Restore the Republic of Texas!? by Linda Brady Traynham

Linda sent this to me and it made me give a rousing rebel war whoop when I finished it and just received her permission to go to the presses.  We have a gentle disagreement on secession because I happen to think Lincoln lied and the states came before the Union.  I also think that secession is a natural right which is confirmed by the death and birth cycle of acknowledged states and not so acknowledged nations (see the Basque territory in NE Spain as an example of the latter).  I am really looking forward to the Supremes invoking the Supremacy clause of the Federal government and watching the respective states which have not succumbed to the temptations of Mordor to grab a pair and hail out “HELL NO!”.   We are in interesting times and Linda just made it more so.  -BB

I Have A Dream...

A small legal cog finally clicked forward and the Governor will be obliged by court order to call a special session of the 81st Legislature (the current one) to put forth a Resolution calling for an up/down vote on becoming a state or restoring the de facto soverignty of the Republic of Texas.  The issue will be whether to maintain the socialistic status quo by seeking an amendment to the US Constitution to annex Texas legally as a state, or to take a giant leap backwards in time to become an independent nation stripped completely of the barnacles of the Nanny State.  The problem if Texas reaches that point will be pure Benjamin Franklin:  “We have given you a Republic–if you can keep it.”

This isn’t some fuzzy, romantic ideal of the old West complete with saloons, spittoons, and gunfights at high noon.  It is a matter of philosophy, ethics, and what sort of government individual citizens believe to be the most beneficial for themselves, their families, and their land.  The issue is still the Founding Fathers’ objections to King George and his far less intrusive offenses against the pursuit of life, liberty, and happiness.  I doubt that any of us view what is going on in Washington as a “representative republic.”  It is an oligarchy of 436 plus their entrenched courts and bureaucracies, all arrayed against our goal of individual responsibility and autonomy.  To put it very simply, indeed, the goal is the same as it was in 1775, to prevent onerous taxation, interference in peaceful commerce, and hampering our ability to be responsible for our own actions.  It is also the same war our forefathers were forced into in 1860 because we strove to defend ourselves against big government, heavy taxes and tariffs, and punishing and hampering the many for the benefit of the few.
Texas can’t “secede” because we are not, have never been, and cannot become a “state” of the Union without an amendment to the US Constitution which does not allow annexing other nations at present–which must mean that any schemes for a Pan-American Union must also be illegal.  The law is on our side, and if you insist you can read a 57-page treaty to that effect.  I am talking about legal action in this century, not dreams of the ante bellum South.  Nations deal with each other by treaty.  The current flag of Texas does not fly at the same height as the US flag because we “were” a nation or to advertise the nearly defunct amusement park in Dallas.  The flags fly at equal height because we are a separate nation, albeit occupied for over 140 years.
You know what the “political” map of Texas looks like:  the Blue holds the big cities and a big hunk along the border overrun by illegal aliens.  The rest is solidly red.  We in Texas have our own distinct culture, and it isn’t just the hicks in the sticks who can see the benefits of becoming the last truly free nation on earth.  Let me hasten to add that there is no question of dispossessing legal residents of Hispanic or any other descent; they and their ancestors and we and ours have been friends and neighbors for a very long time and regard each other with affection and admiration.
We can win this one, and if we do it will benefit all of you in those “united” states, all 49 of which have rattled sabers legislatively over the tenth amendment recently.  I’m a gentle soul, and I do not thrill to the idea of watering the tree of liberty with blood.  I’m in favor of picking up our toys and going home–or, more precisely, insisting the invaders get back over on their sides of our borders, per the order of a Federal Judge in 2004 for the Feds to “cease and desist hostilities against the land and people of Texas.”  I expect the electorate to administer a stunning black eye to the Obamacrats nationwide in November, which is certainly a good start, but a salutary lesson that those of us who can are more than ready to walk away from a political system that punishes productivity and rewards idleness and corruption would make future protests against socialism more effective.
Many states have secessionists movements in addition to reminding the Feds of the Tenth Amendment.  What makes Texas special in this area is not just our legal standing but that if we free ourselves from the yoke of Washington we revert instantly to our 1836 Constitution.  That document has been “modernized” very slightly–and carefully legally–to include universal sufferage, but other than that the Convention very wisely left it alone.  It is short, simple, and grants us virtually a complete new beginning by virtue of all the things which are not in it.  Some parts are a little amusing, such as the President’s salary of $10,000/year and a mansion, and the delightful provision that the Legislature cannot raise salaries for themselves while in office–for 90 days every other year unless a special session is called.  Given the thought that our first President might well be someone like Dr. Ron Paul or Chuck Norris, I think whoever runs and wins can afford to support himself and his family.  One of our goals is to return to having citizen statesmen and legislatures, not professionals who use their tenure to feather their nests very handsomely and reward those who make large campaign donations.
Our Legislature only meets in alternate years because we Texans have never wanted a bunch of “professionals” passing laws constantly.  Have you ever asked yourself, “Just when will we have ‘enough’ laws?”  Life among independent, competent, decent people who take responsibility for their actions doesn’t really require many laws–and those few are sufficient to deter the violent and criminal.  How very unfashionable of me to say that the Ten Commandments cover civil behavior pretty well.  Don’t do murder, steal, or lie to injure another, and we’ll add don’t rape or commit arson and “if you broke it, you bought it.”  Does your barber need a license (which is forbidden under the US Constitution!)  No…because if he gives you a bad haircut you won’t return and you will tell your friends.  Besides that, your hair will grow back in a couple of weeks.  Instead of hampering all members profession by requiring a license, you could call the BBB.  Licenses are legalized restraint of trade far more than they are to protect the populace.  Their purpose is to make it difficult to enter a guild, extracting large fees along the way.
If we are successful, the day we have concurrence from the preponderance of voters over 100 taxes will disappear instantly, along with several million pages of regulations (all of which punish individuals and small businessmen for the benefit of those who can pay for lobbyists), and a delightful number of bureaucracies will cease to exist.  I imagine those who make their living around Lake Buchanan would be pleased to see the Colorado River Authority disappear; that agency’s decision to lower the lake twenty feet or so for the benefit of friends in Austin wiped out the tourist industry which was dependent upon being able to launch boats to give tours and guide fishermen.  The bed and breakfast operations are dead in the lack of water.  The local grocer has gone out of business…at what point do the putative “needs” or moneymaking schemes of some justify destroying the livelihood and investments of others?  I’m such a purist (or whacko, depending upon your view) that I’m not in favor of eminent domain.  I don’t think that the desires of the state outweigh private property rights, period–and in the case of Lake Buchanan, the residents weren’t even paid for the damage.  I’m still snarling because forty years ago the county stole several acres in order to straighten a country road.  Yes, they “paid” us for it, their price, their choice, but the bottom line is that they took what was ours without any means of redress possible.  We didn’t want their money; we wanted to retain our land.  If that seems petty, how would you feel if the government decided that it was “necessary” for reasons of state to bribe OPEC with nubile blondes and confiscated your daughter, paying you $20,000?  Obviously, your daughter isn’t for sale!  Or, I certainly hope she isn’t.
What difference would it make in your life if you paid no income tax, no property tax (both clearly illegal under the US Constitution, by the way), no alcohol or tobacco taxes, no SS tax (also forbidden), no school taxes, no gasoline taxes, no sales taxes, and no licensing fees?   It would at least double your actual income and would provide funds for a dignified retirement or to start or expand your business, obviously.
“But Mrs. Traynham!  How would the government function without all that revenue?”  On a much smaller scale.  Most of what government does is not in our best interests and is a very inefficient means of providing services only some would agree are important or even legal.  One of the glories of the 1836 Constitution is that it makes no provision for the programs which keep us increasingly broke.  “Entitlements?”  Nonsense.  Charity is the purview of individuals, families, churches, and organizations promulgated for that purpose, not a rightful affair of government.  Using the Preamble to your Constitution to justify robbing a lot of us at gunpoint for the benefit of those who do not work or oppress us is in the interest of no one except expanding, dictatorial government–particularly not “families” which have been supported by funds extorted from strangers for six or seven generations.  We are willing to trust our kind hearts to assist those who are both needy and deserving and expect the same result Tommy Thompson had when he halted welfare in his state:  the leeches will go where the pickings are easy.  The rest of us think that we’re part of “the general welfare” and will thrive best if left alone and in possession of what we earn.
Education eats enormous sums and has produced declining benefits for over 75 years.  See my “Educating the Masses” at for a simple, sensible, cost-effective plan which satisfies the clause in our Constitution that we must have “a plan” to educate the children.  Private schools are first choice with all those who can pay the fees–and knocking out income tax alone will pay for a lot of schooling.  Private schools must deliver superior education or find themselves without students; public schools have always produced lower standards and higher price tags.  Homeschooling, on-line schooling (yes, that is already available for at least grades 3-12), current and new private academies to offer lab courses, music, and sports to augment home schooling, and availability of classes on public TV and on line will provide a wealth of superior choices for far less money.  What about neighborhood schools?  By all means, if neighbors want one, they can pay teachers, utilities, and maintenance and buy textbooks; they’ll be able to afford it.  There is no reason whatsoever why you should be obliged to pay for the schooling of your neighbor’s children; if you are, why stop at high school?  Why shouldn’t you be forced to send them to Yale and Sophie Newcomb, as well?  Why are you not responsible for funding medical school or law school?  Obama’s working on it.
Every free market solution is superior to the current public school system in every way.  We have a brouhaha going because of a proposal to delete the following from history text books:  George Washington, Daniel Boone, Viet Nam, and several other trifles of little historical value.  I have volunteered to serve as the first (and basically only) Director of Education at a dollar a year.  Tax free, of course.  The value of the first dollar I will ever have made that no government anywhere lays claim to any portion of is incredible.  It will be mine, by right.  We will begin with the standards and basic texts of over sixty years ago for the on-line and on TV portions.  Each great lecture will only have to be recorded once; the Napoleonic wars haven’t changed, and neither have the Carthaginian ones or the value of pi.  Length prohibits discussion now of how we will restore the illiteracy rate to below 5%, as it was in the Forties, but the project is quite do-able.  Having a complete, comprehensive course of instruction in phonetics available on the ‘net and on the education channel will make it possible for adult illiterates to learn at home if they wish.
There is no freedom when your income and your property are under the control of others.  My ranch is not really mine at present because I hold it only so long as I pay taxes.  Your income is not yours, and you know it.  Even if you have no mortgage on your home it really belongs to the County Assessor/Tax Collector who charges you high rent.  Your mortgage–even after it is paid–almost certainly lists you as the “tenant,” not the “owner.”  There is no limit to how many taxes can be levied or how high they can be raised unless the government is forbidden to do so.  The goal of those working towards restoring the Republic is that the sole “business” tax will be a 15% tax on foreign corporations–including those headquartered in the USA.  There will be a tax of 10% for two years on those seeking citizenship.  During those two years applicants are expected to support themselves completely and keep out of trouble.  After that, they have full citizenship.  Invaders of any nationality will be returned to the most appropriate border and thrust over or dropped in, as appropriate.  I could write several articles on the abuses and expenses of wide open borders.
