Monthly Archives: July 2008

>Vanderboegh: Deacon

by Mike Vanderboegh

(Another chapter from “Absolved”, an upcoming novella)

Then what shall we call ourselves
And still keep our right to be a man
For the time has surely come
For us to take our stand.

The man that asked the question threw out an idea:
Let’s call ourselves the Deacons and never have no fear,
They will think we are from the church
Which has never done much
And gee, to our surprise
It really worked.

— Song, “Deacons for Defense and Justice,” Frederick Douglas Kirkpatrick, quoted in The Deacons for Defense: Armed Resistance and the Civil Rights Movement, by Lance Hill, 2004, p. 16

3 February 1965: Bogalusa, Louisiana – The Skirmish at Andrey’s Cafe

He was back in Korea, cold, scared and mad as hell when somewhere in the distance, at the edges of his consciousness, a phone rang.

Bobby Williams, third shift maintenance man at the Crown-Zellerbach paper plant, wasn’t due to get up for another three hours. He groaned and rolled over, burying his head deeper into the pillow.

It kept ringing.

A thought penetrated the haze. Where was Lucy?

“Crap,” Bobby muttered, and threw the covers back and sat up.

The phone stopped.

“Figures,” he sighed.

He could hear Lucille talking, her voice rising, but couldn’t make out the words. Sitting on the side of the bed in his underwear, he rubbed his eyes and then ran his right hand back and forth over the close cropped hair on his head, trying to lose the grogginess. He looked at the clock on the nightstand.


He’d never get back to sleep now. Might as well get up.

As he did, his wife threw open the door and blurted out, “Bobby! Joe Baker says those two white boys from CORE is getting beat to death by the Klan down in front of Andrey’s. He says meet him at Aunt Sylvie’s right behind there as soon as you can.”

She paused, and then in fear for her husband moaned aloud, “Oh, Bobby.”

Bobby Williams was awake instantly. They had planned for this, him and Joe and some of the men from the plant.

“Get my rifle and my clips from the front closet,” he ordered and set about throwing on his clothes. They were dirty from the night before, draped over the chipped wooden chair in the corner.

If’n I die in ’em, t’won’t matter one way or t’other if they’re clean or dirty, he thought.

He yelled after his wife through the open door, “And get me a glass of water!”

Thirsty, he remembered with a tight smile. Combat always did make me thirsty.

In about as much time as it takes to tell, Bobby Williams met his wife at the front door. His Garand leaned against the doorframe. Lucy stood there, as beautiful as the day he married her despite the two daughters she’d borne him and a third child almost here any day now and everything else in a hate-filled world gone crazy. His glass of of water was in her left hand and the bandoleer marked “.30 Caliber M-2 Ball” in her right.

Their eyes met.

Lord, she had pretty eyes. It was her eyes that first drew him to her, that afternoon at the church picnic that seemed like an eternity ago now. At this instant, tears were forming in them.

Bobby took the glass from her hand, tenderly, and gulped down the water. Then, words failing him, he hugged Lucy tight for a long moment, her swollen belly pressing against him. He released her, took the bandoleer from her hand and slung it over his head so it dangled on his right side.

Then he grabbed the rifle and ran out the front door.

Behind him, Lucille Wiliiams began to sob.

A historian would later write that “the eatery was a tiny matchbox of a building, little more than a single room 15 by 15 feet.” But just right now, it was a battlefield in a war.

And the first shots had already been fired.

Bill Yates and Steve Miller were two white activists of the Congress of Racial Equality, come to Bogalusa that day to meet with local black labor officials down at the Negro Union Hall. When they left the Hall to drive back to New Orleans in Miller’s car, they noticed a shadowing vehicle full of white guys. As it happened, and it was no coincidence, the car held five stalwarts of the Original Knights of the Ku Klux Klan. They were there to teach these two “nigger lovers” a lesson about meddling in things that weren’t any concern of theirs.

The two unarmed civil rights activists, knowing that if they continued on out of town along the narrow two-lane highway that ran between Bogalusa and New Orleans they would be easy pickings, pulled into Andrey’s to use the pay phone to call for help.

Yates, the older man, leaped out of the car and hit the ground running, making for the front door. The Klan vehicle pulled in front of Miller’s blocking the path. Shots rang out, though no one was hit, and one of the Kluxers threw brick at Miller’s car.

The Klansmen leaped out and ran down Yates before he could get inside the cafe. Throwing him to the ground, they began to dance on him a bit. The Kluxers toyed with him, giving him a broken hand and severe internal injuries, before he escaped and staggered into the front door of Andrey’s. Miller backed his car out of the roadblock and then on around the back of the cafe, parked it and joined his injured friend inside.

As Yates held his sides and groaned, Miller peeked out the door and saw four more carloads of Klansmen join the first and slowly drive up, down and around the cafe, “circling their prey,” as one historian later put it.

They were trying to work their courage up for another go at it.

Miller began to feed coins into the pay phone, calling everybody he knew. Local white telephone operators refused to put through calls to the black community, so Miller called his mother long distance in San Francisco, who in turn called other civil rights activists who in their turn called the FBI and the Louisiana state attorney general and the media.

“Remember Goodman, Schwerner and Chaney?” Miller asked a UPI reporter on the phone. “Well you’re talking to the next ones right here. We’re about to get it.”

But Miller, understandly panicked, was exaggerating the situation. He was wrong for two reasons.

First, the Klan had a problem. Surprised by the dash into Andrey’s parking lot, they had jumped the CORE activists at the edge of Bogalusa’s Negro community. This wasn’t some lonely road with no witnesses. Although the streets had emptied when the shots were fired, there were any number of witnesses peeking out from windows and doorways.

In addition, some of these men, the leaders, were well-known in the black community. They knew that. Even so, the Klan had reigned around Bogalusa for almost a hundred years. They owned the local police, the Sheriff, and other politicians.

But still, their courage, if you can call it that in such cravenly human specimens, failed them. Too stupid to carry out their original plan correctly, too scared to finish the job and too proud to just call it a day and drive away, they waited. They waited until something very strange happened — that second thing I was talking about.

It was something almost unprecedented in the Klan’s experience heretofore. Something they’d talked a lot about, but had never, in their secret heart of hearts, ever thought would happen.

And that something was the Deacons for Defense and Justice.


The paper plant workers watched from concealment (not cover, Bobby recognized ruefully) at the back of Aunt Sylvie’s as the Klan cars paraded up and down in front of Andrey’s Cafe and then stop for a palaver as the Kluxers discussed what to do. They watched the Klan and Aunt Sylvie watched them from her back window, unbelievingly.

“Black mens with guns, Lord have mercy,” she worried.

The men were all blown from the exertion of their various runs to get to the rendezvous. Sweating profusely despite the cool February weather, Joe Baker wheezed air in and out of his tortured lungs and complained, “Damn, I’m too old for this shit.”

Bobby Williams smiled at him, “I been telling you you gotta quit smoking. It just kills your wind.”

Baker, a short, lean man with skin the color of coffee with cream, just wheezed and spat, looking back sourly at Bobby, who was ten years younger, twice his size and three times blacker.

Bobby took stock one last time. One Garand, an M-1 Carbine, two lever-action .30-30 deer rifles, a twelve gauge pump shotgun and the .45 automatic that Joe Baker had brought back from the Pacific twenty years ago. Aside from Bobby and Bill Waverly, the guy with the carbine, they had maybe twenty rounds apiece, no more. Bill only had a fifteen round mag for back up and a thirty round banana mag in the weapon. Forty five rounds. Bobby had eight in the Garand and forty-eight in the bandoleer.

That was it. Plus the lever-actions and the shotgun would be slow in reloading.

Thin, real thin. Well, he’d fought Chinks with less. And these mostly-fat crackers ain’t nearly as tough as Chinks.

He smiled, as much to give his men courage as anything. Bobby decided.

“Alright, we’ll do this one at a time. I’ll go first, then you Joe, then the rest of you. The ones behind will cover the one crossing. The next to last man covers the last man from the backdoor, got it? Bill, you got the carbine and plenty of firepower so you come last. We’re puttin’ all of us into that little shack, I know, but reinforcements are on the way and I want to make a good show.”

He swallowed hard. Thirsty again, his mouth was dry as dust.

“Don’t start anything. But if they start shootin’, shoot to kill.”

Bobby paused, looking at them in their faces, each in turn. They’d talked about this, but they’d never practiced it. Still, every man was a veteran of some war. The Army or Marines had trained them, and trained them well.

Bobby grunted softly. Well, it would just have to do.

“You with me?”

“Yeah,” the other men, led by Joe, muttered their assent, some of them just nodding.

Yeah, they were determined.

This Klan shit ends here.


Bobby looked again. No time like the present. He leaped up and sprinted with his Garand held at high port in front of him across the danger space, and came to rest with his back to Andrey’s back door.

Out front, Joe Carl Thornton saw him.

“Hollingsworth!” he yelled to one of the Klan leaders, “I just saw a nigger with a gun run into the back! Shit! There goes another one!”

Another Kluxer from down the block yelled, “Hell, there’s a bunch of ’em!”

The Kluxers who had guns raised them, but hesitated, uncertain about what to do as most of them couldn’t see what was happening. Autie Shingler, whose only weapon was a baseball bat, looked down at the Louisville Slugger stupidly and shuddered. He didn’t want to die in no shootout with no niggers this day or any other.

Delos Williams, another Klan leader and no relation to Bobby, yelled out the pertinent question, “How many of ’em?”

“Hell,” yelled the second man, almost plaintively, “I don’t know. Mebbe six or seven, mebbe a dozen!”

“Goddam!” Hollingsworth spat. “Goddam!”

Niggers with guns. This shit was serious. Gotta get the cops in here to run ’em off.

“Joe Carl,” he ordered, “Get on that police radio and tell ’em we need some deputies to run off these coons!”

Niggers with guns.

That was a different deal altogether.

Shit, Hollingsworth thought. Even if the cops talk ’em into leaving, they’ll take them two pointy-headed Yankee agitators with ’em. I guess the fun’s over for today.

Even so, the Klan stayed as the afternoon started to fade toward darkness.

But the Kluxers now peered behind them into the deepening gloom, and wondered, “How many of these black bastards with guns are there?”

And another thought followed that swiftly, “Am I in their sights right now?”

Even as the other men followed him across, Bobby Williams opened the back door at Andrey’s and walked in past the cook, who took one look at the leveled M-1 rifle in the maintenance man’s hands and grinned.

He’d been ready to use his sawed off shotgun if the Kluxers had come into his place, but now he was off the hook. The Deacons were here.

Miller saw Bobby out of the corner of his eye and just about dropped the phone. He knew they’d been guarded by armed men a couple of nights before when the Sheriff started floating a rumor that a white lynch mob was coming to hang him and Yates, and he recognized Bobby as one of the men who had been there. A feeling of total relief flooded through him. They would not die alone this day, beaten to a pulp even as their non-violent beliefs forbade them to fight back. These men would protect him. It wasn’t until later that he realized how hypocritical he was. One thing for sure, Miller thought, these guys know the drill.

After a glance around the room, Bobby eased over to the front door, taking in the enemy’s dispositions with a series of peeks. His men silently arrayed themselves at each door and window, covering the streets outside and each other. These guys have been there before, thought Miller.

The white boy was still frightened though, and after realizing that help had arrived but the Klan wasn’t going anywhere, he began feeding nickels in the payphone again. He couldn’t get a dial tone and he panicked.

“They cut off the phones! They cut off the phones!” he shouted, looking at Booby and the other men.

“Son,” said one, “you got to put a nickel in there first.”

Miller looked down. The white boy fished another nickel out of his pocket, tried it and got a dial tone. Sheepishly, he went back to calling the outside world.

“Reinforcements are here,” called Bill Waverly from the back, and three more men entered. Bobby wasn’t having any of that. There were too many men in here already.

“Look,” he said quietly, reasonably, “there’s too many folks in here already and we need y’all to watch the perimeter and cover us from out there.”

“Well, where do you want us?” one asked.

“C’mon,” said Bobby, “I’ll show you where to stand.”

This next part was a little dicey, Bobby knew. He didn’t want the Klan to think they were pulling out, so he decided to ignore them.

He turned to the newcomers.

“Now follow me nice and slow and DON’T get ahead of me. Don’t bunch up, but don’t run, walk,” he commanded.

The three newbies looked at each other and then nodded in unison.

Nervous as he was about what he was about to do, Bobby almost laughed. He shook his head.

“All, right,” he commanded, “follow me.”

Returning the hold on his weapon to high port, Bobby Williams stepped out into the late afternoon and strolled back to the Aunt Sylvie’s place. His reinforcements likewise gripped their weapons and followed like a gaggle of baby ducks, two steps behind the man in front.

“Damn!” said a Kluxer to his buddy who was off to the side enough to see the procession, “Look at that shit.”

When he made the concealment at the edge of Aunt Sylvie’s place, he began to breathe again. One by one, the newbies joined him, out of sight now from the Kluxers. He looked around.

“OK,” he pointed, “you, over by that shed, you by the old jalopy over there and you,” pointing to the man with another carbine, “you stay right here. Keep a three-sixty look out. Don’t let nobody sneak up on you or on us. If anybody comes to firebomb the cafe, you kill ’em, you understand?”

They all nodded.

“You,” he pointed to the man with the carbine.


“You know how to use that thing?”

“Yeah, I was in Korea later than you, but I was there. You ever hear of a place called Pork Chop Hill?”

“Yeah,” grinned Bobby, “I heard of it.”

He paused, looking down at the man’s belt. “How many mags you got?”

“Six, one in the carbine and four in here.” He slapped the olive drab canvas case on his belt. “And one more in my pocket. All thirties. Hardbacks. They’ll work.”

“OK,” Bobby conceded with a grin, “you’ll do. You be my squad leader out here. Anybody else shows up, you put ’em where they can cover over there,” he pointed, “and over there,” pointing over on the other side. “Don’t let ’em get too far spread out but don’t bunch ’em up either. I want you as a base of fire we can fall back on if it gets too hot up there,” pointing at Andrey’s Cafe.

He looked at his new corporal. “What’s your name?”


“OK, Demmings, I’m countin’ on you.”

“Right, we ain’t goin’ anywhere.”

“You best not, or you’ll have a helluva lot more than the Klan to worry about,” Bobby said with a glower and then spoiled it by grinning.

Demmings grinned back.

“We’ll be here.”

“Oh, yeah, one more thing. Can I have that extra mag you’ve got in your pocket? I got a man in there with a carbine who’s a little light on ammo.”

Demmings hestitated, then agreed.

“Sure,” he said, handing the thirty rounder over, “Iffen you get killed, I’ll just get it back from the Coroner afterward.”

Bobby snorted. He’ll do, he thought. And then he did something even harder than the first walk over.

He walked back.

He stood to his full six feet two inches, slung his Garand like he was on the parade ground, and marched, yes marched, slowly back to Andrey’s. Head erect, eyes straight, focused on a spot just about the back door. His old DI would have been proud. “Damn,” said the Kluxer, “Look at that uppity nigger. LOOK at him.”

None of the Kluxers who saw him as much as raised a muzzle. They were flabbergasted. THIS had NEVER happened before. It was beyond their experience. And it scared the excremental bejeezus out of each and every one of them.

Inside, the Deacons welcomed Bobby back in with a whoop and a holler.

“Damn, boy!” exclaimed Joe Baker, “that was as cool as a cucumber in the deep shade. You damn near BEGGED them crackers to shoot you!”

Bobby grinned, and then turned serious.

“Get back on your windows and keep watch!”

But secretly, deep in his gut, he smiled. The crackers were cowards. If they wouldn’t shoot at him when he paraded like a tom turkey at a shoot, they wouldn’t when he could shoot back at them from cover. This was going to be all right. It wasn’t over. But unless somebody really screwed this up by doing something stupid, it was going to be all right.

As if to prove Bobby Williams right, by the time it got good and dark the frustrated Klan took counsel of their fears and drove off. But no one knew whether they had left any stay-behinds out there or not.

The Deacons kept watch, from Andrey’s, the lights turned down low.

Maybe now is a good time to just let the history books tell it like it was:

Eventually FBI Special Agent Frank Sass in New Orleans reached Miller on the pay phone in Andrey’s. The Klan caravan circling the block had melted away at sunset, but it was still unsafe for Miller and Yates to leave the cafe. Agent Sass told Miller not to leave until Sass could come to Bogalusa and talk to local authorities.

Miller retorted that the agent should not delay calling the Bogalusa officials; he and Yates needed protection immediately, and they had already notified the media. “The whole world is watching,” Miller warned.

As the resident agent for Bogalusa, Sass was familiar with the recent civil rights activities there. He soon arrived at Andrey’s but balked at entering the building. “Steven Miller, come on out,” yelled the agent in his distinctive southern drawl. One of the black guards cautioned Miller that the cafe door was illuminated by a light, making Miller a clear target if he ventured outside. “Don’t go out there and silhouette yourself, boy,” warned the man.

So Miller told Sass to come in if he wanted to talk. The FBI agent opened the door and took a few steps inside. He was not prepared for the scene confronting him: the tiny restaurant was packed with black men armed with rifles and shotguns.

