Beyond the Cusp

September 10, 2016

How Could Gun Control Lower Gun Violence?

 

This has been a basic question where conservatives and liberals, Republicans and Democrats, gun owners and advocates against gun control advocates have wrestled and neither side has ever found the magic, pardon our word usage, silver bullet to end the violence resulting from criminal firearm usage. Every time there is a dramatic milestone reached as was recently in Chicago where they reached five-hundredth homicide of the year or a dramatic firearms related death toll resulting from firearms usage such as the Orlando club shooting or the string of homicides in San Bernardino for the anti-gun forces to rush to blame the guns even if the real culprit was terrorism as in Orlando and San Bernardino. There is the demand for long waiting periods, deeper background checks, limits on firearm purchases per person per year or any of a number from a plethora of inventive laws which would presumably end criminal purchases of firearms at gun shows, gun stores, private sales or other legal forms of firearms purchases. This begs a simple question, how many criminals are purchasing their firearms legally. Yes, there have been some tragic cases where a person legally purchased the firearms they use all too often in violent mass shootings such as too many school shootings or mass public shootings such as in movie theaters or nightclubs or as vengeance workplace violence or even terrorism. These tragic cases often are the first criminal act of the shooters and they went through all of the existing checks and even if further checks and wait periods were enacted they would have had little if any effect beyond waiting periods causing them to plan longer and delay their shooting sprees but not preventing them. Still, over ninety percent of shootings are committed by people with criminal records who already would be unable to walk into a gun show or gun store and purchase a firearm legally and most of the firearms used in these crimes are often stolen weapons which were bought illegally from nonstandard sources which operate beyond the law. The idea that making legal firearm purchases more time consuming, burdensome and legally tangled with more and more layers of paperwork and legal hurdles does nothing to prevent criminal firearm purchases and the politicians know this and the crime data records prove this. So why if these facts are well known and understood do the politicians continue to call for restrictions on firearm purchases and even have many calling now for the repeal of the Second Amendment and the complete ban of legal firearm ownership despite all evidence pointing to this leading to increased firearm use by criminal elements as they then are assured they will be the only people armed in any criminal incident.

 

There are at least two easily understandable reasons for the politicians calling for more restrictive laws. The most obvious is their receiving funds for making such demands coming from the anti-gun lobbies who will love such legislation and will spend liberally supporting political campaigns for those supportive candidates. Another reason is the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) who also favor more firearm laws as each law, regulation and licensing required by law increases the numbers of government employees required to process and handle the additional forms, research, background checks, license issuing or renewal and any other directives and requirements such legislation demands. These are two of the most active groups a candidate can get behind them in order to finance their campaign. The other reason which looms over the gun debate even more than campaign finances is the general lack of real information and education of the public, especially in most major metropolitan jurisdictions. This is largely due to the complete lack of intimate knowledge, education, training or even the slightest use of a firearm by the majority of the voting public. With a smaller and smaller percentage of the population having served in the military, especially suburban residents, and even less training in firearms in such organization as the Boy Scouts and other youth groups and there no longer having any firearms training in summer camps, the public is generally unfamiliar with firearms and many even developing a symptom bordering on maniacal fear of firearms to the point of hyperventilating at the sight of a gun other than on the belt of a uniformed police officer. Additionally, the use of firearms in entertainment venues such as movies displaying firearms in ways which are wildly inaccurate such as handguns or rifles firing well over one-hundred rounds without ceasing fire for reloading even firing six-shot revolvers twenty or thirty times before changing to another weapon or reloading, has fueled misconceptions of the lethality and practical use of firearms which if applied to swords would have the sword being capable of killing merely by removing it from its scabbard. Another misconception furthered by the entertainment industry is the range at which weapons, particularly handguns, are lethal. With shots being taken with a 9mm or a 45cal semi-automatic handgun at well over a quarter mile, 440 yards or four and a half football fields (pitch) which is a highly dubious range even for a really good marksman, but that is the short end of impossible shots as many a movie aficionado can attest. I have actually seen neighbors shrink away when friends and I would return from the outdoor public range and transport normal handguns and a few hunting rifles from the trunk of the vehicle into the house for cleaning and once had an extremely paranoid neighbor call the police claiming that terrorists were meeting in my place with dozens of guns and other weapons. The police were not all that amused but as two of my friends had Federal Firearms Licenses and one had a Class III Weapons Permit and worked at a gun store, they were forced to allow us to retain our weapons. The neighbor was frantic that we were not taken away in chains and the arsenal confiscated. Ah, reliving the good old days of my misspent youth.

