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Thread: New War on Gun Owners Portends End of All U.S. Liberty. 5 December 28, 2007 The Federal Observer

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    http://www.federalobserver.com/archive.php?aid=12082

    By Loren Bliss

    Even inside the Second Amendment community, too many U.S. voters remain oblivious to the fact the Democrats and the Republicans are now openly collaborating to forcibly disarm as many Americans as possible -- especially U.S. military veterans -- with an oppressive package of bipartisan Congressional legislation already enacted or pending.

    More troubling still is the fact so many of our traditional guardians of other constitutional rights -- groups such as the American Civil Liberties Union and its political kindred -- are too blinded by their hatred of firearms owners and firearms to see how this newly emerging onslaught portends a final betrayal of American liberty by the very people sworn to protect it.

    By far the most egregious of these legislative measures is S1237, a bill I warned about last spring. Requested by President Bush, S1237 would allow the federal government -- by secret decree and without any pretense of due process -- to permanently deny firearms ownership to anyone it deems politically suspect. It is pending in the judiciary committee, where it has acquired a dozen co-sponsors, among them Hillary Clinton, Dianne Feinstein, Charles Schumer and Edward Kennedy -- proof the Democrats remain as committed to forcible disarmament as ever. A companion, HR2074, is in the House Judiciary Committee and is also quickly acquiring sponsors from both parties, thereby proving the Republican pledge to protect Second Amendment rights is merely another of the GOP’s treacherous lies.

    Equally dangerous are HR2640 and S2084, new versions of a measure previously titled HR297, the other bill I warned against in May. Growing ranks of critics say either form, HR2640 or S2084, would clear the way for mandatory disarmament of anyone ever diagnosed as having any degree of mental illness, even the most relatively benign. As S2084, the measure has been expanded into unrelated realms and is awaiting final action by the Senate, where its Republican and Democratic sponsors hope to force its passage "as agreed" -- a voice vote in which individual positions are not recorded -- just as HR2640 was approved by the House.

    This mode of enactment is indicative and damning: a common means for dispensing with parliamentary trivia, it is unprecedented for the approval of significant or controversial legislation -- as if Congress were to abolish Medicare by a chorus of ayes and nays. The method of HR2640's passage thus achieves toxic distinction as an all-time nadir of unethical arrogance. It also confirms a fear and contempt for the electorate never before so publicly displayed in U.S. politics: the haughty disdain by which the nation's politicians have long viewed those of us who elect them -- the resurrected aristocratic prejudice we common folk are too ignorant to be allowed any genuine liberty -- a worsening malaise that has been carefully documented for at least a decade. More ominously, the craven concealment of the vote on HR2640 proves beyond a scintilla of doubt the dread accuracy of the darkest estimates of the measure’s tyrannical purpose. There is no other reason so many senators are trying so desperately to mimic the representatives in cowering behind procedural sleight-of-hand.

    HR327 -- the unanimously enacted "Joshua Omvig Suicide Prevention Law" recently signed by President Bush -- is one of the hammers to the anvil of H2640/S2084. The latter bills would provide the mechanism of forcible disarmament as noted above, while HR327 makes evaluation of one’s mental state a prerequisite for obtaining any medical care through the Department of Veterans Affairs.

    This, from HR327's Section 1720F, paragraph (c), says it all: "the Secretary shall direct that medical staff offer mental health in their overall health assessment when veterans seek medical care at a Department medical facility. . .and make referrals, at the request of the veteran concerned, to appropriate counseling and treatment programs for veterans who show signs or symptoms of mental health problems."
    Under HR2640/S2084, anyone -- veteran or otherwise -- whose psychological condition suggests even the faintest risk of self-harm would be permanently denied the right to keep and bear arms. Thus a person seeking self-improvement via counseling could be disarmed as easily as someone afflicted by major mental illness. Since anyone so disarmed is also implicitly deprived all right of self-protection, such a person is literally reduced to statutory prey -- a legally defenseless creature any predator can attack at will and with absolute impunity. The possibility an attacker might face subsequent penalties is no deterrent at all, a fact repeatedly confirmed by interviews with street criminals. And whatever consequences eventually obtain, they are in any case invariably diminished once disclosure of psychological status renders the victim subhuman in the eyes of police, judicial authorities and a population internationally notorious for its hateful intolerance of even the slightest mental abnormality.

    But one exceptionally bold senator, Tom Coburn (R-OK), saw these dangers from the very beginning and dared put a continuing hold on HR2640/S2084. He also raised the sole objection to HR327, which he recognized as an enabling act for HR2640/S2084.
    "The VA's past failures to protect the privacy of veterans records show that this concern is well-founded," said Coburn. "The Department of Veterans Affairs, in 1999, shared the private medical records of more than 80,000 veterans with the Department of Justice. . .to prohibit the purchasing of firearms by veterans who had been diagnosed as having mental health concerns at one point in their lives."

    Coburn's defense of the right to keep and bear arms predictably made him the target of a nationally orchestrated smear campaign, a vicious attack that included a /New York Times/ editorial denouncing him as "locked, loaded and looney,"(3) and he eventually retreated from his HR327 position, apparently convinced the phrase "at the request of the veteran concerned" makes psychological assessment under HR327 purely voluntary. But anyone familiar with the military and the VA instantly recognizes the Big Lie: the fact "at the request of" is meaningless. In the VA as in the military, one has no choice but to follow the inevitable orders -- "you WILL see the shrink" -- even if the result is the loss of one's firearm rights forever.

    Moreover, every military veteran in the U.S. -- combat vet or not – could be permanently disarmed by this new law. This is because, by the definition of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in /Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders-IV /or /DSM-IV/, even basic military training might arguably result in some degree of PTSD, while for actual combat veterans, PTSD is an absolute certainty.(4) And since "suicidal tendencies" are implicit in PTSD,(5) this diagnosis automatically invokes the forcible disarmament provisions of HR2640/S2084 -- in the words of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (BATF), "any danger, not simply 'imminent' or 'substantial' danger" -- the individual in question might attempt self-harm.
    Obviously HR2640/S2084 would also facilitate the forcible and permanent disarmament of many civilians -- for example anyone who suffered PTSD as the result of criminal attack, natural disaster, civil disorder, even a serious illness, a residential fire or an injurious traffic accident.

    However, to understand the true magnitude of the HR2640/S2084/HR327 forcible-disarmament package, it is necessary to factor in two more findings: the World Health Organization conclusion -- already axiomatic among U.S. mental health professionals “that all mental disorders increase the risk of suicide; and the National Institute of Mental Health estimate that at one time or another, nearly 50 percent of the U.S. population will suffer from some form of mental disorder – whether minor or major, temporary or protracted. HR2640/S2084 would enable the government to proclaim all these individuals prohibited persons and forcibly disarm any who own firearms.

    The equally bipartisan S1237 meanwhile disarms political activists and even apolitical nonconformists. Ostensibly it would "increase public safety by permitting the Attorney General to deny the transfer of firearms or the issuance of firearms and explosives licenses to known or suspected dangerous terrorists." Authored by Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) in response to a presidential request -- Lautenberg is probably the most fanatical forcible-disarmament advocate in Congress -- its core feature is nullification of the constitutionally implied principle of presumed innocence.

    But the stunningly oppressive intent of the Bush/Lautenberg proposal is found not in the legislation itself but in the federal government's post-9/11 redefinitions of the term "terrorism." Critics on both left and right say the definitions are now so broad they potentially criminalize any form of effective political action. In other words, participants in a legitimate labor strike or a picket-line that blocks or merely slows vehicles in a city street could thus be disarmed -- permanently and without judicial redress -- as "terrorists." So could people collecting signatures on unapproved petitions or giving unauthorized musical or theatrical performances that delay pedestrian traffic on sidewalks.

    No matter the heartfelt appeal such draconian disarmament measures have for the opponents of civilian firearms ownership, the fact remains neither these laws and proposals nor their underlying nullifications of other aspects of the Bill of Rights have any real precedents in U.S. history. Given that the Republicans have until now disguised themselves as valiant defenders of the right to keep and bear arms, the bipartisan nature of the forcible disarmament effort is also an entirely new phenomenon, and its potential for making criminals of law-abiding citizens -- not to mention its likelihood for turning the U.S. into Cell Block Nation -- would appear to exceed even that of the Volstead Act and national prohibition. The only historical parallel may lie in the most terrifying aspect of the 1942 confinement of Japanese-Americans in concentration camps -- the fact that (in upholding the detentions), the U.S. Supreme Court ruled the entire Bill of Rights is meaningless – that its guarantees can be abolished whenever there is "pressing public necessity."
    Equally alarming is the unheard-of manner in which both parties have joined hands in singular deviousness -- the despotic determination reflected by a Machiavellian scheme obviously designed to succeed no matter the degree of public opposition -- a development virulent with disturbing suggestions about our political future.
    Like it or not, the only terms and concepts that explain this extraordinary stealth campaign and its unique degree of coordination are phrases many of us have been conditioned to reject instinctively: "ruling class," "working class" and "class struggle."

    Hence a plea for open-mindedness followed by a little bit of the history that justifies the use of these terms in this context:

    Franklin Delano Roosevelt's New Deal (1932-1945) was probably the most brilliant socioeconomic and political compromise in human history. It embraced the precept of class struggle -- the notion that the chief motivating force of history is eternal war between the reflexively greedy, instinctively oppressive ruling class and all the rest of us -- the oppressed, alienated, often legitimately rebellious working class. But instead of using class struggle to justify revolution, as Marxism did, the New Deal wed it to the principles of the U.S. Constitution and constitutional governance. The government would simultaneously encourage capitalist enterprise even as it protected us -- the workers – against capitalist savagery. As a result, the vast majority of U.S. workers enjoyed nearly four decades of genuine prosperity -- almost certainly the longest such era anywhere on Planet Earth in the past 3400 years.

    But all that ended with the 1968 election, after which every U.S. president -- Democrat or Republican -- worked to destroy the protections the New Deal had granted us. Thus most U.S. workers have not received a genuine raise -- an increase in disposable income -- since 1973. With the willing collaboration of the Democrats -- particularly the presidents Carter and Clinton -- the Republicans have restored the ruling class to its former economic omnipotence, have resurrected most of its political autocracy and have destroyed or crippled all remaining vestiges of the laws and programs that formerly protected us from much of the misery inflicted by capitalist greed. And in the name of "free trade," both parties are methodically subjugating all of us -- that is, the working class -- into ever-more-degraded servitude to the Global Sweatshop Economy. The Republican Party -- demonstrably the core vessel of U.S. fascism even after Pearl Harbor dissolved the 1930s alliance between Big Business and Adolf Hitler's Axis -- has now nearly won its 75-year war against American workers.

    Nevertheless some of us have begun to fight back. Union membership is again increasing, and with it, union militancy. We are beginning to re-learn what President Roosevelt and his supporters knew by heart -- that capitalism is inherently malignant. Protest movements are growing. With skyrocketing fuel prices -- authoritative predictions of $4 and even $5 per gallon before next spring -- gas-pump rage at the ongoing collaboration of politicians and oil speculators could explode into disorders comparable to the bread-riots of pre-revolutionary France and 1917 Russia. Total economic collapse -- the crash of the dollar to absolute worthlessness and runaway inflation of a sort not experienced in this country since the final years of the Confederacy -- now appears at least possible. And terminal climate change worsens by the day if not the hour. Public anger simmers relentlessly toward some unknown boiling point even as potential chaos -- truly unimaginable chaos -- looms ever closer.
    No wonder the ruling class now seeks to forcibly disarm as many U.S. workers as it can.

    Yet one of the bloodier lessons of history is that in such desperate times the armed citizen is often the only remaining defense, whether of individual liberty or the collective ethos we call civilization.

    Thus it cannot be said too often that the authority implicit in HR2640/S2084, HR327 and S1237 could enable the government to confiscate the guns of every working-class person in the United States -- that is, every one of us who is not part of the tiny plutocracy that already controls 90 percent of the planet's wealth and seeks to perpetuate itself in fortified, despotic opulence through the nightmare decades ahead. Combined, these measures are nearly universal in their reach: they could disarm not just veterans (whom the ruling class deems especially dangerous because of their military training and combat experience), but literally anyone who has suffered or illness or trauma. Simultaneously S1237 could disarm not only political activists but anyone whose opinions or lifestyle invites denunciation by the legions of petty officials, home-entry workers and snoopy or vindictive neighbors the Bush Regime has enrolled as its spies.

    However, the implications of this legislative blitz go far beyond the question of firearms ownership. HR1955, the so-called "Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act of 2007," has been passed 404-6 by the House and is pending in the Senate, where it has been renamed S1959. Supporters say the bill is essential for national defense, but -- once again (and ever more predictably) -- the definitions of "violent radicalization" and "terrorism" are so vague they effectively cancel the First, Fourth, Fifth and Sixth Amendments. Literally, under HR1955/S1959, a member of a militant labor union could be imprisoned merely for paying dues. And when HR1955/S1959 is viewed in concert with HR2640/S2084, HR327 and S1237, what emerges is undeniable proof of underlying bipartisan malevolence -- not just an unprecedented effort to eliminate individual liberty by weasel-wording past the Bill of Rights, but to impose on the nation a climate of fear that has no counterpart in U.S. history: the ultimate ruling-class tactic to guarantee the abject submissiveness of the entire population. Any nation that disarms its firearms owners by sidestepping or suspending due process can just as easily silence its critics by the same methods -- clearly the intent of HR1955/S1959.

    Meanwhile -- if we dare to let ourselves acknowledge the evidence – the grand strategy of the ruling class also comes into sharp focus. Now we see how forcible disarmament through HR2640/S2084, HR327 and S1237 is essential to clear the way for the final destruction of American liberty via HR1955/S1959. Hence the deceitful histrionics of the 2008 presidential campaign: the ruling class feigning anger at Bush and the Republicans for doing precisely as they were ordered to do. Hence too the deliberately deceptive turnabout in which the ruling class lends the unstoppable power of its near-infinite wealth to the Democrats -- who are thereby guaranteed control of the federal government (and most local governments as well) for the next four years. The remaining scenario is obvious: the Democrats fulfill their appointed purpose not just by zealously disarming the population but by ruthlessly suppressing dissent. The electorate then reacts as it did to the Clintons—forcible disarmament campaigns of the 1990s and again votes the Democrats out of public office -- this time probably forever. As the Republicans celebrate their restoration, the Democrats retire behind a smokescreen of theatrical bitterness, knowing all the while that because they spoke their lines so well, they will spend the remainder of their lives reaping the lavish rewards of private sinecure -- repayment for eliminating the Constitution's last remaining fail-safe clauses.

    But now for us workers there is a very different scenario, one as grim as famine in Cambodia. Disarmed, we cannot even protect ourselves against the thugs and gangsters who increasingly prey on us; the Democrats have left us as utterly defenseless as Blacks shackled aboard an antebellum slave ship. And now in 2012 the Republican victors at last achieve the ultimate triumph they have sought since 1932 -- the ruling class returned to absolute power over all government at all levels. With their world so secured, the capitalists jubilantly unleash the full tyrannosauric savagery of their greed, binding us in eternal servitude by every horror their technologies of oppression can produce. They have no need for more elections. Every city is post-Katrina New Orleans; every forest a desolation of clear-cuts and banditry; every job – the few that exist -- a drudgery of fear and hopelessness.

    Perhaps Old Glory yet waves, and perhaps the nation still labels itself the United States of America. Or perhaps the victorious plutocrats at last publicly acknowledge how the present circumstances grew out of a long succession of treasonous alliances that first united Republicans with Big Business; then united Republicans and Big Business with the ideologies of Hitler, Mussolini and Franco; and finally united Republicans and Big Business with Democrats so that all these diverse elements truly became one -- "e pluribus unum": one Homeland, one Nation, one Decider. Perhaps some even hail their New Order as the Fourth Reich. Whatever; liberty is dead forever. Perhaps also -- though by now it is far too late -- a few of us finally recognize that Karl Marx spoke prophetic truth when he told us long ago we had nothing to lose but our chains.


    Believe nothing you read or hear without verifying it yourself unless it fits your pre-existing world view.
    Either we are equal or we are not. Good people ought to be armed where they will, with wits and guns and the truth. NRA *******

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    Let em try to take my guns. Then you'll see disaster. They'll be prying em from my cold dead fingers.

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    I was onboard till she started giving props to the New Deal and unions. I'm not a big fan of socialism being introduced into the free market. No matter how good the intention it's still a bad idea. Once you let the government regulate one thing they try and regulate another.

    What Miss Bliss fails to realize is that Roosevelt signed the National Firearms Act of 1934 into law. The NFA of 1934 put a $200 tax on the transfer of title II weapons and also made it law that those weapons be registered, among other things. There's your New Deal.

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    This observation
    But instead of using class struggle to justify revolution, as Marxism did, the New Deal wed it to the principles of the U.S. Constitution and constitutional governance.
    is brilliant and damning! Who can argue that democracy is NOT the rule of fools by fools after understanding this unholy wedding of class struggle (itself a leftist concept) to our Constitution.

    Democracy is the rule of fools by fools. Either we are equal or we are not. Good people ought to be armed where they will, with wits and guns and the truth. NRA *******

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    FDR was the worst president this country ever had. Freedom to fascism. Now we know what happens when we want to see what's in Pandora's box.

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    color of law wrote:
    FDR was the worst president this country ever had. Freedom to fascism. Now we know what happens when we want to see what's in Pandora's box.
    Nonetheless, he gave "free" stuff. Unfortunately, unless you're the Fed and printing out worthless money, there is no such thing as "something for nothing". More unfortunate is that the American people never want to question how programs are being funded.

    I like to think the best of people, but in today's society it is becoming more and more apparant that Americans don't really give a rat's ass about freedom, liberty, and other founding ideals of this country. They care about the latest sale at Macy's, getting a new car to impress their neighbors while being able to boast about its "fuel efficiency", and making sure that Big Brother protects them from such evils as global warming, foreign patriots (er, "terrorists"), marijuana leaves, and gay people.

    Er, rant over...

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