking license plate registration, Virginia State safety inspection, and personal property tax stickers. The congestion on I95 was quite heavy this particular morning so I had the opportunity to witness this fascist spectacle for probably five minutes.

Virginia State requires that the safety inspection sticker, and the county tax sticker be installed in the lower middle section of the windshield, and the vehicle registration stickers are attached to the license plates. As vehicles were trying to merge, this Trooper would inspect the license plate and then snap his head up to look at the windshield. The whole situation was surreal; he seemed to be more machine than man. His movements seemed robotic, the movement of his head seemed almost hydraulic; up, down, up, down; compliant, non-compliant. I think that is probably what he was “thinking”. The only thing missing here was robo-cop. His face was emotionless; when a vehicle approached that was not in compliance, he would snap his arm out to his side and point the vehicle over. His motions were crisp, almost like they were programmed into him.

There were a thousand thoughts going through my head at this point. The first, what an incredible racket! This law enforcement officer who collects his check from the State was forcefully extracting money for his employer all morning long. Faceless Bureaucrats scribble some kind of fund raising scheme down on paper, and *poof* it’s law. From here the armed minions of the State take over and hit the streets on a mission to find as many subjects “breaking the law” as they possibly can. Somehow these men think that when they put on their uniforms, and get behind their badges, they are relieved of their moral obligations to their fellow men. Those of us who actually exercise some kind of reasoned thought on a daily basis know better. For the brief time I was stuck there he had successfully gotten two subjects to pull over, perhaps interrupting otherwise productive people, who actually might be on the way to produce some good or service. My second thought; is this what this man dreamed his job would be when he was a little boy? Is it really the dream of those who wish to keep the peace to make sure their fellow men have the correct stickers on their cars!? Should we rename the innocent children’s game of cops and robbers to compliance officers and subjects? My third thought was, why in the hell do we have a human doing this? I mean, can we at least bring the tyranny into the 21st century? Couldn’t a robot, or some kind of scanning camera do this job? Lets make George Orwell proud, and just get on with it, at least this officer could join the ranks with the rest of the citizen subjects. These highway men know where their bread is buttered. Bring the spoils back to the King, and he’ll cut you out some, right peace officers? I wonder if this man ever sat down and thought critically about what he was actually doing. If he did, and he was a man of honor, he would not return to work the next day. Or at least refuse to be a thief and go investigate a crime with a real victim.

About two years ago I was on the way to work in the morning, and I got pulled over about a half mile from my shop. The officer stopped me for not having a valid county sticker on my vehicle. This means that I was late in paying the perpetual tax on my vehicle, so my tax sticker was not up to date. Needless to say, I was shocked when he told me why he pulled me over, I thought I had been speeding or in violation of some other arbitrary vehicle infraction. Nope, I got pulled over for not paying my property tax. I had to bite my tongue most of the time while I was on the side of the road, but I did ask him one question. I said, “so, you pulled me over for not paying my taxes?” He said, “No, I pulled you over for an invalid county sticker.” The only way to receive a valid county sticker is to pay the property tax on my vehicle. This man was either too stupid to put it together, or he was ashamed to admit it to himself, let alone say it aloud.

He then gave me a ticket and told me that the judge would dismiss it if I showed proof that I paid my property tax on the court date. This man was trying to charge me a fine on unpaid taxes. Are any of you still buying this land of the free crap? These situations make me wonder how these men live with themselves. I am an auto mechanic, as most of you know some folks think we are dishonest. When I catch a mechanic trying to sell work a customer does not need, they are gone. We will not have it where I work. It is up to the honest mechanics to try and salvage the profession, and police the ranks. To the law enforcement that read this; do any of you stop to think about what you are doing? Do any of you realize you are taking hard working peoples money at the barrel of a gun? AND, do you realize the other profession that does this? I don’t think I need to say it.

