William Thien

Archive for June 2013

I can’t tell you how many times when I’ve brought up the subject of social welfare in a discussion and the costs to society the socialist (Democrat) response has almost always been, “Yeah, well what about corporate welfare?”

Those of us who follow a more conservative path must realize that in order to address the matter of social welfare, something we all know is thoroughly abused, we must also address the subject of corporate welfare. Because as long as the socialists can respond to our calls for smaller government and fewer social welfare programs, as long as socialists can respond with, “Well, what about corporate welfare?”, we conservatives won’t make any ground. Why?

Because the socialists have a legitimate point.

Now, I am pro-business. I am a capitalist. But when nonsensical legislation and tax loopholes allow corporations to undermine the American working class by shipping jobs outside of US borders or special tax categories allow certain businesses to remain in business long after they are viable or competitive, I believe the United States tax code requires reform. Because it is at that point philosophically that there is no distinction between social welfare programs for people and corporate welfare. No distinction whatsoever!

So in a sense, not only do particular tax loopholes and write-offs for corporations undermine the American working classes by shipping jobs outside of the country, for example, it is the existence of massive forms of corporate welfare (too big to fail bailouts that end up as $1,000,000 bonuses as another example), it is the massive forms of corporate welfare that undermine our attempts as conservatives to curtail social welfare programs for people and the massive abuses and misuses that come with them. One only needs to ask a socialist.

Corporate welfare begets social welfare.

Copyright © William Thien 2013

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One of the most drastic problems with the current status of illegal immigration in The United States is that industry benefits thoroughly from NAFTA while the citizenry suffers from the same legislation as it undermines their economic position. Yet the burden of maintaining the border or paying for the benefits obtained by illegal immigrants is still passed on to the citizen. Industry covers none of that while it simultaneously ships jobs just outside of our country’s borders due to favorable tax loopholes for doing so.

William Thien

A co-worker of mine asked me rather indirectly to address the matter of illegal immigration in the United States. I’ve been putting it off.

So I’ll get right to the point. We only have two choices really. Either seal off the border and do it right…or we will have to implement a European Union type solution.

Already with NAFTA (North American Free Tree Agreement) we are trading amongst North American countries for all practical purposes tariff free. Because of NAFTA, which of course devastated the job market in The United States, the framework is already there for a North American Union of some type. Our industry profits from the close proximity of foreign countries but the citizenry pays thoroughly in the form of taxes for benefits obtained by illegal immigrants while industry covers none of those costs, AND at the same time our citizenry endures loss of employment as jobs…

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Another interesting aspect of the Snowden revelation about The NSA is that it really isn’t all that exceptional with regard to levels of surveillance. For instance, other US security agencies have been acting at the same level of surveillance as The NSA since 9/11, enacting a “nationwide blanket search warrant” you could say.

If as I’ve described previously two teenagers in one situation and an elderly woman in another were concerned that for some reason the government was going to potentially view them as terrorism suspects because of a text message, perhaps it is because when the teenagers or the elderly woman use the airport for example, The TSA (Transportation Security Agency) has been searching them, searching young children even, searching them physically.

Essentially, there is no difference between what The NSA or The TSA are doing when you consider the scope or breadth of intrusion or level of surveillance. Every American is and for over a decade now has been considered a potential terrorist if one considers the extent of search.

It raises an important question, “What is more threatening to a country’s liberty and social condition, something such as a blanket search warrant of all of its citizens or the mere profiling of a small, frequently foreign in origination and historically dangerous segment of the population which lies therein?”

I think the answer is rather obvious.

Copyright © William Thien 2013

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In a public venue the other day I heard two teenagers discussing a text message to someone. I happened to overhear one of them say, “No way, dude. The NSA!” He whispered with raspy emphasis. Later in the week I overheard a conversation in a public place where an elderly lady said to a middle-aged man, “No, I don’t want that to happen. I don’t want the government thinking I’m a terrorist.” The elderly lady was clearly over seventy years old.

I had to laugh a bit. If teenagers and seventy year old ladies are concerned about being monitored by The NSA and being labeled terrorists, that may be the very definition of “a chilling effect,” a chilling effect in its purest form.

Copyright © William Thien 2013

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No doubt revelations about The NSA spying on all of us have a chilling effect, but I can’t help noticing that nobody is paying attention any longer to how corporations spy on us to the same or greater extent as The NSA, trade the information they obtain about us wholesale, and nobody bats an eyelash about that.

William Thien

I have to admit that given the current political climate the matter of the government using The NSA to compile all of our phone records and the collection of all of our credit card transactions, our internet activity, and the impending governmentalization of our medical records, I have to admit the matter is chilling.

But I think it would be unwise to disregard the same behavior by corporations, those corporations that place “cookies” and viruses on your computer to track your internet activity, those companies that monitor your cell phone activity, the trading of information regarding your purchases, and all of your other public activity, all of it, whatever it may be. It is spying, espionage, corporate espionage. As a country we are naturally concerned about what our government has The NSA doing yet we seem almost apathetic about corporations that are doing essentially exactly the same thing.

I believe…

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I telephoned Sen. McCain’s office in Tucson, AZ today asking that he work to facilitate the trade between the Afghan Taliban for our soldier Bowe Bergdahl. Being a former P.O.W. himself, I believe Sen. McCain can provide the expertise of his experiences regarding the matter.

The Taliban have offered to trade Bowe Bergdahl for five of their senior operatives imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

I believe the trade is crucial as we head in to the next phase of the war in Afghanistan, peace talks with The Taliban, and though many believe such talks are not advisable, trading the five Taliban operatives for Bowe Bergdahl is a good faith gesture from The Taliban that we should not disregard.

“Leave no one behind.”

Copyright © William Thien 2013

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Where I reside the state legislature is scheduled to vote on a budget package that includes a provision authorizing law enforcement to take DNA from someone upon arrest. I telephoned my local legislator expressing my concern about taking DNA upon arrest rather than conviction. The budget is structured as a package and the provision with regard to taking DNA upon arrest cannot be removed from the budget as it is written.

Upon the advent of fingerprinting as a forensic tool there was a corresponding decrease in crime as investigators were able to make connections between criminal events and arrest the correct suspect. That is likely to be the case with the implementation of a DNA database. We would like to see that law enforcement has every tool at its disposal to solve crimes and DNA extraction is one of the most effective methods.

My problem though with extracting DNA upon arrest is that the DNA is going to the government. Unlike fingerprints, which are an external characteristic of a person, DNA is internal and the grand structure or design of a person. With today’s technology DNA can be altered, replicated, and manipulated for any number of reasons.

There is a sort of “creational,” theological value to DNA in a sense because it is believed by some that within the complexities of the DNA may lie the engine or source of the soul. To me, a theologian might find that the matter of DNA extraction by the government is a matter of the separation of church and state. Honestly, at this time I am not certain as to who, whom, or what I would choose, church or state, as the arbiter of such matters. Both choices concern me.

So, perhaps it is better to wait for a conviction before taking a person’s DNA. This may be one time the acquisition of evidence should occur later rather than sooner. The less time the government has your DNA, the less time it has to manipulate the DNA if it so chooses. My concern does not lie with the fear that the police themselves will somehow adulterate the DNA evidence but rather that the DNA will get into the wrong hands somehow once a database is constructed.

With your DNA material in the hands of the government, there is no telling what will be done.

Governments have been known to become monsters with such power and so too have religions.

Note: You should know that my DNA is on file with a branch of The US Military and was taken during a military physical a couple of years ago to be used to identify my remains. So I am not entirely against the process of using DNA for the purposes of identification.

Copyright © William Thien 2013

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