The state’s cannabis racket

By Nathan Barton

With yet another state legalizing cannabis for recreation as well as medicine, the inevitable backlash is gathering momentum. There are, sadly, people who still want the state’s racket, the war on drugs or something else, to continue.

Continue reading

Posted in Nathan's Rants | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

It’s about the children – get rid of gravel trucks!

By Nathan Barton

As part of my environmental work, I subscribe to Aggregates Manager, whose daily newsletter carried an article this morning about a fatality in Texas. A gravel truck tee-boned a vehicle with four people, injuring three and killing outright a 13-year-old girl.

Above is the accident scene, from Google (the yellow line gives that away).  The 35-year-old truck driver was not harmed (of course).  Aggregates Manager claims the investigation is on-going but that someone must have run a traffic light.

But that means that they are ignoring the real cause: the American addiction to “build-build-build” that requires millions and millions of tons of gravel (and just as bad, sand and crushed rock and concrete and asphalt) be hauled on the same roads and highways as our precious children. Usually in huge, multi-unit trucks.  These trucks carry 30,000 to 50,000 to 90,000 pounds of rock at a time, hurtling down our highways barely under control of the truck drivers.  They use 10- to 18- (or more) wheels to drive down the roads on: huge whiles, with tires 18, 20, even 25 inches in diameter and often a foot wide or more!

Have you ever seen what a SmartCar or a Kia looks like after it has been driven over by 5 to 9 tires supporting those huge quantities of rock? Tires not much smaller than the eco-friendly little cars that they can compact down to only a few inches high, little different than the road-killed deer and cattle that these monster trucks also kill with abandon on our highways?

Worse, the gravel and such they haul is a non-sustainable resource, produced by raping the earth: stripping it of its soil and then penetrating it with other huge machines: even shafting it and pushing explosives in and blowing them (and the earth) up with abandon.  And this material is consumed as it is used and not replaceable except by going out and stripping and destroying still more land. (Yes, a tiny bit is “recycled” but that is mostly sham recycling, since the material “recycled” is just used to build more roads and buildings and such.)

And governments DO recognize this is dangerous and a threat to public safety.  For example, they don’t allow anyone under the age of 21 to drive these things. And require special licensing, limit how many hours they can drive a day and week, and have many other rules.  But still, children get killed.

Folks, this is just wrong.  Nobody – absolutely NObody – should need more than a couple thousand pounds of rock or sand at a time, enough to build a wheelchair ramp or a back porch for granny.  And nobody should need to deliver that material (if they really need it) tens of thousands of pounds at a time.  We need some common sense laws to control this menace.  It isn’t just children that are killed by mining and hauling this fossil resource: every year as many as twenty miners die and hundreds or thousands more or injured.  Accidents between these huge trucks and smaller, vulnerable vehicles carrying children, mothers, fathers and pets are a daily occurrence.

Where are our priorities? Building new roads and buildings to generate profit for big capitalists and corporations? Or protecting our children and families?

So it is proposed:

  • Get rid of high-capacity trucks: limit loads to 2,000 pounds of sand or gravel: nothing bigger than a RAM 2500 or so. (And NO trailers: those things assault the senses and damage roads and slow traffic.)
  • Expand the licensing system for drivers of even the smaller vehicles: require them all to get a Commercial Drivers License, even to drive a 1/4-ton or 1/2-ton truck.  Safety cannot be ignored.  And require annual retraining of all of these drivers, and testing to ensure that they are still competent.
  • Limit speeds of these vehicles to something a little bit safer.  Perhaps 25 miles per hour is going to be a reasonable compromise.
  • Prohibit even deliveries of 2,000 pounds within 1/2 mile of schools, churches, playgrounds, day-care centers, and all McDonalds with Playplaces – anywhere children are likely to be present. Of course, exceptions could be allowed, provided they had police cars escorting them and a minimum one-week advance notice for planning. Or alternatively, require that only government-owned and -operated trucks be allowed in those areas, with government employees at the wheel.
  • Remove all references – especially pictures – in school textbooks about sand and gravel mining, trucking, truck driving, and related activities and jobs.

I realize this would cost billions, but what is this poor 13-year-old girl’s life worth? And those of dozens of other children each year? Supposedly, there are many benefits of having these monsters on the same roads as our children, day in and day out, all hours, carrying billions of pounds of rock and sand all over the nation, but can any of these really compare to saving a single child’s life?

(Yes, folks, I’m trying to be satirical.)

Posted in Commentary on the News | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Interrupted publication – Happy Hanukkah!

By Nathan Barton

A belated Hanukkah greeting to all.  Although a Jewist feast and holiday, the Festival of Lights is a reminder to ALL of us, that even when liberty and freedom are lost, they CAN be regained. But always at great cost.

Han candles

On a historical note, it is of interest that the Seven Lamp sigil was far more common a symbol of Israel as a people and nation, for centuries, than the now-common Star of David.  Although the events of the Rededication of the Temple in 165 BC were centuries after the reign of David, the Seven Lamps are a far better representation of both nationhood and liberty than the Star. Although David’s reign was relatively benign (following as it did the reign of Saul), it is still a consequence of the people of Israel (the Hebrews) rejecting the liberty given to them by God. They wanted to “become like all the nations around us,” and have a king (other than God). Despite God warning them through the prophet Samuel, the people chose servitude and “security.”

Can we learn from them? I pray so.

Also my apologies.

Work and family events caused a brief and unplanned delay in publishing The Price of Liberty for several weeks, as Debby and I worked 18- to 20-hour days (and long drives) to make major changes to our lives. I started a half-dozen commentaries but did not get any finished and posted.

We hope that matters will now return to normal, as resume writing about liberty and current events.  We are sorry that we’ve not gotten things out promptly: especially to people who post comments to commentary here.

We hope that everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving and are looking forward to a great Christmas/Holiday period, as we are well into Hanukkah.

Posted in Nathan's Rants | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Bush 41 – now history

By Nathan Barton

For the next twenty-five days, the flags of the Fifty States will fly at half-staff, for yet another fallen leader and veteran. With the huge state funeral coming on Wednesday the 5th, we will again hear all the usual words and sayings and honors.

But we should look for more.

Continue reading

Posted in Commentary on the News, Nathan's Rants | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Government complexity and failure – illustrated in blood

By Nathan Barton

On Saturday the 10th, tragedy struck Moab, Utah.

Intrepid PotashAt the Intrepid Potash Mine (seen above, from Google Maps), down the Colorado River from the popular tourist town, three men were removing a pump. The equipment touched a sagging overhead live powerline.  Instantly, two men died, electrocuted.  The third jumped out of the equipment he was operating, to try to assist them.  His legs and an arm were blown off by the electrical current jumping through his body.  He died in a Salt Lake City Hospital two days later.  (If he had stayed in the vehicle, he would have lived.)

Continue reading

Posted in Commentary on the News, Nathan's Rants | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Kristallnacht 80 years later

By Nathan Barton

My apologies to readers and friends, that I overlooked the 80th anniversary of Kristallnacht, the Pogromnacht of 09 November 1938, just two days shy of 20 years after the end of the Great War, and one of the incidents in Germany leading up to the Second World War.

See the source imageThe Night of the Broken Glass, 09 November 1938.

The shock of this event is remembered to this day.  Back in the 1980s, and still today, streets that had been the scene of vandalism and looting (seen above in an unknown city) were still recognizable, though no longer housing shops owned and operated by Jews, who are virtually nonexistent in Germany today.

Image result for rheinberg
GelderStrasse im Rheinberg, site of formerly Jewish businesses

According to Hitler’s regime, the attacks were not official or organized or supported by government – but government just “stood aside” from the righteous anger of the German folk. The excuse for what was probably a long-planned nationwide assault was the assassination of a German diplomat in Paris by a Jewish teenager from Poland!

(This sounds very much like the excuse claimed for the attack on an American consulate in Benghazi, which was blamed on some strange little movie.)

However, the importance of the events and actions of Kristallnacht for us today (and especially as lovers of liberty), cannot be denied.  We can and should learn from them.

What can we learn?  Some are obvious, but some may not be so clear.

  1. Do not trust government to do what it claims to do: including keeping the peace and preventing, stopping, or punishing criminal activity.
  2. Do expect that even your good neighbors and customers and business associates can be turned against you with enough government (or other) propaganda.
  3. Be prepared to defend yourself, your family, your property – even from those within your community.
  4. When conditions are ripe, any excuse can be used as a trigger for attacks and violence.
  5. Government does not need to take direct action against those it considers enemies of the state; it can and does work through proxies.

Less obvious?

  1. Look for the signs of approaching trouble, as happened with the new gun laws in Germany.
  2. Government seldom obeys its own laws, even as it seeks to push and punish you into obeying those laws.
  3. Government lies as much to those who support it (and whom it supports) as to those it seeks to attack and destroy.
  4. Plan and prepare for government and neighbors to turn against you.
  5. Have at least a Plan B and Plan C for when they turn against you. And especially when your primary plan depends on someone else – even family and close friends.
  6. Remember that those who turn against you – even attack you verbally or physically – may not be doing so of their own volition. They may be forced to do so.

I am sure our readers can add many more, but think a bit about these.

The entire 1930s era is now 80 years behind us, but we can all find similarities.  I think that most people (at least in the Fifty States and much of Europe and the Commonwealth) think that such behavior is long behind us and only a matter of historical interest. But as events in the Balkans in the 1990s and in Libya and Syria in the last decade should remind us, people are people.

It CAN happen here.  Are you prepared?



Posted in Nathan's Rants | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Veterans (Armistice) Day thoughts

By Nathan Barton

20181111 100-yrs

A century ago, a small space in time, the guns fell silent on the Western Front: The Reich had agreed to a ceasefire which amounted to abject surrender with occupation of much of the nation, loss of many lands which had been German in society and customs for centuries, and a prelude to more and more conflict and violence.
Continue reading

Posted in Nathan's Rants | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment