Sunday, December 25, 2016

My gun-rights expectations for 2017

The Left keeps calling for "reasonable" restrictions on firearms. Unfortunately, virtually every existing gun law and every proposal from the anti-gun crowd is far from reasonable. They are almost entirely based on ignorance and emotion (horrible ways to make law).

I concede that some limitations on possession and use of arms is reasonable such as a prohibition on weapon possession by those who have proven to be irresponsible such as:
Former members of the Armed Forces who were discharged under dishonorable conditions
Fugitives from justice
Addicts and unlawful users of drugs
Those who have been adjudicated mentally incompetent
Persons who have renounced US citizenship
Illegal aliens

However, none of the 20,000+ gun-control laws already on the books has done anything to curb violent criminal behavior.

I expect Congress to work aggressively with President Trump to see that these changes in federal law are made promptly.

1 - Prohibit, by statute, all federal agencies from restricting arms and use of arms in any way. Congress must never delegate any authority to regulate arms in any way.

2 - Change "sporting purposes" to "lawful purposes" everywhere it is found in federal gun-control law.

3 - Clarify 18 USC § 930 to include personal protection as a lawful use of arms.

4 - Duplicate the concept of 36 CFR 2.4 in and on all federal properties such that any restrictions of the possession of arms be consistent with applicable state restrictions.

5 - Eliminate 39 CFR 232.1(l) or, at least, change the wording from "official purposes" to "lawful purposes as defined by state law".

6 - Eliminate all federal restrictions on arms in school zones (18 USC § 922(q)). Leave this matter to the states as required by the Tenth Amendment.

7 - Require the Department of Justice to aggressively enforce the Second Amendment in all 50 states, all US territories, and the District of Columbia.

8 - Use the Second Amendment to require all states, US territories, and the District of Columbia to give full recognition to all valid concealed carry permits issued by any other jurisdiction of the US.

9 - Remove short-barreled rifles, shotguns, silencers, and "any other weapons" From the National Firearms Act.

10 - Eliminate the Hughes Amendment which restricts private citizen ownership of a machine gun manufactured after the bill went into a law in 1986.

11 - Eliminate the Lautenberg Amendment which restricts gun rights based on certain misdemeanor convictions and restraining orders. (See 18 USC § 922(g)(8) and 18 USC § 922(g)(9)) If a person is dangerous enough to lose his/her gun rights, he/she should be in jail and/or have a felony conviction.)

12 - Eliminate the decades-old provision authored by Sen. Chuck Schumer that blocks appropriations for federal agencies that would restore gun rights for reformed ex-criminals. See 18 U.S.C. 925(c) and 27 CFR 478.144)

13 - In accordance with the Fifth Amendment, prohibit the VA and the Social Security Administration (and any other federal agency) from putting anyone (especially veterans) on any list that would restrict them from possessing and using arms for lawful purposes unless the individual is adjudicated in federal court as incompetent to possess and use arms. Immediately restore the gun rights of all veterans and other persons who have been restricted without due process of law.

14 - Authorize the repatriation of US-made collectible arms back into the US for sale to responsible adults.

Friday, July 8, 2016

Only Black lives matter?

People who live violent lives typically come to a violent end. That is sometimes the case when a cop confronts a violent thug. A disproportionate portion of those thugs seems to be Black. It is evident that the systematic destruction of the Black family has resulted in their young men being much more likely to be shot/arrested by law enforcement. That is a sociological and religious problem caused by "Progressive" politics -- not a police problem.

Last night movement calling itself "Black Lives Matter" (BLM) held a protest in Dallas. (Ironically, these people are angered want someone responds, "All Lives Matter" or "Blue Lives Matter".). Last night's protest protest ended with several police officers shot and at least 5 killed.

In response to that tragedy, a correspondent on Facebook posted a quote from the Dalai Lama:
I consider we are all the same as human beings, mentally, emotionally and physically. In order to ensure a more peaceful world and a healthier environment we sometimes point a finger at others saying they should do this or that. But change must start with us as individuals. If one individual becomes more compassionate it will influence others and so we will change the world.
Good advise. We are all children of God and deserve respect as such. Should that fail, however, the Dalai Lama also advises:
"If someone has a gun and is trying to kill you, it would be reasonable to shoot back with your own gun. (May 15, 2001)
To which, my correspondent responded:
I love you Blaine and respect your right to your opinion, but I guess I'm a turn the other cheek kind of gal who believes it will be a far dangerous world if we all start carrying guns around instead of smiles, hugs, handshakes and high fives.
Being a bit confrontational at times, I answered with the following commentary:

Smiles, hugs, handshakes and high fives were worthless in Dallas last night. They will not stop a violent man (or woman) who is determined to kill cops -- ar anyone else. Only violence can stop him -- unless one is simply willing to wait until he/she runs out of ammo/bombs/poison/accelerants or shoots himself.

You and the people you chose to associate with are good people. They respond to smiles, hugs, handshakes and high fives. Not everyone is like that. There are people out there who think the lives of your family are worth less than the $5 bill on your dresser and they'll be full of smiles, hugs, handshakes and high fives for their friends and accomplices after they leave.
If someone has a gun and is trying to kill you, it would be reasonable to shoot back with your own gun." — The 14th Dalai Lama, (May 15, 2001)
Democrats in the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) are already promising (threatening) "a long hot summer" unless they get their way on infringing the rights of well over 100 million responsible American gun owners who don't shoot cops or anyone else.

I expect the area around this year's Democrat National Convention to [again] be one of the most violent places in the country this summer thanks, in part, to agitators in the leadership of the Black Lives Matter movement (BLM). Never-Trump Liberals will make the neighborhood around the Republican Convention almost as dangerous.

Then there are the typically cheerful "smiles, hugs, handshakes and high fives" chants at BLM protests: "Pigs in a blanket, fry 'em like bacon" and What do we want? Dead cops! When do we want them? Now!"

You want smiles, hugs, handshakes and high fives? Tell that to the BLM, CBC, and the Democrat leadership. Tell them to hold violent people accountable instead of attacking the law-abiding.

In the meantime, it is up to every responsible adult to be prepared to immediately meet violence with violence when smiles, hugs, handshakes and high fives don't work. No reasonable person wants to be among the statistics who wait for the rest of their lives for a man/woman with a gun to save them.
A citizen who shirks his duty to contribute to the security of his community is little better than the criminal who threatens it. — Robert Boatman

Thursday, June 16, 2016

"Easy access" to guns

Early Sunday morning, June 12, 2016, a radicalized muslim man shot some 100 defenseless persons, including 49 fatalities, in a "gun-free" Orlando nightclub. It took three hours for the police to bring the tragedy to a close!

Anti-rights activists were quick to blame Christians, and "easy access" to firearms. I imagine that at least a few patrons of a nightclub in Orlando wished, for the rest of their lives, that they had "easy access" in that "gun free" establishment. But, let's blame that tragedy on "easy access" -- not a madman led by a radical version of religion.

Here's a thought: How about we adopt a law that prohibits murder? That ought to work at least as well as banning "easy access" to guns.

Easy access? I had to pass -- and pay for -- an FBI background check for every firearm I've acquired since the adoption of the Gun Control Act of 1968. Everyone of those guns can be quickly traced to me if they are ever used in a crime, lost, or stolen. On the other hand the Supreme Court has determined that restricted persons (the deranged, felons, etc.) are not required to undergo those background checks or to register their guns (Haynes v. United States). How about fixing that "easy access" before you take away my "easy access"?

How do you fix "easy access" without a massive armed police force going door-to-door (including your door), simultaneously searching every closet, drawer, and flour barrel of every home, business, and outhouse in the world and confiscating every firearm that is not owned by government agencies?
(Now, there's something really terrifying -- only government agents having guns! That worked out nicely for millions of Jews and many other minorities in Nazi-controlled Europe.)

An interesting little bit of trivia: There are an estimated 10-14 million FBI-background-checked concealed firearm permit holders in the US. Statistically, they are the most law-abiding class of people in the nation -- 3-4 times more law-abiding than law enforcement (which, in turn, is 3-4 times more law-abiding than the general public). A few states have always had a provision for concealed carry, but since 1986, the number of states issuing permits has snowballed. Over the same period, government statistics show that gun-crime has dropped by half. Since the presidential election of 2008, gun ownership has skyrocketed while violent crime has continued to drop. Coincidence? I doubt it.

Until someone can guarantee absolute safety for everyone, I demand "easy access" for responsible adults who are willing to accept the responsibility, noting that the US Supreme Court has repeatedly dedecided that we commoners are not entitled to police protection (Castle Rock v. Gonzales).

Friday, May 27, 2016

Voters allow judges to usurp legislation

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).

The US Supreme Court often issues opinions that are contradictory, wrong, and sometimes outright evil (eg Dred Scott and Roe v Wade). 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 as well as their own personal biases!

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 black dresses. Yet, these two oligarchies make new law every day!

The Constitution requires all government officials (politicians, judges, bureaucrats, law enforcement officers (including all attorneys) and members of the military) to swear to be loyal to the US Constitution -- not to judicial opinions, political parties, or to any person or group of persons. Sadly, most of these government agents give their loyalty to extraconstitutional laws and judicial rulings.
"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 voters 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, issues, or the letters "D", "R", or "L".

We need smarter voters.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Punish laser pointers!

A mother wants yet another thing banned in our schools because her son was assaulted and injured. This time, it's a laser pointer.

Our schools are full of things that can be used as weapons to assault students, school staff, and visitors: chairs, tables, pencils, pens, books, book bags, purses, nail files, etc. Think of all the potential weapons in shop class! Ban 'em all!

No, I have a better idea: Let's ban assault!

The boy in this story was assaulted. The weapon used in the assault is not nearly as important as the act itself. So, if we ban the act of assault, we can actually get something done about those who would harm others.

If we prohibit assault, the perpetrator could be arrested for assault, charged, convicted, and punished in criminal court. In addition, the victim could sue in civil court for redress -- damage to an eye could be worth a lot of money. The results of these court proceedings could be published to serve as a deterrent to further assaults.

Oh, wait. Assault already is a malum in se (look it up) crime punishable in both civil and criminal court!

Let's not pass yet another malum prohibitum (look it up) restriction which will be largely unenforceable. Instead of punishing laser pointers, how about simply punishing persons who cause harm to others?

Ya got enough government yet? One Mother doesn't think so. We need smarter voters.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

The political-party "establishment"

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Cynicism and politics

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

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

Here is what I wrote in return to my friend:

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, April 16, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Congress is robbing veterans of the educational benefits they were promised

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, February 7, 2016

The draft, a large standing army, and the militia

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, January 11, 2016

Gun rights in Virginia - Sic Semper Tyrannis

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

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

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

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

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

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

Remember the Virginia State Motto: Sic Semper Tyrannis.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Legislative powers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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