Cashing out

The powers that be are doing all they can to constrain the options of the average citizen who refuses to play their game.  The latest angle is to renew the push for a cashless society:

On Monday the European Central Bank President emphatically disclosed that he is strongly considering phasing out the 500 euro note.

Yesterday, former US Treasury Secretary Larry Summers published an op-ed in the Washington Post about getting rid of the $100 bill.

Prominent economists and banks have joined the refrain and called for an end to cash in recent months.

The reasoning is almost always the same: cash is something that only criminals, terrorists, and tax cheats use.

In his op-ed, Summers refers to a new Harvard research paper entitled: “Making it Harder for the Bad Guys: The Case for Eliminating High Denomination Notes”.

That title pretty much sums up the conventional thinking. And the paper goes on to propose abolishing, among others, 500 euro and $100 bills.

The authors claim that “without being able to use high denomination notes, those engaged in illicit activities – the ‘bad guys’ of our title – would face higher costs and greater risks of detection. Eliminating high denomination notes would disrupt their ‘business models’.”

The $100 is a “high denomination note?”  That might have been true 50 years ago, minus several decades of inflation eating away at purchasing power, but it’s hardly the case today.  One can easily spend that much now by taking a family of four to a restaurant.

And while any such proposals are always couched as trying to somehow make life difficult for “the bad guys,” there are some very real effects on law-abiding citizens here.  Governments around the world have exhausted their ability to “goose” the economy through artificially low interest rates (a policy, by the way, that penalizes the thrifty savers in society in favor of profligate borrowers).  Having taken that game all the way to zero — literally — now central banks have the bright idea of negative interest rates… which would potentially charge savers who hold their money in savings accounts rather than spending it.

So what is a thrifty family to do?  The best answer is to hold as much of your assets as possible outside of the increasingly corrupted financial system.  Cash is the most obvious way to do that.  But bankers know full well that if Americans returned to the days of stuffing mattresses with greenbacks, it would quickly become apparent there aren’t enough pieces of paper to go around — not by a long shot.  (For an example of this, watch the “bank run” scene in “It’s A Wonderful Life.”)

In addition to discouraging all the hoi polloi from asking for banknotes they don’t have, this move toward smaller denomination bills is meant to inconvenience cash transactions.  It’s not only criminals who like to use cash, although many in authority like to pretend that’s the main association.  There is still the rare family who literally saves their pennies for anything from a vacation to buying a used car.

Here’s the thing: if you paid $10,000 in cash for a vehicle you bought used from another owner, it would take carrying one hundred $100 bills.  Imagine that bill is eliminated.  The $50 is already a much rarer note in circulation, so the common alternative is the $20.  Now you’d need a stack of FIVE HUNDRED notes–more than a pound of paper –to pay cash.  And few people are willing to do that these days.  Yes, this is part of what the authorities want to do to “inconvenience” large criminal transactions.  But it will also push average consumers further into using what is already a largely digital world of commerce.

And that’s exactly what the powers that be want.  With digital transactions (credit and debit cards), privacy is greatly reduced and control greatly expanded.  I know there are still those full-blooded law and order types who’ll protest “if you’re not doing anything wrong, you have nothing to worry about.”

Baloney.  Plenty of innocent people have already had their bank account (vulnerable digital assets) wrongfully seized, after which they face a daunting process of proving their innocence in order to see any of it again.  But the real problem with the “you have nothing to worry about” premise is that the definition of “doing wrong” is often in the eye of those wielding any kind of power.  Think I’m kidding?  Ask the former head of Mozilla, who was forced to resign after those oh-so-tolerant liberals discovered his heinous crime of donating to a campaign against legalizing same-sex marriage.  Think about how the IRS went after political groups sympathetic to “Tea Party” small-government advocacy.  Now extrapolate that to a future where every book you buy, every movie/documentary you watch, every church contribution you make and even families you choose to support financially in some small way leaves a digital trail for those who disagree with you to follow and exploit.

