Mar 24 2010

Why is the Department of Education buying 27 shotguns?!

Mike Phenow

It’s bad enough that the IRS is buying 60 shotguns at a time, but now the Department of Education?!

The U.S. Department of Education (ED) intends to purchase twenty-seven (27) REMINGTON BRAND MODEL 870 POLICE 12/14P MOD GRWC XS4 KXCS SF. RAMAC #24587 GAUGE: 12 BARREL: 14″ – PARKERIZED CHOKE: MODIFIED SIGHTS: GHOST RING REAR WILSON COMBAT; FRONT – XS CONTOUR BEAD SIGHT STOCK: KNOXX REDUCE RECOIL ADJUSTABLE STOCK FORE-END: SPEEDFEED SPORT-SOLID – 14″ LOP are designated as the only shotguns authorized for ED based on compatibility with ED existing shotgun inventory, certified armor and combat training and protocol, maintenance, and parts. The required date of delivery is March 22, 2010.

What in the world is this country coming to…?


Mar 9 2010

An Unfortunate, But Not Unexpected, Denouement

Mike Phenow

Well, I think the almost year-long exchange with the economics department of CSB/SJU is finally over. While they were gracious and fair in the exchange, it appears that they will persist in their perpetuation of quack economics.

You can read about it in the last few exchanges here:

An Open Letter to the Economics Department of CSB/SJU

While it’s unfortunate that my proddings did not have the desired effect, I suppose I shouldn’t be too surprised. After all, people on both sides of this debate have been going back and forth for a century…


Feb 3 2010

IRS To Purchase 60 Shotguns

Mike Phenow

From the disarmingly-named “FedBizOpps.gov”:

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) intends to purchase sixty Remington Model 870 Police RAMAC #24587 12 gauge pump-action shotguns for the Criminal Investigation Division. The Remington parkerized shotguns, with fourteen inch barrel, modified choke, Wilson Combat Ghost Ring rear sight and XS4 Contour Bead front sight, Knoxx Reduced Recoil Adjustable Stock, and Speedfeed ribbed black forend, are designated as the only shotguns authorized for IRS duty based on compatibility with IRS existing shotgun inventory, certified armorer and combat training and protocol, maintenance, and parts.

Think that taxes aren’t theft? Think they aren’t ultimately taken at the point of a gun?

The government is, as Rothbard liked to say, a band of thieves writ large. Taxation is theft and they are extracted at the point of a gun — a Remington Model 870 Police RAMAC #24587 12 gauge pump-action shotgun with fourteen inch barrel, modified choke, Wilson Combat Ghost Ring rear sight and XS4 Contour Bead front sight, Knoxx Reduced Recoil Adjustable Stock, and Speedfeed ribbed black forend, to be exact.


Jan 6 2010

Successful Charity Audited Three Times in 2009 (Updated 1/13/2010)

Mike Phenow

Senator Warren Limmer (32),
Representative Kurt Zellers (32B), House Minority Leader,
Minnesota Revenue, Special Taxes Division,
Warren Walberg, Charitable Gambling Compliance Specialist,
King Wilson, Executive Director, Allied Charities of Minnesota,

Gentlemen,

I am the licensed charitable gambling manager for the Osseo Fire Department Relief Association.

I write to you today to express my bitter disappointment and profound concern over the state of charitable gambling in Minnesota.

The event that precipitated my correspondence to you today is the fact that myself and two of my fellow paid-on-call / volunteer firefighters spent seven hours this past New Year’s Day holiday performing the newly-required Annual Physical Inventory and Cash Count, instead of enjoying the much-needed holiday with family and friends.

As you may know, the state legislature passed a few bills this past session effecting the besieged charitable gambling industry. One change eliminated the annual financial review for organizations with gross receipts between $150,000 and $300,000 and raised the threshhold for organizations required to complete an annual financial audit from those with gross receipts over $300,000 to those with gross receipts over $500,000.

In light of these eased requirements, the government — in a feat of linguistic torture — “compromised,” as only governments can, by instead requiring EVERY organization to conduct a Certified Physical Inventory and Cash Count. This internal audit must be completed after close of business on the last day of the organization’s fiscal year and before the start of business on the first day of the organization’s subsequent fiscal year. For many organizations, including ours, this means that it must be completed in the middle of the night on New Year’s Eve and/or early in the morning on New Year’s Day. This is of course assuming that the organization can arrange access to their leased spaces at these inconvenient hours, or be forced to alter their hours of operation, frustrating and inconveniencing their employees and faithful customers.

So, diligent and dutiful serfs that we are, we complied. We dotted every “i” and crossed every “t.” As gambling manager, I imposed upon two smart, hard-working, over-worked, loyal, generous firefighters to do the menial, tedious bidding of the state — on a holiday. We filled out each row and totaled every column to prove that we are innocent of any fraud or theft — because in the charitable gambling industry, everyone is always guilty until proven innocent and is incessantly harassed to prove otherwise.

Not surprisingly, this internal audit was utterly superfluous. We are required to report on every detail of our operation every month. Every game is uniquely-identified, barcoded, and tracked from manufacturer, to the distributor, to the organization, in to play, out of play, into the bank, and into long-term storage. Deposits are required to be in the bank within 4 days of the close of a game. Our bank statements, our checkbook registers, our payroll, our donations — every dime coming and going — are all subject to scrutiny at all times. Discrepancies are scrutinized down to fractions of a percent.

Under the new “compromise,” all organizations are required to complete this onerous, arbitrary, inconvenient internal audit. But what about those mega-operations grossing over $500,000 a year? They are still required to pay for and conduct the independent financial audit, just as they have in the past. But surely, this can’t be difficult for those huge, full-time, mega-operations.

Of course, these numbers are quite misleading. For years we have run one modest pull-tab booth out of a family bar-restaurant in the quiet, small town of Osseo. We regularly gross over $1,000,000 per year. On a good month, we can gross over $200,000 — in just one month. This sounds like an obscene amount of money for one little charity. But this is, of course, just the money passing one way over the counter. Over 80% of that is immediately paid out back over the counter in prizes to the players who, most often, simply recycle much of it back into play. The state takes its (apparently small) cut of taxes from this (apparently large) number. So, after prizes and taxes, we are left to pay for wages ($10,000/month), inventory ($2,000/month), rent ($1,750/month), more taxes, and other miscellaneous expenses — usually leaving us with only a couple thousand dollars a month (if that) for our charity.

So, for many years, with our one little booth, we have been more than three-fold — now still more than two-fold — over the threshhold requiring an independent annual financial audit. And, as always, we dutifully comply with every little order uttered at the whim of our masters. This audit costs us almost $3,000 a year and untold hours of work on my part to gather the necessary documents, meet with the auditor, and see the audit through. This of course is not compensated above my regular, flat wage. Year after year, this audit shows that we are running an honest and efficient charitable gambling operation.

As luck would have it, we were also fortunate enough to have our number drawn this year for a Compliance Review, conducted by a Compliance Specialist from the Gambling Control Board. This required many rounds of correspondence, many rounds of collecting and submitting documents, a midday workday meeting and site inspection, and a written response to the findings of the review. You’ll be surprised to learn that, apart from the requisite trivial nit-picking, it was discovered that our organization is not, in fact, committing fraud and theft. Our cash shortages were found to be vanishingly small, our processes are efficient, and our people are honest. In many areas, we have actually gone over and above the requirements of the state and developed improved forms and processes (as any good business would do anyway).

So this is all well and good, right? Since we are not doing anything untoward, why should we object to having the opportunity to prove it? There are a number of things wrong with it.

First, none of these three audits were conducted because we were suspected of, accused of, or convicted of doing anything wrong. They are all just a part of the standard, guilty-until-proven-innocent modus operandi of the state. If I read it correctly, the Fourth and Fifth Amendments to my copy of the US Constitution say that: “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized,” and “[No person shall] be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.” This language is also contained in Article I, Sections 7 and 10 of the Constitution of the State of Minnesota.

