“President Trump’s administration is reportedly seeking a 72 percent cut to the budget of Department of Energy programs related to energy efficiency and renewable energy,” The Hill reports. “Draft budget documents obtained by The Washington Post show the Trump administration will ask for $575.5 million in spending for the Energy Department’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. The office’s current spending level is set at $2.04 billion for the fiscal year.”
That’s a great start and we should not just isolate this aspect of the energy sector; it should extend to ALL sectors. Renewable energy subsidies distort the free market and keep electricity prices high for all of us. This distortion is true in all areas of government subsidies.
Farm subsidies, crony capitalism, sugar, golf courses, corporate welfare, oil, etc. The list of subsidies provided by the federal, state and local governments is nearly endless. It has become so entrenched in our society that we no longer know the true cost of anything Americans purchase.
So, while the different levels of government in our country try to push various agendas to make our world “better,” they all-to-often go the wrong way and almost always with unintended consequences. Additionally, one cannot forget the corruption that quickly follows most subsidy programs.
Now that Donald Trump is President of the United States some of my Democratic Party political friends have suddenly woken up to the horrors that have continued from the Barack Obama administration. This past year, Democratic leaders have put forth their political theater shenanigans by displaying feigned outrage over government spending, loss of freedoms, and loss of privacy protections for their American brethren. Where were you over the last several years? Why did you not voice this outrage while your party leader was our President?
Most Dems remained silent as Obama’s administration bombed the hell out of various countries around the world, killing and maiming countless innocent lives. Most Democrats remained silent as their leaders have caused our nation to rack up crippling debt and our privacy protections have eroded. Most Democrats championed Obama when he simply wrote a “memo” which they thought was going to end the “War on Drugs.” Obama could have easily gone much farther to end the pain, suffering, and increased the freedom of millions of Americas by truly ending the “War on Drugs” but stood by as its Commander in Chief.
For the few that remained vigilant, I applaud you. For those who ignored the travesties, I welcome you to the Libertarian mission to maximize the freedom of Americans and hope you are not just acting because someone you dislike or hate is occupying the White House. As a Libertarian, it does not matter to me if a Democrat, Republican, or Libertarian is our president. If freedoms are lost, then we cannot stand by and let them be taken. We must fight back regardless of our political affiliation, regardless of which “team” has control of Congress. If you are sick of the political theater put on by your political party, perhaps it is time to change your voter registration to Libertarian and vote for Libertarian Party candidates. It is within the Libertarian Party where you will find the true #Resistance movement.
So, pardon me if I seem a bit cynical by this most recent statement from our Democratic Party leaders who have recently “discovered” the abuses of our federal government on innocent Americans. You see, all of Florida is within a 100-mile immigration inspection zone. There was an incident last week in Fort Lauderdale which got nationwide attention and properly enraged many Americans. It involves innocent Americans being questioned on a bus about their citizenship by federal authorities. But this has been going on for years — literally. Started in 2006 as a small program, it ballooned over the Obama administration. Not only have federal officers been boarding buses and trains en masse we now have “do nothing” immigration checkpoints well over 50 miles inside our borders. Libertarians have been voicing our opposition to this practice for years which fell on deaf ears.
This week, Ted Deutch and a long list of Dems issued the following statement:
“We were appalled to see U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents abusing their mandate and authority to arbitrarily board a bus to demand that all passengers produce identification and documentation.
“We support strengthening our border protections against external threats and bolstering our officials in their work to keep Americans safe. However, arbitrary and disruptive enforcement actions like this do not make our communities safer. Rather, they waste taxpayer resources, cruelly dehumanize people who have not committed any crimes, and erode our fundamental rights. Identification is not required to ride a bus from one Florida city to another.
“While the law gives U.S. CBP officials the authority to conduct transportation checks within a reasonable distance from the border, this event and others like it across the country show that Congress must conduct a comprehensive review of what ‘reasonable distance’ means. The 100-mile border zone established by U.S. regulations arbitrarily extends CBP jurisdiction and undercuts the rights for citizens and legal residents to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures. In Florida, this arbitrary zone puts everyone in the state under constant threat of stops, interrogations, and searches without even the most basic due process protections.
“We regret that visitors to Fort Lauderdale were subjected to this raid, and will work together to push for reasonable limits on border agent authority that protect our civil liberties.”
“Many politicians tend to be drama queens and are on stage every day with their political theater. Suddenly some on Capitol Hill are talking about how concerned they are with the growing federal debt when they have been voting to increase the debt through dramatic spending programs for years. Apparently, they are betting on Americans either being stupid or having short memories.”
The new Tax Cuts and Jobs Act affecting federal taxes was signed into law yesterday, December 22, 2017, by President Donal Trump and depending upon what political affiliation you are with, it is either the end of the world or the best thing since sliced bread. So, let’s try to distill the shrill and get back to reality as it is neither of those things.
First and foremost, we must understand, that according to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) that over 45 percent of Americans do not pay federal income taxes as they are not required to do so. So, for over 45 percent of Americans, this will have zero impact because they are not paying into the system already. They may be paying other taxes such as federal Social Security and state sales taxes; however, none of those have any bearing on this issue.
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Free speech has been synonymous with America since our founding. Free expression is one of many great things about America. Being able to protest our government without reprisal, going out in public and espousing a particular belief, supporting a candidate (or not supporting a candidate) are all covered by our guiding principles found in our U.S. Constitution. And it is nothing new, after all, the Magna Carta was crafted in 1215.
But what often happens, some people get offended by all of that freedom. Many people are citing President Donald Trump as being highly critical of media outlets who profile him and his administration, as he says, unfairly. At least Trump is not putting them in jail as would Abraham Lincoln. You see, notions of fake news are nothing new in our constitutional republic and those who are offended by someone’s free speech often go down the wrong road of trying to inhibit that speech.
Fortunately, the U.S. Supreme Court has repeatedly upheld the notion that simply because someone is offended, it does not limit one’s ability to exercise another’s public speech. When it comes to religion, a government entity can allow religion to come into the government nexus, but it cannot show favoritism to any one religion.
For example, here in Boca Raton, Fla, the city government is considering reversing its historical practice of temporarily allowing religious organizations to put symbols of their religion in city-owned Sanborn Square each December. The reason? Someone chose to exercise his free speech rights and offered a contrasting symbol of the “normal” Christian birth of Jesus and the Jewish menorah. Everything was fine until someone offered an “unpopular” religion, so now it is suddenly being proposed that there will not be any displays permitted. The person behind the Satanic symbol that caused all the controversy last year was making the political statement that the city government should not have been allowing the displays in the first place.
Similarly, many state and local governments would hold a prayer before their official meetings and this is against our Constitution unless they offer different religions the same on a rotating basis. It cannot just be a Christian or Jewish “prayer” before official government meetings, it must be open to all religions. This is what made Chaz Stevens and others around the nation did a couple years ago, as a “minion of Satan” offering his invocation before local government meetings. Most city governments ended the practice of praying before their meetings or have at least opened it up to other religions as to finally be lawful under the U.S. Constitution. Though I can say as a frequent guest at city council meetings, this is not always the case. Stevens was simply trying to point out that the government should not be showing favoritism toward any particular religion and for so long as elected officials inject religion into government, it must be non-discriminatory. Afterall, while Christians and Jews make up a large swath of Americans, a near equal number of Atheists, Islamists, Buddhists, and over 300 other religions make up the rest of America.
We have even heard recent talk that some people should not be allowed on television if they support President Trump or his positions. This type of thinking is the complete opposite of what free speech is all about. Media outlets should offer opposing viewpoints on their television stations and on their websites so the public can decide for themselves what is best. It is not up to news media companies to parse through and edit footage to offer up a particular viewpoint to the general public. It is up to news outlets to offer unbiased information from all sides. This is Journalism 101. But we rarely see that in today’s media and that is unfortunate. American journalism is on life support.
Sadly, we see students being disciplined at schools around the country simply for espousing a contrasting opinion. Ultimately, thanks to organizations such as FIRE, these overboard decisions by school systems are held accountable. But such discipline should not exist for a student simply putting for their opinions. If not on a college campus, then where can a young person get the intellectual growth necessary to be a productive human being exposed to multiple points of view?
Another issue on today’s college campuses seems to be people wanting to shut down debates or speeches by those with opposing views. This has been a dramatic upswing this past year where speakers have been shouted down and physical threats have been made if they step foot on campus. OK, so you disagree with what they are saying; you can choose to not attend or you can attend and then during the Q & A offer your strong objections to what they said. But shouting them down for having an opposing view is clearly un-American and doesn’t help public discourse.
Another local case was T.A. Wyner went up again the Florida parks system, challenging their “bathing suit rule” as being unconstitutional. This, because the rule violates state law which allows one being nude in a public place so long that area has been set aside for that purpose and it is not for sexual reasons. In 2003, Wyner, an avid naturist, held a performance art exhibit in MacArthur State Park which included her being without clothes in violation of the state park’s “bathing suit rule.” Although she was arrested, she took the case all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court and won. Wyner should not have been arrested for two reasons, (1) she was actively expressing her first amendment right and (2) she was not violating state law.
So, while there are multitudes of people with which I may disagree, I enjoy exchanging ideas back and forth in a non-threatening, intellectual manner. It has been my experience, this works better than going out protesting a person instead of an issue or idea. Hopefully, when those exchanges happen, we both leave the conversation learning something. This is what free speech is all about in my opinion, and it is sad to see so many people willing to throw such discourse literally in the trash.
It is no secret that I was against Jeff Sessions being confirmed to be America’s top cop via President Trump’s nomination of him to be our Attorney General. There are many reasons for this and the most prominent, is his anti-freedom attitude toward drugs as he clearly has a strong, uninformed bias. He even wants to go back to the failed Nancy Reagan era of “Just Say No.” While failing to acknowledge that there are thousands of legal things available to Americans that harm them, he has chosen to demonize cannabis (marijuana).
While many Americans were out protesting the election of Trump, they should have been taking action by calling and writing their U.S. Senators to stop the nomination of Sessions, but few did. I predict Sessions is going to be the single worst person and impose the worst actions of any Trump nominees.
While failing to acknowledge there are thousands of legal things available to Americans which harm them, Sessions has demonized cannabis and recently said that it is “only slightly worse than heroin.” He is either lying, grossly misinformed or a complete idiot — one or more of the three. One does not have to smoke, vape or bake cannabis to be in favor of the freedom for others to use the plant. Nor does one have to use the plant to know the science behind the positive benefits of ingesting it.
One does not have to smoke, vape or bake cannabis to be in favor of the freedom for others to use the plant. Nor does one have to use the plant to know the science behind the positive benefits of ingesting it.
But for the Attorney General of the United States to make public statements which are clearly false is irresponsible. It has been scientifically proven that cannabis can help with a large number of ailments and as research continues, I believe we will find many more. Heck, even the federal government holds a patent showing the plant has health benefits.
And while there are many positive health benefits of ingesting cannabis, some choose to take it for fun and to help with their creativity — and it is their right to do so. It is their right to do so, for so long as I am not (or any taxpayer) footing the bill for any (if any) of its effects. What I, as a taxpayer am paying for today, is for the prosecution and jailing of millions of Americans who are not harming anyone else. This needs to end and many states have taken the steps to end this harmful domestic policy.
This needs to end and many states have taken the steps to end the failed “War on Drugs” yet we have a hard right Attorney General who apparently thinks the movie Reefer Madness is a documentary. Please, stop the madness!
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