Tag Archives: President Reagan

BECOMING THE NEW BARBARIANS

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There may be a collapse (Jack Donovan in a speech at the second National Policy Institute’s conference, which was held at the Ronald Reagan Building in Washington, DC, on October 26th, 2013). It could happen. It could happen tomorrow. Vengeful gods could hurl boulders from the sky, cleansing the earth with fires and floods. There could be blood in the streets and gnashing of teeth. A plague of locusts or killer bees, some Chinese flu, or the Zombie Apocalypse. Your debit cards might run empty and your “smart”phones might get real dumb. We may be forced to band together in primal gangs and fight for survival. We may be forced by circumstances beyond our control to rediscover life ways more familiar to our species—to our ancestral brains—than this endless, banal sprawl of corporate parks and shopping malls.

Or you may just get that one day as a lion, to die like you were born, kicking and screaming and covered in someone else’s blood.

It has a certain appeal.

But while any or all of that could happen (and it could all happen tomorrow), it is also possible that this broken, corrupt system could limp along for a very long time.

Yes, it should fail catastrophically. It deserves to fail. But no matter how much the world needs a reckoning or a reset button, it’s a lot easier on a day-to-day basis for people at every level of society to keep patching it together and doing the best they can until they run out of duct tape.

So . . . until that day comes . . . until everyone runs out of duct tape . . . Until then, almost everyone, even American leaders, seems to agree that America is in decline.

And during that decline, we can expect to see more of what we’ve already been seeing. For most people, that will mean a “progressive” ratcheting down of quality of life, and the lowering of expectations.

What we won’t see is some “great awakening” or a dramatic change in leadership or direction. The people who run America aren’t going to “come to their senses.”

As America declines and becomes a failed or failing state, the corporations and businessmen and bureaucrats who run it will continue to preach globalism and multiculturalism and feminism.

They will continue to condemn anything that could be considered racism or tribalism—especially among whites—until they are safely in the minority. They will continue to condemn “male sexism” and continue to promote any kind of go-girl female sexism that emasculates or devalues men. They will continue to promote reverence for their own academic priest class while condemning as “extreme” any religious belief that challenges the moral authority of progressive beliefs. They will continue to promote dependence on the State for security and income and healthcare—for life itself.

And, no matter how many “conflicts” they escalate or how many people they kill or imprison or how militarized their police state thugs become, they will officially continue to condemn “violence.”

They will continue to do all of this because it makes perfect sense for them.

If you were the rulers and toadies of a nation in decline, whose people were bound to lose wealth and status and you wanted to protect your own interests and keep your heads, why would you not want to keep those people separate, emasculated, weak, dependent, faithless, fearful and “non-violent?”

Figureheads may come and go, but I see absolutely no reason why the message will change.

Many of you may see yourselves as civilized men. Sane men in an increasingly insane, vulgar and barbaric world.

But you’re wrong! You are the new barbarians.

The official message will continue to be that:

• If you believe that all men are not created equal
• If you believe that free men should have access to firearms
• If you believe the government cannot be trusted to regulate every aspect of your life
• If you believe that race means blood and heritage — not just “skin color”
• If you see that men and women are different and believe they should have different roles
• If you believe that men should act like men
• If you believe that gay pride parades and gay marriage are ridiculous
• If you believe in some “old time religion”

If you believe any or all of those things, then, according to the State and corporations, the Academia and the media, you are a stupid, psycho, hillibilly, Neo-Nazi, woman-hating, wife-beating, homophobic throwback, reactionary Neanderthal.

You know it. Dance to it. Make it a techno remix. Because make no mistake: you are dangerous, traitorous and quite possibly seditious.

Well, I’m reminded of the words of rapper Eminem:

– I am whatever you say I am
If I wasn’t then why would I say I am
Im the paperm the news, every day I am
Radio won’t even play my jam

It doesn’t matter what you think you are. You are whatever they say you are. They control the message. No matter how reasonable you think your message is, the radio is not going to play your jam. No matter what you think you are, to them, you are the barbarians. So own it… be it. And, if you’re going to be the barbarians, then start thinking like barbarians.

What does that mean? What does it mean to be a barbarian? Classically speaking, a barbarian is someone who is not of the State, of the polis. The barbarian is not properly civilized — according to the prevailing standard of the State. His ways are strange and tribal. The barbarian is an outsider, an alien.

How must a man’s thinking change, when he is alienated by the State of his birth?

How does a man go from being a man of the polis to an outsider — a barbarian — in his own homeland?

These are important questions because if you see no viable political solution to the inane and inhuman trajectory of the progressive state — and I don’t — then any meaningful change is going to require a lot more than collecting signatures or appealing to the public’s “good sense” or electing the right candidate.

What you need is to create a fundamental change in the way that men see themselves and their relationship with the State. Don’t worry about changing the state. Change the men. Cut the cord. And let them be born to a state of mind beyond the state.

Show them how to become barbarians and break the sway of the state. How do you do that? Well, that’s something I’m going to be thinking and writing about for the next few years.
But I can offer four lines of thinking that I think could be helpful.

1. SEPARATE “US” FROM “THEM”

This conference is about the future of identity. Which identity? Who are we talking about? Who is we? When I talk to guys about what is happening in the world right now, they’re quick to tell me what we should do about it, but who is this we?

You and the corporations that sell you garbage food, ruin your land and outsource your jobs? You and the “expert” shills who turn your values into “psychological problems?” You and the paid-for media that mocks you? You and the Wall Street bankers who financialized the economy for their own short-term gain? You and the bureaucrats who want to disarm you and micromanage every aspect of your life? You and the politicians who open up the borders and fall all over themselves to pander to a new group of potential voters instead of working for the interests of the actual citizens of the country they swore to represent?

That “we?”

Americans, especially, are used to speaking in terms of “We the people.” But there are 300 million people in the United States and that’s a lot of “we.” Be more specific.

Be more tribal.

One of the best pieces of writing advice I ever got was this: never say “people” when you mean “men.” Well, my advice to you is to never say “we” when you mean “they” and never say “us” when you mean “them.” Stop using democratic language. Stop pretending that we are all on the same team, because we’re not. And we don’t have to be. Decide who you really care about. Figure out what you have in common. Define your boundaries. Decide who is in and who is out. The people who are in are “us.” Those people are “we.” Everyone else this “they.”

2. STOP GETTING ANGRY BECAUSE THINGS DON’T MAKE SENSE!

Almost nothing you read or hear in the news today seems to make any sense at all.

People get so angry, so frustrated, so betrayed. It’s like “our leaders” are crazy or stupid, or both. It doesn’t make sense to put women in the infantry. That’s obviously crazy! It doesn’t make sense to encourage kids to take out college loans they’ll never be able to pay back. It doesn’t make sense to invite people into the country when you cannot afford to care for the people who are already here. That’s nuts!

It doesn’t make sense to start wars and then say you’re trying to “win hearts and minds.” War is not a good way to win hearts and minds! And worrying about hearts and minds is not a good way to win a war!

It doesn’t make sense that bankers and CEOs get golden parachutes and go on vacation or get jobs in the administration after knowingly and intentionally destroying companies, jobs, lives, the environment — whole segments of the economy!

But if you realize that they — the people who run the country — are doing things to benefit them and not you, everything makes perfect sense.

Consider the possibility that America’s leaders really don’t care if American soldiers live or die. Consider the possibility that American colleges and bankers don’t care if you live the rest of your life in debt to them. They’d probably prefer it. Consider the possibility that American politicians care more about keeping their jobs in the short term and looking good in the media than they do about what happens to the people of their country in the long term. Consider the possibility that “you” are not part of an “us” that “they” care about. I promise that if you meditate upon this, things will start to make a lot more sense.

If you let go of the idea that these people are supposed to care about you or the country, and you allow yourself to see them as gangs and individuals working to further their own interests, you can relax and appreciate their crafty strategy.

Let go of foolish expectations about what these people should be doing. Step back and see them for what they are. Don’t be mad. Don’t be outraged. Be wise.

As Nietzsche recommended: be carefree, mocking, and violent.

3. DE-UNIVERSALIZE MORALITY

Men who were raised with American, Egalitarian, “Late-Western” values want to be “good men.” They want to be fair and just, and they want to be just to everyone. This can be absolutely paralyzing.

It really creates an internal conflict for men—good men—who are especially athletic or who have some kind of military or police background. They were taught and they believe in good sportsmanship and equal justice.

They want to do the “right thing,” no matter what. They want to be Batman.

However, it is also in the nature of these men—even more than other men— to think vertically, hierarchically, tribally, to think in terms of “us” and “them.” To evaluate others naturally, primally, by the masculine, tactical virtues of strength, courage, mastery and honor.

But as soon as the football game or the superhero movie is over, progressive America goes back to hating and punishing those virtues. Progressive America goes back to hating and punishing men who act like men. These “good guys”… these guys who want to be heroes get blamed and played and dumped on and treated like garbage.

No matter what the progressive American message is, when it comes to men who act like men—especially white men—no one really cares if they get treated justly or fairly.

Still, these “good guys” don’t want to exclude women from anything because it seems unfair they have sisters and mothers and they want everyone to have a chance. But women—as a group—don’t care when men feel excluded.

In fact, when men object to anything, groups of women are the first to call them “whiners” and “losers.” “Good” white guys as a group care about what happens to black people as a group. They want to make sure that blacks are being treated fairly and equally and they go out of their way to make sure they aren’t “discriminating.”

Do black people as a group care what happens to white people as a group? Does a Mexican dad with three babies care whether or not some white kid from the “burbs” can get a summer landscaping job?

The problem with these late Western values is that they work best as intra-tribal values.

They only work when everyone else is connected and interdependent. Fairness and justice and good sportsmanship promote harmony within a community. But at some point, you have to draw that line. You have to decide who is part of that community and who is not.

You cannot play fair with people who don’t care if you get wiped off the map. You don’t have to hate everyone who isn’t part of your tribe, but it is foolish to keep caring about people who don’t care about you.

These heroic types are the natural guardians of any tribe, but their heroic natures are wasted and abused when they are asked to protect everyone, even enemies and ingrates and those who despise them.

If Western Barbarians are going to hold onto any portion of their western heritage and identity, they need to resolve these moral conflicts.

They don’t necessarily need to abandon morality or moral virtue, but they need to pull in their aegis and become, as in Plato’s Republic, ”noble dogs who are gentle to their familiars and the opposite to strangers.”

Be morally accountable. But only to the tribe.

If they are going to prosper and endure in a failing nation, the New Barbarians must give up the tragic, misunderstood hero routine and realize that they aren’t Batman. Why would anyone want to be?

4. BECOME INDEPENDENT FROM THE STATE, AND INTERDEPENDENT BETWEEN EACH OTHER

The United States of America and its parent corporations offer a wide range of products and services. All of them have strings attached and the more you depend on them, the easier it is to control you.

It is not really much of a threat to them if you get online and “like” a naughty page or vent your lonely, impotent rage, so long as the rest of your identity folds neatly into the bourgeois American lifestyle.

So long as you still go to a make-work job at some big company and keep yourself busy for 40 or 50 or 60 hours a week so you can purchase their wide range of products and services.

And then, in the time you have left, you go online and you get to be Orthodox guy or Roman guy or Odinist guy and post cool pics of Vikings and Centurions and Crusaders.

But that’s not a real identity or a real tribe or a real community. By all means, use the Progressive State and take whatever you can from it while there is still something left to take, but if you truly want some kind of “alternative lifestyle” to what the state has to offer, if you want to maintain some kind of tribal identity that can endure America’s decline and collapse—also known as a sudden absence of adequate products and services—instead of “community organizing” on the Internet in your underwear or retreating to a country compound with the wife and kids, bring some of those Internet people close to you and live near each other. Take over a neighborhood or an apartment complex, start businesses and provide services that people really need.

It’s great to have writers and thinkers, but you also need mechanics and plumbers and seamstresses. Serve everyone, but be loyal to people “in the family” and make them “your own.”

It doesn’t have to be some formal thing. Don’t issue a press release. Just start quietly building a community of like-minded men and women somewhere. Anywhere.

Don’t worry about creating some massive political movement or recruiting thousands or millions of people. Don’t worry about changing the state. Barbarians don’t worry about changing the state. That’s for men of the state — who believe in and belong to the State.

Shoot for 150 people. A small, close-knit community of people working together to become less dependent on the State and more dependent on each other.

Recent immigrants—many of whom are literally “not of the State”—can serve as examples. It wasn’t long ago that the Irish and Italians lived in insular communities. Think of Russian parts of town.

Look at places like Chinatown in San Francisco: every few blocks, you see these buildings marked. Something . . . something . . . something . . . “Benevolent Association.”

Sounds nice, right? Could be a front for Triad Gangs. Could be there to help Chinese schoolchildren. I have no idea. But I am sure that it is for Chinese people. There are also doctor offices and law offices and repair shops and grocery stores. There is a whole network there of people taking care of their own people first.

There is a community there of people who are exclusive, insular and interdependent. They go to each other first for what they need. They are harder to watch and harder to control. They are less dependent on the State and more dependent on each other. And when the collapse comes, they’ll take care of each other first, while everyone else is waiting for the state to “do something.”

Whoever your “us” is, whatever your “tribe” is, it’s just an idea in your head until you have a group of truly interdependent people who share the same fate. That’s what a tribe is. That’s what a community is. That is the future of identity in America.

Land belongs to those who take it and hold it. And this land is no longer your land or my land — officially it’s their land. You may not be able to reclaim it, at least not just right now, but you can become and live as happy Barbarians, as outsiders within, and work to build the kinds of resilient communities and networks of skilled people that can survive the collapse and preserve your identities after the Fall.

Source: Radix Journal

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The Spike Series By Cold Steel

Spike Series

Cold Steel Bowie Spike Neck Knife, 53NBS. Entirely re-engineered in 2013, this Spike series continue to raise the bar for neck knives! Thin, light and super-tough, their razor sharp, zero ground blades, are complemented by heavily scalloped, textured handle scales that offer a comfortable, secure grip.
Integral quillons provide a safe stop for index finger and thumb, while the textured Faux G-10 provides excellent positive traction even when your hands are cold, wet and slippery.

Available in four distinctive blade shapes (Bowie, Drop Point, Tokyo and Tanto point) they offer all the strength of a solid steel one-piece construction (much stronger than any tactical folder and even rivaling the strength of some boot knives) while still being light enough to carry all day without fatigue.

The brand new Spike series come complete with all-new Secure-Ex sheaths that provide even greater retention and safety. Super lightweight (weighing in at 3oz. in the sheath!) the Spikes can be comfortably worn around the neck 24/7 by using the black bead lanyard provided, or carried on a waistband or belt by taking advantage of their new Tek-Lok™ compatible design.

Easily concealed, razor sharp and light as a feather — the Spike series by Cold Steel!

Good Alternative

Cowboy Codes Of The West

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These American cowboy codes of the west were common sense approaches to cowboy and western etiquette. Many deal with horses, shooting and a little bit about how to act around a woman.

Never pass anyone on the trail without saying “Howdy”

When approaching someone from behind, give a loud greeting before you get within pistol shot.

Don’t wave at a man on a horse. It might spook the horse and the man will think you’re an idiot (a nod is the proper greeting).

After you pass someone on the trail, don’t look back at him. It implies you don’t trust him.

Riding another man’s horse without his permission is nearly as bad as making love to his wife. Never even bother another man’s horse.

Never shoot an unarmed man. Never shoot a woman at all.

A cowboy is pleasant, even when out of sorts. Complaining is what quitters do and cowboys hate quitters.

Always be courageous. Cowards aren’t tolerated in any outfit worth its salt.

A cowboy always helps someone in need, even a stranger or enemy.

When you leave town after a weekend of carousing, it’s perfectly all right to shoot your six-guns into the air, whoop like crazy and ride your horse as fast as you can. This is called “hurrahing” a town.

A horse thief may be hung peremptory.

Never try on another man’s hat.

Never wake another man by shaking or touching him. He might wake up suddenly and shoot you.

Real cowboys are modest. A braggart who is “all gurgle and no guts” is not tolerated.

A cowboy doesn’t talk much; he saves his breath for breathing.

No matter how weary and hungry you are after a long day in the saddle, always tend to your horse’s needs before your own, and get your horse some feed before you eat.

Cuss all you want, but only around men, horses and cows.

Know Your Enemy

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A Veteran Policeman’s Observations on The Free Shit Army

Source: SurvivalBlog

A lot has been written warning us of what will happen when the City Dwellers find their homes are untenable and vacate [en masse as The Golden Horde] for “the country”, but I haven’t seen anything on what the make-up of these hordes will be. The generic term “city dwellers” encompasses a lot of territory. Who will they be,what kind of shape will they be in, how will they be armed…all of these need to be examined.

One category needs to be examined, I feel, more closely than others. Since I have seen posts on your site lately dealing with the nitty-gritty, unpleasant aspects of prepping, I think this is a needed look into what’s out there. I’ve been a cop over 20 years, my last uniform assignment before moving to Investigator being a two year stretch of Anti-Crime patrols in the Section 8 Housing projects of my city. This put me into contact with some of the “Worst of the Worst” that will be fleeing the cities in time of trouble. Gang-bangers, common street thugs, dope dealers and users, all have a place in the hierarchy of the streets. And they will certainly be part of what preppers will be facing in times of troubles. Here’s some of what I have learned:

The bottom rung is occupied by the drug addicts and users. They exist, not live as we understand the word. They have no assets, no goals, no drive. But they do have an almost animal instinct to continue living. They will be armed with anything they can steal or lay hands on. Most will have a knife of razor box cutter, and some sort of cheap pistol, or they will not live to get out of the city. Since they have no resources or assets, they will be on the edge of starvation and desperation almost within a day of an event. With no fixed residence or place to defend, they will be hitting the road and coming towards us. They will become violent without any provocation and there will be no negotiating or bargaining with them. They don’t want to hear your story or excuses. All they want is what you have. And have no doubts: They will do anything to get what they want. And this does include catering to their most base instincts of rape, murder and mutilation. Letting someone like this even close to you and what you have is flirting with death.  

The next and most numerous will be the drones who make up the majority of the project dwellers. They live on Government Entitlement checks, have no assets and, on any given day will have no more than 3 or 4 days supply of food in their apartments,most of this being refrigerated. There will be a high percentage of females without male companions,will have a large number of children and will be absolutely vicious and violently inclined. Their day to day existence within the defined society they live in demands they be aggressive and violent.They fight more, and are arrested more,than the males they live around. The males will have more serious charges, but the females will have more of them. They too cannot be trusted. If they are drug users, they will, and have, traded their children for drugs, and, based on this proven behavior, will most certainly abandon them or trade them if the situation calls for it. Seeing that you are supplied, they will leave their children in your yard and walk away, counting on your liberal Good Samaritan instinct that has always bailed them out in the past to care for their offspring and justify that to themselves as “doing what they have to do”. Knowing that they will do something as low as this,be assured they will do much worse. They habitually carry razor knives and small pistols such as .25 ACPs and .380 ACPs. They are very dangerous and unstable folks to be around. These females may or may not be accompanied by men. The males may be linked biologically to one or more of the children but will abandon them as easily as the females. These males come from the lower order of males (see next classification) and will be armed as described next.  

