LRC Blog

Phoenix Airport Lockdown – Lessons Learned

I won’t bore you with the details, which can be found here and are consistent with my experience. Several observations are worth sharing:

The Transportation Security Administration is an absolutely impotent failure as an organization. A single shooter runs into the airport, and the police lock it down. The TSA mill around behind the tensa-barriers. They do not assist the police in the search for this Security threat to the Transportation system. They do not implement any sort of organized plan for evacuating the terminal in an orderly fashion. They do not work with ground control to divert planes with passengers at Terminal 4 to the other terminals for deplaning until nearly 2 hours of lockdown. They have no information to share-when asked directly one agent told me “They (the police) haven’t told us anything.” They know nothing. They do nothing. Worse, they give the illusion of security without providing it. Now imagine the mayhem if 4 or 5 organized terrorists decided to attack the airport as opposed to one seat-of-his-pants shooting suspect. Lesson (re)Learned: The TSA are an impotent joke, a sham, and a complete waste of money.

The layers of bureaucracy and technology make it nearly impossible, not just inadvisable, to exercise your rights. I worked my way to the front of the tensa-barrier at the terminal exit and asked who was in charge. It was a polite US Air gate manager who told me the police just asked him to keep everyone in the terminal. I asked what would happen if I tried to leave anyway. He said he wouldn’t stop me, but that the police had locked all the stairwells, shut down the elevators, and on the first level had everyone lying on the floor with their hands on their heads. An officer with a dog came by 5 minutes later, steadfastly ignoring me. Same thing with the SWAT officer, and a detective. I finally got some eye contact and a stern “no, you can’t leave” from a female officer who promptly headed off before I could ask if I was being detained. At that point, 4:30pm, the rumor was that the shooter was hiding in the parking garage. Since my car was parked there, and the place was swarming with 100+ amped up police officers and potentially one armed shooter it seemed stupid to make some sort of libertarian point about going there, if it was even logistically possible. After two hours of lockdown, the police had searched the first floor, and released everyone in the secure area herding ~5,000 people to a tiny bus station that normally holds 300. I didn’t go, staying in the air-conditioned terminal at the ground level with maybe 30% of the crowd who realized that sweltering in Phoenix heat at 5:30pm was a bad idea. A stairwell was open to the garage with no police there, so I walked up. At the third floor, a polite but insistent officer told me the search was still going on in the garage and he couldn’t let me go up. I asked if I was being detained and who gave the order. He said his supervisor, but he couldn’t get him on the radio just then. I have no doubt this officer would have tazed me (yellow tazer prominent on belt) and called for backup if I had tried any sort of “am I free to leave…then I’m going” sort of stuff. That may work in a one on one situation, but will get your teeth kicked in when there are multiple cops in an amped up situation. The chain of command aka bureacracy absolves them of any critical thinking. They will bust heads first, ask questions later, and you will lose in the government’s courts because you will look like the lone unreasonable kook who insisted on his rights. Lesson Learned: Unless you are in imminent danger, you should get a decent crowd together to peacefully insist upon leaving. That won’t happen until at least 3-4 hours of captivity. Don’t go it alone.

A little polite subversion goes a long way. As the inevitable groups formed in our hostage drama, a single comment like “boy, the TSA sure is worthless” snowballed with all around piling on. It wasn’t griping, just an accurate assessment that they are the biggest group of poseurs and bullies on the planet. They have no problem groping teenage girls and humiliating their betters, but cower like the craven bootlickers they are when real danger, however slight, is at hand. Happily no one suggested they be armed. It was very telling that the blue-shirts huddled in their own little cliques of loserdom rather than interact with the passengers. Once it was generally agreed that the TSA were doing nothing, I pondered how Disney would handle a situation like this, adding that it’s one of the safest places on Earth, and has surely dealt with bad people intent on harming others. One woman relayed a story of a foiled kidnapping, and a man remarked that he had never thought of that. I said I thought the airports should be sold to Disney or auctioned off, since private security would obviously handle this better. This crazed, libertarian, Hoppean remark was met with approval all around. I was so astounded, I wandered off and repeated this little experiment 3 or 4 more times with the same result. Almost everyone has been to Disney. One rarely feels unsafe or unwelcome and all without pawing security agents leering at you while boarding Space Mountain. There are probably 50 people repeating versions of this story all around Phoenix. Lesson Learned: No need to go on about libertarian theory or anarcho capitalism. People relate best to comparing concrete experiences such as the lousy one they are in with a pleasant memory. Side-note: this works well at the DMV, too.

Yes, I’m glad there is security to catch an armed assailant, but 100+ officers and a 3 hour delay for 10,000+ people just doesn’t make sense in terms of proportionality or likely risk. The one size fits all approach and lack of common courtesy and decency was best captured when the robo-voice came on, after 90 minutes, to announce that we were being “held in place” for our protection. Someone had to think about what message would be played, tell the operator to type it out, and then standby while they robotized it. This was in contrast to the friendly and genuinely apologetic Southwest Airlines woman who came on the PA at the end of our ordeal to announce that bags would begin dropping momentarily, and thank us for our patience. The difference between the way the private sector and public sector responds is night and day. Lesson Learned: The police must be privatized and pronto. It’s the only way they will be put to the market test and have the feedback necessary to break the institutional arrogance and bunker mentality they currently have.

12:13 pm on September 19, 2014

1 in 4 Americans Interested in Secession

Good news, despite the vast and ancient centralizing hate. (Thanks to Jy Stephenson)

11:18 am on September 19, 2014

In Scotland, the Parasites Punished the Productive

As Zero Hedge points out, those on welfare attacked young workers with their votes for union. This is an indication of the coming social unrest. Young working Americans are right to hate the Social Security flat income tax, which is double what it seems to be, since the “employer portion” also comes out of the worker’s wages. Older people are wrong to think they are owed welfare. They are not supposed to rip off the young; they are supposed to love and guide and teach kids. Kids, in return, are supposed to honor and love and learn from their elders. Help in either direction is supposed to be voluntary. Only the State is capable of perverting the natural order to promote intergenerational hate. When the troubles come, in Scotland or here, we have to remember who the villain is. (Thanks to Ursel Doran)

11:05 am on September 19, 2014

At What Point Revolution?

If you wonder about this question as much as I do, you’ll love this column. The author cites two historical examples as a guide to determining when the time “to throw off such government” has arrived. He surveys the early German resistance to the Nazis, which failed because while it waited for one big assault on liberty, Hitler instead increased the government’s power incrementally. (Hmmm. Where else do we see that in play?) The delay also allowed the Nazis to attack dissidents individually, arresting and imprisoning them. “Because their would-be tyrants represented ‘the government’ and cloaked their wolfish actions in ‘legal’ sheepskin, because their own ‘leaders’ could not or would not give the order [to revolt], they all ended up in a concentration camp — leaders and followers — without ever having struck a blow.”

The writer contrasts the German experience with that of the Founding Fathers, who rebelled despite living in some of the freest — if not the freest — conditions in history. Eighteenth-century Americans understood the seeds of tyranny the British Empire was  sowing in its colonies and did not wait for the crop to germinate, sprout and flower into full-blown slavery.

Thanks to Bill Martin for calling my attention to this powerful comparison and lesson.

10:06 am on September 19, 2014

Yet Another Big Lie From Leviathan

Our Rulers constantly claim that Heroic Ed Snowden’s disclosures about the NSA have “damaged” Amerika–by which they mean themselves, not the serfs who pay taxes, and which can therefore only be a good thing — and boosted “terrorists’” — by which they mean other countries’ patriots who oppose Amerikan dictatorship within their borders — ability to attack us by escaping the NSA’s voyeurism. Now “a new analysis … by Flashpoint Global Partners, a private security firm” says Heroic Ed’s revelations did no such thing, alas. Flashpoint “examined the frequency of releases and updates of encryption software by jihadi groups and mentions of encryption in jihadi social media forums to assess the impact of Snowden’s information. It found no correlation in either measure to Snowden’s leaks about the NSA’s surveillance techniques …”

If you’re keeping track, that’s Big Lie #920,763,901,543,870,054,321 from the lice who rob and murder us for a living.

Thanks to Mark Luedtke for alerting me to this story.

9:28 am on September 19, 2014

The Sheep Have Bleated

I once read that “Scotland has more sheep than people,” and the quadrupeds stampeded to the polls to vote against the proposition that they liberate themselves from their historic enclosure. “Independence is a b-a-a-a-d idea,” many were heard to say. The campaign against the proposition recited the lemming mantra, “together is better.” Taken literally, the oft-heard phrase “no thanks to independence” carries the message “dependency is preferable to the sense of responsibility that is implicit in liberty.” That 55% of the voters could be so terrified of their independence is a reflection of how years of conditioning in the virtues of subservience produce the herd mindset.

The mainstream media informed us that David Cameron was greatly pleased by the outcome. It is the nature of politics that this statement is true. Political thinking has trained people to believe in the 51% principle: no idea is worthwhile unless 51% of the public believes in it. But imagine a man with nine children, and four of them dislike the father so much that they want to vote to have all siblings leave home. The vote is held and, by a 5 to 4 margin, the pro-big daddy side wins. Would any loving psychologically-healthy man consider this to be a great personal victory?

Opponents of this measure were quick to announce that the question of Scottish independence has been settled, “once and for all,” words that mean “when we get the outcome we want, the issue can never be brought up again.”

All-in-all, the outcome of this vote was a referendum on the ageless choice people must make between individual liberty and collective security. That 45% of my Scot relatives made the choice for liberation is not only encouraging, but a sign of the greater movement by which men and women are working to end the destructive nature of politically-directed society. As for the 55% naysayers, they can return to the quietude of their pen, to await whatever fate their duly-elected Judas-sheep has planned for them.

8:58 am on September 19, 2014

Phoenix Airport Lockdown

Greetings from the Phoenix airport where I am being held hostage in terminal 4. Not by the shooter who allegedly ran here, but by the police who are keeping me here for my own protection. Details are sketchy but I am not to approach the officers person lest I be arrested. Elevators are turned off. People are generally civil and to varying degrees realize what a cluster the police response is.

More observations and details to follow.

7:07 pm on September 18, 2014

“In Ya Face, Neocon/Straussian/Jaffaite/Declarationist/Lincoln Idolaters!

Not that there’s any difference between them all, says Daniel Phillips, writing for the Abbeville Institute.  Now that the whole world –even American leftists – recognizes the Scottish right of secession, where are all your arguments about “mystical” unions, defenses of mass murder to prevent secession, theories of “perpetual union”; corny quotes of Daniel Webster and other centralizing megalomaniacs, bizarre reinterpretations of founding documents in defense of monopoly government, out-of-context quotes by Abe Lincoln, etc., etc.”  Why has the Lincoln cult been so silent on the issue of Scottish secession?

7:03 pm on September 18, 2014

Scottish Freedom Defeated?

An English poll predicts that the No vote will get 54%, based on an exit poll. If so, I am disappointed but not discouraged. The No campaign was replete with fear mongering and lying. I kept expecting Cameron to say that ISIS was in favor of independence. But this is only the beginning of the fight for Scottish freedom, which has inspired peoples around the world. Freedom will come to Scotland, and to others held in bondage. After all, Scotland scared the banksters and the rest of the ruling class worldwide. We know we are on the right track.

5:24 pm on September 18, 2014

Who Shot Down MH17?

A new 15-page report is out. It contains more detail than anything yet available. It contains more reasoning based on the evidence. It has photographs. Its conclusion is that a Ukrainian jet airplane shot down the Boeing 777. The case it makes is persuasive.

5:22 pm on September 18, 2014

Shock! Horror! Ron Paul and Rand Have Their Own Views

Good for Ron for making this clear. They are a loving father and son, but despite the media’s attempted mischief, they are different and unique individuals, ideologically as well as in other ways. The neocons want the son to stab the father in the back, after which they would stab the son. But this will never happen. The 10 commandments, and the six reaffirmed by Jesus Christ in the New Testament, call upon us to honor our father and mother. Ron Paul always did. So will Rand.

5:05 pm on September 18, 2014

Come to Costa Mesa, CA, for Great Ideas and Fun

Join Ron Paul, Judge Napolitano, Jeff Deist, David Gordon, and me, as we discuss the possibility of doing without a ruling junta, on Saturday, November 8, 2014, at our West Coast Mises Circle. See the details here, and register, too.

4:20 pm on September 18, 2014

Secession Lives, at Home and Abroad

Even Slate and the Daily Beast acknowledge it.

PS: A nation state the size of the US is anti-human. For the sake of freedom, peace, and civilization, it must be broken up, into as many pieces as possible.

3:15 pm on September 18, 2014

When the Scottish Results Will Be Available

All times are English, in this Guardian story. Here’s how to translate them.

2:09 pm on September 18, 2014

Poroshenko Wants Ukraine to be Another Israel

President Poroshenko of Ukraine has addressed the U.S. Congress, making all sorts of requests based upon false claims. He claims that his battles and problems are America’s. Americans should see him for the self-serving con man and puppet of neocon interests that he is. Last May he asked for a Lend-Lease program for Ukraine. My comments made at that time still apply. They apply to an even greater extent than at that time because Poroshenko has ratcheted up his rhetoric (misrepresentations, lies, exaggerations, nonsense) and because the Congress gave him a forum to address it and the American public. Since May, Poroshenko has shown that he’s both incompetent and a war criminal. He’s led a war on his own people. Maybe that’s exactly what qualifies him in the eyes of many politicians in Washington. A sample of my thoughts at that time:

“I have yet to hear reported anything said by a Ukrainian politician that sounds remotely sensible from the perspective of Americans, whom I regard as having no interests in Ukraine that rise to the level of intervening in that land. Ukraine’s leaders seem to want the U.S. to confront Russia. They want to get the U.S. involved in the internal political problems of Ukraine and its breakaway republics. They want to be bailed out of their particular political and economic problems.”

Since that time, I’ve read numerous totally unreliable, self-serving and false statements made by the Ukrainian leadership and its military leaders. Nothing they say can be relied upon. They are entirely untrustworthy. If it were a matter of dealing with these guys in a business deal, I wouldn’t be in the same city with them, much less the same room.

12:52 pm on September 18, 2014

68% Yes!

So far, in the election to decide if Scotland should be free of English domination.

NB: If there is to be any sort of election on anything, it should be paper ballots only, as with this referendum, not the electronic ballots that GCHQ could so easily fudge. Elections can be stolen with paper ballots, too, but it us more difficult.

12:48 pm on September 18, 2014

Steve Forbes Opposes Freedom for Scotland

Just to shock you.

12:33 pm on September 18, 2014

The U.S.’s and CIA’s Semi-Secret Wars Are Autocratic

The U.S. conducts secret wars. It’s been doing this for decades. They remain secret to the American masses. They become semi-secret to a circle of more informed Americans when a few reporters dig out tidbits of information and connect the dots. Semi-secret still keeps the American public or masses in the dark. Semi-secret gives presidents years of breathing room and years of the power to use their secret proxy forces, mercenaries, advisers, and CIA people. It gives them time to ignore the Constitution and avoid anti-war movements and impeachment rumblings. Then they’re out of office.

Secret and semi-secret wars are totally inconsistent with the theory of transparent and accountable government (called loosely democratic) that these same presidents boast of and claim as a justification for their constant interventions and aggressions. They’re consistent with a government that wants to exercise power without being constrained by the contrary preferences of members of the American public. This undemocratic form of government is better known by the term autocratic. This occurs when one or a few people rule arbitrarily.

The problem with existing political terms that describe power relations is that they do not capture gradations of power. At one end is the transparent and accountable leader. At the other extreme is the dictator, tyrant or despot who is said to be cruel and have total or absolute power. What we have in America is in between these extremes and moving toward the dictatorial end of the spectrum.

For a very recent example of a secret and semi-secret CIA war, see Syria, as described in this article. It has some new details of the CIA control over anti-Assad forces and it connects the dots to Obama’ latest war which is really aimed at Assad. Search on “secret U.S. wars” to find many more cases.

12:15 pm on September 18, 2014

Giant March for Catalonian Independence

(Thanks to Washington’s Blog)

12:13 pm on September 18, 2014

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12:04 pm on September 18, 2014

Obama’s Totalitarian “Constitution” Validates Lysander Spooner (Again)

“America’s revolutionary experiment in democracy has, from its first moments, been a beacon of hope and opportunity to the world,” declares the “Constitution Day and Citizenship Day” Proclamation signed yesterday by Barack Obama. “We are strengthened by our diversity and united by our fidelity to a set of tenets.”

The U.S. Constitution was the product of a secretive process by people seeking to consolidate power. The men who produced that instrument would be nonplussed to learn from Obama that the document “allowed for protest and new ideas that would broaden democracy’s reach.” Whatever else can honestly be said about them, the constitutional framers left abundant and detailed warnings regarding the dangers of democracy, and the soundest thinkers among them understood that individual liberty exists whether or not it is “allowed” by a government. To the Founding generation’s credit, nobody of any consequence pretended that it was the duty or privilege of the government they created to export democracy abroad, as Obama and his handlers insist.

The Constitution, continued Obama’s decree, “reflects the values we cherish as a people and the ideals we strive for as a society. It secures the privileges we enjoy as citizens, but also demands participation, responsibility, and service to our country and one another.” On this construction, the Constitution exists to define “the duties and responsibilities of citizenship” — rather than to assign limited and revocable powers to the federal government, as its framers insisted during the ratification debate. The powers of government are self-evident and unconditional; our liberties, such as they are, must be considered “privileges” that are contingent on the grace of our rulers.

As we would expect given his ideological background and political affiliations, Obama’s view of the “constitution” is entirely collectivist. Like Mussolini — another corporatist tyrant who was suckled on socialism — Obama’s worldview could be summarized in the phrase “Everything within the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state.”

Assuming that a proclamation of some kind simply had to be issued yesterday, Obama could have dispensed with social justice cant that cankered his decree and simply republished Mussolini’s more concise utterance (cited in Lew Rockwell’s wonderful new book, Against the State): “The keystone of Fascist doctrine is its conception of the State, of its essence, its functions, and its aims. For Fascism the State is absolute, individuals and groups relative.”

As it was re-purposed by the White House, the U.S. Constitution offers unqualified license for state intervention in human affairs, both domestically and abroad. It more closely resembles the Constitution of the Soviet Union than the document that emerged from the Philadelphia Convention — which, we should be clear, was not designed to protect individual liberty, but rather to authorize impositions upon it. Any document that authorizes the “taking” of property through eminent domain and the suspension of habeas corpus is not a charter of individual liberty.

It is commonplace for conservatives to lament that Obama’s rule represents a terminal apostasy from our constitutional principles. They would be wise to consider Lysander Spooner’s wise and prescient critique of the Constitution: “But whether the Constitution really be one thing, or another, this much is certain – that it has either authorized such a government as we have had, or has been powerless to prevent it. In either case it is unfit to exist.”

11:32 am on September 18, 2014

Obama on World War II As a Just War

I finally got around to reading the remarks Obama made in 2009 when he accepted his Nobel Peace Prize. I note this statement:

And while it’s hard to conceive of a cause more just than the defeat of the Third Reich and the Axis powers, World War II was a conflict in which the total number of civilians who died exceeded the number of soldiers who perished.

It seems to me that no war could possibly be just when more civilians die than soldiers. Just something to think about.

10:13 am on September 18, 2014

What If A School Board Voted To Deny Plunder-Sorry, Taxes to Its School?

Henry Whitney writes of a community where it coulda, shoulda happened — but didn’t. His tale is also a cautionary one of how taxation pits groups of citizens against one another, distracting them from fighting Leviathan.

9:30 am on September 18, 2014

Thanks for Nothing Uncle Sam

And thanks for destroying my country, says this Iraqi who lived better under Saddam Hussein.

9:22 am on September 18, 2014

Obama’s Latest War

We read “The House on Wednesday approved President Obama’s plan to train and equip moderate Syrian rebels to counter the growing threat of the Islamic State terrorist organization even though lawmakers in both parties remain deeply skeptical about its chances for success.”

If we believe what we are reading, the goal is to counter IS. How might that be done if Washington actually wanted to do that? How about mobilizing those states in the region that are very close allies of the U.S., who have received a great deal of aid and military equipment over the years, who have military links to the U.S., and who have significant armed forces? There are these powers like Israel, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia. There are also Jordan, Egypt, and even Iraq.

But no. Instead, Obama plans to arm and train a group known as Syrian moderate rebels. This group has fought beside the IS fighters. It has links to IS. It, or parts of it, even recently signed a truce with IS. IS can infiltrate this group, can attack it and can steal more American-supplied weapons.

Why would Obama arm this group of hard to control people whose loyalties are so questionable, who cannot whip IS and don’t want to and who will probably help IS?

Beyond the folly of it, there is a reason. We also read “Obama and administration officials have said that some aide [sic] may go to the Syrian Free Army, a group focused on defeating Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.”

This is the real purpose of the Obama plan. It is to train and arm anti-Assad rebels, the goal being to defeat Assad. The larger goal is to weaken Iran and Hezbollah by creating a new government in Syria. This is a pro-Israel strategy. This too is folly, but that’s what Washington does. In the Iraq case, Congress bought the propaganda. This time around, the Congress is voting for the folly knowing full well that it is folly.

Has Congress given any thought to the fact that the U.S. is, with its approval and participation, openly aggressing against Syria? Can anyone in Washington make a case against Russia for anything it has done in Ukraine?

5:28 pm on September 17, 2014

Independence From the UK?

Why, why, the idea is unprecedented! (Thanks to EPJ)

1:09 pm on September 17, 2014

That Lincoln Shrine at Hillsdale College . . .



IMG_0631resize. . . may turn out to be educational after all.  Yes, that’s a copy of The Real Lincoln Abe is holding behind his back.  Thanks to Don Printz.  (Click on the image to enlarge it).

12:19 pm on September 17, 2014

Missing Joey

Joey Rothbard would have been 86 today. She was Murray’s great love and intellectual partner, the “indispensable framework,” he once called her. I miss her brilliance, her humor, her unfailing judgement of people. She immediately saw through  the phonies who would later prove to be sellouts, for example–a valuable ability in the libertarian movement!

12:02 pm on September 17, 2014

A Carnival of Lies and Intentional Confusion

I speak of course of the FOX War Channel.  In this screen shot the “FOX Facts” declare that the U.S. government has bombed “ISIS” hundreds of times, while the talking head bemoans the fact that not a single bomb has yet to be dropped on ISIS.  “Talking Out of Both Sides of Our Mouths:  You Decide”  should be the new FOX motto.  Thanks to Chuck L.

11:53 am on September 17, 2014

Is the 13th Amendment Illegal?

That would have to be the conclusion of the band of nitwits running loose, on the eve of the Scottish separatist vote, in declaring that the U.S. Civil War “settled” the secession question once-and-for-all. In 1857, the United States Supreme Court ruled – in the Dred Scott case – that blacks – and particularly slaves – were not “citizens” and, thus, had no standing to sue in the federal courts. Didn’t the Supreme Court thus “settle” the slavery issue “once-and-for-all”, and weren’t the consequences of the Civil War – including the 13th Amendment – thus rendered invalid? And didn’t the Revolutionary War – fired by the Declaration of Independence – declare “once-and-for-all” that the right of people “to alter or abolish” the government was inalienable?

The people who babble this kind of nonsense haven’t even thought through the implications of what they say. They are doubtless defenders of “democracy” which, to their minds, means that men and women have the right to establish a government by some imagined “social contract” – even though history provides no evidence of this ever occurring – but then, in some mysterious fashion, lose their “right” to alter or abolish” it. Intelligent minds [i.e., people outside academia or the mainstream media] can see through the illogic of such reasoning.

People who think this way always seem to turn out being rampant statists, seeking legislative or judicial acts that support some program or policy of theirs. If there is a failure to achieve their desired result, they simply try again at the next session, and the next, until they get the result they want. Once they get what they want from the state they announce that the question as been “settled, once-and-for-all,” making dissenters “reactionaries” who want to “turn back the clock.”

11:20 am on September 17, 2014