type graduate courses... and its prevailing effect is "permitting"
the govt treachery here and overseas.
There is no result on their site or google-news regarding
deposit-boxes ... or any new rules.
| || |
In Today's Letter:
Comment: Evidence vs. Beliefs
Offshore: Swiss EU Tax Directive Comes Up Short
Wealth: Bernanke Surprise
Privacy & Rights: Secret Panel Can't Keep Quiet
Comment by John Pugsley, Chairman of The Sovereign Society and leading author on economics, investment, and libertarianism.
Dear A-Letter Reader,
A few months back in The Sovereign Society Offshore A-Letter, I argued the case for value investing. I referenced scientific studies that didn't support technical analysis or market timing. Some readers strongly objected to my conclusion, but no readers addressed the question of my evidence.
Similarly, over the years I've written extensively about individual liberty, and found myself puzzled when I couldn't convert followers of socialism, communism, or any other forms of big government to the principles of individual sovereignty. Once again, this in spite of the historical evidence.
I've puzzled over this phenomenon throughout my life. Arguments for a free-market fail to sway those who believe in government intervention. Evidence for Darwinian evolution fails to convince believers in religion. And studies showing the random nature of price movements fail to sway believers in technical analysis.
It seems that evolution has endowed us all with wiring that demands we support whatever beliefs that have been "stamped" into our brains. This has been demonstrated by a recent research study at Emory University in Atlanta, a study that has potentially wide implications, from politics to religion to investments.
The investigators used functional magnetic-resonance imaging (fMRI) to study a group of committed Democrats and Republicans during the three months prior to the last U.S. Presidential election. The Democrats and Republicans were asked to evaluate threatening information about their own candidate while undergoing fMRI to see which parts of their brains were activated.
As reported by Emory, "...the partisans were given 18 sets of stimuli, six each regarding President George W. Bush, his challenger, Senator John Kerry, and politically neutral male control figures such as actor Tom Hanks. For each set of stimuli, partisans first read a statement from the target (Bush or Kerry), followed by a second statement that documented a clear contradiction between the target's words and deeds, generally suggesting that the candidate was dishonest or pandering. Next, partisans were asked to consider the discrepancy, and then to rate the extent to which the person's words and deeds were contradictory."
Drew Westen, director of clinical psychology at Emory who led the study, said: "We did not see any increased activation of the parts of the brain normally engaged during reasoning, What we saw instead was a network of emotion circuits lighting up, including circuits hypothesized to be involved in regulating emotion, and circuits known to be involved in resolving conflicts."
In other words, in most cases no amount of logic interferes with our strongly-held beliefs. The brain automatically rationalizes discrepancies in facts to support beliefs. Evidence that contradicts our beliefs fails to reach the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, the part of the brain most associated with reasoning (as well as conscious efforts to suppress emotion). The finding suggests that the emotion-driven processes that lead to biased judgments occur outside of conscious awareness.
Do you and I succumb to emotionally-biased judgments when we have a vested interest in supporting our beliefs? Only when we find ourselves resisting the evidence. Success in life tends to be proportional to our willingness to examine the evidence.
H. L. Mencken observed: "The most common of all follies is to believe passionately in the palpably not true." Beliefs, at least false beliefs, are an impediment to us all.
Or, as Mark Twain put it, "It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so."
JOHN PUGSLEY, Chairman,
on behalf of The Sovereign Society Ltd.
02.14.06. Political Pygmies.
Dear A-Letter Reader:
If George Bush and the politically spineless, weak-kneed US Congress continue on their present track of destroying civil liberties in the spurious name of preserving American freedoms many thousands more Americans will benefit from the offshore experience and services of The Sovereign Society.
From time to time we have reported on the continuing exodus of Americans, particularly the wealthy, who leave the US to make new homes in places where privacy, freedom and low taxes still exist -- unlike America. Yes, there are such places and we can tell you where and how you can find them.
As a long-time conservative, my most recent concern about the accelerating totalitarian drift of the US government and the Congress is caused by the abject capitulation of key members of both parties in the US Senate -- just when they had a chance to reassert the co-equal powers of the legislative branch and strike a blow for freedom.
I refer to the pending renewal of the PATRIOT Act, perhaps the single most unconstitutional "law" ever adopted by a bunch of a panicked politicians shortly after the terror attacks of 9-11, 2001. The Act is a grab bag of every jackbooted police state wish cloaked in a phony claim of "security" and secrecy. Under this monstrosity it's a crime for anyone to tell someone under investigation by the secret police, that your home or office has been secretly invaded, or that your bank account is about to be frozen. All this in the name of fighting terror. And since, under the Act, all this is done in secret, no one knows how many thousands of unconstitutional violations have occurred. (Add to this the President's tapping phone calls without a warrant as law and the Constitution requires).
When the PATRIOT Act was passed after Sept. 11, 2001, Congress made some of its most dangerous provisions temporary so it could reconsider them later on. They were set to expire last December, but Congress agreed to a short extension so greater civil liberties protections could be added. Last week, four key Republican senators, later backed by two Democrats, said that they had agreed to a deal with the White House. It is a rotten deal that does little to protect Americans from government invasions of their privacy. Indeed, that these previously resistant Senators went along probably is evidence of the success of the Bush smear that anyone who wants reasonable changes in the Act are somehow disloyal Americans.
The so-called "compromise" keeps in place the gag order that allows the FBI and police to operate in secret without telling those under investigation so they can contest such actions. It also continues Section 215 that lets the government go on fishing expeditions, spying on Americans with no connection to terrorism or foreign powers. The act should require the government to get a subpoena to show that there is a connection between the information it seeks and a terrorist or a spy. One of the worst parts of the Act allows the government to issue "national security letters", an extremely broad investigative tool, to libraries forcing them to turn over their patrons' Internet records.
