"History is indeed little more than the register of the crimes, follies and misfortunes of mankind." ~ Edward Gibbon
Privacy and Freedom Cost $100
As a thrifty individualist, I was recently shocked to discover the high cost of a piece of paper today. That's the bad news. The good news is that this particular piece of paper buys you both privacy and freedom ' for only $100. If that isn't a bargain, I don't know what is. If you don't have one of these magic pieces of paper, you need to get one, soon.
Oddly enough, this magic piece of paper can only be procured from one source, the U.S. Department of State. Believe it or not, a U.S. passport is your ticket to privacy and freedom. Please allow me to explain.
You might think that I, a free-market anarchist and very private citizen, would be the last person to recommend standing in line at the post office, filling out a lengthy form, divulging all sorts of personal and private information, having a photo taken, and then forking over a C-note to a State agent for the privilege of procuring a de facto national ID card, on purpose, but you would be wrong.
Privacy is Still Possible
For privacy purposes, a U.S. passport is very tough to beat because it does not include any of the following personal information: your mailing address, physical address, email address, Social Security number, driver's license number, or phone number. It is the only photo ID that you should carry and use on a daily basis. Leave your driver license locked in your vehicle and only show it if/when you are stopped by the police. The rest of the time, if/when asked for your driver license you 'don't have it with you.'
Since 9/11, flying on commercial aircraft is almost impossible without showing a driver license, but a valid U.S. passport will make the TSA goon happy, even on domestic flights. The federal court case challenging the secret rule that the feds say requires commercial carriers to demand a driver license is ongoing. Stay tuned.
If a store clerk requires a number, give him your passport number. Conveniently, it is a nine-digit number, just like your SSN, so it will fit perfectly. Memorize your passport number and use it instead of your SSN, whenever possible. You should only routinely provide your SSN to the IRS and the DMV; everyone else should get your passport number instead, if possible. Don't forget, there is no federal law that requires you to even have an SSN. Be extremely careful when divulging yours.
When you apply for your U.S. passport, you will be asked to provide your 'permanent address.' In our very mobile society, this can be almost anywhere, including your parents' current address or the address of the house in which you grew up, but you don't have to currently live there. Be creative, but do not use your current (temporary) address. If you feel compelled to use your current (temporary) address, apply for your passport just before you move. Of course, this assumes that you already use a post office box for your mailing address and that it alone appears on the driver license that you will use as proof of your identity when applying for your passport.
I used my parents' address in another state as my permanent address when I applied for my new passport. I also have an old photo ID from that state that never expires; it includes my parents' address. My passport lists that state as my place of birth. I now have two valid photo IDs and neither of them includes my SSN, address, phone number, or even the state in which I currently live. Highly recommended for privacy purposes and totally legal.
RFID Passports Coming Soon
Ryan Singel writes for Wired News, 'New U.S. passports will soon be read remotely at borders around the world, thanks to embedded chips that will broadcast on command an individual's name, address and digital photo to a computerized reader. The State Department hopes the addition of the chips, which employ radio frequency identification, or RFID, technology, will make passports more secure and harder to forge, according to spokeswoman Kelly Shannon.
'But civil libertarians and some technologists say the chips are actually a boon to identity thieves, stalkers and commercial data collectors, since anyone with the proper reader can download a person's biographical information and photo from several feet away.
'Diplomats and State Department employees will be issued the new passports as early as January, while other citizens applying for new passports will get the new version starting in the spring. Countries around the world are also in the process of including the tags in their passports, in part due to U.S. government requirements that some nations must add biometric identification in order for their citizens to visit without a visa.
'Current passports (which are already readable by machines that decipher text on the photo page) will remain valid until they expire, according to a State Department spokeswoman.'
Now you know why you need to apply for your passport soon. Adult passports are good for ten years, but the privacy window will close in five months. Don't wait to get yours. If you wait until spring, you will have to wrap your new RFID-chipped passport in aluminum foil in an effort to thwart remote readers, snoopers, and identity thieves.
Freedom is Still Available
Even if you plan to continue living in the U.S. for now, you should keep a valid passport for contingency purposes. Think of it as your escape plan, should it ever become necessary. If you don't have a valid passport, when you need one you will be out of luck since it takes several weeks to receive a new passport, even with express delivery.
When you finally get fed up with the socialism, rising fascism, the falling U.S. dollar, the $7.44 trillion-and-rising national debt, the annual federal deficits, your 40%+ tax load, perpetual wars, lying politicians, the welfare State, the Social Security time bomb, unaffordable health care and prescriptions, the house of cards that is our economy, the Federal Reserve's inflation and creation of fiat 'money' out of thin air, and the inevitable return of the (soon-to-be gender neutral) draft, your passport will come in very handy.
Panama: Twice the Lifestyle at Half the Price
A valid U.S. passport will allow you to leave it all behind and head for greener pastures elsewhere. I have researched several of them. One of the best is Panama, which offers numerous tax breaks to U.S. citizens who wish to take advantage of their pensionado program. Here is a list of reasons to escape from America and retire in Panama.
'Modern Maturity, newsletter of American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), ranks one region in Panama among the top four 'best places to live abroad' in the world. International Living identifies Panama and Panama City as the best place in the world for living outside the United States .
- Panama is one of the safest countries in the world with the highest rating for tourist safety from the prestigious Pinkerton Intelligence Agency.
- Panama is an extraordinarily beautiful country with a wide variety of residential venues including mountain, beach and city communities.
- Panama City is a modern capital city with high-speed Internet, first-rate hotels and restaurants and shopping almost on a par with the US .
- Panama has a reliable communications and road infrastructure due in part to the 90-year American presence in Panama .
- Panama 's cost of living is a fraction of the United States .
- Panama 's currency is the US dollar.
- Panama has a near perfect climate.
- Panama has the best retiree incentive program in the world.
- Panama has medical facilities on a par with the United States .
- Panama is close to the United States with direct flights to Panama from 7 major US cities.
- Retirement visa requirements are minimal.
- Foreigners can buy and own property in Panama enjoying the same rights and protections as Panamanians. [This is very rare overseas.]
- All you need to get a retirement visa to live in Panama is:
- A clean police report from where you currently reside.
- A health certificate from a Panamanian doctor.
- Proof you receive a minimum income of $500 a month and $100 each for any dependents.'
You don't have to be a millionaire to live like one. A U.S. passport is your ticket to privacy in this nation and to freedom elsewhere. The trend here is negative and ominous. No matter what your Plan A is, you should have Plan B ready to implement, if needed.
Caution: Panamanian banks do not report accrued interest to the IRS, they leave that up to you. If you decide to retire in Panama using their pensionado program, as a U.S. citizen living overseas, the IRS still requires you to file an annual federal income tax return, but some expatriates decide not to. All may be well for up to ten years, when they attempt to renew their U.S. passports, which requires providing their SSN. The IRS then checks to see if they are current on filing annual federal income tax returns and paying taxes due, if any. If the IRS finds that they aren't current, the Department of State will not renew their passport until the IRS receives the returns and/or blood money.
The best way to beat this IRS trap is to ensure that your taxable retirement income is low enough so that you won't owe any federal income tax. Do your homework. You remain legal, you file your 1040 every year, you travel back and forth with ease, you renew your passport whenever necessary, you live like a king in Panama , and you allow the sheeple that you left behind in the U.S. to continue to struggle to support the doomed, socialist, welfare/warfare State that is America today.
A U.S. passport offers you privacy, freedom, and no income taxes ' all for $10 per year.