Thursday, December 14, 2006
Snapshots of a Demented Regime (UPDATED; see the last item)
One difference between a genuinely totalitarian ruling elite and criminal cliques of the sort that run more ordinary governments is this: Totalitarians display a thoroughgoing ignorance of basic human nature coupled with a demented belief in the State's ability to re-arrange reality by decree.
On this basis it's clear that the people who rule us fall squarely into the totalitarian camp. By way of illustration, I offer the following examples.
The Mint's Melt-down Mendacity
The Regime's Department of Counterfeiting and Fraud, more commonly known as the U.S. Mint, “has implemented an interim rule that makes it illegal to melt nickels and pennies, or to export them in mass quantities,” reports ABC News. Those who violate this bureaucratic enactment – which is facially unconstitutional, since only Congress has the authority to enact national legislation – are subject to a $10,000 fine, up to five years in prison, or both.
The Regime has removed every trace of precious metal from its coinage. At present, only the nickel and pre-1983 penny contain anything of value. As the Regime debases the value of its official currency, the market value of the metal used in nickels and pennies has soared, which means that the penny at present is worth 1.73 cents, and the nickel 8.34 cents.
Earlier this year, the U.S. Mint claimed that it had received “numerous inquiries” about the use of the Liberty Dollar, a gloriously lustrous, privately circulated silver coin (or negotiable storage receipts backed by gold and silver and accepted by various merchants as an instrument of barter). As I reported in a previous installment, the Mint claims that the use of gold and silver in private, voluntary transactions is a form of “forgery” and “counterfeiting.”
And this is the same U.S. Mint that brazenly stole a collection of rare gold coins from a dutiful, law-abiding subject of the Regime.
In the late 1960s, after the Regime ceased to use silver in its currency, the Treasury Department implemented a regulation forbidding export or melting of silver coins. Edmund Moy, the U.S. Mint's chief commissar, insists that the new regulation is necessary “because the Nation needs its coinage for commerce. Replacing these coins would be an enormous cost to the taxpayers.”
Any rational person – a population that excludes the talent pool from which Moy and his ilk are drawn – would understand that the new regulation portends a withdrawal of copper pennies and cupro-nickel five cent coins from circulation, and their replacement by coins forged from less expensive trash metal. They will be melted down and the metal used as the State ordains, just as silver coins were in 1965 and confiscated gold coins were in 1933.
So the Regime is taking pre-emptive measures to prevent private interests from doing what it plans to do in short order: Use the spread between the official value of the copper penny and nickel, and the market value of the metals they contain, to make a tidy profit.
How much of a profit? According to Moy, if one percent of the nickels and pennies presently in circulation were melted down, “taxpayers would have to foot a $43 million bill” to replace them. In fact, since 1983 the penny consists of 99.2% zinc, with a copper patina; prior to that year, the coin was composed of 95% copper and 5% zinc. So it's reasonable to suspect that the Regime is actively melting down pre-1983 pennies.
Eventually, the price of zinc will skyrocket, and the Regime will mint coins from pewter.
This story, apart from illustrating, redundantly, the dishonesty and dementia of the “public servants” employed by the U.S. Mint, is a clear storm warning of impending inflation. Demand from China has helped drive up the price of copper and nickel (as well as practically every other industrial metal), but the single most important variable has been the Regime's relentless destruction of the “dollar”'s value.
You Couldn't Make This Up
In his revealing book Confessions of a Tax Collector, former IRS Revenue Agent Richard Yancey noted that the IRS rarely goes after organized crime figures, preferring to prey on honest, well-intentioned private citizens who are deemed guilty of violating some arcane provision in the artfully incomprehensible tax code.
This might explain why the new regulations emitted by the Regime's Department of Theft, Extortion, and Financial Terrorism (a more accurate name for the IRS) expects that organized crime figures and politicians (but I repeat myself) will waive their Fifth Amendment immunity to self-incrimination by dutifully disclosing all of their corrupt transactions.
No, I am not kidding. Here's an alphabetized list, from the IRS's own official publication:
Bribes. If you receive a bribe, include it in your income.
Illegal income. Illegal income, such as money from dealing illegal drugs, must be included in your income on Form 1040, line 21, or on Schedule C or Schedule C-EZ (Form 1040) if from your self-employment activity
Kickbacks. You must include kickbacks, side commissions, push money, or similar payments you receive in your income on Form 1040, line 21, or on Schedule C or Schedule C-EZ (Form 1040), if from your self-employment activity.
Stolen property. If you steal property, you must report its fair market value in your income in the year you steal it unless in the same year, you return it to its rightful owner.
It's reasonable to believe that the IRS, as a matter of professional courtesy, wouldn't be so rude as to facilitate the prosecution of thieves and other criminals. They're too busy persecuting people who have committed the supposed offense of trying to keep the money they have legitimately earned, who try to vindicate their rights through legal challenges, or who exercise their right to peaceful protest.
Tax analyst Dave Gross reports that just before adjournment, Congress enacted legislation boosting the “frivolous filing penalty” from $500 to $5000 and making it applicable “to all federal taxes, not just federal income tax. It also may now apply to things other than tax returns, such as `requests for a collection due process hearing, installment agreements, and offers-in-compromise.' The IRS is required to publish a list of what it considers to be frivolous arguments before applying these fines.... This might affect those tax resisters who include marginal notes of protest with their tax forms, declare [a] vast number of `dependents,' or try to use the tax courts to advance legal arguments about the Nuremberg Principles and other such long shots. It will certainly snag the folks in the Constitutionalist tax protester set, for whom these provisions were targeted.”
What this most likely will mean, notes Claire Wolfe, is that “next time you write `Paid under protest' or `What law requires this?' on your 1040, you'll be subject to a $5,000 penalty, not `merely' $500. And as always, don't expect an impartial judge and jury to hear your case before the fine is levied....What a quaint notion that is, here in 21st-century Amerika.”
Doesn't know Shi'ite from Shinola
Silvestre Reyes, the Texas Democrat Congressman who will head the House Intelligence Committee, was a critic of the Iraq war prior to his appointment. Now he has joined the chorus calling for additional troop deployments as part of what is called a “double down” approach to winning the war.
This approach is considered bold by people who have no compunctions about wasting the lives of other people as part of a losing bet.
Despite his eagerness to throw lives and money away in Iraq, Reyes, who will pull down an annual salary of $165,200 in his new job, is utterly ignorant of the basic sectarian and geo-strategic realities of the Middle East. In an interview with Jeff Stein, National Security Editor for Congressional Quarterly, Reyes couldn't explain the distinctions between Shi'ite and Sunni Muslims, or essential details about the ideological and theological leanings of al-Qaeda and Hezbollah.
This one's Shinola, Rep. Reyes. As to that brown stuff you thought was shoe polish, well....
“Reyes stumbled when I asked him a simple question about al Qaeda at the end of a 40-minute interview in his office last week,” recounts Stein. This is a horrifying delinquency in someone who will be well compensated by the taxpayers “to know more than basic facts about our foes in the Middle East.”
Just as revealing was Reyes' attempt at self-deprecating humor as his utter lack of qualifications manifest itself.
“Why do you ask me these questions at five o’clock?” he asked Stein. “Can I answer in Spanish? Do you speak Spanish?”
Before being elected to Congress, Reyes was a Border Patrol Agent.
James Kim: Murdered by the Feds through Depraved Indifference
Last week I noted that the tragic Kim family had become stranded in the inhospitable wilderness of western Oregon because somebody -- most likely vandals -- had left open a gate that should have been shut.
After the family (James and Kati Kim and daughters Penelope and Sabine) had been marooned for about a week -- their meager food supplies long since depleted -- Kim struck off in search of help. He walked a total of sixteen (not ten, as initially reported) miles before expiring in a creek, most likely hours before he was spotted by rescue personnel.
If the gate had been shut, the Kims would not have taken their fatal wrong turn. It stands to reason that if the gate had been sabotaged by vandals, the responsible parties could be prosecuted for the death of James Kim.
Well, the guilty party has been identified, and I think a trial is in order:
"Federal workers failed to lock a gate blocking the logging road that led James Kim to his death last week -- a different story than has been told since his death and his family's rescue. The U.S. Bureau of Land Management was supposed to lock the gate near the entrance of the road, known only as 34-8-36, on Nov. 1. The gate is meant to prevent people from turning onto a maze of logging spurs instead of staying on Bear Camp Road, which cuts through the mountains to the Oregon Coast. Officials with the agency have maintained since last week that the gate had been locked but was later vandalized. But BLM spokesman Michael Campbell said Wednesday that an internal investigation this week into the suspected vandals turned up the surprising culprit: the agency itself.... An internal investigation into the lapse is under way, Campbell said."
An "internal investigation" is useful, but insufficient. A criminal investigation is also necessary. Allowing the BLM to police itself in this matter would be exactly like permitting La Cosa Nostra to run the NYPD's Organized Crime bureau.
James Kim, like countless hundreds of millions, is a victim of death by government. Indeed, it's entirely likely that government is the leading cause of untimely death in recorded human history.
(Thanks to Lew Rockwell for passing along the link.)
at 2:52 PM