City folk pride themselves on their lack of self-sufficiency. The urban hipster comfortably lives in a cocoon where everything he wishes to partake in is readily available.  The relatively tight confines of large urban enclaves are wedded to a higher standard of living and cost associated that allows a disposable income larger than most such as Los Angeles and New York City.  Since most humans tend to be lazy when other provisioning is available they will not bother to put back emergency supplies or increase the size of their food larder.  In some cases, the outrageous sums demanded for properties in the cities also restrict the storage potential of apartments’ or townhouses. Restaurants replace refrigerators and cabs replace private transportation or worse yet, the government transit systems that were recently shut down en masse when Hurricane Sandy threatened the large urban megalopolis in New York-New Jersey axis.  Since time immemorial, the urban landscape has been the primary intellectual incubator for large and expansive government and the birthplace of millions of humans for whom dependence is not only reality but creates a sophisticated rationalization of entitlement living at the expense of others as a natural order of society. The fragility of this arrangement has just been tested by nature and found severely wanting. The government response has been the bureaucratic bungling, over-reaction, and heavy-handedness one has come to expect of the faux Soviet aspirants that pepper the city halls on the Atlantic seaboard. Fuel rationing, clownish ineptitude in emergency preparedness at the highest...

My wife penned this gem as an homage to the hapless and dependent masses mewling for help in New York and New Jersey.  Remember that city folk pride themselves on their lack of self-sufficiency. -BB Listen my people, and you shall hear, The cries of New Yorkers yelling, “Hey! Where’s my beer?” New Jersey is flooded. New York has no lights. The police are out on the streets controlling the fights. Everyone’s short on power and gas, The mini apocalypse has come at last. The elevators powered down, People stuck in their buildings. Guess they’ll just have to walk, But they’re sadly unwilling. If help doesn’t come they might die of thirst. I’ve just one thing to say, ”Should’ve prepared first!” Even New Yorkers can fill up a tub. Or waddle to the corner and fill up on grub. To all of my people, this here’s your lesson. The apocalypse just came . Better get preppin’....

Max was kind enough to answer some questions about his new books and his perspectives on living on both sides of the pond.  Buy his books, I cannot recommend them highly enough. -BB

 What threats do you see in the future for citizens in the European Union (EU) and the United States from their governments?

That’s a big topic but in summary I see increasing erosion of civil rights and the encroachment of ‘Big Brother’ and the surveillance state. In general real practical freedom is being eroded at a rapid rate.

  Is there a difference in the nature of the threats between the EU and the US?

Very much so: Although there appear to be similar movements towards police surveillance states in both the EU and the US, along with the erosion of democracy, such as it was, there is a very different tradition in the US. To a very real extent there is more to be lost in the US. The US has its written Constitution and has since its inception been a beacon of hope and liberty, whereas for example the UK has an unwritten constitution that did evolve over time to give ‘subjects’ of the Crown very good civil rights. The British system evolved rather than being rapidly put in place as in the US. However, in the UK you see those rights being taken away, if not already lost. An example is that there is no equivalent of the second amendment, which has meant that citizens in the UK have already had their right to bear arms removed. Therefore the threat in the US is of the loss of the natural rights of citizens as enshrined in the Constitution. However, the flip side of that is that in the US the population is armed and therefore if citizens do stand up for the Constitution and the Bill of Rights and decide to overthrow any tyrannical government, as the Founding fathers intended them to do, they will have more chance of accomplishing it without being crushed by the military-industry complex. In the UK and Europe it is much easier to crush dissent because the state really does hold the monopoly of violence, unless a point is reached where large elements of the military and law enforcement either defect or refuse to act.

  Most of our audience is in the US and bring a certain perspective to guns, what is the perspective of the English?  Have they become so wedded to the state that anything can happen to them?

There is a vast untapped resource in ‘Middle England’ of decent ‘right thinking’ folk, but they have no power base or ability to do anything about the loss of the country to the socialist welfare state and the increasing lunacy of political correctness and multiculturalism.  The British have also lost their guns. It makes for an interesting perspective where policing always seemed to me to be more reasonable in the UK, with the ‘bobby on the beat’ being someone accessible who you may have stopped to ask directions from. Most of the police were not armed. But that is probably now a romanticized view and outdated as the police have to combat increasing violence in society and gangsters. In the US, due to the prevalence of guns and the threat of their use by criminal elements, the US police officer is a different animal, someone I would not stop to ask directions from for fear that he would ‘run me’ in an attempt to find fault and make an arrest. The cops in the US appear to be an increasingly paramilitary force who do not ‘serve and protect’ but look to harm and arrest. Some of this is due to the violence they face, but it also speaks to a lack of respect for citizens’ rights and also the use of ‘department procedures’ to excuse bullying and incompetence. There is also a role model culture from the movies of ‘tough guy’ cops that does not help.
 

"Realists appealed to Collins. There would be no more glorious protests in arms, he decided. He built a cadre of realists around him, first in the IRB, then at Volunteer headquarters, where he took over Pearse’s old post as Director of Organization before becoming Director of Intelligence, finally in Dáil Eireann, as the underground government’s very effective Minister for Finance. Collins was a doer. Essentially a well-informed opportunist with very few scruples, his entire ideology could be stated in five words: ‘The Irish should govern themselves.’" 

-  Sean Cronin, "Irish Nationalism: A History of its Roots and Ideology"

"The characteristics which mark Collins out as a remarkably successful Director of Intelligence during the War of Independence include his evident appreciation of the importance of the collection and assessment of information as primary elements of intelligence operations which should precede action; his partial penetration of his adversary’s own intelligence system; the efficiency and ruthlessness with which action based on good intelligence was taken; and his success in preserving the security and efficiency of his own organization both in Dublin and in Britain despite the pressures it operated under because of the constant threat of raids, arrests and the capture of documents."

 -  Eunan O'Halpin, "Collins and Intelligence: 1919-1923 From Brotherhood to Bureaucracy" (in the anthology Michael Collins and the Making of the Irish State)

 Introduction

Michael Collins was a tough young Irish operative during the seminal years of Eire’s final divorce from the United Kingdom at the beginning of the twentieth century.  This paper will attempt to discover if Collins was the culminating point that brought Number Ten Downing Street to the negotiation table, stared down Winston Churchill and came home with the solution for Irish independence from the British Crown. Ireland was invaded and occupied the British crown in 1169 and suffered a brutal occupation punctuated by indigenous risings, rebellions and pockets of resistance. Sinn Féin emerged in 1905 to formalize a political vehicle to liberate the Irish from the British occupation.  These sophisticated rebel organizations started to emerge in the in the 19th and 20th century, culminating in the 1916 Easter Rising which led to the mismatch and overreach that would be the undoing of English rule over the Irish. Michael Collins would emerge as the premier guerrilla leader during the crucial struggle between 1916 and 1922.  He embodied the early germination of the non-state soldier as a twentieth century variation on the age-old warrior in history and fought in Ireland under a variety of covers and positions within the political hierarchy of the Irish Republican Brotherhood (IRB).  Collins would fight for the next four years culminating on Bloody Sunday on 21 November 1920.

 The Rising in 1916

During the Easter week of 24-30 April 1916, the IRB fielded the Irish Volunteers and smaller elements of Irish nationalists rose in armed rebellion in Dublin against the British crown.  The violence was a tremendous shock to the authorities in London and they reacted with enormous disproportionate use of military and constabulary forces to quell the rebellion.   “The British Army reported casualties of 116 dead, 368 wounded and nine missing. Sixteen policemen died, and 29 were wounded. Rebel and civilian casualties were 318 dead and 2,217 wounded. The Volunteers and ICA recorded 64 killed in action, but otherwise Irish casualties were not divided into rebels and civilians.” [1] Executions and reprisals followed and Collins started to rise in the ranks to prominence in the aftermath of the Fort Sumter of the twentieth century Irish revolution against the Crown and eventually a bloody civil war that would pit Irishman against Irishman.

An increased colonial imperial presence started to expand its reach on the southern island that was the heart of the rebellion.  England was on a war footing in her third year of fighting in the First World War and troop movements and weapons availability were quite abundant for the forces deployed.  The British had to invest in a counterinsurgency campaign and still had upper tier members of the military high command with bitter memories of the COIN difficulties in the two Boer conflicts fought less than a generation before.

The Rebellion in Earnest

The IRB and the other militant organizations started to realize that the war would have to be one of the classic insurgent and conducted in “suit and tie” as it were, assuming aliases and slipping through the mass base undetected.  Collins would for three years hide in plain sight in Dublin and its environs posing as a businessman named “John Grace”.  Great Britain would respond with one of the most slipshod and misinformed counterinsurgency (COIN) campaigns in recent history with a number of missteps that would eventually cost them the conflict and the island of Eire would eventually float out of the Dominion orbit. Some suppose that if that had not occurred during wartime, that the COIN may have had an even chance of success but the “modus operandi and outlook…had been shaped during wartime for the intelligence apparatus which required intelligence officers to cut corners, dispense with vetting procedures and cold pitch informers.” [2] The British also severely underestimated the IRB/IRA counterintelligence operations being conducted against them.

Note: I use the term (D)ear Leade(R) in reference to both of the parties in this short essay. It's not meant to be confusing, rather it's meant to only reflect reality. A pox on both of their houses. "The state is a gang of thieves writ large." -Murray Rothbard I can't wait until this election cycle is over. I don't have cable TV, but yet my senses are punctured with a plethora of propaganda. I just can't escape it; it pervades the air like pungent flatulence, and it smells just as putrid. The waft is whipped up into a whirlwind when The Unwashed propagate the propaganda by continuing to conspire in the contest that will ultimately conclude with a winner; (D)ear Leade(R). On my way out to hunt, to help feed my family with healthier, antibiotic and hormone-free meat, I flipped on the FM band to fish for foul weather. This brought on a bout of bad behavior because I began barking, and banging my fist. I heard (D)ear Leade(R) blathering on about how his jobs plan is better. The claim was (D)ear Leade(R) merely has a "one-part" jobs-plan, and this could no way create the climate that is crucial for employment demand. (D)ear Leade(R) continually claims that the correct amount of confiscation is the cornerstone of creation. (D)ear Leade(R) exclaims that enforced extraction is essential for employment enrollment. How can we argue? The experts endorse it. As a fella who finds a fundamental flaw in that fatal philosophy, I fully reject the flagrantly fallacious findings flossed...

