What Is Memorial Day

It’s Memorial Day.  For some, that means an extra day off of work, a day to barbecue and hang out with friends by the pool, or another day to sleep in.  For others, it is a day that represents the ultimate sacrifices over 1 million people have made for the freedoms that we enjoy here in America every single day.  The problem is, too many Americans have forgotten the reason for Memorial Day and the people who gave it all–blood, sweat, tears, and even their lives–for us and our families.

Let’s take a look at the history of Memorial Day in order to understand the greater meaning of the day.  Memorial Day was first used in 1882 but was commonly referred to as Decoration Day until after World War II.  The first mention of a remembrance of those who gave their lives for the country came in 1861 when a civil war soldier’s grave was decorated.  The Federal Government officially recognized the first Memorial Day in 1866, but there are several records that show earlier years existed prior to 1866.

The Memorial Day that we currently observe was instituted by the Uniform Monday Holiday Act of 1968.  Prior to this Act, Memorial Day was celebrated on May 30 every year.  The Act moved Memorial Day to the last Monday in the month of May.  This allowed for the creation of a 3-day weekend every year for Memorial Day, as well as the beginning of the end for the real meaning of the holiday.

The real meaning of Memorial Day is to remember the ultimate sacrifice that was paid by men and women in the military.

If you visit any of the National Cemeteries today, you will find each headstone decorated with a small American flag to pay tribute to the Veteran whose remains are interred there.

(AP Photo/Richard Vogel)

The National Moment of Remembrance Act was passed in 2000 to call for a time of silence at 3:00PM.  There is also a movement spearheaded by a Veterans group called the #GoSilent campaign that seeks to draw attention to the 3 o’clock hour for a moment of silence to remember the nations war dead.

So, when you sit down today with your pulled pork sandwich and crack open a cold beverage, don’t forget to pay your respects to the multitude of men and women who don’t have the same privilege because they never returned from fighting for your freedom.

All gave some, some gave all.  Freedom isn’t free.

The R.I.T. Phrase

Last night, after the final notes faded out from an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England, a suicide bomb was detonated amongst a crowd of concertgoers as they left the arena. While authorities have not concluded the event was directed by a particular terrorist organization, the Islamic State has already claimed responsibility for the attack. As of this writing, 22 people have been confirmed dead, and 59 wounded.

Emergency crews respond to Manchester Arena

England has been in the terrorism spot light, along with other countries in Europe, including France. In the last year and a half, there have been at least 6 major terrorist attacks in Europe. Almost every single attack was related to ISIS in some fashion. Some were actual “soldiers” for ISIS, others were inspired by the terrorist group. The most recent attack is one in the same as the other attacks across Europe. Innocent civilians were targeted and brutally murdered by a terrorist organization spreading hate and violence in the name of Islam.

Terrorist attacks through 2015

You have likely heard a discussion about the R.I.T. phrase… Radical Islamic Terror. The events of May 22 in Manchester and previous events keep that discussion current. We are dealing with people who believe that killing people in the name of Allah is right, holy and justified. And they can use verses from their holy book, the Quran, to back up their claims. Islam is often called a religion of peace, but the fact is that its pages are filled with many references to violence and murder. Some examples of these verses include Quran 2:191,193; 9:5, and 49:9.

Some argue that these verses in the Quran do not supersede the verses referring to peace in the Quran, including Quran 49:13, 11:118-9 and 5:48. The problem with all of this is that interpretation and application is in the eyes of the beholder. While one Muslim might adhere to peace and non-violence as a general rule, another may read it as “kill all the infidels” and “jihad”. In fact, this is exactly how ISIS and other Islamic Extremist groups read it.

The fight against Radical Islam is not a new fight and it is not close to being over. The fight is against an ideology, not a people group. Until Islam is able to rid itself of those who interpret its pages with malice and hate, this war will not end. The bombings of Manchester, Brussels, France and many more will continue and will likely make its way to America. It could likely be slowed, but I am doubtful that it can be stopped. Some have even given up hope all together.

“Terrorism is part and parcel of living in a big city.” – Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London

We can slow it down by not allowing these radical ideologies to cross our borders and set up camp in our country. We can’t control those who are already here and have a radical bent, but we can filter out those who come here and have that soldier mentality already. President Trump issued an executive order to try to decrease the number of extremists crossing the border, by increasing the vetting process and stopping immigration from unstable and war torn countries that cannot assist us in vetting their citizens. The problem is that there are some who don’t want this to happen. In the name of “Equality”, they are trying to sacrifice our safety.

Do not be surprised when one day the headlines change from “Terrorist Bombing in England” to “Terrorist Bombing in New York City”. Mark my words, that day is coming. Are you prepared

Our thoughts and prayers go out to our friends in the U.K., to the victims and to their families.

 

Jason – Three Patriots

Not So Free Speech

George Orwell and his seemingly prophetic writings have entered into the limelight of reality. With many of his writings, he touches on the thoughts of many American’s as we sit back and ask ourselves, today, “What is going on?” and “How did we get here?” . In fact, George Orwell once wrote that,

Threats to freedom of speech, writing and action, though often trivial in isolation, are cumulative in their effect and, unless checked, lead to a general disrespect for the rights of the citizen.”

with an eerie premonition to the challenges we face today. The very rights granted to us by our founding fathers in the United States Constitution are under attack. Yes, I get to write this post without repercussion or fear of reprimand by our government. But let’s face it; this post is bound to offend someone right? In today’s world, it is seemingly impossible to practice our rights of freedom of speech without offending someone. What has changed? As the nation approaches its 241st birthday, we have seemed to have traded our patriotism and love for country for the love of self.

Today, groups such as ANTIFA claim to be using freedom of speech while suppressing the speech of others. Seems ironic doesn’t it? ANTIFA, or Anti Fascist suppressing the speech of others? But I digress. The point is that we have all become soft-skinned. Unfortunately, it seems that the only ones willing to actually stand up for what they believe are those that are offended.

Who do we blame though? I don’t know. Do we blame the government for allowing such acts to take place? No, I don’t think so… This would be an infringement on the very right granted to us by our government. However, I would argue that lines should be drawn and a clear distinction should be made between freedom of speech and crime and treated accordingly. Do we blame social media? Sure social media has allowed ideas, thoughts, and feelings to spread across the globe like wildfire, but the blame still can’t be placed on social media. Again though, as stated in previous posts, social media has begun to play a role in the limiting of freedom of speech dictated by their own understanding of what freedom of speech may be and how it fits in with their ideals and target audience. Let’s face it. To be honest, I don’t know who to blame. I do know that somewhere along the line, the United States has given birth to a generation of soft-skinned individuals that are too lazy to form their own ideals and beliefs and rely on others to influence their ideals and beliefs.

What can we do? Again, this is a question that is hard to answer. I feel it, and I know you do too. I feel like the United States is riding a thin piece of string about to break. Maybe one day we will collectively stand up for a common belief and fight for what we believe for the sake of the Nation and push back on the idiotic, delusional, psychotic feelings we find ourselves being forced into.

 

-Joshua

Three Patriots

YouTube Becoming Political

Recently, I have seen quite a few YouTube videos explaining the new monetization scheme for the YouTube website.  As you may or may not know, content providers for YouTube are compensated for their videos (as long as they have a minimum of 10,000 lifetime channel views) based upon money from ad revenues.  There is an algorithm based upon the number of views each video receives, to pay the video creators for their time and efforts on the site.  This monetization scheme has come under fire lately and it is hurting many YouTube content creators, many of which have a certain political leaning, leading some to believe that this change is an attempt to shrink or censor one particular political viewpoint.

The changes to video monetization came about due to issues brought up by advertisers, with YouTube ads on videos that included hate speech and inappropriate content.  Some of the video content that was objectionable to advertisers include, racial slurs, holocaust deniers, and others.  In response, YouTube changed their rules on how your video gets monetized, and more importantly, what content gets monetized.

There is a long list of content that is not advertiser friendly and therefore not subject to YouTube monetization.  Some items on that list include sexually suggestive content, violence, inappropriate language, drug use, or controversial or sensitive subjects.  I emphasized the last one because it is probably the most important item on the list.  YouTube has the right to demonetize your video if it deems your topic or content to be controversial or sensitive.  What exactly is controversial or sensitive?  That particular item isn’t defined, so it is therefore left up to the observer.

Extrapolating the list of content not allowed in monetized videos, we find quite a few YouTube channels affected by mostly the last point: controversial or sensitive subjects.  YouTube giants like Philip DeFranco, who has over 5.4 million subscribers, and PewDiePie with 55 million subscribers, to smaller channels like hickok45, Iraqveteran8888 and 22Plinkster have all felt the effects of demonetization over the past year.  More recently though, those effects have affected the more conservative channels the greatest.  RoamingMillenial and Louder With Crowder are the most recent channels to post about their demonetization and how it affects them personally.  One creator, ThePatriotNurse, has noticed that videos that just mention Jews or Israel (because the creator is in fact Jewish) has caused some of their videos to be demonetized.

On the flip side, you have YouTube news outlets like The Young Turks, which has a small paid subscription service, but has a very strong revenue source in YouTube videos, has not mentioned any issues with demonetization of their videos.  Interestingly enough, The Young Turks has a very strong liberal bent to their political leanings.  So, the moral of this story is that if you lean liberal/progressive, your chances of making money with YouTube is greater than if you lean conservative.

From the surface, it appears that YouTube/Google is attempting to do kind of a backdoor censorship of the conservative/right-wing viewpoints.  Gun channels where gun safety and reviews are uploaded have had nearly every video demonetized, even though they are not promoting any kind of violence.  ThePatriotNurse is a conservative channel that promotes medical preparedness for worse-case scenarios and many of her videos are demonetized.

Obviously, YouTube and Google are private companies and have every right to limit their content.  In the same manner, advertisers are spending their money and have every right to request certain types of pages not be included in their ad distribution.  The problem is, many of these channels were built from the ground up on YouTube and have invested a lot in the platform, from video equipment to editing software to make their videos top notch, and many of them rely on revenues to continue adding high-quality content to their channels.  YouTube seems to be taking them out of the game by taking away their incentive to provide good content.

How do you know if a video you watch has been demonetized?

If you watch a video that does not have an advertisement before the video starts, or doesn’t have a banner ad somewhere during the video, it has likely either been demonetized by YouTube, or the creator has not requested monetization for the video (likely it’s the first option).

What can you do to help?

Most creators have other jobs that allow fluctuations in revenue to go without any ill effects.  So a loss of YouTube ad revenue doesn’t hurt them personally, but it will likely affect content on their channel.  You might see less videos, less often.  You might see a change in the content, spending less money on props, effects, etc.  Some of the creators have set up pages on crowd sourcing websites to help fund their videos.  You can certainly help there if you feel the urge.  Others have requested you give money to a charity and that it will show them they are wanted and will promote a good cause.  But no matter what you do or don’t do, continue to support your favorite channels with views and “thumbs up”.  Nothing speaks louder to companies than popular items with a lot of support.  Share the videos on your social network pages to get more views.  Comment and tell them you like their content and want to keep seeing more.  Spread the love.

Let’s not let one company tell us what we can and can’t enjoy for entertainment and education.  If you are a YouTube creator, keep up the good work.  Don’t give up and don’t be discouraged.

Don’t let YouTube censor you.

Jason – Three Patriots

Comey Fired

Let’s talk about Comey. If you have been in a box for the last 24 hours or so, you may not have heard that the FBI director, James Comey, has received the loudest “You’re Fired” from President Trump. In a short letter to Director Comey, President Trump stated that he was following the recommendation of the Justice Department to terminate his tenure at the nation’s top law enforcement post.

The announcement was followed with all kinds of reactions from the political world. Some praised the action as a long time coming, while others saw it as a cover up for current FBI investigations.

From what I have seen, the responses from politicians and the media to the ouster, depends largely upon what side of the aisle that your political ideations lay. Most Republicans and the right leaning media have praised the move in the last 24 hours. Most Democrats and the left leaning media have condemned it. The interesting part of all of this is that at one point or another, both groups have been upset with how the FBI has conducted itself over the past year or so.

It was only 6 months ago that the Democrats were up in arms with Director Comey as he sent a letter to Congress announcing that the FBI was reopening it’s investigation into the email scandal that has surrounded Hillary Clinton. Democrats were furious at this announcement because it hurt the candidacy of Secretary Clinton. Mrs. Clinton herself has pointed the finger at the FBI and the Russians as the reason she lost (never mind the fact that she ran the worst presidential campaign in modern history).

Rewind 10 months from today and you will find the Republicans angry with Director Comey as he admitted that Secretary Clinton had mishandled classified information on her private email server, but neglected to recommend charges because he didn’t feel like she intended to violate the law. Republicans argued that the law never allows for intent to be part of the process.

So, over the last year, both Democrat and Republicans have been upset with the FBI Director and many of them have called for his removal from office, at least until the present day, when it actually happened. The Democrats are up in arms now with accusations against the President that he fired Director Comey, because he wants to cover up any connection his campaign had with Russia. The lack of any proof to this allegation notwithstanding, President Trump would have to fire a multitude of FBI agents to have any chance at covering up a collusion or conspiracy.

The FBI Director may have been involved in investigations relating to Russian hacking and election tampering, but he was by no means the only person involved. There would be several layers of agents who would have been leading the investigation, compiling reports and presenting them to the Director. Removing and replacing the Director would not tamper with any ongoing investigations.

What this all boils down to is that a moderately unpopular FBI Director has been relieved from his duties and will be replaced by someone of the Presidents choosing. The next question is “who will that replacement be?” Many have weighed in on the issue with who they think will be the favorite, but a White House spokesperson said today that the replacement will be non-partisan, in hopes to bring back some integrity to the Bureau.

Whoever the new FBI Director ends up being, hopefully they can settle parts of the great divide that continues to separate our nation between the left and right.

 

Jason – Three Patriots

College Might Not Be For You

“Grow up.  Graduate high school.  Go to college so you can get a good job.”  Everyone has heard those lines at some point in their life.  20 years or so ago, that trend began and it has evolved into nearly a necessity for all young adults to continue their education in college, even if they don’t like school, or excel in school.  Everyone is told that if you do not go to college, then you are throwing your life away.

Lately, the trend has gone from “go to college” to “send me to college for free”.  Bernie Sanders campaigned on this exact platform, which garnered him support from a large majority of the millennial generations, many of which are racking up or paying off student loans.  Bernie wanted the federal government to pay off most or all of the student loans and to allow students below a certain income range to attend college for free.  Who doesn’t love free?  I went with my wife to Chick-fil-A this week for Teacher Appreciation Week so she could get a free sandwich.  Free is great.  But someone has got to pay for it.  For Chick-fil-A, it’s the franchise owner who eats the loss of profit, but for the college students studying for free, it’s the taxpayers, because in all reality, there is no such thing as free.

College expenses have risen steadily year by year all over the country.  The most recent study by the College Board shows that average in-state tuition costs (including room and board, fees, books, etc) is $24,610.  The costs for private college is $49,320.  So, extrapolated out over 4 years (in reality many students spend more than 4 years due to changes in their educational focus), the total costs for college range from $100,000 to $200,000+, minus any scholarships or grants that the student has been able to attain.  This is a huge burden on graduating seniors as they face the workforce with a 6-figure sum of debt on their backs.  These numbers will continue to rise every single year as colleges find more reasons to increase their tuition.

What if I told you there is a way to avoid the 6-figure loan debt and still have a job that pays a living wage?  It is possible.  In fact, millions of people are currently doing it and it doesn’t require a government handout or new taxation scheme.  It’s called being a skilled worker.  There are many people who do not have a knack for studying books, taking tests, writing papers, but they are good at making furniture, or building houses, or paving roads.  There are millions of jobs that don’t require the linen of a college degree to do and many of them pay good money too.  Now, obviously I’m not saying that “no one should go to college” because society needs doctors and lawyers and scientists and teachers, but we also need carpenters, brick layers, construction workers and manufacturers.

Unforunately, I’ve met too many people that have gone to college and either gotten a degree in something unrelated to their current profession, or dropped out halfway through and realized they were great at carpentry or another skill.  They were good with their hands and could make works of art, that didn’t need the fancy degree.  But they still have the loans hanging over their heads for a degree they aren’t using.

Rather than hearing Bernie push for free college tuition, I would like to hear him push for vocational training and maybe an increase in high school courses that will help students figure out what they are good at and what they enjoy.  Schools have nearly done away with things like shop class, or home-ec.  Students can learn in high school if they would be cut out in the restaurant business as a chef, or in the furniture business.  They can also learn that maybe they are better at designing new furniture rather than building it and it could lead them into college in graphic design.  This could help reduce college major changes, that leads to extra time in college, and extra costs.  It also would help students know what path is right for them, rather than just following the crowds to college.

Overall, I think too many kids are being pressured, by their friends, parents, teachers and others, to go to college.  This weekend, I sat at a recognition ceremony for high school graduates and watched as 60 students walked across the stage, and all but 1 of them had plans to attend college somewhere next year.  For many kids, college shouldn’t be the default answer to the question, “What will you do after you graduate high school?”  If we can get away from that mentality, we can drastically help reduce the burden of college loan debt on students.  I know it doesn’t solve the issue completely, but it helps out a part of it.  It’s time to start find the easy solutions to problems, not more difficult ones.

Jason – Three Patriots

 

Sources: http://www.collegedata.com/cs/content/content_payarticle_tmpl.jhtml?articleId=10064

http://www.savingforcollege.com/tutorial101/the_real_cost_of_higher_education.php

Photo Credit: http://asklizweston.com/wednesdays-need-to-know-money-news-92/

 

Powers Of The States

Recently, I finished a 3-part series on the powers of government.  This series covered the powers of the legislative branch, the judicial branch, and the executive branch of the federal government.  However, these powers do not include the other powers granted to government by the Constitution.  The 10th Amendment in the Bill of Rights grants one other form of power to a form of government: the individual states.

The 10th Amendment states:

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.

So, let’s break it down into powers that are not granted to the federal government that would pass along to the state governments:

– Build and maintain roads
– Collect taxes
– Educate inhabitants
– Make and enforce laws
– General welfare expenses
– Ratify Constitutional amendments
– Issue licenses
– Regulate business within the state
– And so on…

Several of the items on that list have been taken over by the federal government, along with others not listed.  Education has only become federally regulated since 1960 and, even more so, with the No Child Left Behind Act and the newer Every Student Succeeds Act.  With these two acts, the federal government has decided that they can do a better job of regulating the education system than the state governments, but the problem is that the Constitution didn’t provide that power to the federal government.

Another pie that the federal government has stuck its proverbial finger into is minimum wage.  It has never been granted the power to regulate wages.  The history of minimum wage is quite interesting, with multiple Supreme Court cases invalidating and later upholding the minimum wage laws in 1941.  Since then, the federal government has taken that power and has run with it, increasing minimum wage as often as it sees fit.  It would be possible to return to a strict Constitutional approach to minimum wage with another Supreme Court decision, but it would likely be very unpopular with a portion of the country who feel that the federal government should tell the states how they should govern.  States still continue to regulate the minimum wage as they see fit, but their minimum wage must be at least the same as the federal minimum, if not higher.

The United States of America was originally created with the idea that the federal government has a limited power and that each individual state would have as much or more power than the federal government.  This is happening in some instances, while in others like education and minimum wage, it is not.  For example, the medical and recreational marijuana laws that some states have passed are bucking the federal law prohibiting the possession and use of marijuana.

James Madison wrote in The Federalist No. 45:

The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the Federal Government are few and defined.  Those which are to remain in the State Governments are numerous and indefinite.  The former will be exercised principally on external objects, as war, peace negotiation, and foreign commerce.  The powers reserved to the several states will extend to all the objects, which, in the ordinary course of affairs, concern the lives, liberties and properties of the people, and the internal order, improvement, and prosperity of the state.

Each year, the federal government takes more and more power from the states and gives it to itself.  The only way for this transfer and takeover of power to end is for the states to keep those powers through court action and likely a Supreme Court ruling.  Right now, however, the Supreme Court justices are not largely on the side of states’ rights over federal powers.  Until states insist on their powers remaining within their own control, you can expect the federal government to continue to grab for more and more authority.

Jason – Three Patriots

 

Sources:

http://www.basiclaw.net/Constitution/StatePowers.htm

https://www.infoplease.com/history-and-government/us-government/powers-government

http://www.heritage.org/constitution/#!/amendments/10/essays/163/reserved-powers-of-the-states

http://www.pbs.org/tpt/constitution-usa-peter-sagal/federalism/state-powers/

https://votesmart.org/education/states#.WP5ucVLlQb0

http://expungementinfo.com/exclusive-powers-state-governments/

https://www.law.cornell.edu/constitution/tenth_amendment

Photo Credit: http://www.livebinders.com/play/play?id=1164130