Friday, February 27, 2015

This Dress Proves We Do Not Deserve The Internet



Andrew Pontbriand
February 27, 2015

In only less than a few hours, the entire internet was swallowed up by the most important news story of the day. No, not Net Neutrality. A dress.

This is not a news article. This isn't even a story. You clicked this link because you couldn't help it. The distraction unleashed on the masses (if you even want to call it that) was enough to get you to read this and see another piece to the epic dress puzzle.

This does go to show though, that when the government passes secretive laws that destroy liberty a little bit more, there is no shortage of nonsense that suddenly becomes more important.

Now, we have shown in a collective capacity we do not deserve the internet, and we can only hope the FCC deletes the story about the dress, with its new regulations.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Drug Dealers: Entrepreneurs, businessmen, and the crutch of society.


Andrew Pontbriand
February 15, 2015

Drug dealers. The first thought that probably comes to mind is a young male wearing a bandana, and saggy jeans who probably has a gun on his waist, or a big fat, bearded white guy with a leather vest. The lowest of the low, the criminals and vermin of society? Does society need to rid ourselves from these dangerous men who organize entire criminal enterprises the same way a Fortune 500 company designs its corporate structure?

Short answer. NO.

Drugs, and drug dealers have been around for thousands of years. If you go back into ancient times, a person who harvested and sold marijuana, or even opium, would be called a merchant, just as the jeweler adjacent to his shop at the marketplace.

The United States government, at one point or another, had allowed for possession and use of nearly all naturally occurring drugs (non synthetic). That all changed in June of 1971 when President Nixon declared a "war on drugs."

Like most wars that are not meant to be won, the drug war has been a disastrous failure since its inception and escalation through the 80's and 90's, only serving to swell our prison populations to the highest in the world. In 1980, the number of people in jail for nonviolent drug offenses rose from 50,000, to 400,000 in 1997.

By the end of George W. Bush's term as President, the U.S. saw more than 40,000 paramilitary style no-knock raids on mostly nonviolent offenders or over misdemeanors. The drug war, like any war, was seemingly used to pass Draconian laws to clamp down on the people, and has earned America the number 1 spot for highest incarceration rate in the world, with a prison population of over 2 million people.




History shows that when drug policy first occurred in America, it was targeting a group of people. For example, the first laws against opium use were clearly targeting Chinese immigrants. Just as the first anti-cocaine laws in the south were directed at black men. So, is there really a war ON drugs, or is there a war FOR the CONTROL of drugs?

The CIA has been involved in many clandestine operations involving the black market trade of illicit drugs with foreign countries and drug cartels. Like most black operations, they only come to light when either a mistake is made publicly on a grand scale, or after about 25 years of the projects ending.

In the fall of 2007, a Gulfstream Jet II, tail number, N987SA, crashed in Mexico. In the wreckage, Mexican authorities found 4 tons of cocaine, and one kilo of heroin. The plane carrying the payload has also been used in what is now known as a several decade long black op "Mayan Jaguar," and was used in CIA renditions of terrorists to the infamous Guantanamo Bay. For an in depth look at this story, go here.

This was not the first time the Government, officials within it, and in particular the intelligence community has been involved in massive movements of illegal drugs. One of the most famous cases that involved CIA drug trafficking, was the Iran Contra Affair. It goes like this. The CIA sold arms at marked up prices to the Iranian government, which is against US policy, so Iran could use its influence to have American hostages released in Lebanon. All the while, these funds would be used to fund the Contras to train and further arm the paramilitary forces to fight the Nicaraguan government. Within all of this was an even darker program, which took cocaine out of Nicaragua and straight into the borders of the United States.

The smuggling story broke by the investigate journalism of a man named Gary Webb. Webb's unprecedented work was largely "discredited" by the mainstream media, but not after key figures involved in the actual operations came forward and gave their testimonies. Recently, a Hollywood movie was released called "Kill the Messenger," which tells the story of CIA drug smuggling from Latin America to cities like Los Angeles, to fund the Contras. If the name "Freeway" Rick Ross rings a bell, he was one of the biggest distribution heads who picked up cocaine directly from CIA operatives.

With these two scandals alone, we can see the government is largely involved in the drug trade in one way or another. Its main competition though, is what they're really after. Welcome to the world of a drug dealer.

