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I have partially fixed the issue with the deep dives for mobile users. You can see the images, however the layout leaves something to be desired...

 

Also working on my library, I have books that you aren't seeing and now I know why.

Government strikes again, part 1

I have a part 2 below, as a related addendum to this point.

Before I begin the story that prompted this post, I have to relate my first encounter with the inner workings of government.

My beautiful Bride and I had been married for just a few months. Before marrying me, she was an advocate and lobbyist roaming the halls of the Hawai’i State Legislature. We had planned to go out and have a nice dinner-date one Friday night, when she got notice that a sub-committee that was considering a bill that she was lobbying for was open for public comment that night. We grabbed “dinner” (a couple of hot dogs) at a 7-Eleven and headed for the State Capitol. There were 3 State Senators, my bride and I, and about a half-dozen others. My Bride and several other people all spoke to the sub-committee and advocated in favor of the bill, urging the Senators to pass the bill as-is to the full Senate for a vote. No one spoke against the bill. After hearing everyone, the Senators looked at each other, and agreed to table the bill.

In Robert’s Rules of Order parlance, the act of “tabling” a discussion before the group means an indefinite suspension on the issue. While it is normally used in conjunction with a set date or declared "the next meeting" to put a discussion on hold until more information can be gathered and reported back to the group to help make a decision and resolve the issue, In politics, tableing a bill means that it will sit in that committee and never be brought to an "up-or-down" committee vote to send the bill to the floor of the legislature for a vote or not. All bills in committee or unpassed on the floor of the legislative body then “dies” at the end of that legislative session. This tactic is beneficial to the politician, since there is no record of a vote for or against that their opponents can screech about in the next election.

I have had several other interactions with state and local government “behind the curtain” since then, and they all shared the same path, the citizens are not listened to very little, if at all.

Which brings us to today. Back in June 2022, I got a notice that my County Government was forming a “gun safety council” and members of the public were invited to apply to sit on the council and solve this scourge of our community. It was formed to tackle children getting shot accidentally, gun crime and suicides. I applied, listing off my years of experience of being a gun owner and my research into the subject, and I was selected.

Going into this, I was holding out zero hope that any meaningful change would happen, however I was determined to give it my best shot. I have been wrong before.

I became kind of excited about bringing facts and ideas into a discussion like this. I sent the lady who was the lead liaison for the county government a nine-page, 1,923 word “stream of consciousness” (as it came out of my brain, it went into the document with minimal editing) document. While I won’t repeat it here, I presented several problems and solutions.

My take was to satisfy the curiosity of the child about firearms, so they know what it is and why they shouldn’t touch it without Mom or Dad right there with them. You can tell a child not to touch a hot stove a dozen times, but the lesson isn’t really learned until they do. Hopefully the parent is there to prevent a tragedy from happening. My objective was to teach these children, in a controlled environment and at an age-appropriate level so they know why to not handle a firearm without Mom or Dad.

Here were my major points:

  1. Locks are a time machine. The only thing a lock does is slow the access to the weapon. The teenager has to bide their time to find out where the keys are or what the safe combination is before they can gain access to the weapon. If it’s during a home invasion or a smash-and-grab on a car, the amount of time the criminal has is very short. Generally, more than they have unless they brought the necessary tools with them.
  2. Defang the serpent. Children are naturally curious. It’s their job at 4+ years old to touch everything and explore the world. When the parents hide something away, the child becomes even more curious about it and seeks it out, which leads to tragedy.
  3. I also advocated for Eddie Eagle, and have it repeated over and over again, not just once.
  4. Teenagers need to be taught conflict resolution so they can use words and maybe fists before guns. I suggested a “duel day” where one student could call out another and they resolve it in a physical, non-fatal manner under supervision. Paintball/laser tag, boxing, math problems, I’m not picky.

Then I went with the solution that I have repeatedly talked about here. The nuclear two-parent home needs to be brought back. Absent this, an organized in-school or extracurricular “Gentleman’s Club” where children receive attention from a positive role model. Because the gangs that perpetuate most of this violence also provide a role model for the child/teenager to emulate, it’s just not a positive model.

I also pointed out the societal mores that allow, if not encourage the behavior of teens in gangs, performing a never-ending stream of drive-bys and other gang-related activities that lead to bodies on the street. I said, “Solve these and you won’t have the gun problem.”

I’m first to admit, I don’t have all of the answers, or even most of the questions. What I do know is how to observe a program in action, then analyze the results to determine if minor changes to the program are needed, or this program will not accomplish its’ goals, regardless of time and funding. I am never interested in “conventional” solutions. Simply because if they do pass the criteria of “success,” it is a modest success at best. I was throwing ideas into the ring, with the intent to see what would work and what wouldn’t. I have no idea, which is why they would have to be tried.

My initial assessment and past experience turned out to be prescient. The Liasons almost immediately started talking about gun locks. A couple of the community organizers also spoke about raising awareness. When gun locks were brought up, every gun owner shot the concept down categorically. We all described that every new firearm is already sold with a gun lock, and detailed the numerous negatives and zero positives when using these that I won’t go into.

And after my time working in the healthcare industry, I already know “raising awareness” runs out about 15 seconds before the person throws the literature away, usually within an hour of having it handed to them. The only exception to this is when the person has been personally impacted and searches for more information.

A couple days after the second meeting, I received an email from one of the other government liaisons, asking to privately connect to “share some ideas and feedback.” Once we had a phone call, his feedback was for me to get behind gun locks, because the committee had a short action period of time and budget. I of course said, “No way!”

A couple days after that conversation, I received this email from the main liaison:

I want to start by thanking you for being one of a very few Memphians who stepped up to volunteer for the Shelby County Gun Safety Council. Your enthusiasm for the topic and knowledge of the issues is very evident in our brief time together. I appreciate that you have many ideas on how to make an impact in this area in our community, and I hope you pursue them. However, in order to move forward with the specific projects in the short time we have remaining and with adequate feedback from all council members, we no longer require your participation on the council. Best of luck in your future endeavors.  Please let me know if I can be of assistance. Thank you again.

Unexpected, yes. Surprised, not at all.

So, I spent over an hour crafting this response. To give context, the bit about “a felon with a gun running around Memphis carjacking people and shooting at them randomly” refers to an incident in Memphis in September 2022, where a 19-year-old felon fresh out of prison got hold of a gun, carjacked several people to keep the police off his tail while he drove around town, randomly shooting people. He killed 4 and wounded 3 more. The city was in lockdown until he was captured:

The definition of insanity is, "doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." So, your goals are to cut gun deaths, and you're going to attempt that by "raising awareness" and "advocating the use of gun locks." I could get behind such a proposal, if you could show me where it worked in the past. Just once.

What you are trying to do is place a Band-Aid on a severed artery and expecting the patient to survive. I can promise you repeating a program that has been tried hundreds of times and failed every time will fail yet again. Which is why I suggested the things I did. I have no idea how well they would work, if they worked at all, but I do know they have a better chance of success than the zero percent chance of trying what's already proven to fail. If you also notice, my proposals address the root causes. If you solve those, you won't have what we just had, a felon with a gun running around Memphis carjacking people and shooting at them randomly. If government had addressed the root causes, he wouldn't have been a felon at all, because he would have had the structure, knowledge and skills so he would have never gone down that path in the first place.

Solving problems like this can't be done in six weeks. It can't be fixed in six years, but you would start to see the trend develop by then. It will be expensive, time consuming, frustrating and ultimately rewarding if you do it properly.

I want you to know you totally met my expectations I had when I applied to this council. My prior experience with government aligns perfectly with your current path, that government deems "looking like they are trying to solve the problem" is way more important than actually trying to solve the problem. In fact, NOT solving the problem is in the interests of politicians and bureaucrats because solving the problem means politicians don't get to continue to hold press conferences to say "we are working on the problem" and to use "I am working on the problem" as part of their re-election campaign. Actually solving problems also works bureaucrats out of jobs, since the problem is now solved. The downside is you are reassigned or laid off, like us people in the private sector have to go through periodically.

I am kind of like a police officer, without the "being shot at" part. When I arrive at a site to fix critical broken equipment, the people I greet are having a very bad day. They look to me to solve their problem. I achieve results because when I repair things, I look at what's wrong, what's been done to fix it before me, what the results were and based on that try something else, then evaluate again, repeating that loop until the problem is solved. When I depart a site after I solved their problem, I say, "Don't take this the wrong way, but I hope it's a long time before you see me again." My faith in government would be partially restored if the elected officials and bureaucrats like you had that kind of a mindset.

I run a political commentary website. I am currently going through an upgrade, however once I am done with that I promise I will be relating everything that I heard and saw for this council, especially your email below and this response. It will be accurate, truthful, complete, and it will be polite. It will not be kind. Keep an eye out for it.

I have now fulfilled that promise. I have been polite, truthful, complete and contextually accurate as possible while valuing you, the reader's time. I respect the county mayor and his administration for wanting to tackle this problem. I am disappointed that while much effort will be expended, nothing significant will come of it. This post is not kind, because I have finally accepted that the needs and goals of the Citizens will always be at odds with the needs and goals of government.

It is the first priority of a politician, once they are in office, to stay in office. The only way to do that is to piss off as few people as possible. Most of the time that entails looking like they are solving the problem, even if they are perpetuating it.

