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The Innate Violence of Governance in America

The case of Payette County, Idaho resident Alma Hasse, highlights the increasing lack of transparency, innate corruption and growing routine violence exerted against any citizen who attempts to peaceably petition or protest their government and its actions.  Combined with the growing routine militarization of police and their training, the basic lack of respect for individual rights that training and practice initiates, is making cases like Alma’s almost a daily occurrence across America.

Alma was arrested on alleged “trespassing” (a charge that wouldn’t fly and the county is currently trying to make-up something else) and contempt charges at a public meeting on Oct. 9th and held for a week at the county jail.  What did Alma, a law-abiding longtime county resident, farmer and grandmother do?  She had the temerity to say “Excuse me,” and ask for a “point of order” at a Payette county commission hearing on Oil and Gas development regulations.

I’ve personally spoken to Alma and we’ve exchanged a few emails over the last several months on the issue of fracking and O&G development in Payette and Gem Counties.  Alma is a dedicated “fracktivist,” as the media loves to call those with an environmentalist bent, against fracking.  I largely disagree with her environmental positions on the issue.  I believe the best approach is to stick with overturning the fundamental property rights abuses that current O&G development practice have allowed under legislation passed in 2012 in the Idaho statehouse.

The subsequent rulemaking this year by the O&G Commission pursuant to that and other legislation has compounded the problem by writing the lease acquisition and development rules to the extreme advantage of the O&G drillers and producers and large landowners, at the expense of small private landowners and rights holders.  The protection of property rights for all owners and holders of those rights should be paramount, not just to large landowners and rights holders.  Government and the law especially should not favor private producers and drillers over the small rights holders.  Yet, currently it does.

So while Alma, environmentalists and fractivists have entirely different approaches, we agree that the processes involved, with regard to government in regulating the activities, must be lawful, objective and fair to all parties.  When government favors some private parties and entities over any individual rights, the process and system is innately corrupted.  In any and all cases, private citizens have the right to peaceably assemble and object to the behavior of government officials, procedures and actions.

They also should expect that no government, at any level, has the power to arrest and incarcerate law-abiding citizens for simply objecting in a public hearing and asking for a point of order.  It’s amazing that so many people don’t realize the innate violence of such government behavior.  For heaven’s sake, these thugs took a week out of her life to sit behind bars in a dirty jail cell.  Took her freedom, her liberty and her dignity.  They did it to Alma for a week at the whim of a County Commissioner so people think “no big deal.”  I say, “let’s do it to them” and see what they say!

A friend, Lee Rice, was subjected to even more violent behavior on a bogus traffic stop in 2011.  Watch the video at the link and be appalled.  Lee was severely injured in the takedown.  It is a complete lack of respect for individual rights on the part of the officers that don’t use their brains because the training over-rides all like Pavlov’s dog.  The common idea that everyone has to immediately comply with every order of a uniformed government thus, when no laws are being broken, is a new and frightening phenomena in America.  It would have never been tolerated two generations back.  It must be heavily resisted now.

The increasingly Orwellian and dictatorial behavior of government bodies and the policing power is Un-American, against freedom and liberty and is steadily destroying the Republic.   I may not agree with Alma Hasse but as peaceful, law-abiding citizens we all have the incontrovertible right to seek redress and voice our objections.  Our government, at all levels, is increasingly moving towards a “Hunger Games-like” scenario from total lack of government transparency, routine surveillance of the population to egregious violations of civil and individual rights by violent militarized police.  There are consequences to such behavior.

Alma Hasse and many like her are the canaries in the coal mine that should set off alarm bells all across the country and in every American’s mind.  President Kennedy stated it well when he said, “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.”  More recently Claire Wolfe stated it more directly, “America is at that awkward stage.  It’s too late to work within the system to fix anything and too early to start shooting the bastards.”

If the bastards keep going in the direction they’re currently heading some day, sooner than most think, they will arrive at the destination everyone fears.  If everyone keeps sitting on the couch and doesn’t join Alma, Lee, me and the small number of others out there fighting to protect all of our rights, one day soon they’re coming for you, too.   Pericles, a famous Greek statesman, 2500 years ago knew the score when he wrote, “Just because you do not take an interest in politics doesn’t mean politics won’t take an interest in you. ”

What will YOU do then, when it’s too late?

First Comes “The Wave,” Then Comes The Cave

Let’s not mince words here.  Last Tuesday’s election was a blow-out for the Republicans.  Well, at least for those who voted.  President Obama, his policies and leadership were thoroughly trounced by  a so-called “wave election.”  However, Republicans should also not fool themselves that the latest re-arrangement of deck chairs means much of anything will change in the next two years.  There is nothing in this election that says “America Wins.”  This was the lowest turn-out election, at 36.4%, since 1942!!  There was no “shift to the right” in the country.   It was more like very few were able to “shift off the couch” to get out and vote.   The political class is just playing musical chairs in Washington.

With that turn-out Republicans retook the Senate and the Governorships with the votes of a little bit more than 18% of the registered electorate, on average.  Since 31% of the adult population never registers to vote even once that means that less than 13% of the eligible adult population decided this election.  Wave election?  What utter Bullroar!  What a democracy we’ve got, eh?

Unfortunately, many of those folks (the couch potatoes) WILL likely come out in much larger numbers to vote in 2016 as they did in 2008 and 2012, particularly as more chaos ensues in 2015 and 2016.  If the Repubs get nothing done in the next two years, they’ll be toast AGAIN.  They’ve got just two years until the next “wave” comes along.  Good luck with that!  With lots of bluster and false flourishes we’ll soon see again that neither Republican or Democrat “waves” have any real impact on changing the rate of growth of government, the federal budget or Washington’s control of the economy and the country.  Capitol City is in control throughout the federal districts.

Republicans trying to claim otherwise are engaging in nothing but smoke and mirrors.  The only thing proved in this election, across the nation, is that Republicans won.  However, not conservatives.   IN THIS Republican Party that’s a severe and clear distinction.  Maybe 2016 will prove to be the time for that once-in-100-years 3rd party wave.  I guess only if Americans with some real cojones get off the couch.

In the meantime, ObamaCare will not be repealed (though the Supreme Court may knock it down a few notches), the budget will not be cut, no government programs will end.  Debts will continue to spiral,  the currency, commodity and equity markets to oscillate all over the landscape and, meanwhile, the false recovery to sputter out into the next big downslide.

But please take note from 2008:  Has any debt been reduced?  Any liabilities cleared?  Any jobs returned?  NO?   Then where does recovery come from other than falsified statistics, outright lies and verbal sleight-of-hand?  Where, in fact, has anything been fixed or government reduced in the last 40 years by this crazy see-saw of so-called “wave elections?”

Our overseas interventions and deployments will continue apace wherever the President deems necessary and the “War Lovers” of the Left and Right collude in Congress to allow it.  Our forces will remain dangerously spread out and overextended around the world meddling in countries where we should have never been in the first place.  Especially not for most of the last century.  We are now dangerously close to having the whole mess collapse around our ears in the form of unrelenting “blowback.”  And where will the money come from for that?  While the beat goes on…

In my home state of Idaho, possibly the worst candidate Republicans have ever put up for statewide election barely won a narrow victory over her Democrat opponent in the State Superintendent of Public Instruction race.  The incumbent Governor, along with nearly every other Republican establishment hack in the state, won re-election.  Idaho will remain dependent on 35+% of it budget from federal spending.  We will remain at or near dead last in almost any important category of economic, educational and independent indicator of freedom.  The state will remain  an 86,000 square-mile federal reservation and the beat goes on…

All the silly trumpeting going on by mainstream Republicans and a few rockhead “conservatives” will not make it much past March, 2015 as ongoing reality continues to crash the Party.  Americans will see for the umpteenth time how badly served they are by both sides.  Will they repeat the insanity again or perhaps finally wise up and actually change direction.  There is little time to move away from the conventional wisdom, status quo thinkers dragging us to our doom in this country.  Stay tuned…..

Can We Afford Not To Profitably Develop Near Space?

