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Monday, June 24, 2013

I Am Sorry That It Has Come to This: A Soldiers Last Words

Daniel Somers was a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom. He was part of Task Force Lightning, an intelligence unit. In 2004-2005, he was mainly assigned to a Tactical Human-Intelligence Team (THT) in Baghdad, Iraq, where he ran more than 400 combat missions as a machine gunner in the turret of a Humvee, interviewed countless Iraqis ranging from concerned citizens to community leaders and and government officials, and interrogated dozens of insurgents and terrorist suspects. In 2006-2007, Daniel worked with Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) through his former unit in Mosul where he ran the Northern Iraq Intelligence Center. His official role was as a senior analyst for the Levant (Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Israel, and part of Turkey). Daniel suffered greatly from PTSD and had been diagnosed with traumatic brain injury and several other war-related conditions. On June 10, 2013, Daniel wrote the following letter to his family before taking his life. Daniel was 30 years old. His wife and family have given permission to publish it.

Daniel's letter may be viewed in its entirety at the following link:

http://gawker.com/i-am-sorry-that-it-has-come-to-this-a-soldiers-last-534538357

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(Condolences to the family of Daniel Somers and many thanks for sharing his letter with the rest of us)

Protect Yourself From FBI Manipulation (Attorney Harvey Silverglate)

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Mirror, Mirror On the Wall, Who is the Fairest of Them All, Former LAPD Officer Dorner or the LAPD?

Insightful article by Butler Shaffer originally posted at Lewrockwell.com http://lewrockwell.com/shaffer/shaffer267.html


The Mirror Speaks

Recently by Butler Shaffer: Schools as Black-Holes


"He knows what he’s doing – we trained him."
~ Charlie Beck, Los Angeles Chief of Police
Los Angeles police officers and administrators continue to look over their shoulders, fearing the sight of one of their former comrades, Chris Dorner, who has threatened to retaliate for his firing from the department in 2008. His contention is that his employment was terminated without required due process, for the offense of reporting an alleged act of brutality by a fellow officer upon a suspect. Dorner – also a former lieutenant in the U.S. Navy – is alleged to have killed three persons with ties to the police system. Angry that his name was tarnished by the LAPD action taken against him, Dorner has written: "You’re going to see what a whistleblower can do when you take everything from him, especially his NAME!!!"

For a number of days, Americans have been fixated on this story, which has received far greater attention than would have been the case had a former police officer killed a few teenagers. Indeed, so irrational has been the reaction of some LA area cops that two women delivering newspapers – one a 71-year-old grandmother – had their pickup truck riddled with 30 to 40 bullets fired at them by police officers! Shortly thereafter, another pickup truck was fired at by other police officers who apparently had mistaken the driver for Dorner.

There is nothing comical about people being wounded or killed, but this saga does have a superficial theater-of-the-absurd quality to it, something one might expect from a low-budget Hollywood film. The police system and its lapdog media take seriously any threats or embarrassments to that system or any of its members. According to Dorner, it was his crossing of the "Blue Line" (the unspoken offense of reporting police wrongdoing) that led to his dismissal from the force. Police officers who brutalize or kill what Will Grigg calls the "mundanes" are rarely called to account for their actions.

But the Dorner/LAPD drama goes beyond just the inherently vicious nature of all police systems. The state is, by definition, an agency that enjoys a monopoly on the use of violence within a given territory. As such, those who act to enforce governmental action – be they police officers or the military – are necessarily wrapped up in the exercise of institutionalized violence against people. Grade-school children are trained to chant the mantra "the policeman is your friend" which, out on the streets, is interpreted as "the policeman will probably not hurt you if you obey his every whim and call him ‘sir.’"

It is the entire political system that is characterized by the arbitrariness of violence. While states like to hide behind such abstractions as "constitutions," "bills of rights," "habeas corpus," and other pretended "limitations" on their powers, the harsh reality is that such language is always subject to interpretation, and government officials insist upon being the translators. This is how – and why – the powers of government are given expansive constructions, while supposed limitations on government authority are interpreted very narrowly.

The Bushobama years have revealed to millions of thoughtful minds – particularly those of the younger generation – the fraudulent, corrupt, vicious, and destructive nature of the state. It is increasingly difficult to find young men and women who can recite, with a straight face, the catechism "we are the government." Gandhi’s observation that "nonviolence and truth are inseparable and presuppose one another" is more widely understood by today’s youth than by their grandparents.

I am reminded of the closing scene in Orwell’s Animal Farm, where the livestock who had been systematically exploited by the pigs look in the farm house window to see their swinish rulers living it up with the humans from whom the animals thought they had been liberated. Every political system is a conspiracy, enforced by legally-defined violence, by which the few are able to promote their interests at the expense of the many. The Chris Dorner/LAPD theater has become a road-show, allowing many more people to discover the destructive nature of the game being played at their expense.

Dorner’s lengthy manifesto is no challenge to Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence, Paine’s Common Sense, or Thoreau’s Civil Disobedience. To minds unaccustomed to complexity – minds that are unable to distinguish explanations of events from justifications – no purpose will be seen in reading his words, or considering them in the context of the political environment in which we live.

In case anyone should fail to understand my point, let me emphasize that there is no justification for Mr. Dorner’s physical attacks – or threatened attacks – on others. Whatever degree of anger and resentment he has against the LAPD does not warrant the wounding or killing of members of this group or of any one else.

But for the sake of intelligent thinking, ask yourself this question: where might this man have gotten the idea that his campaign had any legitimacy? Others in the political hierarchy have long been playing out the premises upon which his actions have been undertaken? I have written, for some time, about how our politically-dominated culture is in decline; how the top-down, vertically-structured systems of centralized control are collapsing into horizontal networks of decentralized cooperation. The political establishment continues to forcibly resist such peaceful, liberating transformations, calling upon its appointed sock-puppet, President Bushobama, to use whatever tools of violence at the government’s disposal to maintain the established power-structure.

To this end, Bushobama undertook wars against Iraq and Afghanistan – nations whose residents posed no threat to Americans – and extended such brutishness into acts of torture and other forms of degradation against prisoners; imprisoning people without trial; and killing men, women, and children for no other "offense" than the bad judgment of having been born outside the United States! If American presidents are allowed to declare wars against nations of their choosing, why should we be shocked when Mr. Dorner declares war against the LAPD?

It is worthy of attention that, in the same week the Dorner/LAPD matter arose, another Chris – the Navy’s most effective sniper, Chris Kyle, credited with the killing of 160 Iraqis – was killed at a shooting range, allegedly by another Marine who suffered from post-traumatic stress syndrome. The federal government recently acknowledged that an average of some twenty-two soldiers and veterans commit suicide every day, a statistic confirming that the human costs of military violence are paid not only by those residing in foreign lands, but by the emotional and spiritual destruction of American warriors.

And while Mr. Dorner was allegedly fulfilling the details of his manifesto, a New York Times editorial was calling into question the reasoning behind President Obama’s claimed power to order the killing of American citizens. In what significant ways do the rationales of these two men differ? Doesn’t each operate from the premise that there may be persons who need to be killed in order to further important policies; that each man’s considered judgment satisfies the legal niceties of "due process?" If presidents can engage in horrific acts against the millions without negative repercussions, why should other persons not feel qualified to emulate such conduct?

Those who have no interest in plumbing the sordid depths to which our culture has descended will find it easy to pass off Dorner’s comments as nothing more than the rants of a mentally disturbed man, or to follow the lead of weak-minded men and women who blame inanimate objects – guns – for the violence that dominates our politically-dominated world. Dorner’s words do not justify his actions, but they may offer a symptom of what our thinking has made of society and of our relationships to one another. He may be a mirror that reflects the logical extension of our unexamined assumptions about the necessary conditions for social order. The closing comments in this man’s manifesto provide more of an explanation of our well-organized destructiveness than what I have heard from others: "I am the walking exigent circumstance you created."

