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Friday, April 18, 2014

Easter and the Lawyers

 

As one reads a Gospel in the Bible, one is reading a history of Jesus Christ.  From his birth to his  death.  Some parts are very detailed, others are sketchy.  Throughout there is one thorn that follows the Messiah on his brief journey and that is the Lawyers.  The Pharisees, Sadducees, scribes among others challenged Christ during his ministry.

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During the journey to the cross, more and more people followed Jesus.  With the growing crowds the Jewish leaders, lawyers became fearful.  Fearful of losing their control as leaders of the Jewish people.  Numerous times throughout the Gospel there are mention of plots to Kill the Messiah.  None came to fruitation for it was not time yet. 

Jewish Law is based on the books of Moses, Mosaic law.  Like the laws of today, there were numerous laws the Jewish Lawyers wrote down to control the people.  It is these laws that were used to try and trick Jesus so they would have justification to kill him.

If it had not been for the Jewish Lawyers Legalism, the ministry of Christ would have been fairly uneventful.  Yet the follies of this legalism is what the Grace of Christ is about.  Yet the lawyers did not understand that their laws were not working and that life did not need volumes of laws to live by. 

Look at how Christ confronts the lawyers as He goes into the temple at Jerusalem.  It is not the Jews that Killed Christ, but by trickery the Jews got the Romans to execute Christ.  The laws of the Jews failed them.

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Look at the legalism of the churches today and our country, are they failing us?

 

He is risen, Indeed He is risen.  Happy Easter.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

The Slavery Of Taxes

 

The Slavery of Taxes

 

                When I first heard the use of taxes as slavery, I was taken aback.  It did make me stop and think, what was being referred to.  So I go looking for definitions of slavery.  And there a whole variety of slavery types, the closest was bondage.  Bondage meaning subject to ………… Involuntary subjection. 

 

, enthrallment. Slavery, bondage, servitude refer to involuntary subjection to another orothers. Slavery emphasizes the idea of complete ownership and control by a master: to be sold into slavery.Bondage indicates a state of subjugation or captivity often involving burdensome and degrading labor: inbondage to a cruel master. Servitude is compulsory service, often such as is required by a legal penalty:penal servitude.

Dictionary.com Unabridged

 

On that definition of being in subjection, one can see how taxes can create a form of slavery.  Being citizens of a country, there is a certain level of obligation to help the government.  It is usually done by collecting revenue.  So various types of taxes, were created to help the government to operate.  Most taxes were use taxes.  Taxes imposed on goods and or real property.  Other types of taxes were head taxes, just for being a citizen, a person had to pay a tax. Then there were taxes imposed, for nothing in particular. 

In early history, some of the most despised people were the tax collectors.  Along with royalty, these people lived a lavish life.  The tax collector developed a following of a few people who would help him collect taxes usually the local bully.  Along with the taxes, a tribute would be collected so that the bully would not damage the person’s property or self.  To become a tax collector meant riches for that person and sometimes a small empire and maybe up the ranks to a royal standing.

Over the years the tax collector has lost this status but not their fear.  For if one does not pay taxes, there are some pretty nasty consequences.  In this lies the state of slavery. 

n

2.

something that limits or restricts something else; a qualification: you may enter only under certainconditions

3.

( plural ) external or existing circumstances: conditions were right for a takeover

Dictionary.com Unabridged

 

 

 When the United States came into existence, taxes for the most part were voluntary.  With some people not paying taxes, laws were passed compelling people to pay taxes.  Then shop keeps and business were compelled by the government to collect taxes for them.  All these laws of compulsion carried some stiff penalties of non-compliance.   Years in prison and or large fines were imposed if people did not pay their taxes or if businesses did not collect taxes.    Much like slavery, if one did not do the job there were severe punishments.  Usually in the form of whippings and or locked away in some manner. 

 

The parallels between tax laws and slave laws are ominous to the person who thinks they are free. 

 

 

 

a. to alter the response of (a person or animal) to a particular stimulus or situation

 

b. to establish a conditioned response in (a person or animal)

15.

to put into a fit condition or state

Dictionary.com Unabridged

 

 

The other way tax laws are used is to control behavior and or alter certain behavior.  The sin taxes are in that category.  There are those who do not like drinking or smoking and as such these items are easily taxed.  It is hoped that by taxing these items to excess people will alter their behavior or abstain from consuming these products. 

A variety of laws have passed to make consumption of tobacco and alcoholic beverages illegal under certain conditions.  If any of these laws are violated, taxes of another kind are imposed, fines. 

When looking at taxes and laws and how they are used to subjugate people to conform to certain behaviors, one can see a form of slavery.

To control a person, there is usually some type of intimidation used.   To force one to follow certain rules, the slave master would use various punishments.  Public flogging is but one example, public executions: hanging by the neck or beheading, are but a few example of public intimidation.   These public events have also been used by various governments over the centuries.  Publishing of debts and criminal records is another example of an attempt to humiliate and control people.  

Taxes are a volatile debate, yet one had never considered taxes as a form of slavery.  Yet if I do not conform to rules that are imposed by governments, I will suffer severe consequences. 

So at what level of slavery is acceptable?  Some people were asked: would you rather be a slave or free?  Many answered a slave for they got room and board if they were slaves.  Kind of like the guy would sold his soul to the devil.

 

Who Are The Slave Master(s)?

Interesting question, the obvious finger points at the politicians, the politician controls the purse strings to a certain extent.  Next look at where the tax dollars go.  The cronies of politicians would be a good place to start.  Then there are the bureaucrats, those whose, wages are paid by tax dollars.  Some of these agencies have become very adept at manipulating the political process to funnel more money into their agencies, to expand their fiefdoms. 

A good example is the highway/roadway departments.  People like to drive on smooth roads for an easy drive and if there are problems with a road, the bickering begins.  Politicians wanting to get re-elected are quick to respond.  They meet with the citizens, hear the complaint then the political type goes to the road keepers.  The transportation people say they can fix the problem but it will cost X more dollars. 

Such begins the cry for more tax money.  This is but one example of how different agencies clamor for more taxes.  Each year there are budget hearings and each time there is a clamor for more money in their budget.  It is a part of the American fabric, bigger is better, so if there is a bigger government, it will be better. 

The government bureaucracies have grown beyond the management level of one or two people.  The cabinet heads command a large staff and the President has numerous czars to oversee the cabinet members and their staffs.  These people serve at the pleasure of the current administration and change as the political winds change.  Whereas the bureaucrats remain the same throughout their careers, their appetites ever growing, wanting more.

Like most people, they want more pay, some status, power and their base for this comes from the tax[payers.  Read somewhere that the average government worker makes 22% more than their counterpart in the private sector.  The Civil Servant has outstripped the pay of the taxpayers that support them, kind of ironic.  The other way they gain prestige and more money is by creating department heads.  Then the wages jump into the 6 figure income bracket and on up.  Sometimes these people have no more then 5-10 people under them.  Stop in at the local agency office, see how many bosses there are and how many are under them, it is surprising.

 

So if someone wants to search out slave masters, they have to look beyond the politician.  One can not just look at one political party either.  The Republicans have their favorite taxes as well as the Democrats.  For the Republicans their sacred cow is the military among others.  The Department of Defense has grown like the other bureaucracies and like them the DOD has become top heavy with administrators. 

So one can not point a finger at any particular political group and say they are the slaves masters. 

 

 

Lost Taxes

 

What would have if taxes of a certain type were discontinued or changed?  One of the excuses politicians use for raising taxes is to help the poor.  Welfare is the first to jump out of the bushes, so look at that.   

