Recent comments

  • Suverans2's picture
    Suverans2 24 weeks 11 hours ago Web link A. Magnus
    Yes, yes, of course, it's just common sense; the concept of a "just claim[1]" to a thing is just so old fashioned. Have you missed me, Paul? ;-) Hope all is well with you. _______________________________________________ [1] RIGHT, noun 5. Just claim... 6. Just claim... 7. Just claim... 8. That which justly belongs to one. 9. Property; interest. 10. Just claim... (Source: Webster's 1828 Dictionary) Right. ...In a narrower signification JUST and legal CLAIM to hold hold, use, or enjoy [an object of property] (Source: Black's Law Dictionary, Sixth Edition, page 1324) [Emphasis added]
  • KenK's picture
    KenK 24 weeks 2 days ago Web link Westernerd
    A fool and his money soon go separate ways, as the old bromide says. Here is an example although he does fess up to it.
  • eugenedw's picture
    eugenedw 24 weeks 2 days ago Web link Westernerd
    Hey, that's just the law defending the rights of innocent children. Pity the poor girl, only 15, and SHE's apparently not going to be, er, protected....
  • Paul's picture
    Paul 24 weeks 2 days ago
    Small Things
    Page Paul Hein
    To me it seems power is just as important as money. If it were only about money, these people with all their connections would simply be banksters and other sorts of speculators and traders of favors. But if you want to exercise power, love having people hanging on your pompous utterances, love sticking it to somebody, you need to be in government. Think of what they have to do to get into government, as opposed to getting into banking. They must become whores just to get a chance at it. No, it's not just the money. Of course for the cronies, it may well be. Someone selling Hummers or $500 toilet seats to government probably is not in it for the power, just the easy money.
  • Paul's picture
    Paul 24 weeks 2 days ago Page Douglas Herman
    The time to look for it, if it happens, is when the other governments finally start dumping the dollar en masse. Just a guess...
  • factotum's picture
    factotum 24 weeks 3 days ago Page Douglas Herman
    "A bigger Operation Gladio? Don’t bet against it.": Well, you have been wrong so far. So, I will bet against it. Please give me some specifics. To wit: A time frame, and a magnitude --- how many years how many deaths. Please be specific. Soon, and a lot do not count as specific. Before 2020, and at least 5000. Do count. I will put up 1 oz of gold. And you will put up ??? What is that? --- you are puting up excuses and verbiage and drivel as to who you can not / will not bet? I am shocked!!!! Shocked I tell you :-) dpaladin at ix dot netcom dot com.
  • Glock27's picture
    Glock27 24 weeks 3 days ago Web link Emmett Harris
    Fluff up--double post. Sorry!
  • Glock27's picture
    Glock27 24 weeks 3 days ago Web link Emmett Harris
    Maybe Chicago and Emmanuel should try Facebook relations:)
  • Glock27's picture
    Glock27 24 weeks 3 days ago Web link Emmett Harris
    The DOD conducted a psy/op on FB, at AF's permission, on 600,000 FB subscribers. Wonder if this was one of the psy/op campaigns?
  • Glock27's picture
    Glock27 24 weeks 3 days ago
    Small Things
    Page Paul Hein
    Beautiful piece with a delightful bouquet of analogies. Damned pleasurable read—not to mention the obviousness of the precise relationship to government, like the leggy orchestrated influx of disease riddled kids from below the boarder. Interesting how they were loosely prepared for the influx pre-arrival. Reminds me of when the U.S. provided small pox riddled blankets to the American Indians. Loved the piece Mr. Hein.
  • Douglas Herman's picture
    Douglas Herman 24 weeks 6 days ago Page Douglas Herman
    Thanks Glen,    I saw that slogan all over Rio. Not until I returned did I research it. Yeah, the Smedley Butler shirt at Monticello got a lot of stares. Hard to argue with it though.    
  • Alex R. Knight III's picture
    Alex R. Knight III 24 weeks 6 days ago Blog entry Jim Davies
    Jim:  This is (most expectedly) very well done!  I must ask:  Have you recontacted Meyers with a link to your essay?  And if so, has he this time responded?
  • Douglas Herman's picture
    Douglas Herman 25 weeks 1 day ago Page Kevin M. Patten
    Kevin,    Damn fine writing skills you polished in the pen. Start submitting your stuff to book agents/ publishers and think up a good title.    I only spent 35 days in medium security but you are like STR's Shawshank correspondent. "Get busy living or get busy dying," said Red.   Write more about your stretch, about the details. Maybe, just MAYBE, you can sell the screen rights if/when you get out.   Good Luck. Doug
  • KenK's picture
    KenK 25 weeks 2 days ago Web link A. Magnus
    Irresponsible motherfucker.
  • Glock27's picture
    Glock27 25 weeks 2 days ago Web link A. Magnus
    Because I am passionate about my freedom, I can see that my passion will become nothing more than piss on once the LEA's begin to increase their assault on families by a tip that is not verified and getting a no-knock warrant to attack a home and abuse the people in the home before determining whether there is actually any involvement in a crime. You might be free, but are you at peace; you might be free, but are you receiving justice?
  • Jim Davies's picture
    Jim Davies 25 weeks 2 days ago Blog entry Jim Davies
    In fact, I wonder if there might be a bus-opp here. B-stickers could be fashioned in a style that has the "look" of an authentic state license plate, so COPSLIE could be stuck on the bumper or some other part of the car's rear end and convey its accurate message - but the location would not be the one prescribed for the issued license plate (in the center, usually.)   Each state has a different style and color plan, so the production runs would be small and so the prices would be higher than usual. But nothing close to that $40, and the money would go somewhere worthwhile, instead of to the State Treasury.
  • Paul's picture
    Paul 25 weeks 3 days ago Web link A. Magnus
    "Obama Pledges $500 Million For Syrian Rebels...Meanwhile In Detroit..." I don't think it is a good idea to make such connections (similar to "millions for prisons, meanwhile our schools go begging"). Tax money for Syrian rebels is bad, period. City governments are bad, period. And the notion that access to water is a right? That's why I think "rights" are no longer a useful concept.
  • Paul's picture
    Paul 25 weeks 3 days ago
    Logical Fallacies?
    Page Paul Bonneau
    It's not surprising my point was not particularly obvious in this article, since I too have trouble seeing it! I'm just hoping people understand the concept of logical fallacies along with some necessary skepticism, rather with just faith. It's similar to my concern about "rights". There is no tool or meme, that cannot be turned around by the ruling class and used against us.
  • Serenity's picture
    Serenity 25 weeks 3 days ago Web link Serenity
    well said...brilliant!
  • Samarami's picture
    Samarami 25 weeks 3 days ago
    Logical Fallacies?
    Page Paul Bonneau
    In thinking about your essay and rereading it this morning, I see my comment of yesterday rather missed your main thrust: that truths that are intrinsic but contradictory to particular interests are often turned around to appear fallacious. And this can be done through various "lists of fallacies" such as Downes' and other similar web publishers. Memes abound by showing basic truths to appear as examples of fallacies. Along the same line of thought John Hasnas (<== pdf) has this to say about "Anarchy": Anarchy refers to a society without a central political authority. But it is also used to refer to disorder or chaos. This constitutes a textbook example of Orwellian newspeak in which assigning the same name to two different concepts effectively narrows the range of thought. For if lack of government is identified with the lack of order, no one will ask whether lack of government actually results in a lack of order. And this uninquisitive mental attitude is absolutely essential to the case for the state. For if people were ever to seriously question whether government is really productive of order, popular support for government would almost instantly collapse. Using the "fallacy" tactic it is not that difficult to identify anarchy as fallacious by those with an appetite for monopoly rulership -- and sycophants thereto, including virtually all media and probably 95% of the unwashed masses. Those of us in what is commonly called "the liberty movement" ('though I avoid "movements") should probably stay mindful of this gambit -- show it for what it is, but refrain from engaging in it ourselves. It's dishonest, phony to the core, and the subtle means by which liberty seekers are dissuaded from becoming truly free. Sam
  • Glock27's picture
    Glock27 25 weeks 3 days ago
    Logical Fallacies?
    Page Paul Bonneau
    "...people act in their own interest (self-interest!). I think this is a biological, evolutionary, primitive fact that has attached itself to human beings from the very beginning, and to escape the idea that we all operate out of self-interest I believe would leave us with a freak fallacy of its own. Self-interest, from my perspective, pertains fundamentally to self-survival, the self protecting its "self" from embarrassment; to covering up wrong deeds and etc. I do not see how any human being could possibly escape the act of protecting their "self", other than socio-psychopathic individuals, yet these individuals also act out of self interest. I look a Harry Reid, democrat. The man is a walking, talking, breathing fallacy and he does it all out of his personal self-interest. Interesting points Sam.
  • Glock27's picture
    Glock27 25 weeks 3 days ago Web link Serenity
    This is the beautiful argument I have refer'ed to several times here wherein "Man is not necessarily a rational animal, but an imaginative one, he believes that man as a rational animal is a mistake, and that an imaginative one is a more powerful force. I believe getting tied down to logic, and rationality becomes a millstone about ones neck and can drag one into depth of undesired consequences. I believe a broad minded person would embrace the imaginative aspect more wholly. In my time on STR I have noted several writers and comments made are from people who have imagined as well as having applied a bit of logic and rational consideration to their statements. I also have noted some to appear to have the millstone draped about their ideas. This and many other articles was recently published in a collection of essays a few years back. Since having moved and not completely unpacked I cannot provide the publication date of the book. When I procured it, the book was well worth the small investment made. I felt Hasnas was quiet thorough--but then who am I to speak since my debate skills and knowledge regarding these issues are primitive. I am fondly bound to the "KISS" concept.
  • Samarami's picture
    Samarami 25 weeks 4 days ago
    Logical Fallacies?
    Page Paul Bonneau
    Good food for thought, Paul. "...Eighty percent of the human world is self-serving bullshit..." Fortunately, you and I are firmly ensconced in the other twenty percent -- right? (ha ha ha) Altruistic, humanitarian, philanthropic, etc etc. Most of us who write and/or comment do so out of an element of self-interest. I have to feel that there is some pay-off for me by creating in your mind certain impressions you have about me through your reading of things that I write -- else I would spend my time away from STR and the stirring of minds in which we engage through libertarian discussion. One of the most important facts in the human world is that people act in their own interest. This overpowers almost everything else. How true. And it's important to keep foremost in our minds the fact that those psychopaths -- often referred to with the acronym TPTB ("the powers that be") -- who claim to have "jurisdiction", understand that quite clearly. Which is why general, overriding fallacies are so pervasive all around us. They have been engendered and accelerated and inculcated into the minds of the hoi polloi since the rising of the rulers and the khans -- the progenitors of the empire to which we are hoping to see an end. Delmar England phrased it thus: The prevailing (global) philosophy is saturated with popular fallacies so large in scope, so varied in surface type, so nearly universally accepted, they emotionally appear as unquestionable truth, as absolutes without alternative and not to be questioned. This is the atmosphere into which you were born and now live. An example of "logical fallacy" is pointed up in your assessment of Downe's "Slippery Slope": the issue isn't the legitimacy of automatic weapons at all -- the issue is the legitimacy of "law". Mark Davis posted a good article a couple days ago pertaining to the "lifeboat" argument/fallacy. Mark summed up: Enlightenment is thus forsaken in the quest to avoid an admission that quaint emotional attachments overrule their reasoning capabilities. I admire both of you for urging us to see through the detritus to get to the meat. Sam
  • Glock27's picture
    Glock27 25 weeks 4 days ago
    Logical Fallacies?
    Page Paul Bonneau
    Read Tarabay's diatribe regarding guns. Though not relevant to fallacies, oops, just maybe the whole article was a fallacy. The author in the article jabbers about assault weapons, I have not figured out exactly what an "assault weapon" is. My understanding is that such and animal does not exist, but is a term confabulated by someone. The issue all rests on appearance. O-o-o-o-o. scary black gun. One point was true however, generally you only get one shot at an animal. If you are lucky you get a second because sometimes the animal has just not registered what has happened. Me. I want to have and shoot whatever I desire. Another thing which was entirely missed in the article is that many hunters purchase a long rifle for more than just hunting, especially today. It seems to me that Paul has made an perceptive association regarding fallacies, which makes me ask the question, could not freedom also be a fallacy? Thanks for the article Paul. It helps neophytes like myself in this realm.
  • Samarami's picture
    Samarami 25 weeks 5 days ago Page Mark Davis
    Good observations, Mark. Our entire lives have seemingly been consumed in pointing to the necessity for monopoly "care" (read: violence) inculcated into our brains since we were babies. I can understand many not liking David Icke, but in this instance he is dead on with his animation of The Hegelian Dialectic. The political holiday coming up this week serves as a classic example: keep the dumb serfs barbecuing and drinking beer and hooting and hollering and setting off firecrackers! Few of them will spend much time analyzing what the psychopaths making the speeches claim it's supposed to all mean, but that's not important. Just keep 'em in tune with the idea that monopoly state serves a socially useful purpose, and that wars are necessary to keep everybody "safe". Support them troops, fer sure fer sure -- but be thankful you live in a free country. ("Free country", incidentally, is about as oxymoronish as it gets). Sam
  • Glen Allport's picture
    Glen Allport 25 weeks 6 days ago Page Douglas Herman
    Great column, Douglas!  Also, I loved the Ten Years After lyric -- "I'd Love to Change the World" is the only track they ever did that I really liked, despite the Marxist portion of the song's lyrics, and it's been a favorite since I first heard it. The song evokes a lot of feeling; it also has some of the best guitar work out there. But the SLOGAN you highlight -- Kindness Generates Kindness -- and the attitude behind that slogan, is the important thing. Makes sense that there would be a Brazillian saying like that, given the warmth of their culture relative to ours. It is especially critical that kindness characterize our early lives; children born into an infancy and childhood of kindness, love, and compassion don't NEED slogans to remind them (much less to teach them, as a new idea) that kindness is important. Children hurt badly enough early on can't really hear the slogan, no matter how many times they encounter it. I would love to see more focus and stronger emphasis on the "love" aspect of love and freedom. Love is the yin to freedom's yang, and you're among the minority of those who write in support of freedom who consistently shows that truth in your work.    PS -- I just clicked your photo and saw the full-size image for the first time, with the quote from Smedley Butler. Awesome! u
  • eugenedw's picture
    eugenedw 26 weeks 12 hours ago Web link strike
    With current laws, all over the western world, it is madness to employ anyone, and those who have no choice have my sympathy. In this particular case, hopefully the family has learned something about the value of raising your kids by yourself...
  • eugenedw's picture
    eugenedw 26 weeks 13 hours ago
    Elena Shumilova
    Web link strike
    Lovely photos!
  • Douglas Herman's picture
    Douglas Herman 26 weeks 1 day ago Page Mark Davis
        I skipped this summer, Mark. But next summer I intend to buy a rad detector and test fish we catch there in Alaska. I'm also the cook on the boat.   I wrote this for a fishing mag last year. Good skipper, bad skipper
  • Mark Davis's picture
    Mark Davis 26 weeks 1 day ago Page Mark Davis
    Hi Doug, Luckily I haven't had to deal with the .gov jackboots after any storms as they do typically make things worse; especially when they are disarming victims or keeping people from getting to or even staying in their homes.  I've gone without power for three days, twice, and for the first couple of days it was difficult to get a car into or out of my neighborhood, so we were on our own which actually helped created a stronger sense of community. Commerical fisherman is one of the most dangerous jobs in the world and manned by some of the most independent minded men in the world.  I'd bet that has helped you to gain some tremendous insights into this subject. It looks to me like the USS America has lunatics at the helm screaming "Damn the torpedoes; full speed ahead!"  So we may all be in lifeboats fairly soon. Mark 
  • Douglas Herman's picture
    Douglas Herman 26 weeks 2 days ago Page Mark Davis
    Hi Mark,    Excellent use of lifeboat metaphor - or is it anology?  You wrote: "After disasters, most people in most neighborhoods don’t go around looting their neighbors.  I’ve been through some hard blowing, window breaking, tree clearing, power outing hurricanes, and after every single one had passed (some before) my neighbors all came out and we checked on each other."    NOt sure where you were, but after Andrew and Katrina, it was the .Gov appointed jackboots who stomped around and made things worse.    Anyway, keep up the good work.  And as for Lifeboat mentality, speaking solely as a commercial fisherman, we resort to inflatable life rafts, survival suits, flares and radios.   At this point in 'Murica it is: "Mayday, Mayday - This is vessel America and we are on fire, adrift and sinking. Send help fast!" Doug
  • Log from Blammo's picture
    Log from Blammo 26 weeks 2 days ago Page Mark Davis
    I hate arguments by lifeboat hypothetical. The people that use them are imagining the furthest possible scenario from everyday civilized behavior. Essentially, they are saying that their opponent's principles break down under the most extreme imaginable scenario. Big deal. What if the lifeboat is not, in fact, sinking, the two people on it expect to survive for a long, long time in each other's company, and there is actually enough room aboard for a lot more people? In fact, let's forget about the lifeboat entirely, and put the two people on an island with exploitable, though meager, resources. Well, those two people will probably want to get along amicably, and therefore establish some simple ground rules. Don't take the other guy's stuff without his permission. If there is some sort of emergency, and he can't give you permission fast enough to help, go right ahead, but you had better thank him properly for saving your bacon after the situation cools. Don't kill, attack, assault, batter, maim, injure, restrain, insult, or bully the other guy. Remember, if you have an accident, he's the only guy around who can nurse you back to health. If the island is invaded by raygun-wielding aliens, sea serpents, zombie pirates, robot ninjas, or any other obviously hostile force, it's us against them. If the island is invaded by cooperative immigrants, the wingman pact clearly states that no one shall attempt to court or ally with the most obviously desirable partner, except by prior, mutally-agreed establishment of "dibs", and that neither shall do or say anything to impugn the reputation of the other, either directly or by inference. It isn't difficult to analogize a situation that maps and scales directly back to normal civilized existence. Likewise, it is not difficult to recognize situtations where one person or the other clearly establishes an intent to reneg upon the cooperative pact. In that instance, it is completely acceptable for the other to retaliate, or to take additional measures to defend his own interests.
  • Log from Blammo's picture
    Log from Blammo 26 weeks 4 days ago Web link Melinda L. Secor
    There will be no need. In the event of an armed rebellion, one side or the other will take the power grid offline by shooting enough small holes near the bottoms of substation transformers. Our infrastructure is ridiculously fragile and unprotected. Whenever someone decides that "the other side" derives a greater advantage from it, it will disappear. Then people who rely upon it for survival will die. Also, if none of these are stolen, I will be surprised. If none of these are stolen by the very same city contractors who installed them, I will be very surprised. You stay classy, Chicago.
  • Paul's picture
    Paul 26 weeks 5 days ago Web link Melinda L. Secor
    These boxes will be shot full of holes when the Revolution comes.
  • ReverendDraco's picture
    ReverendDraco 26 weeks 5 days ago Web link Melinda L. Secor
    Let's turn it back on them. . . let's start calling Civil *Obedience* "Terrorism." Because it is.
  • Samarami's picture
    Samarami 26 weeks 5 days ago Web link Bradley Keyes
    "Free State" is oxymoronish. I am a sovereign state. As such, I am 100% responsible. For the protection of my borders. For the demeanor of its inhabitant (me). If it's going to be, it's up to me. Today. Here. Where I am. Sam
  • Samarami's picture
    Samarami 26 weeks 5 days ago Web link Bradley Keyes
    Libertarianism is no political (monopoly) government. Statism is monopoly government. The only "libertarians" in my book are zero government (no border) individuals. The idea of "open borders" is mini-statism to its core, and not part of my thought process. Sam
  • Paul's picture
    Paul 26 weeks 6 days ago Web link Bradley Keyes
    That link doesn't work for me. The page keeps reloading, over and over.
  • Paul's picture
    Paul 26 weeks 6 days ago Web link Bradley Keyes
    I agree. However much I might like to go along with friends on this, many of whom are at the conservative end of the spectrum, I simply cannot. And I don't see how supposed libertarians can be satisfied with such rationalizations. But I guess it is normal that people are inconsistent. In time they may improve as they think it through.
  • Sharon Secor's picture
    Sharon Secor 27 weeks 5 days ago Page Paul Hein
    "The reality is too shameful to tolerate." Well said, sir, well said.
  • Paul's picture
    Paul 27 weeks 6 days ago Page Paul Hein
    "Maddeningly, these self-same strangers refer to themselves as our servants!" For a long time, I wondered how this obvious falsehood kept its staying power, why no one ever laughed when the phrase "public servant" was used. Then (I believe) I figured it out: http://strike-the-root.com/why-people-believe-government-is-here-to-help-us The notion remains accepted by most people because they want and need to look at it that way. The reality is too shameful to tolerate.
  • ReverendDraco's picture
    ReverendDraco 28 weeks 2 hours ago Web link Bradley Keyes
    Having Tim Roth play Sepp Blatter is fitting - Tim has always done a very fine job, portraying bad guys. He might even get an Oscar for this one.
  • eugenedw's picture
    eugenedw 28 weeks 12 hours ago Web link Bradley Keyes
    Recent years have seen several attempts by various researchers to prove that the old masters in general, and Vermeer in particular, "cheated" by using various optical devices to create their paintings. Perhaps the most well known of these was a book titled "Secret Knowledge," by the British artist David Hockney. Hockney's ideas have been roundly debunked (indeed, Jenison himself points out some of the reasons why Hockney is wrong). Jenison may or may not be right with his own theory, but he seems to agree anyway that the fact that his method is consistent with what we observe in Vermeer's work does not prove that this is how Vermeer did it. Most of the theories that argue that the old masters used optical aids are attempts to solve a non-mystery, namely how on earth the artists managed to paint so realistically. Much time is spent trying to prove that they couldn't possibly have done it without optical aids. These arguments strike me as similar to the arguments of people who claim that the Egyptians couldn't possibly have built the pyramids, so therefore aliens must have done it. There are currently realist artists producing work that is significantly more realistic than anything Vermeer or his contemporaries produced, and they do not need any optical aids to do it. So why do we think Vermeer must have had such aids? There is no mystery here to be solved in the first place. It is of course nevertheless possible that Vermeer employed such devices (it is well known that artists throughout the past five or six centuries have been fascinated by and experimented with all manner of optics - it would have been surprising if they didn't), but the notion that highly realistic painting represents some sort of unfathomable mystery in need of a solution is belied by what contemporary artists are doing quite routinely, using traditional methods that have been in existence and under constant development for centuries, and that emphatically do not require the use of optical devices.
  • rita's picture
    rita 28 weeks 3 days ago Web link Emmett Harris
    Great -- reinforce the stupid stereotype of meth users and perpetuate police violence.
  • eugenedw's picture
    eugenedw 28 weeks 4 days ago Page Bradley Keyes
    Well, if I see something worth posting here, I'll let a random editor know about it. :-)
  • strike's picture
    strike 28 weeks 4 days ago Page Bradley Keyes
    The name of each guest editor is displayed every day along with a link to his/her profile.  From there, you can send them a private message or perhaps an email as well.
