Publisher’s Note: Here we are in another deadline for paying the king and country their ”fair share” of honest wages and wealth earned and resources capitalized. Much like the burgeoning welfare state comprising one third of total government spending in 1900 on Union pensions from Lincoln’s bid to crush the entire nation under a Hamiltonian boot that foreshadowed the Bolshevik revolutions in the twentieth century.  Taxes advance barbarism and not civilization. They promote the notion that death and taxes isn’t necessarily the right sequence if you stand up and refuse to be robbed. All government is based solely on hitting and stealing and rationalizing all forms of anti-social behavior and legalizing piracy and plunder and calling it an enterprise for your own good. Government are nothing more than sophisticated brigand bands with bad music, colored rags flapping in the breeze and large bands of armed thugs with a license to kill.  We all pay at the peril of our children and grandchildren as we feed the beast that makes life more and more centralized, regulated and less than optimal.  Just a note that I quote Reagan for one of his few sober thoughts on economics because while he talked a good game, he was no more fiscally conservative than any of the Presidents following Eisenhower and succeeding him in office in 1989. I will give Reagan his due for reducing income tax rates from a high of 70% to 28% but no closer to zero than my comfort zone for taxation. Eisenhower managed to reduce government spending per GDP by two percentage points, not Reagan who spent absurd amounts of other people’s money and popularized deficit spending for the voter mobs. I highly recommend The Great Deformation by former Reagan advisor David Stockman for a fairly thorough analysis of the fiat currency and bankster chaos that has consumed the American economy for the better part of a century. I don't agree with all of Stockman's conclusions and his continuing faith in the "right" regulatory regime is quaint but illusory in application.  I’ll be back to more regular essay production as soon as our moving and unpacking is complete in our new location.  Happy tax day, Helots. -BB
“You can’t tax business. Business doesn’t pay taxes. It collects taxes.” ― Ronald Reagan
Taxation is theft and the acquisition of other people’s resources with a velvet glove backed by a mailed fist. It is simply one of the many ways in which the state brutalizes and impoverishes its tax cattle on a daily basis. Despite the government-media complex insistence that the tax rate in America is tolerable if not fair, anything above zero is morally wrong if the robbed don’t agree implicitly and consensually to the mugging for whatever fantastic services the state proclaims it provides. The French aren't the only ones to achieve a 100 percent tax rate, they're just more blunt about it. So I want to destroy a myth, I want to show you through sheer numbers and data that the state in America has a tax rate that exceeds 100% to which the normal American having had a proper government education will insist that is impossible. I’d like to excise some of the population that is obviously at this point. Now the tax rate for incarcerated Americans is exactly 100% since their lives have been stolen in total. The tax rate on certain targeted marijuana businesses in the US under IRS code 280E are taxed in excess of 80% (some approaching 100%).
“I believe that the feds extend the drug war through 280E,” said Cornelius. “If (the federal government) can’t put them out of business legally when voters are mandating these businesses to move forward, it’s very easy to put them out of business financially. A lot of times, instead of paying a tax rate that should be 30 to 40 [percent], they are paying rates between 80 or 90 percent. I even have a client right now that is paying more than 100 [percent] effective tax rate.”
Apart from the sheer moral hazard and absolute immorality of the aforementioned cases, I would suggest that all Americans pay an effective tax rate that exceeds 100% even though that beggar’s belief and rational thought but we are talking about the government. Direct taxation in America on the Helots residing within and without the US and its territories is enormous and takes on many tangential impacts. “The United States is the only country that taxes its citizens’ worldwide income, even when those citizens live indefinitely abroad.” An ordinary US subject will pay Federal, state (43) and/or city income taxes, property taxes, excise taxes, sin taxes, sales taxes, Socialist Security, Medicare, unemployment and corporate income taxes. I have given a brief overview of most progressive taxes and there are regressive taxes like the gasoline tax that the Feds are gnashing their fangs over since prices have gone down and they were foolish enough to assign a percentage of price instead of flat fixed levy. Then there are the death taxes to pay a gratuity to the state(s) per the required death levy once the owner has assumed room temperature and you are taxed once again on monies that have already had taxes stolen from the whole. This tax is 18-40% on previously taxed assets.
Publisher’s Note: This is my 400th post at ZeroGov and I wanted to thank all the readers and supporters who have made this possible. “You can’t boil the ocean.” That’s why I try to drill down deeply on singular topics. Borrowing from the giants like Spooner, Tucker, Rothbard and Higgs and countless other voices in the wilderness carrying on the anti-slavery and abolitionist tradition in spite of the overwhelming floodtide of government supremacist idolatry that permeates human thought for millennia. At the cosmic level, I do spend a disproportionate amount of time parsing out the implication of the American police state. Recent life events have severely curtailed my writing output hence the relative infrequency of essays and extended the timeline for the publication of The Cancer Club but fear not, it will not suffer the fate of Absolved. We’ve moved locations in the American Southwest and my day-job has monopolized more of my time than I am accustomed to. 2016 has slowed my literary and podcasting roll to a near full stop. I have a longer commute until we move into our new house next week and while I listen to books on MP3 frequently, I occasionally tune to the radio and the talk radio is abysmal on the airwaves. The Beck show is especially loathsome with its constant drumbeat for this collectivist notion or that government band-aid in addition to the mewling for superstitious intervention in the affairs of man. His posse of co-hosts at the Blaze prove the notion that the sycophancy of his crew obviates any ability to have a rational conversation. Back to Neal Stephenson’s brilliant Baroque Cycle on MP3. My books that are published remain on Amazon and a veritable library of media appearances can be found in Media and Interviews in the tab above. And no, I have not followed the election nonsense very closely and remain convinced that Bernie Sanders is every American politician for the last ten generations on truth serum. The pursuit of the Offal Office is nothing more than a subtle change of the guard for the looting of the Helot plantations and the careful trimming of dissident and samizdat voices in the bloodthirsty but incompetent “whack a mole” behavior that is government violence. -BB My friend D. Brian Burghart: "And that list doesn't even get into fundamental errors in attitude toward police killing—for example, the tendency of large outlets and wire services to treat killings as local matters, and