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High Ideals and Dumb Politics

Ted Cruz gave a speech tonight about the importance of standing up for freedom and the Constitution. It was about believing in and advocating for the values that the Republican Party used to be all about. It was about rejecting the establishment and standing up for the American People.  It was about putting Freedom, Liberty, and the Constitution ahead of the cult of personality.

It was a message that has been noticeably absent from the Republican convention thus far, as speech after speech has either attacked Hillary Clinton or talked about what a great guy Donald Trump is.  The hero worship has reached disgusting levels.  Aren’t we supposed to be the ones who aren’t always looking to government officials & politicians to save us?

Cruz’s speech was a message the Republican Party desperately needs to hear, but it’s a message that too many will ignore.

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Because Ted Cruz didn’t explicitly endorse Donald Trump…because he urged people to get to the polls and vote their conscience up and down the ticket – an important message in an election season where a divisive candidate could very well squelch voter turnout & lose not only the presidency, but the House and the Senate for Republicans – the positive message of his speech has already been lost in a swarm of dumb politics.

During the campaign, Trump dragged Cruz’s name through the mud. He lied about him on a daily basis, went after his wife, lied about his dad, had his buddy at the National Enquirer throw together a hit piece accusing him of multiple affairs. No reasonable person would put their name behind someone who had treated them that way, and it’s ridiculous for anyone to expect Cruz to jump on the Trump train for that reason.

If someone did that to you, would you endorse him for political office?  Most people would rather just punch him in the face.

The pledge was only brought into play because Trump threatened to run third-party if he didn’t win, and then Trump demanded that the party leadership give him a special deal, where he could only be held to the pledge as long as he was “treated fairly.” He then proceeded to build his campaign on lies and name-calling…basically, treating every other candidate in a manner that he would have used to weasel his way out of that same pledge, had those tactics been used against him.

And while he ran one of the most dishonest campaigns in modern history, Donald Trump kept the party elites in check by constantly threatening a third-party run because he felt that he was “treated unfairly.”

 

Just in the fact that he hasn’t spoken out against Trump, Cruz has given Trump much more than he owes him.  I have seen multiple interviews with Ted Cruz where the interviewer tried to goad Cruz into bad-mouthing Trump, but he never took the bait – something that I wouldn’t expect to happen if the roles were reversed.

 

But Ted Cruz has fulfilled his pledge.  He has supported the nominee.  He hasn’t mounted a third-party campaign – heck, he even congratulated Trump for winning the nomination!  Are we really getting into such a hubbub because he didn’t utter the phrase “I endorse and worship the Lord and Savior Donald J. Trump?”

And let’s not lose the irony in all of this that the political party that’s supposed to be all about decentralizing power is at this very moment tearing itself up over a loyalty oath that was foisted upon the candidates because the very man they now worship as their savior from the evil Hildabeast wouldn’t stop threatening to mount a third-party run that, had it become a reality, would literally have handed the election to her.

When it was announced that Ted Cruz would speak at the convention, it had been made abundantly clear that he would be speaking, but not endorsing Trump.  This was an agreement that was made between the two of them well before Cruz took the stage.  To act outraged and offended that Cruz refused to fulfill a pledge made meaningless by Trump’s own refusal to stand by it makes no sense.  Party officials even released the text of the speech to the media before Cruz took the stage, though they are now trying to claim that he went off-script.

The whole spectacle is ridiculous, and the backlash over Ted Cruz’s speech shows all the more that the actual message of that speech is one the Republican Party cannot ignore if they want to win an election ever again.

It’s just a shame that so many were so eager hear the word “endorse,” that they completely missed a vital message about freedom.

Just Turn It Off

My latest column is up at AND Magazine!

Here is an excerpt:

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The other night, I was watching a live feed out of Dallas – coverage of the assassination of multiple police officers, and the chaos on the streets as they tried to locate and stop the shooter. In the end, five officers are dead, and the politics have already begun.

One thing that has caught many people’s attention was a young black man who was openly carrying a rifle at the protest. Open carry is legal in Texas, so there was nothing wrong with what he was doing – but someone had snapped his picture, and after the shooting started, they sent it to Dallas police, who put it on Twitter, saying that he was a person of interest, and they needed help in locating him. Within minutes, his picture was plastered on TVs across the nation.

It didn’t take long for word to get back to him that police were looking for him, so he sought out Dallas police officers, handed over his rifle, and turned himself in. He was questioned, and then released.

So while police officers were being shot at in Dallas, a young black man approached officers while carrying a rifle, and he was not killed.

This is the problem with the sensationalism that happens when a black person is shot by police. We see a cell-phone video that shows part of an incident, or hear unreliable descriptions from people who saw part of whatever went down, and it gets spread all across the nation. Millions of people jump to conclusions, so that by the time the fact come in, everyone’s opinions have already formed, and it no longer matters what the facts are – our minds are made up.

Continue reading here.

All Talk, No Rights

The big news on Monday was that four “common-sense” gun control measures died in the Senate.

But the latest news is how the Senate voted on those measures.

h/t The Daily Signal

 

The Feinstein Amendment

Coming from Dianne Feinstein, you know this one is going to be good.  This amendment would grant authority to the Attorney General to deny gun purchases to people on the Terrorist Watch List, basically placing all authority over gun purchases in the hands of the Executive Branch.  They add you to a secret list, where it is assumed that they have some kind of evidence against you, but no proof is ever required.  You get no day in court, no due process, no trial by a jury of your peers.  You are judged guilty unilaterally by the Attorney General – a post which, under President Obama’s leadership, has become a political position more than one of law enforcement.

The measure failed 47-53, along party lines.

Republicans take note: Senators Ayotte of New Hampshire and Kirk of Illinois voted to hand totalitarian control over 2nd Amendment rights to the Executive Branch.

One Democrat voted against.

UPDATE: I came across this video of Dianne Feinstein blatantly stating that if she gets her way, Americans will be assumed guilty until they “prove that you’re innocent.”

 

The Cornyn Amendment

This is a revision of the Feinstein amendment, inserting a little bit of due process into the mix, rather than giving the Justice Department totalitarian power over Americans’ gun rights.  Under this amendment, the Justice Department would be notified if someone on the Terror Watch List tried to purchase a firearm, and would then have to petition the court to block the sale.  The person accused of terrorism or terrorist ties would be notified of the hearing, and would be able to face his (or her) accusers in court.

This accomplishes what the Democrats have been saying they want – stopping people on the Terror Watch List from being able to buy guns, without completely trampling Constitutional provisions like Due Process.

And that’s the thing that’s very extremely important to note: the only substantive difference between the Cornyn Amendment and the Feinstein Amendment is that the Republican amendment provided for Due Process.

The measure failed 53-47, along party lines…though this time, Republicans voted for, and Democrats against.

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The other two were a bit tougher to follow in the Senate records, but there was a Republican proposal to increase funding for the background check system, and a Democrat proposal for ‘universal’ background checks.

 

But when it comes to Democrats’ accusations – such as Elizabeth Warren claiming that Republicans chose to “sell weapons to ISIS,” the proof is in: they are just grandstanding.

Now, I don’t know whether the Democrats rejected the Cornyn Amendment because tyranny is just that important to them, or if it was because voting that amendment into law would have taken the issue off of the table during an election year, but one thing is clear: Democrats don’t care about your rights.

A Problem Government Cannot Solve

In the wake of the terrorist attack at a gay club in Orlando, the Democrat Party has mobilized, calling for more gun control. They point the finger at Republicans and the NRA, more than willing to blame their political opponents for a horrific tragedy, but totally unwilling to examine the real causes.

More laws are not going to help anything. The last “assault weapons” ban didn’t move the needle on gun crime. California has 1,001 (or more) different restrictions on sporting rifles, and none of them did anything to stop the San Bernardino terrorists from violating them. Frankly, the mantra that adding more laws will somehow stop people from violating the law is reaching the level of extreme stupidity.

Laws banning murder haven’t stopped murder. Laws banning drug use haven’t stopped people from using drugs. Talking on a cell phone while driving is against the law in California, yet nearly every day I see someone chatting away with a phone to their ear while driving.

10422425_966177793454744_9134744352718260947_nThe government has a pretty bad history when it comes to banning things. When the government banned booze, they ended up creating a black market, enabling the rise of the mafia crime families. When the government banned drugs like marijuana, cocaine, etc., they created a black market that brought the rise of the drug cartels.

The cartels are already bringing drugs across the border…why not guns, too?

The problem with adding more laws is that only the law-abiding will follow them, and adding a multitude of laws, restrictions, and regulations just creates circumstances where non-violent, otherwise law-abiding citizens end up on the wrong side of the law simply because there are more laws than any reasonable person could possibly keep track of. Banning guns means leaving law-abiding citizens disarmed and at the mercy of criminals and terrorists who don’t care what new laws some bleeding-heart legislators just passed. What’s more, protecting our 2nd Amendment rights is more important now than ever, when we’re faced with politicians and bureaucrats in high places who are more than willing to ignore the Bill of Rights. And frankly, I don’t trust politicians who don’t even understand the very basics about the guns they want to ban to craft laws that even remotely approach “common sense.”

Instituting any kind of gun ban will not stop terrorists that are intent on violence any time in the future. France has very strict gun laws, yet terrorists were able to execute a horrible attack there (using guns and bombs) – after which French authorities found that several mosques in Paris were being used to hide weapons caches. Israel faces knife and bomb attacks from Palestinian terrorists on a regular basis. A couple of years ago, a group of men with knives killed 29 and injured 130 people in China. The Tsarnaev brothers used pressure cookers to attack the Boston Marathon. Al-Qaida terrorists used airliners to bring down the World Trade Center. Timothy McVeigh used a rented truck and fertilizer to attack a federal building. Those intent on violence will find ways perpetrate violence. No amount of laws will change that.

It’s also important to note that the vast majority of mass shootings in the United States happen in so-called “gun free” zones. Even the ultra-left anti-gun “Everytown” group, notorious for using false & misleading statistics to back up their ‘arguments,’ don’t even try to deny that. As we place further restrictions on gun ownership, we just open up more opportunities for those intent on committing acts of violence to do so unabated.

Our nation (and Western society in general) has spent the past several decades moving away from any kind of a moral center, to the point that during the current election cycle, many Christians shunned the very thought of choosing a God-fearing Christian as their presidential candidate, because “we’re elecing a president, not a pastor.” It is impossible for a society to abandon all moral principles without consequences, and there is no legislation in the world that will exempt us from those consequences. Today, we live in a society where unborn babies are slaughtered by the millions, and that is euphemistically called “women’s health” or “choice.” If a white cop shoots a black criminal, riots and protests break out in the streets, yet black-on-black gangland violence is ignored.

We don’t teach our children to value life, and then we wonder why life has so little value.

We have enemies in radical Islam who are intent on killing us, and are intent on growing their numbers here in America to facilitate that murderous agenda. Yet at the same time we are urged to avoid any appearance of “Islamophobia.” In San Barnardino, neighbors of the terrorists stated that they didn’t report suspicious activity because they didn’t want to be accused of racism. The Orlando shooter’s coworkers reported his suspicious behavior & terroristic threats to authorities, but were written off.

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The most important thing we can do is be vigilant and protect our liberty as we try to spread the message that a moral foundation is the real solution to many of our nation’s problems. If we’re constantly going back to more government and more laws in an attempt to solve problems that government can never solve, all we will end up with is a government that will truly teach us the value of the Second Amendment. Americans who actually defend the Second Amendment for this reason are looked down on as crazy paranoids, yet the ever-increasing power of the government to micromanage every aspect of our lives, down to what we can eat or drink, or say, or even think, proves that we really aren’t all that far away from the type of government the Second Amendment was written to protect us from.

The latest “compromise” position seems to revolve around removing the 2nd Amendment rights of anyone that has been placed on the No-Fly List (aka the Terror Watch List). This sounds nice and reasonable, until you actually think it through. “Common-sense” gun control now means revoking the 2nd Amendment rights of Americans based on a secret list. The government doesn’t even release the criteria they use to put people on the list! If we’re going to throw out the 5th Amendment to revoke people’s 2nd Amendment rights, we may as well just throw out the Bill of Rights altogether, because it will no longer hold any meaning. Senator Ted Kennedy ended up on the No-Fly List because “T. Kennedy” had been used as an alias by some people on the list. It reportedly took Kennedy and his staff three weeks to get his name removed. How many other Americans has this happened to – and how many don’t even know it, simply because they rarely, if ever, fly?

We live in an age where government power is increasingly wielded for political ends; if the IRS can target conservatives and conservative organizations, who’s to say that politically motivated people in the Justice Department won’t adjust the secret criteria for their secret list so their political opponents will have their rights taken away? We’ve already seen President Obama’s Justice Department sending out warnings to state and local law enforcement agencies across America, labeling conservatives and former military as potential “domestic terrorists” (a sentiment that, it seems, it was revealed that an Inspector Generals’ investigation found that there were 72 people on the Terror Watch List working at the Department of Homeland Security.

If the Justice Department can’t keep suspected terrorists out of their own ranks, why should we rely on them to determine who can and cannot purchase firearms?

keep-calm-and-defend-the-constitution-5Besides the blatant unconstitutionality of revoking Americans’ rights with no due process, why should we believe that this measure would change anything?

Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, who tried to detonate explosives he’d smuggled onto a plane in his underwear in 2009, was allowed to board a plane, so he presumably wasn’t on the No Fly List.

American authorities were warned about the Tsarnaev brothers’ connections to terrorists, yet a mis-spelled name in a database (Tsarnayev instead of Tsarnaev) allowed Tamerlan Tsarnaev to travel to Russia in 2012, and it is believed that he received some kind of terrorist training while on that trip.

The Sandy Hook shooter stole his mother’s legally-purchased firearms.

Dylan Roof, who shot up a church in Charleston, was able to pass a background check and purchase a gun due to a clerical error.

The San Bernardino terrorists used guns that they got from a friend. After that attack, a former DHS employee blew the whistle on investigations into radical Islamic elements within the U.S., which were shut down over concerns within the DOJ that focusing on Muslims was too politically incorrect. The mosque attended by the San Bernardino terrorists was under scrutiny as part of that investigation; it’s enough to make one wonder whether the attack in Orlando could possibly have been prevented as part of that same investigation.

The Orlando terrorist was investigated by the FBI multiple times – he was reported to authorities by his coworkers for making terroristic threats, yet nothing was done. He kept his job as a security guard, and his gun permit.  He wasn’t put on any watch list.

Make the Terror Watch List transparent and give the people mechanisms to appeal, and maybe then we can have a conversation. But using a secret list to put people’s Constitutional rights into the hands of corrupt politicians and bureaucrats is and always will be unacceptable.

President Obama became indignant over Republican criticisms of his continued refusal to allege that attacks by violent Islamists were committed by violent Islamists…and I will say this for him, the president is a master at knocking down the straw men he constructs for himself…though his record in addressing real issues leaves much to be desired. And in his (un)righteous indignation and rush to condemn Republicans, the NRA, and millions of American gun owners for crimes that they didn’t commit, he completely missed the point.

How do you fight an enemy if you can’t even name them?

How do you stop the bloodshed if you blind yourself to its source?

How are you not a dictator if your constant focus is on diminishing the rights of your subjects…er…citizens?

How will passing more laws stop those who are intent on violating the laws we already have?

Reality Is Hate

My latest column is up at AND Magazine.

Here is an excerpt:

and_image_1349216396The United States of America is such a horrible place to live. It’s a wonder that anyone lives in this nation voluntarily, we’re such a motley collection of racists, bigots, homophobes, trans-phobes, and haters.

It is virtually unimaginable to think that, in 21st Century America, anyone would have a problem with someone in the LGBTQRSTUVWXYZ community using any restroom they choose, whenever they choose. It’s so abhorrent, no other nation on Earth would even think to stoop so low as to require anyone to use any particular bathroom! This is the Civil Rights issue of our time, amiright?

Well, am I?

Last week, I spent an evening watching a live-stream of the Kern County (California) High School District’s board meeting, where they were taking public comments on the board’s recent decision to craft new policies that would bring the county’s high schools into compliance with AB 1266, the state’s decree that schools must open up their restrooms, locker rooms, and other facilities to any student of any gender, based on whatever gender they feel like they are on a given day.

My oldest daughter is 5, so I don’t typically follow the goings-on at the High School District that closely, but my little girls will be in high school one day, so these kinds of policies are definitely something that I care about. This change in district policy came close on the heels of President Obama’s edict, wherein he threatened public schools with the withdrawal of federal funding if they failed to bow to Dear Leader’s wishes as pertained to their restrooms…

Continue reading here.

Just Give It Up, Bill

The news was all over the blogosphere yesterday: OMG! Bill Kristol might have a pick for POTUS!

To quote our current incompetent-in-chief:

Let me be clear.

bill-kristols-quotes-5I don’t care who Bill Kristol picks for his thus-far theoretical third-party run for President.  Kristol’s efforts were doomed to fail before they ever started, and all he will do is introduce a spoiler to hand the election over to Hillary Clinton.

Now, this may confuse some of you that cling to the false dichotomy of “a vote for anyone but Trump is a vote for Hillary.”  Let’s address this with an eye for what’s real.

After Saturday’s joke of a convention, I was rather disappointed as I watched the Libertarian Party select Gary Johnson as their nominee.  But despite my disappointment, I will likely vote for Johnson in November.  While I disagree with him on several issues that are important to me, I refuse to support the Republican Party if Donald Trump is their nominee.

And when it comes to third-party candidates, while I don’t think Johnson has a chance to win, he is the only third-party candidate that has any chance in the general election.  Why?  Because at this point, he’s the only third-party candidate who will be on the ballot in all 50 states.

Bill Kristol’s list of prospective candidates for his as-yet theoretical third-party nominee have been a who’s-who of RINO left-leaning Republicans that were (rightly) rejected by conservatives.  Like much of the rest of the nation, Kristol isn’t looking for a conservative alternative to Donald Trump, he’s looking for another RINO, just like the last two RINOs that encountered horrifically disappointing losses to ultra-leftist Barack Obama (especially the second time, when it should have been a landslide).

We’re constantly being told that conservatives can’t win, and over and over again, the Republican (and even the Libertarian) party rejects conservatives in favor of slightly left-of-center moderates whom no voters in their right mind can possibly get excited about, making the GOP into the Democrat Party of the 80s and/or 90s.  In the end, it isn’t a question of big government vs. small government, it’s just a question of varying degrees of socialism.

Let me be totally clear here: I don’t know a whole lot about Bill Kristol’s latest pick, other than he doesn’t have a prayer in the general election.  At this point, I don’t really give a flying crap who Kristol has chosen.  Bill Kristol should have given up before Mitt Romney said no.  At this point, starting a third-party to run a RINO is just an exercise in futility that no one needs or has time for.  He can’t even get a candidate on the ballot in every state!  That is a recipe not just for failure, but to make him and his third party into nothing more than a punch line.

Just give it up, Bill.  There’s nothing left in this election but corruptocrats and authoritarians (or combinations of the two).  While running another candidate may be nice fodder for headlines, it will not be a productive endeavor in any way, shape, matter, or form.  Just give it up.

The Conservative Option


Let’s face it: this election season has been insane.  If you’re anything like me, you’re tired of it all.  Every time I hear Clinton or Trump, I have an overwhelming desire to live in a sensory deprivation chamber for the next several months, so I can skip all of the BS and the name-calling, and just come out fresh in November and move on with my life.

That’s also why I haven’t written here in about a month now – between the presidential race and the President’s mixed-gender bathroom edict, I’ve been trying to distract myself just to keep my head from exploding.

I’ve made it very clear that I won’t be voting for Donald Trump just because he’s running on the Republican ticket.  I also refuse to believe in the false dichotomy presented by the proponents of the two big political parties, that there are only two choices out there.

For conservatives like me, finding an alternative to support is kind of tough.  The Constitution Party is struggling to get on the ballot nationwide.  The Libertarian Party sounds good, but can be a little crazy at times.

But this year, there is a Libertarian that conservatives should be able to get behind.  Austin Petersen is running for the Libertarian nomination, and if he wins that nomination, he could really shake things up in the presidential race.

  • He believes in shrinking the size of government.
  • He believes in simplifying the tax code & lowering taxes.
  • He believes in religious freedom.
  • He believes in the Constitution.
  • He is pro-life.
  • He believes in freedom for each and every American.

I don’t agree with Austin Petersen on every issue, but I agree with him on most of the important issues.  He’s young, he’s all over social media (and not in an insane way like The Donald’s infamous Trumpertantrums), and he can articulate conservatism in a clear, sane way that has been missing from this election cycle after Ted Cruz debated Code Pink and convinced an Iowa corn farmer that we need to phase out subsidies.

Austin-Headshot-BW

Now, I don’t know how far Austin Petersen could get in the general election.  The masses seem to be pretty tied to their Rs and their Ds, and the conservatives (or populists that have been masquerading as conservatives until Trump came along) seem to either be fixated on clinging to the sinking Republican ship, or just poking Dems in the eye by electing the most offensive candidate possible.

But Petersen brings a refreshingly honest, forthright, and energetic vibe to the campaign that you don’t get from many Rs or Ds, and that is why I think he would make a great Libertarian nominee – especially in the current political climate, when it looks like the Libertarian candidate could end up in the national debates.

If you’re looking for an alternative to the two corrupt, lying New York liberals currently assumed to be the Big 2 parties’ nominees, I highly encourage you to check Austin Petersen out.

If we’re going to “secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity,” we need to rally behind a candidate that actually believes in liberty.

Austin Petersen is that candidate.

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