Friday, May 12, 2017

The Libertarians Love Shooting Themselves in the Foot

I was, and still sort of am, a fan of Arvin Vohra, but he has really been stepping in it lately.  His latest schtick is equating all military members with murderers.  Yeah, not a typo.  He actually tries to make some compelling arguments, but, like rabid pro-lifers and Antifa radicals, he equates his understanding of morality and the costs of war as the ONLY possible understanding.  He assumes he's right (and lately I kind of agree with him) but dismissing other viewpoints out of hand is how small minded people behave.  It's not how the supposedly rational and intelligent Libertarian Party is supposed to act.  Just because more and more people are recognizing that our forays into foreign wars are reckless and counter-productive doesn't mean everybody has come to that conclusion, and it doesn't guarantee that we're right.  It certainly doesn't make everyone who joins the military an amoral murderer.

We need a military force.  Even if that force is solely used under the standards the Libertarian Party would apply.  Dismantling that force or undercutting its recruitment is biting off your nose to spite your face.  Not only that, even if we decided the Libertarian viewpoint was absolutely, 100% correct, you can't just unilaterally pull out of NATO and other mutual-defense obligations (you could, but it would be just as morally repugnant as the wars we are fighting.)  Like it or not, the world's security is based on a strong, proactive US Military.  Many nations rely on us for their security.  Some of them (Japan) do so because we made them.  The world out there is a world we made.  The messes we've made are OURS.  If we want out, we need to give the other players time to adapt, and that means a robust, capable military force that can only be drawn back as the other nations take more responsibility for their own defense (or refuse to do so after given fair warning).

Most soldiers and sailors joined the military to defend (and spread) freedom throughout the world.  Most soldiers and sailors will never face a situation in which the morality or rightness of their cause will ever be brought into question.  The fact that some of us have figured out that things aren't so clear-cut, and that we MIGHT be fucking things up left and right, is no reason to demonize the brave men and women of high moral standards who serve in our military.  The problem with the military is our leaders and a world situation that we've created.  The VAST majority of soldiers live in a world where they are the morally righteous, and seeing the suffering out in the world and the war crimes of the enemy, that world view is reinforced.  The fact that much of what they are seeing is a result of bad foreign policy is not something they are aware of or would agree with.  Their world view is different than ours.

I also have to add that I personally oppose these foreign military interventions because they simply don't work.  I served during the first Desert Storm, which I consider the last "successful" foreign intervention.  You can certainly debate the necessity of the war, or whether it was in the national interest, but I'm pretty comfortable with the morality of protecting the people of a nominally democratic and free country from invasion by a despotic one.  Since then we've lost our way, but, if there was a way to free the North Korean people from their despotic regime, without the ensuing chaos of an Iraq, and without loss of innocent lives, I would certainly not consider it immoral.  Unwise maybe, but not immoral.  Libertarians are big fans of freedom, I'm not sure why where you are born makes you any less deserving of it.

The military and police both suffer from the same problems.  People don't join to murder innocents or oppress people and violate their rights (at least not most).  They join because of the high ideals expressed by the organizations and the public opinion of them (or for the money or the education).  Some people turn bad.  In the case of police, many become enculturated in a system, reinforced when they see the negative aspects of drugs (not realizing that it's the war on drugs that causes them).  I believe most police are helping and doing the right thing, or THINK they are.  Most didn't realize that the First Rule of Policing was to come home at the end of your shift, and are then indoctrinated into that idea.  They later become numb to the abuses because they inevitably see the people as the enemy, since most of their interactions are with the worst of society.  The solution to this is not reviling all police and soldiers (that's called prejudice) but instead fix the underlying causes: the drug war, policing for profit, erosion of constitutional rights, and others.

Reviling the police and military simply ensures that the Libertarian Party will never get the chance to implement their policies and found out for certain if they are right.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Things Everyone Should Know Before Discussing Economic Policy

The poverty rate is the same for all 48 contiguous states.

The poverty rate is based on half the median (a form of average) income, not the cost of living.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Ray on respect for other'side beliefs...and not being a dick...

So I'm going to a wedding of a friend this evening.

A friend.

To which I am wearing the garb in my profile picture (editors note: the garb is traditionally muslim...I'll see if I can get a picture).  I thought "well I'll post this pic... it's fun to get dressed up and fun to wear clothing of another culture."

The culture of my friend who's wedding I am attending this evening.

Did you see that I mentioned he is my friend.


So I thought my other friends would have the common courtesy or even the common sense to respect my friends religion and culture... yet here I have had some ridiculously ignorant commentary that although I deleted I feel I should identify to honor not only my friend's wedding...but

To honor my own convictions....and

To honor those who read my posts....

And to honor my friends who wrote or tried to post very offensive comments... because what sort of person or friend would I be if I didn't speak out?

Let me start off by saying I am a Born Again Christian.  And although I enjoy my Vodka along with other minor vices... I pray fervently...  confess that Jesus Christ is the Messiah... regularly attend Church, and do my very best to be the example of Christian values and love.

I'm an ardent patriot, having served in the military for over a decade enduring hardships on occasion and sacrificing upon the altar of Freedom regularly.  For Freedom is a hungry god and requires much of her believers.

I hold down two jobs, one that demands 60+ hours a week. I coach soccer, I have volunteered at the American Legion, I regularly donate money to various cause and events.

I have 5 children who I am involved with and an active participant in their lives.  I love my wife and just to make sure she knows it...  I make a pass at her nightly ;).  I'm not saying I always get to the promised land.... I'm just saying it's important that she knows I'm trying to get there.

Psssst... I'm a registered Republican.

I just want to list it out because for the comments that I read were from so called "conservatives."  That's not conservative ideals...


I am the embodiment of the virtues of the Church, Constitution and Americanism.


The only difference is... I refuse to judge others who practice their faith differently... who vote differently... who love different races or genders...  I choose love.  The love of Jesus Christ.

And so I say your comments and posts are not conservative....

 They are racist.

And despite recent practices Racism is not cool.

These comments aren't the connect the dots latent sort of racism... they're actually old school KKK sort of racist.

Of the variety that some of you are so far gone that you either don't understand that what you are doing is wrong... or you're no longer ashamed of being such a way.  So you choose to shame me as a bystander in your bafoonary.

I can no longer stand aside.

Well, you've embarrassed me.  You've embarrassed yourself.

And this isn't being politically correct or Liberal or race bating.  This is what it means to be a friend.

To stick up for your friends when they are being shamed.

This is what it means to be respectful to people who are different.  This is what it means to be curious about life and living and the world and about God!

This is what it means to be decent.

And if any of you don't like what you're reading ask yourselves why you've read so far into it.

Heal my friends... for whatever caused such fear doesn't own you.

 God owns you and He made us all different for a reason.

"Allah loves variety."

Peace unto you.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

20161113 Cellar Raid

Cracked open a 2015 Maillard's Odyssey from Sierra Nevada.
This is a Barrel Aged Ale we bought las Christmas at the brewery.

It is very mellow and has a ton of chocolate flavor mixed in with a surprisingly light texture.
Quite good.

Friday, November 4, 2016

5% for Public Funding is NOT Libertarian Hypocrisy

Time to make things clear for those who don't understand simple s**t:
Some people have bashed Libertarians as being hypocritical for wanting to get to 5% in order to get public financing. This is complete horses**t for the following 2 simple reasons:
1. 5% gets you guaranteed ballot access so you don't have to spend valuable campaign money just trying to navigate the barriers that the 2 major parties put in the way of getting on the ballot.
2. The "public" money, is actually PUBLIC! It's not involuntary taxes extorted out of your paycheck and spent for s**t you don't want just because Congress wants to pander for a few votes. It is the $3 that a few people VOLUNTARILY divert away from the Federal cesspool and SPECIFICALLY designate to be used by candidates for President.
Do some research. The parties have managed to subvert this fund to pay for their conventions, but they don't take the campaign money because it limits how much they can get from lobbyists and PACs - remember, Obama promised to take public financing and then backed out when he found out how much sleazy money it would cost him (gross oversimplification, but it highlights how campaigns are only paying lip service to getting money out of politics - what they mean is getting money out of their opponent's politics...but I digress.)

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Ray on Brats

I feel as Americans have become a bunch of brats...
Almost every single political figure that had any traction throughout this general election cycle had given us only false promises, anger (both sides), status quo speeches, or entitlement laced decorative words that called to our inner spoiled child and that child said "yes, I deserve that."
Here we are with a social security system destined to fail a generation from now... our longest war(s) in history and a Keynsian mounting pile of debt with a currency that is valued on faith alone.
Faith in a system that continues to let us down.
A foreign policy that is foreign to the remnants of policy and we say just let us keep our wifi up.... let me hold on to my phone and things that I do not need.
Let me eat my over priced over saturated unhealthy frozen meal and tie my kids to their IPad parents.
We've taken so many steps ahead... we are actually falling behind.
Just let me have my Rangers and give me shit... and don't give any one else who I deem is less deserving.
So when we complain about our options know that we created them because no one wants to hear the goddam truth:
1. Work hard
2. Some people have higher barriers to overcome and they are instituted unfairly based on their religion, color, orientation, gender and socioeconomic class... the very fact that these institutions lay hidden in the shadows of society does not mean they do not exist... it means only that they are antithetical to the Constitution.
3. Earn your way brick by brick and call to attention when your countrymen is forced to carry more.
4. There is a God. But He is not at the seat of Government. Any attempt to place Him there will corrupt His message.
5. If you want freedom, share it.
6. Guns are your right, not your toy. Responsible and humble gun ownership is the way to preserve that right.
7. Illegal guns are not registered but there are far too many ways for guns to get in the hands of people who wish only to impede on people's right to live. Strict enforcement of laws already in existence is the first step to greater gun control.
8. No one should be forced to choose whether they should see a doctor or pay the electric bill.... however Obamacare sucks... and so does the whole American health industry.
9. The rich have a right to keep the spoils of their, or their parents, or their grandparents earned wealth. However... are you fucking serious that like 300 families own a good portion of the nation's wealth... what are we Rome?
10. Abortion. Tough one for me for I believe in the rights of Women. However I also believe that life begins at conception and that that person has a right to live. With that said... Planned Parenthood is not full of ghouls and monsters. We should reform standing abortion regulation and not make it an issue of a right... but an issue of the right thing to do.
11. OUR EDUCATIONAL SYSTEM IS A JOKE. Less 5 billion dollar jets that are way over budget and mor COMPREHENSIVE school funding.
12. Let people in. Let them in... get over it whitey. Let people have an easier path to citizenship.
13. Bombing doesn't solve problems...bombing punishes problem starters and sometimes we have got to Negan the barbarians because that is the only language they understand... but let's not kid ourselves...if we want to solve problems we better start offering solutions that don't end with swarms of a population dead.
14. Your memes don't convince anybody... they're just sound bytes that make you a little dumber every day.
15. I just want my country to allow me to be the best husband and father and son I can be. Don't give me opportunity...get out of the way and allow me to find it myself. I'll buy my own shit if I want it....
Yet, take care of those who are incapable. Help those who need it and deliver them unto a path that they too can say... get out of my way I'm going to try and be the best person I can.
Educate, empathize, lead, love and do not enable. Let those who are capable suffer their own inability to lay the smallest offering of sacrifice, selflessness and drive at the altar of freedom.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Losing a Billion...

As the Super Tax Genius, I feel a need to dispel a myth about Trump "losing" a billion dollars. This should not be read as a defense of his policies, personality, or honesty.
In the tax world, you lose or gain money on a tax year basis. It doesn't mean the money is gone, just that you spent more in one year than you made. This is common and typical.
When you make an investment, you want to make a better return than you could have if you had just left the money in the bank. The higher the risk, the bigger return you want.
Big businesses spend a lot of money trying to make money, and the returns often take many years to come back.
Trump "lost" money in the tax parlance, but it is a better term to say he spent it. Until he makes the money he spent back, he has no "gain" to tax. Once he makes his billion back, he pays taxes on everything above it.
The same principle works with smaller numbers. You spend $1000 bucks in your business, and if you make $100, you pay no taxes. Make $1500, and you pay taxes on $500, not $1500. It could take a while to make that $1000 back, but, until you do, you haven't made any money.
On a separate note, all those articles about the pentagon "losing" 6 billion dollars are misleading. They can't account for what they spent it on, but they know it was spent and that the very large majority at least spent correctly by law. They just didn't do the paperwork right. Messed up, but the 6 billion dollars isn't just "gone" as some would have you believe.