Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Hatred, Intolerance, Violence and the Southern Poverty Law Center

“Haven’t you heard, it’s a battle of words
the poster bearer cried.
Listen son, said the man with the gun
there’s room for you inside.”
From the Pink Floyd song “Us and Them”

There is a change occurring in the modern world, a fluctuation of ideas. Students of history who look beyond the official sanctioned accounts of the “winners” to a more objective view on all sides of conflict are likely to understand that these fluctuations have been going on for a long time now, perhaps since the beginning of written history. The fluctuations have at times resulted in conflict, sometimes quite violent. They cause a struggle between ideologies that can be labeled in many different ways, big government versus small government, communism or fascism versus free market, tyranny versus freedom, or my favorite, collectivism versus individualism.

The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) enters the scene under this context. According to their website, it was founded in 1971 by self proclaimed civil rights activists. At the top of their website they have links to pages explaining how they are “Fighting Hate • Teaching Tolerance • Seeking Justice.” They claim to be monitoring hate groups and racial extremists. They claim to be independent and funded only by donations. Perhaps at one time they did good work, but I think maybe it’s time for them to re-evaluate their mission and double check their principles.

They recently released a document entitled “Meet the Patriots.” In it, they list thirty five individuals as leaders of the “patriot” movement and five “enablers.” The suggestion they are making, based on their past zealous crusades and their stated purposes, is that these people are not only somehow racist, extremist, hateful or violent, but most importantly, dangerous. I am familiar with a number of the personalities listed, but not all of them. These are not violent or dangerous people, in my opinion, and for the most part they are calling for using peaceful and lawful methods to effect change. I can’t really address all the accusations that the SPLC has made against all these individuals, but I can use my common sense and reasoning abilities to evaluate the motives and positions held by the SPLC, as perhaps we all should.

So, what exactly are the SPLC’s political positions? Well, I think it’s safe to say that they’re anti-militia. They spent a lot of time and effort demonizing these groups. I would say that they seem awfully anti free association. They certainly don’t seem to want groups of people gathering together to discuss politics, especially if their views differ from the views and opinions of the SPLC leadership. This is particularly true if these people carry guns, for then they must be anti government. Certainly they believe militias are not just preparing in case they might have to depend on themselves in the event of some disaster.

They seem to be anti second amendment, not wanting people to have the means to defend themselves. They seem to take the stance that if you own a gun, it must be because you have some kind of evil planned. They seem to believe that if you are well armed, you must be plotting against the government. Funny how they accuse many of being “conspiracy theorists,” yet then they take a position that any group of people who simply wish to be able to depend on themselves in the event of disaster can only be conspiring against government.

They are pro-big government. For the SPLC, the bigger the government, the better. At least, that’s the impression I get when I read through their literature. They thrive on big government, counting on its force to provide the coercion necessary to validate its findings and back up its threatening stance.

They are pro tax, judging from the derision they project for what they term “anti-tax” protesters. They actually use quotation marks as if being anti-tax was a bad thing. They seem to believe that being against paying taxes somehow makes one dangerous, violent, racist, extremist, hateful, or something else bad. They seem to believe that taxes are good. They seem to believe that forcing someone to give up their money through coercive means is a fine thing to do. I think taxes are extortion or theft. I think many people would agree. But if taxes are such a good thing, why can’t they be voluntary? I have faith that people are basically good and generous and for the most part would willingly give a portion of their money to a good cause.

Of course, being pro-tax goes hand and hand with being pro big government. They are also pro IRS as that gives them a coercive arm to enforce their taxes and provide the means to do what they do. They are also pro Federal Reserve as this organization provides the reason to have an IRS to coercively collect the taxes. It all ties together.

They are anti sovereign citizen, or at least they rail against those who wish to be sovereign citizens and free from coercive government. Does that make them pro slavery? What would they have us be if not sovereign citizens? Slaves to the state? The founders meant for our nation to be a nation of sovereigns. They penned the Bill of Rights from the notions expressed by the Rights of Sovereigns meme. Either we all have the same individual rights, or those who rule have the right to enslave and force us into a type of serfdom where we are subservient and subject to carry out the will of the ruling elite.

They are anti constitution, or at least some of their favorite targets are constitutionalists. What’s wrong with expecting our elected officials to keep their oaths? What’s wrong with expecting them to obey the law of the land? The SPLC literature implies that if you want the Constitution to be obeyed, you must be some sort of hater. You must be a racist, or an extremist, or some other kind of violent, dangerous individual. Point out that the document has been ignored and violated by the government time and again and you are to be labeled a radical. Is it possible that the SPLC doesn’t like the Constitution because it at least attempts to limit the size and scope of the federal government? I suppose that would make sense considering their other positions mentioned above.

The SPLC is anti free speech. They don’t want any ideas getting out there that might be counter to theirs. They don’t want people thinking for themselves as they might be able to spot the hypocrisy and, yes, even the innate evil in what they do. Isn’t it ironic how they “teach” tolerance and yet they are quite intolerant of anyone who expresses an ideology contrary to their own? Isn’t it funny how they claim to be fighting hate and yet they seem so hateful of individualists? They claim to be anti violent and yet they are perfectly willing to bring the violence of the state down upon people who have not harmed others. They claim to be seeking justice and yet they are willing to prosecute others for thought crimes, endorse guilt by association and practice a philosophy of guilty once accused until proven innocent. One wonders whether or not they can see the injustice in their own principles and practices.

Perhaps I’m being a little harsh on the SPLC. Perhaps I should give them a pass because, after all, they do have good intentions. Yet I have trouble getting over that old “road to hell” saying. And I’m not even too sure that this organization does have good intentions anymore. Perhaps at one time they did, but their leadership seems to have been replaced with collectivist idealists who wish to create some kind of utopian society and couldn’t care less about who gets hurt in the process or the amount of brutality needed to achieve it. This has been the goal and philosophy of tyrants through the ages and has led to nothing but misery for mankind. Enough is enough.

When peaceful, freedom loving people such as Chuck Baldwin, Catherine Bleish, Gary Franchi, Luke Rudkowski, Bob Schultz, Michele Bachmann, Andrew Napolitano and Ron Paul are labeled as dangerous, violent, radical or extreme for expressing their views on freedom, warning others that the government has overstepped its bounds and demanding that the law be obeyed by politicians and public servants who pledged to do so, we as a society must question the organization that would do such a thing and seek to discover its motives. When such an organization would demonize groups like the Oath Keepers or the Constitution Party for wishing to preserve liberty and honor the oath they took to America’s founding documents, one must wonder why. What nefarious purpose could be served by trying to slander such honorable goals, organizations and individuals?

I think that maybe the SPLC, like government, has gotten a little out of touch with the common folk of this country. I think that perhaps they are a little more worried with what the political elite want than with what the average individual wants. I think that perhaps they are trying to reign in their loyal followers and keep them from discovering the message of freedom so that they can maintain control over them. I think that they and their government handlers are a little worried that they may be losing their relevancy. They worry that the common folk are wanting a bit more control over their own lives and destinies and that means less power for them.

Perhaps I’m being a little paranoid. Perhaps the SPLC isn’t colluding with the government for nefarious purposes. But then, isn’t the SPLC being a little paranoid for labeling so many dissidents as potentially dangerous and violent? Perhaps I should be more tolerant of the SPLC and their efforts to frighten the masses away from these movements. After all, their individual members have the right to freely express their ideas too. But then, shouldn’t they be a little more tolerant of others efforts to rally the masses to the ideas of freedom? Shouldn’t they honor the rights of others to freely express their ideas? Maybe they should practice what they preach when it comes to tolerance. If I give them a pass because of their good intentions, shouldn’t they give others the same consideration? Maybe the same goals are at work here on both sides and the only argument is how to achieve those goals. But, unlike what the propagandists would have you believe, more often than not the activists are peaceful, it is government that counts on violence, force and coercion for its very existence.

By the SPLC’s own admission, the militia movement is gaining in popularity. Yet the militia movement is just a small outgrowth of the greater freedom movement which is also growing in numbers. Most of these people are tired of the intrusiveness. They just want to be left alone. Most of them just want the government’s nose out of their personal lives and fingers out of their pockets. Most of them want to take personal responsibility for their own lives and take care of themselves. That is what America was originally set up to be, a country where the opportunity to become the best a human could be was not stifled by overbearing and tyrannical government. The system will not allow them to do so. It is up to us, the common folk, if we are to change the system to empower ourselves. It is up to us to reclaim our rights, our dreams, our dignity and to realize the destiny the founding fathers meant for their progeny to have.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Wall Street Deceit and Main Street Revulsion


I had the misfortune of listening to CNBC the other day while visiting my mother. The talking heads on the tube were discussing the surge in stock prices and the lifting of the DOW Industrials above the eleven thousand mark. They went on and on about how much of a psychological barrier the eleven thousand mark was and how that meant that the “recovery” wasn’t just some fluke and everything was going to be hunky dory and rosy from now on. They then began asking the question when the “retailer investor” (that’s you and me in Wall Street lingo) was going to get back into the market and really start cranking it up. They thought that all of us little, ordinary people with no money wouldn’t want to miss the investment boat. All I remember thinking was “How stupid do these people think I am?” Indeed, how stupid do the Wall Street moguls think we are?

I’ve never been much for the stock market. It seems that since college, with my family and all, I’ve been more concerned with earning enough for living from day to day. I’ve always struggled with debt and borrowed money to pay off old debt just so I could afford to pay my rent or mortgage, car payment, insurance, phone bill, electric bill, gas bill, food, etc. ad nauseum. I’m sure most of you know what I mean. You just never seem to own anything, you’re always paying for something, always paying off debt, and you never seem able to get ahead. I think that’s the way the banks want it. You pay with credit for something that costs ten dollars and end up paying fifty when all is said and done. I hardly had the funds to think about the stock market and investing.

During the boom of the late nineties, however, I did find myself with a bit of money to play with. I had actually been participating in this contest that Yahoo! Finance was having where they “provided” you with a hundred thousand to invest and you tried to end up with more money at the end of the month than anyone else involved. I had done pretty well for myself over the course of a couple of months, so I decided to try with some real money. I did fairly well, even making enough money where I was able to pull some out and pay off some debt. Things were looking pretty rosy at the time.

Ah, but life is something that happens while you’re making other plans. Suddenly the dot com bubble burst. Like so many others, I was left with a whole lot of nothing. The stocks that had been growing by leaps and bounds were reduced down to worthless just as quickly. Being inexperienced, I had no idea when to sell even at a loss just to recoup some of my original funds. Companies that I owned stocks in were soon going out of business and even those who were still in business and making a profit had stock that had become so devalued as to be considered worthless.