not worth tracking widely. Even though police brutality is a national crisis. Journalists also don't generally report the race of the person killed. Why? It's unethical to report it unless it's germane to the story. But race is always germane when police kill somebody. This is the most most heinous thing I've learned in my two years compiling Fatal Encounters. You know who dies in the most population-dense areas? Black men. You know who dies in the least population dense areas? Mentally ill men. It's not to say there aren't dangerous and desperate criminals killed across the line. But African-Americans and the mentally ill people make up a huge percentage of people killed by police. And if you want to get down to nut-cuttin' time, across the board, it's poor people who are killed by police. (And by the way, around 96 percent of people killed by police are men.)" He maintains the database at Fatal Encounters. It's filled with gut-wrenching anecdotes of the government sponsored killing spree executed by its low information security legions. The police forces that prey upon the American population are simply the political face of every society weaponized. Cosmically, no human can have any vestige of their liberty and freedom reduced absent the institution of government policing. The singular point I want to get across is that political policing is one and the same. Politicians at the end of the day are simply violence brokers. They are the suits and ties that determine how the stolen goods and hijacked production is apportioned to the politically connected who are plugged into the plunder system. All political systems are de facto and de jure police states. Terrorism is politically motivated violence against non-combatants and innocents. Government can’t function absent a terrorism modality to its everyday actions. If the police weren’t present to threaten and actually cage, maim and kill; no one would obey the various edicts, diktats and nonsense spewed and vomited from government offices and their willing colon connoisseurs in the media and education complexes. The enormous penal population serves as not only a punitive sanction against the weakest elements of the captive population but provide a warning to others on the price of disobedience. Most of these unfortunates caught in the nightmarish Kafkaesque construct that is the American legal system end up there because of confidential informants. And whether you like it or not, one of your friends and family either are now or will be. Informants, of course, are the life blood of fabricated crimes and prohibitionist legal regimes. Like torture, it rots and hollows out the moral core of everyone involved. Claudia Rusch, quoted in Mary Fulbrook's book, The People’s State: “That was the real strength of the state security; to produce the effect that millions of people behaved towards one another with anxiety, self-control and suspicion. They ensured that if you told a political joke you automatically lowered your voice. Anticipatory obedience spread through every sinew of society and intimidated a whole nation”. Yet another reason that prison populations should stop demarcating themselves into a factionalism that favors the state and start behaving as prisoners of war especially on the Irish example in the twentieth century in the UK system. At the Federal gulag level, the lion’s share of prisoners are genuinely political in nature who have trespassed the state drug cartel prohibitions on essentially non-violent behavior in offenses in which the only victim is the state. In this case, the third party of the state steps forward and claims a grievance wholly manufactured to serve its malum prohibitum pretensions as a component of rule and control. It’s no more simple than that.
Publisher’s Note: Pete at WRSA asked me to complete this interview for him. He has been kind enough to link to my bloviations here at ZeroGov and this is the least I could do. I can entertain any further questions on my blog or at WRSA. Enjoy. -BB 1) Tell the readers about yourself and your experiences. I’m a retired Army officer who has served a number of tours in neo-imperialist shitpits planet-wide with the Legions and as a contractor. I have a BA in Political Economy and an MA in Asymmetric Warfare (Resistance and Rebellion). I am the founder of and have two published books on Amazon with a fiction novel of Fourth Generation Warfare on the horizon called The Cancer Club. I live in the American Southwest with my wife and the mother of our five children (who keep boomeranging back home). 2) When did you first notice politics? As a volunteer for Greenpeace in my distant youth, steeped in the misconceptions and naiveté of a system that actually worked to benefit the Helots it farmed on the tax plantations. The rest of my life would teach me otherwise. 3) How did your political thinking evolve over time? My philosophical and intellectual journey from a mushy post-WWII liberal to a libertarian was greatly influenced when I attended Humboldt State University in the northern reaches of Absurdistan, known to most as California after a stint in the Navy. My formative experiences in the USN would shape the conditions for the transformation anyone in military life can bear witness to. HSU was where you went if you thought Berkeley was too right wing and oppressive. I happened to fall under the academic thrall of two Austrian economists hiding in the basement of the Economics Department. The collectivist nature of the student body and the Sovietized professoriate would go a long way toward forcing a deeper defense of my emerging individualist worldview. This also set me on the path to historical revisionism and a complete deprogramming of all the learned nonsense I had forced into my skull through years of government mind laundries. Among libertarians, I am a one-digit minority in completely rejecting statist constructs and government as legitimate moral vectors of human relationships. I think the idea of limited government is absurd on its face and deeply flawed in all its assumptions. There is absolutely no historical precedent for it east or west. Politician is just a more neutral word for violence broker, nothing more and nothing less. The research I embarked on to examine the American Founding forced the realization that the Constitution was a devilishly clever slave document and that the 18th and 19th century abolitionists asked all the right questions but ultimately stopped short of the right answer; I read hundreds of books to include consuming the six volumes of Liberty Fund’s Founders Constitution (which I gave as a gift to Fred who runs the Revolutionary War Veteran’s Association and the Appleseed program to get it off my shelves). Several things really turned me around to include Royce and Spooner but when I read the massive three volumes of the foreign relations between the states from 1775 to 1787 as a preamble to finishing the Anti-Federalist Papers, all the pieces fell into place. No matter how well-intentioned the document that “binds”, human psychopathy will inform the entire political structure at the expense of the Helots subject to the apparatchiks’ wishes and diktats issued. How many shelves of regulation are groaning in various government offices across the fruited plain whose touchstone is innocent words like “general welfare” and the “commerce clause”? I tend to refer to myself as an abolitionist instead of an anarchist because the latter term makes most folks fill their pants in fear and misunderstanding. I also think my military training, experiences and saturation in the incredibly dysfunctional and sclerotic American and Western war machines showed me the futility of socialism working and the apex factor of war-making in expanding state control over every facet of human transaction. My eyes were forced wide open as a combat tourist around the globe as described earlier. 4) Who do you consider your top five influences in that evolution, and for each, why?  I’m going to make this more accessible by listing intellectual and philosophical influences on my thinking and worldview. If folks read my essays at ZeroGov, they can get hundreds of recommendations for further elucidation in the concepts and brain zephyrs that have shaped my liberty journey. First and foremost, philosophical Stoicism from Seneca to Epictetus to Aurelius to Shackleton and everything in between, these are the original abolitionists, the true believers and Socratic drillers of human self-government. Again and again, I go back to these foundational thinkers to really divine the fundamental constructs of a just society based on the atomistic individual. Austrian economics from the early school under Menger to von Mises and even better in Rothbard; a whole crop of new Austrian observers are on the scene to further mine and research all the implications that are playing out in this nadir of human civilization. These are the bright lights that illuminate a path out of the murderous thought-rubble that passes for thinking today in academia and the government-media complex. When matched against the scientific axioms being discovered in chaos theory and complexification, it makes sense at the individual and meta-level. Per economics, keep in mind that all macroeconomics is merely a sophisticated academic rationalization for government intervention and the throttling of individual volition and incentive. For better or worse, I have never finished an Ayn Rand book nor do I break bread with Objectivists. Libertarian historical revisionism from Lysander Spooner to Harry Elmer Barnes to Jeffrey Rogers Hummel that plumbs history to divine the one golden thread that runs through it continuously: it all comes down to power and the consolidation and expansion thereof through the initiation and aggressive monopoly of violence. It was Gibbon who opined there were only five Roman rulers who retained a patina of humanity in their conduct of the state over the course of seven centuries. Five. The Gods bless Cincinnatus. Military history and the evolution of irregular warfare; there is no more compact and interdisciplinary pursuit of history and human action than military history. When you tease out all the factors both obvious and sublime, it paints a vivid portrait of how state murder machines behave and why warfare is the health of the state. It also offers hundreds if not thousands of ingenious and mostly unheralded lower register forces in the irregular warfare arena who best these numerically and technologically superior behemoths time after time. I offer the current Middle Eastern troubles for the Western military as Exhibit A that technology may not be the deciding factor in any warfare that is not cosmic in its dimension. For a snapshot, I would urge you to read Arthur C. Clarke’s short story Superiority from 1951. Finally, the evolution of my secular if innate antinomian attitudes leading to my dismissal of the state as anything more than slavery animates most of my thinking now. Once I shed any pretense of party affiliation or getting misty when a colored rag is flying at half-mast accompanied by bad music, I no longer feel shackled by the fog that is necessary to genuinely feel patriotism or a heart-felt connection to my wardens and zookeepers. I can’t go back from the moral standard I have planted in the ground despite all the Rube Goldberg attempts by the usual suspects to bring back the Constitution or take DC back or any of the other delusional nonsense. Buppert’s Corollary to Acton’s Axiom is “that power attracts the corruptible and absolute power attracts even worse”. If you wish to rule over others as a statist, you will justify all manner of barbarity: fining, kidnapping, caging, maiming and killing of those who resist the tender assignations of the mandarins of the state.
“Disobedience is the true foundation of liberty. The obedient must be slaves.” - Henry David Thoreau “The greatest crimes in the world are not committed by people breaking the rules but by people following the rules. It's people who follow orders that drop bombs and massacre villages.” - Banksy, Wall and Piece “Fear is a strange soil. It grows obedience like corn, which grow in straight lines to make weeding easier. But sometimes it grows the potatoes of defiance, which flourish underground.” - Terry Pratchett, Small Gods “The disappearance of a sense of responsibility is the most far-reaching consequence of submission to authority.” - Stanley Milgram “Command is a mountaintop. The air breathed there is different, and the perspectives seen there are different, from those of the valley of obedience. The passion for order and the genius for construction, which are part of man's natural endowment, get full play there. The man who has grown great sees from the top of his tower what he can make, if he so wills, of the swarming masses below him.” - Bertrand De Jouvenel, On Power “If physical power be the fountain of law, then law and force are synonymous terms. Or, perhaps, rather, law would be the result of a combination of will and force; of will, united with a physical power sufficient to compel obedience to it, but not necessarily having any moral character whatever.” - Lysander Spooner "Many politicians of our time are in the habit of laying it down as a self-evident proposition, that no people ought to be free till they are fit to use their freedom. The maxim is worthy of the fool in the old story, who resolved not to go into the water till he had learned to swim. If men are to wait for liberty till they become wise and good in slavery they may indeed wait for ever." ~ Thomas Babington Macaulay (1800—1859)
The US Federal government through its satraps and political goons in Nevada just crowd-sourced and thug-scrummed fourteen folks from the Bundy circus in 2014. The prosecution complex at the beck and call of the DC Orcs will print out reams of charges and indictments to bury these hapless souls in. I am assuming that they will wait until 2018 to gather up the latest miscreants who occupied an empty Federal facility in Oregon. Note the irony of the use of the word occupy in all these circumstances. The massive Stasi-like scheme to make preemptive speech and behavior actionable for kidnapping, fining and imprisonment under color of law is moving apace. Read the indictments carefully because more of the same and worse is coming. Much like the infamous Roberts ruling on National Socialist healthcare that taxes inactivity. Of late, starting with the noxious McCain-Feingold campaign speech nonsense in concert with the enormous national security state, the weaponizing of the state has taken an exponential leap forward in its ability to prosecute not only victimless crimes and objections to state growth but the notions of pre-crime are starting to emerge with a vengeance. Victimless crime and fictional crimes like malum prohibitum demand an informant culture that, like torture, morally corrupt everyone ensnared in the system. And that informant culture in the USSA is massive indeed. The entire concept of a rule of law is specious and only feeds the evil people in charge. And keep in mind that one human on Earth can have their personal liberty sundered if not for the use of police forces by government planet-wide. The US government has managed to electronically replicate what the East Germans built: “45,000 sections of reinforced concrete—three tons each. Nearly 300 watchtowers. Over 250 dog runs. Twenty bunkers. Sixty five miles of anti-vehicle trenches—signal wire, barbed wire, beds of nails. Over 11,000 armed guards. A death strip of sand, well-raked to reveal footprints. 200 ordinary people shot dead following attempts to escape the communist regime. 96 miles of concrete wall". The Feds need none of this anachronistic infrastructure, they have simply used the electronic ether tethered to a vigorous police state apparatus to replicate the choking and monstrous affront to human freedom that the Berlin Wall represented. We live in tumultuous times that demand close attention to the yokes being placed on us. The US government is seemingly in the throes of a coup that is exponentially creeping and expanding into what was formerly a fairly autonomous province. Every sector and branch of human transactions that are palpable in this mortal coil is now being subject to regulation, taxation or both. With no authority whatsoever, entire swaths of American society are being subsumed under Leviathan state. What is the authority or color thereof that these alien entities are gobbling up entire patterns of human existence? I have hinted before that the denizens of Mordor on the Potomac act as if their authority is unlimited and their ultimate reach is anything they please. We are witnessing a vicious brew of Sovietization and Mussolini-style state corporatism that will take a revolution to undo. The annals of Western history are full of this kind of grand hubris enabled by consent both willing and silent on the part of the populace. Humans tend to submit to a yoke or collar when invested with fear and anxiety about futures worse than now. The corpse-count in the twentieth century topped 262 million outside of warfare through democide. Wholesale murder is big business for government. These morbid thoughts seem intemperate measured against the apparently "peaceful" measures of Mordor to instill Keynesian stability and save the banksters from themselves with nary a peep of protest from the appropriately red-colored Grand Old Politburo. If you ever had the notion the parties were different, just look at the seamless transition between Bush II and Obama. The only difference between these monsters is skin color because collectivism is thicker than water. Look at the temptation — you step into the cockpit of the Offal Office and decades of creeping totalitarian weeds have strangled and mastered practically every facet of American behavior and life. A simple touch of the controls and hundreds of thousands of subsidiary bureaucrats in the Executive agencies somewhat smoothly respond to the yoke to amp up taxation here and increase regulation there and the heady brew of total power starts to go to the President's head. One can count on a single hand the number of Presidents who took the limitations on their power seriously (Van Buren, Cleveland and Coolidge among the all-stars). As Royce pointed out in his brilliant but under-appreciated book, The Hologram of Liberty, that the Constitution was doomed at the beginning by Hamilton's curse (Burr did not get to him soon enough) and the temptations of George Washington to start the executive imperial ball rolling (witness the Shay's and Whiskey Rebellions) against state sovereignty. The most basic building block for compliance to illegitimate authority is fear. Drivers speed but always take caution if a hint of police presence or the increasingly ubiquitous camera systems are in place. Rare is the libertarian who wants to pay taxes of any stripe but compliance is heeded to avoid fines and imprisonment, or worse. We do not obey because it is the core right thing to do when it comes to most government edicts. Fear and obedience are the brick and mortar of the state and the collectivists are the stonemasons. I don't harm my neighbor nor do I steal his property because it is against the law but my inner moral compass best exemplified by the Ten Commandments or the Categorical Imperative provides my azimuth for behavior. I want to eliminate the perennial bugbear that the MSM and government schools drill into the populace — righteous and correct behavior only emanates from government coercion to make you do the right thing. Step back and examine that proposition. Can you think of any government initiatives or programs that not only supported perverse incentives but made you much worse off? I will let you ponder your own answers but they are legion. Just think — the entire Federal Register provides the enterprising social science researcher with a gargantuan solution set to the second- and third-order effects of perverse incentives and iotragenic effect that animates the entire sordid history of government intervention. Consider this. Once again, the usual suspects from both sides of the aisle (how quaint) in Mordor are proposing the abolition of cosmetically offensive (the assault weapons misnomer) weapons at the stroke of an executive pen. There are tens of reasons why this is wrong-headed but one of the reasons proffered by the new Attorney General, Eric Holder, is that the Mexican drug cartels are getting weapons from America to use in their campaign against the Mexican government. So let me get this straight: the American Drug War has not only failed in America but has led to the instability of both Columbia and Mexico among others, forcing the latter to the brink of collapse which will have untold deleterious effects on every border state in these united States. As a result of these calamitous events, I now have to surrender my weapons to the FEDGOD to prevent them from falling into the hands of drug lords whose very existence is a second-order effect of Federal drug policies that enable their criminal empires.
Publisher’s Note:  I pay zero attention to the nonsense surrounding the competition to wrest the Offal Office from the latest homicidal scoundrel plotting in it. But I will note that at least Bernie Sanders is a man of integrity and philosophical backbone. He is the collectivist antitheses to Ron Paul. Now that does not excuse his totalitarian sympathies, economic illiteracy or nonsensical view of caging humanity on vast tax feed lots to be managed by their government ranchers.  But Bernie Sanders is an unadorned and accurate representation of all the candidates on truth serum. Monsters walk among us, even kindly looking planetary serial killers like Sanders and his government supremacist colleagues, which is the entire breadth of both tickets in the kabuki of party distinction that is American electoral nonsense. It’s amusing to see the inmates clamor for a new national warden every four years. The wheels are coming off so get busy for the coming festivities; sportiness continues apace. Black sites have become all the fad among the secret and not-so-secret political police nation-wide and now what the empire practices abroad is, of course, coming home. The following is a cautionary tale. Just to clarify, all government cops from the local to the Federal level are a political policing mechanism much like the Stasi or NKVD and all its bloodthirsty successors. Some more can be found here. –BB  
“The thing worse than rebellion is the thing that causes rebellion.” - Frederick Douglas
Sometime in the near future. Chicagoland. 0336 hours. It occupied a single city block. The night was wet and dreary, the darkness penetrated only by the subtly buzzing sodium vapor street lights stealing between the raindrops. The address was a nondescript if decrepit building downtown. One would almost think it abandoned if not the occasional light that bled eerily from a window on the third floor. Light discipline was incomplete and that had been the first clue to pinpoint the purpose of the building. The brick bled as if it hadn’t seen a refit in a half century. It hadn’t. Construction records would indicate an interior refit by a shell company based out of the Canary Islands. The only tell that showed any use whatsoever was the shiny new gate curtain that shielded the primary entrance to the underground parking structure. The old cars idled a block away. One truck, three cars and a parcel van. The lead vehicle was a rusty truck with a massive ‘roo bar on the front. Jeremy lifted the radio to his mouth: “Factory, Chain-gang; we are thirty seconds out.” Jeremy blew the last of the nicotine that filled his lungs into the interior of the cramped car. Passengers shifted about in the cramped quarters and clanged metal and exhaled stale breath. Muscles cramped by stillness slowly loosened under adrenal rush. Transmissions clanged and the small rusty flotilla started to ease toward the gate at the bottom of the building; as the cars steamed forward, the truck revved and hit the gate at forty miles an hour, shattering it and dragging remnants of it into the cavernous garage space. The other vehicles followed behind the truck inside and the parcel van stopped outside the rendered mouth to the parking spaces below. Men leapt from the cars before they stopped and started disabling the government cars and trucks in the garage. Each man very deliberately spiked sidewalls on tires, lifted hoods and seated five gallon jerry cans of gas on top of the engines and a road flare on the cowling. On the rooftop along the street across from the building, shadows started to ease to the ramparts to overwatch the ancient urban pile. “Raptor, Chain-gang; we are in, green light.” A muffled crump sounded from the rooftop of the brownstone down the street as a M224 belched three 60mm HE rounds which descended on the targeted roof followed quickly by a single smoke round. Molotov cocktails started to arc gracefully through space landing on the rooftop and a raucous blaze started to ignite the debris on top of the building. A faint chorus of alarms inside the building began their monotonous buzzing. Rifles on the rooftop started to scan the emergency exit doors of the building that had been plotted by earlier reconnaissance. Chris looked around at the dozen shooters on the rooftop in various mufti crowding the edge and scanning the building below. Chris: “Shoot anything that comes out with a weapon in hand and be careful of any trailing pax who look confused and unarmed. The whole idea here is to retrieve our kidnapped folks alive. Heads and hips, boys and girls, heads and hips.” The first door slammed open and a bearded man in full tactical kit cautiously peeked out following his rifle barrel, he stepped out and spun as three rounds drilled into his pelvic area. The man crumpled down and a pool of blood quickly spread from his body. Two men quickly high stepped out with their weapons and swung them up in the direction of the shots that had just killed their colleague, fire spat from the rifles but the ineffective response was reciprocated with deliberate rounds that careened home and pasted organs and shattered bones. Two other doors opened around the corner with similar results. Those positioned across the street on the roof opposite the underground garage could hear shouting and gunfire in the decrepit building. The third floor on the corner lit up as a grenade exploded inside and the window blinked a bright red. Engines roared and echoed in the parking garage followed by more gunfire. The staccato rhythm of the rippling fires intensified as vehicles started coming out of the garage. “Floodlamp, Chain-Gang, exfil in progress, bogies behind. We have about four minutes before other gremlins arrive on station” A lone man on the rooftop opposite the garage gazed down through his insect-like night vision optics and picked up the IR strobes on the friendly vehicles. Count was wrong but the next trucks had no IFF strobes and were granted weapons free for opportunity fire. As the last friendly vehicles exited the garage, a large black Ford Expedition roared out behind them. As it met the street curb, it appeared to lift gracefully off the ground and connect with the plume that rocketed from the rooftop to meet it. It careened on its side and started to burn slowly.
“In keeping silent about evil, in burying it so deep within us that no sign of it appears on the surface, we are implanting it, and it will rise up a thousand fold in the future. When we neither punish nor reproach evildoers, we are not simply protecting their trivial old age, we are thereby ripping the foundations of justice from beneath new generations.”
Robert LaVoy Finucum is dead, gunned down in the winter snows of Oregon. Max Alexander and and Hognose at WeaponsMan have provided the best early commentary yet on the shooting. Finicum unceremoniously joins an impressive corpse-pile sponsored by the law enforcement complex in the US. The FBI Orcs were kind enough to release a snuff film apparently showing his murder from a hovering aircraft. I leave it to other observers to examine the actual shooting footage and arrive at their own conclusions. All of this may be the whimpering dénouement to the ill-planned stand-off with the Feds at the allegedly Federal Malheur Wildlife Refuge created in 1908 by the progressive Teddy Roosevelt to protect bird plumage from being filched by hunters to provide for the men’s and women’s hat industry in turn of the century America. Not a big concern right now. The Feds, of course, never left as is their wont. Whether one reads the real history or watches the new crop of media such as Hell on Wheels which captured the bloodthirsty nature of all government in its outstanding fourth season. I would also recommend a viewing of my favorite Kirk Douglas movie, Lonely Are the Brave; penned by that curmudgeonly anarchist, Ed Abbey. As an aside most mid-century cinematic Westerns tend to be collectivist wet dreams that lionize the government and the gun. I’ve got no dog in the fight with ranchers; most Western ranchers (family owned and corporate) tend to get astounding below-market grazing leases that the rest of the booboise subsidizes for their cattle ranching operations. I’m sympathetic to their dissatisfaction with the disproportionate monopoly on Federal and state land in the Western US. As with everything, the government soils and dishonors whatever it touches and the casualties in the West are no different. A number of observers have started After Action Reviews on the activities of these dissident ranchers who took armed possession of empty government buildings. Good on them. There is much to be captured and learned from this experience for the festivities to come as the nation continues its unraveling during the coming Endarkenment. Scribble away but the preeminent observation is nothing new: the government will stop at nothing to include maiming and killing to maintain its stranglehold on the monopoly of initiated violence in the US and continue to wage a campaign on private defensive violence against their predations. The disparate “law enforcement” mechanisms from the Feds to the local Orcs will do what they are told to fulfill the political mission they are assigned.
