Sunday, April 24, 2016

The political-party "establishment"


When a GOP official (or an official of any other party) says conventions pick nominees -- not primaries, they are correct. And that's the way our nation -- a republic -- was deliberately designed to work. It is not an "image problem" for anyone who understands the way a republic works.

Definition of republic: "A form of government in which power is explicitly vested in the people, who in turn exercise their power through elected representatives."

Too many Americans, even Republicans, fail to understand that the United States are multiple layers of republics within a republic. Even the Democrat Party is a republic! People who whine about the Republican "establishment" need to understand that the "establishment" got there through a grassroots republican process. The following applies to Democrats, Republicans, and less-known political parties:

In Utah, we begin by forming a mini-republic in our neighborhoods where, on caucus night, we make rules for the operation of our precinct meeting, then elect leaders and representatives (delegates).

A few weeks later, those delegates meet with delegates from other precincts in another mini-republic (county convention) where they make rules for the party in that county and elect county-level party officers as well as nominees for local public office.

Others of those delegates elected at the precinct level meet with other neighborhood-elected delegates in a state convention (another mini-republic). Delegates at the state convention make rules for the operation of the party at the state level and nominate candidates for multi-county, state, and national public office. They also elect representatives from among themselves to be delegates to the national party convention. The process then repeats itself at a national convention.

The result is a party "establishment" at all levels that got where it is by common people getting elected as precinct delegates by neighborhood elections. Ultimately, a few of them get elected to top-level positions in their political party.

Bottom line: If you don't like where the nation or your political party are taking you, show up for your local political meetings. Get to know the people who want to represent you. Run as a delegate yourself. The only people who have a voice are those who show up when it's time to take a vote. If you don't show up, you have no voice. If you see corruption in the "establishment", show up on caucus night and election day to help start the cleanup.

And that is probably the root of Donald Trump's complaints about the Republican "establishment". Few of his fans have likely ever been involved in local politics. They don't know how a republic works from the grassroots level to the top. They don't know that the "establishment" consists of their own neighbors who simply took an interest and the responsibility in making the political system work to the advantage of their neighbors and themselves.

If, like Trump, you don't know the rules of the game, it's really convenient to say that the game is rigged every time the game doesn't go your way or to blame it on an "image problem".



Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Cynicism and politics

A friend recently referred me to an essay from Lew Rockwell's website, then wrote, "Kind of bothers me that I've become cynical enough that I don't see what is talked about in this essay as such a bad thing. Because, we really have become the disunited states, sadly."

It is extremely easy to become cynical and defeatist when one sees the state of politics and society these days. But, I believe that cynicism and pessimism are a denial of the power and roles of the Comforter.

Here is what I wrote in return to my friend:

Common themes I hear from LDS leadership in general conferences and read in church magazines are:

• Be prepared. Being prepared means having basic resources on hand for rough times and being debt-free. It means having one's life in step with God's counsel. It means paying tithing and other offerings. It does not mean preparing to live in tent cities -- something that has never come from LDS leadership but which is a religious hobby among many.

• Be involved. I am consistently dismayed by the turnout at caucus meetings, political candidate meet-and-greets, city-council/school-board/county-commission meetings, etc. I am no longer shocked but the percentage of fellow Americans who can't name even one elected official other than the president of the US. Yet, they feel free to criticize government and to vote for the very people they can't name. Involvement also includes doing volunteer work. The Church does what it can to get us to do "volunteer" work through various callings. But, if one doesn't put his/her heart into a calling, I don't think it really counts as being involved. We also need to be involved in non-church volunteerism so we can touch the lives of people we don't see every Sunday.

• Be optimistic. I don't think Libertarians (such any pundit on Lew Rockwell's show and website, including the author of this article) are very good at being optimistic. Pessimism is contrary to what I see in church magazines and to what I hear in general conference. I never hear or read church leaders talk about what this author writes about. The Church has taken steps (including excommunication) to distance itself from pessimists who are predicting imminent apocalypse, societal collapse, and tent cities. Yes, there are prophecies about future calamities, but LDS leaders don't seem to be worried about them -- possibly because they are confident that prepared, involved, and optimistic people will do just fine and they will see that their neighbors do fine as well.

As Dennis Miller says, "That's just my opinion. I could be wrong."



Saturday, April 16, 2016

On Republicans who think they are too pure to vote for the Republican nominee


Who are Hillary fans going to vote for if Bernie gets the Democrat nomination? Bernie!

Who are Bernie fans going to vote for if Hillary gets the nomination? Hillary!

The secret to Democrat wins is they consistently unite behind the nominee.

Who are Cruz fans going to vote for if Trump gets the Republican nomination? Nobody!

Who are Trump fans going to vote for if Cruz gets the nomination? Nobody!

Who are Rand Paul fans going to vote for since he didn't get the Republican nomination? The same as with his father 4 years ago -- nobody!

Many Republicans myopically withhold their votes because their favorite isn't the nominee and forfeit the advantage that Conservatives outnumber Liberals as much as two to one.

That, folks, is how we got Bill Clinton -- twice. That is how we got Obama -- twice. That is how we got Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan.

The fools who stay home (or vote for a third-party candidate with absolutely no chance of winning) simply because their favorite isn't in the race are harming us all. The same goes for the fools who don't vote because they think their votes don't matter. (They're right -- votes don't matter if they don't exist.)

The argument against voting for the lesser of two evils (ie the person who do the least damage to the Constitution) presumes that there is a perfect alternative. The reason evil wins is the refusal to vote if perfection isn't on the ballot.

Remember this: We crucified the last person who was perfect. There will be no perfect person on the ballot in this year's primary election or in the general election. Your best choice is to vote for the candidate you think will do the least damage to the Constitution. Anything else gives the rest of us the person you know darned well will do the most damage.

They won't say it, but Democrats thank you.



Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Congress is robbing veterans of the educational benefits they were promised


As a veteran, retired military and airline pilot I am deeply concerned by HR 3016 (the Veterans Employment, Education, and Healthcare Improvement Act) which will break promises that the United States of America has made to its veterans.

This bill will cause immediate and alarming changes to collegiate flight training degree benefits for our nation’s military veterans. It arbitrarily discriminates against veterans seeking a flight-training degree from public institutions of higher learning because it caps funding only for these degree programs. Other courses of study are not capped.

Without personal financial resources, a veteran would be unable to attain an aeronautical college degree with a commercial pilot license under the proposed cap of $20,235 on flight training for tuition and fee payments at public schools.

It is clear that the Veterans Administration (VA) has a long-standing systemic nationwide breakdown within the agency caused by mismanagement, infighting, and alleged corruption. There is absolutely no excuse or reason for using HR 3016 to punish veterans for bureaucratic and political incompetence and corruption in the VA and Congress.

I certainly understand and support the need for improved fiscal responsibility and strongly support a tightening of existing VA regulations to curb abuses that have occurred in recent years by a minority of flight schools affiliated with collegiate degree programs. However, capping education and training for pilots will harm veterans and limit their employment opportunities in the aviation industry.

It is important to remember three things:
1 - The GI Bill education benefits are an important recruiting tool for the Armed Forces.
2 - Veterans who use their educational benefits to qualify for a career in aviation will be moving into high-tax-paying jobs. Surely that investment is far more prudent than food stamps for able-bodied adult who refuse to find meaningful jobs.
3 - The high cost of preparing for a career in aviation is a direct result of congressional and FAA overreaction -- imposing an arbitrary minimum of 1,500 flying hours – up from 250 hours – before one can sit in the cockpit of a regional jet as a first officer. Helping veterans reach that 1,500-hour milestone is a small way that Congress can redeem itself.

HR 3016 is an egregious disservice to our nation’s veterans, will exacerbate the deteriorating pool of commercial pilots — thereby accelerating the pilot shortage in this country — and will have a lasting detrimental effect on commercial aviation in the United States. Therefore, I urge you to reject HR 3016 in its current form.



Sunday, February 7, 2016

The draft, a large standing army, and the militia


USC Title 10, Sec. 311 says, in part, "The militia of the United States consists of all able-bodied males at least 17 years of age and, except as provided in section 313 of title 32, under 45 years of age who are, or who have made a declaration of intention to become, citizens of the United States and of female citizens of the United States who are members of the National Guard."

Article XV, Section 1 of the Utah Constitution says, "The militia shall consist of all able-bodied male inhabitants of the State, between the ages of eighteen and forty-five years, except such as are exempted by law."

The militias of the separate States is what our founders envisioned as the defense force for the Union and the States -- that almost all men be a trained and equipped part of that force -- that we not rely on a large standing armed force. Most of the units deployed in the Union's early wars were, in fact, state militia units and carried the names of their States. Think of the draft as a little more than a way to remind all men of that duty -- not a form of slavery and claimed by hard-core Libertarians.

The problem is that we evolved to using a large standing armed force -- especially since the war between the States. The militia has largely become an object of disdain. The Army Clause of the US Constitution points to the notion that a large armed force shouldn't be necessary for periods loner than two years -- only during periods of national emergency.

Among other problems, our large standing armed force enables politicians to easily stick their noses into the affairs of other nations where and when it is none of our business. The draft becomes evil only when it supplements that large standing armed force.

If those who abhor the draft (and/or the large standing armed force) would push for phasing out the standing army combined with the full restoration of a well-regulated (ie established, equipped, and trained by each individual state) militia and then actively pursue their own duties in the militia the draft would forever be a distant memory. However, I suspect that many of those who most vocally reject the draft would also be the least likely among us to accept their militia duties (hence the justification for a draft). They are self-righteous pontificating cowards. You know who you are.


Monday, January 11, 2016

Gun rights in Virginia - Sic Semper Tyrannis


As a former resident of Virginia, I am deeply concerned by the recent announcement that Virginia has dropped its recognition of concealed-firearm permits issued by half of the United States.

This change will have absolutely no effect on the behavior of criminals. It only punishes responsible adults of other states who have taken the steps to lawfully carry a concealed firearm.

The argument for this change is based on allegedly inferior training required in the now-restricted states. I must remind Virginia politicians that several states no longer require a permit or training to carry a concealed firearm (Vermont never has had such a requirement). Yet, even without mandatory training, those liberty-loving states have a much better firearm safety record than do states with harsh restrictions on concealed carry.

Although this decision does [yet] not directly affect me -- a Utah citizen -- I must contest any decision that adversely affects the safety and rights of a fellow human being without due process on an individual basis.

I urge every Virginian to work aggressively to immediately reverse this anti-rights decision.

I also urge Virginians to fight for statutory recognition of all concealed-carry permits issued by any state or local jurisdiction in the US. That's what we do in Utah with great success.

Remember the Virginia State Motto: Sic Semper Tyrannis.



Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Legislative powers


"All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives." -- US Constitution, Article I, Section 1.

What is it about that simple paragraph that presidents who issue executive orders and executive actions can't understand?

What is it about that simple paragraph that bureaucrats who issue tens of thousands of new pages of laws every year can't understand?

What is it about that simple paragraph that judges who make law from the bench can't understand?

What is it about that simple paragraph that congressmen who allow, even authorize the above behavior can't understand?

What is it about that simple paragraph that voters who elect politicians to engage in the above behavior can't understand?

All voters must demand that laws be written by Congress! We need smarter voters!



Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Libertarians and the proper role of government


Let me start with the proper role of government as understood and expressed by the Founders in 1776: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. -- That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed...."

Government exists primarily to secure our rights.

Currently, Article 1, Section I of the Utah Constitution reads, "All men have the inherent and inalienable right to...acquire, possess, and protect property...."

Libertas proposes to add one word: "use". The revised phrase would then read, "All men have the inherent and inalienable right to...acquire, possess, use, and protect property...."

On the surface, this proposed change seems good, even necessary to fully protect property rights.

Currently, property is zoned for different uses such as single-family residential, multi-family residential, agricultural, industrial, commercial, etc. Sometimes, a municipality might have long-range plans that differ from current zoning.

For example, over two decades ago, my neighborhood was zoned for agricultural purposes, then, at the request of the owner and with no objections from neighboring property owners, the zoning was changed to single-family residences. The property was subdivided into residential lots. Streets were surveyed and paved. Utilities were installed. My home was built soon after that change and many fine homes have since been built, creating a nice middle-class neighborhood.

Some of the property in my neighborhood, having been grandfathered, is still vacant, but used for agricultural purposes. The city's long-term plan is for the entire neighborhood to eventually consist of single-family homes. If any of the property currently used for agricultural purposes changes ownership, the zoning automatically changes to single-family residential use.

Those were the conditions that I accepted when I bought my home 14 years ago. I knew that I had horses on the property behind my house. I accepted that fact when I made the purchase. I enjoy my four-legged neighbors. I also knew that one day the horses would be gone and I'd see a single-family home on the other side of the fence. I accept that. I expect to enjoy my new two-legged neighbors.

But, the possible, even probable, result of this one-word constitutional amendment could be a buyer buying that horse property -- knowing that it will automatically be zoned for single-family residences as expected by the current neighbors and the city -- but with the intention of using that land for commercial or industrial purposes such as an automobile wrecking yard -- right in the middle of a nice residential neighborhood! It will definitely result in homeowners and home buyers setting up full-scale all-day businesses in structures built and intended as residences right in the middle residential neighborhoods with associated signs, parking, and traffic. the folks at Libertas don't seem to mind the prospect of the nice home next door or next to a church or school being converted into a massage/tattoo parlor. (Maybe that's what they want to do.)

To justify its proposal, Libertas uses the example of a couple that bought some property near Virgin, Utah. Surely that couple was conscientious enough to know how it was zoned. Their act of buying that land was an implicit acceptance of any zoning and land-use restrictions. If they wanted to do anything that is inconsistent with the zoning, they should have bought somewhere else. Don't buy, then impose your will on the rest of the neighborhood, claiming "property rights".

Back to paragraph one above. Government's primary and proper role is to secure (protect) the rights of the people. My neighborhood has a right to the environment we chose when we bought our property. We need government to protect our right to the use of our property under the conditions established when we bought the property unless we all agree that there needs to be a change.

If anyone wants to create an automobile wrecking yard, storage facility, factory, hotel, pig farm, RV park, etc., they are welcome to do so -- in an area that is zoned in a way that it doesn't harm the property rights of those who are already there. Don't barge in to exploit the new wording of the Constitution to do whatever you please regardless of the rights of your neighbors.

Libertas -- presumably being far wiser than all the rest of us -- wants to allow anyone to thus change the rules in the middle of the game. Their goal in this and other Libertas initiatives seems to be the protection or expansion of the rights of a selfish few at the expense of the rights of the community as a whole.

Do we have an out-of-control government? Absolutely -- even at the local level in too many cases. We need organizations like Libertas to help identify the problems and identify ways to fix them. But, do you fix that problem by throwing out necessary roles of government and regulation that protect rights? The hard-core libertarians of Libertas need to come to grips with the fact that government is necessary and that its primary role is to protect our rights from harm by the selfish -- not to establish a new right for selfish property owners to harm the rights and property values of existing property owners.

The revised wording seems good on the surface. But, the sad fact is that most voters won't take the time to ponder the consequences. I predict that the amendment will pass. Then, everyone who voted for it will wonder why that wrecking yard is on the other side of the fence. "Feel good" laws are the domain of the Left. I am deeply disappointed that Libertas is going there too.

We need smarter voters at Libertas.



Thursday, December 10, 2015

Donald Trump, Tom Brokaw, and free speech


Who should be silenced simply because somebody doesn't like what someone else says -- even if it is hateful? How many people? What ideas should be prohibited? Who gets to decide? A majority of the people? (Remember that 50 votes in a lynch mob of 99 is a majority, but still a lynch mob.)

The First Amendment guarantees Trump's right to say anything he wants. However, the First Amendment doesn't guarantee him an audience.

I think it's unfortunate that Trump even has an audience -- either on TV or in politics. (I. for one, chose to not be in his audience.) It would be much more unfortunate -- and hateful -- to silence him simply because some -- even a majority -- disagree with him.

Unanimity of thought, speech, and action is acceptable only when that unanimity is in full conformance with God's guidance. That being highly unlikely for the time being, we need the debate to pull in all directions from the Bernie Sanders Left to Ron Paul's Right in order to fall somewhere in the middle. (Based on Trump's inconsistent past and present, it's hard to predict where he'll ultimately drag the debate.)
"A function of free speech under our system of government is to invite dispute. It may indeed best serve its high purpose when it induces a condition of unrest, creates dissatisfaction with conditions as the are, or even stirs people to anger....That is why freedom of speech, though not absolute...is nevertheless protected against censorship." — William O. Douglas, US Supreme Court Justice (Terminiello v. City of Chicago)
So, here's Tom Brokaw's perspective on free speech (Hint: It's only for those on his side of the debate):

Tom Brokaw blasts Donald Trump

This is one of the most powerful segments we've ever seen. Tom Brokaw compares Donald Trump's call to bar Muslims from America to Japanese internment, Nazi Germany, McCarthyism, and Jim Crow - and he didn't stop there. This amazing video is well worth taking a moment to watch, via NBC News

Posted by Media Matters for America on Tuesday, December 8, 2015




Wednesday, December 2, 2015

On picking a president (or any other politician)


The political-candidate selection criteria generally used by voters and "news" media alike are grossly flawed.

1 - It seems almost everyone looks for a candidate who says what they want to hear with no track record to back it up (see 2 Timothy 4:3-4). That's how most candidates get into office. That is why government causes so many problems from school boards to the Whitehouse, Congress, and the massive army of millions of bureaucrats who rule every aspect of our lives.

2 - An awful lot (probably a significant majority) cast votes based only on the letters "D" and "R". (You know who you are.) Millions consider skin color when making their decision. (You know who you are.)
I look to a day when people will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character. - Martin Luther King, Jr.
3 - The questions asked of candidates seem focused only on how each candidate would personally and unilaterally micromanage given situations or how much they know about the dire situation in third-world countries like Trashcanistan -- as if he/she were expected to be a global dictator with no advisers.

4 - Nobody is asking the candidates what kind of people (temperament, judgement, experience, respect for the rule of law, respect for limits on government power and influence, respect for the Constitution, etc.) they'd pick for key positions (eg cabinet members, judicial appointments, VP, heads of bureaucracies, etc.)

I don't expect a competent, effective leader to be a micromanaging (eg Al Gore) expert (eg not Al Gore) in everything as does the so-called "news" media (as if any member of the "news" media is a expert on anything including journalism). I do expect a leader to be able to assemble a wise and prudent staff that is well-informed in their respective roles. Is anyone reporting on that characteristic for any of the candidates, including Dr. Carson? Nope. Dr. Ben Carson seems to be a victim of his inability to micromanage. Instead, it's all about 2 Timothy 4:3-4 and micro-management.

This year, the GOP player who has benefited most from 2 Timothy 4:3-4 is clearly Donald Trump. (The Left doesn't seem to care about any criteria except whether the candidate far Left enough. Hence, Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton.) Trump is very good at saying what people want to hear. Considering that 2 Timothy 4:3-4 has given us every political disaster (eg Barry Soetoro, Bill Clinton) to date, will that talent make Trump or anyone else a good president?

I never again want to have to cast a vote based on who will cause the least harm as has so often been the case. I want a candidate I can accurately and confidently say is the best person in the country for the job (or at least one of the top million). And, I never want another president who has sealed his past from public inspection (and nobody cares)!

We need smarter voters.



Friday, November 13, 2015

The Million Student March (AKA Million Parasite March)


The weak of mind are striking again. A couple of years ago, it was "Occupy Wall Street". Today, it's a so-called "Million Student March" demanding free education and wages that exceed productivity. I wonder if they also think someone else should do their homework for them and should take their exams for them.
BR> Like "Occupy Wall Street", these students complain about the 1% who they think are hoarding all of the wealth and that they got that wealth unfairly or illegitimately. I challenge the students to consider the analysis by commentator Bill whittle (see video below). BTW, the 1% earned either their wealth or they inherited it from someone who earned it. You want that kind of wealth? Earn it!

I assume that the protesters would use that "free" education to get worthwhile degrees such as engineering, medicine, chemistry, etc. instead of the all-too-common pity-me studies such as women's studies, black studies, etc.

Like the "Occupy Wall Street" movement, these protesters represent what our government schools and most of our universities have become: Marxist cesspools for the indolent of mind. They cry for a "safe space", which interpreted, means only "politically correct" speech is allowed.

One student whined, "wouldnt it be nice if the system didnt enslave its people with massive amounts of debt and used some money to pay for peoples schooling" [sic]. Nobody is enslaving anyone with debt except for those who willingly take on that debt. Hence the "higher education bubble" that threatens global financial stability just as did the easy-and-cheap-mortgages-for-the-uncreditworthy "housing bubble" of a few years ago.

Wouldn't it be nice if people who are old enough to vote or [presumably] intelligent enough to attend college were also mature enough to pay their own [expletive deleted] bills? Instead, all we seem to see in this movement is people whose career aspiration is to be parasites on those who are actually working their way through life.

My wife and I worked our way through college and three graduate degrees, borrowing only $500 from my parents for my first term in college. I see no reason why everyone else can't do the same.
Hard work without talent is a shame, but talent without hard work is a tragedy. -- Robert Half, businessman
We need smarter voters!





Monday, November 2, 2015

Contrails and chemtrails


A YouTuber has posted a video about a 37-year-old report to the US Senate about attempts to use technology to assist farmers. He uses this report as proof of "Chemtrails".​ He even said it on the Internet, so it must be true!

What the report covers is not "chemtrails" (which presumably are behavior-modification toxins sprayed on the people) but cloud-seeding to modify local weather patterns. ​​As explained in the report, that sometimes​ backfire​s​.​ ​Often, those efforts are successful. Causing harm to farmers is not "purposeful" as the YouTube paranoid alleges.​ Don't take his word about the report as fact. ​Instead, read the report​ yourself​ to find out whether it really is about "chemtrails"​ or anything else with evil intent​​.​ It's always wise to do a little research before propagating nonsense like this video.

​In addition to attempting to help farmers, cloud seeding is sometimes used to temporarily dissipate fog at airports with good success. For example, in Alaska, Anchorage drops dry ice pellets over the airport, Elmendorf AFB sprays propane into the air around that airport. Both methods ​effectively ​condense the fog into precipitation, thus clearing the sky over the runways. The goal is better use of the airport -- not the sinister objectives ​presumed​ by the paranoids.

Don't blame evil government forces for "chemtrails". Blame me -- I have 42 years and 25,000 hours of spreading "chemtrails" which are nothing more than water vapor​ -- a natural product of combustion. It's exactly the same stuff as that which comes out of a car's tailpipe​ or the breath of any warm-blooded creature​. That ​water ​vapor, whether from a car​, an airplane​, or a dog, is visible when the atmospheric conditions are right.

If Alex Jones believes it, ya know it's bogus. Regarding this tiresome paranoia, here's a little fun someone had with PhotoShop:



Unfortunately, explaining science doesn't work on a certain people. But, here are some attempts:













Tuesday, October 20, 2015

More taxpayer funding for farmers, ostensibly to save the bees


Here's a segment of a recent press release from the US Department of Agriculture:
WASHINGTON, Oct. 6, 2015 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced the availability of $4 million in assistance for farmers, ranchers and forest landowners working to improve food sources for honey bees on private lands in Midwestern and northern plains states. The targeted conservation effort by USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) aims to improve the health of this critical pollinator in a region where more than two-thirds of the nation’s honey bee population spends the summer months, pollinating crops and building strength to survive winter.
Am I the only one who asks how much each seed will cost under that $4 million government program?

I'm a beekeeper and have been since my youth. I encourage people to plant more flowers and flowering crops in their gardens.

But I can't understand why over-taxed Americans expect, ask, and allow government to do everything for us. Paying farmers to plant flowers (or anything else) is not a proper role of government nor is it a proper use of the taxpayers' money. Instead, let's vote for severe cuts in government power and spending while cutting taxes so that farmers (and everyone else) can afford to buy their own flowers!
"Would you be willing to give up your favorite federal government program if it meant never having to pay income tax again?" -- Harry Browne
You want to save the bees? Get your head out of the sand and plant flowers! Stop waiting for government to do it for you at greatly inflated prices!

We need smarter voters!





Sunday, October 18, 2015

Gun owners who disagree with the NRA


The Washington Post (G Gordon Liddy's favorite news source) recently published an article based on their own polling claiming that "Most gun owners don't belong to the NRA — and they don't agree with it either". The article was discussed in an online forum of gun owners, some of whom also don't agree with the NRA. Here is my response to those dissidents:

1 - Gun owners who don't agree with the NRA and who are not members have no voice. If you want the NRA leadership to listen to you, join!. Get everyone you know to join. (Every member of my family, including 15 grandchildren, is a Life member. Beat that!)

2 - Although a Benefactor Life Member, I also don't agree with the compromises the NRA has made or the support they've given to the likes of Harry Reid. (Compromise with evil always moves in the direction of evil.) NRA fingerprints are on every federal anti-gun law on the books. But, think about how much worse those laws would be if the NRA weren't involved to mitigate the damage.

3 - Why does the NRA compromise? Because it has to! With only 5 million members ("somewhere between 6 and 7 percent of American gun owners" according to the Washington Post article) it does not have the power to dictate what Congress, the president, the courts, and bureaucrats do. The NRA is grossly out-gunned (no pun intended) by the numbers of voters represented by anti-rights organizations. (see partial list.) If only 20% of gun owners were NRA members, the NRA would have the influence it needs to out-lobby the anti-gun groups.

4 - The other gun-rights organizations (I'm also a life member of CCRKBA, GOA, JPFO, and SAF), as good as they are, all have a small, insignificant percentage of membership that the NRA has. Without huge membership numbers, they have no clout. Nobody in Congress listens to them. At least they listen to the NRA enough to hate the NRA. Nobody in Congress hates CCRKBA, GOA, JPFO, and SAF because they don't know who they are! (If any purportedly pro-gun-rights organization is an enemy of gun rights, it is NAGR.)

5 - In the end, I place the blame for every gun-control law squarely at the foot of every gun owner who doesn't vote like a gun owner. If the "between 73 million and 81 million adult gun owners" claimed by the Washington Post don't dominate every election by electing pro-rights politicians and voting out the bums, they deserve to lose their rights. And they are, while taking the rest of us down with them.

I can almost hear Hillary's cackle every time a gun owner rejects the NRA.

We need smarter voters.



Friday, September 18, 2015

Gun deaths, sensationalism, and statistics


A cousin is appalled at a chart created by a Leftist propaganda organization known as Center for American Progress (long known to exploit people who lack a talent for critical thinking). The chart shows that more people were killed in the US by gunfire from 1989 to 2014 than have US war deaths since 1776.

That's far too many deaths in either category, no doubt. But, gun-related deaths in the US are fewer than than poisoning deaths and fewer than motor vehicle traffic deaths over the same period. Did the Center for American Progress point that out? No, that wouldn't serve their agenda.

Firearms account for about 1.6 percent of unintentional injury deaths. As for the intentional-injury firearm deaths, a significant portion of those are lawful self-defense. Another large portion of intentional deaths is suicides -- deaths that likely would have been by some other means were not a firearm available.

As long as the Center for American Progress seems to be concerned about needless death, how about considering legal abortion? Since 1989 (the same period as that used in their article) over 35 million children have been legally killed in the womb -- usually for the mere convenience of one or both of the parents and always for profit. (Don't expect the Center for American Progress complain about that.)

My source: US Centers for Disease Control, a US government agency tasked with tracking deaths, injuries, and disease -- not the Center for American Progress which has a long history of not looking at statistics in context.

Who who needs critical thinking when ignorant emotion is so much easier? The "progressive" movement (eg, the Center for American Progress) relies on that far too-common ignorant emotion. We need smarter voters.



Thursday, September 17, 2015

Utah's governor and the US Constitution


Today is Constitution. Today, we ratification of the US Constitution on this day in 1787.

In honor of this special day, Gary R. Herbert, Governor of Utah made this statement:
"How grateful I am for an inspired Constitution to unite our nation and guide us through the difficult task of governing. May we always defend, protect and adhere to it."
He went on to expand on that statement in his blog.

I wonder, does the governor mean the document the prohibits government interference (see US Constitution, Amendment 2 and Amendment 14, Section 1) with the right to keep and bear arms, yet he, himself, insists that responsible adults have written permission from one of his agents in order to carry a gun of self-defense?

Are he referring to the same Constitution that prohibits the central government from having a role in health care, education, alternative energy, environmental protection, public land management, religion, welfare, national parks, law enforcement, abortion, funding state and local projects, marriage, and countless other areas (see US Constitution, Article 1, Section 8 and Amendment 10), yet he kowtows to the feds, obeying their mandates in those areas, in order to get "free" money?

Is that the same document that was created by representatives of the States and ratified by the States to delegate a few specific roles to the central government (see US Constitution, Article 1, Section 8) while retaining sovereignty of the separate States, yet the governor leads a state government that acts as a mere functionary of the central government -- not as a sovereign State?

Is that the Constitution that says that the US Constitution is the "supreme law" of the land along with those laws that stay within the bounds of the Constitution -- not the laws, regulations, policies, and opinions of federal and state politicians, judges, and bureaucrats that go far beyond the clear limits defined in the Constitution and which he has a sworn obligation to nullify?


Thursday, July 30, 2015

Abortion in the news. Again.


Abortion is in the news lately -- again -- for a very big reason: Officials of Planned Parenthood have been caught selling parts of the aborted babies for some very nice profits. This practice is not only disgusting, it is unlawful.

Firearm deaths (criminal + suicide + accidental + negligent + justified), much decried among the Left, are microscopic in comparison to what the Left loves to do to the most innocent among us.

Abortion is a major cause of death that can always be prevented. After all, as abortion advocates, like to say, it is a choice.

One woman said, "I thought this issue was settled in Roe v Wade decades ago. I don't understand why we have to revisit it."

Why? Really? Why?

Because, while legal for the most absurd reasons, abortion is morally wrong except in very, very rare cases.

Because abortion is almost always committed for the mere convenience of one or both parents -- over 3,300 times every day in the US.

Because of gross abuse of the "right to choose". Can't the parents chose to be responsible before engaging in an activity known to result in the conception of another human being?

Because the child isn't given a choice too.

Because a mother may have a right to decide what's best for her body, but the child's body is not her body! The child is genetically a completely different person -- not an extension of her body or a mere piece of tissue

Because the children have harmed nobody. Why kill (usually by dismembering) them for their pure innocence?

Because an unborn child has as much a right to live as the mother or the abortionist.

Because, as mentioned above, some very evil people have long been exploiting Roe v Wade for profit -- with taxpayer subsidies!

Because Roe v Wade is only one of the Supreme Court's very long history of horrid opinions. (They don't issue "rulings". Kings rule. Justices only have "opinions" which are almost always contradictory.)

Because the Constitution and its protections of "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" belongs to the People (children are people too) -- not the Supreme Court! We, the People, have a right and duty to vote to overrule and change bad government acts and decisions. We have the last say -- not the Supremes!

We need moral voters.






Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Privately-owned drones and public safety


I've been an airline and military pilot for 43 years. In over 25,000 hours of flying (including flying in Afghanistan and other hot spots around the globe), the biggest threat to my life, my airplane, and the people I was responsible for was when I barely missed a remote-controlled model airplane while I was flying a 737 full of people into Seattle.

Anyone who has a pilot's license or who travels on an airliner should be terrified of the recent surge in sales of inexpensive, easy-to-fly, and easy-to-modify drones and the beer-swilling pinheads who think that mounting a firearm on one is clever and cute (see video below). Many of these drones are so inexpensive as to be considered disposable (ie a throw-away weapon or weapon carrier).

Several times, operators of these drones have interfered with, and impeded fire and rescue efforts.

I am as opposed to mala prohibita laws and regulations as anyone. But know that most of them are inspired by the boneheaded actions of people tho think they're clever and cute.

This genie (easy-to-fly and cheap drones in the hands of irresponsible people) is out of the bottle. They are just as dangerous as firearms in the hands of those same irresponsible people. Without the intervention of the heavy hand of government, I don't know how we can begin to assure the safety of the People from the abuse of these devices. We can only blame ourselves and our amusement and tolerance of this new trend in irresponsibility.



Thursday, July 9, 2015

The soaring cost of higher education


Do you really want to know why a college education is so expensive, with costs soaring far faster then the CPI -- just like medical care? Blame the American voters!

Today, there are at least 225 federal statutes -- and growing -- that affect how colleges and universities must operate. Add to that any regulatory requirements imposed by the respective states. Those government mandates typically cost each college or university millions of dollars in compliance expenses.

Then, of course, we must add the cost of compliance with litigation. Whiny "victims" litigate over their perceived need for worthless pity-me courses such as gender and race studies. They litigate over college mascots and names (eg University of Utah "Utes", Dixie State University "Rebels", etc.). In their effort to get their way, these "victims" victimize every student who must then pay higher fees and taxpayers who must pay higher taxes simply to cover the cost of the litigation.

Why does all this happen? Because most voters vote for politicians who live to control their subjects. If you aren't voting for political candidates who will fight for a less intrusive and less expensive government, you are the problem!

We need smarter voters.


Saturday, June 27, 2015

Revolution!


The US Constitution was designed with revolution in mind.

Every two years, we have the opportunity to replace the entire House of Representatives and a third of the Senate (the folks who confirm tyrannical federal judicial nominees). That's a revolution.

Every 4 years, we have the opportunity to replace the entire administration (the folks who nominate tyrannical federal judges), the entire House, and another third of the Senate. That's a revolution.

Every six years, the entire Senate and the House can be replaced. That's a revolution.

But, with a 90-95% reelection rate in Congress despite a Congressional approval rating of 16%, ya gotta wonder whether American voters are fond of revolution -- no matter how badly they need it.

We need smarter voters.