There was another interesting post on the Picket Line about tax evasion.
It discusses various models of the economics of tax resistance.
One interesting bit is that people pay taxes due to "loss-oriented thinking". People are focused on avoiding the worst-case penalty, fines and possibly jail time. They don't do a true statistical analysis of the risk/reward. Suppose I owe $10,000 in taxes. If I don't pay, I have a 1% chance of getting caught, owing a fine of $20,000. That definitely pays. Suppose there was a 0.1% chance of going to jail for a year after getting caught. If you assign a cost of $250,000 to wasting a year in jail, it STILL pays to resist paying taxes.
What is really needed is an agorist IRS insurance program. That way, you can be reimbursed for fines, penalties, and even jail time if you get busted for tax evasion.
If you are busted for avoiding taxes, you probably can plea-bargain for a fine early in the process. If I were operating an agorist business, and an IRS agent said he'd discovered 10% of my activity and wanted to tax me on it, I'd probably pay the fine and be more careful in the future.
Tax resistance should be focused on 100% preventing the IRS from discovering your income. Once the IRS is aware of income you incurred, such as from a W-2 or 1099, you probably are SOL as a tax resister. In the USA, the presumption still is that what you do in private is none of the government's business. If you work solely off-the-books, without officially registering as a business, you may be able to effectively dodge taxes.
Another issue is: "How expensive is an audit?" If you hire lawyers and accountants, it can get VERY expensive. If you're qualified to represent yourself, your only expense is your time. I probably could represent myself better in a tax case than an accountant or lawyer probably could. Unfortunately, government regulations prevent me from legally selling advice to others.
Another issue is: "Why doesn't the IRS spent more resources on audits?" During audits, the IRS collects more tax revenue than spent auditing. Therefore, the IRS should audit more. This is not correct reasoning, because the important statistic is the marginal benefit of one more audit, rather than the average efficiency of ALL audits. For example, it is possible that the average profitability of audits is 700%, but that increasing audits by 10% will not generate more income than the expense of the audit.
My guess is that the IRS already audits at the rate that maximizes government income. Increasing audits, after a certain point, does not increase government revenue.
There also is the social cost of audits. For example, the cost of an audit is not just the expense the government pays. It's also the expense the auditee pays. However, costs incurred on regular people typically DO NOT figure into the government's calculations. My guess is that the IRS already audits at the rate that maximizes (tax revenue) - (audit expenses).
This post on the Picket Line was also interesting.
The IRS mailed the author a notice that they were seizing assets from their bank account. The author had moved all their money out of that bank account prior to getting the notice.
I don't understand this at all. Doesn't the IRS have to get a trial and conviction before seizing your property? I don't understand why the IRS can just send a letter to the bank and seize assets, without getting a conviction in a jury trial first? When the IRS sent the author a notice demanding payment, didn't the author respond and deny that the bill was correct?
The interesting part of the post was on this document on the IRS website:
Notifying the Taxpayer After Serving the Levy
1. After serving a levy in person or faxing it, mail a copy to the taxpayer. Form 668–A includes two taxpayer copies. Mail Part 4 to the taxpayer. Leave Part 2 with the person who receives the levy. ACS uses Form 668–A(c) and mails to the taxpayer Form 8519, Taxpayer's Copy of Notice of Levy.
2. If the levy is mailed, do not send the taxpayer copy immediately. Wait long enough so the taxpayer does not get the levy before the levy source does. Consider local experience with mailing times and the promptness of a particular entity's compliance.
That sounds pretty sneaky and dirty. You notify that taxpayer that you are seizing their bank balance. You make sure you send the notice to the bank before the taxpayer, so the taxpayer can't defend themselves by withdrawing their money!
If I were this person, I would move all my money out of my checking account and buy gold or silver coins. Actually, this tax protester appears to have a regular W-2 slave job. In that case, the tax protester is likely SOL. The IRS can seize the paycheck directly from the employer.
I liked this phrase on Check Your Premises, in regard to tax resistance:
Stop feeding the mouth that bites you!
In other words, if you disapprove of many things that the government does, your ONLY recourse is to avoid paying taxes.
I liked this post on Bill Rempel's blog about inflation. It's the same stuff that I write about regularly.
The bottom line is that price inflation is 100% caused by money supply expansion. If you read on mainstream newspapers and watch television, everything EXCEPT the Federal Reserve and money supply expansion gets "official" blame for inflation. Inflation is not caused by greedy speculators, who are merely arbitraging the Federal Reserve's defective monetary system. Inflation is not caused by low unemployment. Inflation is COMPLETELY caused by money supply expansion.
Anyone who suggests that price inflation has nothing to do with money supply inflation is a propaganda artist.
Bill Rempel refers to "the Cantillon effect", which I'd never read about before. It appears to describe the negative effects of money supply inflation. The problem is that money supply inflation doesn't lead to uniform price inflation. The new money is introduced into the economy in clumps, causing asset price bubbles.
Bill Rempel suggests trading asset price bubbles as a trading strategy. The problem is that, by the time you're aware of an asset bubble, prices are already inflated. It's tricky to time the entry points and exit points. Timing the entry and exit points is based on Federal Reserve monetary policy, which insiders know far better than you could.
I liked this post on Stumbling and Mumbling about superstar talent.
The idea that certain actors have "superstar" talent is a myth, created by the movie studios themselves. The only people who have a chance to be a "superstar" are those who have appeared in a multimillion dollar movie. There is not a true free market for acting talent, because there are only a couple of studios that produce big budget movies.
Movie studios WANT people to believe a movie needs a "superstar" actor, because that means the people will only see movies produced by a big budget studios.
This doesn't just apply to movies. It applies to almost ANY sort of "talent". You hear corporate directors lament that there's a shortage of qualified CEOs. You only are a "qualified CEO" if you've already been a successful CEO. There isn't a true free market for CEOs. The idea that a CEO has "superstar talent" is a myth. This is used as an excuse to bid up CEO salaries to an artificially high level. The Board of Directors of a corporation isn't going to risk their own jobs or being sued by hiring a CEO who isn't "proven talent".
I liked this post on BradSpangler.com
Democracy—Three wolves and six goats are discussing what to have for dinner. One courageous goat makes an impassioned case: “We should put it to a vote!” The other goats fear for his life, but surprisingly, the wolves acquiesce. But when everyone is preparing to vote, the wolves take three of the goats aside. “Vote with us to make the other three goats dinner,” they threaten. “Otherwise, vote or no vote, we’ll eat you.”
The other three goats are shocked by the outcome of the election: a majority, including their comrades, has voted for them to be killed and eaten. They protest in outrage and terror, but the goat who first suggested the vote rebukes them: “Be thankful you live in a democracy! At least we got to have a say in this!”
People are now asking me to link to their site and promote their blogs. I don't think my blog generates enough traffic for a link to be worth anything.
This guy wrote a book. He sent me a pdf copy to review but I haven't read it yet. He also has a blog. The quality of his writing leaves a lot to be desired. However, there is one thing he mentions that has me interested. He mentions "Remote Viewing" and that he knows people who can do this. Sometimes, I have dreams where it seems like there's someone else there and they're giving me suggestions on what to do. Mainstream science says uniformly "Remote Viewing is nonsense." Unfortunately, this makes me wonder "Is Remote Viewing possible?", especially when combined with my own experiences.
If I'm going to spend time reading stuff written by someone who's a lousy author, I'll go read Kevin Carson. I'm not in the mood to push through badly written stuff for the occasional interesting item.
There's a Ron Paul blog that claims to have been tracking him since 2004, before Ron Paul was trendy. They asked me to promote their website. It was sort of interesting, but redundant with the stuff I've already read elsewhere.
My attitude is no longer "Restore the Republic", which is a common Ron Paul slogan. I've progressed beyond that. My attitude is "Who needs a government?", which is an order of magnitude ahead of someone who thinks the US government could be reformed by voting. Forget it. Voting doesn't work.
In case you're wondering, neither of those people paid me to mention their book or website. I think it's interesting that people are starting to ask me to link to their site. I only have about 200 regular readers!
The High Weirdness Project, affiliated with the Church of the SubGenius, has a page for my blog now.
I liked this article on the Liberty Papers about the proposed subprime mortgage bailout.
The issue is that lenders WANT to allow borrowers who are near foreclosure to be able to get a rate freeze. The problem is that the terms of the loan and collateralized debt obligations are so complicated, that isn't clear if a rate freeze is allowed. Rather than risk being sued, lenders are doing nothing.