It is the incentive of the bureaucrat to not work themselves out of a job by actually solving the problem. Look at our own diplomats with Israel as a prime example. Since the first day Israel was declared a country, Israel has been repeatedly attacked by their neighbors. When Israel decides to return the favor, we stop them by arranging a “cease fire” so the attackers can rebuild and reload. This "solve the immediate problem without adressing the real problem" has kept our State Department in-business and well-funded for eighty years, until Trump brokered deals between Israel and UAE, Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco. None of which would have happened without a clandestine nod of assent from Saudi Arabia. Notice the Middle East has been quiet since, and not just because of the turmoil in Ukraine.

Government strikes again, part 2

This part is a continuation for the post above, to address for one specific thing in another email from the main government Liason, sent out to the council to “get the discussion rolling.” The email had this video.

I pulled this article apart like cotton candy thusly. I have edited and clarified what I originally wrote, however the intent is the same as the original:

As far as the ABC news report, they shaved the facts pretty bad. But then again, that's what media today does.

  1. The majority of the story was about prepubescent children (12 and under). Except when it came to the "7,391 children per year are hospitalized" with gunshot wounds. The problem is they are lumping teens into that number. Adolescent/teenagers are a whole different breed when it comes to emotional, social and cognitive differences compared to children. The reasons for their firearm injuries are also vastly different than children. Kind of like the often-touted "10 children a day are killed by gunfire" trope. When you look at the actual data from that, you'll see that they include 18 and 19-year-olds (adults, and by extension not children...) in those numbers and 70% of those deaths are teenagers (14+) and gang related.
  2. There is no context to their number of "almost one every hour." This is designed to cause anxiety about the subject. The exact number is 71 minutes for context. The CDC has an infographic on "child injuries" (again, including 18 and 19-year-old adults, grrr...) and gives "every 4 seconds a child is treated in the ER for an injury." Again, CONTEXT, for every child that goes in with a gunshot wound, 1,064 other children are treated for other accidental injuries. According to my calculator, that's 0.00094%. Looking at the high-level data, firearms don't make this list, they are lumped in with "All other."
  3. The journalists were shocked when the children looked down the barrel of the firearm. My question is, "were the children taught to not do that?" The answer is probably no. They looked at the firearm on all sides, including the muzzle end because they are curious and don’t know better.

And I must wonder how many times they did that test before they got that result. How many children did what they were supposed to do the first time? If they did this test with twenty pairs of children and this was the only time that it happened, I would call this a success, because we’re talking 95% of the kids did the correct thing. The fact that they didn’t mention the percentage of times they had to try this before they got the desired result is very telling. If it had been over 25%, the article would have mentioned it. The fact that they didn’t shows this was the exception, rather than the rule. This is like a "Man on the Street" story, where only the stupidest people make the cut.

Check my math:

525,600 minutes/year. 525,600 / 7,391 gunshot ER visits = 71.11 minutes

31,536,000 seconds/year. 31,536,000 / 4 = 7,884,000 ER visits/year

ER visit every 4 seconds = 900/hour, or 1,066.65 every 71.11 minutes. 71.11 minutes = 4,266.6 seconds / 4 = 1,066.65

7391 / 7,884,000 = 0.000937%

I understand this committee is charged with reducing these numbers and I agree and support that goal, otherwise I wouldn't be here and writing this. However in context, we will always have household deaths like this. Zero is an impossibility. We lose more children to poisoning, fire, falling and drowning then we do accidental firearm discharges.

SOLUTIONS TO TRY:

  1. When a firearm is sold, have the gun store offer a free firearms safety class for 5-year-old and up children of the purchaser. Age appropriate and with live fire. This will impress upon the children the "WHY" of "don't touch."
  2. Rebate for quick access biometric/pinpad handgun safes, where the firearm can be safely stored yet readily accessible. There is already a Tennessee ongoing tax holiday on gun safes and safety devices.
  3. Defang the serpent by offering range discounts when a person brings their kid. I used to take my son when he was 5-7 out to shoot his .22lr rifle all the time when I went to the Shelby Farms range. One time, he accidentally pointed his (empty) rifle at the next person over. I snatched it from his hands, and told him what he did wrong. I then had him apologize to the person he pointed it at, then marched him to the Rangy Safety Officer, had my son apologize to him, then he spent the rest of the time sitting on the bench. He never did that again.

We cannot control others. We can only incentivize them to do the right and proper thing and hope they do so.

Health care == people control

No, I'm not dead (yet). Like the blurb says, I do this after family, home and job. I've been busy and not able to have the time I believe is necessary to devote to this.

I have said for years now, governmental control of healthcare will lead to people control. Here's your evidence: Here's one of a thousand opinion pieces: Climate Change is a Health Crisis. The Treatment is Legislative Climate Action. White House: U.S. INTERNATIONAL CLIMATE FINANCE PLAN (PDF). Here's one from the CDC: Firearm injuries are a serious public health problem.

Government control of healthcare leads to control of you. Because all totalitarian acts can be justified with "if it saves one life...". Thusly, serious encroachments to curtail your freedoms can be justified with the simple phrase, "This improves health outcomes and saves the healthcare agency money." As a result, declaring the climate as a "public health crisis" can justify the end of all domestic mining of fossil fuels, drastic restrictions on the importation of foreign fossil fuels, and drastic taxes on what fossil fuels are imported to "discourage" their use, it goes on and on. The same with firearms. By declaring firearms a "PHC," they can (not Constitutionally) justify limits on the production, purchase, and ultimately possession and confiscation of firearms. To further discourage you, massive taxes on firearms and ammunition, a heavy burden of licenses and bureaucratic red tape will be imposed on you, all in an effort to "curb gun violence."

As a slight aside, San Francisco will soon pay career criminals to not shoot people. I guess that proves that guns don't kill people, because if guns kill people, why not pay the guns? Instead they are paying felons to not commit murder.

Back to the original topic. This goes way beyond a "soda tax," or restrictions/bans on tobacco, alcohol, sugar, trans-fats or anything else the CDC/FDA says is "bad for you." You might want to look up the Eighteenth Amendment and the Hatch Act. That was the one time Social Engineering was written into the Constitution and the only Amendment to be repealed.

The people in government who seek power are doing this. I do not discount and actually agree that we need to reduce carbon emissions, too many people are gunned down every year, or most of us are overweight from a caloric intake way off the scale. All that being said, the government trying to "solve" these crises this way, it's like using a flamethrower in your house to kill a single spider. It's heavy-handed, over-reactionary, too broad of a "treatment" and will cause many unintended consequences that are more serious than the original problem.

Burning it down

In the next day or so, President Trump will nominate someone to take the seat on the SCOTUS vacated by Ruth Bader-Ginsburg on her death. There will be no hearings to vet the nominee, it will likely go straight to a floor vote and enough Senators have already expressed support to make sure the nominee is confirmed.

And this is all the Democrats fault. Let me retrace the steps so it makes sense.

Cloture is a procedural term used by the Senate to force the end of discussion on a bill. It's covered in the Constitution, Article 1, Section 5, Clause 2: "Each House may determine the Rules of its Proceedings..." Cloture is not a vote on the bill, just a vote to end the debate and send it to the final vote. It is used to prevent or end a filibuster. Since the Senate was first constituted, cloture was set at a supermajority of 2/3rds or 67 votes. This was to force both parties to work together to accomplish the objective.

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was a contentious piece of legislation. Southern Democrats held a filibuster that lasted sixty days. It lasted that long because it was difficult to get enough votes to force Cloture. Due to that bill, in 1974 the Senate voted to change the Cloture votes from a 2/3rds majority to a 3/5ths majority, or from 67 votes to 60. There was also an amendment for a "Two-track" system, meaning that a filibustered bill would not bring the entire Senate to a halt.

In the late 1990's and early 2000's the Democrats (who almost always vote as a monolithic block, very few "rebels") started taking advantage of the narrow Republican majority by threatening a filibuster on anything the Democrats didn't like. Since the Republicans didn't have the votes to invoke Cloture (and they wouldn't get any Democrat support), it was either hold firm and let the bill die, or the Republicans had to negotiate with the Democrats to change the bill until both sides could agree on it. Frankly, this is how it should be to prevent the "Tyranny of the majority" as referenced by our Founding Fathers. It is also the polite way of doing things.

Well, that came to an end in 2013, when a Democrat-controlled Senate decided to eliminate Cloture for Cabinet appointees and non-SCOTUS judgeships. A simple Democrat majority could now enact the "tyranny of the majority" and ram those nominations through and Republicans couldn't do a thing about it. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said, "You'll regret this, and you may regret this a lot sooner than you think." When Republicans got control of the Senate again a few years later, they changed the rules, eliminating Cloture for SCOTUS nominations.

Then came Kavanaugh. A man of impeccable character and unquestioned reputation. Who was accused by a woman who appeared out of nowhere and accused Kavanaugh of a crime thirty years prior when he was a teenager. She never filed a police report and remained silent as the Senate vetted and confirmed him for lower federal judgeships. The people she listed as witnesses to this act publicly stated that they don't remember the party in question where this assault allegedly occurred. Kavanaugh had over fifty female staffers and clerks who had worked with him over the years publicly state that there wasn't even a hint of impropriety from him.

Kavanaugh could never have been convicted in a court of law for the crime he was accused of, but he was accused, tried, found guilty and executed in the court of public opinion based on one fact: he was nominated by Donald Trump.

In the end, thanks to crybaby Democrats who throw a temper tantrum every time they get told "No," from now on it will be likely that any such votes will be held, up or down, by the majority party without giving the minority party a say at all.

Think of this as a street fight. Both sides initially agree to "Marquess of Queensberry" rules, but then one guy pulls out a pipe instead of his fists and whacks the other guy. Later on in the fight, when the pipe guy is knocked down, he drops the pipe and says, "can we go back to the original rules?" What do YOU think would be the prudent course of action? Drop the issue, be sporting and continue to go by the rules, or take that pipe and beat the cheater with it hard enough that the cheater will never think about cheating again?

We must not have beat them enough yet. Senator Chuck Schumer has publicly stated that if the Democrats gain power of all three branches of government, they will a) grant statehood to Puerto Rico, the District of Columbia and maybe even create the State of Jefferson (splitting Oregon into two states). This will give the Senate six more Democrat Senators, as all of the named areas are deep Blue territory. Once they have done that, they will "pack the court," which means increasing the size of SCOTUS from nine Justices to at least fifteen, then appoint hard Leftist Justices that would have made RVG blush to make sure that any strict Constitutionalist Justices are in the minority for at least the next century.

Until Democrats show contrition, apologize and reinstate the 3/5ths Cloture rule while they are the majority, the Republicans will play by the Democrats rules, which is to say there are no rules.

Convoluted Logic

I realize that I have this under "Dumb Laws," however the law it self isn't dumb, it's this ruling.

So the latest monstrosity of absurdity has come to pass: Judge tosses North Carolina mandatory voter ID amendment citing gerrymandering.

Let me break this down so it somewhat is understandable. To be clear, this is nowhere near the four corners of the law.

1. Judge rules that a voter ID law is invalid.

2. The reason why the constitutional amendment (which was voted for overwhelmingly by the people of NC) is invalid is because the General Assembly is "illegally constituted."

3. The General Assembly is illegal because "[The] General Assembly does not represent the people of North Carolina and is therefore not empowered to pass legislation that would amend the state’s constitution."

To show I am not making this crap up, here is the court's ruling.

From my understanding, the Republican district drawings were based on equal population and did not consider race. To me, this is how it should be done. Put a pin in the map where every household resides, with a number on the pin to show how many people the census says live there. Then draw districts that are compact and have no "bulges" or noticeably protruding sections. Below is the US Congressional districts for NC. I have several issues with this map, notably the "intrusions" from 3 into 1, 13 into 6 and 10 into 11. District 4 seems custom made for the Democrat that currently holds that seat.

nc uscong districts

The State House and Senate districts also some some of the same characteristics as the above map. You can see them all here.

But you see, if this judges ruling is not overturned, I have to ask this question:

"If the General Assembly is illegally constituted to the point that it cannot propose amendments to the state constitution, does it not also follow that it cannot make any laws?"

A legislature is like a pregnancy: You are either pregnant, or you are not, there is no middle ground. Ask Schrödinger. If you are illegally constituted enough that you cannot carry out that part of their duties, (propose amendments to the state constitution) then they cannot carry out ANY of their duties under the state constitution.

This is the kind of consequences that happen when judges step outside of the four corners of the law. Properly done, the lawsuit should have tried to overturn the amendment based on the process that put it into place. Did the General Assembly vote to propose the amendment in accordance with state law and the methods of the respective houses? Yes. Did the voters approve of the amendment in accordance with the laws in place at the time of the referendum? Yes. In which case, the amendment is legal and the Plaintiffs are barking up the wrong tree. The legality of the representation of the districts and their makeups are another issue entirely and must be addressed separately from the first question.

A case study for stupid laws

To paraphrase Darth Vader, "The idiocy is strong in this one."

The Hawaii State Legislature is considering H.B. 1509, introduced by three legislators, to increase the minimum age required to legally buy cigarettes, until you have to be at least 100 years old. I did not mistype that. One hundred years old. IF enacted (and it's a pretty big IF), the legal age to buy cigarettes would jump to 30 on 1/1/2020, then every subsequent year it would jump to 40, 50, 60 years, then all the way to 100.

Now let me explain to you the Aircraft Carrier-sized holes in this law:

  • This only affects the sales of cigarettes from stores.
  • It does not regulate possession.
  • It only restricts cigarettes, not pipes, cigars and so on.

So, I can see 60 year old people profiteering (because the only state law on profiteering relates to gasoline; I checked) by buying cartons of cigarettes and selling to their family and friends. I can see vacationers flying in with multiple cartons to sell. I can see family and friends on the Mainland Fedexing cartons. Then you have all of the people just switching over to the other forms of tobacco usage to keep their nicotine levels up.

Then we will also have the black-market running a healthy profit. My wife's grandfather was a stevedore and she has told me some stories about him. In-line with this, I found the Hawaiian Libertarian, and specifically this post: The Illusionary Rule of Law.

The long-term effects of this are numerous. Another law that will have a drastic negative effect primarily on small businesses, a big boost in sales (and profits) for the already rampant black market, an exploding gray market, a drastic fall off in state revenues from the "sin tax" on cigarettes, a further disregard for the rule of law by the people, do I really need to go on?

This clearly illustrates the point of "Just because it's legal doesn't make it right. Just because it's illegal doesn't make it wrong."

Abortion done correctly

Last week, Governor Mario Cuomo signed into law a bill from the New York State Legislature implementing what he calls "a full Roe v. Wade". I find this admiring and reprehensible at the same time I find this admirable because I believe that this is about how the issue of abortion should be settled. I mean this should be a state level issue that is voted upon by either the representatives of the people in that states legislature or by a referendum of the people directly.

I find this method far preferable to the method of how we arrived at Roe v. Wade. Just in case you don’t know, Roe v. Wade is the 1973 landmark Supreme Court case that legalized abortion on demand throughout the United States. It was a decision for one case of one woman who wanted an abortion and couldn't get it because the laws in her state made the practice illegal. The matter was decided by nine judges who were not elected by the people and “by precedent” forced upon all 50 states.

I support New York's action to do this legislatively because I think each state should, either through the legislature or by popular referendum, decide as a state on passionate issues like this. So while New York may pass something like this, Nebraska may not and it should be perfectly fine either way. I support this because this is an ideology consistent with my position that the states are actual independent countries and need to decide internal issues such as this on their own and not have the federal government, which is supposed to regulate the states and not the actions of the people in the states. So I applaud New York for taking such a step.

I personally find the the action of aborting a child to be reprehensible, spiritually, morally  and ethically. I can and do moderate my position because I do not have the power and I do not want the power to regulate a woman's body or any aspect of any other person’s life. I will always advocate for the woman to deliver the child, however in the end, that decision (and the karmic debt) is hers to bear alone.

When you look at the New York abortion bill, the particulars of it are a total abortion on demand at any point in the pregnancy for any reason. Which means that pretty much as long as the baby is not in the process of coming out on their own (i.e. the mother is in labor), the mother can decide to destroy the child.

There are three general exceptions under which most people agree that abortion is acceptable. They are:

  • In cases of rape or incest;
  • For the life of the mother;
  • The child would be malformed (a known severe mental, developmental or physical birth defect)

According to Gallup, public support is in the majority for an abortion in the first trimester if one of those conditions are met. Down Syndrome is at 49% (and within the margin of error), but “for any reason” is at 45%.

In the same poll, the people were asked the same questions about the third trimester, respondents still gave a majority support for life of the mother and rape or incest. Everything else dropped under 50%, with “for any reason” at the bottom at 20%.

While a proper full term white pregnancy is 40 weeks, medical technology today deliver a baby as young as 25 weeks with a 50% chance of survival. That baby will have many lifelong medical conditions because it is not fully developed. A child can be delivered at 27 weeks (which is seven months, the beginning of the third trimester) with a 90% chance of survival and very little if any medical intervention or life-long medical issues.

The current dividing line between “fetus” and “child” is, “The child is ‘completely expelled’ from the mother” and one of these conditions are met:

  • Breathes;
  • Has a heartbeat;
  • Pulsation of the umbilical cord;
  • Voluntary muscle movement.

Which leads us to the “late term” or “partial-birth” abortions. I'm sorry to be gruesome here, but in a partial birth abortion, the doctor induces labor and brings the baby out feet first, leaving the head still inside the vaginal canal (so “it” still meets the first condition above and is legally a fetus and not a child). While the head is still within the mother the doctor pierces the back of the “fetuses” skull to scramble and destroy the brain, then removes the brains through a suction tube.

As of this moment, in the state of New York, that is perfectly legal, all the way up to the second before the child wants to come out on their own.

I now have a question, very serious question, because this has happened at least once that I can find. If, during the initial stages of a partial-birth abortion, the “fetus” pops out all the way, be it through its’ own random movements or the doctor flubbing it, could the procedure continue and the “clump of cells,” now a child is terminated? I guess in New York State, the answer is “yes.” Now, do the people of New York agree with this law? I don't know. I do know we will find out during the next state election cycle when the legislators who voted for it are either ejected from, or returned to office

Writing this article wounded my soul. My soul cries out against the action while my mind praises the process it was arrived at. This has been one of the hardest articles I have ever had to write and I’m angry and sorry it had to be written in the first place.

Is this what you want?

I and others have said for years that the ACA was designed to be from the very beginning to be a clusterfrack of Biblical proportions. I remember real experts (not "government" experts) who repeatedly said, "regulating the healthcare insurers was the worst possible place to cut costs." If the full ACA had been implemented, the people would been begging for anything other than the ACA... Which is when the Democrats would have rolled out a real single-payer, nationalized health-care system.

Just so you know, because I knew this when the ACA was passed, the "individual shared mandate" in 2015 was $325. If Trump and the Republicans had not ended the mandate, on April 15th, 2017 (after Obama was out and Trump/Hillary in) would have been $695, about a 125% jump. the numbers are on the top of page two in this Congressional Research Service document.

Why do I bring this up? Because when government has control of health care, they have almost total control of you. They can do almost anything they want under the guide of "improving health outcomes." That can mean "sin taxes" on sugar, meat, eggs and caffeine, plus more sin taxes on alcohol, tobacco and anything else the government declares is "bad for you."

You think I'm joking? You think I'm being a conspiracy theorist? How about this. The UK, with its' NHS and nationalized health care system, is considering regulating food portions: Pizzas must shrink or lose their toppings under Government anti-obesity plan.

We are already on the way there. Have you noticed that every menu board, every printed restaurant menu has the calories for every item, "so you can make healthy food choices." And the government mandates the font, font size and font color of all of those calorie counts. It's not a big step to go from mandating calorie counts on menus, to the UK's plan to limit portion sizes.

Let's think this out for a minute. At McDonald's, a Big Mac and a large fry will run you 1,050 cal. Let's say for a moment the Big Mac and large fries are outlawed, what will you do? Probably get something like two Bacon McDoubles and a medium fry. This will cost you 10 cents less, the problem is the second choice has 1,240 calories, so anti-obesity-wise, it's heading in the wrong direction.

The next (Leftist) logical control step is to nationalize restaurants. That means McDonald's, Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, Chipotle, Subway and all of the other places will become a cafeteria system where you get your government-mandated three meals a day. The good news, all of the employees will become government workers, so they'll get $15/hour. The bad news is, you walk in, scan the RFID chip in your hand, the computer in the back of the store retrieves the diet portion of your EHR (Electronic Health Record) and you are served what you are supposed to have. You don't have to (or can) say anything. Oh, and no meal trading like elementary school. The police stationed there will see to that.

I probably won't see this, but unless this is stopped and now, my grandchildren and great-grandchildren will. Because when government takes control of part of your life, your ability to choose for yourself disappears.

Surrender Your Dignity

There are some things that come free yet have too high a cost.

South Africa is going Full Zimbabwe

This is what happens when the laws are easy to change and there is racial animus. 

Starting in 1980, as soon as Zimbabwe became independent from the United Kingdom, Prime Minister Robert Mugabe who came into power at the end of White minority rule, started a program that seized commercial farms from White farmers. At the start of this unnecessary catastrophe, Zimbabwe was known as the "breadbasket of Africa." Today, at least 75% of the country ranks "High to Very High" in food insecurity. While Zimbabwe used to export food, they are one of the biggest importers of food and a large part of their population would die from starvation if those shipments stopped.

Then this story comes out last week, South Africa farm seizure: Terrified white farmers plot escape as crackdown looms.

From the article:

And ANC chairman Gwede Mantashe sparked panic last week when he said: “You shouldn’t own more than 25,000 acres of land.
“Therefore if you own more it should be taken without compensation.
“People who are privileged never give away privilege as a matter of a gift.
“And that is why we say, to give you the tools, revisit the constitution so that you have a legal tool to do it.”

This is the kind of governmental abuses that are visited upon the people of a country when the government can either rewrite their constitution any time they want, or those vested with the responsibility of following it, don't.

Those who study history without an agenda can clearly see what happened (and is still in progress) in Zimbabwe repeating in South Africa. And just like Socialists who believe, "Despite the historical, documented proof that Socialism has a 99% failure rate (the last 1% hasn't failed yet, but they're close). It will get done right this time because we'll be the ones' in charge," those committing this land grab will think everything will turn out wonderfully. Which, of course it won't and millions of people will starve to death like with the various Five-Year Plans of the USSR, China and other Socialist countries.

The operative lesson for everyone, Capitalists, Socialists, Communists alike is this: "If you take the means of production away from those who produce and give it to those who can't produce, don't be surprised if nothing will get produced."

How stupid can you be?

Masterpiece Cake Shop recently beat the proverbial snot out of the Colorado Civil Rights Commission with a 7-2 SCOTUS victory, affirming the right of the owner of Masterpiece Cake Shop to refuse to apply his talents to a custom-made cake celebrating things he finds morally and spiritually objectionable, in this case a wedding cake for a same-sex couple (He also won't do Halloween cakes, either, just so you know). He would sell them any standard cake in the shop, however he would not make them a custom cake. I wrote in detail on it here. This comes from the Huffington Post, Masterpiece Cakeshop Owner Sues Colorado After Refusing To Bake Trans Woman’s Cake.

So, what does radical Leftists do when they lose like this? Get furious, double down and work harder to destroy those who disagree with them.

A trans-woman went to Masterpiece Cake Shop, just a few days after the SCOTUS decision and wanted him to make a custom cake for her to celebrate her anniversary for coming out as a woman. This woman is either stupider than a bag of hammers (for not knowing about the SCOTUS decision), or she went there intentionally to pick a fight. I'm leaning toward the latter. When the owner, Jack Phillips, refused on the same moral grounds to make this custom cake, she sued and the Colorado Civil Rights Commission has forced Phillips into mediation with this woman.

When the highest court in the country says, "The owner has the right to not be forced by the State to apply his work and talents to things he finds morally objectionable" those of us who live in the rational world would call that "A CLUE" and would advise against poking that particular sleeping bear.

This is what escapes me:

A spokesperson for the Anti-Violence Project said the denial of services to LGBTQ community members fuels disrespect and violence.

“This is a concerted effort by Phillips, in concert with designated hate group Alliance Defending Freedom, to push anti-LGBTQ discrimination under the guise of so-called religious freedom,” the spokesperson, Eliel Cruz, told HuffPost. “These continued infringements on LGBTQ people’s access to public goods and services cultivates a culture of violence against us by promoting a narrative that LGBTQ people are less than. Sexual orientation or gender identity should not prohibit anyone from being treated with dignity and respect at any establishment.”

Okay. She can buy a cake from this business, she just can't get a custom cake celebrating her transition, that she could easily get from any of at least another dozen bakers in the city. This woman is supposedly offended that Phillips refused her service. Does her demand to force Phillips not to offend her by refusing to accept her money trump Phillips being offended for being forced to do something morally reprehensible to him?

Being offended is how you choose to respond to a situation. There is no law, legal or social, that says you have the right to get your way if you're offended. If you don't like how you're treated at business A, walk out their door with your money and give that money to business B. That's the best message I can think of. It's part of this funny concept we in the United States have, it's called freedom. You may or may not have heard about it, and it goes both ways.

Because this woman picked a fight and the CCRC decided to poke this bear (again), this time the bear is showing his teeth. Phillips is fighting back against this persecution. He's suing the Colorado Governor, the Colorado Attorney General and every member of the Colorado Civil Rights Commission, individually and by name. I hope he sues for damages equal to 10 times each individuals net worth, to send a clear message to let some sleeping bears lie.

Oh, I almost forgot. In a previous post of mine, Governor John Hickenlooper, just to show what kind of classy guy he is, made a quite overt promise (threats are usually idle) that he would pardon a mass murderer if he wasn't re-elected in 2014. I hope Hickenlooper pays dearly enough for this lawsuit that he will have to rent the spare bedrooms in the Governor's mansion to help him pay for what he owes Mr. Phillips.

More bureaucratic overreach

Let me make this perfectly clear: I *HATE* tobacco. Both my parents were 2 pack-a-day smokers. Growing up, other kids thought I smoked because I always smelled like cigarettes. For as much as I hate cigarettes, you can shift the decimal place to the right when it comes to cigars. To me, cigars smell like burning dog crap.

That being said, tobacco is as of I write this, a legal product to grow, process and use. I realize any attempt by the government to outright prohibit tobacco would be worse than the Volstead Act, the law that enforced the Nineteenth Amendment, otherwise known as Prohibition.

It came to my attention the other day that the FDA, in the infinite wisdom of the Philosopher Kings who run the agency, have decided to enact new regulations across the tobacco spectrum, including premium cigars. Much like when the BATF declared (not even using their own internal testing standards) that APCP (the only man-rated solid rocket fuel) was a "low-explosive" and subjected model rocketeers to 30 years of onerous and intrusive regulations. I speak of this and other examples in a previous post, Reasonable Restrictions.

Let me loop back here. I hate tobacco. I can smell someone smoking from 100' away. The smell seriously sickens me. When I was a Mason, several brothers smoked cigars. While they smoked, I was near them as little as possible. They were considerate in their use, the smokers sat in one corner of the public area and smoked near a return vent. You were free to join them or leave them be.

There is no "safe level of use" for tobacco. Every time you smoke, you purposefully introduce known carcinogens and toxic compounds into your body. The nicotine seriously stresses out your heart and other organs as well. Smoking even one cigarette enhances your risk of certain cancers and maladies for years afterwards. The "pleasure" one feels from lighting up is not pleasure in the usual sense, it is the relief of the symptoms associated with withdrawal from nicotine.

In order to be consistent in my Conservative beliefs about my opposition of Executive Branch agencies making law, I believe there should be zero regulations like this from the Executive Branch and minimal laws coming from the Legislative Branch in the first place. Products in demand by the public should not be banned at all. I can go with reasonably taxed and moderately regulated. I also fully support individuals to make stupid and self-destructive choices as long as it affects only themselves. I also have to stand with the hundreds of small "mom-and-Pop" cigar companies operating in the US who are going to be put out of business (and make thousands of workers jobless) because they don't have the resources to fight or adhere to these regulations and stay open.

Equal Prosecution under the law part 2

Again (and again...) Liberals can flout the law with impunity and the Liberals in power and who make the decisions over who gets prosecuted turn a blind eye to their fellow Liberals. Conservatives, on the other hand, are investigated to the 5th decimal place and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law for even the slightest misstep.

Now, we can do one of several things. We can abolish these stupid and silly laws or we can prosecute everyone equally as hard. Since Liberals love prosecuting Conservatives for insignificant crimes, it seems only fair that the reverse should happen.

Dinesh D'Souza, a Conservative political commentator and the right's equivalent to Michael Moore screwed up and reimbursed some friends who had donated to a single political candidate for an election. Yep, he broke the law. D'Souza pled guilty to one felony count of making illegal contributions in the names of others and was sentenced to five years probation, eight months in a halfway house and a $30,000 fine.

Now we have this report, Rosie O’Donnell’s campaign donations to Dems went over legal limit. From the article:

Filings show O’Donnell gave a combined $5,400 in contributions over the limit to the five candidates, and used five different New York addresses and four variations of her name.

And what are Rosie's comments on this matter?

“Nothing nefarious,” the outspoken star and Donald Trump arch-nemesis wrote in an email to the Post. “I was not choosing to over donate.

“If 2700 is the cut off — [candidates] should refund the money,” she wrote. “I don’t look to see who I can donate most to … I just donate assuming they do not accept what is over the limit.”

I cannot adequately comprehend nor explain these words. So, I am going to quote Ambassador Londo Mollari of the Centauri Republic, a character from the TV show Babylon 5:

"Ahh, arrogance and stupidity, all in one package. How efficient of you."

Like I stated in my original premise, Conservatives should prosecute Liberals who break the same laws that Conservatives are prosecuted for. I fully anticipate that O'Donnell be convicted or plead guilty to her crimes and since she did it *FIVE* times, she receive twenty-five years probation, forty months in a halfway house and a $150,000 fine.

If Liberals want to weaponize government and prosecute Conservatives for BS process crimes, Conservatives need to return the favor. It's only fair.

Net Neutrality

"A bit is a bit is a bit." - Proponents of net neutrality.

There is a lot to say about this, let's see if I can unpack it and lay it out in an order that makes sense.

1. All bits are NOT created equal. Tell me, do you think your Netflix (or whatever) streaming is less important, equally important or more important than the stream of video, audio and data whereby a surgeon on one continent can watch and control a robotic surgery machine on another continent to save a person's life? I hope you answered "less important," because if you didn't, you're at least bordering on being a selfish, narcissistic sociopath.

So, there must be "fast lanes," "priority traffic," whatever you want to call it. And in order to do that, the person who wants that fast lane has to pay more. The roads that comprise our highways are laid out, built differently and cost more than a road within city limits. At a basic level, the Internet is no different.

2. The FCC should not have the power to make these decisions. The Legislative Branch makes the laws, the Executive Branch enforces those laws. When the enforcer gets to write the laws (you can call them "rules," "regulations" or whatever), it doesn't end well for those subject to those rules. Would you like it if the county sheriff where you live directed his Deputies to start issuing tickets for having a license plate frame on your vehicle? The state government or county commission didn't pass a law saying that license plate frames are a traffic violation, he did it on his own. This is the local equivalent of what happens every time a government Executive Branch agency issues a "regulation."

I have zero problem with Congress passing legislation for or against Net Neutrality (actually I would, which I explain later) but if my Representative or Senator votes opposite of what I want him to vote on the issue, at least I can vote against him in the next election. As far as Tom Wheeler or Ajit Pai, the FCC chairmen when Net neutrality became a regulation or was repealed, what do you and I do to get them out of power if we think he's gone overboard? Not a damn thing. They are appointed bureaucrats who are not answerable to We The People.

3. What is the result of "Net Neutrality?" I can answer that question in two words: Government Control. History (and this blog) are full of examples where government control, no matter if the control are elected politicians or unelected bureaucrats, does not end well for We The People. All those Liberals who celebrated Obama weaponizing government agencies ("I have a pen and a phone") and controlling more and more of our lives have been scared shitless over the past year because Trump now has all that power. I personally don't want either of them, or for that matter anybody to have that level of control and power over me. The government gets its' power from the consent of the governed, and I most certainly do not consent to the government having this kind of power.

Capriciousness in the exercise of power, no matter how great or small the amount of power, is an integral part of every human being. It is better to not let government (which is made of fallible, capricious people) have that kind of power in the first place.

4. The best way to fix this is... Competition. There are two things inhibiting competition when it comes to Internet services: Capital outlay and monopolistic practices. It takes a lot of money to bring Cable or DSL lines to every building and home in a city. It costs a lot of money to buy the hundreds of miles of cable, the workers and trucks to hang and maintain those wires, plus rent from the local entity that owns the power poles that the cables hang on. The big companies (like Comcast) also make anti-competition contracts with a local government body to make sure only their cable can hang on the poles. For as expensive as it is to hang all that cable on a power pole, that cost is a drop in the bucket compared to running it underground.

I currently get my Internet from Comcast, because I don't do DSL. If Verizon or Google were to bring FIOS to my neighborhood, I'd change providers in less than 0.3 femtoseconds, if the prices were lower and/or the service is better and not throttled. So if Verizon FIOS does come to my house, Comcast has to meet or beat Verizon's prices and services in order to keep my business. It's either that or go out of business entirely.

In the end, I want to have the final say in who provides services to me. I don't have that choice if the government makes the choice for me. A government bureaucrat in Nashville or Washington does not and cannot know what I and my family want and need, along with my criteria to determine what I want and need. So why should I let them make those choices for me?

What are we?

I ask that question in all seriousness. Are we a nation of laws, or are we a Banana Republic where the government can do whatever it wants?

In a Banana Republic, if El Presidente doesn't like you, he makes up a law like "Felonious Mopery on the High Seas", makes the penalty death upon conviction, then has you arrested and charged with said crime. You are tried the next morning, found guilty before lunch and executed that afternoon.

In a nation of laws, the police have to wait for a complaint. This means Joe Blow goes down to the local precinct and makes an official statement on the order of Paul Somesuch stole my car (or whatever)." The police would then look up the laws for Tennessee and find that § 39-14-103 defines theft of property. § 39-14-105 breaks out what class of crime it is. Considering Paul stole Joe's $30,000 Lexus, Paul will likely be getting charged with a Class C Felony upon his capture. The police can also witness a crime, or find evidence of a crime (e.g., a human body).

In these cases, the police start with the indication that a crime has been committed. During the investigation the confirm what crime has been committed, then locate the person who their evidence convinces them committed the crime. An arrest is made and the perpetrator and the evidence are turned over to the District Attorneys who then evaluate if they can convict the accused, and on and on. Just watch Law and Order for the whole process.

What we have whenever there is a Special Investigator appointed to look into a high profile, politically charged situation, we start out with investigating a person to see what crimes they have committed, then charging them with those crimes. I didn't like the Starr investigations into the Whitewater case in the 90's and I don't like Mueller's investigation into the "Trump-Russia collusion" today. Both of these were legal hunting licenses. "Get these people and anyone near them for anything and everything you can."

This past Monday, George Papadopoulos, Paul Manafort and Rick Gates were charged by Mueller. Let's look at these.

George Papadopoulos pleaded guilty to "lying to investigators." His lie? At one point in time he was trying to set up a meeting with an overseas professor who "had substantial connections with Russian officials." He stated that he tried doing this before becoming a part of the Trump Campaign. He stated later that he tried to set this meeting up AFTER he became a part of the Trump Campaign.

You can be caught for "making false statements" just by rewording an answer to a question asked multiple times. Because when you reword an answer, you 99% of the time leave out a small tidbit of information, or add said small tidbit that you didn't include before. You could also change an answer because you remembered something you didn't before, you are nervous or a dozen more reasons. That change in an answer, not matter how small is all they need to get you.

Manafort and Gates were charged with conspiracy against the United States, conspiracy to launder money, failing to register as a foreign agent, making false statements, and multiple counts of failing to file reports for foreign bank accounts. From all accounts, these offenses predate their involvement in the Trump Campaign by months or years.

