Thursday, February 22, 2007

The "value" of public schools

Here is another article by Jacob Hornberger praising public (i.e., government) schools...ironically. The real facts are that public schools are the epiphany of socialism, pure and simple. It's just like the military, or prison. For 12 long years (kind of like a 12-year sentence), in the most impressionable age, the students' mind are shaped and conformed into conformity and obedience to authority, just like the recruits' mind is molded to never question orders given by an officer.

What if an independent, intelligent, free-natured student enters a structured setting like a public school. The student will get board and hate it. Since the schools want to graduate students by the time they turns 18 (or close to it, as the students' birthdays may fall on the calender), the curriculum is set up to the lowest common denominator. That leaves the intelligent students with classes to ace with no effort, and leaves the student board with time on his hands. If the subjects doesn't interest the student, that student comes to hate school, and the 12 years feels like an eternity.

I graduated high-school with one B, the rest were As, and it was a breeze. In my younger, impressionable mind, I thought all school was easy. But entering college, the subjects were harder, and I delayed it and delayed it, until it was too late, and my grades show for it. Now, my daughter loathes school, and I can bet school is a boar for her, too. I know she is smarter than I. And she fits into an independent thinker's mindset that the rigid, compulsive, government control and approved education would clash. High-school is not the problem; it's beyond high-school, especially in her mind she thinks all school is a breeze. I wish that school Hornberger envisioned is for real. But, this is 21st century America, and schools are socialist in nature, and controlled, directly or indirectly by the government. At least maybe I can influence the outcome.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Money is the blood of our economy

There is a column by U.S. Representative and Republican candidate for President Ron Paul titled, "Monetary Policy is Critically Important", and it describes the philosophy and outcome of money, and it's not too good.
For almost a century (since 1913), Congress delegated the power to "coin money" (an unconstitutional act, by the way) to a group of private banks called the Federal Reserve. The "Federal Reserve" is a misnomer, because it isn't "federal" (like "Federal Express", or a chain of "Federal Pizzas"), and it has no "reserves". And Congress has to borrow money from a private organization, it has to pay interest on the debt. And Congress has to tax its citizens just to pay the interest on the money borrowed from the Federal Reserve, as the Grace Commission discovered.

If Congress has to pay interest to borrow money when the Constitution gives Congress the power to make money interest-free, why don't Congress take that option? The answer is, if you would believe it, Congress is bound to follow the Constitution. Now, the Constitution only gives Congress the power to "coin money" (metal), not to "print money" (paper). But Congress delegates the power to print notes to the Federal Reserve. That "delegation" is also unconstitutional, but they do it anyway. The Constitution gives Congress the power to do certain things, not to delegate it away to someone else. Congress doesn't have the power, only We the People (us) have the ultimate power. But We the People don't guard that power wisely, and there is a price to pay for it.

The principle that the Federal Reserve (and most Americans) used to purchase things is the Federal Reserve notes. Most Americans call these "dollars" or "money". But it is not money--they are notes; they are promises to pay a debt. Most Americans call it money, but it is really fiat-paper money backed by nothing. Because they are just paper, the Federal Reserve can print to its hearts content...and print out of thin air. It costs the bank nothing to print fiat-paper money, but you have to work hard to earn "money". That's why the biggest building in the city are the government and the banks. And since banks print money out of thin air, that money inflates, and that money is worth less and less as time goes by. A dollar in 1913 is worth 2-4 cents today.

Now, the Federal Reserve is not totally private, the government and the Federal Reserve have a relationship. In exchange for always having money if the government ever needs it (which makes bureaucrats happy), the government makes Federal Reserve notes "legal tender". Whenever a creditor (e.g., credit cards, mortgage companies, car loan dealers, etc.) wants to settle a debt with a debtor (e.g., you or me), the creditor by law must accept legal tender money. Else, the debt is wiped clean. If there is no legal tender laws, the creditor can choose which currency to accept. If a creditor will have the option to choose money backed by gold and silver (real money) or money backed by nothing (fiat money), I have no doubt the creditor will pick gold and silver backed money. But if the fiat money is legal tender, the creditor must accept fiat money, and that's what we have now.