Publisher’s Note: This is Part Two of what could potentially be a never-ending series elucidating and describing the incredible story of the richest and most technologically advanced fighting force in the history of mankind falling flat-footed and defeated at every turn. The cavalcade of calamities that is the military industrial complex has managed to deliver spectacular duds throughout its august existence to include the latest additions in broken naval vessels like the Zumwalt and the $2.1 billion fleet of Expeditionary Fast Transports, the continuing drama of the hideously expensive fighter platforms with no foreseeable foe in the F22 and F35 and the abortive and idiotic sinkhole of DCGS-A. It gives one pause to think that all the saber-rattling and military operations globally have achieved many advances in the overflowing coffers for the usual suspects while retarding if not endangering the safety of individual Americans by producing more enemies than can be maimed and killed at the point of the spear. Part One can be found here. Arthur C. Clarke warned us about such nonsense in 1951. Plenty of other observers in the commentariat have handled reporting such things and opining credibly on the technology fixation that fails at every step. I wish to concentrate on more of the ephemeral reasons that the projection of American power overseas has failed so decisively since the end of WWII. Clearly, the lack of full spectrum or unified land operations on a scale to match the totality of war more than 70 years ago has yet to happen despite the urgency with which the DoD attempts to paint these “threats”. To recap: I also recommend a deeper treatment of Irregular War I did in a six part series with ProfCJ at the Dangerous History Podcast. Several readers have asked me to expand on my post I made at WRSA on 5 January 2016 regarding the absolute inability for the US (and Western countries) to conduct savvy analysis and do any intellectual heavy lifting. My post that kindled the interest: “Indeed, the SLAVFOR successes in urban areas in the Middle East, SE Asia and Yugoslavia are a sparkling testament to McNamara-like technocratic success. It’s one thing to identify all the components and quite another to operationalize a sustainable DIME strategy for success. Please keep in mind that if these manuals taught the users to think through second and third order effects they would be dangerous to FREEFOR. There is zero analytical framework viable to them. It all ends the same: a panicked call for fire. The Pentagram has proven itself intellectually incapable of such modest feats in the short and long term.” Per mission command which has tremendous implications for insurgent activities, I highly recommend the work of Don Vandergriff. So I’d like to concentrate this series on the irregular warfare aspect of the US global military enterprise since that comprises most of the portfolio the mandarins seem to be enjoining. The insipid enstupidation of the entire “arsenal of democracy” continues apace. A number of readers have requested a more detailed elucidation of the antifragility concept and that will certainly be a future essay. I'll put it in the stack. –BB
“The problem is that you cannot prove yourself against someone who is much weaker than yourself. They are in a lose/lose situation. If you are strong and fighting the weak, then if you kill your opponent then you are a scoundrel... if you let him kill you, then you are an idiot. So here is a dilemma which others have suffered before us, and for which as far as I can see there is simply no escape.” ― Martin van Creveld
We have to come to terms with the fight is and how the fights germinated in the first place. Most observers would soberly assess that much of the planet is rife with violence exaggerated by US and Western meddling and not reduced. So what is Fourth Generation Warfare (4GW) and is it an accurate concept? The generations of warfare are not necessarily either exclusive of one another or force-marched through a temporal demarcation. The use of “special operations” and the institution of the non-state soldier is not a recent phenomenon and has plagued all the great captains of history from Alexander to Napoleon to Grant to many variations that emerged in the two World Wars. One can even adduce sophisticated strategic cultures in resistance movements and non-state global players from the French Maquis in WWII to the variations of the al-Qaeda franchises around the globe. Peak Guerrilla from 1916 to 1922 in the West may have inaugurated the entire corpus of warfare and popularized among the military sophisticates in the West whether they welcomed it or not. What may be even more useful but understated is the emergence of new strategic cultures in these non-state and 4GW actors on the entire spectrum of battlefield, martial and political. Richard Schultz contemporizes it nicely here:
“In sum, an assessment of al-Qaeda’s strategic culture provides a deeper understanding of its evolution into a transnational movement, and helps to better discern its vision, worldview, strategies, and operating principles. Globalization and modern information technologies have facilitated al- Qaeda’s evolution. These new tools have also enhanced the capabilities and resilience of AQAM by enabling it to adapt to the ever-changing pressures of war, and through the aggregation of those adaptations, to continue to wage protracted warfare.” “The construct of strategic studies has likewise been helpful in gaining insight into the new options for violent adaptation that AQAM has been discussing and utilizing since 9/11. In doing so, the debates that AQAM has engaged in over these core strategic topics, and their consequences for waging their global jihad have been examined here. This review has revealed how at the strategic, operational, and tactical levels al-Qaeda and its associates have engaged in a rich, sophisticated, and innovative dialogue that is directly relevant to how they carry out global jihad. As Hegghammer noted, materials of this kind are “strikingly similar to Western strategic studies.”
Schultz says nothing truly groundbreaking but there is a common Western confirmation bias that assumes the Clausewitzian framework is not only a Western motif but a monopoly with no variations practiced around the globe. The rest of the globe especially in the third world is too imaginatively impoverished to ascertain or leverage such strategic finesse and élan. The last ten years has seen the US and its coalition partners sink trillions of dollars in a country whose estimated GDP is 8-24 billion a year depending on the observer of which nearly half is foreign aid. The assumption going in was the fight in Afghanistan and the associated tendrils of AQ around the planet would be against a foe easily vanquished by the sole military hyper-power on Earth. And now the Western Frankenstein’s monster of IS or Dayeesh superseded even the expectations of AQ and is simply one of dozens of resistance contenders and organizations in the Middle East. This is the future: regionalized non-state power combines that can leverage religious or economic power to influence through war, terrorism and subversion the larger and more modern nation-states and their course through history. The sooner the West realizes that strategic impoverishment and missteps are in the mirror and not in the face of the perceived enemies the sooner they will be able to capitalize on this knowledge to win and stop drawing stalemates. But the West will not because the US is uniquely intellectually tethered to linear transformation sets that simply leave their operations a shambles before they leave the starting gate.
Publisher’s Note: Several readers have asked me to expand on my post I made at WRSA on 5 January 2016 regarding the absolute inability for the US (and Western countries) to conduct savvy analysis and do any intellectual heavy lifting in the prosecution of conflict planet-wide. The simplest answer is to stop the violent meddling but even that is too intellectually taxing. My post that kindled the interest: "Indeed, the SLAVFOR successes in urban areas in the Middle East, SE Asia and Yugoslavia are a sparkling testament to McNamara-like technocratic success. It’s one thing to identify all the components and quite another to operationalize a sustainable DIME strategy for success. Please keep in mind that if these manuals taught the users to think through second and third order effects they would be dangerous to FREEFOR. There is zero analytical framework viable to them. It all ends the same: a panicked call for fire. The Pentagram has proven itself intellectually incapable of such modest feats in the short and long term."

The Battle of Cannae as illustrated above may have wiped Rome from the history books. Hubris, operational malpractice and military blundering were all critical factors. Fast forward 2200 years.

