Sunday, November 30, 2008

Everyone Wants to Be Bailed Out, No One Wants to Earn

This article was originally published at on Nov. 30th, 2008.

The mantra of the modern man seems to be "Hey, where´s mine?" Many individuals seem to be so worried about what the other guy is getting, and how he´s getting it, that quite a number of us are starting to question the fairness of the system. Many people are beginning to understand that they´ve been getting screwed, that the system this government has set up to safeguard and protect its citizens has failed in that capacity. The masses of humanity can see more clearly than ever that their money is being stolen by an elite cabal more interested in maintaining their power than in helping mankind. But who´s to blame the people for reacting like they do when they see poor decision making being rewarded and responsible actions being punished. It´s only natural to ask "where´s mine?" It seems that everyone wants to be bailed out now, everyone wants a piece of the action, but someone has to pay. Who´s it going to be?

I mention the above because of some strange happenings that I´ve noticed have been going on. It started not long after the election of Barack Obama. I have a friend who has a friend who supposedly works for a big bank (I won´t mention the name here) as a credit card collector. He´s one of those guys who calls you on the phone if you´re maybe a couple of weeks late with a credit card payment as a courtesy, just to remind you your payment is overdue and ask when the bank can expect payment. It seems this guy told my friend that a certain segment of the population was telling him that they weren´t going to pay their credit card bills because Barack Obama had been elected president and he was going to bail them out. I was a little surprised by what I was hearing, but I was reluctant to believe it. This friend of mine has a tendency to be a little too trusting and so I decided to check a little deeper into his story.

I have another friend who runs a collection agency. I talk to him quite often. That night I told him my other friend´s story and asked him if he´d had similar experiences. He just laughed it off and made a joke of it, saying that he´d also say something similar if given the chance. So I just decided that my other friend had been misled and thought nothing more of it. A few days later I was conversing with the guy who runs the collection agency again and he said "Dude, remember that thing you were telling me the other day?" I said I did and he said "The same thing is starting to happen to my people." Now it had been confirmed in my mind. People had actually stopped paying their credit card bills because they feel the president elect is going to bail them out, so why should they pay their bills?

I couldn´t believe their mentality. I´d never heard of such a thing. I know people have gone through bankruptcies and such out of necessity, but to not pay their bills because they felt someone in power was going to "bail them out?" It was lunacy. Yet I could hardly blame them. They had listened to this man campaign and had heard the ambiguous promises he was making and then they decided that he must have meant he would bail them out from their own folly. Their messiah had come and now he was in power. He was going to save them all. Now I´m hearing that credit card debt defaults have totally spiraled out of control. What a surprise.

Then, just a few days ago, something happened that made my jaw drop. My coworker, a naturalized citizen from Bulgaria who has been in the United States quite some time, asked me if he should quit paying his mortgage because he read somewhere that Barack Obama was planning on helping out all the homeowners who were in danger of losing their homes due to foreclosure. He was upset that he had worked hard to keep up with his mortgage payments and that other people who had not managed to pay for whatever reason were getting a handout. He wanted a handout too. I told him that of course he should keep paying his mortgage, that until his house was paid off it was actually owned by the bank and they could take their collateral if they needed to. I don´t know if he believed me or not, but he seemed to understand.

Is this the kind of mentality the country is headed toward? Are we all to be paupers begging on the streets for handouts? So many people see the very wealthy getting billions of dollars to keep their companies from going under and they feel they deserve the same. So many others feel they have worked so hard for so little reward. Some people have nothing but debt. They want help, the question is, are they looking to the right people to help them out? How about earning one´s keep? How about living within one´s means and not going into debt in the first place? It sounds difficult, but it shouldn´t be. The system´s been set up to make it difficult, but that doesn't mean it can't be done. Right now I am managing to pay down my debt and hope to be debt free by next summer. I do not plan on receiving any help from anyone in power. I am certain there will be no bailout for me.

Yet as time goes on and if more and more people become leaches on the system subsisting on handouts from the public coffers, then more and more people who are earning the money to support the system will begin to wonder why they are doing so. They will begin to wonder if maybe they´d be better off receiving the handouts too. This is no way to increase productivity. This is the way society slowly deteriorates. No one will want to work. No one will want to earn. Everyone will want to be bailed out. Our society will accomplish nothing.

More bailouts are not an answer to our economic woes. More competition is. More open markets are. Lift regulations and let private entrepreneurs enter the markets with new innovative ideas. They will create more jobs. They will create more wealth. End the stranglehold the Federal Reserve monopoly has on our monetary system. Let competition exist in that field as it does in other fields. Go back to an honest money system where a dollar represents a man´s labor rather than debt. A purge and a systemic overhaul are what we need, in my opinion, not more socialization and centralization. These things simply will not work and will only prolong the misery. I don´t think mankind needs another long and drawn out depression like the one we suffered through in the thirties, one that only a massive and destructive war pulled us out of. I feel that is where massive social programs will lead in the long run.

History can and does repeat itself. We can prevent catastrophe. Let´s start earning again. Let´s start producing again. We don´t need the government to show us how to do these things, we just need the government to get out of the way. And we need them to stop giving away our money to people who have already shown they don´t know how to deal wisely with money. After all, it is their unwise investments that have led to this mess. Perhaps we the people can do a better job determining where to spend our money. Perhaps it is time for those in government to stop taking it from us, stop borrowing what we will earn in the future, and let us decide how and where to spend our money. I´m willing to venture a guess that if given the chance we will prove we know how to invest more wisely than those banks and corporations that would have failed without our help.

Free Markets Good, Socialism and Government Regulation Bad

This article was originally published in on Nov. 25th, 2008

I´m tired of hearing politicians and the media blaming our current economic downturn we´re in, i.e. the recession, on the free market. There is so much that is wrong with that characterization that I hardly know where to begin with my objections. I guess I could start by stating the obvious, that there hasn´t been any truly free market in this or any other nation for at least as long as I´ve been around. I don´t think human kind has seen a truly free market since before government figured out they could extort money from business owners in exchange for protection or other services, and that was a long, long time ago and perhaps in a galaxy far, far away. How can something that doesn´t exist be blamed for our modern monetary problems?

There are many problems inherent in our current systems of trade and government, that much should be obvious simply by looking at the current state of the economy. We entrust our system of trade and governance to corrupt officials who continually prove they are interested in no one except themselves and their friends, and yet we still somehow expect that they will use their power to regulate to benefit the common man?

I hear so many of my friends and acquaintances, so many of my fellow commoners, talk about how without government regulation chaos would rule the day and we´d all be in a world of hurt. They talk about greed and robber barons and monopolies and people being ripped off and living in squalor if regulations were to be abandoned and yet aren´t those things becoming rampant in our current system? Are we not experiencing troubling times because those who made the systems have gamed the systems? Yes, we common folk are bearing the brunt of this economic crisis. Yes, the system has abandoned us and left it up to our future to pay. Yet don´t we have only ourselves to blame? What do you expect when a system is set up such as the one we have where the very powerful can gain control and can maintain control through manipulation? If you expect them to look after anyone else other than themselves and their friends, if you expect them to look after your interests or to even care about you, then perhaps you should think about performing a reality check on yourself.

We as a society have forsaken free markets because of the tireless propaganda fed to us through corporate media and government education systems. Through history classes we have been taught that free markets have been responsible for the severest of economic downturns. Through the media we have been told that free markets have led to the greatest abuses of our economy and the most egregious thefts from the working classes. Such reporting is fallacious, for there were regulations put in place that were supposedly put there for the protection of the common man, and yet somehow they failed. These markets weren´t free, but regulated by government. When government regulations fail, the blame seems to always be put squarely on the shoulders of the unregulated free market.

