Damn the Infirm and the Elderly! No Mask Mandates Allowed!

Once again, Wisconsin Republican leadership doesn’t give a Shinola that the elderly and the infirm may die from COVID-19. Determined to preserve the personal liberty of not wearing masks at somebody else’s expense, Wisconsin Republicans continue a let-them-eat-cake attitude regarding compromised immune systems and susceptible citizens during a pandemic.

They are banking on the fact that there will not be enough deaths in Wisconsin before November 3rd to impact their election chances. Does that sound harsh? Well, maybe. Forcing herd immunity through inaction seems pretty harsh to me, too.

Trump Lies, McConnell Fies

It’s barely noteworthy.  This President lies.

Today he implied that Joe Scarborough killed a 28-year-old intern. Which Republicans will condemn him for this false accusation? None.

Mitch McConnell is far too busy telling former President Obama to stop criticizing President Trump for his mistakes. You remember Majority Leader Mitch right? The one that saved President Trump from impeachment? Of course, you do. He is the one that prevented the Senate from hearing testimony from people who work for Trump. McConnell worships President Trump.

Watching President Trump fumble his way through these COVID press conferences is nauseating. Watching journalists treat the President of the United States with contempt is disgusting.

It makes you want a new Congress, a new President, and a new set of good behaviors.  The two corporations that run the American government could use some free market politics right about now. Do you remember the idea behind free markets?  If there are enough competitors in the market place, the quality will be high and the cost will be low. That is what Free Trade is all about…letting the buyer choose among several alternatives produces the highest quality and the lowest cost. Free Politics is about reducing the barriers that prevent a new political party from rising.

Maybe we should create Equal Opportunity policies for federal elections to encourage the advancement and development of political parties in America. Free Party Politics sounds like a winner to me.

 

 

 

 

Can anyone vote Republican anymore?

There’s a title I never thought I’d write. And yet the rot and decay in Republican Party values has created an overwhelming stench.

Evidence demands a verdict. Consider the evidence:

a) A President who blames all his troubles on someone else. A President who demeans 49% of all Americans. A President who is actively wrenching Republicanism away from its core values of decency, respect, the rule of law and God, and replacing those values with buffoonery, humiliation, and maniacal tweets.

b) A Majority Leader in the Senate who perverted the impeachment process and emboldened and enabled a cover-up of criminal and unethical Executive Branch actions.

c) A federal Republican party that will not display nor support the humble and decent values of Ronald Reagan and countless other Republican presidents.  A congressional Republican Party that seeks to break the US Treasury during times of crisis.

d) A Republican Party that no longer believes in a Republic and instead seeks Presidential immunity from prosecution and immunity from congressional oversight,  a party who seeks a King to revere,  and a party who asserts that all accusations against the President are a crime.

How can and why should anyone vote for the rot in the Republican Party?

And how can anyone vote for the Democrat Party either? Socialistic, bleed-the-bank programs, corrupting the ethics of self-reliance, independent thinking, and the advancement of the greater good in all men, the Democratic Party has failed to engage its collective brain and has failed its mission to rear decent Americans.

If you believe in the decency of the common man, for goodness sake, vote for someone other than a Republican or a Democrat. If you want to save America, vote independently and vote for a different set of legislators.

 

Removing local control over the siting of cell towers

Goodbye local control over the siting of cell towers in Wisconsin.State statute 66.04040 removes all vestiges of town or municipality control unless the political unit of government has zoning authority. This removes almost all towns and some villages from local control over the siting of cell towers. It vests some authority to the county but limits that authority severely.

Ok, so why is this happening? Why is the Wisconsin state legislature removing local control over so many items?

#1. The frac sand industry took a shellacking when the travails of the Town of Cooks Valley with the frac sand industry became public knowledge. Using blogs and the Wisconsin Town’s Association as megaphones, the word quickly spread to town officials that if you want to control your destiny, you better adopt ordinances to control the industry before it comes to your town. Numerous towns enacted protective ordinances modeled after Cooks Valley’s to ensure they did not lose air, water, or lifestyle quality in their towns. The frac sand industry sought to fight the issue in court and the Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled with the towns and against the industry.

#2 It is so much harder to get the Supreme Court to invalidate laws than anything else so crafty industry professionals began lobbying legislators  to enact legislation that removed town authority and placed authority in state laws. When state laws pre-empt local towns from taking any direct action against the industry companies, it forces towns to sue the state government if towns want any power at all. The advantage to industry is that state authority and legislators are a defense against town action. Good gig if you can get it. And they did.

#3 People want to be let alone but today’s industries terraform the surroundings into inhospitable places to live. From high capacity wells that drop the local water table to farmland run-off that causes a loss of aquatic plants and an increase in algae blooms, local people are tired of industries creating problems that cannot be solved locally.

#4 The transmission of useful information through social media to local officials means that industries no longer have years to operate with invisible/hidden tactics that take advantage of small town officials who once were not aware what was happening 100 miles away.

So the cell tower industry chose to pre-empt local control and establish state authority for the application and siting of cell towers. A smart move on their part to limit the ability of local authority to do anything about it.

2. If a political subdivision has in effect on July 2, 2013, an ordinance that applies to a class 2 collocation and the ordinance is inconsistent with this section, the ordinance does not apply to, and may not be enforced against, the class 2 collocation.

3. A political subdivision may regulate a class 2 collocation only as provided in this section.
4. A class 2 collocation is subject to the same requirements for the issuance of a building permit to which any other type of commercial development or land use development is subject.
The passage above from 66.0404 says precisely what it means: 1. If a local town already has an ordinance , this law negates that ordinance. 2. The local town is not permitted to get creative in how it controls the siting of cell towers, its power is limited to what the statute specifically gives it.  3. Local officials cannot create a new requirement for cell tower ‘permit applications’ different than any other commercial development or land use permit applications.
Sneaky law. It snubs local authority like a red-headed step child.
Too late to do anything about this attack on local control. Barron County’s cell tower ordinance has been killed by 66.0404 and the only thing that Barron County can do now is write a pablum-oriented ordinance in compliance with state law.
Forget the fights about abortion and immigration, our liberty is at stake. I have said many times that local control is being usurped by the feds and by the state. At the federal level, we are the Federal States of America instead of the United States of America. At the local level, we are simply becoming vassal political units with the responsibility to carry out state mandates and no authority to create ones ourselves.This loss of freedom and liberty to choose for ourselves is what makes the current state of affairs so heinous.
The Freedom to Choose is the foundation of liberty. Controlling the list of what we can choose from is tyranny and oppression.
We are up the river without a paddle if this momentum to remove local authority continues.
When the feds centralize power over the state and the state centralizes power over municipalities, nothing good can come from it.

 

Levin’s Liberty Amendments

Levin’s 11 Proposed Liberty Amendments:

  1. Establish Congressional Term Limits
  2. Repeal the 17th Amendment and Restore the Senate
  3. Establish Term Limits for Supreme Court Justices
  4. Limit Federal Spending
  5.  Limit Federal Taxing
  6. Limit the Federal Bureaucracy
  7. Promote Free Enterprise
  8. Protect Private Property
  9. Grant States Authority to Directly Amend the Constitution
  10. Grant States Authority to Check Congress
  11. Protect the Vote

Here are my thoughts on support:

Liberty #1: Partial Support: Twelve years is not enough for term limits. It may have been in 1789 but congressmen/women with less than 12 years under the belt are just not knowledgeable enough to thwart being manipulated by others. Twenty (20) years of Congress is fine and then out of the legislative branch. I can support term limits in the Executive Branch, too. Set them for twenty years and get rid of those lifers in the State Department, National Security, etc.

Liberty #2: Full Support with a twist. Leave the two senators elected by popular vote and add one to be chosen by each state. I can be convinced to add two chosen by the states for the simple reason that government is too complex for one person to understand it and legislate accordingly.

Liberty #3: Partial Support: I agree with the term limits but I don’t support the override of the Supreme Court decisions in Sections 4 thru 8. I prefer instead that 1. Congress shall have the authority to prevent the Supreme Court’s decision from becoming a legal norm by crafting and passing legislation specific to the case within 18 months of the court’s decision, or the case will be considered as settled law, 2. that such corrective legislation crafted by Congress shall be accompanied by the Supreme Court’s legislative analysis and review when presented to the members of both Houses before the final vote on the legislation 3. that the President does not have veto power over the Congressional vote, and 4. that a simple majority of States will have six months after Congress’ 18 month’s period to craft federal legislation to address a Supreme Court ruling and 5. that such legislation receives a three-fifths majority vote within another 6 months to enact it as federal law.

Liberty Amendment #4: Full support with a twist: I want to see the definition of a tax that includes user fees, parking fees, licenses,etc  and all the other fol-de-rol ways of not calling the confiscation of money from a citizen as a tax when it is used towards a federal facility, space, employee, or maintenance aspect of something in the federal domain.

Liberty Amendment #5: No support for this as written. I would support something that says the federal government cannot directly provide income or other means of support to more than 30% of the population with jobs, food, shelter, and clothing; and that it cannot provide more than 15% of the population with indirect support. From federal employees and military through the sick and disabled and contract workers, I want to see 2/3 able-bodied population in a self reliant fashion but I am not sure how that would be crafted.

Liberty Amendment #6: Full Support with a twist: The Federal government can sue State governments for inadequate consumer protections within a States’ commerce.

Liberty Amendment #7: Full Support

Liberty Amendment #8: Full Support

Liberty Amendment # 9: Full Support

Liberty Amendment # 10: Full Support for federal elections with a caveat that photographic evidence is a method and I am not certain that technology methods should be written into a Constitutional amendment. Proof of identification may be photographic, fingerprint, voice ID, retinal prints, DNA analysis, and by affidavit. Modify the wording slightly to make it acceptable for other types of identification, too, and I am fine. Fingerprint scanners seem more appropriate in most instances.

Those are my thoughts about Mr. Levin’s Amendments. I recommend that you read his book.

Ahhhh, Congress does no harm…but time will tell….

Imagine how grueling it can be dealing with all those laws and news media and two wars and budgets. Imagine how Congress really needs to take a break.

The National Journal has a complete list of all the legislatin’ the legislators are doing. 

Thirteen (13) pieces of legislation! Woo Hoo! Clap, clap, clap and more applause, please!

With such wonderful pieces of legislation such as:

1. To specify the size of the precious-metal blanks that will be used in the production of the National Baseball Hall of Fame commemorative coins.

2. Reducing Flight Delays Act of 2013

3.To award posthumously a Congressional Gold Medal to Addie Mae Collins, Denise McNair, Carole Robertson, and Cynthia Wesley to commemorate the lives they lost 50 years ago in the bombing of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church, where these 4 little Black girls’ ultimate sacrifice served as a catalyst for the Civil Rights Movement.

…..and who can possibly forget that very special:

4. S.982: Freedom to Fish Act

Yes, that’s right Congress allows one to fish but only if you are under audio and video surveillance at the time..(just kidding about the surveillance).

I know you what you are thinking. You are thinking that they might be cutting the budget now or arguing over the number of military bases needed around the world but the fact is that with all that Obama scandal, Congress just hasn’t got around to passing anything of note.

And that may be the very thing that is so great. Perhaps Congress has finally adopted the doctor’s creed: Primum non nocere. First, do no harm…

 

 

Another Thought on Legislative Quality

The ineptly named American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 was chockfull of special favors. (More is coming,  I suspect.) It made me think that in today’s age, why does Congress permit amendments to any legislation? Would we be better without amendments?

Perhaps it made sense when we were using quills and inkwell to write legislation (that was ultimately set by a printer and then distributed), perhaps it just made sense to tack an amendment to a piece of legislation to save everyone some time and effort. In today’s world is it necessary to do that? Seems to me that the distribution of information is so much faster and easier today that amendments could simply be disallowed. Congress should vote for what comes out of the committee: up or down, yea or nay. That would prevent many special interests from adding icing to their cake.

Perhaps four things are needed for legislative quality:

1. No amendments permitted. When it is out of committee, it is done. Shouldn’t committees be responsible for the quality of the product they put before the whole body?

2. If Congress does wish to add an amendment, shouldn’t there be a ‘amendment impact’ statement that accompanies the amendment specifically describing what it will and will not do for the legislation produced by the committee? And when the answer is ‘not a damn thing’, shouldn’t it be disallowed?

3. Shouldn’t there be a ‘degree of separation’ value given to each amendment that shows how well it relates to the purpose and scope and  title of the legislation? For example, shouldn’t the American Tax Relief Act prevent anyone from adding a rider that favors one commercial industry over another? Like NASCAR and Hollywood?

4.And finally, shouldn’t Congressmen of all hues possess a line item veto? Why give it to the President? Give it to Congressmen and let the chips fall where they may.

While I prefer no amendments to any legislation, if they are kept in the process then we need a way to prevent irrelevant amendments from tainting good legislation. Is there a better way?

What if we set up a legislative quality inspector who must approve the bill as meeting quality standards before cloture occurs? A master-at-arms for legislative quality may have value in Congress.