Tuesday, December 31, 2013

New domain

For anyone following the "blogspot" blog, I am moving my blog to a different domain and using WordPress rather than Blogger. I hope to make the website much more than 'just' a blog.

You can find the new blog at www.brianronk.com. Don't forget to follow me there. I promise I will be updating that one much more than this blog. This one will be deleted within the next few days.

See you there!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Book Review: Economics In One Lesson

You're never going to believe this. I actually finished a book.

I know what you're thinking. "Economics? Sounds....riveting!" Well, no. I don't think that I could say "riveting" is the right word, but it did keep my attention for the most part.

With my recent decision to leave the Marine Corps at the end of my current enlistment, I've been forced to actually look at my future. Crazy, right? I had to go back to the 3rd grade question of "What do you want to be when you grow up?" While being an astronaut still sounds intriguing (If only to say that I walked on the moon), it is clearly not my passion. If you know me at all, you know I'm passionate about politics.

If you could wait on the public trial and hanging, that'd be great.

That passion I have leads me to believe that I have a future in politics, so I plan to run for office upon departing the military. I still have 2 1/2 years to go, which may seem like a long time, but it is a relatively short time to prepare myself to run for an elected position. These 2 1/2 years will mostly be spent nailing down principles that I believe to be important for our state and/or country.

Two areas of politics that I am admittedly poor in (for now) are economics and international affairs. Now is the time to fix that - hence the reading of this book. It also ties in nicely with the theme of this blog - apathetic no longer.

Economics in One Lesson by Henry Hazlitt covers the very basics of economics and dispels many of the current myths and beliefs of economists and politicians today. The opening sentence in the preface is "This book is an analysis of economic fallacies that are at last so prevalent that they have almost become a new orthodoxy."

Some of the topics Hazlitt covers:
The Broken Window Fallacy
Government Price-Fixing
Minimum Wage Laws Also here and here.
Rent Control
Much, much more...

The book is very easy to read and is intended for newbie economists such as myself. I would highly recommend this book for every person as a citizen, and you could probably stop there (unless you want to go further, which I will). It is clear and concise enough that will help you understand the danger and harm of feel-good laws that are intended to help those in need. Be an informed citizen and voter!

Best of all, you don't even have to buy it. It's free right here.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Are You Pro-life? Are you sure?

Do you label yourself pro-life?

The majority of Americans who vote for the guy with an "R" next to his name would probably answer yes to this question, but that's also assuming that "life" only refers to the unborn child.

Conservatives are known for being pro-life in the abortion debate - at least when it comes to the ballot box or the comments section at the bottom of a Yahoo! article. Unfortunately, conservatives have joined alongside their liberal counterparts, relying on the government to point everyone's moral compass to the same direction as their own. The belief that "if we just make a law" will stop the murder of innocent children is as fallacious as believing that the prohibition would stop people from drinking.

(Side note: Yesterday in 1933, the 21st amendment was ratified, repealing the 18th amendment - alcohol prohibition within the United States)

Now don't get me wrong, I am not against creating laws to make abortion illegal. I think the only just laws are the ones that protects a person's life, liberty, and property. Murder just so happens to deprive a person of their life. If the litmus test for a just law is protecting a person's life, liberty, or property, then a law against abortion is a just law.

But do you think you're doing enough to end abortion by voting for it?

Consider this quote from, you guessed it...

   "Law reflects the morality of the people. Ultimately, law or no law, it is going to 
    be up to us as parents, as clergy, and as citizens-in the way we raise our 
    children, how we interact and talk with our friends and neighbors, and the 
    good example we give - to bring about changes to our culture toward greater 
    respect for life."
                                                                                           - Ron Paul

...toward greater respect for life...

This brings me to the actual point of this post and my reason for possibly questioning your pro-life stance. You see, those same Americans that usually vote for the guy with the "R" next to his name, are usually very excited and proud to see the young men and women of this nation march off to another war - to kill. They exalt people like Navy Seal Chris Kyle who is known as the "American Sniper" with over 160 confirmed kills. 

"Yay for the people that kill a lot of people - except for the people that kill unborn babies. They're evil."

Do we see a disconnect here? The killing of unborn babies is demonized (which it should be) while the rejoicing of killing people in other countries is celebrated? Oh wait, I know. They are fighting against Americans, so their death is justified -which explains why they believe American's deaths are justified for the sole reason that we are their enemy. Plus, what about the civilians over there that are killed? Maybe we don't exactly rejoice over their deaths, but we sure don't care about them.

Can we see why people think the pro-life labeled groups are hypocrites? Channeling Jeff Foxworthy:

If you are against abortion, but for more war - you might be a hypocrite.

If you are against abortion, but celebrate the troops that are used to kill in offensive, interventionist wars - you might be a hypocrite.

If you are against abortion, but vote for candidates that support endless wars - you might be a hypocrite.

If you are against abortion, but couldn't care less about non-Americans being killed - you might be a hypocrite.

Here's the bottom line:

The pro-life label must mean what it says. Be pro-life. Be for life. Celebrate life. ALL LIFE. Americans or non Americans, black or white, baby or adult. Life is a precious gift from God and should be seen as such. Does the way you live your life reflect your respect for life, or only your ballot?

Monday, April 15, 2013

Happy Tax Day!

"Could America exist without an income tax? The idea seems radical, yet in truth America did just fine without a federal income tax for the first 126 years of its history.
Prior to 1913, the government operated with revenues raised through tariffs, excise taxes, and property taxes, without ever touching a worker’s paycheck. In the late 1800s, when Congress first attempted to impose an income tax, the notion of taxing a citizen’s hard work was considered radical! Public outcry ensued; more importantly, the Supreme Court ruled the income tax unconstitutional. Only with passage of the 16th Amendment did Congress gain the ability to tax the productive endeavors of its citizens.
Yet don’t we need an income tax to fund the important functions of the federal government? You may be surprised to know that the income tax accounts for only approximately one-third of federal revenue. Only 10 years ago, the federal budget was roughly one-third less than it is today. Surely we could find ways to cut spending back to 1990 levels, especially when the Treasury has single year tax surpluses for the past several years. So perhaps the idea of an America without an income tax is not so radical after all.
The harmful effects of the income tax are obvious. First and foremost, it has enabled government to expand far beyond its proper constitutional limits, regulating virtually every aspect of our lives. It has given government a claim on our lives and work, destroying our privacy in the process. It takes billions of dollars out of the legitimate private economy, with most Americans giving more than a third of everything they make to the federal government. This economic drain destroys jobs and penalizes productive behavior. The ridiculous complexity of the tax laws makes compliance a nightmare for both individuals and businesses. All things considered, our Founders would be dismayed by the income tax mess and the tragic loss of liberty which results."
-Ron Paul
May 7, 2001 “case against the income tax.”

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Your kids are not yours, they're "ours"

A message from your dear friends at MSNBC

So THIS is what we've been doing wrong all this time. Silly parents thinking that they should train their children. They should know it's not their job. If they would just hand them over to society, then everything would be A-OK!

Friday, March 29, 2013

Luther's Insults

Today I ran across a website that will solve all your future insult problems. No longer are insults such as "poopy head" and "I don't like you" sufficient, let alone appropriate.

Using Martin Luther's random insult generator, you will never have a lack of insults to throw at the next person that cuts you off or makes fun of your tie dye shirt.

Some examples:

"If you who are assembled in a council are so frivolous and irresponsible as to waste time and money on unnecessary questions, when it is the business of a council to deal only with the important and necessary matters, we should not only refuse to obey you, but consider you insane or criminals."
From Defense and Explanation of All the Articles, pg. 80 of Luther's Works, Vol. 32

(Why isn't Martin Luther in Congress right now?)

"You are full of poisonous refuse and insane foolishness."
From Against Latomus, pg. 140 of Luther's Works, Vol. 32

Your words are so foolishly and ignorantly composed that I cannot believe you understand them.
From Explanations of the Ninety-Five Theses, pg. 87 of Luther's Works, Vol. 31

And of course my personal favorite that I've come across so far:

"I was frightened and thought I was dreaming, it was such a thunderclap, such a great horrid fart did you let go here! You certainly pressed with great might to let out such a thunderous fart - it is a wonder that it did not tear your hole and belly apart!"
From Against the Roman Papacy, an Institution of the Devil, pg. 344 of Luther's Works, Vol. 41

He really has a way with words, doesn't he?

Let me know your favorite insult! There's a lot of good ones!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

I Can See Clearly Now

These are all great men, and do you know what they have in common?

That's right, fashionable eyewear.

Well today at my physical, the optometrist figured that now is a good time for me to join the ranks of these great men, and join them I shall with great dignity and pride.

All I need is help figuring out what style suits me best. I sort of like the Teddy Roosevelt style, but maybe it is a tad old fashioned.

Using the latest photo editing software (Word), I did my best to give you some options to judge: