One Last Time Again

OK, I’m going to let you know this up front–this week’s blog is about gun control and mind control.

You should know going in I’m not a Trump fan. For the few things he’s done I’ve liked, the majority of his acts are unbecoming of a president and display his ignorance. Why there hasn’t at least been a coup to overthrow his Twitter account is beyond me.

However, I’m not buying the claim that he is a racist. That’s a pretty nasty claim and very reminiscent of the 1950s when, if you wanted to invoke emotion from voters, you’d call someone “a Commie!”  That worked quite well for the Republicans at the time. Maybe the Democrats feel its payback time.

That being said, there is absolutely no room for racism or any of the ism’s in our world. That is a learned behavior and like all the other prejudices, develops from our surroundings. We can stop it.  However, just throwing it out there to fuel a political base is wrong and diminishes its significance.

Now, if you choose to read on, keep in mind none of this is designed to change your mind. I’m just trying to explain my thinking.

Some will agree, others might agree partially. And I know some will read this and call me flat-out wrong. That’s the way you think and I’m all for you having your own thought process. This is how my brain works.

If you live your life one-sided, you’ll only know half this world. I don’t want to look at the limited menu, I want the full version so I get to make the final choice.  Too many people today are thinking with political party brains and are as closed-minded as the people they’re criticizing.  Because I’m a D, you know I feel this way. Or, since I’m an R, of course I’m against that.

Again, live your life that way, it’s your choice.  OK, here we go:

The Two Most Recent Mass Shootings were different, but the same. An unstable person having access to weapons of death that allowed them to kill a lot of people quickly. We should be using the resources of the most powerful nation in the world to make sure it never happens again.

First step–An immediate ban on all assault-style weapons. 100%, no question.  Let’s do it for a year and see what happens. Where is the harm?  Although, a better question might be, how many lives could we save?

Second step–Identify all the possible causes and realize they are real possibilities. We’re currently divided into two teams, the R’s and the D’s.  If you’re on one side, you’re blaming certain things.  D’s credit the president, his divisive comments and weak gun laws. R’s point out mental illness and video games are the causes. It just might be all of them.

Third step–Require news services to report objectively and not with an agenda. Again, I’m in the middle and not a Trump fan, but if you remove the rose-colored glasses, the news anchors are framing everything from the D playbook. If you missed the huddle, the current play calls for everyone to use the word ‘racist’ and ‘hate’ as often as possible when talking about the president.

PROOF?:  Yeah, a pretty bold claim and because the president has suggested that before, it can’t be true, can it?  Let me point out how quickly Chuck Todd on “Meet the Press” and the various network news anchors jumped right on board to connect the president’s tweets and statements to the white nationalist agenda of the El Paso shooter. His mental instability was downplayed because it wasn’t a mental illness thing, right? We know he was deep into his dysfunction but don’t even know if he even paid attention to the president or followed his tweets. I’d argue that you’d have to be pretty crazy to walk into a Wal-Mart and start shooting innocent people you don’t even know. Now, let me ask you–did you hear one mention on any newscast about the Dayton shooter that he was an Elizabeth Warren supporter and politically, a progressive liberal?  It was true, but went un-reported. By the way, the Dayton shooter was a noted troubled soul since at least 2012 when he had a kill list of his classmates.

If your current news service isn’t informationally-based, you need to switch. However, if you want to be fed the Kool Aid of your politically liking, stay right where you are.

Oh, and by the way, in case you missed it, there was a third mass shooting over the weekend. It happened in Chicago over three days, with 12 dead and 66 other people shot. That’s more than Dayton. Why wasn’t that a part of the weekend news coverage? Because you couldn’t connect that to the president and make it part of the game plan. Chicago is a D-town and we wouldn’t want to have the public realize that a major city run by the Democrats has had 278 people shot and killed so far this year (as of this writing) and 1,365 shot and wounded. In the Windy City, a person is shot every 3 minutes. That wasn’t reported because there was no presidential connection and they already had plenty.

My cartoonist friend, Steve Kelley, summed up the situation nicely.

Blaming doesn’t change the situation. We’ve got a serious gun problem, a serious mental health problem and an over-coddling problem.

The Second Amendment no more guarantees you the right to bear automatic weapons than it does to own a cannon or bazooka. Those are weapons of war. Period. We managed to have an assault weapons ban for 10 years, from 1994-2004. Kudos to the 1994 congress for having the guts to pass that bill because attempts to extend it have been blocked ever since, thanks to legislators in the pockets of the N.R.A..

Again, I’m not trying to persuade you in any direction. As you’ve read, I’ve used some Trump talking points as well as views from the Democrats. I’m in the friggin’ middle. The part of America wondering when our leaders are going to finally do something to fix what’s seriously broken.

Ideally, before the next one. You should not have to go to the store wearing a flak jacket.

Tim Hunter

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

OK, I’m Going to Run Into It

The wall.

So like the worst game of dodgeball ever, the Democrats picked the side of being against it because, as you know, President Trump is for it. What I can’t believe is any possible merits of a wall are being immediately dismissed by the progressive crowd because it was President Trump’s cornerstone promise when he ran for president.

There are a lot of ideas gushing through my head right now, so I’ll try to march them out in somewhat of an organized manner.

Do we need border security? Absolutely. Would a wall help?  Again, it couldn’t hurt. In fact, go back a decade to the Secure Fence Act of 2006  and, under President George W. Bush, our country authorized about 700 miles of fencing along certain stretches of land between the border of the United States and Mexico.

The act also authorized the use of more vehicle barriers, checkpoints and lighting to curb illegal immigration, and the use of advanced technology such as satellites and unmanned aerial vehicles.

At the time the act was being considered, Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and Chuck Schumer were all members of the Senate.  Obama, Clinton, Schumer and 23 other Democratic senators voted in favor of the act when it passed in the Senate by a vote of 80 to 19.

So, there was a time when they were for it. Even if it came from the other side of the aisle. Now, anyone with a D next to their name has to be against it.

My feeling is this: let Trump have his wall and, if it doesn’t work, you have a major tool against him in an upcoming election. If it does work or even just slows down illegal immigration, I fail to see the harm.

Of course, now here comes the idea that it’s an ‘immoral’ idea. Therefore, if you support, you’re a monster. And, if that’s not enough for you, then the idea is a big waste of your tax dollars. Since when has congress ever concerned themselves with spending too much?

$374,087 Spent Watching Grandma’s Dating Behavior

In 2015, the federal government spent $374,087 in taxpayer dollars observing senior adults’ dating habits.

The National Science Foundation study’s stated objective of obtaining a “more comprehensive understanding of relationship maintenance efforts” was murky at best.

$67.9 Million Spent on Wild Horse Management

In 2014 alone, the Bureau of Land Management spent $67.9 million to manage the growing population of thousands of wild horses that span across 26.9 million acres in the American West.

$43 Million Spent on a Gas Station…in Afghanistan

From 2011 to 2014, the Department of Defense’s Task Force for Business and Stability Operations, tasked with building up Afghanistan’s economy, spent nearly $43 million to build a Compressed Natural Gas filling station in Sheberghan, Afghanistan.

Sadly, someone didn’t do their research, or they would have discovered that there was no natural gas distribution ability in Afghanistan and the cost to convert a vehicle to CNG exceeded the average annual income in the country.

After a tremendous waste of taxpayer dollars – spending a total of $766 million during the organization’s lifetime, the DOD closed the site in March 2015.

Millions Spent Marketing U.S. Raisins in Foreign Countries

The Department of Agriculture spends HOW much marketing raisins?

The Foreign Service Market Access Program spends nearly $200 million of your money annually to pay companies and trade groups for advertising, market research and travel costs to promote American products overseas.

Since 1998, the Raisin Administrative Committee – a group of 46 California raisin growers and packers – has received more than $38 million in taxpayer funds from the Market Access Program to promote their raisins abroad.