  
“One day you will take a fork in the road, and you’re going to have to make a decision about which direction you want to go. If you go one way, you can be somebody. You will have to make your compromises and … turn your back on your friends, but you will be a member of the club, and you will get promoted and get good assignments. Or you can go the other way, and you can do something, something for your country and for your Air Force and for yourself. … You may not get promoted, and you may not get good assignments, and you certainly will not be a favorite of your superiors, but you won’t have to compromise yourself. … In life there is often a roll call. That’s when you have to make a decision: to be or to do.”                                                                                                 -COL John Boyd
John Boyd did the intellectual heavy lifting after WWII to offer a new strategic paradigm to orchestrate warfare and deeply analyze why the larger nation-states would have increasing challenges that neither technologies nor big budgets would solve.  This essay will configure a Boydian lens over the current American conflict in Afghanistan in general and examine the green-on-blue violence phenomenon in detail to illustrate how the insurgent forces have commandeered the operational level.  Green-on-blue violence is the instantiation of hostile action against allied forces by indigenous coalition forces. John Boyd was a visionary and much maligned defense intellectual who pioneered a number of theories and grand strategic suggestions which were almost counterintuitive to the accepted precepts and nostrums of the classical and neo-classical military philosophers and thinkers who had influenced the post-WWII Western vision of how military organizations train and fight.  He was the polar opposite of celebrated but fatally flawed modern strategic thinkers like Herman Kahn and John Von Neumann.  He realized that the future fight and the evolution of warfare would still be ultimately reliant on people and not technology. Boyd discovered and pioneered the modern Air Force combat fighter pilot methodology and contributed in deeper philosophical waters with an examination of how to build cost effective fighting organizations, prescient predictions of new (due to historical amnesia by the West) modes of conflict such as Fourth Generation Warfare and was one of the key innovators in designing the F-15 and F-16 fighter aircraft.  One of the peculiarities of Boyd the man was that he did not write books and most of his intellectual legacy has been written by others. What makes Boyd even more interesting, if not enigmatic, is he is rather hard to pin down for a legacy in the pantheon of modern strategic thought except through his followers and acolytes. Boyd always emphasized dynamism in thinking and the willingness of large and small organizations to adapt to emerging changes and threats.  Purpose and not merely process were driving attitudes that imbued his work and thinking; a purpose to react in conflict in a fashion that would gain advantage by striking weakness or leveraging surprise.  Nothing Sun Tzu would find scintillating or irregular.
"Liberty, then, is the sovereignty of the individual, and never shall man know liberty until each and every individual is acknowledged to be the only legitimate sovereign of his or her person, time, and property, each living and acting at his own cost” --Josiah Warren
A couple of years ago my Service Manager came to me with what he thought was a fantastic idea. He was planning to take all of the production hours from the shop, combine them, and then split the hours evenly among all of the mechanics in the shop. My reaction? Instant face palm. For those of you who don't know, auto mechanics are generally paid on the "hours" they produce. We call it flat-rate. Here's a brief explanation on how it works. Let's say your vehicle needs a front brake job. You, the customer, paid $250 for the job, but the mechanic is paid 2.5 flat-rate hours. The mechanic is paid the same flat-rate 2.5 hours regardless of how long it takes them to do the job. If the mechanic can get the job done correctly in one hour, they still receive 2.5 hours of pay. This is still the case even if it takes them longer than 2.5 hours. You get the idea. The hours a specific job will pay will vary with the difficulty level. For mechanics, this is a blessing and a curse. For talented mechanics, it's a great way to make a comfortable living, especially in high volume shops. This is the system that is most widely used by automotive shops, dealerships and independents. From the brief description above, you can see that this system is set up to motivate and incentivize the individual mechanic to work smarter and faster. My goal every day as a mechanic is to "turn" 1.5 hours for every hour I'm actually at work. This would mean that I would be working on my next vehicle while still getting paid on the last vehicle. That's really the goal of any flat-rate technician. The faster a mechanic is able to get the vehicles in and out, the more money they will make. This is beneficial for both parties in the employer and employee relationship. The employer doesn't necessarily pay the mechanic on hours clocked, only hours turned. There's been days where I've been at work for 10 hours, but I've only made 3 hours. When there isn't vehicle on my lift, I'm not getting paid. The overhead  costs of employing a flat-rate mechanic tend to be relatively low. Also, the employer knows that a mechanic is less likely to slack off and just leave a car sitting in their bay all day long. The manager knows that the mechanic would be wasting their own time as well as the company's time. This system is beneficial in many other ways, like the promotion of study and education in the field, but that's not really the focus of this essay. To this point, I've just tried to establish a basic understanding of the mechanic's pay scale. From here, we can move on and I will show you why I did the face palm in the meeting with my manager.

Basically, there are two factions that exist in the world, when it comes to metaphysics and epistemology. The basic premises they maintain are at odds and determine how they conduct their lives and the conclusions they come to when it involves moral and political issues. They see reality differently—one hundred eighty degrees of difference. This is an attempt to verbalize those reality differences. Reality will dictate the outcome of the battle and a battle it is—an ideological battle. The lists below represent a general list of what most of the groups believe. However, it stands to reason that one cannot predict the beliefs of any one individual of the group. I will call one group Non-Statists or Limited Statists and the other group Statists-Collectivists. It should be quite evident that these opposite ideas demonstrate why there can never be compromise between them. In reality, the two groups should be divided between Anarchists and Statists but I have used a more general dividing line to give the Limited Statists the benefit of the doubt by categorizing them with the Non-Statists (Anarchists)   Non-Statists and Limited Statists 1. Contradictions do not exist in reality 2. Many things are absolute 3. Some things are impossible 4. Theft is the taking of property without the consent of the owner 5. All opinions are not equally valid 6. The law of supply and demand is an absolute, a Natural Law of Human Action 7. Wishing, hoping, praying and a positive attitude cannot accomplish most things 8. The knowledge of basic principles is paramount in order...

  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. I republish this annually to do my part to commemorate one of the greatest injuries to liberty you never knew. You can also see my debate with Dr. Walker-Howe at Freedom Fest in the Media and Interviews portion of this blog. -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:
  1. 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.