How Did I Get This Old?

August 31, 2010

Your humble Editor turned 57 today. Curious thing, this aging. I look at my friends and acquaintances that are my age, and all I see are old people. I still look out at the world with eyes that feel about 25. Is this how you go through life, always feeling inside much younger than the chronological age of your temporary meat house?

I’ll always remember this last year, though, as one of the most important years of my life. Over this past year, I have had a spiritual transformation not unlike a rebirth. I’ve come to a place that my spiritual life is no longer based upon a set of beliefs found in old books, old traditions and “truths” without proof. My understanding of the Creator God is now founded in KNOWING his character and attributes. For me, this new Way has closed the door to one small room and opened the door to a much larger room. I feel like I’ve only just begun knowing God, and I am thrilled that I will have the rest of my life to discover Him and become more and more like Him. All conscious beings have the ability to strive toward higher levels of energy and lower levels of entropy. To be like God is to live in His higher energy.

Over the last seven days, I have the feeling that I am about to experience another deeper level of consciousness and awareness of God’s energy. Haven’t you ever had a sense of anticipation about some thing that you couldn’t really quantify…but you still felt it authentically? That’s where I am.

In the recent past, my outlook about people was that I could get along fine without them. Consequently, I have few friends and thousands of acquaintences. But my spiritual journey is creating within me a desire to know people intimately and help them dream…and then help them achieve their dreams. I’m finding meaning for my life through service to others.

The most important goal I have today is to love authentically. No games, no pretense, no bluff and bluster. I want to be as transparent as possible. I want to listen carefully to what people are telling me, and to ask clarifying questions so that I know that I’m really HEARING them. I want to give people a willing ear and an open heart. Yes, that means that I will be vulnerable sometimes. But walls keep people out while you are locked behind them. I’d rather risk and feel emotions authentically than spend all my time protecting myself and keeping people at arm’s length.

If you want great friendships, you must first BE a great friend. If you want to be loved, you must pour love out on others first. Seek first to understand, rather than to be understood.

In my car, on the inside of the windshield, top left corner, is a Post-It note with these words: “Live in the Solution.” What’s it mean? If you have a problem in your life, it most likely is there because of something YOU did in the past. If you don’t like the way your life is right now, you are responsible because your present life is the sum of all your past decisions. So how do you change your present circumstances? You must identify the solution to your circumstances and your problems. Then stop dwelling on those problems. If you live in the problems, they won’t change. Spend your time “Living in the Solution”…that’s where you’ll find the success you seek.

I’m glad that you dear Readers continue to come to DumpDC for our brand of information. I hope you can sense the love for mankind that I try to infuse into my articles. I sense you have, since some of you have been effusive with your praise. My desire is that more and more people will realize that secession is based in love for all mankind, not simply an optional political choice among those striving for power. The nation that is most successful in protecting individual liberty and property rights for its citizens will be the measuring stick of Loving Governance against which all other forms of governance will be judged.

The Bible says, “For God so loved the World, He GAVE…” Let us love our fellow man by giving ourselves the purest example of Mankind loving itself…Secession.

It’s the only hope for liberty on the North American continent.

Kumbaya, my lord…kumbaya. Let’s all hold hands now…

DumpDC. Six Letters That Can Change History.

© Copyright 2010, Russell D. Longcore. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit is given.

PS: Here is my birthday gift to you…a free book. FoggBook


“Choose this day whom you will serve”: An Open Letter to American Law Enforcement

August 30, 2010

by Mike Vanderboegh

Dear Gentlemen and ladies of American Law Enforcement,

There is a growing perception among many Americans that we are headed for one of those periodic moments in our history when our reactions to events will redefine who we are as a people, where we are going as a country and who gets to call the shots when we get there — what George H.W. Bush called “that vision thing.” This is happening in the middle of unprecedented external and internal stresses on our social order, the results of which you see daily on the streets.

It is going to get worse.

Odds are, it is going to get MUCH worse before it gets better.

IF it gets better any time soon, which I doubt.

And so, ladies and gentlemen of American law enforcement, the prudent among you should be considering this question now, rather than later: “What am I going to do when we get to ‘much worse’?”

Consider first where we are.

The Justice Department’s National Gang Intelligence Center estimated last year that there were over a million hard-core gang members in this country who were responsible for over 80% of the crimes in many communities. Other experts have suggested that when you add in the gangs’ “extended families” and wannabes the number is closer to between five and ten million. As unemployment has increased, their numbers have likewise swelled.

But the gangs, as bad as they are and as great a threat as they pose to public order, are nothing compared to the larger problem, and that is this.

Respect for duly constituted authority and social trust are essential ingredients of civilization. These elements represent the basic glue of society.

Respect for duly constituted authority is, as every cop knows, at an all-time low. There are two general reasons for this, one systemic and the other so personal that if you look yourselves honestly in the mirror you can see it.

Systemically, “duly constituted authority” derives its legitimacy from the founding documents of our country, the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and from the Founders’ concepts of the rule of law. These have all been under attack for a hundred years or more by both corrupt political parties and their union and business familiars. The Constitution has become for some a joke and for others an inconvenient speed bump on the road to tyranny. As long as this degradation of the legitimacy of our political and legal system was perceived by only a narrow portion of the population, it was manageable in a societal sense. This is no longer true.

When a president and Congress robs one set of people to enrich their cronies, when they violate the settled rule of law regarding bankruptcy to stiff secured creditors in the case of General Motors while rewarding self-anointed unsecured creditors — their political allies, the auto unions — the rest of the population cannot fail but conclude that we are no longer under the rule of law, but the rule of men, which is to say, the law of the jungle. Or, put another way, they — the “authorities” — can do anything that the citizenry can’t or won’t stop them from doing. This is the societal Catch 22 we are now in (and have been for a while) that I call “Waco Rules.”

Other cases such as that of David Olofson, a veteran and marksmanship instructor and family man who was railroaded by the ATF on an automatic weapons charge when his semi-automatic AR-15 malfunctioned (and he was chosen for prosecution simply because the ATF did not care for his low opinion of them), have convinced many that a fair trial is no longer possible in federal court if an agency decides to “deal with” them. And if we are no longer guaranteed a fair trial in the federal court system, then if we are innocent and decide that we do not wish to play drop the soap with either the Aryan or Muslim Brotherhoods, our only guarantee is the right of an unfair gunfight when the ATF comes calling.

And remember that Olofson is merely one example of federal misadventure. There are many others, as there are plenty of similar cases in local and state jurisdictions. When the law-abiding rightfully no longer trust the law enforcers and begin to view them as a class of criminals merely acting under color of law, anarchy is not far away.

Yet, you will say, “don’t blame me, I enforce the law, I don’t make it.” True, but insufficient as an excuse, and here we get down to that look in the mirror.

My friend, fellow gun rights blogger and National Examiner columnist David Codrea over at WaronGuns has a description for feral cops. He calls them the “Only Ones.” His daily blog is filled to overflowing with example of rogue cops, their partners who never rein them in and the prosecutors and judges who find reasons to go easy on even the most heinous of criminals with badges. You know who I’m talking about. If you say there are none of these currently operating or in the making within your department then you are either lying or uninterested in seeing the truth, which amounts to the same thing.

Everyone knows what happens to honest cops who “rat out” their uniformed criminal associates. They are hounded, despised, disciplined and shunned — and that’s on a good day. Can you blame many of us who pay attention to such law enforcement corruption for concluding that you may merely be a member of an “official gang” as opposed to a freelance one? Such dereliction of duty begs the question: If your excuse is that you don’t make the law, you just enforce it, and then you don’t enforce it upon yourselves, why should we be paying tax dollars to support “official” law breaking?

There is another image that many of you can see in the mirror if you choose to take an honest look — that of tax collector and nanny state bully boy. Yes, we know, you didn’t make the laws, some liberal puke with a control fetish did. But when you write speeding tickets for 3 miles over the limit because you’ve been told to write “x amount” of dollar value, or when you pull people over for “seatbelt violations” at random roadblocks and then ransack their cars without probable cause, can you understand how such behavior eats away like acid on your reputation — individually and collectively — as servants of the citizenry? What part of “to protect and serve” does that represent?

But worse than all that is the militarization of the police — in equipment, tactics and, worst of all, attitude — and the federalization of all law enforcement over the past forty years, but especially in the last ten. There were, last time I checked a few years ago, something like 750,000 full time state, city, university and college, metropolitan and non-metropolitan county, and other law enforcement officers in the United States. Add to that another 150,000 or so full time law enforcement personnel working for the federal government. With the growth of new agencies like the TSA during the “war on terror” (who, because of political correctness can’t seem to figure out who the real “terrorists” are so they merely oppress the rest of us in order to be “fair”) that number has certainly risen.

In any case, there are hardly enough Feds to work the administration’s will upon a nation so vast and a people so numerous, so, much thought and effort has gone into suborning and subverting local and state law enforcement for federal purposes — “Joint Task Forces” and “fusion centers” being two principal ways. Yet, as the Founders quite clearly understood, it is one of the duties of local law enforcement, especially the county sheriffs, to interpose themselves between the federal government and the people of their jurisdictions when the federal government becomes oppressive.

Now, however, local law enforcement is looked upon by federal agents as force multipliers and willing stooges — “local yokels” in their parlance. And as a mark of how successful their campaign has been, many local law enforcement officers agree and happily lick the boots that kick them.

A recent case in point. Two county sheriff’s deputies showed up at the doorstep of a man out west who had expressed his contempt for Nancy Pelosi and and other federal politicians in letters and emails. These deputies, saying that the FBI had sent them, interrogated the man, threatened him “with Leavenworth” and engaged in intimidation of political speech. These local cops, having no jurisdiction to do anything of the sort, would have been laughed off of my porch here in Alabama and told to bugger off and return with real federal cops, if that was in fact their intention. Too often these days, when the federal man says “frog” many of you merely ask “how high?”

Of course, if this intimidation had back-fired on the locals in any way, the Fibbies would have been the first to disavow them, leaving them hanging out in the legal laundry to dry. So when y’all are looking in that mirror, ask yourselves how truly stupid you actually are when it comes to enforcing an agenda and not the law just because the Feds ask you to.

Because here’s the essential thing: you, ALL OF YOU, took an oath to, among other things, “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.” You swore that, the overwhelming majority of you, to God. Did you think that oath had a shelf life? Do you think that now that you have by your reckoning faithfully upheld that oath for, say, twenty years now that tomorrow it is okay to forget it? You swore, whether you realized it at the time or not, an OATH, before GOD, and it was a LIFETIME oath.

While you are looking in the mirror, evaluate your career based upon that oath. It was not to a man, or an administration, or a political party but to an idea — the idea of ordered liberty as codified in the Constitution of the United States of America. So ask yourself, did you or did you not intend to faithfully uphold that oath? Because the answer to that question is going to become very important very quickly as this politically divided and morally fractured society continues to spin out of control.

To quote Joshua, “Choose this day whom you will serve.”

Katrina showed us many things. It showed that in a disaster many cops will look to their families and not the public duty, leaving their fellow law enforcement officers with an even greater burden. It showed us that cops can be opportunistic criminals as well, partaking in looting with as much energy as professional criminals. It also showed us that the police no longer trust the law-abiding citizen with arms, depriving them of their only means of self-defense once the cops have moved on, thus leaving them to the tender mercies of robbers, rapists and murderers.

It is perhaps dangerous to make too large of a generalization, for there are many rural jurisdictions where this does not apply, but the fact of the matter is that by and large, the police no longer trust the people they are supposed to protect, and they especially do not trust an armed citizen, even if he represents no danger to the cop. This is standing the oath on its head. The people do not exist to serve the servant, but rather the other way around.

When a policeman pulls over a driver whose computer record shows not only the driver’s license of the vehicle’s owner, but the fact that they have a concealed carry permit, it is too often SOP for the cop to approach the vehicle, gun drawn, order the man or woman from the car, put them on their knees and cuff them before anything else transpires. These are not the acts of public servants but rather of an occupying army. And with each breach of trust, the glue holding society together is further weakened. For the more you distrust us, the more we are reminded to distrust you.

It is important to remember, Mr. and Ms. Law Enforcement Officer, that you need us, the law-abiding armed citizenry, one hell of a lot more than we need you. Just ask any criminal. Who is it that they fear most? The encounter with a policeman or a would-be victim who turns out to be armed? I tell you this uncomfortable truth and I hope you have the honesty to admit it — the criminals of this country are far more scared of the armed citizenry than they are of the police.

It is not the fear of the patrol car that inhibits criminal behavior the most, but rather the prospect of screwing up and getting his brains blown out by a citizen in righteous self defense. And so, when you participate in citizen disarmament efforts, whether gun seizures like Katrina, or merely identifying otherwise friendly peaceable folks as “the enemy” just because they are armed, you are alienating your most valuable friends and empowering your most vicious enemies. Not to mention the fact that you are violating that sacred oath you took.

So ponder that deteriorating social trust that holds civilizations together, and then ponder this: the worst is yet to come.

What will happen when we are faced, God forbid, with some dislocating national disaster — natural or man-made — that makes Katrina look like a kindergarten playground? Now, even if you intend to run off like some New Orleans policemen did, to see to the safety of their families rather than keep order in the city, you are still going to need the cooperation of the armed citizenry in your home neighborhood to protect your family.

You — ALL of you — law enforcement officers, will then need us, the armed citizenry — ALL of us willing and competent to muster — to defend public order against the tide of chaos represented by five or ten million gang members and the tens of millions of panicked unprepared refugees or opportunistic criminals left unrestrained by a breakdown.

Do you seriously think that federal police, all 150,000 of them, will actually help you in that event, beyond issuing orders that they will not be personally endangered with carrying out?

You will then be on your own, and you will have us. At least those of you will who have the sense to plan now to make that happen in the event.

You might start by remembering your oaths, by beginning to trust us, by refusing to engage in petty harrassments of CCW permit holders and by strengthening your department’s auxiliary program (or starting one if you do not have one).

But first and foremost you must quit looking at and treating the law-abiding armed citizenry of the United States as the enemy. For if you don’t, we certainly will be.

Convince us by your actions that you are no better than the gangs who commit crimes without uniforms and we will treat you similarly. And there ain’t nearly enough of you to shove us around in a real national emergency.

Remember, Americans are nothing if not a practical people. We’re predisposed to help and support you. Please, take our hand when it is offered, BEFORE it is needed.

Sincerely,

Mike Vanderboegh

sipseystreetirregulars.blogspot.com


Decoupling Now, Currency Crisis Soon

August 29, 2010

Courtesy National Inflation Association

(Editor’s Note: I keep telling you that the American economy is cratering. Remember Mount Saint Helen? We saw steam and smoke, and a lava dome building for months. Then, one day, the mountain exploded. And the fallout circled the globe. Keep that visual in mind when you think about the American economy.)

NIA believes that the decoupling we have been predicting of precious metals from the Dow Jones has now officially taken place. A year ago we would consistently see precious metals and stock market prices rise and fall in parallel. We have now seen the Dow Jones decline by 6.1% from its high on August 9th, along with both gold and silver rising by about 3.3% during this same time period.

The Dow Jones to gold ratio is now down to 8.1, near its low for 2010 of 7.9. The gold to silver ratio still remains at a historically high level of 66. However, silver was up today by $0.65 to $19.03 per ounce, its biggest one day gain since early June. We expect silver to significantly outperform gold in the months to come.

One year ago, almost all mainstream economists on CNBC were calling for either a “U” or a “V” shaped economic recovery. NIA said that prices were rising only due to inflation and there would be no economic recovery. NIA went into detail about how destructive government programs like the homebuyers tax credit were helping to artificially boost economic numbers, but as soon as these programs were over, economic activity would collapse to new lows. NIA was right. Now that the government has ended its homebuyers tax credit, we just saw sales of previously owned homes decline in July by 25.5% from one year ago, to their lowest level in a decade. We also saw new home sales in July based on the signing of new contracts decline by 32.4% from one year ago.

The government will report their second estimate of second quarter GDP on Friday and we will likely see a revision from growth of 2.4% down to growth of less than 2%. Keep in mind, the White House budget is projecting a GDP growth rate of 5.58% over the next five years (along with permanently low interest rates) in order to get the budget deficit down to $752 billion in 2015. With a sharp contraction in GDP likely coming in the third quarter, NIA continues to believe that the Federal Reserve will unleash the mother of all quantitative easing this fall, along with a huge push by Congress for a new stimulus plan.

U.S. mutual funds currently have about $10.5 trillion in assets, with $2.5 trillion being in bonds and $4.6 trillion being in equities. Although the amount of money invested in equities is still far greater than bonds, asset inflows into bonds have outpaced equities for 30 consecutive months. During these 30 months, $559 billion were invested into bond funds while $209.4 billion were pulled out of equity funds. It is a real shame that most retiring baby boomers who are looking for safety, are actually investing their savings into the riskiest assets of all.

The U.S. savings rate climbed in June to 6.4%, its highest level in one year. It is unfortunate that Americans who are doing the right thing by increasing their savings, are simply giving their savings away for free to the government which is spending it recklessly with no way of paying it back. When this bond bubble begins to burst, prices of commodities will explode to the upside like nothing you have ever seen before.

NIA believes that there is a risk of the bond bubble beginning to burst as early as this fall. Smart money is now loading up on commodities. In the week ended August 17th, net long holdings in futures for 20 commodities rose 2.6% to 1.18 million contracts, with the biggest rises coming in agricultural commodities like wheat and corn. Commodity assets under management gained by about $8 billion in July to over $300 billion.

The World Gold Council just announced today that gold demand surged in the second quarter of 2010 to 1,050.3 metric tons, up 36% from one year ago. This rise in demand came mostly from rising investment demand, with gold demand for backing ETFs climbing 414% and retail investment demand rising by 29%.

Because the rest of the world still likes to follow and emulate the U.S., it might be Americans who initiate the upcoming stampede out of bonds, U.S. dollars and other dollar-denominated assets, and into precious metals. For the time being, the average American is still more likely to be a seller of gold. Recycling of gold increased 35% last quarter to 496 metric tons. Once Americans become educated about how gold isn’t expensive and is still trading for only 1/2 of its all time high adjusted to the CPI and 1/4 of its all time high adjusted to the real rate of price inflation, and that by recycling gold they are actually trading real money for fiat paper money, this recycling supply will diminish and the world will face a major gold shortage. The world already has a major silver shortage that will become apparent to all very soon.

NIA’s co-founders still receive phone calls on a daily basis from non-NIA member friends asking for us to invest in Real Estate “short sales” and other foreclosure deals. By year 2012, NIA guarantees nobody is going to want to touch Real Estate and all of your friends will be calling you about the latest Krugerrand that they bought. Although NIA doesn’t project hyperinflation to occur until the years 2014-2015, there is a serious risk of hyperinflation occurring any day now. Hedge funds need to be where the momentum is and as soon as the momentum turns against the dollar, we could see the bond bubble burst and the currency crisis begin instantaneously.

Please spread the word about NIA and have your friends and family subscribe for free at: http://inflation.us

Copyright 2010 National Inflation Association.


Your Secession Reading List

August 28, 2010

I’m going to keep this quite simple. I could send you off to my Archives, which holds a treasure trove of great stuff. I could send you off to other websites…the ones that regularly link to DumpDC. But you need a bedrock understanding of the most controversial document of our time…The US Constitution.

Look at the vast differences of thought across the continuum of political theory. At the far left are the totalitarians, who don’t even notice a Constitution. On the far right are the anarchists like me. But in America, everyone on the entire spectrum seems to argue about the Constitution.

In my opinion, most of the arguing going on regarding the Constitution is comparable to the old Hans Christian Andersen fable of “The Emperor’s New Clothes.” In the story, two swindlers come to town and convince all that they are legendary weavers, and have created the rarest fabric ever made. They created nothing, but tell the tale that the colors and patterns were most beautiful, but the fabric also had the quality of being invisible to all men who were either stupid or unfit for office. The Emporer hears of this and must have garments made of this new fabric. All the Emporer’s “subjects” discuss among themselves how fine the Emperor’s clothes are, none wishing to disclose that they cannot see the patterns and color, which risked being considered stupid or unfit. So, from the Emporer to the beggar, all eyes pretended to see, all lips praised the fabric and the weavers.

All except one child. He said, “But He has nothing on at all.” And even in the face of this statement of truth, all others continued on in their self-deception.

So it is with the US Constitution. Few can see its fatal flaws, and so millions continue arguing over its words, phrases and clauses while refusing to acknowledge that the Constitution is a document of no authority.

Naturally, you should own a copy of the Constitution. If you’d like a free copy of a pocket-sized book that hold the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, The CATO Institute will sell you one for $4.95. It’s very handy in this size.

In my opinion, there are two foundational bedrock books that have been written about the Constitution. These two books are the best books ever written about the Constitution. Both are simple and easy to read.

The first is a book written by Lysander Spooner in 1867 entitled “No Treason.” Once you read this 57-page book, you will never view the US Constitution the same again. This book can be read free at: LysanderSpooner.org

The other landmark work on the Constitution is “Hologram of Liberty,” by Kenneth W. Royce. This book goes deep into HOW the Constitution was written and how it empowers a strong central government.

“Hologram Of Liberty”

Once you have read these two books, you will know the TRUTH about the Constitution. Then it will be harder for you to be drawn into the superfluous arguments happening today in the Tea Parties and the Tenth Amendment Center about a return to the “Founder’s intent.” Their arguments are the equivalent to rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic. I hold the impossible dream that if enough people come to this knowledge, there might be enough people smart enough to actually pull off a state secession.

Secession is the hope for humanity. Who will be first?

DumpDC. Six Letters That Can Change History.

© Copyright 2010, Russell D. Longcore. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit is given.


Recession, Texas Style

August 27, 2010

by Linda Brady Traynham

(Editor’s Note: This week is Linda Brady Traynham Week. Linda has been making comments here for a while. I like her writing style and her content is outstanding. She writes about Texas liberty issues and other stuff that engages her mind…just like your un-humble Editor. I am confident you’ll enjoy this week’s offerings.

This one shows you why you should relocate to Texas before secession happens.)

We Texans pride ourselves on everything being bigger and better, but the definition of a “better” depression is a smaller, lighter one. I wrote months ago about how Texas was last into the Depression and has been hit less hard than most areas. At that time, only Brownsville, on the Mexican border, had an unemployment rate that matched the national average, which was in the mid-seven range then. At present we’re running 8.2 per cent., here in Texas, using government figures, with the national rate holding stubbornly at “9.7%.” I put that in quotation marks because I consider it a fairy tale, over and above that using traditional accounting methods would yield results almost exactly twice the official version. That half a point drop from 10.2% not long ago came too suddenly for me to find it believable.

I’m just a simple arithmetician but I understand the sort of figures we’re talking here and it is no use for the government to tell me there is no inflation — it has been at least 3% by the most stringent definition for the last three years — and that national unemployment averages 9.7% if we just don’t count everyone without a job. Laughter…my husband was a genuine mathematical genius who had a passion for statistics and understood numbers the way I understand words. I would love to hear John’s answer on what the unemployment rate is.

One reason we’re doing better in Texas is in the diversification of interests and in the tightly closed systems in our many small towns. Those are not totally immune, and in Hamilton the little, more expensive grocery store “down town” (that being the four blocks which surround the Courthouse square) has gone out of business. David’s, a small local chain, no doubt smiled, and stopped running so many loss leaders. What else? When it is twenty-five to forty miles to the next grocery store of any sort, pretty much you have a captive audience. I imagine the newest restaurant in town will go under, but pretty much nothing much will change. It can be frustrating that kids who aren’t going to inherit a family business have to go elsewhere to find jobs in “normal” times, but it is quite comforting to know not many jobs will be shed in your town because there weren’t any superfluous jobs in the first place. Each business has a place in the local economy that isn’t going to go away, from the two drug store (neither chain) to Ace is the Place, to the feed stores. In the cities and industrial parks many areas are humming along nicely turning out machinery, computers, chemicals, and electronic devices. No, we’re not just about beef and oil. We’re making things they want in BRIC. The first quarter — first two months, actually — exports rose 24.3% over 2009, close to thirty billion dollars’ worth. Patrick Jankowski, Vice President of research for the Greater Houston Partnership, commented that there are over 700,000 jobs in Texas geared to manufacturing goods for export, probably not counting mounted steer horns and armadillo ashtrays. We account for about ten per cent. of the entire export output of the USA, a scary thought, in some ways. Bell Helicopter is gearing up for a big, new project in Amarillo, hiring now, starting at over twenty dollars an hour to assemble widgety things.

Sure unemployment is high in the barrio. When isn’t it? Teens in general are having a harder time finding summer jobs because there are those with more work experience and better motivation willing to take what they can find. Life is tough in some sectors of the oil business, thanks to the power of the Greenies and Mr. Obama outlawing the most promising drilling areas under the guise of expanding exploration. One of the articles I read posited that Texas began adding jobs again last fall, “thanks mostly to its great position in the largely recession-proof energy industry.” Well…sort of. Maybe. Out in Odessa and Midland things are stalled because there is no way to get that sweet, light Texas crude over to the refineries, and for sure it’s too far to build a pipeline. Mr. Obama has decreed that no new refineries may be built (just which section of the Constitution would that be?) and if you can’t refine oil and can’t move it, once your storage facilities are full the best you can do is hope for a better future. One landman I know has cut her price from $450 to $200 a day because there isn’t a whole lot of leasing going on. Last November Texas crude production was down to 1.08 million barrels per day, on the order of half the amount pumped in the Reagan years. Natural gas is doing well — up about a third between 2004 and 2008 — which is cheering both because I expect the coal industry to be destroyed by fake science and a great deal of money put into that campaign by the LNG folks who stand to take over coal-fired plants. Seems to me, as a long-time Texan that we’ve got a bunch of capped wells that were shut down over the years because they produced “too much” gas and not enough oil to suit demands of the time.

We Texans are proud of having our own electric grid — bearing in mind that a hamlet about thirty miles from me went without power for over three weeks after Ike. Their juice came from a different plant in Houston. I’m not a big fan of wind power, myself, between the cost of the enormous three-bladed devices (about a quarter of a million dollars, which doesn’t include shipping and handling and perhaps not even installation) and the difficulty of “storing” electricity; it is commonplace to see a lot of those pricey units turned off when there is ample wind to spin them merrily. There are those who hope to begin exporting electricity to the rest of the US, such as Paul Sadler of Wind Coalition. That might be fine for wind power operators, but it would almost certainly raise prices locally, judging from what happened a decade or so ago when Washington started selling power to Oregon and California, which was in a bind because of foolhardy insistence in flushing away water needed for irrigation and hydroelectric facilities in the name of dear little fishies. There isn’t a person reading this who can’t come up immediately with “Same amount of product sought by more people equals higher prices.” I don’t think anyone has come up with “Keep Texas for Texans,” but it sounds reasonable to me. It may be too late since we have already gotten the attention of Denmark, Spain, and Queen Beatrix. Fortunately, one reason we could construct our grid fairly easily is that we weren’t tied down with federal regulations or coordinating with other states. With luck, trying to connect to Boston, Kansas City, and San Diego (just for examples) would turn out to be as frustrating and time-consuming as attempting to build a nuclear plant. I noted that Texas can now put out 10,000 megawatts which was stated as being sufficient for three million homes, and I thought, immediately not “NIMBY” but “KIIMBY” for Keep It In My Back Yard. Sure, I can handle Vestas and Iberdrola coming over to play, but retaining control of our power strikes me as “prepping” on a national level. Mr.T. Boone Pickens considered putting what even he thought was a bundle into wind power and decided there were faster, better ways to make a good ROI.

Our housing market remains far more stable for several reasons. Turnover has always been slow in rural areas, and we had a hefty influx of dazzled Californians early in the century. They may have been buying while the bubble was bursting, but compared to prices in the Golden State our housing was considered ludicrously under-priced. Dallas has been especially fortunate over the years, and prices there are only 7% off the 2007 highs, Case-Shiller indicates. That’s okay, there’s no point in coming to Texas if you’re going to live in Houston, Austin, San Antonio, DFW, or El Paso. You seen one big city, you seen ‘em all. Sure, the River Walk is pretty (if you like tourist attractions), but other than that SAT is five million people, two freeway rings, and traffic that would scare anyone other than a Los Angeles cab driver. We’re doing better in terms of lower delinquency rates on mortgages. In particular, those three or more months behind average 5.78% here and 8.78% nationwide. (Do you suppose someone makes these figures up? With 99 other choices, yet the terminal two digits are the same?) It should also be noted that Texas law limited taking out secondary loans that amounted to more then eighty per cent. of the value of the property. People were protected somewhat from their own greed and the myth that “Real estate will always increase in value!”

I bridled somewhat when I read, ‘Once a separate nation, Texas has recently been behaving more like an independent economic republic than a regular state. While it hasn’t been immune to the problems plaguing the nation, the Texas housing market, employment rate, and overall economic growth are relatively strong. Chalk some of this up to accidents of geology and geography. But Texan prosperity also reflects the conscious efforts of a once-parochial place to embrace globalization.” and “Texas today is more suburban engineer than urban cowboy, more Michael Dell than J.R. Ewing. Austin, home to the University of Texas, the state government, and Dell Computer, has a 7 percent unemployment rate…ExxonMobil is based in Irving. But the state’s energy complex is increasingly focused more on services and technology than on intuition and wildcatting. And it is selling those services into the global oil patch. Russian, Persian Gulf, and African oil developers now come to Houston for equipment, engineering, and software. While its political leaders may occasionally flirt with secession, Texas thrives on connection… ”

I couldn’t help feeling that this was a little condescending and I was reminded of an ancient expression, “Poor boy, he must be tetched in th’ head.” We may enjoy wheelin’ and dealin’ but at heart we’re still Texans, with our own unique culture that we’ve done a lot better hanging on to than the USA has of agreeing on how to define an American. Businesses come and businesses go, like a li’l ol’ company that had a base here on my stomping grounds long ago, name of Texas Instruments, but cattle and corn fields are forever. We aren’t going to get over feeling that an Aggie ring (signifying graduation from Texas A&M, not 20 minutes from me) is worth two degrees from Harvard and Yale any day. Besides, Dell’s in Round Rock. Laughing at myself. This is like only Aggies being allowed to tell Aggie jokes (non-Aggies can tell ‘em if they make the dunce a Polack, a perfectly respectable term ’round here.)

The important part isn’t what I interpreted as a slur on my own, my native land, but that we’re doing some things right here the rest of the country isn’t.

Linda Brady Traynham is a former editor and analytical project report writer and is now a Whiskey & Gunpowder field correspondent on a ranch in the Republic of Texas. She studied Counseling at Boston University and got her Masters degree in Philosophy from the University of Hawaii.


Chasing The Gold Standard

August 26, 2010

by Linda Brady Traynham

(Editor’s Note: This week is Linda Brady Traynham Week. Linda has been making comments here for a while. I like her writing style and her content is outstanding. She writes about Texas liberty issues and other stuff that engages her mind…just like your un-humble Editor. I am confident you’ll enjoy this week’s offerings.)

I suppose it is an article of faith here in the Bar that the first nation to adopt a true gold standard is going to have a commanding advantage internationally?

If not, it is here in the Whiskey Redan, deep in the heart of Texas. A “redan,” you will recall, is a fortification with only three corners, and I chose the term partially because Gary had already snagged “the Whiskey Bunker” and to allow myself to define what the three most important factors are easily, according to my whim of the moment. Today I’m going to go with “God, Gold, and Guns,” which you will notice is in alphabetical order. We don’t discuss religion in the Bar, politics and economics being quite controversial enough, so that leaves us with Gold and Guns.

We can deal with the Gun facet pretty easily: if a government doesn’t have “guns” (i.e., military forces sufficient to deal with less than friendly neighbors), it won’t be long before a nation is absorbed by more belligerent and better-armed forces. If the people don’t have guns, governments tend to overreach. When the people don’t have guns, crime rises.

Which brings us to everyone’s favorite topic, shimmering metals, and, in particular, the much-disputed question of whether they are a “barbaric relic” or the best means of assuring both a stable monetary system and preventing governments from inflating through the printing press.

Amazing, isn’t it, how putting matters simply can make them much clearer? Why doesn’t any government have a gold standard? Because there was too much “money” and power to be gained by going to fiat currency. Despite the obvious advantages geopolitically why isn’t anyone doing more than flirting very tentatively with the idea of money that is backed unit for unit with gold or silver? Because governments don’t want to give up the power they have or fear that cutting back on so-called “safety nets” would lead to their destruction. More than that, every nation I can think of quickly has spent itself into such a hole that it cannot simply recall all of the paper currency and swap it out for gold and silver at parity or even a sensible fraction thereof. I doubt that the Feds could have managed a penny on the dollar even before the stupifying debt incursion of the last eighteen months–and we have only their unverified word on how much physical gold is on hand. A country with no foreign debt might have some chance of pulling conversion off without devastating consequences, but are there any governments that don’t have foreign debt or own that of others? Perhaps a period with a two- or three-tiered exchange rate, such as Hugo Chavez inaugurated recently, would work. In Venezuela, now, what your money is worth depends upon what you are spending it on! My idea of good economic policy does not include armed guards in business establishments to prevent the owners from raising their prices. Ceylon (sorry, “Sri Lanka”) tried it but is too small; Monaco isn’t a good candidate, either, nor is Andorra.

So there the golden fruit hangs, seemingly out of reach. IF a country with reasonable clout (the US, Britain, BRIC, perhaps even an OPEC member) could make the transition without losing heads or thrones there would be no further question of what the world’s reserve currency would be. We can certainly take Saudi Arabia off the list of possibilities because the price of keeping the house of Saud in charge is $70/barrel in giveaways. Short of defaulting internally and externally and eliminating the notion of “entitlements” the Feds and Parliament certainly can’t get away with it, and such actions would surely precipitate blood in the streets of a nation where 40% of the citizens are on the dole and 40% of those employed work for government at some level.

I learned long ago from a very fine general, “Don’t bring me a problem unless you have a solution.” This saved the general a lot of frivolous complaints, but it did something better: the person who has the problem is most likely the one best-qualified to formulate a solution. It forces people to think for themselves as well as taking into account their familiarity with the restrictions and results. Of course I have an answer to the problem of what nation can–and must, by its Constitution–adopt a strict gold standard, and by fortuitous happenstance that country neither prints fiat “money” nor does it have vast foreign or internal debt. It is laboring under the small inconvenience of having been occupied by a foreign power for a hundred and fifty years.

Yes, I’m back to the campaign to restore the Republic of Texas via a public vote whether to request an amendment to the US Constitution to allow Texas to be admitted as a State (a process that will take at least twenty years and bales of Timmy’s paper) or to ratify the current treaty between those United States and the Republic of Texas, reclaim our independence, suggest with firm politeness that the Feds and all of their works retire to their side of our respective borders, and insist that Washington abide by the 2004 decree of a Federal Judge that Washington “cease and desist hostilities against the land and people of Texas.” I don’t know about you, but I consider the IRS and federal mandates to be hostile.

The day one more than fifty per cent. of the voters agrees we would prefer to be the ninth richest nation in the world rather than a satrap of Baghdad on the Potomac, we revert instantly to our 1836 Constitution which has been updated with scrupulous legality only to include universal suffrage. Other than that the Convention, very wisely indeed, left that splendid brief document alone.

Our Constitution states specifically that “money” shall consist of gold and silver coins we mint ourselves. You can look up the “for profit corporation dba the State of Texas” and see what our financial position is with Dun and Bradstreet. (While you’re at it, check on the for-profit corporation dba the USA.) You can infer easily how rapidly expenses will drop when ties are cut with DC. Consider just a few…the cost of gasoline, alcohol, and tobacco…the end of Federal mandates which cost us billions a year…the immediate and very real “raise” everyone employed within our borders would receive when income taxes and FICA were removed. Our Constitution, like yours, forbids taxing earnings or heads, but we can make it stick when you didn’t. The true dream of the Republic is not to regain a Wild West with saloons, spittoons, and gunfights, but to start over very, very carefully, learning from the mistakes and abuses of the past 175 years and attain a true Jeffersonian republic.

Our money will be “good as gold” because it will be gold. True, for convenience there may be paper currency, but it will say “redeemable for the equivalent in precious metals,” not “Federal Reserve Note.” Your $100 dollar bill is an IOU you cannot count on collecting; if we had one, it would be worth roughly a tenth of an ounce of gold today, tomorrow, and for decades to come. Yes, the metals market does fluctuate, doesn’t it? So do exchange rates. I can see the scurry to hold Texas Gold or even fully-backed paper (be that notes or even bonds if we chose to offer some) because our money will be real. Today’s Bernanke is the equivalent of an Andrew Jackson twenty years ago, a loss of 80% of stated value. The dollar of today is worth less than 4% of an oversized bill a hundred years ago. That is the penalty of fiat currency. We have our own system of Texas banks and deposits in them would be far safer than in your local, FDIC “guaranteed” banks. We’ll have bullion to back our claims. They don’t.

I cannot foresee the Republic of Texas feeling any need to sell bonds, but if it did they would be an excellent value so long as we break free without being invaded again by US or UN forces. Americans are so accustomed to having everything controlled by the fell hand of the Statists that it can be difficult to grasp how few legitimate expenses a truly Constitutional government has. In “Educating the Masses,” archived here, I discussed my solution to the one thing the Texas Constitution says about education: that there must be a “plan” to educate the children. Compare the cost-effectiveness (to say nothing of the superior results we can guarantee) of my plan versus Washington, D.C. spending $14,000/year/student. When the kids can go to private schools there for as little as $7,000 a year (Although Obama’s children are in pricey Friends at eight times that), why on earth is there a disastrously ineffective public school system in the District of Columbia? Silly question; power, the ability to tax and spend, and the politics of envy and racism. As an aside, I am appalled by the very concept of “hate speech.” Someone explain to me why speech permitted under the First Amendment is showing up at a military funeral with a sign that says “Thank God for dead soldiers,” clearly meant to mock, not to comfort the family, but I will be walking on very thin ice if I say what I think about a Marine General’s suggestion that gay troops be billeted together! I haven’t any objection to “separate but equal” (a school system that produced superior education and far less strife; propinquity has not lead to true friendship between those of different color and religions), but I really disapprove of putting all of the–someone come up with a word that won’t get me arrested–in barracks where they can party hearty after lights out knowing that everyone else there is either a potential partner or like-minded. That is scarcely conducive to “good order and discipline.” Wry laugh. We can understand Thomas Jefferson’s sensible suggestion that a brothel be located close to the University of Virginia so that the boys’ minds wouldn’t be distracted in a time when young ladies were supervised strictly. I have trouble with a Lysistrata Corps.

Back to business. At a guess, fewer than 2% of you, dear readers, reside in our fair Republic. (Simple arithmetic. Divide by 50 plus at least Australia, Switzerland, China, and South Africa, where I correspond with readers.) The reasons our fight to regain our freedom should be of interest to you are myriad: as an example to your own governments and citizens; as a shining dream you can partake of by applying for citizenship and paying a flat 10% tax during your probationary period; and as an investment opportunity that is far safer than what goes on in your land, just for starters.

Our goal is to reduce government intrusion to the bare minimum required to keep the peace, internally and externally. Government HAS no other valid purposes than to protect the citizenry and its borders. When the Colonies broke off from England (an England somewhat distracted at the time or the rebellion would never have succeeded) it was for a dream of freedom, the most minimal of governments, and–laughter–individual gain. Nothing wrong with that, free enterprise being the best way to raise the standard of living of all citizens. Our promise is of a Republic where what you earn is yours to keep, where local “taxing authorities” cannot demand property taxes to fund their pet projects, where income is generated primarily through taxes on foreign corporations–including those headquartered in the US–and tariffs, and you are free to use what you earn to support your family, start or expand a business, and prepare for your own future. No, there won’t be any welfare, but those who will not work can either not eat, convince friends/family/churches/charitable institutions to support them, or go to any of your forty-nine states. That worked for Tommy Thompson, and it will work for us.

Just imagine a truly gold-backed currency, and no income taxes, property taxes, “sin” taxes, EPA, NEA, or socialized medicine. I’ll close with a discussion of that. I receive Social Security, and if I live to be well over a hundred I am unlikely to recoup what we “contributed” for over forty years. I have no choice about being on Medicare, which takes precedence over the TriCare a “grateful” government promised me for life for the sacrifices John and I made. The government removes that sum without my permission, and my only option is to refuse my stipend and have no medical insurance at all other than TriCare, which doesn’t appear to cover much any more. The tariff last year was right at $1200, making the (very unusual) three trips I made to the doctor cost me $412 each, including co-pays. This is not my idea of a good bargain. This price will probably triple in coming months, in a world where Obamacrats, desperate for money, denied any COLA increases for the next three years. Left to my own devices I would have a catastrophic care policy and simply pay the current average of $110/visit. In the world we are trying to make no one will provide “free” medical care for those whom, quite frankly, we expect to seek refuge in your welfare states, but no one will attempt to mandate what arrangements you make for your medical care, either. I did an analysis based on what it cost to go to our family doctor in 1955–cash only, of course. In inflation-adjusted dollars it would cost you $35 for a standard office visit if the government and “health care insurance” did not exist.

The “land of the free and the home of the brave” doesn’t look much like that to me, any more. The latest Gary North suggests that the “trade of the decade” is to shed all stocks and buy uranium. I’m sure that is excellent advice…but suggest that you hedge your bets by investing in Texas-based corporations. If our bid for freedom fails, Texas was still the last into the depression and hit most lightly by it. Ah, but if we succeed…I am certain you could take to the idea of dividends paid in gold.

Linda Brady Traynham is a former editor and analytical project report writer and is now a Whiskey & Gunpowder field correspondent on a ranch in the Republic of Texas. She studied Counseling at Boston University and got her Masters degree in Philosophy from the University of Hawaii.


Why Government Shouldn’t Build Roads

August 25, 2010

by Linda Brady Traynham

(Editor’s Note: This week is Linda Brady Traynham Week. Linda has been making comments here for a while. I like her writing style and her content is outstanding. She writes about Texas liberty issues and other stuff that engages her mind…just like your un-humble Editor. I am confident you’ll enjoy this week’s offerings.)

Dr. William Anderson’s superb article concerns a subject some of the Shooters and I have been kicking around recently. Our focus was on why governments shouldn’t build roads at all, part of which is that it is always inefficient to filter money through some bureaucracy. Between waste, the misallocation of funds to pay for the departments and personnel, inferior products, social engineering, and the inevitable corruption when tax dollars are being scattered around “public” roads are a very poor solution to the problem of how to move traffic from points A through Z.

As is always the case, unfettered private enterprise and a free market would be less expensive, generate real profits, and lead to better roads that reflected the true needs of traffic. Toll roads are also how the Founding Fathers dealt with problem.

Let’s break this down into individual categories, starting with where we live. As a pretty general rule residential streets are in good shape because there is little traffic. Developers build the roads in new areas so it would be prudent of new home buyers–should there ever become a good supply of those–to consider the quality of the streets which come, basically, as part of their purchases. It might be possible to negotiate upkeep for twenty years, which would give the developer an even stronger urge to insist upon quality.

What about those who live in older areas? What to do when a chug hole develops? When there is a market, someone will provide a service, and having the hole that is bothering you (and your neighbors) filled and paying for it will be a great deal more cost-effective than the current system. There are any number of paving companies which pave driveways in rural areas, and I am certain they would be glad to come dump a little hot, gritty asphalt in your depression at a price that only seems exorbitant until you consider the million dollar a mile roads that governments build. It is likely that someone would come up with a DYI product sold at Lowe’s and Home Depot.

The condition of the road in front of your home is of interest only to those who live on your street. Why should public tax dollars be spent to keep them in good condition? Not that the system works very well. Others may be paying to keep your Mockingbird Lane in acceptable condition, but you are paying for a great many other roads. We never get more than we pay out back; earmarks go to the “in” crowd.

Farm to market roads? Once again, those should be the responsibility of those who use them. There aren’t enough small farms and ranches left in America to speak of–some 2.1 million farms are all that remain due to high inheritance taxes and regulations in favor of Archer Daniel Midlands, Tyson, and so forth. That’s pretty frightening. FDR had a population of 125 million to feed and over five million farms to do it with. Agribiz is in big trouble with the cost of fuel, labor, power, feed, fertilizer, taxes, and government mandates. Too many of my neighbors are planting houses where dairy and beef cattle once grazed. However, roads hold up remarkably well when not subjected to traffic from heavy vehicles.

My theory is that people can and will put up with a deteriorated road until it becomes annoying enough to pay to have it fixed or to master the skills necessary to do their own repairs.

City streets? Again, those usually show little wear from regular vehicular traffic, and if the roads deteriorate to the point where customers flee, the merchants will see the wisdom of making repairs. If we pulled up the statistics on taxes budgeted to build streets and even highways we would be astounded by how much more money we taxpayers could keep if the government were forced out of the road-building and repair businesses.

Now we come to the big two, interstates and new construction. There are already “road use” taxes and a modest toll system should provide ample to keep current major links in repair. Whatever made anyone think that roads should be “free?!” Very little in life is free; we pay for it one way or another. At present those of us who pay taxes are subsidizing in yet another way those who do not for things that we neither want nor use most of the time.

Recently my darling Charles and I had to go to Houston (always a nightmare) to pick up something. We had a very frustrating experience on what should still be the wave of the future; a similar system is growing in at least the D/FW area. The problem with Tollway 8 is…it is very difficult for a one-time user to get on! Those who use this high speed marvel have a little sticker that is read automatically and they receive a bill for road use once a month. The traffic whizzes along, and the exits are well constructed not to lead to backups. About every third entrance there is a kiosk that sells the stickers, which was not practical in our case because we hope devoutly never to be on Tollway 8 again. Those are usually near an entrance that will allow the occasional traveler to hand over money–and access to these booths is designed splendidly so that they do not impede the other traffic. Our GPS was having a nervous breakdown insisting that we should get up on the tollway, not realizing that we were not allowed to. Tollway 8 has no silly “HOV” lanes, choosing–wisely–not to reduce the carrying capacity of their expensive investment in a futile attempt to force users to car pool. If there are three lanes an HOV restriction reduces capability by one-third; four lanes see the loss of a quarter of capacity and produces bottle necks when the HOV lane ends. Insanity.

What of those who do not wish to trade money for speed? It is still quite possible to traverse those miles on suburban streets. You pays your money or you takes your chances. In many areas it is faster to stick to city streets than it is to get on the “free” way. When John and I lived in Derby (a bedroom community near Wichita, Kansas) his truck went for service to a dealer on the far side of Wichita. John always took the freeways, while I always used ordinary roads. Invariably we ended up at the dealership in a dead heat! And no, I do not exceed the speed limit, ever.

The sad truth is that there are entirely too many people and far too many vehicles, a situation beyond repair other than in the minds of those who want to see the population of the earth reduced to a permanent maximum of five hundred million. No, friends, that isn’t conspiracy theory; I saw the speech in the UN where some sanctimonious female promised to “kill (us) as kindly and gently as possible.” Isn’t that sweet? How very thoughtful. Who chooses?

Government “planners” seldom put roads where they need to be. One of the major difficulties in Wichita, for example–it is possible this has been corrected in the nearly twenty years since I have been there–is that it is laid out almost entirely on a grid system. There was only one major diagonal road! Their planners hadn’t taken into account that the square of the hyptenuse is the way to reduce the swear words on the other two sides. Hard, clear-eyed entrepreneurs would work out which new roads would be the most profitable because that is where people want improved ease of travel enough to pay for it.

I only see one problem, but I am certain there is a solution if we troubled ourselves to work it out. I don’t approve of eminent domain anyway–and recent scandals bear out my scorn. No doubt James Howard Kunstler knows and might even be induced to tell us. Private corporations would have no power to force others to sell their land–and rightly so. This may mean that the solution is to build toll roads further out, encouraging flight from the cities. Perhaps it is selling the current freeway systems to private individuals who will make them function more efficiently, while raising a nice hunk of cash to reduce the debt. Perhaps social pressure would suffice to induce those who didn’t want to move to cooperate, or some deal could be made to swap nicer foreclosed upon homes for where the residents are now. Where there’s a profit there is a way.

Linda Brady Traynham is a former editor and analytical project report writer and is now a Whiskey & Gunpowder field correspondent on a ranch in the Republic of Texas. She studied Counseling at Boston University and got her Masters degree in Philosophy from the University of Hawaii.