Last week’s dual tragedies for the commercial space industry once more have tongues wagging on “how risky” spaceflight is and questioning whether private companies should be in the business.  The answer to that couldn’t be a more emphatic “YES!”  I was happy to see Richard Branson, who owns Virgin Galactic, partner and parent to the venture, echo that sentiment.

First came the explosion of Orbital Sciences’ Antares launch vehicle just off the pad at the Virginia Launch site.  Three days later  Scaled Composites  SpaceShipTwo suffered a catastrophic engine failure and crashed in the Mojave Desert, in California, killing one pilot and severely injuring the other.  Immediately that set-off the ignorant and supporters of government space programs who, of course,  make no mention of how many rocket and spacecraft explosions have occurred and continue to occur during the entire history of spaceflight development.  Or the number of aircraft failures still occur after more than 100 years of aviation.

The criticism is not only extremely misguided but actually dangerous to all of mankind’s future.   Relying on government space endeavors, regardless of their success or failure, is ultimately a losing proposition and is the ultimate risk to the development of near AND deep space.  Notice I did not mention the word “exploration.”  That’s because exploration is an automatic byproduct of commercial development as it always was in the history of opening new frontiers.

Why did the early explorers, do most of their exploration?  For resources and trade goods, not research and development.   The Spanish and other european explorers were looking for spices, trade goods and gold.  The “Mountain Men” were looking for fur pelts and metals.  The pioneers were looking for good land to farm.   The first goal and endeavor in opening new frontiers was typically an economic one.

If spaceflight, and particularly manned spaceflight, is left to government it will never get much past the research and development and early exploratory stage.  That’s the main reason the moon still sits vacant and undeveloped 40 years since the last NASA mission there.  NASA Manned Spaceflight has truncated commercial manned and unmanned spaceflight, merely by its existence, thereby relegating it to low earth orbit (LEO) for decades.

The internet is the best teacher here as to how and why full commercialization works so well.  From it’s inception in 1969 until commercialization began in 1984 (15 years) the internet developed and expanded very slowly as a government research and, then, operational enterprise.  By the time of it’s commercialization it had only grown to approximately 1100 total switching nodes and under 500,000 connected users.  It was only available within the agencies of government and a few outside contractors or researchers, kept under its watchful eye and away from the profit-making (sustainable) side.

In the next 15 years, after commercialization, the internet grew to approximately 155 million switching nodes and over 360 million users by 2000.  Total switching nodes today (another 15 years) is over 500 million  and the total user population by 2013 was over 2.8 billion.

For more than two decades this author has continually trumpeted the need for such ventures that can only be sustainable if they are made profitable, free from government interference and control.  Otherwise, left up to the vagaries of district politics, the government budget and fiscal cycle, no venture can survive  very long term as a government project.  It will eventually die on the vine as has the NASA space program.

If made or kept as in-house government programs, very few of the best inventions and technologies would have proliferated very far.  Not electrical power, radio/TV, automobiles or airplanes and the aviation industry.  Most of us would still be lighting kerosene lamps or reading by the fire and walking or riding horse or carriage to town to take the train across country.  Contemplate that for a couple minutes.  The same applies to space development.

However, there’s another little talked about imperative involved for generating the long-term profitable and sustainable development of near-space:  Survival of the species.  In two more recent articles, here and here, I posited some of the imperatives surrounding the issue of survival.  We waste an enormous amount of the energy, and productive wealth we do create, on war or destructive economic and social policies.  Some of the worst practitioners of that destruction surround energy and environmental policy.

The example best used here is in the lack of development in the area of 4G nuclear power.  Fourth generation reactors offer, by far, the best way to eliminate carbon-based energy production.  Whether one believes in Anthropogenic Climate Change or not is irrelevant.  From every objective criteria, 4G nuclear power is the only current and available long-term solution that will get us to a near carbon-free world safely, reliably, cheaply and within a reasonable time-frame.  There are many similar examples where subjective and irrational political agendas are greatly diminishing mankind’s chances for survival.

Taken together, there are a few very simple but enormous fundamental steps that must be undertaken.  Not to save the planet, for planet earth will continue on, just fine, far into the future whether we’re still on board or not.  This effort is to  save and keep Mankind from becoming extinct through a series of those “very simple but enormous fundamental steps” not being taken.

  • The encouragement and actual reform of every level of government; local, state and federal to reflect universal liberty and minimum government interference beyond essential domestic protections and defense from any outside aggressor.   The elimination of top-down structures of government control.
  • Protecting and maintaining the necessary communications platform in place through the global internet.  It only need continue to expand and advance as it already has without any further government interference.
  • A stable, readily available, cheap and endless energy source in 4G nuclear power, which is the basic fuel to the economic engine that can drive all other endeavors.
  • A large-scale, near-space development and commercialization program independent of government that can replace the extraction of key terrestrial metals, rare earths and elements necessary to maintain modern technologic infrastructure.
  • The encouragement of similar steps by every other developed or emerging nation now developing.

 

Those five steps comprise nearly everything needed to keep mankind from destroying itself and preparing for much larger challenges of survival.  They are the key items for prospering in a far greater civilization than any of our ancestors had ever even contemplated.  Can we afford to continue to ignore them?

Tough Days….The Confessions of a “New Conservative”

Wow!  I found out how tough it is to be a real conservative these days.  I got purged-off the “East Idaho Conservatives” Facebook page this morning.  It seems that being an actual conservative is not allowed, especially  if one is stupid enough to write about actual conservatism, in the various debate threads and topics on the page.  The main faux pas committed was likely suggesting that real conservatives might want to vote the Libertarian Party candidate for Governor, John Bujak, instead of the Republican Party offering of a third term for incumbent Governor “Butch” Otter.

Governor Otter and his side-saddle partner in crime (also euphemistically known as “politics”), Lt. Governor Brad Little (yes, in Idaho we actually have the “Little-Otter” ticket to contemplate!) have spent a near-lifetime in politics and it shows.  While insuring to always mouth the platitudes of Red (meat) statism, there’s never been a federal dollar they could turn down.

Especially not, if it means Idaho biologists get to study the poop of misplaced wolves, fondle the tail feathers of grouse and read the entrails and manure of dead cattle that (horror of horrors!) had the temerity to feed on a blade of federally-controlled grass!  Let’s not forget all those hundreds of millions of dollars  and jobs we receive to insure the National Forest Service burns down the forest.  Or, the money flowing in to rebuild all those expensive rural homes Idahoans are stupid enough to keep building anywhere outside Treasure Valley!  Just look at all that great economic opportunity Little-Otter bring home to Idaho!

And oh lordy, lordy, don’t talk about the Governor and Republican legislature “pulling a Bush” and setting up a state health exchange like Bush 43 and that Republican congress who gave us “No Child Left Behind” and a Prescription Drug benefit.  Or, Little-Otter’s support of Common Core curriculum, losing $14million of federal funds because of contract malfeasance, the CCA prison scandal, etc. etc.  All blasphemy!  Bringing up such inconvenient truths is like pointing out the horror of the Algore ManBearPig to a Progressive.

I undoubtedly  had a “wide-stance” moment I should have kept to myself when I called for former US Senator Larry Craig to be booted off the Idaho GOP Executive Committee for also having the ‘misfortune’ of being cited for misusing campaign funds for personal use.  It was probably bad form to also suggest that newly-elected Idaho state GOP Chairman Stephen Yates ask Craig to resign after appointing him to the position of Treasurer.  After all, he seems to have such acumen with cross-appropriating money.  The Idaho GOP probably needs some of that right now.

Maybe it’s time I reconsider my whole outlook as a real conservative.  This whole “real conservative” thing is such a drag.  Maybe, it’s time to just give in and become a mainstream conservative.  Or, better yet a full blown “New Conservative” and get ahead of the game!  That way by the time ‘mainstream’ conservatives realize that they’re as far off the mark as they got me to realize I was being a real conservative.  Yeah, yeah, that’s the ticket!   Once they catch on they’ll switch too, like I should have switched, to being a New Conservative.  Gosh, this political discipline stuff is easier than I thought!

Sooo, on the way to my local Mosque ( I went down to join, so I could finally learn the ‘religion of peace’ and take their course in “Practicing Safe Sex With Your 72 Virgins”),  I stopped in to the local Chipotle  to get my daily dose of Commie philosophy on a bag (“Hope that, in the future all is well, everyone eats free, no one must work, all just sit around feeling love for one another.” – George Saunders).  While reading my little brown bag (Brilliant! Like Mao’s Little Red Book….) to fully absorb this taste of mundane nirvana it struck me as to what a fool I’ve been all my life.

Being an actual native-born American citizen of any background has become such a drag and an increasing liability.   I’m thinking of also giving up citizenship to become “undocumented.”   I likely can get more benefits from the state that way and now I’m considered politically correct from the get-go.   Can I get a fist bump for that?

Perhaps better, especially if I ever want to run for public office, I’m thinking of divorcing my wife, Colette, of 34 years and going over to the Gay Side.    Holy Cow, I’m really advancing the cause of conservatism, now!  Larry Craig is actually ahead of his time.   Gay is highly fashionable and soon everything will be gay, kind of like all restaurants are Taco Bell in the futurist-satirical movie “Demolition Man.”   Maybe it wasn’t satire.  A gay, undocumented, commie Muslim is the New Conservatism!

Oh wait….to do this right I also need to become black.  Black is the new white as our magic african-caucasian President has shown us!  Everyone knows that African-Americans can’t possibly be conservative, especially if they’re really black.  Liberals have shown us it’s not in their DNA.  Check out my new persona in the image at the top.  Does it work for you?

I think those East Idaho Conservatives are on to something! They’re pretending to be conservatives.   The way to become the New Conservative of the future is to become a secret Liberal and vote for Republicans-In-Name-Only (RINO).  That’ll drive the Liberals back into to their secret caves!  Oh, they’ll tell you they’re all about conservative, though,  cause they believe in the Constitution.  Well, at least, until they don’t.

Ok, so a gay, black, undocumented, commie Muslim is a shoe-in for political tolerance in our future.  Yep,   I think I got this all figured out.

The Need For All States to Decriminalize Marijuana Use and Distribution

Marijuana (MJ) and its derivatives have been the subject of social, legal and cultural policy initiatives in the United States for most of the last century. Almost all coming from the Prohibition perspective. First, emanating from various legal policies born in the 1920s and 30s, created out of racial prejudice, ignorance, bureaucratic hubris and arrogance. Next, through social and cultural upheavals in the 60s, the failed and bankrupt “War on Drugs” via the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) beginning in the 70s and 80s. The history of negative policy initiatives surrounding Marijuana distribution and use have universally been a running disaster.  After spending hundreds of billions of dollars the unintended consequences just keep on coming; economically, socially, culturally and politically.  It’s time to stop doing all the wrong things.  They don’t work.

Many Mistakes in “Social” Policy

Implementing a subjective morality as law is a mistake in America but has not seemed to hinder its attempted practice over and over again, with excessive damage done each time.. Similar to alcohol, marijuana prohibition has always been a mistake, the same as various other legislative substance/behavior social experiments throughout the 20th century. It breaks a simple and fundamental philosophy of governance: “No government should (or, by right, can) be authorized to do anything no individual would not or should not do coercively to another citizen in a free society.” Especially not for a behavior or activity that is only potentially and primarily harmful to the individual.

Humans of one minority simply do not always do what they are commanded to do, by government or other minorities or even majorities, if they either desire not to follow those commands or believe those commands are in error and no actual crime (objective harm) is involved.  It is an inherent part of human nature, in so many areas, that has not changed for thousands of years. It is also a demonstrably failing, if not completely failed, policy strategy.  Rule of Law and its application must always be objectively common to all, if it is to be adhered to, effective and successful. Further, no majority can constitutionally or rightly vote to do away with the rights of any minority, even though they may try again and again.

The social and cultural cost of the War on Drugs has compounded the fiscal and financial costs. Numerous government and independent studies have clearly shown that law enforcement actions of the last 45 years have simply failed to reduce their distribution and use; both among youth and the adult population. In fact, the opposite is true. Driven by the profits of black market economics also increases distribution incentives and heightens potency.  At the same time, physician-aided and self-medication has increased in the population, primarily through big pharma and prescription pharmaceuticals.  Against that backdrop, the costs are supremely evident in our judicial and “corrections” system incarceration rates as well as in our families and communities integral social and cultural breakdown.

As a natural black (more correctly “alternative”) market consequence, the distribution and use of all types of so-called “illicit” substances has not been reduced but expanded, the opposite of what the proponents of prohibition always promise. That is the nature of prohibition; generating the expansion of alternative markets where none were seen previously.  The moral hazards presented also cause additional breakdown in previously “responsible” behaviors, i.e., the prescription drug ‘epidemic.’

It is also evident in the broad-scale militarization and expansion of the “law enforcement” role of policing and the growing reduction and corruption of the “peace-officer” function. The expansion of Civil Asset Forfeiture (CAF) laws and their execution has only further exacerbated that process in the corruption and harm to civil society due to the introduction of additional moral hazard to policing.

Beginning with the Medical Marijuana (MMJ) movement of the last decade or so, among the several states, a certain inertia has taken hold promising to finally break the long deadlock on the issue of Marijuana use and distribution. Now, movement towards full decriminalization/legalization in other states has once again sparked debate as to what to do.

There is voluminous anecdotal documentation on the various medical uses and efficacy of various extracts of Cannabis. Expansive and inclusive scientific medical studies are mostly just getting underway in the US as those studies were previously prohibited along with its use by the citizens. Consequently, the largest body of documented studies come from international sources.  

The largest such example, Portugal, has decriminalized almost entirely all illicit drug use.  That has resulted in a 50% reduction in the addiction rates of the most addictive substances.  .Drug abuse is treated as a health problem, not a criminal justice problem. Portugal’s experience parallels that anywhere de-facto or actual decriminalization occurs.  Decriminalization/legalization of “recreational” MJ in almost half the united States will only put additional pressure on any state remaining a prohibitive state as untenable.  They can choose to remain under prohibition but then must accept all the negative consequences that decision continues to carry.

Probably most egregious is how the cash crop of industrial hemp got caught up in this whole ridiculous “war on weed.” Here is a plant that only looks similar to medicinal and recreational marijuana while having none of the psychoactive properties. Yet it is classified as “illegal” to grow or possess, in plant form, and is also a Schedule 1 “drug.” It is potentially a tremendously profitable agricultural crop particularly in marginal soil and arid conditions. At minimum, industrial hemp should immediately begin decriminalization and deregulation in order to improve and increase farm income opportunities and for the various related industries that come from its commercial use.

Policy Considerations For States

With the areas above as the backdrop it should become obvious why any state that borders states that decriminalize or legalize, has to get out in front of the issue of Marijuana and Industrial Hemp decriminalization/legalization. Regardless of how any state’s elected officials and policy makers may currently feel one way or the other, decriminalization and legalization efforts are likely to proceed in the states around them. That will create many direct and ancillary problems for prohibition states, as it did after alcohol prohibition ended, and should form the basis for debate in the following areas:

  • Law Enforcement and Interdiction/Incarceration and Corrections

  • Civil Rights/Liberties Abuses and Civil Asset Forfeiture and Law Enforcement Corruption

  • Local, State Fiscal and Budgetary Considerations

  • Community and Social Implications of Municipalities with State Border Proximity and Through Highway/Interstate Connectivity

  • Decriminalization/Legalization Progression Within Prohibition States.  Decriminalization likely more attractive than Legalization

In the face of certain obvious realities the idea that any states have ever been or could become “drug-free” is a non-starter the same as the idea they had ever been or could become “alcohol-free.” Universal human behavioral traits dictate neither one is achievable or, in fact, even possible in virtually any sense.  At the same time, prescription drug abuse is as large or larger a problem, than alcohol abuse and far larger than marijuana abuse.  In fact, a number of international studies indicate that medical marijuana can effectively reduce the overprescription of pharmaceutical drugs in the areas of pain control, seizure disorders and certain psychiatric conditions, among others.

Ignoring or refusing to deal with such issues objectively and head-on in the coming decade will only insure that prohibitive states become unnecessarily more punitive to its own taxpayers and citizens.