Happy Tax Freedom Day

By Nathan Barton

Wow! This is Tax Freedom Day, 16 April 2019, just the day after Income Tax Day (may it be remembered in infamy).

Erica York of the Tax Foundation wrote, “Tax Freedom Day, is a significant date for taxpayers and lawmakers because it represents how long Americans as a whole have to work in order to pay the nation’s tax burden.” That’s federal, state and local. Isn’t that incredible. 

Note that Tax Freedom Day falls three days earlier in 2019 compared with 2018 — thanks mostly to the much lamented and frequently-condemned Trump-pushed Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.

Ah well.  It seems that Americans spend more on taxes than they do on food, clothing and shelter… (not counting the taxes levied on them).

 

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Notre Dame, a symbol of our times

By Nathan Barton

Today, on an island in the Seine, the magnificant Cathedral of Notra-Dame-de-Paris is burning, perhaps to the foundations.  The famed edifice, the number-one tourist attraction in France and perhaps all Europe, with 18 million visitors a year (easily 6 times that of Mount Rushmore), and still the seat of Roman Catholic archbishops and cardinals, is an irreplaceable loss, even if it is rebuilt, as it almost certainly will be.

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Do the courts care? Do we?

By Nathan Barton

Too many people who claim to be lovers of liberty (libertarians and Libertarians, including anarchists (of the free-market persuasion), are very quick to push the “rights” of homosexuals, transsexuals, and similar persons.

Clearly, these people are human and have the same rights as any other human.  And too often, both in the past and today, they have been denied those rights because of the disgust and fear that their behavior generates among the majority of the population.

But their rights, like those of all humans, are limited.  Specifically, “my liberties end where your nose begins.” Too many people, including some lovers of liberty (or who believe that they are), forget this important principle.

I find it something very strange. We are in an odd era. People seriously argue that free speech must be curtailed and censored. Why? If someone is offended or made fearful by that speech, or even if someone’s feelings are hurt by the words said or written. Firms can be boycotted, often by government officials, when they support political speech which is deemed to be politically incorrect or offensive to some group or another.

Yet, at the very same time, we are told that people must have the right to do things which are offensive, which cause people to fear, and which hurt their feelings. Which even violate their morals and sense of self-worth.  And who is often telling us this? Judges. Not just politicians, but those appointed supposedly to maintain justice and support order and peace.

What do I mean?  Consider this report about a ruling by a Federal Judge in Illinois. Although Godfather Politics has a very abrasive and clearly biased discussion, the facts are clear. A sitting federal judge has told the family of a small girl that girls have no right to “visual bodily privacy.” Indeed, “so far, the right not to be seen unclothed by the opposite sex is not on the Supreme Court’s list” of liberties which we have.

Remember our “right to privacy” which we were told for years was a fundamental right? Remember that it has been used to justify the legalization of abortion? Homosexual marriage? The right to go topless on Manhattan and naked in San Francisco?

But when it comes to our right of privacy, it all evaporates when it threatens the liberty of someone in a protected class.  In our modern society, here in the Fifty States, the rights of protected minorities trump the rights of majorities AND the rights of unprotected minorities.  So much so, that the privileges of protected classes are treated as though they are rights.

And everyone else suffers the loss of essential liberties.

And the courts don’t care.  This is obvious. Whether it is the regressive mentality, or arrogance, it is clearly an attitude that is a stark contrast to liberty.

But the real question is, who DOES care? Is it of concern even to many who believe that they love liberty? Much less to the majority of our people here in the Fifty States? Is the  exercise of certain rights at virtually any place and any time to dominate society?  Even when enjoying those rights is deeply offensive and creates fear in others?

Especially when our society seems increasingly opposed to other rights being exercised, because of being offensive and creating fear?  Rights like free speech, the right to keep and bear arms, and even to use your own property as you will?

Many (but not all) of these issues have become points of conflict which are creating major fractures in our societies, in many if not most states.  Is that because we have changed so much as a society? Or because they are intentionally pushed in order to cause a breakdown in society? And in the rule of law?

Or is it just because neither the courts nor most people care enough about peace and civility any more? Much less liberty?

If we ever thought that we could depend on courts and the judicial system to defend and protect our essential liberties, we know better now.

 

 

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False accusations

By Nathan Barton

Today, the buzzword is “fake-news” but it isn’t something new.

Almost anyone can be branded as evil (or just bad) by fake news.

For example, last year, a college football player has been vindicated after being accused of rape.  According to The Blaze, the player had a date with the woman in which they had a good time (according to what she told her friends) but did not engage in anything involving coupling or other “adult” acts.  But when he stopped replying to her texts, the woman apparently felt scorned and filed a legal complaint that he had raped her on the date.  Fortunately, the local police investigated enough to find that her attitude towards him had changed completely, as documented by her own texts and messages, and that her accusation was false.

I could cite dozens of examples – maybe even from the last few weeks.  It is not just politicians and celebrities who are the victims of fake news, or as better known, false accusations and just plain lies.

Back a long time ago, there was a very trusted employee of a wealthy man in Egypt.  This young employee was solicited by his employee’s wife, but when he turned down her advances, she tore her clothing off and ran out of the house, screaming that the young man was trying to rape her. The young employee was fired and imprisoned; the woman’s lies were believed. The accusation was false.  It would be years before he was released from prison, and not because she admitted to the false accusation. Rather, he did something to merit his freedom.

It has happened a lot of times, both over the millennia and in recent decades.  One argument against the death penalty is a false conviction based on false accusations and a wrongful finding on the part of a jury.

Today, we hear it and read it on the news daily.  Often, it is the media itself that is making the claim.

Some associates of mine were recently accused falsely of aggravated assault and menacing, for going to an acquaintance to ask him to mediate between them and a neighbor who was upset.  Instead, the acquaintance attacked them, then filed charges with the local Sheriff’s office against my associates.  After being arrested and posting bond, a judge at the initial hearing dismissed the charges.  But it could have come out far differently.  A peaceful and religious man (and his wife) have been slandered, shocked, and put to great cost over a simple visit.

Unfortunately, for every incident that ends (relatively) happy, there are others which end in debt (legal bills are worse than medical bills), imprisonment, loss of children and property, and worse.  Because someone lies.

We all realize that this is inevitable – has been and will be a problem for all of us. But today, with our modern surveillance state and modern media, we can see the pluses and minuses:

  • It is easier than ever for gossip, lies, false accusations and fake news to spread quickly.
  • It is harder than ever to get the truth out – and get the lies withdrawn.
  • But it is possible to get the word out.
  • And it is possible to verify and confirm or reject things that we hear.
  • Government with its ever-present eyes and ears, and with the aid of a growing army of informers, is more and more involved in creating and spreading the lies.

What can we do?

  • First, always be vigilant: look at everything you hear, read, or see with jaunticed eyes and ears. Consider the source as well as the beneficiaries of such tales.
  • Second, challenge things that are not the truth. Be proactive in defense of yourself and others.
  • Third, be very careful about what you say and what you pass on to others.

 

 

 

 

 

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Do we really expect anything different?

By Nathan Barton

Each day, my inbox is filled with stories and emails talking about the extreme views of various people.  On the one hand, the Tranzi (liberal, regressive) press and political leaders scream about the horrific attitudes and actions of much of the nation, decrying the bigotry, homophobia, macho/chauvinistic, sexist, racist, and worse of those people.  In particular, these days, they save special hate and vindictive speech for Trump, who isn’t even a conservative except in the eyes of the regressives.

On the other hand, the conservatives and their ilk proclaim loudly the evil action of those same Tranzis, especially the current inhabitants of the US House, much of the US Senate, and hundreds of statehouses and city halls. The loudest continue to be the more extreme (even fringe) portions of the right, but more and more people seem to be moving in that direction. And the time-honored tradition of making fun of the liberals is taking on a more bitter edge.

Consider this recent Washington Standard story about the “Christophobia” growing in the US Senate. The hatred of various Democratic senators for those who profess Christ as Lord – and try to live it in even small ways, and their disrespect for them and for the liberties of the people, is obvious. As is their contempt for anyone who believes in and tries to live in liberty, accepting personal responsibility, and having any love for community and state.

In the past, that would be brushed aside by the more conservative, traditional people and even politicians.  They would ignore it and seek to work around it. Except for a few hardcore types, that is: generally frowned upon by their less extreme brethren.  And libertarians (even religious ones) would explain it away and urge us to concentrate on reducing government, not fussing and fighting over relatively minor problems.

But that contempt is finally having its way, with more and more conservatives.  And even lovers of liberty (true anarchists, libertarians, Libertarians, and Constitutionalists). I more and more hear and read of people who are sick and tired of being treated like dirt for their traditional cultural, economic, religious, and political beliefs and lives.

More and more have reached their limit, and are unwilling to take any more. They are to the point that they have decided several critical points.  First, they are no longer willing to compromise any further.  Second, they are no longer willing to be quiet or stay in the background.  Third, they are more and more willing to repay like with like.

After years of being branded, increasingly strongly, as the enemy of modern life and human progress, of not caring for children, of being sexist and racist and primitive by the regressive liberals and tranzis, they are unwilling to take the abuse any longer. And are responding in kind.

It is only to be expected, especially given that the court system is so badly messed up. And there is every indication it is getting worse.

The Fifty States is far from the first place this pattern has taken place.  And this is far from first time in American history that we have seen this happen.  Such complete breakdown of civility and communications was seen in the 20th Century in Austria-Hungary, in Russia, in Italy, in Germany, in Spain, and constantly in Latin America. Each time, this collapse heralded massive conflict, violence, and all too often, the rise of truly nasty regimes. Regimes which bathed their nations, their societies, in blood.  And sometimes, the entire world.

Here in North America, the same thing happened in the 18th, 19th, and 20th Centuries. Prior to the American War of Independence, we saw it in the Thirteen Colonies. Loyalists and Rebels (Patriots) were the two major factions.  We saw it again almost forty years later, when the United States tried to conquer Canada.  And about 20 years later in Texas, where Texians (both Anglo AND Mexican, contrary to modern claims) and other groups in the United Mexican States confronted the Centrists that dominated the nation.

And then another three decades on, when the anti-slavery federal and states’ rights factions were at loggerheads. First in places like Missouri and Kansas, and then across much of the nation. While it was truly a war between the states, the unpleasantness of 1861-1865 was preceded and accompanied by civil wars in more than just those two states.  Most people know something of the history of West Virginia’s secession from Virginia. But few know that states like Tennessee and Texas had areas that were strongly Unionist and anti-secession and anti-slavery.  And in border states like Kentucky, Delaware and Maryland, lines were harshly drawn and even battles fought to control those states, which remained in the Union.  To say nothing of territories like New Mexico, Colorado, and Montana.

There have been other times in American history. There were the depression and labor violence in the 1870s. We had the Bonus Army and other confrontations in the 1930s. Even during wartime there were major fractures in society: the abuse of Americans of German origin in the First World War, of Americans of Japanese origin in the Second, and the anti-war movements in the Vietnam era.

Not all such situations, especially here in the Fifty States, have continued on to violent confrontation, much less open warfare. But some have.

And the current one very much has the potential to do so.  We should not be surprised if it does. In our history, the usual outcome is that the side which first resorts to open violence, even in self-defense, has ultimately lost. (Yes, even the Vietnam era shows this, I think.)

It is something to ponder, seriously.

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Republic or Empire: what the American military is not

By Nathan Barton

Many people over the years have compared Rome to America (what is now the Fifty States), in various ways.  Good and bad.  Fortunately, most of the similarities are superficial, and there are many differences.

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Republic or Empire – What is the American military?

By Nathan Barton

See the source image

The entire issue of “transgender” military personnel is again in the news, with the new “ban” announced to take effect in April, as reported by Jewish World Review. It brings to mind some basic questions.

Whether the “United States of America” is a republic (as established in the federal Constitution of 1787) or is de-facto an empire, just what is the role of the military forces of the United States?  These include the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, and Coast Guard, as well as the State’s National Guards, other State military forces (organized militia), and possibly in the future, a United States Space Force or Space Navy.

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