Monthly Archives: August 2008

>Joy in Dark Times

>
Oleg once again captures a thought perfectly, as does Jenny S. in her essay, reminding us of the essential and eternal, even as the Endarkenment continues:

***
…Personally though, I still think the spark that turns arguing into killing is going to be arms confiscation – a “Concord Green” all over again.

When gun rights activists say “Molon Labe” (or the somewhat older “Cold Dead Hands” speech) – they mean it. That’s a fact I think a goodly portion of those in Washington simply doesn’t truly believe. Nor do they appreciate how truly prolific fighting rifles have become amongst the citizenry. AR-15 pattern rifles aren’t the province of a few toothless homeschoolers on compounds here and there across flyover country – ownership grew increasingly common through (and since) the 90’s, and these days you’d be hard pressed to find a recreational range without at least a couple of ’em in use at any given time. Cheaper imports of foreign (mostly old Warsaw Pact) patterns are even more common.

Let me put that in more simple terms – most of those are just people having fun. Hobbyists. But at the same time… hundreds of thousands of people every year in this country are to a greater or lesser degree subconsciously preparing for war.

That’s not a good sign.

Nor is it something easily stopped – trying to stop it through force will only serve to spur it on – Concord Green is a lasting testament to that.

So here we are.

At least two fundamentally different views of what our country is and should become exist in our culture, and as they both grasp for the federal reins they become increasingly incompatible.

So.. that’s why I to this day think we’re on a dreadful road, that will lead us to some mighty dark places in the coming decades.

And yet, I remember discussing this very thing with the daughter of a friend once upon a time. “Gosh, you’re depressing Jenny” she said…. but later “so why are you always so happy?”

The answer to that one’s based in something deeper I think, and is the core of what I meant to write about before getting all distracted with exposition.

Sic Transit Gloria Mundi goes the saying… “so passes the glory of the world.”

Nothing human is forever – not our bodies, not our families, not our homes, not our times, not our neighborhoods, and not our nation. It took losing my brother to finally learn that lesson… that to place one’s happiness and peace in the mortal realm alone is to court disappointment and sorrow – the best we can thus hope for is to die before all we love decays, dies, or changes unrecognizably before our eyes.

I do hope that my nation survives the coming fires, and maybe even learn anew the purpose of many our forgotten traditions. Perhaps even rise again better than before. I’d like to see that – an American Renaissance would indeed be a delight for us and a great beacon to the world at large.

But if that’s not to be, and the light goes out again for a time – well…
***

Read the rest of her essay here.

And remember to treasure all that surrounds each of us in our daily lives.

Tempus fugit.

>A Terrible Irony

>Nothing said here should be taken as criticism of either CCRKBA or the folks in Illinois valiantly fighting to reclaim their state from the Chicago political/criminal machine (see, e.g., the latest outrage by Blago, Daley, et al., including the peaceably-named “einsatzgruppen”…uh, make that “special action groups”…uh, sorry, “elite tactical teams”).

Anybody who can make this meeting should do so.

But click on the screenshot above and look at the second line of the notice:

Don’t be armed in any way — flashlights, knives, etc.

Heckuva of a commentary on the state of American freedom and the RKBA in this post-Heller environment, wouldn’t you say?

At a public meeting to support a resolution backing the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution in the fifth most populous state in the Union, attendees must fully disarm themselves, even to the point of removing their flashlights, before the government will allow them to enter the meeting area.

Think about that, good and long and hard.

Is it any wonder why our governmental masters and their bullyboys at the local, state, and Federal levels sincerely believe that they can do whatever they wish without any fear of a peasant uprising?

Do you blame the overlords and their thugs for that belief?

Tempus fugit.

>Deserve’s Got Nothing to Do With It

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Via The Smallest Minority, another tale of Federal overreach:

***
Lynn Moses will be locked up in federal prison next Wednesday.

His crime?

Protecting the city of Driggs, Idaho from flooding…

At this point, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), emboldened by newly granted bureaucratic authority, jumped in and went right after Mr. Moses, indicting and prosecuting him for violating the Clean Water Act in the years 2002, 2003 and 2004 for doing nothing more than the routine maintenance on the channel he had been doing for 20 years, under requirements imposed by local government…
***

Read the whole thing and pass it on, please.

Remember, folks – we taught our public servants that behavior such as this travesty is permissible.

We, the People, acquiesced in the building of our own cages.

Hope and Change, anyone?

Tempus fugit.

>Reynolds on the Efficacy of Political Violence

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Instapundit today cited this WSJ Opinion Page item about another media cave-in based on “…cautionary advice not only that the publication of this book might be offensive to some in the Muslim community, but also that it could incite acts of violence by a small, radical segment.”

Professor Reynolds observed:

Will other religious groups take the lesson that violence works? Because, in a world of the spineless, it does, and at very low cost.

Thanks, guys, for establishing this incentive structure.

As I read that comment, it struck me that the modern Western world’s political and corporate institutions are more afraid of and submissive to a tiny group of murderous adherents of a seventh-century pedophile than they are of the combined power of the West’s free men and women.

Responsibility for this pathetic state of affairs lies in part with Mohammed’s more enthusiastic supporters, who have correctly diagnosed and continue to ruthlessly exploit the Western elites’ elemental cowardice.

Accountable, too, are the Western elites themselves, who, having abandoned any concept of either the secular or the spiritual Eternal, are interested solely in today and being viewed by their peers as properly progressive.

But primary culpability must ultimately lie with each ostensibly-free Western woman and man – this author included. Each of us is responsible for the actions of those we send to represent us, and our failure to remove our agents whenever they violate their representative mandate leaves the problem squarely with us. Instead of replacing cowardly leaders and cultural Quislings with this generation’s Churchills and Jacksons, most in the West simply click the remote control, grab another handful of greasy snacks, and dream by the glow of their flatscreen TV of tomorrow’s visit to the mall.

We are truly our own worst enemies.

Hajii has taught the West well that to achieve an ever-widening cultural collapse, all that is necessary is the graphic murder of a few thousand innocents, buttressed with a very few graphic videos of butchery and a drumbeat of murderous threats.

Simply put, hajii knows that violence – the nastier, the better – works to influence political behavior, for better or worse.

And the more cowardly one’s opponents, the more effective is targeted, intense violence – thereby reducing the need for large doses of the tactic against irresolute foes.

Hajii has proven those hypotheses over the past several years vis a vis the Western media and governments, including our own.

Relevance?

As I write this piece, I suspect analysts in law enforcement “fusion centers” across the country are tracking the recent Internet brouhaha over Mike Vanderboegh’s writing. Those analysts are trying, if they are competent in their jobs, to create an estimate for their bureaucratic masters as to the actual resistance probability and capability of America’s gun owners.

The governmental mandarins that employ those “intel pukes” know full well the lesson that hajii has learned since 9/11 – violence works, especially when used against soft, scared targets.

After all, they have employed it repeatedly themselves – “demonstrations”, if you will, of what could happen on a much wider scale if folks get too uppity.

It’s not clear at all whether or not the LEO crowd, their political masters, and the hordes of supporting bureaucrats can even conceive that they too might be at the receiving end of a similar “demonstration” by free men and women against future outbreaks of governmental bad behavior.

The Brady Bunch thinks discussion of such an eventuality is outrageous:

***
…In the wake of the Vanderboegh letter, to one degree or another, armed revolt has been treated as a legitimate policy answer to popular gun control measures by one blogger after another in the gun community (emphasis in original)- rather than denounced as immoral or as street-corner gibberish uttered by one who wears a tinfoil hat…
***

Since 2001, The Prophet’s frothing followers have proven that the West’s politicians, media moguls, and institutions are gutless and weak – save for the US military, which of course is controlled by the civilian government’s cultural incontinents.

The essential question then – for the analysts, their masters, and ourselves – is whether or not the Second Amendment community is, in Professor Reynolds’ words, “the world of the spineless.”

If we are, then a few sharp shocks directed against a few high-profile RKBA activists should be all it takes to cow America’s gun-owning Walter Mittys into submission.

