Thursday, April 29, 2010

On the Border: Bleeding Arizona

There are never complete parallels in history, but patterns can often be found, where events in the past have an eerie similarity to events in the present, mainly because they are occuring for similar reasons.

This past weekend, the governor of Arizona signed Senate Bill 1070 into Arizona state law. This law purports to do what the United States federal government has failed to do--stem the tide of illegal incursions across the border with Mexico.

This invasion of illegal border crossers is no longer composed of campesinos looking for work, but now includes larger and larger numbers of violent gang members (many from Central and South America), drug runners, and other criminals. In the past few years, border violence has increased, and ranchers of all backgrounds on the border have suffered property damage, violent crime and murder. This mayhem has spilled over from the border areas to the cities and towns of the southwestern United States. Last year, for example, after committing a number of other crimes, members of a violent South American gang shot up a Denny's Diner during a robbery on Albuquerque's West Side, killing and maiming innocent Americans for no apparent reason. Gruesome murders of drug runners and drug cartel lackeys have occured here in the Albuquerque area, and in Arizona drug-related kidnappings have made Phoenix one of the kidnapping capitols of the world.

According to the Constitution, Article I, Section 8, Clause 4, it is the job of the federal government to provide for a legal process for immigration and naturalization for those wishing to enter the United States. The States, in return for their entry into the Union, expect to enjoy the protection of their borders with other nation-states. And it is on the border that the United States has the authority to provide that protection.

But the federal government, over at least 20 years and spanning four presidencies, has refused to control the border with Mexico, thus refusing to protect the life, liberty and property of citizens of Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and California. This is not a racial issue at all, since most of those border citizens are Mexican-American, Hispanic, Spanish, or in California, Latino. (The differences between these categories appears to be regional: in New Mexico, most of the locals were made citizens of the US via the treaty of Guadalupe-Hildago after the Mexican War, and they call themselves "Spanish.").

Arizona, in particular, has experienced what can only be called an invasion, (as has the People's Republic of California), and the federal government has not only refused to control the border--which IS its Constitutional duty--but it has also imposed unconstitutional controls on the border states--forcing them to provide education, free health care, and welfare to people who are here illegally. This has placed an enormous burden on the infrastructure of these states-- and schools, hospitals, and law enforcement have been severely challenged.

As I said a year or more ago in my first On the Border blog entry, these states--except for California, have actually called out the National Guard to try to do what the Feds will not; to control the border, in order to protect the life, liberty and property of citizens and legal immigrants living within US territory.

The new law signed by Governor Jan Brewer seems to be an act of desperation more than anything else. It is not a good law--it will further burden Arizona law enforcement, and will very likely be another instrument for the harrassment (intended or not) of American citizens who have a Spanish surname or accent, or who 'look Mexican.' No matter how desperate the situation, one's name, accent or genetic heritage is NOT probable cause. US Citizens have the right to travel within the borders of our own country without answering questions and without producing papers. The right to security in one's person, effects and papers is guaranteed by the Bill of Rights, and the power of the government to question, search and seize one's person or one's property is likewise severely limited by the 4th and 5th Amendments.

Further, it is likely that SCOTUS will eventually rule the law unconstitutional, and it is very likely that the governor and the state legislators of Arizona know it. In the meantime, the federal government is likely to refuse to cooperate with Arizona law enforcement, creating a greater burden on Arizona cops, and further animosity between Arizona's citizens and their own federal government. Thus this is a situation in which federal neglect of its duties and its refusal to resolve the issue of the illegal crossings of our southern border has resulted in a stand-off with a state, and that this stand-off is likely to spread. Bleeding Arizona is an omen of the shape of things to come.

In the history of the United States, we've seen such stand-offs before. I am thinking of 'Bleeding Kansas', which was a full-out border war between pro-slavery groups from southern Kansas and Missouri, and anti-slavery groups from Kansas. The tide of emigration to Kansas increased substantially, as members of both sides tried to increase their numbers to influence how Kansas would enter the Union--as a slave-state or free. At one time, Kansas actually had two competing territorial governments, and southern armies marched into Kansas to confront John Brown and his guerilla army. Although the proximate causes of Bleeding Kansas are different that what we see in Arizona, and the violence much more explosive than protestors in Phoenix throwing water bottles at the Arizona Capitol Police, the ultimate cause is the same: the refusal of the federal government to deal with an inflammatory issue because it would upset a delicate balance of power in Washington.

To put it bluntly, our Pols lack the courage to take real stands on the issue and develop a principled and Constitutional policy on immigration. The US can have open borders only if the US scuttles the welfare state; but rather than discuss the fundamental issues, our Pols pander to the electorate in order to retain their seats. They are the furthest thing from statesmen that this country has seen since the Compromise Generation of the 1840's and 1850's.

And so they put sovereign states like Arizona into the impossible position of either enforcing federal law at the state level without compensation, and without a Constitutional mandate, or choosing to go bankrupt as all the people who will be forced to pay for it flee the State because of the tax burden and because of the lawless violence on the border.

That Arizona is pushing back against the federal government is not surprising. But it does not auger well for the relationship between an increasingly out-of-touch imperial federal government that has long ago overreached its Constitutionally limited power, and the States, which are sovereign entities now expect to sit down and shut up for the sake of increasingly worthless federal reserve notes. The federal government is bankrupt, and will now try to stay in business a little longer by preying on the states. The push-back is inevitable.

