Monday, February 17, 2014

Who is your favorite President?

Who is your favorite President?

The question came up today because this is the Federal Holiday intended to commemorate Presidents.

Not long ago we celebrated the February birth dates of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln on their actual anniversaries. These two are often cited as our most favorite presidents, the gold standard by which American chief executives are measured. But their birth dates wandered all over the weekly calendar providing no consistent support for commercial or leisure interests.

So in 1971, during the first Nixon administration, we adopted a federal Presidents Day observance on the third Monday in February.

It is worth noting that 1971 was also the year in which America stopped exchanging federal reserve notes for gold at Fort Knox, and the year in which the U.S. Mint no longer struck silver coins for general use.

So now instead of opportunities to be inspired by memories of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, government employees get another day off, and the rest of us get a big sale down at the car lot.

Of course, if you do buy a new car today there is solace in the knowledge that your payments will be made using currency with absolutely no intrinsic value.

Who is my favorite President? Calvin Coolidge, our 30th President who held office from 1923 until 1929, and who most famously said, "Duty is not collective; it is personal."

Mr. Coolidge also said, "I have never been hurt by what I have not said."

Sound advice.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

The Purpose of Government

"All Men are created equal"

Progressives scoff at this statement from our Declaration of Independence. They point to the existence of slavery in 1776 and the presence of social injustice today as proof that traditional American principles are flawed.

But "created" does not mean "born".

We are created by our Creator. But we are born of our mothers into a sinful world.

None of us were born equal. Some were born to royalty, others to poverty. Some were born amid the chaos of war and disease and starvation. Others were born to a loving family in a time of peace and prosperity.

Some were born in America but most were not.

In America we declare that in addition to our equality at the moment of creation we are each given an endowment by our Creator: certain unalienable Rights. This endowment was not grated at the moment of birth, nor was it provided by the government, our families or ourselves.

Among these endowed Rights are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.

In America we declare that the purpose of Government is to secure these Rights, to preserve, protect and defend what we have been given by our Creator.

It really is as simple as that. And it is this God-centered simplicity of purpose that makes our traditional American principles exceptional among all the nations of the Earth.

Trust Liberty.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

What Is Liberty?

The term Liberty is tossed about with ease. It means different things to different people. Dictionary definitions can be helpful.

My Webster's (1978) says that Liberty is "1: the condition of those who are free and independent; freedom from slavery, imprisonment, or control by another - 2: power to do what one pleases; freedom from restraint".

My Black's Law Dictionary (Revised 4th Edition, 1968) says that Liberty is "Freedom; exemption from extraneous control".

But to be practical, simple freedom is only one component of Liberty. One side of the gold coin shows Lady Liberty standing in her glorious freedom, the other shows an eagle proudly grasping arrows and olive branches.

The counter-balance for freedom is responsibility. Liberty includes a measure of each. One cannot be free and dependent at the same instant.

To Trust Liberty, it is therefore necessary to be both free and responsible; to fly and know that there is no parachute.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

They shall not fly over my house

Its a long story. No one who hears it seems to care. Am I the only one who is upset about this?

See that flag, the Stars and Stripes riding the breeze above the big office building. My ancestors fought for freedom under that flag. So did I. It stands for the promises from God enshrined in our Bill of Rights. The people who operate that office building took an oath to preserve, protect and defend our Constitution and its Bill of Rights. They serve under our flag, so they are our friends, right?

Well, I've met those people. And they are not our friends. They are the Internal Revenue Service, the Federal agency charged with administration of Title 26 of the United States Code.

Like I said, nobody cares. So I won't bother you with my details. But you should watch out for those guys. They require impossible standards of proof, and failure to meet their standards can lead to imprisonment or worse.

Among the amendments to our Constitution are the Fourth and the Thirteenth. They recount the guarantees of our freedom, forever to be preserved and defended by our elected public servants and their employees.

The Fourth Amendment says "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated ..."

I regard the disclosure requirements of the IRS to be an unreasonable search of my papers. Can you imagine anyone else being allowed to demand to know your precise income and its sources? To whom else would you surrender detailed information about all of your expenses?

The Thirteenth Amendment to our Constitution says "Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude ... shall exist within the United States ..."

I regard the mandatory Federal levies upon the fruit of my labor as similar to those of the owner of my indenture if I were a bond servant, or a slave, of the Government. Those of you who are subject to Government withholding know that your pay check consists of that which is left after the Government has taken their first interest in your production. He who owns the producer takes the first share of his production.

Why do Americans, the Sons of Liberty, allow themselves to be abused in this manner?

Certainly our community requires our common support. Taxes can be a way for us to fund our community projects. But Americans are not the guilty bond servants of a governing elite.

So long as the Stars and Stripes fly over an IRS office building, they shall not fly over my house.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Bad Government

Current events in Gaza are a great human tragedy. Many people are losing their homes, even their lives, as the Israeli military campaign grinds forward. Gaza is one of the most densely populated areas on earth, a place where it is impossible to conduct a military campaign without causing civilian losses.

When I see news photos of smoking rubble and crying children, my heart is broken. And my memory is drawn to similar images from dozens of other conflicts that continually beset the people of our enlightened age.

Some are blaming the Israelis for this latest sadness. Others are blaming the Palestinians. But most journalists seem to miss the common thread in all of this misery.

Bad Government.

In the present situation, the people of Gaza have allowed themselves to be governed by a terrorist organization sponsored by a foreign power, both of whom support and encourage those few of the Palestinians who persist in firing rockets at their Israeli neighbors. Now, the long suffering Israelis have responded to these rocket attacks, thus bringing about predictable tragic consequences for the Palestinian people.

