Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Tyranny is coming to state near you

Last month, Washington voters passed I-594 - a convoluted 18+ page initiative to require background checks on all firearm transfers with a few limited exceptions. Now-prohibited transfers include something as benign as simply allowing a friend handle or shoot your firearm. Selling your hunting rifle to a friend whom you've known for decades and who you know is not a restricted person (felon, mentally ill, an addict, etc.) is now a crime. If they aren't extremely careful, even hunter education instructors are in jeopardy when teaching firearm safety to fellow Washingtonians. Most ridiculous of all, some basic firearm safety practices are now illegal!

Gun-owners fighting for their rights were overwhelmed during the campaign by an estimated $6-8 million thrown into the fight by a handful of anti-rights billionaires including Michael "Big Gulp" Bloomberg, Bill Gates, and Paul Allen. Washington voters ignorantly sold their souls to those billionaires.

I mentioned to some gun-rights advocates in Arizona that this anti-gun assault was on the way to the rest of the States. One of them said, "Um no. No it will not." (sic)

He needs to wake up. Having tasted blood, the billionaires have already announced their anti-rights march on the rest of the "land of the free...home of the brave." They intend to keep on doing what works for them -- use lots of money to tell ignorant people how to vote. They already have the needed signatures to get a similar initiative on the ballot in Nevada. They have announced that Arizona, Maine and Oregon are next on their list.

The Arizona Citizen's Defense League (AZCDL) has done some excellent work in the gun-rights arena through the state legislature. But it doesn't have 5% of what the billionaires are prepared spend to criminalize Arizona's gun owners by circumventing the generally rights-friendly legislature and appealing directly to the typical ill-informed and uninformed voter -- just as they did in Washington. Every gun owner in Arizona must immediately join the AZCDL and the NRA and vote like their gun rights depend on it -- then get everyone they know to do likewise and to be smarter voters.

Arizona currently has some of the best gun laws (and resulting low crime rates) in the nation thanks to the AZCDL. The billionaires know that if they crush gun-friendly Arizona by focusing on ignorant voters, the rest of of the nation will fall like dominoes.

Too many non-gun owners think this issue doesn't affect them. They need consider the words of Nazi prisoner Martin Niemöller:
First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out —
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out —
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out —
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me — and there was no one left to speak for me.
Except for a few elites (so long as they stay in power) anyone who is unwilling to honor, and fight for, his neighbor's rights will ultimately lose his own.

We need smarter voters.

Who fact-checks PunditFact?

An entity calling itself PunditFact holds itself up as a fact-checking organization. They have announced a "scorecard" of how factual they think various news sources are. There have been several rebuttals. Here's mine.

Before taking their claims at face value, one must check who PunditFact is, what their credentials are, and what criteria they use to decide what's true or false (other than pure opinion). None of that is evident on their website. It is very clear, however, that PunditFact is a Leftist opinion/propaganda site -- not a news source -- that apparently has no intent to be unbiased or even honest.

Like CBS News and MSNBC, both CNN and Fox News provide a mix of opinion and news in their programming. Reasonable adults believe that news must always be facts -- absolute truth. News that doesn't fit the editor's agenda shouldn't be censored. Since the rise of competition from Fox News, CNN and the other networks have done a bit better in this regard. I see no evidence in their "scorecard" that PunditFact has much to say about the reliability of Fox's "fair and balanced" news reporting.

What PolitiFact appears to target is the fact that Fox's opinion segments often differ from their own Lefitist opinions. (Just as CNN has token Conservative commentators, Fox has token Liberal commentators.) Of course, opinions also should be based on facts as well as on the principles and ideals held by the person(s) expressing their opinions. Unfortunately, many opinions are based on misinformation, lack of information, flawed assumptions, a lack of sound principles, and even outright dishonesty. That means that opinions can differ widely between one persons and/or organizations. So, as Fox says, "We report, you decide."

Public dialog must be open to all opinions. Those who are open to at least considering the opinions of others learn to recognize when they have unsound opinions, then update their opinions. PolitiFact seems to be to rigid in its Leftist agenda to understand or recognize that the opinions held by others might also be valid. So, they simply label those they disagree with as liars. Isn't that much easier than actual thought?

Maybe PolitiFact should at least try to be funny like The Onion -- another "news" source that doesn't even pretend to be factual -- only funny.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Ted Cruz issues a warning to the GOP

Texas Senator Ted Cruz is warning Republicans they are about lose more elections. I think he's right.

Although "progressive" (the only thing that progresses under progressivism is government size and power) Liberals only comprise only about 20% of the voting population, Democrat politicians consistently win elections. How can that be?

It is my observation that most American voters are lazy, ignorant, and/or selfish and simply vote for the letters "R" or "D", free stuff, or some other characteristic that has nothing to do with a candidate's character, agenda, and ability (eg, physical appearance, sex, skin color, charisma, etc.). A bit less than half of these voters vote "R". A majority of the lazy/ignorant/selfish voters vote "D".

