L. Neil Smith's
Number 211, February 17, 2003


[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 Patrick K. Martin

Letter from Jay P. Hailey

Another Letter from Jay P. Hailey

Letter from Jack Jerome

Letter from Jim Davidson

Another Letter from Jim Davidson

Letter from MacGregor K. Phillips

Letter from Jake Witmer


C. Cathey is correct, the verse I sent and which was published in TLE #209 was, in fact penned by Robert A. Heinlein in "Ordeal in Space" (1947). It was not my intention to claim credit for this work, nor did I expect it to be published, having been sent well after the cutoff time for submissions. A friend of mine sent this verse to me by e-mail, and in order to prevent forwarding his rather large list of e-mail contacts, I simply pulled the poem and sent it out to everyone on my e-mail list, including our esteemed editor Mr. Taylor and our founder Mr. Smith.

It was never my intend to plagiarize Mr. Heinlein, in fact, I was unaware when I sent the e-mail that the work was his (having not read The past through Tomorrow, where the story appears, for many years). I had intended to send a letter of explanation to be published in TLE #210, but other commitments prevented doing so. I would, therefore, like to apologize for any confusion this may have caused, and I will endeavor to prevent any such misunderstandings in the future.

Patrick Martin [warhawke@wideopenwest.com]

[The rhyme and scansion (as I tried to suggest in titling it) is an homage to the Navy Hymn ... as might be expected from The Admiral. I also regret contributing to any misunderstanding that may have occurred. -ed.]


in re: Letter from Joe Burns

> Mr. Stone states, "No libertarian can be in favor of any kind of
> war." This statement implies that, if a libertarian country is
> attacked, then the residents of that country must NOT fight back.
> The act of defending themselves would disqualify them as libertarians.
> This makes no sense to me. Libertarians must be ready, willing and
> able to strike back. They must strike back with enough force that
> their attacking neighbors, and any others with similar designs,
> will think long and hard about attacking this country in the future.

What does "In Favor of any kind of war" actually *mean*?

I took the phrase to mean preferring an advocating war. If someone attacks me or my home, I am definitely not in favor of that. If offered the choice I will definitely vote "no". I will advocate for a peaceful solution. If the attack comes I will defend myself and my family. I will not enjoy it, nor seek to repeat the experience.

I do not advocate war. I think it should be avoided strenuously. That's not the same as saying we should not defend ourselves. We should defend ourselves. We should not relish it, glory in it, or in any way enjoy an activity that means someone gets hurt.

If someone attacks me, the effort and resources to defend myself pays off in my continued life, libert and well being. However the fact that my attacker would not, or could not imagine a different way to get what he wanted means that all the resources, energy, effort, productive time, and his well being if not his whole life has been wasted on a false premise. That's an awful tragedy. This happens. It happens every day, thousands of times. It's still an awful thing. It's nice (as in enjoyable and beneficial) to avoid these situations when you can.

If talking to a potential attacker and negotiating with him can get him to try something different, then this is a great use of time and effort. Who knows, I might make a new friend.

So Yes, I am prepared to defend myself. However I'd like to approach any given situation of conflicting goals as differently as I can, *before* it comes down to "Him or me."

Attacking Iraq is in no way defending ourselves. It is a waste, a crime to do so, one that seems all but inevitible. Our tax dollars are being spent lavishly, extravagantly, and human lives will be needlesly extinuished. Is there the next Mozart. the next Newton, the next Einstein huddling in a hovel in Iraq waiting for the bomb with his name on it? Who cares? I can guarantee you someone's baby, someone's friend, someone's brother or sister, someone's Love, someone's mom or dad is.

I think Saddam Hussein is a murderous thug who lacks any ability to see his own interest in avoiding violence murder, torture and war.

Okay, so who's problem is he? The Iraqis. And the Kurds. Pass a hat, buy 'em a gun. If you feel really strongly, go volunteer for the Kurdistan Self Defense Militia or the Shia Militias in the south.

I do not support the upcoming war and I advocate against it. if the Iraqi Republican Guard hits Seattle, you better believe I will be down at the reserve center volunteering for the Spokane Irregulars. Until then

No War. Hell no, I won't go.

Peace, out.

