Taxes, Tolls, & Truckers

It’s a fair statement to say that the feds have dropped the ball on keeping our nations highways in shape. The fuel tax, the key mechanism set up in the 1950’s to fund the animal is still at 38 cents per gallon. That tax is split between 18.4 cents per gallon of gas and  24.4 cents per gallon of diesel. That’s the same rate it was in 1993. These, along with other excise taxes fund the Highway Trust Fund. Unfortunately, that fund is effectively broke right now. When established, cars got 5 miles per gallon and big rigs got about 1 mile per gallon, so we used to suck in a whole lot of fuel juice. Today, cars get average mpg in the mid 20’s and trucks get a whopping 5.6 miles to the gallon! Hey – it’s better than 1! Those changes alone mean less money in the fund. Now throw in a steady growth for electric cars, which either use no gas or limited if they are a hybrid, and the money fund goes down even further.

Now that does not mean funds have not been allocated for our roads. Going back t0 Clinton, which was the last time the taxes were raised and you’ll find several transportation funding allocations:

  • 1995 – 8 billion added to Highway Trust Fund as part of the National Highway System Designation Act
  • 1996 – 13.1 billion for transportation projects under HR 2002
  • 1998 – Clinton signs Highway Bill that poured 217 billion into funding. 41 billion was for mass transit
  • 1999 – For fiscal 2000, Clinton gets Transportation Spending Bill for 50.2 billion
  • 2002 – Fiscal year 2002 saw over 61 billion in transportation spending
  • 2003 –  Fiscal year 2003 saw over 67 billion in transportation spending
  • 2004 – Transportation Equity Act: 275 billion authorized, 64 billion spent that year
  • 2005 –  Fiscal year 2005, another 67 billion spent
  • 2006 – Fiscal year 2006 saw 70.7 billion spent
  • 2007 – Fiscal year 2007 was another 76.9 billion
  • 2008 – last year before Barry, 12.1 billion as Bush’s War on Terror funding sucked up 145 billion

That’s a load of money. I have not even listed Barry’s bills. Oh, and the Highway Trust Fund was declared insolvent in 2007…

Barry got his 800 billion Stimulus is 2009. Of that, roughly 80 billion went to infrastructure. So rather than do the year by, here is the summary of spending on transportation (infrastructure and related items) expended during the reign of the Lord Obama from the US Government budgets – 549.3 billion and that does not include data from 2011 and 2016 as it buried in so many reports, I did not want my eyes to bleed out.

Man – that’s a lot of money. Now, transportation is not just building and maintaining roads, but other infrastructure like mass transit as well as the cost to operate them.

It’s not like the monies have not been flowing, regardless of who is in Congress or the White House. So, why do we need to still spend a trillion on roads? Out tax money is going in and the appropriations are going out. I know there are and have been highway projects going on everywhere. Here is what I also know, many states have gotten tired of waiting on the feds in many states and are taking matters into their own hands.

Rhode Island Department of Transportation Toll Plan
In 2015 the Rhode Island Legislature rolled out a plan called Rhode Works. Cute. Bottom line – create new tolls to pay for repairs to roads and bridges. Hey, if the feds won’t doll the funds timely, take matters into your hands. I get it.

Here was the problem – this one targets truckers and truckers only to pay for the system. Hmmmmm.

Guess that thing called the Constitution and the Interstate Commerce Clause did not ring a bell? Well, the plan rolled out, tolls on truckers starting coming in and all was well in Providence, RI. The program was sold as a way to have truckers pay their “fair share” of wear and tear on RI roads according to RIDOT Director Peter Alviti.

So, it could be assumed that trucks are everywhere on RI roads? RI has 436000 registered cars, so how many trucks does it take to equal that amount of driving wear and tear? I don’t know, but my guess is truckers are getting hammered here. I plan on asking Director Alviti on air as I have invited him onto The Automotive Edge Radio Show with Truck Talk to discuss the issue. I want to give him a fair chance to talk on the issue.

In July of 2018, the American Trucking Association filed a lawsuit to stop the program. Eyes are on the lawsuit all over the nation, as its outcome will impact drivers all over the US.

This past week I had Rhode Island Trucking Association President Chris Maxwell on the show to discuss the issue. Maxwell brought up some key points on air:

  • There is a substantial amount of work that is being re-done to, shall we say, questionable original construction. This may be a factor nationally, as I have shown the numbers on federal outlays.
  • Maxwell believes this is a set up for uniform tolls on RI residents in the near future. There could be some credence here, as RI only enacted a variable increase in the fuel tax of 1 cent in 2015 when they could have taken more and distributed the cost.

Stopping the Attacks on the Trucking Industry
I have dealt with truckers for 20 years and I know all the crap they go through to bring you and me goods. Everything you have or buy was transported to the place you bought it at by a trucker. Think about that. Tolls are just one of the many frontal assaults coming at an industry in crisis.

Its time to learn more how to help the industry. I personally like being able to buy groceries and other goods.

Unless of course, you raise your own food, build your own shelters, sew your own clothes…..

Think they call them Amish.

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Back in the saddle again

Yep, I’m back in the saddle. Or more specifically – behind the keyboard.

I have laid off the blog for most of Trump’s term. Not because there hasn’t been crap to write about, there has been. I needed time away from the machine. Make no mistake – talking or writing about politics, especially now in the new wave of Nazi’s on the left that want to destroy anything or anyone that does not agree with them, and you place yourself at risk.

I needed some time. You see, losing a political campaign is one thing. That by itself gives one a big, red ass. In my case, the Great Recession was taking my livelihood and it had to be rebuilt and that damn near killed me.

The 2010 SD 22 Campaign cut out parts of my soul. Not because I lost – I ran a solid campaign against a snake who ended up doing prison time for the crap I uncovered about him. It’s been long enough now that I can write about the fact that because of what I uncovered lead to having guns put to my head on 2 occasions and threatening to blow my brains out and the fact that there were 2 abduction attempts on my kids from their school. I had an attack on one of my professional licenses to put me out of business. Let all of that sink in and simmer. There is not a job in the world worth my family and the items that occurred to me messed me up in many aspects. I was naïve and vulnerable to the consequences of hard-core politics and its impact on my family.

When your head is messed up, you make bad decisions. I have made a few in the past several years. I probably need to get the Golden Crowbar Award for having my head up my rear for an extended period of time. Fortunately, I am breathing clean air again.

So, will I ever campaign for an elected office ever again? Doubtful. Don’t have a problem helping others, but my campaigning days are done. I prefer the appointed route. I allowed myself to be appointed to the Johnson County Emergency Services District #1 (the JCESD) to see if I could handle government on a smaller scale. It’s been nearly 3 years and I truly enjoy it. Being able to guide the program the enables first responders is a hell of an honor. I have thrown my name in the hat for some Gubernatorial Boards appointments. We’ll see what happens. I will be sharing what happens at the JCESD and it is not boring….

I am reunited with my vocational calling – commercial insurance with a focus on commercial trucking. For some reason, I just love truckers and truck insurance. Its been 20 years since I wrote my first truck insurance policy. When I was a kid and dad drove us across America, I had the fun of getting to ride with truckers we met along the way and via CB radio. People that drive trucks are just the best and I love them. Oh, and if you don’t, you better start. Without truckers you don’t have anything. Food, fuel, clothes, etc. – it was all brought to you by a trucker.

Which brings me to my last section. Things do happen for a reason. I am now co-host with Kurt Chase on The Automotive Edge Radio Show. My segment is Truck Talk. Now Kurt has truly created something unique with this show. He has been helping people buy/sell/trade/repair or anything with cars for 15 years. Now, with my segment, we are going to do the same thing with semi trucks. It won’t stop there – we are going to include anything on wheels because his listeners want access to boats/rv’s/motorcycles/atv’s so we are going to give it to them.