The suggestion that lenders could be sued for altering terms of the loans suggests that someone IS BEING DAMAGED by the proposed regulation.
By forestalling foreclosures, this prevents banks and hedge funds holding these illiquid assets from being forced to "mark down" their loans and receiving margin calls. The foreclosure rate affects the price at which banks can carry these loans on their books.
What the banks are doing is buying time. By delaying foreclosure for a year, housing prices should start going up again. In a year there will be inflation of 10%-15%. In a year, inflation will cause the market price of the houses to exceed the face amount of the loan. At that point, the banks could profitably foreclose or offer refinancing.
It STILL is a scam. The details are INCREDIBLY COMPLICATED, so it's hard to figure out who's losing. For example, someone who has a large short position in subprime mortgages would be damaged by regulations that increase the price of those bonds.
Also, this regulation disadvantages people who waited to buy a house. Suppose you thought "Housing prices are too high; I'll wait to buy." In that case, you DESERVE to see housing prices crash due to a lot of houses being sold in foreclosure. This regulation cheats people who waited to buy a house. Also, the regulation is narrowly defined to apply to people "just about to be foreclosed". It doesn't help people who are already in default, nor does it help people who can afford their mortgage payments.
I liked this quote from the Motley Fool:
But many so-called money managers aren't worried about managing money, according to Mr. Muhlenkamp. Rather, they're focused on marketing money management. And those are two very different things.
That is, in a nutshell, the problem with hiring someone else to manage your money for you. Their primary goal is marketing, attracting and keeping customers. Their goal is *NOT* to maximize expected return.
People are intentionally kept ignorant about personal finance. After all, if people were *TOO* knowledgeable about personal finance, they would start noticing the structural flaws in the economic system!
I like this post on Zhwazi's blog, quoting Kevin Carson:
I'm reading "Studies in Mutualist Political Economy" by Kevin Carson. I've actually been meaning to read it for a while. Author is pro-LTV and I've never heard it explained this intelligently. My favorite two paragraphs so far, from chapter 1C:
Böhm-Bawerk summed up all the deviations from the labor principle, and concluded that the labor theory of value "does not hold at all in the case of a very considerable proportion of goods; in the case of the others, does not hold always, and never holds exactly. These are the facts of experience with which the value theorists have to reckon."
He would have made as much sense in saying that the law of gravity was invalidated by all the exceptions presented by air resistance, wind, obstacles, human effort, and so forth. The force operates at all times, but its operation is always qualified by the action of secondary forces. But it is clear, in the case of gravity, which is the first-order phenomenon, and which are second-order deviations from it.
This argument applies to many pro-state arguments, not just "The Labor Theory of Value is false".
For example, saying "History discredited the gold standard" is like saying "Airplanes discredit the theory of gravity".
On the Ron Paul Forum, someone asked:
Why did Roosevelt confiscate all private gold in 1933? The the miners around here told me it was for the war effort. He was planning on printing money
Only jewelrers were allowed ownership of gold.
The USA wasn't at war in 1933.
In 1933, President Roosevelt defaulted on the dollar and declared the USA bankrupt.
If President Roosevelt didn't outlaw private ownership of gold, people would have started using gold as money instead of irredeemable Federal Reserve Notes. The "official" gold price was $20/oz, devalued to $35/oz after the gold confiscation. However, with private citizens unable to own gold, people wouldn't notice that was a bunch of lies.
If Roosevelt didn't confiscate the gold in 1933, gold and Federal Reserve Notes would have circulated side-by-side. It took 40 years for people to be brainwashed so that Federal Reserve Notes are money and gold is not.
President Roosevelt's gold confiscation in 1933 was outright stealing. To declare it as anything other than stealing is being dishonest.
Some people tried to "arbitrage" the $35/oz gold price by buying lots of gold jewelry. Gold jewelery could be had for something like $40/oz, so would-be gold investors bought a lot of jewelry.
I know all the big mines around here were shut down and falling to rust.
Without the ability to sell gold at a fair free-market price, whoever owned the gold mines was acting in their rational self-interest. It made perfect economic sense to stop mining gold until gold was allowed to be sold at the fair free-market price.
On the Ron Paul Forum, redpillguy said:
With the falling dollar, the government is going to confiscate all the gold again!
I don't think there's going to be another gold confiscation. The official policy of the government is that gold is not money. It would be hypocritical for them to confiscate gold.
