The flags displayed in State courts and courts of the United States have gold or yellow fringes. That is your WARNING that you are entering into a foreign enclave, the same as if you are stepping into a foreign embassy and you will be under the jurisdiction of that flag. The flag with the gold or yellow fringe has no constitution, no laws, and no rules of court, and is not recognized by any nation on the earth, and is foreign to you and the United States of America. [...] When you enter a courtroom displaying a gold or yellow fringed flag, you have just entered into a foreign country, and you better have your passport with you, because you may not be coming back to the land of the free for a long time. The judge sitting under a gold or yellow fringe flag becomes the “captain” or “master” of that ship or enclave and he has absolute power to make the rules as he goes. The gold or yellow fringe flag is your warning that you are leaving your Constitutionally secured RIGHTS on the floor outside the door to that courtroom.
Although there may or may not be legal substance to what these “constitutionalists,” libertarians and old-style republicans* suggest, there certainly is risk in some of the schemes that some of them propose. For instance, one can pay thousands of dollars to individuals such as those advertising their “sovereignty” services through the Practical Course in Miracles and then possibly end up like the Montana Freemen. Then again, there is also Joe Bannister, a former IRS agent who claims he jumped through the proper legal loopholes in court to avoid paying income tax, which, according to his research, he says, is voluntary to pay. A look back eight decades or so shows that income tax was a major pet peeve of the British Fascisti, who held that more residual income for hiring domestic servants was the solution to an unemployed workforce, just as it is a major issue for American libertarians today, a group which bases its highly individualistic philosophy on a policy of no force and no fraud, and therefore take the position that because it is not a voluntary transaction, taxation, like many or even most functions of government, is inherently immoral. (Scheming to use the natural vulnerabilities of one’s fellow man against him for gain in “the market,” however, apparently isn’t, at least, not enough so as to justify its prevention by legal mandates, which apparently can get a little bit too complicated for these often Manichean, “freedom versus tyranny” thinkers.) Frequently cited here is an unsourced and probably apocryphal quote from George Washington, “Government is not reason; it is not eloquence; it is force.” In addition, a progressive income tax is called for directly in the Communist Manifesto, which more or less automatically makes it bad to libertarians. Congressman Ron Paul’s bid for the Republican Presidential nomination in 2008 on an anti-war, “pro-liberty,” platform, brought “constitutionalist” and libertarian thought to “the masses,” a. k. a. “the sheeple.” And against other Republicans back in the 2007 and 2008 debates, he looked great. Today, next to many Democrats, and especially next to the progressives who’ve been particularly critical of the “other” antiwar interests that he, and his ridiculous son, Rand, represent, he simply doesn’t compare, and that is becoming more and more apparent as time goes on. There were a lot of details in his agenda, for instance, which went largely unmentioned until recently, such as opposition to those darn “socialistic” minimum wage laws. And how about that Department of Education? When you get right down to it, the libertarian vision for the United States is a repeal of all New Deal provisions which were enacted on behalf of the many labor strikers in the early half of the twentieth century whose demands, such as the forty-hour (versus eighty hour) work week under safe (versus lethal) job conditions could no longer be ignored. It’s the law of the jungle, baby: thrive or die, greed is good. Living in a refrigerator box? Not to worry, that’s just a “market correction,” thanks for taking one for Team Wall Street. And this is to say nothing of libertarianism’s roots in the egoistic objectivist philosophy conceived by Ayn Rand, which literally and without irony regards selfishness as a virtue, making it not at all hyperbole to compare these beliefs to modern Satanism. (There are also a number of interesting connections here between Ayn Rand and former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, who would theoretically be a nemesis of Paul’s “End the Fed” movement.) The Ron Paul Revolution, as they refer to themselves, have credited themselves with starting the “populist” Tea Parties, which, they now complain, have been taken over by other forces within the Republican Party. Really though, even the movement behind Paul, itself, was, in ways, a quote-unquote “hijacked” version of the much more dangerous 9/11 skeptics’ movement which had come before it and to which the Afghanistan-invading Paul would privately proclaim sympathy while publicly denouncing it at every turn. (To be fair, however, the utterly disorganized American left, not the center-left to center-right Democratic Party, but the actual American left, can also take a good share of the blame for not picking up this and related issues more readily themselves.) But is Paul, who has for years argued for a return to the gold standard, long the bane of populists from William Hope Harvey to Bill Still for its tendency to favor the rich, really a populist? In desperate economic times such as America currently faces, all sorts of ideas can gain ground which, under any other circumstances, would flounder, as the anger of the lower and middle classes against the causers of their financial woes seeks expression. Whether that anger is going to be expressed in a way which is constructive or destructive to their actual interests is a question which remains to be seen, but a hysterical phobia of all things “communist” and “socialist,” however those terms are currently defined by the fear-mongering right, seem to be at the core of the rhetoric of the billionaire Koch Brothers-funded Tea Parties, and stands in the way of the lower American classes asserting themselves rationally. Indeed, in America, where citizens have for decades consumed more hours of the saturation levels of propagandistic television broadcasting than in most economically comparable countries, union membership is at a historic low, working conditions, where well paying work is even available, are often degrading, prejudiced attitudes about social reform movements abound and general emotional malaise and mental confusion seem to be at a maximum. Reactionary politicians, mainly Republicans but also some Democrats, such as arch sell-out Bill “End Welfare As We Know It” Clinton, have been chipping away at the progressive income tax and other such “socialist” laws for nearly a half century now. The supposedly populist libertarians and their ilk, however, offer now the promise of bringing it all down, baby and bathwater alike. The Tea Parties must be allowed to pass without further incident, and the media would do well to stop covering these hideous spectacles also. The politics of ignorance and quick fixes for complex problems have no place in a free society; they are, in fact, probably the gateway to a final American breakdown, the kind that left Europe burned and ruined in the 1940′s. Furthermore, in addition to there being nothing inevitable about “belt-tightening” and spending cuts in the face of this crisis (the same rhetoric the right wing has been spouting for decades, all the while lining their own bank accounts), any and all predictions that a “third” party of “progressive libertarians” will arise are extremely misinformed. If libertarians and progressives do see an increase in representation in office, it will largely be independently of each other, with different voter bases. Once in power, they may align from time to time on certain subjects but more often than not and especially on domestic questions, they will be each others’ bitter enemies. Civil liberties, like workers’ rights, are a vital topic of discussion, and one certainly ought to question the hundreds of U. S. military bases in operation worldwide today but as a whole, libertarianism is a no-go on almost every economic and work-related issue and is absolutely not a viable substitute for the currently absent but badly needed left in America. There must be more than pure debate, however; there must be action. Take France, for example: the government announces that benefits will be postponed several years for retirees and the middle and lower classes are able to shut the country down in protest. In the States, on the other hand, far too many working stiffs still believe that Bill O’Reilly and “Joe the Plumber” types really are looking out for them and the rest are too afraid to make more than a passing comment about their grievances. Furthermore, if America wants to remain a first-world nation following the rapidly approaching end of her economic and military supremacy, the money to maintain and build new roads, train lines, hospitals and schools has to come from somewhere. If it’s not coming from the tax-avoiding rich, those who have the least percentage of their income tied up in providing themselves with the bare essentials of life and whose Congressional representation keeps “reforming” the tax code by downgrading their own tax levels (currently at about 35% versus 90% in the mid-20th century), it’s going to have to come from the next in line, the middle class. The less cash the middle class has to spend because it’s going toward national infrastructure, the more the demand side of the economy slows down, the less time there is to spend with the children due to second jobs and overall, everyone suffers, everyone but the wealthiest five or ten percent. Why does America put up with it? Why tolerate less vacation time, less benefits, less education? Is America going to organize or is she going to let Joe the Plumber tell her to suck it up and eat macaroni and cheese more often for dinner “until the crisis passes,” i. e. until America’s ready for another fleecing? The future holds great promise for a class-conscious America which can manage to get control of its government again and while there will always be room for debate on the specifics of how government spends money, “the market” has shown time and time again that “it” will not provide for society adequately on “its” own and libertarians, despite what valid points they can make about Democratic weaknesses, will be fighting that all the way with their suicidal program of social collapse. *Are “constitutionalists” necessarily libertarians, or vice versa? No, but judging from the web sites, there is considerable overlap. For instance, Ron Paul gave his endorsement to the Constitution Party‘s Chuck Baldwin after finally stepping down from the 2008 Republican primaries and had run as a Libertarian Presidential candidate in 1988. “Constitutionalists” is in quotations here because, while there is widespread agreement that various officials have violated certain provisions of the U. S. Constitution which are not open to diverse interpretation, almost anyone can take a particular agenda, no matter how outlandish, and argue that it’s the “true” reading of the document. [END] Permalink: The Limits of Liberty
-Jim Hightower (for whom the 9/11 inside job concept is not completely taboo) to Bill Moyers, 30 April 2010 After Bush II, after Bush I and Reagan, after Ford and Nixon, the Republican Party should never be trusted again, no matter how they re-brand themselves, never. That leaves the U. S. with one major political party: the Democrats. Although this is a deeply flawed party which is deserving of contempt and scorn for a variety of reasons, recent history is proof that a Democrat-led America is an America on much better ground economically and socially (unless, perhaps, you are a billionaire, in which case, you are probably not reading this). This is why I am giving a general endorsement to the Democratic Party this election and calling on everyone who can vote to help keep the Republicans out of office. While “third” parties can and should be organized — Vermont, for instance, is home to a very large Progressive Party which occupies several seats in the state legislature — they cannot be organized to win in a matter of weeks. If a candidate does not have a commitment from a significant portion of the electorate going into the election, he has little hope of realizing power as a result of it, and power is the objective when it comes to seeking office. While planning for the long term, we must work with what we have in the short term, and it should be obvious to all that while their priorities must ultimately be changed in many areas, the Democrats are a much easier party to work with than their only major competitor. While voting is simple, a one day activity, organizing for the medium to long term requires a much more sustained involvement. You might be surprised, however, how much you can accomplish at a local, county or even state level with the concerted efforts of even a few dozen individuals. Following are two speeches by Mary Elizabeth Lease from the original populist movement in the “gilded age” of the late 19th century, which, along with the progressive movement of the early 20th century, contributed significantly to the much-needed reforms of the New Deal. May her words be an inspiration to us today as we work to create a better world. Courtesy of History is a Weapon: “Wall Street Owns the Country” (ca. 1890):
This is a nation of inconsistencies. The Puritans fleeing from oppression became oppressors. We fought England for our liberty and put chains on four million of blacks. We wiped out slavery and our tariff laws and national banks began a system of white wage slavery worse than the first. Wall Street owns the country. It is no longer a government of the people, by the people, and for the people, but a government of Wall Street, by Wall Street, and for Wall Street. The great common people of this country are slaves, and monopoly is the master. The West and South are bound and prostrate before the manufacturing East. Money rules, and our Vice-President is a London banker. Our laws are the output of a system which clothes rascals in robes and honesty in rags. The [political] parties lie to us and the political speakers mislead us. We were told two years ago to go to work and raise a big crop, that was all we needed. We went to work and plowed and planted; the rains fell, the sun shone, nature smiled, and we raised the big crop that they told us to; and what came of it? Eight-cent corn, ten-cent oats, two-cent beef and no price at all for butter and eggs-that’s what came of it. The politicians said we suffered from overproduction. Overproduction, when 10,000 little children, so statistics tell us, starve to death every year in the United States, and over 100,000 shopgirls in New York are forced to sell their virtue for the bread their niggardly wages deny them… We want money, land and transportation. We want the abolition of the National Banks, and we want the power to make loans direct from the government. We want the foreclosure system wiped out… We will stand by our homes and stay by our fireside by force if necessary, and we will not pay our debts to the loan-shark companies until the government pays its debts to us. The people are at bay; let the bloodhounds of money who dogged us thus far beware.
Speech to the Women’s Christian Temperance Union (1890):
Madame President and Fellow Citizens:- If God were to give me my choice to live in any age of the world that has flown, or in any age of the world yet to be, I would say, O God, let me live here and now, in this day and age of the world’s history. For we are living in a grand and wonderful time-a time when old ideas, traditions and customs have broken loose from their moorings and are hopelessly adrift on the great shoreless, boundless sea of human thought-a time when the gray old world begins to dimly comprehend that there is no difference between the brain of an intelligent woman and the brain of an intelligent man; no difference between the soul-power or brainpower that nerved the arm of Charlotte Corday to deeds of heroic patriotism and the soul-power or brain-power that swayed old John Brown behind his death dealing barricade at Ossawattomie. We are living in an age of thought. The mighty dynamite of thought is upheaving the social and political structure and stirring the hearts of men from centre to circumference. Men, women and children are in commotion, discussing the mighty problems of the day. The agricultural classes, loyal and patriotic, slow to act and slow to think, are to-day thinking for themselves; and their thought has crystallized into action. Organization is the key-note to a mighty movement among the masses which is the protest of the patient burden-bearers of the nation against years of economic and political superstition… Yet, after all our years of toil and privation, dangers and hardships upon the Western frontier, monopoly is taking our homes from us by an infamous system of mortgage foreclosure, the most infamous that has ever disgraced the statutes of a civilized nation. It, takes from us at the rate of five hundred a month the homes that represent the best years of our life, our toil, our hopes, our happiness. How did it happen? The government, at the bid of Wall Street, repudiated its contracts with the people; the circulating medium was contracted in the interest of Shylock from $54 per capita to less than $8 per capita; or, as Senator [Preston] Plumb [of Kansas] tells us, “Our debts were increased, while the means to pay them was decreased;” or as grand Senator [William Morris] Stewart [of Nevada] puts it, “For twenty years the market value of the dollar has gone up and the market value of labor has gone down, till to-day the American laborer, in bitterness and wrath, asks which is the worst-the black slavery that has gone or the white slavery that has come?” Do you wonder the women are joining the Alliance? I wonder if there is a woman in all this broad land who can afford to stay out of the Alliance. Our loyal, white-ribbon women should be heart and hand in this Farmers’ Alliance movement, for the men whom we have sent to represent us are the only men in the councils of this nation who have not been elected on a liquor platform; and I want to say here, with exultant pride, that the five farmer Congressmen and the United States Senator we have sent up from Kansas-the liquor traffic, Wall Street, “nor the gates of hell shall not prevail against them.” It would sound boastful were I to detail to you the active, earnest part the Kansas women took in the recent campaign. A Republican majority of 82,000 was reduced to less than 8,000 when we elected 97 representatives, 5 out of 7 Congressmen, and a United States Senator, for to the women of Kansas belongs the credit of defeating John J. Ingalls; He is feeling badly about it yet, too, for he said to-day that “women and Indians were the only class that would scalp a dead man.” I rejoice that he realises that he is politically dead. I might weary you to tell you in detail how the Alliance women found time from cares of home and children to prepare the tempting, generous viands for the Alliance picnic dinners; where hungry thousands and tens of thousands gathered in the forests and groves to listen to the words of impassioned oratory, ofttimes from woman’s lips, that nerved the men of Kansas to forget their party prejudice and vote for “Mollie and the babies.” And not only did they find their way to the voters’ hearts, through their stomachs, but they sang their way as well. I hold here a book of Alliance songs, composed and set to music by an Alliance woman, Mrs. Florence Olmstead of Butler County, Kan., that did much toward moulding public sentiment. Alliance Glee Clubs composed of women, gave us such stirring melodies as the nation has not heard since the Tippecanoe and Tyler campaign of 1840. And while I am individualizing, let me call your attention to a book written also by an Alliance woman. I wish a copy of it could be placed in the hands of every woman in this land. “The Fate of a Fool” is written by Mrs. Emma G. Curtis of Colorado. This book in the hands of women would teach them to be just and generous toward women, and help them to forgive and condone in each other the sins so sweetly forgiven when committed by men. Let no one for a moment believe that this uprising and federation of the people is but a passing episode in politics. It is a religious as well as a political movement, for we seek to put into practical operation the teachings and precepts of Jesus of Nazareth. We seek to enact justice and equity between man and man. We seek to bring the nation back to the constitutional liberties guaranteed us by our forefathers. The voice that is coming up to day from the mystic chords of the American heart is the same voice that Lincoln heard blending with the guns of Fort Sumter and the Wilderness, and it is breaking into a clarion cry to-day that will be heard around the world. Crowns will fall, thrones will tremble, kingdoms will disappear, the divine right of kings and the divine right of capital will fade away like the mists of the morning when the Angel of Liberty shall kindle the fires of justice in the hearts of men. “Exact justice to all, special privileges to none.” No more millionaires, and no more paupers; no more gold kings, silver kings and oil kings, and no more little waifs of humanity starving for a crust of bread. No more gaunt faced, hollow-eyed girls in the factories, and no more little boys reared in poverty and crime for the penitentiaries and the gallows. But we shall have the golden age of which Isaiah sang and the prophets have so long foretold; when the farmers shall be prosperous and happy, dwelling under their own vine and fig tree; when the laborer shall have that for which he toils; when occupancy and use shall be the only title to land, and every one shall obey the divine injunction, “In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread.” When men shall be just and generous, little less than gods, and women shall be just and charitable toward each other, little less than angels; when we shall have not a government of the people by capitalists, but a government of the people, by the people. Ladies and gentlemen, I thank you.
As for the Farmer’s Alliance spoken of by Lease, here is a link to the Proceedings of the Farmers and Laborers Union of America, at St. Louis, Mo., December 3-7, 1889. Where would America be today had these people and others like them never come together? [END] Permalink: Wall Street Owns the Country
In 1996, a horrible shooting took place at Australia’s Port Arthur Historical Site, located near Hobart in Tasmania. The crime, which took some thirty-five lives, was pinned on a twenty-eight year-old man named Martin Bryant. As of early 2009, Mr. Bryant, who pled “not guilty” almost thirty times before being pressured to change his plea and forfeit his right to a trial, continues to sit in jail as a result.
Not all who have investigated the massacre agree with the perception that Bryant was the gunman. At the 2001 convening of the Inverell Forum, an Australian forum for information and viewpoints suppressed by the mainstream media, Port Arthur shooting survivor Wendy Scurr presented information concerning the shooting and contested the official line.
The presentation was filmed and above is a recording of Wendy’s speech and question and answer session with an introduction and moderation by Master of Ceremonies Dennis Stevenson. The official Forum summary of the event is located here and my summary follows. For those familiar with my 2007 presentation of suppressed information related to the 1999 Columbine High School shooting, the topic may be somewhat familiar. Thanks to YouTube user mashj50 for having kept this video available.
As a tour guide and medical attendant at Tasmania’s Port Arthur Historical Site, Wendy Scurr witnessed the devastation of the 1996 massacre there firsthand and suffered extremely severe stress as a result. It was her take that justice was blocked in the case and that many of those most directly affected by the attack were ignored and shunned by the government agencies charged with overseeing the recovery. As of 2001, there had yet to be performed a Coronial Inquiry into the crime and few, if any, survivors received aid or compensation.
Wendy Scurr’s Morning
Between 11:00 and 11:30, Wendy was on a ferry, giving tours. Between 12:00 and 1:00, she took a group to the “Isle of the Dead”, a convict burial ground. At about 1:10, she noticed a young man with blond hair staring at her near the on-site Broad Arrow Cafe. She nodded to him, and he replied. At 1:20, she got some food and took it with her as she walked to the information center, located in a separate building.
Sounds of a Shooting
A few minutes later, Wendy heard bangs. Something flew past her head and she thought there might be a brawl in the cafe. Someone came running out quickly and told her to run and that people were being shot. Wendy ran back into the information center with the thought of phoning the police and did so. The time was now 1:32 PM and other staff began phoning other areas of the site to tell them what was going on and not to let any more cars in.
Outside the Cafe
Wendy led the other staff toward some bushes, dove in and laid flat. On the way there, the group was shot at. When the shooting ceased, they went toward the cafe to inspect the damages and encountered dead and injured people. They were told that the vehicle the gunman had used was still on-scene and they told the survivors to hide in the bushes.
Inside the Cafe
Wendy’s companions knew several employees who worked inside the cafe and gift shop where the shooting had occurred and the three decided to go in and look for them. When they opened the door to the cafe, Wendy saw blood, bodies and body parts everywhere, including on the walls and ceiling. The two girls they were looking for in the gift shop had been killed. There was a back exit near where they were located; five others had been killed in its vicinity but since the door was broken, none of them had been able to escape that way. Since part of Wendy’s job at the site was first aid duties, she decided to help any survivors she found in the cafe.
Cafe Survivor Graham Collier
Wendy first encountered Graham Collier, who had been shot in the neck and was choking on his blood. She couldn’t do much for him but instructed a Victorian policeman, Dennis Gaberdy (sp.), to scoop the blood out of his mouth. Graham survived, partly due to the help of a Victorian nurse named Lin, and partly by playing dead so that the gunman passed by shooting him again, but his injuries caused enduring pain and paralysis.
Cafe Survivor Caroline Walton
Caroline Walton was a traveling companion of Graham’s and was shot from the front straight through her left shoulder blade. She was making a lot of noise due to fear so Wendy instructed to keep quiet lest the gunman return to kill anyone who’d survived. Her fifteen year-old daughter, Sara, had been killed by a head shot in another part of the room. A man came to help stem Caroline’s bleeding and Wendy pressed on.
Cafe Survivor Rob Elliott
Rob Elliott had attempted to jump the gunman and was shot in the back of the head. This caused a serious injury which was causing him a lot of pain. His wife was with him and had succeeded at keeping the bleeding under control.
Phoning the Ambulance
At around 2:00, Wendy proceeded to the phone in the middle of the cafe to call for ambulances. She told the dispatcher that she could see at least a dozen dead from where she was standing and requested ambulances, helicopters and police. The ambulances soon arrived from Hobart and Wendy learned of dead in other areas of the site. By 3:30, the thoroughly traumatized people on-site had mostly come out of hiding and were asking questions about what had happened. However, the gunman had not yet been found, nor had police arrived to secure the scene. A policeman did arrive at 4:30 but he was unarmed and was only collecting names.
Wendy and other staff took some of the next of kin to a nearby cottage to begin recovering from the attack. This did not include the management-level staff of the site who had been sent off to the east coast at 11:00 that morning for a special overnight function. According to Wendy’s supervisor, Robin Cooper, this was the first such function in eighteen years. As evening set in, only a handful of policemen were yet on-site and those who were were performing only preliminary duties. Meanwhile, the television news was reporting that the Port Arthur gunman had been surrounded by law enforcement agents in a cottage north of the site. Inexplicably, at around 6:30, three shots were heard near an administration building where several staff were having a break on the patio. No official explanation for these shots was given.
At 7:30, six hours after they had been called, police finally arrived to secure the site, and they did so in a swarm. According to Wendy, “Trauma Counselors” with “no compassion” entered the place where she and the others were recovering and treated them “like children”. The authorities expressed no interest in taking Wendy’s statements about what she had seen in the cafe, one of the main sites of the killing.
Wendy contested the official ninety second to two minute duration of the shooting as being too short and also stated she did not believe the authorities’ claims that twenty-nine bullets killed twenty and injured twelve, a 110% accuracy rate. She also stated that since the official “lone nut” gunman, Martin Bryant, reportedly had an IQ of 66 and a mental age of 11, it was her belief that he could not have carried out the shooting as it is alleged to have transpired. She said that although the surviving staff were largely kept separated from each other after the funerals, Salvation Army staff who intervened to bring them together were very helpful. Like many of the witnesses, Wendy was thoroughly scarred by what she saw and even contemplated suicide as a result. Although Wendy said she feared that those upholding the official story would attempt to disparage her credibility due to the distress she experienced, she assured the audience that she was very sane and furthermore, that she had no political interests which would be motivating her to have called the official story into question. Wendy spoke wonderfully clearly about her awful experiences and should be honored for her courage in doing so when most would have kept silent. [END] Permalink: Port Arthur Massacre: Wendy Scurr at the 2001 Inverell Forum