                                                                                                            February 12, 2013

Butler Shaffer [send him e-mail] teaches at the Southwestern University School of Law. He is the author of the newly-released In Restraint of Trade: The Business Campaign Against Competition, 1918–1938, Calculated Chaos: Institutional Threats to Peace and Human Survival, and Boundaries of Order. His latest book is The Wizards of Ozymandias.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

"Everybody Knows" the Debt Deal is Rotten


(Lyrics by Leonard Cohen and Sharon Robinson)




Everybody knows that the dice are loaded
Everybody rolls with their fingers crossed
Everybody knows that the war is over
Everybody knows the good guys lost

Everybody knows the fight was fixed
The poor stay poor, the rich get rich
That's how it goes
Everybody knows

Everybody knows that the boat is leaking
Everybody knows that the captain lied
Everybody got this broken feeling
Like their father or their dog just died

Everybody talking to their pockets
Everybody wants a box of chocolates
And a long stem rose
Everybody knows

Everybody knows that you love me baby
Everybody knows that you really do
Everybody knows that you've been faithful
Ah give or take a night or two

Everybody knows you've been discreet
But there were so many people you just had to meet
Without your clothes
And everybody knows

Everybody knows, everybody knows
That's how it goes
Everybody knows

Everybody knows, everybody knows
That's how it goes
Everybody knows

And everybody knows that it's now or never
Everybody knows that it's me or you
And everybody knows that you live forever
Ah when you've done a line or two

Everybody knows the deal is rotten
Old Black Joe's still pickin' cotton
For your ribbons and bows
And everybody knows

And everybody knows that the Plague is coming
Everybody knows that it's moving fast
Everybody knows that the naked man and woman
Are just a shining artifact of the past

Everybody knows the scene is dead
But there's gonna be a meter on your bed
That will disclose
What everybody knows

And everybody knows that you're in trouble
Everybody knows what you've been through
From the bloody cross on top of Calvary
To the beach of Malibu

Everybody knows it's coming apart
Take one last look at this Sacred Heart
Before it blows
And everybody knows

Everybody knows, everybody knows
That's how it goes
Everybody knows

Oh everybody knows, everybody knows
That's how it goes
Everybody knows

Everybody knows

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Opt-out Ode to the Beltway TSA and Their Airline CEO Cronies: Take Your Planes and Shove ‘Em

to be sung to Johnny Paycheck’s famous tune: Take This Job and Shove It (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EPrSVkTRb24)

Take your planes and shove ‘em, I ain't flyin’ here no more
My freedoms done left and took the digni-ty I was working for
Ya better not try, and stand in my way
Cause I'm Optin’, out the door
Take your planes and shove ‘em, I ain't flyin’ here no more

Well, I been buyin’ your boogeyman scam, for goin’ on ten years
All this time, I watched my freedom dyin’ in a pool of tears
And I've seen good folks abused thinkin’ freedom’s, a cost we gotta pay
I can’t wait to see your faces when I get the nerve to say…

Take your planes and shove ‘em, I ain't flyin’ here no more
My freedoms done left and took the digni-ty I was working for
Ya better not try, and stand in my way
Cause I'm Optin’, out the door
Take your planes and shove ‘em, I ain't flyin’ here no more

The g-men, playin’ hypocrite, the airlines, playin’ the fool
Givin’ passengers shakedowns and feel-ups, Lord, they think they’re cool
The TSA and the airlines been co-conspirin’, since ground-zero day
I can’t wait to see their faces, when they hear me say...

Take your planes and shove ‘em, I ain't flyin’ here no more
My freedoms done left and took the digni-ty I was working for
Ya better not try, and stand in my way
Cause I'm Optin’, out the door
Take your planes and shove ‘em, I ain't flyin’ here no more

Well, on the other side of the ultimate Opt-out door
Is the precious and forgotten freedom, I am longing for
Just wanted to let you Bozos know, what your REAL Boss is happy to say
And, can't wait to see your ashen faces, when YOU’RE made to pay...

Take your planes and shove ‘em, I ain't flyin’ here no more
My freedoms done left and took the digni-ty I was working for
Ya better not try, and stand in my way
Cause I'm Optin’, out the door
Take your planes and shove ‘em, I ain't flyin’ here no more

(Again, slowly)

Take your planes and shove ‘em, I ain’t flyin’ here no more

Monday, October 25, 2010

If God Says Civil Government is Oppressive, Haughty, and Abusive, Why Do Religious Institutions Promote It Anyway?

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How many of us have heard those in the mainstream religious community, examining the purpose of government, say, “Government was divinely ordained or instituted by God for the purpose of punishing evildoers?” The obvious derivative to this mainstream conclusion is that we should obey, honor, and give reverence to ‘the powers that be’ because they are God’s ministers or servants doing the work of God. Those making this proclamation rely heavily on Romans 13:1-7 in arriving at what we believe to be an erroneous conclusion.

It is a great disservice to the reader to discuss the purpose of government, from a biblical standpoint, without first examining the nature of government, from a biblical standpoint. We also believe there to be no greater commentary on the bible than the bible itself and after examining the nature of government, from a biblical standpoint, the reader may want to revisit Romans 13 and determine if commonly held premises about the purpose of government still hold water. We contend that the mainstream religious institution’s bucket has a pretty large hole in it juxtaposed to what God says about the nature of government.

The most compelling biblical portrayal of the nature of civil government is found in 1st Samuel 8. God explains to Samuel what he is to tell the people who are begging for a king to rule over them. God’s description of civil government is not a flattering one nor does it portray civil government as being worthy of our honor, respect, or fidelity. The desire for civil government is described in simple terms as being rebellion towards God.

The account in 1st Samuel 8 contradicts the notion that government was ordained by God, at least in the classical sense the words ‘ordained’ and ‘government’ are commonly used and referenced today. There is certainly nothing divine about human government even though religious authoritarians would have you believe otherwise. And, even though we, as Americans, don’t live under a monarchy, God’s description of the nature of this form of government certainly seems to rhyme with much of what we’ve seen in world history and our own country’s history pertaining to the ongoing tyranny of civil or human government.

What miraculous transformation occurred in the nature of man, or the nature of government, between the old and new testaments that would justify the common rendering religious authoritarians have extrapolated from Romans 13:1-7? Did not God unequivocally state, in 1st Samuel 8, that a desire to be ruled by man is an outright rejection of Him? Would God institute or ordain something He disparaged in such a way, as depicted in 1st Samuel 8? We don’t think so. Neither do we accept the statist spin many religious institutions place on Romans 13:1-7. The mainstream religious institution’s rendering of Romans 13:1-7 would, by necessary inference, imply either that God lied to Samuel or that the Apostle Paul lied in his letter to the Romans. Even worse, is when their extrapolations make it appear that the Apostle Paul contradicted himself in Ephesians 6:11-12. Why would it be necessary to put on the whole armor of God to protect us from evil world rulers if they were ordained by God to be nicey-nicey? Does God ordain evil? If we were placed in the uncomfortable position of having to choose between the veracity of the Apostle Paul’s translated and seemingly contradictory words as opposed to the veracity and logic of God’s translated words, we would naturally be inclined to choose the latter over the former. God characterizes civil government, in 1st Samuel 8, as being evil and characterizes those seeking to be ruled by it as rebellious. We wholeheartedly agree.

Why are religious institutions promoting the fallacy that civil government is wonderful and good, in the shadow of God’s declaration to the contrary, and in spite of the civil government tyranny readily apparent to anyone willing to look out the window and observe what is going on in the world, at the moment, and what has transpired throughout history? Why do religious institutions continue to promote rebellion against God? We think we’ve found the answer to this most troubling question. If you’ve struggled with the meaning of Romans 13:1-7 and are a bit skeptical and weary of mainstream religious institutions who dutifully and exuberantly pull out their pom-poms and take you through the statist cheer every time this passage is discussed, you may be interested in reading our recently released book The END TIMES Hoax and the Hijacking of Our Liberty.
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Saturday, September 25, 2010

Manhattan Trophy Mosque Issue: Mountain or Molehill?

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The Manhattan trophy mosque issue has certainly become a mountain of a problem in the eyes of some while others view it much less so.

Donald Trump offered the most rational attempt at bringing resolution to the whole affair when he offered the developer his original purchase price of the property plus a 25% profit and some other perks if he would take his project somewhere else. Trump sniveled about his bid being rejected, but since his offer still stands we’ll cut him a little slack.

In a free society, this is how it is done. If you want something bad enough, you simply buy it. If you can’t afford it, you suck it up and move on or you can also choose to sulk, whine, and snivel about it for weeks or months on end to anyone foolish enough or opportunist enough to listen.

Of course, political hacks and political wannabes, who are opportunists at heart, lined up quickly to console Boobus Americanus in hopes of gathering a few more votes ahead of the November rush.

Many have likened or compared the building of this mosque or Islamic Cultural Center to the building of a Japanese cultural center across from the Pearl Harbor Memorial and find such a proposal offensive because of the thousands of Americans allegedly killed in the name of Islam. Murdering is purportedly more palatable when it is done in the name of freedom or democracy and especially so when those being murdered are non-white or non-Christian. A bit arrogant, perhaps, but the whole concept dovetails quite nicely with Empire and the Crusader mindset of the religious right.

It is not our intention to be insensitive to the 3,000 individuals who died on 911 nor do we wish to trivialize any act of violence directed toward individuals or property. Such acts of violence are not a neighborly thing to do and trivializing such acts, as being ho-hum, are also offensive. We do, however, intend to examine the proposed Islamic Cultural Center against the backdrop of another temple we find much more atrocious, offensive, intrusive, insensitive and openly hostile to the community in which it forcefully resides. At the end of our piece, the reader can decide whether the Manhattan mosque issue is a mountain, molehill, or something more comparable to the Bonneville Salt Flats of Utah.

The Islamic Cultural Center, formerly the site of the Burlington Coat Factory, will be a single building 13 stories tall with an estimated construction cost being on the order of 100 million dollars. It will NOT be built at ground zero, as those attempting to make a mountain out of a molehill suggest, but will be located, instead, a couple of blocks away from the World Trade Center Memorial. It will be a multi-faith cultural center open to the public and very compatible with the symbols of tolerance and freedom many associate with New York City landmarks Lady Liberty and Ellis Island. The cultural center will also include a 911 memorial.

Contrast the Islamic Cultural Center with the trophy temple built in the middle of the Muslim world that comprises 104 acres (about the acreage of 80 football fields), 21 buildings, and is occupied predominantly by non-Muslims who are armed to the teeth. The cost to build this monstrosity was approximately 700 million tax dollars and the estimated cost to maintain the facility is 200 million tax dollars per year. The outer perimeter wall of this trophy temple is 15 feet thick.

The personnel housed inside this walled fortress plan anti-insurgent operations (house-to-house raids on the locals) which is, presumably, the reason for the 15 foot thick perimeter walls. There is nothing multi-cultural or community oriented about this trophy temple. It will be insulated from community in much the same fashion Washington D.C. has insulated itself from the rest of the United States. This trophy temple represents 104 acres of military-industrial make-believe surrounded by reality.

What trophy temple are we talking about? We are talking about the largest U.S. Embassy in the world located in Baghdad, Iraq. More precisely, this embassy, in Baghdad, is the largest embassy of any nation. This monument to empire is more likely regarded as the Trophy Temple of Doom, to those living in the area and experiencing the terror this temple continues to facilitate. There is certainly nothing in its structure resembling diplomacy. Most of the diplomats have probably been shoved into some cramped corner cubical with no mission other than shuttling coffee to the costumed real heroes who sell diplomacy and democracy at gunpoint.

When comparing the Islamic Cultural Center to the U.S. Embassy, in Baghdad, Iraq, in size, cost, and character it puts things into a clearer perspective. Compare the death toll of 3,000 Americans during 911 to the death toll of Muslims, via embargoes and war over the last 20 years or so, and the Manhattan trophy mosque issue becomes nothing but a small bump in the road with much more community credibility than the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad will ever hope to achieve behind its 15 foot thick walls.

Picture the outcry in New York if leaders in Tehran proposed building a walled fortress in Manhattan equivalent, in size, to the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad and predominantly staffed with military personnel instead of diplomats. Isn’t it about time we do a bit of reflection and learn to put the shoe on the other foot? If we wouldn’t want something like that in our country, why would we expect people in other countries to feel any different? Is it because they are not a Christian Nation that we can so callously ignore the Christian mandate requiring that we treat others the way we would like to be treated? If so, maybe our status as a Christian Nation needs to be re-examined. We would suggest a Christian Nation IS as a Christian Nation DOES.

The U.S. government has been forcefully spreading the gospel of freedom and democracy in the Mideast for the last 60 years. It is estimated that 500,000 innocent Iraqi children died of starvation during U.N. embargoes planned, promoted, and funded by the U.S. government. Madeline Albright was rather nonchalant about this occurrence when confronted a few years back on a 60 Minutes segment. She certainly didn’t deny the accuracy of the numbers and basically postulated that this type of collateral damage was acceptable.

Isn’t it about time we begin to link cause and effect (actions and consequences) to our failed foreign policy of U.N. sanctions that include embargoes and military interventionism? Do they really hate us and attack us because we are free or do they hate us and attack us because we threaten them, disrupt their food supplies, and attack them and occupy their homelands? As long as we are over there stirring the hate pot, they will be attacking us here. Have we become so arrogant, as a nation, that we think we can reap other than what we sow? If we want peace, we have to sow the seeds of peace. If we continue sowing discord, strife, and social conflict can we really expect it won’t be returned to us, in kind, no matter how well intentioned, or seemingly noble, we think our cause to be? To expect anything other than that just ain’t natural.

So, how would you characterize the Manhattan Islamic Cultural Center issue? Is it a mountain or a molehill?
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Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Secession: A Fundamental Principle of Liberty

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The right to secede or withdraw our consent is a basic human right we’ve all exercised from time to time and to one degree or another. We, on occasion, withdraw from relationships, whether personal or professional, no longer serving our needs or values. Additionally, we often withdraw our support or loyalty to products or services no longer serving our needs or our values. Why would the state secessionist movement be relegated to a different set of rules or rights by our federal government?

Is the right to secede conditional upon someone or some entity granting us permission to do so? If freedom is something granted (an assumption), how can we ever hope to be truly free? We either believe that we as individuals choose to be free or we believe others grant us our freedom(s). If we believe others bestow our freedoms on us, how do we reconcile the issue of the equality of mankind? If, as many proclaim, we are all equal, who would be so arrogant to assume they are in a position to grant or bestow freedom upon their equals? And, if the arrogant assume they are in a position to grant or bestow freedom upon their equals, what assurance do we have that they will be any less arrogant in the reversal of such bestowment?

Can one imagine the public outcry if corporations successfully lobbied for bills making it illegal for employees to terminate their employment? Can one imagine the public outcry if landlords successfully lobbied for bills making it illegal for rent paying tenants to terminate their lease agreements? Can one imagine the public outcry if automobile manufacturers successfully lobbied for bills making it illegal to terminate ownership and use of their particular brand of automobile? Can one imagine the public outcry if cities, municipalities, or states forbade residents to leave their territorial boundaries?

The early American colonists came together in a voluntary union and made a decision to secede from British rule. Voluntary union and secession was the basis upon which this nation was founded. If voluntary union and secession was the basis upon which this nation was founded, why wouldn’t it also be the basis of its continuance?

What Abraham Lincoln did, in coercively suppressing the secessionist movement of the South, was treasonous and un-American and this act of coercive suppression represented a reversal of something considered very fundamental and unique to the forming of our nation. No longer, after Lincoln’s tyranny, would the federal government be truly answerable to the people. No longer would the federal government seek to create an environment of mutual consent and voluntary association. Lincoln brought us the beginnings of a haughty and abusive form of government that continues, to this very day, to flaunt its power intrusively and obnoxiously. We’ve evolved into a nation of serfs no better off than the colonists, under oppressive British rule, and in many instances the tyranny we experience today is worse than the tyranny experienced under British rule. The primary difference being that today the tyranny is much more creatively disguised through the management of perceptions by mainstream media.

Why was secession from British rule applauded as being something akin to the Divine while the Southern States secession from the Union was, under Lincoln, characterized as being heretical or treasonous? Why did the United States government applaud the state secessionist movement in the U.S.S.R. and elsewhere while continuing to pooh-pooh the same liberty for their own individual states? Is there a double standard for freedom?

Is not voting with our feet and our money true democracy practiced in its most pure form? Can we imagine the degradation of products and services consumers would experience if a law was passed prohibiting shoppers from discontinuing the use of a product or service? Can we imagine the abusive and haughty behavior that could be found in marital relationships if laws were created to prohibit withdrawal from those relationships? Can we imagine the abusive and haughty nature of a government run amok, as witnessed on an almost daily basis, not having some connection to Lincoln’s treasonous act against the South? How many past civilizations embracing coercion, as the patriotic glue uniting their societies together, did not witness this coercion morphing into more oppressive forms and serving as the catalyst for the next revolution?

When sellers of products and services are required to compete for our loyalty, doesn’t that make for more choices and better service in the marketplace? When a spouse understands their partner is not shackled to the marital relationship, in a coercive fashion, doesn’t that garner more mutual respect or respectful behavior towards one another? Why wouldn’t a similar voluntary and competitive structure, in government, provide equally more choices, freedom and better customer service?

If we can understand the benefits of secession from the British Crown, can we not understand the potential benefits of secession from the Union? When we succumb to the false ideas of - my country, right or wrong; my church, right or wrong; and my family, right or wrong; how do we avoid resigning ourselves to the inevitable negative consequences (tyranny) arising from such self-destructive paradigms? Unconditional loyalty to one’s country, one’s church, and to one’s family soon becomes the breeding ground for the selfish and arrogant.

If the secessionist movement isn’t successful on the state level, it can certainly be successful on the individual level. If the United States government appears to have great difficulty in keeping illegal immigrants out of our country, how can it be expected the United States government will be any more successful in keeping those desiring to leave (secede) from doing so? The best and brightest liberty minded people will leave for more hospitable shores and many are doing so right now. Those who understand what liberty is will certainly find it.

In the final analysis, there will be only two impediments to the masses desiring to secede from the Union in whatever fashion deemed appropriate to the circumstances. Those impediments are personal debt and dependency upon the Nanny State. Debt and Nanny State dependency keep us in perpetual slavery and we do it to ourselves by our choices. The famous Pogo cartoon quotation summed it up best when lamenting, "We have met the enemy and he is us."

The most prosperous nation states of the future will be the ones who compete with each other in providing an environment of low taxes, privacy, and the elimination of onerous regulations and frivolous lawsuits. The personally responsible and solvent will be attracted to their shores.

The impoverished third world nation state wastelands of the future will be the ones who incentivize personal irresponsibility, personal debt, and dependency upon the Nanny State.

We have a choice to be loyal to the principles of freedom and our core values or the choice to be loyal to the brand and the expectations of others. Freedom is a choice!
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Thursday, August 19, 2010

Muslims Ignore Tyranny and Choose Freedom

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The Muslims in this video have withdrawn their consent to be pillaged by their oppressors and have chosen to experience freedom instead of tyranny. When will Americans wake up and do the same?
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Friday, August 13, 2010

Is China Becoming Less Tyrannical Than the United States?

Follow entrepreneur Steve Wynn’s enlightening and articulate comments here and discover why he is shifting more of his money and more of his business operations to China.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Smirky Mainstream Media Zombies Attack Back-Alley Bloggers

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Smirk: To smile in an affected, often offensively self-satisfied manner. http://www.thefreedictionary.com/Smirky

Zombie: A creature that appears in books, films and popular culture. It is typically a reanimated corpse, or a human being who is being controlled by someone else by use of magic.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zombie

Take a look a close look at this news clip and ask yourself the real reason these two smirking mainstream media zombies are attacking back-alley bloggers. The very unprofessional smirks on their faces suggest the real reason for the attack is something other than looking out after their audience’s best interest. We believe the smirks are a mask for genuine fear.

Back-alley bloggers are scooping and making a mockery of mainstream media on a daily basis and mainstream media is increasingly losing their market share. Advertisers are throwing more of their advertising dollars to bloggers who offer ad space on their web pages because more and more people are turning to the internet for their news. These mainstream media news zombies should be asking, “Why are more and more people giving up their subscriptions to newspapers and turning off their TVs?” People don’t turn away from being spoon-fed the news for no reason. Either the spoon was shoved too far down their audience’s throat or the contents of the spoon weren’t fit for consumption. It takes something pretty horrendous to get people up off the couch and digging for their own news. Could it be the economy? Were not the mainstream media news zombies and financial talking heads smirking at Ron Paul, Peter Schiff, and Jim Rogers when they predicted the economic downturn? Did mainstream media do their audiences a favor by promoting the perpetual prosperity illusion or did they serve as willing dupes, or co-conspirators, to the fleecing operation?

This zombie attack on back-alley bloggers would appear to be fear-based because if they were really concerned about “lies” being propagated to the public, via the internet, it is doubtful they could, in good conscience, still be working for mainstream media.

If one is to believe the mainstream media zombies, the general public is too stupid to discern lies on their own and the general public needs mainstream media to serve as the information gatekeepers. Thanks, but no thanks! In our view, that would be much like hiring a fox to guard the hen house. Those individuals who are incapable or too lazy to get up off the couch and dig for the news and perform their own due diligence will be equally susceptible to mainstream media zombies and back-alley bloggers.

We will gladly take our chances with the back-alley bloggers and perform our own due diligence. If the back-alley bloggers sully their reputations with the dissemination of erroneous information, they will suffer the same fate mainstream media is currently and painfully enduring and for the same reasons. It is a sad commentary on the mainstream media zombies when their only hope for longevity and survival rests on attacking those who they categorize as being low-life back alley bloggers scribbling on internet bathroom walls. Don’t be fooled by their smirks or their piety! We smell fear.
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Saturday, July 24, 2010

Thanks a Million for Featuring Us

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Blog Conduit
http://blogconduit.com/2010/07/blogging-for-profit-carnival-for-july-5-2010/

The Radula
http://theradula.blogspot.com/2010/06/carnival-of-godless.html

Living the Law of Attraction
http://livingthelawofattraction.com/loa-blog/law-of-attraction-carnival-64-final-edition/

Carnival of Progressive Politics
http://srgaissert.wordpress.com/2010/06/21/carnival-of-progressive-politics-june-2010-edition/
http://srgaissert.wordpress.com/2010/05/21/carnival-of-progressive-politics-may-2010-edition/
http://srgaissert.wordpress.com/2010/04/22/carnival-of-progressive-politics-april-2010-edition/

