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You Have Something to Hide

June 11th, 2013

With so much happening with the NSA right now, many people are commenting the commonly-misplaced, “I have nothing to hide” logical fallacy. Danah Boyd has some interesting comments regarding that argument. I thought I would add to it quite a bit. using Danah’s context, a tax return audit is so scary because the tax code is so outrageously massive, counter-intuitive, and vague, there is no way for even experienced tax attorneys to know every detail, especially as it changes. For the record, the IRS’s enforceable tax code is about 9 million words. There is no possible way to know if you are compliant, and statistically speaking, you are not. But, you don’t know how you are out of compliance. Your tax attorney can only speculate your compliance (at $300/hr) and along with your accountant (at $150/hr). But don’t worry, the IRS will only take your hard-earned money, plus interest, plus penalties for not knowing the tax code, because ignorance is no excuse.

But the tax code is not the only example of the legal system our of control. Every area has gone crazy, from gun laws, to drug laws, to medical laws you can no longer judge your “legality” by the old method of coercion. You can’t buy cold medication without filling out forms and risking arrest for buying too much. In simpler days, you could simply apply the property rights test and the coercion test (Am I forcing [ or threatening force] somebody to comply with my wishes?) Using this test makes 99% of the situations very clear.  But those days are long since gone.

Finally, because you commit 3 felonies a day, you have 3 reasons per day to keep the federal government out of your life. Because so much of our daily lives is illegal, you are literally playing the felony lottery every day when you invite the federal government into your lives. Its incredibly short sited as well. Because while the powers that be may agree with your life choices, the next batch may not be so agreeable.  Just in case you thought it won’t happen to you, here is a case of a man arrested for taking pictures at night. While the cops knew it was not illegal to take photos, they did know he WOULD eventually commit a crime because so much is illegal. They simply waited for him to walk down an alley, then arrested him for his offense. They took his equipment and now he gets to fight a legal system stacked against him.

“There’s no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren’t enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws.” – Ayn Rand

Illegal Immigration

January 31st, 2013

In recent news, some senators are proposing some immigration reforms, which may include some form of amnesty for current illegal immigrants. This post is partially a response to some commentary I’ve read so therefore it is a two part series. The first part will paint the picture of an illegal immigrant’s life choices and put it in perspective. The second will outline why I think

So, imagine a situation where you can move to a new city and provide a life for your family orders of magnitudes better than your current situation. Your job pays better. Your neighborhood is safer. Your food is better quality. Your kid’s schools are better. Your home is nicer. Everything is better. The only difference is you have to cross state lines, i.e. Kentucky to Oklahoma. But Oklahoma doesn’t want you. They put up fences to keep you out. Even if you have skills in high demand in Oklahoma, it doesn’t matter. To make matters worse, Oklahoma pays lip service to wanting you to enter its boundaries. They say, “just get in line” or “wait your turn”. But time is money, money is your future, and even more so your kids’ future. You’d gladly pay a year’s salary to get to Oklahoma, because you know you can make it back in 3 months once you get inside. But, they won’t take it. Then you realize, that for a crime equivalent to a speeding ticket, you can sneak into Oklahoma. You wouldn’t be hurting anyone. Its a petty civil violation anyways, so why not? Hell, you’ll probably speed on the highway to get to Oklahoma anyways, so it really doesn’t matter.

Redraw the line as the Mexican border and magnify the poor living conditions in Kentucky 100x and magnify the great living conditions in Oklahoma 100x and you have illegal immigration. If you break the law and enter illegally, you don’t have to worry about your kids attending a school where the librarian is raped,  murdered, and hung from a freeway overpass by local drug lord to keep the community in check. You get opportunities that were only silly dreams, at the cost of a speeding ticket. You hurt nobody. You work hard, you’d pay taxes if you could. By all measures except one, you’d make an outstanding U.S. citizen. You find me a U. S. citizen that wouldn’t make the same decision for his or her family. Remember that the next time you hear someone demonizing illegal immigration. You are no better than them, you just got lucky and were born on the right side of an imaginary line.

Now, irrespective of the blight of the illegal immigrant, immigration reform will have some sort of amnesty in it. If it doesn’t, the reform is probably not worth enacting anyways because it would address the real problem. The real problem of immigration is that it is too hard to immigrate legally. As Reason.com points out, immigration is a ridiculous set of hurdles, regulations, red tape, and bureaucracy.

http://reason.com/assets/db/07cf533ddb1d06350cf1ddb5942ef5ad.jpg

Now, for the moment, lets assume that immigration is properly reformed. To assume that the millions of people here would leave for 10 years to immigrate back is just ridiculous. That’s like saying that all of the blacks in jail for sit-ins should remain in jail even after Jim Crow laws were abolished. Liberty should always be retro-active. Its just common sense. The easy thing to do is grant permanent residency to anyone who can pass a background check, much like the background checks the FBI forces all gun purchasers to submit. Pass the test, get a green card. Pay taxes. Work hard. Make a better life for your family. Its that simple.

What thoughts do you have on the subject? Philosophy only please – there is no room for politics here.

 

 

Philosophy vs Politics

January 14th, 2013

I see this alot:

My political views are…

This post is about differentiating between political views and philosophical views. I argue these are very different. Philosophical views are ideas and points of view towards ideas. These ideas are propagated by sharing and persuasion. For a particular philosophical view to grow and spread, it must be accepted voluntarily. This is freedom in ideas. Both good ideas and bad ideas are vetted this way, allowing good ideas to grow and spread, while bad ideas are rejected. No one is required to accept good ideas as their own philosophy, however they may suffer consequences of this rejection.

Politics are very different. Politics are philosophies that use force to spread. The standard method of politics is government, but is not restricted to government for propagation. All governments spread politics. They force groups of people to accept a philosophy, whether its some form of abortion, welfare, or war. Whether its democracy forcing a minority, a king forcing his subjects, or a dictator forcing his subjects, they all use force to achieve philosophical acceptance.

The difference makes a huge difference in our society. The former brings people together, specifically people that accept similar philosophies. It allows groups of people to accept others. The latter divides people. Whether its dividing by race, class, sexual orientation, or religion, it divides. Its “us” versus “them”. Its the enforcers versus the enslaved. It doesn’t matter if a king’s sword or a democratic voting booth is the method of selection. Either way forces a group of people to accept a philosophy they have not voluntarily accepted themselves. This leads to all sorts of issues, including class warfare, vengeful voting behaviors, and civil war. Nobody goes to war because somebody won’t listen to them. People do go to war if they live under forceful dictations, regardless of the source of the dictation, whether democracy, monarchy, or any other force of government.

Do you have philosophical views or political views? It can make all of the difference.

Ron Paul 2012 Rear Window Decal

May 23rd, 2011

I’ve (re)produced the Ron Paul Revolution design in Adobe Illustrator for large format printing, specifically for large car rear window stickers. The design looks like this. I smoothed out the Love portion to make it easier to reproduce in vinyl.

You can download the ai file here.

3 Step Process to Eliminate the National Debt

April 27th, 2011

With the national debt getting ready to break through the $15 trillion mark, its worth noting that we can *easily* eliminate this current debt with 3 easy steps. I should note that this does not address Congress’ ridiculous spending and the deficit, but at least we don’t have the national debt.

  1. Eliminate the Federal Reserve
    We need to stop borrowing our own currency. There is no reason to borrow our own money when we inflate our currency. Additionally, we need to allow the market to dictate interest rates instead of the Fed inflating and stagflating our economy.
  2. Step up the Required Reserve Rate while issuing new currency without it being backed by debt
    Over the course of 4-5 years, we need to ratchet up the required reserve rate to 100%. To prevent hyper contraction of our economy due to a currency deflation, we would print money at the same rate as the reserve rate increase. This money would be placed in an account to buy back all money issued via debt issuance. The point of this step is to eliminate bank’s ability to inflate the money supply. We only print the money to ensure a relatively stable money supply.
  3. Require our new currency be backed by Gold
    The file step after the 4-5 year reserve rate adjustment, we need to tie our currency to gold or silver. We need to maintain our currency going forward and tying it to a precious metal is one of the best ways of doing so. It discourages politicians from printing freely to start wars or other ridiculous ways of taxing their constituents through inflation.
Posted in economics | 1 Comment »

A Collection of Public School Facts

August 26th, 2010

http://www.cato.org/pub_display.php?pub_id=11432 (http://www.cato.org/pubs/pas/pa662.pdf)

Real spending per pupil ranges from a low of nearly $12,000 in the Phoenix area schools

We find that, in the areas studied, public schools are spending 93 percent more than the estimated median private school.

http://biggovernment.com/acoulson/2010/06/05/the-u-s-economy-needs-fewer-public-school-jobs-not-more/

Costs of public schools in relation to math and reading test scores.

http://www.cato.org/pub_display.php?pub_id=9326 – a paper on school choice.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bxeP-krUrdU – Milton Friedman’s Free to Choose Series on Education – part 1.