“His mouth dropped a foot,” remembered Miller with some amusement. “He literally couldn’t talk for several minutes. He just stood there stunned.” — The Deacons for Defense: Armed Resistance and the Civil Rights Movement, by Lance Hill, 2004, p. 98


Sass left to go arrange for protection to get Yates to a hospital but Sass . . . left without making any promises, saying only that he would speak with the state police. The black guards waited a few hours for him to arrange protection, but when the agent failed to return they decided to move the CORE men to the home of Bob and Jackie Hicks. They concealed them in the back seat of a car and transported them in an armed convoy to the Hicks’ house. When they arrived, Yates and Miller were greeted by a second defense force, scattered in trees, behind bushes and inside the house.

It was imperative to get Yates to a hospital so his injuries could be treated, but the local hospital was out of the question. By 10:30 PM CORE’s regional office had arranged for a state police escort for Yates and Miller. Four patrol cars soon arrived at the Hicks’ home. The ranking patrolman walked to the door. “He came in, took about four steps into the room, and saw all these guys with guns and his mouth fell open and he was rooted to the spot,” said Miller. “He was just dumbfounded.”

The armed guards relished the moment. — Ibid., pp. 98-99.


By then, Bobby Williams had handed off his Garand and bandoleer to another volunteer, caught a ride to his house, and hugged his wife again before rushing off to the Crown-Zellerbach plant. He still had a shift to work, and he did it in the same dirty clothes he’d worn for two days.

Three days later, Lucy Williams presented Bobby with his third child, a boy. They named him Robert E. Williams, Jr.

In the fullness of time, he would become the first black Attorney General of the state of Alabama.

But that is another story.

(Author’s afterward: The chapter you have just read is properly described as “faction.” There really was a “skirmish” at Andrey’s Cafe on 3 February 1965. The events proceeded just as described. If I have taken some liberties with the names and precise actions of the men who would later form the Deacon for Defense and Justice chapter of Bogalusa, Louisiana, I have, like Alan Eckhart in his “Wilderness” series of novels, merely given a best guess at dialogue to situations that are otherwise well-documented.

At this remove, we do not know exactly the names of those men first to the Cafe. Many more have claimed to be than could have fit in the tiny building. I have taken the liberty of inserting my fictional character Bobby Williams into this historical moment. Miller later reported that the men “moved with military precision.”

Bobby Williams is not such an outlandish guess from Miller’s account. I would heartily recommend that anyone seeking the facts of the incident, or of the remarkable history of the Deacons themselves, should consult Lance Hill’s history. It is an incredible story, and one that provides lessons even for today. — MBV)

>Never Ever Talk to the Police – Part II

>The second half of the law lecture posted the other day, also courtesy of Maggie’s Farm.

Watch it.

Remember it.

Do it.

Tempus fugit.

>Vanderboegh: A Handgun Against An Army – Ten Years After

>A Handgun Against An Army — Ten Years After
Mike Vanderboegh
29 July 2008

“Bravo! Well said Sir! More truer words have rarely been spoken. You inspire and embolden us to protect and defend our rights. Please do not let your voice be silenced.” — “Anonymous” reaction to “What Good Can A Handgun Do Against an Army?” 2006.

Almost a decade ago now, I penned “A Letter From Hagood’s Crossroads, Alabama,” subtitled “What Good Can a Handgun Do Against an Army?”

Over the years it has proven to be the single most popular piece I have ever written. To this day, I get emails and snail mails from folks who have stumbled across it for the first time, thanking me for writing it. It is a humbling experience for a scribbler such as myself to realize that he has struck a chord in his audience — humbling and gratifying.

Still, I have always meant to rework “Handgun” to correct some of the minor errors and irritating flaws that always occur whenever you whip out a topical opinion piece, as I did this one. For example, one of the things that always bothered me was that I was forced to paraphrase Hopper explaining the facts of life to his marauding gang of ATF/biker/bandido grasshoppers in “A Bug’s Life.” In the re-issue below, I correct that. Indeed, thanks to technological advances in the intervening years, I am now able to give you the YouTube link so you can HEAR Hopper’s presentation of the dialectic of tyranny yourself with just a click of the mouse.


Another area requiring work was the wolf-sheep metaphor, which if I had just hewed to the wisdom of my grandpa imparted to me years ago would have more properly been (as I have corrected it below) a wolf-sheep-sheepdog metaphor. Don’t ask me why I did it that way the first time. I wrote it, as most of my pieces back then and since, at one sitting in the wee hours of the morning.

And equally importantly, without the steadying hand of a good editor. (Here, I tip my hat to my friend David Codrea.)

In truth, for something that has been so well received for so long, at the time I gave it no more thought or care than any of the other many things I wrote during the Era of the Clintonista-Militia Cold War. Yet it is “Handgun” that has, apparently, stood the test of time. I will explore why I think this is in the afterword to this reissue.

For now, let me present again, with slight updated revision, “What Good Can A Handgun Do Against an Army?,” with many thanks to my friends — Peter at Western Rifle Shooters Association and Chris at Mindful Musings — for the firm nudge prompting me to do so. — MBV

“What Good Can A Handgun Do Against an Army?”

A friend of mine forwarded me a question a friend of his had posed:

“If/when our Federal Government comes to pilfer, pillage, plunder our property and destroy our lives, what good can a handgun do against an army with advanced weaponry, tanks, missiles, planes, or whatever else they might have at their disposal to achieve their nefarious goals? (I’m not being facetious: I accept the possibility that what happened in Germany, or similar, could happen here; I’m just not sure that the potential good from an armed citizenry in such a situation outweighs the day-to-day problems caused by masses of idiots who own guns.)”

If I may, I’d like to try to answer that question. I certainly do not think the writer facetious for asking it. The subject is a serious one to which I have given much research and considerable thought. I believe that upon the answer to this question depends the future of our Constitutional republic, our liberty and perhaps our lives.

My friend Aaron Zelman, one of the founders of Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership told me once:

“If every Jewish and anti-nazi family in Germany had owned a Mauser rifle and twenty rounds of ammunition AND THE WILL TO USE IT (emphasis supplied – MBV), Adolf Hitler would be a little-known footnote to the history of the Weimar Republic.”

Note well that phrase: “and the will to use it,” for the simply-stated question, “What good can a handgun do against an army?”, is in fact a complex one and must be answered at length and carefully.

It is a military question.

It is also a political question.

But above all it is a moral question which strikes to the heart of what makes men free, and what makes them slaves.

First, let’s answer the military question.

Most military questions have both a strategic and a tactical component. Let’s first consider the tactical.

A friend of mine owns an instructive piece of history. It is a small, crude pistol, made out of sheet-metal stampings by the U.S. during World War II. While it fits in the palm of your hand and is a slowly-operated, single-shot arm, it’s powerful .45 caliber projectile will kill a man with brutal efficiency. With a short, smooth-bore barrel it can reliably kill only at point blank ranges, so its use requires the will (brave or foolhardy) to get in close before firing. It is less a soldier’s weapon than an assassin’s tool. The U.S. manufactured them by the millions during the war, not for our own forces but rather to be air-dropped behind German lines to resistance units in occupied Europe and Asia. They cost exactly two dollars and ten cents to make.

Crude and slow (the fired case had to be knocked out of the breech by means of a little wooden dowel, a fresh round procured from the storage area in the grip and then manually reloaded and cocked. It was so wildly inaccurate it couldn’t hit the broad side of a French barn at 50 meters, but to the Resistance man or woman who had no firearm it still looked pretty darn good.

The theory and practice of it was this: First, you approach a German sentry with your little pistol hidden in your coat pocket and, with Academy-award sincerity, ask him for a light for your cigarette (or the time the train leaves for Paris, or if he wants to buy some non-army-issue food or a half- hour with your “sister”). When he smiles and casts a nervous glance down the street to see where his Sergeant is, you blow his brains out with your first and only shot, then take his rifle and ammunition. Your next few minutes are occupied with “getting out of Dodge,” for such critters generally go around in packs. After that (assuming you evade your late benefactor’s friends) you keep the rifle and hand your little pistol to a fellow Resistance fighter so he can go get his own rifle.

Or, maybe, you then use your rifle to get a submachine gun from the Sergeant when he comes running. Perhaps you get very lucky and pickup a light machine gun, two boxes of ammunition and a haversack of hand grenades. With two of the grenades and the expenditure of a half-a-box of ammunition at a hasty roadblock the next night, you and your friends get a truck full of arms and ammunition. (Some of the cargo is sticky with “Boche” blood, but you don’t mind, not terribly.)

Pretty soon you’ve got the best armed little maquis unit in your part of France, all from that cheap little pistol and the guts to use it. (One wonders if the current political elite’s opposition to so-called “Saturday Night Specials” doesn’t come from some adopted racial memory of previous failed tyrants. For even cheap little pistols are a threat to oppressive regimes.)

They called the pistol the “Liberator.” Not a bad name, all in all.

Now let’s consider the strategic aspect of the question, “What good can a handgun do against an army….?” We have seen that even a poor pistol can make a great deal of difference to the military career and postwar plans of one enemy soldier.

That’s tactical.

But consider what a million pistols, or a hundred million pistols (which may approach the actual number of handguns in the U.S. today), can mean to the military planner who seeks to carry out operations against a populace so armed.

Mention “Afghanistan” or “Chechnya” to a member of the current Russian military hierarchy and watch them shudder at the bloody memories. Then you begin to get the idea that modern munitions, air superiority and overwhelming, precision-guided violence still are not enough to make victory certain when the targets are not sitting Christmas-present fashion out in the middle of the desert.

I forget the name of the Senator who observed famously, “You know, a million here and a million there, and pretty soon you’re talking about serious money.” Consider that there are at least as many firearms– handguns, rifles and shotguns– as there are citizens of the United States. Consider that in 1997 there were more than 14 million Americans who bought licenses to hunt deer in the country. 14 million– that’s a number greater than the largest five professional armies in the world combined. Consider also that those deer hunters are not only armed, but they own items of military utility– everything from camouflage clothing to infrared “game finders”, Global Positioning System devices and night vision scopes.

Consider also that quite a few of these hunters are military veterans. Just as moving around in the woods and stalking game are second nature, military operations are no mystery to them, especially those who were on the receiving end of guerrilla war in Southeast Asia (or nowadays, Iraq and Afghanistan).

Indeed, such men, aged though they may be, are more psychologically prepared for the exigencies of civil war (for this is what we are talking about) than their younger active-duty brother-soldiers whose only military experience involved neatly defined enemies and fronts in the Grand Campaign against Saddam. (Of course, since I wrote these words, an entirely new generation of citizen soldiers have been manufactured in the twin crucibles of Iraq and Afghanistan, my own son among them.)

And not since 1861-1865 has the American military attempted to wage a war athwart its own logistical tail. Nor indeed has it ever had to use modern conventional munitions on the Main Streets of its own hometowns and through its’ relatives backyards. Nor has it tested the obedience of soldiers who took a very different oath with orders to kill their “rebellious” neighbors, but that touches on the political aspect of the question.

But forget the psychological and political for a moment, and consider just the numbers. To paraphrase the Senator, “A million pistols here, a million rifles there, pretty soon you’re talking serious firepower.” No one, repeat, no one, will conquer America, from within or without, until its citizenry is disarmed. We remain, as a British officer had reason to complain at the start of our Revolution, “a people numerous and armed.”

The Second Amendment is a political issue today only because of the military reality that underlies it. Politicians who fear the people seek to disarm them. People who fear their government’s intentions refuse to be disarmed.

The Founders understood this.

So, too, does every tyrant who ever lived.

Liberty-loving Americans forget it at their peril.

Until they do, American gunowners in the aggregate represent a strategic military fact and an impediment to foreign tyranny. They also represent the greatest political challenge to home-grown would-be tyrants. If the people cannot be forcibly disarmed against their will, then they must be persuaded to give up their arms voluntarily. This is the siren song of “gun control,” which is to say “government control of all firearms,” although few self-respecting gun-grabbers are quite so bold as to phrase it so honestly.

Joseph Stalin, when informed after World War II that the Pope disapproved of Russian troops occupying Trieste, turned to his advisors and asked, “The Pope? The Pope? How many divisions does he have?”

Dictators are unmoved by moral suasion.

Fortunately, our Founders saw the wisdom of backing the First Amendment up with the Second. The “divisions” of the Army of American Constitutional Liberty get into their cars and drive to work in this country every day to jobs that are hardly military in nature. Most of them are unmindful of the service they provide. Their arms depots may be found in innumerable closets, gunracks and gunsafes. They have no appointed officers, nor will they need any until they are mobilized by events.

Such guardians of our liberty perform this service merely by existing. And although they may be an ever-diminishing minority within their own country, as gun ownership is demonized and discouraged by the ruling elites, still they are as yet more than enough to perform their vital task. And if they are unaware of the impediment they present to their would-be rulers, their would-be rulers are painfully aware of these “divisions of liberty,” as evidenced by their incessant calls for individual disarmament. They understand moral versus military force just as clearly as Stalin, but they would not be so indelicate as to quote him.

The Roman Republic failed because they could not successfully answer the question, “Who Shall Guard the Guards?”

The Founders of this Republic answered that question with both the First and Second Amendments.

Like Stalin, the Clintonistas and other holders of the Imperial Presidency could care less what common folk say about them, but the concept of the armed citizenry as guarantors of their own liberties sets their teeth on edge and disturbs their statist sleep.

Governments, some great men once avowed, derive their legitimacy from “the consent of the governed.” In the country that these men founded, it should not be required to remind anyone that the people do not obtain their natural, God-given liberties by “the consent of the Government.” Yet in this century, our once great constitutional republic has been so profaned in the pursuit of power and social engineering by corrupt leaders as to be unrecognizable to the Founders. And in large measure we have ourselves to blame because at each crucial step along the way the usurpers of our liberties have obtained the consent of a majority of the governed to do what they have done, often in the name of “democracy”– a political system rejected by the Founders.

Another good friend of mine gave the best description of pure democracy I have ever heard. “Democracy,” he concluded, “is three wolves and a sheep sitting down to vote on what to have for dinner.” The rights of the sheep in this system are by no means guaranteed.

This is why God in His wisdom, and the Founders in their sagacity, made sheepdogs.

Now it is true that our present wolf-like, would-be rulers do not as yet seek to eat that sheep. They still cast a nervous collective eye toward the sheepdogs among the flock. They are, however, most desirous that the sheep be shorn of taxes, and if possible and when necessary, be reminded of their rightful place in society as “good citizen sheep” whose safety from the big bad wolves outside their barn doors is only guaranteed by the omni-presence in the barn of the “good wolves” of the government.



American Voters, er, ah, Sheep

Indeed, they do not present themselves as wolves at all, but rather these lupines parade around in sheepdog’s clothing — the sheepdog being an ancient and honorable vocation accepted by the sheep as a necessary burden for their safety — and they yip and yowl insistently in off-key falsetto about the welfare of the flock and the necessity to surrender liberty and property “for the children”, er, ah, I mean “the lambs.” In order to ensure future generations of compliant sheep, they are careful to educate the lambs in the way of “political correctness,” tutoring them in the totalitarian faiths that “it takes a barnyard to raise a lamb” and “all animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.” Indeed, these wolves could only achieve what they have by convincing the flock (and most of the real sheepdogs) that they are protectors of the flock with its best interests at heart.

But here’s the problem for these wolves parading as sheepdogs.

There are not enough of them to eat as well they please just yet without having their meal rudely interrupted.

True, they are outnumbered by the sheep, but they care not. Sheep, after all, are sheep. “If God had not wanted them shorn, He would not have made them sheep,” the bandit leader Caldera tells Yul Brynner in “The Magnificent Seven.”

What wolves DO care about is the threat posed to them by the real sheepdogs who the Founders of the flock with great foresight placed between the wolves of government and the flock of the people and charged with its protection — the sheepdogs who these wolves merely pretend to be.

Real sheepdogs of course have no appetite for the lives and liberties of the sheep. They exist, they live for, they relish in, their role as the true guardians of the flock. Ready in an instant to lay down their lives for the defense of the helpless, they operate always within the Founders’ carefully drawn borders, faithfully and honorably. Indeed, the concept of honor is most often found only in sheepdogs, for the sheep have no need of it in the day-to-day wandering of the flock and, as for the wolves, it gets in the way of their appetites. And these sheepdogs, the smarter, more perceptive ones among them, are infinitely suspicious of the lupine-mandarin class who continually try to overstep the boundaries the Founders of the flock set.

Every now and then, the appetite of the wolves is for an instant revealed too nakedly. Some tough old independent-minded ram refuses to be shorn, for example, and tries to remind the flock that they once decided affairs themselves — they and the sheepdogs — according to the rule of law of their ancestors and the Founders of the flock, and without the help of their “betters.” When that happens, the fangs become apparent and the conspicuously unwilling are shunned, cowed, driven off or (occasionally) killed. This always happens when the real sheepdogs are looking the other way, or are mesmerized by some lupine excuse.

Sadly, over time the majority of the flock — including many of the sheepdogs — have learned over time not to resist the Lupine-Mandarin class which herds it. Their Founders, who were sheepdogs one and all, would have long ago chased off such usurpers. Any present members of the flock who think like that are denounced as antediluvian or mentally deranged.

