Volatility

January 8, 2019

Indelibly Authoritarian

Filed under: Freedom — Tags: , , , — Russell Bangs @ 7:31 am

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The intensity on the left when a Supreme Court appointment – that utmost seat of authority – falls to a Republican president, while the actual ongoing multi-front evils of creeping neoliberalism continue almost unnoticed, may suggest an unconscious obsession with authority.
 
From.
 
Obsession with the “supreme court” is one of the litmus tests by which you can tell whether someone’s a true anti-authoritarian or just another kind of authoritarian. Anyone against “authority” as defined by capitalism would be at least skeptical of the court as such, and would understand that it makes little difference which party fronts the president, since any judge who could be a candidate for such a court automatically would have to be an authoritarian. Otherwise they could never have any respectability within this system.
 
The same goes for anyone who would be capable of saying something like, “Trump makes me ashamed to be an American.” That means the person identifies with the presidency as such, and with the US government as such. Only an authoritarian could hold such identifications.
 
By contrast, Trump doesn’t make me ashamed of anything. How could he? I despise the presidency as such, the government as such, and regard it all as a regime of occupation. Therefore I have zero identification with any of it.
 
This is just one of the many reasons it’s impossible to accomplish anything but self-destruction with the Democrat Party or with anyone who makes a cult of voting and elections: They are indelibly authoritarian and will never think or act against the corporate state in any but the most trivial ways. Their authoritarian bent is demonstrated by many things, but most obviously by their very fixation on such elements of the system as courts, presidents, elections.
 
 
 
 
 
 

December 18, 2015

GMO News Summary, December 18th, 2015

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Been off doing other things for awhile, but posting will resume shortly on a regularly scheduled basis.
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*The fact that pro-GMO activists rely 100% on secrecy, obscurantism, and direct lies is proof that their endeavor has zero to do with science. By definition science has to be fully public and transparent, while “secret science” is a contradiction in terms.
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From the initial refusal to ever perform safety tests on any GMO to the regulators’ refusal to render public the alleged evidence they use for their glyphosate reviews to the massive political campaign against labeling genetically modified additives, the corporations, their flunkeys, and their fanboys betray their contempt and fear of scientific scrutiny and assessment, and their complete abdication of any scientific position whatsoever.
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This is also implicit proof that Monsanto and the US government consider these products to be extremely harmful to human health and live in terror of what legitimate scientific study would find.
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The legislative skullduggery of trying to smuggle in the DARK Act as part of a spending bill, in addition to exposing its supporters as holding democracy in contempt, also demonstrates how they hold science in contempt. Most of all it betrays how they know they could never win an honest fight held in the full light of day.
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*The Philippine supreme court, unlike that of the US, still retains some intelligence, responsibility, and morality. Here it has prohibited government-approved field trials of Bt talong (eggplant) because the government failed to meet the requirements of its own National Biosafety Framework.
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But unlike the narrowly-tailored technicality-based decisions we’re used to in America, the court went much further. It issued a temporary moratorium on any new GMO field trials and approvals for cultivation or importation (the piece doesn’t say with regard to existing cultivation) on the grounds of the precautionary principle. The court conducted an extensive review of the scientific literature and found that the GMO cartel has not provided any evidence for the public health or environmental safety of GMOs.
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Taiwan and Venezuela have also enacted new restrictions on GM food and seeds.
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*In March 2015 the WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) caught up with the evidence and found that glyphosate is a “probable human carcinogen”. Since then Monsanto’s regulatory lackeys, the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR; Germany is the EU’s “rapporteur state” for glyphosate regulation, making official recommendations to the EU and the member states) and the EFSA, have declared glyphosate “not a carcinogen”. In order to do this they’ve had to reject all the scientific evidence and resort to secret “evidence” which, as it’s secret, by definition is not part of science.
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For anyone who’s interested in this Roundup wrangle, here’s the best summary I’ve seen of the evidence, the IARC’s procedure and findings, and the derelictions and lies of the BfR and EFSA. It’s an open letter to the EU health commissioner signed by nearly a hundred scientists and doctors.
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*There’s an important new study debunking the “bad luck” and genetic determinist theories of cancer (i.e. those favored by the governments and corporations which release vast amounts of carcinogenic poisons into the environment). The study finds that intrinsic factors can account for only as much as 10-30% of the incidence of cancer. So as much as 90% of cancers are caused by such extrinsic factors as industrial and agricultural poisons.
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Little by little the environmental causation paradigm favored by the IARC and other such bodies is gaining ground, as the evidence becomes more and more difficult for corporate establishment medicine and “science” to deny.
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*The state of “our” regulatory agencies under corporate rule: “They have come to the conclusion that my particular skill set [being an actual scientist and servant of the public] does not meet the needs of my employer.” See also the USDA’s persecution of Jonathan Lundgren.
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*Here’s an alternative to the currently dominant corporate “science” paradigm.
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In November the PICRI project (Partnership between Institutions and Citizens for Research and Innovation) held an international conference in Paris dedicated to several topics involving corporate agriculture and the way it has promulgated fraudulent pseudo-science. The conference brought credentialed researchers together with citizen participants from around the world to attain a truly comprehensive discussion of real science. The topics included the “substantial equivalence” fraud, the bogus studies corporations conduct to satisfy regulatory review, the way existing regulatory models give a free pass to endocrine disrupting poisons, and the effect of agricultural poisons on soil ecosystems.
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Throughout, the discussions emphasized how to develop truly honest and scientific models for testing the health and environmental effects of these poisons, and how scientists and technicians must work with citizens within a democratic framework in order to render science and technology beneficial to humanity.
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*Like in Oregon and Colorado and other states, the people of New Hampshire are putting forward an amendment to their state constitution that recognizes the right to local, community self government.
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January 15, 2014

An Abolitionist Future

Filed under: American Revolution, Corporatism, Freedom, Law, Reformism Can't Work — Tags: , , , — Russell Bangs @ 2:50 am

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As I predicted a few weeks ago, the “supreme court” has now refused to accept an appeal from the Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association of its suit against Monsanto seeking protection against the company’s litigation persecution of farmers, and the invalidation of its seed patents. There was no reason for the court to revisit the matter, since the appeals court decision largely upheld the legal status quo. Meanwhile the SCOTUS last year handed down a rousing 9-0 pro-Monsanto smackdown. I’ll wager the supreme corporatist court along with Monsanto are content with this status quo. For the court to take another Monsanto case could hardly add anything to Monsanto’s legal impregnability, but would only run the risk of generating more bad political publicity.
 