On the other hand, if there are even 3% of Mike Vanderboegh’s supposedly-mythical “Three Percenters” with the commitment of hajii – then we can expect some very harsh lessons for the spineless statist utopians as they attempt to deliver hoped-for change and reasonable new gun control laws, inspired by the majority’s words in Heller.

We’re on a short path to an answer to that question.

Tempus fugit.

III

>Shoot (Video of) The SOBs

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Along the same line of our recent piece here as to why today’s freedom fighters need to carry modern video cameras, The Agitator has follow-up annotated video regarding the NYPD’s recent thuggery upon bicyclist-rights demonstrators.

Watch the whole thing, and think about how such a piece could be assembled to capture and publicize any form of egregious government action.

Remember too that the only reason American gun owners know about Patricia Kone and the post-Katrina gun confiscations in New Orleans is because the NOLA PD’s media suppression efforts were not fully effective.

Citizen-shot footage trumps both government and mainstream media censorship.

The title video above, another perspective on an NYPD assault on another bicyclist, drives home the point, courtesy of YouTube.

Our final entrant today is this story from the WaPo about a New Yorker operating under the nom de video “Jimmy Justice”. Jimmy’s thing is to make and post videos of NYC traffic enforcement agents doing exactly the kind of thing for which they ticket “civilians”.

One quote and one pic says it all.

The quote, from the WaPo article:

***
However, the police union cautions that videos do not always give the entire picture, and officers worry about a flood of citizen videos by people who might not understand that police work is sometimes a messy business.

“The use of force sometimes looks violent,” said Patrick Lynch, president of the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association. “Pieces of video don’t tell the whole story.” With the police commissioner openly asking for citizen videos, Lynch said, “he’s going to have to be very careful not to bow to public pressure and not bow to emotion.”
***

The pic:

Jimmy Justice’s videos can be found on YouTube here, and freedom fighters everywhere should take his advice to heart, as quoted in the WaPo article:

***
…Jimmy Justice — a pseudonym he chose because it echoes “Give me justice” — believes all residents of New York should be digitally armed and ready for action.

“I think everyone should get a video camera,” he said. “Or, if you have to get a new cellphone, get one with a video function.” And when people get video of cops behaving badly, he said, “send it in to your local authorities. Or post it on YouTube or other video-sharing sites.”
***

Sic semper tyrannis.

>Seen on the Street

>Courtesy of Freedom Has A New Flag, both a great image and an even better medium for propaganda.

Anyone working on a stencil for III ?

Tempus fugit.

>Vanderboegh: Birmingham – Race and Armed Defense of Individual Liberty and the Republic

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Birmingham
Race and Armed Defense of Individual Liberty and the Republic
by Mike Vanderboegh
4 August 2008

“Nonviolence did have its day. Nonviolence unquestionably defined the black freedom movement from 1954-1963 — through the Montgomery Bus Boycott, the lunch counter sit-ins, and the Freedom Rides. But by the end of 1962 Martin Luther King and the more militant nonviolent organizations had fallen victim to state repression and terrorism. The Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), CORE (the Congress of Racial Equality), and Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) had all failed to secure local reform, voting rights or protective federal legislation. Appeals to the conscience of whites had foundered in the South and were having limited success in the North. By the beginning of 1963 the Kennedy Administration was backtracking on promised civil rights legislation. Terrorism and legal repression had so demoralized the movement that activists concluded that federal intervention was their only salvation. Activists were learning that the myth of nonviolence rested on a perilous underestimation of racism and a misplaced confidence in the American conscience and democratic institutions.

Then came the Birmingham campaign in 1963 and, more important, the Birmingham riots. The first riot occurred on 3 May after police opened up with water cannons on protesters. Young black men, nonpacifists who had previously lingered on the sidelines, now retaliated with bricks and bottles. On 4 May three thousand blacks, most of whom were uninvolved in nonviolent marches, assembled in downtown Birmingham and clashed with police again. Three days later a peaceful protest sparked more displays of force by nonmovement blacks, including several hundred who encircled two police officers. Finally, in the early hours of 12 May a massive riot broke out in response to two Ku Klux Klan bombings the night before. For the first time in the history of the civil-rights movement, working-class blacks took to the streets in a violent protest against police brutality and Klan terror. The young blacks who defied King’s strictures irreversibly altered the strategy of the civil rights movement, raising the specter of massive black civil violence and ultimately forcing the first real concession in the form of the Civil Rights Act. From Birmingham forward, every peaceful nonviolent protest carried the threat of black violence. The Birmingham riots marked the end of nonviolence and the advent of a movement characterized by both lawful mass protest and defensive violence.” — Deacons for Defense, Lance Hill, UNC Press, 2004, pp. 259-260.

“Bombingham”

When I came to Alabama in 1985, I was lucky that I landed a job at Clarklift of Alabama in Birmingham. I was lucky because I got to work the parts counter with two very different men — men who taught me fundamental truths along with a little bit of history about what it meant to be southern, Alabamian, white — and from Birmingham.

By the time I got to Birmingham, the blood and thunder era of Bull Connor had passed, at the end almost with a whimper. In 1985, Birmingham had a black mayor, Richard Arrington. And if his administration was perceived by many to be corrupt (and it was), it was also conceded by the fair-minded that he was no more crooked than the previously uninterrupted line of white men who preceeded him in that post.

Even so, many were still alive who had experienced the violent early Sixties and the memory was fresh, the wounds still raw. Birmingham was still “Bombingham” in many folks’ minds. Birmingham was that city of the dogs and the firehoses directed at children civil rights marchers, the city of bombed churches and finally, the city of four dead, innocent little girls.

You don’t work beside men day in and day out without learning something about them. Of the two, James McAnnally was the more personable and, I thought, more dependable — a guy you could trust your back to in a dark place without a worry. Solid, unflappable, quiet, but with a smile that told you everything was going to be just fine, you could trust James to give you a truthful answer to any question, even if it meant admitting ignorance. A convinced family man, James had to be really ticked before he used a cuss word, and I cannot recall him ever taking the Lord’s name in vain. Although he shunned arguments, he was a man of solid conviction. A Christian, he had served in Korea and thus had a broader understanding of the world, and of his place in it, than did the man I shall call Bailey Lyle.

Understand, I liked them both. Bailey was also a man of convictions, but unlike James he’d argue them at the drop of a hat — much like me in fact. Loud, profane and obscenely funny, he would regale you with stories about his sexual conquests, including “nailing” a girl up against the geographic landmark at the center of the state. He also took the presence of a younger upstart Yankee as challenge to convince the ignoramus (me) about a few home truths, as Bailey saw them anyway.

One day, after a jerk of a customer had blown out the door, cussing the whole way, I commented that it was unfortunate “that God had not color-coded assholes” so they could be more readily identified. Lyle turned on me and said, “He sure did color-code ’em, and they’re all black.” (I should mention that the nasty customer was white, and Lyle hated him too, from long experience.) Bailey had known the church bombers, more than a little I later came to suspect. He was from New Merkle, nowadays called Cahaba Heights, and lived not far from the bridge under which the Klan bombers would gather to talk things over. Lyle was the man who first told me about how it was the FBI snitch in Klan who provided the dynamite for the murder of those four little girls.

“Don’t you EVER trust the f—king FBI, they’re lyin’ assholes, every one,” he said, with what I concluded was some personal experience talking. Ironically, it was slightly less than a decade later that I came to agree with him, albeit for my own reasons. But at the time, I didn’t agree with much Bailey Lyle said, and I still don’t.

Blacks were inferior to whites in every way but sports, Lyle was convinced, and their physical prowess was only because they “benefited from slavery,” which made their ancestors big and strong in service of the whites. The way Lyle told it, multimillionaire basketball players “ought to get down on their knees and thank slavery every day.” I ticked him off when I replied that he should explain that to one of them himself, in person.

I must confess, however, that Lyle’s beliefs were not a whole lot different than the ignorant racial opinions I’d heard from some of my relatives in Michigan, or from some of my friends in Ohio growing up — and in the latter case these were not, could not have been, informed opinions, because Marion County, Ohio was about the most lily-white place you could find on the planet back then. You had to drive south to Columbus or north to Toledo just to see a black man walking on the street.

