Category Archives: 001 Contributor: Silent Bob

A Reignited War on Weed Will Harm The American Economy

The Last Thing America Needs Is a Reignited War on Weed – FEE

The marijuana legalization movement has been holding its breath, waiting to see how President Donald Trump will address the issue.

Public opinion and state law have leaned heavily in favor of decriminalizing the controversial cannabis plant over the last several years, signaling the inevitable downfall of the government’s war on drugs.

However, as numerous state victories gave advocates hope that the end of prohibition was near, the unexpected election of Donald Trump threw the legalization movement a curveball no one was anticipating.

Legalized marijuana is projected to create a quarter of a million jobs by 2020.

While the future of marijuana in America is still unclear at the moment, if Trump wants to keep his campaign promises of job creation and financial growth, he should strongly consider the economic benefits of marijuana legalization.

The Future is Green

As a presidential nominee, Trump spent much of his campaign promising national job growth. Reaching out to the blue collar working class, Trump promised to bring jobs back to American manufacturing.

However, if Trump is serious about fostering an environment of economic prosperity and job creation, he may want to set his sights on the burgeoning marijuana industry instead.

According to a recent report released by New Frontier Data, the marijuana industry is projected to create more than a quarter of a million new American jobs by the year 2020.

By the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ own projections, the legalized cannabis industry is expected to outpace growth in any other sector over the next few years, including American manufacturing. In fact, manufacturing jobs are expected to decrease by 814,000 over the next seven years.

Additionally, the marijuana industry is currently estimated to be worth about $7.2 billion. Given its current success and expected trajectory, the entire industry is expected to grow at a rate of 17 percent annually.

Likewise, the New Frontier Data’s report estimates that the medicinal market alone will increase its worth from $4.7 billion to $13.3 billion by the year 2020.

Of the 25 states that have decriminalized cannabis in some capacity, seven of those states have allowed for its recreational use. As a result, the recreational industry is also expected to increase its worth from $2.6 billion to $11.2 billion by 2020.

While these projections are bound to have positive effects on the national economy and create a plethora of new American jobs, the estimates will never come to fruition if the Trump Administration decides to backtrack on the progress made thus far.

Good People Don’t Smoke Marijuana

Had Hillary Clinton won on election night, as many had expected, it is highly unlikely that the war on drugs would have suddenly come to a screeching halt.

Not only is Clinton’s own track record on the matter weak, but her husband also contributed greatly to the perpetuation of the problem.

Former President Bill Clinton helped escalate the war on drugs through his support of mandatory minimum sentencing laws and other policies that were prevalent during the “tough on crime” era of the 1980s and 1990s.

However, Mrs. Clinton’s terrible track record on the issue does nothing to excuse Donald Trump, should he make the same mistake.

 “Good people don’t smoke marijuana.”

While Trump is not a strict ideologue by any means, he has unfortunately chosen to surround himself with advisors and cabinet appointees who have struck fear into the hearts of advocates of marijuana policy reform.

Trump’s decision to nominate Jeff Sessions as his Attorney General only heightened this paranoia among his critics.

Sessions has been a longtime supporter of civil asset forfeiture, which essentially incentivizes law enforcement to use the drug war as a pretext for stealing property from anyone merely suspected of drug-related activity.

As if Session’s support for highway robbery weren’t bad enough, he has also gone on the record making outlandishly biased statements including, “Good people don’t smoke marijuana.”

Since Sessions has the legal authority to impose federal drug laws on the states, this comment is quite concerning, to say the least.

While Trump’s own comments on the matter have been somewhat neutral, Press Secretary Sean Spicer added fuel to the fire last week when he hinted that the White House might soon begin enforcing federal marijuana laws once again.

Under the direction of former Attorney General Eric Holder, the federal government agreed to more or less “look the other way” when states made the decision to legalize cannabis. This policy has allowed states like Colorado to add over $1 billion worth of revenue to their local economy and create new jobs for its residents.

Just a few days ago, Sessions publicly recommitted himself to the drug war by saying:

“I don’t think America is going to be a better place when people of all ages, and particularly young people, are smoking pot. I believe it’s an unhealthy practice, and current levels of THC in marijuana are very high compared to what they were a few years ago, and we’re seeing real violence around that.”

Ironically, the war on drugs, which Sessions adamantly supports, is responsible for that increase in potency, as economist Mark Thornton has demonstrated.

According to “the Iron Law of Prohibition,” when substances are prohibited, black market providers are incentivized to increase potency because more potent forms take up less storage space, are easier to transport, and sell for more money. This is considered necessary to mitigate the risk of being caught and incarcerated.

Session’s Reefer Madness-inspired statement is absolutely frightening considering his position of authority as Attorney General of the United States of America.

The White House might actually begin enforcing federal marijuana laws once again.

But in the spirit of maintaining optimism, there is still reason to hope that Trump’s alleged commitment to economic growth will overpower the draconian beliefs held by some of his cabinet appointees.

The Economic Savior

Trump was elected as the “no nonsense” businessman who was going to fix our national economy and create jobs for the American people. As America’s “economic savior,” his supporters firmly believed he was the candidate who would restore prosperity to the middle class. This is the promise that ultimately got him elected to the highest office in the land.

Since assuming office, he has shocked the public by actually fulfilling most of his campaign promises— which has been both slightly encouraging and downright terrifying.

While there can be no defense of his love for protectionist policies, he has still maintained his support for a free market economic system.

If this is true and he is as committed to economic reform as he claims to be, then perhaps the economic repercussions of marijuana legalization can change his mind, or at least drown out the backward influence of his advisors.


Brittany Hunter

Brittany Hunter

Brittany Hunter is an associate editor at FEE. Brittany studied political science at Utah Valley University with a minor in Constitutional studies.

This article was originally published on FEE.org. Read the original article.

Billionaire Softbank CEO Masayoshi Son plans to invest in singularity

Insightful and a first mover…

Billionaire Softbank Group Chairman and CEO Masayoshi Son revealed Monday (Feb. 27) at Mobile World Congress his plan to invest in singularity. “In next 30 years [the singularity] will become a reality,” he said, Tech Crunch reports.

“If superintelligence goes inside the moving device then the world, our lifestyle dramatically changes,” he said. “There will be many kinds. Flying, swimming, big, micro, run, 2 legs, 4 legs, 100 legs,” referring to robots. “I truly believe it’s coming, that’s why I’m in a hurry — to aggregate the cash, to invest.”

“Son said his personal conviction in the looming rise of billions of superintelligent robots both explains his acquisition of UK chipmaker ARM last year, and his subsequent plan to establish the world’s biggest VC fund,” noted TechCrunch — a new $100BN fund called the Softbank Vision Fund, announced last October

Source: kurzweilai.net

Trump And Russia: Just Pointing Out The Obvious — Capitalist Exploits

Chairman Trump may well be a child in a man’s body – erratic, lacking in finesse, as articulate as a gangsta rapper, contradictory, and missing the cognitive functions allowing one to think before acting. But.. But… he does seem smart enough to have thought a little about Russia. Thought alone is a welcome surprise from Washington.

The establishment for their part are fuming!

First their rice bowls are at risk, and to top it off they’re now publicly mocked. To egomaniacs this is worse than acne to a prom queen. As I mentioned a couple weeks back the mockery has come thick and fast:

CNBC’s John Hardwood decided to conduct a Twitter poll to see who the American people trusted when it came to the DNC hacks. Did they believe Wikileaks, who deny Russian involvement, or do they believe the intelligence community who has blamed Russia despite ZERO hard evidence being shown to the public?

The results were shocking and it stunned the media elite!

 

The absurdity over Russia has turned into a social meme. Few buy the narrative and those that do increasingly find mainstream thinking to be questioned.

Source: Capitalist Exploits

Don’t Ruin A Chance for Tax Reform with “Border Adjustments”

Don’t Ruin A Chance for Tax Reform with “Border Adjustments”

As part of an otherwise very good tax reform plan, House Republicans have proposed to modify the corporate income tax so that it becomes a “destination-based cash-flow tax.”