When I reflect on it, I think that maybe it was because I was working at the time and couldn’t sit in front of a computer all day making determinations on when to buy and sell and play that game. I couldn’t take the time to cash in on a twenty percent gain or take my losses on a ten percent downturn. I just didn’t have that kind of time. I guess that I should have just invested in blue chips and funds because of that. But I know some people who had been making a living day trading who suddenly couldn’t anymore. I started losing money even on my 401K plan. Even the blue chips were losing money. There was a vast exodus of money from the market and I evidently wasn’t one of those who got the memo. There were quite a large number of mainly smaller investors who were in the same boat as I.

That was when I decided I didn’t need to put my money in the market any longer. I had a friend who had been investing in gold. He didn’t have to have any special knowledge to know when to buy or sell, he didn’t have to try to time his trades, he simply bought the gold and held onto it as an investment. He bought it when it cost about $360/ounce. I recently spoke to him and he still has it. He’s happy because, well, just look at how much gold’s worth now. My investments from that time period are worthless and he’s still sitting pretty. He even still has his job while I was downsized, but I’m certain that has nothing to do with our respective investments.

Then I hear the business channel posing the question “When are the retail investors going to jump back into the market?” Well, I don’t know about everyone else, but as for me, I’ve had enough. One of the commentators even mentioned that many “retail investors” are gun shy because they’ve been burned twice. I wasn’t even aware of the second burn because I’ve been out of the market for so long, but I’m guessing it happened when the housing bubble burst. You know what they say; fool me once, shame on me, fool me twice, shame on you. Fool me three times, shame on..? Well, I suppose after the second time I’d need some professional help to work out my issues.

There was a time when investing wasn’t so difficult. One could count on certain companies making a profit and depend on dividends being paid out to them. One realized when a company wasn’t making money and was in trouble and knew when he was taking a big gamble. That’s not so true anymore. Reporting and accounting tricks and regulation loopholes are hidden in voluminous tomes known as business law. Plunge protection teams and other market manipulators lurk on the sidelines waiting to protect the moneyed interests while the largely uninformed, little investor is hung out to dry. The rules are constantly in flux, or are not followed by the most powerful. To me, this is quite fraudulent, but those policing the industry seem to turn a blind eye to such things. Even when the justice system discovers fraud, it’s not likely that the small investor who lost money will get any back. If one is not an insider it seems to me that one has as much chance of making money at the local casino as in the stock market.

Yes, there are those who have been involved in the market and who really know what they’re doing that can find good investments. These people are not the “retail investors” that the talking heads on CNBC were discussing. I’m that kind of guy, the kind hoping to catch a wave and maybe cash in. I’ll tell you when I’m getting back into the market. Never.

Well, that might be a little harsh. Perhaps never is too long a time. I might get back into the market when I see a little more honesty. I might get back into it when the rules are better defined and transparency is restored. I might get back in when I believe I can do so without getting screwed, when the lines between investing and gambling aren’t so blurred. I might put some of my money in the market when I believe that fraud is no longer endemic in the whole system. When that’s going to be is hard to say. It seems to me that the establishment doesn’t really want to tackle those problems because the establishment is profiting from them. It seems that it’s always the little guy who ends up getting stuck in the rear at the end of the day.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Sound Money and Schoolyard Politics


Economics is not rocket science. In fact, most everyone learns the basics of economics when they’re children. It’s quite simple, really, like math. If you have something I want and I have something you want, we can trade. We’re both happy. That’s really about it. Oh, sure, there are subtleties involved and other considerations to take into account, but those are really more about psychology and human behavior rather than economics. At its most basic level, economics is simply about how one acquires stuff.

Let’s say, for instance, that we’re two kids in a schoolyard. You have a small bouncy ball that I want. Sure, I could try to knock you down and take it from you if I was a bigger and stronger kid than you, but we all know that’s not very nice. That’s not a very good way to make friends. Not too many people like a bully. It’s also not very good economics. I might be happy, but you’re not going to be. We’ll call this theft. I think it’s safe to say that it’s more or less universally accepted that theft is wrong and those who engage in such practices need to stopped, punished and taught that theft is not acceptable no matter how big and strong one is.

Suppose then, that I decide to go about trying to obtain the ball in a more civil manner. I check in my pocket and find I have some jacks. So I offer you one in exchange for the ball. You’re not entirely certain about the trade, so I offer you two. You accept and now we’re both happy. Simple. One plus one equals two.

Now let’s make things a little more complicated. Little Jimmy has been watching us and wants to know what’s been going on. He comes over and sees your ball. Suddenly, he wants to trade for it too. He looks at what I’m offering and notices that my jacks are a little worn and slightly corroded. His are nice and new and shiny. It’s obvious that you, being the only one in the schoolyard with a small bouncy ball can now determine for yourself which person you want to trade with, if either, and the amount of jacks you can ask for. It’s not quite as simple as earlier, but it’s still voluntary and two of the three people are going to end up happy.

Now let’s go even further. Little Suzy has noticed three boys gathered together and wonders what it’s all about. She comes over and sees the colorful little ball and has decided she wants it too. It turns out she has candy to trade. Well, who wouldn’t trade a colorful little rubber ball for some sweet candy? The boys with the jacks are sweating it now as they dig in their pockets for more neat stuff to try to win the ball, and maybe even some candy. Things have become a little more complicated, but everyone’s more or less acting civilly toward one another and no one’s going to trade something for something else they don’t want.

