Tuesday, September 20, 2016

What Would Jesus Do?



                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   

As we read these latest articles regarding increased military aid from the USA to Israel at $3.8 Billion per year for 10 years…I can’t help but see significant ironies in the claims of many of my fellow Americans that the USA is a “Christian nation”.

The United Nations is trying to force Israel and Palestine back to the bargaining table to iron out a peaceful resolution to this decades-old Palestinian conflict. Meantime, the USA, who has veto powers over the UN, continues to sell Israel the weapons to annihilate the Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank. Nice message to send the Palestinians you are preaching peace to who are basically living in small, barrier bound “reservations” in their own former country.  The average American has not seen through the media hype and controls that always side with Israel. In most cases, that is because we have been taught to believe that Israel is “God’s chosen people”…and that they are somehow entitled to repatriate land they hadn’t lived in for thousands of years.

While I disagree with many positions the  Obama administration have taken these past 8 years, I do support his putting strings attached to our continued levels of support to Israel and better yet, do not give military arms or cash.  One reason is…we can’t afford it. The main reason is the state of Israel has been the instigator in escalating apartheid against the Palestinians by literally backing them into small corners of the land that was once theirs just a few decades ago.

The reality is, Israel should at least be paying for these weapons!  They compete with the USA economically in so many areas, yet we GIVE THEM billions in arms? How stupid is this? And this is the American people’s money, not the government’s, to give. Our government has made Israel an extension of USA borders and sovereignty it appears since our constitution denies them the right to arm any other nations unilaterally.

The Palestinians have unfortunately been victims of their own leadership as well…from Arafat forward. They have allowed Hezbollah and other non-Palestinian revolutionaries to fight their battles for them…and that approach has not worked in bringing any resolution to their dire situation.

As a friend of mine recently blogged on this issue…

"AIPAC's effort (to block the UN resolution), apparently spurred by the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem and Israel's ambassador to the U.S., Ron Dermer, came amid fears that Obama will try and push a UNSC resolution on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict after the elections in November and before he leaves office on January 20."

Between the election and the inauguration for the last two US Presidential elections, the Israelis initiated slaughters of predominantly civilian Palestinians.

In 2008 Operation Cast Lead resulted in 1,417 Palestinian deaths and 10 Israeli.

In 2012 Operation Pillar of Defense resulted in 55 Palestinian deaths and 1 Israeli.

In 2014 Operation Protective Edge resulted in 2,310 Palestinian deaths (including more than 300 babies and children) and 73 Israelis of whom only a few were civilians.

Having put Lieberman (a far right extremist) in charge of the Israeli Defense Force, having negotiated another 10 year military aid deal and with congress pressing Obama to veto any UNSC resolution during the inter-presidential period I fully expect and predict that this year the Israelis will initiate another slaughter worse than any before destined to make the life of indigenous Palestinians even more unbearable and further the ultimate solution of complete ethnic cleansing.

As usual, the slaughter will start with some incident that may or may not have been perpetrated by a Palestinian - the Israelis are past masters at false flag attacks. It may even be a more substantial incident than previously to ostensibly justify an even greater slaughter than before.”

We will be watching Israel closely in these coming months.

While it seems obviously too late for Palestinians to reclaim all their lost lands (about as realistic as the American Indians reclaiming the USA continent or Mexicans to reclaim Texas)…it does seem to me that the UN and its major sponsor, the United States of America, have a moral obligation to force Israel and the Palestinians to a reasonable land settlement and some sovereign lands and self-governance for the Palestinians.  The past century’s empires of England and the USA are the primary sponsors of Zionism and all that has represented. Even a large portion of traditional Jews around the world do not support Israel’s Zionist positions as a state. It is now time to stand with the United Nations and push the moral responsibility of negotiation, forced if need be, between these two forever divergent political and cultural peoples.

It strikes us as very ironic that the “Christian” nation (USA) is supporting the tyranny and aggressions of Israel through military support…while President Obama and the liberals in congress seem to be the only ones in the USA government trying to hold Israel accountable for the many atrocities performed against the indigenous Palestinians. The religious right in America is leading the charge for blind support of the Israeli government at the cost of many thousands of non-militaristic, subjugated Palestinian lives.
Apparently, those religious leaders in America have conveniently forgotten the “Trail of Tears” and annihilation of Native Americans done in the name of God and country. It seems we Americans have never repented of that nor our blind racism against blacks and Hispanics.  Instead, we continue to support the domination and tyranny within the state of Israel.

The Christian bible quotes Jesus as saying…
“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth”
“But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them. Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back.”
“If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.”

WHAT WOULD JESUS DO?


Monday, July 4, 2016

Independence Day...bah humbug!


https://www.facebook.com/wolfgang.riebe/videos/1095116997219649/ 
I believe I have blogged previous years on this date with similar sentiments...but this year I realize the validity of my thinking more acutely than ever.

The meaning of "independence" has totally lost its significance for most individuals in the world. Even the original experiment of democracy in the USA has gone terribly wrong now that rational people understand they are not truly free and independent anymore.

While the chasm between wealth and poverty continues to expand...the governments that control us are almost all bankrupt...meaning they owe more than they own. How this happened is easy to understand if you realize that governments don't "produce" anything and survive by charging taxes on the governed...yet they execute programs, entitlements, international loans and fund armed forces with weapons... all on limited tax dollars.  Most every government in the world is "upside down" on their financial balance sheets.  The US government hasn't balanced a budget since President Eisenhower in the late 1950s and we have the highest debt of any country in the world.  The federal government had about $76.4 trillion ($76,438,000,000,000) in debts, liabilities, and unfunded obligations at the close of its 2015 fiscal year. That's $237,284 for every person living in the U.S..

Who holds all the money then you may ask?  International bankers, corporations and non-government organizations (NGOs).  Sure, ownership is with wealthy individuals and their organizations...but the money itself is supposedly held on account in international banking positions through various financial institutions such as JPMorgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley, Citigroup, Deutsche Bank, Credit Suisse and Barclays Capital (the top eight).

The prized independence of the USA, won repeatedly the last 240 years through bloodshed and revolutions against tyranny is unfortunately lost.  The USA is currently DEPENDENT on foreign powers for the oil that run our machines of war and domestic transportation, the manufacturing of cheap "things", and to export the overflow of what our country still produces.  Now that most major powers of the world are under so much debt to the bankers and corporations of the world...there is little security in any long-term financial planning internationally. There is little rhyme or reason to currency or stock valuations.  Most everything in the world is hyperinflated in value from our point of view.

This leads us to the reality that most Americans are NOT free and independent.  We are controlled by our bankers, our employers and regulations of our federal and state governments.  Most of the middle-class lives paycheck to paycheck with no more than 3 months of their overhead in savings.

Does this sound like FREE and INDEPENDENT living to you?  I have never valued money outside of its ability to afford freedom. We can work our whole lives in this country to amass a retirement...and have it all wiped out with one lawsuit or catastrophic illness in our family...especially if we don't have adequate insurance based on the mafioso healthcare system we fund. Most of us don't take care of our health and instead have multiple physicians and meds that we depend on to survive. Compared to our grandparent's generation, our elderly are in terrible shape and more dependent on various drugs, walkers and little carts than any other country in the world.

So...as everyone enjoys a short work week waving flags and celebrating "freedom"...let's not fool ourselves anymore.  We are NOT free.  Most of us work 4-6 months of the year to pay our various taxes.  What's left of the year goes to pay for our expensive toys and necessities such as $700 cell phones, car payments, mandatory insurances etc.  Recently the USA government even legislated mandatory health insurance for every citizen, and it is cheaper to pay the tax penalty for not being insured than to pay the government-mandated premiums.

I know, I know...freedom isn't free.  It comes with the responsibility to pay your share of community services and feeding the dependents you brought into this world. The problem is, you now have broken governments telling you who, where and how much to pay for such services with no option or choice to move elsewhere or use an INDEPENDENT solution.  More of your choices are taken away from you...what you can eat, what you can drink, what you can smoke, who can come visit you where you live, what drugs you can take or who you can buy them from.  Governments are more and more regulating your daily life while mounting huge deficits that somehow YOU, or your children, or THEIR children must eventually pay for.

So forgive me if I am a bit cynical this 4th of July.  I have always believed in small government, personal responsibility and freedom to believe, say and do what you want as long as you are not infringing on others rights to do the same.  Unfortunately, most people in our country and world at large are supporting and voting for representative governments who will continue these bad habits until our whole system collapses...which it must apparently do before we will relearn what freedom and independence REALLY mean.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

I am a "Humanitarian"

In these looney days of political correctness and pressures to fit into society based on defined religion, political party, race or "what you do for a living"...I have always felt uncomfortable using these labels to define who we are. While I understand the idea of wanting to understand and predict human behaviors in the most simplistic description possible, I just think many of these labels have lost their meaning.

I have studied history and comparative religions more than the average human. I have tried to do so with as open a mind as possible and the goal of being objective and unemotional about what I observe, think or feel. Emotion is a great human trait, but it definitely gets in the way of "reason" far too often.

Being in my sixth decade of existence and many people periodically challenging me to describe who I am and "what I believe in"...I think I may have found the best one word answer for now..."Humanitarian".

I have tried on many labels over my lifetime.  I grew up with some by association with my religious and cultural upbringing.  We grew up "Christian" and "Republican". Of course, I soon learned in life that being "white" had its expectations and exclusions as well. As I progressed in my lifelong education, I soon learned that all humans bleed red, most all religions believe in the same mystical fundamentals, and yesterdays Republican would be today's "Democrat". To define oneself by these institutional epitaphs has become quite limiting and confusing in my opinion.

In a recent conversation of substance, someone asked me that since I am no longer religious,does that make me a "humanist".  Once again, there's a word/label that could have many different meanings. For some people it means making "man" a "god"...at the center of all meaning and existence. I am not ready to declare homosapiens a "deity".  We do far too many evil things to our environment and each other to associate ourselves with "deity"...plus we place too many limitations on ourselves to be a "god".

Yet, the humanist label is similar to another label that I can't really find any fault with. "Humanitarian" is a word that I have never heard used with a negative connotation. Everyone likes a
humanitarian. Humanitarians are "pro-human" without placing conditions or feigning deity. Humanitarians come from all walks of life...black, white, red, democrat, republican, independent, liberal, conservative, libertarian...I have known humanitarians from all these persuasions.

Here is my Humanitarian Creed...in case someone wants to make a "religion" out of this:


  • Humanitarians are about live and let live...very accommodating of individualism.
  • Humanitarians are non-judgmental (accept in cases of violence or self defence)
  • Humanitarians don't need a "holy book" to tell them right from wrong or how to treat others.
  • Humanitarians don't rely on others for accolades or need affirmation for the meaning of their existence
  • Humanitarians don't need to be rewarded for their good works, but they do tend to believe "what goes around comes around".
  • Humanitarians live for today and are positive about the future because they believe in the best of people.
  • Humanitarians don't carry negative grudges or bitterness.  They have learned to lower their expectations of other humans.
  • Humanitarians make peace, not war
  • Humanitarians believe THIS is the life that counts. Not an afterlife or previous one...
  • Humanitarians were the originators of the motto "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you"


I have decided I can think of no disagreement or conflict with this label.  The only challenge I have is living up to it...but since most people don't live up to their "religions" either, I won't let guilt stop me from trying to be...a "Humanitarian".

Sunday, September 27, 2015

The Pope and Religious Freedom


After days of having a monopoly over the USA and global news medias, the 
Pope and Catholic Church have once again usurped its guilt tripping, history warped global manifesto to the masses. What a "coup" for fundamentalist religions overall, many of which seem to be supportive of this engorged media circus even if it was sourced "catholic".

While I agree with many positions taken by this newly popular Pope Francis and his efforts to "humanize" his authoritative position to the masses...I am threatened by the "reasons" or underlying purposes for which these positions are taken.  I also am not taken in by efforts to make moderate the historic views of this religion. Many of today's religions are trying to "re-invent" themselves to keep their membership happy (and contributing) versus stay true to the fundamentals of their world order and views.

The USA constitution's first amendment states ""Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." Modern day America was built on a strange combination of attributes pertaining to religion. Some of the first "immigrants" came here escaping the state religion of the "Crown"...both British and Spanish (Protestant AND Catholic). Some groups...many called "Pilgrims"...came to found their own new fundamentalist religions based on “new revelations" that were not going over so well in the "new world order" of Europe's enlightenment. And of course many of the early settlers were poor criminal elements back in Europe and elsewhere who were escaping prison sentences in a new "free world".

It should be strongly underlined that these first "immigrants" to America had little or no respect for the American Indians who inhabited most of the continent. Historical writ is rife with the attitude of early religionists that arrived to the "new world" toting their Bibles, crosses and guns. If you can't convert and clothe the savages or keep them from smoking "peyote" in their pipes, put them on reservations or kill them if they won't submit to our way of life and faith. 

When I grew up in the American public school system, we didn't learn about the "trail of tears". We didn't hear about "manifest destiny" until high school (and most kids today have no clue what that means), and even then we were not encouraged to explore the philosophical, legal or rational ramifications of this in American history. It’s as though the killing or subjugation of "heathens" was "God's will". This is nothing new in the few thousand years of today's fundamentalist religions and didn't start in "America".

Now we have a new era of "immigrants" coming to America. Most of these hoards are NOT white, NOT rich, and NOT Christian. Yet we have an ironical combination of American liberals and the Catholic pope telling us that the USA should be more inclusive of these diverse masses within our borders and our dwindling social resources. Somehow the Statute of Liberty has become the symbol of freedom for every religious zealot from anywhere in the world to come and practice/promote their particular religion in "freedom".  At the same time, most of these religions enslave the minds of men, women and children (mostly the children) with irrational, patriarchal, mystical philosophies of life based on thousand year old books of questionable origin...and now we have liberals and fundamentalists alike calling for more inclusion of these dividing factions. How absurd.

Unfortunately, the USA constitution has now been bastardized so much by interpretation where its application to a country with the size and diversity of the USA is almost impossible. You have more and more religious divisions taking exception to "personal freedoms". You have government and church leaders hand in hand trying to legislate every bit of morality you can imagine. "They" want to control every aspect of your life.  They want to define legal marriage while excluding gays. They want to tell us which organic weeds we can or can't grow on our back porch. They want to legislate to women what they can/can't do with their bodies or unborn babies. They want to limit sex to "marriage and procreation" and outlaw the use of contraceptives and abortion...even in the case of rape or endangerment to the mother's life. They also want their rules and regulations written on every public wall or entrance possible acknowledging their religious origins in this country.

I don't think I am alone in thinking that this new push for "religious freedom" is blinding the average mind to what this really means. The Pope and other religious leaders CLAIM that faith will "bind us all together". History has shown the direct opposite.  Even in our own families in America, fundamental religion of all types have divided and caused non-acceptance of individualism for centuries now.  I am comforted that the fastest growing faith in America is "secularism". Secularism in its shortest definition is that one believes in science, reason and the power of humans to advance humanity to a higher consciousness. We do not require holy books, "holy" men or wasting billions on religious tapestries such as huge cathedrals, golden ornaments, or a Vatican bank that has for decades washed billions of dollars for questionable transactions and sources to give us meaning in life. These religious coffers have come at the cost of the taxpayers in many countries including the USA. Why these religious "kingdom builders" such as we see on TV everyday asking for handouts should get tax exempt status is a travesty of the highest order. This is not separation of "Church and State". This is Church and State working together to control our country at many different levels via religion, and I for one do not want to participate in that...or be forced to.

Separation of Church and State should simply be that. There should be no financial support of any government fund to any church institution. The State should tax everyone equally...believers and non-believers alike. And non-taxed money going to political causes? GOODBYE. If churches or religious people want to give to charity and get a "write off" on taxes...it should be social charities for all, not private religious foundations or political organizations based on promoting mystic leaders or writs...or for political gain. 

If religious orders of any kind want to practice some archaic, patriarchal belief systems based on mystic symbols or ancient figureheads who supposedly never died...they should do so in the privacy of their own homes or property.  I would limit "free speech" to that of political or social discourse, not "proselytizing" pronouncements of hell-fire and damnation in the public square. I would never agree to permit what we see all over Europe of the growing Muslim populations publicly demanding their Sharia law and communities.  I should have the freedom to NOT hear these detractors of common sense". Let their good WORKS speak for their beliefs, not tirades among normal citizens. 

Oh, and if a child or mother/wife wants to escape a fundamentalist, intolerant male leader in their home or "church", they should be allowed and protected by our social order to do so. That should be part of "separation of church and state". Right now there are millions of "captives" in the USA to various religious orders who do not have the right to live or think freely. Children also should have the right to not participate in fundamental religions, just as we protect them from all other forms of abuse. "Mental abuse" of children is a huge issue in our society with so many abhorrent sects and cults demanding freedom to exist under special privileges. Keep in mind those who still grow up in systems of "child brides" and polygamy.

Anyone who wants to be a "citizen" in a truly free society should not be allowed to duck service to that society. Anyone that cannot agree to our constitution or bill of rights in this country should NOT be allowed citizenship or voting rights. If you will not lift a hand to defend this country and its freedoms...GOODBYE. The immediate inclusion in our country based on birthright or passing a test should not be enough. If you cannot agree to our constitution and bill of rights...you cannot live indefinitely among us. If your religion is more important than these freedoms and rights we are supposed to have in America, then please go elsewhere that respects or agrees with your voodoo religion.

And finally, if you want to come lecture my nation's leaders and put on a media dog and pony show espousing fundamentalist religious views...you should stand in line or pay for access just like anyone else. We also risk having to allow equal access and time to ALL fundamentalist leaders from the Mohammed clan to the Jewish one.  I for one am not interested...and I am appalled by the cost of this Pope's visit which funds COULD have been spent on better things than motorcades, plane fares for thousands, media manipulations and heavy security that was required for this pomp and circumstance.  I imagine I am in the minority, but I am sickened by this hypocritical hoopla. This parade could have helped hundreds of thousands of the displaced they were all TALKING about helping!

I am not here saying that our current leaders and systems are working satisfactorily. Obviously they are not. But our future hope does not require MORE tolerance for religion and mysticism.  Our hope relies much more on rules and equality under secular laws, technology and scientific advancements that will make life easier and cheaper to live, clean up our environment, and yes, distribute food and sustenance to the poor who have no current ability to move out of the jungles, deserts and flooding river basins they are stuck in under rule of nefarious tyrants of political order.  We help the poor because it is the natural, reasonable and HUMANE thing to do...not because a god or the Pope demands us to.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Muslim Chapel in Orlando Airport










http://tampa.cbslocal.com/2015/08/12/orlando-airport-to-open-250000-muslim-prayer-room/

News comes to us a few days ago that the Orlando International Airport is opening a Muslim "prayer room" at a cost of $250,000.  I don't know ultimately who will pay for this...but it is probably the public since taxes pay for most developments such as airports.

It will be interesting to track who uses this "chapel" the most...people arriving from Dubai, thanking Allah for his deliverance from that desert oil oasis...or believers leaving America to go back with thankful deliverance from this wicked, "Satanist" land of McDonalds, Hollywood and Disneyland.

Now, apparently in all fairness, there has been a "Christian" chapel at the airport for a while, and they are planning to add ANOTHER interdenominational chapel at some location as well.  Does anyone else see irony in all of this?

First off, the fastest growing belief system in America is "secularism"...basically a form of Humanism which tends to be practiced by mostly intellectuals and highly educated or well read people.  For those of us who escaped fundamentalist religion as kids in our culture...this has been welcome news that we now have more unbelievers "out of the closet" with us.

Unfortunately, replacing the droves of Americans leaving dead religions...we now have this huge influx of Muslims immigrating to our country and establishing their own neighborhoods and mosques throughout most of our major cities.  While I have always believed in constitutional freedom of religion...I have never believed in government or state sponsorship of religion. I also don't recognize my country as a "Christian" nation since the colonies were not founded on fundamental religion.  They were founded on escape from tyrants in Europe who forced state sponsored religions along with the prohibition of others.

The separation of church and state is very simply that.  Churches should have nothing to do with politics...and the government should have no involvement with religion. INDIVIDUALS should be able to practice as they wish...as long as it does not inhibit others from NOT practicing religion or being affected by another persons beliefs. This is called being a "republic", and a majority democratic vote of "Christians" should not be able to change these constitutional rights.

This takes us back to the issue at hand...the Muslim religion growing faster in the USA than Christianity, Judaism or others. When our governments... federal, state and local...start mandating exceptions and imbalanced tolerance of religious fundamentalists, no matter what brand they are...you are starting the makings of more civil strife in this "land of the free, home of the brave".

Islam AND fundamental Christianity are NOT tolerant, peace loving religions. They are full of judgement, hell-fire and damnation against "unbelievers".  This adds to the already difficult job of uniting Americans of all racial and economic backgrounds.  It is hard enough to get blacks, whites, Native Americans, Asians and Hispanics to get along in this country.  Now you add increased marks of demarcation between fundamental religions...and we all are going straight to "hell" in one big bundle of holy wars inside our own borders.

I for one now go on record as being against any government sponsorship of any religion, its emblems or icons. The state should be the state, religion should be practiced in ones home, church, synagogue or even mosques.  But I should not have to be confronted with these idiocies of sectarian worship in public places.  Its not that it threatens me, but I believe it sets up continued strife and division in our humanity by having these symbols of mysticism at every crossroad.

I personally see no difference between revolting public signs of "Jesus is Coming", "Jesus Saves", etc to Islamic signs of  "death to infidels".  They have all become repugnant, vacuous symbols of mans mental depravity and lack of education when it comes to meaning and history of human life.  It is alarming how much of this we have in the internet age.

So please...no more publicly funded "chapels".  And while we are at it, lets do away with "tax exempt" religions of every persuasion.  These charlatan evangelists living like hedonists on tax free contributions need to go away.  If people want to broadcast religious views, they should pay for access the same way taxed institutions do.  If I don't have these advantages as a secular humanist...why should a religious person or organization have it?

The sheep need to get with the program. No religious "Koolaid" drinking on public funds or property.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

THOUGHTS ON GUN CONTROLS



I think Guns are part of culture.  You grow up with them or you don't.  If you don't, you don't perceive a need or purpose for them.  If you do, you almost feel naked without one.  If you never had one, you tend to fear them.  If you always had one, you fear being without one.

I am not a member of the NRA...yet I don't understand governments that want to ban personal ownership of guns.  I don't think my government should have something that they don't allow me to have...including Cadillac health plans and offshore bank accounts.

I understand the difference between "rights" and "privileges".  I understand our society putting up limits to "rights" if an individual cannot responsibly handle the freedom of their "rights".  Tommy may be able to responsibly handle guns, alcohol, and driving at the age of 14.  Jerry may not be able to handle any of them at the age of 40.  The law for everyone should not be based on the 40 year old.

In much the same light, if John can vote and die for our country in the military or police force at age 18...he should be free to do anything I can do including drink alcohol, gamble, or serve in various government positions local or national.  In addition, if he can carry a weapon to serve and defend our country...he should damn well have the right to carry a weapon to defend himself or his family.

Guns are not violent.  People are.  If we are going to outlaw anything, let's outlaw violent people.  That includes people who suffer from "temporary insanity".  If I harm another person, I should not escape punishment or incarceration just because I was "high" or suffering some mental or physical illness.  Pedophiles are mentally sick people...but they should not get away with their crimes just because of their "condition". Our liberal judicial system is out of whack when it comes to criminal cases.  This is helping feed the violence and aggression in our streets.

Finally...it will never make sense to a "gun person" when, if danger from violence is growing within his community, some government asks him to give up his guns.  I think that goes against the grain of common reasoning in human nature for self preservation.  After all, governments are the principle buyers of most firearms. The purpose of government is to protect freedoms...not take them away.  

Thursday, June 18, 2015

So You Think I am Unpatriotic?


This blog by Simon Black bears repeating today.  I have had similar comments or feedback from people who say my views about my government are "Un-American".  In response, I could not state the issues any better than Simon...so here is a repost of his blog from today.

 http://www.sovereignman.com/trends/tell-this-to-the-next-idiot-who-thinks-youre-unpatriotic-17174/

June 18, 2015
Kathmandu, Nepal
I’ll never forget the Oath of Office I took when I was commissioned as an Army Intelligence Officer all those years ago. The most important part is where you swear to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States against ALL enemies, foreign and domestic.” That was the part that kept ringing in my head as George W. Bush went on TV in the run-up to the Iraq war talking about weapons of mass destruction. We had been on the ground in Kuwait since late 2002, months before the invasion of Iraq kicked off. And every time Bush told that lie, I thought about my oath.
I’m disappointed to admit that, back then, I didn’t have the courage to go up against the big Army machine… to march into my Battalion Commander’s office and say, “Sir, we must defend the Constitution against the President of the United States.” I knew I would get crushed.
When I left the military, I started noticing all the other ways in which the government turned the Constitution into a punchline. And that practice has only accelerated. I came up with a different solution. Instead of fighting some faceless machine, I voted with my feet and left the country.
That, coupled with my drastically reduced tax bill thanks to being an overseas expat, has prompted a lot of use of the word ‘unpatriotic’ since I started writing this letter six years ago. I find this appallingly ignorant. The American Revolution itself was predicated on the inequity of taxation without representation.
Are your interests represented when they buy bombs and body scanners? Mine certainly aren’t. Yet people who define patriotism by the frequency and rapidity of their flag-waving think that we all have some collective duty to ignorantly believe whatever we’re told by the government. I disagree. So does the New Oxford American Dictionary, which defines ‘patriot’ as “a person who vigorously supports their country and is prepared to defend it against enemies or detractors.” There’s that phrase again– ‘defending against enemies.’
Who exactly are these ‘enemies’, by the way? Are they men in caves who hate us for our freedom? Arab teenagers with intense sexual angst and a collection of firearms? No. The real enemies are not foreign… but domestic. It is the apparatus of government itself that has collapsed upon the founding document of the nation.
It’s not unpatriotic to lament how far a government’s practices have diverged from its Constitution. It’s not unpatriotic to want to be free. And it’s not unpatriotic to take steps to make that happen. In fact, people who think it’s everyone’s patriotic duty to pay taxes are only feeding the beast that makes them less free. And it’s entirely delusional to think that all of this can change by going to a voting booth. There’s no politician that’s going to change this. Nobody is going to stand on stage and say, “My plan is to eliminate entire departments of government, fire half of all government workers, terminate social security, and default on the debt.”
Elections are pointless charades. But rather than vote for new people, we can simply vote to restrict the resources they have available. Yes, there are legal obligations to pay tax. And everyone should abide those obligations or risk pointless imprisonment. But with proper planning, tax obligations can be minimized.
In my case, I left the country. This provides up to $100,800 in tax-free income based on the Foreign Earned Income Exclusion, and that’s before taking into account additional deductions, allowances, and exclusions. Recently I used my tax savings to finance a new prosthetic leg for an amputee war veteran that had been abandoned by the US government, and to buy food for earthquake victims here in Nepal. Had I not taken steps to reduce my tax bill, a big chunk of my income would have paid for more soldiers to get their legs blown off, and more bombs to be dropped by remote control on brown people. Instead, now I get to decide how my income and savings can best have an impact on the interests that I believe in. Let’s call it “representation without taxation”. And it’s completely legal as long as you follow the rules.
Sure, not everyone has the ability to leave the country. But there are options to fit any lifestyle and circumstance. In addition to taxes, for example, it’s important to consider moving a portion of your savings abroad where it can’t be confiscated or frozen by capital controls. Safeguarding your wealth is a huge part of this strategy, in fact.
The larger point is that taking steps to preserve your wealth and freedom is not unpatriotic. And for anyone who truly cares to defend your country from its domestic enemies, starving the beast is one of the most powerful tools you have available. 
Our goal is simple: To help you achieve personal liberty and financial prosperity no matter what happens.
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