Author: 71 Republic

Putin Responds to USA-Ukraine Arms Deal

By Owen Heimsoth | USA

According to the Washington Post, the US State Department has approved of a $41.5 million arms deal with Ukraine, who is currently the subject of Russian military intervention.

In early 2014, the Russian Military annexed Crimea. Ukraine still says that Crimea is still a part of their country, while Russia and 10 other UN states recognize Crimea as a part of Russia. This group notably includes Syria, North Korea, Venezuela, and Cuba. Russia is still continuing their fight in Ukraine.

In 2014, Congress authorized the sale of lethal weapons to Ukraine, but the Obama administration never fully authorized this deal. Members of President Trump’s cabinet has come in support of this arms deal, including public support from Secretary of Defense James Mattis. The Washington Post also has reported that President Trump has approved of this deal. Canada has also paved the way for defense contractors to sell weapons to the Ukrainian government.

Today, December 22, Vladimir Putin remarked on the deal at a Defense Ministry board meeting. He said, “Russia has the sovereign right and capabilities to adequately and timely respond to such potential threats.”

He also made comments on US defense policy, saying, “The US has recently unveiled its new defense strategy. Speaking the diplomatic language, it is obviously offensive, and, if we switch to the military language, it is certainly aggressive.”

It is somewhat confusing that President Trump, a supporter of Russia, would be in favor of an arms deal that would give weapons to Ukraine. It is well known that he wants to increase ties with the US and Russian governments in the alliance. If this is the case, why does he want to give weapons to a country fighting Russia?


Governmental Regulation: The Antiquated Barrier to Fresh Growth in America – Jesse Stretch

By Jesse Stretch | USA

The trade-off is a perception of public and consumer safety. A label that says you’re safe; a license to guarantee that a person is competent; a logbook proving experience. As a consuming American, the idea is that you’re never going to lose. You’ll never get hurt, swindled, tricked, ripped-off. The food you eat will be clean and wholesome. Your air conditioning man will be licensed and “know what he’s doing” as he crawls through your attic sporting tandem full-sleeve skull tats.

As a farmer, business owner, contractor and product producer, I am licensed and unlicensed in all sorts of fields that many of my customers and friends have never heard of or considered. I know from personal experience that barriers to growth and virtual impossibilities exist in the governmentally-instituted regulatory system that make starting or growing a small, fully compliant business almost impossible for the average working American.

Production and product costs in the agriculture field are up, with much of the rise
attributed directly to the time-intensive process of regulatory compliance. For instance, due to regulation, we must now drive two hours each way to have our cattle processed for customers, because the skilled butcher just down the road has decided that FDA inspection is a pain, and he would rather just process deer and livestock for personal consumption. He has decided that it is easier to turn down business than to comply with the FDA. We local farmers all know he’s a great butcher, but without the Federal Government’s consent, we can’t hire him to process meat for our customers.

In the age of free information transfer, where one person can communicate instantly with an entire nation of peers, the question arises: Do we always need the government to tell us what is safe and what is not? Do we need the government to tell us who to trust now that we have our friends and associates at our fingertips every hour of the day to give us reference?

The first regulatory agency in America was set up in the late 1800s to regulate the railroads. This agency was set up in part because a train could get from Point A to Point B faster than any other communication, meaning that railroad companies had the advantage of far superior information dissemination over the people. With that kind of speed and power, unethical manipulation of commerce was very possible. Thus, the Federal Government stepped in to regulate. Back in the 1800s, this made sense, and it protected small businesses and individuals from a larger manipulative entity.

From there, more than four hundred federal regulatory agencies have sprung up to protect us. They regulate your ability to own a dog, plant a tree, and buy certain foods. As many consumers are aware, purchasing and selling the formerly essential household product raw milk is now illegal in much of the United States. Not only did the federal government tell us that it’s better to pasteurize milk, they told us they’d fine and/or jail us for selling or purchasing its counterpart. There is something wrong with a system that outlaws an elemental, ancient, healthy, local food product. Raw milk is not dangerous.

Most of these regulations were devised years ago because people had no way to
communicate quickly to blow whistles on quality issues. If Farmer Joe sold a bunch of disease-ridden food which was then put on a train to New York City, the situation could escalate for days, weeks, before the word would get out. Hence, Farmer Joe faced regulation to ensure sanitation on the production end— aiding in the prevention disease outbreaks at the controllable single source and not the open multi-consumer end.

These days, however, technology gives consumer groups the ability to instantly report a
quality or service issue. One voice is no longer lost in a crowd, but can often be heard on social media or elsewhere online. Farmer Joe’s bad meat would last a day on the shelf, maybe less, and people would be wary of buying from him again. Society will govern itself in this way. Many federal food safety regulations are rendered almost pointless by this ability to communicate and establish relationships based on trust, free information, and consumer history rather than on an antiquated safeguarding oligarchy.

In all of this, we see the institution of government regulation costing money to producers
and consumers, while not delivering an adequate or necessary return on value for either party.

Over-regulation poses issues for the future of fresh business growth in America, as such
intensive and time-consuming compliance requirements stifle the ability for new ideas to reach fruition. I say fresh growth because that’s just what it is; it’s not a barrier to growth for entities with a net worth north of a few million dollars—they have the funds to hire compliance personnel and pay the fees required to grow under the watchful eye of the regulatory committees. The growth problem exists most for the small business who gets lost under the bureaucracy and can’t find daylight; the little farmer, craftsman, tradesperson—the local girl who wants to sell fresh pastries on her townhouse porch (but is shut down by food safety regulations) or the guy who has a few greenhouses and wants to peddle lettuce greens in a parking lot but can’t because he would need a location with tier three commercial zoning, the highest level of commercial zoning, just to do so.

My business is relatively simple: Farming and Landscaping. In this simplicity, however, one can find the reason why over 20 licenses and/or registration accounts are technically required for such a business to exist. Each license will cost money, take hours to complete, and many will require exams and/or yearly renewals. For a working person, maintaining twenty or more licenses can be virtually impossible—especially if the business is a startup.

There is a really old guy down the road from my farm who used to sit outside his garage
where he’d fashioned a small vegetable stand. They shut him down because of regulatory issues. He was sitting out there under a carport in his lawn chair sleeping half the day, selling tomatoes and melons that he grew in his backyard. They somehow found a way to shut that down because it was deemed a health issue.

Regulation has reached a point where the system no longer creates a safe environment for the consumer but rather projects upon the masses endless doldrums of big box stores and boring commercial multiplicities. Such intensive over-regulation overwhelms the business owner into a state of bewildering semi-compliance. The maze of rules and agencies sequesters growth, mildewing a stagnant climate of anti-creativity in which eligible and worthy business owners are forced to fudge or forego licensing information or credentials, and thereby subvert the institution of regulation itself.

Fresh growth begs simplicity, and simplicity will only come from casual civillydisobedient reformation. If everybody threw their pointless dog license papers away, the dog license would go away. If everybody started selling baked goods on the corner, the agencies would never enough have time to stop them all. I’m not advocating the complete disbanding of regulatory agencies, nor anarchy, but for small business to thrive, something has got to give.

Wouldn’t it be nice to go downtown on Sunday and buy pastries from the girl’s porch
just off Cary Street, eat fresh lettuce from a conscientious farmer, and cut open melons with an 80-year-old man in his carport? I think so.

I, for one, would like to spend less time filing paperwork and fudging truths to
bureaucracy, and more time farming and growing my business under the watchful eye of my peers—not the watchful eye of the federal and state bureaucracies. We don’t need the government to tell us who to trust, we have our friends in commerce for that now. The internet will oust a bad producer in an instant—their operation shall wither and die under the power of online public opinion. In the age of social media and abundant online information, the need for institutional regulation is fading.

To our government: There was a time when we needed your blessing on what farmer or tradesperson to trust. That is true. But this was before we could all get together and communicate instantly online. These days, thanks to the little flickering screens in our palms, we can regulate ourselves, tell our friends who they can trust, and spread our own truths instantly.

We don’t need an inspector to tell us that we can or can’t eat an old man’s produce—but
thanks anyway.

Libertarian Paradise: Liechtenstein

By Jackson Parker | LIECHTENSTEIN

The Principality of Liechtenstein situated on the eastern border of Switzerland goes unnoticed by many despite its record achievements. The small country, only spanning a total of 62 square miles, has proven themselves to the world that they can run an efficient country for its citizens. Liechtenstein holds one of the highest ratings of GDP per capita in the world, first if not adjusting for purchasing power parity. It has an astounding human development index of .912, above numbers such as the UK’s, Japan’s and South Korea’s. The country’s population of around 37,000 have had a minuscule unemployment rating of less than 3%.

But with this extreme economic prosperity, something surely must be the cause.

The cause is the libertarian tendencies of the country’s policy.

With 88% of the legislature belonging to fiscally right-wing parties, the people of Liechtenstein have one of the freest economies in the world. Liechtenstein holds some of the lowest tax rates in the world which a basic personal income tax of 1.2% and corporate profits are only taxed 12.5%. This economic freedom has allowed the small country to have more registered companies than citizens that make up for its lack of natural resources with opportunity in an extremely strong financial sector.

The sitting Prince of Liechtenstein, Hans-Adam II also strongly believes in the ideas of liberty stated in his book, The State in the Third Millennium.

“I would like to set out in this book the reasons why the traditional state as a monopoly enterprise not only is an inefficient enterprise with a poor price-performance ratio, but even more importantly, becomes more of a danger for humanity the longer it lasts.”
-HSH Sovereign Prince Hans-Adam II of Liechtenstein, The State in the Third Millennium, Introduction (Page 2)

The nation-state of Lichtenstein does an excellent job of eliminating government overreach by employing federalism to its 11 autonomous municipalities. This shrinking of the federal government allows freedom to breathe inside of the tightly woven communities atop the Alps.

“The State should treat its citizens like an enterprise treats its customers. For this to work, the State also needs competition. We therefore support the right of self-determination at the municipal level, in order to end the monopoly of the State over its territory.”
-HSH Sovereign Prince Hans-Adam II of Liechtenstein

With the massive successes in economic and human development, Liechtenstein presents a favorable case towards how smaller government benefits everyone involved. With legislation to eliminate overstepping government regulations, taxes, and control, perhaps the whole world can take a card out of the Alpine microstate’s playbook to further the freedom of their citizens and to promote economic growth inside of their own borders.

Trump’s Tax Bill: The Successes and the Issues – Greg Stephen

Greg Stephen | USA

The GOP’s new tax bill is -quite arguably- a massive success so far, but what exactly IS this attempt at tax reform anyways, what is its end goal, and what is it doing wrong? Is it just one big malicious attempt by corrupt and crony Republicans at allowing the evil capitalist CEO overlords to exploit the masses?

Quickly put, the answer to that last question is one big fat no. The tax bill isn’t meant to just help the rich and wealthy, even though at first glance it may seem like it. The theory is called trickle-down economics, or Reaganomics (after President Ronald Reagan who was president during the first time this theory was implemented in American economics), and you may have been hearing these terms quite frequently over the past few weeks. You also may have been hearing that this theory has never worked for the people before (which history most vehemently disagrees with, see the Reagan era), or simply cannot work in modern times due to a different economic “landscape”, as you could put it. What this theory truly is is that through tax cuts for wealthy CEOs, these heads of corporations would have more money to spend on their businesses, and in turn increase wages and boost the economy.

After this bill passing through the Legislative Branch, Democrats alongside fiscal liberals of all kinds are completely losing it. Fiscal leftists have the idea that these CEOs will use the money, of which they are now not being forced to pay to the government with the threat of being locked in a cell if they don’t comply, to simply buy things for themselves. This, however, would be very counterintuitive considering that they could make even more money if they pooled their newly found savings into growing their business and then making even more money. A few questions for those who believe this: if these CEOs are so greedy and money-hungry, why would they pass up a chance at growing their businesses and making more money? Also, why wouldn’t these CEOs give their workers higher wages and better working conditions if other companies are doing this, which they in fact now are, thus minimizing the risk of losing their workforce to competitors?

So far, just like during the Reagan era, everything is going according to plan. Dozens of large companies, for instance, AT&T and Comcast among many others, have been increasing wages and making working conditions better for their workforce, thus giving these workers more buying power while spending on other businesses themselves and in essence stimulating the economy by, and to say the absolute very least, a lot. However, is this really as far as we can go?

Sure, this is a great leap in the right direction as well as surefire, objective proof that reducing taxes on the wealthy is a good idea in not only theory but in practice, but what else could we do? One looming threat that, even in success, this tax cut poses is that it can and will increase our national debt. What one option that’s most certainly on the table (and mind you, one that can and will increase liberty) is to cut spending. You know, that thing that House and Senate Republicans always say they’re going to do, but never really do it? The survival of the new GOP tax reform bill may be just enough incentive for the Republican Party to truly follow through on all of their economic promises. If the Trump administration, alongside GOP representatives and senators, really do want to secure their seats and positions of power in the coming elections in 2018 and 2020, then they need to truly live up to their titles as fiscal conservatives and cut reckless and needless spending across the board. If they do this, then we could possibly see even more economically beneficial tax cuts down the line during the Trump presidency.

For instance, why just cut taxes on the wealthy? Why not cut income taxes for not only CEOs, but lower and middle-class workers, alongside cutting needless and reckless spending on unnecessary programs? The benefits here would be countless, most importantly increasing average citizen’s buying power, thus stimulating the economy even more so.

So, in conclusion, Trump’s newly passed trickle-down tax reform bill is, again, quite arguably one big success so far, but has two major issues; first of which being that without cutting spending the bill won’t last very long, second of which being that it’s a step in the right direction, but doesn’t maximize the full potential prosperity of a supply-side economic policy. For now, all we can really do is wait and hope that Republican senators and representatives will make the right decisions to maximise the capitalist potential of what this bill could start. Here’s to the GOP not screwing this huge chance at a true capitalist society up, and here’s to capitalism and the prosperity it can, and will, most indefinitely bring.

Stop Beating Around the Bush, Apple!

By Jason Patterson | USA

Recent reports have shown that Reddit users have been noticing that Apple is intentionally slowing down old iPhones that have low-capacity batteries. While many iPhone users have experienced perceived slowdowns due to iOS updates over the years, it appears that there is now evidence that Apple is throttling processor speeds when a battery capacity deteriorates over time.

 John Poole, a Geekbench developer has mapped outperformance for the iPhone 6S and iPhone 7 over time and has come to the conclusion that Apple’s iOS 10.2.1 and 11.2.0 updates introduce this throttling for different devices. iOS 10.2.1 is particularly important,  as this update was designed to reduce random shutdown issues for the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6S. So basically  Geekbench shows that iOS 11.2.0 introduces similar throttling for iPhone 7 units with older batteries.

Also, some Reddit users said that replacing their batteries has returned performance and CPU clock speeds back to normal. These findings are particularly strange and could lead to owners to upgrade their entire device instead of replacing the battery. “This fix will also cause users to think, ‘my phone is slow so I should replace it’ not, ‘my phone is slow so I should replace its battery,’” Geekbench’s John Poole claimed.

Apple responded to the findings by saying;

Our goal is to deliver the best experience for customers, which includes overall performance and prolonging the life of their devices. Lithium-ion batteries become less capable of supplying peak current demands when in cold conditions, have a low battery charge or as they age over time, which can result in the device unexpectedly shutting down to protect its electronic components.

Last year we released a feature for iPhone 6, iPhone 6s and iPhone SE to smooth out the instantaneous peaks only when needed to prevent the device from unexpectedly shutting down during these conditions. We’ve now extended that feature to iPhone 7 with iOS 11.2, and plan to add support for other products in the future.

Apple is basically claiming that it’s not slowing down older iPhones just to urge people to upgrade to newer devices. It’s addressing an issue with devices containing older lithium-ion batteries that results in unexpected shutdowns. Because those older batteries are incapable of handling peak current draws with the same effectiveness of iPhones with newer batteries and more efficient processors, they run the risk of the device powering down to prevent damage to its internal components.

It all makes maps out. As battery life degrades, a smartphone’s ability to achieve the same performance with less efficient battery use degrades as.  However, the company isn’t helping by being a bit opaque. It’s clear that controversies like this — underpinned by conspiracy theories around planned obsolescence — sprout up because there is a lack of communication between device manufacturers like Apple and consumers.

It’s also obvious that Apple, which makes its devices hard to open and repair, could do a  better job helping consumers understand the benefits of battery replacement if they indeed wanted to.  That’s something the company seems less inclined to do when it might mean forgoing the sale of a new iPhone every 12 to 24 months. We have to remember their main goal is to sell phones.