Texas will be the 9th richest nation in the world immediately if we succeed, and our future is bright; we won’t have to rape our countrymen to provide services that are neither needed nor wanted and which are not authorized under our Constitution.  We will be rid of innumerable destructive, expensive bureaucracies.  For example, the USDA sends me a bulletin every month.  It does not function as County Agents did long ago providing information.  Instead of helpful advice it contains lists of things I am not allowed to do, such as plant peanuts for a cover crop to feed my livestock and enrich the soil when it is plowed under.  WHY am I not allowed to buy seed or plant peanuts?  Restraint of trade, brought about by large-scale peanut farmers who can afford lobbyists, even though I have no intention of manufacturing peanut butter.  It should be obvious to the meanest intelligence that planting nitrogen-fixing legumes does not present a hazard of any sort to man, beast, or our land but increases yield and nutritional value.  If I want to plant peanuts I am obliged to purchase a permit from a large grower, and never mind that I do not intend to make my own peanut butter!  I will settle for field peas; nobody thought to outlaw those.
I am now forbidden to clear land for agricultural use without an expensive, lengthy (timewise) “environmental impact statement.”  My family and I have been caring for our land for over sixty years and have true interest in preventing erosion, depletion of the topsoil, and silting up of our man-made lakes.  The government hasn’t been planting coastal bermuda one sprig at a time, contouring the land, keeping mesquite down, building wildly expensive fences, letting the King’s deer and wild hogs eat and tear up our pastures, or paying for those pricey, back ache producing projects.  Our fair land is littered with collapsing farmhouses of yesteryear, the families who once worked the land having been driven away by artificially high prices, floods of taxes, “subsidies” that never apply to to me or anyone I know, and devastating taxation.  Our Constitution does not have inheritance taxes.  It does not authorize funds to mandate or forbid crops or to leave land idle.  (Good farmers and ranchers rotate and fertilize as a matter of course.  These standards have evolved over a couple of hundred years and are described in leases as “good management practices.”  For one example, fertilizing every acre at least once every three years.)  Our Constitution does not permit keeping the price of butter high by governmental decree for the benefit of gigantic national dairies.  (If you have never seen one of those cow gulags, don’t go look.  The cows are dejected, listless, and have had their tails docked short for the convenience of milking machines, and never mind that the cattle can’t swish away flies.  They trudge drearily from feeders across dusty ground to be milked and back, unlike our cows who roam freely in lush pastures and join the guard donkey gleefully in chasing away coyotes before coming up for their evening snack while we check their health and well-being.)
Our Constitution does not demand destroying 30% of our corn crop by sacrificing it on the altar of the sacred planet, being turned into ethanol.  Ethanol requires more energy to produce than it delivers and is very deleterious to internal combustion engines and assorted plastic and rubber bits.  No nation that burns food for fuel can survive.
The Feds and their cohorts on lower levels have taken our money, our freedom, control of our children’s (mis)education, and are intruding more and more into our daily lives and our business ventures.  The Feds not only do not see me as an asset to my community raising food to feed our nation and export, they are doing their dismayingly excellent best to put me out of business.  Is the world a better, safer place because our local slaughter house owner took one look at the provisions of the Food “Safety” Act now before Congress and shut down his business except for deer season?  He is barely making ends meet now, between the regulations and the requirement to have an FDA inspector on the premises at all times.  When he eliminated the slaughter house he could not stock his wonderful butcher shop any more, and has been reduced to the frozen food locker segment of his business.  The Reedfields have been successful, admired leaders in this community for many decades, and they cared more about producing superior cuts of meat in scrupulously sanitary conditions than the government does.  Ed’s Butcher’s Block is still holding on; other than his, there isn’t a slaughter house or private butcher shop within a hundred miles and our only choice locally will be “imported” meat carried by Walmart and large grocery chains.
The new regulations are so harsh that no small-timer will ever be able to get a dairy license again–by design.  Lily, Borden, and others can buy legislation to protect them from my small herd of dairy goats.  It will be a crime to sell or transport raw milk (which is far safer and more nutritious) following this legislation.  If I cannot sell milk without a capital outlay of at least $150,000, what is the point of raising goats?  Even at $16/gallon retail, we would never recoup the cost of three buildings in order to keep a herd of about a dozen milkers, and we don’t want so many goats we don’t know their names.  We don’t want a vast, impersonal full-time operation; we want no more goats than we can enjoy and the hands can care for easily.  No, I can’t turn the milk into delicious cheese even if I go to the considerable expense of erecting a separate “commercial kitchen” because I do not have a dairy license.  All I will be allowed to do with any we do not consume is feed it to pigs, goats, dogs, and chickens.  It is a beautiful example of deliberate government waste.
The legislation will make it a crime to process meat that we have grown even for our own use.  I will have precisely three choices:  I can regard the herd of handsome Black Dexter cattle as expensive pasture art, I can sell some, perhaps, if anyone else is misguided enough to want to go into the cattle business, or I can take the pittance offered by buyers from the big meat-packing firms who will be delighted to acquire my pastured beef at scrub prices.  Last fall the average loss at the Ft. Worth Stockyards was $150 a head.  You didn’t see that reflected in lower prices at Kroger’s, Albertson’s, and H.E.B.
The same bill will force us to use nothing but genetically-altered seeds from Monsanto!  They, too, have lots of money and Rep. Rosa DeLauro to introduce legislation to please her husband.  Research shows that GM foods are definitely hazardous to our health; far worse, the seeds produced are sterile.  Do we really want the government determining who will be allowed to raise which crops every year?  Can you imagine Thomas Jefferson–or Jefferson Davis, or Sam Houston–submitting tamely if told his cook could not wring a chicken’s neck, remove its feathers, eviscerate it, and serve it fried to a gorgeous golden brown for supper?  Would Benjamin Franklin have agreed that heirloom seeds, which always reproduce and are sometimes from strains developed a couple of hundred years ago and cherished ever since, are a hazard that must not be permitted?  Davy Crockett didn’t worry about an FDA seal of approval when he went hunting.
You bet this has to do with reasons to support the restoration of the Republic of Texas!  We all know what happens when monopolies are formed.  It really isn’t safe to let Agribiz and the Feds have a stranglehold on food production.  During “the” Depression there was no Agribiz, and 5.1 million farmers managed to keep 125,000,000 people fed.  Today there are only 2.1 million family farms and the population is on the order of 330 M.  If we are not allowed to use–under threat of very severe penalties–heritage seeds that breed true instead of the sterile ones Monsanto turns out, and we cannot earn enough raising cattle, goats, sheep, hogs, and chickens to support ourselves, the food on your table will be at the less than tender mercies of Archer Daniel Midlands, Sanderson Farms, Congress, and perhaps Cass Sunstein.  With “just in time” inventory there is a three-day supply of food in cities, a little more in small towns because of less-frequent shipments.  Executive Order 11921 allows armed thugs from FEMA and Homeland Security to confiscate anything the band desires from all of us in the name of the “greater good.”  What are your plans for if the big trucks stop rolling, grocery store shelves are empty, your personal supplies have been confiscated, and the Food Police insist upon putting an RFID chip in every last chicken, cow, pig, and rabbit to be certain ranchers are not consuming them or selling them on the black market?
There is always a black market whenever goods are regulated and “managed” by Statists.  How many of us deal with, which is not a black market, because we can buy used goods without paying taxes on them?  A little historical research will reveal that many of the shortages and most of the rationing were created artificially in order to maintain a sense of urgency about Mr. Roosevelt’s war.  How much more efficiently government will be able to control the populace when it has its talons hooked cruely into the very means of producing and distributing food.
The violence along our Southern borders is the direct result of attempting to wage war on abstractions and deliberate policies which induce others to enter our land illegally.  It is not possible to stop drug use short of executing every person found with any, but attempting to do so has led to “gang” wars at near Battalion strength.  It has become commonplace for Sheriffs to be indicted for cooperating with drug dealers.  The answer is obvious–and no, I do not use “recreational” drugs unless you want to count the glass of red wine I am sipping and the menthol cigarette I am smoking–and there are those who do consider those “drugs,” just as they do my vitamin supplements: call off the war, and cease any sort of medical or financial assistance to those who wish to take their chances.  America has the largest per capita prison population in the world, and half of the prisoners are there on drug charges.  The excuse given is that the state is “responsible” for the medical bills of those who choose to chance frying their brains or ingesting contaminated cocaine.  Not in our Constitution, it isn’t.
Our Constitution never heard of the EPA, unions, the fraduluent issue of “separation of church and state,” “hostile work environments,” political correctness, and hundreds of other destructive mechanisms.  It certainly does not permit extorting taxes to support those who do not work.  How many of those on welfare are quite capable of holding signs for roadworkers, a job that pays a ludicrous thirty dollars an hour?  How many are quite strong enough to clean office buildings and schools?  Most of them.  The first rule promulgated in America was “If you don’t work you don’t eat.”  It has been an inescapable condition of existence throughout most of the world for most of recorded history.  No one is entitled to “free” food, medical care, housing, computers, “walking around money,” education, and so forth.  Only the Republic of Texas offers the necessary scalpal to sever the roots of parasites from our personal tree of liberty.    In one blow we can destroy the entitlement mentality.  If it isn’t in the Constitution, it won’t exist in the new Republic of Texas.
Explaining why restoring the Republic is vital to ensure that there is one last free market nation in the world and how that will improve your lives as well as ours is a complex undertaking, so I beg your patience as I write additional articles explaining how in every area the best solution to a problem is “Restore the Republic.”  If we succeed we will serve as a warning to Statists everywhere that Americans who do not benefit directly from the dole or government paychecks are fed up with laboring under increasingly heavy loads to support the idle and the obstructive.  So long as it is humanly possible I will answer all enquiries left at, so do write with any questions you have or arguments on how every last law and regulation is to your benefit and advantageous to Americans in general.  We don’t believe it.  We think we’ll do just fine with common sense and the 1836 Constitution.  Our advantage is that we have valid legal grounds to claim our independence.  We think separation can be achieved without a shot fired.  I even think that our success will frighten the governments strangling you into backing off a bit.
Texas is a beautiful land with seven geographical districts (something to suit every taste in climate and scenery), stretching 750 miles from side to side and top to bottom.  At present.  We’ll be accepting applications for citizenship, and there is room for those of good character who support themselves and abide by our few laws.  Next time we will consider the ramifications of a thriving Republic of Texas with its own private electric grid, oil fields, great universities, and agriculture of every type in terms of how we would fare in the aftermath of the dollar crashing or widespread “civil unrest” for political, economic, religious, or ethnic causes.  Our Constitution allows us to pump oil as we please…and we have a Supreme Court decision agreeing that our rights to under sea drilling exist out to the 200 mile limit, per international agreement.  That is one more small indication that the Feds have always known that we remain a separate nation.  Louisiana and the other gulf states do not have the same right accorded them.
One last, quick reassurance:  Social Security pension checks are contracts between the Feds and individuals; that will continue.  We’re still working out fair restitution for those who are under fifty, but just not having to pay the SS and Medicare bite out of your paycheck and receiving your employer’s matching “contribution” that he would pay you directly if he weren’t obliged to hand it to Timmy Geithner will do much for those who wish to take care of their own futures.  Erasing just those would give you a 15%/year increase in salary–tax free.  That would be yours to invest or sock away for your old age immediately.  When I was a girl having to live on a Social Security check was regarded as shameful, as a sign of a wasted life.  My first paycheck was for almost exactly $220 on a salary of $225.  A quick and relatively clean conversion to relative purchasing power is to multiply by ten.  If you make $2250/month, do you take home $2200?  What a stupid question.  No, your taxes are definitely not 2%, and in the early Sixties Texas had never heard of a sales tax, either.  Fifteen per cent. of $2250 is $337.50/month, a calculation those of us educated in the Forties and Fifties can do in our heads.  It is $4050/year that you could spend on good private schools, to reduce your mortgage, or invest for your future of you were a citizen of a restored Republic of Texas.  Of course you could not put it in an IRA!  That money would be yours and no present or future government would have any right to tax it.  Of course this is about money as well as about restored freedoms and the return of the American dream.  When the government has its tentacles in your pocket constantly you have no freedom.

