Hope

True wisdom is in exceedingly rare supply these days, but I recall reading an article in the Wall Street Journal published in 2012 which delivered a dose of this rarified wisdom. Recounting the words of a longtime professor of political science at Harvard University – Harvey Mansfield, Journalist Sohrab Ahmari interviewed Professor Mansfield, considered a “pet dissenter” by his colleagues at Harvard, who spoke about his personal journey towards conservatism throughout his five-decade long tenure at Harvard even as the institution veered off to the extreme left of the political spectrum.

We live in a turbulent and corrupt world today with too many people in positions of power believing they are entitled to impose their will over the rest of us because they feel more enlightened and thus more entitled. This is precisely what our founding fathers fought a revolution against. America’s founding was the Framers’ legacy and a gift to us proclaiming that all men are indeed created equal. God granted all of us the right to live our lives according to our individual choices free from the imposition of others against our will, in other words, free from tyranny.

Most tragically today we have those who leverage big-government, big-media and big-tech to impose their will upon those with whom they disagree, and with their political power and clout continually chip away at your freedoms, often in seemingly small morsels, until you realize the cumulative totality of their demands against you eventually result in your loss of freedom. We’re at a breaking point in America where virtually every basic freedom is under assault by Woke Democrat’s in government and their partners in big-media and big-tech. They forcibly impose Wokism in virtually every aspect of our lives. They attack our Christian faith, our family values, our proud national heritage, our individualism, love of country, rule of law, our right to self-defense and even our right for independent thought. And they will crucify anyone who dares speak out against their poisonous ideas and social bullying tactics in the public square.

Make no mistake, “Wokism” is Marxist and is a foreign invasion. Just as with the Wuhan-Virus pandemic, we are experiencing an assault on the United States Constitution and our Bill of Rights because of this “virus” called “Wokism.” This Democrat lead movement attempts to “fundamentally transform” America into a nation of tribal groups segregated and divided from one another but ruled by their Woke-Democrat Big Government masters. They impose their collectivist poison propagandized as a doctrine “for the greater good,” and in order for it to succeed, free independent thought and your individual right to keep and bear arms must be eliminated. In fact, the chaos we are experiencing everyday in America under Biden’s incompetent administration is symptomatic of the Woke poison coursing through the veins of America’s body politic.

Professor Mansfield gives us hope, however, reminding us of the power of “human ambition.” Perhaps, as he points out, this human trait is the best news of all. He’s right of course when he suggests that no one works hard and assumes a mountain of debt to go to college due to a lack of ambition. Ambition is part of the human condition that makes us do great things. As insidious as Progressivism and Wokism is in destroying ambition, it cannot succeed in the long term, according to the professor. That’s because Human beings will not accept suppression of their wants and desires forever. They will ultimately find a way to overcome the forces of “collective mediocrity.”

As conservatives, we want everyone to succeed. We want you to be “rich,” if that is what you desire. We want you to have the opportunity to “pursue happiness” and define for yourself what the American Dream means to you. Above all we want you to pursue your individual ambitions. Just as our forefathers had envisioned, we want you to be “free to do so on your own terms.” We must be confident that our principles are completely in line with the human agenda one that is naturally filled with individual ambition. We must recognize that the ability to pursue one’s ambition provides hope, the absence of which produces hopelessness and despair.

The Progressive Democrats cannot offer you a future filled with hope because their entire agenda suppresses individual dreams and aspirations. We must contrast our message of promoting individual ambition against the Woke Democrat’s scheme of denying you of individual hopes and dreams. Professor Mansfield reminds us that we must renew our commitment to empowering the individual because, just as our Founders believed, that is the winning formula for freedom. For it is only in the realization of individual human ambition can there ever be real hope for a bright tomorrow and an America restored to liberty and prosperity.

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U.S. must defend Taiwan against Communists

December 16, 2021 (Previously published in The County Compass, Eastern North Carolina)

As Americans relax after leftover dinners from Thanksgiving to cheer for their favorite football teams, our friends on the island state of Taiwan were forced to scramble jet fighters to fend off warplanes from Communist China as reported by Fox News.

Ever since the Biden administration entered the White House the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has ramped up its aggression against its neighbors in Asia and the Indo Pacific Region. Biden’s Afghanistan debacle signaled to the world a weak American leadership emboldening the CCP to increase their belligerence towards Japan, South Korea, and in Southeast Asia. They violated their treaty with Great Britain toughening restrictions on freedoms in Hong Kong and now openly threaten Taiwan, the island state they claim is a rogue province belonging to them.

For seventy two years the United States has been a strong ally and supporter of Taiwan’s right to be free and independent of communist rule. Despite the formal diplomatic recognition of Communist China in 1979, we defended our friend who shares our American values and we led the world in the defense of human rights, democratic self-governance, and free market systems. But under recent Democratic Administrations, commitments to those principles have waned as America has gotten closer with the CCP diplomatically and economically.

Perhaps the Wuhan Virus Pandemic is a wakeup call that our dependency on the Communist Chinese has put America in a most precarious position unable to supply our own nation with basic necessities without relying heavily on a critical Chinese supply chain, one which a potentially hostile regime has the ability to hold hostage and extort demands to our detriment.

Why is it important for the United States to support Taiwan as a free and independently governed state? To answer that question, one must first consider the historical context of how modern China became a totalitarian Communist state and why Taiwan remains a free democratic republic independently governed by the island’s own duly elected government.

Chinese Communism was actually the product of a foreign invasion of China and not of a home-grown grassroots movement. In fact, it was the direct result of covert activities orchestrated by Vladimir Lenin and the Bolsheviks that began as early as 1918. Right on the heels of the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution, Lenin founded the Communist International or the Comintern a spy agency with a mandate of exporting Communist Revolution worldwide. It was through this agency an army of spies were sent to China to infiltrate, recruit, propagandize and create a Communist insurgency that would ultimately take over China but be subservient to Soviet Russia. Although the Soviet Union eventually collapsed, the CCP remains in power well past their founders’ demise and has now occupied China for seventy two years.

Despite the CCP occupation, Communism/Marxism remain antithetical to Chinese traditions and values. The Communists, however, remain steadfast in their attempt to erase all remaining vestiges of China’s centuries of traditions, culture, religion, and values even today. What continues to be done to the Chinese people remains among the greatest crimes against humanity ever perpetrated on an entire nation in world history. The CCP’s numerous crimes to date have gone unpunished. No justice has been forthcoming as the CCP regime remains in control now entering its third dynasty, one which appears to be reverting to the ways of Mao Zedong, the supreme leader of the first dynasty of hardliners.  It is clear, the CCP today under Xi Jinping shares Mao’s ambitions of global domination. The second dynasty, the moderate era under Deng Xiaoping et al, was when China opened to the West for its desperately needed economic reform. However, decades of predictions by western pundits’ of a moderating CCP that would eventually embrace the ways of the rest of the free world with ever increasing western engagement never materialized.

The significance of the current CCP regime reverting to the ways of Mao Zedong cannot be overstated. Under Mao Zedong’s reign of terror, it has been estimated between 60 to 80 million citizens were massacred. Let that sink in for a moment: that’s as many human beings murdered as voted for Donald Trump in the 2020 election! And although the media will not dwell on news that do not favor the CCP, unspeakable human rights abuses continue today under the current regime unabated.

In harsh contrast to the Communist Revolution of 1949, the original Chinese revolution of 1911 was born of home-grown grassroots citizen coalitions rebelling against imperial tyranny and defeating China’s last feudal dynasty, the Manchus (Qing Dynasty). The people founded the Republic of China a democratic republic and established a Nationalist government based on three principles: “nationalism, democracy and the betterment of peoples’ livelihood.” This has been described as mirroring America’s own “government of the people, by the people and for the people.” For three decades the Nationalists toiled to unite, rebuild, and modernize China. They did this amid an invasion by Imperial Japan, through WWII and fighting a civil war with Communists backed by the Soviet Union.