Like I said, the Federal Reserve is the most evil institution imaginable, if you wake up and see it for yourself. That is why we must abolish the Federal Reserve, or the Federal Reserve will destroy us.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Hornberger, me, and the pro-war libertarians

Jacob Hornberger has done it again. His article, "The Critical Dilemma Facing Pro-War Libertarians", is brilliant. His article all boils down to libertarianism on domestic policy--individual liberty, free market, private property (i.e., smaller government) and conservatism on foreign policy--strong military, interventionism, troops based in over 100 countries in the world (i.e., bigger government) conflict with themselves.

In 99.9% of the time, Hornberger and I are alike. In fact, we are alike outside of our philosophies. He was a lawyer who quits the practice to become a writer; I am a writer who wants to be a lawyer. He was born and raised in Laredo, TX; I was born and lived my first six years in Corpus Christi, TX, just 150 miles due east of Laredo. And in college, he went to Virgina Military Institute and graduated to become a reserve Army officer; I was a Navel (Marine Corps) ROTC at the University of Oklahoma.

But as for philosophy, we are the same. We both are principled libertarians, and such, we are clear on the direction of our lives. We want limited, self-government on domestic issues, limited, self-government on foreign issues, limited, self-government on economic issues, limited self-government on social, self-government, period.

The only thing we disagree is on the income tax. Hornberger thinks the 16th Amendment gives a direct tax without apportionment, and being an uncompromising libertarian, Hornberger wants to repeal the 16th Amendment by adding another amendment (like the 18th Amendment was repealed by the 21st Amendment). I say that the repealing of the 16th Amendment did the people no good. The Supreme Court decision after the Supreme Court decision after the Supreme Court decision states the same thing; the 16th Amendment gives government no new power of taxation. The only thing the 16th Amendment did was to prohibit the income tax from going into direct taxation, requiring apportionment, and put into indirect taxation, requiring uniformity. Not only I have many Supreme Court cases, but I have the statutes, regulations, as well as the Constitution--i.e., THE LAW. And the law says there is no law for the average American to file a return and pay an income tax. But Hornberger disagrees with me, and he has a right to his opinion.

But for the last paragraph, I agree with Hornberger, including the mixed messages of the pro-war libertarians.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Mexico want to decriminalize drugs...again

Mexican President Felipe Calderon has seen the light and taken a different path. He now wants to decriminalize small amounts of drugs. Under the proposed legislation, Mexico will pull its resources and go much harder for the drug dealers.

Is it deja-vu all over again?

Do you remember back in May of last year, former (or then) President Vicente Fox started a bill that would legalize a larger amounts of drugs than today's bill, but, after "heavy pressure" by U.S. officials, he vetoed his own bill.

I said it before, and I will say it again: the law of supply and demand trumps any law Congress, Mexican or American, will pass to the contrary. If there is a demand on drugs, there will be a supply. If there is no demand, then drugs will disappear. But there is a demand for drugs, and so the drug-suppliers will want to fulfill the demand. And when users and dealers enter the stage voluntary, there is no person whose rights is being violated--there is no victim, and the prohibitioner's work is much harder.

But, for nearly 40 years, when Richard Nixon made the "War on Drugs" "America's public enemy number one", the public has been duped into believing that drugs are evil, that drugs are dangerous, and we spent over 12 billion dollars to eradicate the problem...with nothing to show for it. In fact, according to government's statistics, marijuana is the biggest cash crop in the United States, with an estimated value that exceeds $35 million. The war on drugs is a complete failure, and innocent victims take the fall.

But, the most important reason opposing the drug war is a moral one. I own my body, not anybody else but me. And thus, I am responsible with my body. If I want to ingest something into my body, I have a right, and a responsibility, with that something, whether or not that something is meat, vegetable, candy, milk, alcohol, tobacco, marijuana, cocaine, or whatever I happened to ingest. And if I have a rash, or an allergic reaction, or an overdose, or anything unexpected, I have to buy an antidote, or go to see a doctor, or anything that makes me feel better. That is called individual liberty and personal responsibility. Individual liberty and personal responsibility are opposite sides of the same coin. If you have one, you must accept the other.

Calderon (I guess) wants you to have those two things...a little. But he knows the true winners in the drug war is the drug agencies and the drug king-pins. The loser is the innocent civilian. Time will tell if Calderon made the right decision.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Mayor vetoed Nashville's English only bill

Nashville Mayor Bill Purcell has got it right. On Monday, the mayor vetoed a measure that would have made English Nashville's official language.

Now most of you find favor with Nashville bill in question. But Purcell said the bill was mean-spirited, unnecessary, and most of all, unconstitutional.

I applaud Purcell's veto. On being mean-spirited, if that bill becomes law, it will say, "If you don't speak English, Nashville doesn't welcome you here!" It's a slap in the face to immigrants who doesn't speak or speaks little English. It is like saying you should move to Knoxville, or Chattanooga, or Huntsville Alabama when you are learning basic English. When you are proficient enough, Nashville will open your door.

With laws like that, I don't want to move back.

On being unnecessary, that is the absolute truth. Nashville sits in the middle of Tennessee, and I will bet 99.99...% of people of Nashville speaks English, and a vast majority has English as the only language they know. I have never been in Nashville (I drove through it once), but I have a friend who lives in Nashville, and he speaks only English, and he doesn't complain about the foreigners living there. I live in Oklahoma City, and the business I know speaks English. If it doesn't, it will go out of business, and OKC is more foreign than Nashville. In fact, I was born and live 6 years in Corpus Christi, Texas, and I can't speak Spanish. I speak more French than Spanish (although I took two years in high school and one semester in college in French). "Unnecessary" is an understatement.

And on being unconstitutional, I haven't read the Constitution of Tennessee, but I know the U.S. Constitution, and the U.S. Constitution is the "supreme law of the land", and I know it very well. With 7 articles and 27 amendments, there is nothing to say about English, or another language to speak, and in Amendment 10, if there isn't specifically in there, it will leave it to the state. And I will bet the Tennessee doesn't have a language in there. Besides, Purcell's legal staff told him the bill violated both the U.S. and state constitution, plus it would be costly to defend in a court of law.

However, the proposed law would require Nashville government offices to publish all documents in English, and I don't know about that. To require private individuals and businesses to speak in English is wrong; it violates their freedom of speech and press, but with government, it will save the taxpayers paper and ink not to draft it into different languages, and that is a plus. But, Nashville would be mean to foreigners, like Purcell said. The best way is to make Nashville's government tiny, so that foreigners would go into the private sector for administrative things, and that business will speak any language it wants.

Mayor Purcell is a wise, wise man. He knows what would happen if the bill becomes law. Too bad he chose his profession.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Del City v. tattoo parlors

First, the city said the tattoo shop is too close to a school. Then , the city said the parlor's sign is too large. Then, the city made an 8pm curfew for the shop. Round 1.

Phil Calfy, who owns the tattoo business Skin Ritual in Del City, OK, said that city is trying to run him out of town.

Skin Ritual is not the first tattoo shop to feel the wrath of Del City. Two other places closed their doors because they didn't have surety bonds. The state made it a requirement for legalization. The Legislature may lessen the requirement to a liability bond this year.

Of those who don't know, the state of Oklahoma was the only state that made tattooing illegal, until the bill passed in the legislature and signed by the governor last year. But some mayors and councilpersons can't take the change.

In a free society, it treats tattoo parlors as any other business. If a customer wants to have a tattoo, that customer have the right to feel free to choose any parlor he wants. And that parlor has a right to accept or refuse the customer's money for the parlor's service. That is called a unhampered free market.

Some people will say tattooing is a sin. Now, I am a Christian, and I believe that those people are right (Leviticus 19:28). But God doesn't look down on anyone who has a tattoo. Our Lord is a God of love, not a god of spite. And a Christian means literally "like Christ", and thus, we don't criticize a person for having a tattoo either. Do you remember Matthew 7:1?

But Del City doesn't see it that way. It has a bias about tattoo shops. It will let Christie's Toy Box and Fantasy's adult dance club (i.e., stripper bar) stay open until late, but not Skin Ritual. It has to close at 8:00.

I wish the lawyers for Skin Ritual will win the lawsuit. The 8pm curfew for the business was passed in an emergency session without some city officials knowing about it. His attorney said cities can't pass laws more restrictive than the state. I hope she has a case. Del City should mind its own business and let all kinds of businesses be free to operate unmolested. Del City will be better off for it.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Lt. Watada gets a mistrial, and may walk

Jacob Hornberger, who practiced law for 12 years before he quit the practice to become a libertarian writer, has an interesting, legal opinion about the mistrial on the court-martial of Army 1st Lieutenant Ehren Watada:

A mistrial was declared yesterday in the case of Lt. Ehren Watada, the military officer who refused orders to deploy to Iraq. Watada's refusal is based on the principle set forth at the Nuremburg War Crimes Tribunal that soldiers have a moral and legal duty to refuse to obey orders that constitute war crimes. Watada indented at the trial to show that Bush' invasion of Iraq was a war crime (i.e., a war of aggression, one of the war crimes prosecuted at Nuremburg) and, therefore, that Watada had a moral and legal duty to refuse to deploy to Iraq.

The mistrial might well have put an end to the Watada prosecution, based on double-jeopardy grounds.

Once the trial began, the military prosecutor got hoisted on a petard of legal trickery that he tried to foist onto the presiding judge. Since Watada was not disputing that he had in fact refused to deploy to Iraq, he had entered into a stipulation agreeing that the prosecutor would not have to prove that particular fact.

In what has to be one of the most ludicrous arguments in legal history, the prosecutor argued, in classic legal trickery, that by stipulating to that particular fact (that Watada had refused to deploy to Iraq) Watada had admitted his guilt and effectively waived his Nuremburg-style defenses.

It became clear that the presiding judge wasn't overly impressed with the prosecutor's ludicrous legal arguments regarding the stipulation, which in turn prompted the prosecutor to move for a mistrial, which the judge granted. A new trial date is set for March.

There's one big problem, however, for the U.S. military and its prosecutor--the U.S. Constitution, which still applies to U.S. military courts martial--specifically the constitutional bar against double jeopardy. Once the trial started, Watada was placed in legal jeopardy. He didn't agree to a mistrial. By granting the prosecutor's (not Watada's) motion to start over and do it again, a new trial would effectively be placing Watada in legal jeopardy a second time. And that's exactly what Watada's lawyer is now arguing.

Now, I am not a lawyer. However, I have a legal mind, I know basic law, especially constitutional law, and from what I know, Hornberger is dead-on accurate, if the judge is honest. However, the prosecutor will say double jeopardy does not apply in this case, and the judge might accept the prosecutor's argument (the Supreme Court perverted the meaning of the Constitution in Wickard v. Filburn, United States v. Miller, Arver v. United States, Sparf v. United States, Kelo v. City of New London, et al). But, in real honest constitutional law, if the defense's motion for a mistrial is granted, double jeopardy does not apply; however, if the prosecutor does, double jeopardy does too.

By the way, the meaning of "double jeopardy" is found in the 5th Amendment: "[No person shall] be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy". That is one angle of his case. Another angle, and I believe a more stronger case, is Watada was following his oath, which means he will support and defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domectic, and he will do this before he will obey the "Decider-in-Chief" or any other officers above him. If the judge interprets the Constitution the way the Framers intended, Watada walks a free man.

Monday, February 05, 2007

"Taxpayers" owe us $300 billion

The distance between how much revenue the IRS is supposed to collect, and the actual money the IRS collected, is widening. And how much Congress will spend is related to the estimated value of what revenue the IRS was suppose to collect. So it will result in a larger and larger deficits.

So lawmakers found an idea. They made up a word--the "tax gap"--which means the $300 billion "taxpayers owe" the government in taxes which they never paid. Now, only one problem left: finding ways to collect it.

Now, the rest of the LA Times article talks about the different ways to lower or close the tax gap. There's no mention of finding ways for Congress to curb spending; only finding ways to milk the people out of their hard-earned money.

But, there is one interesting dilemma. Does government require the average American to pay the tax in the first place? If the government didn't require the people to pay the tax, the people don't have to pay. And the core of the dilemma is there is no law requiring the average American to pay a tax. There is no law.

The LA Times says, "The government has a much better chance of collecting the money it is owed (sic) if a portion of it is withheld in advance and if the income is reported by two sources--taxpayers and their employers." I agree. But the reason I think it is better not to file is the government only can charge you with "willful failure to file..." (26 USC 7203); the only charge in Title 26 which is a misdemeanor. But, here is the charge: "Any person required under this title to pay any estimated tax or tax, or required by this title or by regulations under authority thereof to make a return, keep any records, or supply any information, who willfully fails to pay such estimated tax or tax, make such return, keep such records, or supply such information, at the time or times required by law or regulations, shall..."

Now, I have three rebuttals on willful failure to file. First, the first three words in this charge are, "Any person required". From looking at my post, I am not required to file, supply, or pay. In fact, I am not required to do anything! Second, the key word is "willful", and the defense is found in the Supreme Court decision on Cheek v. United States [below Held:] In other words, if I have a "good-faith belief" that the law does not require me to file or pay, I can't be guilty of 26 USC 7203.

And finally, if I don't file or pay, the average person assumes I am guilty of a crime. But "failure to file or pay" is not a crime; only "willful failure to file...or pay". There is no crime not to file or pay with a clean conscience. All of this with one charge.

I urge you to read my post in full. It is long, but it is easy to understand. Then you will realise my title is a misnomer. I am not a "taxpayer"; I am a "nontaxpayer" [.pdf]. Which one are you?

UPDATE: If you don't believe me, ask the Wesley Snipes' team. They have the "Mistaken Identity" videos for you to see--part 1 and 2 [less than 20 minutes total]. They believe what's in my post too.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

"Take my liberties, I'm scared to death!"

That title is a pun off of Patrick Henry's famous speech "give me liberty, or give me death!", but that title is a perfect example of Americans' philosophy today. Do you ever wonder why the government does things to purposely frighten Americans, and that leads Americans to giving up our freedoms? Are Americans so scared that they will lose their liberties in order for government to comfort them in the false cloak of security? That reminds me of a 1993 article by columnist Molly Ivins, who died yesterday at the age of 62. Her article said:

"We get scared so bad--about the communist menace or illegal immigration or AIDS or pornography or violent crimes, some damn scary thing--that we hurt ourselves. We take the odd notion that the only way to protect ourselves is to give up some of our freedom--just trim a little, hedge a bit, and we'll all be safe after all. Those who think of freedom in this country as one long, broad path leading ever onward and upward are dead damn wrong. Many a time freedom has been rolled back--and always for the same, sorry reason: fear."

It's an excellent point. Throughout history, fear has caused people to relinquish their freedom--oftentimes "temporarily"--to their own government officials in the hope that those government officials will protect them from what they are scared of.

The "temporary" loss of freedom inevitably turns out to be permanent because once government officials have acquired expanded powers, they hate relinquishing them. Also, once people have surrendered their rights and freedoms out of fear, they inevitably lack the courage and the moral fortitude (and the means) to regain their freedom.

Not only do government officials prey on a frightened citizenry by enlisting their assistance in the infringement of their freedoms, they oftentimes produce the very crises and emergencies that endanger the fear.

For example, look at some of the things that so frighten the American people: losing their Social Security, illegal aliens, drug dealers, and terrorists.

Social Security is a government program that is based on taxing young people to give the money to old people. There never was a fund that people's money got deposited into. As old people are coming to realize the truth, they are shaking in their boots at the thought of losing their dole. A government-caused "crises".

Illegal aliens frighten the American people for a multitude of reasons, including losing their jobs to them. But the reason there is a "crisis" is because the government plans and controls the free movement of people across the borders. That's what happens when government intervenes in the free market--distortions and perversions occur, which then gives rise to "crisis", which then cause the citizens to support ever-increasing assaults on their own freedoms.

Drug dealers scare Americans too. Yet the reason for the unsavory drug lords and drug gangs and all the related violence is the drug war itself, not the drugs. The drug war produces the crisis, which then frightens people into supporting ever-growing infringements on their freedom, including warrantless drug raids conducted by militarized SWAT teams.

Terrorism is the great frightener of our times. Yet, terrorism against Americans is rooted in U.S. foreign policy--that is, the bad things that the federal government has done--and is doing--to people overseas. Government policies produce the conditions for the "crisis", and then government uses the resulting fear within the citizenry to induce them to support "temporary" suspensions of their freedom.

It's just like Jim Bovard and his latest book, Attention Deficit Democracy. It's the people produced among themselves (from the government) the condition called Battered Citizen Syndrome.

Isn't it ironic that the most powerful government in the world has the most frightened citizenry in the world? Perhaps it's not a coincidence.