WANTED DEAD OR ALIVE: Wyoming Delegates

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Being that I’m in Wyoming I suppose it’s time to come clean about what happened here during our caucus – the terrible secrets and scheming are honestly just too much to bear. Clearly Trump and his supporters were totes cheated here in Wyoming and they deserve to know the truth.

May the GOP have mercy on our souls…

The year was 1890 in the newly formed state of Wyoming, and a bunch of GOP elitist cowpokes were sitting around a campfire talking about horses and guns because yeah, that’s what they talked about then. One particular elitist, a John W. Smith out of the Cody area, took a drink of his sarsaparilly and said, “Ya’ know, in 126 years this feller by the name of Donald J. Trump is gonna run for president and boy howdy, we shore don’t want that,” (see, I’m writing him with an accent so you can get the full experience).

Another elitist by the name of Big George Wilson -who had all of his teeth no less- nearly choked on his sarsaprilly and piped up, “Tarnation! We cain’t have that! We better start putting a plan in place NOW to keep that varmint outta office,” (ok, so Big George sounds a little like Yosemite Sam… sue me).

So John, George, Paul and Ringo… errr… I mean Bob, yeah that’s it, Bob, sat around that campfire plotting to make sure the establishment would keep one Donald J. Trump out of the White House, even though it was still 126 years away. See out here in the west we have to plan really super early because of the mountains and stuff. Luckily they wrote everything down so over a century later the good people of Wyoming could FINALLY enact their evil plot to cheat the Trump people out of their vote.

DIABOLICAL I TELL YOU. YEEEHAW!

For the first time ever I am sharing a few of the more important details of how we made sure Trump did badly in Wyoming – Trumpers may want to take notes.

  • We made sure women COULD vote here – yes, Wyoming was the first state in the union to give women the right to vote, and considering 70%+ of women despise Trump this played a large part in our process to STEAL his delegates.
  • In Wyoming we have a caucus and a convention which truly is a representative republic at work – we elect our delegates here to represent us, which is ultimately what the founders intended when they created our REPUBLIC. Apparently this whole “being a republic” thing is cheating to Trump and Trump supporters… MWAHAHAH!
  • Candidates were invited to come here and speak to and with us… super sneaky. You see in Wyoming we take our politics very personally and we expect a lot from the people we vote for – we’re not fans of talking points, rhetoric and drama, we want to hear your facts, your ideas and your policies. Clearly this also put Trump at a disadvantage. Take that Trump campaign!
  • Oh yeah, and we deliberately made it snow so Palin would cancel on us – or she got confused and thought she wasn’t supposed to be here? Not sure on that. Side note, the scheming snow did not keep Cruz from coming here and speaking.
  • We don’t let Democrats vote in our GOP process here – this is the ultimate cheat, right? You see, we understand Democrats may be tempted to sabotage the process and give us a candidate we don’t want (sound familiar?) and so yeah, we don’t let that happen. Ever. WE’RE SUCH CHEATERS.
  • And of course most importantly, never squat with your spurs on – ok, not sure what this has to do with keeping Trump out of the White House BUT it’s good, sound advice.

There are a few other parts about making sure everyone carries a writing utensil if Trump visits the state (even the elitist cowboys knew Trump would be scared of pens way back then), some details about how we only support candidates who wear cowboy boots and eat their steaks RARE but you get the gist… we’ve been plotting for over a century to “steal” delegates from Trump.

Shew! Talk about planning and perseverance… boy howdy.

Colorado Caucus Causes CHAOS!

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Colorado has been in chaos… CHAOS I TELL YOU! Who knew something as mundane and let’s face it, as boring as a caucus could cause such CHAOS and MAYHEM in the political world? (try to say caucus causes chaos five times fast). Let’s face it, we’re experiencing a reality show circus-style election cycle where the leading GOP believes Planned Parenthood does good work and he loves the individual mandate in Obamacare nothing should be all that surprising.

For the last several days I have seen so much nonsense, like how “WE THE PEOPLE” weren’t allowed to vote in Colorado and that THE ‘STABLISHMEN and ‘ELEETZ are trying to silence us and steal our voting rights. IT’S ALL A PLOT I TELL YOU, A PLOT STARTED 156 YEARS AGO TO STEAL THE ‘LECTION FROM TRUMP (ugh, using that many capital letters is literally painful for me)! After trying to debate this with literally hundreds of Trump supporters I thought maybe it was time to make this really super simple, use a bunch of single-syllable words and explain what a caucus is and how it works.