Arizona should scrap the unworkable law, and instead tote up the costs of the federal neglect of its border with Mexico, and bill the federal government for it. New Mexico and Texas* should do the same. The bills will not be paid, but they will be a moral shot across the bow of the United States Ship of State.

*Arizona and Texas may actually do it; New Mexico--manana-land USA--is very unlikely to because it still receives two dollars from the Feds for every dollar sent in. We are working on it, but it will be a difficult sell here. I will not even suggest California do it. That state is currently positioning itself to bill the other states through the federal government for its own irresponsible spending.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

In a Libertarian Society . . .

Note: I delivered this speech to the Libertarian Party of New Mexico on Saturday, April 17, 2010.
I wrote it the night before, but I had been thinking about it for a while. My delivery was not great since I had very little practice time. Nevertheless, it was well received. However, they drafted me as Vice Chair anyway. That puts me on the Central Committee. Somebody must not have liked the speech.

In a Libertarian Society

Growing up in a Libertarian household was an EXPERIENCE. Between normal kid and teen activities, my baby sisters and I also regularly attended Libertarian candidate interviews, party county and regional conventions, and Libertarian social events. Those last were real hoots. I mean where else could you experience the combination of politics, smoke and beer that was carefully calculated to bring the situation to critical mass at a carefully indeterminate hour, resulting in table-pounding, chair slamming, and the inevitable walk-out by one or another of the county or regional central committee members. We kids thought it was hysterically funny, unless we were the ones that got dragged out with one of our disgruntled parents.

When we did not have ringside seat for the libertarian contact sport of DEBATE OF PRINCIPLES, we received our educations in Liberty at home or at the mall, where our parents would wax poetic about the wonders of Capitalism and the depredations of those evil twins of Wesley Mouch down in Springfield or over in Washington DC. And whether we were discussing Atlas Shrugged at Papa’s Kitchen Table University—“Where REAL EDUCATION Begins”--or helping our parents get unsuspecting citizens to sign the unlabeled Bill of Rights at the Eastland Mall—where we all got hauled off by the mall staff for distributing subversive materials—(I kid you NOT), we heard the same phrase over and over: “In a libertarian society . . .”

In a libertarian society . . . there will be no Federal Reserve Notes and people will mint their own gold and silver.
In a libertarian society . . . private charity will be responsible for making sure that the bums down on Center Street get a hot meal.
In a libertarian society . . . people will take responsibility themselves for negotiating intersections and a private police force will mediate the resulting standoffs at the corner of College and Fell Avenue.

We heard this so often that my sister Madge started up this joke:
“How many libertarians does it take to screw in a light bulb? (Pause)
“None. In a libertarian society . . . light bulbs will take responsibility for themselves.”

At very tender ages, my sisters and I swore a solemn oath never to inflict that phrase – “In a libertarian society . . .”—upon our own children.

I did pretty well at it for a while. That was before Ron Paul cured my apathy. In 1988. And the other day, I heard myself say it to my son—down at the DMV. There is nothing like the DMV to make you wish for Revolution. I mean the kind without the backwards “L” and “e” in it.

But I digress. My point is that libertarians have a great many ideas about what a libertarian society should look like. They argue about it a good deal. And sometimes—especially after a morning at the DMV—Libertopia (another Madge-ism) looks wonderful to me. I’ll even take the arms race at the intersection of San Mateo and Menaul. We all have our ideas about what Libertopia looks like, but other than the electoral process, it doesn’t seem like we have a clear idea of how to get there. And you’ve got to admit, all our hard work through the LP at getting people elected at the presidential level has netted us exactly 1 electoral vote. In 1972. And working on electing Libertarians to Congress has not yielded much better results. All of this costs a lot of money, turning our national party into a full-time fund-raising organization, and creating problems for the state organizations. Here in New Mexico, our recent Ballot Access lawsuit was brought in order to mitigate some of those problems.

The idea that local and state organizations should focus on local issues, and get people to volunteer for or be elected to low-level political posts certainly has some merit; these elections are often uncontested, and voter turn-out is low, making it easier to get out the Libertarian vote (large and small “L”), and put someone in office. The trade-off is that these positions also carry very little power to reach and educate the average voter about the advantages of Liberty. Libertarians in such positions become simply cogs in the big-government machine organized and managed for the benefit of the statists in charge.

If we are to ever get to Libertopia, we clearly need a new road map. From the very beginning in 1971, one of the main criticisms of forming the National LP has been that we were starting in the wrong place. (And I can tell you that those arguments were a wonderful source of Libertarian Contact Sport, leaving Central Illinois weekend warrior Libs bruised, battered and bleeding). Libertarians very quickly organized a political party, the objective of which is to get people elected, when it might have started as a social and educational organization, whose objective is to change how people think about philosophical and moral issues related to individualism. This was one of the criticisms that Ayn Rand leveled at the LP from the beginning, but she mixed it up with what L. Neal Smith calls her “Russian Grandmother” issues, and couched it in smears and vitriol, to the point where her important message to us went largely unheard.

The result is that our LP has been relatively ineffectual as a political party—and has been quickly shut out of the national and state scenes by the statists on the so-called right, and the statists on the so-called left. Both major parties used their power and clout to teach—with no evidence—that our political structure was founded upon the “two-party system”, removing Liberty entirely from the menu of political options. All this in a country founded on the very bedrock of Individual Rights! The fact that the statists have been able to pull this off speaks volumes about the sad state of American History as an academic field, and as a subject in public schools. (No. I’m not going there. In a libertarian society . . . there would be no public schools and parents would take responsibility for the education of their children.)

These past 40 years we have been wandering in the political wilderness, seeking our freedom at the feet of idols, none of which has the power to grant what we desire. Liberty does not come from the outside; it is a quality that is inherent in the very nature of the human individual. And yet living liberty requires a recognition and respect for natural rights from enough people to form a society.

Does this mean we ought to form our own libertarian societies? Even with all the talk about “going Galt”, the development of “Paulvilles”, and even ideas about floating cities outside the jurisdictional waters of any extant nation-state, this would be a long process, and I am concerned that we do not have much time left to reclaim our birthright of liberty. Not that I would obstruct the free efforts of others in that direction. Laissez-faire! Leave them alone, and see what comes of them. However, the statists have been working towards enslaving us to their purposes for a very long time, and they now have the systems in place to move in for the kill.

But all is not lost! Those years of wandering in the wilderness of elections, where have become ensnared in the pits of the false left-right dichotomy, and gotten lost in the badlands of party power politics, have not been entirely in vain. For during that time, rumors of Liberty have gotten out among the people, and the philosophy of liberty has been disseminated to a new generation. Actually--two new generations.

And help has come from an unexpected source. For as the statists have tightened the chains of our encroaching slavery, so that they become heavier upon us, and Americans have begun to notice. Everywhere, people are waking up, and the fires of liberty are beginning to ignite in their hearts. The sparks are beginning to take hold, and people are beginning to question and protest the loss of their freedom.

Some of you have seen it for yourself. As I have, traveling in New Mexico for the New Mexico Patriot Alliance, and to Illinois as a delegate to the Continental Congress. I have seen big changes among the awakening people from last year to this.

At the Tea Parties last year, the focus was on taxes and on the evil of the Democratic Party Progressives. The concept that salvation would be found by electing Republicans was everywhere. However, even there, the fires of Liberty were being stoked by Libertarians, by Objectivists, by Constitutionalists.

Since the Tea Party movement began last year, the statists have increased the velocity their drive towards fascism, towards socialism, towards whatever you want to call it, and their end game is a world collectivist state.

And in response, I have noticed that more Tea Party goers are carrying signs that, rather than just vilifying the current administration, and rather than just protest taxes, point to the founding principles of the United States, and the Constitution. Principles that Libertarians can agree—despite those among us who would rather go much further—are nevertheless principles worth restoring.

At Continental Congress 2009, we elected a Libertarian to preside over the proceedings: Michael Badnarik. And he is the real deal. Although there were small coalitions of theocrats and other conservatives, some of whom wish to use the power of the state to enforce their particular theologies and moralities, the majority of the body, and a group of dedicated libertarians (small “l” AND large “L”), worked long and hard to promote the cause of Liberty with good (though not perfect) results.

The work of the Continental Congress 2009 resulted in the Articles of Freedom, which documents fourteen major violations to the Constitution—including such violations of liberty as the income tax, the federal reserve, undeclared foreign adventures in “nation building”, and the violation of private property rights. The Articles of Freedom also include instructions to the federal government and the Sovereign States for the remediation of these violations through such actions as tenth-amendment assertions and restrictions on the activity of the feds to those stated in Article I Section 8 of the Constitution. In addition, the States are instructed to protect the people from Federal incursions on their rights through the empowering of the county sheriffs via the Supreme Court decision, Printz-Mack vs. the United States, and through the formation of Constitutional Militias.

Since we do not expect any more response from the present imperial presidency, and the present congressional elite, than the Olive Branch Petition got from King George III and the Parliament, the Articles of Freedom also contain suggestions for Civic Action on the part of Liberty-loving Americans. This civic action is planned to culminate in the withdrawal of support to the federal government by a “goodly number of millions” of patriots create a mass movement to restore their liberty by Constitutional means. A huge goal, to be sure, and fraught with problems in the details and the scope; but the journey to Liberty is not begun by those who nit-pick the problems. The pioneers who settled this country had a saying: “The cowards never started, and the weak died on the way.” If we are to be a force for freedom, we can neither be cowards nor weaklings. And we must begin with the first steps.

Go to, sign the pledge, and get your liberty-loving friends and neighbors to do the same.

Continental Congress, the Tea Parties, the Ron Paul R3volution, and state-based patriot coalitions like the NMPA—these are all part of a movement that has coalesced because our present federal government has stepped on the gas in its drive toward an all-powerful, collectivist state.

The LP stands at the edge of its current map—the map of the political process of electing candidates—and now must decide how to expand that map so that we can leave the wilderness, and lead on in the drive towards that “libertarian society” our parents envisioned. Although educational, the political process of electing candidates to offices to serve a statist government, has become (in and of itself) a dead end for libertarians. I submit that it is time to do some back-of-the envelope calculations, and take into account where we actually are, and who is here with us, in order to redraw our road-map to Libertopia; and to include other highways and byways than just partisan political action.

I believe that there are (at least) three ways to get to our goal—a libertarian society—and that we need scouting parties and shovel-ready construction teams working actively on all of them.

One road is the political action highway. This is currently the main LP route to Libertopia, but the road is too narrow to carry the traffic needed to restore the Constitution. It needs to be broadened to include more than elections. Political action entails lifting our voices for Liberty through protests and forums; it requires that we get the unadulterated message of Liberty to the people, one by one, through education and example. The people are waking up—but in their yawning and stretching—they have not yet understood that the coffee needs to be hot and caffeinated. It cannot be a tepid mix of statism with a dash of Liberty. One cannot expect to be free and control your neighbor’s marriage or his money. We know this, and through political action in the broadest sense, we can present an uncompromising philosophical case for liberty everywhere we go, thereby “lighting the fires of liberty in one heart at a time.” (I LIKE that Badnarik quote!).

Another route to Libertopia is the cultural bypass. Our vehicles in the culture are education and entertainment. Speaking for myself, this is the way that the idea of Liberty became real in my pointed little head as a child and young-adult. At Papa’s Kitchen Table University, I read and discussed the founding documents of the United States from a libertarian perspective. And I was given the books and papers that formed the ideas in the Declaration of Independence, Jefferson’s Virginia Resolution on Religious Liberty, and the Constitution itself. I read and discussed Locke and Smith, and Bastiat. This education was a powerfully firm foundation for making the cause of Liberty my home in this world—even if I explored other ideas along the way.

The educational aspect powerful as it is does not alone ignite people’s visions of Liberty. Libertopia has been envisioned through novels, stories and movies, and counterexamples in these media can also instruct, by making the horror of tyranny very real. Books like Heinlein’s The Moon is a Harsh Mistress; Smith’s Probability Broach, and classics like 1984, have all influenced the vision of Libertopia, and increased our desire to work toward it. Currently, Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged, though out more than 50 years, has sold more than it ever has, as people strive to find a philosophical vision of what the world is now, and what it might become. We must get these books into the hands of newly awakened people, and recommend movies like The Matrix series, to get them thinking. We must introduce them to the very vocabulary of liberty, so that they may have a sustaining vision to get them through the hard and rocky way that lies between us and the land of living liberty. The vision thing is important—this is people change their hearts and minds, and commit to ideas.

The third road is that of preparation for Living Liberty. As the statists tighten their grip, their unworkable economic and social systems are beginning to show signs of stress and strain. The mixed economy cannot sustain the spending they need to do in order to achieve their goal. And as the current system falters, their response will accelerate the economic collapse.

This is their weakness and our opportunity. But it comes at a price. We ourselves, as well as our friends and neighbors, and those just beginning to awaken to this reality, are dependent on the workings of this economy. We can fiddle while Rome burns—sitting around and complaining about the evils of the state, and the state of the world—but that will do nothing to get us to Libertopia. The enemies of liberty mean to use this kind of crisis to create their slave-state, and we are meant to be so dependent on them that we willingly give up our freedom for the security of three squares a day.

We, too, can prepare for the inevitable crisis that has been built into our mixed economies. We must be the watchmen at the gate, calling out to the denizens of our current camp in the wilderness that it is time to prepare for the coming battle. And we must prepare ourselves by beginning to live Liberty. We can do this by making ourselves more self-sufficient, and less dependent on those who would be our masters. We can start living liberty by developing alternate, local economies and the means for personal self-defense. On this road, I believe that we will find that even as we are preparing for the worst, we are also developing the best within ourselves; and that when we arrive at Libertopia, we will be ready to live there.

At R3volution March, Adam Kokesh asked the question: Is it time?
In the past two years, as the march to statism has not only continued, but accelerated, I believe that the answer is: Yes, it is time. And I also believe that the years Libertarians have spent in the wilderness have been fruitful, perhaps even because of the pits and blind canyons we have fallen into. We know what roads we have tried, and we can preserve what worked. But the times demand that we come out of the wilderness, and in coalition with others who are fully awake to our peril, we must expand our maps, and prepare for the end game. The battle is on, and the crisis is imminent. The result will be either Liberty or slavery; individual rights or collectivism. This may be a long and arduous road—but our feet are already on the first marches.

One of the sages of my tradition put it this way: “The task is great; the taskmaster is exacting, and the day draws on towards evening. And yet-lo alecha hamlacha ligmor—it is not up to us to complete the task—lo aval ben chorim l’hivote minena—but neither are we free to desist from it.

And at the end of the task—way up yonder, is that shining place—Libertopia!-- where we can sit under our vines and fig trees and begin all our sentences this way:
“Here, in a libertarian society . . .”

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Articles of Freedom Ceremony at the Roundhouse

They thought we were skinheads. Evidently, the Roundhouse security didn't click through on the links to the We the People Foundation for Constitutional Education, and to the Articles of Freedom website. So our ceremony, in the Rotunda of the Roundhouse, was attended by a few Constitutionalists, and large group of the Capitol Police. Well, perhaps the policemen heard us talking about their Oath to the Constitution. I hope so. At one point in the ceremony, I said:

"How does anyone taking this vow, elected officials especially, reconcile this with the violations that have been committed against our Constitution, and what those violations have done and are doing to America, with effects for generations to come?"

During the ceremony, they did allow a tour group composed for the most part of retirees and schoolchildren to walk through, so by then I imagine that they realized that we are simply ordinary Americans, concerned about our out of control government.

(Here we are getting ready for the ceremony. Michael Lunnon had put our state table marker from CC2009 on the lectern, but the Capitol Security made us take it down. Evidently, there's been some incidents of anti-Richardson signs at the Capitol lately. Wonder why?)

The New Mexico Roundhouse is the only round capitol building in the US, and it looks like a Zia--the symbol on our seal, from the air. New Mexico has the oldest Capitol Building in the US--the Palace of the Governors--built to house the Spanish colonial governor--pre-dates Williamsburg and New England. New Mexico also has the newest, our current capital, the Roundhouse, finished in 1966.

(Picture: The Great Seal of the State of New Mexico was on the front of the lectern. It is an interesting seal because it shows the American Bald Eagle protecting the Mexican Brown Eagle, which has a snake in its beak and an cactus in it's talons; the same Brown Eagle is on the Mexican Flag. The date 1912--the year of our statehood is in Arabic rather than Roman numerals, as the the people thought the Roman numerals were too prententious for us. The Motto--Cresit Eundo--means "it grows as it goes". Although some think it is nonsensical, I believe it fits New Mexico very well.)

Although press releases were sent out, there was only one person there who may have been from the press--but he didn't identify himself. No matter, the ceremony was intended to be a public speaking out to our government which is in violation of the Constitution. Although we hope for a response to the Articles of Freedom, we do not expect it. The purpose of this public speaking out is to have a record that we have petitioned for redress of our grievances, and getting no response, now we have provided our servant government with instructions on the violations from the reak Sovereigns--the people themselves. In the future whether we regain our liberty as free men and women, or if we lose our liberty entirely, there will be record that some of us resisted the encroaching power of the state.

Despite the fact that we were treated as if we, the people who own the building, were somehow a danger to it, we were happy that we were able to use the Rotunda. We did so with prior notice, and we did sign a copy of the rules--but we did not ask for a permit to speak. Rights need no permission. And in that sense, perhaps the State of New Mexico is more honorable than many other places. They did not ask us to violate our rights.

(Picture: The inside of the Rotunda is faced with native New Mexican travertine, carefully matched. The Rotunda is full of light from the simple but beautiful ocula above).

Rather than beginning with the Pledge to the Flag, we began with a more meaningful (to us) Pledge of Honor to the Constitution for the United States:

"I pledge my Life, my Fortune, and my Sacred Honor, to protect and defend the Constitution, and the Republic which it forms, One nation of Sovereign States, with Liberty and Justice for ALL." (I wrote this after looking at various other pledges to the Constitution).

The second part of the ceremony, after all the pledges and the Prayer of the Continental Congress 2009, read the statement of purpose:

"Our message is not about the resusitation of a dead Constitution.The Constitution still towers above the wrecks of our national life.

. . . We are NOT fanatics. We are NOT extremists. We do NOT seek revolution or anarchy.

As a people we need to ask . . . what kind of a country do we want to leave to our children and grandchildren?

Shall we let our Constitution and its essential principles be murdered by the powers of this world? Will we tolerate TYRANNY merely to be comfortable?

. . . Now we offer these instructions to our government to obey the Constitution, which after all, is a strongly worded set of principles to govern the government, NOT the people.

By the provisions in the Constitution, the PEOPLE have formed the government, and enabled the government to act in certain ways. HOWEVER, the PEOPLE have also purposely and markedly restricted and prohibited the government from acting in certain other ways.

. . .We are not moved by any hasty suggestion of anger or revenge. Through every possible change of fortune we adhere peacably to this determination.

. . . It is our obligation as responsible citizens of this country to set a proper value upon, and to defend to the utmost, our just rights and the blessings of life and liberty. . .

. . . [We are placing our government and its officials] on notice that, We, the Free People of America, believe them to be in violation of their Oaths of Office and the Constitution for the United States of America."

Dave Batcheller then read the Declaration and Resolves of the Continental Congress 2009:

" . . . In defense of a Free People, the time has come to reassert our god-given natural rights and cast off tyranny.

Let the facts reveal: The federal government of the United States of America was instituted to secure the individual rights of our citizens, and instead now threatens our life, liberty and property through usurpations of the Constitution. Emboldened by our own lack of responsibility in these matters, government has exceded its mandate and abandoned those founding principles that have made our nation exceptional.

. . . Whereupon we, as citizen-delegates have gathered in defense of divine justice, liberty and the principles of limited government, now stand in recognition of the Supreme Law of the Land--the Constitution for the United States of America.

Therefore, we demand that government immediately re-establish Constitutional Rule of Law, lest the people be forced to do so themselves; and we hereby serve notice that in the defense of Freedom and Liberty there shall be NO COMPROMISE to which we will ever yield."

After I then read a list of the fourteen Constitutional violations for which the formal petitions for Redress of Grievance had been ignored, as identified by the Continental Congress, the people present were invited to join in taking the Pledge of the Articles of Freedom:

"In full view of the Creator as my Witness,
I hereby pledge to join with millions of Americans, to hold our elected and appointed officials accountable to their oaths of office: To preserve, protect and defend the Constitution for the United States of America.
In seeking to hold them accountable, I shall hold myself accountable to do the same.
I renounce and condemn, any and all INITIATION of violent force, and will pursue all Lawful and Constitutional means to fulfill my duty.
I speak these works as an Eternal Record of the will of a people to be Free."

These are the highlights.

After the ceremony, Dave, Michael and I were escorted by security to deliver the Articles of Freedom to the Governor's office, and the offices of the Speaker of the State House, and the President Pro-Tempore of the State Senate. These offices are in the Roundhouse. We then went (sans entourage) to the offices of both US Senators, as well as the US Representative in whose district Santa Fe is located to deliver the Articles to them.

At each place, we gave the staffer a short shpiel and then handed over the articles. As I said above, it would be nice if they look at them but that is a lot to expect from these politicians. Their bread is not buttered by the people that they supposedly represent.

Now we work to get that 3 - 5 % of the population on board with the concept of peaceful but determined civic action, in order to put the pressure on our out-of-control government.
That is the next step. Whatever happens in the end, at least I will be able to tell my grandchildren that I did not fiddle while the Constitution burned.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Tax Day Tea Party: Second Annual

This week has been . . . one of those weeks.
Nevertheless, in the midst of sadness and worry, as well as busy preparations,
the Ragamuffin House crew went out to the Albuquerque Tax Day Tea Party 2.0 yesterday.
Unfortunately, yours truly forgot to charge the camera, and all the pictures were from the first part of the event. Then the battery ran out!

Despite concerns, it was another peaceful, happy event for the Tea Party participants, as we lined up along Menaul, both sides, all the way from San Pedro to Wyoming Avenues.

We were at least 9000 strong.


The Rasta-Jew and I volunteered to drive our truck along Montgomery, where the Tea Party was held last year. There was a misdirection campaign--possibly by OFA--and so we wanted to counter it. But ATP had done a good publicity job and the only people across from the IRS were the progressive singing grandmothers.

After we did about five rounds up and down Montgomery, we headed back to Menaul to join the Tea Party.
Here the Rasta-Jew unfurls the First Navy Jack.
Later, he enjoyed jogging up and down the street, flag flying in the breeze.

Three of the NMPA ladies display their signs as they move toward the street to join the Tea Party. Each sign fits their personality--one with no sign, just the flag, Coleen with her flowered patriotic shirt and "Save the Republic" and Connie, reminding our non-representing representatives what's coming in November.

Shot from across the street, this is on the corner of Wyoming and Menaul at the peak of the Tea Party. I wonder if, as the evening wore on, some of them took tea and ice-cream breaks!

People were happy to be out and enjoy the like-minded company, but there was an edge to their signs that indicate that they understand that the Pols are not listening.

Over and over, I saw signs that said things like: Heinrich, Udall, Bingaman--Remember, remember the 2nd of November.

That's election day.

There were also a lot of people and signs out in anticipation of the National 2nd Amendment Rights protest on April 19.

Here, Milt exercises both his First and Second Amendment Rights.

In New Mexico, open carry is honored and practiced.

Dave, the fearless leader of NMPA, here holds his typical sign: short and to the point.

On the other side he had written:
"This is our line in the Sand" next to a picture of the Constitution of the United States.

He was wearing his favorite Patriot Shirt--and I must say, it looks good on him.

During the Tea Party, I walked the whole thing--from Pennsylvania to Wyoming on the north side of Menaul, then back down to San Pedro on the south side, and then back up the north side to Pennsylvania.

I saw a lot of great signs. Many said things like:

"I want to vote for a black president, but not a red one."

"Spread your own damn wealth around!"

"BO: You are not entitled to my wealth!"

And this old car, decorated for the occasion.

A good time was had by most--but most of the Tea Partiers realized that this was keep up the momentum--they know the Pols are not listening.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Serving the Articles of Freedom

In your State Capitol, and in other cities, the delegates to the Continental Congress 2009 and other representatives and leaders of We the People, will be serving the Articles of Freedom:

Be there! Or be a slave!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

The Propaganda of Implied Association

Just before the Sabbath began Friday evening, our rabbi posted a letter by Marianne Williamson at his Facebook account stating that it was rational and important. The letter was an attack on Sarah Palin. Or rather it was an attack on something that Palin wrote in her blog. But rather than being a direct and open critique of Palin's ideas in that blog, Williamson took two lines of metaphor from the end of Palin's statement, and used it to imply that Palin advocated actions that were nowhere stated in the text of Palin's blog. Further, Williamson went on to imply through the use of generalities that Sarah Palin and those who support her or any of her ideas, would then be responsible for the unamed future actions of any individuals who might plan or commit violence against members of the current executive branch.

Williamson's letter is not rational, but it is important because it represents a concerted attack on the free speech of those who oppose the policies of the current administration that has been ongoing in the propaganda of the mainstream media (MSM). And it is important to address what the members of the MSM are doing NOT because I agree with all of Sarah Palin's ideas (I disagree with Palin more often than not), nor because I like Sarah Palin (I don't know her), but because this propaganda technique of implied association can be successfully used to shut down opposition to the policies of any government without the necessity of ever using reasoned arguments to discuss the ideas behind those policies. That almost all members of the MSM use propaganda rather than providing the public with the facts and ideas vis-a-vis specific administration policy indicates that the press is not in any real sense free; that is it is biased in favor of those in power and their policies, whoever those in power happen to be. As such, the product of the work of the media should also be viewed with a great deal of suspicion.

I will quote freely from Palin and from Williamson for the purposes of this essay, but for purpose of space, I will not provide full quotations of both documents. Rather, I will provide links to the full documents on their first citation here.

Williamson's letter purports to be an admonition to Sarah Palin for the use of this metaphor in a blogpost that compares the March Madness NCAA Basketball Tournament with a political campaign. Although Williamson takes the highlighted sentence below out of its context, I quote it here in context:

"To the teams that desire making it this far next year: Gear up! In the battle, set your sights on next year's targets! From the shot across the bow--the first second's tip off--your leaders will be in the enemies crosshairs, so you must execute strong defensive tactics. You won't win only on defense, so get on offense! The crossfire is intense, so penetrate through enemy territory by bombing through the press, and use your strong weapons--your Big Guns--to drive to the hole. Shoot with accuracy, aim high and remember, it takes blood, sweat and tears to win."
(From, March 28, 2010. The full text can be found here).

But what Williamson really does in her open letter to Palin has nothing to do with Palin per se. Rather the letter, with its effusive compliments of Palin's book, and the expression of desire to speak together reasonably, never drops below the surface of glittering generalities. Instead those generalities are used to carefully construct the implication that Sarah Palin is responsible for inciting violence against the President of the United States in this blog entry
by use of the above sports metaphor. She writes:

"Please modify your words.
In my lifetime, we have lost a President (sic), a Civil Rights leader (sic), and a Presidential Candidate (sic), all to gun violence . . . I am not suggesting that you would pick up a gun and shoot anyone; I am suggesting there are other people who would, however, and in your position as a leading political figure you are stoking fires . . . that are too dangerous to be safely stoked."
(From, undated. The full text can be found here).

Here Williamson takes what is clearly a sports metaphor--in which a basketball game is compared to a battle--and indirectly equates it to "gun violence", and further to "gun violence" directed against the President of the United States. After protesting too much that her argument has nothing to do with partisan politics, Williamson then implies that the use of such metaphors will cause "dangerous" people to enter into a Nazi-like "group psychosis." (Remember the MIAC report. The groundwork has been carefully laid by this government and its media cheerleaders to characterize peaceful people like the Tea Parties--even anti-war people like Ron Paul supporters--as dangerous based only on their political beliefs. At the risk of invoking Godwin's Law, isn't that what the Nazi's did?)

Williamson's penultimate paragraph adds insult to injury by using the propaganda technique of "nice words" to imply that not only is Sarah Palin full of hate due to the basketball metaphor that Williamson changed to gun violence, but that it's use is "frightening". This is an appeal to fear--we should all be deathly afraid of Palin and her supporters (and their flying basketballs)--because the desire to win a political battle against the current adminstration is "dangerous." As is the use of free speech. Williamson is so sanctimonious as to make one gag:

"Please join me in turning to a God of Love and not fear . . ."

As if the whole letter was not calculated to inspire fear of Palin and her supporters, and anyone else who wants to defeat the current administration and majority party in 2010 and 2012.

Williamson's sanctimonious propaganda is a nasty attack on its face, but worse is the use to which this letter other such blogs have been put within the context of the current political climate. From the MIAC report, to the harrassment of Campaign for Liberty staffers at airports, to the repeated mischaracterizations of the Tea Partiers as angry racists, a climate of fear is being inculcated among Americans. (Yesterday I spoke for a while to a woman who was quite fearful of the Tea Parties but who could not give me one shred of evidence to support her fear. It turns out she had never even spoken to one of us). But the language of fear is being used by progressive supporters of the Obama administration against those who oppose his policies. It is a craven attempt to avoid a discussion of ideas by use of propaganda, and it is one in which the Obama adminstration and press lackeys have invoked the Vision of Annointed. That is, they have moved the discussion from debate of evidence and facts to one in which they must be right because they are holy, but their opposition is evil because it is wrong.

And this letter from Williamson is part of a concerted attack on the free speech of anyone who opposes Obama's policies in whole or in part. The point is to the plant the seed of doubt about the value of free speech into the minds of Americans by invoking the idea of guilt by implied association. For example, should some crazy person pick up a gun and shoot a politician, it would not be made the fault of the shooter. Rather, anyone who verbally opposed the victim's policy is held responsible for "incitement". And anyone who wanted to defeat that victim in the next election would be held responsible, especially if she used strong, metaphoric language. And anyone who might have at one time or another agreed with one of the myriad ideas that the shooter also happened to espouse, then that person is also responsible. None of these people to be held responsible need ever have known or encountered the shooter.

The point of making such associations is twofold: First, it creates a climate in which people become afraid to make any public statement in opposition to the policies of one of those who hold the Vision of the Annointed, no matter how well reasoned; and 2) it lays the groundwork for a "false-flag" incident through which the opposition can be blamed and then destroyed. (The Reichstag fire was a planned false-flag incident; Krystallnacht was excused by the unplanned death of an SS officer at the hands of a justifiably angry Jew).

This use of collective responsibility through the rhetoric of implied association is a tool of totalitarian dictators the world over. It is used to isolate and exterminate the opposition and other innocent but targeted groups. It is so used because no rational discussion can be had with those who wish to impose their will by force. The progressives have been making an effort of late to disarticulate the concept of force from violence, as if violence were not a species of force (see Amit Ghati's Force and Violence: How the Left Blurs the Terms); and at confusing the INITIATION of Force with defense against it. All force is a violation against the life, liberty or property of another. And it is the INITIATION of force against another that is immoral, not the use of force to defend one's rights against such initiation. The initiation of force is immoral whether it is obtained through fraud, fear, or violence.

It is Williamson, and not Palin, who has hidden motives in this exchange. Palin has made it clear that she opposes the current administration and its policies, and that she would like to see Obama and his supporters defeated in the next election. Williamson would like to make this straightforward political battle into something more. With an iron fist hidden in a velvet glove, she wants to imply that metaphorical speech is direct incitement to violence. She would like her readers to believe that, as one self-proclaimed philosopher on our rabbi's Facebook put it, the free speech of the political opposition needs to be "reigned in." (The "philosopher does not say how so or by whom, but it's a pretty good bet that she means to reign us in by government use of force, for who else would have the power?) The problem with this is that if the rights of any one of us is violated, then the rights of all become mere privileges, to be granted or revoked at the will of the ones with the biggest guns. Then we shall see the real meaning of mere democracy: mob rule.

It is true that these are dangerous times. And we must be extraordinarily careful not to be induced by the mere propaganda of a sanctimonious gun inside a velvet glove into surrendering our rights. Rights were not given by the government, they were "endowed by our Creator" (nature and nature's god); no lien can be placed on them, and any attempt to deny them because they are "dangerous" must be determinedly resisted as peacefully as possible. But make no mistake--peace is the fullness of all aspects of life--the yin and the yang--it is not the refuge of those who are too craven to resist the initiation of force, however siren-like the glittering generalities used to hide it have become. That siren sings a song of hope and change while the chains of our slavery to her power and prestige, unchanged these past administrations, are forged by the venal politicians who place it over and above their oaths of office, there on the plains of the Beltway.

Hard words? Harder are these words:

". . . it is natural to man to indulge in the illusions of hope. We are apt to shut our eyes against a painful truth, and listen to the song of that siren until she transforms us into beasts. Is this the part of wise men who are engaged in the great and arduous struggle for liberty? Are we disposed to be of the number of those who, having eyes see not, and having ears, hear not, the things which so nearly concern their temporal salvation? For my part, whatever anguish of spirit it may cost, I am willing to know the whole truth, to know the worst and to provide for it.
. . . there is no retreat but in submission and slavery. Our chains are forged . . . is life so dear and peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others take, but as for me, Give me Liberty, or give me Death!"
---Patrick Henry, March 23, 1775

I'll take hard honest words over nice slippery ones any day.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Going Galt!!

Thinking about Going Galt?
From the Atlas Society, this is what it means:

Going Galt!!:
"What is “Going Galt?”

“Going Galt” doesn’t simply mean getting angry. That would be “Going Postal.” It means having righteous indignation at the injustice of a political system that bails out individuals and institutions for irresponsible behavior and at the expense of those like you who prosper through hard work and personal responsibly.

“Going Galt” means asking in the face of new taxes and government controls, “Why work at all?” “For whom am I working?” “Am I a slave?”

“Going Galt” means recognizing that you’re being punished not for your vices but for your virtues.

“Going Galt” means recognizing that you have a moral right to your own life, the pursuit of your own happiness, and thus to the rewards you’ve earned with your labor.

“Going Galt” means recognizing that you deserve praise and honor for your achievements rather than damnation as “exploiters.”

“Going Galt” means recognizing that you do not need to justify your life or wealth to your neighbors, “society,” or politicians, or bureaucrats. They’re yours, period!

“Going Galt” means recognizing that the needs of others do not give them a claim to your time, effort, and achievements.

“Going Galt” means shrugging off unearned guilt, refusing to support your own destroyers, refusing to give them what Ayn Rand termed “the sanction of the victim.” It means taking the moral high ground by explicitly rejecting as evil the premise of “self-sacrifice” that they sell to you as a virtue— in fact “self-sacrifice” is an invitation to suicide."

To find out more, check out the
Atlas Society Website.

You might also enjoy this You Tube Video:

The passage of Socialized Medicine to be phased in over the next 5 years, means that many doctors will be going Galt. And many of us who pay taxes will be phasing in Going Galt as the taxes rise to pay for it.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

From Petitions to Articles of Freedom

On April 19, my fellow delegates--Michael Lunnon and Dave Batcheller--and I will be serving the Articles of Freedom on our federal representatives, and on the governor's office in Santa Fe. At the same time, delegates and/or their representatives from every state will be serving the same document.

The Articles of Freedom are an outcome of the Continental Congress 2009--a gathering of delegates from each of 48 states--who congressed in Illinois to deliberate upon 14 Petitions for Redress of Grievances and determined that the servant government was in violation of our rights as protected by the Constitution, primarily by not responding to the First Amendment right to Petition for Redress of Grievances. Here is the text of the First Amendment:

Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or of the right of the people to peacably assemble, and to petition the government for redress of grievances.

At least fourteen petitions have been formally brought to all three branches of government over the past 15 years, and CC2009 concluded that no response whatsover was recieved. Therefore, members of our government are in violation of their oaths of office which require them to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States. Given this pattern of lack of response, and the cynical disregard shown to the Constitution by members of government (recall Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, who laughed at the thought that government should obey the Constitution?), the time for Petitions has passed and the time has come for the people to assert their rights and to give instructions to the servant government.

The Articles of Freedom not only document these violations to the Constitution, and the disrespect shown by our government to the Supreme Law of the Land; they also document numerous specific violations to every article in the Constitution and provide instructions to all three branches of the federal government, and to the Sovereign States, in order to bring government into obedience to their employers, We the People of the United States.

In addition, the Articles of Freedom also provide suggestions for civic action by the people, and provide a pledge taken by the delegates who signed the Articles, as well as a pledge to be signed by members of the people. That second pledge is an oath or affirmation for individuals to sign onto the process of calling the servant government to account:

"In full view of the Creator as my Witness, I hereby pledge my signature and vow to join with a goodly number of millions of Americans to hold our elected and appointed officials accountable for all of their violations, with a firm reminder that each one has sworn an Oath (or Affirmation) to Preserve, Protect and Defend the Constitution for the United States of America. In seeking to hold them accountable, I shall hold myself accountable to do the same.

We the undersigned renounce and condemn any and all INITIATION of violent force and will pursue all lawful and Constitutional means to fulfill our duty.

I place my name here and shall participate as an Eternal Record of the Will of the People to be Free."

The Pledge and Signature Form may be found here.

And here is an episode of Judge Andrew Napolitano's Freedom Watch in which Bob Shulz, Executive Director of We the People Foundation, and delegate from New York, explains the process of petitioning for Redress of Grievances and the reason that we are now past the time of Petitions.

Take part in the preservation of your Liberty! Sign the Pledge. Participate in nationwide civic action, and defend the Constitution. As Bob Shulz says, "The Constitution does not defend itself." It's our job as freedom loving Americans to protect and defend it.