Yet, the sheepdogs still stand ready and so the wolves must be gradual in their predations. Most of the sheepdogs are, after all, watching the perimeter of the Founders’ grazing fields for threats from without, or are preoccupied with forays to foreign fields where other sheep are being victimized by other wolves. They are close, these wolves, into converting many sheepdogs into cooperating with their schemes. And there are some of the more alert sheepdogs that the lupines would like to punish, but they dare not– for their teeth are every bit as long as their “betters.”

Indeed, this is the reason the wolves haven’t eaten many sheep in generations. To the wolves’ chagrin, the honest sheepdogs are armed and they outnumber the wolves by a considerable margin. For now the wolves are content to watch the numbers of these honest sheepdogs diminish, as they are no longer fashionable in polite society. (Indeed, they are considered by the literati to be an anachronism best forgotten and such sheepdogs are dismissed by the Mandarins as “Tooth Nuts” or “Right Leg Fanatics”.)

When the number of the sheepdogs fall below a level that wolves can feel safe to do so, the throats of the remaining guardians of the flock will be torn out and the eating of the sheep will begin. The wolves are patient, and proceed by infinitesimal degrees like the slowly-boiling frog. It took them generations to lull the sheep and the sheepdogs into accepting them as rulers instead of elected representatives. If it takes another generation or two to complete the process, the wolves can wait.

This is our “Animal Farm,” without apology to George Orwell.

Even so, the truth is that one man with a pistol CAN defeat an army, given a righteous cause for which to fight, enough determination to risk death for that cause, and enough brains, luck and friends to win the struggle. This is true in war but also in politics, and it is not necessary to be a Prussian militarist to see it. The dirty little secret of today’s ruling elite — as represented by the Clintonistas, the “compassionate conservative” Bushies and the even scarier potential for tyranny embodied by the spell-binding Obama — is that they want people of conscience and principle to be divided in as many ways as possible (“wedge issues” the consultants call them) so that they may be more easily manipulated. No issue of race, religion, class or economics is left unexploited.

Lost in the din of jostling special interests are the few voices who point out that if we refuse to be divided from what truly unites us as a people, we cannot be defeated on the large issues of principle, faith, the constitutional republic and the rule of law. More importantly, woe and ridicule will be heaped upon anyone who points out that like the blustering Wizard of Oz, the federal tax and regulation machine is not as omniscient, omnipotent or fearsome as they would have us believe. Like the Wizard, they fan the scary flames higher and shout, “Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain!”

For the truth is, they are frightened that we will find out how pitifully few they are compared to the mass of the citizenry they seek to frighten into compliance with their tax collections, property seizures and bureaucratic, unconstitutional power-shifting.

I strongly recommend everyone see the movie “A Bug’s Life”. Simple truths may often be found sheltering beneath unlikely overhangs, there protected by the pelting storm of lies that soak us everyday. “A Bug’s Life”, a children’s movie of all things, is just such a place.

“A Bug’s Life,” 1998.

The plot revolves around an ant hill on an unnamed island, where the ants placate predatory grasshoppers by offering them each year one-half of the food they gather (sounds a lot like the IRS, right?). Driven to desperation by the insatiable tax demands of the large, fearsome grasshoppers, one enterprising ant goes abroad seeking bug mercenaries who will return with him and defend the anthill when the grasshoppers return. (If this sounds a lot like an animated “Magnificent Seven”, you’re right.)

Kevin Spacey as
Special Agent “Hopper,”
Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Seeds
in “A Bug’s Life”

The grasshoppers (who roar about like some biker gang or perhaps the ATF in black helicopters, take your pick) are, at one point in the movie, lounging around in a bug cantina down in Mexico, living off the bounty of the land. The harvested seeds they eat are dispensed one at a time from an upturned bar bottle. Three grasshoppers suggest to their leader, a menacing fellow named “Hopper” (whose voice characterization by Kevin Spacey is suitably evil personified), that they should forget about the poor ants on the island. Here, they say, we can live off the fat of the land, why worry about some upstart ants?

Hopper turns on them instantly. He manipulates the dispenser on the mouth of the bottle, and the seed strikes one of the dissenters in the chest, falling to the floor. “Did that hurt,?” Hopper asks. “No,” says the dissenter derisively. “How about this one?” as he does it again. “Are you kiddin’?” says the gang member. “Well . . . HOW ABOUT THIS?!?” Hopper knocks the cap off the bottle and its entire contents rush out, inundating and crushing the three dissenters. Hopper then explains the facts of the tyrant’s world to his gang:

Hopper: You let one ant stand up to us, then they all might stand up! Those puny little ants outnumber us a hundred to one and if they ever figure that out there goes our way of life! It’s not about food, it’s about keeping those ants in line. That’s why we’re going back! Does anybody else wanna stay?
[grasshoppers shocked – all the grasshoppers “rev up” their wings]
Molt: [motioning a fellow grasshopper] He’s quite the motivational speaker, isn’t he?
Hopper: Let’s ride!

You can watch Hopper’s explanation on YouTube right here:

Of course it comes as no surprise that in the end the ants figure out that they outnumber the grasshoppers a hundred to one, and when they do they free themselves in an instant.

Would that liberty-loving Americans were as smart as animated ants.

Courage to stand against tyranny, fortunately, is not only found on videotape or DVD. Courage flowers from the heart, from the twin roots of deeply-held principle and faith in God. There are American heroes living today who have not yet performed the deeds of principled courage that future history books will record. They have not yet had to stand in the gap, to plug it with their own fragile bodies and lives against the evil that portends. Not yet have they been required to pledge “their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor.”

Yet they will have to.

I believe with all my heart the lesson that history teaches: That each and every generation of Americans is given, along with the liberty and opportunity that is their heritage, the duty to defend America against the tyrannies of their day. Our father’s father’s fathers fought this same fight. Our mother’s mother’s mothers fought it as well. From the Revolution through the world wars, from the Cold War through to Iraq and Afghanistan, they fought to secure their liberty and safetyand those of the defenseless people of the world) in conflicts great and small, within and without.

They stood faithful to the oath that our Founders gave us: To bear true faith and allegiance– not to a man; not to the land; not to a political party, but to an idea. That idea is liberty, God-given, inalienable liberty as codified in the Constitution of the United States. We swear, as did they, an oath to defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic. And throughout the years they paid in blood and treasure the terrible price of that oath.

That was their day.

This is ours.

The clouds we can see on the horizon may be a simple rain or a vast hurricane, but there is a storm coming. Make no mistake.

Lincoln said that this nation cannot long exist half slave and half free. I say, if I may humbly paraphrase, that this nation cannot long exist one-third slave, one-third uncommitted, and one-third free. The slavery today is of the mind and soul not the body, but it is slavery without a doubt that Mandarin class, most recently embodied by Barack Obama, is pushing.

It is slavery to worship our nominally-elected representatives as our rulers instead of requiring their trustworthiness as our servants. It is slavery of the mind and soul that demands that God-given rights that our Forefathers secured with their blood and sacrifice be traded for false security of a nanny-state which will tend to our “legitimate needs” as they are perceived by that government.

It is slavery to worship humanism as religion and slavery to deny life and liberty to unborn Americans. As people of faith in God, whatever our denomination, we are in bondage to a plantation system that steals our money, erases our history — supplanting it with sanitized and politicized “correctness” — denies our children a real public education, denies them even the mention of God in school and denies, in fact, the very existence of God.

So finally we are faced with, and we must return to, the moral component of the question: “What good can a handgun do against an army?”

The answer is “Nothing,” or “Everything.”

The outcome depends upon the mind and heart and soul of the man or woman who holds it.

One may also ask, “What good can a sling in the hands of a boy do against a marauding giant?” If your cause is just and righteous much can be done, not only if you are willing to risk the consequences of failure and to bear the burdens of eternal vigilance.

A friend of mine gave me a plaque once. Upon it is written these words by Winston Churchill, a man who knew much about fighting tyranny:

“Still, if you will not fight for the right when you can easily win without bloodshed; if you will not fight when your victory will be sure and not too costly; you may come to the moment when you will have to fight with all the odds against you and only a precarious chance of survival. There may be a worse case. You may have to fight when there is no hope of victory, because it is better to perish than to live as slaves.”

The Spartans at Thermopolae knew this. The fighting Jews of Masada knew this, when every man, woman and child died rather than submit to Roman tyranny. The Texans who died at the Alamo knew this. The frozen patriots of Valley Forge knew this. The “expendable men” of Bataan and Corregidor knew this. If there is one lesson of Hitlerism and the Holocaust, it is that free men, if they wish to remain free, must resist would-be tyrants at the first opportunity and at every opportunity. Remember that whether they come as conquerors or elected officials, the men who secretly wish to be your murderers must first convince you that you must accept them as your masters. Free men and women must not wait until they are “selected,” divided and herded into Warsaw Ghettos, there to finally fight desperately, almost without weapons, and die outnumbered.

The tyrant must be met at the door when he appears. At your door, or mine, wherever he shows his bloody appetite. He must be met by the pistol which can defeat an army. He must be met at every door, for in truth we outnumber him and his henchmen.

It matters not whether they call themselves Communists or Nazis or something else. It matters not what flag they fly, nor what uniform they wear. It matters not what excuses they give for stealing your liberty, your property or your life. “By their works ye shall know them.” The time is late. Those who once had trouble reading the hour on their watches have no trouble seeing by the glare of the fire at Waco. Few of us realized at the time that the Constitution was burning right along with the Davidians.

Now we know better.

We have had the advantage of that horrible illumination for more than fifteen years now– fifteen years in which the rule of law and the battered old parchment of our beloved Constitution have been smashed, shredded and besmirched by the Clintonistas. In this process they have been aided and abetted by the cowardly incompetence and venal avarice of the Republican party. They have forgotten Daniel Webster’s warning: “Miracles do not cluster. Hold on to the Constitution of the United States of America and the Republic for which it stands– what has happened once in six thousand years may never happen again. Hold on to your Constitution, for if the American Constitution shall fail there will be anarchy throughout the world.”

Yet being able to see what has happened has not helped us reverse, or even slow, the process. The sad fact is that we will have to resign ourselves to the prospect of having to maintain our principles and our liberty in the face of becoming a disenfranchised minority within our own country.

The middle third of the populace, it seems, will continue to waffle in favor of the enemies of the Constitution until their comfort level with the economy is endangered. They’ve got theirs, Jack.

The Republicans, who we thought could represent our interests and protect the Constitution and the rule of law, have been demonstrated to be political eunuchs, or worse. Alan Keyes was dead right when he characterized the 1996 election as one between “the lawless Democrats and the gutless Republicans.” Nothing has happened in the years since to contradict that analysis. The major parties, as Pat Buchanan observed, “are two wings of the same bird of prey.” The spectacular political failures of our current leaders are unrivaled in our history unless you recall the unprincipled jockeying for position and tragi-comedy of misunderstanding and miscommunication which lead to our first Civil War.

And make no mistake, it is civil war which may be the most horrible corollary of the Law of Unintended Consequences as it applies to the Clintonista-Bush-Obama Imperial Presidencies and their shared appetite for the destruction of the rule of law. Because such people have no cause for which they are willing to die (all morality being relativistic to them, and all principles compromisable), they cannot fathom the motives or behavior of people who believe that there are some principles worth fighting and dying for. Out of such failures of understanding come wars. Particularly because although such elitists would not risk their own necks in a fight, they have no compunction about ordering others in their pay to fight for them.

It is not the deaths of others, but their own deaths, that they fear.

As a Christian, I cannot fear my own death, but rather I am commanded by my God to live in such a way as to make my death a homecoming. That this makes me incomprehensible and threatening to those who wish to be my masters is something I can do little about. I would suggest to them that they not poke their godless, tyrannical noses down my alley. As the coiled rattlesnake flag of the Revolution bluntly stated: “Don’t Tread on Me!” Or, as our state motto here in Alabama declares: “We Dare Defend Our Rights.”

But can a handgun defeat an army? Yes. It remains to be seen whether the struggle of our generation against the tyrants of our day in the first decade of the 21st Century will bring a restoration of liberty and the rule of law or a dark and bloody descent into chaos and slavery.

If it is to be the former, I will meet you at the new Yorktown.

If it is to be the latter, I will meet you at Masada.

But I will not be a slave.

And I know that whether we succeed or fail, if we should fall along the way our graves will one day be visited by other free Americans, thanking us that we did not forget that, with the help of Almighty God, in the hands of a free man a handgun CAN defeat a tyrant’s army.

Ten Years After

So why has “Handgun” apparently stood the test of time? It is not without its critics, you know. One fellow called it “bloodthirsty,” another “paranoid.” Yet another said it was “over-wrought, over-drawn and over the top.” It does seem to some, even today in the disturbing light of the Olofson case, as “too combative,” and “too scary to contemplate.” In this it is not unlike any of the other many pieces I have written, some of which have even been labeled “seditious.” “Handgun” certainly disturbs just as many people as it inspires. Does that say more about the writing, or the reader?

There are, it seems, many folks in the “Second Amendment community,” whatever that is, who dislike my “absolutist” positions. These “pragmatists” say that they share my goals but not my methods, thinking apparently that tyranny can be deterred by the force of persuasion alone. I wish it were so, but it isn’t. Not even a sloppy reading of our own history, let alone that of the world, could lead anyone but the most credulous or unrealistically optimistic among us to believe such a proposition.

As a good friend commented in an email to me upon the most recent contretemps occasioned by another of my “cold dead hands” letters:

The final question, at least to me, for the “politicals” (my preferred term, as I think the so-called radicals are FAR more pragmatic than the “democracy is both effective and safe!” crowd) is as follows:

“What do you guys plan to do if your approach demonstrably fails, either by the passage of AWB II, more Katrina/Iowa-style confiscations, or some other indicia that the political path is not yielding the intended results?”

The real answer for many is “we plan to redefine the objective to maximize our sporting uses of what we are allowed to keep.”

Ain’t no talking to folks like that….let their shackles rest heavy on them.

Sadly, he is no doubt correct.

With such “friends,” to quote Don Rickles, “who needs enemas?”

“Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is Liberty.”

~II Corinthians 3:17~

Yet there are just as many, perhaps more, to whom “Handgun” still speaks, as one recent fan wrote me, “to our souls.” I have sometimes felt that I have been too shy about my faith. Others, godless heathen libertarians no doubt (insert smiley face here), say I’m TOO religious.

But I think when I sincerely invoke, “the help of Almighty God,” many, many more people who are not concerned or embarrassed by such sentiments are uplifted thereby. They recognize, as do I, that just as the Founders could not have pulled off the Revolution alone, we are not going to restore our Republic without the help of God’s power. And so my references to that Higher Power which guides and informs our lives resonates with “gunnies” who are perhaps too “simple and unsophisticated” too be embarrassed by them.

The skeptical libertarians who ARE now made nervous by them will nevertheless one day be grateful to have such folks as allies in the great battle of our time.

And it will be a battle.

And it is coming, closer now than it was ten years ago.

Perhaps that is why “Handgun” still finds eager readers, because they understand this.

And they want to gird themselves spiritually before the fight.

If by reminding them that a handgun can defeat a tyrant’s army I have helped prepare them for what’s ahead, I am thankful to my God that He granted me the discernment to see it and the talent to communicate it.

>Never Ever Talk to the Police – Part I


Thanks to Maggie’s Farm comes this lecture from law professor James Duane on what you should do when questioned by the police or Federal agents.

Watch the whole thing.

Then live that advice, and be smarter than Senator Ted Stevens.

No kidding.

>Volk on Freedom

>Oleg has a message for folks who think calm words and reassurances re peaceful intent will keep the statists at bay.

The hard truth is that nothing short of tyranny’s eternal cure is going to stop the anti-gun totalitarians.

I didn’t get into last week’s brouhaha as I was on the road, except to comment at The Smallest Minority:

To those “reasonable gun owners” dampening their knickers over Vanderboegh’s writings, I’d say:

‘Want it’?


Anyone who wants violent revolution when there are other viable alternatives has gotta be out of their minds.

But what if – just perchance – there’s been a revolution already going on for at least 75 years?

A revolution dedicated to the proposition that all men (other than the nomenklatura, of course) shall be rendered equal – by force if necessary, but more likely by the drip-by-drip of Gramscian/Fabian socialist incrementalism.

What if those revolutionaries have already captured 100% of the government elementary and high schools, 95% of the institutions of higher education, 2/3 or better of the state and federal legislatures, > 85% of the state and federal judicial seats, and 95%+ of the mainstream media outlets?

What if these collectivists, in their revolutionary zeal to extirpate individualism wherever found, were able to capture the White House and both Houses of Congress, and shortly thereafter reassert the so-called “liberal majority” on SCOTUS?

Having done so, what if the federal revolutionary collectivists planned, along with their local and state minions, to impose European-style state socialism buttressed with a technological security surveillance apparatus synthesizing data from both public and private sources on each citizen of the former Republic?

Would those citizens then, in the faint final glimmers of liberty’s twilight, be morally and ethically justified in saying publicly:

When you come to arrest and imprison me and my friends, I will evade and then kill

– you who have been sent

– you agency management types who sent them

– you political bosses and functionaries who established and funded the agencies responsible for the arrests

– you media types who have called for the “end to gun violence”

– you Judendienstordnung “reasonable gun owners” who thought it would be best to “police our own”?

Would it be time then to dare to publicly utter the words “back the f**k off”?

Or might that just “scare people”?

There are today in this country hundreds of thousands of men, women, and young folks who will not be enslaved – even at the price of their lives.

Those are the 3%.

They are real.

And they will fight.


Soft warriors believe that political action and education will stop the transnational socialist push against private arms ownership.

That belief assumes that meaningful political action at the ballot box is possible.

Ask the Irish, French, and Dutch how well that approach worked in defeating the tranzis‘ European Constitution.

Not very well, from this writer’s OP.

The current conflict between individualism and collectivism in this country is not going to end without widespread violence, unless the collectivists relinquish their goal of controlling every aspect of their subjects’ lives.

Think that’s going to happen?

If you do, I have two speeches from the past four months for you to read – one delivered in Boston and one delivered in Berlin.

The statists think they can win at an acceptable cost.

The “peace at any price” gun owners in this country, like their peers in the UK, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada, are correctly cited by the tranzis as proof of their hypothesis.

And thus, the day of reckoning moves closer.

Lesson for the day:

Predators prey.

That’s what they do.

And freedom fighters fight.

Sic semper tyrannis.


>Living in an Imperial World: "We interrupt regular programming to announce that the United States of America has defaulted …"

>Satyajit Das, author of Traders, Guns & Money: Knowns and Unknowns in the Dazzling World of Derivatives, is one of the world’s foremost experts on derivatives and other complex financial issues.

Last week, he wrote a two-part column (Part 1 and Part 2) which begins:

On 30 October 1938, the American Radio Drama series Mercury Theatre aired “The War of the Worlds”, directed by Orson Welles. Adapted from H.G. Welles’ novel, the first half of the broadcast was scripted as a series of dramatic news bulletins of a Martian invasion. Listeners who had missed or ignored the opening credits assumed that the invasion was real. People fled their homes in panic. Phone calls swamped police.

Today the financial equivalent of this broadcast would be the announcement: “we interrupt regular programming to announce that the United States of America has defaulted on its debt!”

Default entails failure to honour contractual obligations; in the case of debt, non-payment of interest or principal payments due to the lender. The financial impact of default is the loss suffered by the lender.

Lenders to the United States government have suffered significant losses .The losses have not been from non-payment but because repayments have been in a constantly debased currency – the dollar.

Assume a Japanese investor bought 30 year US Treasury bond in 1985 when the US$/ yen exchange rate was US$1 = Yen 250. Based on a current exchange rate of US$1 = Yen 105, the investor has lost 58% of the investment. The investor can take comfort that at the low of US$1=Yen 84, the investor would have lost 66%. European investors who bought US government bonds in recent years would have also suffered significant losses. Based on the highest US$/ Euro exchange rate (Euro1 = US$ 0.85) and the current trading levels (Euro1 = US$ 1.56), the investor would have lost (up to) 46%.

Given that in a typical sovereign default the investor loses 50% to 80% of the value of the investment, the losses suffered are not far short of default. Despite “strong dollar” official policies, a case can be made that the US is in the process of defaulting on its obligations via a systematic devaluation of its currency. The problems of the US are evident in a number of other indicators…

Take the time to read and digest both columns.

Then help others in your circle to understand what is coming so that they can help with food storage, among other things.

Tempus fugit.

>WRSA Grid-Down Medical Course – Everett, WA – September 12-14


Field Expedient Medical Care for Outdoorsmen in Austere Environments

This two-day (16 hour) course of instruction will prepare the motivated outdoorsman to treat life-threatening and function-threatening medical conditions in the wilderness without access to classical EMS and medical resources.

The working hypothesis of this program is an injury or illness sustained by a family or work group remote from medical resources by distance, time, or availability (grid-down) over a short to intermediate interval.

Designed by a retired Emergency Physician with 35 years of Trauma, EMS/ Rescue, and instructional experience, the methods and techniques taught are derived from over 10 years of front-line trauma care in an urban gangland zone and over 35 years of medical practice in environments as diverse as remote underground in caves (delayed evacuation to surface of 20 hrs), on the side of remote hills (48 hr bivouac in “whiteout” conditions), and at sea. The trauma concepts are compatible and consistent with the current military method of Tactical Combat Casualty Care.

Topics Include:
• The priority of medical care/stabilization in the survival skill set
• Triage: When to use the resources at hand, to benefit the most individuals, and preserve the “team” capability
• The “Priorities” of care for the single victim vs. the “Survivability” of the single victim in remote (time/distance/accessibility) austere environment
• The Major (Medical) Life Threats: Function and Management
• Anatomy of the life-sustaining systems of the human body
• Cover and concealment: high-threat extraction concepts
• The Big Three Survivable Life Threats-Airway control issues, pneumothorax/tension pneumothorax, and external hemorrhage
• Advanced airway techniques for the average sportsman/citizen, with expanded scope knowledge: Nasal Airways, cricothyrotomy
• Basic and Advanced Treatment of Thoracic Wounds- Stopping the air leak, and/or venting the pressure
• Basic and Advanced External Hemorrhage control- Direct pressure, mechanized direct pressure, hemostatic agents, pressure point use behind cover, tourniquets
• The science, and fairy tale, of fluid resuscitation
• Monitoring the head injured patient
• Stabilization of fractures and splinting for functional use
• Definitive wound care: Cleansing, Debriding, Closing
• The Team “Debilitators”: infection, vomiting/diarrhea/field sanitation, dehydration, toothache, soft tissue injuries, hyperthermia, and hypothermia
• Dealing with burns or cold induced wounds (frostbite, frostnip, etc.)
• Current therapy of envenomations: snakes, spiders, bees
• Pre-Pack Pharmacy: What you want to have before venturing into the outback
• Teammates with pre-existing disease: how not to make it worse
• The “Jericho Scenario”: Protection, Decontamination, and Treatment for chemical and biological agents

NOTE: This NON-CERTIFICATION course is presented for YOUR INFORMATION ONLY. All personnel take NO RESPONSIBILITY for your use of this information in a real-life situation.

When: September 12-14, 2008 (attendance at course presentations on the evening of 9/12 is highly recommended)

Where: Training Room, Snohomish County Department of Emergency Management building, 3509 109th Street SW, Everett, WA 98204

Map: Click here

How Much: $325/person; $25 discount for team members

More info:

>Your Next President and His Plans

>As delivered this past week in Berlin by the presumptive People’s World President for Life, per the Wall Street Journal:

“A World That Stands as One”

Thank you to the citizens of Berlin and to the people of Germany. Let me thank Chancellor Merkel and Foreign Minister Steinmeier for welcoming me earlier today. Thank you Mayor Wowereit, the Berlin Senate, the police, and most of all thank you for this welcome.

I come to Berlin as so many of my countrymen have come before. Tonight, I speak to you not as a candidate for President, but as a citizen — a proud citizen of the United States, and a fellow citizen of the world.
I know that I don’t look like the Americans who’ve previously spoken in this great city.

The journey that led me here is improbable. My mother was born in the heartland of America, but my father grew up herding goats in Kenya. His father — my grandfather — was a cook, a domestic servant to the British.
At the height of the Cold War, my father decided, like so many others in the forgotten corners of the world, that his yearning — his dream — required the freedom and opportunity promised by the West. And so he wrote letter after letter to universities all across America until somebody, somewhere answered his prayer for a better life. That is why I’m here. And you are here because you too know that yearning. This city, of all cities, knows the dream of freedom. And you know that the only reason we stand here tonight is because men and women from both of our nations came together to work, and struggle, and sacrifice for that better life. Ours is a partnership that truly began sixty years ago this summer, on the day when the first American plane touched down at Templehof. On that day, much of this continent still lay in ruin. The rubble of this city had yet to be built into a wall. The Soviet shadow had swept across Eastern Europe, while in the West, America, Britain, and France took stock of their losses, and pondered how the world might be remade.

This is where the two sides met. And on the twenty-fourth of June, 1948, the Communists chose to blockade the western part of the city. They cut off food and supplies to more than two million Germans in an effort to extinguish the last flame of freedom in Berlin. The size of our forces was no match for the much larger Soviet Army. And yet retreat would have allowed Communism to march across Europe. Where the last war had ended, another World War could have easily begun. All that stood in the way was Berlin. And that’s when the airlift began — when the largest and most unlikely rescue in history brought food and hope to the people of this city.

The odds were stacked against success. In the winter, a heavy fog filled the sky above, and many planes were forced to turn back without dropping off the needed supplies. The streets where we stand were filled with hungry families who had no comfort from the cold.

But in the darkest hours, the people of Berlin kept the flame of hope burning. The people of Berlin refused to give up. And on one fall day, hundreds of thousands of Berliners came here, to the Tiergarten, and heard the city’s mayor implore the world not to give up on freedom. “There is only one possibility,” he said. “For us to stand together united until this battle is won…The people of Berlin have spoken. We have done our duty, and we will keep on doing our duty. People of the world: now do your duty…People of the world, look at Berlin!”

People of the world — look at Berlin! Look at Berlin, where Germans and Americans learned to work together and trust each other less than three years after facing each other on the field of battle. Look at Berlin, where the determination of a people met the generosity of the Marshall Plan and created a German miracle; where a victory over tyranny gave rise to NATO, the greatest alliance ever formed to defend our common security.

Look at Berlin, where the bullet holes in the buildings and the somber stones and pillars near the Brandenburg Gate insist that we never forget our common humanity.

People of the world — look at Berlin, where a wall came down, a continent came together, and history proved that there is no challenge too great for a world that stands as one.

Sixty years after the airlift, we are called upon again. History has led us to a new crossroad, with new promise and new peril. When you, the German people, tore down that wall — a wall that divided East and West; freedom and tyranny; fear and hope — walls came tumbling down around the world. From Kiev to Cape Town, prison camps were closed, and the doors of democracy were opened. Markets opened too, and the spread of information and technology reduced barriers to opportunity and prosperity. While the 20th century taught us that we share a common destiny, the 21st has revealed a world more intertwined than at any time in human history. The fall of the Berlin Wall brought new hope. But that very closeness has given rise to new dangers — dangers that cannot be contained within the borders of a country or by the distance of an ocean.

The terrorists of September 11th plotted in Hamburg and trained in Kandahar and Karachi before killing thousands from all over the globe on American soil.

As we speak, cars in Boston and factories in Beijing are melting the ice caps in the Arctic, shrinking coastlines in the Atlantic, and bringing drought to farms from Kansas to Kenya. Poorly secured nuclear material in the former Soviet Union, or secrets from a scientist in Pakistan could help build a bomb that detonates in Paris. The poppies in Afghanistan become the heroin in Berlin. The poverty and violence in Somalia breeds the terror of tomorrow. The genocide in Darfur shames the conscience of us all. In this new world, such dangerous currents have swept along faster than our efforts to contain them. That is why we cannot afford to be divided. No one nation, no matter how large or powerful, can defeat such challenges alone. None of us can deny these threats, or escape responsibility in meeting them. Yet, in the absence of Soviet tanks and a terrible wall, it has become easy to forget this truth. And if we’re honest with each other, we know that sometimes, on both sides of the Atlantic, we have drifted apart, and forgotten our shared destiny. In Europe, the view that America is part of what has gone wrong in our world, rather than a force to help make it right, has become all too common. In America, there are voices that deride and deny the importance of Europe’s role in our security and our future. Both views miss the truth — that Europeans today are bearing new burdens and taking more responsibility in critical parts of the world; and that just as American bases built in the last century still help to defend the security of this continent, so does our country still sacrifice greatly for freedom around the globe. Yes, there have been differences between America and Europe. No doubt, there will be differences in the future. But the burdens of global citizenship continue to bind us together. A change of leadership in Washington will not lift this burden. In this new century, Americans and Europeans alike will be required to do more — not less. Partnership and cooperation among nations is not a choice; it is the one way, the only way, to protect our common security and advance our common humanity.

That is why the greatest danger of all is to allow new walls to divide us from one another. The walls between old allies on either side of the Atlantic cannot stand. The walls between the countries with the most and those with the least cannot stand. The walls between races and tribes; natives and immigrants; Christian and Muslim and Jew cannot stand. These now are the walls we must tear down.

We know they have fallen before. After centuries of strife, the people of Europe have formed a Union of promise and prosperity. Here, at the base of a column built to mark victory in war, we meet in the center of a Europe at peace. Not only have walls come down in Berlin, but they have come down in Belfast, where Protestant and Catholic found a way to live together; in the Balkans, where our Atlantic alliance ended wars and brought savage war criminals to justice; and in South Africa, where the struggle of a courageous people defeated apartheid. So history reminds us that walls can be torn down. But the task is never easy. True partnership and true progress requires constant work and sustained sacrifice. They require sharing the burdens of development and diplomacy; of progress and peace. They require allies who will listen to each other, learn from each other and, most of all, trust each other.

That is why America cannot turn inward. That is why Europe cannot turn inward. America has no better partner than Europe. Now is the time to build new bridges across the globe as strong as the one that bound us across the Atlantic. Now is the time to join together, through constant cooperation, strong institutions, shared sacrifice, and a global commitment to progress, to meet the challenges of the 21st century. It was this spirit that led airlift planes to appear in the sky above our heads, and people to assemble where we stand today. And this is the moment when our nations — and all nations — must summon that spirit anew.

This is the moment when we must defeat terror and dry up the well of extremism that supports it. This threat is real and we cannot shrink from our responsibility to combat it. If we could create NATO to face down the Soviet Union, we can join in a new and global partnership to dismantle the networks that have struck in Madrid and Amman; in London and Bali; in Washington and New York. If we could win a battle of ideas against the communists, we can stand with the vast majority of Muslims who reject the extremism that leads to hate instead of hope. This is the moment when we must renew our resolve to rout the terrorists who threaten our security in Afghanistan, and the traffickers who sell drugs on your streets. No one welcomes war. I recognize the enormous difficulties in Afghanistan. But my country and yours have a stake in seeing that NATO’s first mission beyond Europe’s borders is a success. For the people of Afghanistan, and for our shared security, the work must be done. America cannot do this alone. The Afghan people need our troops and your troops; our support and your support to defeat the Taliban and al Qaeda, to develop their economy, and to help them rebuild their nation. We have too much at stake to turn back now.

This is the moment when we must renew the goal of a world without nuclear weapons. The two superpowers that faced each other across the wall of this city came too close too often to destroying all we have built and all that we love. With that wall gone, we need not stand idly by and watch the further spread of the deadly atom. It is time to secure all loose nuclear materials; to stop the spread of nuclear weapons; and to reduce the arsenals from another era. This is the moment to begin the work of seeking the peace of a world without nuclear weapons.

This is the moment when every nation in Europe must have the chance to choose its own tomorrow free from the shadows of yesterday. In this century, we need a strong European Union that deepens the security and prosperity of this continent, while extending a hand abroad. In this century — in this city of all cities — we must reject the Cold War mind-set of the past, and resolve to work with Russia when we can, to stand up for our values when we must, and to seek a partnership that extends across this entire continent. This is the moment when we must build on the wealth that open markets have created, and share its benefits more equitably. Trade has been a cornerstone of our growth and global development. But we will not be able to sustain this growth if it favors the few, and not the many. Together, we must forge trade that truly rewards the work that creates wealth, with meaningful protections for our people and our planet. This is the moment for trade that is free and fair for all. This is the moment we must help answer the call for a new dawn in the Middle East. My country must stand with yours and with Europe in sending a direct message to Iran that it must abandon its nuclear ambitions. We must support the Lebanese who have marched and bled for democracy, and the Israelis and Palestinians who seek a secure and lasting peace. And despite past differences, this is the moment when the world should support the millions of Iraqis who seek to rebuild their lives, even as we pass responsibility to the Iraqi government and finally bring this war to a close. This is the moment when we must come together to save this planet. Let us resolve that we will not leave our children a world where the oceans rise and famine spreads and terrible storms devastate our lands. Let us resolve that all nations — including my own — will act with the same seriousness of purpose as has your nation, and reduce the carbon we send into our atmosphere. This is the moment to give our children back their future. This is the moment to stand as one. And this is the moment when we must give hope to those left behind in a globalized world. We must remember that the Cold War born in this city was not a battle for land or treasure. Sixty years ago, the planes that flew over Berlin did not drop bombs; instead they delivered food, and coal, and candy to grateful children. And in that show of solidarity, those pilots won more than a military victory. They won hearts and minds; love and loyalty and trust — not just from the people in this city, but from all those who heard the story of what they did here.

Now the world will watch and remember what we do here — what we do with this moment. Will we extend our hand to the people in the forgotten corners of this world who yearn for lives marked by dignity and opportunity; by security and justice? Will we lift the child in Bangladesh from poverty, shelter the refugee in Chad, and banish the scourge of AIDS in our time?Will we stand for the human rights of the dissident in Burma, the blogger in Iran, or the voter in Zimbabwe? Will we give meaning to the words “never again” in Darfur?

Will we acknowledge that there is no more powerful example than the one each of our nations projects to the world? Will we reject torture and stand for the rule of law? Will we welcome immigrants from different lands, and shun discrimination against those who don’t look like us or worship like we do, and keep the promise of equality and opportunity for all of our people?

People of Berlin — people of the world — this is our moment. This is our time.

I know my country has not perfected itself. At times, we’ve struggled to keep the promise of liberty and equality for all of our people. We’ve made our share of mistakes, and there are times when our actions around the world have not lived up to our best intentions.

