POLITICAL OPINIONS#40: AIRPORT SECURITY

INTRODUCTION:

Through out my blog posts on politics there may be several conspicuous philosophical themes that would be evident to any avid reader of my blog. The first would be how options are a significant byproduct of freedom. The second and more pertinent to this specific blog entry would be the balance between freedom and safety. I postulate that the more freedom you have, in a correlating fashion, you sacrifice safety. A great example would of this concept would be the risk to rewards of being self-employed. My stance is that safety cannot be guaranteed, so would rather take a chance have a greater autonomy. While many Americans l feel have the tendency to trade their freedom for the illusion of safety and security which is certainly a dangerous proposition for any free society. Creating the sense of safety and security generally entails government involvement. Typically, in the form of legislation that strengthens the authority of the state and the expanse of its reach. While many may question what is so treacherous about expanding governmental authority, to me it is evident that it increases the probability of abuse. Such abuse could potentially encompass violating revered rights such as those granted in the Constitution. However, when you exploit nationalism and the illusion of safety against people to swindle them out of their rights, you can often yield successful results. The most pristine example that should come to anyone’s mind was the plethora of unconstitutional regulations and laws that came to fruition after September 11th. Few questioned these attacks against our liberty at the time and most Americans chose to passively accept these egregious encroachments upon our freedoms.

Sixteen going on Seventeen years later the authoritative byproducts of the War-on-terrorism era of American politics is still extremely prevalent. No where more so than at any airport here in the United States of America. Every year millions of Americans who travel via plane capitulate their fourth amendment rights for the illusion of safety. With the holiday season in for swing, I know that more Americans will be traveling than typical to visit with friends, family, etc. While that is certainly a positive, that also means that more Americans will be subjected to unjustified searches and other invasive parameters to comply with TSA regulations. Personally, I am sick of these pointless and invasive regulations. When it comes right down to it I personally would rather assume the highly unlikely risk of being killed in an act of terrorism than to be molested by a TSA even after complying with these absurd regulations. Yes, I do completely empty my pockets every single time. Please keep in mind you are 35, 079 times more apt to due from heart disease than a terrorist attack. Personally, with odds like that, I believe that it really should be a real eye opener to most Americans. You essentially exchanged your Fourth Amendment rights for no significant increase in your personal safety. You essentially sold these rights due to disingenuous rhetoric and carefully crafted propaganda. There is nothing patriotic about making a mockery out of the Constitution and there is certainly nothing patriotic to exploit the death of American citizens as an excuse the increase the power of the government.
(https://www.globalresearch.ca/the-terrorism-statistics-every-american-needs-to-hear/5382818)

FOURTH AMENDMENT:
Amendment IV
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

(https://www.law.cornell.edu/constitution/fourth_amendment)

 

NEWS STORY:

 

Even with all of the regulations and authority granted to the TSA, the overall effectiveness is questionable. In November of 2017 the department of homeland security assessed  current TSA procedures and protocol. It was reported that the TSA only had a 20 percent success rate in identifying potential threats. It has been noted that poor procedures and performance on the behalf the TSA was a significant contributor to the subpar results. These dismal results only a mere improvement from recent assessments. When the TSA was evaluated two years ago , ther was a 95 percent failure rate when it came to detecting potential threats. These poor results come in tandem with the TSA looking to implement the use of 3D scanners for baggage. Two airports are already using such equipment and these scanners will be in Airports nationwide by 2018.

(http://nypost.com/2017/11/08/tsa-reportedly-fails-secret-test-of-security-measures/)

 

DISCUSSION:

Many may see this failure to identify potential risks by the TSA as rationale for increasing power to the agency and to enact more regulations. Personally, I couldn’t disagree more. As I mentioned previously the odds of an American citizen being killed in an act of terrorism is significantly low. Also, even with the myriad of invasive procedures and policies the TSA is greatly inept at curtailing the potential for such an occurrence from transpiring. So if the probability of the risk is low and the only recourse with have against it is inefficient, why continue to support such policies?

 

If these policies are ineffective and the risk is low, we are merely creating a false sense of security for an improbable threat. An improbable threat that is magnified by the misrepresented by our mainstream media, government, Amy our elected representatives. It is boardeline delusional to and potentially dishonest to keep restoring the truth in this manner. No one should be nearly sexually assaulted at the airport by a poorly trained government agent due to a distortion of the salient truth. That is that none of these invasive policies are making anyone safer. If anything it is more detrimental. Whether it is the frustration and humiliation caused by such policies or just the plan fact none of it is Constitutional. Passive acceptance of such policies is merely giving permission to relinquish your right to responsible privacy.  As a society the more permissive we’re are to such Consitutional violations, the more we erode the principles that give us the “freedom” we have today.  The more permissive we are towards such authoritative over reach the more invasive regulations that will be enacted. The whole concept of the “slippery-slope” in regards to the violation of our rights should not be under estimated. Soon as you open Pandora’s box it is very difficult to close it.

