Thursday, January 10, 2013

Innovations in Exploitation

I recall my father's birthday in 1989 when my grandmother presented him with a piece of family history, land deeds issued as pay to a Confederate soldier that were signed by the President of the Confederate States, Jefferson Davis. Up until this moment I had no idea. "Our family owned slaves, grandma?"

My grandmother was this amazingly serene, disarmingly slight woman, raised in the deepest recesses of pre-civil rights Crenshaw, Alabama that every once in awhile made brow-raising comments that at that time defied narrative. I remember how she just looked at me and smiled before saying, "Oh no dear, our family was too poor. Slaves were for the rich people. We just fought the war for them," and left it at that. Like other such statements, her soft-toned response remained emphatic and I knew not to question it any further. We had these conversations a lot.

This morning though I was thinking about that distant relative. The man that left his small tobacco farm where he eked out a meager living for his wife and family to fight for another's Laissez-faire interest in maintaining an impoverished class. In effect he was fighting against his own interests. He had a tract of land that he and his family farmed without the luxury of growth and free labor. The land he was paid in was sold on his return to cover the lost expenses of fighting for an institution that really didn't care for his competition. Southern plantations flourished while southern farms withered and died.

In our society we operate on the supply and demand interests of capitalism. The more workers that are available for production, the lower the wages. Slavery naturally brought that the supply side to near zero when you consider that all a slave owner had to do was pay the initial purchase price, and set aside resources for housing and food.

Some slave owners even made money back by further exploiting slaves as a resource through breeding or lending their pregnant slaves to the care of Dr. J. Marion Sims in his less than kind effort to perfect the practice of episiotomy. This is indeed on the level of innovations in hypothermia research, skin grafting, and plastic surgery as perfected by Dr. Josef Mengele's experiments on prisoners at the Auschwitz concentration camp.

Overall the subject is innovation through exploitation. Innovation isn't just new technologies as it's also recognized in new philosophies, business practices, and economic models. Were we to turn off all of the electronics we would still see that innovation is all around us, but not all of it is OK.

Certainly I've been criticized on the left as embracing protectionism on the side of preserving the American middle-class just as I've been criticized on the right for being critical of free trade agreements that undermine the American middle-class. But I've never been criticized for my stance on human rights. And it makes me wonder why we're OK with outsourcing our slavery? Part of what makes multinationals successful is their ability to acquire labor in areas not only free of tax and tariff, but free of labor and safety laws. That is innovation through exploitation.

Looking back to where we've come from I found this article from 2006 advocating free trade. That means it was written pre-Wal-Mart empire and pre-Dhaka, Bangladesh factory fire. It was written before we learned the hard lesson that always low prices come at a human premium. So why don't we make the next innovation one that demands equality through labor and safety laws for American companies using foreign labor for the American market? At the same time lessen some of the domestic agricultural subsidies while taxing the outsourced market that seeks to cut corners by de-legitimizing their costs through dismissing livable wages and workplace safety. Obviously free trade has become the new slavery.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

The Tenth Amendment Elephant in the Room

The War on Drugs is no more successful than the War on Terror. Cocaine trafficking didn’t magically stop when the CIA/DEA Centra Spike Team assassinated Pablo Escobar. That was a termination of employment, not enforcement. Just like with any other management level termination or assassination, another person simply took his place. The well-established fact that your government has been in bed with the Cartels with evidence going back to the Reagan Administration is not up for debate, but does lend to the idea that the deck is stacked against you, whether you’re a drug user or not.

In 2010 the Federal Government budgeted $15 billion dollars for drug war enforcement. Here just three years later they are nearly doubling that amount with a 2013 budget of $26 billion to combat the ever growing menace, on which in 2009 it was estimated that Americans spend $64 billion on each year. The incongruity of the numbers alone means to me that the nation’s policy is not one of enforcement so much as it is a regulation of trade.

Currently the United States is spending about $500 every second on fighting the drug war. These costs are seen in specialized police and military deployed here and abroad. A penal and judicial system that sees’s nearly half of its cases being drug related. People, time, equipment, and money, spread across the states through enforcement and judicial systems adds up to more than $36.7 trillion drain on the economy so far this year alone, as of this writing.

