Friday, December 27, 2013

Waste products of copper mining, your drinking water, and skepticism‎

In 2011, the Bingham Canyon Copper Mine in Utah produced approximately 237,000 tons of its primary product -- copper (about $1.5 billion), along with 379,000 troy ounces of gold (about $455 million), 3.2 million troy ounces of silver (about $64 million), about 30 million pounds of molybdenum (about $300 million), and about 1 million tons of sulfuric acid (about $89 million), a by-product of the smelting process.

The tin-foil hat crowd alleges that fluorides used to fluoridate water supplies are a waste product of the phosphate fertilizer industry and aluminum manufacturing industries. There is a bit of truth in that claim. Fluorides used to fluoridate water supplies are indeed a by-product of the phosphate fertilizer industry, as are many other products in use today. The aluminum industry is a consumer of fluoride, not a producer. The fluoride from the phosphate fertilizer industry is a naturally occurring constituent of the phosphate rock and is recovered during the production of the phosphate fertilizer -- just as gold and silver are byproducts of the Bingham Canyon Copper Mine. But, using the logic of the anti-fluoride crowd, Bingham's gold and silver is waste and has no value.

Water fluoridation is the controlled addition of trace amounts of fluoride to a public water supply to reduce tooth decay. Although almost all major health and dental organizations support water fluoridation, or have found no association with adverse effects, efforts to introduce water fluoridation meet considerable opposition whenever it is proposed. Opponents have drawn on misinformation, ignorance, and distrust of experts and unease about medicine and science. Conspiracy theories involving fluoridation are common.

The point is that people with a loose grasp of facts and an utter absence of reasoning can get a story started which falls onto welcoming ears of other people with little ability and/or willingness to evaluate information or to confirm it. Give such people access to a medium such as the Internet, and falsehoods quickly become accepted as if it were science.

Even more troubling is the influence of educated people who should know better. But, they see money and fame in peddling pseudoscience to the uneducated and uneducable. These learned men and women morph into entertainers who, for personal gain, can exploit the mindless minds of their audiences to sell airtime ads and books. Such is the native soil of TV shows (Dr. Oz) and books (Dr. Oz) that pander to anyone lacking a critical mind.
For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;
And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. -- 2 Timothy 4:3-4
I have long contended that a well-educated person has two key but seemingly contradictory characteristics:
• A mind open to new information and
• Skepticism of new information.

In other words, I like to think that I have an open mind, but not so open that my brains fall out.

The Internet has a virtually unlimited wealth of information, much of it true, some of it well-intentioned errors, and far too much outright malicious lies. Some of the true stuff is actually worth reading!

Anyone can get worthless credentials such as a PhD from a California diploma mill, make up an impressive name such as "International Research Institute Pushing Scams-of-the-Day", put up a website with "research", and even organize as a 501(c)(3) non-profit educational organization to bilk the foolish out of their wished-for lottery winnings.

The result is an endless list of misinformation, scams, and hoaxes that the gullible among us fall for including:
• Global warming, global cooling, climate change, or whatever they're calling it today
• Taxpayer subsidies for things that nobody would buy in a free market such as electric and hybrid cars, solar/wind power, and mass transit
• Weight-loss and other health/nutrition fads
• Magical benefits of Coconut oil
• Hazards of Canola oil
• Discrimination against your neighbor's religious or political beliefs
911 conspiracies and World Trace Center collapse
FEMA camps
• The alleged hazards of GMO (genetically modified organisms) food
Crop circles, UFOs, and alien visits
Astrology, psychics, etc.
Perpetual motion machines
Conspiracies to suppress technologies
New World Order
Vaccines and autism
MSG (monosodium glutamate) triggering migraine headaches and other health problems
Sugar and hyperactivity in children
HAARP (High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program) used as a weather-controlling device that can trigger catastrophic events or to send mind-controlling radio waves to humans

Bottom line: Just because the information you find is what your "itching ears" want to hear, the source has an impressive name or title, and the voices in your head say it's true doesn't mean it's worth a bucket of warm spit. There is already enough evil in the world that we don't need to make up evils to worry about.
As long as man's beliefs, or any part of them, are based on error, he is not completely free, for the chains of error bind his mind. — Bruce R. McConkie
You are entitled to your own opinions, but you are not entitled to your own facts. — Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan
Error of opinion may be tolerated, where reason is left free to combat it. — Thomas Jefferson
Tell a lie loud enough and long enough and the people will believe it. — Adolf Hitler
Either you oppose a lie, or you become a liar. — Franklin Sanders
A lie left unchallenged becomes the truth. — Tom Gresham
Have an open mind, but not so open that your brains fall out.

Now, how do I get some of those waste products from the Bingham Canyon Copper Mine? I think I could get by on that kind of income.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Phil Robertson: Another Christian fired because of his religion

As much as I appreciate the refreshing "Duck Dynasty" program, I am done watching A&E. Why?

• A&E dishonestly edits bleeps into "Duck Dynasty" conversations to imply foul language when none exists.
• A&E demanded the "Duck Dynasty" family refrain from praying in the name of Jesus.
• A&E demanded that the family eliminate its references to God and guns. Phil Robertson said, "God and guns are part of our everyday lives [and] to remove either of them from the show is unacceptable. If we can't pray to God on the show, then we will not do the show."

Now, after a complaint by GLAAD (Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) A&E has indefinitely dropped "Duck Dynasty" patriarch Phil Robertson because he has an opinion that isn't politically-correct (politically cleansed):
We are extremely disappointed to have read Phil Robertson's comments in GQ, which are based on his own personal beliefs and are not reflected in the series "Duck Dynasty". His personal views in no way reflect those of A&E Networks, who have always been strong supporters and champions of the LGBT community. The network has placed Phil under hiatus from filming indefinitely.
What were the egregious words that got the Duck Commander in such hot water? When asked what he viewed as sinful during his interview published in GQ magazine, he responded honestly (this was not an unsolicited anti-gay rant -- it was a response to a question):
Everything is blurred on what's right and what's wrong. Sin becomes fine. Start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there. Bestiality, sleeping around with this woman and that woman and that woman and those men.
Paraphrasing the apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 he added:
Don't be deceived. Neither the adulterers, the idolaters, the male prostitutes, the homosexual offenders, the greedy, the drunkards, the slanderers, the swindlers—they won't inherit the kingdom of God. Don't deceive yourself. It's not right.
GLADD shouldn't be complaining about Phil Robertson, they should be complaining about the apostle Paul!

I find it odd that Phil Robertson was cut for espousing views distasteful to thought police who very likely don't even watch, and could care less about, Duck Dynasty.

To a large extent, this argument is about truth. GLADD and others like them advocate arbitrary "relative truth" -- what's true for you isn't necessarily true for me. Robertson's argument is based on "absolute truth" -- time-tested truth that comes from God and which doesn't change.

A&E has a right to produce/drop whatever programming it chooses or is pressured into producing/dropping due to pressure from special interest groups. I choose to not be one of A&E's viewers because they caved to at least one professional outrage group.

Some, especially on the Left, think the A&E vs Robertson rhubarb is an argument about homosexuality. It's not. It's about the First Amendment: Freedom of religion and freedom of speech. Atheists demand and get their freedom of religion. Liberals demand and get their freedom of speech. Homosexuals get their TV/movie/news programming (freedom of the press and of speech). What about the rest of us?

Yeah, I know that the Bill of Rights imposes limits only on government -- not on the People or on organizations such as GLAAD. But such organizations love to use the power of government to silence anyone they disagree with.

Bobby Jindal, governor of Louisiana, home state of the Robertson clan chimed in:
Phil Robertson and his family are great citizens of the state of Louisiana. The politically correct crowd is tolerant of all viewpoints -- except those they disagree with. I don't agree with quite a bit of stuff I read in magazine interviews or see on TV. In fact, come to think of it, I find a good bit of it offensive. But I also acknowledge that this is a free country and everyone is entitled to express their views. In fact, I remember when TV networks believed in the First Amendment. It is a messed up situation when Miley Cyrus gets a laugh, and Phil Robertson gets suspended.
These same folks who gave us sensitivity training and the embracing of diversity need to learn a bit about sensitivity and diversity. The rest of us simply want everyone's rights protected -- not just one politically-correct (politically-cleansed) minority or another.

Here is what a former coworker of mine said about the A&E-Robertson kerfuffle (sorry about the immature language -- it's his and typical of those who argue primarily with emotion, not reason and facts):
"It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt." -- Mark Twain. You can pretty much say anything you want in this country. Just prepare yourself to be hammered for saying stupid redneck shit. People should keep all their racist, bigoted, homophobic, religious, bullshit to themselves. It helps no one and then they look like an asshole. You can't say homophobic, bigoted or racist shit then run to the bible to justify it.
Yup. "It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt." -- Mark Twain

Some seem to think that only "racist, bigoted, homophobic, religious" rednecks use the Bible to guide their lives; that they have no right to express their beliefs, when asked, in the land of the free and the home of the brave; and that the emotional application of profane, hateful, and derogatory labels to such people is therefore appropriate.

After his dismissal, Robertson said:
I myself am a product of the 60s; I centered my life around sex, drugs and rock and roll until I hit rock bottom and accepted Jesus as my Savior.
My mission today is to go forth and tell people about why I follow Christ and also what the bible teaches, and part of that teaching is that women and men are meant to be together.
However, I would never treat anyone with disrespect just because they are different from me. We are all created by the Almighty and like Him, I love all of humanity. We would all be better off if we loved God and loved each other.
That statement parallels the official stand made by my church:
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints affirms the centrality of doctrines relating to human sexuality and gender as well as the sanctity and significance of marriage as the union of a man and a woman. However, the Church firmly believes that all people are equally beloved children of God and deserve to be treated with love and respect.
Inasmuch as Robertson was removed from his own show because he expressed a sincere religious belief (away from the workplace, no less), he may have federal civil-rights case:
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII), which prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. SEC. 2000e-2. [Section 703]
(a) Employer practices
It shall be an unlawful employment practice for an employer -
(1) to fail or refuse to hire or to discharge any individual, or otherwise to discriminate against any individual with respect to his compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment, because of such individual's race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.
Isn't it interesting that GLAAD chose what should be the most religious time of the year to complain about a nearly-year-old statement of a man's religious belief in absolute truth? I suspect they are quite proud of that "coincidence." They and every other anti-religion group won't rest until they impose their will on every individual, business, school, charitable organization, government entity, and even on God and His Church.
Conscience is the most sacred of all property. — James Madison
In the "good ol' days, we admired those who stood by their principles -- even if they differed from your own, But today, those who honor traditional marriage are not just "stupid rednecks" in the eyes of homosexual-marriage proponents, they are bigots and haters, the targets of the deepest bigotry and hate.

Homosexual-rights activists have this message: "If you don't agree with me, you hate me. Agree with me across the board or you are a hater. Submit to my viewpoint or you are a bigot." By using this attack, they don't need to win their arguments by intelligent discussion or rational debate. Instead, they can silence us by labeling opponents. It is the lowest form of policy debate, but in this case it has been frighteningly effective.

