See For Yourself

See For Yourself

Economy

On Friday August 24, 2018; Donald Trump tweeted about the economy “probably the best our country has ever done.”

The following links provide statistical data to check that claim.

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Timeline of Trump’s Presidency

List of Officials who have left or been fired from Trump’s Administration

69 officials as of September 16, 2018

 

Comments & Actions

July 19, 2015: Trump states that John McCain is not a war hero and that he prefers people that aren’t captured.

July 30, 2016: Trump mocks Gold Star family

October 29, 2016, October 31, 2016, November 2, 2016, November 5, 2016, January 22, 2017: Trump praises FBI Director James Comey

October 31, 2016: Trump comments about Hillary, if elected, would be investigated.

August 12, 2017: Trump condemns hatred displayed ‘on many sides’ at violent rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.

August 15, 2017: David Duke thanks Trump for ‘condemning the leftist terrorists’ in Charlottesville.

August 25, 2017: Trump pardons ex-Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio: White House

September 30, 2017: Puerto Rico crisis: San Juan mayor pleads for federal aid, Trump hits back.

October 17, 2017: Trump reportedly tells the widow of a US soldier killed in action ‘he knew what he signed up for’

November 21, 2017: President Trump defends Roy Moore despite misconduct allegations

December 4, 2017: Trump backs Alabama Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore

January 11, 2018: Trump makes comment on “shit hole countires.”

