Wednesday, October 20, 2010
By Phasma Scriptor
Yet another situation that looks like it could go nuclear: The control of a substantial majority of the zebra/men-in-blue sports officiating club by the largest corporate entity on Earth - the gambling industry; the handle on sports betting globally is in the hundreds of billions. In 1993, an episode of a Chicago cable show "Broadsides" showed that ALL major sports, including college events, were subject to fixing by corrupt officiating, due to most officials being on Las Vegas payrolls. Back then, the LV spread in basketball and football games, set by Don "the Wizard of Odds" Angelini on a huge chalkboard in his living room, was the main instrument for bilking bettors. Angelini was 1/2 of the Sam "Ace" Rothstein character in Martin Scorcese's 1995 movie "Casino"; the other 1/2 was Chicago mob casino maven Frankie Rosenthal who, as shown in the movie, narrowly escaped death by car-bomb. These days, computers running actuarial software calculate how to lure bettors into losing bets, using Angelini's strategy of the set-up game and the kneecap game, where bettors are conned into betting the wrong way, according to the way officials are going to call the game. As it was described, research into addiction shows that gambling is the most insidious because there's no physical trigger; it's mental/emotional. The sports fans' investment, heart & soul, in "their" team keeps them locked into the spiral of rooting and wagering on the same team. The old addictive dynamic of marijuana as the entre to heroin is repeated in "fantasy" sports leagues as the entre to hard-core sports betting, especially when the Internet, where fantasy leagues are one of the fastest growing forms of entertainment infatuations, makes it far more convenient to enter a non-threatening, antiseptic gambling den, in the same way Internet porn exponentially proliferates that form of addiction. The old mobsters, all dressed up in e-disguise, still control ALL these forms of vice, now e-vice.
Published: October 14, 2010
The Umpire in the Sky
It took six umpires during Game 1 of the American League Division Series to decide whether Yankees right fielder Greg Golson had caught a line drive by the Twins’ Delmon Young — and they still got it wrong. Anyone with access to a television could see that Golson had caught the ball fairly.
But because baseball stubbornly refuses to allow its umpires to consult video on anything but home run calls, the blunder stood. Even though umpires now routinely consult each other in an effort to get calls right, there has been an unusually large number of mistakes on critical plays in this year’s postseason, which resumes with the American League Championship Series Friday night.
Fans deserve better. Baseball should install an additional umpire in the broadcast booth, one with the authority and respect of his colleagues to use instant replay to review (and overturn) calls.
The process would take far less time than an umpire meeting, and it would greatly reduce the number of bad calls. An eye in the sky could, for example, have given Detroit pitcher Armando Gallaraga the perfect game denied him after umpire Jim Joyce mistakenly called a runner safe at first.
What would the parameters be? A booth umpire would not review balls, strikes or checked swings, for the same reason that players can’t argue them: it would slow the game to a crawl. Nor would he review foul tips or other plays where what the field umpire hears is as critical as what he sees. But the booth umpire could review calls on catches, tags and safe or out plays.
True, it wouldn’t always be obvious where to place base runners if a call was overturned. If a foul ball call was reversed, for example, where would the batter and any runners on base go? But baseball could devise rules to deal with those situations, much the way it awards bases on ground-rule doubles.
And the call on the field would take priority: if a play took the booth umpire more than a minute to review, the original call would stand.
As baseball has evolved over the centuries, it has placed umpires in the positions with the best view. Today technology dictates that one of those spots is in front of a monitor.
John Rosenthal is a contributing editor at National Geographic Traveler.
A Scorecard for Calls
Along the way to the upcoming Game 1 of the National League Championship Series against the Philadelphia Phillies, the San Francisco Giants have suffered, and benefited, from bad calls by umpires.
Bad calls are a disturbingly common phenomenon this season. A blatantly wrong call cost the Giants a game against the Mets in July, while another helped them secure a victory over the Atlanta Braves earlier this month.
At the heart of the problem is this: umpires are rarely held accountable for their poor calls. Fortunately, there’s an easy way to change that: release their internal reviews to the public.
After every game, Major League Baseball provides each umpire with an analysis of his performance, including which calls he got right and which ones he got wrong. The Major Leagues say this system provides for accountability.
Yet because the information is never released to the public, the umpires have little incentive to improve. Why not let baseball fans — who have an insatiable appetite for arcane statistics — see these internal reviews by making them public?
An “umpire’s scorecard” could include an analysis of each umpire’s rulings and demeanor — everything from how well he calls balls and strikes to whether he has a short fuse when his rulings are questioned on the field. Such scorecards could be published in periodic reports, say, every month during the season; maybe they could simply be posted on the Web.
Most umpires are great at their job. But Major League Baseball must do more about umpires who fall short. Publishing internal performance reviews would make them more accountable — and make the game a better experience for players and fans alike.
Kirk Victor is a contributing editor at National Journal.
The Associated Press | October 20, 2010 | 04:45 AM EDT
Big lenders are trying to move past the foreclosure-document mess, saying they're now confident their paperwork is accurate. Yet they face so much organized resistance that they can't just snap up their briefcases, declare the crisis over and move on.
— Attorneys general in all 50 states are jointly investigating whether lenders violated state laws.
— Lawyers for evicted homeowners are preparing lawsuits against major lenders.
— State judges have signaled they will review the banks' foreclosure documents with skepticism.
The document crisis, in other words, appears far from over.
Statements on Monday by Bank of America [ BAC 11.208 ￼ -0.592 (-5.02%) ] and GMAC Mortgage that they are resuming foreclosures in the 23 states that require a judge's approval brought a wave of denunciations from public officials Tuesday.
Attorneys general and other officials said bank officials could face civil — and potentially criminal — charges for flouting court procedures in handling foreclosure documents.
Meanwhile, a federal law enforcement official says the FBI is in the initial stages of trying to determine whether the financial industry may have broken criminal laws in the mortgage foreclosure crisis.
The law enforcement official says the question is whether some in the industry were acting with criminal intent or were simply overwhelmed by events in the wake of the housing market's collapse.
The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the investigation is just getting under way.
Hundreds of judges around the country have the authority to penalize bank officials who violate their procedural rules.
They could also force thousands of foreclosure cases to go to full trials rather than issue a quick ruling.
Judges won't take well to banks that filed erroneous documents with their courts, said Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller.
"There could be some serious consequences," including criminal charges, Zoeller said.
Even if there aren't, lawsuits are likely to continue for years, said Guy Cecala, publisher of trade publication Inside Mortgage Finance.
"Some of these plaintiffs' attorneys clearly smell blood in the water," Cecala said.
They froze those cases amid allegations that their employees signed but didn't read documents that may have contained errors.
State officials argue that the systems the banks used to process foreclosures were inherently flawed and likely remain so.
They are vowing to push ahead in their investigations.
"While they are telling us that they have fixed those problems, we can't just take their word for it," said Patrick Madigan, an assistant attorney general in Iowa who is spearheading the 50-state investigation.
"We intend to independently verify whether the problems have been fixed." Some judges say the document problems are persisting.
Justice Arthur Schack of State Supreme Court in Brooklyn, who's gained national attention for throwing out flawed foreclosure cases, said he's still finding errors.
In a stack of foreclosure cases sitting on his desk, he said he found flaws in most of them after a 10-minute once-over.
"It's nice of Bank of America to issue a press release," Schack said.
"But they'd better file all their paperwork and makes sure it's done correctly, because they're asking me to take someone's house away."
Florida has been the state most affected by the document mess.
Officials there say they're skeptical that banks have managed to resolve their paperwork problems so fast.
Chief Judge J.Thomas McGrady of Florida's 6th Judicial Circuit on Florida's Gulf coast, said judges in his circuit will scrutinize foreclosure documents, case by case.
Peter Ticktin, a Florida plaintiffs' attorney, said, "Pragmatically, it is impossible" for the bank to fix documents so quickly.
Bank of America says it will begin next week to refile documents for more than 100,000 foreclosure cases.
CEO Brian Moynihan said on a conference call Tuesday that employees who have reviewed the bank's documents have found no inaccurate information that "would affect the plain facts of the foreclosure." The federal government is also starting to get involved.
Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and other officials plan to meet on the issue Wednesday, but no announcements are planned.
Officials from the Federal Housing Administration, a government agency that guarantees home loans, have found clear disparities in how five major lenders have been responding to distressed homeowners after a four-month review of their practices, according to an administration official who declined to be named because the probe was not complete.
The review was reported earlier by the Wall Street Journal. The official declined to name the lenders in question.
The government has the power to fine lenders not complying with FHA guidelines. The White House has said federal agencies are investigating the allegations of flawed foreclosure documents.
But the Obama administration has rebuffed calls for a national halt to foreclosures. It says doing so could hurt the housing market by making it harder for buyers of foreclosed homes to complete their transactions.
Attention will shift next month to Capitol Hill, where House and Senate lawmakers have scheduled hearings.
Rep.Maxine Waters, D-Calif., said Tuesday that she was "disappointed by Bank of America's rush to resume foreclosures after such a short review."
Waters has introduced legislation that would bar lenders from foreclosing without offering homeowners any assistance.
Consumer advocates and some lawmakers, meanwhile, argue that banks need to do far more than refile and re-sign piles of flawed documents.
They say the banks must correct the way they handle foreclosures and requests for aid from distressed homeowners.
Those efforts have been widely criticized as inadequate.
Intermission, at Best, in Battle Over Foreclosures
The New York Times | October 20, 2010 | 05:04 AM EDT
Bank of America may be trying to bring down the curtain on the foreclosure furor, but there were numerous indications Tuesday that the problems would not move off-stage so quickly.
A day after the bank said it would once again pursue defaulting borrowers in the 23 states where foreclosures were overseen by the courts, judges in Florida said they were expecting even more challenges from defaulting homeowners.
The White House is convening a meeting of regulators and administration officials on Wednesday to review federal investigations into the foreclosure crisis, while state law enforcement officials emphasized their inquiry into flawed foreclosures was continuing.
“There has been an attempt by some of the major servicers to indicate there are no problems,” said Patrick Madigan, an assistant attorney general in Iowa. “We’re not at the end of this process. We’re at the beginning.”
All 50 state attorneys general have joined in an investigation into lenders’ foreclosure processes, which in at least some cases appear to have been so sloppy that legal requirements went by the wayside.
The lenders maintain the errors involved mere technicalities, while lawyers for defaulting homeowners say they are symptomatic of a foreclosure system out of control.
The Obama administration, which declined last week to push for a national freeze on foreclosures, emphasized Tuesday that it was committed to holding accountable any bank that had violated the law.
Robert Gibbs, the White House press secretary, said that the administration was “strongly supporting the investigation by the state attorneys general” while noting that the Federal Housing Administration and Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force have undertaken their own investigation.
Federal regulators have been looking into loan servicing problems for some months before the recent freezes by the big lenders.
The meeting at the White House on Wednesday, which will be attended by the housing and urban development secretary, Shaun Donovan, among others, will focus in part on concerns about the foreclosure crisis’s effect on the housing market and the larger economy.
In remarks at a quarterly news briefing Tuesday, William C. Dudley, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, said the Fed was “seeking to establish the facts” in conjunction with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency.
“We want to ensure that the housing finance business is supported by robust back office operations,” he said. He gave no timetable for when such a review might be completed.
Whatever the outcome of the various investigations, the era when the vast majority of foreclosures were unopposed and easily granted may be waning.
Some judges in Florida, the state whose courtrooms are the most overwhelmed by foreclosures, said they were likely to scrutinize the papers submitted by the big lenders with extra care.
“If we get information that there was a problem with a prior affidavit, maybe we look more carefully at the next one,” said Peter D. Blanc, chief judge of the 15th Judicial Circuit in West Palm Beach, Fla.
Thomas McGrady, chief judge of the Sixth Judicial Circuit in Clearwater, said it was still an open question for him and other judges whether they would accept amended documents from Bank of America or force the lender to refile its cases.
“All of the courts are struggling with this,” Mr. McGrady said.
The investigation by the state attorneys general is so new — it was formed last week — that its scope is still being settled.
Behind the question of improper foreclosure documentation lies a more important issue of whether lenders even have legal standing to foreclose because they lack the original mortgage note as required by law.
“The problems are not over, but their extent remains to be seen,” said Mr. Madigan, the Iowa assistant attorney general.
Bank of America [ BAC 11.34 ￼ -0.46 (-3.90%) ], the country’s largest lender, announced it was unfreezing foreclosures in the 23 states less than three weeks after it froze them. A process that many expected to take months was completed in days.
In its statement, the bank said that it had “reviewed our process” and found it satisfactory enough to file new affidavits in 102,000 pending cases starting next week. Documents in those cases were presumably improperly done before.
A bank spokesman declined Tuesday to explain more fully the lender’s review process.
GMAC Mortgage [ GMA 22.23 ￼ -0.11 (-0.49%) ], another large lender that had announced a freeze, also said it was refiling cases.
“We have more training, more people, a more robust policy now,” Gina Proia, a spokeswoman said.
Four years ago, in a case that foreshadowed the current uproar, a Florida court censured GMAC for false testimony. An employee said in a deposition that she had neither reviewed the record of the mortgage in the case nor known how it was created, which contradicted her sworn affidavit.
GMAC promised at the time to clean up its procedures, reminding employees not to sign court pleadings unless they had independently reviewed and checked the facts.
Despite GMAC and Bank of America’s proclamations that everything is now being done by the book, some legal and financial experts are disbelieving.
“The banks have dragged their feet and taken forever to do loan modifications, yet within less than two weeks they have managed to review hundreds of thousands of foreclosure cases,” said Adam J. Levitin, an associate professor of law at the Georgetown University Law Center.
“It is simply not credible.” Mr. Levitin is convinced that the lenders will suffer for what he sees as their attempt to put themselves above the rules.
“The genie is out of the bottle,” he said.
While most cases in Florida are still unopposed, the judges there are already starting to see an increase in defendants with counsel, even if they are simply acting as their own lawyer.
“The largest impact has been from the publicity,” said Lee E. Haworth, chief justice of the 12th Judicial Circuit in Sarasota. ”A lot more borrowers are coming forward to oppose summary judgment. More hearings are going to be contested.”
Monday, October 11, 2010
Hypothesis: Many Americans Have Withdrawn
by Jim Davidson
Special to The Libertarian Enterprise
For about two years, I have been promoting the idea that the path forward is agorism. Samuel Edward Konkin III is perhaps the most noteworthy proponent of this ideology, although Murray Rothbard, Henry David Thoreau, Etienne de la Boetie, and Laozi are among the many other notables who have written in favour of this idea.
What is agorism? It is the deliberate withdrawal of your wealth, productivity, inventiveness, creativity, and other resources from the control of the state. By engaging in private freed market economic activities you provide much less to the government to waste and destroy. By deliberately ignoring government regulations, bans, prohibitions, limits on competition, and dictates you engage in trade and commerce with many advantages. What the government cannot detect, it cannot tax, nor regulate, nor prohibit. The agorist is going even further, toward the creation of an alternative society using counter-economic activity as its basis.
However, we see that there is a substantial "black market" already. People buy and sell marijuana and other drugs. People buy untaxed tobacco products. People brew beer at home. Some people continue to distil hard liquor, without government licence or tax stamps. Prostitutes and other sex workers have long been forced into the underground economy, along with "illegal" gambling and many other activities. Many people I know re-load ammo. Some make their own firearms. I've even been shown around some very impressive shipping containers loaded with numerical control machinery which can become a factory anywhere you can plug it into power. (Given a diesel generator, that is, anywhere at all.)
For over a year, I have been advancing the hypothesis that many Americans have already withdrawn. I now have a number of pieces of data that seem to corroborate this hypothesis. I wanted to advance the discussion of these facts and figures in order to encourage people to disprove my hypothesis. If I'm mistaken, we would be better served to find out so we can develop a better theory to account for the data. If I'm correct, we can potentially use this information to advance our purposes. Let's have a look.
Tens of millions of Americans who were qualified to vote in November 2008 chose not to do so. I expect even more aren't going to vote this year.
How many? If you look at the results of the election, you get roughly the following figures: 69,456,897 voted for Obama/Biden at 52.9% of the popular vote. 59,934,814 votes were counted for McCain/Palin. Using the Obama vote total and percentage, we can get a calculated total vote of 131,298,482. This corresponds to 131.3 million which is widely reported. If we then subtract from the total vote the figures for the two major party candidates, we get a remainder of 1,906,771. These are the votes which were counted for third party presidential candidates. Nader, Barr, Baldwin, and McKinney account for most of those votes counted. (I do not say that we know how many votes were cast, because, of course, we do not.)
There were a reported 308 million Americans in the country in November 2008. Of these, approximately 75 million were deprived of the opportunity to vote by reason of age discrimination policies. Only persons age 18 or older are allowed to vote. That gives us a figure of roughly 233 million potentially eligible voters.
However, voting is not available to persons who are severely mentally handicapped, many who are currently incarcerated, and many who are previously convicted of a felony. As you may know, the number of felony crimes has been expanded dramatically since 1980, along with mandatory sentencing guidelines, as a direct attack on the freedom and independence of Americans and as a direct subsidy of the prison industrial complex. Whereas prison populations before 1980 averaged about 450,000 persons they rose very rapidly to today's figure of around 2 million and more. The area under the curve may be as much as 25 million persons.
seems to corroborate that analysis. It shows a total eligible voting population of 208 million persons.
Another analysis gives a substantially different figure. It shows a voting population of 212 million eligible persons. (I regard 4 million as significant in a population of 308 million.)
You are welcome to form your own conclusion. I'm going to take a middle path between these two figures and note that roughly 210 million people were probably qualified to vote. Which means that roughly 23 million were disqualified by some factor other than age. Since some of these people might have been able to apply to have their voting privileges restored, I think these 23 million are "built in" as part of the population which has withdrawn, which disobeys the rules (enough to get convicted) and which isn't necessarily on the side of the state and its thugs.
Using my figure, the population that chose not to vote is 78.7 million. Given where I got my numbers from, the error bar on my figure is plus or minus two million. So as few as 76.7 million or as many as 80.7 million had the opportunity to vote, were fully qualified, and may even have been registered to vote, but simply chose not to appear at the polls. You should point out to your friends who are Obamaniax that more people chose not to vote for any of the candidates on the ballot than voted for Obama, by a very substantial margin, even under the worst assumptions I have found.
If we add back in those persons who have been stripped of the voting privilege (I do not call franchise a right, because I don't think you have a right to impose your will on other people, and because if it were a right it couldn't be taken away) we get a figure for "withdrawn Americans" of around 101.7 million. So, on the close order of 100 million. Nearly a third of the total population.
We cannot make any definite assumptions about the 75 million children, but we can guess that they are likely to follow the lead of their parents and siblings. Many of them already have a "bad" attitude about government. Just look at the way they choose to dress. So if we divide off about a third of these children, we can anticipate another 25 million persons "joining the ranks" in the next 16 to 18 years.
So, altogether, based on these figures, I surmise a total population of roughly 125 million Americans who are not big enthusiasts of government. That works out to about 40% of the population as of November 2008.
2. Income taxes
Tens of millions of Americans who would be expected to file income taxes do not do so, every year.
Figures on this have varied widely, but I have been following them for some time. You may remember back in 1998 or so when Congress called the IRS on the carpet for being brutal, unreasonable, violent, and despicable toward people the IRS targeted (almost always falsely and maliciously) for enforcement. Of course, Congress did nothing meaningful to rein them in. Ending the income tax, firing everyone at the IRS, and putting their entire enforcement division on trial for treason, murder, assault, rape, and theft would be a meaningful action.
One of the things that I noticed came out of those hearings was a figure of around 60 million Americans that the IRS thinks "should" be filing income tax papers every year who do not. Of course, the IRS proudly trotted this figure out to explain why it was so "important" for them to be brutal and horrid toward people like my friend Dick Simkanin or my buddy Walt Anderson. Heh.
Since that time I have seen other figures, ranging from a high of around 138 million who allegedly filed taxes in 2008 (when doing so got many of them "stimulus" direct payments from the national government) to a figure of 129 million in April 2010. (Extensions are included in the figure.) In addition, either through truthful reporting or through various carefully nuanced approaches, something like 47% of households paid no income tax for 2009.
It isn't always clear what is meant by "household" but if we applied that percentage to the population, we would come up with 145.7 million Americans (out of 310 million, estimated population for 2010) who aren't filing any form of income tax. Some of them wouldn't be expected to, being less than 16 years old and denied many opportunities to work for a living by age discrimination.
When I was in college, I spent some time pursuing a major in astrophysics. So when I see a number like 125 million and a number like 145.7 million, I think of them as roughly the same. They are of the same order of magnitude, anyway. And when two independent paths of analysis come to roughly the same result, I think there is something to the ideas involved.
If we assume that the 75 million children are evenly divided among every year from zero to 17.99 then we can figure that about 4.17 million are of each age by year. That means that there are about 8.34 million who are 16 and 17 years old, altogether. So if we take 310 million and subtract 75 million children not yet 18 and add back in those 16 and 17 years old who are able to get "regular" jobs we find about 243.3 million "adults" who are potentially expected to file income tax papers of some sort. If we then subtract out the 129 million who seem to have filed taxes, we get a figure of 114.3 million.
But, of course, to this number, we have to add back in the 66.66 million children who exist, who are just as human as anyone else, and who aren't counted for purposes of the government's expectations of filing taxes. You can take my approach, which is to say they are innocent until proven guilty, in which case all of them belong in the counter-economics category. That gives us a high water mark (so far) of 180.96 million Americans not filing (including many for reasons of age).
Or you could take the attitude that if 47% of them are in households that don't file, you should expect the rest to follow the lead of their parents and file when they get older. Using this approach, we add back 31.33 million youngsters. That gives us 145.63 million. Which is very close to our first approach with the tax data. So, something like corroboration.
Tens of millions of Americans who were expected to return a completed census form did not do so. Figures varied widely, but I saw many reports suggesting that as many as one in three households were not responding. These figures were used in justifying the huge government hiring surge in April and May, as you may recall. You can probably still find archived news stories from that time to corroborate.
So, again, if we take the estimate of 310 million (and you are welcome to offer some other estimate of population—I have never believed that the USA government could count, nor that it was motivated to tell us what it found out if it did count everyone) and we divide by three we get 103 million Americans who chose not to respond to the census. Again, that is the same order of magnitude as the other figures we've seen.
Tens of millions of Americans who have money "coming to them" through one sort of entitlement program or another not only have not received that money, but have apparently made no effort to apply for any of it.
This one is a new technique for estimation that I just ran across. Kevin Trudeau who is a sometimes controversial figure in the info-mercial marketing industry, has a new "free money" book. In it he claims to have condensed the knowledge from many other big books, including a tome of foundation grants that typically sells for $70 and a bunch of books about free government money (entitlements, special subsidies, etc.) that are marketed by guys like Matthew Lesko. None of which interests me because I have no intention to take anything from the government that I can possibly avoid.
Trudeau makes the claim that something like 22 million people who applied for money from the government were eventually able to get it. (I have no estimate on what number of hours they spent filling out reams of paper, responding to denials, appealing, etc.) He also makes the claim that something like 147 million Americans qualify for one or more of these "entitlement" programs. Which, to me, is an interesting figure.
Combined, that means that right around 125 million Americans who would qualify for money from the government have not sought to get that money. Now, you'll immediately say there are many reasons not to do so. And I agree. Many people who are in the group of persons not filing taxes presumably don't want to ask the government to send them money because they might show up at their private mailbox and find that the government has an arrest warrant for them. Or foolishly fill in the address where they sleep at night only to find the door kicked in at 4 a.m., goons all over the house slaughtering the pets, raping the children, and dragging them off to prison.
But isn't it interesting that this figure is also of the same order of magnitude? In fact, it is very close to the figures on voting and taxes. So it seems to me that it corroborates those figures. In any event, there seems to be something to this idea that many Americans have withdrawn.
The figures I've shown you range from about 76.7 million up to 180.96 million. The raw average of those two figures is 129 million. Some of these people are children who may change their minds about how to behave later on, but that is also true of everyone in the country.
Are these people who have withdrawn from the system, by one measure or another, committed agorists, ideological anarchists, and anarcho-capitalists, one and all? No, I don't think so. I think many non-voters are simply frustrated by a system which not only doesn't accurately and ethically count all the votes, not only doesn't represent their point of view in government, but also seems to deliberately ignore majority preference in the bank bailouts, auto bailouts, wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Obamacare, and Don't Ask Don't Tell votes by Congress, among many other examples.
A system that was honest, ethical, and just would potentially attract some of these voters back into the system. A candidate such as Ron Paul, if he were the candidate for one of the major parties, might attract many voters into the system, even to register for the first time. So, no, I don't think there is an ideological commitment here.
And, for the purposes of withdrawing support from the state, reducing the amount of the economy it can prey upon, reducing the amount of taxes collected, increasing the number of competitors in the freed market, making more options available to more people, it really doesn't matter why people are choosing to withdraw. It seems clear that they are, and that this development is a positive thing. Given the numbers involved, it is apparently not a recent thing, either.
Sunday, October 10, 2010
Thursday, October 07, 2010
Wednesday, October 06, 2010
This Wednesday's radio show with Peter Mac:
Larken Rose http://www.larkenrose.com debating Jon Roland http://www.constitution.org.
Starts at 7:00 p.m. Central (8:00 Eastern).
For more info, go to www.petermacshow.com.
Larken Rose, best known for challenging the federal government to refute his reading of the tax code and then railroaded into federal prison will debate Jon Roland, best known as founder and president of the Constitution Society.
As will be discussed on the show, the true enemy of freedom and humanity is not one particular set of tyrants, but one fundamental IDEA--one horribly destructive superstition, which has been the cause of most of the injustice and suffering throughout history.
Also, how the Constitution, rather than being a perfect victory for freedom and justice, actually HELPED that most heinously dangerous idea along.
Listen and learn or go back to grazing your Blue Pill laced grass you sheeple.
Monday, October 04, 2010
Apparently another hit journalism piece. So who owns TIME? What would be their purpose in a propaganda piece that misrepresents groups and the truth? Boycott Time-Warner!!!
Response from Bob Schulz to TIME Magazine
Re: October 11, 2010 Cover Story
"Locked and Loaded: The Secret World of Extreme Militias"
I am featured in your cover article, written by Barton Gellman, though I cannot understand why. You have wholly mischaracterized me and the works of my Foundation, in order to shoehorn me into a piece that may work for TIME, but has no relevance to what Gellman and I discussed. The information I provided to Gellman, through more than six hours of face-to-face interviews, plus e-mails and written documentation, has been twisted and wholly taken out of context, rendering it inaccurate, misleading and libelous.
There are so many falsehoods in what was attributed to me that I cannot address them all in this letter. I will take them up with TIME management.
For the record, I have never advocated violence, I do not and have never belonged to any militia, nor do I communicate with militias or influence militias in any way that I am aware of. However, I do fully support the Constitution’s guarantee of well-regulated militias in every State. To quote the mandate of the second Amendment, “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the Right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” Therefore, the absence of well-regulated Militias in every State is repugnant to the constitution.
This article serves neither the truth nor the People of this nation. While it wastes thousands of words regurgitating the intricate details of militia activities, their confrontations with government officials, and a handful of blatantly criminal acts, the article fails to address the fundamental "secret" re-invigorating the Patriot consciousness of Americans across the land.
The "secret" that the mainstream media appears to have an extreme aversion against putting forward or openly discussing, is that over many administrations, with the support of both Parties, the federal government has all but abandoned our Constitution.
As more and more People are learning daily, from largely non-mainstream media sources, it is only the Constitution that stands between the People and total tyranny and this dangerous rejection of the Constitution has put the fate of our nation and Liberty of the People at grave risk. It is this stark realization, not racial or religious bigotry, which is driving the pro-Constitution movement, the Tea Parties and likely, the citizen militias.
The larger, ugly truth is this: For decades the citizens have endured an escalating campaign of constitutional violations including undeclared wars, un-enforced immigration laws, warrantless searches and surveillance of private papers and communications, slave-like direct non-apportioned taxes on labor, a monetary currency conjured out of limitless debt, the giving and lending of public money and credit to private corporations for decidedly private purposes, the absence of a “well-regulated militia” in every State (mandated by the first thirteen words of the Second Amendment) and a privately owned central bank known as the Federal Reserve.
It is these violations of our “Charters of Freedom,” that are fueling the voices of dissent. Liberty is a force of Nature. It cannot be subdued.
Most disturbing perhaps is TIME's publication of false statements, harmful to me and the We The People Foundation For Constitutional Education, Inc., and designed to detract from our intelligent, rational and professional defense of the Constitution.
Not only does the article falsely brand me as an advocate edging "anti-government" patriots "closer to violence," Gellman and the editors at TIME, violate every principle of journalistic responsibility by failing to accurately report the substance of numerous hours of personal interviews TIME conducted with me, supported by hundreds of pages of legal and historical documentation that I provided to Gellman and TIME.
The public record I have established over three decades clearly shows that I have always advocated the use of peaceful, non-violent resistance in defense of the Constitution. Any person who has ever heard me speak, including Gellman, has heard me hold up the examples and teachings of Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr.
Our Foundation's legal research and litigation, which stretches over many years is an open book to anyone who visits the archives on our website, as Gellman indicated to me he had done. Our focus has been based squarely on the historical context, purpose and full exercise of the last of the five Rights guaranteed by the First Amendment.
Gellman knows that each of our First Amendment Petitions for Redress have cited a specific provision of the Constitution, included a factual account of violations of that provision and sought a remedy to the violation. There were nine Petitions for Redress submitted over a fourteen year period, not “hundreds” as the article states.
TIME knows our work in defense of the Constitution has always been rooted in the Rights of the People and the obligations of the Government under the last ten words of the First Amendment. Known as the accountability clause, those words guarantee the Right of the People to PEACEFULLY hold the Government accountable to the rest of the Constitution. Understandably, the Government would have the Right forever remain the “Forgotten Right.” But why TIME?
In point of fact, it is our research into the fundamental RIGHT of the People to hold their servant government accountable through the First Amendment Petition clause, and the Foundation's aggressive litigation, high-visibility protests and educational efforts that have drawn the iron fist of the IRS. However, any Right that is not enforceable is no Right.
The article's dismissive note regarding the Supreme Court's refusal to hear the Foundation's case fails to convey the critical fact, known by TIME, that the purpose of the landmark federal lawsuit was for the Supreme Court to declare - for the first time in history - the constitutional meaning of the First Amendment's Petition/Accountability clause.
That's correct. I, and other Americans who stood with me, wanted nothing more than our modern day Supreme Court to declare the legal meaning, effect and significance of the government accountability clause of the First Amendment. The Supreme Court refused to settle the “first impression” constitutional question. We provided Gellman a direct quote from the 1821 Supreme Court decision of Cohens v. Virgina, 19 U.S. 264, 265, holding it was "treason to the Constitution" for the Court to refuse to hear a case it is constitutionally required to hear. Disturbingly, TIME would have its readers believe that I was the source of the quote.
Far from being "anti-government" and advocates of violence, the very purpose of the We The People organization is to educate Americans regarding the history, meaning, effect and significance of every clause of the Constitution, including the accountability through peaceful Petition process clause of the First Amendment.
The essence of Liberty and the enjoyment of fundamental Rights is predicated upon the Rule of Law and the Right of the People to hold their (servant) government accountable. It is our Declaration of Independence which states, “to secure these Rights, Governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the Governed, that whenever any form of Government becomes destructive of these ends it is the Right of the People to alter or abolish it ….”
In denying the public an accurate portrayal of the motivations of those depicted in the article, TIME serves only to deprive the People of vital knowledge regarding a peaceful means -- perhaps the only peaceful means remaining, to restore constitutional governance carried out in decency and good order.
On March 13, 1962 while addressing the diplomatic corps of the Latin American republics, President John F. Kennedy stated, "Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable."
If TIME truly abhors the initiation of violence, as I do, it should do everything possible to help inform the American People about their possession of a fundamental Right that can be exercised to restore the Constitution through peaceful, non-violent means.
This is the legacy our Founders left us in the First Amendment Right to Petition. They even told us how to do it in the 1774 Journals of the Continental Congress (quoting):
“If money is wanted by Rulers who have in any manner oppressed the People, they may retain it until their grievances are redressed,
and thus peaceably procure relief, without trusting to despised petitions
or disturbing the public tranquility.”
Journals of the Continental Congress (1774), 1:105-113
The website of the WTP Foundation is www.GiveMeLiberty.org. For anyone who takes the time to read our archives, dating back to 1999, our every action and Government’s every response, are fully documented.
Robert L. Schulz
Chairman and Founder
We The People Foundation for Constitutional Education, Inc.
We The People Congress, Inc.
Sunday, October 03, 2010
Ya'll better start hiding your crossbows, slingshots, blowguns and buy as much ammo as you can for your guns, slowly from different sources, NO CREDIT CARDS. This is a cutoff the supply line move. With over 50% of the employed population working for some form of government or contractor, do really think those sheeple w...ill actually be concerned about YOUR right to "keep and bear arms?"Obama bans nearly 1 million rifles
by Dudley Brown
Special to The Libertarian Enterprise
Did you know that Barack Obama has banned nearly a million American made rifles?
Nearly a million rifles.
Banned by Barack Obama and his anti-gun cronies.
In an executive order the Obama Administration has secretly blocked the re-importation of American made M-1 Garand and Carbine rifles being stored in South Korea.
These rifles were used by the US military during the Korean War and left there after the war was over.
With one stroke of his pen, he by-passed the legislative process and banned nearly a million American made rifles by executive fiat.
That's why I instructed my staff to prepared a petition and video against Obama's Historic Rifle Ban.
Click here to watch the video and then sign the petition to President Obama and congressional leaders Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid stating your opposition to the Historic Rifle Ban.
Make no mistake, these rifles were made in America, by Americans and used by American soldiers to defend freedom on foreign shores and are greatly sought after by American shooters and collectors.
Now State Department officials claim these antique, collector rifles could be used to commit crimes.
While the radical anti-gun crowd is giddy with praise for Obama's latest back-door gun ban, law-abiding citizens across the United States are crying foul.
These outrageous claims are a thinly veiled attempt to distract from Obama's special interest payback to the radical anti-gun crowd. This desperate pandering must not be allowed to continue.
That's why we've prepared a petition and video against Obama's Historic Rifle Ban.
It has been common practice since the end of World War II to re-import these American made rifles from the foreign allies they were lent to after the war.
During the Reagan Administration a similar import request for 200,000 Garand rifles was approved.
State Department officials say they are working with South Korea to "dispose" of these American made rifles.
You and I both know that is bureaucratic code for the melting down and destruction of these iconic American made rifles.
On top of banning American citizens from owning these rifles, Obama's State Department is arranging for the destruction of nearly one million historic, American rifles.
To help dispel some of the myths surrounding this iconic American rifle, Director of Operations Luke O'Dell interviewed M-1 Garand expert Rory Edwards.
Let me be clear: at no time in U.S. history has the ownership of any part of this gun been restricted or banned.
These firearms -- truly pieces of American history -- rightly belong in the hands of U.S. citizens, and Obama has banned nearly one million of them without cause.
Once you've watched the video, please sign the petition against Obama's Historic Rifle Ban.
The National Association for Gun Rights' staff will compile your petitions and forward them to President Barack Obama and Congressional leaders Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid.
Thank you, in advance for joining me in standing up against this outrageous anti-gun action.
P.S. In a secret executive order, President Barack Obama has secretly blocked the re-import of nearly a million American made rifles.
That's nearly a million historic rifles that Obama doesn't want in the hands of American citizens like you and me.
Once you've seen the video and signed the petition, please chip in $15 or $20 to help the National Association for Gun Rights continue to fight Obama's Historic Rifle Ban.
To help the National Association for Gun Rights grow, please forward this to a friend.
To view this email as a web page, please click this link: view online.
Dudley Brown is the Executive Director of The National Association for Gun Rights nationalgunrights.org
Enviro-Nazis Lose Their Marbles
By Larken Rose
Today someone sent me a link to a video about an environmentalist group call "10:10," which has the stated goal of having people reduce their "carbon emissions" by 10%. (For now, I'll skip the topic of how scientifically misguided that goal is.) I watched the video, and was absolutely convinced that it was a spoof of environmental wackos, made by some clever pro-freedom folk.
But it wasn't.
I'll post the link to the video below. Be warned, it's graphically, gruesomely violent. If you want to watch it, do so now before reading on, or my following comments might spoil the video (if such an abomination can possibly be "spoiled").
In case you didn't have the stomach to watch it, the video depicts several scenes, and in each one, people are politely asked to agree to do things to lower their carbon emissions, with a "no pressure" approach. But at the end of each scene, those who don't agree to the 10:10 plan are graphically blown to bits, with blood and guts flying everywhere.
After watching the video, and realizing it was NOT trying to make fun of enviro-leftists, but was MADE BY enviro-leftists, my brain almost exploded. What were these psychos thinking? Other than deep- seated hatred of humanity, I can't for the life of me imagine a motivation for making such a video. Like I said, it WOULD be funny (though still rude) if it was made by libertarians to mock the fascist mindset of enviro-lefitsts. But it wasn't. So what was the intended message?? "Follow our clueless little collectivist agenda, or we'll kill you. Ha ha ha, isn't that funny?" Um, not really.
Purely by accident, the video very profoundly illustrated the true nature of the state: compassionate-sounding rhetoric, followed by brutality against the non-compliant. That pretty much sums up "government" in a nutshell: a facade of compassion over a heart of aggression and violence. What I can't imagine is why a group of devout statists would want to so plainly expose the essence of what they advocate. No, they wouldn't blow you up on the spot; they'd merely "fine" you, or imprison you, and if you're silly enough to resist such aggression, well THEN they'd blow you up. But they'd give you lots of opportunities to unquestioning bow to their agenda before that point. Because they're so loving and caring.
Amazing. Just amazing.