Today’s blacklisted American: Man demoted, essentially fired, for simply requesting religious exemption from COVID vaccination

They’re coming for you next: The superintendent of the Cartwright school district in Arizona, Dr. Lee-Ann Aguilar-Lawlor, immediately demoted William Bishop from his job as director for buildings and operations to that of a substitute teacher, essentially firing him from regular employment, because he had simply requested religious exemption from getting the COVID vaccination.

When he made his request the school district never even responded to it. Instead, they demoted him.

Bishop is being represented by First Liberty, the same legal firm defending the two Alaska Airline flight attendants fired for daring to ask questions. From their letter to Aguilar-Lawlor:

Cartwright’s actions are particularly indefensible because: (1) it already granted at least one nonreligious exemption from the mandate; (2) its demotion of Mr. Bishop will bring him into far more contact with students and other staff, thus contradicting the district’s presumed rationale for refusing to grant his accommodation request; (3) it chose not to impose its mandate on teachers, those most in contact with students and staff; (4) 21 percent of district employees remain unvaccinated; and (5) Mr. Bishop has natural immunity and his doctor advises against receiving the vaccine.

In other words, Bishop’s demotion was arbitrary and capricious, a clear case of blacklisting by Aguilar-Lawlor. She was punishing Bishop because he wasn’t meekly bowing to her will.

What really should happen is that Aguilar-Lawlor should be fired, because she has now demonstrated a bias and incompetence that makes her unqualified for her job. She clearly is bigoted against the religious, and is willing to take petty but very harmful action to hurt such people.

Rick, stating the truth in Casablanca
Still asleep, and tragically, they refuse to wake up.

This unfortunately is almost certainly not what will happen. People like Aguilar-Lawlor are now in power, and they will do everything possible to maintain that position, including smashing their fist into the face of anyone who questions them.

Worst of all, they will get the enthusiastic support of too many people, all of whom are willing to treat others as scum because they live in fear of a virus with a survival rate exceeding 99%, even if you aren’t vaccinated against it! And their power will be further enhanced by the millions who have decided this isn’t their problem, and will simply look the other way. “Someone else will help that poor woman being raped.”

Door-to-door canvas of voters in Arizona finds extensive evidence of vote tampering

A door-to-door canvas of voters in Maricopa County in Arizona, conducted by an organization independent of the audit being done by the state legislature, found extensive evidence of vote tampering in the count of mail-in ballots..

An estimated 173,104 “missing or lost” votes were reported by canvassers who went door-to-door verifying registration and voting information for thousands of residents.

According to the report: “These are American citizens living in Maricopa County who cast a vote, primarily by mail, in the election and yet there is no record of their vote with the county and it was not counted in the reported vote totals for the election. Additionally an estimated 96,389 mail-in votes were cast under the names of registered voters who were either unknown to the residents of the registration address or who were verified as having moved away prior to October 2020.”

A large percentage of in person voters also had “mail-in” ballots counted in the election, the canvas found.

The canvas visited about 12,000 voters in Maricopa county, so the estimates above are extrapolations of the data actually obtained. You can read the actual report here [pdf] .

In going door-to-door, however, the canvas appears to have compared what was actually recorded by the board of elections with what the voters themselves now claim. While it is possible that when asked months later how they voted voters could misremember whether they voted by mail, in person, or even at all, it is unlikely that so many would get it wrong. The numbers thus strongly suggest that something fishy was going on in the county election board in tabulating these mail-in ballots, either because of incompetence or downright dishonesty.

That the county’s board of elections has stonewalled all investigations adds considerable weight to this conclusion.

The report’s main conclusion however is the most important. We should ban mail-in voting, as it puts one’s vote in the hands of additional third parties, at the post office and at the election boad, any one of whom can take actions to negate or change your vote.

Vote in person. Throw away that mail-in ballot. Stop making it easy for crooks to cheat.

Arizona’s governor moves to block any local school mask mandates or closures

Doug Ducey, the less than useless Republican governor in Arizona during this past year of Wuhan panic, has apparently finally seen the light, and has begun to take action to prevent the Democratically-controlled local school boards and city governments from imposing new mask and vaccine mandates as well as shutting schools out of an unjustified fear of COVID-19.

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey on Tuesday announced schools that impose mask mandates in the state will not have access to a $163 million grant program backed by coronavirus relief funds he controls.

The Republican governor said schools with mask mandates or that have closed due to COVID-19 concerns will not be eligible for an additional $1,800 per student. The announcement comes one day after he issued an executive order banning cities and counties from mandating vaccinations.

Ducey also announced a grant program to award parents if their schools require quarantining or isolation of students.

The governor also announced a $10 million grant that intends to award parents $7,000 for each student if their public school required isolating or quarantining due to COVID-19 exposure or if it gave preferential treatment to vaccinated children or mandated masks.

As expected, the Democrats in the state legislature railed against such measures, not because the mandates actually prevent the spread of any disease, but because Ducey’s actions rob them and their allies in local government of the unbridled power they have enjoyed for the eighteen or so months. Before they simply had power, and it corrupted them somewhat. Since the arrival of the Wuhan panic they have had absolute power, and it corrupted them absolutely. They are addicted to it, and can’t tolerate giving it up.

Meanwhile, it should not take a governor to recognize the right of the people to live their lives as they choose. That Ducey has to do this tells us that the public has ceded to much power to the government, no matter who is in charge. That too has to change, and it has to change at all levels, from the smallest local school board to the presidency of the entire nation.

Arizona election audit uncovers more evidence of malfeasance in November 2020 election

In hearings today before the Arizona Senate, election audit officials described strong evidence of misconduct and election fraud in Maricopa County, the state’s largest.

Several issues were quite startling. First,

Audit expert Doug Logan revealed during Thursday’s Arizona state election hearing that auditors had reported there 74,000 mail-in ballots received and included in the 2020 election that were never recorded as being mailed out.

Ballots are not something that appear out of thin air. They are only supposed to be provided by the election board, under very strict rules. For there to be 74,000 voted ballots that the board never issued is suspect, to say the least.

Second,

the hearing revealed that 11,326 voters in Maricopa County were not on voter rolls on Nov. 7 but were on voter rolls on Dec. 4 and were marked as having voted in the Nov. 3 election.

That’s more than eleven thousand votes from people who were not registered to vote on election day.

Finally, they discovered that the record-keeping made it difficult if not impossible to match up duplicate ballots with the originals. According to the system used in Arizona, duplicate ballots are sometimes generated manually when the original is damaged and cannot be read by the tabulator. When this happens, the duplicate is supposed to include a serial number linking it to the original. This way no one can generate many duplicate (and fake) ballots to help their preferred candidate.

The audit found numerous duplicates with no serial numbers, meaning they could have been generated by someone to help their preferred candidate.

Would these these facts have changed the outcome? This is not known yet. We will have to wait until the final report, expected in August. Either way, these problems prove that the election was, at the least, poorly run, with the strong likelihood that actual criminal conduct occurred. And that last allegation is reinforced by the stone-walling of Maricopa County’s election board, which apparently does not want anyone to take a close independent look at what they have been doing.

Tampering and serious discrepancies found in Arizona election audit

The audit of the more than two million votes cast in Maricopa County, Arizona, in November 2020 is not yet complete, but auditors in the past week have revealed that they have already uncovered significant evidence of tampering and major discrepancies that throw great doubt on the victory given to Joe Biden.

First, the auditors forced the county election board to admit that the voting machines were not protected by a password at the administrative level, thus allowing anyone to change anything on every machine, during the vote count.

That doesn’t prove fraud or election tampering, it only proves that it was amazingly easy for it to happen.

Second, it appears from further work that something very fishy was going on. The auditors for example have discovered that Maricopa County officials illegally tampered with the voter database records before turning them over to the auditors, including the deletion of an entire database.
» Read more

AZ Dept of Ed: 3-month-old white babies are already racists

They’re coming for you next: The Arizona Department of Education has created what it calls an “Equity Toolkit” for use by parents and teachers that claims that 3-month-old white babies are already racists, and that the schools should take “pro-active” action against white children, continuously.

More details here.

The toolkit teaches, among other things, that babies start to become racist at just three months of age. The toolkit insists that babies must be spoken to about race, as “letting children draw their own conclusions based on what they see” leads to racism. It is unclear how allowing children to think for themselves leads to racism.

It also suggests that white children specifically are strongly biased in favour of their own race by the time they are five years old, but claimed that such a phenomenon does not exist among black and “latinx” children.

The toolkit also teaches that if a white person disputes the accusation “that they are a racist [it] is taken as evidence of racism. The reading says that white people deny their own racism ‘to feel better about themselves.'”

I have already written my state representative, a conservative Republican, though I have doubts much will come of it. As I told him,

Do you think your leadership might be able to move their asses and put an end to this bigoted school program, now?

I have my doubts. Prove me wrong.

I do not expect much from him, even though I know he will sincerely want to do something. His Republican Party leadership in Arizona is a bunch of quisling backstabbers whose only goal is to gather campaign donations and compromise with corrupt and bigoted Democrats. They have been useless for years, which is why they are steadily losing ground in the state.

Arizona GOP responds (?) to election board’s defiance to subpoenas

The Arizona Republican Party yesterday announced that in response to the refusal by the Maricopa County election board to obey subpoenas that “the state’s GOP electors will intervene in the case.”

The reason I have put a question mark in the headline is that I really have no idea what this means, or if it is simply another example of failure theater by the Republican Party. Who are these electors? Are they the legislators? Are they the alternative slate of Trump electors chosen by legislature? What power do they have? How is this actrion going to do anything to get those subpoenas obeyed and a real audit of the election in Maricopa County accomplished?

