What Comes Next?

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By W. Timothy Sutton

I did not support Donald Trump for president of the United States. I did not vote for Donald Trump to become president of the United States. I voted for John Kasich in the primary. I gave money to Rand Paul, Ted Cruz & Marco Rubio to prevent Donald Trump from becoming the Republican nominee for president. Part of that was my incredibly incorrect belief that Donald Trump had absolutely no shot at winning the presidency which would then result in Hillary Clinton ascending to the highest post in the land if not the world. Hillary Clinton as president meant an activist Supreme Court, a complete takeover by the federal government of many aspects of American life, and would not have resulted in a less aggressive foreign policy and may have actually increased America’s war posture. I believed Donald Trump was too undisciplined and too vulgar and lacked any kind of organizational ability to beat her. He lacked policy knowledge or ideals. He was a bigot and a misogynist. He was and still is unfit for the presidency. But a combination of RNC ground game, white voter backlash, black voter apathy, an ill timed letter from the director of the FBI, and Clinton overconfidence have conspired to make Donald J. Trump the 45th president of the United States. So where do we go from here?

Now, first it kind of seems silly for me to be suggesting where we go from here. No one was more wrong about what would happen over the course of this election than I was. I predicted a Rubio nomination in March of 2015 and as recently as September 10th would have pegged the chances of a Clinton win at 100%. But in order for me to make sense of what just happened and what will happen here goes.

The first thing to realize is that Barack Obama is a transcendent figure in American history. It should go without saying that the first black president would be, but it really seems that everyone forgot it. As someone who voted for Barack Obama in 2008 and then did not vote for Hillary Clinton, I should have seen that. Clinton will finish with something like 8 million less votes than Obama got in 2008 and 4 million less votes than 2012. Trump may barely top McCain and should come just short of Romney. He will be massively short of Bush in 2004. The Obama vote not showing up may not completely explain the victory as the location of those votes matter, but it goes a long way. Hillary lost Michigan both because of the “white working class” and because Detroit and Flint did not show up at the polls. Milwaukee not showing up in Wisconsin cost her that state as well. But in reality Wisconsin should have been close. Bush barely lost there twice and Scott Walker has been elected there 3 times in the last 6 years. The Obama results there in 2008 and 2012 obscured that. They were the outlier, not this year. Romney nearly won Florida, a Democrat not named Obama loses there in 2012. The polls were wrong (and to be fair they weren’t that wrong, they generally were within the margin of error) because they assumed a 2012 electorate that just didn’t show up.

The thing about Barack Obama being a transcendent figure in American history is important. He is not going away. He is highly popular. He commands huge constituencies. He commands attention. Presidents have gone away after their presidencies recently. There is no real reason to think President Obama will. If President Trump steps outside the norms of the presidency, President Obama will be there to call him on it.

Another thing to realize is that to win the presidency, you must have a positive message. President Obama was hope & change. President Bush was compassionate conservatism. President Clinton was the man from Hope who didn’t stop thinking about tomorrow. President Bush had a thousand points of light and President Reagan promised morning in America. President Trump promised to Make America Great again. Say what you want about it, but it is a positive message. My last post went deep into whether America is great or ever was, but the message is strong and simple. What was Hillary Clinton’s message? I’m with her? Seriously, if that is not it I don’t know. And if I’m with her was the message than where is the hope in that? Where is the positivity in that? It wasn’t a message as much as bullying. Oh, you’re not with her? You must hate women. A certain amount of introspection must be had by her supporters. Did they support the idea of Hillary Clinton, a woman the perception of whom was as cold and calculating and secretive, becoming president? Or did they support the idea of a woman becoming president period? In the end she had no message and the enthusiasm gap was real. You simply cannot win by being against something instead of for something. In the end Hillary’s message was, “I’m not Trump.” That doesn’t work. It didn’t work in local elections I have been a part of and it doesn’t work in national elections.

But that’s looking back, what comes next? Honestly, I think Donald Trump generally governs like a generic Republican president. The possibility of his cast of clowns attaining positions of power does frighten the hell out of me though. David Clarke or Rudy Giuliani as the head of Homeland Security should frighten everyone. Giuliani as Attorney General will mean that civil rights and criminal rights will need to be guarded much more vigorously. Mike Rogers in any position of power in national security requires vigilance on domestic surveillance and Fourth Amendment issues. John Bolton is the neocon of all neocons and the possibility of him becoming Secretary of State should terrify everyone.

But in reality Trump will push for lower taxes. He may push for greater infrastructure spending. Federal funding for Planned Parenthood may disappear but abortion won’t. The Supreme Court will remain in stasis and Breyer & Ginsburg will be there until 2020 unless they pass away. Gay marriage will remain the law of the land and will fade from view as an issue. No one will care about the debt or the deficit. The one large policy issue will be Obamacare. It will be reformed but I highly doubt that any of the currently covered 20 million will lose their policies. Federal spending will go up and the debt will rise. No wall will be built. We will not withdraw from NATO or the UN. There may be lots of EPA and SEC regulations that get repealed, but NAFTA will not be renegotiated.

While the impact of the Trump administration will not be that much different than a typical Republican. Hillary and the Democrats wanted more change. They wanted more federal oversight. There will not be more of those types of things and a limited amount of protections now in place may be taken back, churches will not have to pay for abortifacients and places will not have to bake cakes for gay weddings but the Voting Rights Act will not be repealed in its entirety and 42 USC 1983 will remain the law of the land even if enforcement under a Giuliani Department of Justice is different.

Elections have consequences, I said that when people were acting as though Obama was doing illegitimate things. He could do those things because he won the election. I thought procedurally Merrick Garland should have been appointed to the Supreme Court. I am now glad that he was not but that doesn’t mean that the process was correct. Hopefully the process gets respected again though I doubt it will.

The real impact of a Trump presidency will be in the culture. I do not know what the impact will be. I pray that it does not lead to more accommodation of racist and bigoted views. I pray that it does not lead to discrimination against Muslims and Hispanics or acts of violence against them. I pray that antisemitism does not rise. I pray that it does not lead to weekly riots from the left because they did not get their way or that he is not their president. He is their president. He, like Barack Obama, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George H. W. Bush, Ronald Reagan & Jimmy Carter before him, is my president. Let us act like it.

I hope he succeeds. If he fails, we all fail. We can disagree. We can protest. We can petition the government for redress of our grievances. We must do those things. We must act as a watchdog for abuses of power and authority. The Constitution is the ultimate authority on government not the whims of the people or the president. If we do not put our faith in princes we will rise to the moment. America is the same country it was Monday. We have the same faults and problems and fault lines. We face a rapidly changing world, both technologically and ideologically. But we have the same heroic people living here. We have the same love. We have the same courage & genius.

The thing to remember is that America is better today than it was four years ago. It was better four years ago than it was eight years ago. We are, in fact, more tolerant, more prosperous, healthier, and safer as a whole than any people have ever been in history. I would be willing to bet that we are more of all of those things in four years. I would have made that bet no matter who had won Tuesday. Because the person who is president does not define us. Now let us meet the ambitions of our nation. Let us fulfill the glorious promise that our founders gave in those magnificent documents. The world is turned upside down but our ambitions and our nation are made of sterner stuff.

 

American Exceptionalism

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American Exceptionalism

by. W. Timothy Sutton

For the past year and a half the headlines have been full of promises to make America great again. There have been three responses to this. The first is a full throated endorsement of the need to make America great again. The second is to claim that America was never great in the first place. The third is to say that America was not only great before but still is. The first is the claim of the Republican nominee for president and his acolytes, the second is position of hard core leftists, and the third the position of a great number of people in the middle.

Of course, four and eight years ago the dynamic was different. It was the great number of people in the middle who said we needed to make America great again. Hard core leftists were still claiming that America was never great while the right was proclaiming the greatness of the past and present of the nation. President Obama was of course elected on a platform of hope and change. Four years ago a program started airing on HBO called the Newsroom. The explicit premise of the show presented by the opening monologue in the premiere episode embedded at the top of this post was that America was not the greatest country in the world anymore. And the thing is, they are all right.

America is not the power it was in the years after World War Two or even the booming ‘90s. The 1950’s and 1990’s presented unique features of world politics that will not be repeated. In the ‘50’s the rest of the world had been destroyed by the war. London, Tokyo, and much of continental Europe lay in ruins. The Soviets had overrun Eastern Europe and threatened the west. Mao had overrun China again taking it into isolation. America was the only game in town for the non-communist allies. The full power of American manufacturing had been deployed in making P-51s and could be converted into making Chevrolets. American domestic policy making was at the height of the liberal consensus. Even with the threat of the red menace optimism was warranted and the greatest economic progress in the history of the world was taking place. Of course this wasn’t true for everyone. Obviously, black Americans were not enjoying the same prosperity or opportunity as whites. They were cheated out of government programs designed to exclude them like social security and the GI Bill. They were segregated and red lined in an apartheid system that stretched across the land and not just the south. And the thing is, America was also not great for scores of millions of white people in this time. They were poor, starving, homeless, jobless, etcetera people of all races at the time. There has been some sort of national amnesia where everyone who lived in this time period lived next door to Ward Cleaver. So the truth is obviously more complicated than the rhetoric.

There is some talk about the ‘90s and the greatness of the country then. After all, many of the people espousing the view that we need to make America great again were not even alive in the ‘50s. Many came of age in the ‘90s era of prosperity.  Of course for gays and blacks in America the ‘90s were not that great. And there was of course still a lack of prosperity for whole swaths of the nation. But the Cold War was over. We won. We were again the biggest, baddest nation on the planet and anything was possible.  Then an impeachment, a divisive election, and 9/11 happened. The country has been in a funk since then. The aura of invincibility is gone. Forever now. That is really what people are talking about when they say we need to make America great again. We need to restore that aura of invincibility. That aura of righteousness. It may have been fake. Mass produced on a Hollywood soundstage just like the depictions of the American west. But people believed it and that made it real.

There is a somewhat valid argument that America was never great. Slavery and Jim Crow being the easy start to it. How can a nation based on the premise that all men are created equal allow some people to be chattel? Hell, how can a nation based on the premise that all men are created equal treat the women of the country as afterthoughts. How could it allow child labor? How could it slaughter millions of American Indians? How could it launch wars of expansion in Florida, Mexico, & the Caribbean? A nation whose very first amendment to its Constitution guaranteed freedom of speech and the press within ten years of that amendment passing created laws outlawing certain kinds of speech. A nation that, when faced with an international adversary put all of the people in the country that looked like that adversary in camps and when challenged had its highest court uphold such action? Are these the actions of a great nation? Clearly not. But, the principles of the nation are great even if every moment was not. The ideals to strive for are worth fighting and dying for. King called the Constitution and Declaration of Independence a promissory note. A promise that all men, black and white, would be guaranteed the rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. These are great ideals and ones that have only been accomplished a few times in our nation’s history. But it is the struggle for the ideals that made this nation great.

There may have been only five days in the history of the nation that it was truly great. You do not need to be a historian to know what happened on those days simply by reference to the date. One of course was August 3, 1963. The day King so succinctly summarized why the nation was and could be great. One was January 1, 1863. A date alluded to by King in his speech on the Mall. It gave hope to millions of oppressed that they were now free. It had attempted to atone for the original sin of the nation and set the stage for the ideals of Reconstruction that would ultimately be wasted by a desire for continuing power and an intransigent court. The third day was July 20, 1969. That was the day the nation took a giant leap for mankind and restored, albeit briefly, a sense of optimism after a decade of tumult. The fourth day that the nation was truly great was June 6, 1944.  As a nation, we faced down fascism. We faced down genocide. We literally stormed beaches knowing full well that there was no guarantee of return, let alone victory. And it truly was a national effort. Millions of men and women worked at home to make that day possible. The hundreds of thousands that went into the void were just the most obvious contributors. The fifth day that our nation was truly great, and the only day in my lifetime that was, was September 12, 2001. The nation fully came together that day. There was no strife. No division. Just grief and determination. For the past fifteen years we have been losing that resolve and unity. Sometimes slowly and gradually, others in sharp drops.

Now, if our nation has only truly been great for five days since 1789 does that mean the far left is right when they say it was never great or not the greatest on Earth? Of course not. Most other nations have been just as intolerable but without even the unfulfilled ideals of greatness. The English in the Sudan, South Africa, & Indian subcontinent committed much greater atrocities than ever perpetuated by America. The French in Paris in 1870, and Algeria and South Asia consistently. The Belgians in the Congo. The Germans in Belgium in 1914 and of course the rest of Europe 25 years later. Russian/Soviet atrocities against Serfs, Ukrainians, Lithuanians, and the rest. Mao starving millions. Turks slaughtering Armenians. The history of the human race, and particularly the modern human race, has been a history of slaughter. It has been a history of death and destruction with only periodic moments of advancement. But America has stood as an idea for more than two centuries. It has stood for the most part not for the advancement of one individual or family, but for its people. Even if it has not always lived up to the standards of the magnificent words of its founders, the standards have been there. Americans did not do things for the glory of the king, the Kaiser, or the führer. There was a sense of a larger purpose; that was what made America great.

Many of the great achievements of the nation only occurred by great sacrifice. Defeating the Nazis and Japanese obviously cost more than 200,000 American lives. Men died building the Hoover Dam, Golden Gate Bridge, and Empire State Building. Astronauts perished on the launchpad before Neil Armstrong could step foot on the moon. There was peril and risk at every step. We did these things as Kennedy said, not because they were easy but because they were hard. We have lost that vision, that unity of purpose, that determination to do the necessary hard things. We no longer dare to fly with the eagles because we are afraid we will get too close to the sun. We, as a nation, are complacent. And the thing is, Trump and his supporters are not willing to work to fix it. They, like a good many liberals, want it handed to them on a silver platter. They want results tomorrow. They are impatient.

The fact of the matter is, we cannot as a society do many of the things we did in the past. We have many more people to consider. We value individuals more. When Robert Moses was reshaping New York City, he displaced over five hundred thousand people. Bridges, tunnels, and roads were built but at what cost? The human cost was not a factor at all in these decisions. As a society we cannot do much of the building we could do in the past. The impacts are too great, our society too timid. We look and see the great buildings in China and the UAE but do not see the death and slavery that is helping this construction. We do not see the environmental impact and human toll of these edifices. The Earth is warming and the seas rising. We are connected as never before. We can instantly see images of those affected by our actions. They have a larger voice and we have taken much greater pains to listen. While we may not unilaterally and instantaneously be able to effect great change that does not mean that great change cannot be affected.

The entire genesis of this post happened at the Renaissance Festival. I was there and wanted a sword. Then I thought about it for a second. What the hell good is it going to do me to spend fifty dollars on a sword? I could give that money to charity and help someone. Halloween was the other day. Americans spend almost four billion dollars on Halloween. How much help for the homeless or our veterans or our homeless veterans could that buy? How much benefit to the country could occur if half of the multilevel marketing on Facebook was dedicated to collecting funds for infrastructure projects? What if instead of the presidential campaigns spending billions of dollars that money went to water pipes or metro trains? What if the time spend on Madden, Fifa, Skyrim, Candy Crush, or Pokemon Go was spent cleaning trash or building playgrounds? What if the money spent on lattes and brunches and birthday parties was directed to helping others and great endeavors.

While we cannot do as many things as before, that does not mean we cannot achieve greatness. We are still the most powerful nation on Earth. We still attract the greatest minds from the world. We still have the ability. We need a purpose. This is not an original thought. Hell, it’s the basis for Alan Moore’s Watchmen. But it does not to be reemphasized.

What the country needs is a mass mobilization. It needs leaders unafraid of telling hard truths. And the mobilization has to be voluntary. The people need to wake up to the abilities that they have as a collective. Forced participation, forced taxation will only lead to resentment. The secularization and liberation of cultural mores has led to additional, not necessarily selfishness, but isolation. Communities are further apart. People interact with their neighbors less. The movement to suburbs also allows for this isolation. Driving from the garage in your house to the garage at your office does not give much time for human interaction or the development of empathy. All of this must be reversed so that the country can reach its potential and fulfill its sacred obligation as set forth in our founding documents. It is only as a nationwide community engaged in singular purpose that we can achieve greatness and once that greatness is achieved we must move on to another goal.

We cannot allow ourselves to become complacent in our situations. Americans are among the most bored people on Earth. For the most part we no longer worry about where our food will come from. We no longer worry if we will be warm at night. The poorest citizens today would make the middle class of one hundred years ago look like paupers. We no longer travel searching for jobs. There are no Joad families moving from town to town looking for work. There must be a coordinated and not necessarily governmental effort to find a purpose. Whether that purpose is housing, health care, veterans, innocent civilians in Syria or the refugees thereof it needs to be done. I see many people on Facebook complaining about taking in refugees while our veterans are starving in the streets and I must ask, what the hell are you doing about it? We have become content to simply bitch about something or question why the government is not doing something. Instead of buying that sword I donated to my favorite housing charity today. You can donate your time to a worthwhile charity. I am making a promise today. My promise today is that I will attempt to fulfill the promise of this nation. I am going to organize others to fulfill the promise of the nation. It is all we can do. It is all we must do. If not me who? If not know when? We must lead. And we must lead constructively. We must fulfill our promise. It is only then that we will make America truly greater.America is great, but we can make it greater. We must always be trying to make it greater.

I’m Voting for Trump

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I’m voting for Donald Trump.

According to the pundit class, that makes me a traitor. Fine, I’ll take it.

I honestly don’t care about Trump.  I also don’t care about the army of would-be politicians who claim to have our best interest in mind. There are very few, if any, white knights in politics these days. I could give you a dozen examples of presidents/politicians who possess the same moral turpitude of Trump, they’re just seasoned politicians who don’t show it.

Dennis Hastert anyone?

Back to my point.

While #BlackLivesMatter rant and rave about oppression or whatever (despite statistics to the opposite), there’s a very real, and very disturbing underworld that is infesting America. This underworld doesn’t touch many of our white picket fence lifestyles.

While our heads are glued to our smartphones in an effort to catch some imaginary pigfish, there are people in this country—mostly women and children—who are sleeping on concrete floors, eating dog food for dinner, and wondering if they are going to be forced to sell their bodies to help line the pockets of their coyotes/pimps/drug kingpins.

These are the most innocent of people. They’re being taken advantage of in a foreign country, who are unable to ask for, who are afraid, who are alone.

None of us know this world. Don’t even pretend.

Trump is the only candidate who wants to deal with illegal immigration by building a wall and strengthening border security.

Hillary and Johnson want to do their very best impressions of World War II France by waving the white flag and allowing this callous practice and barbaric culture to invade our nation. Because racism or something.

Remember when Trump said there are rapists being sent to America through the border? Yes, despite the politically correct media who vomit racism from their communications major mouths, it happens. Every day.

One would ask, “What does a porous border have to do with sex trafficking and raping?”

It just proves my point about our white picket fence lifestyle. We remain ignorant.

According to the US Section of the 2016 TIP, the United States is a source, transit, and destination country for men, women, and children— both U.S. citizens and foreign nationals—subjected to sex trafficking and forced labor. One of the top 3 countries of where victims originate? Mexico. Previous years include Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala.

You want to see something scary? Look at the lax laws in Honduras and how many children are sold into sex slavery, labor, or for organ harvesting.

The porous border invites human trafficking. The coyotes and drug cartels (Los Zetas, et al.) exploit this.

There is no arguing this issue.

According to the U.S. State Dept., approximately 15,000 to 18,000 people are trafficked across the United States border every year. Some estimates have the number of unaccompanied minor women upwards of 70,000. The amount has surged by 77% this year alone. Maybe it has something to do with the promises of amnesty.

The vast majority of these victims are women from Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador. They’re not very educated, and frankly, they’re easy to manipulate because of the language barrier. No, they’re not just Mexican, as a large contingent are from Central and South America.

Most start by crossing the southern border of Mexico. They’re immediately whisked away to a stash house where they await their transport up north in hopes of finding a new life in the United States.

This is when their nightmare truly begins…

They’re usually raped regardless of their age. This process continues from stash house to stash house, sometimes enduring three to four nights of sexual exploitation, until they find their way to a U.S. border town. Then the cartel decides if they’re going to keep the girl for prostitution or release them to coyote.

80% of women trafficked across the US Border through Mexico are victims of sexual assault.

Then the coyotes have their turn…

This is where the term “rape tree” originates. According to a 2009 article from Latina.com, “a new method of marking territory has crossed over into the United States. “Rape trees” are popping up in Southern Arizona and their significance is horrific. These “rape trees” are places where cartel members and coyotes rape female border crossers and hang their clothes, specifically undergarments, to mark their conquest.”

A 2012 US News Report article states symbols like the rape tree serve as a reminder to volunteers or anyone passing through of the escalating brutality “coyotes” are using to control immigrants they lead through this land. The tree is a trafficker’s way of asserting power.

Some of these girls don’t make it. In 2012 alone, 463 bodies were found. We can only imagine the horrors the exploited experience, the terror they feel when they’re abandoned because they’re too weak to make it, a drain on the coyote’s resources.

Part of me thinks they get off easy compared to those who are kept under the cartel’s watchful eyes.

San Diego is a perfect example of the type of vile behavior that occurs with sex trafficking. A 2003 study titled The Sex Trafficking of Children in San Diego details the horrors the immigrant children face. Over a ten-year period, hundreds of girls from 12 to 18 from rural Mexico were trafficked across the border into San Diego where cartels control over 50 brothels. Trafficked girls are subsequently sold to migrant farmers and US tourists. Some of these children have younger children of their own, who were held hostage so their mothers wouldn’t try to escape. Hundreds of migrant farm workers were transported to these brothels each day where they would have their way with these children.

A physician who tended to the migrant farmers visited one of these brothels/camps, where he witnessed children who were 9 or 10 being exploited for sex. He even mentioned watching 35 men rape a single female within an hour.

I could go on and on.

The only candidate who has even remotely talked about this is Donald Trump. Not Hillary. Not Johnson. Not Stein. Donald.

Regardless of your opinion about his brash attitude, his small hands, or whatever self-righteous explanation you want to come up with, his plan will help innocents.

We need to turn the tide on this epidemic. A porous border and promises of amnesty are only encouraging this behavior.

Don’t take my word for it. There’s plenty of research out there.

I’m voting with my conscience, and my conscience is telling me that it’s time to put a stop to illegal immigration and thereby curb the burgeoning tide of human trafficking in America. It won’t solve the issue entirely, but it’s a start.

What now?

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I just went to Boston to visit a friend. On my flight home there was a boy. And I am going to call him a boy. He could not have been more than twenty though I suspect he was younger. He was being deployed to Afghanistan. Full uniform, full knapsack. I looked at this boy and thought about the recent statements made by the leading candidates for commander-in-chief of the United States armed forces and nearly wept. Our nation seems on a precipice. Teetering between disorder & chaos on one side and despair and ruin on the other. That boy is being sent to the other side of the world to a quagmire he might not return from, for what? What principles are we sending our boys and girls to fight for? Freedom? Justice? Liberty? Equality? Brotherhood? The pursuit of happiness? Hell, existence?

One major party candidate can not help but put his foot in his mouth every time he opens it. The other can not help herself but to think the world is against her. The minor party candidates range from delusional to weak. Both rightful and overwrought racial resentment is festering. Technology is outpacing our ability to adapt to it. People are being left behind and turning to whatever makes them feel good for twenty seconds, whether that be drugs, booze, sex, tv, or simply mocking others.

Hillary Clinton is wholly unfit to be president of the United States. She lacks the judgment, opacity, character, personality, or tolerance necessary to hold the highest office in the world. 

Donald Trump is wholly unqualified to be president of the United States. He lacks the judgment, temperament, experience, character, desire, diligence, and personality to hold the highest office in the world. 

Gary Johnson is wholly unprepared to be president of the United States. He lacks the gravitas, diligence, organizational skills, and the knowledge necessary to hold the highest office in the world. 

Jill Stein is wholly unfit, unqualified, & unprepared to be president of the United States. She lacks the sanity to hold the highest office in the world. 

So where does that leave us? The scary part(besides the threat of thermonuclear anhiliation) is that in at least 43 and as many as 48 of the 51 jurisidictions voting for the office. It doesn’t matter what you do. The electoral college means your vote doesn’t count and if it does for your state then the outcome of the whole contest was already decided somewhere else. 

Personally, I am going to vote for Gary Johnson and feel pretty good about it. Character matters and the character of the top two candidates are not what I want representing me on the world stage. If I lived in Florida, Pennsylvania, or Ohio I might make a different decision. But ultimately it doesn’t matter. 

What matters is that we the people have to stop the bickering and come together as a nation and support each other. We need to listen to each other. We need to help each other. If you see a problem, fix it. If you see a threat, contain it. If kids don’t have a playground, build them one. If people can’t read, teach them. If people don’t have food, start a food drive. Find something and make it your mission to make it better. Let everybody else bitch about who is going to be president. Making it better is what now. It’s the way we have gotten to this point and the only way we can keep getting better. 

W. Timothy Sutton, Esq. 

The #NeverTrump Crowd is Wrong

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by Jim Braswell

I write this piece without reservation. It may not be popular among the elite class. Hell, it may rub some of my friends the wrong way, but I feel it needs to be written.

Know that I supported Scott Walker. In my mind, his successful union busting agenda combined with restrained spending offered a blueprint to turn around this country. Alas, I didn’t have my way and carried on with supporting other candidates. I’ve watched from the sideline as the field dwindled to three; one of the remaining is Donald Trump.

The Donald has caused quite the controversy within GOP intra-politics. Some say he’s the devil, calling him and his followers Hitler, Mussolini, fascist, and Nazis. Some think he’s the opposite. I’m not particularly fond of Trump’s style, but I’m not convinced he is Lucifer reincarnated.

The purpose of this article is to address the former claim and not the latter, particularly in light of Trump’s likely nomination. There’s enough anti-Trump propaganda on the Internet to read, just look at Twitter.

I want to expose the hypocrisy of those attacking Trump, especially those who have something to lose. That’s what it comes down to: those who oppose have something to lose.

You have the likes of GOP quasi-elites like Erick Erickson, Matt Walsh, Ben Shapiro, <insert another pundit’s name who has never accomplished a damned thing in his or her life besides write articles and condemn those who don’t agree with their opinions> who are forming a #NeverTrump coalition with a keyboard as their weapon of choice. Along the way, they’ve managed to insult Trump voters, implying that “Trumpkins” are stupid, racist, blah, blah, blah. You know, the same tactic the Left uses against the GOP: labeling people.

Then you have the GOP elites. These names include elected officials like newcomer Ben Sasse, Lindsey Graham, Mitt Romney; professional pundits like Karl Rove, Stephen Hayes, and Bill Kristol; and money people like Paul Singer and the Ricketts family, lobbyists who want to make sure the president’s door is always open…to their interests.

This combined brain trust of pundits and elites, all of whom are completely ignorant to why the GOP base is angry, are holding secret tinfoil hat meetings in an effort to further their #NeverTrump campaign. Rather than allow the plebian GOP voters have their say, the GOP bourgeoisie are mounting a preemptive strike, hoping to install someone they prefer, because they’re apparently smarter than those racist, bigoted, low-information, confederate flag-waving, fascist, Nazi Trump voters.

A side note: Most of the Trump voters I know are successful businessmen who don’t view politics as a hobby or a career. They’re all common sense people who are tired of politics as usual. I don’t expect the Beltway crowd to understand them. The likes of Erickson and Sasse have never put their tails on the line by signing a commercial lease or loan, had to make payroll, you know, run a damned business. But according to Erickson & Co., my friends are low-information morons.

I’m certain that the same GOP quasi-elites and GOP bourgeoisie would absolutely refuse to support the likes of Romney and McCain with the same veracity. We won’t talk about how Romney supported government-mandated healthcare, was pro-abortion, including donating to Planned Parenthood, and supported bans on firearms. Nor will I mention how McCain is pro-mass immigration/amnesty, called Christians “agents of intolerance,” supported the disastrous NAFTA, claimed that overturning Roe vs. Wade would lead to more illegal abortions, and voted for the Sarbanes-Oxley Act.

I’m also certain that the above deadenders would organize a similar #NeverTrump campaign to stop the likes of Bush. You know, they were the same family who expanded entitlements (hello, Medicare prescriptions), raised taxes, instituted the federally mandated No Child Left Behind, thereby expanded the Department of Education’s power, added economic-stifling regulations to the tune of $100 million a year, and inflated the federal budget by over $800 billion. They also gave us Justice Breyer and Chief Justice Roberts. That’s important.

There’s more…a lot more.

I don’t intend to praise Trump. As I said, I have my reservations about the man. I agree with some of his policies, others not so much. I also consider some of his actions morally reprehensible. Then again, people like Franklin, JFK, Obama, Cleveland, Nixon, Hoover, the list goes on and on, were influential in this country. Washington isn’t a place where saints thrive. But who the hell am I to judge? Even Saul had his good days.

No, I intend to proffer a reason to vote for Trump this November. My only hope is the reader keeps an open mind.

First, let’s look at logic.

I want to stop Hillary Clinton above else. An individual who has abused her office, causing the loss of American lives, and was involved with something called the Whitewater Scandal doesn’t deserve to represent the Red, White, and Blue. Hell no. The memory of those bare-footed, near-hypothermic bastards who crossed the Delaware River in the thick of winter deserve better.

The GOP quasi-elite and GOP bourgeoisie would have you think otherwise. Those pasty-skinned theorists who sit behind a desk all day would rather you fall on the sword this November by voting for the unicorn third-party candidate than help elect Trump. Their reasoning? Hillary would somehow be better because Trump’s policies are terrible.

Let’s talk about the real result of a magical third-party candidate. Hillary will win.

What does a Hillary win mean for us? First, it most certainly cements a pro-abortion, anti-2A, pro-entitlement, pro-affirmative action SCOTUS for the near future. How does this compare to a Trump victory?

The arguments I hear are that Trump will nominate a liberal justice. Why? How? Is there any concrete proof of this? Rather than take a chance on Trump, the anti-Trumpkin is vehemently against this idea. To put it bluntly, the anti-Trumpkins definitely want Trump to lose rather than take a chance. They want to admit defeat even when there’s a chance for victory. It’s like that kid in little league who refused to swing at strike three. They simply don’t want to try. It’s an asinine and backwards way of thinking. It also leads to my greater point about Trump.

How or why doesn’t this super awesome brain trust think outside the box? It’s so obvious it’s apparent. If our GOP leaders in Congress are the tactical geniuses they claim to be, how come they’re incapable of thinking like strategists?

Play to Trump’s ego. It at least gives us a fighting chance. The man’s head is as big as Everest. You play to him, make him think he’s making the good decision.

Let’s take SCOTUS for example. We’re all worried about that.

Rather than let Trump zigzag his way through the selection process, you preemptively strike a deal with him. You say, “President Trump, to really chisel out your legacy for years to come, we think you should nominate this judge/intellectual.” It’s not rocket science. You can take a page out of Trump’s playbook and own the man’s ego like he claims to own the banks.

I understand the argument my good friend Brian Griffiths makes about down ticket issues, but this should be the job of the local and state GOP operatives. If you’re a good enough representative, you’ll be reelected. That’s how Republicans manage to win elections in heavily Democrat districts. It happens.

Should we talk about Hillary’s other possible paths of destruction? How about raising the minimum wage? How about raising taxes? How about more business-crushing regulations? Raising short-term capital gains? “Free” college? How about further expansion of Obamacare? Another housing crisis because she wants to allow Fannie and Freddie to insure jumbo loans? The list goes on and on.

With no sign of Republican-controlled Congress stopping any of Obama’s initiatives, why would they stop Hillary’s?

This is all apparently a-ok with Erickson, Sasse, and friends.

Let’s move onto Trump’s main policy points, at least the more controversial. I’ll attempt to be succinct on each, as it would take me hours to describe every policy in detail. You’ll get the point.

I’ll start with the two most controversial.

Immigration: This is the genesis of the useful idiots labeling Trump as a racist. Why? He dared mention the idea of temporarily restricting Muslim immigration. You’d think he was the first candidate/elected official to advocate such a measure. You’d also be wrong.

Both parties have adopted restrictive immigration policies in the past. There’s a difference though. Trump’s policy is based on a culture, not race.

One of the most important jobs of the president is national security. There’s no doubt something is wrong in Islamic community overseas. ISIS and the Syrian crisis is an example. Allowing mass Syrian immigration into the country will increase the chances of an ISIS-led attack. Even the experts agree. It’s common sense to curtail this, and a conservative position.

Also, look at the mass-immigration of able-bodied Muslim men into Europe. It won’t take long for you to find stories about children and women being raped. Why are there politically correct “cultural understanding” classes?

I don’t want to get into the weeds of a policy debate as this article is about the demonizing of Trump rhetoric, but I would point to the recent Pew Survey about Islam and Sharia. Again, this is about culture.

Pew Research conducted a poll three years ago about this very fact. Among those countries in the Middle East-North Africa corridor, anywhere between 29% (Lebanon) to 91% (Iraq) claimed Sharia Law should be the law of the land. South Asia was even more startling, with 82% of respondents in Bangladesh, 84% in Pakistan, and 89% in Afghanistan agreeing.

This isn’t across the board, though. Look at areas with much more exposure to Western Legal Tradition and culture. Much, much lower agreement on Sharia. See for yourself.

More importantly, anywhere between 29% (Morocco) and 74% (Egypt) claim that Sharia Law should apply to Muslims and Non-Muslims.

Now, what does Sharia Law entail? In the Middle East and North Africa, anywhere between 44% (Tunsia) to 76% (Palestine territory) of Muslims who claim that Sharia should be the law support cutting off the hands of thieves and robbers.

How about stoning as a punishment for adultery? Again, the highest support comes from the Middle-East North Africa region and South Asia. It ranges anywhere from 44% (Tunsia) to 85% of Sharia-loving Afghanis. Even better, support for taking the life of someone who abandons Islam is upwards of 88% in Egypt and 79% in Afghanistan.

Think about this: In a country like Afghanistan, 89% said Sharia should be law of the land. Among that 89% (9 in 10) 61% state that Sharia should apply to both Muslims and Non-Muslims. That’s about 5 in 10 Afghanis – 50% of the total population. Of that 50% of the population, 81% believe in chopping of arms of thieves, 85% claim that adulterers should be stoned to death, and 79% claim you should die if you convert. That’s 4 in 10 Muslims who want Non-Muslims to suffer these draconian sentences. That’s insane! Sorry if I don’t want my daughter exposed to that barbaric nonsense.

Unlike natural-born American Muslims who appreciate life outside of Sharia, those from certain areas of this world don’t think like us. Allowing unfettered mass-immigration will have grave consequences. I would guide the reader to Theodore Dalrymple’s book Our Culture, What’s Left of It about how Muslim immigrants cannot divorce their ideology from the government. Look at the Islamic communities in Paris. Closer to home, look no further than Somali gangs in Minnesota. That’s just a microcosm of what can happen in this country.

If temporarily Muslim immigration from hot spots is a racist platform, then Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, Kasich, hell, the majority of the field are racists as well. Do I need to remind you that it’s not about race, but a culture?

In a broader sense, how about Trump’s “build that wall” proposal? This is where Sasse, Erickson & Co. and the rest of the deadenders start using a tactic of the Left. They’re claiming a few knucklehead “alt-right racists,” or whatever they’re called, hate “Mexicans.” Once again, this argument is about culture, not race.

Ugh.

There’s a multitude of reasons for real immigration reform and strong borders. This ranges from the control of diseases we have contained in this country to curtailing gangs and the transport of heroin (illegal immigrants account for 90% of heroin trafficking in America).

The average illegal immigrant has a 10th grade education. An individual with less than a high school degree heads half of unlawful immigrant households. That’s not good. They’re a burden on an already bloated budget. The average illegal immigrant receives about $25K in benefits…while only paying about 10K in taxes. That’s a net loss of 15K! If you aggregate those numbers together among all illegal immigrants, they create a deficit of $54.5 billion dollars.

Finally, since certain cultures think it’s perfectly fine to have sex with twelve year olds, why not address the absurd amount of child rape around the border. More than 2,000 sex offenders are deported every year in Texas alone. Illegal immigrants sexually assaulted nearly a thousand Texas children over a course of three years. Since when did building the wall become a racist policy? It’s mind numbing that we would rather refrain from offending someone than protecting our own children. Yet, Trump is racist and a bigot, along with all of his followers.

Trump wants to bring the best and the brightest back. I would equate this to a point system akin to Australia and New Zealand. The pro-immigration crowd claims this is racist. At least we’re in good company with down under.

Sorry, the deadenders lose me on this. I don’t see how this is racist. I don’t see how looking out for the security and the economic stability of the country has anything to do with it. Horrible that many on the Right don’t see this.

Let’s move on to trade policy: I love economics.

Trump is being attacked for his proposed 45% tariff on Chinese goods. Some websites who have a clear bias against Trump claim that this would devastate the economy, send us into a recession, and that a trade deficit is actually good for the economy.

Free trade is wonderful if it’s balanced. It becomes an issue when one country manipulates free trade agreements by purposefully devaluing their currency, thereby making it more beneficial for one country to import the cheaper goods. This is what China, along with other emerging markets, are doing. The reason they’re employment this practice is because of a history of borrowing currency in an attempt to catch up with the modern world. They are essentially selling of their goods at a discount in order to increase exports and keep unemployment low in order to pay of their debt.

What does this practice cause to the US?

According to University of Maryland Professor Peter Morici, the trade deficit with China grew $25 billion in 2015, killing 200,000 American jobs. US manufacturing employment growth is particularly hit hard, and has slowed by 30%.

Professor Morici also uses another example: the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement. Since 2012, imports from Korea have risen more than exports, increasing the trade deficit by $16 billion and destroying 130,000 American jobs.

As a whole, the US trade deficit is about $500 billion a year and costs 4 million jobs. Staggering. There is nothing liberal about protecting American jobs, particularly those in manufacturing.

Thus, Donald Trump threatens a 45% tariff on Chinese goods. What happens? The powers that be gasp and claim the US economy will fall apart.

You wonder if any of them ever heard of the Overton Window? Trump opened it just enough for Cruz, Kasich, and Rubio to start talking about unbalanced trade. Hell, Cruz even backed down from TPP (a whole different debate about sovereignty and the right of Congress to approve treaties). Oh, and TPP will most certainly open the door for more currency manipulation – fun for those not in the manufacturing sector.

Does Donald Trump really think a 45% tariff will work? Doubt it. Does he think a threat will work? If he studied President Reagan, I think he’d conclude that it would.

This will make some “conservatives” head spin.

For those of you who claim to be Reagan experts but never really studied his policies, you might be surprised to know that Ronald Reagan praised free trade but was really a protectionist. Take for example in 1981 when Ronald Reagan imposed a 45% tariff on Japanese motorcycles. It helped Harley and almost killed Honda.

I’ll let that number sink in for a moment.

That’s not the end. Reagan also raised tariffs on Canadian lumber and cedar shingles, imposed a 100% tariff on $300 million worth of Japanese electronics, and threatened and forced Japan to voluntary accept restraints on auto exports after threatening a veto. There’s more. There’s so much more.

You get my point. If you’re attacking Trump’s trade rhetoric, you can’t praise Reagan. You’d be a hypocrite.

Before we move on, I’d encourage the reader to think about other aspects of trade. What else could it mean for the country?

I mentioned a little earlier about one of the president’s most important jobs being national security. In their book Balanced Trade, Richman, Richman, and Richman found a statistically significant correlation between balance of trade and national power. Those countries with balanced trade had an increase in national material capabilities, while those with an unfavorable balance saw a decrease in national power.

We need to make stuff. Plain and simple.

Protecting our country is a conservative value.

I’d also like to point out the first two policies – protective tariffs and restrictive immigration – were adopted by one of the greatest conservative presidents ever to grace the Oval Office: Calvin Coolidge. Those policies, along with his cost-cutting measures, led to one of the greatest economic decades of this country.

How about a quick look at other objections the #NeverTrump crowd has:

“He’s going to kill children”: There’s something called Kool-Aid; you should drink it if you think he’s going to kill children. Again, he’s opening the Overton Window? Ridiculous to even take this idea seriously.

Abortion: If you’re not going to vote for Trump because he’s pro-abort, then you should’ve never voted for McCain or Romney. Period. It’s hypocritical to have given Romney, a former pro-choicer, a pass on this issue and not Donald Trump. “But he’s going to fund Planned Parenthood.” He’s using this tactic to appeal to single women – a group we need to start winning back. He also clarified that he won’t fund Planned Parenthood if they perform abortions.

Look, I’m about as pro-life as you can get, but I’m also willing to give Donald Trump the benefit of the doubt and not demonize his past statements. I did the same for McCain. I did the same for Romney. I’ll do it for Trump. I also look at the alternative and what she will do for abortion “rights.”

He’s donated to Democrats: This is a complete joke. The only people who care about who an individual donates to are those inside the political bubble. Period. Most businesspersons I know have donated to both parties. Why? Access. They’re not political ideologues, and they don’t follow every vote of a politician. Trump might be different if he’s an ideologue –

someone like a George Soros who donates exclusively to Democrats (sans Kasich) – but he’s not. He’s actually supported Republican presidents in the past, including George H. and Reagan. I don’t buy this argument. I look at it as a talking point for the vehemently ant-Trump crowd. If you’re so against Trump donating to Democrats, then maybe you should stop using Google, Facebook, Twitter, etc.

Wants government to run health care akin to Canada/England: This is the most laughable criticism. Critics claim that Trump’s past statements about England’s health care system show he’s pro-big government. These same critics ignore Romney’s past actions, particularly his installment of Romneycare in Massachusetts. If we’re being totally fair, and this might but a few people, but government mandated healthcare was the child of the conservative think-tank Heritage Foundation. What about Bush expanding Medicare with his prescription drug program? That isn’t discussed.

Trump doesn’t want government run healthcare. He wants competition. I know the idea is hard to swallow for some, but he’s made it clear several times. Again, we gave a pass to Romney and Bush, but we’re demonizing Trump.

I could make the same comparisons between several other areas the #NeverTrump deadenders make and past GOP candidates, including eminent domain, taxes, weapons ban, etc. You can easily research and find that Trump is very similar to those the #NeverTrump crowd have supported in the past.

This brings me to my final issue. It revolves around this whole idea that Trump is vulgar and racist. Look, I don’t fault someone for choosing to vote for someone else in the primary. That’s fine. That’s not what this piece is about. If you’re not voting for Trump because he’s both vulgar and supposedly a racist (he’s not), then you’re letting your emotions get to you, and more importantly, allowing the media to control the narrative.

On to vulgarity: I simply don’t care. As I stated earlier in this piece, show me a white knight in Washington, and I’ll show you a unicorn. Yes, Trump is vulgar at times, and he’s extremely non-PC. I’m ok with the non-PC stuff. I simply don’t care. As far as vulgarity? That argument is a joke. There isn’t news cycle that goes by without a politician being indicted or bought out by special interests. Yet, the #NeverTrump crowd would remain silent on these people, maybe even supporting some.

The list includes Representative Grimm in New York, Former Speak of the House John Boehner, former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell, Senator Marco Rubio, the list goes on and on. There’s so much corruption in Washington on both sides of the aisle that it’s hard to take seriously any Trump criticism about him being vulgar. Why didn’t I include the aforementioned activities? It adds more shock value when you find out for yourself what happened.

At least with Trump it’s the devil I know.

On the racist/violent rhetoric of his supporters: Trump’s violent rhetoric is overblown. The media will point to him not disavowing David Duke. He disavowed him several times before that Sunday interview. That’s not an honest criticism.

As far as his supporters? They’re angry. They’ve been forgotten thanks to Washington. Democrats pander to the #BlackLivesMatter, immigrant, minority, government babies crowd. Republicans seem to care only about big businesses and investment bankers. Who is forgotten? The demonized working class, the same people who lose manufacturing jobs in order to “stimulate our economy.”

Sorry, this is MY family. Though I hate to use labels, I’ll play by the rules. The working class has watched their jobs evaporate. It’s easy for the #NeverTrump crowd to look down upon these people while they punch away at their keyboards, thinking that manual laborers are ignorant and backwards, that they don’t have a right to be upset, that Trump – who speaks to their anger – is an imbecile and therefore they’re imbeciles as well.

Let me remind the reader that those imbeciles make up a majority of our military. They are the sons and daughters, the fathers and mothers who end up feeding our armed forces. While the #NeverTrump warriors mash away and continue to write articles, they don’t see how broken the middle class is, their wages having been reduced by $4,000 since 2000. You don’t think they have a right to be angry? Sorry, they damn well do, and if you think they’re racist because they believe in something most have long since forgotten, go pound sand. Really. Pound sand. They’ve made more sacrifices in a week than policy wonks will ever make in a lifetime.

Trump is their outlet. I take no issue with this.

Instead, the #NeverTrump crowd would rather facilitate a Hillary Clinton election, the same person who:

  1. Terminated for unethical behavior while investigating Watergate.
  2. Involved with the Whitewater Scandal and Travelgate as First Lady.
  3. Was Secretary of State during Benghazi
  4. Clinton Foundation received millions of dollars from terrorist countries in exchange for political favors.
  5. Kept classified information in a private server,
  6. The list can go on and on

So, my #NeverTrump friends, please go mount your donkey and attack some windmills. Go ahead and talk about how you’ll start a third party or you’ll never vote for him in the general. Fall on that sword and put the rest of us at peril. I don’t buy it.

This #NeverTrump nonsense is just that: Nonsense. Look at the policy differences between the last several GOP candidates and Trump. Not many differences. Trump is actually more conservative in some areas. The only real difference between Trump and those before him? The elites can’t control him.

That might be a good thing.

 

 

We Must Do Something

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Person 1: We must do something about these mass shootings.

Person 2: What?

Person 1: Something common sense.

Person 2: Okay, how about we ban all refugees from Syria?

Person 1: That is completely unrelated to the events and will not actually keep us safer. Syrian refugees probably had nothing to do with the attacks in Paris and undergo a stringent vetting before even being allowed in this country. That’s absurd.

Person 2: How about we ban gatherings of more than two people? If more than two people cannot congregate there can be no mass shootings.

Person 1: That’s absurd. That would be unconstitutional and would affect our way of life too much.

Person 2: But I thought you wanted to do something?

Person 1: Well not that. Something common sense.

Person 2: How about we round up all people of Middle Eastern descent and put them in internment camps. The Supreme Court even said such a thing is completely constitutional.

Person 1: That’s absurd. We can’t do that. That is an affront to all that we hold dear as a nation. We guarantee life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. We fought for these ideals we shouldn’t settle for less. We value rights. We can’t do that. So many of those people are innocent and did nothing wrong. That is nothing better than what the Nazis did.

Person 2: How about we just round up guys with the first or last name Syed? It would have stopped this last shooting and probably would have saved Hae Min’s life in 1999. I mean if it saves just one life we have to do it, right?

Person 1: That’s absurd. We need individual suspicion. We can’t just put people in jail or deny them rights because of their name.

Person 2: What do you suggest we do?

Person 1: The first thing we need to do is make people ineligible to buy guns if they are on the terrorist watch list.

Person 2: Didn’t you just say we can’t deny people rights because of their names?

Person 1: This is different.

Person 2: How?

Person 1: The DOJ makes a determination if a person is on the watch list.

Person 2: If the DOJ is wrong, how does a person get off of the watch list?

Person 1: Uh, you can’t.

Person 2: Does a person even know if they are on the watch list?

Person 1: Um no.

Person 2: Okay. What else do you suggest?

Person 1: We need to close the gun show loop hole.

Person 2: Do lots of criminals get their guns at gun shows?

Person 1: Well, no.

Person 2: Can gun dealers sell without background checks at a gun show?

Person 1: Well, no.

Person 2: Have any of the mass shooters bought their guns at a gun show?

Person 1: Well, no, but they could.

Person 2: Well then what’s the point?

Person 1: To close the loophole. Gun shows are a scary place.

Person 2: What else have you got?

Person 1: We need to ban assault weapons.

Person 2: What are assault weapons?

Person 1: Guns that look scary.

Person 2: Are they the same ones our army uses?

Person 1: Well, no. Our army uses automatic or burst fire weapons, those are really hard to get and have been used in maybe two killings since 1934.

Person 2: Are assault weapons more deadly than other types of weapons?

Person 1: Well, no. Most actually have a smaller caliber than common hunting weapons or handguns.

Person 2: Have all of the mass shooters used assault weapons?

Person 1: Well, no. The Charleston, Tuscon, and Virginia Tech shooters all used handguns. Those aren’t assault weapons.

Person 2: Are assault weapons used in lots of non-mass shooting events?

Person 1: Well, no. Rifles of all types are a very small percentage of gun homicides.

Person 2: How easy are assault weapons to get in California?

Person 1: Well they are banned. California has strict gun laws.

Person 2: Then how did the San Bernardino shooter get one?

Person 1: He didn’t. His was legal so it wasn’t an assault weapon.

Person 2: Do you have any other common sense proposals?

Person 1: We need universal background checks.

Person 2: Would universal background checks stop most killings?

Person 1: Well, no. As I said above, most criminals don’t get their guns from a licensed dealer. Additionally, it’s illegal for felons to possess guns but many of the crimes committed are committed by recidivists. And, further, most mass shooters either passed their background check because they had never done anything wrong before, stole the gun, got the gun from someone else, or shouldn’t have been able to pass the background check but did because the system screwed up.

Person 2: Should we be expanding a system that has failed in the past?

Person 1: Yes. It’s common sense. We need more background checks.

Person 2: Maybe we should focus on making the system better?

Person 1: We can’t because of privacy concerns. But we must do something.

Person 2: Violent crime must really be on the rise.

Person 1: Well, no it’s actually down 51% since 1991. Murders were down 2% from 2013 to 2014.

Person 2: We must have way more suicides than other places.

Person 1: Actually, we are in the middle of the pack and well below nations like South Korea & Japan that have much more stringent gun control laws. But we must do something. There have been 355 mass shootings in the US this year.

Person 2: Really? That seems like a lot. That’s horrible.

Person 1: Well, that’s the number a bunch of people on Reddit came up with based on news reports and their own criteria. They even included a BB gun shooting in their database at one point. Mother Jones says there have been four. The FBI says about the same.

Person 2: Wait, four? That’s still too many but not nearly the same as three hundred and fifty-five. Has the number been going up?

Person 1: Well, the Reddit number has only been collected since 2013 so we have no idea if it is rising or if it was 2,000 in 1991 when there were 51% more violent crimes. The Mother Jones number has also gradually risen, but the sample size is so small that it may be meaningless. There was a peak of seven in 2012. We really need Australian style gun laws here. They were a common sense response to a mass shooting. There have been no mass shootings in Australia since.

Person 2: Wasn’t there a terrorist attack in a chocolate shop last year in Australia?

Person 1: Well, yeah, but that doesn’t count because only two victims died.

Person 2: What did the Australian laws do?

Person 1: They confiscated people’s guns.

Person 2: That doesn’t sound very common sense.

Person 1: But we must do something.

Person 2: Well, I don’t know what to suggest. I don’t know if we have to do something. Things seem to actually be getting better. None of your proposals seem tailored to actually deal with the problems. There are constitutional concerns about some of them. You didn’t like my proposals when I thought we should do something. I am just going to offer the victims my thoughts and prayers.

Person 1: NOOO. GOD ISN’T FIXING THIS. WE. MUST. DO. SOMETHING.

A drama presented by Timothy Sutton. Sutton is the co-host of the Non-Aggression Principle heard every Thursday night on Free State Radio.

 

 

My thoughts on stopping the violence in our country

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Gun

By W. TIMOTHY SUTTON. Sutton hosts the Non-Aggression Principle Thursday nights at 8 pm on Free State Radio. These are his thoughts and his alone.

On Thursday a mad man entered a college classroom. A place of learning. He proceeded to kill nine people and injure many more. Predictably, the president, Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders and the media called for people to “do something” and for increased gun control. Predictably, the right-wing media and politicians talked past them and said it was a mental health issue, an issue of moral failing, or perhaps an anti-Christian attack. The left wants “assault weapon¹” bans and more background checks and unicorns & fairies. The right wants better mental health screenings, good guys with guns, and unicorns & fairies. Nobody is willing to acknowledge what the problems are, what the solutions for those problems might be, or why we are even having this debate.

America doesn’t have a gun violence problem. America has three gun violence problems. The largest is with gun suicides. Over 20,000 people per year take their own lives with a gun. I am unsure as to how people on the left who have been introducing physician assisted suicide laws for decades now can reason that we need to end these deaths, but I certainly believe we need to end them and that they are the largest problem with guns in this country. The next gun violence problem in this country is the homicides inflicting our inner cities. Chicago, Baltimore, Washington, Milwaukee, and St. Louis are seeing massive increases in the number of homicides. Baltimore is seeing higher monthly totals that any any time since the 1970’s when there was 50% more people in the city. These are incredible totals. The third gun violence problem is the relatively rare incidents like the one in Oregon last week. They seem to be increasing in frequency, (but may not be) but they are certainly not a new phenomena. The largest school massacre in the history of the United States occurred in Bath, Michigan in 1927.

There being three distinct gun violence problems in America necessitates different solutions for each of the problems. Neither side is saying this. There is no catchall solution for all three problems. Do not let them confuse you with numbers. Do not let them conflate suicides and homicides. Many publications will say there are 33,000 gun deaths per year. This true only if you include suicides. There are “only” 11,000 gun homicides in this country per year. That figure is still much too high, but it is a third of the one reported. Also when talking about suicides, do not be alarmed by the amount of gun suicides that the nation has. If our gun laws had a massive effect on the number of suicides, the sheer number of guns in this country should mean that our overall suicide numbers should be much higher than elsewhere. They are not. America is about 40th in the world in overall suicide rate. Below Japan, South Korea, and France. Countries with much more stringent gun control. The president also says that the third category of gun violence only happens here with so much frequency. Also not true. America is only 7th in the developed world per capita in such shootings. Again, still much too high but not first.

Assuming that, like me, you believe the suicide numbers are a problem, is gun control the solution for that? Obviously, not. Now, would a waiting period have some effect? Perhaps and maybe that is a good idea, but no other gun regulation could in any way lower that number. Short of banning guns outright, better background checks, “assault weapons” bans, magazine bans and the like will have no effect. Even banning guns outright may not have a large effect as the situations in Japan and South Korea show. What will work? Better mental health programs. Better financial situations. Better familial relations. A community that cares. Better education. Better addiction counseling. As an example of things that can help, Baltimore only has one substance abuse or mental health hotline number. This absolutely must change.

So would banning guns or making it harder to get them stop the second gun violence problem. The one plaguing our inner cities. No. Most of the guns used in those crimes were purchased illegally. Most of those crimes were performed by people already ineligible to own guns. They didn’t take a car to a gun show and load up a trunk full of guns. They went to the guy selling potato chips at the local market. Most of the guns used in crimes in Maryland, originate in Maryland. The solutions to this problem are not to get rid of the guns. Again “assault weapons” bans and magazine limits will do nothing to stop someone from shooting into a crowd of people and breaking a nine year-olds leg. Maybe a gun ban would be effective, but after you repeal the 2nd Amendment, good luck finding all 100 million guns, and like I said the shooter likely wasn’t allowed to possess the gun anyway. The solutions to this violence are multiple because it is a complex problem. One, end the war on drugs. Legalize all drugs and take the profit out of the gangs. This will necessitate other programs in dealing with the addicts and the public health consequences, particularly as heroin overdoses are on the rise, bu the violence will be reduced. Two, create jobs and education programs that give value to the neighborhoods and communities that have been devastated by a century of neglect. Once the drug game is no longer an option for the young men in these communities they will need programs to help them. These do not have to be governmental programs. Programs such as the Doe Foundation have been helping find jobs and placements for the less fortunate and have been very successful in doing so. We need communities that will instill values that say that it is wrong to steal. When an 83 year old man can’t take the money from his restaurant to the car, there are problems. We need mentors and guidance. This obviously, is not government’s job. But the people also need hope and to understand that working can pay off. People aren’t getting rich off of these crimes. They are crimes of survival. Let’s help them help themselves. Let us help them pursue happiness in the way the country intended for people to do so. Let us also not forget, that these crimes are decreasing. This year may have seen an increase but for the past twenty years, the crime rate in this country is decreasing. Meanwhile, the gun laws have gotten looser. Maybe there is no correlation?

The third type of gun violence is the newsmaking mass homicide events like in Oregon, Charleston, Aurora, New Town, Tucson, Va. Tech, Columbine etc. First, again, this is not a new phenomena. Bath, Michigan, Charles Whitman in Austin, the rash of McDonald’s killings in the 1980’s. The phrase “going postal.” None of this is new or unique. Somehow these events are distinguished from the Charlie Hebdo attacks in France or the mad man in Australia last December in the chocolate shop with an AK. Heck, there would have been another mass shooting in France last month but for a couple of US Marines on holiday. But these attacks don’t count. Let us, assume that these shootings in America must be responded to², what is the appropriate response. “Assault weapons” bans? This is just silly and of course a misrepresentation by the gun control lobby. “Military-style” weapons are not on America’s streets. There is a difference between automatic weapons and semi-automatic weapons. There are no guns that are particularly lethal. Cheap handguns are the weapon of choice for most inner city killings and in mass shooter events there have been a wide range of weapons used. There have been two killings with automatic weapons in 80 years. Whatever features that the politicians want to ban are simply superficial and will not in anyway effect the killing ability of the weapon. For example in Maryland, Governor O’Malley passed some of the strongest gun control laws in the country. However, his gun bans completely allowed the use of AR-15’s with heavy barrels but ban them without. This has no impact at all on their lethality. Additionally, semi automatic rifles that look like normal hunting rifles are not banned at all even though based on the caliber of those weapons they are probably more lethal than the banned weapons. Ok so “assault weapons” bans are out, how about magazine bans? Well, unfortunately for those Congresspeople like Diana Degette, magazine bans are also ineffective. One, magazines do not dissolve. Two, they don’t deal with the multiple gun issue. Three, it really isn’t that hard to change a mag quickly. Anybody with even a modicum of training can do it in seconds. Ok so that’s out how about a right wing solution, good guys with guns. This is also a fantasy. Sure sometimes, people can be stopped by good guys with guns.³ But other times a “good guy with a gun” will leave it in the john. And let’s remember the marines that stopped the attack on the train in France didn’t have a gun. But let’s be honest, you have to be highly trained to be effective in this situation. Most people won’t be and this will prove to be a public safety hazard at worst or neutral at best. So what is the solution? Well, better background checks are needed. One, we need to enforce the laws already on the books, making sure people like Jared Loughner and Dylan Roof do not slip through the human error inherent in the system. Two, again, and this is a theme, we need better mental health programs. Republicans cannot be hypocritical on this. THIS is something that must be funded, but of course we must make sure that the money is being spent wisely. Three, vigilance. Everyone must be aware of the warning signs that things like this can happen. They exist. Four, training for the general public for situations like this. How did the monster in Oregon kill 9 people? Was he spray shooting? What could have been done to stop him? If the reports about holding hostages are accurate it seems to me that something could have been done to stop him from killing all of those people, but people don’t really know how and haven’t been trained for such situations.

Let’s be honest folks. This is a complex issue that shouldn’t be decided by emotion or the words of long dead scoundrels. While the whole reason the American Revolution started was the British advancing on the arms depots in Lexington and Concord, if repealing the 2nd Amendment would stop the violence in this country it would be worth it. The 2nd Amendment protections from tyrannical government have been muted by the advent of chemical weapons, tanks, and A-10’s. But no, the 2nd Amendment shouldn’t be repealed because, it’s pointless to repeal it and the benefits of self defense, hunting, and sport shooting outweigh the nonexistent benefits of repeal. None of the policies advanced by the left would solve any of the three gun violence problems this country faces. We need slow improvement in our morals. We need better mental health care. We need to enforce the laws we have. We need better training and education. It gets better. You know how I know, because it has been for the last 30 years.

 

  1. All weapons are assault weapons. That’s what makes them weapons.
  2. Which may not be true of course. Just because something terrible happens, that doesn’t mean that there is an appropriate or necessary policy response. Sometimes terrible things are the price we pay to live in a free society. We could end all automobile accidents by banning all cars but that is silly. Of course if the standard is “if it could save one life” then it would be necessary and proper to ban all cars, knives, bathtubs, swimming pools, and anything else that has killed anyone. We would all live in hermetically sealed containers and not be allowed. There would be no risk at all in life. This is obviously ludicrous.
  3. For a list of times good guys with guns have stopped these attacks see here.