Saturday, January 31, 2015


A friend of mine told me of an incident that happened while she was working outside of her home. They live in the country and the rest of the family was gone. She was tending to their garden when she heard an odd noise. An eerie feeling came over her. She suspected that she was being watched but couldn’t place the source. She is convinced that a drone of some kind had flown over her property. Along with the invasion of privacy, she felt a deep sense of personal violation.

No American should have to feel this way. An intense debate is underway in Washington over the use of drones—an especially sensitive subject with competing privacy and security concerns. America is increasingly turning to drones for purposes that range from science to economics to national security. Drones facilitate difficult research, flying into wilderness areas and harsh climates where people cannot travel. Entrepreneurs use them for commercial reasons. Farmers are deploying the technology for better crop management.

Congress first mandated developing drones for military missions. Drones have effectively gathered intelligence, and in some cases crippled terrorist leadership structures without risk to troops. On battlefields without defined borders, drones have been integrated into defense strategy. The United States remains the world leader in developing and applying this technology, but soon enough small and undetectable drones might begin flying from other nations into our territory. Imagine an undetected armed drone nearing a crowded football stadium.

This week a commercial drone crashed on the White House grounds. The incident triggered worry about the President’s security. Initial accounts indicated that a civilian was piloting the “quadcopter” for recreational purposes when a problem sent the drone plunging onto the White House lawn. It turns out the individual was a government employee. One thing is clear: as the technology becomes less expensive, these flying objects will become more pervasive.

A balance must be struck between using drones appropriately for research, socially beneficial market innovation, and national security—while also protecting civil liberties and personal privacy. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has compiled a roadmap for integrating unmanned aircraft systems into national airspace; however, the FAA has not completed the congressionally mandated set of regulations for proper government and commercial use. A Congressional Research Service report has highlighted a myriad of potential legal difficulties of drone proliferation. The President has expanded drone programs, but after the White House incident, he is now calling for more regulations. In 2015, Congress must reauthorize funding for the FAA, perhaps providing a broader legislative platform for the debate on the future use of drones in our country.

When I was a child, I enjoyed building and flying model airplanes. I had to warm the engine with a battery and carefully start the propeller with a finger. Then I flew the plane in a circle by controlling two wires that connected to the rudder. Technology has certainly changed. As 21st century advances in engineering, robotics, and aeronautics continues, the drone debate raises deeper questions about how technology must serve the good of society and not infringe upon basic liberties.

About the Author:

JEFF FORTENBERRY has served as the U.S. Representative for Nebraska's 1st congressional district since 2005. He is the Chairperson for the Subcommittee on Department Operations, Oversight, Nutrition and Forestry. Vice Chair of the Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health and Human Rights and has a seat on the Subcommittee on the Middle East and South Asia. He is a member of the following Caucus groups: Civil War Battlefield Caucus - Congressional Biofuels Caucus - Congressional Farmer Cooperative Caucus - House Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Caucus - International Conservation Caucus - Sportsmen's Caucus.

Congressman Fortenberry has become the most knowledgeable representative on Capitol Hill for nuclear security issues.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Is America Leaning Toward Socialism?

The United States is about as far removed from true socialism as any nation could be

What does it mean to be a socialist? According to the World Socialist Movement a socialist is someone who believes in and practices the principals of socialism. Socialism is defined by the same organization to be “common ownership.”

In broader terms “common ownership” refers to the “entire global population” as the sole owners of “everything in common.”

Certain resources are exempt from common ownership according to the socialist philosophy such as personal possessions like articles of clothing, keepsake items and other such items that cannot be owned or shared in common and have strictly personal worth and no overall global value.

Therefore, the vast majority of the world’s resources fall under the umbrella of common ownership. How this philosophy is practiced in the real world, however, is where it generally fails to meet its desired definition.

In order for true socialism to be a practical working system certain other criteria must be in place and strictly adhered to:

Greed, lust and envy, three of the baser qualities of human nature must be kept in constant check by each individual under this system of economic and political philosophy. Without these kept under the watchful eye of the individual the system will collapse in on itself.

This must be the task of the individual and peers and not some type of governmental and legislative force or the system will quickly move into the realm of a totalitarianism, police state or dictatorship - all in the name of the common good.

Democracy in its truest sense must be the foundation upon which the socialist system is built. A system in which each individual member of the society participates on various or multiple levels in the economic, political, military, trade, security, education, transportation, infrastructure, judicial and production, just to name a few. Just as above, this social democracy must be first and foremost on the level of self-governing of one’s actions with minimal legislative and police enforcement or it will slide into a Soviet-style or Maoist communism.

The responsibility of the individual being capable of governing themselves cannot be overstated if the real idealism of a socialistic state can ever be successfully achieved.

The needs of the society are met through cooperate production of the world’s resources in common and nothing of the Earth’s natural resources and human technical advances are employed and consumed that doesn't meet human need.

The end result of this type of sole use production would be the free access of the world’s goods and services by each member of society and based upon the needs of the individual in that society and their level of participation within the procurement and production of said goods and services. This would lead to the end of economic systems so prevalent since the dawn of human civilization. The need for the transfer and acquisition of personal financial wealth would be done away with as all under socialism, in theory, would benefit from the sole use ideal. It would literally put an end to the need for buying and selling, legal tender or currency of any kind. The barter system would thrive under true socialism.

Any type of work, service, skill or profession not deemed by the community as useful and needful for that society would not be practiced by the individual. Only work that produces the needs of the common good of the people would be engaged in and only those skills and practices seen to have some kind of direct usefulness to the community as a whole would be seen as beneficial.

The types of work practices would of course be determined by the community at hand. One community may see no beneficial use for music composition but has a great need for mining. Another may not live in an area conducive for mining but is a literal bread belt for growing crops of great variety, and so forth. This is where in a socialist society barter becomes an active part of the system of economic convention.

All this then leads to one burning question - Has humanity within the last 300 years practiced socialism in its truest sense anywhere or in any country? I think the answer to that question is self-evident -- No!

This then leads to one more question - Since there has been no known or recorded society of human beings that have practiced true socialism within the last 300 years has the American nation ever been led by a real socialist President or Congress? Again, the answer is an unqualified -- No!

Therefore, inspite of the pundit calls that say otherwise Woodrow Wilson was not a real socialist. Neither were Franklin D. Roosevelt, Lyndon B. Johnson, Jimmy Carter or the current President of the United States Barack H. Obama. Also, the American Congress has never in its entire history of existence been led by or guided by the principles of true socialism.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Pegg To Share Writing Credit For “Star Trek 3″

Pegg may face his greatest challenge as a screenwriter. Can he get serious without losing his comedic touch?

A lot has changed since Roberto Orci has stepped down from the director’s chair for the third chapter in the alternate timeline Star Trek film franchise.

One of the newest revelations is actor Simon Pegg’s expanded role for this movie. He will not only reprise the role of Chief Engineer Montgomery Scott but will also take on a writer’s credit as the co-writer for the film’s screenplay.

Pegg is certainly no stranger to writing for the big screen having written everything from the iconic zombie parody in Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, Paul, and his take on an alien takeover of a small hamlet in The World’s End. His writing has normally been reserved for small and big screen comedies but now he can take on the challenge of a dramatic story with the Trek movie.

Pegg will share writing duties with Confidence and Dark Blue writer/producer Doug Jung.

“Star Trek 3″ will see the return of the bridge crew headed by Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto along with Karl Urban, Zoe Saldana, John Cho and Anton Yelchin.

The movie is currently slated for a July 8, 2016 USA theatrical release.

"Atlas Shrugged III" Now On DVD and Blu-ray

As the government tightens its grip everyone is wondering - Who is John Galt?
Ayn Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged” was one of the most influential books of the 20th Century. It also became a controversial independent 3-Part film with a mixture of Rand’s economic and political philosophies intricately interwoven with a science fiction twist, romance, intrigue and mystery.

The first two films (Atlas Shrugged I & Atlas Shrugged II) were received with mixed reviews due to the entrepreneurial and political nature inherent in Rand's worldview but the sci-fi elements were a huge hit with those who love the genre.

Now Atlas Shrugged III a.k.a. "Atlas Shrugged: Who Is John Galt?," the third and final film of the series is available on DVD and Blu-ray.

Approaching collapse, the nation's economy is quickly eroding. As crime and fear take over the countryside, the government continues to exert its brutal force against the nation's most productive who are mysteriously vanishing - leaving behind a wake of despair. One man has the answer. One woman stands in his way. Some will stop at nothing to control him. Others will stop at nothing to save him. He swore by his life. They swore to find him. Who is John Galt?

Atlas Shrugged III stars Kristoffer Polaha (Ringer), Laura Regan (Mad Men), Rob Morrow (Entourage) and Greg Germann (Law & Order: Special Victims Unit). It is directed by James Manera who also co-wrote the adapted screenplay.

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