Where this comes back to roost is when you consider that an estimate one of every 100 US adults is currently behind bars, although DoJ statistics suggest that number is starting to plateau or even fall. While this number is dropping, it does not change the fact that the Land of the Free has the highest incarceration rate in the world. While the plateau or drop could easily be attributed to prison overcrowding that has resulted in early intervention and release programs, the fact remains that one in 31 adults are currently under some form of court supervision where they enjoy as much as a 90% recidivism rate meaning that 90% of participants will be arrested again for the same or related charges. That’s not success. That’s your money.

Given that information, 52% of all drug arrests in the United States are marijuana related meaning 48% are parsed out between harder drugs like your government subsidized cocaine and heroin habits, healthcare subsidized abused medications, LSD, banana peels, whatever. In as much as the first two are exclusively manufactured abroad, marijuana accounts for 60% of imported narcotics while domestically cultivated cannabis accounts for as much as 80% of marijuana consumed in the US. The point of course being that the policy of attacking marijuana as a gateway drug is a fool’s errand as its popularity and availability lends to its potential growth as a used and abused substance that on its face has less of a negative impact than either tobacco or alcohol.

Using the numbers provided by the Office of National Drug Control Policy and the Mexican Institute for Competitiveness, legalization in Colorado and Washington alone can translate to as much as $46.2 billion dollars being retained in local economies. Of the $114.2 billion spent annually on drug treatment, only 14% of persons being admitted listed marijuana which may only be as much since 18% of all admissions were for co-occurring addictions where one or more other substances such as cocaine, heroin, or alcoholism were in play. Even if we disregard the co-occurring factor, marijuana would only account for $16 billion in annual treatment costs. By way of comparison in 2006 Americans spent $83.6 billion on tobacco related products. In the period leading up to those numbers, 2000 – 2004, cigarette smoking alone was estimated to be responsible for $193 billion in annual health-related economic losses in the United States. The economic costs of alcohol consumption in 2006 were estimated at $223.5 billion while Americans are expected to account for around $120 billion in sales. Clearly the matter of regulation and enforcement is arbitrary as it is not substantiated by matters of health, morality, or economy. So what is it all about?

First of course there is the money that goes into the states from the federal level to subsidize drug control initiatives by way of grants from the Office of National Drug Control Policy. This program alone boasts of funding 17,000 state, local, and tribal officers, analysts, and other representatives while removing a combined $32 billion from the illicit drug trade while dismantling 2,925 drug trafficking organizations. Funds from the individual seizures go directly back into the departments that made the arrests. At the same time prisons are given state and federal money for each prison held that has given rise to the private prison industry, many of which have a required occupancy rate. States will actually have to pay a penalty for not keeping a set number of citizens in jail which disincentivizes rehabilitation. So long as there’s more money to be had by enterprise, nothing will change.

In this manner the transfer of taxpayer money into private hands is nothing new. The early War on Drugs itself started as a matter of legislating in favor of business beginning with the Uniform State Narcotic Drug Act of 1932 of which Dow Chemical was a lobby in the inclusion of Marijuana whose naturally insect resistant production competed with the cotton industry that was dependent on Dow Chemical for pest management. At that same time DuPont had also patented nylon of which hemp was a direct competitor, and William Randolph Hearst, whom had heavily invested himself in the deforestation of North America found that hemp was a major competitor to wood-pulp paper production. These same groups were also mentioned as co-conspirators to the Business Plot of 1933 in which a group of American businessmen approached General Smedley Butler for his help in overthrowing the United States government. None were ever charged.

Up until this time hemp production was a part of American life going back to the Colonies when King James I in 1619, ordered every colonist to grow 100 plants specifically for export that was used in the manufacture of rope and other textiles. Industrial hemp had many uses in early America as at the time it was used in the manufacture of textiles and even paper production where as much as 90% of the world’s paper was hemp until regulation began in 1883. The turning point was two-fold in that the period coincided with the influx of Chinese immigrants building the continental railroad that brought with them hashish parlors and opium dens; complaints from soldiers that the drug didn’t provide a long-term alternative to injury treatment; and that marijuana cigarettes were commonly smoked by Mexican soldiers during the US-Mexican War. The latter argument was resurrected in 1932 when the marijuana prohibition lobby put into the American psyche that marijuana incited “Mexicans and negroes” to go on murderous rampages; innocent white women seduced into ruin; and teenagers going instantly insane. It is from this period that we get the movie, Reefer Madness.

Since that time much knowledge has come by way of legitimate research into the field of cannabis that has seen its returning to medicinal use in a few states and the recent legalization for recreational use in Washington and Colorado. With the exception of supporters, few recognize this as being the will of the people suggesting that the majority doesn’t support the measure, regardless that the majority of those that bothered to actually vote did. While the two states wait for their cue from the Federal Government before creating a control policy, the United Nations has begun pushing the federal Government for a fight on the issue of state level legalization despite of Obama saying that the issue belonged to the states.

The issue of legalization has truly become an issue of states’ rights, once the call of Reagan that leading up to the 2012 election and immediately afterwards was the rallying cry of the GOP. They’ve been remarkably silent on this issue, so much to the point that a Democrat had to pick it up in seeking not to allow the Federal Government to usurp local authority. The same as they were silent on the issue of raids inside California and their legal dispensaries.  This hypocrisy is perhaps best exampled in laws in states like South Carolina and others that require employers to perform a mandatory check on the residency status of immigrants unless they are employed as nannies or groundskeepers, AKA employed by the affluent.

Clearly the only right they care about is their right to do as they please. Otherwise Rush Limbaugh wouldn’t shut up about it, even though he was caught up in substance abuse. Glen Beck would be on the television drawing us pictures of some grand conspiracy to keep him from smoking pot. Bill O’Rielly would be screaming on Fox News about this lapse in freedom. Rep. John Boehner would be standing at the speaker, crying about Obama ruining his country.  Sarah Palin would of course say something about how great Alaskan weed is. In fact, I’m sure even Mitt Romney would be seeking the endorsement of Snoop Dogg. But none of that happens. They don’t have your interests at heart. They’re only in it for themselves, and the sooner everyone recognizes whose interests they are working for, the better.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

In God We Trust?

I realized that the our currency says, "IN GOD WE TRUST," but which god? It's been cited to me that the reference is to the Judea-Christian god based on a bas-relief of Moses adorning the US Statehouse wall, but other figures are featured there as well. Hammurabi was a polytheist Babylonian. Gaius was a polytheist Roman. Papinian and Suleiman were Muslims. Maimonides was a Jew. Thomas Jefferson mostly refused to be pinned down on ascribing to a particular view while Solon banned religion in politics altogether. The other 14 were arguable Christian, so again I ask, "Which god?"

God really didn't figure too prominently before the McCarthy era when the national motto "In God We Trust" supplanted "E Pluribus Unum," Latin for, "Out of many, one" in 1956 and "...under god" was added to the Pledge of Allegiance in 1954. Both were in response to communism as an effort to further differentiate ourselves from our identification of them as godless for their banning religion. Christians didn't exactly win so much as god did. The Christians just seem to think that their god is the only god. It's not "In Jesus We Trust" or " nation under Jesus."

By virtue of of the argument that 76% of the US is Christian you have to ask how many are actually active while also acknowledging that 24% are not Christian. The reason for multiple reliefs on the walls of the US House is that ours is a democratically elected republic. It's not entirely majority rule as a minority population of Americans is still a population of Americans. The interests of everyone are supposed to be represented, which is why they chose to add god and not Jesus to the national dialogue. Really it can be any god you wish if you want to drill down on this subject, and there are literally thousands to choose from.

On the US as a Christian nation it should be noted that even in recent history governments that called themselves Christian have been used to commit unspeakable horrors. Hitler was a catholic that used his seminary teachings as an excuse to exterminate the Jews, gays, or anyone else that was not of similar thinking. He drew the conclusion that since Jews did not accept Christ, they didn't deserve the protection of a Christian government. Stalin was also a catholic though he used his knowledge to marginalize the church as part of the ruling class. And finally Pol Pot was a Buddhist whose ideas on government extended from his own interpretations of Buddhist teachings.