Village Praxis Series: Class IV Terrain Kit

Warning- Climbing is dangerous and should only be undertaken with the proper equipment and under experienced instruction. The post below is for informational purposes only.

What is Class 4 Terrain?

Class 1 Easy hiking – usually on a good trail.

Class 2 More difficult hiking that may be off-trail.  You may also have to put your hands down occasionally to keep your balance.  May include easy snow climbs or hiking on talus/scree.

Class 3 Scrambling or un-roped climbing.  You must use your hands most of the time to hold the terrain or find your route.  This may be caused by a combination of steepness and extreme terrain (large rocks or steep snow).  Some Class 3 routes are better done with rope.

Class 4 Climbing.  Rope is often used on Class 4 routes because falls can be fatal.  The terrain is often steep and dangerous.  Some routes can be done without rope because the terrain is stable.

Class 5 Technical climbing.  The climbing involves the use of rope and belaying.  Rock climbing is Class 5.  Note:  In the 1950s, the Class 5 portion of this ranking system was expanded to include a decimal at the end of the ranking to further define the difficulties of rock climbing.  This is called the Yosemite Decimal System (YDS).  The decimal notations range from 5.1 (easiest) to 5.14 (most difficult).  Recently, the rankings of 5.10 through 5.14 were expanded to include an “a”, “b”, “c” or “d” after the decimal (Example: 5.12a) to provide further details of the ranking.

Knowledge- Read the following books in this order- Mountaineering: The Freedom of the Hills (the seminal text on climbing, covers just about everything you’ll need to know), Rock Climbing Anchors: A Comprehensive Guide (specialized text that goes into more detail on anchors than M:FOTH),Rock Climbing: Mastering Basic SkillsAlpine Climbing: Techniques to Take You Higher and Climbing Self Rescue: Improvising Solutions for Serious Situations. All by The Mountaineers Press. After reading, sign up for classes with either the American Canyoneering Association, another accredited course or a very experienced individual. It’s like Appleseed- you can read “Fred’s Guide”, incorporate the lessons into range days and eventually make Rifleman on your own, or you can read “Fred’s Guide” and get hands on instruction from a Red Hat at an Appleseed and progress that much faster (and safer). Climbing Class 4 (never mind Class 5) involves risk due to the fact that you are defying gravity. Never exceed your current capabilities and skills, and leave enough energy in the tank for the descent. 70% of all climbing incidents occur on the descent due to exhaustion and mental relaxation / complacence. The information below is strictly on gear and is no substitute for quality instruction. I reference a lot of Black Diamond gear below, since they are a top manufacturer with a stellar reputation for quality, however any major climbing brand that is CE and / or UIAA certified will be just as good. Avoid “bargains” from unknown companies that do not QA / QC their equipment. Not only only are you “buying cheap and buying twice” you are putting your life on the line with sketchy gear. Spend a little more for quality.