This is where money is taken from all and then sent to a bureaucracy and these bureaucrats in turn give a small portion back to certain people that are in a certain income bracket.   Now a 100% of the money does not go to these people, a portion is retained by the bureaucracy to administer the tax dollars. 

So, how to do it different?  I asked a friend once, “How would you like a raise of $200.00-$300.00 per month?  I got a quizzical stare.  I explained that if the tax rates were changed it would provide more disposable income for the household, still a blank look.

Depending on who one talks to, the poverty rate is an income of less than $25,000.00 per year.  Yet these people still have to pay an income tax, and they qualify for various welfare benefits.  So, do it differently, exempt certain income levels from personal income tax.

To get out from under the slavery of taxes, the rule of taxes need to change.  Politicians have been arguing over reforming the tax codes for years, not much has happened.  Taxes can not be eliminated, the government needs to function, at what level is the debate, which leads to what level of slavery does one want.

If those who were below $25,000.00 income were exempted from personal income tax, they would have another $200.00 to $400.00 per month to spend.  That would be groceries, a monthly payment on something, some extra disposable income.  It would also make the minim wage jobs a little more attractive. 

With the burden of personal income tax gone the person in the poverty income range could live a different life.  No longer would they be dependent for government programs, their burden of slavery would be reduced.   They would be more productive members of society and still be in support of society for they would still pay the consumption taxes.  These are the taxes that support the schools, roads and local police/fire agencies. 

For years a few have argued that personal income tax is not constitutional, that is not in question here.  What is being pointed to is the burden it places on people and how people become subjugated to the slavery of taxes. 

There is a small element in society that has control issues and occasionally they get into Congress and laws that control behavior are passed, not laws of consequences.  Personal income tax is a law of behavior and used to control behavior.  For if one does not pay their taxes or collect them there are sever consequences, including the loss of personal property and or real property.  These are the things a slaver would tend to do to control his slaves. 

Personal Income tax removes one’s freedom of choice.  Whereas consumption taxes, one has a choice on what to consume.  There is a difference, albeit subtle.  In this difference one can see why there has been such a reluctance why the people in Washington DC are so reluctant to give up the control they over people with personal income taxes. 

 

Whatever the political affiliation is, fingers point all directions.  The Republicans have their sacred cow taxes as do the Democrats. 


 

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Death of a Windmill

 

For many years the windmill has captured the breezes.  Throughout the years I have taken pictures of it.  It is an old wood frame wind tower, They are few and far between, so it became a windy model for me.  Went down the road other day and saw its propeller had fallen off.

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No longer was it spinning in the breezes.  The pasture and sheds appear to of been abandoned many years ago and it just sat there spinning freely.  The fierceness of the wind with lube finally took its toll.

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Down in the weeds n grasses is its final resting place.  The winds shall flow on by, ruffling the grasses, no longer spinning the propeller. 

Over the years I have taken videos of windmills and this one usually made the final cut.  Alas I could not remember where I spotted it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R8r-w8PY6Zc

When I first spotted it, it was a nice summer day and the blades were slowly turning.  There was water in the stock tank and a couple of horses were eyeing the stranger taking pictures.

No longer will the pastoral scene be there.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

The Ancient Dwellings of the Anasazi

 

Across the southwestern US is a large collection of ancient native Indian villages.  Most are abandoned and in various stages of ruins.  A few of these villages survived the Spanish invasion and are still inhabited by a few of the natives. 

In my travels I made it a point to visit as many of these old village sites as possible.  A few were National Parks, like Mesa Verde, others were National Monuments, like Canyon De Chelley, and some were State Parks.  The ones on federal land like the BLM were abused and very neglected.  Yet with good maps I could search these places out and have quite the adventure bounding over the dirt roads into lots of back country. 

I have been scanning some slides into digital and it has brought back lots of memories of these jaunts.  I met various Archeologists and Anthropologists during these visits and read lots of books about the Ancient Ones.  I had a good friend that was an Archeologist that had been on digs to Mexico and South America plus other places in the world.  We would sit on evenings when I would visit and talk about the all types of old stuff. 

