“…what more is necessary to make us a happy and a prosperous people? Still one more thing, fellow citizens a wise and frugal government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another, shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned.” – Thomas Jefferson (1801)
The income tax is enshrined into law but it is an idea that stands in total contradiction to the driving force behind the American Revolution and the idea of freedom itself. We desperately need a serious national movement to get rid of it – not reform it, not replace it, not flatten it or refocus its sting from this group to that. It just needs to go.
The great essayist Frank Chodorov once described the income tax as the root of all evil. His target was not the tax itself, but the principle behind it. Since its implementation in 1913, he wrote, “The government says to the citizen: ‘Your earnings are not exclusively your own; we have a claim on them, and our claim precedes yours; we will allow you to keep some of it, because we recognize your need, not your right; but whatever we grant you for yourself is for us to decide.”
He really does have a point. That’s evil. When Congress ratified the 16th Amendment on Feb. 3, 1913, there was a sense in which all private income in the U.S. was nationalized. What was not taxed from then on was a favor granted unto us, and continues to be so.
This is implied in the text of the amendment itself: “The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration.”
Where are the limits? There weren’t any. There was some discussion about putting a limit on the tax, but it seemed unnecessary. Only 1% of the income earners would end up paying about 1% to the government. Everyone else was initially untouched. Who really cares that the rich have to pay a bit more, right? They can afford it.
This perspective totally misunderstands the true nature of government, which always wants more money and more power and will stop at nothing to get both. The 16th Amendment was more than a modern additive to an antique document. It was a new philosophy of the fiscal life of the entire country.
Today, the ruling elite no longer bothers with things like amendments. But back in the day, it was different. The amendment was made necessary because of previous court decisions that stated what was once considered a bottom-line presumption of the free society: Government cannot tax personal property. What you make is your own. You get to keep the product of your labors. Government can tax sales, perhaps, or raise money through tariffs on goods coming in and out of the country. But your bank account is off-limits.
The amendment changed that idea. In the beginning, it applied to very few people. This was one reason it passed. It was pitched as a replacement tax, not a new money raiser. After all the havoc caused by the divisive tariffs of the 19th century, this sounded like a great deal to many people, particularly Southerners and Westerners fed up with paying such high prices for manufactured goods while seeing their trading relations with foreign consumers disrupted.
People who supported it – and they were not so much the left but the right-wing populists of the time – imagined that the tax would hit the robber baron class of industrialists in the North. And that it did. Their fortunes began to dwindle, and their confidence in their ability to amass and retain intergenerational fortunes began to wane.
Limit to Accumulation
We all know the stories of how the grandchildren of the Gilded Age tycoons squandered their family heritage in the 1920s and failed to carry on the tradition. Well, it is hardly surprising. The government put a timetable and limit on accumulation. Private families and individuals would no longer be permitted to exist except in subjugation to the taxing state. The kids left their private estates to live in the cities, put off marriage, stopped bothering with all that hearth and home stuff. Time horizons shortened, and the Jazz Age began.
Class warfare was part of the deal from the beginning. The income tax turned the social fabric of the country into a giant lifetime boat, with everyone arguing about who had to be thrown overboard so that others might live.
The demon in the beginning was the rich. That remained true until the 1930s, when FDR changed the deal. Suddenly, the income would be collected, but taxed in a different way. It would be taken from everyone, but a portion would be given back late in life as a permanent income stream. Thus was the payroll tax born. This tax today is far more significant than the income tax.
The class warfare unleashed all those years ago continues today. One side wants to tax the rich. The other side finds it appalling that the percentage of people who pay no income tax has risen from 30% to nearly 50%. Now we see the appalling spectacle of Republicans regarding this as a disgrace that must change. They have joined the political classes that seek advancement by hurting people.
The Payroll Tax
It’s extremely strange that the payroll tax is rarely considered in this debate. The poor, the middle class and the rich are all being hammered by payroll taxes that fund failed programs that provide no security and few benefits at all.
It’s impossible to take seriously the claims that the income tax doesn’t harm wealth creation. When Congress wants to discourage something – smoking, imports, selling stocks or whatever – they know what to do: Tax it. Tax income, and on the margin, you discourage people from earning it.
Tax debates are always about “reform” – which always means a slight shift in who pays what, with an eye to raising ever more money for the government. A far better solution would be to forget the whole thing and return to the original idea of a free society: You get to keep what you earn or inherit. That means nothing short of abolishing the great mistake of 1913.
Forget the flat tax. The only just solution is no tax on incomes ever.
But let’s say that one day we actually become safe from the income tax collectors and something like blessed peace arrives. There is still another problem that emerged in 1913. Congress created the Federal Reserve, which eventually developed the power to create all the money that government would ever need, even without taxing.
For the practical running of the affairs of the state, the Fed is far worse than the income tax. It creates the more-insidious tax because it is so sneaky. In a strange way, it has made all the debates about taxation superfluous. Denying the government revenue does nothing to curb its appetites for our liberties and property. The Fed has managed to make it impossible to starve the beast.
Chodorov was correct about the evil of the income tax. Its passage signaled the beginning of a century of despotism. Our property is no longer safe. Our income is not our own. We are legally obligated to turn over whatever our masters say we owe them. You can fudge this point: None of this is compatible with the old liberal idea of freedom.
You doubt it? Listen to Thomas Jefferson from his inaugural address of 1801. What he said then remains true today:”…what more is necessary to make us a happy and a prosperous people? Still one more thing, fellow citizens a wise and frugal government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another, shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned.”
Since Facebook is fake, shouldn’t it disseminate fake news? What are they so worried about? Fake news distributed by a fake company: It seems like a good match. And a historical one as well. It’s not as if Fakebook fell into fakeness all of a sudden. It’s been fake since the very beginning.
Large initial investments into Facebook were made by the CIA via their favorite fake libertarian Peter Thiel. And going back even farther, Mark Zuckerberg seems to have stolen the idea from Harvard’s Winklevoss twins before he dropped out.
With around $12 million in his account, Zuckerberg was able to up his level of fakery and here no doubt the CIA helped him a great deal, once again. We remember how ads for Fakebook were everywhere on the ‘net for a while. No doubt the CIA twisted a few corporate arms. We even doubt Fakebook paid for any of those ads. The CIA “took care” of it.
We also remember when Facebook was trying to offer Disqus-like services. That didn’t work because most websites probably didn’t want Facebook involved in their business. But Facebook kept growing anyway – probably because the CIA kept twisting arms and funding the company when necessary.
And when the company went public, you can be sure the word was out that the US government was firmly entrenched in Facebook. The Facebook IPO was huge – so huge that many initial buyers lost money because the IPO price went down, down, down.
Still Fakebook kept growing and Wall Street, no doubt encouraged by the CIA, kept throwing money at the company.
At various times Facebook had to make announcements about its fake customer policies. One fake policy was that Facebook was primarily a social-sharing facility. It’s not. It’s biggest purpose is probably to collect data for the CIA and that’s why customers go online every now and then to express surprise that Fakebook has a new way of invading their privacy.
Eventually, it turned out Facebook was tracking users’ ‘net actions even when they weren’t on Facebook. And users are probably still surprised to find that when they stop using Fakebook their information lingers online.
Facebook (like Google) is supposed to be a great place to work but these days as employees leave they often bear tales of deeply embedded corporate paranoia. Of course, you’d be paranoid too if you were trying to project the façade of an independent company when in fact you’re in many ways a façade for US intelligence.
Zuckerberg’s recently announced desire to reduce the amount of “fake news” circulating on Fakebook is surely just another CIA promotion.He’s announced that Facebook will fact-check and label its “news” and downgrade and then “bury” news it considers fake.
Facebook supposedly got a lot of criticism for disseminating news criticizing Hillary and boosting Trump. Funny, we don’t remember any of that. We remember that the entire US mainstream media was howling like a dog in heat about how great Hillary was and how terrible Trump was.
So the reason that Facebook is so worried about fake news is as fake as its concern.
The real reason Facebook wants to “bury” fake news is because the news Facebook is worried about is probably news that the CIA doesn’t want to see distributed. Such fake news includes information about US aggression overseas, CIA drug dealing and all kinds of political corruption.
Facebook will get rid of its REAL news (which it calls fake) by teaming up with groups that have a mistaken reputation for accuracy. These include Snopes and ABC News and something called Poynter, a nonprofit school for journalism in St. Petersburg, Florida that has just been revealed determines fake news. George Soros is a committed globalist and anything that doesn’t suit his agenda will be labeled as “fake.”
Bill Gates is funding the Institute as well, despite distributing vaccines in Africa that are reportedly killing small children. How many articles exposing Gates’s vaccines will escape being labelled fake? That’s the whole point after all. The idea is to demonize “real” news by calling it fake.
Conclusion: Snopes is another outfit that prends to be impartial but is not. It often tries to debunk stories that are accurate if they criticize government actions or leftist trends or individuals. The larger intention of those spreading the idea of “fake news” is to justify removing truthful news from circulation under the pretense that it is manipulative and incorrect.
In Indonesia and neighboring Malaysia, Islam is the official religion of the two countries but not to be confused as being Islamic states like Saudi Arabia. The Malaysian constitution theoretically guarantees freedom of religion, Islam is the official religion of the federation, as well as the legally-presumed faith of all ethnic Malays (?). Both countries are secular states constitutionally, that is. Does that make sense?
Anyways, under that complicated mixed bag of control mechanism, Muslims somehow are caught under two sets of hammer – Sharia Law and Civil Law. And for a Muslim soldier he will have an additional hammer over his head – Martial Law.
In such a scenario, you’d find the secular government is in a silent war with the Mullahs who are unrelentingly exerting their ‘religious authority’ over the Muslims, and in Malaysia they are intensively pushing the Hudud Law to even reign over the non-Muslims.
There’s a battle going on…
Indonesian cops ignore fatwa
JAKARTA: National Police chief Gen Tito Karnavian has ordered the chiefs of police in Bekasi, West Java, and Kulonprogo of Yogyakarta to revoke circulars on the ban on wearing Christmas attributes based on a fatwa of the Indonesian Ulama Council (MUI).
“I have asked them (the chiefs of police in Bekasi and Kulonprogo) to revoke the circulars,” Gen Tito said at Jakarta State University campus in East Jakarta on Monday as reported by kompas.com.
He stated that the MUI fatwa was not a law, merely a reference that could be used as coordination among police offices.
“I have firmly warned the Bekasi Police chief and Kulonprogo Police chief. I warned them because it’s not permitted to issue circulars based on an MUI fatwa,” Gen Tito.
“So, a MUI fatwa is not statutory law that should be upheld.
“(The police) should not issue circulars that could become a legal document,” he added.
Bekasi Police reportedly issued a circular on Dec 15 while Kulonprogo Police released a circular on Dec 17, in which both instructed owners and management of businesses not to force their employees to wear Christmas attributes.
Meawhile, President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo instructed Gen Tito to uphold discipline among members of the force and make efforts to prevent their power from being abused by hardline groups, in light of the decision of some local police leaders to back a campaign by firebrand Muslim groups to crack down on Christmas celebrations.
During a meeting with Gen Tito at the State Palace on Monday, Jokowi said that the police force must work only to implement official rules and regulations.
“Our existing rules are laws, government regulations, presidential regulations, ministerial regulations and so on, including a regulation from the police chief himself.
“That should be the ground rule,” Cabinet Secretary Pramono Anung said.
Over the weekend, police in Surabaya, East Java, also came under fire for their failure to prevent members of the hardline Islam Defenders Front (FPI) from cracking down on business establishments that allowed their employees to wear Christmas attributes.
Gen Tito also ordered members of the corps to keep an eye on groups that carried out intolerant acts under the guise of publicity programmes for the MUI edicts.
“If we find some groups that carry out raids while claiming to be conducting ‘familiarisation’, but in fact bring fear to people, we must take the initiative to stop them,” Gen Tito said.
“We shouldn’t bow to those groups,” he added.
The police chief said that he would discuss the issue with the MUI in the coming days.
“I will talk with the MUI so that they take tolerance and Bhinneka Tunggal Ika (the country’s motto of “unity in diversity”) into consideration when they want to issue a fatwa,” he added. — The Jakarta Post/Asia News Network
Deepening the Culture of Fear
The Criminalization of Peaceful Expression in Malaysia
Ordinary Citizens Targeted Alongside Activists, Politicians
(Kuala Lumpur) – Malaysia’s prosecutions of peaceful speech over the past year have spread beyond activists and politicians to ordinary citizens on social media, Human Rights Watch said today in a new report. The government’s actions signal an ever-broadening crackdown on freedom of expression and assembly in the country.
The 40-page report, “Deepening the Culture of Fear: The Criminalization of Peaceful Expression in Malaysia,” documents the government’s recent use of overbroad and vaguely worded laws to criminalize peaceful speech and assembly. Since Human Rights Watch’s October 2015 report, “Creating a Culture of Fear,” the Malaysian government has done little to bring these laws and practices in line with international legal standards. Instead, the government has suggested it will strengthen statutes limiting speech on social media and other rights-offending laws.
“Criminalizing peaceful speech appears part of the Malaysian government’s larger effort to tighten the noose on anyone expressing political discontent,” said Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “The authorities should cease prosecuting people for criticism or perceived ‘insults,’ and the government should urgently revise its laws to meet international free expression standards.”
The government has particularly sought to punish individuals who have criticized the administration of Prime Minister Najib Razak, commenting on the massive corruption scandal involving the government-owned 1 Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), or making comments on social media deemed “insulting” to Najib or to Malaysia’s royalty. The government has sought to discourage people from holding public assemblies and protests by deploying the country’s overly restrictive Peaceful Assembly Act. The government has also gone to great efforts to keep controversial information out of the public view, as seen in its use of the Official Secrets Act to shield reports on the 1MDB scandal from the public.
Among the cases Human Rights Watch documents in the report is that of artist Fahmi Reza, who is facing two criminal charges for posting on social media a clown-face image of Najib with white powder on his face, arched brows, and a blood-red mouth. In June 2016, a court sentenced Mohammed Amirul Azwan Mohammad Shakri, 19, to one year in prison under the Communications and Multimedia Act after he pled guilty to “insulting” the Sultan of Johor on social media. When he appealed his sentence as overly harsh, the court then ordered that he instead be sent to reform school until age 21 – a period of nearly two years.
Many of these cases update those from Human Rights Watch’s October 2015 report. For example, the government has advanced the prosecution of six charged under the Sedition Act for speeches made at a May 2013 forum protesting the outcome of the 2013 general election. Five have so far been convicted and sentenced. In each case, the prosecution pressed for significant prison sentences. In the most recent case, Tian Chua, the vice president of the opposition Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR), was convicted and sentenced to three months in prison and a fine of RM1,800 (US$433).
During the past year, the Malaysian government has also used the outdated and draconian Official Secrets Act to shield the Auditor General’s report on the 1MDB scandal – a matter of great public interest in Malaysia – from public view, and to prosecute an opposition member of Parliament who allegedly disclosed information from that report. Faced with new leaks of information regarding the 1MDB scandal, the government has also threatened to increase the penalties under the Official Secrets Act to life in prison.
Human Rights Watch reiterated its call for the Malaysian government to cease using criminal laws against peaceful speech and protests, and to bring its laws and policies into line with international human rights law and standards for the protection of freedom of expression and assembly.
“As Prime Minister Najib’s political fortunes fall, Malaysia’s intolerance of critical speech seems to rise,” Robertson said. “Malaysia’s future as a rights-respecting nation shouldn’t become hostage to defending the Najib government’s reputation.”
Each organism and each species makes a vital contribution to the totality of life on earth, and this contribution, contrary to the expectations of standard evolutionary biology, need not have any direct benefit for the organism itself. – Charles Eisenstein (Sacred Economics)
‘Copyright not divine right’: Indian court defends photocopying of university textbooks
At the heart of this is the principle that libraries on campus already allow for slow and tedious photocopying of pages when a student is in need of a few lines for particular assignments or the week’s required reading. So why shouldn’t the process be made more convenient?
On Friday, therefore, the Indian court upheld the decision to allow campus photocopy shops, along with the Delhi University library, to photocopy entire books. The Chief Justice held that this is permissible under Section of 52 of the Copyright Act. This was outlined in a 94-page document, the Times of India reports.
DU’s apparent disregard of copyright law angered Oxford University Press and Cambridge University Press (and probably delighted anyone who has ever had to buy textbooks). Along with international publishers Taylor & Francis, they launched a suit against a DU copy shop in 2012.
There was a total of five publishers involved, three from the UK, with the other two being their Indian branches.
But Friday’s decision was firm in its principles: “Copyright, especially in literary works, is thus not an inevitable, divine, or natural right that confers on authors the absolute ownership of their creations. It is designed rather to stimulate activity and progress in the arts for the intellectual enrichment of the public.”
The high court argued that the copying is not being done for commercial purposes, only for imparting knowledge. The rationale for the court’s decision was outlined by the Chief Justice.
“In the times when I was studying law, the facility available of photocopying was limited, time consuming and costly. The students then used to take turns to sit in the library and copy by hand pages after pages of chapters in the books suggested for reading and subsequently either make carbon copies thereof or having the same photocopied.”
The court also believes the university is strained by a shortage of some texts, and large-scale copying is therefore necessary. There are simply too many students and too few books. This is coupled with the fear that the precious books can become damaged and photocopied numerous times regardless. Finally, facilities sometimes run out of stock.
According to the court, this means students have to spend valuable time making notes at the library, “instead of sitting in the comforts of their respective homes” and making proper use of their time.
The publishers’ joint response to the verdict contained ominous undertones. “It is unfortunate that the court’s decision today could undermine the availability of original content for the benefit of students and teachers. We will be considering the full judgment when it is made available, and shall decide the next course of action after consultation with our legal teams,” The Hindu daily cites them as saying.
With every new mass shooting, it seems that everyone on social media is some combination of a gun expert, Islam expert, terror expert, security expert, etc. That’s all well and good, and I am all for people having conversations about these kinds of things. I’m admittedly no expert in any of these areas, and I’m not writing this to try to present any answers or solutions. But this topic, and others like gay marriage, seem to always show that many people profoundly misunderstand what rights are.
The Constitution and Bill of Rights have no role in terms of “creating” rights.
Rights and Law Aren’t Synonymous
You can see how far off people really are when you run across arguments along these lines: “The First Amendment and free speech aren’t absolute and can be limited, so the Second Amendment can be too”. There are several things grossly wrong with this argument: the first being that it gives way too much significance and power to the Bill of Rights.
The Constitution and Bill of Rights have no role in “creating” rights. The Constitution itself is useful only insofar as it lays out the guidelines, structure, and organization of the government. It has no place dealing with anything else.
Rights are extremely simple and bills of rights, constitutions, civics classes, etc. only serve to muddy the waters. They lead people into the confused belief that individuals or representatives or majorities can create rights by writing them down on a magical piece of paper.
What Rights Do You Have?
The concept is simple. You have one and only one right, namely property. And you have that right by virtue of being a conscious being. We divide that up into such “sub-freedoms” as freedom of speech, freedom to assemble, the right to bear arms, etc. just for the sake of ease of conversation when talking about specific types of property rights. But make no mistake, every legitimate right can be reduced to a right to property, while every illegitimate right cannot.
You own yourself and your rights only end where the rights of others begin.
And as a conscious being , you are entitled to this natural right even if you are able to conceptualize it. Put differently, if you can think about having rights then you have them: regardless of whether they are written in a 200 year old document or not.
The second thing wrong with the above statement is that it’s completely false! Freedom of speech cannot be morally limited. You own yourself, and your rights only end where the rights of others begin; i.e. you can conduct yourself in any way you see fit so long as you do not violate the property rights of other conscious beings. The classic example typically given is that of someone yelling “fire” in a crowded theater. It is said that this speech can be rightfully prohibited, and so there are “obvious” limits to the right to free speech.
Though you may not rightfully yell “fire” in a crowded theater (most of the time), the reason for this has nothing to do with a limit on free speech. The reason you may not do this is that you would be violating the property rights of both the owner of the theater and the patrons. Most theaters have a code of conduct and yelling “fire” is almost certainly violating that code. Since you would be currently occupying the someone else’s property, you must follow all their conditions for using that property, or you must leave. Otherwise, you are violating their rights.
You would also be depriving the patrons of getting what they paid for. They purchased a ticket in exchange for viewing the film or performance being shown in the theater and so have a de facto form of temporary property claim on a seat or spot in the theater for the duration of the show. By yelling “fire” and presumably ending or delaying the show or performance, you are depriving them of their property and violating their rights.
Contractual Restrictions of Rights
It’s extremely important to remember that right(s) only exist in the space that does not encroach on the rights of others. This means that the above situation does not constitute a “limit” on freedom of speech, but rather is a realm in which free speech never existed and can’t exist. Rights can never serve to aid in the violation of another’s rights because true rights never conflict. This is easier to conceptualize when you consider all rights as only a right to property. You can say what you want because you own your body, but if you choose to occupy someone else’s property, you must abide by their rules or leave.
Now let’s bring it back to the original statement and the conflict surrounding the right to bear arms. You can bear arms, not because of a few lines of text in an antiquated document, but because you have a right to purchase anything so long all the people involved in the transaction are doing so voluntarily and knowingly. In other words, you can ethically buy anything you want (drugs, guns, sex) as long as the rights of others aren’t violated in the process. What individuals do with what they buy is a wholly different and unrelated argument.
Freedom of speech is absolute. The right to bear arms (any arms) is absolute. Neither one of these facts has anything to do with the Constitution, and neither can be morally limited.