• Archives

  • Topics

  • Meta

  • The Boogeyman - Working Vacation
  • Coming Home
  • Quest To the North
  • Via Serica
  • Tales of the Minivandians
  • Join the NRA

    Join the NRA!

Regaining Trust

Over at The Federalist, Mollie Hemingway discusses ways that the national press has lost the trust and confidence of middle America, and suggests ways they can begin gaining it back.  Her suggestions and thought process are excellent, and I suggest everyone check it out.

After reading through her piece, I thought I’d make a couple suggestions of my own:



Quit lying to us

I quit watching CBS News, which I had made my primary national news source for my entire life, after Dan Rather reported false stories about George W. Bush’s military service.  I had made watching Walter Cronkite a part of my day when I was in kindergarten, so it was quite a habit to break. Since then, none of the national news outlets have impressed me.  I find few outright lies, but there is a heck of a lot of selective reporting, verbal shading, and refusal to report anything that hurts the politics of “our side”.

We come to the news for facts so that we can make good decisions.  If we can’t trust the information you give us, we’re going to go somewhere else for those facts.  Want to know why so many people are taken in by fake news sites, including ones that aren’t meant as satire?  It’s because we’ve found we can’t trust the ‘real’ journalists to tell us the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.  If you lie to us, only tell half the story, or outright ignore important events, then you will continue to lose us.

Stop devoting a large part of your efforts to entertainment and trash

When I was young, the nightly national news mentioned movies maybe twice a year, and one of them was Oscar Night.  Tabloid journalism was only found in disreputable magazines and newspapers, and human interest got between thirty and sixty seconds out of a half-hour program.

Now, I am bombarded with vignettes about the special meaning of the latest blockbuster art house movie, coupled with ‘news’ about the antics of entertainers and their hangers-on.  Bonus footage is given to any female with large breasts or an ass that looks like a question mark, or a male with a bit of scruff on his chiseled features and a sardonic smile.

There are literally millions of websites devoted to trash reporting and entertainment news.  Quit trying to draw the eyeballs of the disinterested by dragging programming down to that level.  If you want to be taken seriously, do serious work.

Overuse of hyperbole and histrionics is not helpful

First, Reagan was sitting up all night, plotting how to subvert our freedoms and start a nuclear war.  Next, Bush was working to put us all under the thumb of a New World Order.  Clinton was going to send in black helicopters to murder us in our sleep, while George W. Bush was sending an entire generation of men off to create an American empire to enrich his friends.  Obama has been the root of all evil for the last eight years, while Donald Trump is either a greedy bumbler who will ruin the republic, a stooge of business and foreign interests, or a mastermind genius manipulator who is looking to set himself for life as God Emperor of the White States of America.

In between that, we have “ICE AGE! NO, ACID RAIN! NO, GLOBAL WARMING! NO, CLIMATE CHANGE!” as well as “ILLEGAL ALIENS! CRACK ZOMBIES! WELFARE QUEENS!”  splashed across newspapers, websites, and news broadcasts.  Every politician that stands in opposition to a journalist’s politics is worse than Hitler, or a communist, or a socialist, a crypto-fascist, or a secret Muslim.

Meanwhile, I’m shutting off my television and looking for alternate websites to get my news.

Y’all have been shouting at us so much that I’ve lost the ability to hear those frequencies anymore.  When you need to shout about something because IT’S ACTUALLY IMPORTANT, I won’t hear you. Learn to use your inside voice.

Draw a bright, hard line between news and editorial work

A lot of the journalists on the national platforms (cable news, major newspapers, websites) have lost the integrity of putting what they know on page 1 and putting what they think about what they know on page 6.

“Senator Backwash, who has not answered questions on when he stopped beating his wife, questioned the Assistant Junior Under Secretary for Corn Sexuality Studies during a long, tense, intrusive series of meaningless questions into the crucial necessity of researching the mating habits of the Lower Missouri River Corn Weasel.” has become a common way for someone to say “Senator Backwash posed several difficult questions to a representative of the Agriculture Department during yearly budget hearings.”

Journalists are, even if they’re not overtly trying to move an agenda, going to be influenced by their own beliefs and prejudices.  They’re human, after all.  But if a reporter can’t be honest enough to separate their activism from reporting the facts, then they should leave news and go into punditry full time.

If I have to work to separate the facts from the advocacy, you’ve gone a long way to losing me as a consumer.  If you lose me as a consumer, you lose me as a possible receptive audience for when I want to hear your advocacy.

Take a good, hard look at the pool of journalists in your organizations and start creating a diversity of opinion

Diversity of race, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, and belly buttons in or out can add richness to any organization.  But when your product is information, you have to add diversity of thought as well, or all you’ll put out is pablum and screed.

If all you have on your staff are rock-ribbed, Kool-Aid drinking conservatives or Ivy League liberal arts majors who can quote from both Das Kapital and The Collected Wisdom of Woodrow Wilson,  then your echo chamber is indeed vast and comfortable.  When I want to read or watch news and commentary about a controversial topic, I don’t want to hear 90% of the message going one way, with a token whack job from the other side brought along for comic relief.  On a panel of five people, two should go one way, two should go the other way, and one should reflect me, who is in the middle trying to figure out the facts and what they mean.


Anyway, these are just my suggestions.  Go and check out Mrs. Hemingway’s article, and let me know what you think in comments.

Are You Bloody Kidding Me?

Like most people who monitor the news, I was aghast at the attempted mass-murder at Ohio State University the other day. The incident seems to have involved a young man, who was born in Somalia, came here as a refugee, and was admitted to the university.  For one reason or another, he decided to run his car up onto a sidewalk, ramming into a group of students, then hopped out and attacked them with a large knife.

Luckily for everyone involved, a young police officer, who happened to be in the area, shot the attacker, limiting the damage he caused and probably saving lives.  Due to confusion in the first moments of the incident, this was reported as a ‘mass shooting’, and the usual suspects roused themselves to fling poo and squawk about the need for gun control in our nation.  I’m not going to comment on that.  They were playing to type, reacting on instinct and reflex, and better minds than mine have already beaten them back into their cells.

Then, this crossed my screen:


Now, I am not a Buckeye, so I won’t comment on whether or not the piece of ungrateful trash, who betrayed our hospitality by trying to murder as many of us as he could, deserves to be considered part of that particular tribe.  I will say that I have no compassion for his life, and I’m glad that it ended as quickly and brutally as it did.  My only regret is that he didn’t use the car and knife to kill himself and save us all the trouble.

That useless waste of of a broken condom was a refugee, meaning that at some time in his life we, as a people, decided that we cared enough about him to invite him into our home.  We sheltered him, fed him, clothed him, educated him, and allowed him to attend one of the more prestigious public universities in our nation.  In an interview that he gave earlier this year, he expressed anxiety about practicing his faith in public, but I can find no evidence that he was actually harassed for doing so.

In return, he decided that he wanted to murder us and used the tools he had at hand to do so.

Now, Ms. Thompson, who is an assistant director at the university, wants us to feel “compassion” for what the murdering son of a swineherd has gone through.  She wishes we would consider his “pain”.  To top it off, she ends her missive, which she seems to have wanted to remain private, with the hashtags for the Black Lives Matter movement and a hope that we will humanize the attacker by saying his name.

As for compassion, I hope it hurt.  I hope the policeman shot him center mass, so that he had to bleed out internally and feel every heartbeat.  I hope that time dilation stretched it out as much as possible in his mind, and I hope he had time to realize that he had failed in his mission.

I refuse to consider his pain in my judgement of him.  Instead, I will consider the pain of the people he harmed.  I will feel compassion for them and their families as they try to deal with the consequences of this choir boy’s crime.

As for BLM, and ‘saying his name’, I’ve got news for you:  If your political/social movement wants to claim this scum as one of your own, have at it.  I refuse to say his name and humanize him, because he resigned his membership in my species the moment he jumped that curb.

Instead, I will venerate the name of Alan Horujko, who ran to the sound of the screams and put this bastard down in the most effective manner I can think of.  Long after the murdering excrement who caused all this has rotted in his grave and is forgotten, he will still be rightly hailed as a hero.

There is a time for compassion and understanding.  There is also a time for tossing the trash in our society over the walls for the dogs to feast on.  I can’t tell anyone else how to feel, but as for me, I hope this ex-human tastes good to canine palates.

A Modest Proposal

There is a bit of a hue and cry from some quarters that the Electoral College should be done away with.  It seems that some feel that the College is anti-democratic because it allows for someone to lose the national popular vote, yet still win the presidential election.

This is, in fact, true.  Someone can carry enough states with lower population, and thus receive their electoral votes and win, while someone can win most of the densely populated states and lose.  This has, indeed, happened, albeit rarely.

Now, I’m not going to go into why I believe the Electoral College is a good thing and why we should leave well enough alone.  I will also not discuss how we do not have a national election for President, rather we have 51 local elections (50 states plus the District of Columbia), and why that is and why it’s a good idea.  I’ll leave those for the ad nauseum discussions on social media, talk radio, and between television political evangelists.

I will point out, however, that if we, as a nation, wish to do away with the College entirely, then those who support such an action should begin the work to amend the Constitution.  We will then have a national debate in the Congress and, if necessary, the ratification process as each state decides on its own.

But, in the meantime, if we wish to make things more ‘democratic,’ there is something we can do.

You see, in our system, each state has the power to figure out how their Electoral College votes are pledged.  Currently, all but two of the states do it in a ‘winner take all’ contest.  For those who don’t remember, each state gets as many Electoral College votes as it has members of Congress.  So, if a state has two members of the House of Representatives, along with the two senators that every state is allotted, it will have four Electoral College votes. Whichever of the presidential candidates gets the most votes in that state gets all of its Electoral College votes.

