The year began with the collective eyes of the country on Iowa in anticipation of the earliest Presidential caucus ever. The January 3 Caucus saw Rick Santorum win by the narrowest of margins, only to end up without a single delegate from the Hawkeye State. Santorum could not hold onto his momentum and lost in New Hampshire, South Carolina, Florida & Nevada before winning ten more contests only to drop out and endorse the eventual GOP nominee, Mitt Romney who lost the general election to President Barack Obama. The GOP faction of the Republicratic Party maintained control of the US House of Representatives, the Democratic faction of the duopoly maintained control of the US Senate and the two sides continue to give the illusion of disagreement.
However, on the important issues, there is little disagreement, at all. Tougher sanctions against Iran passed with little opposition, there was little opposition to Obama’s expanded use of drone warfare, and both factions of the duopoly tried to push internet censorship bills.
Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke announced a third round of Quantitative Easing (QE3), “which came in the form of an open-ended commitment by the Fed to purchase $40 billion of mortgage debt per month until the job market improves.” So, while Bernanke inflates the US Dollar, people are turning to alternative forms of exchange. Bitcoin is one of those alternatives, and is becoming more and more popular everyday. Bitcoin Central, a Bitcoin exchange that is popular in the eurozone, has worked out a deal with Credit Mutuel and Aqoba to allow users in Europe to more easily transfer Bitcoins. This effectively puts Bitcoin Central on par with PayPal as a means of transferring money within the EU.
There were also two stories about very disturbing crimes, which brought the topic of gun-ownership to the public, once again. The first, being a mass shooting at a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado in July; the second being a school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conecticut. This second event has lead both factions of the duopoly to clamor for more laws, with the NRA even supporting a plan to essentially militarize the school buildings. On the same day as the Sandy Hook shooting, a man in China broke into a school and stabbed over 20 people, yet few people talk about knife control legislation. But I digress.
The year was not a total failure for freedom, as two States “legalized” marijuana for personal consumption. Voters in Colorado and Washington actually passed legislation to regulate and tax marijuana, though in a small way it is a victory for liberty, as fewer people will now be imprisoned for enjoying this herb. The Supreme Court, in a round-about way, ruled that individuals do have the right to film police and in June the court overturned portions of Arizona’s “papers, please” legislation.
All-in-all, 2012 could have been better, and certainly could have been worse. Here’s hoping 2013 sees bigger and better things for me and for liberty!