The Predator looks pretty exhausted and worn-down these days, mailing in speeches as his hair gets grayer and grayer with the fog of the destruction and death he has unleashed on the world. Heavy hangs the head that wears the crown...and has a kill list.
... does it mean that everyone saw right through the endless bluster, hollow rhetoric and empty promises of the man tasked with reading from a teleprompter, and currently in charge of one of the world's most totalitarian states? Because either someone is getting fired for forgetting to turn on the "applause" sign, or Europeans no longer care for the lies uttered by Obama on all topics NSA-related (and all other topics too). One wonders: how long until the US president finally gets the same treatment in his own country?
I tend to be a bit pessimistic concerning the short-term prospects for liberty, which is why I tend to focus on personal empowerment, living liberty, leading by example, working on ways to become freer, and educating others.
Joel Valenzuela, however, is a bit more optimistic, and he makes a great point in his piece for The Desert Lynx:
The most significant development in recent memory isn’t the computer. It isn’t the smartphone. It isn’t even the internet, though it would never have been able to succeed to this level without the web.
I’m talking about consent. No, not the so-called consent of the governed, which equates to government whether you like it or not, with a little voting apparatus thrown in there to keep you happy. I’m talking about a voluntary world.
The world is changing in profound, significant ways. The people are waking up from the illusion that they are represented by their government. Bitcoin, a currency created without any government involvement or blessing whatsoever, continues its shakily persistent march towards integration into the economy. Even policing, something that even some staunch anti-government types will agree is something the state needs to provide, is being done privately. Voluntarily. Much better even, as the police state continues its transition from cautious ally to full-on predator. The involuntary world is slowly, but surely, eroding.
I’m not saying anarchy is the answer to all our problems, because it isn’t. It’s the precondition that allows for voluntary solutions to the world’s problems to fully take root. Though, from the way things are looking, the voluntary world is growing faster than the involuntary world can recede. We may never see the government as we know it collapse into a pile of burning rubble. Instead we will probably see it become less and less relevant to the day-to-day operations of society, until one day we look at the empty shell of the state and collectively ask “Do we still need that old thing?” before removing it completely.
Prepare to challenge your notions of what is and isn’t possible. Prepare to let go of the vestiges of our dark and barbaric past. Prepare to forget everything you thought you knew about how the world has to work. The voluntary world is coming.
Governments and their apologists do a very good job of masking their iron fists with all types of velvet gloves. Democracy, the social contract, the general will, and society are just a few euphemisms that are used to hide the reality of the massive violence behind state power.
Not be outdone by their fellow charlatans in their churches, temples, and mosques, states also love using flags, songs, medals, official names, and propaganda to pull the curtain in front of their hydrogen bombs, tax collectors, cages, and shackles.
And now that Ukraine and Crimea are getting all of the attention, A. Barton Hinkle at Reason uses that as a great seque to remind us that government is nothing more than institutionalized violence:
“Ukrainian events have demonstrated,” writes Maria Snegovaya in The New Republic, “that control of violence is still at the very essence of the state.” She says Vladimir Putin’s aggression proves that Max Weber’s definition of the state—an entity with a monopoly on the legitimate use of force—is still relevant, even though we in the West “tend to think of the ‘monopoly on violence’ as a metaphor.”
We do? That would be news to the relatives of Kelly Thomas, a homeless California man beaten to death last year by police officers (who were later acquitted). And to the relatives of Amadou Diallo, an unarmed man who was shot to death by New York City police officers (who were also acquitted). It would be news to a lot of black and Hispanic men who have been stopped and frisked in the streets of New York—or bent over the hood of a squad car anywhere in America.
The idea that governmental violence is merely metaphorical would be news to the employees at a gold mine in Chicken, Alaska, who were stunned last year when armed and armored agents from the EPA swooped in to search for violations of the Clean Water Act.
It would be news to Gibson Guitar Corp., subject to an armed federal raid for using the wrong tariff code on imported wood. It would be news to Audrey Hudson, a reporter whose home was raided in October by armed federal agents who seized her files and notes. And it would be news to countless others whose property was seized through eminent domain.
Governmental violence is not a metaphor. It is not even an aberration. It is a daily occurrence. Often it is entirely justified: If a bank robber would rather shoot it out with the cops than surrender peacefully, his death will bring no loss to the world. If Osama bin Laden starts a fight with the U.S., then America should end it.
Still, Putin’s aggression does draw attention to the prevalence of state violence—and the often incoherent attitude toward it on both sides of the American political divide.