The next order of classification will be unattached or drone males. These males tend to be convicted of felonies before they are 21 and who hang around the other, more productive males who deal drugs and have money. They will also be the so-called “foot soldiers” of the drug and street gangs. They exhibit sociopath behavior and have no allegiance to anyone except maybe a family member, usually referred to as a “cousin” or a gang. They live off the female drones by paying cash rent, gained by low level drug dealing and petty crimes, to a female who has Section 8 housing, for a room that they sleep in and usually have no other attachment such as taking meals there.They live off fast food,carry guns of dubious origin and consume massive amounts of drugs and alcohol, mostly beer and cheap brandy and marijuana. They will not have any assets to defend, may accompany the female who rents them a room and will hang around the cities and projects only as long as their cohorts do. They will leave in junky vehicles,steal what they need along the way and kill,rob,rape and pillage their way across the countryside. Their weapons tend to be of the pistol variety although they may have access to shortened, easily concealable shotguns or rifles. Their lifestyle doesn’t give them a secure place to hide or keep long guns,but they will steal and use them if given a chance. They will also have some type of blade weapon and be proficient with the use of them. They are very dangerous to anyone who comes into contact with them. The last and highest order will be the moneyed drug dealer.He will have a flashy vehicle such as an Escalade or Lexus variety. He will have quality firearms, preferring Glock handguns and SKS or AK type rifles and will have ammunition for them in quantity. He will be arrogant and a definite killer. He will have assets to defend and may not leave his comfort zone until forced by authorities or circumstances. He will have “foot soldiers” and a woman traveling with him, but probably not children. He will travel well and be charming when trying to gain confidence or talk himself out of a jam. He will also be vicious and hateful, full of spite at those he sees as having taken away his lifestyle and means of making a living. He most probably will not have a lot in the way of supplies such as food and medical equipment, tending to live in the moment and not for the future. He will be one of the opportunistic “I’ll just take what I need” types. He will be very cunning, having risen to the top of the street hierarchy,and all the more dangerous because of this.  

When dealing with all of the above types, caution is the word. Never let them get even a glimpse of what you have. Never let them get past your outer barrier, be that a fence, abatis or boundary line. Its best to keep verbal contact to the barest minimum. A terse: “We have nothing, go away or we will shoot” is a good example. I have seen them be charming and seemingly harmless while edging into a fence gate or otherwise getting closer until they are in range to strike. You must always remember the 20 foot rule (Never let anyone get closer than 20 feet from you at any time). It is important to remember also that the longer they have been roaming and stealing,the better armed they may be, having stolen others firearms and equipment. Seeing an obvious street thug carrying an expensive scoped rifle or an engraved shotgun should be a tip off as to what they are. These type people would never spend money on a gun that may be taken by the law at anytime in their day to day existence. They do worship Glocks and the glamor they see in them. A dealer told me once, when confessing to an assault “I just outs with my Glock .40 and let it holla” as if he had done something great.  

I know that most people who read your blogs are aware enough to keep strangers away from their refuge.But if someone has never lived around these types of people,they may not be aware of just how dangerous they really are. As I mentioned,they can be charming,cunning and deceitful. They have lived their entire lives off the goodwill of others and The Government and are past masters at pretending to be needy,harmless and “safe”. Guile is engrained in them.   I leave you with one short story. In the days after Hurricane Katrina, we were reinforced with officers from other agencies, many states away, who had volunteered to help. (I was not in New Orleans, but on the edge of the hurricane strike) I was partnered with a state SWAT officer from up North. This man was experienced and a “steady hand”. As we walked through some of the power blacked-out , sweltering-in-the-heat projects, he turned to me and said: “This is worse than Mogadishu”. He was scared and had good reason to be. And this was after only three days of no electricity and relief was just starting to arrive. Think about those same areas after a real failure of services and food deliveries.   Good Luck.

50 Years Later: Reagan’s ’A Time for Choosing’ Speech

Fifty years ago Monday, Ronald Reagan gave the speech that launched his career in politics and made him a star.  The speech, called “A Time for Choosing,” aired to a prime time NBC audience and made him a household name.

 

 

Law Lets I.R.S. Seize Accounts on Suspicion, No Crime Required


Carole Hinders at her modest, cash-only Mexican restaurant in Arnolds Park, Iowa. Last year tax agents seized her funds. Credit Angela Jimenez for The New York Times

by Shaila Dewain

ARNOLDS PARK, Iowa — For almost 40 years, Carole Hinders has dished out Mexican specialties at her modest cash-only restaurant. For just as long, she deposited the earnings at a small bank branch a block away — until last year, when two tax agents knocked on her door and informed her that they had seized her checking account, almost $33,000.

The Internal Revenue Service agents did not accuse Ms. Hinders of money laundering or cheating on her taxes — in fact, she has not been charged with any crime. Instead, the money was seized solely because she had deposited less than $10,000 at a time, which they viewed as an attempt to avoid triggering a required government report.

“How can this happen?” Ms. Hinders said in a recent interview. “Who takes your money before they prove that you’ve done anything wrong with it?”

The federal government does.