Just about everyone agrees that the Palestinian people need a homeland where they can live in peace. But that can never happen until the Palestinian people take responsibility for themselves and for their government.

Liberty comes with responsibility. One cannot be free and unaccountable. A people cannot claim the rights and privileges of national sovereignty while avoiding the consequences of bad government.

One hope that emerges is the possibility that the present tragedy will be the undoing of the Hamas government, and that more responsible leadership will arise from among the Palestinian people.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Ponzi Is Coming For You

Charles Ponzi was one of the greatest swindlers of all time. His name is used to describe a fraudulent investment scheme in which initial investors are paid abnormally high returns using funds invested by subsequent investors.

Ponzi schemes ultimately break down for lack of true economic substance. One such scheme has been in the news recently. It seems that Bernard Madoff managed over a period of years to amass an investment fund valued in the billions of dollars by promising a safe and secure return at rates which could not be matched elsewhere. Madoff had sterling credentials and a client list which included wealthy elites and serious pension funds. He had been in business for years without any hint of a problem. But Bernie was a fraud, and now there is great wailing and gnashing of teeth at the country club.

Group think, one sheep following another, is part of what makes a Ponzi scheme work. Madoff's clients each considered themselves to be among the fortunate members of a special group. Their confidence was mutually supportive to the point that they stopped thinking for themselves.

There is another great Ponzi scheme operating in America, a program that promises long term health and security to its investors, each of whom has a personal account to which regular contributions are supposedly deposited. But contributions made by newer investors are used to pay off older investors, so there are no actual investments in the personal accounts.

Like any other Ponzi scheme, the U.S. Social Security Program, which includes Medicare, will ultimately collapse on itself. When it does there will be true hardship and poverty among those who depended upon the promises of the fraudulent Ponzi promoters in government.

Since the average American has no personal savings plan, his years of Social Security contributions amount to a life savings - all of which will suddenly vanish.

No one wants to believe that Congress would expose the people to such risk. But this misplaced confidence in our elected elites is the group think that holds the Social Security Ponzi scheme together. If anyone other than our elected elites attempted such a crime, they would long ago have been arrested and imprisoned.

Most thinking people already know or suspect that this is true. And yet nothing is done. All of us with earned income continue to make contributions to the Social Security Ponzi scheme.

The rolling economic disaster we are experiencing all over the world this year should serve as ample reminder that the laws of simple economics cannot be forever ignored without consequence. Irresponsible lending leads to defaults. Irresponsible spending leads to bankruptcy, and bogus Ponzi schemes never succeed.

If just one percent of us banded together and refused to participate in the Income Tax / Social Security system, a million taxpayers acting as one, the Ponzi promoters would be exposed, and the scheme would collapse now before any more of our savings are stolen.

But, sheep being what they are, we will continue to be fleeced until the scheme unwinds on its own.

When you see the anguished news stories about the victims of Bernie Madoff, know that soon it will be your turn.

Ponzi is coming for you.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Where Is Mumbai?

Get out your Gazetteer. It had better be of recent publication. Mumbai is India's largest city, and it's financial capital. Mumbai is to India as New York is to the United States. But until 1996 it was known as Bombay, a name from Imperial times. Mumbai is a fascinating city unlike any other on earth.

Recently Mumbai has been in the news. Islamic terrorists went on a killing spree through leading hotels, a railway station, a cultural center, a restaurant and more. Hundreds were killed or injured by only ten determined assailants. The horror continued for two days. Local news reports are calling the incident India's 9/11.

Intelligence anaysts report that the terrorists were well trained and equipped, and that the operational plan for the attack is scalable and reuseable. More terrorists could be preparing additional Mumbai style attacks for the future. Young men with AK-47s are easier to obtain and deploy than fully fueled passenger airliners.

It is notable that only ten men with relatively light arms were able to cause so much damage over such an extended period of time. But, Mumbai, like many modern progressive cities, requires that its citizens be disarmed. And like most other socialized deninzens of the modern urban world, people in Mumbai are no doubt taught to rely on the Authorities for emergency response, and to seek non-violent means for conflict resolution.

Terrorist planning for the Mumbai attack was founded on the secure knowledge that the people of Mumbai would be personally defenceless. They could be slaughtered like sheep in a pen.

Just like the children at Columbine. Or the students at Virginia Tech.

Thirty-nine American States honor the 2nd Amendment to the Bill of Rights by providing that concealed carry permits shall be issued to qualified citizens. In Texas and Florida nobody can be sure who is or isn't armed. A Mumbai style attack on the best hotels or cultural centers in Dallas or Miami would be a deadly gamble - for the terrorists.

But the debate goes on. My God-given individual right to defend myself and those around me by use of appropriate firearms is regularly infringed or denied by government. The ruling elite here in California, all of whom may themselves go armed or guarded while in public, prefer to rely on the Authorities for the safety of the sheep.

Where is Mumbai? It is your city, your town, your school or church. It is anyplace where significant numbers of people gather in a confined space.

If your community is one in which people have retained the right of individual self-defence, be glad in your increased security. Join in the defence of your community. Consider becoming qualified to carry a firearm. If you are already qualified, consider going armed when you are in public. Just one armed citizen at Virginia Tech could have saved dozens of lives.

If your community denies your right to self-defence, be aware that it is a soft target for terrorism.

Mumbai is your hometown.