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.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Doctors, guns, and the NRA

On making a visit to a cardiologist, a patient recently was asked of fill out a history which included the questions shown in this image.

None of those questions are any business of a cardiologist, let alone questions 11 and 12.

Now, if the doctor is also a volunteer fireman, he/she might be qualified to ask about #8 -- when serving in that capacity. Likewise, if he/she is also an NRA-certified firearms safety instructor, he/she might be qualified to ask about #11 and #12 -- when serving in that capacity.

When I'm paying him/her to be a cardiologist, he/she had better stick to what he/she is being paid to do and what he/she is qualified to do.

One observer -- apparently hostile to the NRA (National Rifle Association) -- claimed that "The NRA would tell you to answer honestly to all questions on the survey. They're into you disclosing all kinds of personal information on the 4473s and the NICS. The NRA designed both. So, what does that tell you about the NRA and questionnaires?"

I wonder if that observer has ever wondered why the NRA had its hand in 4473s, NICS (National Instant Criminal Background Check System), and all other gun-control legislation? Because:

1 - It'd be far worse without NRA influence.
2 - The NRA has little power beyond compromising with the enemy.

I agree that the NRA has made too-frequent regrettable mistakes such as supporting anti-liberty politicians and compromising on anti-gun legislation and regulation. But, at only 5 million members, that's all it can do. Although it is the most hated lobbying organization on Capitol Hill, the NRA is overwhelmingly outnumbered by the membership numbers of anti-gun organizations such AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics), AARP (American Association of Retired Persons), AMA (American Medical Association), NEA (National Education Association) and other labor unions, etc. It's outfunded by the likes of George Soros, Michael Bloomberg, and the Joyce Foundation. The reality is that the number of voters a lobbyist represents and the money they bring is what matters to most politicians -- not what's right or what the Constitution says.

Now, if we could increase NRA membership to a mere 25% of the estimated 80-100 million gun owners, the NRA would have the clout to dictate the law -- not compromise and try to mitigate the law. Imagine the clout the NRA would have if 100% of gun owners were members! (One might prefer to support JPFO (Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership), GOA (Gun Owners of America), Firearms Coalition, or CCRKBA (Citizens' Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms) over the NRA, but the size of those organizations is insignificant by comparison. The NRA is the closest to a big dog in the gun-rights fight and the only one has any clout at all in DC.)

As for the ugly things the NRA does (as mentioned above), if one isn't a member, he/she has no say. On the other hand, members get a vote on who will be in NRA leadership positions. That drives the NRA's agenda. When a member writes to NRA leaders and mentions his/her membership status, they pay attention. (Note that the NRA stopped its support for Harry Reid after input from members -- not the complaints of anti-NRA outsiders.)

Everyone who owns one or more arms or who appreciated the right to own arms should be a member of the NRA. Everyone who isn't a member is only one of approximately 95-million gun owners riding in the wagon while five million pull.

Restore the right to arms in and on federal property

In clear violation of the Second Amendment to the US Constitution, 18 USC 930(d)(3) prohibits responsible adults from carrying a "firearm or other dangerous weapon" into any federal facility with an exception for cases "incident to hunting or other lawful purposes." When t comes to self-protection the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and firearms; National Park Service; Corps of Engineers; and the other anti-gun denizens of the central government have read this essential exception out of the law -- by executive fiat.

With 39 CFR 232.1(l), the US Postal Service is even more restrictive: "No person while on postal property may carry firearms, other dangerous or deadly weapons, or explosives, either openly or concealed, or store the same on postal property, except for official purposes."

What is it that congressmen and unelected regulators don't understand about the simple and clear phrase "shall not be infringed?"

I can accept a restriction on arms in a limited number of designated places where competent security screening and armed officers are in place to substitute for the disarming of responsible adults (eg court rooms, airport secure areas, etc.). But I cannot tolerate the disarming of responsible Americans when the entity doing the disarming fails to provide comparable or better security.

Compromising the protections of the Bill of Rights is such a severe threat to Liberty that no right identified in the Bill of Rights should ever be compromised in any way other than through specific legislation from Congress or an amendment to the Constitution. Authority to infringe constitutionally-enumerated rights must never be delegated or assigned to anyone outside of Congress!

Of course, any rational person knows and understands that all restrictions on arms only affect responsible people. History and reason indicate that those bent on disobeying laws against violence also disobey laws against arms.

Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) has offered an amendment to the Postal Reform Act (S.1486) in the Governmental Affairs Committee. If adopted, this amendment will restore the right of responsible adults to drive into a post office parking lot with a gun and to carry it into the post office and other federal facilities to the extent state law would allow the carry of that firearm in any other venue.

However, I would like to see Senator Paul amend his amendment to address "arms" instead of "firearms". (The Second Amendment protects the keeping and bearing of "arms". Pocket knives are "arms" too!)

This amendment is a tiny step in the right direction back to following the US Constitution which every congressman, president, judge, attorney, political appointee, and bureaucrat swore to follow and protect. I ardently support this move.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Hate crimes vs equal protection of the law

A hate crime occurs when a perpetrator targets a victim because of his or her perceived membership in a certain minority social group such as
• disability,
• ethnicity,
• gender identity,
• sexual orientation,
• language
• nationality,
• race, or
• religion.

The hate-crime concept is based on the notion that a crime is somehow more egregious if it is motivated by bigotry rather than covetousness, revenge, rage, or for the fun of it. Hate crimes laws are actually "thought crimes" laws that violate the right to freedom of speech and of conscience and subject individuals to scrutiny of their beliefs rather than focusing on a person's criminal actions.

Hate crime laws are supposedly intended to deter bias-motivated violence. They enhance the penalties associated with conduct that is already criminal under other laws.

Ironically, hate-crime laws are promoted by some of the most hateful among us! In practice, these hate-crime laws seem to protect the above listed protected classes from prosecution under hate-crime laws because they seem to be presumed to be free of hate.

What these laws really do is provide special protections and rights for the above specific categories of people, violating the Constitution's (Fourteenth Amendment) concept of equal protection of the law.

I am deeply concerned by the hostile effect of hate-crime laws on Christians in particular. For example, these laws establish the legal framework to persecute and prosecute those who refuse, for moral and religious reasons, to agree or teach their children that homosexuality, transgender, cross-dressing etc. is normal and desirable.

Evidence of a person's beliefs will be used against any individual who is even suspected of committing a crime. Even Rep. Arthur Davis, who supported a hate-crime bill in 2007, admitted that under this law a minister could be charged with the crime of incitement to violence and punished with a fine or prison if the minister preached that homosexuality is a serious sin and a person in the congregation left church and committed a crime against a homosexual.

The growing cry for "diversity" is simply a demand for acceptance of what many believe to be deviant behavior. The "diversity" movement closely parallels the call for hate-crime legislation. Hate-crime laws intimidate people with certain moral views into forced acceptance of what they believe to be deviant, immoral lifestyles by criminalizing those who reject such immoral behavior.

I believe that everyone, regardless of disability, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, language, nationality, race, religion, etc., should be given the same respect and dignity due to a son or daughter of God. Yet, I oppose governments mandating that respect and dignity. I condemn all criminal behavior regardless of disability, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, language, nationality, race, religion, etc. In the words of the leadership of my church:
God's universal fatherhood and love charges each of us with an innate and reverent acknowledgement of our shared human dignity. We are to love one another. We are to treat each other with respect as brothers and sisters and fellow children of God, no matter how much we may differ from one another.
To presume that a crime is more serious simply because some prosecutor, accuser, or victim believes the perpetrator is a bigot trivializes crimes (and their victims) committed by non-bigots. I therefore oppose any so-called hate-crimes legislation.

There is no authority in the Constitution for Congress and the President to pass "hate-crimes" legislation. The Tenth Amendment clearly places that authority in the States. State legislators and governors must oppose any efforts to pass "hate-crimes" legislation.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Equal opportunity for equal ability and effort

There are plenty of military occupations that aren't a good fit for a certain category of people. These occupations demand brute strength and endurance under a heavy load. There are some people who are fit enough to run a marathon. But, can they carry a wounded buddy, two rifles, and a 65-pound rucksack to safety 50 yards away? No Marine in his right mind wants to fight alongside another Marine who can't.

This issue has repeatedly reared it's head at least since the early '70s when I first joined the Air Force as an ROTC cadet. In spite of reason and basic biology, social engineers keep trying to put women into military occupations where they simply don't fit well. Yet, much to everyone's surprise, the Marines (the last holdouts to be politically cleansed) are learning that women don't have the strength of a man!

When I was flying the C-141 jet transport in the Air Force back in '76-'81, I was occasionally asked to participate in firefighter training. My job was to show the firefighters how to shut down the airplane if the crew is incapacitated. Then, my crew and I served as training dummies as if we were said incapacitated crewmembers.

In those pre-women-on-the-rescue-crew days, it was always very reassuring to know that the firefighter yanking me out of the seat and carrying me down two aircraft ladders was another 200-pound man who met rigorous fitness standards -- not a 110-pound woman who couldn't do 3 pull-ups.

I never got a single bump, scrape, or bruise from those training events. I'm sure there are a handful women that could do that too, but in general, a female firefighter in today's equal-opportunity military would probably either break her neck and mine getting me out or would be forced to leave me roasting in the fire.

As a 23-year veteran, I saw cases where women did just as well as men in their assigned specialty -- sometimes better. I also saw cases where they were a handicap to the unit and a danger to themselves. I saw cases where they exploited their status as women to get easier duty. One common case in aviation maintenance is for women to claim pregnancy during bad weather knowing that pregnant women shouldn't be exposed to radar and radio waves and fuel fumes common on the flight line.

Equal opportunity is great -- if everyone is equally up to the job. But, if any person or group of persons isn't capable of doing a particular job correctly, safely, and without jeopardizing the mission or fellow servicemen, they need to find a job that's a better fit.

The armed forces exist to fight when called upon -- not to be a sociology lab.

BTW, Even I can't do the job anymore either. That's why servicemen are retired when they're still relatively young, but getting too old to get on the horse.

Obama's new anti-rights "executive actions"

Most, if not all, high-profile shootings and other acts of violence have involved perpetrators known to somebody to be dangerously ill. I've written repeatedly about this problem. Clearly, persons who have a mental illness combined with behavior or other signals that makes them a danger to themselves or others should be restricted from possessing dangerous items of any kind.

I therefore support reasonable steps to accomplish this goal provided there is absolutely no compromise of the right of responsible persons to easily and responsibly acquire, posses, and use arms.

I also support the restoration of gun rights to formerly mentally-ill adults who have been successfully treated and to former criminals who have reformed their lives.

I am concerned by today's Whitehouse announcement of new "executive actions" on background checks for gun purchases. It appears to me that the Obama Administration is struggling to expand the pool of gun-restricted mental-health patients in an effort to limit gun ownership.

In its announcement, the Administration, " proposing to clarify that the statutory term 'committed to a mental institution' includes involuntary inpatient as well as outpatient commitments....."

Until this "executive action", your medical information (including some mental health information) has been protected by HIPAA (the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996). Until now, no one, not even the government, could legally access your private medical records. Yet, with the stroke of a pen, President Obama has unilaterally struck down parts of this important privacy law to make medical and mental health information available to the FBI for firearm background checks.

This move will be a huge disincentive for gun owners to voluntarily seek appropriate help when they need it. For example, I know an individual who had serious psychological reactions to a combination of medications for ADHD. Because to the side effects of these drugs, this person needed hospitalization to be safely taken off the drugs. That person is is fine now, but I fear that Obama's "executive action" would permanently bar this person from the enjoyment and protection of arms.

Other gun-rights activists are also concerned. For example, Jeff Knox announced:
We really have a problem with what they're doing and the way they're doing it. Congress has looked at this issue and has rejected action on this issue. When Congress looks at something and says 'no', that's not traditionally a green light for the White House to go and do it on their own. That's an overreach on the part of the executive — and if we had a Congress and a system that was functioning properly, they would slap him down for this and they would refuse to allow this to happen.
The Administration's latest move seems to me to be another deliberate step down the slippery slope toward Soviet-style gulags where political enemies -- especially gun-rights advocates -- are branded mentally-ill sufficiently to justify the deprivation of their God-given rights.

On that point, Knox has more to say:
There's a reason we hate the ATF (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives). The agency is under the Justice Department and operates the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). They've earned our animosity. They came after us over and over again....Every time they promulgate a new law or a new regulation, they try and make it sound like it's about keeping violent and crazy people away from guns, but the way it's enforced is always they come after us -- the regular gun owners, because we're the easy targets. It's really difficult to find violent and crazy people and catch them in the act. It's really easy to find me -- to comb through my files, my gun safe, my paperwork -- and find some error that I've made and hang me out to dry because of it. They're using these laws to attack us, not to go after criminals, and that's the big problem.
This "executive-action" raises several important questions, none of which the Obama Administration seems willing to answer publicly:
• What is mental illness?
• Who is mentally ill?
• How mentally ill must one be to justify revocation of a fundamental right?
• How "normal" must a person be to own and use firearms?
• Who makes the determination of a person's fitness?
• Are mental-health professionals and facilities really trained, experienced, and equipped to accurately and reliably identify those who pose a risk without infringing the rights of those who are not a risk?
• What steps will be taken to ensure uniform and reasonable standards will be applied to all?
• What qualifies as a mental health facility?
• If treatment (outpatient or inpatient) is successful, will the patient still be barred from possessing arms?
• Will there be due process of law?
• What steps will be taken to protect privacy?
• Which is more important in the minds of the policymakers -- individual rights or security (control)?
• Who gets to make the rules? Will there be an opportunity for public comment or legislative oversight?

Most who are treated by mental health professionals are not mentally ill at all or their illness does not cause them to be a threat to self or others. Nevertheless, Obama's initiative seems destined to trap these responsible Americans into the gun-restricted category. Unfortunately, the NRA seems willing to scapegoat these people in exchange for letting the rest of us off the hook. Such people could be "outpatients" who: • Check themselves into a "fat farm" or otherwise seek help for weight loss, • Seek help to overcome addictions such as food addictions, pornography, or gambling, • Seek the help of a psychiatrist for treatment/counseling for ADHD, PMS, domestic abuse (as a victim), PTSD, rape, or anxiety, • Attend a parenting class or marriage or family counseling, • Respond affirmatively when asked by a physician whether you have a gun in the home, • Attend a diversity-sensitivity class required by your employer, or • Attend a driving re-education course because you have a lead foot.

We already know how hostile our nation has been, from Clinton to today, to the gun rights of our war veterans. More than 150,000 law-abiding veterans have already lost their constitutional rights -- with no due process whatsoever -- because they consulted a VA therapist about a traumatic incident in Iraq, Afghanistan, or the Balkans. This has been a test to see what our politicians can get away with. They got away with it with our vets. Does anyone think that non-vets will be treated any better?

Obama, his staff, and handlers are probing and testing to see how far he can go with their anti-gun agenda. We know he has nearly half of the voters behind him (virtually all of those who voted for him still have no regrets) along with a majority in the Senate and much of the House of Representatives. It is no problem for the Administration to shop around for federal judges who will side with him and his anti-gun supporters. All of these expect Obama to legislate from the Whitehouse -- to unilaterally impose harsh restrictions on civilian arms. Exploiting the mental health aspect is an ideal foot-in-the-door to bypass the People and their elected representatives.

Under Obama's new regulations, tens of millions of police and firemen with PTSD and or people who, as children, were diagnosed with ADHD could lose their constitutional rights without any court order, merely because they sought treatment a benefit under a federal program.

According to the US Constitution, the central government has one legislative branch. That means that only that branch is authorized to legislate -- to make law. The executive branch is designated -- and sworn -- to faithfully execute those laws which are constitutional -- not to make up its own laws as it goes. The executive and judicial branches are out of line when they make laws. The legislative branch is out of line when they authorize the other branches to make laws or ignore them when they do so without congressional authorization.

Every congressman has a sworn duty lead the fight against any president's usurpation of power, including Obama's expansion of what constitutes a gun-restricted person. I also urge Congress to establish a functioning process whereby the mentally ill and former criminals can have their gun rights restored after a reasonable period of responsible behavior. And it must firmly defend its sole-legislative authority.
All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing. -- Edmund Burke
The few good people in Congress are doing nothing. The same is true of most American voters.