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The people’s term limit program.

Should you vote just to change the landscape?

That’s a question being asked in small town cafes and big city offices, and not just about national offices, as the 2018 election moves ever closer.

One morning coffee group went over the candidates for city offices, including the mayor, asking first and foremost, how long the incumbent had been in office.

Respectfully folks, there’s a little more to it than that.

First, what is it you want out of your government?  Next, is the incumbent on that same page?

If so, have they had ample time to accomplish at least some of their campaign promises?  If not, will changing the nameplate on any of the desks assist in effecting change?

Then, is there credible competition, and what is the nature of the people backing that person? Stump speeches don’t mean a lot if the candidate’s cheering section has a track record of being for or doing something completely different.

The classic case of a politician not being exactly what people thought they were voting for was Barack Obama. That’s not all on him, although he was a very accomplished campaign speaker. The signs were there if you looked closely enough, but people got caught up in the symbolism of electing a black President.

If there is any place where you should be color-and gender blind, it’s in an election.

Which, as all things inevitably must in this political climate, brings us to the national stage.

Both parties are having a bit of an identity crisis, leading a lot of voters to wonder if either still represents them.

Some Democrats have gone so far left that you wonder if they might themselves be European Union, Russian or Cuban plants.

On the other side, you have what is being called the far right Bannon faction, which seems to be competing for the title of most puritanical political faction.

It’s tempting to look for the independent just because they are different, or at the other end of the spectrum, the well-known and “safe” incumbent.

Instead, try a little DIY research on your own. It’s not as hard as you might think.

If the person is an established politician, check out their voting record. If the contender is a newbie, check their public profile. What were they saying on Twitter or Facebook etc. before they decided to run for office? If they are in business, what is the reputation of that business?

You are looking for credibility as well as party affiliation.  One way to view it is, would you loan that person $1,000 based solely on their verbal promise to repay it?

It isn’t too soon to start. The first scheduled primary for a national office is February 20, in Wisconsin.

Can we plug the cyber sieve?

The revelation that North Korea hacked South Korea and obtained among other things, the entire military planning between the U.S. and South Korea is proof that we may need to rethink the role of cyber for any type of sensitive information, unless and until far better security can be imposed within the technology world.

That level of intrusion is a BFD.

Using the internet has become about as private and secure as posting your information on a highway billboard.

Obviously the level of magnitude is far different but it is patently obvious that the internet, as well as any proprietary intranet, has become almost something to fear instead of being, as its civilian developers intended, the great social communication tool that was first intended.

That goes far beyond whether Yahoo, Google or Target can keep your private data safe, or whether Google and Twitter should be subject to more government oversight.

If you are in the camp slobbering at the thought of self-driving cars and big rigs, think about these scenarios.

ABC Freight has a load of fertilizer on board, with stops at several Lowe’s stores. Bad guy hacks rig’s autonomous system and hijacks the entire load, pairing it up with a similarly hijacked tanker load of diesel. Both trucks are re-programmed to show that they are making all their stops as planned. How long before anyone notices and reports they didn’t get their deliveries? Too long.

Who needs a nuke?

Or you send your kids to school in your autonomous cyber-controlled car but they never arrive.

That might have sounded like a great script for a cop show or a game a few years ago. Now it’s not just possible, but probable.

And what does Congress do? Writes laws to prohibit any restrictions by local or state governments regarding oversight of autonomous vehicles.

So far the world has managed to ignore the threat posed by the complete domination of technology that has been super-imposed into our societies.  We are instead being shepherded, mostly by the left,  into focusing on skin color, gender warfare, and other divisive tribal concepts.

Does that seem odd to you?

Your take – immigration reform.

The polarization and misinformation surrounding both legal and illegal immigration has spawned a lot of media myths.

One is that business owners and farmers are secretly in favor of illegal immigration, since “illegals work cheaper.”

“Ross”, who is both, would like to insert his two cents worth. Insofar as he knows what President Trump’s immigration policy is, he supports it.

“I own both a grain farm and a housecleaning business, both of which rely a lot on seasonal manual labor employees.

For me at least that has never meant employing the cheapest labor. Hiring based just on price is almost inevitably like buying any other substandard product. You get what you pay for.

Notice that I said “manual labor employees” NOT unskilled labor.

Both farms and consumer businesses need employees with skills. In my case I need farm employees who are not just able to drive a tractor or combine, but who have the necessary experience to do so without damaging either the equipment or the crop. I also run a hundred head or so of mother cows, so I need people who can recognize when a cow is going into labor, or when it might be getting sick or who can read and understand the instructions for administering medications. Those are skills, just like coding or social work is a skill.

My cleaning staff has to know the difference between a wool carpet and nylon and how to clean each of them. They have to know how, and want to move furniture or knick-knacks without damaging anything.  They have to be able to read and understand English, to read the directions on the cleaning products and the work orders.

I start my so-called “unskilled” labor at $10.00 an hour. If they have good work habits and can actually do what they say they can do, they can make up to $20. I pay all the required insurances and taxes for them. That’s neither cheap or exploitive.

When politicians say that the people I hire are taking jobs from Americans though, I have to object. In fact I also don’t believe that most of the DACA bunch would be very good at the skills I require.

Why?  Because we have developed a whole generation, maybe even two, of world-class elitist snobs who somehow equate working with your hands to slavery.  Go through the help wanted ads and see how many entry level jobs, like say, selling phones or appliances require at least an associate degree. That’s elitism.

As you can maybe see, most of the people who are coming across the border as illegal immigrants are of no use to me. But I don’t need some college brainwashed snob either.

I support a merit-based immigration AND a much stronger guest worker program. I support deportation, not because the people came here illegally, but because they don’t usually have the skills I, or most other employers need. The country doesn’t need more welfare recipients.

I also support making everyone play by the same rules, like e-verify. It’s true that some people are exploiting immigrants and they should be shamed and jailed for doing that.

I also understand the argument that people are fleeing oppression. I just think that they need to clean up their own countries and then they wouldn’t need to leave their homes and loved ones.

If the United Nations and the liberal left wants to really help people how about working on that?”

Don’t ever buy into the Clinton/Sanders/Pelosi/Warren mantra that Americans don’t understand the issues, or that they are somehow too stupid to bother representing.

They understand the game all too well.

 

No reform, no DACA.

That’s the gist of President Trump’s  reported 70-point immigration reform letter to Congress.

Naturally that resulted in exploding heads in Congress and elsewhere.

Funny, no one seems to mind that sort of ultimatum when it’s part of an antifa or Black Lives Matter protest. You know, the ones that say things like “no justice, no peace?”

For those that were complaining that the President doesn’t list enough specifics in his policies, be careful what you wish for.

The public has yet to see the full text of this missive. Perhaps the President will post a link on Twitter or on White House.gov.

Although at least one newspaper has supposedly seen the full letter, it hasn’t yet been made public, so the rest of us have to settle for little bits and pieces as doled out by the media.

One such pre-release glimpse is offered in this Washington Post article on October 9, bylined by Jill Colvin.

It mentions such “draconian” and revolutionary ideas as overhauling the green card program to stop “chain migration” by family members ten times removed, hiring more immigration officers and judges to process illegal immigrant cases and deportations more quickly, expelling people who overstay their visas, mandatory e-verify use for all employers, funding the misnamed border “wall”, and overhauling the asylum system.

Somehow that sounds to most non-political people like a fair trade off for what, by any name is amnesty for 800,000 people.

It also looks like a “put up or shut up” strategy by the administration, intended to light a fire under the do-nothing career politicians.

It was already patently obvious that they had hoped to take the DACA question down to the wire and then toss it back to Trump, either in the form of legislation they know he won’t sign, or by doing nothing at all.

That option is off the table now. Congressional drones now have to come out firmly against solving problems that seem to most of us to be problems too long left unsolved, or actually function as legislators.

As the article notes, it is unknown which points are negotiable, although one thinks that perhaps the increased fees at the border might be one such point.

America is more than ready to force Congress to do its job. The bipartisan “resist” movement just wound up with its tail caught in a crack.

If it refuses to negotiate and even approve many of the President’s ideas, it becomes obvious that the whole DACA thing is about using the affected 800,000 as political chess pieces.

For Trump’s part, it’s about simply standing firm on the most critical parts of his demands, versus merely being a bull-headed counter-puncher.

And in the middle? 800,000 very interested human beings and a nation.

What if there are no answers?

It may well be that nothing anyone could have done would have stopped what happened in Las Vegas prior to the shooter’s arrival there.

As many suspected early on after the Las Vegas mass shooting, the answer to the “why” is likely to be better explained by psychologists than police.