(The appeals decision last June did achieve two possibly worthwhile things: 1. The court acknowledged that genetic contamination of non-GM crops by GM crops is inevitable. (The notion that this contamination is rare or even doesn’t happen at all is still a standard lie of the pro-GM hacks, and in their actions government regulators still try to pretend it’s not happening.) 2. Monsanto felt constrained to issue a statement that it has not in the past and will never sue farmers for collateral contamination. At the time I considered this to be worthless, since it was a lie in describing the past, and therefore sounded like nothing but empty words which left the way open for the continuation of the same practice. But I suppose at least at the trial court level it could be of some use, if anyone ever tries legally to resist. At any rate, as a political statement it now holds. So when Monsanto continues to sue the victims of its trespass and property destruction, we’ll have their own formal promise to hold against them. Perhaps that will be of some use politically.)
 
So we have it confirmed again that the people shall never get justice through the courts, just as we never shall through any other system channel. So where shall we find it, and how? 
 
We won’t do it as we are, and we won’t do it by doing things the way we’ve been doing them. We the people have become atomized and have long been mired in a stupid, depraved inertia. That’s why by now I regard it as axiomatic that those who are still “consumers” will never rouse themselves to undertake even the most modest structural changes. (To believe in the sufficiency of voting is part of consumerism.)
 
Therefore, I don’t see strategy in terms of trying to build a mass movement right off the bat, let alone a political party to run political candidates. That kind of laziness and impatience, the demand for instant gratification, so typical not just of “progressives” but even of many who fancy themselves radicals, is part of the same consumerist pathology.
 
For now we need to start an organization with those people who care deeply, want to fight, and are willing to commit to disciplined reporting, analytical, and publicity work, plus whatever activism the members wish to undertake. Even if it’s just a few people at first, once that nucleus exists, it’ll be a constant beacon, and a constant example for others to form similar organizations.
 
Eventually the thing will cohere as a real movement, a presence in the public consciousness, and as it grows it’ll be able to take on more tasks, more aggressively. At some point, once it has a firm and disciplined enough movement culture, it might be able to organize politically. It can seek to elect monkeywrenchers. (Another current pathology shared even by radicals is that an “alternative” party can seek to elect officials who could then enact good policy. But it should be obvious by now that’s impossible. On the other hand, it could be possible for legislators from an anti-corporatist party to help organize ad hoc coalitions to defeat BAD bills (i.e., all of them) and enforce gridlock. This could even help break up the two party system. The only expedient goal for electoralism is to elect cadres who act as obstructionists from within to help the movement whose real action is outside that system.)  
 
At that point it can start preparing to become a mass organization, as the crises get worse, and as nothing works anymore, and the people are ready to try anything. At that point abolitionism could present itself as the key to breaking all logjams, unplugging all bottlenecks.
 
I’m working on GMOs and corporate agriculture. We need abolition organizations here most of all. But the same principles apply to every other sector. We’ll know the real actionists in accord with how they accept and apply those principles. But it seems to me that everything else has been proven not to work under these circumstances.

 
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December 29, 2013

Anti-Monsanto Lawsuits

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A coalition of organic farmers and civil society advocates is trying to continue with the lawsuit route. 2013 was a bad year for anti-Monsanto lawsuits in the federal courts, as an appeals court threw out OSGATA vs. Monsanto and the supreme court unanimously trounced Bowman vs. Monsanto (as I predicted).
 
Now the OSGATA (Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association) litigants are trying to appeal their case to the supreme court. It’s hard to see why they’d expect a different result than Bowman got.
 
The cases are different on the merits. Bowman was intentionally growing Roundup Ready soybeans whose seeds he hadn’t legally bought but obtained through a seeming loophole (he got them from a processing mill). It should have been no surprise that all nine corporatist judges, both the activist and passive corporatists, voted to apply Monsanto’s patent prerogative to this alleged loophole.
 
The OSGATA plaintiffs are organic farmers whose crops have been or are in danger of being contaminated by GMOs. Monsanto has a longstanding policy of contaminating the crops of non-GM farmers, thereby damaging or destroying their property, and then suing them for having “stolen” its patents. The most famous such case is the Percy Schmeiser case in Canada, but there have been hundreds of others.
 
It’s an obscene inversion of every basic premise of justice that where it comes to GMOs, policy and the law uphold the right of the trespasser to trespass, the vandal to vandalize, and place the entire burden of prevention and repair (where repair is even possible) on the victim of the trespass and vandalism. But that’s exactly where we are with USDA policy, which is implicitly upheld by the federal courts. (Some states have laws which try to give farmers more protection.) The USDA provides heavily subsidized crop insurance to GMO growers but none to organic farmers. It then flippantly tells organic farmers to buy their own anti-contamination insurance. This is just one piece of proof that the USDA is a dedicated pro-corporate, anti-farmer, anti-public cadre.
 
The OSGATA plaintiffs were asking for a court injunction against Monsanto’s legal persecution of farmers. The appeals court openly admitted that contamination is inevitable, and Monsanto didn’t dispute this. But the court followed the trial judge in accepting Monsanto’s lies to the effect that no such persecution had ever taken place. What’s more, Monsanto issued a vague promise not to file lawsuits in the future in the case of inadvertent contamination. The court also cited this in throwing out the case. But I’ve never understood what the content of this promise is supposed to be, since Monsanto also denied it had ever filed such lawsuits in the first place. It seems to me that Monsanto therefore promised nothing but to continue doing what it’s been doing.
 
I guess the case did provide one piece of progress, in that the court did acknowledge the inevitability of contamination. So while some hacks still try to deny this, we have system acknowledgement of the material fact. What’s still lacking is any kind of morality or justice based upon this fact. What’s also lacking is any sense of crisis as far as how this galloping contamination imperils the future of agriculture itself.
 
(Meanwhile so far as I’ve seen there’s no sign in the US of the victims of trespass and property destruction suing the GMO “farmers” who directly commit the crimes. But in Australia there’s a case going right now, as organic farmer Steve Marsh is suing the GM canola farmer who destroyed his crop and cost him his organic certification.)
 
The courts certainly will never care about how GMOs promise agricultural collapse and mass famine. But the OSGATA plaintiffs still hope that they can interest the supreme court in the justice aspects of the problem. I guess they think that whereas Bowman was an avowed scofflaw, they’re innocent bystanders, and this is why the court will find differently in their case, if it takes their case at all.
 
I doubt the court will take the case. Why should it – the appeals court laid down the law in a way acceptable for Monsanto, which presumably doesn’t want the issue of its persecution of innocent small farmers publicized at the level of a supreme court case. Meanwhile in the Bowman case the court already issued a resounding endorsement of seed patent prerogatives in general. I expect that the system will prefer to maintain Bowman as its basic seed patenting case.
 
But if it does take the case, the result will still be a pro-Monsanto decision. The four corporate judicial activists on the court will always vote to aggrandize the cartel’s prerogatives. And at least some of the passive corporatists will be content to affirm the lower court decision. (To reprise my distinction of these two categories, judicial activist corporatists will vote to expand corporate prerogatives even in direct defiance of the constitution and the law. Passive corporatists accept such notions as corporate “rights”, “intellectual property” and so on, but prefer to expand these prerogatives in conjunction with law, or at least not in direct defiance of it. There are no anti-corporatist judges on the supreme court, or at any upper court level I’m aware of. The 5-4 Citizens United decision is a classic example of this distinction. Five activists voted to expand corporate “speech” in defiance of the law. Four passivists voted to uphold the law, since here the law directly contradicted the corporate prerogative. No one dissented on the grounds that there’s no such thing as a corporate speech “right”. So it was really a 9-0 pro-corporate decision, with the 5-4 split on a narrower technical ground.)
 
Are these anti-GMO lawsuits worth doing at all? If the goal is to actually get good decisions from the federal courts, then probably not. They could be good occasions for public education and recruiting to anti-GMO grassroots organizations. But it seems like there’s been little coordination where it comes to that.
 
I think the same thing applies here which applies in the case of every other kind of within-the-system reformism. The campaign is unlikely to attain much on its own, and at any rate could never be sufficient. Rather, the necessary goal is always the total abolition of GMOs, and the necessary tactics are whatever is necessary to attain the goal. As for reform campaigns, we abolitionists can support them as long as they have no anti-democratic pre-emptive characteristics. (But we must oppose pre-emption of any sort.) But our real activity is to use such occasions to publicize the abolitionist idea and build grassroots abolitionist organizations, toward building a full-scale abolition movement.

 
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October 16, 2013

Three Courts Against GMOs

Filed under: Corporatism, Food and Farms, Law — Tags: , , — Russell Bangs @ 2:24 am

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Over the last week there have been three court rulings around the world against GMO corporate plunder and in favor of biodiversity, democracy, and freedom.
 
I wrote about a Mexican court’s injunction against lawless government approvals of GM maize field trials and commercialization. Some semblance of the rule of law also still exists in Brazil’s courts.
 
Over the last two years Brazilian soy farmers have won a string of court victories against Monsanto’s tax on soy seeds and processing. Monsanto was collecting this tax based on patents which had already expired, were illegitimate in the first place, and which violated Brazilian seed law, which allows saving of seeds. These court rulings threatened a body blow to Monsanto, perhaps damages running into the billions as well as the inability to enforce its enclosure regime. But this past summer the Brazilian soy farmer association Famato, which had been organizing the legal campaign, made a deal with Monsanto to sell out the farmers.
 
The farmers were looking to collect billions in restituted “royalties” (i.e., the Monsanto tax), money they could use to purchase higher-quality non-GM seeds, as growing numbers of them wish to do. But according to the deal brokered by their alleged representative, they would “collect” only in the form of a rebate on the tax on Monsanto’s new product, Roundup Ready 2 Intacta stacked soybeans. So to get anything, they’d have to stay on the GMO treadmill.
 
Worse, to join the deal, a farmer would have to sign a contract agreeing to: waive all right to collect the stolen royalties; submit to more harsh and pedantic inspection and conformance policies than under previous Monsanto contracts; waive all future right to sue over failed harvests (this is now a standard feature of Monsanto’s “warranty”, as superweeds become ever more aggressive; Monsanto guarantees the GM crop is resistant to Roundup, but it disavows any claim that Roundup will work against weeds at all); and sign a statement relinquishing all rights under Brazilian seed law and recognizing the legitimacy and prerogative of Monsanto’s patent regime.
  
 
Now a judge has invalidated parts of the “agreement” on the grounds that it would constitute a coercive contract, on account of Monsanto’s dominant market position. The technical term for this is a “contract of adhesion”, and such contracts are supposed to be ruled invalid and unenforceable by the courts. Needless to say, this never happens in the US. In 2011, in AT&T vs. Concepcion, the US “supreme court” completely repudiated the concept.
 
But in some parts of the world it’s still possible for the people to use the courts. We’re just now seeing that in Mexico too.
 
And now we have a trifecta. In India, the High Court of the state of Karnataka has dismissed petitions seeking to quash criminal indictments of several high-level university and corporate officials for acts of biopiracy in connection with the development of Bt brinjal (eggplant), currently the subject of a moratorium on field testing. In India, biopiracy is supposed to be treated legally as the criminal theft it is. An environmental group, the Environmental Support Group (ESG), fought for several years politically and in the courts to finally get the National Biodiversity Authority and the Karnataka State Biodiversity Board to conduct a full investigate which led to the criminal indictments. After a stay for much of 2013, the High Court has reaffirmed the indictments, and it’s now time for the state to prosecute. (We shouldn’t hold our breaths, though. Throughout, the state machinery has been as dilatory as you’d expect. That’s why the ESG has had to keep suing. Nor do we view even criminal prosecutions as “the system works!” But we should be counterattacking in all available ways including those which are at all possible under system procedures.)
 
So we see that in some courts, though not those of the US, a robbery is still treated as a robbery. Therefore a criminal matter.
 
Not that I think this war is ultimately going to be won anywhere in the courts. But at least in some places the courts are still a contested battleground.
 
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May 14, 2013

The Monsanto Court and Corporatism

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Sorry for the light posting for awhile. Lots of things to do, and lots of things on my mind.
 
I don’t have anything new to say right now about the “supreme” court’s anointment of Monsanto, but I’ll refer to what I already said.
 
One thing which occurs to me, as I read some stuff on this and see the confusion of liberals and radical-chicists, as well as those ostensibly concerned with food freedom, is that it’s another example of how no viewpoint other than total anti-corporatism is sufficient to understand the political world.
 
Thus, readers of this blog know that I predicted a unanimous pro-Monsanto decision. Similarly, almost everyone predicted wrongly that the corporate court would strike down Obama’s “health insurance” poll tax. But true anti-corporatists understood how essential it was to the corporate imperative that the commerce clause be extended in this totalitarian direction.
 
My point is that anti-corporatism demonstrates its superior predictive value, which in turn is evidence for its fundamental truth. It’s hard to see which competing world view, other than corporatism itself, accurately describes the state of civilization.

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March 3, 2013

Bowman vs. Monsanto; Activist and Passive Corporatism, vs. Anti-Corporatism

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There’s a lot of muddled talk about the Citizens United decision. In this post I’m not going to rehash the facts about the decision itself (in a nutshell: it’s further evidence that “campaign finance” reformism cannot work within a system which is indelibly dominated by finance, which should have always been common sense; by now to still call for it is intentional misdirection), but to reprise my distinction of judicial activist corporatism vs. more passive corporatism.
 
One of the most frequent muddlings of Citizens United is to call it a “5-4” decision, and even to refer to the “five” bad guys. But in fact CU was a 9-0 pro-corporatist decision. The four so-called “dissenters” objected only on narrow technical grounds. None of them objected on the grounds that there’s no such thing as corporate rights, or corporate personhood, let alone questioned whether formally enshrined corporations should exist at all. But these are the basic questions which have to be asked if one is to call corporatism as such into question. To not ask them is automatically to be pro-corporatist.
 
As for those technical grounds which distinguish passive from judicial activist corporatists, it’s only a matter of “the proper procedure”, for example if the legislature passed a law. Now, whether or not corporations should exist and whether or not they have a right to speech do not in fact have anything to do with “the law”. On the contrary, they’re fundamental questions of constitution, sovereignty, and of what kind of society people want to live in. But passive corporatists don’t care about such fundamental questions, since they’re content to inertially go with what the existing power distribution calls normative. They merely assuage their residual “conscience” by wanting the “proper forms” to be followed. (This process mentality is characteristic of liberals as a whole, though with Obama’s normalization of fascistically aggressive corporatism, liberals have been throwing down the mask and increasingly advocating direct might-makes-right aggression themselves.)
 
In the case of CU, the legislature had in fact passed a law which purported to reform campaign finance. This was the occasion for the passives to split from the activists. But absent such a law, it would never have occurred to any of them to put any limits on corporate speech.
 
This brings us to Bowman vs. Monsanto. Obviously no sane person expects Bowman to win, but I guess the idea was to at least get a discussion of seed patenting going. I haven’t seen any such discussion; on the contrary the few corporate media pieces I read were pro-Monsanto hatchet jobs which carefully steered clear of discussing any philosophical question at all (should patents on life exist? should patents exist at all?), and “discussed” even the narrow technical argument only in terms of ridicule. (This is yet further evidence that the tactic of compromising in order to “get one’s issue into the public discussion” doesn’t work. Not that Bowman’s action has this nature. He’s directly challenging Monsanto, and isn’t compromising anything himself. But we often see people proposing to compromise their projects and alleged principles in order to get this alleged discussion going. This is always the fatal step toward corruption, and usually indicates a desire to sell out.)
 
The corporate media coverage gives a clue to what kind of decision we can expect from the court. I won’t be surprised to see a 9-0 decision for Monsanto. The judicial activists are of course in the bag. As for the passive corporatists, the only possible hook they could hang their process hat would be “patent exhaustion”. But to apply that here would require them to go against the whole trend of the intellectual property regime. While this doctrine has been grandfathered in for some kinds of products, it’s explicitly ruled out for any new kind of product, especially GMO seeds. I don’t expect any passive corporatist to go against this trend. On the contrary, from them we can expect invitations to Congress to pass a law “clarifying” this.
 
More importantly, intellectual property is a pivotal foundation of corporate feudalism. “Campaign finance” offers some wiggle room, since the “elections” are fraudulent anyway. But the system depends upon the basic structural integrity of the IP regime. So even a passive corporatist will be loath to issue any ruling which could question or limit the foundation. (Compare how the FDA will sometimes ban specific additives, but went all in on GMOs as a genre from day one, and has never for a second questioned a single specific GMO. It’s because other kinds of additives can be economically isolated and are expendable, but the GMO genre is necessary for corporatism as such to keep expanding.)
 
(“On the merits”, of course, there’s no question whatsoever. The farmer exploited a “loophole” of functional negligence, but which has no “legal” basis. Monsanto has him dead to rights – he violated their patent. So if you believe in “intellectual property” at all, if you believe Monsanto’s patents have any legitimacy, then your decision is made for you.)
 
Meanwhile the duty of citizens is to reject the narrow process “discussion” and ruling and ask among themselves the basic questions – should intellectual property exist at all? Does it ever benefit anyone but the most powerful corporations? Would everyone else be much better off without it? And in particular, is not the patenting of life itself by far the worst in its effects? Isn’t it heading toward our literal enslavement? Is it not a moral abomination? Shouldn’t we abolish it completely?
 
Why do I write about the lawless court at all? To explain further why we should accord it no legitimacy, and see it as nothing but an alien, tyrannical imposition. The court is not part of human society, nor part of the constitutional convention which is already beginning, which shall finally ask and answer the fundamental questions confronting humanity today. As for the corporate state and its media, NGO, and academic appendages, they’re all in. They’ve embarked upon a war of total destruction, and they must achieve total victory or total defeat.

 
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July 12, 2012

Under No Circumstances

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Under no circumstances should anyone ever accept any “capitalism for me, anarchism for you” setup.
 
For example, governments and corporations are not “patriotic”. They regard the jobs and wealth of “their” people as infinitely offshorable. They have zero loyalty to any such notions. So why would anyone ever accept such propaganda from the system? And if you truly believe in patriotism, don’t you need to regard all the elites of the corporate state system as being traitors to the country?
 
Or the way system propaganda, like in the corporate media or with NGO front groups, tries to implant notions that the 99% could ever “owe” any morality to the system. But corporations are sociopathic in principle. They openly declare that their one and only imperative is profit. So why would anyone for a second entertain any notion that any of us could “owe” something like a “debt” to a corporation, as a matter of “morals”? Why would anyone ever reciprocate with anything other than the corporate Hobbesian mindset?
 
The fact is that it’s the elites of politics, economy, culture who made the conscious choice to completely destroy society and humanity itself, replacing it with a scorched earth free-fire zone of organized crime and psychopathic profiteering, with the formerly human victims slated to cannibalize themselves in a cesspool of cutthroat “competition”. It’s the elites who declared war on humanity. It’s the elites who want to turn the Earth itself into a cesspool of viciousness.
 
While we must strive with all our resurgent humanity to rebuild community among ourselves, toward those who would treat us as something less than human, toward the system and all who seek to ape it, we must reciprocate fully. We can start be rejecting in principle all morality, all authority, all legitimacy, where it comes to any system institution or meme.
 
Here’s one example: the “supreme court”, as a thing and as a meme. (In our context this overwrought term is appropriate, because the notion that something like a supreme court has any legitimacy, that its decisions have any objective existence and power, is indeed something injected into our psychology, like a physical pathogen, and intended to replicate itself through both contagion and heredity.) I see everywhere people who are generally skeptical of the system who are still prone to invest this court with some kind of objective existence and power. I saw one discussion about “when did the 90s end?”, with one commenter suggesting “Bush v. Gore”. He didn’t sound like he meant this symbolically. Rather, he seemed to think that a handful of scumbags calling itself a “supreme court” and issuing a proclamation intended to help a handful of thugs steal an election, somehow actually has more “legitimacy” than the same proclamation issued by a handful of scumbags on a street corner.
 
The truth, of course, is that just like Andy Jackson said, the SCOTUS has zero power to enforce anything, and depends completely on the executive’s thug arm. It’s nothing but a propaganda front for that might-makes-right arm. In the case of the 2000 election, to roll over and give up was 100% the unforced, voluntary choice of Gore and his sniveling supporters and voters. They made the infinitely shameful choice to surrender. No one but themselves is responsible even the slightest bit.
 
The same is true of any other decision. The SCOTUS does what its masters want it to do. Citizens United merely “legally” enshrined and intensified the existing vector of One Dollar = One Vote. It’s incoherent to accept the existing electoral regime but whine about CU as some kind of abuse. CU is perfectly mainstream jurisprudence and policy, agreed upon by liberals and conservatives. If you want to reject CU, you’d better start by rejecting Bellotti and Buckley, and the whole program of “elections” among contending factions of the 1%. But how typical of liberals to accept all that but whine about a trivial detail.
 
Similarly, the recent decision upholding the Obama Poll Tax is a perfectly consistent, normal decision, just as Obama’s tax is consistent, normal policy. (In both cases “normal” is referring to the corporate system’s vector.) How typical of the same conservatives who support the orgy of corporate welfare and corporate mandates everywhere else (how is the 10% ethanol mandate not a tax as well?) to cherry-pick an example like this and whine about what an abuse it is. How can you want the corporate state system, including a “health care” system based on private insurance monopolies, but not want the government to act as aggressively as necessary to force participation in that system (once such participation becomes necessary in order to maintain the system at all)?
 
The fact is that liberals and conservatives are both the same inertial coward and leech who is afraid of corporate power but also wants to free ride on it (thus the long since proven Big Lie of “trickle-down” is now the fundamental secular religion of both groups, along with electoralism itself). There’s also some intellectual laziness involved, a disinclination to even try to think beyond system brainwashing. The result is this craven, stupid acceptance of the “legitimacy” of the 1%, to the point that even those who want to reject its power tend to acknowledge its alleged authority. The cult of the “supreme court”, certainly the most obviously fraudulent “branch” of government by any objective measure (since it can’t even partake of the gutter legitimacy of Might Makes Right, which unfortunately is a legitimacy criterion to many), is a clear example of this.
 
One measure of our self-liberation shall be the extent to which we liberate our minds from the oppressor and casually think and talk of the fact that the SCOTUS has no legitimacy. This acceptance, once it becomes second nature, can then be expanded to encompass the rest of the corporate/state system.

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April 8, 2012

Kangaroo Courts and the Health Racket Mandate (Reprise)

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(This is an edited re-post of an earlier piece. I thought that in light of the looming “decision” on the health racket mandate by the supremely corporatist court, it might be useful to revisit the nature of this corporatist jurisprudence.)
 
A federal judge has given the first adverse ruling against one of the many lawsuits declaring Obama’s health racket Mandate unconstitutional. The ruling demonstrates the “logic” of a corporatist ideologue and how he views the Constitution. A corporatist assumes as the god-given order of things that the purpose of America is to be mined by powerful corporate interests. He then views the Constitution as purely instrumental toward this goal. As we’ll see, this judge views the artificial, ideologically fabricated and imposed “market” as sacrosanct and beyond the Constitution’s purview. He views the written Constitution, and by extension the sovereign people’s inherent constitution, as subordinate to the corporate imperative. This is the essence of corporatist ideology. It views sovereignty itself as reposing in corporations, not the people. The constitution is only the corporate constitution. The written Constitution is therefore the servant of corporations.
 
A judge like this might even try to argue that the fact that the Constitution never once mentions the word “corporation” is proof of his thesis that corporations are not below the Constitution, but above it. At any rate he’d argue that the absence of such specification gives him license to interpret things that way.
 
The human truth is the exact opposite. Society exists in the first place only of, by, and for human beings. Sovereignty reposes only in the people. The constitution can never be anything but of and for the political health of the people. The written Constitution can be legitimately interpreted only toward this human imperative. Corporations have no right to exist at all, and certainly have no right to act against the people. Wherever they do, any government has an affirmative obligation to smash them. Where it fails to do so, let alone where it actively supports corporate organized crime, it abandons all sovereignty, legitimacy, and authority. The people then have the right and obligation to repudiate the system, smash the criminals themselves, and redeem society on a human basis.
 
Let’s go to the case. The suit claims the health racket bailout in general, and in particular the racket Mandate, violates the Commerce Clause, the 5th and 10th amendments, the Free Exercise of religion*, and that it’s an unconstitutional tax. The decision rejects the demand for a preliminary injunction and throws the case out completely. The decision focuses on rejecting the Commerce claim, also rejects part of the tax claim, and declares it doesn’t need to reach another part.
 
In the so-called “factual background” the judge launches right into the propaganda. He intones:
 

The Health Care Reform Act seeks to reduce the number of uninsured Americans
and the escalating costs they impose on the health care system.
(p. 2)

 
and follows with a series of details. This is standard political fraud from the bench. As a matter of dogma, the judge is supposed to assume the legislature is a public servant and not a criminal cabal. So the court’s default is to aid and abet organized crime in the legislature. At the very least, even if the court is going to strike down an act (because of some ideological squabble among elites, not because the act is against the people), it still engages in this pretense of legislative good faith. That’s SCOTUS dogma going back a long way. (Anyone who follows the corporate media is familiar with the how it’s their established practice to report as fact the self-proclaimed intentions and mindset of elites, especially political elites. The courts have the same practice.)
 
Everywhere else judges are supposed to infer motives from actions. Why is that reversed here, and the dogmatically assumed motive is used tendentiously to interpret the action? It’s because here the system is functioning as an integrated machine. Elsewhere it’s the system against the people or individuals, so there the interpretive dynamic is reversed.
 
So here this judge proclaims that the Mandate is “integral to the legislative effort”, but everything he claims about what that effort is, and the constitutionality of the effort itself, is a lie. The Mandate is indeed integral to the effort, but the effort’s intention and goal is the opposite of Congressional and judicial lies. The effort isn’t to ensure better health care for more people at lower cost. A Congress which wanted to do that would’ve instituted Single Payer. Period.
 
The effort is to bail out the parasitic insurance rackets, who already have an institutionalized anti-competitive monopoly, by absolving them of having to compete with non-participation as well. That’s the one and only objective of Obamacare.
 
The decision moves quickly (p. 3) to bashing alleged deadbeats, the mythical free riders at the ER. But the entire premise of “the legislative effort” is to bail out a tremendous but politically powerful deadbeat and parasite, the insurance racket. So right at the outset we can see the judge’s bad faith. It’s not possible to be concerned about free riders but still support this deadbeat bailout bill. So on its face anyone who supports the bill (or finds it constitutional) but claims to be concerned about free riders is lying. Again, if Congress had been concerned about free riders, it would have enacted Single Payer instead of bailing out the insurance parasite. So on its face the judge’s entire rationale regarding the legislative intent is invalid.
 
We also have the moral fact that anyone amid a system based on organized corruption, legalized fraud, and massive robbery in the form of corporate welfare who would ever make a top-down anti-deadbeat argument must be a vile immoral criminal himself. It’s not possible to face such monumental system crime and still say the individual deadbeat is just as bad, or to bother with him at all. And then there’s the fact that the vast majority of individuals in that position are not deadbeats at all, but the victims of an aggressive kleptocracy which has mugged them into poverty.
 
As I said, this proves the judge is corrupt and acts in moral bad faith, so his “legal” reasoning must be judged from that point of view.
 
He has the haughty nerve to claim that it’s individuals, mugging victims who show up at the ER, who are “shifting costs onto third parties”. But the fact is that we the people ARE the victimized “third party” here, while the rackets and their bought politicians and judges are the only market “participants”, the only “stakeholders”, as their own flunkies would concede.
 
In a gesture of noblesse oblige the judge grants that the plaintiffs had standing to sue (p. 4). (But not before a lecture on the monetization of standing, how as far as the courts are concerned the only measure of citizenship is property, and the only measure of values or injury to those values is a monetary injury. This filthy doctrine must always be enforced. As usual, the first priority is to deny true citizen access to the law.)
 
The judge, as a petty crook aping a benevolent despot, magnanimously grants that a person without much money may already be feeling trepidation over the Mandate and acting accordingly, so standing is granted. The whole passage is sickening. The judge’s hypocritical, bloodless, wonkish, trickle-down “generosity” is even more repulsive than open, naked greed. How could any decent person even discuss this without outrage over the fact that those already suffering from the depredations of finance and insurance sector gangsters are, by the judge’s own admission*, to be made to suffer even more in order to pay yet further extortion to the most worthless and repellant criminals afflicting us today?
 
[*P. 8: “..the injury-in-fact in this case is the present financial pressure experienced by plaintiffs due to the requirements of the Individual Mandate.”
 
This pressure is being put on by already-rich robbers who want to steal even more, and helping them commit this further robbery is the one and only intent and goal of this bill. That’s the vision of “civilization” and “law” this judge seeks to uphold.]
 
We get to the Commerce Clause. Here’s the first time I’ve come across the Orwellian name for the Mandate: the “Shared Responsibility Payment” (p.11). Deciphering the totalitarian code: It’s the Full Responsibility of those who do all the work to hand over almost all they produce as extortion Payment to wealthy parasites who have and assume Zero Responsibility.
 
The judge is honest about this much: The Mandate is regulation of “inactivity, or a person’s mere existence within our Nation’s boundaries.” He admits it’s a poll tax.
 

The crux of plaintiffs’ argument is that the federal government has never attempted
to regulate inactivity, or a person’s mere existence within our Nation’s boundaries, under
the auspices of the Commerce Clause. It is plaintiffs’ position that if the Act is found
constitutional, the Commerce Clause would provide Congress with the authority to regulate
every aspect of our lives, including our choice to refrain from acting.
(p.11)

 
The decision says this case involves the third aspect of Interstate Commerce – “those activities that substantially affect interstate commerce.” Since that’s as vague as can be, and since by the reasoning here it can apply to literally anything the system wants it to, the judge confirms what we who oppose the Mandate always said. This Mandate is not only a crime in itself but a totalitarian precedent. If it goes through it can serve as the template for mandates to buy literally anything the system wants to force upon us.
 

The Supreme Court has expanded the reach of the Commerce Clause to reach
purely local, non-commercial activity, simply because it is an integral part of a broader
statutory scheme that permissibly regulates interstate commerce. Two cases, decided
sixty years apart, demonstrate the breadth of the Commerce power and the deference
accorded Congress’s judgments. (p. 12)

 
The decision discusses two highly disputed cases, Wickard v. Filburn and Gonzales v. Reich, as alleged precedents. With seeming lack of awareness of the ideological biases involved, in his own case and that of SCOTUS judges, he trumpets the striking down of anti-gun and anti-domestic violence laws as the SCOTUS philosophically “placing limits” on Congress.
 
Um, no. The judges on the court majorities simply support gun rights but don’t support marijuana rights, and don’t care about domestic violence. That’s the one and only difference which went into these decisions – how the subject of each case squared with their non-judicial ideology. The judicial ideology almost without exception is servant to the political ideology. Scalia’s anti-federalist vote in Gonzales was a spotlight example of how fraudulent his ideological pretensions are. He simply doesn’t like marijuana, period.
 
The decision admits the novelty of the case.
 

Plaintiffs in the present case focus on the common fact that each
of the regulations that survived Supreme Court scrutiny under the Commerce Clause
regulated an economic “activity,” as opposed to the “inactivity” they have demonstrated by
merely existing and not purchasing health care insurance. The Supreme Court has always
required an economic or commercial component in order to uphold an act under the
Commerce Clause. The Court has never needed to address the activity/inactivity
distinction advanced by plaintiffs because in every Commerce Clause case presented thus
far, there has been some sort of activity. (p.15)

 
To get around this the judge engages in what he himself calls “mental gymnastics”, and more fraudulent divination of Congressional intent.
 
Now we get to the core of obscenity:
 

The health care market is unlike other markets. No one can guarantee his or her
health, or ensure that he or she will never participate in the health care market. Indeed, the
opposite is nearly always true. The question is how participants in the health care market
pay for medical expenses – through insurance, or through an attempt to pay out of pocket
with a backstop of uncompensated care funded by third parties. This phenomenon of costshifting
is what makes the health care market unique.
(p. 16)

 
Think about that sentence, the two allegedly equivalent and interlinked propositions:
 
“No one can guarantee health..” That’s self-evident.
 
“…or ensure that he or she will never participate in the health care market.”
 
What? We could ensure we don’t have to participate in a criminal market by getting rid of it. We could, for example, institute Single Payer, which would cost far less, provide far more care far more efficiently, and would even solve that alleged individual free rider issue the likes of the judge claim to have such a fetish about. It would not be a moral affront to the people, as it would eradicate the free riding parasite rackets. We’d be free of their depredations and extortions.
 
But the decision depicts this “market” as a law of the universe. It would be hard to imagine a more grotesque example of begging the question. I don’t know if the conservative plaintiffs themselves care, but in the case of we who reject the Mandate on citizenship grounds, we reject any constitutional basis for the entire system based on private health “insurance”. We didn’t try to sue over it before (and of course we would have lacked “standing”), so long as we had the option of non-participation.
 
But now we’re going to have to sue against this Mandate. But when we declare* the Mandate unconstitutional, we’re saying that’s the most aggressive unconstitutional manifestation of an extra-constitutional, outlaw system.
 
[* And we as citizens do declare it so. We do not beg a court to do so for us. We demand that if the courts really do serve the people, they’ll ratify what we the people already know and declare.
 
Since the prospect that these suits will do the trick is dubious, we need to start preparing for citizen disobedience and resistance.]
 
So the judge’s rationale is non-responsive. (The fact that “the health care market is unlike other markets” is also proof that private health insurance itself is a conceptual and moral absurdity.) Especially as he moves on to a series of flippant absurdities.
 

As inseparable and integral members of the health care services market, plaintiffs have made a choice regarding the method of payment for the services they expect to receive. The government makes the apropos analogy of paying by credit card rather than by check.
(p. 17)

 
We are NOT “members of this market”. This market is an alien assault being artificially inflicted upon us. The “market” has absolutely nothing to do with health care. The two are completely separable and separated. Paying by “..credit card or check…” – when of course the real issue centers on the fact that it’s a mugger demanding this payment in the first place.
 

Similarly, plaintiffs in this case are participants in the
health care services market. They are not outside the market. While plaintiffs describe the
Commerce Clause power as reaching economic activity, the government’s characterization
of the Commerce Clause reaching economic decisions is more accurate.