Yet for all that, by the time I got to Birmingham the South had much better race relations than the city I left to come here, Columbus, Ohio.

Much better.

I commented upon this fact to James one day, and he shook his head.

“I’d never live up North,” he said, “even our black folks are Southerners. It makes a difference. I saw that in the Army.”

I had to admit that it did. At the time, the impact of the growing gangsta culture in the North had not yet also become universal in the South. James also shook his head over all the trauma that had been suffered in his beloved Alabama. Having shared mess arrangements and canteens with black soldiers in Korea, he couldn’t understand “what the big deal was about ‘White’ and ‘Colored’ drinking fountains. The water comes from the same place.” “And,” he added with a smile, “it ends up in the same sewer. What’s the difference?”

“If you don’t know . . . I can’t explain it to you”

Bailey Lyle would have none of that.

“It makes a big difference and if you don’t know what it is I can’t explain it to you.”

There were a lot of moments like that. Times when I couldn’t understand and he couldn’t or wouldn’t explain it to me. Blacks (although he was rarely so polite as to call them that) were just different. Inferior. Lazy. Stupid. Malevolent. Natural criminals. And he always had an anecdote to back him up. I’d counter-anecdote him from time to time, giving him a story about black folks I’d encountered during my life who were better people and more trustworthy than the average white I knew.

It didn’t make a dent.

“Niggers is niggers,” he often swore, “You can paint ’em white and they’re still niggers underneath.”

James usually grew very quiet at such times. Not because he agreed, but because he was too polite, too Southern and too Christian to start a work-place argument. At that, he was a wiser, better man than me — a better Christian, I came to understand. He lived by example, not argument, and his life was a greater testimony to his character and beliefs than mere words.

I regret today that I didn’t talk in greater depth with James about his experiences growing up in Gardendale (then known as “Jugtown” for its ceramics plant) and his years after Korea in Birmingham. I would have had to talk to him away from work for that, and I was never smart enough to ask him for the opportunity. He’s passed on now, gone to meet his Savior, and I know he’s smiling at my poor attempt to portray the fine man that he was.

As far as Bailey Lyle, I hope he found the Lord before he crossed over, but I won’t find out this side of the river.

One thing I did find out this side of the river is how wrong he was about black folks in general. Foremost in my education were my experiences when, a few years later, I ran a warehouse for Bermco Aluminum. The dock and warehouse guys I had to work with were all black men from Birmingham, some of them veterans of the civil rights struggles.

When I took over the warehouse and shipping operation it was a disorganized shambles. The first week I found a “clean” urine sample in the desk of the warehouse lead man, so as to better his odds of passing the random drug test. Consequently he went away, and in his place I got Tony. Tony was a big man, in his mid-twenties and black as the ace of spades, and as hard-working, smart and trustworthy a fellow as you will ever find (let alone factoring in the pittance that Bermco paid their union employees).

But much as I had found with the Southern white employees who I’d had as subordinates in the forklift parts businesses I’d managed prior to Bermco, the black workers would not freely communicate with you, nor execute their part of a business plan until they knew you. In short, they weren’t on your side until they knew that you were on their side.

“You’ll never get anywhere . . . until you learn how to delegate blame”

Fortunately for me, at Bermco this moment came fairly quickly. We had screwed up an order, shipping the wrong metal to a customer some distance away. The incorrect alloy had to be picked up and the right metal substituted. It was an expensive proposition. I was called on the carpet in the President’s office to explain in person who, in my opinion, needed to be stood against the wall and shot for this mortal sin.

I told the President that the fault was entirely mine (although I was fairly sure it wasn’t in the strictest sense; but I was the platoon leader, as it were, so it was my responsibility in any case, the maximum effective range of an excuse being zero meters). Mea culpa, I told the Prez, but I also quickly assured him we would institute new fail-safes in the process and it wouldn’t happen again. This apparently so surprised the President, who was used to cravenly buck-passing, that I was let off softly to go and sin no more.

The Vice President of Sales caught up with me outside the office door and told me what a fool I’d been. “Mike, you’ll never get anywhere in life or this company until you learn how to delegate blame.”

Of course this was coming from a guy who many other employees in the company (all of whom had been there longer than me) had vowed that they wouldn’t even urinate on if he were on fire. The employees of Bermco were used to being blamed for their “superior’s” mistakes. It was one of the things that was endemically wrong with the company. And nowhere did this create more havoc and cynicism than among the hourly guys in production and on the loading dock, all of whom were black. They even had a name for it. They called it the “BTN Excuse.” (“Blame the Nigger.”)

I long ago decided that if you take care of your people, they will take care of you. And that is precisely what subsequently happened with the warehouse operation. Our error rate went to almost zero even as our shipping volume doubled, then doubled again. I credit this to my men, who once they understood I was in their corner, watched my back fiercely. Race had nothing to do with it. Or, maybe it did, because I got greater results out of my black workers at Bermco than I ever had out of my white subordinates in the forklift parts departments I had managed. And I ran that warehouse for more than eight years.

I had one true friend elsewhere in the management of that company, a quality control man named Don Powell who also was white (at that time the company had but one black foreman, on second shift). Don had grown up in Birmingham. His daddy had run an iron foundry, and Don’s first work experiences were in his father’s business. Don had a sensible attitude toward black folks much as James McAnnally, and I suspect for the same reason, although Don was considerably younger than James.

“GOD made that boy black . . .”

One day when the subject of race came up, Don told me how — when he was, oh I don’t remember exactly, seven or eight, I guess — he was playing with a black boy his age on the Powell front porch and he became angry at his playmate. He couldn’t recall why he got angry, but he remembered vividly what happened next.

He called his playmate a “nigger.”

With lightning speed, as Don recalled, his Momma materialized out of thin air, snatched him up by the collar, marched him inside, spanked the crap out of him and washed his mouth out with soap.

As Don was a little unclear about why he was being punished, his Momma laid it out for him:

“GOD,” she emphasized, “made that boy black, and it ISN’T up to YOU to DISRESPECT the will of GOD!”

Don got the point. He never used that word around his Momma again. Indeed, in the eight years I worked with him I don’t remember ever hearing it from him, either.

By now, I’m sure you’re wondering why a guy who writes fiery stuff about maintaining the Founders’ republic and our Second Amendment rights has taken this obscure racial detour down memory lane.

Well, it ain’t no detour.

Most of you reading this have also been following the various chapters of my novella ‘Absolved’ which have been posted on the web. My latest chapter, ‘Deacon’, covers a bit of family history of Robert E. Williams, Jr., my fictional Attorney General of the state of Alabama at the time of the Battle of Sipsey Street. In the process, I relate the true story of the ‘Skirmish at Andrey’s Cafe’ in Bogalusa, Louisiana between the Original Knights of the Ku Klux Klan and the then newly-forming Bogalusa chapter of the Deacons for Defense and Justice.

This chapter has produced a number of reactions, many that were perfectly predictable. These were the racist and antisemitic outbursts of the usual suspects who troll on websites such as KeepandBearArms.com. A bravely anonymous poster with the moniker of “Deadeye” spake as follows:

“A tale directly from fantasyland. A hyperbolic fairytale written by a carpetbagger yankee who is no better than the commie scum agitators which are his heros (sic)! Negro war heros are like jewish war heros (sic), they each have a pamphlet covering their heroics! Why do you people in Alabama put up with this POS!”

It is a response straight out of Bailey Lyle’s general philosophy, and exhibiting the same meager understanding of our country’s history. And I responded as follows:

Deadeye, call your drycleaners, your sheets are done. They got the brown streaks out. Explain, if you will, why the founders honored such men as Crispus Attucks, the first man to fall at the Boston Massacre or Peter Salem, the black rifleman at Bunker Hill who killed Major Pitcairn?

The “Dark Side” and Operation White Rose

I’d like for “Deadeye” to answer that question, but then if he had the half-a-brain necessary to do so, he wouldn’t be a racist and an anti-semite. However, as I said, when you do this for as long as I’ve been at it, you expect that.

What I didn’t expect was the reaction of a good friend of mine, a fellow citizen soldier in this movement for the past fifteen years (indeed, he’s been in it longer than me, more like 20). His reaction was to criticize my characterization of the Kluxers in ‘Deacon’ as “cartoonish.” I’m ashamed to say that at first I thought he’d crossed over to the “dark side.” I thought he was trying to get me to portray them as not as bad as the men Bailey Lyle had described.

When I told him as much, he set me straight in no uncertain terms.

People thought Hitler was some kind of buffoon, he pointed out. They thought that the stuff he wrote in Mein Kampf wasn’t serious. Hitler, my friend insisted correctly, benefited from that failure of his opponents and his apologists to take him seriously.

Likewise, my friend felt, we shouldn’t take the way Kluxers talk and act as anything but serious.

You should know that this man earned the right to speak authoritatively about Kluxers and neoNazis because we have been fighting side by side the attempts of the racists and antisemites to infiltrate the constitutional militia movement for lo, these many years. It is, in fact, how we met and became friends.

It is not much of a secret that some of us in the constitutional militia movement took it upon ourselves to confront the racist, “Identity” and neoNazi terrorists directly after Oklahoma City. We embarrassed the FBI into arresting a member of the Aryan Republican Army bank robbery gang, one Michael Brescia, who the Fibbies were giving a free pass to wander around his old haunts of Philadelphia armed and dangerous long after all the other members of the gang were dead or busted.

In addition, we broke into other proto-terrorist slimeballs’ homes and businesses, leaving calling cards that made certain they understood that if the FBI was giving them a pass, WE weren’t — and that if anything else blew up, WE would make sure THEY ended up very dead. As no one was killed in this cold war of nerves — our war, their nerves — I can be frank about it because the statute of limitations has run out on all the minor violations of law (burglary, blackmail, menacing threats) we committed to ensure that the Klan-Identity-Nazis committed no more mass homicides.

One academic who has long studied the militia, Dr. Robert Churchill, will soon have a book out detailing, in part, some of what we dubbed “Operation White Rose.” It was, in my humble opinion, our second finest hour of the constitutional militias in the 90s. The first, of course, being the larger cold war with the Clintonistas which chilled their predatory hearts and ensured that there would be no more Wacos. (See my earlier essay, “Resistance is Futile:” Waco Rules vs. Romanian Rules.)

So imagine my unpleasant surprise when I thought (wrongly) that a man I deeply respect, a brother really in this fight to maintain the Founders’ republic, a man who was instrumental in helping carry out Operation White Rose, had begun to take on some of the opinions of the people we have been fighting. This man has labored long in the trenches. He is a man worn down by the struggle, having given much — more than anyone else in our movement that I personally know — in family relationships, wealth, the wear and tear of years of work and worry. Through it all he’s had to live with the stress of knowing that he is hated by men, some of them with government badges, who wish him dead and who have constantly tried to ensnare him in their deadly machinations. All the while being completely misunderstood, misrepresented and maligned by the larger community he is seeking to defend.

“You can love the big things, but they do not love you back”

David Brin, in his magnificent novel “The Postman,” has one of his characters observe that you can love the big things, like country and liberty, but that they do not love you back. It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t love your principles, just don’t expect anything in return but “blood, toil, tears and sweat.” He is long overdue for a rest. Of course, this is the paradox of the sheep dog. Your efforts are feared and resented by wolf and sheep alike — the wolves because they eat poorly as a result of your work and the sheep because you remind them that they ARE sheep. And the sheepdog can never rest, for there are always wolves hovering at the edge of the flock, or indeed, among it.

For the sheepdog, in the end, there is only principle and honor. And as central as these things are to his or her existence, they cannot be eaten. Garbage collectors are better paid and more appreciated by the larger society. This is true, by the way, whether the sheepdog is white, black or green.

“The Man Behind the Curtain”

Racism — on the part of whites, blacks, hispanics and asians — continues to be what Bruce Catton said about slavery. It is the “indigestible lump” which has disrupted our body politic and caused dyspepsia to the Republic since its founding. And this is not coincidental. As I wrote in the recent reissue of “What Good Can a Handgun Do Against an Army?”:

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!” Mike Vanderboegh, A Handgun and An Army: Ten Years After.

Nothing proves the truth of this charge more than the bi-partisan “amnesty conspiracy” and the inundation of the nation’s struggling economy and culture with tens of millions of illegal immigrants, mostly from Mexico. I have also written extensively of this threat in my “Rock ‘Em” series last year:

Part I
Part II
Part III
Part IV
Part V
Part VI
Part VII

The principal economic victims of this coldly-calculated treason for money have been poor blacks, who have seen the usual means of economic advancement cut off by this endlessly replenishing source of cheap labor. Proof of this assertion may be found in a single statistic. In 1980, the average wage in the meat packing industry, long the means of upward mobility for working class black men, was $20.00 an hour. Today, TWENTY-EIGHT YEARS LATER, it is $9.00 an hour. That is unadjusted for inflation. The young black men who I worked with at Bermco have also gradually been displaced by illegal aliens. (And if Steve Weinstein, the President of that corporation, wishes to sue me for saying this ugly truth, he is free to do so. He won’t.)

The “man behind the curtain” has a vested interest in creating and exploiting such divisions. To the extent that we buy into the logic of those divisions, we become both his willing dupes AND his unwilling victims simultaneously.

The first and best counter to such manipulation is knowledge. The shambles that the American black community has become is not racial in origin but political and cultural, beginning in the ’60s with the awfully misnamed “War on Poverty.”

And whose idea was it?

Collectivist liberals, seeking reliable voters on their paternalistic political plantation. They systematically drove wedges in the black family, separating fathers from children, by offering economic incentives to single parenting. The results of that bright idea are manifest today.

Daniel Patrick Moynihan, a Democrat it should be noted, warned of this at the time.

He was ignored.

In addition, in the intervening four decades, race hustlers such as Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton have flogged the twin engines of white guilt and black resentment, thereby increasing racism all ’round. As I warned in “Rock ‘Em,” we are in danger of descending into a three-sided race war.

And who do you suppose will benefit from that?

It does not take a rocket scientist or a PhD in history to recognize that it won’t be the average American of any race, nor the constitutional republic the Founders left us. Indeed, it will be the final stake in the Republic’s heart and the bloody tyranny that flows from that will be worse than anything heretofore seen on this continent, including 1861-1865.

It is vital that we look at the things the way they really are, unsentimentally, if we are going to be able to sort out friends from enemies in the middle of this manipulation. This is another point my friend made that I initially misunderstood. The black “community” is in fact a community no more, not in the sense of people sharing common dreams and principles. The final result of liberal “welfare” and a Gramscian assault on the values and culture of western civilization is something unprecedented as far as I know in history — genocide by suicide, or “suigenocide”. The Klan never killed with such abandon in such numbers. And as my friend pointed out quite baldly, as a result many of our future enemies will be dark-skinned.

Much is made by the white racists of the fact that such a great percentage of the black community is now socially dysfunctional and crime ridden. Yet we can see that whites are by no means immune to the same social decay, and while whites’ percentages of dysfunction may be better, their overall numbers are not.

The fact is when I selected three percent of gun owners as the basis for calculating the size of the resistance to future American tyranny, I was counting black folks I know — the descendants of the Deacons and those others who understand the tragic folly of black disarmament in the face of Klan violence, or even that of criminals of their own race — and discounting an incredible number of whites, including many who mouth the words of the Second Amendment, but are too faint of heart to risk anything for them.

I believe that if we are to be successful in resisting the coming final grab for our liberties, it will be with an army of redneck white boys and working class blacks who understand that they have much more in common with each other than the criminals, both governmental and garden variety, who seek to victimize them.

The middle- and upper middle-classes of both races will likely, as in many struggles in the past, be reluctant to get involved. They have too much to lose.

It will be the poor boys who grasp immediately that once they give up their right to firearms, they’ve given up all the other rights too. And they won’t need some academic intellectual argument to convince them of what they already know. That is why “the man behind the curtain” seeks to manipulate them into viewing each other as enemies.

And if we are to resist this manipulation, we must lay the groundwork now, before the bullets begin to fly.