Law Enforcement, you are the tip of the spear. Your spear could go either way at this juncture in history. You could choose what other “law enforcement” have chosen to do throughout history, defy, and then defile your own people. Or you can turn that spear around and once again take up your moral obligations to your fellow men, and truly be the protectors of peace. The choice is yours and yours only. Not your superior officers, not your partners, not your buddies, yours. Whatever decision is made as we stand on the abyss of total moral, and societal collapse, you will own it. Whether you like the decision that was made or not, it will be yours. You cannot hide from your own conscious. If you find it necessary to think twice about whether something is right or wrong, it might be necessary to think twice about kicking that door in.

“When you think of the long and gloomy history of man, you will find more hideous crimes have been committed in the name of obedience than have ever been committed in the name of rebellion.” ~ C.P. Snow 

How Many Bad Apples? By Kaiser Leib

“Fortunately,” he said, “that’s hardly a representative sample of American Law Enforcement, thank God.”

“How many bad apples does it take to spoil a bunch?” I asked.

From there, the conversation turned to the philosophical; absent our present justice and law enforcement system, how would we guarantee our safety from the evils of the world? This was as non-productive as may be imagined, and because my friend is a reasonable man, we agreed once again to disagree.

So I ask you, dear reader. How many bad apples does it take to spoil a bunch? How much infringement upon our rights, how much overstepping constitutional authority, how much outright brutality are we willing to tolerate from our designated protectors before it’s just not worth it any more?

In the aftermath of hurricane Katrina, firearms were confiscated by the New Orleans Police Department. This was an isolated incident, and the New Orleans PD does not represent American Law Enforcement in general. Most city police are dedicated and noble and would fight to protect the rights and lives of citizens.

During the Virginia Tech massacre, the equipped and trained officers did not enter Norris Hall until Cho had killed himself, frustrated by a barricade that students erected to keep him at bay. Officer safety is paramount, and it would have been dangerous for any one officer to enter the building in the presence of an active shooter without backup.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, tasked with preventing federal offenses related to firearms, encouraged firearms to be illegally sold and distributed to known criminals, resulting in the death of at least one Border Patrol agent and countless other human beings. But the present ATF is not representative of federal Law Enforcement agencies in general, and these abuses will die with that bureau.

In 1993, the FBI and the BATFE laid siege to and massacred a group of Seventh-Day Adventist heretics, for the crime of legally purchasing a variety of scary firearms. That was a different era, and the siege was the fault of Janet Reno, who is no longer Attorney General.

On May 5, 2011, officers from at least four Pima County police agencies unceremoniously executed Marine Corps veteran Jose Guerena, who has been found guilty of no crime, and whose work hours must have been well known to the police after their extensive investigation. But most of the United States is protected by better men than Pima County, whose officers may have done the right thing anyway, depending on the outcome of ongoing investigations.

Every day, more stories like this play out, all across the country. Men and women sworn to serve and protect the citizens of this nation instead trample their inalienable rights and flaunt their authority at gunpoint, frequently protected by the Blue Code of Silence, the existence of which cannot be denied. Still, these are isolated incidents, and do not represent the bulk of police in this country. The cops I shoot with are good people and we have pleasant conversation, you understand. It is unfortunate that a few bad examples give the rest a bad name.

What I do not see is this: noble men, worthy of their charge, refusing to break the oaths they swore to defend those who can’t defend themselves. What I do not see is a single example of a police department defying any order on moral, constitutional or legal grounds. I do not see a single example of cops behaving in a fashion befitting the honor they claim, honor I wish they would earn. Perhaps I am wrong; perhaps someone can show me an overwhelming number of  counter-examples, and I will rejoice to see it. Until then I must view the police and all their activities with skepticism, and judge the merit of individual officers on a case-by-case basis.

Village Praxis Series: Combat Application Tool (CAT) and Tactical Tolerance Talon Comprehensive Evaluation by Skip Lyttle

Publisher’s Note: Skip put together yet another outstanding tool review for the Village.  He is working on his comprehensive Amagi as we speak and we will publish that in the near term.  It is the one-stop shopping for delineating armaments packages for the Village faithful.  I do want to emphasize that it is one thing to have the kit but if you don’t train and prepare ahead of time, the most expensive and high-speed kit available will do you no good whatsoever.  A large part of good luck is meticulous and comprehensive planning and preparation (this applies to all aspects of life).  We have adopted the gas impingement versus gas piston systems for the family of AR platforms we have evolved to for reasons of costs and accuracy.  It has been a bit sad to evolve away from the FN FAL platform but technology marches on.  A preview of the M110A1 Carbine platform we are adopting can be seen in the review photos.   Therefore, this tool is critically important to keep everything in proper working order.

Comments and discussion on this review is here: http://zerogov.com/forum/index.php?topic=827.0 -BB

A truly functional tool is one that compliments your equipment and other tools in such a way that means less overall equipment while you are on the move. It is for this reason I have evaluated the Combat Application Tool Inc. in the .223 (CAT-M4) and .308 calibers (CAT-762), as well as the new Tactical Tolerance Talon chamber tool. The analysis of capability vs. load definitely favors the CAT M4 over any bolt carrier or bolt cleaning tool with its very capable task of not only cleaning the carbon build-up inside of the bolt carrier of the AR-platform, but the tail of the bolt itself. Many a bore brush has lost its life, unknowingly damaged bores, and ended up discarded prematurely by the misapplication of using a bore brush to remove carbon build up on the bolt and bolt carrier.


Any soldier knows that carbon build-up is very difficult to combat in the field, and this tool fits the bill wonderfully. The capability vs. load test method is, quite simply put, “Is the benefit worth the weight?” Look at the discarded gear for miles past any large trail-head and you will understand the essence of this method. I have compiled a few suggestions for Combat Application Tool Inc., and of course, the operator that will deploy in harm’s way with the never ending possibility of a malfunction attributed to weapon maintenance, ammunition quality, and/or operator error.


The purpose of the Talon is to clear the chamber lugs quickly. In the 10-step AR Check by Ned Christiansen, step number 5 states: “Remove bolt and check for presence and condition of gas rings and check barrel for obstructions.”

I can see running the Talon to verify the lugs are also clear of obstructions at this point. The Talon also has a cleaning rod attachment point to use the chamber brush as well, since the cleaning rod handles seem to disappear so often, this was a nice addition.


The first impression I had on the CAT tool was how functionally simple, light, and small it was, the second was why I hadn’t thought of building this tool first? Ironically, I bought my first CAT M4 in a small gun shop in Tombstone, Arizona, a uniquely American town made famous for its mining in the 19th Century and one single gunfight that lasted 30.1 seconds longer than any of its participants, dead or alive, expected. Since the first purchase, I have evaluated their new CAT-762 model on my newly built M110A1 Carbine that I designed to be a more portable and handy version of the Army’s M110 Semi-Automatic Sniper System (SASS).


I have also included a thorough interoperability assessment of the CAT tool and the other cleaning systems I have chosen to integrate into my combat platforms. This includes the standard segmented USGI cleaning kit for 5.56 and 7.62, the Leatherman MUT (one each), the OTIS firearm cleaning system, as well as the Hoppe’s 9 BoreSnake.


Functionality of the CAT
The CAT in 5.56 and 7.62 were very effective at removing the carbon deposits from inside the bolt carrier and outside the bolt tail. I found that the 7.62 CAT didn’t cover the bolt tail of my DPMS LR-308 bolt 100% because tolerances from one AR .308 platform manufacturer to the next varies just as the standard .223 platforms vary. To finish off that last 2% of the bolt tail, I used the carbon scraper tool on my Leatherman MUT, no worries. As a testimony of the CAT’s effectiveness, the CAT scrapes carbon much faster than the M249-style carbon scraper on the MUT. I found that the 5.56 CAT fit nearly every .223 bolt tail I had in my inventory. Having spent accumulated hours of wasted time uselessly brushing at the carbon with a worn down bore brush, there is something very satisfying watching the carbon literally crumble away in a matter of seconds.


