Friday, December 30, 2011

I am Me and You are Naked

 As I have stated in a previous article, there are issues that continue to plague our current political system. As Americans certain things or ideas resonate with us on an individual level, more so than others. Do Americans really vote with their bellies? Yes, yes I am sure they do.

 Ronald Reagan once asked the question, “Are you better off than you were four years ago?” Politically that was a brilliant question to pose to the American people, not just because of the apparent blow it struck to President Carter, bolstering claims of his purported incompetence, but because it was a question that all Americans had to take notice of. For the first time in probably a long time, there was a question that each member had to ask and ultimately answer, in honesty, to themselves and no other.

 Obviously, the resounding answer was “No!” as Reagan won the office from Carter.

 Over the last century we have witnessed our political arenas and office seekers switch from a platform of addressing the issues, presenting ideas or solutions and debating the offerings solely on their merit, to a platform of obfuscating the issues, ignoring the facts, presenting no solutions or denigrating viable solutions and dishonoring any debate on the merits of solutions.

 Enter the issues:

  • The Economy
  • Jobs
  • Cost of Living
  • Government Reform

  • Taxes
  • War

  • Education

  • Abortion

  Obviously this is an abridged list of issues that continually plagued our nation, but I felt these are chief among the long line, in that they are continually being “addressed” in every political cycle.

 My hope and intention here is not to dissuade or persuade you to any candidate for this election cycle, but I wish merely to restart that engine of critical thinking that we all, as humans, posses the capacity to engage in. I don’t think it is merely a question of problem, I think it is a problem of question. We are not asking the right questions and ultimately, we are not answering those correct questions truthfully. In the empire of lies, truth truly is treason. Yet when we begin to be truthful, not only with ourselves, but those family, friends and neighbors with whom we seek such company, we can, in the end, begin to understand what measures and sacrifices may be necessary as to overcome any obstacle, real or imagined.

 “It’s the Economy Stupid!” (Oh and Jobs too!)

 Could it really be that simple? Yes, and yes again, it absolutely can. There are more than a few questions surrounding this issue, but some of the most common ones are also the most incorrect. In a business world, private sector that is, most often you can get to the root of any problem when you ask the “five why’s”.

We didn’t bonus this year.
Because we lost some sales.
Because we missed some deadlines.
Because production had a lot of issues.
Because they don’t know how to run as efficiently as they should.
Because they are not properly trained.

 Finding the root of a problem is achieved by asking the right questions. Until you ask the right questions, you can never begin to answer them honestly and correctly. Therefore you can never truly understand the underlying reasons of failure in any given problem.

 This applies to all things, not just the economy.

How can we fix the economy?
·        “We” do not fix the economy; it fixes itself after necessary corrections have been made.
What are the necessary corrections?
·        The debt, good and bad, that is not sustainable must be liquidated.
How do we liquidate the debt?
·        By allowing corporations that are leverage too deeply to fail, become insolvent and declare bankruptcy.
How did they become over extended?
·        Through the practice of “fractional reserve lending”, 0% interest loans and the moral hazard created by government backed loan guarantees.
What do we need to do to stop these practices?
·        Remove all forms of government loan backing, audit the Federal Reserve, return to a GOLD or similar commodity standard that backs our currency, prohibit the Federal government from interfering, interacting or influencing the economy in any way. Simply put, by getting the government intervention out of the economy and returning to free market principles.

Questions and statements of the following nature are constantly being vomited from the mouths of uneducated, ignorant and intellectually challenged TV personalities to the point of being totally laughable in their fallacy. 

“What can the government do to create jobs and stimulate the economy?”  “Why isn’t the government fixing the economy?” “The government passed a bill to stimulate the economy.” “A bill passed the house today and signed by the president is slated to ease credit requirements for lending in the hopes that the economy will be stimulated.”

 The government cannot stimulate the economy, because the government has nothing with which to administer any stimulation. The government (problem) first has to take from us (economy), and then give to the banks (problem) who then loans our money back to us (credit) with interest rates as high as 27% (debt).

 The government cannot “create” jobs because again, it has nothing with which to create them. Government jobs are not true jobs in the sense of a contribution to the economy and society. This is an argument that I love to have with state workers. A common defense is that state workers do pay taxes and therefore are contributing. Again, another fallacy.

 While there may be the allusion or cursory notion of paying taxes, it is, in reality an allusion. For the government to pay you, as a state worker, it must first confiscate money from the people (taxes, fines, fees, etc.) or “borrow” it from the Federal Reserve (debt) before it can issue you a check. So, as a state worker you are either paying taxes with someone else’s money, or you are paying taxes on money that was created for the sole purpose of paying taxes and therefore, that money does not even exist. (Taxing the taxes for taxes!)

 I’m sorry if that offends you, but it is the truth. 96% of your money does not exist, it is debt of credit. Have you ever asked why a luxury car cost $3500.00 dollars in the seventies but today costs ten times that amount? It is because credit was created, based on nothing real, in exorbitant amounts, lent to Americans and the world with a debt percentage attached, then repaid with more created money (credit/debt).

 To understand this you only have to look at the price of a Troy ounce of gold in 1912, which was one year before the Federal Reserve act and the 16th amendment.
$18.93 – 1912
$1565.90 – 2011 (12/30/11)

 The cost of living increases every time the Federal Reserve creates money. It increases the monetary base yet dilutes the value which decreases the purchasing power of the dollar. A dollar buys a donut today because there are only 30 trillion of those dollars competing against whatever “backing” they have. A dollar and eighteen cents buys a donut tomorrow because there are now 35 trillion of those dollars competing against this same fractional backing.

  The easiest explanation I can give as to what plagues our economy is this:
Our economy is plagued by boom and bust cycles that are propagated and perpetuated by the flow of easy credit, or debt, issued by banks, funded by the Federal Reserve and authorized by the federal government.

 So if the problem is credit and debt, is it logical to assume that the addition of more credit and debt can solve the problem?

I’ll have The Income Taxes with SS and Medicare Taxes and a Side of War Funding Please.

 Now I won’t start this section off by saying that I do not believe in any taxes. I think we need some taxes, because we need roads and certain basic government services, but I do think that most taxes are nothing more than an elaborate scheme to steal money from the American people to fund government expansion, war and corporate interests.

 I have already covered how are taxes are used to “pay off” debt and create more money to stimulate the economy in the hopes that more taxes can be generated to pay off more debt in the previous section. This section will cover government departments, services and other uses of taxes.

 Let’s first look at the government services that we should have or need as a necessity:
We need some form of representation.
We need some venue to address our representatives.
We need some place to record documents pertaining to sales and contracts within each county.
We need some form of law enforcement to protect those who cannot protect themselves.
We need some place for our civil grievances to be heard.
We need some form of detention for lawful criminals.
We need some form of oversight and development of infrastructure.
And possibly one or two more things.

 Now think about what we have, or what we are paying, for and compare it to this list.

 Now think about the high taxes you pay.

 Now think about how good of a job these government agencies are doing.

 Now ask yourself what you really could do without. Ask yourself if you really, really must have this department or service.

 Now ask yourself if you want to continue to pay taxes to support these things that you do not need.

If there is any reasonable or logical capability left within your brain, I am sure there are one or fifteen things you decided you can do without. I know that there are several things I can do without and I will even go so far as to name them for a comparison.

The Department of Commerce (all)
The Department of the Interior
The Department of Education (all)
The Department of Social Security
The Department of Transportation (all)
The Department of Immigration (all)
The Department of Homeland Security
The Department of Corrections (all)
The Department of Health and Human Services (all)
The Department of Housing and Urban Development (all)
The Department of Defense
The Department of Justice
The Environmental Protection Agency (all)
The Department of Labor Relations
The Transportation Safety Administration
Medicare and Medicaid ­
The Federal Emergency Management Agency
Federal Subsidies (all)
Foreign Aid (all)
The Internal Revenue Service (all)
And one or two more I am sure.

 Let’s just look at these departments and services that we pay for, and then let’s think about what we can either do for ourselves individually, handle at the local level or leave at the state level.

 If we act more responsibly not only as persons, but as a city or state we can eliminate these departments by establishing our own trade partners (1,2,9,13), enforcing private property laws/rights (2,7,5,9,13), drastically reducing our welfare system (3,4,5,6,9,11,13), reducing regulations (1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12,13), utilizing our natural resources (1,2,5,7,9,13), maintaining and improving our infrastructure (1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9, 10,13) and in general just being smart and responsible (1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12,13).

  1. The Department of Commerce (all)
  2. The Department of the Interior
  3. The Department of Immigration (all)
  4. The Department of Health and Human Services (all)
  5. The Department of Housing and Urban Development (all)
  6. The Department of Justice
  7. The Environmental Protection Agency (all)
  8. The Federal Emergency Management Agency
  9. The Internal Revenue Service (all)
  10. The Department of Transportation (all)
  11. The Department of Corrections (all)
  12. The Transportation Safety Administration
  13. The Department of Labor Relations
 If we were to promote self reliance and personal responsibility we could then eliminate these departments and services entirely after some time.

  1. The Department of Education (all)
  2. The Department of Social Security
  3. Federal Subsidies (all)
  4. The Internal Revenue Service (all)
  5. Medicare and Medicaid
  6. The Department of Labor Relations
  If we stopped running around the world punching people in the face, kicking them in the knee-caps, destroying their cities and stealing their stuff we could eliminate these departments and services entirely and immediately. We would also be able to secure our borders, decrease our debt, decrease our tax burden, reduce our enemies and in general go back to being the good and awesome nation that we were meant to be.

  1. The Department of Homeland Security
  2. The Department of Defense
  3. The Department of Justice
  4. The Transportation Safety Administration
  5. The Federal Emergency Management Agency
  6. Foreign Aid (all)
  7. The Internal Revenue Service (all)

Now, personally, I think this is a great start to reforming our government.

 The Proliferation of Education

 Let me start by saying that your perceived right to education is a fallacy and laughable at best. You have a right to educate yourself, but you do not have a right to force someone to pay for that education. If you think that you do, I am shocked that you were able to make it this far into the article without your head exploding.

 No one has the right to stop your pursuit of happiness so long as that pursuit in no way infringes on the rights of another. You are free to read all the books you want, free to go to all the classes that you want, free to take, fail or pass any course in education you wish, so long as you or an agreeable benefactor pays for it. Neither you, nor the government has any right to confiscate the fruits of labor (money) from another individual to pay for that education.

 Money earned is the fruit of labor of a person. It is half of one agreement for labor, skill, or advice between two or more parties. As such it is the property of the individual that has bargained for it and to confiscate by force or the threat thereof, coercion or to redirect that property without the freely expressed consent of the owner is theft.

 When I hear of “raising taxes for education”, what I really hear is “steal more money from me to pay for someone else’s education”. I’m not a bad guy, but honestly, I don’t want to be forced to pay for Tom’s kids to be able to go to school. They’re his kids, not mine and if Tom wants his kids to have an education then he needs to be responsible, make sacrifices and do whatever he must to insure they receive the education he desires for them. It’s his responsibility, not mine.

 I have my own personal responsibilities and they extend so far as to my wife and two sons. If their education is really that important to me, then I will make the necessary sacrifices to provide it for them. If that means I have to patch some holes in my jeans instead of buying a new pair, buying used tires instead of new ones or eating top ramen for lunch everyday for the next five years then guess what, I will make it happen.

 The public school system absolutely disgusts me and personally I think it should be abolished or completely dismantled and rebuilt. It is clearly dysfunctional, inefficient, biased, incompetent, unreliable and a complete and utter failure to the children. I might be more inclined to tolerate the “redistribution of my wealth” if the system actually worked!

 But it doesn’t, and instead of having our money put to good use, we are stuck with multitudes of kids that can barely read, kids that can’t dissect a sentence let alone compose one. Students that have a ridiculously shallow perception of history, a complete lack of understanding of the Constitution, Bill of Rights, Articles of Confederation, the Civil War and who posses no ability for critical thinking beyond that of the next MP3 download or cup of triple mocha non-fat bullshit!

 I apologize for the language, but some things really, really get under my skin.

 To be completely honest, I don’t want you to think that I am a well educated man or that I think that I am smarter, better educated or better period than any other person. I have no education higher than grade 12 and I have no desire to return to any university in my life. Though I may be better off materially than others, I am in no way better than any of my fellow man.

 I understand that our system does produce some exceptional individuals, but these individuals, I believe already possessed a decent amount of intellect. They possessed great potential before they entered the university and they gleaned a far greater amount than the average student because of their inherent intellect. The school system does not make a dumb person smart, or a smart person smarter, it merely provides them with more tools to cultivate their intellect. At least, that is what it was intended to do.

 Understanding this core function and failure, it pains me to hear a politician talk about the “issue” of education or “fixing” it. It seems the only solution they have is to throw more money at it. I can assure you, money is not the issue…with the issue.

 In 2009 I did some research as to the expenditures of the state of California on public education. The scope reviewed only those expenses related to the grades K-12. I had, for some time, been at odds with the school system as each basic class, year after year seemed a monotonous redundancy of the prior year, with few new challenges. The infamous budget stalemate between the “Governator” and the assembly begged that I look into it…if only for fun.

 I cannot remember the exact details and I don’t really feel like looking into it again. Basically I took the total dollar amount of grade K-12 expenses for the budget year 08/09 (not fiscal year) and divided it by the total number of registered school aged children in that category. The total expense per student ended up right about $9000.00.

 Nine-thousand dollars! This includes: administration, facilities, transportation, meals and nurses, everything that goes into the education of these kids. I was astonished, mortified and disgusted. For nine thousand dollars per year I could provide an excellent education for both of my kids and afford a week long stay at Disneyland. A few months after that, I was informed by my state senator that of that approximate nine thousand, only $0.41 of every dollar went to the actual classroom instruction. This coupled with the other information leaves me with a one word conclusion-pathetic.

 The problem is not more money, it never has been and it never will be. The problem is the same with any state or government run agency-incompetence-willful or otherwise. Now, ask yourself this question, do you really want to keep paying into a system that remains broken such as this?

 Choice and Life

  As you might have guessed this next section is about abortion. I of all people know how sensitive this issue is and I have a personal take on it. Nevertheless, I will endeavor to keep it brief.

 Since Roe vs. Wade and Doe vs. Bolton there have been approximately 50 million abortions performed in the United States. In 2008 there were 1.21 million.

 My battle is personal and at times I find myself torn between choice and life, Liberty and death. I think that is an eternal struggle that we must all face, in our own way. My religious beliefs do have a standard to bear as well as convictions to hold to, but I know that in time of doubt, those faiths may not hold me steadfast enough. I know, because they have already failed me once. In the end, it was my desire to see a new face, one that I could call my own. A desire to see a life that was indeed a part of me, inseparable in blood, that overcame.

 My girlfriend and I had been dating for a few months and I had yet to confess or profess my love for her. I did indeed love her and knew that I would marry her in time, but I was not yet ready to let her in on the secret. A hopeless romantic was I in that I wanted it to be special and most memorable. I was to have my way for indeed it was a most memorable day.

 We found that she was pregnant near to my birthday and though I was secretly excited, she was terrified. In her paraphrased words, “I didn’t know if you loved me or if it would last and I was scared to raise a baby on my own.” Her fears were entirely understandable, even to this day.

 I remember having the conversation about what to do about “it”. I remember thinking, “No, you can’t even be talking about this!” I also remember thinking that if it didn’t work what then would we do? It was, for a brief moment “on the table” and yes, my faith based beliefs had failed me and given way to thoughts of remedy. I think the first conversation ended with me saying something as uncouth and insensitive as, “It’s not up to me, it’s your decision.”

Though I was for a moment given to entertain the idea, it was only brief. I can remember sitting on the couch with tears running down my face; the agony and torment I felt in my heart and soul for even thinking it a possibility were almost too great to bear. In that second conversation I retracted my first statement stating that, “I didn’t know if I could go through with it. I didn’t know if I could kill my child.”

 The tears still come when I think about that day.

Thankfully, all she needed was my love and support in the open to make her decision. We have now been married for 5 years, four months and we have two awesome sons, Benjamin Matthew and Liam Andrew.

 The Constitutionalist in me says that liberty is due us all and that we all have the right to decide for ourselves what choices we make and ultimately have to live with. It also battles with the unequivocal right to life and the need to protect life.

 Life and freedom are not synonymous. They are at times, at odds with each other. I know not what binds a man can place on his self, but I do know the framers saw fit to scribe “Life” before “Liberty” and the “Pursuit of Happiness” in their declaration of independence.

 I think they understood that to have liberty, you must first have life. I think they understood that you must protect life if you are to ever have liberty, even if it means you must surrender your own of either in doing so.

 I can’t make up your mind on this issue, but I can say that as a society I think eventually, with or without abortion being legal, we will outgrow it. I think in time we will come to understand life before liberty in truth and marvel at how our mothers and fathers could have ever saw it differently.
 The decision is ultimately yours and I would not attempt to persuade you otherwise except to say this; in seeing that great and wonderful Life that Love can produce, I am free to Pursue my Happiness.

 In Liberty,
 Richard Camacho