I'm not a lawyer and I didn't stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night. I cannot speak on the viability of these charges against Manafort and Gates. I will say something on their first charge. Conspiracy against the United States (Title 18, Chapter 19, Section 371 of the US Code) is like Section 134 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice. It is a "We can't find another law to convict you with, so we'll get you with this one." It can be used against a group who "commit any offense against the United States, or to defraud the United States, or any agency thereof in any manner or for any purpose". If the government feels at any time that two (or more) people worked together do deprive the US government of money or property it deems to be theirs, they can get you on this charge. It is so broad you could drive a fleet or tractor-trailers through it.

Again, are we a nation of laws where you investigate a crime and find the person who committed it, or are we a Banana Republic where we investigate the person until we find a crime they committed?

 

The lynching of the law

A lynching is defined as, “to put to death, especially by hanging, by mob action and without legal authority.”

A mob gathers and conducts a lynching when and because they are incensed over an event. Emmitt Till and Matthew Shepard are two events where young men died horrible and brutal deaths because someone lied about being offended.

In the light of the recent Mandalay Bay Massacre, as with all high-profile events like this, people who are misguided or with ill intentions exploit the events to advance a political agenda. It took only nine hours after the shooting started for Hillary Clinton to Tweet this:

hillary tweet

The process of making laws is supposed to be a cold, calculating, exacting and boringly dull process. Watching paint dry is supposed to be more exciting. It was made to be as hard as possible by our Founding Fathers because they understood human behavior when it wields power. The laws were supposed to be as few and simple as possible as to be easily understood “while running.” Imagine yourself trying to read and understand a complex concept while running down the road wearing one-buckle shoes.

In the current federal government, it takes 218 Representatives, 51 Senators and the President to agree to create a law. If the president doesn't agree and vetoes the bill, it then needs 291 Representatives and 67 Senators to agree. To amend the Constitution, it takes the 291/67 in Congress to propose and then the legislatures of 38 States have to agree.

The Constitution had one foray into codifying a social issue into law, namely the Eighteenth Amendment, which was enforced by the Volstead Act. For those of you who don’t know, this Amendment created Prohibition, which outlawed the production, transportation and sale of intoxicating liquors. In other words, no alcohol. It went from Congressional proposal to ratified by the States in just over a year, which is bullet-train fast when speaking legislatively.

Of course, this social endeavor into law worked out so well we enacted the Twenty-First Amendment almost 15 years later to repeal it. This effort only showed that the majority of people did not want prohibition and it gave rise to “organized crime” which was all too happy to operate outside the law and provide a good that was in demand by the people.

Of course, the thousands of deaths from gang violence, bad product and all that stuff is inconsequential to protecting the people from themselves because they make bad choices when left without adult supervision, right?

We have our own modern version of legislation that was passed in the heat of the moment after 9/11, and we have had years to regret its passage, namely the PATRIOT Act which has led to the explosion of the surveillance state we have today.

In conclusion, making law immediately after an event such as Las Vegas as a knee-jerk reaction to "do something about the problem" 99% of the time does not solve the problem and often makes the problem worse, plus other aspects of our lives are negatively affected due to the Law of Unintended Consequences. As my High School Drafting Teacher Mr. Scully drilled into me, "Check your work. Check it again. And again. And then, check it one more time."

 

Why big government is bad

One of my core values is that people should live as they please with a minimum intrusion from government. The People should be able to act in their affairs as they please, even to their own detriment as long as the actions do not hurt others. The laws should be as few as possible and they should (in our Founding Fathers words) "be understandable while running."

Milton Friedman, in his case against big government, says this (paraphrased): "Big business and big government are friends. Big business can lobby to the government for laws that favor them and hurt their competitors. Big government would have that power, while a limited government would not. " So, all y'all who want government in every aspect of people's lives are helping the mega-corporations all y'all rail against.

Case in point: Thanks To Lobbying, It's Illegal To Power Your Home With Solar Panels In Florida.

I bet you didn't know it, in many areas, especially urban areas, it is actually against the law for your home to not be connected to the electrical grid. Let me explain why.

A former supervisor and good friend of mine lost her house in the Nashville Floods some years back. She lived on the shore of a river that was flooded to prevent the breach of a dam. She rebuilt her home, literally 12 feet higher. She had a cinderblock foundation 12 feet high (that is now a garage and storage area) built, then her house was built on top of that. The thing of it was, when the house was finished, she couldn't move in until a "Certificate of Occupancy" was issued by the local building inspector giving her permission to live in her house.

Back in the 1930's, during the early days of the Tennessee Valley Authority, many homes in remote areas that wanted electricity in their homes used gasoline generators or private (small) hydroelectric dams to power them. Then the TVA came along and "insisted" that these remote homes connect to the electrical grid (and pay to plant poles and run the wires up there). Those people who were resistant to the insistent sometimes would find a bullet hole in their generator, or their dam exploded, ruining their power production.

I bring up those stories because if someone finds out that you have disconnected from the utilities, the utility company can get the government to revoke the Certificate of Occupancy for your home. It won't matter that you have a Tesla roof and power wall, the government will force you to vacate your home until you restore utilities. Don't think so? Call your local power monopoly and ask them what would happen if you told them to pull their electric meter.

Give this some serious thought. Citizens in states with prevalent sunshine (Hawaii, Florida, Texas, etc.) would have a great opportunity to live on their own terms, generating and storing their own electricity. Big, controlling governments and power monopolies however don't like that. They can't control you as easily, nor take your money willy-nilly.

Just remember shit like this when you demand a controlling, Socialist nanny-state to run your life for you. The end result will be you won't have the ability to act in your own best interest without prior permission from government. Yeah, good luck with that.

 

Hoist by their own petard

Before I start this, let me be unequivocal: I do not want to write this. The suggestions I will make later are detestable, especially to me. That being said, Liberals opened a door I have repeatedly warned them about. You made your bed, now lie in it.

I HATE klukkers and supremacists of any color. I hate them more than the Blues Brothers put together and multiplied by several orders of magnitude. If you believe that one person or group is better than another person or group based on skin color or genetic heritage, you are a fucking idiot and I give you fair warning, do not try your shit with me. If you do, I will be all up on you to a scale that will have R. Lee Ermey giving me a slow clap. If I find a supremacist (no matter the color) on fire, I will not throw gasoline on him. I will throw kerosene on him, because it burns slower and at a lower temperature, thus it would be a longer and more painful experience.

As a young man of 14, I first heard and took to heart the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to judge people by the content of their character rather than their skin color. I have never regretted that decision. As a young man, I had a KKK member try to recruit me. The event was so sickening to me that almost 40 years later, I still remember where I was, his face and what the business card he gave me said.

That being said, I am going to say something that upsets me. You see, in the wake of the recent events in Charlottesville, GoDaddy kicked a white supremacist website, The Daily Stormer, off their servers. Let me tell you why I am against that.

The MSM has always employed a trick to play up (or down) crowd size in order to advance their agenda. When 200 people showed up to a Hillary rally, the MSM implied 2,000 showed up, while when 2,000 showed up at a Trump rally, the MSM made it seem like only 200 showed up. They are doing the same with these white supremacists.

If you rounded up every white supremacist in the United States (no, we are NOT going to shoot them) and dropped them all in the same congressional district, they could put up one of their own for Congress and not win. There is not enough of them to be the majority in a single Congressional District. While they do exist, the numbers are few, bordering on insignificant.

The supremacists, with the help of the MSM, are following the first rule of Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals: Power is not only what you have but what the enemy thinks you have. The supremacists want to appear bigger than they are (to imply they have more power than they actually have) and the MSM wants them to appear bigger than they are so the MSM looks more powerful than they are when the MSM “takes down the alt-Right.”

Now, in case you missed it in the SCOTUS case Metal v. Tam, the Supreme Court ruled (split decision 4-4, but both sides basically agreed) that:

A law found to discriminate based on viewpoint is an “egregious form of content discrimination,” which is “presumptively unconstitutional.” … A law that can be directed against speech found offensive to some portion of the public can be turned against minority and dissenting views to the detriment of all. The First Amendment does not entrust that power to the government’s benevolence. Instead, our reliance must be on the substantial safeguards of free and open discussion in a democratic society.

So there can be no “hate speech” standard, because a) the government would have to define it and b) the government is restricted in every way, shape or form from touching that subject. There are very special and specific restrictions, namely Obscenity, Child Pornography and “Fighting Words and True Threats.” You can read about it here.

A supremacist website can legally say “We’re better than you!” all they want. They will and should run afoul of legal entanglements if they start calling for “All [insert color of choice here] people need to band together and eradicate all those who [insert nonsensical criteria here] tomorrow!”

Why would I want this kind of hateful spewing of ignorance available to everyone? Because if we as a society can restrict their speech, then eventually society might get around to restricting mine.

Just like Maximilien Robesperre who fanned the flames of the French Revolution’s Reign of Terror. As a member of the Committee of Public Safety, he sent thousands to “the National Razor” (i.e., the Guillotine). Because you cannot control a large monster like this once created, Robesperre himself eventually earned a place in that line that ended with his head in a basket. The lesson here is, if I call for “off with his head!” at someone today, others might call “off with his head!” at me tomorrow.

So I want these idiots on the Internet. That way, we know what they are saying and what they are doing. We fight ignorance and hate with truth and love. If we silence any group we don’t agree with, we force them into the darkness, where they and their ideas can fester, leading to long-term problems.

By the way, I do not condone doxing, because if done improperly, innocent people get hurt. Case in point, this image:

doxing

While these two men have a passing resemblance and the guy on the right works at the place the guy on the left has on his shirt, these are not the same person. I have a deep-dive article on this in progress.

Now we get to the part I do not want to write. That being said, I also don’t want myself or this website silenced or threatened with silence because someone decided the words on here constitute that ambiguous “hate speech.”

I stand up to protect the unrestricted voicing of opinions, no matter who says them. I will equally support Planned Parenthood, Black Lives Matter, supremacists of all colors and creeds, all religions, the NRA, Hillary Clinton, Slate, Salon, Fox News, the New Black Panthers, the Huffington Post, Breitbart and a thousand more organizations. They should be allowed to voice their opinions as they see fit.

Now, if I think their views and opinions are stupid, I’m going to say that as well. I think they have to right to embarrass themselves in public however they want to.

I have said many times in many places (unfortunately I have not codified it on this website) that a business should have the right to refuse any transaction with a customer for any reason. However, in their rush for social justice, Liberals went the other way, thus forcing the door open for my following suggestion.

And just to prove that we are a nation of laws and not feelings (and the laws work equally for all), I offer this advice to the person who owns The Daily Stormer:

Just like the case of David Mullins and Charlie Craig sued Masterpiece Cakeshop and won because the bakery refused to produce a product for their same-sex marriage celebration, you can sue GoDaddy. Masterpiece Cakeshop ended up not producing cakes for anybody because of this situation.

You might not get your hosting back, however it would probably be easier and cheaper to capitulate and furnish your hosting than have the government force GoDaddy to provide “comprehensive staff training,” rewrite company policies and provide reports for the foreseeable future to make sure they aren’t violating the rights of anyone else.

In both Ohio, the state in which you reside, and Arizona where GoDaddy is located, there are public accommodation laws that prevent discrimination on the basis of religion or creed.

Mr. Daily Stormer, I’m sure you attend a church that makes the postulations on a regular basis that “Whites are the Superior Race.*” Using that as a basis, you can argue that since that is part of your religious belief system, your expressions of hate and derision for non-whites are religious in base and nature, thus protected by those same accommodation laws that same-sex couples can use to force a business to provide them a product or service against the will of the business owners.

I’m not a lawyer and I didn’t stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night, however I think if you use that argument, you have a fair chance to force GoDaddy to accommodate you.

As a final thought, both radical left- and right-wing groups can use the same strategy and reasoning to prevent Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, snapchat and all of the other Social Media companies to likewise restrict their views.

This is why I advocate for government staying out of peoples’ lives as much as possible. Because when you set the precedent for government to force a business to do (or not do) something that the government shouldn’t be regulating in the first place, don’t be shocked when that tactic and reasoning are used against you to force you to do something that is reprehensible to you. Be careful what you wish for. You just might get it.

* Of course, I’m reasonably sure if you attend church, it is probably some form of Christianity. A lot of supremacist people who are “God-fearing people” might be horrified to learn that Jesus was a Semitic Jew, dark-skinned and dark-haired. Not the blond haired, blue-eyed handsome guy you see in the drawings today.

Why Activist Judges are bad for us

A Judge of the law is someone who is supposed to "upon complaint" decide if a law or other legal document is appropriate. They are supposed to remain within the "four corners" of the law (i.e., what is written in the document). External factors not brought up by the plaintiff (the entity filing the complaint) are not supposed to be weighed or used in the decision. Activist Judges are judges who rule not on law, but rather political agendas.

When I was last called up for jury duty (a jury is basically a judge by committee) this story was told to us by the lawyer briefing the jury pool:

There was a lawsuit before the court, concerning damages related to a traffic accident. One of the jurors knew the intersection where the accident had happened. On his way home for the evening, this juror went through that intersection, then stopped his vehicle, got out and took pictures of the intersection. This juror then shared these pictures with the rest of the jury during their deliberations. The judge upon learning about this declared a mistrial because the juror presented evidence that neither the prosecution nor the defense wanted to present to the jury. The jury, because of this one juror going out and discovering facts on his own, had reached a bad (not necessarily wrong) conclusion. Their purpose was to decide based on the evidence presented them, not what they went out fining on their own.

There are also what are known as Plenary Powers in the Constitution. For example, the authority to declare war is a plenary power to Congress. The ability to introduce bills which spend or generate revenue is plenary to the House, while the power to ratify treaties is a plenary power to the Senate. These plenary powers belong entirely to the entity to which they are granted and are not subject to review or approval by another part of the government. The Senate cannot be first to introduce a spending bill, the House cannot ratify a treaty with a foreign government and the President nor the SCOTUS (Supreme Court of the Unites States) can declare war.

So when the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals gets a complaint about President Trumps "Muslim Ban" Executive Order (which I wrote earlier about here) plainly put, no judge has the authority to rule on it because that is a plenary power held by the president as stated in the Constitution, Article 2, Section 3, "...he shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed,...".

Just so everyone has all of the information so you can make your own informed judgement in the matter, here is the Executive Order.

The first paragraph of it reads:

"By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and laws of the United States of America, including the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), 8 U.S.C. 1101 et seq., and section 301 of title 3, United States Code..."

So the Immigration and Nationality Act has a provision, specifically Section 212(f) which says:

(f) Whenever the President finds that the entry of any aliens or of any class of aliens into the United States would be detrimental to the interests of the United States, he may by proclamation, and for such period as he shall deem necessary, suspend the entry of all aliens or any class of aliens as immigrants or nonimmigrants, or impose on the entry of aliens any restrictions he may deem to be appropriate.

Title 3, Section 301 also clearly states:

The President of the United States is authorized to designate and empower the head of any department or agency in the executive branch, or any official thereof who is required to be appointed by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, to perform without approval, ratification, or other action by the President (1) any function which is vested in the President by law, or (2) any function which such officer is required or authorized by law to perform only with or subject to the approval, ratification, or other action of the President: Provided, That nothing contained herein shall relieve the President of his responsibility in office for the acts of any such head or other official designated by him to perform such functions. Such designation and authorization shall be in writing, shall be published in the Federal Register, shall be subject to such terms, conditions, and limitations as the President may deem advisable, and shall be revocable at any time by the President in whole or in part.

So I have just spent all of this showing you that the president has the duty and authority under the Constitution and the INA to issue that Executive Order.

If you look at the 9th Circuit's ruling which denies the government's attempt to stop the stay, starting on page 13 (section IV. Reviewability of the Executive Order) does the 29 page document begin to address on if the Executive Branch has the power to exercise the EO. I won't quote it because it is five plus pages just on that point. I want to make clear that the law which gives the president this authority was never even brought up, by the government, which is a screwup on their part. If they had made this point and the 9th still ruled this way, that would have violated the "four corners" I spoke about at the beginning of this post.

I am taking note that a major point is the complaint that "there was no public warning on the ban." This is for the sole reason in real life that you never, ever tell bad guys what you're going to do. If you see people parked across the street from you watching your house, you do not walk over to their vehicle and tell them, "It looks like you might be wanting to break into my house. Just so you know, I have an armed security detail starting next week." The bad guys should find out about the armed guard when he rolls up on them.

If Liberals hate the fact that Trump did this, they should change the law, namely abolish section 212(f).

 

Art vs. Science

There has long been a debate over certain fields of study are an "art" or "science." Let me make this perfectly clear: If you can measure it, quantify it, reduce it to numbers and have a fairly predictable cause and effect, it's science. If you cannot do the aforementioned things, it's an art.

Liberals, when they trust and believe their feelings over quantified numbers, have to resort to this:

Miracle

This is what has happened in the "Fight for $15" in Seattle. This open letter was written in January 2014 to the President and Congress in support of a $10.10 minimum wage, signed by over 600 Economists. The last paragraph reads:

In recent years there have been important developments in the academic literature on the effect of increases in the minimum wage on employment, with the weight of evidence now showing that increases in the minimum wage have had little or no negative effect on the employment of minimum-wage workers, even during times of weakness in the labor market. Research suggests that a minimum-wage increase could have a small stimulative effect on the economy as low-wage workers spend their additional earnings, raising demand and job growth, and providing some help on the jobs front.

However, when we see this enacted in real life, outside of the ivory towers of academia, we can clearly see the true cause-and-effect of such policies and laws.

In February 2016, Mark J. Perry wrote for the American Enterprise Institute an article titled, "New evidence suggests that Seattle’s ‘radical experiment’ might be a model for the rest of the nation not to follow."

Using the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) own data, you can see that jobs started tanking the moment Seattle's minimum wage law went into effect in April 2015 through December 2015. No matter if you look at the raw numbers, or the "seasonally adjusted" numbers, it's dropping hard after five years of steady growth. That's just Seattle. When you page down to near the bottom of the article, you see another chart that shows both the employment numbers of Seattle only, versus just the metropolitan area surrounding Seattle. Seattle went down 11,000 jobs, while in the same period the metro area outside of Seattle increased by 57,000 jobs. This shows that there is still job growth in the area and many workers who lost jobs inside Seattle probably became employed in the suburbs.

Even the New York Post admits this might be a bad idea, How the $15 wage is already killing Seattle jobs. The money quote:

Bottom line: A $15 law in New York is guaranteed to destroy jobs here — and boost employment in New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania and even Vermont.

Seattle is learning that it can’t unilaterally ignore basic economics. Businesses adapt to government dictates. To survive mandated pay hikes, they lay off employees, or avoid new new hires to control costs.

Now, I can tell you where people are getting paid $15 an hour to work fast food. Where you ask? In the oil boom area up in North and South Dakota. The oil boom is drawing workers of all trades and in order to support them, there have to be lots of jobs like fast food workers. In order to attract workers to menial jobs into an area where the snow can cover telephone poles, you have to pay them more to make it worth their while to move long distances to live and and work in a harsh environment.

Seattle and the Dakotas are two examples of how market forces work.

If you want to earn more money, upgrade your skills so you are worth more. Knowledge + hustle + a positive work ethic = more pay. If I was hiring someone, I would be much more inclined to hire someone who may not have the skillset needed but is willing to learn and work hard than someone who meets the skillsets but puts forth minimum work.

 

California Strikes Again

I've been meaning to comment on this for a while.

Back in the 80's, I was stationed at the Coronado Amphibious Base in San Diego. Two separate incidents while I was out there illustrated how screwed up California really is.

First incident: A bumbling burglar in the process of breaking into a school, broke through a skylight and fell about three floors, seriously injuring himself. He sued the school system (I forget the basis) and won. So, the school had not only had to repair the damage done by his stupidity, they also had to support him and his medical expenses for the rest of his life.

Second incident: Someone made a joking remark to the head of CDOT (California Department of Transportation) about, "How motorcycle riders keep falling off their motorcycles." She got --><-- that close to creating a regulation that mandated seat belts on motorcycles. If you have ever ridden on a motorcycle, I don't have to explain to you why this is an extremely bad idea.

So, now the Marin County DA has sued and won $1.6 Million against Lowe's because their 2x4's are actually 1.5" by 3.5." He sued them under some "truth in advertising" law they have. I'm sorry, but the DA is an idiot. No, I'm not sorry. He's still an idiot. I am 53 years old, and I've known that a 2x4 is actually 1.5" by 3.5" since my dad taught me how to read a ruler when I was seven years old. It's an industry standard, and it has been for longer than I've been around. I am very glad I don't live there anymore. In some ways, it's worse than Guam.

It Used To Be...

That we had something called common sense. This meant that you looked at a situation or problem and actually engaged in a conscious analysis of the possible benefits, risks and consequences of engaging yourself in that situation or problem before you actually engaged in it. I will use sex in this case, since I want to talk about California's SB-967. This bill attempts to define 'consensual sex.' Otherwise known as the "Yes Means Yes" bill, this is type of sign is instantly what I thought of: Overstated Sign

Notice that this sign uses eighteen adjectives when one would do. This bill, and the associated derivative policies will do just what this sign is doing, oversimplifying and defining to an excruciating degree something that should be common sense.

If you let the law define acceptable and unacceptable conduct to the nth degree, you are absolving yourself of the thinking on if this action is a good idea or not. Let's say two (or sometimes more) people want to have an intimate encounter that will result in pleasurable sensations and orgasms for all involved. All well and good. This kind of stuff happens every day. It is what makes the world go 'round.

However, there are many times that this happens and it's not all fun and games. When one does not agree to the encounter, or changes their mind in the middle and the other party continues, that's rape. The sex of the raper and rapee does not matter.

Now, when I was growing up, young males were taught by their male role models (notably fathers and uncles), that you shouldn't have sex until you were married. If you did and she became "with child," You were expected to take on the obligation of supporting your child and its mother. If you play, you pay. You also most assuredly did not take "undue advantage" of her, which means have sex while either one of you were impaired by alcohol or drugs.

A man does not have his way with those who do not (or should not) consent. Likewise, young women were taught (by mothers and aunts) not to put themselves into situations where they could be taken advantage of. That meant double dating with a blind date, and for the next 2-3 dates after that. No alcohol or drugs that would impair your ability to say "no" and mean it. The ladies also had an obligation as well. That was, if they did willingly engage in sex, if they regretted it later they did not make a false accusation of rape.

Let's make this perfectly clear: There is ZERO justification to rape another person. There is also ZERO justification to make false accusations. There are responsibilities on both sides here. Guys, if she's been drinking/drugging, jumps in your lap and starts squeezing your Johnson, tell her, "Yes, when you're sober" and don't let it get any farther. If you get "the urge," and she's passed out/asleep, put something for her to drink when she wakes up on the table next to her and pull a blanket over her. Ladies, if you want to have sex, that's fine. Just don't let the alcohol/drugs say "yes" when you want to say "no." Don't do the "revenge sex" thing either. That's where you get mad at your boyfriend, and to "get even" with him you go have sex with somebody else. Except a day or two later you feel guilty about it, so to save your own hide you start accusing the other poor guy of rape, not realizing that you are ruining the rest of his life.

Even if he beats the accusation, that event will haunt him for the rest of his life. Everyone needs to own up to their mistakes in life. You also need to do your best to avoid situations that will most likely have life-long repercussions for everyone involved. Screwing up is a part of life. We learn by our mistakes. Try to learn from the mistakes of others, and take responsibility for your actions.

 

An explanation for Government

Here is a video talking about the Bureau of Land Management and the Bundy Ranch Dispute.

I think it does a reasonably good job explaining the madness that is our current government. By the way, What is said about the BLM is pretty much true for the Department of Education, the Department of Energy, the BATFE (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives) the Department of the Interior (which BLM is a part of) and most, if not all of the major departments of the Executive Branch.

Congress writes the "Sunshine and Puppies for Everybody Law of 2014" in general terms, then at the end, has a part that reads something like, "The departments that have responsibility for enforcement of this law can issue defining regulations pertaining thereto." Which means, they publish their "regulation changes" in the Federal Register (which most people have never even heard of) and after the appropriate "public comment period," the regulations now have the authority of law.

Now, if a significant number of citizens express outrage and other comments against the proposed regulation, the Department concerned can "take into consideration" the comments before issuing the final regulations. They usually don't and make it law as originally written. Anyway, here is the video:

 

More Mrs. Kravitz's

Remember Mrs. Kravitz, the nosy neighbor across the street in Bewitched ? Now, it seems, she's running things in South Florida.

Abuse of power? Homeowners group tells woman to remove Virgin Mary. It details the case against an old lady who wants to display her faith, as she has for the last 19 years.

The Mote Ranch covenant doesn't mention statues. But it does make two association committees "the ultimate deciding'' bodies in what a person can do to his home and property.

I could never live in such a place. I would not sign such a covenant. That would be a deal breaker for me. I am the one paying the mortgage, I should be the one in control of the property. These "homeowners associations" go so far as to decree what colors to use on the interior of your house. I understand the want to keep property values up, but this kind of stuff goes way too far.

Thankfully case law in Florida is on this woman's side. There is an elderly man who put up a flag pole to display the Stars and Stripes and got put through the wringer for it. Governor Jeb Bush came to this mans rescue by pushing a bill through the Legislature making things like this legal. The homeowners association then went so far as to put a lien on this mans house for legal expenses the association ran up bringing the case against him. Thankfully there was a drive by Sean Hannity and others to raise the cash to let this man keep his home.

Hopefully this lady won't have to go through the same hell.

‘Legal’ theft

I got mad when I read this, Citizens ‘Mugged’ by the State.

These stories and the others documented in Readers Digest are abominable. It isn’t quite as bad here in the Memphis area. Although in one suburb the land developers are on the city council. They managed to convert a large forested semi-swampland into 2 million square feet of mall and multiple strip malls. Then the suburb promptly lost the tax money when Memphis annexed the area.

These stories are a prime example as to why there should be limited government. The scope of government was properly (and narrowly) defined when the Constitution was drafted, and the state Constitutions were similarly narrowly defined. Then everybody started on that slippery slope into doing more to ‘help’ the people. Now we have stories like this.

I do not have an answer for the solution. Armed rebellion seems a tad too much, but it might become a more popular option as things go from bad to worse. Don’t load up on ammunition just yet, I’ll let you know when it’s time. For the moment, the ballot box is still a better option than the ammunition box.

$wearing

I spent 13 years in the Navy, and picked up the fine art of creative swearing. When you use the phrase ‘swear like a sailor’ you’re setting the bar pretty high. Every other word was the f-word. I used it, depending on the suffix and where it was in the sentence, as a noun, pronoun, verb, adverb and adjective.

I have since expanded my vocabulary, and my abilities to express myself. I no longer need to use such words. I do not put myself in the company of people who use such words. When I do use the f-word, I guarantee that it is a special occasion.

Along comes this article, FCC: You Can Say That on Television and I am perturbed over it.

“The word ‘f***ing’ may be crude and offensive, but, in the context presented here, did not describe sexual or excretory activities or functions. Rather, the performer used the word f***ing as an adjective or expletive to emphasize an exclamation. Indeed, in similar circumstances, we have found that offensive language used as an insult rather than as a description of sexual or excretory activity or organs is not within the scope of the Commission’s prohibition of indecent program content.”

We are already upset and enraged over the amount of time children watch television and how they emulate what they see. To add this into the mix does no good whatsoever. Just imagine your two or three year old learning such a word, and how difficult it is to get them to stop using it. As long as the TV is on and shows that use such language rerun in the afternoon, your children are at risk. Don’t let them do this.

 
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