Sporadic

Hey look, I am back writing. I have so much to say and no time to say it. I can use this forum to publish my thoughts. I have many. It has been a long time since I was on the blog and much has changed and much has remained the same. I ran a campaign for congress for my cousin and over 11,000 people voted for him, so that was exciting. I was the Deputy State Chair for the Gary Johnson for president campaign, also exciting. My house is finally getting in order, quite exciting. Baseball season ended and the Orioles actually made the playoffs. That is simply something I thought I would never be able to say again. I have been putting in a lot of time at work and finding that to be more fulfilling. I do still have my loving and beautiful wife so that makes life worth it. In the coming days and months you will be hearing more from me. You maybe even hearing my actual voice if things go according to plan. One thing is certain is that the posts around these parts are going to be much less sporadic and much more regular. I hope I can inform and entertain you.

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Learn history people

So I was reading Facebook today and some woman went on a rant arguing that Governor Gary Johnson should drop out of the presidential race because he will cause Mitt Romney to lose and thus President Obama will continue to be president and kill our republic. She states that with four more years of the President we will “lose the liberty our Founders fought and died for.”

Among the liberties that our founders (I have no idea why she capitalized Founders) are the ability of to hold slaves and subjugate women. She is going to vote for Mitt Romney, and while I disagree with the choice, that is her right. A right that the “Founders” would not have given her or any other woman. Further, among those rights is the right to keep and bear arms. A right that her choice would like to infringe. Of course the “Founders” did not initially guarantee these liberties. Do a little research on the Articles of Confederation. The Constitution in fact strengthened the power of the federal government. The Bill of Rights is the first ten amendments to the Constitution.

Further, the main premise of her point strikes me as a bit pessimistic. Our nation has survived eleven score and sixteen years without perishing from this Earth. Four more years of Barack Obama will not be good for the financial well-being of the country. It will be difficult. More people will lose their jobs. More onerous regulations will be passed. I am sure laws will be introduced curtailing the ability to possess different types of weapons and accessories. But our nation will survive. Our nation is stronger than that. This election is the most important election of my life until the next one. I do not see Barack Obama doing what Lord North, Jefferson Davis, Pancho Villa, Adolph Hitler, Nikita Khrushchev and Joe McCarthy could not do. I do not see Obama ending the American empire. I think that gives him much too much credit. Further, I do not believe that President Obama wants to end our nation. He may have poor policies. He may encourage people to get food stamps; but he does not want an end to America. He wants it to be great. He just has a different idea on how that is to be accomplished.

Only one candidate running for president has a clear idea on how America can be great again. That candidate is Gary Johnson. He promises to remove the yoke of taxation from the back of all Americans. He is in favor of diversity and champions marriage equality, calling for a Constitutional amendment to guarantee the right. He has never signed a law outlawing the possession of a single firearm.  Just like the men who founded this nation believed that the white, male, American, property owners were capable of making their own decisions; Gary Johnson believes that the American people, all of the American people, are capable of making their own decisions. Those decisions include whether to vote for the lesser of two evils or whether to not vote for evil at all.

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Some men just want to watch the world burn

I have not posted on this blog in a while. I had planned on writing a post about the President and the right-wing. Maybe I will do that one next week. The events in Aurora, Colorado have eliminated that discussion.

The events are horrible. The twelve people who died and the many who were injured are in all of our thoughts. As a result of this insanity many people like Piers Morgan (who I only really follow for Arsenal updates) and geniuses like Salman Rushdie, have called for a reexamining of the country’s gun laws. Of course, they do not exactly say what laws they would change to prevent mad men from opening fire in a crowded theater.

I am a member of the NRA and own guns. I have lived with guns in my house all of my life. They have never been pointed at anyone or killed anything other than a deer. To steal a line from Penn Jillette, I have killed everyone that I want to kill. That number is zero.

There is a more profound action at work. Nothing can stop the actions of a crazy person. Clearly the guns help with the destruction, but if the mad men truly wanted to cause damage there are dozens of ways to do so without them. There is fertilizer or dynamite. No law would stop these acts. Laws don’t stop criminals. That is what makes them criminals.

Even with last night’s action the murder rate has severely declined recently. This is not because of increased policing or government policies. It’s generally because people are getting more decent. Overreaction is rampant. There are three hundred and some odd million people in this country. There are enough guns to arm all of the adults and half of the children. The fact that these incidents do not happen more often need to be celebrated. The fact that some mad man doesn’t drive a car into a crowd of people on a daily basis is amazing. People are decent. At least most people are decent. Some men just want to watch the world burn and there is nothing anyone can do about it.

 

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Why I support Gary Johnson for President of the United States and Why You Should Too

I recently volunteered for the Gary Johnson presidential campaign. If you do not know who Gary Johnson is or that he was even running for president, do not be alarmed. Many in the national media would prefer that you did not. You see Gary Johnson was seeking the Republican nomination. But they would not let him in any of their debates. So he decided to run for the Libertarian nomination.

I believe that there needs to be a third way in the politics in this country. Even if that third way is just to try something different. The President promised hope and change you can believe in. I still see troops in Afghanistan, the Defense of Marriage Act still on the books, and federal marijuana enforcement growing. I see no real steps taken to curb the deficit and the allowance of the Republican party to hijack the narrative. The president’s best case for reelection is the stock market chart showing the dip caused by the Republicans intransigence.

Gary Johnson supports the end of the drug war tearing this nation apart. He supports the end of the endless American world empire. He supports balanced budgets. He supports getting the federal government out of education. He opposes internet restrictions censoring free speech and allowing grown Americans the ability to make their own decisions. He is a strong supporter of the Second Amendment.

No other candidate merges these divergent viewpoints and positions. The Republican and Democrat hegemony needs to end. Partisanship and gridlock will not allow this country to grow. It will remain with 1950’s ideals and progress. Other nations are passing America in productivity. Other countries are now passing America in their citizens living the American dream.

I am volunteering for the Gary Johnson. I am supporting him. We need help. We need volunteers. Call me, email me, text me, tweet me, help. We need you, America needs you. This is true change. Don’t just change the deck chairs on the Titanic. Change the course.

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Make up your mind America

In the recent debates in Congress in America, the Republicans and Democrats have been unable to agree to on some basic things. Taxes and entitlement spending, are basic issues. In reality, the question is even more basic and is really the one that needs to be asked. What do you want government to do? The second question then becomes what is the best way for government to accomplish this?

People see taxes as evil. Of course they ignore the roads, USDA inspectors, OSHA regulators, EPA regulators, Hoover Dam, army bases, Medicare, and Social Security payments that are paid by taxes. Americans can’t have it both ways, either some of those things get defunded or taxes go up. Part of the problem with public perception is a lack of differentiation between various levels of government. In Maryland where there are property taxes, sales taxes, state income taxes, and the various fees and tolls charged in addition to federal taxes, it can get quite confusing. And a bit redundant.

Federalism is an interesting thing. What real difference does it make which governmental entity is performing a task? It seems to me that people in favor of less government(libertarians I’m looking at you) would be in favor of more things being handled by the federal government. Less levels of government inherently means less government. How many little police districts are there in townships in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, each with its own captain and command staff, some of which are not more than five miles from another township?

This goes back to what does the public want from government. Does it want numerous services and universal health care and a robust army and roads and trains and meat inspectors? One of the interesting proposals in the past few years has been to provide a receipt upon payment of taxes. It would give a breakdown of where every tax dollar goes. Granted the overwhelming majority would go to social security, medicare, and defense spending, but the three cents that each of us contribute to the National Endowment for the Arts would be listed too.

People say that the president needs to do more to create jobs. This ignores, of course, that jobs are being created in the private sector and lost in the public sector. And the number one way the president could create jobs would be to buy things. Roads, trains, bridges, guns, airplanes, buildings, energy research would all be things to buy that would create jobs and last. This is not allowed because taxes can’t be raised and money can’t be borrowed. If the president isn’t allowed to use the pretty much unlimited spending power of the federal government (thanks Dole v. South Dakota, Reagan’s transportation secretary expands power of federal government, who would have thought) then the tax power or regulatory power, and those really won’t create jobs. But if the economy doesn’t improve it’s the president’s fault. Okay.

One of the best examples I have seen recently of the duality or hypocrisy is in the comments by Senator Lindsay Graham. On his Twitter feed he can go from requesting a plan from the president on debt reduction or a balanced budget amendment to not ten minutes later saying how necessary it is to deepen Charleston harbor. And no one questions this. This is the problem. This is the way the American people want it. It’s not good enough anymore.