But I also know how much I love America. I know that for more than two centuries, we have strived — at great cost and great sacrifice — to form a more perfect union; to seek, with other nations, a more hopeful world. Our allegiance has never been to any particular tribe or kingdom — indeed, every language is spoken in our country; every culture has left its imprint on ours; every point of view is expressed in our public squares. What has always united us — what has always driven our people; what drew my father to America’s shores — is a set of ideals that speak to aspirations shared by all people: that we can live free from fear and free from want; that we can speak our minds and assemble with whomever we choose and worship as we please.

These are the aspirations that joined the fates of all nations in this city. These aspirations are bigger than anything that drives us apart. It is because of these aspirations that the airlift began. It is because of these aspirations that all free people — everywhere — became citizens of Berlin. It is in pursuit of these aspirations that a new generation — our generation — must make our mark on the world.

People of Berlin — and people of the world — the scale of our challenge is great. The road ahead will be long. But I come before you to say that we are heirs to a struggle for freedom. We are a people of improbable hope. With an eye toward the future, with resolve in our hearts, let us remember this history, and answer our destiny, and remake the world once again.

Tempus fugit.

>Vanderboegh: Fibbies

by Mike Vanderboegh

26 July 2008

“Dulce et decorum est pro patria pedere”

Busy with other things, I let slide commenting upon the 100th anniversary of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

That is not to say I didn’t give some careful thought as to the appropriate words I should use when I finally did set my thoughts to Internet ether.

I have had occasion to meet many FBI agents, SACs and ASACs over the past 15 years. Some, a few, were patriotic Americans who did their best to balance their principles against the demands of an agency the Founders would have found abhorrent to individual liberty. For their troubles, they were transferred to out of the way field offices, harassed and forced to retire early. Frederick Whitehurst comes first to mind.

The Fibbies, as I began calling them in the 90s, are America’s secret police, our Stazi, our Geheim Staats Polizei. If they exercise their power in milder form, its only because the Imperial Presidencies they serve have not yet asked them to go further. They have a notoriously poor record of refusing to serve the Power. Indeed, throughout their history, they have been interested more in bureaucratic survival and aggrandizement of their fiefdom and power than in constitutional law enforcement.

Items that never made it as scripts on an Efrem Zimbalist, Jr. television show:

** Few folks know, but the dynamite for the 16th Street Church bombing here in Birmingham, Alabama in 1963 was provided to the Klan bombers by an FBI informant. The recent prosecution of those of the bombers who had escaped justice earlier was delayed until that informer was safely dead and could not be called.

** The FBI, which was tasked with enforcing federal civil rights laws in the ’60s, spent more time investigating people in the Civil Rights movement that J. Edgar Hoover considered “radical extremists,” such as Martin Luther King and the Deacons for Defense and Justice, than they did the Klan.

** Lon Horiuchi, the FBI sniper who, in 1992, killed Vicki Weaver while she held her baby in her arms.

** COINTELPRO, the FBI program for domestic spying in the ’70s.

** 19 April 1993, the immolation of seventy plus recalcitrant religious sect members, mostly innocent old folks, women and children, who had previously successfully (and later determined by a jury, lawfully) defended their home and church from an ATF attack.

** The cover-up of the true circumstances and plotters of the Oklahoma City Bombing (something of which I have personal knowledge, just Google my name and The John Doe Times). NeoNazi and Identity terrorists were given a pass by the Fibbies, in order to protect the identity of their own informants within the conspiracy. They covered up their own incompetence — incompetence which led to the murder of almost 200 innocents on 19 April 1995.

** How they spied on the constitutional militia movement so intently, that they let the Al Quaeda threat slip by them, resulting in 11 September 2001.

I thought about these things, which are by no means a complete list of the FBI’s sins.

I pondered, and considered how best to comment upon them.

And then, slowly, an idea snuck up on me.

It moved within me like a niggling suspicion, forming, growing.

And then, all of a sudden its sweet and fitting character was absolutely crystal clear and explosively powerful to me, both intellectually and physically.

How best to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the FBI?

I decided.

And I farted.

Loudly, longly and, I must confess, with a simply awful bouquet.

Dulce et decorum est pro patria pedere,” with apologies to Horace.

Sometimes, such as an FBI anniversary, “it is sweet and fitting to fart for one’s country.”

Thus did I celebrate the FBI’s solemn and sacred anniversary.

All that remained was tell you, my fellow gunnies, how I did. And that, dear readers, I have now done.

Given the oppressively incompetent way the Bureau has ill-served the American people and the Constitution its agents swore to maintain over the past 100 years, I shudder to think what new murderous excesses we can expect in its second century.

Mike Vanderboegh
Alleged Leader of a “Merry Band” of Three Percenters
PO Box 926
Pinson, AL 35126


>The Smallest Minority: Personal Sovereignty and "Killing Their Asses"

>A gem from Kevin back in 2007, which should be read in full and begins:

Yesterday I quoted Tam:

I have no real love for the peccadilloes and strange beliefs of the Right. From politicians with a tenuous grasp of the Constitution to preachers sticking their noses where they don’t belong, I get a twinge of annoyance at least once a day. It remains largely an annoyance, however, as so much of what they hold dear has very little impact on me in my daily life: I don’t gamble, have no desire to marry another woman, and don’t have any children for them to teach that the Earth is flat or that Harry Potter is the tool of the devil. Besides, they generally want to let me keep my guns, so if they get too annoying in the future I figure I can always shoot them.

Today, SayUncle:

What makes me a gun nut? Not the number of guns I own. For someone who yammers on so much about guns, I probably own considerably less than the average reader here. I own the following: Ruger 10/22, a Walther P22, Kel-Tec 380, an AR in 9mm, Glock 30, an AR in 5.56. I think that’s it.

Six firearms.

I have a lot on my to buy list but they always get pushed back due to other priorities or whatever. And here lately, I’ve actually sold a couple of firearms.

One, because I didn’t care for it and one because I was offered too much to turn it down.It’s not that I like how they work mechanically or tinkering.

I do that with other stuff and I’m not nuts about that. I like to do woodworking but I am not a woodworking nut. And I don’t blog about woodworking.

It’s not hunting. I don’t hunt.

It’s not the zen of target shooting. I zen playing cards, golf, and other activities as well.

So, what is it? I thought about it long and hard.

And it’s this simple truth:If you f**k with me bad enough, I’ll kill your ass.

What both of these quotes illustrate is the concept of personal sovereignty.

What is it? Here’s a good definition:

Personal sovereignty is an issue which affects each of us as individuals and as a society, whether we realize it or not. Understanding it can help us to interpret what is going on within us and around us. Increasing it can radically transform our existence.

The word “sovereign” means to be in supreme authority over someone or something, and to be extremely effective and powerful. Therefore, it is usually applied to gods, royalty and governments. We speak of kings and queens as sovereigns (even when they are figureheads), and of the sovereign rights of nations and States.

Personal sovereignty, then, would imply the intrinsic authority and power of an individual to determine his or her own direction and destiny. If that sounds suspiciously like free will, it’s because personal sovereignty and free will are the same thing.

It is, in fact, the polar opposite of statism. It is the thing that statists fear above all – a population that won’t do as it’s told by its betters…

Read the whole thing, please.

Then go back to your personal post-November planning.

Tempus fugit.

>Vanderboegh: The Internet Introduction to "Absolved"

Internet Introduction to ‘Absolved’
by Mike Vanderboegh

“Cherish your enemies – they teach you the best lessons”

“Whenever the legislators endeavor to take away and destroy the property of the people, or to reduce them to slavery under arbitrary power, they put themselves into a state of war with the people, who are thereupon absolved from any further obedience.” ~ John Locke

So reads the plaque on Phil Gordon’s wall in his Sipsey Street home the moment before all hell breaks loose. In ‘Absolved’, I try to explore the depths of Locke’s belief to discover where it might lead us in the near future.

Since I began posting chapters of ‘Absolved’ on the ‘net, I have been the recipient of many emails – some laudatory, some critical. I have been taken to task by some for killing off all my characters, for example. I can tell you that while my novel, like war, has its casualties, I “kill off” no one in my tale who either doesn’t deserve it or who isn’t willing to make the trade for what they perceive to be the greater good. Like all wars, there are “collateral” casualties. It would not be believable if there weren’t. I can only tell you that I am not bloodthirsty. Writing about this subject actually depresses me. I have a son and two teenage daughters, all of whom I am immensely proud. My son in turn has two sons of his own. I want to live long enough to sing all my grandchildren to sleep to the tunes of Hobo’s Lullabye, Bold Fenian Men, Rising of the Moon and the Minstrel Boy, just as I did with my own children.

Another civil war in this country is the last thing I want.

“The Useful Dire Warning”

So why write about one? Perhaps, as David Brin, author of the magnificent book The Postman (which bears no resemblance to the Costner cinematic flop), wrote in a forward to a reprint of Pat Frank’s classic Alas, Babylon:

Two books that emerged at roughly the same time as Alas, Babylon were Eugene Burdick’s Fail Safe and Peter George’s Red Alert, which later inspired Stanley Kubrick to make the magnificently humorous and thoughtful Dr. Strangelove. As archetypes of the useful dire warning, each dissected a specific possible failure mode, bringing it to the awareness of so many that, ironically, their particular type of debacle became much less likely. Indeed, the “self-preventing prophecy” may be the highest and most useful species in all of the vast, imaginative genus of speculative fiction. In much the same way that Orwell’s 1984 girded millions against “Big Brother,” these tales may have helped to keep their own nightmares from coming true. In other words, our most vivid nightmares may have been utterly practical, helping to save our lives. — David Brin, Foreward to the First Harper Perennial Modern Classics Edition of Pat Frank’s ‘Alas, Babylon’, 2005, p. X.

One of the things about ‘Absolved’ that has come in for both praise and criticism is the deadly details. When Phil Gordon or Kraut Mueller craft improvised rifle grenades, you can tell from the sometimes mind-numbing detail that it is certainly possible to do so. When thousands of Brightfire mercenaries-in-training are crushed under a fuel-air-explosive delivered by crop duster, you believe it is possible because, frankly, it IS. They say to write about what you know, and although in most cases I have not personally done the things that my characters in the book do, I have done enough research to know that it can be done.

There are characters in the book (most of them in fact) who resemble real people, or composites of two or three real people, who I have actually known. For example, “The Flying Dutchman,” introduced in a future chapter is a sure-’nuff real smuggler pilot, a larger-than-life character I met a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, as they say. He represents the archetype of the smuggler as freedom fighter just as much as John Hancock, Dr. Syn, Han Solo, Malcolm Reynolds or the grocery stock-boy Dale in the canceled CBS television series, Jericho. Like Hancock, however, the Flying Dutchman has the advantage of being a real American. If I place him in fictional circumstances, he reacts the way he would in life, I think. If he dislikes my representation of him, I’m sure he’ll let me know. After I’m done, you may play the game of pin-the-caricature-on-the-real-jackass to your heart’s content and those who know me best will no doubt be able to pick out characters who I have patterned on them.

Take Kraut Mueller, for example. Like the fictional Kraut, I have played a cat-and-mouse game with the ATF since the 90s. There is, I confess, more than a slight resemblance between us. Even so, Kraut is a better man than me, smarter, more aggressive in his actions, and more competent. The real me is not half as interesting as Kraut. If I were to try to cook up shaped charges in a basement, I’d be dead already. Frankly, I’m a klutz.

But the vignettes that will hopefully coalesce into a narrative that flows from the terrible opening to a logical conclusion (and a good read in between) are also presented with such detail for a purpose. If this book is to operate as a “useful dire warning,” then both real sides in my imaginary civil war (and they are VERY real, just ask David Olofson and his victimized family — for them this war has already started and is NOT imaginary) must be able to recognize the real threat to avoid it.

In this, I am frankly writing as much a cautionary tale for the out-of-control gun cops of the ATF as anyone. For that warning to be credible, I must also present what amounts to a combination field manual, technical manual and call to arms for my beloved gunnies of the armed citizenry. They need to know how powerful they could truly be if they were pushed into a corner.

Both sides must get the point in order to avoid conflict.

I hope that when I’m done, ‘Absolved’ can perhaps take its place alongside these other “useful dire warnings.” Being a practical man, however, I recognize that this is but a glimmering hope. Events rush by, pushing us like rudder-less boats in a strong current to where we know not.

A peaceful pool?


The thunderous cataclysm of a deadly falls?

Perhaps, in the wicked light of the Olofson case, the latter is more likely.

The Unintended Inspiration

When completed my book will be dedicated, as most books are, to the one person, or persons, who made it all possible. Oh, I will have a Forward thanking all the folks who have assisted me in my project, of course. Chief among these will be my long-suffering wife Rosey, my kids, other gunnies and fellow workers in the thankless task of trying to restore our tottering constitutional republic.

But I think I will be dedicating ‘Absolved’ to “Waco Jim” Cavanaugh and Special Agent Jody Keeku of the ATF, the blundering, deadly yet unintended inspiration for all my work. For most of you, neither needs an introduction. For the rest of you, the very moniker of “Waco Jim” should tell you the larger portion of his sins. Keeku was the principal agent of David Olofson’s frame-up and imprisonment.

Whether my novel is a prescient glimpse into a bloody future or a “useful dire warning” that is heeded, is entirely up to the likes of them and the corrupt politicians who hold their leashes.

It is they who by their conduct will absolve us of any further obedience to an oppressive regime. And as I point out in ‘Absolved’, if the law no longer protects us, then they will find to their sorrow it does not protect them either.

The choice is theirs.

So I dedicate ‘Absolved’ to them and their thuggish fellow gang members of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

As Ho Chi Minh once observed, “Cherish your enemies – they teach you the best lessons.”

I hope they understand that before it is too late.

Mike Vanderboegh
Pinson, Alabama
21 July 2008

>Vanderboegh: "If not, then our Republic is lost"


I sent an email to all of you not long ago entitled, “Support David Olofson, because in the ATF’s eyes we are ALL David Olofson.” In it, I gave a link to a GOA site where you can support David and his family while the appeal process grinds on. I reproduce it below with the request that you forward it and David’s reply to me below, as far and wide as you can. Post it on every website and blog you can find. He’s right – if we do not win this fight, then our Republic is lost.

— Mike Vanderboegh

David R. Olofson
08632-089 K-1
Federal Correctional Institution
P.O. Box 1000
Sandstone, MN 55072


I appreciate, and accept with great gratitude, your support and every prayer you have for my family and I. I knew that by choosing to accept the moral obligation our Creator instructed us to that the path would be long and arduous. But I see no other options, as any capitulation with the evil we have allowed to exist around us is out of the question for me.

While I can handle any kind and amount of punishment they give me knowing of my innocence, I am greatly pained by the suffering they have brought to my family. Despite that, you will find that I am more resolute in my stand now than I was before. The lies, the fabricated evidence, and threats and paid-off witnesses have not shaken me. There is but one path we can follow — that of the truth.

I have no doubt that this will be resolved. How long it takes is yet to be determined. The victory in this will not be mine, but one of and for all freedom-loving Americans.

But it can not stop there. I am not the first, and I will not be the last innocent they go after with ulterior motives. Even as I write this they have stepped up their attacks on Len Savage in an attempt to put him out of business and quell any further testimony from him. I also have no doubt that they are waiting to see if they can get this as a precedent to use on any gun owner who merely crosses paths with any government agent at any level.

This is something I can not allow. I will continue to put myself in harm’s way however futile the effort may be, in an attempt to keep such a perverse and planned miscarriage of justice from befalling any other person. When facing this much evil it can not be done alone, and will require the help of many. I can only hope that many others can follow my lead. If not, then our Republic is lost.

All my best to you, and thanks again,

David R. Olofson

My previous email:


Below is an email to me from Larry Pratt of Gun Owners of America. In it, he gives a link to a fund to support the Olofsons in their time of great need. If you count yourself a patriot, you will send what you can as often as you can.

The Irish taught the British a lesson that we should remember: Just because the “power” jails an innocent man does not mean that they’ve won. Indeed, the unintended message they send by framing an innocent man is that there is no incentive for other innocent men to obey their decrees.

By doing what they did to David Olofson, the ATF (like the British to the Irish before them) has demonstrated that we are all guilty in their eyes not because of what we do, but who we are. We are all guilty, whether we are Irishmen or American gun owners, by virtue of who we are. And that is a dangerous message to send. One day we may conclude, like the Irish, that if the law does not protect the law-abiding, it doesn’t protect lawless officials either.

In the meantime, we should all support David Olofson, because in the ATF’s eyes, we are ALL David Olofson.

One more thing: in supporting David you will send a message to the ATF too — one that they will not like. And that alone is well worth the cash.


Thanks for your interest in the Olofson case. Following is a link to my column on the subject, and within the column is a link to take people to a page to sign up for monthly payments to be made for Olofson’s mortgage and car loan payments. It would be great if you would share this information with folks on your list.

Larry Pratt

>Roubini: Dead Stocks Rallying

>Professor Nouriel Roubini explains why folks should continue their preps:

The Coming Systemic Bust of the U.S. Banking System: “Dead Stocks Rallying”

This past week started with concerns about another systemic meltdown of the U.S. financial system as the insolvency of Fannie and Freddie was revealed and as IndyMac went bust (this third largest bank collapse in U.S. history). But the week ended with a remarkable rally of financial stocks as better than expected results from Wells Fargo, JP Morgan and Citi soothed the fears that major financial institutions were in even more distress than already predicted by market analysts.

