July 11, 2016

By: Bobby Casey, Managing Director GWP

groucho politicsOver the course of several years, I’ve watched as the US government and its lower tiers summarily wipe their proverbial asses with the rule of law. While I subscribe to a capitalist brand of anarchism, I am also practical. I do follow the laws. My businesses follow the laws. I do this because I have better things to do with my life than spend it in a jail cell… and I assume so do my clients. Like I said: I’m practical. But I also seem to hold myself to a greater standard than the state, considering I have no track record of violence against innocent people, I don’t violate the trust of my customers, and I honor my agreements.

In short: I do as I say, and say as I do.

We cannot say the same for the American government (or other governments to varying degrees). If I am to take the state advocates at their word, then the government is there to maintain order through the rule of law. If we all play by the same rules, we will have a peaceful society; and governments are there to ensure that.

That’s the claim, anyway. In theory, just about any scenario works right? I mean, IN THEORY, communism was supposed to be this agrarian, egalitarian utopia: amity in action. Obviously, that’s not how it plays out when put into practice. When the first settlers of the US tried it, they nearly starved to death from the tragedy of the commons. It wasn’t until the idea of private property was instituted that their plight changed.

IN THEORY, if everyone plays by the rules, then there is peace. And for the most part, I believe this to be true. If the rules are reasonable, then only the few unreasonable would need to be dealt with, and reasonable majority would generally comply with little effort. Moreover, if no one is given any special considecorations, and all are dealt with equally, people tend to be more tolerant of the enforcement of the rules as they give the appearance of equitable assessment.

When the rules become onerous and unreasonable, then the reasonable become criminals. And when the rules are not equitably applied, there is resentment and frustration.

For better or for worse, the United States has her laws, and while I certainly do not think they are all just laws or a reflection of morality, they are what they are.  I’ve long since given up the notion of “we the people” are the government. There’s a conservative 20 degrees of separation between ME and actual law making, so I’m resigned to the fact that some elite squad of people I never asked to represent me are writing laws I never consented to. Nonetheless, there are the things citizens cannot do, and there are things the government cannot or must do.

I’ve watched as individuals had their rights not only violated, but their lives taken by unscrupulous state agents; and those state agents got what amounts to a slap on the wrist.

I’ve watched as our federal government engaged in unconstitutional, undeclared wars.

I’ve watched constitutional rights supposedly guaranteed by the “rule of law” be violated in the name of safety. The TSA, sobriety check points, border check points, the Patriot Act, NDAA … they are all violations of search and seizure protocols laid out in our constitution.

I watched Hillary Clinton just get a pass on lying and breaking laws and protocols pertaining to national security. The FBI agent, James Comey, plainly stated that anyone else caught doing the same thing would be prosecuted. Meanwhile, Edward Snowden is in exile for doing the same thing… only exposing the state to its people!

The list is long and disgusting when you start going case by case. I don’t normally focus too much on the growing police state, but I will mention it here because it speaks to a larger point: we went from the prophesies of “1984” unfolding, to the prophesies of “Animal Farm” unfolding. Perhaps they were unfolding simultaneously. We already see much of what Orwell discussed in 1984 with our surveillance state. Now they don’t even try to cover it up anymore that “some animals are more equal than others”.

What would land any other person in jail or exile, gets state agents paid time off or a full pardon! One of the cops responsible for the death of Kelly Thomas, was not only acquitted, but granted his $40,000 per year pension. As if it weren’t bad enough that he was acquitted, California taxpayers are footing the bill for his early retirement.

So far the only person doing time for the death of Eric Garner is Ramsey Orta, the guy with the guts to film the whole thing! He took a plea on minor possession charges that were leveled after he came forward. Usually people who help catch criminals are given leniency. In this case, he had the book thrown at him.

We have yet to see what becomes of the officers responsible for the point blank shooting of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile.

More recently, having nothing to do with police overreach, but rather the Obama administration’s overreach, is the matter of the illegal funding of Obamacare CSR (Cost Sharing Reductions). If you’re going to make the rules, have the decency to follow them! Obamacare, as you well know, has been a boondoggle from the outset. From the website to gross underestimations of costs, and now the cover-up of those costs, it is just a steaming hot mess.

Here are the key findings from the report from the House Ways and Means Committee:

  • The Department of the Treasury improperly withheld and redacted documents without any valid legal basis to do so.
  • The Department of Health and Human Services improperly withheld documents without any valid legal basis to do so.
  • The Office of Management and Budget improperly withheld documents without any valid legal basis to do so.
  • The Department of the Treasury failed to search for records responsive to the committees’ subpoenas.
  • Treasury used regulations and Testimony Authorizations to prohibit current and former IRS employees from providing testimony to Congress about the source of funding for the CSR program.
  • Treasury officials selectively enforced the law by allowing witnesses to answer certain questions prohibited by the authorizations without objection
  • HHS counsel prevented witnesses from answering substantive questions regarding the CSR, citing the need to protect “internal deliberations” and “confidentiality interests”
  • Witnesses were instructed not to reveal the names of White House and DoJ officials involved in decisions regarding the cost sharing reduction program.
  • The Department of the Treasury pressured at least one witness into following the restrictions set forth in his Testimony Authorization after the witness questioned Treasury’s ability to limit his testimony.
  • OMB prevented a witness from answering factual questions regarding the dates or times of a meeting or conversation, refusing to invoke a legal privilege to justify withholding the information from Congress.

What are the odds anyone will be prosecuted for this? If I were to try and suppress the IRS in the same manner, I’d not see the light of day for the rest of my natural life! But here we have the executive branch – whose job it is to ENFORCE the rules and laws – egregiously breaking them.

Just as Cyprus is the template for bailouts in the EU, the United States has fashioned a template of double standards: one set of rules for the plebes, another for the political class.

I’m going to continue to play by the rules because, like I said, I got better things to do than rot in a jail cell. But not all the rules work against you! Not yet, anyway. There are rules that can help you. I capitalize on those as best I can, and can help you do the same. Anything is better than nothing, and if you can even shelter some of your assets, or find a way to avoid the US for any prolonged periods of time, you’ll be better off in the long run.   The state is going to dig its heels in on every front because of the inevitable unrest resulting from their own ridiculous laws and policies. Get out while you can.

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