Miscellany11: Democracy Israeli Style; Culture Creep;
America’s Approach to Wide-Screen TVs; The Cost of an Adopted Orphan; The Cost
of Health Care in the US; Losing the War in Iraq; Losing the War against the
Alien Invasion; US Citizenship for Sale; On Pat Robertson’s Remark Concerning
the Assassination of Hugo Chavez; The “Fair Tax”; Gross Misuse of the Social
Security Number; The “So-Called Right to Privacy
© 2005 Joseph George Caldwell. All
rights reserved. Posted at Internet web
sites http://www.foundation.bw and http://www.foundationwebsite.org
. May be copied or reposted for
non-commercial use, with attribution. (25
August 2005, updated 2 September 2005)
Commentary on recent news, reading and events of personal
Approach to Wide-Screen TVs
Cost of an Adopted Orphan
Cost of Health Care in the US
the War in Iraq
the War against the Alien Invasion
Citizenship for Sale
Pat Robertson’s Remark Concerning the Assassination of Hugo Chavez
Misuse of the Social Security Number
“So-Called” Right to Privacy
Last week the Israeli government was removing Israeli
settlements from the Gaza Strip. This
event was much covered in the US
news (I was probably watching NBC News
with Brian Williams, since I usually watch that program each evening). (Why was this event covered so
intensely? I have noted my views before
on how a relatively insignificant part of the world receives an inordinate
amount of attention in the US
news – but that’s another story.) A
young Israeli girl was interviewed by the correspondent about how she felt
about the pullout. She pointed out the
fact that under a democratic form of government, the Jews had to maintain a
comfortable majority of the population of Israel, in order to maintain
control of their country. As things were
going, with the Palestinian birth rate far outpacing the Jewish birthrate, the
Jews would soon be outnumbered in their own country, and, under democracy,
would lose control. With the pullout
from Gaza and the West Bank,
the Jews would retain a comfortable majority in their country for years to
come. The reason for the pullout and the
good sense of it were obvious to the young girl.
Similar situations have arisen in other places, such as Fiji and Algeria, where demographic changes
were threatening the political hegemony of those in power. Fiji had (greedily, stupidly) allowed
Indians to flood their country, to the point where the legislature was now
controlled by Indians rather than native Fijians. In a final act of desperation, the Fijian
military asserted the “right of primacy” of the natives, and took control of
the country. In Algeria, those
in control feared the loss of the country to religious fundamentalists if an
election took place, so they preemptively assumed control of the country.
What was obvious to the young Jewish girl, it seems, is not
at all obvious to Americans. Up to the
time of the Immigration Act of 1965, America was firmly in control of
white European Protestants. Under the
Immigration Act of 1965, which was intensely promoted by Catholic and Jewish
interests, the country was flooded with nonwhite, nonEuropean
nonProtestants. White European
Protestants have now lost control of the country. In fact, this loss of control occurred long
before they became a minority of the population. Under the phenomenon of “tyranny of the
minority,” the majority was forced to accede to the wishes of any small
minority whose numbers were sufficient to “swing” an election – blacks,
Hispanics, Jews, homosexuals – whatever.
Over 2000 years ago, Plato wrote about the flaws in
democracy, mainly, its proclivity to elect bad leaders who would pander to the
desires of the masses. Apart from this
fatal flaw, it is a form of government that works only in organizations that
are relatively homogeneous with respect to anything that matters very
much. In the case of a country, these
are race, religion, language, and culture (ethnicity, class). In homogeneous groups, the views of the
population are about the same with respect to issues of fundamental importance,
and so majority rule works rather smoothly.
In fractionated groups, it is impractical, and leads to division and,
eventually, to dissolution (witness, e.g., Iraq’s unity under Saddaam
Hussein’s dictatorship vs. its fractionation (Sunnis, Shias, Kurds) under the
US-imposed democracy; Yugoslavia serves as another example).
I read recently where Pretoria,
is being renamed as Tswane. White South
Africans once were in control of their country and their destiny – and their
city names! About ten years ago, they
extended democracy to the black population, which comprised ninety percent of
the country. The current generation of
white South Africans has now lost the country that their forefathers built with
much sacrifice and hard work. What is
amazing is that they lost their country without a fight – they simply gave it
away! As a people, they were evidently too
ignorant to see what is obvious to a young Jewish girl. Perhaps, like the Jews, they should have
established Apartheid as a religious principle, rather than a political
one. The Jews practice Apartheid in Israel, and
nobody mutters a word in protest – they have bought the Jewish argument that it
is religiously motivated, and therefore perfectly acceptable. The white South Africans tried to maintain
Apartheid as a political scheme, and they attracted world condemnation. Since they could not defend their system on
religious grounds, they eventually weakened and succumbed to international
pressure. Under democracy, outnumbered
nine-to-one, they have now lost control of their country. Every week, white South African farmers are
slaughtered by blacks, but this fact is never mentioned in the US
press. Black-controlled racism is alive
and well in much of Africa, and the US doesn’t utter a peep. As I have observed before, it is a curious
phenomenon that only whites can be racists.
By flooding the country with mass immigration from cultures
different from the once-dominant white European Protestant culture, America has
sealed its doom as a nation (because of fractionation – not because of the loss
of power by the white European Protestants).
As long as cheap energy was available, America was able to provide a
reasonably good material life to a large population, and no one complained very
much. With the arrival of Hubbert’s
Peak, however, the days of cheap oil and cheap energy are about over, and America
will no longer be able to provide a high level of living to everyone. It will start to decline in material lifestyle
to the level of a “Third World” country. As
that starts to happen, the now-culturally-fractionated country will explode in
ethnic violence, and disintegrate.
It is interesting to note that what Jews proscribe for their
own nation (mass immigration from any culture, interracial marriages), they
enthusiastically support for their enemies (gentile nations, such as the US). When asked why alien invasion and
intermarriage is bad for Jews but good for the US, they assert that their
prohibition is based on religion, not on social or political considerations, so
it is quite all right (from a moral viewpoint).
(For more on this subject, refer to Kevin MacDonald’s books, The Culture of Critique, A People that Shall Dwell Alone, and Separation and Its Discontents.)
It is also interesting to observe that for all three nations
that I have mentioned here – the US,
Israel, and South Africa –
they grew and became powerful in their days of cultural intolerance. Israel is still culturally
intolerant, and it is preserving itself and becoming stronger. South Africa abandoned its goal of
preserving its culture, and it has been destroyed – quickly, because the
previously dominant culture represented but a small fraction of the total
population. The US has
abandoned its goal of preserving its culture, and is now, grossly fractionated,
set on a path of cultural and national suicide.
This process will take somewhat longer than in the case of South Africa, since the once-dominant US culture was
a large majority. As the petroleum age
draws to a close and global industrial civilization collapses, those cultures
that care little or nothing about preserving themselves will quickly disappear.
Those, such as the Jewish, Russian, Japanese, and Chinese cultures, that place
an importance on preserving their culture, will be among those vying for
control of the planet as industrial society collapses.
For the past three years, I have been living and working in Zambia. Earlier this year, I moved back to the US. When you are away from your country for a
while, it is interesting to notice the changes that occur while you were
gone. Before I left (three years ago),
karaoke was very active in my home in Clearwater
– you could find a karaoke bar or restaurant on almost any corner. When I returned to Clearwater
after three years, karaoke was almost nonexistent (in Clearwater
– it is still quite active in other parts of the US).
I recently moved from Florida
to South Carolina. The last time I visited South Carolina, there was hardly a trace of
Hispanic influence. Now, Mexicans are
everywhere I go. There are Mexican
restaurants everywhere, and Mexicans in all of the stores. Where once English was the sole language, I
now see and hear Spanish wherever I go.
In the county government offices, every sign was expressed in the same
size letters in both Spanish and English (e.g., Human Resources / Recursos Humanos). The telephone answering machines and the bank
automated teller machines (ATMs) now all have Spanish options. Native English-speaking people are now at a
severe disadvantage in applying for many jobs.
is being rapidly given away to illegal aliens.
There are now an estimated ten million of them in the US. The government is doing essentially nothing
to repel the alien invasion, because it is very good for the economy.
One of the interesting things that I observed upon my return
is the large number of crosses along the highway. These crosses are placed there by Hispanics
to mark the place where a relative died in an automobile accident. A couple of decades ago, there were no such
crosses; now, there are many. These
crosses are an “in-your-face” statement that the country is being taken over by
Mexicans. The US government is fully complicit in
this action. If you were to place your
own sign on the state property that is alongside the highway, it would be
promptly removed. But the Mexican
accident crosses remain undisturbed. If
native Americans cared about keeping their culture, they would knock down these
crosses. Native American culture does
not have accident markers on the highway.
You cannot have it both ways – the choice is a mutually exclusive one:
it is either native American culture with no accident-marker crosses, or
Mexican culture with accident-marker crosses.
In most countries, it is the youths who fight to retain
their culture – both in war and in peacetime society. In the US, however, no youths are knocking
down the accident markers. (I wonder:
Although the accident markers are illegally placed, is it also illegal to knock
them down?) It appears that US youth do not
care to retain their culture. For years,
US schools have been teaching US children that everyone is “equal,” and no
culture is any better than any other culture.
Evidently they got the message. How
incredible. How sad.
America’s Approach to Wide-Screen TVs
Last fall my wife and I visited friends in Spain. They had recently purchased a villa in Denia,
and we visited a large appliance store to shop for a television set. I had not been in a similar store in the US for several
years, and I was surprised to see that all of the TV sets for sale were “wide
screen” ones. Evidently a new standard
is being introduced worldwide, in which the screen is much wider than in the
old format. I noticed that the picture
on the screens was distorted somewhat horizontally, and I asked the salesman
about this. He informed me that the
old-format signal would continue to be transmitted for two more years (and look
somewhat distorted on the new sets), and then the new signal would be
transmitted. At that time, the picture
on all new-format sets would be correct, and the picture on all old-format sets
would be noticeably incorrect.
That was the last that I though of this until I was in a
local appliance store (Circuit City) in the US a couple of weeks ago. To my amazement, all of the sets for sale were the old-format (almost square)
screens. As I was paying for my
purchase, I commented to the salesman that in Europe,
all of the sets for sale were of the wide-screen variety. He told me that the wide-screen format was to
be introduced in the US
in a couple of years. I told him that I
was puzzled that all of the new TV sets for sale in Europe were wide-screen,
whereas all of them for sale in the US were narrow-screen. He told me that there was a very good reason
Evidently, it was originally planned to switch to
wide-screen by a certain date in the US, but (for reasons the clerk did
not provide) the switch date had been extended for a few more years. The US TV industry had decided that it would
make much more money if it sold mainly narrow-screen TVs until the switch date,
and then sold mainly wide-screen TVs after the switch date. By this scheme, all of the sets that it sold
up to the switch date would instantly become obsolete (the picture on a 27-inch
TV would now be about 13 inches tall!), and everyone would have to buy a new
wide-screen TV to have a reasonable picture.
He told me that this was being done in full cooperation of the US government,
since they agreed that it would result in the sales of many more TV sets than
would otherwise be the case (if the wide-screen TVs were introduced early, as
is being done in Europe).
This is truly amazing.
Evidently, all that matters to the US government is increasing gross
national product. It does not matter
that all of the TVs bought for the past five or ten years will be instantly
obsolete. It does not matter that all of
the energy required to produce a decade of obsolete TVs is wasted. It does not matter that all of this
unnecessary industrial production will result in the production of massive
additional amounts of pollution, such as greenhouse gasses, and destruction of
nature. All that matters is that the US economy
produce millions of additional – and unneeded – TVs. Can this be true? Is all that matters is the money? Is America indeed the “Great Satan” of
which the Book of Revelation and our Arab neighbors speak?
A few weeks ago, my wife and I visited a friend in Charlotte, North
friend is an elderly but very active lady who does volunteer work. For many years, she has done volunteer work
in a Charlotte hospital, but recently she has
done some volunteer work as a greeter in the Charlotte Douglas
During our visit, she told us that one of the families that
she greeted was an American couple returning from Russia, where they had adopted a
Russian baby. They had the baby with
them, and our friend greeted them enthusiastically with open arms. I asked her if she had presented them with a
bill. She said, “A bill? For what?”.
