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Miscellaneous - New

[A collection of responses to various communications] 

9/11/1991 Democracy - eMail
An interesting historical note. The founders of this country were trying to avoid both tyrannies:
that of a monarchy (Constitution) and that of democracy (Bill of Rights). It was others that insisted the we were a democracy, no founder did. It is sad that America is now equated with democracy
and the evils that democratic forms bring.

9/18/1991 Carson Democracy Jokes? - eMail
I do not have the original so I cannot catalog the exact targets, implications, and tone of his jokes but they seemed more to make fun of Americans than of Government or Democracy.

The main point is his underlying assumption that the United States is a Democracy. That is the propaganda part. You never hear politicians and other political players and cohorts mention the main idea and great discovery of America which is individual liberty. They all say that our goal is to "make the world safe for Democracy". Modern Democracy and egalitarianism were creations of the developing Socialism in Europe.

The form of government I would like to see is exactly that founded by the signing of the US Constitution and state constitutions, a Constitutional Republic with strictly limited government powers. Its structure puts primary power at the county and city level, with lesser power at the state level, and even less at the federal level.

You can still see remnants of this original structure today. Note that most criminal enforcement is at the county level (elected Sherriff, Superior Courts, Attorney Generals, etc.). City and County governments have tremendous zoning power, that would be unthinkable at the state or federal level. You can also
see how stable such a form can be by the example of Switzerland were the cantons are primary and the federal government is weak.

There are political movements in California and nationwide to consolidate counties into regional governments and even states into area governments in order to remove these last vestiges of local control. This is all part of the overall plan to concentrate power in the smallest number of hands. This
is obviously the complete antithesis of the founding American ideal.

It is interesting that ancient Athens, the mother of Democracy, knew the dark side of Democracy. They had a very large legislative assembly (1000) and each could serve only one term. The large assembly was to increase representation and restrict the ability to concentrate power. The limited term was to prevent building of power by the representatives.

One change I would make at all government levels and which I think was the primary mistake in the US Constitution was majority rule. Many countries recognize that a bare majority is not adequate consensus for making major decisions. This concept is recognized in the constitution by the 3/4 rule for amendments.]

10/29/2002 Privacy a legitimate Value - eMail
Your comment is a common misconception and a common argument used against privacy and caution. I am not "too fearful" - my motivation is not fear. I value privacy very highly and I am cautious about opening doors to the dark side of human nature. You might as well say that a careful preflight is motivated by too much fear.

Privacy is a legitimate value that can be held by rational people. It does not have to be justified but there are many good reasons to preserve ones privacy, that of others, and that of all the people.

1) The last century is replete with examples of government information gathering "for a good purpose" being turned into terror and death for individuals selected on the basis of that information. Similarly, at the more "harmless" end, you can enjoy IRS audits, insurance and credit denial, etc.

2) Criminals are not wont for innovative uses of such information. Identity theft and various scams and frauds have risen rapidly with the advent of computer gathering and consolidation of information about individuals. Such persons are adept at acquiring both government and business data sources and disseminating such to the least of their number.

3) Hackers, script kiddies, and other ethically unrestrained players use on-line data and compromise of on-line systems to engineer automated and social attacks that damage both individual systems as well as services used by many.

4) A significant number of legitimate businesses seem unable to restrain their joy at the leverage that specific information on individuals gives to their "push" marketing by telephone and junk mail. And political campaigns can send specific button pushing letters customized for an individual or segment of their potential support without upsetting other potential supporters (lie to me lie to you :-).

So you can see from this quick overview that the consequences of disregard of privacy can range from terror to the daily disturbance of the quality of life by telephone, postal, and email inundations.

Do not underestimate the power of correlating various tidbits of "trivial" information. Neither underestimate the nefarious purposes that can be imagined by the human intellect. I prefer to not give a lever to move
my world.

2/28/2003 Voting Machines / Democracy - eMail
This article continues a number of politically motivated falsehoods. I know you have said that you do not care about the Constitution or how we founded this country but my ancestors fought for it and helped write it so perhaps you can excuse my interest in preserving it.

  1. The electoral system was designed explicitly to balance the popular vote against the territorial distribution of people in the States. Similar reasoning was used in the balance between the House and the Senate. It is not an aberration or an accident, it is designed this way and for good reason.

    If you look at the Presidential vote in 2002 as a distribution across the US, you will find that over 85 percent of the counties and over 90 percent of the territory voted for Bush. The electoral system is designed to function as it did. In a close race it favors the candidate with a large territorial advantage. See Article II Section 1 of the Constitution".
  2. Ballot box stuffing and other vote manipulations are hardly something invented by the Republicans. If they are doing it, they are very bad at it - they have pretty much always lost in my lifetime.

    If you look at the historical record, voting fraud is practically standard practice for the Democrats. This practice is still going on but is primarily a problem in large urban areas (where Democrats almost always win). Again if you check the distribution of voting you will note that Gore won all of the large urban centers.
  3. The US is a Republic not a pure democracy. The will of the People is balanced against the rights of the individual. Even the ancient Greeks understood that democracy unbridled was just another form of dictatorship.
  4. The Supreme Court's job is to resolve constitutional disputes. They did not steal the election for Bush they just decided the issue on the basis of law just as they do for other matters such as for abortion and civil rights. The vast majority of the bench were appointed by Democrats, and the few Republican judges had to pass the gauntlet of the Democratically controlled Senate. So it is very hard to claim that the court decision was a Republican operation.

You know, we do not have to spread lies about each other. There are plenty of real differences of values and goals in American politics that can engage our intellects in productive resolution of our common
future.

2/22/2003 Poor Countries - eMail
The question of course is why are they poor, unable to read, malnourished? Are we robbing them to have our prosperity, education, and health? Do we need to feel guilty? Can we do anything?

The main reason is over-population relative to the resources available in their area. The second reason is that they live in totalitarian countries that have no ethic of individual liberty and opportunity although many call themselves "democracies". Many immigrants, including most of our ancestors, came to the US poor, malnourished, and uneducated but there was space and freedom.

The countries that we have freed from oppressive regimes have prospered but they were not over-populated relative to their resources. Can we help China (1.3 billion), India (1.0 billion), Africa (640 Million), and each of them still growing rapidly? Not without dragging ourselves down into poverty.
There are just too many of them.

We can feel compassion for them, but they have to reduce their population and develop their resources.

7/7/2005 Broadband over Power Lines - eMail
Congressman Doolittle,

Please support House Resolution 230 that calls on the FCC to reevaluate their finding and rules on Broadband over Power Lines (BPL).

As a retired computer network designer, pilot, and amateur radio operator, I have multiple concerns of radio interference, safety, and efficacy related to the BPL technologies fielded so far.

As an amateur radio operator involved in emergency and safety communications, I need much more assurance that BPL designs be proven interference free and that interference problems will be dealt with promptly. Neither is currently true, and insistence on prompt interference resolution is the best assurance that the technology will become interference free.

As a pilot who often operates in areas distant from Air Traffic Control communications facilities, I also need assurance that BPL will not interfere with weak communication signals.

As a networking designer, I have seen many hyped technologies with apparently widespread support and investment, fail because they ignored the actual cost and deployment issues relative to competing technologies. It appears now that DSL for wired communities and satellite for isolated, rural dwellings, are more cost effective and have much greater potential for increased bandwidth that BPL. BPL may yet find a niche but please not at the cost of radio communications.

9/15/2005 Conservative - eMail

I would have forwarded that story to you myself, but haven't known you long enough to know how you woulddeal with such a heavily conservative rant.

Hey, I am Mr. Conservative himself :-). Of course I mean that in the American sense (for conserving Liberty) not in the European sense (for conserving privilege and monarchy, etc.).

Actually, I would rather not use words that are defined and controlled by the media and propagandists.  I think of myself as a liberal and environmentalist, but I cannot use those words because their meaning has been changed. "Liberal" used to mean for liberty and against privilege, now it means the opposite (a privileged elite to rule us for our own good).  "Environmentalist" used to mean "for protecting and restoring the environment", but now it means "city people punishing rural people" and "excluding humans from the environment".

I don't consider a statement a "rant" unless it is just accusations without adequate concrete basis to be verified.  And I love to dispute :-).

.hey, isn't it hard to exist at Berkeley with views like you have?

It strengthened my character, and helped me understand how self-serving and deluded very bright people can be.  My mother went to Cal in the 20's when outright Communism was considered the wonderful future by many professors.  That has now changed into "we are so bright and compassionate that we should be the rulers, you poor dummy".

I have a friend whom I have known since about 1976.  during the last election he was shocked at my rabid right wing view (his words) and our relationship has not been the same since.

I used to be astounded that "tolerant", "compassionate" "Liberals" are so antagonistic to those with substantive arguments against their pet ideologies. Berkeley cured me of that illusion. I suspect that many just hold a loosely connected set of dogmas that they acquire from the media, peer pressure, etc., and are unprepared to justify their views and afraid that their feel-good views might crumble.

Well, got to go clear more sagebrush,

7/30/2007 Grand Jury & Local Government - eMail
I have been on the a Civil Grand Jury for two years. This year I was foreman (you get to do more interesting work when you are not the foreman :-(). This is a Civil Grand Jury not criminal. I put up a web site with Grand Jury information, resources, Final Reports, and Local Government Responses.

Living in a small town has been a reminder of what our government was like before the usurpations and explosive growth of the 1900's. Freedom requires self control and local government. Here many people are involved in local government - not only on the County Board of Supervisors but volunteer fire departments, civic clubs, directors and trustees of special districts, school districts, commissions, etc.  Not to forget grand and petite juries. With only 10,000 people almost everyone participates or knows several who do.  If it were not for the State and Federal government's meddling we would get along just fine (although free people can be cranky neighbors, they help you anyway).

4/7/2008 Death and Gift Taxes - eMail
[To: Doolittle, Feinstein, Boxer]
I oppose any separate death or gift tax. The taxation at death of assets acquired with earnings already taxed is immoral. As is taxing of gifts.

The power to tax is still the power to destroy.  In this case what is destroyed is small businesses and farms, and family homes.  It should not be necessary to establish complex trust arrangements to protect family assets. Instead, any inherited or gifted assets should be taxed on payment of income or capital gains from sale, just as if the new owner had owned them all along. The inherited basis would be the original purchase price plus improvements just as for the original owner.

9/30/2007 District of Columbia Statehood - eMail
The District of Columbia was set aside to house the offices of the Federal Government.  It was not intended to be a residential area for private citizens. If DC residents want to participate in statehood, then the entire area should be returned to the neighboring states from which that land was ceded.  Those States did not cede the land to become another, competing State!

10/1/2007 English as US Official Language - eMail
English must be made the official language of the United States.

A free people must be able to talk to each other!  Without a common language individuals cannot resolve disputes and argue out their differences, and misunderstanding and suspicion are unavoidable.

Immigrants should be fluent in English before they are admitted to the US. If they are unable or unwilling to learn English then they should not be admitted. This is not an undue burden because most countries teach English as a second language in their primary schools.

Learning English is not a requirement to abandon the immigrant's culture.  Almost anyone is capable of learning two languages.  Many immigrant groups have done so. Inflexible individuals and cultures unable to do so do not make a healthy, free people.

As a transitional measure, current resident immigrants should be encouraged and helped to learn English. Fluent English should be a requirement for Citizenship. Fluent English should be a lawful requirement for employment especially where interaction with the public is required.

Reading English must be a requirement for a drivers license, pilots license, or any other government certification of skill where reading is important.  Rescind executive Order 13166.

Lack of fluent English should be probable cause to investigate immigration status. Passport and immigration documents should have an instant verification system to avoid undue inconvenience to the legal visitor and to reduce slack enforcement due to inconvenience.

Nations divided by language descend into chaos.

10/18/2007 NAFTA Super Highway - eMail
I strongly oppose the "NAFTA Super Highway" whatever its actual names may be.

Its obvious purpose is to facilitate the importation of cheap goods with cheap transportation. It does nothing the facilitate the interchange of goods between Americans. It is not a benefit to Americans as a whole, but rather for the profit and benefit of a few.

American jobs are lost as low-cost goods from near-slavery and no-pollution-control-cost societies drive out American products and labor.  This has serious consequences for the future. American transportation jobs will be lost because trucks and drivers will be mainly Mexican.

Illegal immigration will continue to explode as the new, largely unchecked entry point is exploited.

Detail:

Most of these societies are major polluters. They do not spend to control pollution. China in particular has surpassed us and is rapidly increasing its output of pollution. This is not even taking into account the pollution due to transportation from Asia, disruption of the sea ecologies from so many large ships and their discharges, and the massive disruption of mid-west ranches and wild lands to build and maintain the corridor.

Loss of American industrial jobs ultimately means failure of innovation. American workers are losing contact with the technology-related jobs that have been the step-up from menial jobs and poverty.  Industrial jobs give parents and consequently children contact with technological ideas. Not the end-product ideas, but the how-its-done and how-it-works ideas.  We cannot be competitive without innovation, and know-how develops from exposure to technological ideas.  Such exposure allows children to conceive the idea to work in those fields and become the engineers, scientists, and innovators of our future.

10/19/2007 US Sovereignty - eMail
[John Doolittle, Barbara Boxer, Dianne Feinstein, President]

No foreign tribunals, North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA), that supersede the Supreme Court.

American sovereignty and my individual rights must not be compromised under any guise. I expect you to use your powers to reject such proposals.

This means:

No "North American Union", "Security and Prosperity Partnership", or anything of the like that merges sovereign prerogatives or grants power to higher government forms.

No Law of the Sea Treaty ceding control of the seas to the UN, the power to tax Americans, a Court of Appeal, etc.

No UN standing army. The UN must continue to depend on the cooperation of sovereign, national governments.

Continued monitoring of UN corruption and malfeasance, making further support contingent on reform.

Detail:

The proof is compelling and not contradicted by any known fact that government entities larger than the small nation-state cannot overcome the human weakness for power and corruption.  These failings are too dangerous when elevated in power and wide jurisdiction.

The United Nations has proven conclusively that they are too corrupt and inept to manage anything in the interest of the peoples of the world.  The UN Declaration of Rights is strangely worded and its "rights" are a matter of simple vote not a matter of right superseding UN legislative power.

The European Union is steadily making all the same mistakes as the United States Federal Government - overreaching power, federalizing functions that are far better managed by State and local government, etc.

According to the Encarta World Dictionary:
sovereignty
1.top authority: supreme authority, especially over a state
2.independence: freedom from outside interference and the right to self-government
3.independent state: a politically independent state

10/26/2007 Marriage and Family - eMail
The family is the core of any stable society. The core of the family, the nuclear family, is the male-female partnership referred to as Marriage. Extensions to this core are relatives and friends. There is no record of any society granting Marriage in any other way even though the privileges and consequences of marriage and family vary greatly.

The family is the place where children are best raised. All evidence shows that children raised in a nuclear family are better off than children raised in other ways. This is not a matter of blame but a matter of fact that must be the basis of good choices.

If government has any role in the family, it is to support the nuclear family. Marriage laws have had this purpose.

Because of the large body of existing civil and governmental law that establishes prerogatives and benefits for parents and Married couples, it would be a serious miscarriage to simply redefine Marriage as a legal partnership between two individuals. This would grant the whole package to non-male-female marriages without the centuries of detailed consideration that founded the current situation.

Rather than extend Marriage to other than male-female pairs, it would be better to restrict legal Marriage to male-female pairs with dependent children. If necessary under law and governmental regulation, the new category of Domestic Partnership can be used for other domestic relationships.  This latter still needs detailed consideration because many such laws could be abolished in favor of the simple partnership contract.

Marriage is not a form of qualification for privilege and government largesse.

2007/10/27: Growth is Not a Good Thing - eMail
"Growth" is not a good thing for the United States as it is currently understood based on population growth. Economic growth based on innovation and efficiency is the only good growth. Other than that, long term stability is best.


5/12/2008 FAA User Fees - eMail
Mr. President,

I understand that you are being advised to veto the FAA Funding bill if it does not include user fees and more influence over Air Traffic Control by the Airlines. I most strongly disagree.

The aviation fuel tax, as for the road fuel taxes, is the fairest form of support for the FAA services as they are directly proportional to use. Fees are punitive, discourage safety, and add substantial, useless paperwork for both the FAA and the flying citizen. Many of the "services" that light aviation is being asked to pay for are exclusively for the benefit of the Airlines and large commercial aviation.

For years the Airlines have sought to control the airways and airports, but the Airlines should not control the airways any more than the tuckers should control the roads. The Air Traffic Control system must serve all users fairly. Already there are many requirements and impositions imposed on light aircraft aviation that are purely for the benefit of Airlines and large commercial aviation. Also, as you know, airline transportation is the least efficient, most polluting, form of transportation.

6/26/2008 Florescent Light Bulb Mandate - eMail
Another point overlooked is that I heat my house about 2/3 of the year. Consequently, any heat from the incandescent bulb (which is why they are less efficient) just reduces the electrical use from my electric heater (or pollution from my wood stove :-). This is also true for those who heat with gas or oil where the incandescent bulb reduces energy use and CO2 emissions. So for 2/3 of the year there would be no savings. Of course in hot seasons and areas, florescent lights reduce air conditioning energy loads.

Also the cost of toxic manufacture and disposal, and health costs from breakage are not figured in. Not to mention the environmental cost of shipping the bulbs across the Pacific (oil burning ships, disruption of the ocean ecosystem, and waste dumping at sea). Except for disposal and health, these costs would be explicit in the price if made in the US under US regulations.

Mandatory automatic light dimmers would save a good deal more because most people just leave lights on unnecessarily. So the best solution is not mandated CFLs, but appropriate use depending on specific conditions.

Also, make solar tubes mandatory in building and remodeling.

I agree with you that the free market with consumer choice (and no government subsidy of non-viable alternatives) takes care of many of the "problems" that our government creates by meddling. As Thomas Sowell says in his book on economics "that is not a problem to be solved" (its a working feature of markets).

p.s. Florescent bulbs are ugly in antique and decorative light fixtures.
p.s. My electricity is cheap and has no carbon footprint (Bonniville dam).
p.s. The pollution from manufacture in China comes right to California on the winds.

2009/02/22: Senate Passes "Historic" Stimulus Bill
All of this "stimulus" was tried by Hoover and Roosevelt and the Depression deepened and dragged on until after WW II. Such stimulus is a net loss to the average taxpayer. The jobs created are not new jobs but rather jobs transferred from other work that would have been done with the money taxed away.

If America is strong enough to take this punishment, we may survive until good sense returns, but it is likely that the "Historic" part of this bill will be noted as the beginning of the end for freedom and self government in the United States and worldwide.

4/18/2009 California "Water Crisis" - eMail
Governor Schwarzenegger,

Regarding the "Urgent Need to Improve California's Water Supply" in your recent email.

