Friday, September 27, 2013

Winning America through education

Too frequently I find myself in debates with the typical Democratic voter and they will repeat the same rhetoric they get from peers and the 6 pm news.. Five minutes into the conversation they have the doe in the headlight look. Once I begin explaining basic finance and use words like Quantitative Easing and Rehypothification, they run away.

If they do stick around past that point, the moment I mention the free market they point to what they believe are faults in capitalism. They tell me how it was capitalism that caused the crash of 2007, and how the greedy bankers are taking people's homes. They tell me how companies like Monsanto are poisoning everyone. I could go on, but you get the message. Everyone knows all the arguments.

I must then explain to these people we have not had a free market in modern history. Not since Wikard versus Filburn have we come close to a free market. This opened the door for federal regulation of almost everything produced in America. All the problems mentioned above, and then some, are done with cooperation from the overseer government.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

NSA spying—The modern Panopticon

A panopticon was a prison design created by English philosopher and social theorist Jeremy Bentham in the late 18th century. The design was circular and allowed for prisoners to be in view at all times. His design allowed for the elimination of bars and locks. Bentham saw this form of imprisonment as mind on mind control. New prisons of today sometimes use the panopticon design.

There was an outcry about Bentham's design because the prisoner never had privacy. Today we monitor prisoners 24/7 using CCTV cameras. Some still argue that watching people 24 hours a day is not healthy and possibly abuse. Today's prisons go even farther by placing RFIDs on prisoners so that if one wanders into an area off limits an alarm will activate.

Today, we are living in a panopticon world. We have the NSA doing 24/7 surveillance of our communications. This isn't something new. It has come to light the NSA monitored notables such as Martin Luther King and Mohamed Ali. They weren't spied on because it was believed they were potential terrorists – it was simply because they spoke openly about their political beliefs.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

The Perils of Laws and Perceptions

I wrote this in response to an article about new tobacco taxes and the reasons for them. A respondent stated there were no conspiracies behind most things done by government. It has often been said that money is the root of all evil—coupled with the desire for power and you have the answer to most of the world's problems.

You are right, there are no conspiracies. If we follow the money we always find the force behind many of the things you mentioned(drug and alcohol laws). Statistics are padded and ignored to bring about the results wanted. A statistician will tell you he or she can support any belief.  Even when we ourselves look at raw numbers we can't be sure of the truth. I have looked deeply into  DUI statistics. They will tell us how many people are killed each year in alcohol related accidents, or how many people are killed by drunk drivers.

What the statistics and proponents of laws don't tell us is that a DUI caused accident doesn't mean the drinker was the cause of the accident. They don't tell us that speeding or reckless driving was the cause. We aren't told the road was covered in ice and it was truly just an accident.  When a beer can is found on the roadside, or a weeks old empty in the floorboard, the accident becomes alcohol related. If the attending officer can smell what he/she believes to be alcohol, even if it's cough medicine, it becomes an alcohol related accident.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Knowing History—The Pledge of Allegiance

The Pledge of Allegiance is something I thought little about as I stood in my grammar school class each day repeating the phrase. My only thoughts were that my nation was something about which to take great pride. I feel no differently today. The only difference today is that I often have to seek out corrections to history as taught by our schools and perpetuated by the different political ideologies. The simple Pledge of Allegiance is one of those things.

Where did the pledge originate?

The Pledge of Allegiance was written in August 1892 by the socialist, Baptist minister, Francis Bellamy (1855-1931). It was originally published in The Youth's Companion on September 8, 1892. Bellamy had hoped the pledge would be used by citizens in any country. Years after the Civil War had ended the nation was still divided. This was an attempt to bring the nation together under one flag.

The pledge in its original form:
I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

Friday, September 13, 2013

The lowercase libertarian

In today's political environment more and more people are identifying with libertarianism. This often confuses some when they look at the Libertarian party and it's members. To some extent the Libertarian Party has been hijacked by anarchist and communists. It would take an article unto itself to fully explain how communists find their way into the Libertarian Party. True communists believe they can create a libertarian styled society and replace government with some board of elders. They fail to see that the board of elders is simply government under a different name.

