Saturday, August 11, 2012

Taxes and War

I just watched a documentary entitled, "An Inconvenient Tax." It opens with callers calling the Internal Revenue Service and asking a simple question:

"How many pages are there in the Tax Code."

The answers will amaze you, piss you off, and hopefully, encourage you to learn.

An Inconvenient Tax examines the Federal Income Tax and how Congress uses the complex tax code to achieve political goals that are unrelated to raising revenue. The result of 95 years of additions, subtractions, deductions, and exclusions, the 62,000 page tax code is so complex that many are voicing their desire to greatly simplify it or to even completely remove it. Currently, tax revenue cannot even pay for government spending.

I work for the State of Washington in the winter at the Dept of Fish & Wildlife (WDFW). I have watched the state cut jobs, resources, pensions, and lives.  All WDFW employees received an email from Joe Stohr, deputy director of the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife, which read something like this:

"All state employees will not receive an annual cost of living increase until further notice (except legislature)."

You mean to tell me, all workers will not get a cost of living increase (to date, it's been four years) except the people who decided this - THEY will still get pay increases?

So much for "leadership."

Washington state is broke. How? I mean, they get money every which way. Why don't they stop providing so many handouts? Why don't they stop buying up land? Why do they need so many deputy assistants?

Federal Government Taxation and Spending


Now here's a thought:  What if we stopped every war we are currently waging. What if we closed down every single military base around the world. How much money would we save? 
Personnel Only (source)
For the personnel question, we turned to a Sept. 30, 2010, Pentagon document titled, "Active Duty Military Personnel Strengths by Regional Area and by Country."

We tallied up all the countries with at least one member of the U.S. military, excluding those with personnel deemed to be "afloat." We found U.S. military personnel on the ground in a whopping 148 countries -- even more than Paul had said. (There are varying standards for what constitutes a "country," so that may explain the divergence from Paul’s number.)

However, we should add a caveat. In 56 of these 148 countries, the U.S. has less than 10 active-duty personnel present. These include such obscure locales as Mongolia, Nepal, Gabon, Togo and Suriname.

By contrast, the U.S. has disclosed only 13 countries outside the United States and its possessions that are host to more than 1,000 personnel. They are: Belgium, Germany, Italy, Spain, Turkey, the United Kingdom, Japan, Bahrain, Djibouti, South Korea, Iraq, Afghanistan and Kuwait.

In addition, this is a snapshot of the global military footprint, so it may not include all temporary training missions and humanitarian assistance activities. "Such activities are so pervasive you almost have to wonder how the other 70 countries manage to avoid hosting such operations," said John Pike, the director of, a national security think tank.

Military Bases
For this question, we turned to an official Pentagon accounting of U.S. military bases around the nation and the world, the "Base Structure Report, Fiscal 2010 Baseline."

According to this report, the U.S. has 662 overseas bases in 38 foreign countries, which is a smaller number than the 900 bases Paul cited. But here again, the list omits several nations integral to active operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, so it’s conceivable that the actual number of sites approaches 900.

The Pentagon "is very reluctant to label anything a ‘base’ because of the negative political connotations associated with it," said Alexander Cooley, a political scientist at Barnard College and Columbia University who studies overseas bases. "Some of these facilities, such as the Manas Transit Center in Kyrgyzstan, may not be officially counted as ‘bases,’ but it is the most important U.S. facility in central Asia, staging every U.S. soldier transiting in and out of Afghanistan and conducting refueling operations."

Still, caveats are in order here, too. Of the 662 overseas sites listed -- that is, those outside the active war zones -- all but 32 of them are either small sites (with a replacement value of less than $915 million) or sites essentially owned on paper only.

For instance, the sole site listed for Canada is 144 square feet of leased space -- equal to a 12-foot-by-12-foot room. That’s an extreme case, but other nations on the list -- such as Aruba, Iceland, Indonesia, Kenya, Norway and Peru -- have just a few U.S. military buildings, many of them leased. Some of the sites are unmanned radio relay towers or other minor facilities. "Most of them are a couple of acres with a cyclone fence and no troops," Pike said.

Cooley said that the "true figure is tough to determine and involves judgment calls about the nature and purpose" of the activities involved. "The fact that host countries often choose not to disclose a U.S. military presence adds to perceptions of a ‘secret network’ " that is larger than the officially disclosed number of bases.

Keep a Clear Prespective
If we believe the media (owned by corporations who make ka-billions off of war), then we need all this military power because the world hates us and wants to kill us. 

I remember being in grade school in the 1960s. I was told to hate Russia because they want to kill us. I was also told to hate Vietnam, Korea, and maybe still Japan (but they had been nuked by us, so we might like them now).

After the Sept 11th attacks, we were to like Vietnam, South Korea, Japan and Russia; but, now we are to hate all Arabs (except the Saudi's - who are good friends with the Bush family; yet are the family of Osama who apparently WAS responsible for 9.11 - how the hell does that work?)

So, now I'm hating the whole Arab nation because the rich greedy bastards in charge tell me to. They tell me, "The hate peace." HA! Are you kidding me? Do you really want to tell me the families living in Afghanistan hate peace? Oh, c'mon!  Looking at America's behavior - the ONLY people that hate peace are US! As in US of A!

We are in wars all over the world. We are a military-complex country. And I am giving my little bit of contribution with every vote and every dollar I am forced to give them in taxes.

How can I quit? Where can I go?


Liberty - is the ability of individuals to have control over their own actions. But, when I get into my car, my liberty is controlled by insurance companies...I HAVE to purchase their product to drive my car. I HAVE to wear a safety belt. I HAVE to stop at a stop sign, even though it's 3am and not a car in sight. When I buy a car, I HAVE to give money to my state. When I sell my car, I HAVE to give money to my state. Why does the state, insurance companies, or anyone else have to have any say in what I buy or whether I don a seat belt or not?  (A special note: I have always worn my seat belt - I feel they work and save lives. BUT, I don't need a law to protect me from me.)

What is freedom?

I ask people this all the time (I also ask 'what is the greatest rock band ever) and the answers I get back absolutely baffle me:

Freedom is being able to say whatever you want
It's being able to travel freely
Being free is a privilege (A PRIVILEGE???)
Freedom is the American way: it's our lifestyle

I have many more of these comments and I find myself baffled by them.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.--Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

 As I see it, my unalienable rights include: Life. Liberty. Pursuit of Happiness.

Life - To be born and live. This is what it is about. It isn't about my obligation to a group of men and women in power telling me what I have to do to live on this earth. I was given life by GOD, Yahweh, and He is my only law. He says to love one another. He says to not kill, not lie, honor our parents, and help one another. I don't see anything in there about the millions of laws our elected officials come up with. If we follow just the simple rule of "LOVE" all other laws are obsolete.

Pursuit of Happiness - I want to be happy...don't you? What makes you happy? Skiing? Racing? Gardening? These are not complicated ideals. I love to beach hunt, garden, raise chickens and visit my family. I love to read and write. I love to think and debate. If being happy is dependent on another's opinion of my joys - then who are they? I want to build a shed in my back yard; yet the state powers-that-be dictate that I get approval and pay THEM money to build it. Why? So  I meet 'their' code. What code? It's a shed!

When I open up a discussion of absolute freedom - almost every single person balks!  "You can't be free! It's not fair to others!"


If we removed every single law across the board, we would be free. Now, put one law into practice: LOVE. If what you are doing isn't with love, then you are breaking the law. Love covers all evils...

1 Corinthians 13:
4 Love is long-suffering and kind. Love is not jealous, it does not brag, does not get puffed up, 5 does not behave indecently, does not look for its own interests, does not become provoked. It does not keep account of the injury. 6 It does not rejoice over unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth. 7 It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
8 Love never fails.
Love never fails. All killing, jealousy, envy, hatred, power...indeed, every law should surround itself in this one simple law. How about "One Nation Under God." Let Him rule us. Lose the liars, thieves, criminals and tax-collectors and live under God's law.

