Monday, January 18, 2016

The Flint Michigan Water Crisis

The mainstream media doesn't know a crisis until it says it's a crisis.  The Flint Water Crisis started a year ago.

I hope to write more about this later.  For now, let me just say that I find it very disturbing to find that the government agencies we trust to protect us have failed... again.  This time, there is no question about it.  The failure came from willful acts of deception and continued reports of "Everything is fine.  It's under control.  Move on.  Nothing to look at here."

There are many instances of speculation that law enforcement agencies have done this in the past.  Conspiracy theorists have a field day with these.  This time, we have a real "smoking gun".  Although this isn't a "police department" or other "first responder" agency, it is nonetheless a public safety agency chartered to protect the public.  I'm talking about the Michigan DEQ and US EPA among others.

The EPA probably gets off lightly as they tried to address problems.  Still!  You gotta wonder why They couldn't shoot up a flare earlier and assert their concerns with more authority.

This is where the "smoking gun" becomes apparent as the Michigan DEQ beat down the U.S. EPA in a deliberate attempt to stonewall the agency's claim that there were danger signs present in Flint's drinking water supply.

The Michigan DEQ doesn't wear a policeman's uniform, badge and side-arm.  They are still responsible for protecting the public!  It's one thing to make an honest mistake.  It's another to deliberately fail to correct it and let it fester until people become seriously ill and permanently injured.

Sorry to see this become a three-ring circus in the national news media.  It should never have been allowed to get this far; not because of the news media but because people got seriously injured.

Americans want to trust our government.  Most of the time, we can.  Sometimes, we can't trust our government.

The vast majority of your government's workers in the public health sector care deeply about public health. I'm shocked and saddened that anyone in our public safety system would fail so badly in their judgement.

I can think of only this line of advice:

Use your common sense.  If your city changes its water supply and the water quality isn't good, get a filter!  Buy bottled water.  Report the problem and don't discard your own judgement because the government says there isn't a problem.


There is NO Santa Claus (aka TINSC)

Sunday, January 10, 2016

President O'Bama's January 5, 2016 Address on Gun Control

If President O'Bama really wanted to "close the gun show loophole", he could probably get a bill through Congress with little problem.  But that's not his goal.  In fact, I wonder whether the President wants to do anything constructive about gun violence as his proposals routinely address the LEGAL purchase of firearms.

Moreover, every time the President opens his mouth on gun control, millions of Americans flock to gun dealers and purchase firearms.  Many of these are first time buyers who never take the time to familiarize themselves with their weapons.  They don't practice with them.  They don't learn how to maintain them.  They don't learn how to safeguard them.  They don't learn how to handle them safely.  They just buy them and worse!  They buy firearm types they believe are targeted by the anti-gun lobby.  These are the worst firearms (IMHO) for first-time buyers to purchase. 

President O'Bama's stated objectives are achieving the exact opposite effect.  On Black Friday 2015, there were over 185,345 background checks performed by the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS).  In other words, nearly 200,000 firearms were sold in one 24-hour period.  Judging by the brisk activity at gun stores, camping/fishing/outdoor stores (such as Gander Mountain, Dick's Sporting Goods, Cabellas etc.) the President's 1/5/16 comments has produced yet another stampede.

The news media rarely gives us the truth about news anymore.  Therefore, in an attempt to find a non-emotional summary of the President's proposals, I did a search and came up with one that appears to serve the purpose.  It can be found on the web site of The National Conference of State Legislatures.  It is titled:

President Obama’s 2015 Executive Actions on Gun Control

Here you can see precisely why the President's proposal runs into opposition from the NRA.  If he were just trying to close the "gun show loophole", his proposal would start and end there.  But NO!  The President's proposal goes on to state  

The licensing requirement applies to all sellers “engaged in the business” of selling guns, regardless of how frequent or how many sales there are.

The claim by the President's opponents that this proposal applies to one-time person-to-person sale of firearms carries a lot of credibility.  It shows that the President's proposal far over-reaches it's stated goal.  It puts the NRA in a position where they must oppose the proposal.  And most important, it gives the President the opportunity to blame the NRA for gun violence in America; his real agenda.

Citizens should NOT be required to obtain a Federal Firearms License (FFL) to sell a single firearm from their personal collection.  The requirement proposed makes it ever more difficult for someone who has inherited firearms (many of them unregistered handguns) from ever selling them.  

Closing the so-called "gun show loophole" is rather simple.  Each gun show organizer would be required to set up an NICS booth for conducting NICS background checks.  If a seller holds an FFL, they can conduct their own NICS check on those purchasing firearms.  For those sellers who do not hold an FFL, they and the purchaser can go to the gun show's NICS booth and conduct the background check there.  The buyer and seller both get copies of the paperwork and a receipt of sale that is signed by both parties once the background check is approved and the monetary exchange completes the sale.

 There!  That was simple.  

 I doubt the NRA would have a big problem with it as they already recognize the NICS system is set up to prevent firearms sales to those who should not own them.  

Sadly, the proposals of Jan 5, 2016 go way beyond this end and foist Federal Regulations down to individuals in a manner that makes firearm ownership more difficult for EVERYBODY.  Therein lies the real purpose of the proposal.

I encourage you all to read the proposals linked above very carefully.  You need not own a firearm to be severely affected by some of these proposals.  If you think HIPPA  protects your privacy, read the last proposal!  

The President will whine and kvetch that the NRA is blocking the closure of the "gun show loophole".  This is at best a half-truth and in actuality, an outright lie.  The opposition to the President's proposals come from his publicly stated desire to severely restrict firearms ownership and weaken the 2nd Amendment.  

The NRA is constantly identified as "the bad-guy" in opposing the President's gun-control proposals.  However, the REAL opposition to the President's proposal can be visibly seen at your local firearms dealers.  Every time the President opens his mouth about gun control, thousands flock to purchase firearms.  


 There is NO Santa Claus

 P.S.  Frankly, I would not sell a firearm without conducting an NICS background check.  The litigation climate pretty much makes it a common sense thing to do.  However, it's one thing to advise it and another thing for the Federal Government to force it.