January 21, 2018

Crowdfunding for Almost Everyone

15870049980_f2cc2b087e_qMy article as originally published in American Thinker:

During the ginned up controversy surrounding the religious freedom law in Indiana, Memories Pizza was nearly put out of business for merely answering “incorrectly” a hypothetical question about catering a gay wedding.  Shortly after the incident, a GoFundMe campaign was started and subsequently raised nearly $850K for the owners, who, at the time, were forced into hiding with an uncertain future.

This was not the end result certain groups were looking for.  Today, in politically correct America, freedom of choice is limited only to the “correct” choices, and the totalitarian left demands the final word on all such things.  That word was effectively nullified in short order by freedom-loving Americans who financially contributed to the cause of liberty – for everyone – in support of freedom of association and religion.

Fast-forward to the Freddie Gray case in Baltimore, and a group of police officers set up a GoFundMe page to provide support for the six officers facing charges in what Alan Dershowitz has called a “show trial.”  While most of the facts are still unknown in the case, GoFundMe shut down the page within 40 minutes due to some recent changes to its terms of service.  The site had made these changes following the hugely successful fundraising campaigns in support of businesses like Memories Pizza and several Christian bakeries that had chosen not to bake cakes for gay weddings.

GoFundMe proudly displays the message “crowdfunding for everyone” on its homepage, but that is a misnomer, since it has created a set of guidelines to discriminate against the campaigns of certain groups of people.  Per the new terms of service, these include “[c]ampaigns in defense of formal charges or claims of heinous crimes, violent, hateful, sexual or discriminatory acts.”  While this may sound like reasonable policy, the wording clearly leaves much open to interpretation.

But since GoFundMe is a private entity, shouldn’t the owners just be left to associate with whomever they wish?  Or should the government step in to stop the “H8” and use force to require GoFundMe not to discriminate and allow “=” access for “everyone”?

Of course, the government should do no such thing.  The free market (combined with a stable rule of law) already handles these types of issues without the need for government to step in.  The fact that GoFundMe chooses to not serve a particular segment of the population using its own vague set of rules doesn’t create a human rights problem (as the use of force does); it creates a market opportunity.

If enough people take issue with this policy, an enterprising individual will come along and effectively tell GoFundMe to GoPoundSand by starting a pro-liberty version, and provide some competition in the crowdfunding business (yes, business).  This person could profit handsomely by providing the world with a little bit more diversity.  While this may come as a shock to those who hide behind the currently hijacked term “liberal,” these very same market forces hold true for pizzerias and bakeries, making the left’s continuous tyrannical stomping of liberty for naught.

One other thing that will drive the left nuts: successful crowdfunding campaigns also help highlight the abysmal failure of the welfare state, and they do so in real time.  Private charity is much more efficient than big government.  When people are free to vote “like” or “dislike” with the click of a button, more resources end up actually reaching the intended targets (the Clinton Foundation would be a poor example, though).  It’s much harder for fraudsters to pull the wool over the eyes of millions of people with smartphones who are collectively making billions of decisions instantly while interacting with others.  On the other hand, the massive and inefficient welfare state is wrought with fraud and abuse due to the dependency it creates, bureaucratic self-interest, and the reality that government is able to react only with the speed of a Banana slug on Quaaludes.

Crowdfunding that occurs within a truly free market gives the silent majority a platform to collectively make some loud noise, and challenge what used to be the final word of the left.  An unchallenged final word equals control, which is why progressives simply can’t allow “crowdfunding for everyone.”


Goldwater, Goldwater 2.0 and ‘Smart Conservatives’

NeelMy article as originally published in American Thinker:

Two prominent authors from the conservative side of the aisle have recently written thought-provoking articles highlighting Barry Goldwater’s particular brand of conservatism and how it relates to politics in 2014.  But I must admit the stark contrast between the two pieces has me a little befuddled.

The first article as written by Jeffrey Lord in The American Spectator makes the case that based upon what America has today become — Goldwater and his limited-government message has been vindicated: 

July, 1964. Fifty years ago this month. The Republican Party nominates Arizona Senator Barry Goldwater for president. The resulting uproar was somewhere north of hysteria. And that was just from the GOP establishment of the day. Followed famously by a November landslide Goldwater “defeat” in which the Arizonan carried a mere five states in his race against Democratic President Lyndon Johnson.


All of this uproar came about because Goldwater believed — really believed — in what the Republican Party said it believed in: limited government. In today’s terms he was something of a libertarian, the Rand Paul of his day. In 1960 he had published a surprise bestseller (ghost written by Brent Bozell, the brother-in-law of National Review founder William F. Buckley, Jr. and father of today’s Brent Bozell of the Media Research Center). The Conscience of a Conservative made the conservative case that modern-day liberalism had not only set the federal government on the path to an unlimited (and unconstitutional) expansion, but that both political parties had signed on to that expansion.

The second piece, penned by George Will over at National Review, makes claim that California GOP gubernatorial candidate; Neel Kaskkari is in fact Goldwater 2.0.  Kashkari, who voted for Obama in 2008 and was instrumental in TARP, appears to be anything but conservative seeming to have willfully signed on to “that expansion” as stated above.  But Will clearly thinks otherwise:

Fifty Julys ago, up the road near San Francisco, in the unfortunately named Cow Palace, the Republican National Convention gave its presidential nomination to Arizona senator Barry Goldwater, who knew he would lose: Americans were not going to have a third president in 14 months. Besides, his don’t-fence-me-in libertarian conservatism was ahead of its time. His agenda, however, was to change his party’s national brand.

Today, in this state where one in eight Americans lives, and where Democratic presidential candidates can reap 55 electoral votes without spending a dime or a day campaigning, the Republicans’ gubernatorial candidate has an agenda and spirit similar to Goldwater’s. Neel Kashkari is not, as some careless commentary suggests, an anti-Goldwater, diluting the state party’s conservatism. He is Goldwater 2.0, defining conservatism half a century on.

I’ll for the most part try to avoid any “careless commentary” and just let the two articles stand upon their own merit (read the comments) but the Will article did manage to drudge up a memory of an encounter I had with a member of the elite media back in the early 1990’s. I was installing some electrical in the home of then San Jose Mercury News political editor Phil Trounstine.  The far-left Mr. Trounstine eventually went on to serve as a top aide to recalled-Governor Gray Davis and even looks to have had some gubernatorial ambitions of his own as of late.

One day the project manager for the construction company I was working with approached me and a colleague and said that Phil and his wife were very upset by our choice in radio programming.  We were to meet face to face with the clients in order to discuss the issue.  What later ensued was a fairly long lecture from Phil on the absolute “evils” of Rush Limbaugh.  He spoke in a very rapid fashion and the words he used to describe Rush were often repeated (especially the word “evil”) more than once.  I remember glancing down and being able to partially see the tell-tale scar on his chest near his heart and worrying for his safety. It wasn’t so much that he was angry with us as I think he was just trying to save us from our ‘horribly misguided’ choice in programming. 

While the Limbaugh “crises” was eventually resolved by us promising to greatly lower the volume on the radio any time Rush happened to be gracing the airwaves, there was one other thing Phil said that has stuck with me all these years and is what came to mind while reading George Will’s column.  He really wanted to emphasize that Rush wasn’t a smart conservative like George Will (I believe he repeated this more than once too).  At least George Will was a “smart conservative.” 

Somehow I think Phil Trounstine would give Will’s piece a pretty high mark on the intelligence scale which is exactly why conservatives shouldn’t be taking advice from political foes or from the establishment-minded within their own political party.

So where exactly is it that “smart conservatives” have taken the Republican Party?  Hint — don’t look up.

This may also be a good time for me to confess to having chuckled a little bit on the day I happened to witness a squirrel fall from a power line onto Phil’s Porsche while the car was parked out in front of his home.  

My Chat With Silvio Canto Jr.

a CantoMy first radio appearance was with radio talk show host, American Thinker contributor and author of Cubanos in Wisconsin, Silvio Canto Jr.

He was a truly gracious host, especially, considering my struggle with laryngitis during the interview.  He has an interesting life story and I recommend picking up his book.


Government 101

Good video on our republic and other forms of government:



World’s First Nanoassault Rifle (Updated)

ar15My article as originally published in American Thinker:

The crafting of imaginary weaponry by children out of various objects is a phenomenon that has been occurring worldwide for many centuries. The traditional stick or finger has always been one of the more popular “weapons” of choice, but today’s high-tech child is much more imaginative, bringing about such dangerous treats as the Pop-Tart assault weapon. Unfortunately though, in today’s PC world, it appears to no longer be acceptable for kids to have a little fun and act like — you know — kids.

I’ve always had a love for science and an extreme dislike (to be politically correct) for political correctness, so my son’s latest science project presented an opportunity to have a little bit of fun tinkering within both arenas.

I still remember back more than twenty years ago when IBM scientist Don Eigler became the first person to manipulate individual atoms and create Big Blue’s logo, using thirty-five Xenon atoms. His work was the inspiration for my son’s latest school science project — the nanoassault rifle.

Due to the sensitive nature of the inanimate object we chose to replicate, the AR-15, I thought it safest to construct it out of a recently discovered, highly toxic and difficult to contain element known as Obamium (doing so only partially caves to political correctness). Thus far, nothing seems to stick to Obamium and no matter what form it takes, it has the miraculous ability to remain stable within the press.

Our AR-15 replica (as highlighted below) was meticulously constructed from 56 individual Obamium atoms and the addition of a spare thirty-round magazine took a total of 18 Obamium atoms to complete. In support of a close friend of my son’s who recently found himself in a little hot water after using the phrase “pocket knife” at school (you would be wise believe this portion of the story), we also decided to construct an open pocket knife, which only set us back an additional 13 Obamium atoms.

Unfortunately we don’t possess the technology to provide a magnified image of the actual final products, so it’s difficult to prove the “deadly” nature of what we actually constructed. But if my son does end up getting in trouble over this, his punishment will hopefully adhere to the proper scale of the project. If so, he should only be looking at a suspension of no more than two or three nanoseconds for his “crimes.”


For those who noticed a lack of bullets in this project, the original plan was to use a rapidly decaying element, Bidenium, for the ammunition but it proved to be much too dense and unstable.  The velocity and direction at which it would just start poppin’ off wasn’t predictable enough for use in this project. 

Bloomberg Should Demand Hand Control

no handsMy article as originally published in American Thinker:       

Following the second recent fatal subway shoving incident in NYC, this one allegedly involving a hate crime, Mayor Bloomberg was quick to throw up his hands in an effort to halt the public from jumping to any incorrect conclusions, telling them to instead focus on the “overall safety in New York.”

Ironically, it is Bloomberg who is usually quick to leap to wrong conclusions and call for the use of the heavy hand of big government to cure society’s ills. Whether he’s pushing people around with soda bans or trying to shove tougher gun restrictions upon them, his answer, like that of all statists, is to throw liberty onto the tracks in the name of security.

Why, then, should Bloomberg handle these brutal subway murders any differently? To remain consistent and put an end to this senseless slaughter by trains, Bloomberg should call for “sensible” restrictions on trains. Of course, doing so would pose a bit of a dilemma, as trains happen to fit in with the whole green agenda and as such are part of a protected class. Unlike evil guns, trains are inanimate objects incapable of any wrongdoing.

Because trains are off limits, Bloomberg would instead need to shift the blame to some other object. And since holding people responsible for their own actions is usually not an option for the left, it makes as much sense for Bloomberg to implement “reasonable” hand control measures to prevent these shoving deaths as it does to call for new gun control laws to prevent shooting deaths. After all, if these “weapons” weren’t so readily available, these train victims would still be alive today. Wouldn’t saving just one life be worth any minor inconvenience to the public?

While the left may scoff at the idea of concealed carry laws for guns, a similar law may be necessary to prevent all of this senseless hand violence. Eliminating open carry and requiring hand owners to keep their “weapons” concealed in their pockets within a hands-free-zone of at least fifty feet from any set of tracks would be a good start.

Or perhaps some sort of restrictive leash-like device that disallows an “unnecessary” range of motion in order to prevent the discharge of loaded hands (arms cocked and hands palms-forward at chest height) would be more practical?

Obviously having people voluntarily turn in their hands for the greater good of society or starting a government-sponsored hand buy-back program to get more of these dangerous “weapons” off of the streets wouldn’t be practical. This would only give rise to a “greedy” prosthetic industry.

Due to the racial element of this latest tragedy, it may also be a good time to look at reclassifying certain categories of hands as more deadly than others. Lighter-colored hands are clearly more dangerous than the darker ones and as such should be factored into any new hand control measures.

Having strict hand control in place would have helped to prevent even the latest subway incident — a perfect storm where a lethal combination of guns, trains, and hands all came together.

Mayor Bloomberg again quickly grabbed hold of the moment and, in an apparent swipe at the NRA, said: “In recent weeks, we’ve heard some people say that the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun. But sometimes the good guys get shot — and sometimes, they are killed.” And then he said this: “Tonight, thank God, three good guys — three New York City police officers, who acted heroically — are going to make it.”

I’ll let the reader contemplate the brilliance of Bloomberg’s statements, as it appears that the only thing that stopped this bad guy with a gun was — a good guy with a gun. One does have to ask, though: why is it okay for these plainclothes armed officers to be placed in trains and not in public schools?