I suppose that would be too altruistic. It wouldn't work. We can't all just love each other, each others property, each others independence, each others right to self...we need to be ruled by other men who have no interest in our wants or needs...just their own. This makes MUCH more sense.

I am a believer in Free-Market Anarchy and believer in Mutualism (economic theory)

In today's wicked, corporate-owned government, the word anarchist is used to reflect evil, destructive behavior. Why? Because those in power want our silly, sheep-like citizens to not think that the word actually means,

"...political philosophy which holds the state to be undesirable, unnecessary, and harmful, or alternatively as opposing authority or hierarchical organization in the conduct of human relations. Proponents of anarchism, known as "anarchists", advocate stateless societies based on non-hierarchical voluntary associations."

I listened to the news a few months ago where horrible unruly anarchists were vandalising a building during a protest. What? Anarchists don't vandalize! They have nothing to do with destruction of property! So, basically, what the news anchor is saying is "These people are committing an act of violence against someone's property (aka punks) and we're going to call them 'people who don't believe the government should control your life. (aka anarchists)." This just doesn't add up. According to Wikipedia, the only country that calls punks and hoodlums "anarchists" is America:

Since the 1890s from France,[35] the term "libertarianism" has often been used as a synonym for anarchism[36] and was used almost exclusively in this sense until the 1950s in the United States;[37] its use as a synonym is still common outside the United States.[38]

Anarchists may be motivated by humanism, divine authority, enlightened self-interest, veganism or any number of alternative ethical doctrines.

Mutualism - What a great concept! Could we, as a community, a country, embrace such freedom? Maybe.

Mutualism is an economic theory and anarchist school of thought that advocates a society where each person might possess a means of production, either individually or collectively, with trade representing equivalent amounts of labor in the free market.[1] Integral to the scheme was the establishment of a mutual-credit bank that would lend to producers at a minimal interest rate, just high enough to cover administration.[2] Mutualism is based on a labor theory of value that holds that when labor or its product is sold, in exchange, it ought to receive goods or services embodying "the amount of labor necessary to produce an article of exactly similar and equal utility".[3]

So my question again is, "Why do we, human beings born on the earth, by Yahweh, allow other men and women to tell us what we can and cannot do? As long as we hurt no one, what is the point of all this insanity?

I have been studying the ideas of Murray Rothbard. He was an American economist, historian, and political theorist. Rothbard advocated abolition of coercive government control of society and the economy. He considered the monopoly force of government the greatest danger to liberty and the long-term well-being of the populace, labeling the state as "the organization of robbery systematized and writ large" and the locus of the most immoral, grasping and unscrupulous individuals in any society.

I think that sums it up, "organized system of robbery."

Rothbard concluded that all services provided by monopoly governments could be provided more efficiently by the private sector. He viewed many regulations and laws ostensibly promulgated for the "public interest" as self-interested power grabs by scheming government bureaucrats engaging in dangerously unfettered self-aggrandizement, as they were not subject to market disciplines. Rothbard held that there were inefficiencies involved with government services and asserted that market disciplines would eliminate them, if the services could be provided by competition in the private sector.

We, as a country, just can NOT fathom not being dictated to. When I approach the idea of NO government (at least, no federal government), people just flip out! They must be governed!

So, I ask again, "WHY?" Why do we need to be governed? I, for one, do not need anyone telling me what I can or can't do; how to do it; when to do it; and how much I have to pay THEM to do it. Freedom. Period.

Am I free? No, not at all. I am not free to go out right now and buy land freely. I must buy it and pay the state an annual fee to live on my land. If I refuse to pay my annual federal and/or state taxes, my land then becomes their land. I no longer have my land. Is this freedom? The pursuit of happyness? If I refuse to give to the state (be it federal or local), then I am a 'law-breaker' and more than likely, after losing my land, I will be imprisoned. Locked up. No freedom there.

How did we get in this situation? How did we become so stupid and gullable? How come the majority of citizens continue to believe in the system that basically enslaves them and will fight to be enslaved? How is it this is all possible?

I end by saying that we, all of us, need to stop listening to the state-owned media - television. It is no longer an impartial tool used to provide unbiased, truthful knowledge against those who would control us. It is owned and operated by the rich...the rich that pop in and out of our government when they want. Our communities are spoon-fed propaganda and we open our mouths WIDE in order to take it all in.

Freedom. Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. It's not just a silly idea, I think.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

A Woman in a Man's World at Sea

I am a faithful subscriber to a wonderful newsletter from 
Every week or so, I get a newsletter full of ideas and often some really amazing photos (like this one).

This week's newsletter included an article, "Living in the Sticks (and the Single Girl). I enjoyed her story as she did what she wanted and stood up to those around her who said she was "nuts."

When I got divorced, I sold the house, bought a motorhome, and moved to Westport to fish on any boat that would have me.  When I told friends and family, they're common response was, "You can't do that! It's too hard...You're too old...You're a woman!"

Oh yes I can! Watch me!

I deckhanded on charterboats, draggers, seiners, long-liners, and trollers. I caught pollock, salmon, petrale, halibut, seabass, lingcod, sardines, black cod, and more. I got on a commercial boat in Westport, landed in Warrenton, Oregon to drag for all types of flounder. When that fishery ended, I jumped on a boat headed for Newport, Oregon where I sat on the back deck drenched in sunshine trolling for salmon. Once that fishery ended, it was on to another boat headed for the Port of Ilwaco where sardines were open to fish. When that fishery was over, I jumped on a boat headed for Neah Bay to drag again.

My lifestyle was free and easy. I drifted from boat-to-boat learning how to handle nets, hydraulic gear, navigating the ocean currents (and how to slalom between those damn crab pots).

Crew on commercial boats must get along. It may be a big boat, say 72' long, but the living quarters are tight and space is limited. I was always the only female; so, I had to work twice as hard and prove we (women) could not only hold our own; but, I was representing any future woman that jumped on the boat. If I fucked it all up, the next woman to come along for work wouldn't be let on the boat. Men are simple creatures, really, and if one screws things up - it means we all will. (If one man screws things up - they just go find another man: See. Simple.)

Fishing is hard work. There are types of fishing where one you work a few hours and you're done. There are also those fisheries where sleep is rare and you can get all kinds of weird after 2 or 3 days of no sleep.

Of all the fisheries, I like sardine fishing the best. It's easy work for the most part. You leave port in the morning and get back at the end of the day. Seining has an ancient history - they appear in Egyptian tomb paintings from 3000 BC.

Sardine fishing is a kick, too!  The boat drives around the ocean, usually with other boats also looking for sardines - kind of as a team. The twin engine plane shows up around 10am and flies over the area. When sardines come up to the surface to feed, the plane announces the coordinates and the game is on. Everyone suits up into their Grunden's or Helly Hansen's and hits the deck. The skiff driver gets his boat in the water and with the huge net attached, he slides behind the main boat waiting to set the net.
Seining with the skiff on the right.
We circle the sardines...the skiff makes a huge arc around the school and sets the net back to the main boat. He's stuck in the skiff the duration. But for those on the main boat, this is where all hell breaks loose and is my FAVORITE part of sardine fishing...banging on the boat bulwarks with monster-sized wrenches and tossing TNT out the window.  Why? To keep the sardines from fleeing before the net is cinched closed, of course. Don't want to those fast-moving little bait fish to escape, so you scare them back into the net area.

My job was tossing the TNT out the cabin window of the Delta (my fav boat maker) and watching the fish-finder to see if they're about to flee. I yell back to the captain, who's on the deck, throwing dynamite, letting him know to grab the 40-lb wrench he uses to bang on the walls of the boat.

After about a half hour of this, the net is set, and the next phase is to get them on the boat. Occasionally, the net is so full, there is a chance of it yawing too far and wrecking havoc; but, the captain is experienced in not over-filling the net and this usually isn't an issue...occasionally.

Stacking the net
Because I was a "Greenie" (meaning didn't no shit), I got the 'shit' job, "Stacking the Net."  My job was to get under the net after it's been through the block and stack the net in a huge, and I mean HUGE pile. See the photo to the right...the guy in the back of the boat is gathering the nets and laying them in a pile...looks easy, right? HELL NO! It's coming down on his head, full of salt water and a few smashed sardines. His job is to try and pull out those smashed little fish so the net doesn't stick. Water coming off the nets is squeezed throw that overhead is not a drop or two, it's a river coming down. It's hot work, hard work, and if you don't lay the nets right, you listen to some of the most creative cussing from the captain you'll ever hear (quite poetic, really).

The net floating in the water is stuffed full of sardines (or whatever else you happen to be seining for). A hose with a diameter of about 3' wide goes into the water and sucks the fish onto a sorter, where deckhands stand and sort through the catch. If a fish other than what you are being paid for is in the mix, it's tossed overboard (hopefully to live on). The sorter has a slide that dumps directly into the fish hold.

If your nets are full of say, 60,000 tons of sardines, and your hold is only 40,000 tons, you've got a bit too much. Once sardines are in a net, it's unlikely they'll survive and no one wants to send 20,000 tons of dead fish floating away: it's sad, it's a waste of life and money. Netting fish is hard on the fish - it descales them and since they're being squished, they suffer badly. So, what to do with the extra 20,000 tons?

Remember that there are other sardine boats bobbing around out there with you? Not all get their nets set on time, or the fish take off even with all the banging and TNT being tossed.  So, another boat will "Suck Off" your boat. Yep! That's what those fine, old fisherman call it..."Come suck me off!"

With the net still in the water, another sardine boat will gently pull up next to the purse (the net in the water full of fish), toss in their vacuum hose and suck up the remaining fish.

Wallah! Sardine seining at it's finest.

Back to the dock to wait in the queue for your turn to unload and that's the end of the day. Crew can sleep, tour the marina, visit with other boats, go to the bar and get stupid, or whatever. I liked the marinas and visiting with other boats. I loved to see the different designs and layouts of boats. I met so many strange and funny characters while commercial fishing.

 Here's a good website to see how seining works.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Chickens Rule

I didn't get my land. Between insurance companies refusing to pay medical bills and not being able to work cuz my elbows are blown out - well, funds are dwindling and I can do nothing about it.

It's not that I don't want my paid-for land and build a pay-as-I-go house; but, for now, I've got a little cottage in Grayland. It's on-grid with a dishwasher,
washer and dryer, jetted tub and a view of the cranberry bogs. My rent is cheaper than in the RV Park - but I'll probably make up for the discount in electric bills. So, all the lights are always off (i love candles and see no reason to see beyond my immediate locale).

I got permission to build a chicken coop and raise chickens. So, with the loving help of my new sister, Diane; and her wonderful husband, Dave, I got a chicken coop. They drove 227 miles - that's 4 hours 7 minutes - to build me a coop. Amazing, right. The coop they built is quirky, home-spun and absolutely the most beautiful coop I've ever seen! It's built with all re-cycled wood and shingles for the roof. It's built with love. My first step in self-sufficiency is built!
My next step toward egg-sufficiency is the chickens. So, the answer is: the chicken comes first! My friend of two years or so, Janell, donated her girls to my farm. She has 9 hens that need a home...and if I take them all, she'll toss in the feed she has! Well, no need to think twice about this - I accept.

After getting a few supplies (feed, hay, wood shavings), my visiting grandson, granddaughter, and her friend, and I all run over to gather our new brood. Boo, my grandson (aka Sebastian) was critical in grabbing them and putting them into a crate in the back seat of my car. I think he single-handedly got all but one in the car. So, they're here, those chickens. They live mostly in the back yard; but, I get a kick out of them following me around to the front and next door to dig in the dirt. They are funny, stupid, entertaining beyond all tv shows and stupid.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Do I Really Need a.....?

A Convenient List of Useful Equipment for the New Homesteader by Mark Chenail Click here to read this fun article.