Over time my appreciation for what I was looking at grew.  How the dwellings were constructed the purpose of the various rooms and how the Indians lived thousands of years ago. 

The recent slides I scanned were from Frijoles Canyon, just West of Santa Fe, New Mexico on the edge of the Los Alamos Caldera. 

The Bean Canyon is carved out of volcanic tuff and pumice, creating almost sheer walls in the canyon.  There was a small stream that flows through it providing water for the village.  It is off the beaten path so the number of visitors was low.

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Along the base of the cliffs, dwellings were carved out and houses were built using the cliffs as a wall. 

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Footholds were carved into the cliffs to climb out of the canyon.  Up the sheer rock they went.  Quite often it was from a rooftop.

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In some instances, a small portion would be constructed to show people what it looked like when the dwellings were inhabited.  Adobe blocks were made and used to build the walls, trees were cut for floors/roofs and covered with mud.  Up the cliff they would build, sometimes three, four stories or more. 

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Walls that were still standing were stabilized and held in place to preserve what little bit was left. 

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On the upper part of the cliff in a cave they built and over look which contained a Kiva, a ceremonial room.  There were no doors, only entry through the roof via the ladder.  Here were the drums, the pipes and other paraphernalia used for their various celebrations. 

Their culture is based somewhat on the present day Pueblo Indians, which they feel were their  ancestors. 

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Caves were dug into the cliffs behind the rooms.  The round holes in the rock were sockets fro holding the vigas after the walls were built.  Average height for these people was about five feet.  Most ceilings were just over six feet.

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Down in the canyon bottom they built.  South facing to catch the sun.  Water near by to water their crops of beans, corn and squash.  They were farmers, not hunter gathers. 

The canyon walls reveal the various layers of eruption from the volcano over the eons. 

 

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Denver ….. A Liberal City

 

Queen City of the Plains is what Denver used to be referred to.  Then sports got to be big and the moniker was changed to the Mile High City.  With all the dirt and other stuff in the air, Denver isn’t much of a Queen City any more.  Maybe a dowdy has been.  Sitting a river basin, creates a failure for air quality.  There are temperature inversions that trap the dirty air for days at a time.  Creating a pretty ugly city skyline.

Also being a city dominated by liberals there tends to be stark contrasts between neighborhoods.  Most of the middle class has left the city for the burbs.  In Denver are the upper class/elites and the poor wannabe’s.

Yet the spectacular view of the mountains will always be there.  Denver has one of the most picturesque settings in the world.  Even when it obscured by the haze, there are clear days when the view is beyond compare and for that reason people want to move to Denver.

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Denver is not a blue collar town.  Most of industries and factories have been chased and all that’s left are government jobs and the service industry.  The closest thing in the area to a factory is Coors Brewery in Golden and it is so despised by liberals for the Coors family is supper rich and very conservative plus they fought off the union from getting into the brewery. 

At one time Denver was only second to DC for federal government jobs to Washington DC.  The feds set up lots of regional offices in the area so they could go out and visit the mountains plus Denver is a central location for the Rocky Mountain region.  As a result there are lots of government contractors in the area.

The location also is a nice distribution area for the major factories back east/midwest.  There are huge warehouses surrounding the city and small support businesses. 

These jobs are skilled/semi-skilled workers so for the poor people there is not a lots offered to them.  This sets up a good conflict and the poor me mind set.  So the politicians have easy prey and can promise lots of things and deliver hardly any thing. 

Yet this large government payroll pros up Denver and kind of insulates it from economic downturns. 

Look at the pay scale of the government workers, most are in the $70-80,000 range and into six figures.  Then look at the pay scale for the workers in the service industries, the Wal-Mart workers, the Kwik Stop stores, most of them pay in the $20-30,000 range.  Even the good union jobs are seldom over 50K a year. 

A low level government administrator gets a nice mid six figure income.  The socio economic gaps are growing between the work a day person the one who lives on the government payroll trough.

It was this type of gap that the Bolshevik's and Lenin used to overthrow the Tsars of Russia. 

Kind of makes one wonder what is being set up?

Having lived in the Denver area for over 30 years I have seen lots of changes.   It moved from a CowTown to a oversized metropolitan area.  People have moved from other parts of the country to escape their problems and in the process brought more problems with.  No longer is it a simple pleasant town built on  the plains.  It has become a complex metropolis intertwined in the bureaucracy of government. 

Ah well, it has its days when all things are great, so I will go visit on occasion and remind myself why I live in a small one horse town now.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

ReLiving The Past

 

One of my pleasures is taking the time on occasion to visit the museums in the small towns.  Most are closed through the winter.  So when I do find open for a snow day I take advantage of it.

I like to look at things and imagine what it would have been like in years past.  What would it be like to use that machine, cook with those pots n kettles or ride in that buggy.

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This mail cart caught my attention.  Look at how it down between the wheels and look at the suspension and springs.  I could see the letter wagon trotting down the rod, the driver letting the horse amble while reading the latest in pulp fiction. 

At the mailbox the horse pauses, the letters are removed from the box and new letters are placed inside.  A clicking of the tongue and the horse begins trotting down the road again. 

Down the road at the next house some children are out front playing when they see the horse and its cart.  Out to the road they  run to say hi at the mailman.  Out of the back a catalogue is retrieved, with joy the children jump up and down.  The wish book has arrived.  Inside are the latest toys, clothes and other dreamy things to look at.

The children run to the house, a clicking of the tongue and down the road to the next mailbox they trot. 

What a difference in the pace of time and choices of what is fun.   How many today know the name of their mailman, say hi to them, pass the time of day?

I don’t get home delivery, I have to go into the Post Office and open my mailbox.  Sometimes Linda or Kay are in the lobby and a quick hi or pleasantries are exchanged.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

1800’s Drug Peddler

 

I like to stop in the museums of the small towns and browse their collections.  It gives me a sense of what my forefathers dealt with before the conveniences of today.  Plumbing and electricity were new gadgets back then and the car was a dream in a back room some place.  The horse and buggy/wagon was the still the primary form of transport.  The train was still in diapers. 

Yet what we consider hardships today, back then they had the latest in technology and equipment.  Peddlers of various types, roamed the country side with their horse and wagon pedaling their wares.  One of the more colorful peddlers was the patent medicine man and his carnival type of sales pitch. 

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These early day side show peddlers were an early version of the drug dealer.  For most of their medicines contained a narcotic of some sort blended with a mild alcohol.  Most common narcotic was Laudanum and then cocaine. 

Laudanum, has been used for centuries as a cure for what ails a person.  It would get them so high, no pain was felt.  Laudanum was a common remedy for consumption across Europe.  Cocaine is what gave Coca Cola its kick and endearing desire by many.

Across the land these colorful peddlers traveled.  Barking out the glories of their special concoctions. 

Then the morals police entered the scene and got the government to declare that this business was no longer legal.  No longer could these legal drug peddlers roam the land freely.  

The government did not eliminate them.  Instead the drug dealers went underground with their wares.  The poppy growers of Afghanistan still had a market for their white powder.  No longer was the powder sold through a business, it now had a secret market. 

Yet the narcotic is still used today as a medicine, mostly as pain killers. 

As a medicine, the government can regulate it and tax it it at a higher level. 

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Like many things, when the government destroys a business, others crop up and flourish.  Probably one of the more unsuccessful government campaigns was the prohibition movement, lots of the them the same anti-drug people. 

Look what happened when booze was prohibited, crime flourished.  Much like the crimes of the drug lords and their gangs.  So many times the government creates more  problems then they solve. 

No matter, it is still fun to travel through the time machine of the local museums.