Monday, January 31, 2011

A few changes

You will note that I have removed What Bubba Knows from the read file, as I can no longer access the blog. If someone knows what is going on with Bubba, please let me know.

Meanwhile, I have added GunRights4Us. Hope you enjoy.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

We Are All Fascists Now

My fellow blogger, and a man I respect, Francis Porretto left a comment to my post entitled This and That last Thursday here. I had not read Garet Garret's work before that I was aware of, but I had known the gist of it from studying other authors. For reference, Garret's piece entitled The Revolution that Was? is located at Lew Rockwell. Garret's point is that we have lived in a Fascist State for 80 years! Four generations. I would actually place the date somewhat earlier, in 1913, which puts it 98 years ago. It has been a soft Fascism to date, what Jonah Goldberg called Liberal Fascism. Most people didn't much notice, but we have not had a "free market economy" in years. With the ratification, in February of 1913, of the 16th Amendment, the slow process of destroying our property rights began, and with our property rights, our freedom and liberty went too.

A tax on income is a tax on a your very life, the hours of your days.  Most of us are paid based on how many hours we work.  But even salaried people can break down their salary by the number of hours they work during the year and come up with an amount per hour.  Every pay day, a person can look at his pay stub and see the amount of taxes taken out.  Every April 15th, you can look at your tax return, and figure out what percentage of your life you were allowed to work for yourself and your family, and what percentage Master took.  That is the portion of your life that is taken from you by government.  It is like they are cutting off a little piece of you.  But worse is the presumption behind the notion of taxing your sweat and toil, for in taxing your income, the Government presumes that your money, that you traded your life for, is really theirs.  We often talk about the fact that legally, Congress represents us, we don't work for them.  But the income tax puts the lie to that theory.  The fact is, we do work for them, and they have become our masters.

I have bemoaned the slow loss of liberty that has taken place in the nearly sixty years I have been on this earth.  When I was a kid, many of us boys had pocket knives, which we carried everywhere with us, even to school (!)  It was our father's job to decide at what point a boy learned the basics of knife etiquette and care, and not the school board's job.  It was a mother's job to feed her children, and not the President's wife's job to tell her what to feed them.  James Brovard has detailed the loss of liberty that has occurred in this country in a now dated book Lost Rights: The Destruction of American Liberties. The book was published in 1994, but the problems cited then have only grown more entrenched since then.  You see, the mistake that the Fascists made was not that they were in effect ruling us, but that under Obama, they did so nakedly, for all to see.  Obama dispensed with the legal niceties and let us see who really is in charge.

But, if the Government actually owns your income, and thus your life, why not infringe your liberties? Why can't they tell you and me that we can't carry a weapon for our own defense? Why can't they tell us what to eat, and what not to eat? After all, unhealthy habits such as smoking affect us all, since we all pay for healthcare. Like a slave or a serf, your bodies are not really your own, so why can't they see your naked form, and pat you down at the airports?  You have no dignity, you are only a serf.  And who are we to cry about liberty; we who toil daily for the State; we who own nothing and whose lives the State suffers at its own discretion.  We the serfs.  And they are right.  Until we are prepared to live as free men, and suffer the fate of all those who have come before who lived as free men, we do not deserve it.

Update:  Today at the American Thinker, Selwyn Duke has a good article bearing on this topic entitled The Nanny Staters at Life's Dangerous Intersections. Go read the whole thing. A quick quote:

The problem is a common one. People instinctively think about achieving new levels of safety but seldom worry about losing old levels of freedom. And the result is not necessarily greater safety, but greater levels of tyranny. I call this the New Red Light Syndrome. This is because it's much as when a locality identifies the most dangerous intersection in town. The traffic planners, realizing that something must be done immediately lest a person who means so much to those around him meet an untimely end (as opposed, I guess, to someone whose demise is desired by all and sundry), erect a new traffic light as remedy. This does seem to make sense and is hard to argue against. It saves lives, right? The problem is that even if it does, now some other spot is "the most dangerous intersection in town." Thus, there can always be justification for another red light.

