Friday, March 4, 2011

Local Crackpots, & History

A recent article in Sacramento's local News and Review (an indy/leftist/radical rag which runs surprisingly accurate articles, albeit normally in a power-to-the-people vein) reads:
“The topic of the alleged FBI swindles never comes up again, but if it’s talk about government misdeeds this man’s looking for, then he’s in the right place: the monthly meeting for the Sacramento chapter of the Republic for the united States of America.
That lowercase “u” in “united” is intentional—and underscores the heart of the Republic’s mission to create a so-called shadow government that will restore the United States to its “lawful de jure” system by reviving the country’s “original” Constitution. The same Constitution which, according to members of the Republic, was abandoned in 1871 in favor of a new document that took away states’ rights and changed the United States into a business with just one goal: to turn every U.S. citizen into an individual corporation off of which it can profit.”
The group mentioned above is a bunch of local crackpots, from the sound of it. But I was a little weirded out when I started to think over their claims and try to match them with my understanding of history and legal history (the latter being not my strong suit in the least). But let me take a moment to grab a couple more of the claims and draws for people in to groups like this:

“In July, the Republic elected an interim president, Alabama’s Tim Turner, whom they consider not just the head of their organization—but the “lawful” president of the united States as well. The group is also currently selecting representatives—senators, governors and ambassadors—in cities across the nation. In January, more than 300 members of the Republic for the united States convened in Newport Beach for a weekend “jamboree” aimed at growing membership and discussing tactics.
You can also apply for membership via the Republic’s website and get an ID card (designed to replace your current, state-issued driver’s license); the site also offers an extensive history lesson on how the Republic believes the government has fooled its constituents into living a lie for the last 141 years...”
“Diane Thomas, a Sacramento Republic chapter co-founder and one of its “senators,” addresses the crowd from her seat at the back of the room.
The topic: how, when in 1933 the U.S. government abandoned the gold standard in favor of a paper currency, it also created a system in which it made each citizen a “straw man”—an artificial person created by law at birth. The practice replaced a person’s birthright name with a legal, corporate name indebted to the government simply by putting that name in all capital letters on your driver’s license, Social Security card and birth certificate.”
“The United States has created corporations out of each and every one of us,” explains Thomas, a short woman with a round face and reddish brown hair. “By putting our names in all caps—each and every one of us are worth $1.2 trillion to them.”
To prove her point, a copy of a birth certificate is passed around the table.
The certificate holder’s name is, indeed, in all caps and, someone points out, there’s the name bank in the certificate’s lower corner. Proof, Thomas says, that Washington, D.C., exerts a financial stranglehold on the rest of America.”

If you're starting to say to yourself, “well Jack, that's just crazy talk...” Just wait. There's more. It does get better.
“To fully understand the Republic’s claims, you must go back more than a century when, on February 21, 1871, the 41st Congress passed the District of Columbia Organic Act of 1871, which mandated the organization of a “municipal corporation” to run the day-to-day affairs of the District of Columbia. This act, according to members of the Republic, turned the United States into a corporate entity that, they say, has no jurisdiction beyond the District of Columbia’s 9-mile radius.
“Have you ever asked why D.C. is not considered a state—why it’s a sole, sovereign jurisdiction?” asks Kelby Thomas Smith, a Newport Beach-based ambassador for the Republic and the organization’s media spokesman. “It’s because Congress wanted to make sure that the people wouldn’t have rights over them in that [9] square-mile area.”...”
So. Brass tacks:
The District of Columbia had been a district, in the strictest sense, since at least 1801. In 1871 changes were made to the district because until then, those that lived in that area between Maryland and Virginia could not vote. (This was because they technically didn't belong to a state, and Districts didn't allow for Federal/Senate elections at the time. Or such is my understanding, anyway.)

Furthermore, there was another act in 1871 which was signed into Law that ruffled a lot of Southern Feathers. Well, to be more specific: it was the combination of the Klu Klux Klan Act and the Force Act of 1870 that ruffled feathers in 1871. As up until then, the Klan had run around trying to use force to intimidate African Americans into staying out of civil government, voting, and a number of other atrocities.

While the “Republic” denies that they are a racist group, I find it hard to believe that they'd warn to return to a pre-Civil War constitution, and claim 1871 was the year the U.S. “sold out” on the basis of the 1871 changes to the District of Columbia (changes which make perfect sense historically) if they didn't have a racial agenda of some sort. Maybe I'm just overly cynical these days.

Alerations to the status of corporations, which is to say the creation of the legal entity, occurred in 1886 when SCOTUS declared that: “The court does not wish to hear argument on the question whether the provision in the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution, which forbids a State to deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws, applies to these corporations. We are all of the opinion that it does.” It has nothing to do with individuals, however. And there is no precedent for their claims about using humans as corporate engines for the Gov't.
The 1933 decision to leave the Gold Standard and the reasons for doing so are covered by Prof. Christopher Hanes in this document entitled The Liquidity Trap and U.S. Interest Rates in the 1930s. A liquidity trap is a: “a situation in which conventional monetary policies have become impotent, because nominal interest rates are at or near zero: injecting monetary base into the economy has no effect.”

Hanes notes that throughout the 30s, the U.S. was facing a liquidity trap and as a counter-measure, we switched off the Gold Standard as it had become part of the problem. I'm not sure about just how this works, but I imagine similar confusion leads to the rather insane views occasionally expressed above.

Finally: creating a Shadow Government is technically treason. Just sayin'.

In other news: SCOTUS ruled that corporate entities aren't entitled to personal privacy. “We trust that AT&T will not take it personally ,” they concluded.


faoladh said...

Ha! I recently had to get a new copy of my birth certificate, so it happens to be sitting right next to me. I look at it and I see that my name is not in all caps. Taking a look at my ID card and Social Security card, I see that both do, indeed, have my name in all caps. However, EVERYTHING ON THE FRONT OF BOTH CARDS IS IN ALL CAPS. There are no lower-case letters until you turn the cards to the reverse side.

Obviously, I like occultism, but these sorts of people are exemplars of what can happen when one loses touch with reality. Looking too hard for patterns can potentially lead to paranoia - it is, in fact, the definition of paranoia, so I might better say "can potentially lead to a dysfunctional paranoia".

Pallas Renatus said...

It's amazing what people will latch onto just to have something to bitch about. Perhaps it's the misdirection of the tribal "us vs. them" instinct; in today's world we have so many mysterious "them"s to demonize.

Actually, what amazes me even more is how little many of these people often know about the organizations they support, and how intelligent questioning often brings them to repeating the same 2 or 3 taglines over and over. Gotta have something to bitch about, I guess.