Some Thoughts on Belle Knox Wednesday, Mar 12 2014 

For those of you living under a rock, Belle Knox is the porn name of a 18 year old woman who is an undergrad student at Duke University. She has generated some controversy after she was outed by a classmate for her job. In addition, the kind of porn she made is of a…hardcore nature and involves things like rape fantasies. I won’t link to the video or describe the exact acts that she performed.

Here are my thoughts on the situation:

1) The people who are attacking her for the type of porn she does and alleging that she and those who enjoy it are mentally ill need to stop. Studies show the exact opposite actually. To each their own.

2) Having said that, I do find it ironic and hypocritical that many of the radical feminists who complain about “rape culture” are rushing to defend this woman. Either “rape culture” is a real problem or it’s not, you can’t have it both ways.

3) The only thing more annoying than the people who are say those are into kinky sex are mentally ill are the self-righteous left-libertarians who are outraged that people disapprove of this woman. It is okay to not support banning something while morally disapproving of it. I do not smoke cigarettes and I would persuade anyone I know who does to quit smoking (they nearly killed my mom for starters), but I would not support a ban on tobacco. It is a consistent position.

We all need to live and let live. I’m not Belle Knox’s dad or older brother, but I admit, I would not like it if my daughter or sister did porn. But I don’t have either.

To each their own.

Big Announcements! Monday, Feb 17 2014 

I teased on Twitter that I had a major announcement coming for today. Here it is:

I have joined the team at Brenner Brief News as a contributor and an associate editor. This weekend, I wrote my first story for them and you will be seeing it sometime this week.

I look forward to working with someone as well respected as Sara Marie Brenner and her outstanding team as I embark upon my biggest step so far as a writer. I will be posting links to my stories here when they drop and probably a more in depth summary a week after the story and/or columns are published.

Also, I will be on the radio with Allan Bourdius and Anna Morris of Pocket Full of Liberty tonight at 9PM Central discussing my most controversial post ever Confessions of An Ex-Libertarian and various other issues. Please tune in!

Finally, some other changes are in store. This blog will probably become more erratic and random and based on more what’s on the mind of yours truly at the time. It will probably take a slightly less political focus. I will continue writing occasionally for Free Radical Network and United Liberty but probably by the middle of the year, I will be launching a new blog that will supersede (but not completely replace) this little site that will focus on building a big tent to promote the issues of liberty and limited government.

I look forward to your support and prayers in these endeavors.

Minimum Wage Increase? How About A Minimum Income Instead Monday, Feb 10 2014 

In the State of the Union speech, President Barack Obama called for an increase in the minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $10.10 an hour. President Obama and other Democrats believe that raising the minimum wage will lift American families out of poverty. Recent polling shows that Americans overwhelmingly support a minimum wage hike.

Meanwhile, Republicans are generally opposed to the proposal. Senator Minority Leader Mitch McConnell says raising the minimum wage will destroy jobs. Research from economists David Neumark and William Wascher done over two decades does show a loss of jobs after a minimum wage increase. Economists Joseph J. Sabia and Richard V. Burkhauser found in a recent study that only 11.3% of all minimum wage earners are classified as poor. The minimum wage is a terrible weapon to combat poverty and is harmful to employment. It places the burdens on business, is poorly targeted, and makes it harder for young people and other low skilled workers to enter the workforce. There needs to be a better way to help people escape the clutches of extreme poverty.

One such idea is a guaranteed minimum income for those who cannot be claimed as dependents on someone else’s tax return. One of the ideas to implement such a program is a Negative Income Tax. For example, the government would set an income threshold per month and would pay the difference of the amount earned and that threshold. For example, if the threshold was $1600 per month and a person only makes $1000 per month, that person would receive a check for $600. There would be a form similar to a W-2 filed by employers every month that would show how much that person made. It would replace the minimum wage and most cash welfare benefits. It would streamline anti-poverty efforts and better target resources to those who need them. Finally, it would provide an incentive for employment because the amount is set low as not to let someone get rich, but provide just enough to meet their basic needs.

This is not an idea confined to the political left. The American Revolutionary Thomas Paine advocated a “Citizen’s Dividend” in his 1795 essay Agrarian Justice. The concept of the Negative Income Tax itself was proposed by Nobel Prize winning economist Milton Friedman as a way to eliminate the bureaucracy of the welfare state. Free market economist Friedrich Hayek also supported something similar to guaranteed minimum income. Recently, Matt Zwolinski wrote “The Libertarian Case For A Basic Income” on the Cato Institute hosted Libertarianism.org.

Combatting poverty has been a major focus of the American people and its government for 50 years. It’s time to try a new approach, while at the same time encouraging employment and giving all Americans a true safety net for the first time in history.

Confessions Of An Ex-Libertarian Friday, Feb 7 2014 

Today, I finally acknowledged publicly what I have been knowing for sometime that I am no longer a libertarian. For awhile, I was feeling like I did not fit in any longer and felt alienated.

My own libertarianism was of a more moderate strain. I have no desire to privatize the roads, completely abolish the welfare state, abolish the military, privatize the police, and other anarchist fantasies. I believe in a strong, but limited government to maintain order, protect against external threats, enforce the laws and settle disputes, and provide the basic infrastructure the free market cannot provide. I continue to believe that free markets are preferable to central planning and do provide for greater prosperity for most people, although I do believe in a safety net for those who are inevitably the losers in capitalism, which I do not believe the private sector can provide on its own. Finally, I believe in a “live and let live” approach from the state as to how people live their lives, as long as they do not harm others. These beliefs have not changed.

However, for a few reasons I no longer feel comfortable calling myself a libertarian.

1)Libertarianism leads inevitably to anarchism. I agree with Thoughts on Liberty’s Rachel Burger that libertarianism eventually leads to anarchy and anarchy is quickly becoming the predominant strain in libertarianism. Organizations such as the Mises Institute, the Center For A Stateless Society, Students for Liberty, and the Foundation For Economic Education are promoting anarchy. I believe that a limited government is necessary to protect individual liberty and property. An armed mob is as coercive as any government agency and there must be a coercive power to protect life, liberty, and property from those who do not accept the social contract.

2) The infighting and dogmatism. Left-libertarians call right-libertarians racists, sexists, and homophobes and right-libertarians call left-libertarians communists. Both agree the other has to go. The differences between the two are becoming irreconcilable. In addition there is the unwillingness to tolerate opposing views in the movement. Such petty arguments are not conducive to a big tent or to a reality based approach to politics.

3) Making libertarianism into a cultural and not just a political ideology. One of the appeals of libertarianism is that anyone can support liberty, regardless of their cultural and moral views. All that is to be agreed to is that they would agree to not use the state to impose their morality. Unfortunately, that is no longer good enough. I outgrew utopian nonsense in elementary school.

I am a classical liberal which is the tree both libertarianism and American conservatism are spawned from. It is because of this common ancestry that I promote the conservatarian viewpoint. I still believe in limited government, the rule of law, private property rights, individual liberties, and free markets and that has not changed. I still consider myself a part of the broader liberty movement and I will stand up for liberty with anyone else who loves liberty, regardless of the label they give themselves.

I will fight for liberty alongside libertarians, however I will not fight for liberty as a libertarian.

Conservatives Miss The Point On Weed And CVS Wednesday, Feb 5 2014 

Yesterday, the drug store chain CVS announced that it would no longer sell tobacco products. The move drew sharp reactions and generated controversy, for and against. President Obama took time away from his busy schedule of campaigning, golfing, and vacationing to praise the decision. As predictable as the sun rising out of the east every morning, some conservatives took the opportunity to attack President Obama and proceded to look like fools in the process.

One of the conservatives (the term is used loosely in this case) that chimed in on this pressing controversy was Florida Senator Marco Rubio. He tweeted, “Many of the same people applauding #CVS for not selling tobacco are ok with making it easier to buy and smoke pot. #makesnosense”. For starters, it appears Senator Rubio is not familiar with the difference between the private sector making a business decision and government policy. CVS can choose whether or not to sell tobacco products. If customers have a problem with this decision they can shop at another retailer. However, if someone wants to buy and consume marijuana, they may go to prison under current laws. I understand this is a difficult concept for Senator Rubio to grasp, but it is entirely consistent to applaud a private company’s decision to no longer sell tobacco and to oppose throwing people in jail for smoking a joint. Some people just don’t believe that it is the role of government to tell people what they can and can’t put in their bodies, while at the same time being fine with and in fact applauding a private company that refuses to sell a product that kills its consumers when used as directed.

While Senator Rubio’s tweet was utterly moronic, a fact that was not lost on the good folks at Twitchy, that was not the dumbest conservative reaction to CVS’s decision. That award goes to Washington Times editor Emily Miller for this. Miller who previously claimed marijuana legalization in Colorado was a part of Obama’s cultural legacy while warning of the impending collapse of civilization because Colorado legalized marijuana has been on an anti-marijuana crusade. The 21st century’s Carrie Nation accused Obama in her Facebook post of “encouraging marijuana use”. Except President Obama has publicly said marijuana use is not very healthy so how can that be construed as encouraging marijuana use? Finally Emily can relax, Obama has no desire to change marijuana policy.

Conservatives need to learn the difference between the private sector and the public sector. Just because libertarians and others don’t believe in throwing people in jail for doing something or banning something does not mean we want to encourage its use. We simply don’t want the government to play mommy and daddy to 300 million Americans. I thought conservatives believed in individual freedom?

Obama on Weed: Hope and Same Tuesday, Jan 28 2014 

President Obama gave an interview to The New Yorker, you know the same interview where he said racism was probably to blame for his falling approval numbers. He was asked about marijuana legalization in Colorado and Washington and he answered:

he said of the legalization of marijuana in Colorado and Washington that “it’s important for it to go forward because it’s important for society not to have a situation in which a large portion of people have at one time or another broken the law and only a select few get punished.”

That appears to indicate the Obama Administration is supportive of allowing states to set their own policies on marijuana legalization. Although the Obama Administration has began to walk back those comments we should assume the Obama Administration is willing to consider a sane, rational approach to marijuana.

Read the rest here

Who Has The Best Pizza? Saturday, Jan 25 2014 

I love pizza. To me there is nothing better than the combination of tangy pepperoni, pizza sauce, gooey mozzarella cheese, and crust to put in my mouth. I could have pizza everyday if I could.

With the “Big Game” coming up and being inspired by this article, here’s what I think are the best pizzas from the leading national delivery brands.

1) Papa John’s

I know some people don’t like the sweet sauce, but I do. In fact, I think the sauce makes the pizza. I also like the cheese and toppings. The crust is alright.

2) Dominos

The best part of this pizza is the crust. The crust is flavorful and light. The sauce is tangy but also delicious. The cheese is also good and has a kick to it. The toppings are alright.

3) Pizza Hut

I have not had a chance to try to the new hand tossed pizzas they have come out with. The old crust was thick, but I liked it. The toppings were good, but the sauce and cheese were unremarkable. But my biggest complaint is that the pizzas were too greasy.

4) Little Caesars

The best that can be said about this is that the Hot and Ready is cheap at $5-$6. The sauce is virtually non-existant as is the cheese. The toppings are unremarkable. This pizza is for someone who is too lazy to heat up a frozen pizza and it has the feel and taste of a frozen pizza.

What do you think? Agree or disagree. Sound off in the comments!

The Kelly Thomas Verdict Is An Outrage Saturday, Jan 18 2014 

Most police officers are not murderers. Most police officers are not corrupt brutes on a power trip. Most police officers do their jobs professionally and serve their communities. Not all policemen are thugs who brutalize and murder unarmed people. However Manuel Ramos and Jay Cicinelli are murderers and thugs.

On Monday, both men were acquitted for the murder of Kelly Thomas, a homeless man suffering from schizophrenia. On July 5, 2011; police in Fullerton, CA responded to a call about a man vandalizing cars. Police found a shirtless Kelly Thomas and questioned him. As a video shows the incident grew out of hand, it eventually grew violent.

Click To Read The Rest

Conservatives Cannot Ignore Economic Inequality Friday, Jan 17 2014 

The issue of economic inequality and poverty is shaping up to be a major issue in 2014. President Obama has begun to focus on the issue in order to reclaim the narrative away from the failures of Obamacare and the continuing weak economy.  Newly elected New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has vowed to address that city’s wealth gap.  De Blasio and Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren have been characterized by left-leaning commentators as part of a new New Left that is more economically statist than what has been offered by the Democratic Party since the Clinton era.  Democrats believe that they have a winning issue to reclaim Congress in 2014 and win the White House in 2016.  However, Republicans must be ready to confront the issues of poverty and economic inequality, and if they handle this issue in the right way, they can turn it into a winning issue.

The Democrats are answering the issue in their usual time-tested ways: supporting a minimum wage increase because apparently labor costs have nothing to do whether or not a business decides to hire people; extending unemployment benefits even though the stimulus, Obamacare, and Polar Vortices were supposed to create lots and lots of new jobs; the creepy sounding Promise Zones, which is ironic from a man who doesn’t know how to keep a promise; and everyone’s favorite Native American Senator, Elizabeth Warren, wants to raise Social Security benefits because Social Security isn’t going broke fast enough.  The Democrats are falling back on their old approach to poverty: give a man a welfare check and make him a Democrat voter for life.

Click here to read the rest

New Year’s Resolutions For 2014 Wednesday, Jan 1 2014 

I normally don’t write out a long list of New Year’s Resolutions for the simple fact that I am usually too lazy to do such a thing. However, 2013 was not a great year for me. I see a need to make changes in my life and improve as a person. Also, I admit I was inspired by Bailey Connell’s post on this topic.

So here they are:

1) Pray every day in the morning.
2) Stop being such a negative person and start having a more positive attitude.
3) Stop being so anxious and learn to go with the flow.
4) Stop pushing away the people I care about and the good things in my life. The person this one is directed towards knows who they are.
5) Blog here at least once a week.
6) Write for an outside publication at least once a week.
7) Start finding a way to make some money from my passion for writing.
8) Pray that God will lead me to a church that I can become a part of.
9) Start writing that novel I keep threatening to write.
10) Read at least 2 books a month, either paper or e-book.

Here they are, some steps I need to do to change my life.

Here’s to Happy New Year to you and yours.

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