Isaac Asimov avers: “There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. Anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that 'my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.'” This cult of ignorance and refusal to entertain what the military was fond of calling "branches and sequels" (the components of a FRAGPLAN) is much the same with so much of the buzzwords and new paradigms that come out of the Department of Defense (DoD).

Much of this is because of the lock-step centralization and the sclerotic Sovietization of the entire DoD apparatus.

The military industrial complex has taken this as a point of pride and run with it. There is no doubt no one can touch the US (yet) in technology (a linear process in production although application can be different) but non-linear processes and states of antifragility seem beyond the capacity of the US military to adapt to.

We can’t do the notion justice without taking a tour through history and determining just what caused this to be the case. My colleague, Don Vandergriff, has done some very interesting work in the realm of military decision making processes in the West and has concentrated on the German means of staffing and fielding an Army as the optimal way to bring the most combat power. Don sums up his findings nicely in this essay: Personnel Reform and Military Effectiveness. The degree of trust and “joy of taking responsibility” not to to mention the Prussian incentives to disobey orders helped to shape the finest tactical and operational fighting forces since the Roman Legions with far more adaptation and flexibility in the German forces from 1806-1945. No matter where you look in contemporary American arms, the culture gives lip service to Auftragstaktik or Mission Type Orders but in practice is nothing more than Soviet Central Planning 2.0. There is a broad panoply of vectors to choose from that explain this and Colin Gray is one of the keenest strategic observers out there and does a splendid job parsing it out here. We will also take a look at Peak Guerrilla from 1916-1922 in the West. In the interest of being perfectly clear and making a comprehensive case for the ineffective if not anti-intellectual penchant of American arms in the conduct of combat operations, we will concentrate on the notions of irregular warfare (IW) and how they are served by the Western model after the conclusion of the War to Save Josef Stalin. The American Army started its decline immediately afterward. Don has done a splendid job describing the inadequacies of the system in conventional operations and I will expand more on the impact in IW. -BB
“I'd like to have two armies: one for display with lovely guns, tanks, little soldiers, staffs, distinguished and doddering Generals, and dear little regimental officers who would be deeply concerned over their General's bowel movements or their Colonel's piles, an army that would be shown for a modest fee on every fairground in the country. The other would be the real one, composed entirely of young enthusiasts in camouflage uniforms, who would not be put on display, but from whom impossible efforts would be demanded and to whom all sorts of tricks would be taught. That's the army in which I should like to fight.”  - Jean Lartéguy
What is a Small War? Major S.M. Harrington of the USMC provided the formative basis for The Strategy and Tactics of Small Wars in 1921. The term had been employed by the British Empire for nearly a half century. Even then, it tended to be a manifestation of a conflict large or small of a Western nation against a non-member of that exclusive club. It may have been Western hubris or conceit that would rationalize a smaller size for a conflict description if peer armed forces were not involved. Over time, it tended to conflate with asymmetrical warfare and counter insurgency no matter the scale. If one looks at the 2006 Lebanon incursion by Israel against Hezbollah, most Western observers would suggest it was a small war due to a compressed time line of engagement yet the same narrow temporal window certainly would not permit one to suppose that the Allied invasion of Iraq in 1990-91 was a small war. In the common parlance today, the lexicon would invariably look at Afghanistan as a classical small war because rarely are there toe-to-toe military engagements that last more than 72 hours and battalion strength elements in the Afghan resistance are an exception to the rule. Non-state soldiers with no evident physical infrastructure or "recognized" political representation tend to be the foe one characterizes as a small war. Of course, from the perspective of the combatants and mass base, no war is ever small as the reverberations and cultural ripples dominate the embattled society. Again, the Western cultural meme tends to exercise a gross confirmation bias on the impact of the hostilities from both sides. For the sake of argument, the small war is the natural evolution of aggrieved parties who take to the gun to seek political solutions; they are no less Clausewitzian than GEN Patton, GEN MacArthur or the stable of contemporary flag officer stewards fumbling and stumbling in Afghanistan and the wider planetary neo-imperialist hot-spots today. There are some real epistemological challenges for American forces in the Middle East as the technological and military (not martial) dominance of the conflict in Afghanistan demonstrates. On the one hand they acknowledge it is not a conventional fight yet the COIN/UW efforts are not harnessed to a strategic end-state but appear to be an ad hoc reaction to the domestic political verities and a complete ignorance of second- and third-order effects of occupation over the long term. One is compelled to assign this to gross military malpractice or simply the military culture that informs American arms abroad. In either case, the analytical framework for extrapolating the cause and effect of military conduct at the operational level is severely lacking. The negligence is so deep that the Combined Arms Center at Leavenworth thought that they had invented campaign planning in the oughts when they were merely resurrecting a lost art to the American land forces that had been long neglected and never practiced well. America excels at a technocratic approach using Second Generation Warfare in linear operations and is an abject failure in everything else. Most military observers suggest that an unconventional fight tends to be a small war. Politics is the handmaiden of all wars and conflicts but the critical long-term importance of that consideration for prosecution of small wars appears to be lost on the defense intellectuals and Pentagon apparatchiks. If anything, small wars are here to stay and the West no matter its wealth and technological edge seems to stumble from one military disaster to another in the prosecution of these conflicts. La Mort Ne Change Jamais: Same as It Ever Was High technology can range from small arms systems to electronics communications to any application in both weapons and peaceful means. Both General Purpose Forces (GPF) and the Special Operations Forces (SOF) have capitalized on these capabilities. This does not mean that they have leveraged them effectively simply because they can employ. The US is the world leader with no peer competitor in the delivery of content, electronic delivery and marketing in all media to include television, movies, internet, radio and other means of mass communication yet it has consistently been off-target and outwitted in the information operations efforts in America’s present conflicts in the Middle East.
