MYRA Graphic

Approximately a month ago my favorite economic website, had a story about one of Russia’s major banks, ‘My Bank’ who made the decision to ban customers from withdrawing cash for one week.  Similarly, last month in Britain, HSBC implemented a policy restricting their customers from withdrawing their own money.  The policy, which was put into place with no notice to customers, required that customers provide the bank a sufficient reason to withdraw their own cash.  In other words, the bank would decide if your reason for attempting to withdraw your own money was sufficient.  In a first hand account reported by the BBC, Stephen Cotton recounted how he went to his bank, and HSBC branch to withdraw £7,000 from his instant access savings account.  The bank declined to fulfill his request to withdraw his own money.

“When we presented them with the withdrawal slip, they declined to give us the money because we could not provide them with a satisfactory explanation for what the money was for. They wanted a letter from the person involved.”

These stories struck a chord with me, not just because Phoenix  Republic is about an economic contagion spiraling into an all-out collapse, but because the frequency that these stories are appearing in the news cycle.  In the fictional world of my novel, these types of stories are exactly the sorts of occurrence that preceded a complete economic collapse in the west.

It seems that the credit markets are under some strain these days.  Even at the national level it isn’t just Greece having issues.  China is backing off on buying US treasuries.  In 2013, China dumped the second largest amount of its US currency ever, selling off $48 billion dollars of debt.  Japan is doing the same.  Some smaller countries are buying some of it for now, but how long that will continue is uncertain.

Today I see that bank runs are again in the news, this time in Thailand.  Thailand’s Government Savings Bank admitted that customers have withdrawn approximately one billion dollars in deposits.  My point is that the world is a really connected place, especially from a financial perspective.  Americans love to think that we are immune to the sort of financial ruin that have historically affected other nations, but do you really think that these are all isolated incidents?  Maybe they are, but all that I know is numerous news accounts related to bank runs and liquidity issues faced by individuals, companies and even by nations are in the news.  Just last month the American President talked about a brand new program, “myRA” in his State of the Union Address.  He claims that he is trying to help hard-working Americans with a secure way to invest their hard-earned income with the government for some so-call guaranteed return when they retire.

My question is do you seriously trust the same people that brought you Obama-Care and Social Security with your even more of your money?

I can’t tell you when, and I am no financial guru.  All I can offer for your consideration is what used to be known as common sense.  It is clear to anyone with the IQ of a toaster that America in general, and the US government in particular, have not created some vast new source of wealth, over the last few decades, but we have created vast amounts of debt… 17 trillion dollars worth of debt, with much, much more on the way.  For this reason the government must find ways to finance it’s spending in a world where absolutely nobody wants to take the risk.  China is no longer keen on new debt, Japan too is backing away, & the Fed, which holds like 4 trillion dollars of US debt, is finding it difficult to continue with financing US debt with fictional dollars created out of thin air.

What is a desperate credit card junkie to do?  The answer will inevitability be to take out a new credit card from anyone gullible enough to loan them the money.  If that doesn’t work they may have to just steal it by forcing people to loan them the money.

For those of you who read Phoenix  Republic, you’ve seen this sort of thing before.

Watch your wallets, friends. I think we may be beginning the ride of a lifetime.

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NY Gov

Have you ever had one of those discussions with someone and come to realize halfway through the conversation that you are just not on the same planet with where they are coming from?  Perception is everything and any large group of people are just not going to agree.  We all see things our own way.  We value different things.  Being able to act on our beliefs is what is known as freedom.  Regarding politics in America we see this divergence during every election.

Briefly stated, approximately 40% of the vote typically goes to Republicans.  Approximately 40% typically goes to the Democrats, leaving 20% for the establishment parties to quibble over.  Regardless which of these two parties lose, the acrimony is palatable.  This gets expressed with statements like, “We just need to get along.”  We hear people say, “I don’t like all the arguing.”  Pundits tell us that one party or anther needs to court the so-called undecided.

Lets be honest, the truth is that there are two Americans with wildly divergent world views.  We want to think of ourselves as one nation; indivisible with freedom and justice for all, but this characterization is a fiction.  Yes, we all share the same history and culture in a general sense, but we haven’t been “one nation” in a very long time, but I digress.  I’ve written on the two American cultures before, but today I am more interested in talking about the underlying principles behind our two cultures.

What if the key to our politics is not whether one is conservative or liberal, but is about how they perceive topics in their daily lives?  While I do think there are selfish and even evil people out there, I also think that most of us want the best for people.  The rub comes in how we consume and process news about our world.  Our two American cultures differ greatly on how to achieve the most good for the most people.  In other words, who decides what is best, depends on trust and how one group or another sees the world.  Progressives assume that if you do not hold certain beliefs there is no discussion to be had.  In fairness, Fundamentalist Christians hold the same view differing only in what they judge to be appropriate.  In both cases, progressives in both parties are more than happy to use government power to force their view on everyone.  My point of view is that this is a fool’s errand.  The real answer to achieve the best good is not compromise or attempting to destroy one side or another, but to live and let live.  The founders knew this when they created system of Federalism.

As an example, a story on the Blaze yesterday talked about New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo stating that so-called “extreme conservatives” have no place living in New York.  What does that mean?  His speech noted that “extreme conservatives” are not who New Yorkers are.

Seriously?  There are a little over nineteen million people in the state of New York according to the census with approximately half of those in New York City.  Does he really expect me to believe that conservative New Yorkers somehow don’t belong there?  Just ten percent of that number is almost two million people.  According to the NYS Board of Elections the Republicans got just under 36% of the vote.  In other words approximately two and a half million New Yorkers voted for Mr. Romney.  Obviously, many of these people are not what Gov Cuomo would call “extreme conservatives”.  On the other hand, how many so-called “extreme conservatives” didn’t bother to vote in such a fascist environment?  If one were to multiply nineteen million by 36% they would find that there are somewhere in the neighborhood of six-point-eight million Americans in the state of New York who to one extent or another are relatively conservative.  If say half of that number are so-called “extreme conservatives” that would be like three and a half million Americans that Governor Cuomo says should leave the state.  Can you imagine that headline on the news?  Mass Exodus of Political Dissidents from New York State!

Progressive establishment politicians in both parties seem to be desperate to make hay out of the fact that there is a full-on battle going on in between Republicans who support limited constitutional government and have respect for the Bill of Rights and progressive Republicans who have an authoritarian point of view, who, like the Democrats embrace borrowing money to force Americans to live as they would have us live.  The truth is this argument is about power and who gets to control our lives and our money.

The Governor asks:  “Who are they? Are they these extreme conservatives who are right-to-life, pro-assault-weapon, anti-gay?”  Is that who they are? Because if that’s who they are and if they are the extreme conservatives, they have no place in the state of New York, because that’s not who New Yorkers are.”

He and people like him assume too much.  They assume that if a person holds one view that they disagree with they must hold all of the views they disagree with.  They assume that there is no valid argument that could possibly be made for any point other than theirs.  That is why progressives preach tolerance but mean that others are free to believe whatever they wish, as long as those beliefs coincide with the progressive point of view.  In other words, we are all free to agree with them or else.

As a lesbian who happens to believe it is immoral to murder children in the womb, and who believe it is my God given right to bear arms to defend my life and my freedom, I qualify for two out of three of his attributes of what an extreme conservative is.  No doubt, I am not welcome in the State of New York.

My take-away today is this.  The founders knew that the country would have divisions.  They designed a system designed around sovereign states who share power with a sovereign federal government.  If things today functioned as they were designed we would have a limited federal government.  It would only be responsible for the common defense, a robust transportation network, and a very few items that could be agreed to by everyone as being for the “common good.”

political model

All of the social welfare and regulatory laws should reside in the states.  If the United States functioned as it was designed, today we would have fifty choices of what level of progressive intervention by government with which we whished to live.  If one wanted a cradle to grave welfare state one could move to California or New York.  If one wanted individual responsibility one would likely live in Texas.  We could live and let live.  No need to compromise one’s basic principles and no need worry of being pushed into a conflict because one side or another can not tolerate their rights being violated.  The United States is a nation of over three-hundred-million people.  A nation split into two camps, each trying to force its will on the other will never result in anything but anger and distrust in the best of circumstances and an outright tragedy in the worst of circumstances.  My novel, Phoenix Republic depicts what a disaster like this might be like.  Lets pray we don’t find out.

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Photo Credit: George Roelofson

When nations are faced with the ramifications of catastrophic economic collapse, things can become dicey for citizens.  Let’s face it, life today is pretty hectic.  Typically, both parents in a family have to work full time to make ends meet, and that is assuming there are two parents and not only one.  In our routine day to day lives, we have kids and their school activities, social obligations, and of course family who require out attention.  It is easy to get lost in the day to day and not have the time or energy to take a step back to see the macro view of our lives.  It is easy to just accept the cliff-notes view that is handed to us by the mass-media.

Consider, if you will, a nation that has out-of-control spending and ever-increasing regulation.  This nation had suffered a financial collapse with ever-increasing unemployment, and as a result, it repeatedly attempted to use “shovel ready” public projects to get its citizens working again.  A recovery could not be achieved, so this nation’s leaders felt they had no choice but to begin printing more and more currency to artificially prop up the financial system.  As always occurs, this led to unprecedented levels of inflation.

This scenario above depicts a nation experiencing a catastrophic economic collapse.  Human beings being human beings responded by demanding security.  Leaders being leaders responded by seizing power and taking steps to control the situation.  Unfortunately the situation was uncontrollable.  As things became dire, this nation’s citizens were willing to grasp at any straw as long as someone would make their lives work again.  They were willing to accept almost any degradation.

The nation, vulnerable and financially bankrupt, was a fertile field for an opportunist to take advantage of.  This opportunist represented a party that was willing to make one segment of the population a scapegoat for the economic hardships that citizens were experiencing.  In effect, this leader blamed the rich.  As you might guess the strategy was fantastically successful.  The only problem was that the nation’s constitution guaranteed rights that were a problem for these parties’ plans.  The solution was to ignore those constitutional guarantees.

Picture from article by: Daniel Castillo By now you have likely guessed what nation I am referring to.  What is frightening is that when we see today’s news, how much of what happened then is taking place now.  I noticed on this week, on the first Friday of the New Year, a judge ruled that the majority of Americans were now subject to search and seizure of their electronic devices like laptops and iPhones.  That’s right.  If you live and work within 100 miles of the coast or a international border, this ruling says law enforcement can go through your belongings on a whim – no search warrant needed.  In similar fashion, earlier last week, Americas witnessed citizens lining up in Connecticut to register their weapons and ammunition.  This is another key step that earlier regime took.  I have noted other examples in earlier posts, but you get the point.  My thought is that it is our duty as American citizens to keep our eyes open and take note of the news items we see, not as an individual incident, but as a puzzle piece in a larger picture.  It is incumbent on each of us to resist the loss of freedom lest we find ourselves going down the same path that German citizens did in the 1930’s.  There is a threat out there from terrorism, but my question to you is this.  Are the government over-reaches and their ignoring our constitution really making us any safer?  I can only speak for myself, but I am much, much more afraid of unaccountable government thugs than I am of terrorists.  If nothing else, there are many more government thugs, who while ‘just following orders,’ who can ruin a person’s life than there are terrorists in America.

The reason I wrote Phoenix Republic was and is to get Americans to wake up to the big picture.  We all have things we believe in and we should all do what we can to win hearts and minds with regard to achieving the best for our country.  My point is that there is a bigger picture than left vs. right politics.  We do not all have to agree on individual policies but it is imperative that we all agree on defending freedom.

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First hand accounts:

The first of these, a woman named Irma from Massachusetts talks about the comparison between today’s America and what she experienced in Germany.  This is very compelling and I highly recommend listening to it.  The second link is another woman who lived under the Nazis.  Her presentation is 46 minutes long.  It is instructive and compares Germany to the US today – with excerpts of current events juxtaposed with the historic events she is speaking to.

Irma Shares With Buck Sexton The Horror of Living Under Tyrannical Government 

Related news stories:

In Phoenix Republic the novel explores responsibility and decision ownership.  A disaster befalls the United States and Western Europe, and the question of how to cope is thrust on to the stage.  My goal in writing Phoenix Republic was to encourage readers to think about the world we live in and what may be coming.  Communism cannot tolerate any other master other than an all-powerful state.  When you consume the news every day, where do you think decision ownership lies in the stories you are viewing?  Is it with the individual or some so-called expert or leader?  Are Americans free or are we to fall into line with what our masters dictate?

Throughout the 19th century Communist, or if you will, collectivist movements have arisen in all parts of the world.  The Soviet Union in 1917, The Chinese 1949, Cuba 1953, and any number of Socialist or Communist take overs in since then.  What this typically boils down to is a simple question of who should decide how best to manage affairs of a nation.  Socialists believe in a collectivist approach – that a nation’s assets should be shared equally amongst all citizens.  In contrast, Capitalists believe in the individual, thus each person makes decisions regarding how their personal assets should be managed.  You’re thinking, “No Kidding.” Right?  This is patently obvious, but yet news story after news story in today’s media cycle boil down to the question of who decides.  Today’s culture is replete the attitude that so-called experts should decide everything and that common citizens are just not qualified to make judgments.  We see these stories related to medical decisions, to home schooling, and to government.  How often do you hear someone you are speaking with take the position that our political leaders are justified in their various actions because they are somehow considered to be more informed than we are?  The point I am trying to make is the tendency to let other have ultimate responsibility for your live or for the lives of your children is lazy and dangerous to a freedom loving republic.  Our republic is designed for free men and women to actively take a part in governance.  When this responsibility is outsourced the outcomes are often terrible.

justina pelletierThere is a case going on right now where a hospital, Boston’s Children’s Hospital decided they knew better than the parents and the girl’s primary doctors at another prestigious hospital, Tufts University.  The physicians at Tufts diagnosed the girl as having mitochondrial disease.  Unbelievably, Children’s Hospital managed to convince a judge that they knew what was best for the child.  This judge proceeded to terminate the parental rights of the girl’s mother and father, giving her care to the Children’s Hospital.  Understand that this is not a case where parents are denying a child medical care for religious reasons.  This is a case where parents sought out qualified medical help.  In fact, not only did they seek assistance from one hospital, Tufts, but they took their daughter to Children’s for a second opinion.   Then after deciding the best care for their child was to stay with Tufts, an all-powerful state was able to override their parental prerogative and kidnap the child.  Today the young woman is imprisoned in a psych ward at Children’s, where she has lived in captivity and in constant pain from her condition for almost a year.  She has gotten a couple of notes out to her parents to ask for rescue, and the parents have been allowed heavily supervised visits of like an hour a week, but that is the only contact that is now being permitted.  Unbelievably, it isn’t just the parents that are being denied contact with this young woman.  In addition to the mom and dad, Children’s is also denying her the ability to see officials from her school, her friends, and even her doctors from Tufts University Medical Center.

In another current story a German family legally moved to the United States for the right to freely educate their kids in accordance with their religious beliefs.  They had to leave Germany because a progressive law, initiated by Adolph Hitler, is still in force there that requires that all children must be educated by the state.  There are no exceptions.  The family sought asylum here in the US and it was granted.  Now however, the Obama Administration has decided that this family should be expelled from the country because in their collective wisdom, religious persecution, (which this nation was founded on by people who wanted to escape exactly the same thing) is not sufficient for them to remain here.  The other aspect of the story is that parents are not deemed worthy to “homeschool” their kids because so-called experts with a degree and state approved credentials must be given that responsibility.  Watch the accompanying video and tell me that this family should be broken up so that the state can prove its Orwellian power.

I think that the truth behind politics today, or if you will, the root cause of America’s trouble is that in any totalitarian regime the state must be the supreme authority on everything.  It isn’t acceptable for a family or the individual, or even God to be allowed to trump the all-consuming power of the state.  In all forms, tyranny must be complete because even the slight deviation from state authority leads to another.

When Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev, the General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union began trying to have a little capitalism to compete with the west, my partner and I looked at each other wide-eyed.  You see, we had learned in college just a few year before that tyranny must be complete to seize or remain in power.  By relaxing control so that the Soviet Union could compete with the West, people who had no freedom experienced a taste of it.  Collapse was inevitable.  In our case, people here, who are not accustomed to the boot of tyranny on their necks don’t recognize central authority for what it is and blindly allow it happen to avoid the responsibility of self-determination.

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Nuclear Option

Last week the senate controlled by the Democrats took the unprecedented step of changing senate rules so that judicial appointments now only require fifty-one votes to be confirmed.  For the past two hundred and fifty years that threshold has been sixty votes.  Watching the news last week, I noticed political pundits went on extensively about the meaning and impact of this unprecedented step.  While the change may not seem earthshaking, the results in coming years will be profound.  Regardless of the consequences of this action, only pundits and true political wonks will care, I fear.  The true impact however takes place after it’s too late to do anything to stop it.

Before going into the ramifications that this naked power grab represents; I think that it is worthwhile to define what the rule change is and what is impacted.  First of all, the rule change only effects presidential appointments, excluding the Supreme Court of the United States.  In other words the filibuster is still in place with regard to other legislation and the Supreme Court must still follow the traditional path with regard to constitutional requirement that the senate provide its advice and consent.  For this reason, I have had a couple of people ask me what difference it really makes.  Doesn’t a president deserve the right to appoint the nominees of his choosing?  Didn’t the Republican Party under President George Bush threaten to do the exact same thing for exactly the same reason? Generally, all things being equal, I would say that a president does deserve his nominees and yes, the Republicans did threaten to do the same thing.

The problem I have with these two points is that all things are not in fact equal.  For one thing, today the United States has a seventeen-trillion dollar debt, civil liberties are being destroyed, the federal government is ignoring the US Constitution, and the true unemployment rate is over thirteen percent, with young black males suffering the worst with over twenty-eight percent unemployment.  For another, the Republicans threatened to change the rules, but anyone who is paying attention is aware that they didn’t change the rules, did they?  Mr. Bush was guilty of pushing unwanted government on Americans too, but the current occupant of the White House is doubled down on Mr. Bush’s federal government over-reaches on an unprecedented scale.

The party in power has the absolute right to do a lot of things while they rule.  This rule change could have been enacted at any time in our history, yet it wasn’t.  The United States Senate operated under the sixty vote filibuster rule through the Civil War, both world wars, the Vietnam War, and the War on Terror.  I hardly think that any of these periods in American history were without controversy or disagreement regarding presidential appointments.  The problem as I see it today is that the world is approaching a nexus in history.  Although I believe that life’s pressures do cause history to repeat itself, we are not on a merry-go-round, we are in fact moving through time in a linear manner.  Key events do matter.

The problem with the Democrat Party taking this action now is that it unveils a clear strategy on their part to rule with no regard to the wishes of millions or American citizens.  This rule change will allow the President to change the makeup of the court, and or the ability to seat truly radical federal judges that will be in their positions for life.  Let me ask you something.  Is it a good idea or a bad idea to allow a president who has repeatedly expressed the willingness to go around congress with executive order the ability to stack the courts with appointees that may well support his extra-constitutional excesses?  The framers of the constitution specifically split power up amongst three branches and between the federal government and the states for a reason.  Absolute power corrupts, absolutely.

It seems to me that Rome went down a very similar path.  The Romans fought for freedom, established a republic, and became wildly successful.  Then, after a few generations of being the world’s only super-power, the culture became decadent.  Larger and larger numbers of Romans began to feel disenfranchised and the upper classes becoming lazy as the work ethic declined.  Eventually, it just didn’t mean that much to later generations to be a Roman citizen.  The moral decline in Rome is obvious.  We can see it represented in literature, and in public events such as took place in the Coliseum.  In a word, Roman lifestyles were more and more about instant gratification, gratuitous sex, and violence.  Any of this sound familiar?

Productivity declined causing the relative cost of government and the military to skyrocket.  Supporting the bloated cost of regulation and security became an ever increasing burden to the middle class, yet the entitlement culture in Rome demanded ever-increasing benefits, exacerbating Rome’s problems.  As it is today, some sectors of Roman society were under taxed while others faced confiscatory taxation.  It is today as it was then, all too easy to distract the masses by fomenting economic class warfare, pitting the rich against the poor.  Citizen’s allegiance to Rome diminished, and many supported the rise of a strong-man government over the individual responsibility inherent in a republic.

My point in this little jaunt through history is that when a culture declines it becomes very attractive for the ruling class to change the rules when events begin to become unmanageable.  Phoenix Republic is about western culture becoming unmanageable because it is simply too broken in too many places.  The culture in the twenty-first century United States is fragmented.  Millions of Americans feel that someone owes them something while millions more still cling desperately to the notions of individual, responsibility, and hard work.

By voting to change the filibuster rule with regard to appointments, the Democrats are poised to rubber-stamp judicial and senior administrative appointees with no consideration given to the minority party.  This move thus effectively silences the voices of millions of Americans who oppose Democrat’s progressive agenda of transforming this country.  In other words, I believe it’s credible to say that the United States is now transforming from a Republic into an Empire.  Every time the United States Constitution is disregarded for the sake of convenience or so-called safety, representative government is diminished.

Think about it.  How is an oligarchy of progressive leaders who dismiss the rights of citizens substantively different than the Roman Triumvirates that led to the end of that previous world super power?

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During my lifetime, politics in the United States has always been left versus right as represented by the Democratic and Republican parties.  Our popular consciousness holds that the “two party system” has always been a part of the American landscape, more or less, since the founding of the republic.  Yes, there have been any number of other parties throughout history, and a few of those have even had their members make it to the White House.   Many Americans are comfortable with the idea of a two party system and to be sure, the fragmented mess and coalitions that result in European governments can produce some strange bed-fellows.  Still, when one speaks of the two-party system, many people assume that what we have today are those two parties.  This has been the case since President Lincoln’s election in 1861, but prior to President Lincoln there were Federalist, Democrats, Democratic-Republicans and Whigs.  Throughout our history the United States has experienced seventeen third-party runs for president of the United States.  The net result of these efforts varied, but the average percentage of the vote gained by a third party  run is eleven percent with Teddy Roosevelt’s Progressive Party taking over twenty-seven percent of the vote.

My point is this.  Political parties in the United States are living things.  Whenever a political movement becomes strong enough in this country, it gets absorbed into an existing political party, or one of the existing parties is defeated and ceases to exist.  People are people, and it’s only human for leaders of and existing establishment party to become arrogant.  The story of the Republicans rise to prominence is an example.  I posit that the Whigs simply refused to do anything meaningful about slavery.  They were more or less opposed to the idea of slavery, but the stakes were high and they preferred for political reasons to dissemble, to offer meaningless votes and act as if they were fighting slavery while all the while placating Democrat’s desire to allow the institution to continue.  That story sounds to me like today’s Republican Party negotiating with the Democrats over immigration, the debt ceiling or Obama-care.

They miscalculated.  Republicans swept to power on the votes of a largely moral and freedom loving public, which realized that the evil that was slavery must end.  The Whigs were destroyed, and their adherents were themselves absorbed into the Democrat or Republican parties.

Only fifty-one years after Lincoln’s election the Republicans were themselves tested by one of their own.  It was a just over a hundred years ago, a new century was dawning, and President Theodore Roosevelt wasn’t done with political office.  He wanted to “transform” the Republican Party into a progressive party.  He was short of money but won over twenty-seven percent of the vote anyway.  Those in power in the Republican Party were alarmed and reacted accordingly by moving sharply towards progressivism in order to capture those voters.  I argue that it was this election that killed the two-party system in the United States.  It wasn’t a quick death to be sure, but the Republicans have moved inexorably towards over regulating big-government since that time.

political modelIn the 1960’s LBJ’s “Great Society” moved culture sharply in the direction of dependency on government.  In the 1970’s the Democrats also had their own watershed moment.   The Vietnam War was raging and protests were both widespread and violent.  The Democratic Party basically “transformed” from being the party of liberal ideals to one of progressive socialist ideals.  What was once a progressive caucus within the Democratic Party seized power.  Like the Republicans before them, the Democrats have steadily moved towards democratic socialism.

Personally, it is my belief that since Lincoln parties have matured somewhat.  Politicians loathe giving up power.  Since Lincoln, the United States has settled into a pattern of Republican versus Democrat.  I don’t think that the American public suddenly stopped evolving politically, but rather that political leaders did a better job at maintaining the status quo.  In the 1860’s entrenched leaders knew well that they could be defeated and set out to make such an occurrence difficult to achieve again.

Now, a century later the progressive paradigm set in motion by President Roosevelt has fully blossomed.  Government controls every aspect of American’s lives, even violating the constitution upon which the republic was founded.  Whether from an honest desire to help citizens or just to obtain and consolidate power, today Americans are ruled by a one party system, the Progressive Party.  It has two wings, Republican Progressives and Democratic Progressives.  They put on a wonderful show and media types are more than happy to accommodate the theatrical performance that plays out in Washington DC or promote the endless debate on some pundit filled news channel.  They may have differences about what they want to control, but believe me, both wings of the party absolutely want the power to force Americans to submit to their all-knowing collective will.  If you have ever wondered why government excess is never dialed back, it is because the other wing of the party is always more than pleased to use the capabilities legislated by their predecessors to force its own will on America.

The problem today is that socialism doesn’t work.  It never has, but America is wealthy and there have always been ample sources of funding for progressives from both wings of the party to enact their schemes, or to buy votes.  The concern is that things are changing rapidly.   The days of the US dollar being the reserve currency may well be numbered.  More and more nations are moving away from the US dollar.  Nations like Germany have asked for their gold reserves to be returned.  OPEC which used to trade only in dollars for its oil is now making side deals with countries like Russia and China in currencies’ outside the dollar.  When Barak Obama campaigned on transforming America he was only putting icing on the cake.  The system is too broken in too many places.  Catastrophe is far too likely for my comfort.  Today’s political topology is not about an argument between the left and right, but about an argument between authoritarianism and freedom.  My concern is that both progressive Republicans and progressive Democrats are well aware that the clock is running out.  If that is true it would explain why leaders from the political class in both parties would fail to investigate the NSA spying on every American.  It explains giving the IRS and EPA a pass when they clearly break the law by illegally targeting political opponents.  It explains the unprecedented procurement by the federal government of literally billions of rounds of ammunition.  It explains why both parties overwhelmingly voted to authorize the indefinite detention of Americans without trial in the National Defense Authorization Act from 2012.  It explains the bailouts of the major corporate interests.  Ask yourself, is it at least possible that elites in the political industrial class are preparing for an economic tsunami.  If one assumes the political class believes this outcome is likely they would certainly need an authoritarian structure to ensure their retaining control.

A nation cannot endure with socialism for the rich and capitalism for the poor.  The greatest number of people in history have benefited by an economic process where free people served others by serving themselves.  Collectives don’t get out of bed in the morning.  They don’t risk what they have to try and make a better mouse trap.  They don’t work seven days a week, or work late into the night to achieve success.  Individuals do these things.  Where there is no individual incentive to prosper or where a collective steals too great a portion of the fruits of an individual’s work mediocrity is the inevitable result.  Phoenix Republic is a novel about what it feels like for an average American when this progressive leviathan collapses in on itself.  Maybe the Tea Party or some other freedom group will prevail and “transform” the Republican Party back to a political party that represents free Americans.  Maybe, like the Whigs, the establishment lions in leadership positions fail to see what is happening and a new party will be born, restoring two parties to the American political landscape.  The question in today’s rapid paced world is this.  Do we have enough time to avoid disaster?  Take a moment to do a search on Teddy Roosevelt’s “Bull Moose Party.”   History clearly acknowledges that the party was a progressive party.  Incidentally, while researching this week’s article, I noticed that four of the first six presidents, (March 4, 1801 – March 4, 1829,) of the United States of America were Democratic-Republicans…   Ironic, Isn’t it?

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(Editor’s note:  I am not sure how I feel about this video.)

I agree that political and corporate elitist are working together against the best interest of the United States.  I am not sure that this video advocates for collectivism, but I did see some collectivist themes presented.  Regardless, it is good food for thought.  Things are changing fast.  It is imperative that we know what is happening around us.

U.S. Capitol. (Image source:

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about two Americas.   Regardless of political persuasion, an honest person would likely agree this is true.  If you are like me, you don’t like that this is true, but it is.  Socialist America is dominant today, but many Americans believe the progressives have pushed too hard.  With over regulation, they have intruded too far into our lives, and with quantitative easing along with trillions (A trillion equals a million millions) of dollars borrowed, they have stolen too much from the American people.

Socialist leaning Americans don’t seem to care, but I suspect that many of these Americans simply don’t understand for what they are advocating.  They are by and large good people who care for others.  Like any of us, these Americans want everyone to have a better life.  They want good paying jobs, healthy food, and safe place to live for people everywhere.  I know that I want these things for everyone.  The problem is how to accomplish this goal, and what the unintended consequences might be.  The real issue is that progressive leaders in both parties have lied for so long and mischaracterized so many issues that honest debate is all but impossible today.  Democrats like Harry Reid and Barack Obama have called leaders of the Freedom Movement any number of names and blamed them for anything and everything negative that has taken place in this country in recent years.  What many Americans may not realize however is that Republicans like John McCain, Mitch McConnell and Orrin Hatch are saying the exact same sorts of things about the Freedom Movement and its leaders.   Instead of thinking about the political fabric in America in only dimension, left and right, may I suggest a two dimensional model?  Both Democrats and the Republican establishment are more interested in controlling people than they are about doing what is right for the country.  I believe that what we are seeing is the birth of a new paradigm.  The national conversation of import now, is the debate around authoritarianism versus libertarianism, or if you like, being managed by so-called experts versus freedom and self-governance.

In Phoenix Republic, Americans in the novel were involved in their day to day live to day lives.  Like most of us, those who cared about politics typically thought of it as a Republican versus Democrat team sport.  What is interesting is what happens when people are really pushed up against a wall by circumstances.  Characters in the novel learned that whatever team they supported politically, it did them little good when reality overwhelmed the narrative provided by the media and elites in the political-industrial complex.

We are indeed two Americas!  Unfortunately the media controlled narrative is rarely substantive.  It is a team sport with Americans on either side of the debate more interested in playing gotcha and blaming the other side for all evils, either perceived for real.  America is a great a noble nation, populated by amazing people.  At least Americans are amazing people when we want to be.  Far too often however it is too easy to shirk our duty because we have bills to pay and kids to look after.  Life’s a challenge in the best of times.  All I know is that we are approaching a nexus in history.  I can feel it in the events that take place each day.  I can see it in the attitudes of our countrymen and women.

If we can’t talk honestly about things as men like Senators Mike Lee and Ted Cruz are trying to do, then I want a divorce!  I am not saying that the country should split up but rather that we need to find a way to give states back more sovereignty.  The federal government should do dramatically less and states whose citizens wish it can do more.  Socialism should be a state by state decision, not something forced on all three-hundred million people at gunpoint.

I don’t bear socialist Americans any ill will, but I cannot live with them. I get that life isn’t perfect, but socialism is slavery. Americas have all been turned into slaves of the corporate / political class. Political elites, acting for GE or Chase bank or any other Wall Street entity have stolen my children and grandchildren’s money and future. Some say what we have isn’t working. That is true. What they don’t realize however is that what we have is socialism and not capitalism. Trillions of government dollars stolen from ordinary Americans and given to bail out the corporate elites and billionaires is just evil. It simply cannot continue.

If you even possibly agree with any of this article, share it with others.  It is so critical that Americans begin really discussing how we can best be governed.  We must find a peaceful way to live free. I refuse to bend to socialist slavery, even if my brother and sister Americans demand it, even if those I love insist on it.  The beauty of the American experiment is that we don’t have to.  The answer to our dilemma was designed into our constitution by the founders.  Federalism is the key.  States whose citizens want government managing their lives can be paternalistic while states that embrace individual freedom can exist free of government overreach.  We just have to accept that we are different people and stop trying to force others to exist under our paradigm.

Additional Resources:  (Editor’s note:  I am not sure how I feel about this video.)  I agree that political and corporate elitist are working together against the best interest of the United States.  I am not sure that this video advocates for collectivism, but I did see some collectivist themes presented.  Regardless, it is good food for thought.  Things are changing fast.  It is imperative that we know what is happening around us.  It seems clear that the current system is in trouble.  It is a time in history that we must all be really awake.

Come and Take It I had dinner with a colleague on Friday who was visiting Texas from another state.  With her was her dear friend who was visiting the US from England.  My dinner companions were very nice; we a lovely time and the discussion was lively.  I was intrigued when at one point the discussion moved to the Second Amendment and the right of Americans to defend themselves, if necessary, with deadly force.  This same spirit of self-reliance was seen by freedom loving Americans this week standing up for the Second Amendment  in front of the Alamo.

Our English dinner companion appeared to be a little surprised to learn that in Texas is isn’t at all surprising for average citizens to routinely carry a weapon as they go about daily affairs.  I explained that although many Texans don’t carry a weapon daily, most of us do believe it is our individual and personal responsibility to defend our lives and property.  It is not only our right to defend ourselves, but it truly is a duty to defend not only ourselves, but those around us as well.  In effect, the individual citizen truly is the “First Responder.”  In our republic the citizen is supposed to be an active participant in governance and in self-defense.

She asked a couple of questions before sharing a story about a man in England, who as I write this article, is standing trial for killing someone who broke into his home.  It occurred to me that the difference between this situation happening in England and the same event happening in Texas is all about how citizens in each culture view things.  Moreover, it goes to the root of the disconnect individualist and collectivist Americans have in how we view the world.  In authoritarian governments, such as exist in much of Europe including England, people have become subjects dependent on the government for their needs, including their safety.

From a cultural perspective there really are two Americas today.  While there still are millions of Americans who believe we are individually responsible for ourselves, our prosperity, and in fact for defending the lives of our families, there is an ever increasing number of Americans who see the world very differently.  This other American culture has a collective viewpoint.  This perspective is oriented specifically to the idea that someone else is responsible for their well-being.  These people are comfortable with government defending their lives and property, making economic decisions that impact their lives, and even in making medical decisions regarding who lives and dies.

To be brief, some people are only comfortable in the role of a child and desperately desire to have someone else in the role of the parent.  They want someone else, an expert perhaps, to be responsible.  While this analogy is probably a little derisive to those holding a collectivist viewpoint, I really don’t intend it to be.  I am only using the parent – child metaphor to highlight the relationship regarding who holds responsibility for a person’s well-being.  Going back for a moment to our English connection, consider the historical idea of a King being sovereign over his subjects as contrasted to the American concept of a Republic where citizens are sovereign.  America was constructed around the idea that men and women are capable of ruling themselves.  Think about it.  Regardless of where your comfort level is concerning your individual responsibility for your own welfare you cannot serve two masters.  You are either sovereign or you are not.  At the end of the day you can be responsible for your life, or you can delegate that responsibility.

The problem America has today is that we want to think we are free, but too many of us don’t really want the responsibility.  Face it, life is tough.  Life is scary and bad things can and do happen to good people.  For many of us, it is comforting to think that there is a government safety net for those who need it.  My point today isn’t about how to best achieve the best result with regard to public assistance, but rather about the ownership of decision making.  By its very nature the government accrues to itself the decision making authority that should belong to the individual.  It is only fair for those paying the bills to make the rules, right?  Anyone care to guess how many times we might have heard this line growing up:   “As long as you live under my roof, you will do as I say!”

How many conversations have you had with someone about some tragedy or another, where someone will say, “The government should do something about…”  That is the child within each of us that wants mommy and daddy to make the world right.  When I look at the world today, what I see is a nation, the vast majority of which are nice hard working people who genuinely want to stop others from hurting or in some cases even from facing the consequences from their own behavior.

When debating someone about the Second Amendment and gun-control, I often have someone ask me why I need a weapon, or if not that, why an assault rifle.  The obvious reply is the Constitution of the United States guaranteed my right to any weapon I can afford, but that doesn’t address the person’s core issue.  What they are really saying is that they have trust issues with other people in society having the right to a weapon.  Most of these people are really nice and only want violence to end.  They have ceded the right to self-defense to government and with it their responsibility to defend themselves.  They have faith that someone else will be capable of defending them.  They believe that if only guns were not allowed the violence would end.   Presenting statistics that prove America has an extremely low gun violence rate, once you factor out gang-related murders in cities with absolute gun control in force, is meaningless because of the emotional impact of tragedy’s hyped by the media.  These horrific events are just too great for them to cope with emotionally.  It makes them nervous when they see someone who still embraces their God-given rights.  Regardless that a criminal will not adhere to the law, they simply want mommy and daddy to make them feel safe.  It is tragic to see the results of what a crazy person with a weapon can do, and all of us just want it to end.  Many Americans simply want to feel safe and that someone is caring for them.  The same emotion applies to the government’s so-called war on poverty or the government’s takeover of medical care.  This week’s battle in Washington DC over healthcare clearly illustrates that many Americans have outsourced the responsibility and the duty to care for themselves to government.  They don’t want to have to think about any facts, they just want their lives to continue without any impact from reality.

The differences in this country are not about Republicans or Democrats, they are about world view.  In Phoenix Republic Americans must learn to cope with what to do in a world where mommy and daddy cannot be trusted to help them.  If you pick up the novel, let me know how you would react in the same situation as Megan, Annie or Kate.  The point of the story is about individuals maintaining their dignity and their faith in challenging times.  Even without an economic disaster, all of us face hard times at one point or another.  Maybe it is a good idea to think about how we would want to react as people and as Americans.

Additional Resources:

In my novel “Phoenix Republic” readers are witness to Americans doing their best to live their lives.  My characters have family issues, deal with moral dilemmas at work, and worry over how to put food on the table and pay the bills.  Does that by any chance sound familiar?  My thought is that Americans have lives and kids to take care of.  We have to get homework done, take our kids to the doctor, or just complete the grocery shopping.  So, unless you just happen to be a political junkie or a glutton for punishment, the battle for freedom is likely not your highest priority to keep up with.  I sometimes get frustrated with my friends and family who are so completely unaware of what is going on in the country or for that matter, the world.  I have to keep reminding myself that everyone is busy and to be honest, keeping up with what the political class in Washington DC is really more than the average citizen can or wants do.  It would be easier if those in the aforementioned political class were honest enough to act on the promises they make when they are back home.   Sadly, that is just not reality.  Politicians from both parties will say or do almost anything to get elected.  That is just the way life is.  What is dangerous in today’s world is that we are creating a culture where the truth doesn’t matter.  We expect them to lie.  This expectation has grown into something frightening.   It has grown into acceptance.  We no longer care that Anthony Weiner is a dirt-bag.  He was a serious candidate to be Mayor of NYC regardless.  Mitch McConnell has been caught on tape branding senators from the freedom movement as traitors for standing for the constitution.  I guess we shall see if these leaders are driven from office.

Sadly, this isn’t the case.  Whether you are referring to President Obama, Senate Majority Leader Reid, or any of the numerous Republican cowards in the Senate or house such as Senator John Cornyn, or Senator Mitch McConnell, the thing these people all have in common is they say what they must to get elected, then they arrogantly disregard the wishes of the American People to continue their lifestyles as Pseudo American Royalty.   Thank God for the instant communication of the internet that is available to everyone.  It is making it harder and harder for these two-faced leaders to effectively lie to us.  Mr. Obama promised “hope and change”, The Republicans all go around promising to do everything they can to stop the destruction of the American healthcare system with the Socialist policies signed into law as a result of “Obama-Care.”

My point, and the point made in “Phoenix Republic” is that throughout history when the social contract is broken, trust is gone, and with the loss of trust we lose the ability to negotiate.  It is critical to avoid the loss of trust because when people are unable to talk reasonably with one another conflict becomes inevitable.  My concern is that those in power have so abused the authority given to them that the American People no longer know who to believe.  News organizations fail to mention key stories, or slant coverage to support an agenda.  Politicians look Americans in the face and tell us bald-faced lies with no consequence.  Is it any wonder that we see our family, friends, and neighbors beginning to fragment along ideological lines?  I don’t think the political elites in Washington DC and the media elites in New York or in LA really understand what time it is.  I fear that they fail to comprehend that Americans get their rights from God, not from Washington.  In the “Phoenix Republic” citizens are forced to stand up for freedom.  Standing up for freedom is something Americans have always done.  I believe that it is something that we will always do.  My thought however is that in real-life it is imperative for Americans to do everything possible to avoid conflict and to work together to avoid a complete break-down in communication.  The news may be covering a story about the government shutdown, but the real story of importance is about Americans as individuals running out of patience with and completely disingenuous ruling elite.  It is imperative that we stand up for our rights and reject the government’s consistent violations of our God-given civil rights, but it is also imperative that we all remain peaceful as we do so.

The Price of Freedom

Posted: October 7, 2013 in Current Events, Opinion
Tags: ,
Patriot Standing Up for Freedom

Americans defying the government shutdown.

For this week’s article, I thought that I would go with an out and out opinion piece about where Americans find themselves as the political class in Washington DC debate the government shut-down.  I am not going to pull in external references or try to convince anyone of anything.  Instead, I thought I would wax philosophical for a moment.  I think that the truth is that of those Americans that are engaged enough to care already have pretty solid opinions on who is to blame for childish mess those in the political class find themselves in.

While most would say the battle is about Democrats doing battle with Republicans, I suspect that is about all that most of America would agree on.  Depending on whom you ask the battle about one of the following struggles.  Democrats are looking out for the poor beleaguered middle class who are suffering because the Republicans refuse to allow them to do their jobs for the American People.  They would say that Obama-Care is settled law and that the shutdown is the result of a desperate Republican Party to deny healthcare to hard working Americans.  As you might expect the Republicans would say that the American people are suffering because Obama-Care was ill-conceived and is in fact so disastrous that it killing jobs, reducing people’s hours and destroying the greatest healthcare system in the world.  Actually there is yet another strategic player in this drama and that is the “Freedom Movement.”  This group of Americans is represented by a few but very vocal political leaders.  When you see names like Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, Senator Mike Lee of Utah, or of course Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky you may think you are looking at Republican leaders, but what these leaders really represent is something new.  These men and a growing number of representatives in the House of Representatives are actually a growing faction of Americans that although they reside in the Republican Party, they are fighting battles with the Republicans  that are more heated and desperate  than any fought with the Democrats.  These leaders represent the “Freedom Movement.”

Are we talking about a new third party?  Who knows, but I would suggest that at the very least Americans are witnessing a battle for the heart of the GOP and quite possibly the birth of a third party.  It is a very difficult thing for this to happen in this country, but not impossible if the stakes are high enough.  The Republican Party was in fact in just such a time in the run-up to the Civil War.  If you are interested, Google the Whig Party…  In a nutshell the Whigs became out of touch with too many Americans over the issue of slavery.  As human beings we are all subject to living within an envelope of what conventional wisdom says is practical and likely.  For politicians this predilection is almost overpowering.  Politicians, you see have enormous egos and want to believe that only they truly understand their constituents needs and what they want.  In other words the need to be popular is more important to them than almost any other consideration.  Prior to the Civil War the Whigs and Democrats considered any number of arrangements and balances of power around the issue of slavery.  I believe that many of these men knew in their hearts that it was abhorrent to tolerate other men and women, Americans being held as property, but they just could not figure out how to get out of an intractable situation.  Instead those opposed to slavery played politics and tried to incrementally move towards the universal equality envisioned by the founding fathers.  This didn’t do a lot for those Americans held in bondage, but I guess it let them sleep at night.

In contrast to the Whig Party, the upstart Republicans wanted decisive action to end slavery.  Obviously they were able to pull off this rather auspicious goal.  Think about it in terms of someone living at the time.  A group of people considered as way outside the mainstream were taking bold stances against an entrenched and fundamental foundation that underpinned half of the country’s economy.  If these men were successful it would destroy the economy of half of the country and almost certainly cause a civil war, yet here we are.  Clearly, it is self-evident that enough Americans were fed up enough with the status-quo to elect Abraham Lincoln as the first Republican president.  While I have no idea if something like what happened then is just around the corner for us, I can see and almost feel a profound level of distrust and unrest boiling over in America today.  Other than committed partisans on one side or another, it is obvious that a vast number of Americans no longer trust the government of the United States.  I could care less if someone votes Republican or Democrat.  If they are being honest, I believe that most of us would say that we do not trust our leaders.  They have lied to us for decades.  They twist the facts and engage in political theatre to keep us mollified by kicking the ball down the road.  The problem is what happens if you run out of road to kick that ball down.  Isn’t this essentially what happened in 1862?  There just wasn’t any further wiggle room to wallpaper over the underlying economic and moral issues of the day.

I am profoundly concerned with the danger America finds itself in.  We are the greatest nation made up of an inventive and good people, but we are also human, and as such we are prone to not wanting to rock the boat.  We all know that much of what we witness every day is wrong but we accept it anyway because that is just the way it is.  My point is that this is very dangerous territory.  Passions are high, the rhetoric used by the politicos is beyond inflammatory, and many Americans truly despise or maybe even hate our brother and sister Americans on the other side.  But for the Grace of God do we avoid an unimaginable calamity.  Every time a pundit on radio or television discusses the battle between Republicans and Democrats, consider for a moment, the root cause of today’s battle.  I would posit that whether a given topic is supported by liberals or conservatives is not nearly as important as what the solution to the issue being debated is.  In today’s world where the established political class in Washington DC is working very hard to assert control over most aspects of life it matters very little if it is the Republicans or the Democrats who vote for usurping our constitutional rights.  Republicans and Democrats have passed legislation (NDAA) permitting citizens to be held without trial.  Republicans and Democrats have passed repeated bailouts committing our children and grandchildren to a burdensome debt.  The battle today is not about left versus right, but rather about freedom versus oppression.  The new political dynamic is more about “Authoritarianism versus Libertarianism than it is about our traditional parties.  Men like Senator Lindsey Graham, or Senator John McCain are working hand in glove with President Obama and Majority Leader Reid to infringe on the rights of free Americans.  What would be amazing is if all of us could watch the news in terms of freedom and Oppression instead of our traditional party affiliations.  Does whatever is being debated make you more or less free?  Regardless of how you might like a proposed solution, how would you feel about an opponent having that very same power?

Freedom is hard work and as they say Freedom isn’t Free.  Hold you individual liberty dear for it may not always exist.  The whole point behind Phoenix Republic is to illustrate in a novel what losing freedom might feel like.  In the real world it is up to each of us to avoid such an outcome.