But there is another way that is somewhere between how things are done in most of the country and a truly national popular election.  Two states, Nebraska and Maine, allot their Electoral College votes by congressional district, with the overall state winner receiving the two votes for their senators.  For instance, Maine, which has four votes in the College, follows my above example.  It has two congressional districts and two senators.  In the 2016 election, Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Trump split the state three votes to one, respectively.

So, why don’t we consider having each state change their election laws to follow that example?  Each of the 535 congressional districts is worth one electoral vote, and the winner of the popular vote in each state gets the two votes for its senator. The winner still has to get 270 or more votes, but the results would be more fine-grained and local than the current method, and thus more democratic.

Here are some numbers:

In the 2012 presidential election, President Obama won 332 Electoral College votes.  To do this, he won 26 states and the District of Columbia.  Mitt Romney won 206 electoral votes in 24 states.

Using data from the Daily Kos, we find that the number of votes changes if the votes are allotted by congressional district:

Obama:  (27 states * 2 votes) + 210 congressional districts = 264 Electoral College votes

Romney: (24 states * 2 votes) + 225 congressional districts = 273 Electoral College votes

Let’s take a look at 2008, where President Obama won 365 Electoral College votes from 28 states, along with the District of Columbia and one of Nebraska’s electoral votes, while John McCain won 173 votes from 22 states:

Obama:  (29 states * 2 votes) + 240 congressional districts = 298 Electoral College votes

McCain: (22 states * 2 votes) + 195 congressional districts = 239 Electoral College votes

Since congressional districts are roughly equal in population, a win in just one California congressional district is roughly equal to winning all of North Dakota.  Historically red states will have blue districts, and vice versa.  This will allow for a more democratic representation of the will of the people, while still rewarding the winner of the popular vote in each state.  It will also break up things like the “Solid South” and the “Blue Wall”.

This is a compromise between what we have now, which a vocal portion of our citizenry is not happy with, and a wholesale scrapping of an institution which has worked for over 200 years.  It is also something that can be tried without a constitutional amendment, which can take decades.  Perhaps it’s time the states took back control of the presidential election and let their electoral votes be decided in a more local manner.

Insults and Refutations

It’s not often I get into state politics, especially the politics of a state I no longer live in, but this came across my feed, and it begged for my attention.

My comments are in bold.

Joint Statement from California Legislative Leaders on Result of Presidential Election

Wednesday, November 09, 2016

SACRAMENTO – California Senate President pro Tempore Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles) and California Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (D-Paramount) released the following statement on the results of the President election:

Today, we woke up feeling like strangers in a foreign land, because yesterday Americans expressed their views on a pluralistic and democratic society that are clearly inconsistent with the values of the people of California. (Today you woke up in the same country you woke up in on Tuesday.  To paraphrase the sitting Democrat President, the sun still rose.)

We have never been more proud to be Californians. (You should always be proud of who you are.  Well, almost always, but I doubt any of you good people have done the kinds of things that make you smash your fist into the image in the mirror.  Of course, I could be wrong.)

By a margin in the millions, Californians overwhelmingly rejected politics fueled by resentment, bigotry, and misogyny. (And embraced an unethical, possibly criminal, geriatric train wreck who demonstrably cheated her way to the nomination.)

The largest state of the union (Alaska?) and the strongest driver of our nation’s economy has shown it has its surest conscience as well. (You sure told those marijuana prohibitionists, that’s for sure.)

California is – and must always be – a refuge of justice and opportunity for people of all walks, talks, ages and aspirations – regardless of how you look, where you live, what language you speak, or who you love. (So long as you don’t vote the wrong way, or publicly pronounce the wrong social opinions, or donate to the wrong political movements.)

California has long set an example for other states to follow. (I’d like to thank you for the Valley Girl accent.  No, really.)  And California will defend its people and our progress. (I agree with you on this one.  Each state should defend its people and their chosen way of life.  Just, please, don’t try to impose that way of life on others.) We are not going to allow one election to reverse generations of progress at the height of our historic diversity (Just not intellectual), scientific advancement, economic output, and sense of global responsibility. (Seriously, just how much power do you think Mr. Trump will have?  Have you fetishized the chief executive so much with Obama that you now fear that Trump will smite the mountains and drain the seas?)

We will be reaching out to federal, state and local officials to evaluate how a Trump Presidency will potentially impact federal funding of ongoing state programs (It will, just like every other time someone from a different party takes the office), job-creating investments reliant on foreign trade (Bringing in gadgets from overseas which were built at poverty wages, or possibly using slave labor), and federal enforcement of laws affecting the rights of people living in our state. (Perhaps you should enforce the laws safeguarding your citizens’ rights yourselves.  I’m told it’s quite empowering.) We will maximize the time during the presidential transition to defend our accomplishments using every tool at our disposal. (Smarmy press interviews, histrionics in front of cameras, and burning down your own cities.)

While Donald Trump may have won the presidency, he hasn’t changed our values. (Pretty much what I and those like me said after Barack Obama took the office.) America is greater than any one man or party. (Thank you for saying that.  We’ve missed your voice in the chorus.) We will not be dragged back into the past. (Neither will we.  I’ve known too many people who survived Stalin and Mao.) We will lead the resistance to any effort that would shred our social fabric or our Constitution. (When we said this eight years ago, you had to rush to the fainting couch, blithering about inflammatory rhetoric and evil racists with guns. Now, do you hear the people sing?)

California was not a part of this nation when its history began, but we are clearly now the keeper of its future.

Got news for you, sparky. 

San Francisco is one of those places archeologists will dig up one day and wonder why so many people would live there.  Sacramento is now, has been, and forever shall be the best place for giving the west coast an enema.  While the beaches and the Sierras are nice, just about everything between them is a waste of a good nuclear test range. The very existence of your largest city is proof that if you throw enough water into sand, fungus will grow.

You’re already running out of money, and that situation is only going to get worse.  You’re exacerbating a natural drought by refusing to use what water resources you do have. You’re sucking one of the largest rivers in the world dry before it can reach the sea, then bitching that the rest of us are wasteful.  And to top it all off, you unleashed JayZ and the Kardashians on the rest of us. 

That last was the unkindest cut of all.

In short, you are not a sustainable future. If you are the future, it’s one that would have gotten laughed at if someone used it as the backdrop of an ’80’s dystopian creature feature.

Calm the hell down.  You wouldn’t be so fearful of Trump if you hadn’t endowed his predecessor with so much personal power, both legal and moral.  At least for the time being, he’s going to enforce existing laws, and probably repeal a bunch of executive orders, which are the responsibilities and powers of every president ever elected.  If he tries to ram through new laws or executive orders y’all don’t agree with, that’s what the courts and your own congressional delegation are for.

In the event that Mr. Trump abuses his power to oppress the hot-house flower that is California, please rest assured that a bunch of us shit-kickers from beyond the mountains will rise up to defend your delicate honor.  Yeah, you read that right.  I don’t agree with you, but I dislike it when government stomps all over someone’s God-given rights, no matter who they are or who is in power.

Until then, get a grip and get on with the business of running your state.  The rest of us have honest work to do, and you’re a distraction from that.

Political Ramblings

Well, now that we’ve all taken a collective breath, some to gain oxygen, some to scream, I’ve got a few things I need to get on paper.

  1. If you’re looking for an investment or business opportunity, an ammunition store in Ehrenberg, Arizona, or Primm, Nevada, or Verdi, Nevada, would probably be a good place to start.  California voted to make background checks for ammunition mandatory yesterday, and these cities are just across the state line and next to an interstate highway.
    • If you need advice in how to run such a business, let me know and I’ll see if I can put you in contact with someone who runs a liquor store in a wet country in eastern Kentucky.
  2. In the same vein, if you’re in California and need someone to keep your standard capacity magazines for you while you fight the new magazine ban in court, hit me up in email and I’ll shoot you an address.  People, this is why we donate to CalGuns.
  3. Nevada passed mandatory background checks for private gun sales yesterday.  People, this is why we donate to the SAF.
  4. To the celebrities who threatened to emigrate and the federal workers who threatened to quit if Trump won, put up or shut up.  Seriously, either act like adults or don’t let the door hit you in the ass.
  5. If you’re looking for prognostication this morning, all I can say is that you ought to keep an eye on Tammy Duckworth.  She’s a female of mixed Asian/European extraction, a decorated, disabled war veteran, she’s not afraid to flay someone alive with words, and she’s a pro-choice, anti-gun Democrat.  She’s a heck of a lot more qualified than Obama or either Clinton, and I have a feeling we’ll be seeing a lot of her between now and 2020.
  6. The Republicans have a comfortable lead in the House of Representatives, but will control the Senate by the slimmest of margins.  This is the same situation we had in 2001 when President Bush took office.  All it takes is a death, resignation, or defection to throw it into an even tie.  For those Democrats who wondered why filibuster and cloture were important when Rand Paul and Ted Cruz were doing it, this is why.
  7. The Republican Congress needs to get off its ass and pass a real budget.  We’ve been going paycheck to paycheck with continuing resolutions for way too long, and they have no excuses now.  Pass the damned appropriations bills and get on with the rest of your job.
  8. Don’t expect to see another Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court.  Mr. Trump probably doesn’t have the votes to get a fire-breathing originalist through the Senate.  If we’re lucky, we’ll get a Roberts or an Alito.
    • He may have to stoop to identity politics to get it done, and he will benefit from the fact that putting a moderately conservative justice in will not change the nature of the court.
    • In the event that one of the liberal judges needs to be replaced, expect a knock-down, drag-out dogfight no matter who he nominates.
  9. We will never get to the bottom of the Clinton Foundation, the classified emails, or anything else related to Mrs. Clinton and her family now that there is little political gain in continuing to dig.
    • I expect to see a rash of presidential pardons between now and January.
  10. The 2018 election starts next week.  2020 may start even sooner.


To the American people, use the signs in your front yard as target stands, have a cup of coffee or a beer with your neighbor, and get a grip.  Trump will not destroy the Republic; neither will he evoke a renaissance of freedom.   He’s not the devil, and he’s not Reagan.  Don’t fall for the same traps we all did with Obama.

To Congress – Ladies and Gentlemen, you are the firewall between the people you represent and an untested, unknown President.  Do not be obstructionist if he is a measured, reasonable chief executive, but please take your oversight responsibilities seriously, and don’t be afraid to jerk his leash.

To Mrs. Clinton, I hope you enjoy a nice, quiet, fulfilling retirement from politics.  I sincerely hope that you find a way to contribute in the manner you said you wanted to during the campaign. Perhaps you could take up baking, for instance.

To Mr. Trump, congratulations.  The easy part is over.  Do not for a moment think that you will not be monitored, criticized, picked apart, folded, spindled, and mutilated by the press and everyone else who catches you putting a toe across an ethical or legal line.  The best thing you can do with your cabinet and staff is to hold a meeting and tell them that you will publicly crucify anyone who does anything that will bring disrepute on your administration.  You made a lot of promises to get here, and we’ll be watching to see if you make good on them.  Good luck.

Now, if you all will excuse me, I’m going to go start editing the next Minivandian’s story and be proud of my daughter.  While the rest of us were acting like political junkies this morning, she passed her ROTC swim test the day after donating blood.

Good night and good luck.

The Voter and the Politician

The Voter, dressed from head to toe in black, crept up the Cliffs of Despair.  He had been making good progress for a while, but the evil Puppet Master had cut the rope, hoping to dump him down onto the Rocks of Disillusionment.  Luckily, the Voter had been able to grab onto the Cliffs’ craggy surface, and had labored ever since to reach the top and the ballot box waiting for him there.

The Puppet Master had gathered up two of his minions, the first a manlike creature with oddly colored orange skin and small hands, and the other a woman with a grating voice and a look as if someone had shoved something disgusting under her nose, and made for the hills beyond the cliffs.  He left behind the Politician, whom he was glad to be shut of.  He muttered under his breath about people with scruples as he raced to catch up with his toadies.

The Politician practiced a few of his favorite rhetorical flourishes as he waited, first parrying a criticism this way, then thrusting out a well-briefed opinion that way.  Finally, he peeked over the side of the cliff, seeing the Voter climbing over a particularly steep outcropping.

“I don’t suppose there is any way you could vote for me, is there?” the Politician called down. “I’d like to know how you plan to vote.”

The Voter looked up in disdain.  “Look, this isn’t particularly easy, so I’d appreciate it if you could either be quiet or do something useful, like throwing down a rope.”

The Politician looked around and saw the length of rope the Puppet Master had left behind.

“I could get you free stuff!” he exclaimed excitedly. “Let you stare at your navel in college for a few more years!  I could shut down the border if that’s what you want?”

“And I’m supposed to believe you?” the Voter retorted, pulling himself up onto a narrow ledge.  “No, I’m afraid you’ll just have to wait until after the election to see how I vote.”

“I could swear on my honor as a Politician that I would follow through,” the Politician suggested.

“No good!” the Voter said with a grunt.  He was pulling himself up onto a rock only a few feet from the top.  “I’ve known too many politicians.”

The Politician considered that for a moment, then got a somber look on his face.

“I swear that if you vote for me, I will rescind each and every executive order issued since 2008,” he said, his powerful, earnest voice carrying on the wind.

The Voter, who had just poked his head above the top of the cliff and was hoisting himself up, looked up at him.  With a smile, he said gently, “Give me my ballot.”

Thoughts for the Day

First, let’s go back 40 years and consider Ronald Reagan’s speech at the 1976 Republican National Convention:


Thank you very much. Mr. President, Mrs. Ford, Mr. Vice President, Mr. Vice President to be — the distinguished guests here, and you ladies and gentlemen: I am going to say fellow Republicans here, but also those who are watching from a distance, all of those millions of Democrats and Independents who I know are looking for a cause around which to rally and which I believe we can give them.

Mr. President, before you arrived tonight, these wonderful people here when we came in gave Nancy and myself a welcome. That, plus this, and plus your kindness and generosity in honoring us by bringing us down here will give us a memory that will live in our hearts forever.

Watching on television these last few nights, and I have seen you also with the warmth that you greeted Nancy, and you also filled my heart with joy when you did that.

May I just say some words. There are cynics who say that a party platform is something that no one bothers to read and it doesn’t very often amount to much.

Whether it is different this time than it has ever been before, I believe the Republican Party has a platform that is a banner of bold, unmistakable colors, with no pastel shades.

We have just heard a call to arms based on that platform, and a call to us to really be successful in communicating and reveal to the American people the difference between this platform and the platform of the opposing party, which is nothing but a revamp and a reissue and a running of a late, late show of the thing that we have been hearing from them for the last 40 years.