A lot's at stake here, and it isn't homosexual rights or the traditional family. If you don't understand or don't care what's in danger, you're a part of the problem.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Bring management of endangered species back to the states where it belongs

Senators Rand Paul of Kentuky, Mike Lee of Utah, and Dean Heller of Nevada have introduced Senate Bill 1731, entitled the "Endangered Species Management Self-Determination Act." A companion bill was also introduced in the House by Representative Mark Amodei of Nevada.

This bill would restrict the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) from listing any new species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) without the approval of the governors of any states in which that species resides and also require a joint resolution approving each listing by Congress.

The bill further requires that USFWS compensate landowners for the value of land deemed to have been reduced by the agency's enforcement of the ESA.

It would provide for delisting of species listed by Congressional joint resolution after five years. This is critical due to the intransigence of federal bureaucrats in delisting species that have recovered or that never truly threatened in the first place. (In the case of the Utah prairie dog, there has been absolutely no improvement in the welfare of that species in spite of over 40 years of federal management! Federal management is not working in spite of great expense to taxpayers and property owners. SB.1731 seeks to remedy that situation.)

In addition to giving governors veto power over listing of species that happen to occur in their states, the bill would also allow a governor to take over all management of a listed species as long as that governor determines that the species occurs only in the state. If a governor makes such a determination, the USFWS will be locked out of any management or monitoring of the species. This is essential because intrastate affairs are of no concern to the central government.

While SB.1731 doesn't go far enough to get the central government out of wildlife management -- a role it is not allowed under the US Constitution -- I urge the Whitehouse and Congress to aggressively work for the prompt implementation of this bill because it pushes the protection of wildlife back to the states where it belongs, imposes congressional oversight over federal bureaucrats, and it seeks to protect the property rights of Americans. This bill is 40 years overdue and must be passed.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

My thoughts on ADHD and other disorders of the brain and nervous system

I have been prescribed Ropinirole for Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS). This is in a class of psychotropic or psychoactive drugs which include dopamine agonists and dopamine reuptake inhibitors.

Especially note the typical and very frightening "precautions," "warnings," and "side effects" sections in the following notices to consumers for this class of drugs:
Ropinirole (Requip)
Pramipexole (Mirapex, Mirapexin, Sifrol)
These drugs are so dangerous, in the opinion of the National Institutes of Health, that I will not take it. The symptoms of RLS are far more acceptable.

Now, compare the "precautions," "warnings," and "side effects" sections for above RLS drugs with common drugs used to treat ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder):
Amphetamine (Adderall)
Dextroamphetamine (Dexedrine)
Methylphenidate (Ritalin)
You will note a troubling correlation between the mass shootings over the past several years and the the fact that most of the shooters were taking, or had stopped taking, these prescribed drugs. The warnings of violence as a side effect for these drugs and withdrawal therefrom is clearly based on tragic experience!

As much as 18% of America's children have been diagnosed with ADHD using a checklist of behaviors in the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual -- a book whose primary reason for existence is to enable mental health professionals to bill insurance companies). However, the DSM system fails to acknowledge the existence of temperament and how it differs. The current ADHD symptoms are not clearly distinguishable from normal behavior. There is no clear evidence that ADHD symptoms are related to medically-treatable brain malfunction.

Studies do not prove that ADHD is a disorder any more than they do with normal temperamental variations. Chemical testing and brain imaging techniques have not proven anything except that everyone is different. The associations demonstrated so far have been inconsistent and are not clear as to cause, association, or consequence of the symptoms. These studies generally lack appropriate controls, who must be the same as the subjects in every way except for the dysfunctional behavior. See:
Does ADHD Exist?
ADHD Is Over-Diagnosed
ADHD Mythbusters
The mortal human body (including the brain) is not perfect. Almost everyone has some level of imperfection in the brain due to genetics, injury, malnutrition, or bad luck. In most cases, those imperfections are never made apparent, are minor in their effect, or the person learns to ignore, suppress, or compensate for the imperfection. In a few cases, medication can be helpful or even necessary because the imperfection causes dangerous behavior.

But, there is no truly scientific evidence that ADHD is a real problem that any drug can or should fix. It seems to me that a good test of the validity of ADHD as a true condition is this: Put the child in front of a TV with age-appropriate programming. Can the child focus on the programming without being drugged? Almost invariably, the answer is yes. That shows that drugging is not needed to get the child to focus.

The bottom line is that parents and teachers simply want easily-managed children. If all the children behave exactly in the same compliant manner, it makes the jobs of parenting and teaching much more convenient. To answer that flawed expectation, the health care system has outlined a process in the DSM to label non-conforming individuals and drug them into conformity. Drugs seem to be the easy way out, but they are a dangerous cop-out. As one can see from the above links, the drugs they're using can be extremely dangerous and the long-term effects is unknown.

So, what is to be done about hard-to-manage children?

In my generation and before (before modern science invented ADHD and its purported "cure") we simply learned to behave ourselves. Being raised in traditional, intact families where Mom stays home to nurture the family certainly makes a difference for those children who don't fit the mold. Unfortunately, modern education theory is rooted in the industrial revolution of the late 1800s where schools are viewed as a factory which takes in standardized parts and assembles them into standardized products via standardized processes. Too many parents have the same expectation for their children. That is not an appropriate model for educating widely variable children of God. What really bothers me is when the state (school staff and child protective services) override the God-given rights, responsibilities, and authority of parents to drug, hospitalize, and confiscate children over this vaguely understood condition.
"True doctrine, understood, changes attitudes and behavior. The study of the doctrines of the gospel will improve behavior quicker than a study of behavior will improve behavior." — President Boyd K. Packer (Ensign, May 2004, p 79)
Nobody has a drug deficiency (although drugs sometimes might be necessary to control dangerous behaviors). But, we all need to learn better behavior as President Packer suggests. Children, like adults, simply need to learn how to channel their behaviors and attention appropriately. It's called self-discipline. The prophets outline what behavior is appropriate and how to get there.

Worthwhile activities (ie not TV or computer games) that a child enjoys and where he is only compared against self or an external, achievable standard (rather than against the performance of other people as happens with children is school or team sports) can be used as opportunities to learn how to focus attention. For interested children, marksmanship is an excellent example of an individualized activity where one can learn focus and self-discipline.
"Even the best psychiatrist is like a blindfolded auto mechanic poking around under your hood with a giant foam 'We're #1' finger." — Dennis Miller (One of the brightest men alive today who, I suspect, would be drugged into mediocrity for ADHD if he were a child today.)

"Of course, that's just my opinion, I could be wrong." — Dennis Miller

Friday, November 22, 2013

Harry Reid nukes Liberty

Until this week, the beauty of the filibuster was that it protected the voice of minority parties in the Senate.

The Democrats in the Senate have consistently used various Senate rules, includind the filibuster, or threat thereof, to block nominees of Republican presidents far more than the Republicans have used any tool whatsoever to block Democrat appointees. Yet, Senator Majority Leader Harry Reid cherry-picked statistics to dishonestly claim that only the Right exploits these tools to block appointees.

This week, Reid and the other Democrats in the Senate changed the age-old rule requiring a super majority to end a filibuster. With this week's vote, only a simple majority vote can end a filibuster. That makes it much easier for majority parties to get their agenda and their political appointees (including lifetime appointment for federal judges) past the Senate.

One must remember that Senate confirmation of all presidential nominees is mandated by the Constitution. Why would the Constitution mandate a confirmation process if the Senate simply rubber-stamps all nominees? The answer is found in Article 6 of the Constitution wherein senators and all other elected, appointed, and employed public officials are required to swear an oath to protect the Constitution from its enemies -- politicians, judges and other appointees, and bureaucrats who seek to undermine and destroy the Constitution and the individual Liberties it would protect if followed.

It appears to me that the Leftists in DC (Reid, Obama, Holder, etc.) understand that they may not always be able to overwhelm the nation with Marxist programs, anti-Constitution judges, and other anti-Liberty political appointees with the too-reliable help of give-em-what-they-want senators like Orrin Hatch and John McCain. Reid is once again telling Republicans that the Democrat thieves intend to win at all cost. He is reminding Republicans that Democrat politicians have never played fair in the game of politics and that they never will; that Democrat politician have always lied about their agenda; that they've lied about their past, and that their voters are often fictitious, ineligible, dead, vote multiple times, etc.

Republican politicians still are ignoring those messages. I expect that they always will. Republicans must continue to play fair. But thy must also play to win. That means they must learn to never compromise with evil on any any issue. So long as Republicans compromise with evil, they will fail to earn the respect of the voters.

The Left seems to think that time is short before the American voters finally pull themselves away from the mall and American Idol long enough to acknowledge what's going on in DC and state capitols around the Union. So, the political thugs on the Left are now using ever more brute force to push through their agenda and, most especially, anti-Liberty judges-for-life before the voters finally respond to the hundred-year-old wake-up call.

Unlike what those political thugs on the Left seem to think, I don't think the voters will wake up very soon. Few voters know the many significant differences between the big-government, immoral agenda of Democrat Party Platform and the individual-liberty, God-respecting agenda Republican Party Platform.

Most Americans think that they are free if the government still allows them get to the mall with politically-correct security rules, check their NSA-screened Facebook page, buy government-approved cars, send their kids to government schools, communicate in English, and get their various government benefits.
If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be. -- Thomas Jefferson
We need smarter voters.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

A gun magazine and one of its writers betray gun rights!

Count me among those who are disgusted by Dick Metcalf's recent essay supporting gun control. It reads like what I'd expect from the Brady Bunch, Eric Holder, the New York Times, or a middle-school student writing assignment. It appears that Metcalf has spent too much time rubbing elbows with Leftist so-called "journalists".

Unfortunately, I must remind Guns & Ammo and Metcalf of a key phrase used by the Founders when speaking of rights: "...all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights..."

If, as the Guns & Ammo staff apparently believes, rights come from government, then those rights certainly are alienable and can be manipulated at will by government. These rights are known as "positive rights." What could be wrong with "positive"? Because "positive" rights are found in a list of rights a benevolent government chooses to endow -- until they are rescinded. Beyond that list, you have no rights.
,br> However, if rights come from the Creator (God or nature, take your pick) as the Founders understood, then government has no authority to list, manipulate, or rescind those rights. You see, our rights come from our divine status as as children of God -- not as subjects of the state. That's why the founders used the word "unalienable"! These rights are generally known as "natural rights" and no list of God's gift of natural rights can possibly be complete, hence the Ninth Amendment.
The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people. — Ninth Amendment to the US Constitution.

A free people [claim] their rights as derived from the laws of nature, and not as the gift of their chief magistrate. — Thomas Jefferson (A Summary View of the Rights of British America)

The rights of man come not from the generosity of the state, but from the hand of God. — John F Kennedy
The fact that American voters have unwisely elected politicians who infringe on our God-given rights does not mean that those rights should be infringed. The fact that politicians and judges unlawfully (the Constitution is the "supreme law of the land") persistently and often successfully usurp power to alienate our "unalienable rights" does not mean that they have legitimate power to do so. It only means that we have too many unwise and ignorant voters.

Nearly every voter, nearly every politician, and nearly every judge thinks that he or she has all the answers to solve all the problems of the world and should therefore have power to impose their presumed perfect solutions upon the People. The Constitution is written specifically to limit the power of such well-intended and self-presumed wise people. That document is designed to limit their intrusion in, and power over, the lives of responsible people to the absolute minimum -- to leave us alone!

Metcalf's argument regarding shouting fire in a crowded theater and human sacrifice are silly. Those acts are not protected by the First Amendment because they are inherently evil, irresponsible assaults (malum in se) on the rights of others -- not because some group of politicians chose to outlaw them (malum prohibitum).

Metcalf argues that since driving is a "privilege" and since drivers must be trained and licensed, it is appropriate to impose similar limits on gun owners implying that firearm ownership is a "privilege". I must remind Metcalf and his fellow staff at Guns & Ammo that driver education and licensing came several years after our grandparents started owning and driving cars. Yes, owning and using a motor vehicle used to be a right -- not a privilege -- just as riding a horse or driving a buggy was a right before the advent of the horseless carriage (and still is in most jurisdictions). That right was converted to a privilege only because Americans elected politicians who were eager to manipulate the right to move freely around the land.

Metcalf and those at Guns & Ammo who approved the publishing of his essay clearly do not understand that the clear and unmistakable wording of the Constitution must be interpreted as it was understood by those who wrote and ratified it -- not according to modern understanding of the words they used. The plain wording or the Bill of Rights make it obvious that none of the first ten amendments grant any rights -- they simply acknowledge those God-given rights and prohibit government from interfering with them.

For example use of the words "well-regulated militia" were not used in the Second Amendment to stipulate that the ownership and use of arms (the Second Amendment addresses "arms" -- all weapons -- not just firearms) was to be regulated by government or that the ownership and use of arms was limited to military forces. Instead, the founders understood that a "well-regulated militia" is one which is disciplined. Remember that, according to the law and tradition, the militia is the People -- not merely the National Guard or any other formal military force.
A militia when properly formed are in fact the people themselves...and include all men capable of carrying arms....To preserve liberty it is essential that the whole body of people always possess arms....The mind that aims at a select militia, must be influenced by a truly anti-republican principle. — Richard Henry Lee, Additional Letters From The Federal Farmer, 1788

I ask, who are the militia? They consist now of the whole people, except a few public officials. — George Mason at Virginia's US Constitution ratification convention, 1788
I challenge Dick Metcalf and the entire staff at Guns & Ammo to study the Constitution (I suspect none of you have ever even read it from start to finish) -- especially the Bill of Rights. Note how the Constitution was carefully written to limit the central government's power over our lives. Note how the Bill of Rights was carefully written to tell the government to keep its hands entirely off our God-given rights. Note that there is absolutely no room in the wording of the Bill of Rights for compromise or arbitrary "regulation."

I also challenge Metcalf to identify at least one gun restriction that has been effective in achieving its purported objective. He surely must recognize that the primary impact of all gun control has been on those who are not a criminal threat.
Gun control shifts the equation in favor of the criminal. — Judge Robert Bork

If gun control worked, the District of Columbia would have no violence and yet it is the murder capitol of the planet. — Phil Graham, US Senator
If, as Metcalf claims, government has authority to restrict the ownership and use of arms, where would Metcalf like to draw the line on that authority and how would he propose to force government to honor that limit? That said, know that the Founders already drew the line: "The right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."
Congress have no power to disarm the militia. Their swords, and every other terrible implement of the soldier, are the birth-right of an American. — Tench Coxe

The right is absolute...government has no authority to forbid me from owning a firearm...the debate is not about guns. It is about freedom. — Tom McClintock, California State Senator, 9 Jun 2001

A free man must have unrestricted rights to own and use personal weapons, in the defense of his family, his home, and his own person, against any kind of marauder -- whether the marauder be a soldier of an invading army, or an agent of an internal political conspiracy, or a criminal. — (Dan Smoot Report, 16 Mar 1964)
Guns & Ammo and Dick Metcalf have shown to the world that they are not worthy of being spokesmen for the shooting community or of a freedom-loving people. I will allow my Guns & Ammo subscription to expire unless the entire Guns & Ammo staff makes appropriate corrections in its poor understanding of rights and issues a full and sincere apology. Metcalf, in particular, owes the world a full-page apology for his misguided full-page essay. I won't go as far as demanding Metcalf's head or termination. I hate to see him scapegoated. The fact that his essay was published indicates there is deep-rooted ignorance regarding the Constitution among multiple high-level people at Guns & Ammo.
If the price I must pay for my freedom is to acknowledge that the government was granted the power to infringe on them, then I am not free. — Pol Anderson

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Ya got enough government yet?

The central government runs housing.
The central government runs research.
The central government runs the banks.
The central government runs healthcare.
The central government runs agriculture.
The central government runs the schools.
The central government runs car makers.
The central government runs mass transit.
The central government runs the environment.
The central government runs small businesses.
The central government runs the firearm industry.
The central government runs state/local elections.
The central government runs student financial aid.
The central government runs wildlife conservation.
The central government runs solar and wind energy.
The central government runs transportation security.
The central government runs state/local law enforcement.
The central government runs parks and other public lands.

Next up: Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and former Speaker of the House wants the central government to run day care (actually, it already does).

All this in spite of a Constitutional prohibition against the central government from doing any of these! And it doesn't do any of them well or efficiently.

It can't even run itself properly, yet most voters want the central government to do more things it can't do well.

We need smarter voters.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

What the partial government shutdown tells those who will listen

The partial government shutdown has highlighted a few things that a few of us have been saying for many years:
1 - Most Americans have grown too dependent on government
2 - With our blessing, the central government has grown far too powerful, too expensive, too wasteful, and too far into debt
3 - At our selfish request, the central government is doing things it was never intended to do, should not do, and which the Constitution prohibits
4 - The founders were profoundly wise in writing a Constitution that decentralized power and responsibility to the States and to the People
Most Americans have consistently ignored the Constitution when casting their votes. Those who care and who are aware can see the disastrous results coming to a head under a child-king pouting in the Spitehouse when he's not on the golf course. Everyone else is at the mall with their heads buried in their smartphones.

We desperately need smarter voters.

Here comes another possible Second-Amendment infringement

While I have never pursued this path and likely never will, trusts and other legal entities are used by some to own and use machine guns (yes, they're legal to own and use in the US) and other restricted firearms and accessories regulated by the National Firearms Act (NFA).

Many NFA firearm owners choose to use trusts to hold their NFA firearms and other property for estate planning reasons, one of which is to simplify the transfer of the firearms to the heirs of the owner. Another reason for using trusts is to simplify the legal and safe sharing of the pleasure of owning and using these restricted items with other responsible law-abiding persons.

It is unlawful for restricted persons (felons, the mentally incompetent, illegal aliens, addicts, etc.) to possess firearms or ammunition. Contrary to the apparent belief of some, these trusts cannot be used as a way to circumvent the firearm restrictions on such persons. Even if a restricted person were listed in a trust as having an interest in the property held in trust, that person still may not have access to firearms or ammunition.

A proposed rule change (ATF-41P) by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF) would require each "responsible person" of a legal entity to get a certificate or "sign-off" from a chief law enforcement officer (CLEO) before a transfer could be approved. I know of no evidence that the heretofore absence of a mandate for a CLEO signature for trusts has been exploited for criminal purposes. However, it is a fact that some CLEOs refuse to sign non-trust applications to own NFA items, and will continue to refuse to sign, for purely arbitrary and capricious reasons -- thus unnecessarily infringing the Constitutionally-protected, God-given rights of responsible persons in the name of the law.

I know of no evidence that anyone is using these trusts or other legal entities for criminal purposes. Therefore, ATF-41P has no apparent purpose other than to further arbitrarily infringe the Constitutionally-protected, God-given rights of responsible persons in the name of the law and to satisfy the whims of certain anti-gun persons and groups.

ATF-41P must be rejected.

Friday, October 11, 2013

In denial of Socialism in America

We are dependent upon government for food, shelter, education (indoctrination), entertainment (parks, theaters, sports arenas, swimming pools, etc), and now healthcare and even cell phones.

Government tells us what kinds of cars and appliances we can own. The central government took ownership of a major US automobile manufacturer and the national banking system.

The central government owns most of the land in the collective commonly known as the Western States.

We ban God from schools and the public square -- just like Lenin, Stalin, and Mao. Government dictates what can and must be taught in our schools (indoctrination centers) and what is prohibited to be taught. Our "news" media largely broadcasts what the Party wants us to know.

When there is a slight decrease in the rate of increase in federal spending (2013 sequester) or when "non-essential" portions of the of the central government are temporarily closed, we go into a government-dependency-withdrawal panic while politicians and bureaucrats go into a "how dare you defy the government" punish-the-People mode.

We blindly submit to government agencies that eavesdrop on our phone calls without a warrant, maintain massive databases of information on us, search our persons and belongings without a warrant, conduct massive armed raids on our homes based on a suspicion we might have a joint, and confiscate our property.

We elected a president who bragged in his autobiographies that he was surrounded by and indoctrinated by communists throughout his youth and education. Most of the people we have elected to Congress as well as state and local governments also have a government do-it-all collective mindset (our local school superintendent announced last night in a town-hall meeting that all the school children in Iron County, Utah "belong to me").

Yet, most of us deny that we are a Socialist (in many aspects, Communist) nation even though that Socialist mindset has buried us in national debt.
Socialism: a political and economic theory of social organization that advocates that the means of production, distribution, and exchange should be owned or regulated by the community as a whole
Communism: a political theory derived from Karl Marx, advocating class war and leading to a society in which all property is publicly owned and each person works and is paid according to their abilities and needs
Ya got enough government yet?

We need smarter, moral, and non-delusional voters.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Utah must take control of its public lands

The US Constitution authorizes the central government to possess only that land which is necessary for the District of Columbia and "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." (US Constitution, Article 1, Section 8). The Tenth Amendment reserves all other control over land to the individual states.

About 63 percent of Utah is federally owned -- in violation of of the above conditions found in the US Constitution! For many years, the central government has persistently made it ever more difficult for Utahns and visitors to enjoy our public land.

Utahns have consistently shown that we are better suited than the federal government to decide how to use the land within our state. Worse, because the land is under federal control, the state cannot collect any taxes from it.

When Utah became a state, it entered into a compact agreement requiring federal-owned land be turned over to the State. The central government has failed to comply with that compact. Utah has been far too patient.

Now, because of congressional and presidential bickering over federal spending and federal debt, a portion of the central government is shut down. Of course, this shutdown is nothing more than a political game. Nevertheless, Utah and its citizens -- especially communities near the national parks, national forests, national monuments, and national wilderness areas -- are being harmed on the sidelines of this childish political game. Tourists who are visiting Utah to see our lands are also being harmed.

Much of what federal officials are doing regarding park and other closures is absolutely childish and vindictive. It is obvious that the partial shutdown of the central government was designed specifically to focus punishment upon Americans who voted for congressmen who are willing to challenge big-government usurpation of power and reckless spending. The attitude seems to be, "How dare you defy the king!"

It seems to me that now is an ideal time for the State of Utah to assert its right of sovereignty over the lands which the central government wrongfully possesses and controls without "the Consent of the Legislature of the State".

Some of the County Commissioners in Utah have called for a declaration of a state of emergency to get Utah's national parks, national forests, national monuments, and national wilderness areas reopened. I support that move and urge Utah's Governor Gary Herbert to declare an emergency as suggested. But, I'd enhance their request for an emergency a bit:
• Include in the declaration of emergency that the more-than-generous exception in Utah HB.148 (Transfer of Public Lands Act of 2012) for national parks, national forests, national monuments, and national wilderness areas is immediately suspended until the legislature can amend the act to permanently remove the exception. Call an emergency session of the Legislature to remove the exception immediately.
• Declare immediate Utah sovereignty and control over all land currently known as national parks, national forests, national monuments, national wilderness areas, and BLM lands. Declare those lands to immediately be a part of Utah's state forest and state park systems.
• Declare that all federal employees who occupy all land currently known as national parks, national forests, national monuments, national wilderness areas, and BLM lands to be trespassers and subject to immediate arrest and punishment as trespassers.
Here is the governor's chance to enforce Utah HB.148 (Transfer of Public Lands Act of 2012) which he courageously signed in 2012. Yes, the legislation gave the central government until the end of 2014 to comply with HB.148 and with the Utah Statehood Enabling Act of 1894. But, inasmuch as the central government has shown a childish unwillingness to manage these lands in a reasonable manner for the benefit of the People, an emergency early assumption of control and ownership of these lands (which already rightfully belong to the people of Utah) is justified.

I also urge all other governors to coordinate similar actions in all other states. It is way past time to reign in the runaway central government.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

The debt limit again!

We are five days away from fundamentally transforming the United States of America. -- Barrack Obama, 30 Oct 2008, University of Missouri in Columbia, Missouri
Since that man took over the Whitehouse, the national debt limit has been raised seven times. Seven times!

Congress and the putative current president have added over $43,000 in debt for every American household in just the last four years.

Now, because of the voter's insatiable desire for "free" stuff and unconstitutional big-government programs and the politician's insatiable desire to control your life with wild spending, the debt limit deadline is looming again.
The fact that we are here today to debate raising America's debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. -- Barrack Obama, 16 Mar 2006, speech on the floor of the US Senate
Gotta agree with him on that one. But, that was then -- before he moved into the Whitehouse. What does he say about leadership on the debt now?
Now, this debt ceiling — I just want to remind people in case you haven't been keeping up — raising the debt ceiling, which has been done over a hundred times, does not increase our debt; it does not somehow promote profligacy. All it does is it says you got to pay the bills that you've already racked up, Congress. It's a basic function of making sure that the full faith and credit of the United States is preserved. -- Barrack Obama, 21 Sep 2013, speech at the Business Roundtable headquarters in DC

Instead of pursuing significant spending cuts (elimination of unconstitutional government programs and agencies) and entitlement ("free" stuff) reforms the nation desperately needs, members of Congress are proposing to suspend (AKA ignore) the debt ceiling for more than a year. That would add an estimated $1.1 trillion to the debt -- another $8,800 per household to the $43,000 per household that was added over the last four years.

Is that the "fundamental transformation" you "hope and change" voters voted for? You may not think so, but yes, it is.

What happened the last time Congress raised the debt ceiling? Did they accomplish any meaningful spending cuts before increasing the debt limit? No.

Congress and the Whitehouse are reckless and out of control. The have been for decades. That recklessness is what a majority of us vote for every two years. This cannot go on!
People look at me and say, "What are you talking about, Joe? You're telling me we've got to go spend money to keep from going bankrupt?" The answer is, "Yes, I'm telling ya." - Joe Biden, US Vice President and economic idiot (No wonder we're in such trouble!)
We need smarter voters.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Pima County, Arizona pays for a SWAT assault

Arizona's Pima County has agreed to settle a lawsuit over the fatal shooting of a Marine, Jose Guerena, who allegedly pointed a gun at SWAT officers during a raid on his home two years ago. The Marine never touched the trigger of his rifle, but 22 of 71 police bullets pierced his body. Then, officers refused to allow EMTs access to the home to save Guerena's life. County officials say they'll pay a paltry $3.4 million to end a two-year legal battle.

The sad part of the story is that the taxpayers are stuck with the bill. But, it was those same taxpayers who elected the sheriff and other public officials who made the rash decision to attack an innocent man's home based on an unverified anonymous tip. It seems to me that Pima County taxpayers got off pretty light at $3.4 million. It's clear that Pima County voters, like most voters, need to make wiser decisions in the polling booth. Don't ever elect such reckless public officials again!

The tactics used in the assault on Guerena's home must be reserved solely for cases where a victim's life is in grave danger such as a hostage situation or a mass-shooting -- not to prevent a rumored suspect from flushing a joint down the toilet.

Police need to understand that when they break into the homes of a free people (we Americans are still presumed to at least be nominally free -- not living in a police state), they are are subject to be fired upon by liberty-and-life-loving occupants who have a God-given, constitutionally-protected right of self-defense and of defense of their home and family. Yes, even in Pima County.

It is not reasonable to expect those occupants to blindly submit to any intruder, especially when they have family to protect -- even when the intruders claim to be cops.

No officer who has sworn an oath of loyalty to the Constitution should ever agree to such an entry unless the reason for that entry is so important that he/she is willing to die to accomplish that mission. Because he just might. Is finding a joint worth that?
If the thief is caught while breaking in and is struck so that he dies, there will be no bloodguiltiness on his account. - Exodus 22:2.

If it's not worth dying for, it's not worth shooting over. - Unknown
Voters everywhere must demand a stop to these overused no-knock raids except in life-and-limb situations. Unfortunately, every candidate in the current municipal election in my little town of Cedar City, Utah sees no need for change in such tactics.

I call for legislation in every jurisdiction that reinforces the Fourth Amendment by protecting and emphasizing the right of law-abiding Americans to use deadly force to defend their homes -- especially against government agents.

Pariah: The coal-fired power plant

Cheap and abundant carbon-based energy is the one factor that helped man rise out of the Stone Age. There are a few areas of the Earth where the people are still in the stone age -- because they don't have access to cheap and abundant carbon-based energy.

The most efficient and cheapest way to get work done is by burning carbon in one form or another. Even creating, installing, and operating so-called "green" energy farms such as those using solar and wind require the consumption of huge amounts of carbon-based fuel.

Our traditional source of cheap and abundant energy is coal. In the United States, coal power accounted for 42% of the country's electricity production in 2011. Utilities buy more than 90 percent of the coal mined in the United States.

Coal is hardly the cleanest of fuels. But, over the years, the nation's coal-fired power plants have made incredible progress in cleaning up emissions such as soot, sulfur, and mercury. The remaining emissions are invisible, non-toxic carbon dioxide and harmless water vapor. Coal, today, produces clean and inexpensive electricity to much of the nation.

But, cleaning up those emissions have come at a cost. According to the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE), EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) regulations have led to the closure of nearly 290 coal plants this past year.

To make matters worse, Obama has announced he will make strict changes to coal-fired power plants by using his EPA to enact strict regulations. The EPA has proposed an emissions limit of 1,100 pounds of carbon dioxide per megawatt hour. New coal plants generally release about twice that. No one will be able to build a new plant and comply with the regulations.

Electricity prices could rise as much as 80% thanks to Obama and his rogue, unregulated and unlegislated Environmental Protection Agency. Unemployment will continue to skyrocket in communities that depend on coal. AS cheap carbon-based electricity is replaced by expensive solar- and wind-based electricity, the cost of recharging all those taxpayer-subsidized electric cars will force their owners into walking to work. How will the anti-carbon "greenies" among Obama's political base feel then? Back to the Stone Age.

The argument for this ever-increasing regulation is that carbon dioxide, a naturally-occurring molecule and an essential part of life itself is a pollutant! (Life is carbon-based, after all.) Carbon dioxide is a trace gas comprising only about .04% (four hundredths of one percent) of the atmosphere. Most sources of carbon dioxide emissions are natural, and are balanced to various degrees by natural carbon dioxide sinks. For example, the natural decay of organic material in forests and grasslands and the action of forest fires results in the release of about 439 gigatons of carbon dioxide every year, while new growth entirely counteracts this effect, absorbing 450 gigatons per year. Plants must have that alleged pollutant, carbon dioxide, to live!

With little proof other than computer models, it is argued that carbon dioxide is a "greenhouse gas" which contributes to global cooling or global warming or climate change or whatever the cause of the day is. So, carbon dioxide, an essential part of life itself, must be regulated.

One of Obama's faithful soldiers in the war against coal is Regina (Gina) McCarthy, of Massachusetts who is the Administrator of the EPA. She was appointed to lead the fight against carbon, the fight that seeks to return us to the Stone Age (except for the ruling class, of course).

I reject the climate-change lie. Inasmuch as the Constitution restricts the central government from regulating the environment, I reject the EPA's legitimacy. I demand that my representatives do likewise. I demand my representatives stop Obama, McCarthy, and the EPA from killing American businesses and our modern carbon-based way of life. The ERA effort to regulate carbon dioxide must be stopped!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Who's to blame for gun violence?

The Blamer-in-Chief, like all hoplophobes, blames NRA for gun violence.

Yeah, right. The world's largest gun-safety-training organization is to blame for gun violence.
- Not fatherless homes.
- Not parents who don't properly secure firearms in the home.
- Not parents who don't teach their children how to be safe around guns
- Not parents who fail to teach their children self-discipline or even right from wrong.
- Not parents who never think to to take their children to church.
- Not the pervasive practice of farming out children to day-care so both parents can work for "self-fulfillment" or to buy more toys or a bigger house.
- Not violent TV programming and movies.
- Not TV programming and movies that portray grossly unsafe firearm handling practices.
- Not violent video games and "music".
- Not government agencies and other organizations that think the civil rights of those who are mentally ill trump public safety and therefore keep those names out of the NICS (National Instant Criminal Background Check System) system so they can buy guns.
- Not the gang culture.
- Not the drug trade.
- Not the rejection of God from schools, the public square, and from personal lives.
- Not the criminal. Definitely not the criminal!
Nope. instead, let's blame the organization with over 90,000 trainers who teach more than 750,000 Americans how to be safe and responsible with firearms each and every year. Let's blame the organization whose Eddie Eagle GunSafe program has taught over 25 million kids how to stay safe if they find a gun. The result: The firearm accident death rate is at an all-time annual low, 0.2 per 100,000 population, down 94% since the all-time high in 1904. Yup, blame the largest organization that's actually working to make gun ownership and use safer.

Anti-gun bigots also like to fuss about "military-style" firearms as if the style (appearance) is a problem. Every firearm ever made is/was derived from implements of war. The same can rightly be said of bows, knives, wheeled vehicles, computers, and baseball bats. Misused, any of them can be a tool of considerable harm. But, does their martial ancestry make any of them inherently evil? Of course not.

Anti-gun zealots need to start focusing their attention on bad behavior -- not on inanimate demilitarized objects which are almost always used safely and for the general benefit and pleasure of mankind.

Ya want to eliminate "gun crime"? Grow up, then focus on the word "crime". Fix the mental health system which was broken by the do-gooders of the ACLU and other Leftists. Stop the biggest cause of crime -- the so-called "war on drugs" which has done nothing to solve the drug problem. Stop blaming responsible people who use their "military-style" guns, bows, knives, wheeled vehicles, computers, and baseball bats safely and responsibly.

Nobody is better at the blame game than Barrack "Nobel-Peace-Prize Warrior" Obama. The saddest part of the story is that about half of Americans are ignorant enough to believe whatever he says. Pathetic.