Currently, the dollar is backed by violence. I would be much more concerned about a gun confiscation than I would be concerned about a gold confiscation.
On Reader Mail #18, David Gross said:
You write: "If you have a regular corporate W-2 job, your options for tax resistance are zero. Your income is automatically reported to the IRS and taxes are automatically withheld. If you had a corporate W-2 job and tried to file an 'exempt' W-4 form, the HR department would never allow it."
It's actually not so bad as this. Your HR department isn't going to police your W-4 form for the government. People file new W-4s all the time for various reasons, and if you change your allowances or even declare yourself "exempt" your HR department isn't going to look at you funny (in fact, they've probably been trained not to, since it's illegal to discriminate against employees because of their family size, marital status, disabilities, and things of that ilk that often prompt new W-4 filings).
If your company withholds less from your paycheck than the IRS thinks they should, the IRS may respond to this by "overruling" your W-4 and telling your employer to accept a new one of their choosing on your behalf. At this point, your employer will begin withholding from your paycheck again. That's all. Not too frightening, is it?
You're missing the point entirely. If you have a corporate W-2 job, your employer is OBLIGATED to report your income to the IRS. Your employer *IS* the government's tax collection and enforcement agent.
Even if HR and the IRS don't overrule your "exempt" withholding declaration, the IRS STILL KNOWS ABOUT YOUR INCOME. When your income is automatically reported to the IRS, tax resistance is very hard. The IRS will still assess fines and penalties for failing to pay the tax.
Tax resistance should be focused on generating income that ISN'T REPORTED TO THE IRS. Once you income has been reported to the IRS, the red market already knows about it.
I'm not sure how this works, but I think the IRS would consider filing an "exempt" W-4 form to be a crime. I haven't heard any stories about tax resisters filing "exempt" W-4 forms, going to court, and winning.
With W-2 income, it's *TOO EASY* for the IRS to collect taxes owed. If you're serious about tax resistance, you should focus on generating off-the-books income. That is difficult at this time, because an advanced underground economy hasn't been developed yet.
On Reader Mail #18, Zhwazi said:
I'm quoting a bit sporadically, but I said "I find [the argument from mudpies] ironic..." because it "...would seem to refute the Misesian premise...not to mention it's a strawman in the first place." I'm fully aware that those examples don't singe the LTV in the slightest and made that clear.I wouldn't use Wikipedia as a source on "real" economics. It just recites the same false biased mainstream arguments. According to mainstream economics, anyone who believes the Labor Theory of Value is a Communist.
My actual position on the LTV until a couple days ago has been that it's obviously true as a general tendency at least, and I wouldn't posit on anything else about it because I didn't know much about it...just enough to know that the mudpie argument didn't apply (from having glanced over it's wikipedia page). The irony I pointed out was a funny thing I noticed once, thinking about it's inapplicability. My current actual position is that both labor and subjective theories appear to be true, but don't seem to contradict. Still reading on that, though.
There are quite a few false mainstream economics ideas that keep being falsely cited over and over again. I grow tired of seeing the same false reasoning over and over again.
- The Labor Theory of Value is false. The Labor Theory of Value holds only in a *FREE* market.
- The economic system in the USA is a free market. The USA really is a communist dictatorship.
- The political system in the USA is fair.
- History has discredited a gold standard. It was government regulating banks and money that destroyed the gold standard.
- A monopolistic government is needed for a stable society.
Someone told me that most insiders in the financial industry are aware that something is fundamentally wrong with the US monetary system. Why don't any of them publicly state their concerns? Anyone who's an insider is in a position where they're benefiting handsomely from the current corrupt system. My position is interesting, because I understand the US financial system, yet I'm *NOT* an insider.
On Who's the Richest Man in the World?, Francois Tremblay says:
Okay, I confess, I am the Supreme Ruler. You figured it out the whole system pretty well!
This sounds like a false confession to me. This is like Dan Quayle comparing himself to JFK. Does that make me Lloyd Bentsen?
I was thinking of doing a standup comedy routine on that theme. I would claim to be the Supreme Leader of Humanity, bragging about how he enslaved the entire world. I think it would be a good act. On the other hand, I would have to learn the timing and delivery skills that a standup comedian has.