Well, let’s say this goes on for awhile. Other children show up with marbles, more candy, more rubber bouncing balls, jacks, dice, cards, matchbox cars, all kinds of things to trade. There’s now a regular smorgasbord of trading going on. Everyone’s trying to find something to trade and something to trade for. It might look a little chaotic, but all the kids are more or less satisfied with the deals they’re getting. Some might be looking to trade up and get something to trade for something else, but others are getting exactly what they want and walking away. They are doing what kids do. And they are deciding for themselves what they want to receive and what they are willing to give up. Most of them are going to be happy with their trades, even those who decide to simply keep what they have and maybe try to trade again tomorrow.

Ah, but now a shadow creeps onto the schoolyard. He sees the large gathering of kids, and he doesn’t necessarily like what’s going on. He looks in his own pocket and finds that he doesn’t have much the other kids would want, and he smirks. He doesn’t think it’s very fair. Then he smiles. He realizes that he has something the other kids don’t have. He has his size and his muscles. He’s been held back a couple of years and he’s the biggest and strongest kid at school. He’s quite intimidating. We’ll call him Dick.

Dick has a pocket full of toothpicks and an idea. He marches over to the gathering determined to get a piece of the action. He quickly assesses the situation and makes the announcement that the students are no longer allowed to trade amongst themselves without his approval. There is too many of them crying that things are unfair. He is there to make sure that trade is kept as fair as possible. He is going to take all the stuff and in exchange he will give the kids an amount of toothpicks depending on the stuff they have. Only the kids he decides will trade in a fair manner will be able to trade the other stuff for the toothpicks. He will then allow the kids to use the toothpicks to get back their stuff and to “buy” other stuff. But, they’re not just regular toothpicks he’s giving out, they’re special toothpicks colored in a way only he can color them, with marks only he can make because he wants to be certain he’s the only one who can give out the toothpicks.

You would think the rest of the kids would just walk away at this point and take their fair trade somewhere else, but there’s a problem. What I neglected to tell you about Dick is that he hangs out with a few other big kids after school and they happen to know that if they don’t do as he says, it’ll be more than him they have to worry about. They know they’ll get beat up. These kids are scared. They know that defying Dick is not a smart thing to do if they want to avoid a beating. Most reluctantly give into his demands and go along to get along, despite how badly they may feel about themselves for not having the guts to stand up to Dick. He takes note of those who do manage to sneak away and avoid him, or those who do speak up. He’ll get his retribution on them soon and everyone will know what happened when they see the kid’s bruises. They’ll all certainly fall into line after that.

Now no one is happy, except for maybe Dick and his goons. The kids all walk away from the gathering grumbling harshly with their pockets filled with mostly worthless toothpicks. Dick has all the good stuff. They are hoping that they’ll be able to get their stuff back, but they are filled with uncertainty. They are simply too small to do anything about it if Dick decides to be a dick and keep the stuff. Their trading frenzy, and hence their prosperity, has come to an end.

I have been accused of being a gold bug, of wanting to reinstate a gold standard back into our monetary system. This is not necessarily true. While I believe that a gold standard would be better than the current fiat system that we have, I don’t necessarily believe that it would be the best way to go. I understand that a gold standard would have its faults. It has been pointed out to me, for instance, that the vast majority of the gold is likely held by the same moneyed elite that are currently in charge of the present world wide financial system. I think this is likely so and I think that they can and do manipulate the gold market. The same is likely true of silver. I’m not so certain about copper, palladium, and platinum but likely even those metals, lesser used in terms of currency, are likely controlled by the same elite controlling everything else.

That’s why I’m in favor of repealing legal tender laws. The only reason Federal Reserve Notes are so widely accepted is because of these laws. They basically made it illegal for merchants to accept anything else in this country in exchange for their goods and services. I think that competition in money would be a good thing. Anyone could put money into the system and it would be up to the merchants to determine what kind of money they’d want to accept. The market would be the governing body. Given such a system, it wouldn’t take long before sound money, money that was backed by some sort of real commodity such as gold or silver, would quickly become the most widely accepted money. Fiat currencies that are backed by nothing and printed at whim would soon fade into our memories like a nightmare fades in the morning light.

To you who think that fiat money is such a good thing and that a gold or silver standard is too quaint an antiquity, I would love to see what you would do if legal tender laws were repealed and we were allowed to trade in whatever kind of notes or specie we wanted. I have the feeling that if you kept your fiat money and I chose to use gold or silver specie or some other precious metal, that it would soon be you walking home with your head down. But then, what do I know? Unless we can kick the Dicks out of the schoolyard or get them to somehow leave us kids alone, we may never find out.

There are some who would likely say that I’m over simplifying things. Perhaps they are right. I am not an economist. I am not someone who knows it all. I’m just a poor kid with a pocket full of toothpicks walking home with my head bowed because I no longer have even the old, corroded jacks in my pocket that I had this morning. I’m a bit upset because I don’t think anyone should be telling two consenting parties what they should or shouldn’t use to trade with. I am a little upset at all the Dicks in this world, but there’s not a lot I can do about it.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Media Downplay of Ron Paul’s Popularity Reflects Establishment Fears

We are not stupid. This becomes more and more evident as time goes on. Oh, sure, many of us are or were apathetic. Many of us living amongst this mass of humanity residing in this land designated The United States of America have given up hope of effecting change in the political system and have become resigned to accept the corruption that is inherent in it. That’s not stupidity, it’s more like despair. It’s simple resignation. It’s simply believing the individual has no power and so one just gets on with his life as best one can. It’s sleepwalking through life. It’s giving up any hope that answers can be found, or that if there are answers they can only be found using the force of government. Perhaps the establishment’s greatest fear is that the masses will discover that they do have power and that there are answers to our problems that do not involve government intervention.

