By Josh Colver
“What if we finally decide that torture, even if called “enhanced interrogation technique,” is self-destructive and produces no useful information and that contracting it out to a third world nation is just as evil?” - Ron Paul. Congressman Ron Paul of Texas asked this question on the floor of the House of Representatives in 2009. The speech that he gave later became known as the “What If” speech, which critiqued American foreign policy and the disregard for civil liberties. The question of whether the United States should use torture comes down to 3 issues: Is it constitutional? Is it moral? And what does it seek to accomplish? If we judge the issue by these three questions, it can be seen that the abolishment of torture is the only logical path going forward.
The first argument for ending torture is the constitutional one. Torture is strictly prohibited in the constitution by the 8th Amendment which reads, “Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.” The practice of torture in and of itself is precisely a “cruel and unusual punishment.” Especially the practice of waterboarding, which consists of tying a person down on a board and placing a rag over their eyes and in their mouth. Doing this gives people the perception and feeling that they are drowning and suffocating, as water is poured on their face. According to Sullivan in his essay, the average time it takes for a government agent to break is 12 seconds under these circumstances. If waterboarding is not “Cruel and unusual punishment” I don’t know what is.
The second argument is the moral one. One of the reasons America is so exceptional as a nation is that until recently, we didn’t lower ourselves to the level of the terrorists and evil people throughout the world. The rest of the world respected us, and even the people we fought against respected us because we had some sense of moral decency in war. To suggest that we should abandon the moral high ground, and throw away the only thing differentiating us from our enemies is a terrible idea. We also need to understand that two wrongs don’t make a right. Yes, they did attack us or perpetrate an act of terror but does us torturing them bring back the lives we lost, or somehow even out the moral scales? No, it does not. We also need to realize and be wary of government deciding who is a terrorist and who is not. It’s a crazy notion to suggest that a government bureaucracy compiling a list of terror suspects on a secret list, can be used to deny constitutional rights and due process. Examples of this inefficiency and failure can be seen at the infamous Abu Ghraib prison. At this prison, suspects were denied due process and taken to the compound where they are tortured. The real crime, however, is that 90% of the prisoners at Abu Ghraib were later found to be innocent. It just goes to show that when one government branch is judge and jury, liberty and common decency are sacrificed.
The third argument has to do with the goal of torture. Advocates for torture claim that it is necessary to stop terrorism, and without it, the terrorism would increase. I argue that the opposite is true when the United States is open and vocal about our use of torture this insights terrorism instead of stopping it. Terrorists around the world hear that the United States is using torture and this angers them. It makes them commit even more acts of terror. So torture in and of itself creates terrorism instead of stopping it. Another area in which the United States can start to change policy to decrease terrorism is on foreign policy. Ever since World War 2, the United States has been on the quest for empire. Invading and occupying everywhere from Vietnam to Iraq, and all without a declaration of war mandated by the Constitution. Our military actions in the Middle East have created what the CIA calls Blowback. The concept of Blowback is that when the United States intervenes in the middle east, whether it be bombs or nation building, which there is an unintended consequence that occurs. A prominent example of this is our nation building in Iran for the latter part of the 20th century. In 1953 the United States installed the Shah in Iran; the Shah, which is the name of the ruler, was very unpopular among the Iranian people. So in response to that, the people of Iran invaded our embassy in 1979 and took hostages. This infamous event became known as the Iranian Hostage Crisis, which is directly related to our nation building. Another example of Blowback is the 9-11 attacks on the United States. If you ever read the writings of Bin Laden and the reasons they attacked us, it was abundantly clear it was because we were over there. We built a military base in Saudi Arabia, which that particular faction of Islam believed to be the holy land. In retaliation for our military base and constant bombing of the middle east, they hijacked two planes and flew them into the Twin Towers. I would make the case that if we are serious about fighting terrorism, we have to look at our foreign policy.
In conclusion, I believe that we need to end torture immediately. Not only is torture unconstitutional, but it's also immoral and leads to increased terrorism against our country. We need to remember and never forget that for today, we might not object to the way the government is using its power. We might believe that government may be using it for good since it doesn’t affect us, but don’t be surprised if tomorrow it’s you whose rights are taken away on the basis of so called terrorism. If we are going to be moral leaders and lead by example, torture must be put to a stop. To conclude, I’d like to quote Congressman Paul once more, “Remember: liberty only has meaning if we still believe in it when terrible things happen, and more government security is demanded. Government cannot make us safe by mandating security any more than it can make us prosperous by decreeing an end to poverty.”
By Chris Bunch
Author at FMM
Two culprits stand out as prime suspects for who has diluted the police force today. The first would be power, the government can gain revenue, political power and "government minding" via the police; Second would be ourselves, too afraid to even throw the word privatization around because in most minds it means "chaos." That these problems are infinite and out of our control. Here's where we can tear those thoughts down and reshape the way we think of public service.
It's an all too familiar story, an innocent person is shot because a police officer felt threatened.In 2017 alone 594 people in the USA have been killed by police officers; 242 white, 131 black and the others were unknown. Of course I am not excluding those who have committed a crime and may have actually threatened the officers life, however, on the same token the amount of police officers harmed or killed in the line of duty is steadily decreasing year by year just as fast as the number of those being killed by police increases. So what gives? Why does the public enemy now seem to be the ones who are sworn to protect us. The problem lies with what big government can do to influence your life and your choices without looking like the direct culprit. The police force is their solution. From Jeff Sessions threatening you when you light up a joint, to Justin Trudeau trying to lock you up for misgendering someone. The police is used as a scapegoat and a fearful weapon not only to advance their ideology but also to bolster their paycheck as well.
How do you attain something when nobody wants to give it up? Force. So naturally when the government needs a payday and nobody will pony up who do they go to? Their armed soldiers ready to tell you what you can and can't do no matter how ridiculous the law may be . A pseudo "road pirate" that is out to write you a notice to give the government money or else. Before you start angrily typing away at the comments allow me to explain. Too many people are quick to judge. some say that police hate black people and are organized to take down and kick the black race. Others say that the police can do no wrong and that our "boys in blue are doing the best they can." These notions can be valid in their own sense but differ from the broader task at hand. Please step away from these preconceived and tightly held thoughts and see the police as a puppet with me just for a moment. I believe that most police officers genuinely believe in protecting and serving the citizens of their community, however, it is the minds of the government or the puppeteer who have messed withe the balance. Answer me this, if a police officer is to protect and serve explain why at the end of the month the amount of tickets handed out increases dramatically. Explain why in Arizona you can be fined and imprisoned for feeding pigs, Connecticut you can't sell cat fur, Indiana liquor stores can't sell cooled soda but instead uncooled soda. The list goes on and on and it sounds ridiculous right? Of course it does, but these things provide very real excuses for the state puppets(police officers) to write you a ticket to contribute to the paycheck of that state. These next numbers may shock you even more. Our pointless war on drugs hauls in $3.9 billion each year via the DEA, ATF and local law enforcements across the United States. When you receive that kind of money you'd never want to give it up. Even if it meant using your friendly neighborhood cop to bash down the door of a drug addicted individual to do so. This problem in turn leads to our tax burden of those who are addicted and thrown in jail when really they should be receiving treatment. But once again why share a piece of the pie when you can have it all to yourself. The Government hates to lose and will manipulate any force to get what they desire.
Sure I have painted the government and the police as the playground bully who steals your lunch money and his henchmen who beat you up for it, But what can really be done to change this? Localization, decreasing federal involvement and privatization. Yes these things can be done. Private security officers outnumber police 10 to 1 globally yet their approval rating is far higher and much more respectable than the low approval of the Police. Private security allows for the individual needs to be tailored for. If someone decides they don't want kids spray painting their property a private guard can be hired to take care of that. If this behavior of hiring security before going to the police increased even 25% the burden on the taxpayer would dramatically decrease as police forces would be forced to make cuts with less "business." The government officials that manipulate the police force would have to turn away from them as a revenue stream if individuals, municipalities or local governments opted to privatize or use a "private security first" model. As these security guards have a job to do that doesn't have infinite tax funded payroll they are in turn more incentivized to to their job fairly and justly which leads to eliminating many of the racial and social issues that plague many departments today. Without pressure you can expect nothing to change and a private contract with the opportunity for termination definitely places more pressure than a steady paycheck and pension virtually regardless of how you act. Gone would be the problems with minorities and police as the individual would now be placed in control of how they protected themselves, as we know the individual is the greatest minority. Overall misconduct would decrease as the state run police would now have competition as well, allowing them to tighten the restrictions on hiring and conduct leading to a safer environment lead by the free market and individual choice.
Of course this model of privatization is just an idea, however, with the distain for the police force and their manipulation by government it is understandable why this idea isn't such a quiet one any longer. The ridiculous body cam footage, wrongful deaths, crazy tickets, entrapping laws and poor behavior make the thin blue line look more like a blue smokescreen for the true evils lurking behind. The current state of government run law enforcement is a strong example and sobering reminder that most anything the government touches is instantly corrupted. Freedom can not survive in such an environment and other options must come before it's too late.
More to come on privatization and policing as part 2 can be expected next week! Its focus? Border towns and border security. Stay tuned and check our Twitter for updates @Officialfmmedia
By Josh Colver
A common argument the left uses to slam religious people is the “Jesus was a socialist” argument. But this is fundamentally flawed and wrong. People do indeed buy into this argument that Jesus was a socialist; after all, he fed the poor, he called for a collectivist tithing system and performed healthcare for free. But the one big thing these aspiring biblical historians missed is he did not request the use of force to accomplish these goals. Jesus did not tell his disciples to break into Caesar’s palace to steal money for food. He did not say go around with a gun during tithing to make sure everyone “pays their fair share.” He said help your neighbor and care for the poor, not give your money to the Romans so they could do it for you.
Jesus understood why charity and voluntary exchange were moral and valuable to society. Jesus abided by God’s law, and socialism violates two of the ten commandments: First, “Thou shalt not steal”. As an individual, I am outlawed by the government from taking items and money that is not mine. Doing this is also known as theft or stealing. It doesn’t matter if what I am doing is virtuous. It doesn’t matter if I am going to use the money I stole from my neighbor to give to charity and feed the homeless. The ends do not justify the means. Theft is illegal, theft is immoral, and it is destructive to society. But if we turn the tables on this analogy government is allowed to do all these things. The government can steal from individuals, up to any amount that it so desires. Any resistance will result in the imprisonment of the citizen who refuses to pay his money over to the state. This issue also has a lot to do with the monopoly of force that the state holds. The state can use force to coerce its citizens to do whatever it likes, the extremes of this are seen in numerous examples throughout history. But when an individual tries to use force to coerce another person into doing something he is imprisoned. In the words of former presidential candidate Austin Petersen, “You are not charitable because you put a gun to someone else’s head and force them to be charitable.” At the end of the day that's exactly what it is, every government measure and law must be enforced through the barrel of a gun or else there would not be compliance.
And, second, “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's wife or anything that is your neighbors.” The core tenet of socialism is envy. Socialists are envious of those who have money and possessions. In the words of economist Thomas Sowell: “I have never understood why it is "greed" to want to keep the money you have earned but not greed to want to take somebody else's money.” They use an immoral economic system to justify their envy and slam those who have money as greedy exploiters who are unfeeling. This argument illustrates probably the biggest difference between Socialists and Capitalists. A Socialist sees a wealthy family with a lot of money and a big house and thinks “No one should ever live like that” A Capitalists looks and sees it and thinks “Everyone should live like that.”
The thing that made Jesus different and attracted people to his message was that he did not call for force to accomplish his goals. He taught that peace and charity were how you spread love, not by force.
By Josh Colver
Since the GOP’s health care meltdown, President Trump and Congress have pledged that tax reform is the next item on the agenda for 2017. Unfortunately, since Republicans failed to come together to achieve their core promise for the last seven years, which was repealing Obamacare, any realistic attempt at tax reform seems unlikely. The plan President Trump put forward a few months ago is better than what we currently have but not nearly good enough. The main points of Trump's plan are reducing the number of tax brackets from 7 to 3, doubling the standard deduction, and lowers the corporate rate to 15%. These three things are improvements upon our current system, but if President Trump wants to see a booming economy, a simpler system, and a plan that does drain the swamp, then he should put forward a flat tax. President Trump spoke highly of Steve Forbes’ book Flat Tax Revolution calling it a “must read by anyone interested in the future of our country.” If Trump wants to “Make America Great Again” it’s time for the flat tax and here's why.
The best case for the flat tax is simplicity. According to Forbes, Americans spend more than 8.9 Billion hours each year doing their taxes. It takes each American hours to go through all the deductions they apply for and filling out all the forms, put simply it's a nightmare. Nobody enjoys doing their taxes, but what if you could do your taxes in 2 minutes on a piece of paper the size of a postcard? Well with a flat tax you can! You would simply take out 10% or whatever number out of your total earnings write a check to the government and be finished. This reform would increase the tax compliance rate. According to Forbes, 45.3% of Americans don’t pay any taxes. This is mainly due to the fact that people find it too complicated of a system and don’t have the time to figure it out. A lot of people also don’t pay because they can’t afford to lose any more money than they already have, they need it to put food on the table. But if we adopted a flat tax not only would more people comply, people would get to keep more of what they make.
Along with the flat rate of tax, you would have to get rid of all the deductions and loopholes that people like to use. The only deduction that the flat tax should have is that you get to keep the first 50,000 dollars that you make so that we can allow people to get a good foothold of income before taxing it. Once you eliminate 70,000 pages of IRS code and decrease it to 1 listing a single rate of tax 90% of lobbyists in Washington D.C. now are kicked out because they have nothing to lobby about in D.C. A majority of lobbyists are there to lobby for special tax benefits and privileges but instituting a flat tax would render their jobs useless. A flat tax would go along way and would definitely ‘Drain the Swamp”.
The third reason for the flat tax is for economic growth. If you do as I suggested and lowered everyone's taxes to 10% exempting the first 50,000 dollars this would be the biggest tax cut in history and the economic growth that would follow would be unprecedented. When you allow people to keep more of what they earn, they have more to spend, and they spend more. When people start spending more businesses take in more profit and expand. When they grow, they need to hire more people to help so more jobs are created putting money in their hands. This cycle repeats itself over and over again growing the economy more and more. This plan is not revenue neutral. However, that is the point. This reform would give less revenue to the government, and that's the point, with our National Debt at nearly 20 trillion dollars we have to cut spending not raise taxes. The flat tax would do exactly that; it would demand that Congress live within its means and balance the budget.
In conclusion, I think the flat tax is a good step on the road to eventually eliminating the income tax. By making Americans lives simpler, cutting off Washington corruption, and kick starting the economy President Trump could indeed keep his campaign promises to “Drain the Swamp” and “Make America Great Again.” If Congress can pass this bill and the President signs it into law, he would guarantee himself a second term and help the GOP keep the majority in Congress. Mr. President, it’s up to you to set the agenda, use the Bully Pulpit to champion the Flat Tax. Explain to Americans on live TV how this will help make their lives better, don’t just Tweet about it…
Some specifics for the Flat Tax
by Chris Bunch
I get up in the morning a bit dazed and automatically yearning to be facedown in my pillow. "DNA" by Kendrick Lamar blasts seemingly louder as I think to myself how horrible I am for ruining a song I used to like by making it my alarm tone. As I head out the door and on the way to work I take a pause to check the news and of course there's the endless noise of those who become neurotic over Donald Trump and those who have developed a sort of "Stockholm syndrome" in supporting him. This noise is loud and never ceases, much louder than my 7 am alarm clock. Enough with the euphemisms and small talk, let's cut to the facts.
We live in one of the most polarized political, cultural and social climates ever in human history besides the Roman Empire. The media understandably yet sadly have taken sides, we no longer have unbiased reporting but selective journalism that tailors to their donors, supporters and the need to draw in viewers. Then there's the rest of the world who is left looking for the truth. People like you and me who just want their opinions known on any and all topics. That's where Free Mind Media comes in, to stop the culture police from telling you how to think, what to say and how to feel.
Here at FMM we will provide unapologetic reporting from the lens of the tried and true phrase "to each his own." Any stances are welcomed but will always be subject to debate as we look to use this platform to spark healthy conversation in a largely censored and unhealthy world. No you will not find safe spaces and ideological silence but instead I think you will find that your mind will open to things you were not previously open to before. We hope at the very least you learn something new!
Currently we have two on staff with numerous contributors lined up. Feel free to always use our contact page to let us know if you'd like to submit or just discuss about a post etc. It's imperative that we as a people are no longer silenced or manipulated. To quote Christopher Hitchens "Take the risk of thinking for yourself."
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