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Thursday, July 25, 2013

Confiscation: The Coming War On Gold

I was doing some research on the 1933 federal gold confiscation.  I wanted to know why they did it.

I knew they did it.  I knew how they did it.  I even knew what they did after they did it.

But I didn't know why they did it.

Clearly, the government believed that it was to their advantage to control all of the gold, rather than having it out among the little people.  But why?

Lots of opinions on what brought it on.  Most revolved around how the limitations of the gold standard restricted the flow of credit into the economy.  Since anyone could walk into a bank, give them a bank note and get a stack of gold coins, banks had to have real, tangible reserves in their vaults.  If they either made too many loans, or made too many bad ones - thus exhausting their reserves - they failed.

If people lost faith in the dollar, they would also convert their paper into gold (sound familiar, my fellow Gold Bugs?).  If enough people did this, you had a run on the bank, and they failed.

The biggest driver, though, was the federal government.  It, too, was restricted on what it could borrow (and thus spend) based upon the amount of gold it held in reserve.  In emergencies, such as wars, they would unilaterally come off the gold standard, and print up currency to pay their war bills.  When the war was over, they'd voluntarily revert back to the gold standard.

The statists in our government saw this off-the-standard model as the goose that laid the golden egg.  Drop those pesky gold standard, uhm standards, and print up currency as needed.

A series of events happened in 1927 which started this ugly, debt-laden, massive welfare state in which we now find ourselves.  Then, as is true now, the statists understood that you never let a good emergency go to waste.

Remember:  Before the 1913 creation of the Federal Reserve bank, the government could only borrow up to the amount it held in gold reserves.

This snippet is from an essay written in 1966 by (future Federal Reserve Chairman) Alan Greenspan for an Ayn Rand book (click here to read the entire, short essay.... seriously, do it!).  Also note that this was written before 1975, when American citizens could once again own gold bullion -
When business in the United States underwent a mild contraction in 1927, the Federal Reserve created more paper reserves in the hope of forestalling any possible bank reserve shortage. More disastrous, however, was the Federal Reserve's attempt to assist Great Britain who had been losing gold to us because the Bank of England refused to allow interest rates to rise when market forces dictated (it was politically unpalatable). The reasoning of the authorities involved was as follows: if the Federal Reserve pumped excessive paper reserves into American banks, interest rates in the United States would fall to a level comparable with those in Great Britain; this would act to stop Britain's gold loss and avoid the political embarrassment of having to raise interest rates.
Uhm, what?  Create paper reserves and inject them into banks in the hope that they'll stimulate growth?

Can you say, "Quantitative Easing, 1920's Style"?

So, how did this injection of cash into the economy work out [emphasis mine]?
The "Fed" succeeded; it stopped the gold loss, but it nearly destroyed the economies of the world in the process. The excess credit which the Fed pumped into the economy spilled over into the stock market -- triggering a fantastic speculative boom. Belatedly, Federal Reserve officials attempted to sop up the excess reserves and finally succeeded in braking the boom. But it was too late: by 1929 the speculative imbalances had become so overwhelming that the attempt precipitated a sharp retrenching and a consequent demoralizing of business confidence. As a result, the American economy collapsed. Great Britain fared even worse, and rather than absorb the full consequences of her previous folly, she abandoned the gold standard completely in 1931, tearing asunder what remained of the fabric of confidence and inducing a world-wide series of bank failures. The world economies plunged into the Great Depression of the 1930's.
Let me just make sure I'm reading this correctly:  The Fed pumped money into the economy, which artificially pushed down rates.  Since investment dollars had no where else to go, they all jumped into the stock market in hopes of getting ANY kind of investment return.  The Fed stopped their money printing, and the stock market - floating on nothing but cheap money - crashed and burned.

With the exception of the final result - so far - does any of this sound familiar?

So, what do we do?  How do we protect our accumulated personal wealth from these insane federal actions?  Greenspan had some insight into this (remember, this was written prior to Americans once again being permitted to own gold bullion [emphasis mine]) -
In the absence of the gold standard, there is no way to protect savings from confiscation through inflation. There is no safe store of value. If there were, the government would have to make its holding illegal, as was done in the case of gold. If everyone decided, for example, to convert all his bank deposits to silver or copper or any other good, and thereafter declined to accept checks as payment for goods, bank deposits would lose their purchasing power and government-created bank credit would be worthless as a claim on goods. The financial policy of the welfare state requires that there be no way for the owners of wealth to protect themselves. 
This is the shabby secret of the welfare statists' tirades against gold. Deficit spending is simply a scheme for the confiscation of wealth. Gold stands in the way of this insidious process. It stands as a protector of property rights. If one grasps this, one has no difficulty in understanding the statists' antagonism toward the gold standard.
Hmm.  If gold goes against the grain of socialism/big government, why did the government allow Americans to again own gold?

My guess is that someone screwed up.  Perhaps we had enough folks in congress that hadn't been read into the program, and it just slipped by.  It's hard to say.

Regardless, we can buy and hold gold.  Right now, we can do so without registration or reservation.  The only time Uncle Sugar directly becomes aware of your actions is if you want to make a single purchase with $10,000 or more in cash (actual green backs), or if you sell and make a profit (your gain is taxable).

Accept The Challenge

How Modern Gold Confiscation Will Happen

Current law and regulation leaves WAY too many opportunities for individuals to protect their earnings from the government - the statists.

For instance, right now, if you sell your bullion to a coin shop, nothing is reported to the government unless it exceeds certain large volume limits of certain types of bullion.  That means if you make a profit on your sale, no one in the government knows you made that profit unless you choose to self-report.

I'd expect that to change.  I expect that at some point, bullion stores will be required to report all of our purchases from individuals.  Name, address, social security number.

The statists took a shot at this with ObamaCare, where they required all businesses - not just bullion stores - to report any time they paid out more than $600 in a year to an individual.  That meant that if a business paid you $10 for any reason, they had to get all of your information, as there was no guarantee you wouldn't be back later in the year and exceed the $600 aggregate reporting limit.  The uproar from small businesses got that law revoked.

I'd expect to see it reintroduced in the future, but this time, specifically targeting businesses that buy bullion from the general public.  There aren't enough of us in the bullion business to cause any kind of significant uproar, and it will become law.

The government won't need to do a physical confiscation of your bullion.  It will tax it from your possession.

So, if your intent for buying precious metals is to protect your capital from the clutches of the statists, how will you be able to convert your PMs into spendable cash should the need arise?

Hello black market.

An "unregulated secondary market" will emerge for precious metals.  If the statists will be taxing you 20% on your 'profits', the black market will give you a 15% haircut, for instance.  Some sort of free market equilibrium will be created.

As always happens in centrally controlled economies, individuals will emerge who are willing to risk imprisonment because of the opportunity the onerous law provides to make a profit.  The higher the tax, or the greater the scarcity due to government intrusions, the higher the profit potential.

The War On Drugs will be replaced with the War On Gold.  And it will be equally unsuccessful.

Now, it is legal to now buy any sort of mind- or body-altering drug from government authorized sources.  Yet people choose to buy other unapproved drugs from unapproved sources.  The government paints the illicit sources as anti-social, self-focused individuals who care about nothing but their own greed.  They point to the violence associated with these drug sources, but never acknowledge that it is the prohibition created by government that precipitates the violence, not the drugs themselves.  See the US alcohol prohibition if you need further clarification on the concept, and the benefits society gains when the prohibitions are eliminated.

Expect the War On Gold to be similarly waged.  You will be villainized if you choose to operate outside of government authorized channels.

If you own precious metals, expect a future requirement to provide an annual accounting of your holdings, as you must now do with your retirement accounts.  If those balances drop, Uncle Sugar will be there with his hand out for his cut of the profits.

You can still acquire precious metals without leaving a trail:  Smallish purchases with cash.  Use a debit or credit card, personal check, bank wire or cashiers check, and you've been tagged and bagged.  You're in the system.  At the very minimum, an inference can be made as to what was purchased.  Trying to convince an IRS agent that your check for $5000 deposited at a bullion store was for coin collecting books which were subsequently burned up in a tragic backyard bonfire, won't fly.

Assets can't be confiscated if they don't officially exist.  Plan your purchases wisely, with an eye towards future changes in the law.

Copyright 2013 Bison Risk Management Associates. All rights reserved. Please note that in addition to owning Bison Risk Management, Chief Instructor is also a partner in a precious metals business. You are encouraged to repost this information so long as it is credited to Bison Risk Management Associates.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Death By Political Correctness, Part 2

As much as the media and race-baiter organizations try to convince the country that the Zimmerman trial wasn't about race, everyone knows that's the ONLY reason he was tried.  I have yet to see one single trial in this country where a black man shot and killed another black man in self-defense.  If they ARE happening, why aren't they getting the same mega-focus by the media?

Because of race.  Period, end of story.

The media and race baiters continue to paint blacks as victims, regardless of how their actions influenced events.  He was a nice boy.  He was out buying Skittles.  He just wanted a better life.

Look at this article in a local newspaper.  First of all, notice the headline:  "Victim of fatal Vacaville police shooting identified."  Victim?  Really?  First he robs a Walmart, then this son of a bitch tried - twice - to run over officers with his car.  They shot and killed him in self-defense.

And he's a victim?  Sound more like it was Darwin's Natural Selection at work.  He proved he was too stupid to live in a civilized society.

Secondly - and I think more importantly than the press going all PC - was one of the comments to the article.  Some woman started up with the whole Trayvon-like, "he was such a nice boy" crap.
he was a good young man .. young with a full life ahead and two daughters and a family and plenty of people that loved him.., he made a dumb mistake but that was no reason for him to lose his freaking life. police saying he had previous charges so they "protected themselves" they were not in danger ... since when did police get to play the role of god and take another life? ... jail would of been the solution NOT death... im heartbroken i loved this man and he despite his dumb decisions being young and crazy he was intelligent and full of life... people are mourning and grieving over this tragedy especially his little girls... we miss you lonnie ! justice NEEDS to be served... gone but NEVER forgotten Destiny Davis
It's just like the Zimmerman Media Lynching.  This Lonnie character is painted as the victim for no reason other than he's a young black male (news footage showing his image here) and the person who took his life is not.

Lonnie had people that loved him, he had a full life ahead of him, he made a teeny-tiny mistake, had two little girls that loved him, and the poster is heart broken over the loss.

How is ANY of that relevant?  He made a really, really bad choice.  Like Lonnie, Trayvon made some poor choices himself.  He attacked a man in a park, and died because of that poor decision.  His past - be it as a choir boy or a low-down OG - don't mean a damned thing.  His past sins or successes, and his future dreams and aspirations don't count for spit.  Zimmerman didn't ask him for his resume or rap sheet before he defended himself.

What matters is what Trayvon DID at the moment he decided to attack Zimmerman.

Here's the take-home point:  If you allow these media portrayals to influence your self-defense decisions, you will end up harmed or dead.  Political Correctness MUST NOT be part of the equation as to whether you choose to defend yourself or not.

In one of my self-defense classes, I ask my students to answer these two questions:
1.  Am I prepared to harm, permanently injure or kill another human being to save my life or the life of another human being? 
2.  Am I prepared to tolerate the judgment of my family, friends and neighbors if I harm, permanently injure or kill another human being in self-defense?
I probably need to rephrase that last question to include, "tolerate my friends, family, neighbors and an anti-gun, racially biased press if I harm..."

This is not a minor point.  I tell my students that you must get your head screwed on tight BEFORE you're in a self-defense situation.  You must honestly ask yourself if you're willing to take "the heat" for defending yourself, regardless of how legally justified your actions may be.  Expect to be arrested even if a bad guy with a gun, knife and taser is found dead inside your baby daughter's bedroom.  If you resist at this point, you lose.

Let the police do their job of investigating the crime, and you should go home free.  Should.

In general, self-defense laws - even those in gun-restricted states such as California - allow you to defend yourself if you believe your life, or the life of another person, is in imminent danger of receiving bodily harm.

The race of the attacker MUST NOT be a part of your shoot/don't shoot calculus.  The actions of the attacker are your single point of focus.

This is a key point:  During the Zimmerman/Martin trial, a number of Talking Heads kept saying that the injuries Zimmerman endured did not justify him taking Martin's life.  Every state law I've read say that you must be IN FEAR of physical harm, not that you must first endure it before defending yourself.

One Talking Head I watched was belittling Zimmerman for only getting a broken nose, and a couple of scratches on his head.  "You get worse from a playground tussle."  His implication being that you should have to endure an ass-whipping before you can shoot someone in self-defense.

I'd ask, How do you know when you've reached that point?  Just before you pass out?  After you've got one broken nose and a swollen-shut eye, or must both eyes already be swollen?  Maybe a couple of elbow strikes to the temple?

What this moron either didn't know - or because he is trying to perpetuate the current climate of political correctness - is that nearly 6% of all murders are committed by people using no additional weapon.  No bat, no knife, no nuthin'.  They murder someone with their bare hands and feet (link to FBI crime stats).

You know, like in that playground fist fight.  Except we're not talking about kids pulling hair.  We're talking about individuals able to deliver mortal blows.  This Talking Head piece of crap thinks you should willingly put your life at risk because some scumbag decided to beat up on you.

Kiss my ass.  And the ass of the people I'll defend.

Accept The Challenge

As we've seen with the Zimmerman trial, it can get ugly very fast.  His former life as, 'just some dude,' is over.  His relationships with his employer, family, friends and neighbors are changed forever.

But he's alive.

The maggot that caused Zimmerman's life to be forever changed is gone, but his actions will likely be felt for some time to come.  The DOJ will most likely bring civil rights charges against Zimmerman (WTF?), and other lawsuits may follow later.

Everyone worth their racist salt will be bellying up to the bar to further their racist creds, and show their constituencies how much they care.  And remind them how more money should be sent to their organization to make sure this never happens again.

Hmm.  Seems like we've been down this Victimhood Road before - like one of those endless loop tapes.

Make your decision now.  What's more important?  Your life, or your lifestyle?

Copyright 2013 Bison Risk Management Associates. All rights reserved. Please note that in addition to owning Bison Risk Management, Chief Instructor is also a partner in a precious metals business. You are encouraged to repost this information so long as it is credited to Bison Risk Management Associates.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Death By Political Correctness, Part 1

This Travon Martin/George Zimmerman deal has a bunch of lessons for anyone that has a mindset of self-reliance and self-defense.  Like it or not, fair or not, just or not, there are political organizations out there whose sole purpose is to defend their constituency by denigrating those that dare to question the actions of their constituency.  Even when members of their constituency commit indefensible acts.


The term, "profile" or "profiling" has gotten a negative connotation in our press and political environment.  Well, it has a negative connotation when it is used with regards to minority groups.  When it's applied to conservative or libertarian groups, it's just fine - and even encouraged.  Just ask the IRS.

In my PM store, I profile every single person that shows up at my doorstep.  Before you can enter my store, you must ring a doorbell.  Our door is locked, and we must buzz you in.  My employees are instructed to look at the person at the door (it's glass) and at two of our security camera images to ensure no one is hiding outside of their normal field of vision.  I don't want a cute, "Little Bo Peep" to be at the door, and she's got a pack of wolves hiding around the corner who rush the door when we buzz her in.

When you're standing at our door, you are being taped.  We have a big sign that says so.  To reinforce this fact, you can see yourself on a monitor we have facing the front door.  You know, with absolute certainty, that we have captured you on tape before you've even entered our store.  If you have on a ball cap, scarf or a dreaded hoodie which obscures your face, we motion to you to remove these things before we will buzz you in.

Gender, age, race or apparent economic status are irrelevant.  If I can't see your face, you're not getting into my store.  Period.

I am profiling every potential customer that has their face obscured because I know that criminals don't want their faces known.  I am lumping the good guys in with the bad guys until I know with a higher degree of certainty that they really are good guys.

And I am almost universally thanked by the good guys.  They appreciate it that we strive to have a safe environment in which they can conduct business.  I'm guessing that if they don't appreciate it, they go somewhere with lower security standards.

Don't allow the political environment to dictate your safety and lower your awareness.  Look at Youtube videos of people that are rioting, committing robberies, Flash Robbing, and the like.  Note their style of dress, note their hair styles, note their age, note their mannerisms, note their body art (tattoos/piercings).   Read local articles on crime, and if you are able to gain access to videos in your geographic area, note their race as well.  There is a high correlation between all of these things and crime.

A perfect example from yesterday:  A 20-something, white male wearing half-ass pants, a "wife beater" t-shirt, quick, nervous body movements and extensive tattooing on his arms came to our door.  I profiled him as a "tweaker"  - a methamphetamine user.

I took a second look, attempting to see if he had anything that might be a weapon, or a location where he might hide a weapon.  "No" on both counts.  Since he was alone (this is key), I let him in and instructed him to take a seat in our lobby area, as me and my employee both had customers we were helping.

He said he was, "just browsing" and he was planning on making a purchase in the very near future (WARNING! WARNING! WARNING!).  He started walking down our aisle of display cases (which would have eventually put him behind me), so I turned from my customer, brushed my concealed pistol to re-orient myself with its location, and again asked him to take a seat.  He turned, and walked out of the store.

Now, I may have just lost a customer.  This guy truly may have intended to make a purchase.  But experience and common sense tell me that an apparent drug user won't likely be buying anything but drugs in the near future.

Now that he's been identified, he'll no longer be buzzed into the store.  He's now 86'd.

Some of you may be thinking, "Are you out of your mind?  I'd NEVER have let him into the store in the first place!"

I can tell you that we have a number of very good customers who dress very similarly to this guy.  Most "went through a phase" and got all tatted up when they were young (and regret it now), and who are in construction trades, so "wife beaters" are a typical item of clothing.

When they entered our store for the first time, they got "the third degree" as well.  We got to know them, and now they're loyal customers.

Business has risk.  You just need to manage that risk.  Your actions - including how you choose to dress, walk and speak - will be noted when you enter my store.  You have to earn my trust to stay in my store, just as I have to earn your trust by treating you fairly and honestly.

Yeah, we're profiling each other!

Accept The Challenge

There is a great book out there called, "Blink".  In short, it's about trusting - and acting upon - your "gut".  You first impression is usually correct.

On the other end of the spectrum are these groups, usually race-based, that place a great deal of public pressure on us to treat members of their group equally, regardless of their personal choices (dress, mannerisms, etc.).

We're seeing this glaringly demonstrated right now with the whole, "I am Trayvon!" deal - going around wearing a hoodie.  The message being, "Don't profile me because I'm choosing to wear a hoodie."  They're saying that Zimmerman profiled Trayvon because he's a racist towards blacks wearing hoodies.

Uhm, not so much.  Here's the relevant portion of the 911 transcripts (click here for the whole thing) -

The dispatcher asked for his race and what he was wearing.  Zimmerman answered.  Now he's portrayed in the media as a racist murderer.  WTF?  Was he supposed to identify Trayvon as an Asian school girl wearing a kimono, just to make sure he wasn't 'profiling'?

I have not read or heard one sliver of testimony indicating that Zimmerman's actions were in any way related to race.  They were 100% related to break-ins in his neighborhood, and to the fact that he was attacked and defended himself.  In fact, the only racial-tinged testimony was given by Trayvon's girlfriend, who said Trayvon identified Zimmerman as a, "creepy-ass cracker."

AND THIS IS ALL IRRELEVANT.  It doesn't fit the narrative put forth by these racist groups and the media.  Facts simply don't matter.

Again:  Don't allow political correctness to influence your safety awareness, or the actions you take when your gut tells you something is not right.

Tomorrow:  Part 2:  Using deadly force in this current political climate.

Copyright 2013 Bison Risk Management Associates. All rights reserved. Please note that in addition to owning Bison Risk Management, Chief Instructor is also a partner in a precious metals business. You are encouraged to repost this information so long as it is credited to Bison Risk Management Associates.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Back To Basics: Self-Preservation

I had originally written an article regarding how my precious metals biz partners and I had a meeting where we discussed some potential problems if George Zimmerman was found not guilty.  Riots, burning, blah, blah, blah.

This piece went into a very eloquent rant on how Sharpton and Jackson had whipped up these racial tensions.  How CNN piled on by still calling Zimmerman a 'white Hispanic' just to keep race in the game.  How our own government - the Department of Justice, no less - had spent tax dollars to hold anti-Zimmerman rallies.


It was all very good and passionate.  And utterly useless.

Pointing out that race-baiters are racist is like saying rotting fish are stinky.  Duh.

So, I'm going back - again - to the reason I started this blog:  To discuss practical steps that can be taken to extend your life and your personal well-being.  Everything from defensive strategies and tactics, to food preservation and production, to wealth preservation and growth.

In short, things you can do to make your life better - understanding that government and socialist people/organizations at every level will try and counter-act your actions.  Your self-sufficiency is seen as a threat to their power structure.

Now, that last bit is not paranoia or conspiracy theory claptrap.  When TSHTF, what is the first thing the government does?  It clamps down and takes away your ability to defend yourself. Your ability to defend yourself is seen as an unacceptable risk to the police/national guard/military that are in place.  See New Orleans and Boston for specific examples.

When you preserve and store food, own guns, store ammo and equipment, you are painted as a potential terrorist.  See DHS publications on, "How to spot a terrorist".

When you save your wealth in cash or precious metals - un-trackable and un-taxable by the government - you are again assumed to be doing illegal, terrorist acts, and your assets are easily and legally seized.  If you publicly manifest any modicum of wealth, you are vilified in the malleable press as a "One Percenter" who wants nothing more than to suck the marrow from the bones of emaciated children.  Still living children, of course, that can only be saved from your evil clutches by the government and their socialist friends.  For a price.

Let's get down to brass tacks.

Since it's at the top of mind, let's talk assumptions, goals, strategies and tactics for the upcoming Zimmerman verdict.  This format can - and should - be followed for any potential civil unrest event which has the potential to affect your life.

An aside:  I once read a great definition of the difference between strategies and tactics.  It went something like, "Strategies are accomplished above the shoulders; tactics are accomplished below the shoulders."  Strategies are your plans, tactics are what you do to fulfill your plans.

Assumptions:  Zimmerman is found innocent.  Black "social justice" groups and individuals will attempt to make good on their promise, "This time we’re doing it right… This time we’re not burning down our communities. This time we’re going out to Whitey’s suburbs and burning down HIS community. We’re going to make Whitey feel the pain.,"  and  "If they don't kill Zimmerman Ima kill me a cracka".  While most of these threats have been centered in Florida, similar sentiments are being voiced in virtually all regions with significant black populations.

Goal:  To remain physically unharmed and financially/monetarily unaffected.

Global Strategy:  The safest location is to not be where violence is present.  Whenever possible, Evacuation is preferrable to Shelter In Place if there is any likelihood that violence/civil unrest will be in your vicinity.

Strategy 1:  Increase situational awareness.

Tactic 1:  Once the case has gone to the jury (as is now the case with the Zimmerman trial), keep a radio or television on at all times, and listen for the announcement as to when the verdict will be read.  This is the minimum lead time you will have to activate either your Evacuation Plan or Shelter In Place (SIP) Plan.

An item for consideration:  Time can be one of your greatest allies in keeping yourself safe.  Last minute, "Throw a plan together" actions will almost always end up lacking in some way.  You'll forget something, or do too much of another, thereby wasting resources.

My family has Evacuation and Shelter In Place plans that can be activated at the drop of a hat.  But, since I knew the Zimmerman trial was winding down, I made some very specific changes to our plans about a week ago.

Strategy 2:  Determine proper time to activate Evac or SIP plan

Tactic 2:  Activate plan.

For those of you without plans, here are links to a 3-part Evacuation Plan post, and a SIP plan:


Another thing for consideration:  "Superbowl Syndrom".  This is when the winning team riots and destroys the joint in celebration.  In this case, a guilty verdict may result in the same actions being taken as if it's a not guilty verdict.

Accept The Challenge

Seriously, if you don't have evacuation and SIP plans, you aren't prepared at all.  You may have stored tons of food, ammo, guns, gold, seeds, water and barter items, but if you don't have a way of having access to these things after a sudden emergency where you must evacuate, you are just wasting your money.

