Friday, September 27, 2019

Taxes are more than you think...

It just dawned on me that most people have no clue how much money the government collects in taxes. The following is an example of how much the government gets of the last $100 dollars I earn.

I make $100 and my taxes are:

$32.00 in federal income taxes.
$15.30 in self employment taxes.
$7.25 to the State of Maine.

With the $45.45 left over I purchase a 5 inch wedding cake from a great vegan baker to celebrate my my wedding anniversary.

I pay another $3.64 in Maine sales tax.

Now the baker has charged me $41.81 for her cake. Her costs which include everything from flour to the gas the oven used add up to $20.91 leaving her with a profit of $20.90 on which she pays:

$4.60 in federal income taxes.
$3.20 in self employment taxes.
$1.41 in state income taxes.

Total taxes on my $100 earned selling my services and buying a five inch wedding cake add up to $67.40 and I would argue the cost, pain and hassle required to figure this out and the angst not knowing if you figured it out correctly makes our whole system unbearable and yet we Americans, like the proverbial dog lying on a nail moaning, are doing nothing about it.

In the early 90's there was a organization that was hell bent on repealing the 16th Amendment. Although supported by John McCain, Fred Thompson, Mike Huckabee, Bill Archer, Tom Tancredo, Duncan Hunter, Mike Gravel, John Lindner and Saxby Chambliss repeal only gained marginal traction. Looking back it's obvious that those in power DON'T want to see any change to the income tax system. The current tax system hides the real cost of government from the people and picks winners and losers.

Major tax reform is possible. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, signed into law by President Trump did many things including limiting the state income tax deduction to $10,000. High taxed (typically democrat controlled) states cried foul and have done everything they can to have this new law changed while low taxed (typically republican controlled) states cheered.

I'm absolutely for the repeal of the 16th amendment and a National Retail Sales Tax (NRST) being used nationwide to fund the Federal Government. Many believe this too radical but since 1776 we have had a "legal" income tax for only 106 of those years. I say it's time that we once again align our nation's revenue system to what our founding fathers argued was best.

Note - This continues to repeat as the baker buys products and services and those people make profits, etc... Furthermore, this example doesn't include property and personal property taxes which for many of us is thousands of dollars.

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

"If True..."

I'm so tired of hearing journalists using the phrase "if true" when breaking a news story. The President of the United States asked the President of Ukraine to investigate possible corruption between Ukraine and Joe Biden's son Hunter Biden and the major media (less Fox News) goes off the rails. Democrats declare the Rubicon has been crossed and Trump needs to be impeached... Before the release of the call transcript?

Now that the transcript of the call between President Trump and the President of Ukraine is public the spin is absolutely insane. I can't imagine how anyone can rationally concluded the President broke any law based on the transcript of the call. Prior to the transcripts release the Department of Justice made it clear they reviewed the matter and concluded no violation of campaign finance law occurred.

So again, how does "if true" become the story when the fact that Hunter Biden made $600,000 a year as a board member of Burisma? Burisma is the largest natural gas producer in Ukraine and it has been reported that Hunter Biden worked for Burisma Holdings from May 2014 to early 2019. Do the math... That's over $4.3 million dollars paid to a board member with I think it's safe to say zero experience in the industry. I wonder what the other board members made and what political connections they boast?

PS I believe that Hunter Biden leverage his father's job into millions from Ukraine, China and maybe others. That the whistle blower came forward the day after it was clear the Muller investigation had failed to result in impeachment.

Monday, September 16, 2019

Enough About Brett Kavanaugh!

CBS News... News? I'm just dumbfounded that any major news outlet is still publishing salacious stories of "what" happened 35+ years ago. Someone coming forward and  "remembering" that something happened just isn't enough to smear a supreme Court judge.

Justice Kavanaugh's memories of freshman year are vague at best. The editors at CBS think stories from the Judge's freshman year are fair game... this isn't journalism, It's blatant partisanship. CBS knows no one can refute something that happened 35+ years, especially when details like dates aren't remembered.

Let's say everything CBS is reporting is true. What you have is a drunk college freshman pulling his dick out at a party. This alone disqualifies Judge Kavanaugh? Something 35 years ago out weighs a 30 year career of treating women with respect and dignity in the workplace?

Doesn't anyone besides me have a problem here?

Hasn't anyone noticed there are zero accusations from co-workers or subordinates?

There once was a time where tabloids would publish stories like this, stories legit media outlets when it touch under any circumstances. Clearly those days are over and the role of the press in our Republic is being mismanaged at best and the country on whole is much worse off.

The coordinated smear is the true existential treat to our democracy.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Media Spins the North Carolina Special Elections

Last night two Republicans win special elections and the results don't favor a Democratic take over in 2020 but that's NOT the story. When stories written by democratic operatives end up as the headlines in major newspapers and media outlets the results are far from harmless. this is exactly how you end up with Robert Francis "Beto" O'Rourke running for president thinking that he almost won Texas.

Only the Democrats can turn a pretty convincing loss into a victory. Only the Democratic party with the help of the media can turn a governor's race in Georgia with all-time voter turnout and a 50,000 vote deficit into voter suppression.

One would think the dream ticket would be Beto O'Rourke and Stacey Abrams. I don't know what to think about North Carolina's special elections but I know spin when I see it and journalists are not supposed to spin! There is no doubt, absolutely no doubt, in my mind that fair journalism for the most part is dead in America.

* Mobile users click on reports below:

Friday, August 16, 2019

Open Letter to my Daughter

By Morgan McFall-Johnsen & Aylin Woodward
Business Insider, August 13, 2019

Most of this article… Well it’s pretty easy to pick apart. For starters when the phrase "According to Science" is used you pretty much know something isn't right. It's kinda like invoking God. So the one thing I agree with is gun violence should be rigorously studied and when something can be done that doesn't unduly infringe on the 2nd Amendment and the rights of law abiding citizens, changes should be made.

That said, suggesting that the President is the voice of reason or fact when it comes to guns is a stretch at best. For example, his comments suggesting a link between video games and gun violence has been studied to death with very little correlation and some of the correlation that does exist even suggesting a decrease in gun violence is actually more likely than an increase.

I will address a few items I thought interesting:

“When people convicted of domestic abuse were barred from buying guns, gun deaths decreased.” So let’s discuss how the Earth is flat. Duh, clearly this isn’t a reason to ban or restrict gun ownership to law abiding, none abusive spouses. It’s a false argument against guns and a good argument for nationwide “red flag” laws. I do have concern who determines the red flag and what a red flag is be but you had me at “convicted” and I’m all in for something along this line.

“By contrast, Switzerland, which has high gun ownership but hasn't seen a mass shooting in 18 years, has strict gun policies including rigorous licensing procedures (including training) and restrictions on who can buy guns.” Again this argument seems out of place. Clearly this is making the case, at least in Switzerland, that gun ownership isn't the problem, people are the problem. It’s the people who don’t go through a rigorous background check, training, etc… that are the problem. It’s pretty much the same in the United States which is why I’m 100% for rigorous background checks to include fingerprints, class room training and live fire before someone can own a handgun.

Why handguns and not long guns? Because I choose to go after what’s responsible for 90% of all gun deaths. Furthermore, don’t forget that 2/3 of all gun deaths in the US are suicides. It’s possible, but not many people kill themselves with an AR-15.

“There's also a clear link between assault weapons and gun-massacre deaths. After Congress let a 1994 ban on assault weapons expire in 2004, gun massacres increased by 183 percent, and associated deaths went up 239 percent.” Really? Clear link? Yep, I’ve seen this before and I’ve seen just the opposite. Heidi, had the statistics shown that the “Assault Weapons Ban” was effective the law would not have sunset as per the law. How inconvenient?

Google how many people are killed in the United States with assault weapons per year in mass shootings?

Google the number of people hit by lighting in the United States every year.

Google the number of bank robberies that typically happen in Los Angeles per year.

Funny, those numbers are all about the same which shouldn’t shock you if you have studied the issue.

Now try and Google how many suicides, shootings, deaths and murders are by handguns and long guns. I would suggest you use the FBI database for your best numbers. Pretty shocking and now you, like me, know when a politician goes on and on about banning assault weapons either they haven’t looked at the numbers or they just don’t give a rip about America and are doing what they can to get reelected.

“Researchers and policy experts think a new ban on assault weapons could reduce mass-shooting deaths.” Okay that’s a pretty safe assessment but if saving lives is the driving force wouldn’t it make more sense to make our roads safer (40,000 deaths last year) or focus on drug overdoses (60,000+ deaths last year) than assault weapons?

Also, what is the cost of banning assault weapons?

Heidi, the 2nd Amendment has NOTHING to do with hunting. The 2nd Amendment is second because it’s protecting the 1st which is actually the five things a free society can’t do without. Freedom of: Religion, Speech, Press, Assemble and to Petition our Government for Redress of Grievances.

You once said it was silly to think an armed American population would stand a chance against a modern army. Well, it would seem a few thousand goat herders armed with not much more have keep the world’s two greatest militaries from victory in Afghanistan. Furthermore, it’s not too hard to imaging small arms and semiautomatic rifles being used to storm an armory to obtain more lethal weapons.

“A lack of background checks is also associated with higher rates of gun violence.” No doubt, which is why the background system needs to be overhauled and implemented as Congress intended. Unlike all previous Presidents in our lifetimes Trump has actually passed legislation to do just that. I’m all for this and would like to add that if someone prohibited from buying a gun, knowingly attempts to buy a gun they absolutely should be prosecuted and spend a year in jail. Furthermore, any crime that is committed with a gun should automatically have five years tacked onto their sentence as well. Use a gun in.a crime and you get five years. Not five years plea bargained away but five years minimum added to your sentence.

“Finally, concealed-carry policies are also associated with increased firearm homicide rates.” I happen to agree that universal concealed-carry is not a good idea. I would also like to point out that many cities with horrific gun violence inevitably have the most restrictive gun laws. The argument that our cities have gun issues because neighboring states have slack gun laws doesn’t logically apply to conceal carry. Although stop and frisk sure seems unconstitutional it worked wonders in New York City because bad guys don't care about the law!

Before anyone goes off and suggests new gun laws it’s really important to study areas of the country that have strict very gun laws and high crime. Also, there are a few cases where gun laws were overturned and stats changed for the better suggesting that some laws with good intentions end up making matters worse.

For example in DC, gun ownership was effectively outlawed which resulted in an increase in violent crime and home invasion. When the Supreme Court overturned these gun laws (DC v. Heller) the number of home invasions decreased. If one were to believe the NRA then guns or the presence of a gun helps prevent over 2,000,000 crimes per year.

I don’t believe this and I don’t believe most of what this article is trying to convey. I’ve researched this issue at nausea. I’ve blogged about it a dozen times with exhaustive research and facts documented with government provided numbers or well researched, peer reviewed studies and I've determined most members of the media and politicians are clueless when it comes to guns.

Considering the number of guns in the United States and the arguments the left makes regarding gun control I’m shocked we don’t have 100 times the number of mass shooting. Clearly, guns themselves aren’t bad, but guns in the hands of people who aren’t trained, don't have a criminal background, have a desire to randomly kill people, are clinically depressed, are terrorists, are children, etc… can and do have devastating impact albeit nothing compared to the carnage on our roads and drug overdoses.

America is a unique and we are very much still an experiment waiting for a result. Those who live in the city don’t see a reason for anyone to have a gun while those who live deep in the interior of Alaska or Montana can’t imagine a walk in the woods without one.

I didn’t own a handgun for the first forty-three years of my life and I rarely questioned my safety. Then I started to hear politicians seriously talking about banning guns and that woke me up to the possibility that just maybe one day I might need one, not to hunt, but to enforce the Constitution of the United States, specifically protect the five freedoms of the 1st Amendment. Yes innocent people die in shootings and that makes me sad but there is no doubt, given enough time, history will repeat and the cost of not being ready is too great.

“… The spirit of resistance to government is so valuable on certain occasions, that I wish it to be always kept alive. It will often be exercised when wrong, but better so than not to be exercised at all. I like a little rebellion now and then. It is like a storm in the atmosphere.”  Thomas Jefferson on Liberty

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

N105GS Van's RV-9A Testing

If you google Van's Experimental RV-9A N105GS nothing comes up and that needs to change.

N105GS - Van's RV-9A
Last fall I completed phase one testing N105GS built by Gary Brealey of Belfast, Maine. During construction he developed some medical issues (he got old) that prevented him from flying. I heard about this and offered to help, got checked out in the RV-9A and began testing.

Initially I thought I was committing to a 25 hour test schedule. Matter of fact, my wife is positive that 25 hours was the number being discussed at our meeting with Gary but upon completing the initial 25 hours it became 40 hours. Although a normal RV-9A with a Lycoming engine and a Sensenich propeller only needs 25 hours of testing unbeknownst to me the engine was rebuilt by "bubba" in a garage which necessitated a full 40 hour testing period of which much was spent high above a 8,000 foot runway doing donuts in the sky. In one nearly three hour flight I managed to land at five different airports.

Testing N105GS to 14,000 feet
N105GS isn't a perfect plane and there are things that need to be addressed with the autopilot, radios, etc... But for the most part it flies absolutely great and I have to admit Gary did a super job building his dream.

Gary really enjoying a ride in the plane he built. Note the RV Grin!
Visiting my nephew Gavin
There is no doubt that a person with solid engineering skills or just able to follow instructions, who has the time and patience can build their own plane. Besides the cost savings of being able to create a high performance aircraft for about $100,000 you will be doing something that few people would ever even consider doing. I don't know about you but the attraction of doing this is pretty crazy and yet there are over 10,000 Van's aircraft flying.

Testing done and plane delivered. Reward? Can of tomatoes...
It's not done till the paperwork is done...

Monday, August 5, 2019

Nation Terrorized with Back-To-Back Shootings

On August 4th & 5th, 2019, eighty people were shot resulting in thirty deaths. I want to say how sorry I am for the victims, survivors, their families and those impacted by the recent shootings in El Paso and Dayton. Most Americans understand shootings are extremely rare and "active" shooters are even more rare even though they are talked about non-stop by the cable news media for days, if not weeks leaving the impression that it's unsafe to go the mall, attend a place of worship, go to school or walk on our cities sidewalks.

Furthermore, I understand it's completely politically incorrect to point out basic facts. In a country with 330,000,000 people, mass shootings (four or more people shot) and expecially active shooters are extremely, actually, unbelievably rare. The FBI documented 27 total active shooting incidents in the United State in 2018.

This seems like a ton of cases but when you look at it as a nation it's not but the upward trend since 2000 is worthy of concern. This isn't an Obama or Trump thing. Something is changing with our young people and in many cases it's young, withdrawn, socially outcast, sexual inactive males.

Politicians and the media say mass shootings are on the rise and have become an "existential" threat to our country. However, politicians and the media continue to fail to acknowledge the numbers of gun shootings and deaths that occur daily in our large urban centers.

To put shootings in perspective 40,000 people die in car accidents and 60,000 due to drug overdose annually. Why, as a society, do we go on and on about mass shootings that killed 387 in 2018 but not the 100,000 that died on our roads and from drugs?

Maybe it's because shootings are random and that alone is terrifying?

Every year about 270 people are struck by lighting in the United States but rational people are NOT terrorized by seemingly random lighting strikes?

If the loss of life is the most important metric, wouldn't 100,000 people overdosing and dying in car accidents be the real story and "existential" threat to our nation?

By far the number one thing we as a nation could do to curb gun violence would be to change our Constitution. With the repeal of the 2nd Amendment we could ban guns and it's clear that a total ban on all guns would have a significant impact on gun violence. Would I feel safer giving up my shotgun and handgun? Honestly, I don't know... I've only had a handgun for twelve years and I didn't feel unsafe before I owned one.

Do I think the 2nd Amendment should be changed to prevent 387 annual deaths from mass shootings per year? Absolutely not, but to be intellectually honest all options must be considered.

I'm in favor of a nationwide licensing process for handguns. This would include a gun safety course, training that includes firing a handgun, fingerprints and a background check in order to own a handgun. Seems extreme but think of what you have to do to drive a car and cars kill 40,000 people a year... I'm okay with this change.

I'm also very much in favor of limiting magazine capacity to gun design. This would effectively make illegal huge clips, 100 round drums, etc... However, I think limiting my Glock 22 to 10 rounds from 15 is nonsense and puts me at a disadvantage when confronting a prepared shooter.

I'm in favor or banning bump stocks... DONE - The ban went into effect on March 26, 2019, by which owners of bump stocks were required to destroy them or surrender them to ATF, punishable by 10 years imprisonment and $250,000 fine.

Although the "Gun Show Loophole" like the "Assault Weapon Ban" is mostly bullshit, I think it makes sense to fill in a few gaps in the law. Right now if you sell one gun as a business you're require to have a Federal Firearms License (FFL). There are no exceptions to this law but amateur gunsmiths and now modern technology with 3D printing have muddled the waters. These loopholes need to be closed.

The lethality of the 5.56 NATO round needs to be addressed. The velocity of the 5.56 NATO round should be reviewed. Maybe a background check should be needed to purchase this type of ammo?

The FBI's National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) needs to be fully Internet based with all 50 states, DC and US Territories participating. Too many FFL's call into the system and read the ATF E-Form 4473 data. Potential gun buyers should be able to pre-fill their 4473 data and sign form 4473 in the presence of the FFL. If someone is not instantaneously approved there should be a way to find out why so they can address the problem. Furthermore, known felons, non-citizens, etc... who illegally attempt to buy firearms MUST be prosecuted.

Red flag laws need to be considered and implemented carefully so citizens constitutionally protected rights are not infringed.

Consider raising the age of gun ownership.

Consider requiring a licence to buy a gun. A license that requires a safety course, training, fingerprints and a background check would Gina long way to reducing gun violence. Again, if you need a license to drive a car is it unreasonable to require a license to buy a gun?

This list is NOT exhaustive. It's meant to provide food for thought from a gun owner. It's from a guy who has never been a member of the NRA and doesn't want law abiding citizens loosing the ability to protect them selves from enemies both foreign and domestic.

PS  The Democratic candidates and the media have come out bashing President Trump for his hateful rhetoric that although didn't directly cause the shooting was a contributing factor. One candidate actually called the President a White Nationalist. Turns out that Connor Betts, the suspect in the Dayton mass shooting has on social media described himself as a leftist, expressed “pro-Satan” views, and has stated support for Elizabeth Warren. Hummm I bet Mrs. Warren didn't see that one coming.

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Only Old White Men Voted for Alabama Abortion Law - Wrong!

For starters the narrative that men, let alone old white men aren't qualified to vote on abortion legislation is fundamentally flawed.

First of all race doesn't matter and saying it does is racist.

Secondly, since when does being old mean unwise?

Thirdly, if men shouldn't vote on abortion then what about Roe v Wade's 7-2 decision by an all male Supreme Court?

The Governor who signed Alabama's bill is a woman.  In November of 2018 Alabama voters approved "Amendment 2" which states an unborned child has rights under Alabama law. This approval would  indicate that millions of Alabama women favored more restrictions on abortion. Furthermore, the Representative who sponsored the bill and brought it to the house floor is a woman. The Chairman of the Alabama Republican Party, who rallied for the vote, is a woman and finally nine of the eighteen women in the Alabama House of Representatives voted for the Bill.

The narrative that a bunch of old white men are trying to control women is a "prochoice" talking point that was repeated by a complicit media.

Women not men are behind this latest "Heart Beat" law that doesn't exempt rape or incest. There is little doubt it will be struck down by a Federal Court and it's unlikely the Supreme Court will chose to hear the case.

The narrative that these 25 men (Alabama State Senators) want to control women's reproductive "rights" in Alabama is misleading... Woman, not men are behind this law and saying it's just a bunch of old white men degrades the thoughts of millions of women!

Like Bill Clinton I believe abortion should be safe, legal and rare. Unfortunately, abortion is NOT rare in the United States. Today roughly one out of every five pregnancies ends with an abortion. If you add up all the abortions in the United States since 1973 they would equal the entire population of Canada and Australia combined. No matter your religious beliefs, political leanings or other views it's hard to argue abortion is rare in the United States.

Note: Roughly 12,000 "pregnancies" past 20 weeks were aborted last year in the United States. Since 1973 there have been over 650,000 "late term" abortions and regardless of your politics there is absolutely no doubt that these were lives.

Note: To put things into perspective the number dead is the equivalent to dropping the largest bomb the US has (B83 with thermonuclear yield of 1.2 Mt) on the city of Boston.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Identity Politics has to Stop

I've complained over the last few years about colleges having separate graduation ceremonies for blacks. I recently learned that some colleges are reverting back to segregated dormitories. The Supreme Court specifically ruled that separate but equal was not going to be the law of the land which is why "safe spaces" on college campuses where a person who lacks color is not welcome must be stopped immediately. The worst example has to be political events were white members of the press are not welcome.

Out of all the stupid things the "Left" has come up with in the last decade very few are more dangerous than identity politics. Basically, the Democratic party is now all in saying there is no difference between the sexes but the color of your skin is all important.

The Reverend Doctor King had it correct when he said his dream was for his children to be judged not by the color of the skin but the content of their character. Saying the sexes are equal is as stupid as thinking a man with slightly dark skin is any different than someone born with the white privilege of Appalachia.

I was just reading Thomas Sowell's book on basic economics where he explains how ignorant the French government was when declaring car insurance premiums must be the same for men and women when it's absolutely undeniable that young women are safer drivers than young men.

When we as a people ignore common sense and statistically backed evidence over what feels right it's time for things to change. The Left seems to think the future of our nation is a given or they will be just fine riding the decline of America. Maybe they are right but I'm not going to bet on their feelings.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Student Loan Program Federalized in 2010

In our busy lives we miss the signs that our democracy is slowly slipping away. Like a shrinking beach the changes are normally incremental and subtle with the occasional winter storm or hurricane causing massive erosion.

The 2010 complete federalization of the student loan program was a winter storm to the beach of our democracy. President Obama signed the Student Aid and Financial Responsibility Act which for all practical purposes eliminated private lending from the student loan marketplace and went largely unnoticed.

Even the chairwoman of the House Financial Services Committee didn't notice this significant change. How do you miss something that directly impacts 44 million students who collectively owe over 1.5 trillion to the government?

As of 2010 the guaranteed lending program was eliminated. Private banks nolonger participated in student loans a fact that clearly went unnoticed by chairwoman Maxine Waters as she grilled the heads of major banks on April 10th 2019.