Baby Boomers U.S. (Blog)
http://blog.babyboomersus.net/2010/06/baby-boomers-blog-carnival-forty-third-edition/
http://blog.babyboomersus.net/2010/05/baby-boomers-blog-carnival-forty-first-edition/
http://blog.babyboomersus.net/2010/05/baby-boomers-blog-carnival-fourtieth-edition/
http://blog.babyboomersus.net/2010/04/baby-boomers-blog-carnival-thirty-seventh-edition/
http://blog.babyboomersus.net/2010/04/baby-boomers-blog-carnival-thirty-sixth-edition/
http://blog.babyboomersus.net/2010/04/baby-boomers-blog-carnival-thirty-five/
http://blog.babyboomersus.net/2010/03/baby-boomers-blog-carnival-thirty-first-edition/
http://blog.babyboomersus.net/2010/02/baby-boomers-blog-carnival-twenty-seventh-edition/
http://blog.babyboomersus.net/2010/02/baby-boomers-blog-carnival-twenty-sixth-edition/
http://blog.babyboomersus.net/2010/01/baby-boomers-blog-carnival-twenty-third-edition/
http://blog.babyboomersus.net/2010/01/baby-boomers-blog-carnival-twenty-second-edition/#comments
http://blog.babyboomersus.net/2010/01/baby-boomers-blog-carnival-twenty-first-edition/
http://blog.babyboomersus.net/2009/12/baby-boomers-blog-carnival-twentieth-edition/
http://blog.babyboomersus.net/2009/12/baby-boomers-blog-carnival-nineteenth-edition/comment-page-1/#comment-382
http://blog.babyboomersus.net/2009/12/baby-boomers-blog-carnival-eighteenth-edition/

Patriot Trading Group
http://www.allamericangold.com/
(Archives: May 17, 2010)
http://www.allamericangold.com/
(Archives: March 10, 2010)

Christian Carnival is Here Again
http://ladysown.blogspot.com/2010/06/christian-carnival-is-here-again.html

My DIY Home Tips
http://mydiyhometips.com/2010/05/26/carnival-of-everything-home-may-16th-edition/

The Digerati Life
http://www.thedigeratilife.com/blog/personal-investment-financial-planning-articles-carnival-of-financial-planning/

The Income Blog
http://theincomeblog.com/a-real-estate-investing-carnival-may-24-2010/

remodeling this life
http://www.remodelingthislife.com/2010/05/25/festival-of-frugality-281-lessons-about-money-edition/

The Income Blog
http://theincomeblog.com/a-real-estate-investing-carnival-may-17-2010/

Naked Liberty
http://nakedliberty.com/2010/06/the-june-2010-ccc-blog-carnival/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+NakedLiberty%2FEKJH+%28Naked+Liberty%29
http://nakedliberty.com/2010/05/the-may-2010-ccc-blog-carnival/
http://nakedliberty.com/2010/02/the-february-2010-ccc-blog-carnival/

Political Calculations: On The Moneyed Midways
http://politicalcalculations.blogspot.com/2010/05/on-moneyed-midways-may-7-2010.html

OneMint
http://www.onemint.com/2010/05/22/economy-and-your-finances-carnival-23rd-may-2010/

Survey MAGNET
http://www.surveymagnet.com/2010/04/survey-magnet-blog-carnival-4-25-2010/

Other Food: daily devo’s Christian Carnival 324
http://vnesdoly2.blogspot.com/2010/04/christian-carnival-324.html

Cross Driven
http://www.crossdrivenhome.com/2010/03/13/there-is-hope-blog-carnival/

RodneyOlsen.Net
http://rodneyolsen.net/2010/03/christian-carnival-318.html

Len Penzo dot Com
http://lenpenzo.com/blog/id917-what-perpetual-motion-machines-and-the-entitlement-mentality-have-in-common.html
http://lenpenzo.com/blog/id919-the-best-of-the-best-in-money-and-personal-finance-10.html
http://lenpenzo.com/blog/id853-the-best-of-the-best-in-money-and-personal-finance-9.html

Healthy Living New Year Tips
http://bestblogreview.com/2010/01/healthy-living-1/

OLIN E-Book E-Publishing Blog
http://olinepublishing.blogspot.com/2010/01/january-blog-carnival-of-christian.html

The BoBo Carnival of Politics
http://thebobofiles.com/?p=2013
http://thebobofiles.com/?m=200911&paged=3

U.S. Common Sense
http://uscommonsense.net/blog/?s=The+END+TIMES+Hoax

Beauty Central
http://beautycentral.info/carnival/beauty-and-skin-care-edition-twelve/

Call Center Blurbs
http://callcenterblurbs.com/call-center-blurbs-carnival-5th-edition/

Everything Worth Reading Carnival
http://everythingworthreading.blogspot.com/2010/01/ewr-twenty-four-evermore.html

(P2P) People2People Service
http://www.people2peopleservice.com/2010/02/customer-service-carnivale-interesting.html

Liberal England
http://liberalengland.blogspot.com/2009/11/carnival-of-liberals-99.html

BizBazar
http://twitter.com/BizBazar/status/6860240204

Bankruptcy Guide
http://bankruptcy-guide.com/tips/bankruptcy-counseling-3/

Homeschool Trenches
http://homeschooltrenches.com/2010/02/10/a-homeschooling-carnival-february-10-2010/

The Centsible Life
http://www.thecentsiblelife.com/money/carnival-of-money-stories-just-the-facts/

Party Elf
http://www.partyelf.com/family-fun/winter-family-activities-all-things-family-blog-carnival/

Topix Forum
http://www.topix.com/forum/city/mountain-grove-mo/TTR0QEIGJD6QVP1IM/p2

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Saturday, July 3, 2010

Internet "Kill Switch": The Berlin Wall of Cyberspace

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Fearful legislators are working feverishly to build a “Kill Switch” for President Barrack Obama to be able to use to shut down the Internet. Why? Are they really fearful of cyber-terrorism or is the real enemy transparency?

If such a “Kill Switch” is possible to build, why doesn’t the Obama administration quickly throw together an experimental prototype that can be used to stop the gushing of up to 50,000 plus barrels of oil a day into the Gulf of Mexico from the ruptured BP well cap? We think that should be a relatively simple task compared to the stopping of trillions upon trillions of barrels of information gushing into cyberspace and circling the universe at the speed of light each and every second.

The Internet, an invention of government, is now being perceived as a threat to government. Oh, my, oh my…the paradox of unintended consequences.

What makes the Internet such a real and compelling threat to the establishment is that the barrier to entry (financial outlay) to the “little people” and their “small ideas” is extremely low. Anyone with a computer and an Internet connection and a bit of literacy can become a publisher and disseminator of information. There are no longer any effective information chokepoints. Only those relying solely on traditional media for critical information become its victims.

Traditional media, in the form of newspapers, magazines, radio, and television are scratching and clawing for relevancy and their very survival. More and more people, who relish freedom and personal responsibility, are dropping their subscriptions to mainstream media outlets and are focusing their time and attention on mining information from alternative Internet sources not dependent on information monopoly, but who rely, instead, upon providing valuable and useful content mainstream media abandoned decades ago. Additionally, global Internet users are becoming increasingly aware that their so-called enemies, on the other side of the globe, have much more in common with each other than their respective governments would want them to believe. People all over the globe are speaking directly to one another instead of through political and diplomatic proxies with divisive goals and questionable ambitions. Statists find such person-2-person dialogue passing freely and unobstructed through international boundaries absolutely abhorrent.

Institutional norms and international boundaries are being overcome, by the Internet liberty revolution, as emphatically as the Berlin Wall was eventually overcome and for the same reasons. East Germany was experiencing continual defections and "brain drain," even after the wall was built, and East German government officials (and the Soviets) finally saw the futility of their efforts to wall East Germans off from the opportunities and prosperity the rest of the world was enjoying. The Berlin Wall was built and then it was destroyed.

It is doubtful the Internet "Kill Switch" (Berlin Wall equivalent) will ever be built or stand for any length of time. The "mindset" of the statists proposing this silly solution is no different than the mindset of those Soviet Czars who dreamed of the Berlin Wall as representing a "Kill Switch" for capitalism. The idiocy didn't work then and it won't work now, but the statists never learn from history and are therefore doomed to repeat the mistakes of the past.

The Internet and complementary technologies such as video cameras, cell phones, and innovative software now allow anyone to become a publisher much to the dismay of authoritarians everywhere. Police officers and government officials no longer have an exclusive monopoly on surveillance activities. More and more concerned citizens are pulling out their cell phones and videotaping police abuse and publishing it on YouTube in a matter of a few minutes. Police are now finding their conduct increasingly under the microscope. The police have justified the use surveillance and recording technology, in the public domain, under the premise that there is no expectation of privacy while in public and therefore their secret surveillance and recording activities have been upheld in court as being legitimate. But what about when the shoe is suddenly placed on the other foot and they are the ones being placed under surveillance by concerned citizens who are sickened with the abuse they see in the form of tasering for non-compliance, indiscriminate use of asset forfeiture laws, and SWAT teams being used to serve warrants on suspects with no history of violence or any reasonable suspicion that they will be violent?

Sophisticated encryption technology is now available to the common man as effectively demonstrated by Wikileak’s founder Julian Assange possibly being placed on the government’s hit list for assassination because he is serving as an information go-between for conscientious people in the military and government who are feeling increasingly torn between protecting state secrets (embarrassing secrets), or following unconstitutional orders and directives, versus upholding their oath of office. Encryption technology allows for the establishment of cyberspace “safe houses,” such as Wikileaks, for whistleblowers to share such information without fear of their identities being compromised provided the whistleblowers follow the “safe house” rules of information handling and transmission. In other words, it is highly improbable a leak could be traced from Wikileaks back to the whistleblower, but is considerably more likely that a leak could be traced directly from the whistleblower. This is especially true if there were only a very small number of individuals having access to the information. The more people who are potential suspects (anyone with privileged access), in such a leak, will serve to complicate the investigation considerably.

Oath Keepers is an organization comprised of government employees and military personnel who no longer agonize about following unconstitutional orders or directives. They’ve committed themselves to upholding their oath of office in preference to protecting their arrogant bosses who continually seek to hide their tyranny behind the smokescreen of national security. We see an unraveling evident in this movement akin to the unraveling of the Soviet apparatus as depicted in the 1990 movie The Hunt for Red October based on the 1984 Tom Clancy novel of the same title whereby a Soviet submarine commander voluntarily defects and relinquishes his Soviet nuclear submarine out of respect for the sanctity of life and humanity in general. We do question the commander’s rationale for relinquishing his nuclear submarine to another equally destructive state power, instead of simply destroying it, but we obviously weren’t consulted during this portion of the filming.

The REAL reason the government fears the Internet is because they fear exposure. Their deeds cannot stand the light of day and the Internet is capable of shedding light in very dark corners.

Another reason the government fears the Internet is because they know how truly difficult it would be to get the Internet genie back into the bottle. And, they are not at all certain of the potential and unintended consequences that might result from such an endeavor. The Internet has a very unique way of seeking an outlet despite all the roadblocks thrown in its path. It was purposely designed to go over, under, and around all obstacles. The government would like everyone to think they had such awesome and omnipotent power to shut down the Internet, but the truth of the matter is that their true power lies primarily in the management of perceptions. The government’s primary tool for the management of perceptions consists of the lapdog mainstream media, but the mainstream media’s audience is rapidly dwindling. As a result, more and more government agencies and mainstream media outlets are creating their own Internet websites and forums and are attempting to win back their lost audience, but they just don’t get it. The real success of any form of media is based on the value of their content and mainstream media and government have repeatedly violated the trust of their constituency far too many times and their subscribers are leaving them in droves.

Mainstream media would love to see an Internet “Kill Switch” developed because they are getting scooped left and right and are unable to compete on a level playing field. The Internet has definitely leveled the media playing field and liberty lovers everywhere can rejoice and remain reasonably assured the Internet “Kill Switch” is just a figment of an impotent tyrant’s desperate imagination. If the government persists with this nonsense they will only be successful in driving the Internet underground where their influence will be felt even less.
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Sunday, June 6, 2010

Some Say, “God is in Control”: We Ask, “In Control of What?"

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Is God really in control, or is this just another mindless cliché that serves as a tool of obfuscation to those disinclined to accept personal responsibility for what happens to them or to those disinclined to look a little deeper into what they see going on in the world around them?

How many of us look around at the calamities going on in the world such as the BP Deepwater Horizon oil gushing crisis, the banking collapse, the “forever wars” in the Mideast, the implosion of residential real estate, the exportation of our manufacturing sector, the escalating unemployment rate, the rioting and bloodshed in Greece, the Columbine styled school shootings, the bombing of the Murrah building, the collapse of the Twin Towers, or the Hurricane Katrina aftermath, and sometimes feel compelled to label or categorize these events as being or representing something outside of our own control and miraculously separated from the choices we individually make whether we are talking about where we choose to live, our choice of employment, our recreational pursuits, our personal associations, our political worship, or how we choose to invest our money? It is much easier, when faced with such seemingly unexplainable events and calamities, at least by mainstream media’s standards, to place them all in the “too hard to do bin” by making the rather weak and unconvincing proclamation that, “God is in control,” thereby automatically dismissing out-of-hand any personal responsibility for the outcomes we may encounter along this journey we call life.

In making the statement, “God is in control,” does it not appear to be an effort on the part of some to simply avoid thinking about cause and effect or the associated implications (consequences) of their beliefs, decisions and actions? If we can quickly shift personal responsibility onto something outside ourselves, doesn’t it tend to make for more happy thoughts? When someone is attempting to mindlessly shift their personal responsibility onto God’s shoulders, with such a reckless cliché as, “God is in control,” the automatic response bursting forth from our lips is, “In control of what?” What is God in control of? Do we, or do we not, have freewill, or are we all just hapless victims of a cruel joke played upon us by our Creator? Are we really just robots or automatons? Does holding on to the “God is in control” paradigm encourage us to be more responsible for our personal behavior, or less responsible? Does the holding on to the “God is in control” paradigm encourage us to be better stewards of our natural resources, or less so? Does the holding on to the “God is in control” paradigm encourage us to be more loving of our neighbors, here and abroad, or less loving?

Ironically, many Christians who proclaim that, “God is in control,” when faced with overwhelming calamity that they are not willing to accept responsibility for, are the same ones who cheer on or actively participate in the annihilation of brown skinned babies, of Muslim parents, because they think God may have fallen asleep at the switch and that he may need a little nudge. They may verbalize or intellectualize that “God is in control,” but their contradictory actions, even if it’s just a warmongering wink and a nod, from the safety of their pews, bespeak something else entirely. Their contradictory actions imply a degree of impatient benevolence towards a God who apparently does not know what is going on in the world and who needs their help to bring on Armageddon to the Axis of Evil (anyone not bowing to their whims, desires, and expectations). This contradictory push-pull is much like an adult rendition of the childhood straw squeezing game where giggling little girls pinch the straw and verbally speculate, “He loves me, he loves me not,” being replaced, in the adult Christian version by, “God is in control, God is asleep.” So, which is it? Is God in control or is he asleep? God can’t be both, can he?

Do we really want to sit back and entrust others to play squeeze the straw and discover the answer to that question for us, or do we want to more broadly explore our own questions and answers that don’t serve to limit the outcome to such narrow and equally disturbing possibilities? Neither of the two possibilities, above, seem very complimentary to a loving God who made each of us in his own image to autonomously rule over the animal kingdom, plant kingdom, and our own families, does it? Is it possible we sometimes attempt to mold and shape God to our own skewed images?

