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Thoughts on Iran

24 Feb

Imagine you are the leader of a country, any country. It does not have to be the United States just any fictional country. Let’s say that while you are president of this country, you are a conservative who believes in the concept of defending yourself with lethal and deadly force if attacked. Your country is surrounded by other countries that have nuclear weapons yet your country has none. Would you be attempting to acquire a nuclear weapon in this scenario? As a conservative who believes in defending themselves with lethal and deadly force, are you fine with the idea of being the only person in the room without a gun? Let’s add another factor. While you are the leader of this fictional country and you start to move towards arming your country with a nuclear weapon the only country in the world that has ever used nukes to kill massive amounts of people is asking you to stop trying to acquire a nuclear weapon. Do you trust that country? Ladies and gents meet Iran. Many of the countries in Iran’s neighborhood have nuclear capability; they are China, Russia, India, Pakistan and others. If your neighbors are armed and ready to defend themselves with force, wouldn’t you also want to be armed? You would think that the GOP and Republicans would be the first ones to be able to easily understand such a scenario.

Do I want Iran to acquire nuclear weapons for the purpose of doing harm to other countries? Not at all, I don’t particularly want to see any country do harm to any other country with nukes. People try to make the argument that Iran wants to destroy Israel and that Iran sponsors terrorism. (Keep in mind that there seems to be evidence to suggest that that America gives aid to a group of people that call themselves freedom fighters in Libya and Syria but also call themselves Al Queda while in Afghanistan.) In my opinion, Israel can handle what ever Iran throws their way. Israel has dedicated quite a lot of time and resources specifically to the idea of defending themselves with lethal and deadly force. Israel has even said before that it does not need America’s help in defending itself. In all honesty it is time to start admitting to ourselves that the middle east region of the world has quite a lot problems to figure out on its own without American intervention. According to the research of Dr. Robert Pape, American intervention seems to be driving a lot of the problems we see with terrorism in the middle east. Besides, with 16.4 trillion dollar debt on the books, we simply cannot afford to get involved in the internal affairs of the middle east any longer. Many who call themselves Reagan Republicans seem to forget Ronald Reagan’s advice given in his autobiography;

 the irrationality of Middle Eastern politics forced us to rethink our policy there. If there would be some rethinking of policy before our men die, we would be a lot better off. If that policy had changed towards more of a neutral position and neutrality, those 241 marines would be alive today.”

 In the last seven years with the rise of the Constitutional Conservative and the Tea Party, the GOP now has a newly found love for small unobtrusive constitutional government. So I must ask, if Republicans do not want the Federal government intruding into their personal everyday lives then why do they think people in the middle east would be fine with it? Where is the consistency?

Is Iran a threat? Iran is currently surrounded by approximately 40 American military bases on all sides, exactly who is threatening who? Even with Fox News (which as a Constitutional  Conservative type I honestly try to stay away from watching) hammering the idea that we need to worry about Iran acquiring nuclear weapons, I lean more towards saying that no Iran is not a threat. The Soviets had thousands of nukes and were very hostile towards the U.S, yet America did not go to war with them. Why are we so worried about Iran acquiring one nuke? If Iran is a threat then why is Congress discussing the idea of attempting to place gun control legislation on us and limit our ability to individually defend ourselves with lethal and deadly force?

In this day and age the mainstream media (some might say corporate media) is wrapped up in a lot of special interests and corporate conglomerates that seem to make money off of military contracting. Why would a private commercial entity such as Fox, CNN, ABC or CBS news be pushing the idea of fearing Iran so hard? To my knowledge Iran has no military capability to perform any kind of military strike on the American mainland. In fact America’s military is unmatched by any other country in the world. How is a 3rd world country with a struggling economy a threat to America? In fact let me ask you to think about something that I’ve been thinking about for quite sometime. Can you name a country that America has attacked in the last 35 years that had the capability of military retaliation on American soil? Is it Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, Libya? Maybe you can think of one, I can’t.

Some make the argument that America is ‘exceptional’ and needs to be the leader of the world. They seem to really mean that America must dominate the world in military might. To that I say that this attitude has mainly led us to ‘exceptional’ 16 trillion dollar debt. America is not the policeman of the world and our economy is begging us to acknowledge this. The restraints within the constitution simply do not seem to permit America to participate in the type of foreign policy being practiced today. Why does ‘leading’ have to mean military involvement in other people’s countries? Why can’t ‘leading’ mean becoming the world’s best example of free market economics, individual liberty and prosperity?