Using a law designed to catch drug traffickers, racketeers and terrorists by tracking their cash, the government has gone after run-of-the-mill business owners and wage earners without so much as an allegation that they have committed serious crimes. The government can take the money without ever filing a criminal complaint, and the owners are left to prove they are innocent. Many give up.


The I.R.S. seized almost $33,000 from Ms. Hinders. Credit Angela Jimenez for The New York Times

“They’re going after people who are really not criminals,” said David Smith, a former federal prosecutor who is now a forfeiture expert and lawyer in Virginia. “They’re middle-class citizens who have never had any trouble with the law.”

On Thursday, in response to questions from The New York Times, the I.R.S. announced that it would curtail the practice, focusing instead on cases where the money is believed to have been acquired illegally or seizure is deemed justified by “exceptional circumstances.”

Richard Weber, the chief of Criminal Investigation at the I.R.S., said in a written statement, “This policy update will ensure that C.I. continues to focus our limited investigative resources on identifying and investigating violations within our jurisdiction that closely align with C.I.’s mission and key priorities.” He added that making deposits under $10,000 to evade reporting requirements, called structuring, is still a crime whether the money is from legal or illegal sources. The new policy will not apply to past seizures.

The I.R.S. is one of several federal agencies that pursue such cases and then refer them to the Justice Department. The Justice Department does not track the total number of cases pursued, the amount of money seized or how many of the cases were related to other crimes, said Peter Carr, a spokesman.

But the Institute for Justice, a Washington-based public interest law firm that is seeking to reform civil forfeiture practices, analyzed structuring data from the I.R.S., which made 639 seizures in 2012, up from 114 in 2005. Only one in five was prosecuted as a criminal structuring case.

The practice has swept up dairy farmers in Maryland, an Army sergeant in Virginia saving for his children’s college education and Ms. Hinders, 67, who has borrowed money, strained her credit cards and taken out a second mortgage to keep her restaurant going.

Their money was seized under an increasingly controversial area of law known as civil asset forfeiture, which allows law enforcement agents to take property they suspect of being tied to crime even if no criminal charges are filed. Law enforcement agencies get to keep a share of whatever is forfeited.

Critics say this incentive has led to the creation of a law enforcement dragnet, with more than 100 multi-agency task forces combing through bank reports, looking for accounts to seize. Under the Bank Secrecy Act, banks and other financial institutions must report cash deposits greater than $10,000. But since many criminals are aware of that requirement, banks also are supposed to report any suspicious transactions, including deposit patterns below $10,000. Last year, banks filed more than 700,000 suspicious activity reports. Owners who are caught up in structuring cases often cannot afford to fight. The median amount seized by the I.R.S. was $34,000, according to the Institute for Justice analysis, while legal costs can easily mount to $20,000 or more.

There is nothing illegal about depositing less than $10,000cash unless it is done specifically to evade the reporting requirement. But often a mere bank statement is enough for investigators to obtain a seizure warrant. In one Long Island case, the police submitted almost a year’s worth of daily deposits by a business, ranging from $5,550 to $9,910. The officer wrote in his warrant affidavit that based on his training and experience, the pattern “is consistent with structuring.” The government seized $447,000 from the business, a cash-intensive candy and cigarette distributor that has been run by one family for 27 years.

There are often legitimate business reasons for keeping deposits below $10,000, said Larry Salzman, a lawyer with the Institute for Justice who is representing Ms. Hinders and the Long Island family pro bono. For example, he said, a grocery store owner in Fraser, Mich., had an insurance policy that covered only up to $10,000 cash. When he neared the limit, he would make a deposit.

Ms. Hinders said that she did not know about the reporting requirement and that for decades, she thought she had been doing everyone a favor.


Jeff Hirsch, an owner of Bi-County Distributors on Long Island. The government seized $447,000 from the business, a candy and cigarette distributor run by one family for 27 years. Credit Bryan Thomas for The New York Times

“My mom had told me if you keep your deposits under $10,000, the bank avoids paperwork,” she said. “I didn’t actually think it had anything to do with the I.R.S.”

In May 2012, the bank branch Ms. Hinders used was acquired by Northwest Banker. JoLynn Van Steenwyk, the fraud and security manager for Northwest, said she could not discuss individual clients, but explained that the bank did not have access to past account histories after it acquired Ms. Hinders’s branch.

Banks are not permitted to advise customers that their deposit habits may be illegal or educate them about structuring unless they ask, in which case they are given a federal pamphlet, Ms. Van Steenwyk said. “We’re not allowed to tell them anything,” she said.

Still lawyers say it is not unusual for depositors to be advised by financial professionals, or even bank tellers, to keep their deposits below the reporting threshold. In the Long Island case, the company, Bi-County Distributors, had three bank accounts closed because of the paperwork burden of its frequent cash deposits, said Jeff Hirsch, the eldest of three brothers who own the company. Their accountant then recommended staying below the limit, so for more than a decade the company had been using its excess cash to pay vendors.

More than two years ago, the government seized $447,000, and the brothers have been unable to retrieve it. Mr. Salzman, who has taken over legal representation of the brothers, has argued that prosecutors violated a strict timeline laid out in the Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform Act, passed in 2000 to curb abuses. The office of the federal attorney for the Eastern District of New York said the law’s timeline did not apply in this case. Still, prosecutors asked the Hirsch’s first lawyer, Joseph Potashnik, to waive the CARFA timeline. The waiver he signed expired almost two years ago.

The federal attorney’s office said that parties often voluntarily negotiated to avoid going to court, and that Mr. Potashnik had been engaged in talks until just a few months ago. But Mr. Potashnik said he had spent that time trying, to no avail, to show that the brothers were innocent. They even paid a forensic accounting firm $25,000 to check the books.

“I don’t think they’re really interested in anything,” Mr. Potashnik said of the prosecutors. “They just want the money.”

Bi-County has survived only because longtime vendors have extended credit — one is owed almost $300,000, Mr. Hirsch said. Twice, the government has made settlement offers that would require the brothers to give up an “excessive” portion of the money, according to a new court filing.

“We’re just hanging on as a family here,” Mr. Hirsch said. “We weren’t going to take a settlement, because I was not guilty.”

Army Sgt. Jeff Cortazzo of Arlington, Va., began saving for his daughters’ college costs during the financial crisis, when many banks were failing. He stored cash first in his basement and then in a safe-deposit box. All of the money came from paychecks, he said, but he worried that when he deposited it in a bank, he would be forced to pay taxes on the money again. So he asked the bank teller what to do.

“She said: ‘Oh, that’s easy. You just have to deposit less than $10,000.’”

The government seized $66,000; settling cost Sergeant Cortazzo $21,000. As a result, the eldest of his three daughters had to delay college by a year.

“Why didn’t the teller tell me that was illegal?” he said. “I would have just plopped the whole thing in the account and been done with it.”

 

The New Great Depression

new poverty

by Mrs. Cogs

A few years back Peter Schiff opined the Great Depression of the 1930s would look like a Sunday school picnic compared to what is headed our way. Without a doubt the cat is out of the bag. Everyone knows things are not going well. Unfortunately, it seems most people think that fixing the system, changing the politicians, tweaking the rules and the return to honorable ways of yesteryear hold the solution to restoring our idea of a stable and prosperous society.

The disconnect is easy to perceive when we compare black and white faded photos from the 1930’s of dusty farms, soup lines and children who don’t smile to the modern edgy world images from our cell phones, televisions and computers of how things supposedly are now. We live in a bright and vivid world where descriptions have been meticulously spoon fed to us so we will largely act according to how others might see us and we can feel better about ourselves. This only works until financial or emotional changes crash into our lives such as the Big One roaring towards us all now.

The New Depression already began and the news blackout is deafening. Aside from malcontents who insist upon harping on unpleasant subjects and who have no desire to participate in society’s uniform “solutions”, one only has to watch a Sunday football game and it’s commercials to be refreshed in the programming that the American dream indeed lives on. It’s right there in front of us to see with our own eyes and if you are not living that life you are obviously doing something wrong. (And obviously this is sarcasm.)

americandream

As the government has altered the methods to compute inflation, unemployment and debt, the headlines are meaningless since we can no longer use these measures to compare with numbers from the past. Most people are so busy and programmed in their complicated lives that even if it is noticed, what could we possibly do about it? So we suck it up and proceed, feeling better after we catch that prescribed Sunday game. If we’re lucky we have a few like minded friends or family members to gripe to about the state of things before we carry on in the same manner. Until we can’t.

The modern day New Depression has indeed arrived, it just hasn’t been announced yet. Draw your own conclusions. The population of America: 319 million or 4.4% of the people in the world. Americans who are of working age and are “out of the work force”: 92 million. The average household worth compared to ten years ago: 36% less. Number of homeless people in America: 1.75 million (and those are the ones they can find to count). The percent of American college grads supported by parents two years after attaining their degree: 50%. The number of Americans who lead hungry lives: 31 million.

It is here and it’s about to get much uglier. How our personal future develops is largely dependent upon the mindset we each adopt now. As many of us have recently concluded, this postponement of announcing the reality and truth of the dire situation has bought us time. This is our wiggle room. It may last for a few more years or it may end next month.

What is required is something we can choose voluntarily or wait until it is forced upon us by circumstances. It is a critical examination and re-prioritizing of what we value. More than just taking for granted a roof over our heads and a meal when we are hungry a new mindset, or rather a return to what many consider old school views, is called for.

In a world of instant gratification and narcissistic attitudes, where many collect affirmation from unlimited sources via social media, all those “likes” aren’t going to mean so much when one is suddenly living in their car. Who won on the reality TV show of the week will quickly become meaningless when the kids are hungry. These rude awakenings happen every day for people and continue at an accelerated rate.

For years now I have followed the progress of well meaning people trying to change this downhill progression of behavior and the resulting events by means of protest, political change or through the alternative media. While more people are becoming aware of the true reality swirling around the pretty images of life still broadcasted to us, the system careens towards the tar pits and our efforts must first and foremost be focused upon ourselves. As I have stated many times before, if we are to help anyone else we must first put on our own oxygen mask and breathe deeply.

There are some tough truths to think about if you are going to save yourself. The one that knocked me off my feet was learning that if I don’t know how to take care of myself, then I am dependent upon others. And that is about to be a very bad thing. I realized I depended upon an employer to pay me so I could pay for food, water, heat, housing, basic sanitation; in essence every product I use. And I depend upon other people to do their job so I can access these goods and services. Many now depend upon the government to provide what they cannot. The opportunity to alter the way we depend upon others to fill our needs may or may to not be available or affordable in the future. And this deficiency exposes each of us to assured failure at some point along the line.

poverty in the USAWikiHow now supplies us with instructions on How To Live On The Street.

I was not really providing any of this for myself, but rather depending upon everyone else’s specialties to supply goods and services to me and others. The risk that another cannot or will not fulfill their end of this collective bargain is known as counter-party risk. As our systems degrade, this risk will be the weakest link for most people.

Being prepared for events or changing times is a very good idea, one I wholeheartedly endorse. But to only prepare yourself for a rough patch and then to expect life will continue with business as usual, because (after all) it always has, is foolish in the face of a paradigm change such as the magnitude the world is facing.

Never before have global systems of banking, food, natural resources and information been so over-leveraged and extended. When the music stops and everybody reaches for their chair, rather than one person being left without a seat, there will be one heavily protected chair for every 20 or 30 people. That is when the New Depression becomes official and is acknowledged in a public out loud voice.

It won’t matter whether the catalyst is blamed on an epidemic, terrorism or even Krugman’s alien invasion. Finally everyone will see that the music has stopped playing and be forced to recognize we are living in a very different world. May I humbly propose that what that world becomes for each of us ultimately largely depends upon what we do now.

For me, as I expect is also the case for many of you, making decisions that bring about big changes in our lives will be met with great disapproval of those closest to you. We live in a society where change is bad and should be resisted, unless of course it involves upward mobility and better “things”.

Moving to a smaller house? Yanking the kids out of the school system where their friends are? Leaving the urban jungle for parts unknown? This is just crazy talk. After all, in order to have these be positive changes, one would need to acknowledge that happiness does not come from what we have in life or how others perceive us. It requires a huge deliberate mental adjustment. I would suggest that this decision is your proverbial oxygen mask. Breathe deep and become comfortable with the new air. I think you’ll find it much fresher.

Rethinking the big picture involves “crazy talk” such as considering the liquidation of today’s luxuries and believed future security for a different goal. Try telling anyone who understands finance that you are thinking of quitting your job so you can get your hands on your 401k so you can cash it out after paying 45% in penalties and taxes. Then add the part about downsizing your home and lifestyle and for a while you will find you’ve become the new cautionary tale that person tells others about.

But here is the thing you can’t get around. When the music stops playing, whatever you have is all you have. Whether those ‘things’ consist of retirement funds, brokerage accounts or whatever you have at the bank, or public ‘benefits’ such as Social Security, disability, Medicare, Medicaid or EBT, all of them are just pieces of paper with a promise on it and you will NOT be on the short list of people to get what they expect. The late comedian George Carlin informed us many years ago, “It’s a small club and you ain’t in it.”

hungry

For now, those paper promises are still being delivered. The US Dollar has not become so debased it is worthless….yet. Capital controls have not yet been completely implemented to ‘protect’ your retirement funds from yourself. Even if you have no savings and are receiving food stamps and government aid, there are many choices everyone can make to be less dependent upon others, even if each seems like an inconsequential baby step. Every step you can take to provide something for yourself is a victory.

This is not your granny’s depression, this is the New Depression where anybody who really desires to can access the information highway and find alternatives, especially with a bit of help. As the systems we depend upon degrade, we can actually improve our lives with each decision we act upon as we learn that our needs and wants aren’t really what we were taught they are.

As the momentum of change progresses, the fear levels will increase and the herd will be corralled in various directions, often not ultimately in their best interest. The only way to avoid the majority of the chaos is to be able to depend upon yourself. Roll up your sleeves, it’s going to take a lot of time and hard work.

Many definitions are going to need revising such as what is ‘normal’ and what does one ‘deserve’. How we choose to look at life will determine the new normal and will predicate what we create and how we treat others. If the rules are all about to change, what better time to set an example such as showing small kindnesses or taking the generosity of our time to teach someone something useful? Maybe I cannot save the current system, but I certainly can turn to my neighbor and lend a hand.

I would suggest that before the brunt of the storm hits that all of us, even those far ahead of the curve, take some extra time to consider what we need and value. If you think because you are but one person that what you choose and how you act doesn’t make a difference, I am here to say you are wrong. How you write the narrative of your own reality makes all the difference in the world.

Teaching the next ones a better way.
Teaching the next ones a better way.