Wednesday, November 25, 2009

End the Fed Speech

On Sunday, November 22, I participated in an End the Fed rally in Philadelphia. It was organized by the Truth, Freedom and Prosperity movement. We marched with a police escort from Independence Hall to the Federal Reserve building, and then to the Independence Visitor Center a few blocks away, where there was an indoor event at which I, along with Jake Towne, Dr. Liberty, Larken Rose, and Jacob Hornberger gave speeches. It was a fun event. I wish there were more people there (maybe some 200 people attended), but it's still great that things like this even exist. It's refreshing to find so many people in one place who are actually champions of liberty and limited government. It's such a change of pace from the norm. I am grateful for the chance to attend, and for everyone else who attended.

As the event was breaking up, a young man approached me and asked me if I had a transcript of the speech. I told him I'd post it online when I got the chance. What I said while at the podium is pretty much exactly what I have written down (plus minimal ad libbing), and so is testament to my not being used to writing and reading speeches. But, in any case, here it is:

Recently I had the chance to ask an economics teacher about why we need the Fed. He told me it wasn’t a good thing, but was "absolutely necessary", and the banks needs a lot more oversight. He says we need the Fed to oversee the banks. So then I asked, who oversees the Fed? I guess you know how he responded to that one. No one. I thought....well isn’t that nice. I’m sure whoever is running that show is a great bunch of guys looking out for my best interests.

No mention of the fact that our fractional reserve banking system is one big web of corruption as it stands.

If you ask me, this whole issue is about the power and the purpose of government. The same government that can’t keep crime off the streets or drugs out of its prisons, can’t educate our children, can’t keep our roads paved...the government that has torpedoed the housing market and the medical industry, the government that can’t balance a budget or even protect our basic going to somehow undertake the Herculean task of managing our national economy? You mean they’re going to spend money in such a precise way so as to create prosperity for millions of people? I’m not an economist, but I understand that spending money in and of itself does not somehow create prosperity. And given the track record of government in so many arenas, I find these arguments laughable. And all we’re going to have to show for all this is a guaranteed lowered standard of living for all Americans for generations to come through a monstrous debt.

A little over a week ago, our the national debt clock topped 12 trillion dollars. It’s so easy to say that with a straight face, as many people do, without really understanding how much it is. If you started repaying a debt at the rate of one dollar per second, it would take a little over sixteen minutes to pay a thousand dollars. It would take about eleven and a half days to pay a million.

But the numbers aside, I can’t believe there are actually people out there who think it’s a good thing that the government has access to an unlimited supply of credit. I don’t care what kind of up-side there might be; any American patriot knows that giving the government that kind of power is a terrible idea. If you’re new to this movement and you’re watching this on YouTube or hearing this message for the first time, believe me, the Federal Reserve affects you. Individually.

If there is any issue that transcends all party politics and impacts every one of us, this is it. Because unless you’re a Wall Street Banker or you were well-connected enough to get any of that bailout money firsthand, then, brother, you’re getting hosed. This should be the number one issue on everyone’s list, because the Federal Reserve is the ultimate source of power for the government. Who needs any kind of financial discipline when they have an infinite supply of credit? And the people handing it out aren’t the ones paying it back. It’s you, me, and our children. And their children.

It is the Federal Reserve that has enabled the government to fund all the agencies (of which there are literally hundreds) that regulate every aspect our daily lives.

It is the Federal Reserve that has allowed the government to steal our wealth by robbing the dollar of over 95% of its purchasing power since 1913. Just think, every time you see those hundred dollar bills rolling out on the evening news, it’s like they’re laughing at you. If you or I tried that, we would be thrown in prison.

It is the Federal Reserve that has allowed our government to wage wars for political purposes, to send money overseas in foreign aid, and to create a permanent underclass of people who depend on the state for their basic needs.

The only thing making all this possible is the Fed with its fiat money. No citizens of a free country would ever put up with the kind of direct taxes necessary to finance these kinds of activities. No, the money has to be extracted from us indirectly. And with a currency backed by nothing but politics, they can do exactly that. But it can’t last forever, and it’s bound to collapse sooner or later. There’s got to be some kind of check. And if that check isn’t us, I worry about what that might be. But slowly people are starting to catch on. The only defense against the tyranny of government is our education. And our guns, of course. And that’s what makes events like this so great. It shows that we’re out here, we’re paying attention. We have the chance to fix this.

Do everyone a favor and talk about money. Ask people What is it? Where does it come from? What gives it its value? Educate one another. Point out to people that our money is tied directly to the government. Without the government artificially setting the value of what we know as money, it would be truly be worthless. All the paper we have is just that. And so, to that extent, we’re all living in poverty. It’s a staggering fact—a great system of control, and it’s happening right out in the open. And if we’re ever going to be able to claim we live in a free country, it’s got to be stopped, and sound currency-commodity currency-needs to be restored.

Think about what would happen with sound money. You’d have your property back. Your wealth would be yours, it would retain its value. It couldn’t be stolen by any politician, and, hopefully, you’d never turn it over to Uncle Sam because of some unconstitutional executive order. You’d be more free than you are now by an order of magnitude. Such freedom is hard to imagine because our generation has never known it.

Remember what I said earlier: the Federal Reserve answers to no one. Our own members of Congress (the highest lawmakers of the land with all their powers to tax and spend and wage war) not even they know what’s going on with the Fed’s books. A good first step is with Ron Paul’s Federal Reserve Transparency Act of 2009, HR 1207. It will throw back the curtains on the operations of the Fed- where the money goes, who gets what, how much there is, etc. Far from being the typical Washington bill, it’s only three pages long. And I have a feeling that once that ball starts rolling, it’s going to set off a deluge of information that We The People will find very interesting.

If you’re like me, when you say End the Fed, you mean End the Fed. An audit’s nice, and it’s a good first step, but I want to see the Fed abolished. And by abolished, I mean demolished. I want to see the D.C. temple torn down. I personally want to operate the wrecking ball that reduces it to rubble. And then we can hand out the pieces as souvenirs, like they did with the Berlin Wall twenty years ago this month, so we can tell stories to our grandchildren about something that was once called "The Fed". "Oh yeah, it was this independent institution that used to print money."

How much money? A lot of money. It took eleven and a half days to count out a million seconds. Twelve trillion would take over 380,000 years.

As you may have gathered, I am a person of great pessimism, but about this, I remain optimistic. As long as we stay vigilant and stay angry, I think this thing will spread and we’ll be in good shape. In 1913 we opened Pandora’s box by creating the Fed, and have since been struggling with all its ill effects: rising prices, war, poverty, loss of independence, loss of freedom, higher taxes, imperialism, and an unbelievable growth of the state. The situation seems dire. But still, in spite of all that, after all was said and done, after all the evils were unleashed from Pandora’s box, do you remember what was lying at the bottom?


Abuse of Language

A few months ago, I was visiting Project Vote Smart. If you’ve never been there, I suggest taking a look and bookmarking it. It lists candidates for state and federal elections, along with their issue positions and their voting and financial records. It’s an excellent website for non-partisan information on candidates for office.

A few months ago, there was a banner on the site that read, “Save Democracy from Politics.” I contacted them to point out that the banner should probably say, “Save the Republic from Politics”, since a republic and a democracy are not the same thing, and we’re supposedly living in the former.

Democracy used to mean rule by the majority, where anything could be made law so long as enough people (or enough representatives) approved of it. Democracy used to mean a government of men, not of laws. In a democracy, the only rights people had were the rights the majority hadn’t taken away. It was more about power, privilege and control than freedom and lawful equality.

Contrast that with a republic, where the role of government was to serve, not rule. A republic used to mean a government of laws, not men. In a republic, people had rights that were impervious to the will of the many. Power was deliberately checked and diffuse, and the law applied to all men.

Several weeks after contacting PVS, I received an email reply about my comment. It faintly admonished me that over the years, the President, members of Congress, newscasters, librarians, etc., have all begun to use the two words interchangeably. The dictionaries have been changed. These days, therefore, both words now refer to any system of government where people elect representatives. Isn’t that nice?

A hundred years ago, I doubt that anybody would ever make such an absurd statement. It bothers me that the meaning of words can change because enough politicians misuse them. But I don’t care about the semantics so much as about how now there’s a vacuum in our language. There used to be two words with different meanings. Now they both mean the same thing, and not what either of them used to mean.

Is it by mere coincidence that our actual system of government has degenerated into more of a democracy than a republic over the last few generations? There doesn’t seem to be any limit to what our government can do. Our law books are a blizzard of mandates and restrictions on every sort of human activity- and all because enough people gave enough bureaucrats enough power.

No, I don’t think it’s a coincidence. It’s a testament to the insidious power of the manipulation of language, information, and the way people think. It is an almost imperceptible indication that something’s not right in the United States. In Politics and the English Language, Orwell wrote:

" is clear that the decline of a language must ultimately have political and economic causes: it is not due simply to the bad influence of this or that individual writer. But an effect can become a cause, reinforcing the original cause and producing the same effect in an intensified form, and so on indefinitely. A man may take to drink because he feels himself to be a failure, and then fail all the more completely because he drinks. It is rather the same thing that is happening to the English language. It becomes ugly and inaccurate because our thoughts are foolish, but the slovenliness of our language makes it easier for us to have foolish thoughts."


In Defense of Ron Paul

It has been said that Ron Paul is crazy, a racist, and a truther. First of all, I don't believe the first two to be true, and I have suspicions about the latter. But for the sake of argument, assume all three are true. So what? His opinions don’t affect you if they don’t affect his behavior in office. How Dr. Paul is esteemed personally should be of far less concern than how he does his job. In that regard, he has established himself as a champion of the Constitution and limited government. He took the oath of office, and he sticks to it. What more should you really care about?

I know of no other member of Congress who opposes new unconstitutional federal programs and wants to see the existing ones abolished. I doubt you can say the same of your own representative. I know I can’t. I figure that even if I had a robot as a representative that was programmed to vote No on every bill that came up, I would be far better off than I am now in terms of having a representative who obeyed the Constitution. And even if Ron Paul were on some conspiracy theorist adventure, how could that possibly be any more costly to us than the lawless crusades on which our current representatives regularly take us now?

Unless you’ve been brainwashed into parroting the platform of your political party, you will probably never agree 100% with any politician. Whatever difference of opinion one might have with a politician should take a back seat to how that politician conducts himself in office. Anybody who claims to want freedom and limited constitutional government should be supporting Ron Paul because of his dedication to liberty, rather than dismissing him because of (what might not even be) his personal opinions.

Lest I be misunderstood, I will point out that I'm not defending racism, trutherism, or anything in particular the man has ever said; I'm defending what he's done. I try to see politicians as more of a collection of Yes and No votes than personalities in mere popularity contests. While this is impossible when a person is running for office for the first time, Dr. Paul is well established in this regard. Look at the substance, not the style.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The Upside Down Flag

I've been getting some questions about the upside down flag as of recent. I used it in an ad for this campaign site and I have one showing on my computer at work. When people ask about it, they're sometimes upset. They think I'm trying to be offensive, and my patriotism gets called into question. I probably shouldn't be surprised at the fact that many people don't know what it means; many people don't know the cops can't legally search your car without your permission or a warrant, either.

If you don't know, flying the flag upside down is a signal of distress. When I explain that, people go from thinking I'm a anti-American to thinking I'm just being dramatic. I respectfully disagree. I truly do believe America is in a state of emergency, and has been so long before the Obama administration. People don't know their rights. The government pretty much owns GM, and is making yet more inroads on the entire practice of medicine. We're using fiat currency. Our Constitution has been disregarded for many decades. We're bailing out banks. We expect to be taken care of by the government. "Emergency" is an understatement.

I use the upside down flag for three reasons: One, it gets people's attention regardless of whether they know what it means. Two, if they don't know what it means, it gives me the opportunity to teach them. And three, considering the meaning, it's an excellent symbol of my beliefs.

I started using the upside down flag when I happened across an excellent series of videos on the Constitution by Michael Badnarik. The videos are an eight hour course he goes around the country teaching, and it's available on Youtube in 43 parts (he explains the meaning of the upside down flag about two minutes into the first video). I cannot recommend this series of videos enough. It is a treasure trove of information on the Constitution, history, rights, and the state, almost none of which I remember from high school. It should be the cornerstone of every American history/civics course- something all Americans need to watch and understand.

Monday, November 9, 2009

An open letter to the members of Congress

Recently on CSPAN, I watched you tell the world that the projected cost of the Affordable Health Care for America Act will be, after ten years, better than free. You said it will actually save us $100 billion and give everyone in the nation affordable health care. I’m not concerned with what kind of analysis was used to arrive at these conclusions. If you can cite a statistic from a government office and call it proof, I can just as easily point out the discrepancy between the projected cost and the staggering actual cost of Medicare and Social Security (which, even by optimistic forecasts, will drag us all into economic ruin) as being proof that the federal government’s further involvement in the medical industry is, to put it lightly, a terrible mistake.

I have some predictions. In ten years, the H.R. 3962 for which some people cheered in 2009 will be but a memory, having since mutated into even more of a hulking legislative mass. It will do this because it will need to be amended to fix things that weren’t taken into account when the bill was written. It will need to be amended because it will have to clamp down on problems that it created, the likes of which no one could predict. Even if one now assumes the Affordable Health Care for America Act is the holy grail of legislative perfection, it will certainly not be ten years before powerful lawmakers of a different stripe have it at their disposal. By 2030, this bill will be unrecognizable. Ultimately, there will be a call for more government. And members of Congress, whose failed policies of the past hundred years have caused the problems in the first place, will once again fall over themselves rushing to the rescue.

The advertised solutions will be to either put up with things being as bad as they are (“doing nothing”), or to fix the situation by passing more “sweeping reform” from sea to shining sea. Those will be the only options. Again, the idea of getting the government out of the medical industry altogether won’t even be up for discussion. Why? For the same reasons it’s not up for discussion now–because decades of slowly getting everybody used to depending on the government have fundamentally altered the way Americans think and behave. Who knows how many people will be on the federal dole in ten or twenty years? Even now, people have grown used to the idea that it’s not only proper for Washington to take care of us, but necessary. They beg politicians to save them with their power to use force on other people. Disregard the fact that the federal government has produced nothing but bloated wasteful bureaucracies whose hidden (as well as up-front) costs borne by all Americans have been incalculable. We’ve learned to accept that this is how it always just…was. There is no other choice. Right?

In twenty years, the people might not remember the names of the representatives who voted for the original juggernaut medical mandate (President Obama will likely bear that blame), but they will certainly feel the effects of its handiwork. No one can say for certain what these effects will be, which is precisely the point. It is for this very reason that no such attempt should be made to draft legislation the likes of the Affordable Health Care for America Act (it even sounds un-American). It will fly out of your control just as the federal government has flown out of the control of the states that created it.

Let me put it this way: to fulfill its purpose in making our lives change for the better, the 1990 pages of H.R. 3962 will have to be almost perfect as they stand. The bill must somehow be crafted so as to be almost immune to future attempts to modify, misinterpret, or otherwise override it. It will need to be unique, the first of its kind, and adhered to without compromise. In short, this bill will have to mean to healthcare what the United States Constitution meant to American government in the late eighteenth century–and even then, there are no guarantees it will remain what it is.

After all, look at what has happened to our Constitution. The document, so ironclad and specific in purpose, still manages to be disregarded and twisted into justifying whatever any politician wishes, including the very government actions it was clearly designed to guard against. That the Constitution is a document which the members of Congress have taken an oath to uphold (often many times) makes the reality all the more alarming. Once the decision is made to step over the boundaries of law, those boundaries no longer exist.

I believe you are intelligent and well-meaning men and women, but I reject your terrible ideas even if they’re proposed with the best of intentions. Americans will take no consolation in the fact that their representatives merely meant well when they passed the bill that brought the medical industry further into ruin. Surely we’ve both been witnessing the same version of American history. Surely you’ve seen what happens when powerful legislation falls “into the wrong hands.” And surely you know that you won’t be in Congress forever, nor will the rest of your colleagues who crafted this bill. So my question is this: if it becomes law, when the Affordable Health Care for America Act does fail to achieve its stated objective, when it does fail to control costs, and when it does turn into just another plaything for future politicians to use to get re-elected, how will you, knowing that it was brought into existence with the help of your vote, make it up to the American people?

Sincerely In Liberty,
William Kern

Sunday, November 8, 2009

The Health Care Bill

Last night, the House passed H.R. 3962, the Affordable Health Care for America Act. When I saw the vote, I was astonished. Among the 220 representatives who voted for it, I wondered if there was even one who, as the announcement of the bill’s passage came, thought, “What have I done?”

All over the news, the bill is being hailed as a victory for the president and the Democrats in Congress. A victory for them, perhaps. But it is a crushing blow to the nation as a whole. Now, in addition to holding you hostage with threats of unfunded retirement, terrorism, food poisoning, plane crashes, lack of shelter, unemployment, education, etc., you’re going to be held hostage with health insurance. This bill is yet another nail in the coffin of limited government, and anyone who believes it will deliver on its promises is either too young to know better, already dependent on the government for his basic necessities, or unwilling to come to terms with the an axiom that history has shown us time and time again: government programs don’t work.

I, as a candidate for Congress, have had to ask myself if this is really the purpose of government. Does this bill really fit the description of “governance”? Is this why our government was instituted? Is this really the outcome of the great American experiment? Would the Founding generation approve of this behavior from the federal government? Can we save the world with politics and legislation? Is it really that simple? On all counts, no. For if this is what American government was designed to do, we would not have needed a Constitution or a division of power. A ruling aristocracy would have done just fine.

While I appreciate most House Republicans who voted against the bill, I am unappreciative of the fact that they had their own plan waiting in the wings. They deserve credit for trying to stop the Democrat plan, but it needs to be recognized that many of them were ready to vote for their own particular version as an alternative. That is not what I want. I don’t want a federal bill at all. I want to see federal legislation in the medical industry repealed. It is hypocritical of anyone to vote against a bill on the grounds of limited government, only to turn around and present a bill of his own.

It is my hope that any Congressman who voted in favor of H.R. 3962 has committed political suicide by doing so. I see "Repeal Pelosicare!" as being a powerful plank in next year’s midterm elections. They’ve handed us a 1990-page manifesto of their own incompetence, and are unfit to be federal lawmakers. How much more clear can they make it?

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Term Limits

I hear a lot about term limits. People of all stripes are vehement about the subject whenever it comes up. I know of a few organizations that won't endorse a candidate unless she signs an oath swearing to introduce term limit legislation in whatever office she's running for. It's a very attractive idea, and I'm not necessarily opposed to it. I understand what it's like to have an incumbent virtually own the rights to a seat. My own representative, Rob Andrews (D-NJ), is in his tenth consecutive term.

For anyone who doesn't know: in 2008, Mr. Andrews ran for the Senate primary and vowed not to seek re-election in the House if he lost. Meanwhile, just in case, he put his wife up for the primary as a placeholder for his House seat. When Andrews was beaten by the then-four-term incumbent Senator Frank Lautenberg in the Senate primary, his wife miraculously withdrew her candidacy and he took her place. Welcome to the world of politics.

It’s easy to see how that kind of thing could drive people to put their foot down about term limits. But those who champion that cause have to realize that it is a double-edged sword. After all, Jim DeMint is in his 10th term, and Ron Paul is in his 11th. These are the kinds of men you want to get in office and stay in.

It has also been said that we do, in fact, have term limits; they're called "elections". I don't know if that's a very fair assessment, though. Chances of re-election are extremely slanted in favor of incumbents: they have the name recognition and other government resources at their disposal. So long as they don't step on too many of the wrong toes, re-election isn't really that big of an issue. House re-election percentages have averaged in the low 90s for a few decades now. What's that tell you?

Imposing hard term limits sounds like a good idea, and may well be in the short run, but it's definitely not a permanent answer to all of our problems. A better solution would be to hold our elected officials accountable for their actions, and to demand from them a government that is truly dedicated to protecting freedom. If our officials upheld their oath of office and actually did their job, rotating seats in government wouldn't seem like such a high priority. Until that happens, though, we'll be stuck with trying to cure a symptom of a problem that needs our real attention: the election of big government candidates to office. That’s where our reform efforts should be directed.