Friday, October 22, 2010

Debunking the Myths on Prop 19

I recently read this article on Proposition 19, and think it is a worthwhile read for anyone who is not sure what they think about Proposition 19.

It debunks and invalidates five of the most common and "strongest" oppositions to Proposition 19 and marijuana legalization.  Not to rehash it, but I think the biggest point is this.

All of the debunked objections could just as easily apply to liquor laws in California and other states.  Yet none of these objections have raised serious issues with alcohol or tobacco.

In short, California, take a first step toward ending the failed "War on Drugs," and legalize marijuana.  Vote yes on Prop 19.

Moving Beyond Party Lines to Oppose TARP

Alright.  So, the 2010 general election is just around the corner, and I'm sure that many people plan on voting for candidates they think can get us out of this mess we're in.  A lot of people will automatically assume that means voting Republican.  Think again.

The Libertarian Party recently posted this list of Libertarians taking on TARP-supporting incumbents.  Look past the letters next to your candidate's name.  Particularly if you live in one of the following districts, seriously look into the candidates' views, rather than just their party affiliation.

Alaska (Senate)
Georgia (Senate)
Iowa (Senate)
North Carolina (Senate)

If you live in one of these districts, you are currently represented by a "Republican" who supported the costly and failed TARP funding.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Election Thoughts- U.S. Senator from Nevada

With the general election rapidly approaching, I've decided to give my thoughts on who I will vote for and why in each race in my district, starting with the U.S. Senate race.

Sharron Angle (Republican)
While I am always a fan of voting for the best candidate, regardless of their shot at winning, an obvious pro here is that she is not Harry Reid, and stands a (relative to the other candidates) good chance of defeating him.

Also, Angle is a politician who votes with her conscious.  In fact, she was the lone "Nay" vote often enough that many votes during her stint in the Nevada legislature were called "41-Angle."  More specifically, she was the lone vote against a split roll property tax, because she believed it violated the Nevada Constitution.  She has also sued the state three times using her own personal funds to uphold the state Constitution, including a successful case (although the bill later got the required 2/3 supermajority) to stop the governor from illegally allowing a tax increase with a simple majority vote.

She is also for privatizing Medicaid, as well as reforming social security, eliminating and simplifying the several thousand page IRS code, and eliminating the federal Department of Education to bring education administration back down to the local and state level.

She also believes that the government's job in getting us out of the recession is to create business and growth friendly policies which lead to jobs, not to create jobs or mandate what types of jobs (i.e. green jobs) will be created.


Angle is clearly a social conservative, supporting a federal constitutional ban on gay marriage, as well as opposing abortion, even in the extreme cases of rape and incest.

Angle also abandoned her county board of education seat when her husband was transferred by the Bureau of Land Management from the field to Reno, and I'm not a huge fan of politicians who run away from the commitments they made to their constituents.

She is also sometimes a little shaky on the facts, as when she accused Reid of becoming rich through his time in the Senate, ignoring that he had stockpiled quite a bit of money from his successful legal practice prior to entering office.

Moreover, for someone who consistently rags on Reid for having better health care and retirement benefits than his constituents, it is somewhat hypocritical that she is currently living off of her husband's BLM pension, and receiving federal retirement benefits.  It is also alarming that although she thinks the federal government has too much land in Nevada, and that private citizens should be allowed to benefit from that land, her husband's main duty in the field under BLM was to (armed and dangerously) keep private citizens and ranchers off of federal land.

I would be willing to vote for Angle, but she is hardly a candidate I would get excited over.

Scott Ashjian (Tea Party of Nevada)

I can't really find any pros to Ashjian, since even his own campaign website doesn't have anything similar to an "On the Issues" page.


See above.  Also, like my gripes with the Tea Party movement in general, negativity may be great for creating momentum, but it sucks when trying to run a country.  This candidate has, as far as I, with the help of Google, can discern, failed to tell anyone what he is for.  His entire campaign is based on what he is not, which is a major party candidate.  Although she is a Republican, Angle has voted independently quite often, and at least we have some inkling of what she plans on voting for when in office.

Ashjian also had an arrest warrant put out in March (not sure how this got resolved) for writing bad checks for his small business.  If he can't run a small business responsibly, how can we expect him to manage a federal budget which several successful lawyers and businessmen have failed to manage?

Finally, he was sued over his rights to be on the ballot.  He switched his party affiliation after registering as a candidate.  The Tea Party Express sued over his right to use the Tea Party name without any endorsement from them.


Tim Fasano (Independent American Party)


Fasano is for repealing the 16th Amendment and both simplifying (short term) and lowering (long term) federal taxes.


His positions are a little unclear to me, based on his website.  Although he has a pretty good grasp of the issues, his proposed solutions are a little vague to me.

Also, although I support implementing a fair tax (not to be mistaken with the Fair Tax movement), as well as lowering taxes, the specifics of his proposal offend my Libertarian side.  With all of his proposed write offs and deductions, he shows that he supports using tax policies to punish and reward certain behaviors (health care saving, and environmentally friendly decisions, to start with).  While lower taxes are very Libertarian, tax breaks for engaging in certain behaviors are not.  Taxes are a way for government to raise necessary revenues, not to dictate or suggest what Americans should do with their lives and their money.

Also, looking at his immigration reform page, there is a subtle flaw built in.  He opposes welfare and social benefits to those who are here illegally.  What about those who are here legally?  There is no way we will ever get federal taxes down to his proposed 8.8% if we continue to provide social safety nets, even for those who are here legally.


Michael L. Hanes (Independent)

Haines is for a fair or flat tax.

Haines is also opposed to more government spending.

His views on education, that we need more education for our money, and not more money for education, are very appealing, as are his points on where the problems lie (protecting established universities, teachers' unions, and public schools, rather than encouraging competition).

His proposals on the issues are also brief, clear, and easy to understand.


The biggest thing I have against  Haines is that he is for a fair or flat tax.  While either would be an improvement, and it is good to see that he would support either one, which does he favor and why?  Also, while being brief makes it easy for us to know where he stands, how much does he understand these two proposals, and when he says fair tax, does he mean a tax that is fair, or the Fair Tax as some advocates have proposed?


Definitely a candidate I can support.

Jesse Holland (Independent)

Due to a poorly laid out campaign website, I have a hard time finding what this candidate is for, and thus have no "pros."


Holland's website does not even have a platform, issues, or on the issues page.  His campaign seems to be yet another "against the system" campaign, rather than a campaign for anything.


Jeffrey C. Reeves (Independent)

Reeves is for protecting our Second Amendment rights.


Although his website has an issues area, the links all lead to the same page, a very brief example of zionist media manipulation.  Although I do believe we are too beholden to Israel, this is hardly the only issue, and he fails to address a solution.  He seems to be a one-issue candidate.  Not only that, but his views appear to be rather extreme on the Israel issue, and unlikely to be taken seriously, including his characterization of 9/11 as a false flag attack.



Harry Reid (Democrat)

Liberal on social issues.

Reid is a huge porker.  While this may seem to directly benefit Nevadans, the damage is worse than the benefits.  Before supporting Reid because of all he's done for Nevada, think about how much similar projects he has allowed to pass have benefited other states at the expense of Nevada taxpayers.

As Senate majority leader, he was also instrumental in the stimulus and Obamacare bills.

In addition to Nevada-specific pork, Reid has shown a willingness to try to sneak social policy into bills on defense, spending, or anything else shows a higher regard for his leftist agenda than for our country or its laws and processes.



Wil Stand (Independent)

The candidate either doesn't have a website, or did not promote it very well.  It doesn't even show up on the first page of Google results for his name.


See above.



Overall Conclusion
On November 2, I will be voting for Michael L. Haines as the next Senator from the State of Nevada.  Many people may think I'm throwing away my vote, since if I really want to see Reid leave office, the smart thing to do would be to vote for Angle.  This is a self-fulfilling prophecy.  If everyone would grow a pair and vote for the candidate they think would do the best job, the two parties would lose their grip on our system.  Therefor, I will support this independent candidate, who I believe is the best option for our next Senator.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Support Proposition 19!

After seeing this article I was briefly duped into opposition of Proposition 19, the California ballot initiative to legalize marijuana.

Several of the points seemed at first like valid counterpoints to Proposition 19, even for those who support marijuana legalization.

First, the argument that this conflicts with federal law about employer's rights and responsibilities to drug test.  Proposition 19 specifically outlaws pre-employment or during-employment testing for THC unless the employer can prove that an employee's performance was performed.  Federal law requires drug testing for certain professions.  Remember that there is a hierarchy of jurisdictions, and that Federal law trumps State law, especially in areas where the Federal government has a valid, Constitutional claim to jurisdiction.  While there are some truckers, train operators, pilots, etc. who do not cross state lines, the majority do, or, during the course of their careers, could.  The professions covered by the Federal requirement are, for the most part, very clearly covered under the Interstate Commerce Clause.  Thus, the contradiction doesn't really exist.  A pilot, driver, or train operator crossing state lines must meet Federal requirements, including drug testing.

Second, taxation and regulation.  While I think that one of the biggest selling points has been the tax and regulate potentials of legalization, I don't think this is what is important.  As a principal, we should have the right to choose what to do to our bodies.  Moreover, the legalization would still raise tax revenue, even without marijuana-specific taxes.  The trade in marijuana, especially in the state of California, is huge.  Even without specific taxes on cannabis, the sales tax revenue alone could greatly help California's budget.

The argument that the smell of marijuana could be offensive, and everyone can have an outdoor 5x5 garden.  The smell of trash and dog poop is offensive.  The smell of curry is offensive to many.  The smell of some other plants, or of compost bins, is offensive.  People will just have to survive.

The argument that this will increase crime, citing recent break ins at medical marijuana growth plots.  This is actually one of the best arguments for legalization.  If marijuana were more readily available, and could by grown by anyone, people would not have the incentive to break into someone else's plot to steal their pot.

I have always been a proponent of supporting a specific policy, not a broad slogan or a general principle.  But legalizing marijuana is the first step.  Let the legislature iron out the details later.  The immediate benefits, from the perspectives of politics, liberties, and economics, far outweigh the negative.  The medium-term benefits of lowering incarceration rates for non-violent drug offenses alone will provide huge economic benefits to the state, especially in a state whose current prison overpopulation was recently ruled to be cruel and unusual punishment.  Californians, vote YES on Prop 19.