“There is No Safety You Dumb Bitch,” a Lesson From Sandor Clegane, The Hound

Brienne of Tarth, in Game of Thrones, is noble in her cause, and intends to uphold an oath she swore to Lady Stark to keep her children safe. But she is also a bit naive about the nature of the world in which she lives.

Brienne thinks she can bring Arya to a safe place, wherever that is. But as The Hound so eloquently reminds her:

“There is no safety you dumb bitch. And if you don’t know that by now, you’re the wrong one to watch over her.”

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Atlas Protection: For All Your Security Needs

In my novel, Anarchy in New England, many competing security companies exist to bring crime insurance, street patrols, and criminal investigation to consumers. One such company is Atlas Protection, and this is how I imagine their security contract to look. (I have kept it short and basic; in reality a security contract would read much more in depth, including specific definitions and intricacies of each crime, with much more detail etc.).

Atlas Protection Security Fulfillment

Thank you for choosing Atlas Protection for all of your security needs. If you have purchased crime insurance in a bundle through our partners, Atlantic Insurance or Coastal Insurance, welcome, we appreciate your business.

The Section Your Coverage below will explain what Atlas Protection will provide and protect you against. The Stipulations section will review any actions that would cause us to drop coverage in the event an injured party seeks damages.

Atlas Protection investigates most criminal complaints, however we also partner with Cape Cod Criminology Labs for forensic testing. While we do provide patrols in some areas, those further from our offices will have patrols fulfilled by Northern Watch or Mountain Rangers, depending on your location. Atlas Protection is proud to work in collaboration with New England Security Agency, Corner Cop Security, and Minuteman Arms, among others, to ensure the closest security personnel will always respond in cases of emergency.

Atlas Protection retains Hudson Arbitration to settle disputes with other security companies. We advise customers that although we can appeal decisions made by arbitration, the final results are legally binding and may result in the cancellation of coverage if you are found guilty of a crime, or dismissal of charges if a suspected assailant is found innocent of victimizing you. If you wish to purchase accusation insurance for Atlas Protection to continue to represent you in the event of a conviction, please talk to your Atlas Protection representative.

Your Coverage

If you have purchased a Gold account with us, you are covered for daily patrols, and theft protection of up to $10,000. If you have purchased a business account, please speak to your representative if you have questions about the amount and time of patrols, and area to be patrolled. Your representative will also be able to answer any questions about how much theft protection will be included in your plan.

We strive to accurately investigate, and bring assailants to justice, in order to recover the losses you sustain. It is our guarantee that if we do not bring the perpetrator to justice within one year of a complaint, Atlas Protection will pay out a settlement in accordance to the crime. All of our policies will always cover emergency response–including health emergencies and fires–, investigation, and prosecution to protect you against the following crimes:

  • Assault on your person, a family member, or anyone you are consorting with, whether on someone else’s property or your own.
  • Theft of your property, including items on your person or at home, but not including items left on property that is not your own, unless you were deceived into parting with said property.
  •  Serious threats on your life or property.
  • Trespassing, breaking and entering, home invasion, and forced entry.
  • Murder, rape, and attempted murder/ rape of you, a family member, or cohort. In cases where the policy holder is murdered, the policy will stay active through the investigation and prosecution, at which time the next of kin will be given the option of continuing coverage. If you have purchased life insurance through our affiliates, this will be paid immediately, and not in accordance with any investigation, except in cases of suspected suicide or fraudulent death claims.
  • All other crimes which violate self ownership, and all rights which stem from self ownership. All crimes of aggression, but not defensive action (in cases where policy holder attempts to injure another).

Stipulations: Your Responsibility

I: In addition to protection from crime, Atlas Protection also advocates for you in the event you are accused of a crime.

All crimes and actions which this policy protects against may not be engaged in by the policy holder. In cases when a policy holder commits a crime, including but not limited to assault, theft, trespassing, murder etc., protection will be subject to cancellation after investigations by Atlas Protection and any other security agency have been completed, submitted, and reviewed by Hudson Arbitration and/or another third party arbiter who finds the policy holder guilty.

In such cases Atlas Protection will continue to act as defense in sentencing in order to assure fair treatment, but will yield to arbitration’s final recommendation. It is at Atlas Protection’s sole discretion whether or not coverage will continue after the verdict, and if found guilty, the policy holder may be subject to a surcharge and price increase if you wish to continue your coverage.

Security coverage will never be dropped because of an accusation alone. Though we retain the right to cancel policies in the event of conviction, up until that point, Atlas Protection will represent you against individuals, companies, and other security agencies who accuse you of a crime.

II: In cases where security personal with a valid warrant signed by a third party arbiter seek access to your home, you must allow them inside, in accordance with the warrant. They must however (1) present the warrant, (2) identify themselves, and (3) wait for a representative from our office to validate the agents’ identity as well as the warrant. Without those three steps, you are under no obligation to comply with any security personnel at your home, and Atlas Protection will prosecute the perpetrators if they force entry.

By signing this contract, you agree not to engage in the prohibited violations of others’ rights, and agree that coverage is null and void if you are found guilty after investigation and arbitration has completed.

But it on Amazon!

Do We Agree on the Meaning of Government?

A discussion of whether or not government is necessary to organize society is essentially pointless if people do not agree on the definition of government.

When I say government shouldn’t exist, I mean there should be no monopolizing entity which uses force and violence against peaceful people whose actions have not hurt anyone else. I mean we should not be forced to fund and use products and services that we do not wish to use.

I think what a lot of people hear is that I don’t want anything resembling a government. I want chaos, I want the wild west, I want dog eat dog, tribal warfare, and only the strong will survive!

But that is not true. Most anarchists do not at all mind institutions resembling current government, as long as there is one key difference: the institution must be a voluntary association. It should not be funded by theft, extortion, nor threats of violence, and it should not be a mandatory service or product to use or buy.

So if your definition of government is, anything that keeps society orderly, then we may not disagree on anything.

Confusion might come as well when people think that we would be unable to punish criminals in such a system without mandatory governance. This is not the case however. The criminal is the one who forces an interaction with his victim, and as such has agreed to the consequences of that forced association. If a security company that resembles current law enforcement, but is funded by voluntary customers, arrests someone who has victimized another, it does not need his permission to do so, because he forced an unwanted interaction with his victim.