“The truth shall make you free”

As I said, the first way to counter this manipulation is knowledge. For both whites and blacks especially, that means learning the real history of the American experience we share, but that which we have always looked at through the factually stilted frames of reference provided by either the woefully ignorant or willfully malevolent.

For example, it is indisputable that blacks and whites have fought shoulder to shoulder for liberty in this country since, really, before the founding. Yet it has also been true that, from the point of view of the black soldier, historically he has often had to fight on two fronts at once. And when he came home, north or south, he was always subjected to discrimination that white veterans were not.

Often his aspirations and new-found independence threatened the folks who wanted to continue running the same old system of playing poor whites off against poor blacks so that they might pocket the change. From the sharecropper system to strikebreaking in the growing industries of the 19th and 20th centuries, racism has always been the single most effective tool in “the man behind the curtain’s” repertoire. In the past, he also used national and racial discrimination against Irishmen, Chinese, Japanese, Germans, Italians, Eastern Europeans, playing one new source of cheap labor and political power against the other.

In the case of black Americans, few whites (and, oddly, almost as few blacks) understand the bloody hegira of their struggle toward full citizenship since the War Between the States. Start with the many misinterpretations of what really happened in Reconstruction. The real history of that period is not found in either the “Evil Carpetbagger” proponents of Klan apologia or the more recent “Progressive Reinterpretation” of “Evil Whitey” in politically-correct pap masquerading as scholarly research.

In each case, the narratives condemn and excuse both sides often contrary to their own troublesome footnotes. I have spent some time recently studying Reconstruction, to try to understand how it was that black constitutional liberties were stopped cold and then rolled back despite the power (and half-hearted wishes) of the national government. One of the books I found most instructive was Redemption: The Last Battle of the Civil War, by Nicholas Lemann, Farrar Strauss, 2006.

“And so they lost”

It is a history that cuts many ways, which is perhaps why it has been so difficult to dig out the truth. The forces of Reconstruction were by no means as malevolent and monolithic as portrayed by the early “Birth of a Nation” historians, just as the “Lost Cause” was never so benign as portrayed in “Gone With the Wind”.

For example, here in Alabama a long-time resident of the state, a white unionist Republican who had opposed secession yet advocated reconciliation and clean government, was assassinated during a campaign speech while running for re-election. He was not killed by a Kluxer, but by a supporter of the carpetbag senator of the state, George Spencer, in order to protect the Spencer graft machine. And both the “Carpetbaggers” and the native “Mossbacks” despised, distrusted and manipulated the Freedmen out of avarice, fear, or their own short-term political self-interest.

These fissures crippled the defense of Reconstruction against Klan violence, in part because the newly-freed blacks were too timid and tentative in acquiring the means to defend themselves, and exercising their right to self-defense credibly in the eyes of the defeated Confederates. As it was, Reconstruction placed the theory of black self-defense in the hands of the freedmen, without giving it any real form, any credible deterrence. By the former, they enraged their opponents, and by the latter they encouraged their aroused enemies to use violence to overcome the entire system.

And so they lost.

The sins of the supporters of Reconstruction have been exaggerated by some, the high flown principles and good intentions of the architects of Reconstruction by others. But here’s the key fact: the planter class, which exploited blacks prior to the war and always spurned or ignored the needs of the poor whites, got to have their old system back, minus codified slavery and substituting a modified, truncated de facto slavery in its place.

And they manipulated the racism of the poor whites to achieve it.

Neither the poor whites nor the poor blacks benefited from this Jim Crow system, unless you count the empty consolation of the poor whites that, if they were despised by the Bourbons, they were at least not AS despised as “the niggers.” Both blacks and whites got to work as sharecroppers on the Bourbons’ former plantations (or as laborers in the new mills and mines springing up) and the planters and industrialists pocketed the profits. If the current batch of “Birth of a Nation” schmucks ever took their racial blinders off, they would recognize what stupid patsies their “heroes” were.

Something similar to this happened in the Fifties and Sixties when the local Klaverns of the KKK were manipulated by their “betters” of the White Citizens Councils. Poor whites once again danced to the tune, and attacked the black targets selected by, their economic superiors. So if I have “cartoonishly” depicted Kluxers as dumb poor white boys on a tear, my “cartoon” has the advantage of capturing reality. At least, that is the reality portrayed to me, perhaps inadvertently, by Bailey Lyle across the Clarklift of Alabama parts counter.

Still, as my brother-in-arms points out, we should even so take them with deadly seriousness.

How many angels can dance on the head of a historical pin?

Many people alive today remember the Los Angeles riots of 1991. Other older Americans remember the race riots of the late Sixties when civil rights principle gave way to atavistic killing and destruction as evil in its way as a Klan lynching. But black folks remember older, more deadly riots. Riots started by white folks with blacks as their targets. Riots like Tulsa in 1921 and Rosewood, Florida in 1923. (See The Burning: Massacre, Destruction and the Tulsa Race Riot of 1921 by Tim Madigan, 2001 and Like Judgment Day: The Ruin and Redemption of a Town Called Rosewood by Michael D’Orso, 1996.) They also remember other smaller “racial cleansings” that have occurred over our history. (See Buried in the Bitter Waters: The Hidden History of Racial Cleansing in America by Elliot Jaspin, 2007.)

That is the way history is — always more complicated than the dominant theory of historical analysis that holds sway at any given time, and eternally misunderstood in the light of the prevailing political prejudices. The facts of history become lost in folklore, and truth, evanescent truth, vanishes from sight in the prejudices of the teller, as well as the listener or reader.

If this was a simple argument over how many angels can dance on the head of a historical pin, it wouldn’t matter in the least.

But it isn’t.

If we don’t understand where we came from — all of us, together and separately, of all races, creeds, colors and religions — then we cannot understand where we are or where we’re going.

It is the collectivist enemies of the constitutional Republic of the Founders who push racism in various forms. To the extent that we let them define the terms of debate, or even who is qualified to debate, we conspire in our own destruction as a people previously united by the Founders’ idea.

We will also, I believe, one day be called to account for it by our God.

“The content of their character . . .”

I have learned to judge people by the content of their character and not the color of their skin. I have also come to realize that while we struggle to maintain our God-given liberties in the 21st Century, “our list of friends grows thin.” Those of us who swore an oath to preserve the Constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic, cannot afford to artificially reduce that number further by culling out potential allies on the basis of their skin color.

Even the Founders, enmeshed in the racial theories used to justify human bondage, appreciated the sacrifice of Crispus Attucks, the first man to fall at the Boston Massacre, and that of every other black man such as Peter Salem who served the Revolutionary cause.

And if they didn’t resolve the issue of slavery then or later on in the Constitution, it wasn’t for the lack of a troubled conscience on the part of Founders like George Mason. Mason feared that God would judge our country in this world for the sin of slavery, as only men, not nations, were judged in Heaven. Mason feared, in fact, just such a calamity as the War Between the States — a war which we know now was settled to the eternal detriment of the Founder’s concept of the Republic.

This is what happens when good principles are misused in bad causes. History has thus proven Mason’s prescience and clarity of thought.

I recognize now that I have Birmingham to thank for my own clarity on the matter of race in America. Had I not moved here, and met the remarkable people of this city, black and white, I would not be so certain.

Familiarity, it is said, breeds contempt.

Perhaps.

But sometimes, I have come to understand, familiarity fosters love.

I love the South. I love Alabama and I love Birmingham. I love its people, black and white, warts and all, despite all their bloody and contentious history — a history that I have read more of, and perhaps understand better, than most of them. They are the finest, most generous, freedom-loving people I have ever known.

Most importantly, to my mind, there have always been a disproportionate percentage of citizen “sheepdogs” of both races among them. I am proud to count myself as standing with them, all of them.

It is such people who, together, may yet save the country — IF they do not allow themselves to be divided by the false political dichotomy of race.

Mike Vanderboegh
Alleged Leader of a Merry Band of Three Percenters
PO Box 926
Pinson AL 35126
GeorgeMason1776@aol.com

III

>Welcome to Connecticut!

>Thanks to the Staying Alive blog, we have this news article from the Waterbury, CT Republican-American regarding a very pragmatic law enforcement tool:

***
…Using a unique state law, police in Connecticut have disarmed dozens of gun owners based on suspicions that they might harm themselves or others.

The state’s gun seizure law is considered the first and only law in the country that allows the confiscation of a gun before the owner commits an act of violence. Police and state prosecutors can obtain seizure warrants based on concerns about someone’s intentions.

State police and 53 police departments have seized more than 1,700 guns since the law took effect in October 1999, according to a new report to the legislature. There are nearly 900,000 privately owned firearms in Connecticut today.

Opponents of a gun seizure law expressed fears in 1999 that police would abuse the law. Today, the law’s backers say the record shows that hasn’t been the case.

“It certainly has not been abused. It may be underutilized,” said Ron Pinciaro, coexecutive director of Connecticut Against Gun Violence.

Attorney Ralph D. Sherman has represented several gun owners who had their firearms seized under the law. His latest client was denied a pistol permit because the man was once the subject of a seizure warrant.

“In every case I was involved in I thought it was an abuse,” said Sherman, who fought against the law’s passage.

The report to the legislature shows that state judges are inclined to issue gun seizure warrants and uphold seizures when challenged in court.

Out of more than 200 requests for warrants, Superior Court judges rejected just two applications — one for lack of probable cause, and another because police had already seized the individual’s firearms under a previous warrant. Both rejections occurred in 1999. The legislature’s Office of Legislative Research could document only 22 cases of judges ordering seized guns returned to their owners.

Rep. Michael P. Lawlor, D-East Haven, is one of the chief authors of the gun seizure law. In his view, the number of warrant applications and gun seizures show that police haven’t abused the law.

“It is pretty consistent,” said Lawlor, the House chairman of the Judiciary Committee.

Robert T. Crook, the executive director of the Connecticut Coalition of Sportsmen, questioned whether police have seized more guns than the number reported to the legislature. Crook said the law doesn’t require police departments or the courts to compile or report information on gun seizures. The Office of Legislative Research acknowledged that its report may have underreported seizures.

“We don’t know how many guns were actually confiscated or returned to their owners,” Crook said.

Police seized guns in 95 percent of the 200-plus cases that the researchers were able to document. In 11 cases, police found no guns, the report said.

Spouses and live-in partners were the most common source of complaints that led to warrant applications. They were also the most frequent targets of threats. In a Southington case, a man threatened to shoot a neighbor’s dog.

The gun seizure law arose out of a murderous shooting rampage at the headquarters of the Connecticut Lottery Corp. in 1998. A disgruntled worker shot and killed four top lottery officials and then committed suicide.

Under the law, any two police officers or a state prosecutor may obtain warrants to seize guns from individuals who pose an imminent risk of harming themselves or others. Before applying for warrants, police must first conduct investigations and determine there is no reasonable alternative to seizing someone’s guns. Judges must also make certain findings.

The law states that courts shall hold a hearing within 14 days of a seizure to determine whether to return the firearms to their owners or order the guns held for up to one year.

Sherman said his five clients all waited longer than two weeks for their hearings. Courts scheduled hearing dates within the 14-day deadline, but then the proceedings kept getting rescheduled. In one client’s case, Sherman said, the wait was three months…
***

Make sure to read the whole article.

Here’s the statute, for you legal types.

In addition, here’s a report dated May 10, 2006 from the Connecticut Legislature’s Office of Legislative Research on how the statute had been used as of that date.

For my money, as useful as this statute is to Connecticut’s government thugs, New York’s “Nassau Rules” from across Long Island Sound are even more efficient, with their complete lack of procedure and transparency.

But we’re winning in the “soft war”….just you ask the pragmatists. Speak softly, use diplomatic language, don’t alarm the melanin-challenged, and we’ll accomplish our goals of bringing others to the side of individual freedom and political Liberty without any of that ugly yelling, fighting, shooting, dying, and related Unpleasantness.

And hey – what about that great victory in the Heller case?

Wasn’t that something?

Five Really Special Mortals In Black Robes have now said, in writing for the ages, that Americans have an individual right to keep and bear certain firearms in certain places for certain purposes, as long as the American in question is not a type of person that other Mortals might fear, with all of the details around that individual right to be determined by other Very Special Mortals In Black Robes and/or Legislative Raiment.

We’re really on our way now….

Tempus fugit.

>Welcome to Nassau County!

>David Codrea posts about what happened to a resident of Nassau County, Long Island, NY, who, in the course of exercising his rights as an American, was apparently perceived by the staff of Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy (yes, that one) as some kind of a “threat”.

David tells what happened next:

***
Mr. Razzano is a community activist and, as a member of the Minutemen, has an interest in stopping illegal immigration. As such, he works within the system, including making his views known to his congressional representative. Over the course of several years, he developed a working relationship with Carolyn McCarthy’s former Chief of Staff—to the point where this individual had even visited Razzano at his home. When he learned the chief of staff had been replaced, Razzano asked to speak with the new one, but never had his call returned.

On a subsequent trip to her office, Razzano was informed he was not one of McCarthy’s constituents due to redistricting, and his representative was Peter King. He then went to the Board of Elections and obtained a certified copy stating he was in her district.

When he went back to McCarthy’s office with his “proof of constituency,” a detective approached him, told him to leave and to stop “annoying” Rep. McCarthy because he was not a constituent. The detective escorted Razzano down the elevator—at the bottom, when the doors opened, Rep. McCarthy was there. She ignored Razanno when he tried to speak to her and the detective escorted him out the building.

The very next day, Razanno got a call from his mother who lives a few doors down—the police were at her house demanding his guns or they would arrest him. He was told there was a 911 call about him, and he needed to surrender his firearms for a 90-day “cooling off period.” In other words, they would take the guns or they would take him. It was portrayed to him by the confiscating officer as “not a big deal.”

The police took all of his legally registered guns—nine rifles and 15 handguns, and they also seized his fiancée’s handgun. This despite no statutory authority to do this– It’s important here to note that this was not a domestic or any other kind of violence incident. Razzano didn’t even get a receipt for the seized property until a week later—after he requested one.

A little over a month after the seizures, he received notice from Chief Anthony Rocco that his pistol license had been revoked. This has been done with no adjudication under “authority” of the chief, who indicated he believed Razzano to be “obsessed with the day laborer situation” and offered his unqualified opinion that Razzano’s actions had raised “concerns” over his “suitability” to have a license.

The letter made no mention of the 911 call, and in fact, a judge had to order McCarthy’s office to identify the employee who had called 911—after McCarthy had denied any involvement…
***

For those unfamiliar with the area, Nassau County is the first county on Long Island outside of New York City. As such, law enforcement in that jurisdiction had, shall we say, a rather “border town” feel to it when I was a prosecutor there for a brief time in the Nineties. As an example, uniformed officers assigned to the highways that form the boundary between Queens County in New York City and Nassau County referred to their job as “holding the line”.

Read the whole entry by David, and ask yourself what, if anything, Mr. Razzano should do if the notoriously anti-gun Eastern District of NY Federal trial court (and/or the Second Circuit Federal appellate court) finds that his civil rights were not violated and the Nassau County Police Department’s actions were Constitutionally permissible.

Remember:

– no arrest
– no conviction
– no charges whatsoever
– no order of protection

Of course, as you muse, and especially if you choose to call or write Representative McCarthy to demand an explanation, make sure to be pragmatic and not upset the melanin-challenged.

Washington, D.C. Office:
106 Cannon House Office Building,
District of Columbia 20515-3204
Phone: (202) 225-5516
Fax: (202) 225-5758

Garden City Office:

200 Garden City Plaza, Suite 320
Garden City, New York 11530
Phone: (516) 739-3008
Fax: (516) 739-2973

Lots of those types in Nassau County, you know.

And they have their own heavy-handed regiments of enforcers.

Tempus fugit.

>I’ve Got a Bad Feeling About This

>Cited on Sunday by Rawles and Mike Morgan, a Florida real estate and investment insider, who describes it thus:

***
One Picture Says It All – The following chart is from the Economic Research Department of the St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank. The chart illustrates how much money banks have borrowed from the Fed since 1910. That’s all I have to say about that . . .
***

In the same blog entry, Morgan adds:

***

Let’s talk about what is happening now . . .