See, I’m a giver… let’s get started.

Ok, so what is a caucus?
Well boys and girls, a caucus is a meeting of the members of a legislative body who are members of a particular political party, to select candidates or decide policy (so a bunch of Republicans or Democrats). It is also a group of people with shared concerns within a political party or larger organization. Yup. That’s it.

Still with me? Rock star. So what’s the purpose of a caucus?
So glad you asked… the purpose of caucuses is to elect precinct committee persons and delegates to county assemblies. That means people vote for other people to act as delegates… THE PEOPLE VOTE. Got it? The people, not some mythical establishment monster pooping on the Constitution and laughing maniacally as he destroys your VOICE! Nope. Just people. I know, crazy.

What happens at a caucus?
During a caucus, a bunch of insiders and puppy-kickers sit around making fun of Trump and brag about the money other candidates bribed them with… OK NOT REALLY. Here’s the boring reality of a caucus, attendees (aka NORMAL PEOPLE) elect officers who will be responsible for organizing political activities within the precinct (or where PEOPLE LIVE throughout the state). Caucus attendees also elect delegates and alternates to represent the precinct at the political party’s county or district convention. Boring again, right? And hey, if you are a candidate and you make an effort to be involved guess what, you’ll do decently. Moving on.

Who can vote in a caucus?
 Listening to Trump supporters , clearly only people who hate Trump and know the secret evil establishment Satanic handshake in Colorado were allowed to vote – just kidding. Basically in order to vote in any precinct caucus you must be a resident of your state, have registered to vote 29 days before the caucus and be affiliated with the party holding the caucus for at least two months prior. That’s it. And sure, if you’re a Democrat looking to take a dump on the GOP and sabotage us during our primary season you won’t get far in a caucus, but otherwise, seems pretty easy.

How are delegates selected?
Voters (again, PEOPLE) in each group are invited to give speeches supporting their candidate and try to persuade others to join their group. At the end of the caucus, party organizers count the voters in each candidate’s group and calculate how many delegates to the county convention each candidate has won. I know, you probably thought they sacrificed small animals and drank blood but nope, they give speeches, try to persuade others to their way of thinking, and then delegates are awarded. Ooooh shady right?

How do they figure out how many delegates each candidate gets?
In the GOP each state chooses either the proportional method (based on PERCENTAGES) or a “winner-take-all” method of awarding delegates. Each. State. Chooses. This is key. Not every state does this the same way, and sure it can be confusing BUT if you even just Google your state and “primary process” you can find it pretty easily, and I bet you can even find the rules! *gasp* Under the winner-take-all method, the candidate getting the most votes from a state’s caucus or primary, gets all of that state’s delegates at the national convention. Make sense? Nothing villainous here folks, nothing sneaky. If you want to be involved you just have to make the effort to be involved.

Is that it?
Pretty much, yeah. And sure, there are more steps like a convention but let’s start here because obviously far too many people (including certain candidates) are confused or being deliberately obtuse on this process and we need to keep it simple.

See? If you just spend a teensy bit of time educating yourself on this process it’s obvious no one cheated in Colorado and that the only reason Trump didn’t do better was for the same reasons his supporters are angry now, he didn’t bother to learn the process. Sloppy, disorganized campaigning was his downfall, not the devious puppy-kickers at the caucus.

Madison Did It Better

The First Amendment to the United States Constitution, as conceived by James Madison, went like this:

“The civil rights of none shall be abridged on account of religious belief or worship, nor shall any national religion be established, nor shall the full and equal rights of conscience be in any manner, or on any pretext, infringed. The people shall not be deprived or abridged of their right to speak, to write, or to publish their sentiments; and the freedom of the press, as one of the great bulwarks of liberty, shall be inviolable. The people shall not be restrained from peaceably assembling and consulting for their common good; nor from applying to the Legislature by petitions, or remonstrances, for redress of their grievances.”

In hindsight, keeping this version instead of the zero calorie version we now have would have been best. Why? I won’t make you wait to the end of this essay to find out. The reason is at the end of the first sentence in Madison’s original: “nor shall the full and equal rights of conscience be in any manner, or on any pretext, infringed.”

The Freedom of Conscience.

This means, quite simply, that you have the right to your own thoughts and mind. You have the right to believe anything you want. You have the right to conduct yourself in good manner according to your own will, desires and convictions. This, of course, is provided you do not infringe on this right for others to do the same.

And yet, we’re stuck with the diet version of the First Amendment where no mention is made of Conscience. This, has sadly led to the problems were facing now with Religious Rights Bills and the LGBT community.

In 1993, the federal Congress passed, and President Bill Clinton signed, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act which forced the government to find the least restrictive means when they found a “compelling reason” to interfere in a religious freedom. The government was not allowed to “substantially burden” a person’s exercise of religion.

The 2014 Burwell vs Hobby Lobby case changed all that because it changed the definition of “substantially burdened”. Now something as simple as birth control was considered a substantial burden. This precedent loosens up the doors of what else can be considered burdened.

Think about it. I can’t sue my employer if he requires me to work on a Sabbath Day when I want the day off to attend a baseball game. But I could sue my employer if this caused me to go against my religious belief that I was prohibited. Clearly, from this example, religion is granted preferential treatment.

Freedom of Religion bills, in whatever language they choose, are a veiled freedom to hide your conscience behind your religion. They absolve the person from responsibility. However, a better idea is to enact a Freedom of Conscience bill. This would keep with the principles of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness but force the opinion holder to be accountable for their beliefs and actions that result from them. James Madison’s original First Amendment would have brought this out.

The Freedom of Conscience bill would also solve the controversy regarding who you must interact with, conduct business with.

Here are two scenarios:

Scenario #1) I own a bakery. And a black man and white woman come in and ask me to bake a wedding cake for their pending wedding. And I say, “By Deuteronomy 7:3, where the Lord prohibits the marriage between two cultures; whereas the white culture subjugated the black man and was given possession of his land by the Lord for the Lord allowed this according to plan, the races should not be mixed.” And I wrap it up with some poetry and say, “By Daniel 2:43, just as a mixture of iron and clay will not hold, neither will a marriage of mixed people.” And then, “It is against my religion, I won’t make that cake.”

Scenario #2) I own a bakery. And a black man and white woman come in and ask me to bake a wedding cake for their pending wedding. And I say, “That is yucky. I do not think black and white should mix. Black people would still be throwing spears in Africa if it weren’t for Europeans bringing them to civilization. In good conscience, I won’t make that cake.”

Which scenario is worse? I challenge the worse is Scenario #2. It’s because in Scenario #2, we immediately know that the hypothetical bakery owner is bigoted and this couple should share some harsh words and immediately take their business elsewhere. They should also contact the local media and let this bakery fold under it’s owner’s own terrible attitude. The bakery owner is responsible for his own opinions and therefore, responsible for trashing his reputation.

In the first scenario, that isn’t possible. The shield of religion is in place. The bakery owner can absolve his opinion by saying he’d love to bake the cake but, god says he can’t. He can act like he’s under duress by the only thing ensuring his afterlife. Man is beneath the gods and we can’t make another man choose between man’s law and his gods. And so in Scenario #1, the man can still mingle in polite society. The media would be criticized if they treated him poorly.

And yet we allow this very behavior in hypothetical Scenario #1 with the rash of State Religious Freedom bills that have been circulating over the past few years. As of this writing, there are twenty-one states with bills enacted into law which gives special permission to deny a service or product on the basis of a person’s religious conviction. Although Scenario #1 is bigotry against a black and white couple, what the religious freedom bills have mainly been engineered to accomplish is to deny services and products to the LGBT community if a person holds a religious conviction against the lifestyle. I say, engineer a bill, if you must, to make the bigoted business owner accept responsibility for such a belief. Enact a Freedom of Conscience bill instead.

Wouldn’t a Freedom of Conscience bill be superior? Everyone, religious or not, would have a recognized right to interact with, or not, and do business with, or not, people of their choice. And they’d have to go about their lives taking responsibility for their choices.

If the bakery owner does not want to be part of a Nazi wedding, he doesn’t have to bake a Nazi cake. If a photographer doesn’t want to photograph a lesbian wedding, he wouldn’t have to. If a business did not wish to set up more than two restrooms (male/female), they wouldn’t have to. If a surgeon chose not to perform sex-reassignment surgery, he wouldn’t have to. However, they would have to admit that these were their personal choices and would suffer the consequences or, perhaps gain support as I suspect a denying Jewish baker on a proposed Nazi cake would earn. In any case, what these examples demonstrate are allowing the free market to choose who stays in business and who doesn’t. No one gets a pass because their god told them this is how things are done. They can’t pass off their conscience on an ancient text. No, in a Freedom of Conscience bill, they would have to take responsibility for their choices and accept the consequences.

I’ll say it one more time, a Freedom of Conscience bill would allow everyone to benefit living their lives, interacting or not with the people of their choice. Everyone would also have to take responsibility for their behavior and, in a true free market, suffer or thrive.

Now, I hear the objection. “How would this hold up in, say, Nazi Germany?”

Good question. It wouldn’t. Because Nazi Germany wasn’t a free market.

Although the Jew in Germany was persecuted and looked down upon for centuries, they were emancipated in 1848. From then until the rise of the Third Reich, German citizens frequented the businesses of Jewish doctors, lawyers, store owners and thousands of others. Despite the deep seated anti-Semitism, the market dictated welcome interactions. And if one particular citizen was too anti-Semitic to frequent a Jewish business, he went elsewhere or competed in the market by opening his own competing business. It was only when the Third Reich came around that through state sanctions, the Jewish citizen was reduced to non-citizen and problems occurred. Now the anti-Semite did not have to compete. He had Hitler authority.

As I was completing this essay I ran into this essay. I think it’s an excellent companion (and maybe superior to my own). I recommend reading it. It doesn’t only address the Nazi wedding cake, but Jim Crow Laws. Freedom of Conscience benefits everyone in a real free market. If the states currently having problems with their Freedom of Religion bills looked more towards a Conscience bill, accusations of state sanctioned preferential treatment for religion wouldn’t be an issue.

You have the right to your own conscience and either welcome diverse people into your business, personal life, or not.

You have the right to be a fool by harboring bigoted beliefs. But you must accept you chose this.

You have the right to destroy your own reputation. But you must accept you chose this.

You have the right to your own thoughts and should be allowed to live accordingly, granted, of course, you allow others the same.

But as long as the free market is allowed to operate, the bigot will fail and the person looking to serve and diversify and find kindness and charity for all, will thrive.

The Orange, The Crazy and a Bottle of Yoohoo

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The title of this blog sounds like a bad country western song… which isn’t too far from the truth since I’m writing about Trump. – PB

Greetings from a #NeverTrumpSupremacist.

Oh, you didn’t hear? Not only are folks who are against Trump,  “Never Trump,” but apparently we’re also supremacists, along with other feel-good terms like RINO, cuck, whore, slut, GOPe, establishment, die-bitch-die and Cruz Street Walker (my personal favorite). Clearly the #NeverTrump movement is SO belligerent with our facts, actual policy ideas and concerns around a liberal turned republican for five minutes running for president that we in some way are the bad buys. The villains. It’s not the Trump supporters threatening our lives and calling us race traitors and mudsharks who are unkind, no no, it’s those of us insisting the Constitution still matters who are the bullies.

The supremacists if you will.

I guess not wanting an authoritarian like  Trump to represent the party in some way is what makes us “supremacists”… which I suppose is a catchy insult if you’re a brain-dead, drooling, ass-backwards, swallowed his tongue, Branch Trumpidian with an AlwaysTrump tat on your forehead but for the rest of us who are capable of thought, it’s just silly.

Sure, us dastardly ol’ #NeverTrump folks speak out against their orange God and are proactively doing what we can to educate the masses on the joke and fraud the man is but to relate us to a movement of hate? Hrm. I suppose the irony of  Trump supporters accusing others of being hateful is lost on these folks… but I digress.

Wisconsin of course brought out the uber-crazy-on-meth in the Trump supporters, with plenty of chest pounding and screeching about CHEATERS, CUCKS and MEDIA oh my! Those scheming cheese heads and their establishment governor Walker sprinkled magical Cruz dust on the state to keep Wisconsinites from voting for Trump! IT’S TRUE. They dumped a vat of mind-altering drugs that tasted like beer and brats in the water system there just to make sure Trump got screwed by the GOPe. In fact, it was the Soros chem-trails that the government insists aren’t real that cost ol’ Donny the Badger State… you betcha.

The reality in Wisconsin, and in the other states Trump has lost, is that Trump himself is sabotaging his campaign with ignorant behavior, obnoxious talking points and temper tantrums that would make any three-year-old tell him to settle down and take a nap. For the past two weeks watching his campaign has been like watching a soap opera, in fact he should rename the campaign, “The Orange and the Crazy.” His tiny-hand circus is what cost him Wisconsin (and North Dakota, and Texas, and Iowa, and Oklahoma, and Utah, and Maine…) and it may actually cost him a large chunk of his home state of NY if he doesn’t somehow get it together.

