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L. Neil Smith's
Number 173, May 13, 2002

[Letters to the editor are welcome on any and all subjects. To ensure their acceptance, please try to keep them under 500 words. Sign your letter in the text body with your name and e-mail address as you wish them to appear.]

Letter from Ross

Letter from Roy J. Tellason

Letter from Sean Gabb

Letters from Bill Bunn and W. James Antle III

Letters from Bob Lallier and William Westmiller

Letter from Carl Bussjaeger

Letter from Don Koehn

International-Alert News

Echelon (U.S. Spy Satellite) Hidden Asset Forfeiture Agenda

The European Parliament wants to pass a "regulation" that will allow EC governments to spy on and keep copies of everyone's electronic communications. This is not just an invasion of privacy, but a backdoor to seize property from citizens for what they may appear to have said during an electronic communication. Government misinterpretation of a single communication could cause imprisonment and/or forfeiture of an innocent owner's home or business. Since the U.S. Congress in 2000 in affect did away with the statute of limitations for civil forfeiture, electronic communications can now be drugged up 20 years in the future to blackmail people and/or to seize property using only an alleged "preponderance of evidence."

Ross [golddust@renonevada.net]

In TLE#172 the article says:

<<Once national identification is in use by the majority, next will come the eventual elimination of cash, probably justified by "terrorist counterfeiters," with all purchases tied into your biometrically enhanced driver's license/id card. The way is being paved with new "know your customer" regulations being forumulated by Bush's Treasury Department, all in the name of this obscene "war on terror.">>

Add this to the mix -- there's no US currency currently available in any denominations bigger than a $100 bill. I was surprised to find that out, a few years back. Dunno when they did away with the bigger ones. I guess that they expect that any transactions involving larger amounts will be taking place by check, credit card, or other method that involves an easily traceable transaction. Then put into the mix that posesssion of "large amounts" of cash is considered a "suspicious" activity, having been until now tied into "drug activity" but no doubt also being tied into "terrorist" activity, and you can see where this is going ...

Roy J. Tellason [roy.j..tellason%tanstaaf@frackit.com]

News Release sent to: The The Libertarian Enterprise

Dear Sirs,

Here is our latest news release - all about the unacceptable language one hears now at the Telegraph group of newspapers. You can imagine how distressed I was to come upon such language - and from a family newspaper.


Sean Gabb sean@libertarian.co.uk

NEWS RELEASE FROM THE LIBERTARIAN ALLIANCE In Association with the Libertarian International

London, Tuesday 7 May 2002
For Immediate Use

Contact Details: Dr Sean Gabb 07956 472 199, sean@libertarian.co.uk
Also Dr Chris R. Tame, 07957 644519, chris@libertarian.co.uk
For other contact and link details, see the foot of this message


Responding to criticisms of his media group's "Free Country"campaign, a Telegraph journalist has told Sean Gabb of the Libertarian Alliance to "fuck off".

The Libertarian Alliance, which is Britain's most radical civil liberties and free market policy institute, has criticised The Daily Telegraph's "Free Country" campaign on the following grounds:

  • That it lacks focus

  • That it consists of short, unconnected articles unlikely to shift public opinion

  • That it lacks the passion and commitment of campaigns run by the leftist media

  • That, despite talk of "building alliances", no effort has been made to recruit allies for the campaign from outside the Conservative shadow cabinet and a few "well-connected mediocrities"

Dr Gabb, a Libertarian Alliance Executive Committee member, made these criticisms in an article sent out on the Internet on Monday the 6th May 2002. He sent copies with a covering letter to various journalists working for the Telegraph group. His covering letter reads:

- - -
Dear Sir,

I send herewith an account of a debate between me and your Editor. Though the debate was cut to pieces before being broadcast, the account has been posted all over the Internet.

Yours ever,

Sean Gabb
6th may 2002

- - -
Posting at 8:15am, Patrick Barclay, who is football correspondent for The Sunday Telegraph, e-mailed as follows to Dr Gabb
- - -
Dear Mr Gabb,

Would you please fuck off?

Yours very sincerely,
Patrick Barclay
- - -
Commenting on the e-mail, Dr Gabb said:

"This is a surprising communication from a media group that claims to uphold certain standards of civility in journalism. I have no doubt, however, that it is the only response I shall get. I also believe it accurately reflects the general attitude of the Telegraph group to criticism from its readers"

Also commenting, Dr Chris R. Tame, Executive Director of the Libertarian Alliance, said:

"While we have no objection to even robust media treatment, this sort of foul-mouthed response to a very polite e-mail is unacceptable from a media group that is always willing to denounce others for impoliteness. The message was sent from an official Telegraph e-mail address , and must be taken as an official Telegraph response to our criticisms. We call on Mr Barclay's manager for an explanation and apology."

In TLE 172, in his latest installment on Roe v Wade, Mr Antle writes:

<<The Supreme Court offered a "strict construction of the Constitution's racial flaws" rather than applied "the penumbra of equal rights for every human being" in Dred Scott precisely because there was rampant disagreement ...>>

How does Mr. Antle discern that the reason was "precisely because there was rampant disagreement", and not because a majority on the court were slave-owning southerners and partisan advocates of slavery? http://history.furman.edu/~benson/docs/nyajds57319a.htm Is Mr. Antle aware that the main thrust of the Dred Scott decision was that the federal government could not constitutionally prohibit slaveowners from taking their "property" into the terrritories? That in order to reach this conclusion, the majority found that such a prohibition would constitute a deprivation of property in violation of the slaveowner's "substantive due process rights"? That the Taney court thus invented "substantive due process" for this case?

Mr Antle seems to suggest that the Dred Scott decision showed an admirable judicial restraint, leaving matters in the hands of the political branches. But isn't it rather that the Dred Scott case showed an outrageous judicial activism, denying congresses power to legislate broadly for the territories, and erecting a bar to any resumption of the long series of congressional compromises that, until the Kansas-Nebraska act just a few years earlier, had largely kept the slavery question from erupting into violent conflict?

Text of the Supreme Court's Dred Scott Decision

The text of Scott v Sandford: here or http://www.tourolaw.edu/patch/Scott/ or http://www.lectlaw.com/files/case23.htm

"Judicial activism and substantive due process" http://ttokarnak.home.att.net/DredScott.html

The Invention of "Substantive" Due Process http://wildcat.arizona.edu/papers/91/32/04_2_m.html

Bill Bunn [billbunn@free-market.net]

- - -

Mr. Bunn appears to misunderstand my reference to Dred Scott as a favorable comparison with Roe v. Wade. Nothing could be further from the truth. I am hard pressed to think of a single Supreme Court ruling worse than Dred Scott, and that is a fairly bold statement given the output of the Warren Court.

My point was that part of the stated rationale behind the decision was that blacks, however human, were not considered citizens by the Constitution and thus had no rights the remainder of society was bound to respect, only whatever privileges the white political community chose to give them. This made them effectively legal non-persons. The notion that there can be human beings who do not possess inherent rights is contrary to the republic's founding principles and in the context of slavery was ultimately rejected. It is my belief that the same principles are at stake with regard to abortion. This point may be vigorously contested but those of us who have reached this conclusion have no ethical choice other than to enter the debate accordingly.

If I am to make any comparison between Roe v. Wade and Dred Scott, it would be that both decisions amounted to judicial overreaching that intensified rather than ameliorated existing political conflicts, and both decisions ultimately depersonified a class of human beings. Anything further would amount to a gross oversimplification of both decisions.

W. James Antle III [jimantle@aol.com]

Mr. Westmiller I must congratulate you on your Overturn Roe (No) argument. It is clearly one of your more lucid articles. (I don't always agree with your positions.) Nevertheless, your statement referencing the Infamous Three Fifths Compromise has piqued my sensibilities and I must take issue with you over it. You said, in your article:

<<After all, the original document only counts blacks as 3/5 of a person!" This is not the case. Article I, Section 2, Paragraph III of the U.S. Constitution actually reads: "Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons.">>

First of all, the 3/5ths compromise does not concern "blacks" in general or as a class. The "all other Persons" refers to slaves, indirectly, and not race at all. In fact, the reference to slaves per se is only implied because they happened to be the only classification of people which fit the "all other Persons" category at the time of ratification. The 3/5ths compromise does not apply to free persons, certainly not free black persons, some of whom owned slaves themselves. You will also note that the Constitution does not specify that anyone is "to be treated as 3/5ths of a person" for any reason other than calculating taxes (which were apportioned among the states and not paid individually before amendment 16) and calculating representation. Everyone, even black people, even slaves, were regarded as "persons" in the language of the Constitution. Note that this construction really did leave a large door open for the peaceful overthrow of the institution of slavery on Fifth Amendment grounds! I have heard this latter argument raised. Nowhere does the Constitution specifically deny that black people are persons -- in fact, the language is deliberately indefinite as to their human status. Conceivably, the issue could have been raised that black "persons" who were enslaved had been denied their rights to life, liberty, and property without due process of law -- i.e. without having been charged with a crime and successfully prosecuted. After all, the Fifth Amendment reads:

"No person" [note that no exception or distinction is made with regard to whether the person is "free", non-taxed Indian, or "all other"] "shall ... be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law;"

A consultation of Blackstone's Commentaries [5-volume set or 4-volume set or another 4-volume set] illuminates the meaning of "due process of law." Specifically, it means that a person must be accused, charged, and prosecuted according to the laws governing jurisprudence, for a crime contrary to a given law. The requirement of due process means that people may only lose their life, liberty, or property, after first being charged and prosecuted for a crime. How this reconciles with the idea of "private property being taken for public use," mentioned as allowable on condition of "just compensation" in the same amendment, is beyond me though.

Bob Lallier [rlallier@attbi.com]

- - -


Thank you and I totally agree with your analysis. My reference was merely to "counting" for apportionment, as a reflection of the sense of the slavery failings of the Constitution.

Bill [Westmiller@aol.com]

"Reno Unhurt After Traffic Mishap in Campaign Truck"

Damn. Better luck next time.

Carl Bussjaeger [bussjaeger@free-market.net]

This editorial promoting pilots carrying guns in aircraft cockpits to defend the crew & passengers from hijackers appeared in the May 5, 2002 Sunday Cleveland Plain Dealer Forum section. It is very much out of character for them, as they are usually very anti-gun.

But I don't remember hearing anything about the fact that it was legal for pilots to be armed as late as last July, and then for some reason was made illegal.

This certainly gives a funny smell, similar to the OKC bombing, to the WTC 9-11 attacks. I haven't seen this publicized anywhere else, and it certainly raises questions about the stink the administration is putting up about arming the pilots, again.

As L. Neil Smith has said, it seems awfully damned convenient.

Don Koehn [koehn@med.marconi.com]


The State vs. The People, by Claire Wolfe and Aaron Zelman

Is America becoming a police state? Friends of liberty need to know.

Some say the U.S. is already a police state. Others watch the news for signs that their country is about to cross an indefinable line. Since September 11, 2001, the question has become more urgent. When do roving wiretaps, random checkpoints, mysterious "detentions," and military tribunals cross over from being emergency measures to being the tools of a government permanently and irrevocably out of control?

The State vs. the People examines these crucial issues. But first, it answers this fundamental question: "What is a police state?"

Order from JPFO NOW!

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