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L. Neil Smith's
Number 589, September 26, 2010

"Why do creators create?"

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Letter from Chris Claypoole

Letter from Richard Bartucci with answer from L. Neil Smith

Letter from A.X. Perez

Letter from Crazy Al

The reality behind the US budget

From the blogger, "The Bayou Renaissance Man", this cheery little article, drawing heavily from Karl Denninger's analysis of the situation, points out what we've known, or strongly suspected, all along, that the FedGov is always "another day older and deeper in debt", with no clue as to how to change the dynamic:

[read it]

The FedGov does not have any way to change this, because of the actions of the presidents and Congresses over the last several decades, larding non-discretionary programs, one more expensive than another, on a budget that was bloated in the first place. It's like having a huge mortgage, payments on several luxury cars, a few student loans, and a whole bunch of maxed-out credit cards, none of which you are allowed to default on, and no realistic way to earn any more income. You can juggle the payments all you like, but the end is coming, like that light at the end of the tunnel that turns out to be a locomotive. And it's going to be just as spectacular! (That is what "spectators" call an event the participants consider "horrific", "tragic", or just "messy".)

The self-described best-and-brightest who presume to rule us are faced with this imminent disaster, and instead of trying to reduce spending (as the newly installed British government, per Radley Balko, is moving to do: [link]), are still chattering about new ways to screw up the economy, spend more money that they don't have and can't realistically get their bloody hands on, and generally reduce us to, what was that phrase?, absolute Despotism. I wish they would stick to rearranging the deck chairs instead of poking holes in the hull of the Titanic to let the water drain out.

And if you think that is too harsh, remember what an absolute hash Larry Summers made of the Lithuanian economy, yet he is still lauded as an "expert". The Bush administration was filled with crony corporatists whose vision of a market was that of a horde of Huns sacking a village. The Obama administration is filled with academics and full-time politicians whose vision of a market is, well, they don't have one. Their feelings, which cannot be described as thought even with the level of saintly charity associated with Mother Teresa, more often lead to stories like this one, from Mostly Cajun:

All these clowns (I hate clowns, even the ones that are supposed to be funny) who set themselves up as philosopher-kings are mostly, by all available evidence, dumb as a box of hair. Nor am I the only one to hold this opinion, as even as important a pundit as "Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal" understands this fact:

It's going to be a wild ride, friends. Keep a bag packed, a weapon at hand, and your sense of humor polished up.

Chris Claypoole

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Re: "The Right to Own and Carry Weapons" by L. Neil Smith


Not to niggle, but it should be borne in mind that the small Texian/Tejano garrison of San Antonio de Béxar were not armed with nothing more than "rifles, pistols, and large knives," but also had the use of an artillery park of twenty-one pieces, mixed in caliber but nonetheless a helluva lot of cannon for a force that could not have been more than 260 men at most.

From what I've read, it was those field pieces that prolonged the siege of the Alamo beyond the first day of Santa Anna's arrival. The Mexican commander's subordinates had no great desire to storm the place in the face of all those big guns, and they instead engaged an artillery duel that was successfully knocking the improvised fortress to bits during the first twelve days of the siege. Indeed, it was reckoned on both sides that if the bombardment was to be sustained for a few days longer, the improvised fortress would have been rendered indefensible even as the garrison ran out of munitions and other supplies, obliging them to surrender.

That's when Santa Anna intemperately ordered an assault in the early hours of the thirteenth day, his eighteen hundred attacking troops suffering grievously from the defenders' artillery fire, with casualties sustained in the assault (both dead and wounded) amounting to about one-third of the force committed.

Much as I know that you are inclined to credit the effectiveness of personal firearms in the hands of skilled and motivated individuals, it will almost always be crew-served weapons which function most effectively in working destruction upon an enemy, and in so doing constrain his actions by making the transit of beaten zones more costly than he is pleased to sustain.

Richard Bartucci

To which L. Neil Smith replied:

I had more or less forgotten about the artillery, and and feel a little dumb for having done so. I hope Ken will run your letter next weekend. Cannon were of great value at San Jacinto, as well, where they they had plenty of gunpowder but had to cut horseshoes in half and throw them in with other kinds of junk as projectiles.

Had I thought of what you said, I'd simply have added a line about the right to keep and bear cannons, especially since that vintage of gun is still perfectly legal. Remember Barney's Cannons? They made a miniature railroad mortar specifically scaled to shoot concrete-filled beer cans. But I always wanted their 1/3 scale Parrott gun.

Nowadays, of course, a lot of this kind of fighting can be done with very lightweight mortars (like the Viet Cong used) and rocket propelled grenades, which I think are as important (if unintentional) an addition to the arsenal of individual liberty as the AK-47.

L. Neil Smith

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No Comment

El Diario de Juarez published a front page editorial today asking the Drug Cartels to let them know what articles they could print. Had something to do with having to bury two of their employees this weekend who suffered from an allergy to element 82.

As one American tyrant said, more or less, "I have to laugh I dare not cry." So if you have any journalist friends with more balls than brains, El Diario de Juarez is hiring.

A.X. Perez

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Many conservatives and libertarians have supported the notion that certain states (notably Texas) secede from the Union because of excessive liberalism and statism on the part of the Feds.

Maybe we should encourage certain states (notably California) to secede because they don't feel the rest of the US is socialist enough to suit them.

Crazy Al
Somewhere in Far West Texas

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