Interesting, Disturbing, and Funny Stuff From The Web: February 28th, 2014

Interesting Science Stories of the Week


Freaks of the Week


Villains of the Week


Funny Pics of the Week

Nice day for a walk…with my snakes?


It turns out, we’re a lot older than we think.


Well, that’s kinda racist.


Use the force, and by force, I mean the light switch
Yoda


Stop! Or I’ll eat this banana!
Banana Gun


Is this the world’s first selfie?
First selfie


Just a man…and his raccoon…sharing some popcorn
Popcorn


Those pesky empty apartments never cooperate.
Empty Apartment


This should go without saying, but…
DontTweet


This could be the luckiest man to be alive ever
Lucky


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The simplest way to curb ‘gun violence’ and the left hates it.

Guns have always been a part of American life. It’s in our Constitution that the citizens of this nation will be allowed to bear arms. It’s one of the fundamental principles and the undertone of the checks and balances system that this nation is known for. We are armed for a reason; to protect ourselves from the government, an idea that is still very relevant today.  As usual, American Liberals and the Liberal Establishment have decided for us. They have decided  that guns are too dangerous and since there are those people who would use them improperly, none of us should have them. The only ones that need guns are those employed by the state.

The United States Constitution
The United States Constitution

I happen to know that the American Liberals that are in power are usually very educated people. They come from hallowed places of higher learning Harvard, Columbia University, etc. I know these people have seen places in which the population is not armed but the government is. And yet in spite of all this, they publicly insist the answer to gun violence is to yank the guns from the hands of citizens. I believe in private, they know that isn’t the answer and I also believe they know the answer is much simpler and easier and wont require a Constitutional Convention or start another American Civil War.

The simplest way to curb gun violence is to start with the children, and begin immediately to introduce gun safety classes in junior high and high schools around the country. It sounds too simple to work, but it does work. The  left are always thrilled at the idea of teaching young people. They claim the answer to everything is ‘education,’ it’s their feel good word that makes everything better.

So why are they not jumping at this idea?  They have introduced other non-essential topics in school classes like how to engage in gay sex properly, and how to report parents to authorities for ‘parental infractions’. Why not introduce a topic that may actually help?

Why not have junior high and high school students learn about guns, what they are for, and a quick overview of what happens when a gun is used improperly? They want to teach kids how to put on condoms in 5th grade, but they don’t want to teach them about guns.  blog3

Not only would gun education classes most likely decrease the number of incidents, but it would also benefit even younger children because the older kids that would have taken this class would most likely share the information with their younger siblings. The classes don’t need to be a daily occurrence, but they can be taught in the same manner as sexual education classes. Most parents of junior high and high school kids are familiar with the permission slip that comes home with the student setting special days for sexual health classes. The same can be done with gun violence classes.family-3[1]

It’s a simple and effective way to address an issue, Also, it’s bipartisan, there are no racial overtones, and there will be no revolution or protests if this idea is on the table. And we just can’t have that, can we?

Libertarians: What they say about us; what we are.

Gary Nolan (and THE Scrappy Doo)
Gary Nolan (and THE Scrappy Doo)

As someone who identifies with the Libertarian Party, the Republican Party, the Tea Party, and libertarianism in general, unless you identify with those groups along with me, you would probably have some stereotypical notions about who I am.

Libertarian Party Logo
Libertarian Party Logo

Stereotypes, whether they be about someone’s race, religion, sex, or political affiliation are the work of fools. You are engaging in bigotry and ignorant behavior, and you should stop.

With that in mind, I’d like to cover some stereotypes about people like me, and answer them individually. Bear in mind though, that to each person, libertarianism can have a different meaning, and some people are more “hard-core” about it than others. So these are only my views about these stereotypes, other libertarians may differ:

  • Conservatives only care about rich people.

Truth is, we care about liberty for ALL people. Unlike many statist-minded folks, we consider the wealthy among us to be people too. In our opinion, if you feel it’s wrong to steal from someone who is poor, you shouldn’t champion stealing from someone who is rich either.

Conservatives favor tax cuts for the rich AND the poor, despite the notion Democrats attempt to push that we want tax cuts for the rich at the expense of the poor. I’m not aware of any conservative legislation proposed to raise taxes on the poor while lowering them on the rich.