There’s a term for this: it’s called a targeting system.  And if we’ve learned anything through the recent weaponization of government agencies, it’s that such targeting capabilities WILL be used to harass and silence anyone who dissents from public orthodoxy.  Completely ‘virtual’ banking and finance (a “cashless society”) will result in ‘virtual control’ over our ability to live freely and privately with our own consciences.

I’ve said this before, but am becoming more strident about it: it’s time to “abjure the realm.”  If you disagree with the direction the ‘soft fascists’ in our land are taking us, you need to separate yourself from their system as much as possible, because the net is continuing to tighten.  That means holding stores of wealth beyond their digital control, in forms like cash, precious metals or other tradable commodities that provide a good store of value.  Equally important, it means building networks of like-minded people who are willing to form communities that can exchange privately among themselves without every transaction being officially recorded and perused for potential political heresy.

In short, it means declaring your personal independence and intention NOT to be simply a compliant serf to the ruling order.  Does it take work not to do things the way everyone else does?  Certainly.  But it is the kind of work that makes one free.

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No longer playing the game

U.S. News and World Report notes that Americans are abandoning the bi-factional ruling party:

The latest Gallup Poll finds that loyalty to the Democrats and Republicans is at or near historic lows. In 2015, for the fifth straight year, “at least four in 10 U.S. adults identified as political independents,” a Gallup spokesman said. Forty-two percent said they were independent last year; 43 percent listed themselves that way in 2014, reflecting little change.

Considering the Republicrats long ago abandoned Americans, it seems only right we should return the favor.  The linked report posits this exodus is due to ‘frustration with government gridlock.’  I think that’s highly disingenuous.  The Federal Government, for all the talk of a ‘lack of bipartisanship,’ has still managed in recent years to:

  • Bail out the so-called “too big to fail” financial institutions at taxpayer expense
  • Ram through Obamacare
  • Continue to increase the number of “guest workers” brought in to take American jobs
  • Kabuki dance instead of securing the border

ALL of which runs contrary to how America polls on these issues.  Far from being a “gridlocked, do-nothing” Federal government, the District of Corruption is actively working against the interests and expressed wishes of the average American.

You can only shaft the people for so long while pretending to listen to them, before they figure out the game and refuse to play it anymore.  This is exactly what’s happening in Europe right now, where authorities respond to mass sexual assaults by recent asylum seekers Islamic invaders with misdirection and cover-ups, but quickly advocate prosecution of leaders who point out these failures.  Europe’s elites have made it clear they care more about appeasing the floodtide of aliens whose arrival they’ve encouraged than they do the welfare of their own citizens — and they are only beginning to reap the backlash.

Somehow, I don’t think America will be the usual 20 years behind Europe on this particular trendline.

I stopped identifying as Republican a decade ago, because that brand means nothing anymore.  I am a Christian, a Constitutionalist and an American traditionalist.  The powers that be (on both sides of the aisle) not only no longer respect those identities and ideas, they are actively hostile to them.

I am not, however, alone.  So I’ll close with the recent words of the Instapundit — words our self-appointed ‘elites’ best pay heed to, and soon:

Looking for the exits? Hardly. I’m not trapped in here with you, enemies of western civilization. You’re trapped in here with me. And a lot of people like me, whose patience has come close to an end.

Bathrooms and battle lines

It would appear some people have had enough of the LGBQXYCRAZYNUTS agenda:

A yearlong battle over gay and transgender rights that turned into a costly, ugly war of words between this city’s lesbian mayor and social conservatives ended Tuesday as voters repealed ((by a two-to-one margin…  — Jemison)) an anti-discrimination ordinance that had attracted attention from the White House, sports figures and Hollywood celebrities.

The City Council passed the measure in May, but it was in limbo after opponents succeeded, following a lengthy court fight, in putting the matter to a referendum.

