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The Myth of Islamic Extremism

Those who study such things point out that Islam is not the problem; the radical element, the extremists, who make up only about 20% of the Muslims of the world, actually support terrorism. ONLY, 20% of the 1.6 Billion Muslims comes out to 320 million people who believe you must either convert to Islam or be killed. The fight to end extremism and terrorism in the Islamic world is not being conducted by our moderate friends in Islamic nations. In fact the overwhelming financial support as well as toleration of extremist training camps and radical mosques comes from our “friends” in the Muslim world.

So this 20% represents all the radicals and terrorists. Yet the Pew research polls show that in much of the Islamic world overwhelming majorities (87% Egypt, 82% Jordan, 79% Afghanistan, 77% Pakistan, 66% Palestinians) believe that one who leaves Islam should be executed, and that beating, disfiguring, and removing limbs by religious leaders is appropriate punishment for those who break either religious rules or civil law, and these are not numbered among the terrorists but are main-stream Muslims. Extremism and terrorism only exist because the majority in the Islamic world allows it to exist, they do nothing to prevent or punish this so-called “high-jacking of Islam” by extremists.

Think about how we would accept this if it were 20% of Southern Baptists who believed that those who leave their church for another religion, or because they no longer believe at all, should be executed and actually carried out the execution. How would you feel if Baptist ministers were determining when a person should be beaten or stoned for sinning, or when their hand would be chopped off for stealing? Would you argue that the government should be tolerant of their religious rights?

We are told there is a strong moderate movement in Islam. Then where is it and what is it doing about the problem? The problem is that even these moderates know that they are apostates from Islam, because they are standing against the fundamental teachings of Mohammed upon which all Islam stands. The very concepts of God-given rights to liberty, choice of religion, right to express your opinion, and virtually all our constitutional rights are a violation of Islam and are offensive to those who believe the Koran. There cannot be a faithful moderate Muslim, because to be so is to go against the very teachings of the Prophet, so is punishable by death.

We will know when there is a moderate Islam, when Christians, Hindus, Sikhs, or Buddhists can freely teach their religion in Islamic countries and Muslims can freely choose to accept those teachings without any punishment. As it now exists, and as it has from the beginning, Islam is an extreme system of tyranny. Or government should impose the same standard of religious tolerance for Islam that is granted in Islamic countries. That would mean there would currently be no Islam practiced here except for non-citizens, and then under the watchful eye of the FBI.

It will someday come to this if individual liberty is to survive in the world. Liberty cannot coexist with “accept my religion, or be a tribute-paying vassal, or I will kill you.” This is not an extremist view it is doctrineIslam Europe from the base teachings of Islam.

Nothing But Down-side to Top-Two Primaries

There was a strong push in the last Arizona election cycle to disenfranchise political parties by turning the Arizona Primary election into a “round one general election” in which there would be a single ballot with all candidates listed on it without regard to party affiliation, but only the top two vote-getters from the Primary would be on the General Election ballot.  Some very good political thinkers were involved at least in conceptualizing this ballot proposition.  The proposition failed by a two to one margin

military voting

The main thing the proposition was designed to do was to give independents (voters not affiliated with any party) a greater say in the primary.  There are certain good things about today’s party system; it allows people with common political views to identify their positions on issues (platform) and to select candidates who will run for office in the general election.  The founding fathers were not fond of political parties; but parties in their times were specific special interest factions such as merchants, or lawyers, or veterans, or bankers, or planters.  The political parties spoken of by Washington and his contemporaries were what we would now call lobbyists or political action committees (PACs).

Today’s parties are made up of voters with diverse professions, economic stations, races, educational levels, and lifestyle, and serve primarily as a vetting process for candidate selection. party) more say in Primary elections.  To me that alone doesn’t make any sense because primary elections are elections in which political parties nominate their candidates.  Independents are independents because they don’t support party politics.  Arizona already does something that I think is very bad in that they allow independents to vote in one primary of any party they wish. To me nobody except party members should have a say in who the party nominates..  I’m glad it did because I think it was a very bad idea.

Even minor parties have played a significant role in shaping our politics.  By presenting their views to the public they have caused the two major parties to adjust to attract those voters.  Two examples are the Socialist Party who originated the idea of vast social programs and redistribution of wealth, and the Libertarian Party who has pushed for a more stringent compliance with the constitution and lest government involvement in the lives of citizens.  Both of these minor parties have never reached the number of supporters needed to enact their policies, but the Democrats have adapted many of the aims of the Socialist Party, and the Republicans have adjusted to the right in response to the ideas of the Libertarian Party.

One problem with a top two primary is that it does not give the voter more choices but limits them to only two in the general election.  A second problem is that in a district in which one party dominates, no other party has a chance to make it on the ballot, both general candidates could be from the same party.  It would virtually illuminate all minor party candidates from ever getting on a general ballot.

Many independents say there is no difference between the two parties; however, even the most cursory review of their stand on issues reveals that as false. The main causes of independent discontent with the two major parties can be categorized as: 1) They are all professional politicians who are mostly concerned with feathering their own nest and being reelected, and 2) They can’t work together to get anything done.

I think Item one is partly true; I do believe that many people in congress have a genuine desire to do what’s right, but their view may differ from that of many of their voters.  They have elevated themselves to a special class that is paid much more than the average voter, has amazing perks and benefits, and gives them special exceptions to things the rest of us live with every day.  When congress was first given an annual salary in 1855 it was $3000; comparing the consumer price index of 1855 to 2012, that equates to under $12,000 per year in today’s dollar.  Then, being in Congress was a part time job, they spent a couple of months a year mostly approving a budget.

This brings us to item two.  As the founders intended, the federal government dealt with relatively few departments and programs, they didn’t enact many new laws every year, they took care of business and got back their farm, store, law officer, parsonage, etc.  For the last 80 years congress has gotten along too well, they have passed way to many laws, creating way too much government, and spending way too much public revenue.  Any congress that refuses to raise expenditures or increase taxes is a good congress.  Democrats want to keep using the public revenue to buy votes, and Republics want to reverse that process.  In a nutshell that is the difference between the two parties.  I will vote for the senator or representative who refuses to go along with government programs, trillion dollar deficits, and forever increasing taxes.  A “do-nothing” congress is better than a “do-something” congress unless the something being done is cutting spending, cutting government, and cutting taxes.

So since the main accusation is that Democrats and Republicans are the same, you better look again.  And if you want to save the country you better hope the “do-nothings” outnumber the “do-everythings”.

Part 2 Protecting Against Mass Murder: A Workable Armed Security Plan

SchoolsThere are things that make schools particularly attractive targets for evil men or crazies who want to inflict harm on others or who want to hurt society: Schools contain large numbers of helpless children and a few adults who can pose no threat to an attacker; Being gun-free zones, schools guarantee that the will be no armed person in a school, with the possible exception of a school resource officer; and, once the slaughter starts, the attacker knows that it will take several minutes for the police to be called and to respond. The attacker also knows that if there is a single policeman assigned to the school, he could get rid of that threat to him by simply removing the officer or distracting him in some way; and even if the officer is not disabled the attacker would simply have to begin his attack in one of the more remote classrooms. For these reasons our children are like lambs in a slaughterhouse
The only real protection against a terrorist (and no matter their motive, the people who stage these attacks are terrorists) is to have numerous people in all parts of the school who can be first responders to an attack. The outcome at Sandy Hook Elementary School would have been very different had the first teacher who confronted the attacker, and the Principle who confronted him had done so with a gun.
Schools should be Attack Free Zones; meaning that if an unauthorized person enters a school they are considered a deadly threat and if they do not immediately surrender, they will be shot. This means that schools would have to have the ability to control all access to the school and to identify and control visitors or those on authorized business.
The two most rational objections to arming school personnel are 1) that they would create a confusing battlefield for police who respond- it would become difficult for the officers to identify the perpetrators as opposed to the armed school personnel; and, 2) School personnel are not trained in the needed skills and procedures. I think there is some valid concern on both points. However, if the arming of school personnel is done properly both these points become moot.
First the personnel would have to pass the normal gun ownership background checks, second, they would have to pass the concealed carry class, and third they would be required to be trained and sanctioned by the local police department, and would operate under direction of the police department as a reserve unit of the police. This takes away the concern about qualification.
There are probably several employees at most schools who are already competent marksmen and trained in gun safety. There are likely military veterans or reservists, concealed carry permit holders, reserve officers, or shooting hobbyist on the school staff. These people would be the obvious first class of trainees. The goal would be to have most employees, including administrators, teachers, classified staff, custodians, and bus drivers qualified and armed. Since the reasons schools are such enticing targets for evil or crazy people is because they know they will easily be able to do great harm, having this type of reserve protection would take away that primary attraction as a target.
The second valid concern is identification of school police reservists. First, since they are under the direction of the police, trained by them, and mingle face to face with officers they would be known by sight to the police. Second they would be provided with a recognizable police vest which they would don in the event of an attack anywhere on the school. The teachers in classrooms would lock down their classroom, direct the children to take cover, and then take a defensive position to stop the attacker from entering.
Teachers involved in other activities with students would move them to designated safe areas and take up a defensive position to protect the children. Administrators and other non-teaching personnel would don their vests and move quickly to the trouble area, firing on an attacker at the moment they are encountered.
The reserve officer school personnel would be organized into rank leadership based on competency and training and the senior officer (who might be a teacher or a janitor rather than an administrator) would assume command of the crises until a ranking police officer is on the scene.
Chances are, that in most cases based on this scenario by the time police arrived all school reservists would be “in uniform”’ the threat would be neutralized, and all arms would be holstered, avoiding the chaos envisioned by detractors.
Chances are good that this would prevent injury or loss of student life; or at the worst would limit the number of such casualties.
I will cover reestablishing a healthy American gun culture in Part 3.

Protecting Against Mass Murder -Part 1

RiflesMass murder has unfortunately always been a part of human history; among the worst of these are attacks on children. It is easy to buy into the idea that what we have witnessed in the last decade is a worsening of mass violence in the US. But the reality is that it is no worse than it has ever been. In fact the worst single act of school violence in the US happened in 1929. “There is no pattern; there is no increase.” (James Alan Fox, Ph.D. The Lipman Family Professor of Criminology, Law and Public Policy, Northeastern University, Boston, Massachusetts) It seems like there is more because we have it clearly brought to us by the media, we see the horror and feel the loss and desire to take action.

It is also common to blame firearms for mass murder, but the worst American attacks have been by explosives or arson. The worst school massacre was by explosives at the hand of a school board member who lost the election. In fact gun violence has declined to about half the rate it was in the 1990’s. The violence against students dropped from 54 to 13 per 1000 during that period. At the same time there was a huge increase in gun ownership. Not only was there a general increase in gun ownership, but the increase in semiautomatic rifles has even had a greater increase.

How could we change gun laws to make society safer?  We could rescind them and stop infringing on the right of our citizens to own and bear arms.

Gun laws that limit ownership do not make society safer. What these laws do is limit the good citizens’ right to self-protection; while the criminals and crazies don’t care if the gun they use is legal or not.

Likewise, Gun laws that prohibit private ownership of guns do not make society safer. They take away the good citizens’ right to self-protection; criminals and crazies don’t care if the gun they use is legal or not.

One of the arguments for disarming citizens is that in countries where guns are banned the murder rate is lower than in the United States. England is the most touted example. Gun ownership in England is practically forbidden and they have a lower gun murder rate than the US. However, the correlation of gun ownership is irrelevant because England had a lower murder rate than the US when both countries had no limits on gun ownership. In fact the murder rate was lower in England in the 1950’s before gun control, than it is now with complete gun control.

Australia recently passed draconian gun laws confiscating millions of guns from their citizens. Since disarming the populace, violent crime of all types, including murder has skyrocketed.

Switzerland, Israel, and Finland have very lenient gun laws (Switzerland actually requires each home to have and assault rifle), yet their murder rate by citizens is lower than that of the US.

Gun ownership is much higher in American smaller cities and towns and in rural areas, yet the murder rate is lower. Gun ownership is much lower in black communities than white communities, yet the murder rate is much higher among blacks, and almost all murders of blacks are committed by blacks; mostly young males killing each other.

In the US cities like New Orleans, Chicago, Washington DC, New York, and Los Angeles have strict gun laws, yet they are the most violent cities in the US, with the highest gun murder rates.

Instead of worrying about guns in the hands of responsible citizens we should be addressing how to identify and neutralize the threat posed by potentially violent people. We should first figure out how to prevent them from doing harm, then figure out how to reduce the pool of those with mental problems or other violent tendencies, and how to reduce their access to potential victims.

We should consider measures that will reduce potential damage that can be done in our schools by a nut with a backpack of homemade bombs, flammables, automatic weapons, a machete, or a steel bar. Once such a murderer is inside a “gun free” school and police are called, dozens of children can be heinously murdered.

Even if you have a policeman on the campus at all times, the criminal only has to have two minutes to massacre a roomful of children. It can take longer than that for a resource officer to identify where the problem is and respond. Because the terrorists in Israel aggressively targeted children they have trained and armed teachers, administrators, and other school workers. This means that the damage that can be done will be limited because response will be immediate and massive.

If there had been two concealed carry citizens in the crowed when Rep. Gifford was attacked, chances are good that many could have been saved. If the teacher and principle had been armed at Sandy Hook, there could have been many innocent lives spared.  Guns in the hands of good people is a good thing.  Guns in the hands of bad people is a bad thing.  It is the bad people that need controlling, not guns.

In part two I will discuss how such a security plan could be properly established without creating chaos.

Liberal Hypocrisy

One of the complaints lodged against conservatives by liberals, often even by libertarians, is that in matters such as abortion, drug laws, and marriage laws “you can’t legislate morality,” they claim that though they personally oppose one or all these things, it really comes down to a personal choice of the individual and the government should stay out of it. But their hypocrisy is exposed when you talk about some of the things they want to legislate, such as requiring all to pay into government “charity” in the form of welfare, limiting access to firearms, dictating what type of medical insurance you can or must have, what kind of food your children can have, and a myriad of other “nanny state” doctrines.

This liberal ideology forces people to do and/or pay for things that they are opposed to, and takes away their personal choice. So how do they justify this? By saying it is “right,” “just,”, “fair,” meaning of course, moral. So they are perfectly willing to legislate morality, as long as it is their brand of morality. I have even heard a Christian liberal in my church say that these things are all in alignment with Christ’s command to love others and to care for them. I guess he doesn’t mind that forced charity is not charity at all, or that free will was endorsed by Christ, or that there are better ways of doing this than having the government do it.

My libertarian friends on the other hand would tend to agree with the liberals on the items in the first paragraph, and with me on the items in the second paragraph. And that is good in that it is at least consistent. However, libertarianism is pretty much “anarchy-lite;” it is basically opposed nearly all laws and to anything that presumes to define what is acceptable or unacceptable in society.

A conservative looks at all laws and taxes with a critical eye, yet they recognize that to have civil society requires some laws and the taxes to support them. All but a true anarchist agree that laws are needed to protect against violence, define protected property rights, provide for honest commerce, and protect against government abuse of personal rights. Conservatives recognize that there are legitimate reasons to have other civil laws, such as highway standards, building codes, professional certification, and traffic laws.

The real hypocrisy of saying that you can’t legislate morality is the simple fact that any law that protects people from the rule of the strongest is in fact a legislation of morality. Morality is the core basis of civilization.

What Do You Know About Your Federal Income Tax?

There is more to know than you see on your check stub, more than you see on your tax return, more than you see on your quarterly estimated taxes, more than you see at the gas pump. The following numbers from bring some clarity to taxes in the US.

Federal Budgeted Revenue 2011 (Federal Government Income)

Income Taxes: 1.154 Trillion
SS/Med/Ins .806 Trillion
Ad-Valorem .133 Trillion
Business/Other .079 Trillion
Fees/Charges .001 Trillion
Total: 2.173 Trillion

53% is from personal income taxes paid by citizens
37% is from personal & employer SS, Medicare, or Gov. Ins. paid by citizens & employers
6% is from ad valorem: Fuel, Inheritance, Tariff, Leases, and other value-based taxes
3.6% is from corporate/business taxes
0.04% is from use fees or charges

53 % of all federal revenue is paid up front by us
16 % is deducted from our pay for social insurance
21 % is paid on our behalf by or employer, but ultimately it is passed back in the cost of products
6 % is paid by companies and passed on to us in the cost of products
4 % is paid by companies and passed on to us in the cost of products
Use fees or charges are paid by citizens directly to federal agencies, for the privilege of using (our) public land.

The fact is that we as citizens and consumers pay either directly or through hidden taxes the full $2 trillion in annual federal revenue. Business pays nothing, because they have to cover the cost of taxes in the price they charge for the products or services, which we pay. In addition they must bear the administrative costs for reporting and paying the taxes, again a cost coming to us in the price of the product or service.

There are a total of 311 million citizens, so the average citizen is paying $6987.00 this year in federal taxes. For a family of four the average is $27948.00. Averages however can be deceptive, for taxes are not paid evenly, in fact over 40% of all federal taxes are paid by just 1% of taxpayers, those in the highest income bracket, and a full 97% of taxes are paid by 50% of taxpayers, those of average income and above. Only 3% of taxes are paid by those in bottom 50% of the income scale.

It is just plain ignorance that people believe the rich should pay more taxes; each of us who make less than $410,000.00 are already being heavily subsidized by those who earn more than that.

Those that would increase corporate taxes to “redistribute the wealth” obviously don’t understand that a business tax is just a hidden tax on the consumer, and an overhead cost that takes investment and growth money out of businesses.

To foster a robust economy there should be no taxation of business. People should not have to send their social services money to the government; it should go into their personal accounts. There should be no hidden taxes; citizens should know exactly what they pay in taxes. Business would boom, prices would decrease, consumer power would increase, and personal wealth would increase.