Saturday, June 21, 2014

Declarations Of War

Good morning, Gentle Reader. Have you been disturbed by the most recent news? Thinking that things really aren't as bad as that, because they're actually worse? Wondering if you'll ever manage to unravel that knot in your stomach short of hauling stakes and "going Galt?"

If the above applies to you, turn off the television -- those patent medicines won't do a damn thing for you and you know it -- and address this most important question with me:

What the hell are we going to do about it?

I've been perched at the edge of outrage for some time, but then, I'm a freedom weenie, and a hard-core one at that: the sort that believes passionately in individuals' God-given rights to their lives, liberty, and honestly acquired property; that believes that the Constitution means exactly what it says, with neither "penumbras" nor "emanations" nor bits written in invisible ink; that believes that for a federal official to defy the Constitution is an act of treason punishable by death. Some of Liberty's Torch's devotees are similarly inclined, but not all. Why, my vast and frighteningly efficient intelligence apparatus tells me that there are even one or two liberals who read this rag...probably for the humor pieces, though they might disagree about which ones those are.

But left, right, or center, pacifically inclined or maximally belligerent, if you've been keeping up with the news and don't feel as if it's time to lock and load, check your pulse: you may have died and not noticed.

War has been declared against us.


Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor changed a lot of thinking about modern warfare. One of the agreements implicit in the Westphalian system of nation-states was that wars would be conducted by sovereignties against other sovereignties, and with prior notice: open, formal declarations of war conveyed from one to the other through diplomatic channels. The unheralded attack on America's naval base was shocking not merely for its devastation, but because every significant military conflict for more than two hundred years had been preceded by a prior declaration of war.

Contemporary thought on such matters downplays the formal declaration of war, by reason of the importance of the first strike in a time of intercontinental ballistic missiles equipped with nuclear warheads. The whole development is massively unfortunate, and not merely because weapons of mass destruction make it likely that a major war will rack up a Biblical body count. A formal declaration of war makes explicit who will be fighting with whom; therefore, any parties not named are omitted from the festivities, and -- in theory at least -- can sit back and pass the popcorn. In the absence of such a declaration, no one can relax; once the lead starts to fly, every nation on Earth, and all of Mankind, are potentially at risk.

The best we can do today, if we'd like some assurance that our carcasses won't be among the ones dragged away by the bulldozers, is to assess the available data continuously, as carefully and critically as possible. So let's have a look at some of the most recent developments in that light.


First up, we have the massive influx of young illegal aliens across our southern border:

In broad daylight, with no fear of being seen, a group of Honduran girls -- some as young as 14 -- cross illegally into the United States.

"Because I want to see my parents in Austin," one tells CNN.

Moments later, another group of Hondurans admits crossing the Rio Grande to get here, McAllen station, a border crossing into the United States. "Thank God nothing happened," they say of the perilous journey.

This group quickly grows to 22. Most are children who traveled without any adults.

Unlike other stories of illegal immigration across a porous border, these immigrants aren't sneaking in. They're showing up and announcing themselves.

"We are seeing hundreds turning themselves in daily. And I mean hundreds at a time," said Chris Cabrera, a leader of the local chapter of the National Border Patrol Council, a labor union representing U.S. Border Patrol agents.

Many of the immigrants use rafts to cross the Rio Grande, equipped with instructions to follow the river until reaching the Border Patrol site to surrender.

"They know that once they get to the station, we are going to give them paperwork and we are going to set them free into the United States," Cabrera says.

U.S. law prohibits the Department of Homeland Security from immediately deporting the children if they are not from Canada or Mexico. Instead, the children are turned over to Department Health and Human Services supervision "within 72 hours of DHS taking them into custody," an official said.

"Most of the time, they're getting released to relatives in the U.S.," Cabrera said. "There's nowhere to put them, so they're released on their own recognizance and have a pending court date. I'd say between 95 and 97% of adults or youths don't show up for court."

The numbers are staggering. He estimates that more than 60,000 unaccompanied juveniles will cross in 2014 and that the numbers will rise from there.

This is the direct, easily foreseen consequence of the Obama Administration's non-enforcement of our border, coupled to its refusal to deport illegal aliens who are minors under our standards. But note that these children are predominantly not Mexican; they're from Central American countries south of Mexico, and therefore crossed the entire length of that nation to reach the United States. How?

There is only one plausible answer: their travel here was facilitated by persons with the necessary means, confident that when they'd finally crossed into the U.S., they would be permitted to stay. More, it's impossible that the Administration is unaware of this. Resourceless minors do not traverse a thousand miles of hostile territory on their own initiative, nor without experiencing tragedy.

Surely none of this is surprising to you. If there's any surprise to be had from it, it's that the popular reaction against it has been so muted. But the salient point is this: Given the Administration's openness about the relevant policies, the consequences were easy to foresee. Therefore we must conclude that those consequences, and their devastating effects upon the border states where Obama is so unpopular, were what the Administration wanted.


Next up we have yesterday's fusillades in the House of Representatives:

And:

I cannot remember an exchange between an appointed Cabinet official and an elected federal legislator that's remotely comparable to these. Commissioner Koskinen's arrogance and defiance are unprecedented. He appears unconcerned with what might follow his open refusal to cooperate with the investigation, the most important such since Teapot Dome. No appointee concerned with his tenure in his position would exhibit such an attitude except after having secured assurance of protection against any significant penalty. Such protection could only issue from higher up in the Administration: specifically, from the White House.

The politicization of the Internal Revenue Service, which has extraordinary powers over American citizens, is a far graver matter than corruption of specific individuals. It sets the most feared and fearsome agency of the federal government at war with the citizenry. Indeed, given its routine guilty-until-proven-innocent practices, under which it may seize a citizen's assets on arbitrary charges, thus denying him the resources required to defend himself against them, even members of Congress must feel a tremor or two at the thought of openly going up against the IRS. That's why the charge in the bill of particulars against Richard Nixon that data from the IRS was provided to the White House to be used against Nixon's enemies was so serious.

Despite the implications for the further use of the IRS as a weapon against anyone it chooses to target, the Administration is just fine with it. They want us to know...and to fear.


Finally for this morning, consider the blatant use of "Operation Choke Point," supposedly targeted at terrorism and money laundering, to shut down legal businesses, especially firearms-related businesses:

Gun retailers say the Obama administration is trying to put them out of business with regulations and investigations that bypass Congress and choke off their lines of credit, freeze their assets and prohibit online sales.

Since 2011, regulators have increased scrutiny on banks’ customers. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. in 2011 urged banks to better manage the risks of their merchant customers who employ payment processors, such as PayPal, for credit card transactions. The FDIC listed gun retailers as “high risk” along with porn stores and drug paraphernalia shops.

Meanwhile, the Justice Department has launched Operation Choke Point, a credit card fraud probe focusing on banks and payment processors. The threat of enforcement has prompted some banks to cut ties with online gun retailers, even if those companies have valid licenses and good credit histories.

“This administration has very clearly told the banking industry which customers they feel represent ‘reputational risk’ to do business with,” said Peter Weinstock, a lawyer at Hunton & Williams LLP. “So financial institutions are reacting to this extraordinary enforcement arsenal by being ultra-conservative in who they do business with: Any companies that engage in any margin of risk as defined by this administration are being dropped.”...

“We’re being threatened with a regulatory regime that attempts to foist on us the obligation to monitor all types of transactions,” Richard Riese, a senior vice president at the American Bankers Association, said in the April 28 issue of American Banker. “All of this is predicated on a notion that the banks are a choke point for all businesses.”

In an interview with The Times, Mr. Riese said the cost of doing business with gun retailers outweighs the benefits for some banks, given that regulators deem the industry as “risky,” state laws vary on the sale of guns and ammunition, and the Justice Department’s enforcement.

A regulatory process is being used, without statutory authority and outside all possibility of correction by judicial action, against institutions disfavored by the Obamunist regime. FDIC's authority to audit and scrutinize financial institutions chartered under its auspices is largely noncontroversial. The desirability of the FDIC's insurance provisions being as high as it is, few (if any) American banks exist outside that orbit. Thus, the weight of regulatory scrutiny can inhibit banks from making credit available to any business the regime wants to discourage: a perfect weapon to use against gun rights, which have been increasingly successful in the federal courts.

A military strategist will tell you: your first strike should always be aimed at the enemy's weaponry. Once you have denied him the power to harm you, your plan of conquest can proceed in confidence.

Is there any other way to interpret the above strikes on the American firearms industry -- at this time, one of the few unabashedly profitable and growing sectors of American enterprise?


War has been declared against us, the American people. The declarer is the federal government. Indeed, many state governments are its tacit allies. Several declarations are presented above; there are many more of subtler impact.

On a related subject, hearken to the great Mike Hendrix:

So whatcha gonna do about it, tough guy? Not one damned thing, that’s what. The entire rotten edifice of American government is rife with this sort of thing. Opportunities for amoral corruption is what government is; it’s what it does. Government is little more than a jobs program for incompetent, greedy bums who could never survive in a competitive, free-market environment…which is just one of many reasons to keep it small, under close supervision and tight restriction.

What we have now is very nearly the precise opposite of what the Founders envisioned. This is but a small representation of that essential, inescapable truth.

The war has been declared. The battle lines are sharp and bright. No American can call himself a noncombatant; no American can be confident that he's off the battlefield. And there's absolutely nowhere to flee.

Will we surrender meekly, or will we stand and fight?