So while the #NeverTrump movement is effective and has made an impact, we can’t take full credit for what appears to be the Trump campaign imploding. Ultimately it has been Trump and Trump alone who has hurt himself with voters, he really has been his own undoing.  And luckily we can sit back and watch this bizarre soap opera like good little supremacists, laughing our asses off with a large bowl of popcorn and a bottle of Yoohoo.

Yes, even supremacists drink Yoohoo… look it up.

It’s Prolife, Not Just Pro-Baby

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Please welcome my first guest blogger, the lovely, talented and brilliant, @artist_angie! – PB

Most of you know me as @artist_angie on twitter. Make some jokes play some hashtags Angie, but we need to talk and it’s going to require more than my normal 140 characters and goofy approach on twitter. We need to have a serious conversation about Donald Trump and the damage he did to the Pro-Life Movement.

In an interview with Chris Matthews, Mr. Trump said there would have to be “some form of punishment” for women who sought abortions IF abortion was illegal. Ok I get it. You look at the sentence and you say well if it was illegal shouldn’t they pay consequences if they broke the law? Or maybe you say IT WAS CHRIS TINGLE UP MY LEG MATTHEWS!!! He was trying to hurt him, give him a break!  My answer to you is no it is not the woman who should pay any consequence and Trump gets no break, because a true pro-lifer could navigate that question easily without damage to our brand and his response showed he had no idea what the heart of being pro-life is. Trump simply used a leftist caricature of what he thinks pro-lifers are and ran with it.  The idea we would want to punish an already wounded person is ridiculous.

I’ve been involved in Pro-life causes, clinics, etc. since I was 18 years old (that is a long time, I am old). Our goal was and remains to protect and preserve life – that includes both baby AND mother. We want to help her, not punish her. We understand some of the long lasting and damaging consequences of abortion. Some women seek abortion because they have already been victimized and our goal is to show them some of the harsh consequences of abortion and aid them so they don’t get further victimized by the procedure itself. If you are wondering what the correct answer would be to the Matthews question, here you go:

“As a pro-life conservative my heart is to preserve ALL life. Both that of the child and to nurture the mother, not to punish her. If the procedure was deemed illegal we would seek punishment against the provider performing the act, not the mother.” 

We need to be realistic, abortion is never going to be illegal and we should work from that point of view. We work to limit the number of abortions and sway public opinion. We have made great strides in the last 10 -15 years polling shows most people are against partial birth abortion and are ok with some restrictions on standard abortion. This is all good but it still does not mean we will not have to pay many dues and take a huge hit for the damage Mr. Trump did in one small sentence.

I am Pro-Life because I really do believe all life has purpose and meaning. You can’t volunteer in a life clinic and not understand that the mothers are the key to the movement, they are the people making the hard choices. The choice is hard, no matter what they choose. We do not need caricatures or stereotypes thrown on us or the mothers. Each person who walks in a life clinic or an abortion clinic is a scared human being, sometimes as young as 13 or 14 yr. old girls. They have a life and they are just as precious as the baby they carry.

If you understand nothing else from this post, please understand that both mothers and children are important and being pro-life for 99% of us is not just about the baby but truly is about nurturing and preserving LIFE, both mother and child.  WE ARE PRO-LIFE not PRO-BABY and we will keep fighting even when the blows are thrown at us from a person who is supposed to be on our side.

OMG, Like, Most Important EVER!

Since 1988, I’ve been eligible to participate in seven of the most important elections of our lifetime. And now, in 2016, I get to participate in another most important election of our lifetime. So that makes eight. Eight times I am going to have to make an important lifetime choice for the country. That’s what the ads are telling us. That’s what the chicken littles tell us every four years. What a bunch of drama queens.

I’ve often wondered why this is. Why are American Presidential elections talked about like this? Why are we so concerned who the president is?

The president is one person. He* has an advisory cabinet and a Senate and Congress and a Supreme Court to contend with. He has an enormous number of federal departments and levels of bureaucracy. He also has fifty governors with fifty other senates and congresses and state courts. And thousands of cities with mayors and local governments. The president is one person.

Now, it is true that the office of the presidency has nabbed numerous powers over the years. The Vietnam era brought to our attention we we’re developing an Imperial Presidency. But for all the gloom and doom I’ve heard over the other seven most important elections of our lifetime, the sky never fell, World War III never developed, mass starvation never occurred, martial law was never declared, concentration camps were never constructed and a king never arose. Alex Jones has made it his business model to warn that the Police State is just around the corner but I could pull a radio show of his from ten years ago and it was just around the corner then, too. If this is your first time concentrating on politics, I suppose it can seem like the most important election in our lifetimes. But it’s not. It never has been.

So why does the president matter so much? Maybe because he’s the figure head of all the promises of what government can do for (to) you. I’m certain it’s because government is so big and involved in every aspect of our lives that every four years we feel the need to get the right captain to steer the ship. Maybe human beings have had kings and queens so long, maybe we’re so conditioned to needing saviors that in America, that need is fulfilled by the presidency. This would make a good doctoral thesis to flesh out for sure. But for our purposes, let’s just note that the presidential election is surrounded by a cloud of unwarranted importance.

Can you name the president (or chairman) of General Motors? How about Apple? Maybe give a try with Unilever? Shell Oil? JP Morgan Chase? Monsanto? Google? Can you do it without using Google? I’m betting you can’t. Which isn’t a big deal. I don’t know the answer to any of these. And I don’t care. I don’t care because what is more important is what the organization does. As long as Shell oil does well in oil and General Motors makes quality automobiles and Unilever makes soft soaps and quality ketchup, I don’t care who’s at the helm. We judge agencies by their products and/or services. They have probably changed presidents and chairmen and other board members countless times and yet, we have no idea who’s come and gone. We only know the product. But when it comes to the President of the United States, it’s always the most important election of our lifetimes. Maybe if government could just stick to the Constitution as Shell sticks to oil and GM sticks to automobiles, it wouldn’t be so full of drama.

When it comes to General Motors or Unilever or Google, we don’t have to participate. If you don’t like their product or services, you can choose to not engage with that agency. However, in government, it doesn’t matter if you don’t like the product/service. You must participate. The presence of force is the difference. If you feel you have no choice, if your healthcare, education, employment wages, roads, water, safety, relies on someone else not of your choosing, voters turn into savior seekers.

George Washington was the first savior. And he sort of deserved it. He did save the States. And if it wasn’t for his courage and perseverance, perhaps there would be no United States. But after the war he went home. And then reluctantly came back to draft a Constitution. Then reluctantly returned, accepted the helm of first president. Then after those years of service, he did what he always wanted to. He went back home. He went back to Mount Vernon. He even opened a distillery. His letters on running Mount Vernon are longer than that of the presidency.

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Consider also Thomas Jefferson, the United States’ third president. His self-designed tombstone lists three achievements. President of the United States is not one of them.

The presidency used to be seen as an office calling the person. And if that person accepted, it was begrudgingly. Now the person calls to the office, begs to be seated in that oval office. People seeking power will seek powerful positions.

So here we are approaching another most important election of our lifetime. I call bunk on that. We, in America, don’t need any saviors or kings or queens. We’re founded on the ability of each and every one of us to pursue our own happiness. Not to be running around every four years, looking to get someone into office to do it for us. If the United States government would return to the confines of the Constitution, we wouldn’t even care who the president was. If the government didn’t involve itself in so many areas of our life, the office holder wouldn’t matter.

So I’ll keep voting Libertarian and hope you choose to do so as well. Because the Libertarian Party is the only one not interested in running your life or telling other countries they’re going to have to build a wall. They’re the only party that wants to return the office of the president back to its Constitutional limits. Then we can stop being drama queens about presidential elections. And then when that happens, maybe I won’t feel the need to keep making political commentary. Maybe I’ll get around to writing the three other novels I have running around in my head.

* I say “he” from the old school of English which states that when the sex is unknown, you use “he”. I understand we’re looking at a possible first female president. But since we don’t know and this essay applies to any presidential election, I’m sticking with traditional English for ease.

Integrity Is a Real Pain in the Arse

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Integrity is a real pain in the arse – my integrity is always getting in my way.

I know, that’s a weird thing to say but it’s true – if I didn’t have integrity I would likely have doubled my followers in social media, grown my radio show in an epic way and not have spent two months being threatened with death and all sorts of other unpleasant happenings. BUT OH NO, freakin’ integrity gets in the way.

See, I could have jumped on that ol’ Trump Train like so many other mid-level pundits did but I chose not to. And believe me, when you work in any type of media you pick and choose what you will and will not “cover” for readers and listeners. Anyone telling you otherwise is delusional or full of it. But with Trump, there was just so much wrong with him and his campaign that even though it would have meant a far easier path in grassroots and lots and lots of mindlessly loyal “fans,” I couldn’t do it. Rant about Obamacare? Easy. Shake my fist at Planned Parenthood? Cake. Tell the world Trump is a conservative and our last hope? HELL NO.

I have watched other “pundits” who had a fraction of my listeners and readers “blossom” as Trump Champions, telling the world that Trump is this lion and that he will fight for us and how the majority is tired of the same old establishment and how Trump and only Trump will MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN… see, I could easily say and write this crap and you know why? Because it IS crap, talking points that mean absolutely nothing with zero substance or what I like to call, rhetoric.

For years we have mocked the left and called them “bumper sticker people” because so many of their arguments were things you’d put on a bumper sticker or shout at a rally. HOPE AND CHANGE! YES WE CAN! And yet here we are on the right, with our very own bumper sticker people, grown and shaped by disingenuous Trump-worshiping pundits who care more about numbers than they do message or principle.

It would be so easy to stop caring about the bigger picture and things like integrity, principles, liberty, freedom and to write mindless garbage about how tough Trump is and how smart he is not to debate a loser like Cruz. It wouldn’t take me an hour to write a blog any more, I could just sit down and say things like, “THE SILENT MAJORITY IS PISSED OFF AND WE’RE TAKING OUR COUNTRY BACK,” and a bunch of angry people would shout HELL YEAH and share my blog everywhere.

But even knowing how much easier it would be, I don’t know that I could ever forgive myself for copping out and taking the easy road. In my opinion, once you have any sort of following you have a responsibility to the people who care enough about what you say or write to make sure you give them your best.

And my best would never include selling out my conservative ideals in the hopes of getting a few more readers or followers.

Ok, so maybe integrity isn’t such a bad thing – I guess I just wish more so-called pundits pushing Trump had a teensy bit more of their own.

Reflections of a Conservative Bunny

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I started “working” in grassroots in 2010 with a major push in 2012 because I was unhappy with the way the country was going, in particular with Obama’s policies and ideas. I fought for Romney (and lost), licked my wounds and jumped back into the fray because I believed in something bigger and more important than myself.

I believed in America.

For three years I fought the stereotypes thrown at conservatives, that only old, rich, white men were republicans, that the right hated Obama because he was black and we’re all racists… on and on I fought, pulling information, writing blogs, getting on the radio. I was in my own way, ruthless and more dedicated than I probably should have been.

Fast forward to 2015 when a reality TV star decided to run for president – listening to his announcement I laughed and thought surely no one would take this man seriously. Eight months later he is still not only relevant, but somehow leading the party that I had fought so hard to protect, defend and reinvigorate. Americans are MAD, and this man tapped into that anger, removing any and all focus on freedom, of the Constitution, of individual liberty and turning our message into one of hate, division and strife.

Reflecting now, as we get ready for another big day in the primary (tomorrow, eek!) part of me wonders if I am somewhat responsible for helping to create a monster such as Trump, did I feed an angry mob “protein” to pump up this amount of hate by pointing out the wrongs of the federal government? Did I let my own anger cloud what I was really trying to do and blind me to the very real and ugly faction of racists, sexists and bigots on the right?

Or is this simply beyond me… beyond what I can control and do I need to accept I can fight, but my fight only extends so far?

I still believe in America, and I still have hope (take that, BO) that as Americans we will endure, regardless of who sits in the WH.

I think.

Two sides of the same coin

Building on my most recent piece, I want to explore further the current climate within the electorate. Without a doubt, the last two (and soon to be three) election cycles for president are no longer about record. We are not interested in the most qualified, either. We don’t care about experience or integrity. All we care about is which candidate is going to make us feel something.

When I say “we,” I mean a rising majority of those who even bother to vote. Personally, I still hold tight to the belief that record and consistency matter. I dislike identifying with a party, often choosing to describe my views as either Constitutionalist or Originalist. Whenever the government wants to do something, I ask, where does the Constitution provide for that? What was the intent of the Founding Fathers as it relates to such an idea? We have volumes of writings (the Federalist Papers) that provide the context of every word in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. If anyone wants to take time to read their words, you will immediately know how they felt about the role of government.

Regardless of how someone looks, whether they are short or tall, male or female, black or white (or any other shade), I care only about the content of their character. Do they follow through on their word? Are they honest? Do they conduct themselves as though they understand they are a civil servant and not a lord over their own personal fiefdom? If their position on any given subject has changed, can they identify the moment when new knowledge or experiences helped to reshape their views?