  • Libertarians are anarchists

A libertarian can and occasionally is an anarchist, but usually not in the sense people think of. Anarchy is simply the idea that people can manage themselves without government. It is not the idea that people should just kill, maim, steal, and otherwise violate the rights of others without consequence.

That being said, I generally believe many libertarians are like myself, and are what I’d call “Constitutional Libertarians” who believe in a Republic where the government exists to protect rights to life, liberty, and property by enforcing contracts and prosecuting those who are a danger to society, even if those rights deemed unalienable are against the wishes of the majority.

  • Libertarians just want to legalize drugs because they smoke weed themselves

We want to legalize drugs because we believe in the idea of “no victim, no crime.” I’m a staunch supporter of legalizing drugs, yet I’ve never used them unless prescribed by a doctor, and I’ve never been prescribed weed, for the record. Which brings me to another important point.Don't Tread On Me

Libertarians aren’t generally hypocrites. Even though I think recreational drugs are a really bad idea and would never encourage someone to use them, nor have any interest in them myself, I don’t just champion liberty for me, I champion liberty for people who believe differently than I. This sentiment of liberty for all is often lost on traditional Democrats and Republicans.

  • Libertarians are isolationists

Libertarians generally want our country to work out free trade agreements with others. We understand that the best way to keep a positive relationship with other nations, and grow our economy, is to sell things that are of less value to us, to nations who need it more, and for them to do the same in return.

For instance, let’s say here in America, we have an abundance of corn, but not enough oil to fill our needs. So we sell off some of our corn to a nation like Iraq who has more oil than it needs, but cannot grow nearly enough corn in their climate. This is a win-win for both nations, and in essence, what good trade is supposed to be like. I believe almost every libertarian wants this.

The problem is, people mistake our desire to let other countries do whatever they want within their own borders without us sticking our nose in their affairs as isolationist. It’s not. It’s called understanding it’s none of our &%$#@ business how they choose to live.

If you’ve ever been working on a complicated problem that you understand only to have a co-worker come up and impose their ideas when they don’t understand the problem as well as you do, you should understand why libertarians feel this to-each-their-own policy is best.

  • Libertarians want to gut the military

If America, or possibly our allies, were attacked, I believe America should and would respond with all the might the U.S. Military has to offer and destroy anything and everything our enemies who dared attack us could use to wage war. I take a very passive-aggressive approach in this respect.

Predator Drone
Predator Drone

Ronald Reagan had a peace-through-strength mentality, and I tend to agree. It did work after all. For all the complaints about him growing of the military, he put troops in harm’s way less than every president who succeeded him, in large part because America was respected and more importantly feared, under his watch.

But all that being said, the military is somewhat famous for wasting money, sometimes on very big things, such as weapons systems to defend against an enemy that doesn’t exist.

Secondly, we have troops in places where they do not need to be, defending countries who are capable of defending themselves. I don’t want to gut the military, but I don’t want them in harm’s way if they don’t absolutely need to be, and I don’t want to build a defense system to protect us from a technology no one has.

  • Libertarians are atheists who just want to advance a pro-gay marriage agenda, legalize abortions, or remove God from schools

Tell that to Rep. Justin Amash (R) from Michigan, he’s an orthodox Christian, and arguably the most libertarian representative in congress. Ron Paul is a Christian too and does not support legal abortions as noted here.

Congressman Justin Amash (R)
Congressman Justin Amash (R)

While I am an atheist and am for removing government from marriage altogether as I outlined here, libertarians generally just believe that religion is something that should be between family and friends, not enforced by government at the point of a gun. It is part of the First Amendment after all, and part of the reason it was first, is likely because even our forefathers understood, free speech, religion, and press were the most important components of a free nation.

Thanks for reading. And I hope that armed with this information, you will do your part to squash the libertarian stereotypes. Liberty is worth fighting for, and as libertarians grow in credibility and start winning on election day, liberty itself can and will be restored to this great nation.

Interesting, Disturbing, and Funny Stuff From The Web: February 21st, 2014

I often scour the web throughout the day to inform myself about the world around me. Occasionally I find facts that are odd but really interesting, headlines that are just too funny not to share, animal stories that are just ridiculously cute, heinous people who should be publicly shamed, and random funny pics. So I thought I would start sharing them with you, my readers, hopefully on a weekly basis.

I hope you enjoy them. Don’t forget to share on Facebook and Twitter!


Interesting Science Stories of the Week


Freaks of the Week


Villains of the Week


Funny Pics of the Week


Ad for Olympic Hockey game of USA vs Canada


Yikes! See a doctor, man!


Umm, what?


Gold medal secrets revealed!


I think I would have put Cox first, but hey, maybe they’re fun folks!


Resourceful girl selling Girl Scout cookies outside a marijuana dispensary.


The Real Cost Of Taxes

Gary Nolan (and THE Scrappy Doo)
Gary Nolan (and THE Scrappy Doo)

Government, in order to do the people’s business, must pay for itself. Currently, we achieve this by a myriad of taxes such as:

  • Income taxes, which I would argue are a penalty for success.
  • Sin taxes (or social engineering taxes) on things like alcohol and tobacco, that are over and above normal sales tax,  which are designed to deincentivize people to buy these products because somehow, that’s government’s business?
  • Estate taxes, because now that you’re dead, you don’t need that money, and you’re family certainly doesn’t deserve it more than government.
  • Fuel taxes like those on gasoline which also go over and above normal sales, which are designed to drive certain markets in favor of others.

    Gas Pump Tax Label
    Gas Pump Tax Label
  • Property taxes, because just buying the property shouldn’t make it yours to keep.

This list is by no means complete.

In a previous post, I wrote that I supported a consumption tax like that proposed at Fairtax.org. Something that is simple and easy to understand for people and corporations alike, then get rid of all this other nonsense. After that, use fees as much as possible, such as when you buy a driver’s license or plates to shift government income to fees for what they do instead of taxing everyone for something not everyone benefits from. But why do I believe this is important?fairtax[1]

Because government has its tentacles in everything, it can often hide disturbing practices in an over-complicated tax code and regulatory structure.

For instance; subsidies for an industry that can clearly survive on its own which are conveniently hidden in tax write-offs. Or a federal law that serves one locality greater than another. Why should people in Florida pay for a bridge in California for instance?

Between the taxes one is required to pay, the write-offs one needs to know about in order to keep as much as possible of what they’ve earned, and the regulations they must abide by, this creates expenses that destroy businesses, stress households, and wreak havoc on our economy.

As a former small business owner, I can tell you that the idea of borrowing/investing nearly $100k was infinitely scary. But at the early stages of 2007, the economy seemed quite strong, and I decided to go for it. Bad luck for me, the economy collapsed within months after I started and long before I was stable enough to weather such a tough downturn. Sadly, my business failed within 2-1/2 years as a result.

So what makes a business fail? We can debate about certain principles, but the one inarguable truth is that their income was lower than their expenses, and this was my experience.

The problem with our tax structure isn’t just the taxes themselves, it’s the complexity with which it is administered that add additional costs over and above the taxes themselves. If I didn’t have to file for licenses and worry about massive regulatory compliance issues, I could have saved myself a lawyer’s fee. If I didn’t have a myriad of tax codes and write-offs to deal with, maybe I don’t need to hire an accountant.

On a personal level, you and I pay taxes, but then at the end of the year, many of us are forced to hire an accountant for this as well, and this is in essence, a tax on a tax.

These are thousands of dollars I’m talking about, and I was the sole employee of my tiny corporation.

Would it had saved me? Maybe not. But I was close to surviving, and coupled with a lower tax burden, there’s a good chance it very well could have.

A Fortune 500 sized company however spends millions on lawyers and accountants for compliance and tax purposes. This is money that could be used to hire other people and produce more products at a lower cost. While I’m not insulting tax accountants and lawyers as if they aren’t jobs in their own right, both are noble professions, but the fact is they don’t produce anything for the business.By-The-Book-Taxes-CT-1[1]

If my company makes widgets, the lawyers and tax accountants do nothing to increase my widget output nor even assist with customer service or sales of them. They simply make sure I understand an overcomplicated legal structure and tax code that if done properly by government, I would understand without their help.

As always, I understand that the intentions from Democrats and Republicans alike are often altruistic when they pass laws, but laws were supposed to be about one thing; protecting rights. Not social engineering or market influence.

I should generally be entrusted to understand that throughout the course of doing business, I am or am not infringing on someone’s rights without needing a lawyer and an accountant to explain it to me.

A simplified tax code and a federal register that hasn’t ballooned from a mere 11 pages in 1935 when it was the Federal Register Act was enacted, to an astounding 79,435 pages in 2008 would do wonders to help reduce the intimidation of starting a small business, and help those struggling to make it work on a shoe-string budget. I would bet 99% of these laws violate the tenth amendment alone.

Can we really call ourselves a free nation with 80,000 pages of laws on the federal books? I don’t know about you, but the thought of it doesn’t make me feel very free. I suspect I’m a criminal already and don’t even know it.

The Case for Rand Paul

Gary Nolan (and THE Scrappy Doo)
Gary Nolan (and THE Scrappy Doo)

As the 2016 presidential election nears, the speculation as to who the Republican nominee is the grand question for the GOP.

On one hand, you have traditional but young Republicans like Marco Rubio or Paul Ryan. You have wild cards like Chris Christie. There is the old guard like John McCain or Peter King, but then there is the libertarian wing of the GOP headlined by Rand Paul, formerly his father Ron Paul, and although maybe the least known, but arguably the most libertarian, Justin Amash.

Senator Rand Paul (R)
Senator Rand Paul (R)
Congressman Justin Amash (R)
Congressman Justin Amash (R)

Unless evidence is uncovered that Hillary Clinton had an affair with Fidel Castro, it would seem clear she will be the DNC nominee. She will certainly be a formidable opponent to any GOP selection. So the question begs who has the best chance of beating her.

Let’s first discuss polling that is out there. Throw every single one of them out. No matter how reputable these polling organizations are, there is simply too much time until the election for new evidence to come in and change people’s minds. Whether it be a scandal that is uncovered, or just getting to know a candidate better, the last Republican primary and its consant shifts in the front-runner proves that the debates and higher scrutiny of election season can change everything in an instant.

Many on the right feel that a typical Republican is the best way to go because that person will rally the troops. The idea is that the best candidate is the one that makes Republicans the happiest. I get that notion, but it is completely illogical; let me explain why.

This Gallup poll shows that while 25% identify as Republican, and 31% identify as Democrat, an astounding 42% say they are independent.

Party Affiliation Gallup Poll
Party Affiliation Gallup Poll

With that in mind, that means that if every single Republican votes for a traditional Republican candidate, and they manage to split the independent vote, they still lose by 6%. They must win the lion’s share of that group as well as their own party.

So how do they do that?

When you ask people why they don’t like Republicans, more often than not, you hear that they are stuck in the mud on gay rights, drug laws, or other social-conservative issues they refuse to let go of. While a predominance of people are still religious, many of them don’t want it legislated. We want a free society, and the 1st amendment honored.

Rep. Justin Amash is a shining example of this; he couldn’t be less hypocritical. He is an orthodox Christian, arguably someone who has a higher level of faith than the average Christian, yet he understands that matters of religious faith should be kept between family and friends, not enforced by government at the point of a gun.

Independents are generally sick of the two-party system because both seem to have a penchant for “screwing the public” as they see it. Why do they say this? Because they see bills with pork barrel special favors, government waste, corruption, and infringements to basic rights. Whether it be gun rights, the right for a gay couple to marry, for a person to smoke a joint, or to engage in paid sexual activity. People instinctively want to be free to do what they want so long as they aren’t hurting anybody. So the candidate that best represents that will win those votes.

Independents often say that they are socially liberal, but fiscally conservative when describing why they don’t affiliate with either party. That is libertarianism at its core! If I had a dollar for every person that was a libertarian and just didn’t know it, I’d have enough money to run my own campaign.

If the GOP select a traditional Republican, that candidate will get Republican votes, and that is all they will get.

If they select a libertarian candidate like Rand Paul or Justin Amash (if he were running), they will get all the Republican votes. Because let’s be honest, the GOP’s unofficial slogan for the next presidential election will undoubtedly be “Anybody but Hillary, 2016.”

But with a libertarian, they will also pick up independent voters who are non-religious. Then they will pick up those who want to use recreational drugs like marijuana since neither party seem to be overwhelmingly behind that. There are millions of voters in that demographic—you’re fooling yourself if you think otherwise.

Lastly, they will pick up some voters who would have otherwise voted for the Libertarian Party candidate because now they can comfortably pick a libertarian Republican. I voted for Gary Johnson, but a libertarian like Rand could sway my vote back to the GOP, and I’m sure I’m not alone.

So why doesn’t Rand Paul poll well against Hillary currently? Because everyone knows Hillary, while Rand remains somewhat unknown. They don’t know that Rand Paul does pro-bono eye surgeries for his constituency. They don’t know that Rand is actually frugal with his office budget, so much so that he returned $500,000 last year to the federal government. (Update: Rand Paul returned 1.8 Million the following year.) Senator Johnny Isakson should be commended for doing this as well as there are not many who do. Lastly, Rand hasn’t debated Hillary yet either. Since he has facts and history on his side, he will overcome her popularity with ideas that stand on their merits.

Once people are presented with a candidate who embraces the age-old libertarian mantra of “no victim, no crime,” that person will win independents by a landslide.

The GOP love to invoke The Gipper often, but seem to forget that he considered himself a libertarian. He said quite succinctly that “If you analyze it, I believe the very heart and soul of conservatism is libertarianism.”

Lastly, I would also point out that Rand Paul is the only one reaching out to minorities and other non-traditional GOP supporters in an effort to grow the party in a way no other candidate does.

He visited Howard University before he was even running, taking many questions from all the students. He went to Detroit ahead of their expected bankruptcy. (Update: He also visited Ferguson after the unrest there.) An effort many

So GOP, if you want to win, you shouldn’t just want a libertarian, the numbers and history indicates that you need one. Do yourselves a favor; Rand Paul 2016. It’s truly your best hope.

Democrats and Republicans: They can be a crazy bunch!

Gary Nolan (and THE Scrappy Doo)
Gary Nolan (and THE Scrappy Doo)

In matters of choice, there are two basic options: those made by logical thought versus those made from emotion. As I read about those who attack libertarianism, I can’t help but note that their opinions often eschew logical thought and dive head first down the hole of hypocrisy and illogical assumptions. So with that in mind, let’s explore the hypocritical logic of those who think libertarians are “crazy.” I may use some tongue-in-cheek humor and hyperbole here, but there is a mountain of truth to all of it, the facts are the facts.

  • The media constantly push to infringe our right to bear arms, yet they’d be apoplectic if we attempted to infringe on their freedom-of-the-press rights. They’re welcome to show me where the Constitution indicates one right as more negotiable than another, but I’ve actually read it, it’s not there.
  • The left staunchly support a woman’s right-to-choose regarding something as important as aborting what is arguably a life. Yet they think choosing an incandescent light bulb or a toilet that can flush more than 1.6 gallons of water is a choice people cannot be trusted with. I am pro-choice on all accounts, but certainly think the choice to end a potential life is a decision that is infinitely more important than my choice of household appliances.
  • The left are constantly fighting against hatred and bigotry stating we cannot judge people by their race, religion, sex, etc. They couldn’t be more right—denying the rights of a specific group of people en masse is immoral. Yet they have no qualms with infringing on the rights of those who earn six-figures or more. Apparently, the rich are the new “separate-but-equals”? This should come as no surprise since Democrats have a history of such rights violations with their pointy white hats in tow. Only four Democrats voted to abolish slavery, after all. Hats off to Democrats though, they’ve done a phenomenal job of pinning their own documented history of bigotry on Republicans. While we’re at it,  women can thank Republicans for their rights as well.
  • Democrats will argue we need to improve education in order to win votes—the youth are our future, right? Yet they attack private schools which generally outperform public schools. Then they champion teacher’s unions which have policies like tenure; a system by which teachers remain employed based on their time on the job while ignoring their actual job-performance. I’m curious what would happen if you asked one of them regarding their own children, “If you had the choice of a teacher with documented positive results versus a disinterested teacher just waiting it out until retirement, which one would you choose?” How do you think they’d respond then?
  • Social conservatives claim to be the party of liberty, limited government, and Constitutionality, yet the liberty of homosexuals or those who wish to engage in paid sexual activity where there is no victim, just two consenting adults…well…we can’t give them liberty, they’re sinners. These “social conservatives” should just ask that we change the first amendment from “establishment of religion” to “establishment of religion unless it’s the King James Bible” and get it over with. As long as I’m potentially forbidden to buy liquor on Sundays in this great nation, I do not live in a country free from religious oppression. It is free-ish at best.

    The 1st Amendment
    The 1st Amendment
  • Both sides of the aisle claim to be against government waste, yet have you ever seen a government building? They’re often ornate structures with massively expensive architecture. If they were serious about reducing government waste, city halls would be as sparse as pole barns, if they even existed at all. They could meet at private meeting halls for much less money. I look at the White House, Congress, and the Supreme Court buildings, and all I can think about is how much of the cost of those monoliths affects my ability to pay my electric bill each month. While I’m at it, no American branch of government should be permitted to buy statues, paintings, or other decorative items either. How exactly do they serve the people’s interest?

    Library of Congress
    Library of Congress
  • The left tout small business as the people they are vehemently in support of. Yet somehow, when a small business owner gets it right and becomes a large corporation, they have suddenly become evil and should be taxed to hell and back? At what point exactly did they become evil? Was it the part where they had a good idea, wanted control of their own destiny, or just the part where they made a profit?
  • If we disagree with Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton, it’s because we’re racist and/or sexist. If we support Thomas Sowell or Ayn Rand, we’re still somehow racist and/or sexist.
  • The left often champion socialist policies like Social Security or single-payer healthcare, ignoring the history which shows the deplorable living conditions and human rights violations of Cuba, North Korea, China, Nazi Germany, or the former Russia, all shining examples of what socialism is when taken to its ultimate conclusion. If the left could supply one example of a socialist nation whose people live in conditions that are remotely as good as those in America, I’ll be willing to talk about the logic of social engineering. They argue that there is a good balance between socialism and capitalism to be met. I like to retort, “then there must be a good balance between a healthy diet and an arsenic diet as well.” They’re usually not amused.
  • A man solely with a law degree, two years of senatorial experience, and no private sector work experience was eminently qualified to govern the United States. Two former governors with a plethora of executive experience and both highly successful business owners as well (Mitt Romney and Gary Johnson) somehow were not.
  • The left will complain about the right’s advocacy of the death penalty and our staunch rebuke of Democratic policies, but then wear a Che Guevara shirt, a man not only famous for executing people who didn’t agree with him, but often for doing so without a trial.
  • The left complained about The Patriot Act, drone strikes, and Guantanamo Bay under Bush. Obama has either carried these policies on, or even grown them, but it’s now magically the right thing to do.
  • When Obama lies about keeping our health care plans, Benghazi, etc., it’s OK because he knows what’s best for us and he meant well. When Bush received what appeared to be bad intelligence in hindsight, and then acted earnestly on that bad info to protect American interests, he should have been impeached and imprisoned. There was never a shred of evidence that Bush knew the info was wrong, making it an error, not a lie. And there is evidence the weapons were simply relocated out of Iraq prior to the invasion. I am neither accepting or rejecting this theory without more info, and I’m not condoning the Iraq war either, but it leaves reasonable doubt about whether Bush was inaccurate on Iraq’s WMD’s.
  • While I could go on forever it seems, let me end it here: Princeton University defines classical liberalism as “a philosophy committed to the ideal of limited government and liberty of individuals including freedom of religion, speech, press, assembly, and free markets. So what has transpired here? There is a stigma attached to socialism and communism. As such, leftists who are fully aware they are promoting socialist policies have decided somehow to call it liberalism, something big government and non-free markets certainly are not. If socialism really works, let it stand on its merits, don’t lie and call it something it is not. I intend to never to call them liberals again. But to be clear, I won’t call myself one either just to avoid the confusion. That word is dead to me.