Our rights do not originate with government, but they are to be "secured" by government.
Formerly: Libertarian Party of Citrus county

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Prohibition - excues for big government and taking away our liberties.

By Tom Rhodes, repeat of 4/23/2009 post because it's relevant

Al Capone, Lucky Luciano, Dion O'Banion, "Bugs" Moran (AKA Jack "Legs" Diamond), and "Dutch" Schultz, "Pretty Boy" Floyd, "Babyface" Nelson, Elliot Ness, Speakeasy, revenuers, G-men, The Coton Club, The Godfather, Flappers, all everyday names, places, styles. and ideas from some of our most popular action movies - Gangster movies.

Chicago - when you hear the name of that city do you think of honesty, integrity, liberty, or do you think of gangsters, crooked politics, graft and greed?

The roaring 20's where alcohol consumption was illegal, this had the following results: alcohol related deaths rose dramatically; arrests for drunkenness and disorderly conduct increased 41 percent; arrests for drunk driving increased 81 percent; organized crime grew into an empire; disrespect for the law grew; and the per capita consumption of the prohibited substance (alcohol) increased dramatically.

People flagrantly violated the law, drinking more of the substance that was originally prohibited. The problems prohibition intended to solve, such as crime, grew worse and they never returned to their pre-prohibition levels. Not only was prohibition ineffective, it was also damaging to the people and society it was meant to help. Prohibition should not have gone on for the thirteen years it was allowed to damage society.

You would think that prohibition would enhance the difficulty of obtaining alcohol. The opposite was true, liquor was actually very easy to acquire. The bootlegging business was so immense that customers could easily obtain alcohol by simply walking down almost any street. Today it's easier for a teen to get a joint than a beer. Pot's available at high school, and the local dealer doesn't card you.

FBI statistics show that in 2007 Police arrested an estimated 872,720 persons for cannabis violations, more than ever recorded in the USA. That's only the ones the police caught, many more never get caught. Even our last 3 presidents have admitted to doing pot. Well Clinton didn't inhale, so he might not count.

My grandfather born in Italy, living in Detroit, never paid any taxes from 1922 'til 1931 when for health reasons he moved to St. Louis and got a different job. (He was told to get out of town, as an independent Winsor to Detroit boatman, some people from the Purple Gang advised him that his health was in danger if he remained in Detroit.) This means that although he earned enough money to fully pay for a house, and was never without a new Oldsmobile every two years since leaving his independent delivery business, he also never paid a dime in income taxes over that same period of time. The government lost significant revenue for the 13 years of Prohibition because of the number of people earning a living "off the books".

How many of our inner city entrepreneurs currently earning a living selling a product their neighbors and friends obviously want, but happens to be illegal, are paying income taxes on their income?

Pot is a gateway drug to harder drugs. This is the argument for keeping it illegal. Beer prior to prohibition was the drink of choice for most, but because beer had to be transported in large quantities, which became difficult, the price of beer went up and thus Americans began to drink less of it. Instead, they began to drink more hard liquor, which was more concentrated and easier to transport and thus less expensive. Because of prohibition, Americans began to drink more potent drinks and so became more drunk by drinking less. This sounds exactly like what's happened to the drug business, coke, crack, designer synthetic drugs, etc. all now available because there is more punch in smaller volume. In fact it can be argued that because of prohibition pot, and cocaine became more popular (they were still legal). Hence our war on drugs can be attributed to our failed war on demon alcohol.

Two good things did come from prohibition. Sweet mixed drinks, to cover the bad taste of bootleg liquer, it was mixed with sweet fruit juices to make it more palatable. Now we have fuzzy navels, bloody marys, Harvey Wallbangers, in fact an entire industry based on making hard to pallet strong liquors taste better. We also have the most popular and most watched sport in the nation due to prohibition. Nascar, started out with fast cars that were made from everyday transportation to out run government agents, and now it's watched by millions every weekend. And the drink most associated with Nascar... Beer, gotta love the irony.

Violence of the "Roaring 20's" was legendary. The violence of today’s drug gangs is just as legendary. There are as many modern gangster movies as those set in the 20's. When was the last time you heard a shooting over a "beer deal gone bad"? When was the last time you saw the door of a winery busted down on Cops? Doesn't happen, want to end violence related to gangs and drugs, then end drug prohibition. Because it's forced into the black market, the profits from drugs are extraordinarily large. A risk/profit analysis results in many people participating in illegal businesses. If there were not extraordinary risks, then there wouldn't be huge profits. The risks are there because drug suppliers, dealers, and purchasers can't avail themselves to the court system to settle disputes, they have to settle disputes themselves. This makes people who are willing to use violence and have violent skills employable, as these skills are necessary in the absence of being able to use a judiciary. End prohibition and the need for violence will disappear, just as it did in the alcohol business.