Francois Tremblay is the organizer for the Market Anarchist Blog Carnival. So far, all of the submissions have sucked Congressman balls. One submission had a weird Ronald Reagan fetish. I found some interesting and relevant posts on the blogs I visit.
On Ron Paul Full-Page USA Today Advertisement, MCLA asks:
Why do you think people who aren't sold on agorism today will adopt it after an economic collapse? If history is anything to go by, an economic collapse would lead to civil war and/or the rise of a dictator. People will be clamouring for a tough guy who'll ditch all niceties and bring about order. Just wondering.
You are confused. The current economic system may not just collapse on its own. The current economic system will collapse once a certain % of people have converted to agorism!
The good news is that only 1% or fewer of the population need to be converted to agorism in order to succeed. The rest will then follow where the jobs are. If you told someone "You can work in a corporate W-2 job, or you can work off the books for me and get paid twice as much (after taxes).", what do you think the average person would say? Do you really think that, after seeing the benefits of a tax-free life, a person would willingly pay taxes?
Right now, I'm looking to find a core group of 50-100 people living in the same area geographically to get an agorist experiment started. I think that growth will occur exponentially once it gets started.
Once you have a good agorist community started, it won't matter what the rest of the world does. You'd be able to trade with high productivity within your own community.
On Reader Mail #18, TGGP says:
You know someone else who was a white supremacist (bad idea) who also believed that the banking elite secretly rule the world (true). Therefore, everyone who believes that the banking elite secretly rule the world is evil?I thought I explicitly denied it, but maybe I didn't make that clear enough.
Regarding promiscuos teleology, I think it is a common bias among human bequeathed to us by evolution because a false positive was less costly than a false negative. I consciously try to avoid it. One of the best websites on the net is about recognizing and correcting these imperfect heuristics: overcomingbias.comDo you expect him to personally walk up to my front door, say "Oh, you got me!", and give me the full details of how he enslaved the entire world?No, but I don't think anyone can have that much power and influence without people knowing.Voting is pointless.Certainly, but I don't think it's very strong evidence.Mainstream media sources always echo the same defective viewpoints.But isn't that what makes them mainstream? There's a no true Scotsman issue here. As for why the viewpoint is defective, I think if people want crap the media will give it to them.If there were true free market competition, some media sources would tout the alternative viewpoints, just to attract the 1% market share.I get most of my info from the internet, so it doesn't seem like there are unrepresented viewpoints to me.University economics professors mostly echo the same defective theories.What about non-university economics professors? I've heard they're supposed to be more right wing. I think there are heterodox econ profs in major universities though. Again though, you've got to remember that the purpose of a university is not truth but attracting students and donors.Income taxes convert everyone into government slaves.See re voting.In the 19th century and early 20th century, it was common for spies to come to the USA and lobby for certain laws.Should I care who it is lobbying? They're all scum to me and the whole thing would be rotten if there were no other countries.Alexander Hamilton was rumored to be secretly working for the bankers.He was certainly a despicable prick, but I don't rely on rumors for that.For most wars, both sides were funded by large international banks.Most wars took place before banking existed. Steve Pinker discusses how much less violent things are now here.It's too perfectly designed to be an accident.Creationists say the same thing about evolution.
Gary Becker and Richard Posner have been discussing not paying taxes here and here.
Now I'm convinced you're trolling.
Why are you so aggressively defending "The Supreme Leader of Humanity does not exist"? This type of troll reaction is very typical. You can't accept the truth, so you make up all sorts of excuses and nitpicky arguments to dismiss it. You pretend to address each of the individual points I made without really listening or understanding.
If you're looking to take the blue pill, that isn't really what I'm offering.
Personally, I find the explanation "Someone has enslaved the entire world" to be a much simpler explanation than "The current corrupt system evolved through a series of bad decisions and coincidences." In a civilization where accumulation of wealth and power is valued over everything else, isn't it natural that someone would have already seized absolute wealth and absolute power? Government exists to prevent someone BESIDES THE SUPREME LEADER OF HUMANITY from gaining substantial wealth and power. There are political and economic competitions, but they are usually as genuine as professional wrestling.
Evolution vs. creationism is something that can be experimentally verified. Similarly, "Is it possible to enslave the entire world?" is something that can be verified with a "thought experiment". If I had 50 smart and dedicated people helping me, and positioned them in the right place, I could earn investment returns of 1000%/year or more. Very rapidly, I would be able to take over most of the world's resources. My method doesn't even require any violence. Other people, by resorting to violence, are able to steal at a far greater rate.