I reserve the right to say I told you so

May 19th, 2010

prop 100 passed.  I reserve the right to say I told you so regarding:

  • this sales tax increase will become permanent
  • teachers will still be laid off
  • our public schools won’t improve in the next three years
  • in three years, the state of AZ will not be in a better financial position

Voters of “Yes” enable government to pilfer your wallet, your freedom, your liberty. Its YOUR OWN FAULT. You deserve all that is coming to you.

2010 Maricopa Elections Summary

April 21st, 2010

I’ve tracked down as many links as possible for the May 2010 Maricopa, AZ election.

Maricopa Publicity Pamphlet

Campaign Finance Reports - This is who supported who. It is very insightful to see which Pinal County Supervisors supported.

City Council Member Campaign Links:

  1. Peg Chapados – http://pegforcouncil.com/
  2. Edward Farrell (incumbent) – http://retainfarrell.com/
  3. Julia Romero Gusse – (no known campaign site, google search)
  4. Ken Hunt – (no known campaign site, google search)
  5. Bridger Kimball – http://www.electbridger.com/
  6. Alan Marchione -(no known campaign site, google search)
  7. Brent Murphee (incumbent) – http://www.brentmurphree.com/
  8. Dallas Paulsen – (no known campaign site, google search)
  9. Leon Potter – (no known campaign site, google search)
  10. Rosalin Sanhadja – (no known campaign site, google search)

For Mayor

  1. Tony Smith – http://www.smithmaricopa.com/

Analysis to Come.

The Payday Loan Industry

April 8th, 2010

The payday loan industry serves a specific market. People with bad credit need a place to borrow money to cover emergencies. In order to provide this service, high interest rates are needed to cover the defaults (remember, these are people with bad credit). Remember, high interest rates do two things. The first is deter people from borrowing unless their emergency justifies the cost. Second, high interest rates get other entrepreneurs into the market, increasing competition, driving down rates. If we prevent this market from existing, we will only be hurting the poor.

Some may say, but people are abusing the system. So! Let them. And when they default on the loans, let the pay day loan industry either absorb the cost of the defaults, or better discriminate between good loans and bad. You will see a diversification of the market. Some will have higher standards for borrowers with lower rates. Others will have higher rates for borrowers with worse credit.

The law’s intent is to protect the poor from high interest rates. Instead it will prevent the poor from making decisions that impact their families, like replacing the air conditioner in July.

To send a message to AZ legislators, see this AZcentral blog post:
http://www.azcentral.com/members/Blog/EJMontini/77666

Government Protections and the Pony Express

January 31st, 2010

A major part of the socialist platform is to protect industries that may not be feasible without government protections. Hell, one of the over 2000 federal government programs is to compensate milk producers for “lost” profits. Farmers get subsidies to “protect” their industry. GM received a very large check and transferred major chunk of ownership to the United States government to “protect” an American industry. It happens all the time. Its sad and crushes true innovation and prevents true wealth creation.
The reason I bring this up is I visited a train park in Scottsdale. A portion of the train park was a museum which dedicated a small portion of their floor space to Samuel Morse, the inventor of Morse Code, a necessary precursor to the telegraph. Prior the invention of the telegraph, mail traversed the country two ways, train or pony express. If the train system did not reach your area, you were forced to use the pony express. Within a week of the country’s first transcontinental telegraph, the pony express filed for bankruptcy. Now, lets imagine federal bureaucrats wanted to protect an American industry. Retrospectively, we know this would have proved an awful idea. The Telegraph led to the telephone, which lead to the internet and all the other wonderful things modern communications offer, like this blog! Bureaucrats could have placed regulations on evil telegraph companies to prevent the destruction of the pony express. Thank god they didn’t. We need to let businesses die as they lose their competitive edge. This allows the reallocation of resources to other more fruitful tasks. Everyone wins in the long run.