The two conflicting and contradictory paradigms, “God is in control” and “God is asleep,” often held by Christians simultaneously can only be embraced, in such fashion, by those who’ve awkwardly and vainly attempted to compartmentalize and segregate their spiritual lives from their secular lives. They represent a sort of Jekyll and Hyde dual personality struggling to achieve congruity between their incompatible religious and secular belief systems. In their minds, killing little brown babies is justified because God must be asleep at the switch in allowing Muslims to exist and pursue their dreams of autonomy and that Armageddon must happen within their lifetimes because the Bible says so. Never mind the fact that their Bible is the same Bible their parents, grandparents and great grandparents read and that Armageddon didn’t materialize within their lifetimes. They, without the least bit of shame, postulate that maybe if they kill even more brown skinned babies that maybe they can prove to a loving, kind, and compassionate God that they are actually worthy of the rapture for which they are desperately longing.

Is there possibly a third paradigm we need to explore that makes much more sense than the contradictory and opposing “God is in control” and “God is asleep” paradigms many so-called Christians equally and contradictorily embrace? What would that third paradigm be?

A third paradigm that makes much more sense to us is the one that says, “I’m responsible for everything I do and everything that happens to me…period.” Although we recognize that God instituted the natural laws designed to keep our Universe from spinning out of control, we also recognize that within this framework of natural law that we, as human beings, are blessed with the freewill to design our own destinies. The more closely our life design parallels the natural order of things, the more peace, joy, love and happiness we experience. When our lives continually bump up against the sharp edges of natural law, the more pain we experience. When we seek and embrace natural law and make it our ally rather than discovering it haphazardly, we show gratitude and allegiance to our Creator and experience more peace, joy, love, happiness and abundance. When we embrace man’s law, on the other hand, we experience all manner of mischief, calamity, inequality, scarcity, hate, strife and discord.

We, as human beings, are not victims of anything other than our own choices…good, bad, or ugly and we cannot realistically separate the consequences of life from our own beliefs, decisions and actions.

We can already hear a few readers mumbling, “Yeah, but what about…babies born with physical and mental challenges? What beliefs, decisions and actions are they responsible for making that brought them these challenges?” These are the ‘lifeboat cases’ that are invariably raised by those disinclined to accept personal responsibility for their beliefs, decisions and actions. They’re hoping to philosophically piggyback or hitch a ride off the infirm. Ironically, how many instances have we witnessed autistic children becoming virtuosos in some field of endeavor? Or, what about those who’ve overcome severe physical disabilities and achieved personal fame in the sports world? Yes, it would appear that some may have been dealt a bad hand, at the inception of life, but what is our excuse and who are we to judge their challenges as being disabilities? Who are we to judge their purpose in life as being subpar to our own? Who are we to judge and place limits on their capacity for achievement?

Those inclined to put on their victim faces and philosophically hitch a ride off the infirm will be shamed to tears after viewing the following video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MslbhDZoniY&feature=player_embedded
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Sunday, May 23, 2010

The Homeowner’s Dilemma: To Amputate or To Suck-it-Up and Take One for the Team

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It can be challenging to find comfort, peace, and tranquility, as a homeowner, when the big bad financial wolf is outside huffing and puffing on our doorsteps. This situation is even more disconcerting when the behemoth house next door (that looks just like ours) is renting for several hundred dollars a month less than our own monthly mortgage payment and we are struggling to put food on our tables.

Some may ask, “If a home is just a home (a roof over our heads), what does it matter if one is underwater $30,000 to $300,000 or more on their mortgage?” It doesn’t matter to those who don’t need employment income and to those with the financial wherewithal to remain in their homes until they die. It does, on the other hand, most certainly matter to those who are currently experiencing unemployment or underemployment, death of a spouse, divorce, or those dealing with serious illness. There are those life events that arise from time to time that can change our perspective on what is truly important. In such situations homeownership can quickly assume a lesser importance as we pick up the broken pieces and begin the process of restructuring and reordering our lives.

In many sectors of the economy, jobs are vanishing fast and in order to remain employed many are faced with the choice of a long and expensive commute or relocation to a distant city. An underwater homeowner, in a declining real estate market, will be faced with the equally disturbing choice of either selling their home, at a serious loss, or renting their home out for much less than their current mortgage payments in the event they decide to accept employment outside their commuting area. Some of these same people who previously postulated on whether a home is just a home (a roof over their heads) and whether it really matters if one is underwater $30,000 to $300,000 or more on their mortgage may have defended the original purchase of their own homes by declaring, “We don’t want to rent and just throw our money away.” If a home is truly a roof over our heads, what is wrong with renting? If we pay money for the roof over our heads or pay money for the food we put in our stomachs, how is that throwing money away? Did we not receive value-4-value? Obviously, to some, throwing money away is not now the exclusive domain of those who choose to rent but also the domain of those who became homeowners in the last 10 years or so. The cost of homeownership has recently come with a very high premium attached to it especially in those hard hit areas of California, Arizona, Nevada, Michigan, and Florida where there have been drops in home value of 50 percent or more. In Detroit, Michigan, the average sales price of a home in 2009 was $7,000.

Homeownership has, traditionally, offered many who’ve been disinclined to save money, the perceived opportunity to save in a more disciplined fashion. The illusion of "forced" savings, however, has quickly vanished in our declining real estate market. Many have found that the “home” piggy bank that they thought was made of more sturdy material is, in reality, fashioned with materials resembling straw. The big bad financial wolf has been huffing and puffing on these straw houses and we've experienced severe asset deflation (collapsing home values) as a result. Exacerbating this situation is the fact that these “home” piggy banks have had their very foundations structurally compromised, by the owners themselves, with Home Equity Lines of Credit (HELOC). These homeowners mistakenly thought that their home’s value would increase in perpetuity and serve as unlimited funding for present and future consumption. Their homes miraculously became ATMs. They either forgot or were totally oblivious to the market axiom that says, "If something seems too good to be true, it probably is."

What must be clearly understood, in our current economic environment, is that our current asset deflation phenomenon is global in nature. It is not just the U.S. market that is impacting home values but also the larger global markets of the Western world. How so? The bubble in the U.S. housing market was facilitated not only by the promotion of easy money policies consisting of artificially low interest rates, liar’s loans, no money down, and cash back upon closing schemes, but also by those financial weapons of mass destruction called derivatives. Derivatives, at their inception, were marketed simply as hedges, or insurance, against a larger market position much in the same fashion a homeowner used home insurance as a hedge to protect their homes against fire loss. That sounds innocent enough, doesn’t it? It was innocent until the misuse of leverage was thrown into the mix. The inherent danger of artificially low interest rates is that it attracts all sorts of creative individuals who are not held in abeyance to natural market forces until the misallocation of resources becomes magnified to the point of inviting global disaster. Artificially low interest rates, derivatives, and the fact the U.S. dollar has been the reserve currency of the world has globalized a disaster that would have otherwise been contained locally. It may take decades for the hundreds of trillions of dollars of derivative borne toxic assets to be safely absorbed into the financial bloodstream of the global economy.

Many of the financial mavericks who predicted the original downturn in real estate are now looking for one more hard down before there is a final capitulation in which many more homeowners, previously in denial, will be looking to head for the exits, in mass, via selling or by exercising their contract option of simply walking away and leaving the lender(s) to buck up and take their medicine for making under-collateralized loans.

The overhang in the U.S. housing market could also last for decades and those latecomers to the real estate boom party, attempting to wait it out, are likely to pay a tremendous price for doing so as there cannot be a meaningful recovery in housing without a meaningful recovery in jobs and livable wages. Many homeowners are in serious denial of this fact and, sadly, most will be too paralyzed to take the necessary action to save their financial lives. The choice of financial amputation is always a difficult and painful choice much like the decision to amputate a seriously infected limb is a disturbing but sometimes necessary choice. More importantly, the choice to amputate is an individual choice. We each have to decide what is in our own best interest and shouldn’t begrudge others for doing the same.