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POLITICAL OPINIONS#39: CIVIL RIGHTS MUSEUM OPENING CEREMONY BOYCOTT

INTRODUCTION:

 

Often, I can understand someone’s intent for a specific action, however, then contemplate if it will have any genuine impact on a specific situation. It has been increasingly evident that the divide between the political Right and left has been deepening in the United States. To the extent where that delineation is starting to resemble a figurative fault line. Self-congratulatory echo chambers exist all around us and they are absolutely teeming with confirmation bias. In this type of adversarial political climate would the contrary actions of one side really make any impact on the other or merely engender more friction? Personally, I perceive that it only creates more tension versus actually bringing  us closer to mutual understanding and civility. Which is why I am concerned about the welfare of  the United States. I feel that we may have survived civil war over a century ago with the strains of the current social and economical climate something has to give. Once that wall has been breached I am not sure if we can mend it in any meaningful manner. The issue is when both sides are merely doubling down on their own agendas and not trying to agree to disagree we only exacerbate issues and relinquish our own civility.

 

One clear example of this deepening gulf between ideologies is the fact that extremist groups on both sides of the aisle have gotten notable media attention over the course of the past year. While the Neo-Nazis and Anti-fascists terrorist are only a small portion of American citizens, I feel that the media’s cover of both have been exaggerated and has given them unwarranted attention that neither side deserves. The greater visibility and prevalence of such groups gives the illusion of normalcy, when that is contrary to reality. Both sides exploit the media coverage of these extremist groups as ammunition against their ideological rivals even though it’s a clear distortion of the truth. The majority of Bernie Sanders supporters are not Antifa members and the majority of Trump Supporters are not Alt-Right supporters or Neo-Nazis. However, all Right-wing extremists supported Trump and all Far-left extremists supported Bernie. This is a significant notion to understand, however, someone needs to Inform the Huffington Post and Breitbart of this. Unfortunately, political neutrality is now dead here in the United States.

 

One thing that is conspicuous in the Trump presidency is the failure of this administration is the dismal failure regarding race relations. While I fully support free speech, and oppose censorship you also need to consider that words have ramifications. That is the responsibility having such rights in the first place.  Violence in reaction to mere words should never be tolerated, there of plethora of other complications that can come to the surface. I personally revile the sanctimonious nature of the current political correctness culture, however, if you transgress the ethos of this political rhetoric you must expect blowback. If you do, you need to take ownership and understand that not everyone is going to be civil with you. While I severely dislike political correctness, I have equal distain for blatant racism. Both ideas diametrically opposed paradigms are not only illogical but create dangerous tension within our country. However, we need to remember a microaggression is not stanch racism. It is merely passive acceptance and acknowledgement of stereotypes versus actual hatred of a minority group. This distinction should be noted. While I believe President Trump has the right to say what he wants, everyone else has the right to dislike and criticize it. He also needs to understand that not everyone may take humor in his hasty words.

 

Civil rights leaders are now calling for a boycott of a ribbon-cutting ceremony of the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum, due to President Trump being in attendance. I much support boycotts versus legislation to convey a political message, however, will this even really make much of an impact? I personally believe not because of the whole echo chamber issue I mentioned previously. The only individuals that will adhere to this and rally for support are individuals who are already at odds with the president. The overall message will fall on deaf ears of those who support Trump and be utilized as a leverage point against the political Left. Again, with these political echo chambers not only are people who already agree with you inclined to listen, but the other side will refute the claims of their ideological rivals and double down on their current rhetoric. You will hear “ Trump’s not racist” etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. Your point merely gets lost in translation.

 

Now while Representatives such as John Lewis of Georgia (please note he was an organizer of the 1963 March on Washington) and Bernie Thompson of Mississippi announced that they would not attend the ceremony, I am not sure if it will necessarily have an impact on the Pro-Trump camp. Thompson even referred to his attendance as” …being an insult to civil rights leaders…” due to “hurtful polices”.  If Representative Thompson genuinely feels this way a boycott of the event is a good manner of expressing disagreement against the current administration. However, will this message not make it to the other side of the aisle?  Most likely not even his intent. Thompson along with civil rights leaders maybe demonstrating out of pure frustration and offense to Trump’s policy and off-color remarks. I fully support it. It is one thing to express frustration and the fact you are vexed by certain policies; however, it is another to implementing away to change it. Even better, to ignore it all together and not attend.  The choice of Lewis, Thompson, and others to not attend the event may have noble intentions, however, they are merely giving more attention to the president. If you truly despise him and his policies, you shouldn’t be putting a spotlight on him. We are talking about a man who believes in the notion that no press is bad press. Regardless of what his twitter activity conveys. Trump loves attention and you gentlemen are doing a great job of giving him more. His diehard voter base will merely refute your claims and malign your rationale for protest.

 

(http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/civil-rights-icon-skipping-museum-opening-president-trump/story?id=51653129_

 

I am really trying to remain objective here. Trump does have a right to say what he wants as an American, however, it doesn’t make it right.  Equally so, these representatives and civil rights leaders have the right to boycott an event that Trump is attending due to offensive speech and policy. I do not have a precise understanding of what they are trying to achieve here. If it conveying disagreement I feel they are doing an excellent job of solidifying their point. The less likely scenario of them trying to convey a message to Trump supporters about their president, that will be a failure. One thing I hope that civil rights leaders understand is that we cannot censor or prohibit offensive speech in a free society. You can always relinquish policies that you feel are racist, however, you cannot control what people choose to say. I stanchly disagree with hate speech, racist speech, etc. it should not be banned. What you can do is use your political clout to fight against unjust policies, which is much more constructive than tapping into the ire of Trump and his diehard supporters. As long as what they are fighting for is Constitutional and does not increase government authority I support it. Personally, I am sick of hearing about the subject of racism. At this current time in history we really should be beyond this nonsense. It is unfortunately it does exist and distracts from issues such as national security, the economy, preventing and ending wars, keep the governmental authority in check etc. However, I am not naive enough to belief that racism will ever cease to exist. From an anthropological, sociological and historical stand humans have always been a tribal species. The fear that some individuals face due to being confronted by members of a different groups goes back to antiquated evolutionary mechanisms that have been selected for threat avoidance and self-preservations. This fear is linked to a lack of understanding and comprehension of the motives of the other group and is a blatant example of evolutionary lag. We in the United States are not a bunch of warring chiefdoms and clans from the dark ages, therefore, this evolutionary mechanism needs to be stifled by knowledge and understand or at least suppressed by it.

POLITICAL OPINIONS#38: JERUSALEM IS NOW THE CAPITAL OF ISRAEL?

INTRODUCTION:

 

As it may be blatantly obvious to many observers of politics in the Middle East is that we must be very tactful in how we approach foreign policy in this region. The political climate has been a contentious powder keg that could be ignited by the smallest spark for decades. It wouldn’t be melodramatic to surmise that lives literally hang in the balance as a result of the foreign policies we (as in the United States ) choose to enact. Hence why understanding and acknowledging the potential ramifications based on our chosen course of action is absolutely imperative. This same cautious sentiment unfortunately does not seem to be shared by the Trump administration.

 

I understand the logic behind his fast-and-loose/ unorthodox/unhinged approach to politics. It is the natural reciprocal to the previous administration that was fixated on political correctness, regulations, faux-social justice, etc. Trump in many ways is the antithesis of Obama, his openly brash manner is essentially part of the reason why he got his seat in the White House. One thing that should be said is that foreign policy wise the Obama administration was a complete failure. Obama made only minuscule cut backs on the troops stationed in active war zones in Afghanistan, when he promised to end these long-standing conflicts. Even the whole situation in Libya alone was a complete embarrassment and a failure on the behalf of the Obama administration. Surely with that much erroneous decisions made by the previous administration, wouldn’t Trump be able to easily rebound from such follies?  Especially when you consider that Trump was pushing isolationist-nationalistic rhetoric all through out his 2016 campaign, “America First”. Which I interpret as “let’s focus on our issues domestically versus intervening in the affairs of other countries”. Even the selection of former White House strategist Steve Bannon, reflected the sentiment of non-interventionist foreign policy, as he was huge opponent of military action ( https://www.politico.com/story/2017/08/18/foreign-policy-hawks-rise-after-bannon-departure-241812). Regardless of Bannon’s other positions and myriad of flaws he was at least tactful enough to want to avoid active conflict. Which while I oppose isolationist policies from an economic standpoint as they do impede the free market, at least it would avoid conflict with other countries.

 

Sadly, Trump has not been approaching foreign policy in the most tactful of manners, especially in a region as volatile as the Middle East. President Trump announced yesterday that the United States would recognize Jerusalem versus Tel Aviv as the capital of Israel. In my opinion was a rash and thoughtless decision to make. Considering the tension between the Palestinians and the Israelis in Israel it most likely would have been best to have refrained from throwing our hat in the ring. However, in stead we come as an antagonist, merely throwing more fuel on the fire in an already unstable situation. Might I add this situation has been unstable for decades and we have certainly taken sides instead of remaining neutral. Trump naming Jerusalem as the capital of Israel is certainly congruent with the historical precedent of the United States siding with Israel. However, I personally would perceive more of a neutral approach to best suited for the situation in Israel as neither party needs any more incentive for aggressive action between the Israelis and the Palestinians.

