Common Sense & An Open Mind

Advocating freedom of thought

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    "You must lay aside all prejudice on both sides, and neither believe nor reject anything, because any other persons, or description of persons, have rejected or believed it. Your own reason is the only oracle given you by heaven, and you are answerable, not for the rightness, but uprightness of the decision." T. Jefferson

Archive for April, 2012

Who is advocating a War on Medicinal Marijuana?

Posted by Free to Think on April 27, 2012

Conservatives claim they believe in economic freedom.

Liberals claim they believe in social freedom.

Yet both Republican and Democratic administrations have demonstrated their belief that a proper use of federal power and resources is to lock up medicinal marijuana providers who opened legal businesses in their state.

In 2003, California passed Senate Bill 420, legalizing cannabis for health reasons. The Medical Marijuana Program,  administered through the California Department of Public Health, requires a recommendation from a physician for the use of medicinal marijuana. The bill requires that the MMP be fully supported through application processing fees.

Back in 2008, when California was fighting against a Bush administration attempt to disable state medical marijuana laws, U.S. District Court in San Jose held that the 10th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution bars federal drug laws from subverting state medical laws.

Despite this, according to the Drug Policy Alliance,  in the past few months “at least 16 landlords in California received letters stating that they are violating federal drugs laws and that state law will not protect them.”

The Obama administration also does not seem deterred by the fact that the U.S. Constitution grants the federal government no authority to override state laws on the matter of illegal substances. But the difference is that on the campaign trail and in the White House, Obama had pledged that he was “not going to be using Justice Department resources to try to circumvent state [medical marijuana] laws.”

Says Joe Elford, chief counsel with marijuana advocacy group Americans for Safe Access, “President Obama must answer for his contradictory policy on medical marijuana.”

If you’re tired of the duplicity from both parties regarding the failed ‘War on Drugs,’ Downsize DC gives you the opportunity to let your congressmen know: click here to help stop the hypocrisy.

Posted in constitutional rights, curtailing freedom, Detrimental policies, George W. Bush, Intrusive government, Medicinal marijuana, obama, Politics | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

We are the 53%!

Posted by Free to Think on April 18, 2012

Did you pay your income taxes this week? If so, then you’re the half of America that actually pays the cost of the federal government.

Close to half of U.S. households do not owe federal income tax.  The Urban Institute-Brookings Tax Policy Center reports that over 46 percent of households owed no federal income tax for 2011. Over a quarter of all American households (27.6%) paid no payroll taxes.

This week The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities tried to clarify some “misconceptions” of these startling figures. They point out that households that aren’t paying federal taxes are still paying through the nose for sales taxes, state and local taxes. Yes, but so are the rest of us. As if it should come as a great relief to us, they state, “In 2007, before the economy turned down, 40% of households did not owe federal income tax.  This figure more closely reflects the percentage that do not owe income tax in normal economic times.”

Does that sound much more reasonable to you?

As the price of government swells, just six-tenths of Americans are expected to shoulder the cost of federal roads, entitlements, education, Medicare, the military, the salaries of every federal worker from the post office janitor to the President of the United States, billions of dollars in interest on the public debt, and every other expense of federal government. We are the 60%!

It is frightening to think that fewer and fewer American taxpayers are expected to pay for an exponentially expanding federal government. The portion of the private sector that is actually producing wealth is expected to subsidize 144 million people who aren’t contributing to federal income taxes, and then have enough money left over to pay for the goods and services that keep our economy going.

This has not historically been the case. According to the Tax Foundation, since 1950 the percentage of Americans who didn’t pay federal income taxes has risen dramatically. Until the mid-1980’s, the percentage of tax returns with zero liability averaged in the teens to low twenties, occasionally spiking to the mid-twenty percent mark. In 1986 the figure was 18.5%, where it began a steady rise ever since.

Where does the majority of out federal tax dollars come from? In the latest report by the Tax Foundation, the top 5% of taxpayers paid approximately 58.7% of federal individual income taxes. The tippy-top of the scale, the top .01% of taxpayers contributed  17.1% of the nation’s income taxes. The average income for a tax return in the top 0.1 percent was $4.4 million in 2009, while the average amount of income tax paid was $1.07 million, indicating an average effective individual income tax rate of 24.3%.

There’s been a lot of discussion about who is paying their fair share and who isn’t. But regardless of your definition of “fair,” the most fair thing of all would be for every American to be unencumbered from an excessive and wasteful federal government.

Posted in Debt, Politics, taxes | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

New bill suspends passports of delinquent taxpayers

Posted by Free to Think on April 5, 2012

A bill that could allow the federal government to prevent Americans who owe back taxes from traveling outside the U.S. is one step closer to becoming law.

Slipped into Senate Bill 1813, a Democratic-based bill to “reauthorize Federal-aid highway and highway safety construction programs, and for other purposes,” this legislation also includes a provision that would allow for the “revocation or denial” of a passport for anyone with “certain unpaid taxes” or “tax delinquencies.”

The story does not appear to be covered on the national level by any mainstream news organization. But yesterday a Los Angeles CBS station reported that the bill, sponsored by local LA Senator Barbara Boxer, doesn’t appear to have “any specific language requiring a taxpayer to be charged with tax evasion or any other crime in order to have their passport revoked or limited — only that a notice of lien or levy has been filed by the IRS.”

After clearing the Senate on a 74 – 22 vote on March 14, SB 1813 is now headed for a vote in the House of Representatives, where it’s expected to encounter stiffer opposition among the GOP majority.

As I discussed in yesterday’s blog, rarely are stories about legislation that increases the power of our government found in the mainstream press. But I’ve found several, including the story below, from Prison Planet, a website that I’d highly recommend you add to your bookmarks.

Posted in constitutional rights, curtailing freedom, Detrimental policies, Intrusive government, Media bias | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Being manipulated by the media

Posted by Free to Think on April 4, 2012

It’s obvious that it’s in the government’s best interest to invoke the support of the people when pursuing war. The last thing the federal government wants is public uprising and dissent getting in the way of a well-laid war agenda.

History has proven that government has had little problem acquiring the cooperation of the mass media to advance their propaganda. This is not speculation but fact. Here’s one video that provides just a few well-documented examples of how a sometimes docile, sometimes wantonly deceptive press has advanced false information provided by government.

In a nation where nearly all mass media is controlled by just a few large corporations, how we can search for the truth?

This year it was revealed that the U.S. government is creating fake social media accounts to help steer public opinion on popular websites. Where is the mainstream media’s coverage of this important story?

As disheartening as this is, we must continue to search for the truth. The wide choice of online sources at our fingertips gives us the freedom to explore and seek out websites that we trust. Unlike most major media sites, on many independent websites you can check source documentation with just a click of a hyperlink.

Want to read about bills being proposed without the editorializing of media-selected ‘pundits’? At PopVox you can search on bills by issue, find information on recently introduced legislation in a non-partisan format, learn exactly which legislators and organizations are supporting the bills, and read the opinions of others on both sides of the argument.

My favorite website? Reason.com, As they describe on their ‘About’ page, “Reason provides a refreshing alternative to right-wing and left-wing opinion magazines by making a principled case for liberty and individual choice in all areas of human activity.”

See the Blogroll on the right side of my webpage for other sites I respect.

This is just one reason why it’s vital to protect Internet freedom from the controls of SOPA or any other government regulation.

You have the means to think for yourself. Question what you’re told. Do your due diligence before coming to conclusions.

Posted in Media bias, military, Politics | Tagged: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »