Can Enslavement be Imaginary?

44 years ago, the late Harry Browne’s “How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World” was published. Also a couple of years before that, the Libertarian Party was founded. Much discussion on strategy ensued ever since. Harry Browne asserted that if you act alone, quietly, and below the radar, you will find more ways to make life fulfilling. The other side stated that we are not free. That we need to organize and fight for freedom.

A few years later I was torn between which side was right. I was a member of the Libertarian Party. I handed out hundreds of Ed Clark for President brochures in my small city in 1980. I met Ed Clark and his wife twice on campaign stops. In 1982 I was the campaign manager of a California state assembly candidate running on the LP ticket. And I even won a minor office at age 23.

I knew the late Marshall Fritz. Marshall was very active and later went national on his libertarian activism. But even Marshall asked me once, to the effect, “what are you doing with your life?” “It’s noble of you to not pay taxes and not have a job, but…” So I started to think about what Harry Browne wrote: He warned about the futility of crusading – there will be people you thought you convinced to agree with you, then next thing you know, they disagree. I finished my degree in Mathematics and focused on my career.

Two things I noticed: 1) I had money left over after the IRS and FTB and SSI had amounts withheld and 2) I had enough money to invest in the stock market and save for my retirement.

The big item that the ones who claim “we are not free” don’t discuss is that money buys you more freedom. Money buys you time. The State leaves you enough of a paycheck left over to invest for your own future. And gives you an opportunity to reduce what they steal from you over time by the 15% long-term capital gain tax rate as opposed to your ordinary tax rate. The state also allows you to invest in Roth IRAs and Roth 401ks.

Yes you can eventually reduce your effective state and federal taxes to that of Hong Kong: 15%, maybe lower.  Taxation is immoral and it’s theft, but too many people just sit and complain instead of think of how to pay less without sacrificing their standard of living.

Some people are quite fine being agorists and living so much under the radar that they don’t contribute to social security, don’t pay medicare, and don’t take advantage of the compounding that stock index fund investing does. Hopefully when they are older they don’t become burdens to society.

Others enjoy modern urban living, working in professional environments – even trading W2 witholding and using social security numbers for the chance to make a lot of money in stocks. Tip: If you do not have a social security number, you miss out on the type of investment that historically grows the fastest and is essential to capitalism – the stock market. You also don’t get a passport. You are stuck in this U.S.A. and your opportunities for making money to provide for your old age are very curtailed.

This is essentially what Marshall Fritz told me in 1983. The idea of registering with government to reduce my own taxes is my own, but evolved over decades of fine-tuning. There are people still who say that if I pay capital gain taxes I am not free. Yet I have the means of more time to do what I want to do because I signed those government forms and have all my basis of my IRAs and 401ks known by the government. And because I know my brokerages send 1099s to the State so that the state knows my gains and can demand 15%. I could have instead decided no, I won’t bother with a brokerage account and I will forego keeping 85% of my gains from the asset class that historically gets investors the best return. But I would be very foolish for doing this. What point would I make especially if I have no retirement savings if I am unable to work? Who is freer? A retiree whose annual income and investments is effectively taxed at 15% and from a career investing in the stock market or the retiree who did not get a social security card, got his earnings under the table his entire career? Who is more likely to be a social burden?

 

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How can we Stop the Imperialism?

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Most Americans fear change. Even if quietly some of them know it is wrong to murder little children

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Nawar al-Awlaki, killed by US, Jan. 29th 2017

for oil, banks, power-hungry politicians, defense companies, they remain quiet. Many of them, as the fictional Morpheus said, are dependent on the system, perhaps they have their own little 8-year-old girls to raise. This present day turning away from the horrific destruction and death happening weekly is the result of ignoring the warning Ike Eisenhower said in his farewell speech in 1961 about the Military-Industrial Complex.

Yet there those of us who walked away from a better life for moral reasons because we finally realized what was wrong. We are glad to have downsized our own living standards. We are proud. We are angry that we were fooled into thinking the soldiers “defend our freedom.”

Is it that important to have flat screen TVs, $60,000 luxury imports, HELOCs, daily lattes, ocean cruises for your high school teens, $700,000 stucco boxes that you have to ignore the crimes that keep our standard of living so high?

Why not simplify your life, get rid of recurring bills for things you don’t need by getting rid of things? When you cut ridiculous expenses, maybe sell that large house you don’t really need, or drive an economy car instead of the $60,000 car, grind your own fresh coffee from whole beans instead of pay someone a lot just to grind coffee,  you will be surprised at how much savings you can have by the end of the month.

You might then be able to give up that job aiding the Military-Industrial Complex and its death for a commercial job. And best of all, you will finally be proud and then you might want to be outspoken against the death machine of American imperialism.

One by one, I ask you to say no. I will not take that high salary so that little girls will be shot and made to bleed to death by American soldiers. One by one we can stop this.

Open Source Code Review of the best Mobile Bitcoin Wallet Apps – for personal privacy viewpoint

I have begun working on a major personal task to review open source smartphone apps that trade cryptocurrency, for now bitcoin. This article by Wendy McElroy inspired me to do this research: Prepare For SB1241’s Pit Bull Assault on Bitcoin Freedom .  My thesis is that you can have cryptocurrency privacy and trade cryptocurrency person-to-person without any government or bank knowing it.

I have a little over fifteen years of experience in programming cryptographic algorithms and have mostly C language experience. I’m familiar with open source software and Github. I have an iPhone and an Android phone. And finally I have the personal interest in decentralization technology. So I decided to try my best.

My system is a HP desktop with 8GB RAM and a total of 4TB USB drive space. I run Windows 7 and do most of my software work in a Ubuntu 16.04 64-bit VM under VMWare Workstation.

My first task was to find a simple survey of the best apps for smartphones. There are several different web sites that offered reviews. I chose this one: 12 Best Mobile Bitcoin Wallet Apps For iOS And Android Smartphone .  My first pick is Mycelium’s wallet.

First I go to the Mycelium github site and clone the     commit a9250f3acaf2d180676f383acf8509c56b7d4a50 in an appropriate folder in a Ubuntu terminal window. This is version 2.8.11. The prerequisites are Android SDK tools 22.6.4 and JDK 1.7 I had a struggle trying to get the specific Android SDK files so I just got the latest. I had JDK 1.8 and not 1.7. Once I installed JDK 1.7 I was able to get around the wallet build issues. You run this command: ./gradlew build, to build the Mycelium wallet. At the end of the long process it runs tests. For me there were 2 failures out of 100: The StandardTransactionBuilderTest failed generateSignaturesBitcoinJ and generateSignaturesBitlib. This is where I am at now. I have a test timeout of 500milliseconds (line 230 in StandardTransactionBuilderTest.java so for grins, I changed it to 1500. I reran the test and it failed again. I set it to 15000 (15 seconds) and it failed again! Then 150,000 and it failed. I’m thinking maybe it should fail for some reason?

Now I’m going to try to find where it responds to the “send.” When you use the Mycelium app and you touch “Send,” You get to a page “Enter Recipient Address.” Here you can scan a QR code, click a button “My Addresses” get the address from a clipboard, enter an address manually, enter the amount, and click “Send” again.

Unfortunately my Eclipse is super slow in my Ubuntu. I probably need 16GB on my machine. Anyway I found a file all about broadcasting transactions. This is what I hoped to find. I can narrow my investigation here and see how some payment you “send” gets to some other address. The purpose, keep in mind, is to have a software tool on your smartphone so that you can perhaps go to a meetup or a farmer’s market or shop that is bitcoin-savvy and pay for something without your bank’s or the government’s knowledge.

The file is in the folder under ~/mbw/src/main/java/com/mycelium/wallet/activity/send, which makes sense. It’s within a group of files that seem to be about sending. There is one called BroadcastTransactionActivity.java.

This file and the others mix the Android concepts of  intents, which then get the asynchronous actions going on. The BroadcastTransactionActivity.java file start the activities while the SendMainActivity.java has onActivityResult() being called when the transaction is done broadcasting.

(To Be edited and continued)

Anarcho-Capitalist Investing

Lately I have been more aware of a lot of newcomers into cryptocurrency who seem to be proponents of capitalism and yet who are confused about concepts of investing, saving, and capitalism itself.

Wikipedia  defines capitalism “an economic system based on private ownership of the means of production and their operation for profit. Characteristics central to capitalism include private property, capital accumulation, wage labor, voluntary exchange, a price system, and competitive markets.”

Let’s zero in on Investopedia’s words about capital accumulation:

“Capital accumulation involves acquiring more assets that can be used to create more wealth or that will appreciate in value.

Alternatively, capital accumulation can also refer to when an institutional broker or individual investor acquires a large number of shares of a particular stock or mutual fund over an extended period of time.

So to be a capitalist you acquire assets used to create wealth. Examples include rental housing, farmland, factories, even entire companies. Or as a capitalist, you acquire a large number of shares of a particular stock or mutual fund over an extended period of time. Most of us (including myself) do not have a large number of shares of a stock to serve on a company’s board of directors. But we do have some voice. We do have the ability to acquire shares and participate in proxy votes on company decisions.

Let’s examine cryptocurrency. A cryptocurrency for most of us who own, does not create wealth. It’s a medium of exchange and designed to be a medium of exchange. Surely you point to the gains in cryptocurrency versus some fiat currencies. But it still does not create wealth anymore than owning gold or silver creates wealth. The mining creates wealth. The developers on the blockchain create wealth. We, as owners of cryptocurrency, are not creating wealth.