 
We are NOT “participants”. We ARE “outside the market”. We are disenfranchised, coercively indentured subjects of this “market”. Victims.
 
What level of depravity does it take for someone to not only ignore the one fact of the case, but to turn around and accuse the victim of that very crime? What can decent people do with a criminal like that?
 
Now he comes to his decision, and his ultimate lie:
 

The Act regulates a broader interstate market in health care services. This is not
a market created by Congress, it is one created by the fundamental need for health care
and the necessity of paying for such services received. The provision at issue addresses
cost-shifting in those markets and operates as an essential part of a comprehensive
regulatory scheme. The uninsured, like plaintiffs, benefit from the “guaranteed issue”
provision in the Act, which enables them to become insured even when they are already
sick. This benefit makes imposing the minimum coverage provision appropriate. (p. 18)

 
This is incontrovertibly a market created by Congress. On its face that’s a clear fact. The bill’s very purpose is to bail out the rackets who, even though they have an anti-trust exemption (another creation of Congress), and can therefore quash innovation and competition, are increasingly unable to compete with non-participation, which more and more Americans are rationally choosing, as is their constitutional right as citizens. The purpose of this bill is to eliminate this competition as well. The purpose of this decision is to eliminate our constitutional rights.
 
And once again, what we must always remember immediately, every time we hear anyone like this judge say a word about “shifting costs”, “third parties”, free riding, or any other “deadbeat” language, is the obscene fact that this “market” exists at all for one reason only. It’s to enable the parasitic extortions and extractions of this insurance racket which is indeed a third party to us all, which does nothing but shift costs to us all, free ride upon us all. That’s the one and only reason the bill exists at all. That’s the one and only reason this decision was made the way it was.
 
Every word of it is a crime against the Constitution, just like the bill itself. We are under the thumb of stateless, lawless, anti-sovereign predators. This Mandate is a major step forward for their criminal regime. As this incident makes clear, we cannot rely on the courts to help us uphold our constitution. We must do that ourselves.
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October 1, 2011

Property and Raw Milk

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Although the US system keeps claiming that a “right to property” is one of its fundamental values, in practice this is another class-based scam, just like every other “value”. Just like with everything else, an alleged right to property refers only to the property and prerogatives of the rich and big corporations. The property rights of the non-rich are cited only for propaganda purposes, but these are assaulted by Big Property on a daily basis.
 
This class war property doctrine was formally enshrined in the SCOTUS’ Kelo decision, and it’s been enhanced since then.
 
One battlefront most relevant for the food movement is the government’s War on Raw Milk on behalf of Big Dairy. (But see also the commerce clause issue, with Obama’s Stamp Mandate seeking to break new “constitutional” ground. This too is highly relevant for food, as I explain in those posts.)
 
A lawsuit by the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund (FTCLDF) has already goaded the FDA into the following declaration of intent:
 

a. There is No Right to Consume or Feed Children Any Particular Food
b. There is No Generalized Right to Bodily and Physical Health
c. There is No Fundamental Right to Freedom of Contract

 
Now an FTCLDF-assisted suit in Wisconsin has caused a judge to issue a ruling expressing the official elite view of property rights:
 

(1) Plaintiffs do not have a fundamental right to own and use a dairy cow or a dairy herd;

(2) Plaintiffs do not have a fundamental right to consume the milk from their own cow;

(3) Plaintiffs do not have a fundamental right to board their cow at the farm of a farmer;

(4) The Zinniker Plaintiffs’ private contract does not fall outside the scope of the States’ police power;

(5) Plaintiffs do not have a fundamental right to produce and consume the foods of their choice;

(6) DATCP [Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection] . . . had jurisdiction to regulate the Zinniker Plaintiffs’ conduct.

 
The judge was guided by the FDA’s declaration.
 
What this and the FDA’s brief (and I’m sure the examples could be multiplied) really mean is an admission that “property” is nothing but what the government says it is, that it’s an artificial creation of government, and that in practice government will always make property right enforcement a priority only where it comes to the property of big corporations and the rich. (Could you imagine any government bureaucracy or judge stating in principle that the rich don’t have absolute property rights? Even if by some aberration they were going to rule against the bigger interest, they’d do so on some far more narrow ground.)
 
Most of all, wherever there’s a clash of property rights the bigger dog will always win. That’s what Kelo was all about. It’s straight Might Makes Right.
 
We see how the very existence of property concentrations causes government to act ever more tyrannically, which is no surprise since the core function of government is to create and enforce propertarianism. Without government there would be no such thing as property, and without property we wouldn’t need government. (Once again we see the basic incoherence of the “small government” ideologues. “I want small government except for all the other things I want which have to mean big, aggressive government. So I really want big, aggressive government!”)
 
(But for the time being we can formulate a transitional doctrine to accompany our constitutionalism. The right view is that the Constitution must be interpreted strictly where it comes to government/corporate power, loosely where it comes to the power and liberty of the people. This is truly its Original Intent, as is made clear by the original philosophy of the American Revolution.
 
Similarly, since “property” could only ever be valid if it referred to the rights of real people living and working within a community, so it follows that if we’re to recognize property rights at all our priority must be rights that involve constitutional liberties, rights that involve local/regional business and residence, rights that involve actual work and eating. Meanwhile the concentrated “property” of the alien rich shouldn’t be respected at all. Corporations, not being persons, can’t own property in the first place.)
 
The fact is that, just as smaller organizations and businesses would be better off if the corporate form didn’t exist at all, so we the non-rich people would be better off if propertarianism ceased to exist, and was instead replaced by useful possession rights on an autonomous and cooperative basis. As things are, small corporations will always exist only at the whim of big ones, and small property will exist only at the whim of big property. But if corporations and property ceased to exist, then big structures of every sort would cease to exist, while naturally-sized structures would prosper and flourish in freedom.
 
If someone’s coming at you with an automatic rifle and all you have is a Derringer, I suppose you’re “better off” than if you had nothing. But you’d be much better off if neither of you had any firearm.
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