Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Truth or Consequences

by Lynn Costello

We seldom behold truth from government but rather political speak or spin; on the other hand we often suffer consequences, particularly those regarded as unintended.  While motivated to improve the health and safety of the people, government spits out rules and regulations as though it were a gumball machine.  In 2011 alone, the legislature and regulatory agencies created 4,257 new regulations at a cost to business of $1.75 trillion and 8.8 B hours for compliance.

This is offensive on its own, but worse are those “unseen” consequences talked about in Frederic Bastiat’s “That Which is Seen and That Which is Not Seen.”

Monday, February 20, 2012

Open Carry by Right. Good Behavior a Responsibility

by Steven Nelson

Friday, February 17th Nick Smith and Jim Beal with Washington were the featured guest speakers at We The People – Vancouver's bimonthly meeting.  For those of you who aren’t familiar with the term Open Carry, it means to carry a firearm in the open on your person.  Some may of heard of Nick and Jim over the last couple of years due to their efforts to make Open Carry a more understood movement in the state of Washington. Jim and Nick made headlines in the Seattle area when they decided to start practicing their right to open carry as protected by both the State and Federal Constitutions.
Starbucks and Open Carry  
I know what some of you are thinking.  What is this the Wild West?  Do these guys think that it’s alright to endanger people on the streets?  I know, I thought the same thing myself a few years ago.  In fact 10 years ago when my first son was born I sold the gun that I did own in an effort to make what I thought was a more secure home.  So what are the odds you’d find me sitting with Nick Smith and Jim Beal in a local Starbucks having coffee with my Smith & Wesson M&P strapped to my hip in plain view?

Monday, February 13, 2012

Fair to Me or Fair to Thee?

by Lynn Costello
I confess that I will probably become ill if I hear one more time from the President of the United States “I want this to be a big, bold, generous country where everybody gets a fair shot, everybody is doing their fair share and everybody is playing by the same set of rules.”

Growing up with two sisters my mother always wanted to be fair so whatever was given to us was divided into thirds, thus fair distribution was achieved.  Later I learned that life itself was not always fair and while some throughout history have tried to design fairness, it doesn’t work.  Milton Friedman noted that “A society that puts equality…ahead of freedom will end up with neither equality nor freedom.”

So what is our fair share?  It is often mentioned that 49% of U.S. households pay no federal income tax at all, while the top one percent pay 38% of all federal income taxes.  The response is “yah, but they pay FICA taxes.”  FICA taxes support social security and Medicare but pay nothing into the general government.  So those who pay no federal income tax receive all the benefits of government as well as the opportunities available to each of us by living in a (mostly) free country.   Mirror, mirror on the wall; what’s the fairest of them all?  It seems to me a flat tax might be the fairest where we each pay the same rate.  Property taxes are paid at one rate, whether our home’s value is $5 million or $50,000.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Arm Yourself

by Lynda Wilson
Holster by: Soteria Leather
Our second amendment is being attacked.  On many levels we see anti-gun rhetoric that touts how guns cause deaths, that guns should be banned, that crime is going up. I find these statements to be rather profound.  Profound and also not true.  I’ve done a bit of research and found actual statistics based on fact (what a concept).  Let me show you.

Regardless what anti-gun zealots tell you, there is a big correlation of gun ownership and crime rates.  The more guns- the less crime.  Seriously.  In recent reports from 2010 (FBI), it shows a 5.5% decrease in number of reported violent crimes when they compared that to 2009.  Even property crimes dropped by 2.9% nationally.  Overall, murders have decreased steadily since 2006 from 15,087 to 12,996.  Those murders cause by firearms (well, people using firearms) amounted to 67% in 2010 decreasing by 14% since 2006.  An interesting FACT here is that while crime has dropped substantially, gun sales have surged.  In 2009, FBI background checks increased by 30% over the previous year. (There’s a correlation to some occurrence about that time, just can’t think what that is).  Gun sales showed a 40% increase in large retail outlets as well.

Obama's "Compromise"

by Mike Appel
 President Obama began last week to push his anti-Catholic / anti-religious freedom / anti-individual freedom plan to force all employers, including religiously affiliated organizations, to provide insurance for contraceptives, including abortions, to all employees.  Obviously most religious affiliations do not approve of abortions, and many, including Catholics, do not support any kind of contraceptives at all – this plan fundamentally goes direction against many of their most basic beliefs.  Due to the President’s heavy-handed and over-reaching planned new regulations, he met up with a huge fire-storm of opposition by both Catholics and many other concerned and outraged citizens.  Their outrage goes far beyond any kind of money issues and directly to freedom issues, especially freedom of religion.
            Today Obama supposedly backed down and offered a “compromise”, which seemed to, at least temporarily, take some of the heat off of him and his administration.  But this compromise is nothing more that an attempt to put lipstick on a pig – it may look a little different and perhaps better, but it’s still a pig!  And the new plan?  The religious organizations will not have to pay for contraceptives at all.  That sounds great!  Religion won, right?  Well, technically I suppose.  The rub is that now the insurance companies themselves will have to provide the same benefits to the same employees, for “FREE” – they can not charge the employee for any of the benefits, including any kind of co-pay.  The President is so generous with other people’s money.  As any honest, thinking person would admit, nothing is free in the business world.  This plan, if enacted, will cost the insurance companies money, and they have already said that they would probably have to increase premiums.  They would pass the charges on to all of us, whether we approve of the benefit or not.  In reality, even the religious organizations would be paying for contraceptives and abortions, because contraceptives would be supplemented by higher premiums.  Yes, technically it won’t say that they are paying for the benefits on their premiums invoices, because the charges would be hidden, but the fact is that they will be.  If the previously outraged organizations and citizens capitulate and accept this new plan, they will be simply trading their principles and beliefs for semantics, because they will still be providing government mandated contraceptives and abortions.  This is indeed a freedom issue that should not be accepted or ignored.  If the government can make this policy stick, tearing down this group's rights and freedoms, no one is safe... 
-- Mike.    

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Where's The Party?

by Licentia Diligo
  I keep hearing the same question over and over again in the conservative media in regards to the presidential election……”Where is the Tea Party?”  .   The Republican Party establishment can’t seem to figure out why the Tea Party won’t engage on a large level.  This same question is even popping up around local Congressional and State legislative races. 
  I can’t speak for the Tea Party, but I can speak as a Tea Party activist.   It is my own experience that Tea Party people have spent countless hours studying and learning about what made this Nation exceptional.   They’ve learned that the Nation was founded on bedrock principle of Life, Liberty and the pursuit of happiness.   In their studies they’ve found that this Nation was bought and paid for at a great expense of blood and personal wealth of principled men and women.
It is my experience that the majority of Tea Party people are a virtuous and religious to their core.  They come from many faiths and religions.  Mormons, Catholics, Protestants, Orthodox Jews and even the occasional deist or atheist can be found in the ranks of the Tea Party. Because of this, the average "Tea Partier" is looking to be involved in something a bit more than just politics.
  So where are we?  From my own experience I can say we are engaged!   Unfortunately for the political establishment this doesn’t translate in door belling for the flaccid, democrat light candidates they keep producing for us to choose from.   I joined the Tea Party to make a difference.  That difference does not include a continual cycle of voting for the lesser of two evils.  That difference does not include working for candidates who have a poor understanding of the ideals and principles that made this Nation great.   I joined the Tea Party because neither of the established political parties was willing to go back to the basic concept of a limited and virtuous government.
   But again, we are engaged.  You see, I and many others in the Tea Party have come to the realization that the best way for us to make tangible and effective differences is to engage on the lowest local level.  I’m talking about becoming Precinct Committee Officers (PCOs), showing up for city council meetings, testifying at public hearings, forming citizen watch dog groups, becoming citizen journalists, encouraging the local Republican parties to put principle and platform before Party, and the list goes on.  
  Of course we do support good candidates when they come along.   The only problem is that the same people that want our energy so badly always seem to fight the Tea Party candidates.
  The answer to the question "Where is the Tea Party?" is that we are in the trenches doing the hard work that we should have been doing all along.  The time of the rallies has past and we now find ourselves in the time of down and dirty activism.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

A Sustainable Threat

by Lynda Wilson

Sustainability, green, smart, progress….all words having connotations of clean, intelligent, fiscally sound, good moves.  Well, actually green to me has never been a feel good word. In my opinion green conjures up things like “old science projects in the fridge and green with envy. Not exactly good . Anyway, I digress already…. Truly, they do sound that way, however, it doesn’t take much research to understand these likeable words carry a much sinister meaning.  They are all related to an agenda…Agenda 21 to be exact.

Agenda 21 is a United Nations plan that the US signed on to in 1992. (So it isn’t just something the right wing extremist conspired to scare people).  President George HW Bush signed this agreement entering the US into a pact of sorts, not a treaty and not binding to the US, that requires states, counties, and cities to adhere to a list of rules which ultimately remove property rights from individuals and encourages families to abandon the suburbs and cars and move into the big cities where rules, laws and ordinances restrain the freedoms of all freedom loving people….  One nudge at a time.

Most of the general public is unaware of this agenda.  I myself, was totally oblivious until about 3 years ago when curiosity got the best of me and I began researching.  Even when confronted with some of the ideals and facts of this plan, many write it off as crazy or “that just wont happen in the US”.  I’m here to tell you, it is very much happening and I do think its crazy….but crazy stupid, not crazy whacko.  It has taken a strong- hold throughout the country and even more relevant in our towns and cities where regulation is ominous.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

The Art of Voting

by Lynn Costello

Recently news clips on TV showed South Carolinians arriving at their polling places to participate in the Presidential Primary.  I was taken aback when I saw them take their wallets out to show I.D.  It reminded me of the Iraqis proudly holding up an ink-stained finger as evidence of their voting. 
I miss those days of trekking down to the voting place, running into friends and neighbors and taking the opportunity to provide a short civics lesson to my children. It was a ritual that celebrated citizenship and freedom. 

Exactly when did we get so soft that we can no longer be inconvenienced with going out on a dark, rainy night and maybe even stand in line to wait our turn; or what is insulting about showing our I.D.?  It’s easy now and the legislature in Olympia has two bills to make it even easier yet; HB 2203 referred to as motor voter on steroids and HB 2204 which allows registration on Election Day.  Despite the ease, voter apathy remains as does the questionable integrity of the process.   Sometimes things that are easy are also of less value.  Shouldn’t freedom and citizenship provide enough value to require just a little more effort on our part?