And this:
Of course, we do need a few red lights at both literal and metaphorical intersections. And if we want but a few, we must realize that old levels of freedom require old levels of virtue. But our nanny-staters are content to destroy virtue and make the whole nation a red-light district, a place defined not just by licentiousness, but also by license to do little but indulge it. Their government will change the signal to green if and when you can go. And you will be happy...and controlled.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

This and That. Still Catching Up.

Thomas Sowell had a great article yesterday at American Thinker entitled New Heroes vs Old. I can remember a time when Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, and John D. Rockefeller were regarded as heroes. Many such heroes were lionized by popular culture for their contributions to the well being of their fellow men. Sowell:

Henry Ford's mass production methods cut in half the cost of producing the famous Model T Ford in just five years. People who had once lived their entire lives within a narrow radius of a relatively few miles could now go see places they never knew about before. The automobile expanded their horizons.

People today who complain about the automobile's pollution have no idea how much more pollution there was before the automobile came along. In New York City, for example, the 40,000 horses that were the backbone of the city's transportation, before the automobile, produced 400 tons of manure per working day, along with 20,000 gallons of urine.
Today what we hear is a constant drum beat of how these evil rich people exploited the poor, ravaged the land, calling up images of viking raiders raping and pillaging. Yes, I suppose there was some of that, but I suspect there was a lot less of this behavior than you might think. Some of it too was born of ignorance, as people didn't always know the damage they were doing to the land in strip mining for instance.  In any case, we should be grateful to these men who have made our lives better. We should also be grateful to God who sent such men, with these ambitions and talents, to make life better for all of us.  Instead, we have a bunch of pampered children who have never had to live with hardship moaning and groaning about what their fathers did.

Obama, in his SOTU speech said that we should "invest" (code word for Government spending) in all sorts of things.  One of those things was $1 Billion for research and development of new drugs.  Now, didn't the drug companies themselves used to do R&D for new drugs?  Indeed, wasn't the United States the leading country for R&D of new drugs?  Shouldn't those who stand to make money from a product invest in the R&D to bring that product to market?  Thomas Edison certainly did.  That is the traditional approach in a free market economy.  But Mr. Obama finds that distasteful.  Instead, what Obama is doing is creating conditions so hostile to free enterprise that companies, realizing there is no money to be made, are abandoning the field. Then Obama comes riding in on the white horse, announcing that the free market has failed, so government should make these "investments." Of course, the free market didn't fail, it was strangled.  John F. DiLeo outlines just some of the ways that Obama is doing this in an article in the American Thinker today entitled Obama's Dangerous Export Inititative.

What Mr. Obama is doing has been called many things: crony capitalism, a thugocracy.  It is all of those things, but it most resembles Fascism.  The Government gets to set the agenda, and tell companies what to do, and as long as they do it, they get to make a little money.  It is not, however, a free market.  The upside for politicians in this system is that they can claim credit for whatever goes right, and can lay blame on the (not so) free market for any failures.  But in the process, they will have enslaved us all.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Insanity of Deconstructionism

I first heard about "deconstructionism" as a philosophy in the 1990s while reading a piece from the then very young editor of National Review Online, Jonah Goldberg. When I went to school, words still had meaning, and it was our job as budding literary critics (or so our professor liked to style us) to dig out those meanings, both the spoken and the unspoken. My first thought was to marvel on the fact that a "philosopher" had actually written that words have no meaning! Insane!  What an interesting way to say nothing and be thought a genius.

Apparently, the Tuscon shooter, Jared Loughner, was in thrall to this philosophy, and the philosopher Derrida. Congresswoman Gifford's response to a question posed by Loughner about the meaning of words was viewed by Loughner as dismissing him. Perhaps it was, but how Loughner would have determined that if he took the philosophy seriously, I really don't know. In any case, a piece in the American Thinker Monday caught my attention. It is entitled Death by Deconstruction by Larry Anderson. I will quote a few graphs to give you a taste for the article:

Such avenues of "thought" (if this bilge can be called thinking -- imagine the gall it takes to write: "assuming writing exits") have a dark side. According to Derrida writing is a sign that signifies "difference" or a "trace." (He became famous for his supposedly subtle uses of the terms "diffĂ©rance" and "trace.") This led Derrida to conclude, "writing is parricide"[v] because writing "opens up the series of oppositions dominated by ‘inside/outside'" (the powerful versus the powerless).[vi]
...the fact that universal thought , in all its domains...should be receiving a formidable impulse from an anxiety about a strangely concerted development.... Whatever the poverty of our knowledge in this respect, it is certain that the question of the sign is itself more or less, or in any event something other than, a sign of the times. To dream of reducing it to a sign of the times is to dream of violence.[vii]
Derrida's philosophy, seen as a sign of the times, is a dream of violence. As he states in one of his most influential works, De la grammatologie (Of Grammatology published in 1967): "...writing is not a sign of a sign, except if one says it of all signs, which would be more profoundly true." A sign of all signs is surely a sign of the times. Thus, Derrida calls, at least implicitly, for his readers to fulfill a "dream of violence." Elsewhere he urges his readers to "go there where you cannot go, to the impossible, it is indeed the only way of coming or going."

So, did Derrida drive Loughner insane? No. I am not a psychologist, but I suspect Jared Loughner was already insane. But these ideas are being spewed to our children as the truth. Words do have meaning. They are a tool used to express ideas and concepts across space and time. The power of words is that they can shape our understanding of the world around us. It is possible to understand our place in the world as moral free agents, able to choose at any moment either good or evil, or to understand ourselves as pawns of powerful forces over which we have no control. The mind can not distinguish the truth of either proposition, only reality can. I believe God created us to be moral free agents, with no excuses. Socialists understand the individual to be pawns, subjects of the State, and unable to do anything without the help of the collective. The Constitution, however, paints a very different picture. It sees the individual as the sovereign, able to make decisions and choose for himself. Personally, I choose the Constitution.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Gun Grabbers Making Up Statistics Again

I have been busy in other areas and have not had time lately to keep up on the news as closely as I did. However, a piece in yesterday's American Thinker entitled Cooking the Gun Homicide Numbers by Peter Wilson caught my eye.

Wilson makes the point that the article by Charles M. Blow in the New York Times is both inaccurate and disingenous.  Mr. Blow's article deliberately hides the truth behind irrelevant statistics for the sole purpose of supporting an agenda of gun control that is not justified by the actual numbers. Wilson doesn't mention that self defense is a natural right which is specifically recognized in the Constitution.

More importantly, although these figures may be interesting for certain analyses, they don't tell us much about societal violence. Incredibly, Blow never addresses the obvious relevant figure: the overall homicide rate. He is able to claim that the U.S. is in "a league of its own," with a country sphere at the top of the chart, only by basing his analysis on an irrelevant statistic -- "percent of homicides by firearms." A homicide is a homicide, whether it's done with a Glock or a garden hose. In the U.S., sharp instruments -- e.g., knives -- are the second-most popular murder weapon. They have dropped from around 20% to 12% of the total. For comparison, in Canada, guns and knives both account for around 34% of the total murders. In England and Wales, where guns are strictly controlled, 28% of homicides are committed with a knife and only 6% with a firearm. British gun murders in some years rank below death by blunt object, kicking, and strangulation. But so what? During the Rwandan genocide, the gun homicide rate was extremely low, given the preference of Hutus for death by machete. Is the percentage of homicides by kicking any less indicative of violence? Homicidal people seem to find the means necessary, and if nothing else is available, strangulation with one's bare hands is quite effective.

A second statistic presented in the New York Times chart repeats this same distortion. The circles representing countries are "sized relative to firearm homicides per capita" rather than overall homicide rates. Thus, the country sphere for the U.S., with an overall homicide rate of 5.0 per 100,000, is much larger than Mexico's, which has 15.0 homicides per 100,000, or triple that of the U.S. The country sphere for Turkey is miniscule despite Turkey's homicide rate of 6.9, 28% higher than that of the U.S. Turks and Mexicans apparently find ways to kill each other without using guns. In the case of the Mexican drug gangs, beheadings are trending upward.