But of course, this can’t possibly apply here, since the state has assumed to itself the unquestionable authority to rule over every aspect of charitable gambling. But where do they get this authority? Nowhere. It is a complete violation of the rights of free individuals. The individual has an unlimited right to contract, as guaranteed by Article 1 Section 10 of the US Constitution and upheld by the Supreme Court’s decision in Hale v. Henkel, which read: “The individual may stand upon his constitutional rights as a citizen. He is entitled to carry on his private business in his own way. His power to contract is unlimited. He owes no such duty [to submit his books and papers for an examination] to the State, since he receives nothing therefrom, beyond the protection of his life and property. His rights are such as existed by the law of the land [Common Law] long antecedent to the organization of the State, and can only be taken from him by due process of law, and in accordance with the Constitution. Among his rights are a refusal to incriminate himself, and the immunity of himself and his property from arrest or seizure except under a warrant of the law. He owes nothing to the public so long as he does not trespass upon their rights.”

But what of all of the laws passed over the years detailing every which way the state intends to go about violating our rights? Happily, in Marbury v. Madison, the court took up this issue and correctly stated that “a legislative act contrary to the constitution is not law.” It is null and void. It never was a valid law to begin with.

Does this mean that I’m going to buck the system and start running a rogue gambling operation, ignore all the so-called laws, and shirk all the so-called taxes? I have every right to. But, no, I’m not that foolish (or masochistic). The entire system is rotten from top to bottom. There is not an officer, bureaucrat, legislator, judge, or jury that would hesitate to wholeheartedly enforce the government’s many unconstitutional laws.

I will continue to dot my “i”s and cross my “t”s, but I will not do so quietly. I want you to know that what you are doing is wrong. It is wrong to the core. It violates every principle of a free and civilized society.

But, legal issues aside, I want you to understand, as Bastiat so eloquently explained, and as Hazlitt articulately popularized, the problem is not just in that which is seen, but also that which is not seen. Sure, we spend a few thousand dollars here and a couple hundred hours of labor there, but it’s surely a small price to pay for ensuring the honesty and integrity of a billion dollar industry. But what is never seen are the things that money could have been spent on, the tasks that labor could have been directed to. And what of the legislators, the regulators, the bureaucrats? They produce nothing of value and extract their pay from those who do. What could that money have been spent on? What productive things could they be doing? What of the accountant? If he weren’t doing audits required of us by the state, what other productive work could he be doing? Where could that money have been spent?

Our economy is spiraling down the drain at the local, state, national, and even global levels. People are suffering dearly under a dysfunctional economic system. The problem is that the system has long been cannibalizing itself for “the greater good.” The only economic prosperity to be had is that which people produce and freely exchange. There is no other. Extracting value from the productive people adds nothing to the available prosperity. Hindering the free exchange of goods and services only serves to distort and misdirect the productive efforts. Restricting the free operation of productive enterprises only serves to further misdirect and waste valuable resources.

This will not last forever. It can not last forever. The productive people contributing to the available prosperity will not forever continue spending their time and treasure only so that misguided, unproductive people can parasitically draw upon it for their own benefit or for the supposed benefit of “the greater good.” Eventually, Atlas will shrug.

You came harassing our small little charity three times this year looking for any traces of fraud and theft. You didn’t find it. I could have saved you the trouble. If you wanted to find fraud and theft, you would find it on a massive, institutionalized scale if only you would look to the government itself.

(closing omitted)

(I was unable to locate email addresses for Tom Barrett, Executive Director of the Gambling Control Board or for any of the other members of that board. I would be much obliged if one of you would be so kind as to forward this on to them.)

Updated January 13, 2010:

On Monday, I hand-delivered our response to the report from the Compliance Review. Today I wrote and delivered the memo to update our sellers on areas for improvement. We have yet to finish making the required minor corrections and implementing all the suggested changes.

Having acquired the necessary signatures, I just stuffed and stamped the envelope to send off the paperwork for our New Year’s Day audit. It is sitting on my desk.

And today I received the beginning paperwork for our first audit of 2010. In addition to the “Standard Form to Confirm Account Balance Information with Financial Institutions” so that they can access our bank account, a questionnaire for me, and a questionnaire for the CEO, here is the list of initial things we need to provide them:

January 7, 2010

Mr. Mike Phenow, Gambling Manager Osseo Firemens Relief Association

Dear Mike:

The following is a list of the items we would like you to provide to us in order for us to begin the audit of the Osseo Firemens Relief Association Lawful Gambling Fund for the year ended December 31, 2009.

  • Bank statements and bank reconciliation at 12-31-09 and 1-31-10
  • Cash receipts and cash disbursements summary (revenue and expense summary)
  • Balance sheet, income statements and general ledger, if any
  • Copies of all monthly gambling reports for the year including January and February 2010 (when available)
  • Schedule of ending inventory at 12-31-09 (LG844 Forms), Form G1Inv, Annual Certified Physical Inventory, Form G1CC, Annual Certified Cash Count for Games in Play, and Form G1CI, Summary
  • Copies of all purchase of games invoices for year
  • Copy of cash shortage worksheet
  • Copies of payroll tax reports for all quarters of 2009 (941′s, MW-1′s, MN UC, Fed. UC)
  • Yearly payroll summary
  • Board minutes to date
  • Copy of current Form LG201 (Internal Controls) Worksheet
  • Copy of current charitable gambling license and premises permits, and lease agreement
  • Cash in game banks balances at 12-31-09
  • List of gambling manager/officers
  • Copies of any correspondence from the MN Department of Revenue or the Gambling Control Board

After I have had an opportunity to review the Schedule B-2′s, I will then let you know which games I would like you to pull for our test of games.

And remember, this is not the result of any suspected, accused, or convicted wrongdoing. This is a “routine” audit required by the state because they think it is their money and we are guilty of fraud and theft until we repeatedly prove otherwise.


Jan 6 2010

Letter to Congressman Paulsen

Mike Phenow

(Salutations and closing omitted)

I just received a 2010 calendar in the mail from you. What in God’s name are you doing sending calendars to constituents?!

Apparently the bitter irony of the US Constitution superimposed on the cover was completely lost on you.

How was this calendar (and the surely countless others that were sent out) paid for? I can think of only three possibilities:

1) It was paid for out of some taxpayer-funded goody bag. If this is the case, you should be ashamed. For a country that is more than 12,000,000,000,000 in the hole, nobody has any business spending one dime more than is absolutely necessary, to say nothing of there being no mention of “kitschy calendars” in the enumerated powers listed in Article 1, Section 8.

2) It was paid for out of your campaign funds. If this is the case, you should also be ashamed. Such expenditures have nothing whatsoever to do with the purposes your donors intended for those funds. If there are any excess funds, they should be used on attempting to educate the public about the host of problems we are facing and the appropriate actions that need to be taken to solve them.

3) It was paid for out of your own pocket. In this case as well, you should be ashamed. I have written and phoned you numerous times complaining about your repeated violations of your constitutional oath. To extend such a petty gesture in the face of repeated violations of MY rights–is frankly a spit in the eye. If you want to give me something out of the generosity of your own heart, how about reading the constitution and henceforth voting only in accordance with it and in accordance with your solemn oath.

If none of these is the case, I would be happy to have explained to me the true nature of the situation.

If, as I suspect, one of these three possibilities represents the truth, I would appreciate an explanation and apology. If I wanted a calendar enshrining that festering cesspool of tyranny and treason, I would have purchased one on the free market from the productive sector of civilized society.


Jan 6 2010

Letter to Representative Zellers and Senator Limmer

Mike Phenow

(Salutations and closing omitted)

I would like to take the opportunity during this (relative) lull before the next session to share with you a few of my thoughts and concerns.

As I’m sure you’re aware–and as more and more people are becoming increasingly aware–we, as a state and as a republic, are in dire straits. One could go on endlessly listing all of the seemingly-intractable problems we are facing. The combination and synchronization of these endless problems would appear to be catastrophic.

From an historic, worsening depression; to astronomical debts and deficits; the systematic looting of the people by a corrupt cartel of politicians, bankers, and military-industrial-medical-media elites; the rising costs of ever-worsening healthcare; the prospect of increased taxes; the continued expansion of immoral, unjust, illegal, unconstitutional, imperial wars of aggression; to an ever-encroaching police state threatening even more controls on the people’s right to arm themselves–the challenges seem insurmountable.

For decades, people have warned over and over again: “we’re mortgaging our children’s and grandchildren’s future.” Usually, this is used as just another lifeless bogeyman by some pandering politician. The tragic truth is that it was a valid warning and, even more tragically, has become a reality. The bills are coming due, but we are a country without any cash and without a job.

The US does not and never will have the ability to pay back its debts. It has been bankrupt since Nixon closed the gold window in ’71. Since then it has been nothing but a zombie, surviving on little more than the artificial stimulus of counterfeit money supplied by the Fed and pawned off on unsuspecting countries around the world.

My generation, and those to follow me, will be some of the first in the history of the American Experiment to have a quality of life worse than the generations before. We were sold the American Dream–study hard, go to college, get a good job, work hard, buy a house, settle down, start a family, send them to good schools, enjoy a life of relative leisure, and retire early.

This dream has turned out to be nothing but a cruel, deceptive nightmare. The public schools indoctrinate and imprison instead of enlighten and liberate. College does little more than crank out diplomas and students saddled with debt, ill-equipped to make productive contributions to society, and robbed of four years of income. The jobs have all been shipped overseas, or were bubble jobs that are now gone, or are being taken by those of previous generations whose previous jobs are now gone. Real wages properly adjusted for inflation haven’t risen in decades. People are working two or three or even more jobs to try and make ends meet. Those of us who thought we were doing the prudent thing a few years ago by buying a house have had the rug pulled out from underneath us–the market tanked, our mortgages are upside-down (though our property taxes continue to rise), fuel, heat, and electricity costs keep rising, and we’re taking pay cuts and losing jobs.

While the state certainly bears some of the blame for creating and perpetuating these terrible problems, the lion’s share of the blame falls squarely on Washington. In the most important election in decades, the charismatic object of a personality cult is swept into office while the only honest, intelligent, qualified candidate was systematically marginalized. National solutions are not viable because the national political system is broke beyond repair.

The only realistic way off our self-destructive course is the proactive use of interposition, nullification, and possibly even secession. The state of Minnesota needs to tell D.C. that we will no longer follow them over the cliff into the abyss. Minnesota can return to freedom, prosperity, and peace, but it can no longer afford to wait for Washington to lead the way.

And this is not merely an “extreme right-wing libertarian” issue. This issue can become a broad bi-partisan issue. The left just stormed the elections in the past few cycles because they were so fed up with the corporatism, elitism, lobbyists, and corruption in D.C. Now that they’ve gotten the “hope and change” they asked for, many are coming to realize that it doesn’t matter who sits in the chairs, but that the whole system is corrupt beyond hope.

What is needed is for Minnesota to shed the shackles of D.C. and start building a brighter future through truly free markets, individual freedom, and limited government. The people of Minnesota are becoming more and more ready to throw the bums out, but we will not stand for simply going back to the same old republicans. This will be THE issue in the next couple of years. If it is not YOUR issue, I, and many others with me, will see to it that you are replaced by people willing to take it on.

Thanks for your time and consideration. I have included a wealth of information on these issues. I understand that you may not have time to review all of them, so I have put them in order of most accessible to least.

Interposition, Nullification and Secession on Freedom Watch – Judge talks to Lew Rockwell
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JgpbDFNAAbU

Tom Woods and Kevin Gutzman w/ Judge Napolitano on Glenn Beck
States Can Nullify Unconstitutional Federal Laws
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ojQj_CKiThs

The Lew Rockwell Show: Bill Buppert on Secession
http://www.lewrockwell.com/podcast/?p=episode&name=2009-05-11_122_sucession.mp3

The Lew Rockwell Show: Ron Paul on Secession, the Fed, and Tomorrow
http://www.lewrockwell.com/podcast/?p=episode&name=2009-04-24_116_secession_the_fed_and_tomorrow.mp3

The 10th Amendment Movement
http://www.tenthamendmentcenter.com/the-10th-amendment-movement/

Health Care Nullification and Interposition
http://www.tenthamendmentcenter.com/2009/12/29/health-care-nullification-and-interposition/

Health Care Nullification: Things have just gotten underway
http://www.tenthamendmentcenter.com/2009/12/21/health-care-nullification-things-have-just-gotten-underway/

Health Care Nullification Legislation
http://www.tenthamendmentcenter.com/nullification/health-care/

Nullifying National Health Care in Kansas
http://blog.tenthamendmentcenter.com/2009/10/nullifying-national-health-care-in-kansas/

Secession and Liberty, Tom DiLorenzo
http://www.lewrockwell.com/orig/dilorenzo2.html

Secession: The Hope for Humanity, Russell D. Longcore
http://www.lewrockwell.com/longcore/longcore17.1.html

Secede!, Tom Woods
http://www.lewrockwell.com/orig/woods3.html

United We Fall, Frank Chodorov
http://www.lewrockwell.com/orig3/chodorov1.html

Secession Is In Our Future, Clifford Thies
http://mises.org/daily/3427

Jefferson on Nullification, Stephan Kinsella
http://blog.mises.org/archives/003811.asp

Secession and the State Militia
http://www.lewrockwell.com/longcore/longcore12.1.html

Does Secession Without a State Militia Make Any Sense?
http://www.lewrockwell.com/longcore/longcore15.1.html

Secession, the Second Amendment and Sun Tzu
http://www.lewrockwell.com/longcore/longcore16.1.html


Nov 5 2009

A Little Boy’s Explanation of God?

Mike Phenow

I recently received a forward from a family member:

A Little Boy’s Explanation of God — Fabulous!!! Out of the mouths of the Babes — I certainly don’t think an adult could explain this more beautifully!

THIS IS FABULOUS!!!

It was written by an 8-year-old named Danny Dutton, who lives in Chula Vista, CA. He wrote it for his third grade homework assignment, to ‘explain God.’ I wonder if any of us could have done as well? (…and he had such an assignment, in California, and someone published it, I guess miracles do happen!)

EXPLANATION OF GOD:

One of God’s main jobs is making people. He makes them to replace the ones that die, so there will be enough people to take care of things on earth. He doesn’t make grownups, just babies. I think because they are smaller and easier to make. That way he doesn’t have to take up his valuable time teaching them to talk and walk. He can just leave that to mothers and fathers.

God’s second most important job is listening to prayers. An awful lot of this goes on, since some people, like preachers and things, pray at times beside bedtime. God doesn’t have time to listen to the radio or TV because of this. Because he hears everything, there must be a terrible lot of noise in his ears, unless he has thought of a way to turn it off.

God sees everything and hears everything and is everywhere which keeps Him pretty busy. So you shouldn’t go wasting his time by going over your mom and dad’s head asking for something they said you couldn’t have. Atheists are people who don’t believe in God. I don’t think there are any in Chula Vista… At least there aren’t any who come to our church.

Jesus is God’s Son. He used to do all the hard work, like walking on water and performing miracles and trying to teach the people who didn’t want to learn about God.. They finally got tired of him preaching to them and they crucified him But he was good and kind, like his father, and he told his father that they didn’t know what they were doing and to forgive them and God said O.K.

His dad (God) appreciated everything that he had done and all his hard work on earth so he told him he didn’t have to go out on the road anymore. He could stay in heaven. So he did. And now he helps his dad out by listening to prayers and seeing things which are important for God to take care of and which ones he can take care of himself without having to bother God. Like a secretary, only more important.

You can pray anytime you want and they are sure to help you because they got it worked out so one of them is on duty all the time. You should always go to church on Sunday because it makes God happy, and if there’s anybody you want to make happy, it’s God!

Don’t skip church to do something you think will be more fun like going to the beach. This is wrong. And besides the sun doesn’t come out at the beach until noon anyway.

If you don’t believe in God, besides being an atheist, you will be very lonely, because your parents can’t go everywhere with you, like to camp, but God can. It is good to know He’s around you when you’re scared, in the dark or when you can’t swim and you get thrown into real deep water by big kids.

But…you shouldn’t just always think of what God can do for you. I figure God put me here and he can take me back anytime he pleases.

And…that’s why I believe in God.

My reply-to-all (fair’s fair) was as follows:

Sorry, I can’t help but Snopes forwards:

http://www.snopes.com/glurge/dutton.asp

Coherent overall structure from start to finish. Multiple paragraphs each containing a central theme. Coherent and complete sentences — even complex sentence structures with multiple clauses and parentheticals. Relatively sophisticated diction including the proper use of all words — even contractions and proper capitalization of all references to the deities. Not that the writing is all that spectacular, but I very rarely see adults who can write this correctly.

Of course the author attempts to use colloquialisms, a stream-of-consciousness style, and the occasional short sentence to make it sound as though it is written by an innocent and candid child. Clearly it is not.

One must wonder about the motivations and scruples of a person who would contrive an essay with the pretension of being authored by a child, manufacture a story about its origins, preface it with hyperbole, dress it up with stylized text and a kitschy picture, and then foist it upon an unsuspecting and credulous audience.

But what of the content? Fairly complete and advanced theological arguments, not-so-subtle overtones of condescending moral authority, and an all-encompassing, out-of-hand, matter-of-fact condemnation of atheism.

Name me an eight-year-old that knows of, understands, or cares about “atheism” enough to directly reference it — twice — in one short essay. Most adults don’t even have a clue what “atheism” is. (Which, by the way, is not an “ism” at all, but merely the rejection of a few other select “isms”.)

It is clear that this author can not properly formulate an articulate argument for his claims, so instead he must resort to fabricated essays purportedly from a clear-eyed and pure-hearted adolescent. Quite clearly, his claim is that a belief in, obedience to, and worship of the god(s) of Christianity is all-important, unquestionable, and self-evident — so much so that it is morally justifiable — no, imperative — that it be imposed upon others, through all available means, including deception.

Truth requires no such behavior. It can be researched, weighed, and debated civilly and non-coercively by rational adults. The burden of proof — no, I’ll be generous — the burden of a compelling and satisfying argument — lies not with those who, through knowledge of contradictory evidence, simply decline to give credence to incredible claims, but with those who propose them and subsequently demand, simultaneously, unquestioning obedience, unrelenting fear, whole-hearted worship, and unconditional love.

No, an eight-year-old did not write this piece of ignorant moral condescension and elitism. That is the domain of adults who would put such words into the mouths of children.

Children, like rational adults, do not need anything but their own intellect, experience, innate humanity, compassion, and natural propensity for love in order to know right from wrong and to love thy neighbor.


Sep 10 2009

Priceless: Bought and Paid For

Mike Phenow

Nice article (over at HuffPo, of all places) detailing how the Federal Reserve has the entire economics profession eating out of the palm of its hand.

Is it any wonder that sound economics never gets any play? Is it any wonder that there is deep confusion about fundamental economic truths permeating society, from the layman all the way up to the editors of economics journals? If the Fed quickly quells any objections to their various specific policies, is it any wonder that the question of the Fed’s very existence is completely out of the debate?

Fortunately, this is beginning to change from the ground up. Read the comments on any article about the Fed (even at sites like HuffPo, where the lion’s share of the readers are thoroughly ignorant of foundational economic laws) and you will see that the average person is beginning to see the truth about the Fed and its corrupt, fraudulent, monopoly funny money racket.

I can’t wait until the tipping point.


Sep 8 2009

Twenty Minutes with the President

Mike Phenow

Charlie Sheen sits down with the president…and BARRAGES him with inconvenient truth! Holy shit, batman. I wish there was a video–I would have liked to see him squirm. His response, or lack thereof, is extremely telling. Hope? Change? Nope. New puppet, same puppet masters.

Update: Stupid. Just saw the small print. Cool article anyhow… Pretty much how I would expect it to go down.

Update: Turns out the disclaimer wasn’t up when I read it. I don’t feel so bad.

Update: Twenty Minutes with the President (article + YouTube video + interview)


Sep 8 2009

Unnecessary and Immoral

Mike Phenow

Great article by Jake Towne over at C4L.

The list goes on and on and on. I’m baffled that people continue to think that we somehow need the federal income tax… Wake up.