If I could figure out a plan for enslaving the entire world, without seriously trying, that means someone else has already done so.
The Supreme Leader of Humanity's network includes a far greater number of people. He uses multiple layers of secret societies to keep his agents under control. For example, it is well-known that the President is a member of the Skull and Bones secret society. The Supreme Leader of Humanity has spies in that secret society, making sure that the people there behave "correctly". Those people are in turn members of other, more powerful, secret societies, and they are themselves controlled.
Economists who don't work at universities or the government are typically employed in "think tanks", which are themselves directly or indirectly funded by the bankers. I'm afraid that pretty much all mainstream economists are corrupt. Even Austrian Economics has its problems, because they still say "There should be a government".
I wouldn't say the level of violence in today's society is at record lows. The US leads the world in prison population. That means that a lot of people are the victim of state-initiated violence. A lot of these "crimes" are things that shouldn't be outlawed anyway. Remember that there isn't just direct violence. There's also the implied threat of violence. People willingly pay their property taxes, because they don't want to lose their land. Policemen don't need to go door-to-door collecting everyone's property taxes, because the mechanism for collecting from those who don't pay is efficient.
The Becker-Posner blog was already cited in that article on "The Picket Line". However, they still are making pro-state arguments. They didn't even come close to mentioning the truth: "All forms of taxation are theft". I don't normally watch video unless it's REALLY good.
I guess I should feel honored that my blog is attracting trolls now. Technically, Aahz was my first troll, but TGGP is a more skilled troll than Aahz.
On Reader Mail #18, an anonymous reader says:
You erroneously accepted the burden of proof with that guy you were debating on the ethics of the income tax. It should have been incumbent on him to prove that paying taxes is ethical.
It looks to me like you and this guy each have a piece of the puzzle: http://ranprieur.com/archives
Yes, that's the mistake I made when responding to TGGP the troll. Why is the burden of proof on me to prove that a group of people have enslaved the entire world? Why shouldn't it be the other way around? You prove to me that someone hasn't enslaved the entire world.
I'm not absolutely certain there is a Supreme Leader of Humanity. I'm just saying that it's something that concerns me as a possibility. I already made this point in The Grand Conspiracy Experiment.
This logical fallacy needs a name. How about "The Status Quo is Optimal Fallacy"? Anyone who suggests that an alternative is better must PROVE that the replacement is substantially better, when they're denied the opportunity to experiment with an implementation. However, anyone advocating for the continuation of the current corrupt system does not need to spend much effort defending the status quo. "If the current system were so bad, then how come it's what we're using now?"
In that link, he seems to be talking about the intimidation tricks the bad guys use. I liked the story about how people were forming mutual aid groups in New Orleans after hurricane Katrina, and government policemen disrupted the mutual aid groups.
I liked his story about George Washington recognizing the importance of disrupting Native American civilization.
I also liked his story about how it's unnecessary to send Americans into "work camps" as frequently decried on other websites. A major city ALREADY IS a work camp. If the government wants to send a city into chaos, all it has to do is block a few highways and bridges and people will be trapped in the city.
Unfortunately, that guy DOESN'T HAVE AN RSS FEED. I'm liking Google Reader SO MUCH that my policy nowadays is ONLY READ BLOGS WITH RSS FEEDS. It looks like that guy creates his blog by directly editing the HTML.
I liked this quote from his December 1 post:
There's a lot of buzz about the Homegrown Terrorist Radicalization Whatever Act. According to the script, we're supposed to respond, "Unthinkable! Outrage! Constitution! Fight through usual channels! Oh no, usual channels not working! American reality different from American ideal! Protest! Ow, stop hitting me!"
If we respond this way, we are going along with the abuse ritual. To an abuser, there is nothing sexier than when the victim expresses shock and outrage and fights back in a way that's totally ineffective. The next sexiest thing is to grovel in submission, and next after that is total numb defeat. These strategies not only don't work -- they actually feed a demon that inhabits the collective consciousness and many individuals, and they encourage more abuse.
If you don't like what the government is doing, your only practical way to fight back is agorism. Protesting, writing letters to the editor in newspapers, and all the things you're "supposed" to try don't actually work.