Free Markets, Free People

A Fork In the Road is Coming

As most of you know, I served on active duty as a USAF Security Policeman from 1984-1993.  Three of those years were spent in Brunssum, The Netherlands, working on the International Military Police force at Headquarters, Allied Forces Central Europe (AFCENT, now known as AFNORTH).  I noticed an interesting phenomenon while I was there.  As any policeman know, sometimes, you have some unpleasant interactions with members of the community you serve.  In general, those actions end up with you forcing that person to do something the really do not want to do.

In my experience, this type of unpleasantness usually occurred when dealing with a German, or an American.  But there was something interesting about the outcome.  When you forced a German to do something, every time they saw you after that, they would approach with a smile, “Hello, my friend!  How are you?”  It was almost as if they’d discovered during the confrontation where they stood in the pecking order related to you, and henceforth treated you with respect and friendliness.

Americans, on the other hand, didn’t react that way.  Once a confrontation had gone against them, then every time they saw you after that, they’d shoot angry glares at you.  Maybe they’d remark to a friend, “See that MP over there?  He’s a dick.”  Once you’d had that confrontation with an American, you were never going to be friends.

Frankly, Americans resent authority. We accept some measure of it as a necessary evil most times, but there are limits.  We can be pushed, often quite far, but when we reach a certain tipping point, enmity quickly flares.   We can have quite heated arguments as equals, then knock off and have a drink. But once we have a heated argument, then are forced to do something we don’t want to do…well,  we don’t like it.

That piece of our national character is being tried this month.

Over the past couple of days, we’ve seen arguments about national health care erupt into incidents of local violence. Yes, we yelled at each other bit back in 2005 or so, when Social Security reform was on the table.  But now we’re seeing thugs in SEIU T-shirts showing up and throwing punches at people who are gathered to demonstrate against the current version of health care reform. We’ve seen a local Democratic Party apparatchik shove a demonstrator in the face.  Billy Beck has often said it, and now he’s saying it again: “You have always heard it here first: All politics in this country now is just dress rehearsal for civil war.”

At this rate, I’m afraid that it’s going to become painfully obvious that a large number of people in this country are not going to politely doff their caps to the local SEIU grandees, once they’ve learned their lessons like good Germans.  Quite the reverse, in fact.

I’ve also said before–and every time I do, people like Oliver Willis call me crazy for saying it–we’re preparing this country to split apart.  There are two political camps in this country: collectivists, and and indvidualists.  (Forget party labels.  The parties are, at best, loose approximations of those two camps.)  It’s a fairly even split between the two camps. And the fundamental philosophies of those two camps have become irreconcilable, for a number of reasons, but primarily as a  result of centralization of power in Washington.

Of course, the two philosophies have always been incompatible, but in a more federated America, the incompatibility didn’t matter as much.  People in Wisconsin could be as progressive as possible, and no one in New Mexico cared much.  And if people in Wisconsin or New Mexico didn’t like the local political climate, they could just move to somewhere whe the climate was more to their liking. But with the arrogation of so much power by Washington, that’s no longer an option.  In a federal system, nobody in Texas much cares if some yankees in a state far away set up The People’s Autonomous Oblast of Massachussets.  But if Bostonians think that some Alabama ‘seed  in Washington is gonna force them to dance while handling snakes and speaking in tongues…well, you can’t square that circle.

Unfortunately, if the solons in Washington declare we must do X, there’s no way to escape the consequences of that decision.  And so, every political decision is now fraught with national, rather than local consequences. As a result, the incompatibility between collectivists and individualists is reaching a boiling point.  The centralization of power in Washington, and the nationalization of practically every domestic issue, has done nothing but poison our politics, and degraded our political discourse.

This has happened once before in American history.  Between the founding of the country and the 1850s, Slavery moved from an issue of local sovereignty to a national moral issue.  And as abolitionists gained power in both the house–and especially the Senate–it became clear to the Southern states that the abolition of slavery by Congress was inevitable.  Once that happened, given the temper of the times, secession was inevitable as well.

Whether the Civil War was inevitable is a matter of debate.  I tend to think that the peculiar character of Lincoln made it so.  Given a different president, we might have two very different nations–and probably more, in what is now the United States.

