“Freedom had been hunted round the globe; reason was considered as rebellion; and the slavery of fear had made men afraid to think. But such is the irresistible nature of truth, that all it asks, and all it wants, is the liberty of appearing.”

– Thomas Paine

To perversely paraphrase Bastiat:  “The state is the great fiction within whose tax jurisdiction it deems itself free to fine, kidnap, cage, maim and kill its taxpayers and tax clients.”  It tends to be more gentle with the latter than the former.

High Tax Commissioner Obama recently ordered the robot murder of two acknowledged American citizens, Anwar al-Awlaki and Samir Khan, in yet another undeclared hostility zone in the Middle East in Yemen.  No trial and no appeal, simply the remote control killing of two Americans in a foreign country.  No empire in history has ever isolated its more obnoxious and deadly behavior in foreign lands simply to the latest imperial conquest, all the countries have eventually brought it all back to their homelands like disease vectors.  Wait for it because all the bloodshed and dismemberment we have visited on the rest of humanity will be brought home and used with vigor and no restraint whatsoever as the powers that be emanating from Mordor on the Potomac become more and more desperate as their economic ignorance and chicanery force their hand at increased savagery to preserve their way of life. The United Kingdom shows what will happen to a nation that seeks to rule the world, is reduced to colonial rock formations dotted around the globe and starts to practice empire on its own citizens.

We are all used to news coming over the transom everyday of yet more innocent women and children maimed and killed by our troops or their proxies in the multitude of statist squabbles around the globe.  We are bludgeoned day after day with the news of cops misbehaving violently across the fruited plain.  The prisons are bloated with the largest per capita population on Earth in the land of the free. Millions of tax dollars are spent in a death penalty system that morbidly worships a premeditated killing of a human being accused of a capital crime.

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“While this America settles in the mould of its vulgarity, heavily thickening to empire,

And protest, only a bubble in the molten mass, pops and signs out, and the mass hardens,

I sadly smiling remember that the flower fades to make fruit, the fruit rots to make earth.

Out of the mother; and through the spring exultances, ripeness and decadence; and home to the mother.

 

You making haste, haste on decay; not blameworthy; life is good, be it stubbornly long or suddenly

A mortal splendor; meteors are not needed less than mountains: shine, perishing republic.

But for my children, I would have them keep their distance from the thickening center; corruption

Never has been compulsory, when the cities lie at the monster’s feet there are left the mountains.

 

And boys, be in nothing so moderate as in love of man, a clever servant, insufferable master.

There is the trap that catches noblest spirits, that caught–they say–God, when he walked on earth.”

– Robinson Jeffers,  Shine, Perishing Republic

 

Jeffers, the lyrical and unsung poet of the American West had his finger on the pulse of the war machine in Mordor on the Potomac.  He was an opponent of the American entry into WWII (The War to Save Josef Stalin) and this put him on the path to poverty and obscurity.  His poetry is among the best America produced in the 20th century but he remains in obscurity because he dared to question the war machine.

There is talk now of entering into a more active conflict with Pakistan.  The millions of maimed and murdered bodies that have already been the American offertory for world peace are simply not enough and the US death machine marches onward.  This war will come home and not only in the broken minds and bodies of the veterans but in the machinations of our rulers who will find all kinds of new stratagems and toys to better control their cattle here at home.  Combine this with the many opportunities afforded by the economic calamities the government has authored and you have a recipe for even worse times ahead.

On reflection, I cannot support a single conflict America has engaged in since 1898 but I do know the only legitimate conflict is fought on one’s own soil to defend your kith and kin from barbarism and enslavement.  I am opposed to all initiated aggression on principle but I am no pacifist.  I believe in a robust and compelling response to initiated aggression.

We are a people born in conflict and steeped in a culture of self-defense despite the disregard with which our most holy and vaunted Founding Rulers viewed such a culture.

It was on this day, September 30 in 1776 that George Washington wrote a despairing letter to his nephew complaining of the poor performance of his militia.

“I am wearied to death all day with a variety of perplexing circumstances, disturbed at the conduct of the militia, whose behavior and want of discipline has done great injury to the other troops, who never had officers, except in a few instances, worth the bread they eat.” Washington added, “In confidence I tell you that I never was in such an unhappy, divided state since I was born.”

Mighty strong elixir from one of history’s least deserving Battle Captains whose talents for warfare were among the poorest of any field commander.  The man who won three of the nine major battles he fought against a foe that was engaged in a global conflict with great powers on the European continent. If it weren’t for the “sideshow” aspect of the North American conflict to the British, military defeat would not have been visited upon them except at the hands of guerrillas.  As we see from the letter referenced above, Washington did not think very highly of his most pure volunteers, the militia.  No, Washington needed dragooned and conscripted fodder that would better enable his military ambitions.

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“The only tyrant I accept in this world is the still voice within.”

~ Mahatma Gandhi

I have been working on a contract that will come to bind you, dear reader. This contract will give myself, and those I employ, the power to seize your property whenever we deem it to be necessary and proper. This contract can be amended at anytime and can only be interpreted by myself, and those I employ.

You say you would never sign such a contract?

No worries, your signature is not needed. I have, in good faith, taken the time to have many of my Friends and Neighbors sign it. Those who have signed it, have, with their signatures, legally bound you to this contract. I know, I know, it seems unfair and perhaps somewhat unjust. That is why I will provide you with arbitration, and I promise I will see to it that this method of arbitration will be as objective as possible. This Arbitrator will be paid by me through funds I have stolen…errr…extracted from you through the barrel of m….errr…through taxation. You see, I only sign the paychecks, the money comes from you; it’s more than fair this way. You couldn’t possibly be competent enough to use your own money to buy your own arbitration, so I must force it upon you. This Arbitrator, this Judge, will be addressed as “The Honorable”, or, “Your Honor” and he will have almost unlimited powers within his court. If you choose to disrespect or disrupt “the Court” you will be caged for an indeterminate amount of time. However, before you are thrown into a cage, you will have a chance to grovel at the feet of the Court. Maybe this most Honorable Man will show mercy on you, or perhaps not. Even though your money and property is extracted to pay for this Public Servant, it is not your place to question him in his court. All dissenters must be punished, this is the only way to maintain the absolute authority of “the Court”.

You say this contract would never be upheld in a court of law?

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Publisher’s Note:  September 17 is the day the serfs in the tax jurisdiction known as America celebrate Constitution Day.  We hear all the usual ill-informed and ahistorical notions celebrating what was in essence one of the most savvy and lucrative political coups in Western history. The Antifederalists were right, the Constitution was an elegant trap to shackle an entire nation to a system to empower the few over the many and the banksters over the entire system of commerce.  The respective states which had signed separate peace agreements with the United Kingdom in 1783 were merely political and inferior subsidiaries to the greater national power emerging in Mordor on the Potomac.  The Constitution created a Soviet style system well before the Bolsheviks were even contemplating such a scheme.  Whenever you hear some of your friends and neighbors extolling the virtues of the Constitution, read them Spooner’s quote and see how they address that particular conundrum. -BB

By rendering the labor of one, the property of the other, they cherish pride, luxury, and vanity on one side; on the other, vice and servility, or hatred and revolt.

~ James Madison

“But whether the Constitution really be one thing, or another, this much is certain — that it has either authorized such a government as we have had, or has been powerless to prevent it. In either case, it is unfit to exist.”

~ Lysander Spooner

 

Today, 17 September 2009, is Constitution Day. There will be paeans, abundant commentary and church-like observances of the glories of this document in making us the most blessed nation on planet earth. This essay suggests a contrarian thesis. The Constitution is an enabling document for big government. Much like the Wizard of Oz, the man behind the curtain is a fraud. In this case, for all the sanctimonious handwringing and the obsequious idolatry of the parchment, it sealed the fate of our liberties and freedoms and has operated for more than 200 years as a cover for massive expansion of the tools and infrastructure of statist expansion and oppression. Among the many intellectual travels I have undertaken, this is one of the most heart-breaking I have ventured on. I want to acknowledge the compass-bearers who sent me on this journey: Kenneth W. Royce (aka Boston T. Party) and his seminal book, The Hologram of Liberty and Kevin Gutzman’s Politically Incorrect Guide to the Constitution. For most of the political spectrum in America, the document represents their interpretation of how to make this mortal coil paradise. Even in libertarian circles, it is taken as an article of faith the Constitution is a brilliant mechanism to enlarge liberty and keep government at bay. That is a lie.

The document was drafted in the summer of 1787 behind closed doors in tremendous secrecy because if word leaked out of the actual contents and intent, the revolution that had just concluded would have been set ablaze again. They were in a race against time and did everything in their power to ensure that the adoption took place as quickly as possible to avoid reflection and contemplation in the public square that would kill the proposal once the consequences of its agenda became apparent. They were insisting that the states ratify first and then propose amendments later. It was a political coup d’état. It was nothing less than an oligarchical coup to ensure that the moneyed interests, banksters and aristocrats could cement their positions and mimic the United Kingdom from which they had been recently divorced.

The original charter of the drafters was to pen improvements to the existing Articles of Confederation. Instead, they chose to hijack the process and create a document which enslaved the nation. Federalist in the old parlance meant states rights and subsidiarity but the three authors of the fabled Federalist Papers supported everything but that. Their intent and commitment was to create a National government with the ability to make war on its constituent parts if these states failed to submit themselves to the central government.

As Austrian economists have discovered, bigger is not necessarily better. The brilliant and oft-dismissed Articles of Confederation (AoC) and Perpetual Union are a testament to voluntarism and cooperation through persuasion that the Constitution disposed of with its adoption. Penned in 1776 and ratified in 1781, the spirit and context of the Articles live on in the Swiss canton system and are everywhere evident in the marketplace where confederationist sentiments are practiced daily. The confederation’s design divines its mechanism from what an unfettered market does every day: voluntary cooperation, spontaneous information signals and the parts always being smarter than the sum A. confederation according to the Webster’s 1828 dictionary is:

The act of confederating; a league; a compact for mutual support; alliance; particularly of princes, nations or states.

I would advise the readership to use the 1828 Webster’s dictionary to accompany any primary source research you may undertake to understand American (& British) letters in the eighteenth century. It is the source for the contemporary lexicon. It is even available online now.

Here is a simple comparison of the two organizing documents:

 

`

Articles of Confederation

Constitution

Levying taxes Congress could request states to pay taxes Congress has right to levy taxes on individuals
Federal courts No system of federal courts Court system created to deal with issues between citizens, states
Regulation of trade No provision to regulate interstate trade Congress has right to regulate trade between states
Executive No executive with power. President of U.S. merely presided over Congress Executive branch headed by President who chooses Cabinet and has checks on power of judiciary and legislature
Amending document 13/13 needed to amend Articles 2/3 of both houses of Congress plus 3/4 of state legislatures or national convention
Representation of states Each state received 1 vote regardless of size Upper house (Senate) with 2 votes; lower house (House of Representatives) based on population
Raising an army Congress could not draft troops, dependent on states to contribute forces Congress can raise an army to deal with military situations
Interstate commerce No control of trade between states Interstate commerce controlled by Congress
Disputes between states Complicated system of arbitration Federal court system to handle disputes
Sovereignty Sovereignty resides in states Constitution the supreme law of the land
Passing laws 9/13 needed to approve legislation 50%+1 of both houses plus signature of President

Note that the precept of individual taxation was an end-run against state sovereignty from the very beginning. If the Congress does not wish to violate state sovereignty, then they will simply prey on the individuals in the states. It should be obvious that the AoC was not a recipe for government employees from top to bottom to use the office to enrich themselves so a scheme was afoot to precipitate and manufacture dissent over the present configuration of the central government apparatus which for all intents and purposes barely existed. The AoC was intolerable to a narrow panoply of interests and the Federalist Papers appeared between October 1787 and August 1788 to plead the case for a newer form of “Republic” authored by three individuals: James Madison, John Jay, and Alexander Hamilton. The British had sued for peace in 1783 and the AoC were still in effect until 1790. Time was ticking to erect the new government apparatus that would strengthen the central government to eventually mimic the very tyranny which caused British North America to put the English Crown in the hazard. The Anti-Federalists rose up in response and provided what I consider one of the most splendid and eloquent defenses of small government penned in our history.

When the Constitutional Convention convened on 1787, 55 delegates came but 14 later quit as the Convention eventually abused its mandate and scrapped the AoC instead of revising it. The notes and proceedings of the cloistered meeting were to be secret as long as 53 years later when Madison’s edited notes were published in 1840.

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“All political thinking for years past has been vitiated in the same way. People can foresee the future only when it coincides with their own wishes, and the most grossly obvious facts can be ignored when they are unwelcome.”
– George Orwell

We all experience the world through the shared stories and anecdotes that illuminate who we are and where we come from.  Our educations, both formal and informal, drive the worldviews we develop over time.  These are influenced universally by the transmission mediums we listen to or read about.  Whether we are reading books (an increasingly uncommon practice), watching television, interacting on the internet or engaging in conversation with friends and family, all of these activities consistently and irrevocably develop and refine the way we view the world around us.  First and foremost, our language and employment thereof has the most significant impact on us.  I do not want to bother with the noxious collectivist apologias familiar to the deconstructionists like Chomsky and Foucault who profess that literary texts and contemporary conversation are freighted with the various Politically Correct bugbears like race, class and gender which to me is a neat but erroneous substitute for thinking things through.  But they do make an important point:  our language, in this case, English, informs and prejudices cogitation in an unconscious fashion that can short-circuit clear and conscious thinking.

For example, prior to 1860, the use of the phrase “the United States are” was far more common than the post-1865 notion of the “the United States is”.  Mark Twain “observed that the Civil War was fought over whether ‘United States’ was singular or plural”.  Some attribute this to Basil Lanneau Gildersleeve, Professor of Greek at Johns Hopkins University, who wrote in 1909 that “if I chose (sic), I might enlarge on the historical importance of grammar in general and Greek grammar in particular. It was a point of grammatical concord that was at the bottom of the Civil War – “United States are,” said one, “United States is,” said another.”

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“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.

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“ATF is supposed to be the sheepdog that protects against the wolves that prey on our southern border, but rather than meet the wolf head-on, we sharpened its teeth and added number to its claws. All the while, we sat idly by watching, tracking and noting as it became a more efficient killer.”

– ATF Agent John Dodson, August 2011

Sheepdog or government lapdog?

The promotion of the three primary Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (BATF) should come as no surprise.  The government is the entity in everyday life that usually rewards venal, unprofessional and vicious behavior on the part of its apparatchiks because that is the primary means by which government gets things done.  The Fast and Furious Operation was designed as a sting by the ATF to allow straw purchases to flow to Mexico through the border states like Arizona where I live even though it has also been linked to a dozen crime scenes in the US.  This clown posse intended to allow the semi-automatic weapons to get into the hands of the drug cartels so they could be traced and used to identify who was who in the evil narco-conglomerates in the greater failed state known as Mexico.

I use the term failed state in the common patois but as far as I can see it is a wildly successful state – a government dominated economy rich in agricultural and natural resources squandered by the Soviet-style central planning that has informed Mexican politics since the Partido Revolucionario Institucional (PRI) took over in 1929.  The 1917 Constitution was an inspiration for the 1918 Russian Constitution for the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic.  Even though the PRI lost in 2000, the country continues to be a collectivist cesspool dominated by restriction on the most basic human rights.  It was not until 1992 that Mexico started to extricate the state from religion and lifted severe restrictions.  By Communist standards, Mexico is a close approximation of that wretched idea and like China, has been one of those rare Marxoid nations whose territorial ambitions have been rather muted and lazy beyond their contiguous borders.  I would suggest part of this lies in the unique brand of military incompetency that places Mexico among the worst armed forces in the history of mankind, a circumstance that has greatly benefited America’s yen for expansion into the southwestern portion of North America.

The ATF conducted their bumbling operation without even informing the American embassy in Mexico City which later came to bite them badly.  Let’s step back a moment.  A straw purchase is a violation of American gun laws because it allegedly permits a potential felon or other ineligible owner of firearms to get a firearm by having another person purchases it for them much like the idiotic alcohol consumption laws in America where an adult will purchase beer or wine or liquor for someone under age. I have stated before that we don’t need to enforce the 271 Federal gun laws on the books, we need to get rid of them and the thousands of state and local laws this has created such as the urban hellholes like DC and Chicago where gun possession by the lawful is rather problematic but not for criminal who…ahem…break laws for a living. We need to strive to make America number one in gun freedoms and not number nine behind the Khyber Pass, Finland and New Zealand where these countries have no restrictions on suppressors, for instance.

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Publisher Note:  I don’t normally agree with Hanson’s prognostications beyond his masterful treatment of the ancient world of Greece and his occasional scribbling about the health and impending doom of his small business.  His militaristic instincts and neoconservative sensibilities have blunted the efficacy of his more contemporary ramblings but this particular missive is much more instructive.  I certainly see a far greater historical correlation to post WWII Britain than other comparisons that have been proffered.  Imagine if we had adopted the post WWII economic model adopted by Conrad Adenauer after 1949 leading to the Wirtschaftswunder that briefly led to an industrial revival that was strangled in its cradle by the welfare/warfare statist enthusiasts who then forced Germany to mimic the fascist economic models of the West.  The socialist Atlee was the instigator of taking Churchill’s more fevered dreams of a controlled economy and putting the wartime shackles on peacetime private industry.  Attlee claimed:   “The Labour Party is a socialist party and proud of it. Its ultimate purpose at home is the establishment of the Socialist Commonwealth of Great Britain – free, democratic, efficient, progressive, public-spirited, its material resources organized in the service of the British people.” Government is always at war with industry unless the private sector becomes a wholly-owned subsidiary of the government whether through outright expropriation like the British nationalization ventures or the American  variant using total regulatory and tax vertical and horizontal micromanagement to achieve the same objective of Keynesian economic fascism.  One would imagine that absent out trillions poured into the wars in the Middle east and the near trillion dollar annual defense budget, our economic house would be in better order but then again, the socialist theft transfer programs for the welfare state would most likely obviate those savings.  VDH is onto something here. BB

But now? Household credit-card and mortgage debt, for all the new frugality, remain high. Consumers are strapped, even those who have jobs and have not lost thousands in collapsed home equity and depleted 401(k) retirement plans, or made nothing in years from near-zero-interest savings accounts. In other words, we do not have a long-deprived public, flush with years of hoarded cash, just waiting with pent-up demand to buy brand new labor-saving devices and shiny new vehicles produced in converted tank and bomber factories. There is no need to add that in a pre-Great Society America, without food stamps, two to three years of unemployment insurance, and housing subsidies, there might have been more incentive to hustle for jobs.

Moreover, the world abroad in 1946 was hardly similar to the world in 2011. Review the prior status of our present global competitors: India was a backward colony and in civil turmoil. War-torn China was about to embark on the most self-destructive social experiment in human history. Two-thirds of a centrally planned Soviet Union was in shambles. Western Europe was near starving after years of bombing and Nazi strangulation. The future export powerhouses of Japan and Germany were in ruins. Brazil was pre-modern. The miracles of Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, and South Korea were still imaginary. A victorious Britain was full of self-doubt and exhausted, busy dismantling its colonial empire and nationalizing its steel, transportation, health, and energy industries.

In the immediate postwar years, only a capitalist, self-confident America was poised to supply foreigners with much-needed manufactured goods, expertise, and capital to raise the world from ruin. And from the profits, we were able to pay down our own staggering and unsupportable wartime-incurred debt. Note as well that in 1946 a self-sufficient oil-producing America was not guzzling down a half-trillion dollars’ worth of imported oil each year.

In short, in 2011 there is nothing that suggests the present massive borrowing will lead us to anything like the prosperity of the postwar years — a time when social spending and entitlements accounted for 30 percent, not 70 percent of the annual federal budget; when households both had cash and were eager to buy long-denied items; when America did not import high-cost oil (having recently supplied 80 percent of its wartime allies’ oil needs from domestic production); and when an unscathed industrial-powerhouse United States was alone on top of the world.

But if we must go back to the post-World War II era for an example to enlighten us about what the current Obama policies presage, then the similarities to the present are not to be found in 1940s America. A better guide is Clement Attlee’s 1946 United Kingdom, which, like Obama’s 2011 America, sought to retrench from the world scene, lead from behind, and establish a much-vaunted high-tax, big-government, cradle-to-grave redistributive welfare state — one whose legacy we have just witnessed in London’s streets.

Read the rest:  https://victorhanson.com/articles/hanson082811.html

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.

TSA on Red Alert

“The trouble with fighting for human freedom is that one spends most of one’s time defending scoundrels. For it is against scoundrels that oppressive laws are first aimed, and oppression must be stopped at the beginning if it is to be stopped at all.”
–  HL Mencken

I went to board a flight at Tucson on Monday and checked in my guns in a secure case at the ticket counter like I always do.  Usually I have to wait but they said they would page me if they needed me for anything.  I proceeded to the TSA Security Theater festivities to have my bags and body violated and was stopped by an agent from the ticket counter and asked to return.  The scan of my gun case indicated the weapon was loaded.

A loaded firearm has a round in the chamber by all gun community standards.  We are addressing the legal definition here and not the assumption that all firearms are loaded for safety purposes.  Search as I might, it was difficult to find a Federal definition for loaded but I did find this:

As typical legalese, this definition isn’t all that clear. Luckily, in 1996 the California Appellate Court ruled on the interpretation of “loaded firearm” in People v. Clark, (1996) 45 Cal. App. 4th 1147, 1152. Mr. Clark was arrested for allegedly having a loaded shotgun because, even though there were no shells in the chamber, there were shells in a compartment in the stock of the firearm. The court held that “attached in any manner to” the firearm was intended to encompass a situation where a shell or cartridge might be attached to a firearm or “loaded” for firing by some unconventional method.

 The court said:  “Under the commonly understood meaning of the term “loaded,” a firearm is “loaded” when a shell or car­tridge has been placed into a position from which it can be fired; the shotgun is not “loaded” if the shell or cartridge is stored elsewhere and not yet placed in a firing position.”

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