I am against minimum wages. Increasing a Government imposed minimum wage does not increase the value of work performed – it only devalues the dollars used to pay the wage. In a free society, a business owner is free to offer any wage, and a worker is free to accept or decline that wage. In general there should be fewer regulations on businesses and individuals because government regulations hinder both trade and job growth. The market forces of supply and demand should and ultimately always do determine the value of the work performed.
I am against higher tax rates for higher income brackets. Taxes should never be punitive – everyone should contribute in equal proportions to the necessary evil of taxation. While some taxes are necessary for government to function, the Government in general should tax less and spend less, simplify the tax code, and eliminate loopholes and special provisions.
Taxes spent on entitlements should be drastically reduced. Charity is the responsibility of a free people, making free choices. The Government should balance the budget.
I oppose government-provided universal healthcare and the Affordable Care Act. I support free market competition across state lines and competition to Medicare from private insurance companies; I oppose Medicaid expansion.
Private companies can provide healthcare services more efficiently than government-run programs, especially if private insurance companies are free from crushing government regulations such as being required to offer contraception coverage to nuns and the elderly.
A moratorium should be imposed on all immigration immediately, except in the few extreme cases where Americans truly can’t be found to perform a job -if such a situation truly exists.
If and when immigration resumes, I am against amnesty or any path to citizenship for illegal aliens that doesn’t start with “going to the back of the line”. Illegal immigrants drive down wages and have already broken at least one law of our sovereign nation. They should be deported. There are thousands of highly qualified persons worldwide who have paid a heavy price and are patiently waiting for legal citizenship.
We need a stronger border patrol and a fortified and effective border wall. The border patrol should not be used as a “Federal Police Force” checking the papers of and inspecting the vehicles of citizens without a warrant many miles into the interior, however.
Education and government in general should be handled at the most local level possible. Parents who want to home-school their children or send them to private schools be able to get vouchers for opting out of the public school system.
Voter ID Laws
Voter ID laws are necessary to combat fraud. If a person truly is disenfranchised by the difficulty of acquiring an ID to vote, perhaps it is not advisable for such a person to vote.
The right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.
The United States of America should have the most powerful military in the world. We should increase military spending. We should remove some of the barriers that prevent older and more experienced persons from joining the military.
The Death Penalty
I support the death penalty.
On Government Itself
Our society is not based on community and social responsibility; it is based on individual rights and personal responsibility.
Government regulations hinder individual liberties, free market capitalism, job growth, personal success, and the nuclear family itself. The Federal Government’s role should be reduced to providing a standing military, Federal Highways, and regulating contracts and commerce between and amongst the States. A smaller government with less regulation ensures maximum freedom for the States. Most services should be provided by the private sector in a free market, and a literal interpretation of the Constitution should be adhered to.
On March 23rd, 1775, Patrick Henry participated in the Second Virginia Congressional Convention. The Convention was debating how to resolve the then current crisis of a tyrannical British Government. Before Henry spoke at the convention, his opponents had urged conciliation and patience until Britain had replied to their latest petition for reconciliation. Henry was in radical opposition to capitulation, and argued to establish a militia in order to defend themselves; to the death, if need be.
According to his first biographer, William Wirt, Patrick Henry’s words were never written down at that prophetic meeting, yet no one who heard those words ever forgot their eloquence, in particular his final words: “Give me liberty, or give me death!”
On the eve of the anniversary of Patrick Henry’s powerful and moving speech, we reproduce the final words of it here:
They tell us, sir, that we are weak; unable to cope with so formidable an adversary. But when shall we be stronger? Will it be the next week, or the next year? Will it be when we are totally disarmed, and when a British guard shall be stationed in every house?
Shall we gather strength by irresolution and inaction? Shall we acquire the means of effectual resistance, by lying supinely on our backs, and hugging the delusive phantom of hope, until our enemies shall have bound us hand and foot?
Sir, we are not weak if we make a proper use of those means which the God of nature hath placed in our power. Three millions of people, armed in the holy cause of liberty, and in such a country as that which we possess, are invincible by any force which our enemy can send against us.
Besides, sir, we shall not fight our battles alone. There is a just God who presides over the destinies of nations; and who will raise up friends to fight our battles for us. The battle, sir, is not to the strong alone; it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave.
Besides, sir, we have no election. If we were base enough to desire it, it is now too late to retire from the contest. There is no retreat but in submission and slavery! Our chains are forged! Their clanking may be heard on the plains of Boston! The war is inevitable and let it come! I repeat it, sir, let it come.
It is in vain, sir, to extenuate the matter. Gentlemen may cry, “Peace, Peace”, but there is no peace. The war is actually begun!
The next gale that sweeps from the north will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms! Our brethren are already in the field! Why stand we here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have?
Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!
Within days, at about 5:00 am on April 19th, 1775, 700 British troops marched into Lexington to arrest “patriots” and seize their guns and ammunition, when, from a still unknown aggressor, the “shot heard around the world” was fired. The American Revolution had begun.
Right now, someone could be using your identity to start a new credit card, to get a loan, to drain your checking or savings account. In some cases, you might not find out about the theft for weeks, sometimes even months. Unfortunately, the longer it takes to discover the crime, the more damage will be done and the harder it will be to rectify that damage.
Thankfully, there are some ways for you to detect identity theft before the problems progress too far. Below are some of those methods.
- Errors on your credit report – By checking your credit report yearly, you’ll be able to determine if anyone is opening up accounts in your name without your permission. Otherwise, you may not learn there is a problem until you need to take out credit.
- Mail problems – One of the least-technological ways to commit identity theft is stealing mail. If you aren’t receiving mail or if you aren’t getting items in the mail that you are expecting, such as credit card bills, then you may be a victim of identity theft.
- Being rejected for credit you didn’t request – As you may already know, if a creditor rejects your request for credit, he or she must send you a letter in the mail explaining the reason for the rejection. If you begin getting these letters, but you haven’t been requesting credit, then that’s a good sign someone is using your identity.
- Being the victim of pretexting – Pretexting is a scheme involving the Internet or the telephone. Someone contacts you claiming to be a legitimate organization’s representative, then they’ll ask for your personal information, possibly a PIN number or a checking account number. If that has happened to you and you’ve given out that information, then there’s a good chance you’ll be a victim in the near future.
- Changes in your credit balances or checking account amounts – Unexplained changes in any of your financial accounts should be a big signal to you that something is not right. That’s why it’s a good idea to check all of your balances weekly and compare them to your estimates. As soon as you spot a discrepancy, you need to follow up with your financial institution.
- Being denied credit – Sadly, some people don’t discover they have been identity theft victims until they go to buy a car, get a second mortgage, or open a new credit card. If you thought you had good credit but are getting denied, then it’s a good time to check your credit reports, even if you’ve already done your yearly check.
- Being contacted by debt collectors – When you start getting calls or letters about unpaid debts, which you don’t recall having, you should never automatically pay them. Instead, send a written request for more information about the debt. By law, the creditor must supply you with this information.
- Having some types of spyware on your computer – While not all spyware leads to identity theft, you need to realize that it can pose a serious threat to your privacy. Your passwords, credit card information, and online activities could have been monitored by unknown third parties, which leave you vulnerable to an attack.
Art theft is an ancient and complicated crime. When you look at the some of the most famous cases of art thefts in history, you see thoroughly planned operations that involve art dealers, art fakers, mobsters, ransoms, and millions of dollars. Here you can read about some of the most famous cases of art theft in the history.
The First Theft
The first documented case of art theft was in 1473, when two panels of altarpiece of the Last Judgment by the Dutch painter Hans Memling were stolen. While the triptych was being transported by ship from the Netherlands to Florence, the ship was attacked by pirates who took it to the Gdansk cathedral in Poland. Nowadays, the piece is shown at the National Museum in Gdansk where it was recently moved from the Basilica of the Assumption.
The Most Famous Theft
The most famous story of art theft involves one of the most famous paintings in the world and one of the most famous artists in history as a suspect. In the night of August 21, 1911, the Mona Lisa was stolen out of the Louver. Soon after, Pablo Picasso was arrested and questioned by the police, but was released quickly.
It took about two years until the mystery was solved by the Parisian police. It turned out that the 30×21 inch painting was taken by one of the museum employees by the name of Vincenzo Peruggia, who simply carried it hidden under his coat. Nevertheless, Peruggia did not work alone. The crime was carefully conducted by a notorious con man, Eduardo de Valfierno, who was sent by an art faker who intended to make copies and sell them as if they were the original painting.
While Yves Chaudron, the art faker, was busy creating copies for the famous masterpiece, Mona Lisa was still hidden at Peruggias apartment. After two years in which Peruggia did not hear from Chaudron, he tried to make the best out of his stolen good. Eventually, Peruggia was caught by the police while trying to sell the painting to an art dealer from Florence, Italy. The Mona Lisa was returned to the Louver in 1913.
The Biggest Theft in the USA
The biggest art theft in United States took place at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. On the night of March 18, 1990, a group of thieves wearing police uniforms broke into the museum and took thirteen paintings whose collective value was estimated at around 300 million dollars. The thieves took two paintings and one print by Rembrandt, and works of Vermeer, Manet, Degas, Govaert Flinck, as well as a French and a Chinese artifact.
As of yet, none of the paintings have been found and the case is still unsolved. According to recent rumors, the FBI are investigating the possibility that the Boston Mob along with French art dealers are connected to the crime.
The painting by Edvard Munchs, The Scream, is probably the most sought after painting by art thieves in history. It has been stolen twice and was only recently recovered. In 1994, during the Winter Olympics in Lillehammer, Norway, The Scream was stolen from an Oslo gallery by two thieves who broke through an open window, set off the alarm and left a note saying: thanks for the poor security.
Three months later, the holders of the painting approached the Norwegian Government with an offer: 1 million dollars ransom for Edvard Munchs The Scream. The Government turned down the offer, but the Norwegian police collaborated with the British Police and the Getty Museum to organize a sting operation that brought back the painting to where it belongs.
Ten years later, The Scream was stolen again from the Munch Museum. This time, the robbers used a gun and took another of Munchs painting with them. While Museum officials waiting for the thieves to request ransom money, rumors claimed that both paintings were burned to conceal evidence. Eventually, the Norwegian police discovered the two paintings on August 31, 2006 but the facts on how they were recovered are still unknown.
As crime globalizes, so does crime fighting. Mobsters, serial killers, and terrorists cross state lines and borders effortlessly, making use of the latest advances in mass media, public transportation, telecommunications, and computer networks. The police – there are 16,000 law enforcement agencies in the Unites States alone – is never very far behind.
Quotes from the official Web pages of some of these databases:
National Center for the Analysis of Violent Crime (NCAVC)
Its mission is to combine investigative and operational support functions, research, and training in order to provide assistance, without charge, to federal, state, local, and foreign law enforcement agencies investigating unusual or repetitive violent crimes. The NCAVC also provides support through expertise and consultation in non-violent matters such as national security, corruption, and white-collar crime investigations.
It comprises the Behavioral Analysis Unit (BAU), Child Abduction and Serial Murder Investigative Resources Center (CASMIRC), and Violent Criminal Apprehension Program (VICAP).
VICAP is a nationwide data information center designed to collect, collate, and analyze crimes of violence – specifically murder. It collates and analyzes the significant characteristics of all murders, and other violent offenses.
Homicide Investigation Tracking System (HITS)
A program within the Washington state’s Attorney General’s Office that tracks and investigates homicides and rapes.
Violent Crime Linkage System (ViCLAS)
Canada-wide computer system that assists specially trained investigators to identify serial crimes and criminals by focusing on the linkages that exist among crimes by the same offender. This system was developed by the RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police) in the early 1990s.
UTAP, stands for The Utah Criminal Tracking and Analysis Project
Gathers experts from forensic science, crime scene analysis, psychiatry and other fields to screen unsolved cases for local law enforcement agencies.
International Criminal Police Organization (ICPO) – Interpol’s DNA Gateway
Provides for the transfer of profile data between two or more countries and for the comparison of profiles that conform to Interpol standards in a centralized database. Investigators can access the database via their Interpol National Central Bureau (NCB) using Interpol’s secure global police communications system, I-24/7.
Global communication system to connect its member countries and provide them with user-friendly access to police information. Using this system, Interpol National Central Bureaus (NCBs) can search and cross-check data in a matter of seconds, with direct and immediate access to databases containing critical information (ASF Nominal database of international criminals, electronic notices, stolen motor vehicles, stolen/lost/counterfeit travel and ID documents, stolen works of art, payment cards, fingerprints and photographs, a terrorism watch list, a DNA database, disaster victim identification, international weapons tracking and trafficking in human beings-related information, etc).
Provides information on the development and implementation of fingerprinting systems for the general public and international law enforcement entities.
Europol (European Union’s criminal intelligence agency) Computer System (TECS)
Member States can directly input data into the information system in compliance with their national procedures, and Europol can directly input data supplied by non EU Member States and third bodies. Also provides analyses and indexing services.
As these systems begin to merge, privacy concerns become ever-more looming. These systems will become more and more “access-level” based.
But who will watch the watchers?