18 February 2014

Loose Footing

It’s been a while since I wrote a blog, but this subject has been on my mind a lot lately.

Let me begin by stating that I am, for the record, I proponent of the second amendment.  I believe in self-defense.  I believe in the right to bear arms, I also believe in a well-regulated militia.  I usually oppose any assault weapon ban because I don’t think they are effective.  I believe in personal responsibility and I believe in consequences.  I am, above all, a proponent of freedom.  That being said, I will never understand the bloodlust in our party.  Standing by stand your ground abusers doesn't make sense in any sort of small government, personal responsibility, consequences for your actions mentality, which are the cores of conservative values. 
The stand your ground law gets a lot of attention lately, being that people are killing unarmed people because they feel threatened.  As a fan of Sherlock Holmes, I don’t tend to base my opinions on hearsay or the news.  I was not a witness to any of the events, and neither were anyone on the news or the politicians.  I did not review any evidence, and I don’t have the proper training to do so even if given the opportunity.  So my opinion about the facts of the case are as meaningless as those on any other political garbage show/blog/etc. that tries to orchestrate mass opinion.  They were not there and they offer speculation rather than fact, and that’s important to remember.   However, the inherent problems with Stand Your Ground, are based on the fact that people are getting killed that didn’t need to die.  
I tend to be put off by the people on my side of the political spectrum, mostly, because they refuse to admit that there is a troubling sense of ambiguity in the law.  It’s problematic.  If you don’t believe that it is, consider the author of this article was packing heat, could she in theory shoot every man she came across?  An extreme example, I’m aware, but it’s bothersome to think that your life can be ended because you are a bit on the scary side.  What’s worse is that they are quick to defend the person who uses the defense, however, it seems to go against our core values of personal responsibility and consequences.  In the case of George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin, I understood there was blatant media manipulation, and that in it of itself is disturbing, however, in my armchair detective/jury/judge sort of way, I believed that Zimmerman was guilty of manslaughter, and that was what they should have prosecuted for in the beginning.  What bothered me on the way the right media handled it, is that everyone was cool with a security guard using lethal force on an unarmed young man, a security guard that did not carry mace or a Taser, which, along with a pistol, my sister in law constable also carries, because sometimes there are better ways to deal with a threat.  The question becomes, should George Zimmerman, or any of the subsequent abusers of the stand your ground defense used nonlethal force to subdue the alleged perpetrators?
I wish that the NRA, police, or what have you would promote and educate people about nonlethal weapons such as pepper spray or Tasers.  If the old guy with the loud music was threatened, or this fool cop (who should know better) in the movie theater felt “threatened” but could not verify that someone is armed, would it not make more sense that he would have used mace or a Taser?  Yes, I am aware that these things can be lethal, but your odds are significantly better than one in the chest from arms-reach.  The problem with guns is that it escalates too much.  It makes a situation of fight or flight become life and death, and I’m not thoroughly convinced that it needs to be so.
I don’t really have a problem with conceal/carry.  I think that guns can be a good deterrent by being brandished and not fired.  That being said, so can the non-lethal forms of subduing a threat.  And they are significantly less expensive.  So what I propose is this, in conceal/carry, stand your ground states, if you are going to pack heat, you should pack either mace or a Taser. I think the NRA could get behind that, because it protects gun owners from liberal agendas, and it gives someone a chance to fight another day.

Chime in on the comments below.  If you agree, tell me why, if you don’t tell me why not.

22 May 2013

Catastocracy

Catastocracy
How social media and cable news are changing the face of politics and human interaction…  For the worse.


“It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts."-Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
"Don't believe everything you read on the internet"-Abraham Lincoln

I remember a time when I was a young and not so jaded person and it didn’t really matter so much that a friend was more liberal or conservative, some were even socialists and libertarians.  We respected each other’s viewpoints and though we disagreed, and argued passionately about what direction the world should go in, there was some base of friendship there that was more powerful than the pettiness and ultimate there really isn’t much we can do about it.  Let’s have another beer, play another round, and move on with our lives. 

This was a happy time for me, since I’m a self-confessed idea junkie.  I often read things that I know I will disagree with because it helps me either strengthen my argument, or force myself to find another viewpoint that could be better than my own.  Some people would call that ideological anarchy, I call it mental exercise.  It teaches me what guns I’ll stick to, what I’ll give in on, and most importantly, what I am wrong about.  I think it makes me a better, more well-rounded person.  It makes my ideas stronger, and it also helps me cut out my own bs. 

However, social media has given a voice to the masses, and ultimately, the masses decided that there should never be compromise, that we should hold steadfast to our own ideas and ideals, and those that oppose us should be ridiculed, silenced, and punished for disagreeing with our own viewpoint.  Instead of moving forward to an understanding that no one has it all figured out, we have moved in extremes in our political parties to the point of catastrophe is better than compromise, like a bad skit of keeping it real gone wrong. 

The internet has offered a massive sense of anonymity that is present in everything we see.  IFC cannot post a link on facebook without a slew of people complaining that there are commercials on it now, even though it has always been a free channel.  Go on Xbox live or PSN and hear the way people talk to each other over a video game.  I wouldn’t talk to someone who cut me off in traffic the way some people act.  We’ve gotten away from being polite and respectful, and we’ve forgotten that respect is earned, not freely given.

It was initially dumbfounding in the age of the internet and the 24 hour news cycle that we can’t just get anything done, or at least anything meaningful done.  There should be total transparency and ultimately, results and accountability.  However, in the age where we have more access to the political process, more information outlets than ever before, and now faster than before, the goal it seems is to manufacture outrage at every given opportunity.  I am not opposed to outrage when it is warranted, or dabbling in outrage.  But it seems every little thing one party does outrages the opposition, and that isn’t a partisan line either.  I’m a republican, and many, many times people in my own party have been unjustifiably outraged by President Obama or the democrats in general that it seems almost completely impotent when they have every reason to be outraged at the opposition, and there has been enough occasions this term and last for them to do that.  How many symbolic repeals of the taxcare bill do we have to go through before someone mans (or woman’s) up and introduces real conservative healthcare reform like George W Bush asked them to do in 2006.  But I say that as a ruse, because liberals are outraged over everything the republicans do. 

This would be fine if our system was not founded on that we might not always agree, but we want what’s best for our country and we will respectfully argue and defend our positions.  But unfortunately, we are trying to govern parallel lines and the middle ground is completely obsolete.  It’s not the sexiest thing to say that I’m passionate for the middle.  People that tend to go the middle road are often ostracized by their own parties.  Republicans call them RINOS, democrats call them hacks and sell outs, and no one comes to the peacemaker’s defense.

Ultimately, if you ask a democrat what’s the problem with the political landscape, they will undoubtedly go to Fox News.  If you ask a republican, they will say liberal media bias.  If you ask an independent, they say both parties have gone too extreme.  I tend to think the independents have it right.  Not to toot my party’s own horn too much, but it’s pretty amazing to see the very bias in action.  Take this for example…  But, marching orders are indeed, just that.  I’m supposed to be more outraged over the Benghazi cover-up, but what I’m most outraged about is there is a filmmaker STILL in jail whose life as well as his family’s lives that were put in danger over using his first amendment right, and EVEN if there was a judgment against him saying that he was not allowed to use a computer, that violates his 7th amendment rights, because I bet you can’t name 4 jobs that do not require the use of or access to a computer.  But I don’t want to make this political blog about politics, unless you are interested in demanding freedom for the youtube auteur. 

It’s understandably upsetting the way things are turning out, but I just wish that there would be more attempt to stop and actually think about things, rather than relying solely on knee jerk and emotional reactions.  There is a complete push towards information without understanding, and like in the quote prefacing this piece, we find ourselves theorizing without all the data, twisting facts to support our theories.  My goal isn’t to make you abandon your ideas or beliefs, or even stop talking about them.  My goal is to consider that your ideas and beliefs come from your experience and background, and that they probably are not the same as anyone else’s and that does not make them any truer or better. 

24 September 2012

The Paul of the Future Platform for Today, Part One of Three

The Paul of the Future Platform for Today
by Paul of the Future

I don't really have the skin, looks, education, past history, wealth, connections, and personality disorder for being a politician, though I feel I have several good ideas on how to address the issues facing our country.  I am more of a strategist personality, also known as a coward.  Someone who is an armchair congressperson, but I take it to the fantasy sport level in which I make imaginary bills for imaginary policy, having imaginary effects on an imaginary government.  In my world, it's a one way dialogue, or lonely monologue as they are called, which is what essentially a party platform is. 

We have sat through large scale conventions with lackluster performances from the main events, receiving stronger performances from the future of the party in the republican convention, with Marco Rubio's outstanding oratory, and the past in the democrat's convention with Bill Clinton's show stopping performance.  When they were shouting Four More Years, I wonder if they were talking about Bill instead of Barrack.  I would consider voting for Clinton, since he was able to work with a republican House and Senate to get the job done.  I think Romney can work with Democrats better than Barrack can work with Republicans.  I am a republican, and I can admit that there are some in the party that will vote against Obama no matter what the vote is for.  But that  being said, the president did not necessarily understand this congress, which is the only aspect of Republican control, was elected because of the said policies of this president, and they elected whack jobs like Michelle Bachman to capitalize on the negative effects of the present commander-in-chief.  That isn't a matter of geography, or electoral college deciding that there has been a sea change in American politics.  Maybe it was healthcare, or a stagnant recovery, or an uncertainty in our ability to survive as a nation, and although Barrack inheirited  a difficult situation, he applied for the job under the pretense that he could fix it.  I am not applying for the job, but I am pretentious enough to attempt to fix it in rational ways. 

And with this imaginary hammer, I call to order the Paul of the Future Platform of Today.  Feel free to wear a patriotic hat, or hold up a homemade sign with the slogan of your choice. 

Preamble.
The Paul of the Future Platform for Today was written with no political party in mind, and in no means was supported by any outside influence other than my own experience, of which I have some that is irrelevant, and none that is.  I have never been the leader of a business, apart from a brief part time failure as a videographer, and that was my own doing.  I proudly present these issues, with the best intentions of perhaps one day including them in someone else's more qualified hands.  Though I am a republican in terms of governing style, I tend to be socially permissive, so I have both of what the other parties hate in me, or what makes the conversation, well awkward.  I only represent one voice, and that is my own, and though I believe part of what makes America the greatest country is that our country is founded on dialogue, rather than monologue.  We allow conflicting voices, ideas, and take the best and the worst of both sides, because it's the same coin.  Sometimes, an issue falls in our favor, sometimes it doesn't, but it isn't game over for anyone if it does.  We move, sometimes clumsily, to the more perfect union every time we vote, we govern.  I feel the following are a best practice solution from my mind in analyzing cause and effect relationships between citizens, government, companies large and small, and the vulnerable of our system.  I present to you, my ideas for a better government as seen through the looking glass of our time.

Article One:
Financial Policy, Economic Strategy, and the National Debt.

I will start with the ultimate in my list, as the national debt has reached the 16 trillion dollar mark.  I would argue that this is our number one issue when it comes to economic policy, because it creates uncertainty in the global community.  Not only is our currency devalued or inflated, our credit rating downgraded, and that has consequences domestically, it also has consequences internationally.  The money we send as aid is devalued, so our helping hand doesn't go as far.  I understand that some people will say screw the financial aid to other nations, but often times that keeps the peace in the world.  It isn't exactly the best situation to be in, and there should be time limits on aid, and we should not aid countries that overwhelmingly have an anti-American outlook.  So, 16,000,000,000,000.  What to do about that?
A. Cut Spending
B. Raise Taxes
C. Lower Taxes.
D. A+B
E. A+C
I vote for F. Something else entirely.  F is a combination of all of the above and then something radical that ties it all together.  We do piss a lot of money away, and legislative reform is something I believe strongly in.  I believe that federal funding should a. have a clearly defined goal and a clearly defined outcome.  B. A clearly defined budget and time limit before it is voted on again if we are to continue funding, C. only partial funding is allotted for the duration goes into testing or research to verify it is going to have the desired effect, or if it is feasible to expect the results, before full funding is available.  In the case of miscalculation, ineffectiveness, we are not on the hook for a total failure, just a partial one. 
I believe that congress should have a budget that is balanced for peace time, or of no national crisis, and during wartime, or in the time of national crisis like Katrina, or the Midwestern drought, it cannot go beyond 20% of gdp.  Mandatory cuts to non-essential programs will go in these times, with the exception of war time.  A 3.65% mandatory war tax would be added to every business or individual that cannot be deducted for the sake of national security.  Our entire economy is about 10 trillion, so that 3.65% is essentially 365 Billion Dollars, or 1 billion dollars a day for 1 year.  For one, it would strongly discourage war unless necessary, for two, the war would be funded, adequately,
and at a rate that no other nation would dare attack us. 
But what about the debt?  At this point, almost all spending is actually deficit spending because the debt is bigger than the amount of revenue we take in.  It's a sad state of affairs, really, and it requires simple, principled leadership to curb this growing threat to the safety and sovereignty of our nation, I propose this.
1. Interstate Commerce Sales Tax.  Since I don't know of anyone who pays their state sales tax for internet purchases that do not have sales tax already put on, or furthermore, know even how to pay sales tax on those purchases.  I propose a win-win situation, A 6% sales tax for end user purchases made across state lines.  75% of that revenue will go specifically to paying down the national debt, 20% will go to paying down the debt in the businesses' home state, and 5% will go to the end user's home state's debt.  This will encourage states to be more friendly to interstate commerce, as well as promote job growth and business growth in the home state, and finally provide local merchants competitive footing by making sure that everyone has a goal.  Ambitious states can go lower for sales tax.  And purchases made in the home state would collect the same sales tax.  This will simplify tax collection for businesses by only requiring revenue reporting in two ways, as opposed to 50+ since some metropolitan areas have a local tax.  What happens when the national debt is paid off?  We bank it.

2. Cash flow options, since almost a majority of people receive a refund of sorts for taxes, I propose offering a tax penalty free 5 year bond at a set rate of 5% apr for your tax refund.  This will increase federal cash flow, cut down on processing fees, and offer the citizen a chance to grow their money without tax consequences.  If you want to wait 5 years, since the money you had overpaid was never part of your actual income, you can get a solid 5%.  Of course, there would be no early withdrawal, and that money would be surrendered upon death.  The goal here is to grow individuals savings, and increase cash flow, on an opt in, voluntary basis. This will also help avoid quantitative easings by the federal reserve, and at best we can have a silent quantitative tightening. 

3. Simplified tax code, with clear adjustments that are temporary.  I would keep individual deductions the same, however, I would restrict corporate deductions to a minimum based on direct impact on the economy, with a specific time table for said deduction.  I am a proponent of flat tax, and simple tax at a base rate of 25% Business and 20% individual.  In the case of capital gains, I would take Romney's plan of eliminating it for the under 250K population, and increasing it to 20% individual and corporate.  The death tax would be eliminated.

By taking these actions, the market will be able to better predict revenue, cash flow, and taxation based on strong policy that is predictable, and still remains incentive oriented, versus unpredictable and policy oriented.  It will no longer matter as much what side you vote for, since everything is laid out.

End of Part One.  Part Two on Tuesday.

05 August 2012

Introduction to Destruction

...or  How I stopped writing a blog and decided to do it again. 

Often times I find myself trying to solve global problems so I don't have to deal with my own.  Probably not the healthiest habit to have, I believe it's called transferring, but I tend to do that.  So I decided to revamp my blog and do my own thing with it, I guess that's the point of these things. 

Most of it will be me trying to predict trends, and they are just that, predictions, with no gaurantees of accuracy, and will be difficult, because my new years resolution was to be a more positive person.  I will probably repeat ideas, topics, and solutions.  I welcome comments, trolls (I tend to be one too), Troll 2's, fact checkers, grammar nazi's, and people that agree or disagree with me.  I tend to learn more from the latter, and I appreciate that people come from different viewpoints and perspectives.  Grammar Nazi's take note, I believe in the oxford comma, and I will use it.  I made up my mind that it is more correct than without it.  Diagramming sentences can be fun.  (Run-on used on purpose).

I will try to maintain organization, with no promises, since I tend to lack that, but I will classify posts to what I feel like it relates too the most.

The Catagories are as follows:
Paul of the Future: This section is my idea chamber on how to solve problems, or where I see the world heading.  I want to promote discourse and discussion from here.  Comments are open to anyone, and I like it that way. 

Paul of the Current:  This is my op-ed section.  Comments are open to anyone, but subject to review.  Only because I don't want hateful stuff on my blog.  I might decide to have a career in politics one day.

TART's: Technology and Arts Reviews and Trends.  As an active father, I tend to miss a lot of things, but every now and again I stumble upon greatness.  Look for reviews.  Comments are open.

The Barbecue: This is where I turn sacred cows into delicious hamburgers.  Comments are closed here.

Anyways, I hope you enjoy reading these, that I inspire you to think in a different way, or that I reconfirm your beliefs, even if those beliefs are that I'm an idiot.