Pledging Allegiance to the Divided States of America 4

By Nicky Reid aka Comrade Hermit

Exile in Happy Valley

I’m a pessimist because of intelligence, but an optimist because of will-Antonio Gramsci

When the individual’s behavior and consciousness get hooked to a routine sequence of external actions, he is a dead robot, and it is time for him to die and be reborn. Time to “drop out”, “turn on”, and “tune in.”-Timothy Leary

America, the indispensable nation. That old jingoistic canard gets tossed around like confetti in this country, while the rest of the world rolls their collective eyes and crack their collective knuckles. According to patriotic lore, America is some beige, color-blind, miracle designed by the greatest white philosophers since Socrates to free the world from its backwards indigenous ways with the magic of global capitalism. Naturally, this is all bullshit. The kind of sad pep-talk a date-rapist gives himself in the mirror before showering his glamour muscles in Axe body spray. There is absolutely nothing miraculous about America but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t exceptional.

America is an exceptionally cruel experiment in the outer reaches of colonial social engineering. We are a nation defined by the two greatest holocausts in recorded history, spanning three continents and an entire hemisphere. America as we know it was founded by an ambitious collection of European super-colonialists who found themselves and their nations increasingly depleted of the wealth they accumulated from the Crusades. So they traveled the seas in search of greener pastures to irrigate with more dark-skinned blood. They found their sainted killing fields of Shangri-La in the New World and with the superiority of their steel, they decided to take the Americas by force and slaughter anyone who stood in their way. But with an entire hemisphere half empty of its indigenous inhabitants, these European overlords found themselves with too much work for their feeble bourgeois fingers to handle, so they filled their new colonies with shiploads of slaves pilfered from the jungles of Africa to build a nation on their scarred shoulders, murdering millions more in the process and permanently hobbling another entire continent.

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Feudalism, Then and Now 1

And California, the home of Sunshine feudalism is the worst.

How “our system” works:

The presidency is an elective monarchy.

The mass corporations are the new feudal manors.

The banks are the new usurer class.

The military are the new indentured servants/mercenaries.

The professions (like doctors and lawyers) are the new monopolistic guilds.

The media and educational system are the new Church.

The “ideas industries” professionals (professors, journalists, PR experts, human resources officers) are the new priesthood.

The police are the new king’s nights.

The prison system is the new slavery.

And everyone else is the new peasants.

 

New Federal Legislation Requires Full Audit of America’s Gold Reserves Reply

Sound Money Defense League

Washington, DC (May 8, 2019) – U.S. Representative Alex Mooney (R-WV) introduced legislation this week to provide for the first audit of United States gold reserves since the Eisenhower Administration.

The Gold Reserve Transparency Act (H.R. 2559) – backed by the Sound Money Defense League and government accountability advocates – directs the Comptroller of the United States to conduct a “full assay, inventory, and audit of all gold reserves, including any gold in ‘deep storage,’ of the United States at the place or places where such reserves are kept.”

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Washington State Politicians Drop Cynical Attempt to Impose Taxes on Gold & Silver Reply

Sound Money Group, In-State Dealers, and Grassroots Activists Deter Tax-Hungry Politicians

By J P Cortez

Well, here’s some encouraging news…

Efforts in Washington State to impose sales tax on gold and silver were SHUT DOWN today thanks to intense efforts by the Sound Money Defense League, a group of in-state coin dealers led by Dan Duncan, the Association of Washington Businesses, and a large number of vocal grassroots supporters.

Here’s the backstory…

Since last month, a few misguided Washington State senators and representatives have been trying to ram through a new tax on constitutional money.

Their cynical efforts stalled out last month on the senate side, and today, the House Finance Committee voted decisively against imposing a new sales tax on precious metals.

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West Virginia Joins Growing Sound Money Movement Reply

By J.P. Cortez

Six Other States Now Weighing Their Own Bills to End Taxes on Gold & Silver

Before the ink could even dry on West Virginia Governor Jim Justice’s signature on a repeal of sales taxation on gold, silver, platinum, and palladium bullion and coins, legislators in Wisconsin and Maine introduced similar measures in their own states. 

All told, 39 states have now reduced or eliminated sales taxes on the monetary metals, and Wisconsin, Maine, Kansas, Arkansas, Minnesota, and Tennessee are all actively considering bills of their own this month.

West Virginia’s Senate Bill 502 enjoyed tremendous popularity, passing through the State Senate unanimously before passing out of the House 90-9. Starting July 1, investors, savers, and small businesses in the state are no longer required to pay sales and use tax on the exchange of dollars for the monetary metals.

Earlier this week, Representative Justin Fecteau (R –  Augusta) of Maine introduced LD 1446, a measure to repeal sales taxes on precious metals, saying, “Seven years since his 2012 run for President, the monetary policy lessons of Congressman Ron Paul still stick out to me. This bill is an important first step to restore sound money in Maine by refusing to tax the conversion from one legal tender to another.”

And Wisconsin State Representative Shea Sortwell (R – Two Rivers) today introduced his measure to end the taxation of money on the anniversary of President Franklin Roosevelt’s controversial gold ban 86 years ago.

“On April 5th, 1933, President Franklin Roosevelt made the disastrous decision to confiscate individuals’ private gold holdings through Executive Order 6102. American citizens were forced to turn in their gold under the threat of ten years in prison. Shortly after, the price was arbitrarily raised over 50%, a shocking theft of wealth from the American people,” said Sortwell.

“Wisconsinites ought to have the choice and freedom to use alternative currencies and money without being taxed for it — and this bill would put our precious metal sellers on an even playing field with our Midwest neighbors.”

Meanwhile, West Virginia Congressman Alex Mooney (R-WV) is doing his own part to end federal income taxation of sound money.

Mooney’s Monetary Metals Tax Neutrality Act (H.R. 1089) would “clarify that the sale or exchange of precious metals bullion and coins are not to be included in capital gains, losses, or any other type of federal income calculation.” 

To be sure, the out-of-control spending and debt embraced by many politicians is directly undermining the value of the dollar and our savings, but momentum is building, particularly in the states, to restore sound money in America.

Why “Democratic Socialists” are Conservative 1

This is an important article. Given the growing popularity of “democratic socialism,” it’s important to point out what social democrats actually are, i.e. state-centric reactionaries. An authentic anarchist approach to political economy involves critiquing and opposing the ways in which the state has the effect of centralizing control over wealth, property, and resources, and developing alternatives that are independent of the state.

By Thomas L. Knapp

Garrison Center

A February Harris poll finds that 49.6% of Millennial and Generation Z Americans would “prefer living in a socialist country.”

US Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and US Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), among other politicians, proclaim a message of “democratic socialism,” evoking an ideology last ascendant in the early 1900s when Eugene Debs and Norman Thomas moved the needle in US elections.

But the devil is, as always, in the details. The goals of today’s American “democratic socialism,” as laid out in Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal resolution, in Sanders’s “Stop BEZOS Act,” etc. look a lot more like Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s effort to “save capitalism” through welfare statism than like the proposals of socialism’s last rise to prominence.

The essence of socialism as laid out by Proudhon and Marx and promoted by the International Workers of the World, et al., came down to destroying the wage system and building a classless society based on worker ownership of the means of production.

Those earlier socialists would almost certainly have lauded gig economy workers as examples of what socialism sought. Today’s socialists disdain them.

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Andrew Yang and the Post-Nationalist Future 1

By Robert Stark

Taki’s Mag

The internet underworld that famously boosted Trump in 2016 appears to be unified for the first time since. This time everyone from the meme-makers of 4chan, to the “America First” crowd, to explicit white nationalists is marching to the beat of a new, unlikely populist champion: Asian-American entrepreneur and 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang. What does the phenomenon of the Trump-to-Yang supporter tell us? Beyond pointing out the obvious, that NEETS and gamers really want $1,000 a month, the youthful “Yanggang” may be the harbinger of a political paradigm shift to follow the demise of Trumpism, and the closing possibility of any recognizably American nationalism.

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One Cheer — More or Less — For the Green New Deal 3

This seems to be a serious, thoughtful critique of the “Green New Deal” idea from a fairly conventional left-anarchist perspective (although Carson is an individualist/mutualist/AWA, not an an-com).

The ATS theoretical model and strategic paradigm is oriented toward global revolutionary struggle against the new Rome (i.e. the global capitalist empire), with an emphasis on indigenous people everywhere, and bottom-up anti-imperialist struggle. I’d say my own geopolitical outlook approximates that of the Shining Path (minus the Maoist fundamentalism).

What Carson describes here is more or less what I would envision the reformist wing of the left-wing of pan-anarchism in First World countries doing, but it’s only that. Notice that the examples Carson provides are all First World places (“the new municipalist movements in Barcelona, Madrid, Bologna, and Jackson”) I see the ATS vision of global revolutionary struggle as transcending the left/right reformist/radical First World/Third World (core/periphery) dichotomies. A similar analysis could be made of Carson’s ideas on “privilege theory,” which would likewise be appropriate for the social/cultural wing of the left-wing of pan-anarchism in First World countries (in a way that potentially networks with similar tendencies in the Third World).

By Kevin Carson

Center for a Stateless Society

In critiquing and analyzing a state policy proposal like the Green New Deal from an anarchist perspective, I should throw in the usual disclaimers about my working assumptions. I’m not an insurrectionist and I don’t believe the post-capitalist/post-state transition will be primarily what Erik Olin Wright called a “ruptural” process. Although the final transition may involve some ruptural events, it will mostly be the ratification after the fact of a cumulative transformation that’s taken place interstitially.

Most of that transformation will come from the efforts of ordinary people at creating the building blocks of the successor society on the ground, and from those building blocks replicating laterally and coalescing into an ecosystem of counter-institutions that expands until it supplants the previous order.

Some of it will come from political engagement to run interference for the new society developing within the shell of the old, and pressuring the state from outside to behave in more benign ways. Some of it will come from using some parts of the state against other parts, and using the state’s own internal procedural rules to sabotage it.

Some of it will come from attempts to engage friendly forces within the belly of the beast. Individuals here and there on the inside of corporate or state institutions who are friendly to our efforts and willing to engage informally with us can pass along information and take advantage of their inside positions to nudge things in a favorable direction. As was the case with the transition from feudalism and capitalism, some organizational entities — now nominally within state bodies or corporations — will persist in a post-state and post-capitalist society, but with their character fundamentally changed along with their relationship to the surrounding system.  If you want to see some interesting examples of attempts at “belly of the beast” grantsmanship and institutional politics, take a look at the appendices to some of Paul Goodman’s books.

A great deal, I predict, will come from efforts — particularly at the local level — to transform the state in a less statelike direction: a general principle first framed by Saint-Simon as “replacing legislation over people with the administration of things,” and since recycled under a long series of labels ranging from “dissolution of the state within the social body” to “the Wikified State” to “the Partner State.” The primary examples I have in mind today are the new municipalist movements in Barcelona, Madrid, Bologna, and Jackson and the dozens and hundreds of cities replicating that model around the world, as well as particular institutional forms like community land trusts and other commons-based local economic models.

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What is “Socialism,” Anyway? 2

The word “socialism” is constantly being thrown about by supposed supporters and detractors alike, most of whom are people who have no clue as to what socialism actually is.

I am opposed to conventional socialism, which I actually consider to be a conservative philosophy (see Murray Rothbard’s essay “Left and Right” on this). Historically, socialist societies have been very conservative. There is no developed, “First World” country that practices socialism, and there never has been. The supposed “socialist” countries in Northern Europe practice a kind of “welfare capitalism” that is often more “free market” than the United States (where the market is subordinated to a kind of corporatist-financier-plutocratic-military-command economy, like an industrial-technological version of the economy of the Roman Empire).

Historically, socialism has appealed primarily to middle-class intellectuals and professionals in colonial societies and feudal countries whose national, political or class ambitions were being frustrated by either external colonialist/imperialist powers, or their own entrenched/inert ruling classes. Socialism was regarded as means of seizing the wealth of external colonial overlords, their colonial puppet rulers, and feudal elites, and utilizing this wealth for internal development (which is why Western colonial powers have been so opposed to socialism). Most of these countries eventually convert to capitalism (or simply stagnate or fall apart).

This Wikipedia entry listing socialist countries that have actually existed is pretty thorough. Notice that not a one of them is or has even been a Westernized industrial democracy. The “socialism” of Bernie Sanders, Alexandria Ocasia-Cortez, etc is standard welfare capitalism of the kind that developed in the late 19th and early 20th century through philosophies like progressivism, Fabianism, social democracy and reform liberalism.

Modern industrial economies are hybrids of market relations, and bureaucratic-managerial-administrative systems, with interlocking public, private, and independent sectors. Check out James Burnham’s work on the “managerial revolution” from the 1940s. He was an early observer of how classical bourgeois capitalism was being replaced with the modern, corporate, administrative kind. In a historical context socialism means either a nationalized economy that is directed by the state, or a worker run cooperative/syndicalist system, or some kind of New Harmony like utopian commune. However, the latter two examples are a fringe tendency within socialism (or have been during the past century), were denounced by Lenin as an “infantile disorder,” and are not what most people think  of when they think of socialism.

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West Virginia Legislature Votes to End Sales Taxation on Gold & Silver Reply

Charleston, West Virginia (March 8th, 2019) — Sound money advocates rejoiced today as the West Virginia legislature overwhelmingly passed Senate Bill 502 and sent it to Governor Jim Justice for his signature. 

First passed in the West Virginia senate unanimously last month, the measure removes state sales taxation of precious metals, specifically on gold, silver, platinum, and palladium bullion and coins.

State Senator Craig Blair (R-District 15) introduced SB 502 with the goal of encouraging precious metals purchasers to keep their investment dollars in the state rather making investments elsewhere. The bill impacts purchases of platinum, gold, palladium, or silver bullion valued upon its precious metal content, whether in coin, bar, or ingot form.

The Sound Money Defense League helped make the case to West Virginia legislators, explaining why charging sales taxes on money itself is beyond the pale. In effect, those states that collect taxes on purchases of precious metals are inherently saying gold and silver are not money at all.

“West Virginia’s legislature has taken a huge step forward with the passage of SB 502. Thanks to the efforts of Senator Blair and other groups, Governor Justice can sign a measure eliminating obstacles in the way of West Virginia citizens to protect themselves from the inflationary practices of the Federal Reserve,” said Jp Cortez, Policy Director of the Sound Money Defense League.

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Studying the demise of historic civilizations 1

Must read.

**

By Luke Kemp
19 February 2019

Studying the demise of historic civilisations can tell us how much risk we face today, says collapse expert Luke Kemp. Worryingly, the signs are worsening.

Great civilisations are not murdered. Instead, they take their own lives.

DEEP CIVILISATION

This article is part of a new BBC Future series about the long view of humanity, which aims to stand back from the daily news cycle and widen the lens of our current place in time. Modern society is suffering from “temporal exhaustion”, the sociologist Elise Boulding once said. “If one is mentally out of breath all the time from dealing with the present, there is no energy left for imagining the future,” she wrote.

That’s why the Deep Civilisation season will explore what really matters in the broader arc of human history and what it means for us and our descendants.

So concluded the historian Arnold Toynbee in his 12-volume magnum opus A Study of History. It was an exploration of the rise and fall of 28 different civilisations. More…

The End of Our World Order Is Imminent Reply


A writer at The Nation points out how more than 200 empires have risen and fallen in world history, and the US empire will eventually fall as well. I think this author likely overstates the prospects for future Chinese dominance, and his environmental alarmism may be overstated as well. Most likely what will replace US hegemony is the system that the author describes the US as having a pivotal role in creating, i.e. the system of global capitalism. As the US recedes, international organizations will increasingly come to dominate, e.g. the UN, World Bank, IMF, WTO, G20, transnational corporations, NGOs, foundations, international media conglomerates, etc. US military power will likely retreat as various European and Asia powers come to dominate their particular regions, but within the wide framework of global capitalism.

By Alfred McCoy

The Nation

Once upon a time in America, we could all argue about whether or not US global power was declining. Now, most observers have little doubt that the end is just a matter of timing and circumstance. Ten years ago, I predicted that, by 2025, it would be all over for American power, a then-controversial comment that’s commonplace today. Under President Donald Trump, the once “indispensable nation” that won World War II and built a new world order has become dispensable indeed.

The decline and fall of American global power is, of course, nothing special in the great sweep of history. After all, in the 4,000 years since humanity’s first empire formed in the Fertile Crescent, at least 200 empires have risen, collided with other imperial powers, and in time collapsed. In the past century alone, two dozen modern imperial states have fallen and the world has managed just fine in the wake of their demise.

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EDITORIAL FIGHTING YOUTHISM ONE DOLLAR AT A TIME Reply

By Hilde Kate Lysiak
Orange Street News

There is an unspoken menace facing those of us under fifteen years old.

No, it’s not disgustingly low expectations. Or lice (which sucks).

I call it youthism.

You haven’t heard of youthism?

Youthism is the discrimination against a human being for no other reason than being young.

I recently had a first hand experience with youthism while shopping for Christmas presents for my sisters in my downtown. I was at a local Antique shop looking through some CD’s when I felt a bony hand on my shoulder. I turned around to see a kind looking old lady.

“Excuse me dear, but is you Mommy or Daddy with you?”

My face turned bright red with anger.

I knew where this was going.

There was a lot of things I wanted to say.

Read more at OSN

The Coming Dystopia? 22

The future of the US, or the future “post-US” or the “future of the Western world” or “the future of the global order, will be rule by the techno-oligarch/new clerisy alliance, where neoliberals constitute “conservatism” and progressives/SJWs constitute “liberalism.” Everyone, including the historic WASP culture, will be a minority. We will have a highly stratified Latin American-style class system with the Rainbow Culture as its self-legitimating state ideology. The emerging ruling class will also have a world empire, a military industrial complex and a police state that it will have inherited from previous regimes.

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Slavoj Žižek: Trump’s rise is a symptom of a dark and subtle force 23

For 25-30 years, I have said that the main political issues in the USA are imperialism, widening class divisions, and use of the wars on drugs, crime, and (later) terrorism to create a domestic police state. Regrettably, most of liberal and left opinion during this time has been more focused on “identity” issues and (to a lesser degree) environmentalism or expanding the welfare state instead.

We are seeing the consequences of that now. The US has killed millions of people in the past 20 years with wars of aggression. Class divisions are the widest they have been in a century, and incarceration rates are setting world records. In fact, it’s often been the far right (paleocons, libertarians, sovereign citizens, isolationist xenophobes) who are more in tune on many of these issues than liberal and left opinion.

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U.S. Congressman Introduces Bill to Remove Income Taxation from Gold and Silver Reply

By J P Cortez

Washington, DC (February 11, 2019) – The battle to end taxation of constitutional money has reached the federal level as U.S. Representative Alex Mooney (R-WV) today re-introduced sound money legislation to remove all federal income taxation from gold and silver coins and bullion.

The Monetary Metals Tax Neutrality Act (H.R. 1089) backed by the Sound Money Defense League and free-market activists – would clarify that the sale or exchange of precious metals bullion and coins are not to be included in capital gains, losses, or any other type of federal income calculation.

“My view, which is backed up by language in the U.S. Constitution, is that gold and silver coins are money and are legal tender,” Rep. Mooney said. “If they’re indeed U.S. money, it seems there should be no taxes on them at all. So, why are we taxing these coins as collectibles?”

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Congressman Demands CFTC Explain Its Failure to Find Silver Market Manipulation Where DOJ Did 1

By J P Cortez

Washington, DC (February 5, 2019) – A member of the U.S. House Financial Services Committee today pressed the Commodities Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) on its conspicuous failure to uncover the very silver market manipulation now being prosecuted by the U.S. Department of Justice.

In a probing letter dated February 5 to CFTC Chairman J. Christopher Giancarlo, Rep. Alex X. Mooney (R-WV) writes:

“U.S. Justice Department obtained a guilty plea from a former commodities trader for JPMorganChase & Co. to charges of manipulating the gold and silver markets between 2009 and 2015, and its investigation into the actions of related parties is ongoing.

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