Removing this fallacy of the US as a Christian nation does not mean that laws regarding theft and murder would be removed. It is a dangerous person whose morality hangs on a fanciful story. Laws such as those exist because most people understand what is and what is not socially acceptable. The rationale that a law or belief in god is the only thing that keeps a person in check equally says that a lack of laws or belief could inspire a person to kill or justify any other misdeed up to and including discrimination on issue of marriage equality, which is honestly not an issue of god's will so much as a person's interpretation of a vague, bronze-aged text that says nothing explicitly in regards to homosexuality.

Homosexuality itself is something of an anomaly because the Bible does not normally speak cryptically on matters of sex. The Old Testament is replete with graphic descriptions such as Genesis 38:9-10 on birth control (NSFW), Ezekiel 23:20 on trashy women (NSFW), and Leviticus 20:18 on menstruation. The New Testament can be equally as graphic with Matthew 5:28-29 on ogling women or Romans 6:13 on masturbation. These are explicit texts on sex and sexuality that are equally explicit in regards to slavery, human trafficking, wearing blended fabrics, eating shellfish or pork, planting crops, and even shaving, all of which are said to necessitate your execution and being sent to hell. It's pretty clear. I argue that you cannot say that it's just a metaphor.

This issue of same-sex marriage is just another of those moments where religion will come scampering up from the rear with some remarkable revelation that is really just another revision as it gives in some areas to meet with the times. One-hundred-fifty years ago slavery was cool because the Bible said so. Sixty years ago inter-racial marriage was illegal because the Bible said so. This is just example of how religion impedes our government today, the same as it impeded development of the free world for the 800+ years following the fall of Rome, it was called the Dark Ages for a reason. Highlights from the period feature famine, plague, and crusades.

Religion had it's chance to run the show and they did a pretty shitty job of it. Think about what started the moment Gutenberg created the printing press (which was directly against the church). Suddenly people were able to read the Bible on their own. Heliocentric theory was published. People learned about new worlds and constellations. Sadly this is all information that was a part of Greek culture. They actually suppressed knowledge to the point that it had to be rediscovered. That 800+ years easily cost us almost twice as much.

Religion had it's chance and fell far short of the mark by cheating us out of a future. Pretend for a moment that we only lost that 800 years of progress without having to recover lost knowledge. What do you think the Earth will look like 800 years from now? That is the today that they stole from us. Seriously, these are the conversations that we need to be having with people that want god and government to be synonymous. Otherwise us kowing to their beliefs is pretty much the same as us negotiating with terrorists.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Some of why I'm not voting for @MittRomney

How the Invisible Hand of Government works is by taxing activities that it wants to limit while incentivizing activities it wants to encourage. Taxes over and above sales-tax, such as on alcohol or tobacco are meant to regulate their use while incentives like deductions on home, work, education, and family size are meant to encourage settling down, buying a home, and having kids. It's a system of punishment and reward that's been effectively used for quite some time. You can take the red pill or you can take the blue pill, it's called free will, but I'll slap your hand if you take the red pill and tell you that you're a 'good boy' if you take the blue. It's simple training and we all respond to it.

See a toddler playing with a set of keys near an electrical socket? Dog shits on the floor? You know what to do. That's you enforcing the invisible hand of government that modifies behavior to affect the decisions of others for those moments of when someone is not looking over their shoulder's. Failure to heed these social controls can result in taxes, fines, incarceration, or even death when it's taken far enough. It's just what makes society function. Encourage. Discourage. Seriously, it's the foundation of capitalism. The person that conceptualized it is the only non-monarch or politician to be pictured on a British Bank Note. Adam Smith rivals Ben Franklin on his impact in creating the world we live in today. His writing helped inspire Theodore Roosevelt in creating the National Parks System. It was from his and the writings of John Locke that we got the US Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution.

Now of course on the side of encourage and discourage, larger corporations are being encouraged to outsource work while small businesses are being heavily taxed to make up the revenue. Our government signing into free trade agreements only compounds the issue because it limits their ability to bring American industry back. Adam Smith also wrote about this.

On the individual level just as taxes on alcohol or tobacco are meant to discourage, that same discouragement is used to regulate industries in other ways through secondary means. You may smoke or drink and pay the taxes because you can afford that little extra bite in the wallet. You may speed because you're OK with getting that ticket or the increase in your car insurance premiums. Just like Paul Ryan, as an avid bow hunter, could afford the extra taxes on archery equipment when he created a law that added taxes to its cost and use. It's the same as when Mitt Romney passed a law that increased fees on horseback riding instructors. He could afford to pay the little extra because after all his wife Ann is an avid fan of equestrian events. Or even when as the Governor of Massachusetts when Romney raised gun licensing fees from $25 to $100. He could afford it, but also on its face was an attempt to limit availability of the right to carry a firearm. It's the same as Romney's secondary function would limit the amount of people that his wife Ann would be made to compete against in an event, or Paul Ryan's would limit competing bow hunters in the same forest he was hunting. It wasn't exactly poaching that got Robin Hood in trouble when he was found in King Henry's forest.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Die Religion ... ist das Opium des Volkes

I hated onions as a child. I recall entering a store with my mother when I was a child of three or four years old. She'd planned to make a potato salad and some calamari for a BBQ we were attending and ran a list of items needed. I questioned their necessity in the potato salad when she read off onions. "Because it's illegal not too," was the short answer. I seriously thought there would be police involved and I continued believing this until I was about 6 or 7 when I learned otherwise.

Why I bring up this uncomfortable episode from my childhood is that it perfectly illustrates how a person in authority will effectively lie in an effort to suit their own agenda. I don’t fault my mom for this. It’s really no different from other tools of indoctrination such as Santa Clause or other pseudo non-corporeal authoritarian figures meant to affect individual behavior for the benefit of a community. She could have said, “Because I like onions. Deal with it.” Or, “Because everyone else likes onions. It’s you that’s different.” But she didn’t. I was a small child and my mom never really was that abrasive. Besides children that age don’t exactly have a handle on their position in the world and are oft likely to test boundaries. Thus we have Santa Clause or other pseudo non-corporeal authoritarian figures to fit whatever occasion.

There are literally thousands of gods, goddesses, saints, prophets, and other incarnations to choose from to suit a specific purpose. Do you want help winning the big game? Make an offering to the Greek Goddess of victory, Nike. You want to express humility for that amazing touchdown? There’s a Jesus for that. Problem training your dogs? Try St. Hubert. Need a standard of food safety in regards to pork or shellfish? The Talmud, Qu’ran, and Holy Bible all have variations on the Book of Leviticus. In fact if you see something in society that you don’t like be they the actions of a group or individual, you can take comfort in that their mortal actions will carry on into the afterlife by mechanisms of karma, being removed from the light of god, or just outright eternal damnation. What better way of manipulation is there to modify a person’s behavior short of physical abuse?

It’s simply cheaper and easier to tell a person that they will face some unseen punishment than it is to explain the truth of a matter, thus it is easier to control an uneducated population.

Do we need institutions that reinforce morality? It helps, but whose morality and necessarily are they just compounding intolerance towards others of dissimilar faiths. Three of the religions that I referenced earlier have the same foundation, so legitimately the same god, but one split off and decided that god should have a son, and then another split saying that son was just another prophet before their current one. They sit like riders on a Bill before it’s ratified into law. Religion is a governing body with its own purposes and agendas that knows no border, though depending on where you are born more than divine planning. If you’re born in the United States, you are likely to be born a Christian. In the Middle East, overwhelmingly you’re likely a Muslim. In Israel, by law you should be a Jew. Each is culturally specific to be inclusive of the society following its edicts, and exclusionary of those devices that may challenge it. Why? Because fuck you. That’s why.

We can of course contrast and compare all day long in regards to how you are of the chosen in this divine plan while 72% of the population has been condemned to burn in hell on the day that they were born. Or that 98% of the population will await resurrection in Gehenna. Or that all but the true believers will suffer in Jahannam for all eternity. We can discuss why the first European immigrants came to the Americas, what our founding father's had to say about our Christian nation,  the sanctity of marriage, immaculate conception verses rape and contraception, contributions to contemporary culture, charitable extensions, or even that moment when you really felt alone. But let’s discuss historical fact where in American history alone we can also discuss burning people at the stake, manifest destiny, the segregation of communities, the subjugation of women, or the firebombing of clinics and the assassinations of medical personnel. Globally we can discuss 77 dead in Norway, inquisitions that lasted up until 1988, the 6 million dead at the hands of Nazi ideology, or even the one-thousand years of history called the Dark Ages.

But society is better than all that. God after all is a fluid being designed in the image of man to suit the purposes of an individual’s idea of community that are not necessarily in line with communities competing for the same resources. Whether it was yesterday, 32, 80, 400, or 900 years ago, it’s not today. It’s not here. It’s not this moment. It’s not until the next terrorist, martyr, or patriot rises up to rampage a youth camp, mixed singles event, or family planning clinic, and even then the people will bury their heads in the sand looking for ways they are different rather than seeing how they are the same.

"Die Religion ... ist das Opium des Volkes"

Friday, August 3, 2012

The Forgotten Issue with Chick-fil-A

Like many, I am upset over Chick-fil-A donating large amounts of money to lobby for anti-gay legislation that is based on the faith of the company's owner, Dan Cathy.

IMO Dan Cathy (President and founder of Chick-fil-A) is entitled to his freedom of speech and is entitle to donate HIS money as he sees fit because he is a person.  Indeed people are upset over how he exercises his freedom of speech and that is sad. People should be allowed to believe as they want just as those that disagree would be doing a better public service by seeking to understand a person’s beliefs and by educating the public on the specifics of the issue. Not doing so is a failure in society.  And just like the conservative furor over Oreo's, the protesting side too forgets about the recent, and not so recent past. These protesters attacking Cathy for exercising his freedom of speech threaten the credibility of protesting Chick-fil-A supporting anti-gay legislation with criticism that cannot even withstand the scrutiny of Sarah Palin. They’ve already lost.

The issue that should be focused on here is that unlike Cathy, Chick-fil-A is not a person. It is a business and regardless of the 2010 US Supreme Court decision in Citizens United vs. The FEC, corporations are not people and are not entitled to exercise their freedom of speech. Corporate influence is one of the gravest threats to the US political system.

Unfortunately there is no such thing as bad advertising which is why I am bothered that protesters have allowed the issue to be made one of free speech. It will only compel others to patronize the offending institution while still others that don't give a shit about its practices one way or the other will not change their buying patterns. Educating the both sides of the debate would be a more constructive manner of affecting change in the system rather than the planned Kiss-In that will only likely affect employees and franchise owners.

Just as where many were already afraid to speak out against their employer, and in this case, franchises speaking out against corporate policy, the issue is made a bit more complex in today's uncertain economy. Affected employees my find prospects of finding new employment a bit scarce, especially for the people with only a high school diploma or less that makes up a the majority of the unemployed population. This of course emphasizes the problem of downward mobility and a shrinking middle class.

Beginning with an organization that Chick-fil-A made donations to, Exodus International, they went beyond shaping American politics to shaping politics in countries that are noted for human rights violations and acts of extreme cruelty such as Uganda that made it legal to execute homosexuals for being homosexuals. That's not supporting free speech. That's supporting state terrorism.

Exodus International is partly funded by the charitable arm of Chick-fil-A, the WinShape Foundation that also donates to several other anti-gay groups that also lobby here in the US and around the world. Exodus International though is the one that got the ball rolling on the Kill All Gays legislation based on a March 2009 presentation by Exodus International where they outlined the connection between homosexuality, child molesters, and HIV transmission. Based on the information they provided the Ugandan government felt that it was prudent to pass an anti-homosexuality bill that penalized behavior with either imprisonment for life, or execution depending on the severity and mitigating circumstances of the crime. The law was passed in October 2009 and there was a call to boycott Chick-fil-A because over their support in the matter and there has been inconsistent pressure in that regard since.

It wasn't until five months after the passage of the Uganda's Anti-Homosexual Law, following public outcry and a possible threat to their status as a 501(c)(3) in a March 2010 that Exodus International publicly distanced themselves from the Ugandan government with an open letter to the President of Uganda by saying, "Exodus International believes that every human life, regardless of an individual’s sexual behavior, is of inestimable worth to God and that defending this principle is foundational in offering a Christian response to any issue."

It's amazing how easily a God made in man's image changes his mind. The Biblical God would have stood by the Ugandan law requiring execution as it pretty much mirrors His own.

Just as in 2009 with Exodus International, it will take an all-around effort of educating the public to influence the corporate policy of Chick-fil-A. At the same time the invisible hand of government may do well to encourage Cathy to start a private foundation through which he can support anti-gay groups on his own.

Monday, July 30, 2012

The Police State Act: An Issue With Which Everyone Should Be Concerned

It would seem that the Large Capacity Magazine Ban has been inserted into the Cyber Security Act of 2012 in Section 2575 as a compromise move with the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) and is set for a debate tomorrow with a push towards a vote being made for later this week. Of course compromise is good. It's what politics are about in ensuring that we are equally represented, but this compromise is at the detriment to the people. Left or right, everyone would be equally disfranchised by this legislation.

I'm assuming of course that we are all aware of CISPA, but let's cover the finer points of the Large Capacity Magazine Ban in the Cyber Security Act of 2012. It's important to note that the magazine ban would ban the sale or transfer, public and private, of magazines with a capacity of more than ten rounds to anyone other than law enforcement or military. Law enforcement or military? Let me repeat that, to anyone other than law enforcement or military. Take as long as you need to think that one over.

Law enforcement or military, but not you.

That being said most double stack magazines hold around 14 rounds so this ban would include popular concealed carry firearms like Glock, Beretta, and CZ. In turn I've read that many police departments require their officer's service weapons to be large capacity magazine and that is why you don't see cops carrying a Colt 1911, which is a combat tested gun. In fact the Colt 1911 is so popular with the military that the US Marines recently put in a $22.5 million order for their armories. This of course is not connected with the Department of Homeland Security March 2012 order of 450 million rounds from local manufacturer ATK. The ordered rounds were .40 caliber while the 1911 is a .45.

The more common civilian caliber is the 9mm for the estimated 80 million private owners in the United States. So let's say that you were one of these owners and you passed away. What happens to your semi-automatic? Better question, what would happen to your family?

Well...whoever would be heir to that firearm would be a felon since the private transfer of not the weapon, but the magazine would be illegal. Your wife your husband, your now adult child over the age of 21, anyone who comes into possession of that magazine after you would be a felon thus making them ineligible to own a firearm. I assume you would be expected to call the police so they could come collect it, thus it becomes a legitimate war of attrition.

Whether you are for or against the private ownership of guns, this is an important issue. Think about this quote from one of the key framers of the US Constitution, "The strongest reason for the people to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government." Thomas Jefferson said that. He also said, "When the people fear their government, there is tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is liberty." But best of all he said, "Tyranny is defined as that which is legal for the government but illegal for the citizenry." He also said something about the "Tree of Liberty," but that is a conversation for another time.

Now I don't know about you, but I know quite a few liberal minded protesters that are pretty concerned with the government, today. Last night one even dropped the F-word, fear, and when a liberal fears the policies of a Democrat President, it's time to start having some frank conversations with your politicians. Here is a list of Utah's current Congressional delegation. Feel free to contact them regarding this issue. If you are outside of Utah, then you can lookup members of your own delegation HERE.

Tell them NO on CISPA, S.3414 and NO on the Large Capacity Magazine Ban, S. 2575. In the same call, tell them YES on another measure in the bill, the Geolocation Privacy and Surveillance Act that would require law enforcement to get a warrant before tracking your movements surreptitiously.

Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT)
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Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT)
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Rep. Rob Bishop (R-UT 1st District)
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Rep. Jim Matheson (D-UT 2nd District)
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Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT 3rd District)
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