Elections are decided by the small portion of voters who actually vote based on principles. Those with Leftist, "progressive" big-government ideals overwhelmingly vote "D" and they tend to vote to win. They don't pout and stay home on election day when their favorite isn't on the ballot. Those who prefer small government and individual liberty/responsibility vote for like-minded politicians -- if one is on the ballot -- regardless of party label. If a like-minded politician isn't on the ballot, many small-government voters simply stay home and pout if they don't vote third-party (which effectively is the same as staying home).

A substantial portion of Republican politicians act like Democrats and pander to voters with "progressive" big-government ideals. Such Republican politicians get neither principled Democrat nor principled Republican votes. All they get is a bit less than half of the votes of those who simply vote for the letters "R" or "D". Republican politicians will never get votes from big-government voters nor from voters who expect/demand free stuff. By alienating the conservative voter, they throw the election to the Leftist 20%.

If Republicans would simply stick to the Constitution and to the Republican Party Platform, they'd get nearly all of the principled conservative votes as well as their share of the ignorant/selfish voters and consistently win by landslides in most of the nation -- just like Reagan did in '84 -- even in California. (My RINO senior senator, Orrin Hatch, actually condemned voters who voted for a Constitutionalist candidate! Shouldn't all politicians be Constitutionalists? Utah reelected Hatch anyway. Utah needed smarter voters.)

Instead of rejecting people like Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, and Mike Lee (and calling them "wacko birds", the Republican establishment needs to embrace them. The Republic, the Constitution, and our liberty are at stake and depend on that reawakening.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Another child dies due to firearm negligence

Another innocent child has died due to firearm-owner negligence. This story is a repeat of a tragedy for which there is absolutely no excuse. Minors should not have access to firearms and/or ammunition unless they have parental permission and awareness. Below age 14, Utah requires that children be supervised by a responsible adult when handling firearms and/or ammunition.

A loaded gun that is not secure? That's even worse! Free gun locks are available for Pete's sake!

A few people argue that "Locking up your self defense just makes you defenseless which makes having defensive weapons pointless." Those who think they need a gun for self defense (Don't we all?) and who can't figure out how to also keep it safe are not responsible enough to have a gun. They are an "accident" waiting to happen. A self-defense firearms belongs in a proper holster on the defender's person. As long as its there, nobody's ever gonna get hurt. All other firearms should be unloaded and stored so that they are inaccessible to children and other unauthorized persons and separate from ammunition. Having a gun (especially a loaded gun), whether for defense or otherwise, accessible to children whose judgement you can't yet completely trust is dangerous negligence, pure and simple.

News reports tell us that children occasionally need a gun for self defense and therefore need access just as much as an adult does. It is up to the parents to ensure that such access is granted only to youth who are trained in firearm safety and whose judgement can be trusted completely. (For that reason, I encourage parents taking my Utah Concealed Firearm Course to bring their teens to the class at no charge so they can learn about safety and use of deadly force.)

The shooting sports are statistically safer than may other popular sports. Government statistics show that a child is more likely to drown than to die from an "accidental" gunshot. (Accidents are extremely rare. When people get shot, it's almost always somebody was negligent or criminal.)

Every child deserves and needs to know how to react when they encounter a gun without adults around. Even children who don't have them in the home need to know how to be safe around firearms, BB guns, paintball guns, AirSoft guns, etc. Parents without guns presume that their children are safe, but never consider what could happen to their untrained child when he/she is at a friend's home where guns could be present. (About half of the families in your neighborhood have at least one firearm.)

Especially fathers might disagree, but most parents are not the best persons to teach firearm safety. Even parents who shoot often have wrong-headed ideas about the proper handling of firearms and even practice very dangerous gun-handling habits themselves. Parents who are not shooters and those who are anti-gun usually have no idea what a child needs to know and do or how to teach it.

So, for the protection of their own children, every parent should ensure their children get some firearm safety training as soon as they are mature enough to learn -- about age 5-8 for most children -- from a competent firearms trainer -- even a trainer certified by the much-hated NRA. Another good resource is to get their children into a state-managed Hunter Education course -- even if the parents are opposed to hunting or the children will never hunt. They'll not only learn safety, but also wildlife conservation, respect for the outdoors, etc.

Utah law allows, but doesn't require, public schools to provide gun safety training to students. The state has published rules for how this optional training is to be conducted.

I am generally opposed to mandates. However, I think that, because many parents will fail to get their children gun-proofed (trained in safety), every school child should get at least 15-30 minutes of age-appropriate firearm safety training in school from a competent instructor every year from K through grade 12. Our schools are teaching children how to be safe from drugs, malnutrition, strangers, disease, school bus accidents, and even sex. Why not guns?

The NRA's Eddie Eagle program is a good place to start for small children. For older children, the National Shooting Sports Foundation has some excellent training programs suitable for school presentation. You can watch these videos below. These all are politically-neutral and are not designed to indoctrinate children into the shooting sports -- only to teach them to be safe. The anti-gun organizations, on the other hand, do nothing to promote safety. Instead, they chose to fight the organizations that are doing something positive about safety.

Just because child deaths due to "accidental" gunshots are rare doesn't mean we adults should't do more to teach our children how to be safe. This head-in-the-sand attitude that most adults have regarding gun safety is killing our children!

Friday, November 14, 2014

Privatizing government-provided services

Local politicians are discussing whether to turn local ambulance service -- currently run by the Sheriff -- over to a private company. I support this proposal.

Wherever possible, services are best privatized.

Whether an ambulance service is provided by government employees or by a business, that service will be monitored by our elected officials. If such a business doesn't meet the standard of excellence expected, they will be replaced as soon as the contract allows. That provides the incentive to meet public expectations. The profit motive ensures that costs don't soar.

On the other hand, it is extremely rare to see a government employee dismissed when standards are not met. (That doesn't imply that current providers of emergency care aren't top-notch.)

For those who still think a business can't provide adequate ambulance services at a reasonable cost, they need to look into who provides air ambulance service in Iron County. It isn't government employees.

There are many other government functions in this community that need to be privatized: Heritage Center, library and bookmobile, aquatics center, Cross Hollow Arena, trash pickup, tumbling classes, swimming lessons, exercise classes, farmers' market, schools, etc. The assumption that only the government can provide these services is flawed and extremely dangerous to liberty in the long run -- especially when government (backed by the power to tax) is competing with private enterprise as it often does.

Some opponents of the change are worried about a privately-owned ambulance service having monopoly status. But, when only the government has ambulances, isn't that a monopoly too?

I cannot understand why so many complain about high taxes and about how poorly government does so many things with so much waste, then insist that only government is competent to do them.

We need smarter voters.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Who is a gun owner's worst enemy?

This photo was taken in Connecticut early this year where gun owners were lining up to meekly submit to a new gun registration law. These gun owners were asked whether they were members of the NRA (National Rifle Association) and the Connecticut Citizens Defense League. Few were -- typical of the nation as a whole where only 5% of American gun owners support the very organizations that defend their rights.

Instead, many gun owners whine about those organizations -- especially the big dog in the fight, the NRA. They even whine about getting too much mail when all they have to do is tell the organization to stop sending it!

Then, there are the guys full of "from my cold dead hands" and "molon labe" bravado. Don't they understand that when it comes to burying their guns or physically fighting over their gun rights, it's far too late? No doubt many of those Connecticut gun owners once said "from my cold dead hands" and "molon labe". What did those slogans get them? A chance to line up on a cold winter day!

If just 20% of gun owners would put their money where their mouth is, and join the NRA, we would have 20 million members. That would give the NRA the clout to dictate the law -- not compromise. You like SAF, CCRKBA, GOA, or JPFO better? Fine. Show me how you are helping them to be at least as influential as the NRA.

Then, there are the clowns who say they're for gun rights, yet vote of the very politicians who promise to take their guns away. Gun owners need to vote like gun owners! Always!

Far too many gun owners are the worst enemy of gun rights.

Join the NRA today! Tell everyone you know to join.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Is Loretta Lynch an enemy of the Constitution too?

I was deeply disappointed when Senator Orrin Hatch voted to confirm Eric Holder as US Attorney General even though it was (and still is) clear that Holder is an enemy of the Constitution and lacks the objectivity and wisdom necessary for high office.

Now, as the Senate considers President Obama's nomination of Loretta Lynch as Holder's successor, I'd like each and every senator to ensure that she is not also an enemy of the Constitution by asking her pertinent questions including:

Will she will enforce the Constitution as if it truly were the "supreme law of the land" or will she allow exceptions for shariah law as well as for federal laws that are not "in made in pursuance" of the Constitution?

Will she continue Holder's policy of rejecting the the right and authority of the states to minimize voter fraud?

Will she continue Holder's practice of pressuring banks to decline banking services to legitimate, but politically-incorrect, businesses such as the firearm industry?

Does she agree with the president and Holder that the president may refuse to enforce laws he disagrees with?

Does she agree that the president may change immigration laws with nothing more than his pen and phone?

Does she agree with Holder that the president may spy on people using general warrants?

Will she issue subpoenas to the home phones of Associated Press and Fox News reporters, as Holder did?

Will she conduct an honest and thorough investigation into the "Fast and Furious" gun-smuggling fiasco?

Will she conduct an honest and thorough investigation into IRS targeting of tea party and other conservative groups?

Will she continue Holder's practice of injecting race into situations where race is immaterial as he did in the Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown cases?

Obama has a poor track record when it comes to surrounding himself with people who understand and honor the Constitution. I hope this nomination is a change in that pattern.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So, who are the special interests? Probably you.

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, October 19, 2014

The "supremacy clause" and nullification

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, October 17, 2014

A gun restriction in a store that sells guns?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ebola, flu, and tyranny

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We need smarter voters!

Friday, September 19, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, August 3, 2014

The quality of leaders standing in the presidential line of succession

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

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

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

We need smarter voters.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Abandoning the GOP

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Funding highways and funding the central goverment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We need smarter voters.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Domestic terrorists?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Stop the mandate for reporting of gun sales

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, April 28, 2014

We need better management of wild horses & burros

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

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

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

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

Why is the US Army destroying ammunition?

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

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

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

Here are my thoughts on this issue:

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

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

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

Friday, April 18, 2014

Support the NRA (National Rifle Association)

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

A new American Revolution is overdue

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

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

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

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

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