Dr. Ron Paul, who was a candidate for the Republican nomination during the 2008 presidential campaign, tried hard to relate this message to the general public during the campaign and the debates. He discussed real solutions to the problems we face. He didn’t make unkeepable promises or jingoistic proclamations to garner votes from those who easily fall prey to such methods. He was refreshingly honest and his voting record reflected his principles, unlike most politicians. He merely defended the Constitution of the United States and opined our elected officials should obey it. He merely tried to remind us of our historic principles and why we as a nation became so prosperous in the first place. It is a message many people were waiting to hear and no other politician in either of the major parties was delivering. It is also a message that most globalists, collectvists and the power elite greatly fear.

It was during this time, as Ron Paul was trying to educate the populace as to the philosophy of individualism which was espoused by some of the most prominent founding fathers, that the mainstream media showed where its loyalties truly lay and did its best to minimize the impact Dr. Paul was having. They proved to be the establishment’s faithful pets as they called him names and degraded his supporters. They proved to be the champions of collectivism and propaganda as they made ridiculous claims against Dr. Paul’s character and the principles of individualism he espoused.

As much as they tried to make him and his followers look crazy, as much as they tried to make his policies look unrealistic, as much as they tried to make him look unelectable, they couldn’t hide the truth from those who were willing to look for it. They couldn’t make the common sense of what he had to say just go away. They couldn’t make their twisted spin take hold in the consciousness of the awakened populace. Although Dr. Paul didn’t win the nomination for president, and I think he would have destroyed Mr. Obama’s statist arguments in any debate, he did get his message out and it continues to grow as more and more people discover the message of liberty and the prosperity freedom brings.

But then something amazing happened. After McCain gained the nomination and Dr. Paul no longer seemed a threat, he suddenly became a media darling. Once it seemed as if he was politically insignificant, the media wanted to cash in on his popularity by interviewing him and exploring his views on the economy. They also showed interest in his other views, but his knowledge of economics and the following he elicited seems to be what interests them most. I don’t know for certain, but I believe his appearances boosted their ratings whenever they had him on. As long as the ratings were good and there was no election going on, Ron Paul was welcome and treated with great respect by the talking heads in the corporate media. Many of them even seemed to agree with his point of view on many issues. Suddenly, Ron Paul wasn’t such a bad guy after all and his ideas didn’t seem so impractical. Suddenly his followers were welcome viewers rather than crazy fringe fanatics.

Still, the message Ron Paul advocates frightens the ruling elite. They don’t want the common folk to be educated. They don’t want them to exercise their power, or to even believe that they have any power. The power elite want the populace dependent on them so that they are able to dictate everyone’s behavior, so that they can garner complete control, so that they can practice their own form of modern tyranny, just like their ancestors, the monarchs and royalty of old. The trick for them is to accomplish this while creating an illusion that the common folk are able to exercise some form of freedom.

In fact, it seems there are many things the wealthy power elite are terrorized by, things that you and I have learned are good and healthy and lead to prosperity for all. It seems to me they are terrified of hard work. It seems they worry that if they lose their government subsidies they will be forced to figure out ways to provide excellent customer service. They seem terrified of competition. They seemed worried that if government regulations aren’t in place other businesses will be able to provide better products and services and break their government sanctioned monopolies. They seem terrified of respecting individual rights. The laws they’ve passed since 9/11 have come home to roost and threaten the very fabric of our free society by authorizing government violations of free speech and personal privacy that can easily be abused and used to stifle political discourse, dissent and activism.

They seem to be very frightened of transparency, of exposing what they actually do. Just look at how much secrecy surrounds government functions. One of Ron Paul’s most popular issues is the drive to audit the Federal Reserve. The legislation he introduced to do just that has garnered overwhelming support of both the electorate and in the House of Representatives. Even a third of the senators cosponsored their version of his bill, yet that arm of congress still shows total disdain for the people and disregard for the states they are supposed to represent.

A couple of high powered senators continue to show their fealty to their wealthy, powerful, elite masters by trying to remove that extremely popular provision from a law that would give the already too powerful Federal Reserve System even more power they do not deserve. One might wonder what these people have to hide that they would fight so hard to keep it hidden from public view. Could it be massive fraud? Has our wealth been squandered to benefit so very few? One might also wonder what has been offered to the high powered politicians to get them to risk their political careers. How much money and power does it take to get someone to sell out their fellow countrymen? What secrets can be used as blackmail to hold over their heads? Or perhaps they aren’t frightened of losing their positions because the entire electoral system is so compromised by hackable, unreliable electronic voting machines.

The power elite seem most frightened that you will stop obeying them. They fear their authority will be more than just questioned, it will be challenged. They worry that you might stop paying for their wars, the interest on their debt, and the waste that keeps them in business. They worry that their scams might be discovered and they will have to stop stealing from the public and make an honest living. God forbid they would actually have to produce something of value to the human race in order to survive. The fears they have of common folk exercising their freedoms might be nightmarish in their minds, but to the rest of humanity these are wonderful dreams that have yet to be realized.

Although he might not express it the same way as I do, Ron Paul is making the same points in a different way. He advocates for smaller government, more personal freedom, more economic freedom, and more openness and honesty in our public governance, all of which he believes will lead to a more prosperous society. This was all fine and dandy as long as the corporate media could frame him as someone with little public support and not much political clout. This was fine for them as long as their talking heads on the boob tube could make their collectivist arguments against his individualist points and pretend that they were the intelligent, caring ones with the support of the masses. All that changed again, however, when the Republican Party started conducting its straw polls and found that popular sentiment for Ron Paul and his policies were growing. Their control over the hearts and minds of the common folk was slipping away.

So, the spin was turned on. This despite the fact that Ron Paul continues to claim he has no plans to run for president. What does that suggest, that they would crank up such spin before he even announces his candidacy? Are they really that afraid? Suddenly, the CPAC poll, which had been an important launching pad for Republican presidential campaigns in the past, was insignificant and the winner earned nothing be bragging rights. Suddenly, losing the Republican Southern Leadership Council straw poll by only one vote is evidence of some sort of political trickery rather than popularity. It seems that Ron Paul is fine as a commentator on certain issues, but not if he were to actually try to gain political power so that he could change policy and actually implement some of the ideas he espouses. The same corporate interests that own the government also own the mainstream media. They would have you believe that the majority of Republicans want big government and would prefer to see globalists like Mitt Romney, Sarah Palin and Newt Gingrich as party leaders rather than a limited government advocate like Ron Paul.

The corporate media seems to believe the common folk are stupid. At least if they don’t, they want them to remain misinformed. They’d like to keep them apathetic. They’d like to keep them asleep. They’d like to keep them in despair. They’d like to keep them resigned to believe they have no power and the only answers to society’s woes are through government intervention. It seems this way, but I believe the media is simply letting us know what their power elite masters are most afraid of. Perhaps we should think of ways we can take advantage of their fears to reclaim our freedoms and start keeping for ourselves the wealth that we earn.

(I wish to thank the many people who have supported my work through these years. Today I would like to announce that I have launched my own website to help those who wish to support me do just that. It is a work in progress, but I hope you will visit Szandor Blestman Dot Com and support my efforts. I will, of course, continue to publish at the various outlets I have been for as long as they wish me to. Peace to you all. Szandor.)

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Teaching Aikido to Sheep

Sheep have a big problem. They don’t have the greatest knowledge of self defense. Mostly, they count on their shepherd to protect them. They gather themselves together in herds and pass their time in the pastures just eating grass. Should they wander away from the herd, they take the chance of being attacked by wolves. To see that this doesn’t happen, the shepherds have trained dogs to keep them in line. But, worse than that, the sheep can’t really trust the shepherd much either. After all, these shepherds have been known to take certain liberties with the sheep. And when the shepherd gets hungry, or when the time comes to cull the herd, he will lead the sheep to slaughter. Certainly there are some sheep that have memories of certain lambs that were led from the herd, never to return.

The life of a sheep could very well be a paranoid existence. They likely try to stay in the center of the herd where they feel safest. Should they get to the edges or try to wonder away the dogs will nip at their heels. Should they manage to wander away anyhow there are predators waiting to devour them. Even if they stay with the herd there are dangers. And they simply aren’t that well equipped to defend themselves.

Aikido is a martial art form that teaches one how to use an attacker’s momentum against him. It would, of course, be quite difficult to teach sheep to use many of the moves a human would use against another human. There is, however, a basic idea here one can get at. That is, to surprise an aggressor by making his strikes backfire. When this is done, the aggressor suddenly discovers to his dismay that the object of his aggression knows more and can defend itself better than he first thought. This discovery alone may be enough to end the aggression and make the aggressor go off sulking to lick his wounds.

While it might be useful for the lone sheep to learn how to duck out of the way of a leaping wolf and send it sprawling to the ground on its head as its gnashing jaws grabbed nothing but air, it would be better for the herd if they learned how to reason. This would, of course, be the shepherd’s greatest fear, that sheep would learn to think critically, and would afford the sheep the best chance to use assets their users and abusers didn’t know they had. The other thing they’d need to learn is to better communicate, especially if they are doing so in a way the wolves, dogs and shepherd do not understand. In this way they could plot together how to best prevent themselves from becoming dinner.

Of course, that would be the hardest part, teaching the sheep that they can reason and should communicate amongst themselves. It may, for instance, be very tough to convince the sheep that the shepherd’s intentions are not entirely honorable. After all, he protects them from wolves, does he not? He commands the dogs who keep the herd together and the wolves away. He leads them to pastures green, the silent waters by. He would never lead them to hang on hooks in high places. He would never try to fool them. He would never put his own survival above theirs. That’s just impossible.

Still, suppose the sheep learned to think and communicate amongst themselves. Suppose they could be convinced that the shepherd didn’t have their best interest at heart, but was mostly looking out for his own best interests and those of his friends, colleagues and clients. Suppose they began to look around and understood that there simply weren’t that many wolves around to be afraid of. Better yet, suppose they began to come to believe they could get by and even prosper on their own without the help of the shepherd. They would need a good plan of action. They would need a way to make it so frustrating for the shepherd that he decides to leave them alone and find opportunities elsewhere or other animals to try to oppress.

The first thing the sheep would have to learn to do is stop obeying. They are herd animals, so they would have to learn to work together to protect each other. When the shepherd tries to get them to move, a great many of them would have to lie down and refuse to go anywhere. When the dogs start barking and biting at them they would have to ignore them, as hard as that might be. If the dogs should get carried away and start brutalizing a particular lamb a little too much, they might come up with a strategy of those nearest getting up, surrounding a dog or two, butting them until they quit pestering their friend, and then laying down around the brutalized lamb for its protection. They do, after all, have superior numbers and they need to learn to use this to their advantage.

This would, of course, confuse and confound the shepherd. He would not be used to such behavior from sheep and simply wouldn’t know what to do about it. One can imagine the look of shock on the shepherd’s face as his trusted dogs are simply unable to get the sheep moving. One can imagine his facial muscles contorting as he becomes agitated and tries to whip his dogs into a frenzy to get the job done. This would only lead to more sheep disobedience, and perhaps some of the other sheep in the herd that had been cooperating with the shepherd and his dogs would see the success of those who weren’t and join in. As more and more of the sheep in the herd proceed to lie down and not simply obey the shepherd, the flustered master of the herd might even go as far as trying to pick up one of the smaller lambs himself to physically move it. This, of course, would be the perfect opportunity for the sheep to use the tactic of surrounding and butting at the shepherd like they did to the dogs earlier. If the shepherd was stubborn enough, they might even nip and bite at him until he puts the lamb down.

At this point, the shepherd might become frightened. One could imagine that he might even, in the deep of the night, make a bargain with the wolves. They could disguise themselves as sheep and sneak into the herd, and then let him know what the sheep were thinking and planning. In this way, maybe he could target some of the smartest sheep and remove them from the herd. In this way, maybe he could regain control. The sheep will have to learn to recognize this tactic. They’ll have to be able to identify the wolves. It really shouldn’t be too hard, as wolves in sheep’s clothes have a tendency to look a little ridiculous. Wolves also find it hard to act like sheep. I think it is quite likely that the sheep will be able to sniff the wolves out. Then they can either feed them false information, kind of as a joke, or they can simply use their surround and butt technique to force them out of the herd.

With the unsuccessful attempt of the shepherd to use the wolves as spies, he may be forced to give into the sheep. He may simply ask the sheep what they want. The sheep would, of course, tell him they simply want to be left alone. They could tell him that they can protect themselves from the wolves without his help. They could tell him that they can find their own way to greener pastures and cooler brooks without his leadership. They could tell him that they will no longer allow him to use them for his pleasure. They will tell him they will not be put on hooks in high places. He might as well face the fact that from now on he’ll have to settle for beef to eat and leather to wear, unless the cattle can learn from the sheep, in which case maybe it will be best for him to learn how to grow hemp and other plants for food and clothing. Having been completely foiled in his attempts, the shepherd will now turn away and look for some other source to live off of, leaving the sheep to their freedom.

Well, perhaps the title of this piece was a bit off. Perhaps people reading it thought the sheep would be practicing some deadly form a martial art and using it to crush their enemies. But sheep are just sheep. They can hardly act otherwise. Their physical build and such prevent them from being very aggressive. They would, in fact, have to work with the tools they have if they were to evolve into something more. They will likely never be anything but sheep and will always follow the will of the shepherd and his dogs, always be fearful of the wolves in the wilds. Humans are different. They would never follow masters who would lead them to their doom. They would never quake in fear that some wild creatures will be waiting to do them in if they break free from their masters. Humans are much smarter than that, right? It isn’t necessary for humans to learn the same methods of self defense that the sheep need. They are far too intelligent to ever be herded like animals.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Militias, Political Activists, Government Agents, and Violence Against Politicians

Not long after the unconstitutional Obamacare bill was signed into law, I began to hear reports of violence against those congress critters who had voted for the law. I didn’t know quite what to think of this. On one hand, I know that violence against the system will only cause a backlash from the system. I do not condone violence in any way, shape or form, which is why I subscribe to libertarian thought, that one does not initiate violence against another, that one takes personal responsibility for his actions and that one leaves others free to do as they will as long as they don’t violate the individual rights of others. I think the vast majority of common folk understand and agree with this philosophy. This is why I was confused and concerned when I heard that corporate media talking heads had been blaming groups that many decent commoners relate to for the violence that had occurred.

On the other hand I thought, “Well, what do they expect? They continuously ignore popular sentiment and populist movements. They (figuratively) spit in the face of the common folk. They forever rewrite history and the meaning of freedom and individual rights. They then pass these legislative behemoths they call law that benefit only themselves and their special interest friends and campaign contributors. They hold all the cards in a stacked deck and many folks see only one option with which to hold them accountable. Oft times when only one option is perceived, that option is used.”

Still, I simply find it hard to believe that this is the case. No matter how frustrated the average man might get, initiating the violence is just not something that most commoners are going to be willing to do. I do admit that there may be a small percentage of people that would be willing to resort to such violence, but this is no reason to demonize groups such as the tea partiers and tax protestors. Worse still is the accusation that they are dominated by racists. These activist networks have nothing to do with racism and everything to do with other issues such as constitutional limitations of government, the elimination of taxes, and the transparency and accountability of the Fed. This characterization only serves those with a collectivist mindset. They seem to want to pit groups against each other so that we lose sight of who’s really to blame. Individualists realize that individuals should be held responsible for their own actions and groups should not be punished when individuals inside that group act inappropriately.

This is, in my humble opinion, exactly what the power elite wants. This is what the establishment has been striving for, or so it seems. The established elite would like to divide common folk into separate groups and camps to squabble amongst themselves while they continue to loot our wealth hoping the diversions keep their schemes hidden from public view. The establishment would like to punish groups for the actions of individuals that may or may not be associated with those groups while allowing their own agents to run amok and remain unaccountable so that their own agenda can be realized. Most of all they want to silence dissent. They want to plant fear in the hearts of the many so that speaking out appears unwise and most will silently go along to get along. They wish to take away choice of all types and create an environment where even thinking about choosing something other than what they offer will lead to trouble in an individual’s life. They want the populace completely dependent on them and frightened of speaking out against them for fear of losing their jobs, their freedom or even their lives. It appears that they are doing everything they can to succeed in this endeavor.

Violence, even against such thuggery, is not the answer. Throughout history, it is not the common folk who initiate violence, it is the power elite who do. Governments have and will incite violence in order to advance their agenda and have resorted to such methods frequently and recently. One hears in the news, if one pays attention, that many of the recent arrests made in the so called “War on Terror” have in fact involved government agents provoking and even planning the attacks that were supposedly foiled. The violent “anarchists” or other violent individuals at otherwise peaceful protests have been shown to be government provocateurs time and again. There are pro government forces continuously inciting violence, pro government groups and agencies promoting state force to support collectivist ideals, yet the media seems to condemn only anti government groups who promote the ideals and principles of individualism and wish to be left alone to take responsibility for their own lives. The corporate media tends to ignore the heavy handed tactics of statists who repeatedly demonstrate a desire to force their will upon everyone no matter the consequences, no matter the brutality of the force applied. Anyone who resorts to violence lowers themselves to the level of those statists.

Now the same crooks, liars and propagandists are trying to make us believe that common folk are threatening them and becoming violent? Now they want us to believe that they are the victims? Now they want to shame and frighten us into remaining silent, accepting their dictates without question, and continuing to just let their corrupt system grow and metastasize until we have no more personal freedom, just a ruling class and a slave class? It is and has been the middle class and the common folk who are victimized by the scheming and plans of the centralized political class and their enforcers. The political class actually benefits from violence as it empowers them and gives them an excuse to crack down on free speech, protesters, dissidents and anyone else who criticizes them. This, in turn, consolidates even more power in their hands and allows them to dictate even more aspects of private life in an even more brutal fashion.

Reacting to such bullying and tyrannical tactics with violence will accomplish nothing and only cause a downward spiral of violent reaction and more violence until innocents are laying dead in the streets and being called collateral damage. The best way to prevent violence, in my humble opinion, is to simply remain non-violent. Be proactive. Decide before becoming involved in any kind of activism that it is going to be peaceful activism. Dedicate yourself to peaceful change. If taking part in a protest bring a video camera. If someone begins to agitate for violence, point them out and begin to record their actions. Warn others of their presence, perhaps even the police. Ostracize and isolate them from the group as much as possible. Make it very clear that you stand on the moral high ground, that you do not condone violence and, in fact, find it abhorrent.

If you are involved in a militia or a political action group and certain members begin to agitate for initiating violence against the state demand that those people be removed and shunned by the group. It’s ok to advocate for defense against foreign forces and survival in case of natural disaster, but advocating for the initiation of violence against government agents or their agencies is asking for trouble. Letting these people stay in your group and influence others is a recipe for disaster. If they are allowed to stay in the group without any kind of admonishment for advocating violence, or if the leader of the group is such a person, then I would suggest you leave the group before you find yourself in hot water. It may sound paranoid, but I believe there’s a good chance that anyone in a group advocating for violence is a government infiltrator as has been seen in many cases. Even if those who are agitating for violence are not government agents and are sincere in their desire, there is a chance that infiltrators and informants are keeping tabs on them and chomping at the bit to demonize the entire group for that individual’s words and actions. Refusing to allow violence to even enter into the picture will quickly frustrate and nullify those who are spying on their own people.

We cannot let the ruling elite and their media propagandists goad us into behaving in the ways that will benefit their cause. We cannot let them dictate to us the actions we will take. Remain peaceful at protests and rallies. Keep an eye out for agent provocateurs or anyone that might become violent and make sure to point them out and record them. The more video cameras present, the better. Maintain the moral high ground. Practice civil disobedience. I cannot reiterate those points too much. If the state agents become violent, stand your ground peacefully as best you can, but try not to resist. Let the world see them for what they truly are, violent, thuggish enforcers working for a gang that counts on bullying methods to frighten and coerce the general public into accepting the will of the ruling elite.

There are many who want to deceive others about reality. They wish to control the perceptions of reality the common folk see. They will run and hide if the light of truth is shone upon them. If they succeed in fooling or silencing those who are speaking out, then we will all lose the liberties the founding fathers fought so hard to establish and fall into dependent slavery. If, however, we stand and expose the tyranny, if we continue to peacefully demand the respect for our individual rights that we deserve, if we simply refuse to obey the dictates they hand down and refuse to pay the tributes they demand, then we will eventually win back what we have lost. A truly free and independent society is not beyond our reach, but it will take some hard work, determination and a willingness to remain staunchly peaceful to accomplish.