A medium of exchange is not capitalism.

The practical reason to invest in stocks (over any asset class) is explained in this reddit post. It is in the link and very well-written.

Bitcoin was designed with the expectation that adoption will be volatile and price action will be volatile for the first few years. The final Bitcoin will be mined in 2140. The expectation is the bitcoin deflation rate will greatly diminish (deflation relative to the fiat currencies) and that means its value will not gain much relative to fiats in the future.

It is my educated guess that the stock market, with 6% to 7% average annual gains over the inflation rate, will still outperform any other asset class in the long run. I think the budding young Anarcho-Capitalists in cryptocurrency circles are missing the real point of capitalism.

Cryptocurrency is good – for savings. I hope for everyone gets into cryptocurrency. But it’s just a medium of exchange and not a wealth creator for the anarchist society we want to have.

What will drive this Voluntaryist out of California?

I love California, because I was born in California (many decades ago) and it is the moderate climate and diverse geography that is very attractive. You can get a sense of Arizona in the Mojave Desert, for instance, a sense of Hawaii along the coast, or a sense of Alaska in the high Sierras. I like the tolerance of diversity among colors, beliefs, and persuasions and the feeling that I am okay to be myself and not like a member of a group.

However I lived in Arizona for 19 years (before returning to residency in California). I remember when I first moved to Arizona in 1996 I felt like an adult after becoming an Arizonan. I did not have to wear a helmet on a motorcycle, I could smoke without being criticized by a progressive, I could open carry, and the taxes were lower.

A few years ago Arizona legislature quietly cut the state income tax rate by 25% down to 3.4%. Meanwhile California’s income tax is 10% and I pay that top bracket. The capital gains tax in California is 13.3% at its highest.

Suppose I realize a long term gain. Combined, the federal and California rate is a little over 28%. In Arizona it’s a little over 18%. It’s a huge difference.

But my most important concern is the endless war and the mass murder by the federal government. California is not invading other countries and occupying them and killing innocents. The federal government and its agents are doing that. Moreover, the tax rate at the federal level is higher than what I am taxed in California. I think it’s ridiculous to read people complaining of California taxes while they do nothing about the much higher federal taxes and the financing of the mass murdering government.

I read posts on internet all the time about California haters. When you ask them what the problem is they talk about some liberty another state’s resident has that California does not have. I have to tell them that there is no California cop watching me 24/7. I do what I want to do. Robert A. Heinlein’s quote from “The Moon is a Harsh Mistress” explains:

“I am free because I know that I alone am morally responsible for everything I do. I am free, no matter what rules surround me. If I find them tolerable, I tolerate them; if I find them too obnoxious, I break them. I am free because I know that I alone am morally responsible for everything I do.”

I have built up a lot of investments in Roth tax deferred accounts. My allocation among all tax deferral accounts is very high, so when I get distributions, my California tax rate on all my retirement combined will be lower than if I was taking distributions from a traditional retirement plan.
I don’t hate California. I just don’t like the politicians and I don’t see why I have to recognize their authority.
It is unlikely that taxation or edicts against civil liberty will drive me out of California. I can imagine that romance with a beautiful woman outside California will be the only reason to leave California.

There is no war between Liberals and Conservatives – The Media Fooled You

I’m taking a break on voluntaryism for this article but I want to write on a topic that I need to rant. Social media memes and posts have been replete with attacks on liberals, as though they are responsible for Hillary Clinton and Obama. The word “Liberal” seems to be used as an insult more than ever. The usual term is “libtard.”

Emotionalism aside, I suggest you look at the campaign of Donald Trump and the other Republicans in 2016, and the campaign of Hillary Clinton. No one in the Republican side disagreed with big government, the endless wars, and the fiction that ISIS is an external threat (though it was created by the USA). Donald Trump, for instance, proposes big infrastructure spending as well as increases in defense spending, already close to $1 trillion dollars a year budget. If liberals are supposed to be regarded as big spenders, how come the Republicans want to spend like drunken sailors?

Then there is Hillary Clinton, war hawk, wanting to invade Iran, and her side is anti-Russia. Obama has been in 7 wars in 7 countries and not one day without U.S. soldiers fighting in a war, though he got the Nobel Peace Prize.