For those not familiar with wonky inside-the-beltway tax terminology, there are three main things to understand about this proposal.

  • First, the tax rate on business would drop from 35 percent to 20 percent. This is unambiguously positive.
  • Second, it would replace depreciation with expensing, which is a very desirable change that would eliminate a very counter-productive tax on new investment outlays. This is basically what makes the plan a “cash-flow” tax.
  • Third, any income generated by exports would be exempt from tax but the 20-percent tax would be imposed on all imports. These “border-adjustable” provisions are what makes the plan a “destination-based” tax.

I’m a big fan of the first two provisions, but I’m very hostile to the third item.

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Off duty officer vs. Mike Strickland’s escalation of force: Something is wrong here…

 

“The confrontation began over ongoing issues with juveniles walking across the officer’s property,” Anaheim police said in statement Wednesday.

This is most interesting.

You can watch the OODA Loops spin out of control as communications break down and either the wrong tactic is used or no tactic is selected at all due to the Sympathetic Nervous System or “SNS” reaction.

As the SNS response continued to rise all parties were beginning to think with their survival brain, hence the continued decline in communications which lead to anti-social behavior.

While one could write an article on the video tearing apart the officer’s tactics, or lack thereof (a training issue, not the officer’s fault). I won’t.

And while one could write an article critiquing and condemning the society and education system that fostered such blatant disregard for individual and property rights, I won’t do that either.

I will, however, state that had both sides had a modicum of respect for each other, other’s property rights, abided by the NAP, and had just a little bit of training, all these unpleasantries could have been avoided.

Unfortunately, we aren’t there yet, fortunately, were closer than most think (thanks technology!).

In the end, I hope the officer doesn’t face the same unjust consequences that as Mike Strickland is now facing for making the same sensible decisions to protect his life.

After all, two wrongs don’t make a right. And while a badge shouldn’t grant extra rights, it shouldn’t mean you have any fewer rights either.

Source: nypost.com

Repealing Obamacare Is Not Enough

American health care is not very effective in curing diseases. The National Center for Health Statistics projects over 1.6 million new cancer cases and almost 600,000 cancer deaths for 2016. Among those who suffer heart attacks, fewer than 50% are alive five years later.

Republicans do not want to repeal the regulations that make healthcare expensive and ineffective.

Medical treatment is so expensive that people need insurance to survive financial catastrophe in case they become ill or get hurt. Even middle class folks who need extensive medical care cannot begin to pay the costs. Those facts supported demand for Obamacare, the halfway point on the road to socialized medicine.

Republicans argue that American medicine was the finest in the world, with only minor problems, until it was ruined by Obamacare. But American medicine has been plagued with extraordinarily high costs and ineffective treatments for many years.

According to Forbes.com, in the Commonwealth Fund’s 2014 healthcare survey of the eleven wealthiest countries, the USA came in last.

Republicans campaigned to repeal Obamacare. But they waffle about its replacement, because they sense they have no answers to the problems that predated the disastrous Affordable Care Act. Republicans want medicine to be inexpensive and effective, but they do not want to repeal the morass of regulations that make it expensive and ineffective.

A Brief History of Medical Regulations

After the Civil War, there were virtually no regulations of medicine in the United States. People would choose their doctor and treatment, and doctors would thrive or languish according to the exigencies of the market. Profit-seeking medical schools flourished and graduated many practitioners.

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After Orlando shooting, Florida Republicans want to eliminate gun-free zones

A rose by any other name…

Seems rather desperate when one is forced to use the same regurgitated, unpopular, and failed arguments one has used in years gone by.

I do recall the same reactionary types calling Florida the “Gunshine State” because its citizens had the gall to support giving themselves more control over their own security.

This repeated itself time and time again, as it will continue to and should.

You can’t defeat a distributed threat by centralizing the response… most people sense this intuitively, hence the resistance to centralize.

“In the aftermath of the deadly Orlando nightclub and Fort Lauderdale airport shootings, two Republican lawmakers in Florida are pushing to eradicate the Sunshine State’s “gun-free zones” in a move that would put more guns in public areas. Sen. Dennis Baxley, of Ocala, and Rep. Don Hahnfeldt, of The Villages, want to allow people with concealed weapon permits to carry a deadly firearm nearly anywhere, including local bars, voting booths, courthouses, public schools, colleges and university campuses, airport passenger terminals and maybe even a Miami Dolphins game.”

 

Source: rawstory.com

Ex-SEAL: Battlefield medical techniques needed for civilian shootings

Remember, you are the “first responder,” by the time the police and emergency medical services arrive, it can be too late for someone who is bleeding.

Learning the basics needed to save lives during the “golden hour” isn’t rocket science.If a private can be trained in the proper application of pressure dressings and tourniquets, you can bet you can learn these simple skills yourself.

If a private can be trained in the proper application of pressure dressings and tourniquets (and they are), you too can learn these simple life-saving skills yourself.

Butler is part of the national campaign and its work to train first responders and civilians about what to do in the moments after a mass-casualty attack… “You have to think of an active shooting as a military action. The casualties are essentially combat casualties,” Butler said… More difficult is getting the message out to untrained civilians who could be in a position to stop bleeding during an attack. Butler hopes tourniquet use will eventually become a basic part of first-aid teaching like CPR and the Heimlich maneuver.

Source: pnj.com

Delta Force Operator: Gem of the week

Politics aside, the gem of the week is tucked away in a Delta operators observations abut conducting missions in non-permissive environments such as those found in Yemen.

After clearly explaining the situation on the ground in the larger context, he gets into the weeds and reveals a key to the reason for the difficulties:

“The terrorists have protected themselves and secured themselves, too. They have IEDs surrounding their bases. They have tripwires.  They run surveillance and counter surveillance. In some ways, they operate like a military without a state behind them. They’ve learned a lot of lessons from Iraq, and because of that, they are much more deadly than before.”

Bill Lind, John Boyd, Martin van Creveld, Chet Richards, and many more have been talking about this eventuality for decades now so this comes as no surprise for most people who keep an eye on these types of developments.

Decentralization is the only logical path forward, and fortunately, it’s the simplest to achieve in the immediate future and will pay much higher dividends than the current top heavy system.

The fourth generation of warfare is upon us, that means the 5th isn’t far behind.

You can’t beat today’s problems with yesterday’s solutions, especially when they are generations behind.

 

Source: ijr.com

Germans arming themselves with illegal guns and grenades

I weep for Germany and its unarmed citizens.

However, there is a bright side, the market (even if it’s black) is working just fine. It seems that some enterprising individuals were able to start an online business, find the demand, ship products, and shut down their operations quite successfully.

With the advent of the distributed internet (Maidsafe) cryptocurrency (Bitcoin, Safecoin, etc.,) 3-D printing (plastics, metals, and ceramics), and online marketplaces such as OpenBazaar, I suspect you will see many more people opting for personal security.

Various packages were available to customers, ranging from €7.99 to €799, and includes guns, grenades and ammunition.Professionals, including doctors, were getting the deadly weapons delivered to their workplaces, according to Sued Deutsche.

Source: Daily Mail Online

Is civilization good for us? Sebastian Junger on the dangers of social fragmentation. – Vox

Boyd is in the Details.” – MS

We’re primates, we’re social animals, and we’re wired for that close, communal connection. When you take people who’ve experienced the pleasure of that, and you pick them up and put them back down in the great American suburb, they’re going to feel like something is missing because there is something missing. If you look at the rates of mental illness, suicide, depression, schizophrenia, in the modern American environment, they’re sky high and climbing.

Source: Vox

The Proper Use of Cover and Concealment

As we mentioned in the Tactical Definitions post previously, cover is something that will provide ballistic protection (like the engine block of your vehicle) and concealment is something that won’t provide ballistic protection (like the dark, shrubs, furniture, etc,).

While using cover and concealment sounds simple enough, there are some nuances of which you should be aware, which if not understood and properly respected can come back to hurt or kill you.

The working area

The working area simply refers to the area you can work behind cover without exposing yourself to your adversaries direct fire and varies from situation to situation.

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Colorado’s rural schools arming themselves against danger, long response times

A distributed threat (lone gunmen, terrorism, etc.,) requires a distributed response.

Teachers and staff members in at least a dozen of Colorado’s most remote school districts are arming themselves instead of waiting for local law enforcement to rescue them in the face of a Columbine-style attack.Those districts have employees carry concealed weapons, train like law officers and then be the first line of security should a school or classroom be targeted by assault.

Source: The Denver Post H/T sayuncle

Your Sphere of Influence

As Boyd so adroitly pointed out, we need more interaction and influence with our environment in order to thrive.

The more influence you can have on a given area, the greater you are able to shape the situation to better meet your desired ends.

We call the space you have direct observation over, and which you can potentially interact with and influence, the sphere of influence or “SOI,” because it represents a 360-degree sphere or “bubble” around you.

In the following diagrams, you will get a better idea of how the sphere of influence can be visualized.

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Spalling at Various Distances

In yesterday’s post, we introduced you the effects of spalling, today, we will dig deeper into spalling and give you some ideas of how you can mitigate the effects. In the below

In the below photos you will see two targets. Both targets were shot under identical conditions, with one exception; the target on the left was “hugging” cover (well within arms reach of the cover), and the one on the right is the one that was about 6 feet or one large step back from cover.

We have used white arrows to help you see the effects. The larger the arrow, the larger the impact from the spalling.

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Distance and Spalling

In the previous post, we talked about additional considerations for moving safely. Let’s take a closer look at the concepts that surround this subject.

a. Distance – can be the distance your adversary is from you, the distance you are from your cover, and/or the distance you need to move to get to where you want to be, etc., all of which can play to your advantage if you know how to use distance.

The FBI/DOJ, tell us that the vast majority of lost defensive gunfights will take place in very close proximity to you (7-yards and in), and your adversary will dictate this distance, especially if you are caught unawares.

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Considerations for Safe Movement

Now that you have a basic individual movement technique down, let’s go ahead and start thinking about how we can safely use our environment so we can get to where we want to be as safely as possible.

As we have mentioned before, clearing an area means that we are searching an area in order to either safely bypass the area or to occupy it.

In order to get to where we want to go safely, we want to move tactically. Again, this is using a broad brush stroke to simply say that your movement should fit our situation so you can arrive at your destination safely and effect the desired change.

There are many ways defensive scenarios may play out. Two of the more common are the ambush contact where your adversary has maximized his surprise in his attack, and he springs his attack close to you in order to maximize the psychological shock.

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Individual Movement Techniques (Part 2)

In the last post we covered what Individual Movement Techniques were and their purpose, in this post we will discuss the first ITM, the heel to toe method.

To start moving forward, all you need to do is begin in your generic shooting stance (see the 4th drill in your firearms drills manuals) which is; feet comfortably apart, with the feet, hips, and shoulders roughly on the same plane, add a light natural bend in the knees to lower your center of gravity (which will act as your shock absorbers during movement and is a position you will most likely find yourself in when under stress), and top it all off with the weight of your body over the balls (just behind your toes) of your feet.

Think of this as the “ready to move/pounce in any direction” stance, because if you are positioned correctly you should be able to quickly move in any direction instantly without having to redistribute/ transfer your weight first.

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Individual Movement Techniques (Part 1)

Keeping in mind the tactical principles we spoke of above, we are now going to incorporate individual movement techniques.

What are individual movement techniques?

Individual movement techniques (IMT’s) are the most basic footwork techniques that are employed at the individual, team, and higher level. If practiced appropriately, these basic tactics and techniques should serve you well when you do have a second shooter (such as a significant other or a friend) to back you up.

Basic footwork concepts

The purpose of footwork is to get you from where you are to where you want to be safely and as quickly as you deem necessary.As you can well imagine, in most gunfights you will need to maneuver in order to put yourself in situations that you can begin to shape circumstances.

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