But again, why blame guns when it’s clear that it’s hands that were involved in this carnage as well? These evil hands even appear to have been made for this type of destruction, as they contain what is called a trigger finger. Contrary to popular belief, these guns can’t just fire themselves, and proper hand control would put an end to these senseless tragedies.

Come to think of it, it seems as though hands are involved in nearly every brutal murder or violent act we hear about in the news, so why not demand strict hand control as a way to solve all of society’s violence problems?

Now if we could just figure out what it is that is controlling these evil hands…

Who Needs a Gun?

Pink FordMy article as originally published in American Thinker:      

After I picked up my son from school the other day we started to drive off but had to stop short of one of the crosswalks. I paused to think of the horrible tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut as the large group of children started to cross the road; many were of the same age as those who were brutally murdered by this deranged killer. While we sat idling in front of the “gun free zone” something struck me. In reality I was sitting inside one of the deadliest potential weapons imaginable; more powerful than any small arm.

I was driving a plain white Ford F-150 4×4 truck with a ‘high capacity’ V8 engine. I guess you could call it a ‘sporting’ truck. Fortunately, myself and the other drivers around me were of sound mind and there was no tragic incident on that particular day. But what if someone of unsound mind were to get hold of one of these deadly weapons? From where I was sitting, the only barrier to a disaster two, maybe three times the size of the one in Newtown was my sound mind maintaining control over my right foot. I shudder to think of the carnage that could have quickly been unleashed upon those dozens of innocent lives if my ‘weapon’ had been in the wrong hands.

Is it time to redirect valuable resources and initiate a national debate on this intolerable threat to humanity? Should all of these vehicular ‘weapons’ just be banned outright? Or should only certain types be banned? What if I were to make some cosmetic changes to my plain white ‘sporting’ truck such as a camouflage paint job with black accents? Should it then be reclassified as an “assault” truck? Should it then be banned as such even though it functions exactly the same as the plain white ‘sporting’ truck? Even if I were to add twenty horsepower to its capacity, would it really make a large difference in any outcome? By the same token, would the addition of Obama bumper stickers and a pink paint job make my ‘sporting’ truck any less lethal?

The more I look around the more I realize that short of abolishing the Constitution and living our lives in padded cells, we will never be totally safe from those who are truly committed to perpetrate mass murder. Perhaps if more of the known insane were actually kept in such a cell, we could worry just a little bit less about the welfare of our children?

Electoral College Review

Been hearing many complaints about the Elecrtoral College as of late.  Here is a good review from The Heritage Foundation:

Origins of the Electoral College and the Benefits of Federalism. The Founders sought a unique solution to two contradictory goals facing the new country: How could they allow the sense of the people to be reflected in the government, yet still protect the minority from the dangers of unreasonable majority rule? They accomplished their objective by creating a federalist republic in which majorities would rule, but minorities would always have opportunities to make their voices heard. The Electoral College fell into line nicely with this new governmental structure.

The federalist nature of the American presidential election system has an important benefit: It requires presidential candidates to build nationwide coalitions and to show that they will be good representatives for a diverse nation composed of both small and large sovereign states. Presidential candidates cannot succeed if they focus too narrowly on a handful of states, regions, or metropolitan population centers. Critics dispute the benefits of federalism in the presidential election process, arguing instead that state-by-state voting causes some individual votes to be “wasted” or encourages a focus on “swing” states to the exclusion of “safe” ones. Their arguments, however, do not hold up under scrutiny.

Read the rest at Heritage:     

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Nanny-State Ignites Taco War

My article as originally published in American Thinker:       

I’ve been highly critical of the ever expanding nanny-state that erodes our freedoms, whether in the form of soda bans, light bulb bans, plastic bag bans or even the new school lunch regulations, signed by President Obama. It’s this latter policy that is to blame for my eight-year-old son coming home from school hungry a few weeks back.

My son is a little picky when it comes to certain foods. He’ll devour steak, seafood and many fruits and vegetables but if you ask him to take a sip of milk or eat something with cheese on it — forget it. He claims that dairy bothers his stomach, but will then go and eat ice cream or a slice of cheese pizza and claim that “that’s different.” The point is, he’s eight, has some quirky eating habits and it’s the job of my wife and I to understand his habits and to make sure he gets the nutrition he needs within the parameters that work for him.

One morning during the first week back at school we looked at the new lunch menu and tacos were being served that day. He loves the school’s tacos and will only eat them because he has always been free to order them the way that he likes — without the cheese.

This time was different though. When he asked for his taco without the cheese he was told by the server that he had no choice but to have the cheese (no, he’s not an exchange student currently studying in Cuba). This was never a problem in years past and he was truly confused as to what to do and ended up eating only on an apple, which explains why he came home “starving” that afternoon.