Jay P Hailey [jayphailey@juno.com]


> Apparently, the brutal Saddam cannot vanquish the
> piddling 4 million Kurds in his backyard, but he is an imminent
> threat to all the nations of the world, particularly, the paranoid
> American Leviathan on the opposite side of the globe?? [source]

America's record with the Kurds in northern Iraq has been nothing less than horrifying. We all recall how after the end of the Gulf War, The Kurds heeded Bush's call to revolt against Saddam. Hoping for American support, they were instead ignored until Saddam's forces crushed them, forcing them to flee in large numbers into the loving arms of the Turks.

This has happened at least twice before. I'd hate the U.S. with a firey vengeance over this. Hwever the Kurds have more immediate problems, Saddam and the Turjks doing their best to exterminate them.

In the lull betwen the two phases of the Gulf war, The Kurds in northern iraq have built up something resembling a nation for themselves in northern Iraq, Financed by smuggling in violation of UN Sanctions (Go, Kurds) and the fact that US and British Air cover tends to blow up large iraqi trrop formations in the no fly zones.

Turkey was hotly opposed to this, and still is. I don't know why but they are steadfastly opposed to a Kurdistan in northern Iraq.

When Turkey announced they would not support a war against Iraq, the Kurdistans' immediate response was "We will! How long do you need the airstrips?" At last, perhaps a chance for Kurds to have their own home land?

No, not even.

"U.S. in Talks on Allowing Turkey to Occupy a Kurdish Area in Iraq"

And then today - what a surprise -

Report: Turkey OKs 38, 000 U.S. Troops

Sure you can trust the government. Ask any Indian, or Kurd.

Or hell, anyone.

Jay P Hailey [jayphailey@juno.com]


Hi J.C.,

I've got to tell you (and anyone else who can read this), I've finally flipped my lid. Although some of my closest friends would state that I've always been pissed off about something, this past month has established a new intensity to my ire. I'm pissed at Tom Ridge because he told me to go buy duct tape for protection at home. I'm pissed at Tom Daschle, because HE'S got the nerve to tell me that's not enough to protect me at home. I'm pissed at UBL because he keeps talking in riddles so UsGov can melt Saddam into radioactive glass. I'm pissed at the free press that constantly interviews itself about the weirdest things imaginable. I'm mad that people are upset that a spacecraft built to spec by the lowest bidder exploded after 25 odd years of service. Heck, I'm even mad about being mad about this.

All these news items seem to be converging to a point that will assist in allowing UsGov to take away even more freedom from an already liberty-starved populace. Some cases in point follow:

- NYC officials have now outlawed demonstrations in front of the United Nations Building, for "protective reasons".

- The TSA guards at airports, although public servants, possess name badges containing a first name followed by a 5 digit number, NLN in police talk.

- This past Monday a 30 mile "no fly zone" was established around D.C. and NY, forbidding all general aviation (private aircraft) flights in these areas.

- Routine stop-and-frisks are occurring with regularity in many urban areas.

- A workshop in London was recently held concerning crowd control and law enforcement (little L), attended by may Metropolitan chiefs of police, including those of D.C. and NY.

- Many metropolitan areas are using "command centers" which consolidate camera feeds from transportation cameras and government buildings, and have been activated after terror alert "orange" was announced.

I recognize that separately these few examples seem innocent enough, but taken together they begin to weave a tapestry that looks eerily familiar to students of both history and speculative fiction. It's the footprint of dictatorship, and if you look down, you can see its outlines on your chest.

Confusion to our enemies.

Peace out,

Jack Jerome [paratime98@yahoo.com]


Dear Editor,

Thomas Olson's piece on NASA and the shuttle was excellent. I especially liked the reference to the film "Groundhog Day" which was aired late at night on 2 February 2003, a night which found me sleepless with rage at...NASA.

I've long maintained that the only way we'll participate in the break- out into space in our lifetime is to see to it that NASA is destroyed. Rather than opening the door into space, they are being the door.

With regard to my own essay in the same issue, I received a surprise phone call from an mainstream media reporter. Apparently NASA has enforced a gag order on the engineer who talked about the new foam insulation "popcorning" off the external tank. What a surprise.

NASA is now touting a "new theory" that the damage to the left wing area was caused by orbiting debris. No doubt the odds of such debris impacting the shuttle in the same place where a large chunk of ice-laden foam was seen impacting at launch is not the only astronomical thing about this disgraceful theory.

I'm told on the phone by the reporter that the Air Force did image the shuttle prior to its re-entry and did find damage. Then we're treated to a very grainy image showing an outline of the shuttle in black against a white background which purports to be from the Air Force satellite, and the media talking heads say that "some claim this image shows damage to the left wing area." Of course, we aren't being shown an image anything like the resolution which the Keyhole series spy satellites can provide, because that sort of image is highly classified. Them gummint types like to keep their secrets about whose secrets they can read from orbit.

I'm informed that the Columbia sat on the pad through two rainstorms, which maximized the water content of the new foam. It now appears that the foam was changed to remove freon from it, as a sap to environmentalist wackos. Keep in mind that the shuttle's solid rocket boosters are chock full of ammonium perchlorate, which puts a huge amount of chlorine high into the atmosphere with every launch. Also, the external tank can be taken into orbit using less energy than is used to dump it into the Indian Ocean on each trip - after its foam burns off in the uppermost regions of the atmosphere. So, there is no reason to have new foam. But, of course, NASA can claim some false benefit to the environment, and Lockheed Martin gets paid for a new contract.

The foam, folks, won't be blamed. No way. NASA will work seeming miracles to point blame at anything else. They'll even go so far as to blame sabbath-breaking on the Israeli astronaut before they lay this one at the feet of Lock-Mart. How can I tell? If the truth about the foam were going to be told, the press conference on Thursday 6 February would have made mention of the fact that the foam was laden with water ice and much, much heavier than the dry sample hefted by the NASA flack.

You see, it would take months to retrofit even one external tank with old foam. NASA wants to endanger more astronauts sooner. Otherwise their space station project falls behind.

The capper for me was the news that there was a meeting on 24 January 2003 at NASA Johnson Space Center, including participants from Lockheed Martin's Michoud facility in Slidell (probably by phone) and United Space Alliance engineers from both Houston and Titusville. The engineers from LockMart and United Space were very concerned about the damage from the ice-laden foam to the shuttle's tiles and other heat-shielding. They wanted ground-based or space-based imaging to check for damage, and NASA management refused on grounds of cost. The engineers were concerned, and the management over- rode them. Shades of Challenger and Boisjoly's team.

The rumor going around now is that the engineers talked to their buddies in the Air Force, and that spy satellite was tasked to image the shuttle as a result. Of course, that wasted valuable days which could have been spent figuring out a rescue scenario and keeping NASA from ordering Columbia to its doom.

Let me emphasize for those who have never been in the space business: the people in upper management at NASA are filthy scum who don't deserve your sympathy. Guys like George Abbey were responsible for putting me in jail on false charges of felony gambling promotion of a lottery in February 1991. NASA top management is entirely socialist, corrupt, and putrescent. The FBI's Operation Lightning Strike found plenty of corruption at the highest levels, and scapegoated excellent engineers and managers at the lowest levels to show some "results" after the elite weaseled their way out of being indicted.

The only possible conclusion is that NASA must be destroyed. If Congress won't do the job, someone else will. The job won't get any easier by delaying it.


Jim Davidson [Jim@GoldBarter.com]


Dear Editor,

The piece on Rosenthal in this week's Enterprise was excellent.

By the end of it, I was convinced more than ever that there is little reason to expect much from federalist (nationalist) socialist judges or any other element of the system. Reform from within is a lost cause.

So, there at the bottom was a delightful reminder of another possible approach. The advertisement for "Cheap Ammo Online" could not have been placed more appropriately. Feel free to attribute it to coincidence or irony. [The Associate Webmaster did it all by herself on purpose ... nothing happens here by accident ... except the accidents. - Webmaster]

Way back in October 1997, I wrote an essay entitled "Cry Havoc" which your predecessor was kind enough to publish.

I'm reminded it has been a decade since seven dozen Texans were burned to death in their church. I won't belabor the point further. Everyone knows how to tell what time it is, and you don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.


Jim Davidson [Jim@GoldBarter.com]


The following are just two of the numerous provisions in the USA Patriot Act II (draft) legislation that puts the nail in the coffin of the few, if any, remaining rights you have under the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Read the full text at [this link].

Section 501: Expatriation of Terrorists.

Under 8 U.S.C. 1481, an American can lose his citizenship by voluntarily, and with the intent to relinquish nationality, taking any of a number of actions, including: (1) obtaining Nationality in a foreign state; (2) taking an oath of allegiance to a foreign state; and, most importantly, (3) serving in the armed forces of a foreign state that are engaged in hostilities against the United States. The current expatriation statute does not, however, provide for the relinquishing of citizenship in cases where an American serves in a hostile foreign terrorist organization. It thus fails to take account of the myriad ways in which, in the modern world, war can be waged against the United States.

This provision would amend 8 U.S.C. 1481 to make clear that, just as an American can relinquish his citizenship by serving in a hostile foreign army, so can he relinquish his citizenship by serving in a hostile terrorist organization. Specifically, an American could be expatriated if, with the intent to relinquish nationality, he becomes a member of, or provides material support to, a group that the United States has designated as a "terrorist organization," if that group is engaged in hostilities against the United States.

This provision also would make explicit that the intent to relinquish nationality need not be manifested in words, but can be inferred from conduct. The Supreme Court already has recognized that intent can be inferred from conduct. See, e.g., Vance v. Terrazas, 444 U.S. 252, 260 (1980) (recognizing that the "intent to relinquish citizenship ... . [can be] expressed in words or. . . found as a fair inference from proved conduct"); see also King v. Rogers, 463 F.2d 1188, 1189 (9th Cir. 1972) ("[S]pecific subjective intent to renounce United States citizenship... may [be] prove[d].. . by evidence of an explicit renunciation, acts inconsistent with United States citizenship, or by affirmative voluntary act[s] clearly manifesting a decision to accept [foreign] nationality." (citations omitted)); United States v. Schffer, 831 F. Supp. 1166, 1194 (E.D. Pa. 1993) ("Specific intent may.. . be proven by evidence of what steps the alleged expatriate did or did not take in connection with his expatriating acts."), aff'd without opinion, 31 F.3d 1175 (3rd Cir. 1994). Specifically, this proposal would make service in a hostile army or terrorist group prima facie evidence of an intent to renounce citizenship.

Section 404: Use of Encryption to Conceal Criminal Activity.

In recent years, terrorists and other criminals have begun to use encryption technology to conceal their communications when planning and conducting criminal activity. Title 18 of the United States Code currently contains no prohibition on the use of encrypted communications to plan or facilitate crimes. This proposal would amend federal law to provide that any person who, during the commission of or the attempt to commit a federal felony, knowingly and willfully uses encryption technology to conceal any incriminating communication or information relating to that felony, be imprisoned for an additional period of not fewer than 5 years. These additional penalties are warranted to deter the use of encryption technology to conceal criminal activity. In addition, it does not address the issue of whether software companies and internet service providers should give law enforcement access to "keys" for the purposes of decoding intercepted communications.

MacGregor K. Phillips [mkp@topsecretcrypto.com]


Dear Libertarian Enterprise,

I've got a good chance of getting a libertarian elected to Chicago city council if I can get funding fast. Please donate via paypal at [this link].

We need your help right away to get this guy in office. This is an example of a winnable race- something most libertarians sadly seem to have no interest in. Do we really want to spend hundreds of thousands on losing races, or a few thousand on winnable races?

Put simply: this guy could stop the Illinois gun ban in its tracks. Will he get the $500-$1000 that he needs for his last push? I don't know. He's likely got 5,000 votes wrapped up on the west side of the ward. We desperately need money to get his local and targeted issues out to the east side of the ward. Local libertarians have donated already, but it's fallen $500-750 short.

For $500, we can pick up 6,000 glossy- high quality fliers from our printer that are likely to get him elected, in conjunction with the website. For $750, we can double that amount through our printer's incentive plan. The literature easily competes with the incumbent's high-quality fliers.

If you can even donate between $5-$20 it would help us greatly. I'll even keep you up to date, and give you vote totals. It's a 2-way race. The incumbent was elected with 8,000 votes. We have 5,000 wrapped up, because our canidate is a black minister on Chicago's west side.

He also carries a gun everwhere he goes. In Chicago. Good man. This could blow the door wide on Chicago's racist gun policy. PLease forward this to anyone who is likely to give to this campaign.

The time to act is now. Please don't let this opportunity die a horrible death at the hands of apathy.

Jake Witmer [jakewitmer@interaccess.com]

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