During the Bush years, progressives spent a great deal of time lamenting American militarism. They found the promotion of American values through brute force misguided and cruel. The neoconservative project of reshaping the wider world through hard power was, progressives said, arrogant. Abusive. Bullying. As a piece in The Nation explained: “U.S. involvement abroad, even when well-intentioned, is perceived on the receiving end as heavy-handed meddling.”
“For eight years we have paid the price for a foreign policy that lectures without listening,” Barack Obama said in a 2008 speech at the Ronald Reagan building in Washington. In that speech, he said the U.S. needed to try a different approach—engagement. Development assistance. “Now is the time for a new era of international cooperation,” he declared.
Conservatives—at least the interventionists, which is still most of them—scoff at this. They say the world is full of bad actors—actors who prey upon the weak, who have no conscience, and who must be contained by more enlightened nations willing to use force to do it.
But then turn the discussion to domestic affairs. Suddenly progressives are more than happy to use the coercive power of state violence to make the world a better place, as they define it.
Economic inequality? Redistribute wealth. Obesity? Tax the Twinkie and ban the Big Gulp. Health care? Make everyone buy insurance—and dictate what kind. Concepts common to foreign policy—such as sovereignty, autonomy, and self-determination—go right out the window, replaced by heavy-handed meddling. After all: The country is full of bad actors who prey upon the weak, who have no conscience, and who must be contained by more enlightened parties willing to use force to do it.
Many conservatives display no more consistency. For years, voices on the right have ridiculed the federal government’s utter inability to get anything right. The standard conservative critique holds that government is inept, corrupt, and grotesquely wasteful; peopled by incompetent bureaucrats whose only concern is in expanding their fiefdoms; and completely blind to the law of unintended consequences. Government, say conservatives, has no business telling a company what benefits it must provide and no business telling families how to raise their children. Butt. Out.
Until the discussion turns to foreign affairs. Then all those concepts common to domestic policy—individual sovereignty, autonomy, and self-determination—go right out the window. Suddenly it is perfectly fine for the United States to order the rest of the world around. And when it does so, there will be no incompetence, no corruption, no self-interest, no unintended consequences. When the U.S. marches off to war, the federal government can do no wrong. And if you don’t stand behind the troops, pal, feel free to stand in front of them.
Both sides are half-right. The state might have a monopoly on the legitimate use of violence, but that doesn’t mean it should be prodigal with the stuff, either at home or abroad.
Even with this much loot coming in, all of these agencies are massively bankrupt and in debt:
#1 Air Transportation Taxes (just look at how much you were charged the last time you flew)
#2 Biodiesel Fuel Taxes
#3 Building Permit Taxes
#4 Business Registration Fees
#5 Capital Gains Taxes
#6 Cigarette Taxes
#7 Court Fines (indirect taxes)
#8 Disposal Fees
#9 Dog License Taxes
#10 Drivers License Fees (another form of taxation)
#11 Employer Health Insurance Mandate Tax
#12 Employer Medicare Taxes
#13 Employer Social Security Taxes
#14 Environmental Fees
#15 Estate Taxes
#16 Excise Taxes On Comprehensive Health Insurance Plans
#17 Federal Corporate Taxes
#18 Federal Income Taxes
#19 Federal Unemployment Taxes
#20 Fishing License Taxes
#21 Flush Taxes (yes, this actually exists in some areas)
#22 Food And Beverage License Fees
#23 Franchise Business Taxes
#24 Garbage Taxes
#25 Gasoline Taxes
#26 Gift Taxes
#27 Gun Ownership Permits
#28 Hazardous Material Disposal Fees
#29 Highway Access Fees
#30 Hotel Taxes (these are becoming quite large in some areas)
#31 Hunting License Taxes
#32 Import Taxes
#33 Individual Health Insurance Mandate Taxes
#34 Inheritance Taxes
#35 Insect Control Hazardous Materials Licenses
#36 Inspection Fees
#37 Insurance Premium Taxes
#38 Interstate User Diesel Fuel Taxes
#39 Inventory Taxes
#40 IRA Early Withdrawal Taxes
#41 IRS Interest Charges (tax on top of tax)
#42 IRS Penalties (tax on top of tax)
#43 Library Taxes
#44 License Plate Fees
#45 Liquor Taxes
#46 Local Corporate Taxes
#47 Local Income Taxes
#48 Local School Taxes
#49 Local Unemployment Taxes
#50 Luxury Taxes
#51 Marriage License Taxes
#52 Medicare Taxes
#53 Medicare Tax Surcharge On High Earning Americans Under Obamacare
#54 Obamacare Individual Mandate Excise Tax (if you don't buy"qualifying" health insurance under Obamacare you will have to pay anadditional tax)
#55 Obamacare Surtax On Investment Income (a new 3.8% surtax on investment income)
#56 Parking Meters
#57 Passport Fees
