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Dear Sir,

After some months of personal debate, I have decided to put this web site up specifically to get this message to you, a member of our nation's security forces.

I don't believe you've have ever seen a message like this one. I've looked for years and I have never found one.

I am the father of two young adults sons, and an ordinary American citizen who has serious concerns about their future and the future of the young people whom they live among. I felt compelled by the urgency of events and could think of no other way to pass along my concerns. No one else has been saying what I believe needs to be said.

I hope you take a moment to read this and that you consider it in the positive spirit with which it is intended.

The Change

Many people have sensed a "sea change" in our country and believe that we are at the start of a long economic downturn, but as a researcher, technical analyst and former private investor, I believe the coming changes are transformational. I also believe that over the next decade you will play a key role in defining the future direction of our country.

For my concern to make sense, a lot of explanation is required but I am cognizant of the fact that I have only this moment to show you that my concern is worth considering. I will make this brief and hope that, if you find this worthy, you will review the information I've provided at the end. It may help you see how I have arrived at my understanding. You can judge it for yourself.

Although there is talk about an economic “collapse”, I don't believe that this will occur. I believe, instead, that we are in a carefully managed decline.

The difficulties taking place today are not explained by the average citizen's "understanding" of the problems. Assertions that our problems are due to "Wall Street greed", "creeping socialism" or "capitalism run amok" are incomplete, at best, and deceptive at worst. These simple "explanations" are an effort to assign a responsible party to the problems, but I believe that we are seeing only the symptoms and the natural consequences of the underlying changes.

Essentially, some extraordinary policy decisions were made decades ago. With the implementation of these policies, I believe that our country has been undergoing a profound shift and it is not entirely economic.

Along with those decade-old decisions, commitments were made back then that put important expectations on future generations of American citizens, commitments so important that our failure to meet them would have grave ramifications for our youth.

In my opinion, what we are seeing today are the results of these old decisions. To retain a proper perspective, it is very important to understand that, at a certain level, nothing we are experiencing today was unexpected. Nothing. In fact, the financial difficulties we began experiencing in 2006 were anticipated, but outside of business, financial and economic circles, little was said.

It is important to remember that there have been good people, inside and outside of government, that have tried repeatedly to warn us of the coming crises. A citizen would be right to wonder why the warning bells of these heroic individuals were not heeded and why they haven't appeared on the front pages of our newspapers.

Unfortunately, tragically, at the very time we need open and thoughtful dialog on these subjects, our polarized political discourse and nearly useless news media have made attempts at a deeper understanding profoundly difficult.

Regardless of the root cause, our trajectory as a nation has been set and I cannot believe that it is what American citizens would have wanted for themselves. The question is whether or not we will be able to protect ourselves when circumstances threaten to violate our human dignity.

Can things really become so serious? I truly believe so.

Before I go further, I believe it would be prudent for me to take a moment to make it clear that I am not "anti-government", whatever that could mean. Our problems have been insinuated deeply in all levels of our society. There are well-known forces within our government and businesses that, through their continual presence, have set us on our path. There are both good and bad actors in this and they are not all in one political party or the other. And, as I have mentioned, there are good, honorable people who have sacrificed much to sound the alarms, and some of these individuals are paying a price for their moral stand.

(I recognize that, when it comes to speaking out about our nation's problems, there is a reflexive tendency in some to denounce the messenger if the criticism rises past a certain level. I do not know where this "line" is drawn but I have decided that I could no longer waste any more time fearing official or private reprisals. The matter is too important and the information I have gathered is from public sources.)

The Foundation We Have Built Our Lives On

It has to be said: the prosperity of the last two decades has been illusory. It was manufactured and sustained through the use of a number of damaging, short-sighted and fraudulent methods. The key one has been the use of a massive expansion of credit and debt.

Ours is no longer a free market economy. It hasn't been for a long time.

In a free market economy, money flows like water and seeks it's own level. In unbalanced situations, there is a natural tendency for a "market correction". In a free economy, accounts are settled, losses are taken, earnings are realized and the system is “reset” constantly. It is not sustained through faith, but through the tacit understanding that fair dealing, whether pleasant or unpleasant in nature, is dispassionately maintained. The “system” is continually restored to a stable, and hence, more trust-worthy condition.

This sort of "cleansing" has not happened. It hasn't been allowed to happen. This is because our free market economy has become a highly managed economy. Nobody wants to "lose", least of all the politically connected. As ordinary citizens, our tiny personal fortunes are intermingled with the fortunes of the wealthy and powerful. If they lose, we lose, even if we have not gambled.

A market correction has been, and is being, prevented with great effort and at a great cost to all of us. Continued borrowing ("quantitative easing") perpetuates the illusion of normalcy. It masks the disorder. But like a disease, a financial issue that is ignored becomes worse over time. It has now been decades and our situation is unsustainable. Something has to give. Someone or something must exact it's cost. The question is: exactly what will break?

Instead of consulting with the American citizen on a solution, the illusion has been made to continue.

The hidden cost of normalcy grows and it does so exponentially. It requires increasing amounts of force to keep it stable. This results in increasing amounts of pressure on a financial level, but more importantly, on a human level.

Americans have good cause to be concerned. We have lived comfortably by the good stewardship of our nation's affairs over many generations. We have rested on this and assumed it would somehow go on forever without our vigilant attention. Today, as we recognize our difficulties, we want to believe that, as a good people, we can pull through this. We are a militarily powerful nation and a very capable one. How can we not pull through? We should be able to work as a team to sort through this.

Now, consider that over the past decade we have seen unprecedented systemic financial fraud in our country. It is unthinkable: naked, rampant fraud and corruption in our own country, the United States of America. Our beloved nation, which we hold up as the beacon of democracy and as example to others, is riven with fraud?

Consider that no one has been prosecuted for this fraud. Not a single individual has been charged for their role. What circumstances would explain this?

Essentially, nearly no one has been prosecuted for crimes against the American people. Why is that? Is this a minor matter?

What does it mean for ordinary working Americans when the financial crimes of the elite go unpunished and the few competent and concerned reporters can no longer effect a discussion?

How could our system of justice become so grievously compromised?

What does it mean when our justice system cannot address crimes committed against every ordinary citizen and resident of this nation?

What has happened that has created this now clearly visible separate form of justice? What de facto understanding is given the perpetrators when our official agencies must allow these crimes to stand?

What does it mean when a nation's law enforcement officers are not allowed to focus on the transgressions of the politically connected but instead are increasingly focused on the politically weak?

If there is a problem in this area, how much more vigilant must ordinary citizens be of responsibilities delegated in other areas? How much more closely must we inspect decisions being made today in other areas?

How can our country remain livable, let alone great, if we do not speak out about these issues?

Finally, consider that our watch dog, the American news media, has fallen silent over issues such as mortgage fraud, foreclosure fraud, title fraud, securities fraud, ratings agency failures, the prosecution of whistle-blowers, mass surveillance of citizens, regulatory failure, the government-business revolving door and all the other symptoms that could lead us to the root cause of our nation's difficulties. Why the silence?

Over the past few decades, we have built our lives and our children's future on a machination. Our decisions to have children, and our decisions to purchase our homes and automobiles were made with the expectation that our economy is within some point in a historically "normal" range. We have not been warned to be careful and prudent. We have instead been encouraged, tacitly and openly, to continue as we have been. Lending standards were lowered instead of raised. Our credit applications stopped being declined. Essential negative feedback was suppressed.

If things are not well, we haven't been told how bad they are.

Has our nation been made so weak that yet one more crisis can blow down our house of cards?

Your role

Ordinary Americans are unaware of how very serious our difficulties are. Added to this is the reality that the men and woman of today are much "softer" than those of our parents' and grandparents' generations. After two generations of growth, Americans have come to expect prosperity and some are greatly overwhelmed by what little bad news gets broadcast. This benign ignorance and sensitivity makes them vulnerable. It makes us all vulnerable. This is why I am writing you. The issue has grown beyond economics and I believe you hold an important key to our future. Not just our congressmen, nor our president, but you.

As a trusted law enforcement officer, your role in our society is strictly defined. You are asked to protect us, keep order and enforce our laws. Though you have discretion in some matters, for the most part you are bound by duty, by orders, and, in some cases, by politics to perform your work in a particular way. Your success, and the welfare of your family, depends on your doing your job a particular way.

There will be economic shocks and rebounds in our economy's downward trajectory. Geopolitics will foment concerns and yet more reasons for control and concern in our citizens. In the midst of the human suffering and turmoil that will be on us in the next few years, you will be asked to maintain order. As the economic and social pressures increase, the weakest links in our society snap first. Pressure does that. It is tragic but understandable - and it is expected.

Recent incidents have resulted in emotional calls for security, but again, these events are not causes. They are sentinel events. They are our "canaries in a coal mine" or our "alarm bells". They are indicators of pressure and dysfunction.

As officers entrusted with the public's safety, you may in time be called upon to implement increasingly extreme measures to ensure that social stability is maintained. Your departments may receive new technologies and training. Your colleagues may compete for "plum" assignments and additional responsibilities. As events unfold, you may discover that you become increasingly uncomfortable with what you are being asked to do. To continue, you may find yourself relying on other's assertions that what you are being asked to do is correct and appropriate.

And as these weaker links in our society continue to snap, some politicians, either from ignorance or for political advantage, will propose new, sweeping solutions that address the symptoms and not causes.

Therein lies the danger.

My hope is that you, as our protector, will serve as a sort of "firewall" that works in two important ways:

I hope that you will continue to perform your traditional role as the protectors of our communities and our nation from those who have harmed or seek to harm us.

And I also hope that you will recognize, block and reject any "authorization" given to you that would seem to break you free the most important underpinning of our society: our Constitution. Extra-constitutional authorizations cannot be given by anyone and they must never be accepted by anyone. Your oath is gravely important during these challenging times.

Pressure and heat causes bonds to break. This bond must never break.

Our national document was written in plain English and the intent of its writers is clear. No one should find comfort from any amount of legal pomp, sophistry or persuasive assurances that might make it appear appropriate or legal to ignore or violate it. People understand the document as it is. Violating it amounts to a breaking the last promise to American citizen.

There certainly is hope. So long as the ordinary American can count on you to uphold your oath to the Constitution, our children will have a hopeful future. Americans delegate responsibilities to our leadership; they do not give them away. As imperfect as our American citizenry may be, our country still belongs to us. We just need time to understand our challenges.

Things you might do

I am an ordinary American and I don't have the answers, but I can offer some suggestions.

Please consider the following:

  • Get to know your commanding officer well. Find out how he thinks.
  • Beware wary of any changes in your command structure, such as the loss of an honorable commander or supervisor.
  • Be wary of obligations to an outside hierarchy not accountable to your local community
  • Be wary of secrecy.
  • Encourage open dialogs with your fellow officers. Protect their ability to speak out.
  • Join Oath Keepers or an officer's support group sensitive to these issues
  • Be alert to the abuse of natural and human-caused disaster to pass extreme laws
  • Speak out about circumstances that may pit your personal welfare against your oath to the Constitution

Lastly, I would like to say again that our biggest mistake would be to believe that all of the things that have happened, and will happen, were unknowable and that their consequences could not be foreseen. There are people who have benefited handsomely from our crisis and there will be even better treasures in the future for them if we allow ourselves, as citizens, to believe that we are powerless to direct our own future. This country belongs to the ordinary American citizen.

I am grateful that you have read this letter. I hope that you ask questions and request resources. I will do my be to answer them. Please feel free to email me.


Ian B. Michaels
The American Transparency Project

January 12, 2013