There are different levels of drug dealers just as any trade. You have main distribution and production centers that sells large quantities to smaller distribution centers, which funnel the drugs to the street gangs or drug bosses, which in turn sell to smaller dealers or "runners," who are used for the point of sale to the users.

The drug trade in America is an extraordinarily huge market. The world Market, as estimated by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, estimated the Global illegal Drug Trade to 4.4 Trillion dollars annually. This puts illegal drugs next to arms and oil as the largest trade in the world. You may call it GOD (Guns, Oil, and Drugs). But I digress.

In December 2009 United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime Executive Director Antonio Maria Costa claimed illegal drug money saved the banking industry from collapse. He claimed he had seen evidence that the proceeds of organized crime were "the only liquid investment capital" available to some banks on the brink of collapse during 2008. He said that a majority of the $352 billion of drug profits was absorbed into the economic system as a result:

"In many instances, the money from drugs was the only liquid investment capital. In the second half of 2008, liquidity was the banking system's main problem and hence liquid capital became an important factor...Inter-bank loans were funded by money that originated from the drugs trade and other illegal activities...there were signs that some banks were rescued that way".

Crime and drugs go hand in hand, but the economics can not be ignored. Since making a consumer demand illegal creates a higher demand, and in turn creates a black market, crime will also be created. Street dealers often use their relatively large profits from the sale of drugs to purchase food, cars, clothes, and in some cases, launder money in to legitimate businesses which create more business for the evolving economy.

Set aside the violence, almost all continual and ongoing drug gangs and criminal enterprises are run just like Corporate businesses. They have CEO's, vice presidents, and the like all the way down the ladder to laborers, or runners.

If a U.N. official could make a statement as astounding as drug markets saved the banks during the 2008 banking crisis, imagine the amount of money and jobs that could be created with complete drug legalization?

See, Portugal.

The current system in place creates a vacuum for drug addicts and low level dealers of never ending prison sentences and the revolving door of jail. Private Prisons reep giant profits from prisons hanging no vacancy signs just as hotels do, and most of the shareholders of the Prison Industrial Complex sponsor bills or affect US drug policy in one way or another. See a conflict of interest?

Drug dealers large or small, actually have a positive impact on the economy, however due to the nature of black market sales and territorial disputes over drug turf, violence and death is the blowback that ensues. Overdoses run rampant due to the illegal nature of illicit drugs as there is no way to monitor purity of a product or identify the "cut" that the product is diluted with.

A free market for drugs, completely decriminalized would drastically eliminate our prison population, crime would fall to record low levels, and violent street gangs would have less of a stake in not only the drug trade, but the arms trade as well. A positive boost to our economy would happen almost over night, and local regulations could be put in place to manage drug addictions that are much more effective than the alternatives like long term methadone treatment.

Drug use in a nutshell is a personal choice made be each individual. Every man and woman is born with the natural right to consume any substance we choose, as long as it does no harm to another person or property. If we take a new stand on drugs as a society and revert back to natural rights, huge changes to the health and safety of the public would result, and benefits to the economy would follow. One thing is for sure, entrepreneurship will never die in America, but it is up to us on whether or not we want to have a truly free market to avoid crime, or drive markets under ground leaving them up for grabs to criminal enterprises and corrupted officials.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

The Pursuit of Happiness and How Laws Prevent it

The United States. Land of the free, home of the brave. Or is it?


Andrew Pontbriand
February 10, 2015


What was once a Union of several Confederated states that each offered a chance at attaining the "American Dream," America has slipped into what some would call the largest police state on the planet. Taxes, both direct and indirect, inflation, deflation, zoning, permits, licenses, insurance, traffic, business, labor, safety, contract and tort, and so on.

All of these are quite extensive and complex laws that are burdensome on the average American. The IRS Tax Code is mind numbingly complicated and is twice as thick as the King James bible with 3,951,104 words. According to the National Taxpayers Union, the Nation lost $221 billion and 6.1 billion hours of productivity “due to the burden of compliance with a complex and invasive tax code.”


The United States was once the most free and prosperous country on earth. During the industrial revolution, immigrants from abroad used what little money they had to risk a new life here in America, literally landing on our shores with sometimes as little as $5 in their pockets, and were able to survive. There was no right-to-work, child labor laws, OSHA, or ID laws. People who were able bodied and willing to work in most cases, could find employment.