 

 

NEW STORY:

 

President Trump made the announcement that the United States would recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel versus Tel Aviv. It has been noted that the United States has already started the process of moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem. The prime minister of Israel is encouraging other countries to do as the U.S. has done and recognize Jerusalem as the Israeli capital. The move on the part of the Trump administration as the potential to engender friction between the U.S. and its allies as well as the Islamic world. It should be noted that East Jerusalem was annexed by Jordan after the 1967 war in the middle east and not recognized globally as a part of Israel. It should be noted by the United states recognizing Jerusalem as the Israeli capital it would “…. US would be reversing its own longstanding policy that the status of the holy city would need to be resolved as part of Middle East peace talks.” Palestinian delegate to the UK, Manuel Hassassian, equated this action by the Trump administration to a declaration of war. As to be expected this announcement from President Trump was meet with hostility from Palestinians, as protestors burned pictures of  President Trump on Tuesday. U.S. allies and other nations have universally came out against the move by the Trump administration. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani went so far to express “Muslims must stand united against this major plot”

 

(http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-42250399)

 

DISCUSSION:

 

There is absolutely no way I could ever condone the Trump administration’s stance on acknowledging Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. It really was unnecessary and antagonistic. That was certainly a wound that did need to have salt placed in it, however, Trump did a fantastic job of doing so. I understand that Israel is a U.S. ally, however, there are far more constructive means to reinforce that relationship other than put more pressure on an already contemptuous situation. The bad blood between the Israelis and Palestinians goes back to post World War II when the western world decided it wanted to play urban planner with the middle east. Through that needless intervention we engendered this tremulous relationship between Israelis and Palestinians. So why would anyone with a sense of context and history for middle eastern affairs think that more intervention and antagonistic rhetoric and policy is going to heal old wounds? There is also the possibility that our current administration is just has apathy for the repercussions and simply wants to enact the policy that they see as being just. Even worst, potentially his is admiration is looking for a fight. When we look back at his rhetoric with North Korea, the unauthorized drone strikes back in April, etc. Trump has no issues with acts of aggression against other nations. Unfortunately, we cannot afford to be war hawks at this current time. Actually, we really should never get involved in any unjustified conflict ever. Follow the Non-Aggression Principle and we should be fine in regards to comprehend when violent conflict is justified and when it isn’t. Rarely is war genuinely justifiable. We need to consider that we are not talking about active combat yet, however, provocative actions, words, and policies certainly will not have stymied the threat of violence in Israel. But rather will increase the probability and actuality that war will transpire.

 

This antagonistic rhetoric and policy towards Palestinians is perceived as not just aggression against Palestinians, but Islamic countries as a whole. Notably our ally Saudi Arabia took great offense to our recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and the quote from the Iranian president presented above. We need to remember that Islam is a universal religion that transcends race, nationality, socio-economic class, etc. The universality of Islam started to manifest itself politically in 1979 through the Islamic revolution in Iran. Which per my interpretation was a reaction to the culturally and politically enforced secularism that was imposed upon Iran in the mid-twentieth century. It was essentially a rallying call to the Muslim world that we do not have to be subservient to the agendas of non-Muslims. This realization through out the Islamic world provided the cohesive scaffolding for primarily Islamic countries to unite under the kinship of a shared theological philosophy. Now this purely my interpretation and I am far from an expert, however, I do see some credence in this explanation. Comprehending that context, it is easy to see how if we are aggressive towards Palestinians, the rest of the Islamic world takes offense to it. Due to the strong theological connection that sense of kinship transcends national boundaries. If we capitulate our neutrality in this conflict we will be step on the toes of our good friends the Saudis. Aren’t they our trade partners and our friends in the Middle East? This only exemplifies the lack of strategic continuity in regards to our foreign policy and how one day it will burn us badly.

POLITICAL OPINIONS#37: NATIONWIDE CARRY BILL

INTRODUCTION:

 

So far the Trump administration has been a bunch of vociferous empty promises. The majority of his proposed policies never got much further than the cutting room floor. Now I understand that there are checks and balances that keep Trump from going hog wild with implementing any policy he pleases. Such checks and balances were implemented as a safe guard against abuse of power. However, all I see is stalemate, stalemate, stalemate. Depending on the issue that could be a good or a bad thing. I would say that the lack of progress on erecting the wall along the Mexican-American boarder would be a good example of something I am glad that Trump hasn’t delivered in the manner he originally proposed. On the other hand his lack of progress with repealing the ACA and providing meaningful tax reform Trump has fallen short on. While I am certainly not a Trump fan if he could implement a nationwide concealed carry policy at the very least we would be headed in a better direction. After all of the lofty campaign promises have fell to the wayside I am skeptical that we will see any progress. In contrast, if he is able to delivery on this one he will probably at least have one golden star sticker from me that he can put on the fridge. However, his foreign policy is a wreck and he is still pandering  to the anti-immigration crowd, also he has done very little to decrease governmental control. I will not be a chanting MAGA anytime soon.

 

NEWS STORY:

 

The NRA is about to get a huge boost policy wise regarding nationwide concealed bill up for congressional voting this week. It is currently speculated that the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act will pass without any issues. Even despite calls for tightening of restrictions on firearms after several notable mass shootings. The piece of legislation will enable gun owners to carry concealed firearms across state lines. Naturally the NRA perceives this vote as the “highest priority”. Even when faced with the potential of prohibitions against bump-stock accessories and the memory of the Vegas Shooting still vivid, the bill should pass. When you consider congress at this point-in time is a Republican majority.

 

(https://www.axios.com/the-nras-losing-streak-2513234433.html)

 

 

Discussion:

 

While I have been very disappointed with the Trump administration from violations of the constitution (the drone strikes that Trump has ordered without congressional consent) to his foreign policy, etc.  The tax reform bill that was implemented late last week was a joke and not even close to what I was hoping for. Now this minus any esoteric stipulations could be one of the better things that have been done so far. Ideologically, I am certainly an advocate for the second amendment and would see this bill as being advantageous win for fellow Constitutional Conservatives. However, does one bright spot nullify all of the marred and less than savory policy that proceed the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act? That would be a gargantuan hell no!! Every President might get one or two things right, but that doesn’t make them a great president. Trump has another three years to prove himself and so far it hasn’t been superlative, but I am trying to be charitable. We really haven’t had a decent president in decades here in the United States, however, I am trying to keep the faith here. Considering the United States does have such sublime constitutional rights even to the citizens we do have a lot of opportunity, however, our political leaders and the amount of involvement from the populace tends to two of the large obstacles. When it comes right down to it is our job to put pressure on our elected officials to implement more police that is congruent with the ethos of the Constitution. If we chose not to speak up then we have no right to place any grievances, because we can only blame ourselves.

 

In regards to the whole issue with gun control, I understand why people want it to be implemented and why some individuals find any loosening of gun restrictions to be detrimental.  The basis for much of the anti-gun rhetoric and policy is rooted in safety. That is certainly an admirable concern, to be concerned about the adverse ramifications such policy could have. However, that would also be slightly misguided because that would be operating under the assumption that the majority of gun owners are irresponsible. Which anyone who has spent enough time around gun enthusiasts knows that isn’t the case at all. The majority of gun owners are regular people who tend to be quite responsible and respectful to the laws of their given jurisdiction. I feel that there is a lot of misconceptions in regards to guns and gun owners. Understanding the ideological bias of the media, I can understand how someone who has had no exposure to firearms can have distorted perception of gun owners. One thing that we need to keep in mind the guns are neutral objects, it is our intentions that makes them either harmful or neutral. Yes, fire arms to posses the ability to cause great bodily harm and even death. However, are they as harmful if they are properly secured in a gun safe? I suppose a little bit of fair minded analysis would be a nice change from gun control advocates.  However, they often resort unrealistic stereotypes that almost resemble a cartoon caricature what a real gun owner is like. I will never pretend that guns do not carry the potential for harm, however, most of it is up to the user not the tool.

 

 

POLITICAL OPINIONS # 36: TAX REFORM

DISCUSSION:

 

Tax reform has been a real hot topic in American politics at the current moment with sufficient amount of division on both sides of the topic. Naturally that division is nearly delineated clearly on partisan lines. As we near to the senate vote today, on December 1, 2017, whether or not the Trump Administration’s Tax Reform Bill will be enacted hangs in the balance. I as a libertarian tend to have fiscally conservative leanings by a matter of ideological virtue. If any thing I would like to see either significant reform of or abolishment of the IRS and Federal Reserve. Libertarians are universally pleased by decompartmentalization of the government. However, such ambitions are merely a lofty pipe dream as most Conservatives and Liberals do not see such measures as rational nor a priority. I digress.  So, what would be the next best thing that would be an acceptable compromise? Most likely notable tax cuts in adjunction with decrease in government spending. Something the last several Republican presidents have failed to do in any meaningful manner. So, one would assume that I am in favor of Trump’s proposed Tax Reform Bill. However, I am incredulous at best. Not that the bill is all bad, however, it does not operate in the most advantageous manner. After doing some more research on the bill the there are definitely some issues with it’s effectiveness. Per the publication VOX:

 

“As written, the Senate tax bill would cause a $1.4 trillion increase to the national deficit over the next decade and let individual tax cuts expire after 10 years, meaning taxes on the middle class would eventually go up. Furthermore, some Republicans are advocating the idea of raising tax rates if the tax bill doesn’t produce enough economic growth to stave off a deficit increase.”

(https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/11/29/16709526/tax-reform-republican-plan-take-effect).

 

It is important to note that I am unsure of the ideological bias of VOX, however, the message conveyed in the article mirrors the same being articulated by DNC leadership. The increase in the deficit can be adverted by  eliminating pork-barrel spending. However, the potential of tax increases for the middle class is where I take the most issue with this bill. While I am far from an economist if the ramifications of the Tax Reform Bill would increase taxes for the middle class that would certainly sour any advantages of the bill. However, per conservative publication The Daily Wire, the bill is purported to eliminate the estate tax, also known as the death tax, “after six years”. Now that certainly sounds like an excellent step in the right direction, the article also noted a severe downside  as well. The article notes that there was an obscured tax bracket where any income earned over “$1 million in taxable income there will be a 6% surcharge on every dollar earned”. Ben Shapiro of  The Daily Wire essentially described how this would be less than advantageous considering such a move would target the top earners who tend to be our job creators (www.dailywire.com/news/23290/gop-tax-reform-plan-not-great-repealing-death-tax-jeremy-frankel). That is certainly a sentiment I can understand, because are you going to want to hire more employees of your profit margins are being diminished by taxes? While Andrew Carnegie’s archaic theory of trickle-down economics may have its issues, it certainly does apply to the job market. While the GOP promises to assist in this regard, it does not seem to be the case.