Eventually the Nationalists were forced to take refuge in Taiwan where they continued their original mission. The result today is a free island state that is an economic miracle, a model of a free and prosperous society and an inspiration for Asia and the Pacific region. Naturally, free Taiwan has been a strategic ally to the United States for seventy two years because of shared values, shared national security interests and shared friendships. But now, Taiwan is being threatened by the CCP as America’s commitment appears to wane while the CCP’s ambitions are reverting to global domination, a tenet of the original Bolshevik and Leninist vision of worldwide Communist domination. That leads us to the question, “why must the United States support Taiwan and defend its right to exist as a democratic republic free from the Chinese Communist tyranny?”

Since taking office, the Biden administration has shown great reluctance to push back against the CCP even in the wake of the Wuhan Virus Pandemic that devastated so many Americans and those around the world. Despite recent rhetoric from the White House assuring Taiwan the United States will remain supportive, there has been a lack of any substantive actions or even strong condemnations against the CCP’s most recent post-Thanksgiving aggression against Taiwan. It is clear America must wean off its dependence on Communist China. Particularly considering China’s apparent backwards march towards a hardline posture moving even further away from America’s values, our commitment to a stable free world in which nations defend human rights, practice fair global trade, honor intellectual property rights, and respect one another’s sovereignty. But is the current administration up to the task? If the disaster in Afghanistan and the lack of action to secure our own southern borders are any indication, it is far from reassuring.

Supporting Taiwan is a must, however, because it remains a critical strategic ally to the United States in the Asian Pacific Region. Should the CCP invade Taiwan, it’s not only an existential threat to the island state, it would also be a serious threat to America’s own vital interests in the region including our national security.

The benefits of supporting Taiwan are many. Defending a model example of a free democratic society such as Taiwan is what freedom loving Americans will overwhelmingly support because it is the right thing to do. Plus, by doing so, we defend America’s own vital security interests. Furthermore, ramping up our trade relations with Taiwan will help us wean off our dangerous dependence on China too. America will do well in developing a more robust bi-lateral relationship with Taiwan. They are one of the world’s major producers of computer chips, healthcare and agricultural technologies including numerous other categories.

America has always been the leader of the free world and our friends have always counted on us to have their backs. The America we love has always stood by her principles, rallied its allies, built united coalitions to defend the peace and stability around the world. We must not abdicate that responsibility, because without a strong America there will not be a free and peaceful world. We should not only support free Taiwan, the rest of the free world depends on American leadership too. Therefore, as concerned Americans call your representatives. Take our leaders to task and tell them we will not accept a weakened America, one that would stand by and watch our friends lose their right to live free from coercion and tyranny by oppressors like the CCP. Let’s show the world America is strong and we still stand for freedom and justice! LET’S GO AMERICA!

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What you need to know about your EV future

Electric Transportation – Our Future?

Part 1: Gas-n-Go vs. recharging my EV

Those considering buying an electric vehicle (EV) should do some serious research, perhaps even some soul searching. For example, did you know that driving your new EV to grandma’s for Thanksgiving may require more intense trip planning and more travel time than you’re used to? That’s because after buying into what you’ve been told is the “future of transportation,” you now need to factor in usable range and battery recharging times into your travel plans. Your new electric wheels will subject you to a level of trip-planning strategery you’ve not had to be concerned with until now. Politicians promise to build a more extensive EV charging infrastructure (paid with your tax dollars), but how soon until the lines at charging stations become an intolerable nuisance like being on long lines at the pump during Jimmy Carter’s Gas Crisis? It certainly seems the whole world is told to jump onboard the EV band wagon, however, keep in mind recharging EVs takes a lot longer than pumping gas. Nevertheless, going electric means you’ve now joined the exclusive club of “socially responsible e-motorists” but who pays for the privilege by living with an affliction known as “Range Anxiety.” True, the onboard e-smarts helps you plan trips better than the ole’ Rand McNally, but on those extended road trips you had better pack a few more pairs of underwear for those extra nights waiting to top off your battery!

A typical public charging station is a “Level 2” charger. It’s better than the basic “Level 1” that comes with the initial EV purchase and plugs into a standard outlet at 110 or 120 volts but which could take more than 48 hours to charge an EV with a 200-mile range. A Level 2 charger, rated at 240 volts at 40 amps, is considerably better but still requires overnight charging to replenish a depleted battery, typically between 9 to 15 hours. Recharging times for entry level EVs can be 3 hours with an average 80-mile range, so on a Level 2 Charger, a full charge takes approximately 3 hours. A Level 2 charger requires one hour to produce 22 to 25 miles of range. It’s important to note that range calculations and recharging times may vary wildly depending on a host of other factors like traffic, weather, temperature, terrain, driving styles, full or partial loads, etc., because each of these elements may put a whole new wrinkle in calculating your range estimates. Suffice it to say, you’ll need to be on your toes and do the math to make it home without getting stranded.

With upscale luxury EVs, that range can be more than 200 miles like the new Audi e-Tron GT. With more battery range comes more charging time, for example, the charging time for a depleted battery with a 200-mile range is 9 hours. The higher capacity luxury EVs like the Tesla Model S with a 405-mile range will take 16 hours on a Level 2. The new Lucid Air which claims a range of 520 miles will require more than 20 hours of charging time when its battery is depleted. Those are significantly long recharging times unless of course, you use the Level 3 “Super Charging Stations.” These chargers are commercial grade, too costly for most private homes and much more expensive to run so they are mostly provided by dealerships or institutions for their EV fleets. These chargers are capable of topping off a standard EV battery in one hour, but did you know they actually shorten the useful life of your battery? That’s because the rate at which the Super Charger “forces” the juice into your lithium-ion battery cells overheats them and accelerates deterioration thus shortening its useful life. A typical EV battery has an average life expectancy of 7 to 9 years, but frequent Super Charger use can significantly shorten that life. Something to consider particularly when replacement batteries are very expensive with entry level replacements running north of $5,000 to $7,000 while luxury EV batteries may cost $10,000 to $13,000 or more. Higher end models like the Tesla Model S could even run between $20,000 to $35,000. The greater the range the more kilowatt hour (KWH) capacity is required but the greater the cost. Currently, the cost per KWH is averaging $150. Shopping for a used EV? Beware of the remaining life of the battery for replacing one in a used EV you thought was a bargain may turn out to be quite a costly disappointment. The temptation is to search for cheap aftermarket replacement batteries, but word to the wise, you may be quite literally taking your life in your own hands when you risk non-factory spec sub-standard batteries that may be unreliable or even defective making them dangerous. More on battery fires later.


Part 2: EV myths and the human cost

Did anyone tell you that should you be contemplating buying an EV that, NO, you’re not saving the planet any more or less than if you continued to drive that gasoline car. In fact, you will continue to have a role in carbon production while driving electric. That’s because EV charging stations are plugged into the power grid (off the grid chargers are powered by diesel generators). Nationally, less than 3% of all power consumed in America comes from wind and solar combined. And yes, our electric power grid… drum roll…is still overwhelmingly powered by fossil fuels. So, the more government imposes the so called “zero emissions” ruse, the more our power grid will become overstretched and overtaxed (in more ways than one) driving up the cost of electric production for everything elsel we power all the while still contributing to carbon emissions although not coming from your tailpipes are still going into the atmosphere, nevertheless.


Furthermore, if one is contemplating embracing the EV mode of transportation, you need to know the “human costs” in its production supply chain. Did you know for example, most of the cobalt, a critical raw material in EV manufacturing, comes from mining in Africa? In fact, 60% of the world’s cobalt supply comes from the Democratic Republic of Congo where much of the mining is done with child labor working in extremely harsh and dangerous conditions not to mention the harmful environmental impact mining cobalt imposes on the communities in which they live. Also, did you know that Russia is among the top five largest global suppliers of nickel? It’s another critical raw material for the production of EVs. Given the horrific war in Ukraine and the resulting war crimes, you may draw your own conclusions as to the morality and/or the wisdom of enriching Putin in buying nickel from Russia. The mining of lithium, another necessary raw material to produce lithium-ion batteries is also controversial. You don’t hear much about it because most of it comes out of South America and Australia. However, the industry has plans to mine lithium in Nevada to create a domestic source. This is drawing fire, ironically from environmentalists, the very people pushing for our electrified transportation future. The truth is mining for lithium is harmful to the region as it may contaminate the groundwater among other environmental hazards. This is particularly rich when you consider the greatest champion of our EV future, the Biden administration, lectures us on the evils of fracking for natural gas yet they’re perfectly fine with mining for lithium and cobalt because of the EV supply chain which they condone. By-the-way did I mention the tremendous use of fossil fuel energy both in mining and the manufacturing of EVs too? Can you say, “hypocrisy?” Then there’s the issue of the disposal of spent EV batteries, a hazardous waste, and recycling isn’t a real option because it is not economically viable. And even once repurposed can only be used in a much-diminished capacity and no longer usable for electric cars. There is currently no real viable market and disposal remains a serious problem.

A main challenge in the design of the EV battery is to isolate them from the risk of damage from the elements like weather, road debris, etc. while thermodynamically allowing them to “breath” and to cool properly so they function reliably and not catch fire. Current designs use a synthetic material called polytetrafluoroethylene or “ePTFE,” a cousin of a material originally developed by Dupont to coat cooking ware, Teflon. Batteries are enclosed in a critically designed ePTFE wrap which keeps the elements out while allowing batteries to cool and vent. Occasionally, the batteries overheat, however, and the rising temperature spirals out of control resulting in a dangerous condition called “thermal runaway” igniting a fire that is difficult to suppress by common firefighting techniques. Fighting batteries still with a residual high voltage charge is another dangerous hazard for those fighting these fires. A lithium-ion battery fire can also unexpectedly reignite creating unusual challenges in addition. In rare situations the thermal runaway event may even cause an explosion when there are trapped gases. NTSB has been monitoring numerous incidents across the country of fires due to EV batteries and provides guidance on EV battery fire mitigation (Google: “NTSB on EV fires”).

Part 3: Thermal Runaway

Thermal runaway is a dangerous condition unique to lithium-ion batteries overheating that often ends up in a catastrophic fire. “Battery fires, what consumers should know,” a Forbes article published September 16, 2021, revealed that while the EV manufacturers’ claims of limited inventory were due to chip shortages and supply chain problems, GM actually recalled more than 140,000 Chevy Bolts due to the risk of battery fires. They’re not alone, Hyundai recalled 90,000 vehicles earlier and Ford took back 20,000 of their electric plug-in hybrids in Europe because they could overheat and catch fire. Tesla, the EV leader is not immune and have likewise been linked to catastrophic battery fires. Fires caused by overheating lithium-ion batteries are not new, on October 15, 2016, the FAA banned the use and transportation of Samsung’s popular Galaxy Note 7 phones on all flights due to numerous incidents of spontaneous combustion. And then there is the more recent catastrophic event involving the sinking of the Panama registered Falicty Ace, a 60,000 ton cargo ship transporting 4,000 luxury cars including a large number of electric vehicles across the Atlantic. It caught fire and sank off the coast of Portugal. The salvage company tasked with rescue and recovery failed to save the ship and her cargo reported that while it is inconclusive if the EV inventory was the root cause of the fire, they cited the extreme difficulties in battling the unusually intense fire from the burning lithium-ion batteries as the reason for the loss. While these failures are rare, they do suggest that the lithium-ion battery technology while ubiquitous does present a real and serious dangers to the public. It’s one thing when a cellphone battery has a thermal runaway event. It’s quite another if you and your family are sitting on top of a thousand-pound lithium-ion battery when traveling down the highway. Sure, a thermal runaway episode is a small risk, but should you take that chance? We shut the country down due to the risks of a virus that had a 99% survival rate, so how much risk is too much risk?

There’s no question that with time and with enough resources most of these problems with the current state of the electric car industry will be resolved. For example, the industry is currently working on alternative EV battery designs that look promising such as aluminum-ion which has yet to be successfully commercialized. But it’s simply foolish not to question the wisdom of forcing the entire world to go electric with transportation when it is clear the contemporary fossil fuel solutions that evolved over many decades including the existing fueling station infrastructure offer demonstrably superior solutions in transportation compared to where the electric car is at the present time. It is inexplicable why so many continually push the EV future as the sole solution, indeed in some cases mandating its adoption when it’s clear more work is necessary to overcome the serious issues that plague the EV industry. The inconveniences of long charging times cannot compare to traditional gas-and-go cars. The claims of less maintenance because of the simplicity of the electric power plant is grossly off set by the high cost of battery replacement and disposal. Plus one must not turn a blind eye against the human costs of the EV supply chain for there is real human suffering behind bringing us these EVs. And then there’s the Thermal Runaway hazard which is very real albeit rare but is simply too glaring a problem to ignore. The pro-EV climate is particularly egregious as we’re being subjected to overwhelming social pressures driven by powerful political alliances between Big Government, Big Tech, and Big Media. EV adoption is rewarded while gas powered loyalists are punished in an effort to force society to abandon its petroleum past in favor of an all-electric future ostensibly to save the planet from the alleged deleterious effects of fossil fuels. However, considering all the facts, the EV future they want us to embrace simply isn’t quite ready for prime time.

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Language matters in our fight to save America

Language Matters in our Fight to Save America

 

I listened to a radio talk show program recently where the guest spoke about the controversial issue called “Critical Race Theory.” For the record, this theory based in Marxist ideology developed by the Left’s Woke Cancel Culture movement is the latest assault on our nation designed to eviscerate our traditional American values and to remake our nation into an affirmative-action socialist utopia. Although the speaker was explaining how antithetical this idea is to our schools and our institutions, she presented her case in a way that failed to hit the mark. Instead, the way she talked about it actually in some ways helped this hideous concept.

She began by introducing the topic as a discussion on “Critical Race Theory,” but then in subsequent dialog simply referred to it as “CRT.” If you tuned in halfway through the program, you might even have thought she was talking about the “cathode ray tube!” But the bigger point is by her defaulting to an acronym she inadvertently gave this controversial idea cover while simultaneously inferring a suggestion of its academic credibility. By hiding the actual name of this theory behind an innocuous acronym she masked what by any measure is an overtly racist and insidious tool of mass indoctrination. That’s why it is so controversial, evidenced by the heavy pushback across the country by parent against school systems that are teaching this tripe.

We’re routinely exposed to and surrounded by acronyms in everything such as: ABC, CBS, NBC, RA, NRA, DOJ, AC, DC, SCOTUS, POTUS, PC, PT, COPD, NYPD, PMR, PMS, AA, AAA, FYI, RSVP, ETA, CTA and now we’ve got “CRT.” If you’ve ever wanted to hide something highly controversial in plain sight, can you think of a better way to do it? It is like hiding a poisonous apple in a bushel of apples. Is that not the perfect way to disguise a controversial idea so it is indistinguishable from all the legitimate ones?

The talk show guest is not alone in her use of the CRT acronym although in her case it was not her intention to defend Critical Race Theory. On the other hand, we now routinely hear the term CRT being used on news broadcasts, so one has to wonder if news anchors who use CRT were duped into giving Critical Race Theory cover or are they willing accomplices in the effort to make CRT be accepted by mainstream America.

There exists many sophisticated forms of deception by the Left in advancing their socialist agenda making it challenging to decipher fact from fiction and good from evil. Especially when too many of us simply can’t trust what we’re told by the mainstream media. With the Left’s clever manipulation of language, it requires an extra dose of critical thinking to see with crystal clarity what is really behind the litany of controversial issues that seem to hit us every day. Words and nomenclature matter in language particularly how they are structured strategically and how they are deployed tactically. The Left is particularly adept at crafting their “weapon of words” and have advanced their agenda with success over the decades. To fight socialism and save America, I urge my fellow Americans to scrutinize everything you read or hear and never accept its premise verbatim because you will likely be horrified when you peeled back the layers to discover that the truth is almost never exactly what they appeared to be on the surface.

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Attacking our 2nd Amendment

WASHINGTON, DC – Joe Biden and the Democrat Party do not trust you to be good moral citizens. They don’t trust you with your Constitutional Liberties, including the one that grants you the right to keep and bear arms. The evidence is undeniable. Why else would they want to restrict your access to guns or to take them away altogether? Why else do they have 25,000 armed troops and razor wire fencing in Washington D.C.?

What they want is against the Constitution. The American Left has so corrupted our public discourse and dumbed-down our understanding of the justice system that they are quite literally passing illegitimate laws that infringe on your Constitutional Liberties. All under the guise of keeping you safe. Nothing can be further from the truth. The fact is more restrictive gun laws simply put the public at greater risk.

The inconvenient truth is gun laws only restrict those who obey them, not those who don’t. These laws, of which there are already more than 20,000 on the books, serve only to protect violent criminals – while you are left defenseless.

It has been estimated that more than 100 million Americans own firearms. The FBI tells us that gun-related crimes are committed overwhelmingly in high crime urban communities, which they call “Hot Spots.” These include New York, Chicago, St. Louis, Los Angeles, Washington D.C., Baltimore, Atlanta, and other cities, which already have the most restrictive gun laws in the country.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, America averages between nine to eleven thousand firearm homicides each year. By contrast, up to two and a half million cases occur each year where lawfully armed citizens save lives and foil crimes often without firing a shot (according to research study: ‘Armed Resistance to Crime’ in the Journal of Criminal Law & Criminology by Gary Kleck & Marc Gertz, North Western University).

When you recognize the GARGANTUAN GAP between lives saved by armed citizens versus lives taken by criminals, the only conclusion is that the entire gun control movement is a cynical political ruse aimed at disarming the American citizenry. Besides the obvious flaws with gun laws aiding criminals, the even more insidious attack on our freedom is the systematic corruption of our judicial system.

In America, we are not supposed to pass “pre-emptive laws” that “presumes you might be guilty” before a crime was even committed. Those in authority continue to violate a key principle of American Jurisprudence, the “presumption of innocence.” It is the government’s duty to prove there has been wrongdoing based on actual evidence of an individual’s crime. The Constitution does not allow the government to pre-emptively ensnare the innocent. More egregious, many of today’s lawmakers think nothing of “criminalizing” an entire group of innocent citizens who have neither committed crimes, nor been remotely related to crimes committed by someone else.

Why do some believe it’s okay to infringe upon your rights as an individual even if you’ve done nothing wrong? I submit, this is because for decades the American Left has been propagating the notion that the ”right of individuals” are superseded by the “Rights of the Collective.” The evidence of their brazenness in pushing that narrative can be seen in the 2008 Supreme Court ruling against the District of Columbia in the landmark 2nd Amendment case D.C. v. Heller:

Majority Opinion, Operative Clause. a. “Right of the People.” The first salient feature of the operative clause is that it codifies a “right of the people.” The unamended Constitution and the Bill of Rights use the phrase “right of the people” two other times, in the First Amendment’s Assembly-and-Petition Clause and in the Fourth Amendment’s Search-and-Seizure Clause. The Ninth Amendment uses very similar terminology (“The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people”). All three of these instances unambiguously refer to individual rights, not “collective” rights, or rights that may be exercised only through participation in some corporate body.”

As you see, the high court in 2008 thought it necessary to remind fellow jurists that the unambiguous rights of the individual are protected under our Constitution – codified and not “granted” by government. This should have been a giant red flag to us all. It illustrates how close the Left came to altering our justice system to one that no longer protects your individual liberty.

This fight against gun control isn’t only about defending the 2nd Amendment. It is far more than that. Our Constitutional rights (our very “birth right”) is under attack by those who aim to destroy our God-given rights as a free people. There is no doubt with Justice Scalia’s passing – and now the most recent Democrat push to pack our Supreme Court with four additional Left-wing jurists — we are facing a most egregious power grab. If successful, American jurisprudence will forever be changed to: “You’re presumed guilty by government until you can prove otherwise.”

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Where is America going?

I’m a registered Republican and an unabashed supporter of President Trump. As an American, I am free to choose my party affiliation and candidate. Under the United States Constitution, it is my sacred right as it is for any Democrat to support his or her candidate of choice. Indeed, historically we have always come together as Americans regardless of which side won the election. Casting the vote for one’s candidate of choice has always been a personal one, and as such we used to respect each other’s choices despite opposing political beliefs. I still do, but sadly that sentiment is no longer shared by everyone. Friends and family never used to feud over politics let alone allow it to destroy friendships or break apart families. Tragically, however, that is precisely where we have gone.

Trump coined the term “Fakenews” for which he has been maligned unrelentingly for his entire four years in Washington. But until you’ve been the direct recipient of “journalism malpractice,” you may still be skeptical as to whether his label for the national media is fair. I have now experienced this “Fakenews” firsthand. On January 6th in Washington D.C., along with a million or more fellow Americans (by my estimation), my wife and I went to our nation’s capitol to support our President. We were maliciously smeared by the very journalism malpractice for which President Trump had been the target during each and every day of his four years in office. The national media painted a bullseye on our backs and labelled us “rioters and anarchists.” This is the same national media which eagerly defended Leftwing anarchists like Black Lives Matter (BLM) and Antifa that rioted, looted, burned and terrorized cities across the nation in the summer of 2020. When with a city block ablaze as a backdrop, a CNN correspondent reported, “the protests were mostly peaceful…”

The truth regarding the January 6th rally is Trump supporters were not those who caused the violence inside the Capitol. In fact, we now know that Leftwing agitators were bussed in to infiltrate the rally as reported by multiple news sources including One America News and the Gateway Pundit. Some of these perpetrators have been identified as known Antifa and BLM operative dressed up to blend in with the pro-Trump rally. Yet, the only news one sees on national media is, “Capitol under siege, Trump rioters force D.C. lockdown.”

The massive crowd was a cross section of America: People came with their families, bringing their children and grandparents. Countless business professionals, students, teachers, small business owners, construction workers, union people, home makers, retirees, ex-law enforcement, veterans, and healthcare professionals made the trip. Blacks, Latinos, Asians, Indian Americans, Native Americans; people from all races, ethnicity and walks of life were there. This crowd was quite literally a slice of America that went to D.C. to support President Trump. The mood was upbeat, festive and absolutely peaceful. Folks waved flags, they danced to music that was blaring over the loudspeakers. They listened to the lineup of Republican speakers leading up to the President’s address. They cheered and applauded the speeches which can only be characterized as pro-America, Pro-fair elections, Pro-rule of law, and Pro-America 1st. The President marveled at the size of the crowd, thanked them for their support and concluded his address by saying, “stay strong, America… we will continue to make America great and the best is yet to come!” Yet, somehow, the national media twisted his words to falsely report that the President was calling for “insurrection.” It’s a bald face lie! He did nothing of the sort. I was there.

It is clear, however, the smear achieved its intended objective as it gave the Democrats and Trump haters the excuse they needed to once and for all destroy President Trump. Four long years of smear campaigns including conspiracy fraud perpetrated to oust a duly elected President was still not enough for Democrats, with 13 days remaining in Trump’s presidency, they had to concoct an excuse such as this malevolent lie at the eleventh hour to invoke the 25th Amendment!

With all that we have endured for four long years as Republicans and Trump supporters: the slander, the baseless accusations, the smear campaigns, the outright hatred and vitriol, are we now to believe that Biden and the Democrats are sincere about their call to unity? Is this how you unite the country you have done so much to divide? By falsely accusing Trump Supporters for this crime inside our Capitol and to figuratively “assassinate” our President by smearing him with these lies, are we now to believe you are sincere about all of us coming together in unity?

On a personal level, we lost friends over the media’s false and malicious portrayal of the D.C. Rally. We enjoyed being there amongst fellow Americans from all walks of life and from all over the country in what was much more of a celebratory event than a “protest.” We met folks from: California, Hawaii, Colorado, Washington state, Oregon, Wyoming, Wisconsin, Texas, Alabama, Florida, Kentucky, Ohio, Georgia, South Carolina, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, etc. When we left the rally I posted pictures on my Facebook page to share with those who couldn’t make the trip. That was before we knew there was any trouble inside the Capitol. Then to my dismay, we lost friends because of my post. I was shocked one friend commented: “sad that you are part of this disgraceful exhibition of treason at the Capitol.” Indeed I am sad to see what Fakenews has done to us on such a personal level. This should never happen and it certainly was never like this in the America that I love.