My wife and I asked him if maybe the tacos were now pre-made with the cheese and told him that if so, there was nothing that could be done about it. Sometimes being picky will limit your choices in life. But this wasn’t the case as the cheese was applied just before serving, as it always had been, according to my son.

My wife put a call in to the principal and it turns out that the culprit was Obama’s new Healthy, Hunger-free Kids Act. According to my son’s principal, the problem wasn’t that he wanted his taco without the cheese; the problem was (assuming she fully understands all of the new regulations) that it was, and is, virtually impossible for the food servers to be able keep track of the children who pay for their lunches verses the ones who receive their lunches for free or at reduced rates with a taxpayer subsidy.

The school could face disciplinary action if caught giving non-compliant meals to students who are in the National School Lunch Program. That meddling cheese was needed to meet the dairy requirements contained within the new law. I understand the principal’s concern given another school recently received a $15,000 fine for serving soda during lunch time, which is in violation of federal law. So how much would an illegal cheese-free taco cost the school?

Aside from the obvious government overreach, how is it “healthy” for kids to be forcefully offered food that they either won’t accept or just end up throwing it in the trash? And what about children who are lactose intolerant?

My wife raised a stink about it so the principal said that she would tell the servers that our son is allowed to get his food the way he likes it by giving his name. If more parents complain I can see where it would get too complicated to continue though. But thanks to my wife, the lunch servers now know who my son is and he will get his taco the way he wants it next time.

Does this “special” treatment now make my son a crony diner or will these now be considered black market tacos? In any case, comply-or-starve big government top-down control creates a wasteful, unnatural environment that even a child finds hard to swallow.

Happy Independence Day?

A collection of articles from around the web:

 From American Thinker:

June 2012 – and especially its last week – was ripe with ominous metaphor, all revolving around the Supreme Court’s decision on June 28th to uphold President Barack Obama’s signature health-care reform legislation, the Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare.

For those not in the know, the highest court in the land – the historic mission of which was to guard against tyranny by ensuring that laws passed by Congress abide by the constraints imposed by our Constitution – has now rubber-stamped the most comprehensive expansion of federal power since the New Deal.

Read the rest at American Thinker

From Human Events:

The Declaration of Independence was America’s first foreign policy document. It proclaimed to the world in 1776 our intention to become and remain a separate nation, while also expressing America’s political philosophy and the basic aims of government.

Building upon a rich Anglo-Western tradition that fostered virtues of self-government, the Declaration recognizes the popular sovereignty of the American people — comprised of individuals possessing rights that no government can take away. That is the idea of liberty, and the Declaration says it exists and has existed for all time in all places for all people, in principle. Over time, with great sacrifice and determination, the U.S. constitutional order has been remarkably successful at delivering on the promises of the Declaration for the American people.

Read the rest at Human Events

From PJ Media:

Get out your firecrackers, ladies and gentlemen. This may be the last Fourth of July – at least as we know it.

Yes, I realize that’s a bit hyperbolic. But this is the year our national character is up for a vote. American exceptionalism is on the line. If we lose it, we may never get it back. History will have made the Big Turn.

Now to be honest, just like our president, I was embarrassed by the term American exceptionalism, when I first heard it. I mean why were we special? Who were we to be the boss of the world?

These were the obvious questions that rattled around my brain as a college student and later as a young leftist-type in the period of the civil rights and anti-war movements.

Yet somewhere deep down I was a patriot even then. I knew the free world would not have defeated the Nazis without us. I knew the fight against Soviet communism was a good fight and that we must win.

Read the rest at PJ Media

From Hot Air:

Two hundred and thirty-six years ago, a beleaguered but defiant group of men created the most magnificent declaration of liberty and human rights in history. It changed the world forever, and ended the heretofore universal model of a permanent ruling class in favor of self-government.

Read the rest at Hot Air

From Townhall:

Who but the boldest could believe that the signers of the Declaration of Independence were laying the foundation of the greatest constitutional republic in history? Now that republic has spread across the continent, and its influence reaches around the world. Its population has increased a hundredfold. Its Constitution has provided government to a free people constantly growing in size and territory, each new state joining the union as an equal, its citizens never subjects, its people ever free. There is no story close to it in the history of man.

Statesmen and thinkers have attributed the strength and goodness of the nation to the principles in the Declaration. Many others have denied this. Statesmen and thinkers have proclaimed the Constitution a just and beautiful implementation of the principles of the Declaration. Many others have denied this. These denials are more common in times of crisis in our country. They are very common now.

Read the rest at Townhall

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