Publisher’s Note: I hope everyone has had a joyful Christmas and I took solace in this one small portion of the year where most Christians actually give the lie to Gandhi’s keen observation on the same: “I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.” Then of course they back to their usual habits the remainder of the year. This has been an eventful year for me and I am finally home from the Hindu Kush to stay. I excerpted two parts of The Cancer Club here: When Push Comes to Shove: A Glimpse at the Near Future American Insurgency: Another Glimpse at the Near Future Again, I have completed all six parts of a series I was doing with ProfCJ at the Dangerous History Podcast on Irregular Warfare.  Indeed, we started with one part anticipated and ended with six and potentially more. I think you’ll find the conversation scintillating and provocative. Pretty proud of what CJ and I have produced. I wrote the Foreword for my friend Jim Rawles’ latest book, Land of Promise, which is now available on Amazon. He is really stepping up his game. My two non-fiction books are available on Amazon and I would love some honest reviews if you have the time. We are also looking for brave souls to come to the forum and join the abolitionist discussion. Beware; you must have a stout heart and abundant wit to contend with the brain trust that lurks there. IN the interesting of time, I have borrowed from myself for the following post. 2016 should be interesting times indeed. This site has never sought donations actively nor hosted a telethon to do the same. Nor will I ask. Gold, guns and groceries in concert with vigorous training are still the order of the day for those who wish to give a better world to their progeny. -BB "McDonald threatened the officers, said Pat Camden, the FOP rep. The officers were in fear for their lives, this former spokesman for the Chicago Police Department asserted. Jason Van Dyke, the officer identified as the killer by the Chicago Tribune, “discharged his weapon, striking the offender.” Such is the language of all police shootings—until an autopsy occurs, or an eyewitness comes forward, or video evidence contradicts an officer’s statement. “The story has 24 hours and it’s basically told by the police union, and the police union’s role is to defend its members,” says Jamie Kalven, a Chicago journalist who runs the Invisible Institute, a police-accountability nonprofit. In a July interview with The Daily Beast, Kalven stressed the importance of independent autopsies—especially in cases like McDonald’s. “What you do have with the autopsy, though, is one wholly independent piece of evidence.” McDonald’s autopsy is a brutal document to read. I breezed through it in a conference room at the Cook County President’s Office in May, along with the 18 other autopsies detailing the deaths of those who died at the hands of the Chicago Police Department last year. Going through them, making sure they were all there, it can be easy to forget that these were once lives and not simply stacks of paper bundled four inches high." The Cop Shooting So Horrific It Cost $5 Million to Hide Laquan McDonald is just one of more than a thousand corpses in a morbid pile that is a testament to the bloodthirstiness of the political class and their willing executioners in the police departments that litter the landscape of America like an occupation force. Here is the autopsy report if you can stomach the analysis. Death by cop is at a high tide this year. It even takes a British newspaper instead of the American central government to track the numbers. The goons at the FBI have reluctantly taken the reigns on the Feds tracking the police predations. We all know the Federal government simply couldn't afford to track such numbers with their police satraps. Remember the meme several years ago where the claim was made that more Americans die at the hands of badged thugs than terrorists to the tune of about 400 per annum? All the savvy observers knew these numbers were wrong. The police are the pointy end of all politics planet-wide and it just so happens that some of the worst abuse on the globe occurs in the land of the free and the home of the brave. No political bad actor (aren't they all) could deprive a single person of individual liberty and freedom absent these willing legions of statist janissaries with a mandated license to kill. Occam's Razor would help us determine why so few cops are held accountable for their mayhem and the answer is breathtakingly simple and elegant; if the state apparatus couldn't use kidnapping, maiming and killing to enforce its political will, who would obey. Thus the license to kill granted the thin black and blue line. Make no mistake, they are simply muscle for the political class and nothing less and nothing more. The police are the feeder mechanism for a vast obedience maintenance system that benefits the state in myriad ways from the fear of the most mundane laws to bloating the government prison systems with parolees, probationers and actual inmates. Let’s examine the number of cops that die year after year to demonstrate the interesting imbalance and how the police pad their own figures of line of duty deaths to exaggerate actual deaths on the job. How many cops died during this same year, compared to 1124 mundane corpses stacked like cordwood in police engagements so far? 46 to include 7 by "vehicular assault." 46 as opposed to 1124. (Thanks, Pete) The clever lads at the site consider K9s to be the equivalent of humans. I'm OK with that if the cops afforded the same courtesy to the thousands of dogs they murder every year. These are their own figures. Be very aware of the way figures are calculated on the site because three of the latest fatalities are the cop on cop corpse stacking in Puerto Rico recently. Incidentally, gunfire deaths are down 20 percent this year for esteemed police officers but this is a banner year for cops murdering citizens. And not only with guns even that is the police state tool of choice. 48 have died this year from “less than lethal” tasers. 32 have been struck by police vehicles. 40 have died in police custody after being officially kidnapped by the authorities. Last but not least, these bloody agents of the political state have shot more than one thousand human beings. I always have to repeat the caveat that these numbers are most likely under-, non- and mis-reported when it comes to "civilian" deaths at the hands of American law enforcement. What isn’t tracked is the number of people beaten and maimed by cops, daily aggregating into annual numbers. The veritable flood tide of Internet viral videos has revolutionized the optics and access to the overwhelming evidence that American policing has taken an even worse turn for non-accountable and savage behavior, incidentally provided legal and political cover by the rulers. I suspect that police have always been this savage; it's simply that technology has provided a record-keeping mechanism for their mayhem now, much to their chagrin.

Publisher’s Note: The holidays beckon so this will be a short post this week until after the Christmas holidays. I recently returned from some globetrotting and was able to put the Leatherman MUT through its paces. The following brief review highlights why the tool complements the ubiquitous black rifle so well. The additional blades that have served me well and usually attend to my EDC needs are the Leatherman Wingman (love the weight) and a TOPS Felony Stop worn in a right-handed horizontal cross-draw left of the belt buckle. My belts are cobra buckle variants by John over at Liberty Tree Tactical. I rarely need a larger knife but carry a Becker BK2 with a micarta handle in a sheath that Skip custom fabricated from Kydex if the need arises. Skip is also fabricating a new sheath for the MUT. My middle son is a wildland firefighter and carries a Becker BK3 as the primary field tool for larger blades. I have a sizable knife collection but many of the blades rarely leave the safe. That is not the case for the MUT. In other news. my novel, "The Cancer Club", goes to the editor in January 2016. I hope to beat "Absolved" to Amazon. And please remember that I wrote a scintillating Foreword for Jim Rawles' latest release. And I do hope that everyone is getting their freedom tools and training house in order for the coming festivities in 2016. Sporty times at the sharp end appear to be the global new year's...