By the same token, I don’t believe we are in for a shooting war between the Red and Blue states. Quite apart from the fact that people in the red states tend to be the people with all the guns, there seems to be a declining interest in both Red and Blue states to live under the same political regime.  Blue staters are increasingly uninterested in delaying their march to Utopia by having to make concessions to Bible-thumping, gay-hating hayseeds, and Red staters are not willing to live in a Peasants’ and Workers’ Paradise run by Godless, unborn-baby-killing Commies.

We’re already struggling with the nearly impossible political task of how to reconcile two irreconcilable philosophies under a powerful central government.  Having union thugs show up and deliver beatings and intimidation is only going to raise the anger level among Americans who feel they are being forced to do something they don’t want to do, increase their resentment, and push the country closer to dissolution.

And this won’t be a case like 1860, where 70% of the country successfully forced their will on the remaining 30%.  We’ve got a nearly even 50-50 split between those two philosophies now. We’re too evenly divided to make force an easy, or even viable option.  If things keep going in this direction, then I think we’re on the way to divorce court, where we’ll be citing “irreconcilable differences”.

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40 Responses to A Fork In the Road is Coming

  • Since the end of the Cold War, there’s been little need for an exceedingly powerful central government. The authoritarian creep has been ramped up, though, seemingly to reassert its meaningfulness. A more confederated system might preserve the Union, but obviously that wouldn’t be amenable to collectivists who demand a centralist state.

    It’s an interesting thought, especially when you consider — if you take Democrat/Republican affiliation as the metric for collectivist/individualist ideology — how such a dissolution would even occur, assuming the collectivists want to retain a centralist state. Compare these representations of the 2004 and 2008 presidential elections, color gradated by popular vote by county. I find it interesting how remarkably similar they are considering the different outcomes.

  • What we need is migration reform.  Those yanks running from high state taxes to the states with low or no state taxes brought their politics with them.   If you would kick every former new yorker out of Florida there wouldn’t have been a hanging chad issue.

    • Agreed! We have Harry Reid in Nevada because of the influx of Californians trying to escape the high taxes, yet bringing their liberal politics. We like to say, “Don’t Californicate Nevada,” but they seem to be doing it.

  • I’d disagree with the organic portrayal of what is happening.  I’d say there’s not necessarily a conspiracy but a small group of people in power who benefit from the path we’re taking.
    And to a certain degree, people are becoming radicalized on both sides.  It isn’t just circumstances around us that are changing.
    And ultimately radicalization of both sides will lead to a fully disfunctional vastly diminished nation or a police state.

  • But practically speaking how in the world does the US separate into US-Red and US-Blue?

    • Simple:
      1. Texas secedes
      2. The Red population moves there
      3. The US follows the logical progression described in “Atlas Shrugged.”
      4. Texas goes to war with the US.
      5. Problem solved.

  • Dale – Excellent post!  I have been wondering for months/years how collectivists and individualists in the USA can possibly get along for much longer.  I agree with you – they can’t.  My belief system is so far removed from the collectivist’s view that I could not survive under such a system of government.  Your point on the growth on the increase in federal vs. state power, and its impact on this issue, was one I had not thought of.
    Each morning I decide what issue to address on my own blog.  I hope you won’t mind if I link to your post.   I DO NOT mean to sound like a brown-noser, but this post has really encompassed what I have been trying to think through for a long time.

  • Mac – I am a refugee from NY to NC.  I’ve been here for 14 years now.  Like me, many fled NY because we did not believe in the way things were run up there.  Not all of us came here and tried to bring that NY-style with us.  Most of the fellow Northerners I’ve met here are like me.
    What I have discovered is that a LOT of native North Carolinians were some of Obama’s biggest supporters and were extremely liberal on their own.  There aren’t enough transplants to account for Bev Perdue, Kay Hagan, David Price, etc.  Don’t blame Northerners for what Southerners are doing on their own.

    • I lived in North Carolina for a while. It’s no coincidence that carpetbagger strongholds like Cary are firmly Democratic. There’s no question in my mind that Northeastern expatriates have caused a shift in the political spectrum. By the same token, North Carolina has always been the most liberal state in the South —  the alleged “vale of humility between two mountains of conceit.”

  • Great post Dale. Why don’t you do a follow-up of how “education” got us to where we are?