Supporters said the ordinance was similar to those approved in 200 other cities and prohibited bias in housing, employment, city contracting and business services for 15 protected classes, including race, age, sexual orientation and gender identity. Opponents said the measure would allow men claiming to be women to enter women’s bathrooms and inflict harm, and that simple message — “No Men in Women’s Bathrooms” — was plastered on signs and emphasized in television and radio ads, turning the debate from one about equal rights to one about protecting women and girls from sexual predators.

But the queer need never fear: Uncle Sam is likely ready to swoop in and teach these local ‘reactionaries’ a lesson in Federal power:

A school district near Chicago, Palatine 211, provides numerous accommodations for transgender students. The district calls the students by requested names, honors selected gender (including allowing them to play on the sports teams of the gender they identify as belonging to), and permits them to use single-sex bathrooms, since stalls ensure privacy.

But the federal government has decided that the district is still guilty of violating Title IX, the law prohibiting sex-based discrimination, over certain locker room restrictions.

“District 211 is not excluding transgender students from their gender-identified locker room,” said district superintendent Daniel Cates in a statement. “Though our position has been inaccurately reported, a transgender student may use his or her gender-identified locker room simply by utilizing individual measures of privacy when changing clothes or taking showers.”

That’s unacceptable to the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights

In short, the Federal government won’t be happy until the school allows a very confused boy to be in a complete state of undress around similarly unclad girls without any privacy barriers involved.

If parents were doing this, we’d call it child abuse

Since this is allegedly about ‘equal rights,’ why do the rights of teenage girls not to have to be around naked boys never come into this?  I don’t care what “it” thinks it is, biology is biology (“you don’t want to be anti-science, do you?!”), and no amount even of cosmetic mutilation will remove that pesky Y chromosome.  To borrow a phrase from our opponents, this law HAD to be overturned, “for the children.”

Two conclusions should be obvious from this:

  • Leaving your kids in public, federally funded schools is now tantamount to parental malpractice (as the Instapundit has been saying for some time now).  GET THEM OUT — NOW.
  • The Federal Government is not only NOT representative of the people’s worldview and wishes, it is actively hostile to it… and should be delegitimized accordingly.

It would literally be a hell of a thing if the straw that finally breaks the camel’s back and winds up getting States and localities to actively resist federal power is the drive to defend daughters from indecent exposure at schools.

Then again, defending the virtue and honor of women (who themselves are willing to remain honorable and virtuous) has long been a hallmark of civilization… so maybe ours isn’t quite dead just yet.  If nothing else, the escalation of nihilistic and barbaric behavior over the past couple decades is finally starting to generate a response.  Let’s just hope and pray it isn’t too late.

Nobody will be fired this time, either

Surprise, surprise: DEA agents given a slap on the wrist for engaging in sex parties paid for by drug cartels were not only not fired, but apparently received bonuses over the past three years (that were legally barred from being awarded).

Drug Enforcement Agency officials linked to sex parties and prostitutes paid by drug cartels weren’t fired but rewarded with $95,000 in performance bonuses, according to a shocking new report from the Justice Department’s inspector general.

What’s more, the bonuses weren’t allowed.

The 34-page report found that of 14 DEA officials probed in a prior investigation of sexual misconduct, one supervisor was given a whopping $68,600 in bonuses and several others also received bonuses ranging from $1,500-$8,400.

Inspector General Michael Horowitz also revealed that DEA rules prohibited promotions or bonuses to those probed in wrongdoing for three years, though he didn’t find out why the bonuses were provided.

Well, there’s no need to determine why the bonuses were provided.  They were given because there is ZERO accountability in D.C. Mordor, an alternate universe where literally screwing around on the taxpayer’s dime gets you rewarded, not fired.

Other recent examples of this backwards incentive system at work:

It is any wonder that traditional and informed Americans hold their government is such low esteem?  Is it any wonder that the average patriotic taxpayer, like me, is thinking the only way accountability will ever be restored is if the citizenry rise up against their own entrenched elites?  I hate to say it, but that same self-serving ruling class has created a situation where it will not surprise me if, in my lifetime, a substantial number of ‘officials’ end up tarred and feathered, swinging from lamposts or targeted in general as a warning to the others.  Note that I am not advocating such — just saying that when the game is as rigged as it obviously now is, historically there are consequences.  When ‘representative government’ fails even to remotely represent anyone other than an isolated bunch of elite parasites bleeding the country dry, one should expect a response.  When the ‘intelligentsia’ work overtime to discredit honest discourse in search of the most appropriate and beneficial public policy, one should expect a response.

As a famous (but increasingly ignored) book says, “you reap what you sow,” whether Inspectors General are rendered toothless by corruption or not…

I agree with others who assess we are entering a new Dark Ages, devoid of true reason, Truth or the freedoms we came to take for granted over the past two centuries.  But I have this encouragement: provided the Lord does not return, He will always provide a remnant and the seeds for His Truth to regrow.  Sooner or later, Evil always overreaches itself.

Saturday Sounds

In this clip from a couple years ago, Judge Napolitano asks the questions we ALL need to be asking — five minutes’ worth of them.

Whether we like it or not, this is a period in history where everyone needs to be doing some serious soul searching.  If you don’t know what you stand for, and remain firmly rooted in it, the winds that are beginning to blow will be hard to withstand.

You aren’t free…

…when the government can seize your savings without warning, not because you’re doing anything wrong, but because they don’t like how you divide it up for management:

His parents owned a general store and grill, and McLellan began helping out there at the ripe old age of 9. Then, 14 years ago, McLellan decided to try his hand at the family business and purchased his own store in the heart of the Bible Belt, naming it L&M Convenience Mart.

Business has been good for McLellan, and though L&M, located in Fairmont, N.C., began as just a convenience store and gas station, he’s since expanded it to include a restaurant that serves hot dogs, hamburgers and catfish sandwiches…

What McLellan didn’t know, though, was that the federal government could come in and take away what he’d worked so hard for…

When McLellan arrived at the store, he met two federal agents dressed in suits who asked to speak with him in private. McLellan led the agents to L&M’s stock room, where they asked him if he knew of the term “structuring.”

He had no idea.

The federal agents then showed McLellan paperwork that included deposits to the store’s account at Lumbee Guaranty Bank. The statements showed two deposits made within a 24-hour period totaling $11,400.

The statements, they said, indicated he had a history of consistent cash deposits of less than $10,000, which is illegal.  ((But is absolutely none of the government’s business!!  — Jemison))

Then, the agents told the small business owner something that shook him to his core: The Internal Revenue Service had seized all of the money in L&M’s bank account: $107,702.66.

And when this sort of “civil asset forfeiture” occurs, NONE of your Constitutional protections apply.  You have to prove you AREN’T guilty of something (turning the justice system on its head in the process) in order to get ANY of your money back.  In the name of the “War on drugs,” Americans have come to accept shocking levels of legal abuse from their government.  As Plato said, “This and no other is the root from which a tyrant springs; when he first appears he is a protector.”  We ask Uncle Sam to protect us from crack dealers and terrorists… and this is what we get in return.

McLellan, the story indicates, is one of the few Americans willing to go to court to contest this action, rather than “cut a deal” with the authorities that lets them keep half or more of what they seized.  Path of least resistance, and all.  Lest you think this is an unusual case where “not all sides of the story are being told,” let me remind you, dear reader, that I’ve written about this before.  It’s common enough practice that I’m shocked there hasn’t been anti-government violence at this point.  I know this much: I don’t care if you wear a uniform or not, theft is theft.  And the patience of any people is not unlimited.

This is but one of the common abuses Americans now suffer at the hands of their government.  So expect more of these blog titles:  “You aren’t free…”   Because you aren’t.  The sooner the general public wakes up and understands that, the sooner we can start fixing the situation.  As they say in any 12-step program, recognizing you have a problem is the first step in the road to recovery.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to prepare for the first commercial flight I’ve taken in four years.  Until Americans as a group decide enough is enough, I suppose I can’t avoid the groping tentacles of TSA forever…