Bully Meets Professional Bully

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Posted on 17th April 2014 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

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Guest Post by Monty Pelerin

What happens when the biggest bully around gets confronted by someone who refuses to be bullied? Usually the bully backs down and avoids a confrontation. But what happens if the one doing the confrontation is himself a bully? What happens if he won’t allow the other to back down?

The answer to that question is playing out between Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin. Obama is the first bully and Putin the second bully. Ukraine provides the convenient vehicle for Putin to ridicule and embarrass a man Putin considers all form and no substance.

Vladimir Putin is hardly a perfect man. There is little to like about him. His history and his methods are those of the old Soviet Union. He competed, survived and thrived in the rough and tumble world of the KGB. He was tested and hardened by that process. He understands the cost of being wrong. He is tough and a no-nonsense guy who believes the Soviet Union should rise again. He achieved and won in competitive environments most of us probably don’t want to imagine. He is a man of substance even though his methods or achievements may not be pleasant.

Barack Obama is also imperfect. He is everything that Putin is not. He has never been tested. His life has been soft and pampered. His position was not achieved via accomplishment or ability, unless you associate fooling a majority of Mencken’s booboise with ability. Obama lacks substance, qualifications and experience. He is weak. And he is arrogant.

Weakness combined with arrogance is a dangerous combination. To a man like Putin, the former is to be exploited. The latter, when not backed up with abilities, only increases animosity.

The two men are polar opposites. Obama represents everything that Putin detests. Personal relations between the two men are non-existent, which is apparent in joint appearances. Putin resents having to deal with what he considers a weak, overbearing phony.

No one doubts who would win in a martial arts contest between the two men. That is not going to happen, but that doesn’t mean that Putin will not find other ways to humiliate, perhaps destroy, his opponent.

Obama is the bully who was called out. He wants to leave the scene, but Putin is a bigger bully who wants to publicly dismantle him. The boy who pretends to be tough has met the man who really is tough. The professional bully is out to expose the pretender. Putin is unwilling to let Obama retreat.

Richard Fernandez describes the situation:

Obama has been yelling ‘stop! stop!’ and still Putin is twisting his arm. The president made yet another plea to Putin according to Carol Lee in the Wall Street Journal: “White House Tells Kremlin Diplomacy Is Still an Option Despite Escalation”. Putin is making Obama crawl to lick his boots.

Mr. Fernandez doesn’t use the bully analogy. He believes the contest is one between a narcissist and a sadist:

One reason why Putin has made a special effort to humiliate the president is that his profilers may have pegged Obama as suffering from narcissistic personality disorder. Putin the secret policeman must be thinking: how do you get a narcissist to melt down? Answer: by personally and publicly shaming him, thereby provoking a narcissistic rage.

That rage can take either of two forms: a reckless act or a withdrawal into a fantasy in which the narcissist remains invincible in some universe of his own.

The narcissistic disorder that seems to plague Obama has been speculated about openly. Putin has access to experts and strategists that mere laymen do not. Doesn’t he have geopolitical and personal motives to exploit what he considers a weak and undeserving leader, especially one who foolishly pretends to be superior to all others?

Regardless of what happens in Ukraine, it is a sideshow to the personal interplay between these two men. Obama is in this game, whether he wants to be or not. He is the hunted and not the hunter. Putin is unlikely to stop before he gets what he wants. At the moment that seems to be the complete humiliation of Barack Obama.

In one sense Americans should be grateful for Putin. He is providing a public service to the majority that elected our mountebank. He is revealing the empty suit that sits in the White House. He is doing the job that the media should have done six years ago.

On the other hand, games played by at least one sociopath (the jury is still out on Putin) can easily spin out of control. When Obama says “Uncle” and Putin refuses to acknowledge his surrender, what then happens? Does Obama give away strategic assets or fly into a rage? Our man-child does not appear stable. Putin seems to know that.

This personality clash will not end well. In terms of the two players, the US is at a distinct disadvantage.

WELCOME TO TERMINUS

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Posted on 6th April 2014 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

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“Life improves slowly and goes wrong fast, and only catastrophe is clearly visible.” Edward Teller

I was a late arrival to the Walking Dead television program. I don’t watch much of the mindless drivel passing for entertainment on the 600 worthless channels available 24/7 on cable TV. I assumed it was another superficial zombie horror show on par with the teenage vampire crap polluting the airwaves. Last year a friend told me I had to watch the show. I was hooked immediately and after some marathon watching of seasons one and two, I understood the various storylines and back stories. What the show doesn’t openly reveal is the deeper meanings, symbolism, and lessons we can learn from viewing human beings trying to survive in a post-apocalyptic world. In my opinion, the horror and gore is secondary to the human responses to horrific circumstances and the consequences of individual and group decisions to their survival.

As the end of season four approached, the disbursed characters were descending upon a place called Terminus. They were drawn by the intriguing and hopeful signs posted at various railroad junctions promising sanctuary, community and survival. Of course the name Terminus does not sound very inviting or hopeful. There are multiple possible meanings regarding Terminus. The Roman god Terminus protected boundary markers and sacrifices were performed to sanctify each boundary stone. The bones, ashes, and blood of a sacrificial victim, along with crops, honeycombs, and wine, were placed into a hole at a point where estates converged, and the stone was driven in on top. Maintaining boundaries and sacrifice are major themes throughout the series.

The show is set in the metropolitan Atlanta area of Georgia and the surrounding countryside. It just so happens that during the 1830s Terminus was the name of a settlement at the end of the Western and Atlantic railroad line. That settlement is now Atlanta. Terminus is also the title of the final poem ever composed by Ralph Waldo Emerson. The poem focuses on a conversation between the author and the god Terminus, discussing the author’s forthcoming death. The message of the poem is to resist fear and prepare for death. The destination is worth the journey.   

“As the bird trims her to the gale,

I trim myself to the storm of time,

I man the rudder, reef the sail,

Obey the voice at eve obeyed at prime:

“Lowly faithful, banish fear,

Right onward drive unharmed;

The port, well worth the cruise, is near,

And every wave is charmed.”

We are only given a short time on this earth and the end of the line will be the same for everyone. What matters is how we conduct ourselves during our own journey towards our personal Terminus. Have we served as a virtuous example for our children, sacrificed for others, and benefited humanity or have we displayed greed, avarice and selfishness during our trek through life? As we approach our own meeting with destiny, the actions and morality of individuals will matter. I don’t know the motivations of the writers creating the themes for the Walking Dead, but the show connects with me on a number of levels. I look around and see hordes of zombies everywhere.

Zombification of America

“The real hopeless victims of mental illness are to be found among those who appear to be most normal. Many of them are normal because they are so well adjusted to our mode of existence, because their human voice has been silenced so early in their lives that they do not even struggle or suffer or develop symptoms as the neurotic does. They are normal not in what may be called the absolute sense of the word; they are normal only in relation to a profoundly abnormal society. Their perfect adjustment to that abnormal society is a measure of their mental sickness. These millions of abnormally normal people, living without fuss in a society to which, if they were fully human beings, they ought not to be adjusted.” – Aldous Huxley – Brave New World Revisited

The vast majority of the population in the post-apocalyptic world of the Walking Dead is mindless zombies driven by only their need to feed upon human flesh. They are infected with a disease that disables the cognitive portion of their brains and leaves them as slobbering predatory zombies seeking to satisfy their vile needs. They are referred to as “walkers” or “biters” as they aimlessly roam the countryside seeking human flesh. Everyone bitten or killed by a zombie is infected and turned into a zombie. The only way to stop them is by destroying their brain. The relentless violence and gore is not for the squeamish, but is probably a realistic portrayal of the brutishness and harsh conditions that will overwhelm this country once the electrical grid goes down, fuel becomes scarce and the global supply chain fails. Our just in time society is about one week from chaos, lawlessness, starvation and death on a grand scale.

As I watch the hordes of hideous brain dead zombies shuffling across the apocalyptic landscape seeking to satiate their basest cravings I can’t help but see the parallels with the millions of mindless tattooed obese slobs waddling across mall parking lots past vacant store fronts staring zombielike at their iGadgets as they seek to satisfy their basest desires at Macy’s and Chipotle. A virus has overspread our country causing a vast swath of the population to gratuitously assuage their every want without thinking of the consequences. The sickness is caused by being imprisoned for twelve years in government run public schools, watching thousands of hours of propaganda emitted by the corporate media, viewing hundreds of brain cell destroying reality TV shows, reading and sending thousands of texts and tweets, and being overwhelmed by the delusional belief spending more than they make, saving nothing, and piling up mountains of debt is the path to success in our contaminated society.

In the show there is no clear explanation as to why the majority of the population have been infected and turned into zombies, while a tiny minority is unaffected and able to think critically and act rationally. It is revealed that all living people are infected with the zombie virus, but it remains dormant in a minority of the survivors. Death by any means triggers the virus and turns the corpse into a mindless flesh eating zombie. There are 318 million Americans and a majority of them fall into the category of zombies in my estimation. Every American has the zombie virus within them. It has been incubated by corrupt vote seeking politicians, control hungry government sociopaths, mind numbingly worthless public education, and the relentless dumbing down through corporate media propaganda and vacuous reality TV entertainment. Once cogent thinking aware citizens have been zombiefied into mindless impulsive consumers.

How can you not see the parallels between American society and the zombies in the Walking Dead? Walk down any city street in America and you see hordes shuffling along staring with blank faces and glazed over eyes at their iGadgets. Black Friday is identical to flinging a freshly slaughtered hog in front of the flesh eating zombies. Americans flock to malls across our apocalyptic suburban sprawl landscape and proceed to stampede, gouge, and punch their way to a fantastic bargain on a Chinese slave labor produced microwave they must have to cook their toxic frankenfood created by one of our corporate food conglomerates. The Black Friday crowds actually make the zombies from the Walking Dead seem well behaved. While the American zombies are shambling through superficial lives of pleasure seeking, mass consumption, and a delusional faith in debt based wealth, there is still a minority of rational thinking people who can control their impulses and resist the disease devouring our culture.

 

“Our economy is based on spending billions to persuade people that happiness is buying things, and then insisting that the only way to have a viable economy is to make things for people to buy so they’ll have jobs and get enough money to buy things.” ― Philip Slater                  

Collapse Will Be Sudden

“That’s the thing about the collapse of civilization. It never happens according to plan – there’s no slavering horde of zombies. No actinic flash of thermonuclear war. No Earth-shuddering asteroid. The end comes in unforeseen ways; the stock market collapses, and then the banks, and then there is no food in the supermarkets, or the communications system goes down completely and inevitably, and previously amiable co-workers find themselves wrestling over the last remaining cookie that someone brought in before all the madness began.” ― Mark A. Rayner – The Fridgularity

What you note after watching a few episodes of the Walking Dead is that collapse happened suddenly. Cities, towns, houses and highways remained relatively intact. The decay and deterioration caused by neglect and abandonment are the only visible signs that modern civilization has ceased. The show highlights the life-threatening difficulty of enduring on a day to day basis without the certainty of shelter, food, water, and fuel. The average asleep American isn’t prepared to last one week without the basics of modern life. They haven’t stocked any food, water or fuel in case of an emergency. Their normalcy bias keeps them from even considering the high likelihood of even a natural disaster caused by a hurricane, snowstorm, or earthquake. Recent examples of most people’s complete helplessness were the snow and ice storms that struck this past winter and hurricanes Sandy and Katrina. Without power and access to food and water, modern society breaks down quickly, with chaos, looting and anarchy only days away.

It is unlikely that collapse of civilization as we know it will happen due to some extreme event such as nuclear war, super volcano, or asteroid. When our central banker masters of the universe trigger the next financial system collapse, with no monetary bullets of debasement left in their pop gun, the resulting chaos when ATMs stop spitting out $20 bills and EBT cards for 47 million people stop functioning at Wally World will be epic. We got a glimpse into the future this past October when the EBT system went down in several states for a few hours on a Saturday afternoon. Zombies began to ransack Wal-Mart stores attempting to steal as much as they could get away with. Chaos, anger and criminal behavior was virtually instantaneous. A vast swath of EBT dependent zombies live in our numerous urban ghettos and when the EBT system goes down permanently violence will quickly erupt. Police will be vastly out-numbered, hungry mobs will become armed gangs of violent looters burning down their ghettos, ransacking and plundering businesses, stores and homes, and stealing everything that isn’t nailed down. Visualize the L.A. riots after the Rodney King verdict in every urban area in the country.

The fragility of our debt financed oil dependent just in time global supply chain system is beyond the comprehension of the average zombie American. They are too distracted by mass consuming the products dependent on that very same fragile scheme. They are clueless zombie-like dupes who believe $20 bills magically appear in ATMs, Funyuns and Cheetos miraculously materialize on Wal-Mart shelves, gasoline endlessly bubbles up from the ground into the hose they stick in their $40,000 monster SUVs “bought” with a 0% seven year loan from Ally Financial, and that enchanted plastic card with a magnetic strip empowers them to fulfill every craving like a zombie feeding on a dead carcass.

There is a worldwide currency and petroleum war being waged today as too much fiat currency is chasing a dwindling amount of cheap petroleum supplies. The developed world has experienced a century of relative illusory prosperity as cheap easy to access fuel and cheap easy to print fiat currency have led zombies to believe progress and prosperity are their god given right. The most highly educated zombies will be the most shocked when they realize the reality they believed was all an illusion. The Starbucks “Triple, Venti, Half Sweet, Non-Fat, Caramel Macchiato” crowd who isolate themselves in their 100% financed 5,000 square foot luxury cookie cutter brick McMansions amidst 200 other identical McMansions occupied by reclusive strangers in enclaves pretentiously named The Preserve at Meadow Lakes, and driving multiple leased BMWs, are about as prepared for a collapse of modern society as a helpless child. The suburban wasteland of strip malls, office parks, and fast food joints is completely dependent upon an endless supply of cheap oil and cheap credit.

The cracks in this delusionary foundation are visible for all to see as Space Available signs outnumber actual businesses, pothole dotted highways deteriorate, sewer lines crack, and houses in disrepair outnumber those being kept up. It takes money to keep a home from deteriorating and it happens to be in short supply for 90% of the population. Despite the non-stop money printing operation at the Fed and the mainstream media fantasy stories of shale oil energy independence, the suburban dream is turning into a nightmare. When the inevitable financial implosion strikes in the next few years, the illusion of progress will come to an end. The inner cities will explode in violence and will burn. The police will be helpless and scared. There will be death on a large scale.

Suburbia will turn into a lawless landscape where neighbors turn on each other, as they have failed to create real communities. The isolation and seclusion which have marked suburban existence for the last thirty years will contribute to the creation of criminal gangs looting and pillaging stores, businesses and unprotected homes. After the collapse the only people likely to survive relatively unscathed are rural folk. Farmers, ranchers and those capable of living off the land have the abilities to endure a breakdown in our modern society. These people are prepared, know how to use firearms and create communities of self-sufficiency. No one will thrive in the world coming our way, but those not dependent upon or tied to our modern societal paradigm have a better chance to survive.      

“If people feel lost and alone and helpless and broken and hopeless today, what will it be like if the world really begins to come apart at the hinges?” Brandon Andress – And Then the End Will Come!

Individualism vs Community

“The values to which people cling most stubbornly under inappropriate conditions are those values that were previously the source of their greatest triumphs.” Jared Diamond – Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed

Our society has always glorified rugged individualism. We celebrate individual accomplishments and make heroes of those who have gone it alone and triumphed either in business, politics, sports, or the arts. Overcoming tremendous obstacles and going it alone in the face of adversity has been the narrative Americans admire and seek to emulate. Even the reality TV shows about preppers focus on individuals who plan on going it alone when civilization enters collapse mode. These rugged loners take pride in individualism, build bunkers, amass small arsenals and stockpile food and supplies. They will likely survive the initial onslaught of collapse and first wave of violence. But how long can an individual expect to survive alone in a Walking Dead environment? The traits which were appropriate and rewarded in modern society will be inappropriate and fatal in a post-modern society. A lesson from the show is clearly that a community of like-minded individuals working together has a better chance at long-term survival than a loner. Just make sure you join the right community.

With hordes of flesh eating automatons roaming the countryside it was essential for the living to form communities in order to fend off the zombies, protect each other, provide shelter, and forage for food. An individual alone had no chance at survival as falling asleep would ultimately prove fatal if a zombie stumbled upon your camp. The group led by Sheriff Rick Grimes eventually creates a community within the gates of an abandoned prison. The irony of seeing mindless throngs of soulless killers attempting to breakdown the fences to get “into” the prison is not lost on the audience. At first, the occupants of the prison would leave on foraging/pillaging missions to nearby cities and towns attempting to find food, medical supplies, gasoline and any other essential necessities of life. Eventually Hershel, the wise old man of the community, convinced Rick that cultivating the soil, sowing seeds and growing their own food was the only chance for their community to thrive over the long haul. Working with your hands is refreshing to the soul. Jesus’ Parable of the Sower immediately comes to mind.

Hearken; Behold, there went out a sower to sow: And it came to pass, as he sowed, some fell by the way side, and the birds of the air came and devoured it up. And some fell on stony ground, where it had not much earth; and immediately it sprang up, because it had no depth of earth: But when the sun was up, it was scorched; and because it had no root, it withered away. And some fell among thorns, the thorns grew up, and choked it, and it yielded no fruit. And other fell on good ground, did yield fruit that sprang up and increased; and brought forth, some thirty, and some sixty, some an hundred. He said unto them, He that has ears to hear, let him hear. Mark 4:3-9

Some communities are evil at their core and will commit malevolent atrocities. Some communities will appear ethical, but when hardship strikes they will fall back to their wicked ways. Communities of those addicted to riches and wealth will ignore the pleas of the downtrodden and wail and gnash their teeth when their worldly wealth evaporates.  A fruitful community that chooses decent honorable leaders, adopts a moral code, treats all members with respect, encourages hard work and accountability, and plans for the future, will reap the benefits of sustainability and stability. Cultivating a good community is difficult, requiring sacrifice, compromise, hard work, difficult choices, and depends upon the goodwill of all members. Rick tried to become a farmer, but Carol saw the future clearly telling him, “you can be a farmer, you can’t just be a farmer”. A peaceful happy ending was not to be.

The community of Woodbury, led by a despicably evil man referred to as the governor, gave outward appearances of stability and health. But it was ruled through fear, intimidation, vindictiveness and evil. Leaders like the governor arise during desperate times when the weak seek someone who promises to save them and keep them safe. Leaders like the governor are far more savage, ruthless and dangerous than the flesh eating zombie hordes because they kill with malicious intent, fully knowledgeable of the consequences of their actions. Eventually good communities led by good people must stand up and fight bad communities led by evil men, no matter the consequences. Under dire circumstances and an uncertain future we will need to decide what kind of community we will be. What kind of people we will be. Will we fight for a better future for our children? Can we retain our humanity or will we become no better than the walking dead?   

Brutal: Hershel awaits his fate at the hands of The Governor on last night's The Walking Dead

“What fascinates me is not so much humanity’s engulfment in darkness, but what kind of culture we will construct from the rubble of this one.” Carolyn Baker – Collapsing Consciously: Transformative Truths for Turbulent Times

Who Are the Real Walking Dead?

The central question permeating the Walking Dead is whether the living can maintain their humanity amidst so much horror, brutality, death, and desolation. Can the living continue to show compassion, kindness, mercy and love in a world torn apart by disarray, violence, viciousness and despair?  Throughout the series those who haven’t “turned” still have the capacity to empathize, comfort one another, offer succor, and show mercy and kindness. But after enduring unending horrors, cruelty, death and sorrow, it appears some of the characters are “turning” into the very monsters pursuing them.

Every human being has their breaking point. The main characters must commit increasingly heinous acts in order to survive. The walkers have no choice. Their humanity was stripped from them by the virus. The living have a choice. The mental anguish pushes some (Lizzy) over the edge into insanity. Others (Michonne and Carl) are torn by guilt that they have become monsters. Carol justifies her ruthlessness as the only choice for survival – just like the walkers. The seismic shift occurs when Rick, seeing his son being sexually assaulted, goes full zombie and bites the jugular of his captor and relentlessly stabs his son’s attacker. Daryl kills one of the bad guys by crushing his skull with his boot. Many of the characters have made a choice to shed their humanity in order to protect their family and friends. As the series completes its fourth season we are left with a question. Are the zombies really the “walking dead” or are the living really the “walking dead”?       

Life is complicated and those seeking simplicity and consistency will be terribly disappointed. The future is not going to be bright for our empire of debt and delusions. Times that will try men’s souls are on the horizon. The choices we make as individuals and communities will matter. Every human being has the capacity for good or evil. We will be alone in deciding whether we gravitate toward the dark side of our character or whether we make a stand for all that is noble and decent. Retaining our humanity during the trials and tribulations that await us will be crucial to creating a community that is sustainable and a future worth living and fighting for. It is clear that Terminus is not a true sanctuary for all. It permeates evil. As all of the “good” people are herded into a single boxcar I couldn’t help but see the parallels of the Nazis herding the Jews into boxcars for their final destination. Passive submission to an evil authority never ends well.

As the door is slammed shut and the protagonists are reunited, Rick declares “they’re gonna feel pretty stupid when they find out.” Abraham then asks “find out what?” Rick’s “they’re screwing with the wrong people” response confirms his transformation from an ambivalent reluctant leader into a powerful figure who will do anything necessary to protect his family, friends and community. This Fourth Turning has yet to reach its bloody, violent, chaotic zenith. The popularity of shows like the Walking Dead is a sign of the darkening mood change in this country. With our fragile fraudulent finance driven eco-system teetering on the edge, the threat of collapse is ever present. Within one week of a financial system collapse we would enter a Walking Dead like scenario. Each American who hasn’t already been infected with the zombie virus needs to prepare now and decide what kind of person they will become as the collapse engulfs our society. We all exit this world as we entered it – alone. But we have the wherewithal to positively impact the rebuilding of our culture from the rubble of this one. Are you ready to meet the deadly trials ahead? The choices we make over the next decade will determine if this is the end of the line for our civilization or a new beginning..       

“We live together, we act on, and react to, one another; but always and in all circumstances we are by ourselves. The martyrs go hand in hand into the arena; they are crucified alone. By its very nature every embodied spirit is doomed to suffer and enjoy in solitude. Sensations, feelings, insights, fancies—all these are private and, except through symbols and at second hand, incommunicable. We can pool information about experiences, but never the experiences themselves. From family to nation, every human group is a society of island universes.” Aldous Huxley – Doors of Perception

LIAR, LIAR

20 comments

Posted on 17th April 2014 by AWD in Economy

A new poll out showing 81% of the population thinks Obama is a liar.

Since it’s been proven, over, and over, on video, that he’s a blatant liar, what about the other 19%? Do they live in a cave, or are they just retarded?

How can you ever trust a liar? If you can’t believe the president, who can you believe? Once pathological lying takes hold, lawlessness isn’t far behind, and tyranny and fascism. Sound familiar?

A man’s word is his bond. A liar isn’t worth a pile of day-old dogshit…..

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Poll: Most Americans believe Obama lies on important issues

By Charles Hoskinson | APRIL 17, 2014 AT 10:53 AM

PolitiFact has chosen the most significant falsehood of the year: President Barack Obama’s repeated statement, “If you like your health care plan, you can keep it.”

How much do Americans trust President Obama? Not much, according to a Fox News poll.

Sixty-one percent of respondents in the poll released Thursday said Obama lies at least some of the time on important issues. An additional 20 percent said he lies every now and then.

Only 15 percent believe the president is completely truthful.

Predictably, Republicans were more likely to believe Obama is a liar, with 85 percent saying he lies some or most of the time. Thirty-one percent of Democrats said the president is always truthful.

What’s interesting is that independents were slightly more likely to believe Obama lies at least some of the time — 63 percent, compared with 61 percent for the total sample.

The April 13-15 poll of 1,012 registered voters had a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points. Democrats were 39 percent of the sample, Republicans 38 percent and independents 20 percent.

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Liberty Movement Rising

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Posted on 17th April 2014 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

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Guest Post by Brandon Smith

“Freedom had been hunted round the globe; reason was considered as rebellion; and the slavery of fear had made men afraid to think. But such is the irresistible nature of truth, that all it asks, and all it wants, is the liberty of appearing.” – Thomas Paine

The label of “fringe” is a common one used by statists, bureaucrats and paid shills in order to marginalize those who would stand against government corruption. The primary assertion being sold is that the “majority” joyously supports the establishment; and the majority, of course, is always right.

The liberty movement, which is a collection of numerous freedom organizations and political activists brought together by a shared philosophical bond, has been accused of “fringe” status for quite some time. With corporatist dominance over the mainstream media for decades backing an elitist machine in Washington and a global banking cartel footing the bill with money created from thin air, any such accusation can be made to seem “real” to those who are unaware.

The problem has always been a matter of physical action giving rise to an acknowledgment of numbers.

We have all heard the old story of the debate within the ancient Roman government over the idea of forcing the slave population to wear distinct armbands so that they could be more easily identified among the regular population. The concept was rejected on the realization that if the slaves were given a visual confirmation of their considerable numbers and strength, they would be encouraged to revolt against the Roman tyrants. That is to say, as long as the slaves felt isolated, they would remain apathetic and powerless. Of course, that was not always the case. Sometimes, a small group would stand up despite their supposed isolation, and the rest of the world, wide-eyed and astonished, would take notice.

The liberty movement has just experienced one of its first great moments of realization and empowerment in Clark County, Nev., and millions of past naysayers have been shell-shocked.

I covered my views in detail on the Bundy Ranch saga in Nevada in my article “Real Americans Are Ready To Snap,” amid the usual choir of disinformation agents and nihilists desperate to convince Web audiences that the liberty movement would do nothing to stop the Bureau of Land Management’s militant assault on Cliven Bundy’s cattle farm. This assault included hundreds of Federal agents, helicopters, contractors hired essentially as cattle rustlers and even teams of snipers.

The statists and socialists were certainly out in force to misrepresent the Bundy issue and frighten anyone who might consider taking a stand for the family. The Southern Poverty Law Center, not surprisingly, was hard at work spreading lies and disinformation about the confrontation in Nevada, painting a picture of fractured patriot groups and militiamen with “little training” going to face unstoppable Federal BLM agents and likely “ending up dead.” The SPLC insinuated that the movement was ineffective and in over its head.

The reality was much the opposite. Liberty groups arrived in droves and were staunchly unified — not by a centralized leadership, but in defense of the basic moral principles outlined in the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights. Sources on the ground at the Bundy ranching operation relayed to me that at least 1,000 activists and militia members arrived over the weekend, with many more on the way. This one event proved certain points:

  1. The liberty movement is not afraid to put itself in harm’s way for the right cause — even if this means facing off against highly armed government thugs.
  2. The liberty movement has the ability to field a response team or even an army anywhere in the country at any time within a couple of days.
  3. The liberty movement has the ability to change the course of events, even to the point of removing Federal agents from a region who are acting in an unConstitutional manner.
  4. The Federal government is not invincible, nor is it unfazed by liberty movement opposition. They worry about our strength and ability.

Over the past weekend, we witnessed the true influence of the liberty movement. As thousands of activists and militia arrived in the area, the BLM finally began to understand what it was facing. The government agency that has been terrorized farming communities throughout the West for years, the agency armed with military-grade weaponry and hundreds of agents, ran away, as freedom fighters descended on the region.

Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval and Clark County Sheriff Doug Gillespie, two politicians who were deathly silent during the beginning of the Federal incursion on the Bundy ranch, have now suddenly become vocal in defense of Nevada ranchers against the BLM. It’s amazing how “inspired” politicians can become to do the right thing when they see an army of liberty activists marching against tyranny in their own backyard.

Not only was the BLM forced to remove itself from the area, but it was also forced to relinquish all the cattle it had stolen from Bundy over the course of the past week. Here, liberty groups close in on the cattle holding pens of the BLM and take back Bundy’s property.

Statists are indignant and furious over the surrender of the BLM. The same people who boasted that liberty activists would be slaughtered by Fed agents are now frothing at the mouth because they did not get their massacre. Not only that, but the bureaucracy they worship has shown itself to be impotent in the face of Constitutional champions. All I can say is nothing puts a bigger grin on my face than to see statists cry like babies when their delusions of grandeur are trampled on.

This was a major victory for the liberty movement. But let’s be clear; the fight is just beginning.

I suspect that the Bundy event will be spun by news agencies and the government until it is unrecognizable. They will claim that the BLM left not because they were wrong, but because they were trying to keep people safe. They will claim that liberty movement protesters were the aggressors and the poor BLM agents were just trying to do their jobs. They will play the race card as they always do, much like this pathetically lazy and unprofessional article from Slate, which asserts that if the Bundy’s had been black, the Liberty Movement would have never supported them. They will argue the so-called Federal legality of the raid itself, and paint Bundy as a “freeloader” who refuses to pay taxes and who is living off the American people. They will do everything in their power to destroy the image of the victory and soil the name of the Bundy family.

What they don’t seem to understand, though, is that the liberty movement does not care what the Federal government deems “legal” or “illegal.” Our only interest is what is Constitutional and what is moral. The dispute was never about the “legality” of Bundy’s use of the land, which his family used for grazing without interference for generations — until 1993, when the BLM used the absurd endangered species protection racket to put all of his neighbors out of business and threaten his ranch with invasion. Add to this the recently discovered fact that Senator Harry Reid’s former assistant and friend Neil Kornze is now head of the BLM due to Reid’s influence, and the fact that Harry Reid and his family are reaping financial rewards by driving farmers from all over the region where Cliven Bundy’s ranch sits while arranging land deals with Chinese solar companies, and one has to ask, why should Bundy pay any of his hard earned money to the federal government when they are just going to use it to bulldoze his cattle and make Harry Reid more rich?

Disinformation websites like Snopes contend that Reid’s “projects” are not being established anywhere near the Bundy Ranch, yet, one such project has already been launched only 35 miles south of Bundy, and, the BLM has erased a page from its website specifically mentioning the Bundy Ranch and it’s “interference” with Dry Lake Solar Energy Zone Projects, the same projects Harry Reid and his son are heavily involved in.

What is amazing to me is that in light of this information hardcore socialists are still willing to defend Reid and the BLM. My question is, if the BLM is so innocent, then why are they erasing such data from their website at all? What were they trying to hide?

Harry Reid has not responded to the facts behind his financial involvement in the BLM’s attacks on Nevada farmers, except to say that they are “conspiracy theories”. He added when asked about the status of the confrontation:

“Well, it’s not over. We can’t have an American people that violate the law and then just walk away from it. So it’s not over…”

Yes, Harry, it won’t be over until men like you are thrown behind bars.

Note that he says “an American people”; as if he is separate, as if he is referring to all of us as a subservient organism, or servant class. What Reid is saying is, the elites can’t have “an American people” openly exposing their criminality and defying their tyranny, and then just walking away. I’m sorry to break it to Reid, but that is exactly how all of this is going to end.

Statists and bureaucrats like Reid continually attempt to argue this issue from the standpoint of Federal legality, obviously because the Federal government has the legislative and bureaucratic power to make any despicable action legal (at least on paper) if it wishes. However, the liberty movement has no interest whatsoever in Federal interpretations of legal precedence. We are only concerned with what is right. As the old saying goes, when injustice becomes law, rebellion becomes duty.

The liberty movement also fully understands that the Bundy victory was only one battle at the beginning of a long war.

The BLM may very well be waiting for activists to leave the area before attacking again. And even if that is not the case, tyrannical systems have a way of attempting to make up for signs of weakness by escalating violence during the next siege. That is to say, we should expect the next event involving the BLM or other government agencies to be even more vicious than the Bundy incident. It is simply the natural inclination of totalitarian systems to exaggerate their power when their failings have been exposed.

That said, it should be noted that corrupt leadership often crumbles in the face of steadfast resolve and courage. We have a long way to go before this Nation is once again truly free, but the liberty movement has proven its invaluable worth over the course of the past several days. We arrived at a crossroads, and we are now moving forward in the right direction — without fear and without regret. It is in these moments when history is made — when common men and women thwart the odds, defy the darkness and make good on their beliefs by risking everything in the name of freedom.

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REPARATIONS PAID!

7 comments

Posted on 17th April 2014 by AWD in Economy

FREE, FREE AT LAST!

A little pre-funny-Friday

10 Ways to Screw up Your Retirement

4 comments

Posted on 17th April 2014 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

10 Ways to Screw up Your Retirement

By Dennis Miller, Senior Editor, “Miller’s Money Forever”

There are many creative ways to screw up your retirement. Let me show you how it’s done.

Supporting adult children. My wife Jo and I have friends with an unmarried, unemployed daughter who had a child. Our friends adopted their grandchild and are now in their late sixties raising a kid in grade school. The same daughter had a second child, and they adopted that one too. When she announced she was pregnant a third time, they finally said, “Enough! It’s time for a third-party adoption.”

Last time I spoke with them, their unemployed daughter and her boyfriend were living in their basement, neither contributing financially nor lifting a finger around the house. What began as a temporary bandage had become a permanent crutch. Our friends love their grandchildren; however, they’ve become bitter.

Jo and I also know of retirees who make their adult children’s car payments. I’m not talking about college-age kids; some of these “children” are close to 50. What’s their justification? “If we don’t make the payments, they won’t be able to go to work.” What I can’t grasp is how these adult children have iPads and iPhones, go on vacations, and do other cool things, but can’t seem to make their car payments.

You are not the family bank. There is generally a brief window of opportunity between children leaving the nest and retirement. Use it to stash away enough money to retire comfortably!

Ignore your health. I served on the reunion committee for my 50th high-school class reunion. We diligently tried to track down our classmates, but many had not lived long enough to RSVP to the party. The number of deaths from lung cancer and liver cancer were shocking. Many of those six feet under had been morbidly obese or simply never went to the doctor for checkups.

I know this sounds obvious, but your health choices really do affect how long and how well you live. Retiring only to become homebound because of health problems won’t be much fun.

Not keeping your retirement plan up to date. In the summer of 2013, the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) published a survey about low-interest-rate policies and their impact on both baby boomers and Generation Xers, who are following right behind. The bottom line (emphasis mine):

“Overall, 25-27 percent of baby boomers and Gen Xers who would have had adequate retirement income under return assumptions based on historical averages are simulated to end up running short of money in retirement if today’s historically low interest rates are assumed to be a permanent condition, assuming retirement income/wealth covers 100 percent of simulated retirement expense.”

It is a sad day when people who thought they’d saved enough realize they have not. Run your personal retirement projection annually to make sure you’re keeping up with the times. Otherwise you may have to work longer or step down your retirement lifestyle—drastically.

Thinking you can continue working as long as you wish. While age discrimination is illegal, you may not be able to work forever. If illness doesn’t push you out the door, your employer might downsize (we all know who goes first) or buy you out with a lucrative lump sum.

Many companies want older employees off the payroll because their healthcare costs are high; plus, they are often at the top of the salary scale. More than one employer has made the workplace so uncomfortable that an older employee felt he had to quit. Other employers will systematically build a case to terminate a senior employee with their legal team waiting in the wings to help.

Whatever the reason, you may have to stop working even if you enjoy your job, so plan for it.

Not increasing your rate of saving. A surefire way to end up short is to pay off a large-ticket item like your home mortgage and then continue spending that money every month. Start paying yourself instead! Don’t prioritize saving after it’s too late to benefit from years of compounded interest.

Continually taking equity out of your home. Too many of my friends have been duped into taking out additional equity when refinancing with a lower-interest mortgage. If you can secure a lower rate, use it to pay off your home off faster. When you have, start making those payments to your retirement account.

Retire with a substantial mortgage. The general rule of thumb is your mortgage payment should be no more than 20-25% of your income. If you retire and still have a mortgage, it might be tough to stay within those guidelines.

Taking out a reverse mortgage at a young age. Debt-laden baby boomers are taking out reverse mortgages at an increasingly younger age. Just read the HUD reports. Many have very little equity to begin with and use a reverse mortgage to stop their monthly bank payments for pennies in return.

Locking yourself into a fixed income at a young age is a great way to kiss your lifestyle goodbye. Many of these young boomers will find themselves wondering, “Why is there is so much life left at the end of my money?”

Putting your life savings into an annuity. While annuities have their place in a retirement portfolio, going all in is dangerous, particularly at a young age. After all, your monthly payment depends in part on your age.

I know folks who put their entire life savings into variable annuities. They thought they were buying a “pension plan” and would never have to worry again. The crash of 2008 slashed their monthly checks, and they have yet to recover. Retirement without worry is not that simple.

Thinking your employer’s retirement plan is all you need. The era of pensions is gasping its dying breath. We have many friends who retired from the airlines with sizable pensions. When those airlines filed for bankruptcy, their pensions shriveled. No industry is immune to this danger, so we all need a backup plan.

Government pensions are following suit. Just ask anyone who has worked for the city of Detroit! While the unions are fighting the city to preserve their pensions, an initial draft of the plan indicates underfunded pensions (estimated at $3.5 billion) may receive $0.25 on the dollar.

Don’t fall for the trap! If you work for the government, you still need to save for retirement. Contribute to your 457 plan or whatever breed of retirement account is available to you. The federal government has over $100 trillion in unfunded promises, and many state governments are woefully underfunded. That doesn’t mean your retirement has to be.

Reverse mortgages and annuities are often the undoing of many income investors and retirees. They can be used properly, however, if your situation or the opportunity fits with your needs. With all of the misinformation out there about these two products, we decided to pen two special reports to help you decide whether these are right for you. They are The Reverse Mortgage Guide and The Annuity Guide. Check out one – or both – today and learn where, if at all, these fit your needs.

The article 10 Ways to Screw up Your Retirement was originally published at caseyresearch.com.

THE MOST EXPENSIVE INGREDIENT IN BEER

10 comments

Posted on 17th April 2014 by Administrator in Economy

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The most expensive ingredient in your beer is TAXES. Your beloved Federal, State and local governments siphon off $31.9 billion of taxes from your keg every year. Taxes account for 40% of the retail price of a bottle of beer. When people buy beer, the tax burden is 70% higher than for the average purchase in the U.S. This is a disgrace. Why do these government drones extract so much from the purchase of a beverage? The taxes certainly aren’t being used to fill potholes, as the roads are atrocious and dangerous well into Spring. These taxes are extracted to fund the high salaries and gold plated pensions of government drones. I’m going to discuss this issue in depth this weekend when I visit the Shamrock in Wildwood.

I’ll ask these government drones why beer taxes are so high. I’m sure it will end well.

 

Map: Beer Excise Tax Rates by State, 2014

Tax treatment of beer varies widely across the U.S., ranging from a low of $0.02 per gallon in Wyoming to a high of $1.17 per gallon in Tennessee. Check out today’s map below to see where your state lies on the beer tax spectrum.

There isn’t much consistency on how state and local governments tax beer. This rate can include fixed-rate per volume taxes; wholesale taxes that are usually a percentage of the value of the product; distributor taxes (usually structured as license fees but are usually a percentage of revenues); retail taxes, in which retailers owe an extra percentage of revenues; case or bottle fees (which can vary based on size of container); and additional sales taxes (note that this measure does not include general sales tax, only those in excess of the general rate).

The Beer Institute points out that “taxes are the single most expensive ingredient in beer, costing more than labor and raw materials combined.” They cite an economic analysis that found “if all the taxes levied on the production, distribution, and retailing of beer are added up, they amount to more than 40% of the retail price” (note that this may include general sales tax and federal beer taxes, which are not included in the estimates displayed on the map). Last year, we did a podcast with Lester Jones, Chief Economist at the Beer Institute on tax treatment of beer, which is worth a listen.

For more info on alcohol taxes, see here. For a look at how taxation of beer works in each state, see this handy table from the Federation of Tax Administrators.

CELL PHONE KILL SWITCH

20 comments

Posted on 17th April 2014 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

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I’m sure our beloved government and their cooperative mega-corporations have your best interest at heart in this matter. We all know that cell phone theft is a scourge on society and must be addressed before the thousands of other crimes being committed in our Orwellian state. Virtually every adult in America owns a cell phone. At least they thought they owned it. We already know the NSA knows everything you say, text, or send on your cell phone. The outrage from the sheeple has been deafeningly non-existent. The sheep trust their keepers as they are herded towards the slaughterhouse.

Now our keepers have quietly developed a scheme with their capitalist cronies at Apple, Google, Samsung, Microsoft, Verizon and the rest of the cell phone oligarchy to kill your cell phone when the shit hits the fan. Everything they do is in the name of safety – spy drones flying overhead, militarization of local police forces, mass surveillance of all electronic communications, trying to revoke the 2nd amendment, and pretending the 4th amendment doesn’t exist.

This kill switch is not to protect you. It is to control you. It puts the government in control of your communications. They know the shit is going to hit the fan in the next few years. They desperately wanted to pass SOPA to control the internet, but have failed thus far. They want to be able to shut down all electronic communication by those they consider enemies of the state who oppose their Orwellian tactics and control. 

Know your enemy.  

‘Kill Switch’ Included on All Cell Phones Made in U.S. by 2015

Melissa Melton
The Daily Sheeple
April 16th, 2014

According to a program launched yesterday by CTIA-The Wireless Association®, an international nonprofit that has represented the wireless communication industry since 1984, all phones manufactured in the U.S. after July 2015 will be required to contain a “kill switch” system that can remotely disable and wipe any cell phone’s data.

Although the “Smartphone Anti-Theft Voluntary Commitment” is a voluntary program, apparently all the major players have already happily jumped on board: “Apple, Google, Samsung and Microsoft, along with the five biggest cellular carriers in the United States, are among those that have signed on to a voluntary program announced Tuesday by the industry’s largest trade group,” reported CNN.

And the supposed reasoning — anti-theft — sounds super phony, but just like everything else, it’s all for you and your safety of course:

Advocates say the feature would deter thieves from taking mobile devices by rendering phones useless while allowing people to protect personal information if their phone is lost or stolen. Its proponents include law enforcement officials concerned about the rising problem of smartphone theft. (source)

Yeah, because law enforcement really cares about whether or not your smartphone is stolen…unless it’s law enforcement stealing your phone from you in the first place because you’ve used the camera on it to protect yourself from police state activity by taking incriminating photos and videos of said law enforcement.

Well, now they won’t even have to physically take your phone from you, because apparently with just the push of a button, the phone can be remotely wiped clean of all data.

(On an aside, someone tried to break into my house and it took a whole day for the cops to even bother to show up…like they really give half a crap about whether or not your phone is stolen.)

As with every other trendy new technology advertised as making consumer’s lives just Jetsons-level awesome, there’s an obvious flipside that can be used (abused) for quite the opposite.

By the way, the 2014 CTIA Board of Directors and Officers include the higher ups (Presidents, CEOs and VPs, etc.) from many major communications companies including Ericsson, Verizon Wireless, Blackberry, AT&T, Sprint, Qualcomm, LG Electronics, Samsung, T-Mobile, Motorola, U.S. Cellular, Nokia and Apple.

So it should be no surprise whatsoever that Nokia, Motorola, AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon, Sprint and U.S. Cellular have all signed on to the kill switch program.

And remember, many of these companies are the same ones that voluntarily joined the NSA Prism program, allowing the government to track all your online communications and populate the government’s databases with your skimmed data.

In this day and age of dwindling privacy ala 1984, you would think there would be a major market for a privacy-respecting telecom, but it takes a lot of money to set up the infrastructure for that kind of thing, and it’s no secret that the U.S. intelligence community via sources like In-Q-Tel (the CIA.’s official venture capital firm) are the real backers incubating all the new technology these days:

Founded in 1999 as a way for the U.S. to keep up with the rapid innovation in science and technology, In-Q-Tel has been an early backer of start-ups later acquired by Google, Oracle, IBM and Lockheed Martin.

“If you want to keep up with Silicon Valley, you need to become part of Silicon Valley. The best way to do that is have a budget because when you have a checkbook, everyone comes to you,” said Jim Rickards, an adviser to the U.S. intelligence community who is familiar with the activities of Arlington, Va.-based IQT.

Given the increasing importance of cyber security and big data, it is a safe bet that the U.S. intelligence community will continue to lean on private-sector development in its behind-the-scenes fight against terrorism and other geopolitical threats. (source)

But as we all know, it was the U.S. military that invented the Internet in the first place, after all.

Delivered by The Daily Sheeple


Contributed by Melissa Melton of The Daily Sheeple.

Melissa Melton is a writer, researcher, and analyst for The Daily Sheeple and a co-creator of Truthstream Media. Wake the flock up!

- See more at: http://www.thedailysheeple.com/kill-switch-included-on-all-cell-phones-made-in-u-s-by-2015_042014#sthash.VrkAaDXH.dpuf

Jesus Lived in a Police State

33 comments

Posted on 17th April 2014 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

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Guest Post by John W. Whitehead

 

“There is no evidence that Jesus himself openly advocated violent actions. But he was certainly no pacifist. “Do not think that I have come to bring peace on earth. I have not come to bring peace, but the sword” (Matthew 10:34 | Luke 12:51).” ― Reza Aslan, Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth

Those living through this present age of SWAT team raids, police shootings of unarmed citizens, roadside strip searches, and invasive surveillance might feel as if these events are unprecedented. Yet while we in the United States may be experiencing a steady slide into a police state, we are neither the first nor the last nation to do so.

Although technology, politics and superpowers have changed over time, the characteristics of a police state and its reasons for being have remained the same: control, power and money. Indeed, as I point out in my book A Government of Wolves: The Emerging American Police State, a police state extends far beyond the actions of law enforcement. In fact, a police state “is characterized by bureaucracy, secrecy, perpetual wars, a nation of suspects, militarization, surveillance, widespread police presence, and a citizenry with little recourse against police actions.”

Just as police states have arisen throughout history, there have also been individuals or groups of individuals who have risen up to challenge the injustices of their age. Nazi Germany had its Dietrich Bonhoeffer. The gulags of the Soviet Union were challenged by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. America had its color-coded system of racial segregation and warmongering called out for what it was, blatant discrimination and profiteering, by Martin Luther King Jr.

And then there was Jesus Christ, an itinerant preacher and revolutionary activist, who not only died challenging the police state of his day—namely, the Roman Empire—but provided a blueprint for civil disobedience that would be followed by those, religious and otherwise, who came after him. Yet for all the accolades poured out upon Jesus, little is said about the harsh realities of the police state in which he lived and its similarities to modern-day America, and yet they are striking.

Secrecy, surveillance and rule by the elite. As the chasm between the wealthy and poor grew wider in the Roman Empire, the ruling class and the wealthy class became synonymous, while the lower classes, increasingly deprived of their political freedoms, grew disinterested in the government and easily distracted by “bread and circuses.” Much like America today, with its lack of government transparency, overt domestic surveillance, and rule by the rich, the inner workings of the Roman Empire were shrouded in secrecy, while its leaders were constantly on the watch for any potential threats to its power. The resulting state-wide surveillance was primarily carried out by the military, which acted as investigators, enforcers, torturers, policemen, executioners and jailers. Today that role is fulfilled by increasingly militarized police forces across the country.

Widespread police presence. The Roman Empire used its military forces to maintain the “peace,” thereby establishing a police state that reached into all aspects of a citizen’s life. In this way, these military officers, used to address a broad range of routine problems and conflicts, enforced the will of the state. Today SWAT teams, comprised of local police and federal agents, are employed to carry out routine search warrants for minor crimes such as marijuana possession and credit card fraud.

Citizenry with little recourse against the police state. As the Roman Empire expanded, personal freedom and independence nearly vanished, as did any real sense of local governance and national consciousness. Similarly, in America today, citizens largely feel powerless, voiceless and unrepresented in the face of a power-hungry federal government. As states and localities are brought under direct control by federal agencies and regulations, a sense of learned helplessness grips the nation.

Perpetual wars and a military empire. Much like America today with its practice of policing the world, war and an over-arching militarist ethos provided the framework for the Roman Empire, which extended from the Italian peninsula to all over Southern, Western, and Eastern Europe, extending into North Africa and Western Asia as well. In addition to significant foreign threats, wars were waged against inchoate, unstructured and socially inferior foes.

Martial law. Eventually, Rome established a permanent military dictatorship that left the citizens at the mercy of an unreachable and oppressive totalitarian regime. In the absence of resources to establish civic police forces, the Romans relied increasingly on the military to intervene in all matters of conflict or upheaval in provinces, from small-scale scuffles to large-scale revolts. Not unlike police forces today, with their militarized weapons and “shoot first, ask questions later” mindset, the Roman soldier had “the exercise of lethal force at his fingertips” with the potential of wreaking havoc on normal citizens’ lives.

A nation of suspects. Just as the American Empire looks upon its citizens as suspects to be tracked, surveilled and controlled, the Roman Empire looked upon all potential insubordinates, from the common thief to a full-fledged insurrectionist, as threats to its power. The insurrectionist was seen as directly challenging the Emperor. A “bandit,” or revolutionist, was seen as capable of overturning the empire, was always considered guilty and deserving of the most savage penalties, including capital punishment. Bandits were usually punished publicly and cruelly as a means of deterring others from challenging the power of the state. Jesus’ execution was one such public punishment.

Acts of civil disobedience by insurrectionists. Starting with his act of civil disobedience at the Jewish temple, the site of the administrative headquarters of the Sanhedrin, the supreme Jewish council, Jesus branded himself a political revolutionary. When Jesus “with the help of his disciples, blocks the entrance to the courtyard” and forbids “anyone carrying goods for sale or trade from entering the Temple,” he committed a blatantly criminal and seditious act, an act “that undoubtedly precipitated his arrest and execution.” Because the commercial events were sponsored by the religious hierarchy, which in turn was operated by consent of the Roman government, Jesus’ attack on the money chargers and traders can be seen as an attack on Rome itself, an unmistakable declaration of political and social independence from the Roman oppression.

Military-style arrests in the dead of night. Jesus’ arrest account testifies to the fact that the Romans perceived Him as a revolutionary. Eerily similar to today’s SWAT team raids, Jesus was arrested in the middle of the night, in secret, by a large, heavily armed fleet of soldiers. Rather than merely asking for Jesus when they came to arrest him, his pursuers collaborated beforehand with Judas. Acting as a government informant, Judas concocted a kiss as a secret identification marker, hinting that a level of deception and trickery must be used to obtain this seemingly “dangerous revolutionist’s” cooperation.

Torture and capital punishment. In Jesus’ day, religious preachers, self-proclaimed prophets and nonviolent protesters were not summarily arrested and executed. Indeed, the high priests and Roman governors normally allowed a protest, particularly a small-scale one, to run its course. However, government authorities were quick to dispose of leaders and movements that appeared to threaten the Roman Empire. The charges leveled against Jesus—that he was a threat to the stability of the nation, opposed paying Roman taxes and claimed to be the rightful King—were purely political, not religious. To the Romans, any one of these charges was enough to merit death by crucifixion, which was usually reserved for slaves, non-Romans, radicals, revolutionaries and the worst criminals.

Jesus was presented to Pontius Pilate “as a disturber of the political peace,” a leader of a rebellion, a political threat, and most gravely—a claimant to kingship, a “king of the revolutionary type.” After Jesus is formally condemned by Pilate, he is sentenced to death by crucifixion, “the Roman means of executing criminals convicted of high treason.” The purpose of crucifixion was not so much to kill the criminal, as it was an immensely public statement intended to visually warn all those who would challenge the power of the Roman Empire. Hence, it was reserved solely for the most extreme political crimes: treason, rebellion, sedition, and banditry. After being ruthlessly whipped and mocked, Jesus was nailed to a cross.

As Professor Mark Lewis Taylor observed:

The cross within Roman politics and culture was a marker of shame, of being a criminal. If you were put to the cross, you were marked as shameful, as criminal, but especially as subversive. And there were thousands of people put to the cross. The cross was actually positioned at many crossroads, and, as New Testament scholar Paula Fredricksen has reminded us, it served as kind of a public service announcement that said, “Act like this person did, and this is how you will end up.”

Jesus—the revolutionary, the political dissident, and the nonviolent activist—lived and died in a police state. Any reflection on Jesus’ life and death within a police state must take into account several factors: Jesus spoke out strongly against such things as empires, controlling people, state violence and power politics. Jesus challenged the political and religious belief systems of his day. And worldly powers feared Jesus, not because he challenged them for control of thrones or government but because he undercut their claims of supremacy, and he dared to speak truth to power in a time when doing so could—and often did—cost a person his life.

Unfortunately, the radical Jesus, the political dissident who took aim at injustice and oppression, has been largely forgotten today, replaced by a congenial, smiling Jesus trotted out for religious holidays but otherwise rendered mute when it comes to matters of war, power and politics. Yet for those who truly study the life and teachings of Jesus, the resounding theme is one of outright resistance to war, materialism and empire.

As Professor Taylor notes, “The power of Jesus is one that enables us to critique the nation and the empire. Unfortunately, that gospel is being sacrificed and squandered by Christians who have cozied up to power and wealth.” Ultimately, this is the contradiction that must be resolved if the radical Jesus—the one who stood up to the Roman Empire and was crucified as a warning to others not to challenge the powers-that-be—is to be an example for our modern age.