  • I think the first step in this coming “civil war” might be if the Democrats foist this crap and trade or death reform on us. You may see states like Texas and some others band together and demand to be exempt from the mandate, or they will threaten to leave the Union. It may come to that; I hate to see it, but it may come to that. If we go to that step, the nation will break up. Watch what is happening to Canada over mere language. The Democrats want to make this country into Cuba North, and the people who work in this country do not want it, no matter how many times dimlibs on television mouth off some alleged poll that show otherwise.

    The Clown™ did this to us. Yes, things were this way under Bush and Clinton to a great extent (remember that Vermont said that they wanted to secede, or impeach Bush themselves), but now we have fisticuffs in the streets and the potential for violence is growing each day.

  • Great post. You know, The Third Revolution was written as a novel, but it’s starting to look more and more as if it’ll end up being more of a history text. It may be Texas instead of Montana, and it might be health care instead of “The One Nation Act,” but, one way or another,  things do look like they’re building to a head.
    Oh, and if the separation comes, I’m not really that worried about the Red Staters locking me out – my immediate concern would be New York State locking me IN…

  • I have to agree about Cary with you!  I avoid that town like the plague.  However, Durham is all on NC.

  • “Frankly, Americans resent authority. We accept some measure of it as a necessary evil most times, but there are limits.  We can be pushed, often quite far, but when we reach a certain tipping point, enmity quickly flares.”

    Allow me a reading, Dale, from That Woman:

    “What is the specifically American sense of life?

    A sense of life is so complex an integration that the best way to identify it is by means of concrete examples and by contrast with the manifestations of a different sense of life.

    The emotional keynote of most Europeans is the feeling that man belongs to the State, as a property to be used and disposed of, in compliance with his natural, metaphysically determined fate.  A typical European may disapprove of a given State and may rebel, seeking to establish what he regards as a better one, like a slave who might seek a better master to serve – but the idea that he is the sovereign and the government is his servant, has no emotional reality in his consciousness.  He regards service to the State as an ultimate moral sanction, as an honor, and if you told him that his life is an end in itself, he would feel insulted or rejected or lost. Generations brought up on statist philosophy and acting accordingly, have implanted this in his mind from the earliest, formative years of his childhood.

    A typical American can never grasp that kind of feeling.  An American is an independent entity.  The popular expression of protest against ‘being pushed around’ is emotionally unintelligible to Europeans, who believe that to be pushed around is their natural condition.  Emotionally, an American has no concept of service (or of servitude) to anyone.  Even if he enlists in the army and hears it called ‘service to country,’ his feeling is that of a generous aristocrat who chose to do a dangerous task.  A European soldier feels that he is doing his duty.

    A European, on any social level, lives in a world made by others (he never knows clearly by whom), and seeks or accepts his place in it.  The American attitude is best expressed by a line from a poem: ‘The world began when I was born and the world is mine to win.’  (“The Westerner” by Badger Clark.)

    A European is disarmed in the face of a dictatorship: he may hate it, but he feels that he is wrong and, metaphysically, the State is right.  An American rebels to the bottom of his soul.

    Only one thing is certain: dictatorship cannot take hold in America today.  This country, as yet, cannot be ruled – but it can explode.  It can blow up into the helpless rage and blind violence of a civil war.  It cannot be cowed into submission, passivity, malevolence, resignation.  It cannot be ‘pushed around.’  Defiance, not obedience, is the American’s answer to overbearing authority.  The nation that ran an underground railroad to help human beings escape from slavery, or began drinking on principle in the face of Prohibition, will not say ‘Yes, sir’ to the enforcers of ration coupons and cereal prices.  Not yet.”

    (excerpted from “Don’t Let It Go”, 1971, by Ayn Rand

    Here are the questions almost forty years later: What is different now?  And what does it mean?

  • Well duh, the split is between urban, educated, peace-seeking modernists and rural, anti-intellectual, gun-toting bitter clingers.

    • So, urban areas are populated predominately by well-educated people?

    • For your edification:

      “[Compared with Republicans,] Democrats are significantly more likely to have no college education at all.”
      Gallup Poll, 2000

      And urban populace = liberal is flat out wrong. Houston, Cincinnati, San Diego,  Jacksonville, San Antonio, Indianapolis, and Columbus are a few heavily conservative cities. Dallas, Charlotte, Raleigh-Durham, Memphis, St. Louis, and Seattle are some that are moderate or very closely divided. The urban concentration of Democratic power is largely attributable to their virtual monopoly of the black vote, which is primarily urban in the Northeast, and accounts for much of the population in large South cities, like Atlanta for example. And the Democrats’ lack of support among the working class white population that is not employed in the industrial sector.

  • In that case, all of us with the guns would easily overrun you “peace-seeking” folk who eschew guns.

  • Slept late this morning and one of the first things I saw peering over morning coffee was Obama on a webcast attacking — and I mean deriding, scoffing at, and denying the authenticity of — the opponents of his health care. It was really quite startling, watching the words come out of that special dead-eyes face of his. Even though I very well knew to expect it.

    I said in an email a while back, while watching with some disbelief as the White House moved on a dozen different fronts toward socialism, if you think this is bad, wait until his numbers start to slip. That’s when the real character of this man and his “community organizer” movement will show how it intends to act-out in power.

    As has been amply documented, Progressives know how to attack those who oppose them. Woodrow Wilson and his direct ideological descendant FDR did things that would have made Richard Nixon blush if he had even thought about them.

    Push-back from this crowd is going to be intense. They are well-organized enough to get at their enemies down to the local level. And returning the favor back at them is not going to be a freebie. And you will be marked right on into that health care system, so you’ll be eligible for additional favors right to the end.

    “Just get the power, Barack.”

  • As a first take, no, it won’t happen.  Factional violence might plausibly at the outside kill a few tens of people in the next 18 months (absent a bombed crowd, which I don’t think the Dems/Leftys are yet at the point of doing, and yes I think it is far more likely from them than any other party at this point).  2008 represented a high-water mark for the Left, one which they completely misread and so disastrously that their majorities in both houses will be deminished and quite believably reversed in 2010.
    As a second take, absent a t’s crossed, i’s dotted amendment, it won’t happen peacefully.

    I’m fairly confident I wouldn’t personally agree non-violently to such a thing without an amendment–I have not merely the right but the duty to ultimately force the pinko states–and individuals–to comply with the law the Constitution represents and the laws in keeping with it.  I owe such chance for improvement as that represents to my children, to their children, and all descending.  I owe it to myself.  I’ve intervened in the past when I witnessed something evil, and I’ll do it again.  If I don’t stop a beating, if I don’t call the cops, if I don’t check out the loud noise, if I don’t do the right thing, I’m failing myself and everyone around me.  It’s bad enough I have to put up with the existence of the North Korean state, I ain’t gonna let NoKo lite blossom if it’s in range.

    So under most circumstances I can envision this otherwise happening peacefully, I’ll shoot.  I’ll blow things up, I’ll start fires.  It’s rare that that’s the right thing to do in this country, but in that case that’s where we’ll be.

    War is not so evil a thing as tyranny, even a popular one.  Government is legitimate when it is limited to preserving negative rights, when it exhibits appropriate subsidiarity, and only when those conditions are met is it appropriate for mere democracy to decide the small details to the big questions.  Experience hath shewn it.  It is what is prudent, it is what is pragmatic.  Broadly based supermajorities are how you decide what the answers are to the big questions–even if only because arriving at them formalizes what is inevitable owing to it’s popularity.  That and the explicit wording of the Constitution means only a formal amendment can have a chance of legally and peacefully effecting such a separation.

    I’ll continue in a second reply with analogies to the Civil War.

    Yours, Tom Perkins, ml, msl, & pfpp

    • If a large part of this nation wants to become a centralized socialist state, and another large part of this nation is in polar opposition to that, how can those two diametrically opposed philosophies be reconciled? Coercing one to live within the model state of the other would be to deprive a large portion of the population of its liberty.

      There is nothing wrong with the peaceable dissolution of the Union or the relationship between the states to be changed. I can’t recall the exact quote, but Thomas Jefferson said the several states should go their separate ways if they were to decide the Union did not work in their mutual benefit. Recognizing that this was something that the Founders had indeed considered, it is interesting to note that the Constitution is silent on the issue of secession. The Tenth Amendment, which states that “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” Since the states are not explicitly prevented from seceded by the Constitution, and the federal government is not given the power to suppress secession, it is allowed through the Tenth Amendment.

      I also vowed to defend the Constitution, and I have no moral reservation about the idea of secession. I don’t think it will actually come to that in my lifetime. But it should always remain a viable option, as it is a powerful tool for the states to retain some power.

  • I live and Asheville and our native liberal hippies still like their guns… so they are a little difficult to predict sometimes.  They have been suckered by the left on the enviroment issues.  They love their mountains, too.

    But they have aligned with non-native liberals and that pulls them even further to the left.  The non-native liberals tend to be louder also.

  • Indeed, there are interesting parallels to the civil war. Half of the nation is based upon the model of slavery, where the middle class producers are subjected to the confiscation of half of their labor through a dishonest pact between the true financial elites and the underclasses who are comfortable with a life of less effort, less education, less personal sacrifice and less risk.
    Things may very well end badly, given that our creative labor and work ethic is the engine of the economy. Increasingly, I can appreciate the elites self-perceived need to offshore industry as fast as possible, import illegal immigrants to provide for the necessary service economy and prepare for the certain war with the middle class. They’re well ahead of us in that effort as we’ve been lulled into complacency with the wonderful objects the Capitalists allow us to make and buy and entertaining movies, music and Internet informational products the Vectoralists also permit us to consume from our creation.
    If anything, ObamaPeoplesCare is a benefit for us in that it has awoken us slightly before it was too late. It probably is too late (hence the elites effort to drive this to completion asap and use force to intimidate us if necessary). Once enacted, any rebellion by us as they complete their demolishing of the middle class will result in our early demise. “No care for you” will be the reward for speaking out in opposition. This shouldn’t be a surprise to any of us, but unfortunately for many, it is. As occurred in countless totalitarian shifts, the majority of the middle class allowed itself to be deluded by false claims that totalitarianism comes from outside, in a take-over of the system. Agamben’s “State of Exception” explains this as a perpetual, consistent myth. Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin and others came from a legal framework and merely extended power into a quasi-legal permanant exception state. Bush did this with Guantanamo (I voted for him twice lacking better options but recognize there was not Constitutional or clear legal ground for these actions which Agamben discusses at length) and Obama’s accellerated its evolution at a thousand times the speed.
    We very likely are all screwed and will have to decide whether to risk our families to fight a possible losing battle, or go hiding and try to ride it out. Unfortunately, I would suggest for you all in this information economy that you’re not going to be able to hide. You’re already being tracked, recorded and profiled. If you think the attitude of the White House requesting reports of violations of thought was a misstatement and not the tip of the iceberg reflecting their actual thought, you’re sadly mistaken.

  • Good post.  Frightening, but good.

    When some lefties yapped about secession after the ’04 election, I marked it down to sour grapes: they were like children throwing a tantrum because they didn’t get the toy they wanted.  Now, I’m not so sure.  They are DETERMINED to remake our country into a socialist people’s republic (with themselves in charge, of course), and I’m not sure what to do to stop them.  They’ve demonstrated time and again that logic and facts have as much effect on them as shooting BB’s at an M-1 tank, so it may be that the only choice to save ourselves from them is to – somehow – go our seperate ways. 

    As for North Carolina, my take is that the state is full of older people who grew up democrat and still think of it as the party of JFK.  I know people like this.  While they are aware of and don’t really like people like Pelosi, Reid, Frank, Kennedy, and many of the other leaders of the democrat party, they don’t really think of them as REPRESENTATIVE of their party.  They know next to nothing about policies; especially around here, the only policy they really know about is NAFTA, which George Bush passed to send their jobs in furniture and textiles down to Mexico.  I know a few long-time dems who have woken up and now understand that the party has fallen into the hands of ’60s radicals, but many haven’t figured that out.  And with the GOP doing such a lousy job not only of selling itself as a good alternative but even of selling ANY principles at all, these dems not only have nowhere else to go, but no reason to even leave.