This is all common knowledge, in fact I've been collecting data like this forever from the net, for references just use Google on prohibition, gangsters, roaring 20's etc. all this and more is out there. We know that prohibition didn't work for alcohol, and was a total disaster. We know this yet we cling to our war on drugs. Why?

Short answer is money. $19 billion federal dollars spend on the war on drugs in 2007. People running law enforcement, prisons, courts, selling law enforcement equipment, etc. all depend on the money from the war on drugs for their livelihood. Most of these are government workers or contractors. They don't want to kill the goose that laid the golden egg. If we ended the war on drugs we would only need a fraction of our prisons, law enforcement officers, and government employees. The government is protecting it job and power, not its citizens.

The stupidity of the failed war on drugs has got to stop. More illegal drugs are used in the US than anywhere in the world, the violence associated with drugs being illegal in the world has created international cartels, unstable governments, and the death and destruction of hundreds of thousands of people. We know that prohibition leads to gangs, violence, crime, stronger chemicals, more addiction, and more use. Please work at ending prohibition, it doesn't work; all it does is give the government an excuse to further erode our liberty and freedom.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The CDC and Walter Tell

by Tom Rhodes, 10/14/2014

The Feds are rethinking Ebola strategy. This is a truly egregious WTF moment. The Hill reports: .

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Monday said it is starting to “rethink” its Ebola strategy after the first-ever US transmission of the virus put a "relatively large" number of healthcare workers at risk.

"We’re concerned, and unfortunately would not be surprised if we did see additional [Ebola] cases in healthcare workers who also provided care to the index patient," CDC Director Tom Frieden said.

A nurse at Texas Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas was diagnosed with Ebola over the weekend, raising questions about the procedures that were followed when treating Thomas Eric Duncan. The nurse’s infection “doesn’t change the fact that it's possible to take care of Ebola safely, but it does change, substantially, how we approach it,” Frieden said.

Consider that according to medical records his family provided to The Associated Press there were about 70 staff members at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital were involved in the care of Thomas Eric Duncan after he was hospitalized, including the now infected nurse, being treated for the same Ebola virus that killed the Liberian man who was visiting Dallas. Obvious the size of the medical team alone, shows the intensity of the efforts hospital put into trying to save Duncan's life. Where are we going to get enough health professionals to treat 10, or 100, or 10000 Duncan’s. And how are we going to treat the health care professionals once they get the disease.

Sharon Ekambaram the head of Doctors Without Borders in South Africa, noted at a press conference in Johannesburg Tuesday, that medical workers have received inadequate assistance from the international community. Doctors Without Borders reported that 9 of the 16 staff members infected with Ebola have died.

As a Libertarian I firmly stand on the belief that you have the right to travel where you wish. I also firmly believe that your right ends when it infringes upon the right of others. Your right to travel, can and should be curtailed if you are traveling from a known source of Ebola, your right to travel ended when it infringes upon my right to life. Your right to travel stops when you exercise that right in a manner that transmits deadly disease.

When the CDC says, "it's possible to take care of Ebola safely" what do they mean? Obviously the odds are currently very poor to actually do so. The CDC is playing the part of Hermann Gessler, demanding that US healthcare workers play the part of Walter Tell. Ever hear of Hermann Gessler, or Walter Tell? Reread the old Swiss legend of William Tell. Walter is William Tell’s son, and as the Swiss legend tells it had the apple shot off his head by dear old dad. Yes it is possible to shoot an apple off somebody’s head with a crossbow, but that doesn’t make it any less risky. Now imagine instead of William Tell, you have the same people who run the post office and the license bureau shooting the cross bow. Feel safer standing there with an apple on your head?

WTF are we doing letting anybody into the country who might have this deadly disease. The CDC is betting the life of every healthcare worker in the country and chancing an epidemic in the USA hoping that they might be able to treat Ebola safely. Their record indicates that they are not as good as William Tell. People are going to die, not in far off Africa, but right here in the USA. Because our government is too worried about being politically correct instead of protecting the life of the American People.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

The Effect of Cell Phones on Sig vs Coach and Dessert

The Effect of Cell Phones on Sig vs Coach and Dessert
By Tom Rhodes, 9/9/2014

Ever watch a commercial for Outback, or TGI Friday’s, Chili’s, Applebee’s etc. The common theme is people socializing, laughter, and enjoying each other’s company. Nothing brings people together and nurtures community, friendship and family like breaking bread. My wife and I often dine out with friends. Like all dinner conversations the topics are eclectic varied and the topics change over the span of a couple words. We are all active in lots of endeavors from church, work, social groups, and the various activities we share and activities we don’t share. As such it used to be easy to fill an evening with engaging conversation. Technology has changed that.

Rather, it is the self-centered abuse of technology that has changed that. We are discussing the permutations of fall foliage and its effect on fermentation and relative benefits to not only the production of hard cider but the social benefits of sharing such during a cool evening around a fire, and out of the blue, “Oh My God, did you read about So-&-So’s daughter, she just posted that she’s having a problem with her boyfriend’s neighbor’s dog?” Seems one of us was engaged with her cell phone and not the conversation. But it’s dinner with friends, so we go that way, difficult for my wife and I as we have no Idea who So and So is, and also a bit difficult for her significant other and me because talking about So-&-So’s daughter’s problem’s with her boyfriend’s neighbor’s dog is just gossip and neither of us have interest or desire to engage in third hand gossip.

The conversation drifts and gently changes several times. Dinner table conversation typically moves in odd directions. Consider the conversation had migrated to debate about Coach and Vera Bradly vs knockoffs, which morphed to an apt description by my wife on why guys just don’t understand why we (women) need a variety of purses and wallets, explaining in terms we mere men could understand she noted that we didn’t have just one gun, and soon the conversation has morphed into relative cost benefits of various calibers for women to carry in their purse vs size, weight, and kick, when we hear, “Oh My God, did you see the story about the bodies they found at the volcano in Japan.” Again a completely unengaged interjection of irrelevant and non-participatory dialog. Although an interesting current event, the topic was hardly germane to the conversation on the functionality of a Sig 238 fitting into the cell phone pocket of a Madison Satchel vs just leaving a Lady Smith in the bottom of Triple Zip Hipster.

Obviously not wanting to miss out on what happening with friends, family, and the world are a good thing. When it causes you to be disengaged with what’s going on with you, your friends and family, right where you’re at, you need to disengage from your smart phone it makes you look like an idiot.

Oh, if you’re wondering the general consensus was that the although a Sig 238 fits nicely in the cell pocket of the Madison and is well organized and orderly, it’s too hard to get out in a panic situation, so unless it’s a formal occasion, you’re better off with the Lady Smith in the bottom of a Triple Zip Hipster; and no even Moon Blooms won’t make a Triple Zip Hipster formal. Unplug and put the cell phone away until after dessert, it’s amazing what you can learn breaking bread with friends and family.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Gay Marriage – Greatest Tax Dodge Ever Invented

By Tom Rhodes, 10/8/2014

Forget the religious, moral, and cultural arguments for/against gay marriage. It has got to be the best thing to ever happen to cheating the government out of taxes ever conceived. Once the leftists amoral progressives get their way and polygamy is once again legal, the rich will be able to sell off assets at great profit and not pay any taxes.

Think about it. Say a modestly well off guy buys some land and builds a house that cost him $100K 20 years ago, today he can sell that house for $500K, but if he does he has to pay taxes on the $400K profit of the sale. At 15% that’s a $60,000 loss. Make a deal with the buyer, we’ll call that deal a prenup, so instead of a “buyer” we have a “spouse.” They get married, create a joint savings account, and put the spouse on the deed. Then divorce. As part of the of the divorce agreement, in accordance with the prenup, the guy “loses” his house to the spouse, but gets the $400K from their “joint” savings account. Presto change property sold money exchanged and the government gets zero tax dollars. Marriage license and divorce filing fees under $1K so for doing paperwork, the seller realized $59K more in the bank and the government didn’t get $60K in taxes.

Now expand that to a business owner, with a $500Million dollar sports franchise he bought for $800K 10 years ago, and you can see how hundreds of millions of dollars in profits and capital gains can be transferred with zero tax liability. Guy marries another guy, and now they are joint owners of the Charlotte Hornets, new spouse catches him in bed with of all things a “woman” messy public divorce, and the Hornets have a new owner, but because of prenup, half a Billion dollars in their “joint” account goes to the former owner. Imagine an employee given “shares” in the company, no taxes get paid until they are sold and gains are realized. Now that employee gets married, the marriage “fails” and they get a divorce, the employee has a “bad lawyer” and gets taken, and all the shares go to the spouse. The spouse, now ex, has not realized payment from the corporation and can sell the shares tax free as the spouse realized zero capital gains. You get the picture.

The unintended consequence to gay marriage is the rich get another tax dodge, this one bigger than ever. Once the logical extension of gay marriage is realized, legalized polygamy, it’s going to get real interesting. The possibilities for avoiding taxes and moving money will be endless. Unless of course you want to create laws that force a divorced woman to pay taxes on the assets she is already the rightful owner.

Through the use of legally enforceable prenuptial agreements and divorces massive amounts of profits will legally be transferred and generated without any tax liability. Some might say that using marriage to avoid taxes is immoral, but then whose definition of moral are you using, it’s not like gay marriage by thousands of years of tradition and the standard of virtually every religion is moral.

Marriage, has always been used as a political and monetary tool, arranged marriages have brought nations together. Liberal divorce laws along with gay marriage is going to bring a slew of political and monetary schemes never intended. Unlike traditional marriage which always, even in arranged marriages, had a strong moral component; the unintended consequence of legalizing gay marriage with already liberal divorce laws are going to be manifestly greater than anybody has considered. You think inversion is a bad of US tax laws, wait until you see what unintended consequences manifest with gay marriage.