Thursday, March 5, 2009

Sentence First, Trial Never

A hoary truism teaches us that crisis reveals character, rather than shaping it. To the extent the word "character" applies to the government ruling us, that maxim certainly applies with respect to the state of permanent crisis we have experienced since 9-11.

The tyrannical practices and powers exhibited in the name of Homeland Security -- from aggressive war to torture -- are not foreign to the Regime that rules us. The open-ended "war on terror" simply provided an opportunity for the State's agents to institutionalize official crimes that had been committed on a more informal basis prior to The Day Everything Changed.

At the malignant heart of this system we find the extraordinary claim -- now embraced, to the surprise only of the professionally gullible, by Obama the Blessed and his ruling clique -- that the president has the power to order the open-ended detention of anyone he designates an "enemy combatant."

This claim, which was validated by Congress in the Military Commissions Act of 2006, is a de facto repeal of habeas corpus. This is the foundational due process guarantee in the Anglo-Saxon tradition of liberty protected by law, and perhaps the most important concession wrested from King John at Runnymede in 1215.

Absent the protection provided by habeas corpus, rulers can forego such formalities as indictment and trial and simply lock people up until they run out of birthdays. The Bush Regime insisted that the president, through the exercise of a protean, extra-constitutional "commander-in-chief" power, can designate individuals as "enemy combatants" and imprison them indefinitely.

Fear the mullet, but respect due process:
Former "enemy combatant"-turned-criminal defendant Ali Al-Marri.

In order to preserve that supposed authority, Bush and his handlers released "enemy combatant" Jose Padilla from military confinement into the civilian criminal justice system in an attempt to avoid a Supreme Court challenge.

Now the Obama administration is pursuing exactly the same course with respect to a case involving a second "enemy combatant," Ali Al-Marri.

Although media commentators insist that Obama is "likely to handle accused terrorists in a significantly different way" from that followed by his predecessor, the crucial point here is that he, like Bush, is seeking to render Al-Marri's case moot, which would preserve the presidential claim by default.

The Military Commissions Act was not the only, or even the first, congressional assault on the habeas corpus guarantee. An earlier, and more damaging, attack came in the form of the "Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006," which permits the open-ended "civil confinement" of those who are designated "sexually dangerous persons" (a category that sounds a lot like the old Soviet concept of "socially dangerous persons").

"Civil confinement" is a variation on "civil commitment," under which the several states, acting on the malevolent doctrine of parens patriae (the "parenthood" of the state), institutionalize the mentally ill for treatment.

As the Soviets demonstrated through their use of pscyhiatry as an enforcement arm of the State (the assumption being that only the mentally ill would dissent from the Party-ordained consensus), this practice is pregnant with awful abuses, one of which is its subtle expansion to include sex offenders who have served their allotted sentences but are still confined to state custody.

Massachusetts recently became the first state to have a "sexually dangerous person" civilly committed to the custody of the Federal Bureau of Prisons under the Adam Walsh Act. In principle, this amounts to a life sentence inflicted, "Minority Report"-style, for hypothetical crimes yet to be committed.

In January, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against the federal civil confinement of sex offenders on narrowly federalist grounds. That court quite properly pointed out that Congress had exceeded its constitutional authority by creating a federal system of civil confinement. But the deeper question -- can any government, state or federal, simply amend a court-prescribed punishment into a life sentence? -- was left untouched by that court.

The issue is headed to the Supreme Court and, once again, the Obama/Holder "Justice" Department has adopted the perspective of the Bush administration on this issue, namely that the end of a prison term doesn't necessarily mean the end of an individual's imprisonment.

One of the sitting Supreme Court Justices, Samuel Alito, has already ruled in favor of indefinite detention without trial in the "civil contempt" case of H. Beatty Chadwick, a 73-year-old, cancer-stricken former attorney who has been imprisoned for 14 years on a civil contempt charge.

The charge against Chadwick grew out of a contentious and bizarre divorce in 1992. His ex-wife Barbara made extensive and unverifiable claims of suffering from abuse, manipulation, and pathological control at the hands of her ex-husband. She demanded millions in alimony, and the trial judge ordered Chadwick to put the funds in a court-controlled account. Chadwick, who claimed that the sought-for millions didn't exist.

When investigators hired by the court couldn't find more than a small fraction of the expected sums, the Judge found Chadwick in contempt and sent him to prison, presumably to jar his memory or at least break his will. And he remains in prison to this day, despite the fact that he has never so much as been accused of a crime, let alone tried or convicted for one.

When the U.S. Supreme Court ruled last year that detainees at Guantanamo are covered by the habeas corpus guarantee, a writer who has chronicled the Chadwick case took note of the ironic fact that accused terrorists actually enjoy due process protections Chadwick has been denied. Just a few months earlier, a three-judge federal panel dismissed a habeas corpus petition filed by Chadwick on the remarkable grounds that if he were permitted to challenge his detention he would go free, and thus will have "beaten the system."

We can't have that, of course.

Samuel Alito's contribution to this matter was a ruling in 2002 that Chadwick's imprisonment without trial -- which at that time had lasted merely seven years -- was permissible because the purpose of civil contempt is coercion, rather than punishment. That is to say, it is a form of extortion through confinement, which -- Alito's schoolboy sophistries aside -- is unambiguously a form of cruel and unusual punishment, in addition to a violation of the guarantee of a fair and speedy trial and the protection against self-incrimination.

All of those abuses, according to Alito and his ilk, are acceptable when a Judge recites the incatatory phrase "civil contempt."

Chadwick's case, though exemplary in its cruelty, is hardly unique.

Political prisoner:
Former investment manager Martin Armstrong, imprisoned for years without benefit of trial.

Ten years ago, Martin A. Armstrong -- who dealt in precious metals, antiquities, and other investments -- was accused of securities fraud by the federal government (which prefers to have a monopoly on the practice of securities fraud and related corruption).

Ordered by a judge to produce $5 million in gold and other assets, Armstrong replied that he didn't have them. Insisting that Armstrong was lying, the judge ordered him imprisoned for civil contempt indefinitely.

Denied access to a jury trial, cut off from the resources needed to mount a defense, Armstrong has now served a longer prison term than he would have been given if convicted of the fraud charge of which he remains legally innocent. His former clients have been repaid the money they lost in what was, according to Armstrong, a devastating loss growing out of high-risk transactions he did not authorize.

In 2006, shortly after being ordered into solitary confinement in "the hole" in Manhattan's Metropolitan Correctional Center, Armstrong was brow-beaten into a guilty plea on one count of conspiracy to commit securities fraud. This was the end result of the government's strategy of attrition, according to his attorney, Thomas Sjoblom: "I think the government just wore Marty out."

Through the practice of judicial extortion called "civil contempt," notes the New York Times, "criminal prosecutors have never had to prove their 24-count indictment at trial.... Nevertheless, they have gotten their desired result -- a lengthy prison term for Mr. Armstrong."

Federal prosecutors, it shouldn't be necessary to point out, are formed from the congealed scum that suppurates out through the cracks of our most prestigious law schools. Their mission is to climb the career ladder to ever-greater heights of wealth and prestige by vindicating the federal government in every legal conflict, irrespective of the truth of a given case.

Federal attorneys have long made use of "civil" lawsuits to compel inoffensive citizens and business owners to comply with bureaucratic enactments. They, along with law enforcement agencies both federal and local, have made extensive use of "civil" asset forfeiture to steal untold amounts of money and property from people never formally charged with crimes.

And, acting in collusion with the infinitely vain, dress-wearing chair-moisteners who call themselves "Judges," prosecutors can use "civil contempt confinement" to circumnavigate the criminal justice system altogether.

Arbitrary, extra-juridical imprisonment didn't begin with the Bush Regime, which refined and institutionalized that abuse by listing it under the prerogatives of the "unitary executive" (a concept, incidentally, that was pioneered with the help of a young Reagan Justice Department lawyer named ... Samuel Alito). I can't help but suspect that Obama and his legions of plunderers and social engineers will find novel and terrifying uses for the practice in the service of their vision of "social justice."