Another point I would like to make regarding the tax rhetoric in general here in the United States is that we need to get dispose of this myth of “Robin Hood Economics”. Essentially the idea that the rich should pay all the taxes and support all forms of social welfare. From a humanitarian standpoint I get it, however, sometimes it is best to think with your mind versus your heart. Aside from the top tier earners being the job creators, how is there any equity in putting it all on the affluent individuals? I understand that obviously if you are making minimum wage any money coming out of your pocket including taxes is personally detrimental. I also understand a lot of this comes from the bitterness of the struggle of well-to-do versus the poor and destitute. What if we had a small flat tax that was a universal percentage versus set income brackets? I do not feel that creating tension between the two dichotomies mentioned above is constructive. I feel if we had a small flat tax that could be applied to individuals, enterprises, and For-profit organizations coupled with a decrease in government spending would help a lot.  Also, when I talk about budget cuts in regards to spending, I know a lot of people get upset. The thing is that people need to understand is that being dependent on the government versus private charity is a whole lot worse. There are a myriad examples of systemic abuse as well as the potential for the government to even misallocate the funds earmarked for the specified purpose. While reputable non-profit charities with low overhead costs, religious, etc. you significantly reduce nefarious arrangements. The key word is reputable and remember nothing is perfect especially not the government. Also, with government programs there is also the potential for the delay in receiving services due to paper work and other bureaucratic nonsense. If you are in need, a church sponsored soup kitchen will assist you without any obstructive red tape. However, getting back to taxing the hell out of the rich, it is also bad because it will not give people the motivation to want to excel. If you have to forfeit half of your earnings in year in taxes, would you want to own a successful business or get that massive promotion? Probably not. So, putting a bullseye on the affluent is not the answer unless you really want to stifle our economy.

 

 

 

POLITICAL OPINIONS#35: THE FAILURE OF THE WAR ON DRUGS

DISCLAIMER: THIS BLOG ENTRY DOES NOT CONDONE DRUG USE NOR PROMOTES INDIVIDUALS TO ENGAGE IN ILLEGAL ACTIVITIES. THIS POST IS MERELY A REFLECTION OF THE ABJECT FAILURE OF CONTEMPORARY DRUG POLICY. IF YOU CHOSE TO USE CONTROLLED SUBSTANCES THAT IS YOUR PERSONAL CHOICE AS AN ADULT AND IT SHOULD BE YOUR CHOICE. HOWEVER, I WOULD ADVISE EVERYONE TO TRY TO RESPECT THE LAWS OF YOUR PERSPECTIVE JURISDICTION AS VIOLATING THE LAW IS THE MOST EXPEDIENT WAY TO RELINQUISH YOUR RIGHTS AS A FREE CITIZEN.

 

INTRODUCTION:

 

In regards to policy, sometimes we need to admit that we were short-sighted in it’s overall impact. One of the most notable examples in the history of U.S. policy and global policy has been the War on Drugs. Please note I am not advocating drug use and  nor am  I a drug user, my stance on drug use is that is a personal choice for adults and you are solely responsible for any adverse repercussions engendered by such behavior. It is the same stance I have for legal vices such as gambling, tobacco, alcohol, research chemicals, pornography, strip clubs, etc. Now that we have cleared the air here, let’s get down to business. We have spent an inordinate amount of money on the War on Drugs since it’s genesis during the Nixon administration and it has been a dismal failure. It is currently estimated that the U.S. spends $51 billion dollars a year on “anti-drug efforts” and that number peaked at $1 trillion in 2012.

(https://www.vox.com/cards/war-on-drugs-marijuana-cocaine-heroin-meth/war-on-drugs-cost-spending).

 

The real awe-inspiring fact is that all of this money spent, organizations, and government agencies focused on the prevention, Inspection, and diversion of illicit narcotics we have seen little to no effect on the prevalence. While the government may curtail the use of the most problematic illegal substance it  merely falls out of fashion in drug circles and is replaced by another substance. The drug of choice for a generation tends to be cohort specific and slips under the radar as the official are fixated on the current drug trends while another is emerging. In the wake of the ravages of the Opioid Epidemic, the prevalence of heroin, fentanyl, and the molecularly restructured carfentanil, is of an unseen prevalence in rural and suburban communities Contrary to the funds allocated to curtail the sale and use of illicit and illegally obtained opioids it has done little to curtain the prevalence of such drugs. At the end of the day, this futile endeavor has been more punitive towards the user  and low level street dealers versus cartel leaders and the wholesalers. Even with the acknowledgement of the Opioid Crisis being a public health emergency little has been done to reform the mandatory minimal sentencing for possession of Class A and Class B narcotics (in United States). While the prison guard unions across the United States fight against loosening restrictions on controlled substances such as Marijuana. (https://theintercept.com/2016/05/18/ca-marijuana-measure/). Which I understand from the standpoint of job security, because the more people we have incarcerated greater the likelihood they are able to keep their oppositions. A big issue with our drug policy is that not only is it in effective  put it also has created jobs that are contingent upon  irrational drug policies. They don’t refer to the United States prison system as the Prison Industrial Complex for any frivolous reason. However, our drug policy dovetails quite nicely with the Prison Industrial Complex when you consider 1 in 5 inmates in prison are incarcerated for a non-violent drug offense (https://www.prisonpolicy.org/reports/pie2016.html). Especially, when you consider 22 % of the world’s prison population is jailed in the United States, which is highly disproportionate to our population. Can we really call ourselves a free society when we are imprisoned a copious number of people for victimless or petty crimes?

(http://www.prisonstudies.org/sites/default/files/resources/downloads/wppl_10.pdf)

 

 

NEWS STORY:

 

The article that I am paraphrasing below was written by Jacob G. Hornberger of The Future of Freedom Foundation and gives some really sublime insight into the failure of the War on Drugs.

 

Our Drug policies have brought forth the thriving black market that is in existence today, analogous to the follies of alcohol prohibition. The legality of the intoxicant means very little to the drug user which keeps the illegal drug market active. Drug addicts are in dire need of the drugs therefore sanctions and regulations will do little to curtail their use. Recreational users perceive the odds of getting apprehended as being a miniscule risk. The individuals who sell these banned substances do so for money. Due to imposed prohibition of such substance they command a higher value on the black market and therefore make the profit margins tantalizing. The very fact that the commodity being sold is illicit, the individuals can employee what ever methods necessary to protect their margins of profit. Hence, the pervasive nature of violence in the drug trade. When governments decide to curtail the drug trade it only exacerbates the matter by increasing the potential margin for profit. Remember while one organization was apprehended, there are always more to take it’s place.

 

To quote the article :

 

“ There is one — and only one — way to get rid of drug gangs, drug lords, and drug cartels and the violence that comes with them: Acknowledge that drug prohibition was a mistake (just like alcohol prohibition was), repeal all drug laws, and restore the free market to drugs.”

 

(https://www.fff.org/2017/11/21/basic-principle-drug-laws/)

 

DISCUSSION:

 

Needless to say globally the War on Drugs as been a complete and utter failure, yet we still choice to support policies that only keep this fruitless war going. The biggest reason why we continue to perpetuate this fallacy is money. We have a lot of jobs and industries ranging from the prison systems, pharmaceuticals, liquor companies, government jobs (DEA), etc. are contingent on drug prohibition.  Trust me, the drug laws in the United States have very little emphasis on safety. I am a fan of quality single malt whisky, however, alcohol kills a myriad of Americans a year and causes plethora of other societal issues.  Well really don’t even need to go down the avenue of tobacco and what about all the chemicals and additives that are present in our “food”.  What about all of the carcinogenic compounds found in commercially sold weed killer brands? The government is not trying to prohibit these substances for our safety and I can assure you that!

 

While the private sector has made quite a bit of money from the War on Drugs (many prisons in the United States are privatized) it has not been so lucrative for the country as a whole. The conservative estimate on how much the government spends a year on this failed crusade is approximately $51 billion a year. Should a country that is trillions of dollars in debt continue to spend billions a year to support ineffective policies? I would say no and ardently state that it is pure fiscal irresponsibility That is a lot of money to squander, it is a lot of tax payer money to squander. That’s right folks, we are paying for this insanity. Literally! Personally, I would not want my money to be allocated to support such asinine measures that are not only diminishing liberty. If an adult wants to use drugs that is there decision not the government’s. If an adult happens to lose control of their drug habit it is their responsibility to seek treatment. The government should not have the authority to tell us what intoxicants we can consume. I find it funny how conservatives claim limited government, yet continue to expose anti-drug rhetoric and policies. If you don’t like drugs, then stay away from them. It’s really a linear concept. However, remember drinking vodka until you are sick that’s okay. We will all laugh about it later. I suppose that such incontinence and hypocrisy really rankles me, because it is disingenuous and dishonest. Drugs can be dangerous just in the same manner that alcohol can be dangerous. If you misuse anything it can be a hazard to yourself and to others. If we are to ban things that have the potential to be dangerous, we should ban alcohol, cars, power tools, junk food, etc. See how absurd this is?  However, instead of prohibition how about we take the money hands of the criminals?  What we should do is have  legal sales of all the current Schedule I drugs, maybe it might have a positive impact on the economy versus squandering money on a deflated and defeated war. If you want to dispose of the criminal element you need take away their source of revenue and take away the incentives to sell these substances. Legal retail market of drugs would not only decrease criminal activity associated with drugs, but could benefit the economy of the country as a whole. I look at the momentary successes of Colorado after legalizing recreational cannabis and I do see potential. However, I do disagree with how Colorado and Washington state is taxing their recreational marijuana then again I am a Libertarian versus a Liberal.

POLITICAL OPINIONS#34: BITCOIN THE CRYPTOCURRENCY CRAZE

INTRODUCTION:

 

Anything that has amassed a significant amount of popularity with in a relatively short period of time could certainly leave the rational individual incredulous. Often, we tend to put up some opposition to entities that provide an alternative to trusted methods, means, and institutions. This was certainly the case regarding currency. If anyone told me that world’s most popular cryptocurrency Bitcoin would be valued at what it is now, back in 2010, I would have probably lambasted them beyond belief. However, seven nearly eight years later the bitcoin faithful would be the ones on the winning side of history. At least they would be as of the current point in time, I digress. Over the past couple of days I have seen a plethora of news articles stating that the value of a single bitcoin unit is on the verge of increasing to 10,000.00 USD. While over the past eight years the appearance of the legitimacy of Bitcoin as an alternative to fiat currency has become more resolute there are plenty of skeptics. While skepticism is healthy reaction to such a new currency alternative, I would tell everyone to be an open-minded skeptic. However, with the steady increase in the value of Bitcoin it illustrates the potential that cryptocurrencies may not be a mere fad but rather an enduring financial investment. Please note that I am not speaking in definite terms and this is pure speculation on my part.

 

NEWS STORY:

 

Per Business Insider, the value of Bitcoin has just reached above 9,900.00 USD. Bitcoin has been on the trajectory to hit the 10,000 USD mark since Thanksgiving. The value of the cryptocurrency has increased by approximately $2,000 since last Friday, with no indications of losing any momentum. Some traders such as  CEX digital are already trading Bitcoin at a value of 10,000 per a unit. Renowned hedge funder Michael Novogratz speculates that the value of Bitcoin is far from reaching its apogee and still has potential for growth. Novogratz told Business Insider that there is a potential for the cryptocurrency to reach 40,000 dollars per a unit by 2018. While the 875 percent increase in value from last year, certainly makes Bitcoin a tantalizing investment, there are certainly still some skeptics on Wall Street. Most notably Jamie Dimon, the CEO of JPMorgan.

 

(http://www.businessinsider.com/bitcoin-price-soars-over-9900-2017-11)

 

DISCUSSION:

 

I would imagine that all that these significant surges in value would be truly joyous for any longtime Bitcoin investor. However, these significant increases in value I would attribute to a build in safeguard against inflation. Please note that I am not an economist, however, the creator(s) of Bitcoin made it so that there is only a finite amount of Bitcoin to be mine. After the total number of Bitcoins have been extracted no more will be generated thus providing a measure to preserve the rarity and maintain the value. Prior to the advent of fiat currency, the U.S. dollar had its value determined by the backing of gold. Gold yields its value through being a relative scarce mineral/commodity. So the projections of the experts in my uneducated opinion does seem to have some veracity to it. Barring some outlandishly awful event such as a hacker finding a way to manipulate the currency, I see a very bright future for anyone who has invested in Bitcoin, especially the early investors. Personally, I could kick myself for not investing 200.00 USD in Bitcoin back in 2009, however, a few issues with that one. First off: I am too much of a skeptic to invest in something that is unknown. Second off: I was completely ignorant to what cryptocurrency was back then. So I suppose maybe if happen to inherit a great abundance of money and Bitcoin has gone bust, I will have to invest.

 

From my perspective, the significant of Bitcoin goes beyond its contrived value and its potential as a financial investment. To me the really significance of Bitcoin is that it (along with competing cryptocurrencies) is that it may serve as feasible alternative to fiat currency. The issue with the fiat currency system that the United States and the majority of the world utilizes is that the currency suffers from high rates of inflation. In the United States, we continue to keep printing more and more money which only further weakens the value of the U.S. dollar. It is important to note that since we stopped using the gold standard, essentially our money is backed by the word of the United States government.  A government that is in trillion of dollars worth of debt, which is what I like to refer to as the “U.S. fiscal Black hole”. Our government is in this outlandishly large amount of insurmountable debt and still wantonly spends money. Why not when you can frivolously print more and further depreciate the currency even further. I can I really trust that the U.S. dollar is truly worth anything understanding the variables detailed above? It is analogous to providing a car loan to someone who has declared bankruptcy without a co-signer. While that example may seem cartoonish I hope it conveys my point. I really can’t trust that the U.S. dollar is any more than glorified Monopoly money. That is why Bitcoin is so important is that we should have alternatives to our failing dollar. Whether it being gold, silver, jewels, or cryptocurrencies alternatives are needed.