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Posted: 9/26/2011 4:19:31 AM EST
[Last Edit: 9/26/2011 4:20:13 AM EST by Austrian]
Back in March of 2009, when I had to spend my afternoons watching the Secretary of the Treasury of the United States suggest that top-down pay-caps were probably in order, in other words, full blown Communism in the United States was being floated in a trial balloon, I decided that enough was probably enough. I began to seriously consider leaving the United States, my adopted home, after having spent a lifetime trying to enrich it (and myself in the process of course). In one of my angrier moments, I penned "Wait a second... you want to blame ME for the financial crisis?" here on ARFCOM.

On the morning of March 22, 2009, in response to the pay caps proposal, I wrote in part:

Let me just tell you, Congressional/Executive Branch Scumbag, Esq., if you do this... if you take this turn... I won't even think twice. I will move my firm to Switzerland, or to London before the year is out. Those employees who do not follow me, I will have to fire. The corporate taxes I pay will no longer be yours. Instead, they will go to something useful, like a nice tunnel through a mountain for high speed trains that actually work. Further, I will dedicate a substantial portion of my personal time, effort and capital to frustrating your every attempt to collect personal taxes on me thereafter- given your draconian anti-expatriation laws. But that's not all. My job is to make money for my clients, in whatever way I can. I will short your flagging financial firms mercilessly and remorselessly. I will buy QGRI puts to bet against any firm that took bailout money. I will buy credit default swaps on every firm you put your greasy paws on, because I know your fingerprints are laced with poison. For every boneheaded centralist move you make, I will be there, profiting from your lunacy. I will never again take a client who pays taxes in the United States. I will not permit any capital or profit to be diverted to any such. I will do this because in the same way you believe it your divine right to punish "greed," I consider it my duty to punish the stupidity and arrogance that is central planning, and because I believe in economic freedom. I will divert as many of your resources to my new home and its relative economic freedoms as I can. I will promote free markets in this way, and I will never look back. You will have made it clear that you are my enemy, and I do not forget such declarations.

I take no pleasure in this fight. I did not ask for it. I only asked for liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Deny me these at your peril. In the end, I can only hope I'm not alone.


DK Prof (AFLAC!) finally had to lock that post owing to "Personal attacks." Shame. (You can find it here if you are interested).

But, it was sort of an angry post, and a large part of my anger was directed to the degree to which the duty of the executive branch and its officers to defend the constitution had been abrogated. I mean seriously.



Here he is. Geithner in all his glory on January 26, 2009, as Joe Biden administers the Oath of Office. Just as a reminder, let me refer you to 5 USC § 3331:

An individual, except the President, elected or appointed to an office of honor or profit in the civil service or uniformed services, shall take the following oath: “I, AB, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.”


Reflect on the construction of that. Notice, for instance, that this passage:

"...that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter."

...is (aside from the "penalty clause") dead fucking last. First, and, by word count, nearly half of the oath (including filler) is an oath to defend the constitution. Only after that do we have the affirmant swear that they aren't, at this precise moment, full of shit, and (oh by the way) that they'll try to do a good job at work if divine providence will help them a little.

But really, in the context of what the United States self-identifies as standing for, the only thing remarkable about this is that this crude, grad-school deconstructionist analysis would seem remarkable. But it does a little, doesn't it? Why exactly?

I think because it is plain to anyone who contemplates the matter for even a few minutes that this oath, and with it the Oath of Office for the President and the Vice President and those of such other civic officials as drafters saw fit to customize, is regarded at best as mere formality, but, far more likely, as a joke.

How else do you explain this picture in the context of this timeline:

Monday, January 26, 2009:

JOE BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Please raise your right hand. I, Timothy F. Geithner.
TIMOTHY F. GEITHNER, U.S. TREASURY SECRETARY: I Timothy F. Geithner.
BIDEN: Do solemnly swear.
GEITHNER: Do solemnly swear.
BIDEN: That I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States.
GEITHNER: That I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States.
BIDEN: Against all enemies foreign and domestic.
GEITHNER: Against all enemies foreign and domestic.
BIDEN: That I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same.
GEITHNER: That I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same.
BIDEN: That I take this obligation freely.
GEITHNER: That I take this obligation freely.
BIDEN: Without mental reservation or purpose of evasion.
GEITHNER: Without mental reservation or purpose of evasion.
BIDEN: And that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office.
GEITHNER: And that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office.
BIDEN: On which I am about to enter.
GEITHNER: On which I am about to enter.
BIDEN: So help me God.
GEITHNER: So help me God.
BIDEN: Congratulations.
GEITHNER: Thank you, Mr. President. Thank you, Mr. Vice President and thanks to my many friends and colleagues for being here tonight.


Geithner went on to quip:

...Treasury's tradition is to defend the integrity of policy, to respect the constraints imposed by limited resources and to limit government intervention to where it is essential to protect our financial system and to improve the lives of the American people.

That tradition is critically important today because it is the source of the credibility that makes it possible for governments to do what is necessary to resolve a crisis. In the world we confront today, Treasury has to be and Treasury will be a source of bold initiative.


See: CNN Transcript.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009... just nine days after his swearing in:

Appearing with Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner, the architect of the plan, Mr. Obama repeated a theme that he began last week of attacking Wall Street for its excessive compensation.

“For top executives to award themselves these kinds of compensation packages in the midst of this economic crisis is not only in bad taste, it’s a bad strategy, and I will not tolerate it as president,” Mr. Obama said. He said such pay is “exactly the kind of disregard for the costs and consequences of their actions that brought about this crisis — a culture of narrow self-interest and short-term gain at the expense of everything else.” (Emphasis mine).


See New York Times, February 4, 2009.

I mean are you fucking kidding me?

Nine days? Seriously? That's all it took? I thought about protesting too. So, you see, I started this anti-Capitalism thing guardedly interested. Did they mean Anti-Crony-Capitalism? That could be interesting. But I digress....

Well, pay caps drifted off into the sunset (or perhaps just into Obamacare), but the sentiment didn't change. I didn't leave in 2009. I left in 2010. One can only watch the executive branch poke fingers through the television screen right in your face so many times before abandoning ship.

And so now, when the laws of economics can finally be bent no further, some organization of nebulous political provenance calls for 20,000 protestors to flood Wall Street and "occupy" it in a U.S. "Day of Rage." This term "Day of Rage" is lifted shamelessly from the "Days of Rage" in Chicago in 1969 but the two could not be more different, aside from a curious common thread: A hypocritical and some what sinister disregard for the consequences of democracy. In the case of the Weathermen's "Days of Rage" (The Weathermen was spun off from Students of a Democratic Society) this took front billing in the form of "The Elections Don't Mean Shit. Vote Where The Power Is. Our Power Is In The Street."



In the case of the Occupy Wall Street crowd, matters are less clear. Whatever the virtues of a "leaderless protest" that condition has the side effect of causing the hulking mass of 500 me-generation types to wander about, well, sort of leaderlessly. But, if you look at the Ad Busters website, (Ad Busters appears to have been the nexus of most of the early publicity) seems to take the form of a general call to Obama (and ill-defined other political figures of note) to subvert democracy (as distinguished from capitalism) by edict and... well something. See, the demands are sort of... well the situation is fluid. This however is one of my favorites:

We call for workers to not only strike, but seize their workplaces collectively, and to organize them democratically. We call for students and teachers to act together, to teach democracy, not merely the teachers to the students, but the students to the teachers. To seize the classrooms and free minds together.


See: Occupy Wall Street Website (Ew)

Very democratic, no? Well, certainly in the sense of the "Democratic People's Republic of Korea."

But, really, even with these lofty goals (A whole 20,000 people? Get out!) all that really shines through is... well, honestly, a sort of sadly pathetic uberfail.

I think what unites it all for me is the unabashed and pervasive ignorance of the most basic tenants of economics. Chanting for minimum wages and full employment in the same breath, for instance. But some more superficial images stand out starkly.

Consider the ignominy of:



Being totally outgunned by the police, even in the bullhorn department.

Part of the ability of a protest to command notice and attention is its ability to overwhelm local authorities and thereby exert its will on the area. I'm sorry folks, you're not doing that with 2000 people, much less 200. This brings me to:



Being totally outnumbered without even costing the city overtime. Who's idea was this again? Well whomever it was should pay for their lack of vision. You aren't making much of a statement when:



You can only afford to burn a $1.00 bill. (Just to be an asshole capitalist, I torched a CHF 100 bill yesterday when I saw this picture, just to enjoy a private moment of fuck-you zen). Since they are broke they probably can't really afford a trip to Whole Foods or the local Falafel stand on the date which would be a precursor to Hot, Angry Protest Sex(tm). What happened to the free love of the 60's? Sheesh. But don't cry.



