Monday, July 31, 2017

Perhaps Hillary is Who the Bill of Rights Most Seeks to Protect

   Perhaps the Founding Fathers wanted to protect no one more than someone such as Hillary Clinton. They apparently had seen kings toss people in prison unjustly. So, when they wrote the Bill of Rights, half of the ten amendments dealt with the rights of those accused of crimes. No less than 14 protections were granted the accused in the span of those ten amendments.   
   Whether it is a king tossing someone in jail wrongly, or the people, wrong is wrong. And, make no mistake, a good portion of Americans would have Hillary placed behind bars.
   "Hillary for Prison 2016," read the bumper stickers."

   I wonder if Hillary doesn't embody who the Founding Fathers sought to protect: someone who is falsely accused and for political reasons.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Government's Size Should be Determined by Need

   I wonder how much I am on board with those who believe in limited government. I see reason not to proscribe artificial limits, but rather to simply suggest that government should govern whenever the need arises.
   In other words, the size of government should be determined by the needs. Artificial limits do not make for better government, but for worse.
   Rather than saying, "You cannot go beyond this point, and you cannot do more than this," let how large government gets and how much it gets involved be determined by what situations arise that need governing. If something needs to be done, do it. If you need to govern, govern, even if it means getting bigger.
   The measurement of how big government is should be equal to the measurement of how large the needs are.
   I think of a scripture from my religion. "(A)ll governments have a right to enact such laws as in their own judgments are best calculated to secure the public interest." (Doctrine and Covenants 134:5
   I think of earlier in that section, the first verse, where it says, "We believe that governments were instituted of God for the benefit of men." That suggests there are good things to be done. It doesn't say how many good things, or limit how many there are or what they are, it only implies that when something comes up needing done, that is where government should step in, that is what government is for.
   Our nation's foremost law says the federal government is there to do the things that are required for the general welfare. That is a broad opening. That leaves the federal government authority to do a wide spectrum of things.
  The Constitution, in the Preamble, says that, "We the people, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish the Constitution for the United States of America."
   And, Article I, Section 8 says, "The Congress shall have Power to lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States."
  This all said, though, there remains reason for a limited federal government. We have the Tenth Amendment. "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people." If you put something in your highest law, you should live by it. This is in our law, and we should make every effort to give the states all governance not specified for the federal government.
   This does not limit the size of government, per se, but it does redirect much of what is done from the federal government to the state governments.
   I will now offer my humble opinion that it is not usually who conducts a program that determines whether the program is good, but it is how the program is conducted. Often, a federal agency can do as well as a state agency.
   The one value I see in local government is that it is closer to the problem, and more responsive. He who lives in a problem is more perceptive of what needs to be done than he who lives on the outside. And, he is more motivated to make the changes necessary, if he is among those who are affected.
   Other than that, if I am not mistaken, it is the program, itself, that determines whether it will succeed. It is the way you set it up. Wisdom is wisdom, regardless where it comes from. If a wise program is set up by a federal agency, it will work just as well as if it is set up by a state.

Isa Ramoul and the Border He Crossed

  I shall call him Isa, Isa Ramoul, the poorest of the poor in Mexico. As a birthday present to himself, when he turned 23, he headed north, thinking to find a job and a living in a land he honored and revered.
  Hadn't he heard you need to get permission to come to America? Check. He had. But, he had also heard that even without paperwork, you could stay. It would take a long time before they would catch up with you and send you home. In the meantime, he figured to be working, earning money, and sending it home to his wife and their two babies.
  If you wonder about his character, Isa was an honest type. Didn't want to join the cartels just to make a living, although joining the cartels was a certain way to make a good income. But, that was not for Isa. His mother had raised him differently than that, teaching him to stay away from crime.
  So, he headed north.
  He didn't bring enough food, and barely enough water. He stumbled through the border territory without a guide, arriving on the American side of the line a-hungering and a-thirsting and a stranger to all -- and anxious to knock on a door and ask for help.
  Now, Mr. Biddle had had a lot of migrants knock his door before. They were a nuisance -- an unwanted, unwelcome, uncomely nuisance. They were all criminals and drug burros, to him. So, as you might guess, this didn't go too well.
  "Help me! Please help me," Isa pleaded as Mr. Biddle swung open the door.
  "You scum. You criminal," came the reply. "Shall I call the Border Patrol, or will you go back on your own? You heard me, go back where you belong! Get out of here! Leave me alone!"
  Isa stumbled up to another two or three doors before someone finally called the Border Patrol and had him arrested. Seems in this new country he had entered, they didn't think in terms of helping people out, only of kicking them out. They really weren't bad people, these Americans, but somehow they had gotten it in their heads that these immigrants coming in from Mexico were going to ruin their country. Somehow, they figured that instead of being shown charity, the immigrants needed to be taught a lesson.
  Now, that might make perfect sense to you, but it doesn't to me.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Democracy 2.0 and the People Cabuls

   If you will, let's reinvent democracy, improving it and making it even better. Democracy, version 2.0. This might sound like a little much, but actually, there is room for improvement.
   Introducing People Cabuls, as I shall call them. Each time an issue comes up -- whether it be Bears Ears, or the homeless crisis, or whatever -- all interested parties will be brought together to discuss the issue, to weigh in, and to deliberate.
   Now, here's the trick: Those attending will be charged with considering the other side's viewpoint. They'll not be there just to debate, not to just argue their own viewpoint, but to listen and consider what the other party has to say.
   Indeed, they'll be charged with giving in, if and when the other person's arguments are sounder. They will not be there not to win arguments, but to find answers -- even if the answers aren't their own.
   Once those in the Cabuls decide what should be done, they take their proposal to the legislative body. The legislator becomes a facilitator. He or she calls the Cabuls, sometimes to discuss bills already before the legislature, and sometimes to discuss issues breaking in the news. So, sometimes the Cabuls are not intended to result in immediate legislation, but just to facilitate discussion and provide public forum.
   The Cabuls represent a departure from current practice, for the emphasis becomes on finding the best and most equitable answers, not just taking counts of which side everyone is on. The focus is on solving problems, not winning arguments.
   In this, we have change. Whereas now participants usually seek only to prove they are right, and to forward their own agendas, and to seek to overcome, smash, demolish and hate the opposition, in the new system, they are asked to do just the opposite: to be considerate of what the others say, and to weigh carefully what others suggest. By asking them to do this, we attempt to strip pride and hate from the equation. It is no longer a matter of proving who is right, and no longer a matter of demeaning the other side and classing them as idiots for simply believing as they do.
   This new system puts a premium on agreeing with the other person, instead of finding shouting him down. It attempts to strip the political divide from public issues. As it stands now, discussion on issues usually is not an honest attempt by the participants to find the truth, but rather just another battleground in their fight against each other. They participants seek not agreement, nor peace, nor understanding, but rather they relish the opportunity to correct, demean and find fault with the other side.
   Such things should not be. Agreeing quickly with thine adversary has meaning.  The phase, "If you are not one, you are not mine," has meaning. Being civil and loving both have value. Justifying our opposition (indeed, our hatred) of each other by saying there should be opposition in all things, is to ignore these other injunctions. There will be quite enough opposition if we just civilly discuss the issues.
   Government of the people, by the people and for the people? You don't get any closer to government of the people, by the people and for the people, than by letting the people come up with the solutions.
   So, what remains the role of the legislator? If the people are coming up with the solutions, what is left for the legislator? He becomes a facilitator, calling for the Cabuls. He becomes a judge, in a way, sorting through what is presented and judging the facts and arguments. We speak of electing wise leaders. The value of having a wise, intelligent, fair-minded and even handed leader becomes paramount, for he will not listen even-handedly and cull out the truth if he is not an even-handed
person wise enough to discern between what is beneficial and what is not.
   While the legislator calls for Cabuls, not all Cabuls would be under him. The people have the right to call their own Cabuls. Anyone can call a Cabul. If the legislator attends a People's Cabul not called by him, he brings no authority with him. He is but an attendee, same as everyone else.
   Lobbyists? They, too, can attend, and participate, but they carry no more weight than anyone else. Gone are the days of lobbyist rule. Whereas nowadays, the hand of the lobbyist is all over our legislation, that influence is reduced under the new system. The lobbyist folds back into the general public, having no greater voice than others at the Cabuls.
   You might argue that the new system is not a reinvention of Democracy, but a doing-away of it, for voting is not even a necessary part of the Cabuls. Instead of an opinion being valued by volume -- the greatest number of votes winning -- it is valued by content. You measure what should be done by the strength of the argument, not by the popularity of it.
   So, while you might suggest the new system actually derails democracy, I suggest democracy remains -- and is even stronger.
   It is like I said up above. Government of the people, by the people and for the people? You don't get any closer to government of the people, by the people and for the people, than by letting the people come up with the solutions.
   But, if you don't like calling the new system democracy, that's fine. Distinctions are also seen between democracy and republicanism. Even so, this might be distinct from either. So, if you like, go ahead and consider this a new form of government, being a shade different from either democracy or republicanism.
   Whatever you call it, I suggest it would be wonderful if we practiced government this way.

(Note: Blog was expanded, added to, on 7/29/17.)

Thursday, July 27, 2017

What if the People led out in Deciding what to do with Bears Ears?

   Bears Ears: Should it be a monument, and what are the protections it should have?
   How wonderful it would be if we, the public, sat down and were civil with each other and came to a consensus as to what should be done -- ahead of action from the government.  I guess I just think it would be wonderful if those on both sides of the issue sat down -- sans government leaders -- and listened  to each other, each willing to concede if the other side presented a better argument. What if we were so open to the opinions of others that this were possible? Then, when we, the people, came to a consensus, we could take it to the government leaders.
  I know this would go against the way we, both as people and leaders, operate now. We don't go into discussions with the idea of giving ground, or ceding points, or concluding we have been wrong. But, perhaps if at the onset of discussions, it were made clear to the participants that this was what was being asked of them, it might work. If you've never tried something, don't say it won't work. And, if it would be a good thing if it did work, then not only try it, but do everything in your power to see that it does work.
   Just my thought. And, I don't think it all that crazy. If we ought to get along, and if we ought to be open-minded of others -- if this is the way things should be -- then why not at least try it out? Why not give it a shot ?

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Nothing gets done without a Lobbyist

   Nothing gets done without a lobbyist. No legislation makes it to the table unless a lobbyist cooked it up.
   Oh, forgive, but I do wonder. I wonder if there is such a thing as legislation that doesn't have a lobbyist behind it. And, I wonder if that is good, or bad.
   Or both.
   My mind chases back an hour, to when I was driving home, thinking about capitalism, wondering how it could be all so great when it is based on greed. Now, as I am here at home, I bring that thought with me into my thoughts on lobbying.
   All a lobbyist is, is a representative of capitalism. Oh, there are exceptions. Churches and other non-profits have lobbyists. But, primarily, a lobbyist is one who represents the interests of capitalism. That spins them in a friendly light, to most, as most believe strongly in capitalism. To them, Americanism and capitalism are all the same thing.
   I just wonder this: Is it healthy that all your legislation is directed towards making someone rich? All of it, or virtually all of it. Nothing gets done on Capitol Hill unless it benefits someones pocket book. Somehow, it seems a good system would try to sort out and focus solely on what is best for the American people. Don't get me wrong, corporations are part of what is good for the general public. But, our lobbying system makes them virtually the whole of it. It is the corporations who have our congress members' ears.
   I don't know that you want to take them out of the equation, but I wonder if there is a way of putting the general public ahead of them.

Monday, July 24, 2017

The Russians and Hype, Hatred and Hillary Clinton

   I don't know that I ever wrote the blog that I meant to write on Hillary Clinton back during the campaign. I meant to write on how I was baffled at the hatred of her, and the unjust things that were said.
   It does seem like I might have written something about how we should not be given to false accusations, that it doesn't become our people well.
   And, I find a blog saying this:
   "Half the country, it seems, is infected with the witch hunt of Hillary Clinton. They will not be satisfied by the FBI's decision to not bring charges against her. They will not say justice has been served. They will not suppose the FBI was fair and equitable.
  "No, when you are a lynch mob, you demand a hanging. And, half America, it seems, is in this lynch mob."
   And, I also find a blog saying this:
   "I wonder at all the attacks on Hillary. I cannot help but see a likeness to the McCarthyism of the 1950s.
   "I read this definition in Wikipedia: 'McCarthyism is the practice of making accusations of subversion or treason without proper regard for evidence.'
   "I wonder if that doesn't parallel what is being done to Hillary."
    But, I wish I would have written more. I was baffled at the hatred of her. Now, I am not a Hillary fan. But when someone is persecuted wrongfully, I can be known to step in and defend them.
   Why all of this is pertinent now, is that there is an investigation going on, about Russian influence in our election. When the investigation was a lot younger, I remember our intelligence agencies saying much of what the Russians did was just propaganda and disinformation.
   And, remember, the idea is that Russia tried to help Trump.
   So, how does this fit in: A week or two ago, we first learned Donald Trump Jr. met with a Russian source -- to gather dirt on Hillary Clinton.
   If we know that they were scattering disinformation and propaganda, and if we learn they met with Donald Trump Jr. to give him dirt, then it follows that that dirt probably was part of the propaganda and disinformation they were trying to get out.
   Now, America is not likely to make that connection -- not as a people. And, I wonder if the intelligence agencies will even make it part of their report. How do you tell a nation they have been duped, fooled into believing a lot of negative hype against Hillary Clinton? Think of the millions and millions who will have no part of thinking good of Hillary, who are burnt in their hatred of her and will not be headed. You try telling them the Russians duped them, you try telling them the Russians duped our whole nation and . . . good luck.
  If this angle does get out, if the media does start mentioning it (and I have not seen word one about it yet), it will not settle well.
  I do not say Russia was the original source of all the ill things said about Hillary. I only say, it seems the Russians did plug into them, did stir them up.
  One wonders how it is that a Russian (far away in a different land) would even have dirt on Hillary that Trump Jr. could not have gotten from someone right here in America. How is that a Russian has something that an American doesn't, when it comes to dirt on Hillary? How are they the authorities on such things, and not someone over here? That, in and of itself, points to the notion that the Russians were involved in disinformation and propaganda against Hillary.

Shopping for American-Made Articles has my Support

   "UTAH BORN, UTAH BREAD," says a sticker on my loaf of Grandma Sycamore's Home-Maid Bread.
   The shop-local theme draws me in, from time to time. I like supporting Utah businesses.
   So, what of putting Made in America stickers and decals on products, and supporting American businesses? I support buying American, enthusiastically.
   Which is to say, I regret the ill-thought out logic of a blog I published a week ago.
   I do believe it wonderful if a people -- a nation -- seeks to help those of other nations. I do believe the adage, love thy neighbor as thyself, should be applied to relations between countries. I do think it would be wonderful, glorious, if we sought the welfare of people in other nations even above our own prosperity. I do not back down on this view.
   (And, I acknowledge I am, of myself, not anywhere near reaching such an objective. What I do for those in other nations is pretty much zero.)
   But, I find no fault in buying local, in buying Utah, in buying American. I find it not a fault to support your own. A person can care about others, and a nation's people can care about the welfare of people in other nations, and still care about its own people, wanting its own people to prosper. Even if a nation were to care about the welfare of a people abroad more than it did its own, it would surely still care for its own.
 

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Banning Alcohol and Drugs Preserves Agency

   The agency of man dictates that drugs should not be outlawed. Libertarians argue this. People should be free to choose, and should not be forced to do something when they are harming only themselves.
   There is a counter argument, but you don't hear it much these days. Back when I was a youth, I heard it often: Drugs rob you of your agency. Alcohol robs you of your agency. When you are under the influence, you do not make the same choices. Drugs and alcohol cloud your ability to think straight. You cannot make the decisions you would make if you were not on drugs or alcohol.
   Literally, you have been robbed of your agency.
   So, banning alcohol and drugs preserves agency, rather than denying it.
   The very term, "under the influence," suggests thinking is being altered by an outside source.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Anonymity can Foster Crime

 State Speaker of the House Greg Hughes suggests the anonymity people maintain as they drift through the homeless district breeds crime.
  In pointing this out, I think he adds to our understanding of how to fight lawlessness in the Rio Grande area. If you can figure out a way to record everyone who comes through, it might cut down on the crime, as criminals tend to be uneasy about having their names on file.
   The question is: How do you go about recording their names? Do you, as an officer, just approach everyone, asking them for their names and birth dates? Is that legal? If you got a court order, would that make it legal? Or would the court not even issue an order to do this -- as that would be illegal? Do you stop each car that passes through on some streets, asking the drivers and passengers their names?
 

Stiffness Equals Sweating

   I'd been off the treadmill for a half an hour, yet a slight sweat still ensued. It was after sunset, and though it had been a hot day, I didn't judge the sweat was from an evening heat. I thought how months ago, it would have taken but 10 minutes to stop sweating. 
   The next evening, it also seemed to take a long time to quit sweating. Now, here's the thought: I have perhaps been stiffer lately than I used to be. I wonder if stiffness leads to more sweating. It seems I work up a sweat quicker when I am stiff.
   Perhaps my muscles have always been a little tighter than most people's. I remember being a little troubled at not being able to touch my toes while keeping my legs perfectly straight and unbent. Well, match that with the fact that I have always sweated more than most. In fact, when I worked out, I would pretty much out-sweat everyone else at the gym.
   So, stiffness equals sweating. 
   (Indexes: Health, long life, exercise)

Friday, July 21, 2017

We need a System for Providing Interim Congress Members

   Shouldn't we have interim congress members? Jason Chaffetz's post in the U.S. House will be open for six months, or so. John McCain will be inactive in the Senate for a time, if he returns at all. It would take a Constitutional amendment, but having a system for installing temporary congress members seems something that simply ought to be done.

A Belt Loop for the Silicon Slopes

   The traffic jams in the Point of the Mountain area seem to have jumped to become one of the state's notable problems, with newspaper articles, radio reports, etc.
   I would guess, a belt loop around the area would be a must. I don't know if that has been part of the planning, but it would seem to me planning for it would already be underway -- and receiving priority scheduling.
  I'd say, a belt loop ought to have already been created, and suggest it is an oversight that it hasn't. Barring automated navigating air ships becoming the effective transportation (which doesn't seen that close at hand), they should get on building the belt loop and make up for lost time.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

  Put America first? There might be times when this is good. But, I wonder.
  Would it be such a bad thing if we, as a nation, were as concerned about the economies of other nations as we were our own? What if we looked for ways to help the other nations, to improve their economies and help their people?
   There are scriptural injunctions suggesting that we place the welfare of others ahead of our own. "Let no man seek his own, but every man another's wealth." (I Corinthians 10:24)
   If we are to be concerned with others on an interpersonal level, I know not why we shouldn't strive to practice the principle when it comes to dealing with other nations.
   If we can get to a point where we care about others as much as we do about ourselves, that would be a wonderful thing. This is what we have been taught. We help our neighbors when we can. We aren't of a me-me-me mentality. Love thy neighbor as thy self means something to us. We strive to live up to it.
   If America is to gain back any greatness it might have lost, perhaps it should consider that true greatness lies in character, not in prosperity.
   I do not know where you draw the line. I don't know that such efforts as buying American products are wrong. I only suggest there might be reason for not adopting the philosophy of putting America first. And, I think how wonderful it would be if we, as a nation, did take the scriptural injunctions, and apply them. Let no nation seek its own, but other nations' wealth. Love thy neighboring nation as thy self. Can you imagine such a nation, that lived to such a high standard? I don't know that such a country has ever existed, but think it would be a wonderful thing.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

A Conversation with My Government


   "Hello, government. I'm calling about your decision to give those three sisters a year's stay here. You know, the three who were to be deported in a week."
   "Yes."
   "Yes. I need you to answer me some questions. I need to know which laws are being used, so I'll know if you're going about this all in the right way."
   "I see. And, may I ask who you are?"
   "Well, I'm John Jackson."
   "Are you a member of the media?"
   "No, I'm John Jackson."
   "You've reached our media relations department. I'm afraid you will need to be a member of the media if I'm to help you."
   "I see. Well, I looked through your website and you don't have anyone else I can contact. Yours is the only phone number the agency lists."
   "Yes."
   "I'm one of your stockholders, so I thought maybe it would be okay if I called, even if I'm not a member of the press."
  "What do you mean you are a stockholder? Actually, the government doesn't have stockholders."
  "Actually, it does. Well, maybe not in the strict sense, but this is my government and I run it."
  "I see. I wonder who appointed you to such a high position."
  "Abraham Lincoln did."
  "Abraham Lincoln?"
  "Yes, he was giving something called the Gettysburg Address and he said something about government of the people, by the people, and for the people. Well, that would be me."
   "I see."
   "Ever since then, I've pretty much thought of this as my government."
   "I see. Well, you're not a member of the press. Do you realize what a nightmare it would be if we tried to take calls from everyone in the public, answering every question they have? We simply don't have that time."
  "Make time. I'm one of your stockholders."
   "Have you filed a Freedom of Information inquiry?"
   "Too much paperwork. I'm a stockholder. I'll just call you up and you'll answer my questions. It's a lot simpler that way."
   "I see. If you were a member of the press, I'd be glad to help you."
   "What if I were a congressman, or a mayor or head of a government agency?"
   "Yes, I suppose I could help you then."
   "Well, those are my people. Think of them as my minions, if you will. I tell them what to do."
   "I see."
   "I don't like the way you think you only have to answer to them. And, I especially don't appreciate the way you think you only have to answer to the press."
   "Well, yes, like I said, we've only got time to answer to so many people. The press represents you in getting information."
  "I didn't elect them. I never gave the press permission to take anything from me."
  "And, what are they taking from you?"
   "My right to talk to you, to get some answers. You said you'd help me if I were a member of the press, but since I'm not, you're not going to help me."
   "But, this is media relations . . ."
   "The press doesn't run this country. I do. So, I'm going to have to ask you to quit answering so much to them and start answering more to me."


   At that point, the government hung up on me. I was left thinking that if government truly were government of the people, by the people, and for the people, then, yes, it would make information more accessible to us, the public.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

The 14th and 19th Amendments are Pertinent

  I wonder if when Judge David Nuffer rules on whether the United Utah Party should be allowed to advance Jim Bennett as its candidate to replace U.S. Rep. Jason Chaffetz, it will represent a significant U.S ruling on the rights of minor political parties.
   And, I wonder if he will turn to the U.S. Constitution. The Fourteenth Amendment promises "equal protection of the laws." Does this not include allowing minor and third parties to have equal access to the ballot?
   And, I think of the 19th Amendment, which says, "The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied." Is it an incursion on our right to vote to allow the Republicans and Democrats to vote for their candidates, but to exclude those of the United Utah Party from voting for their selected nominee?
 

Monday, July 17, 2017

I Wonder why the Same Principle shouldn't Apply to Nations

   I wondered on what they said, of how they will make the theme, "Made in America," big again, and of how Made in America will make America great again.
  Donald Trump and Mike Pence: This is their idea. Is it a good one?
  I wonder how it will affect the economy. For the better? 
   Somehow, I tend to think it better for us to be inclusive of other nations, to share with them. It somehow just seems the right thing to do. I like the idea of not setting yourself above others, of not placing your welfare above the welfare of others.
   Its a principle when we speak of relations, individually, one person with another. We don't set our own welfare above that of others. We don't disregard our neighbors. We help them when we can. We aren't of a me-me-me mentality. The teaching, Love thy neighbor as thyself, means something to us and is real. We were raised to think this way. It is a principle that has become part of us. 
   So, somehow, I wonder why the same principle shouldn't apply with countries.

Note added July 19: Would that I would have thought this out a little better before I published it. I don't know that the principle of not placing yourself above others applies to the Made in America campaign. It might apply to the America First effort, at least in part, though. Maybe my thinking was a little dyslexic. Perhaps I will print a new blog, rewriting this one, at a later date.
  

Parties having Equal Access to the Ballot is a Civil Right

   This could be a whole new field for a nation that has already declared equality for so many. So far, we've had equality for women, for black people, for those of same-sex attraction, and so forth.
   Now, what of equality for political parties?
   Not that Constitution and Socialist party members are flogged, or forced to sit at the back of the bus. But, just like women and black people were once not allowed to vote, minor and third parties lack equal access at the voter's box. They are discriminated against.
   And, it goes completely unnoticed.
   Rules are set making it hard on the little parties. If you don't receive 2 percent of the vote, you are knocked off the ballot for the next election. If you don't form your party eleven months in advance, you cannot be placed on the ballot.
   I don't know about all states, but Utah does such things.
   I understand the Elections Office hired extra workers to count the signatures for Tanner Ainge and John Curtis, who got on the ballot through the signature-gathering process. The Elections Office wanted to ensure it completed counts for them in a timely fashion. But, how did it deal with counting the signatures for the United Utah Party? It not only didn't hire extra workers, it made a point to take its time, saying it had 30 days and was going to take the full thirty days. Worse, if I understand correctly, it said it could not be expected to take time away from its responsibilities just to count signatures for the United Party.
   As if counting the United Party's signatures wasn't a part of what its responsibility was.
   If these things I have heard are correct, this is discrimination -- discrimination based on party. Yes, there exists in America -- at least in Utah -- discrimination based on political party.

 

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Joseph's Idea Smacked of Socialism

   There is a tale for the telling in a book called Genesis, in the Bible, and, for reading it, ye might not be so opposed to socialism.
   Not always, anyway. You might see there are times and places when a little socialism is what is in order, what is needed.
   I'll turn you to Genesis 41, the tale of Joseph, sold into Egypt, and of how Pharaoh dreamed of seven ill-favored kine eating up seven well-favored kine, and seven withered ears of corn devouring seven full-and-good ears.
   And, there was no one in the land that could interpret the dream, until Joseph. And Joseph said it was not in him, but it was God who could interpret the dream.
  "Behold, there come seven years of great plenty throughout all the land of Egypt; And there shall arise after them seven years of famine," Joseph told the Pharaoh.
   "Now therefore let Pharaoh look out a man discreet and wise, and set him over the land of Egypt. Let the Pharaoh do this, and let him appoint officers over the land, and take up the fifth part of the land of Egypt in the seven plenteous years."
   Sounds to me like a huge government social program is being brought about, and a huge tax -- one fifth of all the crops? That's a reasonably heavy tax. Let's read on.
   "And let them gather all the food of those good years and come, and lay up corn under the hand of Pharaoh, and let them keep food in the cities. And that food shall be for store to the land against the seven years of famine."
   Well, you can recall or guess the rest of the story. The Pharaoh likes the idea, and can't see anyone more wise and discreet in all the land, so he appoints Joseph to run the government program, and Joseph does, and saves all the people from famine.
   You can point out, if you like, that when the people came to the storehouse, they bought from it. This evidently was not a case of people being given free handouts.
   But, don't let it go unnoticed on you that it was a government social program, and a government business.
   Also, one wonders if they made token payments or full payments for the food they received. The drought lasted seven years. Some of them must have made their living off farming. If their income was cut off for seven years, could they afford to pay full value for the food?
   I do not say government should always be the provider when famine sets in, or when the people need food. I only say, in this situation, it worked. In this situation, it was a wonderful program.
  Now, I do not mean to be overly harsh with my good friends, the Republicans, but I do think it worthy to note that if there was as much sentiment against government being involved in things as there is today -- if these Republicans of today were transported back to the day of Joseph -- perhaps many of them would have opposed Joseph's plan.

(Story added to 7/17/17)


 

The Benefits of Full Employment should make Us Scream for Them

  How do you fashion an economy where everyone is employed?
  Think of it: If everyone is employed, and making a decent enough wage, everyone is going to be able to place food on the table. If everyone is eating, there are no poor among you (at least not so poor they are starving). There would be no recessions and no depressions (not if the definition of a depression is that people are going without food).
   And, if everyone is employed, the need for government food programs takes a dive and that means deficit spending decreases. You can start reducing the national debt.
   All this, if you can just keep everyone employed. It seems to me, we should look at all these benefits say we definitely want this.
   Unfortunately, most people would reject some of the measures because they cannot stomach the government being involved in providing jobs. So, what we are saying, is that while there is an answer to unemployment -- there is a way to keep everyone employed -- we can't do it because someone will slap the word "socialism" on it.
   And, we just can't have "socialism."
   (Before I continue, I want to say it isn't going unnoticed on me that if government does provide jobs, the companies created will have to be profitable, or the government has to prop them up with taxpayer money -- and that is hardly a way to reduce the national deficit.)
   First, let me suggest we should be able to do a lot of this without "socialism." We have a lot of millionaires and billionaires who happen to be two things: philanthropists and patriots. Ask them to create new companies -- even if they prove unprofitable -- just to provide employment. There is no telling how many such companies might result if we just put out a call for our rich to step up to create such jobs.
   Second, many of the government-created jobs might be no more than that: government created, but not to be government-owned for long. Once up and running, the lead employees could take them over and become the owners.
   As I exit this writing, I will add one other big benefit. Already I have spoken of no depressions and ending or curbing the national deficit. Those are huge benefits. But, there is another: Employment increases the character of a people.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

There's Reason to Suppose few will Try to get on the Ballot this Way

   While a lawyer for the state warns that if Jim Bennett is allowed on the ballot, it will lead others to form parties in order to get on the special election ballot to succeed 3rd District congressman Jason Chaffetz, I have to wonder.
   Forming a third party gets you on the ballot, but running on a third party is hardly a way to win an election. Plus, should you ever want to go back to your old party -- as a candidate -- it isn't likely to welcome you back. There might come a day when that changes, but it won't be this year. Anyone bolting the Republicans in 2017 does so with the realization they are giving up the party that gives them the best odds of ever being elected to public office.


Jason Chaffetz did the United Utah Party a Favor

   Jason Chaffetz did the United Utah Party a favor by stepping down as Utah's 3rd District congressman, says Mark Russell.
   Russell, who joined the effort to form a new party at the second organizational meeting in, he says, February, notes that if it were a normal election year, the party would be taxed to come up with a full slate of candidates. That would be a taunting task for a party just getting off the ground.
   But, with a special election, it needs to come up with but one candidate. When you have not yet developed many resources, having to focus on just a single campaign is a blessing..

Friday, July 14, 2017

People should have the Right to Start Parties in Opposition

   In a court hearing on whether Jim Bennett and the United Utah Party should be placed on the ballot, assistant attorney general David Wolf warned the judge that if Bennett does get on the ballot, it could open the door for other candidates to gain last-minute access to the ballot.
  If you are the Republicans or the Democrats, that could be a bad thing. They don't want competition. Another candidate might emerge strong enough to threaten the two parties' stranglehold on elections. If you can keep them off the ballot, locking out any competition, you can preserve your stranglehold.
   People should be free to challenge the existing parties. They should have the right to start parties in opposition.

We Must Listen to the Laws of Economics to Lower Health Care Costs

 Do we want to have less expensive medical bills? The prices are not going to come down as long as there is someone who can step in to pay the bill regardless how high that price goes. Unfortunately, insurance and government are now playing the role of sugar daddies who can afford to pay whatever prices are charged, regardless how high. Prices are only going to drop if there is not a sugar daddy to foot the bill. If medical providers cannot bill large insurance companies and cannot bill the deep pockets of government, prices will drop. If medical providers are limited to getting their money from you and I, prices will come down. It is the law of supply and demand. If the supply of money drops and the demand for the service remains, it will force prices down.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Before we Solve Our Medical Crisis, We Should Consider our Economy

   I get ahead of myself. I worry what will become of our economy if we truly correct our health care industry.
   The health care industry accounts for more than 10 percent of our gross domestic product (in one article, I read that it is 16.9 percent). That represents a lot of jobs. How many health-care workers are there? Thirteen million?
   If we were to reduce the cost of health care -- which seems to me a thing we surely must do -- how many jobs would be lost? If you took my ideas on how to reduce costs, the medical insurance industry would be decimated. How many work in the insurance industry? Two-point-five million? (That is the whole of the industry, including auto insurance, etc.)
    Whenever you are going to displace that many people, you should go forward only if you are creating other jobs for them to land in.
    I suggest that correcting our health industry -- inasmuch as such correction is going to greatly affect the economy --- should only come after we have reconsidered what type of economy we want to have. I would have us have an economy that sidesteps depressions and recessions. And, noting that it is when people are unemployed and unfed that the economy is at its deepest low point, I would suggest that rather than seeking to keep our GNP high, and our stock markets high, and our rich rich, the first priority should be to keep everyone employed.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Ethnic Cleansing has Parallels with the Deportation of Immigrants

 What if this is the definition of ethnic cleansing: The forced removal of a group from a territory by a more powerful group in order to remove the perceived undesirable effects of the smaller group from the larger group.
  There are some commonalities shared by ethnic cleansing and deportation of immigrants. Both seek to remove a group. Both see the group being removed as undesirable. Both remove the group by force. Both do not recognize that the smaller group has any right to live in the territory. Both have a fear of what the smaller group will do to the larger group if allowed to stay. Both often speak with contempt when speaking of the smaller group. Both see the territory as belonging to the larger group at the exclusion of the smaller group. Both see the smaller group as being intruders.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Turn the Rio Grande District into a Sight of People Helping People

   What if we were to take the problem of our homeless being an eyesore and turn it into something we could be proud of, something we were glad that visitors should see?
  The homeless district is the first image many see of our city. They arrive at the Greyhound, and as they are picked up and driven away, they pass through the streets of our homeless. Sometimes, they are stunned at how serious our problem is.
   Then, there are the businesses in the area. The homeless are a blight to them. The crime that comes with the homeless problem both chases away business and interrupts the personal safety of those who would practice business in the area.
   The crime problem has the city and state in a tizzy, trying to figure out a way to rein it in. Our leaders are seeking to move the homeless out of the Rio Grande area, not only because of the blight it presents to have the homeless roaming the streets, but because of that crime it attracts.
   Well, tonight I got wondering. What if instead of moving the homeless away -- because they reflect so poorly on our city -- what if we made a few change-ups, so the homeless were no longer something we didn't want people to see, no longer something we didn't want to inflict upon visitors to the downtown area?
   What if we were proud of how we took care of our homeless? What if you could not pass by the area without seeing someone reaching out to help them? Social workers? If we must have them, let them come right into the district, walking the streets and being there to help the poor right on the spot. Work? What if there were those who brought work to them, who put them to work right on the streets of the Rio Grande area, in full view of all the visitors who might pass by?
   Crime? It occurs to me, that if you have enough of a presence there -- if you have enough helpers there -- that is going to chase off a lot of the crime. But, go beyond that. What if we beefed up our police presence, too, so much that it would be hard to commit a crime for there always being an officer looking over your shoulder?
   The downtown area need not be a blight. We could turn it into a pleasant sight. What if acting troupes and entertainers came down to the area, performing right on the streets for the homeless? As the people got off the Greyhound to be whisked away, they would pass by the entertainers, seeing them entertain the homeless.
   I'm not sure but what there isn't something wonderful to be done with our homeless situation.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Let a People be a People

   So, you see I believe people should not generally be restricted by borders. If they want to move to Canada, Sweden or Australia, let them.
   I'll put an asterisk on Sweden, and explain that in about ten seconds.
   Move where you will, come and go as you choose, for liberty should include the freedom to move about.
   But, there should also be the right of people to separate themselves from others. If they become concerned the Swedish race will be lost if they let too many others in, let them limit those who come in.
   I do not believe in racial cleansing, where one people thinks it is superior to others, and therefore seeks to keep its bloodlines pure. When our Sweden friends feel this way, it would be better they not pursue pure blood lines by barring immigrants.
   But, if they simply want to keep Nordic bloodlines Nordic, not thinking they are better than anyone else, just wanting to be their own people, I find no fault with that.
   And, if a people wants to live apart, because of their culture, or because of their religion, let them.
   Ethnic cleansing? I do not believe in it. I do not believe in the forced removal of any group. Rather, if the group that would be separate sees a need to separate, let them be the people who move. Let them limit immigration, and if that is not enough to separate them, let them move to another location, but let them not persecute, belittle, destroy or deport any people that lives among them.
   I do not want to imply that I believe in white nationalism, where white people seek to exclude others from their society. Whites, as a race, are not endangered. There is no need to protect a pure bloodline. And, if you are speaking of whites just wanting to be their own people, I still do not feel it wise for them to separate as a nation on this basis. As a community, then? I give it some thought, but wonder if it is better not to do so.

(The last paragraph was added 8/17/17, after the Charlottesville incident. The last portion of the blog before that was added 7/11/17 and 7/12/17.)

Sunday, July 9, 2017

These are the Disenfranchised, the Americans who are not 'Americans'

   These are the disenfranchised. They live in America, but they are not "Americans." These are the ones who work on American soil, contributing to the economy, but who are not granted status as Americans.
   They live here, work here, play here, spend their money here  . . . everything. Yet, we say they are not Americans. We disenfranchise them. We take their rights away. We don't let them vote. We speak of requiring voter I.D. cards so we can make sure they don't vote. We take great offense if they do vote. In the news today, we read of the Trump Commission wanting the states to transfer data bases to the White House on all voters. The idea I believe, is to search through the records and find the ones who are not "Americans." Such a big effort -- an effort like we have never seen before -- just to get at and make sure the disenfranchised remain the disenfranchised.
  If they live and breathe on American soil, they are residents. And, if an American is someone who lives in America, then, in that sense -- whatever you say to the contrary -- they are Americans. To say otherwise, is to disenfranchise them.
    I would remind you that there are certain rights that are unalienable. Government cannot take them from us -- or should not. If you do take these rights away, you are disenfranchising them. You can decide if the right to vote is one of the unalienable rights, but the right to exist, to come and go and live where you will, might well be among them.
   You can take their rights away, but that does not mean you are right to do so. Disenfranchise them if if you will, but realize that if you do so, you are taking it upon yourself to dictate to them what their unalienable rights will be. You are setting yourself up as the person who can deprive them of their rights, and saying you are perfectly happy to take them away.
   Do it in the name of a freedom-loving nation. There has never been such a contradiction.

United Utah Party Faces an Unfair Situation


  It is an unfair situation. If you want to become a new party, you must follow the rules established for you by the parties you will be competing against.
  Did you get that? The competition sets the rules for anyone seeking to compete against it. What if we did this in the business world? What if, in order to become an automaker, you had to comply with rules for an automotive start-up established by GM and Ford?
   I don't think GM and Ford would make it too easy on you.
   If this were in the business world, we'd easily see this is an unfair business practice. And, we'd be crying about how GM and Ford were being allowed to create rules so they could remain a monopoly.
 

Friday, July 7, 2017

In the Business World, We Would Call this an Unfair Business Practice

   Sometimes a lawsuit is the only answer. The Republican and Democratic parties are not going to change the laws to make them more equitable. So, about the only alternative is to take the case to court.
   The United Utah Party would like to be on the ballot come November's special election to replace Jason Chaffetz in the U.S. House of Representatives. Since they started their effort in May (I don't guess it started earlier than that), that would seem plenty of notice.
   Unfortunately, the law doesn't make it possible. By law, you must organize before Nov. 30 to be placed on the ballot the following November. Why such a restrictive law? It certainly prevents people from seeing a race and deciding they would like to field a candidate on something other than one of the two parties.
   In other words, if you are to run, you are funneled into running either as a Republican or Democrat.
   In the business world, we would call this an unfair business practice.

 

Thursday, July 6, 2017

More People Should be Locked Up for Threats of Violence

   Reading a story of how a killer issued a thinly veiled warning before killing a police officer, I suggest it is time to get more serious with our laws against threats.
   Threatening should land you in jail, if you are threatening violence or harm. Idle threats? Where do we draw the line? Can we toss everyone in jail who says they are going to kill someone? We'd all be in jail, you say.
    I do not know. I only know there are people who would still be alive if we enforced our laws better. And, it would be a good thing if people quit expressing such sentiments as, "I'm going to kill you." Perhaps, we can't and shouldn't lock up everyone who utters the expression, but we should lock up more than we do.
    And, we had better find out where to draw the line, lest more lives are wasted.

Trump's Comments Urge Russia to Come Our Way

  Spoken like a true leader. 
   "We urge Russia to cease its destabilizing activities in Ukraine and elsewhere, and its support for hostile regimes, including Syria and Iran, and to join the community of responsible nations in our fight against common enemies and in defense of civilization itself," President Trump said, in a speech in Poland.

The Will to Fight is the Will to Win


The will to fight is the will to win.

If you have the will to fight, you have the will to take the punishment, the pain, and the pounding. Almost by definition, to fight means to give your best effort. And, if you give your best effort, if there is a win to be had, you will find it.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

I am a Patriot without Guns

   Guns = Patriotism, Patriotism = Guns.
   That is not my belief, but I wonder whether some people's version of patriotism is just this. They don't discuss or consider patriotism without guns being part of the equation.
   Now, it took guns and cannons and fighter jets to win our wars -- no doubt. I do not question whether guns have a role in patriotism. Rather, it is the ownership of guns by common citizens that I say does not in and off itself qualify you as a patriot.
   I find myself trying to write a song.
   
    "I am a patriot,
   "I am a patriot,
    "I am a patriot without guns."
 
    "None in my den,
  "None in my mancave,
    "None in my office,
  "And, none in the wall stache-stave."

    "No, no, no . . . 
  "I am a patriot without guns."
    "No, no, no . . .
  "I am a patriot without guns."
    "No, no no . . .
  "I am a patriot without guns."




Simple Measures could Sidestep Maybe 90 Percent of the Threats

  I hail the interestingly-sounding Promoting Good Cyber Hygiene Act of 2017, which was introduced in the Senate by Utah's Orrin Hatch and Massachusetts's Ed Markey. The bill would direct the establishment of best practices and good "hygiene" measures for computers.
   Simple things, like installing reputable antivirus software, updating the software, not opening unknown emails, backing up your computer, etc. It is suggested that 90 percent of the computer viruses could be avoided if we followed such simple measures.
   I continue to think we need to step up our efforts against cybercrime. I have learned that there is a department within the FBI tasked with fighting cybercrime, the Cyber Division, created in 2002. Is it doing enough? My feeling is that it is not. We still lack a police or investigative agency we can go to when hit by cybercrime, one where we cannot only file a report, but expect an investigation and have hope the criminals will be prosecuted.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Knee-High Concrete Barriers Would Reduce the Risk of Such Attacks

   When you can take away a criminal's weapon, you take it away. As I hear how a car sped down a sidewalk in Salt Lake City tonight, killing one and injuring at least six others, I wonder anew why we don't build knee-high concrete barriers along our busier sidewalks.
   We live in a copy-cat society. As word spreads of killings such as this, we are seeing more of them. If, however, we constructed barriers, it would take this weapon away from assailants.

Those from Mexico helped Me Celebrate the Fourth of July

   Last night as I drove past the labor camp in Paul, Idaho, a feeling surged over me of how these people were what America is about, and what patriotism is about.
   So, I returned. Even as I had passed the camp last night as I arrived in my hometown for the 4th of July, even so I passed back by it on my way back out of town tonight. I stopped, this time, looking for someone to talk to.
   And, I spotted a young couple, teenagers, sitting on the lawn. I got out of my car and approached them, and the brief conversation went something like this:
  "Are you from Mexico?" I asked.
  "I am," replied the male.
   "I just want to thank you, as my way of celebrating the Fourth of July, for coming to America and contributing to our economy," I said.
    America is a melting pot of immigrants. Somewhere back there, each of us has an ancestor who came to this country. Many, such as those in the Paul labor camp, are not well to do. They are workers, hard workers. Is there a more meaningful way of building a nation than through sweat and hard work? The workers of America are what makes it great, the simple, common folk.
   The Mini-Cassia area, where I grew up, has a large share of people from Mexico. We watched the parade while there, and a large number of those in it were Hispanic, some riding dancing horses, some marching for various causes.
    I sat next to others of them.
   All were welcome to me. I was grateful to be celebrating my Fourth with them, for they represent a lot of what is good about America.

   

Monday, July 3, 2017

Now We have Legislation We Don't need, and it's in all 50 States

 The finger of the the lobbyist is no where more evident than it is in the world of barbering. I think of this: that with way clippers are designed, with attachments that make it somewhat impossible to give an uneven cut, yet we somehow think it necessary to require everyone to have a license.
   How did that come about?
  You have to get 1500 hours (depending on the state) in a barbering school before you can take the state exams to get a license. All 50 states require licenses (though, I don't know if they all require barbering school).
   That's all 50 states. Nary a one thinks it too much regulation.
   The spread of communicable diseases is one of the reasons behind the call for licensing, yet I wonder if all the states makes it a law that the cutters must be disinfected after each use. The laws seem more aimed at training in how to cut than in training in how to avoid communicable diseases.
   Now, here's what I see: There are two beneficiaries of these laws, two parties that benefit from our requiring licensing: One, the barbering schools. Would they even exist if people were not required to attend them in order to become barbers? Two, the other beneficiary is the existing barbers. If it is difficult to get into barbering, there will be less competition, The existing barbers do not need to fear so much competition.
   I think it very clear, that when the licensing laws were created in each of the states, lobbyists for the barbers plead their cause before the various state legislatures. I think it very clear that when they got the legislation passed in one state, they went to the next, until they had achieved their goal in all 50 states.
 

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Do We Fly to Pieces Like Glass When Things don't Fit Our Politics?


I finish a discussion and come over to my computer and open to the Facebook page of a group called LDS Prophecy and Gospel Discussions. The page's background has a quote from Joseph Smith that, "some . . . will fly to pieces like glass as soon as anything is contrary to their traditions." I think of the discussion I just had. We discussed whether health care should be open to all. We considered whether having food to eat was a right. We considered which answers were socialism. If we give everyone health care, is that socialism? If we make sure everyone has food, is that socialism?
I concluded that giving everyone health care might well need socialism, if the free enterprise system is not providing it. If that is what it takes, I suggest we do it. If the alternative is letting people go to their death beds, we should provide them assistance, anyway, regardless if it is socialism. He who stops from helping someone because he fears it will be socialism is not thinking correctly. Do what is right, regardless the politics.
After my discussion ends, I open this page to read Joseph's thought, that people cannot handle things that are contrary to their traditions. Some of us are conservatives and some of us are liberals. I just wonder if we let our traditions (our politics) sometimes get in the way of our doing the right thing.
The fuller quote from Joseph Smith is, "I've tried . . . to get the minds of the saints to receive the things of God; but we frequently see some of them . . . will fly to pieces like glass as soon as anything is contrary to their traditions."
I do not say this quote means we should have socialized medicine. I would like to think we do not need that. But, I do not think we should avoid socialized medicine just because it is socialized medicine. We should consider the issue on its own merits, without regard to which box it will fall in, and whether that box is socialism. To do otherwise is to let our traditions govern our decisions. It is flying to pieces as soon as anything is contrary to our traditions (our politics).

Saturday, July 1, 2017

A man on the run will fall 

quicker than a man 

who faces the fight.







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