Life, Liberty, and The Pursuit of Happiness, the most famous 7 words in the Declaration of Independence. With only one life to live, wouldn't it make sense that more liberty and freedom would mean a greater chance of achieving happiness? Why do so many Americans take for granted what little freedoms we have left? Are we content with working 40-50+ hours a week JUST to skate by and barely manage our bills, or barely service the interest on our debts?


Driving

As of 2006, there were 206 million licensed drivers (19 & up) in the united States, with a population at the time being about 298.4 million. Nearly 70% of Americans were card carrying, Motor Vehicle License holders. Well, that seems like a good statistic in the sense that more than half of our population play by the rules, correct? Well, how many do not? According to traffic researcher Robert Scopatz of Data Nexus Inc., who studied the issue for the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, 1 in 10 Americans are driving on a suspended or revoked license. You may ask, why is this important?

When you apply for a drivers license, take, and pass the test you are now under a new set of laws. This is called the Motor Vehicle Code. Most states have the same Traffic Laws, with the exception of speed limits, traveling in the passing lane, and other basic rules of the road. Some states, like New Hampshire, do not require you to have car insurance, and some have different regulations on vehicle inspections. The Motor Vehicle Code acts as a contract, and you agree to the 'terms & conditions' of the contract. How does this effect freedom? 


It's Monday morning, and you are exhausted from a long weekend. The kids woke up late, and now you are rushing to get their school lunch made, and packed, and you are about to be late to work for the third time this month. You are going down the road at 40 MPH, and decide you need to make the light before it turns red, and makes you even more late, so you go through it. The speed zone you are in has a posted speed limit of 25 MPH, and a cop is now pulling you over. After its all said and done, you just earned yourself a $200 speeding ticket, points on your driving record, and are now an hour late to work.

Every day this scenario occurs probably tens-of-thousands of times per day. The State is out in full force enforcing speeds predetermined by a group of people with an official sounding title, and if you disobey the sign, accidentally or purposefully, you are detained against your will and punished with a monetary penalty. To most people this sounds rational, and is for the safety of others. However, even this very scenario is an example of how you have lost your Natural Rights, and are burdened by a penalty for doing so. Speeding is not a crime because the act of speeding alone causes no injury to another person or property, yet we are forced to pay these fines and tickets or we risk losing our licenses.

Driving is one of the best examples on how laws prevent happiness, because most of our police encounters, court appearances, fines, and penalties all stem from our use of the roads. Insurance payments, sales tax, title and registration fee's, all add up and go to the State. Most people don't realize it, but most everybody commits at least one "crime" per day. Imagine that? We are all criminals, in the eyes of the State!

The world is speeding up. When you live week-to-week, your pay check can never come fast enough, and bills never stop showing up. Traffic laws prevent someone from making their own, personal choice on how they travel on the roads. Truck drivers are limited on the amount of weight they can haul in their dump trucks. Sometimes, this means an extra trip costing another $100 in gas just to comply with a rule. Of course, safety is important, but the individual should ONLY be held responsible for an action if a crime is actually committed, or a person or their property has received a damage. 


Monopoly on force

The State writes the laws and has an army of police to enforce them. In one way or another, a rule breaker who breaks any law, penal code, or statute, will pay its debts to the State. Compliance itself in the commercial world is ruled by the State, and taxes are collected and paid to, you guessed it, the State.

Our entire lives are spent on making sure we comply with the millions of rules that dictate our lives. Financial burdens cause stress, anxiety, depression, and can tear families apart. Americans seeking the Pursuit of Happiness, rarely achieve it, as most people who do become "successful" in a monetary sense, are still taxed to as much as 50% of their income.

What about property? 

Most historians say that when Thomas Jefferson used the term, "Pursuit of Happiness" in the D.O.I., he borrowed it from John Locke. Locke, talked about life, liberty, and estate, or property. This makes sense, because isn't it true that a free man has a natural right to his own property? Isn't the American dream supposed to mean you have your own property, for you and your family? -- Not so fast!

In a nutshell, you own nothing. At best, Americans rent land from the state, with their permission. When you "own" land "outright," do you not pay a property tax? When you wish to build a shed, do you not pull a permit?

A free society? If you truly owned your land what business does the state have in dictating how big, or the location of a shed for your lawnmowers?

The pursuit
Happiness is defined differently from person to person. Whether it is money, family, friends, or a nice car, true happiness comes from what each individual decides it does. However, when an outside force or presence is hovering over your shoulder each day, intrusively inserting itself in your daily affairs, the pursuit itself becomes not the challenge, but this force does. Nothing in life should be too easy, as all of life's achievements are better appreciated when the process was a challenge. When government involves itself in your life, it does so with its hand in your pockets and finger on your pulse. The many laws in place, in this technologically advanced world with civilized societies, should be lessened, not increased, as we move into the future.

As we move ahead in the times, we are told over and over again that we face more and more diverse threats. Governments around the world are clamping down on the freedoms, already free societies enjoy. In America, the American dream goes hand in hand with the pursuit of happiness. Since we know risk equals reward, and more freedom means less security, this simple equation is enough to show that these so-called threats they say we face, are nothing compared to what each of us could have if we actually enjoyed our rights.

Imagine if taxing was decreased to a near unnoticeable level, and everyone enjoyed more of their own money? What if men and women who have amazing mechanical skills had more money to use towards inventions and ingenuity? What if these inventions were not buried, or the U.S. government didn't charge ridiculous fees to submit patents, or didn't have the final word on their approval?




It's quite simple. Laws hinder advancement in our own lives. It is 2015, and we are at the cusp of space travel and a deeper understanding of the universe. Self determination is being better understood by the average person, and we are now at a point where millions of people realize that they themselves have god-given, natural rights they do not want removed. Every one of us can play a role in our own lives keeping government out of it, and be willing to teach our younger generations that decisions reflect morals, and a person with good morals will live by their own set of rules based on those (positive) morals. As of right now, the rules of society clearly indicate that governments, law-makers, and the like, think populations and/or individuals cannot make informed decisions themselves. We all suffer because of this, when we should be prospering due to the most beautiful thing life can give us, and that is individual freedom.



Tuesday, January 27, 2015

The First Snow New Englander's Have Ever Seen?



January 27, 2015

"Snowmahgedhon 2. Its a wickhed pissah! I'm getting snowed in! Are any stores open today?"

These are a few examples of the dumb things people say and ask every time there is a snowstorm that could potentially drop about 6 inches of snow or more in New England. Usually, you read these mind numbingly annoying posts on Facebook. You know, we all have that friend who still hasn't figured out the Northeast has this funny thing called winter.

Usually, about 72 hours before a snow storm hits, the over paid, inaccurate, bald headed weatherman, who was too dumb to be an astronomer or physicist, and too smart to turn down a job you don't have to do right; gets on TV and gives you a storm model. 

Let's use the recent storm, "Juno," for example. Most, if not all of the hippy dippy weathermen (as George Carlin would say) all agreed that this snowstorm would "shatter records." Of course, they were wrong. They flaked. Pun intended.

Sure, the Great City of Woostah (Worcester) got about 31 inches of the white stuff, but for the most part this storm was exaggerated and used to scare the population of hardened New Englanders. Yes. I said it. 

The Governor even threatened $500 dollar fines for any travelers who dared to risk using their own vehicle, on the roads they are taxed to build and maintain! However, that's another topic for another time, and I digress.

When I got out of work the other day, around 5:30 pm, the storm was already moving in. I am currently in Rhode Island myself doing storm work to help keep your precious power on. Anyway, per usual, last minute morons were blocking all entrances to the Mobile Gas Station, filling their tanks, buying all the bread, milk, and porno mags. I mean, why on earth would anyone do that on the day they first heard a storm is coming? That would be logical, and I would be wrong if I said people use their brains.

I get back to the Holiday Inn and I turn on the brainwash device (otherwise known as television) and the news is showing all of the cancellations. Of course, people do not have the ability to make their own competent decisions on whether or not they should go to work or send their kids to school, so the government does it for them. Now, back to the news ticker. Do we really need to see every single building in the region that is closed? Wouldn't it make more sense to just say, "everything is fucking closed, drive at your own risk asshole?"

This doesn't happen though because in New England, every snow storm is the first snow storm. New Englanders have funny little patterns like, losing the world series for 100 years, or cheating at football. Just kidding. But really, what gives?

It is the same story every time. People post pictures of the snow, and inform us all it is snowing. That's great. I like pictures too. The point is, when will we ever realize we are in the Northeast, we get Nor'Easters, and our corrupt Governor's do not want you to enjoy your snow day off with a little e-brake sliding or drifting? Come on New Englander's, we can do better than this! I can understand the posts about tornado's on Facebook, or the occasional deflate-gate fuckery because the rest of the country is mad we dominate sports, but its time we realize, when it's winter, it snows!