I told her that for each new immigrant to the US, approximately one acre of
natural land is destroyed – converted into concrete and steel for the new roads
and buildings that every American uses.
The bill is for the destruction of one acre of natural land – and of all
of the wildlife associated with it. It
is also for the additional pollution caused by the addition of another person –
pollution of the land (ploughing, herbicides, pesticides, insecticides,
chemical fertilizer, loss of topsoil); rivers, lakes and seas (from runoff and
fertilizer poisoning); and air (smog, greenhouse gases). And it is for the destruction of wildlife and
extinction of species on the land, water, and air that is polluted or destroyed.
Of course, our friend had never thought about such a thing,
and totally rejected my point of view.
Undeterred, I continued by telling our friend that it would
be much better for the planet if the orphan had remained in Russia, since it
would consume much less energy there than here (and therefore cause less damage
to the planet, such as the production of more greenhouse gases). I explained that an average US citizen uses
about 2000 kilograms of oil equivalent each year, whereas an average Russian
uses only a small fraction of that (perhaps a tenth, or a fifth). The worst possible thing that can be done for
the planetary environment is to transfer people from poor countries (low energy-use
countries) to the US
(a high energy-use country).
“You can’t be serious!” my friend responded, as she
suggested that we turn on the television and watch “Dancing with the Stars.”
Wednesday a week ago I suffered a tear (as in “rip,” not
“drop”) in the retina in my right eye.
Following cataract surgery in 2003, I had a retina detach in my left eye
in 2004 (retinal detachments are common after cataract surgery), and the
surgeon told me at the time that the retina would likely detach in my right eye
If you do not have a retinal tear treated, the retina
eventually detaches, requiring major surgery to replace it, often with
permanent vision damage. (If you don’t
have the retina replaced, you go blind in that eye.) If you have the tear mended (by laser or
cryotherapy) right away, the operation is minor and the permanent loss of
vision is avoided.
I had the tear mended by cryotherapy (“freezing”) on
Friday. The cost of this fifteen-minute
procedure in the doctor’s office was over USD5,000. In Lusaka,
previous home) the cost of retinal mending (using lasers – the cryotherapy is
not available there) is USD100. In Pretoria, South
Africa (where the full range of services is
available), the physician’s cost for a major retina operation is just several
The thing that is rather amazing is that, with respect to
medical care, everything in Pretoria is
comparable to that in the US,
except the vastly different price. In Pretoria, I had my eye
treated at the Pretoria Eye Institute.
This is a world-class facility.
It is just down the street from the hospital where Dr. Christiaan
Barnard performed the world’s first human heart transplant. The physicians that treated me had advanced
medical degrees from South African universities, and had had additional
retinal-specialty training in the US.
Eye physicians in Africa live at about the same level of living as those
in the US. The cost of a nice home there is hundreds of
thousands of dollars there, as it is here.
The cost of a car and other household goods is generally more there than
here. Why, then, is the cost of the same
eye operation so many times greater in the US than elsewhere?
The cost is not just somewhat higher, but obscenely higher. You have to wonder why. The cost of medical care was not absurdly
high in the US
in the 1940s. Even as late as 1960, when
my first son was born, the physician’s fee was just $125.00, and the daily cost
of the hospital room was about $25.00.
These were reasonable fees (even adjusted for inflation to today’s
prices), and anyone could afford them without the need for medical insurance.
With respect to physicians’ salaries, I have a little
knowledge about why the situation is so bizarre. As I understand it, in the 1950s the US embarked on
a program to deliberately restrict the supply of physicians, in an effort to
boost physicians’ salaries. This was
done by restricting access of students to medical schools. This program to restrict trade in medical practices
was undertaken by the American Medical Association in the full knowledge of the
government. It is unique -- in other
domains, such efforts to monopolize, constrain trade, and manipulate prices are
forbidden (or, as in the case of a government-granted monopoly, the prices are
controlled by the government).