Presently, I have most everything below except the rope, harness, helmet, gloves and anchors. I’ve acquired the gear piece by piece and it has not been a financial hardship as the individual components are relatively inexpensive except for the rope and anchors. For a belay device, I went with the ATC for its simplicity and ruggedness.

Belay Device: There are several different types to choose from- Figure 8, sticht plate, tube or “auto blocking”. Used for belaying a lead or second and rappelling.

Figure 8- simple to set up and use, unfortunately it will twist the rope to hell and gone. Economical option.

Sticht Plate- Old friction device that overcame the limitations of the Figure 8. In certain conditions may not provide enough friction to arrest a fall. Only 2 companies currently make plate devices. Old technology that is fading from use. I recommend passing.

Tube- Most popular type is the Black Diamond Air Traffic Controller (ATC). Simple, inexpensive ($20) device, handles a wide variety of rope diameters, non-mechanical and works in almost any environmental condition. Other manufacturers produce similar device types (Mamut, Petzl, etc). Best deal is the “Big Air” combo from Black Diamond, which is a basic ATC and locking asymmetric carabineer for $29. There are other ATC models “Guide”, “Sport” etc, but the basic ATC will do the job.

Auto Blocking- See the Petzl “Gri Gri”. Uses a clutch to slow the fall and lock off the rope. This device works similar to your car’s seat belt in that the rope can be fed slowly and smoothly out, but a sudden acceleration or jerk in the rope will initiate the locking mechanism. Mechanical device, only works with certain diameter and sheath material ropes, prone to incorrect rigging and is not idiot proof. Pass

Harness- Basic alpine or trad climbing harness should be enough. Purchase in person to make sure it fits. An ill fitting harness is uncomfortable and unsafe. Also recommend one with adjustable leg loops to accommodate a range of clothing options. Two gear loops are just about perfect for Class 4, 4 loops may be overkill. For those younger than 14 or 15, a full harness that attaches at the legs, waist and chest is required since their hips aren’t developed enough to prevent a slip out if they invert.

Slings / runners / cordelette- Used to build anchors and reduce rope drag. Get several 30cm, 60cm120cm pre-sewn runners / slings. Also get two 5.5 foot and one 9.5 foot lengths of webbing for building belay anchors. Get two lengths of cordelette (5-7mm accessory cord) for prusik loops used ascending or backing up a rappel. Get some other lengths of accessory cord to supplement slings and runners. Most economical is to purchase bulk spools of webbing and accessory cord and cut to size.

Anchors- For my local conditions I would stick with hexcentrics and stoppers. Enough to handle a wide range of crack sizes. Most expensive component in the kit. Your life depends on quality anchors, don’t go cheap. Used can be “ok” if the runners or wire hangers aren’t shot. Runners can be replaced with new slings or cordelette. Wires have to be factory replaced. Each anchor gets its own carabineer to “rack” on the harness’s gear loops and to attach to the runner. Other anchor options include snow stakes, pitons, ice screws, cams, looping a runner around a tree or rock, etc. They are condition dependent, as there probably isn’t anywhere in AZ where you can screw in a 10″ ice screw.


Locking- In addition to the locking carabineer for the belay device, have 2 aluminum locking carabineers on hand. For high friction / heat use in a Tyrolean Traverse, use steel lockers. Locking ‘biners are also used as part of the belay / rappel anchor and for backing up a rappel with a prusik loop.

Non-locking- 2 opposite and opposed non-locking carabineers equal 1 locking carabineer. Have enough ‘biners so that each sling / runner / cordelette loop has its own. Use D or asymmetric ‘biners. Oval ‘biners have lower strength since the gate takes the same of impact force as the spine. On a D or asymmetric ‘biner, the spine takes most of the force- if you look at the geometry of the ‘biner you can see how the force is distributed. An aluminum D ‘biner can withstand several more kilonewtons (kN) of impact force than a steel oval. If buying used, look for grooving from the rope, sharp edges, nicks, dings, bends, cracks, etc.

Rope: 10mm dynamic rope- here are two examples. A “dry treated” rope is nice, but in AZ, probably not necessary. 60m or 70m are standard lengths. Never buy a used rope. Without knowing how many falls it has taken, or its storage conditions, the rope has an unknown strength rating and should be avoided. New ropes start at around $100 and go up. If you have a rope that is more than 5 years old, it is probably best to retire it from a protection role. Most GI rapelling ropes are “static” and do not stretch when absorbing your impact on a fall. This is bad for two reasons- All the kilonewtons produced by the interplay of gravity, your weight and distance fallen are directly absordbed by your body and the anchor system. This can cause serious internal injuries and may “zipper” your protection out of their placements. Needless to say, this is bad. Dynamic ropes stretch, reducing the force imparted to you and the anchors.

Other: For local winter conditions above the snow line, very basic crampons and a piolet are nice to haves that will increase the safety margin. A helmet and belay gloves protect your head and hands and should be worn.

Physical Training: Class 4 and higher demands both aerobic and anaerobic conditioning, flexibility and strength training. Both Falcon and The Mountaineers Press have excellent books on climbing PT; I have both and I am drawing from them for my own conditioning routines. The good news is that training for climbing is not limiting. Unlike hard training for cycling, which develops absolute hammers for legs and a rock solid core but neglects the upper body, climbing uses all four limbs and aerobic / anaerobic conditioning. The training regimes listed in both books incorporates aspects of aerobic activities (running, cycling, fast hiking), strength training (weights, pull ups, push ups, core excersises) and flexibility.

America in Decline by Alan Caruba

Alan writes a concise and insightful essay which highlights the temporal failure which increasing government intervention has shackled the country with.  The exponential increase in the Mussolini-style state corporatism that has been all the rave of the chattering classes is coming home to roost and we see the results.  The work ethic is dying, incentives have been punished at every turn for all economic transactions outside the underground economy and the education establishment has taken as its single mission to crush and weed out ALL independent learning that is undirected by the state; from preschool to post-graduate work, the state has destroyed honest intellectual inquiry.  Yes, this blog has a tendency to project a black and grim picture of America’s future but what are your questions?  Gold, guns and groceries and yes, those are pieces of the sky on the ground.  My darling bride has even started asking after our possible departure from the country for South American environs.  THAT is a bellwether. -BB

A Soup Line in the Other Depression

There are tipping points in people’s lives and in the life of a nation. More and more I am inclined to believe that America has hit a tipping point and that its decline has been in progress now since the end of World War II. How can that be? We were and are a superpower.

While it is true that we have the greatest military power in the world, it is equally true that many of the planes being flown were brought on line in the 1950s, despite the extraordinary aircraft such as the stealth bombers. When Russia can put in a $40 billion bid to build refueling tankers after a major U.S. aircraft firm dropped out of the process, you have to ask yourself whether something is terribly wrong.

Militarily, we have worn out our forces, many of which are National Guard units, with six years of conflict in Iraq and renewed conflict in Afghanistan. All the hardware needed to maintain our troops in conflict zones need replacing. And the President of the United States wants to sign a treaty to reduce our nuclear arsenal.

It goes even deeper, however, than the capacity to wage war, let alone the will to face off with our enemies. Since around the 1960s the nation’s education system has grown steadily more costly and steadily worse in its capacity to produce students with fundamental skills of reading, writing, and arithmetic. American students consistently score behind students in other nations. An educated workforce is essential to maintain excellence, let alone parity with other nations.

At the heart of the Medicare reform battle was a very simple fact. The current Medicare program is broke. The current Social Security program is broke. Most of the States in the nation are broke. America must borrow a billion dollars a day to maintain its huge entitlement programs. The interest on treasury notes alone is daunting. Expanding Medicare under such conditions is sheer folly.

The nation and the States have become slaves of civil service unions and their government employees now make more than those in comparable private sector positions. The American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees now represent 1.6 million workers. There are two million federal workers. The benefits that have been negotiated for these workers are extraordinary, particularly in the area of pensions. Many of the services they provide, other than police and fire, could be contracted to the private sector.