Now I am also bringing diversification to the show. I am going to talk insurance and any regulation that screws people AND we are going to talk about regulations on state and federal levels that are messing with truckers. There is a bunch, I’m sorry to say. However, where there is regulation, there are politicians. Where there are politicians, there is a trial of bullshit, diversion, obfuscation, and outright lies. My job will be to shine a light on the darkness and separate the bs from the truth. This time around, I am going to have fun at it.

Does this mean I blog everyday or week or month? Hell, I dont know…. Going to be busy, so monthly is more realistic. However, it will depend on how much garbage is going on too.

You can learn more about the show at http://theautomotiveedge.com/ . Within a week, there will a section for me and Truck Talk. You can listen to the show on Fridays 3 to 5pm CST on 1190am KXFR if you are in DFW or go to https://www.iheart.com/live/talk-radio-1190-am-4276/ and you can listen to the show online. Download the iheartradio app and listen on the phone or tablet. The Saturday show will be from 11am to noon on 1160 AM KBDT in DFW or go to https://usaradio.com/ and select the Listen Live tab. There is no download yet.

The shows are LIVE and we like callers. I have changed twitter to @dgyancy65 and I will be tweeting out the call in numbers for the show. If the 8000 plus devoted readers of this blog will listen and call in, we will have a whole lotta fun.

So, do your research on your topics so you can sound informed when you call.

It’s time to ride!

 

 

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You Can’t Legislate Evil

For those that have followed me over the years, you know I don’t do knee jerk reactions to crazy crap. The Parkland Massacre is no different. As tragic as it is, it is not a reason to blanket punish the overwhelmingly majority of law abiding gun owners with additional laws. In full disclosure – in additional to having a Texas Concealed Handgun License, I have a Federal Firearms License as a dealer for one of our companies, as well as Federal Firearms License as a manufacture and importer under my wife’s company. In short, when I state I know firearms laws, I have the credentials to back up the statement.

The “We Need More Gun Laws Crowd” does not know squat on current law or facts on gunowners.
There are over 100 million Americans that legally own guns. If even a small minority of them were crazy or irresponsible with their guns, you would know as the sheer volume of deaths would be unavoidable in the news. Facts are gun dealers are required to do background checks and that check knocks out a large number of would be buyers. If you have had a DUI, DWI, assault charges of any kind, reported for spousal abuse, or a long list of items that dealers get from the ATF on why buyers are turned away – you don’t get a gun. Oh, and the dealers don’t make that call. The background check goes to the Feds. They make that call. Slapped your wife and she called the cops, so sorry no shotgun for you. So the guards for issues are there.

Then there is the waiting periods. They vary from state to state, but are a minimum of 3 to 7 days. That is for the person that can pass the tests, but might have had something happen that provokes an “I want to kill hubby/wifey tonight for cheating” sort of affair. The idea is to allow for cooling off. Its works for most of the time.

Now I hear the gun grabbers screaming “Darren – the gun shows! Anyone can get a gun there!” No, crazy leftist, they cannot. Dealers at gun shows are still required to fill out the same paperwork and do the same background checks. They are still legally liable for following the law. Now, private sellers can sell to one another and there is no current law that requires waiting periods, background checks, or paperwork. Here is an area where problems have occurred. Someone sells (or gives) to a friend and it comes back to bite them on the ass. Remember, legal gun owners have a paper trail of the purchase and serial number on the gun. Despite what the press publicizes, legally purchased guns can be tracked to where the were sold very easily. If a private transactions ends up with a crime committed, the seller of that gun can still be prosecuted. While the law does not require the same checks for private sellers as dealers to sell or trade a gun, it does not let them off the hook for not disclosing the sale to the new buyer. Now is this a perfect process? No. However, to blanket punish 99.99999% of gun owners is insane for the mistakes of a few. That’s not majority management, that tyranny through fear tactics.

The facts are that 99.99999% of legal gun owners you will never hear about. That .000001 % that Nikolas Cruz falls into is a category that no law will ever prevent because YOU CANNOT LEGISLATE EVIL That is what this little bastard is and no law would have stopped his thought process. Now we can debate whether or not this could have been prevented because of the clues, warning signs, and miscues that happened along the way. But evil will find a way. If it was not a gun, it would have been a bomb or car or some other device to cause maximum death and destruction. Raising the purchase age of a gun to 21 is crap without showing me a buttload of data showing crimes committed with legally purchased guns of people under 21. I already have an issue with someone being 18 and not being able to drink in many states, and I don’t drink or like drinking. However, it you can be determined legal at 18 to vote and die for your nation, you damned well should be able to buy a drink legally and protect yourself. Jacking the age to 21 is a way to satisfy the slobbering leftists that hate guns on any level. There is no sound basis to institute law over a single incident.

Mental Health & Owning Guns
No one wants a crazy person getting a gun. That is not what is at issue. Gun grabbers want a laundry list of ailments that any person could have at any time and thus opening up a way to ban firearms. Legal gun owners will not let that happen. What we are open to is a reasonable discussion on aliments that have a track record leading to violence and hard definitions. Nonetheless, people like Nikolas Cruz will still slip through any system as evil can pass for sane.

Caution to the Gun Grabbers
Gun owners have firearms for a number of reasons from protecting their families to collecting to sporting & hunting. At the core of the 2nd Amendment was a directive to the new colonists become Americans to remember – bearing arms is the only way to keep government at bay. That means have the ability to keep the domestic government in check through the citizens ability to take it back if it gets too far out of line. Various nations in history that became republics later turned tyrannical. That can happen here as well. Our government is by and from the people, not a entity above the people. If it attacks its people, you cannot take the government back with pitchforks and torches. Then there is keeping other governments at bay. That means national defense. There is written evidence to the fact that the former Soviet Union never invaded the US due to one simple fact – our citizens were too well armed and are essentially the largest army on the planet. They would have been slaughtered.

Reality in the World of Today
While I am happy N Korea want to talk of eliminating the nukes, their missiles don’t worry me. It is a porous border that allows our enemies easy passage into the nation to attack us from within. We have watched it happen in the EU for the past several years. We are not exempt from it and our enemies are evil.

And you cannot legislate evil.

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Where Rocketman Began

One of the reasons I like Texas in the winter is it is usually in the 50’s for the season with some occasional dips to remind us of what real winter is over a big chunk of the USA. This 1st day of the New Year has it a 16 degrees Fahrenheit out my door. Brrr. How do you people in the north deal with this? I salute you for being tough as nails in this arctic cold far more than we are.

A cold day allows a little time behind the keyboard and a chance to reflect on current events. Events like the idiot in N Korea who is determined to start a war to prove how much of a moron he really is. I saw where Kim Jong Un (KJU) is reaching out to S Korea for peace talks, while threatening the US will nuclear “response” if attacked. You know, KJU has the nuclear button on his desk….. Wonder how much say the N Korean people had in that process? Silly me, I forgot, they have their tongues cut out if they don’t praise Boy Wonder.

Sometimes we forget that the reason the US and USSR never nuked each other was along the way, both sides figured it out that NOONE WINS. Talk deterrent, big stick, and all that, but neither wanted to end the world. I’m not so sure about this jack ass. Does he really think N Korea could win a nuclear war? Bad as China hates the current situation, they know what happens if KJU launches one toward the US. They don’t want any part of that and I believe China will play a more aggressive, albeit behind the scenes, role in reigning in the Rocketman.

But how did we get here? I think this point needs to be hammered in because the last 2 Democrat Presidents – Clinton and Obama, have done more to endanger the world since the rise of Hitler. Let’s go back to the mid 1990’s, when KJU’s dad, Kim Jung-Il rose to power following his father’s death. Jung-Il was himself a maniac. The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which N Korea had signed a few years back, was about to be worthless as Jung-Il was about to shred it. Enter Clinton, desperate to salvage the situation and come out smelling like a rose. Clinton formed agreement that would have the US supply the fuel N Korea would lose from nuclear power under the agreement. Estimates put the value of what was promised in the agreement from 4 to 5 billion from John & Jane Taxpayer. Additionally, UN embargoes would loosen to allow N Korea’s economy to improve, etc, etc, etc. All N Korea had to do was allow inspections and be up front on storage of spent radioactive materials. Well, you know the story from there.

Actor James Woods put forth a blistering tweet this past summer about it. Now liberals are trying to re-write history to cover Bill’s ass. Funny thing, the agreement that was struck with N Korea was also done in a manner that was not, well technically according to Clinton, a treaty. This meant no Senate approval. Barry had a template for dealing with Iran forged by Bill, including how to hose US tax payers with paying out our cash. However, those Republicans (unlike the ones on the Iran deal) had the brass nads to bring the matter into budget negotiations and the agreement got Congressional approval. Unfortunately, here is where 2 fools met when the agreement was passed as it never should have been approved. The N Koreans defecated on the agreement and stalled inspections to grow into what we know now is a full nuclear program.  Twenty three years later and the latest N Korean dictator now has something to blow up.

And has KJU been having some fun launching his toys over the past year…..

Thanks a lot Bill.

And now you have your Rocketman.

 

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Cinematic Themes of Jesus

As we approach the date of celebration of the birth of Christ, I love to watch movies this time of year. Movies about, Heaven, God, & Christ are dusted off the shelves and played. I find it interesting that many of the movies I see right now are more about the death of Christ as opposed to his birth. “Ben-Hur”, “King of Kings” and the recently made “Risen” are all about the time of death and resurrection of Christ. “Passion of the Christ” is great, but just too real for meat certain points in the movie. Great movies, but one would think they would be more relevant around Easter. “It’s a Wonderful Life” and its modern-day semi-remake “The Family Man” with Nick Cage are two of my favorites. “The Nativity Story”, “The Birth of Jesus”, and “The Greatest Story Every Told” are all wonderful films.

It is absolutely marvelous when a hidden movie with Christ gets uncovered. I had the pleasure of watching “The Shack” with Sam Worthington today. Had not seen the previews, reviews, and had not a clue to the background of the movie. If you have not seen the movie, there are spoilers in this blog. While I had it on from the beginning, I was not paying much attention until the young Mack appears to poison his alcoholic father for beating him and his mother in drunken fits. That caught my eye and I watched. The story centers around a tragedy of the main character’s youngest daughter being abducted and ultimately murdered while on a camping trip. The abduction occurs in a moment when the father has to rush into the lake to save his other 2 teenage kids from drowning. They are in the water due to one child standing in the boat and causing it to capsize.

This part of the film hit a little too close to home for me. I was able to take my kids camping a lot as they grew up. I have been the dad that dived into the lake when a boat capsized. I have had my little wandering kids disappear on me and there is no greater fear for a parent than “what if”. So when the main character was sobbing to his wife that it was his fault when his daughter was abducted, he was right. The mom could say all she wanted that it was not his fault, but it was. I have been there, as have other parents. When you take your kids out, you are responsible for them. Period.  The film then delves into his guilt and anger.

Mack is enticed by a mysterious letter to return to the scene of the crime where his daughter was abducted. Frustration occurs when no one is there and it appears that Mack attempts to kill himself, only to be disrupted by a deer. What ensures afterward is a discovery of a man who appears to be Jesus that leads him to a beautiful cabin on the lake in spring. There he meets God in female form, as well as the Spirit of the Wind. Having met Jesus, Mack is in the presence of the Holy Trinity. What comes afterwards in a healing process for his soul that I did enjoy.

The reason I bring the movie up is it hit on some points I have been gravitating towards for some time that fall right in line with the Season of Celebration. The first point concerned the wrath of God. Growing up in the Bible Belt and being Sunday Schooled heavily in my early years, the wrath of God is something that you are taught and accept as doctrine. We hear of it from the Old and New Testament; God’s wrath is written in the Quran as well.  I have even seen teachings that God loves war, and allows man to slaughter one another. While I never bought into the war part, I never questioned the assumption of God’s wrath until I became a parent. Once you become a parent, you love your children with all of your heart and soul. Sometimes they do great and wondrous things and sometimes they break your heart, but at no time do you ever wish ill for your child. This message comes out in this movie several times through direct statement and at other times via implied actions. War and slaughter of mankind are acts of evil and man’s inability to properly interpret the world without God’s guidance. It makes a whole lot more sense that God wants all of his children to be loved and saved than condemn them to war, slaughter and ultimately hell. Seems to sound a lot like the message Jesus gave, but a message certain religious zealots seem to forget.

Point number 2 is that there is salvation regardless of the sin. This is based on the fact that young Mack kills his father through poisoning him, albeit it accidentally as well as the fact Mack is told forgiving his daughter’s murderer must be done for him to heal. God wants to “redeem” that man. Powerful message and one I am sure certain religious groups take serious issue with. As with wrath, why would God want to punish his children? If you have kids and have to discipline them, which is needed at times, it does not correlate to an enjoyment. The parent normally gets the worst of disciplining a child and it can be no different for God to send his child to hell without working to redeem and forgive them for terrible sins.

Which brings us back to the birth of Jesus and the Reason for the Season. Jesus preached love, faith, and forgiveness. Jesus asked us to forgive ourselves, our neighbors, as well as our enemies. Through faith you can have everlasting life in the light.

A light shown in the past, which will shine today, and will continue to shine tomorrow.

I hope you add this movie to your list to watch.

Remember that Jesus is the Reason for the Season of Celebration and have a Merry Christmas!

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Blood of the Bombs

December 7, 1941 changed the globe. It was when the US entered its second World War that would change our great nation forever. What appeared as a victorious maneuver for the Empire of Japan, would eventually lead to its defeat and movement away from an imperial country.

The price paid in blood from the bombs dropped that day continues to rise. The bombing of Pearl Harbor brought global change in weapons technology, weapons that would change geopolitical landscapes. New Powers arose among nations and old empires crumbled. From the US entrance into WWII from the bombings at Pearl Harbor, we can draw a straight line to the Korean War (and we are still dealing with this), Viet Nam, the Cold War, and the War on Terror. There are a whole slew of military conflicts over the last 25 years not declared as wars where US military involvement has made matters worse in most cases. It was after World War II that Israel was awarded land  for its nation by the United Nations. The US was the first to recognize her. The fight between Arabs and Jews go back to Ishmael and Isaac, but this change has placed the Middle East at the epicenter of conflict ever since. The War on Terror is centered in the Middle East.

The blood spilt by the US since WWII, whether justified or not, is a direct result of our nations change in policy of being the “worlds police”. I also know that if the US had not been present to play this role, our world would look much different, and not for the better, than it is today.

Was this the intention of the Japanese when they bombed Pearl Harbor – to have the world in perpetual conflict? Unlikely. Japan’s losses of her own were staggering.  The US played hardball with oil supplies and paid the price of interference. Japan expected America to roll over and get out of the way.

The real question is – did anyone learn any lessons from this day? Do world leaders look back at the sequence of events that lead to this date and work to avoid the same mistakes?

I don’t think so.

Ronald Reagan was declared a war monger during his term for the US military arsenal buildup as a deterrent to the Soviet Union. In reality, Reagan deployed forces 16 times over his Presidency. The most public was Grenada to rescue American students, Lebanon – where the Marines were part of a UN effort to support a shaky  government, and the bombing in Libya where Ronnie sent Gaddafi a nightcap. There were no protracted actions. While there were losses, they were not expounded like the presidents since.

The blood continues to spill and the bodies keep piling up.

So when you pray for those that died 76 years ago today, and you pray for our military at home and around the globe, pray for wisdom to come to all world leaders. Pray for peace from love, hope, and the charitable hearts of mankind.

If we don’t, we are going to drown in the blood of the bombs.

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The Bitcoin Bonanza

At the beginning of 2017, I could not have told you what Bitcoin or any other cryptocurrency are. While I now know of the many cryptocurrencies out there, the only one I have my eye on is Bitcoin. What I am going to summarize can be found in a very detailed and informative documentary on NetFlix called Banking on Bitcoin. If you want to learn more, I highly recommended the hour and a half to watch the movie.

Origins of Cryptocurrencies
In the 1990’s there was a group of super nerds (cypherpunks) that decided the central banking system as we knew it had too many flaws, and they were unhappy with governments role as the trusted third party. These individuals were concerned about privacy and individual liberties being threatened by the control of money.

If you boil it down, money is a basic accounting system of who owns what. For centuries now, governments have been the trusted third party as the issuer of currencies around the globe. What the issue had become for this group was whether or not the government should remain that trusted third party or should there be a peer to peer system where people can send money for goods and services without government regulation, fees, and the potential for corruption. The basis for the current cryptocurrencies in the market were being formed.

DigiCash came the closest to launching an e-commerce platform for money in the 90’s, but simply could not gain traction. Its founder realized the need for government and banks to get behind it to make it work and that abandoned the principles for which the idea was based upon.

A Collapse that Opens A Door
The financial collapse of 2008-2009 revived the interest in a new form of digital currency, due to governments complete and total inability to protect the public from corruption within the established financial system. Out of the group of original cypherpunks and all of the various ideas that came about, one name in particular rose to the top with an idea that we now call Bitcoin – Satoshi Nakamoto.

Nakamoto published a white paper on a digital currency on a peer to peer system, based on the ideas of others such as Nick Szabo, Hal Finney, and others and produced a viable working system that we now call Bitcoin. Cryptocurrency is effective making currency transactions using cryptography as a secure means. The backing of the peer to peer system is the blockchain, which is having the ledger transactions verified by the network of multiple computers operated by a consensus of individuals committed to an honest and verifiable system. The people are now called “miners” because they get rewarded for their work through the issuance of bitcoin. The miners and blockchain have no government oversite or regulation and the trust of those using cryptocurrencies are based upon this simple foundation.

The Blockchain
The ledgers are distributed worldwide and each Bitcoin transaction is verified, logged, and open to the public. The owner of the transaction is protected through encryption. The computers are independent and done without the oversight of a central bank and its network, thus the system is impossible to hack.

The miners that keep the blockchain going are the backbone. While the reward is Bitcoin for their work, without the miners keeping the system honest, it would collapse. Now, someone might think “I’ll just jump into Bitcoin mining!” Before you do, understand what the blockchain effectively does is super computing and the code that is read for the transactions is very complex. The miners invest in top line computers and bear heavy cooling and utility costs to maintain the blockchain. Those that maintain the blockchain are in it for the change to global currency and not necessarily as a business model.

Why the Government System is in jeopardy and why it scares the hell out of people
What Bitcoin offers is the first truly unregulated form of money the world has seen in centuries. All of the government currency systems and all of the traditional financial markets cannot control it. When you look at the areas Bitcoin serves – Africa, S America, large parts of Asia (including China), and the Middle East; these areas all have one thing in common: local currencies that suck, a lack of access to banks, and a large user base that wants the freedom Bitcoin offers. It is estimated that over 2.5 billion adults do not have bank accounts and hail from these regions. Bitcoin provides an opportunity for this sector to come into the financial world. Additionally, these areas usually cannot get or have a short supply of US Dollars, British Pounds, or Euros and Bitcoin offers the first available alternative and they love it. You could say that by ignoring this sector, governments and the established financial community have created their own nightmare. While it’s not big in the US or EU now, don’t count on it staying that way. As of this writing, a single Bitcoin is valued at $4865 to one US Dollar. That has the current Bitcoin market cap over 179 billion USD value and growing.

So why the concern from the established financial sector? They cannot control it or benefit from it. They cannot make fees or bastardize cryptocurrency. Governments cannot control how it is used. That is a basic rub that will not go away until they can control it.

So why did New York State begin the regulation burden? Well, like all new frontiers, some of the pioneers that come in are bad actors. Bitcoin was not exempt from this. The Silk Road, a site for buying illegal drugs online and anonymously was founded by Ross Ulbrecht, had Bitcoin as its main form of currency for transactions. Thus, the currency gets a black eye. The government finally cracked the code and arrested and hammered Ulbrecht.  Even though his servers were outside of the US and he was personally nabbed in San Francisco, the case was tried in New York – the epicenter for global financial regulation. That was done for a reason – to send a message. It was about the use of Bitcoin and having a purely unregulated market with no oversight was a threat to the establishment and would not be tolerated. I don’t advocate committing criminal activity, but why was this not done to the asswipes that killed the economy in 2008?

Then came Charlie Schrem and Bit Instant, which became a quick Bitcoin exchange. Where Bit Instant ran into issues was that it was US based, in New York, and thus came under the Patriot Act and the terms of knowing clients to avoid money laundering. If you want an idea of what true cronyism looks like, review the Patriot Act and what defines money laundering and what has to be done to avoid non-compliance. It is impossible. When one of Bit Instants (BTCKING) clients was found to be using the Bitcoin from the exchange to provide to its clients to buy products from the Silk Road. Schrem was communicating with BTCKING and found to have knowledge of its business. Schrem was arrested and tried and convicted for money laundering under the Patriot Act. Again, I don’t support the criminal act, but ATM’s have cash withdrawn every day that ends up being used to illegal purposes. Have yet to see one banker go to jail over an ATM cash related drug deal. Have you? The next day there was the first hearing in New York by NY Financial Superintendent Ben Lawsky on the regulation of Bitcoin…… Here is the question – how can the US issue regulation on a currency they don’t even recognize?

Then the MT Gox fiasco came along. Mt Gox had been formed to be an exchange and was originally formed in the US. However, the original founder did not want the US oversite and sold it to Mark Karpeles, a Frenchman living in Japan. It was the global leader in exchanging Bitcoin. About 2 weeks after the New York hearings, Mt Gox announces that over 750 million Bitcoin have been stolen or lost and that they are claiming bankruptcy. Mt Gox had over 6% of the estimated Bitcoin value in its care when this was announced. To this day, no one knows how this happened.

So, Bitcoin had some public mistakes that opened the door for government regulators to come into the arena and put their sticky fingers all over it.

Whoops, Here we go Again!
Within a year of the initial hearings, Lawsky’s department hands out the first outline for Bitcoin licensing in the spring of 2015. The application and process is enormous. Most Bitcoin companies left New York. Amazingly, due to the complexity of the application and its process, Lawsky left the New York Department of Financial Services to form his own consulting firm in May 2015. The firm specializes in helping companies navigate the process he helped make into law. Within a year of the new regulation, most of the other people that helped to draft the regulation had left NYDFS for consulting gigs in the private sector specializing on Bitcoin exchange licensing.  When will this crap end…..

Oh, and now you have Bitcoin licenses for almost every state to regulators can get fees. However, not all states are the same. Here is a list of the most friendly and most onerous to have a Bitcoin exchange in the US as of today: http://news.dinbits.com/2017/01/state-of-regulation-2017-bitcoin-and.html. My home state of Texas is the best place to do business.

Feds Still Ready To Hammer
On August 24, 2017, the SEC announced temporary suspension of publicly traded First Bitcoin Capital. First Bitcoin is classified as a “penny stock” due to its value. The SEC suspended this Canadian company (hmmm?) because the value went up over 7000 percent…. https://www.coindesk.com/sec-suspends-trading-publicly-listed-bitcoin-firm/.  Its not the first company with Bitcoin growth ambitions that the SEC has suspended and will doubtful be the last. Question is why? Hopefully I have provided you with the basis for rational debate on that.

The Future of Bitcoin
Is Bitcoin here to stay? I think digital currencies are here to stay and at the moment Bitcoin is king. Could another cryptocurrency knock off Bitcoin? If the government ties it down too much, then the answer is yes. The road map has already been plotted and the knowledge is there to make another one just as viable. Bitcoin is about freedom and once you have a taste of it, you don’t want to give it up.

Nor should you have to.

 

 

 

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