California is a desert there will always be a shortage of water. The problem is not water but over-population. As long as illegal's are encouraged to come to California to get jobs and government benefits, our population will continue to skyrocket and water will always be in crisis. We need California to discourage illegal immigration by refusing benefits and jobs to illegal's, and mandating cooperation with and reporting to the Federal INS. We also need to force the Federal government to do its duty.

The real "water" crisis is the absence of ground water law. Developers within the State and in Nevada have large amounts of money to bribe or purchase access to ground water which being unregulated can destroy or over-draw an aquifer, and hence destroy the life and livelihood of the resident population and wildlife. The Surprise Valley and Honey Lake areas are at risk of becoming the next Mono Lake.

2009/07/24: Letter to the Editor - Legislatures are Responsible
Apparently the public and the editor need a short civics lesson.

The State Legislature and the US Congress make laws and set budgets, the Governor and the President have no such powers. Budget problems are problems in the Legislature or Congress. So don't bother complaining about the Governor.

For my entire adult life, the California Legislature has over-spent, demanded more taxes, blamed the taxpayers when we didn't want to pay more, and cut services to punish us. Meanwhile, the State bureaucracy has grown steadily and never seems to suffer layoffs.

Lets assign the responsibility to the right people, the Legislature.

10/10/2009 Letter to the Editor about "They" - eMail
Your editorial of October blames "They" for nastiness, racism, and lack of charity, simply because they criticize the present government.

"They" are a bit tired of being called names. "They" have the right and obligation of criticizing the government. As you point out, our liberty and success were based on local government, not State or Federal, and local charity not State or Federal largess. Most State and Federal programs are proven failures, so enlarging them is just destructive. We were promised Change, but we are getting the same old same old.

10/23/2009 Health Care for Women - eMail
[Response to eMail from Nancy-Ann DeParle, The White House]
This is a bunch of non-sense. Our health care system is not "broken". Like any system it can be improved but not by someone with the track record of the Federal Government.

Some less expensive health care policies do not include pregnancy - that's how they can be less expensive for single or older women. That does not prevent a woman from buying one that does. Pregnancy is an example of why "health care insurance" is not really insurance. Pregnancy is not an unlikely aliment the risk of which can be shared in an insurance pool, it is a chosen event. If you deliberately crash your car, the insurance company will not cover the damage, and if your car is already crashed, a new insurance company will not give you a policy to cover it after the fact.

11/25/2009 Letter to Editor - eMail
Pat failed to speak exactly and provide footnotes, but her comments were generally correct about the financial problems of small counties. Modoc County is not unique for being in financial trouble, but it is unique for dipping into reserves AND it is the only small county struggling to keep a county hospital open!

Going into debt to cover operating expenses is a death spiral. The State of California and the US Federal government are clear examples. The question that I have yet to hear answered is whether the Hospital is really able to sustain a surplus now that it has Critical Access status. If so, then dipping into the reserves is a temporary measure albeit technically illegal. Going into debt forever, while not technically illegal comes close to dereliction of duty. Kind of a devil's choice.

1/18/2001 Response to Quote of Speech by MLK - eMail
King's words are wonderfully poetic and the form "A multiplies A" has the semblance of deep truth. Half-truth, especially as poetry or music, is powerful but dangerous. Once the words "darkness", "hate", "violence", "toughness", and "war" are tainted in this way, it becomes difficult to rationally discuss issues where these words are used. "Darkness" is not always bad; "hate" is often only in someone's misunderstanding; "violence" is very subjective; "toughness" is usually a virtue; "war" while always ugly and undesirable is sometimes necessary. The chain of evil does indeed need to be broken, but it is perpetuated by careless use of words.

Thank goodness, that King's greatness did not depend on the first quote!

6/22/2011 Public Information - Modoc Independent Blog
It is a good deal more difficult to get useful information than you might expect. Public information is processed and published by bureaucrats. They are paper pushers not thinkers, so you get numbers published in categories but little effort is made to make the categories useable or  understandable by the public.

7/7/2011 American Founding - Modoc Independent Blog
I think you misread my statement "America was founded by Protestant Christians". America was founded by innumerable Protestant Christian sects and individuals. Most came here as inheritors of the unique English variation of Western, Christian civilization. The "founding fathers" merely formalized what was already established over a hundred years by the people (Jefferson said as much).

These people came here as Europeans intent on establishing their own little colonies according to their own views. Over time they softened and discovered that life was better if they tolerated the heretics in the next town. It was wonderful to have distracted kings more than a month away by ship. We learned self-government because we had to; an opportunity almost unique in the world.

7/11/2011 American Founding - Modoc Independent Blog
I get the feeling that we are talking about different things.

I have been talking about the people that came here and settled in the hundred years before the Revolution. They were Europeans and had not yet discovered the America of the Declaration. Many at that time thought that they were founding little religious theocracies. Of course many didn't care one way or the other. Self-government caught on much earlier than religious freedom. I have not been talking about the "founding fathers" or any other much later figures. Nor am I talking about the formation of our government after the Revolution. The original point was that interpretation of the word "God" in the understanding of the general public at the time the poems were published would be that of the Protestant Christian view of God whether they were Christians themselves or not.

10/10/2011 Failing Government - Modoc Independent Blog
I
s it the "political system" that is failing or the people that we have elected to run it and our desire to get benefits? There are budget laws that apply to federal, state, and county operations but none of these governments obey them. There are duties for each office, but the officers fail to do them. There are always failures in human systems, but we have let too many go on for too long because each of us is part of a constituency that demanded "our share".

We too are part of the political system, we are the ultimate check-and-balance. For a decade the Grand Jury and others reported the budget decline, but no one seemed to care. It takes hard work to offer constructive suggestions, and considerable restraint to work with others without rancor. We the people have lost touch with these skills, and it will take us some time and pain to reassert ourselves.

1/5/2012 Library Debacle - Modoc Independent  Blog
I am always surprised that people on this blog are surprised that government is unresponsive, unaccountable, and irresponsible with our money. Have you not read history? Have you not read the papers for the last 50 years?

We the People have elected and re-elected those promising a free lunch to be paid for by the magic of future money or taxes paid by some other person. And they have obliged us with services, salaries, and benefits way beyond our ability to pay. Their graft is a minor loss compared to what we accepted that we cannot pay for.

The Federal, State, County, and city governments across the nation, and around the world, are bankrupt and are running deficits. The State Controller may have recovered some of our taxes but nonetheless has allowed the State to descend deep into bankruptcy.

Whistle blowers, some of the press, and the Grand Jury have warned us over and over again, yet we have done nothing (and still do little).

In this instance, the Friends of the Modoc County Library should demand to see a budget and sufficient accounting information so they can determine what can be done. Would a reasonable library tax hike be enough, or are private funds and volunteer staffing necessary. Or should we let the Library die and sleep in front of our TVs?

5/11/2012 Marriage - Heritage Blog
There are two problems with Reply May 10 at 6:18 pm.

To the extent that homosexuality is genetic, as far as I know there is no way to decide if the gene confers a benefit or is just benign, similar to the question of why people live past reproductive age. To the extent that homosexuality is epigenetic, then we have the problem whether it is heritable or just a developmental difference. In any case, a human is a human and is entitled to the same rights. Whether government recognition of "marriage" is one of them is a debatable question which currently suffers from lack of adequate background research.

Thanks for the article which brings up the real question, "Why does government formally recognize marriage"? I suspect that the original intent was the same for all human societies, to support a family structure that insures survival of that society. Modern law has used the status of "married" for other purposes such as income tax filing. So rather than grant "married" status to every conceivable human pair, we need first to investigate how the status "married" is used in Federal law, State law, common law, and regulation. Most of these laws were established when nearly everyone lived in a nuclear family. Times have changed. Now un-married couples and deliberately childless couples live together, and large numbers of families are single-parent. Also there are many second marriages in old age beyond childbearing. Are most of our laws that depend on the status "married" now obsolete? Perhaps we should be denying "married" status to more couples rather than expanding the franchise?

6/8/2012 Organic Food - Facts Matter Blog
You make the assumption that everything has been studied and fully understood by Science. Asking for reported, peer-reviewed science to support a concern requires that multiple groups have received large and reliable grants to start and maintain studies. Where is the vested interest that reliably provides such money? The organic industry is still too small to play significantly on this field.

More than just following the money, scientists work within a belief system (paradigm) about their subject. Their view constrains their work and limits the answerers that they find acceptable. This is not a criticism, they are just human, but we must take this into account when making decisions that require knowledge of reality.

As you and Ryan have touched on, the organic choice involves a whole range of issues, it not simply a matter of greater healthiness in absence of artificial chemicals or genetic modification. An issue that I have yet to decide on, is what happens when GMOs are loose in the environment. The largest chemical spills dissipate over time. GMO life forms replicate and given a suitable situation will spread as they displace lesser breeds. Our knowledge of DNA and cell function is still primitive but there appear to be many natural methods where foreign DNA is incorporated into living cells. Ignorance is not bliss.

Being conservative means relying on 10,000 years of social evolution until the efficacy and safety of a new approach is proved (not the other way around).

6/9/2012 Organic Food - Facts Matter Blog
I guess that the short form of my argument is that GMO providers, being the advocate of change, have the burden of proof.

At their high volume a tiny savings is very profitable, but as a consumer the small difference in price is not convincing, even if I have to pay the higher price of organic to avoid GMOs (because GMOs do not require disclosure).

It is hard to find real tomatoes nowadays. Ordinary breeding for machine harvesting ended that. Some years ago I bought a hot-house tomato and was astounded to find it actually tasted like a tomato! Needless to say that tomato never made it to the salad :-). Long live the heirlooms!

6/9\22/2012 Organic Food - Facts Matter Blog
I feel vaguely offended by your dwelling on "organic" foods as if we who favor it are idiot or lazy children because we fail to offer irrefutable proofs. Life is short and many decisions have to be made without full proof.

Mainly I use the "organic" label because my government has chosen not to require full disclosure on food products and has some odd definitions of common terms. I have not noticed any dramatic increase in prices for "organic". Really, "spend five times more on basic food" is a two-ton straw man.

7/17/2012 European Birth Rate - eMail
Yes, and in 100 years there will almost no Western Europeans left, their birth rate is about 1.1-1.5 children per family, which means their population will be halved every generation. In the US, European-Americans are birthing at about 2.0 per family, slightly below the replacement rate of 2.5.

Gloomy, but we will live well for a few generations even if Obama is reelected. Our ancestors took a great risk and worked their butts off to give us all of this. We will soon see if enough of us understand that.

9/19/12020 Trade with China Supports US Jobs - Heritage Blog
Sorry, but the report is nonsense.

Goods made in the US support the very same distribution jobs that are claimed here for imported goods. So importation does indeed reduce US jobs. Importation also eliminates US manufacturing skills, and exposure of the children of the manufacturing workers to ideas that lead to higher paying skilled jobs.

Importation is only an advantage when the other country has a clear and significant advantage in technology or local resources other than labor. Absence of necessary regulation such as for safety and environment, and inadequate commercial legal protection for US consumers are strong negatives and often negate price advantage.

11/18/2012 Newspaper Honesty - Modoc Independent Blog
Your belief in honor and justice is heartwarming, but alas newspapers to not live up to their creed, and we have not forced them to do so. Occasionally they may report an important truth contrary to their interests, but just not regularly enough to help us.

In Harry's day there were many independent newspapers. They covered the spectrum of partisanship so there was a good chance that problems would leak out. Reporters were everyday people who worked their way up. Their greed to scoop their completion served us well enough.

Now a large city is lucky to have one newspaper and it is owned by a giant conglomerate of "media" outlets. Reporters are now mostly college graduates, educated in liberal, publicly funded universities. These "journalists" represent a narrow, elite view of our society, and get into journalism not to reveal the truth but to proselytize an ideology.

The Internet has changed that for those who regularly use the Web, but the vast majority of voters only watch television and perhaps scan a tabloid. But Internet or not we still must use Harry's advice, trust no one source.

8/21/2014 Slavery - Facts Matter Blog
Jacques, Americans did not have two and a half centuries of slavery. The first century there was little or no slavery in North America. For the next 60 years the people in North America were English not American, and the vast majority did not own slaves. Most of the English in North America abhorred slavery, but were prevented from abolishing it by the English King. After the Revolution, we struggled with the slavery issue and the Constitution abolished importation of slaves in 1808. The English began abolishing slavery in 1807 by banning the trade, and soon had to board French slavers to prevent English slavers using the French flag. When the English fully abolished the slave trade about 1833(?), they began using their naval and commercial power to abolish slavery world wide. The Civil War ended up abolishing slavery in the US. Of course some slavery elsewhere persisted into the 1900's, and even up to the present day!

8/26/2014 Slavery - Facts Matter Blog
Jacques,
Apparently you believe in collective guilt, guilt by association. I do not. I believe that responsibility only applies to the actions of an individual and the things that he can realistically change. Also you apparently do not consider improvement as commendable.

My ancestors struggled to understand and then implement a new leap forward in Liberty when forced to address the backward tendency of the King and Parliament with respect to the rights of colonial Englishmen. They paid a great price in blood and treasure. None were blind that slavery must end, most abhorred slavery including those trapped in its processes. Many of the new State constitutions in 1776 abolished slavery, as some had already tried as colonies.

The victory and subsequent struggles to establish a working confederacy of the States consistent with our declared values took some time. The work of abolishing slavery had to proceed by law. It was messy, as free politics always are, and an ugly compromise was established. The Civil War interrupted these processes and the victorious North unilaterally abolished slavery. About the same time, the English were busy abolishing slavery world-wide, so the Civil War as a means to end slavery was unnecessary, as they soon would have forced the slave States (they bought all their cotton).

But apparently we are still guilty for the short existence of slavery in North America because we did not instantly abolish slavery after 10,000 years of unquestioned practice, despite having established a new standard of freedom and paid dearly in blood and treasure.

8/27/2014 Slavery - Facts Matter Blog
Jacques,
The abolition of slavery after 10,000 years of universal acceptance was not a race. You do not win by coming in first by a few years. We, the North Americans, did not create slavery, so we did not "break" anything. Some of us got addicted to the drug. We needed to correct both tyranny and slavery, and both took time. The first would have been impossible if we attempted the second at the same time. Are you arguing that moral change is valid only if accomplished instantly?

The slavery we think of today is the large-scale plantation slavery that started about 1500 when the West African coast was opened to trade and Central and South American land became available. In the preceding 1,000 years, Caucasians were the preferred slave source because they were available and easy to capture. Plantation slavery was relatively rare in earlier times but it did exist in East Africa and Western India. The "atrocities" included abuse and loss of life in the Atlantic transport and working slaves to death on the plantation. These two were mostly European innovations. They ceased in North America after 1808 when importation slaves was prohibited by the Constitution and the English began interdicting slave ships. The Deep South plantation slaves might have noticed some improvement as they were now more valuable, but hell is pretty much the same at 500 degrees as at 1000. For comparison, the Muslims took as many slaves out of West Africa, but the transport death rate was about 80% as the young girls and newly castrated eunuchs died or were abandoned in the Sahara. If plantation slavery had been more benign as in prior centuries, it probably would not have been abolished until much later. It was the atrocities that convinced the English to ban the trade and eventually the practice. It took time for people to see that plantation slavery was very different than historical slavery.

Yes, the North Americans were originally English. Just as English and with all the beliefs and customs of the Anglo-Saxons on their little island. But over time something happened. The necessity of self-governance and self-reliance an ocean away gradually changed us. We first discovered self-governance because we had to. We later discovered religious tolerance, although originally we established little theocracies. We struggled to reform our English homeland right up to the Revolution. But 10-15 years before, we began to wake up to the fact that we were now different. Read the books, pamphlets, and newspapers of those years as we struggled to redefine just governance, shaking off centuries of accepted dogma. Everyone knew that slavery had to go, but independence had to come first for practical reasons and because the King of that time forbade abolition.

Perhaps we should move on to show how we let the Federal government create racism by their abuse of the South during "Reconstruction". Or how a century of Democrat controlled Jim Crow, and blocking Civil Rights legislation held down black families, which were then destroyed by poorly designed welfare laws. But wait! I think we face the same decision now as we did at the Revolution, we need to save ourselves from the growing tyranny before we can solve the problems created by that tyranny. This is something we can do, something we can take responsibility for, this is something we must do.

10/1/2019 Mandatory Vaccinations - Talk Show eMail
Vernon,

First, one never surrenders personal rights to the group. We cooperate with others, we do not submit to others. With regard to health and vaccinations what is the basis for cooperation?

Medicine in not a Science although it may be "scientific" in the sense that it uses some scientific knowledge and technologies. Most medical practice is based on statistical analysis of partial data. It is the best we can do without using human test subjects.

For example, say a vaccine is found 80% effective with 1% serious side effects. The medical establishment and government "experts" would claim that this is sufficient to mandate its use. But have the 1% agreed to suffer? And the money is wasted on the 19% who get no benefit. Further, the 80% is really just a guess, because there is no detailed evidence about who was actually exposed and survived because of the vaccine. Many who were vaccinated still get the disease, and many unvaccinated never suffer from the disease even if exposed.

Every person is biologically and sociologically different. There is no test to check if a person is susceptible to injury by the vaccine including its "inactive" ingredients. And no review of the risk of exposure. My wife and I, and past girlfriends do not have herpes or any STD because we do not engage in recreational sex with strangers. Do we need to risk vaccination against STDs?

It is argued that group immunity justifies requiring vaccination. But why is group immunity necessary if the vaccinations actually work? I have studied some mumbo jumbo about this, but it is just statistical hand waving. As I said above, there is no scientific way to test this kind of idea.

The point is that each vaccination needs to be evaluated for personal circumstances. I have chosen to take some vaccinations and have refused most. How have I lived this long without them?

If vaccinations can be mandated by government, why not other health practices? Should it be a felony to not tell a sex partner that you have AIDS or other STD? Should it be a crime to sneeze in public? Should not washing your hands be a punishable act? Why just vaccinations?

See the schedule just for children at CDC. Scary!
https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/schedules/hcp/imz/child-adolescent.html

Second, you mentioned, public participation in "running the country". Oh wow, you don't want to hear my first reaction to that!

The Federal (and State) governments are not supposed to "run the country"! Please review the Constitution, Declaration, and the writings of the public and Founders. America is based on local government and self-control. We learned about this in our first 150 years, and it is why we revolted. You can cooperate with neighbors, but not with power psychotics in Washington or Sacramento.

The People have been fed a line of bull for at least 50 years. That's why the power elite put so much effort into teacher and law schools, and universities.

Keep thinking!

Topics to work on

Traditional values and customs contain information about successful living. They evolved under the long term pressure of survival. It is unwise to defy them.

Morality is what is good for humans (said most explicitly by the atheist Objectivists, Ayn Rand et. al.). However on examination, virtually all of the world religions contain the same recommendations for right action (morality). God was no dummy, on careful examination an atheist would have to agree with the Ten Commandments.

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