See the rest here:

Village Praxis Series: Robert Heinlein/ Thinker in Fourth Generation Warfare (4GW)

Mike Vanderboegh penned this awhile back and it still bears repeating.  If you are not reading dusty old tomes and newer books alike to steep yourself in the soft and hard war that is beckoning, you are setting yourself up for failure.  I have been reading Heinlein since I was a wee lad and can’t help but recommend it for young and old alike.  This is the warfare coming to America whether you are prepared or not.  Scroogle or startpage 4GW and you will find countless mountain of information.  In addition to the essay below, I would direct your attention to the bottom for additional reading lists I have posted. -BB

Robert Heinlein: Pioneer Thinker in Fourth Generation Warfare

(Y)ou can forget all that dreck about 4GW and RMA. They are just Madison Avenue terms designed to extract a few more bucks from the taxpayers’ pockets. War has always been about will. Weapons, tactics, strategies are just tools used to affect the enemies will. Of course the ulitmate tool for that is a nuclear weapon. Nothing effects an opponent’s will more than killing him. And rumor has it that the long term effects are just as good as the short term ones. I assure you Custer will never again burn any Indian villages. — Tomanbeg on Strategy Page Military Science Fiction Discussion Board, 26 Sept 2003

To fight and conquer in all your battles is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy’s resistance without fighting. -Sun Tzu, the Art of War

In January, 1941, after the fall of France and almost a full year before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, a small circulation magazine called Astounding Science Fiction began a serialized story (continued in the February and March issues) credited to “Anson MacDonald.” It was entitled “Sixth Column.”

Its author was in fact Robert Anson Heinlein, from an original idea given to him by Astounding’s editor, John W. Campbell. For the time, it was an incredible piece of work, and amazingly it still stands the test of time on very many levels. Sixth Column was later reissued in hardcover in 1949.

Yet, it was one of Heinlein’s most difficult projects to write, because it was a hand-off story concept and Campbell’s original story idea was light on specifics — especially science and military — and long on anti-oriental racism. It was so difficult that Heinlein never again accepted someone else’s idea as the basis for one of his novels. As Heinlein recalled:

Writing Sixth Column was a job I sweated over. I had to reslant it to remove racist aspects of the original story line. And I didn’t really believe the pseudoscientific rationale of Campbell’s three spectra — so I worked especially hard to make it sound realistic.

In Sixth Column (also known under the title The Day After Tomorrow)the United States has been conquered by the PanAsians, a combination of Chinese and Japanese, who have also taken the Soviet Union and India. In the process, they have developed a credo:

“Three things only do slaves require: work, food, and their religion.”

As Wikipedia notes,

“The book is notable for its frank and controversial portrayal of racism. The conquerors regard themselves as a chosen people predestined to rule over lesser races, and they refer to white people as slaves. . . . They require outward signs of respect, such as jumping promptly into the gutter when a member of the chosen race walks by, and the slightest hesitation to show the prescribed courtesies earns a swagger stick across the face.”

Yet the most heroic action taken by any character in the book is made by Frank Mitsui, an Asian American whose family was murdered by the invaders because they did not fit in the new PanAsiatic racial order. (Frank’s wife was black and his kids of mixed-race.) This was a daring plot element at the time.

And Heinlein does not whitewash his heroes either. The Americans return their conquerors’ racism by often referring to them as “flat faces”, “slanties,” and “monkey boys”. For this reason, Heinlein’s Sixth Column has been denounced as racist by some left-wing critics. It is not. It was, for its time, about as explicitly anti-racist as you could expect.

The Citadel, a top secret research facility hidden in the Colorado mountains is the last remaining outpost of the United States Army after its defeat by the PanAsians. Major Ardmore, sent by the War Department to convey final orders for independent resistance to the lab, discovers that a weapons development accident has killed all but six of the facility’s staff of over 300. The survivors are demoralized and want to quit. Ardmore takes command and soon the survivors learn the principles behind the weapon and how to control it. What they lack, Ardmore is painfully aware, is numbers to wield it in battle but first and foremost, an intelligence network to help them plan a campaign and target the weapon. Today we call this “Intelligence Preparation of the Battlefield.” Ardmore finds his intelligence operative in a hobo named Jeff Thomas, a hobo who wandered into the Citadel as the war was drawing to a close.

(Heinlein’s characters draw their strengths from their unlikely life experiences. Thomas has learned from ten years as an itinerant laborer how to move without being seen, how to blend in, how to adapt to changing circumstances and he has the support network of other hobos. In the ruins of civilization, it is those who had the least to lose that survived the best. Perhaps, Heinlein hints, because their minds were already adjusted to dealing in adversity. Likewise, Ardmore is not a West Point trained officer. He is a marketing executive swept up in the war emergency. But this is key to his ability to think unconventionally and find a solution to the problems at hand.)

Robert Anson Heinlein, United States Naval Academy, 1929.

Inextricably linked with the concerns of pitiful numbers and lack of intelligence is the fact that the PanAsians make the Nazis look like pikers when it comes to retaliation against innocents for any show of defiance.

Everywhere (Thomas) found boiling resentment, a fierce willingness to fight against the tyranny, but it was undirected, uncoordinated, and in any modern sense, unarmed. Sporadic rebellion was as futile as the scurrying of ants whose hill has been violated. PanAsians could be killed, yes, and there were men willing to shoot on sight, even in the face of the certainty of their own deaths. But their hands were bound by the greater certainty of brutal multiple retaliation against their own kind. As with the Jews of Germany before the final blackout in Europe, bravery was not enough, for one act of violence against the tyrants would be paid for by other men, women and children at unspeakable compound interest. — p. 32

Once Ardmore is better informed about the conditions outside the Citadel, the more difficult his problem appears. The perfection of the weapon system leads others within the Citadel to want to use it immediately. Ardmore refuses.

Any way he looked at it, simple, straightforward military use of the new weapons was not expedient. Brutal frontal attack was for the commander who had men to expend. General U.S. Grant could afford to say, “I will fight it out on this line if it takes all summer,” because he could lose three men to the enemy’s one and still win. Those tactics were not for the commander who could not afford to lose ANY men. For him it must be deception, misdirection — feint, slash and run away — “and live to fight another day.” The nursery rhyme finished itself in his mind. That was it. It had to be something totally unexpected, something that the PanAsians wouLd not realize was warfare until they were overwhelmed by it.

It would have to be something like the “fifth columns” that destroyed the European democracies from within in the tragic days that led to the final blackout of European civilization. But this would not be a fifth column of traitors, bent on paralyzing a free country, but the antithesis of that, a sixth column of patriots whose privilege it wouod be to destroy the morale of invaders, make them sfraid, unsure of themselves.

And misdirection was the key to it, the art of fooling! — pp. 56-57

Here we have Sun Tzu’s dictum embraced, rather than the attrition warfare expressed by Tomanbeg above. Time and again in the book, the principles of maneuver warfare and 4GW leap from the page.

He realized suddenly that he was thinking of the problem in direct terms again, in spite of his conscious knowledge that such an approach was futile. What he wanted was psychological jiu-jitsu — some way to turn their own strength against them. Misdirection — that was the idea! Whatever it was they expected him to do, don’t do it! Do something else. — p. 199

And this was written in 1940!

As the campaign of psy-war and misdirection continues, Heinlein enunciates another maneuver warfare principle: subordinate commanders, right down to a fire team corporal, are to be permitted and encouraged to think for themselves and act decisively:

Thomas took the report and read it, then nodded agreement. . . “Perhaps we should have given more detailed instructions.”

“I don’t think so. Detailed instructions are the death of initiative. This way we have them all striving to think up some particularly annoying way to get under the skins of our . . . lords. I expect some very amusing and ingenious results.” — pp. 227-228

Finally, as the campaign enters its final hours, there is this:

How much longer, Chief?” asked Thomas.

“Not very long. We’ll let ‘em talk long enough for them to know something hellacious is happening all over the country. Now we’ve cut ‘em off. That should produce a feeling of panic. I want to let that panic have time to ripen and spread to every Pan Asian in the country. When I figure they’re ripe, we’ll sock it to ‘em!”

“How will you tell?”

“I can’t. It will be on hunch, between ourselves. We’ll let the little darlings run around in circles for a while, not over an hour, then give’em the works.”

Dr. Brooks nervously attempted to make conversation. “It certainly will be a relief to have this entire matter settled onde and for always. It’s been very trying at times —” His voice trailed off.

Ardmore turned on him. “Don’t ever think we can settle things ‘once and for always.'”

“But surely — if we defeat the PanAsians decisively — ”

“That’s where you are wrong about it.” The nervous strain he was under showed in his brusque manner. “We got into this jam by thinking we could settle things once and for always. . . We should have known better; there were plenty of lessons in history. The old French Republic tried to freeze events to one pattern with the Versailles Treaty. When that didn’t work, they built the Maginot Line and went to sleep behind it. What did it get them? Final blackout!”

“Life is a dynamic process and can’t be made static. ‘— and they all lived happily ever after’ is fairy tale stupidity.” — pp. 231-232

“The price of liberty is eternal vigilance,” Heinlein tells us in Sixth Column, along with presenting a marvelous tale instructing us in the principles of maneuver warfare and 4GW. And he wrote it in 1940. That in itself is “Amazing.”

Get it.

Read it. You can find Sixth Column at most local bookstores.

Further reading in resistance and rebellion:

Freedom in One Word by Michael Boldin

Mike hits it out of the park again.  He makes the cogent point that the will to resist DC is here and the numerous nullification and states rights perspectives have evolved more in the past three years than the previous three decades.  I am opposed to registration for medical marijuana on principle and feel the Drug War is nothing more than a war on people’s right to alter their own consciousness not to mention a massive Federal intervention program to make all private transactions financially transparent to our Federal rulers e.g., money laundering, cash transactions and the maintenance of a huge law enforcement effort for seizure and forfeiture.  We are at a turning point now and we will live in interesting times. -BB

Now that Heath Care legislation has passed, the obvious question for opponents is this: Now What? My answer is best summed up with just one word:


No, I don’t mean that you should go out and smoke away your anger and frustration. Instead, you should feel empowered. The best way to explain this is by telling the story of a disabled mother from Northern California.


Angel Raich has been permanently disabled since 1995. She has an inoperable brain tumor, a seizure disorder and other serious medical conditions. In 1997, her doctor felt that marijuana would be an effective medication.

Angel used homegrown marijuana, and she and her physician claim that it’s helped significantly. You may not agree with Angel’s choice, but it’s one made in accordance with California state law, which allows for such use. The federal government, however, has not shown much respect for state laws in recent decades, and chose to take action. After DEA agents seized and destroyed all six of her marijuana plants, she sued to stop them from doing so again.

The suit went all the way to the Supreme Court, and in Gonzales v Raich, Angel lost. The 2005 ruling made clear that the federal government did not recognize state laws authorizing the use of marijuana – in any situation.


The court ruled that control over a plant grown and consumed on one’s own property was authorized under the “Interstate Commerce Clause” of the Constitution. Article I, Section 8, Clause 3 of the Constitution empowers Congress to “regulate…commerce among the several states.” It has never been amended.

Like any legal document, if the words of the Constitution mean today what they meant at the moment it was signed, we must understand just what those words meant at the time of its ratification.

There’s been a lot of scholarly research on this clause, especially the word “commerce” itself. Without getting into the long details of it all, it means this: Congress is authorized to make uniform national rules on the trade and exchange of goods (and related activities like their transportation) that cross state borders. On top of it, the word “regulate” meant to “make regular” – that is, to specify how these transactions may be conducted. Regulate did not mean ban, prohibit, or mandate. These words have different meanings.

With this in mind, the Supreme Court, which is not a set of nine infallible gods, ruled incorrectly. But rule, they did. Thus, all three federal branches agreed that State-level laws allowing marijuana were a no-go. In his dissent, Justice Clarence Thomas gave a stark warning:

“If the Federal Government can regulate growing a half-dozen cannabis plants for personal consumption…then Congress’ Article I powers…have no meaningful limits. Whether Congress aims at the possession of drugs, guns, or any number of other items, it may continue to appropria[te] state police powers under the guise of regulating commerce.”


Even though she lost the case, Angel indicated she’d continue to use marijuana. At the time of the ruling, there were 10 states that had such laws. Not one of them has been repealed. Since then, another 4 states have passed similar laws, and many others are considering them, including South Dakota, Kansas, and New Hampshire.

Today, over half a million people are registered users of medical marijuana, and estimates say that millions more use the plant without registration. What’s been the result? The federal government will occasionally arrest some high-profile users, but taken in the perspective of the multitudes consuming the plant, the threat is quite low.

And, in mid-2009, recognizing a need for “efficient and rational use of its limited investigative and prosecutorial resources,” the Justice Department announced that it would back off the prosecution of medical marijuana patients even further.


reclaiming-american-revolutionYou might be asking, “How does this apply to healthcare mandates?” Well, the answer is pretty simple. When enough states pass laws defying federal laws, and enough people actively defy them too, D.C. simply doesn’t have the manpower to arrest and prosecute all of us.

This kind of activism – while it clearly carries personal risk – should be a real blueprint for people that have been consistently unable to find constitutional relief in Congress, the Executive, or the Courts.

Marijuana users: Love ‘em or hate ‘em, but show some respect for them, as many have suffered greatly for doing what they believe is right. People who believe strongly about other issues, like health care mandates, would do well to learn from them.

What should be done about federal control over health care? The same thing that should be done for every unconstitutional federal law, regulation, or mandate – Nullify Now!

Michael Boldin [send him email] is the founder of the Tenth Amendment Center

Copyright © 2010 by Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit is given.

Village Praxis Series: Building a .22 Liberty Training Rifle

Skip is one of my best friends and he is our Village Armorer.  He is quite expert in the technical and arcane aspects of building and maintaining the teeth of Liberty.  He compiled this brief but detailed primer on building one of these handy little rifles.   I am an Appleseed Instructor in the state of Arizona (there are two of us now) and we urge those who wish to husband their ammunition with the prices they command now to maintain their skill set with modified .22 rifles to ensure the edge does not dull for the Riflemen standing up across America.  The main platform we use is the Ruger 10/22 and modify it fairly substantially to better replicate the handling and characteristics of a Main Battle Rifle or Carbine much like the purpose built rifles that festooned colonial mantles in the 18th century here in America.  It is an implied task that once you build the rifle, you go out and practice and become proficient.  While the primer below is by no means exhaustive, it will give you a terrific head start. You will notice some tabs above which speak to the Appleseed program.  I would urge you to explore the RWVA and Appleseed pages and sign up for an event near you. -BB
Yes… we call it a Liberty Training Rifle (LTR)
I would get a M-4-style adjustable stock… my kids are shooting with it completely collapsed, but other people borrow them, so I wanted adjustable stocks.
Here’s a cheaper alternative:
If there are no kids using the rifle, any OEM stock is fine… the iron sights are more important.
The sights are the most important modification you can make to the 10-22… I am a firm believer everyone should learn to shoot iron sights first, and I’m certain I’m preaching to the choir on this:
I prefer an automatic bolt release, but I don’t like paying the extra cost… here’s were you can learn to modify it using a dremel tool, which is what I do for all my friends that have the 10-22…
I recommend using the OEM magazines… here’s a cheap place to start, you need at least two per rifle for an Appleseed:
You need an adjustable sling at least 1″ or thicker. I use the standard Garand/M-14 slings:
Lastly, I like an extended magazine release… the newer rifles come with it, but here is an option:
I make my own extended mag release using the hardware that comes with cheap furniture… and screw it into the OEM mag release. I think they are called caming bolts or screws and they look like a bolt, at the tip, then a solid cylinder with a screw head matched to a caming surface… Everytime a buy cheap furniture, they always pack extra and I just keep them in a drawer for anyone that wants an extended magazine release. I drill them into the OEM mag release (cast metal) flat surface until I am through the bolt entirely. The hole needs to be slightly smaller than the bolt threads (doh!) so the bolt can thread into the mag release, but not too small or the screw head will twist off before you have it threaded in. Once in, cut it down to about .60″ to .75″ using a hacksaw and then dress it up using a belt sander. Then cut off the excess threads coming through the mag release until it is flush. If you don’t, or the bolt is left too long, it will not cam far enough to release the mag…

Now, I found this interesting… unnecessary, but cool:

Nothing Outside the State by Robert Higgs

Higgs’ books, like Murray Rothbard’s, should be required reading for any serious student of liberty figuring out how to save what is left of ourselves and our dwindling freedoms.  We labor under the parochial illusion that we are a free nation people by individuals doing what they wish.  Here is a test albeit extreme:  don’t stop for the flashing bar of lights behind your car, stop paying your taxes and tell the IRS you intend to do just that and tell the bank (a non-funded IRS field office) you want all your cash transactions to remain private and not transmitted to a government element.  As a matter of fact, since most small businesses here in Arizona have to pay on average 50-60 cents on the dollars they receive for goods and services rendered to a government functionary of one sort or another; bill the aforementioned agencies for your collection services, the laughter will be uproarious.  I have mentioned before that I missed an opportunity due to my own cowardice to emigrate to Argentina in 2005, Dr. Higgs shows me the error of my ways.  I repeat, if you don’t have a Higgs library, you are in for a treat and an education. As my friend L. Neil Smith said:  “Anyone who needs to be persuaded to be free, doesn’t deserve to be.” -BB

A popular slogan of the Italian Fascists under Mussolini was, “Tutto nello Stato, niente al di fuori dello Stato, nulla contro lo Stato” (everything for the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state). I recall this expression frequently as I observe the state’s far-reaching penetration of my own society.