 

Dianna Rigg as Emma Peel in The Avengers

Dianna Rigg as Emma Peel in The Avengers

 

The truth is that should the anti-gun and anti-weapons fanatics get their way, we will be eating steaks with butter knives if the vegans allow us to continue to eat slabs of cows. This claim is made as there have been calls in the United Kingdom, or at least in London and other cities of the Isles to make knives beyond six inches illegal which would make a number of carving knives and my bread knife illegal and some steak knives I have seen such as the ones at a restaurant in the United States and likely elsewhere called Outback. By our figuring, if these fanatics against weapons of all venues got their way, we would no longer have forks and instead be using sporks with our butter knives. The people who wish to make life so guarded that even the roads are made soft enough that falling will not scrape an elbow or a knee really have lost all sense of excitement and see danger not as a challenge to be overcome but a peril which must be eradicated so even the most inept cannot harm themselves no matter how recklessly they address life’s challenges. Where if they desire to round every corner in their homes and pad every piece of furniture while only using safe utensils such as butter knives and sporks and eat only the most bland fruits and vegetables rushing to the doctor’s office at the first sneeze or cough, let them live such lives but do not force your phobias on the remainder of us who wish to live lives dangerously using real forks and steak knives just to eat an apple because we love the thrill of the hunt. Truth be told, the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution was argued in the Federalist Papers as being the last line of defense against and to prevent Government Overreach and assure the Constitutional limits on Government power was in the hands of the people.

 

Safe Knife and Spork of the Future

Safe Knife and Spork of the Future

 

These people who claim that the gun is evil are carrying paranoia to an extreme beyond reason. I am willing to bet any of these people that a fully loaded handgun of any caliber could be placed on my kitchen table and sit there in the open for a full year and nobody I know would pick it up or fear it and it is highly unlikely, to the point of absurdness, that it would ever injure, let alone murder, anybody during that year or any number of additional years. I am willing to bet that they could not produce one person who robbed a convenience store who was claiming the firearm walked up to them, grabbed them by the hand and dragged them to the convenience store forcing them to rob it. Yet these same people would claim it was the gun if that same person had shot the clerk and simply wounded him requiring three stitches and a band aid. The tired old phrase that it is the person who commits the crime and not the firearm is true but there are those who insist on believing otherwise. They will claim that had the criminal not had the gun they would not have committed the crime. Somehow we believe it is more likely that the criminal would easily be able to buy a gun from, wait for it, another criminal if they were without a gun and believed one was needed to commit their crime. They would not go to Joe’s Gun Emporium or the county fair gun pavilion or any other legal means, they would go to a well-known criminal world individual and purchase a gun and for a few dollars more a gun without any serial number as it had been removed. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, the criminal world will sell you guns made to order for the right price. It probably comes as a shock to the gun control supporters that there exist individuals who actually sell guns illegally and if they desire making it more difficult for criminal elements to use firearms, then the people they need to prevent from selling guns are the criminal elements and not the local gun store. Are there those gun store people who might sell guns under the table? Probably, but they are a rare minority and eventually they will be caught which every gun owner will be glad and hopes such a person is put away for a very long time. Gun owners are responsible citizens and are just as abhorred at criminal gun use as the next person, even the anti-gun lobbyist. Nothing would make gun owners happier than for every gun to be legally owned and never used for a criminal purpose and for not another person to die from gun violence. As far as gun accidental deaths, when you can figure out how to end the fifty-thousand plus vehicle deaths each year on the American highways and streets, then we can worry about the few hundred accidental gun deaths. It is nice to keep things in perspective and every gun death is a tragedy as is every premature death. But please let us remain sane and address the more serious causes of accidental deaths such as swimming pools and bathtubs, honestly folks.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

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March 21, 2016

Candidate Videos We Will All See in the Fall Election

 

Come this fall there will be only three or four candidates for President on many ballots. There will be the Green Party and the Libertarian Party and the Constitution Party and we will likely see absolutely nothing from these candidates unless they make the most astounding stupid or ludicrous remarks. The media uses them as comic relief but why should these outlier parties get all the humorous spots.

 

 

Election Headlines

Election Headlines

 

 

I figured we may as well start with the one guaranteed video we will see ad nauseum should, as expected, Hillary Clinton be the Democrat candidate for President. This will be the main driving video from every Super Pac backing the Republicans guaranteed.

 

 

 

 

Then there is the great video that Ted Cruz has left the Democrats which actually might soften his image and make him somewhat more attractive to many voters. You know which kind, the ones who will vote for somebody because nobody can be that insane but just in case Ted Cruz is that far beyond the cusp they will have to elect him hoping to get more of the same as in this video.

 

 

 

 

OK, those were ridiculous but they are exactly what is deserved in the coming elections as from all indications these elections appear to be more like electing a senior class president and not the leader of the greatest (presumably) nation on the planet. Still, we will actually, and hopefully, need to use actual positions of the candidates and we may as well begin early. First let us take a gander at Bernie “Feel the Bern” Sanders in an interview with Charlie Rose where he is asked about taxes and redistribution of wealth. The only warning we can give as commentary is that should Bernie actually be elected and try this, the United States would face the greatest movement of wealth beyond the borders ever even imagined in the worst case scenario as that is what this would pose.

 

 

 

 

Then there is “The Donald” Trump who has been evasive and his web site is only marginally more informative. The worst explanation of a position was his claim that he was the Grand Marshal of the New York Israel Day Parade. So, Donald Trump donated the most funding one year and got to ride in a convertible wearing a really nice velvet sash with an attractive young woman on either side as a reward for his contributing the most funds. So, what was Donald Trump’s answer to a direct question about the Arab-Israeli or Palestinian-Israel peace problem which has stymied every President since Truman in 1948 through President Obama currently. What words of wisdom or evasion did we get? Let’s look and listen.

 

 

 

 

Ted Cruz claims that he separates his politics from his religion and vice-versa. That was not exactly his position stated when speaking to what he considered a friendly audience. Whether the United States is a Christian or Judeo-Christian nation is debatable. There are those in Islam who claim that their religion was the basis for the United States founding principles and the Declaration of Independence and Constitution. Ted Cruz laments in this interview that the Christian vote should in greater percentage than the approximately half registered but remaining home on Election Day. This, he claims, would alter the face and nature of the United States in this interview which follows.

 

 

 

 

Then there is Hillary Clinton whose hope is you will ignore all her negatives and concentrate on her positives. This may prove to be a hard sell but such would not be something beyond her audacity or deceptions which she would be sure to use. There would be Bill Clinton aiding any deception necessary as should she lose it, still Hillary will need a better answer on why she should be trusted beyond any FBI investigation. This clip gives straightforward examples of the real Hillary and campaign Hillary and never the twain shall meet.

 

 

 

 

There is a treasure-trove of videos available on line and all one need do is type the subject in at You Tube or any search engine and a virtual cornucopia under each candidate and covering a plethora of interesting items mixed in with even more trivia all of which show off the candidates in any form and forum desired. We hope everyone enjoyed our sampler package. Perhaps we can share some more videos once we are down to the wire with just the few candidates left standing for election as the President of the United States.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

January 26, 2016

What if Trump Trumps the Competition for Nomination?

 

Trump is still there against almost every prognosticator and editorial writer who keep interpreting polls and explaining how when people have to actually vote they will become serious and then they’ll vote for a serious candidate. Initially that serious candidate was Jeb Bush who flamed out really fast, then it became Governor Scott Walker but he soon decided to walk on home, then it became Senator Marco Rubio who has slowly sunk into the more of mediocracy and now the latest is former Ohio Governor John Kasich who is in third and a fairly distant third which will likely also fade in the setting poll numbers after Iowa, New Hampshire and North Carolina. The betting line now is after Trump, providing Trump snags victories in Iowa, New Hampshire and North Carolina, who will have polled well enough to have a reasonable standing to attempt to catch the nomination starting from behind, a not completely unheard of happening and, except for blessings in the Torah of second born sons, only considered expected in elections and the last two months of baseball season and a few other sports. The latest New Hampshire polling we were able to locate a poll out of New Hampshire which placed Donald Trump at twenty-seven per cent, John Kasich at twenty per cent, Marco Rubio at ten per cent, Ted Cruz at nine per cent, Chris Christie nine per cent and Jeb Bush eight per cent, with at least fifteen percent undecided as of the polling with some obviously supporting Rand Paul or Mike Huckabee and wise enough not to admit so. What is interesting about these polling numbers is that Senator Ted Cruz is receiving much of the bloviating all a titter, not to be confused for a twittered, about the Donald-Cruz one-on-one bashing, smashing, slamming, screaming with blood flowing and bruises and contusions on the stage and some Twitter smears in one-hundred-forty characters or less free-for-all. Now we see a poll of real people, not to accuse media personnel as being other than real or people but me thinks they would all protest too much and break the one-hundred-forty characters or less Twitter limits, and Cruz is in single digits making his chances as remote as expected from the start. So, what are we to take away from all of this?

 

Firstly, there is a lot of room for improved polling for former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum, former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina and anyone else still in the race and below Senator Jeb Bush and his eight percent polling and that the media elite and controlling editors apparently have their own agenda. Let’s look at the media, or at least a wide swath of the media and even FOX from what we have seen and read. The media will push candidates which either have little hope of becoming the nominee such as Ted Cruz, one they expect would be a weak candidate against the expected Democrat candidate which will likely be Hillary Clinton or potentially Bernie Sanders. In either case, the universal choice happens to be the front-runner Donald Trump. The media was handed the perfect storm when Ted Cruz and Donald Trump held a one-on-one, mano-a-mano, slugfest which carried on for almost a week and was the only news event as all else fell off their radar screens. The media is simply giving their largest audience exactly what they are paying to hear, and that is whatever is the most sensationalistic and bombastic news with all the gory details and particulars their money can buy. The media live and breathe in the cities and the media which has a much larger area to cover is completely different and that is what conservative talk radio serves and they are covering the rest of the field and even they find they need to invest an inordinate amount of time covering the Donald Trump phenomena as that is where their audience desires to hear about because it affects them as well.

 

 

Democrat Front Runners Hillary Clinton Bernie Sanders

Democrat Front Runners
Hillary Clinton
Bernie Sanders

 

 

The particulars about this year’s Republican race and the media covering it until the news is up to its neck in coverage of the Donald has part of its root in the fact that the Democrat race is a two person race from the outset and the only real question there is Hilary, Hilary and more Hilary. Bernie Sanders is sneaking up on the media because they did not believe the crowds he was drawing with his carnival like atmosphere were real because the media had been told by the Democrat establishment that they had piled all of their apples into Hilary as it was her turn. Well, the people have different ideas and Bernie has lit up their interest and he is now the face of the true believers on the left and the antiestablishment candidate. When the media realizes that Hilary had a credible challenger, even if it is Bernie Sanders, the media will clump around them and squeeze until the pressure breaks him or the primaries are over and all of a sudden Bernie will be their man and he was their man all along because Hilary was just too much yesterday’s news. If, or dare we say when, Bernie Sanders finished off the last gasp from the Clinton ‘machine,’ the question will be does the Clinton machine now swing in behind Bernie or will they hold their cards and donor lists close to their chests and hope he fails so they can begin claiming that 2020 was their target year all along. That decision may decide if there is a Clinton machine left after this race as if they do not back Bernie and he wins, that will be the end of it, done, over. Be that such as it may, the crash and burn by Hilary twice in a row and in both instances to what everyone claimed were too weak and unknown candidates who had one thing Hilary lacked, excitement. Hilary never ran for the nomination and simply waiting for what she claimed and honestly believed was inevitable, the White House and status as the first woman President and she offered nothing more and a whole lot less.