If we really take a logical approach and we want to help decrease Iran’s ‘anti-west’ mentalities maybe the first thing we can do is start removing military bases from around their region, and stop sending aid to countries in that region that might be hostile to the U.S. After all if some other country was trying to tell Americans how to live and was setting up military bases in America’s region of the world, I think that would anger quite a few Americans. It works the same way for other countries. In essence maybe we should listen to America’s founding fathers on avoiding getting entangled in the internal affairs of other nations, especially now since we literally cannot afford a foreign policy of intervention. Maybe it’s time to put more focus on America’s borders rather than Iran’s or Pakistan’s. Maybe its time to start fixing America’s problems at home before trying to tell other people how to live. Maybe its time to keep that Reagan quote at the forefront of our minds when thinking of foreign policy, particularly in a time where the GOP is now witnessing a surge not only in anti-war mentalities, but in the concept of Non-interventionism itself.

School Choice

19 Jan

A few years ago in Cobb County, GA a woman was charged with fraud for falsifying her address in order to have her child go to a particular school. If I remember correctly she was charged with 12 counts of fraud weighing in at 5 years a piece….all because this woman did not want her child going to a terrible school. Let’s get something straight here about the power of government in regards to the law in America.

The government has a unique power that we as citizens do not have. It is the power to use deadly force in order to accomplish its goals. We as American citizens can by law make use of deadly force, but it is limited to defending ourselves if our lives are in danger. The government has the ability to use force (deadly if necessary) to make a person comply. It can use force to accomplish its goals. In the case of the CobbCounty woman, the government was attempting to use force to keep her child confined to a particular school district. (On a side note, isn’t this the description of a hostage situation?)

Anytime a law is made in America, what we are actually doing is granting the government permission to use force to bring about justice if the law is broken. Here’s a hypothetical example. Let’s say the law states that I cannot drive my car while not wearing shoes, a policeman notices me get into my car to drive while I have no shoes on and later pulls me over for breaking the law of driving while not shoed. Let’s say the officer writes me a ticket and tells me to put my shoes on and I outright refuse to do it (just for the fun of it and to add extra unruliness, lets say I rip the ticket up and become belligerent). By law the officer can now pull me out of my car and arrest me for refusal to comply no? If I struggle with him, hit him, we fight, whatever it is….once I have crossed the threshold of breaking the law, it gives him permission to use force in order to accomplish the goal of convincing me to comply with the law. This is what takes place whenever we give the government permission to pass and enforce a law. I know that the shoe scenario is pretty dumb sounding, but any law even the small stupid sounding ones give government the permission to use force if you do not comply. Why do you think we call it ‘law enforcement’?

This brings us back around to this poor woman taking her child’s education seriously, and trying to ensure that her child could go to a good school. As far as I know in all of Georgia, what school your child will go to is decided by the state. Yes you have some influence as to where your child can go by where you live, but is it true freedom of choice in “the land of the free” if the government presents you with limited options to choose from? The government plays a large part in where your child will go to school. If you want your child to go to a particular school you have to move to the district that applies to that school. If you live in a crap school district and cannot afford a move to get your child into a better school district…then that’s just tough. The law says your child must go to a particular school……break that law and you could end up with jail time….simply for wanting better for your child.

Because of where I live, should government determine where I should shop for groceries? What if it’s a terrible grocery store that sells crap products and gives me crap customer service? Should the government be allowed to force me to stick with that terrible grocery store because of the specific district that I live in?  Should government be able to quite literally hold me hostage to a ‘grocery district’ and its grocery store if I can’t afford to move to a different geographic location? If this sounds like a crazy thing to do with groceries, then why on earth are we doing it with something as important and life shaping as the education of a child?

Why should the government tell me where I can and can’t send my child to school? This is a decision for parents to make. Parents are the closest contact in every way to a child. They know they’re child infinitely better than a government can know their child no? From dusk until dawn a parent sees their child and knows their wants and needs and their learning style along with their interests, so why should an outside, centralized entity miles away that knows absolutely nothing about their child, play such a large role in where the child goes to school? In order to have true freedom I think I should be able to drive my child 30 to 40 miles away to a different school if I feel like it is a better school and it has room for my child.

I’ve heard people that argue against school choice say things like; “but the bad schools will simply shut down, if there were school choice”…..my thought, isn’t this a good thing? Again in regards to car purchases….if you have a car that simply is not cutting it, that constantly gives you transmission problems, electrical problems, fuel injector problems, do you go back and buy the same car again? No, you get rid of it. You select one that runs better. Why not do that with schools? If schools in Atlanta, GA or WashingtonDC (from what I understand some schools in both these cities are pretty horrid) had to compete to give your child an excellent education or shut down, don’t you think the quality of education would improve? Why not let people have complete control over where their child goes, and for whatever reasons? Some parents may keep their child in a particular school because of convenience, proximity and so on, that’s fine. Other parents may actually use a school as a baby sitter rather than an educator, that’s fine too. Others may want the child to go to a school with a good reputation or other parents may want a religious or political emphasis to their child’s education. With all of those scenarios and factors, why not let the parent decide rather than taking this power of decision and handing it to the government?

Many politicians seem to consistently vote to keep school choice away from American schools….what schools do you really believe they are sending their children to? How many politicians do you think there are with children going to the City of Atlanta or Washington DC public schools? With the kind of money politicians make, do you really believe they are sending their children to public schools? I haven’t seen the numerical evidence, but I am going to make a guess and say no, they don’t send their kids to public schools. Why then do they confine us “regular people” literally by the threat of force (deadly if necessary) to go to schools decided by government school districts? Is this really freedom? This is the kind of thing I think about when I see Americans waving their flags on the 4th of July.

In the end the Cobb County woman was acquitted of the charges. The jury found that the penalties involved were simply too harsh to apply to a person who was simply seeking a better school for her child to attend. Kelly Williams-Bolar of Akron, Ohio was not as successful however.

I think one of the keys to bettering education in America is getting the Federal government out of education and then doing away with these hostage like school zones.

The Sandy Hook Shootings

22 Dec

I am still trying to figure out what exactly happened at Sandy Hook Elementary on December 14th 2012. One of the official news stories is that ‘a lone gunman’ went into a school armed with 2 pistols and a shot gun. He shot and killed 26 people and then killed himself. Niall Bradley, a writer with Veterans Today has documented the multitude of changing details and facts that keep surfacing about the shooting. Some news stories are even claiming that a gunman was actually arrested in the woods near Sandy Hook. Here’s the link to Niall’s article so that you can try to decide for yourself what happened at Sandy Hook.  While so many news outlets report the story as though it’s a done deal, I’ll keep trying to figure out the facts.

I must mention also as a side note that I do not like conspiracy theory (there seems to be a lot of conspiracy talk surrounding the shootings). I would much rather focus on facts and empirical evidence. With that in mind, many of us have seen the footage on YouTube of Robbie Parker laughing merely seconds before giving a speech about his daughter Emilie Parker who was killed in the shootings. All I can really say is that I find it odd that a father would be laughing right before giving a speech about his daughter who died suddenly. To me it seems like if your child had been killed suddenly you would look more somber, you would probably be trying to compose yourself before getting on TV to talk about your deceased child. You would probably still be trying to work through your grief, not laughing about something right before speaking about her. That’s just making an observation though. Someone else might watch the clip and come to a different conclusion.

The real story to me in all of this seems to be school shootings in general and the availability of guns. How do we try to solve the problem of these school shootings? My first suggestion would be to take down the signs that advertise schools as ‘gun free zones’. What would happen if you advertised your neighborhood as a ‘gun free zone’? How do you think armed criminals would feel upon seeing that your neighborhood was gun free? To me ‘gun free zone’ signs are a broadcast that you are a sitting duck. In other words it is suggesting to armed criminals that if they were to come into this ‘gun free zone’ with a gun, people are less likely to be able to defend themselves using lethal and deadly force. It may seem like a strange idea to you, but what if a sign was put up reading ‘teachers inside may be armed and prepared to defend their classrooms with lethal and deadly force’. Really think it over instead of just thinking the statement is extreme.

If you had been in a classroom and an armed gunman went on a rampage, how different would you feel sitting right next to a friend who is familiar with guns, armed and ready to use that firearm to protect the classroom? At least you would have some type of chance at self defense. Some people make the argument for more police presence, or armed guards being placed at schools. This doesn’t sit well with me. First off it places the responsibility of personal protection into the hands of a third party. To me that would also normalize the concept of having armed police around all the time, which to me resembles more of a police state than the free society America is attempting to get back to being. Generally speaking, people who carry guns for protection tend to be more responsible than irresponsible. If you have gone through the trouble to get a concealment license, you are probably not going to want to do anything to mess that up. Let teachers who have their concealment license, carry on school property. At the college level, students should be able to carry. Our personal safety and protection are our own individual responsibility first and foremost, not the responsibility of the government or police. Keep in mind also that police for the most part show up after a crime is committed in order to clean up or try to prevent further crimes from occurring. We are the first responders when a crime is occurring against us. The idea of banning guns is a bad argument. All that does is guarantee that criminals will be able to access guns, while the good guys remain defenseless. Besides, America is not really set up for gun bans. The constitution recognizes the right of the individual to keep arms. The keyword here is right to keep arms. You do not have to ask permission from anyone if something is recognized as a right. The gun ban argument suggests the context that the government lets us, or gives us permission to have guns. This is not true. Having permission and having a right are two different things. The government recognizes our right as stated in the constitution to keep arms.

Think it over. Good individuals who carry firearms are a plus when dealing with criminals who carry firearms. I’m not saying that there is a perfect solution to every situation, but for the very least I think individuals should be able to defend their lives using lethal and deadly force against a bad person intent on doing harm with lethal and deadly force.