Depression Totally unavoidable. Bank on it. Well . . . you won’t be able to bank on it, but you can bet on it. We are not only headed for a Depression, but a violent Depression that will be far worse than 1929. Some experts believe the United States will fall into the chaos, bedlam and anarchy that tore apart Yugoslovia. I am not going that far, but I know our morals and ethics are not the same as they were in 1929. Moreover, we are a far more violent society and totally dependent upon a well oiled system for delivery of food and basic services.

Bank Failures I warned that Fridays would become known as F3 – FDIC Failure Fridays. And Voilá . . . two bank failures on Friday, July 25. Then another bank failure a week later, after the market closed, on August 1. Next week? Maybe none, but maybe 10 . . . or more. And here’s why.

I am on the ground, in the trenches, and behind enemy lines. To repeat for those new to my information, I own a real estate brokerage in Florida and I serve as a consultant to banks, financial institutions, mutual funds and hedge fund managers . . . as well as builders and developers. So when I talk, I talk from Behind Enemy Lines. Unfortunately for clients and readers, I can’t always share as much detail as I would like because of confidentiality concerns. My institutional clients appreciate that, because they can feel comfortable discussing their portfolios, problems and potential outs.

I can tell you this. We will see at least 100 bank failures before the end of the year. What’s important about that statement, is it is not another rear-view mirror statement from one of the financial experts on TV or some of the others that write blogs and columns . . . but never venture out into the world of reality. I will share what I am seeing on the ground and hearing from my institutional clients here and abroad.

US Banks
I work with banks on two levels. One, we offer services to banks selling foreclosed properties to consumers. Two, we offer services to banks trying to determine what they own, what it’s worth and what to do with it. The latter includes evaluating portfolios for bulk sales and trying to coordinate these transactions. Let me start with the first level of services.

Banks and lenders that are foreclosing on properties have managed to bumble the process of disposing of foreclosed properties. Then again, as I have noted many times, banks are not in the real estate business, and I warned that they would be the group to drive prices into the ground, finally collapsing the entire system. That is exactly what is happening.

The systems developed by banks and lenders are horribly convoluted or they have farmed the process out to asset managers that often are “totally” incompetent. I thought we might see this start to correct itself, but it is actually getting worse . . . and now banks and lenders are the ones throwing jet fuel on the fire. For my residential brokerage, we have reached the point where we must carefully evaluate whether we even want to take these listings. You heard it right.
Most brokers would kill for listings of foreclosed properties. These properties are often priced below the market so they can sell fast, but that is rare. Most of these properties come with a laundry list of headaches and expenses. And when they do sell, the asset managers are skimming a full third of the commission off for themselves.

Real estate agents still vie for these listings, because we have an industry that is not regulated, with a low barrier of entry, and 98% of our industry is part-time. Agents don’t understand what is involved with the sale of foreclosure properties, and lenders don’t take the time to develop procedures to avoid incompetent real estate agents . . . just as the lenders ignored the issues with mortgage brokers during the development of this crisis.

I will shed a little light on this for those not in the industry. Foreclosure listings come with a laundry list of Things To Do. This begins with occupancy reports and rekeying of the property, that can quickly escalate into initiating the eviction process if there is an owner or tenant in the property. And once you gain possession, there is the trash-out, clean-up and repairs. This process alone can take several weeks and cost the agent thousand of dollars. Listing agents must pay for all of these expenses, as well as place utilities in their own name. Even after getting over these hurdles, which on average takes a month, the property then must be priced. That process can take 2-3 weeks, and it is so riddled with inefficiencies that most properties are overpriced because of the time it takes to complete this process, and the level of competence of those providing the Broker Price Opinions.

100% Loss = Busted Banks
– To get to the stage where we have a price on a listing, the lender has already spent tens of thousand of dollars. Here’s a basic example for a $400,000 mortgage. The property is most likely only worth $250,000 now. I have previously written about the process and expense involved in property disposition, so I will cut to the chase. A lender will be lucky to clear $125,000 on this property. This is not a typical example. The typical example is a $250,000 mortgage where the property is now worth less than $150,000 and by the time you carve out all the expenses . . . the bank has a zero or negative. The reason for the zero on the lower priced property, is because many of the expenses (i.e. foreclosure process) are the same for a million dollar property as they are for a $100,000 property. So here is the question for Paulson, Bernanke and Bair. How can any of our banks survive when they are taking 70% -100%+ hits on mortgages? PB&B will tell you these problem mortgages make up less than 2% of total mortgages. Huh? What? I’ve got news for them. I have no idea where they are getting their numbers, but you don’t even have to go behind enemy lines to see through the numbers they are trying to feed us. Drive around and count For Sale signs. Now multiply that by a factor of 2-10 depending upon where you live and whether signs are allowed in all neighborhoods. Now double that number for the homes that are moving into the foreclosure process, and then double it again because things are getting worse (quicker), not better.

Admitting Defeat
The lenders I speak with know they are dead. They have no problem admitting it now. They realize their jobs are over, and they are on borrowed time. They are nothing more than liquidators now, and they are doing a lousy job at it.

We built too many homes and have too many builders. The markets are correcting that. We have too many mortgages and too many mortgage brokers. The markets are correcting that. And we have too many banks. The markets are correcting that as well. Paulson’s tinkering with the ability to short his Fav19 will come back to mark him in history. It was un-American. This is not Russia or Venezuela. If the markets were not working because of naked shorting, then put the bastards in jail that were violating the rules. Unfortunately, that would mean Paulson was going to have to throw his frat boys in jail. Paulson knew what he was doing with the Fav19, just as he did with the Housing Bill. Paulson had one purpose, and one purpose only in both the Fav19 and the Housing Bill . . . to bail-out his buddies. That’s it. Full Stop.

The Housing Bill is a complete, absolute and autarchic ploy by a man that has far too much power and control. I am not going to write about the Housing Bill. I am going to save that for our August 7th Conference Call. If you are interested in the Conference Call you can purchase a dial in code – Mike@MorganFlorida.org Clients receive free access codes and will receive the replay link…

I will reserve most of this for clients, but let me share a little of what I am seeing over the last few weeks. Make that 2-3 weeks. Fear is clearly in the air, along with desperation and a huge dose of stupidity. I often use the term banks, financials and lenders interchangeably. I’m not going to apologize for it, but I will try to explain it. Some of these players are involved in all three areas. Some are hybrids. BOA (editor: Bank of America) is a bank. It is a financial. It is a lender. And I am seeing the fear at all levels.

At the street level, we see more properties coming to market. As this unravels, the process grinds itself into dysfunction. Are there any smart banks left? Easy answer, but I am going to reserve that for my clients. I will share one more point with you. The dysfunction of the disposition of the foreclosure properties is just the tip of the iceberg. It is enough to sink the banks, but you must consider what banks do. They loan money. I have news for you, they are not loaning money, so as I have said for far too long, the problems simply feed on themselves now. If you are a butcher and you are not selling meat, you are not a butcher. If you are a bank and you are not loaning money, you are not a bank. You may think you are a butcher or a bank, but you’re not…
***

Read the whole thing, then make sure you get to the bank on Monday if possible to have three months’ expenses in cash secured at home.

Tempus fugit.

>Requiscat in Pacem

>

Alexander Solzhenitsyn (1911-2008)

>What Is To Be Done – Sitrep: August, 2008

>Inspired by Billy Beck’s comment and originally intended as comment at Kevin’s place here, the comment software refused to accept the essay due to the number of “carriage returns”:

One of the many aspects of the First Major North American Unpleasantness (1754-1783) that has not made most history books was the amount of internecine looting, slaughter, rapine, and arson that occurred over the course of our own Thirty Years’ War.

Take any two or more groups from the contestant set (British military, North American British military, French military, North American French military, nominal Spanish forces, post-4/19/1775 “American” military, aboriginals allied with one or more of the former, irregular troops allied with one or more of the former, so-called “civilians” allied in thought and deed with one or more of the former, and the “just leave me alone” civilians), mix them vigorously, and you can bet pretty safely on very ugly things having happened, repeatedly, to all, by all.