The catch? The Raisin Administrative Committee already produces 99.5 percent of all American raisins and 45 percent of the world’s raisins.

$2.6 Million to Help Truckers Diet

Encouraging a healthy lifestyle is great – but it should not be done on the taxpayers’ dime. From 2011 to 2015, American taxpayers have spent a total of $2.6 million to fund a trucker weight-loss intervention program, sponsored by the National Institute of Health.

The federal government would do well to trim its annual budget in the future by cutting wasteful programs like this one.

Look, I’m not either for a wall or against it. It’s like hearing an argument break out over which are better, paper or plastic grocery bags. Right now, it feels like the two sides are just showboating and politicking away, wasting time when we could trying to fix real problems in this country. I don’t need to list them to you. And this whole wall extravaganza has become a huge distraction to bigger problems lurking out there–a possible U.S. military venture into Venezuela, Iraq threatening war with Israel again, and Russia….well, just Russia.

As you’ve heard me state before in these free-form expressions, the truth is always somewhere in the middle. Compromise gets things done. Let’s take this topic to the extreme, starting with no wall at all. Just let the borders run wild, let everyone just pour in and then we’ll deal with things as they occur. In fact, let’s make all walls illegal. From now on, all fences, walls and such need to be torn down. They’re immoral, remember? In fact, let’s take it all the way and ban all copies of Pink Floyd’s album, “The Wall.”

Or, we allow Mr. Trump to build his wall and see what happens. I fail to see the harm it might cause, but it could be what the Democrats actually need to regain the White House. It’s as if they fear that the President’s plan, if it works, would help his re-election.

From the outside, those who would do us harm that see us as a pretty divided country right now, which is the opportunity they’ve been waiting for. And that makes me sad.

Then again, maybe America has hit their own wall and is so sick of both parties that Howard Schultz will become our next president as an Independent. I can just see it, after a couple of months in office, he ends up selling the White House and they move it to Oklahoma City.

Wall or no wall, let’s make a decision and then get back to being kind to one another. It would be so nice for each of us to refocus on our own version of the American Dream, whatever that might be and return to the days when the only real problems in the world were in Dear Abby and or on TV with Jerry Springer. Now, those were problems.

Tim Hunter

 

A Handy Little Test

First off, those of you who know me understand I like the middle. I don’t have a D or an R by my name and proudly choose the better of the two candidates when there is one.

You also have most likely noticed that our country has taken a drastic turn towards polarization. Us versus Them. If you don’t think like me, then you’re a bigot or a racist or just a downright evil person. And that’s sad.  We’re the same people we were before the most recent presidential election, yet we’ve allowed the major parties to shape how we think. Right now, the only game being played is how to villainize the other guy.

For a brief while, I noticed a push to try and talk out our differences. To be civil and to discuss politics. It gave me hope, because it’s through discussion and comparing points of view that we can move towards a compromise and work together as Americans.

If you insist on being caustic, bitter and angry and view that as a solution to our country’s problems, you have the absolute right to do so. However, if you’d like to begin the journey out of this cesspool and start the slow climb back to being civil to one another, may I suggest this little test?

Every time there’s a slam on Donald Trump, would you have laughed as hard if we were to substitute in the name of Hillary Clinton?  My guess is, probably not.  It’s a simple little filter I put to most of the stories that come out about our current president.  For example, if Bill Maher had made an incest joke about Bill Clinton and his daughter, or if Martha Stewart was photographed flipping off a portrait of Hillary, would that have been equally as funny?  I can beat the 5-second timer on that response. It comes down to basic decency and respect.

Don’t respect the office or this president?  Good for you. Take a craft class at the senior center, create a gold medal out of construction paper and put it on your coat and wear it proudly.

On the reality side of the world, this is the time to come up with better candidates, better ideas, ways to fix things, to make things better.  The problem with whining and complaining is that, eventually, people just quit listening.

And now more than ever, we need to listen to each other.

Tim Hunter