The phrase "unregulated free market" is a fallacy in itself, for the free market is in actuality the most regulated market known to man. The last statement might seem counter-intuitive, however it is nothing more than common sense. Government regulations do little except to give insiders and big players with mega capital a competitive edge in trying to create a monopoly and to keep outsiders from entering the playfield in the first place. Certainly in theory there will be checks and balances and people who care enough about the system to make certain regulations do what they were intended to do, but in practice, in real life situations, we can see that this simply does not happen. A payoff here, a handout to a friend or relative there, and we see just how quickly the system set in place to safeguard the little guy becomes corrupted. Free markets, however, depend on the consumer to regulate them. It is the common man who will decide where to spend his money and where not to. The common man is not only going to look after his best interests, but it is nearly impossible for a business to game the system since it would have to deal with consumers at large rather than a single entity it can buy off or bribe.

One could argue that the consumer would have to learn too much about those he´s doing business with in order to effectively regulate the market. On the surface this might seem like a good argument, and yet I believe that this argument lacks merit in that it underestimates the intelligence of the average man. I don´t just say this because I believe in a man´s ability to reason for himself if he so chooses, I say this because we have seen in our lifetime man´s ability to adapt to the necessities that life throws at him.

The clearest example of the above phenomenon is the computer. Three decades ago, in the late 1970s, very few people knew how to operate one. Some people believed that computers would always be limited to use by businesses and specially trained personnel. They couldn´t imagine a household computer because they didn´t believe the average human would have reason to use one, let alone be able to learn to use one. Now it would be hard to imagine life without the personal computer. It would be hard to imagine everyday life without cell phones and other electronic devices. Now nearly everyone has some level of technical knowledge when it comes to employing these devices. It seems to me that the same phenomenon would occur in a free market. Knowledge is not something that is static, it is something that grows as necessity dictates.

The ongoing, non stop bailouts, such as they are, have not been made to protect the common folk, as much as certain political forces would like you to believe. They are not being made to protect your retirement, or to keep certain people in their homes, or to safeguard jobs, or even to thaw the frozen credit market, they are being made to prop up and protect an elitist system and to help make certain the masses of humanity are forever indebted to certain monetary interests. The fact that these steps may help out some folks that have not made the wisest decisions with their money is simply a politically desired side effect. It is the middle class who have worked hard and scrimped and saved and their children who end up paying the most in the long run. It is those who have done the right thing who end up being punished while those who have chosen poorly are rewarded.

One may rightly wonder if these bailouts would have occurred in a truly free market. The answer must be unequivocally no. In a free market, failures would fail. Businesses would have to take responsibility for their poor decisions as well as good ones. A poorly run company would have to pay the consequences and a well run company would be rewarded. Would this cause suffering? Well, certainly for some, but no system is ever going to be perfect and we can´t keep pretending we can protect everyone forever. Besides, there are people suffering now with the current system and the misery will likely get much worse before it gets better. If we were to allow the companies that are going to fail to fail then there would be opportunities opening up for others who would innovate and run the businesses the way they should be run. This would give the consumer more choices, and isn´t that something most people want? The way things are going with the bailouts and the over regulation that is occurring, soon no new players will be able to get into certain markets to compete and we´ll all be stuck with few choices, and probably not very good ones, as the mergers and the centralization of banking power continue while smaller institutions go bankrupt or are bought up. Fewer choices, less service, and less innovation is not desirable.

As we move forward in these uncertain times we might do well to try to remember some of the lessons from our past. Look at the societies that have been most prosperous and you will find that they were grounded in freedom, where the people were allowed to innovate and create. It can be seen that when societies impose too many controls on people, when it comes to trading goods and services, the growth of that society is stifled. This can be seen in recent history in the fall of communism and the eastern bloc. When markets are deregulated even a little and government steps back to let them work, growth occurs. This can be seen in China´s recent climb to prominence. This is true not only in the marketplace, but in the private lives of a nation´s citizens as well. Prosperity happens when people are allowed to make up our own minds about where, how and when to spend our own money. A prosperous society is an open society free from secretive plans and dealings, free to discuss matters openly without fear of retribution. Freedom works. I can only hope the incoming administration considers this as they move forward and try to undo any harm that may have been caused by the previous administration. Somehow I doubt they will. Government has a tendency to prefer socialism and its own growth over the needs of the people.

Couch Enforcement in Keene New Hampshire – Politically Motivated?

This article was originally published in on Nov. 21st, 2008.

The word soviet means council, as in city council or a committee. It is a democratically elected body of people set up with the purpose of controlling the lives of others. These people would get together and plan the lives of those in their local communities, answering to higher up, larger soviets until they reached the Supreme Soviet where the central planning happened. That is basically how the Soviet Union was run, with the consent of the governed. The community soviets would lay their plans, make their laws, and institute their plans and if you didn´t like it, tough. The people in charge of the soviets had their visions and come hell or high water they were going to see to it that those visions were made into reality. In the Soviet Union, if you thought better of the local soviet´s plan and spoke your mind or dissented, the punishment was severe. But then again in the Soviet Union most people were dependent on government for their existence. Why, their whole lives were planned for them from cradle to grave by the government. At least, that´s what I was taught.

Today, we have similar institutions in the United States. We have city councils. We have county boards. We have committees that pass laws and make their plans for your property and the property of your neighbor. They believe that since they have the power to do such things and since they collect your money in the form of taxes that they can tell you what you can and can´t do with your property, the same property that you are paying for, that you are supposed to be the sovereign of. A meek and docile public hardly ever takes the time to even question what these people are doing, they simply assume these people have the best interests of the general public at heart and obey the dictates that are thrown their way. They go along to get along. And if they violate an ordinance and are cited and fined for it, they mostly merely grumble, pay the fine, correct the problem the soviet – I mean the bureaucrats – have with it and move on with their lives as if nothing happened. How easy it seems for these people to forgive, or how hard it is for them to figure out they´ve been ripped off.

In Keene New Hampshire there is a person known as the city planner. Her name is Mikaela L. Engert. Judging from her bios and the information she posted about herself online, she seems rather proud of her position in the local soviet, I mean the city government. She seems particularly worried about the effects of climate change in Keene and is making plans to help the residents there deal with their greenhouse gas emissions. Good thing, because I´m sure the citizens of Keene contribute mightily to the greenhouse gases in this world with their gas lawn mowers and they would want to do their share to make things right, particularly if it means giving more of their hard earned money to government in the form of greenhouse gas taxes. But, we shouldn´t worry about that. I´m sure these bureaucrats know exactly what they´re doing and they have only your best interests at heart, and that´s why they should be able to tell you what to do with your private property.

Certainly Ms. Engert has a vital role to play in the central planning of the city of Keene and its growth. It seems she has a vision. She explained this vision and the "visioning process" on an episode of a radio show called "Talkback" that airs in and around Keene New Hampshire. During that episode, a gentleman named Sam called in to ask her about the violence inherent in the system by explaining what would happen to him if he tried to build on property he owned without first asking permission from the "authorities." As his points became clear she suddenly didn´t like the tone of the conversation and ended it. Later, one Ian Freeman, AKA Ian Bernard, called in to question her on the "visioning process" as she called it. He wondered if his vision would count and she answered it would, but she didn´t seem too convincing. He then asked her if she would advocate aggressing against her neighbors and she said "I wouldn´t advise aggressing against anybody."

One week after this occurrence, Ian had his first encounter with Carl Patten, Jr., AKA the couch enforcer. Things went down hill for Ian pretty quickly from there. The authorities were immediately demanding payment claiming some obscure, archaic city ordinance had been broken because his tenants had put a couch out in the yard to sit on while bird watching. Ian refused to cooperate, electing instead to question authority and settle the matter between neighbors through dialog, something else Mikaela had claimed she was in favor of. Ian´s actions of questioning the system and trying to do the right thing ended in a sentence of 93 days in jail for him.

One might wonder what drove this woman to take such drastic actions against Ian. She had said she wouldn´t advise aggressing against anybody, and yet she aggressed against him less than a week later. Could it have been a political thing? Could she have felt threatened by Ian voicing such a naked truth in such a fashion? Could she have been in denial when she realized that government wasn´t the benevolent institution she thought it was and so she sought to punish the messenger? Or perhaps she knew exactly what she was doing and had been scheming the whole time. Perhaps she´s really one of those people who thinks it´s ok for someone to force compliance from another even if the other´s private property is involved. Perhaps she´s happy Ian was incarcerated and believes he got what he deserved for defying the state. And perhaps the state people are happy too, after all there are many of them who would like to see him shut up as he continues to burst their statist bubbles.

If Mikaela is sorry, truly sorry that Ian was jailed and sees now the immorality of using government force against a fellow human being, then she should be forgiven and even welcomed into the society of freedom loving individuals. If, however, she still has no problems telling others what they can and can´t do with their property and aggressing against her neighbors, the citizens of Keene had better watch out. The vision they have of what they want to do with their private property might very well clash with the vision their city planner has for Keene. The people of Keene had better start asking her if it's ok before they mow their lawns with that gas mower. They might want to check with her before they get patio furniture, or that wind chime that they think is so nice looking, or that garden gnome, or that gazing ball, or any statuary, for you never know what she might consider tacky or what doesn´t belong in her visioning process. Make sure you get the leaves raked up and the bags to the curb in a timely fashion, for we wouldn´t want to get an ordinance violation. Make sure the walks are shoveled right away, for I´m certain that the city planner´s vision of Keene does not include snow clogged sidewalks.

Some of you might think I´m being silly, but in all honesty it´s a slippery slope we go down. Once authority is accepted by the populace, you never know how far that authority will take its power. Ian, thank god, only served three days of his sentence, the rest of the ninety days were suspended by the judge, probably because they realized they had made a huge mistake and didn´t want to compound it. He did accomplish one thing in showing everyone the violence inherent in the system. He showed everyone just how far the government would go over something minor like a couch in a yard. He showed everyone that the government has nothing but force to back up their "laws" and that they are not afraid to use that force and aggress against peaceful people who have harmed no one. It was also shown how much support he has from peaceful people who just want to live free and be able to make their own decisions about their own lives and property. Let us hope that some of the people entrusted with power have learned a lesson and will be more hesitant to use that power the next time someone questions their authority in regards to a situation where there is no victim.

Tyrannical Couch Laws and a Contemptible New Hampshire Court

This article was originally published at on Nov. 15th, 2008.

Ian Freeman, AKA Ian Bernard, hosts quite a unique and successful talk show called Free Talk Live. His innovations in the field led me to start listening to talk radio again. His approach is simple, let anyone who wants to call in talk about anything he wants to talk about. It´s kind of a freedom of speech thing. I´ve been listening for over two years now and the range of topics is as varied as people are diverse. They´ve talked about everything from alcohol consumption to zombie invasions, from human sexual behavior to better parenting, from animal rights to healthy eating habits, but the main thrust of the show seems to center around liberty and the freedom philosophy. That seems to be Ian´s main objective, to provide freedom of speech over the airwaves. It´s refreshing to listen to a talk radio program where the host doesn´t necessarily cut the caller off and start spouting his own statist philosophy when the caller says something the host doesn´t agree with. Better than that, the calls aren´t screened beyond asking for a name and topic. I know because I´ve called the show several times. You´ll never know what the caller will say. It makes for interesting radio.

Ian more than simply talks about his freedom philosophy on a radio program, he lives it. It´s sad that there are so few people in this world who actually live the freedom philosophy, but Ian is one of them. Most people want to be free to live their own lives, and yet they wish to tell others what to do and how to live theirs. Ian is one of the few that realizes that if one wishes to live free and make his own decisions, he must allow others to do the same. At least, that´s the feeling I get after listening to him for so long.

Ian wanted to live with other like minded people. It is for this reason he packed up his life and moved from Florida to New Hampshire as part of The Free State Project. He wanted to live peacefully amongst other residents who honored their neighbors´ choices, respected property rights, and understood the concept of personal responsibility. Unfortunately he recently found out that even in "The Free State" of New Hampshire there still resides quite a number of collectivists who feel that they have the right to tell you what to do with your property and they are not afraid to use the power of the state to force you to do as they will.

In addition to owning and hosting his own radio talk show, Ian owns a duplex in Keene New Hampshire. He lives on one side with has tenants living on the other. Unbeknownst to him, his tenants had long ago put a couch out in the yard. It is my understanding that they did this for the purpose of bird watching. Furthermore, this couch was so inconspicuous that Mark Edge, his co-host, has claimed he did not even know the couch was there until it was pointed out to him. Yet this couch somehow managed to supposedly catch the attention of a female living near the duplex who allegedly became so upset at this monstrosity despoiling the entire neighborhood that she lost several nights sleep over it and finally simply had to call the authorities in to force Ian to remove the eyesore from his land.

Ok, so I was exaggerating a little with that last sentence, but you get the idea. A couch enforcer (AKA code enforcer) named Carl Patten Jr. came by Ian´s property, looked at the couch and then ticketed Ian for an ordinance violation. This is all well documented and on the ticket for ordinance violation a box marked "other" is checked and "Junk couch out on lawn" is written in Mr. Patten´s hand. I wonder if there is an actual ordinance against couches on a lawn or if Mr. Patten is just given the power to determine, using his own judgment, whether something on someone´s lawn constitutes an ordinance violation. In any case, Ian refused to submit to Mr. Patten´s authority.

Ian seems to believe in the sanctity of private property and refused to get rid of a couch that was not rightfully his, but belonged to his tenants. He also understood that although he owned the property, he was renting it out and therefore the lawn on that side of the house was also rightfully for his tenants´ use. Other people don´t seem to hold dear the concept of private property rights and think they can tell others what to do with their property. It certainly didn´t seem to matter to the authoritarians in Keene who started to demand that Ian dispose of his tenants´ property or face the hell that only tyrannical bureaucrats can dish out when someone decides to not bow before their dictates.

After some wrangling and dealing with the bureaucrats, Ian decided he would get rid of the couch (I believe with his tenants´ consent) if he could meet with the neighbor who filed the original complaint. It seems Ian was under the delusion that he was still living in the United States of America where one is allowed to face his accuser. He was told this was not going to happen and so Ian could not in good conscience comply with the wishes of the authoritarians. And so a trial date was set.

On November 14, 2008, that trial took place. Many of Ian´s supporters showed up to watch. To New Hampshire´s credit, they did allow at least one camera in the courtroom. In Illinois, the courts are so afraid that their activities will be exposed for the public to see that they don´t even allow still picture cameras or audio recording devices to be brought into the courtroom. Warning signs were posted in the courthouse for all the activists to see stating that if they didn´t stand when His Majesty the Judge entered the courtroom they would be arrested for contempt of court. That´s because judges are obviously superior to us plebeians and are humans of higher quality like royalty. I mean, it´s not like this is the United States of America where all men are supposed to be treated as equals.

If one watches the footage from the trial, one notices that the trial lasts all of about seven seconds from the time His Majesty Judge Burke enters before Ian is arrested, handcuffed, and taken into custody. His crime? It seems he didn´t sit down fast enough to satisfy Judge Burke´s demand and was cited for contempt of court. From that point, Ian was quickly shuttled into a different courtroom where cameras were not allowed. A small monitor with reportedly little sound was provided so his supporters could "see" what was happening in the other room, but they likely couldn´t tell what was going on in there. He was reportedly cited two more times for contempt of court while in that other courtroom and sentenced to 90 days in jail for those violations.

In my opinion what the court did was contemptible. I suppose since I hold that opinion and I´ve expressed it here I could be held for contempt of court also. But it is contemptible that these thugs can come into a courtroom and arrest and handcuff a man then pull him away from his supporters before he even gets a chance to sit down, let alone speak. It is contemptible that a judge can enter the courtroom in such a combative fashion as Judge Burke did and cite a man and have him jailed for a thought crime. It is contemptible that one is not able to speak freely in such a public forum and that one is not able to express contempt for a system that is obviously out of control. The power hungry, men like Judge Burke who obviously consider themselves to be better than the rest of humanity and above reproach, do not like their authority to even appear to be questioned. He showed today that he is willing to use state sanctioned thugs and act violently if he even thinks his authority will be challenged.

From listening to Free Talk Live I believe that Ian was ready to ask some poignant questions. He wanted to know if anyone was in any way harmed by his tenants having a couch on the lawn. He wanted to know who his accuser was. He wanted to face his accuser, as it is supposedly one´s right to do so in this nation. He wanted to know if authority was set up by consent of the governed, as is stated in the New Hampshire state constitution, or not. He wanted to know where his obligation to obey such silly, victimless laws came from. He wanted to know when and how he consented to the authority these people claimed they had over him. Apparently, the Keene court was not ready to answer these questions, for it was obvious they had planned on arresting Ian immediately and taking him away from his support where they could exercise the full weight of their kangaroo court. The other two contempt of court charges probably stemmed from Ian´s asking these types of questions. This, my friends, is the state of the American injustice system today.

In my youthful naiveté I used to believe that the United States of America held no political prisoners. I know better now. Ian is just the latest in a long, long list of political prisoners. The courts in this country are out of control. The court system is contemptible. It is no longer true that a man is innocent until proven guilty. In my experience quite the opposite is true and a man is presumed guilty unless he can prove himself innocent, which is why so many people take plea bargains. But nothing is worse than the contempt of court charge. It is merely a way to force compliance from someone who sticks up for his rights or the rights of others. It is a way for the court to not have to answer poignant and applicable questions about the legitimacy of their system. It is a way to keep thinking people from pointing out the flaws in the system. It is a way they can avoid answering to their critics and for their mistakes. The contempt of court charge should be outlawed. A free person should be allowed to express his contempt for a vile and flawed system.

In the courtroom, the defendant isn´t the only one that should be on trial, but the law itself should be on trial. This should be basic to rooting out bad laws. When people are not allowed to question to the legitimacy of a law in a courtroom, then where can he? Certainly not in congress where the working man is unable to spend much time and where a quorum of legislators doesn´t necessarily equal a quorum of common folk. The courts were supposed to be set up to protect individual rights, and yet more and more often they are instead violating those rights. The noose is tightening around the neck of the common man. There´s no place left for us to go.

It seems to me that the courts are scared. At least this one was. They are like a cornered animal. They are dangerous now, ready to commit violence on anyone who would dare to question their legitimacy. The freedom loving people of this country need to apply more pressure than ever. We need to shine light upon those involved with the so called justice system and expose them for the gang of thugs that they are. If enough of us shout and squabble and fuss and protest and refuse to cooperate, they will relent. Taking back our justice system, especially our local systems, so that it protects individual rights and only prosecutes crimes where there is a known individual victim would be a huge step toward taking back the rest of our government. Perhaps this movement can start in New Hampshire. Judge Burke may not know it yet, but likely he has created a new martyr for the freedom movement, likely he has helped it in the recruiting of liberty loving activists. Let this be our new mantra: "Free Ian!"

Credit, the Road to a One World Elitist Government

This article was originally published at on Nov. 4th, 2008.

Many average Americans, indeed many average citizens around the world, are beginning to wonder exactly what is happening with the world economy. They are worried as they see their savings shrink. They are worried as they hear about the credit crisis. They are worried as they see institutions fail financially. They are worried as they see their financial markets shrink. Some have begun demanding that government help out failing banking systems while others have questioned the wisdom of such demands. Indeed, governments worldwide have stepped in and started spending other people´s money on helping out the richest of the rich. Even as the United States government and its agents in the Federal Reserve throw hundreds of billions at the largest banks to try to "thaw the frozen credit markets," markets continue to fail most likely due to sour economic data and lack of confidence.

So why should this be? It all seems so convoluted. There´s all this talk of toxic debt, bad mortgages and unfathomable derivatives. What does it all mean? Well, there are some things that are interesting to consider. First off, when money is created as a function of debt, the interest that is needed to pay off that debt is never created. Second off, debt money is really nothing except perhaps a promise of what might be. It is not something that has already been created. It is a non existent construct, something that has yet to be brought into the world. It is nothing. When money is created from nothing, and then paid back, it fades back into nothing. It was created on a computer for a bank as an asset and when paid back is taken off the bank´s books. It cannot be loaned out again and new money must be created again from something that might be. In such a system, debt can never be completely paid off and a vicious cycle is created.

One can, in a way, sum up what is happening by making an example of one´s own personal finances. Mine would make a good example as they are extremely screwed up at the moment, just like the finances of this nation seem to be. The difference is, for me there is a light at the end of the tunnel providing I keep working hard, for the nation things may be a little different.

In the course of raising five children and trying to better my circumstances through education, I have, as you can imagine, accumulated quite a bit of debt. For years I lived beyond my means. Now that circumstances permit and my children have grown, I have scaled back on my living expenses. My income hasn´t increased in the last five years and prices have gone up, but I have found ways to live within my means and I´m starting to pay down my debt. One thing I know for sure, I will not fall into the trap of using credit again. If I can´t afford something, I will not buy it until I have saved enough money for it. In fact, I´m keeping my purchases to a minimum and paying as much as I can on my credit card debt until it´s paid off and I owe no one. Perhaps it´s time for the government to do the same.

In my situation, I basically feel like I own nothing. In fact, as long as one is in debt, one might as well own nothing. Anyone you are indebted to can come along and appeal to some "judge" to let them take possession of your things to satisfy the debt. In this way they end up owning what you once considered yours, but in fairness it was really theirs all along. Anyone you are indebted to can come along and appeal to some "judge" to let them take a portion of your pay until your debt is satisfied. In this way they can end up owning you and your labor. Debt can be just as onerous for a nation to have. I believe that just about everyone would prefer to own their stuff rather than be in debt. I believe most everyone would like to feel secure in the belief that their belongings and effects cannot be legally taken from them by any agent of the state or any other entity laying claim to said belongings. So long as one keeps oneself out of debt, so long as one is beholden to no one else, this should be so. What´s mine is mine, what´s yours is yours, what´s theirs is theirs and as long as we enter into no binding contracts no entity should be able to lay legal claim to another entity´s property.

The finances of nations can be similar. If a government spends beyond its means, say to maintain an empire, it must borrow money and go into debt. Those to whom the nation is indebted might start to feel they own anything that can be considered public. If the government defaults on its obligations, they might seek remedy by trying to lay claim to public lands, roads, buildings or other assets. Banks and other influential lending institutions to which insolvent governments are beholden can threaten to take such properties if certain demands aren´t met. These demands can include things like turning over the rights to natural resources and collecting more taxes from the populace. In this way they claim more than just public properties, they claim the labor of the populace. They claim rights to the nation´s people. If the government refuses to submit to such demands, the banks or other lenders can threaten to destroy the nation´s economy and many feel they can successfully carry out such a threat.

This is how the elite gain control, through threats and coercion. They are in control of the money, its printing, who its loaned to, how much interest will be paid, etc. This is true in not only the United States, but in every country in the world. They probably have most of the world´s gold. They probably have a good chunk of the world´s silver and other precious metals stored away. They´ve most likely hoarded as much as they can get away with. That way, as they print more and more fiat currency and drive down the value of those moneys, they maintain their own worth. These people protect only their own interests and their friends. They don´t care about the common folk and would not hesitate to lay claim to the people themselves, looking upon you as nothing more than a slave to service their needs. This is true worldwide.

One fallacy that is used against the people of the world is that wealth is something that is limited. Many believe there is only so much wealth in the world and that they must fight and scrape for their "fair" share. When one comes to realize that wealth is infinite, that it is created from resources, then one takes his first step onto a path towards independence. Real wealth isn´t the money that´s printed, real wealth is the land food is grown on, or the house on that land, or the television set in that house. Real wealth is created by human ingenuity and human ingenuity operates best when it is unregulated by government and allowed the liberty to freely innovate, market, compete and associate with others. This is true in all realms, including the realm of money and money creation.

The banks and lenders are merging their way into virtual monopolies. Our government and governments around the world have facilitated this by giving the biggest financial institutions huge amounts of money, hence indebting their people, and then calling these giveaways bailouts or rescues. This is leading to a centralization of monetary power that can amount to a ruling class in charge of the economy of the entire world. Such a situation makes it all the easier for corruption to take place. Such a situation would not be beneficial to the common man and would likely lead to greater police state tactics and greater injustices to those of us who are not politically connected. That is the nature of centralization of power, for power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

Such a situation can be avoided if smaller banks are allowed to compete by issuing their own moneys. These moneys can be backed by precious metals or other forms of real wealth. People should be allowed to decide for themselves which moneys they want to trust and use and which they don´t. For instance, a man might decide he wants to use notes from Tinybank which is backed by copper rather than notes from the Federal Reserve which is backed by America´s credit rating. Of course, that would mean getting rid of legal tender laws. Yes, this might make it a little more difficult to determine the worth of certain pieces of paper, but it also makes it more difficult for the banks issuing the money to dupe the populace.

Alternatively, we could use the laws on the books to bring those with too much economic power to heel. We as a society could demand that those who benefit from this 700 billion dollar bailout pay back the public using gold and silver (at the market price equal to the price of gold or silver at the time it was given to the institution.) We could then use those metals to back US treasury notes in a manner consistent with the constitution. In this way we could slowly phase out the Federal Reserve and go back to constitutional money which the government could loan out and profit upon as the private owners of the Federal Reserve are now doing. The interest collected could be used to run a much scaled down federal government. The dollar would stabilize and remain strong, making saving money more practical and desirable. Such a situation would likely cause the world to follow suit.

Whichever way would be chosen, it is obvious that the current system has failed us. It continues to fail us even as we try to stem the tide. Our politicians have refused to listen to the demands of their constituents. They passed their plans despite the wishes of the people. They are most likely not going to be held accountable for their actions. They have also failed us. Yet this is the real change we need, some kind of change in the way the monetary system is run. We´ve had enough of monopoly and corruption. It´s time to demand better not only for the citizens of the United States, but for freemen around the world.

Monday, November 3, 2008

The Election is Over, We Lost, Time For Revolution

This article was originally published at on Nov. 1st, 2008.

Yes, I know, the election is still a couple of days away. It doesn´t matter. Perhaps I´m a little cynical, but I believe this election was decided long ago, maybe even as long as two years ago. At the very least, about a year ago we were already hearing about John McCain and this newcomer named Barack Obama as likely candidates for their respective parties. Even as Ron Paul was surging in the polls and gaining support of the masses, we were being told by the corporate media that he was unelectable. We saw others like Mitt Romney and Hillary Clinton also put forward as possible candidates. The best choices, those candidates most opposed to war and in favor of preserving government´s recognition of individual rights, were quickly marginalized by the powers that be and their media lapdogs.

Only now, in the closing days of the election, have I started to hear either of the candidates make any kind of argument even remotely relating to the innate human desire for freedom and self reliance. Only recently has John McCain come out to accuse Barack Obama of being a socialist and a proponent of wealth redistribution. This is not an inaccurate description of the Democrat candidate and yet, given John McCain´s voting record, this is like the pot calling the kettle black. Mr. McCain has certainly voted for his share of social programs that steal money from this nation´s working class.

Both the Democrat and the Republican candidates can be classified as collectivists. Both have policies that disregard the rights of individuals in favor of the state. They both seek power over others in order to further their personal agendas. Neither one of these men have any new ideas, just old ones rehashed for the modern American who likely knows little about history and understands its significance even less. It really doesn´t matter which of these two win, assuming one of the two major party candidates win, they were both picked by virtually the same corporate interests and they´re both beholden to those same special interests and not the people of this great nation.

I don´t believe these are the types of men we need in office right now. I believe we need someone who is willing and able to stand up to all special interests. I believe we need someone who puts the constitution above all else. If either of these two major party candidates win, and I believe one will, the American public loses. In fact, I believe the world loses, for the further socialization of the American Empire dims the already fading vision of the beacon of freedom the world used to flock to.

But, as I stated in the title, I believe the election is already over. After all, the media has been telling us who we were going to vote for all along. We´ve been told who to like and who to dislike. We´ve been told whose ideas were good and whose were "crazy," who was electable and who was unelectable, and who others voters were attracted to. In short, we´ve been told what to think and greatly curtailed in our efforts to think for ourselves.

The issues have become secondary. They are no longer discussing relevant solutions to the problems our nation faces so much as they are discussing personalities and how to best lock down government control over our system. These candidates are not talking about getting rid of taxes all together but who should be taxed more and who the stolen money should go to. They are not talking about abolishing the Federal Reserve and introducing a new monetary system, they are talking about the best way to prop up a system destined to fail by its very nature. They are not talking about pulling our military out of all the countries and bringing them home as a way to save money, they are talking about how we can continue our empire and win wars we shouldn´t be involved in. And they are both talking about how to best grow the government to provide for its citizens, as if the citizens of this nation are all children that can´t provide for themselves, rather than how best to shrink the size of government and let the citizens keep what they earn and provide for their own needs. In short, neither the Republican candidate nor his Democrat counterpart are friends of liberty as both want government involved in every aspect of everyone´s lives rather than allowing the citizenry to live free.

The time has come for the citizenry of this country to start the process of taking it back. We may likely have lost a battle, so what shall we do now? Do we simply give up and accept our fate? Do we simply stay quiet and move along to get along while our nation becomes a cesspool of socialistic corruption? Do we silently bow our heads and ignore the police state as our friends and neighbors become victims of bankrupt political policies? I say no. There remains hope. Freedom and self reliance are states of nature men were meant to live in. Deep down, we all know this. Most of us long for independence. The struggle between collectivism and individualism goes on, as it has for centuries now. We are all sovereigns of our own lives, and it´s time we started acting as such. The more of us who recognize this and live our lives independent of government, the better off everyone becomes.

Peaceful revolution is still possible. We still have the basics necessary to put pressure on those in power to do the right thing. While the executive branch of the federal government may be beyond the reach of the common man, and the senate might be equally entrenched, we can still influence the House of Representatives. Take action. Join groups like and Ron Paul´s Campaign for Freedom. Get involved. Pay attention. Make your representative accountable for his actions. Or you can try some peaceful activism and non co-operation.

The justice system can be influenced by citizens acting on juries to rid ourselves of tyrannical laws. We need not make crimes of victimless behavior and we should express this view in the jury box by not convicting our friends and neighbors who engage in victimless crimes. Bench judges may tell you that the bad laws cannot be judged, but that is a lie. It was jury nullification that rid us of prohibition and jury nullification can rid us of other unconstitutional laws. When we start living like freemen, behaving like freemen, and demanding to be respected as freemen by those who would exercise power over us, then we will once again become freemen. Otherwise, we are destined to remain the sheeple those in power long for us to be.

Keep educating your neighbors and anyone else who may think poorly of the concept of freedom. The more who awaken to its light, the more empowered we all become. There has been a stirring in the populace as more and more the whispers of these concepts can be heard in the taverns and other places where people gather. A nation of freemen is not something to be trifled with. Don´t let a small defeat like this election cycle bring you down and fill you with doubt. The peaceful revolution is gaining traction. The sleeping spirit of freedom inside us all is once again flexing its muscle, and those who would try to keep it down may soon find out it is a force to be reckoned with.

The True Nature of Change

This article was originally published at on Oct. 15th, 2008.

There´s been a lot of talk about change in this year´s presidential campaign. Apparently, both the Democrat and Republican candidates seem to believe they can deliver change to the American people. And, of course, no matter which candidate is elected there will be change. The questions are, how much change and what kind of change?

Change is something that is constant. Everything is always changing. Even the tallest mountain is slowly eroding, or being slowly thrust upward. When you wake up in the morning nothing will be the same. Sure, most things will be familiar, but everything you know will have aged, everything around you will have moved in one way or another, everything will have changed, even if only in some slight way. No matter how one tries to keep things the same, one can never stop change. It is destined to happen.

Talking about change is meaningless. It´s about the most worthless thing one can promise. Change happens, no matter what. A calm sunny day can suddenly change into a stormy one and vice versa. A nation can change from a prosperous one to an impoverished one, and vice versa. To promise change without being more specific as to the type of change and the details of how change is to happen can be dangerous. It´s about as useless as offering hope. Hope for what? Better days, or simply that the pain does not increase? Sometimes the pain can get so bad that people will hope for death. Personally, I hope for smaller, less intrusive government. I don´t see either presidential candidate attempting to cause that change to occur nor offering me any hope that it will.

As far as I can tell, the changes either of the major party candidates offer are equivalent to changing the type of accelerant an arsonist wants to use to burn a building down. They are simply proposing that they modify the rules of the game to the benefit of themselves or their friends rather than changing the game being played for the benefit of all. They will try to make one believe they are doing it to be more fair, or for the good of the country, but in reality they are making it even more certain that the rich will get richer and the poor will stay dependent upon them. They are changing the rules to make it even less likely that independence can be achieved for the individual.

In the long run, change comes down to either making ours an individualist society as the founders of this country dreamed it would be or making it a collectivist society as men like Carl Marx, Vladimir Lenin, Adolph Hitler, Benito Mussolini, and their ilk dreamed they could entrap all mankind in. Mr. Obama and Mr. McCain both want to keep marching down the collectivist road we as a society took the first steps upon long ago. Indeed, the only changes they are willing to make are changes in the speed at which we are heading toward a complete collective and the type of socialism that will rule over us.

Neither Obama nor McCain want to change direction, take that fork in the road and start heading down a path toward a more individualist society. Neither one has talked about repealing the unconstitutional, intrusive laws that have been passed since 9/11/2001. Neither one has talked about doing away with the Fed and going back to constitutional money or switching over to a competitive monetary system to get us out from under the thumb of the international gang of banksters. The only change they offer is bigger, more intrusive government. They only offer more theft for the tax payers and more corruption. They only offer more divisions and wider rifts between the classes.

It should be remembered that this nation was built upon the foundation that the individual is the most important component of any group. This is the reason that certain amendments in the Bill of Rights state that government shall not infringe upon individual rights. Groups of people don´t have rights other than those appointed to each individual in that group. When one infringes upon the rights of an individual, it weakens the group. In this way, certain large groups can be whittled down and individuals can be shuffled from one group to another. The larger group might become the privileged group and the smaller group denied a certain right. This type of change shows how a pure democracy does not necessarily promote freedom. On the other hand, if a minority group has enough political power, they can decide to infringe upon the rights of the majority thus becoming a de facto aristocracy. This can be successfully accomplished by using fear, force or threats, either economic, physical or otherwise.

Slowly our society has changed from a republic into a strange political animal ruled by an elite class that tries its best to maintain the façade of a free society even as the foundations of our liberties are eroded away. The propaganda we´ve been exposed to since we were children has done its job for the most part as many people still believe we are the freest nation on earth and our country is the best. Few seem to realize that we long ago stopped being a country and started being an empire and as an empire grows it becomes increasingly difficult to keep the empire and still honor individual freedom. Few seem to recognize the tyranny used to support the pillars of empire. The poorest workers have always suffered in anonymity as the powerful have kept them hidden and built their wealth on their backs. The middle classes and wealthier have allowed for their own wealth to be extorted by the elite and political classes. Even the elite and political classes suffer somewhat as they struggle to keep hidden certain facets of society, afraid of the reaction of the masses should such "secrets" become evident. In effect, everybody has become enslaved to the system that has been set up. The system itself becomes the monster everyone fears. The change needed is to open the system, remove the cancer of force and coercion that government is, and begin to live by the philosophies of individual freedom, voluntary government, self determination and individual responsibility.

Change, but its very nature, can be good or bad. It can be drastic or subtle. It can cause destruction or promote growth. It can combine these characteristics in a myriad of ways and cause unforeseen consequences. Yet as a society we continue to choose change that has proven in the past to lead to destruction and dire consequences. We need to be careful about the change we choose. We need to evaluate the choices we make and try to steer toward change that has proven to promote prosperity and growth. We need to change back to what we were at one time, a society that promoted liberty of the individual and honored personal choice. That is how we became a prosperous nation and that is how we can continue to be one.

Big Bailout, Shafting the Honest Folk

This article was originally published at on Oct. 6th, 2008.

Were you paying attention? Did you hear them speaking? Did you listen to what they were saying? Perhaps you did, but I can say this, I don´t believe they listened to you. In fact, they more or less proved they don´t care about you one iota, unless you happen to be one of their wealthy friends.

The 700 billion dollar bailout congress passed on Oct. 3rd, 2008 has ballooned and will continue to do so. It will go to the banks and to the lobbyists who support the cabal in Washington, DC. Though it is your money to be stolen from you in the form of taxes, when it comes back to you it will do so in the form of loans where you will have to pay interest to borrow your own money. By the time these loans are paid back, the banks will have "earned" most likely many times the original amount in interest. The common man once again gets screwed. Our progeny has been sold out. Most of you likely already realized this. Most of us common folk realized this, judging from the amount of calls, emails, etc. received in the House of Representatives. Yet none of that mattered.

Both Barack Obama and John McCain proved that they were nothing more than yes men for the moneyed interests. Neither one of these so called men are leaders. If one of these men had been a leader, he´d have spoken out against this bill. If one had done that, he´d have likely sewn up the presidential election right there. Both these men are afraid of speaking out against these special interests. Both are afraid of challenging the power of the Fed and the various moneyed lobbyists. This latest incident, this "credit crisis" proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that neither one of these men is ready to deliver any kind of significant change. This incident makes any kind of comparison of Barack Obama to John F. Kennedy laughable. John F. Kennedy at least spoke out against the Fed, secret societies, and other powerful entities influencing government. Obama merely talks about "change" and "hope" as if simply talking about them will make things better and McCain simply parrots Obama and hides behind the skirts of a feisty woman in hopes she´ll win him the election. It breaks my heart to think 100 million honest, hard working people will waste their votes on one of these two undeserving men instead of voting for another choice.

The Senate showed just how despicable it was during this farce. They decided to override all proper legislative procedures and introduce into the house their version of the bill using a legislative "trick" to put pressure on the peoples´ representatives to pass a bad bill. Like Mr. Stranger Danger trying to entice a child into his car, they loaded the bill with a bunch of "treats" in an effort to get the people of this country to climb on board. Perhaps the common folk of this country weren´t foolish enough to climb into such a vehicle, we were taught better than to trust a stranger with candy, but the majority of our representatives apparently couldn´t resist the temptation.

On the other side of the coin, the banking industry was trying to frighten us into submission. They were threatening economic holocaust should the bill not pass. They were threatening a total collapse of our entire economy if the bill should fail. We were supposed to shake and quake in fear and submit to their demands. They acted as if the economy depended upon a few big banks distributing money. They acted as if they were the ones in control of the economy instead of the markets being free and left to obey the dictates of supply and demand. Perhaps they are right as they have built a fraudulent system predicated upon their ability to extend credit rather than a system based upon honest money that one has already earned. Though the people on Main Street America (a phrase those in power have recently been using) were not frightened by the scare tactics of the moneyed interests, our representatives apparently were.

Now I believe in the people of this great nation of ours and I believe that we would continue to do business with each other even if the credit system collapsed, but I´ve also no doubt that those in power with all that money could indeed do great damage to our economy if they so wished. If this is so, wouldn´t it make more sense to take the credit issuing system out of the hands of private interests like the Federal Reserve and integrate it back into the Treasury Department so at the very least the people don´t have to pay interest when they borrow their own money? The Constitution of this great nation spells out that the coinage of money is, after all, the purview of the House of Representatives. Why should we entrust our system of money and credit to those who would use it as a means to blackmail us?

But that is another point perhaps to be revisited upon on another day. Right now, I´m more concerned with the total breakdown of our system of governance. It starts with the leadership. We are supposed to take their advice into consideration. In this case, we did, and the people decided they didn´t like the advice they were being given by an administration that has constantly lied to us. It trickled down to the Senate whose members can perhaps get passes because it can be argued that they are supposed to be looking after the best interests of the state they represent, not necessarily the people of that state. It is a weak argument, but a valid one. It is in the House of Representatives, where the members are supposed to carry out the will of their constituents, not their own personal will, that the breakdown was most evident.

By all accounts, something happened in congress that was unprecedented during the last few days. Many people actually took the time to write, email or phone their congress critters in the hopes that this time their voices would be heard and someone would pay attention to them. The people of this country overwhelmingly told their congressmen to vote against this bailout bill. They did what they were supposed to do. They participated in the system that is supposed to represent the will of the people. But instead of being listened to, the people found that their pleas fell upon too many deaf ears. Even the Representatives in the people´s house no longer care what the people have to say. Even they are beholden to the moneyed interests.

Perhaps Nancy Pelosi, the Speaker of the House, best illustrates the disdain for the people these Representatives seem to have. The powerful, magnificent, all knowing Nancy Pelosi reportedly said that the people of her district were uninformed when asked about the overwhelming numbers who had taken the time to write, email or phone her concerned that she would vote "yes" for a bailout bill and asking that she vote "no." She didn´t care what the people of her district thought or felt. This almighty, omnipotent being knew better than her lowly, uninformed subjects. She wasn´t going to put aside her own feelings and vote the will of the people she represents, which is supposed to be her job. She wasn´t even going to try to slow down the passage of the bill so that she could explain to the people in her district why she felt the bill was necessary and try to change their minds. To her, it wasn´t important that they understand, as long as she did. No, she´d simply vote against the will of the people of her district and call them ignorant. The same was true for all the other congressmen who followed her lead and voted for the bailout.

I hope you were paying attention. I hope everyone was paying attention. It became obvious to me years and perhaps even decades ago that voting, especially at the federal level, didn´t much matter in the grander scheme of things and that it seemed no matter who ran for office only puppets of the moneyed interests somehow managed to gain office. Whenever a principled politician ran against an establishment candidate it seemed the game was rigged in favor of the establishment candidate. Somehow, despite years of abuse and obvious power brokering, a vast majority of incumbents manage to get re-elected. I´m hoping against hope it will be different this year. I´m hoping to see every congress critter who voted for this bill voted out of office, no matter his party, no matter how you feel about party politics. It would be nice to see such vacancies taken by principled men and women of third parties, but simply voting out those 263 members who voted for this bill against the will of the people of their districts would send a very powerful message, and I have the feeling that in order to accomplish this they will have to be overwhelmingly voted out.

Watching the events of last week has given me hope, and I believe it has given many other freedom loving individuals hope as well. Even though we seemingly lost a very important battle, I at least have seen some encouraging happenings. The people of this great nation of ours are awakening. They have grown sick and tired of the very powerful and the very wealthy manipulating our system of government. They have shown they want to take the government back and make it fairer for all. They have shown they want to take part in the decision making processes. They have shown they care. They did things the way they were supposed to do things in order to create peaceful change, and they were still frustrated, so now it becomes necessary to speak at the voting both. I can only hope the polls aren´t rigged. If they are, then God help us all.

In 1962 in a speech at the White House, John F. Kennedy said, "Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable." Let us hope his words are not prophetic. Let us hope that there is no one behind the scenes making peaceful revolution impossible.

Taxing the Middle Class Into Oblivion

This article was originally published at on Oct. 3rd, 2008.

A friend of mine, Jon, initiated a conversation with me the other day. He wanted to tell me a story. You see, he had recently received his property tax bill. Of course, his taxes had gone up. It seems the government had his house appraised and felt it was worth more than it had been last year. Never mind that his neighbor´s homes that have been for sale haven´t been selling, except those that were sold at bargain basement prices. Never mind that his neighborhood has half a dozen abandoned homes, something of a recent phenomenon. That didn´t matter to the county government who assessed his property and levied those taxes. They base their judgments on something other than reality. After all, Jon is still living in his house, but apparently on their land. They want their yearly tribute and they couldn´t care less what the reality of the neighborhood is, or what the reality of his financial situation is.

Jon called the local agency in charge of extorting money from the area peasants and lodged a complaint. He wanted to know why they were demanding so much when property values had obviously gone down. They told him they felt the value of his "land" had increased due to their hard work to make sure the area maintained the amenities that buyers in the real estate market would look for when shopping for a new home. Never mind that those buyers are now more or less non existent. Jon asked what they would say if he hired an unbiased assessor to assess his property to prove that its value had fallen precipitously. According to Jon, the agency flunky who had answered the phone laughed into it and told him that his taxes would never go down. He explained that they needed his money for their schools, and roads, and police, and fire department, etc. and that his taxes were destined to increase in perpetuity. This left Jon fuming.

Jon proceeded to go across the street to a neighbor´s house where a group of five men had already gathered. They were drinking beer and talking amongst themselves, as sometimes neighbors around here still do. Jon brought up the issue by asking these neighbors of his if they had gotten their tax bills. This opened up a can of worms as he quickly found out that all the neighbors had indeed received notices telling them their houses were worth more than they knew them to be worth and increasing the amount of tribute they needed to deliver to those sitting on the throne of county government. All six men were now fuming together. Someone actually had the nerve to mention the word revolution in a rather loud tone. He said something like "The people of this nation are going to have to have a revolution soon." This left the others speechless as they all just stood in silent agreement and contemplation for an awkward moment.

The neighborhood where this took place is inhabited by mostly blue collar tradesmen and lower income professionals. They are hurting. They are plumbers, mechanics, electricians, carpenters, roofers, computer programmers, etc. Some of these men haven´t had work in some time. Others have had less work than before. Others have been working without raises for years. Meanwhile, their costs have gone up. The cost of electricity and gas for heating has gone up. The cost of gasoline, as everyone knows, has gone way up. The cost of food has gone up. But most of these men have had no corresponding increase in their income, or are making even less than they were a few years ago. Take this into account and it´s little wonder why there´s a mortgage crisis going on. Then, to top it off, the government, those who claim they want to represent and help the little guy, the individual, the government goes and assesses even more taxes to an already financially overburdened middle class. Is it any wonder such talk is becoming common? Those in government, at all levels, prove time and time again they don´t care about you or me, they only care about themselves, their power, and taking our money.

Unlike business, the government doesn´t talk about scaling back. They don´t talk about decreasing salaries, or postponing projects, or scrapping them outright, or cutting unnecessary waste from their budgets, or any of the cost cutting measures a business would have to take to stay afloat. They know people will be forced to pay for their services, regardless of whether anyone uses them, and so they continue to grow their budgets and put the cost on the common man. Now the common folk are really beginning to feel the pinch and many are becoming very angry. They certainly no longer feel represented.

It wasn´t long after Jon had finished telling me his story that I read an article online. I didn´t read much of the article, but the headline used stuck out at me. It intimated that tax payers were going foot the bill anyway, regardless of whether congress passes a bailout package or not. I saw the headline and I got to thinking, are there those who don´t pay taxes? Is someone intimating there that there are two classes of people, those who pay taxes and the privileged who don´t? Or perhaps this headline meant that the individuals pay taxes and the banks receive them? Maybe it would have been more accurate for the headline to read "Middle Class America Will Foot the Bill for Bankers´ Follies No Matter What." Whatever the case, I felt my blood start to boil. My fate and the fate of my fellow countrymen could very well be in the hands of a group of incompetent politicians and blood sucking, money hungry bankers. It just doesn´t seem right. I guess that´s what we get for letting those same politicians infringe upon our rights.

The system we have is failing. We need to let the institutions that are going to fail do just that. We need to just let it happen and have faith that we the people, not the politicians or the bankers, can innovate and adapt to the changing conditions. A bailout will simply delay the inevitable and cost more than it should. The politicians believe that the common man is stupid, that he doesn´t know what this is about and what´s good for him. They need to give the common man more credit than that. Even I realize when it´s time to stop borrowing and start scaling back so that the debt can get paid off. We need real solutions, like an infusion of sound money and banking practices into the system. It´s time to get rid dead wood and start anew. If the politicians can´t see that, perhaps we should all simply stop paying our taxes and start paying each other for the products and services we need and use. After all, they are trying to tax the middle class out of existence, perhaps we should not pay the tributes they demand and force them out of existence first.

Bailout Blues – Bumming Billions

This article was originally published at on Sept. 29th, 2008.

I went on a tirade the other day. I told my coworker that just this once I was abandoning my libertarian principles of non initiation of force and doing no harm. There are men in this world, men who have all the money and all the power, who just keep taking and taking from the common folk. They just want more and more. They want it all. Total control. They want everything down to the soul of the lowliest human being in the most destitute situation. And they most likely believe it is their birthright to own and control such things. Most likely they believe they are somehow better than us. Now they have the gall to ask for our help in rescuing them from their own mismanagement and poor decision making, and our great, great, great, great, great, great grandchildren will likely still be paying for it when they are old and gray if we allow this rescue to take place. It was these men I ranted against.

I wanted to see justice done. I wanted to see these men publicly hung in the most painful manner and beaten to death, just to send a message. I wanted to see the men responsible for this banking mess, this "credit crisis," this financial fiasco punished in the most severe way possible. And I wasn´t talking about the CEOs of the firms that are going under. I wasn´t talking about the huge banks that are bleeding green ink due to the so called mortgage crisis. I´m talking about the big boys in charge. I´m talking about the private individuals who own the Federal Reserve system and all the central bankers worldwide. I´m also talking about the politicians who help them swindle the general populace of not only the United States, but of the entire world with their fiat currencies. I´m talking about any politician who would now argue in favor of such a bailout, the continued failed policies of the past and the continued subjugation of the American people. It´s time for these men who pull the strings and manipulate the money supply to answer for their fraud, and it´s time for them to pay, and to pay dearly.

These rich men sitting high atop their perches looking down on us do not deserve their positions of power. They do no real work. The offer no real product or service the market needs. They simply connive and deceive the populations of the world for their own gain. The shell games they play to suck the money from your pocket and mine can no longer hold our attention. They have been robbing the US citizens of our real wealth for nearly a century now. It is time for them to give back the real wealth of our nation and we should happily return their "notes" to them. I think we can find something to replace such paper, something of real value, something like some precious metals or notes backed by precious metals that would represent the real labor of real men rather than the debt of a population.

And even if those men responsible were to suffer such harsh consequences, even if they were rounded up and thrown into a dungeon somewhere, that still would not be enough. Their fortunes were made on the backs of the working class, since the money they loan was created from nothing and backed by nothing of any real value and the interest they kept for their personal coffers was earned by real people providing real labor, goods and services. They should be the ones paying to keep their failed institutions afloat. Their personal wealth should be returned to those institutions they claim we need so badly. Their assets should be forfeit and they should be made to work to earn their keep in this world just like the rest of us poor slobs. Let´s see just how long these trillionaire bankers could last on the street. Let´s see how they´d last as a waiter, a taxi driver, a pizza deliverer, a garbage collector, or some other laborer. Let´s see if they could even learn a trade and become a tradesman. Let´s see how they´d do in business if they had any real competition. I have the feeling it wouldn´t be too well if they handled their personal finances they way they handle the financing of a nation. Perhaps they´d be able to make few dollars begging on the streets and at least give a couple of people the satisfaction of knowing they´ve helped a fellow human being that day.

All this ranting got me to thinking, what would really happen if we just let these institutions fail anyway? Surely these dire warnings these bankers spew forth are just scare tactics. Certainly people aren´t going to stop doing business just because some financial institutions fail. There will still be demand for food, clothes, travel, housing, etc. Any void left in the marketplace would soon be filled, and then we´ll all start moving forward again. Supply and demand simply need to come to a stable balance.

The bank I had my car loan with recently went under. I didn´t get to stop paying my car loan. The car didn´t magically become mine just because the bank no longer existed. Nobody came and took my car saying it was to be liquidated. Another bank bought the loan and started demanding payments from me. The same is true of mortgages. People who have been paying their mortgages for years will not suddenly own their homes outright just because their bank folds. Their loan will be picked up by another institution and they´ll keep paying like they´ve always done. Those who aren´t able to afford their mortgages will still not be able to afford their mortgages with a new institution and those loans will still likely go into default unless some private bank renegotiates the loan terms with them. I should not be forced to subsidize their mistake just because some financial institution is going to fail.

I´ve heard of a couple of interesting things happening during the recent attempts to bailout these financial institutions. The first is a Rasmussen poll that stated only seven percent of Americans polled supported the bailout. Now polls can vary widely and this has much to do with how questions are asked, and some polls contradict the one I just sited, but the people I´ve talked with overwhelmingly object to bailing out the rich bankers. And I do actually talk to real working class people everyday, unlike the elitists in Washington DC who hardly take the time to actually discuss these matters with us "little folk." It wouldn´t surprise me if the seven percent number was correct. The other thing I heard that was interesting was that our congress critters were receiving letters three hundred to one objecting to the proposed bailout. It looks as if the common man perhaps knows something those supposed omnipotent politicians don´t.

One thing I´m certain of is that the politicians couldn´t care less about what you and I think. They don´t care about the common man. They are more concerned with their friends and supporters on Wall Street and in the banks. The people overwhelmingly object to bailouts and the politicians continue to discuss the best way to go about bailing out the banks. During the debates neither Barack Obama nor John McCain spoke about not bailing out the banks. Neither one of those two jamokes mentioned attacking the root cause of the current financial debacle and abolishing the Fed. They couldn´t care less about the Constitution, our freedoms, our businesses or our families, they only care about maintaining control and the status quo for those already in power. These are not the type of men we need in leadership positions. These are not the type of men who represent the common man, the hard working middle class people who are the backbone of this country. Still, it doesn´t matter what we think, there will be a bailout come Hell or high water.

I doubt very much I´m going to get my wish. I doubt very much I´ll see these millionaire congressmen and senators behind bars. I doubt I´ll see those in the Bush administration who engaged in unconstitutional activities sufficiently punished, ever. They´ll all go along on their merry way and live the life of luxury all their crimes netted them while I and my family continue to struggle day by day to make ends meet. They´ll continue to support their billionaire bums who will continue to beg for more money from the common man. They´ll continue to rob me of my rightful income that I earned through my hard work and labor in the form of taxation. They´ll continue to force me through said taxation to pay for services I don´t use, such as bailing out financial institutions that should rightfully fail. They´ll continue to make laws infringing upon my God given rights and continue to grow government rather than reduce its size. I can only hope that the polls I read were correct and the vast majority of people do indeed find these bailouts as objectionable as I find them. I can only hope that in six weeks when it comes time to vote the people remember who it was that argued for these bailouts and who it was that voted for them. Then I hope the people vote those responsible for this mess out of office. Let´s break the back of this duopoly. At least that would be a step in the right direction.