Some of the main points of Donald Trump’s campaign: Build a wall, deport 11 million non-citizens, repeal Obamacare, stop Muslim refugees from entering the USA. Let’s examine these to see if they fit in with small government. The easy one is “repeal Obamacare.” Well that is not enough to repeal forced subsidies of the insurance industry. It must be replaced with something. Replace it with what? A small government approach is to purely privatize insurance and make it optional, voluntary. As of January 7, 2017 the Republicans have  no replacement yet   [edit, I take that back:Trump’s health plan sounds like Socialism] As for building a wall and deportation, the agenda is anything but small government  click here: costs are estimated in the $800 billion for the combination of deportation and wall. However Paul Ryan said mass deportations  are not going to happen. The Muslim deal is pure populism and nothing to do with any threat from a religion. The CIA created the terrorism and said so here. Without the meddling, there would be no conflict. All the rhetoric of Donald Trump was for big government. To Donald Trump’s credit, he opposed any new gun control.

Now let’s look at Hillary. The number one item I remember is her strong defense stance, secondarily increased entitlement spending and taxing the wealthy. And she wanted gun control.

The real difference between the two is about gun control. But again, those are proposals. Trump is not even president yet. Without question, both claim big government is what America should have. That means less individual liberties for us all.

The agenda has been to make the television-controlled public think the battle is between liberalism and conservatives. It’s not. It’s between  the “D” brand and the “R” brand with suffering of the people regardless.

The motive for fooling the public into thinking there is a real fight between liberalism and conservatism is to distract the general public while the one party system (Demopublican) takes away more of our individual liberties. So whenever I see social media posts blame liberals for something I bristle and I usually respond that they are perpetuating the government control and helping the government in its fight against individual liberty.

The real liberals and conservatives are the few thoughtful people who are anti-war. Dennis Kucinich and Ron Paul. If there is any real contention, it’s that liberals tend to be non-religious and defend civil liberties and tolerant of alternative lifestyles while conservatives tend to want to impose religion on others. But the 2016 campain for president was not about this. There was no liberal versus conservative battle at all.

 

White Collar Voluntaryism in California

The older I get the less likely that I feel safer away from the cities. And the larger the city, the more comfortable I am. Yet I am an individualist. My desire for community is all because of potential health issues. Not that I am at death’s door now, but I have seen older people make mistakes. One fall and a broken hip, and all is downhill from there. There are a few in their 80s who do quite well in small towns or even on the outskirts of small towns. I’m much younger than 80 but I like to plan ahead.

The city is a big marketplace. The bigger the marketplace, the more efficient your economic decisions, therefore an individualist should love being in a large city. There are economies of scale you can take advantage of. Some prices might be higher. For instance the taxes I pay in California are much higher than those I would pay in Nevada. But I get a more coastal climate, access to more health care experts, more recreational opportunities, more restaurant choices, and more employment opportunities to fight for my skills. For instance, I compared the quality of living in Phoenix (where i lived for many years) with my living in Orange County. I barely make more money after taxes and expenses in Orange County than I would in Phoenix, and my skills are in more demand in Orange County than in Phoenix.

Put another way, if I was working in Phoenix (which I still have pleasant memories of), I would not see more money in my wallet at the end of the month’s expenses and extortion deductions than I do in Orange County.

Now as a self-aware voluntaryist, how can I justify living in a city? Before I explain, please understand I don’t believe government exists. I only see a few crime syndicates. My bi-weekly pay stub shows $1,000 going to “401-K Roth”, some huge sum going to some crime syndicate (I’m sure of, since I don’t see any of it) called “Federal Income Tax, another sum going to a crime syndicate called “Social Security Tax,” another one called Medicare tax, and two that have the crime gang “CA” preceding them. I never see that money. Roughly 31% of my income is going every two weeks to some crime syndicates. I understand that there are some places such as 300 miles from me where that percentage stolen is lower, maybe about 18% instead of 31%. But after all the theft and the higher expenses such as gasoline and rent, I’m still better off with the higher theft in California. But I still do not see any government. I do not see where a group calling itself “government” can get such authority. So essentially I am a victim of higher extortion here in the city along the coast than those who are in the interior, though I have more money left in my wallet at the end of the month. I learned how to pretend to obey every edict that is claimed to control my life and still enjoy a higher standard of living than those in the interior of this continent. Perhaps there will be a reason to pull out the stakes of this tent and leave for lower extortion places in my future, but I have greater value in Orange County.

Practicing voluntaryism in Orange County is a matter of allowing everyone voluntary association (zero aggression against anyone), and secondarily, of resisting to the best extent, any immoral, unjust edicts written by those insane individuals claiming authority.

Realize that in November 2016, more than 49% of Californians did not vote in the “general election”  Nearly half of Californians did not think it worth their while to vote for Trump or Hillary  Clinton. That is a profound and positive statement I can make for people in this region. We are not necessarily statists and we do not necessarily want any leader.

Californians deserve more credit than what outsiders think we deserve. We are here for selfish reasons. We love the weather, the geography, the variety, the convenience, and we don’t give a darn about the rulers. We are more apt to be white collar voluntaryists.