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Chaos

The world is in chaos. Their are riots in London and Liverpool. A civil war in Syria. A famine in Somalia. The US is still fighting wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, plus whatever you want to call what is going on in Libya. (From the shores of Tripoli…) Plus the credit of the United States was just “downgraded.” (Inherent question. There are three major ratings agencies. S&P controls 40% of the market. The other two control about 53%. Why are we listening to S&P and not Fitch’s or Moody’s?)

But is this really any different than any other time in the last, oh 600 years? From 1948 until 1989 the US was under constant threat of nuclear annihilation. Before that the Nazis and a depression were threatening the world. The teens saw WWI and the Russian Revolution. Famine, pestilence and war are standard for society’s since the middle ages. Plagues, fire, and short life spans were the norm. Human life was valued little. How many men died constructing the Hoover Dam? How many were starved by Stalin or Mao or the British Empire in India? Slavery and serfdom were the rules of law in most of the world. Colonization led to spreading of disease and terror. Now we are complaining about a “debt limit.”

It actually is a legitimate complaint. Life is about perception. It may be cliche to say that perception is reality, but that is truth. Americans now feel that they are in decline and lack the money to keep borrowing like they do. The truth of the matter is that interest rates on American borrowing is currently negative. America should be borrowing more money and paying off the old debt. There is the fear that China is catching up and may in the future present a military challenge to the great American power. China has one, twenty year old, Soviet aircraft carrier. Good luck with that.

The kids in London feel like outcasts because they are kids. They are attacking stores and looting Sony warehouses. It isn’t a populist uprising, it is a consumerist uprising. In contrast the revolutions in the Arab world are life and death struggles. Everything else is sound and fury, signifying nothing.

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On growing your own Marijuana and owning guns near schools

As stated in my last post a federal judge in Virginia has declared the individual mandate of the Affordable Care Act to be unconstitutional. This was based on the principle that the federal government lacks that power to force people to purchase insurance. As I also stated in the last post this was based on principles of federalism. Many have found this to be great victory for liberty. In reality it’s not, but that was my last post. In this post I want to explain why the judge got it right and why the judge is ultimately going to be wrong.

Article I of the Constitution grants to Congress and by extension the federal government certain powers. The states wanted to keep all of their other powers. These powers are listed in Section 8 of that article. The Constitution was an expansion of powers for a federal government that had been ineffective as a confederation. The clause at issue gives the federal government the power to “regulate commerce with foreign nations, and among the several states, and with the Indian tribes.” It seems fairly straight forward that health care and the health insurance industries are commerce “among the several states.” Congress certainly has the ability to regulate such activity. The question is whether the individual mandate is a proper exercise of that power.

This is where the words of the Constitution do not comport with the interpretations of it by the Supreme Court over the years and where we need to look beyond just the commerce clause itself. The Supreme Court has held that the federal government has the ability to regulate the amount of wheat that you can grow for your own consumption and marijuana also used for your own consumption. These things aren’t even being bought or sold, but the government can regulate these items because it impacts the demand for things that are bought and sold. In recent years the Supreme Court has found that the federal government can’t regulate the possession of guns near schools or violence against women.

Is the mandate a “regulation” of commerce? Clearly not. It is a requirement. It is more akin to a tax. This is why the judge in Virginia is right. The mandate is not a regulation. However, this ignores the fact that there is another clause that makes the mandate constitutional. It’s section 8.18, the necessary and proper clause. We have already decided that congress has the power to regulate the health care industry and health insurance industry. If the mandate isn’t a direct regulation on that industry, it is still may be necessary and proper to have in order to regulate the interstate commerce. This is why the judge is wrong. There is no indication that he felt that law was not necessary and proper to the valid exercise of the commerce clause power. That is the decision that actually needs to be made.

Let us be honest though. That decision will be made by the Supreme Court. Anything that happens between now and the time that Justice Scalia either writes a scathing critique of Congress usurping state power and overturns the law or writes a scathing critique of Congress usurping state power and vigorously dissents is meaningless. The Constitution means what the Supreme Court says it does. Of course then again we can debate the constitutionality of Marbury v. Madison.

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