If your intent is to never evacuate, what is your plan if your property is overrun by 50 or 100 rioters or roving bands of theives?  Are "all eggs in one basket"?  If not, how are the stored/cached items protected?  How will you access them?

Think these things through NOW, not when you're (literally) under the gun.

Copyright 2013 Bison Risk Management Associates. All rights reserved. Please note that in addition to owning Bison Risk Management, Chief Instructor is also a partner in a precious metals business. You are encouraged to repost this information so long as it is credited to Bison Risk Management Associates.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

A Willful Disregard

Like most Americans, I usually get excited around the Fourth of July.  Family, friends, BBQs, patriotic songs, military parades, and the like.

Not so much, lately.  I'm very melancholy.  Independence Day has become the new Christmas.  It's just another holiday - a day off work - and a reason to have a party.  The basis of the holiday has been lost.  The reason to celebrate has been mooshed into a sweet, high cholesterol, 32 ounce soon-to-be-Bloomberged treat.

Just as Christmas is no longer about the birth of Jesus, Independence Day is no longer about being independent.  It's just more government sponsored Bread and Circuses.

We are such a shadow of our former selves.  When I was a kid, it was called Independence Day.  We were taught in school about the War for Independence against a large, tyrannical government who robbed the citizenry of its wealth - to be redistributed to which ever special interest the government saw fit.  The "shot heard 'round the world" started the whole mess when this tyrannical government attempted to impose gun control on the free citizenry.

We were taught that the blood spilled during that war was spilled to ensure you could make your life anything you wished.  The whole, Horatio Alger gig.  You had equal opportunity.  But it was up to you to take advantage of that opportunity.

No more.

We're back to the government taking from the productive, and giving to the special interest group of their choice.  The government picking courtiers and serfs.  Ol' Remus of the Woodpile Report, once again, eloquently spells it out for us -
For instance, folks were 'poor' rather than 'economically disadvantaged'. The poor were merely poor. It didn't matter how or when they got that way, whereas economically disadvantaged conjures up a no-fault chronic condition, as if someone threw them under a speeding limousine at birth.
The economically disadvantaged are also understood to suffer more than the merely poor because they're also burdened with 'challenges'. By that they mean oppression and injustice. And by that they mean anybody who is not poor.
Our independence is a facade, as is our Constitution.  We have politicians, police officials and even government spy contractors who swear an oath to, "protect and defend the Constitution of the United States".  Yet when they do so - say, when they see a government agency searching the private phone records of American citizens without probable cause or warrant - they are cast as traitors.

Really?  You're a traitor when you expose an unconstitutional act perpetrated by your government?

The talking heads will retort that we have laws - FISA, USA PATRIOT, RICO - all upheld by the Supreme Court - that says what the spy agencies are doing is A-OK, and are all within Constitutional bounds.  The SCOTUS allows for certain leeway when National Security is at stake.

The problem is, the Constitution does not allow it.  Other than a handful of specifically described occurrences, (i.e. insurrection) the only way the restrictions imposed or the powers vested by the Constitution can be legally changed is by the amendment process.  Not by one arm of government saying the actions of another arm of government are legal.

Dictators, fascists, communists and tyrants have always understood that there are ways to bend the law to their will.  Sell it to the people that what you're doing is in their best interest.

A conversation with Hermann Göring during the Nuremberg War Crimes Trials in 1946 -
Göring:  Naturally, the common people don't want war; neither in Russia nor in England nor in America, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy or a fascist dictatorship or a Parliament or a Communist dictatorship. 
Gilbert: There is one difference. In a democracy, the people have some say in the matter through their elected representatives, and in the United States only Congress can declare wars. 
Göring: Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country.
I remember back in March 2003 when we were getting ready to invade Iraq.  I wrote a post back then about what a mistake it was, how the Bush administration was just making stuff up as they went along.  How, if you just opened your eyes, you could see the lies.

Me, some guy with no "intelligence assets" could see - and prove - that Saddam posed no threat to America.  When I'd write these things on pro-Bush blogs, I was denigrated as a commie and unpatriotic SOB.  The most common line was, "I'd rather we fight them 'over there' than here on American soil."