Clearly it gets more complicated as we talk about how to make sure these security institutions remain honest and do not simply arrest whoever they want on the pretense that a crime has been committed, but that is also a problem in current society–a big problem among government policing agencies. In fact it would be less of a problem if many different security companies were each beholden to their customers, consumers in general, stockholders, other security companies, and arbiters who mediate between security companies.

Law would still be decided by the societies in which we live, but we would have a real voice in crafting that law, by patronizing or boycotting particular agencies and the laws they offer as a product to their customers.

In addition this type of decentralized power structure would alleviate problems that stem from a mandatory centralized currency. Dollars today are easily manipulated, and concentrated, with the help of the government who empowers the federal reserve. When many different currencies are available, if one force dominates a particular type of “coin”, it could easily lose value if people stop using or accepting it.

This means less hoarding, and more working together to keep society functioning. Already projects to help the homeless are being crowdfunded through bitcoin, giving people who are down on their luck options they never used to have.

And let me add that the answer to achieving this wonderful society is not violent overthrow of government, nor even opposition to most of their rules, which would just lead to trouble for the individual. We must work around what we can, and slowly make government become obsolete by replacing their institutions with better ones.

Yes, it gets a little tricky since it does not appear we can affect much change from inside government, though they will continue taking our money to fund it. But over time, shielded by safety in numbers, we can overcome the absurdity of coercive government, and replace it without a great upset in society. We simply need to play the long term strategy and not enter into a figurative fight we cannot win. But in the end, it might happen quicker than you think. Society is poised to rapidly outgrow government.

Whose face is on the dollar bill? Give to Washington what is Washington’s. Use bitcoin.

Emails: Debating Limited versus No Government

Limited Gov Guy: I was arguing with [my girlfriend] last night about the Affordable Care Act and how it is not the government’s place to take care of sick people. I argued instead that the government is mainly there, to plagiarize Milton Friedman’s words, for the role of enforcing contracts between individuals and punishing individuals who violate others’ rights.

If you accept that (I know you might not), then consider this:
In the following scenarios, a citizen’s right to life is threatened by three different assailants.
– If an individual were to assault someone on the street for no reason, I would want the government to imprison that individual.
– If a wild animal were to attack someone unprovoked, I would want the government to contain or destroy that animal.
– If a bacteria infects someone and starts to kill them, then why should not the government take actions against that bacteria to protect the citizen’s right to life?
That’s what [my girlfriend] said to me, and I had no response.
I know it’s wrong, but I don’t know why.
Thoughts?

Free Association Man: If an individual were to assault….. but this doesn’t mean the gov can force you to enter into a contract with a body guard.

If a wild animal were to attack… but this doesn’t mean the gov can force you to enter into a contract with an animal trainer.

If a bacteria infects… but this doesn’t mean the gov can force you into a contract with a health insurance company….

BTW: We have the CDC, NIH, and the FDA already charged with viral and bacterial defenses for the population.

The pain for the ACA is all back-loaded to 2017. Mr. Obama says the ACA is “working” because more people have health insurance. But that’s because the gov is subsidizing enrollments. This is why a SCOTUS decision against subsidies would have killed the ACA. The subsidies expire, penalties begin, and all the new taxes (not fees…thank-you Chief Justice Roberts), start Jan 1 2017.

Example: The tuition at my school is 10K. Now lets mandate that every kid on the Cape has to enroll in my school. Lets further mandate that my school has to cover all sorts of new services (health clinics, free breakfast, psych counseling…) But not-to-worry.. the tuition is subsidized so that 10K tuition will only cost you 2K and you get all these great new services. What do you know?? Enrollment is booming at my school! What will the tuition bill be in 2017 when the subsidies expire? Parents are going to be wishing for the good-old-days when they weren’t mandated to enroll and the tuition was only 10K. This is why most analyst say that the ACA is not sustainable after the subsidies expire. (google: ACA-subsidies-expiration). Johnathan Gruber – the main architect of the ACA – said that the ACA is not sustainable and called the American people “stupid” for not seeing this (http://dailycaller.com/2014/12/30/obama-adviser-jonathan-gruber-in-2009-obamacare-will-not-be-affordable/).  And where will Mr. Obama be in 2017? Playing golf.


Economics Guy: In all those cases I want to be my own first line of defense.  If an attacker or an animal survives my defense (which can include nearby citizens), then the government (or a private entity that provides a similar service) can take appropriate action.
If I decide that I need help with an illness, I have the option to contract for that help with whomever I think can help me.  In my lifetime this is how it was.  You got sick, if you needed to see a doctor you paid him.  You only paid for what you needed.  Medical care was less costly before the government got involved.  (Everything was.  More on that to follow.)
It might seem like a good idea to have government agencies trying to identify and contain disease in general, and maybe it is.  The problem is that nobody ever asks “What will this cost?”  The other problem is that every government program expands and becomes a horribly inefficient bureaucracy.  The cost thing might sound callous, but it is an unfortunate reality.  Products and services are not free.  Somebody must produce products and services and that somebody wants something in return.
Economics 101:
Wealth is created, it is not distributed from some pre-existing stash.
Wealth is the availability of a standard of living higher than naked, alone and afraid, struggling to survive 24/7.
You want to eat?  Go find some berries, pick them, chew them and digest them.  You just produced one meal.
You want to get out of the rain?  Find a cave and defend it against the bear that comes looking for a den and a non-berry meal.  You just produced shelter.
You want a companion?  You have to offer her a better deal than the one she has.  Better companionship or more food or more comfortable shelter.
You see where this is going.  People enter into agreements to produce for each other.  The standard of living increases.  Infrastructure gets created.  It is all supported entirely by people who produce more than they consume.
Fast forward to 1776.  The colonists decide they are not happy with the British government.  They decide to create their own.  There are big government guys and small government guys.  We end up with a republic with a constitution that limits the federal government to very specific roles.  The government needs some amount of revenue.  It comes from taxes.  Taxes are the taking of some of the produce of the producers.  Almost everybody is on board with some amount of government and therefore taxes.  Government produced a producer-friendly environment the cost of which is taxes.
But the government starts to grow.  There are government people who keep thinking of new things the government can do.  It can do them because it can take from the current producers and borrow against what it will take from future producers.  Few in government ever ask if the government should do these things.  It is easy to spend other peoples money.  Some people like some of the things government does, other people like other things the government does, almost nobody likes all the things government does.  If you are a net producer you pay for it anyway.
How can we tell if we are producers?  Don’t government employees produce something?  Often government employees produce things.  Teachers teach, firefighters fight fires, researchers conduct research etc.  The litmus test is this:  Would a free market pay them to do what they do and how much?  Some people have always been willing to trade what they produce for what a teacher produces, or what a blacksmith produces or what a composer produces.  Can an artist produce enough art in a free market to live comfortably?  Good for him!  The list is endless.
But who will trade their produce for an IRS audit or for the NSA to spy on them?  Or for a bureaucrat to give some of their produce to a non-producer who could produce?
Today’s government is so bloated with bureaucracy that most of what producers produce goes to supporting the non-producing bureaucrats.  It is not that they don’t do what they are hired to do, it is that they shouldn’t have been hired to do it in the first place.  To make matters worse much of what bureaucrats do, make it harder for producers to produce.
Economics 102:
Economics is the study of incentives.
Costs rise or fall to match the supply with the demand.
When something costs less the market wants more of it.  When something costs more the market wants less of it.
Cost in this case is not just part of your produce.  It can be your freedom or your state of well being or pretty much anything you care about.
If you attend an event with an open bar you might drink more because you don’t have to trade your produce for it, your host has decided to trade his produce for your drink.  Or you might drink less because you don’t want to take advantage of your host.  In this case your cost is the idea that you are taking advantage of your host and that is a higher cost to you than your produce.
Our government routinely hides the true cost of things from us.  Piles and piles of red tape and taxes drive costs up while subsidies, tax breaks and special treatment drive costs down, sometimes on the same product.
Insurance was invented as a way to share economic risk.  A group of people who all face a more or less similar level of economic risk agree to create a pool of money to be paid out to those members who have an actual loss.  This works if the level of risk is relatively low over the life of the agreement.  Homeowners insurance is a good example.  You can’t afford to lose your $250K house and neither can most people so you all pay $500 a year to the insurance company who provides (produces) the organization to collect the pool and investigate and pay claims.  They probably get about 8% of the pool each year for this service, and everybody is happy.  It works because everybody faces about the same risk which is low, the incentives to try and cheat are small and the pool can pay the actual costs with enough left over for the insurance company to get its cut.
Health insurance is different.  Risk is affected by your lifestyle, your age and your genes.  Young, clean-living, hardy specimens don’t want to share the risk with broken-down old drug addicts.  Paying an insurance company $54 so they will pay for your $50 doctor visit doesn’t make a lot of sense.  A 60 year old man paying an insurance company for pre-natal care makes no sense at all.
Government medical care makes medical care look free or low cost.  When things cost less, people want more.  When demand goes up, actual costs (which are hidden from the consumer) go up.  This is why I said earlier that everything costs more when the government gets involved.  They can re-distribute the costs but they can’t make them go away.
The lowest possible costs and the most efficient solutions occur in a well informed, truly free market.  A true free market has never existed in America, but we were a lot closer in the past.
Obamacare (and every other government program) will benefit some people at the expense of many others.  This is socialism.  There is a limit to how much socialism we can afford.  There is no limit to how much wealth we can create.  Poor people in America today live better than kings and queens of yesterday.
Freedom creates wealth.  Socialism destroys wealth.
The bottom line: There are few if any things the government does that can’t be done better at lower cost by the free market.  (The real free market, not the government manipulated “free” market.)

Scary Anarchist:Allow me to pontificate.

1. I’d much rather mitigate risk from criminals, animals, nature by voluntarily entering into contracts with privatized for profit agencies than to be forced into conditions imposed by government.

2. “Where do you find these angels to run government.” Milton Friedman.


Limited Gov Guy:These are all excellent points, but I think I should have specified.

I am attempting to figure things out theoretically, in a vacuum of sorts, where the only considerations are individual freedoms versus collective security.
Many of your arguments are based on the impracticality and budgetary butchery of government work. I agree with all of these ideas, and perhaps they are your sole reasons for opposing the ACA.
But imagine a world in which the government could provide such services (police, corrections facilities, healthcare — all to protect the citizen’s right to life) just as efficiently as the private sector.
In this scenario, with numbers aside and the only factors being individual freedoms versus collective security, where do you draw the line?
I would be willing to pay taxes for the government to protect the public from criminals and wild animals, but not for them to protect us from disease.
The more I think about it, the more inconsistent it seems. Why do I pick and choose?
It seems the only reasonable progression is that government provides ALL services or NONE of them…

Economics Guy: Correct!  But does everybody need or want all the same services?  The only way government can provide anything at all is to first take it from somebody else.  If everybody wanted the exact same thing from government, and if government were efficient and had no agenda of its own, then it may indeed be the best way to provide those things.

But none of those things are true.

[My town] provides water and sewer service, collects the trash, has a school system, plows the roads, collects leaves in the fall, has curbside recycling, maintains parks and athletic fields and some other stuff.  Hopedale residents pay for this in the form of property taxes, which are high.  If you have a small lot, lots of kids, plenty of money and aren’t very handy then this is a good deal.  If you have a big lot that would support a septic system and a well, don’t generate a lot of trash, have no kids, don’t use the park and dump your leaves in the corner of your own property then you are getting screwed.  Your only option is to move.  If you stay in [my town] you are paying for stuff you don’t need or want.
On the federal level it is even worse, there are zillions of government programs that almost nobody would voluntarily support, and the option to move is more or less unrealistic.  So I come down on the side of very limited / no government.  This will preserve my freedom and a market WILL develop to serve people who want a higher level of service.

Joe Jarvis: I agree, it is much easier to consistently argue from the no government perspective. Then, it is a simple matter of not being robbed (in the form of taxes). Healthcare would be wrong, not necessarily because of what was provided, but because it was done by force. This is akin to how charity is no longer charity when you steal someone else’s money to donate.

Now our idea of limited government would be protection from foreign invaders essentially, and protection from being victimized by fellow citizens. In that sense the argument would be, if the USA is going to declare 3 million square miles “theirs,” then at least they have the responsibility to repel hordes and make sure they foster a safe environment within. But even this stands on shaky ground, because A) how do you pay for it without theft which is wrong, and B) how is it legitimate to claim land people already own, live on, work etc.?

If the answer to A is competing government agencies which you can defund by patronizing another one, that would seem to no longer fall under the definition of government; it would be more like a business. Yet that is exactly what would deliver the best results, as every other sector of the free market.

The competing agencies could team up in the event of a larger outside threat. Think of if every state’s police and national guard were privatized, had to find investors to buy back their equipment, and rebate the money to the taxpayers. Then they could start their own agencies, and the ones who provide a good enough service in the free market would still exist. The Colorado State Police, from what I hear, would do quite fine as a private company, due to the high quality service they provide to the public. People would still voluntarily pay for their policing activities, be it business owners, individuals, or road owners, because there is value in the product.
But I guess I am getting a bit off topic.

Scary Anarchist:Here’s a good barometer if you choose to put all other aspects aside.

Is it voluntary?

If taxes were voluntary would anybody pay them? If social security were voluntary only those who wanted it could CHOOSE to partake and pay into the system. What’s wrong with that? If police “protection” were optional, could I opt out of the system and provide my own protection? In fact isn’t this what we call privatization? Much of what we are subject to by govt. is deemed a “collective right” thus justifying it as a NON-voluntary system. If the system were option many who make their living off of thieving and controlling you and I would be out of a job. But what is a collective but a collection of individuals. I am an individual not a collective, who has different dreams, fears, hopes, wants, needs, then the next. The litmus test of all political theory for the libertarian minded is the championing of voluntary transactions and maximum individual liberty while upholding the non-aggression principal (NAP). Case and point: isn’t it good if we’re all forced to get immunization to keep deadly disease at bay (which beckons the question how are they going to force this)? This may be true but I would say NEGATIVE. Cannot subject individual liberty to this supposed “need” of the collective. If it’s truly a good idea than the market will uphold it. What is “the market” you say…. much to learn you have young Padoine!


Limited Gov Guy: I’m beginning to think that government should exert no control outside of a few necessary evils:
1) The Feds should defend our borders from other nations, and have almost no influence on American citizens themselves. This would require a federal tax, unfortunately. However, in order to preserve the freedoms inside our borders, I think I could bear a defense tax.
2) The States/counties/towns should deal with violations of rights among their residents. If one violates another’s rights to life or property (which I think are the two basic rights from which all others stem), then the government has a court system and a police force to deal with him. I also think that, at this lower level, government could own land for the sole purpose of selling it to any citizen who wanted it.
3) All else would be left to the free market.
I can’t say I completely buy into the anarchist mindset, even though I really enjoyed the ideas in Joey’s Anarchy in New England.
1) I’m not sure the private arbitration agencies could be trusted to agree upon verdicts impartially. I understand the idea that business ethics reviews would destroy such agencies if they made unjust rulings, but they might not all adhere to the same standards. What if there was a Muslim-run arbitration agency ruled that a thief ought to be beheaded?
2) And lastly, I think the lower-level government would have to own land and sell it to citizens. Otherwise, there would be no legitimacy to land ownership. Anybody could claim as much as they wanted, as long as they had more guns than the next guy.
Could the free market take care of such things?

Joe Jarvis: Yes, I believe the free market would take care of these things better than the government can. Competition and the profit motive are what will allow for this, while monopolies, including one on defense and conflict resolution, means no alternatives.

1) Currently Muslim run Governments dictate that thieves be beheaded (or witches, or woman drivers). An arbitration agency however would be competing with other ones. If I was a thief, and have representation, then it is likely that a Muslim agency would adjust their sentences to themselves avoid action against them. However if an entire region (customers) agreed thieves should be beheaded, the punishment would persist.
But the profit motive and competition means a draconian agency would have to justify their existence to customers, versus forcing customers to fund their “service” (the government). The fact is our current system is not impartial, and states/ towns do not have the same standards. An ounce of weed has landed people with life sentences in some states, while in MA it is a $100 fine. Any agency that tried to jail a man for life for possession of a plant would be opening a can of worms that would threaten their profits, and open up competition for rival, less crazy agencies.
And everyone would save money because a crime would require a victim. Currently the government steals our money, and labels things crimes, even if there is no victim. We are forced to pay to lock up non-violent drug offenders. But without government monopolizing security, consumers would balance service with cost. The best service (as decided by the consumers, who in a truly free market would also necessarily be producers) for the lowest cost would win out. War has high costs, and so does dishing out draconian sentences that people (your customers, or customers of rival agencies) will protest.
Is it possible for injustices to happen? Of course. But based on what we know about market forces, we have to assume the injustices would be fewer, farther between, and more easily righted outside of monopoly control.
And finally, we cannot take the best example of government, and act like all governments will be that way. Cliche, but look what Stalin, Hitler, and Mao’s governments did. Absolutely no private agency could afford to do that, get nearly as far, or survive the public backlash.
2) Land ownership is indeed important, and I think the structure would be slightly different without government, but no less just. First off, there is no private ownership of land currently. We rent it from local governments; the rent is called Property Tax. If you don’t pay your rent (property tax), they will eventually confiscate the land from you. The Feds can also confiscate your land according to the Constitution, and give you what they decide is the market price. How absurd: the market price is whatever I want to sell the land for. If I don’t want to sell, the price might go through the roof. If you want occupied/ owned land, pay for it what the owner asks, or move on.
So that is the price we pay for allowing government to control land ownership. Currently, the guys with the most guns indeed claim the most land. America claims 3 million square miles officially, and another 54 million square miles unofficially. I think I will trust the market to ensure that at least more than a few hundred governments own all the land on Earth.
It is not legitimate to claim land you do not use. I cannot say for sure how this would go down, as it would be different in different regions, however the consumers would still decide on what constitutes land ownership, just as they would dictate the laws through patronizing a security company that shares their values. This would give us true votes (with dollars) on what laws exist, as opposed to mob rule law as it currently stands.
If I owned a security company, I would agree to protect land that people use and/or improve. If you have a house, and a fence around your property that no neighbors dispute, then it is easy: register with your security company the land you want them to protect. If anyone else claims it, they will legitimize the fact that it is yours. Same if you build a factory: it does not magically belong to the workers. Absentee land ownership would be legitimate as long as his capital paid for the improvements on the land.
Does a random tree in the forest belong to you? No. But when you cut down the tree, mill the wood, and make a bar out of the tree, the bar belongs to you. Even if you cut down the tree and split it into logs, they belong to you. The berries on the bush belong to you once you pick them. And an unoccupied piece of land belongs to you if you add value by manipulating the natural resources.
Something not legitimate would be claiming Isolation Mountain as your own. No security company would agree to protect that land as yours, because it would threaten their public perception, and profits. In fact multiple New England agencies might even get together, and decide on large swaths of land they will never register to a single owner (in order to avoid later conflict, and thus save money). You could still go out and build a hut in the forest, grow a garden and in my opinion that would make the land your own.
Land ownership, in that sense, predates humans. Wolves understand the invading party to be in the wrong, and that invasion will most likely lead to mutual destruction, with a slightly higher possibility of the owner coming out on top, due to incentives to protect ones own property. It is possible, though less probable, the invading wolves win the land. But as I’ve already noted, the American wolf pack has already stolen your land. So it is a matter of collective ownership of all 3 million square miles (if you agree not to threaten the alfa male, you might be allowed to live on THEIR land for a relatively low cost, with some benefits, including other wolf packs not invading your land, but with the very distinct possibility of your own wolf pack cannibalizing you).
But you couldn’t simply claim an area you do not use as your own because: A) it would require the personel to protect it, in which case, you are adding value in a sense (providing jobs, and therefore using/ occupying the land). or B) if there are already people on the land, this is aggression on their property which the owner’s security should protect, and if you impose your will or take a tax from the people within the land your claim, you have just created a government.
The subject of land ownership really requires a book, but perhaps I will try to tackle it in a post. One thing I am sure of however, is that the free market will make for better rules of private ownership of land than the current monopoly provides.

Private Police Outperform Public Police in One Texas Town

One town in Texas decided not to renew it’s contract with the local constables. Instead they hired a private policing company to patrol their streets. The result: it cost less and crime dropped.

And it was not just some statistically insignificant drop in crime: there has been an overall 61% drop in crime since the private police took over 20 months ago. The town of Sharpstown is not tiny either; it is home to 66,000 residents, located just outside of Houston. The new police force puts more officers out on patrol, and costs the city $200,000 fewer each year than the constables cost.

This just shows what a simple profit incentive can accomplish. Instead of doing the same old thing, SEAL, the private police force, uses targeted patrols for high crime area, and keeps the same officer in a particular neighborhood, instead of randomly sending patrols zig-zagging all over the place.

“Law enforcement officers are trained to be reactive. They’re out there to run calls, they’re running one call to another, so they’re reacting to something that’s already happened. Private security, the way that we train our guys, is more proactive, meaning that we’re in the community proactively patrolling to prevent those crimes.”

Said James Alexander, the director of SEAL operations.

One town isn’t hard proof of anything, but it is certainly an indication that private police can do just as good, if not better than, a public police force. And this example is not purely private either: the police were still hired with public funds. I would like to see what happens when people are left to their own devices to shop around for protection, as long as they are rebated the money previously taken by force to pay for public police.

Private Security is No Scarier than Public Police

wvpI talk a lot about private security or private police and how these could replace government to prevent crime, bring criminals to justice, and protect innocent people. I started doing some research to see how many private police forces are already out there, and what they are all about. A Huffington Post piece was one of the first I read. I assumed it would be casting private police in a bad light, and so it did.

Police Brutality

The article mostly focused on Detroit, and talked about how evil greedy businessmen saw the—gasp—opportunity to profit off of Detroit’s misery! And one of these companies has bought 2 million square feet of real estate which it patrols with private police, and monitors with 300 cameras in and around the buildings. This, in the eyes of the HuffPo reporter, is a bad thing, because then only the rich will be protected! While if we let the government steal our money to pay for police, everyone will be equally unsafe, and that’s  more fair.

The author apparently ignores the fact that it is bad for business to have crime in and around their company, storefronts, workplace, etc. Therefore everyone within the vicinity would be protected in order to attract more customers, and not scare anyone off.

Interestingly, the concerns HuffPo raised about private police are playing out on a larger scale with public police: no accountability, the rich get better treatment while the poor are not sufficiently protected, and innocent people could be beaten or killed. The article then links to various cases of “private police” overstepping their authority.

Two of the cases involved security guards. One of these security guards was not working when he shot and killed a man who he was arguing with outside of a gas station. He has been charged with the man’s murder. The other security guard was fired from the school he worked at after attacking a boy with cerebral palsy who slapped and spit at the security guard. In each of these cases action was taken against the security personnel; they were treated as anyone would be for their unjustified actions. Contrast this with public police who routinely murder and attack innocent people without provocation, keep their jobs, and are not charged.

At worst the private security companies seem to be as bad as typically government police. The only case having to do with Detroit private security was one in which mall cops killed a man who they were restraining with force and pepper spray. The man had been “acting suspiciously” and was told to leave the mall. When he returned the next day, he allegedly threatened to kill someone, after which the incidents leading to his death unfolded.

But Eric Garner had not even threatened to kill anyone when he was suffocated to death by NYC police in July. He was suspected of selling cigarettes illegally, and video footage shows he did not react violently when a team of police confronted him, not in the act of selling untaxed cigarettes, but after Garner broke up a fight (isn’t that the cops’ job?). The man is seen with his hands in the air moments before police attack and kill him. The police officers at the center of the murder still have their jobs with the NYC police department, and have not been charged.

False Arrest

The HuffPo article also raises concerns about false arrests by private security personnel. Again, this information focuses mainly on mall cops who are tasked mostly with thwarting shoplifters. It seems that in actual incidents of false arrest, when a mall security officer detains or uses excessive force against a subject, the victim routinely receives awards in civil court. In fact, even when the victim was guilty of shoplifting, they still sometimes won in court after suing the security company, because of the excessive force used in detaining or interrogating the suspect.

Again, let’s contrast this with public police. There was a case of a man who was arrested and held for over twelve hours, all because he helped a bicyclist who had crashed. She was using the man’s phone when he was approached by responding police (who he had called), slammed to the ground, handcuffed, and arrested because he wouldn’t leave the scene immediately, even though the women who crashed still had this man’s phone. No action has been taken against the officers responsible.

There were also false arrests of reporters covering the Ferguson protests. In fact there are too many such cases to even properly give perspective here, like the high profile case of a New Mexico man who was given forced enemas by police and doctors who claimed he was hiding drugs. He was not hiding drugs, and the searches violated even the ridiculous warrant that authorized his detention. Other cases include assaults by police when people will not show their ID, and rape by police of people pulled over during traffic stops.

In response to the arrests of three law enforcement officials in Oklahoma for sexually assaulting women while on the job, an Oklahoma Highway Patrol trooper told women they can avoid getting raped by a cop if they simply follow traffic laws.

Raw Story first pointed out on Tuesday that Capt. George Brown, a state trooper, shared a few tips for women in an interview with local NBC News affiliate KJRH. Brown told the KJRH anchor that women can keep their car doors locked and speak through a cracked window if a trooper approaches them. If the trooper asks a woman to get out of the car, Brown said, she can ask “in a polite way” why he wants her to do that.

But the “best tip that he can give,” the anchor said on air of her interview with Brown, “is to follow the law in the first place so you don’t get pulled over.”

In the past month, a Tulsa County Deputy, an OHP trooper and an Oklahoma City police officer have all been charged with repeatedly raping and sexually assaulting women while on the job.

Anyone who has dealt with police knows how ridiculous it is to suggest only cracking the window, or asking an officer why you must exit the vehicle. This type of “resistance” will be met with extreme anger and aggression by police, likely assault, and probable charges of resisting arrest.

Are Private or Public Police Worse?

What exactly is the case that private police would be worse than public police? From the information I have read, it seems private security is more often held accountable than public police. Further, public police simply investigate their own incidents of police abuse which, surprise, often “prove” police acted according to procedure. And the incentives for behaving appropriately are stacked towards the private sector, where private police will be fired or prosecuted for violating rights, if for no other reason than protecting the profits of the company.

And in the most egregious cases of private security violating innocent people’s rights, the “private” security firm is hired by the government. This means they are not delivering a service in demand, but rather having stolen money (tax dollars) fund their enterprise. This makes them essentially the same as public police. The private police have to keep customers happy and not land themselves in too much civil litigation. The government can ignore their “customers” because they force us to fund them, and have the courts on their side. The more fragmented the system, the more likely it is that competing interests hold the others accountable.

Copblock, an organization dedicated to holding police accountable for their actions, sums up this sentiment.

I have never had a conversation about private protection services without the other person quickly bringing up Blackwater.  I think the biggest reason for the association is a misunderstanding of what a free-market anarchist means by the word private.  I will start by stating what a private company is NOT.  It is not a company that is funded by force through taxation.  It is not a company that has been granted a monopoly over a particular service by the government, and it is not a company that has been granted special legal protections against liability. 90% of Blackwater’s revenue comes from government contracts paid for with stolen money.  Blackwater’s “customer” is not only spending money that is stolen from you and me, but they are spending it on something very few people would actually fund voluntarily.  Would you personally hire Blackwater to kill people in Iraq?  Blackwater is essentially the same type of institution as your local police.  They are both funded through force and perform “services” that few that are forced to pay for those “services” want or need.  Blackwater is NOT what I am talking about when I discuss private protection services.

So, to be clear, I am not advocating a system where a municipality uses stolen money to hire the lowest bidder and then grants them the same immunities and privileges that the police now enjoy.  When I speak of a private company providing protection services, I am talking about a company that competes among other companies to attract individual customers.  Companies could package different services then sell them to willing customers.  Maybe you feel comfortable with providing your your own security, so you would only be interested in paying a company to investigate a crime that you were a victim of after the fact.  In reality, even now, you really are your own best security.  A private company no doubt would have better response times, but even they cannot be everywhere.  Nevertheless, maybe you don’t feel comfortable protecting yourself so you would be willing to pay more for a company that promised to respond to any panic calls within a certain amount of time – a promise they would be liable for if they broke, unlike your local police.

And finally, here is something that blew my mind. Despite hearing everyday about abuse by public police, there is hardly a murmer about private security force misconduct. Now I assumed this might just be because there were so few private police, but I have learned that there are almost 3 times as many private guards than public police officers in the U.S. Accountability to the company means they perform better, and abuse less.

If you feel safe, you might not have your local cop to thank after all… and these days, he’s the one making most of us feel unsafe.

Miami-Dade Police: Arm Yourselves if You Want to be Safe

I’m not sure if this police officer was trying to use scare tactics to keep his budget in tact, but he ended up reminding citizens that the police will not protect you: that’s on you. Apparently $64 million is being cut from the Miami-Dade police budget, which will include closing 1 station out of 9, and downsizing the force by up to 600 officers. If the budget cut stays in place, the “Incident Management Team, Sport Unit, Tactical Narcotics Team, and one of the three Special Response Teams in the city would be disbanded.”

Maybe I’m a cynic, but 600 fewer cops sounds like people will be safer to me. Especially if they take the police officer’s advice, and arm themselves.

Rivera said, “If the mayor’s not going to provide security, then my recommendation, as an experienced law enforcement officer for nearly 40 years, is either buy yourself an attack dog, put bars on your windows and doors and get yourself some firearms because you’re going to have to protect yourselves.”

Sound advice. But I think he forgot that we have always had to protect ourselves. How many murders are thwarted by cops? They come and they do an investigation, sometimes bring someone to justice, and this is supposed to deter future crime. You call 911 and the cops show up after the criminals are gone—again to the credit of the police, sometimes they catch the criminals. But the supreme court has specifically said it is not the duty of police to protect civilians, according to FreeRepublic.com.

“You, and only you, are responsible for your security and the security of your family and loved ones. That was the essence of a U.S. Supreme Court decision in the early 1980’s when they ruled that the police do not have a duty to protect you as an individual, but to protect society as a whole.”

The idea is that they protect society as a whole by providing deterrence to crime, because there is someone to come and find you. Of course, if we weren’t compelled to pay for guvment “security” most people would use that same amount of money to buy their own, who would still probably not be on site when you are victimized, but would almost certainly have a better track record in bringing real criminals to justice (because right now we are paying for pot smokers to be arrested, and jay-walkers harassed).

But still, when someone breaks into your house, or when someone assaults you on the street, the chances are overwhelmingly that there will be no one there to save you… unless you’ve got your good friends with you, Smith and Wesson.

American Drone Takes Out Yemeni Wedding

droneWhile I try to sprinkle in some positive news and encouraging posts on this blog, unfortunately due to the nature of politics it can sometimes be a downer. But politics and government are some of the areas that interest me most, because there’s so much room for improvement, and therefore I find myself being the bearer of bad news quite often. It is always tempting to just shut out the bad and focus on the good, which is why I think a lot of people hold unrealistic views, not realizing how bad our government really has gotten. I named this blog after the need to pay attention to our government, and therefore hold them accountable, which is the responsibility of a free people who control their government. But unfortunately for many years things were good enough in the USA for the electorate to become, well, lazy and look the other way even as the most egregious violations by our government confronted us.

Too often we are presented with the opportunity to trade liberty for security, but some people do not realize what goes with that trade. Our security is the excuse our government uses to carry out drone strikes all over the world, often killing innocents and civilians, always killing without a trial. This is not a wholesale condemnation of actions that our government takes to actually keep America safe as the Constitution lays out. But it is safe to say that our government has gone beyond protecting our borders and repelling invasions, and the cold hard truth is that we are a part of every positive action our government takes on our behalf, and equally a part of every negative that we have allowed to be carried out by our government. So our duty as an electorate in a free state is to take back the reigns of control that have slowly been stolen by our government, and right the wrongs. That’s why, in order to be a vigilant voter, I must raise awareness and condemn the use of drone strikes for worldwide hits by our government.

Lies have been repeated, especially by President Obama, that drone strikes are precision hits that can take out even one individual with accuracy, and that only individuals whose guilt is beyond a reasonable doubt are targeted. According to The Atlantic, such is not the case.

“A U.S. drone mistakenly targeted a wedding convoy in Yemen’s al-Baitha province after intelligence reports identified the vehicles as carrying al Qaeda militants,” CNN reported, citing government sources in Yemen. “The officials said that 14 people were killed and 22 others injured, nine in critical condition. The vehicles were traveling near the town of Radda when they were attacked.”

Is America at war with Yemen? Why is okay for the U.S. to perform military operations in countries which we are not at war with, and have no agreements with to wage war on their population? Can we imagine the furor that would accompany any military operations of another country on America soil, let alone if those strikes included murdering innocent civilians? Add on the fact that it was a wedding where the civilians were murdered, and this starts to sound more like “Game of Thrones” than 2013 America.

And don’t be one to condemn entire nations’ civilians because of the actions of a small percentage of people, or even the government. Conversely, while it is our responsibility to ensure our government is being responsible militarily, we did not murder those civilians, and therefore retaliation on American civilians would be disgusting and unjustified. Likewise, even if the Yemeni government is funding terrorism, that is not sufficient reason to go around blowing up wedding parties because, like, maybe a few of them were terrorists.

“…Five of those killed were suspected of involvement withAl Qaeda, but the remainder were unconnected with the militancy, Yemeni security officials said.”

More than a dozen dead, many more injured, and an unknown number of survivors whose lives have suddenly taken a nightmarish turn the likes of which we cannot imagine, and all for the sake of five people suspected of ties to al-Qaeda. How many actual al-Qaeda terrorists would we have to kill with drones in Yemen to make the benefits of our drone war there outweigh the costs of this single catastrophic strike? If U.S. drone strikes put American wedding parties similarly at risk would we tolerate our targeted-killing program for a single day more? Our policy persists because we put little value on the lives of foreign innocents. Even putting them through the most horrific scene imaginable on their wedding day is but a blip on our media radar, easily eclipsed by a new Beyonce album.

Oh we took out 5 suspected terrorists? And how many more hundreds or thousands did we encourage to become terrorists with this single event? No, it is not justified to become a terrorist because of this, no, I am not making up excuses for current terrorists, nor apologizing for terrorist acts on Americans. What I am saying from a purely “let’s keep America safe” standpoint, is that what do we expect to come from treating civilians of other countries like this? Everyone who lost a loved one, or an eye, or a friend in that bombing will now live the rest of their lives hating America. They will have nightmares and PTSD and every ounce of rage that fills them will be focused on America. They will dream of revenge, they will become discouraged with their lives perhaps thinking, “Why bother planning for the future, why bother with a job, having children, love, or a wedding when it will all come crumbling down because of a government thousands of miles away”.

When people have no options they turn to crime. When people see no future, terrorism—a tight knit group of people whose mission you agree with, whose views you share that offer you the chance to avenge your loved ones—becomes a viable option. This does not justify terrorist actions, I am simply explaining how the “security” measures that America is taking are counter productive to our safety. So whether you care only about the security of Americans, or if you are like me and feel for the people that were murdered unjustly in our names, and feel for the couple whose wedding day included the murder and mutilation of dozens of their guests, friends, family, and loved ones, you should be condemning our worldwide drone war as loud as the next guy.

Obama claims that one needs to be an “imminent threat to Americans” in order to be taken out with a drone. It is tough to see how imminent a threat some guys attending a wedding would be. Obama says that these are “surgical” drone strikes and they make sure there are no civilians in the area before the attack is carried out. Well either someone’s not doing their job, or Obama is lying… again. Obama said:

Remember that the terrorists we are after target civilians, and the death toll from their acts of terrorism against Muslims dwarfs any estimate of civilian casualties from drone strikes.

So it’s okay that we kill civilians because they did it first? This quote makes me wonder what the real purpose of these drone strikes are. Is the American military being used by Muslims to retaliate against their enemies? Why else would this be the focus of Obama’s justification, instead of the safety of Americans? The clear answer is that our government does not give us enough information about their drone strikes to justify them, and just expect us to swallow the “security” pill. None for me, thanks. I will continue to support rolling back our military ventures throughout the world in order to foster real security at home.

Before you vote in the next election, just remember that you are electing the person who will steer these drones. They will either be steered home, or continue murdering innocents along with their targets.

Christie Uses Fear to Attack Paul

In a country where the election cycle never sleeps, Presidential contenders try not to miss an opportunity to batter their opponents. At a Governor’s forum last week New Jersey Governor Chris Christie used fear to defend NSA spying on Americans, criticizing Senator Rand Paul for his Libertarian positions, including Paul’s ridicule of the NSA because of their widespread surveillance policies. Christie has been a middle of the road type, trying to attract votes from each side of the isle, which is especially necessary in his home state of New Jersey. Apparently he thinks this is a winning strategy to capture the white house, possibly failing to see the similarities between himself, Mitt Romney, and John McCain as wishy-washy ideologically inconsistent political opportunists. Christie has exposed the fact that he is actual a progressive, by using fear and sympathy to appeal to voters emotions, instead of logic, reason, and evidence to form policy.

“These esoteric, intellectual debates — I want them to come to New Jersey and sit across from the widows and the orphans and have that conversation. And they won’t, because that’s a much tougher conversation to have,” Christie said.

“The next attack that comes, that kills thousands of Americans as a result, people are going to be looking back on the people having this intellectual debate and wondering whether they put …” Christie said before trailing off.

According to Politico Christie also criticized a “strain of libertarianism” that he believe is “a very dangerous thought”. His tactics are so obvious to anyone that pays attention. Parade some orphaned children and widows in front of the audience, and anything he says is right: Every time you seek to protect your constitutional rights against unreasonable search and seizure, you’re inviting another terrorist attack! You’re laughing in the face of the children and wives of people murdered by terrorists, just because you want to exercise your measly little constitutional rights! Chris Christie has no problem fear mongering and shamelessly using orphans and widows as his political props to prove a point.

And one of the biggest jokes Christie told was that Americans are safer because of Bush and Obama’s policies!

“President Obama has done nothing to change the policies of the Bush administration in the war on terrorism. And I mean practically nothing,” he said. “And you know why? Cause they work.”

Except that there have been terror attacks in America since then (Boston Marathon, Fort Hood), Americans have been killed by terrorists overseas (Benghazi), and terrorists have made it past safe guards, and only failed because of faulty equipment (the underwear bomber). Chris Christie might as well have been criticizing Benjamin Franklin for saying that “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.” I guess Christie thinks shipping American troops around the world and busting down some doors keeps us safer, but in reality it just ensures perpetual war. I guess Christie has no problem with the ramping up of the surveillance state, and of the militarized police state which puts every American civilian at risk.

The fact is you do not need to violate people’s rights in order to keep America safer; that is merely an excuse for power hungry politicians who want control. Which is why I trust Rand Paul’s approach, upholding individual rights and attacking actual threats to our country in a constitutional way. Here’s the statement from Paul’s office in response to Christie.

“If Gov. Christie believes the constitutional rights and the privacy of all Americans is ‘esoteric’, he either needs a new dictionary, or he needs to talk to more Americans, because a great number of them are concerned about the dramatic overreach of our government in recent years,” Doug Stafford, a senior adviser to Paul, said in a statement to POLITICO. “Defending America and fighting terrorism is the concern of all Americans, especially Sen. Paul. But it can and must be done in keeping with our Constitution and while protecting the freedoms that make America exceptional.”

Don’t Worry, It’s All About National Security

dhs

The government, and specifically the Obama administration is trying as hard as it can to keep us safe. That must be why they need to read our e-mails and listen to our phone conversations; national security. It is probably also why the TEA Party was so scrutinized by the IRS, because of national security; after all the DHS had already labeled TEA Party groups possible terrorist threats. But luckily under the National Defense Authorization Act national security is strengthened so that the government doesn’t need to bother with silly little things like proof or evidence or Constitutional rights in order to indefinitely detain an American suspected of terrorism. And why not trust a President who tells us the things he does are for national security, when he has such a stellar record of protecting American diplomats around the world?

But alas, the world is not yet 100% safe, so Obama has taken yet another step to enhance our national security. It is all about national security, nothing else, no ulterior motives, no sketchy behind the scenes reasons… right? I just can’t help but get so sarcastic sometimes, because it gets old just reporting incident after incident of our federal government centralizing and growing power in the name of national security. And where is all the change that was promised after George Bush; stripping rights in the name of national security was a key aspect of the Patriot Act. So at best Obama is just like Bush, but it seems he is probably worse, since he is also attempting stop Americans from being able to defend themselves. You might think that if national security was such a threat the government would be issuing 30 round magazines, not banning them.

You know why I don’t feel secure nationally? It is because I see local, state, and federal authorities violating the rights of Americans on a daily basis. We see every single amendment in the Bill of Rights being violated (even the 3rd Amendment!) but our government wants us to be afraid of foreign enemies? It was not a mistake that the oath that these politicians swear is to uphold and defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic. Never-the-less, Obama has as much flexibility as he wants, having been re-elected, and therefore issued an executive order recently, you guessed it, in the name of national security. Here’s what the Executive Order is about, according to The Examiner.

RT has reported that in a secretly unannounced move, President Barack Obama signed an executive order giving the Department of Homeland Security the ability to shut down all of the United States’ communications systems upon his request. Barack Obama laid out a statement he titled “Assignment of National Security Emergency Preparedness Communications Function”. No doubt a very confusing title. The reasoning behind his issuing of this executive order, is that he feels the government may one day need to access all of our telephones, computers, cable communications, etc., in the name of national security.

And this was signed about a year ago, at which point I posted about it, however more mainstream sources seem to be just picking it up. So when we are in dire time with our national security threatened, who will save us? The Department of Homeland Security of course! The ones with enough hollow points to make the Shutszstaffel jealous. The Department that labeled TEA party groups and pro-lifers possible terrorist threats. The DHS which surrounded and intimidated peaceful TEA Party members demonstrating against the IRS targeting of their political groups. The Department which is so concerned about Homeland Security that they set up random checkpoints on U.S. highways; so dedicated to their jobs that they are willing to violate our Fourth Amendment in the name of national security. They will be in charge when the communications go down–not by accident, by our government pulling the plug on our ability to e-mail, call, text, use a GPS, or even log onto the internet to find out what is happening. But that is the point, isn’t it?

Rebels sending Tweets didn’t work out so well for a few Dictators that were recently deposed.  I think the American government has learned from that, and realized that in order to maintain control over the population, they must not have the ability to communicate with each other. This is quite obviously creating a tactical advantage for our government, over its own civilians. But if it is all in the name of national security, wouldn’t we be much more secure being able to communicate with our neighbors, families, friends and loved ones? How secure do you feel when you can’t call the police for help (or your buddies for backup)? Do you think the inability to get an ambulance makes our nation secure? All this in the name of perfect communications between the DHS and other government entities. So somehow we as civilians are safer when we are unable to communicate, but the very thing that will make us safe is the monopoly of the government to communicate?

Tell us, Obama, why this national security directive is needed:

Such communications must be possible under all circumstances to ensure national security, effectively manage emergencies and improve national security…

Red Flags people, these are things which should raise red flags in our heads. If it was all about what they say it is about, national security, than many of the steps they are taking do not jibe. Unless the government considers us a national security threat, then our ability to communicate during that emergency would indeed make us safer, according to the logic of the Executive Order itself. It is only under the context of mass civilian uprising that the government would not want us communicating with each other. First they came for the TEA Party, but I said nothing, because I wasn’t a TEA Partier…