Unfortunately, this massive rally of financial stocks in the latter part of the week is just another temporary bear market rally that will fizzle away once the onslaught of bad financial and macro news builds up again.

The views I presented in a recent blog that we will experience a severe financial and banking crisis received the support of many well respected commentators. Alan Abelson – at Barron’s – is one of the most senior and well known commentators on financial issues and on Wall Street. In his latest Barron’s column – aptly titled “Dead Stocks Rallying” he wrote:

WHY WE’RE STILL BEARISH WAS SPELLED out starkly in a dispatch we received last week from Nouriel Roubini. Nouriel is a professor of economics at NYU Stern School of Business (but don’t hold that against him) and runs an economic advisory firm called RGE Monitor that casts a knowing and clear eye on the global financial and economic scene. We think he’s top-notch (which means we agree with him, a lot of the time).

The nub of his argument is that we’re suffering the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, and he proceeds to give chilling chapter and verse. He predicts that hundreds of small banks loaded with real estate will go bust and dozens of large regional and national banks will also find themselves in deep do-do.

He reckons that, in a few years, there’ll be no major independent broker-dealers left: They’ll either pack it in or merge, victims of excessive leverage and a badly flawed and discredited business model.

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., after it gets through picking up the pieces of IndyMac, will sooner or later have to get a capital transfusion, Nouriel asserts, because its insurance premiums won’t cover the tab of rescuing all the troubled banks. He foresees credit losses ultimately reaching at least $1 trillion and anticipates a heap of woe for credit purveyors across the board.

The poor consumer, he contends, is shopped out and being hammered by falling home prices, falling equity prices, falling jobs and incomes, rising inflation. The recession he anticipates will last 12 to 18 months. And the rest of the world won’t escape: He looks for hard landings for 12 major economies. As for the stock market, he hazards that there’s plenty of room left on the downside. In fact, he feels the bear market won’t end until equities are down a full 40% from their peaks.

We must say this vision is a mite too apocalyptic even for us. But Nouriel is not a professional fear-monger out to make a splash with end-of-the-world prognostications He’s a sound guy with a solid record and an impressive résumé. We obviously believe his views are worth pondering, even if they ruin your appetite.

That was a very nice summary by Abelson of my views and a kind endorsement of them.

But how to square the views that a large fraction of the US financial system is in trouble with the apparently better than expected earnings results and lower than expected writedowns presented by financial institutions such as Wells Fargo, JP Morgan and Citi that led to the financials’ stocks most recent rally? There are many reasons why those earnings results are misleading and cosmetically retouched upward while the true financial conditions of the financial system are more dire than otherwise presented.

Let us discuss next in some detail the various reasons why financial conditions of financial firms and banks are much worse than those headline figures and why we the US will experience a systemic financial crisis…

  • First of all, in a week when only a massive and open ended bailout rescued Fannie and Freddie, when IndyMac went bust and when Merrill presented much worse than expected results it is very hard to be optimistic about the health of the US financial institutions. Reports in the next few days will reveal whether reality is closer to Fannie/Freddie/IndyMac/Merrill or rather closer to the Citi/JPMorgan/Wells Fargo outlook.
  • Most financial institutions are putting increasing numbers of assets in the illiquid buckets of Level 2 and Level 3 assets. While FASB 157 should prevent manipulation of the valuation of such illiquid assets, forbearance by the SEC, the Fed and other regulators allows a massive amount of fudging. An insider told me that in a major financial institution the approach is as follows now: top management decide in advance what the announced writedowns should be and folks dealing with the toxic/illiquid assets come up with totally ad hoc assumptions to make sure that such illiquid assets are valued consistently with the decided-in-advance amount of writedowns and losses. This is not earnings smoothing; this is active manipulation and falsification of financial results aimed at creating even more obfuscation of the true state of financial institutions. This obfuscation is actively abetted by the SEC, the Fed and all other regulators that are now in forbearance crisis management stage where the objective is to avoid at any cost anything that may trigger a financial meltdown. Thus, most of these earnings reports are not worth the paper they are written off.
  • This earnings manipulation occurs in a variety of ways. First, ad hoc assumptions still used to value and write down level 2 and level 3 assets. Second, banks are leaving aside less reserves for loan losses that are much less than necessary; they do that by using ad hoc assumptions about future losses on mortgages, credit cards, auto loans, student loans, home equity loans and other commercial real estate loans and industrial and commercial loans. Reserves for loan losses have been sharply lagging actual and expected losses, thus padding earnings as decided by the financial institutions’ managers. Third, there is disposal of illiquid and toxic assets in ways that misleadingly reduces the amount of actual writedowns. An example is as follows: suppose a bank wants to dump illiquid MBS or leveraged loans that are worth – mark to market – 70 cents on the dollar rather than 100 cents on the dollar. Then, instead of selling these at a price of 70 and showing a 30% writedown these are sold to hedge funds and other investors to a price closer to par – and thus showing in the balance sheet a smaller writedown – by providing a subsidy to the buyer of the security: so a hedge fund will buy such toxic securities at 80 or 90 cents and receive a loan to finance the transaction at an interest well below the borrowing costs for the funds. Thus, writedowns are then shown smaller than the true underlying loss on the asset and the bank finances that fudged transaction with earning less revenues than otherwise on its credit portfolio. This is an accounting scam- bordering on the criminal – that auditors and regulators are abetting on a regular basis.
  • The bailout plan of Fannie and Freddie implies a direct bailout of financial institutions and helps them to report better than expected earnings in two ways. First, since these financial institutions hold massive amounts of agency debt the government bailout of the holders of such unsecured debt props the market price of the agency debt (reduces its spread relative to Treasuries) and thus allows financial institutions and investors to report less mark to market losses on the values of such assets. Second, after the bust of subprime, near prime and prime mortgage markets the market for private label MBS is dead with absolutely no origination of new MBS. Thus, today – as senior mortgage market participant put it – Fannie and Freddie are “THE mortgage market” as the only institutions that securitize and guarantee mortgages are Fannie and Freddie. Without the government bailout plan that last channel for mortgage securitization and insurance would be frozen and the ability of banks to originate even prime and conforming mortgages would be serious hampered and its cost sharply increased. Thus, the Fannie and Freddie bailout is actually a bailout of the mortgage market and of every institution that holds agency debt or the MBS issued by the two GSES and of every institution that is in the mortgage origination business. On top of this Fannie and Freddie have also been used as tools of public policy in order to further grease the mortgage market and the banks originating mortgages: their portfolio limits were increased; their capital requirement reduced; and the limit for what a conforming loans – the only ones that Fannie and Freddie can securitize – increased from about $420K to over $720K.
  • The Fed has been actively beefing up the earnings and balance sheet of financial institutions in four major ways. First, a 325bps reduction in the Fed Funds rate sharply reduced the cost of borrowing for banks and allowed them to enjoy a nice intermediation margin (the difference between longer terms interest rates at which they lend and the much lower short term interest rates at which they borrow). This steepening of the yield curve is a major subsidy to financial institutions. Second, the Fed has created a range of new liquidity facilities – the TAF, the TSLF, the PDCF – that allow banks and now non-bank primary dealers to swap their illiquid toxic asset backed securities for liquid Treasuries and that provide access for non-banks – and now also Fannie and Freddie – to the Fed’s discount window liquidity. Third, the bailout of Bear Stearns creditors – JP Morgan and many other counterparties of Bear – not only avoided a systemic meltdown and a certain run on the other broker dealers but it has led the Fed to take on a significant credit risk by taking off the balance sheet of Bear Stearns over $29 billion of toxic securities. So the Fed has directly and indirectly systemically subsidized and propped up the financial system and the earnings of bank and non-bank financial institutions. Fourth, a variety of forbearance regulatory actions – starting with the waiver of Regulation W for some major banks – have been used to beef up the profits and earnings of financial institutions and reduce their reported writedowns.
  • The entire Federal Home Loan Bank system – another GSE system that is another effective arm of the government – has been used to prop hundreds of mortgage lenders. The insolvent Countrywide alone received more than $51 billion of funds from this semi-public system. This is a system that has increased its lending in the last 18 months by hundreds of billions of dollars: Citigroup, Bank of America and most other US mortgage lenders have also been beneficiaries of this public subsidy to the tune of dozens of billions of dollars each.
  • In 1990-91 at the height of that recession and banking crisis many major banks – in addition to 1000 plus S&L’s that went bust – were effectively insolvent, including, as it was well known at that time, Citibank. At that time the Fed and regulators used instruments similar to those used today – easy money and steepening of the intermediation yield curve, aggressive forbearance, creative – i.e. liar – accounting, etc. – to rescue these major financial institutions from formal bankruptcy. But at that time the housing bust and the ensuing decline in home prices was much smaller than today: during that recession home prices – as measured by the Case-Shiller/S&P index – fell less than 5% from their peak. This time around instead such an index has already fallen 18% from its peak and it will most likely fall by a cumulative 30% before it bottoms sometime in 2010. If a 5% fall in home prices was enough to make Citi effectively insolvent in 1991 what will a 30% fall in home prices – and massive defaults on many other forms of credit (commercial real estate loans, credit cards, auto loans, student loans, home equity loans, leveraged loans, muni bonds, industrial and commercial loans, corporate bonds, CDS) – do to these financial institutions? It challenges the credulity of even spin masters to argue that financial firms are not in worse shape today than they were in 1990-91 when a significant number of major banks were technically insolvent. So, not only hundreds of small banks and a significant fraction of regional banks but also some major money center banks will become effectively insolvent during this crisis.
  • In spite of the headline figures that showed better than expected earnings at some major financial institutions – Citi, JPM, Wells Fargo – the details were utterly ugly. For one thing, Merrill announced massive writedowns and losses that were much worse than expected. Second, even JPMorgan’s results details were worrisome: for example the recognition of a significant amount of rising losses on prime mortgages. In the case of Citi – a firm that has a presence in over 100 countries and whose revenues come, to a great extent, from foreign operations – there was a sharp increase in the losses on its consumer credit operations, including a large increase in delinquencies on credit cards both in the US and other markets (Brazil, Mexico). Thus, after having already shut down its money losing consumer credit operations in Japan, Citi is now experiencing a surge of delinquencies on unsecured consumer debt both at home and abroad. And the reserves set aside to take care of such expected loan losses are still woefully insufficient as they are based on very optimistic assumptions about the level at which such delinquencies will peak; this is another way to pad earnings and not recognize early on such losses. Systematic use of creative accounting is at work in all of these institutions and other banks and other financial institutions to hide the extent of the incoming losses on assets and loans.
  • With the excuse of wanting to crack down on “manipulators” the SEC has now imposed restrictions on short sales on the stocks of 19 major financial institutions including Fannie and Freddie. Let us be clear about this new rule: this is a clear and naked attempt by the SEC to manipulate upwards the price of equities of financial firms. The SEC should start investigation and legal action against itself for actively manipulating the stock market. And shame on the SEC for this most un-capitalist and manipulative action: when there is an upward bubble in stock prices and 95% of investors/speakers on CNBC are talking their books in that most public forum to manipulate upwards their portfolio the SEC does nothing and allows this charade to go on. But when short sellers are shorting the stocks of firms that are likely to be bust that is considered manipulation. That is a pretty pathetic action by the SEC that has artificially boosted the equity valuations of US financial firms – now up 20% plus in the last part of the past week after the introduction of this manipulative rule. And of course this manipulated increase in financials’ equity prices reduces the mark to market losses that banks and other financial firms holding such equities would have incurred, another additional way to pad upwards earnings.
  • The few and rare banks and mortgage/MBS analysts that were willing to provide a realistic assessment of the mortgage market and the financial conditions of US banks and brokers have been effectively muzzled by upper management. With the partial exception of Meredith Whitney who benefits from being at an independent research firm, many other analysts have gone into the spin mode that the Fed, the regulators and the senior management of these financial institutions have dictated to them. Sell-side research that was never independent – even after the additional Chinese walls that the corporate scandals of the early part of the decade led to – is even less independent today. So you have financial institutions manipulating at will their earnings and analysts falling for this supreme baloney.
  • The FDIC will for sure run out of money as hundreds of banks will go bust and their depositors will have to be made whole given deposit insurance. With funds of only $53 billion, already up to 15% of such funds will be used to rescue the depositors of IndyMac alone. Thus, the FDIC is already requesting to Congress that the deposit insurance premia should be raised to compensate for this shortfall of funding. Too bad that this increase in insurance premia – that should be high enough in advance (not ex-post) to ensure that deposit insurance is incentive-compatible and not leading to gambling for redemption via risky lending in banks – is now too little and too late and is requested when the damage is already done as the biggest credit bubble in U.S. history is now going bust. Also the FDIC has done a mediocre job at identifying which banks are at risk. So far there are only about 90 banks on its watch list; and IndyMac was not put on that list until last month! So if the FDIC did not even identify IndyMac as in trouble until it was too late, how many other IndyMacs are out there that that the FDIC has not identified yet? Certainly a few hundred but such honest analysis of banks at risk is nowhere to be found.
  • As I have argued in previous work all independent broker dealers are in deep trouble and may not survive – in a few years’ times – as independent firms. And some of them are already walking zombies. In a few years time there will be no major independent broker dealers as their business model (securitization, slice & dice and transfer of toxic credit risk and piling fees upon fees rather than earning income from holding credit risk) is bust and the risk of a bank-like run on their very short term liquid liabilities is a fundamental flaw in their structure. I.e. the four remaining U.S. big brokers dealers will either go bust or will have to be merged with traditional commercial banks. Indeed, firms that borrow liquid and short, highly leverage themselves and then lend in longer term and illiquid ways (i.e. most of the shadow banking system) cannot survive without formal deposit insurance and a formal permanent lender of last resort support from the central bank.
  • While a formal government bailout of most U.S. financial institutions has not occurred yet the U.S. government has avoided such bailout only by making sure that foreign government-owned institutions – the Sovereign Wealth Funds – did that job in lieu of the U.S. government. So instead of the U.S. government recapitalizing U.S. financial institutions we have seen foreign governments doing the job. Too bad that such SWFs have already lost 30% to 50% of their initial investments in such financial institutions. Thus, while U.S. financial firms will need hundreds of billions of additional capital injections to survive this crisis it is not obvious that foreign governments (SWFs) will not require conditions for such recapping (a percentage of equity that implies control, board membership, voting powers, common shares rather than preferred stock, etc.) that may not be politically acceptable in the U.S.

One could go on in more detail – as I have done in recent analyses – in discussing the severity of the current banking and financial crisis in the U.S. and how the official figures on earnings and balance sheets of financial institutions provide a misleading picture of the real financial state of such firms. As I argued before the $1 trillion of credit losses ($300-400 bn for mortgages and $600-700 bn for all the other non-mortgage credit) that I estimated last February are only a floor, not a ceiling, for such expected losses. Such losses are likely to end up being closer to my $2 trillion estimate. And such an estimate do not include the $200 to 300 billion that the rescue of Fannie and Freddie will entail. And such losses don’t even include scenarios where up to 50% of households who will end up underwater will walk away from their homes: that factor alone could entail mortgage losses of $1 trillion (average mortgage of $200k times the 50% loss that a foreclosure/walk away implies on that mortgage times 50% of the 21 million households that are underwater) rather than the $300-400 bn that I originally estimated.

So when you add it all up this will be the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression: not as severe as that episode but second only to it. And the real effects of this financial crisis will be severe and more severe if remedial policy action is not rapidly undertaken. Ditto for the US recession: this will be the worst of such U.S. recessions in decades.

A couple of additional media quotes – that elaborate on my views – to conclude. The New York Times had on Saturday a very nice analysis – by Peer Goodman – of the current US economic recession and financial crisis. As reported in this article:

More than two years ago, Nouriel Roubini, an economist at the Stern School of Business at New York University, said that the housing bubble would give way to a financial crisis and a recession. He was widely dismissed as an attention-seeking Chicken Little. Now, Mr. Roubini says the worst is yet to come, because the account-squaring has so far been confined mostly to bad mortgages, leaving other areas remaining — credit cards, auto loans, corporate and municipal debt.

Mr. Roubini says the cost of the financial system’s losses could reach $2 trillion. Even if it’s closer to $1 trillion, he adds, “we’re not even a third of the way there.”

Where will the banks raise the huge sums needed to replenish the capital they have apparently lost? And what will happen if they cannot?

The answers to these questions are unknown, an unsettling void that holds much of the economy at a standstill….

These losses are landing on top of what was, for most Americans, a remarkably weak period of expansion. From 1992 to 2000 — as the technology boom catalyzed spending and hiring — the economy added more than 22 million private sector jobs. Over the last eight years, only 5 million new jobs have been added.

The loss of work is hitting Americans along with an assortment of troubles — gasoline prices in excess of $4 a gallon, over all inflation of about 5 percent, and declining wages.

“In every dimension, people are worse off than they were,” said Mr. Roubini, the New York University economist.

See also a 10 minutes radio interview that I gave to RTT News where I discussed in more details my views on the risks of a systemic financial and banking crisis.

Monday update on banks’ accounting scams:

As reported by “Charlie” a commentator on my blog forum: “Wells Fargo instituted a policy on April 1st, 2008 where HELOCs [home equity loans] wouldn’t be written off until they were 180 days past due. Prior to this, they were written off at 120 days past due. If they hadn’t implemented this policy, their earnings would have been $265 million lower. Instead of beating estimates by 3 cents/share, they would have missed by 6 cents/share.”

Ergo: Since home equity loans are second lien and most of them will go bust – i.e. will be totally wiped out once large mortgage defaults will occur – expected losses on such home equity loans -that are in the hundreds of billions of dollars outstanding – are massive. Thus, banks have no shame to use any accounting gimmick to fudge and window dress their earnings results.

Tempus fugit.

>Quote of the Week

>From Billy Beck:

…The essential political conflict of our time is between collectivism and individualism. Very few people can see the thing in those truest terms, and this is why most individuals’ practical politics can’t be distinguished to precisely one or the other of those two sides: the nice lady who wants free meds doesn’t know “socialism” from a tuna sandwich, and the gun-toting farmer usually has only the dimmest concepts of “rights” or the implications of his stand on weapons. They don’t know the fullest context or implications of their politics. However, the power of principles does not diminish from ignorance.

Very roughly, the “sort” is taking place along the individualist/collectivist divide. It has all kinds of distortions (for instance: instinctive individualists joining pressure groups — e.g., NRA) compounded by cultural geography, etc., but I say that what you’re really seeing is the last stand of the American idea.

I’ve said it before: all politics in my country now is dress rehearsal for civil war.

Or: “Politics is war by other means.”

The socialists might eventually achieve the “unity” they want. It’s going to be right bloody hell — one way or another — in doing it.

Tempus fugit.

>Vanderboegh: The Four Fingers of Death

The Four Fingers of Death
by Mike Vanderboegh

(Another chapter from “Absolved”, an upcoming novella)

Screaming Eagles
Fort Campbell, KY: Nine Months and Two Days After the Battle of Sipsey Street

“Sir, I protest this requisition. If we fill this order, it amounts to a full fifteen percent of our existing stocks. It puts us below our own required minimums we may need in case of deployment.”

The Captain looked for hope in the bird colonel’s hatchet face.

There was none to be seen.

The Colonel was sympathetic but his hands were tied. He replied in a voice of flint, “Captain, this order originated in the E-Ring. The Corps Commander protested it and was overruled. I assure you that you have less stroke in this outfit than General Mackey. You understand why these people want our rations, don’t you?”

Of course O’Toole knew. Anybody who read the front page of any newspaper in the United States knew. The Feds and the Brightfire mercenaries carrying out Operation Clean Sweep had started turning up poisoned by their own rations. Thousands had sickened, hundreds had died. Some mess hall or supply chain perpetrators had been caught, but many had not. They no longer can trust their own food so they need ours, and they need it fast.

The Colonel snapped, “This order will be obeyed, regardless of our opinion of it. So shut up and soldier and get it done.”

A lesser man would have withered under the Colonel’s glare.

Captain O’Toole could just not bring himself to say “Yes, sir.”

The Colonel paused. He hated that they had been tasked with supporting Operation Clean Sweep too. The pained look on O’Toole’s face caused him to add, almost kindly, “Look, son, you don’t think that the present National Command Authority is going to deploy us overseas, do you? They promised the voters and the voters, God forgive them, gave them the power. The only military operations they’re interested in pursuing at the moment is against elements of our own people and the services won’t get involved in that, thank God. So if we have to give the Feds and the mercenaries some of our rations, understand that it could be a lot worse. We could be fighting our own people.”

The Captain mistook the Colonel’s softening voice for a weakened resolve and risked an insubordinate observation.

“Sir, it’s just that I hate supporting those murdering sons of bi-“

“Enough.” The command was iron. “Get it done, Captain.”

“Yes, sir.”

O’Toole retreated as fast as military decorum permitted. Exiting the G-4’s office, he walked outside, putting his cover back on as he strode across the street to the warehouses beyond. Tall, blond-haired and handsome but for the curving scar that ran from his cheek up through the right side of his nose (a souvenir of Operation Iraqi Freedom), O’Toole was every inch an officer. He was a mustang, not a Pointer, and he was damned proud of it. His rise, courtesy of the killing op tempo of the wars, had been just short of meteoric, but then no one begrudged him that. He was very competent at any task he was assigned and although unknown to O’Toole, the Colonel intended to try to get him a leaf and bring him along with him when he finally got his star.

The Captain entered the relative gloom of the warehouse and removed his beret, crushing it in his right hand with a killing grip. He walked to his office, shut the door behind him and flung the beret across the room in frustration. The cover struck the corner of the black frame of his favorite picture of the war, an image of O’Toole and his men outside Uday and Qusay Hussein’s death house, smoke still rising from the rubble. The force of the blow knocked the picture from the wall, and gravity took over, bouncing it off the bookcase below and then to the floor, where the glass shattered in a hundred pieces.

“Shit!” the Captain began and followed with 40 or 50 words and phrases, all of them profane, some of them scatalogical, and some worse than obscene.

He hardly repeated himself.

The Good Soldier Schweik

Master Sergeant Joshua Robinson watched him through the glass, smiling at some of the Captain’s more original combinations. He sure still swears like an enlisted man, Robinson thought with a grin.

Finally, O’Toole slumped in his chair, defeated, spent. After a few minutes, MSG Robinson entered.

The Captain ignored him.

“No luck, Sir?” the big black non-com ventured.

The Captain looked up. He was still so angry he did not trust his voice, so he just shook his head.

“Sir,” Robinson continued, “I think I have an idea. I’ve been on the phone to a buddy of mine at Bragg. They’ve got the same orders, and well, we talked about and I think maybe we can obey the order and still retain our honor.”

O’Toole, not daring to hope the Master Sergeant was right, asked “How’s that?”

“Sir, have you ever heard of ‘The Good Soldier Schweik’?”

O’Toole smiled broadly for the first time all day. “Yeah I have, first back when I was a smart-ass Specialist, and several times since. I’ve still got a copy of ‘The Fateful Adventures of the Good Soldier Švejk During the World War’ on my bookshelf at home. Too bad Jaroslav Hasek never got a chance to finish it. But what’s your point?

“Well, Cap’n, we’ve got an order here, and we’ve got to obey it. But that’s no reason we can’t obey it the way we want to, just like Schweik, is there?”

“Go on,” urged the Captain, still wondering where this was going.

“Well, you know how they’d give Schweik an order, like, ‘Take this important message to headquarters,’ and Schweik would run right over to HQ with the message but then not give it to anybody because they didn’t tell him to?”

“Yes,” said O’Toole carefully.

“Well Cap’n, they didn’t tell us what KIND of rations to send them did they? If you read the order again, you’ll see they don’t specify.”

O’Toole didn’t have to consult the text, he had it in his head. “That’s right. So?”

“Well, talking to ‘Willy’ Mayes over at Bragg, we started thinking about all the really crappy stuff that’s built up in the warehouses over the past few years. Stuff we never touched because we were either deployed, or we were on mess hall rations. Stuff troopers wouldn’t eat, or got returned from FTXs unopened. You know we never threw that crap away if it was still within its expiration date, we just tossed it in big palletized cardboard boxes.”

O’Toole nodded. He knew exactly the kind of rations Robinson meant.

“Well, what got me thinking was ‘Willy’ mentioned that they had a whole bunch of overage ‘Four Fingers of Death’ MREs that they’d never got around to throwing away and said it’d serve those bastards right if he sent ’em those. And that’s when I thought about Good Soldier Schweik.”

Master Sergeant Joshua Robinson paused.

“Sir, you know we’ve got some of those ‘Four Fingers of Death,’ too. And Chicken Fajitas. And Country Captain Chicken. . .”

“Oh, God!” O’Toole blurted. “That crap tore me up during the invasion. . .”

“Yeah,” agreed Robinson, “that stuff was almost as bad as ‘The Four Fingers of Death.’ And you know, sir, those feds and mercenaries, they’re not going to be used to eating MREs. The ones who don’t puke and shit themselves to death will be sealed up tighter than a drum for a month and you know what THAT’S like.”

Meals Refusing Excretion

O’Toole did.

MREs, “Meal, Ready to Eat,” variously known throughout their history as military rations as “”Mr. E” (mystery), “Meals Rejected by Everyone”, “Meals, Rarely Edible”, “Meals Rejected by the Enemy”, “Morsels, Regurgitated, Eviscerated”, “Materials Resembling Edibles”, and even “Meals Rejected by Ethiopians”, are high in fiber, chemicals, vitamins, hormones and God alone knows what else.

Some called them “Three Lies for the Price of One” – it’s not a Meal, it’s not Ready, and you can’t Eat it.

But the nickname Robinson was referring to was “Meals Refusing Excretion.”

And that O’Toole remembered well.

When you first eat MREs with regularity, your intestines are a mess. You will not be able to defecate for several days, sometimes weeks.

Then you hit the point where you are so bloated you don’t want to eat and you start to feel the contractions and think, “Oh, thank you, blessed Jesus!”

But then you run to the head and you are forced to give birth to a 15 pound iron rod. O’Toole’s anal sphincter twinged at the memory of it.

It was the kind of thing where you hold onto the seat for dear life, your legs fully extended and there’s this stabbing pain that convinces you your guts are being lanced open from the inside out. And you grip that seat even tighter, and the only thing that you can think about while you groan and grit your teeth and the sweat pours from you is that there was once upon a time when your ass did not hurt that much.

And you pray fervently, feverishly, for the return of that day.

Men had been shot by the enemy and later claimed it did not hurt as much as MRE constipation.

Oh, yes, O’Toole remembered. So did his gut.

“You know, Master Sergeant, if we rounded up all the toxic MREs and shipped them to the Feds, we might actually create an entire new front in the war.”

Robinson laughed. “Yes, sir, we would . . . the Shithouse Main Line of Resistance.”

Both men laughed hard enough to be heard on the street outside the open warehouse door.

Then they began planning how best to emulate The Good Soldier Schweik.

“We’ll need to swap boxes on them, sir,” Robinson reminded him.

“I’ll get the extra hands from the Colonel, and we’ll reband them, just like new. We’ll still meet the deadline.”

O’Toole paused. “You know when the Feds figure out what we did to them, they’ll just shit that fancy raid gear of theirs.”

Robinson looked at the Captain, shaking his head.

“No, they won’t.”

And both Screaming Eagles laughed until they cried.

Ten days later, outside of Idabel, Oklahoma

“Sir, the MREs are finally here,” said the ASAC’s aide.

The supervisory ATF agent sighed with relief, “Great! Finally food we don’t have to worry about. It’s about time. Fish me out one, Harkins, I’m hungry enough to eat a sick snake.”

The agent pulled a brown plastic envelope out of the box and brought it over to the ASAC, placing it on his desk in front of him.

The ASAC turned it around and looked at the label: “Meal, Ready to Eat, Smoky Franks and Beans.”

The ASAC snorted in disgust. He was a veteran, and he knew what “The Four Fingers of Death” was.

“Harkins,” he ordered, “get me another one, I ain’t eatin’ this shit.”

“Sir, they’re all the same in this box.”

“What! No, there’s supposed to be an assortment of meals in each case.”

“I know, sir, Special Agent Marx said the same thing, but we’ve opened all of the ones we received and they all have franks and beans in them. And Charms candy. They sent us extra packs of Charms candy in each box.”

The ASAC knew what Charms candy meant too. No self-respecting soldiers ate Charms. They were considered bad luck, evil juju, a death wish. They came in the old M.R.E.’s but nobody ate them.

Great, a death wish and digestive terror from our own Army.

“Well, shit and shove me in it,” said the ASAC.

“What does it mean, sir? Marx said something about the Charms being bad luck.”

“What it means, Harkins, is that our own Army just told us, ‘F-ck you.'”

“Well, shit,” Harkins blurted, then remembering it was his boss, stammered, “uh, sir.”

“Well, maybe,” said the ASAC, “but probably not. Not for a while anyway.”

And then, to no one in particular, “Those dirty stinking bastards. The Four Fingers of Death.”

His hunger overcame his disgust. He took out his Gerber, slit the plastic envelope, and removed the contents.

“Those dirty stinking bastards.”

>Holodomor: Food as a Government Weapon

>Thanks to the just-blogrolled Staying Alive blog comes this explanation of how seventy-five years ago, collectivists subdued a proud and defiant population:

…But when Lenin died in 1924, Joseph Stalin, one of the most ruthless humans ever to hold power, succeeded him. To Stalin, the burgeoning national revival movement and continuing loss of Soviet influence in Ukraine was completely unacceptable. To crush the people’s free spirit, he began to employ the same methods he had successfully used within the Soviet Union.

Thus, beginning in 1929, over 5,000 Ukrainian scholars, scientists, cultural and religious leaders were arrested after being falsely accused of plotting an armed revolt. Those arrested were either shot without a trial or deported to prison camps in remote areas of Russia.

Stalin also imposed the Soviet system of land management known as collectivization. This resulted in the seizure of all privately owned farmlands and livestock, in a country where 80 percent of the people were traditional village farmers. Among those farmers, was a class of people called Kulaks by the Communists. They were formerly wealthy farmers that had owned 24 or more acres, or had employed farm workers. Stalin believed any future insurrection would be led by the Kulaks – thus he proclaimed a policy aimed at “liquidating the Kulaks as a class.”

Declared “enemies of the people,” the Kulaks were left homeless and without a single possession as everything were taken from them, even their pots and pans. It was also forbidden by law for anyone to aid dispossessed Kulak families. Some researchers estimate that ten million persons were thrown out of their homes, put on railroad box cars and deported to “special settlements” in the wilderness of Siberia during this era, with up to a third of them perishing amid the frigid living conditions. Men and older boys, along with childless women and unmarried girls, also became slave-workers in Soviet-run mines and big industrial projects.

Back in Ukraine, once-proud village farmers were by now reduced to the level of rural factory workers on large collective farms. Anyone refusing to participate in the compulsory collectivization system was simply denounced as a Kulak and deported.

A propaganda campaign was started utilizing eager young Communist activists who spread out among the country folk attempting to shore up the people’s support for the Soviet regime. However, their attempts failed. Despite the propaganda, ongoing coercion and threats, the people continued to resist through acts of rebellion and outright sabotage. They burned their own homes rather than surrender them. They took back their property, tools and farm animals from the collectives, harassed and even assassinated local Soviet authorities. This ultimately put them in direct conflict with the power and authority of Joseph Stalin.

Soviet troops and secret police were rushed in to put down the rebellion.They confronted rowdy farmers by firing warning shots above the their heads.In some cases, however, they fired directly at the people. Stalin’s secret police (GPU, predecessor of the KGB) also went to work waging a campaign of terror designed to break the people’s will. GPU squads systematically attacked and killed uncooperative farmers.

But the resistance continued. The people simply refused to become cogs in the Soviet farm machine and remained stubbornly determined to return to their pre-Soviet farming lifestyle. Some refused to work at all, leaving the wheat and oats to rot in unharvested fields. Once again, they were placing themselves in conflict with Stalin.

In Moscow, Stalin responded to their unyielding defiance by dictating a policy that would deliberately cause mass starvation and result in the deaths of millions.

By mid 1932, nearly 75 percent of the farms in Ukraine had been forcibly collectivized. On Stalin’s orders, mandatory quotas of foodstuffs to be shipped out to the Soviet Union were drastically increased in August, October and again in January 1933, until there was simply no food remaining to feed the people of the Ukraine.

Much of the hugely abundant wheat crop harvested by the Ukrainians that year was dumped on the foreign market to generate cash to aid Stalin’s Five Year Plan for the modernization of the Soviet Union and also to help finance his massive military buildup. If the wheat had remained in Ukraine, it was estimated to have been enough to feed all of the people there for up to two years.

Ukrainian Communists urgently appealed to Moscow for a reduction in the grain quotas and also asked for emergency food aid. Stalin responded by denouncing them and rushed in over 100,000 fiercely loyal Russian soldiers to purge the Ukrainian Communist Party. The Soviets then sealed off the borders of Ukraine, preventing any food from entering, in effect turning the country into a gigantic concentration camp. Soviet police troops inside Ukraine also went house to house seizing any stored up food, leaving farm families without a morsel. All food was considered to be the “sacred” property of the State. Anyone caught stealing State property, even an ear of corn or stubble of wheat, could be shot or imprisoned for not less than ten years.

Starvation quickly ensued throughout Ukraine, with the most vulnerable, children and the elderly, first feeling the effects of malnutrition. The once-smiling young faces of children vanished forever amid the constant pain of hunger. It gnawed away at their bellies, which became grossly swollen, while their arms and legs became like sticks as they slowly starved to death.

Mothers in the countryside sometimes tossed their emaciated children onto passing railroad cars traveling toward cities such as Kiev in the hope someone there would take pity. But in the cities, children and adults who had already flocked there from the countryside were dropping dead in the streets, with their bodies carted away in horse-drawn wagons to be dumped in mass graves. Occasionally, people lying on the sidewalk who were thought to be dead, but were actually still alive, were also carted away and buried.

While police and Communist Party officials remained quite well fed, desperate Ukrainians ate leaves off bushes and trees, while others killed dogs, cats, frogs, mice and birds then cooked them. Others, gone mad with hunger, resorted to cannibalism, with parents sometimes even eating their own children.

