April 23, 2015

What is the proper level of government?

Posted in Politics tagged , , , , at 12:30 am by gruundehn

There are four levels of government, five is some people get their way, and of those four one is somewhat optional. There is the Federal level, the State level, the County level and the city or town level. Of those the last does not have to exist and even the county level may not exist in certain States. (And yes, I know about Parishes in Louisiana which are the County equivalents) either because the State is too small or too underpopulated. So which level should be the most important?

Let us start with the State level since the States are the building blocks of this nation. It is the States, after all, that approved the US Constitution and must approve any amendments to it and the States which much approve the Federal Government obtaining any land within their borders. Should the State be the most powerful level of government? The arguments for considering the State level to be the most powerful is stated in the previous sentence. But the argument against is that, just like the Federal Government, the State government can be too remote and out of touch. How many people are willing to travel to their respective State capitol to complain to demand action? How many are willing to write letters or email or otherwise communicate with the State government? Yes, the same argument can be made for any level of government, I have no idea when I last had any dealings with the Tucson city government, but the further away the government seems the more likely it is that people will not deal with it.

County governments are more accessible, for the most part, than the State or Federal governments and more likely to pay attention to anything a person brings to them. After all, I am one of 312 million people in America, 1 of 6 million is Arizona and 1 in slightly less than 1 million in Pima County. And while I am 1 in a smaller number in the various political districts, for example I am 1 in about 200,000 in District 5 in Pima County and I do not know the population of Ward 6 in Tucson, of Legislative District 9 in Arizona, or Congressional District 2 in Arizona but they are smaller than the totals for the City, County, or State as proper.

At the State or Federal level special interests are too powerful. Yes, everybody is guaranteed access to the government, but special interests can afford to have someone at the Federal or State level constantly influencing the bureaucrats and legislators. Trying to keep lobbyists in each of the approximately 3,100 counties would be prohibitive. Thus an individual would hve a better chance of making a case at the county level without having to fight a special interest trying to get special favors.

The more centralized the power structure, the more benefit there is in being able to influence it. With the Federal Government grabbing as much power as it has, and I would argue that this grab was done unconstitutionally, it pays the special interests very handsomely to become cronies with the Federal bureaucracy. If the power devolves to the State governments then it would become more expensive to initiate cronyism but since not every State will need to be lobbied on every issue, the cost might be still affordable. Devolving the power to the County governments increases the expense of lobbying, even accepting that not every county will need to be lobbied on every issue, to something that probably could never be affordable.

While every county is not going to need to be lobbied on every issue, lobbyists depend upon constant, or near-constant, contact with the bureaucracy to have influence. If the bureaucrat knows the lobbyist from frequent meetings, and the lobbyist offering to help with complicated regulations – indeed perhaps even crafting them and just presenting them to the bureaucrat, then the bureaucrat is more favorable to the special interest, that is just Human nature. No special interest can afford to maintain over 3,100 lobbyists on the off chance that one or more might be needed on some issue. In order to maintain lobbyists at each County just in case the special interests are going to have to combine in order to save money. Which might work, until two or more special interests funding a lobbyist are in conflict with each other. And that will happen. If one or more special interests hires another lobbyist then they are forfeiting the good will the lobbyist has built up and are at a disadvantage to the other special interests. The agreements between the special interests concerning the lobbyists might rival the complexity of Late Medieval Feudal contracts where a knight owed feudal allegiance to more than one lord. The special interests might not be crippled but they will come close.

Thus, I believe that the County level should be the most powerful level of government. And not because I trust them more than I trust the other levels of government but because one level must be more powerful and the County is the level I believe can operate best and take care of the people best with the least chance for acting against the people (not that the chance is small in any event, it is just smaller at this level).

April 20, 2015

3rd Sunday of Easter, 2015

Posted in Personal tagged , , , at 1:08 am by gruundehn

The Bishop of Arizona, Kirk Smith, visited Grace-St. Paul’s today. Part of his duties is to visit each parish at least once a year. Since there are more than 52 Episcopal parishes in Arizona he sometimes makes his visit during the workweek and sometimes on Sunday. Everything I know about this bishop leads me to believe that he does a lot of work trying to make sure that things go smoothly and that problems are fixed as best as possible. Granted, I don’t have  a lot of experience with him other than when he visits and does the service but what little experience I do have and what I hear as gossip is favorable. There were quite a few people confirmed or received into the Episcopal Church as part of the service so it went very long. One other thing that the Bishop does is interact with the children of the congregation with his puppet. That part wasn’t as long as some previous times and because of my being an usher today I wasn’t able to pay a lot of attention to his presentation but I did notice that the children enjoyed it.

I saw both my regular doctor and the surgeon this last week. I’m doing all right I guess, I don’t feel like I am getting worse which is something. As I often say: I don’t mind getting old, I mind getting decrepit. I think I am ready to start my walking again and get rid of some of this excess weight I have – which might reduce my diabetes and thus the medicines I have to take.

I was usher at the Memorial Service for Kaye Bernard. I knew Fred more than I knew her but it was still not a fun time for me. I don’t like funerals and I don’t plan on attending my own. I do want a drunken brawl at my funeral though, even if it is something stages and done for laughs. Maybe I’ll schedule a bunch of clowns to perform at the funeral.

If you wish to do so, please pray for: Katharine the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, Kirk the Bishop of Arizona, Steve and the other clergy at Grace-St. Paul’s Episcopal Church; for those in the military, especially those in combat zones, especially Ronald Berryhill, Christopher Gallo, Michael Hannan, Andrew Harris, Donna Heath, Frederick Jenning, Jordan S. Marks, Eric Osche, Mark Pundt, Terrence Robinson, Laramie Struble, Brian; for those in need, especially Catherine Brown, Alysha Collins, Walter Collins, Jay Elliston, Phyllis Garver, Oma “Sam” Guard, Sara Heitshu & Terry Friedman, Janet Kells, Jean Keplinger, Gwen McCaffrey, Christine Nelson, Danielle Phillips, Barbara Pritchard, Jane Pundt, Doree Ramey, Barbara & Sam Reynolds, Robert Rosenberg, Susan Southwick, Ed, Lee, Eva Brown, William Brown, Francesca Jarvis, Tony Jones, Maribel Ortiz, Cindy Osche, Brenda Pentland, Peggy Southwick, Amy, CJ, Ian, Jerry & Rondy, Joel, Kurt, Monica, Roman & Danitza, Marilyn, Nate, Nichole, Nick & Emily, Penny, Tina, Yvonne, Yong Ae; for animal companions in need especially Jelly Belly, Pepe, Shonee; for those who have died especially Julie LaRue, Jean Greer, Suzanne Nystrom, Kaye Bernard, Ray Hickey, John M. Dawson; for animal companions who have died especially Jasmine, MacKenzie. I also ask that you pray for the millions of people who have been killed, driven from their homes or otherwise persecuted by Muslims throughout the world.

What I am writing: Still plodding away on Imperial Investigator but since I spent most of last week re-writing what I already have, I didn’t progress much.

What I’m reading: Various religious and political books with Sister Fidelma books at recreation.

What I’m watching: Not much, as long as I stay away from YouTube. Basically some of the DVDs I have.

April 16, 2015

Power corrupts

Posted in Politics tagged , at 12:22 am by gruundehn

“Power is the ultimate aphrodisiac.” That is a quote attributed to Henry Kissinger. “Power corrupts but absolute power is a hell of a lot more fun.” Who said that I do not know.

The point is that power is probably the strongest drug available to anyone. Some people use power over others for good, or at least they convince themselves and others that they use such power for good and they may be right. Some people want power for its own sake, Hitler was one of those; although he had a plan and a platform, if you take an honest look at how he governed, he cared little for either and made decisions (often on the spur of the moment) just because he had the power to do so. Some people want power because they enjoy the pain and suffering they can cause; this is the flip side of wanting power in order to do good because the focus is different, this use of power does have a plan or goal and the use of power will tend to be in line with that plan or goal. The vast majority of people are probably somewhere in between those three attitudes towards power.

Have you ever seen someone driving a narrow road slowly enough so that other drivers are inconvenienced? Have you ever done it? How about someone who changes lanes in traffic in such a manner as to force others to slow down or have an accident? How about a bureaucrat who makes you wait or makes you start over because of a minor mistake? The list is probably endless, or nearly so. I am sure you can think of other ways someone imposes their control over you, or ways you have done such to others. The more dull and boring your life is, the more likely you are to do such as a means of giving yourself some importance.

Marriages often fail because of such grasping for control, and it isn’t just men that do it either. Women can be very strong players at this game, if game it is. Go to a playground and watch children play control games with each other. Seeking control permeates human existence. So, what do we do about it?

First, we acknowledge that humans seek power over others. Second, we have to convince everyone (or at least as many as we can) that they desire power over others – and as part of that, we have to admit it for ourselves as well. Third, we have to find some way to teach everyone to ignore the pull of power. But, since those who would be the teachers and guides for such a program would have power over others: Who watches the watchmen?

And that is the point that stabs every effort to “improve” human society. Who watches the Watchmen? Who can be trusted to not take advantage of being put into a position over the training of others and thus establishing control over those others?

Thus we are left with an idea but no way to implement it in the traditional sense. We are going to have to somehow teach without teachers. We are going to have to show the perils of seeking power, and its corruptions, but not teach any alternative. That is something we have never tried as far as I know.

April 13, 2015

2nd Sunday of Easter, 2015

Posted in Personal tagged , , , , , at 12:55 am by gruundehn

Typically in the Episcopal Church, and others as well perhaps although I do not know specifically, the Sunday after Easter and the Sunday after Christmas are called Low Sunday – not to be confused with Low Church. In each case everyone is so tired after all the services and work with the major holiday – the clergy especially – that they take a break. At church this morning there was no choir as they had sung themselves out, the clergy were not vested -although that was due to the specifics of the service for today not the Sunday in general – and attendance was down massively.

So, as an experiment the 10 AM service was held in a nearby park. The weather was nice, cloudy but not chilly or rainy, and there weren’t too many loud noises, other than a few F-16s, to interfere. Afterwards there was a picnic which was nice as well. All in all, a successful experiment. I wouldn’t want to try it during the summer or winter but for the spring or fall it works.

I have two doctors’ appointments this week, Monday with my regular clinic doctor and Wednesday with the surgeon who did my arm back in 2013. I have not been doing the exercises nor using the bone knitter as I should so I will probably be in trouble. I can dream that my arm has healed as it should have and that I won’t need further surgery but I have to be honest and admit that my not doing what I should have done might just result in extra surgery and I do not like that.

This last Tuesday I attended the Board of Supervisors budget meeting for part of the county government and there will be another this upcoming Tuesday. I think that the supervisors listen to me when I speak but they don’t really pay attention to me. But they do listen and I think I will wear them down and start making progress in getting them to govern more in line with the law and the State Constitution.

Last Thursday I attended a gathering of a group of Republicans, conservative Republicans, and listened to a guest speaker talk about the situation in Wisconsin and how it relates to the broader political situation. Interesting speech. I don’t agree with everything he said but it was an interesting speech.

If you wish to do so, please pray for: Katharine the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church,, Kirk the Bishop of Arizona, Steve and the other clergy of Grace-St. Paul’s; for those in the military especially those in combat zones especially Ronald Berryhill, Christopher Gallo, Michael Hannan, Andrew Harris, Donna Heath, Frederick Jenning, Jordan S. Marks, Eric Osche, Mark Pundt, Terrence Robinson, Laramie Struble, Brian; for those in need especially Catherine Brown, Alysha Collins, Walter Collins, Jay Elliston, Phyllis Garver, Oma “Sam” Guard, Janet Kells, Joan Keplinger, Gwen McCaffrey, Christine Nelson, Danielle Phillips, Barbara Pritchard, Jane Pundt, Doree Ramey, Barbara & Sam Reynolds, Robert Rosenberg, Susan Southwick, Ed, Lee, Eva Brown, William Brown, Francesca Jarvis, Tony Jones, Maribel Ortiz, Cindy Osche, Brenda Pentland, Peggy Southwick, Amy, CJ, Ian, Jerry & Rondy, Joel, Kurt, Monica, Roman & Danitza, Nate, Nichole, Nick & Emily, Penny, Tina; for animal companions in need especially Jelly Belly, Pepe, Shonee; for those who have died especially Jean Greer, Suzanne Nystrom, Kaye Bernard, Ray Hickey, Sherry Persinger, Julie LaRue; for animal companions who have died especially Jasmine, MacKenzie. I also ask that you pray for the millions who have been killed, driven from their homelands or otherwise persecuted by Muslims throughout the world. I also ask that you remember the approximately 2,800 veterans of the Viet Nam War who died this last week.

What I’m watching: Mythbusters Season 9 primarily.

What I’m reading: various religious books and some Nero Wolfe.

What I’m writing: I got nothing done last week. I need to get back to work and get something finished.

April 9, 2015

Rule of Whim

Posted in Politics tagged , , , , , at 12:09 am by gruundehn

The government of the United Kingdom does not operate under a written constitution. What they call a constitution is a series of customs and court rulings extending back over the centuries. Thus, whatever the government can get away with is constitutional.

This is the was the British government has operated since the ending of the absolute rule of the monarch. Granted the period of absolute rule was short and even then contested, but it was replaced by a type of rule that could just as easily be abused, and was.

George III and Lord North drove the American Colonies into rebellion with such a rule and as a result of the successful War of Independence the new American Government was set up with a written constitution. First the Articles of Confederation and then the Constitution of the United States. In both of those documents the power of the central government was limited to prevent the sort of abuses that the Founding Fathers had lived under. The Articles were more restrictive but the Constitution is definitively a restrictive document.

And since we are talking about politicians here, almost immediately the Federal Government began chipping away at the restrictions in the Constitution. This has accelerated over the decades as the public has gotten used to the idea of an overly powerful Federal Government; aided and abetted of course by government-run school systems.

The Progressive doctrine of a “Living Constitution” takes us back to the unwritten constitution of the United Kingdom and the Rule of Whim. Bureaucrats, who are answerable to no one really, write the laws and publish them in what is essentially a secret location so that you do not know what laws you are breaking. The government can push an agenda to modify the Constitution by generated social pressure so that the government can act as it wishes in spite of prohibitions to the contrary in the Constitution. The Rule of Law is crippled by this deceit.

Of the thousands of pages of Federal Law and the hundreds of thousands of pages of Federal regulations “having the force of law” there is not one page, not one paragraph, that points to a specific clause in the Constitution that justifies that law. And since these laws are kept from you, (or were you ever provided with a copy of the U.S. Code and the Federal Registry?) you cannot dispute them without a great deal of expense and trouble. So the bureaucrats and their Rule of Whim sail on unhindered.

I propose that every law and every regulation be required to have embedded in it, at the very start of the law or regulation, a reference to a specific clause in the Federal Constitution that authorizes such law or regulation. And also that each person, or at least each household, be provided with a copy of the entirety of the law and regulations, even if it does not appear that they would apply to the individual, before the law or regulation can be enforced so that no one can make a decision that accidently breaks the law. We are supposed to be a free people, not a people whose freedom is merely that they are not yet convicted.

April 6, 2015

Easter, 2015

Posted in Personal tagged , , , , , at 1:49 am by gruundehn

He is Risen!

The Lord is Risen indeed!

Happy Easter to anyone reading this.

OK, for those who follow my blog, I am sorry that I forgot my weekly Wednesday rant. I didn’t realize that I had done so until Friday and I decided to just let it go.

I still have problems sleeping, this last week I go to sleep (and I have been moving my bedtime up earlier as a result) and sleep until about Midnight or so. I then cannot get back to sleep for hours so I later nap or sleep for a few hours later in the day. This is messing with my prayer schedule but I will not abandon my prayer schedule. I did get to sleep pretty well last night but I got no sleep the night before. Maybe that is why I missed last Wednesday.

I am still trying to get some serious writing done, I was shooting for a thousand words a day but fell short this last week. The book I am working on, Imperial Investigator, is one that I do not have the end in mind. I know what is going to happen, more or less, but unlike Entrance Examination, Dreadnought, Generations upon Generations, or Magic in the Monastery I don’t have the book complete in mind nor do I have the ending fixed. I have a few web comics that I want to do and I know what the script for them is as well. But Imperial Investigator is one I don’t have a clue. I know who got killed and who did it but that is about all. In the introduction to one of the Nero Wolfe books Rex Stout is quoted, from an interview, that a lot of what goes on in Nero Wolfe’s world is not planned, Mr. Stout gave an example wherein the doorbell rang, a young man was ushered into the office and Nero Wolfe asked him who he was and the man replied “I am your son.” Rex Stout mentions that he hadn’t known that Nero Wolfe had a son until then. Obviously, if you read the Nero Wolfe series of books, you know that the idea of a son was never put into a story.

I got a phone call from the VA on Friday that I missed. I think it was to remind me that I have an appointment at the surgery clinic but I don’t know. So, I’ll have to get up early and go down and check since the VA website where I could check my appointments has nothing for this year, even appointments I know exist.

The Pima County Board of Supervisors starts their budgeting process with open meetings on the budget this week. Tuesday morning they will be holding their regular meeting and in the afternoon the meeting on the budget. I like that they are finally opening the process up to the public and not just siting down one day with the completed budget and voting it up or down without much public input possible. So, this Tuesday I get to chew them out twice. And I intend to remind them that they don’t have the authority to do most of what they do and they should focus on projects that they have the authority to do. Maybe I’m starting to wear them down and I can get them to start focusing on doing things right.

If you wish to do so, please pray for: Katharine the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, Kirk the Bishop of Arizona, Steve and the other clergy of Grace-St. Paul’s Episcopal church; for those in the military, especially those in combat zones, especially Ronald Berryhill, Christopher Gallo, Michael Hannan, Andrew Harris, Donna Heath, Frederick Jenning, Jordan S. Marks, Eric Osche, Mark Pundt, Terrence Robinson, Laramie Struble, Brian; for those in need especially Catherine Brown, Alysha Collins, Walter Collins, Jay Elliston, Phyllis Garver, Oma “Sam” Guard, Janet Kells, Jean Keplinger, Gwen McCaffrey, Christine Nelson, Danielle Phillips, Jane Pundt, Doree Ramey, Barbara & Sam Reynolds, Robert Rosenburg, Susan Southwick, Ed, Lee, Eva Brow, William Brown, Francesca Jarvis, Tony Jones, Julie LaRue, Maribel Ortiz, Cindy Osche, Brenda Pentland, Peggy Southwick, Amy, CJ, Ian, Jerry & Rondy, Joel, Kurt, Monica, Roman & Danitza, Nate, Nick & Emily, Penny, Tina; for animal companions in need especially Jelly Belly, Pepe, Shonee; for those who have died especially Suzanne Nystrom, Kaye Bernard, Ray Hickey, Sherry Persinger, for the approximately 2,800 veterans of the War in Vietnam who died this past week – may be received better in Heaven than they were received by “good Americans” when they returned home. I also ask that you pray for the millions of people who have been killed, driven from their homes or otherwise persecuted by Muslims throughout the world.

What I am watching: Right now, primarily Mythbusters and occasionally Cats. I love the dancing in that movie.

What I am reading: Various religious books and some Nero Wolfe.

What I am writing: Imperial Investigator and going slow.

March 30, 2015

Palm Sunday, 2015

Posted in Personal tagged , , , , at 1:25 am by gruundehn

Easter is next week, this year being one of the ones where Orthodox and Western (Catholic and Protestant) share the same date. The Eastern traditions compute Lent differently than the Western traditions do and obviously compute the date of Easter differently as well. Eastern Lent, like Western Lent, is counted backwards from Easter but Western traditions do not count Sundays as part of Lent, and the Eastern traditions do. So the start date of Lent is different.

Church was nice, but I am looking forward to the next week. Services each day but I will probably just attend Maundy Thursday sand Good Friday and let the others slide. I always get something out of The Stations of the Cross but this year I forgot to do my normal tradition and visit the Stations prior to Sunday service during Lent. I’ll do them on Good Friday this year, something I do often anyway, and try to do better next year.

Last week I tried, and mostly succeeded, at getting 1000 word a day written but since I ended up rewriting mostly, I made little progress. At least my mind is letting me continue on this book instead of throwing up idea after idea for new books. I do have one new idea, mentioned here a few Sundays ago, but since I have not let it control my mind, in determining what I work on, it has faded into the background and stayed there. Maybe I can get the incomplete works done yet.

If you wish to do so, please pray for: Katharine the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, Kirk the Bishop for Arizona, Steve  and the other clergy of Grace-St. Paul’s Episcopal Church; for those in the military, especially those in combat zones, especially Ronald Berryhill, Christopher Gallo, Michael Hannan, Andrew Harris, Donna Heath, Frederick Jenning, Jordan S. Marks, Eric Osche, Mark Pundt, Terrence Robinson, Laramie Struble, Brian; for those in need especially Catherine Brown, Alysha Collins, Walter Collins, Jay Elliston, Jim Franks, Phyllis Garver, Oma “Sam” Guard, Sara & Terry, Sister Carol Williams, Janet Kells, Jean Keplinger, Brett Lange, Gwen McCaffery, Christine Nelson, Danielle Phillips, Jane Pundt, Doree Ramey, Barbra & San Reynolds, Robert Rosenberg, Susan Southwick, Cathy Wolfson, Ed, Lee, Eva Brown, William Brown, Mildred Gregory, Francesca Jarvis, Tony Jones, Julie LaRue, James Lincoln, Maribel Ortiz, Cindy Osche, Brenda Pentland, Peggy Southwick, Amy, CJ, Ian, Jerry & Rondy, Joel, Kurt, Monica, Roman & Danitza, Nate, Nichole, Nick & Emily, Penny, Phil, Tina; for animal companions in need especially Jelly Belly, Pepe, Shonee; for those who have died especially Suzanne Nystrom, Eleanor Marr, Kaye Bernard, Ray Hickey, the approximately 2,800 Vietnam vets who have died in the last week. I also ask that you pray for the millions of people who have been killed, driven from their homes or otherwise persecuted by Muslims throughout the world.

What I’m reading: The Imponderables books. My Nook died and I lost the ability to read it while resting before sleep. So, I chose the Imponderables series as I can read just a few pages and it does not affect the rest of the book. For those not in the know, each book in the Imponderables series consists of a question and a fairly short, but fairly complete, answer.

What I’m writing: Still on The Imperial Investigator.

What I’m watching: I’m watching Cats quite a bit. I’m concentrating on the background players and some of the glitches are interesting, and some of the apparent activities of those in the background are interesting also.

March 26, 2015

Controlling the Economy

Posted in Politics tagged , , at 12:48 am by gruundehn

Central planning does not work and yet we keep trying it and defending it. “Someone has to manage the economy” as a friend of mine keeps saying. But central planning does not work and central planners do not manage the economy except in the broadest and most inefficient manner.

Think about it, you manage your portion of the economy pretty well don’t you? You walk into a grocery store and walk the aisles and buy what you need and what you want within what yhou can spend. You evaluate various choices and determine to buy X as opposed to Y because X has what you are willing to pay the price for. If you need food and you don’t have much money you buy ramen rather than steak. Your choices are made according to your needs.

A central planner does not care about your needs. And probably has no clue as to what your needs are. That central planner uses the concept of “the greater good” as the guide for making decisions on the economy. But “the greater good” is subjective especially when one is removed from the results of one’s decision. A central planner may decide that breakfast cereal does not meet “the greater good” and thus gets banned. But you like cereal and thus are harmed (so to speak) by this decision. I don’t like cereal and thus do not buy nor eat it; but that is my decision and does not affect you decisions – you are still allowed to buy all you want. A central planner decides to outlaw breakfast cereal and your choices are removed from you.

Not that a central planner is likely to do something that drastic that was just an example. Central planners have their priorities straight. First comes their agency, after all that is where their salary comes from and any hope of improving their position requires that they advance the cause of the agency enough so that they gather commendations and get promoted; no agency promotes someone who does not advance the cause of the agency. Second comes special interests; these come second because the special interests are always around the bureaucrats and interacting with them, so naturally the bureaucrats listen to them, the bureaucrats are familiar with the special interests. Third comes you because bureaucrats don’t know you nor what you want or need whereas they know what the special interests want and need since they hear those wants and need almost daily.

Another point to consider is that central planners work, in theory, for elected officials and those elected officials come to office with agendas. Operation Choke Point is an example. This is an operation wherein bureaucrats are acting to destroy the ability of legal businesses to operate because the elected officials responsible (?) for this operation do not like those businesses. You may not like those businesses but what is done today to businesses you don’t like can be done to businesses you do like, and want to patronize, in the future.

Lastly, central planning has given us Crony Capitalism wherein big businesses are able to get central planners to do what the businesses want and this means eliminating or at least restricting upstart competitors. Why work hard when you can get some central planners to rule that an innovation is “unfair competition” and outlaw it; or laden a small business with such high regulatory costs that they cannot expand to seriously compete with you.  Regulatory expenses tend to be a fixed amount, more or less, and not a percentage of income. If a regulation costs a million dollars a year regardless of the size of the business then a small or medium-sized business will have a harder time meeting that expense than a big business. And yes, I know that regulatory costs do vary by size of business being regulated, but this is not linear instead it does not shrink enough for small businesses to consider it anything but a huge burden.

Central planning is a tool of big business, at least in a capitalist economy. In a socialist economy central planning is a toll of control over the population. It is never something that benefits the population as a whole.

March 23, 2015

5th Sunday in Lent, 2015

Posted in Personal tagged , , , , at 2:52 am by gruundehn

Palm Sunday is next week, then Easter. Next week Grace-St. Paul’s is doing the Gospel reading from the congregation instead of from the lectern. Various members of the congregation will speak various parts. I get to play Peter. Not many lines but very emotional.

I chewed out the Pima County Board of Supervisors last Tuesday and I am either wearing them down or I am making sense to them. I had most of the Board agree with me, the Chair told me that she agreed with me only after she made sure there was no one else within earshot and no one had a camera on her. There is another guy who chews the Board out a lot but I am more polite than he is and he is more counter-productive. I don’t think they even hear him any more. They do hear me and I am glad I am doing soe good.

I discovered that I am not getting a cell phone signal at my home with any regularity. I never had any trouble until just recently and now when I check my signal, I usually have one bar or less. With that, I can hear an incoming call but the person on the other end can’t hear me. Frustrating.

I don’t have anything on schedule this week, unlike most weeks for the past several months. I am going to cram on Imperial Investigator and try to get it at least through what I call the zero draft when I have the story complete but need to chapter it and make sure that the continuity is right and so forth. Then I can get back to Magic in the Monastery and finish it off and go back and finish Dreadnought and Generations upon Generations and send those three out and Magic in the Monastery as well. Then I can go back to the Imperial Investigator series and get several more done in that series.

If you wish to do so, please pray for: Katharine the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, Kirk the Bishop for Arizona, Steve and the other clergy of Grace-St. Paul’s Episcopal Church; for those in the military especially those in combat zones, especially Ronald Berryhill, Christopher Gallo, Michael Hannan, Andrew Harris, Donna Heath, Frederick Jenning, Jordan S. Marks, Eric Osche, Mark Pundt, Terrence Robinson, Laramie Struble, Brian; for those in need especially Catherine Brown, Alysha Collins, Walter Collins, Jay Elliston, Jim Franks, Phyllis Garver, Oma “Sam” Guard, Sara & Terry, Janet Kells, Jean Keplinger, Brett Lange, Gwen McCaffery, Christine Nelson, Suzanne Nystrom, Danielle Phillips, Jane Pundt, Doree Ramey, Christine Nelson,  Danielle Philips, Barbara & Sam Reynolds, Susan Southwick, Cathy Wolfson, Ed, Lee, Eva Brown, William Brown, Mildred Gregory, Francesca Jarvis, Tony Jones, Julie LaRue, James Lincoln, Maribel Ortiz, Cindy Osche, Brenda Pentland, Peggy Southwick, Amy, CJ, Ian, Jerry & Rondy, Joel, Kurt, Monica, Roan & Danitza, Nate, Nichole, Nick & Emily, Penny, Phil, Tina; for animal companions in need especially Jelly Belly, Pepe, Shonee; for those who have died especially Eleanor Marr, Kaye Bernard, Ray Hickey; for animal companions who have died especially Jasmine. I also ask that you pray for the millions who have been killed, driven from their homelands or otherwise persecuted by Muslims around the world.

What I am reading: Various religious books and some history books. No series or specific book that is taking up a lot of time.

What I am writing: Imperial Investigator.

What I a watching: Various DVDs, I seem to put Cats on a lot. I like that musical, especially the dancing.

March 19, 2015

Gun Control

Posted in Politics tagged , , , , , , , at 2:04 am by gruundehn

Of all the amendments that make up the Bill of Rights the 2nd gets the most arguments; although the 1st is rapidly gaining what with Political Correctness and all. The phrase “of the People” is taken to mean elsewhere in the Constitution to mean individual rights, but in the 2dn Amendment it somehow changes and becomes a collective right if you belong to a certain organization. And that collective is supposed to refer to an organization that didn’t even exist until a hundred years or so later.

With speech one can either directly or indirectly rile up a mob and cause great suffering, even death. A gun kills one at a time, a speech can kill hundreds. And yet the gun is irrationally feared. You can join an organization and as part of that organization cause great suffering , even death. A gun kills one at a time, an organization can kill millions. And yet the gun is irrationally feared. The greatest mass murders in American history were not caused by guns, but by gasoline or fertilizer. At least one, and I seem to remember two, nightclubs were burned to the ground with hundreds of people trapped inside the buildings with just some gasoline and a lighter. And then there is Oklahoma City and the famous bombing there. And the only change, as far as I remember, to either gasoline or fertilizer is that some marker chemicals were added to fertilizer so that it could be traced back to its origin if this ever happened again. Nothing has been done to gasoline as far as I know.

I don’t (yet) need a permit to write a letter to the editor, to speak in public (although the Pima County Board of Supervisors might like to consider that idea) nor do I need permission from the government to join the VFW, a church, or any other organization – to associate with others as I please. Speaking and associating can be deadly, so why do I need a permit to own and / or carry a handgun? It is because of an irrational fear.

I call it an irrational fear because if one investigates the evidence one discovers that guns are less dangerous than many things we accept without thought. How many hundreds of millions of guns are out in society? And what percentage are used criminally? How about something along the lines of one thousandth of one percent?

So why do we hear about gun violence all the time? Money. The various news media require advertising to survive. They can charge more per advertisement if there are a lot of people following that specific outlet. To measure how many people follow any specific outlet, TV or radio, Sweeps Week was instituted. During that period various organizations measure how many people are watching or listening. The bigger the number, the more that outlet can charge for advertising on it. Print media just counts the number of copies sold and computer media counts the number of unique hits. And, again, the more people the more money that come in. And, because they are so rare anymore, gun violence stories are given big play. There is another possible reason but claiming an agenda on the part of the news media seems to be counterproductive.

There is a cultural aspect to this irrational fear as well. Most people, especially city-dwellers, do not have an understanding of guns except through TV and movies. And those lie for dramatic effect. So folks see guns being portrayed as some sort of super weapon, and they get scared. Not having any personal reference they accept as truth the dramatic fiction and have a false understanding of what guns are, or are not.

So, what is needed? I would say that the militia needs to be reformed, the National Guard never was the militia, and people need to get some experience with guns of various sorts. Then maybe we can have a rational discussion about gun control.

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