    • I think you have a point. Although a registered Republican, I have been terribly ashamed at the performance of this party, and their inclination to disregard the stated fundamental Republican principles. I have decided that I am not really a Republican, so much as I am an American, and recognize the overriding authority of our Constitution. I am distressed and the way this beautifully written has been diminished by unbelivably twisted, illogical intrepretations that have led us from a very limited central government to an actual threat to our liberty and soon our very lives if we allow present trends to continue.
      I feel that many Democrats and Republicans are sick at what is happening. They wanted change from Bush, and I can understand that. But in reality, I think they wanted a government that served them, and they have seen an increasing trend toward self-serving aristocrats as opposed to servants of the people.
      It is clear that our Constitution will work only for a self-regulating society bound by moral (some may call it religious) principles. In the name of “Freedom of Speech,” we have seen our basic mores disintegrate into a society that seems to have few, if any principles.
      So, what is needed is a wake up call. We may be getting that now. I see many people shaking their heads in disbelief over the recent actions of our government. The bailouts, unbelievable deficits, unbridled spending, ludicrous legislation that is clearly prohibited by the Constitution.
      The outpouring of disgust loudly expressed at these “Town Hall” meetings, coupled with the hired thugs and the Obama set up TV events is getting the attention, I think, if many heretofore uninvolved citizens. People are beginning to question the proposals… people are asking questions like, “If this health care bill is so great, why are members of congress not subject to it?”
      So, perhaps others are questioning whether they are Democrats, Republicans, or perhaps just Americans who want to remain free and live under a Constitution that sets up only sufficient government to enable us to retain our freedoms. At least I hope that is the trend. Maybe it’s wishful thinking.

  • I don’t see it happening. For all the divide, at the end of the day I still believe that the majority of both sides still reside close enough to the mythical “center” that we can make it work. It really is a small minority (mostly of leftists) who are in power in either DC or the media causing this problem – see the number of blue dog dems who know they can’t vote on this health reform, or the dem constituents showing up to voice concern at town halls.

    This nation won’t take well to political violence. A few high profile cases – say some SEIU workers gang beating a protestor, or maybe some union goons discovering they’re not bullet proof, knife proof or resistant to a baseball bat to the skull after all – the nation as a whole would be pretty sickened by that. 

    We’re stuck with each other unless someone tries something supremely stupid or evil (alas, we do have Baracky in office so maybe I speak too soon).

    • Shark, you’re correct that political violence isn’t really wired into Americans. We’ve had too long a period without it, and especially those on the Right really just want to be left alone.

      But what other end game is there? As Lee Harris famously pointed out, if someone declares themselves to be your enemy, you have no choice in the matter; you have an enemy.

      The Left has declared that they are enemies of individualism. I see no evidence that any peaceful means will stop that. Elections? Bah, they’ll say. “They’re rigged, and just more evidence of the evil corporations who really run America.”

      So if you choose to have a continuous low-level Cold War with the left, time is not on your side in that struggle. Since the people who tend to go into government and media are psychologically attuned to the anti-individualist control mentality embraced by the left, you’ll continuously lose ground. That’s what’s happened since FDR at least, and many would say it goes back even further. The end state of that struggle is pretty easy to predict; just throw Soviet Russia, the stagnant welfare states of Europe, and other places socialist policies have eventually triumphed into a blender, and see what comes out.

  • And just 1 quick followup-

    A lot of these troubles can be avoided simply by Americans exercising the powers and freedoms we already have.

    Look at this healthcare issue- congress members go back home and are feeling the heat. So what do they do?  They decide to totally ignore constituents and instead castigate, demonize, and send thugs to intimidate. Seems like certain people have forgotten who works for who around here. In the good old (old!)  days, some of these guys wouldn’t make it back to DC after behavior like this – the mob would’ve taken care of business right then and there.

    When you have representatives who no longer care, this is what you get. Congressional incumbency rate is extremely high. Approval ratings are extremely low.  It’s our own fault. We reelect these clowns constantly.

  • : …time is not on your side in that struggle. Since the people who tend to go into government and media are psychologically attuned to the anti-individualist control mentality embraced by the left, you’ll continuously lose ground.”
    Billy, you are in good company:
    “Experience hath shewn, that even under the best forms of government those entrusted with power have, in time, and by slow operations, perverted it into tyranny.”  T. Jefferson
    “The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground.” T.Jefferson

  • One correction to your post that has no overall factor in your post. AFNORTH is not responsible for Europe. Air Forces Northern is responsible, as the Air Force component under U.S. Northern Command, for the lower 48 states, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands.

    AFCENT still exists, it is responsible for the Middle East under U.S. Central Command.

    USAFE (U.S. Air Forces in Europe)is responsible for the European theater under US. European Command.

  • Had I been talking about US Air Force Commands, you would be right.  The USAF, alas, has no copyright on acronyms.  AFCENT was the NATO international command for Central Europe.  It was then combined with Allied Forces Northern Europe, or AFNORTH.
    It has since been renamed to JFC HQ Brunssum.
    They even have a web site, and everything.
    Please assume that I have some familiarity with the actual units to which I was assigned.

  • Good grief.  If a moderator would kindly delete my replies at 12:39, 12:46, & 12:47, I’ve replied to J’s reply here at Obviousity.
    Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp

    Bryan Pick sayeth: Done. Sorry. The Reply feature doesn’t even work for me, and I have no idea why.

  • Talk, Talk, Talk, Talk, Talk, Talk.

    We must allow ourselves to be aware that we have been witness to a putsch in The United States within the last 6 months. The installation of a multitude of “czars” and the promulgation of an inrdinately large number of executive orders attests to this. We are now in Sheik Obama’s consolidation phase. I wouldn’t call Obama “The Fuhrer” because, in reality he is a stooge of George Soros brought on board to make possible the conscription of a large army of minority goons to do Soros’ handiwork. Soros wields and manipulates power behind the scenes utilizing a variety of organizations and the cooperative efforts of other manipulators. As rich as he is, Soros needed Obama as a figurehead to command the mindless loyalty of the masses of unsophisticated minorities. Hillary wouldn’t have been able to serve him in this capacity so Soros dumped her (and Lollipop Bill)as far as the Presidency was concerned. Ask yourself, could Obama function without the connivance and abetting of the LeftistJews in his administration? Without them to dress up his administration with a veneer of political sophistication WHO would he have to get his message across? Al Sharpton? Jesse Jackson (who expressed a desire to “cut his nuts off”)? John Conyers (who has trouble reading bills and speaking)? William Jefforson (Oh wait…he’s convicted)Charles Rangel (Oh wait…..he’s under investigation). The point is that this is a War between AMERICANS and Manipulators led by George Soros who are conscripting and utilizing minorities of limited intelligence to bolster their numbers and give them a goon force. The minorities are dazzled by promises of economic goodies that will disappear in a puff of smoke if American Capitalism is destroyed. If violence does occur it could very well turn into a race war of mammoth proportions with the manipulators looking on and scheming how best to take control of the remnant pieces of our Republic when the smoke has cleared.

  • 50/50? I think not. Not when mot conservative republicans are collectivists, they just focus on moral collectivism rather than economic collectivism. Individualism in it’s classical state is pretty popular but not in it’s extreme/libertarian state where it’s a rare phenomenon. Most people subscribe to a form of collectivism light.
    I’m just shocked that righties decide to protest healthcare of all things. We’ve been forced to subsidize the rich wealthy banks, invade countries on little to no pretext, to fund secret prisons and unjust torture but dare offer the poor some assistance and the right freaks out. Most people on the right are hypocrites who only use individualist language to cover for their corporatist and elitist positions.

  • Mr. Franks:  your piece is well written and there are some things you wrote that are worth thinking over. However, the split in the Union is not even close to 50-50 and the country is not going to fall apart.
    What we ARE witnessing is the implosion of the GOP, and at a rate faster than I anticipated. This is unavoidable when a large political party puts all of its eggs in one basket. The GOP is now in the same unenviable position that the Democratic party was 90 years ago, namely, only having electoral dominance in the South, but nowhere else.

  • While the fork must well and truly be stuck in the overdone carcass of the American republic, the optimism implicit here seems to me misplaced.
    Party apparatchiks doing X to normals speaking out at faked “meetings”? Big deal. There’ll be a new speech-crime law next week, and that problem silently goes away.
    Those looking for freedom amidst the wreckage of the unrealized dream that was once America will be picking Prozac microdots out of their cornflakes before anything like a new secessionist movement succeeds there. That said, may as many pendejos federales fall as necessary to ensure its flourishing.