So, what’s the Democrat’s endgame? For years too many have been conditioned to believe Republicans are Evil. They have been led to believe those who vote Republican are morally bankrupt and hate worthy. You don’t have to go back very far to see the numerous examples of where the Democrat political machine including their partners in national media and social media routinely slander Republicans. The years of constant anti-Republican propaganda served to continually fan the flame of hatred and vitriol. Remember the protests against President Bush with rioters burning effigies of his likeness? Remember Code Pink protesting in the Senate chambers with some dragged out for screaming obscenities at Republican Senators? Remember Democrat campaign ads of a Paul Ryan lookalike pushing granny off a cliff in a wheelchair? Our political discourse has not been civil for a long time and through Trump’s tenure it has now escalated to an unprecedented level of hatred and vitriol that dwarfs even the vicious anti-Republican propaganda of years past.

So is it any wonder my Democrat friends believe we are traitors for participating in what they have been told by the national media is “sedition?” It is clear to me the Democrats aren’t satisfied until they have completely destroyed their political opposition until America is under permanent Democrat control. Now that they have control of the White House and Congress, is the endgame “One Party Rule” for America? Draw what conclusions you will, for there exist too many terrifying historical examples of what happens to nations when the concentration of absolute power is held in the hands of a single political party. I pray that despite the terrible place we find ourselves today politically that America shall remain strong as a nation, and free as a people. I pray that our leaders who hold positions of authority and influence both in the public and private sectors regardless of your political affiliation shall have the wisdom to genuinely work towards healing this toxic divide between us. I pray that regardless of our political differences that we shall all work hard towards healing as a people, unity as a nation and to keep all of America great.

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Race in America: the truth

One would think that eight long years of the first black President in American history would finally closed the books on racial division in the country. In the post-Obama America, were we not promised an era of enlightenment free from racial strife? After all a black man was elected to the nation’s highest office, not once but twice. Instead, our cities are burning, businesses ransacked, citizens assaulted and communities terrorized across America. The truth is these grievances have been fueled by decades of propaganda that deliberately pits blacks against whites and Americans against each other with the media as the distribution mechanism plus our universities have for too long been a breeding ground for militant social-justice warriors. With the killing of George Floyd, these self-avowed revolutionaries seized on the opportunity to launch their orchestrated insurrection across America. Thanks to Rohm Emanuel, Obama’s ex-chief of staff, who once quipped, “never let a good crisis go to waste,” we now know those seeking political advantage routinely exploit tragedies to advance their agendas.

There is no doubt today’s American politics is utterly toxic, made so by the underhandedness of those with an insatiable appetite for power. Their willingness to accept collateral damage at any cost in their quest for political power is quite literally ripping the nation apart. Clearly, we must detox our politics, return to civility and heal the divisions in America not only for our peace and tranquility, but also to deny those who weaponize racial grievances to declare war on our institutions, our traditions and our very way of life. To permit anarchy to be unchecked as weak officials have done is an afront to the rule of law and an existential threat to our Constitutional Republic. That must change.

There exists an obsession about race that’s routinely forced upon us along with the unrelenting drumbeat of racial injustice. Much of these grievances however are politically motivated deliberately fanning the flames of rage. Black Lives Matters originated from the Michael Brown shooting in Ferguson, but “hands up don’t shoot” never happened. The officer involved was cleared by Obama’s Attorney General for self-defense against Brown’s attempt to go after his weapon. Despite the truth an angry racially charged Social-Justice movement was born becoming yet another political tool aimed at achieving a specific partisan objective, in this case, to defund America’s Police.

Regardless of the motives or whether the movement is grass roots or Astro Turf, they’re driving real policy changes. Legitimate or not, the race baiters are achieving their objectives. It’s hard to know exactly where the latest racial crisis will take us. But one thing is certain, we’re still not having an honest conversation about race relations nor has any genuine solutions been forthcoming. Instead what we are witnessing is shameless pandering and political gamesmanship with no attempt to lower the temperature.

I am an American of Chinese descent. My parents were originally from Shanghai, China. Our family lived on four continents before permanently residing in America. My personal journey as an ethnic minority in most of the places where I lived may offer a unique perspective as to how one deals with racial bias. After immigrating here in 1968 and having gone through the naturalization process, I am now a proud American citizen.

According to government documentation, I am labeled “Asian.” Our system goes further, we categorize citizens as “Caucasian, African American, Latino, Hispanic, Pacific Islanders, or Native American.” This has always puzzled me. Why make these racial distinctions? Why the obsession with race categorization? Isn’t the artificial use of race as the category label itself creating differences and division? What is the relevance of racial identity particularly when our Declaration of Independence made it clear that “all men are created equal?” The Bible also taught that all men and women are created in the image of God and we are all equally God’s children. Further more, wasn’t it the late great Martin Luther King Jr. who said that we must not judge one by the color of their skin but rather by the content of their character? Yet when filling out a government form to apply for a passport or any official documentation, I must declare my race.

Sure, the argument for “bureaucratic segregation” comes down to the government’s need to monitor the percentage of each race within the overall population. Presumably this provides government social engineers the tools necessary to combat racial bias and ensure racial harmony. So, how’s that working out, America? If that indeed is the reason behind the need to identify every person racially, then we can declare with certainty that the government has failed America miserably. That is unless there’s a hidden agenda designed to divide us into separate groups, in which case it’s working. Of course, government documents alone don’t incite racism, that’s not the point, what is at issue, is the attitude our society has been conditioned to have about race. Instead of accentuating what we all share in common, those seemingly innocuous bureaucratic forms serve as constant reminders of our differences. I’m not suggesting a fix for this flaw in our bureaucracies. I merely use it as one example of problems in our system that in my view exacerbates what is already a divisive issue plaguing America.

What is racism and how does one deal with it? The dictionary defines racism as: “the belief that inherent differences among various human racial groups determine cultural or individual achievement, usually involving the idea that one’s own race is superior.” This belief is racial prejudice or racism. Clearly it is ugly and grounded in ignorance, but tragically, history has taught us that racism has been the catalyst of monstrous and unspeakable acts by those claiming racial superiority such as the Holocaust and slavery. In modern America, however, how should we deal with racism? We do live in a nation of laws and the laws are clear. Our Constitution is unequivocal in the equal protection of rights regardless of race, creed, ethnic origin or religious affiliation. But what if you are confronted with racism, how should you deal with it? And as a nation, how should America deal with it?

Before addressing these questions, let me share my personal experiences growing up as an ethnic minority on three of the four continents where we lived. My father was a career naval officer in the Nationalist Chinese Navy prior to the Communist occupation. He studied in Great Britain before WWII returning to China as a young wartime navy officer. With the fall of China in 1949, the Nationalist Chinese government took refuge on Taiwan where it remains today. In part due to his English education my father was tapped as an envoy for Taiwan’s Nationalist Chinese government. His assignments brought our family from South East Asia to West Africa, Europe and the United States. An important foot note regarding life as a son of a diplomat: The Government of the Republic of China which took refuge on Taiwan in 1949 had a virtually empty national treasury. While a transient lifestyle on four different continents as diplomats may sound glamourous, this was entirely not the case with us in those days. Life even as ambassador was financially challenging as salaries were modest to the point of near poverty. My father may have been an ambassador, but we lived a modest existence.

As a young boy having to switch schools from Thailand in South East Asia to Sierra Leone West Africa was terribly traumatic. Besides the obvious difficulties of leaving behind friends there was the cultural shock of living on another continent. This was especially so in the early sixties when communication with friends were by snail mail, and the world was far less culturally connected unlike today. I had never met an African before moving to Sierra Leone West Africa. Although my father was away at the time, upon our arrival and as a courtesy, the government of Sierra Leone sent an army major to greet our plane. That was my very first encounter with a black person. As we deplaned the major greeted my mother and sister then held out his hand to me. He was an imposing man as I had to look up to the sky at him. He had a great smile and was very pleasant. I shook his hand but no sooner then I did that I pulled my hand back to see if any color had come off. The major knew exactly what was happening and let out a laugh. He was amused despite my mother being mortified! Without a hint of being bothered, he joked and put us all at ease. As a young boy who had not met an African before that day, my actions were completely innocent albeit terribly ignorant. I wasn’t frightened by the major nor was I in anyway thinking of him as inferior, I was genuinely curious. The major was a distinguished man and projected great confidence. He never thought for a second the actions of a young boy was insulting, to the contrary, he was amused by the innocent faux pa of a naïve young boy. To this day, I have many fond memories of our years in Sierra Leone. My sister and I went to the local school with friends of many nationalities and cultural backgrounds. Our circle of friends included Sierra Leonian, Lebanese, American, Chinese, German, Israeli, English, and French. I even invited the Russian Ambassador’s daughter to one of our teen socials. When you consider this was during the Cold War, that was a big deal! But none of us cared about skin color, race, ethnicity, politics, or religious affiliation. None of that mattered or even crossed our minds. We simply enjoyed each other’s company and shared a truly wonderful time as friends and school mates.

In the Fall of 1968, I left Africa for the United States. Thanks to my brother who graduated Magna Cum Laude four years earlier, I was able to go to the same boarding school on a full scholarship. Life in a Connecticut boarding school was yet another major cultural shift. I missed home, my folks and friends I left behind in Africa. As I settled into boarding school life, I began observing something that troubled me even at the age of 14. I noticed that black students socialized mostly with each other and rarely with white students unless they played sports together. I wondered why the blacks seemed to prefer self-imposed segregation. Had they been ostracized? I certainly saw no evidence of that. While I found it strange at first, eventually I was resigned to the fact that in America there appeared to be a level of tension surrounding race relations. What was curious to me was not that blacks were treated badly per se but that there seems to be an attitude by many whites to patronize rather than engage and embrace blacks as peers. That maybe based on a variety of factors but it comes down to an uneasiness to engage and to treat one another as equals. Sure, there were certainly exceptions and over the decades I was glad to see that the exceptions have become much more the rule. Being much more accepting of one another, however, took many years since my arrival in 1968. Conversely, I had always observed an air of resentment on the part of the black students that contributed to that tension. Much of it is in how black kids talked to each other in ways white kids would find difficult to be comfortable with. There was a deliberate effort to be different, to speak differently, behave differently in a way that screams their “blackness” or project their “black experience.” It was as if a barrier of attitudes and words were erected as a counter measure to the patronizing whites. That barrier made it more challenging for both sides to get to know one another, overcome preconceptions, build lasting trust, and become friends.

In some ways, I do empathize because no one wants to be patronized and treated like children or worse, like a second-class citizen who only deserves pandering. That is most offensive and is indeed prejudicial. I recall on one occasion when I was introduced to a family in waspy Fairfield County Connecticut. A lady I had just met was offering me treats, looked me right in the eyes and spoke to me at half the normal speed but at twice the normal volume. She enunciated every syllable as though I was either hard of hearing or had a cognitive impairment. She must have known I understood English, because I was her nephew’s classmate. So why the grossly patronizing tone? She clearly had no idea that the way in which she was offering me tea and cupcakes was so offensive. I felt sorry for her, because she obviously had little to no exposure to non-white persons like me. Her behavior could only be described as ignorant. I had a choice, I could be angry and embarrass her nephew, my friend and classmate, or I could simply ignore it. I chose the latter.

The Royal Naval College in Greenwich England was an exclusive school dedicated to the best and brightest young officers from the British Royal Navy. It was historically unprecedented in 1937 when my father as a young Chinese navy officer was sent there to study. No doubt he dealt with issues relating to racial prejudice, so when I experienced a couple of upsetting incidents in school, I turned to my father for advice. What I learned was both enlightening and liberating. He said if someone insulted me because of my skin color or nationality, while my instincts may be one of anger, I should stop to think, “are you what they said, or is the insult baseless?” I would bristle, “but how dare they…” to which my father said, “if you’ve nothing to be ashamed of or have done nothing wrong, you’re not the problem, they are.” He continued, “When someone insults you and treats you as something you know you’re not, it’s a clear a reflection of their ignorance and character flaw, so you have two choices, you can either let it get under your skin or you can ignore what isn’t true. And instead of being angry, you should have pity on them. Their character flaw deserves not your anger but rather your empathy.” If only we taught everyone who have been racially victimized this very lesson.

In college I noticed that those racial tensions were even more intense. I remember my first day as a freshman, my roommate asked if we could go to see the Dean of Students together. I said yes since I too had a date with the Dean. But when we compared notes, turns out I was to see the Minority Dean and my roommate from Greenwich Connecticut was to meet with the regular Dean of Students of the college. I kept my appointment but what I was subjected to I found most disturbing even as an 18 year old freshman. I was told I needed to join the Minority Student Union where I would meet other minorities and participate in the special activities uniquely suited to African Americans, Asians and other minorities. I was told there were programs for minority students that were only available to us. Then I received a pep talk about solidarity with minorities on campus. That was my first and last meeting with the school’s Minority Dean. I was familiar with Affirmative Action but for the life of me I could not reconcile why a college would deliberately treat minority students differently from the rest of the student body. Why was I told to “belong” to a specific group? Why are there “special” programs designed for me and to which my roommate from Greenwich would not have access? Was it a special workaround that gave me an edge over white students or was it a perk just because I was a minority student? I didn’t want a crutch nor did I want any special treatment. Either way was wrong. I valued my dignity too much to accept a handout. As a freshman I was ready to take on the challenges of college and needed to succeed on my own merits. I was appalled.

Decades later I now see with clarity that what I was experiencing in my school years was in fact the systemic separation of minorities from whites. Regardless of the motivation for these policies, it is clear that our educational institutions have deleteriously contributed to the appalling race relations in America. This is particularly sad to me personally because almost a half century later I am witnessing a backwards march towards more racial division compared to those years as young teenagers when we enjoyed a much more enlightened and racially harmonious existence.

It doesn’t have to be this way. The problem is obvious, Institutions are talking out of both sides of their mouths. On the one hand they honor and revere Dr. King and his teachings that we are to be judged by the content of our character, yet they implement policies that are completely antithetical to those very principles. As parents we know we must be consistent. You don’t tell your son not to do something then turn around and allow your daughter to do exactly that. What do you think that does to your children? Do that often enough and what do you think happens to your sons and daughters?  Is there any wonder why there’s so much cynicism, resentment, distrust, disrespect and rage today?

So what’s the solution? The answer, we are! Each and every one of us! It’s a terrible cop out to wait for the right political leadership to come along to fix everything. That day may never come. Instead it is up to each and every one of us to do our part to heal the cancerous racial divisions in America. We must speak out against the heinous exploitation of the hatred created by those seeking political power at any cost. We have a duty to God and country to do what is right and to ensure our future generations may truly enjoy a society free of prejudice and hatred because we will have passed on to them the wisdom of judging one another only by the content of our character and not by the color of our skin.

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Thanks and a farewell to my friends at the Newport Rifle Club

July 15, 2016

Dear Friends and Fellow NRC Members,

Forgive me for being sentimental, after all we gun-owners are supposed to be “insensitive gun-totting rednecks” devoid of emotion, compassion and morality, right? But, today I wish to break rank and express my sincere thanks for the wonderful gift and the outpouring of good wishes that you had so graciously bestowed upon my family and I. It is truly humbling.

While I appreciate the complements for fighting attacks on our liberty, I was certainly not alone in this effort. In fact I remain grateful to so many who continue this important fight such as Bill Welsh, Tom Frank and many others.

The truth is, it is I who was the greatest beneficiary of my association with all of you because it’s been an honor and a privilege to have known some of the most wonderful people I’ve ever met during my time with the Newport Rifle Club.

After 30 years in Rhode Island, we will miss our friends at the NRC and our “home state,” but we leave with the greatest gift of all, the recognition of our piers and the knowledge that our time here mattered albeit modestly.

Sincerely,

Dexter Liu

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Driven away by R.I. politics

Rhode Island has been home for 30 years. I’ve enjoyed working in Newport, raising a family in Portsmouth and being part of the Aquidneck Island community. Our roots run deep here, so the decision to move to North Carolina is terribly bittersweet. We’ll miss friends and favorite haunts, but alas, it’s farewell, Rhode Island.

I ran successful businesses for nearly two decades while my wife worked for Hasbro. We worked hard and played by the rules. Yet our return on a 30-year Rhode Island investment is higher taxes, crumbling roads, and free entitlements for illegal immigrants while fellow citizens struggle with an economy on life support.

The chronic indifference of politicians, despite our protests, is infuriating. Like many, I’m tired of supporting a system that doesn’t advance the interest of its citizens. With the adoption of RhodeMap RI and RhodeWorks, the message is clear — our rights and interests matter little to Smith Hill.

Too many graduate from college only to leave the state because of a lack of opportunity. Many who stay work in restaurants or grocery stores. My son graduates from high school this year; we refuse to let him face a similar fate. Rhode Island’s problems aren’t that insurmountable. What stands in our way is the absence of public leadership that genuinely has our interest at heart. Forgive the sarcasm, but if we put the “I know a guy” tradition on ice, Rhode Island would improve immeasurably!

The solutions are obvious. We know how to create jobs. Businesses and entrepreneurs are the engine of the economy, and its fuel is investment capital. Government’s role is to create a pro-business environment where the business powered by capital drives the economy. Businesses require human capital, and voila, that creates jobs!

So where’s the real job creation? RhodeMap RI is a sham. Does anyone believe the federal government that gave us a near $20 trillion debt is the answer? Is its policy “Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing” the panacea for our economy? Our leaders seem to think so. Now they’re borrowing more federal money for RhodeWorks, which they say will create jobs and fix the state. Really? What we’ll get is more enormous debt service!

Narragansett Bay is among the best seaports on the East Coast. We have highways, rail systems and airports ideally situated for domestic and international commerce. Flanked by major financial centers from Boston to Hartford and New York, we also have access to the best universities to build the most talented and educated workforce plus a highly skilled labor force. Rhode Island has industries and technology centers within an easy commute and offers some of the best quality of life of any coastal community on Earth. Given the state’s assets, have you ever wondered why corporations with deep pockets choose not to invest here?

Here’s one reason. No one appreciates being labeled “greedy profiteers,” least of all investors. Yet our politics perpetuate the narrative: corporations and business owners are charlatans whose profits are built on the backs of the working class. Thus we must extract a pound of flesh from them to spread the wealth around, and government is the fair arbiter of economic justice.

Sound familiar? The trouble is that this produces destructive policies that keep holding us back. This divisive political rhetoric isn’t only antithetical to American values, it also obliterates ambition and achievement — a curse on productivity. You’re rewarded with higher taxes and lower returns for hard work. So who are the real charlatans?

Sadly, the politics of envy and lack of competent leadership remain the bane of Rhode Island’s “economic recovery,” so generations continue to suffer. The blame, however, isn’t Smith Hill’s alone. After all, voters keep supporting the status quo.

For the sake of future generations, Rhode Islanders must reject cronyism and destructive big government progressive policies that repeatedly undermine the enormous potential of the Ocean State. This November, take your government back. It’s time to fire up the free-market engine again! It can be done!

Hope springs eternal, after all. And “Hope” is the state motto, is it not?

Providence Journal: Posted Mar. 12, 2016 at 2:01 AM
http://www.providencejournal.com/opinion/20160312/dexter-liu-driven-away-by-ri-politics#dexter-liu-driven-away-by-ri-politics/?Start=1&_suid=14580517346090584640050092551

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The 2nd Amendment Debate

Chart_InsertFirearms and the 2nd AmendmentLiberty Project Presentation(FINAL)

A. Guns Facts

100 million Americans legally own and use firearms responsibly. Estimates suggest more than 300 million firearms are privately owned in America today. Approximately 2.5 million cases on average are reported each year where lawfully armed citizens save lives and foil crimes(1). By contrast, 30 thousand firearms related deaths in America are reported each year, of which 11 thousand of these are homicides and the balance are suicides or accidental shootings(2). The Federal Government also reports that the vast majority of the firearm-homicides occur in inner-city urban America where the strictest gun-laws in the country exist. The government has identified the principle causes of firearm-homicides: high recidivism rate, drug trafficking, inner-city drug cartel infiltration and urban street gang-violence(2). From 1980 to 2012, the victims of mass murders in schools compiled over 32 years including Columbine, Virginia Tech and Sandy Hook, total 297(3). “The Gun Free School Zone Act,” a Federal gun-ban was enacted in 1994. Sandy Hook was also under the 1993 Connecticut “Assault Weapons Ban.”

B. Gun Politics

The politics surrounding firearms in America is divisive and dishonest. The debate is nearly always about the “gun,” with far less attention paid to how best to stop criminal-violence or even the failures in mental health care. This debate has been driven by a political agenda that advocates for more restrictions of guns and gun ownership in America but is not dedicated to eradicating criminal behavior. Sadly the rhetorical attacks on lawful gun owners seem to intentionally blur the distinction between criminals and law-abiding citizens despite the fact one third of the citizens of the United States own firearms legally and use them responsibly. When evaluating the statistics surrounding firearms use compared to deaths due to firearms, you quickly see the enormous disparity between the safety records of the overwhelming number of lawful gun owners and lives saved verses the much fewer gun deaths due to criminal or irresponsible behavior. In the contentious gun control debate, we are always forced to accept more restrictive gun laws as an “obligation of society” due to the heinous acts of the very few even though these would infringe on the liberties of the overwhelming majority of responsible Americans. Over the decades the cry for gun control has spawned what is now an anti-gun activist industry. It is made up of numerous well organized and well funded political organizations like the Brady Campaign, Mayors Against Illegal Guns (now re-invented as Every Town for Gun Safety), Violence Policy Center, The Joyce Foundation, Freedom State Alliance, Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, Moms Demanding Action, Media Matters, Moveon.org, to name but a few. Locally in Rhode Island, there is the RI Coalition Against Gun Violence, the Institute For the Practice of Non violence and various chapters of national anti-gun groups. Although the National Rifle Association (NRA), the arch nemesis of the anti-gun coalition, has become the principle villain of the anti-gun industry, the organization is the oldest American institution dedicated to defending gun-rights and liberty. It was established following the Civil War in part to arm and train freed slaves to defend their lives and liberty against lingering pro-slavery factions. Today, with the exception of NRA-ILA which is the lobbying arm, the bulk of the NRA organization, is dedicated to education, promoting the shooting sports and teaching firearms safety. Other pro-gun groups such as the Gun Owners of America and the National Association for Gun Rights are organized as well and unlike their anti-gun opponents, direct their lobbying efforts primarily at the legislatures. There is a media bias against guns. It is rampant and dramatically one sided favoring gun control. The media doesn’t necessarily mislead intentionally, although there has been those cases, it is the deception by omission that much of the media is guilty of. Those in the media who hold an anti-gun bias down play or omit positive stories of lives saved by armed citizens but devote a grossly disproportionate amount of air time to stories like Sandy Hook or sensational and racially charged cases like Zimmerman vs. Martin (local media does a better job of reporting stories where armed citizens prevail). The practice of selective reporting is nothing new. A recent example is in the gross underreporting of the crimes of the knockout games and of black on white violence. Another tactic typical of the anti-gun industry is to present data out of context for dramatic effect. For example, they would proclaim: “more children have been murdered by guns in America than US soldiers killed in the Viet-Nam War” (80 thousand children vs. 50 thousand soldiers). What they don’t tell us is that this number was compiled over 35 years and the fact that, overwhelmingly, these children died in inner-city criminal-violence. The anti-gun coalition routinely exploits the deaths of children from what they call “gun-violence,” a term they created to implicitly suggest, “guns-equal-violence.” When you put actual data into context, however, the true picture emerges. For example, anti-gun activists would say, “guns in homes cause an unacceptably high rate of accidental deaths among children” but they provide no context or comparison to other much greater risks. In 2010, the CDC reported the annual number of deaths with children under the age of ten, 602 died of accidental drowning; 262 died by accidental home fires and 36 from accidental shootings. They would also say, “firearms deaths among children are higher than the rate of cancer deaths.” First of all, children have the least mortality rate due to cancer, so that statement is intended to mislead. Secondly, they ignore the deaths among children resulting from sports injuries which overwhelmingly overshadow those by firearms. For example, twice as many children die from football injuries alone than from firearms(8). The routine hyperbolic rhetoric intended to instill fear, coupled with half-truths and manipulation appears to be the anti-gun coalitions’ playbook of choice. In fact anti-gun groups employ professional marketing and public relations firms to create campaigns that implicitly shape public opinion by selling the notion that “guns are evil” (regardless of the user) and that they are deadly instruments to be feared, reviled and thus they must be targeted for restriction or be banned. It has been exposed that the anti-gun coalition has created just such a handbook, “Preventing Gun Violence Through Effective Messaging”(5) (produced by Bloomberg et al). It has been widely distributed nationally as a standard for the anti-gun industry to deliver a uniform and highly scripted message across America. This handbook stresses, among its many techniques and talking points, the need to never talk about the facts and the law, “Always focus on emotional and value-driven arguments about gun violence, not the political food fight in Washington or wonky statistics.”(4) You are to focus instead on the emotional message about the carnage that guns cause. The effects of years of anti-gun campaigns, has put “guns” on trial in the court of public opinion. This has resulted in America’s culture being transformed from a “John Wayne’s America” which believes in self-reliance and individual responsibility to a “Sean Penn’s America” which does not accept personal responsibility and one with contempt for the Constitutional freedoms of their fellow citizens. The cultural biases and dishonest discourse has manifested for example in the absurd and hyperbolic reactions of school officials when our children bite a Pop Tart into the shape of a pistol.

C. Gun Debate vs. Public Safety

The fact that the gun debate is disingenuous can be surmised by examining the numbers and the facts in their proper context comparing all issues relating to public safety. What the debate really ought to be about is saving lives. Perhaps the biggest victim in the entire gun debate is public safety. What we should be having is an honest and productive dialog about how we may optimize public safety and address the litany of issues that contribute to undermining the safety, peace and prosperity of our communities. Sadly the valuable “oxygen” continues to be consumed by the debate that targets only the gun. The government knows where the violence occurs overwhelmingly, and who’s doing the killing yet we are distracted from addressing the out of control recidivism rate (85% in Rhode Island(5)); reforming our criminal justice system; targeting the criminal drug trafficking and gang violence that hold our urban communities hostage; eradicating the desperate poverty that fuels criminal-violence; bringing hope and opportunity to families in those neighborhoods; enacting educational reform particularly for children in these communities; unshackling the healthcare professionals to address mental health concerns; and enforcing current laws already on the books. Unless we address all of those issues, debating gun control wastes valuable time, squanders our resources and continues to be a deadly distraction.

D. The Philosophical Divide

The anti-gun advocates want a utopian “violence-free” society and to them it must be “gun-free.” They view the lawful gun owners, sportsmen and women as being the obstacle to that utopia because of the American “gun culture” which must be dismantled. This is insulting because clearly all law-abiding citizens want safe communities. The trouble is the anti-gun coalition has hijacked the narrative and made the issue of violence in our society all about “guns.” Most Americans, however, do not share that point of view because they believe that in order to have a society where its citizens are free and our civil liberties preserved under the Constitution, the “violence-free society” is a fantasy and is utterly unattainable. The proof is in the failures of nations that have imposed all out gun bans like Great Britain and Australia(7). Their respective crime rates and violence with guns have soared instead. Conversely, in Switzerland, all citizens are mandated by law to possess firearms both for crime deterrence and for their national security. Not surprisingly, Switzerland has the lowest crime and murder rate in the world. Another point in the gun debate that is rarely discussed is the overt discrimination against lawful firearms owner and the willingness to infringe on their civil liberties. Let’s use for example the recent cases involving the random crimes of the knockout games where innocent victims have been killed from these vicious assaults. Of the cases reported, in most if not all of them, the attackers were young blacks ages 14 to 24. So, imagine calling for the passage of legislation that would restrict the civil-liberties of all black youths ages 14 to 24 based on the reprehensible acts of the very few. Of course that would be completely outrageous, but that is exactly what anti-gun proponents are pushing for when they target firearms and lawful gun owners. Despite the fact that overwhelmingly the majority of firearm owners are law-abiding, they overtly and openly call for the discriminatory and the unconstitutional restrictions of the rights of lawful citizens because of the criminal acts of the very few. Because the anti-gun establishment targets guns, they will never be satisfied until they ban all guns and that is why the war of words is so divisive and dishonest because they always hide their true intent. Responsible gun owners believe in personal responsibility (that goes beyond guns); they know firearms safety better than anyone because they live by the “safety is number one” golden rule. Their opponents do not believe lawfully armed citizens can be trusted and there in lies the rub! Anti-gun advocates believe we must “collectively” sacrifice our civil liberties to ensure a “violence-free society.” The truth is, they want lawful gun-owners to give up guns and civil-liberties so they could “feel” safer and be able to say they’re doing something about it. But that’s only an illusion because every time more gun laws pass they only burden law-abiding citizens and not the criminals. What’s worse than criminals not obeying laws, is the fact restrictions that burden law-abiding citizens actually has the opposite effect. Instead of protecting innocent people, gun-control empower the criminal. In fact, more gun-laws actually result in more deaths(6).The question that needs to be asked is: “Would you cut the antlers off a deer to protect him from a pack of attacking wolves?” Of course not! “Then what makes you think by disarming innocent citizens you could protect them from predatory violent criminals?” Why anti-gun proponents do not get the fact that criminals fear an armed citizen is absurd and utterly baffling unless there is a nefarious motive behind the agenda. The anti-gun establishment operates on the premise of a “collectivist” ideal where the “collective-welfare” supersedes the rights of the individual. The proof of that assertion is the Supreme Court ruling in the 2008 case: “District of Columbia v. Heller.” The court ruled against the plaintiff’s assertion that Heller’s right under the 2nd Amendment may be restricted because the government may effectively render the 2nd Amendment extinct. The plaintiff’s position suggests that the collective-welfare of the city superseded Heller’s individual right to keep and bear arms. The ruling reaffirmed a basic principles upon which the United States was founded, which is the rights of the individual must be protected against the will of the majority and that 2nd Amendment can not be rendered extinct based on policy or government edict because it is not a right “granted” by government. The Heller ruling exposed a philosophical divide between the belief that the US Constitution was intended to defend and preserve individual liberty verses those who aim to undermine those rights and reinterpret our founding document to permit the tyranny of the “collective.”

E. The Bill of Rights and RI Gun Laws

Unfortunately for the anti-gun industry there is a pesky document called the United State Constitution. The Bill of Rights has ten Amendments which were “codified” into and not “granted” by the US Constitution. That distinction is critically important to American liberty, because the Founders noted that the rights described in the Bill of Rights do not come from government but rather are granted by God. The Founders believed these are natural-rights every human being possess that pre-date America’s founding. That’s why these rights were “codified” into the Constitution and are not negotiable. Fast forward to the anti-gun debate today that suggest “restrictions of firearms are necessary adjustments because we live in a very different modern day America than when she was founded.” This argument is a ruse and a deliberate tactic to undermine the original intent of America’s founding document. Rhode Island’s own constitution is even more explicitly unequivocal about the rights of its citizens to keep and bear arms. Article I, Section 22 states: “Right to bear arms.~ The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” RI General Law 11-47-11 obligates the issuing authorities in each town and municipality to “shall” issue conceal and carry permits to citizens who apply for permits provided they are not felons or a threat to society. Sadly, this law is openly violated by the various towns and municipalities (notably the Exeter controversy) entirely due to a political bias against lawful carry of firearms for personal protection.

1 NW University Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology, Gary Kleck & Marc Gertz
2 CDC, FBI, USDOJ, NIJ
3 State.com (interactive chart of every school shooting)
4 Preventing Gun Violence Through Effective Messaging, O’Brien, OMP; Neffinger & Kohut, KNP; Quinlan, GQRR
5 Rhode Island Alliance for Safe Communities
6 Harvard study, “Would Banning Firearms Reduce Murder and Suicide?” Kates & Mauser
7 http://www.military.com/video/guns/small-arms/australias-gun-ban-not-working-so-well/1775480805001/
8 Frederick O. Mueller, Annual Survey of Football Injury Research: 1931-2001, Nat. Center for Catastrophic Sport Injury Research

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