In correcting a very flawed article, Mr. Wilson performs a valuable service to the gun community. But I wonder, as people bandy about these various statistics, at what homicide rate do they think we might consider gun control. If 5.0 per 100,000 is low enough to allow us to keep our guns, is 7.0 per 100,000 no longer acceptable, or 10.0 per 100,000? When someone begins arguing statistics, I always wonder at what point we no longer have the right to defend ourselves?

Wilson also makes another point that is usually overlooked by those arguing for gun control: that the overall rate of homicide is not likely to go down simply because guns are not available.  He points out that in the US, knives are the second preferred means of committing murder after guns.  The gun grabbers assume, as an article of faith unsupported by evidence, that if guns are taken away, that portion of homicides represented by guns will go away with them.  But as Wilson points out, in countries where guns are less available, murders tend to be committed with the means at hand, and knives are harder to control than are guns.  Indeed, we can look to the formerly Great Britain to see that rigourous gun control has, if anything, caused the overall homicide rate to increase.  In a desperate attempt to put a lid on the homicide rates, knives are not allowed to be carried.  But really, how do they know?  And what about screw drivers, hammers, and other tools?  Are they prepared to strip society down to the stone age?  At what point do they realize that even stone age people had sharp edges with which to kill their fellow man?

Like it or not, the reality is that guns in the hands of honest citizens, carried about wherever they go, represents a huge barrier to the criminal.  He has to guess whether his apparently helpless victim may have the means to effectively defend himself, or if others around him will likely come to his aid with lethal force.  Believe it or not, that is a powerful deterent to crime.  

Sunday, January 16, 2011

The Left Dances in Blood of Victims Again

Eleanor Clift has an article today on AOL Politics entitled Gun Control After Arizona: Will NRA Block High Ammo Clip Ban. For now, let's ignore the use of the term "clip" for what are properly known as "magazines." Unlike some of my fellow bloggers, I suspect misusing terms like this is designed to show the writer is hip and in the know to the target audience who doesn't know any better. Such writers will also use terms like "packing heat" for carrying a weapon. It is ignorant, and doesn't represent the sort of people who carry every day that I know.

Ms. Clift is a long time leftist writer who is carrying water for Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy, for Senator Lautenburg, and for Paul Helmke.  Whenever there is an incident, these people try to take advantage of it, and it is disgusting.  These people take the tragic deaths of people they don't even know, and use them to advance an agenda that won't truly solve the problem they say they want to solve.  A proper discussion would point out that the number of high capacity magazines already out there means that if Loughner or indeed any criminal wanted to get one, he could.  The threat of yet another ban on guns or magazines, or ammunition sent huge crowds to the gun show yesterday here in Raleigh.  If I didn't know better, I would be suspicious that McCarthy had a hidden interesting in a gun manufacturer.  A truly proper discussion would include the fact that the only people affected by laws are those that are following the law.  The more unjust the law, the more people will ignore it, and the less legitimate the authorities will seem.  But a truly proper discussion of the issue would focus not on the tools the murderer chose to use, but on the man himself. 

For example, it should have been illegal for Mr. Loughner to obtain a gun from a dealer.  I have seen reports that Loughner obtained the weapon "legally."  That may be technically true, but the fact is that Loughner was, to put it in technical terms, absolutely moonbat nuts.  Even worse, he may have committed crimes that should have raised red flags.  After the Virginia Tech incident, Senator Lautenburg championed a bill that would make people with mental health issues prohibited persons.  That bill was signed into law, and instantly made many returning veterans suffering from post traumatic stress disorder and other complications of war unable to obtain a weapon here at home, all without due process.  So how did Loughner slip through?  Why didn't the State of Arizona have Mr. Loughner on the prohibited list for an NICS?  Why wasn't he being treated by a psychiatrist, who had given his name to authorities?

Yet somehow we always circle back to "it's the gun's fault.  If we could just get rid of guns."  It is the instrumentality theory of crime; that if you take away the tools, the criminal is helpless.  But people were killing people before guns were invented, before steel was discovered, before man learned how to make bronze, before primitive man learned how to chip flint to make a blade.  Then it was sharpened sticks, or pieces of bone and antler, or just a rock.  On the other hand, Loughner could have gone up to Congresswoman Giffords and shaken her hand while carrying a BAR, and no one would have died had not Loughner had murder in his heart.  It is the man, always the man and his intentions.  

Monday, January 10, 2011

Muslims Take Kissing Cousins Seriously

I was not aware of the degree to which Muslims are apparently inbred. That is, Islam allows the marrying of first cousins. For whatever reasons, Muslims seem to have taken to marrying their first cousins with a vengeance. The results are detailed at the link, and as you might expect, they are not pretty. Go check it out. The summation:

Bottom line: Islam is not simply a benign and morally equivalent alternative to the Judeo-Christian tradition. As Sennels points out, the first and biggest victims of Islam are Muslims. Simple Christian compassion for Muslims and a common-sense desire to protect Western civilization from the ravages of Islam dictate a vigorous opposition to the spread of this dark and dangerous religion. These stark realities must be taken into account when we establish public policies dealing with immigration from Muslim countries and the building of mosques in the U.S.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The War on Guns: Taranaki Daily News pulls Texas gun column

The War on Guns: Taranaki Daily News pulls Texas gun column

Seems the Taranaki Daily News just pulled the story with no retraction. Not very honest of them I would say.

Liberal Fascism: Socialism By Other Means*

I discussed a situation, which I viewed as dire, on 22 December 2010 in a post entitled Another Power Grab, This Time by the FCC. My concern was whether we were now unequivocally diving into dictatorship, and what that meant for liberty. Today, an article at the American Thinker entitled Socialism By Other Means by Aaron Gee caught my eye because it tangentially deals with the same ideas. What could he mean "by other means." It seemed to me that Reid and Pelosi, along with Obama had rapidly finished the job started by FDR, and continued by LBJ to turn the citizens of this country from Freemen to social slaves. Lets look at the article in question:

As I pondered the direction our Government had taken over the previous year, I looked at the definition of socialism by typing "define: socialism" into Google. The first definition presented was from Princeton's wordnet and read as follows; "a political theory advocating state ownership of industry." The definition feels woefully lacking.

Ownership denotes control, and the state is certainly getting into the business of controlling industry. Over the last year our government has exerted more control over enterprise via legislative fiat than at any other time since FDR's power grab during the Great Depression. From the thousands of pages of ObamaCare, to the thousands of pages of the Dodd-Frank "financial reform" bill, government power is firmly entrenched in business and expanding. The more regulations the state adds the more control it exerts.
Mr. Gee calls this style of government "Regulationism." I think it fits the pattern of classic Fascism.  Fascism has two distinguishing characteristics.  Unlike Communism, which styles itself as an international movement of the workers rising up against their capitalist exploiters, Fascism is a national movement.  Fascists often create, or manipulate local myths to strengthen their own ties to the people, and distract people from the fact of their slavery.  Hitler, for example, created the myth of the Aryan people, and borrowed heavily from the old Norse mythology to support it. Mussolini, on the other hand, pointed to ancient Rome, and fed the Italians a steady diet of what they had once been.  The other distinguishing characteristic is that whereas Communists actually own the means of production, and therefore the responsibility for the failure to perform, the Fascists have found a way out of that predicament.  Instead of owning outright the industrial capacity of the country, they just control it, and take the profits.  But if there is a failure, they can always point back to those evil capitalists.

Fascism enslaved not just the so called capitalist class, but everybody who worked for a living as well.  Any time you illegitimately take the money that someone has rightfully earned, you violate that person's natural rights and use him to further another's interests.  That is slavery.  Of course, you can outright steal from him, hold him up at gun point.  More subtly, you can get the government to do it for you.  So, if you are taxed at a different rate than you neighbor, whether because you make more, or you have more hair on your head, that is illegitimate.  If the government decides to tax certain legitimate activities in order to discourage them, that also is illegitimate.  The other way Fascism enslaves people is to limit their legitimate choices so that, while believing themselves free, they really are not.
Once a company has cleared all of the hurdles of getting the oil out of the ground and turning it into a product for market, the tax man comes. For every gallon of gasoline the government collects between 30 to 50 cents in taxes (18 to the feds, and on average 22 to the states and quite often 2-5 cents to a local municipality). In 2007 Exxon made $40 billion dollars in profit, but it paid $100 billion in taxes and royalties. In other words government made 2.5 times more from Exxon's oil production than Exxon and its shareholders did.

Good to see that government is on the case and sticking it to those evil capitalists again.  Except, they really aren't.  You see Exxon passed the costs of the royalties, taxes, and all the regulations on to drivers.  It is built into their cost of a gallon of gasoline.  YOU paid, not them.  Exxon was merely the tax collector for the State.  To the degree you paid too much for gasoline, you had less discretionary cash to spend for other things.  In other words, by stealing your money, they have also stolen your liberty.  But hey, it was done for a noble cause.

It has been said that our Constitution creates a capitalist, free market society.  It does no such thing.  Rather, unlike Marxism, which is concerned exclusively with materialism, and who gets what stuff, the Constitution is concerned with maintaining the liberty of the people.  A necessary part of that is scrupulously maintaining their individual rights in contracts and property.  We have let too much slip away through clever language that encouraged muddled thinking.  Aaron Gee again:
The goals of regulationism and socialism are the same, control over a company or business. The end result of regulationism and socialism is also the same, a lifeless economy filled with uncompetitive businesses. November's election wasn't just a rejection of a political party, or a fight over personal taxes; it was also the rejection of regulationism.
And here you have more of the same. By saying that the fight is between business and the government, the writer encourages you to yawn and go back to sleep. After all, you are not a businessman. But in reality, the fight is yours and mine. Taxes and regulations put huge burdens of excess cost on every product we have to purchase, reducing our discretionary cash and our choices, and our liberty.

* With a nod to Jonah Goldberg, author of Liberal Fascism: A Secret History of the American Left from Mussolini to the Politics of Meaning

Sunday, January 2, 2011

The ATF Should Be Dismantled

I missed this excellent piece by Kevin D. Williamson in the National Review December 29, 2010 entitled Traver Off Target. I haven't read that much of Williamson's stuff, but if it is generally like this, I will read more. He says things that need to be said without resorting to politically correct euphemisms. An example:

All of which is rather beside the point, since rifles as a category, from Granddad’s deerslayer to Uncle Nasty’s assault rifle, are used only rarely in crimes. Even for a gangster in sagging jeans, it’s hard to walk around casually with Elmer Fudd’s blunderbuss in your shenanigans, and those .50-caliber competition-grade rifles they’re soiling themselves over in California go for about 15 grand, putting them out of the financial range of Joe Crackhead. Rifles just aren’t where the action usually is, crime-wise.

Which is not beside the point. What Traver and those philosophically aligned with him are engaged in is the opposite of law enforcement. We might call their business anti-policing, inasmuch as they seek to restrict the actions of law-abiding citizens — lawful gun owners, licensed firearms dealers — while largely leaving actual criminals untouched. If that sounds like I am overstating my case, consider the evidence.
Williamson goes on then for two more pages detailing the evidence.
The truth is that law enforcement is fundamentally unserious about prosecuting straw purchasers, and about keeping guns out of the hands of criminals broadly speaking. Doing so is, to put it bluntly, too much work for a unionized American government work force, whose idea of a good anti-gun program is the buyback: offering up taxpayers’ dollars in the hopes that criminals will bring the guns to them. (Way to work that shoe-leather, Joe Friday.) From the police’s point of view, criminals are an inconsiderate bunch: no fixed address, very little record keeping, no scheduled hours of operation, etc. Criminals do not keep appointments or offer even minimal cooperation. It is a lot of work keeping tabs on a Carail Weeks, or on an Eric DeShawn Floyd, a felon with at least 17 priors on his rap sheet who was involved in the fatal shooting of Philadelphia police sergeant Stephen Liczbinski during a botched bank robbery. (I wrote about the case here.) It’s a real challenge. Some cops are heroes; 100 percent of them are government employees.