 

The Donald is proving that there is no inevitability in politics and that it truly has become a circus. Like Hilary on the democrat side there is Jeb, it’s my turn to be President, Bush who thought when he had the walk-in victory well in hand when he was the only candidate we had heard of and all the money was flowing his way, the republicans were almost giddy with the idea of another Clinton/Bush contest they figured they could win simply by showing up. Well, this year is looking anything but set in their ways, establishment backed Party politics and the people have finally decided it is their country and their Party and they are going to do what they desire and not just follow the Party line drawn for them. This is going to be the year of the populace come what may and the establishment is not what they want in either side. There is no ‘anybody but Bush’ line in the Republican race. The race was Jeb’s to lose and it appears he has done exactly that, lost it. What started this insanity which is quickly becoming the mainstream effort if, for no other reason, because that is the story the media may have caught onto right at the onset when Donald Trump, old Clinton friend and cohort grabbed large audiences to his appearances just as much to laugh and at some point turned and supported him just as Bernie has been doing on the Democrat side.

 

 

The Donald-Make America Great Again-Trump

The Donald-Make America Great Again-Trump

 

 

So, what happens if Donald Trump wins the Republican nomination? The question is more as to what will the Republican establishment do should Donald Trump wins the Republican nomination? It is important to remember that Donald Trump does not need the permission of the Republican Party as much as they will need his stamp of approval as he will have already passed the baptism by fire the campaign threw at him and came out on top. Further, Donald Trump does not need to rely upon the Party money to back him and he does not need the Party permission once he has won the nomination and he might do all that much better without the support of the Republican Party establishment. The favor the Republican Party elites would hand the American public would be for them to refuse to accept Trump as their candidate after he wins hands down the elective process and they deny him his rightful place through manipulating the Convention voting or other controls the Parties hold over their nomination processes in each state and in a larger part over their convention voting itself. It is still possible in both parties to win big in the primaries and still lose by a fairly surprising margin in the convention vote.

 

How is that, you ask? Without going through a ton of confusing math, here are the basics. Just because you win a state’s primary, do not go counting those delegates quite yet. Many states have adopted to use some method other than the winners take all allocation of their delegates. They get as confusing as having each voting district winner getting that delegate and the final delegates which would represent the Senators that state has in Congress usually going to the winner of the state overall but that can be altered and given by the Party bosses as they see fit. There are also the super delegates which are controlled by the elitists of the Party by which they retain some degree of control over who wins the nomination. Then there are all sorts of devious manner in which any selection process can be swayed and be controlled by the Party elite through such means as releasing the delegates from their presumed sworn obligation to vote as they were legally instructed by the states and then lean on the delegates seen as most likely to be susceptible to pressures and other manners of ‘buying’ their vote. Then there is the old adage that it is not who wins the election but who counts the votes that matters, also known as the Stalin approach to politics. After all, it was Joseph Stalin who pointed out this little fact that, “The people who cast the votes don’t decide an election, the people who count the votes do.” So, assume it safe to say that as long as Donald Trump does not win the necessary number of votes outright, even going down to the Congressional seats level and delegate by delegate count, then the often referred to as the powers that be will control who the candidate representing the Party and then appoint the person most likely to lose and have their political career ended once and for all. There are serious consequences for crossing the people when it comes to negating the power of their votes. That is a part of the animus against President Obama as he takes matters into his own hands bypassing the Congress.

 

Finally, just as Donald Trump could do by running as a third Party or no Party candidate, the Republican elites could put their influences and resources behind a third Party candidate either overtly or covertly using all sorts of weapons the largest of which is their influence over money. The Party establishment could decide suddenly that the Presidency is less important than winning Congress and claim in panicked desperate soundbites that they must, in order to save the Party, take all the Party monies and use them to elect every office other than the Presidency thus taking huge sums of money and other resources from the Presidential campaign with the most damaging part being the voter rolls and donations from the Presidential candidate in the final two to three months. Against Donald Trump such a move would be suicidal as he could finance his entire campaign without a penny from the Party but his slogan of win against the dirty money; after all there is nothing cleaner than a candidate using their own money to mount their campaign. Any nefarious or clandestine manner used to steal the campaign from the obvious and going away victor from the primary system would simply be the final nail in the Party coffin as when it comes down to it, what makes a political Party if it is not votes from the public, so ignore them at your own peril.

 

So, now Donald Trump is the Party candidate and will be listed on every state’s ballots as the republican nominee for President, now what? This is where the runner meets the road and we stop using these silly catch phrases as this is where the sloganeering gets decisive. The slogans are chosen and the campaign commercials are shot and the final race to the finish has been run and it is Election Day. There are numerous kinds of Republican and Democrat voters. There are the voters who always vote Party line, the absolute, who else would they vote for base. There are the base behind each candidate which may place some voters who were a different candidate’s true supporter who now must choose between two people they did not support or chose to stay home and watch the Gilligan’s Island Marathon on the who are we kidding channel. It are these stay at home my guy lost and I’m going to pout on election day hoping that if the Party candidate fails they can blame the Party for not seeing your infinite wisdom and intelligence when you supported candidate X and the Party foolishly tempted fate choosing candidate Y. The thing which has changed in politics has been the importance of turning out your Party’s base supporters which, except in the most unusual of cases, is not simply the important thing but the most vital thing in the universe. Elections here in the Twenty-First Century are not won on winning the middle voters, the average voter, as almost none of those voters who will cross ideological lines and even Party lines exist any longer. There are all kinds of single or three issue voters and the candidate needs to turn as many of these from their Party’s voters out to the polls. This is why many politicians have mastered talking out of both sides of their mouths simultaneously and some even manage saying three things at once all while stating nothing at all. This is seemingly more important for the conservative candidate as they have far more to lose if they do not hold true to every single issue which gets tricky when there are opposites within your Party structure. The easiest issues are gun rights and abortion. There are those Second Amendment voters on both sides of the abortion issue just as there are pro-life voters on either side of the gun issue. There is no way of parsing these dichotomies which will produce a guaranteed victory and all one can hope to do is tell the truth and hope they have not hurt themselves too badly.

 

These such issues are often far more damaging for conservatives because liberal media types will always attempt to peel back supporters by asking pointed and sharp edged questions on the most contentious issues hoping to cut voters away from the conservative candidate one-by-one if need be and conservative media will question them similarly claiming to want to present the truth to the voters. In elections there is such a thing as too much truth, especially for conservative candidates as each truth may cost them the election. This is especially true in the Presidential elections as there are far more liberal voters who will hold their nose and vote for the liberal party candidate, the Democrat just because they are not that evil person over on the other side of the ballot. Conservatives need a reason to vote for you and not just I’m not that other person, I am the Republican as that does not walk the walk or even talk the talk according to all too many voters. Those who claim they cannot vote for Trump because he used to be a liberal would likely not have liked Winston Churchill as he was among the left when he was young and somewhere during World War I he became a conservative and an ardent proponent of being prepared to fight a war when it is easily won rather than refuse to face facts that a storm is brewing. He had a number of great sayings on just that subject but I would rather use a different category on which he was also a great and wise discerner of humankind. Sir Winston Churchill stated, “If you’re not a liberal at twenty you have no heart, if you’re not a conservative at forty you have no brain.” That’s a great stopping point, till tomorrow.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

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