Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Coming Red Tide

The bloom of the red algae causes an effect called the red tide. It’s nothing more then the spread of algae, normally red, taking all the nutrients and oxygen out of the water. This spread has no care as to what ocean it is in or what coast it is affecting, all it cares about is spreading out and consuming everything in its path. The red tide does not improve anything; it only leaves dead fish and a dying ocean. Our current political and economic situation is a red tide, a growing movement that has little care for what the outcome will be. Just as the red tide has no concern for what ocean or sea it has affected the political direction our Nation is taking has no concern for which party or political action group it consumes, no matter how large or small. All this tide cares about is how much can it eat for itself.

There are plenty of political talk shows on both the television and the radio these days that will feed you all the rhetoric you can stand, regardless of which side of the political fence you stand on. The scary part is when you start really listening to the both sides and actually start to use the brains you were given at birth. If you will clean the wax out of your ears and listen without thinking about which party the talker is on you will hear the same things being said, sure it may sound like there are differing views but they all come to the same end. They all want a bigger Government; its how they want to get us there that is different.

The Occupy crowd and their all over the map list of demands and complaints made me really start listening. The Occupy crowd is protesting the bankers and investors; they are labeling those individuals as the cause for all the woes we are feeling in America today. Their demands include everything from student loan forgiveness all the way up to driving the heads of the Federal Reserve right out of the country. The Occupy movement has now gone so far as to form a pseudo Government, including a finance working group that controls how the donations they have received are used. Keep in mind that many in the Occupy movement are anarchists. I wonder how they feel about their new Government. The media is reporting that somewhere in the neighborhood of $500,000 have been donated to the Occupy Wall Street group and is being held in Amalgamated Bank which touts itself as the only American bank that is %100 Union owned. On line contributions are being processed through an on-line company that is a subsidiary of Visa, a New York Stock Exchange traded company. In other words the Occupy movement is railing against the man and Government while asking the Government to do more for them. They are also emulating the Government by setting up committees they are calling working groups to handle their finances, comfort, food and other necessities. They have entrusted their capital to a financial institution, which they are protesting, capital funneled through a company they are protesting against. The only thing they are not doing that the rest of the Nation is doing is actually earning that money through honest labor of the mind or body, that part they are leaving up to those gullible enough to make donations. The Occupy protestors want to take from the rich, unless it’s the rich they like. There have been several celebrities that have been outspoken about which side they stand on, the interesting thing is when they show up to support the 21st century Woodstock wannabes in their limos. The Occupiers, in all their infinite and misguided wisdom, welcome them with open arms. The right wing talk show media is having a field day with that one. To the right wing media all I have to say is, watch what you are saying, you are doing the same thing in many ways.

Some of the issues actually match those that the Tea Party, for example, has been talking about. The one area that I believe the two sides of the political nickel differ is in the area of the being taken care of by the Federal Government. The Progressive movement wishes to transform the Federal Government into their Robin Hood that will redistribute all the cash; at least until it all runs out. The Conservative side of the fence wants Daddy Warbucks which will keep handing out cash to support the never ending spread of democracy without asking questions; by the way, Daddy Warbucks can be defined as the working class of America.

The “Conservatives” want to string up the President for sending troops into Libya and now Uganda but they want to keep sending troops into Iraq, Afghanistan and if they had their way into Iran. The “Conservatives” want to reduce our foreign aide to help tackle the budget problems we have but that does not mean to stop foreign aide to Israel. Anyone who talks about stopping foreign aide or stopping our continuing intervention into other Nations political affairs is thought to be against defending our Nations National interests. Justify the National interest that can not be handled through free trade agreements. There is also the right wing stance on preventing Iran from getting nuclear weapons; did anyone prevent us from getting nuclear weapons? There is the fear being created by Iran parking warships off our coastline. What country has parked ships off every Nations coastline for decades? What country has sent troops into all parts of the world whether they were invited or not? What country has Military bases all other the world? If you answered the United States you would be right. Who should the world be afraid of? I can not decide whether we think we are the keeper of morality, which is not evident if you look at our own country, or are we so arrogant that we believe everyone else in the world is suppose to be like us. Regardless of which one it is it has put us on a path to the destruction of our own way of life. So I guess the attitude of it’s a bad thing unless it’s something we like is good only for the Conservative side of the fence.

I’m also getting very tired of hearing many of the right wing talk show hosts trying to back up their arguments with the Constitution. Have they really read the Constitution? If they have read it do they understand it? While they are spouting off about this Nation needing to get back to the Constitution they are calling President Lincoln one of the greatest Presidents this Nation has seen. Now before everyone starts to jump up and down and call me all sorts of names let me continue. President Lincoln violated the Constitution, plain and simple. Political motivations were the only reasons for his actions; he did not want to go down in history as the President that was in office when the Union was broken. Unfortunately the President did not care as much for the slaves as history has made out. All one has to do is to read the Emancipation Proclamation; it only freed slaves in those States that were not under control of the Union. Growing up I looked at President Lincoln as one of the great men in the history of our country, now as an adult, one that has actually tried to learn the Constitution and what it means, I have a different take on it. I understand why President Lincoln did what he did but I have to wonder how many American lives would have been saved if the President had allowed the South to secede and how long slavery would have survived. Personally I believe slavery was dying of natural causes and if the South had seceded trade treaties between the North and South could have stipulated trade with slave owning plantations or non slave owning plantations. Economy is a stronger weapon then bullets in the long run. If you are going to use the Constitution as one of your tools to fight the Progressive movement you can not compromise, you have to accept that not all Presidents followed the Constitution, in fact, most Presidents violated the Constitution. When trying to sell the Constitution to the voters you should not use a President that was possibly one of the biggest violators of the Constitution in trade for political history.

I have another pet peeve with some of the right wing talk show hosts; they like to quote parts of George Washington’s farewell speech, particularly the parts about morals and religion. Those are good lessons to be learned but there is more to that speech. In President George Washington’s farewell speech he warned us of becoming entangled in the politics of other Nations. He warned that while we should trade with all, political entanglements would only end in us becoming entangled in their wars. If you are going to use the Presidents address as part of your talking points then use it all, learn all the lessons he was trying to teach us, not just the ones that you like. Oh yea, that’s right, it’s the same as we don’t like the rich except the ones we like.

The moral to the above is that in order to fix the things that are driving America off the cliff, as the Politicians like to say, we have to be willing to take a critical look at the side we think we support as well as the other side. I personally believe in the Constitution but I’m not naive enough to believe that we can just jump back to following the Constitution and all will be ducky. We are going to go through a rough time, in fact, no matter whom the winner is and which side you support, we are going to go through a rough time. It’s time to decide what you would like to see at the end of the rough times, do you want freedom and liberty or do you want to be taken care of from cradle to grave like they were in George Orwell’s novel 1984? Just because things have always happened a certain way, or you have always voted a certain party does not mean that it’s right or that it’s going to continue to go that way. We all have to take the blinders off and listen to what is being said, think about what it really means; then you decide for yourself what the best choice is. Stop blindly listening to the talking heads. Once you do that the only other thing I suggest is to get involved, even if that only means that you vote your conscience, whether it is the party line or not.

Steve Avery

Monday, October 17, 2011

Political Causes and Effects III


Benjamin Franklin once said, “In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes”. Never have truer words been spoken, especially today. As one of the Founders of this Nation I have a hard time believing Dr. Franklin envisioned the tax burden we now have when he spoke those words. True, we have to have some taxation in order to have a Government to handle the affairs of this Nation. Contrary to what some may think, we have to have a Federal Government, what we do not need to have is an overpowering Federal Government with out of control spending and a tax code that is so large and convoluted that no one, not even the people that wrote it, can understand.

Over the past several years there has been talk of revising or repealing the tax code to come up with something that is a little easier to understand and a tax structure that spreads the burden and bit more evenly then it is currently. Of course neither of these is being welcomed with open arms, mainly because a simpler tax code would expose the dirty dealings of our Politicians and close legal loopholes that tax lawyers use to help their clients pay less in taxes. Having a system that is more evenly apportioned among the population would mean that those in the lower incomes might actually have to pay taxes. Current reports put the entire tax burden on somewhere less then half the working population with the upper 5% of those paying somewhere better the 40% of that tax burden. Somehow that does not sound fair to me but the rallying cry of many seems to be that the rich, those in the upper 5% of income earners, must pay their fair share. It would be easier to understand if they, those that are shouting that cry, would just say they want the rich to support everyone else and be done with it. Since that is not going to happen let’s look at my idea of taxation.

The first enumerated power for the Congress states “The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defense and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States”. There is nothing in there that states that the taxes have to be collected from individual citizens directly. It is my opinion that in order to reign in the current Federal Government and to keep future Federal Governments in check there should be no Federal income, sales or capital gains tax and for that matter no taxes of any type directed at the individual citizens. The Federal Government must submit an annual budget that should reflect what the Federal Government needs to perform the duties that are enumerated in the Constitution, nothing more. If the Congress worked the way it is suppose to work they would review the budget and give their yea or nay based on whether or not the budget supported the powers in the Constitution. Once Congress approves the budget the State Governments would then receive, for lack of a better term, a bill from the Federal Government on the tax owed by the States based on population or land mass that they shall pay to support the Federal Government. I personally prefer it to be based on population, which would be in keeping with what I believe the Founders meant when they said “uniform throughout the United State”. How the individual States raise the taxes is up to them based on their Constitutions and what their legislatures and citizens decide. States could go for income taxes, sales taxes, a combination of both or bake sales for that matter, as long as they pay their fair share to support the Federal Government.
A large central Government trying to establish a tax code for a population that is as large as the United States and as diverse as the United States just does not make sense. The citizens start to believe their vote doesn’t count and they rely entirely on their elected officials. Bringing the tax burden down to smaller individual scales will make it easier, and hopefully more likely, for the citizens to pay attention to where their money is going and how it is collected. Bringing it down to a State level will also end, hopefully, much of the bickering back and forth about who is and who is not paying taxes or their fair share.
There is another benefit to this plan. If you are not happy about the way taxes are collected in you State you have the option of moving to a State that is more in line with your thinking. Of course that sounds easier then it really is, many people have ties to their property or State while others may not feel they can afford to move. Herein lays another benefit, when the decisions, the voting, are made by a smaller segment of the population, State versus entire Country, each vote counts for more. This would also make it easier to contact your legislatures, many of whom may be from your own neighborhood, to voice your opinion and concerns.
I know there are going to be problems with a plan like this so let’s explore a few that came to mind and what may be the solutions to them. One problem is that there has to be some way of guaranteeing that the States pay. The Constitution states that the Federal Government will provide for the common defense, if a State does not pay, they should not be under the protection of the United States. The same would be true with trade agreements made with foreign Nations and with maintaining regular trade with the other States in the Union. Naturally to go along with this the 17th Amendment would have to be repealed to place the proper checks and balances back in Congress. Another problem, and one that would be difficult to overcome, would be convincing Congress that this is the right thing to do. They would have to be convinced to repeal the 16th and 17th Amendments the write an Amendment for a balanced budget within the enumerated powers of the Constitution, to include paying back the current debt, and an Amendment to make my plan legal and Constitutional. Congress loves their power so this will be one of the largest hurdles to clear. Another problem is that the Governors and the State Legislatures are comfortable letting the Federal Government do the heavy lifting, a far cry from 150 years ago. States would actually have to rely on themselves, no more Federal money coming back down the line. The last and possibly the hardest hurdle to clear would be convincing the people. There is a large percentage of the population that believes the Federal Government is the all knowing and all doing ruler of the country. They enjoy receiving their Federal benefits and they know that it is easier convince one group over convincing 50 groups. The same is true with special interest groups and their lobbyists.
I know this plan is not perfect and I’m sure I’ve over simplified it. The reason we initially had a Republic with indirect democracy was so that we could elect public officials that were to listen to us and put our ideas into workable forms. This plan would also put teeth back in both the 9th and 10th Amendments of the Bill of Rights. There are those that are talking about secession being the only way to save our Nation, maybe, but wouldn’t you rather try just getting back to a true Union of States that are banding together for the important things that need to be handled at a central level while maintaining their own powers and their own personalities?
Steve Avery

Monday, October 10, 2011

We Have Exactly What He Asked For

In the very first article I wrote I talked of the things that were on the horizon for us as a Nation. It was pure speculation based on the events that were taking place. Looking at the TARP and stimulus packages that were being passed to bailout poorly run companies and then the Healthcare and Cap and Trade bills that were being proposed led me to believe that the administration and Congress were steering us down a path to Socialism. I wrote of the need for all to pull their heads from the sand and get educated on the issues and the up and coming politicians.

The Tea Parties started out doing just this. They were encouraging the masses to educate themselves and to properly vet the candidates on the ballots. Their efforts showed in the 2010 mid-term elections, somewhat. The problem with those elections was that not all the candidates the Tea Party supported turned out to be true defenders of the Constitution. Another problem with the mid-term elections and the success of the Tea Party was the attention the Tea Party has received from the GOP and from the Democratic Party. The GOP has tried to incorporate the Tea Party into the GOP, seeing that a fair number of Americans are starting to open their eyes and pay attention. Unfortunately this incorporation into the GOP will only corrupt the Tea Party into just another extension of the GOP; this is not to say all those that call themselves Tea Partiers or all Tea Party groups are incorporated into the GOP, only the idea of the Tea Party. The true Tea Party is not doing enough to separate themselves from the GOP and call out those that are trying to claim a Tea Party and GOP allegiance.

The Democratic base on the other hand saw the Tea Party as a roadblock to their plans. Specifically they saw the awakening of the People as the roadblock. The leadership of the Democratic Party and of the current administration came out and openly downplayed the Tea Party movement as being a front for the rich. The Democratic Party called the Tea Party movement an Astroturf movement backed by the rich elite of corporations. Truth is that the Democratic Party saw that the Tea Party movement and anyone that believed in the Constitution and what it stood for stood between them and their plans for as large a central Government as they could possible create. The Democratic Party, and many in the GOP, dreams of a Government that has control over every aspect of the Country, including our lives and how we live them.

When the uprising in Egypt occurred the administration saw the opportunity they had been waiting for. The chance to ignite a spark for the movement towards Socialism couldn’t be better unless they had planned it themselves, maybe even better since they can call it spontaneous, grass roots. Our President and other members of his administration and Congress openly supported the protestors in Egypt and then again in Libya. The President came right out and praised the youth for protesting for what they felt was right, encouraging the same in America. Lenin is credited with coining the term “useful idiots” to describe Soviet sympathizers, persons that really had no idea of what they wanted or what they were headed for. The behind the scenes organizers, the ones that never get their hands dirty are the ones that know what the ultimate goal is, the ones on the streets causing chaos, they are the “useful idiots”. The Egyptian protests started in Jan of 2011, then came the Libyan protests and the Wisconsin State Teachers Union protests in Feb, who could ask for a better setup to stir up all the radicals that really do not know what they want, they just want chaos and a reason to protest. Washington has exactly what they asked for with the “Occupy Wall Street” protests.

From all reports I have heard there is not a clear purpose to be had in the crowd; I have even gone to their website and the only thing I can find is that they consider themselves the 99%ers and they are against the 1%ers. The 1%ers they are talking about are the rich that according to just about every report you can find on who pays taxes are the ones that are footing better then 40% of the total tax bill. These are the People that are paying the majority of the taxes that support these supposed 99%. You have to give them credit, or at least the ones behind the scenes, they are quickly spreading across the Nation, Philadelphia, Phoenix, San Diego, Atlanta, where’s next?

The Minority Leader of the House has come right out and phrased the protestors and their grass roots efforts, grass roots? Unions are supporting the protestors, how is that grass roots? This Government, pick your party, has been trying to get us into a Socialistic Society. Whether you like it or not you need to face it. By keeping the protestors going on Wall Street the Government can wait until things have gotten to a point where only the Government, at least in their eyes, can fix things. Remember, the United States has appointed itself the Police Force of the World. This Government will not allow another Country to come in as we did in Libya, for that matter true American Patriots will not all it. But the Government will appoint themselves to be the only ones that can stop the protests, when the timing is right for them. The Government will use these protests to put more regulations on Wall Street and all those filthy bankers and investors. This will be done under the guise of appeasing the protestors and giving the masses what they think they want. Never mind the fact that those bankers and investors are the ones that start businesses, businesses that employee people and produce things. It’s not the Unions that produce; it’s the members of the Unions that are being used by the Unions as cash cows. It’s not the Government that produces jobs; it’s the bankers, the investors and those that have real ideas.

For close to a century or more now the Government has been slowly but surely steering us on a course towards total Governmental control. I can not put my finger on the single event that awoke the People that actually believe in liberty, believe in freedom and believe that yes we need a Government, but not a Government with total control over our very lives. Maybe it was a slow awakening but it has been one. It has been one that has also sparked the progressive movement out of hiding and into full gear. There is one goal in Washington, that goal is for Washington to be the center of all power. I don’t remember where I wrote it but I fear that if given the right circumstances we may have seen the last Presidential election. With enough unrest in the Country I can see this President and this administration either pushing through legislation for complete martial law over the country or something similar; only after things get beyond the control of the local Government. Remember, the local Governments will do nothing against the protests that might anger the Federal Government. The States have lost their power, they gave it up to the Federal Government, and they gave up the Republic. If Congress; which has become almost as invalid as State Governments, does not pass legislation to take the power then I would not put it past this President to sign an Executive Order. I have questioned the validity of Executive Orders in the past and I can not find anything in the Constitution that authorizes them. Sure they may be assumed to be legal as far as carrying out the actual powers the President has, but not for legislating laws. Executive Orders have been misused by just about all the Presidents; we have never questioned it, why would we start now?

The progressive movement has claimed that anyone that believes in the Constitution wants a revolution, really? The Tea Party and those that want a limited Government are not the ones that are talking about violence; they are the ones that are talking about getting back to the Constitution or at least getting the Government under control and to curb the spending. The protestors on Wall Street have talked of revolution; the environmentalists have used violent tactics to pursue their end; not the Tea Party or the Constitutionalists. The question then is, do you want to save your Country or do you want to destroy it and change it to something different, something where personal liberty and freedom will be a thing of the past.

Steve Avery

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Political Causes and Effects II

Internal Non-Intervention

I was thinking about starting a business based on providing security and logistics for a group of companies that have common interests. In order to do this I knew I would have to come up with a contract that would state exactly what I would do for the companies and what I would expect out of them in return. I figured the best way to start would be with a mission statement of sorts, a statement of the overall goal of the services my company would provide stated in a way that would show the benefit to the companies.

The goal of the our company, which I will call SecLog for clarity, would be to provide external security to companies and to establish logistic services for commonly used and manufactured items between the contracted companies and those companies that operate outside our contract. Providing these services would enable the pooling of resources into one point in order to provide better services in these common areas. The companies under SecLog contract, while they may maintain their own internal security forces as they see fit they, will not have external security forces that could interfere with the SecLogs services. The contracted companies would also be restricted from forming their own contracts with companies outside the contract to prevent possible conflicts of interest within the SecLog contract. Additionally, SecLog would provide an arbitration and oversight service that would provide two additional services. First off, SecLog would provide for arbitration of issues that arise between companies within the SecLog contract. Secondly, they would have the responsibility to ensure all members within the SecLog contract, to include SecLog, operate within the confines of the contract. Any member of the contract that believes SecLog has overstepped the bounds of the contract or have not performed the services SecLog is contracted to perform may use this arbitration and oversight service to lodge a complaint and have it reviewed and resolved without fear of reprisal to the complainant. Other then the above restrictions on the companies within the contracted services there would be no other restrictions placed on the signers of this contract. SecLog will not interfere in the conducting of business within the individual companies under the SecLog contract. The fee for SecLogs services will be based on the number of employees each company employs.

After thinking about this I realized that what I was proposing was generally what the founders had done when they wrote the Constitution and formed the United States. The differences were minor; there was not a CEO that could not be fired, they provided for the election by the States of a head of the newly formed union, a President that could be fired if not performing the duties that were assigned to him. The restrictions that were placed on the States were like those that I placed on the companies that would the SecLog contract, no going outside the contracted companies and SecLog provide for overall security. The States are not permitted to enter into treaties with foreign Nations since it could undermine both the general welfare of the United States and the Nations security as a whole. The States were free to write their own laws and operate their States as they wished. The monetary cost to the States was also addressed in the Constitution, it states that Congress has the power to collect revenues to pay for the debts and provide for the common defense, but all revenues shall be uniform throughout the United States. That was the intention of the census, to determine population in order to determine the uniform distribution of taxation. Of course the 16th Amendment changed this. The 16th Amendment basically gave Congress the power to tax in any method they wished without regard to being fair; of course it is worded in legalese that makes it seem like the right way to do things.

Since the States sent representatives to Philadelphia in 1787 to write the Constitution and form the Government of the United States, the representatives saw fit to include the Congress. Congress consists of two separate organizations that would represent both the individual States and the People of those States independently; this ensured that the actions taken by the whole were the best for all concerned. Being the best for all concerned does not always mean that it will make everyone happy; it means that it will be the best for the majority. The 17th Amendment effectively removed the voice of the States. Initially, the individual State legislators would select Senators to represent the State in Washington; the 17th Amendment changed this to a popular election by the People. In theory this would give the People a voice in both houses of Congress. The greed for power created the career politician, combined with lack of attention by the People, silenced the voice of the People. This has left us with no voice for the People, no voice for the States and complete voice for a strong central Government. Over the years, anyone with a complaint they felt they could turn into either power or cash, have created a special interest group under the guise of helping some group that supposedly can’t help themselves. There have been special interest groups that were started with good intentions but they went the way of all political institutions, the way of power and greed. The corruption of the Constitution, combined with the silencing of the States and the People while giving voice to special interest groups, has created a monster that is bent on destroying the individual States, making them nothing more then large counties within the State of the United States.

The SecLog contract contains no provision for implementing rules that all the companies under contract must follow, rules that a single company has imposed on its employees and wishes to have imposed on all the other companies’ employees. We have done just that in the United States, it called incorporation. The Mayor of New York City has a problem with individuals owning guns, which is within his rights, it’s not right for the Federal Government to try and force that type of law on all the States. Same is true with almost every law that Congress has recently written, healthcare for example. In the SecLog contract there was no mention of additional fees to be paid by the companies to provide for services to companies that were not under contract with SecLog. Any businessperson would tell you they would not pay for pro-bono actions provided to others by a security force they had hired, that would be bad business. It amazes me that the States within the Union called the United States of America allow just such actions by the Government of the United States. This further reduces the powers that the States are supposed to have retained when they joined the Union. This is just another part of the incorporation doctrine that the Federal Government has been following. The involvement of our Senators and Representatives in the affairs of foreign countries is another contributor to incorporation and it is not in their job descriptions; not to mention the cost to the taxpayer.

Of course the contract with SecLog is just an analogy I use it to describe what is happening to the relationship between the States and the Federal Government. If we continue to allow the Federal Government to run roughshod over the States and continue to abuse the powers granted to it by the Constitution, we will no longer have a country; we will have something more akin to kingdoms of the past; this means we will be the serfs that support the Lords and Ladies of the Kingdom.

Steve Avery