If I could just take a moment; I had an assignment the other day. Someone asked me to write a letter for a time capsule that is going to be opened in Los Angeles a hundred years from now, on our Tricentennial.

It sounded like an easy assignment. They suggested I write something about the problems and the issues today. I set out to do so, riding down the coast in an automobile, looking at the blue Pacific out on one side and the Santa Ynez Mountains on the other, and I couldn’t help but wonder if it was going to be that beautiful a hundred years from now as it was on that summer day.

Then as I tried to write — let your own minds turn to that task. You are going to write for people a hundred years from now, who know all about us. We know nothing about them. We don’t know what kind of a world they will be living in.

And suddenly I thought to myself if I write of the problems, they will be the domestic problems the President spoke of here tonight; the challenges confronting us, the erosion of freedom that has taken place under Democratic rule in this country, the invasion of private rights, the controls and restrictions on the vitality of the great free economy that we enjoy. These are our challenges that we must meet.

And then again there is that challenge of which he spoke that we live in a world in which the great powers have poised and aimed at each other horrible missiles of destruction, nuclear weapons that can in a matter of minutes arrive at each other’s country and destroy, virtually, the civilized world we live in.

And suddenly it dawned on me, those who would read this letter a hundred years from now will know whether those missiles were fired. They will know whether we met our challenge. Whether they have the freedoms that we have known up until now will depend on what we do here.

Will they look back with appreciation and say, “Thank God for those people in 1976 who headed off that loss of freedom, who kept us now 100 years later free, who kept our world from nuclear destruction”?

And if we failed, they probably won’t get to read the letter at all because it spoke of individual freedom, and they won’t be allowed to talk of that or read of it.

This is our challenge; and this is why here in this hall tonight, better than we have ever done before, we have got to quit talking to each other and about each other and go out and communicate to the world that we may be fewer in numbers than we have ever been, but we carry the message they are waiting for.

We must go forth from here united, determined that what a great general said a few years ago is true: There is no substitute for victory, Mr. President.

Next, let’s consider Ted Cruz’s speech to the 1996 Republican National Convention:

Thank you, and god bless each and every one of you.

Heidi and I are so honored to join you here in Cleveland where LeBron James just lead an incredible comeback victory, and I am convinced America is going to come back too.

I want to congratulate Donald Trump on winning the nomination last night.

And, like each of you, I want to see the principles that our party believes prevail in November.

Conventions are times of excitement, but given the events of the last few weeks I hope you’ll allow me a moment to talk to you about what’s really at stake. Just two weeks ago a nine-year-old girl named Caroline was living a carefree Texas summer. Swimming in the pool, playing with friends, doing all the things a happy child might do. Like most children, she relied upon the love that she received from her mom, Heidi, and her dad, a police sergeant named Michael Smith.

That is until he became one of the five police officers gunned down in Dallas.

The day her father was murdered, Caroline gave him a hug and a kiss as he left for work, but as they parted her dad asked her something he hadn’t asked before. “What if this is the last time you ever kiss or hug me?”

Later, as she thought of her fallen father, and that last heart breaking hug, Caroline broke down into tears. How could anything ever be OK again? Michael Smith was a former Army Ranger who spent decades with the Dallas police department. I have no idea who he voted for in the last election, or what he thought about this once, but his life was a testament to devotion.

He protected the very protesters who mocked him because he loved his country, and his fellow man. His work gave new meaning to that line from literature, “To die of love is to live by it.”

As I thought about what I wanted to say tonight, Michael Smith’s story weighed on my heart. Maybe That’s because his daughter Caroline is about the same age as my eldest daughter, and happens to share the same name. Maybe it’s because I saw a video of that dear, sweet child choking back sobs as she remembered her Daddy’s last question to her.

Maybe it’s because we live in a world where so many others have had their lives destroyed by evil in places like Orlando, and Paris, and Nice, and Baton Rouge. Maybe it’s because of the simple question itself. What if this right now is our last time? Our last moment to do something for our families, and our country? Did we live up to the values we say we believe? Did we do all we really could?

That’s really what elections should be about. That’s why you and millions like you devoted so much time and sacrifice to this campaign. We’re fighting not for one particular candidate, or one campaign, but because each of wants to be able to tell our kids and grandkids, our own Caroline’s, that we did our best for their future and our country.

America is more than just a land mass between two oceans, America is an ideal. A simple, yet powerful ideal. Freedom matters.

For much of human history government power has been the unavoidable constant in life. Government decrees and the people obey, but not here. We have no king or queen, we have no dictator, we the people constrain government.

Our nation is exceptional because it was built on the five most beautiful and powerful words in the English language, “I want to be free.”

Never has that message been more needed than today. We stand here tonight a nation divided. Partisan rancor, anger, even hatred are tearing America apart. And citizens are furious, rightly furious, at a political establishment that cynically breaks its promises, and that ignores the will of the people.

We have to do better. We owe our fallen heroes more than that.