Witch Hunt

  • February 13, 2017: Michael Flynn resigns as National Security Advisor.
  • March 2, 2017: Attorney General Jeff Sessions had contact with Russia during the campaign.
  • March 20, 2017: FBI confirms probe of Trump-Russia connection.
  • March 22, 2017: Report: Paul Manifort worked to benefit Putin in 2005.
  • March 22, 2017: FBI Has information suggesting Trump camp may have coordinated with Russians.
  • March 30, 2017: Flynn offers to testify in Russia probe for Immunity.
  • April 2, 2017: Flynn did not disclose income from Russian companies.
  • May 8, 2017: Former Department of Justice official admits she warned Trump Russia could have blackmailed Flynn.
  • May 9, 2017: Trump fires FBI Director James Comey.
  • May 11, 2017: Trump reveals he asked Comey whether he was under investigation.
  • May 15, 2017: Trump reveals classified information to Russians during meeting.
  • May 17, 2017: Deputy Attorney General, Rod Rosenstein, appointed former FBI director, Bob Muller, to be a special counsel overseeing the investigation into Russian interference.
  • May 18, 2017: Revealed that Trump asked Comey to drop Flynn probe.
  • May 19, 2017: “I just fired the head of the FBI. He was crazy, a real nut job.” Donald Trump.
  • May 22, 2017: Flynn to plead the Fifth, not comply with Senate Intel subpoena in Russia probe.
  • May 25, 2017: Kushner now under FBI scrutiny in Russia probe.
  • May 26, 2017: Report: Jared Kushner proposed secret communications channel with the Kremlin.
  • June 5, 2017: Top-secret NSA report: Russian hackers tried to breach US voting systems days before the election.
  • June 9, 2017: James Comey speaks out on Trump: ‘I was honestly concerned he might lie’
  • June 13, 2017: Attorney General Jeff Sessions calls allegations he colluded with the Russians a ‘detestable lie’ during Senate hearing.
  • June 14, 2017: Trump being investigated for possible obstruction of justice.
  • June 16, 2017: Trump confirms he’s under investigation, appears to attack Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein over ‘witch hunt’
  • June 18, 2017: Trump lawyer: President not under investigation in Russia probe
  • July 7, 2017: President Donald Trump calls meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin an ‘honor,’ cites ‘very good talks.’
  • July 7, 2017: Trump presses Putin on Russian involvement in US election during first meeting
  • July 8, 2017: Trump’s campaign team met with a Russian lawyer believed to work ‘at the behest’ of the Kremlin.
  • July 8, 2017: Trump’s son met Russian lawyer after promise of information on Clinton: NY Times
    • July 2017: New York Times reveal existence of the meeting between Donald Trump Jr. and Russian lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya. Trump Jr. stated that the meeting was to primarily discuss the adoption of Russian children by Americans.
    • One day later Trump Jr. released emails which stated that he accepted the meeting after being promised dirt on Hillary Clinton.
    • A few days later, press secretary, Sean Spicer, reiterated that the meeting was about the adoption of Russian babies.
    • July 17, 2017: President Trump tweets: Most politicians would have gone to a meeting like the one Don jr attended in order to get info on an opponent. That’s politics!”
    • July 31, 2017: The Washington Post reports that Trump dictictated Jr’s initial statement about adoption. Trump’s personal lawyer, Jay Sekulow denied the president was involved.
    • January 29, 2018: information comes out that the final legal position was that president Trump was behind the initial statement about adoption.
    • July 2018: Michael Cohen claims that Trump did know about the meeting with the Russians and approved it. Trump tweeted: “I did NOT know of the meeting with my son, Don Jr.
    • August 5, 2018: Trump tweeted that the Trump Tower meeting was “to get information on an opponent.”
    • (source)
  • July 11, 2017: Donald Trump Jr. releases emails setting up his meeting with ‘Russian government attorney.’
  • July 14, 2017: A Russian-American lobbyist says Russian lawyer presented documents in Donald Trump Jr. meeting
  • July 18, 2017: Eighth person at controversial Trump Jr. meeting at Trump Tower identified
  • July 24, 2017: Jared Kushner to reporters: “I did not collude with Russia.”
  • July 31, 2017: Trump dictated misleading statement on son’s meeting with Russian
  • August 3, 2017: Mueller impanels Washington grand jury in Russia probe
  • August 4, 2017: Special counsel Mueller asks White House for Flynn documents
  • August 6, 2017: Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein: Trump has not directed feds to investigate Clinton
  • August 30, 2017: Kremlin confirms it received Trump adviser’s email about Moscow project, but ignored it
  • August 30, 2017: Trump Jr. to testify in Senate, Manafort lawyer subpoenaed
  • September 12, 2017: Members of Trump’s legal team reportedly wanted Jared Kushner to step down over his Russia ties
  • October 30, 2017: Ex-Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort charged with ‘conspiracy against the United States’ in 12-count indictment
  • December 1, 2017: Michael Flynn pleads guilty to lying to FBI in Mueller probe
  • December 17, 2017: Mueller obtains ‘tens of thousands’ of Trump transition emails
  • January 4, 2018: “You can’t make this s— up”: My year inside Trump’s insane White House. Michael Wolf’s book Fire and Fury.
  • January 12, 2018: Trump’s lawyer reportedly paid a porn star $130,000 just before the election to keep her quiet about an alleged sexual encounter with Trump
  • January 23, 2018: Sessions becomes first Trump cabinet member questioned in Mueller’s Russia probe
  • January 30, 2018: Trump reportedly blew up at his staff aboard Air Force One after being warned against releasing the secret Russia investigation memo
  • February 2, 2018: Trump attacks the FBI and Justice Department as the war over the memo and Russia investigation heat up
  • February 14, 2018: Trump’s lawyer Michael Cohen says he paid Stormy Daniels $130,000 of his own money
  • February 16, 2018: Ex-Playboy Playmate Karen McDougal claims she had 9-month affair with Trump – and deal to keep quiet
  • March 1, 2018: Mueller asking if Trump knew about hacked Democratic emails before release
  • March 15, 2018: Robert Mueller subpoenas Trump Organization on Russia documents, brings investigation closer to president
  • April 15, 2018: Trump continues his Twitter tirade against ‘slimeball’ James Comey
  • April 19, 2018: Guiliani joins Trump’s legal team.
  • May 17, 2018: Trump lashes out over ‘the greatest witch hunt in American history,’ says ‘still no collusion and no obstruction’
  • June 4, 2018: Trump: ‘I have the absolute right to pardon myself’
  • July 16, 2018: ‘An absolute disgrace’: Republicans blast Trump for his ‘disgusting’ press conference with Putin
  • July 17, 2018: Trump says he has confidence in US agencies on Russia, misspoke in Helsinki
  • July 18, 2018: President Trump says Russia is no longer targeting US, contradicting intelligence assessments
  • July 18, 2018: White House denies Trump said Russia no longer targeting US
  • July 21, 2018: Trump responds to Cohen tape: ‘Totally unheard of and perhaps illegal’
  • August 1, 2018: Trump: attorney general should end Russia probe ‘right now’
  • August 5, 2018: Donald Trump says son’s meeting with Russians was to get Clinton dirt but ‘totally legal’
  • August 18, 2018: White House counsel reported to be cooperating extensively with Mueller probe
  • August 21, 2018: Trump’s former campaign chairman, Paul Manifort, convicted on eight counts.
  • August 21, 2018: Ex-Trump attorney Cohen pleads guilty to charges involving hush money, calls it coordinated effort to influence election
  • August 25, 2018: Report: Aides think Trump is signaling he wants to pardon Manafort
  • August 31, 2018: At raucous rally, Trump threatens to ‘get involved’ with Justice Department, FBI
  • September 4, 2018: Aides went behind Trump’s back to thwart decisions, new Bob Woodward book alleges
  • September 5, 2018: Anonymous White House ‘senior official’ slams Trump in scathing NYT op-ed
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Investing in Happiness

“When I was five years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down ‘happy.’ They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life.”

  • John Lennon

I’m sure a lot of the following is subjective to each individual; however, I would say that at least some of it applies to a large percentage of our fellow humans.

People, along with the relationships and interactions between each person, are the best and worst parts of our life.

Consider this: on the positive side of that statement, the first things we come to care about when we come into this world is our parents. We form bonds with them, we look to them for comfort, help, and to care for us while we are still developing. As we get older and our journey through life goes on we expand our social base. We form ties with our extended family, we make friends, we find romantic partners of which may become our significant other. Some of those relationships fade with time, and some people may accumulate more close ties than others. However, a decent amount of people usually have at least a handful of close relationships of one type or the other in their life. These are the people we count on for support. The ones we desire to spend our time with. Make memories with, confide in, share an exciting story or news in a life event with. I would also like to add that our animal family should be counted in this. However, for the purpose of staying on topic, I’ll only focus on people.

On the negative side, the loss of someone we care about is unmatched, almost without exception, in our journey through life. Not only the loss of someone through the end of a life, but also a betrayal of trust, abuse, neglect, or even parting ways.  

What about the other parts of life? Money, career, area you live in, social status, a great house or apartment, a nice car, or any of the other parts of life that people chase after? Should those things not count for anything or be sought after? Of course they should count and be sought after. We need money to live, and the other items can add value to our life. The caveat to this, I believe, is not to make these kind of things the sole focus of life to be happy.

If a person puts the desire for wealth or social status (or something similar) above the relationships he or she has with others, those relationships could suffer and possibly be severed and lost. Perhaps the person becomes wealthy, admired by peers or colleagues, achieves accolades and notoriety. But does that person become genuinely and sustainably happy for such achievements? Especially if the pursuit costs the positive relationship of those that he or she once had? These ancillary aspects of life certainly help and are important, but these things are indifferent to those who possess them. Would ten million dollars in the bank console you after a difficult life event? Does a large, luxurious house provide any more warmth on a cold night than a modest house? Does that same luxurious house provide sustainable happiness if its rooms are not occupied with loved ones? After retiring from a lifetime of career advancement ultimately mean anything if there is no one to share those accomplishments with?

Again, these things are important and they certainly help improve life. Yet, the quest for these things is a never ending one. A person seldom reaches a level of satisfaction after obtaining these items. The person ends up needing more. The shiny new car purchased two years ago loses the emotional value it gave the person shortly after obtaining it. Achieving one career goal provides a fleeting sense of accomplishment before it no longer means anything and a new goal is chased after and that cycle continues until a person reaches his or her top performance or competency level. What is left after that if that desire to keep moving up still exists?

In the end none of those things matter. We have an disproportionate investment in the things that actually bring us happiness. We focus on the things that are indifferent to our feelings and emotions. We so often take for granted the people in our lives that genuinely do bring value and happiness to us and we lose focus on what really matters in life.

Have you ever had a relationship with someone you loved end because they no longer feel for you what you feel for them? Have you ever lost a close family member, friend or pet? Most of us have. During those difficult times did you ever have a thought along the lines of “I would give anything to change this.”? Was your car, house, or bank account your primary focus at that time? Did those things seem that important? Probably not. Because in those moments of tragedy, the truly important things in life become very clear. If only for a moment. Unfortunately, the farther in time we get from those moments, we lose focus on what matters and our focus shifts and we become lost in fog once again.

Be kind, remember what matters and invest your time and efforts accordingly.

 

A Brief History of the AR-15

Development & A Brief History

Manufactured by Colt Rifles, the AR-15 is a 5.56x45mm, magazine fed, gas operated semi-automatic rifle. Colt currently manufactures the AR-15 rifles for its line of semi-automatic weapons that are marketed towards civilian and law-enforcement customers. (Source)

After WWII the U.S. Military started looking for replacements for their M1 Garand, M1/M2 Carbines, Thompson sub-machine gun etc. It was during the Korean War that the select fire M2 carbine largely replaced the submachine gun in U.S. service. Combat experience however, suggested the .30 carbine round was under powered and an intermediate round was necessary. Trials with several new weapons were and the manufacturer ArmaLite entered their AR-10 prototype in the fall of 1956. Some testers of this rifle commented that the AR-10 was the best lightweight automatic rifle ever tested. The U.S. Army, however, chose to go with a T44, now called the M14, an improved version of the M1 Garand.

It was during the early part of the Vietnam War that the M14 was put up against the AK-47. Reports from the battlefield stated the M14 was uncontrollable during automatic fire and soldiers were not able to carry enough ammunition to maintain fire superiority over the AK-47. The U.S. Military was then forced to reconsider a request to develop a .223 caliber select fire rifle 6lb when loaded with a 20 round magazine. The 5.56mm round had to penetrate a standard M1 helmet at 500 yards and retain a velocity in excess of the speed of sound while matching or exceeding the wounding ability of the .30 carbine cartridge. This resulted in a scaled down version of the ArmaLite AR-10, called the ArmaLite AR-15. Colt later acquired the AR-15 and redesigned the rifle to facilitate mass production. (Source) Colt later marketed the AR-15 to military divisions such as the U.S. Navy, Air Force, Army and Marine Corps. The AR-15 was adopted as the M16 by the United States Military (Source)

Quick Note on Bullet Caliber

So what is the difference between a .22 caliber bullet and a .223 caliber, when it’s the same caliber bullet? The answer is the masses and velocities of the bullets differ. The diameter of the bullet is the same. In a video demonstration one can see that when a .22 bullet hits a steel target the bullet compresses and leaves a larger hole than the .223. The .223 bullet which travels at a higher velocity and is a heavier bullet, travels strait through the metal target. (Source)

Is the AR-15 an assault rifle?

To find the answer to this question, let me walk you through my research. First I went to Google as one often does to find answers to questions and typed in “definition of assault rifle.”

The first answer that pops up is from a dictionary: “a rapid-fire, magazine-fed automatic rifle designed for infantry use.”

The next choice comes from Miriam Webster’s website where an assault rifle is defined as “any of various intermediate-range, magazine-fed military rifles (such as the AK-47) that can be set for automatic or semiautomatic fire; also a rifle that resembles a military assault rifle but is designed to allow only semiautomatic fire

The third search result is from a website blog called The Firearms Guide with an article on “What is and is not an Assault Rifle” Here the author states that an assault rifle is a rifle that 1. has selectable firing modes 2. can fire in fully automatic mode.