It is easy to get lost in the evidence presented, and miss the point that Williamson is advocating the dismantling of the BATFE. Frankly, it is about time. I also think it is about time someone at National Review take up the cause. After all, the Second Amendment is one of the 10.

Armed and Safe: New Year's resolution: Become a 'Militia of One'#links

Armed and Safe: New Year's resolution: Become a 'Militia of One'#links

I had decided to do exactly what this article suggests before I read it, but it reinforces my idea. Kurt is wheelchair bound, but I am simply an out of shape, late 50s slug.

So far, I have stocked up on food, and laid in a supply of ammunition. I need to get to the range more regularly. I need to get in shape. I recently renewed my Ham license, and have committed to upgrading my skills in this area as well.

Incidentally, Amateur Radio is one area where a person can provide skills while sitting in a wheel chair. In an emergency, teams of people, whether they be a fire team, or a rescue team, need communications. But communications are often overloaded, or out of service at precisely such times. I can recall that Ham radio operators were the first to provide emergency communications during the 9/11 attack on the Pentagon. Amateur radio operators often work with the professionals to provide Emergency communications during exercises designed to simulate real world events.

Will Texas Secede?

Do the States have a right to secede from the Union? Before 1865, most people thought they knew the answer to that question. These folks would have answered in the affirmative. After all, the Federal Government existed only because the States created it. The various States ceded certain powers to the new Federal Government, reserving the rest for themselves or the people.  If a State could vote to join the Union, it could just as easily vote to secede from the Union, or so people thought. Think of the Constitution as a kind of contract.  If one party to a contract continues to break the rules of the contract, does not the other party have the right to leave the relationship the contract sets up?  But since the Confederate States of America did not win the ensuing war, most people have felt that the Union represents a kind of California Hotel: "you can check out any time you like, but you can never leave."

If we look at the Constitution as a kind of contract wherein certain specific powers are granted to the Federal Government, while leaving all others to the Sovereign States or the People, what do we do when the Federal Government exceeds its authority, knowingly and repeatedly?  What do we do when, while doing so, the Federal Government claims through its courts that it is not breaking the Constitution?  Texas has gone to Federal court, and hopes that it can get a fair hearing.  But you can already see the problem, though.  The Federal courts are naturally going to be inclined to side with the Federal Government.  The 17th Amendment, which provided for the direct election of Senators, severely weakened any voice the States might have had in the appointment of Federal judges, or in recalling those judges.  So, where does a State go to get justice?

We may be about to test the theory that when a State perceives that the Federal Government has overstepped its Constitutional authority, it has the right to secede again. The Texas Nationalist Examiner has an article urging such considerations on the State legislature at Texas is down to last option: Independence. Of course, Texas has options still, but they are growing slimmer.  But first recall the words of the Declaration of Independence:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. — Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.
The 111th Congress rejected passing Cap and Trade legislation, despite having a majority of Democrats in both Houses, and a Democratic Administration who is committed to Cap and Trade.  Most Administrations would take this as a strong indication that there may be problems with the notion of Cap and Trade, and go back to the drawing board.  But this Regime decided to have its EPA illegally write the Cap portion of the regulations, and proceed to impose them.  Now, this isn't the only issue that Texas has with the US, but it may be seen as the final straw.

If Texas does decide to test the secessionary waters, it is entirely possible that Arizona and New Mexico might decide to secede as well, and join Texas.  Louisiana might well follow.  Would the US go to war again to maintain the Union?  What if Texas independence spurred a similar move in Alaska?  The conditions in 1860 and 2011 are not the same, and Texas could theoretically make a go of it as an independent nation. One wonders what threat Texas might be if it became independent and made a oil cartel treaty with Mexico, Venezuela, and Brazil?  It should be noted that Texas today has a well developed port facility, miles of coastline, the Eastern half of the State is good crop land.  Freed from the overbearing regulations of the Federal Government, it is possible that Texas would soon be the place to be for someone with ambition and a drive to make something of himself-kind of like the US used to be.  I can hear Davy Crockett in my ear saying "Ya'll can go to hell, I'm going to Texas."