On sale now.

Dum spiro, pugno!


The Omega Man said...

Reading about things like this lately, and reflecting on the behavior of the old Soviet Union (I've read a lot of Solzhenitsyn), the same thought keeps occurring to me:

What was over now...over here.

AKA Angrywhiteman said...

I found a few days ago, I find there is much to learn.

Anonymous said...

Great article. Great info. Great bark. No bite.

I wonder how many Judges and prosecutors would be as willing as the ones you've described if people actually cared about stuff like this. Actually caring = being PROactive, not REactive.

Interpret how you see fit.

The broken window may be logical fallacy, but broken windows sure get the message across.

Applied to people with influence and power, and the USA wouldn't be in the fast lane to being the USSA.

If you folks think you are dedicated to and love liberty, and you're not willing to accept the fact that you will be criminals or, gasp, terrorists(!), sometime in the future, you're not really dedicated to liberty - you just like to think you are.

Anonymous said...

With an active, educated, state militia, these acts of tyranny would not stand. It is time to re-institute the state militia and take the country back, one state at a time.

qnunc said...

Two of my least favorite people -- John Walsh and Sam Alito. Walsh lost a son to violence like a gazillion years ago, and has dedicated his life to telling everyone else how to act and what to wear ever since. Stop Snitchin' t-shirts, he says, causes crime. "T-shirts don't kill people, guns. . . no, wait, they do."

Alito thinks the police should be able to shoot people in the back and frisk 10-year-old girls.

Tolstoy: Men, oppressing others, assure them that the compulsion is necessary in the interest of the government, while the government is indispensable to the liberty and welfare of men: -- according to this, the oppressors force men for their own freedom and do them wrong for their own good.

Thomas Paine: An avidity to punish is always dangerous to liberty.

Friedrich Nietzsche: Distrust all in whom the impulse to punish is powerful.

Thomas Jefferson: And for as much as the experience of all ages and countries hath shown, that cruel and sanguinary laws defeat their own purpose . . .if the punishment were only proportioned to the injury, men would feel it their inclination, as well as their duty, to see the laws observed. . .

Robin said...

The practice of jailing people to extort money or other assets is an old Soviet tactic. Eugene Lyons, in his book "Assignment in Utopia", describes how the OGPU secret police did this during the 1920s, mainly targeting prosperous Jews. The slight difference here is that the Soviets subjected their victims to repeated arrests and rounds of torture, gradually wringing them like sponges. America's overlords prefer the more languid, bureaucratic expedient of indefinite incarceration.

Overall, America's judicial/penal system is morphing into a strikingly Soviet-type model. Punishment cells (too small for the prisoner to stand, sit, or lie for more than a brief time), sleep deprivation, the extension of prison sentences when the inmate is legally due for release, and the monomaniacal insistence on confession of guilt - all of these were very familiar to inhabitants of the Gulag.

Robin said...

And I just realized that The Omega Man, in the very first comment on this thread, made the same point that I did, with fewer words.

liberranter said...

Walsh lost a son to violence like a gazillion years ago, and has dedicated his life to telling everyone else how to act and what to wear ever since.

More importantly, Walsh has been able to profit from his son's death by being the supreme beneficiary of the MSM's selective reporting. The MSM have, after all, completely ignored his wife Reve's direct culpability in Adam's kidnapping/murder. Were it not for Reve Walsh's parental negligence in leaving six-year-old Adam free to wander through the Sears store unattended and unsupervised, Adam would almost certainly be alive and well today. (A cynic could be excused from wondering if John Walsh might consider Adam's death to be the most fortunate thing ever to happen in his life; after all, Walsh would probably be nothing but another anonymous white-collar cog in the machine today were it not for Adam's death and the attendant brouhaha generated from it). That Reve Walsh hasn't been held legally accountable in any way for her parental neglect, the way thousands of ordinary parents guilty of far less egregious forms of "neglect" are today, is nothing short of sickening.

The Omega Man said...

Thanks for the tip-of-the-cap, Robin!

Extension of prison sentences when the prisoner is legally due for release...I'd almost forgotten about that. Nothing crushes a prisoner's spirit like false hope. Imagine being a Gulag matter how badly you're treated, you do have one hope...end of sentence. You count down the years til freedom, then months, and finally the days and hours. Hope builds in you uncontrollably....and then, when your release date comes, the courts slap another "tenner" on you, and back to the camps you go!

The most horrifying thing about reading about the Soviet system, as an American, is that now you know what's coming.

I feel like getting drunk, and staying there. Yes!!--they'll never find me hiding in this bottle.

cletus mcdougal said...

The new Soviets got alot of their ideas from that ape in a stovepipe Ape Lincoln. Bush the Shrub stole all the unitary executive ideas from the ape. My dad was in the army for 30+ years and lives overseas now. It is funny when he calls or emails and says the rest of the world wishes to be free while you in america want tyranny.

qnunc said...

...the rest of the world wishes to be free while you in america want tyranny.

It certainly seems that way, and I think that is exactly what the founding fathers had in mind, the "masses of people" under the absolute tyranny of the "rich and well-born," the rich and well-born being, of course, themselves.

To bring about this tyranny, they used their own 9/11 (Shays' Rebellion) to create the fear, mostly among themselves, that if they didn't pass the Patriot Act (the Constitution) the masses would not feel compelled to give all their money to their superiors.

Anonymous said...

And what are you all doing or going to do about the further decay into a socialist hell-hole. East Germany was disassembled and is being reassembled here, and what's being done about it?

Anonymous said...

To Anon @ 303
Truth be told I am preparing my Curriculum Vitae as we write so that I may find a job abroad and peacefully leave this country before the whole rotten stinkin ship goes down!! My allegiance is to liberty and freedom not this country and if my wife and I can find both abroad we will indeed be very blessed!

Anonymous said...

The judicial decision in Chadwick's case accuses him of stashing several million dollars overseas, beyond the reach of his ex-wife. Martin Armstrong is jailed on a similar allegation, of hiding assets from the court.

These are very tough situations to deal with in a free society. Coercion is sometimes necessary when people seek to appropriate funds in which others have a legitimate interest. For instance, I've experienced the frustration of suing a cat-and-mouse deadbeat debtor, who continued to move his funds from bank to bank, one step ahead of the sheriff.

On the other hand, indefinite detention for contempt, without trial, goes too far. Some limits need to be set, as the district court in Chadwick's case continues to remind the state Supreme Court.

Also, in the U.S. there is an ugly tendency to criminalize civil matters. Tax evasion, for instance. In many countries, it's a civil matter -- a question of owing money to the authorities. But in the U.S., even 'status offenses' such as failing to file are defined as felony crimes.

Owing money to the authorities not only can result in judgments and levies, but also in being sent to prison. By any civilized standard, this is barbaric -- one of the few remaining examples, along with criminalized child support enforcement, of 'debtors prison.'

Under the national security state, human rights in general have been rewound by several centuries. The apogee of individual rights in the U.S. was surely during the years 1776-1789. Unfortunately, the timeless doctrine of natural rights proved to be, in practice, no more than a passing intellectual fad. It exerts no sway whatsoever in contemporary lawmaking or judicial thought.

Chattel slavery was replaced with mass slavery, enforced by income confiscation. If the Freedom House map were based on absolute rather than relative standards, the entire globe would be colored 'not free.'

TJP said...

Robin said:
"...the Soviets subjected their victims to repeated arrests and rounds of torture, gradually wringing them like sponges. America's overlords prefer the more languid, bureaucratic expedient of indefinite incarceration."

I'm not sure I agree with the use of the word "prefer". The system we have now, and the people who demand it, are just as happy creating "prohibited persons", and repeatedly extending imprisonment when the mood suits them.

No matter--the practice is a violation of many natural rights and immunities of citizenship, barely concealed by a single, selective assertion of a legal state power.

I guess that if we cherry-pick from the list the power to arrest--and ignore the right to be brought before the court and hear the charges; to have our property protected from general seizure; to confront our accuser; to have a trial of facts before a jury; to not be subject to excessive bail; to have counsel; to move freely; or to have life, liberty and property until subject to due process, to name a few--I suppose then we would have the state's argument.

It is no mystery why this is the preferred system, since two trials for the same crime is the sort of conspicuous violation of liberty that will spark controversy. The absence of due process apparently doesn't make waves. Therefore, the state's solution is to put to trial once, and then repeatedly arrest, repeatedly incarcerate, but never again put to trial.

It's not merely the machinations of a malevolent state, but a symptom of the people's desire to appear moderate (or reasonable if you prefer) by fooling themselves into believing that all the privileges, rights and immunities named or implied in the founding documents are not equally valuable. From this patch of weeds spreads the runners which sprout the belief that the laws do not apply equally to everyone--then the people find themselves surrounded and unable to discern the impostors--until finally one of them suggests it is time to remove the invasive species.

However, this never produces the desired result, because no one can agree on which inhabitant of the garden does not belong; where starting a new garden would be the best solution, those who insist on working within the current one eventually destroy what's left of it in a hasty and clumsy attempt that is properly eliminationism.

We are where we are because the people have neglected to weed the garden for better than a century. My weeds are no worse than yours.

Al said...

"Imagine being a Gulag matter how badly you're treated, you do have one hope...end of sentence. You count down the years til freedom, then months, and finally the days and hours. Hope builds in you ncontrollably....and then, when your release date comes..." you, walking escorted toward the exit of the prison, walk past a corner in the hallway. It is dark in the adjoining room. A guard steps out quietly behind you, holds a .22 pistol near the top of your neck, and presses the trigger. It was the Soviet way of "mercy," letting the condemned be happy, believing he was going free, at the moment his brain was scrambled by the little .22 slug rattling around inside his skull. The American system does not know of this degree of mercy. The victim is condemned to a lifetime of not knowing when the next knock (or kick) on the door will come.
Just had the knock on the door after over 17 years of virtual inactivity on the prolife front. A state CID (state version of the FBI) investigator is interested in protecting the one remaining abortion mill in the state from unknown, imagined threats.

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Anonymous said...

From a Mar. 7th AP article -


LAS VEGAS (AP) - Four members of an anti-government group have been arrested on charges that include money laundering, tax evasion and weapons possession, federal prosecutors said Friday. Authorities said the four men are members of the Sovereign Movement, a group that attempts to overthrow the government and defy authority with "paper terrorism."

A grand jury indictment in federal court in Las Vegas names Samuel Davis, 54, of Council, Idaho; Shawn Rice, 46, of Seligman, Ariz.; Harold Call, 67, of Las Vegas; and Jan Lindsey, of Henderson.

Davis and Rice are accused of laundering roughly $1.3 million for undercover FBI agents, who described the money as loot from a bank fraud scheme. Davis and Rice are charged with one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering and 30 counts of money laundering. If convicted, they face up to 20 years in prison and a $500,000 fine on each count.


If I'm reading it correctly, there was no actual bank fraud. No citizen actually lost a penny. Rather, simply because FBI agents claimed (that is, lied) that it was stolen money, their misled victims are now guilty of the thoughtcrime of 'conspiracy' becaise they believed -- incorrectly -- that they were handling the proceeds of crime.

This is reminiscent of people going to prison for discussing the trafficking of drugs on the phone, even though no actual drugs existed. Just believing or intending to get involved with a drug transaction brings savage punishment for conspiracy.

Needless to say, conspiracy and money laundering are non-crimes; crimes fraudulently manufactured out of thin air, just as surely as our fraudulent currency is manufactured out of thin air.

If the Founding Fathers issued the Declaration of Independence today, they would be facing conspiracy and terrorism charges. Frankly, I don't understand how Usgov can afford to keep that parchment Declaration on display. Anyone with the slightest capacity for inductive reasoning will note that it asserts a general right to armed rebellion against tyrants of any era, not just a specific, long-ago tyrant named King George.

Public-school edumacation is our best defense against an aroused populace taking that seditious declaration literally. The founding documents of this nation are now official anathema -- the deranged rantings of anti-government rebels and terrorists. As in the former Soviet Union, it would be more convenient if our past were simply erased. Because like the face of Dorian Gray, Usgov now sports the hideous visage of a ruthless, high-tech, nuclear-armed King George.

qnunc said...

The worst part of the nightmare is yet to come -- being tried before a, gulp, shiver, American jury. Monster, thy name is jury. Your honor, we find the defendant guilty of conspiring to think traitorous thoughts with intent to do other stuff that we probably would disapprove of.

I'm not quite sure what is so great about the jury system nor why I should love it because I hate it.

Anonymous said...

Hi Will,

This comment is for you.

HR 875 will destroy America's ability to produce food and will punish anyone who grows without being registered.


Anonymous said...

Juries? What juries? They're just cardboard cut-outs planted in jury boxes by the State (holy reverent music is now playing in the background) right before each and every "trial", that is, if the defendant/victim somehow manages to deflect all the prosecution's scare tactics of heaping piles upon piles of endless charges in order to convince the victim into accepting a plea bargain. And, Oh, what a bargain! How else can one explain their statist verdicts time after time, case after case. Hell, the Miami jury convicted Jose Padilla on bogus charges. The State had no evidence on Padilla, but the jury still read a guilty verdict anyway. Amazing. Have people gone completely mad? Is there any group of people in the world more statist and more adverse to liberty and limited government than Americans?

And Dave mentioned HR 875. If that bill is introduced and passed, does that mean the State, the American people's favorite God substitute, will come after me for growing frickin' "unregistered" potatoes in my backyard garden? Who in the Hell thinks up this sh*t?

Pat H. said...

To Anon a 4:37:

I'm assuming you're American-born, right? So, Why, oh why, would you want to move to another country? For more liberty? Where? Europe? Good luck. Asia? I suppose if the ability to simply work and operate a business mostly free is your goal (and it's a good one), but their definition of "freedom" is very different than the Western view. Africa? Somalia is arguably the freest place on Earth, as they have no working central government, and all of the bloodshed has occurred because of efforts to install one by outside powers. But, again, good luck. The only places I can think of are:

Crete, Greece. They've always had a rebellious streak, and still do, somewhat, though that may fade. And they are quite distrustful of outsiders.

Asia - Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan. They have some very free economic systems, but will suffer under the coming collapse. The port of Singapore is the busiest in the world, and last I heard has experience a dramatic loss of business because of decreased imports/exports worldwide. This will only get worse.

Canada - haha, yes, I'm serious. With the violations of freedom from the last administration, and the promise of the same from the new one (same as the old one), Canada will eventually be ranked freer than the USA. Funny, but sad.

When the world economy does collapse, and it will, as whats going on right now is only the beginning, then political situations in other countries may not stay the same. Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, they may undergo drastic changes in leadership as socialists and other anti-free market types use this collapse to their advantage. This is probably going to happen here in the USA, as well, at least for a few years. You could probably count on it to happen in at least some places.

Some people say that this coming depression will magically change peoples minds about the market, and that the public will generally becoming much more supportive of a free-market. However, any cursory examination of major media outlets seems to suggest the exact opposite. The free market has been to blame! Deregulation, greedy capitalists, and people who don't care about the welfare of others have caused this! Down with this free-market crap!

That is what's probably going to happen. Most people in this country, and in Europe and many other places around the world, don't really want freedom or liberty, because it requires to much effort. Moving to other countries that will soon follow the USA's self-destructive path doesn't require as much work.


Individual states in America. The various Free State projects around the country have a LOT going for them, both practically and theoretically. If you haven't visited yet, then you should. The author of that blog says that small units, communities, tribes, whatever, will have the best chance of survival in the future. Do you think you'll be able to find those in another country? With the coming collapse of the world economy, there will be some bastions of freedoms left in this country. Small communities, such as ones Manchester or Keene, New Hampshire, or Newcastle, Wyoming, will have the best chance at survival, and keeping the most freedom.

States like Wyoming, New Hampshire, Montana, Idaho, etc., have the best chance at keeping their liberty legal in the future. We will always have our freedoms and our rights. They cannot take them away. But, like Will Grigg's blog shows, they can be made punishable. When this happens, liberty-loving people will become criminals and/or terrorists.

I don't mean to insult you, if that's happened. I'm not very good with words. There are others who are better than I. Read Molon Labe! and Hologram of Liberty and Boston's Gun Bible by Kenneth Royce (a.k.a. Boston T. Party), although there is evidence to suggest that those who buy his books will be put under surveillance (what a wonderful world, right?) Read Unintended Consequences, give a visit to, and read that author's book Absolved when it comes out. Visit any other websites that you get linked to. Just, please, work at liberty here in America.

You're allegiance is to liberty, and not this country. But, in this country you'll find probably the best chances for liberty in the dismal future. At least spend as much time considering this option than the one you've already chosen.

Bob said...

It just doesn't stop, things continue toward an INGSOC style ruling government. This suspension of habeus corpus is but another step toward the gulags, there is no other way to look at it. They are now admiting they want camps here in the US in HR 645...that just means they are going public with what they have already been doing.

TJP said...

Pat H said:

Individual states in America. The various Free State projects around the country have a LOT going for them, both practically and theoretically."

Reminds me of my favorite historical/political joke:

Q: Why does our republic have fifty sovereign states?

A: So a central government will issue diktats that they all must follow.

Ha ha!

Stupid citizens--two plus two is one. Sheesh, get with the program.

Anonymous said...

From anonn @4:37
Pat - The Free State Project is a joke. I live in NH - having been born and raised there. and the creep to Socialism ( Mass. style) continues unabated - the Free State Joksters notwithstanding.
Asia actually hold more promise than you think. Men much more wiser than the two of us i.e. Jim Rogers would readily confirm. Lastly I would stress that without a major Christ centered spiritual renewal there is no hope for this country. In China in particular there has been and continues to be a major groundswell of Christianity taking place - one which the State cannot suppress. It will be a region of the world that will hold more hope for the future than the decaying darkening West.

Pat H. said...

I've thought about it a bit. You two are probably right.

Gosh, I guess I'm just too stupid to realize that now is the best time to run. Darn.

Mark Yannone said...

Congress cannot change the Constitution. Habeas corpus was not repealed. The Constitution is unchanged, despite the widespread wailing and gnashing of teeth and the criminal intent of those who signed the Military Commissions Act.

Mark Yannone

jonpz said...

It is funny when he calls or emails and says the rest of the world wishes to be free while you in america want tyranny.

I could not help but comment on this. One of the things that makes me so cynical about issues of liberty and freedom is that, historically speaking, humans have shown an unquenchable thirst for being governed/oppressed. It seems that humans (across the globe and across time, not just here in Amerika and not just now) think that relinquishing dominion of their realm (family/home/farm/castle/what have you) relieves them of spiritual responsibility for the well-being of that realm. ("I'll let the gub'ment gimme food, and, if we go hungry, it's the gub'ment's fault.") We see this mentality in ancient Israel's shift from judges to kings, Rome's shift from Republic to Empire, etc., etc. (I'm no historian, so I'm sure there are many other examples to be cited). I believe that part of the 'solution' is educating responsible people (a 'no pearls before swine' warning clause is fully appropriate here, I believe) that, no matter who they grant dominion of their sphere of influence to, they are ultimately responsible for the spiritual and physical well-being of said sphere.

Lastly I would stress that without a major Christ centered spiritual renewal there is no hope for this country.

Oh my dear sweet Jesus... while I agree with this statement in principle especially if we were to stress Christ-centered, I would also comment that the church has not been truly Christ centered for thousands of years and the church has been used as just another tool of oppression for those thousands of years precisely because, in my opinion, the church has lost all touch with Jesus. When humans work towards a spiritual renewal, what happens is a show of said humans' best guess as to what that spiritual renewal would look like, and usually ends up in evil. I suspect that true spiritual renewal (of the massive type that is referred to here), looks nothing like any human expects and will be largely unnoticed by any of us... especially those who are looking for it expectantly. Careful what you wish for.