Thursday, June 24, 2010

Emissions Testing in Canyon County

I just got back from a trip to Los Angeles. There is an emissions testing facility at every street corner. There are regulations upon regulations heaped upon California drivers with proclaimed intent of "improving air quality". I noticed something obvious when driving around the Greater Los Angeles Area.

Their air quality SUCKS. I'll bet there are metropolitan areas of China with cleaner air.

Now, government is once again flexing their muscles, adding another method of control over the citizens of Canyon County. The DEQ is forcing CC residents to get their vehicles tested for emissions, despite the fact that there is zero empirical evidence that the quality of the air (you know, the air above large expanses of farm land and sparsely populated rural communities) will be improved. Of course the citizens of Canyon County for the most part, including myself, don't want this program, but that doesn't matter. Our elected officials and bureaucrats know what is best for us.

Butch Otter, who talks a big game with regard to non-compliance with the Feds, quickly showcased his love for top-down government by shunning CC's request to postpone the emissions testing. Frankly, he's a hypocrite of the tallest order. He whines and moans when the Feds get in State business, but puts counties firmly in their place in the pecking order when they have the same attitude towards the state government. So much for de-centralized government, eh, Butch?

Proponents of this legislation (who, from my experience, seem to eminate from outside Canyon County) are coming from several camps. There's the folks who think that the cost of the testing is negligible and not worth fighting over. There's the people think that there will be a marked reduction in air quality as a result of the testing. There's the people who'll get a nice stream of revenue now that government is threatening their new customers with violence if they don't stop by their little testing vans.

I'm glad that tax increases, when incrementally applied and of a nominal amount, are ok with some people. I tend to find theft of any kind repugnant and immoral, but that's just my opinion. Taxation is theft, and this testing fee is nothing more than a tax increase, which will subsidize private businesses who conduct the tests, and will add more revenue to the coffers of the DEQ's ever expanding bureaucracy. They will certainly use the money to come up with new and innovative ways to limit freedom, or at least make it more expensive.

Private property rights are the solution to reduced pollution. Forcing compliance with environmental policy based on junk science is not. The quality of air in Canyon County is fine. I have yet to see a haze of smog over Middleton, Idaho. However, I can't speak for Parma, Notus, Greenleaf, Wilder, or any number of other Metropoli that put literally hundreds of cars on the roads every day (please sense the sarcasm). Emissions testing simply doesn't work to improve air quality. If it did, there wouldn't be a yellow haze of poison gas over Los Angeles 24/7/365. This effort doesn't have any benevolent intent. It's a thinly veiled excuse to expand the power of the state. They exploit everyone's fears of environmental impact, or concern for "being green", to acquire yet another method of forcing individuals to obey their needless decrees.

I'll bet the folks in the little red vans are stoked. With their microcosm of fascism, they get to line their pockets with cash gained by force. I wonder how well my web business would do if I could get laws passed that threatened people with fines and incarceration if they didn't use my services? I desperately need a lobbyist in Boise.

I applaud Canyon County's act of civil disobedience. I hope they stay firm and do not get their vehicles tested. Frankly, their effort provides me an incentive to follow suit.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Arizona's Immigration Law to Idaho

It figures that since the Federal Government has largely ignored the restrictions that the Constitution places on them for the last 100 years or so, that they would also forget to actually do one of the few things that they are Constitutionally mandated to do, which is protect and secure our borders. As a result, Arizona has become one of the first of many states to pass a heavy handed law that puts the civil rights of every American in jeopardy.

First, any Hispanic (yes, this bill will cause profiling) is certainly going to be guilty of being an illegal alien until proven otherwise. So much for innocent until proven guilty. While most people believe that it's required of you to produce ID to a peace officer, you don't have to carry an ID unless you're performing an action which requires a license (driving), albeit several states have stop and identify statutes on their books. Still, a cop has to have probable cause to ask you to produce an ID. Now, a chalk-white soccer mom is certainly NOT going to be suspected of being an illegal alien, even if she is speeding, running a red light, or "acting suspicious". However, my wife is Hispanic, and if such a law were in Idaho, a cop would be perfectly within his rights to detain her until she could prove citizenship. Think it won't happen? My mother-in-law, who was born here, was detained returning from a trip to Mexico under suspicion of being undocumented because she misplaced her passport. No amount of showing her ID, or a host of other identifiers prevented her delay in returning to her home country.

Second, Arizona's law allows any state licensing bureau to hand over their databases (Arizonan's hunting licenses, driver's licenses and concealed weapons permits) to the DHC (the Feds) at any time, for any reason. Which effectively creates a national ID database for the Federal Government. As a gun owner and avid hunter, I would be concerned about these types of provisions in a bill in Idaho. Do we really want the Federal Government tracking our gun purchases and what we do with our firearms? How much easier would it be for gun control activists, especially when they are in the White House, to target certain demographics with gun regulations? That was a rhetorical question. Frankly, it's none of the government's damn business - at any level, let alone federal - whether we own guns or not.

Does Idaho face an illegal immigration problem? Sure. Do we need a similar law to Arizona's to combat the problem? No. Are there pro-liberty solutions to this issue that legislators haven't considered? Yes! I will cover some of those in my next post.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

A Libertarian in a Room Full of Public School Teachers


Needless to say, I had far more to worry about before the start of the event than just the fact that this was my first ever public speaking engagement. Before the event, I took the time to introduce myself for the first time to my myriad opponents in this race (including the incumbent, Carlos Bilbao) collected my thoughts, laid out my business cards, and mingled with the early birds. Fortunately, I settled right in as soon as the forum began.

The forum was put on by the Democracy Circle of Emmett, Idaho. I was impressed by the turnout for this event. I'd put the total number of attendees at around 50. They gave me around a dozen or so sample questions ahead of time, of which they asked 5. They gave me 1 minute to answer each of the 5 questions. Trust me, 1 minute is a short amount of time to answer multi-faceted questions. I also took several questions from the crowd at the tail end of the evening. It seemed the crowd was obviously concerned about Idaho's recent budget cuts in education. I think the answers I provided (in the 45 second time limit) were effective in showcasing my ideas that taxpayer funding is rarely (if ever) the best solution to a problem.

Keeping in mind that the room was chalk full of public employees, I was pleasantly surprised by a few nodding heads in the crowd as I advocated phasing out public schools in favor of privately owned institutions and parental choice. The stack of business cards I laid out only had a handful left after the event was over. Also, while I didn't canvas the room and shake every one's hand like your typical politician, I was pleased to have several individuals approach me and shake my hand after it was over.

It's apparent to me that people are ready to listen when you are talking about individual liberty. The people at the event were super friendly and I thoroughly enjoyed my first real foray into meeting and communicating with potential voters. I can't wait for the next event.