Vote Your Conscience

Before Donald Trump became the “presumptive” Republican nominee, I was quite vocal about my opposition to his candidacy and his unfitness to be President. Once he was named as the presumptive nominee, I decided to tone it down and wait to see if there was going to be a miracle in Cleveland.

There wasn’t, despite the efforts of good people to get a rules change to allow delegates to vote their consciences. I applaud our Colorado delegation – many of whom I know personally – for sticking to their promises and voting for Senator Ted Cruz as they had committed to doing.

I’ve been against the candidacy of Donald Trump since he first announced. I don’t like the man, I don’t trust him, and I don’t think that he cares about the things I do: government limited to its proper role, the Constitution and the unalienable rights defined in the Declaration of Independence.

I wrote a blog post four months ago in which I said I would vote for the Libertarian candidate instead of him. It should go without saying that I would NEVER vote for Hillary Clinton or Jill Stein, and in fact vigorously oppose their candidacies as well.

In recent months, I’ve watched as those of us on the libertarian/conservative Right have been bitterly fighting among ourselves over the candidacy of Donald Trump and whether or not we should vote for him. Many people I like and respect say that they are going to stand on their principles and cannot vote for Trump. Other people I like and respect say that we MUST vote for Trump because not voting for Trump is the same as voting for Hillary. Among my circle of friends and acquaintances, only a very small number have actually been for Trump since the beginning. Most were supporters of Cruz, Rubio or Kasich. Now, some of them are coming around to supporting Trump out of party loyalty or opposition to Hillary Clinton.

He Makes It Difficult

Between boneheaded statements and ill-advised publicity stunts Donald Trump seems to be going out of his way to lose. His ham-handed speech at the Western Conservative Summit – whining about the Colorado caucus to an audience who largely supports it – was an example of this. His selection of Indiana Governor Mike Pence as a running mate lends itself to the idea that he might actually be serious about winning, but unpredictability is his hallmark.

Many people I know have said they plan to vote Libertarian instead of voting for Trump. Philosophically I have one foot in the Libertarian party anyway, since the Republicans seem to keep ignoring the proper role of government and clinging to the losing social issues (abortion and same-sex marriage) that are driving minorities and millennials away from the party in droves.

Sadly, when you tell a Trump supporter this, you get a lecture about how not voting for Trump is the same as a vote for Hillary (it’s not, but whatever) or how you’re throwing your vote away.

I will confess that as I contemplate a Hillary Clinton presidency, I find many aspects truly appalling. From the in-your-face gloating of her supporters to the loss of the Supreme Court, further corruption and crony statism; disrespect for the rule of law and a continuation of the disastrous Obama years, a Hillary Clinton administration is truly nightmarish.

However, as I contemplate a Trump presidency, I find many aspects equally appalling. While some of his supporters claim that he will “hire good people” who will somehow magically “do the right things”, I am skeptical. There is nothing in Donald Trump’s record to support the notion that he would be willing to listen to others, take their advice or even allow them to tell him what to do. Oh no. I suspect that in any board or Cabinet meeting, there is one top dog, and his name is Donald.

Another fantasy of the Trump supporters is that he would somehow “change” to be more mature, more presidential, more this or more that. I am skeptical of this as well. The man is 70 years old. People don’t change in substantial, meaningful ways that late in life, especially if they think that what they are doing is working for them. If Donald Trump is elected, it will be a vindication and a validation of everything he’s done and said since he first announced his candidacy. He won’t change. To think otherwise is to be dangerously naïve.

Trump is an authoritarian bully, and the more rabid of his supporters, especially those who supported him from the beginning, are bullies as well. The first death threat I received in over three years of political activism came from a Trump supporter after the April State Assembly. Even some of the more educated and principled people tend to become a little angry when they talk about how “I must vote for Trump”. I suspect the anger stems from the fact they don’t like Trump either, and are resentful of feeling they have to support him.

The Third Party Alternative

This week while the Democrats are having their orgy of extremism in Philadelphia, it’s been interesting to watch the reactions of the Bernie Sanders supporters to his abdication of the “revolution” and the leaked emails showing Democrat party corruption at its most obvious. Many Bernie supporters walked out of the convention, and I am hearing a lot of them saying that they can’t vote for Hillary. It’s richly ironic to watch the same argument playing out on the Left: “A vote for Jill (Stein) is a vote for Trump”.

Sanders Meme

The truth is, there have always been other parties at play in presidential elections, but with few exceptions they don’t make a difference.

The Libertarian Party was founded in 1971 here in Colorado. A look back at the history of Libertarian candidates in presidential elections shows that the LP doesn’t make much of a difference at the presidential level.

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In forty years of voting, the LP just reached the 1 million vote/1% threshold in the 2012 election with current nominee Gary Johnson also being the 2012 nominee. Before then, the number of LP votes amounted to little more than a rounding error.

“But”, people say, “voting for Libertarians takes away votes from Republicans, thereby enabling the Democrats to win”. While this may be true in other national, state and local races, on the presidential level it is not. The table below shows what happens when the entire Libertarian vote is added to the Republican vote. (Of course, there are some left-leaning Libertarians who would have voted for Democrat or other left-leaning candidates instead).

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As the table shows, in no case where the Democrat won the election did the Libertarian vote make any difference. The Libertarian vote does not even come close to the losing spread in the elections where the Republican lost. One final point: the numbers for the other parties are so small that the electoral votes do not change at all. The Libertarian Party has earned only one electoral vote since 1972, and that one was from a “faithless elector”.

The Green party, which has been on the presidential ballot since 1996 actually had their biggest vote count in 2000, the year that Ralph Nader ran as a Green and most likely threw the election to George W. Bush. In that year, a third party run did make a difference, to the chagrin of the Democrats who almost had a President Gore.

If enough disaffected Sanders supporters and other far-left individuals vote for Jill Stein (who is polling at 3% to 5% as of July 25, 2016) it would probably pull up to a couple million votes away from Hillary Clinton, but is that enough to make a difference?

The biggest impact of a third party in presidential elections in the last 50 years was in 1992, when Ross Perot ran as an Independent and won 18.9% of the popular vote (but no electoral votes). Is Johnson or Stein capable of pulling that many votes away from the major parties?

The bottom line is: America has a two-party system. It’s going to take well over 65 million votes to win. It’s highly unlikely that any third party candidate can garner enough votes to win outright; but it is certainly possible in this crazy year that a third party candidate can get enough votes to throw the election into the House of Representatives. That outcome would be tumultuous, but not without precedent in our history. In fact, it may be the only way to avoid one of two disastrous outcomes.

 

Conclusion – Vote Your Conscience

At the Republican National Convention, candidate and Senator Ted Cruz told the audience to “Vote Your Conscience”. I loved that moment, because I’ve been saying it for weeks. (And it was ironic it made the Trump supporters mad. If voting for Donald Trump is the right thing to do, why wouldn’t it be “voting your conscience?)

This election year anything can happen. In 1856, the two-party system of the Whigs and the Democrats collapsed. The Whigs split with northern Whigs largely joining the new Republican party and southern Whigs joining the “Know Nothing” movement. Will 2016 see a similar breakup of the Republican and/or Democratic parties?

I doubt it. The Democrats, ever the collectivists, are already rallying around the corrupt 1%er they’ve nominated for President. They are much better at burying their differences and “unity”, coalescing around their candidates and getting them elected. The enthusiasm I’ve seen in the Democratic convention far exceeds any that I saw at the Republican convention.

The GOP won’t break up either, I don’t think, even though the fault lines between the libertarian-minded Republicans (like me) and the social conservatives are becoming more pronounced. The evangelical conservatives are more at odds with the pragmatic conservatives, and the alt-right elements that are Trump’s most scary supporters have no place in a national party that wants to win.

In any event, I think everybody should vote their conscience. If that means a vote for Trump because Hillary is just that bad, great. If it means a vote for a third party because the two major party nominees are horrendous, that’s fine too. For the Bernie supporters who so ardently embrace the failed philosophy of socialism, a vote for Jill Stein would be in line with your values and so you should vote for her. And yes, if you believe that Hillary Clinton would make a good president despite her many failures and flaws, you should vote accordingly.

Or, maybe don’t vote at all.

But what MUST happen, especially for those of us on the Right, is we must RESPECTFULLY agree to disagree on who we are going to vote for, mend fences, and get busy working together to elect good Republican candidates on the down-ballot races. Conservatism has already lost this election. The more we fight among ourselves about the top of the ticket, the more we endanger the down-ballot races and the more we empower the Left, who are uniting behind their ticket and the most progressive party platform in history.

We need to do a better job of promoting the concepts of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness that we hold so dear to a country that is increasingly going astray with its embrace of socialism and collectivism; anarchy and moral relativity.

Whatever you do, get out and vote in November. And please, vote your conscience.

By Richard D. Turnquist

July 28, 2016

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Thoughts on Orlando

Before any discussion of Orlando can take place, I must first express limitless sorrow for the people who lost their lives during the night of Saturday, June 11, 2016. May they rest in peace. May their loved ones find comfort and solace. May the injured return to full health soon. May the soul of the perpetrator rot in hell for all eternity.

The tragedy in Orlando hits so many chords for so many people. For the leftists who hate guns, it reinforces their desire to ban guns, outlaw gun ownership, and falsely paint the vast majority of law-abiding gun owners as dangerous radicals. It is sadly predictable that they call for more meaningless gun control laws and willfully ignore the fact that the perpetrator of the horrific act in Orlando was an Islamic terrorist waging jihad.

Yes, he apparently was a native-born American citizen. That just shows that the sickness known as radical Islamic jihad can strike even native-born Americans. Yes, he apparently hated gays. This leads me to call upon leading Christian, Muslim and Jewish religious authorities to re-think their condemnation of homosexuality. As Christian theologian Mark Achtemeier has written in his book The Bible’s YES to Same-Sex Marriage: An Evangelical’s Change of Heart, there is a compelling case for same-sex marriage in the Christian tradition and I urge thoughtful Christians of all political persuasions to review this book. I don’t believe that Jesus would have supported condemnation of gays, and in any event the state has no business regulating relationships between consenting adults based on religious teachings.

As usual, the predictable suspects – President Obama, Moms Demand Action and Everytown for Gun Safety, as well as various Democrats large and small – have renewed their calls for more gun control laws in the wake of this horrible incident.

There’s just one problem. GUN CONTROL DOESN’T WORK.  If it did, Omar Mateen would not have had a handgun and a common modern sporting rifle available to murder his victims. An individual with that much rage and hatred in his heart would have found other means to murder his victims. Let’s just remember Timothy McVeigh, who murdered three times as many with a fertilizer bomb.

While Omar Mir Seddique Mateen may have been born in America – just like I was – he apparently chose Islam as his religion. While he may have bought his guns legally, his motives in buying that common modern sporting rifle were not self-defense, nor target shooting, nor hunting, nor collecting.  No, his motive was murder. As such, I have no doubt he would have been able to purchase the tool to murder and maim over 100 people with or without having to pass a background check. Clearly, none of the tens of thousands of gun control laws already on the books prevented this tragedy.

Omar Mateen was an adherent of a religion – a major religion with over a billion followers – that condemns the homosexual lifestyle and homosexuals in no uncertain terms. They openly delight in throwing gays off tall buildings then finishing the job with stones. In Iran gays are executed by hanging. (And the #BadIranDeal brokered by Democrats merely empowers the theocracy that allows this.)

As the Wall Street Journal has written this morning:

 “The distressing truth is that no amount of domestic vigilance can stop every ISIS-inspired act of terror. That’s why the only real solution is to destroy Islamic State in its havens abroad so young Muslims around the world won’t see it as the vanguard of the future.

Part of President Obama’s legacy will be that Islamic State grew so dangerous on his watch, prospering in the political vacuum that was created when he chose to withdraw from Iraq and then do little in Syria. The job of the next President will be to repair the damage done by those two historic mistakes.”

Let us not forget that the foreign policy architect of those two historic mistakes was none other than former Secretary of State and current Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Rodham Clinton. In all likelihood, the problem of ISIS would only grow worse under a Clinton Administration.

Finally, this incident just reinforces that fact that self-defense is an unalienable right, of which the right to keep and bear arms is but a corollary. The Second Amendment affirms this right, it does not grant it.

As the world grows more dangerous due to the Left’s inexplicable desire to “coexist” with people who want to kill us, it becomes more and more evident that further infringing the right to keep and bear arms not only puts people more in harm’s way, it actively empowers the enemies among us who wish to do us harm.

By Richard D. Turnquist

June 13, 2016

Follow The Money

The backers of Colorado’s ballot initiative titled “Amendment 69 – Colorado Care” would have voters believe that their proposal is supported by a wide swath of Coloradans eager for single payer healthcare to be enacted in our state.

It is my view that Amendment 69 is a terrible idea – imposing a massive tax increase and more than doubling the size of our state government is not the answer to the distortions in healthcare markets wrought by government interference up to and especially including Obamacare.

Indeed, a recent blog post by the communications director for Colorado Care Yes (CCY) boasted about how recent campaign finance reports showed that CCY raised 94% of its funds from Colorado voters while an opposition group raised less than 1% from Coloradans.

While this is true on the surface, a deeper look into where CCY’s money is coming from is needed to see if this is truly the “grassroots” effort they claim it is.

Using publicly available campaign finance reports filed with the Colorado Secretary of State for ColoradoCareYes from the inception in 2015 to the most recent reporting period (May 16, 2016) I have compiled and analyzed the results and have found that CCY is anything BUT a grassroots effort.

Campaign Personnel Donated About 46% of the Total Funds Raised To Date

Through social media, websites and other online research I have identified over a dozen people who are associated with the CCY campaign. The three individuals who have donated the most money are the Registered Agent (David Beckwith), the Executive Director/Finance Chair (Ivan Miller) and the Campaign Director (Lyn Gullette). These three individuals alone have donated about 43% of the total funds to date. The table below shows the total amounts donated by this group of people.

CCY Personnel Donations 20160517

The Campaign Director had also donated an additional $50,000 (bringing her total to $168,009), but that donation was returned because the campaign decided to “wait until they needed it”.

Given that this small group of people has donated almost 50% of the funds donated to date, I think it’s safe to say that this small group of individuals wants to refashion our healthcare system for reasons of their own. They are not the “grassroots”.

Donors Giving Over $1,000

The next largest group of donors who account for about 25% of the contributions to date are from a group of 11 people who have donated a total of $147,114.48.

The largest donor in this group is Ralph Ogden, a Denver attorney who has donated $60,796.12 to date. According to the International Association of Political Consultants website, Ogden is a partner in a Denver law firm specializing in litigation and is a board member of Co-Operate Colorado, “an organization dedicated to bringing a mesure [sic] to create a universal health care cooperative before Colorado voters in 2015…”

The next two largest donors in this group are Judith Burke ($25,800) and Eliza Carney ($23,570). The remaining large donors include a Kaiser Permanente physician, a New York attorney and an Oregon physician. The table below shows this group which is, again, NOT “grassroots”.

CCY Large Donor Group 20160517

Political Committees Gave $43,700

A relatively modest amount of the donations received to date came from other political committees, mostly from the aforementioned Co-Operate Colorado that is related to Ralph Ogden, which contributed $39,000. I find it striking that there are so few donations from other political committees, which I view as an indication that the single-payer healthcare concept is not considered viable even by other left-leaning groups. Political committees are not the “grassroots”.

CCY Pol CTE Group 20160517

A Handful of Current and Former Elected Officials

As a sure sign that Colorado is not ready for single-payer healthcare, only four elected officials have donated so far, and one of them – Irene Aguilar – is a sponsor of Amendment 69. Another, former State Senator Nicholson is an active member of the campaign. Given the fact that many leading Democrats have stated their opposition to Colorado Care, this is not surprising.

CCY EO Group 20160517

Not Really “The Grassroots”

So far, 39 individuals and groups account for 78% of the donations received to date, leaving 22% of the donations coming from 46 individuals who have donated between $500 and $1,000; and a little over 1,500 who have donated less than $500 apiece, with the average donation in this group being about $44.00.

What’s more instructive is to look at the cities in Colorado that these donations have originated from and the Employer/Occupation that has donated the most.

In what should not be a surprise to anyone, the most donations – $490,815, or 83% of the total donations to date have come from just five cities (including donations by CCY personnel):

  • Louisville $158,122, or 27%
  • Boulder $144,044, or 24%
  • Denver $120,471, or 20%
  • Fort Collins $44,244, or 8%
  • Westminster $23,935, or 4%

As we’ve seen in Colorado politics over the last decade or so, the Boulder/Denver/Fort Collins nexus is the source of most of the progressive agenda items that are being pushed in Colorado, and this data bears out that hypotheses.  Donations from the rest of the state only amount to 14% of the total.

By far the largest occupational groups in the data (excluding CCY campaign personnel) are “Retired”, donating a total of $111,570 (19%) and Healthcare/Medical donating $42,666 (7%).

It is not clear to me why retired folks would be willing to impose a tax on themselves and others of up to 10% of their non-payroll income. Colorado Care would tax ALL forms of income except alimony and unemployment insurance, including retirement income streams. Because Colorado Care would be exempt from TABOR, the board would be able to raise taxes at will. If other government programs of this nature are any example, they will.

It is not clear to me why people who work in the healthcare professions would be in favor of a system which would rob them of their autonomy and make them into employees of the State. Under Colorado Care all healthcare decisions including pricing and wages would be set by a 21 member, highly partisan, unaccountable board that is not subject to recall and is only subject to elections every four years.

Single Payer is Not the Answer

From mythical savings amounts (the promised $4.5 billion in savings is entirely hypothetical) to the fact that a tiny handful of retirees and healthcare personnel are supporting a system that would adversely impact them, it is clear that there is nothing rational about Colorado Care.

With the adverse effects of single payer being adequately demonstrated in the challenges facing the healthcare systems in the United Kingdom and Canada, it is just not rational to vote such a system in place here in Colorado.

Finally, while there are more people donating to Colorado Care Yes than to the opposition, it is clear from the campaign finance data that Colorado Care Yes is anything but a grassroots effort. Fully 78% of the donations to date have come from a small group of people who are clearly working to implement their policy goals on the rest of us. While their goals may be commendable, their promises are unverified, speculative and most likely not achievable.

Please join me in opposition to and voting “NO” on Amendment 69.

By Richard D. Turnquist

May 18, 2016

See the text of my speech against Amendment 69 here.

 

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Why the Declaration of Independence Means a No Vote on Amendment 69

Are you ready for your favorite brewpub to close its doors? What will you do when you break your arm skateboarding and can’t get in to see your doctor because she closed her practice and moved out of state? How will you feel when your boss tells you that you’re laid off because of a 7% payroll tax increase? If you value the rights and freedoms described in our nation’s Declaration of Independence, you will vote “No” on Amendment 69.

Cato Dec of Ind

The scenarios described above are all too plausible if Colorado voters vote “Yes” on Amendment 69 this coming November. Amendment 69, titled “Colorado Care”, would implement a single-payer healthcare system in the state of Colorado.

While Colorado Care’s goals of universal health care with its promise of no deductibles or co-pays sound really good, they can only be implemented at a high cost in terms of increased taxation, expansion of government and limitation of freedom.

In our nation’s Declaration of Independence, the authors outlined certain unalienable rights, and those rights include “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness”, and that to secure these rights, governments are instituted, deriving their just powers from the governed.

The word “unalienable” means that these rights are not granted by anyone including the government; rather, you have these rights because you are alive in this world. The right to “Life” is self-evident. By impairing your ability to visit a doctor or receive necessary medical treatment in a timely fashion, Amendment 69 would endanger your right to Life. Other nations that have single payer healthcare – including Great Britain and Canada – have four to five month waiting periods for medically necessary procedures. Will you want your father or mother to have to wait that long for treatment of something that could harm or even end their life?

“Liberty” means free will and the social and political freedoms that everybody is entitled to, again by virtue of being alive. Amendment 69 will severely curtail your free will. For starters, you as a patient would be limited in the choice of doctors that you could see. You as a family member will not be able to secure the treatment your loved ones need. As a doctor, your liberty would be stolen because you would not be free to charge a fair price for the services you provide. Your property rights in your medical practice would be damaged because you might not be able to charge enough to cover your costs and to earn a living.

The “Pursuit of Happiness” also implicitly includes the concept that governments are instituted to protect property as well. Amendment 69 will violate everybody’s property rights through higher taxation – depriving you of the money you have earned through your productive labor – and the inability to pay a fair price for goods and services received or rendered. Small businesses and their owners will bear an unfair burden under Amendment 69. If your boss is a small business owner, not only will he have to pay a 6.7% tax on the wages he pays you, he will also have to pay 10% tax on his business income (if any). Are your parents retired and living off of Social Security and the money they’ve been able to save throughout their lives? They too will be taxed at 10% (or up to 50% during the “transitional phase”) of their pension, annuity, Social Security, 401K, IRA and other retirement income. True, there are some exclusions, but this still represents a massive tax increase on your parents and grandparents. Are they able to afford higher taxes?

Let’s get back to your favorite brewpub, neighborhood coffee shop or winery. The owner of your favorite hangout will most likely not be able to afford the 17% increase in payroll and personal taxes that Amendment 69 will impose. She will most likely have to close her doors, because most small businesses in Colorado operate on very thin profit margins, and most certainly will not be able to stay in business due to this massive tax increase.

Preserve freedom. Preserve life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Vote “No” on Amendment 69. There’s no such thing as “free healthcare”.

By Richard D. Turnquist

May 14, 2016

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The Amazing Unfitness of Hillary Clinton

This presidential primary season has been notable for the surprising popularity of two completely unsuitable candidates – Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump – and a clear indication that the Democratic Party has lost all reason in the candidacy of lawyer, former First Lady, former United States Senator and former Secretary of State Hillary Diane Rodham Clinton.

In the decades since Bill and Hillary Clinton burst onto the national scene, our country has endured numerous scandals, an impeachment, an utterly undistinguished Senate record, a failed presidential campaign, a disastrous tenure as Secretary of State, criminal investigations including the current FBI probe of mishandling of classified emails, and another presidential campaign.

It has always amazed me how the Clintons seem to get away with acts and behaviors that would – and have – brought other candidates and elected officials down in disgrace. It seems that every time they get away with something, it just encourages them to new lows of unethical, corrupt, cynical and illegal behavior.

Another surprising thing about the Clintons is how they remain so HIllary Meme Everything Liberals Hatepopular with a wide swath of the American people despite their failings, scandals and flip-flops. In particular, it surprises me how many modern progressives are so ardent in their support of Hillary when she is the embodiment of everything they hate, and with Bernie Sanders being so much more clearly in line with their goals and beliefs. From this I can only conclude that they think she can win, and given their lack of moral scruples and desire for power at any cost, are “holding their noses” and supporting her. She is clearly the “establishment” candidate of the Democratic Party.

There are many books, articles, blog posts and other information out there on both Bill and Hillary Clinton. It’s probable that no other couple has had so many words, both positive and negative, written about them. My purpose in this blog post is to focus attention on several areas which disqualify her from the office of President of the United States. Any one of them, taken separately, is enough to disqualify her, but taken together and as a whole, paint a picture of a woman who would govern with no respect for the proper role of government, the principles outlined in our Declaration of Independence, the structure set forth in the Constitution, and with no respect for the lives and prosperity of the American people.

There is no reason to think that the Clinton Administration II would be anything more than another Obama administration, only this time with more scandal, more sleaze, and attacks on her opponents as being misogynist instead of racist.

Benghazi and the Email Scandal

As everyone knows, on September 11, 2012 a group of Islamic militants attacked the American diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, resulting in the deaths of Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other brave Americans. In addition to the myriad failures that led to this tragedy, lies about the causes of the incident and subsequent cover-ups, the fact that Hillary Clinton employed a private email server came to light during congressional testimony.

Benghazi Four

In the months since then, as the FBI is actively investigating a presidential candidate for the first time in history, we have learned that Hillary set up a private server for her own convenience in order to keep her emails from becoming public record. While at the time it may not have been a violation of State Department rules or federal law, the fact that she wanted to be able to keep her official emails as Secretary of State from becoming public record speaks volumes about her and her mentality – and lessons learned from her previous scandals.

Hillary’s server was not secured and was processing classified documents and state secrets. It is certain that America’s enemies – and friends – had access to high-level government secrets during her tenure as Secretary of State. The fact that she was willing to put lives and our national security at risk for her private purposes is enough to disqualify her from any consideration for another public office. The fact that she has not yet been indicted for the probable crimes committed speaks to the corruption of the Obama Justice Department and political pressure on the FBI. I believe that if a Republican male Secretary of State had done the same thing, he’d be breaking rocks in Leavenworth by now.

This lack of judgment and disregard for national security alone should disqualify Hillary Clinton from any further public office in the United States.

Of course, the name “Clinton” has become synonymous with “Scandal” over the last 25 years. A complete recap of all the scandals and misdeeds associated with this corrupt couple would fill a large book, and the mysterious deaths associated with their unbridled pursuit of power is sobering as well. Here are just a few examples of these:

  • Monica Lewinsky and Impeachment. After a sordid affair with a young woman intern, Bill Clinton became the second president to be impeached.
  • Whitewater scandal – The Clintons invested in a venture that went under due to accounting fraud. Hillary’s firm represented the Whitewater Development Corp in subsequent investigations.
  • “Missing” law firm billing records – fees related to the Whitewater scandal covered up.
  • Using the IRS to target political enemies. Like Johnson, Nixon and now President Obama, bad presidents have used the IRS against their enemies. Bill Clinton engaged in that shameful practice as well.
  • Looting the White House. The Clintons displayed their disdain for the “Peoples’ House” by vandalizing and attempting to steal hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of artwork and furnishings.
  • Huma Abedin, Hillary’s longtime aide, has been known to collect double salaries in violation of morals, ethics and rules. In addition, she has disturbing ties to various Muslim organizations.
  • Chinagate: The 1996 Clinton-Gore re-election campaign solicited and accepted donations from Chinese nationals in exchange for classified high-tech secrets.
  • Death of Vince Foster. The death of this Clinton insider was ruled a suicide, but it’s still suspicious.
  • By some accounts, dozens of people associated with the Clintons have died violently, mysteriously, or by “suicide” over the years. That’s a pretty big number to just be a coincidence.

Clinton Cash and Corruption

With a net worth of over $100 million, the Clintons are in the 1% of wealthiest Americans. They didn’t get there by operating a profitable business or successful executive careers. No – through a lifetime of employment in government with generous taxpayer funded salaries and benefits, book royalties and speaking fees, the Clintons have amassed a fortune that frees them from the economic worries that most of us have.

The Clintons also set up the Clinton Foundation, a 501(c)(3) that ClintonCashcollects money from various wealthy donors for the ostensible purpose of improving global health and wellness. The book Clinton Cash, by Peter Schweizer, documents the many shady characters including convicted criminals from the United States and other countries who have donated millions of dollars to their foundation. What’s worse is that many foreign countries including several who do not have America’s best interests at heart donated money to her foundation WHILE SHE WAS SECRETARY OF STATE! If this is not rank, prosecutable corruption, I don’t know what is.

Hillary Meme

Hillary Clinton probably told her Wall Street benefactors that she would have to bash them on the campaign trail, but that she’s really “just kidding”. The fact is that Hillary has reaped millions of dollars in campaign contributions from Wall Street banks, law firms and other corporations. This is clearly a sign that a second Clinton Administration would lead to a worsening of the state cronyism that is dragging our free market economy down, giving capitalism a bad name and disenfranchising so many working class people. When one’s favors are for sale, the highest bidders with the deepest pockets reap the most lucrative rewards.

Hillary Donors

 

Impeachment and Slut Shaming

Ironically, Hillary Clinton is to progressive feminism as mass shooters are to Second Amendment rights. During the years of her husband’s checkered political career first as Governor of Arkansas then as President of the United States, Hillary was instrumental in defending him against accusations from various women who either had affairs with Bill (Gennifer Flowers, for one) or who accused him of rape or sexual misconduct (Juanita Broaddrick, Paula Jones, and many others). Of all these women, the most famous and the most President Clinton with Monica Lewinskyvictimized is Monica Lewinsky, who was seduced by the President of the United States while a young, innocent White House intern.

Hillary described these women as “sluts”, “bimbos”, and other derogatory terms while destroying their reputations and attacking their credibility. By all accounts and objective measures, Bill Clinton is a serial womanizer at best and a sexual predator and rapist at worst. His behavior can only be described as “despicable” and Hillary’s defense and enabling of it over the years counts as “despicable” too.

All the progressive women who boast “#ImWithHer” on social media are proclaiming themselves to be unprincipled hypocrites for their support of this woman who is the ultimate anti-feminist. If Bill Clinton had been a Republican, they would have driven him from public life a long time ago.

Senator Carpetbagger

As her husband’s mediocre presidential term was drawing to a close, Hillary – clearly hungry for power in her own right – decided to run for the United States Senate from the state of New York.

Had Hillary ever lived in New York? No. Did Hillary have family or roots in New York? No! Did Hillary understand the concerns and priorities of New Yorkers? Doubtful, though she did embark on a “listening tour” of the state prior to running for office. After Clinton_home_Chappaquathrowing down $1.7 million for a posh Westchester mansion, she went out on the campaign trail. After being elected with 55% of the vote, she became the first sitting First Lady to be elected to public office.

During her first term from 2001 to 2006, Hillary supported the United States’ incursion into Afghanistan and voted in support of the Iraq War. Despite her appearance as a moderate, she was instrumental in creating some of the progressive infrastructure that exists today – the Center for American Progress, Media Matters for America and the well-known lefty attack dog Center for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW).

Prior to winning re-election in 2006, Hillary began exploring the idea of running for president, hoping to become the first woman president.

Hillary’s Senate career was largely undistinguished. She only authored three bills that were ultimately passed, and all three were symbolic in nature. The only thing she accomplished in eight years of being a United States Senator was to build her campaign structure and gather donors for her presidential run.

Early on in the 2008 presidential race, Hillary had a sense of inevitability. She tied with Barack Obama in the early primaries but ultimately lost out to the previously obscure first-term Senator from Illinois who popped up and with the help of the modern progressive movement stole the nomination right out from under her. Barack Obama and his coalition of Third Left progressives managed to steal the once-proud Democratic Party away from the left-center wing led by the Clintons and transform the Party into the extreme Leftist party it is today.

A Failure as Secretary of State

Perhaps the clearest evidence of Hillary Clinton’s unfitness for the office of President of the United States is her tenure as Secretary of State.

President-elect Obama asked Hillary Clinton to serve as his Secretary of State while she was still a sitting Senator from New York. I’m sure he did this to co-opt her as a member of his administration (“Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer”), to quiet her and to get her supporters in line with his. While this may have been a good move for him politically, it was a disastrous move for the United States and our standing and interests in the world.

The Obama administration has presided over the most rapid disintegration of the world order since the 1930s. Between the Arab spring, Russian and Chinese expansionism, escalating Islamic jihad and terrorism, the disintegration of Iraq and the rise of ISIS and the increase of terrorist attacks throughout Western Europe the world is unquestionably a more dangerous place today than it was eight years ago.

President Obama, who clearly believed that because HE was president the world would change for the better certainly deserves his share of responsibility for this deterioration. But his Secretary of State Hillary Clinton deserves the lion’s share of the blame for it.

Hillary was the prime mover behind the “strategy” to abandon former enemy turned ally Muammar Gaddafi in Libya. After seeing Hoekstra book about Hillarythe fate of his fellow dictator Saddam Hussein, Gaddafi changed his tune, turned in his WMDs and became an American ally. He knew that the radical Islamists were the true threat and was aiding us in fighting them. Hillary advised President Obama to abandon Gaddafi and support the jihadists who were trying to oust him.

As Pete Hoekstra has so well documented in his book Architects of Disaster, The Destruction of Libya the end result of the misguided Clinton strategy was the loss of Libya as an ally and ultimately the deaths of four Americans including the Ambassador. It also led to Gaddafi’s ignominious death as he tried to flee, which will no doubt cause other dictators to think twice about reforming and working with America.

While a President Clinton would not be as ignorant and neglectful of foreign policy as President Obama has proven to be, I don’t believe she would understand or effectively manage the numerous perils facing our nation in this day and age. Many people fear she would be a “war-monger”, leading to more American blood and treasure being expended on foreign wars, with little if any benefit to our nation.

 

Conclusion – An Out of Touch Liar

Hillary Clinton is campaigning as a “champion of the middle class”. This is richly ironic, because Hillary knows nothing about how the middle class lives today. During her years at the Rose Law Firm, she was earning in the medium six figures (over $200,000 in her last year – and this was back in the 1980s!) At age 68, after spending over 30 years living off of taxpayers in one government role or another – First Lady of Arkansas, First Lady of the United States, United States Senator and Secretary of State – Hillary has little or no experience with any of the following things that all of us experience in our everyday lives, including:

  • Shopping at the grocery store and standing in line after a hard day at work
  • Preparing and serving a meal for her family after working all day
  • Meeting a payroll or paying business taxes
  • Driving home in rush hour traffic after a 12 hour day at work
  • Losing a job, being unemployed, trying to find a new job
  • Losing money on retirement savings because the stock market falls
  • Worrying about how to pay for a child’s education in private school or college
  • How to make ends meet on a shrinking income as taxes and prices rise
  • Worry about being able to buy a house or pay the mortgage

For the last 37 years, Hillary’s life has been one of government housing, free transportation, free 24×7 bodyguards, free travel, lavish vacations, more money than most people will ever earn, and being completely unaccountable for her poor choices and decisions.

Worst of all, perhaps, is that Hillary Clinton is a perpetual, known, proven, habitual liar. Hillary lies about lying. She lies when the truth is easier or would serve her better. Hillary can’t be expected to be honest with the American people because she is incapable of that kind of honesty, and in the absence of honesty, there is no trust. Because she is a known liar, she would have no credibility with Congressional leaders, heads of state or anyone else; another hindrance in successfully running the executive branch and navigating this dangerous world our failed president is leaving us.

Hillary, by virtue of being a chronic liar, insults the intelligence of every person she lies to. The very act of lying requires the listener to suspend belief, which means to suspend the act of thinking as a reasoning human being. I find her lies offensive, and I think her supporters are ignorant, cynical, cunning, careless or some combination of all these. By supporting her, they become complicit in her lies and corruption.

Between the two candidates vying for the Democratic nomination, it’s really hard to say which is worst: The Socialist or The Crook. Either one would be a disaster despite being held in check by a Republican Congress.

Even though Mr. Sanders is running a strong campaign it’s becoming clear that Hillary will be the nominee of the now morally bankrupt Democratic Party. It is my sincere hope that the Republican Party can find a way to avoid nominating Donald Trump and will instead nominate Ted Cruz, who will have a fighting chance of defeating Hillary and slowing the decline of our nation. Please, let it be so.

By Richard D. Turnquist

March 26, 2016

 

Why Electing Donald Trump Would Be a Disaster

After seeing the results of the New Hampshire primary and Nevada caucus with Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump both winning stunning victories, I continue to be dismayed by the popularity of both men. As I wrote recently, I think that electing Bernie Sanders would be an unmitigated disaster. At the same time, a possible Trump candidacy concerns me a great deal, but for different reasons.

In any event, both men are surprising all the pundits and professionals by the strength of their candidacies, and both are tapping into a deep well of anger among grassroots supporters on both sides of the political spectrum. Bernie is clearly energizing the young, the politically ignorant and the progressives; and The Donald is clearly energizing the angry Right – the social conservatives, the immigration hawks, the people who think that a businessman would make a good president, and angry middle class voters who feel that America is on the wrong track.

That Pesky Constitution

Much of Donald Trump’s agenda would be dead on arrival after his election, just the same as with Bernie Sanders. While some may think America is a “democracy” – where two wolves and a sheep get together and decide what’s for dinner – America was designed as and is still a constitutional republic. That means the majority doesn’t get its way by simply being a majority. Democracy is nothing more than mob rule.

If Trump is elected, he would have a nominally friendly Congress (assuming it stays Republican, and I believe it will to begin with). It’s possible that some of his more extreme agenda items might get through a Republican Congress, but I seriously doubt that even the most rabid immigration hawk would support a law that would deport millions of people. The visuals of armed troops forcibly breaking families apart and deporting children at gunpoint would mean the end of the Republican Party. I can’t see Congress passing single payer healthcare – which Bernie openly supports and Trump used to support. I don’t see anybody in Congress going home to face the voters after passing legislation to end birthright citizenship.

Trump, like his buddy Obama before him, might try to resort to rule by executive order, just as a President Sanders would. The facts remain the same – under our system of government, the president does not have the authority to make law, raise taxes, or implement his agenda through executive orders. While some on the wacky Right may wish to give Trump dictatorial powers (just as those on the wacky Left may wish to give Bernie the same), it’s not going to happen.

A Former Democrat and Democratic Enabler

Trump with Bill and Hillary

Trump is running as a Republican candidate, but he is not a lifelong Republican. In the past, he has self-identified as a Democrat and has embraced many Democratic positions. He supported the 2008 stimulus package, the auto industry and bank bailouts.  He has cynically “bought” politicians who would support his business goals. While his political donations lean to the Republican side, he has given millions of dollars to politicians of both parties. Not only that, he spent years courting the favor of Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton, including generous donations to her foundation. Trump has changed parties at least five times, jumping back and forth between the two major parties.

Now, calling himself a “Republican” and pretending to embrace the conservative movement, Trump is showing himself to be a blatant opportunist whose leap of change is almost as large as his ego. It has been my view all along that Donald Trump is a bored rich guy with an oversized ego who has decided to run for president for “the hell of it”. He’s not a statesman and he doesn’t have the depth to run the executive branch and manage foreign policy. His narcissism and bullying style – not dissimilar to Barack Obama – is not suitable for the office he seeks.

Enabling the Worst of the Right

Another reason to oppose the candidacy of Donald Trump is that he would enable the worst ideas that lurk on the extreme right. While the immigration situation in our country has been broken for decades – a bipartisan problem for which both parties are to blame – mass deportations are probably not the answers to these issues. His views on foreign policy are belligerent and incoherent. His views on China are unrealistic. His views on eminent domain deny the constitutional protections for private property. He is a crony capitalist and a “deal maker”. Guess who would benefit the most from a Trump presidency? Wall Street and big business. (Of course, Wall Street is in the bag for Hillary too.)

Electing Donald Trump president would result in a one-term presidency and loss of the White House and Congress to the Democrats for several election cycles. We would see a progressive majority take over the Supreme Court. These events would be catastrophic for our country and the cause of Liberty.

Donald Trump, if elected, would tarnish or destroy the Republican brand for years or decades to come. I think he has the potential to damage our country even more than Bernie or Hillary, simply because a new Democratic president will still be kept in check by a Republican Congress.

Misogyny and Racism

In a GOP debate in August 2015, Trump mixed it up with Fox News correspondent Megyn Kelly saying she had “blood coming out of her wherever…”. His bullying and misogynistic attitude toward her and his subsequent cowardice in refusing to appear in another Fox News hosted debate speak volumes. Trump is well known for his disparaging comments toward women in public life and in business. His serial adultery and three marriages suggest that he views women as fungible objects, not as persons worthy of respect. Such attitudes have no place in a modern Western society where women comprise over half the population and contribute incalculable value to our lives and culture.

Trump’s comments about the immigration and Islamic terrorism problems also illustrate a stunning disregard for our common humanity. Yes – immigration is a problem. It is a complex problem that defies easy or fast solutions. I personally favor more strict border enforcement, paths to citizenship, deportation of undocumented aliens arrested for crimes as well as a cultural bias back toward assimilation instead of multiculturalism. Yes, Islamic terrorism is an existential threat. We should be careful about who we let into our country, and we should make every effort to keep potential terrorists out and defend American laws and values.

 

He Loses to Both Sanders and Clinton

In recent Real Clear Politics polls, the results show that both Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio can beat both Clinton (The Crook) and Sanders (The Socialist). The very same polls show Donald Trump losing to both. That should be enough of an argument for anybody who wants our next President to be a Republican.

I know many people who say they will “hold their noses” and vote for Trump if he is the Republican nominee. They all cite what a disaster a Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders presidency would be – and I agree – but here’s the simple fact: If Donald Trump is the Republican nominee, we’ve already lost the election! While I like and respect many people who hold this view, I must respectfully disagree.

 

The Conundrum – Whom to Vote For?

For years I voted for Libertarian candidates on my biannual ballots. They never won, but it made me feel good that I was voting for candidates who supported my principles. Then, in 2010 I came to the realization that by voting Libertarian, I might as well have been voting for Democrats, because they often win when Libertarians split votes from the Republicans.

In thinking about possible outcomes for the 2016 presidential election, I have been hoping that Trump would implode or flame out and drop out of the race. After the Nevada caucuses, it is becoming an increasing threat that he will become the Republican nominee. The question I and many of my friends and allies are facing is: Would I vote for Donald Trump?

After much thought and soul searching, I have concluded that if Donald Trump is the Republican nominee, I will vote for the Libertarian candidate on the ballot. I don’t think that Trump could beat Hillary or Bernie (he never tops out at more than 45% of the vote) and he would be as easy a target for the Left as Hillary is for the Right. It would be impossible for me to defend or support him and his record – something Hillary supporters apparently have no problem with.

As I said earlier, if Trump is elected the Republican brand is finished, and having a Republican strongman in office would be just as bad as having a socialist or corrupt 1%er in office. Any of the three would constitute a dire threat to liberty and constitutional government.

If Trump runs and loses to Bernie or Hillary, he is done in politics, and that would be a great thing.

At this point in the game, I fervently hope that either Ted Cruz or Marco Rubio ends up as the Republican nominee because I believe either one could beat Hillary or Bernie. Neither is perfect and both have their critics on important issues among conservatives and libertarians, but both are infinitely better than The Donald, The Crook or The Socialist.

I unconditionally oppose the candidacy of Donald Trump. There is no circumstance under which I would sacrifice my principles and vote for him. He is not a true conservative, respecter of the Declaration of Independence or the Constitution; nor is he a liberty loving candidate.

By Richard D. Turnquist

February 27, 2016

 

Below are links to other articles opposing the candidacy and election of Donald Trump

National Review: Against Trump 

National Review: Donald Trump Thinks American Workers Aren’t Good Enough for the Trump Organization

David Harsanyi: Why President Trump Would Be A Bigger Disaster Than Hillary

Ross Kaminsky: Person Trumps Party (Note: I was also present at the Leadership Program of the Rockies event he mentioned)

John Hawkins: 40 Reasons Not To Vote For Donald Trump

Steve Chapman: Donald Trump’s Orgy of Irresponsibility

And finally, Rick Wilson: With God As My Witness, I Will Never Vote for Donald Trump

dear-mr-trump-song-video-still

Why Electing Bernie Sanders Would Be A Disaster

As I’ve watched this presidential election season advance, I’ve been simultaneously amused and appalled by the enduring popularity of Bernie Sanders. When he first announced, I dismissed him as a harmless crank. However, partly due to the weakness of Hillary Clinton and the lack of any depth on the presidential-level Democratic bench, he is doing quite well; pushing Hillary even further to the left and igniting enthusiasm and passion among the young, the progressive base, and the politically ignorant.

Barring an indictment for her criminal mishandling of classified emails, I expect Hillary Clinton to become the Democratic nominee. However, given Hillary’s enduring and increasing unpopularity, a Sanders candidacy is always possible. If the Republicans can nominate anybody but Donald Trump, I expect that person to have a great shot at being our next President. However, on the outside chance Bernie wins, his presidency would be another disaster, possibly eclipsing even the disastrous Obama administration, and further accelerating the decline of our country and way of life.

Hillary and Bernie
The Crook and The Socialist Photo Credit: www.slate.com

Constitutional Republic 101

Bernie has made some extravagant promises on the campaign trail, which all pretty much amount to one thing: “Free stuff for everybody”. How will this be funded? Ever increasing taxes on those of us who do pay taxes, new and mythical taxes on Wall Street including brokerage transactions, “speculation” and others. Under Bernie’s scheme, everybody making $50,000 or more per year will be classified as “rich” and their taxes will be raised to unconscionable levels.

Bernie likes to call himself a “Democratic Socialist” and vaguely models his economic ideas after the Scandinavian countries that offer generous welfare benefits to their citizens. Many of Bernie’s supporters and the progressive left are openly socialist and, either through ignorance of what socialism truly represents or arrogance that they think they can make it work “better”, want America to turn her back on free-market capitalism and embrace a socialist economy.

There’s just one problem with this plan, and this is why a Sanders administration would be a disaster: Under our constitutional republican system of government, Bernie would not have the power to enact his socialist utopia. There are two things in the way: the Congress – elected by the people; and the courts, appointed by the representatives of the people.

The last time Congress and the Presidency were held by one party, the disastrous Affordable Care Act was passed. Given the mood of the country and the growing unpopularity of the progressive agenda, I expect the Congress to remain firmly in Republican hands, which means that Bernie’s promises and his agenda will be dead on arrival.

“Rule” by Executive Order

Because they are politically ignorant or cynically inclined, Bernie’s supporters no doubt believe that he can enact his extreme agenda through a series of executive orders and bypass the Congress, as current President Barack Obama is known to do.

While all presidents have had the authority to issue executive orders and order executive actions, under the Constitution only the Congress has the power to make laws. The executive branch was only given the authority to enforce the laws. Executive orders can only address HOW the laws are enforced, they are not laws themselves nor do they have the force of law when taken by themselves.

Any executive order issued by a president can be reversed or nullified by a subsequent president. And even with the executive power, Bernie would not have the power or authority to raise taxes. He would not have the power or authority to order colleges to provide free college educations. He would not have the power or authority to enact a single payer healthcare system in the United States. In short, without dictatorial powers (which I’ve no doubt some of his supporters would be willing to grant him), he would be powerless to implement his agenda with a hostile Congress.

The Divide

That the next president, if a Democrat, will have a hostile Congress is all but certain. Our country is divided along ideological lines as we’ve not seen since the years leading up to the Civil War. On the Left we have the progressives, life-long Democrats, socialist/communists, unions, some Christians and those who want and expect the government to take care of them like some super-Mom or Dad. On the Right, we have the conservatives, libertarians, social conservatives, evangelical Christians, and those who prefer self-reliance and independence to collectivism.

The Democratic Party, always the party of democracy and mob rule, has abandoned its classical liberal roots and embraced modern progressivism on a wholesale basis. Pretending to be for the “little guy”, they embrace policies and push an agenda that would make life more difficult for those on the lower end of the economic spectrum including higher energy costs through their climate change agenda, fewer jobs through their minimum wage and “equal pay” agendas, higher health care costs and fewer choices through their government mandated health insurance schemes.

The party of billionaires – like Michael Bloomberg, who would abolish the Second Amendment if he could; Tom Steyer, who would have us all shivering in the dark in our hovels through his green energy agenda; George Soros and others – is the party that is out of touch with the lives of ordinary Americans like you and me.

While the progressive Left remains powerful and dominant in government and culture, there is a strong groundswell of people who are pushing back, demanding a return to and restoration of our constitutional republican system of government, reining in the size and scope of the federal government, and freeing people and our economy from the coercive, heavy hand of government.

The Tea Party movement is an example of this. While I disagree with the social conservative aspect of the Tea Party (being in favor of reproductive choices and same-sex marriage among other lifestyle choices), I strongly agree with them in their principled approach to the philosophy of unalienable rights and the proper function of government in our society.

It is the Tea Party and other freedom activists who caused the House to return to Republican hands in 2012 and the Senate in 2014, has taken control of more governorships and state houses in the years since Barack Obama was elected president, and who has elevated principled conservatives like Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio to the front of the Republican presidential race. (I’m not ignoring Trump, I’m saving him for a separate post.)

Given that fully half the country refuses to accept the progressive agenda I fully expect that the Republican Party, while certainly not perfect, will retain and even increase its control of Congress and state houses across the country.

More Partisan Rancor, More Dysfunction

If the Republican Party can nominate a successful candidate for President and recapture the White House (by no means a given), we will see a return to one-party rule and slowing of the progressive slide to oblivion. I say a “slowing” because some Republicans are enamored of progressive ideas regarding the role of government in society. However, even though the Left will no doubt redouble their attempts to impose their agenda through means fair and foul, they will not have the power of government at their disposal.

In general, I am in favor of divided government because that means that the extreme elements on both sides are unable to enact the more ideological items on their agenda. In this time, however, I think that having the Republicans take the reins of power should give us hope that the size and scope of government can be slowed or even reversed, and to roll back some of the more extreme legislation and executive diktat forced on us during the Obama years.

On the other hand, if Bernie or Hillary is elected and the Congress remains in Republican hands, we will see more of the government dysfunction and partisan rancor that we have become accustomed to. Congress will continue to be despised as an institution while its members continue to get re-elected every two and six years. The new president will continue to wage war against the American way of life in the name of “equality”. Nobody will be happy and our ideological divide will continue to widen and deepen.

