Saturday, April 30, 2011

Let's Not be Satisfied with Paperwork Police

How about we create a police agency that goes after crime at our southern border?

Yes, I know we have the border patrol, various agents running around enforcing immigration. But, no, we do not have an agency properly empowered to fight the crime pouring into our nation from abroad.

Not at all.

Let's revamp the border patrol, giving officers authority to do a little more than to simply seek out those without paperwork.

Let's give them authority to not just chase immigrants, but criminals. Now, to do this, we are going to need an agreement with Mexico, for we will want to send our officers right down into Mexico. If you are going to fight crime, you have to be able to apprehend the criminal -- and Mexico is where they are at. We currently haven't a system, and haven't a police force capable of doing much of that. The drugs are being raised south of the border. The drug lords presiding over the operations are south of the border. The whole process is being directed from south of the border.

And, we are stuck on the other side, chasing people without paperwork.

However do you expect to fight them, to arrest them, to bring them to justice if you don't go down and get them?

We have agents empowered to do little more than to stop people trying to enter the U.S. without proper paperwork. That is not a whole lot of heavy-hitting crime you are giving them authority to go after. Create a paperwork police and expect it to deal with a major crime problem . . . and don't be surprised if you come up a little short.

How about passing a new set of laws? One could say if a person (even if living in another country) recruits another person to take drugs across the border, that is a crime. Another would say if a person living in another country directs drugs into the U.S., that is a crime. Another would say if a drug is raised in a foreign country with the possibility of being brought into the U.S., that is a crime.

These laws will need agreements with other countries, giving us permission to go in after criminals on their soil. That's fine. Let's get those agreements. Let's get that permission.

And, let's create a real crime-fighting solution at the border. Let's not be satisfied with just going after people who don't have their paperwork.

Lower Gas Prices as Easy as ABC

Lowering gas prices should be as easy as ABC (A Buyers Cooperative). We simply band together and throw our collective business to the station offering the lowest bid.

Buyers' power.

If a large enough chunk of us toss in, our buying power will garner lower prices. There's only one problem: Here in Utah, there's a law that station prices can't be separated by much. I suppose the idea behind such legislation was that keeping prices together keeps the large distributors from running the small ones out of town.

Of course, protecting maw-and-paw businesses is a good thing . . . 'cept I can't think of many maw-and-paw gas stations out there, anyway. So, I don't think this law is worth keeping around. All it seems to be doing is giving stations reason to keep their prices in line with each other.

We need competion, not collusion. If collusion is bad, why a law practically mandating it? If there were collusion, how would we ever find it? If accused, they would simply say they were following the law. Laws against collusion are good, but, laws that encourage collusion? I think we're better off without them.

Now, back to the idea of a buyers' cooperative. It borrows from a trick of Walmart's. Walmart is large enough -- has enough buying power -- it can demand lower prices from food distributors. I've heard the chain doesn't always simply take whatever price a food distributor sets, but, rather, sometimes suggests a lower price. And, if it doesn't get it, it refuses to sell the product.

Let's learn from Walmart. Let's use the power of Walmart at the gas pump. Admittedly, until the government-mandated collusion is changed, we might not be able to drive prices down as much as we'd like, but we can drive them down some.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Crime Demands Its Own Set of Answers

Listen to the chant and clamor for securing our borders (well, "border," singular, as it is mostly the one to the south we worry so about). I would say, though, that for all the hue and cry, little more is being done than slapping immigration answers on a crime problem.

Crime deserves it's own answers.

Secure the border, but secure it against crime, not immigration.

Sometimes, the obvious goes unnoticed. Maybe that is what we are doing at our southern border. Maybe -- even though it should be plain and clear how we fight crime -- we do need to take a look at how we do it here on our own soil and ask if that is what we are doing at the border and on the other side of the border.

Good crime fighting requires creation of laws addressing the crimes being committed. If someone is using "human pack mules," make a law specifically against that. Good crime fighting requires you be given the tools to go after the crime. If there is not an adequate fingerprinting system in Mexico, or an NCIC-type of keeping of criminal records, then forge an agreement with the Mexican government to get those tools in place. And, good crime fighting requires a police agency -- something we certainly don't have right down in Mexico.

So, if we are to fight crime at our southern border, let's do these things. First, let's create laws for the specific problems. A law stating that a person -- whether in the U.S. or abroad -- cannot recruit another person to bring drugs into the U.S. would be a good first step. Such a law should empower the immigrant to turn around and finger the drug lord when the drug lord forces him to smuggle drugs.

And, how about a law specifying that raising drugs in foreign lands that end up being distributed in the U.S. is a crime? And, how about a law specifying that those in foreign lands who direct, coordinate and supervise the flow of drugs into the U.S. are guilty of U.S. felony?  That is not just saying directing drug trafficking is illegal, it is specifying that doing it from outside the U.S. is a crime, thus giving us specific authority to go outside the U.S. to get them. 

In addition to getting laws in place, forge international agreements allowing us to send our officers, our investigators, our police into other nations to find and extradite the criminals for prosecution in the U.S.?

We are failing in the drug war from Mexico. We will continue to fail if we see it as no more than an immigration issue. Crime is its own problem. You cannot slap immigration answers on crime problems and expect to have adequately addressed the problem.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Adventures in the World of Dreams and Seems

From the World of Dreams and Seems (as in, seems we could do this, if we really wanted to):

What if Utah was so ambitious about technological advancements that it made it a matter of competition?

If Detroit made an automobile, Utah would turn around and make its own. If someone in Illinois discovered a new particle, then Utah would say, Well if it takes an energy collider to make such discoveries, then let's get one, so we will be in position to make such advancements.

Prompting me, as I'm a typin' this, to do this wondering, is this article,

Tevatron Experiment Could Send Particle Physicists Back to the Drawing Board, which does, indeed, talk about an energy collider and the discovery (if it should be confirmed) of a new and offbeat particle. Now, toward the bottom of the article, it says the Tevatron energy collider is soon to be retired, a new and even better energy collider now being in existence. Does that means the nation can only afford one energy collider? Or does it means anything Tevatron can do, the new, improved energy collider can do even better, so why have two? I don't know.

But, whilst reading the Internet piece, I found myself thinking in terms of Utah being at the forefront of so much -- of being there in everything from heart science to immigration.

And, it doesn't seem such a bad thing to seek to be the leader.

Nor, a bad thing to have a competitive spirit. If something is done in Illinois, let's do it here, also -- only better, if we can. Sometimes, it won't be economically feasible, but at least let's mull over the possibility.

Now, if this means we back up, and start manufacturing cars and trucks (among so many other things), so be it. Too ambitious? I rather suspect nothing negative would come of our manufacturing cars and trucks. In the World of Dreams and Seems, it seems it would spark our economy, adding jobs and GSP (gross state product).

He who never seeks, never finds,
And, he who never aspires, never climbs.
Or, we could say
It another way.
The man who sits in the dust of others
Is the same who shivers under the covers.
So, shake of the dust,
And do what you must.
Turn up the heat in the old furnace place.
And, get out of bed, and enter the race.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

America's Laws Need to Enter 21st Century

About time, I say, that our laws caught up with the 21st Century. For that matter, about time we staffed a law enforcement agency to fight the crimes particular to the 21st Century.

I'm talking Internet crime, here.

All those laws about not stealing, not taking each other's identities, not defrauding each other? They were written for another century, for another set of crimes. Oh, they still work well for those crimes.

But, they don't work for the Internet. We have a whole new world of crime -- and yet practically no laws and little law enforcement to stop it.

Here's a crime, a bunch rolled into one. Let me tell you what happened. then you tell me how the current set of laws protected me. I was reading along on Facebook one day, when a message rolled in from a friend from my college days. Now, Mark being a person I loved and trusted, I jumped at what he was saying. "Hey, John, I just received a free iPad. This company has an overstock and there are still some left. You might want to look into it. Here's the link." (Those are not the exact words, but that was the meaning). Well, I looked into it. I jumped at the opportunity to get a free iPad. I trusted Mark. I knew he wouldn't be sending me off on an offer that wasn't really there.

Turns out, though, it wasn't really Mark. His Facebook page posted it, but someone had hacked his account and pretended to be him. He was embarrassed when I told him what had happened, but it was too late to stop the damage.

I hit the link offered in the Facebook posting, and up came, first, a survey. It was followed by an invitation saying I must select two small offers, and I picked ones that would cost me about $10 or less, each, thinking, "Okay, for this little bit of money, I can get a free iPad."

About a week later, I received a voice mail from my bank, questioning a $78 credit card withdrawal from my account that had come through just the day before. Knowing I had not made such a transaction the day before, I knew I had been taken. I looked into it and found it was one of the same companies I had made the small purchase from in the Facebook scam.

Now, I am here to say all the laws we had on our books didn't help me. Theft? Scam? Fraud? Stealing my friend's identity? Where were the laws to protect me? It is now two months later and my account still has not had been refunded. If someone had forged my account at a store, the laws we have would have required my account to be restored.

If that is the case with the Internet . . . well, I have yet to see it.

This, despite the false posting being a matter of public record. This, despite we knowing who took my money.

Now, about a month ago, I read an article in the newspaper about Internet fraud. Striking me as curious was the fact that the article -- top to bottom -- never quoted a single law enforcement source. Now, wouldn't it be curious to write about how there has been a big jump in murder or arson or car thefts and not quote a law enforcement source as to how much murder or arson or car theft there was?

But, if the law enforcement is not even hardly involved with the crime -- woe that this should happen -- then law enforcement will not be quoted, because they aren't even the authorities on the matter. Again, woe that this should happen, but it has.

We have crimes that are particular to the 21st Century. But we are still running around with the laws of the 20th Century as the only tools we have to fight them. And, though the FBI does have an Internet crime unit, it is not funded nor staffed anywhere near the point of being able to deal with life in the 21st Century.

Catch up, America. You must if you are to protect the people of this new day and age.

Let's Create Cartel Against Gas Prices

Tried to create a cartel tonight, or an anecdote to the cartels, the oil cartels.

Guess I failed. I tried to create a cause on Facebook called the Lower Gas Price Cartel (but a better name would probably be the Cartel Against Gas Prices), calling on all Salt Lakeans who would, to join arms, band together, and auction off our consumership, to pledge to all go to whatever gas station offered the lowest gas price come May 7.

The power of collective buying, it works. We've witnessed the buying power of Walmart, haven't we?  At times of economic need -- and gasoline prices approaching $4 a gallon qualifies -- we ought well to take advantage of the best tools at our disposal, and this is, indeed, perhaps the best.

The free market, we believe in it, so let's use it. Let's say, "Gas stations, if one of you will step forward and offer us even 25 cents off what we are now seeing around this town, we'll all come to you, en masse You'll have our business, though we have to drive across town and stand in line, we'll all come to you. So, if there is no collusion -- if no one is telling you what to set your price at -- why not take all the business we are offering and have yourself one very profitable day?"

No one setting the prices for them? Then, surely, one should jump at all this business.

So, if someone should want to take up this cause, and form this consumers' cooperative -- a reverse cartel, of sorts -- then do it. Rally the people, rally the fury, and empower the people. Combine our buying power and entice the gas stations to compete.

A cartel being a group of companies or nations banding together to further their joint cause of distributing oil -- raising prices, if you will -- then why not a cartel bringing our cause -- the lowering of prices? Power to the people. Rise up, then, people, if you would not have these high gas prices.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Perhaps Scientific Evidence of Adam and Eve

All good science will tell you man descended from ape. And, I'm here to tell you, that if he did, all good evidence is that it happened at about, oh, 4000 B.C.

Significant, isn't it, inasmuch as this puts it right about the time of Adam and Eve.

Ever notice how for those millions of years in this globe's existence, the human form is not considered to have had much intelligence? A cave man, is all he was, with a brain allowing him to go little beyond the making of a fire. 

And, ever notice how the human type -- and we are drawing this from history and science and archeology  -- became markedly more intelligent after, oh, about 4000 B.C.?

And, here's another did-you-ever-notice: Did you ever notice how the evolution of man -- that stuff Charles Darwin has us believing in -- seems to have come pretty much to a halt along about, oh, 4000 B.C.? No longer was the man changing from a beast with a hairy coat, and no longer was the man evolving from someone who dragged his knuckles across the ground.

Ever study the different ages of technology, of science, of the advancement of man? Well, the first of the bunch was the Neolithic Revolution. It was the first technological revolution in all the millions of years this world has supposedly been here. Ever notice just when it is that this Neolithic Revolution took place? It is said it was 5,000 to 8,000 B.C. That is just in front of the day of Adam and Eve. Is the time frame off, just a little, and in reality it took place beginning with 4,000 B.C.? Maybe, but probably not. But, even then, it remains significant that the human form roamed the earth for millions of years before time comes to give credit to a single age of technological revolution taking place. And, it is significant that that the first scientific revolution up just happens to fall right before Adam and Eve.

It lends credence to the theory that if mankind did descend from beasts, the transition came at the time of Adam and Eve, and in the form of Adam and Eve.

I'm not done. Ever open up your the encyclopedia to find out when recorded history began? It was about 4,000 B.C. That means of all the written records that have ever been found, there are no written records of what was going on before about 4000 B.C.

We have a term, that scientists and historians use, "prehistory." Prehistory is the period before recorded history. It is interesting -- and perhaps significant -- that prehistory falls just before the time we suppose Adam and Eve to have been here.

So, if man descended from ape, let us consider it probably happened about the time of Adam and Eve.

And, let's not rule out that they may have been two different creatures, man and ape. If there is such a distinction along about 4000 B.C., maybe it is because one did not descend from the other. Maybe. Maybe not. Either way, I believe I have left you reason enough to believe the Bible story of the creation is true -- and that there is scientific or historical evidence to back it up.