Trick or Treat!

It's the boy's day today. Don't expect too much out of me.



Spent the night reminding the children I was shepherding that they had to say "Trick or Treat" if they wanted a treat. While doing this I stumbled across more than a few houses with front porch lights on, and nobody home to answer the door.

Back in the day, we would have taken that as an invitation to be tricked; a job that we came equipped to do, on a general basis. Wax or soap for the windows. Toilet paper for the trees. Some of the more vicious pranks (which I never pulled myself) involved bags of dogshit being lit on fire on porches, for the owners to find and attempt to stomp out.

My uncle told me stories of a life size dummy that he created, and used as a prank for many years. Dropping it out of trees in front of pedestrians (the best ones were generally carrying groceries. The resultant explosion of foodstuffs when the bags were hurled into the air were always good for a laugh) dragged behind his car, or propped up in door ways to fall in on the homeowner when they answered the door.

Life was more fun then.

I was contemplating this when I came across one home with all the exterior lights on and a large notice pinned to the door:
"We do not celebrate Halloween, and we do not have any candy. Do not ring our doorbell."
On the one hand I thought Idiot, just leave your lights off; but on the other I was contemplating the reaction that would have occured had previous rules of conduct concerning Halloween been inflicted upon them.

Next year I'm going to make up signs of my own, to pin to the doors of the spoil sports who leave their lights on when they have no intention to participate in festivities.

Attention: This is your Trick for failure to Treat.
Consider yourself properly TP'd and your windows soaped.
And...
You are standing in a burning bag of dogshit.


Happy Halloween!

Probably get myself thrown in jail. Terroristic threats or something, I'm sure. It's all in the name of good fun, right?

Polling Point - More Point Than Poll

Got an invite to do a Polling Point poll again a few days ago. This one, while more in depth than most, was still as infantile as most of the previous ones have been. So I decided to wax poetic in the "what can we do to improve this poll" dialog box.



Political views cannot be accurately expressed on a left-right line. It is a basic mathematical principle that it takes (at least) two bits of data to place something on a graphical scale. The only logical political scale that has ever been created is this one: World's Smallest Political Quiz

Additionally, there are far more than two candidates for the office of governor in Texas. There are at least 5, including two independents and a Libertarian. Everyone even slightly tuned into the news knows this. There are three candidates for house district 25, as even the Wiki shows http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Texas's_25th_congressional_district.

I have grave doubts as to the nature of this poll, and strongly suspect (as I have for many other Polling Point polls) that the questions are weighted in an attempt to skew the results.

When I responded to the question of party affiliation that I was "Other:Libertarian" I was presented with two pages of wheedling, a transparent attempt to skew my views into one of the left-right camps. I am in neither camp, I am a libertarian; a free-thinking, tax hating, liberty loving individual; and I resent the juvenile approach to politics that insists there is only one right answer to a problem, and two parties are enough to cover all answers.

If you can't construct polls that attempt to take all views into account, then you devalue the worth of your own polls. It only makes good business sense, from a pollster's standpoint, to create the most unbiased polls possible.

That would be an unprecedented improvement in my history of taking polls at Polling Point.




2017; There is a game theory explanation as to why any choices other than the top two are irrelevant in standard plurality voting methods; but addressing that here would just be clouding the legitimate complaint as to why the polls would not include minority view candidates. 

Cheapskate Technical Woes

So I'm helping The Wife tonight. She's trying to get some customer's computer systems out the door. One of the systems is being extra problematic; an archaic old system that is older than The Son (he's 8) running Windows 98 (not even SE) IE 4.0; and, no lie, a flat panel monitor.

[It's like buying a new wagon for the dead mule to pull. But what do I know?]

Microsoft is no help, you can't even get on their site with IE 4.0 these days.

Firefox says it will run, but after bashing our heads against the error "oleaut32.dll:77" I ran a Google search and came up with this:

http://www.faqts.com/knowledge_base/view.phtml/aid/15670
The problem indicates you do not have the complete OLEAUT32.dll file -
either you're running Windows 95 or an older version of Windows98. Go
to Microsoft's website and download the DCOM upgrade package depending
on the version of Windows you have got (alternatively just search for
DCOM on Google or something) - the current link that I have is
http://www.microsoft.com/com/resources/downloads.asp

Once you have run this update, this will update your OLEAUT32 dll for
you, and php should run without the error.
Having nothing else to loose, we installed the Dcom update and were finally sucessfull running Firefox 2.0; which allowed us to access the Windows update site and install the remainder of the Win98 patches, including IE 6. Problem solved, out the door it goes.

Never mind the system is worth less than the time we spent fixing it. Ah, the sweet taste of victory.

Is it a Cult, or Just the Average Family?

The following article was cited as an authority for determining if the group you are thinking about joining is a cult or not.


FWIW, any group organized around an idea can be labeled a cult. Libertarianism, Real Money, Environmentalism, etc. Someone quite rightly labeled the board this was posted on as a cult. I just used FWIW (For What It's Worth) a type of special language developed for conversations with 'those in the know', a telltale sign of 'cult like' behavior.

But are they cults? Cults are damaging to the individual, warping their individual will and stealing their wealth. People damage their lives spending too much time on the 'net, too much time volunteering for political efforts, etc. Is it really any different?

I don't like the term 'cult'. It's one of the words that gets applied simply to discredit an organization, prior to attempting to dismember it from the outside. Where does freedom of association fit into that sort of scenario?

