Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Campaign Log: Late-Evening Entry

Too late to write a full report on people I met tonight, but a few words. Knocked on doors on Darin Drive.

A teacher at the end of the street noted another year's figures have been released, and Utah is again last in pupil spending. She understandably doesn't understand why we don't send more money education's way, as surveys indicate Utahans are willing to pay more.

Ran into another teacher whose husband also teaches, and they have three children active in the military.

And, ran into a man unhappy with Obama. "I don't think he's a true American," he said, arguing the president has befriended illegal immigrants. He also spoke of legislation now in Congress that would require people to report their own weapons.

Let's Chase Real Criminals

A little more police work is in order down there on the border.

While we're down there on the Mexican border, searching out the folks coming in without documents, let's chase after the real criminals as well -- you know, the ones bringing drugs across.

Obviously, some drug-chasing works gets done. But it seems that to some extent, we are being distracted from that more urgent need by our desire to hunt out the man without paperwork.

As if they were one and the same.

How many kilos of illegal drugs flow across that border, I do not know, but I wonder but what more out-of-country drug trafficking is done on that one border than on any other entry point we have. Yet, to some extent, we are so busy chasing people without documents that we are not concentrating on what should be seen as the more obvious need, stopping the drug trafficker and stopping those involved in other high crimes.

How do I know we are not? I called the border patrol. I asked if they so much as run a background check on the people they stop. As a practice, they don't. If a person is from Mexico, they don't contact Mexican police authorities and get a Mexican background. Now, if someone already has a visa, the visa does require such a background check, I'm told, but the folks who show up at the border get no such police work done on them.

How's that? If a traffic stop were made anywhere else here in the states, and the person stopped was suspected of a crime, we would run a background check right on the spot. Normal police work. Yet, in a spot where we have one of our greatest crime concerns, we aren't even thinking to even perform one of the most elementary of police techniques?

Now, there's an oversight.

What a waste to have so many border agents, and not have them focusing on drug trafficking and other high crimes, instead having them just processing people in who do have paperwork and chasing folks home who don't.

I was told by the public relations spokesperson, common practice is simply to take them back to Mexico and dump them there. Free and easy, go on home.

We need to ask ourselves, what is the real problem? Is it people without paperwork, or people smuggling drugs? Let's not be so obsessed with chasing the small fry that we neglect the big fish.

Which will it be? War on immigration, or war on drugs? Where should we place our emphasis?

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Campaign Log: Look from a Law Clerk

Went back near my opponent, Todd Kiser's neighborhood, hitting Orangewood Lane and Berrywood Court, and came up with an improved door approach.

Instead of just saying, "I don't like special interest money," I explained why I don't like it. The people giving money once elected have issues come before the people they give the money to. Yes, that's wrong.

And, I should be a little more forceful than even that. Perhaps I'll work on that. Could say the system is a little corrupt, for surely that counts as a touch of corruption, at least.

Some people are not going to vote for me as a Democrat, no matter what. I asked one voter if there were any issues of interest to him. "No. But I'm hard-core Republican, anyway," he said, handing me back my campaign card.

Another person I ran into was a very thoughtful man working his way through law school as a law clerk in the attorney general's office. I believe he said he worked on the Ronnie Lee Gardner case. When I said 25 years was too long for a case to last, he said they'd like it to be 1-2 years, but when the punishment is as severe as the death penalty they want to offer the defendant every recourse available.

He didn't like that it takes so long, but he did see good reason for many of the things that can prolong such a case.

He also reminded me many in our courntry have been found to be innocent after they were executed -- a strong argument for time and caution.

I'm not sure how to craft a law reducing court trials, and I told him so, noting a law requiring prosecution of all domestic violence has created problems, since cases are presented that have no evidence that can be taken to court to support them. The law clerk, though, pointed out that even just having the case brought to court serves as a deterrent, making the defendant think twice about what he has done.

Invention of Week: Is This Dream Too Large Even for Today's Business World?

Just for fun, I might run what might be considered an "Invention of the Week" each week, sometimes whimsical, sometimes with what at least to me is a good idea, and sometimes offering what is already on the market.

Here's take one: Why isn't there a company that can take freight from any sizable city in the world and, using its own ships and planes and trucks and trains -- without contracting out, but rather just using entirely its own resources -- can bring that freight to you any place in the U.S.?

In this day and age, and with the world's economy so blended together, why not?

I'm talking a company that can take either small orders of freight or large, warehouse-destination deliveries, a company that has its name on planes and trains and ships and trucks -- your one-stop service for any global shipping need.

We'll allow that some companies won't allow such private enterprise. Even excluding them, could such a company exist?

Obviously, that would take a large company. What do ships cost? A friend googled that for me and came up with about a million bucks. I don't know if that price is correct, but we know it would be a lot. The cost for all the ships, and planes, and trucks and trains might be so prohibitive that such a company will never be created.

I got the thought while thinking on the announcement of a Utah firm, C.R. England, that is is going global. I don't know how far-reaching C.R. England's efforts will be. Nor do I know which firms there already with international presence, other than FedEx. But, I am rather there currently simply is not a from-anywhere-to-anywhere, any-sized-order, all-with-our-own-means, international shipping company.

Is it a dream too large for even today's mega-sized business world, or could such a company come about?

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Campaign Log: Checkout Clerk Sees All

Well, she may not see all, but the checkout clerk I ran into while campaigning in Pinnacle Southtown Apartments sees a lot.

A lot of welfare abuse.

Susan Homer sees the customer on welfare bring two carts, paying for each separately, and she suspects the person is buying one for themselves, and the other for a neighbor.

Government money going astray, going to someone not on Food Stamps.

"I'm standing there working in a low-pay job . . . and I see a lot of abuse," she says " . . . I can always tell those people, because they buy the most expensive cuts of meat, and eat cuts of meat I can't afford."

Some will come in and run their cards through to get cash, then turn around and plop down beer and cigarettes on the counter, paying for them with the cash they got off their welfare card.

"It infuriates me," Homer says.

Welfare abuse needs to stop. We need to say, "Time's up. For years and years we've seen this going on, now we've had enough and we're bringing it to an end."

Call it Tea Party Movement, or taking government back into our own hands or more of Obama's "Yes, we can" attitude. Or, say it is something not on the radar of those movements, but something that should be. Call it what you will, let's just make sure this is one of the changes we make.

Some of the welfare refore changes may need to be made at the federal level, but we can do some things at the state level. Many of the programs are administered by the state. The poor and disadvantage should be helped, but let's bring welfare fraud to a screaching halt.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Campaign Log: The Disabled Archer

This man once shot an arrow so true, it went right into the middle of a previously shot arrow.

I met him tonight, a once great archer, sportsman, now reduced to not even being able to mow the lawn.

He's on disability. The days of lifting case after case of shotgun shells while working for in the sportsman industry took their toll. And, perhaps worse, he has chronic diarrhea. There was a day he was a substitute teacher. "There were times I had to call a substitute to substitute for me. There were times I had an accident because you couldn't leave the classroom."

When all this was coming down, he applied for disability. Maybe he had a lousy lawyer, because for all his inabilities, he got turned down. So, he applied again, this time without a lawyer. The judge didn't like that, realizing he might qualify for disability and so the judge rescheduled the case to give him time to get a lawyer. He found one on T.V. "He (the lawyer) told them the exact same thing I would have told them," the once great archer said.

But, there was at least one difference. A witness was brought in who testified no one was going to hire this man if he had to use the bathroom every 15 minutes, and had to take so many days off.

What I don't like about this story? One thing, is it shouldn't take a lawyer to get disability if you deserve it.

How did I do with this man, as far as campaigning for his vote? "I think I'll probably vote for you," he called after me as I left.

That's a hopeful sign. After all, my door pitch says I believe people should be allowed to work for their benefits. I told the once great archer it shouldn't be oppressive work, but it should be something, even if no more than shuffling papers. I wish he would have responded that, yes, he wanted to work, but he didn't. Instead, he said he once took a job with the Red Cross, doing no more than calling folks and inviting them to come give blood.

It was too much. "I came home nearly in tears," he said, noting he can only sit for so long.

If it comes to it, give him a bed in the work place. Let him lay down when he needs to. He could even make calls from a bed, if that's what it takes to allow him to work.

If we are going to make them work, we've got to make it work for them.

Call this not letting them come up with excuses, or say it is being compassionate by allowing for their needs. Either way, getting a person working makes the person better and betters our economy.

Governor Steals My Thunder

The governor stole my thunder today.

"Guv calls appeals process too slow," says the headline of The Salt Lake Tribune. "Death Penalty >> Herbert wants system streamlined and executions expedited," it says underneath that headline

I've been pounding the doors since Curtis Allgier returned to the news. Allgier is, you may know, the accused murderer whose fame spread nationally largely for his tattoos head-to-foot. "It's been three years and that trial still hasn't taken place," I would say.

When Ronnie Lee Gardner's execution came up, I switched to that. "Twenty-five years later!" I would exclaim, my eyes popping. "Instead of just dismissing this as the way government is, we should demand it be changed."

I well thought this was an issue politicians didn't even check in on, but something that if changed, would make a wonderful difference in our government.

Well, so much for my being the only one with this message. Governor Gary Herbert has taken up this drum.

This is not the only thing I've liked about Herbert. He also called suggested the UTA boss might be making too much money. I've also liked some things his opponent, Peter Corroon, has offered, notably his selecting a Republican as his lieutenant governor running mate. That's a step against partisan politics, and I like that.

Two more thoughts on Herbert's comments. "Justice delayed is justice denied," he said. Good take, governnor.

Thought two: The Trib article notes Attorney General Mark Shurtleff had pushed for an amendment to the Utah Constitution that would limit appeals after convictions. Let's not let curbing appeals be a stopping point. Our whole judicial system is too slow.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Campaign Log: A Moment's Campaigning

To find a moment to campaign. That was my quest tonight. Fought through an accident-caused traffic jam to make it to the bank just before closing, turning in a check stub for a loan, then flew over to Walmart to pick up my new contacts. Came home and entered a blog on hot summer schools. Two roommates were in pain in sickness, and as I asked one if he was okay, he said, "No one cares," and I thought he probably wanted more attention. Visited a neighbor (not campaigning) for a promised discussion. Then, sailed to Lowe's twice -- the first time forgetting my wallet -- as a renter needed copies of keys.

And, at 8:40, hit my first door, campaigning tonight on Floyd Drive (just off 700 East at about 9600 South). "Okay," the man said, non-plussed by my pitch.

Better was the second door. "I'm a Democrat," the lady said. She said she didn't know who Ronnie Lee Gardner was, though, after I said it was 25 years before he was executed for his murder -- much, much too long, and we should demand a quicker judicial system.

Four doors is all I had time for, then, off to Dimple Dell to run the treadmill.

Those Hot Summer Schools

Schools with no air conditioning? True, but those schools are not open during the summer. At least not in the Jordan School District, and probably not in Canyons School District, either.

Randy Haslam, who is in charge of new construction with the Jordan District, said Joel P. Jensen, West Jordan and Oquirrh Hills middle schools do not have air conditioning.

But, since they are not open in the summer, the need is not as great. Some things happen in the summer, like rental use, such as dance recitals, but nothing major.

If money were alloted for new air conditioning, it would likely come from bond money, not state funds. So, while it does not mean the state should not allocate more money for education, the lack of air conditioning does not point directly at the lack of state funding.

(Actually, I should probably double-check that with Haslam, for while he indicated money for air conditioning would likely come from bonding, if it could even possibly come from state funds, then more state funding of schools could solve the no-air conditioning problem.)

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Campaign Log: Tonya Drive

Left Todd Kiser's home street, and worked Tonya Drive, just south of Sego Lily Drive, getting a little better response to my pitch than while in Kiser's neighborhood, but not getting into any discussions.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Campaign Log: Learning Expedition

Now, tell me that again -- Crescent View and Indian Hills middle schools have no air conditioning?

I'm shocked.

A couple on Cherry Plum Court informed me of that, whilst expressing the woes of our education system. They said more than 10,000 more students have been added, statewide, yet they come with no additional funding.

A few doors down, caught a kid who had been reading "Summer of the Monkeys." "It's an awesome book," he said. I told him I heard Crescent View doesn't have air conditioning. "That's true," he told me.

My learning expedition wasn't over, I swung around the corner and hit a door I had hit Saturday, the one who knew what the Utah Health Exchange is. He suggested health exchanges add another layer of administration, and buying insurance directly is at least 2 percent less expensive than going through the exchange.

He also knew what plagues our health system, why it is so expensive. "Where they are missing the boat is they are not addressing costs," he said. He spoke of a belt he had been offered (I guess he got it), for medical care, costing $1400. It was plastic and felt and probably worth but $25. So, the mark up was . . . 56 times that!

Also ran into the Republican precinct chair, who spared me my spill, saying he would vote for Kiser.

And, ran into a man from a family of Democrats, who indicated that as the party shifted, he changed to Republican. He felt the National Democratic Party abandoned former U.S. Representative Bill Orton, and lamented that. He, too, was a friend of Kiser.

Kiser (that would be my opponent, Todd Kiser) lives in the neighborhood.

Voted for Matheson

Voted for Jim Matheson. I went to the state convention, or accepted when asked to be a delegate to the convention, solely to vote for Matheson, who I perceived as facing a challenge because he voted against the Obama health care plan. I was among those who called his office urging him to vote against the legislation, so I felt an obligation to support him when some party voters turned against him.

Now, off to campaign. I will return and tell you how that went maybe 10:30 tonight, should you want to log back in and see if I mention how your neighborhood reacted.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Bridgewater-Lee Race

Ahh, then, who to vote for in the premier race in Tuesday's election: Tim Bridgewater -- he of the Cherilyn Eagar, Bob Bennett, Bob Lonsberry and U.S. Chamber of Commerce endorsements -- or Mike Lee -- he of the Norm Bangerter, Ron Paul and Tea Party Express endorsements?

Of course, lest I forget, I am a Democrat and will be voting in the Democratic Party Primary, not the Republican.

But this Bridgewater-Lee race is so inviting, to study and follow.

That KSL debate on Doug Wright's show . . . interesting what it revealed. At the end, they discussed Lee's ads portraying Bridgewater as benefiting from earmark and Obama stimulus money and sending federal money overseas.

You'll remember how the Bridewater ads responded. "I can't believe Mike Lee is attacking Tim Bridgewater for being a businessman." says a lady. (I may miss the exact wording, but that is close, if not exact.)

Well, then we got a little sorting out on Doug Wright's show. Bridgewater earns most of his money working for Rasor Technologies, and Rasor Technologies took $33 million in stimulus money, and $5 million in earmark money and $1 million to study a power plant in Indonesia. That per Lee.

My thought here is, is it fair to blame Bridgewater for that? He may be on the board of advisors, but was he involved in the decision to take the money? Just because you work for a company doesn't mean you agree with everything they do.

Bridgewater said Rasor sent a letter to the Lee campaign, saying he did not participate in or receive earmark or stimulus money. What does "participate in" mean? Does that mean he isn't an administrator of the company and therefore didn't participate in administering it? Or does it mean he wasn't involved in the decision to take the money? I wish the letter was more specific. What does the letter mean when it says he didn't receive any of the money? Does it mean none was sent specifically to him, but rather it went to Rasor? Or does it mean his income was not affected by the stimulus money, it didn't result in him getting any greater income?

Then, in the debate, Bridgewater counters with an attack of his own: The company Lee represents, EnergySolutions, received $7 million in stimulus money. Lee responds (I forget if this part is off or on the air, as I listened to the video on the KSL website and it offered off-air, after-the-debate discussion between the two) that that is different, because the money EnergySolutions took was for a service performed.

My thought on that is, where do you draw the line? You might view what your company did as a service, and suggest the money Rasor got was nothing but a handout, but Rasor did something, surely, in exchange for the money.

Well, the Bridgewater-Lee race has been more than the stimulus-money disagreement, but that has highlighted it. The Bridgewater endorsement from Cherilyn Eagar, who was in the race until eliminated in convention, drew some attention, as Bridgewater's campaign, though perhaps not Bridgewater himself, offered her an unpaid position in the campaign and help in paying campaign debts. A bribe? Some have suggested that. Brigewater could have put that claim to rest by telling her, No, regardless what the campaign worker said, you will not have help covering your campaign costs. That would be the right thing to do if you didn't really make the offer and did not, in fact, want to be part of it.

Then, there was the Lonsberry thing. Lonsberry was fired from being a talk show host by KNRS, and Bridgewater responded by dropping his ads on that radio station. Ratings were blamed for Lonsberry's firing, but it didn't go unnoticed that Lonsberry had not spoken well of EnergySolutions, and EnergySolutions is a big advertiser on KNRS.

Give Free Enterprise a Chance

So then, you ask, having read the "Campaign Log: Blossom Tree Lane" post, just how is it the free market is being constrained in our health-care system?

After all, I observed we as a nation have looked at our health-care system, concluded it is broken -- which, surely, it is -- and said, "This free-enterprise system isn't working, better that we turn it over to the government," when the fact of the matter is the current medical system is broken because so many constraints have been placed on the free-enterprise system that it has ceased to be, to some extent, a free-enterprise system.

So, I shall count the ways, or some of them.

1. Often, when it comes time to select insurance and an health-care provider, we have a choice of one, as only one is made available by our employer. Since when does a choice of one have anything to do with the free-market system?

2. Doctors' independence is limited. There was a day when a man could hang out his sign without having to be affiliated with health-care providers or insurance companies. Nowadays, many work for the HMOs and none are not associated with insurance companies. When you seek out a doctor, you select from just those who offer your insurance.

3. Medical school takes so long and costs so much it winnows down the number of people who become doctors. The law of supply and demand tells us if there were more doctors, prices might drop.

4. Licensing and regulation create a maze most of us wouldn't know where to begin to step through, so we don't even try. Why, though, shouldn't it be easier for a person to start a pharmaceutical company? The number of people who try is obviously greatly reduced by the maze of regulations.

5. Patents might be too protective. One company cannot produce the same product without making significant changes or until the patent expires. These laws have value, but we do need to consider if they are overly restrictive, and how much prices might drop if we loosened our patent laws.

There be five. There may be more. Can you think of any others?

John, You're Not Alone

Thought to reach someone living in the 41st District for their thoughts on the Bridgewater-Lee race. Didn't find anyone, but in the process I was referred to a person who lives out of the district, as being authorative enough that I ought to talk to him since he is a campaign worker for one of those two candidates.

Ahh, but it is not his insights on the Bridgewater-Lee race that I wish to share.

Phil Conder has ran for the Utah Legislature, himself, and confided he has given great thought to the fact special interest money is so much a part of our election process. It bothers him, too.

As long as we have part-time legislators, we are going to have elected officials who are affiliated with special interests (their businesses), Conder suggested. They will bring their biases, but they will also bring expertise from those associations. Phil indicated full disclosure is the best answer he knows of.

I like all that Phil says, but I would like to think we will not stop at disclosure. Disclosure makes the crime -- if I can call it that -- transparent, but it does not remove it.

Campaign Log: Blossom Tree Lane

Ran into a man who said he could not vote for me because I am a Democrat, and he has never voted for anyone who is not a Republican. He was kind though, calling after me as I left, saying, "You're a good American."

A door or two down, a man said, "All you have to do is have an R after your name in Sandy and you're going to be elected."

Alas is me.

Two or three voters spoke of health care, with one being so knowledgeable as to know about the Utah Health Exchange. As a nation, as we look at the current system, seeing it is working, we have moved toward a government system, supposing the free-market system is failing us. I suggest, though, that the reason the current system is broken is because we are doing things that restrict the free-enterprise elements. Remove those constraints, and then see if the free-enterprise system does not work. One of them is that when you pick insurance, you are limited to the insurers provided through your work place -- and that is usually just one. What kind of free-market system is that?

Campaign Log: No Winds of Change

The winds of change have not blown with me the last two days, not a single voter expressing forceful agreement with the idea special interest money should be removed from politics. What do I consider special interest money? Money from anyone whose concerns do or could come before the body to which the candidate is being elected.

Why would we not be outraged that those whose money is putting people in office stand to benefit when the person they financed into office votes on various matters? I've said this is a cause worth signing onto, and, yes, I think it is.

I will blog more later tonight on where I went and how the door knocking went, but I am going to try to round up something on the Bridgewater-Lee race, to blog on that also.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Campaign Log: Fix That S.S. Card!

Thanks, voter on Apple Tree Drive, I now know one more thing we ought to change, that I doubt anyone will disagree with, and yet we never seem to even consider doing it.

We need to make our social security cards harder to duplicate. The voter I spoke with said he had worked for a company that hired a lot of illegal immigrants. Often, when they presented their social security cards and were told they not valid, they returned the next day with a new card, that easy.

So, why don't we make a more complicated social security card? I don't know whether states would be allowed to make their own cards (I've never heard of that), but it would be worth looking into.

My Apple Tree Drive voter suggested there were too many criminals among the immigrants who worked at the company. What can we do to keep criminals out? How about running background checks on them? Do we already do that? I will learn.

Apple Tree Drive is 10915 South, and it is just west of 700 West.

Ships of "Peace," Winds of War

And more ships will sail, towards Gaza.

Even as one columnist today warned "Israel is endangered today as it has never been before," more ships prepared to move across the waters, intent on imitating, replaying the success of the Mavi Marmara.

Has ever world opinion so sided with the militant Islamic extreme? Has any event turned the tide of public opinion their way, such as this?

Nine died onboard the Mavi Marmara. The nine and other passengers attacked the Israeli commandos who boarded the ship to stop it from breaking a blockade meant to cut off weapon supplies from entering the Gaza Strip.

The hitch? The Mavi Marmara and the six other ships in the flotilla sailed under the guise of being a humanitarian effort, intent on breaking the blockade to deliver needed effects to the people of Gaza.

Nations of the world scathed Israel for attacking a humanitarian ship, for leaving nine passengers dead.

Israel maintains no humanitarian supplies were aboard the Mavi Marmara. It maintains the ship's passengers included those willing to commit suicide for the cause of Allah. It released a video today in which the ships leaders, rallying the shipmates in the days before the battle, were told, "We follow in the footsteps of martyrs, the just and the righteous."

And the leaders told the shipmates Israel would be humiliated before the world. Did they mean they would repel an Israeli invasion of the Mavi Marmara? Or did they mean humiliation would come for attacking a humanitarian ship?

That has happened . . . and could well happen again. As I write, more ships sail toward Gaza. The Iranian Red Cresecent has a fleet upon the waters. The Iranian news agency has said its passengers "are willing to become martyred." Lebanon is sending a fleet. And, a Turkish fleet is being sent, it to be directed by the same group of terrorist-affiliated "humanitarians" as the Mavi Marmara was.

Caroline Glick, the Jerusalem Post columnist who today said Israel is endangered today as never before, speaks of the public relations victory the Islamics are winning, simply by presenting their ships as humanitarian ships, and finding a few passengers willing to provoke an attack to bring down public condemnation upon Israel.

This time, Glick says, use non-lethal weapons -- tear gas, water canons and rubber bullets.

But, provoking an Israeli attack remains the Islamic world's hope. And, the threat of a major regional war, much of the Islamic world combining against Israel, increasingly looms. It looms larger as a result of the Mavi Marmara, and it will grow even more likely with the flotillas yet to come.

"If the (Zionist) entity dares to direct any aggresive attack (against Iranian ships), then it is certain that (Israel) will be met by a much sronger, and firm blow," said the press service in Bahrain.

Syria's president this week also warned of war.

The ships headed for Gaza are coming under a peaceful pretense, humanitarian aid, but they are carried by the winds of war.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Campaign Log

Hit Clintwood Drive and Nate Lane, and 445 West off 11400 South. Many seemed to accept my pitch. "Remember me come November," I asked one couple, and they said they would. That was typical of the doors, so I can hope they were accepting my campaign.

House That Whit Build

The invitation into the Pac-10, or what is now the Pac-12, is the House that Kyle Whittingham built. Not to discount Urban Meyer's leading an undefeated team in 2004, nor the lingering benefit of the Rick Majerus years, nor is ito say a great academic program wasn't helpful.

But, the 2008 University of Utah football team's undefeated season and crushing defeat of Alabama came just before the Pac-10 folks were looking for an additional member. It is this, more than anything, that squeezed Utah through the door and into the Pac-10.

A Blog Worth Checking In On . . .

I'm out knocking your door. Later tonight, a blog on what you whose doors I hit had to say.

Also, I'll bet I can drop in comments on the news, and news items themselves, to hold your interest. So, check in every day or so.

. . . And a Cause Worth Joining

Election after election we elect politician after politician whose pockets are lined with special interest money.

We say special interest money is wrong, yet we never do anything about it.

This time, with this election, bring it to a stop.

I probably will not raise even a hundredth what my opponent does. Does money have to decide every election? I'm hoping you will say, "NO, not this time." If ever you've joined a cause, here's one worth joining. You've gone all your voting life without a viable major party candidate for state office offering you a cause like this.

If the Tea Party movement is good, this can be just as good.

This time, elect someone who will accept no special interest money. This time, elect someone who is not accepting political contributions, period. You don't like it when your elected leaders' votes are bought, now you have a chance to say your vote will not be bought either. -- John Jackson, candidate for Utah House of Representatives, District 41

Economy the Thing

Okay, so I am not as savvy as Joseph who was sold into Egypt, nor as wise as great economic minds of this day -- John Maynard Keynes, Milton Friedman, Alan Greenspan or whoever you might choose. Nor are all the ideas I have original. Some, like keeping dollars in state, are ideas the average person talks about all the time. (So, I suppose, these things might be called "common-man economics.")

And, I am sure I can be accused of not even having the strength of my convictions, for even though I can see the benefit of buying in-state products, I am not against buying goods from Indonesia and from China and from Mexico, as I do not mind at all benefiting the people in those countries.

Nor do all of these ideas require legislation. I don't think I'll lose your vote for that, though, as most of you do not like the idea of government legislation being viewed as the answer to every problem.

Still, all this being true, skim through the ideas below. They are good, solid economic ideas. I'm hoping you'll shake your head (up and down, in agreement, that is) when you see some of them, and agree these are things just not being done, but that should be done, and that, if they are done, will assuredly improve our economy.

Please click where it says "Older Posts" to read most of these ideas.

Incubate to Cut through Regulations

If I lived in Paraguay, I might wake up in the morning wanting to start a taxi company and have no more to do than grab a can of spray paint to write "Taxi" on my car, then, go right out and start picking up passengers.

Not so, here. In our regulated society, we must obtain licenses and insurance and bank loans before we can open our doors. It should be no secret to us that millions of people are not going into business simply because we make it too hard for them to do so.

Let's change that.

Let's incubate the would-be businessmen. Let's make it so they can operate off our licenses and off our insurances and with equipment they rent from us until they are up and running and know the processes and how to get all the licensing. They can only stay in our incubation centers for a while, then must move on to make room for the next person.

Bring Economy Home

Those angry with illegal immigrants sending much of what they earn back to Mexico have a point: If we keep the money in state, it will benefit Utah's economy.

But the meager wages lost to Mexican nationals are but a drip compared to the corporate dollars going out of state. How much do we lose because so many of our businesses are from out of state? We hardly want to kick these companies out, but we can encourage much of our new business to be from in state.

Let's bring our economy home. Encouraging home-grown businesses will strengthen our economy.

Let's Produce Our Own

Why is it we suppose we cannot produce more of our own goods? Our clothes, our cars, and our food largely come from out of state.

We discard the idea of manufacturing clothing here because we suppose we cannot compete with cheap foreign labor. The corporate earning may not be as great, but a profit can still be turned. So, why not encourage more home-grown clothing manufacturing?

Cars? We don't even consider having our own automobile manufacturer because that is just too much of an undertaking. But just why is it that people in Detroit and Japan have enough resources but we don't here in Utah? We just need to decide we can do it. Never has the statement, Whether you think you can or think you can't, you're right, been truer.

No, I am not at all calling for state-run businesses. Rather, we should simply encourage the wealthy of our state to open these businesses. Let's ask, prod and suggest until they step forth and do it.

Maintain Educated Workforce

While I was knocking doors last week, a lady asked what I would do to support higher education. I noted that while Utah may be at the bottom in per pupil spending, it is at the top in having an educated workforce.

As I drove home, I thought how higher education plays into a strong economy. Many of the best-paying jobs require college degrees. Obviously, if we want to attract those industries, we must maintain a great college system.

I'm open to ideas on this one. Do we simply say we have a model higher education system, or are there things we should be doing to strengthen it?

Seek Out High-Paying Industries

Oft-times, the job you take is the job that's out there. If there's a job for $20 an hour, you take it. If there is nothing but a $10 job, then you take that.

So, obviously you want your economy to have as many of the higher-paying jobs as possible. We should seek good-paying industries for both the skilled and non-skill sectors of our economy.

I don't know if a study exists of which large employers of unskilled labor offer the best pay. But that would be a starting point in determining which industries we want to seek out.

Put Job at Every Pocket of Unemployment

At every pocket of unemployment -- WIC, unemployment insurance, Pioneer Park, etc. -- let's provide a company to serve it. Let's create jobs for those people, even if it is no more than selling flowers on the street corner. Let's make sure everyone has the opportunity to work. Let's take the jobs to the unemployed.

What You Practice is What You Get

Nothing tears down an economy more than fostering a spirit of not wanting to work. What we practice is what we become. If someone sits watching TV while getting $7 an hour, it becomes a habit.

Since receiving something for nothing can become a habit, let's root it out of our society wherever we can.

Instead of training our unemployed to not work, let's give them work -- thus training them to be productive.

Having a workforce willing to work is key to a vibrant economy. This can and will bolster our economy.

Work for Welfare; End Dole

Enough is enough. How many years has it been since you first heard complaining -- or complained yourself -- about how people should work for their living, that there should be no free handouts, that there is too much government dole?

Whenever we have a federal or state program where work can be attached, let's do so. And, even with programs where work cannot be required, let's at least make it available. Many of those on benefits want to work. Let's let them.

System Dissuades Those It Would Benefit

How wise would we be if we created a system to help our unemployed that actually, in some cases, made it harder for them to find jobs.

Don't swing your head around too quickly, but, yes, that's exactly what we've done.

Employers' premiums rise and fall based on the claims for both Workers Compensation and Unemployment Insurance. Employers often respond with a hesitancy against hiring those they think might be inclined to file. Thus, we've a system in place that discourages employers from hiring many of the unemployed.

Not good, not wise.

Let's have the workers pay their own premiums.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Campaign Log: Sunrise Station

Under solemn skies (but the rain didn't come), I made my way into Sunrise Station off to the South of Walmart. When I told one person that one way to stop special interest would be for candidates like me to not take the money and for voters like him to vote for us anyway, he said, "I look forward to it."

Another said, "Yeah. Definitely."

At the end of the street, I ran into a firefighter who indicated a dismantling by the legislature of state retirement benefits is chasing good state workers elsewhere. He is not the first person I have ran into while campaigning who is concerned.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Change the System

Let's change things we've talked about all our lives, things we've said are wrong, yet we've never changed.

We've always ended our conversations about them by saying, "That's government" and left it at that.

Things like government dole. We've said people should work for what they get, yet year after year, something for nothing remains. Many on government aid would love to work. Let's let them.

Things like how long trials take. We don't need to let them take so long. We can require cases to be prosecuted in a timely fashion.

And, as much as anything, things like candidates receiving money from special interests. Oft-times, I'm sure, the money is dumped into their campaigns without them even being asked.

In the words of an unpopular (around these parts) president, "Yes, we can."

We can change the system. And we should.

Allgier's Trial Yet Waiting After 3 Years

Last week, Curtis Allgier was in the news, again. It has been three years this month since the murder of the peace officer and the trial has yet to take place. Last week, Allgier's lawyers spoke of covering his tatoos so he would not be discriminated against. They suggested makeup might be the only alternative. Couldn't makeup be bought and put on his face all within the same day? No need to postpone the trial for that.

Hamas Abuses Own People Some More

Shame of the government that abuses its own people. Hamas, the terroristic organization that gained control of the Gaza Strip in 2007, is that government.

Today, Hamas added to its list of offenses. Since when does a government blockade its own people?

Yesterday, Israel announced it will allow previously banned food items into Gaza (snacks, juices, spices, shaving cream). Today, Hamas said, No, these new food items won't be allowed until the blockade, itself, is removed, according to the Jerusalem Post.

Catch that: Hamas is using the welfare of its own people as leverage, as a bargaining chip to break the blockade. It is saying, No, you cannot help our people unless you first break the blockade.

The easing of the blockade, which Israel maintains to cut the Hamas off from weapons and materials to make weapons, is not a new thing. The blockade started in 2007 and in January 2008, Israel announced a easing of the blockade to allow in items to keep a power plant operating.

At that time, the Hamas said they were shutting down the power plant as it needed more energy supplies. Israel at first responded that it was providing enough energy supplies for the power plant and that the shortage was being concocted by the Hamas. Then, Israel said, in essence, Okay, here are more supplies. Restart the power plant.

A BBC story at the time had BBC's correspondent saying the underlying problem was the exclusion of the Gaza residents from peace process as they were under Hamas rule.

Which would be to say, Hamas was not representing them, and they were being left without a government to plead for their interest.

The announcement today of Hamas rejecting an ease of the blockade speaks the same.

And, there is more to this history of shorting its own people. In February 2009, Hamas intercepted an incoming supply of food and blankets and confiscated them, taking the supplies for themselves in government, instead of allowing them through to the Gaza residents.

Clearly, governing the Gaza Strip is a side job for Hamas. Their profession is waging war with Israel. Should they pick up the Gaza Strip along the way, that is fine. It will be useful in the war against Israel.

That appears to be the Hamas attitude.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Senators, Representatives Back Israel

The Mavi Marmara battle may have soured public opinion in various parts of the world, but apparently not in the U.S. Congress.

More than 60 members of the U.S. House and Senate have issued statement on the Mavi Marmara incident -- and almost all favor Israel, according to the Jerusalem Times.

"Israel has every right in the world to make certain that weapons are not being smuggled in after the thousands of rockets that have been fired on it from Gaza," said John Kerry, D-MA.

Israel has "a clear right under international law to protect its citizens and therefore has a clear right under international law to prevent weapons from getting in the hands of terrorists determined to target them," said Harry Reid, D-NV.

"We should be clear about who is responsible for the unfortunate loss of life in the attempt to break the blockade in Gaza," said Joe Lieberman, I-CT. "Hamas and its allies are the responsible parties."

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Gaza called 'Giant Prison'

The idea Gaza Strip is a giant open-air, Israeli-operated prison for 1.5 million Palestinians is being trumpeted again.

This time from the Turkish prime minister. Saturday, I quoted a web post calling it one of the world's biggest prisons.

Saying he can "no longer remain silent on Gaza becoming a giant prison," Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan also said, "Israel must pay the price for what happened."

Nine lives were lost when passengers resisted the Israelis boarding a ship breaking a blockade a week ago Monday. The Israelis sought to ensure no arms were being smuggled into Gaza.

Gaza has been blockaded by Israel and Egypt ever since Hamas took control of the Gaza Strip in 2007. Israel is using the blockade to cut off arms entering the Strip, as the Hamas have lobbed missiles at Israel.

Although nations almost always, when possible, blockade nations they war with, Israel's blockade is being touted as imprisonment of the residents -- and the image is gaining greater acceptance in wake of the battle on deck the Mavi Marmara.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Flotilla Rally Unveiled Intentions

Short days before the attack on the Mavi Marmara, as it and the other ships were being launched, a celebratory rally was held sending off flotilla leader and IHH president Bulent Yildinim.

Death to Jews, the crowd yelled.

If it seems strange that a movement with intentions as white as the driven snow -- just wanting to get aid to people in the Gaza Strip -- would yell death to anyone, look further.

IHH is the Turkish organization Foundation for Human Rights and Freedoms and Humanitarian Relief, which Israel maintains has ties to Islamic terrorists. Although the IHH is not on the list of organizations the U.S. officially recognizes as terrorists, it might be hard to deny Israel's fear. Who was the speaker at a Hamas rally just more than a year before the Mavi Marmara? Bulent Yildinim. "All Muslims of the World Will March to Gaza," reads an Internet headline telling of Yildirim's speech.

Israel maintains the objective of the flotilla's chief organizers is not to get aid through, but to provoke Israel into an attack and bring international scrutiny.

If that has been the objective, mission accomplished.

And, more such efforts may be coming. Just days later on the heels of the Free Gaza flotilla, the Rachel Corrie came. Yildirim says there will be more. "If we have to, with help from everyone, we will organize bigger flotillas, bigger road convoys from Egypt, and these will arrive at the same time from both sea and land."

Now international opinion is swinging to Yildirim's corner, favoring allowing the shipments in without being checked by the Israelis, unbriddled entry into the Gaza Strip may wipe away the blockade, leaving the flow of weapons as well as the flow of food into the Strip.

Here's a quote found in the online Jerusalem Post. That a flotilla participant -- not a political pundit, news commentator, or Israeli spokesperson -- would say the flotilla was not about delivering humanitarian supplies seems a little much.

"The mission is not about delivering humanitarian supplies. It's about breaking Israel's siege on 1.5 million Palestinians."

In fairness, it should be noted the quote says the effort is to free the Palestinians, so perhaps it is saying no more than that the effort isn't just about one shipment, but rather about making all shipments possible.

One thinks about the name of the flotilla effort, Free Gaza, and wonders how that fits with an effort to supply humanitarian aid. We remember Haiti, where the name of one organization was Helping Hands for Haiti. Would a relief organization have been called Free Haiti? That would have been odd. But, in light that the effort in Gaza is to break the blockade, not just with one shipment, but by allowing all shipments in, perhaps we can see why it would be called Free Gaza.

Embarrassment off Port of Ashdod

No event in Israel history, some are saying, has been as great of a PR embarrassment as last Monday's attack on the Mavi Marmara and five other ships carrying humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip.

And now, this morning, comes word another aid ship, the Rachel Corrie, has been captured.

But, though the story continues to unfold, it is backwards in time we should go to understanding Israel's actions. Those who have a grasp of what has happened will have much less a problem with what Israel has done.

An inquiry has been called for. An inquiry is in order. But, before you too swiftly condemn the Israelis, consider what is known so far.

June, 2007: The Hamas, acclaimed terrorists, wrestle control of the Gaza Strip from Fatah and the Palestinian National Authority. Israel and Egypt then slapped a blockade on trade to and from the Gaza Strip, Israel being wary of what weapons the terrorists might slip in. The problem is, the blockade limited food and other everyday supplies to residents, as well as to the Hamas terrorists.

The breadth of news reports now reaching us leaves many believing no food nor medical supplies are making it into Israel. This is simply not true. Supplies are being restricted, but Israel is allowing food and medicine through.

In fact, it is Hamas -- the very ruler of the government in Gaza -- that has on occasion actually raided the incoming humanitarian supplies, robbing its own people of the aid they were to receive.

At any rate -- however much aid is getting through -- a relief agency, Free Gaza, announced it would break the blockade and get food through to the other side.

Although many who boarded the ships were undoubtedly straight-and-true humanitarian workers, there is much reason to believe a terrorist-related organization was behind the flotilla. It was also announced that the purpose was to break the blockade. If you know the enemy is going to try to pull you into an attack, but also know you do have to go ahead and enforce your blockade, you are going to try to be as soft about it as possible. That background is key to understanding why the Israelis thought to use weapons no more dangerous than paintball guns, as they knew they might be being set up to be shamed for attacking an aid ship.

And, knowing the Free Gaza effort was seeking a public relations victory, one can also understand why those among them who possibly were terrorists would not bring semiautomatic or other actual weapons, but rather use makeshift weapons such as pipes. It also explains why they might not actually try to smuggle in weapons.

At any rate, as Free Gaza repeatedly announced its aid ships were coming, Israel repeatedly replied it would be glad to deliver the supplies through the blockade for the aid workers, so there was just no need to defy the blockade.

So, the supplies came.

On that dark day, Israel helicopters appeared above the flotilla. They had word that up to 100 Hamas boats would be sent out to escourt the flotilla in, so this would explain why the Israelis made their attack in international waters, before the flotilla was close enough to receive Humas support.

Bullets -- if just warning shots -- were fired before commandos slid down ropes from helicopters to the ships to ensure weapons were not being smuggled. Israeli personnel involved in the attack have said they initially used no more dangerous firepower than paintball guns, hoping that would be enough to scare the relief workers.

"You are approaching an area which is under a naval blockade," Israel announced to the ships.

"Shut up. Go back to Auschwitz," came the reply. "We have permission from the Gaza Port Authority to enter."

And, this rejoinder from a flotilla member: "We're helping Arabs go against the U.S. Don't forget 9/11, guys."

Of all the ships in the flotilla, the Mavi Marmara has had its story told the most, for it is the ship where fighting broke out. Israeli sources say a helicopter lowered a boarding rope, only to have rioters below grab it and tie it to an antennae in hopes of pulling the copter down.

Then, as commandos slid down the rope or ropes, the rioters took to beating them as they hit the deck, using metal pipes, and perhaps bats and clubs. A video of the rioters beating the soldiers shows them using pipes.

Eventually, the soldiers received permission to fire real guns, and that evidently is how the nine, ten or more passengers were killed.

Those opposed to what Israel did might ask why it is that the passengers didn't kill any of the boarding commandos. Hasn't it been said they had knives?

On the flip side, the soldiers could have aimed to maim instead of to kill.

After the first commandos were beaten, an officer came down the rope, landing to see one of the shipmates having taken a gun from a commando and he was pointing the gun at one of the Israelis. That officer led the charge, fearing for his own life and the life of his fellow commandos, and he reportedly personally killed six of the shipmates.

A Turkish captain aboard one of the ships later said the rioters threw real weapons overboard after the commandos had gained control.

Ship in international waters? Workers killed while trying to bring in humanitarian aid? The incident has brought worldwide outrage down upon Israel, and even many within the Israel are angry. One massive crowd of protesters in Israel shouted, "Danger, danger, government of war!"

Gaza Called One of World's Biggest Prisons

I found this on the Internet, an article titled, "My Palestine/Israel Diary, May 28." It was written by a tourist named Heber Brown III and posted on the web May 31 -- the very day the Mavi Marmara was attacked. Reading it offers an understanding of why many feel Israel so dark and wrong in the way they are treating those in Gaza. It overlooks the obvious, though, that in conditions of war, blockades are the norm, and you never allow the enemy to receive weapons and supplies if you can stop them.

Heber Brown's web post:

"What if a military force came to your neighborhood built walls all around your block and refused to allow you to go and come as you please. How would you feel about that? What if they decided to attack your walled-in neighborhood from the sky and sent troops in to kill people too. How would you feel?

"Those are two of the questions that I had to wrestle with while standing at the walls of one of the world’s biggest prisons. It’s called the Gaza Strip and has 1.5 million Palestinians as its prisoners. In the name of security, the Israeli Government decides who comes and who goes. It decides what is allowed in and what is not.

"This is not something that I just heard about – I’ve seen the Gaza Strip with my own eyes. It was almost unbelievable to think that this could be happening in our world today. We claim to be so progressive as a global community. When certain natural tragedies strike, there is often quick and worldwide response. But this day, I stood at the walls of an unnatural tragedy – a government sponsored, world 'leader' endorsed tragedy. 1.5 million Palestines in the largest open air prison on earth!

". . . To collectively punish and imprison human beings – HUMAN BEINGS! – behind 'security' walls and restrict the flow of food, fuel, medicine, etc. is a crime. History will look back in shame at a world community that allowed this to happen."

Bring Economy Home

Those angry that illegal immigrants sometimes send much of what they earn back to Mexico have a point: If we keep the money in state, it will benefit Utah's economy.

The piddly wages made by many Mexican nationals are but a drip, though, compared to the corporate dollars going out of state. How much is lost because so many of our businesses are from out of state? All the corporate earnings in so many of our companies are being lost entirely because the owners are from out of state.

Let's bring our economy home. Encouraging home-grown businesses will strengthen our economy.