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Old May 17, 2009, 08:49 PM   #1
sewerman
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talk of secession

considering the recent talk of texas and montana seceding from the union this may prove to be an informative read. i do remember having a smidgen of the consititution taught in 9th grade civics class but only enough in a very dry format to bore everyone including the instructor.

i wish this knowledge was again taught in school from grades 7-12. each year going a little deeper into the birth and development of our nation.

i'm betting most readers are not aware of the 10th amendment...............and the rights and power it gives each citizen in each state.

On secession and southern independence

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------



12 May 2009

In light of the recent interest in secession, there are some fundamental points we need to understand in order to counter those who claim that this time-honoured remedy against tyranny is un-American and even treasonous.

The voluntary union (or confederacy) of States known as the United States was born of a secessionist movement against Great Britain, and our Declaration of Independence is, at base, a secessionist document. How, then, can secession legitimately be called un-American?

When our Founding Fathers broke the bonds of political association with the British Empire in 1776, the former colonies became free and independent States constituting thirteen separate communities, each asserting its sovereignty. This arrangement received confirmation in the Articles of Confederation (1778) and the Treaty of Paris (1783). Americans themselves, as well as their British foe, acknowledged that each State was a separate and sovereign entity.

The sovereignty of the separate States is an important issue in understanding how the United States was formed under its Constitution of 1787-88. When delegates met in Philadelphia in May 1787, they came as representatives selected by the people (i.e. citizens) of their respective States. The people of the States did not give their delegates any authority to make binding agreements; rather, they could only discuss proposed changes to the Articles of Confederation. Any changes to the Articles would become effective only if ratified in convention by the citizens of the separate States.

The result of the Philadelphia Convention of 1787 was, of course, the U.S. Constitution. However, the document was not binding until nine of the thirteen States ratified it for themselves. That happened in 1788, and those nine States entered into a compact (or contract) with each other and, by doing so, created the political union known as the United States (or, more accurately, the States United). Four States, for a time, remained outside of the union and thus were not bound by the compact. Eventually, though, all thirteen States ratified and united.

It is important to note that no State (or States) could answer for another State. Each State acceded to the compact by its own sovereign will. Moreover, all of them understood that they might secede from the compact by those same means-by a ratifying convention of their citizens or representatives.

Nowhere does the Constitution forbid a State from seceding from the union. In fact, the Tenth Amendment (contained in the Bill of Rights of 1791) expressly confirms that "the powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution nor prohibited by it to the States are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people." The power to force a State against its will to remain in the union is absent among the powers delegated to the general (or federal) government; therefore, the right of secession is reserved to the States, or more precisely, to the people of the States.

Some of the New England States threatened to secede several times before 1860 (e.g. 1803, 1807, 1814, and 1844-45). At no time did the Southern States deny them this right. However, when a number of Southern States seceded in 1860-61, Lincoln and the Republican Party went to war to prevent them from exercising their Constitutional right. Simply put, Lincoln placed the forced "unity" of the States above the Constitution itself, and this action set him in opposition to the principles of the American Founders.

Northern victory in 1865 marked the end of true Constitutional government in America. In its place, the American Empire now defines the limits of its own power without serious regard to the Constitution. Formerly free and sovereign States have become little more than administrative provinces of an all-powerful central government in Washington, DC.

Without a serious challenge to its authority, which the acknowledged right of secession is, our government will not reform itself. We are not free people if we are not free to leave.

Our colonial ancestors acknowledged what our present government (and popular opinion) denies: that, at some time, dissolving our political bonds might be a necessary and proper course. That time came in 1860-61, and The League of the South believes it has come again.

Secession, as Thomas Jefferson acknowledged, is the assertion of the inalienable right of a people to change their form of government whenever it ceases to fulfill the purposes for which they created it. Under our Constitution this should be a peaceful remedy. The decision of a State or States to withdraw peacefully from a political association is not revolutionary or rebellious. On the contrary, the government that is no longer responsive to its people, a government that denies its people their inalienable rights, is revolutionary. The right of secession is never more necessary than when it is denied.

Some say that secession is impractical and/or unattainable. It certainly is both as long as the people of the States remain ignorant of it as a remedy to tyranny handed down to them by earlier generations.

We, the people of the States, still have the weapon and the legitimate power of reform (sovereignty). The only thing we lack is the collective will to wield it.

Dr. Michael Hill, President
The League of the South
(800) 888-3163
www.dixienet.org

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Old May 17, 2009, 10:01 PM   #2
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Federal aid for hurricanes, IMO, goes against the states rights idea the founders intended. States running their own business, aid being a coordinated effort between the states, not mandated.

For this to even work, it would have to be several states doing it. Not one or two, but a dozen or more. It wouldn't even get that far. If a dozen states would take this to the mat, DC might just change some of their tune.

I am worried about the eventual bail out of CA. Glen Beck echoed my opinion on that if the FED bails out CA, it's taxation without representation for me in AR.
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Old May 17, 2009, 10:23 PM   #3
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And me in AZ, who has to deal enough with the californians trying to change AZ into little CA already. Luckily they can't take the heat in the summer

Point being, why should the rest of the states have to bail out the one who's citizens voted for an approved the politicians who drove them into financial ruin? I didn't get to vote for them, I shouldn't have to pay for their mistake. Like Dust Monkey said, its taxation without representation.
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Old May 17, 2009, 10:25 PM   #4
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And me in AZ, who has to deal enough with the californians trying to change AZ into little CA already. Luckily they can't take the heat in the summer

Point being, why should the rest of the states have to bail out the one who's citizens voted for an approved the politicians who drove them into financial ruin? I didn't get to vote for them, I shouldn't have to pay for their mistake. Like Dust Monkey said, its taxation without representation.
Well said!!!!
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Old May 17, 2009, 10:32 PM   #5
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From the Articles of Confederation:

Quote:
Every State shall abide by the determination of the United States in Congress assembled, on all questions which by this confederation are submitted to them. And the Articles of this Confederation shall be inviolably observed by every State, and the Union shall be perpetual; nor shall any alteration at any time hereafter be made in any of them; unless such alteration be agreed to in a Congress of the United States, and be afterwards confirmed by the legislatures of every State.
For those of you who don't recall from history class, the Articles of Confederation had many Weaknesses. HOWEVER, they were used as a frame upon which to build the Constitution. There are several items that run over, and several that are tossed aside. Regardless of what gets tossed out, the concept of a union/confederation of the states remained the same.

Now, read the Preamble to he Constitution:

Quote:
We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
There is nothing in the Constitution allowing for a state to leave. Only to enter. Think about it, if you were trying to develop a coalition of states upon which you were to build a national government to protect a new, developing colony, would YOU want everyone to be able to come and go as they please?! NO! It's a government you're running, not a hippie colony! There's no open-door policy!

Also, what message would it send to the world? Do you think we would be getting loans from China to support our forever indebted selves if California decided it just wanted to leave? What message does that say to people you are trying to make contracts with? This isn't some street gang where you get hazed in and can get beat out. You're in forever. They put a whole lot in the Constitution about how to join, but you won't find ANYTHING about how to leave...

And before anyone says, "Well what if the government is being oppressive and starts hurting the people?", remember this. The Constitution of this great country contains all the tools needed to change it. You don't like the people in power, vote em out! Is someone overstepping their powers? Checks and balances, investigative committees, and the judicial branch can look into it. And if things get REALLY bad, you can have a Constitutional Convention.

Trust me, if push came to shove, the President and all of Congress could be forced out of office by resignation or impeachment. Americans have a breaking point. They will only put up with so much BS before somebody is getting there butt whipped.
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Old May 17, 2009, 10:37 PM   #6
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Well said Hunley. Statehood is a one way door. No exit from the union ever. The south found that out the hard way.

My question is why do all these folk want to fight a war with the government when all they need to do is vote and change it. Is it easier to fight than vote? Unreal!
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Old May 17, 2009, 10:43 PM   #7
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Quote:
There is nothing in the Constitution allowing for a state to leave. Only to enter. Think about it, if you were trying to develop a coalition of states upon which you were to build a national government to protect a new, developing colony, would YOU want everyone to be able to come and go as they please?! NO! It's a government you're running, not a hippie colony! There's no open-door policy!
It is absolutely incredible to me that someone can believe that any association that is entered into voluntarily cannot be dissolved voluntarily. In fact, it not only defies logic, it's downright despotic.
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Old May 17, 2009, 10:49 PM   #8
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May I remind you of another founding document, The Declaration of Independence.

...That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness...


And from President James Buchanan:


President James Buchanan stated succinctly in a speech before Congress, December 1860 that the Constitution does not delegate to the Federal government the power to use force against a state:

"The question fairly stated is, Has the Constitution delegated to Congress the power to coerce a State into submission which is attempting to withdraw or has actually withdrawn from the Confederacy? If answered in the affirmative, it must be on the principle that the power has been conferred upon Congress to declare and to make war against a State. After much serious reflection I have arrived at the conclusion that no such power has been delegated to Congress or to any other department of the Federal Government. It is manifest upon an inspection of the Constitution that this is not among the specific and enumerated powers granted to Congress, and it is equally apparent that its exercise is not " necessary and proper for carrying into execution " any one of these powers. So far from this power having been delegated to Congress, it was expressly refused by the Convention which framed the Constitution."

But hey, if you want to rely on only the documents that support your views, be my guest. Our founding fathers ideals are set against your views..
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Old May 17, 2009, 11:06 PM   #9
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The Constitution doesn't speak to secession at all. And at the end of the day, the legality/constitutionality of one or more states' secession from the Union is irrelevant - it's all about what the U.S. government decides to do in response to those states' actions.

As I see it, the Constitution is not a surrender treaty by the states to the Union, it's the framework of the agreement under which the states agree to be part of the Union - a contract, if you will. The federal government has breached its part of this contract repeatedly over the years - the states made a fatal error in not demanding a role in the determination of the composition of the Supreme Court, as well as an oversight component of same, such that the federal judiciary has been allowed to essentially run amok in its analysis and constructive (call it creative if you will) interpretation of the Constitution.

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Old May 17, 2009, 11:24 PM   #10
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Quote:
It is absolutely incredible to me that someone can believe that any association that is entered into voluntarily cannot be dissolved voluntarily. In fact, it not only defies logic, it's downright despotic.
It was a contract. It created the Constitution as the supreme law of the land, and the rule of law all federal and state officials (and subsequently all states) were sworn to uphold and protect. (Articl VI) The Constitution has within it the means to change itself (Article I). Just because the public may think that the government is not doing its job anymore does not mean that they have the right automatically secede. The American Revolution occurred as a result of many things, not just taxation, that the colonies tried REPEATEDLY to fix through the proper legal process. It was only when all avenues of change had been explored that they, as a whole, could justify secession from Britain. Benjamin Franklin himself was in Britain trying to persuade Parliament to repeal the dreaded Stamp Act in 1765, returning only after failing to do so. Revolution/secession was a last resort.

Our nation may have been born from the concept of liberty, but it was developed into a Union out of necessity. There was a necessity for protection, regulation of commerce, controlling imports/exports, etc. There were too many conflicting ideas amongst the states about how to run things at our founding (and there still are!) for them to get along in a civil manner. Slavery was already being looked at as a dividing factor LONG before the Civil War broke out. We would have eaten each other alive by now.
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Old May 17, 2009, 11:51 PM   #11
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Quote:
The Constitution has within it the means to change itself (Article I). Just because the public may think that the government is not doing its job anymore does not mean that they have the right automatically secede.
Nor does it mean the states DON'T have the right to secede. It only means that the Constitution is mute on the subject.

But if you're acknowledging that the Constitution is, itself, a contract, then you must acknowledge that under contracts law, when one party to a contract commits a substantial breach, that contract may become voidable.

I find your argument to be entirely superficial and without foundation and, to be honest, irrelevant. As I said in an earlier post, the entire idea of secession rests not on legality or constitutionality but upon the projection of force by the federal government.
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Old May 18, 2009, 12:35 AM   #12
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But if you're acknowledging that the Constitution is, itself, a contract, then you must acknowledge that under contracts law, when one party to a contract commits a substantial breach, that contract may become voidable.
Both sides are tit-for-tat on breaches. You can crack open a history book and find incidents of the states overstepping their bounds. Did the fed say "We don't what this state anymore"? No.

Quote:
I find your argument to be entirely superficial and without foundation and, to be honest, irrelevant. As I said in an earlier post, the entire idea of secession rests not on legality or constitutionality but upon the projection of force by the federal government.
It all comes down to interpretation.

To the OP... How is this firearms related?
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Old May 18, 2009, 02:38 AM   #13
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If a dozen states would take this to the mat, DC might just change some of their tune.
Which is the real objective.
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Old May 18, 2009, 02:52 AM   #14
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Quote:
To the OP... How is this firearms related?
Read the forum description. It doesn't have to be.

That said, I feel that It it legal for a state to leave the union, as that is the basis on which the US was founded. Colonies leaving the crown because they were not reciving fair representation for their taxes. It would be silly at best to assume that country founded from those colonies wouldnt uphold the same principles.
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Old May 18, 2009, 03:25 AM   #15
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When states joined the Union, each state ratified the Constitution. And yes it is a contract. And yes, we are stronger together as a union IF everyone pulls their own a part of the load. The Federal Govt is supposed to be an agent of the states. What we have now is the exact opposite. States are agents of the Fed who hold states hostage with things like no more funding.

Read up on states rights. I suggest the Federalists Papers to start. A state has the right to leave the Union. I don't care if it's not spelled out in the constitution. Its implied plain as day by our founding fathers in their writngs.

Take Montana. Their compact with the Union was based on the ratified constitution. The Montana AG a while back sent a letter to DC with regards to any attempts to usurp the 2nd amendment and take away that right would violate the compact (contract) in which Montana agreed to join the Union. This is the same with every state. The Constitution gives out limited powers to the congress/Fed govt. And they have pushed, they have distorted, they have disregarded the constitution to the Nth degree. I challenge you to prove me wrong.

I am not calling for a armed rebellion. I pray that such does not happen in my lifetime. But, where we have the best chance to change things is within the states legislatures. If we can get enough states, say more than a dozen or even half, to stand up to DC, no matter the consequences, I can guarantee you change will happen. Congress critters would pee their pants, wanting to keep their jobs. And all this could be done without a shot being fired. I would work. Because the next move is one that everyone would regret and suffer for a very long time.

(I apologize foe spellng and grammar mistakes. It's late and my big fingers don't do so well ony iPhone qwerty keyboard )
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Old May 18, 2009, 07:16 AM   #16
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Outside of the original 13 colonies and Texas every single state was created out of territory owned by the federal government. How can a state that was created by congress out of federal territory leave the union?
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Old May 18, 2009, 08:30 AM   #17
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Quote:
Outside of the original 13 colonies and Texas every single state was created out of territory owned by the federal government.
Your statement would seem to imply that the federal government is some sort of stand-alone entity, like a big corporation?

I believe that is the "meat" of the issue. The federal government was never supposed to be autonomous,but rather the combined voice of "we the people".

Under the notion you put forth it would be more like;
"Here is a piece of land we will grant you to make a state"

I may be wrong, but I don't believe that was the mechanism for development. Someone will correct me I am sure.
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Old May 18, 2009, 08:40 AM   #18
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There is case law on this subject. See Texas v. White, 74 U.S. (7 Wall.) 700, 19 L. Ed. 227 (1869), for a good summary of that case.

The full decision may be read here.

Chief Justice Chase, in his majority opinion stated, the Constitution "in all its provisions, looks to an indestructible Union, composed of indestructible States." He goes on to say that the only means for a State to leave the union was by (successful) revolution or by consent of Congress.

Like it or not, the logic of the situation is inescapable. It took an act of Congress to admit the State, and it would likewise take an act of Congress to dissolve the State.

The breach of contract (or compact) argument is unique to these days. In bringing such a claim, a State would necessarily be challenging the Court to undue many decisions it has already made, as regards to constitutional interpretation. Good luck with that.
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Old May 18, 2009, 09:57 AM   #19
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Quote:
Chief Justice Chase, in his majority opinion stated, the Constitution "in all its provisions, looks to an indestructible Union, composed of indestructible States." He goes on to say that the only means for a State to leave the union was by (successful) revolution or by consent of Congress.
Thanks for posting that. I was trying to remember the case from Con. Law, but couldn't think of the name.
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Old May 18, 2009, 10:01 AM   #20
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wasn't the basis of the government founded on each state having full sovereignty with the union only being used for in these instances:
We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
other then for the above reasons/situations the states were to be independent acting on their own in the welfare and governance of those that reside within the states borders.

"Good luck getting federal disaster aid after a hurricane strikes if you have seceded from the Union."

the above is just how the centralized excutive federal government has blackmailed the states for years to knuckle under to the federal system.

highway monies, education monies, all dangled in front of each state to be used to bribe each state into following the federal mandates. example as:
55mph speed limit, seat belt laws, busing of children just to name a few that are popular.l

when reading the whole senario ... isn't the union meantr to be a voluntary contact between the states only, as long as the federal government doesn't impede into the states governing powers. when the states decide they have been wronged, then they have all rights to disengage from the union.

same principle as the writings of the maga charta of 1215 except the feds represent the king.......

a forcible action of keeping the states within this union is the same principle used by stalin, and all the other despots of the 20th century. berlin wall......

sorry, but doesn't freedom....mean choice of will whether a contact is implied or not.
remember a contact is an agreement between two or more CONSENTING parties. when the means of the contact are violated then the contract has no power upon either party forcing them into agreement.

such is the princple which our earlier grand ol' union was based upon

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Old May 18, 2009, 10:13 AM   #21
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Here is a good article on the subject: http://writ.news.findlaw.com/dorf/20041124.html

Bottom line: Does the Constitution Permit States to Secede? With Permission, Perhaps; Unilaterally, No

BTW IMO if any states were allowed to secede it would mean the end of our country. If you think it is bad now, it could be far worse after secession.
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Old May 18, 2009, 10:31 AM   #22
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A state, or a group of states, has every right to attempt to leave the United States and for their own nation, whether by resolution or, if they're stupid enough, by force.

The other states, however, acting as the United States, have every right to use all means necessary to enforce preservation of the union, up to and including use of force.

I've always loved the arguments that some have used to try to claim that secession is legal, but a response to secession, i.e., moving to enforce the union, is somehow the most horrid and illegal thing since Judas sold Jesus out for an egg salad sandwich and a New Coke.


I really think that when stuff like this comes up, maybe 5% of the people in a state say "Wow! It's about time!", another 5% say "This is a horrible idea!" and the remaining 90% say "Holy crap, we actually elected this 'tard?"
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Old May 18, 2009, 10:33 AM   #23
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I think we are too quick to call out something as radical as secession before we exercise fully the rights we do have... those being:
1. Voting
2. Petitioning our congressmen/congresswomen.

I suspect less than half of conservative thinking registered voters actually voted last Fall. I can't cite any specific statistics but most of what I've read puts the figure around 48%.
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Old May 18, 2009, 11:25 AM   #24
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IMHO _ talk of secession usually comes from a social conservative agenda wanting for the good old days (which stunk for a lot of folks outside of this group and their halcyon fantasies). Oh, only if certain folk knew their place and we all had guns. They are stamping and hissing because our form of government and legislation hasn't gone their way. Wah, wah!

I remember the so-called loyalty views when folks were told: America, love it or leave it! Probably by the same ilk that want secession. So take your own advice. Save your money - and buy an island or raise Atlantis.

I have no use for those who want revolution or secession because they feel they cannot be convincing in the normal give and take of the political process. Other groups have managed to convince the country of their position and through amendments, legislation and cultural change of the legitimacy and value of their views.

Pragmatically, a separate new state would be an economic disaster. Get ready to live on the land. Dumb idea.
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Old May 18, 2009, 11:59 AM   #25
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Location: In my own little weird world in Anchorage, Alaska
Posts: 14,174
I think talk of secession is a waste of air and/or bandwidth. And ya cant have secession without firing squads either

WildandwiththatofftofindandimportantzombiethreadAlaska ™
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