Based on the story at the link, I have no idea, and instead have the impression that it is all for show, and will accomplish nothing. Moreover, for unelected bureaucrats to defy an order by the elected legislature is blatantly unconstitutional, and should have prompted immediate action by law enforcement to secure the audit machines, the ballots, and any evidence. None of this has happened, which suggests to me that our elected officials here in Arizona are impotent and powerless and rule only at the whim of those unelected bureaucrats.

Maricopa County election board defies state subpoenas

And they expect the public to trust them? The election board of Maricopa County has decided to defy the subpoenas issued by the state’s legislature for getting a full audit of its election results, and will instead file a lawsuit against those legislators.

It seems to me that if there was nothing wrong with the Dominion tabulators and the count, than the board would welcome this audit. That they are stonewalling it is if anything evidence that there is likely something they are hiding.

We have now reached the Rubicon. Are our elected officials truly in charge, or are they to be ordered around by unelected bureaucrats like mere serfs? If the state legislature and the governor does not act here, then they are no more than figureheads, and we are now ruled by fiat, by the bureaucracy. Arizona does not have a democracy ruled by law any longer.

Subpoena issued to audit all Dominion machines in Phoenix area of Arizona

The Arizona state senate today issued a subpoena requiring the election board of Maricopa County, which covers the entire Phoenix area, to allow for a full audit of the Dominion tabulators and software used to count the ballots in that county.

More here.

I will repeat what I have said from the beginning. What I want, and what all voters should want, is a complete reassurance that these machines did not miscount the totals, and that the result as presently certified is correct. If the audit finds this is so, that will actually be a great relief, even if it means Joe Biden to my sorrow has become president. Having a reliable election system is more important than who wins any particular election.

However, if the audit finds the kinds of issues revealed in the audit of the Dominion machines used in several counties in Michigan, then the election for president is unreliable and should not stand. Once might be a fluke, or an example of a poor audit. Twice means the issues are real. Moreover, unlike the audit in Michigan, this one will be performed under the guidance of the legislature, not one specific firm hired by an attorney. It will therefore carry more weight, as it will have the input of the Democrats in that legislature.

Arizona state senate to hold official hearing tomorrow on election

In a major shift, the Arizona state senate will tomorrow to hold an official hearing, with subpoena powers, on the questions relating to the vote count of the November 3rd election.

The hearing will be live streamed on the Arizona government’s website.

Whether it will be substantive, or designed to obscure the issues, remains unclear. The track record of the Republican leadership nationwide for the past two decades has consistently had them mouth platitudes in order to con their conservative base into thinking they were working in their interest, when in truth that leadership was repeatedly trying to do the exact opposite.

I hope I am wrong. It does appear that the many serious and substantive allegations relating to the vote are forcing the Republican leadership to respond, even if it is against their desire. Such an official Senate hearing would have to be called by the Senate president, Republican Karen Fann, which means it must have her endorsement.

Arizona legislative Republican leaders call for election audit of Maricopa County

The Republican leaders of the Arizona state senate and house today called for an audit of the Maricopa County Dominion software and equipment used during election day.

This is a major change of position, as these leaders have until now resisted such action. Maybe their change of heart is because of the evidence revealed at an improvised hearing earlier this week, as well as the problems found with a random selection of only 100 ballots. Or maybe it was this:

Arizona Rep. Mark Finchem on Friday called on his fellow lawmakers to come together and recall Arizona’s certification.

Finchem said county clerks are now coming forward and admitting something is off with the canvassing and the numbers are just not adding up. “We got people coming out of the woodwork,” Finchem said adding that the legislature will just go around Governor Ducey.

“We only need to have 31 members of the House and 16 members of the Senate pass a resolution recalling our electors. It’s that simple,” he said. “Our constituents are blowing up over this.” [emphasis mine]

The Constitution in the matter of choosing the President is very clear: It is the job of the state legislatures, not the voters, not the governors, not the courts, and most especially not unelected officials in election boards. For decades these state legislatures have allowed the popular vote determine the choice, because everyone trusted the counting process. It appears no one does anymore, and when that happens, the state legislatures need to do their job.

The goal should be to determine if the vote is valid, or not. If valid, than Joe Biden won. Period. Congratulations to the Democrats, though I doubt anyone will end up celebrating their rule in the end. Their policy choices and their eager willingness to blackball and persecute their opposition will not bode well for the future.

If not valid, however, the legislature has several choices. They can call for a revote. They can choose the president themselves, picking electors that will reflect that choice. Or they can refuse to certify at all, sending the decision to the federal House of Representatives.

The state legislature has an additional responsibility, irrelevant of the presidential election. They must institute major changes that will prevent such problems ever again.

Finally, kudos must go to my own representative, Mark Finchem, for pushing this hard, and finally getting some results. The battle is not won, but at least the enemy is finally retreating slightly.

Strong evidence of election tampering in Arizona in sample audit of 100 ballots

After the Republican Party was allowed to do an audit of 100 random ballots and found one voted changed from Trump to Biden, and another Trump vote discarded, election officials have agreed to do an expanded audit of 2,500 ballots.

Ward’s lawyers say the inspection of 100 ballots found that one person’s vote for Trump was ultimately recorded as a Biden vote and that another person’s vote for Trump was cancelled when the reproduced ballot contained votes for both the Republican incumbent and a write-in candidate.

The result? An increase in Biden’s margin by 3%, a change easily enough to overturn an election decided by about a 1/2 percent.. For this reason the election board did not wait for a court order but decided to go ahead with a larger audit.

Though this AP story goes out of its way to minimize the findings here, it is quite alarming to find this much error in only 100 ballots. Anyone (whether Republican or Democrat) should be alarmed and demanding a review, if only to protect the sanctity of all future elections. Anyone that objects, at all, is revealing themselves to be someone who does not want fair elections, and is probably eager to have elections stolen.

Arizona state legislators to hold public hearing on election fraud

A group of legislators from the Arizona House and Senate have organized a public hearing on November 30, 2020 in Phoenix, open to the public, where they will allow experts as well as President Trump’s legal team to present evidence of election tampering in Arizona.

The President’s legal team will be present from DC to assist in a fact finding hearing with select members of the Arizona House and Senate and a panel of experts. The goal will be to gather the evidence that justifies calling a special session to contemplate what happened and take immediate action accordingly.

The hearing will be chaired by state representative Mark Finchem, who also happens to be my own representative. I have been in correspondence with him for the past week about the election, trying to find out if the Republican-controlled legislature was going to do anything to deal with the significant questions relating to the vote count. It appeared that though he and other conservative legislators were trying to get the Republican leadership to bring the legislature back into special session, those leaders were stalling.

From the second link:

“Since shortly before the 2020 election a number of my colleagues and I have been examining potential fraud pathways and illegal actions through which our 2020 election could become tainted. My worst fears have come to light in the process, and so far the evidence has been blocked from an official public forum.,” Rep Finchem said. “A few weeks ago I requested approval for the House Federal Relations Committee to hold a hearing on the integrity of the Arizona 2020 election. That hearing has not yet been approved by House leadership, and time is of the essence to show proof that our election has been compromised.” [emphasis mine]

It appears these conservatives have decided to do an end-around of their RINO leadership, and hold these hearings anyway. According to what Finchem has told me, the hearing will be live streamed, beginning at 9 am (Mountain) by both the One America News Network (OANN) and the Western Journal.

The goal is to make the evidence public, and thus apply some pressure on that leadership, which includes Republican governor Doug Ducey, to bring the legislature back into session. As Finchem himself noted in a Western Journal podcast on November 24th, the Constitution is very specific. To paraphrase his comments, it specifically puts the job of picking the electors in the hands of the state legislatures, not the voters or the courts. It is their duty therefore to act.

If you live in Arizona, you should be calling the offices Governor Ducey (602 542-5381) as well as House Speaker Russell Bowers (602-926-3128), demanding that they bring the legislature back into session and address the evidence, forcing a correct and careful audit of the vote, and if this cannot clarify and correct the count (no matter who wins), deny any candidate the state’s electoral votes.

I must also note something I wrote to Finchem, and is also evident in Pennsylvania. Republicans and Trump are not being well served by the state Republican leaderships in both these states. In both cases the leadership has been reluctant to do anything, washing their hands like Pontus Pilate, even though there is strong evidence that the Democrats may have stolen the election.

This is shameful, and incredibly foolish on their part. If they do not do something now, they guarantee that in coming elections they will be removed from office, by further fraud and election tampering. Do they not have instinct for survival? Or are they content to walk into the gas chambers with nary a protest?

Arizona gov says he will not certify results until all lawsuits are settled

Arizona’s Republican Governor Doug Ducey today announced that he will not certify the results of the state’s presidential election until all the lawsuits involving issues in the count are settled.

In Arizona specifically, the Trump campaign and state GOP filed lawsuits in Maricopa County in a bid to block officials from certifying the election results due to alleged voter irregularities and improprieties.

“There are legal claims that are being challenged in court and everybody on the ballot has certain access rights and remedies and if they want to push that they are able. Once those are adjudicated and the process plays out, I will accept the results of the election,” the Republican governor said in a news conference on Wednesday.

Based on Ducey’s generally spineless leadership, I have no confidence in his announcement. I think he is playing us. He has done less than nothing to really make sure the vote is accurate, even though it is in his power to do so. For example, he could call the legislature back in session so that its Republican majority could get involved. He has refused to do this, keeping them out of the game. Moreover, his administration apparently chose the questionable Dominion election software used to count the vote, despite questions raised about it from many sources for years.

What I think he is doing is making it seem he cares. Then, when he folds like a house of cards to an untrustworthy recount, he can claim he was there for us. All hogwash.

The only saving grace to his announcement is that if no certification occurs before December 14th, the lack of Arizona’s electoral votes might force the decision into the House of Representatives, where the Republicans will have the votes to keep Trump president. If the Democrats wish to avoid this, they should be moving heaven and Earth to clear up any issues and thus settle the lawsuits.

Not surprisingly, I do not see the Democrats doing this. Instead, they are working to block any audits or proper recounts. Makes one wonder what they might be trying to hide.

With Americans under attack where are Trump and the Republicans?

For me, the most distressing part of the panic over COVID-19 has not been the rules, the mandates, the nullification of the Bill of Rights, and the shut down of normal life, all of which have been terrible, wrong-headed, and a disaster for our country.

What has distressed me the most is the gutless response by the nation’s so-called conservative Republican politicians. All of the panic and harsh rules and economic damage has been designed by the Democrats to hurt the reelection chances of Trump. Little of it has anything to do with stopping the virus, and in fact most are nothing more than symbolic gestures that can accomplish nothing.

Despite this, Republican elected leaders have acquiesced to the Democrats demands, almost across the board.

Consider my own state of Arizona. My governor, Doug Ducey, is Republican. Republicans also have majorities in both houses of my state legislature. Yet, they have either let the Democrats run the show, or have acted in ways that are indistinguishable from the worst dictators in New York and New Jersey. First Governor Ducey imposed and then extended a lockdown that has bankrupted many businesses in the state. Then, as he began to loosen that lockdown he ceded his power to the generally Democratically-controlled local governments, letting them impose their own odious rules in place of his. The result is that in most big cities in the state, the lock down did not really end, but got tightened with new rules mandating masks.

Yesterday he reinstated part of his lock down for another thirty days. And like Democratic governors in Michigan, Pennsylvania, California, and New Jersey, the new rules he imposed [pdf] were arbitrary and capricious, and will thus have little if any effect. Bars, gyms, indoor movie theaters, and water parks have to close until July 27th. Government and community pools however can stay open. So can restaurants, shopping centers, clothing stores, and many other venues that previously were considered “non-essential.” He also banned any gathering of more than fifty people, but exempted political demonstrations and religious services.

And why did he do this? It appears there has been an increase in COVID-19 cases in the past few weeks! That means (oh no!) the number of people either hospitalized or dying might skyrocket, and overwhelm the hospitals!
» Read more

Ducey extends Arizona shut down two weeks

Fascist: Republican Arizona governor Doug Ducey today announced a two week extension of his so-called “shelter-in-place” order, what is really a house arrest for the general population and a shut down of business that is putting one quarter of the population out of work.

Ducey’s new edicts call for some businesses to begin opening sooner, but with many restrictions. Restaurants however will be locked down until May 12. The edict also said that “no county, city, or town may issue orders, rules, or regulations that conflict with the executive order.”

I wonder if there might be some pushback from local authorities in some areas, as has been seen in other states, especially because of this minor detail:

One in four small businesses in Phoenix could be gone for good, according to the city’s economic director. It could take six years to recover all the jobs that have been lost. “Seeing that 20% to 25% of our small businesses won’t be here when this is over is terrifying for me,” said Christine Mackay, Director of Community and Economic Development for the City of Phoenix.

What does Ducey care if one in four people are out of work? He made himself look good, and now can preen himself as a hero.

To me, he looks like a jackbooted thug. May he roast in hell.

And I dare him to send some police storm troopers to my house to arrest me for saying so.

Arizona Governor Ducey to delay end of lockdown?

According to this article, Republican governor Doug Ducey is delaying any action relating to ending his “shelter-in-place” order that is bankrupting one quarter of Arizona’s industries and putting that many people out of work.

The reason? He apparently has a financial interest in keeping the emergency going for as long as possible.

Insiders tell NATIONAL FILE that Ducey might not be a trustworthy leader in the cause of re-opening the state economy. Ducey is delaying setting a firm date on re-opening the state, citing safety concerns while testing is underway. Ducey presides over legislature-approved state emergency spending and also a portion of his state’s $1.5 billion from the federal government.

Ducey also…

…sits on the Board of Governors for an institute that is accepting state health department funding to conduct Coronavirus testing in the state of Arizona. That institute happens to be an affiliate of a nonprofit that is working to develop a Coronavirus vaccine that is not expected to begin clinical trials until late 2020.

In other words, as long as the emergency lockdown is maintained, Ducey is in a position to funnel money to this institute that he also is on the Board of Governors.

This is unconscionable, especially because the shut down is bankrupting private businesses across the state. Worse, it is par for the course.

When I called the local Republican office here in Tucson, they told me that Ducey is working closely with Senator Martha McSally (R-Arizona), which might also explain his position. One of the reasons McSally lost to Democratic Senator Kyrsten Sinema in 2018 is because the two are both pretty liberal. For conservatives there really wasn’t any point in voting for McSally, so many stayed home. This is also why she is presently trailing in polls to Mark Kelly, her Democratic opponent for the 2020 election. McSally doesn’t offer an alternative to the big government, Washington swamp politics that now dominate. She is part of it, as is Kelly and Sinema.

As apparently is Ducey as well. I have made several calls to his office, expressing my outrage over the shut down, all to no avail. They say they will call back, but never do.

And our political class wonders why they got Trump. This is why, and if they don’t change their behavior we will get more, and it will be far worse than Trump ever was.

Democrats in VA and AZ issue a warning: “We will oppress you if you elect us!”

They’re coming for you next: Much has been made of the onerousness gun control laws passed by the Democrats in the Virginia state legislature this past week.

When it became clear that the Democrats were going to pass such laws, having gained control of both the legislature and the governorship, 95 counties and cities in the state made it publicly clear they would not enforce these laws, announcing that they were now second amendment sanctuary counties. Then, more than 22,000 Virginians gathered in protest at the statehouse, peacefully but forcefully declaring their opposition to these proposed laws.

None of that mattered to the modern Democrats now in charge in Virginia. They passed the laws, one of which gives the state “the authority to confiscate certain types of magazines that are considered ‘high capacity.'” I don’t know how they think they will enforce that confiscation right, but since they think it appropriate and just, don’t be surprised if they impose new laws to strengthen their ability to do so, including the right to do house-to-house searches.

Most of the the discussion about this story has been focused on the opposition to the laws themselves. I want to focus on what it tells us about the modern Democratic Party. You see, these fascist actions — which do nothing to reduce violence or crime while making law-abiding citizens criminals — are being planned by practically every local Democratic Party operation across the nation. All they require to make them law is to obtain power, as they have in Virginia.

My proof? Consider the comparable gun control law proposed yesterday by the Democrats in the Arizona state legislature:
» Read more

Crested Saguaro

Crested saguaro

Today I took the morning off to do a hike with Diane and friend Susan. I did this mostly because other caving-related conservation work on recent and future weekends has made it impossible for me to go hiking with my wife. Since she hikes with Susan on Fridays, I decided to join them.

We went to Tucson Mountain Park, on the west side of Tucson, to do one of the more well known trails. The photo to the right, taken by Diane back in 2016, shows the spectacular crested saguaro she discovered in plain site on that hike but had gone unnoticed by us for years.

Everyone knows saguaros for their classic western look that makes it the state wildflower of Arizona. Normally they have a central post that sometimes has one or more arms extending from it. For normal saguaros the tops of the central post and the arms are almost always symmetrical and rounded.

However, in rare cases (about 1 in 10,000) something strange happens and a saguaro begins to grow wildly at its peak, or even along its entire length. Such freaks are called crested or cristate saguaros, and only about 2,200 have been found throughout the saguaro range in the southwest. When you find one it is always with a sense of triumph and wonder.

We began to look for crested saguaros during hikes around 2015, after a friend had shown us two on a nearby hike that we had done frequently without ever noticing this wonder of nature that was right before our eyes. Thus Diane’s discovery to the right in 2016. Today we went back on that same hike and found it again. It had not changed in any way in the past four years that I could tell when comparing pictures. Regardless, it is one of the wildest crested saguaros I’ve ever seen.

No one really knows why this happens. My theory today, in looking at this one, is that it was on drugs.

How one region’s space industry represents the world

bumper sticker

On October 2 I attended for the first time a monthly meeting of the Arizona Space Business Roundtable, an informal gathering put together by Stephen Fleming of the University of Arizona’s Strategic Business Initiatives and designed to allow the various space businesses of southern Arizona to network together as well as highlight what they are accomplishing to themselves and to others.

This particular meeting involved the presentation to the business community of a study that looked into the potential growth possibilities for space within the Tucson region. The study had been financed by the University of Arizona, several local venture capital companies, and the local county government, and had found that southern Arizona’s most likely source of space business in the near future would revolve around the need to track and monitor the large number of satellites expected to be launched in the coming decades. This would also involve substantial military work, as well as related space junk clean-up duties. The study also found that the southern Arizona space industry is well suited to provide much of the growing support services that future space missions, both governmental and private, will need. You can read more about the study’s results and the meeting at this Arizona Star article.

What struck me most about this gathering and the space industry of southern Arizona, however, is how much it resembles the regional space industries in numerous other places throughout the United States and the world. In fact, during a panel discussion after the presentation Fleming specifically asked the panelists — made up of several local companies (Vector, Worldview, Paragon) and two venture capital companies — what other regions in the U.S. posed the most competitive threat to southern Arizona. The panelists quickly listed Denver-Boulder, Silicon Valley in California, Huntsville in Alabama, the Space Coast in Florida, and New Mexico. They also made it clear that this list was not complete.

All of these regions are presently prospering and, more important, growing. All see a bright future in space, and all are aggressively competing to grab as large a market share in this future as they can. Even more significant, there appears to be more than enough business to go around. With numerous new countries pushing their own space efforts (China, India, UAE, Great Britain, Luxembourg, to name only a few), and both the American government as well as private companies attempting their own missions to the Moon and beyond, the possibilities appear endless. A lot of government money and investment capital is presently being poured into space, and numerous regions throughout the world are reaching for that money and the future profits it will bring.

And all of these regions are stock full of numerous independent and private companies and individuals, all pushing their own ideas about how space should be explored and conquered.

There are many aspects of the present charge to explore and settle the solar system that I do not like and believe will actually hamper and slow that exploration and settlement. Nonetheless, this charge is happening worldwide, and with amazing and increasing vigor. Even the worst proposals, such as NASA’s Gateway project, are going to eventually lead to new space technologies and capabilities that will sooner or later make it possible for the human race to routinely travel throughout the solar system.

It appears that the next two decades will lay the groundwork for the next few centuries of space exploration. And much of that groundwork will take place out of sight of the general public, with small companies located in regions like these. As with all great endeavors, the structure is that of a pyramid. At the top is the leader (such as SpaceX) that everyone watches and admires. Below it however is a vast subculture that provides the foundation for that leadership, even as it pushes upward to compete against it.

These are exciting times. I suggest if you love space you climb on the rocket now, before it picks up so much speed it will be beyond your reach.

How I spent the past two days

Black Canyon

I must apologize for the lack of posting the past two days. Diane and I have been up in northern Arizona staying at a friend’s cabin, hiking each day. The picture on the right shows Diane (right) and Jan Jantzer, whose house we have been staying, on today’s hike in Black Canyon, a canyon near Heber that is known by locals but is off the radar for most everyone else. Quite beautiful, especially because the recent rain has brought out the wildflowers. In addition, a forest fire about a dozen years ago cleared everything out, leaving behind a scattering of blackened tree trunks, many fallen logs, and open ground on which new growth has blossomed.

The canyon is also different in that it is wide and open, with sloping grassy walls interspersed with rocky cliffs. Most canyon hikes aim for high vertical walls and sculptured rock. Black Canyon instead was focused on the vegetation. As I said, very beautiful, and another example of why I left the crowded eastern United States for lovely Arizona.

I must add that the general news this week is so insane and filled with hatred that I needed a break.

Normal posting shall resume momentarily.

Arizona legislature about to pass law voiding 1st amendment at colleges

We’re here to help you! An effort at the Arizona state legislature to protect student free speech rights has produced a bill that expressly voids the First Amendment of the Bill of Rights.

The original bill language read:

“A university or community college shall not restrict a student’s right to speak, including verbal speech, holding a sign or distributing fliers or other materials, in a public forum.”

Combined with subsequent language in the bill describing the way universities can implement reasonable time, place, and manner restrictions, the original provision was perfectly appropriate. However, after emerging from conference committee, that language now reads:

“A university or community college may restrict a student’s right to speak, including verbal speech, holding a sign or distributing fliers or other materials, in a public forum.” [Emphasis in original]

You really can’t make this stuff up. The article at the link notes that, based on the Arizona legislature’s track record, the change is likely the result of a “drafting error.” Bah. Either this group of lawyers and politicians in Arizona are complete fools, don’t know how to read or write, or they really do intend to shut down free speech.

Arizona’s Court of Appeals sides with Pima County on space balloon deal

Arizona’s second highest court has agreed with Pima County and approved a deal the county made, without competitive bidding, with the space balloon company World View.

In a unanimous ruling, the three-judge panel acknowledged the purpose of competitive bids is to ensure that the county — and, by extension, the taxpayers — gets the most money for the property. But Judge Peter Eckerstrom, writing for the court, said that does not apply when the real goal is not immediate income but longer-term economic development.

The Goldwater Institute, which brought the suit that claimed that the deal violated the state constitution because the lease was signed without competitive bidding, has said it will appeal to Arizona’s Supreme Court.

Hunting Javelinas

A javelina

This past weekend I participated on my third hunt, the second in which I was carrying my own weapon with the possibility of making my own kill. (For my first hunting experience I only came along as an observer.) The goal was to find and shoot a javelina, a boarlike wild animal whose range covers the southwestern United States down into Central America.

The hunt itself was what Arizona Game and Fish calls a HAM hunt, specifically limited to the use of handguns, archery, or muzzleloaders. This means that the only long gun you can use must be loaded through the muzzle one shot at a time, use black powder, and function somewhat like an old-fashioned musket. My weapon of choice was the 1911 pistol I use for bullseye competition, with a red dot scope, a customized left-handed grip, a carefully adjusted trigger, and in general carefully adjusted to be as accurate as possible. With this gun, shooting 45 caliber ammo, I can hit the black bullseye 50 yards away shooting one-armed about 70% of the time. At shorter distances, using two hands, I can easily group my shots in a space less than a few inches across. (Such accuracy on my part is actually not very impressive. Among bullseye shooters I am about average. The public’s general belief that pistols are not accurate beyond 20 feet is simply wrong. Practice, make sure your gun functions as it should, and you will reliably be able to hit your target at 50 yards.)

Since I really have no knowledge about hunting, I wouldn’t have dreamed of doing this without some help. My mentor this weekend was a local friend, Gary Kessinger, who has been hunting for decades, has a number of record kills, and routinely comes home successfully from his hunts. When I mentioned to Gary my desire to learn more about hunting and see how it is done, he gladly offered to guide me through the process. He hadn’t hunted javelinas much in the past few years, but decided to get his own license or tag so that he could shoot one himself.

As I told Gary on Saturday morning, I am essentially a babe in the woods, and would do whatever he suggested. My attitude was that I was the equivalent of a 10-year-old on his first hunt. Anything I accomplished well would be a success, even if it was merely learning how to spot javelinas on a distant hillside using binoculars.
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Pima county files motion to dismiss World View lawsuit

In the heat of competition: The Arizona county government that made a deal with the space tourism balloon company World View to help them build their launch facilities in Tucson has filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit by the Goldwater Institute that claims the deal is illegal.

I don’t know if the deal was illegal, but I suspect that even if it was the county will win and the deal will go through. Too much money at stake.

World View gets incentives to settle in Arizona

The competition heats up: The space tourism balloon company World View has obtained $15 million in subsidies from an Arizona county to base their operation in Tucson.

Today’s go-ahead from the Pima County Board of Supervisors represents an initial step toward setting up the tourist operation. The supervisors voted to invest $15 million, backed by future tax revenue, to build the spaceport. World View would lease the facility from the county over a 20-year term to pay back the investment. The facility would include a launch pad, headquarters building and manufacturing facility, World View said.

Increasingly it looks like Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo is being left in the dust as other companies move forward with their own plans.

Big fire in the mountains above Tucson

At sunset tonight I went out into my back patio to enjoy the evening air and noticed smoke trailing off from the mountains on the opposite side of the valley. Taking a closer look with binoculars I discovered a major forest fire blazing on the front range of the Santa Catalina mountains, about a thousand feet above the city.

To give the layout, our home is on the west side of town, on a hill that overlooks the city. The Santa Catalina Mountains border the north side of Tucson, about ten miles away. (Below the fold is a short video showing the mountains and the smoke, taken today from the west side on one of the overpasses above the interstate, slightly south of my home. The video shows a view similar to what I can see.)

The fire, dubbed the Finger Rock fire after the canyon in which it started, was originally ignited by lightning last week, smoldered for a week, then re-ignited today and is spreading fast. While Diane and I watched this evening we saw the flames leap across from Pontatoc Ridge to the opposite wall of the adjacent valley, Ventana Canyon, which Diane and I last hiked in 2013. I saw flames that were easily 100 feet high.

We have hiked on Pontatoc Ridge. That trail is certainly badly damaged or destroyed. The lowest parts of the fire now appear to be burning at about 500 feet above the nearest homes in the foothills below. When it jumped into Ventana Canyon it appears to move uphill, so at the moment no one’s home is threatened. This is a very very rugged area. It will be difficult for fire crews to get there, no less work to control the blaze.

As the evening progressed and darkness set in the extent of the fire became easier to see, as the flames now stood out in the darkness through the smoke. Though the Forest Service seems sanguine about it, this is not a trivial fire. It threatens the entire front range of the Santa Catalinas, which is one of Tucson’s major recreation areas. Worse, it is close enough to the city that it poses a threat to the homes in the foothills.

Stay tuned for updates.

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Supreme Court voids local sign ordiance

Some good news: In a 9-0 ruling the Supreme Court struck down a local Arizona town’s ordiance that restricted a church’s right to post signs about its upcoming events.

What is most encouraging about this ruling is that all nine justices agreed to it. This suggests that there is a strong majority on the court that supports freedom of speech, and will not look kindly at the Obama administration’s effort to impose its will on the speech and activity of religious and conservative organizations.

Arizona county to ban employees who smoke

Put ’em in concentration camps! Pima County, which includes Tucson, Arizona, is considering banning the employment of any smokers.

Already employed smokers will be charged 30 percent more for their health insurance. The regulations will apply only to government employees.

I say, why waste time with this nonsense. Anyone who smokes is obviously the scum of the Earth, and should be rounded up and sent to camps, either to be re-educated, or to be killed if they can’t reform themselves. America is now an enlightened place, where freedom and individual responsibility have been replaced with the much deeper wisdom of the state!

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