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Miscellaneous Notes

[A collection of responses to various communications]

1991/09/17: Freedom Not Democracy

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 the Europeans 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.

1991/09/18: Individual Liberty Not Democracy

The main point is his underlying assumption that the United States is a democracy. That is the propaganda part. You never hear politicians or other political players mention the main idea and great discovery of America which is individual liberty and self-government (personal and local). They all say that our goal is to "make the world safe for Democracy". Modern Democracy and egalitarianism were creations of the Socialisms in Europe not the free people of America.

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.
[Now, 20 years later, the EPA and other Federal agencies have usurped local powers!].

There have been 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 concentrating power in the smallest number of hands. This is obviously the complete antithesis of the founding American ideal.
[Now, 20 years later, there are many, unelected, regional and cross-jurisdictional, governmental bodies that are usurping the powers of local governments]

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 over time 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 and 2/3 vote for treaties.

2002/10/29: Privacy a Legitimate Value

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 aircraft preflight inspection 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 one's privacy and that of others:

  1. The last century is replete with examples of government information gathered "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 not to give a lever to move my world.

2007/07/30: Local Government - the True Meaning of Self-Government

Living in Modoc County has been a reminder of what our government was like before the usurpations and explosive growth of the Federal and State governments. Freedom requires self control and local government. Here many people are involved in local government - not only on the 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 9,500 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).

2007/09/30: District Of Columbia Statehood, No!

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!

2007/10/01: English as the Official Language of the United States

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 unwilling to learn English 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 or the like.

Lack of fluent English is 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.

2007/10/18: Industrial Job Loss Ultimately Means Failure of Innovation

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-made 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.

2007/10/23: Sovereignty, North American Union, the UN

American sovereignty and my individual rights must not be compromised under any guise. This means:

  1. No "North American Union", "Security and Prosperity Partnership", or anything of the like that merges sovereign prerogatives or grants power to higher government forms.
  2. No Law of the Sea Treaty ceding control of the seas to the UN, the power to tax Americans, a Court of Appeal, etc.
  3. No UN standing army.  The UN must continue to depend on the cooperation of sovereign, national governments.
  4. Continued monitoring of UN corruption and malfeasance, making further support contingent on reform.

Detail:

The proof is compelling and not contradicted by known facts that government entities cannot overcome the human weakness for power and corruption.  These failings are too dangerous when elevated in power and wide jurisdiction.

The United Nations (UN) 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 rather than 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.

2007/10/26: Marriage and the Family

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 male-female 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. Legal marriage is not a form of qualification for privilege and government largesse, or validation of a love relationship.

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 any 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.

There is no reason that others cannot marry privately or religiously, only that government recognized Marriage is solely for the purpose of the male-female nuclear family to support children.

2007/10/27: Growth is Not a Good Thing

"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.

2007/12/04: Aircraft Emissions

Jet transport is the least efficient and most polluting form of transportation per passenger mile. The physics is simple - you force something though the air at 500 mph, you pay big time, even at 30,000 feet.

2008/05/02: FAA User Fee Proposal, Airline Control

The aviation fuel tax, as for the road fuel taxes, is the fairest form of support for the FAA services as they are 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 truckers should control the roads. The Air Traffic Control system must serve all users fairly. Already there are many requirements and impositions 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.

2008/06/26: Florescent Light Bulb Mandate Nonsensical

Another point overlooked is that I heat my house at least slightly about 2/3 of the year, and almost always at the same times as I need lighting. Consequently, any heat loss from the incandescent bulb (which is why they are less efficient) just reduces the electrical use from my 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 florescent lights reduce air conditioning energy loads during seasons and locations where air conditioning is actually necessary (probably much less than actual use), so the use of efficient bulbs is a regional issue not national.

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

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 building design that makes use of natural light.

I agree 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).

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.

2009/04/08: Water Crisis No - Over-Population Yes

California is a desert. There will always be a shortage of water. The problem is not water but over-population. As long as illegal immigrants 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 immigrants, 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. Urban 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 local population and wildlife. The Surprise Valley and Honey Lake areas are at risk of becoming the next Mono Lake.

2009/07/12: No on Judge Sotomayor

We do not need a Supreme Court Judge that considers race more important than law. If a law has discriminatory effects, it is up to Congress to fix the laws, not up to the Supreme Court to reinterpret them. Judge Sotomayor's record shows an inability to resolve cases under law.

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.

2009/10/10: A Letter from "They"

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.

2010/08/01: No on Elana Kagan

I oppose the appointment of Elana Kagan to the Supreme Court. Her record and testimony show that she does not know or cannot follow the law, and in particular the Constitution, and believes that her personal values supersede the law. Congress cannot have a Supreme Court that re-legislates the laws they pass, or invents legal principles foreign to our legal system.

2011/01/05: 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.

Page modified: 24 Mar 2016 12:33:39 -0700

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