Now, of course, Obama and Clinton will also tell you that they care about our children’s future, and I want to believe them but there is a profound difference about our two party’s vision for the future.

There’s is the part that thinks ISIS is a J.V. team, that responds to the death of Americans in Benghazi, “What difference does it make?” And, that thinks it’s possible to make a deal with Iran that celebrates its holidays, “Death to America Day,” and, “Death to Israel Day.”

My friends, this is madness. President Obama is a man who does everything backwards. He wants to close Guantanamo Bay, and open up our borders. He exports jobs, and imports terrorists. Enough is enough.

And, I am here to tell you there is a better vision for our future. A return to freedom.

On education your freedom to choose your child’s education, even if you aren’t as rich as Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama.

On healthcare, your freedom to choose your own doctor without Obamacare.

On taxes, your freedom to provide for your family without the IRS beating down your door.

The Internet? Keep it free from taxes, free from regulation and don’t give it away to Russia and China.

Freedom means free speech, not politically correct safe spaces.

Freedom means religious freedom, whether you are Christian, Jew, Muslim, or atheist.

Whether you are gay, or straight, the Bill of Rights protects the rights of all of us to live according to our conscience.

Freedom means the right to keep and bear arms, and to protect your family.

Freedom means that every human life is precious and must be protected.

Freedom means Supreme Court Justices who don’t dictate policy, but instead follow the Constitution.

And, freedom means recognizing that our Constitution allows states to choose policies that reflect local values. Colorado might decide something different than Texas. New York different than Iowa. That’s the way it’s supposed to be, diversity.

If not, what’s the point of having states to begin with?

Now, Hillary Clinton believes that government should make virtually every choice in your life. Education, health care, marriage, speech, all dictated out of Washington. But, something powerful is happening, we’ve seen it in both parties, we’ve seen it in the United Kingdom’s unprecedented Brexit vote to leave the European Union.

Voters are overwhelmingly rejecting the political establishment, and overwhelmingly rejecting big government.

That is a profound victory and it is one earned by each and every one of you. People are fed up with politicians who don’t listen to them. Fed up with a corrupt system that benefits the elites instead of working men and women.

We deserve an immigration system that puts America first, and yes, builds a wall to keep America safe.

A government that stops admitting ISIS terrorists as refugees. We deserve trade policies that put the interests of American farmers over the interests that are funding the lobbyists.

And, if we stand together and choose freedom, our future will be brighter. Freedom will bring back jobs and raise wages. Freedom will lift people out of dependency to the dignity of work.

We can do this. Forty-Seven years ago to this day, America put the very first man on the moon.

That was the power of freedom. Our party, the Republican party, was founded to defeat slavery.

Abraham Lincoln, the first Republican president signed the Emancipation Proclamation.

Together we passed the Civil Rights Act, and together we fought to eliminate Jim Crow Laws.

That’s our collective legacy, although the media will never share it with you. Those were fights for freedom, and so is this.

Sergeant Michael Smith stood up to protect our freedom. So do the soldiers, and sailors, and airmen, and Marines everyday fighting radical Islamic terrorism.

And, so did the family of Alton Sterling who bravely called to end the violence. So did the families of those murdered at the Charleston-Emanuel AME Church who forgave that hateful, bigoted, murder.

And, so can we. We deserve leaders who stand for principle, who unite us all behind shared values, who cast aside anger for love. That is the standard we should expect from everybody. And, to those listening, please don’t stay home in November.

If you love our country, and love our children as much as you do, stand, and speak, and vote your conscience, vote for candidates up and down the ticket who you trust to defend our freedom, and to be faithful to the constitution.

I appreciate the enthusiasm of the New York delegation.

And I will tell you that it is love of freedom that has allowed millions to achieve their dreams. Like my mom, the first in her family to go to college, and my dad, who’s here tonight, who fled prison and torture in Cuba. Coming to Texas with just $100 dollars sewn into his underwear.

And it is over that I hope will bring comfort to a grieving nine- year-old girl in Dallas, and God willing, propel her to move forward, and dream, and soar, and make her daddy proud. We must make the most of our moments, to fight for freedom, to protect our God given rights, even if those with whom we don’t agree so that when we are old and grey, and when our work is done, and when we give those we love one final kiss goodbye we will be able to say freedom matters and I was part of something beautiful.

The case we have to make to the American people, the case each person in this room has to make to the American people is to commit to each of them that we will defend freedom, and be faithful to the Constitution.

We will unite the party; we will unite the country by standing together for shared values by standing for liberty. God bless each and every one of you, and God bless the United States of America.

My Thoughts:

  • Neither man specifically endorsed a nominee during their speech.
    • Reagan did, however, speak directly about President Ford a couple of times, and in pretty gracious terms.
    • Cruz congratulated Trump on winning the nomination, and then gave a pretty decent stump speech.
  • Neither man said anything directly bad about the man to whom they lost the nomination.
  • Reagan was speaking, ostensibly, off the cuff after being invited to speak by President Ford.
  • Cruz gave a prepared speech, which was provided to the Trump campaign earlier that day.
  • Ford lost to Jimmy Carter, although I’d attribute that more to lingering anger over Watergate and Ford’s pardon of Nixon to any speech that Reagan gave.
  • It is still unknown what impact, if any, Cruz’s non-endorsement will have on the 2016 race.


The Games Children Play

It would appear that several members of the House of Representatives are staging an ‘impromptu’ sit-in on the floor of their chamber.  No, really, on the actual floor.  Yeah, the one with that cheap carpet.

They seem to want a vote on gun control legislation, and since the leadership of the majority party of the House isn’t doing it, they’re going to disrupt the House until they get their way.  Or until someone shuts off the lights and air conditioning.  Or they get bored.  Or until that rerun of the Mickey Mouse Club comes on later today, because, you know, Annette.

I guess holding their breath until they turn blue wasn’t working.

Anyway, I sent a message to my Congressman to tell him that I would donate $100 to the charity of his choice if he were to take the podium and read the Constitution, the Heller decision, and the McDonald decision to his colleagues while they have their little drum circle.

I’m going to expand this a bit, since Mr. Massie may not have the time to do this today.  I will donate $100 to a charity named by the first member of the House to do it.

In the event that this happens, anybody else want in?  Feel free to spread the word to your Representative.

Letters to Congress

Below is the text of the message I left with Senator Rand Paul on his Senate website.  I sent similar messages to my other senator, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, and my Congressman, Thomas Massie.

There will be votes in the coming days on measures to use government lists to restrict or deny our civil rights.  I urge all of you to reach out to your Senators today, be it by phone or email, and let them know how you feel on the subject.  To paraphrase my Congressman, the higher the stack of messages on a subject, the more they pay attention to it.



Senator Paul,

Like you, I was horrified and disgusted by the murders of innocent people in Orlando over the weekend.  When one American is attacked, we are all attacked.  

But I was also dismayed at the political reaction to this atrocity.  While I am not surprised that President Obama and his minions have moved swiftly to capitalize on the nation’s grief, I am also disheartened by the willingness of members of your caucus to abandon civil rights in favor of temporary political gain.

The current proposals before the Senate to restrict the civil rights of citizens without due process of law should not be passed, and I ask you to stand against them.  You have stood up for our rights before, and I ask you to do so again.  Giving this administration, or any other, the power to restrict any of our rights based on denunciation and suspicion would be a precedent leading to tyranny.  Such measures would be enabling acts that permit a faceless government employee, without the checks imposed by having to show cause and give evidence in open court, to negatively impact the life and liberty of our citizens.

Please, as a constituent, I ask you to not only vote against these efforts, but to use your influence to convince others to follow suit.

Thank you for your time,


Tom Rogneby
Louisville, Kentucky

A Letter to the NRA-ILA

Below is the text of a message I left with the NRA-ILA at their webpage.  If you are an NRA member, whether or not you agree with me, please take a moment to give the NRA’s leadership your opinion on how they should handle the present situation.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It was with some concern that I learned of the National Rifle Association’s decision to endorse Donald Trump for the 2016 presidential election.  Mr. Trump may not be a rock-ribbed supporter of gun rights, but this year seems to have a dearth of those. Considering his opposition in the other major party, I took it as the NRA making the best choice it could between two bad alternatives.

However, today I learned that Mr. Trump plans to meet with the NRA’s leadership to discuss ways in which someone on the government’s terrorism watch lists could be denied their constitutionally-protected right to keep and bear arms.  I will not comment on what Mr. Trump’s motives are for doing this, but I will point out that this more closely aligns him with Mrs. Clinton and President Obama than it does with this proud gun owner.

In response to this, as a life member of the NRA, I have only one thing to ask you, the leaders of the NRA:

Please, tell him no.

Things are much better than they were as recently as ten years ago.  To allow the government, no matter who is in the White House and Congress, to wield the power to strip a citizen of their rights because their name appears on a secret list, with no due process protections, would be a huge step backward for gun rights, if not all civil rights.

Mr. Trump is asking you to work with him to find a way to curtail our rights.  He needed us during the primaries, and now that he has sewn up the nomination, wishes to put the NRA’s members on the bargaining table.

I ask that senior NRA leadership clearly and publicly refuse to cooperate with efforts to curtail our rights in this manner.  I urge you to make it clear that the NRA will not only fight such efforts in the Congress, but at the ballot box as well.  And if Mr. Trump insists on reneging on his pledge to stand and fight with us, then I urge you to withdraw the NRA’s endorsement of him.  If there is no other suitable candidate to support, I believe we should make no endorsement for president this year.  Instead, we should pour our energies to making sure that Congress is a bulwark in the defense of our rights.

Please, for the sake of our rights, do not mince words with Mr. Trump.  Tell him no.

Thank you for your time,

Tom Rogneby
Louisville, KY

%d bloggers like this: