San Juan Mountains

San Juan Mountains
San Juan Mountains: Grenadier Range

Friday, July 12, 2013

I Would Like To Be Your Personal Servant

I would like to apply for a job as your personal servant.  Allow me to tell you all of the things I am willing to do on your behalf:
  • I will work for you for a pre-agreed upon wage.  After I start working for you I will raise my salary at your expense.  While working for you I will take money from you in several different ways.  Sometimes I will put counterfeit bills in your wallet and take your real bills.  Other times I will use direct force and take your money away from you under the threat of physical intimation and harm.  Still other times I will use your credit cards for my purposes and expect you or your children to pay the bill at some later date.
  • While working as your personal servant I will create a slew of rules that you will be required to follow.  All of these rules will be created and enforced upon you for your own good.  I, of course, will not be subject to any of the rules.  I will determine what you may purchase.  I will determine what you can do with your real and personal property. I will decide what you may eat and drink.  I will decide what is good for you and what is bad for you.  Sometimes a thing may be both good and bad for you.  In those cases the item you are buying will be good for you when you buy it from someone I approve of and bad for you when you buy it from someone I do not approve of.  Noncompliance with any of my rules will result in my taking more of your money away from you.
  • I will use some of the money that I take from you to create a club that will be filled with people who also promise to take care of you.  They will be in charge of your personal security.  They will make sure that you follow all of the rules that I have created to make your life healthy and happy.  They will be allowed to carry guns to enforce those rules if you decide you would rather not do what you should.  They will patrol your neighborhood and attempt to catch you in violations of the rules.  You will not be allowed to carry guns or do anything that might make one of these club members feel personally threatened.  If one of the club members ever feels personally threatened by you he will have the right to use deadly force against you.  When members of this club use deadly force they will be called "heroes".  All of this is being done to enhance your personal security.
  • I will use some of the money that I take from you to enlarge my personal service business.  I plan on using the money I take from you to give to other people, who will then be beholding to me because of my generosity.  The goal for my business is to have half of my customers providing the funds that I can then give to the other half of my customers, less a significant commission for my services.  If you do not like having your money taken from you and given to my other customers I will launch a public relations campaign against you designed to smear your reputation and cast you as a greedy, heartless cheapskate. 
  • I will take still more of your money and use it to form another club.  This club will be much larger than the club that is concerned with your immediate personal security.  This club will protect your personal security by traveling around the world and harming, maiming and killing people who I determine to be a danger to your personal security.  Most of my thinking in this regard will really not have much, if anything, to do with your life actually being in danger.  Most of my behavior in this regard will be to enlarge my personal service business around the world.  It is highly likely that the net result of the actions taken by this club will be that people all around the world will come to hate you, making you actually less secure than you were before the actions of the club members.  My reaction to that eventuality will be to increase the size of the club and harm, maim and kill more people.  It is a great way to grow a business.
  • I will ensure your financial future.  Since you are incapable of planning for the future and creating a nest egg that you can live off of at some later time, I will do it for you.  I will take only 15% of your annual income to accomplish this amazing feat.  I will take 15% of your income and put it into an imaginary fund where it will draw interest and grow large enough to provide for your financial needs in retirement.  After I have taken your money I will really spend it on things I want to buy.  There will be no "trust fund".  At some point in the future when I have to pay you your monthly allowance I will switch you from being one of my customers I am stealing from to one of my customers I am giving things to.  That will make you very happy.  Because you are so financially inept you will never realize that the rate of return on your "investment" is negative.  You will just be happy to be getting anything back at all.
  • I will take care of all of your medical needs.  When your daughter needs an abortion, I will take money from your neighbor and your employer to pay for it.  Since you might not be willing to insure yourself against medical problems I will force you to buy a health insurance policy from me.  If you do not, I will steal more of your money.  If you do, you will end up being either one of my customers that I steal from or one that I give money to, depending upon whether you need to see a doctor.  You decide.  There is great personal freedom under the terms of my personal services contract wouldn't you say?
  • I will educate your children.  I will teach them of the glories of being a servant of others.  I will encourage them to pursue the same career as I have.  I will teach them the value of sacred principles like equality of outcome and the need to be nice to each other.  They may not end up learning anything about math or science but they will be genuinely good, compassionate and caring people.  They will create an entire class of people that future providers of personal services can exploit....oops.... I mean serve.
  • This is just a short list of the many things I will do for you.  There are many things I will end up doing for you that I have not even thought about yet.  I am very creative.  I can think of things to do for you that you would never dream of today.  Please hire me.  I would like to be your personal servant.  
OK, how many of you are willing to hire me?  Not many, eh?  I didn't think so.  And that is precisely why I am so confused.  When I give you my resume and ask for employment as your personal servant by telling you exactly what I want to do for you, you rightly run screaming in the other direction.  Yet, when a career politician comes to you and tells you that he will do the exact same things, in exchange for your vote, you dutifully line up at the ballot box and vote for him.   These career politicians call themselves your "servants" and then promise to do all of the above things if you will just give them your vote.  You then give them your vote.  You call it being patriotic.  You call it being civic minded.  You call it the lesser of two evils.  But still you do it.  That is what amazes me.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Warning To Gun Owners: Avoid Las Vegas

I wander through Las Vegas (Nevada, not New Mexico) probably about once per year.  The Foundation for Economic Education (FEE) sponsors an annual conference called the "Freedom Fest".  It is a top notch gathering of folks who still believe in that old fashioned notion that we should be free to live our lives without government interference.  If you want to find out more about the conference, go here: http://freedomfest.com/.  It is well worth your time and money to attend.  I have gone to it many times over the years.
In addition I make it a point to stay overnight in Vegas whenever I am coming from another destination that is along the way.  I am fascinated by Vegas.  It is certainly one of the most unique places on earth.  In Vegas the benefits of generally free market conditions may be seen by the amazing speed in which giant hotels have been constructed.  I am always amazed at how quickly enormous buildings can be put up whenever there is profit to be made.  I am always amazed at the contrast in the amount of time spent on building projects in Las Vegas compared to the ridiculously long periods of time involved whenever the State of Colorado attempts to resurface a small section of highway.
Another advantage found in Vegas is the general lack of police harassment that allows an adult to walk down the street while consuming an adult beverage. It is exhilarating to be able to walk and drink an adult beverage without being arrested in this day and age of the nanny-state and onerous restrictions on personal behavior that is harming no one.  It is almost possible to feel like a free man in Vegas.  Alas, it saddens me to say that I now I might have to significantly curtail my visits to that town.  Allow me to explain why.
Unknown to me, Las Vegas has apparently become ground zero for a disease that can infect anyone at anytime.  I had no idea this particular disease even existed, much less that it is of epidemic proportions in Vegas.  While on a recent trip to Vegas I was thumbing through the environmentalist propaganda on the desk of my hotel room (looking for material for this blog) when my eyes spotted a brochure warning me about this terrible disease.  The brochure was entitled "When The Fun Stops" and it had terrifying things like this to say:
"For most people, gambling is entertainment -- a fun activity that can be enjoyed without harmful effects.  But for some, it's not just a game -- it's a serious problem that continues, even after the fun is gone.   Just as some people can become addicted to alcohol or drugs, it is possible for a person to become obsessed with an uncontrollable urge to gamble.  This is problem gambling -- an emotional illness that often remains hidden until the consequences of repeated gambling begin to affect the financial and emotional security of the gambler and the family."  Well, there it is.  Gambling is a mental illness.  No one has any natural immunity from this disease.  The brochure told me that "problem gambling can affect men and women of any age, race or religion, regardless of financial or social status."  Wow!  At least I can get an inoculation to protect me from measles, mumps and rubella.  I can't get anything to protect me from "problem gambling".
Being a bit of a hypochondriac, I continued reading to find out what the symptoms of this disease are.  I was afraid that I might have it.  There are many symptoms.  They include, "failed attempts to stop gambling," "borrowing money to gamble,"  "gambling to escape worry (such as the worry that I am gambling too much)," and "feeling depressed as a result of gambling." 
I think I might have "problem gambling."  I almost always feel depressed as a result of my gambling.  I have a set routine every time I go to Vegas.  I take $20 to gamble with.  I find a slot machine, preferably "Wheel of Fortune," and sit down, inserting my $20 into the machine.  I then press the "spin" button as rapidly as I can, barely allowing the machine to reset before hitting the "spin" button again.  I try to see how fast I can lose the money.  My record is somewhere around one and a half minutes.  When my two minutes of excitement are over I always feel depressed.  Well, maybe not always.  A couple of times I have won.  My personal rule states that if the value of my account on the machine gets to the point where it exceeds $50 I will cash out and use that money for a nice meal.  That has happened a couple of times.  At any rate, my depression after losing tells me I might possible be infected by whatever virus it is that is responsible for contracting the mental disease of "problem gambling."
Now here is the problem.  If I suffer from the mental illness of problem gambling I am in big trouble if I try to own a gun in Colorado.  (Go to: http://madwelshman-unknown.blogspot.com/2013/06/in-colorado-if-you-drink-coffee-you-can.html for the details)  In Colorado if I have ever been diagnosed as having suffered from a mental illness I am prohibited from owning a gun.  The political elite in Colorado have determined that they know best who should own a weapon.  They also have determined that there is such a thing as mental illness.  They have combined those two bits of knowledge into the law that requires all mentally ill people to forfeit their 2nd Amendment right to own a gun.  Now, much to my chagrin, I discover that one of my favorite places is infested with mental illness disease and I just might have contracted it.  What am I to do?
I can only come to one conclusion.  I live in Colorado.  I do not want more of my constitutional rights taken from me than I have already lost.  So, in a bizarre logical twist of events, I need to restrict my freedom to travel wherever I want in order to protect my right to own a gun.  I can no longer enter any town that has a slot machine in it.  I might have to be careful to avoid the homes of people who are known to play the occasional game of poker.  My life has just undergone a serious change.  My behavior will be greatly modified in the future.  As a public service to all who are reading this blog allow me to issue this warning to all gun owners from Colorado....avoid Las Vegas so you will not contract the gambling disease plague that is found there.  If you do, you could lose your guns.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

James Holmes Has More Civil Rights Than I Do

There was a very strange story in the Denver Post last week.  It was on page 2 and entitled "Bank Records Improperly Seized".  The story reported that "Aurora detectives seized bank records of theater shooting suspect James Holmes without obtaining a judge's permission."  Apparently the prosecution was forced to admit this violation of Holmes' 4th Amendment rights "in response to a motion by Holmes' attorneys to keep the bank records out of evidence."  As you might expect, this violation of Holmes' right to be secure in his papers and possessions has created another item for his attorneys to use to delay his trial and make huge sums of money for themselves as they rack up billable hours by filing motion after motion protesting everything that takes place.
Holmes' attorneys are making a huge deal out of the fact that law enforcement officials were able to obtain Holmes' financial records without first obtaining a warrant, as the 4th Amendment requires.  Where have they been the past 15 years?  Are they totally unaware that no citizen of the Socialist Democracy of Amerika any longer has the right to be secure in his financial records?  Are they completely oblivious to the fact that the Patriot Act has abolished the 4th Amendment?  I had to confirm my beliefs about this issue so I placed a call to my broker.  Here is what I discovered.
When I opened an account with my broker (very small and infrequently traded) I had to prove to him that I was not a terrorist.  In order to prove my innocence he took a copy of my drivers license.  He used my license and my social security number to cross-check my information with a federal data base created by the FBI.  If any matches of my information with the poor folks in the FBI database had come up I would have been suspected of being a terrorist.  I, of course, was totally unaware that any of this was taking place.  I had no idea that merely opening a small brokerage account would result in my being checked out by the FBI.  But it gets worse.
According to my broker, I am under constant surveillance by the federal authorities.  In fact, my broker informed me that he was also keeping me under constant surveillance.  I have made four trades in my account over the past year.  If I were to get a bit crazy and do four trades in one day I would be engaging in what my broker calls "suspicious activity".  According to the terms of the Patriot Act he is required to file a suspicious activity report (SAR) with the FBI anytime he notices any activity in my account that is not consistent with what I have done in the past.  I asked my broker what types of activity can result in the filing of a SAR.  He said that it is totally subjective and that any broker can file a SAR for any reason at any time.  I asked him if he could file a SAR against me because he got angry that I was not trading enough and generating some commission income for him.  He said, "Of course....I can file a SAR against you for any reason at any time."  How comforting.
The filing of a SAR gets the ball rolling.  The good old boys at the FBI, always concerned with my welfare, would look the report over and if they decide that it is worth additional investigation will include my name and social security number on an email that they send out to all brokerage firms every two weeks.  When a brokerage firm receives this regular email it is required to cross-check its client files for a match.  If there is a match, all of the financial information about that client must be immediately sent to the FBI, under penalty of law for refusal to do so.  If the folks at the brokerage firm fail to send all of the information to the FBI they can be fined and imprisoned for violations of the Patriot Act.  In addition, the brokerage firm is forbidden from telling the client that he is being investigated.  So much for the 4th Amendment rights of brokerage firm clients.
The provisions of the Bank Secrecy Act do pretty much the same thing for all bank account holders.  If you have a bank account you are subject to illegal searches by the federal authorities if you happen to do things in your account they deem to be suspicious.  Of course, you will never be made aware of their investigation until the day the jack-booted thugs break down your door and haul you off to Guantanamo.  Isn't democracy grand?
James Holmes, although he is a mass murdered and should be immediately executed, still should have the right to be protected by the 4th Amendment.  What I find so bitterly ironic is that Holmes' attorneys have successfully protected his 4th Amendment rights while mine have long ago flown out the window.  Does anybody other than me care about this?  Where is the outrage at our massive loss of privacy?  I am outraged that James Holmes has more civil rights than I do.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

The Strange Case of James Holmes And The Sixth Amendment

James Holmes is the fellow who entered the movie theater in Aurora, Colorado last July 20th and calmly murdered twelve people.  There is no doubt that Holmes is the person who did the killing.  There is no doubt about what happened that night.  All parties to the discussion are in full agreement that Holmes did what he did exactly as we all know him to have done it.  As we approach the one year anniversary of the massacre it is the case that Holmes has only just recently entered a plea to the murder charges that have been brought against him.  Allow me to explain what is going on here.
The Sixth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States states, in part, "In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed..."  We are now almost a year away from the event and Holmes has just now entered a plea to the charges brought against him.  How can this process in any way be considered compliant with the provisions of the Sixth Amendment?  Of course the James Holmes trial is in no way an aberration when it comes to violations of the Sixth Amendment.  Almost all high profile criminal cases take more than a year to get started.  Many of them take several years to come to trial.  The trial of George Zimmerman has taken almost a year and a half to come to the courtroom.  How can that be considered "speedy"? 
In the ideal situation James Holmes would have been executed before the end of July in 2012.  There is no doubt as to his guilt.  There is no doubt as to the penalty for his crime.  Those of you who consider yourselves to be wiser than God are free to argue that he should be sentenced to life in prison rather than death if you want to.  I don't care.  Either way his case should have been over and done with in a matter of days.  There are no facts to dispute, no defense arguments to make and no reasons to delay the inevitable.  That is the "ideal" situation.  In the Socialist Democracy of Amerika nothing is ideal.
The Sixth Amendment also provides that the defendant shall be entitled to the services of legal counsel.  As that clause is interpreted today it means that any defendant who does not want to use his own money to pay for a lawyer to represent his interests can now force the taxpayers to pay for that service on his behalf.  In the high profile case of James Holmes, lawyers came crawling out of the woodwork to be given the opportunity to represent him.  Cases like the Holmes case have the potential to make a career for an enterprising young attorney.  Holmes had the right to request an attorney and the taxpayers have the responsibility to pay for that attorney's services.  However, the attorney would have had very little to do and would have been paid very little of the taxpayer dollars to stand there while Holmes was executed a week or so after the massacre.  But that is not how the "legal" system works in this country.
The system of "justice" we have in this land is primarily set up to enrich the participants.  Judges, lawyers and psychiatrists all come together to form a legal cartel that exists for the purpose of aggrandizing themselves and making each of the participants a whole lot of money.  The actual pursuit of justice is secondary, at best.  In most cases real justice has nothing to do with the proceedings in taxpayer funded criminal cases.  The various judges involved in the Holmes case immediately allowed for the appointment of multiple defense attorneys on his behalf.  Those attorneys, billing the taxpayers in excess of $500/hour for their services, then immediately set out to delay the process as much as possible.  Defense attorneys are experts at filing motions that unnecessarily delay the trial.  At this point Holmes' legal team has been extraordinarily successful at creating delays.  After almost a year of wrangling he has just now entered a plea to the charges against him.  On June 4th the presiding judge allowed Holmes to enter the plea of not guilty by reason of insanity.  The present debate in his case has now moved on to whether he is, or was, legally insane.  That has opened another can of worms.
The judge allowed that Holmes should be examined by a state appointed psychiatrist to determine if he is truly insane.  If it is determined that he is, or was, insane, he will be permitted to continue his plea of insanity in his defense.  Some lucky (no doubt politically connected to someone in this case) shrink was selected to make the determination about Holmes' sanity.  This shrink is billing the taxpayers somewhere around $300/hour for her services.  A couple of weeks ago she informed the judge that the case was far too "complicated" for her to render an opinion quickly and without the help of her colleagues.  As a result the judge has allowed her (I think it was a female shrink) to bring on an entire team of shrinks and given them as much time as they need to make their determination.  Meanwhile the attorneys for the defense are busy studying the issues and sending bills to the taxpayers for their services.  The total amount that will eventually end up being spent to find Holmes guilty of twelve murders will be in the multi-millions of dollars. 
This is the way the system works.  All along the way the press dutifully reports that the wheels of justice are grinding slowly and that the interests of all parties are being given their proper constitutional protections.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  The wheels of injustice grind slowly because they are being paid by the hour.  The wheels of injustice grind even more slowly because the payments are coming from the seemingly inexhaustible supply of taxpayer dollars available to the system.   Meanwhile Holmes is just a convenient pawn who is being used by the participants to further their careers and feather their nests.  It is a strange thing indeed when part of the Sixth Amendment (the provision for counsel) is being used to nullify another part (the right to a speedy trial) of that same Amendment.  Still it should never surprise us that the clause that wins is the clause the both enriches the government employees and gouges the taxpayers.

Monday, July 8, 2013

The USA Is Nothing But A Bully

I was watching some news program the other night, I think it was Bill O'Reilly's show, when some politician who was being interviewed made a comment that made me sit up straight in my rocking chair.  At first I could not believe what I had heard.  My semi-drowsy state no doubt is contributing to the fact that I cannot recall who it was that made the comment but the content of the comment came through loud and clear.  He said, "Nobody fears us any more."  The comment was made in the context of a perceived Russian snub in regards to the Edward Snowden affair.  The person who made the comment was very upset.  (Now that I think about it, maybe it was "The Five" on Fox News.....I don't know.)
As I snapped to attention I continued to hear this man describe how the world is going to come to an end because the political leaders of many other countries in the world no longer fear the political leaders in the Socialist Democracy of America.  He was predicting world-wide anarchy as the SDA became the butt of jokes about how we are impotent in world affairs.  It was utterly incomprehensible to him that some foreign political leader would not bow down and worship at the throne of SDA superior power and authority.  It was indicative, in his eyes, of a total breakdown in what is right and good in the world that politicians in other lands would actually stand up to and disobey the dictates of King Obama.  What have we become?
The SDA is the largest and most powerful economy in the world.  The SDA military is the largest and most powerful military in the world.  At this point in time the SDA has become the largest and most powerful imperial power in the history of the world.  The sun never sets on the lands under the imperial and military control of the SDA.  Despite crazed attempts on the part of our rulers to pump up the reputations of our alleged foes around the world, there is nobody who could stand up to us in a fight for more than a couple of months.  (Occupying other countries is, of course, an entirely different matter.  It brought about the downfall of both Rome and London.)  I believe it is fair to say that the SDA is more despised and feared by other countries in the world than the Roman and British empires ever were.
Our political leaders constantly tell us that the world is filled with dreadful enemies who can wipe us off the map at a moments notice.  They tell us that all of the countries of the world can be divided into two groups:  our enemies and our friends.  Our enemies are defined as those who hate us because we are "free", whatever that means.  They also hate us because they know, deep down, that we are better than they are.  At least that is what our leaders tell us.
Our friends, on the other hand, are made up of those countries whose political leaders have the good sense to recognize that we are great and better than them.  They trust us and count on us to protect them from all of their enemies, who also happen to be our enemies.  They happily grant us permission to build military bases in their lands in exchange for huge amounts of foreign aid and financial support.  That is the world as seen through the eyes of the propaganda masters in the upper levels of the SDA government.
Why would our rulers be upset that other countries in the world would no longer "fear" us?  Why should that be an issue at all?  Why is the goal of our foreign policy to get other countries to fear us?  All of this talk about others fearing us smacks of nothing but bullyism, if there is such a word.  It seems to me that the consternation of our rulers is little more than the machinations of a bully when he suddenly realizes that he is losing his grip and his reign of terror is coming to an end.  I do not see why that is such a bad thing.
There are two, and only two, ways that countries can relate to each other.  The first, both the most common and the most disagreeable, is through their political and military systems.  Under the terms of a relationship of this sort each country is classified as either good or bad depending upon whether it kowtows to our country.  In this system there is no genuine respect for one another.  There is certainly no genuine affection or fraternal care for one another.  The entire system is built upon fear, intimidation, threats, and fake displays of peaceful relations.  We are all familiar with these types of relationships.  They are around us every day.
Genuinely peaceful and respectful relationships between nations are forged when the second type of relationship is allowed to flourish.  The second type of relationship is free trade.  When the citizens of two countries are not forbidden by their governments to engage in free trade with one another both countries benefit and prosper.  Peaceful relations exist because each party to the relationship realizes that there is no benefit to attacking and killing their customers.  Cultural, religious, political and military differences are set aside in order to engage in production and trade for mutual benefit, guided by self interest on the part of both parties.  Each party respects the other because it makes good business to do so.
A bully is something completely different.  A bully is always the biggest guy on the block.  That is why he can be a bully.  He is the strongest guy on the block.  That is why he can get his way.  But everybody fears a bully.  Everyone also hates a bully.  Even those who feign respect for the bully hate him deep down and can't wait until the day comes when he is cast down from power.  The bully is always immensely insecure.  He wants people to like him, despite the fact he is a bully.  He tells himself that people like him and that his enemies are bad people, completely unlike him.  He surrounds himself with those who tell him he is good.  He needs constant reinforcement because he has no sense of who he is apart from the appraisal of others.  He is an emotional and psychological basket case.
The SDA, according to our rulers, is now nothing more than a bully.  I do not know exactly when we became one.  I am not at all sure how long we will continue to be one.  What I do know is that we are one now and our rulers are starting to become very afraid that our reign of bully-dom might be coming to an end.  How else do you explain the ironic combination of outrage and sadness being expressed by our political leaders over their perception that other countries of the world no longer "fear" us?