When we hear the term libertarian tossed around we must pause and look to see if they are a true libertarian. Capital 'L' libertarians are those who belong to the party and can have varying political beliefs. The lowercase 'l' are those like me who believe in all cases limited government is the best road to travel. We don't want the elimination of government or a major change in how government operates. We simply want less government and the right to self govern.

I believe the founders intended for society to operate on the edge of anarchy, but far enough from the line of chaos that it doesn't become only the strongest survive . Any society needs rules by which people must live, but there must be limits placed on those rules and rulers. We too often elect someone to power and then turn our backs as they pass regulation after regulation. We then are shocked when we receive a parking ticket for parking in our own driveway because of an ordinance that prevents anyone from parking within thirty feet of the road. You might think this sounds ridiculous, but it actually happened in a Pittsburgh neighborhood.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

2013 EPA RFS: The road to starvation

The EPA has finished finalizing the 2013 Renewable Fuel Standards(RFS). The biggest of those changes is to increase Ethanol content in gasoline. The current standard  requires all gasoline have at least 10% Ethanol. The new standard will raise this to 15%, and will now also include diesels.

Under the Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) of 2007, the RFS program was expanded in several key ways:
  • EISA expanded the RFS program to include diesel, in addition to gasoline;
  • EISA increased the volume of renewable fuel required to be blended into transportation fuel from 9 billion gallons in 2008 to 36 billion gallons by 2022;
  • EISA established new categories of renewable fuel, and set separate volume requirements for each one.
  • EISA required EPA to apply lifecycle greenhouse gas performance threshold standards to ensure that each category of renewable fuel emits fewer greenhouse gases than the petroleum fuel it replaces.

The source for most of this Ethanol is soybean and corn—two main staples of our food supply. Each of those can be found in many of the processed foods we eat. Because of the USA's abundance of accessible fertile lands we produce much of the world's supply of food.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Lost in Paradise

Amy Lee and the goth-metal band is for me no doubt the greatest ever to create music. I know most my age would not agree—that's beside the point. I was just listening to the song “Lost in Paradise" and thought this describes how I feel at times about my country.

Not since the so-called Civil War has this country been so deeply divided by political parties and ideologies. Americans fight vehemently in the name of their political parties. Even war is divided by party. Each party believes their war is the only one that's just. American people are too often sold a bill of goods in order to fight their supposed just war. If someone speaks out against war they are called an isolationist or pacifist. We repeatedly elect politicians that play those types of word games.

I awoke today to hear Mayor Bloomberg attacking his white opponent for posing with his black wife, saying he is racist for posing with her in a photograph. This couldn't have ever happened in paradise. There is no doubt we will hear one talking head after another justifying the mayor's comment.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

When Church and State Collide

There has been a major debate over a small time bakery and other businesses that refused service—based on religious belief—to gay couples preparing for marriage. In some cases suits were filed and won by the gay couples. This is not about the cases themselves, but the dangers that lie ahead.

Let's begin by my stating that I do believe a business has the right to refuse service for many reasons. I think businesses that don't want to serve gays should put up a sign to indicate their desire. This would give gays and their supporters notice to not spend money with these businesses. The greatest part of being American is the right to make choices, especially informed choices.

We often wonder from what vantage point a person writes, so I want to state that I personally don't believe government should be involved in marriage because all Americans should be equal under the law. Because government chose to interject itself in personal relationships, a dangerous door was opened.

Monday, September 2, 2013

We learn politics through sports

I came to realize last night while talking with a friend just how politics and sports are similar. I remember the day I stopped being a NASCAR fan. Dale Earnhardt had just wrecked and his car sat on the grass with flat tires. This accident should have put him out of contention because, according to NASCAR rules, the car would have had to be towed to the garage area. It is only then the car can be worked on by the crew.

As the rollback truck backed up to the race-car and began attaching the cable, Dale began shouting and frantically waving his arms. He stopped the track crewman from further actions, all the while shouting that loading the car would cause further damage.

Moments later, Dale's pit crew appeared carrying tires and a jack. While in the infield grass they put tires on the car and Dale was soon back on the track three laps down. He came back to win the race while fans screamed loudly.