Friday, June 21, 2013

An ugly, but persistent idea, long past its prime

National Guard-Militia schism scary says the rumor that the Justice Department has served 14 state governors with National Security Letters is just that – a rumor.

How would anyone really know? I guess we'll all have to ask Rick Perry, see what he says.

If you get one of these National Security Letters, it's as serious a federal offense to reveal the very fact you received it as whatever you've been accused of doing.

Says so right there in the “Patriot Act.”

The rift?

The 14 states, and they include the old Confederacy as well as Minnesota and a few others, have formed State Defense Forces, citizen militias that report to the Governor only, unlike the National Guard, which must mobilize under the Army when the President so orders.

What makes it such an ugly idea is that not only is it not illegal for Governors and legislatures to form these outfits, it's a hangover conflict from a particularly stupid and obtuse period of American history, the events that led up to the Civil War, otherwise known as The War of Northern Aggression, or The War Between the States.

It was America's bloodiest war.

Under the provision of 32 U.S. Code 109, it's totally legal for a state to keep troops other than National Guard.

One need only click here to read the federal law:

In the dark days that led to secession and total war, National Guard units from the Confederacy paid no mind to the federal bugle call. Their top commander, Gen. Robt. E. Lee, was Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army. He resigned his commission when federal troops crossed the Potomac to invade Virginia. So did most of the lesser ranks from the Confederate States. They stayed true to the Old South, fought against all odds, usually without pay or sufficient grub and clothing.

That act made General Lee a war criminal when it was all over. Unlike the troopers he commanded, he was not released, pardoned or paroled in the treaty of surrender he signed with General U.S. Grant.

General Grant refused to accept his proffered sword when he offered it, and he allowed General Lee's men to keep their mounts and carry their rifles home because he knew of the extreme privation they and their families would face in the times to come.

The Old Dominion made Gen. Lee a sinecure to keep him for the rest of his life, as President of the University of Virginia. His home place at Arlington was confiscated and turned into a burial ground for federal troopers who lost their lives fighting the Confederacy.

The graves come all the way up to the front porch of the Custis-Lee mansion.

The honest truth is, you can see that on a clear day if you look hard enough through the French doors of the Oval Office, just look across the river and maybe put some glass on it. You will see that, clear as a bell.

The confiscation of the Arlington place was only a more genteel, refined form of turning a town and its homes into a “Chimneyville,” as federal troopers did throughout the Old South.

The sad truth is that Gen. Lee lost his civil rights in his valiant struggle to sell the U.S. its victory at the highest possible price.

But the ugly story about the state militias and the National Security Letters for governors has been around the blogosphere since 2010, according to the folks who track these things.

It just keeps on repeating itself, like a chant in the minds of sons and daughters of a once-defeated nation.

They're mighty nervous about the fact that the President and Vice President have said time after time that they will seek to take “weapons of war” out of the hands of Americans through executive order, if not by federal legislation, or constitutional amendment.

I ran across this alarming story about state governments resisting an imminent federal invasion and resulting martial law again, big as Dallas, just the other day in a posting right near a new Facebook page dedicated to a group that insists on open carry of long guns - simply because there is no law in Texas against such a practice.

In fact, they stroll through the streets of Temple and Belton every evening around dark thirty, “unmolested” by police, and their presence is starting to have some effect, according to their accounts. The bad folks seem to melt away like snow in June when the militia shows up carrying AR-15 assault rifles on their evening stroll.

That's why a lot of sober-sided people who man inside-the-beltway think tanks advocate the formation of more such citizen militias, organized under the provisions of the U.S. Code and the laws of state governments, to operate as force multipliers.

Please, don't stop the carnival!

Simultaneously, there is some forward motion in the area of the sacrosanct security of National Security Letters, though it resembles the start-stop-three steps forward, two steps Conga-line back progress of the typical Mardi Gras parade.

A San Francisco U.S. District Judge has managed to just haul off and outdo herself; she's ruled both ways on the same subject.

It's unconstitutional, she said in one case back in April. Should not be done that way.

Just recently, she reversed her opinion, holding that it's okay to issue such letters.

Both Google and and outfit called the Electronic Freedom Foundation are challenging the NSA, FBI, and other federal alphabet soup combinations on their use of the letters to spy on peoples' preferences, phone calls, text messages, bills, and e-mail.

Other information services and phone companies, server farms and internet service providers seem to have no particular problem snitching on their customers. Patriots, one and all, no doubt.

Here is a run-down on the rising use of National Security Letters, published this week by “The National Journal.” (click)
Keep your powder dry, y'all, and save your wheel weights and auto batteries.

Never know when you'll get a shot at a squirrel – or a wild hog, for that matter - and there's a need for biscuits and gravy each and every morning, as you all well know.

  • The Legendary, a real finger-popping daddy'o from The Bayou City

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