The sad fact is that both leading Democratic candidates are unfit for the office they seek in different ways. Hillary Clinton is a former First Lady to a corrupt, impeached, philandering, disbarred, sex predator husband. She is to feminism what the mass shooter is to gun rights. Her Senate record is undistinguished and her tenure as Secretary of State was a disaster. Her possible criminal and obviously negligent actions regarding her private email server and handling of classified emails alone disqualifies her from living in the White House again, and probably means she should be living in a different kind of house.

Bernie is also uniquely unqualified to be president. He has never held a private sector job, owned a business, made a payroll or experienced free market success. His ideas and campaign promises are so unrealistic as to be absurd, and if he really believes in them he is delusional; if he doesn’t truly believe them he is just pandering to the gullible to gain power. In any event, while Bernie is pulling the Democratic Party further into the Leftist abyss, there is no way his presidency can succeed and would, in fact, be a disaster.

By Richard D. Turnquist

February 6, 2016

Photo credit: Independent Sentinel
Photo credit: Independent Sentinel

 

Why Capacity Matters

“Ammunition capacity. Handgun, shotgun and rifle capacity.” Much is made of “high capacity” firearms. Gun control advocates talk endlessly about how scary and needless they are in civilian life. How politicians, in the interest of public safety, need to limit their access for the common individual. They are weapons of war that are not needed “on the streets” we are told. Until they are.

A gun is used to defend your life. If you are using it, you are in a fight for your life – for your very survival or the survival of someone you love or are responsible for caring for. Whatever the perpetrator of this violence is doing to threaten the innocent with immediate, otherwise unavoidable danger of death or serious bodily harm, he needs to stop it. NOW! Right now. You don’t have ten, five, or even one second. That is when it is morally acceptable to employ deadly force.

And, as long as we are speaking of morality, it is important to recognize that material objects or technology have no innate morality of their own. Ammunition magazines themselves are amoral – they do not think, they do not generate emotions or suffer from mental illness – but they can be used for moral or immoral purposes, depending on the mindset and intent of their user. Since ammunition magazines of any capacity are readily available and in circulation, it stands to reason that laws prohibiting so-called “high-capacity” magazines are ineffective. Additionally, we will demonstrate that magazines with a capacity in excess of 15 rounds, those that the Democrats in the Colorado Assembly have subjectively deemed “high capacity,” actually serve a vital role in self-defense situations and a thoughtful person could easily conclude that banning them is actually immoral because it limits a citizen’s right to self-defense.

Who Needs More Than 10?

But why would you need more than 6, 10 or 15 or even more bullets to stop this threat? If a motivated assailant is shot even once, he immediately stops what he is doing, surrenders or dies – like on TV and in movies, right? Don’t attackers when hit by a bullet fly backwards over the couch violently, even when hit only once with a bullet fired from a weapon chambered in the commonly available 9mm Parabellum, then beg to not be shot again? Like in Die Hard?

Maybe. Maybe not. Maybe they keep coming. Maybe they are “bullet sponges,” high and numb on drugs. Maybe they’ve been shot before, and they know what that’s like and a gunshot affects them less acutely. Maybe they were only hit in an area where incapacitation won’t take place for several seconds or minutes. Sometimes incapacitation will not take place at all. What then?

The trouble with politicians and anti-gun advocates is they try to predict and control that which is unpredictable and cannot be controlled. No one can tell how a violent encounter will happen, and how or what is necessary to make it stop. Common misconceptions used by gun control advocates include:

  • “All you need is one well-placed shot, anything more than that is just overkill.” Shooting under stress is incredibly difficult, even for trained law enforcement officers. The stress is multiplied when faced by a motivated attacker or group of attackers, and any politician who believes that he or she can predict exactly how many rounds you will need is living in a fantasy. When faced with defending yourself in a home invasion scenario, it is highly likely that many of your rounds will hit drywall, furniture or the floor before you can land a round on an adversary.
  • “If you need more than six rounds, then you have a problem bigger than one gun can deal with.” Again, how would anyone know until this happens to them? What if you are confronted with multiple attackers and you just used up your six rounds on the first one, and the second guy is now coming up the stairs as you fumble around to reload your revolver? Retired Special Forces veteran Kyle Lamb explains why an AR-15 fitted with 30-round magazine may in fact be the best home defense option, especially for women, because it is lightweight, easy to shoot, easy to aim, has minimal recoil and the .223/5.56 cartridge is less prone to overpenetration of drywall and wood. But, these facts are something that the anti-Second Amendment crowd want to suppress. In fact, Joe Biden has offered some horrible advice to women who wish to protect themselves. “Get a shotgun, there’s nothing like the sound of racking a 12-gauge pump action to scare away an intruder.” Women are typically smaller and less able to deal with the recoil of a shotgun than men. I offer this video montage to demonstrate how awful Joe Biden’s over-simplistic, ignorant advice is.

These objections to magazine size greater than some arbitrary number cited by anti-gun politicians are always based on a subjective visualization, or mental model, of what threat the gun control advocate has generated in his or her mind, never on objective facts or the humbling admission that one just can’t envision every self-defense scenario one might encounter. That one has the hubris to believe he or she knows exactly the circumstances one might face in a self-defense situation is both ignorant and arrogant, both of which are devoid of reality.

All you have is all you have


If employing a firearm for self-defense, whether civilian or law enforcement, the life or death encounter will happen incredibly fast, faster than you can even comprehend. When the time comes, it is far more likely than not that all you have on your person or within your immediate reach at the time is all you will have to defend yourself. If you have a six-shot revolver and need to employ it to stop a violent attack against you, a loved one, or other innocents, you’d better act fast and hope 6 shots all hit effectively and stop the threat. There’s no 7th shot.  If you have a 15-round magazine and expend all 15 rounds, you may not have a second magazine, particularly if it is needed in the middle of the night in your home and you are in your underwear or less and barely have time to grab the pistol, much less extra magazines. Where would you carry them if you are in your underwear? You may need both hands to operate the weapon, and possibly a flashlight, use a phone to call 911, usher children to safety, etc. In this case, having more rounds available without having to reload is always preferable.

Let’s take a look at this encounter by Skokie, IL police officer Tim Gramins out on patrol when he encountered an armed bank robber/gang member who decided not to be taken alive. Two important details can be observed. One – the attacker exited his vehicle shooting immediately as the officer brought his vehicle to a stop. In fact, the officer was under fire before he was able to exit his vehicle. His first defensive shots were fired through the windshield of his patrol car. Two – though the officer had a shotgun, AR-15 carbine and a backup pistol, the attacker only afforded him the time to access his one sidearm. The other, more effective weapons might as well have been on the moon. The attack happened too fast to access any other weapon.

Can anyone say with any degree of certainty all of the variables of one’s first, or next, self-defense encounter might include? Of course not.

How Many Cartridges You Need

Anti-rights politicians and activists seem to know exactly what you need to stop a deadly encounter. No really, they know. These self-defense “experts,” many of whom have never encountered a violent assailant or held a firearm, believe they know better than you. Guided by their assumptions, subjective beliefs and arrogance, they believe they can legislate the exact circumstances of your self-defense encounter. These wise bureaucrats possess near-psychic foresight know the fight for your very survival that you may or may not ever be in. Or, like Governor John Hickenlooper, they see mandating less than standard magazine capacity as a mere “inconvenience” to a law-abiding citizen. They have this vision of the future. Or so they think in their arrogance and contempt for you.

Yet, a key element of wisdom is knowing that you can’t know it all. True wisdom is based on experience with human nature as it exists today and as it has through millennia, not through the imagining of what it could, or should, be.

In looking at the attack on Officer Gramins, he fired 14 shots into the suspect, and the suspect did not stop. Understand that. The suspect was shot 14 times with six of the wounds considered fatal. And the attacker did not stop his attack. What most people do not understand about wounds caused by firearms is that being hit by a bullet, even in a vital organ, does not result in instantaneous death. Wounds cause damage, for certain, but even if shot in the heart, the process of exsanguination – or the reduction of blood pressure in the circulation system that leads to incapacitation – takes time. An assailant high on drugs or endorphins may be able to continue his attack for several minutes even when his body has experienced a traumatic, life-ending wound. When the average response time for Denver Police is 15 minutes, a fatally wounded attacker could still kill you.

Gramins shot his attacker a total of 14 times with precisely manufactured, expensive, premium .45 caliber ammunition that is issued to police officers. And yet, his assailant was still up and shooting at him with deadly intent. This is a police officer who is trained to use a firearm in self-defense as part of his job protecting the people of Skokie, IL. He was using his firearm as he was trained, he was hitting the attacker, and it was ineffective in stopping the threat. The officer then laid on the ground, focused, and fired three more shots into the attacker’s head to stop the attack. He required 17 total rounds and three magazines of ammunition to save his life. The attacker fired a total of 33 rounds at the officer from two handguns, and missed every shot.

Surprisingly, the attacker had no drugs or alcohol in his system.

Why Capacity Matters

Attacks happen fast – faster than the mind can comprehend and the senses can react to. Sometimes there is one attacker. Sometimes there are more than one. Violent attacks are unpredictable, random, fast and deadly. What is the mindset of the attacker? Is this his first attack or does he have a long history of violence to the point where he is conditioned, skilled and unsympathetic to others, such as the attack on Dr. William Petit in 2007? How can anyone, even you, know what you will need in a violent event that hasn’t happened yet?

That’s why capacity matters, because you don’t know. You may not even need to fire one shot – attackers often flee at the mere sight of a firearm. Or, like Officer Gramins, you may need all that you have to stop a determined foe. Your life is at stake, and no one has the moral right to restrict your ability to defend yourself, loved ones or innocents.

Should angry, gun-hating politicians funded by anti-gun activist groups make these decisions for you? Or are you better qualified to make them for yourself?

Perhaps there is a power outage and rioting occurs in your neighborhood. What will you need in the way of firearms and ammunition, assuming you need any at all? How many rioters are there? Are they dangerous (people are often more dangerous and brazen when in a crowd). What is their intention? Are you a woman and living alone with small children? If you are attacked, and are suddenly in a fight for your life, how many rounds will you need in the gravest extreme?

I know what you are thinking. Civilians would never encounter the kind of situation faced by a police officer in the line of duty. Before you discount the story of Officer Gramins being a police officer in pursuit of a suspect and not being a civilian, keep this in mind: The attacker drove into a residential area. The gunfight happened on a neighborhood street with houses all around. Children were playing in yards and skateboarding in driveways. The attacker could easily have run into a house and attacked a resident. This could easily have turned into a civilian encounter. In fact, civilians in the United States use firearms to defend themselves between 1.5 million and 2.5 million times per year.

The Sheriffs of Colorado had this to say about “high-capacity” magazines in the hands of civilians in their position paper: “Law enforcement officers carry high capacity magazines because there are times when 10 rounds might not be enough to end the threat. Sheriffs of Colorado believe the same should hold true for civilians who wish to defend themselves, especially if attacked by multiple assailants.”

In summary, nobody knows the future. Violence is sudden and unpredictable, and violent people are unpredictable. The majority of encounters where a firearm is used for defense are resolved by merely displaying or referring to the weapon. However, knowing how unpredictable violence is, how if you are attacked you are already on the defensive and behind the curve, and knowing the unpredictability of the circumstances of the attack and the capabilities and mindset of the attacker, it is irresponsible for politicians and activists to limit civilian access to some arbitrary number of rounds. As for officer Gramins, coming away from this incident has taught him that more is better, and he now carries 145 round on his person while on duty.

By @terriblezdog

Time for a Change at the State Capitol

On a snowy and cold December Saturday, I spent the day at a training class for activists who want to do a better job of holding their elected representatives accountable to the Principles of Liberty. I learned several things in the class, but my main takeaway was that it’s clearly time for a change at our Colorado State Capitol.

 

The Concept of Rights

What are “Rights”? The word is one of the most used and misused in our current day political vocabulary. When the founder of Principles of Liberty, Mr. Richard “Rich” Bratten, asked this question of our class, a lot of ideas were thrown out – a “right to life”, a “right to healthcare”, a “right to education”, “human rights”, “animal rights”, “property rights”, “a right to a decent wage”, and many others. We enjoyed a lively debate on the concept of rights, but what it boiled down to was this: the Rights that are important and worth fighting to preserve are our unalienable Natural Rights – the rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

By unalienable, we mean that these rights are inherent in our nature and they exist because we exist. Nobody grants these rights, though they can be abrogated or stolen; and nobody can assert or claim a “right” that involves depriving another of their unalienable rights. The most vivid demonstration of this concept was when Rich asked the group if it was OK to take $20 from one person by force to buy a meal for a starving person. Sadly, not everybody in the class was able to see that this is inherently immoral.

Rights are not granted by governments. There is no such thing as a “right” to healthcare, because that involves the use of force to compel somebody else (a healthcare provider) to provide goods or services against their will without proper remuneration. There is no such thing as a “right” to education, because that involves the use of force to compel somebody else (a teacher) to provide their service (teaching) in a facility owned by others (a school building) against their will or without proper compensation.

Today, people use the word “right” to describe something they want, and then demand the force of government to compel others to provide them with that want, whether it is a minimum wage their skills may not be worth to an employer in a free market; a “free” college education that they feel they’re entitled to, or a cake they won’t eat because they want to compel somebody else to provide it against their religious beliefs.

When I talk about “Rights”, I’m talking only about our unalienable, Natural Rights as enumerated in our Declaration of Independence. These are the Rights that Principles of Liberty was founded in 2011 to preserve.

The Proper Role of Government

The discussion next turned to the Initiation of Force and the Proper Role of Government.

Government has the legal monopoly on the use of force. This is an awesome power, and the only MORAL use of this power is to enforce individual rights. Using force to defend one’s life is entirely appropriate and moral. No individual may INITIATE the use of force against another. Nobody may use force to take another person’s property.

The proper role of government, as outlined in the Declaration of Independence, is to secure the unalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That is all.

The ways in which governments should secure these rights are by enforcing property rights, acting as a referee in disputes (though private arbitration exists and is often used), the police power to enforce laws that protect life, liberty and property, and the military to protect the nation against foreign aggression.

It is not a proper role of government to redistribute property, to pick winners and losers in a market, to force people to perform acts of charity against their will or anything else that deprives or impinges upon an individual’s natural, unalienable Rights.

Any bill that is introduced into a state legislature should be read and evaluated by those who will vote on it through the lens of “Is this the proper role of government?” If it is, then it should be evaluated in light of the other principles of liberty; and if not, it should be resoundingly rejected.

Another interesting concept illustrated by Mr. Bratten is that the national platforms of the three major parties in the United States – the Democrats, Libertarians and the Republicans – all express support for the principles of liberty that he has identified, with one exception: Nowhere in their platform do the Democrats express support for limited government or property rights. The fact that so many legislators don’t follow these principles means that national platforms are largely meaningless.

The Legislative Process

Mr. Bratten then led the class through a discussion of how bills become law. I had the opportunity to witness this process first-hand in 2013 as the Democrats, in an unprecedented raw display of power, enacted several gun control bills over the clear objection of many Coloradans. I saw bills go through first reading, committee hearings, floor debates, third votes and then the same process in the other chamber.

We learned about “kill committees” where bills go to die. These committees are staffed by legislators who are term limited or are from safe districts and are relatively immune to political pressure. We learned how the party leadership – of both parties – uses (and breaks) the rules to achieve the outcomes they want.

We learned about how Mr. Bratten came to found Principles of Liberty, how they determine which bills they are going to review and rate; and how legislator scores are determined.

Over 600 Bills and Millions of Dollars

Each of the 100 state legislators is allowed to introduce up to 5 bills in a session. There are others that are introduced by committees and leadership. Often, legislators will get permission to introduce additional bills, and this is the reason why in a typical session over 600 bills will be introduced. At the cost per bill of $5,000 to $10,000, this represents a large expenditure in the millions of taxpayer dollars.

Mr. Bratten told us that Principles of Liberty reviews each bill, but only rates about 250 per session. Appropriations bills are usually not rated, and bills that have conflicting principles (i.e. it supports limited government but weakens property rights ) are not rated. Typically each bill is rated on two to three principles.

What Are the Principles of Liberty?

The Principles of Liberty that Mr. Bratten’s organization use for rating purposes are as follows (for each, I will provide one of several rating criteria):

  • Individual Liberty: Does this bill protect or erode individual liberty by protecting or eroding the Bill of Rights?
  • Personal Responsibility: Does this bill diminish the role of personal responsibility through government intervention?
  • Property Rights: Does this bill protect or interfere with use of property?
  • Free Markets: Does this bill use government regulation or intervention in the markets to further socio-political agendas?
  • Limited Government: Does this bill execute a clearly defined and proper role of state government?
  • State vs. Federal Balance of Power: Does this bill assert or abdicate state powers?
  • Fiscal Responsibility: Does this bill limit spending to that required to perform limited, constitutional role of government?
  • Equal Protection/Rule of Law: Does this bill protect individual rights/liberty equally for everyone?

A final principle is that of constitutionality – Does this bill fall within the scope of the powers granted to government by the Constitutions of the State of Colorado or the United States? Many people think that the courts are the final arbiters of the constitutionality of any particular law, but it is not so. Our Founders created three separate but equal branches of government, with checks and balances on each. To those who argue that five Supreme Court justices have the final say on what is or is not “Constitutional”, I give you Dred Scott v. Sanford (1857), Buck v. Bell (1927), Korematsu v. United States (1944), Plessy V. Ferguson (1896) and Kelo v. City of New London (2005).

 

The Process and The Scorecard

Each Thursday during the Legislative Session, which in Colorado will run from January 13 through May 11, 2016, volunteer activists will receive a list of bills that are to be reviewed, and each Sunday night Mr. Bratten publishes a weekly report listing bills that are being heard in the coming week and the position of Principles of Liberty in support for or opposition to the bill and the principles used to evaluate the bill. These bills are being reviewed and ranked before they are heard or voted on, and the process is designed to be non-partisan.

Each legislative session, Principles of Liberty (POL) tabulates every vote by all 100 members and evaluates them by principle. By doing this, POL generates statistically significant data that is used to rate each legislator for their adherence to the principles outlined above. This scorecard is highly important, because it gives citizens an objective method to measure how well or how poorly their legislators support the proper role of government in our lives. After having learned about this, it will be a key factor in determining whether or not I will support any incumbent or candidate in the future.

 

Time For A Change!

The 2015 legislative scorecard is very illuminating. The highest ranked legislator in the House was Representative Justin Everett (R-HD22) with a score of 98.8%. The lowest ranked in the House was Representative Dianne Primavera (D-HD33) with a score of 17.9%. In the Senate, the highest ranked was Senator Vicki Marble (R-SD23) with a score of 94.3% and the lowest ranked was Senator Andy Kerr (D-SD22) with a score of 27.9%.

Overall, in the House, seven legislators received rankings of “A”, five received rankings of “B”, eight received rankings of “C”, and forty-five – over half! – of our elected representatives from both parties received rankings of “D” (3) or “F” (42). The highest scoring Democrat received an “F” with a 28.2% score.

In the Senate, it’s even worse. There were 2 “A” rankings, 3 “B” rankings, 3 “C” rankings, 2 “D”s and 25 “F”s, again with several legislators from both parties failing the grade.

I think these results are appalling – that fully 69% of our House representatives and 71% of our state senators failed to protect the principles of liberty and restrict our state government to its proper scope and function. If we can’t do this at the state level, it will be virtually impossible at the federal level.

My Call to Action is this: Every citizen and activist who is concerned about the direction our state and country are taking should stand up and be heard. Use the tools provided by Principles of Liberty to hold our state legislators accountable. We should demand that those ranking “B” and “C” check their premises and more closely adhere to the limited government that best promotes freedom and human flourishing; and we should work to replace those legislators who clearly are in office to expand the role of government, limit freedom and chip away at our constitutional republic.

The erosion of our liberty is a tragedy in the making. It’s time to turn the tide.

By Richard D. Turnquist

December 13, 2015

 

Black Friday

Just before noon on the Friday after Thanksgiving 2015 another possibly mentally ill individual went to a Planned Parenthood location in Colorado Springs, CO and shot several people, killing a police officer and two civilians before surrendering to police after an hours-long standoff.

As of this writing, there is no authoritative knowledge as to his motives, how he obtained the rifle he used, what type of rifle it was and whether he was a “legal gun owner” or not.

Unfortunately, before the perpetrator (I will not use his name) was even in handcuffs, indeed even before the crime scene had been stabilized, the Left was out in full force politicizing this incident and calling it “domestic terrorism” (which it may well be, depending on how that is defined), an attack on “women’s health” and “abortion rights” and accusing Colorado Republican elected officials of inciting hatred and violence. President Obama made his usual statement calling for more gun control, despite clear evidence that gun control laws don’t work.

I deplore the violence and the loss of life that occurred on Friday November 27. I do not condone or support incitement to violence by anyone. Nobody has the right to further their religious or political views through violence or the threat of violence. My thoughts and prayers go out to the victims, their loved ones, and the Colorado Springs community. I join with my friends on the Center/Right and my political opponents on the Left in condemning this crime and its perpetrator.

The Perfect Storm

Of all the political battles being fought in America today, none are more laden with emotion, anger and hatred than the battle over abortion. In the years since Roe v. Wade, no other issue has divided Americans more bitterly than this one. Despite being “settled law” activists on both sides of the issue are waging a battle to outlaw this medical procedure on the one hand and to enlarge and secure taxpayer funding for it on the other. For many people, their support for or opposition to abortion is their one defining issue and they will not compromise or allow for other points of view on the issue. It precludes discussion of other more important issues, like national security or the crippling national debt, the proper scope and role of government, immigration policy and others.

In my view, this dynamic hurts the Right and helps the Left, because the Left is uniformly supportive of abortion rights, providers of abortion services and taxpayer funding of abortions; whereas the Right is not so uniform. Many Center/Right people, including me, are pro-choice. Unfortunately, this divide often leads to Democratic victories, thanks to pro-life voters staying home in elections rather than voting for a conservative candidate who is “pro-choice”. It is these social issues that I believe divide the Right and empower the Left, to our detriment.

Running a close second is the issue of gun control, which is almost as hotly contested by partisans on both sides of the issue. One side calls for ever more restrictions on guns, culminating in the eventual civilian disarmament they openly desire; while the other side fights not only to protect the right to keep and bear arms but to prevent further infringement of those rights. Lost in the entire debate is the fact that virtually all mass shooters have mental illness problems; that prescription drugs may be contributing factors, and that the shooters almost always target gun free zones and venues where there are a lot of unarmed people.

The incident on Black Friday is the “perfect storm” of events. The Left will now have another middle aged white man to excoriate as a “gun nut” who shot up a bunch of people and call for more gun control laws. Further, they will use this to further criticize those who feel that the disturbing videos about fetal organ and tissue harvesting done by Planned Parenthood are valid criticisms of that organization and question its taxpayer funding.

Overheated Rhetoric and Political Posturing

As an avid Twitter user, I followed the events as they happened in real time on Twitter. I mostly live in the #copolitics (Colorado politics) hashtag, and followed the conversation as events unfolded.

Before the gunman was even in custody or the situation under control, #copolitics lefties were attacking Republican elected officials for “inciting violence”. While the situation was ongoing, the Left was jumping to the conclusion (which may well be vindicated) that this was an attack on “women’s health” (as if Planned Parenthood is the only provider of health services to women, and that abortion is the totality of medical care that women receive), and of course, attacking anti-abortion activists and Second Amendment supporters.

Indeed, in one exchange, two left-leaning Twitter users discuss the merits of politicizing the debate while “there’s still a shooter out there…lives still at risk.” One, to his credit, was telling the other to tone it down.

Scrolling through other Twitter feeds, one can find other tweets from partisans on both sides of the abortion debate that are inflammatory, derisive and accusatory. Without any solid information whatsoever, the shooter was being called a “right-wing”, “pro-life”, “Christian”, “terrorist”. Others on the anti-abortion side were saying things equally stupid and hateful. One Colorado Democratic state representative ended up deleting his Twitter account that evening, most likely due to this incident.

It has been my view for some time now that the anger and hate filled rhetoric emanating from both sides of these issues contributes to an overall cultural malaise that manifests itself when those with mental impairment choose to act out via gun violence. I believe that each mass shooting plants the seed for the next, because individuals with a propensity for violence see this as a way to validate their worldviews or “add value” to their lives or gives them a way to gain recognition for their otherwise un-noteworthy lives. In his excellent post A Bloody Mosaic my friend James Viser expands upon this theme.

As the incident was ongoing, those on the Left were clearly trying to make it into a case of “domestic terrorism” against “heroic women’s health providers” based on “hateful lies” promoted by the Center for Medical Progress in their videos released earlier this year. Those on the Right were, for the most part, saying “Hold on! We don’t know yet what his motives were” and holding out the possibility it could be a bank robbery or whatever.

I found it appalling that ProgressNow Colorado released a statement politicizing this tragedy four minutes after it was announced that the perpetrator had been arrested. They were irresponsibly promoting their political agenda in the absence of any trustworthy information about the shooter and his motives.

When the first details about the shooter were released, it became clear that he is a damaged individual with a minor criminal history, a loner who lived off the grid in North and South Carolina and now in Colorado. Early reports yesterday about his voter record indicated that he had identified as a female, leading to all kinds of speculation about him. (It could have been an accident too!)

In reading about him in the New York Times this morning, it is clear that he was a socially maladjusted individual. What we don’t know at this point are any facts about his religion, his politics (except for one neighbor who said he gave him anti-Obama literature), his motives, his views on abortion, where he obtained his gun(s), or anything else. To paint him as a right-wing Christian anti-abortion terrorist at this time is simply inflammatory and lends nothing to a rational discussion of the issues at hand.

Another disturbing aspect of this story is that the Denver Post reported on the shooter’s motive as being a “political act”, citing an anonymous source (who should be fired for talking to the press like this) saying that the suspect made a comment about “no more baby parts” after his arrest. To further the narrative, the Denver Post “reporters” included a reference to a statement from Planned Parenthood saying that “witnesses said the gunman was motivated by his opposition to abortion…”, more hearsay and completely unreliable evidence.

The damage was done, however, as the Associated Press picked up on that report and this narrative is now part of the national news cycle and being promoted as the truth. While this may end up being true, in my view this is simply an outrageous attempt by the Left and their compliant media to further perpetuate a political agenda. And if it eventually proved untrue, it won’t matter because it is now part of the narrative.

 

Going Forward

In response to this incident and the prior shooting in Colorado Springs a few weeks ago, I believe that the Colorado and national Democrats are going to renew their push for more gun control laws, despite the fact that sensational gun violence appears to be getting worse despite all the laws recently enacted in Colorado and elsewhere.

It’s no secret that President Obama wants to “do more” about gun control in his final year in office, and several prominent Democrats including presidential candidate Hillary Clinton are on record supporting “Australian-style” civilian disarmament including confiscation.

My suspicion is that this perpetrator purchased his gun(s) legally many years ago. None of the 2013 Colorado gun control laws would have prevented this tragedy and won’t prevent another one.

I think the time is come to have a serious national debate about mental health and how to identify, assess, treat and otherwise help those who are mentally ill and may pose threats to themselves or others. Too often, we have warning signs that were obvious in retrospect but were not acted on prior to a crime. It’s time to beef up the system for getting mental health holds and other information into the NICS so that the existing background check system will be more effective.

Furthermore, I think it is time for the hyper-partisans on the Left and on the Right to tone down the rhetoric. Having hysterical, anger and hate filled debates does nothing to address the rational, valid concerns that both sides have surrounding the abortion issue. I was glad to note that Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper said the same thing today.

For the Right: Recognize that abortion is legal and the Supreme Court has found a constitutional basis for making it legal.

Questions regarding whether or not organizations like Planned Parenthood should receive taxpayer support are completely appropriate and should be debated in the context of bringing a bill forward in Congress, not in the crisis mentality surrounding the brinksmanship of a government shutdown.

We on the Right should be working to shape the culture so that an abortion is the least beneficial option for a woman faced with an unwanted pregnancy, and find (non-governmental) ways to help her with her dilemma. In the end, the choice of whether or not to have the baby is hers alone.

I recognize that many people have deep-seated religious convictions about this issue. I ask them to recognize that other people have different positions on the issue that are equally as valid and deep-seated to them.

I call upon anti-abortion activists to cease and desist from protesting at abortion clinics and their bald attempts to intimidate and harass providers and patients. Please recognize that you are not helping the situation with your angry rhetoric, and are in fact empowering the Left by validating their “War on Women” theme.

As for the Left: Please recognize that many of your fellow Americans have very deep-seated and legitimate concerns about abortion in general, and the harvesting of fetal tissue and organs and money flows surrounding that practice. Recognize that those questioning these practices have a commendable concern for human life and bioethics. Recognize that they too are acting in what they think are the best interests of society.

Questions regarding fetal tissue and organ harvesting are valid, and Planned Parenthood and other providers should be investigated by appropriate state and federal law enforcement agencies to assess whether or not any crimes have been committed.

Please recognize that you are not helping the situation with your angry rhetoric, and that accusing elected officials and presidential candidates of condoning violence for their principled opposition to abortion and fetal tissue harvesting is not only irresponsible, it contributes to the overcharged atmosphere that can lead to violence.

Finally, I call upon everyone to join me in grieving for the lives lost and damaged, and to work for reconciliation in our state and in our world.

By Richard D. Turnquist

November 29, 2015

With respect and wishes for peace for the victims:

Officer Garrett Swasey

Ke’Arre Stewart

Jennifer Markovsky

Dedicated to the advancement of freedom in 21st century America