The opportunities for Hot, Angry Protest Sex(tm) are somewhat limited. Yuck. (Upside, at least modern hipsters seem to have discovered hair removal). Still, that's a downer, because instead you are subject to:



The slightly bored, passing ridicule of (and video recording by) Manhattan's tourism sector. The suckage is compounded by the:



Total lack of any direction, entertainment, or... anything. Plus, an 11 o'clock curfew? Woah, man. The revolution kinda... sucks, like being a pre-teen living at home. ("Turn down that racket!") And no XBox either. Bummer. Break the rules and you might also get a ride in Mom's hybrid Mini Van. Also known as:



The Low Carbon Footprint, High Speed, Hybrid Electric ride to the Big House(tm).

And in the end, for what?



That's New York there, sonny. With that wimpy bullhorn and your scant numbers it would take a talented scout-sniper team to locate even a minor target indicator from more then 300 meters. Look at where you are. Outside your 100 meter liberal-event horizon no one can even see the thin trickle of your evaporating solidarity radiation.

Plus, your timing sucks. Elsewhere in the world...



It's fucking Oktoberfest.

Meanwhile you languish in a private park owned by one of the largest property holding companies in the world (Brookfield Properties [NYSE: BPO] with a market cap of over $7 billion)



Blissfully unaware that your "revolution" is sponsored by dozens of large corporate juggernauts which you paid in order to destroy.

It's enough to make me sympathize with the noble occupants of Liberty Plaza and their endless fight against greedy corporations, greedy bankers, money, mom, mom's BMW SUV, dad, dad's Mercedes sedan and... other stuff.

Ok, not really. That last bit was total horseshit.

Suck it, hipsters.
Link Posted: 9/26/2011 4:30:11 AM EST
wow. you put some time into this. well done. I thought it was funy when the coppers maced the shit outa those hippies and they were all screaming and crying
Link Posted: 9/26/2011 4:33:35 AM EST
Link Posted: 9/26/2011 4:33:53 AM EST
LOL!!!

Good read. Glad to see you kept your promise and moved. Any change of heart taking an Americans money to invest?
Link Posted: 9/26/2011 4:35:06 AM EST
Yep, trust fund hipster-tards are annoying. Especially when they wail when mace'd. Naw, then its just funny.
Link Posted: 9/26/2011 4:38:09 AM EST
I would hit the chick in the White T-shirt, the Plaid shirt, and the Black tank top.
Link Posted: 9/26/2011 4:41:23 AM EST
I enjoyed that.
Link Posted: 9/26/2011 4:43:17 AM EST
Bravo
Link Posted: 9/26/2011 4:47:08 AM EST
[Last Edit: 9/26/2011 4:49:20 AM EST by Psychovore]
I tried to send pizza to them along with lots of other folks, but I couldn't get the pizza folks to cooperate and include soap and deodorant, along with a note stipulating that both must be used before they got the pizza.

Posted Via AR15.Com Mobile
Link Posted: 9/26/2011 4:50:34 AM EST
So, how's the expatriation laws working for you? More and more folks are trickling out, renouncing their citizenship and avoiding US taxes.
Link Posted: 9/26/2011 4:51:27 AM EST
I'm stuck on the cleavage on a couple of those underagers in the Oktoberfest pic.
Link Posted: 9/26/2011 4:55:23 AM EST
Very nice..
Link Posted: 9/26/2011 4:56:40 AM EST
Originally Posted By rbrooks:
I'm stuck on the cleavage on a couple of those underagers in the Oktoberfest pic.


Age of consent in Germany is 14 (subject to non-exploitation and coercion clauses).
Link Posted: 9/26/2011 4:58:19 AM EST
Link Posted: 9/26/2011 5:00:22 AM EST
Link Posted: 9/26/2011 5:04:36 AM EST
Link Posted: 9/26/2011 5:06:25 AM EST
That last picture is an instant classic.
Link Posted: 9/26/2011 5:07:06 AM EST
Post is so good, I'm wondering what the hell it's doing in GD.
Link Posted: 9/26/2011 5:08:45 AM EST
[Last Edit: 9/26/2011 5:09:00 AM EST by BUCC_Guy]

Originally Posted By rbrooks:
I'm stuck on the cleavage on a couple of those underagers in the Oktoberfest pic.

Picture isn't loading 100% for me. Bottom row is cut off. Have to make due with top row.

May have to fly to Germany if the pic doesn't load all the way.
Link Posted: 9/26/2011 5:18:12 AM EST
Great post Austrian.

Pointing out the hypocrasy of the hippie/hipster/me-generation is always a good time.


I think the current problems we're experiencing in Washington is due to a lack of experience in the private sector prior to taking office. Anyone that says "the government can create jobs" with a straight face should be skull punched with force and rapidity.


Thankfully, my state has had an epiphany in this regard. Gov.Haslam and Commissioner Haggarty are reducing regulation for exisiting business and scaling back state offices such as TDOT and Local Planning (which was completely eliminated). TDOT has ~5,100 employees-this will be slashed immensely. Local Planning personnel were non-existent in the locales they were hired to help-new Governor took notice and eliminated the entire division.

The states will (and should) lead the charge. I know TN has already begun.
Link Posted: 9/26/2011 5:22:41 AM EST
This is what keeps me coming back to GD time and time again
Link Posted: 9/26/2011 5:36:34 AM EST
Originally Posted By BUCC_Guy:

Originally Posted By rbrooks:
I'm stuck on the cleavage on a couple of those underagers in the Oktoberfest pic.

Picture isn't loading 100% for me. Bottom row is cut off. Have to make due with top row.

May have to fly to Germany if the pic doesn't load all the way.


Between the political depression I experience from the text of the thread, and that tidbit of information, I can see that I will be moving overseas sometime soon.
Link Posted: 9/26/2011 5:37:42 AM EST
Austrian, your stuff is top-shelf. Beer seems somewhat out of its league, but it's all we have so

One of these days you should pen a tome.

Something like a thinking man's plan for economic success amidst the relentless crush of socialism (a.k.a. Fornicate the System)
Link Posted: 9/26/2011 5:48:38 AM EST
Great read, thanks.
Link Posted: 9/26/2011 5:51:27 AM EST
Great post. I remember seeing a protest for women rights in centrail park once. It consisted of 8 protestors and 3 cameramen holding cameras at low angles and telling them where to stand to try to make it look bigger.
Link Posted: 9/26/2011 5:57:42 AM EST
Once again, Austrian knocks it out of the park and into low Earth Orbit.

An orbit which will eventually decay, and cause a flaming ball of hate and logic to come screaming out of the sky and crack a hippie in the skull.

Austrian, can you elaborate at all on the US' 'draconian expatriation laws'? I'd be interested to read about them.
Link Posted: 9/26/2011 5:59:26 AM EST
Great post OP
Link Posted: 9/26/2011 6:00:14 AM EST
I enjoyed that! Love the last pic!
Link Posted: 9/26/2011 6:07:23 AM EST
They protest against the system until, like the borg, they are assimilated (i.e. start working).

There was a cartoon from many years ago which showed the hippie protesting corporate America...then the same (former)hippie sitting behind the big desk sighing "now I am corporate America".
Link Posted: 9/26/2011 6:13:16 AM EST
What will you do with all the internets you have won?
Link Posted: 9/26/2011 6:17:29 AM EST
Spoken like someone who truly sees the bigger picture. Bravo, sir, bravo.

I only wish that this "rant" wasn't wasted on the choir here at Arfcom. I know the tribulations of trying to educate those who really need to hear things like this, I attended school in NYC. I was constantly surrounded by these very protesters. It's pointless. They will not learn. They have one single cause, or two that are connected at most. They CANNOT see a big picture because they are blinded by some vision of a socialist, do nothing utopia that cannot ever be. Most of these people are on the back side of the bell curve, the rest are highly "educated" morons who can never accept that the basic premises of their education and beliefs are wrong.

The best thing I could think of to torment these morons was a casual stroll past their ranks, laughing, and going to my paying job... the very job on Wall St. that paid for my education. Yeah, that's right, EARNING my way through college. Debt is slavery, the idiots say. YES, and they are the slaves and the poor capitalist pigs like me are the "free"... those staying out of debt by working for a fucking living. Imagine that!!

Good luck to all of us trying to save a country we love from people who are too stupid to understand that they're building their own prisons.
Link Posted: 9/26/2011 6:17:32 AM EST
Originally Posted By Austrian:
Originally Posted By rbrooks:
I'm stuck on the cleavage on a couple of those underagers in the Oktoberfest pic.


Age of consent in Germany is 14 (subject to non-exploitation and coercion clauses).


somebody go find zhukov, i'm gonna need a tour guide that can speak the language!

Link Posted: 9/26/2011 6:21:25 AM EST
Best thread in a long while.
Link Posted: 9/26/2011 6:24:57 AM EST
I could care less about the Occupy Group. What I do find fascinating is that the world economy has been in the crapper for 3 years now and companies like GS and JPM are doing fantastic. They must be amazing people with god like talent.
Link Posted: 9/26/2011 6:28:21 AM EST
Link Posted: 9/26/2011 6:33:44 AM EST
Best.

Rant.

EVER!!!!
Link Posted: 9/26/2011 6:35:30 AM EST
Originally Posted By roofgoat:
I could care less about the Occupy Group. What I do find fascinating is that the world economy has been in the crapper for 3 years now and companies like GS and JPM are doing fantastic. They must be amazing people with god like talent.


Pretty easy, when you grease the right palms...

Top All-Time Donors, 1989-2012

25 Goldman Sachs $21,084,295 D-60% R-39%

46 JPMorgan Chase & Co $14,702,960 D-46% R-52%

Way down the list are some smaller donors who didn't get 'help' when they were down on their 'luck'. Imagine that.


Link Posted: 9/26/2011 6:37:26 AM EST
You made my morning. That's hilarious, Austrian.
Link Posted: 9/26/2011 6:41:57 AM EST
I saved that photo with all of the products tagged by corporation.
That's pretty much the epitome of the irony.
Link Posted: 9/26/2011 6:42:30 AM EST
Link Posted: 9/26/2011 6:44:17 AM EST
Well done, Avatar. Well done.
Link Posted: 9/26/2011 6:48:19 AM EST
There are few posters here where I'll read a thread whenever I see they are the author. Austrian is definitely one of them and I am always richer for the experience.
Link Posted: 9/26/2011 6:50:28 AM EST
Link Posted: 9/26/2011 6:59:34 AM EST
People who yell the loudest generally know the least.
Link Posted: 9/26/2011 7:01:49 AM EST
10 out of 10 for that one
Link Posted: 9/26/2011 7:03:36 AM EST
Originally Posted By mcnielsen:
Best.

Rant.

EVER!!!!

Almost redefining the use of "rant," nearly deserving a class all it's own. Ausgezeichnet!
Link Posted: 9/26/2011 7:16:30 AM EST
Originally Posted By geegee:
Originally Posted By mcnielsen:
Best.

Rant.

EVER!!!!

Almost redefining the use of "rant," nearly deserving a class all it's own. Ausgezeichnet!


HIZZAH!!!!
Link Posted: 9/26/2011 7:21:16 AM EST
Link Posted: 9/26/2011 7:36:08 AM EST
Epic.
Link Posted: 9/26/2011 7:38:38 AM EST
Outstanding.
Link Posted: 9/26/2011 7:42:16 AM EST
Originally Posted By 4v50:
So, how's the expatriation laws working for you? More and more folks are trickling out, renouncing their citizenship and avoiding US taxes.


My situation is a bit unique, and I won't belabor it here, what I can say is that there are a ton of US Expats and expat hopefuls where I am. The waiting time for renunciation of citizenship (it requires numerous interviews) is measured in "months" with double digits. Some people have taken to making appointments in obscure consulates in the former Eastern Bloc to get it done faster. You can imagine the State Department is in no hurry to speed things along, and expect a lubeless audit somewhere in the process if you try it.

The number of U.S. taxpayers renouncing their citizenship more than doubled to 1,534 in 2010 from 742 in 2009, according to the Internal Revenue Service.

More taxpayers renounced their U.S. citizenship in 2010 than in the previous three years combined, or in any year since at least 2003, according to data compiled by Andrew Mitchel, an international tax attorney in Essex, Connecticut.
(Bloomberg from earlier this year).

(I only have numbers as of Q1 2011, but they look... well... about like the national debt's trajectory).

(Credit, WSJ).

There's an interesting primer on the process here:

http://renunciationguide.com/Renunciation-Process-Step-By-Step.html

How's it going? I never looked back. Aside from being able to sit unmolested in the downtown Apple store with my SIG 550/1 slung, little things like the fact that people stand a full 7 meters away from you while you put your pin number into the ATM, or that the Post Office is not only a model of service and efficiency but also delivers on Saturday (earlier this month I sent the equivalent of a first class letter across town in the morning, it fucking got there that afternoon), but it is simply a JOY that such things don't come at the cost of constant bailouts or bloodsucking unions.

The Swiss Post cleared $700 million in pre-tax profit for the first half of this year. (Nearly a 13% Operating Margin).

Read that again.

I'm not usually a fan of state run (or GSE style) entities, but... you just gotta smile when they not only make a shitton of money, but provide amazingly effective and efficient service such that even the likes of FedEX has a hard time getting a foothold here.

Everyone once in a while I think about coming back to visit then...

....nah. Maybe next year.
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