Larry Pratt on the GOA, the Constitution and Gun Control
The Daily Bell is pleased to present an exclusive interview with Larry Pratt.
Lawrence D. Pratt (born November 13, 1942) is the Executive Director of Gun Owners of America, a U.S.-based firearms lobbying group, and a former member of the Virginia House of Delegates. Gun Owners of America (GOA) is a non-profit lobbying organization formed in 1975 to preserve and defend the Second Amendment rights of gun owners. GOA sees firearms ownership as a freedom issue. GOA was founded in 1975 by Sen. H.L. (Bill) Richardson (now retired). Richardson continues to serve as the Chairman of Gun Owners of America, bringing his many years of political experience to the leadership of GOA. Richardson is also an avid hunter and outdoorsman. The GOA Board of Directors brings over 100 years of combined knowledge and experience on guns, legislation and politics. From state legislatures and city councils to the United States Congress and the White House, GOA represents the views of gun owners whenever their rights are threatened. GOA has never wavered from its mission to defend the Second Amendment – liberty's freedom teeth, as George Washington called it. Associated with GOA are: Gun Owners of America Political Victory Fund, Gun Owners of California and Gun Owners Foundation.
Daily Bell: You are a person of substantial accomplishments. What motivates you?
Larry Pratt: I came on board with Gun Owners of America shortly after it had been organized because it was clear that this would be an opportunity to work with a built-in base for support of freedom and the Constitution. I thought this would be a good way to defend the Constitution in general and certainly the second amendment.
Daily Bell: You helped found the Gun Owners of America when you were very young. You were very precocious about politics. How and why?
Larry Pratt: The Gun Owners of America was actually organized by a California State Senator named H. L. Richardson, who had seen that his colleagues were often ineffective in defending freedom because they were not prepared to accept the idea that politics is conflict, that politics is confrontational, and as a result, the forces of liberty were continually making a deal rather than standing up and fighting. I was very happy to come on board, right after Gun Owners of America had been organized.
Daily Bell: What do you think of Ron Paul?
Larry Pratt: Ron Paul is one of the most effective spokesmen for limited government, for the Constitution. We are delighted that he has spoken about us as the only no-compromise gun lobby group in Washington.
Daily Bell: Do you believe in preemptive war, which is a policy, apparently, of the neo-conservative movement?
Larry Pratt: No, I think pre-emptive war is rather troubling. I don't think that is something the United States should be involved in.
Daily Bell: What is your position on the US current serial wars?
Larry Pratt: Some of the conflict the United States is involved in, I think, is defensible. One of the biggest threats that we face is Imperialist Islam, which has for 1400 years been at war with the rest of the world.
Daily Bell: Even though the Koran is a private theological scripture?
Larry Pratt: The Koran is basically a declaration of war against civilization.
Daily Bell: OK, a strong statement. You've been smeared as a "racist" and perhaps even an anti-semite. Response?
Larry Pratt: Well certainly the allegation has been made and I welcome the allegation because it obviously indicates that I am winning arguments. This is what the Left comes up with when they can't think of anything else to say as they're having the tar beat out of them. (laughing)
Daily Bell: You've founded some other organizations including English First, Gun Owners of America, U.S. Border Control, and Committee to Protect the Family. Can you explain these organizations and where they are today?
Larry Pratt: United States Border Control is now under other management. I became too busy and was not able to continue with it. Committee to Protect the Family is no longer in operation. English First is promoting the proposition that English should be the official language of the United States so that we don't have a catastrophe as far as the official language is concerned. It becomes very problematic if you have to have official documents printed in different languages, other than the one official language. That has been the role of English First – to promote teaching English as the language of instruction in the schools as well.
Daily Bell: You are affiliated with the Congress of Racial Equality, one of America's oldest civil rights organizations, and with Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership. Can you explain why these groups are important?
Larry Pratt: Years ago, I had been on a television show where a black state senator in Connecticut had been greatly incensed in what I was saying in defense of the right to keep and to bear arms. He challenged me to come into his district in Connecticut and explain that to his constituents. So, before going up there, I called Roy Innis, who at the time was the head of the Congress for Racial Equality. I asked him if he would accompany me on that trip. We met in Hartford, and when we got there, I could see that the senator's eyes were kind of bugging out of his head because he realized that I was accompanied by an icon of the civil rights movement who was very pro Second Amendment.
As we walked through his neighborhoods, which were downtown urban areas, we came up to a place that he had selected because the family had been the victim of a crime committed with a gun toting criminal. He was just convinced, without having talked to the father of the child that had been shot, that the father would be an opponent of gun ownership. When we got there and began an interview with the TV camera's rolling and the city behind us, the father said, "Well the problem is that people aren't able to defend themselves with guns!" And you could see this state Senator just melting away. He ended up losing his primary.
Daily Bell: Anti-gun control advocate Rabbi R. Mermelstein stated, in response to an "Ask the Rabbi" question, that "Larry is a longtime friend of mine. The man doesn't have an anti-semitic thought in his fertile, patriotic mind."
Larry Pratt: That was very nice of him. I had been a long time colleague of his and of Aaron Zelman and Jews for Preservation of Firearms Ownership. America is well-known to have been founded on Christian principals; it is nonetheless open to anyone of any religious background. The Christian faith has been a very tolerant one and is not hostile to other people exercising the dictates of their own faith. And so the Rabbi and I can disagree theologically, but we agree politically that America needs to remain a place where the government is our servant rather than our master.
Daily Bell: Is it true that your wife is from Central America, and that you speak Spanish at home?
Larry Pratt: Yes, she was born in Panama and we speak Spanish at home. We are involved with a Spanish-speaking ministry at our church.
Daily Bell: What are the biggest challenges facing America today?
Larry Pratt: I think the biggest challenge facing America is the government school system, which is teaching children that freedom is not important. We have the tax dollars being used to train children to be docile and subservient to the whims of the state. Interestingly, the fascist Montessori schools were developed by Maria Montessori who was the head of the education ministry under Mussolini for 12 years. Even a lot of conservatives in the United States think that the Montessori system is a good alternative to government schooling. They don't realize that the Montessori method is designed to provide a structureless environment for students that breaks down parents values. Then the value of the state can be imposed instead of the parent's values. I think education as it is operated in this country is the biggest challenge to freedom.
Daily Bell: Is America an empire?
Larry Pratt: I don't think America is an empire but a light on a shining hill as Ronald Reagan put it. I think it certainly has been and I think it can be in the future.
Daily Bell: Is the world heading toward one-world government?
Larry Pratt: One-world government is certainly something that seems to fascinate the political class in this country. It is something that has been pursued at the United Nations and its various international agreements. I'm hoping that Americans are going to see that the United Nations is nothing but a gathering primarily of thugs and dictators. We should stop funding the United Nations and we should evict the United Nations from the United States.
Daily Bell: Are you hopeful about America?
Larry Pratt: Hopeful inasmuch as it seems that my fellow Americans are becoming aware of the threats to our liberty. They are becoming aware the president and the majority that were elected to our Congress are enemies of freedom and it seems that Americans are on their way to throwing them out in this election cycle.
Daily Bell: What do you think of the NRA? Is it a helpful organization?
Larry Pratt: The National Rifle Association approaches politics and the government as a given. That leads to working within the system rather than saying we see the system is a problem, that the system represents a number of threats to our liberty and that the system needs to be brought under control; the system needs to corrected and changed.
Daily Bell: Some critics have charged that the NRA is set up as part of a Hegelian dialectic intended to move gun control toward gun confiscation. What do you think?
Larry Pratt: Well, as I was saying earlier, they have this view that they can somehow get along in the system and that's something that is typical of many organizations in Washington or in other state capitals or even in city or county seats around the country. It is hard for people to come to grips with the idea that your government is not really working for your best interest. If you are able to come to that realization, you will take hopefully appropriate action. The NRA hasn't come to that realization and so they are comfortable working within a system which is essentially leading us into bondage.
Daily Bell: Does the GOA work with the NRA?
Larry Pratt: We hope to be able to work with them but frequently when they are heading in the wrong direction, we simply have to oppose them. For example, early in the electoral process in the primary, we supported Sharon Engel in Nevada, now the Republican nominee for United States Senate against Harry Reid. The NRA may or may not endorse Harry Reid but Wayne LaPierre has already said at a ribbon cutting at a range, funded by the United States taxpayer, "Senator Reid, I want to thank you for what you do for gun-owners, day-in and day-out for the Second Amendment." Well the fact of the matter is if you go to GunOwners.org, you will see a picture of Harry Reid; if you click on it, up come some 43 votes he has cast since 1991 against the Second Amendment. The idea that we should be thanking him is just way off base.
Daily Bell: Why does the NRA so often compromise with Congress – thus allowing in legislation, which has whittled away Second Amendment rights?
Larry Pratt: Their comprise is the view that they want to work within the system.
Daily Bell: Are gun-rights helpful in keeping governments in check?
Larry Pratt: That was the purpose of protecting the right to keep and bear arms. The founders used the right to keep and bear arms when their government had become arbitrary and pernicious. The Revolution would not have happened without the ability to organize and militia – something, by the way, which was law in the Colonies and had been for some 150 years. If you were a free man and typically between the years of 17 and 44, you had to be in the militia; it was compulsory. And being in the militia meant you had to own a militia long-arm, and later a rifle, and if you were summoned or called muster, then you had to come. And if you didn't have that long arm and you didn't come to muster, you would be fined. That was viewed as an essential bulwark against oppressive government.
Daily Bell: Are US citizens winning or losing the battle for gun rights?
Larry Pratt: The US citizens have been losing the battle for some time. I think we have seen a corrective now for the last several years. We have seen measures put on the books in the various states saying that people can get permits to carry concealed firearms and three states have now made it so that no permit whatsoever is required; that's constitutional, concealed carry. And the Supreme Court has lately recognized that the right to keep and bear arms is an individual right. So we are making progress; we aren't anywhere near where we need to be, but in the past five or ten years we have seen the direction moving the way it ought to.
Daily Bell: Is the Internet helping the US to become a freer country?
Larry Pratt: In my opinion, not only is the Internet helping the United States to become a freer country, the fact that the control freaks in the Democrat party want to regulate the Internet or even shut it down by various means indicates to me that the Internet is a very powerful tool. It enables us to communicate what the government is doing, what the employees are doing to try to subvert the power of the Sovereign – the people, who employ government. I think that is a great compliment to the Internet, that it is such a target of ferocious activity on the part of the Federal Communications Commission and other entities of the government who would like nothing better than to control it and make it a lapdog of the government.
Daily Bell: Where does the GOA go from here?
Larry Pratt: From here, the Gun Owners of America hopes to work with a very different Congress in January and one of the things we are going to be pushing for is to roll back federal gun control legislation, none which has any constitutional warrant.
Daily Bell: What are the most important seminal articles and books that you would encourage everyone to read? Where can they be found?
Larry Pratt: There is a book by David Young called, The Founders View of the Right to Bear Arms, and it contains a record of what the founders understood the militia to be. It is available through our website and it is an extremely important book. He is a retired forest ranger in Michigan, and his life study has been the second amendment.
Daily Bell: What are your most important writings? Are you writing another book?
Larry Pratt: I have written three books. One was a book based on my travels in Guatemala and the Philippines and how communist insurgents had been pushed back through people using arms. Then I edited a volume on safeguarding liberty. It was, essentially, a collection of law school journal articles that dealt with the Second Amendment. And in effect it was the scholarship that undergirded the decision at the Supreme Court the right to keep and bear arms as an individual right. The most recent book that I have written is "On the Firing Line." The right to keep and bear arms is not enough; one has to look at the larger context of the Bill of Rights. That freedom is an inseparable concept and you have to defend them as a body rather than a single element.
Daily Bell: In closing, any final thoughts for our readers?
Larry Pratt: It is a great time to be an American. We are involved in an epic struggle at the moment. I am hopeful we are going to push back the forces of darkness, the lies of the statists that are trying to impose on the American people and hopefully we are going to prevail.
Daily Bell: Thank you for taking time to speak with us. We enjoyed speaking with you and discussing your good work.
Larry Pratt: Thank you. It is my pleasure.
We were happy to interview Larry Pratt, who has fought hard to preserve gun rights in America. He has done so at a time when the National Rifle Association has taken a far less aggressive stance. In fact, in our opinion, Pratt and the GOA have been far more effective and constitute much of whatever is left of a bulwark to preserve gun ownership in America.
Like so many others, we believed the NRA was focused on protecting gun rights. In actuality, it is, as we have written, a mainstream organization with a reach that climbs right to the top of the US establishment. It is the lack of success that the NRA has had in keeping gun control laws off the books that has disturbed many supporters and led to the success of the GOA. Here's one disgruntled NRA observer's take (we've pointed it out before) posted last year at the DailyPaul.com.
Yes, the NRA is a FRAUD! ... Sun, 04/12/2009 – 22:18 ... With over 30,000 gun laws on the books ... the NRA has successfully reversed 2 (partially) pieces of gun legislation. I would give you the batting average of that ratio, but my calculator only goes to the 6th negative decimal. Having a membership of 3.5 MILLION, 550 employees, hundreds of thousands of volunteers and an annual budget of over $120 MILLION...based on their track record...I CALL THAT FRAUD! ... The NRA not only compromises, but they help write almost every piece of anti-gun legislation, just to generate donations. Gun Owners of America and Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership are the only way to go.
The NRA in fact, was founded by victorious Northern Civil War veterans and has always been an establishment organization. Wikipedia tells us the NRA, "... was established in 1871 in New York by William Conant Church and George Wood Wingate as the American Rifle Association; its first President was former Senator and famous Civil War Union Army General Ambrose Burnside. President of the United States Ulysses S. Grant served as the NRA's eighth President and General Philip H. Sheridan as its ninth."
In our opinion, the NRA exists mainly to negotiate with those who want to reduce gun rights in America. By constantly entertaining "negotiations," the NRA actually weakens gun rights on a regular or irregular basis. Thank goodness for the GAO and Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership. These entities have done a good deal more to preserve gun ownership than the NRA. At a time when global and US domestic organizations continue to try to confiscate guns, these organizations have fought the good fight of freedom.
Posted by E. Crumbly on 09/03/10 06:00 PM
President George W. Bush (#43) signed an Executive Order taking over state militia, as well as appointing his own governors (I believe, in 2005 or 2006).
This didn't just start w/President Obama (#44)! There is no difference between the parties (Dems & Reps);they basically are 1 party w/2 factions. Wake up, America!
Posted by E. Crumbly on 09/03/10 05:27 PM
I thoroughly enjoyed the article w/Larry Pratt of GOA! Although I disagree w/Mr. Pratt on 2 of his views:
1. "Imperialist Islam"- Radical Islam is the problem, which comprises about 3% of Muslims worldwide &
2. The "Quran" (proper term, as opposed to westernized "Koran") is a book of peace & says that Muslims & People of the Book- i.e. Christians- are nearest to each other in faith & righteous living.
Mr. Pratt either hasn't fully read the Quran or deliberately overlook this & other facts about Islam.
But I concur w/Mr. Pratt that the USA is a bastion of freedom for citizens & those who want to pursue legal paths to US citizens, & that self-defense & religious freedoms are possible in this country.
I will seriously consider becoming a member of GOA, JPFO, & VCDL (Virginia Citizens Defense League) in the near future. Kudos to The Daily Bell for this well-written interview!
Reply from The Daily Bell
Thanks. We had the same reaction as you.
Posted by C. Patterson on 08/29/10 08:42 PM
Re Pat Fields 8-15-10 on strengthening state militia,
One of the scariest things I have seen lately via internet is an Executive Order [not Congressional Law] signed by President Obama, providing that, in an emergency [which is now expanded to everything a bureaucrat can think of], the President can not only take over state militia but can appoint his own governors in place of the elected ones. I printed a copy, but cannot find the link in time to timely send this.
Reply from The Daily Bell
Think this is it ...
Posted by David Alan on 08/21/10 03:10 AM
Lots of meat here. Great interview. Larry Pratt is well known to me. He taught as a visiting professor at The Witherspoon School of Law & Public Policy, for several years running.
His talk on 'The Biblical and Historical Basis for the 2nd Amendment' talk was worth it's weight in Gold.
Don't know if it's on the web, but very, very enlightening.
Many Christians, sadly, take the pacifist line, thinking it's somehow Spiritually mature, but don't understand the ancient Principles of Just War, developed slowly thru Biblical Law & Common Law & the Law of Nations. They never support aggressive or Pre-Emptive war (thus eliminating much of our sad USA empire building wars) but do support going to war for defensive purposes or to save & protect innocent life.
Ron Paul's position on our wars of empire building, advocating using letters of Marque & Reprisal (a little used, little known Constitutional tool & power) to nab Osama – and allowing him a fair trial – instead of plunging us all into war – was an attempt by Dr. Paul to honor the principles of Just War. I heard him bring up the Just War Principles numerous times in various venues.
Dr. Paul, (as is true of Larry Pratt, also) is true Christian Statesman. Neither man wears his faith in Christ on his sleve as a phony (thus throwing off shallow Christians who know labels, but are ignorant of deeper Principles), but rather puts into practice those principles in their daily lives & stands on the crucial issues of our day.
The topic of Islam is much misunderstood.
The religion has many peaceful followers, yet some quite violent ones. Which is representative, in the main ?
I think many of their leaders are in it for power – then again, as an honest Christian, I know that many in our camp also have that as a less than charitable motivation, too.
But, it is supportable by a reading of many Koranic texts, that Mohammed urged violence to advance his cause, particularly in texts written in his latter days, once he had gained power. Thus some texts can be pointed to to support peace & others violence.
Islam tends to have bloody borders with it's neighbors. Tends to, but not in every single case. I met with a formerly Islamic Egyptian man (now a Christian), who bore scars he recieved while tortured in his homeland for refusing to re-convert to Islam, and witnessing for Christ to them.
He told me something I think many in the West have simply not heard: He said,
"Brother, I want you to know: Islam wears two masks, the mask of innocence and the mask of dominance. In countries where it is yet weak, in the minority, and lacks the upper hand, it will do everything to appear innocent – for it must, to gain your trust and put you to sleep to it's actual goals. That is the mask it wears in the USA at the moment – but not for long.
However, in countries where it has gained enough power & ascendancy, like in Egypt, it is brutal – brooking no competitors, of any rival faith.
You do your research; I'm not just defending Jesus Christ or my new found faith in Him; take a look at any nation or region where Islam is strong; you will see continual reports of martyrdom of the other competing faiths – be they Christian, Hindu, Shinto, or even just an individual resisting their attempts at influence; it matters not. That is why I left Islam – it is a suppression of the very ideal of humans making a decision of what their Conscience tells them is Truth; Islam is popular not because it is true; but because it has figured out a malevolent way of suppressing, or taking over People's Conscience, of conditioning them -- through fear & intimidation & implicit threats of 'believe & join, or ELSE !."
I tell you, hearing this from a man with huge flesh wounds, gained while struggling against this purportedly 'peaceful faith' made a never-to-be-forgotten impression. I have to say, that objectively speaking, he is correct about Islam being ruthless in self-promotion.
Another friend, who has written a book on Islam & it's incompatibility with US Constutional Rights (in that it NEVER could or would tolerate a Lawful distinction of church & state, which our Law does require), has said:
"The reason people tend to be disarmed by Islam is because it is a political Ideology, masquerading as a religion."
He articulated that in 2002 or so, and nothing I've seen, heard or learned since, has changed that impression – only strengthened it.
Point being, we in the West are fairly powerless aginst such a rival.
Because our sense of fair play always wants to give the benefit of the doubt to any religious aspirations that others express, we are folks of near universal charity, so we extend it to others.
Is this (otherwise laudible) large hearted-ness a liability in this case ?
What if an aggressive political ideology, fundamentally at odds with our deepest conceptions of God, Man & how they relate (to the average traditional American who assumes Judeo-Christian values), comes to us dressed up as a religion ?
Does that entity now gain my confidence, but on false grounds ?
I am just passing on the warning to you all.
It's probably the only area I've disagreed with Dr. Ron Paul, on an issue of substance.
I've also had some contact with those who've been on the frontlines of ministry deep within Islamic cultures, that most have not.
Nevertheless, I do think our empire building in the Middle East is NOT justified by these factors regarding Islam & it's aggressive nature.
If we want to win the 'hearts & minds & bring 'democracy'' to the middle east, it would be better done with genuine missonary endeavors, than with troops & smart bombs.
I only tried to give some contary point here on Islam, as I sense that your interview – which was fabulous by the way, didn't allow time to explain why Larry Pratt said what he did about Islam.
Knowing him as a fellow Christian and having heard him speak on worldviews, I feel sure he would have given you a similar explication on Islam, had he the opportunity.
I'm not trying to speak for him. If he reads these comments, perhaps he could elaborate.
Again, The Daily Bell, you folks are just wonderful – gotta come to Switzerland someday just to meet you ! Keep writing the Truth !
Posted by Bionic Mosquito on 08/18/10 05:34 PM
Sorry for such a late reply, I have had time to read, but not write....
1) While I also do not appreciate some of Mr. Pratt's comments, I think I can focus on the wonderful work he has done on behalf of real gun rights. As these other items seem almost incidental to his real calling, it isn't a big deal to me. However, if he in fact regularly publicly advocates such things, then it is appropriate that this is addressed as many on this thread have done.
2) "This is cognitive dissonance taken to the extreme." I would offer a different wording. This is 21st century conservatism taken to the extreme. On domestic policy, government is instrusive and abusive, violating many rights (the milder version only believes this when the democrat is in charge), but on foreign policy that same government can do no wrong.
The entire dialogue was stunning. Even after several days to consider this (and after confronting dozens of people with some version of the 21st century conservatism disease), to hear it from Pat was a real surprise, given what we previously knew about him (her).
Reply from The Daily Bell
Pat Fields (a him apparently) came across as a incredibly sophisticated and literate, libertarian sort of person. We still do not understand how he can balance the militaristic views he holds with his other, seemingly libertarian actions, but they are his views and he will develop them as he chooses. We are certainly grateful for insights he shared with the Bell in the past.
Posted by Terry on 08/16/10 11:51 PM
Notice this article at Red State
Gun Owners America and Soros looks curious
Gun Owners of America linked to Soros & Marxist McChesney's Free Press think tank.
Reply from The Daily Bell
1. The GAO actually seems to do what it says it will do and we have never sensed (as with the NRA) that there is a secondary agenda.
2. In reference to directly to the issue you raise: As far as we can tell, the GAO link apparently has to do with a Net Neutrality campaign in which other organizations were involved.
Pratt has responded as follows:
At the time GOA supported net neutrality we were concerned that AOL and others might continue to block pro-second amendment issues. The issue has now become one of government control of the internet and we are 100% opposed to that.
Gun Owners of America
Click to view link
Presumably, the GAO will abrogate any questionable alliances.
Ladyimpactohio link at Red State:
Click to view link
Posted by Shane on 08/16/10 03:30 PM
GOA deserves to have NRA's membership #'s and NRA deserves to go out of business.
Mr. Pratt's comments about Islam were appalling however...and his refusal to acknowledge the American Empire and its many, many transgressions (at home and abroad) was also disappointing. Maybe he's too busy w/GOA to take the time to ponder the truth about these topics.
Its ridiculous for ANYONE to label an entire religion (and, by extension, its members) as "evil" or "warlike". It is a form of collectivism which denies the existence of individual members of a group in favor of lumping ALL members into some kind of collective (and completely non-existent) corporeal body. You cannot charge an ENTIRE religion and/or its members for the crime of INDIVIDUALS who do evil in its name. There are ONLY individuals not groups (a group is merely a collection of individuals).
Aside from this, what do American conservatives (like Mr. Pratt and the defenders of the "Islam is evil" perspective) THINK victims of the USGovt's aggression are gonna do? Is it SO unthinkable that victims of aggression are going to retaliate and/or resist aggression? Does "American exceptionalism" excuse the USGovt's int'l meddling and murder of innocents? Do you think calling this aggression "a matter of United States nat'l security" and murder "collateral damage/accidental" somehow makes it OK--esp. w/the victims? Don't act so stupid.
Much evil (shoot, probably MOST if not ALL of it) is done in the name of good. I could EASILY point to evil being done RIGHT NOW in the name of "protecting freedom" and "protecting America". Very few people EVER admit they, personally, are bad. The mind is capable of stunning feats of self-delusions.
Posted by Xxx on 08/16/10 01:55 AM
"America is well-known to have been founded on Christian principals; it is nonetheless open to anyone of any religious background. "
LMAO!!! Amerikkka was founded by witch burning puritans and slave drivers. It's a country of murderers and bigots who've been killing people abroad in the millions for more than a century.
Posted by Zenbillionaire on 08/16/10 01:35 AM
"I'm not offended ... but you presume too much."
Ok, I just wanted to make certain. I was particularly concerned when you mentioned that a "half-million tons of yellowcake was unearthed in Iraq", it was an odd turn of phrase "unearthed" and the same one used by the media to describe the operation.
It almost sounds like the ore was discovered, as if it were hidden. I thought it was particularly humorous that CNN reported the Pentagon as saying the ore sold to Cameco "dated back to the Saddam Hussein era", which is entirely true of course but funny as all get out since the ore probably dates back to the birth of the solar system.
I just wanted to make sure you understood that what was being reported was the result of the the US military using contemporary in-situ leech mining techniques to literally dig up and sell deposits of uranium ore located in the sovereign nation of Iraq.
They didn't discover a 500 thousand pound cache of weapons grade nuclear material; they carted off a national resource and sold it. What confuses me is that Cameco refused to disclose how much money they gave the military for it, like it should be a secret or something?
Posted by Pat Fields on 08/15/10 11:05 PM
@ Tjalf Boris
Cite: "I do wonder why british society is breaking down before our eyes, while Germany's isn't (yet), with much stricter gun laws ..."
First off, I draw a stark demarcation between Muslims and Islamists. I have very warm and cordial relations with Muslims in my acquaintance. They're good men of deep reflection and most respectable!
Aside from being goods in lively trade, I can't imagine guns as affecting economics much. Britain is a basket case because their government was very early to bite the socialist worm more avidly than others on the Continent. Germany has been largely more fiscally reserved in adopting socialism, so it's no surprise they're extending their 'lease'.
Posted by Tjalf Boris PrÃ¶ÃŸdorf on 08/15/10 10:39 PM
I do not believe it would be all that difficult to find similar statements concerning the freeing of slaves coming from US-Americans.
I do remember that there was a time not long ago when muslims (radical muslims at that) were referred to as freedom fighters " if they were referred to at all.
I do wonder why british society is breaking down before our eyes, while Germany's isn't (yet), with much stricter gun laws (aimed at Nazi and Communist violence)stemming from the early thirties _before_ the Nazi takeover and enforced first by the Nazis and the by the allied occupiers.
Posted by Pat Fields on 08/15/10 10:38 PM
Cite: "... everyone just "knows" ... that 9/11 was a black flag operation employing controlled demolition."
Neither of us finds scant credibility in the other.
Posted by Pat Fields on 08/15/10 10:32 PM
Cite: "... I do think we need to take action to contain the folks who have committed fraud, murder and mayhem against us after those actions have actually been proven. In this example, George and Dick fit the bill."
'Bill' indeed. Political show trials are the venues of Dictators. Like Impresarios soliciting attendance to their extravaganzas, among persons deemed 'centers of influence'; the object is always to effect the masses to 'pay the price of admission'.
Posted by MetaCynic on 08/15/10 10:29 PM
@ Pat Fields:
Was this speech, made in 1687 by a member of the Divan of Algiers, a declaration of war against Christian North America? Was it followed up with an Islamic invasion fleet landing on the shores of New Jersey in order to subdue the thirteen colonies? When have any Muslims made any credible existential threats against the U.S.? In how nations do Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan have how many military bases?
Despite the countless billions squandered on "national security", the U.S. is still very vulnerable to terrorist attacks. What's stopping our domestic Islamic hordes, who according to you, hate America for its Christian ways, from launching all kinds of domestic terrorist attacks? Nothing. Aside from several highly publicized Three Stooges like attempts, absolutely nothing has happened to the Land of the Fear and the Home of the Knave at the hands of Islam since 9/11. But we suffer daily at the hands of our own government, which is purportedly protecting us from the horrors of Islam.
Meanwhile, it is the Great Satan, America, who is destabilizing world peace. It is America which has over 700 military bases in 120 countries. It is the American military/industrial/Congressional complex that has and continues to contaminate the earth, for almost for all eternity, with its depleted uranium munitions.
Let's not hear anything about 9/11 and Islam. There were no Arabic names on the passenger lists of any of the four planes involved that day. As for bin Laden, he is not officially wanted by the FBI for 9/11 because, according to them, there is insufficient evidence to link him to that atrocity! Go visit the FBI's most wanted web site to see this for yourself.
Yet everyone just "knows" that the Muslims did it even though, thanks to the internet, the truth is emerging that 9/11 was a black flag operation employing controlled demolition.
The uncomfortable truth is that we are not being menaced by Muslim fanatics living in caves. The existential threat to our way of life resides on the Potomac.
Posted by Pat Fields on 08/15/10 09:57 PM
Cite: "I don't know the depth of your background ... I assume it is limited to what you've learned in the popular press." I'm not offended ... but you presume too much.
As well, you too cavalierly discount the extents some men will go, to achieve their notions of 'glory'. The specter of eternal mention in history's annals knows no 'retaliation' or 'death'. They fear ... nothing. Their driving force is not the banal stuff of the earth. To trifle with them is the zenith of folly.
Cite: "... your intellectual stance makes no sense."
I don't 'flee' ANYthing! I removed myself and my estate from federal jurisdiction because it's the proper Constitutional orientation that best preserves my natural rights. I'm first and foremost a citizen of my State (a State is defined as a People assembled in a Polity within a territory of fixed borders). It doesn't follow that I reject the Federation. On the contrary, I support it intensely.
On both State and federal levels, I seek to remove repulsive office HOLDERS ... not the offices they occupy. I seek to restore the originally intended structure of decentralized power across the whole of America's governance. I seek to restore Community Courts under Constitutionally compliant State appellate authority. I seek to re-institute the State Militia System. I seek to free my fellows from ALL the monetary deficiencies I discern, including the 'Original Sin' of denomination and cult-like preoccupation with gold and its slavish exclusion of greater interlaced variety in specie.
I do not conflate America and the filth that has infested its government, from local School Boards, to Mayors, to Governors, to Congress, to the Oval Office. The former is a pristine jewel unmatched and unsurpassed anywhere else on earth or in history; the other is flotsam to be ejected to the sewers, There IS a HUGE distinction between the two.
I do not look out on this planet and survey the same innocent, harmless people you imagine through the prism of your desires. From the standpoint of economics, we are keenly akin, but your extrapolation of magical powers of nirvana-like utopia from its fullest institution is delusional over-reach. Some Peoples and the 'civilizations' they develop are genuinely evil ... yes, the Islamists!. There is simply no appeasement sufficient to abate their cravings, because their satisfactions transcend the physical realm. You rail against the relatively humane transgressions of economic criminality carried out by western governments, yet you excuse the vicious, brutal, barbaric acts of these enemies to all humanity ... characterizing them as 'victims of imperialism'! Have you never watched the beheading of Danny Pearl? I strongly suggest you do! Crusades of the Popes be damned! The Pearl event was just a few years ago!
Just as I separate Constitutional governance from crooked office holders, I also separate our volunteer military from the occasional forays idiot Politicos send them out on. I sometimes wish they'd march into Washington and the State capitals to disband government and their top-level bureaucracy to orchestrate elections of an entirely fresh batch composed of NO incumbents! Oh Joy!
Now, I ask you ... what other military force on the earth spends inordinate proportions of their budgets in developing weaponry that reduces collateral damage to the maximum possible extent humanly achievable? Why do their researchers do that? If they really were the murdering, robotic, cold-blooded conquerors you've allowed yourselves to imagine, wouldn't something like collateral damage be perfectly acceptable? Wouldn't its reduction be a waste of resources?
My intellectual stance is spelled out in black and white in the Constitutions of Pennsylvania and the American Federation. They make a hell of a lot of sense to me. More sense than what you're trying to make me accept.
Reply from The Daily Bell
This is a strange beast indeed. You are a man with a genuine facility: You can apparently hold two entirely conflicting ideas in your head at one time and ignore the din, as we have written, of obvious cognitive dissonance. To wit:
1. You went to the trouble of removing yourself from very the Federation you then claim to "support intensely."
2. You seek to restore the state militia system, yet you find in the standing federal military - for which there is no conclusive Constitutional application - a potential for "joy."
3. You wish this current, unconstitutional, mercenary army of the current federal Leviathan (for it is not a state entity but a federal one) to march into Washington and on the states themselves.
4. You believe the current military enterprise has in some sense reduced the level of civilian death in Afghanistan "to the maximum possible extent humanly achievable." Have you bothered to watch the recent WikiLeaks video? Or read the graphic descriptions of Afghan civilian deaths?
5. You believe all Islamic states (and therefore Persia, a state of extreme subtlety and intellectual adornment) are "genuinely evil."
6. You damn these such civilizations and their antecedents while making up the accusation (for the words are nowhere to be found in the writings of the Daily Bell) that we excuse "vicious, brutal acts of enemies of all humanity ... as 'victims of imperialism.'"
7. You use the beheading of Daniel Pearl as evidence of this brutality while discounting the curious events surrounding his murder. No doubt you also believe that Pat Tillman was killed by the Taliban as he mustered his troops to retake a hill and that his death by "friendly" fire is Islamic propaganda.
See here for more information on Pearl:
Click to view link
8. You apparently and obviously (and this is our assumption, so forgive us if we are wrong) believe the entire narrative of 9/11 when confusion persists and the members of the 9/11 Commission itself concluded that the Pentagon, FBI, CIA and others lied and covered up the truth, whatever that was.
9. You apparently believe the current war on Afghanistan (and perhaps Iraq) is justified based on the events of 9/11, yet when the Taliban asked the US government for proof regarding Bin Laden's involvement in the 9/11 attack, none was forthcoming.
10. All of these seem to us strange stances. It takes an extraordinary mind to even attempt to disentangle the knotty 200-year evolution of the current US Leviathan, with all its disinformation, and to then, further, free oneself of its encumbrances as you claim to have done.
At the same time, you accept, laxly, and at face value many of the promotional stances of Leviathan and its professional apologists in Congress and the Pentagon. This is cognitive dissonance taken to the extreme. As we have indicated, you have a most unusual brain. We wish you no ill, but hope, like Einstein's, that you preserve it.
Posted by Zenbillionaire on 08/15/10 09:23 PM
@ Pat Fields
"That's eminently preferable to having 'Gullible Fool' engraved on my tombstone."
By the way, I did not intend in any way to suggest you were a gullible fool for believing Mr. Bush and his ilk, or at least if I did I would have to stand next to you since I have to admit he had me going for awhile too.
I think being gullible is sort of the "cost of doing business" in civil society. The alternative is to live in some horrible nightmare thinking everyone is out to get you. Not at all a fun place to be. My basic rule is to trust others until they screw up, I figure it makes about 98% of my life more tolerable than it would be if I assumed everyone I met was a snake oil salesman.
But I do think we need to take action to contain the folks who have committed fraud, murder and mayhem against us after those actions have actually been proven. In this example, George and Dick fit the bill.
Posted by JM on 08/15/10 08:06 PM
re: "I however am for gun registration..."
The second amendment states "...the right ... shall not be infringed [PERIOD]." I don't see anything about "except for.." or conditions of any kind.
History points out that registration leads to confiscation leads to worse things...
Seems like the framers of the Constitution / Bill of Rights displayed a wisdom beyond that displayed by many today, and knew exactly what they were doing.
I think there are two things largely responsible for maintaining the fragile, last remnants of freedom we have--the Second Amendment and the Internet. Let's be very careful about allowing any diminishing of them.
Posted by Zenbillionaire on 08/15/10 08:02 PM
"A half-million tons of yellowcake was unearthed in Iraq about three years ago. The intelligence services of ALL the major governments, as it turns out, were correct in their assessments of Hussein's intents."
I don't know the depth of your background with nuclear materials and I hope you won't be offended if I assume it is limited to what you've learned in the popular press.
"Yellow Cake" uranium is a raw ore. It's mined from the ground in that form and needs to be refined using very specialized equipment before it can be used for power generation, which is a common application all over the world. Uranium ore is not a weapons grade material. Possession of uranium ore shouldn't be confused with possession of nuclear weapons, or even with the capability to build nuclear weapons.
The media seems determined to conflate the development of nuclear energy with nuclear weapons; they aren't the same. Why has so much attention been devoted to promoting "secret" nuclear weapons development in the middle east? Are we expected to believe that someone has devised a method for keeping a test detonation secret?
What about delivery systems? The combined nuclear arsenals of Russia, China, the UK and the US would be more than sufficient to retaliate against any country that used nuclear weapons. The strategy of MAD has prevented global war for the past 60 years, why are we being asked to suspend belief in it when it's applied to the middle east? Honestly, it baffles me. If our existing armaments aren't sufficient to deter Iran from blowing the stuffing out of Israel, why the heck are we paying for them?
Posted by Noah on 08/15/10 06:04 PM
A fantastic interview. Only recently was I made aware of what a con the NRA was, similar to many "environmental" groups that have totally sold out any principles in the self-sustaining interests of money, membership, influence and power.
Of note: "Even a lot of conservatives in the United States think that the Montessori system is a good alternative to government schooling, They don't realize that the Montessori method is designed to provide a structureless environment for students that breaks down parents values. Then the value of the state can be imposed instead of the parent's values."
In one respect this is true: the method tries to let a blank slate evolve in a natural and organic fashion that respects whatever God-given attributes the child has, and that leaves an opening for the state (or any other entity) to gain access. But think about it... that is the essence of liberty! Are parents' values always supreme, and respectful of truth, or do they often reflect a cultural bias towards materialism and selfishness and conformity?
The parent must stay involved, at all costs, in any educational regime. Montessori says "let the child evolve naturally" but the parent must take responsibility to direct and nurture that evolution as they see fit, within the organic paradigm (which is difficult – hands off and hands on at the same time). Contrast state education: it is "we know best" and the parent is the implicit enemy of the state if there is even a hint of difference in philosophy!
So this is a gross misrepresentation of true Montessori philosophy and potential. Yes, there is potential for corruption, and foolish parents may raise foolish children. But there is much greater potential for fulfillment of libertarian ideals at the highest level with Montessori. State education has little potential for anything other than indoctrination and conformist pursuit of the status quo.
Virtually every penny of my disposable income has gone to realize this libertarian potential for my children, and the results are impressive. Me and Mama didn't raise no fools.
Posted by MGN on 08/15/10 05:50 PM
Great article Daily Bell.I just joined the GOA after reading it.