Monthly Archives: December 2010

>Planted In Our Hearts

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Arctic Patriot gives a good year-end closer.

I thank you all for your readership and commentary in 2010.

If the flu lifts some more today, I may have some forward-looking thoughts.

>A Terrible Loss

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Claire Wolfe has what little is known about Aaron Zelman’s death last week.

Baruch atah Adonai, Eloheinu melech ha’olam dayan ha’emet.

Thank you, Aaron.

>The Plan For Food Dependency

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Read it all.

No need to worry, though — the Dead Elephants are going to read the Constitution in opening the new Congress.

>True Grit

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Go see the Coen Brothers’ remake.

Great cast, great story, played straight.

Restorative, I’d say.

>Liberty Is Dead. Long Live Liberty!

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John Venlet links to Wendy McElroy.

Freedom is a basic human desire.

As we live, so does its possibility.

Be Hilts.

>Movement To Contact And Resistance

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Alvie and Arctic Patriot provide food for thought re 2011, with this follow-on from Alvie.

Ready for the new year?

>Bovard: How Washington Protects Your Privacy And Liberty

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From James Bovard:

from the January issue of The Freeman -

James Bovard
How Washington Protects Your Privacy and Liberty
January/February 2011 • Volume: 61 • Issue: 1

Preserving trust in government is the highest good—at least for politicians. To create that trust, government continually spawns façades to make people believe their rights are safe. Few things better illustrate this charade than the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board.

In 2004, three years after the Patriot Act was enacted, politicians started to worry about the rising number of Americans grumbling about government intrusions. The 9/11 Commission proposed creating “a board within the executive branch to oversee adherence to the guidelines we recommend and the commitment the government makes to defend our civil liberties.” Creating another office within the executive branch to report on executive branch activities was unlikely to produce anything more than extra jobs for Washington hangers-on. The White House edited the 9/11 commission’s report before it was publicly released, so the Bush team had no trouble with this toothless-tiger palliative.

In December 2004, acting on the commission’s recommendation, Congress mandated the creation of the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board. The same law that created the oversight board also made it easier for the FBI to get eavesdropping warrants on Americans, created a new standard to make it easier to prosecute citizens who donate to foreign charities of which the U.S. government disapproves, and provided a new layer of secrecy for federal agencies.

Some congressmen hailed the board as the start of a brave new era. Things would be different since there was a new sheriff in Washington—or at least that was what people were supposed to think. The civil liberties developments in the years after the board was created offer profound lessons into how the government works.

It would have been difficult to design a better rubber stamp than the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board. It had no subpoena power, so it was effectively obliged to accept unsubstantiated assertions from the agencies violating privacy and liberty. The president had the right to appoint board members and could fire them any time. Bush did not appoint any experts on civil liberties; instead, the board was stacked with Republicans who formerly held government positions as enforcement zealots. And the first appointments did not occur until seven months after the law passed. The American Bar Association noted that Bush’s nominations were timed “as part of the administration’s push to encourage Congress to reauthorize provisions of the USA Patriot Act that expire within the next few months.” The oversight board supposedly guaranteed that Patriot Act powers would not be abused.

Six months after Bush stacked the board, the biggest civil liberties expose of recent decades exploded on the front page of the New York Times. The prior year, when he was running for reelection, Bush assured Americans that no wiretaps were occurring without federal court authorization…
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Read the rest.

We are from the government and we are here to help.

>Spengler: Naked Emperor And A Conspiracy Of Silence

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Spengler summarizes the global wane of American influence in the past year.

>Not Politics As Usual

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TL Davis tells of the current tipping point.

2011 is going to be interesting.

>Word

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In this age, I don’t care how tactically or operationally brilliant you are, if you cannot create harmony—even vicious harmony—on the battlefield based on trust across service lines, across coalition and national lines, and across civilian/military lines, you need to go home, because your leadership is obsolete. We have got to have officers who can create harmony across all those lines.

At JFCOM annual conference, May, 2010

>Sunday Readings

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Two from Sultan Knish:

Obama Has Lost The World

Hijacking The Internet

>Good Will Unto Men

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David explains.

Please consider the request.

>Christmas, 2010

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May all spend the next 24 hours in the company of friends and loved ones, counting the blessings that remain this evening.

Peace on Earth, good will unto men.

See you tomorrow evening.

>Facing Facts

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Along with the seasonal absence of sun, this Yuletide has been glum here due to some of the lessons learned in 2010.

Against much advice to the contrary, Dan and the rest of Restore The Constitution crowd were able to stage successful, legal, safe armed protests from Virginia to North Carolina to Georgia to Alabama to New Mexico to Texas to Pennsylvania.

Having proven the concept’s viability in April on the banks of the Potomac, attendance actually dropped over time, to the point where in the Second Amendment bulwark of Pennsylvania, one man — one man — showed the flag at two separate events.

Deep gratitude to all who did show up.

And I also understand the reasons why many who might have attended did not.

But here is the unmistakable lesson I have drawn from the RTC experience in 2010:

People — for good reasons and bad — are too afraid to attend legal, safe assertions of First and Second Amendment rights.

In my view, that means the likelihood of more robust assertions of basic human rights in 2011 and forward are, at least at current course and speed, very slim.

Hence, the political path perhaps becomes more viable — not because any of its inherent defects have been removed, but instead because the other two options (personal secession and outright rebellion) have equally low probabilities of launch, let alone success in the current battlespace.

Read Kerodin’s support of that argument (and disregard the refs to CA).

Denial of reality is no way forward.

But it sure leaves one cold on a dark December day.

>Et tu, Julius?

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John Fund’s WSJ article on the origins of the “net neutrality” campaign is important.

Funny how the Reds keep showing up….