What of any consequence remains beyond the state’s reach in the United States today? Not wages, working conditions, or labor-management relations; not health care; not money, banking, or financial services; not personal privacy; not transportation or communication; not education or scientific research; not farming or food supply; not nutrition or food quality; not marriage or divorce; not child care; not provision for retirement; not recreation; not insurance of any kind; not smoking or drinking; not gambling; not political campaign funding or publicity; not real estate development, house construction, or housing finance; not international travel, trade, or finance; not a thousand other areas and aspects of social life. (editor’s note: emphasis mine)

One might affirm that the state still keeps its hands off religion, but it actually does not. It certifies certain religious organizations as legitimate and condemns others, as many young men discovered to their sorrow when they attempted to claim the status of conscientious objector during the Vietnam War. It assigns members of certain religions, but not members of others, as chaplains in its armed services.

Besides, isn’t statism itself a religion for most Americans? Do they not honor the state above all else, above even the commandments of a conventional religion they may embrace? If their religion tells them “thou shalt not murder,” but the state orders them to murder, then they murder. If the state tells them to rob, to destroy property, and to imprison innocent people, then, notwithstanding any religious strictures, they rob, destroy property, and imprison innocent people, as millions of victims of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and millions of victims of the so-called Drug War in this country will attest. Moreover, in every form of adversity, Americans look to the state for their personal salvation, just as before the twentieth century their ancestors looked to Divine Providence.

When the state produces unworkable or unsatisfactory conditions in any area of life, and therefore elicits complaints and protests, as it has for example in every area related to health care, it responds to these complaints and protests by making “reforms” that heap new laws, regulations, and government bureaus atop the existing mountain of counterproductive interventions. Thus, each new “reform” makes the government more monstrous and destructive than it was before. Citizen, be careful what you wish for; the government just might give it to you good and hard.

The areas of life that remain outside the government’s participation, taxation, subsidization, regulation, surveillance, and other intrusion or control have become so few and so trivial that they scarcely merit mention. We verge ever closer upon the condition in which everything that is not prohibited is required. Yet, the average American will declare loudly that he is a free man and that his country is the freest in the world. Thus, in a country where more and more is for the state, where virtually nothing is outside the State, and where, aside from pointless complaints, nothing against the State is permitted, Americans have become ideal fascist citizens. Like the average German during the years that Hitler ruled Germany, most Americans today, inhabiting one of the most pervasively controlled countries in the history of the world, think they are free.


Does the Government Lie When It Projects Costs of Programs? Of Course It Does…

Joseph Lawler offers this interesting study.  Our latest New Deal project with the health care legislation may prove to be the demographic back breaker the economy has been waiting for to push it over the precipice so we join the dustbin of empires that have suffered long and sclerotic deaths as they spent themselves into oblivion.  With estimates of anywhere from 45 to 100+ trillion in non-funded liabilities for the FedGod’s suicide pact with the bread and circuses crowd projected into eternity, this may very well be the straw that broke the camel’s back although I am still unclear on the novel idea of paying up to eight years of forced taxes and fines into a program whose creation will be sometime in the future.  The chart below is illustrative of the serial underestimation that always precedes the inauguration of a new tax-eater proposal and the concomitant problem with the truth our rulers have.  What to do?  Don’t write your congress-critters.  Take local action and prepare for massive civil disobedience in many forms.  In the end, aside from the conversation about costs, this is a war on the individual and the wresting of the control of your body to the state.  As Lenin said:  “Medicine is the keystone of the arch of socialism.”  -BB

Even Reagan Knew Better...

Government projects ultimately cost more than planned, claims Veronique de Rugy in a Reason piece that will shock none.

In 2002 the Journal of the American Planning Association published one of the most comprehensive studies of cost overruns, looking over the last 70 years at 258 government projects around the world with a combined value of $90 billion. The Danish economists Bent Flyvbjerg, Mette Skamris Holm, and Soren Buhl found that nine out of 10 public works projects had exceeded their initially estimated costs….

According to the Danish study, such inaccuracies aren’t just errors. They reflect widespread, deliberate lying on the part of public officials. “Project promoters routinely ignore, hide, or otherwise leave out important project costs and risks in order to make total costs appear low,” the authors conclude.

[Emphasis mine.] One of the projects that the Danish study uses as an example of an absolute boondoggle is Boston’s Big Dig. Almost exactly a year ago, I wrote a piece, also using the Big Dig, warning that the stimulus bill was guaranteed to overrun its projected costs by a significant amount.

In 1985, city officials projected that the Big Dig would cost about $6 billion (adjusted for inflation), making it the biggest highway infrastructure project in history. This figure represented the costs for the entire project, including moving the Expressway underground, building a bridge to Charlestown, and improving access to the airport. When the project finally reached completion — years overdue — the check came in at $15 billion, plus an additional $7 billion in interest on the debt for a total of $22 billion.

As I explain in the piece, the Big Dig is still incurring new costs because of the shoddy work that now needs to be repaired. And it didn’t even accomplish much, if anything, in terms of reduction traffic congestion.

See the rest:

And a picture is worth a thousand words (or a chart in this case):

A Sampling of Federal Cost Overruns
(All figures in nominal dollars, except where noted)

Project Cost Estimate and Date of Estimate
Original Estimate Recent Estimate
Boston Big Dig highway project52 $2.6b (1985) $14.6b (2005)
Virginia Springfield interchange53 $241m (1994) $676m (2003)
Denver International Airport54 $1.7b (1989) $4.8b (1995)
Hiring of airport security screeners55 $104m (2002) $741m (2006)
Airport security technology upgrade56 $1b (2002) $3b (2005)
Hanford nuclear waste clean-up57 $4.3b (2000) $12.2b (2008)
All nuclear waste sites clean-up58 $63b (1996) $105b (2003)
National Ignition Facility59 $2.1b (1995) $4.2b (2000)
Clinch River Breeder Reactor60 $400m (1971) $4b (1983)
Superconducting Supercollider61 $4.4b (1987) $11.8b (1993)
FutureGen clean coal project62 $1b (2003) $1.8b (2008)
Defense Development Costs ($2008)63
Global Hawk surveillance plane $989m (2001) $3.7b (2007)
Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle $1.6b (2000) $3.6b (2007)
C-130J Hercules 10.9m (1996) 430.3m (2007)
Extended Range Munitions 86.9m (1997) 500.1m (2007)
DDG 1000 destroyer 2.2b (1998) 9.3b (2006)
V-22 Osprey helicopter 4.0b (1986) 12.5b (2006)
Armed Reconnaissance Helicopter 388.3m (2005) 750.9 (2007)
Space Based Infrared System High 4.2b (1996) 8.5b (2006)
Armed Reconnaissance Helicopter 388.3m (2005) 750.9 (2007)
NPOESS Satellite System 5.0b (2002) 7.9b (2007)
Other Defense
Coastal Patrol Ships64 $220m (2004) $350m (2007)
Joint Strike Fighter65 $232b (2001) $337b (2008)
Marine One (VH-71) helicopters66 $6.1b (2005) $11.2b (2008)
Coast Guard, NSC ships, per unit67 $250m (2002) $536m (2007)
Technology Projects
Air traffic control modernization68 $8.9b (1998) $14.6b (2005)
FBI Trilogy computer system69 $477m (2000) $600m (2004)
Pentagon airborne laser system70 $1b (1996) $2b (2004)
Border radiation detectors71 $2.1b (2008) $3.1b (2008)
International Space Station72 $17b (1997) $30b (2001)
Mars Science Laboratory73 $1.6b (2008) $2.3b (2009)
Glory satellite74 $266m (2008) $348m (2008)
Washington, D.C.
Capitol Visitor Center75 $265m (2000) $621m (2008)
Kennedy Center opera house76 $18.3m (1995) $22.2m (2003)
Kennedy Center concert hall77 $15.1m (1995) $21.3m (1997)
Kennedy Center parking lot78 $28m (1998) $88m (2003)



Doomed From the Start? by Thomas DiLorenzo

DiLorenzo ever so eloquently makes the case that I have proffered before that a reliance on a strict Constitutional interpretation is doomed to failure if the object is to limit the size and power of the central state.  I am all for exhausting the peaceful means at our disposal through the teeth the Ninth and Tenth Amendments provide the states but as long as these states remain the creatures of the Federal government nothing will change.  The emerging challenges to the Federal government’s ability to regulate firearms will make for an interesting test case in which states will put their money where their legislation is.  The respective legislatures and governor can carp all day about ambition to nullify or refuse to abide by Federal edicts but the rubber will hit the road when the states employ the most effective tool -deny the robber barons on Capitol Hill their tax receipts by caging them in the states.  That will get their attention. We live in a filthy and corrupt hybrid of Hamiltonian and Lincolnian fever dreams of the corporate state. -BB


by Thomas J. DiLorenzo,

After spending a lifetime in politics John C. Calhoun (U.S. Senator, Vice President of the United States, Secretary of War) wrote his brilliant treatise, A Disquisition on Government, which was published posthumously shortly after his death in 1850. In it Calhoun warned that it is an error to believe that a written constitution alone is “sufficient, of itself, without the aid of any organism except such as is necessary to separate its several departments, and render them independent of each other to counteract the tendency of the numerical majority to oppression and abuse of power” (p. 26). The separation of powers is fine as far as it goes, in other words, but it would never be a sufficient defense against governmental tyranny, said Calhoun.

Moreover, it is a “great mistake,” Calhoun wrote, to suppose that “the mere insertion of provisions to restrict and limit the powers of the government, without investing those for whose protection they are inserted, with the means of enforcing their observance, will be sufficient to prevent the major and dominant party from abusing its powers” (emphasis added). The party “in possession of the government” will always be opposed to any and all restrictions on its powers. They “will have no need of these restrictions” and “would come, in time, to regard these limitations as unnecessary and improper restraints and endeavor to elude them . . .”

The “part in favor of the restrictions” (i.e., strict constructionists) would inevitably be overpowered. It is sheer folly, Calhoun argued, to suppose that “the party in possession of the ballot box and the physical force of the country, could be successfully resisted by an appeal to reason, truth, justice, or the obligations imposed by the constitution” (emphasis added). He predicted that “the restrictions [of government power in the Constitution] would ultimately be annulled, and the government be converted into one of unlimited powers.” He was right, of course.

This is a classic statement of the Jeffersonian states’ rights position. The people of the free, independent and sovereign states must be empowered with the rights of nullification and secession, and a concurrent majority with veto power over unconstitutional federal laws, if their constitutional liberties are to have any chance of protection, Calhoun believed. The federal government itself can never, ever be trusted to limit its own powers.

How did Calhoun come to such conclusions? One answer to this question is that he was a serious student of politics, history, and political philosophy for his entire life, and understood the nature of government as much as anyone else alive during his time. He also witnessed first hand or quickly learned about the machinations of the sworn enemies of limited constitutional government in America: men such as Alexander Hamilton, John Adams, John Marshall, Joseph Story and Daniel Webster.

The Founding Fathers of Constitutional Subversion

America’s first constitution, the Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union, did a much better job of limiting the tyrannical proclivities of government than the U.S. Constitution ever did, and it did so while permitting enough governmental power to field an army that defeated the British Empire. The limits on government that the Articles contained outraged the advocates of unlimited governmental powers, such as Alexander Hamilton, which is why the “Perpetual Union” that was created by the Articles was abolished as all the states peacefully seceded from that union

The constitutional convention was Hamilton’s idea as much as anyone’s. Upon arriving at the convention Hamilton laid out the plan of his fellow nationalists: a permanent president or king, who would appoint all governors, who would have veto power over all state legislation. This monopoly government would then impose on the entire nation a British-style mercantilist empire without Great Britain, complete with massive corporate welfare subsidies, a large public debt, protectionist tariffs, and a central bank modeled after the Bank of England that would inflate the currency to finance the empire.

Hamilton did not get his way, of course, thanks to the Jeffersonians. When the Constitution was finally ratified, creating a federal instead of a national or monopolistic, monarchical government, Hamilton denounced the document as “a frail and worthless fabric.” He and his Federalist/nationalist colleagues immediately went to work destroying the limits on government contained in the Constitution. He invented the notion of “implied powers” of the Constitution, which allowed him and his political heirs to argue that the Constitution is not a set of limitations on governmental powers, as Jefferson believed it was, but rather a potential stamp of approval on anything the government ever wanted to do as long as it is “properly” interpreted by clever, statist lawyers like Alexander Hamilton or John Marshall. Hamilton “set out to remold the Constitution into an instrument of national supremacy,” wrote Clinton Rossiter in Alexander Hamilton and the Constitution.

Thomas J. DiLorenzo [send him mail] is professor of economics at Loyola College in Maryland and the author of The Real Lincoln; Lincoln Unmasked: What You’re Not Supposed To Know about Dishonest Abe and How Capitalism Saved America. His latest book is Hamilton’s Curse: How Jefferson’s Archenemy Betrayed the American Revolution – And What It Means for America Today.

Copyright © 2010 by Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit is given.

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It Was a Wonderful Life by Jim Quinn

Quinn paints a very grim but realistic picture of where we are and where we are headed.  The fiction the government calls the CPI is deceptive but what do you expect of economists in the employ of the Machine.  There is a rather pedantic discussion going on among libertarian worthies concerning the use of the terms free market and capitalism as proper descriptors of the spontaneous order those of us who draw our intellectual succor from the likes of von Mises and Rothbard espouse.  I am following the argument but will maintain a distance for now.  Alinsky the Marxist did teach us that the command of the language is domination of the mind.
The practical conclusion to draw from this very comprehensive essay is that the sky is falling and those hunkered and bunkered after careful preparation will survive.  All the rest are at the mercy of government and readers of this blog know that this writer does not consider the quality of that mercy to be anything but lethal in the end. -BB

America had an option in 1946. We had a choice between Bedford Falls and Pottersville. Sadly, over time, Americans came to a fork in the road and took it. Life is about choices. As a nation we have undoubtedly made more ghastly choices than superior ones. Essentially, the choices were the same ones faced by George Bailey. Do I act in the best interest of myself or do what is best for the community as a whole? Do I choose the path that will give me the most benefits and greatest personal wealth, with the least sacrifice? Or, do I choose a path based upon the values we hold dear like hard work, sacrifice, charity, and loving thy neighbor. A civilization cannot be sustained with making money as its chief pursuit. In that scenario we are no more than animals. Our transition to a brutish society began when citizens became consumers. A citizen is concerned with their civic responsibility, fiscal accountability and obligation to future generations. A consumer devours whatever they can get their grubby little hands on and cares not about debt or unborn generations.

Credit Card Debt

Americans bought into two huge lies. They believed that “free market capitalism” and “globalism” would make their lives better. These fabrications were spread by the monopolistic mammoth corporations that control Washington D.C. and their puppets in Congress. Big media spread the gospel of free markets and the benefits of a global economy incessantly. The fact is free markets aren’t really free and global markets meant your job was shipped to China or India. Americans fell for the hook of cheap goods sold by mega-retailers and produced by slave labor in Far East countries and paid for with loans at 19.99%. This was not free market capitalism, but predatory capitalism. The capitalism that thrived in Bedford Falls was humane capitalism. It was a capitalism where one’s commitment to being benevolent took priority over greedy self-interest; when the welfare of the person was rooted in the best interests of the society, and when the profit motivation was employed to meet societal needs, rather than Potter-like inhumane bankers and gluttonous corporate CEOs. These monsters of capitalism have the same contempt for the American people as displayed by Henry Potter. They are as bigoted towards America’s working class just as Potter referring to the townsfolk as suckers, riff raff, and garlic eaters. Frank Capra depicted bankers as prejudiced predators, angling to direct America toward a rapacious existence under their sphere of influence. In my opinion, he was too generous, as the Wall Street bankers of today personify pure evil. Only soulless parasites could create subprime, no doc, and Option ARM mortgages, sell them as packages to pension funds, bet they would collapse, beg for a taxpayer rescue, use the money to gamble in the stock market, and pay themselves billions in bonuses. That defines American capitalism today.

Real versus Rigged CPI

Read the rest here and it is well worth your time: