Shut up and Sing

I’m not a Country Music fan (My profile should show that pretty clearly) but I’m interested in the Dixie Chicks movie, Shut up and Sing all the same.

When the Dixie Chicks dared to criticise President Bush a few years back, I was actually more outraged at the response of their fans, and the media outlets that egged on the boycott, than I was at them.

With the mid-term elections now behind us, their opinions have been vindicated by a (slim) majority of the voting public. The war in Iraq is going badly, the economy is in a rut, and ‘W’ and his advisors are to blame for it.

Of course, those of us who understand economics realize that no one president and his policies are to blame for the state of the United States economy. In fact, while the Federal Reserve bears direct blame for most of the problem, it is the government-addicted average american, the person who just wants his benefits and a tax cut too, who enables the draining of the US economy. But it is pretty hard to point fingers in any other direction when it comes to the state of affairs in the Middle East. ‘W’ wanted his war in Iraq, he worked hard to get us involved in hostilities over there, and he is the Commander in Chief of the armed forces. There really isn’t any one else to blame for the situation.

To take a country singing group to task for saying what the rest of the country is now saying, that many people outside of country music were saying long before them, is offensive. It is an insult to the spirit of the Declaration of Independence, and the First Amendment to the Constitution. They spoke their minds and were figuratively dragged through the mud for it.

I’ll probably ante up to see the film, even if I don’t listen to their music. I’m just curious enough to see what they might have to say now.



Mea culpa review 2017. I have eaten a Big Bowl of Crow since publishing this and other thoughts on many subjects. I never did see the movie, largely because I don’t think it ever made it to the Austin market.

Another instance of me spouting off about subjects I only vaguely understood at the time. Probably the biggest reason I hesitate to continue the EPHN posts. I seem to know just enough to make myself dangerous on a whole host of subjects. Still, I have to follow where the logic takes me. I’ll get around to it eventually.

Quiz Across Texas

So I finished hanging the last of 900 of the little beauties at left today, in a 4 hour marathon walk that might have been a marathon in length. Frankly I lost track of how far I walked. I found myself wondering several times “just how many of these things do I have left?”

In the end I ran out of door hangers before I ran out of doors to hang them on.

The important part of the Quiz across Texas (a statewide effort to distribute 250,000 door hangers and other campaign materials) the part that makes it worth my time to participate, is the quiz itself.

Changing politics as usual in the United States means redefining what politics means; and that starts with education. The left-right line that has traditionally been used to illustrate political thought is completely inadequate for the task. The Nolan Chart, and the World’s Smallest Political Quiz that has evolved from it, is one of the best ways to illustrate the real range of political opinion that can be found in society.

Getting the quiz into the hands of people who have never seen it before, is a good place to start the education process. I’m proud to have been a part of this.


For those people (and I know you are out there) who wonder about the origins of the Nolan Chart and the World’s Smallest Political Quiz, Check out the Wiki entry on the subject.

And for those other people (I’ve run across a few of you, too) who think that the WSPQ is too simplistic, check out this enhanced version of the quiz (with go fast stripes even) authored by an LP activist in North Carolina.

The Enhanced-Precision Political Quiz

Funny, I’m a Libertarian on that quiz, too.


Mea culpa review 2017. I have eaten a Big Bowl of Crow since publishing this and other thoughts on many subjects. As this is a Nolan chart entry I will take a bit of time to explain the problems that arise with the second metric for measuring political orientation in the chart as it was conceived.

The problem is quite easy to expose. The first metric is social freedom. A solid majority of people agree with most of the questions involving social freedom. Nearly everyone who claims conservatism publicly is someone who is careful to say they are socially liberal and fiscally conservative. This is where the problem lies. The second metric is economic freedom. What, exactly, is economic freedom and how is it achieved? Every question on the World’s Smallest Political Quiz comes at this question as if money was archetypal, foundational, a recognizable concrete that we can all agree on.

However, money is nothing of the sort and the origin of money is not what most people think it is. Value is not found in commodities because they exist; rather value is subjectively assigned to commodities based on the desire of the individual and so varies based on subjective factors such as hunger, rest, thirst, security, etc. If you are dying of thirst everything you have is what that drink of water is worth. That is hardly the basis for measuring economic freedom.

More to come when I get around to writing the EPHN dealing with money and economics.

Legal Battles and the People Who Fight Them

On the subject of the current challenge facing the Liberty Dollar, I agree with the sentiment of a recent poster to ALD-forum who said:

Its obvious that someone has to volunteer to become the legal guinea
pig and stage an official drop with media present, challenging the
government to arrest and charge. When nobody shows up to arrest, the
media can call bullshit on the Mint’s claims. If they do arrest, we’ll
have a legal circus to promote the LD, with an eventual aquittal that
will be even more powerful.

Someone willing and able to fight that battle is probably going to have to take it to court in order to remove the threat that the US mint has left hanging over our heads (‘our’ being ALD users) although the mint might buckle under public pressure if the latest strategy from NORFED is picked up by enough people. That remains to be seen.

But then he goes on to add this little proviso:

This is how all big legal cases are set up. Rosa Parks was not just
some black lady on a bus, that event was entirely staged to trigger a
legal case by the socialist group she belonged to. Same with Roe v
Wade.

There is no need to besmirch good causes with epithets like ‘socialist’ (and when an individualist uses the term ‘socialist’ as an adjective, it is always an epithet, an insult. Be advised of that) If you go looking for info on Rosa Parks, or Roe vs. Wade, the purported linkage between these groups and the individuals who originally took the action are not immediately apparent.

What is apparent is the need for someone who disagrees with another person’s percieved agenda, having to take shots at them by alluding to connections that may or may not exist. They attempt to cheapen the success of the previous litigation, by leveling accusations against the people who have tried this same route in the past.

So let me ask the question again, but ask the real question; Wasn’t ending the Jim Crow laws a good cause? Wasn’t establishing a right to privacy a good cause? Of what concern are the allegiances of the players in the here and now? Does that change the value of the outcome?


Some of the peanut gallery piped up with examples of other gov’ts giving tax dollars to non-entities…

[a Person Unborn has the right to have his or her interests represented in Her Majesty’s Courts, as well as the Federal Court of Canada. Six other provincial statutes categorically mention the rights of Persons Unborn in British Columbia. One of the most telling being the Worker’s Compensation Act RSBC whereby BC pays money to a child unborn, on equal terms with his born siblings.

Thus, the child ‘en ventre sa mere’ meets the test for Personhood, via his Estate, he can do and own / he or she ( or the twins etc. ) is liable for income tax !]

As some sort of proof that the unborn (getting off in an abortion argument. Been there, done that) are persons. that gov’ts recognize the unborn as a person is hardly ground-breaking. The US recognizes corporations as persons, and they have no physical body or brain function (one might even go so far as to say none of the members of the average corporate board display any brain function) It really proves nothing.

Autonomic reflexes are not consciousness (a la Terri Schiavo) and normal human brain patterns are quite distinct; the absence of them being the deciding factor in declaring someone ‘dead’; can you be alive without them? Can you have consciousness and motive will without them?

The answer is ‘no’.


Additionally, let’s say that it can be successfully litigated that ALD as a competing currency is not illegal under US law (which, IMHO, is a correct decision) will our opponents label it as “Libertarian/extreme right wing/etc.” and attempt to discredit and overturn it based on that observation?

If the We the People foundation are successful in making the gov’t answer it’s petition (the right to petition that is specifically mentioned in the First Amendment to the Constitution) through a litigative process, are tax cheats irresponsibly crippling the gov’t?

Will these observations change what’s good about the decisions?

Constitutional Money

Every time I get into a discussion of money, someone brings up the Constitutional limitations on states, including the limitations of what can be accepted as money, which is found in Art I, Sec. 10, Clause 1, it reads:

No State shall enter into any Treaty, Alliance, or Confederation; grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal; coin Money; emit Bills of Credit; make any Thing but gold and silver Coin a Tender in Payment of Debts; pass any Bill of Attainder, ex post facto Law, or Law impairing the Obligation of Contracts, or grant any Title of Nobility.

They always point to the Federal Reserve and say “see, the FRN isn’t constitutional money!” Which is patently obvious, given the facts.

They never reverse it, which is something I find quite curious; why the several states don’t abide by the constitution themselves? Why don’t they refuse payment in fiat notes (the standard FRN baseless paper bills) and demand payment in gold and silver coin, as is required by law? Why do they continue the self-destructive delusion that there is real value in the US dollar? Value other than “the full faith and credit of”…? Whatever that’s worth.

Can you imagine what the results of that would be?

“No, I’m sorry Mr. President, but I have to abide by the rule of law, and the law states that gold and silver coin is the only thing we can accept as payment for the federal gov’ts debts. If we don’t receive your payment in gold and silver, I’m afraid we will have to put a stop to payments of our citizens tax monies into the federal treasury…”

To be present in the Oval Office to get a picture of that event. Priceless.



My only reaction to this article for the mea culpa review process in 2017? Coded language. I hate coded language. FRN is Federal Reserve Notes. FRN is newspeak of the sovereign movement and its wrong-headed ideas about currency and value. I really can’t broach my current thoughts on money as a mere addendum to this post. They warrant a much longer piece which I truthfully haven’t started writing yet.

A decade and more of listening to economist podcasts and reading economic books (as well as others) has radically altered my understanding of money in ways that are hard to describe without digging into the meat of philosophy and economics. Suffice it to say that my thoughts on money at this point in 2006 were truly infantile.

Which is sad, because I’ve always thought I had a pretty good idea what money was and what trade for value meant. I’ve been a hard bargainer at the negotiating table and have generally secured better than average compensation for my work, lower than average outlay for the goods I need. I understood it better than most people around me seemed to then, and I understand so much more about it now that it makes reading these old posts quite painful.

Still, I never did get an answer beyond the obvious one as to why the states have not made a fuss about the federal government subverting the Constitution with its current money not based on gold and silver as the document demands. Obviously they want the carnival ride to continue, that is why they haven’t. But the question still needs an answer, and the deviation from code should be corrected by updating the code itself.

Which is why the longer post about the nature of money is something I really should take the time to write.

Keeping the political colors straight

Getting dizzy listening to the major party politics these days?

Are you ready for the ramp up to election day, just a few short months away?

I don’t know about you, but the pointlessness of 9/10ths of all political arguments reminds me of a scene from an episode of Babylon 5 “Geometry of Shadows. The following is from a synopsis of it:

Ivanova is meeting with a representative group of Drazi. Five Drazi with purple kerchiefs sit in the gallery to her left, and five of the greens to the right. A leader stands in front of each group.

Ivanova: As you all know, we’re having a bit of a problem here right now — the aforementioned problem being that you keep trying to beat each other senseless with blunt instruments, banging up against the bulkhead, pounding, mugging, jumping, and generally carrying on cranky. Now, while some of the other species wouldn’t mind if you wiped each other out, even they would prefer that you did so quietly. But — this station is dedicated to the goal of finding peaceful solutions to our problems. And we would like to find one here. [This causes quite some murmuring among her audience.] Now you can start by helping me to understand the precise nature of the conflict between the two sides that you’ve set up.

The two leaders react with pained longsuffering expressions. They have to explain something that is so obvious it needs no explanation. They’re dealing with a complete moron.

Purple leader [gesturing at the Green leader]: Green!

Green leader [returning the compliment]: Purple!

Ivanova: No, I understand that there are two factions, but what is your point of contention? Where do you disagree with each other?

Green leader [pointing and speaking more emphatically]: Purple!

Purple leader: Green!

Ivanova: Yes, but who gets to wear the purple sash and who gets to wear the green sash? I mean, is it based on income, or caste, or rank, or…

Green leader: We put green and purple in great barrel! Equal to numbers of Drazi. Then we reach in, we take! Where there was one Drazi people, now there are two! The two fight until there are one!

Ivanova [open-mouthed in astonishment]: That’s it? It’s totally random? Arbitrary? Well then, how do you choose a leader for either side?

Purple leader: One purple and one green carries mark of leadership. He who takes leader cloth is leader. He who takes green is Green, and follows Green leader. He who takes purple is Purple, and follows Purple leader. [Ivanova catches on sufficiently to lip-sync most of the last sentence.]

Ivanova: Okay, so in other words —- [She steps between the leaders and points out the two nearest Purple and Green followers.] Would you two please step forward for a moment — please? [They’re a bit confused, but they comply.] Okay, so what you’re trying to tell me is that if I take this purple sash off of him, [she takes the sash — much to the consternation of the remaining Purples] and put it onto him, [she puts it onto the Green — agitating all the Drazi, but she’s a bit too wrapped up in her question to notice as she turns to face the leaders] that this one thing alone is enough to start a…

…Bedlam ensues.

Full synopsis
Lurker’s guide episode entry

So, when you hear people yelling about ‘war records’ or ‘tax cuts’ or anything else political (which involves most everything these days, what with the expansion of gov’t) Just remember: “Who takes green, is green, follows green leader.” It’s just that simple.

Liberty Dollar In the News: Big Bad Black Balloon Dramatizes Debt!

Bernard von NotHaus is staging a media event the day after Bernanke’s next expected interest rate hike (August 9th):

The day after Ben Bernanke raises interest rates for the 18th time, Bernard von NotHaus, noted Monetary Architect, will present a $50 Gold Federal Reserve Note for redemption as specified on the Note and guaranteed by the Constitution, at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York at 33 Liberty Street in lower Manhattan.

Anticipating rejection, von NotHaus will present the sorry outcome of a National Debt gone wild at the Press Conference, while a large black balloon with “NATIONAL DEBT” lettered on it inflates behind him until it bursts, just as von NotHaus predicts the US economy will burst.

The entire press release is located here.

I don’t want to be too hard on ‘Helicopter Ben‘. He really is facing a no-win scenario. There isn’t any way out of the current fiscal crisis. A hundred years of fiat paper is coming home to roost, most likely during his tenure in office. Yep, you can almost feel sorry for him, till you remember all the perks that come along with his job.

Oh, the pain, the PAIN.

The “for coverage by CBS” link at the bottom of the Press Release leads to a totally unrelated, yet interesting, news article about the Chambersburg “Chamberfest” that features Liberty Dollars being used to bolster local commerce. It also features a close up of the ALD vending machines that were rolled out last year at LDU. Don’t know why they felt the need to include that…

Anyone taking bets on whether Bernard gets his gold from the Fed? Didn’t think so. There hasn’t been any gold backed currency since about 1933, and I doubt they left a clause in to cover all that old paper that still says Gold Certificate on it.


…Of course, it helps if the Fed chairman actually does what you say he’s going to do. Who knows why Bernanke didn’t raise interest rates today. The symptoms related to looming inflation are nothing if not stronger today than they were at the last Fed meeting, so why not raise the rates again? Perhaps interest rates really have nothing to do with inflation? Perhaps they actually make inflation worse?

America: From Freedom to Fascism

I invited a friend along and went out to take in America: From Freedom to Fascism this last Sunday night.

As a long time member of the Libertarian Party, I was already pretty familiar with a large portion of the central argument in the film; the unconstitutional nature of the Income Tax and the Tax Honesty movement that is trying to shed a little light on the subject. However, the film certainly doesn’t limit itself to this subject alone.

Done much in the style of Bowling for Columbine and Fahrenheit 9/11, which brought Michael Moore critical acclaim, Aaron Russo is trying to bring some popular attention to arguably the most serious problem in America today, the growing size and power of government.

So I was prepared for sensationalism, and I was prepared to hear many arguments I’d heard before. What I wasn’t prepared for were the interviews with several former IRS agents who are now the targets of the agency they worked for. I wasn’t prepared for the frank conversation with a juror from a failure to file case who simply states “they never produced the law”. I wasn’t prepared for the (former) IRS commissioner who showed nothing but contempt for court rulings and questions from citizens concerning the nature of the laws that govern us all.

I found these sequences to be the most illuminating, since they involved people who aren’t in the “tax honesty” movement. Not that G. Edward Griffin, Bob Schulz and others don’t deserve respect for at least standing up in the face of tyranny that is the IRS; but that these people had no axe to grind, and yet found themselves unable to answer the very simple question “what is the law that requires an American to file and pay income tax?” In the case of the (former) commissioner, he could not present a reasonable argument concerning the existence of the law, even though he ‘wrote’ the tax code.

In the end, it was Dr. Ron Paul’s answer that I think is the most ‘truthful’. To paraphrase the gist of it, he said he knew of no law that requires Americans to file and pay the income tax on the face of it; but since those who carry the guns and enforce the IRS code think they are authorized to do so, it makes very little difference.

…Which is pretty much my opinion on the matter in a nutshell.

The remainder of the film tallies up a rather frightening list of programs, executive orders, and laws that together with the current electronic voting nightmare, and police largesse, paints a pretty grim picture of the future. Anyone who has visited Alex Jones‘ sites is probably familiar with the gist of it. Whether you take any of it seriously is entirely up to you.

The problems with the film are visible the moment you sit down and it starts rolling. First, the film was shot on DV, and hasn’t been transferred to film for projection purposes (at least it wasn’t in the theatre that I went to) so the quality of the viewing experience is less than most people would expect. The pixelization on the screen makes the production appear to be amateurish, something I’m sure Russo wasn’t looking for when he made the film. If the theatre had been equipped with a decent DLP projector, the results might have been different.

Second, the theatre I attended was only about a third full. The people who need to see this film will never attend it of their own free will. They are far to willing to have their minds numbed by watching films of the caliber of “You, Me and Dupree” to ever do the requisite thinking required to appreciate the message Aaron Russo is trying to communicate.

…And since they make up the majority of “We the People”, the sovereigns who are supposed to be “Eternally vigilant” in order to preserve our freedom, it leaves me very little doubt that the future described in “America: From Freedom to Fascism” really isn’t too far away.

It’s not about Abortion

But the abortion issue plays so well.

Had a yellow dog reply to me the other day “I hope Roe is overturned before 2008!” In response to my entry on the impending Democratic Victory at the polls.

The elections that will be impacted are the 2006 elections (2008’s will probably also go against the Reps, but that’s still 2 years off) The complete lack of focus on the part of the sitting government is what is going to cost the Republican’s plenty, not the reversal of Roe. On the subject of what is important to Americans right now, Roe and Abortion isn’t even on the map. Nor do I think it will be reversed or even severely impacted.

Oh, they could change the “on demand” status, and the Religious Reich would crow to the heavens about the “victory” they’d achieved. But science and precedent aren’t behind a reversal of the current ruling. I don’t see how the SCOTUS can see it’s way to a ‘reversal’. Which means that Abortion stays legal and will be privately funded (in fewer places) and that the more logical chemical approaches to ‘family planning’ will take the front seat.

The issue should die there. Why? I made this argument a long time ago, you can’t have a murder if you don’t have a body. There is no body with a morning after pill (the method of choice these days) or one of the other early use chemicals. So attempting to inflict the morality of “life at conception” through the use of law is just another downward spiral. Just brings on the major societal change that much sooner.

The fact is that what people do find important isn’t being addressed. The war, the lackluster economy, etc. The fact that, even with half the income of America at the gov’ts disposal, it still takes years to get a city rebuilt. (N’Orleans)

There is some serious dissatisfaction out there, and I don’t see the Republicans addressing it. Come to think of it, I don’t see mainstream Democrats addressing it either.

It’s called ‘Philosophy’

This was an open letter to a local Talk Show that was being guest hosted by a local State Rep. (whose opinions I generally agree with, but not that day) who kept wondering, on air, how anyone could get by without religion to shape their moral fibre; and what a shame it was that the importance of religion in American society was failing, since we are a ‘Christian nation’ after all.

[three guesses what set me off in the first place. Bet you don’t need two of them]


Dear XXXXXXX,

The word you are struggling to find is ‘philosophy’. Philosophy, even amongst the religious, is where morals come from. I say this as an Objectivist, Americans ignore the importance of establishing and maintaining a personal philosophy at their own peril.

It is the short-cutters, who turn to religion and superstition to answer their metaphysical questions, that are to blame for the degradation of the morals in our society; not a lack of ‘faith’ or ‘prayer in schools’ or whatever imagined slight the Christian Right wants to whine about today.

Contrary to popular opinion, the founders where not christians, they were Deists.

From EarlyAmerica.com:

“The Founding Fathers, also, rarely practiced Christian orthodoxy. Although they supported the free exercise of any religion, they understood the dangers of religion. Most of them believed in deism and attended Freemasonry lodges. According to John J. Robinson, “Freemasonry had been a powerful force for religious freedom.” Freemasons took seriously the principle that men should worship according to their own conscious. Masonry welcomed anyone from any religion or non-religion, as long as they believed in a Supreme Being. Washington, Franklin, Hancock, Hamilton, Lafayette, and many others accepted Freemasonry.”

One of the most religious men in the continental congress was John Adams, and he was a Unitarian.

This is my answer to the question you posed. I only wish I could have called in to set you right in your confusion. Religion is a curse that will betray America to ruin; and that very soon. Philosophy needs to be taught to children as a part of their school curriculum. It is every bit as important as the 3 “R’s”. (so does economics need to be taught, but that is a different subject) Only with the mental tools for judging and abiding by morals of their own, will our children be able to stop the moral decline that this country is in.

I too had to turn off the program today. One more holier than thou phone caller trying to tell me how I needed to go to church would have sent me over the edge.


These days I just point people who ask these types of questions to the study published in the Journal of Religion and Society titled Cross-National Correlations of Quantifiable Societal Health with Popular Religiosity and Secularism in the Prosperous Democracies, that shows the impact of fervent religious belief on society as a whole is negative. Don’t know what else needs to be said on the subject.