01 October 2015

Why does she get a pass?

Hillary Rodham Clinton...

Some of you may think... "So?  They're just emails... Who cares if they are/were classified?"

Well here's what is such a big deal...

Take ANY member of the United States Military, DoD Civilian, State Department civilian etc...  Any one of them... 

Ask yourself what would happen to them in the same situation.

A military member would be arrested and charged under the UCMJ.

A government civilian would be terminated, or put on administrative leave and possibly arrested and charged.

Hillary?  The worst she gets is bad press.

Lets not make an argument that centers itself around the concept that divulging classified information puts lives in danger, even though it does.  Lets focus on the fact that so many of us, regardless of our political leanings, are sick and tired of double standards and we are tired of the political "elite" being able to get away with just about anything simply because they are in some position of power.

Clinton supporters need to get on board and call for an criminal investigation into Clinton's mishandling of classified information.  After all if a PFC would be prosecuted for it, she should too.

21 February 2015

Treasure Valley Road Ways: A Sensible Proposal

For all of us who live in the Treasure Valley, especially those of us on the western end of the valley, the condition of our infrastructure is undeniable.  The condition of I-84 between the Franklin exit in Caldwell and the Franklin exit in Nampa is of particular disrepair.  ITD seems to be exceptionally dysfunctional where it concerns the construction going on between the Meridian Road exit on I-84 and the Flying Wye in Boise.  I, like many others, complain about these issues constantly.  Here's the thing... If we are going to complain about it, then where are our solutions to these problems?  Where are our ideas for funding critical road projects?  Well, I have a couple, sensible suggestions ranging from funding to alleviating congestion on I-84 in Ada County.

Funding Infrastructure Projects

Tax burden is of particular concern to a vast majority of Idahoans.  According to a study completed by the Idaho State Tax Commission, Idaho has the 8th lowest tax burden in the nation.  As a native Idahoan, I do not want to see that change.  BUT, funding is needed, regardless.  That is why, for what its worth, I am calling on the Idaho State Legislature to consider instituting a toll way on I-84 between exit 27 in Caldwell and exit 57 in Boise.

Why toll-ways?

If you have ever been to the north eastern US, you'll find that toll-ways are a common occurance. The New Jersey Turnpike, for one, is a well known toll-way on I-95 running from the state line with Delaware to the state line with New York (Technically, the northern portion of the road is I-95 and runs parallel with I-295 much of the way).  This roadway system is well kept.  There are other toll-ways littered up and down the east coast.  Many of them are some of the best kept and nicest roadways in the area.

What does that mean for that 30 mile stretch between Boise and Caldwell?

1. Those who cause wear and tear are the ones paying for the upkeep of the road. Taxpayers do not foot a larger tax burden for upkeep of these roads.  You only pay for it if you use it (regardless of who you are or where your origin is). This has the potential to upset many who use I-84 for their daily commute to Boise or any other cities between Caldwell and Boise but doing this eliminates the need to raise the gas tax on the entire state (state funding for roadways is largely funneled to south west Idaho anyways and might make our fellow Idahoans in other parts of the state happier by re-routing a lot of those funds back into the roadways in their communities). 

2. With the institution of a toll-way, there is a likelihood of seeing a decrease in congestion on the interstate which, in-turn, decreases wear and tear and thus ensuring a better kept roadway.

3. What about other through ways like State highways 55, 44 etc or US 20/26?  Since a majority of traffic through the state goes through I-84 and especially that 30 mile stretch between Caldwell and Boise, funds going towards projects and upkeep are freed up for use on other roads.  It may also be worth while to consider instituting toll-ways through every large(er) population center along the I-84 corridor from Oregon to Utah as well as areas on I-15 and I-80.

4.  We're talking about politicians here...  Funds are always improperly allocated.  This is probably the greatest truth we as Americans know about our political system.  In our own state, there is one great exception, PERSI.  State law prohibits legislators from tapping into PERSI and taking its funding away.  State legislators can be imbued with the same resolve.  Funds for tollways can only come from the funds collected on the same toll-way.  Make it law and those roadways have a permanent funding source.

5. Yeah, but it's going to cost a lot to implement before it starts to pay off.  Well, yeah, duh.  Sometimes it takes a few years to start to see the pay off on a positive change, but make no mistake, valley residents would see a massive, positive, change to their roadways.

6.  But I'll have to stop and pay every time I decide to use the interstate.  That is false.  All toll-roads make available scanners placed in vehicles that allow for a per use charge to be automatically deducted from an account.  Many states call this an "EZ-Pass".  So, if you use the interstate frequently, you get one of these passes and you don't deal with the long line of vehicles waiting to pay their toll.  If you seldom use the interstate, you pay manually as you use it.

The fact is that many who are native to Idaho will not like to see portions of their interstate system turn into toll roads.  But the reality remains that this would mean that there is an increase in revenue for our crumbling infrastructure without a massive tax hike of $2/ day (like Compass Idaho suggests).

Traffic Congestion

Anyone who travels the east bound through Ada county in the mornings and west bound in the afternoons over the last year knows A LOT about headache, frustration and irritation regarding the idiotic implementation of the changes in traffic patterns between Meridian Road and the Flying Wye in Boise.  I have often asked myself who in the world is so incompetent that they would choke the area with the most traffic congestion in the valley and double, triple or quadruple commute times within the valley all because of a lack of foresight.  One might say "Well, it's got to get done!  Best to just rip the band-aide off and be done with it."  To that person I say, you're a fool.  There are ALWAYS better ways.  Permanent ways that can be used to alleviate traffic congestion on a permanent basis... not just through construction.

Hawaii has a rather large problem with traffic congestion on the island that is it's population center, Oahu.  Oahu has one interstate-like roadway system that could be considered the primary throughway system on that island, the H-1.  Heavy traffic flows, in the mornings, from the western side of the southern part of the island into Honolulu.  In the evenings, that traffic flows back from Honolulu to the western part of the island.  In order to alleviate congestion, they use something called a "zipper lane".  This zipper lane is a moveable barrier that opened up for east bound traffic in the mornings and west bound traffic in the afternoons.  The barrier closes a lane for light traffic heading in the opposite direction of heavy traffic, depending on the time of day, and opens an additional lane for heaving traffic.  So a four lane highway becomes a five lane highway.  Additionally, that extra lane of traffic becomes a high occupancy vehicle (HOV) lane.  Meaning, vehicles carrying 2 or more passengers or motor cycles are the only vehicles permitted to utilize that lane.  Essentially an express lane.  HOV lanes also have a side effect that can aid in the cost of upkeep on roadways; they help reduce wear and tear on highways.

For the valley's current situation, ITD could actually open an additional lane of traffic and prevent a massive bottle neck that has traffic getting backed up to the 10 Mile overpass in the mornings and open up a lane of traffic to alleviate pressure at the Flying Wye in the afternoons.

These are sensible solutions to a growing problem in the Treasure Valley.  It's easy to see how instituting these things would have a positive long reaching effect on our infrastructure and quality of life here in the treasure valley.  I'm interested to hear other's thoughts.  Be constructive; if you don't like these ideas, propose an idea that you think is better, otherwise don't bother... You're just a part of the problem.  Be a part of the solution and present your ideas.  Maybe we can make the Legislature listen.

29 January 2015

Compass Idaho: 2 Dollars a Day from Every Household in Canyon & Ada Counties can fix Treasure Valley's roadways

If you live in the Treasure Valley, maybe you've heard this little bit being advertised by the Compass Idaho Community Planning Association. The advertisement states that if every household in Canyon and Ada Counties contributed 2 dollars a day, then we could get all of our transportation infrastructure in the valley up to where it "should" be.

This irritated me for a number of reasons... 

First, 2 dollars a day is no small amount for the vast majority in the valley.  The median income for the Boise Metro Area is approximately $36,695 (this includes the counties of Ada, Boise, Canyon, Gem, Owyhee and parts of Elmore and Malheur, OR) .  For people making this amount, $60 per month or $730/ year is a lot to demand them to give up.

Second, the membership of this association is not fully representative of ALL in the valley.  There are population areas within the valley that are not listed in it's membership.  That begs the question as to why.  That's because many believe that the association solely reflects the interests of Ada county, alone and thus will not pay dues to them either.

Finally, what about the surrounding counties whose residents most certainly use our roadways to commute to work?  Payette, Owyhee, Gem, Elmore and Boise counties ALL have a large percentage of their residents who commute to Nampa, Caldwell, Meridian, Eagle and Boise for work.  Additionally, all these same residents travel to places like Nampa and Boise for their shopping needs.  Why does this organization believe that the burden for updating and upgrading our transportation infrastructure should rest solely on the residents of Canyon and Ada counties?

This is an example of the big guy bullying the little guys and not letting their voice be heard.  Another example of this kind of bullying is the creation of the College of Western Idaho (CWI), of which residents of Canyon County resoundingly defeated but because Ada has a larger population was able to approve and force higher taxes on the residents of Canyon County.  Ada county residents wanted this, Canyon County already had Treasure Valley Community College in Caldwell and didnt believe it needed CWI.  I digress...

The nation and, subsequently, our state face an infrastructure crisis.  Since legislators and congressmen/women are incapable of trimming the fat and curbing fraud, waste and abuse, they eye increasing our taxes.  Who is to say that the increase in taxes will actually go to fixing our nation/ state's infrastructure?  If we can't trust our government to properly allocate funds in the first place, then why should we allow them to dip into our pockets again when their wasteful spending practices are causing a shortage of funding?  The answer?  We shouldn't.  Demand our government be responsible!

18 September 2014

A little off topic...

When did the idea of freedom and independence become such a negative idea?

Scotland votes for independence today. Who do we see speaking out against it?  Our own president. 

We should always support a push by the people for freedom and independence.  The right to self government and self determination is universal and not up for debate.  If the people of Scotland wish to become independent, it is not our right to say otherwise.

I'm not going to pretend to know the issues surrounding the vote for independence for Scotland.  To me, the determination of the people to choose their own path and not have a group of people elsewhere determine their destiny.  Let the Scots make their own destiny. 

As an American of Scottish ancestry, I say let them do what they will.

Good luck Scotland!

01 September 2014

Open Carrying... When should we not?

So, I recently read an article from a non-aligned, citizen journalist detailing the mistreatment of a USAF veteran in Vancouver, WA.  The veteran was exercising his 2nd Amendment rights as a US citizen and acting within the confines of Washington state law.  What was he doing?  He was open carrying an AR-15 on a public street.

Lets lay out some facts in this case:

1) The 2nd Amendment states in no uncertain terms that the right to bear arms is universal to US citizens and cannot be infringed upon.  This means that ANY state or federal law that limits gun ownership is ILLEGAL. We all know that these illegal laws have been upheld by the SCOTUS.

2) Washington state law allows for the open carry of firearms.  So, no matter what, the former airman was well within his rights.

3) The VPD purposely antagonized this airman for exercising his rights.  When they knew they couldn't arrest him for exercising his rights, they then entrapped him by not allowing him to return to his vehicle.  Additionally, police were openly hostile.  Every one of the officers were willfully complicit.

Now... for the more controversial facts...

4) Gun violence is very real and there are two sides of this debate:

There ones who look at guns as the problem and would have every single one of them banned.


The ones who look at people as the problem.  Violence is in human nature, it is one of the most grotesque and disgusting attributes of humans.  Because of this, limiting or eliminating ownership of those with a high risk of re-perpetration of violence (criminals with violent records) or tendency towards violent mental instability is considered the best possible solution to the problem.

Then, there's the most controversial part of this...  An idea that has many responsible gun owners divided.

5) There is a belief held by many that there is no need to open carry a rifle, of any sort.  Even more controversial is the belief that anyone who does, is purposely trying to instigate a confrontation with LEOs for the purpose of making a political statement.  This belief becomes more founded when videos like this one of the former airman's encounter with VPD come out on YouTube.

It is important to note here that I am not arguing the legality of the airman's choice to open carry his AR-15.  His rights under the US Constitution and Washington state law are irrefutable.

What I AM arguing against is the way he carried out his rights.

Now, I'll be first to admit, I am judging him based upon what I see as irrefutable facts in this case.  He open carried this weapon in a city where, arguably, the sentiment against gun ownership overshadows the belief in favor of gun ownership.  The way he was carrying his camera indicated that he was expecting the confrontation.  To me, these are both irrefutable evidence that he was attempting to make a political statement.  If I'm right, he got what he deserved.  You don't poke a bear and expect to get away unscathed.

These "shock" tactics are on the rise and what it is doing is forcing business to take an anti-2nd Amendment stance in order to maintain their businesses and livelihoods.  I'm staunchly against these kinds of tactics.

These tactics HURT the pro-2nd Amendment movement.  It hardens the belief that 2nd Amendment supporters are crazy, inbred rednecks hell bent on bloody gun rampages.  We all know that couldn't be further from the truth.

Gun owners and 2nd Amendment supporters should all stand against these kinds of tactics.  There will always be those on the fringes of both sides of the debate, but if we can bring the majority of both sides back to the center of this debate by being sensible, we can turn public sentiment against the scare tactics of the anti-gun lobby.  Lets foster an open, hostility free, dialogue on the issue and win the debate through facts, not intimidation.

EVERYONE has a right to feel safe in their persons and property. Period.  If you bring a weapon into a private establishment, you are VIOLATING their rights to feel safe.  Lets face it people, not everyone is comfortable around a gun or any weapon of any kind.  That IS their right. If you want them to respect OUR right to own firearms, we MUST respect their rights, within reason, to be gun free.  How do we do this?  Concealed carry is the only way.

Remember, the facts ARE on our side!

08 July 2014

It's been nearly a year... Wow!

Yes, a year is way too long to go without posting. 

A lot has happened since July 2013.  So, I've got a few topics of interest to me that I hope to post about in the next few weeks.  Here are a few I'd like to touch on:

1) Open Carry: Yes, it's legal but is it appropriate to open carry any weapon you choose?

2) More corruption, more waste, same guy.

3) Pushing a narrative to precipitate political change.

4) Illegal Immigration: when compassion turns to lunacy.

5) Global War on Terrorism: the war that has been turned into a farce.

6) SCOTUS Hobby Lobby Decision: denial of essential health coverage or right to religious freedom?

Talk again soon! 

09 July 2013

Hailing Exceptional Public Service and Calling out the Corrupt

I would just like to take a few minutes of your time to hail the selfless public service of one man and call out the corruption of another.

I am from a small town in S.W. Idaho called Wilder.  This is the kind of small town America that is surrounded by farms and the principle industry is agriculture.  Those who work in Wilder support, in one way or another, the agricultural industry.

That is just a background on the community itself.

Now I would like to tell you a story...

There was a man who picked his family up and moved them to this small town.  He could have chosen to not become involved, but he didn't.  He went to work for his father, a Marine and a World War II veteran, in a machine shop that specialized in farm equipment repair.  This man fought tooth and nail to put food on the table and keep his children clothed and a roof over their heads.  Despite his busy life, he decided to serve his community by volunteering as a firefighter and further serve as a mayor.  He sacrificed much including time with his friends and family, but he sacrificed knowing that his work would help build a better community for his children.

As years went by, he chose to continue to serve his community both as a city official and a volunteer firefighter.  Twelve years he spent as mayor; leaving the position only because of moving outside the city limits.  His service did not end there.  He continued to work as a volunteer fireman and eventually rose to the position of Assistant Chief then ultimately Chief.  During his tenure, he can be single handedly credited with moving the Wilder Rural Fire District from the outdated and old into the 21st Century with the building of a state of the art Firehouse facility.   His work did not only focus on modernization, but also a solid vision for continuing a legacy of community building and protection.

But the vindictive, the jealous, the petty, the corrupt, and the deceitful always seek to destroy those who seek to build and rise to success.

That brings us to the story of the corrupt, the petty, the jealous.

Another man, a lesser man, always looking to the successful man and only feeling hatred and jealousy seeks to undermine.  Always nipping at the heals of the public servant's success.  Never being able to achieve what the greater man has always done.  Filled with greed for power, the lesser man spreads the seeds of dissent and lies in the ears of anyone who will listen.  Never grateful to the greater man for elevating him in the wake of the greater man's success.

The greater man never sought praise for the work he did.  He served because he loved his community.  When the lesser man started to spread his lies and evil, the greater man stood for the good of the community and the fire department and retired. He never once spoke ill of the lesser man.

The greater man was brushed aside by the petty, corrupt, jealous one and refused to acknowledge 27 years of selfless public service.  If one tried to acknowledge the greater man's public service, they were quickly silenced.

If you are from this community, you probably already know whom I speak of, in which case I call on you to praise this man's selfless public service and condemn the actions of the man that forced him to retire and the men who elevated him into the top position within the fire district.