In an article by Jeff Daniels of CNBC Daniels points out that the definition of an assault rifle is a contentious issue. See the following paragraph: That said, the gun industry’s traditional definition of an “assault rifle” is a weapon the military generally uses and has “select fire capabilities,” or the capability to switch between semi-automatic or a fully automatic mode. However, the civilian AR-15s do not have the select fire capabilities, only semi-automatic settings, so the firearms industry insists they are not an actual assault rifle or assault weapon.

I would like to point out that the AR in AR-15 does not in fact stand for “assault rifle.” Rather it stands for the initial manufacturer of the weapon, ArmaLite.

Additionally, the term assault rifle has a different legal definition in different states depending on local gun laws.

The conclusion to this question based on the research seems to state that the AR-15 is indeed not an assault rifle by virtue of its lack of fully automatic firing ability.

Is the AR-15 a combat weapon?

The answers to this question based on research seem to be answered as simply as this: it depends on who you ask. I found an article by James Fallows of The Atlantic which provided answers from those who claim it is and those who claim it is not.

Take the following excerpt for example: This past Tuesday Dean Winslow, a medical doctor and retired Air Force colonel who had deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan as a flight surgeon, appeared before the Senate Armed Services committee. It was considering his nomination as the Trump administration’s assistant secretary of defense for health affairs. 

At the hearing, Senator Jean Shaheen, a Democrat of New Hampshire, asked Winslow about mental-health issues in the military—and specifically about the shooter in the Sutherland Springs massacre, who had been courtmartialed and given a bad-conduct discharge by the Air Force for offenses that included threatening people with guns.

Winslow answered that question, and then volunteered a view that would have gotten more attention if not for the avalanche of other news. As a military veteran with first-hand experience treating combat wounds, he said he wanted to underscore “how insane it is that in the United States of America a civilian can go out and buy a semiautomatic assault rifle like an AR-15.

The question Dean Winslow raised—whether  a weapon designed for the battlefield should be in wide circulation among civilians—is one I’ve been addressing on this site.

However, Fallows points out a dispute from a reader where Fallows used a quote obtained from one of the engineers of the AR-15 that the gun had gone into military production as the M16 before appearing in the civilian market. The following is the reader’s statement: In your article “Why the AR-15 Was Never Meant to be in Civilians’ Hands“, your source claims that the AR-15 was not commercially available to civilians before it was standardized by the military. This is factually incorrect.

Colt sent a pilot model rifle (serial no. GX4968) to the BATF for civilian sale approval on Oct. 23, 1963. It was approved on Dec. 10, 1963, and sales of the “Model R6000 Colt AR-15 SP1 Sporter Rifle” began on Jan 2, 1964. The M16 wasn’t issued to infantry units until 1965 (as the XM16E1), wasn’t standardized as the M16A1 until 1967, and didn’t officially replace the M14 until 1969. Colt had been selling semi-automatic AR-15’s to civilians for 5 years by the time the M16A1 replaced the M14. Going off of the serial number records for the SP1, Colt had sold at least 2,501 rifles to the civilian market by 1965, 8,250 rifles by 1967, and 14,653 rifles by 1969.

The engineer mentioned above worked at Colt Firearms on the M16. The engineers comment is as follows:

There was no commercially available civilian version of the AR-15 prior to the U.S. Military’s decision to make it the default military rifle replacing the M-14, and designating it as the M16A1. I have significant personal experience with the issues experienced by the M16A1, which were the result of a combined civilian/military screw-up. [JF note: this screwup was the subject of my original article.]

The AR-15 was developed specifically as a military weapon to replace the M-14. It was probably one of the first major weapons systems to be privately developed following the DOD’s decision to privatize the design and development function. This function had heretofore been carried out by publicly funded government operations, most notably, in the case of military small arms, the Springield Arsenal.

The AR-15 derived from a design by Eugene Stoner. His original design using that architecture and operating system was the AR-10, which used the 7.62mm NATO round. Seen today, it looks like an overgrown AR-15. The Armalite Company tasked two engineers with developing a version of the AR-10 that used the 5.56mm cartridge; these engineers were Jim Sullivan and Bob Fremont.

Only after civilian manufacturers like Colt’s made boatloads of money producing M16A1’s and selling them to the government did someone (I believe it was Colt’s Firearms) decide to make and sell a semi-automatic-only version of the weapon for civilian sale. It was, of course, known as the AR-15.

I have also asked a friend who is a veteran from the U.S. Military and served in Afghanistan,  if the AR-15 was an assault rifle. His statement was as follows: “Assault rifle is the legal term. The combat version, i.e. CAR-15 or M-4, are class III weapons with automatic fire rates (full auto or 3 round burst). So the ones that have been on the market for the past decade are semi-automatic weapons that shoot assault rifle rounds.”

 

 

 

America’s Pastime – School Shootings

America’s Pastime – School Shootings

As everyone is aware, I’m sure, there is a horrifying trend taking place in America with shootings in schools. The latest taking place in Parkland Florida. Seventeen people were murdered in cold blood by a lone teenager with an AR-15 rifle. This most likely will not be the last of such events. As recent history has shown us, another is almost certainly to make headlines in the not too distant future.

The aftermath of this shooting is no different than the aftermath of all the previous school shootings that have taken place since Columbine. Grief, fear, sadness, anger, conspiracy theories and mostly polarization on the matters of guns.

Before continuing, take a moment to think about how you would react if the news came that your child was murdered in a school shooting. Or the child of a friend, a niece or nephew. What would your reaction be if you saw a video recording of students taking cover while a fellow student is actively shooting those around you? What would you want to happen to prevent something like this from happening again? For as recent history has shown us, this will certainly happen again.

Since the Columbine school shooting on April 20, 1999 in Jefferson County Colorado, there have been 270 shootings at schools across the nation. (ABC News). Fox News anchor, Shepard Smith, recently reported that there have been 25 fatal, active school shootings at elementary and high schools in America. (Daily Beast) Smith went on to say “These sorts of mass shootings with the regularity where they occur in the United States, you don’t find that in other countries.”

Continued statistics are as follows (ABC News):

  • 141 people have been killed in a mass murder or attempted mass murder at a school since Columbine (FBI records)
  • 73% of school shooters with no prior criminal record (U.S. Secret Service, U.S. Department of Education)
  • 81% percent of school shootings where someone had information that the attacker was thinking about or planning the shooting record (U.S. Secret Service, U.S. Department of Education)
  • 68% of school shooters who got their guns from relatives or at home record (U.S. Secret Service, U.S. Department of Education)
  • The average number of shootings per week on a school or college campus in 2015 (ABC News review of reported cases)

What then is the reason that a wealthy, developed nation such as the United States has this epidemic? One side of the isle states that gun laws are too lenient and that obtaining a weapon is easy where compared to other countries. The opposition to that argument is that the 2nd Amendment protects the rights of the people to keep and bear arms. And that enacting any additional laws to hinder that ability would be unlawful and infringe on citizens’ rights.

Common arguments against stronger gun laws are as follows:

  1. There is an effort by the government to take away citizens’ rights to own guns, which is unconstitutional. School shootings are being done to further the governments cause.
  2. Laws do not prevent criminals from obtaining weapons illegally as criminals are not concerned with the law.
  3. Drugs are illegal and people are still able to obtain them.
  4. Guns don’t kill people, people kill people.
  5. Citizens have a right to own guns to protect their family or to hunt.
  6. If guns were not available, people would other weapons.

While several of these arguments are logical, not all of them carry the same weight. The following are my thoughts on each point above which also includes some sourced statistics and supporting documentation from those who have studied the matter more closely than I.

There is an effort by the government to take away citizens’ rights to own guns, which is unconstitutional. School shootings are being done to further the governments cause.

  1. Talking heads like Alex Jones from Infowars would have listeners (and there are many) believe that almost everything one hears from the “established media” is a government cover-up or a conspiracy to take away the rights and freedoms of American citizens. School shootings being one of them. As he stated with Sandyhook, Mr. Jones told his listeners that particular shooting was a false flag operation and that the victims of the shooting were paid actors hired by the government.
    1. As stated during Jones’ interview with Megyn Kelly, the sources and facts peddled by Jones are obtained from online searches from random unaccredited sources, not journalistic investigation or interviews.
    2. More to the initial point of an effort to have guns taken away: I don’t recall hearing one politician, Democrat or Republican, say: “We want to ban all guns. We want to make all guns illegal. We want to remove guns from responsible gun owners.” Every debate that I recall has been about banning certain types of guns, such as assault rifles, or making much tougher laws on obtaining a firearm.

Laws do not prevent criminals from obtaining weapons illegally as criminals are not concerned with the law.

  1. This is absolutely true. Criminals are not concerned with the law. However, it is surprising to hear this retort from lawmakers who put a great deal of faith in laws that are meant to protect the citizens of this country. If this is truly the case, then why have a law for anything? The law wouldn’t prevent a person from acting against whichever law forbids such an action. Laws however, are not meant for the sole purpose of prevention. Laws are in place to be enforced and hold those that defile the law accountable for their actions.

Drugs are illegal and people are still able to obtain them.

  1. Yes, people are still able to obtain drugs even though they are illegal. There are a few things to keep in mind on this line of thinking:
    1. Most of the illegal schedule I narcotics at one point were perfectly legal. Drugs such as cocaine and heroin were commonplace in pharmacies in the late 19th and early 20th century. Companies such as Bayer marketed these drugs a cure-all for what ails you. All a person needed to do was purchase these substances over the counter at their local pharmacy. It wasn’t until studies were performed on the harmful effects of these drugs and the harm they were doing to those using them that these drugs became illegal. Hence, something that was once deemed safe and normal was made illegal after realizing the negative societal effect caused by them.
    2. Again, having laws in place will not eradicate the problem. Laws hold those who break them accountable for the action. For those who state that making guns or certain kinds of guns illegal wouldn’t solve the problem, does that same person believe that drugs should be made legal and have no consequence for those who use or distribute these substances?

Guns don’t kill people, people kill people.

  1. This is a true statement. A gun has never, on its own accord, pointed itself at a person, pulled the trigger and killed the person. A gun is a tool that serves a purpose. In the wrong hands this means murdering innocent people. Just as in the right hands a gun could be used to stop a bad person with a gun. The issue, I believe, is keeping a gun out of the hands of those who lack the responsibility and proper mental faculties to properly handle that responsibility.

Citizens have a right to own guns to protect their family or to hunt.

  1. The exact wording the 2nd Amendment is as follows: “A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. On December 15, 1791, the Bill of Rights (the first ten amendments to the Constitution) was adopted, having been ratified by three-fourths of the states.”
    1. There has been debated as to the extent and exact interpretation of those who drafted this amendment in regards to “a well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and bear arms…” As this was drafted during the colonial times, where there was no standing military. Rather citizens formed a militia to protect the colonies and allowing firearms was a necessity to maintain independence and protection. However, the current and seemingly majority of lawmakers and citizens lean towards the interpretation of the amendment as the right of the individual citizen to own a firearm.
    2. While a gun is certainly a viable means to protect one’s family and of course hunt; should that right be extended to guns that pose more of lethal threat than a hunting rifle? Take for example the AR-15 rifle. This is a semi-automatic rifle with a good many customization options. *This weapon and other guns like it were not born for the purpose of hunting. They were not designed for protecting families from home invaders. **After a conversation with a friend I did more research into the AR-15. Please see the following article for my findings: A Brief History of the AR-15 **. As previously mentioned regarding illegal drugs, there are schedules for drugs based on addictive potential and harmful effects. Schedule I drugs such as cocaine, heroin, LSD etc. are illegal and only dispensed to those licensed to use them for clinical research. Schedule II drugs such as Oxycontin, Morphine, Fentanyl, Adderall and so forth are highly regulated, kept in a safe and only dispensed with a written prescription. Where I’m going with this is that like drugs, not all guns are the same. There are different guns for different purposes. And like Schedule I narcotics, guns such as an AR-15 don’t seem to hold a place for private consumers.

If guns were not available, people would other weapons.

  1. Of course this is a true statement. In the context of a school shooting scenario though, a student who brought in a knife would not pose the extent of danger as a student who brings in a semi-automatic rifle.

 

I must confess: I’ve shot an AR-15 at a shooting range and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Also, some of the best people I know are responsible gun owners. I am not in favor in making all guns illegal or taking away firearms from those who are responsible enough to have them. Yet in the wake of the recent 19 years of school shootings, something has to change. When these tragedies occur people jump to extremes on both sides of the isle. The one thing that is most disheartening after these tragedies occur is hearing that “this is not the time to talk about such things.” Talking is exactly what is needed. To have an actual constructive conversation on what should be done. Not to just put up a shield such as “I stand behind the 2nd Amendment” then closing one’s mind to even listening to another’s idea. And this goes both ways. The anti-gun camp need to listen just as attentive as the pro-gun camp.

The questions that I would like answered are: why is this such a unique epidemic to the United States? Countries such as Australia and England who have extremely strict gun laws have seen a dramatic reduction in gun related crimes. (Source 1, Source 2, Source 3, Source 4). Would the U.S. see such results if we were to follow suite? Or, were there other socio-economic reasons in Australia and England that enabled the reduction?

For pure statistics on crime rates from around the world please visit the following link: Crime Prevention Research Center: UPDATED: Comparing Death Rates from Mass Public Shootings and Mass Public Violence in the US and Europe.  The following charts were obtained from the aforementioned website.

 

Finally, there is one aspect to these senseless school shootings that I haven’t heard mention of. That is the involvement and responsibility of the parents of the shooters. Society holds leaders accountable for the actions of their subordinates, however, there doesn’t seem to be any regard in holding parents accountable for allowing their child to obtain these weapons and bring them to school. It seems like these parents are willfully ignorant of the mindset and mental health of their children. Perhaps some of these parents didn’t care about nurturing their children and instilling them a sense of a moral compass. Or, maybe these parents were too preoccupied with other aspects of their life to notice what their child was feeling or going through to cause the child to snap. Whatever the case, the biggest factor for stopping these shootings will begin at home.

 

 

 

 

 

A Difference of Opinion Severs Relationships

Yesterday morning, I got a text from my dad asking how to join Twitter. I replied, answering his question and followed up with a question of why he wanted to join that particular social media platform. He stated that he wanted to follow President Trump and get his information directly from the source. While I was a bit surprised, I wasn’t shocked. My dad is a long time fan of Alex Jones and Jones’ show Info Wars. This being an alt right conspiracy filled “news” program.

I have a much more middle of the road approach to politics and firmly believe in letting people live how they want and believe what they chose as long as it isn’t harming others. And if a person’s ideological views don’t match mine that’s ok. I’d much rather have a friend and a good relationship with someone than to sever ties based solely on not having the same beliefs. My dad is not that way and yesterday I found out first hand that a relationship with his son is not as important as having the same beliefs and options as him.

Over the course of several text messages my dad asked if I disliked Trump. To which I stated that someone who brags about grabbing women by the pussy, goes on Twitter tirades over Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Celebrity Apprentice show ratings, among other rants, was not someone I found to be admirable.

Then my father proceeds to ask me if I get my news from fake news CNN? Which is framed almost exactly how Trump deems that network. I answered that I did not. Which is true. I told my father that I believe that we should have a free press that questions our leaders and that not having that kind of system would put us on par with a dictatorship like North Korea, where the government regulates what people see in the news and media. I also informed him that I don’t trust some alternative news source that believes the government has a “God Machine,” can control tornados, and is putting chemicals in the water that turns frogs gay.

My dad didn’t seem to like my answer because he stated that we need to talk about this, to which I replied: No, we don’t’. He could respect that I have an opinion that is different than his and we can have a relationship or we can just not have a relationship. And my father chose the latter.

He would rather not have a relationship with his son or allow his son to think for himself and form his own options rather than just focus on common ground and agree to disagree.

My father, for as long as I can remember, has said that the government is slowly trying to take our freedoms away. How hypocritical is it then to not allow his son to have the freedom to think for himself? Is that not the essence of freedom? To think for one’s self? To chose what one believes? To live how one choses?

My father is also a “devout” Catholic, or so he claims. I wonder then what he thinks of Pope Francis speaking out against Trump regarding the ban on refugees and immigration? And how does such a moral and religious person hold a person in such high regard who brags about grabbing women’s genitals?

So, thanks to Alex Jones for doing all my father’s thinking for him and informing him what to believe, I no longer have a relationship with my dad. Because in Jones’ eyes, I am the enemy.

How Donald Trump Won the 2016 Presidential Election by: Gordon Zeng

All credit for this article goes to Gordon Zeng, and the original article can be found here.

Gordon ZengFollowed this whole mess from start to finish, glad it’s over now

Trump won thanks to the Democrats. So if that was your party, you have them to blame.

As a preface, I am writing this from a neutral, objective standpoint.

Let’s start with the key factor here. It’s summed up in one slogan:

“The silent majority stands with Trump.”

Remember this quote on those signs being held by his supporters? It served as both a slogan, and, as we have found out…

It was a warning.

A warning that went completely unheeded by every major news outletThey laughed it off.

“That’s great kids, but Clinton has the vocal majority, good game.”

And yet the election results prove that the slogan was indeed true. A huge silent majority overwhelmed the predicted polling outcome.

Why was this the key factor?

And why were the polls so radically off?

For starters, the Democrats made a terrible assumption, one that hadn’t caused them any trouble up until now:

They assumed that states that historically voted blue would continue to do so.

And this is where it all goes down. Every polling prediction used this assumption as a starting point, taking them for granted. They focused heavily on battleground states, ignoring the possibility that their home base was susceptible to attack. They ignored the warning of a silent majority.

Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Michigan have been blue for the past two decades. This election, each one flipped red, undermining the core of pundit predictions. It was precisely when this flip happened that everyone started panicking and Clinton’s odds of winning plummeted. The silent majority struck, and it struck hard.

But why were they silent up until now?

The Clinton campaign made it acceptable, trendy, and cool to hate Trump supporters

The Clinton campaign colluded with major media news outlets (as evidenced from Wikileaks) and constantly pumped out negative videos of Trump while largely ignoring the constant scandals Hillary found herself in.

In his speeches, Trump often made remarks of certain minority groups. These remarks usually included praise alongside criticism, and he usually made sure to add that he didn’t mean to say that a minority group as a whole was to blame.

The news outlets pounced on this. It wasn’t hard, they just had to edit out or not show the parts where Trump explained himself. As a result, the people who actually attended his rallies saw perfectly reasonable statements, and those who didn’t only saw edited footage that showed him making racist and outlandish remarks with no clarification. On top of that, the edited footage was often spliced with cheering from his audience. Any reasonable person seeing a clip like that, without knowing it was edited, would rightly be horrified by both Trump and his supporters.

And so a divide was created.

“Trump is racist and his supporters are racist” became the justification for hating Trump supporters. From that point on, any person who outed themselves as a Trump supporter while in a liberal circle could expect to get shamed. The better option was to stay silent.

The Clinton campaign didn’t stop there. They paid celebrities large sums of money to endorse Hillary, in an effort to reach a millennial base. They even paid many prominent YouTubers to endorse her, videos of which can be found right now (along with videos by YouTubers who called out that kind of play and refused).

They made it seem like all the “cool kids” were supporting Hillary, and against the evil that was Trump. How does a Trump supporter argue against a pop culture icon telling everyone they are evil? Should probably stay silent instead.

With the mainstream media calling out Trump supporters as evil, celebrities saying the same, and even many universities deeming pro-Trump comments as “hate speech”, it’s not hard to see why the silent majority formed and became as potent as it was.

The Democrats tried to show that passing judgment on groups of people as a whole was bigoted. And yet that’s exactly what they did by lumping all Trump supporters into a “basket of deplorables”.

That irony was not lost on the silent majority.

The DNC collusion against Bernie Sanders created “Bernie bros”

It’s well known now that the Democratic primary was not fairly fought. Bernie Sanders was backstabbed by the very party he was representing, due to its higher financial and political interest in a Clinton presidency. Yet Bernie’s message touched the hearts of many who sought to overthrow the establishment and the system that Clinton represented. When he was betrayed by the DNC, many of his supporters refused to back Clinton, the one who unfairly robbed the man they put their faith in of a fair fight. They saw in Bernie an outsider who would bring change to the system, and who else was a populist icon who also wanted to bring down the establishment?

You guessed it.

Well… you can’t really announce out loud that you were for Bernie and now for Trump. See the point above.

The silent majority grew even more.

Legitimate issues went unaddressed by ClintoTrump wanted to “Make America Great Again”. How was he going to do this? We still don’t know, but it does involve a lot of winning apparently.

But note the starting point. “Making it great again” recognizes that it currently is not. His platform was based around acknowledging that America had problems while under eight years of Democrat rule.

America is suffering. Unemployment is high, and worse, the government is trying to distort statistics to show otherwise, in the hopes of winning another election cycle. Trump identified areas where it was affecting the core bulk of Americans, such as job outsourcing. Did it even matter if he didn’t have a concrete plan? Just saying the problem exists alone let those infuriated by the current system feel that their voices were being heard. “Make America Great Again”, while vague in its means, was nevertheless inspirational in its promised end.

What did the Democrats do to counter this? Remember this attempt?

“MAGA” was reaching out to those who felt their concerns were being ignored by the party that had ruled for the past two terms. It showed that their problems were being acknowledged, at the very least. And what voters saw in this attempted rebuttal, was the Democratic party once again sweeping their concerns under the rug, telling disillusioned members who had voted for them before that the country was already great and that no change was necessary.

“Make America Great Again” resonated with those who wanted solutions.

Meanwhile, the Clinton campaign struggled for a while to come up with a good slogan. At first, they resorted to simple statements on her website, such as

“We cannot afford a Donald Trump presidency.”

Not too inspirational. Who’s the one running the fear campaign now?

Then they shopped around some more, and ultimately settled on “I’m With Her”. This was used all the way through Election Day.

Not only did their indecisiveness on a catchy slogan hurt their marketplace exposure time (and people who work in branding will know this all too well) but the slogan itself was hardly inspirational to those with legitimate concerns. It simply oozed selfishness.

Voters saw Trump as: “MAGA, we have problems but I will fix them for you”

While they saw Hillary as: “Be with me and help me become president. At least I’m not Trump. He’s racist. Me me me, it’s my turn.”

One slogan was a rallying cry for all of America.

The other slogan was all about Hillary Clinton.

And then we go to the debates.

What did Trump keep on doing in the debates? He kept on highlighting the struggles of the blue-collar workers, even in blue states. Even during questions that had nothing to do with them, he kept on bringing the topic back to why jobs were becoming scarce, and what he would do (albeit vaguely) to fix it. Clinton’s platform was largely focused on still attacking his flaws and defending herself against her own baggage rather than acknowledging the suffering voters in the blue states that she thought were hers from the start.

The silent majority of those states had other plans.

The Emails + Wikileaks

I really wonder how Hillary will feel from now every time she opens an email browser and realize what her past actions cost her. The email scandal could have gone away had she told the truth about what it was that she deleted. But she didn’t.

Supporters tried to say that they were insignificant. But if the contents were insignificant, why was she trying so desperately to hide them?

And then there were the Wikileaks, every day pumping out more and more evidence about Clinton’s media collusion, her receiving debate questions ahead of time, proof of the DNC sabotaging Bernie, the questionable use of charity money, and basically verifying that accusations dismissed by the Clinton campaign as conspiracies were indeed true.

While the mainstream media outlets refused to cover this, the silent majority were already committed to learning what they needed to further their conviction.

Liberals who were still with her tried to blow off the whole thing; there was no reason to think that she had committed anything sketchy.

The silent majority had all the reasons they needed.

Vote Wars: Episode III

Revenge of the Si – lent Majority

And then they struck. On Election Day, the silent majority flipped the predictions (by fivethirtyeight, the supposed gold standard) by turning crucial historically blue states red, and then continuing the rampage. As the map started bleeding red in parts it shouldn’t have, the media outlets panicked. It was easy enough before the election to claim that there was no way for Trump to win, in hopes of discouraging voters. But they were powerless when the actual election was underway.

The above graphic shows how every mainstream media prediction was wildly inaccurate. Many who gambled on the election and lost money can thank the mainstream media for influencing them.

This is a historic election that will go down in the books. Trump fought against a ridiculously large gauntlet of contenders in the primaries, and won. He fought against his own party refusing to back him. He recovered from his own party betraying him after his leaked comments about grabbing women. He fought against every underhanded tactic the DNC threw at him, media collusion, every mainstream media outlet being against him, his supporters being silenced, and won.

Has there ever been another moment in history when a billionaire was the underdog?

Academics, from now and possibly centuries later (if we as a species make it) will study and analyze this election. And I hope that right now, despite almost every liberal crying about how racism and bigotry are what drove these results, that they realize there were many factors at play here.

Racism? This was the same country that elected Obama. Twice. And some states that gave their votes to him now gave them to Trump.

Bigotry? The definition of bigotry is the refusal to acknowledge other viewpoints. And by nonstop claiming it was the fault of a racist country, the losing side is fulfilling this requirement.

Rather, this whole mess was the fault of the DNC, who not only screwed themselves over, in which they deserve the loss, but who also unfairly screwed the members of their own party over, who did not deserve this.

If your side lost in this election, recognize where the blame truly lies. Demonize the other side all you want, but recognize that the very ones who tried to lead you to victory performed selfish actions without your consent, used underhanded tactics, undermined democracy, divided the country by promoting intolerance to different political beliefs, withheld crucial information about your candidate’s shady dealings, and ultimately lost it for you.

You did your part. Your party didn’t.

No Reply

Perhaps this isn’t exactly a new trend. However, it is happening a lot more, to me at least. This being the act of not replying to a text or a phone call. How hard is it to take twenty seconds to reply back to a text, at the very least to inform the person you are busy at the moment, and will get back at a later time?

The excuse “I’m busy,” or, “I’ve been busy” is often used. Guess what? Everyone is busy. Everyone’s time is valuable.

This practice is quite prominent when trying to ensure a prior plan is still a go. Yet, instead of a person calling/texting to say “hey, I can’t make it tonight” and provide a legitimate reason, even if it is to say “I just don’t feel like it,” the person just doesn’t communicate at all. They just let the act of not responding or communicating, do the talking for them.

This is pathetic. Be considerate and let people know what is going on.