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Hikers/Walkers Save the World from Litter

Hikers and walkers can save the world from litter. Here’s how: Whenever you walk or hike and see a piece of trash, if there is a trash receptacle within a reasonable distance, pick up the trash and deposit it in the receptacle. To be even more effective at this, buy one of those hand litter picker uppers at Target or Walmart. They are only a couple dollars and, if you carry a bag to put the trash in, what you can accomplish will be amazing. What if we all do this……………….a cleaner world awaits.

To Be Honest

How many times have you heard someone begin answering a question by saying “Well, to be honest” or “in all candor” or something similar? The only logical interpretation of such a response is that the person is not normally honest but will make an exception for this question. That may not be their intention, but my suggestion would be that we all speak honestly all the time so that none of us ever have to start the answer to a question with qualifying phrases like “to be honest.”

Traffic and speed cameras are good

Regarding the much hated and often vilified speed cameras and traffic cameras, the problem exists, as it does with many problems, because the government owns the roads. As a way of deciding whether these cameras make sense I often ask myself what kinds of procedures I would support if I owned the roads. I think we all know that one of the main danger factors in highway accidents is inconsistent speeds, not so much just high speeds. The cheapest and easiest way to monitor traffic behavior is with cameras, not full-time enforcement officers. If there were enough cameras to ensure that almost everyone who drove too fast or violated other traffic laws, would receive a citation, rather than the random system today which makes driving a matter of taking your chances, I think it would very quickly result in consistent driving and a dramatic reduction in accidents. Makes sense to me. I think that, if I owned the roads, that’s what I would do.

Abolish Private Prisons

I think we should abolish private prisons for these reasons: First, the criminal justice system is one of the very few areas of our society that is clearly a government responsibility. Second, part of the mission of prisons is punishment. Private operators have no incentive to accomplish this objective because they are motivated to keep things as calm as possible. Third, we should not have a prison operator who has an incentive to increase the number of prisoners. Private companies can certainly build prisons and even own them, but government employees should staff them.

Takeover of Afghanistan and the United States

While watching the news accounts of the situation in Afghanistan it is hard not to empathize with the Afghan people. The takeover of their country by the Taliban is almost as gut wrenching as the takeover of the United States by progressives.

Hot Topic: Hiking Restrictions

The restrictions being considered for Phoenix area hiking due to the heat are wrong. Every single person has a different ability and different limitations. Whether to hike in any conditions, heat, rain, thunderstorms, cold, etc., should be an individual decision, not government. There are obviously people who have health conditions that would make it inadvisable to hike at any time. Therefore, the next thing we should expect from our government nannies will be a requirement for a doctor’s authorization for anyone to hike.

A much better change would be a “user pay” approach, that is, charge people for rescues. The word will get around quickly and hotel concierges will start advising their health challenged guests to consider the conditions.

Water: We Won’t Run Out Unless……

Many articles are appearing in various media scaring those of us in the West into thinking we might run out of water. An Arizona State University researcher and one time director of the Arizona Department of Water Resources was recently quoted as saying “everybody thinks they’re special, but nobody is going to be very special when we run out of water.” This is typical of the scare tactics that are used to make us comfortable with more government regulation, which the scare mongers argue, is the only way to avoid such a calamity. Ironically, this is the only scenario in which we WILL run out of water. There is plenty of water on our planet. The problem is getting it to the people who need it. Sometimes this becomes expensive, and this is where market forces, not government, should be allowed to work. Just like any other commodity such as gold or silver or diamonds or rare earth metals, the mining and movement of water can be expensive. If market forces are allowed to work, then water will go to the highest and best uses. A side benefit is that conservation will also occur naturally as the price rises.

However, these beneficial effects of conservation through market pricing can be thwarted by government actions. If a law is passed that prevents water from being transported out of a certain place or to a certain place, this can cause a shortage. Or, if government imposes price controls, there may be uses which cannot occur at these lower prices. Or, if government decides that some uses are more important and should get preferences, this can make other uses uneconomical. Remember, in general, the only thing governments can do is stop you from doing what you want to do, force you to do what you don’t want to do, or eliminate some uses through price controls.

Water is a very precious commodity. Government’s role should be to ensure that there are no impediments to the operation of market forces. Henry David Thoreau said it best: Government never of itself furthered any enterprise but by the alacrity with which it got out of its way.

the new “Independent Republican Party”

Unfortunately, most Republicans today continue to be too dependent on former president Donald Trump, a person not worthy of emulating. For that reason, I have formed, and trademarked, a new organization called the “Independent Republican Party.” Any registered Republican is welcome to join. There are no dues. The only commitment required is standing up for traditional Republican principles and remaining independent of the influence of Donald Trump. It is important to take this action now because the Republican Party is losing its moral high ground by failing to censure Trump’s bad behavior. And, if anyone needs to be reminded of what principles we should stand for, they need only read “Conscience of a Conservative,” either the early edition by Barry Goldwater or the more recent one by Jeff Flake.

Come on, Republicans; in your heart you know he’s wrong.

What Guns Do I Really Need?

In the ongoing debate over gun control you often hear statements like “no one really needs an AK-47 or an AR-15” (these are usually mislabeled “assault weapons”) or “no one needs a 30-round magazine.” So, what guns do I really need? Since many people, if not most, buy guns for self-defense, I think it is instructive to ask what guns are needed by those who are charged with defending us. At the national level we have our military, and they think they need weapons like fighter jets and nuclear bombs. I agree. At the local level, our defenders are police and security guards. Hardly anyone would claim that they need fighter jets or nuclear bombs. The military think they need tanks and howitzers. I agree. Do police need these weapons? I say no. But our police forces in recent years have become militarized and there are some police forces who own these types of weapons. This is an alarming trend because, while the mission of the military is often to “kill people and break things,” the role of the police is to “serve and protect.”

To further this analysis, I like to revive the saying that clarifies why I need defensive weapons: “when seconds count, the police are often only minutes away.” Therefore, I would argue that a good way to answer the question of what guns I need is to ask what guns the police need so that I can successfully defend myself until they arrive. I have established the fact that police do not need nuclear weapons or tanks. What about grenade launchers or fully automatic weapons? Again, given the mission of the police, I would argue that they do not need these weapons. Therefore, neither do I. What about handguns? It seems obvious to me that both police and security guards need these types of weapons. Therefore, so do I. But I cannot imagine why they would need 30-round magazines for these weapons. Therefore, neither do I.

Finally, we get to the toughest question. Do police need AR-15s? In the past, a few selected long guns for sniper kinds of activities and shotguns for closer range incidents were adequate. It seems to me that is still the case. Also, while I can certainly see the need for large capacity magazines for military soldiers, I cannot see that same need for police.

Therefore, I must conclude that people who purchase weapons for self-defense “need” weapons like handguns, shotguns, and rifles, but not AR-15s or large capacity magazines (or fighter jets or nuclear bombs or tanks or howitzers or grenade launchers).I hope my comments finally clarify this issue so there will not be a need for further debate.

Edward Snowden is a Martyr

I have recently learned that misdeeds of government officials are nearly impossible to expose. I learned this by reading Edward Snowden’s book “Permanent Record.” It was shocking. I was already familiar with Snowden’s story; that he had exposed the U.S. government’s mass surveillance program to collect nearly ALL communications by Americans, irrespective of whether these Americans were suspected of any wrongdoing and doing so without a specific court order. This practice must have been known by many senior government officials since two presidents lied about this to the American people, George W Bush, and Barack Obama. James Clapper, former Director of National Intelligence even lied about it under oath to a congressional committee.

Edward Snowden released information that exposed the lie. I had always assumed that similar “whistle blowers” could be relied on to do the same whenever there was serious malfeasance by government officials. But what shocked me after reading Snowden’s book was his outlining, in great detail, the extreme difficulty in getting information out to the public about such malfeasance. As a result, I now fear there is much more that the public does not know about such malfeasance. We need to encourage and support whistle blowers like Snowden, not threaten them with life in prison.