If he had a grudge, maybe it was that people just made him uncomfortable, and he finally decided to destroy as many of what made him uncomfortable as he could.

One psychologist attempted to put a clinical label on him early on, but in the end it will come down to diagnosis by studying his previous actions, making any answer inconclusive.

When Ted Kaczynski, the Unabomber, was finally captured in 1996, he was subsequently examined by several forensic and clinical psychologists. They never did come to total agreement as to what personality disorder or mental defect he suffered.

That’s what’s so frustrating. We tend to want to “fix” everything and accepting that there was no magic pill, no gun control law, no domestic violence arrest or anything else to fix going forward may be the hardest thing of all.

Gun control wouldn’t have stopped him. So he had 40-plus firearms, many of one type. So do many collectors. He passed every background check, and given his attention to detail, it’s likely that if he had to wait seven days instead of three, he would have done so.

And for the clueless late night hosts and political opportunists. Any person or family that hunts is probably going to own more than one firearm.  You don’t use the same caliber rifle to hunt a  moose or a bear as you would for a deer or feral hog or a duck. And no hunter who habitually ventures into the back country is going to go there without adding a sidearm to that mix.

If he did in fact buy most of them at retail over a one-year span, maybe that’s a clue, but is it conclusive enough for a warrant?

See something, say something?  Although several neighbors and tradespeople said he sometimes acted “off” or spoke rudely to the girlfriend, that isn’t something you can report to the police and expect them to take action on it. Others who knew or observed him saw nothing wrong at all.  Being somewhat of a loner (remember, he went out in public a lot) and a teetotaler isn’t a crime.

He was a gambler, but he apparently didn’t bother anyone with it, and he could afford it. What are we going to do, arrest everyone who plays video poker?

He probably did have mental health issues, but he went to a  doctor. Unless we overturn HIPAA, or he was foaming at the mouth in the doctor’s office, was there enough there for a physician to report? Do we want everyone who gets an anti-anxiety prescription put on a watch list?

And what about the explosives? Guns weren’t his only weapon.

Politicians will do what they always do, try to turn this tragedy to their advantage. Ordinary people will ponder on the meaning of fate. Hotels, large venues and law enforcement will take whatever actions they can to make the public feel safer.

In the process of trying to answer these questions to somehow “fix” this, will we lose a few more of the freedoms we used to take for granted, all because of one now dead person?

If that’s true, in the end, he won.

TGIF – October 6, 2017

For the love of a dog.

It’s going to take a long time, maybe even a lifetime, for people who were in Las Vegas last Sunday to find a way to move forward. Sure, some people can talk about it easily, but most haven’t even emotionally accepted that it happened yet.

Reporters repeatedly sought out interviews with survivors, but one young man in particular stood out. It was obvious that he was uncomfortable, but he was willing to talk, and though he looked as if he was not completely OK, at least he was able to deal with being interviewed.

Until the reporter replayed a video that included the sounds of the gunshots. Then he was definitely not OK. If you ever wanted to know what PTSD looks like from the outside, he was its poster child at that moment.

When really bad things happen in your life you never forget it, but most of us learn to deal with it. Shrinks call that developing positive coping mechanisms.

One way to do that is to find something in your environment that calms you, that makes you feel less threatened, maybe even “normal” for a moment.

For some that can be a therapy dog and 17 went to Las Vegas after being invited to help as best they could.  Thanks to their people for making them available.

Past the best-used-by date?

That would kind of describe the messaging of people like Hillary Clinton. There are a lot more but she’s the one with her face all over late night TV yesterday.

And of course there are the Hollywood trolls like Nancy Sinatra on Twitter.

If you like HRC, that’s your choice, but could you at least muster up the courage to ask if all this self-serving left-wing slop is actually helping anything other than a few people’s bank accounts?

It just doesn’t seem productive to practice hate and call for peace. That’s not ying and yang, it’s dumb and dumber.

California inches closer to the edge.

Apparently it’s OK in California to ignore any Federal law you don’t like. Jerry Brown says so, as he signed the legislation making Cali a “sanctuary state,” as liberals work hard to create their version of nirvana, or what some residents are derisively calling “Cali-topia.”

If some  laws don’t matter, why bother with any of them at all? At what point does all this politically oversold compassion become a threat to the rest of us?

Those are questions that need to be answered, sooner rather than later.

Democrats reinforce “slippery slope” fears.

In the wake of the Las Vegas mass shooting, there has been a lot of concurrence that the 2010 decision that legalized “bump stocks” on the grounds that they were not integrally manufactured with the firearm needs to revisited. The NRA notes that perhaps ATF could just add some language making the act of modifying a semi-auto by any means to make it perform like an automatic is an illegal act.

For a pretty good explanation of how these things work, you can read about it here.

(BTW. If you value your gun, you don’t want to use this. Four or more  of the Las Vegas shooter’s guns were reportedly jammed. For the firearms-challenged, it works just about as well as over-clocking a computer by 1GHz. Short term gains are often offset by long-term irreversible damage.)

Great  Both sides and the gun-owning public seem to be able to agree on something. No one “needs” a bump stock, handicapped or not.

And then along comes Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and her crowd to say this isn’t enough and gun control needs to “…go farther, much farther.” When asked if this was in fact a “slippery slope” Nancy replied “I hope so. I certainly hope so.”

That’s exactly why we can’t have any sort of rational discussion on the issue.

Almost immediately upon her remarks, some of the popular support for Congressional action evaporated and conversely a run started on purchasing these things, with some retailers reporting being out of stock on Thursday. Hopefully, that’s just for the novelty of owning one.

Way to go, Nancy.

Political white noise.

Even lifelong gun owners learned a new term this week, specifically “bump stock.”

They didn’t know the term, much less what it does, because 99.999% of all people who own guns have no need or desire to own one.

People who own firearms, especially rifles, normally use them for either hunting or target shooting, or self-defense.

In the case of hunting rifles, the idea is to kill as cleanly as possible because you don’t want to destroy the meat and hide. In the case of the competitive shooter, the idea is to be the most accurate, not to win a prize for the total weight of the bullets that strike the target.

Quite frankly, if you want a weapon to defend yourself in your home, a handgun or maybe a shotgun makes more sense.

A fully automatic rifle operating at the limit of its rate of fire capacity  is not the most accurate thing going. They  tend to be effective only for “pray and spray” situations where you are hoping that the target is just in the wrong place at the right time.

It’s already illegal for a private citizen to convert a semi-automatic weapon to full auto. It can be done, and you don’t need to buy a kit to replace the stock to do it.  You do however have to have tools and knowledge that is far beyond the expertise and especially the motivation of most people who own firearms.

There’s the fly in the ointment when it comes to gun control. Motivation.

Discussing gun control as though the mentality of a mass murderer is somehow going to be changed by a law is sheer folly.

Punishing everyone for the sins of the few or equating gun owners to crazy people is political garbage. It  never accomplishes its goal. It doesn’t make us safer.

Critics like to point out that there are fewer mass shootings in Europe because gun ownership is either banned outright or severely restricted.

On July 14, 2016, 86 people were killed and 458 injured not by a gun but by a truck in Nice, France. On November 11, 2001, in New York City, which is famous for how hard it is to own a gun or get a carry permit  2,753 people were killed by two planes.

Suicide by gun is far less common than suicide by some form of legal or illegal drug.

If someone wants to kill you or die themselves, they’ll find a way.

That said, there is common ground for some common sense legislation. It’s hard to imagine that we need bump stocks.

The Feds could also improve some aspects of the background check and share information about people who are suspected of being bad guys so that the system flags them too.

For example, we know that people who are connected with drug or human trafficking often have guns, so why not add categories for people who haven’t been convicted of a felony, but who are known to law enforcement for unprosecuted misdemeanors. If (and it’s a big if) they try to purchase a gun legally the system spits out a warning.

And there’s something else we could do as a society, and that’s to quit making excuses for and even teaching violent anti-social behavior and stop demonizing law enforcement.  We need to start teaching respect for authority and towards each other again.

This morning the lady who was removed by law enforcement at the request of the airline for being uncooperative about the way she expressed her dog allergy was on TV and the first thing she did was play the race card and scream police brutality.

Lady, we’re sorry you are allergic to dogs but damn it, when someone asks you to leave the plane, just leave peacefully. Service dogs are allowed on planes. Live with it, get some anti-allergy meds, or charter a private plane.

Having said all of that, nothing, no gun control law would have stopped the Las Vegas shooter. At worst it could have turned him into the Las Vegas bomber.