This program to restrict the supply of physicians was highly
effective in raising their salaries. In
the 1940s, a physician made on the order of $10,000 per year – not out of line
with other technical specialists, such as physicists or chemical engineers. By the end of the 1950s, US physicians were
making several tens of thousands of dollars per year. Now, they make hundreds of thousands of
dollars, or even millions of dollars, per year – far in excess of technical
specialists with comparable training in other fields. The situation is not like this anywhere else
in the world. Physicians’ salaries
elsewhere are not out of line with the salaries of other highly trained
The point that I am making is that it appears that physicians’
fees are so high in the US
simply because the government, in collusion with the private medical system,
has embarked on a program to make all doctors millionaires and
multimillionaires. There are, of course,
other factors that have pushed the cost of medical care in the US to
astronomical levels, such as medical insurance, out-of-control litigation, and
extreme utilization of technology.
(Aside: I recently
visited St. George’s University in Grenada, where I was interviewed
for the post of professor of biostatistics.
St. George’s University is a medical school that was established
by several US physicians for
the purpose of enabling qualified US
medical students, who have been denied access to training in the US, to obtain
their MD degrees. St.
George’s is but a small university, however (a few hundred
faculty), and its existence does little to impact the total supply of
physicians in the US.)
In the preceding, I have discussed just my recent experience
in eye surgery. I can present other
examples. In Lusaka, Zambia,
our regular physician was a US-trained MD (an American, in his forties). The cost of access to his clinic was USD400
per year for a family (i.e., for my wife and me). This included all visits, but not lab work or medications. My wife is diabetic and has a heart
condition, and she saw the physician on a regular basis. I saw him once last year, to have some precancerous
lesions (“skin cancers”) removed from my scalp (by “freezing” with liquid
nitrogen). The cost of this –
nothing! It was included in the $400
annual fee. When I recently returned from
Zambia to Clearwater, Florida,
I had some additional lesions removed (this was about a year later). The cost: $285! Upon our return to Clearwater my wife visited our family
physician there, once for treatment for a nagging cold, and once to have a
prescription renewed for her diabetes and heart medicine. The cost: $250 each visit! Those two brief office visits cost more than
the entire year’s fees for two people, overseas (using a US-trained American
physician!). The medicines (insulin,
heart medicine) that she purchased in Zambia for a couple of hundred
dollars a quarter now cost her several hundred dollars per month. If the quality of the services were
substantially different in the US
from overseas, you would expect a higher cost.
But the quality is comparable and the price difference is extreme.
In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, some gasoline
service-stations (on September 1) have boosted the price of gasoline to over
six dollars a gallon – about twice the normal price. (This is about the average cost of “petrol”
overseas.) Americans are outraged at
this, and are calling for arrest and imprisonment of these “price gougers” and
“profiteers.” But US physicians are
charging about ten times as much as
comparably trained and equipped physicians in other developed countries, and
Americans are not saying a thing. How do
you explain this?
The US is
losing the war in Iraq, just
as it lost the war in Vietnam,
and for the same reason. It is not
interested in winning the war, but in
waging the war. The process of waging the war costs an
incredibly large amount of money (about 200 billion dollars to date), thereby
boosting the US
gross national product tremendously. The
war could be won at far less cost (and loss of life – 1800 soldiers killed and
thousands maimed to date). I have
discussed how to win the war in Iraq
in my article “How to Win the War in Iraq,” and will not repeat the
I said that the US would continue the war only as
long as it believed that it could obtain access to Iraqi oil. Since the enemy is evidently quite able to
deny access to the oil, America
will soon abandon this effort.
Times have really changed!
When I first started writing about the alien invasion of America, very
few people were concerned about it. A
few people had written books about it, and that was about it. After many years of the invasion, however, things
are getting so bad that lots of people are now starting to take notice. Because of mass immigration – both legal and
illegal – the population of the county has exploded, from about 200 million in
1965 when the Immigration Act of 1965 was passed, to almost 300 million
now. Because of this population
explosion, the quality of life in the US has dropped dramatically. Much of our natural beauty has been
destroyed, crowding is severe, road traffic is terrible, commute times are
unbearable, urban sprawl and decay is extreme, and few young people can afford
to purchase a house unless both work in the competitive labor market (i.e.,
outside the home).
There are now an estimated 10-20 million illegal aliens in
the US. They are everywhere! I have written at length on this phenomenon,
and will not repeat the discussion here.
The crux of the problem is that mass immigration is good for business
(100 million additional people require a lot of new homes, schools, roads,
hospitals, furniture, and the like), and the government therefore wants it,
regardless of the cost to the US environment or degradation to the quality of
life of the earlier residents.
The situation has become so bad that private citizen groups,
such as the Minutemen, are trying to stop the flow of aliens across the
borders. Just as I predicted, President
Bush has labeled these citizens as vigilantes.
That didn’t do much to stem their fervor, however, so the government is
now trying to assimilate them into the official border-control agency.
will not win the war against immigration, because it does not want to. The government wants more immigrants, legal or illegal. It will continue to essentially do nothing to
stem the tide of illegal immigrants, or it will legalize their presence
here. Legal immigration is already about
a million people a year. Although this
mass immigration is causing substantial damage to our natural environment,
degrading the quality of life for most citizens, and destroying our culture, it
will continue because the government is dead set on doing anything that will
boost gross national product, regardless of cost to the national or planetary
environment – or to our culture. The
additional 100 million Americans contribute greatly to increased opportunities
for the wealthy elite, who are largely isolated from the destruction. As in the German silent film, Metropolis, they continue to frolic in
their flowered villas while the hopeless masses labor on.
current policy of allowing the illegal aliens to cross the border, and then
“process” them, is stupid, from the point of view of deterring immigration. If a country is serious about preventing
aliens from invading, it takes military steps to stop them. On CNN’s Lou Dobbs’ news program a few nights
ago, a US
congressman stated that if it were serious about stopping illegal immigration,
it would have to get serious about preventing them from entering the country in
the first place.
If the US
were serious about stemming illegal immigration, it would place machine guns
along the borders and kill the invaders.
It would end its policy of “birthright citizenship,” under which a
Mexican whore can slip across the border, have a baby, and then apply for entry
herself as the relative of a US citizen (the baby), under the US’ “family
reunification” immigration policy. If
the US wanted to stop
illegal immigration, it would make illegal entry into the country a capital
offense, and hang a few illegal aliens – in public, as is done, e.g., in Cairo, Egypt. It could hire a few Saudi executioners to lop
off a few heads, as is done each week in public as in Saudi Arabia. After a few positive steps such as these, the
flow of illegal aliens would cease, within days.
could not stop the extinction of the elephants by alien poachers, it
instituted, at the urging of Richard Leaky, a “shoot-on-sight” policy. The poaching problem was promptly
solved. Kenya introduced a shoot-on-sight
policy to save the elephants not out of a concern for the elephants, but out of
a concern for tourist dollars (see Richard Leakey’s Wildlife Wars). The US
will not implement such a policy because the alien invasion is good for business.
has a bizarre policy toward illegal aliens from Cuba. If they are apprehended while still on a boat,
they are repatriated to Cuba. If they make it to US
territory – even remote islands such as the Dry Tortugas (off the Florida Keys),
they are allowed to remain in the US (this is called the “wet-foot /
dry-foot” policy). If a few Cuban boats
were machine-gunned, and the survivors sent back to Cuba to tell their tales, the flow
of Cuban immigrants would quickly stop.
Will the US
to this? Of course not – each Cuban
immigrant adds tens of thousands of dollars to the US gross national product.
On the news last week was a segment about a large gang of
illegal aliens, called MS-13. It
consists of thousands of illegal aliens from Central
America. They are now
raping and pillaging across America. I have written before about the large number
of US citizens who are murdered by immigrants from Mexico,
Asia, and other countries – MS-13 is just the
latest manifestation. Why does the US government
not take effective action against this group?
Because it is better for business to let them stay and fight them with
our hands tied behind our backs, as we did in Vietnam,
as we are doing in Iraq,
and as we are doing in all other aspects of national “defense.” It is great money for immigration lawyers,
for border patrol agents, for security-system companies and everyone else
involved in the ludicrous mass immigration movement that is boosting GNP while
it destroys our culture and way of life.
The silly process of letting aliens enter our country, “rounding them
up,” processing them, and deporting a few will continue, because it is great
(For more on the immigration problem, see Peter Brimelow’s
Alien Nation (HarperCollins, 1995) and Jean Raspail’s The Camp of the Saints
(1973, The Social Contract Press).)
I have written before of my disdain for the US policy of giving away US citizenship
in a lottery (50,000 per year, as I recall).
When a country reaches the point where it considers its citizenship to
be of so little value that it gives it away for free, it is nearing the end of
its existence. A couple of weeks ago, I
read an incredible article about a man who had invested in a redevelopment
scheme in Spartanburg, South Carolina. The development effort had not gone well,
however, and the man needed more cash to keep it alive. Evidently, there is a US law that offers residency visas to investors
who bring USD500,000 to the US,
and promise to try to create jobs or prevent loss of existing jobs. This is really disgusting. US citizenship for sale! Many people believe that the term “Babylon” used in the Book of Revelation refers to any
large country or empire, such as Rome,
or modern industrial civilization. America
is now offering its citizenship to all comers, for the fee of one-half million
dollars. Is America
the Whore of Babylon?
(From the July 19 Spartanburg Herald-Journal article, “Cleveland looks to foreign
investors,” by Robert W. Dalton: “Congress created the program, called the EB-5
visa, in 1990. Each year, 10,000 of these
visas are available.” “Interested
foreign investors would have to put up at least $500,000 apiece and create or
save at least 10 jobs to qualify for the opportunity to seek permanent
residence status in the United
Two days ago, Rev. Pat Robertson speculated that the US might “take out” President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, since that was a lot less expensive
than fighting another war like the one in Iraq.
Yesterday, he apologized for his remark, suggesting that he
was “frustrated” when he made it.
Throughout history, religious leaders have prayed for enemy
leaders to be vanquished. Our Arab
opponents pray for this daily. The Jews
employ assassination as a matter of course.
Although it is a little surprising for a US religious leader to actually
make such a remark in such a public and explicit fashion, religious leaders
have generally been in solid support of the actions of the governments of their
countries to destroy their enemies.
Relative to this incident, I am reminded of Henry Ford’s
comment, “Never complain, never explain,” and Lee Iacocca’s addition, “Never
My brother just mailed me a copy of the book, The FairTax Book: Saying Goodbye to the
Income Tax and the IRS, by Neal Boortz and Congressman John Linder (Regan
Books / HarperCollins, 2005). I started
reading it yesterday. I have not
finished it yet, so it is perhaps premature to comment on it, but it is
interesting reading. In short, their
proposal is to replace all US
taxes by a 23 percent national sales tax.
As you know, I once wrote a book on US tax reform (The Value Added Tax: A New Tax System for the US), available on my
website. I have considerable interest in
taxes, and in particular in getting rid of the income tax. The proposal to replace the income tax with a
value-added tax (VAT) never met with any success. If Boortz and Linder can get people to
replace the income tax (and many other taxes) by a sales tax, that would be
great. While some economists may argue
that a sales tax “distorts” the economy, that is not a serious drawback,
compared to the major benefit of getting rid of the income tax.
I recommend strongly that you purchase a copy of The FairTax Book and read it.
When the US Congress proposed the Social Security Act of
1933, it proposed assigning a numerical identifier – the Social Security Number
– to all US
citizens. There was a loud outcry over
this – people did not want a universal numerical identifier. The US government promised that it
would never allow the Social Security Number to become a universal
identifier. Through the 1950s, when I
was issued my Social Security Card, it was clearly marked, “For Social Security
Purposes. Not for Identification.” At that time, nobody but employers and banks
asked for the number, in accordance with this agreement.
government has now reneged on its promise.
Not only has it allowed the Social Security Number (SSN) to become a
universal numerical identifier, it uses it itself as an identifier in many data
systems other than Social Security.
For years, I have refused to provide my SSN to any
organizations except banks or any organization explicitly authorized to use the
SSN. Gradually, it became harder and
harder to do so. In 1986, it took me
some time to find a mortgage company that would accept my application without
the Social Security Number. The dialogue
is usually the same. The requestor
states that they need the SSN to make a credit check, that the credit bureaus
use the SSN as an identifier and they cannot run the credit check without it. I point out that the SSN is totally
unnecessary to run the credit check – that I will gladly supply my name, age
and address, and since there are few or no instances of the same person of the
same age and the same name residing at the same address, I can readily be
identified by any credit bureau possessing data about me.
When I returned to the US this spring, I observed a very
noticeable change since my departure three years before. Virtually all businesses are asking customers
for the SSN. The cable companies, the telephone
companies, the automobile insurance companies, and the home insurance
companies, to cite the ones that I had to deal with right away. Also the state driver’s license agency, and
the doctor’s office. The message was
very clear: either provide us with your SSN, or we will not do business with
you. After a number of telephone
discussions, it was clear that, in 2005, any person who refuses to disclose his
SSN is going to be denied most of the services that people take for granted
(such as telephone or television) or need (such as insurance, a home mortgage,
medical insurance, a driver’s license, or a government security clearance).
I have pointed out to several of the requestors that the
most careless thing that a person can do to make himself vulnerable to identity
theft is to reveal his SSN to anyone. It
is not that the requestor’s business intends to defraud the individual – it is
when they lose their customer data files or have them stolen that the problem
arises. And instances of massive data
losses and thefts are now commonplace news items. Recently it seems that horrific stories of
identity theft are presented every few nights on the evening television
news. The July 31 issue of Parade magazine has a feature article
(by Lynn Brenner) about General John M. Shalikashvili’s experience. Along with his picture on the cover are the
banners: “His Was Stolen: How Safe Is Your Identity? What you must do to protect yourself. Retired Gen. John M. Shalikashvili: After his
Social Security number was published in the Congressional Record, the former
chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff became a victim of identity theft.”
The victims of identity theft lose hundreds of hours and
thousands of dollars trying to clear up the problem, and usually never fully
succeed. Their credit records and
reputations are permanently damaged.
When a business asks me for my SSN, I ask it why on earth they want me
to give it to them, when this makes me vulnerable to identity theft. They don’t care about my risk, and so few
people refuse that they don’t care that they lose their business. It is not just for thousand-dollar mortgages
that the SSN is requested – it is for items as minor as the installation of a
cable TV hookup, with little financial value involved.
I asked the last businessperson with whom I spoke on the
matter why people willingly divulge their SSNs to her when this is such a
foolish, risky, and dangerous thing to do.
She told me that young people were used to giving their SSNs out – that
it is only some of the older people, like me, who protest or refuse. If people are going to continue to allow the
use of the SSN, then they are going to continue to be victims of identity
theft. In the case of the SSN, all it
takes to correct the problem is for the government to live up to its promise
that it would never allow the SSN to become a national identifier. It lied, but it is not too late to right this
wrong. If you care about this problem,
which has a good likelihood of affecting you, why don’t you tell your
Congressman or Senator about it?
A number of years ago, Robert H. Bork was nominated for
Supreme Court Justice. Bork is one of
most distinguished legal scholars (see his book Slouching towards Gomorrah: Modern Liberalism and American Decline
(ReganBooks / HarperCollins, 1996) for an example of his writing). His nomination was very contentious, and he
ultimately lost the appointment to Clarence Thomas.
One of the reasons why Bork was disliked was that he made
the statement that Americans do not have a Constitutional right to
privacy. Americans did not want to hear this,
even though it is true, and they “shot the messenger.”
A similar situation occurred recently. The nominee to replace Sandra Day O’Connor, John
Roberts, is being subjected to the same vilification as Bork was, and for the
same reason. He made reference once to
the “’so-called’ right to privacy.” As
in the case and time of Bork, Americans do not want to hear this. They believe that they have a God-given
right, an “unalienable” right, to privacy, and they will shun anyone who
implies otherwise. (A “right” is a
simply a privilege granted by your government.)
On a local (Spartanburg,
SC) television station on August
26, a political advertisement was aired, blasting Roberts for implying that
Americans do not have a Constitutional right to privacy. Speaking the truth can be very detrimental to
your political career, particularly making reference to restrictions on individual
freedom in a permissive society dedicated to radical individualism and radical
I experience this sort of thing all the time, relative to my
assertion that industrial civilization will collapse as Hubbert’s peak (the
decline in global oil production) occurs.
I have been banned from Internet discussion groups (“don’t ever run Caldwell”) and blasted in
“blogs” for saying things – no matter how well supported by facts – that Americans
simply do not want to hear.