Saturday, April 28, 2012

Cain's 9-9-9 tax plan

Several months after dropping out of the 2012 presidential race, Herman Cain is still pushing his 9-9-9 tax plan. His plan would eliminate the current individual income tax, corporate income tax, payroll tax, and estate and gift tax and substitute three taxes imposed at a 9 percent rate:
A 9 percent national sales tax,
A 9 percent business flat tax, and
A 9 percent individual flat tax.
Like the so-called "Fair Tax" and the "Flat Tax," Cain's 9-9-9 plan is based on the false premise that we need any individual or business tax at all. Back in 1913, the central government only consumed 2-3% of GDP -- a tiny fraction of what it takes now. The tax code filled 400 pages. (Today, it's 82,000 pages!) The central government got by just fine without any individual tax whatsoever before the 16th Amendment in 1913. Why not now?
‎Would you be willing to give up your favorite federal program if it meant never having to pay the income tax again? — Harry Browne
If we rid ourselves of all the unconstitutional agencies, programs, laws, rules, policies, and judicial rulings, there'd be no need for any individual tax whatsoever -- not even Cain's 9-9-9!

Cain is far too generous with the taxpayer's money!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Term limits

A contender for one of Utah's seats in the US Senate is among those having interest in imposing term limits. I assume that an amendment to the Constitution would be necessary.

Unfortunately, such a limit would eliminate the statesmen that our nation desperately needs. More unfortunately, I can't think of more than a handful of Constitution-respecting statesmen currently in political office. So, I have reluctantly come to believe that term limits are necessary to save the nation and its Constitution. I also suggest a couple of alternatives that might achieve the same objective:

1 - None of the above -- The ballot would list the candidates according to current practice plus a line for "None of the above." If 60% of voters select "None of the Above," all congressmen who have served more than two terms would be removed from office and would be forever banned from serving in local, state, or national political, appointed, or judicial office. A new election would be scheduled to replace those removed from office.

2 - National vote -- Senators and representatives are elected to represent their constituents. But, their actions affect the rights of everyone in the nation -- even the entire world. In far too many cases, voters place more emphasis on the seniority and power of their congressmen than on their character, agenda, and adherence to the Constitution. Long-serving congressmen are virtually unbeatable because they have overwhelming financial backing to win elections. Because powerful congressmen can affect the rights of people who are not their constituents, I propose that congressmen who have served longer than 15 years be placed on a national ballot. A negative vote of 60% of voters nationwide would override the vote of the congressman's constituents and he would be removed from office and would be forever banned from serving in local, state, or national political, appointed, or judicial office.

Of course, I also believe it is imperative that the 17th Amendment be repealed immediately. When most people talk of the checks and balances of the central government, they think about the balance of power between the three branches of the government. The founders also built into the Constitution other checks on government power -- the power of the separate, sovereign States. The 17th Amendment emasculated the founder-intended power of the States to protect individual rights from a tyrannical central government. That power must be restored by rescinding the 17th Amendment.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Senator Orrin Hatch and the Second Amendment

I am a life-long Republican because its party platform matches my values and because that platform is a perfect fit with the US Constitution and the principles and liberties it protects. But, I don't always vote for Republican candidates. Instead, I vote for the candidate most faithful to the US Constitution. I expect all politicians, judges, bureaucrats, and voters to do likewise. I now discuss one of several categories of reasons why I cannot support a particular Republican politician from Utah:

My senior US senator, Orrin Hatch, a Republican, talks the talk when it comes to the Second Amendment. Sometimes, he is good on gun rights. However, I also find that his actions often fall short -- even hostile to gun rights. This inconsistent fidelity to the Constitution makes him unsuitable to serve any longer in the US Senate.

● During negotiations over the 1986 McClure-Volkmer Firearms Owners Protection Act -- designed to protect gun owners from abuses of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms -- Hatch sat at the negotiating table next to officials of the ATF (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives) and argued against the pro-gun positions of Senator Jim McClure.

● Hatch voted in favor of the Gun Free School Zones Act of 1990 -- an unconstitutional law which has caused millions of responsible gun owners to unwittingly violate federal law while doing nothing to stop anyone from shooting up schools.

● Hatch initially supported and voted for the 1994 Clinton Semi-Auto Ban. In 1993, he voted for this bill containing a ban on semi-automatic firearms. That ban, introduced by anti-gun Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), covered more than 180 types of firearms and any magazine that holds more than 10 rounds. To be fair, after heavy pressure from constituents, he voted against the same crime bill only a month later.

● He voted for the unconstitutional 1996 Lautenberg Amendment to impose a lifetime gun ban on people guilty of "domestic misdemeanors" – a term so vague that it could apply to spanking your kid or engaging in a verbal argument. This lifetime ban, in certain cases can even be imposed without a trial by jury. Ex post facto (retroactive) laws such as the Lautenberg amendment are clearly and specifically prohibited by the Constitution -- a fact that does not seem to matter to Hatch. Because of this law -- that Hatch voted for -- a woman who slapped her abusive husband 40 years ago, and who subsequently pled guilty to a misdemeanor under pressure from her husband, is now permanently and automatically prohibited from even touching a firearm even to protect herself from that same abusive husband! This law has unfairly and adversely affected untold numbers police officers and military servicemen and women. If someone commits a crime that is serious enough to justify depriving him or her of a right specifically listed in the US and Utah Constitutions, it surely is serious enough to warrant a felony conviction – not a mere misdemeanor!

● Hatch played a key role in putting anti-gun Clinton judge Margaret Marrow on the federal bench in 1998. Hatch has repeatedly stated that the President should have whomever he wants -- rejecting the Founders' intent that the Constitution requires Senate confirmation of political appointees -- including federal judges -- to protect the Constitution from anti-liberty presidents, judges, and other appointees.

● In 1998, he introduced S.10, one of the most dangerous gun control bills in a generation. This bill would have treated gun owners like organized crime figures, increasing existing penalties for unintentional technical violations of federal gun laws. Originally, S.10 would have punished gun dealers with 20 years in prison for committing just two paperwork "mistakes" such as misspelling or abbreviating a word! (The ATF implemented that concept through bureaucratic policy.) Horrified dealers admitted this provision alone would preemptively force them out of business. Fortunately, the bill died.

● In the wake of the 1999 Columbine shooting, Hatch voted for unconstitutional amendments which would have effectively banned gun shows, made it more difficult to keep a loaded gun in the home for self-defense, and codified the unconstitutional Bush-era semi-auto import ban.

● In 1999, Hatch was the author of the juvenile crime bill passed by the US Senate. Among other things, it requires trigger locks on all new handguns, unnecessarily driving up costs for gun owners who already have safe means of storing firearms. That law imposed unnecessarily tougher restrictions on sales at gun shows. It banned the import of high-capacity ammunition magazines.

● In 1999, Hatch said, "I support extending the Youth Handgun Safety Act to semi-automatic rifles." His Young Adult Gun Ban would have punish young adults for the mere possession of so-called semi-automatic "assault weapons" or magazines holding over 10 rounds. The provision would, under most circumstances, even punish law-abiding youth who are simply target shooting with their parents!

● Hatch not only voted to confirm many anti-gun, anti-Constitution justices to the US Supreme Court and other federal courts, he even recommended anti-gun Ruth Bader Ginsburg to President Clinton in 2003!

● In 2004, Hatch voted NO on banning lawsuits against gun manufacturers for gun violence. To be fair, in 2005, he voted in favor of The Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act -- after heavy pressure from his constituents.

● In 2007, Hatch supported the Veterans Disarmament Act (AKA NICS Improvement Amendments Act of 2007) which strips the Second Amendment rights of honorably discharged veterans who seek professional counseling following traumatic wartime experiences.

● While pro-gun Senators worked to repeal the unconstitutional gun ban in national parks, Hatch voted against repeal before voting for it in 2009 -- after heavy constituent pressure.

● In 2009, Hatch voted in favor of anti-Constitution regulatory "czar" Cass Sunstein, who favors a ban on hunting and who would grant animals legal protections in court.

● Despite my repeated pleas and those of many other Utahns, Hatch voted in 2009 to confirm anti-Constitution Eric Holder as Attorney General. Holder was the Assistant Attorney General under the also notoriously anti-gun Attorney General Janet Reno, who presided over the Ruby Ridge and Waco debacles. In addition to being mired in the Fast and Furious (Gun Walker) scandal, Holder was the point man on gun control for President Bill Clinton and is a vocal supporter of banning many semiautomatic firearms.

● In 2011, Hatch opposed an amendment offered by Senator Rand Paul to exempt gun buyer information from the Obama administration’s virtually unlimited ability to seize "business records" under the reauthorization of post-9/11 legislation.

● I have repeatedly urged Hatch to introduce legislation to rescind laws which unconstitutionally establish gun-free zones such as schools zones, federal buildings, and postal property where little or no security is provided to compensate for the disarmament of responsible citizens. To date, he has failed to lead in restoring any constitutionally-protected gun right which has been infringed by to legislation, regulation, policy, or judicial decision.

Senator Hatch spent far too much time as best buddies forever with Senator Ted Kennedy. It is far past time for him to retire.

In the past, I have written to the NRA (National Rifle Association), NRA-ILA (NRA Institute for Legislative Action), and NRA-PVF (NRA Political Victory Fund) to protest NRA support of anti-Constitution and inconsistent gun-rights politicians such as Senator Harry Reid.

I urge the NRA, NRA-ILA, and NRA-PVF to reject any and all thought of supporting Senator Orrin Hatch for reelection in any manner whatsoever -- including endorsements or campaign contributions.

Thankfully, Orrin Hatch is facing a serious challenge in this year’s election. Former Utah State Senator Dan Liljenquist is a stalwart pro-gun constitutionalist who understands the dangers of compromising with the likes of President Obama. Liljenquist needs and deserves the full support of the NRA.

Join the National Rifle Association!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Whose turn is it?

"It's Mitt’s time," says Ann Romney. "It's our turn now."

Wrong! It's nobody's turn!

The Whitehouse, Congress, or the federal judiciary do not belong to Republicans or Democrats, to Gun Owners or Hoplophobes, to Whites or Blacks, to Men or Women, to Rich or Poor, to Unions or Capitalists, to Liberals or Conservatives, to Evangelists or Mormons, to Earthlings or Martians. So, it's not about whose turn it is!

All that matters is that we voters elect competent and honest representative leaders who follow the Constitution -- leaders of whom even people who voted for the other guy can be proud. We voters haven't done a very good job of that for a very long time. Instead, we persist in electing politicians who are bitterly partisan of whom nobody can be proud.

We need smarter voters -- and many of the voters reading this are a part of the problem because they think its all about whose turn it is. That's why they vote primarily based on the "D" or the "R" next to the candidate's name or, worse, vote base on the pigment in the candidate's skin instead of his character, ability, and agenda!

Instead, let's all vote for leadership, character, morality, liberty, and limited government as prescribed in the Constitution!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Protect the right of Americans to travel with a gun

When Congress passed the Firearms Owners' Protection Act (FOPA) in 1986, one of the key provisions of the bill was intended to protect the rights of gun owners to legally transport their firearms between locations where they are legally allowed to possess them. This law is found at 18 USC § 926A.

Unfortunately, some local jurisdictions have chosen to ignore federal law and the courts have upheld these infringements on Second Amendment rights. Gun owners have had serious problems lawfully travelling with their firearms in two states in particular: New York (especially New York City) and New Jersey. Rather than recognize the intention of Congress to protect the rights of Americans travelling with legally owned firearms, these jurisdictions have used overly restrictive state licensing laws to harass and prosecute travelers. These anti-gun laws and policies do nothing to curb real crime. Instead, they criminalize normal behavior which is inherently not threatening or dangerous.

The refusal of the authorities in some jurisdictions to recognize federal law and the failure of the courts to enforce the provisions of FOPA, makes additional legislation necessary. HR.4269 would amend this provision to ensure it has the effect Congress intended.

HR.4269 would:
▪ Expand the protections afforded travelers to include "staying in temporary lodging overnight, stopping for food, fuel, vehicle maintenance, an emergency, medical treatment, and any other activity incidental" to the trip.
▪ Put the burden of proof clearly on the state to show that a traveler did not meet the requirements of the law, rather than allow travelers to be arrested and forced to raise the law as an affirmative defense.
▪ Make clear that transportation of both firearms and ammunition is federally protected.
▪ Make clear that the right to transport firearms is judicially enforceable as a federal civil right, with attorney's fees available to victorious plaintiffs in civil suits, as well as to defendants who prevail in criminal cases.

Congress is currently working on a national Right-to-Carry Reciprocity bill which will achieve goals entirely different from HR.4269. HR4269 is intended only to provide real legal protection for people transporting cased and unloaded guns while travelling.

I urge Congress and the President to implement HR.4269 immediately.

Join the National Rifle Association!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Understanding those whose opinions differ from yours

First, take time to read this good article.

I'm already familiar with the Haidt study which found that "liberals just aren't as good as conservatives and libertarians at understanding how their opponents think."

I find that the hardest part of discussing politics or religion with liberals is that they generally can't or won't use reason or facts. Their arguments are rarely based on sound science or history. Instead, they're ruled by feelings and their concept that truth is relative -- not absolute. Conservatives (and moderates to a lesser extent), on the other hand, are better rooted in time-tested traditional attitudes and values and are cautious about change -- especially change for the mere sake of feeling good.

Because conservatives and moderates also have feelings, they can, as the Haidt study shows, understand and even be moved by the liberal perspective. But, because liberals generally are based primarily in feelings, they generally can't fathom the fact-based reasoning of conservatives.