  • Plant Immigration Rights Supporter's picture
    Plant Immigrati... 28 weeks 4 days ago Web link Serenity
    I was unable to reach the link - I don't know if BlogSpot pulled it down for being too controversial or what - but I found the text pasted in a forum dedicated to a certain former Republican Presidential candidate. Please understand, I am only pasting it here because I could not see the article via the link provided and I am concerned that others may also not be able to see this very valuable article. I apologize if I am violating some rule of the forum. Feel free to edit this post if necessary for legal reasons. I just want people to be able to read the article. Thank you. The article's author is Will Grigg. Here is the text: "The Future is Too Good to Waste on Lies": Bowe Bergdahl's Moral Odyssey http://freedominourtime.blogspot.com/2014/06/the-future-is-too-good-to-w... “I can’t make up my mind to put the damn thing on again. I feel so clean and free. It’s like voluntarily taking up filth and slavery again….I think I’ll just walk off naked across the fields.” John Andrews, a U.S. soldier in World War I who went AWOL, discusses his uniform in Three Soldiers by John Dos Passos Trying to find their footing amid a gale-force outpouring of largely manufactured outrage, officials in Hailey, Idaho canceled their long-planned homecoming for Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl. They were understandably intimidated by the prospect of dealing with thousands of protesters who planned to besiege the tiny central Idaho town to demand the blood of a young man they now regard to be a deserter, and a father they consider a terrorist sympathizer. To understand the kind of welcome the War Party has been preparing for Bowe and his family, it’s useful to consider the treatment given to the family of World War I-era conscientious objector John Witmer. A Mennonite from Colombiana, Ohio who was denied a deferment by the local draft board, Witmer died from the Spanish Flu while stationed at Camp Sherman, Ohio. Witmer's lifeless body was returned to his hometown on October 10, 1918, where the family – his father Dan, his siblings, and his fiancee, Nola – was greeted by a silent crowd heavy with sullen disapproval for the “slacker” and his family. Like thousands of others who shared his faith, John had been kidnapped at gunpoint from his family farm through the evil practice of conscription. The local draft board had turned down John's appeal for Conscientious Objector status, dishonestly assuring him that once he had taken the oath of enlistment he would be recognized as a CO and be given a non-combat assignment. As with everything else of consequence that emerges from the lips, pen, or keyboard of a government functionary, those assurances were lies. During wartime, explained Bernard Baruch, the head of the Wilson Regime’s War Industry Board, all “men, money and things” within the government’s claimed jurisdiction “suddenly become a compact instrument of destruction…. [T]he entire population must suddenly cease to be a congeries of individuals, each following a self-appointed course, and become a vast unitary mechanism." John Witmer, like many thousands of others, was designated a “slacker” because he persisted in the belief that he was not the property of the State. His refusal to undergo military training forbidden by his religious convictions provoked violent reactions from his fellow conscripts, and led to a punitive re-assignment to a CO camp – a detention facility that was also used as a holding pen for German prisoners of war. The weather turned colder, and influenza – one of the government's chief wartime imports from Europe – propagated itself throughout Camp Sherman. John pleaded for adequate bedding and dry clothes, to no avail. The isolated, terrified young man contracted the Spanish Flu, from which he soon died. John's body was returned in a flag-shrouded coffin. While most Americans would regard this as an honor, the Witmer family's convictions didn't allow them to make acts of allegiance to anyone or anything but God. There is a sense in which wrapping John's body in the US flag was one final proprietary gesture by the government that had stolen the young man from the family who loved him, the religious fellowship that had raised him, and the young woman who wanted to be his wife. The crowd that had congealed at the train station to witness the arrival of John Witmer's body was acutely interested in the reaction of his Mennonite family. Most of the spectators knew that the Mennonites didn't support the war; their principled pacifism had provoked both curiosity and suspicion. For a brief period, the Witmers enjoyed what could be called probationary sympathy from the crowd. But they quickly learned that few things are likelier to provoke sanctimonious violence from war-maddened Americans than a conspicuous lack of enthusiasm for killing foreigners whom the State has designated the “enemy.” Slumping beneath a burden no parent should ever bear, Dan Witmer approached the coffin containing his son's body and carefully removed the flag. In doing so, he committed an act regarded as a sacrilege by adherents of the omnivorous idol called the State: Either out of innocent ignorance of, or commendable indifference to, the ritual called “flag etiquette,” Dan folded the banner as he would a blanket. The crowd, deep in the throes of the psychosis called “war patriotism,” erupted in pious outrage. “The mood of the onlookers turned from one of sympathy to hostility,” recounts Lily A. Bear in her book Report for Duty. “Mennonites!” hissed one disgusted onlooker. “Got what he deserved!” declared another of Dan's dead son. “Traitor!” bellowed yet another outraged pseudo-patriot. Someone hurled a stone that hit John's younger brother in the shoulder. A second stone, missing its target, landed at the feet of the mourning father. John's young sister Mary, puzzled and hurt by this display of murderous hatred, began to cry. After making arrangements for his son's funeral, Dan took his family home. This crowd, deprived of the hate objects that had given it cohesion, quickly dissipated. This repellent spectacle, recall, occurred in a tiny Ohio town nearly one hundred years ago. In this age of saturation media and online social networking, the “homecoming” given the Bergdahl family would likely have been worse by several orders of magnitude. “I will push for Bowe Bergdahl’s execution during the next Republican administration,” fumed South Carolina Republican agitator Todd Kincannon. “And his dad too. Those who commit treason need to die.” Kincannon’s sentiments are not an aberration. Bowe’s detractors claim that his desertion cost the lives of U.S. soldiers sent to rescue him – a claim that plays well on talk radio but cannot be substantiated by casualty records. Given the fact that Bowe had expressed his growing misgivings to his superiors, the effort to locate him might have been less a rescue mission that an attempt to locate and re-assimilate a wayward drone who had exhibited troubling symptoms of resurgent individualism. Like John Witmer, Bowe Bergdahl was raised in a deeply religious home. Unlike Witmer, Bergdahl was not a conscript. Like countless other young men, Bowe was lured into enlisting by a recruiter who cynically appealed to his idealistic and patriotic impulses, and offered lying assurances about the missions he would be required to carry out. Bowe was a committed and disciplined soldier who devoted what private time he had to refining his skills, conditioning his body, and feeding his mind, rather than indulging in recreational vice. Once he arrived in Afghanistan, Bowe was immediately disillusioned by the corruption and cluelessness displayed by his superiors, the laxity and unprofessionalism of his fellow soldiers, and the criminal indifference to innocent lives that characterized the mission. “The few good [sergeants] are getting out as soon as they can, and they are telling us privates to do the same,” Bowe informed his father in an e-mail. He decided to act on that advice immediately, explaining to his parents that “The future is too good to waste on lies.” Bowe’s parents are Christians of the Calvinist persuasion who home-schooled him, instructed him in Christian ethics, and respected his independence of mind and sense of personal responsibility. “Bowe was a young man with all the dangers of home-schooling – a brilliant and inquisitive mind, a crisp thinker, and someone who had never really been exposed to evil in the world,” recalls Phil Proctor, who was pastor of the Presbyterian Church attended by the Bergdahl family. “He [wanted] to determine whether the Christian faith was his own, or his parents’ and was doing a lot of exploring of ideas – never drugs or alcohol, but trying to be an outdoors/Renaissance type figure.” (Danger? Is this tongue in cheek, Pastor, or do you really mean it? Never exposed to evil? Like government schools for instance? Would someone be better served to be thrown in prison or a brothel for a while to "experience evil"? - AF) When Bowe announced his enlistment in the US Army, Bob didn’t approve but also didn’t discourage him. When Bowe expressed his terminal disgust with the mission in Afghanistan, Bob offered the admonition: “Obey your conscience.” (My own teen age son is eying military service. I offer the same advice. - AF) By offering that advice, rather than rebuking his son or turning him in to his superiors as a potential “shirker,” Bob Bergdahl committed treason, according to his detractors, who insist that loyalty to the Warfare State trumps all other moral commitments. Bowe’s parents never relented in their efforts to bring their son home. Now their relief over their son’s liberation, and their expressions of unconditional love toward him, are being depicted as evidence of disloyalty to the Regime and even hatred for America. “Bob felt (with some justification) that the US government was not going to engage with diplomatic efforts and so decided to try to free his son himself,” recounts Pastor Proctor. “He learned Pashtun and developed a lot of contacts in the Middle East. The Qatar connection is one that either originated with Bob or, at the very least, became very personally connected to Bob. Bob has, for quite some time, been saying that the closure of Guantanamo is integrally connected to the release of his son.” In addition to placing his duty to his son above loyalty to the State, Bob Bergdahl’s offenses include learning the language of his captors and expressing the heretical view that God disapproves of death of Afghan children. Even Bob’s beard is presented as evidence of his supposed affinity for Islamic jihad, a charge that – if applied even-handedly – could justify a drone strike targeting the cast of Duck Dynasty. Rather than being a jihadist sleeper cell, as they are being portrayed by War Party dead-enders, the Bergdahls are Christian individualists. Their moral universe is defined by the Two Great Commandments (that we love our Creator and love our neighbors as ourselves ) and biblical teachings regarding the reciprocal moral duties of parents and children. They do not place allegiance to the State above loyalty to their family – which to a statist is an unforgivable heresy. Speaking on FoxNews, Dr. Keith Ablow – displaying the ideologically inspired certitude of a Brezhev-era Soviet psychiatrist – discerned “narcissistic” tendencies in the entire Bergdahl family. Bowe’s desire for adventure and self-directed nature indicate that “he can’t really serve the nation … because he’s serving himself.” Bowe’s individualism was a form of “addiction,” insisted Commissar Ablow, eliciting coos of thoughtful assent from the Fox News personalities interviewing him, one of whom was prompted to underscore the importance of “obey[ing] your commander, rather than your conscience,” which is a decidedly a pre-Nuremberg order of moral priorities . Bowe’s incorrigible commitment to his conscience is to be expected, Commissar Ablow continued, given that Bowe was raised in a family displaying a tendency “to distance one’s self from institutions, to diminish the rule of law and to elevate the individual above all else.” The problem with the Bergdahls, Ablow suggested, was that they “don’t feel part of our country.” The exchange of five Gitmo detainees for “somebody who didn’t feel very American” resulted in “a tremendously psychologically dispiriting moment for our people,” summarized the putative doctor, who strikes me as the kind of person who would consider the public execution of the entire Bergdahl family to be a moment of communal healing. For people in the grip of war patriotism, the proper role for Bob and Jani Bergdahl was described in Livy’s account of the Horatti, or sons of Horace. During one of the countless conflicts in Rome's early expansion, Horace's triplet sons volunteered to engage three brothers from a rival tribe on the battlefield. The victors would win, on behalf of their city-state, possession of a strategically crucial – and now long-forgotten -- village. Rome’s opponents were killed in a battle that also claimed two of Horace’s sons. In the subsequent victory celebration Horace lost one of his daughters as well: She was killed by the surviving brother as punishment for her romantic dalliance with an enemy of Rome. Horace bore the losses stoically, as befitting a father who sought above all things the greater glory of the government that claimed him. Under that model of “patriotism” – which inspired the totalitarian French Jacobins, as well as their ideological offspring in Italy and Germany – Bob Bergdahl’s duty was to chastise his errant son, and exhort him to be true and faithful in carrying out the State’s murderous errand. If Bowe were to be killed by Afghans defending their country, his parents were expected to regard their son as an exalted hero, and their irreplaceable loss as a holy privilege. Bowe was hardly the first American soldier whose understandable disillusionment led him to quit while deployed overseas. “I cannot support a mission that leads to corruption, human rights abuse and liars,” wrote Colonel Ted Westhusing, a West Point Graduate, Special Forces veteran, and devout Catholic husband and father, in a despairing e-mail to his family. “I am sullied. I came to serve honorably and feel dishonored. Death before being dishonored any more.” A few hours later Col. Westhusing shot himself in the head, ending his life less than a month before his tour of duty was scheduled to end. In the fashion of “Doctor” Ablow, an Army psychologist who reviewed Westhusing's e-mails following his suicide determined that the Colonel was “unusually rigid in his thinking” and unreasonably committed to his moral code. Army Specialist Alyssa Peterson was also devoutly religious, a former Mormon missionary from Flagstaff, Arizona. Like Bowe and Bob Bergdahl, Peterson had what one friend described as an “amazing” ability to learn languages, an aptitude that helped her learn Arabic at the Army's Defense Language Institute. Spec. Peterson volunteered for duty in Iraq, where she was sent to help interrogate prisoners and translate captured documents at an air base in Tal-Afar. And, like Ted Westhusing, Alyssa Peterson was driven to suicidal depression as a result of the role the regime forced her to play in Iraq. “Peterson objected to the interrogation techniques used on prisoners,” summarized Reporter Kevin Elston, who was using the official euphemism for “torture.” “She refused to participate after only two nights working in the unit known as the cage. Army spokesmen for her unit have refused to describe the interrogation techniques Alyssa objected to. They say all records of those techniques have now been destroyed.” Immediately after lodging her objections, Alyssa was reassigned and sent to suicide prevention training; her suicide note took ironic notice of the fact that the “prevention” training actually instructed her in the best way to kill herself. “What right had a man to exist who was too cowardly to stand up for what he thought and felt … for everything that made him an individual apart from his fellows, and not a slave to stand cap in hand waiting for someone of stronger will to act?” asked John Andrews, a WWI-era deserter, in John Dos Passos’ novel Three Soldiers. It’s quite likely that Ted Westhusing and Alyssa Peterson asked that question of themselves. Bowe Bergdahl’s emails to his father make it clear that he was pondering that question at the time of his desertion. Implicated in grotesque crimes against decency, Col. Westhusing and Spec. Peterson “deserted” through suicide. They were buried with honors, and their bereaved families received sympathy, rather than scorn. Rather than ending his life, or allowing it to be wasted in the service of lies, Bowe Bergdahl sought to reclaim it on his own terms – and this is why War Party fundamentalists are seeking to not only to imprison him, but to destroy his entire family.
  • eugenedw's picture
    eugenedw 28 weeks 5 days ago Web link Serenity
    You can be sure Monsanto will use all of its influence to get government to make such home gardens illegal...
  • eugenedw's picture
    eugenedw 28 weeks 5 days ago Page Bradley Keyes
    I do not have time to become a guest editor, but every now and then I run into articles online that seem to me very relevant to STR. I wonder if it might be useful to our guest editors if I send those along? Is there a list somewhere with the names and contact detials of guest editors?
  • rita's picture
    rita 28 weeks 5 days ago Web link Melinda L. Secor
    Let them go. Problem solved.