At stake economically was control of the North American continent and its resources, including (especially?) its broadly-defined tax base. Having defeated the French, British, Spanish, and their proxies by 1848, the Federals next turned domestically. That issue was largely decided as of 4/9/1865, with the final skirmishes being fought during the period from March, 1933 through August, 1971.

In securing for itself global hegemony for the fiat US dollar, the FedGov in Washington won the war not only for North America’s economy, but for the entire world’s economy – at least for a time. But in doing so, it laid the foundation for its own demise.

Once Nixon closed the gold window, the die was cast. The nearly forty years of FDR and post-FDR rampant deficit government spending, backed with reckless expansion of the US money supply by the Fed Reserve, was there as precedent for all future Presidents and Congresses to follow, right up to the very edge of the national bankruptcy abyss.

It is there, today, that we totter – $9.5 trillion USD in debt to the ChiComs, the oil-producing nations, and other strategic competitors, with a cool $52 trillion USD (more than 3X annual world economic output) pending and growing in unfunded future FedGov liabilities.

However, the essential philosophical questions at hand in that economic contest – today, 300 years in the past, and for as long as homo sapiens remains extant – are the same essential questions underlying the “pragmatist” vs. “absolutist” POV on guns and defiance towards government:

Who owns you, your life, your freedom, and your property?

Is it you?

Or is it someone else?

What if that someone else promises to let you control some of your life, some of your freedom, some of your property?

Does the answer change?

Does the answer change if that someone else guarantees to keep your control of your life, freedom, and property at a very high level, according to a written document that you have read and approved?

What if that someone else threaten to seize some or all of your life, freedom, or property if you don’t submit to the rules of that someone else?

What if those rules that you previously accepted are changed by that someone else?

Does the answer change now?

What if that someone else gives you property it has seized by force from someone else in exchange for your cooperation?

What if that someone else promises to leave you, your family, and your property alone if you simply provide information on local “domestic terrorists”?

Does the answer change now?

And what, if anything, are you personally willing to do about it?

[A note to the “no initiation of force” crowd: if you don’t think that the collection of taxes at the Federal, state, and local levels is not backed with both implicit and explicit governmental force directed against your property and, ultimately, your life – just stop paying taxes and watch what happens.

Force was initiated a LOOONG time ago, FWIW.]

Those questions – who owns me and my stuff, and what am I willing to do in support of my position – underpin both all of the prior conflicts on this continent and today’s escalating confrontations here in the US.

The opposing forces remain the same. On the one side, there are elites (be they royalists or collectivists or any shade therein) who believe that those “others” outside of the elite are mere cattle destined solely for ever-more-efficient exploitation. The concept that such peons would possess a galaxy of rights simply by virtue of their existence is heresy to the elites. After all, without untermenschen, how do we know who are the Übermenschen?

On the other side are individualists, who by definition have a hard time getting along with anyone – most of all each other.
😀

Thing is, there are an awful lot of individualists who, as history students, have learned that the elites’ tactics seemed to have trended over the past century from subordination/exploitation/exile towards mass extermination (at least of those deemed as dissidents, both individually and collectively).

Ergo, goes the thinking, since by virtue of one’s individualist status, one has already been likely marked by the elites for torture and post-information-extraction extermination, why would any rational opponent play the elites’ game?

Why wouldn’t the rational opponent play his/her own game, according to their own rules, mindset/skillset/toolset, and timetable, against whichever of the elites’ minions and their allies is available?

Isn’t that a better choice on the available information as the former United States, its neighbors on the North American continent, each country’s residents, and our global strategic competitors/lenders hurtle towards the coming 21st-century high-tech Major Unpleasantness, especially when compared to the electoral arithmetic and cultural improbability of a decisive victory for individual freedom via the so-called political “soft war”?

It’s unpleasant in the extreme to face, but the pro-freedom, pro-individual, pro-principles segment of the American populace is a decided (and frankly, despised) minority.

Plans predicated on any other demographic assumption will almost certainly come to ruin.

And to those who say such beliefs render their adherents into criminals and will lead to anarchy, isn’t that where we are today?

Or are rational folks supposed to accept that we live today in a nation ruled by laws, not men, and that the five-Robed-Wonders temporary majority in Heller has mooted answers to all of the essential questions posed above?

Tempus fugit.

>III

>From David, from the concept by Mike Vanderboegh.

Use it.

Pass it on.

Live it.

Tempus fugit.

>Quote of the Day

>From Rawles:

“One ought never to turn one’s back on a threatened danger and try to run away from it. If you do that, you will double the danger. But if you meet it promptly and without flinching, you will reduce the danger by half. Never run away from anything. Never!”

– Winston Churchill

>Change – Can We Live With It?

>From Kevin’s The Smallest Majority comes this letter, originally printed in the Richmond Times-Dispatch, recalling another young charismatic leader:

Editor, Times-Dispatch:

Each year I get to celebrate Independence Day twice. On June 30 I celebrate my independence day and on July 4 I celebrate America’s. This year is special, because it marks the 40th anniversary of my independence.

On June 30, 1968, I escaped Communist Cuba and a few months later I was in the United States to stay. That I happened to arrive in Richmond on Thanksgiving Day is just part of the story, but I digress.

I’ve thought a lot about the anniversary this year. The election-year rhetoric has made me think a lot about Cuba and what transpired there. In the late 1950s, most Cubans thought Cuba needed a change, and they were right. So when a young leader came along, every Cuban was at least receptive.

When the young leader spoke eloquently and passionately and denounced the old system, the press fell in love with him. They never questioned who his friends were or what he really believed in. When he said he would help the farmers and the poor and bring free medical care and education to all, everyone followed. When he said he would bring justice and equality to all, everyone said “Praise the Lord.” And when the young leader said, “I will be for change and I’ll bring you change,” everyone yelled, “Viva Fidel!”

But nobody asked about the change, so by the time the executioner’s guns went silent the people’s guns had been taken away. By the time everyone was equal, they were equally poor, hungry, and oppressed. By the time everyone received their free education it was worth nothing. By the time the press noticed, it was too late, because they were now working for him. By the time the change was finally implemented Cuba had been knocked down a couple of notches to Third-World status. By the time the change was over more than a million people had taken to boats, rafts, and inner tubes. You can call those who made it ashore anywhere else in the world the most fortunate Cubans. And now I’m back to the beginning of my story.

Luckily, we would never fall in America for a young leader who promised change without asking – what change?

How will you carry it out? What will it cost America?

Would we?

Manuel Alvarez Jr.
Sandy Hook.

Tempus fugit.

>Access Problems on WRSA, War on Guns, and Mindful Musings

>UPDATE 850 am edt 2 August 08: Blogger seems to have fixed its issue, and based on feedback to this site and others, I have removed the Sitemeter blog stats engine. All systems appear go, and we resume normal broadcasting at this time.

UPDATE 11 pm edt 1 August 08: Viewers using the MS Internet Explorer web browser cannot reliably access this site, WoG, or Chris Horton’s blog “Mindful Musings” as of 1045 pm edt on 1 August.

Use of the Safari and Firefox browsers does permit access to all 3 sites at this time.

More as/if we know more.

*********************

David Codrea’s blog “The War on Guns” has been off the air since earlier today, when, due to a software glitch by Blogger that has affected other sites as well, WoG was blocked as a so-called “spam site”.

Here’s the text from Blogger:

http://buzz.blogger.com/2008/08/spam-fridays.html

August 01, 2008
Spam Fridays
While we wish that every post on this blog could be about cool features or other Blogger news, sometimes we have to step in and admit a mistake.

We’ve noticed that a number of users have had their blogs mistakenly marked as spam, and wanted to sound off real quick to let you know that, despite it being Friday afternoon, we are working hard to sort this out. So to those folks who have received an email saying that your blog has been classified as spam and can’t post right now, we offer our sincere apologies for the trouble.

We hope to have this resolved shortly, and appreciate your patience as we work through the kinks.

posted by Brett at 3:28 PM