Posts tagged #ban

A Nation Of Hypocrites

Fifteen years I've been in the trucking industry, and if I could just have a fraction of a penny for every time I've heard "Safety is our number one priority" I have not a single need. I'd have enough money to last me two lifetimes. The phrase is plastered on break room walls and throughout company literature. It's nearly everywhere you turn. Millions of dollars are spent on "loss prevention" and "accident awareness training." It's all bogus. Every. Single. Word. 

 

No parking. No idling. No sleeping. 

A sign at a receiver.  

A sign at a receiver.  

If we actually considered safety a top priority, we would honor the most sacred of time periods - rest breaks. I can't even begin to count the number of times I've been awakened by security guards, policemen, or property owners and told to leave.

"You can't sleep here." 

"You have to move." 

"But I'm out of hours. I'm not legally allowed to drive." 

"Doesn't matter. Move now or face fines or forcible removal."

It DOES matter. It matters a lot. A commercial driver lives in his or her truck. There is no where else to go in many situations. I live wherever I am, and I am (supposedly) bound by Federal law concerning my rest breaks. If I am caught or have an accident when I should be resting, I can lose my ability to earn a living for my family. 

Tonight is just the most recent example of this. I had a load to deliver at a Walmart Distribution Center in Smyrna, Delaware. I was told I had a 5:00 pm appointment. I arrived at 5:07 pm after being delayed the night before by heavy snow. Along the way I also had to address a plugged fuel filter. Even still, I arrived inside the allowable window to get unloaded. I was told it was a drop, not a live unload. I searched for an empty trailer, but none were available. I notified dispatch and was told not to leave. I was already planned on another load for a different customer tomorrow with set appointments. I had to find a way to satisfy both requirements. I would take my 10 hour break by which time my trailer should be unloaded and I could make my next load. Before I went to bed I decided to check in again and see what the progress was on my trailer. It was then we found a mistake was made. "Oh, this is a one-hour guarantee." Apologies were offered and so I said, "I'm out of hours. I'll need to finish my break, so will my trailer by done by 4:00 am?" The answer was yes and so I prepared to go to bed. I called and hastily said goodnight to my wife and children so I could still get about 7 hours of sleep. That was at 9:41 pm. The call lasted one minute.  

At 11:45 there was knock at my door. I was disoriented as I got up and rolled down the window. "I'm trying to figure out what you're doing here." I told him I was waiting for my trailer. I was told that isn't allowed. "Only Walmart trucks are allowed to sleep. We don't have sleeping on the yard." I informed him that I had already spoken to the lady inside and what the arrangement was (or what I thought it was.) He was very rude and abrasive. He woke me from a dead sleep. I'm sure I wasn't as polite as I could have been. He tells me to come back tomorrow. I asked "What time" and he became further enraged. He goes inside and comes back. "No sleeping. Leave now or I will have you banned from all Walmart properties. I will be back through here in 10 minutes and if you're not gone I will call the police and have you forcibly removed." We then went inside where the lady I had talked to lied to him and me when she said, "You asked if you could stay here and I said no." That was a complete and total fabrication. I said, "I'll admit we weren't clear. I said I was going to sleep and nothing was said that I couldn't stay here." I left. Out of hours and exhausted, I drove away. It wasn't the first time and it certainly won't be the last. 

So let's think for a second what would've happened if when I pulled out on the road someone in a car hit me. It's happened time and again that even if the driver of the car had been at fault, I would have been cited possibly even put in prison because I was driving illegally. Lawyers have argued (and won)  "Had the driver not been on the road at that time, the accident wouldn't have happened." There are truck drivers IN PRISON today for fatal accidents caused by drunk drivers, usually the drunk was the one killed, where the driver was either not logging accurately or was over their time and was then found to be at fault because "they shouldn't have been there to be hit."

A driver's rest break should be sacred and uninterruptible. Period. For those of you so captivated by writing new laws, here's an idea for you - It should be punishable by imprisonment for waking a driver during his rest break. Certainly if a driver is trespassing on private property or parked in an unsafe location there should be an exception. But if a driver has leegitimate business at a location, there should be no circumstance where he is awakened and forced to leave. 

This isn't about Walmart. I've been run off from a Target DC as well. I love how people are so quick to criticize Walmart when Target and other retailers are flip sides of the same coin. 

This problem is much worse when pulling a van or reefer trailer. It's one of the things I miss the most about pulling flatbed. They're happy to see you when you get there and they unload you quickly. Usually you're hauling something on a flatbed that they need to build something with. I can testify that I am treated with much more respect as a driver when I'm pulling a flatbed.  

The government is no help either. They write these ridiculous anti-idling laws that tell me I am to shut off my engine regardless if it is 10° or 100°. I don't have $8,000 to spend on an APU, and I will not accept money stolen from other citizens in the form of a grant or tax credit to buy one. I'll get one when I can afford it. Until then, my engine provides my heat and air conditioning and it will run when necessary to keep me comfortable.  

Safety. What a joke. If any one if you cared about safety, you'd let me rest. 

 

How, in 2013, Can We Be This Foolish (Or Just Plain Stupid)?

 

We have centuries of documented human history on our side. There is absolutely no excuse for the people that are elected to "serve" (and I use that term VERY loosely) to be this clueless and ignorant. The Government of Australia has decided that they are going to 'fix' the tobacco 'problem.' This will be no different than governments before that have decided to 'fix' the 'problems' of gun violence, drug use, poverty, and healthcare. Here is the article:

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/health/smokers-set-to-be-taxed-out-of-habit/story-fn59nokw-1226547381195

One only has to look to the early 20th century in the United States to see that prohibition does not work. It never has, and it never will. The US Government has wasted trillions of dollars on the "War on Drugs." The only result we have to look at is prison over-population and rampant distribution of dangerous substances like Meth Amphetamine and Bath Salts. I submit that, without drug prohibition, Meth and Bath Salts would not be an issue. There would simply be no market for them. If people could access "normal" drugs in a free market, there would be no need for meth labs to cook up poison to feed the needs of the user. Tobacco is no different.

I am a former smoker. I still currently use smokeless tobacco. That change is a direct result of a deal
 made with my wife - Stop smoking and you are allowed to stay married. Smokeless tobacco was the compromise. I smoked for over 15 years. I did not start smoking because of Joe Camel or the Marlboro Man. I started because a friend handed me one. (Maybe we should ban friends.) But even then, it was my own curiosity and desire that made me start. To this day, I can catch a wiff of someone lighting up and the desire burns inside me. It's not enough to make me start again, but there is a momentary desire to smoke a cigarette. 

The thing that baffles me the most about this story is how clueless the bureaucrats are. Maybe they're not as dumb as I give them credit for. Maybe they know that this will never work, but they do know that the Sheeple will continue to give them more and more power over them as long as they are "committed to making progress." Let's examine a few points:

1) The government says that, over time, it will increase the amount a smoker has to pay (up to $20 per pack) and that will, in turn, dissuade the smoker from continuing to smoke. It's a simple concept, right? They, the all-knowing and wise bureaucrats, will force them to choose between something they do not need and something they do need like food, gas, and housing. They will manipulate the market and cause the smokers to change their behavior based on government decree. 

This one makes me laugh the hardest. How is it, being able to look back on the whole of human history, that these numbnuts think that government decrees can affect human behavior? Again, never has and never will. Human behavior is like water or electricity - It moves in the path of least resistance.

2) They are making a HUGE assumption that the open market will be the only place smokers can go to get their fix.

Wrong again. All government interference in the market does is cause the black market to rise up and take its place. It happened in the early 20th century with alcohol in the United States, and it's happening now with sex, guns, drugs, toys, and electronics. The black market is a dangerous place filled with violence. When transactions are forced into the shadows away from market light, you find shadowy people. It is only in the open market where you will find safety, quality, and fair price controls. What Australia has to look forward to is violence and death when people start dealing in the black market to squelch their nicotine craving. Without free market forces to demand quality of product, there will a much greater danger to the user. They will have no idea where the product comes from. They will have no idea what is in it. Is it really even tobacco at all? Is it laced? Have dangerous chemicals been used in the manufacture of the product? No one will ever know because the government has forced the producers and consumers into the shadowy dark corners.

3) They have already spent all the revenue this tax is going to create. They see all the zeroes lining up and all the "good" they'll be able to do with that income. 

The income and the windfall isn't coming. Black market producers do not pay taxes. Black market consumers do not pay taxes. All the money they think they're going to rake in is never coming. That will show up later when they don't have the money to cover all the promises they made. But that's okay, government NEVER admits that its plans didn't work. They will claim success and continue down the road of spending money they don't have while having "a plan" to address the budget shortfall.

Here is the bottom line - No matter how much you desire the government to save someone else from themselves, it is a proven fact that government does not have that power. Only individuals with the help of other VOLUNTARY individuals are able to help THEMSELVES out of trouble. 

Posted on January 4, 2013 and filed under politics.

North Carolina's Morality is No Longer In Danger

North Carolina voters went to the polls and passed Amendment One - a ban on gay marriage. Now I assume all the residents of that state can rest easy now. Their moral compass is pointed due north and all of society's problems have been solved. You've put those pesky homosexuals in their places and have effectively rid yourselves of the immoral ditch you were certainly bound to hit. Or did you?

As a casual observer from a distance, I've seen the hyperbole and melodrama being slung from both sides. One says the moral fabric of society is about to be ripped to shreds, while the other claims all sorts of ills will be bestowed on poor women and children.

Here's the bottom line. If you think that people engaging in homosexual acts and relationships is going to be our undoing, frankly you're a moron. Additionally, if you think a "ban" on that behavior and those relationships will solve your problem you are living in a dream world. Here is a little reality check for you - LGBT people are going to have the same relationship whether or not you approve of it. It doesn't matter what you say. It doesn't even matter what the Bible says. They are going to do what they are going to do regardless of your opinions. Your passing this law will only fuel their dissent. There will be lawsuits and petitions. Some elected officials will likely be targeted for recall. Basically, by passing this ban, you have guaranteed that North Carolina will pass a law ALLOWING gay marriage in the near future. You really don't know what you've just done, but they do, and they going to come after you with a vengeance.

Let me step outside this issue with an example. We homeschool our kids. That is a "lifestyle choice." It is a choice many people ridicule and offer unwelcome opinions on. It is a choice we are very satisfied with and nothing anyone else does or says will change that. As a matter of fact, the more dissent we hear, the stronger our conviction becomes. I DARE you to outlaw homeschooling. You can outlaw it, but that in no way means we will stop doing it. If you don't like our choice, screw you. Move along.

Here's where I have something to say to both sides.

To the LGBT community: I get where you are coming from. I know all you really want is equal protection under the law. I can't blame you for that, but I would suggest you do what you want to do and tell anyone that doesn't like it go jump in the creek. Why do you need the government to validate you? If we all would stand up to government we could make it irrelevant. Look, sadly there are groups of people that will NEVER accept you. Period. But you can't allow them to revoke your validation as a free individual. But if you engage in pissing contest, you're all going to get wet.

To the proponents of banning gay marriage: I'm assuming most of you are coming at this from a religious and moral stance. I am a Bible-believing follower of Christ. I take the Bible at its face value. But sorry, I'm not with you here. My faith, and my relationship with Christ, is an individual matter. It is between me and Him. No one else is involved. What my neighbor does in his or her marriage bed does NOT affect my salvation. Period. My support or opposition to a ban on any human behavior does NOT affect my salvation. Period. End of discussion.

Bans on human behavior simply do not work. Drug use, texting or talking on the phone while driving, gay marriage, or any other "immoral" or "bad" behaviors are done on an individual basis. All you have managed to do by passing this amendment is mobilize the fight against you. Mark my words, they will win. No one will benefit from this fight. No one.