Monday, November 19, 2007

In Dependence

(from the book “Finding Liberty”)

I had a disturbing experience the other day. Our little bottom-of-the-line printer that we use in our home office suddenly died. Since this piece of equipment is pretty important in the day to day running of our business, I headed out to Office Depot to pick up the latest & greatest bottom-of-the-line model.

At the checkout counter, the clerk rang up my total and I wrote him a check. He scanned it, pushed some buttons, and then said “Here’s your receipt, and here’s your check back, all voided out for you.”

I looked at the check in my hand for a moment – the one I had just finished writing out - and asked, “You don’t even send these in to the bank anymore?”

“Oh no,” he replied, “The transactions are all done electronically now.”

I rode home in the car very unsettled, asking myself the following questions: If my bank account is going to be debited instantly even when I write a check, why am I purchasing checks and taking the time to fill them out and sign them in the first place? What’s the difference between that and just using a debit card, other than the fact that I’m spending more money and time by going through the motions of using checks?

That’s what disturbed me, because there isn’t one. Funny, my bank never bothered to clarify that particular point to me.

Catherine & I don’t use debit cards for one simple reason: If someone were to steal my credit card information and then use that to make purchases, I can always dispute the charges and refuse to pay them. My money is still mine, and I’m in charge of it. But if someone were to steal my debit card information and then use that to make purchases, the money comes directly out of my own bank account. Sure, I can dispute the charges, but the money – my money - has already been spent. I would no longer be in a position to dispute whether or not I wanted to pay (I already have paid); I would instead be wholly at the mercy of the bank, completely subordinate to their decision of whether or not to restore my funds.

I have never known banks to be very receptive to the idea of giving money to people.

The next day while watching TV, I saw a commercial showing a bunch of people in a store all smartly moving about as they made their purchases; a picture of streamlined efficiency, convenience, and happiness. And then someone came to the counter and wanted to pay with cash, and like throwing a wrench into rotating machinery, everything crashed to a halt. Cash? You want to pay with cash?

The commercial – for whatever credit or debit card it was promoting – was obviously trying to tout the convenience & ease of using it’s product. But the underlying message it was telling anyone who saw it was very clear and very direct: Cash is bad, plastic cards are good. If you use a card, things run smoothly, quickly, and everyone is happy. If you use cash, you just mess things up for everyone else. You are behind the times, archaic & un-cool, and your insistence on using money shows a complete lack of courtesy for others.

Everything these days seems to be oriented towards “faster”, “easier”, and “automatic”, and with regards to money, it seems as if the movement - if that is what it is – is pushing harder and harder to get everyone to buy into their methods. Visa is now promoting it’s “smart card”. Just wave it at the scanner as you go by; no need to waste all that time signing your name on a receipt. Everybody wants you to do your business online; pay your bills, do your banking, send in your tax return. “Save a stamp!” they say. “It’s so much easier and convenient for you!” Or even better, “We’ll pay your bills for you! Just sign up and all of that will be debited from your account each month automatically!”

So much of our purchases are now done without the exchange of any actual cash, that using cash has actually become more of the exception than the norm. During the holidays I was in line at a K-Mart picking up a few gifts for the kids. A lady in line several places ahead of me made a large purchase and paid cash for it. It was amazing how everyone in line – including me – was just kind of staring at her as she peeled away twenty dollar bills from a wad of cash in her hand. And I know that all of us were thinking the same kinds of things: “Boy, that’s a lot of cash.” “Why is she making such a large purchase with cash?” “Where did she get all that cash?” It was so weird to witness! But the really crazy thing was that even though people after her made purchases that were far in excess of hers, nobody batted an eye when they used their credit cards!

Have we become so separated from reality that purchasing something outright instead of borrowing to pay later is now considered strange and abnormal? Doesn’t that seem a little backwards?

We live in a world today where you could – quite easily – go through your entire existence and never actually see or touch any money at all. Ever. Every purchase you make could be made without any cash whatsoever, and more and more, paying without cash is becoming the preferred way. Is there a day coming when that will be the only way? A day when not only will cash no longer be accepted, but will not even exist?
That is a day to fear.

I’m going to take you on a little trip here, and throw out a little factual information and quite a bit of speculation. It may seem a little paranoid, and I’ll admit that it does to me as well. But whether or not you give any credence to the “whys” of what I’m going to explore, it doesn’t change the outcome of the “whats”.

Some of this will play into things that people have said for years regarding conspiracies, secret societies, and hidden agendas; I don’t know what’s true and what’s not any more than the next guy, but I can observe what is happening even if there is no way to positively confirm why. So humor me a little; all I want to do is spark your own brain into doing some thinking of it’s own; you’re just as capable of that as I am. I would ask though, that as you’re considering these things, please keep the following thought in mind: If you’re crossing the street and you get hit by a car and die, would it really make any difference to you whether the driver of the car did it on purpose or if it was a complete accident?

The Federal Reserve
In 1913, the Federal Reserve Act was passed by congress and signed by President Woodrow Wilson, thereby transferring the power to control the creation & management of currency from the US government to a private corporation of bankers. The plan itself was originated by a group of 7 of the richest men in the world at that time. As of December 2006, the US national debt is over 8 trillion dollars. More than 40% of that is owed to the Federal Reserve. (Perhaps connected or perhaps not, 1913 was also the year that the 16th Amendment was passed by Congress, imposing a federal income tax on the wages of US citizens).

Think about that for a moment. The Federal Reserve is a private company - not a branch of the United States government – run by a small group of elite bankers. Can you even begin to imagine how much power this company has over the United States? Start with the simple things, like inflation. Since we haven’t been on the gold standard in decades, any money that is printed has nothing behind it; it is created out of thin air. Put more money into circulation to increase the supply, and the value of the US dollar drops, creating inflation. Take money out of circulation and the opposite happens. That’s a lot of power for a small group of private citizens to have over everyone else. But that’s only the tip of the iceberg.

If the US government needs more money than they take in from taxes to pay for whatever social programs, defense spending, or pork projects they deem necessary, where are they going to get it? The Federal Reserve, of course. So the US borrows money from the Fed which, of course, it now owes back to the Fed. As stated earlier, the US government now owes the Fed roughly $3,400,000,000,000 (plus or minus a few hundred billion, but what’s that between friends?).

Forget for a moment that the government doesn’t actually do anything to make money for itself and that that bill is in fact owed by the citizens of the United States; believe it or not, that’s not what is really unsettling about it. The really disturbing part is this: If this group of bankers wanted something from our government, could our government say “No”? I mean, if the Fed holds the threat of not only calling in this current debt, but also to refuse to loan any more, could the government of the United States realistically stand it’s ground and refuse them if they demanded something?

I’m not saying that the Fed would do something like that, but I feel it’s important to understand in no uncertain terms that they absolutely could if they wanted to.

So would they ever use that leverage for a self-serving reason? To decide, I think you would have to question the motives of these Fed architects when they came up with the idea in the first place. Why did they want to create the Federal Reserve? I guess it’s possible that they were simply a group of financial experts who realized that they had much more expertise in managing money than Congress did, and so, out of their concern for the continued well-being and prosperity of this great land, they offered their services to our country. But if that were really the case, why would such noble & patriotic men have allowed us to get into such tremendous debt? Is that how they handle their own personal finances? My guess would be “probably not”.

So if they didn’t create the Fed for benevolent reasons, is it possible that they did it for malevolent ones? And if this group of bankers controlling the money supply did want something, what could it possibly be? When you already have more money than you could ever use, what else is there?

"Give me control of a nation's money and I care not who makes the laws." - Mayer Amschel Bauer Rothschild

“Whoever controls the volume of money in any country is absolute master of all industry and commerce.” - President James A. Garfield

“I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies. If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around [the banks] will deprive the people of all property until their children wake-up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered. The issuing power should be taken from the banks and restored to the people, to whom it properly belongs.” – Thomas Jefferson

This may be a stretch, but think for a minute about all the fictional “superhero” & James Bond villains from comics, cartoons, and movies. Think about all of the true life villains of history: Genghis Khan, Attila the Hun, Napoleon, Hitler, & Stalin. Think about the great empires that have risen and fallen throughout history. Whether real or imaginary, they all have a few very important things in common:

1) They wanted absolute power.
2) They tried to gain it and keep it by force.
3) They ultimately failed.

Absolute power. Totalitarian control. Some people just have a thirst for it, and history is littered with the corpses of Pharaohs, Kings, Dictators, and Generals who have aspired to become gods among men. Is there any reason to think that that’s not still true today?

“We will have a world government whether you like it or not. The only question is whether that government will be achieved by conquest or consent.”
- Paul Warburg, chief architect of the Federal Reserve Act.

So assuming that you wanted absolute power, how would you go about it if you already knew the dismal track record of those who came before you that had tried to get it and keep it by force? Maybe you don’t try to get it by force. Maybe you take a different approach. Instead of imposing your will over people, maybe you get them to subjugate themselves to you of their own free will. Maybe you put yourself into a quiet “behind the scenes” position where you have strong influence over governments and their policies, and then slowly & methodically lead everyone to where you want them to be. Dependant on you and under your absolute control. And by the time any of them realize what has happened (if they even do), none of them will be in a position to do anything about it.

Crazy? Maybe. Maybe not. Nations and empires have a way of rising and falling, and history shows that time and again they have all followed the same general cycle:

1. People in bondage gain spiritual faith
2. Faith evolves into courage
3. Courage brings about liberty
4. Liberty results in abundance
5. Abundance progresses to selfishness
6. Selfishness turns to complacency
7. Complacency devolves into apathy
8. Apathy leads to dependence
9. Dependence brings the cycle full circle back to bondage

How dependant are we today? Most Americans do very little for themselves; for the most part, we work for other people, so that they can give us money, so that we can buy things from somebody else. If we were brutally honest, we would have to clarify even further to say that not only do we do very little for ourselves, but in fact we couldn’t do very much even if we wanted to (which, of course, we don’t).

We have become so dependant on the things that are done for us by something or someone else that the knowledge of how those things were done by our ancestors before us has been lost. We couldn’t do them if we wanted to. We don’t know how. The very technology that has made our lives so easy has also put shackles on what options we have left.

Grocery stores provide our food. Utility companies provide warmth and light for our homes. Machines wash our clothes, cut our grass, and transport us around. Ask yourself the following questions, and please use the term “survive” in it’s most literal sense:

Could you survive today without electricity?
Could you survive today without the use of a bank?
Could you survive today if you had no car?
Could you survive today if you were not able to purchase things from stores?

These aren’t questions we ever seriously ask ourselves, because these things are so much a part of our lives that our lives simply wouldn’t work without them, at least, not the way we have become accustomed to living them. We’ve always had these things available to us so we take it for granted that they always will be. Sounds like a rather complacent attitude, doesn’t it?

And if someone were to intrude into the entertaining convenience of our lives and start bringing up questions that were a little disturbing to think about, would we even bother to listen, or are we already gripped in the death throws of apathy?

National Identification Cards
On May 11, 2005, President Bush signed into law the creation of what is called “Real ID” to take effect in May of 2008. In the interests of protecting US citizens from the threat of terrorism and to aid in the control of illegal immigrants, all US citizens will be required to have a US identification card. The card will be tamper proof, will carry your vital information (age, sex, etc.), and will contain some method of positive identification (possibly a fingerprint). Without this ID card, you will not be able to travel on an airplane, open a bank account, or be the beneficiary of any government services (including social security). The Department of Homeland Security has the authority to add additional requirements.

“Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.” – Benjamin Franklin

This is just scary. Every American will be required to have this card, and if you don’t have one you will technically not exist. It’s truly an offer we can’t refuse. How would we be able to live our lives as we have grown accustomed to if we cannot use a bank? In today’s world - quite simply - we can’t. The overwhelming majority of Americans today cannot survive without the use of a bank. It’s not even a choice. I mean, what would we do? What could we do?

Absolutely nothing. To refuse one of these cards – even if that can be done without criminal repercussions - would be to permanently alter the convenient routine of our lives. We have been trained to avoid unpleasantness and inconvenience, and the vast majority of us have allowed ourselves to be put into a position where we simply will not be able to say “No”.

But is that a bad thing? We already have other forms of ID; driver’s licenses, social security numbers . . . so what if I have a card that positively identifies me as me? It proves that I’m an American, and keeps those pesky illegal aliens from taking a piece of my pie. Terrorists won’t be able to run amuck and hurt me or my family. Identity theft will be almost impossible, which means my money will be safe. This doesn’t sound like a bad thing at all. In fact, I want one!

. . . maybe you get them to subjugate themselves to you of their own free will . . .

The first problem with the National ID card is that you don’t have a choice. Does that sound like an ideal of a free country? The second and much more important issue is what that card will inevitably evolve into.

Even if you have put yourself in a position where you could live without a bank and choose not to accept one of these cards, don’t think you’re out of the woods. What are you going to eat? If you raise animals for food, you’ll have to have them – every single one - registered with ID cards to be in compliance with the National Animal Identification System (NAIS). Those tags cost money, and you can only get them from the United States government. No ID card, no government service, and without NAIS compliance, you’re breaking the law by having unregistered animals that may be a threat to our nation’s food supply.

Maybe you can hunt & fish for your food. Not without a hunting and fishing license you can’t. To do so without a license is to break the law. Off to jail you go, troublemaker.

Maybe you can just forego meat altogether and grow your own food. That would probably work, as long as you don’t get any genetically engineered seed in your garden. Those seeds are patented, and any plants that carry cells from a genetically engineered seed that are grown without a license are the property of the manufacturer, and you can be sued for patent infringement. And it makes no difference how those seeds got on your land or if you even knew about it.

Even if food isn’t a problem, how would you cook it? How would you get paid? How are you going to pay for your mortgage? Your utilities? How will you get a driver’s license? How will you do anything?

About the best that you could hope for is that you have some skill – either a service you perform or a product you make – that you could sell for cash. That assumes, of course, that no judicial action is taken against you and that it does not become illegal for people to do business with “non-card carrying citizens”.

But even if you would be willing to put yourself into that position, what if it makes no difference? Because here’s where everything swings back around full circle to what was so disturbing to me in the very beginning: What happens if there comes a day when cash is no longer accepted?

Ahhh! Checkmate.

Regardless of why all of this is happening, whether it is planned or just a random chain of events, there seems to be at least one logical termination point where all of this could be leading: a cashless society. A world where your ID card is everything. Because it will be “you”, it will be your ID card, your passport, your driver’s license, your ATM card, your debit card . . . your everything card. Without it you will be nothing. That’s a frightening place to be.

We live in a world today where we are constantly allowing our rights to be carelessly thrown away as if they are of no value. We continue to relinquish more and more of our freedoms & civil liberties to the government out of our own fear, complacency, and convenience – a government which may itself be governed by another – and in doing so we are unwittingly permitting it to change it’s role from “servant” to “master”.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. None of this can happen without our consent; but by that I don’t mean each of us individually, I mean all of us collectively. Not thousands, but millions – tens of millions - of people need to stand up and simply say “No”.

“ . . .But the proles [the masses], if only they could somehow become conscious of their own strength, would have no need to conspire . . . They need only to rise up and shake themselves like a horse shaking off flies . . .” - Excerpt from 1984, by George Orwell

If we do nothing, however, if we consent and allow ourselves to reach the point of becoming a cashless society - when every transaction for anything is merely an electronic shift of numbers - we will also take that final step into total and complete slavery. Yes, slavery. Because just as these cards can be activated, they can also be deactivated, and when your very ability to survive depends entirely on the existence of that card, will it be possible for you to do anything against the will of those who control it knowing that they can, at their convenience, turn you off?
Think about that. Think hard. When everything is virtual, nothing is real. In a cashless society, the emperor will truly have no clothes, yet we will have no choice but to extol the virtues of his garments, because to do otherwise would be to risk the disapproval of those who control the power of that card. They could ask us to do anything – absolutely anything at all – and we would have no choice but to comply.

“None are so hopelessly enslaved as those who falsely believe they are free.” - Goethe

Absolute power is obtained when you have absolute dependence. And what better way to gain that than by having the ability to simply turn someone off if they don’t do what you want them to do?

If this is all happening according to some plan, you really do have to admire the simplicity of it’s design. In fact, one of its only few flaws is the actual card itself, since it still has the ability to be lost or stolen. But I would have to believe that that will only make the next logical step - that of having your ID microchip surgically implanted into your body - much easier for acceptance in the future. Don’t laugh; this technology already exists today, and believe it or not, there are already people who are volunteering to have it done. Of their own free will.

I can almost see the credit card commercials of the future now . . . Just wave your hand at the scanner as you go by; no need to waste all that time trying to get that card out of your pocket . . .

And should that day come, how then will we interpret these words?:

And he causes all, the small and the great, and the rich and the poor, and the free men and the slaves, to be given a mark on their right hand, or on their forehead, and he provides that no one should be able to buy or to sell, except the one who has the mark, either the name of the beast or the number of his name. - Revelation 13:16-17

I know that to some, I must sound like a paranoid nut, and in all honesty, I hope it turns out the be that way. I hope that the Fed is just a bank going about the business of making money. I hope that the people in our government – at all levels – aren’t just a collection of pawns who have been bought & paid for by the highest bidder. I hope that common sense and basic human decency are not extinct. But hope, while a wonderful thing, is not much of a strategy.

Regardless of what validity my rambling speculations may or may not have, what I said about the creation of the Federal Reserve is true. The “Real ID” identification cards were signed into law 2 years ago, the cycle of rising & falling nations has been repeated over and over, and the NAIS exists right now.

Monsanto has been quietly suing independent farmers for several years for patent infringement with the courts ruling in Monsanto’s favor, saying that it makes no difference how the seed got on the farmer’s land – whether it got mixed in with other seed by accident, blew off of a passing truck, or even was cross pollinated by insects – the plants, and all succeeding generations of plants, belong to Monsanto. Most farmers settle out of court, with part of the settlement being that they are not allowed to discuss it.

Knowing that all of these things are real, does it make any difference whether the speculation as to why they are happening is right or wrong? I’ll ask again: If you’re crossing the street and you get hit by a car and die, would it really make any difference to you whether the driver of the car did it on purpose or if it was a complete accident?

Either way, you’re still dead.

Since I wrote this, I’ve given a lot of thought as to what my motives were in doing so; I know what I wrote and I know that I felt compelled to write it, but why did I feel compelled? What am I trying to prove by painting such a gloomy picture? What gives me the right to speculate on the future?; I’m no prophet. And what “forward moving” purpose does it serve?

My first thought was, “Well, maybe we should be a little disturbed by all of these things so that we can start to do something about it.” But while there may be some truth to that, the more I thought about it, the less important it really seemed. And too, did I really want to use the magazine as a political sounding board where I can impress my views and fears on everyone else? I honestly have no desire for anyone to think I’m “important” or “wise”, or “right”.

So I kept thinking about it, and eventually, it dawned on me.

This isn’t about government, or conspiracies, or doom & gloom, or any of that nonsense. It’s much, much simpler than that. This is about faith. More specifically, what we put our faith into. Because by putting ourselves in a position where we are dependant on banks, utilities, insurance companies, the government, corporations, and all the rest, we are in fact putting our faith in them to provide for us, and every time we move a little more of our faith into yet another man-made institution, we move ourselves a little further away from God.

Funny that we should do that, because all of those things are “of man”, and last I checked, mankind was a rather imperfect and unreliable creature. Is it any wonder then that things may go awry, whether on purpose or by accident? And should we be surprised to realize that if we had allowed God to drive that car that I’ve mentioned a couple of times, we wouldn’t have been hit in the first place?

In the end, there is nothing wrong with allowing ourselves to be in a state of dependence. The danger is when we put ourselves in dependence to anyone or anything other than God.

(author's note: if you enjoyed this article and are intrigued by the subject matter, look for Blaine Staat's shocking new novel "What So Proudly We Hailed", coming in the Spring of 2008 from Linear Wave Publishing).

3 comments:

Teacherperson said...

I wonder if you might be able to answer my question. (I came here from your wife's site on Xanga.)

Why is the US dollar losing value worldwide and how does one bring it back up? I suppose this could be a generic question about any economy. I am sure it has to do with our debts, but I'm not sure how all that works. Do you understand it?

If you could possibly answer me on my blog at www.xanga.com/teacherperson (so I know that you answered and won't forget to keep checking back here), I'd be grateful.

Even if you know of a website that answers the question, I'd be appreciative of the link.

~Mary

Blaine Staat said...

Hi Mary, your question about why the US dollar is falling is a complicated one, and I don’t claim to understand it completely myself. Unfortunately, there are so many “smoke & mirror” articles on the web about “money” that if you do a Google search you could spend hours looking without finding an answer. Probably the best article that I have read regarding money was written by Alan Greenspan back in 1966 (yes, the same Greenspan who would later go on to be the Fed Chairman for so many years). The article looks a little complicated at first, but it’s really not if you read it slowly & carefully, and it gives a very good explanation of what money really is in the first place, why banks came into existence, and later on the Federal Reserve and the move away from the Gold Standard. It won’t answer your question directly, but if you can digest & understand it, you’ll probably be able to answer your own question (or at least have a warm fuzzy feeling about it, which may be the best any of us can expect!). Here is one of many links available for the article: http://www.constitution.org/mon/greenspan_gold.htm

Hope that helps!
Blaine Staat

fighting4commonsense said...

My apologies if you have already addressed this in your book: To learn of an existing conspiracy, set into action in the 1930's, that has needlessly deprived our country of a hardy annual plant that can meet our needs for paper, fiber, cellulose plastic, renewable bio-energy and save our economy and ecology, read "The Emporer Wears No Clothes", free online at www.jackherer.com. Start with the last page of chapter 2, and think about it every time you vote. We must do what we can. Snow flakes are tiny, but few things are as powerful as an avalanche.