Thursday, June 17, 2004


Michigan has a law stating that if a cop has a car pulled over on the side of the road, you are required to move over into the left lane, or if you aren't able to, you must slow down.

Pretty thoughtful, eh? Saving the lives of those two or three cops a year that get whacked by trucks on freeways is a good thing: cops shouldn't die because of their revenue enhancement activities!

Last week I had a flat tire at about mile marker 73 of I-96. It was not pleasant jacking up my Explorer mere feet from semis whooshing by me, but I did it. I had no choice.

Interesting thing is, a car pulled over about a quarter mile behind me. Perhaps he hit the same road debris that flattened my tire, but in any case, shortly afterward, a Sheriff’s Deputy pulled in behind him with the yellow warning lights (not the blue and red you're-gonna-get-a-ticket lights). I noticed all the cars pulling over for the cop, thinking, "Saving the lives of those two or three cops a year that get whacked by trucks on freeways is a good thing!"

Anyway, those same people who moved over for the cop, moved back into the right land in that quarter mile, only to whoosh me some more.

I thought, "Why is that cop's life more important than mine?" as I cursed a pox upon all the people whooshing me, and their families, and their neighbors, and the people down the street from them that smile and wave as they pass.

At one point, I screamed, "Enhance this revenue, bud!" To no avail. Bastards.

Monday, June 14, 2004

Where's my $1000 dollar bill?

With the Patriot Act, and Son of the Patriot Act, we are on our way to new depths in freedom.

First of all, let's face it, there's no such thing as true Freedom. And by that I mean the adolescent mantra, "I'll do whatever I want, whenever I want, wherever I want." You can't. You can't even approach it, even as an ideal; we can only live little pieces of it as an illusory bit of the ideal. (Why, because we humans are all power hungry monkeys, but that's another Rant)

"What does this have to do with money?" If you're asking this, you probably aren't aware of the vast paper trail you're leaving through your life.

Every purchase you make, every time you use your grocery store card, buy gas at pay-at-the-pump, or even use PayPal, you make a record of money transfer. Someone with adequate resources could learn anything about you there might be to know. If you're a law-abiding citizen, you have nothing to hide - only criminals use cash, right? They're the ones with briefcases full of money who go off to overseas banks to open secret bank accounts. They're the ones with so much money from drug deals they can't do anything with it. And don't forget the terrorists - terrorists use cash too! Cash must be evil, then. A clear indicator of someone who might want to do Bad Stuff.

That's why they made a law about not moving about more than $10,000 - so they could catch the gangsters laundering their money.

Money Laundering: Why is it dirty? Because criminals touch it and they are dirty! No, because it was untaxed.

They say follow the money if you want the root of a motivation. This is it. The US tax code has had the unintended consequence of taking away our freedom. The IRS has high motive to track the movement of cash through society in order to properly tax income of individuals. You can't actually give someone a big chunk of money either because there's a tax on that too.

According to the CPI calculator, in 1945, when the $1000 bill was last printed (it was taken out of circulation in 1969), that denomination was worth close to $10,222 in today's money. You could buy a car with a single bill of money. You could carry the equivalent of a million bucks in your pocket. (OK, it'd be a big pocket). But even then, the $10,000 bill was still in circulation -- a stack of ten of them would be a million in today's dollars.

But you can't any more, not because the government wanted to crack down on gangsters, but because they wanted their piece of you. If you buy and sell and pay our employees with cash, how is the IRS to know how much income you have? Are they simply to believe you're lying ass? (The gangster, er, drug dealer, er, terrorist thing sounds good, though, doesn't it?)

We are fast on the way to the cashless society. In a couple of decades, it wouldn't be too surprising to find that all anonymous forms of transacting business are illegal. When this world comes to be, then all the tools will be in place for anyone with a power trip wet dream to completely control you.

How free is that?

The interesting thing is, that by simply replacing income taxes with consumption (or value added) taxes, it all disappears. Sure the Justice Department will flop around on the deck for a few years trying to maintain it's grip on your data warehouse, but without the IRS to back them up, they're really not a political force. (See now how they are desperately trying to hold on to the power granted them with the Patriot Act?)

Good old currency should come back, albeit in modern form. We'll see the advent of anonymous credit/debit cards preloaded with as much cash as you would like to put in them. Encryption techniques can even prevent the anymous cash card from being tracked from purchase to purchase. You could give your entire fortune to a favorite grandchild in the form of that card, or you could give it to a random bum on the street. Perhaps it will be called a "Jovian Credit Disk" (if you get that reference, you're a nerd). And the government would always get it's piece when the money is spent - what more could they ask for?

I'm thinking I should be put on the new $1,000,000 bill.

Wednesday, June 02, 2004

It's getting drafty.

Word on the street is that the military is having a hard time recruiting kids when there's a zillion crazy al Quida wanna-bes ready to shoot them. This is apparently a big surprise, so they're looking to start up the draft.

But kids are smart. They know that going to college could possibly keep them out of the gun sights, so the proposed legislation will now eliminate the higher education deferment.

And. Oh, yeah, girls get to go get shot at too. (But hey, if girls can play amateur torturer in Iraq, they can certainly take it from the other side. So to speak.)

Ordinarily, I'm in great favor of the draft in times of war because it tends to level the playing field. Everyone gets to go get shot at regardless if they are rich or poor. Also, Senators with kids of draft age would think have to be damned sure about what they're doing to make wars and stuff.


Everyone knows that the kid of a Senator gets his ass kissed in the military, and rich people can buy off people to get their kids assignments in a nice safe spot like Kansas.

So, I propose that we, the people plug the loophole. This is the age of the Internet! We can start a website that tracks such things and gets hypocrite members of Congress recalled. We can find the people who take the bribes and get them booted, by posting their names on a website (perhaps one that operates in Singapore). Unfortunately "The Smoking Gun" is already taken, so how about "The Licking Boot"?

As a final note, I find it distressing that the army only takes well-behaved smart people. We should do more to lower the standards, so that we on average send more idiots and criminals into the rain of lead. I'm writing my congressman right away on this matter and so should you.