Big Head Press

L. Neil Smith's
Number 577, July 4, 2010

"He pissed me off."

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[Letters to the editor are welcome on any and all subjects. Sign your letter in the text body with your name and e-mail address as you wish them to appear, otherwise we will use the information in the "From:" header!]

Letter from Derek Benner

Letter from Curt Howland

Letter from L. Neil Smith

Letter from Michael White

Letters from A.X. Perez and Ward Griffiths

Another Letter from A.X. Perez

Letter from Matt Sims

Yet Another Letter from A.X. Perez (with comments from Ken Valentine, L. Neil Smith, and Richard Bartucci)

Letter from Rex "Baloo" May

"Net Assets" by Carl Bussjaeger

As I've posted here before, Carl's novel, "Net Assets", is available on Amazon for the but it is also available now as a 6" x 9" trade paperback, both at and direct from Amazon's CreateSpace.

Carl wrote this originally back in 2002 and has updated it. For a brief synopsis:

"Once upon a time, there was an agency of the American government called the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. NASA was tasked with the exploration and development of space. Being a government agency, it was very bad at the job. But also, being a government agency, NASA made damned sure that no one else would do a better job.

"And then the bureacrats' world came to an end."

In the early 21st century, someone has finally had it with the lost dreams and broken promises of government-sponsored space access. It begins quietly on the Internet, then grows into a small private company determined to do what many believed impossible: Private, affordable, regular orbital launches. For anyone. For everyone.

But as has been noted, "Ad astra per aspera."

This is a great story and it is the first of a planned trilogy! Right now Carl is polishing up the second novel, "Bargaining Position", which asks the question, how do you negotiate with an alien—one who's not flesh-and-blood? I've read early drafts and I consider it to be a fitting follow-up to "Net Assets"—one which you'll enjoy as much as I do. I hope that Near Space Press (Who am I kidding? NSP is *me*.) can have BP available by Fall, 2010. Again, NSP will be offering both Amazon Kindle and trade paperback versions of this novel. Once Carl's turned BP over, I plan to coax him to finish the third book, which is tentatively called "Caveat Emptor" and if it's anywhere near as good as the first two, I'm sure you'll be hounding me to get it published!

But that's not all! A few years back there was an online Libertarian newsletter called "Doing Freedom". Many of you probably remember it, but do you remember the short stories that Carl wrote for it? He's recovered the files and I've bundled them into an anthology titled "The Anarchists". This book includes both the stories he submtted under his own name as well as the ones he submitted as "Karl Baer". They include "High Lord Anarch", "DJ", "Spider", "Postage Due" and "Claim Jumper" as well as others—all of these stories are strongly libertarian and quite good reads!

If all goes smoothly, I should have "The Anarchists" up in Kindle and trade paperback formats by mid-July, but if not, I'll definitely have them released by the first week in August.

But that's not all. I imagine several of you have succumbed to the iPad madness and have already been browsing iBookstore. No doubt many of you have 3G, 3Gs and 4G iPhones—and may have installed iBooks there. Well, I've been purchasing and upgrading an Apple iBook G3 to run OS X 10.4.11 and hope to have iTunes Producer installed and running by the end of next week. When that's done I'll be able to create an iBooks .epub version of both "Net Assets" and "The Anarchists" for you to purchase and enjoy.

Here are the links:

Amazon Kindle

Trade paperback

CreateSpace Trade paperback

Further, Near Space Press has it's own website. Feel free to visit.

Derek Benner

[I highly recomment Mr. Bussjaeger's book and am glad to here he has more writings out and available!—Editor]

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A Vermont Story

Dear Editor,

On the way back from PorcFest 2010, I visited some family in Vermont.

In the car with a couple other people, the subject of the recent 2nd Amendment ruling about the Chicago gun ban came up, and not by me.

The other lady in the car was all a-twitter about it. "There's going to be guns everywhere!", blood running in the street, etc. I seriously had to bite my tongue.

After a minute or two of thought, I said "I doubt there will be any change, Chicago will just do what DC did after the same ruling came out overturning their gun ban. They'll just use licenses, make it so you have to get a permit to get a license to get a gun, just like NYC, and make them so hard to get that no one that isn't a politician, diamond merchant, banker, or Donald Trump can get one."

I then continued, "Vermont gets it right, punishing people for what they do, not for the tools used. There simply are no state gun laws at all."

The lady asked in a quavering voice, "What do you mean?"

"Well, put a fully automatic shot gun under your trenchcoat and walk into a bank, perfectly legal in Vermont. It's given Vermont the lowest crime rate in the entire country, since there is no safe place to commit a crime. Anyone might be armed at any time, no licenses at all."

She was completely freaked out, speechless. Later it was mentioned that she came from New Jersey, which has the same kind of gun laws as NYC, and I guess she thought Vermont's low crime rate came from guns being banned. As if that has ever worked!

Anyway, what I didn't say was "In fact, I'm packing right now." It likely would have given her a coronary on the spot.

Sometimes, saying nothing is exactly the right thing to do.

Curt Howland

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Re: "Faux Christians as Worshippers of Dionysius" by Bob Wallace

My dear Wallace:

Your most recent article in The Libertarian Enterprise is brilliant, and I simply want to congratulate you for having written it. We are lucky to have had it to publish. I put out a weekly (more or less) announcement of what I've been up to literarily, and I almost never mention anybody else. I am going to make an exception in your case. This piece needs to be read by as many individuals as possible.

I also believe you should expand it into a book.

Your fan,

L. Neil Smith

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Inflation and hard money

Re: "Secession and Legal Tender Laws: Washington and Bankers Win, You Lose" by Russell D. Longcore


Your article says in the first paragraph:

"When gold and silver are the only form of money, there is NO inflation... EVER. Inflation cannot occur with a "hard money" system."

The Spaniards experienced such inflation during the 16th century with all of the gold and silver that was brought over from the New World. To me, that falls in the time frame of "EVER".

Michael White

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What am I missing?

The only legitimate reason I can think of for the President to shut down the Internet would be the introduction of a really fast spreading virus. I'm pretty sure most servers and service providers in the US and elsewhere would shut down in that case without waiting an order. I'm also pretty sure that any President would "pull the plug" regardless of the law and deal with the lawsuits, impeachment trial, Congressional committee hearing and being slanged about in general.

The only reason for legislation to allow the President this authority is to silence dissent. Even if you trust Mr. Obama, do you trust his successor, or that President's successor (This letter is being sent to conservatives and liberals as well as true libertarians. Some even are Obama supporters. Please don't waste your time and mine complaining about the polite way I chose to phrase this question)? And in what universe is it possible to trust members of Congress who would vote in favor of a law so designed to enforce repression? Remember how your Representative and Senator voted on this monstrosity come the next time they are up for election.

A.X. Perez

To which Ward Griffiths replied:

All well and good. As if our votes fucking counted. (Zero votes were registered for Ron Paul in the Republican primary in New Jersey in 2008—I know there were at least two).

I actually don't think the Feral Government has the technical ability to shut the Internet down without an EMP that would take out all of their internal communications. Those in elected offices rarely have any knowledge of what's behind their light switch, let alone any other technology from since Edison and Ford were born. To them, it's just a bunch of tubes. Name a senator (feral or state) who can stop his toilet from flooding. They think electrons and memes are like water. They think people with technical skills are serfs.

Ward Griffiths

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The Supremes have ruled in MacDonald v. Chicago that 14th Amendment extends 2nd Amendment RKBA to bind the states. Of course we all saw that coming. And of course the decision leaves room for "reasonable regulation" and guess which word gets underlined. Make lawyers a bunch of money settling what that means. Guess you gotta take care of guild brothers.

Still and all, to paraphrase Joe Biden, " Yes , guys, it is a big fucking deal!"

A.X. Perez

Mr. Perez later commented:

Heller v. District of Columbia and MacDonald v. Chicago are greater victories for freedom than you may realize.

When the outcome of MacDonald was announced I was elated. I expected to see pictures of people drinking champagne and throwing conefetti, staffers snogging and other expressions of joy from JPFO, GOA, NRA, and other progun groups' headquarters.

I expected to see emails from all of the above and my pro gun friends expressing manic joy. What I saw was a "that's nice" reaction from pro gunners and "Oh well," from antigunners. Maybe everyone saw it coming too clearly. Still, what the Hell?

So maybe I'm the one making too big a deal about MacDonald. After all, the outcome was obvious and predictable. So why make a big deal?

Imagine living in a house that belongs to the village, you will have permission to live there until you claim you need something larger for your family or something more modest because the kids are gone. As a good member of the community you will maintain the house to the best of your ability, and thus add to the wealth of the collective.

Imagine driving a car that belongs to the community, using the collective's computer, enjoying a cellphone lent you by the commonwealth. Imagine having use of a gun to help protect your town and its valuable assets, to wit, your family.

Imagine that your only value is as part of the collective, that you exist not as you for you, but only as you part of us.

Welcome to hell.

In their efforts to overthrow the right to keep and bear arms by private citizens certain leftists argued that the Second Amendment guaranteed a collective right to bear arms, not an individual right. If this interpretation had been accepted it would have opened the door to ending individual rights and replacing them with collective rights. Your rights would not have been derived from your integrity as an individual but from your membership in the community.

To some people this is heaven. Most of the intended audience of this missive would consider it hell.

Heller asserted and MacDonald reaffirmed that the right to keep and bear arms is an individual right. It stopped the attack of the collectivists from that direction. It reasserted your value as you, not merely as part of an us.

Gun rights are important. Being a free individual and not simply part of a collective is at least as if not more important. And that's why I made such a fuss about MacDonald.

Redundantly, to paraphrase Joe Biden, "Yes, guys, it is a big fucking deal."

A.X. Perez

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I am looking for someone to tell me where I am wrong in my statement at the end of my blog post about "what it means to win this war".

Matt Sims

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Privileges and Immunities versus due process

Perhaps I'm just being ignorant but... I'm under the impression that "Privileges and Immunities" is a higher level of protection than "due process" of the rights. Somebody please edumacate this layman.

[Added Later:]

A little while ago I asked to be enlightened about the difference between the "privileges and immunities" protection guaranteed by the 14th Amendment and the "due process of law" protection. I also did a little research on the topic. If I got it wrong I hope someone clarifies. While there is a distaste for the 14th by many people I respect and admire, it was the one used to say that states were bound by the Second Amendment. So what is the difference between privileges and immunities and substantial due process rights?

While the rest of the judges who voted to incorporate the Second Amendment into the Fourteenth (which I get to be lawyerese for the states are bound to respect the right to keep and bear arms guaranteed through the 14th Amendment extending the Bill of Rights) as a due process right, Clarence Thomas voted to have it incorporated as a privilege and immunity. It still means that 5-4 the Supreme Court affirmed that the Fourteenth Amendment required the states to respect (with "reasonable regulation", a subject to discuss at other times with appropriate scorn). So why am I making a fuss?

Apparently to interpret any right as a protected privilege and immunity would create a precedent that would completely strip the states of any power to determine their citizens' rights and make the federal government the sole arbiter of civil rights. By using the due process clause the Court is saying it will claim some rights in as federal rights and pick and choose which to so claim control of while leaving the rest in state hands.

Whether this constitutes a respect for states' rights or a lack of willingness to take on the responsibility of extending the feds power and therefor responsibility to enforce rights is a question I wll leave to others and the future.

Meanwhile: the spiritual ancestors of those who have tried to impose victim disarmament on us for years include the same damnyankees that shoved the Fourteenth Amendment down this country's throat, for better or worse. It is heartening that their spiritual git are being hoisted by that petard with MacDonald v. Chicago!

A.X. Perez

And Ken Valentine replied:

Even if the Second Amendment were to be repealed, ownership of firearms would still be covered under the Ninth Amendment.

Ken Valentine

And L. Neil Smith replied:

The 14th Amendment is actually redundant. The Bill of Rights applied to the states and lower jurisdictions from the beginning, and here's why:

Article 6, Section 2

This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.

It also establishes, by inference, that you can't pass a treaty (like the UN's anti-gun scam) that will cancel the Second Amendment, because amendments, by their very nature, supercede everything else.

L. Neil Smith

And Richard Bartucci replied:

In his concurrence on McDonald v. Chicago, Clarence Thomas had written to the effect that judicial precedent regarding the states and the Bill of Rights had established that the provisions of the first eight Amendments could not be applied other than to the federal government until the 14th Amendment had been ratified. I quote:

"In Barron ex rel. Tiernan v. Mayor of Baltimore, 7 Pet. 243 (1833), this Court held that the Bill of Rights applied only to the Federal Government. Writing for the Court, Chief Justice Marshall recalled that the founding generation added the first eight Amendments to the Constitution in response to Antifederalist concerns regarding the extent of federal—not state—power, and held that if 'the framers of these amendments [had] intended them to be limitations on the powers of the state governments,' 'they would have declared this purpose in plain and intelligible language.' Id. , at 250."

The precedent established in Barron effectively required the 14th Amendment to "bind [the governments of the states and municipalities] down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution," which is—and we've got to keep this in mind—the charter by which the FEDERAL government was defined.

The way I've come to look at it, every American holds a sort of "dual citizenship," first as a citizen of the federal republic, and then as a citizen of whichever of the several states (or territories, or districts, or common- wealths) in which he resides.

The 14th Amendment seems to extend the privileges and immunities of the American citizen—defined in his relationship to the federal government—to his dealings with the governments of the various component polities which make up these United States.

I suspect that Richard Epstein—who originally made his bones in the study of ancient Roman law—would draw an analogy to the manner in which a Roman citizen could and would exert his rights—"Civis Romanus sum"—in the teeth and to the despite of a provincial governor or satrap in one of the Empire's various subordinate governances.

But that had to be made explicit in the 14th Amendment in order to keep the various state government clowns from weaseling out, by way of Barron and suchlike musteline shysterism.

Richard Bartucci

And A.X. Perez replied:

There is an old expression, "useless as teats on a boar hog." Shoot a hog up with the appropriate hormones and he will lactate and display nursing and other nurturing behavior to piglets.

For better or worse to date every extension of the Bill of Rights to bind the states and local governments has been through the 14th. I would prefer Article 6. I would even prefer the 13th Amendment, arguing that denial of rights, specifically the right to keep and bear arms, is a badge of servitude. We got a ruling from the Supreme Court incorporating the 2nd Amendment RKBA into the 14th as a substantive due process right (I would have preferred a privileges and immunities of citizenship right as Justice Thomas claimed applied in his concurring opinion). If and when I find it necessary to challenge some state or local ordinance as a violation of RKBA I will have a choice of using MacDonald as a precedent or arguing my case de novo using Article Six and any non 14th Amendment argument I can find. "I know not what choice others may make...." but I'm lazy.

Re" Reasonable Regulation": My definition of reasonable regulation is you can't have a weapon if you are bipolar, at the extreme end of a mood swing (either way), improperly medicated, and delirious to the point of hallucinating from a fever of 104 degrees or so. And of course, your weapons must be returned as soon as you get better. I might, maybe, concede that people should not own weapons powerful enough to literally blow the planet apart without special licenses.

As I mentioned earlier, Heller and MacDonald have not only reasserted RKBA but also the concept that we have rights as individuals, not merely as members of "the collective." As we fight the hoplophobes over the definition of "reasonable regulation," seeing as they probably won't accept mine, we have all sorts of opportunities to assert other rights which the enemies of freedom have sought to suppress or at least not enforce with sufficient vigor.

For example, we are so obsessed with protecting gun rights we have neglected knife, club, and tear gas/pepper spray rights. Also, I understand that Daley of Chicago is planning on making it too expensive to exercise gun rights with registration and licensing fees. Perhaps it's time to put paid to this idea of taxing rights into mootness (or is that moothoood? Mootity?). Not merely gun rights but free speech and assembly rights, property rights to modify one's home, and other rights as well.

A.X. Perez


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The Perfect Gift

The perfect gift for your liberal, gun-controlling friends. Buy it at Zazzle here.

Don't hurt me!

Rex May
PHONE: 1-970-218-0889
All about me here:*

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