Size Does Matter; Just Ask Uncle Sam


Do you know how many federal agencies there are? Does anybody know? In the research that I have done, I can’t find a list of all the government agencies. I’m not even sure the government knows how many there are.

Do you know how many pages there are in the Federal Regulations Code? I do know the answer to that. Well, kind of. From what I have been able to research, it is almost 200,000 pages long. Yes, you read that correctly. If you printed the thing out and stacked it, it would be taller than a three story building. Do you even think for a moment that they even know what it says?

In our continuing coverage of Judge Andrew Napolitano’s five minutes worth of questions, we are now at questions number three and four. “What if the whole purpose of the Constitution was to limit the government?” “What if Congress’ enumerated powers in the Constitution no longer limited Congress but were used as a justification to extend Congress’s authority over every realm of human life?”


Let me see… The Founding Fathers were so adamant about protecting the people from their government that they wrote the Constitution, and specifically limited the roles of that same government. They believed that the more government that existed, the less liberty the people would enjoy.

Today, we have regulations that tell us what light bulbs we can and can’t buy, how much water our showers are allowed to sprinkle over our heads, what tests our children take in school, what licenses you have to have to be just about anything and… well, you get the idea. There is no part of our personal lives that is not affected by some kind of regulation. It’s like a cancer that has been caught in the late stages. It has spread and spread to the point that there is nothing we can do to stop it. Surgery, at this point, is not an option. Just like cancer cells are immortal, so is this invasion of bureaucracy. The only thing left to do is to keep the patient comfortable until her time comes.

How did this happen? How did we go from a nation based on liberty to living under this behemoth of a government? You would think that there is some long drawn out story about it all. But sadly, there isn’t. Of course there are exceptions, but if you just want to know, then follow the money. Do you really think that Congress just up and decided one day to ban incandescent light bulbs? Do you really think that they just decided that incandescent light bulb was a energy sucking monster and must be done away with? If you believe that, then you and I have nothing to talk about. Instead, let’s imagine that the corporations who made the incandescent light bulb saw that they could make much more money producing and selling LED light bulbs, but couldn’t get people to buy them because they were so much more expensive. Let’s imagine that they then went to Congress and said, “Psst. We need you outlaw incandescent light bulbs for us. Here is some money.” If you believe that, then I see a great future for our friendship. Don’t just take my word for it. Please, do your own research.

I’m only using the incandescent light bulb as an example because it is quite recent and has affected A LOT of people. And, it was all about the money. You can’t do anything in this country without having to pay money. You can’t get a driver’s license. You can’t get a fishing license. You can’t get a copy of the Federal Regulations. Hell, you can’t even renounce your U.S. citizenship without paying them money.

The government tells us we have to wear seat belts. It tells us we have to have health insurance. It tells us we have to follow their rules, or pay the price. It should be the other way around. We should be telling them what they can and can’t do. That is, after all, what the Founding Fathers intended when they wrote the Constitution. 


This is a Biggie.


You know about the Constitution, right? That document written all those years ago, when our country was just a babe, meant to enumerate and protect the rights we were all born with? Well, the Judge’s second question was, “What if the Constitution no longer applied?”

The thought alone should terrify anyone who knows anything about the Constitution. But what if I were to tell you that the Constitution has not applied for years now? Decades even. What would you say then?

Let me give you an example. You all know what happened on September 11, 2001. But what happened after that was, in fact, an ever bigger tragedy. I know, I know. More than 3000 people lost their lives that day. What could be worse than that? It was a terrible thing. I agree completely. Don’t yell at me just yet.

Less than a week after the attack, bills were introduced in Congress designed to combat terrorism. Those bills morphed into the Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism (USA PATRIOT ACT) Act of 2001. It should have been called the “Let’s gut the Constitution because a bunch of crazy people attacked us” Act, but I digress.

This final bill was introduced to the House of Representatives on October 21, 2001. It passed the House 357-66 on October 24, passed the Senate 98-1 on October 25, landed on the president’s desk that same day and he signed it into law on October 26. The bill was 363 pages. 57,896 words. Yep. Now, considering that there were fewer than 30 working days between the attacks and the day the bill was introduced, that was some pretty fast writing. But, again, I digress.

Moving on. Let me give you the shotgun version of what the “Patriot Act” accomplished. Listen up.

“To assist in terror investigation”, the “Patriot Act” allows for:

  • The monitoring of religious and political institutions without suspecting criminal activity. (Translation: wire taps without warrants.)
  • The removal of once public government information, the closing of once public hearings, and the resisting of public information requests. (Translation: what you don’t know can’t hurt you.)
  • The prosecution of librarians or keepers of public records for revealing information about records that have been subpoenaed. (Does this really need a translation? Prosecution of librarians? Really?)
  • The monitoring of conversations between attorneys and their clients, and denying Americans legal representation. (Translation: that pesky little Miranda thing? “You are entitled to an attorney…” Ha.)
  • The search and seizure of Americans’ papers and effects without probable cause and without a warrant. (Uh, there are not words.)
  • The imprisonment of Americans indefinitely without a trial and without being charged or being able to face their accusers. (This just gets better and better, right?)

Well, actually, no it doesn’t. I could go on and list more, but I think you get the idea. If you would like to read further, you can always go here:

My point here is that the Constitution really doesn’t apply any more. Sure, we can moan and groan and say they are violating our rights, but, seriously, who is there to stop them? The government decided, long ago, that they controlled what and which “rights” they wanted to let us have, and when they care to let us have them. The rights our status as human beings gave us, and the framers of our government tried to protect for us, are now only privileges, dispensed by the autocracy at their convenience, revoked at their whim.

So, what if the Constitution no longer applied? We are already there, people. We are already there.

But will it keep you out of Heaven?


Yesterday I spoke to the LGBT community. Today, I’m talking to the Christians.

Sigh. I’m so tired of having this conversation. I’m so tired of Christians using the Bible as an excuse to be assholes. I’m so tired of arguing with my family members about this. I’m just tired of it. But here goes.

I know by now I shouldn’t be, but I am constantly amazed at the hatred and intolerance I see every day when it comes to gays and lesbians. If you are a Christian, your number one rule should be NOT TO JUDGE. Period. You should worry about your own “sins” instead of damning others.

At no point should yours or anyone else’s religious beliefs dictate legislation in this country. No one, and I mean no one should be kept from having a marriage ceremony simply because your religious book says it is a sin. If we allow religion to dictate public policy, where does it stop? When people of the Islamic faith start demanding Sharia law be implemented? Hmm?

A gay couple pledging their love for one another with a ceremony and a ring IN NO WAY infringes on your right to be straight. They aren’t hurting you. They just want to live their lives and be happy like everyone else.

At no point will anyone in the LGBT community keep you from going to heaven. Them being gay should be no skin off your nose. It doesn’t affect you. They aren’t hurting you. In any way. Hell, you could even choose to be friends with one of them. GASP. What a concept. Imagine what you could accomplish by treating every one with the same respect that you treated your friends from church. You can attract a lot more flies with honey. Ya know?

I was raised in a Christian faith. I know what the Bible says. I know that it says homosexuality is a sin. An abomination. See, though, here’s the deal. The Bible says a lot of stuff that you don’t pay any attention to. Why is the LGBT community such a target for you?

Let’s talk a little bit about what else the Bible says. It says that if you marry, you are married to that person for the rest of your lives. It says that if you divorce that person, and remarry someone else then you are committing adultery. When you are screening customers in your place of business, do you ask if they are divorced? If you own a florist, and refuse to do flowers for a same-sex wedding, do you also refuse to do flowers for a couple who are both divorced? No? Why the hell not? They are all sinners in the eyes of the Lord. According to you. 

While I still support you right to deny service to whomever you choose, I feel that your reasons for choosing are quite hypocritical. If you are going to deny service to gays based on your religious beliefs, then shouldn’t you also deny service to other sinners? You could even deny service to barefoot child in search of an ICE E if you choose. If their money isn’t good enough for you, they can always go somewhere else. But my question to you is this: why? Will it keep you out of heaven? Will it damage your relationship with your god?

Actually, if you were truly a Christian, you would treat all sinners with the same respect you would someone from your church. Did Jesus treat sinners any differently? Aren’t Christians supposed to be emulating Jesus? Trying to be like Him? Well, if you are trying to be like Him, some of you are failing miserably.

Let’s talk about those pesky little religious freedom bills. I get the premise behind them. I get that you shouldn’t be sued for being assholes and denying service to someone simply because they are gay. You already had the right to deny service in your business to whomever you pleased. The courts seem to have forgotten what the Constitution says when they allowed some of those lawsuits. I get it. But do you understand what a storm those laws are going to start? Do you?

Let’s say that I owned a place of business and beside my “No Shirt, No Shoes, No Service” sign, I decide to put a “No Methodists Allowed” sign. Let’s just say I’m doing it because I’m Church of Christ and everyone knows the C of C believes they are the only ones going to heaven. So in my opinion, everyone else is going to hell and I shouldn’t have to serve you. Makes perfect sense, right? Right?

Would you put a sign in your window that says:

“No Catholics allowed”

“We do not do business with Protestants”

“No Muslims”

“Blacks not allowed”

“Absolutely No Gays”

It wasn’t too long ago that there were signs that said “Whites Only” or “Dogs and Irish Not Allowed.”

When and where does it stop?

Please tell me, because I’m really sick of having this conversation. Some Christians are acting decidedly UnChristian-like and it makes Christians everywhere look like a bunch of hate-mongers. Yes, I said it. What are you prepared to do to change it? Because, like I said, making a cake for a gay couple will not jeopardize your place in heaven if you indeed have one. 

I know that all Christians aren’t like this. I know that the majority of Christians are more tolerant, more humane — and most Christian business owners are more intelligent — than the vocal minority that helped start this whole uproar.
But to the moralistic bigots in the crowd that insist on being bigots, here’s your sign.

“…But the greatest of these is love.” 

Shouldn’t we all just love one another?

You can’t have it both ways… And this is still America.


To the LGBT community:

Disclaimer: I love y’all. One of my best friends is a gay man who I completely adore. My uncle is a gay man who looks at me as the daughter he never had, and I adore him as well. I have no ill thoughts against anyone who identifies as LGBT. If I owned a flower shop and a gay couple came in to buy flowers for their wedding I would be all over that shit. I would make the most gorgeous flowers they had ever seen. I don’t care who you marry, as long as you are happy, and pay the bill.

Do I think you should be discriminated against? Of course not. Do I think you should have the same rights as hetero couples and be allowed to marry and carry each other on your respective insurances? Absolutely. Do I believe that you have the right to live the life you choose, without any interference from a church or the government? You damn skippy. You can have as many husbands and/or wives as you want. You mind your business and I’ll mind mine.

There. We got that out of the way. Now, here comes the hard part. You can’t have it both ways. You can’t expect to be free to do what you want with whomever you want and not give a person with religious convictions the same courtesy. You see, I don’t believe that a person who owns a florist should be forced to do the flowers for your same-sex wedding if their religious convictions are such that they believe what you are doing is wrong. This is still America. Religious freedom and all that. The government doesn’t tell us that we have to worship in a certain church. The government doesn’t tell us which god to worship. The government doesn’t tell you who you can and can’t sleep with.  You shouldn’t expect to go into a bakery and force that person to make a cake for your wedding just because you are gay and you say he or she should. You shouldn’t be allowed to sue said baker because he or she refused to make a cake for you based on their religious convictions. Get over it. Go to another baker. It’s that simple.

Let’s play a game, shall we? Let’s say that there is a Jewish photographer. He is a really good photographer and people hire him all the time to take pictures. Let’s say that there is going to be a Neo-Nazi rally in that photographer’s town and the “event coordinators” (I know this is a stretch, work with me here) call the Jewish photographer to hire him to take pictures of the rally. Do you think that Jewish photographer should be forced to cover that rally? No matter what he believes? Well, hell no, he shouldn’t. Jeezus. Come on, people. Be reasonable. You can’t expect the government to force him to take pictures at that rally any more than you can expect the government to force a baker to bake you a cake for your same-sex wedding, any more than you can expect the government to tell you that you can’t have sex with your partner. Whomever he or she may be.

If a baker refuses to bake you a cake, or a florist refuses to do your flowers, you have another recourse. You can go to another bakery, and another florist. You can post a rant on Facebook and tell all your friends. Your friends can then decide if they want to continue giving those businesses their patronage. It’s called a free market for a reason. The government can’t tell you what florist to go to. If you don’t like one, go to another. It’s just common sense. Like I said, get over it.

Now, here’s the rub. These religious freedom laws that are being passed are ridiculous. We are already supposed to have religious freedom. We are already supposed to have free speech. They are little things called natural rights, granted to us because we are human beings and protected for us by the Constitution. I don’t agree with devil worshipers, but they damn well have a right to worship whoever they damn well chose. Another law will not make religious freedom any more established or secure. Another law will only give the government more power!

To those who are comparing the religious freedom laws to Jim Crow laws that were in effect before the civil rights movement, hear me out. Those laws were put in place to force businesses to discriminate. The fact that the businesses agreed with the laws was and is irrelevant. There was a law on the books that said blacks had to sit in the back of a bus. That blacks couldn’t sit at lunch counters or use public facilities deemed for whites only. These religious freedom laws allow for businesses to refuse service to anyone for whatever reason without repercussions. If a overly obese man goes into a Chinese buffet, and grazes for four hours, that Chinese restaurant can say, “You go home now” if they so chose. They should be allowed to do so without having to worry about the obese man filing a lawsuit.

You walk up to the door of a business and it says “No shirt, no shoes, no service.” Gasp. They are discriminating against barefoot people. I spent a great deal of my childhood walking to the 7-Eleven down the street from my grandma’s house in Florida barefoot as a yard dog to get an ICE E. The guy that owned the 7-Eleven never told me get out because I didn’t have any shoes on. He knew I was there to buy an ICE E and he wanted my money. If a business wants your money, they will make that cake for you. If they don’t want your money, if your money isn’t good enough for them, then go your ass to a bakery who has better sense. It’s that simple.

Yes, this is going open doors that we wish we hadn’t opened. It is going to open the doors for all kinds of discrimination. It is going to allow people to show their true colors as the bigots they are. As repugnant and distasteful as I find that, this is America. Warts and all. The fact that the Ku Klux Klan still exists in this country is deplorable to me, but the fact that they have a right to exist if they so choose is not. As much as their existence disgusts me, there’s not a thing I want the government to do about it. Therein lies TYRANNY.

I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.      -Evelyn Beatrice Hall

Until next time.

The 17th Amendment to the Constitution: The beginning of the end

we the people

Now hold on a minute. I know what you’re thinking. 1913 was the worst year ever? The 17th Amendment was the beginning of the end? Well, yes. On both accounts. 1913 was the worst year ever for several reasons, and we are going to cover those reasons in the next few blogs. The 17th Amendment is only ONE of the reasons. Hear me out.

We have heard a multitude of people who keep clamoring for term limits for legislators. The term limit proponents say that if legislators were not allowed to stay in office for more than, say, two terms, then they would be less likely to be in the pockets of the big corporations. Term limits are not the solution because term limits are not the problem. Term limits is like taking aspirin for a brain tumor. You might feel a little better but you are still going to die.

Originally the Constitution provided for the citizens of a state to be represented by their members in the House of Representatives, directly elected by the people of that state for a two year term. The senators were selected according to state law, (appointed by vote in the state legislature or appointed by the governor with advice and consent of the state legislature) for a term of six years. The senator might be selected from the state legislature’s membership, from a list maintained by the governor or from completely outside government, as frequently happened. Did you get that? The senators were appointed, NOT ELECTED by the public. 

Article 1, Section. 2.The House of Representatives shall be composed of Members chosen every second Year by the People of the several States,

Article 1, Section. 3.The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each State, chosen by the Legislature thereof [Modified by Amendment XVII], for six Years;

Essentially, the Senate was designed to represent the interests of the state governments in Washington while the House represented the interests of the citizens of the states.

That all changed with the ratification of the 17th Amendment in May of 1913. It provided for the direct election of senators and effectively left the governors and legislatures without a voice in D.C. The Senate no longer answered to the states but to the citizens. State laws, prior to 1913, allowed governors or legislatures to change their senator at the end of the senator’s six year term. If the governor’s office or the legislative majority changed party then the change in the states senators was essentially guaranteed. That was a true bicameral government. If the bicameral system still existed, then the state governments could put a stop to any type of insanity Washington D.C. might come up with.

Unfunded mandates (a decree from the feds without any funding to pay for it) such as Obamacare would not happen. The governors could say “not just no, but hell no!” The tax rates and IRS would not be out of control. The governors could say “not just no, but hell no!” All the abusive acts by the federal government would not have happened. Governors and state legislatures can be easily changed by the voters. (I could go on and on, but I won’t. Use your imagination.) Alexander Hamilton noted in Federalist [paper] No. 59 that, “The interest of each State, it may be added, to maintain its representation in the national councils, would be a complete security against an abuse of the trust.” That representation ended with the ratification of the Seventeenth Amendment.

Equally importantly, since senators would not be elected by the general population then term limits of either federal legislative body would be moot.

It should be noted that Progressives in the early 1900s stated on more than one occasion that the states’ power to appoint senators stood in the way of implementing their agenda. The direct election of senators became the primary goal of William Jennings Bryan and other influential Progressives. They succeeded in 1913 with the ratification of Seventeen. It has been downhill for the American Dream since then. Woodrow Wilson and William Jennings Bryan led the charge to water down our bicameral system. The progressives knew their agenda would never happen if the states had the ability to stop it. I won’t go into the reasons for the 17th other than to mention that corruption in the appointment process was used as one of the primary argument in favor of the amendment.  Even though reforms at the state level could have corrected the corruption issues, that would not have facilitated the fundamental change in the government that the Progressives were seeking. They used high explosives to solve the problem when a surgical solution was really all that was needed.

Also, importantly, the rise of the influence of lobbyists in D.C. can be traced directly to the direct election of senators. Power abhors a vacuum and something had to fill the power vacuum left when the states were cut out of the federal government. This played right into the hands of the lobbyists working for the big corporations who were flush with new power (thanks to the 1886 Supreme Court ruling about corporate personhood), allowing them to only have to worry about “buying” two senators for each state rather than hundreds of representatives in the state legislatures. The fundamental change the Progressives were seeking happened in a big way. Sound familiar?

Until next time.

Who is this “They” everyone keeps talking about?


Who the hell is “They”?

Seriously. We hear it all the time. We use it all the time. Who is this “They” we’re always bitching about?

“They” are gonna come take our guns! “They” are watching all of us! “They” control the government. “They” think we’re stupid. “They” are too powerful. “They” want to take away our rights.

“They” ad infinitum, ad nauseum.

So, again, who the hell is “They”?

“They” are the 537 elected plus 12 appointed-for-life asses polishing chairs in DC, and the thousands of elected and appointed asses polishing chairs in the state governments. And “They” are the seven-plus million federal and state employees who work for them, and the countless thousands of county and city officials and the people who work for them. “They” are your local school board and your Home Owners’ Association, and the rent-a-cop at the mall.

“They” are anyone who has taken the power to tell us “You can’t do that” and/or “You must do this”, and can lock you up or even shoot you if you fail to comply.

“They” are also the same ones we mean when we say “Somebody”, as in “Somebody should do something about <insert topic here>.”

Ooops! Ain’t that just a kick in the head? We’re real good about crying over losing our rights, and the big bad “They” stealing from us but “They” are the first ones we invoke when we don’t like something that’s going on.

You don’t get it both ways, people. No cake and eat it too available here. If you want “They” to stop trampling all over your rights, you’ve got to let go of “Somebody” too. And you know how to do that – but you won’t do it. You haven’t done it yet, I don’t think you’ll do it now. To let go of “Somebody” and to kick “They” out, you’re going to have to do things yourself, for yourself.

That’s the price of having a nanny state, y’all. If you want the government hand-outs and the government protection, and government telling other people what they can or can’t do, then you have to accept the government control of your life, too. You can’t have it any other way.

If you want liberty, if you want freedom, then you have to pay for it with actual work. With being involved in your own damned destiny. Get up off your lazy ass and go find out what’s going on at your school board meeting, at your city council meeting. Go meet your state representative. Find out if he’s really as big an asshole as you think he is, and let him know you don’t trust him and have your eye on him.

Vote, fergawdsake! If you don’t want to take the time to do your homework and figure out WHO or WHAT to vote for, I’ll give you the short course in exercising your civic duty. The incumbent is usually listed first – so vote for whoever is listed second, on anything else, vote ‘no’.


Simple as that.

Oh, you don’t vote because if you register they’ll call you for jury duty? First off, that’s part of getting up off your lazy ass and getting involved. But, if you really want out of jury duty, it’s easy: show up the first day with a Fully Informed Jury Association pamphlet in hand. They’ll send you home so fast it’ll make you dizzy.

If you aren’t willing to get involved, to live some other way than as a sheep, then just settle into your recliner with the remote control holster and beer can holder, crank up Duck Dynasty and the football game, and accept the fact that you’re no better than all the welfare mooches you’re always griping about.

I’m just totally fed up with all of you.

What happened to civic duty and virtue?

Charlie's tag

“Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom…must undergo the fatigue of supporting it.”

                                                                                                                                        -Thomas Paine


Civic duty and virtue… Let me tell you about a friend. Let’s call him George.

Blue collar, no post high school education; he’s worked as a union plumber at the university for six years now, and it’s the best job he has ever had.

He is also an alderman for his town of 350 people. He is integral to their annual festival event (which he was instrumental to bringing back after a 15 year hiatus). He previously served on the school board (they have a k-8 school) and his mom voluntarily served as a temporary mayor when the elected guy quit abruptly.

This town has a single part time deputy from the county sheriff’s department, a volunteer fire department, and one stop light.

Aside from the deputy, his town doesn’t pay any of the officials; they are all voluntary duties. George spends a minimum of several hours each week dealing with town business; often it is more than that, especially if he has to handle a problem with the sewer system or other utility. Keep in mind, he still has his full-time job.

George doesn’t do this because he is an individual in pursuit of self interest; he does it out of civic duty to the common good. He does it out of a sense of responsibility to his community and the people who live there.
That is what America has lost! We lost it because we handed everything over to corporate type management systems, we entrusted our “common good” to managerial systems that we assumed were rational. Essentially, we gave up our genuine individualism by allowing someone else to handle everything for us.
We conformed.
What is wrong with America isn’t apathy. It isn’t uninformed voters. It isn’t passiveness. What is wrong is a system of corporatism that has infiltrated democracy. While that was happening right under our noses, we lost sight of individual civic responsibility to our common good because the narrative was replaced with the concept of self interest.
President Reagan was wrong; government can’t be the problem; because we are the government, collectively. However, we gave up our claim to government and handed those responsibilities to corporate-like groups. Those corporate groups dictate almost every aspect of our lives, and are dictating legislation as well.
Taking it back is our only solution. The only way to do that is to change our perspective to an appreciation for our individual civic duty in pursuit of a shared common purpose.

Charlie’s Corner

Charlie's tag

Every once in awhile we get a carrier pigeon from our friend, Charlie. Here’s what he had to say after seeing our ‘Four Horsemen’ post the other day:

Charlie’s Corner

One might wonder, what differences these Four Horsemen actually make, what is the result of their combined contributions. Well, look around, friend; their accomplishments are both readily apparent in our society today and evident in the historical record of societies that have preceded us. I suppose their most obvious achievements include three influential considerations that deserve examination, decadence, apathy and hypocrisy.

As we awaken to the decadence surrounding us today, it is important to remember this is nothing new.
The debauchery and corruption of social elites is common just before any collapse, as in the endearing Roman Republic our Founding Fathers wished to emulate, and its final imperial decline. Is today’s penchant plutocrat any different from those Roman elites whose unquenchable greed stimulated the fall of Pax Romana?

For example, 29 percent of America’s largest corporations now pay their CEO more in salary than they pay in Federal taxes. In fact, just seven of these firms earned a collective $74 billion in pre-tax profits, paid no taxes, and received $1.9 billion in tax refunds from the IRS (and those of us who did pay taxes last year). At the standard corporate tax rate of 35%, this amounts to an American loss of $27.8 billion (that is 27.8 thousand millions) in revenue. Obviously, this tax system doesn’t make paying their CEO’s an average of $32 million last year seem too difficult. The ten largest merger deals will earn those CEO’s involved a whopping $430 million in severance alone, thus making a $94 million luxury penthouse in Manhattan and a 32.5 million-penthouse vacation getaway at the Porsche Design Tower in South Florida seem reasonable. Be looking for the $250,000 Cadillac to compete with the half-million Rolls or Bentley, it is coming soon.

Meanwhile, folks like us whose labor earns $80,000 this year bear the same tax burden as someone receiving $5 million per week, yes, per week. We suffer the limitation of deferring no more than $18,000 per year in 401(k) contributions, yet these chief executives enjoy privileged corporate retirement plans that allowed one former CEO to invest 14 million last year alone, and save almost 7 million in personal taxes.

What roll does apathy play in an Interrupted Republic? Easy enough just ask yourself how many Americans bothered to show up at the polls a few weeks ago. Does the lowest voter turnout in nearly a century indicate a loss of interest? Perhaps differentiation between voters and their representatives holds a key. Just 6% of legislators have at any time held a blue-collar job, converse to 56% of Americans holding one today. Alternatively, consider median net worth and annual income, I’m afraid we’d be hard pressed to find a representative who doesn’t far exceed the national average. Add to this the more recent rise of oligarchy via refuted campaign finance regulations; are we surprised when our representatives cater to their donors, whose donation isn’t disclosed and has no ceiling?

More importantly, I suspect the apathy rises from our imagined future. The fact that a person with a four-year college degree earns, on average, 98 percent more than those without one; yet 46 percent of recent graduates now work in jobs that don’t require degrees and that means something here, particularly when coupled to the rise in education costs and student debt taking first place in terms of total dollars borrowed. This suggests that wages for those without a degree are shrinking; advancement in developing nations allows outsourcing of jobs and technology simply eliminates them. It is a straightforward supply and demand curve, demand drops and incomes stagnate. In any case, not a promising proposition for those aspiring to join the middle class and certainly the emergence of our second horseman.

This brings us to hypocrisy. The hypocrisy of tax loopholes that allows the largest earners to pay lower effective tax rates than the median American. Better yet, the hypocrisy of a system that enables the top 500 corporations to spend 54 percent of their profits buying back their own stock (rather than paying taxes) and inflating their net worth and the CEO’s rewards, more or less another example of the first horseman, debased money. The hypocrisy that our CEO’s are job creators, were that the case, wouldn’t they be accountable for destroying them, as the second horseman indicates. Doesn’t the fact that these people now pay themselves 500 times more than any other employee in their organization, illustrate the point? Or, perhaps, the hypocrisy that regular Americans are represented in their government, at all. Clearly, our third horseman holds its own hypocrisy, how can we imagine patriotism and a collective national interest when our largest institutions are stripping away our national wealth and borrowing our children’s future to ensure their corporate profits; multinational corporations whose products and services are global, and whose share holders are as well. Is it beginning to sound like the fourth horseman is already here, just look around. The hypocrisy of a free press is evident in the fact that just five of these multinational corporations now control 85 percent of our “free” press. Now doesn’t that sound as if the control of information might favor these elites and their cronies? I’m afraid the oligarchy is here, plutocrats have the reins and are driving the horses to the very edge, the Republic is on the precipice.


The Four Horsemen


There is a saying that goes something like “Those who neglect the past have no future.” There is another one that says, “Those who do not learn from the past are destined to repeat it.” There are several variations of them. All are equally correct.

History tells us that every great nation has fallen, in one way or another, eventually. A few of them lasted significant periods of times, measured in centuries, but all, even the greatest, even the largest and most powerful, fell and were consumed. Many of them fell to invaders, but only after weakening themselves beyond repair first. Looking back, examining their past, before they collapsed, can tell us where our own nation is in that inevitable cycle.

There are warning signs; there are signals that repeat in these nations’ histories. Not every sign is present in all of them, but all of them share at least some of those signals, enough in fact, that everyone should be standing up and paying attention.

There are four signals that are most common. We are going to call these signs the Four Horsemen. You know. The symbolism and all. Blame the English teacher. It doesn’t really matter which one is which, so don’t ask. They are all bad.

Horseman number one is the most popular; he has been invited to all the best parties. He is Debased Currency. All his friends call him Fiat. Now, for those of you who don’t know what fiat currency is, let me make it simple for you. Ole Fiat keeps writing checks. He writes checks his butt can’t cash. In other words, he doesn’t have anything in the bank. What he does have is a printer is his basement. As long as people keep accepting his checks, he’s fine. Eventually, though, they are going to demand a different form of payment. Then, he’s screwed. Any country that keeps printing money with nothing in the bank to back it up, is just looking for trouble.

I won’t go into detail here; the documentation is easily available. The list of nations guilty of this is long. The important thing to note is that at no time, never, ever in human history, has a nation, a society, survived debasing its currency by more than two hundred years.



No exceptions.

Any and every people who have ever ‘fiddled with’ their money have destroyed themselves by doing it. Nor has any nation, that we can discover, once set on this path, ever reversed their actions and saved themselves from disaster.

Horseman number two comes in when there is a decline in productivity; industry, manufacturing, agriculture and the like. He has a few names, but we know him best as Unemployment. He includes in his minions those who leave the workforce willingly, to sit at home. No nation that allowed its non-productive population to outnumber and/or overpower its producers survived for more than a few decades after that Horseman came to town.

It is not coincidence that the first Horseman, Ole Fiat, enables a society to at least temporarily support the ‘takers’, at the expense of the ‘makers’ much longer than it can last with a sound monetary system.

A third Horseman is a lost national identity. We will call him Ex-Pat. Once a common identity, a consistent national ethos, is diluted the society is doomed. When the population devolves into separate cultural identities, a “we-versus-them” mentality prevails. There is no unity, only diversity and division. A society of people who fear, mistrust and hate one another cannot function together and make a nation.

In other words, when Patriotism dies, the country isn’t far behind.

The final Horseman, and this is a biggie, is the enslavement (or attempted enslavement) of the masses by an elite. This is where the kings and the bankers come in.

Or even the career politicians and the corporate overlords.

When CEOs, thirty-year Senators, and billionaires position themselves above and immune from the laws that govern the general population, particularly a population who was once free of such control, destruction follows. People can and will only take so much. When the elite stop caring about the masses and use them only as tools rather than seeing them as human beings, it’s over. The fat lady, or Horseman, in this case, has sung. In some instances, the collapse has been deferred for lengths of time, sometimes even centuries. Yet eventually, inevitably, the people will have had enough.

These Four Horsemen are the tipping points that signal a nation is in its death-throes. History tells us that once reached, there is no turning back, no salvation. We will be back to discuss this again. Think on it a while.

Until next time. Later, y’all.

Ahem…About Yesterday’s Post…


See, it’s like this: My name isn’t Jonathan Gruber. I don’t think you’re stupid. (Except for you, over there. Yeah, you. You know who I’m pointing at. Troll.) That’s why yesterday’s blog post wasn’t easy light reading. I know, I know; you’re out of the habit of having to actually think about what someone is telling you. That doesn’t mean you can’t.

This is important stuff, y’all. A big part of finding solutions to problems is to understand what caused the problems in the first place. Sometimes that means going further back than you’d expect, digging deeper than is easy or convenient, and uncovering the foundations. Yesterday’s post was political archeology. Trust me; I could have dug a whole lot deeper and gone into a whole lot more detail.

Maybe I could have made it more entertaining. I’m not sure how, exactly, but I figure what we’re talking about is too important to turn it into a “Schoolhouse Rock” episode. If that’s what you want — well, maybe you are part of the problem. We told you up front: there ain’t no ‘easy’ button for this crap.

You might have come to the conclusion that we’re fixated on an opinion of corporations being the one true root of all evil. We’re not. They aren’t. But I’m here to tell you that corporations – some corporations, a LOT of corporations – are a big, big part of the issues and problems we face today, and we’d damn sure better come up with a way to deal with them.

I admit it: I’m no good at snark. My main partner in crime around here is, though. She’s got enough of that for the both of us, I hope. She can make people laugh. Me, not so much. About the only people who appreciate my sense of humor are other old Marines and grunt-types like that, and we’re not here for barracks humor.

So that’s as close as you’re gonna get to an apology for yesterday’s boring-ass post. Take it or leave it.

Carry on.