The quicker one decides to sever their losses, the quicker they will rebound. Such a move takes courage because it transcends the conventional wisdom of the day. Conventional wisdom is what got us into this mess and history suggests that conventional wisdom will have little or nothing to do with the remedy that gets us out of it. Conventional wisdom said we could spend ourselves into prosperity by purchasing things we didn’t really need with money we really didn’t have. Conventional wisdom now says that walking away from our homes hurts everyone else and that underwater homeowners should just suck it up and take one for the team. Do you believe this conventional wisdom or do you see through it as a desperate and fearful attempt by others to preserve their own self interest and greedy ambitions...at your expense?
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Saturday, May 15, 2010

Strategic Defaults: A Misnomer

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Obviously, there are three sets of opposing and sometimes conflicting emotions involved in the debate on strategic defaults. Existing homeowners are often fearful there will be a stampede toward the exits and that their home values will suffer a decline. They tend to advocate the moralist position by declaring that others who walk away are immoral for doing so. Non-homeowners are greedily looking for the best value and are anticipating much lower prices. They are licking their chops for a stampede of homeowners who’ve thrown in the towel. A third set of mixed emotions involve a combination of fear and greed. There are those who see an inevitable stampede coming and don’t want to be left behind and they hope to minimize or off-set their losses by walking away now, before their neighbor does, and buying back later when prices are much lower.

Ultimately, the decision to default on a non-recourse loan is a business decision. Morality has nothing to do with it. The contract says the homeowner is to make the payments or return the keys (or possession of the house) to the lien holder or lender. If the legal lien holder or lender is nowhere to be found, is that the problem of the homeowner? The only thing immoral about a strategic default is that the credit agencies are allowed to trash a person’s credit. That is immoral because the person who quits making payments and returns the keys to the rightful owner has fulfilled the terms of the contract. That is not a default, but a contract option exercised. Exercising an option contained in a contract is a business decision pure and simple. Trashing someone’s credit rating for exercising a contract option is irrational and immoral.

Some argue against strategic defaults because of the negative impact it will have on one’s credit rating. Who among those who’ve strategically or non-strategically defaulted actually need credit? Isn’t easy money (credit) what got many of them into the mess they are in? It’s probably time for many of them to go on a debt diet.

Here’s the deal on a non-recourse loan. You pay the mortgage payments or give the house back to the rightful owners. That’s the deal! In most cases, however, the rightful owners are not known. That’s the reason many attorneys are recommending to their clients to remain in their homes until they receive a lawful eviction notice that can be challenged in court. Some home owners are remaining in their homes indefinitely while not making payments.

The idea that a person will need to be looking over their shoulder after a strategic default may be somewhat flawed. It is not absolute. More and more judicial jurisdictions are requiring lenders to prove they are the actual lien holders of the property in question. In many cases these mortgages have been sliced and diced into a thousand units and redistributed and leveraged to the four winds in the form of derivatives. In most cases, determining actual ownership of these mortgages would be about as futile as determining the ownership of Yosemite National Park. As in the case of Yosemite National Park, everyone (taxpayers) owns it but nobody owns it (if you claim to own it, show us your deed). Courts are increasingly asking the plaintiffs in these actions to prove they are the actual holders of the note to the house they are attempting to foreclose on.

Many argue against a strategic default by saying, “Your home is an investment.” This may or may not be a true statement. For most people a house is a place to live. If a house is treated as an investment it will be traded much like a stock or a commodity absent the liquidity advantages of those investments. If a house is treated as an investment, the goal will be to buy it low and sell it high. Who really thinks about selling their home when the price is high? Unless they do, their home is simply a place to live rather than an investment.

In summary, a strategic default on a mortgage in a non-recourse state is no default at all. This strategy has been mislabeled. It would be much more accurate to label the strategy as an exercised contract option, but that would remove the soap opera melodrama the mainstream media and press are attempting to push on a gullible public. Their goal is to prevent a stampede of increasingly nervous homeowners from heading for the exits during this financial lightning storm. Mainstream media is playing lapdog to the establishment banksters. Will it work? It works until it doesn’t.
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Saturday, April 24, 2010

The Tea Party Elephant in the Room

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The little guy has finally said, “I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore.”

Are you convinced? Is this finally the tipping point? Is this something OTHER than a continuation of left-versus-right political business as usual?

So, what is it that the little guy isn’t going to take anymore? Does the little guy even know who or what they are mad at? Are they mad at Obama? Are they angry about healthcare? Are they angry because they’ve lost their jobs, homes and hope? Are they angry about the financial shenanigans they see going on in high places? Are they mad at Goldman Sachs and the Big Five banks?

Who is the real enemy that is worthy of the wrath being dispensed by the tea party movement? Could they find the answer to that very important question by simply looking in the mirror? How many of them have exercised the most powerful and true democratic vote they have by voting with their feet and pulling their deposits from these banks? How many of them are continuing to feed the monsters that have been the source of their torment? More importantly, why do they continue to do so?

How many in the tea party movement have finally grasped the concept that they’ve been voluntarily playing the role of political prisoners enslaved to a one party system of government that is masquerading as two? How many of them, in 2008, reluctantly voted for McCain because they thought he was the lesser of two evils? How many of these political prisoners continue to believe the lie that they are free because they have the freedom to change out the warden every four years? Are they really starting to understand the dilemma they are in or will they repeat the mistakes of the past by rationalizing that the next election will somehow be different from all the previous elections they participated in?

There is one prominent and glaring deal buster facing the tea party movement. It is the elephant in the room few in the tea party movement want to acknowledge. That elephant will splinter the movement and dilute its political currency in 2010 and 2012. The unacknowledged elephant standing squarely in the middle of the living room is named Empire. Empire is a huge and nasty smelling beast with many offending offspring. The offending offspring of Empire consists of approximately 700 military bases strewn throughout the world in more than 100 countries either directly involved in wars of aggression and occupation or involved in their support. Until this elephant is appropriately dispatched, our economic woes will continue no matter which warden is in charge.

Obama ran on a platform many of his supporters believed ran in opposition to Empire, but Obama has proven he can direct murder and mayhem with the best of the neoconservatives. Why the neoconservatives are complaining is beyond our ability to rationalize. Obama is, operationally speaking, carrying out Bush’s policy of Empire. The only thing that has really changed is a little bit of political rhetoric to appease those who mistakenly believed him to be a dove.

Here is a possible scenario we see playing out over the next couple of years. The tea party movement will finally have to acknowledge the elephant in the room and the group will splinter. Palin’s theocracy platform will most likely be the centerpiece of the split at the same time she attempts to play the part of a political maverick. In the end, however, we see Palin softening her maverick stance and shifting her alliance back to the Republican Party on the basis that a divided third party contingent can’t win and will attempt to bring as many lost sheep as possible back to the safety of Republican fold.

The Republican Party and their loyalists will come up a day late and a dollar short because they simply don’t get it. They didn’t get it when they voted for the warmonger McCain and they still don’t get it when they salivate for the warmonger Palin who perceives herself to be on a mission from God.

People are getting tired of the endless wars of aggression and they see the economic drain associated with these wars. Many are finally beginning to understand that the money going into the pockets of the military-industrial complex and their financiers would be better spent on the home front.

So, which will it be? Will the Democrats win the elections in November of 2010 and 2012 or will the Republicans effectively forfeit them?
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Jim Rogers - Financial Markets; If U Don't C a Guy With a Bow Tie, Keep Refreshing Til U Do

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Marc Faber - Financial Markets

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RT

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Nigel Farage

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Tommy Emmanuel - If U Don't C a Guy With a Guitar (All 4 Pictures), Keep Refreshing Til U Do

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