Very convincing, on the surface.

But if you just scratched the surface a teeny-tiny bit, you'd see it was all crap.  How were these desert fighters going to attack - en mass - the good ol' US of A when they were lucky to get a ride in a truck on their way to their next sand-pile ambush point?

But the American people were still shaking in their boots after 9/11, and the politicians took advantage of the opportunity to expand their power.  They followed Göring's words as gospel.

Freedom and independence have risks.  As a child, every year on Independence Day, some kids would blow off some fingers playing with firecrackers.  I remember seeing the stories throughout my youth.  My parents would make sure I heard the stories, admonished me to be careful, then would hand me a brick of firecrackers, a handful of M-80's and a couple packs of matches.  The same thing happened in every household in our neighborhood.

As a society, we learned from past mistakes.  The whole idea of, "risk versus reward".  We were taught the lessons about how certain unwritten rules were there for a reason, and if you broke those rules, there would be consequences for your actions.

Like getting the nickname of, "One Eye" or "Stumpy".  No one wanted those monikers, so we were careful.

Now, government attempts to remove risk.  Cover us in this plastic bubble of perpetual safety.  Worse, we punish those willing to take the risk.  We've lost our ability to be an individual.  We've become The Borg - our sole reason for living is to care for the cube.

Can you imagine what would happen today to the parents who handed over a brick of firecrackers to their kids?

At a minimum, their children would be taken away from them.  How can a supposedly independent, free society that is based on personal responsibility devolve into a true Nanny State in under 40 years?  In two generations, the exact same act goes from a, "teachable moment" to a child endangerment felony.

That's not a free, independent society.  That's a tyranny, any way you slice it.

If you read at all  - outside of the Mainstream Media - you can see a strong undercurrent of dissent.  A very real and growing Willful Disregard for the law.  People pick and choose - as they see fit - the laws they will follow.

And I'm not talking about the traditionally defined, "bad guys" - people whose actions infringe on the rights of another citizen.  I'm talking about regular mom-and-pop folks who simply have had enough of the heavy wet blanket of government.

They've come to realize that even if you try to follow all of the rules, you can't be successful in doing so.  If some arm of government has a hard-on for you, they'll find a way to make your life miserable.

They see a kid in West Virginia who wears a pro-freedom t-shirt to school.  He refuses to give up his right to free speech by removing the shirt, gets charged with "obstructing a police officer" and is threatened with a $500 fine and a year in jail.  They then see another arm of the government - the court system - placing a gag order on the case, under the threat of "obstructing justice."

What they really see is the First Amendment getting double-tapped by the government.  The police and courts didn't even bother with the whole, "National Security" ruse.  They just brutishly required compliance with their demands.

How is this just?  How is this Constitutional?

Perhaps one of the most prevalent actions being taken is more and more people working, "under the table" jobs.  True, some of it was originally out of necessity, but much is now by choice.  Once they get a taste of the full benefit of their labors, and don't have to pay a vig to some "legal" protection racket, they kind of grow cold to the old ways.

Forget permits, or licenses, or occupational certificates.  They get more business because of the quality of their work, not a piece of paper from the government.  They don't feel the need to ask for the permission of government to feed their family and pay for a roof over their heads.

To these people, freedom - real freedom - is more important than following the rules.  They understand that freedom has risks, and they're willing to shoulder that burden.  They understand that, "staying off the ridge line" - keeping their newfound market activities out of the line-of-sight of the freedom-takers - is the key to their success.

A Willful Disregard for unjust laws is what founded this country.  Celebrate your Independence Day in the same tradition.

Semi-off topic item, but not really:  Since the Department of War was replaced by the Department of Defense in 1949, we have not won a single war.  Not a one.  One of the few mandated federal government obligations - bringing hell down on the heads of those who wish to harm us - has morphed into a, "win the hearts and minds" social club.

The only thing wrong with that is that our enemies didn't get the memo.  They still kill our soldiers, Marines, sailors and airmen like it's a real war.  It's real to them.  To us, it's a game of chess designed to last forever.  Guess who's going to win.  Guess who's going to have a bunch of broken chess pieces.

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