Cleaning the inside of the bolt carrier is accomplished by using a bore patch. Tri-fold the patch over the scraper, give it a few drops of CLP and you can eliminate most of the carbon build up in a matter of a few turns, especially in a chromed bolt carrier. I used a second one to verify it was clean, but when patches are running low, one pass can bring a dirty rifle back into battery very quickly.

Cleaning the firing pin using the “+”  cut-out did aid in removing some of the more stubborn carbon near the firing pin head. While this application wasn’t exactly flawless, it still was a nice capability included in the design.

Interoperability of the CAT
Let’s put the down and dirty truth about cleaning kits right up front: There is no single silver bullet cleaning kit. There are functions that are absolutely imperative performed well by a few, then there is an over-lap area, and then there are complimentary capabilities. The object of layering this review was to pull out those most important functions and package it with my choices of what I’ve found work well together without taking up vital space or weight in your kit.

I divided the weapons maintenance into two field categories, as the third category (depot maintenance) I’m not covering in this review. Category I is necessary functions that require the item on your person, such as the Leatherman MUT Bolt Override Tool to aid in immediate action, and Category II, is field maintenance and daily weapons cleaning, usually located on a rucksack or a three-day pack. I chose to place the Leatherman MUT on my person, in this case, a Tactical Tailor Modular Assault Vest (MAV), along with a Gall’s gunshot trauma kit and Individual First Aid Kit (IFAK). The front little pocket of the MUT case is a perfect place to stow the CAT tool. In my particular case, I will have one dedicated MAV for 5.56 and the other for 7.62, so each will require a Leatherman MUT, one for the 5.56 CAT, the other for the 7.62 CAT, because mission changes require it to be a pick-up and go solution in support of either weapons platform.

The Category II cleaning kit includes a USGI segmented cleaning kit in both 5.56 and 7.62, the OTIS Deluxe Law Enforcement cleaning system,  the 5.56 Talon, a Craftsman 6-in-1 flat ground screwdriver, Leatherman Bit Driver Extender and Bit Kit, a set of Black&Decker driver bits and a set of hex and torx bits. All of this stays in my rucksack or 3-day pack. I keep the Hoppe’s 9 BoreSnake in the MAGPUL UBR and ACR butt stocks as a backup bore cleaner.

The ¼” hex in the CAT works on the traditional bits as well as the Leatherman Bit Kit, which I found to be a good mark towards my cleaning kits being interoperable. It is a good idea to take notes on which size hex, torx, flat ground, or Phillips bits you will need for your kit. For instance, I need the T-10 for my JP hand guard, but if I wanted to replace any of the blades on my Leatherman MUT, I need a T-9. Likewise, my CRKT M21-04 requires a T-9 and T-6. Even the smallest detail can mean the difference of whether you have a functioning clip on your knife or not.

Recommendations
While I was looking for future applications for the CAT, I realized there are no scraping tools for the inside of the bolt tail or the inside of the gas key. I’m not sure if that is because it’s a bad idea, or that no one had planned that far, but since the two dimensions appear slightly different, a two-ended scraper with a ¼” hex in the middle would enhance the CAT tool even more. Of course, that is assuming scraping the carbon out of these areas is recommended by anything harder than a Q-tip, which probably depends on who you ask. I thought both the CAT and the Talon made excellent additions and enhanced my capability without increasing the load disproportionately.

To the operator, I recommend they pack the tools to maintain their kit… and these two items definitely fit the bill. The CAT fits very comfortably in the Leatherman MUT case, but could also easily reside in the OTIS. The Talon can stow in its own case or inside a USGI cleaning kit as well.

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