Thursday, July 19, 2018

Pledge of what?


When we pledge allegiance, what are we doing?

According to Black's Law Dictionary, 6th edition, allegiance is defined as:

"Obligation of fidelity and obedience to government in consideration for protection that government gives."

Although the flag represents the embodiment of our national conscience and is easily the most recognized symbol of our nation, one that I proudly support and defend, I was thinking this morning, “What does it actually mean?”

Members of the military are required to swear or affirm their support and defense of the Constitution of the United States. I have gladly "pledged my allegiance" by making this affirmation, and I, like many before and after me, would give my life if necessary to defend our Constitution and our great democratic way of life.

Francis Bellamy was a Baptist minister’s son from upstate New York. He was assigned to work on arranging a patriotic program for schools while employed at the family magazine, Youth’s Companion in 1892.

The idea for the pledge was in part a response to the Civil War, a crisis of loyalty still fresh in the nation’s memory. As Bellamy sat down at his desk, the opening words – I pledge allegiance to my flag – tumbled onto the paper.

Without a doubt this is familiar to every one of us, young and old alike:

I pledge Allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with Liberty and Justice for all. I pledge of Allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and Justice for all.

On any given day, these days, it is nothing to read about yet another Home Owners Association (HOA) prohibiting the American Flag to be flown; or someone, somewhere, offended by our beautiful Stars and Stripes.

I broke it down line by line as to what I think it means.

I pledge Allegiance to the flag of the United States of America – My solemn promise of loyalty and dedication is to the symbol of my nation above all other nations.

and to the Republic for which it stands - in addition towards the  form of government in which the powers of sovereignty are authorized and entrusted in the people and are executed by the people, either directly, or through representatives chosen by the people.

one nation under God – a single nation whose natural rights are bestowed by a Creator.

indivisible -  impenetrable, inseparable, unbreakable, unified. 

with liberty and Justice for all -  including Freedom, independence, In addition to Lawfulness, fairness, honesty, integrity for the entirety of its population.

In breaking things down as we have, it makes perfect sense why there are many who refuse to recite the Pledge of Allegiance. To these people I say- find another country!

Our Founding Fathers knew exactly what they were doing! They knew that it would be all too easy to become complacent with the nation we have.

Abraham Lincoln said it best:

“America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.”



Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Outlaw Dirty Money ...


Nonprofits that spend money to influence elections but are not required to disclose donors to the public — called “dark money” groups by critics — no longer need to share their donors’ names or addresses in their tax filings under a new Treasury rule announced Monday.[1]

This is a good thing and could ultimately impact a ballot measure here in Arizona.

In case you did not know, there is a ballot initiative named “Outlaw Dirty Money”. The supports of this initiative (Terry Goddard) want non-profits like ABATE to disclose ALL donors and members information to the public. “We believe Arizona voters have the right to know who is paying for political ads”.[2]

Do you remember Terry Goddard?  He is an American attorney and politician. A member of the Democratic Party, he served as the Mayor of Phoenix from 1984 to 1990, on the Central Arizona Water Conservation District from 2001 to 2003 and as the 24th Attorney General of Arizona from 2003 to 2011. He has twice been the Democratic nominee for Governor of Arizona, in 1990 and in 2010. He declined to run for governor for a third time in 2014 and was instead the Democratic nominee for Secretary of State of Arizona in the 2014 elections, losing to Republican State Senator Michele Reagan. Goddard is a potential candidate for Governor in 2018.

The constitutional amendment states that its main purpose is, “…to secure the right of the People of Arizona to know who is making major contributions to influence the result of Arizona elections…” It then goes on to state, “To secure this right, this Constitutional Amendment requires public disclosure of all contributors …”[3]

Do YOU really want your name and address open to the public because you want to fight for motorcycle rights? The only way that we could not disclose donors is to not fulfill our mission.
To me, this is a way to silence organizations like ABATE from making a difference in our state.

Check it out for yourself.

Personally, I am glad the Department of the Treasury made this rule announcement.

Stay free!


[1] https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/dark-money-groups-dont-need-to-disclose-donors-to-irs-treasury-says/2018/07/17/38f5d8aa-89d0-11e8-a345-a1bf7847b375_story.html?ct=t(WUW_oct-3-2017_COPY_01)&noredirect=on&utm_term=.f44cc16840d7
[2] https://outlawdirtymoney.com/about/
[3] http://apps.azsos.gov/election/2018/general/ballotmeasuretext/C-03-2018.pdf

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

HB2046 - Transportation Committee Testimony


Thank you, Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, in allowing me to speak on this issue today. My name is Michael Infanzon. I am the state designated lobbyist for American Brotherhood Aimed Toward Education or ABATE of Arizona. I am also a combat disabled Marine and small business owner. I have been riding motorcycles for over 44 years and have had a motorcycle endorsement for 35 of those years. I am a 3rd generation motorcyclist. I have taken numerous education and safety classes and done extensive one on one training to elevate my riding skills.

Certainly, the one of most hotly contested issues surrounding motorcycle safety is the Helmet Debate.  This debate revolves around whether the law should require motorcyclists to wear helmets at all times when riding, or whether the decision of whether or not to wear a helmet should be left up to the individual rider.

Opponents of helmet laws argue that the regulations are paternalistic and encroaching; that by requiring helmet laws, the government is attempting to regulate an area that should be left to the individual to decide.  On the other hand, proponents of helmet laws argue that those laws save lives, reduce the risk of injury, and may even deter motorcycle thieves.

I would like to cover three issues today. The health care burden, helmet safety and the constitutionality of this idea.

If you have a strong disregard for your own health and safety, you are free to express it in all sorts of ways. You can smoke cigarettes. You can gorge on fast food five times a day. You can go live among bears in Alaska. You can stagger drunk through the worst part of town at 2 a.m. You can become a trapeze artist. You can join the Marine Corps. But if certain legislators get their way, you will not be able to ride a motorcycle without a helmet without paying a fee to do so

This small zone of personal autonomy causes great annoyance at the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). A few years ago, it urged that "everyone aboard a motorcycle be required to wear a helmet." NTSB Vice Chairman Christopher Hart said, "It's a public health issue."

A public health issue arises when masses of people are exposed to illness or injury by dangers beyond their control—contaminated water, sooty air, natural disaster, or when I get a serious disease that I may pass on to you against your will.

The Undue burden on the taxpayer
When there is a public health issue, government action is necessary. It's perfectly legitimate for governments to regulate pollution, build levees, and require people to get vaccinations.

The mandatory helmet crowd, however, insists there is a threat to the public: the threat of being forced to cover the medical costs of bikers who are injured or disabled. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety stated, "Only slightly more than half of motorcycle crash victims have private health insurance coverage. For patients without private insurance, a majority of medical costs are paid by the government." We know that after the passage of the Affordable Health Care Act, all citizens in this country are required to have health insurance. According to the National Center for Health Statistics; UN-helmeted motorcyclists injuries account for less than .001% of American health care costs. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) found that between 2002 and 2006. 35% of all emergency room visits due to automobile accidents were traumatic brain injury (TBI) related, while only 3.3% of motorcycle ER visits were related to TBI. During the same period, 13% of all automobile crash hospitalizations were TBI related, compared to only 2.2% of motorcycle hospitalizations.

Further, opponents counter the argument that motorcyclists place an undue burden on taxpayers by noting that when the costs of injuries to motorcycle riders are examined in the context of the large-scale health care picture, the sum of money paid on behalf of motorcyclists is not astounding.  A Harborview Medical Center study discovered that the percentage of motorcyclists who relied on public funding for medical treatment (63.4%) was actually lower than that of the general population (67%).  Similarly, the University of North Carolina’s Highway Safety Research Center found that 49.5% of injured motorcyclists had insurance to cover their medical costs, were nearly identical compared with 50.4% of other road trauma victims.

Helmets can reduce the chance of being killed in a wreck, but federal data indicate that most of those who die in motorcycle crashes would be killed even with a helmet. In fact, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration; in 81% of fatal crashes involving helmeted motorcyclists, the fatal injury was to a part of the body other than the head. In the same report, NHTSA also stated that the same was true in 64% of fatal crashes involving helmetless motorcyclists.

The real danger is not from riding a motorcycle without a helmet, but from riding, period. If you crash a motorcycle at 65 mph, your head is only one of the body parts that will come out much worse for wear. If we're justified in requiring helmets to save medical expenses, why not simply outlaw motorcycles entirely? That would prevent a lot more death and injury.

It's also hard to see why we single out motorcyclists for the sin of saddling everyone with higher health care costs. Plenty of patients suffer from self-inflicted ailments— liver damage from drinking, diabetes from eating unhealthy foods, AIDS from unprotected sex. Yet we don't ban these activities. What we do is attempt to educate the public, so they can make solid, intelligent decisions about their own lives.

Education is a better preventative for crashes than helmets
I want to assert that merely wearing a helmet while riding a motorcycle is an unnecessary and insufficient method of guarding oneself against injury.  Instead riders should educate themselves on safe riding practices and avoid dangerous situations entirely. My view is that helmet laws do nothing to prevent crashes; only education and safe riding can prevent crashes.
Personal story about Annie and her friends “looking twice to save a life”
Motorcycle helmets are not safe
The present testing standard for motorcycle helmets (FMVSS-218) was created over 30 years ago. The helmet manufacturers are required to perform all motorcycle helmet testing in a laboratory on a head form. The result is a motorcycle helmet designed to pass the testing standard which is to protect a head form in a laboratory. The testing does not simulate what would happen to a motorcyclist wearing that helmet in the event of an actual wreck. The present testing standard does not exceed a simulated impact speed of 13.66 mph, nor does it take into account the stresses that would be transferred to a motorcyclist's neck and spinal cord, the reduced vision and hearing, the effects of a chin strap around the throat, or the effect on the brain when the helmet bounces. As many State's (including California) have enacted laws that mandate motorcyclist's wear a helmet (or become a criminal), the testing standards should reflect what, exactly a helmet will do to a motorcyclist in the event of an actual crash.

If the safety of the motorcyclist is the primary concern, then the testing standards should reflect that. As it stands now, the safety engineers say that helmets are safe when the real truth is that helmets can only be proven to protect a head form in a laboratory. Until the testing standards are designed with the motorcyclist's safety as the primary objective, motorcyclists who ride in mandatory helmet law States will be required, by law, to wear a helmet that is designed to protect a head form, not a motorcyclist. If the testing used crash dummies with sensors (to detect possible injuries), in realistic crash situations (like a car turning left in front of the motorcyclist or someone running a red light or being hit by a distracted driver), we could determine if, in fact, helmets can actually cause injuries. The laws of physics state that a 4-pound helmet, at 50 mph, becomes 200 pounds upon impact. This is a law that cannot be repealed by anyone and it is an indication that the present motorcycle helmets are not as safe as some would claim. One of the requirements of FMVSS-218 is an impact test performed by dropping the helmet (and head form) onto an anvil from a height of no more than 72 inches which simulates an impact speed of 13.66 mph.




Using a Newton equation' for a 170-pound rider, with deceleration of the brain being the controlling factor, the following helmet thicknesses would be required:
IMPACT
VELOCITY
HELMET
THICKNESS
4 MPH

1"

10 MPH

1.8"

15 MPH

4"

20 MPH

6.5"

30 MPH

15"

40 MPH

29"



The current 1" thick helmets weigh from 2 to 4.5 pounds. Using a Newton equation' for a 170-pound rider, with deceleration of the brain being the controlling factor, if the testing were done at an impact speed of 20 mph, the helmet would have to be at least 6" thick, and weigh 15 to 20 pounds in order to pass testing. The current 4-pound helmet puts a terrible strain on the neck without impacting anything and upon impact, the bending momentum to the neck will more than double. The neck is the weakest link, and FMVSS-218 does not take this into account (as the required head form has no "neck" at all, nor does it simulate a human body at all, as it's only a head form) There have been many motorcyclists who have become a quadriplegic due to the effects of wearing a helmet.
Another requirement of FMVSS-218 (S5.4) is that a helmet provides no less than 105 degrees peripheral vision. A driver’s license test requires 140 degrees peripheral vision, and a motorcyclist with only 105 degrees peripheral vision is considered to be legally blind Also, when wearing a helmet, the acute decrease in hearing would prevent a person from receiving a driver’s license. Therefore, according to DMV regulations, when wearing a helmet, a motorcyclist is legally deaf & blind!

Helmets are not a safety device for motorcyclist's, and mandatory helmet laws are nothing more than a mandatory dress code with the ability to cause injury and death. But a helmet will protect a head form in a laboratory (up to 13.66 mph), unfortunately, head forms do not ride motorcycles.

The USDOT, pursuant to Federal law, can ONLY promulgate (write) standards that manufacturers and importers must meet. The USDOT is NOT authorized to “approve” helmets and thus there are NO DOT APPROVED helmets. The USDOT DOES NOT CERTIFY helmets. Helmets are “self-certified” by the manufacturer only. The USDOT is required to purchase helmets in “the marketplace” and then send the helmet(s) to an “independent testing lab” for testing where the helmet either meets the specific requirements of the regulations (standards) or doesn’t. Helmets, like cars, motorcycles, and other vehicles and motor vehicle parts are subject ONLY to those standards in place at the time of manufacture. That’s why a 1955 Chevy isn’t required to have a padded dash or seat belts etc. that recently manufactured autos are required to have. The same is true for helmets. If you have a helmet manufactured in 2008 it isn’t required to meet the standards that went into effect in 2011, the most recent standards. The provision in 28-964 that requires equipment to be “of a type approved by the director” does NOT describe or refer to helmets but to eye protection only. This lack of definition of a helmet is troubling at best and constitutionally vague. In order for law enforcement to determine if a helmet meets any sort of “approval” or standards the date of manufacture of the helmet would need to be known as-well- as the USDOT standards at the time of manufacture. Since it isn’t likely that the particular standards for a particular time frame would be known to law enforcement it is virtually impossible for any officer, state, county or city, to determine if a helmet has met the standards or if it’s “approved” regardless whether or not “the director” has approved anything. Since the Federal government has exclusive jurisdiction on setting standards Arizona would have to get permission from the feds to develop their own standards and methods of testing above and beyond that of the Federal government. The expense alone to do all that would be enormous. And if the state decided to use the federal standards it still would require law enforcement to enforce the law to the standards that were in place at the time a particular helmet was manufactured. In short it will be a nightmare to enforce properly and constitutionally challenge-able in a number of ways.

Constitutionality
The constitutional challenges focused principally on 2 arguments: (1) helmet statutes violated the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment or state constitutional equivalents by discriminating against motorcycle riders as a class, and (2) helmet statutes constituted an infringement on the motorcyclist’s liberty and an excessive use of the state’s police power under the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment or similar state provisions. The Illinois Supreme Court and the Michigan Appeals Court accepted these arguments. The Illinois Supreme Court ruled that the helmet laws constituted an infringement on motorcyclists’ rights.

“If the evil sought to be remedied by the statute affects public health, safety, morals or welfare, a means reasonably directed toward the achievement of those ends will be held to be a proper exercise of the police power. However, [t]he legislature may not, of course, under the guise of protecting the public interest, interfere with private rights . . . . The manifest function of the headgear requirement in issue is to safeguard the person wearing it—whether it is the operator or a passenger—from head injuries. Such a laudable purpose, however, cannot justify the regulation of what is essentially a matter of personal safety.”

The Michigan Appeals Court heard a case brought by the American Motorcycle Association, the country’s largest organization for motorcyclists, which argued that the state’s motorcycle law violated the due process, equal protection, and right to privacy provisions of the federal constitution. The association cited the US Supreme Court’s birth control decision in Griswold v. Connecticut as authority for establishing a right to privacy. The state attorney general contended that the law did not just concern individual rights and was intended to promote public health, safety, and welfare. Furthermore, the state argued that it had an interest in the “viability” of its citizens and could pass legislation “to keep them healthy and self-supporting.” The Appeals Court, however, countered that “this logic could lead to unlimited paternalism” and found the statute unconstitutional.

With these three arguments in view, I would urge this committee to vote no on this proposed legislation and instead look into funding better motorcycle safety and awareness programs such as SB1082 that Senator Fann introduced last week in the Senate.

With that, I am open to any questions this committee may have.