With tongue firmly implanted in cheek, let's look at another 'cult' that is prevalent in society. The cult of Family.
TACTIC 1. The individual is prepared for thought reform through increased suggestibility and/or "softening up," specifically through hypnotic or other suggestibility-increasing techniques such as: A. Extended audio, visual, verbal, or tactile fixation drills; B. Excessive exact repetition of routine activities; C. Decreased sleep; D. Nutritional restriction.
New parents are subject to extreme sleep deprivation and nutritional restriction, and new routines are introduced and repeated frequently. Feeding times for a new baby occur every few hours for several months, interrupting all normal patterns of life previously known including sleeping and eating. Feeding, burping, diaper changing, etc. are all new routines which, while simple and easy to learn, must be repeated when the audio fixation drill (crying) occurs.
TACTIC 2. Using rewards and punishments, efforts are made to establish considerable control over a person's social environment, time, and sources of social support. Social isolation is promoted. Contact with family and friends is abridged, as is contact with persons who do not share group-approved attitudes. Economic and other dependence on the group is fostered. (In the forerunner to coercive persuasion, brainwashing, this was rather easy to achieve through simple imprisonment.)
New parents are frequently trapped in their own homes for months at a time, with only the new cult member for company. Former family members are excluded in favor of the new family member. Any former friends without children find themselves unable to connect to the new parent due to unfamiliarity with the new group attitude.
TACTIC 3. Disconfirming information and nonsupporting opinions are prohibited in group communication. Rules exist about permissible topics to discuss with outsiders. Communication is highly controlled. An "in-group" language is usually constructed.
A child so ugly you'd have to hang a steak around his neck to get the dog to play with him, will always be described as a "beautiful baby" in the presence of the new parent. Every new cult member (hereinafter referred to as 'the child') is a genius according to the parent, even if the child attempts to eat every object that he can get his hands on.

As for an in-group language, does the phrase 'baby talk' mean anything to you?
TACTIC 4. Frequent and intense attempts are made to cause a person to re-evaluate the most central aspects of his or her experience of self and prior conduct in negative ways. Efforts are designed to destabilize and undermine the subject's basic consciousness, reality awareness, world view, emotional control, and defense mechanisms as well as getting them to reinterpret their life's history, and adopt a new version of causality.
Every confrontation with the child causes the new parent to reflect on interactions with their parents, and to inevitably fail in comparison. Everything in the parents world is reoriented on the child and his safety, there is no other valid concern in existence. A parent can frequently be found hovering near windows and doors that provide a view of the child at sleep or at play, so strong is the concern for safety even in a house and yard known to be without serious threat.

This is caused by the fact that the genius child will attempt to eat anything he finds, and many things which the parent did not perceive as a threat previously, are in fact deadly when swallowed.

There is no life before children, once you have had children. Don't believe me? Try to remember a time without them. If you don't have children, ask the parent sitting next to you to remember.
TACTIC 5. Intense and frequent attempts are made to undermine a person's confidence in himself and his judgment, creating a sense of powerlessness.
If the average parent was paid a nickel for every time they heard "but Johnny's parents let him do it", there wouldn't be a need for social security. All grandparents would be rich people. This is not to mention the tantrums, the wheedling and cajoling that goes on in addition to the citations of the superiority of other children's parents.

When the attempts to undermine the parents judgment meet with failure, disobedience on the subject simply underlines the powerlessness of the parent.
TACTIC 6. Nonphysical punishments are used such as intense humiliation, loss of privilege, social isolation, social status changes, intense guilt, anxiety, manipulation and other techniques for creating strong aversive emotional arousals, etc.
You have no clue what humiliation is until your child is dusting the supermarket floor with his backside in a screaming fit because you won't get him the cereal he wants.

This tactic is, in essence, the same as tactic two. Imprisonment could be considered a holiday compared to colic and 4 am feedings. Social isolation and status changes? Gimme a break.

TACTIC 7. Certain secular psychological threats [force] are used or are present: That failure to adopt the approved attitude, belief, or consequent behavior will lead to severe punishment or dire consequence, (e.g. physical or mental illness, the reappearance of a prior physical illness, drug dependence, economic collapse, social failure, divorce, disintegration, failure to find a mate, etc.).
Fail to do your part with the child, and the other parent will make you wish you had a drug dependency to fall back on as a crutch. All of the listed consequences can and will be used as threats by either parent to ensure the continued support of the child.

Additionally, the cult is perpetuated by the parent insisting on the need for grandchildren, which must be provided by the child as soon as it is of age to have children of it's own. All of the above tactics will be applied to the child in turn in order to ensure that the cult of family continues into the next generation...




Mea culpa review, 2017. I hate this entire flippant fucking post. If I hadn't made a pact with myself not to delete shit off this fucking blog this would be fucking gone in an instant. I wrote it and I can't even bring myself to read all the way through it. Chirpy, stupid, juvenile, simplistic, saccharine bullshit.

I think that pretty much covers it. I could go on and tell my old self just what I really think; you know, just not pull any punches, but I'm going to do this instead,
Polygamy was the norm in Carolyn Jessop's life. After all, her own father had three wives by the time she was in fourth grade. Her family was part of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS), a radical offshoot of the Mormon Church. But Jessop's own experience in the cult was so disturbing that she ran away with her eight children four years ago. Last month, the FLDS was in the news when its leader, Warren Jeffs, was found guilty of being an accessory to rape for forcing a 14-year-old girl in the group to marry her 19-year-old cousin. Jessop, 38, tells her extraordinary story in a riveting new book, Escape  
Time, Polygamy Survivor Carolyn Jessop 
 Here's another one,
As O'Shea tells it, Jones's idealism was a large part of what made him so lethal. He tapped into the zeitgeist of the late 1960s and 1970s, feeding on people's fears and promising to create a "rainbow family" where everyone would truly be equal. He was charismatic enough to lure hundreds of people to a South American jungle, where he cut off all their ties with the outside world. 
The Atlantic, Drinking the Kool-Aid: A Survivor Remembers Jim Jones
Another one,
If you have not heard of the Quiverfull movement, I’ll sum it up by saying that Quiverfull is an all-encompassing vision of a big, happy, godly family which affects every aspect of a so-called True Believer’s life. Probably the most recognizable Quiverfull family in America is reality TV’s Duggar family of 19 Kids and Counting fame. 
You’ll find Quiverfull families in nearly all types of churches in every community. Quiverfull is simply the “pro-life” idea that truly godly families will “trust the Lord” with their family planning. Children are viewed as unmitigated blessings (“As arrows in the hand of the mighty man, so are the children of ones youth, happy is the man who hath his quiver full of them:” Psalm 123), so couples are willing to have as many children as the Lord chooses. All methods of conception control are considered a lack of trust in God to provide for the “children of the righteous." 
At the heart of Quiverfull is patriarchy: the ideal of biblical headship and submission. This is the belief that by God’s perfect design, the father is the head of the home. The father serves as protector, provider and shepherd for his wife and children. He is primarily responsible for the wife’s and children’s physical, emotional and spiritual well-being and with such responsibility comes the (divinely granted) commensurate authority over the members of his household. According to this view, God works through the father and he serves as an intermediary for his wife and children. Honor, obedience and submission are highly valued qualities because they are necessary to maintain order and work together to accomplish the Lord’s vision for a godly family. 
This emphasis on patriarchy guarantees that, to the degree in which a Christian family puts Quiverfull ideals into practice, the family is living a dysfunctional relationship dynamic which necessarily involves mental, emotional and spiritual abuse. 
This was my life for over 16 years. Shunning birth control resulted in seven children, who we homeschooled and sheltered from “godless society.” But these days, I think Christian fundamentalism is just as bizarre as you do. After deconverting, I started a blog, No Longer Quivering, as a way to process my Quiverfull life and try to understand how I’d come to embrace such a fanatical lifestyle. Over time, NLQ has grown into a movement of women escaping and healing from spiritual abuse. I’ve met many people whose lives and families have been devastated by this ideology, and the stories they tell are heartbreaking. 
RawStory, Vyckie Garrison, How I spent 16 years in an abusive, conservative Christian cult — and finally escaped
You may well ask at this point, how many of these will you be posting examples from? I'm asking the same thing myself right now. I'm thinking, until I feel the guilt from ever having written this piece is at least evenly leavened. Given my tendency to self-abuse, that might be a good long while.

I'll let some unrepentant cult members have a say. They are unrepentant because they committed mass suicide together in 1997, believing that their essences would be captured by a spacecraft hidden in the tail of the comet Hale–Bopp,


H/T to Sam Harris' Waking Up podcast ep. #7 for the link to this video.

I remember when this happened pretty vividly, pretty much the same way I thought I remembered the events in Jonestown, Guyana. Thought I remembered them and still wrote this stupid fucking article.

(more to follow)

The most damning thing about this particular post is this; I wrote it at the time with the knowledge that the circles I was moving in were highly correlated with all the warning signs of cult behavior, and I refused to acknowledge it. I did not want my beliefs to be challenged. I wanted so fervently to be proven right about everything libertarians had been saying since libertarianism was founded in the 70's. But most of it is bullshit, has always been bullshit.

The parts that aren't bullshit? They are irrelevant due to the nature of power and the political systems none of us like but are stuck with anyway. If only we could agree on where to go from where we are now, we could fix most of the broken shit in the current system tomorrow. Too bad everyone is too busy screaming with their ears plugged to notice that no one is listening anymore. 

Nathon Fillion on Lost

Nathon Fillion (Mal on Firefly) will appear in the November 8th Episode of Lost, if rumors are to be believed.

I have to say that this season (third season) of Lost has definately got me more on edge early on than last season did. I'm wondering if they can keep up the tension. The only way I'll find out is if I keep watching, I guess.

Steele Penny Pub & Los Lonely Boys

This is a blog entry I've been threatening my brother with for a long time. I just can't put it off any longer though, not with The Stones playing in town tonight; and opening for The Stones (perhaps the oldest and still most popular rock band actively touring these days) one of the newest bands to hit the charts, Los Lonely Boys.

Last week they were featured at Austin City Limits Festival, and this week they are opening for The Stones. They've hit the big time, these three guys from San Angelo, thanks in no small part to my brother.

Why my brother? Let me tell you a story...

There was (and still is) a little place in San Angelo called the Steel Penny Pub, one of the few places in that town where you could go to get good cold beer and great live music. My brother opened the venue with the intention of creating a place for his band Hazytrane to play, only to discover that the demands of owning a business took up too much time for him to continue pursuing his own musical career. Not too long after starting the Pub, his band folded up and went their separate ways. The lead guitarist became a lawyer. I still can't wrap my head around that transition.

What he did instead of featuring his own band was to look around for another house band to fill the void that was left where his band used to be. What he found was Los Lonely Boys. Even though (as this article notes) they were underage at the time, Russ gave the boys the job, and they honed their already impressive skills playing several nights a week at the pub.

I would really like to say "I heard Los Lonely Boys at the Steel Penny Pub" but I was a professional architect working in another town, and I didn't have time to fool around with music in those days. Somehow I managed to miss all of their performances there. Luckily for them, Willie Nelson didn't. While in town for a show of his own, Willie stopped by the Pub and heard Los Lonely Boys for the first time, and recognized their talent right away. Within a few months they were playing at festivals and concerts alongside Willie Nelson, and not too long after that their first album debuted.

...And the rest is history. Heaven (not my favorite song on the album, but definitely a very catchy tune) reached the top ten, and stayed there for 18 weeks. My brother handed over management of the Pub to his business partner, and went on the road with Los Lonely Boys as their road manager for nearly two years. It was quite a ride.

I finally got to see & hear Los Lonely Boys play at Antones here in Austin, early in their first tour. I've never seen anybody play guitar like these guys can. If you get a chance to see them live, you'll kick yourself later if you don't take the time to go see them play. Live is the way to experience most music; and live is without a doubt the best way to experience Los Lonely Boys music. You just won't know what it's really like until then.

The last time I saw them was in the largest ever attending crowd (30,00 plus) for the Town Lake summer concert, which they turned into a concert video.

And they are opening for The Stones tonight. I know where my brother is going to be. Wouldn't mind being in his shoes tonight, not one bit.

Austin Film Festival

It's that time of year again. Time for the Austin Film Festival. I've been to a few of these things in the past, but I've never been approached before with an offer of free tickets to some of the films. This year, thanks to Christopher Holland over at AFF, I hooked up with some of the members of Austin SF, and we went on a movie watching spree.

Both of the films that I saw today were of excellent quality.

The first, Run Robot Run, was a rather humorous look at the future and what might happen if a robot replaced you. Replaces you personally. Takes your job, your love interest, everything that gives your life meaning. What would you do to get it back?

There was an irreverent feel to the film that reminded me a bit of Office Space, but was at the same time quite different.

The second, A Lobster Tale (starring Colm Meany) was a drama exploring the relationships of a Maine lobster fisherman and his wife and young son, and what changes occur in their lives when they are visited by a miracle. Also starring Graeme Greene as the town sheriff.

I was quite impressed with Jack Knight who was cast as the son in the film. If I'm not mistaken, we will be seeing a lot more of this actor as the years progress. He carried most of the emotional baggage of the film, and he did it masterfully.

I really liked both films, and would recommend them to anyone who felt they might be interested in seeing them. Both films will be showing again later in the week. Catch them, or one of the many other films hosted by the AFF, if you have the time.

If I had been paying better attention, I might have gotten a badge for the entire event. Then I wouldn't have missed the director's cut of Payback - Straight Up. I would call this a 'guilty pleasure' film (because there is nothing redeeming about any of the characters in the film; but you seem to enjoy watching them anyway) and a 'black comedy' as it was originally released. I have no idea what it will look like restored to the director's original intent. But I will probably have to check it out.

I'm definitely going to have to remember to mark my calendars for the event next year.

Free Night of Theater - It Runs in the Family

I'm putting in a plug for this site http://www.freenightoftheater.net and this specific performance; It Runs in the Family as presented by the Oracle Theatre Company at Dougherty Arts Center.

I was quite impressed with both the performance, and the fact that I was able to get tickets to the event simply by reserving them online, for free. If your city is one of the lucky few listed, you too might be able to experience some culture without a major investment of capitol.

The play It Runs in the Family was quite funny, and the cast was excellent. I laughed my way through most of it. Catch it if you get a chance.

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?

Liberty Dollar News Alert-Where do we go from here?

Simply re-posting the Alert.


Time To Step Up And Demonstrate Real Support For Real Money The Liberty Dollar

Breaking News…We are hearing from our efforts to leverage Congressional Inquiry that the US Mint has received much more response from the public than anticipated following their web posted warning on September 14, 2006. It’s time to really let them know how much you value the Liberty Dollar by calling or faxing the US Mint! To make a call use (202) 354-7227, for sending a fax use (202) 756-6200. After reading this special News Alert please call or fax the US Mint and in a very positive way ask if the statements listed below are NOT true. Do not be nasty or attacking; this gets us nowhere. Always be respectful. Also, please distribute this widely to everyone on your mailing list.

On With Other News…

Over the last six weeks we have heard a lot of support for the mission, goals and cause of the Liberty Dollar and precious metal backed private currency…Reporters, Editors, Talk Show Hosts, Calls and e-mails from listeners and readers who had never before heard of the Liberty Dollar are committing to “fight the good fight” for the right to choose their method of payment for goods and services. Liberty Dollar Merchants, Associates and Regional Currency Offices, taken aback from a malicious media assault, have been gnawing on what it all means and how to move forward.

It’s time to regroup, shake off the debris of fear and exchange your Federal Reserve Notes for the Liberty Dollar. This is the support we need now. Circulating (as in bartering), Accumulating or Collecting; The three most effective ways to do good, have fun and protect your purchasing power.

If any of the following statements were illegal or a federal crime, would there not have already been arrests? Liberty Dollars are exchanged, given out, presented and accepted hundreds of times a day throughout the country…lots of opportunities to make an example out of someone.

But once you wade through the citations and legalese of the US Mint’s warning(s), it becomes very clear: THE LIBERTY DOLLAR CANNOT BE PASSED AS “CURRENT MONEY” OR GOVERNMENT MONEY. NO ONE SHOULD ACCEPT THE LIBERTY DOLLAR THINKING IT IS GOVERNMENT MONEY. This, of course, would contradict the goal of the Liberty Dollar!
  1. Merchants CANNOT be prosecuted for accepting the Liberty Dollar KNOWING that it is private currency!
  2. Merchants CANNOT be prosecuted for giving out the Liberty Dollar in change if the customer KNOWS it is private currency!
  3. Users CANNOT be prosecuted for presenting the Liberty Dollar to a Merchant when the Merchant KNOWS it is private currency!
  4. Regional Currency Offices, or anyone else, CANNOT be prosecuted for exchanging Liberty Dollars for Federal Reserve Notes when the customer KNOWS it is private currency!
  5. NO ONE CAN BE PROSECUTED FOR HAVING POSSESSION OF THE LIBERTY DOLLAR!
If any of these statements were false, then having or using any of the hundreds of local or community currencies such as the Ithaca Hour, Disney Dollar, Berkshares, Barter Bucks, etc., would be a crime.

On September 14, just five weeks ago, our website, Liberty Dollar.org, received ten times its normal traffic. Online orders surged for the introductory special, supporter kits and educational materials as well as lots of small orders from new individuals wanting to know just who this Liberty Dollar outfit is.

The wave of curiosity has died down and so has the normal volume that the Liberty Dollar has experienced over the last 12-18 months. I believe the current lull is retrenchment from those stinging from the national media assault as well as caution on the part of the newly introduced that are concerned over legal repercussions. Consider the above statements regarding the legality of the Liberty Dollar. These are the conclusions of NORFED and its Counsel.

Exchange your Federal Reserve Notes for Gold and Silver Libertys and Certificates now. Circulate (barter), Accumulate and Collect…It’s the right thing to do.

Is the US Dollar tanking? Will there be a significant economic downturn? Is a War right around the corner? Is Peak Oil fact or fiction? Will extreme weather knock out your power and communications? What do you want to be holding when significant change occurs? A Federal Reserve Note Or Gold And Silver Private Currency From The Liberty Dollar?

Please visit the Liberty Dollar at: www.LibertyDollar.org or call our National Fulfillment Office at 888.421.6181 or 800.NEW.DOLLAR to reach your local Regional Currency Office.



As a postscript, I'm going to add that I've blogged on the subject of Peak Oil, and what you might do to alleviate your reliance on 'fossil fuels'. But it doesn't hurt to be holding precious metal, in any case.

US Mint vs. ALD: More Press

More stories in the press on the subject of the recent announcement from the US mint. There isn't as much attention being paid to this as I would like, but it still appears to be making a few headlines. 33 hits today, quite a step up from the 4 or 5 of a few weeks ago.

It's still nothing more than a threat. No arrests made, no further elaboration from mint officials on the glaring errors in their statements. This shouldn't be surprising to anyone who is familiar with the problems that We the People has been having getting their very simple questions answered.

But, like the tax protest movement's problems, the law relating to money in the US is not exactly clear on the subject. Well actually, it's quite clear on the subject, it just isn't being followed by the Federal Reserve or the gov't of the US. If it was, there would be no need for alternative currencies like the Liberty Dollar. The US dollar would provide a store of value like real money does. Inflation wouldn't occur. We wouldn't be in anything approaching the financial mess that this country is in right now.

Anyway, here's a few of the stories I've run across.



Liberty Dollar medallions could land coin collectors in jail Trots out the 7 year old hatchet job from the Southern Poverty Law Center as part of the argument against the Liberty Dollar. Other than that it's rather even handed.

The Washington Post says: 'Liberty Dollars' Can Buy Users A Prison Term, U.S. Mint Warns. But they only quote the same tired sources who misquoted the constitution in their original press release, and the above referenced hatchet job. No additional information, and much more negative than the Missoulian article.

As bad as the article is at the Washington Post, it's nothing like the entrapment and complete mischaracterization that plays out on this video from WCBS. I'm actually embarrased for the reporter who did this story. Is this what passes for journalism these days?

On a completely different note, the Philadelphia Inquirer wants to know: Is it sounder than a dollar? and quotes one of my more favorite statistics:

To use a concrete example, in 1948, gasoline sold for 25 cents a gallon, so a buck bought four gallons.

The dollar of that era was a silver certificate backed by just over three-quarters of an ounce of silver. That same quantity of silver still buys about four gallons at today's prices - proof, say Liberty's advocates, that precious metal retains its value while Federal Reserve notes, which they derogatorily call "FRNs," diminish in value the moment they hit the street.

In what can only be called a positive piece for the Liberty Dollar. About the only article I've read that doesn't toe the gov't line on the illegality of using Liberty Dollars in transactions. I hadn't realized that the gov't had outlawed the barter system. I think they'll have a hard time enforcing that.

Finally, UPI posted this last Wednesday, which has been picked up in several media locations:

U.S. Mint: 'Liberty Dollars' a buck short

WASHINGTON, Oct. 10 (UPI) -- Alternative "Liberty Dollar" coins being circulated have prompted the U.S. Mint to remind users they can lose their liberty for five years for using them.

The silver and gold coins are produced at the private Idaho mint of the National Organization for the Repeal of the Federal Reserve Act and the Internal Revenue Code, The Washington Post reports.

They first appeared in 1998 as the brainchild of NORFED co-founder and "monetary architect" Bernard von NotHaus, who claims on the group's Web site the coins are a hedge against inflation.

The group claims to have more than $20 million in Liberty coins and notes in circulation, which is a bane to U.S. Mint officials.

"Merchants and banks are confronted by confused customers demanding they accept Liberty Dollars. These are not legal coin," mint spokeswoman Becky Bailey told the Post, adding users could face a 5-year prison sentence.

In response to a public warning issued by the Mint, NORFED responded on its Web site, saying: "Here it is in plain sight ... the Liberty Dollar is not a coin, not legal tender, and backed with inflation proof gold and silver!"

A buck short, indeed. As if the mint has any idea what the value of a dollar really is. A deer skin (a 'buck') goes for a good bit more than a dollar these days. I think they need to arrest a few people. Let's see how strong thier case is.

The Surveillance State: 1984 in 2006

Last week was the news story concerning talking cameras in Britain:
The revolutionary 'nanny camera' scheme was first piloted in Wiltshire in 2003 and just seven weeks ago the loudspeakers were introduced by Middlesbrough Council, whose spokesman Mike Clark said they had already made a difference.

He said: "People have been shocked when a voice from a camera tells them to pick up sweet papers and cigarette butts. They tend to follow the request.

"Another example involved a number of people gathering outside the doorway of a pub. They were asked to disperse and they did."

Cllr Peach added: "The talking cameras would be another weapon in our armoury. They could be used to crack down on any anti-social offence in the street."
This week is the story concerning the future of cameras in Chicago, one of the US' largest cities:
"By the time 2016 [rolls around], we'll have more cameras than Washington, D.C. ... Our technology is more advanced than any other city in the world -- even compared to London -- dealing with our cameras and the sophistication of cameras and retro-fitting all the cameras downtown in new buildings, doing the CTA cameras," Daley said.
"By 2016, I'll make you a bet. We'll have [cameras on] almost every block."
Both stories make casual allusions to "Big Brother" the almost mystical leader of Engsoc in George Orwell's novel 1984. How they can acknowledge the kinship of the emerging surveillance state with Engsoc without screaming of the travesty of it all is beyond me. Yet they drop the phrase Big Brother, as if the words are devoid of any meaning.

WAR IS PEACE
FREEDOM IS SLAVERY
IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH
Or maybe they are without meaning anymore. With the advent of 'reality' TV shows (one of them named Big Brother, unless I'm mistaken) in which the most private moments of a persons life can be transmitted for the titillation of the viewing audience, perhaps we have become numb to the concept of prying eyes checking up on our every move. Personally, I can't think of a more dangerous tool to place in the hands of gov't.

True, crime is down when cameras are placed on the street. It's also a fact that crime goes down when martial law is declared. Crime sort of becomes a moot point when everyone is a prisoner in their own society, when someone is always watching to report the slightest transgression.
'You are the dead,' said an iron voice behind them.
They sprang apart. Winston's entrails seemed to have turned into ice. He could see the white all round the irises of Julia's eyes. Her face had turned a milky yellow. The smear of rouge that was still on each cheekbone stood out sharply, almost as though unconnected with the skin beneath.
'You are the dead,' repeated the iron voice.
'It was behind the picture,' breathed Julia.
'It was behind the picture,' said the voice. 'Remain exactly where you are. Make no movement until you are ordered.'
It was starting, it was starting at last! They could do nothing except stand gazing into one another's eyes. To run for life, to get out of the house before it was too late -- no such thought occurred to them. Unthinkable to disobey the iron voice from the wall. There was a snap as though a catch had been turned back, and a crash of breaking glass. The picture had fallen to the floor uncovering the telescreen behind it.
'Now they can see us,' said Julia.
Yes, now we can see you.



Mea culpa review, 2017. I keep running across references to Neil Postman's book Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business of late. I apparently missed this book back when it was released, but it was widely read (or at least everyone pretends they have read it now) and predicted the numbing of the public mind that endless entertainment sets up.

This development (and one of the thesis in that book) makes Aldous Huxley and Brave New World more prescient in the minds of many pundits; more prescient than George Orwell in 1984.

I don't know. The two books were completely different animals and were focused on two different facets of the human condition. I think what is truer is that none of us knows what the future holds but all of us are convinced by our own experiences that we have better insight than those around us.

The surveillance state as it is developing in the US is almost benign in comparison to the way that it developed in Europe and Britain. At least it appears that way on the surface. I'm sure the victims of drones in our endless terror war in the Middle East would disagree on the subject of the deadliness of the US surveillance state. 

Free Talk Live: IP and Disney

Listening to the Wednesday edition of Free Talk Live on my Treo 650 today; listening to Ian pound Mark over the head for his support for Intellectual Property rights. (third day in a row, I might add...)

Generally, I agree with Mark on this issue. As an architect, I know that the thought that goes into design is a valuable commodity that needs to be protected. Otherwise the less scrupulous out there will simply wait for someone else to do the hard work of invention so that they can then profit from it at the inventor's expense. Contrary to Ian's assertions, I've not seen any evidence that people will do the months and years of work required to bring something to market unless they have reasonable confidence that they will make a profit from it. If anybody can copy a design and be free to sell it the day after it hits the market (or as in the case of the Chinese clothing 'pirates', even before it hits the market) then the chances for profit are greatly reduced. I don't know of any business that stays in business without making a profit.

On the other hand, I don't really believe that corporations (like Disney) should be allowed to hold rights to intellectual property. Those rights should be limited to real people, not legal entities that will continue to expect a profit long past the lifespan of the original author. Disney is a prime example of this, since their lobbying was instrumental in getting the latest extension to copyright terms passed.

There is a phrase that applies to the subject of Disney characters and the school mural that was the subject of rather heated discussion on Wednesday's show. That phrase is "work of art". A work of art is generally exempt from claims of copyright infringement. That doesn't stop the corporations with lawyers and money at their disposal threatening people with legal action if their demands aren't met. The truth is that the school blinked when Disney decided to play hard ball. If push had come to shove, Disney would probably have dropped the case.

Copyright terms expiring was the real reason for Disney going after public displays of their copyrighted works. Like Coke being synonymous with cola and Kleenex with facial tissue, Disney was fighting the battle of keeping their property from passing into the public domain; and they won that battle by passing new legislation. If corporations were excluded from owning these types of property, the entire battle could have been avoided.

[On the question from a listener concerning the objectivist opinion on the subject; as an objectivist myself, I think I can vouch for the fact that objectivists in general understand the need to protect the "mind's contribution" to the creative effort]

Oh, and Ian, your disbelief in intellectual property doesn't equate to the non-existence of intellectual property. But your willingness to steal other peoples ideas speaks volumes to the subject of why the MPAA and the RIAA are willing to go to such lengths to protect their investments.

For what it's worth, this is one of those arguments that illustrates the very narrow difference between a communist (in the government-less nature of the word 'commune') and the little 'a' anarchists and the extreme edge of the Libertarian party. They would also tell you that ideas 'should be free', but I'm not willing to live in their version of utopia either.

Flight Simulator: Terrorist trainer?

I don't want to give any credence to this guy's rant on the subject of the usefulness of a flight sim like Microsoft Flight Simulator as a terrorist training tool...

However, I was watching United 93 on the History Channel the other day, and what do I see but advertisements for the flight simulator during the commercial breaks.

[Not a very good film. I really didn't think it would be.]

Talk about bad ad placement. It's like advertising Ginsu knives during the Lorena Bobbitt story. Not necessarily what you would like your product to be used for, to say the least.

SyFy Awards: Firefly a Winner

Even though it hasn't been on the air in two years, Firefly took six awards in the popularly judged SyFy Genre Awards (hosted by SyFy Portal) this year.

The SciFi Channel aired three first-run episodes of the short lived series last season, qualifying the series for consideration in the awards this year. Loyal fans of the show clearly came through with support, giving it the 'best series' award for 2006, beating out SciFi's own Battlestar Galactica.

The Firefly winners were:

BEST ACTOR/Television
WINNER:
Nathan Fillion, "Firefly"
RUNNER-UP: Matthew Fox, "Lost."

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR/Television
WINNER:
Adam Baldwin, "Firefly"
RUNNER-UP: Terry O'Quinn, "Lost."

BEST SPECIAL GUEST/Television
WINNER:
Christina Hendricks, "Trash," Firefly
RUNNER-UP: Claudia Black, "Avalon, Part 1," Stargate SG-1

BEST EPISODE/Television
WINNER:
"Trash," Firefly
RUNNER-UP: "Dalek," Doctor Who

BEST Series/Television
WINNER:
Firefly
RUNNER-UP: Lost

The complete list of this years awards can be found here: http://www.syfyportal.com/news.php?id=2895

As the founder of Syfy Portal (Michael Hinman) observed "These types of wins shows how important fan bases are, and how effective they can be in fan-voted awards such as this," "While some might question how much power these fanbases have, it is the fanbases that ultimately helps decide the fates of television shows and movies."

The Wiki entry for a complete list and history can be found here: SyFy Genre Awards

An Explanation For the Link at Right

ZD Net Security: Second third-party fix out for Windows bug

Microsoft, with their legions of programmers, have to rely on uncompensated third parties to write patches for their worthless software. From the story:
The group, calling itself the Zeroday Emergency Response Team, or ZERT, created the patch so Windows users can protect their PCs while Microsoft works on an official update. People have a choice of third-party fixes. Security company Determina on Friday released a patch it authored for the same flaw.
Personally, I find this completely unacceptable. I also find it to be the norm when dealing with large corporations and their worthless products.

Microsoft plans to issue a fix for the problem on Oct. 10, its regularly scheduled patch day; pretty much meets the description of "a day late and a dollar short".

Download Firefox with the button at the right top of the page...

Liberty Dollar Says NO to the US Mint Allegations

Thought I would post the Liberty Dollar's rebuttal here since I've already posted on the story in the past.



The US Mint News Story in Perspective

The recent United States Mint warning regarding NORFED and the Liberty Dollar offers a rare opportunity. Let’s face it, it had to happen…with the growth and prevalence of the Liberty Dollar over the last eight years, the Government had to respond.

They went public and cleared the air in many ways. First, they stated that the gold and silver Liberty Dollar ‘medallions’ are not US Mint bullion coins, nor are they legal tender…just as NORFED always advertised. Secondly, they stated that the Liberty Dollars are privately produced, and not backed, nor affiliated with, the United States Government…of course not, they’re backed by gold and silver, again, just as NORFED has always advertised. Here it is in plain sight…the Liberty Dollar is not a coin, not legal tender, and backed with inflation proof gold and silver!

So what has happened? Goliath just introduced David to millions of Americans as a nationally recognized underdog. Just as Pepsi went up against Coke with their “take the Pepsi Challenge” campaign, the Liberty Dollar will take it to the people to decide which currency they should use. Welcome to “Just try the Liberty Dollar” campaign. So keep doing “the drop” and spreading the word. We are within our rights to offer Liberty Dollars for goods and services to whoever will voluntarily accept them.

Since the Liberty Dollar has hit mainstream media via USA Today, AOL, Reuters, etc visits to our website have soared to almost 10 time’s normal traffic. Online orders have skyrocketed as well! Everything from bumper stickers to Liberty Dollars are being ordered plus new Liberty Associates are signing up…America is mad as hell and isn’t going to take it anymore. The people are speaking and they want the Liberty Dollar! Comments like “The US Mint can bite me” and “I’m exercising my right to choose” have been included with many of the orders received.

Critical-thinking free individuals, groups and associations are stepping up offering assistance and support to the Liberty Dollar. Let’s keep the momentum going, get your orders in now while silver is at its lowest in months…whether Silver Certificates or Silver Libertys, the beautiful new five ounce Eighth Anniversary $100 commemorative or the very spendable $5 “Quarter Lib”…all are right... right now. Buy now and demonstrate your commitment to the value-backed, inflation-proof Liberty Dollar…practice your right to a free-market currency.

I also want to extend my sincerest thanks and appreciation to every Regional Currency Officer, Liberty Associate, and Liberty Merchant for their past support. Looking to the future our greatest opportunities and challenges are yet to come. Success takes many forms, but the satisfaction of accomplishment, of doing what you set out to do, can offer the greatest reward especially if that reward is returning America to Value - One Liberty Dollar at a time.

Please review our official Disclaimer and Press Release that specifically address the allegations made by the US Mint on Thursday, September 14.

Mike Johnson

Executive Director
NORFED/Liberty Dollar
www.LibertyDollar.org
1.888.421.6181


LIBERTY DOLLAR PRESS RELEASE

Liberty Dollar Says NO to the US Mint Allegations


The United States Mint inadvertently may have done THE LIBERTY DOLLAR, an acclaimed private, non-government currency and favorite numismatic item distributed by NORFED, Inc., a favor by posting a “Warning” on its website on September 14 entitled “Liberty Dollars Not Legal Tender, United States Mint Warns Consumers.” The last thing NORFED, Inc., known for the Liberty Dollar, wants is for someone to be confused that the gold and silver based Liberty Dollar has some connection with the Federal Government’s fiat money, which is based upon nothing more than popular acceptance for lack of an alternative.

Since the introduction in 1998 of the Liberty Dollar every effort has been made to promote and market the Liberty Dollar with educational tools by clearly and repeatedly pointing out that the Liberty Dollar is not United States Mint fiat money, is not legal tender, is not[/u] a coin, is not currency in the sense of governmental coinage, and is not money in the sense of governmental coinage. (Currency and money have varied dictionary definitions. In its own interest the Liberty Dollar has every incentive to clarify that the Liberty Dollar has no connection with the Feds - and that’s what has been done, and continues to be done, over and over.)

Any claim of the forgoing would be contrary to the purpose and function of the Liberty Dollar, which, in addition to its being a numismatic item is a means of voluntary barter.

The US Mint Warning has apparently been responsible for a gigantic increase in media and citizen attention to, clarification of, and evidently purchase of a lot more Liberty Dollars. Mike Johnson, Executive Director for the Liberty Dollar notes that, “There never has been such a volume of response – and incredibly favorable response - to the Liberty Dollar.”

However, the US Mint Warning makes a big and wholly unjustified mistake. At the end of the opening paragraph it says: “Prosecutors within the Department of Justice have determined that the use of these gold and silver NORFED ‘Liberty Dollar’ medallions as circulating money is a Federal crime.”

After some introductory misstatements, erroneously relying upon 18 USC § 486, the last sentence claims that “ . . . prosecutors with [sic] the United States Department of Justice have concluded that the use of NORFED’s ‘Liberty Dollar’ medallions violates 18 USC § 486, and is a crime.”

Leaving aside the fact that the United States Mint has no criminal jurisdiction and no authority to interpret, much less enforce, the Criminal Code, the fact is that nobody in the Federal Government has ever contacted the Liberty Dollar or anybody responsibly connected with it, to investigate, much less to claim, that there is something unlawful about the Liberty Dollar.

Just the opposite. Over and again people have enquired of responsible personnel in the United States Secret Service, in the Department of the Treasury Bureau of Engraving and Printing, in the United States Federal Reserve and so on. Just a few of the responses: An Engraving and Printing spokeswoman said, “There’s nothing illegal about this. As long as it doesn’t say legal tender there’s nothing wrong with it.” A Washington, D. C. Federal Reserve System spokesman said, “There is no law that says goods and services must be paid for with Federal Reserve notes. Parties entering into a transaction can establish any medium of exchange that is agreed upon.” A Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis official said, “If these [NORFED] people want to issue their own money, so be it.”

The Liberty Dollar exists, and does so very well, with an estimated $20 million worth of gold and silver Liberty Dollars and Silver Certificates in voluntary circulation as barter, and growing, because the Liberty Dollar is not legal tender, is not connected with any governmental agency and, unlike United States coins and Federal Reserve notes, it is not fiat - or, what some might say, “funny” money.


LIBERTY DOLLAR DISCLAIMER

The Liberty Dollar and other precious-metal mintings distributed by NORFED, Inc., dba the Liberty Dollar, never have claimed to be, do not claim to be, are not, and do not purport to be, legal tender, or a coin.

The noun currency has many dictionary definitions - for example, without limitation, “that which is current as a medium of exchange[,]” “circulation as a medium of exchange[,]” “a common article for bartering[.]” In the sense that currency may be used to refer to the coinage of a government the Liberty Dollar never has claimed to be, does not claim to be, is not, and does not purport to be, currency.

The noun money also has many dictionary definitions - for example, again without limitation, “something generally accepted as a medium of exchange[,]” “a measure of value[,]” “a means of payment[.]” In the sense that money may be used to refer to the coinage of a government the Liberty Dollar never has claimed to be, does not claim to be, is not, and does not purport to be, money.

The phrase legal tender is more specifically defined and does not meaningfully vary from the authoritative BLACK’S LAW DICTIONARY definition, “The money (bills and coins) approved in a country for the payment of debts, the purchase of goods, and other exchanges of value.” In other words, legal tender is what a government authoritatively designates as the medium which a creditor must accept from a debtor if it is offered. The Liberty Dollar never has claimed to be, does not claim to be, is not, and does not purport to be, legal tender. The Liberty Dollar repeatedly has emphasized that it is not legal tender. Legal tender and barter are mutually exclusive. The Liberty Dollar is a numismatic piece or medallion which may be used voluntarily as barter.

The noun coin invariably is defined as “a round piece of metal issued by governmental authority as money” or an equivalent phrase. The Liberty Dollar never has claimed to be, does not claim to be, is not, and does not purport to be, a coin.

Any claim of the forgoing would be contrary to the purpose and function of the Liberty Dollar, which, in addition to its being a numismatic item, is a means of voluntary barter.

The Liberty Dollar would be glad to refer any inquiries to counsel in Washington, D.C.