Sunday, October 26, 2014

Government doing what it does best: What it's supposed to not do


The mayor of Cedar City is among those who are touting the clubhouse renovations being done at the city golf course. One of her fans added, "What a great tourism and economic simulator in our beautiful city". They presume that no economic stimulus comes by leaving those funds in the pockets of taxpayers so they can spend the money in a way that best benefits them.

These anti-free-market sentiments are typical of the we-must-have-government-take-care-of-us mentality that infects modern American society.

People seem to believe that only government spending can create prosperity or stimulate an economy. They presume that private spending is not the highest use of money and other resources. Instead, they think that only government spending is well-directed. Of course, politicians and bureaucrats are eager to exploit such beliefs. Presidential-wannabe Hillary Clinton even went so far as to proclaim, "Don't let anybody tell you it's corporations and businesses that create jobs." She must have had an extremely low estimate of the intelligence and rationality of her audience. And that low estimate was apparently correct.

Why must it be the government that provides a place where golfers (a tiny portion of the community) can chase balls? The same question can be asked of almost everything we allow or ask government to do for us: dog parks, swimming pools, basket ball courts, baseball fields, recreation centers, farmers' markets, libraries and bookmobiles (Has anyone besides me ever asked how much a library costs per book lent?), theater production companies, senior centers, theaters, stadiums for professional athletes, as well as swimming, dance, and exercise classes, etc. Too many presume that none of these recreational activities can be met by private enterprise or by individuals on their own.

A few years ago, Cedar City sold its swimming pool to the local college. Soon, that pool was demolished and converted to student parking. The value of that land was, apparently, greater as a parking lot than as a public swimming pool. The cities' politicians were quick to dream up ways to replace that old pool at taxpayer expense rather than leave the decision up to free enterprise. I was one of a tiny handful of taxpayers who asked the question, "Why must any new swimming pool be owned and operated by the city? Can't private enterprise satisfy that need?" My questions were ignored and the city built a $4.7 million 4-pool aquatics complex that reportedly goes into the red to the tune of at least $800,000 per year.

Cedar City has at least 4 fitness gyms that could, and would, add a swimming pool to their facilities. Why haven't they? Because those entrepreneurs, unlike politicians, are smart enough to know that they cannot possibly compete against the deep pockets of a taxing entity such as Cedar City that can afford to lose money on an aquatics center and simply pass the red ink on to the taxpayers. When governments take upon themselves to do what private enterprise and individuals should do, it always drives private enterprise out of the market.

Why do so many think that government can better allocate resources (land, labor, energy, knowledge, time, equipment, materials, etc.) than can a free market? A free market exists when producers of goods and services satisfy the needs of the consumers and consumers are free to buy from, or not buy from those producers. There are many who believe that only government (politicians, bureaucrats, and, sometimes judges) are smart and wise enough to allocate resources.

For example, if a golf course is the best use of a particular piece of land, an entrepreneur (eg land developer) will buy that land and convert it to a golf course with all of the expenses covered by himself and other investors. Consumers (eg golfers) will support the golf course as the best use of that land by paying fees to the entrepreneur so that he/she can earn a profit from his/her risk of creating a golf course. If the golf course is unusually profitable, other investors will create additional golf courses as necessary to satisfy consumer demand. On the other hand, when governments create and run golf courses, they do so without regard to whether a golf course is the best use for that land and without regard to whether the golf course will ever make a profit, let alone not be a money-pit burden on non-golfing taxpayers.

Nearly all that governments do at all levels (local, state, national) is to buy votes from special interests with money extracted from people who will never benefit from that government spending.

So, who are the special interests? Probably you.

If you want government to build and operate a golf course for your recreation, you are a special interest preying on taxpayers who do not golf.

If you want government to build and operate a swimming pool for your recreation, you are a special interest preying on taxpayers who do not swim.

If you want government to build and operate a baseball or soccer field for your recreation, you are a special interest preying on taxpayers who do not play those games.

If you want government to give you a rebate for your purchase of a hybrid or electric car, you are a special interest preying on taxpayers who do not play those games.

Yes, I am a special interest too. I'm the guy that expects you to pay your own bills rather than to ask government to tax me to pay for your golf course, swimming pool, dance lessons, dog park, etc.
"Would you be willing to give up your favorite federal program if it meant never having to pay income tax again?" -- Harry Browne

Sunday, October 19, 2014

The "supremacy clause" and nullification


The Utah legislature made an effort to nullify unconstitutional federal gun laws. But, the legislature lost its spine and neutered the bill. The Tucson Sentinal recently published a short article on the matter of state nullification of unconstitutional federal gun laws

Contrary to popular opinion, federal law (along with federal regulations, policies, and judicial opinions) is not the supreme law of the land simply because it was created by an entity of the central government. The supremacy clause says, "This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof; and all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land...." (emphasis mine)

According to that clause, coupled with the Tenth Amendment to the US Constitution, any federal law, regulation, policy, or judicial opinion which exceeds the authority specifically delegated to the central government by the states to the central government via the Constitution or which infringes any right guaranteed by the US Constitution is not "in pursuance" of the plain wording or the original intent of the Constitution and is therefore unconstitutional and must be nullified by the states and ignored by federal bureaucrats until Congress has the sense and integrity to repeal it.

Thomas Jefferson, among other distinguished Americans agree. His draft of the Kentucky Resolutions of 1798 first introduced the word "nullification" into American political life, and follow-up resolutions in 1799 employed Jefferson's formulation that "nullification...is the rightful remedy" when the federal government reaches beyond its constitutional powers. In the Virginia Resolutions of 1798, James Madison said the states were "duty bound to resist" when the federal government violated the Constitution."

Unfortunately, federal court opinions (including opinions by the Supreme Court) erroneously establish the distorted doctrine that only they may be the final arbiters of what's Constitutional. That, in effect, establishes the federal courts as the supreme law of the land -- not the Constitution!

I ardently support the Utah Legislature and Governor in voiding all federal laws which violate the US Constitution. It is an essential part of their job.




Friday, October 17, 2014

A gun restriction in a store that sells guns?


I've spent thousands of dollars in a certain chain of stores around Utah.

Today, as I entered the branch of that chain in Cedar City, I noticed a sign saying, "All firearms must be unloaded prior to entering the store." (An unloaded firearm isn't much good for self-defense.) I don't know how long that sign has been on the store's door -- this is the first time I noticed it.

Inasmuch as I have taken firearm training in that store and I have bought several firearms from that store chain around Utah, including the pistol that is on my hip as I write this complaint, I find this restriction incongruous and puzzling. It's odd that store management doesn't trust gun owners who are certified as by the State of Utah and by the FBI as responsible gun owners and who are trained in firearm safety (including those trained in the stores' own classrooms).

Store management surely must recognize that a person intent on committing violence in one of their stores will not be deterred by this sign. In fact, such a sign would likely indicate to such people that everyone in posted stores is defenseless, making their stores, employees, and customers more vulnerable to serious harm or death. I therefore consider that chain of stores to be too dangerous to enter.

I will respect their policy by taking my money elsewhere until this policy is permanently removed for all of their law-abiding customers and employees in all of their stores.

I am sharing my concerns with my friends, family, and blog readers.

Note: I have redacted the name of the store chain because they removed the above-mentioned sign within hours after I contacted store management. At 9:37 PM on 18 Oct, 2014, I received the following response from store management: "Thanks for bringing this to our attention. These signs are meant for firearms being brought into the store for warranty purposes and to have optics installed on them. This sign was removed this evening. We will provide better instructions to our store teams on the proper wording. We are fervent believers in the second amendment and our right to carry concealed or open carry firearms where permitted by law."

Ebola, flu, and tyranny


Ebola haemorrhagic fever is an ugly and deadly viral disease that was identified in Africa in 1976. It has a relatively low rate of contagion, but is is devastating to those who contract the disease.

We have had less than a handful of ebola cases in the US in recent weeks, but it seems to have the public and the news media in full panic mode. As of 14 October 2014, 9,216 suspected cases worldwide resulting in the deaths of 4,555 have been reported.

There's no doubt that ebola is an ugly disease, but it's nowhere near the threat of influenza.

According to about.com: "On average, there are about 36,000 flu deaths per year in the United States. This number includes people who die from the flu itself and those who develop complications from the flu - such as pneumonia - and then die from that illness. The CDC estimates that between 5 and 20 percent of the country's population gets the flu each year."

The big threat of ebola is fear which, in turn, is based on ignorance. Because of that ignorant fear, millions of Americans are demanding that the central government, especially putative President Obama, do something to give us absolute protection from ebola (while ignoring the flu, for which relatively few seek immunization).

I challenge anyone and everyone who demands Obama and other central-government agents to do something about ebola (and almost everything else the central government does including Obamacare) to look into the US Constitution for the authority and/or responsibility of the central government to do anything about any disease whatsoever. Instead, a careful reading of the Constitution reveals that dealing with disease is the sole responsibility of the individual states and of the People themselves -- not the central government (see the Tenth Amendment).

Our current fixation on ebola serves best to distract Americans from the greatest, and very real, threat this nation has suffered for decades: The steady loss of individual Liberty and the accelerating growth of big government tyranny.

This demand that Obama fix the ebola problem only fuels a continued expansion of imperial, dictatorial power in the Whitehouse. Is that really where you want to go?

We need smarter voters!













Friday, September 19, 2014

The FAA wants to dictate how private property (hangars) are used


The FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) has proposed a policy (docket number FAA-2014-0463) on the non-aeronautical use of airport hangars. This proposal is another example of the central government's overreach and must be rejected.

I agree that airport property is scarce. I agree that is wise that such property be used primarily for purposes directly related to aviation and which cannot reasonably be conducted away from an airport.

That said, when a hangar is used only for storage or maintenance of an aircraft, any reasonable person can see that there is a lot of wasted space inside that structure. It is reasonable that a person or other entity that owns, rents, or leases a hangar has a right to use his/her property efficiently, even if it means using the property partly for non-aeronautical purposes so long as the primary use of the hangar is for aviation.

It is unfortunate some government agents feel like they have authority to dictate the use of private or business property simply because an airport gets a bit of funding from the central government. The fact that hangars are usually built without funds from the central government -- even on airports that receive some federal money -- makes that bureaucratic power grab over those hangars even more alarming.

I support the comment given by AOPA (Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association). The proposal in docket number FAA-2014-0463 must be amended to protect the right to use hangar space efficiently so long as the primary use of the hangar is related to aviation.

Most Americans think that if they can get to the mall, they are free. This proposed rule change is another piece of evidence that they are not free. We need smarter voters.



Sunday, August 3, 2014

The quality of leaders standing in the presidential line of succession


If the current occupant of the Whitehouse, dies, is impeached, or is otherwise removed from office, these are the top people who are in line to replace him (in order of succession according to current law):


Vice President of the United States - Joe Biden (D)
Speaker of the House - John Boehner (R)
President pro tempore of the Senate - Patrick Leahy (D)
Secretary of State - John Kerry (D)
Secretary of the Treasury - Jacob Lew (D)
Secretary of Defense - Chuck Hagel (R)
Attorney General - Eric Holder (D)

I find it troubling that these constitute the eight best, most Constitution-respecting leaders that American voters can come up with.

We need smarter voters.



Monday, July 28, 2014

Abandoning the GOP



The RNC (Republican National Committee) is whining about voters who have putatively abandoned (stopped donating to) to the GOP.

However, the RNC doesn't seem to be concerned about its abandoning of the People and of the principles found in the US Constitution and even in the Republican Party Platform! Those principles include:
◦ Limited government scope and power,
◦ Decentralized government power as required by the Tenth Amendment,
◦ Limited federal police powers,
◦ Legislative power vested solely in Congress -- not executive-branch bureaucrats,
Promotion of "the general welfare" -- not welfare checks for all, regulation of interstate and international commerce -- not central planning of commerce,
◦ Etc.

The GOP establishment (party leadership and the vast majority of career GOP politicians including my own senior senator, Orrin Hatch) is to the left of FDR, Truman, JFK, LBJ, and even Bill Clinton. I cannot support such a political party.

The GOP establishment (including my own senior senator, Orrin Hatch) sabotages Republican politicians who do not toe the establishment line (Chris McDaniel of Mississippi is a recent example of GOP establishment tyranny). Orrin Hatch has even condemned support for "constitutionalists" (his term for non-GOP-establishment candidates). I cannot support such a political party.

The GOP establishment (including my own senior senator, Orrin Hatch) refuses to do anything to stop the invasion which has been coming across our southern border for decades. I cannot support such a political party.

The GOP establishment (including my own senior senator, Orrin Hatch) persists in confirming (even recommending) enemies of the US Constitution to the federal courts and to key positions in the Administration. I cannot support such a political party.

I will resume support for the GOP (and subsets thereof) with my votes and my donations when the GOP leadership (including incumbent politicians) when they begin to adhere to the US Constitution and the Republican Party Platform. I have no loyalty to any political party, politician or political candidate. My sworn loyalty is to the US Constitution.





Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Funding highways and funding the central goverment


According to US Senator Mike Lee (R-UT):
The Highway Trust Fund in a nutshell: states send money to Washington DC, Washington takes its share (see graph which shows how much states get back from the Highway Trust Fund), then Washington sends money back to states with strings attached.

The Senate will vote on my Transportation Empowerment Act as an amendment to the bill to reauthorize the Highway Trust Fund. My proposal will reduce the federal gas tax and give the states more power to fund, build and maintain roads.

The goal of this legislation is to increase America’s investment in infrastructure, by putting decisions in the hands of communities with the most to gain from better roads, highways, and transit, and by cutting out Washington’s middlemen. Under the current system, the federal Davis-Bacon Act adds an estimated 10% to the costs of federal construction projects, at a price of more than $10 billion per year. Federal environmental reviews are estimated to add an additional 8-10% to the cost and up to 8 years to the approval time for projects. My amendment will allow transportation dollars to be spent on steel and concrete, not bureaucrats and special interests, so Americans can get more roads and bridges for their buck.
My opinion on highway funding extends to funding the entire central government:

1 - Repeal the 16th Amendment (income tax).

2 - Repeal the 17th Amendment (direct election of US senators).

3 - Any and all corporate and individual taxation on income or consumption must be imposed only at the state and/or local level.

4 - Instead of federal taxes on businesses and on the People themselves, funding for the central government would be through an assessment on the individual States based on state population.

5 - Since, with the repeal of the 17th Amendment, US senators would serve at the pleasure of the respective state legislatures, they will be more sensitive to federal assessment demands on the States. A more frugal central government will be the natural result.

6 - As for funding highways, there would be a small federal tax on highway fuels, as there is now. 100% of those funds would go to the States to pay a significant portion of the cost of "post roads" (Interstate and US Highways) based on the number of miles of such roads in the respective states. The only "strings attached" would be standards for the construction and maintenance of "post roads". Funding for all other roads and highways would be strictly a State or local responsibility.



Tuesday, May 27, 2014

What's constitutional is at the whims of a handful of judges


Many, if not most, Americans believe that the US Supreme Court has the last word on what's constitutional or what the Constitution means. Those believers are wrong.

The idea that the US Supreme Court has the final say on the law comes from the Court itself -- not from the Constitution (see Marbury v. Madison). Congress has consistently shown that if lacks the courage, integrity, and understanding to stand up to the Supremes.

The US Supreme Court often issues opinions that are wrong and sometimes outright evil! The justices on the Court rarely agree on anything. How can they get so much wrong? Because they rarely rely on the Constitution to determine what's constitutional. Instead, they rely on "precedents" -- often-flawed opinions of past judges!

Now, we learn that, in the background, Supreme Court justices quietly edit their opinions without public notice or input!

The Constitution clearly specifies that Congress is the legislative (law-making) branch of the central government. Not bureaucrats in the executive branch. Not unelected lawyers in imperial black dresses.

The Constitution requires all government officials (politicians, judges, bureaucrats, law enforcement officers (including all attorneys) and members of the military forces) to swear to be loyal to the US Constitution -- not to judicial opinions and precedents, political parties, or to any person or group of persons.
One single object will merit the endless gratitude of the society: that of restraining the judges from usurping legislation. — Thomas Jefferson, letter to Edward Livingston, March 25, 1825

The public welfare demands that constitutional cases must be decided according to the terms of the Constitution itself, and not according to judges' views of fairness, reasonableness, or justice. I have no fear of constitutional amendments properly adopted, but I do fear the rewriting of the Constitution by judges under the guise of interpretation. — Justice Hugo Black, Columbia University's Charpentier Lectures (1968)
While many citizens don't take a formal oath of loyalty to the Constitution, it is imperative that all voters understand the Constitution and the principles upon it was built and vote accordingly. Vote for principles -- not people or issues.

We need smarter voters.



Saturday, May 10, 2014

Domestic terrorists?


Regarding last month's armed confrontation in Nevada's desert, I read this commentary on a forum this evening:
These criminals and potential domestic terrorists need to be treated as the hooligans that they are. A bloodbath needs to be avoided as this is their sick wet fantasy but everything must be done to enforce the law and put these criminals behind bars. We live in a nation of laws and in the 21st century. We have a Federal Government who has ultimate authority over state laws. This is established fact as determined by repeated U.S. Supreme Court rulings. We don't live in the wild, wild west. The domestic terrorists who pointed weapons at federal authorities in Bundy's dump need to be arrested if they show up at this criminal enterprise in Utah. We cannot allow hooligans to think that they can break the law and that their actions don't have consequences. This is Native American land for goodness sake. I think that is self evident. Any person who denies the authority of the federal government over the state is delusional and naturally a loon. But this describes libertarians in general as being a bunch of out of touch extremists not in line with the realities of the world. I still like you as a person and a friend but denying the way that the U.S. government and our laws operate is inherently being a loon. For goodness sake, you are defending radical militias who are committed to bringing civil war towards the goal of bringing America "back" to some utopian fantasy. You are defending people who have respect for Timothy McVeigh. [emphasis mine]
Clearly, some people are governed by emotion and ignorance -- not reason, fact, and history. And they just love to throw the term "domestic terrorist" and at anyone who respects the US Constitution and the liberties it protects (if followed).

The states are not mere functionaries of the central government (as the ignorant, and the power-mongers who thrive on the ignorance of the masses, in this nation seem to believe). The states were and are sovereign (possessing supreme or ultimate power) states before the central government was even a dream. King George III acknowledged that fact in the treaty that ended our war for independence.

Through the US Constitution (I suggest all study it), those sovereign states created the central government -- not to have "ultimate authority" over them, but to simply perform clearly defined and limited roles better done collectively than as individual states such as national defense. Those roles are listed in Article I, Section 8 of the US Constitution. The 10th Amendment clearly tells the central government that it has no powers other than those listed in the US Constitution.

The writer mention "repeated US Supreme Court rulings" that say other wise. First off, kings rule (we supposedly have none of those). Supreme Court justices do not rule -- they issue opinions -- opinions which are rarely unanimous but usually conflicted and contradictory, and often even outright wrong. A major reason this nation's government is out of control is because politicians and bureaucrats obey dangerously flawed Supreme Court opinions rather than the plain wording and intent of the very US Constitution they swear to follow.

Article I of the US Constitution severely limits the amount and purposes of lands the central government is permitted to control: "places purchased by the consent of the legislature of the state in which the same shall be, for the erection of forts, magazines, arsenals, dock-yards, and other needful buildings." There is no constitutional provision for the central government to hold land via out-of-control agencies such as the Bureau of Land management (BLM), National Park Service, National Forest Service, and the seemingly endless alphabet soup of other federal agencies. This is the core of the long public-land-access battle between the BLM and Cliven Bundy and hundreds of other ranchers; tourists, campers, hikers, and sportsmen; and the western states.

There certainly is no constitutional authority for any of the above-listed agencies to have sworn law enforcement officers -- with SWAT teams! (There are now over 70 federal law enforcement agencies -- how many do you think is enough and how much power do you think they should have?)

As for the "domestic terrorists" the writer condemns, they are nothing more than Americans who are fed up with a central government which refuses to obey the "supreme law of the land" which is the US Constitution -- not the central government or the Supreme Court. We need more people like those "domestic terrorists". Because of the insolent intransigence of the central government, they are coming.

BTW, there is no evidence that most of the "militia" in the final showdown between Bundy supporters and armed BLM agents were armed.



Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Stop the mandate for reporting of gun sales


A little noticed and virtually unreported April 15 notice posted in the Federal Register suggests the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) intend to expand to all states the multiple-rifle sale reporting requirement currently imposed on four border states (Arizona, California, New Mexico, and Texas).

The reporting requirement would apply to rifles with the following characteristics: (a) semi-automatic; (b) a caliber greater than .22; and (c) the ability to accept a detachable magazine. Inasmuch as the .22 Long Rifle cartridge is actually .223 caliber (a caliber greater than .22) it would appear that the only semi-automatic rifle caliber excluded from this sweeping mandate is .17. (Inasmuch as they also can be dangerous if misused, I'm curious why ATF is arbitrarily discriminating against the .17 caliber, non-detachable magazines, and non-semi-automatic arms.)

There is no evidence that the current multiple rifle sale reporting requirement imposed on gun dealers and buyers in those four states has done anything to stop gun crime or illegal gun trafficking. In fact, there is no evidence that the current multiple handgun sale reporting requirement imposed on the people of all 50 states has done anything to stop gun crime or illegal gun trafficking. The reporting requirement does, however, impose a heavier paperwork burden on law enforcement agencies and gun dealers with no discernible benefit.

This reporting mandate is imposed on dealer sales where all sales are already subject to a background check and in many cases, gun registration, owner registration, and/or a waiting period. The fact that the ATF wants multiple-sale transactions also reported to government agents indicates that ATF bureaucrats know that background checks, waiting periods, and gun registration imposed on responsible adults do not affect the behavior of criminals. But, they know that criminals cannot be controlled, so the seek to impose their imperialistic will on people they can control -- responsible adults.

In many jurisdictions, the multiple-sale reporting mandate is a de facto gun registration scheme that has no legislative authority or oversight. The report goes to local law enforcement where the transaction is often put into a permanent database for law enforcement future use -- possibly confiscation and arrest.

The ignorant will ask, why does anyone need to make a purchase of multiple arms?
1 - I might want a set of firearms with sequential serial numbers for gifts to my family.
2 - I might find a rare chance to buy multiple collectible firearms.
3 - Why not?

I am disgusted by the fact that Congress (including my self-described pro-gun congressmen from Utah) did nothing to stop the ATF when it imposed a reporting requirement for multiple sales of handguns. I was further disgusted when Congress (including my self-described pro-gun congressmen from Utah) failed to act when the ATF imposed the current reporting requirement for multiple rifle sales on the border states. Congress (including my self-described pro-gun congressmen from Utah) clearly is failing in its critical role of oversight over the agencies it creates. Because of this congressional failure, the entire federal bureaucracy is out of control. We no longer have a republican government or even a democracy. We have a government by unaccountable, unelected bureaucrats!

This proposed nationwide requirement for reporting multiple sales of rifles must be stopped immediately.

My votes upcoming elections will by determined by how well candidates fight against ATF abuses and overreach.

BTW, As long as only 5% of gun owners are members of the NRA, the NRA will continue to have little influence to get Congress and bureaucrats to honor the Second Amendment. If you are a gun owner and not a member of the NRA, you are a part of the problem -- you're a part of tens of millions of gun owners riding in the gun-rights wagon while a few of us pull! Join the NRA today!


Monday, April 28, 2014

We need better management of wild horses & burros


The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) manages much of the land in in the western US, including Iron County, Utah. As a part of that management, the BLM is tasked with keeping the population of feral horses and burros below a level which causes harm to the habitat and to private property. Currently, that level is a maximum of 300 wild horses in western Iron County.

However, the BLM has utterly failed to accomplish this task, there being as many as 2,000 wild horses in western Iron County. To make matters worse, there are reports of brutality by contractors the BLM hires to catch these horses and burros (see video below).

I propose a simple solution: Turn over the role of managing wild horses and burros to the respective state wildlife agency. Allow the states to manage these animals as both undomesticated livestock and as game animals. The states would then license sportsmen to harvest feral horses and burros above a target level (eg 300 animals in western Iron County) with a per-person harvest limit. Sportsmen could either live-trap the animals for adoption or harvest them for meat. Sale of the animal, live or dead, would be restricted just as with any other game animal. For those who chose to adopt, a horse/burro-trapping education program similar to Hunter Education might be appropriate.

I know the animal-rights people will have a fit over such a program, but something must be done to control the overpopulation of these animals and the damage overpopulation causes to the environment. Using sportsmen as a tool in this management can be done humanely and at no cost to the local, state, or central governments.






Why is the US Army destroying ammunition?


I am seeing and hearing reports that the US Army is destroying unneeded and/or unsuitable ammunition valued at $1.2 billion.

Transfer of this ammunition to other government agencies apparently is impeded by inefficient bureaucracy and paperwork.

As a taxpayer and US Army veteran, I am outraged that a government entity as big as the US Army is so inept at forecasting its needs that it is willing to wastefully destroy surplus material acquired at considerable taxpayer expense. The cost of the process of destruction itself has not been reported, but I wouldn't be surprised that this expense could add an additional $1 billion to the cost of these surplus munitions.

Here are my thoughts on this issue:

1 - Base-line budgeting must be abolished immediately and no government entity should ever expect a budget to grow or even say the same. Every government entity must justify every expenditure to a fiscally-prudent Congress. This will reduce the likelihood that government entities, such as the US Army, will buy unneeded or excessive supplies and equipment.

2 - If the Armed Forces or any armed non-military government agencies have surplus ammunition or ammunition components (spent cartridge cases, etc.), that ammunition must not be destroyed. Instead, an efficient process for transfer of that ammunition between agencies must be implemented immediately. (Do we really need -- and does the Constitution authorize -- over 70 federal agencies with sworn law enforcement officers?)

3 - If not transferred to another government agency which needs it within 30 days, all small arms ammunition and components (50 BMG and smaller) must be transferred to the Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP) for disposal to CMP customers for marksmanship training and competition.



Friday, April 18, 2014

Support the NRA (National Rifle Association)


Today, I saw this comment on Facebook:
The NRA was founded by statist generals that got their arses kicked by better riflemen, every single anti-gun law happened on the NRA watch, including the NRA writing bad legislation and attacking good groups like Gun Owners of America.
Yes, the NRA (and its affiliates, NRA-ILA and NRA-PVF) compromises on gun rights. Yes, they've helped write anti-gun laws. Yes, they've supported anti-liberty politicians. Yes, the NRA was founded by Union generals who were dismayed by the poor shooting of urban Union soldiers. However, had those generals been statists as the writer alleges, they would have made the NRA a government program -- not a private organization. Please don't throw derogatory adjectives around unless they really fit.

Regarding NRA's history of compromise, another writer in that thread correctly wrote:
There is no compromise in God given rights.
I agree: There must be no compromise on God-given rights. Ever. That's why I write to NRA leadership and to my congressmen to reject compromise on the inspired principles contained in our nation's founding documents. But, because politics can be so dirty, only compromise gives one a voice when a majority of politicians are elected by idiots. Disagree with compromise on God-given rights? Then, give your full support to those who fight for those rights so they don't have to compromise!

Have you ever wondered why a purported gun-rights organization such as the NRA would compromise gun rights? Because, at only 5 million members (only 5% of gun owners) they have little power to dictate gun rights. Because of lukewarm (Revelation 3:16) support of America's estimated 100 million gun owners, the NRA can do little more than compromise. Can you imagine how bad the Gun Control Act of 1968 (and all other gun-control laws) would have been had the NRA not been there mitigate the effects of the bill? (As for the other gun-rights organizations -- GOA, SAF, CCRKBA, JFPO, (I'm a member all of these and more) etc. -- as good and valuable as the are, they are so small in comparison to the NRA, that they have no perceptible voice in the nation's capitol or in the state capitols. Sadly, lukewarm gun owners support them far less than they do the NRA.)

As far as gun rights go, most gun owners are their own worst enemy -- they blame gun control on someone else -- often the NRA. If at least 25% of America's gun owners would vote like gun owners and join and actively support the NRA and their state-level gun-rights organization, the only gun law we'd have would be the Second Amendment. Anti-gun politicians and activists must surely be delighted by the prevalence of anti-NRA gun owners.

Only membership in the NRA gives a gun-owner a voice in the NRA. NRA leadership has no obligation to listen to non-members -- especially anti-NRA people. Example of the voice of members: For years, the NRA supported Harry Reid for political expediency. At the demand of NRA members (not non-members), the NRA stopped supporting him in 2008. You might have noticed Reid's sharp turn against gun rights immediately thereafter.


Wednesday, April 16, 2014

A new American Revolution is overdue


We are desperately overdue a revolution in this nation to throw off this tyrannical government.

Fortunately, the founders gave us the tools for a peaceful revolution if only we had voters smart enough to take advantage of it. It involves Americans using the Constitution as it was intended. (You know about the Constitution, don't you -- that allegedly obsolete document written by dead white guys?)

How is that revolution conducted? Every two years, the Constitution gives us the opportunity to replace the entire House of Representatives and a third of the Senate with wise men and women who respect the limits on government that are written into the Constitution -- that's most of the Legislative Branch every two years! Every four years, we have the opportunity to replace the entire Executive Branch with a president and bureaucrats who respect the limits on government that are written into the Constitution. Over time, the newly-elected officials replace the existing judges with wise men and women who respect the limits on government that are written into the Constitution. Replacing a government with a new one is revolution. All without bloodshed.

Unfortunately, most American voters are fools. That is why they reelect over 90% of the very Congressmen they claim to despise. Since most American voters refuse to participate in a peaceful revolution, it seems that the only alternative is a violent one (as almost happened this month near Bunkerville, Nevada). Nobody knows how that's gonna turn out. Perhaps it'll end like the 1917 revolution which dismantled the Tsarist autocracy, replacing it with something far worse. Or, maybe it'll be more like the longer American Revolution (1775-1783) which ejected the British autocracy.

I prefer the peaceful revolution. But we need smarter voters to make it happen.



Monday, April 7, 2014

Lois Lerner: The face of an out-of-control government


Honestly, now, do you see any contempt in this woman's expression?

Some in Congress want to hold this nice lady, former IRS bureaucrat Lois Lerner in contempt of Congress for her refusal to disclose details of how and why she and her fellow bureaucrats targeted organizations she disliked politically.

Contempt of Congress? Big deal!

The elephant in the room is the fact that nearly all bureaucrats have contempt for legislators and the People alike. I defy anyone to identify just one government agency that fears Congress or state/local legislatures or respects the Constitution.

Every bureaucrat knows that Congress and state legislatures are composed of politicians -- Democrat and Republican -- who posture a lot (as they are doing n the Lerner case), but never do anything worthwhile about the problems in our out-of-control government (Lerner will never be disciplined). Bureaucrats know that no matter how evil their deeds, they will not be fired -- they likely will be promoted (as have the agents involved in Fast and Furious, Waco, and Ruby Ridge). Instead, legislators will perpetually fund and expand every agency they create. (Government even grew under the so-called "Sequester".)

Perhaps the biggest problems are that Congress adopts a bill of a few hundred or a few thousand pages creating or modifying a a government agency or program. This legislation is typically written by the very bureaucrats who would benefit from the legislation. The legislation includes the vary dangerous delegation of authority to the agencies to write tens of thousands of pages their own laws and rules which too often go beyond or counter to the will of Congress.

One thing Congress needs to do is to write a sunset clause into every piece of legislation they write so that every bureaucracy they create automatically dies in a few years unless specifically renewed -- with another sunset clause.

We need smarter voters -- voters who elect only liberty-loving limited-government statesmen -- not big-government statists who have a better than 90% reelection rate.



Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Feinstein's monster


Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA, Chair of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence) says the CIA spied on her and her intelligence committee. Now, she suddenly she realizes the Constitution exists, is not out-dated, and demands its protection against rogue, illegitimate federal agencies such as the CIA.

Senator Feinstein, you are one of the aristocratic statists who created, fed, sustained, and eternalized this bloated, out-of-control central government with a bureaucracy that is no longer accountable to the people, the states, or even to Congress or the Whitehouse.

Think about the countless oversight hearing conducted by Congress. Why are those hearings necessary? because virtually none of the extra-constitutional alphabet soup of bureaucracies you helped create and/or perpetuate follow the Constitution or even care about what Congress or the People thinks, says, or does. Every bureaucrat knows that you will posture in those hearings for the benefit of the press like you do now about the CIA. Every bureaucrat knows that when the posturing is over that you will then vote to give them even more money and power.

You are one of the elitists who thinks they are above the Constitution and entitled to defy it with every legislative act you conjure up, thereby destroying the protections it provides.

You have finally suffered what the Founders suffered at the hands of King George III when they wrote the Declaration of Independence and which we Liberty-loving commoners have seen for decades:
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.
Perhaps the worst part of this story is that you represent some of the most Constitution-ignorant and Constitution-hating voters in the land. Now, that loathing for the Constitution is coming home to roost in your house.

Don't come whining to the press or anyone else when the monster you created turns on you.

We need smarter voters.



Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Defending religion against the power of government


The Arizona's religious freedom bill (SB1062) addresses the fact that some people think they have a right to coerce (and to use government to that end) and that those who disagree have a duty to obey. Opponents of this bill reject not only religious liberty, but also free speech while demanding that their own form of religion (secular humanism) and free speech be imposed.

I invite all who oppose this legislation to actually read it before jumping to conclusions. (It is truly unfortunate that today's legislatures must cobble together so many words to protect the rights already so eloquently protected by the First Amendment to the US Constitution.)

This legislation would simply protect a business owner's right to not violate their religious convictions when conducting business. The bill reinforces the First Amendment to the US Constitution which already prohibits federal interference with "the free exercise" of religion and the Fourteenth Amendment which extends that prohibition to the States.
Never do anything against conscience even if the state demands it. — Albert Einstein
An individual who breaks a law that conscience tells him is unjust, and who willingly accepts the penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the highest respect for the law. — Martin Luther King, Jr.
There really should be no need for this legislation because the Constitution already provides the protections this legislation would provide. (Wouldn't be nice if all politicians and judges simply followed the Constitution they swear to follow?) But, in recent decades, activist judges have imposed their own opinions and/or applied flawed judicial precedents, thus depriving good people of rights guaranteed by the Constitution.

For those capable of thinking, another writer, Gary DeMar came up with a thought-provoking list:
Sometimes the best way to explain to people the nature of something is to put the shoe on the other foot. Here are some "what ifs."
• What if a print-shop owner holds to a "pro-choice" view on abortion and a pro-life group comes in and wants shirts and signs made that read "Babies are Murdered Here" to use in front of an abortion clinic? Should the owner of the shop be forced to make the shirts and signs?
• What if a print-shop owner who is homosexual gets an order for shirts and signs that are to read "God Hates Fags"? Should the owner be forced to fill the order under penalty of law?
• Should a supporter of PETA who owns a print shop be forced to make signs and shirts that read "PETA: People Eating Tasty Animals"?
• Should a baker be forced to supply cakes to a KKK-themed wedding or birthday party?
• Should an atheist who owns a print shop be forced to print signs and shirts that read "All Atheists are Going to Hell"?
• Should a printer be forced to print shirts and signs that read "Hitler Was Right"?
• Should a photographer be forced to film and photograph a wedding that has a "White Power" or KKK theme?
This bill doesn't legitimize or mandate discrimination against any sort of person such as homosexuals or anti-homosexuals as implied by certain activists. It simply protects businesses from being required to provide a religiously-objectionable service or product to another person. It is one state's small defensive maneuver against the Left's ongoing battle to silence the voice of the religious in the public square and to cow organized religion into sanctioning the immoral agenda of the Left including abortion.

I suspect that if Arizona's Governor Jan Brewer vetoes this bill, it will be because of the expected cost to defend it against Leftist social engineers -- not because of the merits of the bill. That is a sad statement on what the Left has done to this "land of the free and the home of the brave".

Ironically, opponents of this bill -- which protects diverse religious beliefs -- are the most vocal in demanding tolerance of their own diversity. The leaders of my church teach that we are to give due respect to all, even to those who have beliefs or behaviors I might disagree with (yet, some single out my church as hateful). Is there any reason why those who reject certain religious standards can't also be respectful?
If they believe their own rhetoric, that we’re hateful bigots, why would they even risk eating our cakes? — Jan LaRue



Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Rein in the government -- beginning with the EPA!



He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance. -- US Declaration of Independence
Congress has created scores of agencies which are out of control and which don't really solve the problems they were intended to solve.

Most of these agencies have no constitutional authority to exist (see Article I, Section 8 of the US Constitution). These agencies are under the executive branch, transferring to the president ever-expanding extra-constitutional power.

These agencies employ hundreds of thousands of employees who are unaccountable to the voters and even to Congress. Congress has abdicated its legislative power by delegating most of its lawmaking authority to these unaccountable bureaucrats. The US Constitution was designed specifically to prevent such abuses!

Congress has shown little interest in reining in any of the monsters it has created.

Among the worst of Congress' monsters is clearly the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Over the years, this agency has imposed ever harsher standards for fuel economy which have resulted in cars and trucks that are so lightweight and fragile that they disintegrate in collisions and cannot carry the payload (in weight or passengers) that vehicles of 50 years ago could carry. This is the reason SUVs have become so popular -- not because soccer moms need or want a huge four-wheel-drive four-door truck with an enclosed cargo area, but because they simply need a vehicle that will safely and comfortably carry what a full-sized 1964 Ford station wagon could carry. (When you really need to get some work done, ya gotta burn carbon or fire up a nuke.) But, today's laws are based on the presumption that we all want and deserve nothing more than a Yugo.

Now, Obama has announced his instructions to the EPA to further tighten fuel economy standards for trucks. This is nothing more than another step toward forcing manufacturers to make products that the consumers, farmers, and businesses don't want or need.

Every member of Congress must muster the courage and integrity to reassert its sole legislative authority under Article I of the US Constitution by:
1 - Make the laws, not delegate power to make laws,
2 - Where law-making authority is delegated, all such regulations must be reviewed and ratified by roll-call vote of Congress,
3 - All current agencies must be reviewed for constitutionality and those found to not comply with authority given in the Constitution must be sunseted within 5 years,
4 - All future agencies created must have a maximum five-year sunset.

Congress must immediately begin these steps by eliminating the EPA. Where necessary, the roles now assumed by the EPA will continue to be accomplished at the state level as required by the Tenth Amendment to the US Constitution.

What are your congressmen doing right now to cut the size and power of our bloated, intrusive, oppressive, inefficient, expensive federal bureaucracy?



Tuesday, February 18, 2014

An anti-gun elitist's view of a pro-gun judicial decison


Through a series of gun-rights court cases beginning with the 2008 Heller decision, the US Supreme Court has settled the fact that individuals have the constitutionally-protected right to keep and bear arms. Now, a case before the Ninth Circuit challenges a policy imposed by San Diego County requiring residents to show a "pressing need" to be able to receive a permit to carry weapons outside the home.

Of course, the idea that the Second Amendment makes any distinction between "bearing" (ie "carrying") in public as opposed to private venues is simply silly. Thankfully, the normally silly Ninth Circuit acknowledged this truth. As expected, this has anti-gun activists in a fit:
Neither history or precedent supports this aberrant, split decision that concocts a dangerous right of people to carry hidden handguns in public places to people whom law enforcement has determined that they have no good cause or qualifications to do so. -- Jonathan Lowy, Director, Legal Action Project, Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence
Mr. Lowy, the judicial decision you reference does not "concoct a dangerous right of people to carry hidden handguns in public places". It partially restores that constitutionally-guaranteed natural right! Further, there is no rational reason why any responsible American should ever be required to prove to any government agent that he/she has "good cause or qualifications" to exercise any constitutionally-protected natural right right.

Ironically, Mr. Lowey, California arrived at needing this long overdue decision on concealed carry because anti-liberty thugs like you legislatively took away the constitutionally-guaranteed right to open carry for most California citizens. Because many California counties refuse to issue concealed-carry permits to ordinary law-abiding citizens, that left responsible residents with anti-gun sheriffs in California with no ability to lawfully carry the best means of self-protection -- a firearm. Hence, the litigation and judicial decision you arrogantly condemn.

BTW, Mr. Lowey, we know that you (like most anti-gun elitists) enjoy the protection of the gun. Hypocrite! The Constitution was designed to protect us commoners from politicians who think like you do.