Every one of the 535 members of the Senate and House swore an oath to uphold the Constitution of the United States. Apparently the next election is more important to these political pygmies than the basic freedoms the Founding Fathers clearly stated in that sacred document and for which millions of Americans have fought and died.
That's the way that it looks from here.
P.S. Click here to learn what the PATRIOT Act can do to you: http://www.isecureonline.com/reports/190SPATY/E190G218/
* US Sen. Russ Feingold calls it a raw deal on the Patriot Act.
[THAT is the guy sending me so many letters @month from Wash.DC. // Perhaps the only 'honest' member of the senate]
3.21.06. Arrogance of Power.
Bob Bauman discusses why James Madison believed in limited government and how Mr. Madison would feel about today’s “arrogance of power” in Congress.
03.13.06. Terrorist in the Mirror.
Council of Experts Member, Mark Nestmann discusses why any American could be a potential terrorist according to the USA PATRIOT Act.
03.08.06. Remembering Harry Browne.
Chairman of The Sovereign Society, John Pugsley, remembers his close friend Harry Browne, who died this past week. Mr. Browne’s legacy includes a generation of Libertarian thinkers, his best-selling books, his family and the two most successful Libertarian Party Presidential campaigns ever.
02.14.06. Political Pygmies.
Bob Bauman discusses why President Bush’s attack on privacy could send many
01.05.05. Big Brother Is Watching You.
Bob Bauman discusses how Jack Abramoff’s current illegal dealings are just another episode in a long-standing tradition of Congressional corruption.
01.17.06. Less Costly Alternative.
Bob Bauman discusses why this age of lawsuits has made offshore asset protection so important and why a captive insurance company (especially located in an offshore tax haven) can shield professionals from spurious lawsuits.
01.26.06. Strange Bedfellows.
Bob Bauman reflects on how President Bush’s current polices have lead to “strange political bedfellows” in the
01.31.06. How to Avoid US Taxes - Legally.
Bob Bauman comments that unlike other nations’ residents,
|Thursday, January 26, 2006 - Vol. 8 No. 18 |
In Today's Letter:
Comment: Strange Bedfellows.
Dear A-Letter Reader:
There's an old saying that "politics make strange bedfellows." So old that it's attributed to The Tempest, by William Shakespeare, wherein the Bard wrote: "Misery acquaints a man with strange bedfellows." That line is spoken by a shipwrecked man who finds himself nervously seeking shelter beside a sleeping monster.
These days the saying has come to mean that political interests can bring together people who otherwise have little in common. I would add that when fundamental freedoms and liberties are threatened, far more than just politics, diverse peoples who understand those threats must act together.
Thus it is that I find myself, an avowed conservative and registered Republican for over a half century, a man who has not changed his basic views very much, in bed with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and a gaggle of liberal Democrats, some sincere, others who appear to see political gain in attacking President Bush on the issue of warrantless wiretapping.
But principled US conservative leaders, including former US Rep. Bob Barr, a Republican and chairman of a group called "Patriots to Restore Checks and Balances, agree that President Bush has gone too far." He is joined by established conservatives such as Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform; David Keene, chairman of the American Conservative Union, Paul Weyrich, chairman of the Free Congress Foundation and Alan Gottlieb, founder of the Second Amendment Foundation. All of us, as conservatives and Americans, share a great concern about the President's glib claim that he somehow has inherent power to ignore the law when he decides to do so "in the national interest."
In recent days I have commented negatively about a President who thinks he defiantly can wiretap Americans without the court approval the law requires; who signs a law forbidding the use of torture, followed by a statement that he will authorize torture if he so chooses; who jails people in solitary confinement for years without due process or right to counsel, without charges and without contact with their families; who now has launched a national propaganda campaign to impugn the loyalty and patriotism of those who dare to disagree with his highhanded, illegal and unconstitutional actions. (And I say that as a member of the bar for almost 50 years).
We have received many e-mails lately about our expressed concern over America's slide into a police state. Not just the PATRIOT Act, but the spying on every aspect of our lives, financial, personal, now political, as even the military sends undercover agents into public meetings. Many who wrote agree with us, but one reader named Jon, having read my diatribes, apparently assumed I am some sort of raving left-winger. He writes: "If I might be so bold as to ask, where do you receive your talking points from that mirror the Left (moveon.org, Air America) that you use in your newsletter? Or, do you just get up in the morning and rewrite what you read on these web sights? (sic) Just curious..."
I was a founder and national chairman of Young Americans Freedom (YAF), the college group that spearheaded the nomination of Barry Goldwater for president in 1964. (I was a Goldwater delegate from Maryland myself). I was a founder and national chairman of the American Conservative Union (ACU), formed with, among others, my friend William F. Buckley, Jr., whom I have known since 1955. I was the Reagan for President Maryland chairman in 1978. During my 8 years as a member of the US House of Representatives (1973-81) I was almost always rated by conservative, liberal and non-partisan groups as having the most conservative voting record of all 435 House members. And, yes, I voted twice for the incumbent in the White House, (although I would never do so again, had I the chance).
All of which raises the question of whether old political labels have become meaningless. I became a Republican because once upon a time the party of Lincoln championed individual civil rights and, in the US Congress, fought for smaller government, balanced budgets, reduced debt and keeping the peace. Now they are the party of Delay, Abramoff, billions in unneeded earmarked pork and abuse of power. In other words, they act like Democrats.
If we at the Sovereign Society are anything, call us libertarians. That means we advocate maximizing individual rights and minimizing the role of the state. Now that you know that, Jon, maybe you can understand why we are deeply concerned about America's future.
That's the way that it looks from here.