Meanwhile, nearby Soviet-controlled granaries were said to be bursting at the seams from huge stocks of ‘reserve’ grain, which had not yet been shipped out of Ukraine. In some locations, grain and potatoes were piled in the open, protected by barbed wire and armed GPU guards who shot down anyone attempting to take the food. Farm animals, considered necessary for production, were allowed to be fed, while the people living among them had absolutely nothing to eat.

By the spring of 1933, the height of the famine, an estimated 25,000 persons died every day in Ukraine. Entire villages were perishing. In Europe, America and Canada, persons of Ukrainian descent and others responded to news reports of the famine by sending in food supplies. But Soviet authorities halted all food shipments at the border. It was the official policy of the Soviet Union to deny the existence of a famine and thus to refuse any outside assistance. Anyone claiming that there was in fact a famine was accused of spreading anti-Soviet propaganda. Inside the Soviet Union, a person could be arrested for even using the word ‘famine’ or ‘hunger’ or ‘starvation’ in a sentence.

The Soviets bolstered their famine denial by duping members of the foreign press and international celebrities through carefully staged photo opportunities in the Soviet Union and the Ukraine. The writer George Bernard Shaw, along with a group of British socialites, visited the Soviet Union and came away with a favorable impression, which he disseminated, to the world.

Former French Premier Edouard Herriot was given a five-day stage-managed tour of Ukraine, viewing spruced-up streets in Kiev and inspecting a ‘model’
collective farm. He also came away with a favorable impression and even declared there was indeed no famine.

Back in Moscow, six British engineers working in the Soviet Union were arrested and charged with sabotage, espionage and bribery, and threatened with the death penalty. The sensational show trial that followed was actually a cynical ruse to deflect the attention of foreign journalists from the famine. Journalists were warned they would be shut out of the trial completely if they wrote news stories about the famine. Most of the foreign press corps yielded to the Soviet demand and either didn’t cover the famine or wrote stories sympathetic to the official Soviet propaganda line that it didn’t exist. Among those was Pulitzer Prize winning reporter Walter Duranty of the New York Times who sent one dispatch stating “…all talk of famine now is ridiculous.”

Outside the Soviet Union, governments of the West adopted a passive attitude toward the famine, although most of them had become aware of the true suffering in Ukraine through confidential diplomatic channels. In November 1933, the United States, under its new president, Franklin D. Roosevelt, even chose to formally recognized Stalin’s Communist government and also negotiated a sweeping new trade agreement. The following year, the pattern of denial in the West culminated with the admission of the Soviet Union into the League of Nations.

Stalin’s Five Year Plan for the modernization of the Soviet Union depended largely on the purchase of massive amounts of manufactured goods and technology from Western nations. Those nations were unwilling to disrupt lucrative trade agreements with the Soviet Union in order to pursue the matter of the famine-genocide.

By the end of 1933, nearly 25 percent of the population of the Ukraine, including three million children, had perished. The Kulaks as a class were destroyed and an entire nation of village farmers had been decimated. With his immediate objectives now achieved, Stalin allowed food distribution to resume inside Ukraine and the famine subsided. However, political persecutions and further round-ups of ‘enemies’ continued unchecked in the years following the famine, interrupted only in June 1941 when Nazi troops stormed into the country.

Hitler’s troops, like all previous invaders, arrived in the Ukraine to rob the breadbasket of Europe and simply replaced one reign of terror with another…

More resources on the Holodomor here.

Relevance, you ask?

Let’s move ahead a few years, to 2011 or so:

The former United States of America has been torn by conflict since
President Obama’s bankrupting “American Security” social programs, passed during his first 100 days as President, caused the US dollar to be abandoned as the world’s reserve currency.

Much of the former American Southwest border area is a United Nations “protected zone”, enforced by Chinese Communist troops invited there by the Mexican Government to prevent “genocidal attacks by American racists”.

FEMA is now the country’s most powerful domestic agency as it attempts (and fails) to relieve the suffering which continues along the Baltimore-Philadelphia corridor in the radioactive aftermath of the so-called “terrorist nuke” detonations in Baltimore on 4/19/09.

Global oil prices continue to hover near $350/barrel as salvage efforts removing the remnants of an American naval task force enter their third year in the Straits of Hormuz.

Official unemployment figures approach 20%, and it is widely understood that actual unemployment is closer to 35% when so-called “discouraged workers” are counted.

Fuel is heavily rationed by FEMA, whose mission includes transportation and delivery of food across the now nearly-abandoned Interstate highway system.

Many of America’s cities are charnel houses, essentially cordoned off from the rest of the country due to plague, rampant gang activity, and the inability of the Federal government to do anything about the terrible conditions there.

The Western Rebellion continues, with an area roughly from Reno north to Snoqualmie Pass in Washington, then east to Miles City, Montana and south to Wheatland, Wyoming considered a “no-go” area for anyone from the Federal Government. The Feds conduct extensive UAV-based surveillance of the area and occasional air attacks, but for the moment, the war seems to be on hold.

In the East, the entire spine of the Appalachians from Alabama to central New York State is filled with rebels who routinely attack Federal convoys as they move along the Interstate 81 corridor.

Any questions that the New Collectivists would hesitate a single nanosecond to use food as a weapon to subdue and then exterminate American patriots?

Any doubt that the New Collectivists will have media collaborators such as Stalin did in the form of Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times reporter Walter Duranty, about whom the Times admits:

… Describing the Communist plan to “liquidate” the five million kulaks, relatively well-off farmers opposed to the Soviet collectivization of agriculture, Duranty wrote in 1931, for example: “Must all of them and their families be physically abolished? Of course not – they must be ‘liquidated’ or melted in the hot fire of exile and labor into the proletarian mass.”

Taking Soviet propaganda at face value this way was completely misleading, as talking with ordinary Russians might have revealed even at the time. Duranty’s prize-winning articles quoted not a single one – only Stalin, who forced farmers all over the Soviet Union into collective farms and sent those who resisted to concentration camps. Collectivization was the main cause of a famine that killed millions of people in Ukraine, the Soviet breadbasket, in 1932 and 1933 – two years after Duranty won his prize.

Even then, Duranty dismissed more diligent writers’ reports that people were starving. “Conditions are bad, but there is no famine,” he wrote in a dispatch from Moscow in March of 1933 describing the “mess” of collectivization. “But – to put it brutally – you can’t make an omelet without breaking eggs.”

Some of Duranty’s editors criticized his reporting as tendentious, but The Times kept him as a correspondent until 1941. Since the 1980’s, the paper has been publicly acknowledging his failures. Ukrainian-American and other organizations have repeatedly called on the Pulitzer Prize Board to cancel Duranty’s prize and The Times to return it, mainly on the ground of his later failure to report the famine.

The Pulitzer board has twice declined to withdraw the award, most recently in November 2003, finding “no clear and convincing evidence of deliberate deception” in the 1931 reporting that won the prize (see Pulitzer Board statement), and The Times does not have the award in its possession.

Any doubt that today’s statists are capable of such horror and deceit?

Thought not.

If you’re not thinking about growing and preserving food as an essential component of your freedom strategy, you and your family are going to be mighty hungry.

Ask the Ukrainians.

Tempus fugit.

>Green Eyes & Black Rifles

>Order this book as a full-spectrum guide to practical skill development with the AR/M16/M4 platform.

Combine it with this field manual and these two videos.

Add one of these AR15 .22LR conversion kits and two of these full-size .22LR mags.

Finally, take one case of acceptable for practice 5.56×45 and 1000 rounds of Winchester whitebox .22LR to the range.

Work on deliberate aimed fire at full distance (out to 300 yards or further), as well as reactive practical shooting at “city block and under” distances.

You’ll be glad you did.

Tempus fugit.

>Further Storm Warnings

From Seeking Alpha:

I believe we have begun the monetary crisis that will end the dollar standard that has governed world trade since World War II.

I can promise you, the same way I promised readers that GM , Freddie Mac, and Fannie Mae were “zeros” – the U.S. dollar’s strength will continue to fade.

Slowly, bit by bit, Americans will realize this. Our foreign creditors will realize it, too. The result will be a flight from the U.S. dollar into other assets – at any price. Please set up your affairs now, so you can profit from the coming panic, not be a victim of it.

Writing the most recent issue of my investment advisory – my third strong endorsement of precious metals in as many years – I can’t help but feel like Chicken Little. Are things really this bad?

Well, let me ask you which do you think is more likely?

Scenario one: The U.S. government recognizes its severe financial mismanagement. It allows Fannie and Freddie to collapse completely and does not assume their liabilities. Mortgage investors take huge losses. Mortgage rates soar to more than 10%. Housing prices fall 75% – which makes housing affordable for millions of Americans previously priced out of the market.

In the meantime, the government cuts spending by 30% and reduces taxes radically to encourage economic growth (which, ironically, increases tax receipts, leading to a balanced budget). It restructures Social Security, moving the age of retirement to 75. And most importantly, the government gets out of health care completely, renouncing all of its Medicare obligations. Hospitals and doctors immediately drop their fees to meet the affordability requirements of a free market.

Scenario two: The U.S. government refuses to take responsibility for causing a bubble in mortgage finance. Rather than allow the bubble to deflate quickly, it bails out Fannie and Freddie. Mortgage losses build for five years, reaching more than $1 trillion. Housing prices stabilize in good neighborhoods, but risk-averse lending practices result in ghetto-like conditions and widespread vacancy across broad swaths of America.

Refusing to substantially raise taxes, annual deficits surpass $1 trillion in 2010. Total government debt begins to spiral out of control as our interest costs mount. Our foreign creditors lose confidence in the dollar and begin dumping it on the world market. Inflation surpasses 20% annually and prices for energy soar. Oil reaches $250 per barrel. The president alleges an international conspiracy to destroy America and threatens to attack China if it continues to sell the dollar. Price controls are instituted.

No paper currency regime has ever lasted. No government in history has ever repaid debts as large as those already assumed by our government (in terms of GDP). A default is not likely – it is inevitable…

In support of that “inevitable” hypothesis, please read this speech from Richard W. Fisher, President and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, delivered to the Commonwealth Club of California on May 28, 2008:

…Tonight, I want to talk about a different matter. In keeping with Bill Martin’s advice, I have been scanning the horizon for danger signals even as we continue working to recover from the recent turmoil. In the distance, I see a frightful storm brewing in the form of untethered government debt. I choose the words—“frightful storm”—deliberately to avoid hyperbole. Unless we take steps to deal with it, the long-term fiscal situation of the federal government will be unimaginably more devastating to our economic prosperity than the subprime debacle and the recent debauching of credit markets that we are now working so hard to correct…

…The good news is this Social Security shortfall might be manageable. While the issues regarding Social Security reform are complex, it is at least possible to imagine how Congress might find, within a $14 trillion economy, ways to wrestle with a $13 trillion unfunded liability. The bad news is that Social Security is the lesser of our entitlement worries. It is but the tip of the unfunded liability iceberg. The much bigger concern is Medicare, a program established in 1965…

Please sit tight while I walk you through the math of Medicare. As you may know, the program comes in three parts: Medicare Part A, which covers hospital stays; Medicare B, which covers doctor visits; and Medicare D, the drug benefit that went into effect just 29 months ago. The infinite-horizon present discounted value of the unfunded liability for Medicare A is $34.4 trillion. The unfunded liability of Medicare B is an additional $34 trillion. The shortfall for Medicare D adds another $17.2 trillion.

The total?

If you wanted to cover the unfunded liability of all three programs today, you would be stuck with an $85.6 trillion bill. That is more than six times as large as the bill for Social Security. It is more than six times the annual output of the entire U.S. economy.

Why is the Medicare figure so large? There is a mix of reasons, really. In part, it is due to the same birthrate and life-expectancy issues that affect Social Security. In part, it is due to ever-costlier advances in medical technology and the willingness of Medicare to pay for them. And in part, it is due to expanded benefits—the new drug benefit program’s unfunded liability is by itself one-third greater than all of Social Security’s.

Add together the unfunded liabilities from Medicare and Social Security, and it comes to $99.2 trillion over the infinite horizon. Traditional Medicare composes about 69 percent, the new drug benefit roughly 17 percent and Social Security the remaining 14 percent.

I want to remind you that I am only talking about the unfunded portions of Social Security and Medicare. It is what the current payment scheme of Social Security payroll taxes, Medicare payroll taxes, membership fees for Medicare B, copays, deductibles and all other revenue currently channeled to our entitlement system will not cover under current rules. These existing revenue streams must remain in place in perpetuity to handle the “funded” entitlement liabilities.

Reduce or eliminate this income and the unfunded liability grows.

Increase benefits and the liability grows as well.

Let’s say you and I and Bruce Ericson and every U.S. citizen who is alive today decided to fully address this unfunded liability through lump-sum payments from our own pocketbooks, so that all of us and all future generations could be secure in the knowledge that we and they would receive promised benefits in perpetuity.

How much would we have to pay if we split the tab?

Again, the math is painful.

With a total population of 304 million, from infants to the elderly, the per-person payment to the federal treasury would come to $330,000. This comes to $1.3 million per family of four—over 25 times the average household’s income.

Clearly, once-and-for-all contributions would be an unbearable burden. Alternatively, we could address the entitlement shortfall through policy changes that would affect ourselves and future generations. For example, a permanent 68 percent increase in federal income tax revenue—from individual and corporate taxpayers—would suffice to fully fund our entitlement programs. Or we could instead divert 68 percent of current income-tax revenues from their intended uses to the entitlement system, which would accomplish the same thing.

Suppose we decided to tackle the issue solely on the spending side. It turns out that total discretionary spending in the federal budget, if maintained at its current share of GDP in perpetuity, is 3 percent larger than the entitlement shortfall. So all we would have to do to fully fund our nation’s entitlement programs would be to cut discretionary spending by 97 percent. But hold on. That discretionary spending includes defense and national security, education, the environment and many other areas, not just those controversial earmarks that make the evening news. All of them would have to be cut — almost eliminated, really — to tackle this problem through discretionary spending.

I hope that gives you some idea of just how large the problem is. And just to drive an important point home, these spending cuts or tax increases would need to be made immediately and maintained in perpetuity to solve the entitlement deficit problem. Discretionary spending would have to be reduced by 97 percent not only for our generation, but for our children and their children and every generation of children to come. And similarly on the taxation side, income tax revenue would have to rise 68 percent and remain that high forever. Remember, though, I said tax revenue, not tax rates.

Who knows how much individual and corporate tax rates would have to change to increase revenue by 68 percent?

Why don’t we close with this little palate-cleansing editorial from the current edition of The Economist and its key grafs:

…With the credit crunch, Fannie and Freddie have become more important than ever, financing some 80% of mortgages in January. So they will need to keep lending. Nor is there scope to offload their portfolios of mortgage-backed securities, given that there are scarcely any buyers of such debt. And if the Fed has to worry about safeguarding Fannie and Freddie, can it afford to raise interest rates to combat inflation? American monetary policy may be constrained.

The GSEs are not the only liability for the government. IndyMac’s recent collapse is the latest call on the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). The FDIC has some $53 billion of assets, so it is better funded than most deposit-insurance schemes. But if enough banks got into trouble, the government would be on the hook for any shortfall. The same is true of the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, which insures private sector benefits, but is already $14 billion in deficit.

In the end, the turtle at the bottom of the pile is the American taxpayer. But that suggests that, if Americans are losing money on their houses, pensions or bank accounts, the right answer is to tax them to pay for it. Perhaps it is no surprise that traders in the credit-default swaps market have recently made bets on the unthinkable: that America may default on its debt.
Read each piece and pass them on.

Then get back to work.


Tempus fugit.

>A Word from Colonel Cooper

From Jeff Cooper’s Commentaries for October, 1997:

Considering the fact that, according to our Founding Fathers, all able bodied adult males are members of the militia, all able bodied adult males should be technically qualified with the personal arms selected by our Department of Defense. By this I mean that everyone who is physically capable of it should be checked out on the M16 as to its mechanism, operation, and use. I am no admirer of the M16, but there it is and we are stuck with it. The fact that it has the fully automatic option might serve to terrify those people who do not understand weaponry, but if that is the US rifle, the US citizen should certainly know how to operate it.

Also, in my view, everyone should know how to operate the slovenly AK47, not because it is good, but because there are so many examples floating around the world. If, God forbid!, the sewage actually does hit the impeller, you better know how to work an AK47, because that may be all you can get hold of. When a citizen applies for a concealed carry permit, these things might well be considered.

More here.

Enjoy your weekend.

>Living in an Imperial World: The Mask Drops


Mike Vanderboegh and another patriot send four articles describing “what” is happening and “who” are benefiting in the current economic chaos.

The “when” is now.

The “where” is global.

The “why”?

Greed, envy, lust (for power, at the very least), pride….the usual suspects.

Take the time to read each article, please.

The Culprits Behind Credit, Inflation Risks

Cost of Cronyism

America, Too Big to Fail . . . Probably

Nationalization, Fiasco, US Dollar, & Gold

In reading these articles, reflect on Mike’s comment in sending the first three articles:

Corporate socialism is still socialism.

An important question for each reader, given the current situation:

What will you do if there is an “indefinite” bank holiday in the next 90 days?

Best be planning and doing.

Tempus fugit.