#58 Professional Licenses And Fees (another form of taxation)
#59 Property Taxes
#60 Real Estate Taxes
#61 Recreational Vehicle Taxes
#62 Registration Fees For New Businesses
#63 Toll Booth Taxes
#64 Sales Taxes
#65 Self-Employment Taxes
#66 Sewer & Water Taxes
#67 School Taxes
#68 Septic Permit Taxes
#69 Service Charge Taxes
#70 Social Security Taxes
#71 Special Assessments For Road Repairs Or Construction
#72 Sports Stadium Taxes
#73 State Corporate Taxes
#74 State Income Taxes
#75 State Park Entrance Fees
#76 State Unemployment Taxes (SUTA)
#77 Tanning Taxes (a new Obamacare tax on tanning services)
#78 Telephone 911 Service Taxes
#79 Telephone Federal Excise Taxes
#80 Telephone Federal Universal Service Fee Taxes
#81 Telephone Minimum Usage Surcharge Taxes
#82 Telephone State And Local Taxes
#83 Telephone Universal Access Taxes
#84 The Alternative Minimum Tax
#85 Tire Recycling Fees
#86 Tire Taxes
#87 Tolls (another form of taxation)
#88 Traffic Fines (indirect taxation)
#89 Use Taxes (Out of state purchases, etc.)
#90 Utility Taxes
#91 Vehicle Registration Taxes
#92 Waste Management Taxes
#93 Water Rights Fees
#94 Watercraft Registration & Licensing Fees
#95 Well Permit Fees
#96 Workers Compensation Taxes
#97 Zoning Permit Fees
Good luck even trying to tax, regulate, or control something so decentralized.
89% of Venicians want a divorce from the Italian government and a government that is more responsive to their needs, desires, and culture rather than subjects of the southern part of the country. Venice, after all, has only been part of Italy since Napoleon welded it together in the 19th century. Why should anyone be forced to be part of a political structure that they don't want?
Decentralize, decentralize, decentralize. Let a thousand nations bloom.
Lysander Spooner - abolitionist, anarchist, capitalist entrepreneur and intellectual giant of the 19th century - was a fierce opponent of slavery and Lincoln's vile, bloody war and eloquently explained why in his classic book, No Treason.
Spooner correctly saw that what Lincoln and the war did to the union was turn a somewhat voluntary compact between the states into a monolithic, militaristic empire centered in Washington. Every country in the world besides the US ended slavery peacefully, and the US government was doing everything it possibly could (like enforcing Fugitive Slave Laws) to preserve it. Many northern states attempted to nullify federal laws to protect freed slaves, and some even threatened to secede themselves!
I used to be someone who considered myself a "constitutionalist" who thought if only we could confine the state to the powers delegated to it in the U.S. Constitution, Utopia would finally be here. But perhaps more than any other figure (with apologies to Murray Rothbard), reading and studying Spooner and his principled anarchism led me to the exact opposite conclusion.
Spooner, in his denunciation of Lincoln and the New Regime, argued that the Constitution was a document that endorsed slavery, gave way too much power to the federal government, and has no authority over those that did not sign it. Either the Constitution has enabled the massive empire we have now or it has been powerless to prevent it, Spooner reasoned.
History has proven Spooner right, and he wrote in a time where the US government was a tiny cancer, not the Leviathan it is now. I only wish Spooner were alive today to see the market anarchy that exists all around to us thanks to the spread of information and the technology that allows us to circumvent the state.
Pieces of paper will never stop the violence of the state, only we can.
After being harassed by local bureaucrats for years, Mark A. Adams finally got his chance to express his grievances at the Bridgeport, Michigan Town Hall meeting. He was cut off after only three minutes and was dragged away by two costumed state thugs while still protesting.
He was charged with a misdemeanor of disturbing the peace and a felony of “resisting and obstructing a police officer." This, in a town of barely 10,000.
Even small towns are turning into mini-Gestapos in America, and unless there is a radical change in the role of government in society, the Pentagon will continue to sell military weaponry (and even more dangerously, its militarist attitude) all over the country until no town, no matter how small, is safe.
The state hates competition, circumvention, independence and real charity, so it's no surprise that they are going after an organization that is not only effective at helping the homeless, but also uses (gasp!) Bitcoin to do so. Via Bitcoin Not Bombs:
Sean’s Outpost Homeless Outreach turned one year old today. In the span of one year, we have fed 60,000 meals to the homeless people in the Pensacola area, secured a nine acre property with plans to open a campground for those in need of a safe area to stay, and opened a thrift store all through Bitcoin donations. The community of Bitcoiners has been extremely generous and supportive, and real progress is being made.
Unfortunately, we are under attack by the City of Pensacola and the Board of County Commissioners for doing the right thing. The city and county have repeatedly stood in our way and hindered our efforts through trumped up citations and now with no prior notice, the Escambia Board of County Commissioners authorized the county attorney to file an injunction on Sean’s Outpost. This was passed with a 3-0 “vote” with commissioners absent. Rick Outzen of Independent News covered this clandestine action. We have done everything in our power to abide by the law and follow all regulations, and may be about to be subpoenaed during a time where our land use attorney is out of town and Mike, myself, and our civil rights attorney Ali-stair will also be out of town this weekend. If they file an emergency injunction, we will have only 48 hours to appear.
This is not a coincidence.
Hopefully, it will not be an emergency injunction and we will have more time to prepare our case. The allegations being made against Satoshi Forest are falsified and we have video (coming soon) of the magistrate being threatened with termination for her role in siding with Sean’s Outpost in prior quasi-judicial meetings. There is a county commission meeting this Thursday and next Tuesday is another magistrate meeting. As of now a health inspector and code enforcer are being paid every week to inspect the property and no violations have been reported; in fact in the latest report it was written that the property has remained clean and orderly and is not in violation of any laws.
The matter has been added to the agenda of the Escambia County Commission and a vote will take place shortly. These are simply bold faced lies about “continued code enforcement violations.” I will be interviewing Mike Kimberl of Sean’s Outpost tonight to get more clarification on the matter.
The great economist Ludwig von Mises argued there that is no "third way" in economics between capitalism and socialism. When governments intervene into the economy, it creates ripple effects and distortions that almost always get blame on the free market. States then use this to justify further intervention, and the cycle continues.
Rising prices is the perfect example. Virtually all governments around the world inflate the money supply, which causes the price of goods to rise, hurting the poor the most because it usually affects things like food, gas and other basic essentials. In order to counter these bad, anti-market interventions, governments usually institute price controls: the surest way to create shortages.
It happened in the Soviet Union with their famous bread lines, where people would wait hours and hours in line just to finally enter a government grocery store with empty shelves. Richard Nixon instituted price controls in the early 1970s to counter the post-Vietnam War inflation, and Americans from that era surely remember the long gas lines.
The Libertarian Republic has a great post featuring pictures of Venezuelan food lines. Their socialist government has distorted the basic economic laws of supply and demand so much that Venezuelans are waiting hours in line to find empty grocery shelves.
It is heartbreaking, of course, but entirely predictable. This is what happens without the price structure of the market and the tyranny of good intentions exemplified by socialist and interventionist governments.
It also should be a reminder to Americans are not immune to price controls, food lines, and empty grocery stores; if things continue as they have been, it will be inevitable. As price inflation roars, does anyone think that U.S. politicians will let prices adjust - in other words, relinquishing coercive control - or double-down on their interventionism?
Prepare yourself accordingly, and don't take our beautiful, full grocery stores for granted. Grow your own food, raise your own chickens, and decentralize the food industry as much as pssible!
Why does the U.S. send Americans halfway around the globe to kill and die for corporate interests, fascist dictators, drug lords, emirs, sultans and lie to the rest of America about their supposed noble intentions? Hans-Hermann Hoppe explains why the worst of the worst always rise to the top of government power.
Political pathologist James Corbett masterfully dissects our diseased body politic, surgically pulling back the rotting flesh to reveal how the two party duopoly and duplicitous political spectrum are used to hold the American people in mind-numbing thrall to their parasitic overlords. How to fight back? Inoculate yourself.
The Articles of Confederation - a truly voluntary union without the power to tax - was replaced by a "constitutional convention" that was essentially a coup. The Constitution, if strictly applied, would nullify about 98% of what the U.S. government does, but even with that small parasite, it still had the chance to grow into the largest government in the history of the world. $100 of trillions in debt and unfunded liabilities, a militarized police state, Federal Reserve banksters and a global empire are the consequences of replacing the Articles of Confederation with the centralizing Constitution.
Patricky Henry and many other revolutionary founders thought that the Constitution was the perfect document for corporatists, banks, state power and tyranny to gain hold over America. And they were right.
Bring back the Articles of Confederation!
A great op-ed from, of all people, a House Democrat:
Something potentially sinister is happening across America, and we should stop and take notice before it changes the character of our country forever. County, city and small-town police departments across the country are now acquiring free military-grade weapons that could possibly be used against the very citizens and taxpayers that not only fund their departments but who the police are charged with protecting.
Recently in a small, sleepy North Carolina town of roughly 16,000 people, the Roanoke Rapids Police Department acquired some Humvees and Mine-Resistant, Ambush-Protected vehicles (or MRAPs), which it proudly displayed at a recent car show. Roanoke Rapids got them free from the Pentagon, returned from our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The town's police chief, Tommy Hathaway, noted, perhaps unintentionally, the misuse of this equipment on America's main streets, saying that "its intended purpose is to prevent mass casualties and to extricate people," but that hopefully Roanoke Rapids will never need it.
Next door, in South Carolina, the Columbia Police Department also received a free MRAP from the Pentagon, which otherwise would have cost Columbia nearly $700,000 (though the city is responsible for all repairs and upkeep going forward). Their interim police chief, Ruben Santiago, justified the acquisition saying that the MRAP "will be a barrier between the public and a hostile person or situation such as a barricaded suspect with weapons who may be threatening someone's life." We are quickly redefining what a rational response to a security threat looks like.
How many other Columbia's are out there?
In fact, in the last several months, the following towns around the country, many of them small, have acquired free MRAPs from U.S. war zones: Texas's McLennan andDallas Counties; Idaho's Boise and Nampa; Indiana's West Lafayette, Merrillville, andMadison; Minnesota's St. Cloud and Dakota County; New York's Warren andJefferson Counties; South Carolina's North Augusta and Columbia; Tennessee'sMurfreesboro; Arizona's Yuma; Illinois's Kankakee County; and Alabama's CalhounCounty.
Seem like a lot? It is. And that's only in the last few months. This trend is not only sweeping America's small cities, it's hitting American college campuses as well. Ohio State University recently acquired an MRAP. Apparently, college kids are getting too rowdy.
These are just some of the most egregious examples. There are countless stories of police departments getting (and often later selling) assault weapons, drones, and other military-grade equipment that is absolutely ill-suited for America's main streets. The Pentagon's 1033 program, which "provides or transfers surplus Department of Defense military equipment to state and local civilian law enforcement agencies without charge," is a big part of this disturbing trend.
Why is there surplus, especially when the Defense Department is threatening to cut jobs anytime Congress talks about defense cuts as part of sequestration or theBudget Control Act? The primary reasons is that we're drawing down from two major equipment-laden wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and while some of this equipment is being destroyed in the war zone, at a loss of billions in American taxpayer dollars, much of it is now being returned to the U.S. Additionally, by passing off still-good equipment to America's municipal police forces, it allows the defense industry to ask for more funding for more equipment. It's like donating a relatively new sweater to Goodwill, allowing the purchase of a new, yet unnecessary, sweater from Macy's.
Americans should therefore be concerned, unless they want their main streets patrolled in ways that mirror a war zone. We recognized that we're not in Kansas anymore, but are MRAPs really needed in small-town America? Are improvised explosive devices, grenade attacks, mines, shelling and other war-typical attacks really happening in Roanoke Rapids, a town of 16,000 people? No.
This is why Rep. Johnson plans to introduce legislation to reform the 1033 program before America's main streets and civilian police militarize further. The program currently lacks serious oversight and accountability, and it needs some parameters put in place to define what is appropriate. The legislation will ban MRAPs, other armored personnel carriers, drones, assault weapons and aircraft. Finally, the legislation will ensure that the Department of Defense undertakes an annual accounting of what's been transferred, by whom and to whom to prevent military items from being auctioned on eBay or sold to friends.
Militarizing America's main streets won't make us any safer, just more fearful and more reticent. Before another small town's police force gets a $700,000 gift from the Defense Department that it can't maintain or manage, it behooves us to press pause on Pentagon's 1033 program and revisit the merits of a militarized America. And do it now before Kankakee looks like Kabul or Boise looks like Baghdad.
Two years ago, New Hampshire adopted a law where they began informing juries of their right to nullify unconstitutional and/or immoral laws. I believe that jury nullification will be at the forefont of any real positive change in the direction of liberty and decentralization, and a New Hampshire already used it to prevent the state from caging a man who was solely growing marijuana on his own property.
And now a new bill has just passed the New Hampshire state house that will severely limit the use of drone to spy without warrants.
I don't usually support the passing of new laws, but anything that restricts state power and empowers individual rights I can support. The Free State Project continues to grow and gain influence in New Hampshire, and as the rest of America turns into a police state, they may represent the last sanctuary liberty has in this country.