In some ways, it’s similar to choosing a mate. I love my wife. Though it started with feelings we had for each other, we didn’t base our relationship on just those. We stayed together and grew stronger because of so many shared views and interests. But, she is not a clone of me, nor I of her. As shocking as this may sound, we don’t agree with each other 100% of the time. We can rub each other the wrong way. We each have our own interests that are less appealing to the other. Yet, she is my best friend in the whole world. I love her intellect, her wit and her sarcasm. Our incompatibilities far out-weight any dissimilarities, but it took time and effort to dig deep to make sure we were basing our future on a rock solid foundation.

We all know or have experienced relationships built only on a shallow view of the other person. Whenever we have opted to put importance on the physical (or the monetary), those relationships disappoint and fall apart. The halls of family courts across the nation are littered with couples separating over “irreconcilable difference.” How many of them realized only after getting married that they really didn’t have enough in common to build a life around? They didn’t take the time to look at their situation logically and reasonably. I’m not saying emotion or passion isn’t a factor, it just shouldn’t be the only one!

In 2008, we saw the first case of this phenomenon in politics when a young, naive and relatively unknown junior senator was able to capture the imagination of the electorate and rocket to the presidency without any in-depth vetting or qualifications. Barack Obama was young, articulate and exciting. We heard over and over about how historic it would be to elect the first black president in the United States. We put looks over substance and it was exciting! Record voter turn-out showed the country was caught up in the euphoria of such a candidate. He became as much a celebrity as he did the leader of the free world. He based his campaign on hope and change and the masses loved how that made them feel.

Enter the seven-year itch.

The electorate has soured on the surface layer fluff and no longer has any excitement for their chosen mate. The problems of seven years ago are either still in place or are much worse. The national debt has doubled from a little over $9 trillion to almost $19 trillion, the workforce participation race hasn’t been this low in over 30 years and 45% of those who do work are not even paying a dime in federal income tax. We are speeding headlong into a complete collapse of the healthcare system due to the exchanges going bankrupt because of the failed ponzi scheme that is the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare). Illegals pour into our nation unfettered, loan wolf attacks from terrorists are rising and civil unrest in many cities is reminiscent to what led to the riots of the 60s.

That’s when the next “looker” catches our eye from across the room. And just like seven years ago, the electorate is glomming onto the candidate who most makes them feel something. Instead of hope and change, we now just want to make America great again. Fueled by massive unpopularity for anyone else considered to be a career politician, the celebrity candidate, who also happens to be an outsider, is like the bright colored bauble hypnotizing the glee-faced toddler. It doesn’t matter what positions Donald Trump has held in the past, it only matters what he says he’s going to do. And contrary to some pundits out there, he is building a huge coalition of followers across several key demographics who themselves want to feel great again.

I have no crystal ball. Should Trump win the nomination and then go on to win the presidency, he may turn out to be exactly what this country needs to pull out of the socialism dive and get back to the tenents of the Constitution. Or he may turn out to be the accelerant that brings our nation crashing to its knees. There is no way to know for sure.

But we are not increasing the odds of a successful relationship by never going beyond the superficial. Trump followers are in the infatuation stage. It’s how our brains are wired. The reward pathways increase our excitement and joy when stimulated. The better something or someone makes us feel, the more we want it. Like lab rats, we will keep pressing the lever that releases the pellet for as long as the reward is delivered.

Make America great again! Who doesn’t feel a sense of pride at that slogan? We don’t care if the answers for how he will make that happen are shallow and superficial. It feels good and it feels like winning and we all like to win. George Patton once said, “When you were kids, you all admired the champion marble shooter, the fastest runner, the big league ball players, the toughest boxers … Americans love a winner and will not tolerate a loser. Americans play to win all the time. I wouldn’t give a hoot in Hell for a man who lost and laughed.”

Well, we’ve watched Obama laugh (bow, fold, cave, lead-from-behind) and we don’t like it. We want to win. But Obama once made everyone feel like we could all experience hope and change in our lives. Now we are trading that slogan in for the new one because we want to be great…again! The underlying driver of this year’s primary is the same as in 2008. It’s two sides of the same coin.

What no one really knows is whether or not we are playing heads they win, tails we lose.

 

Dear Trump,

You’re probably asking yourself, “Self, why is this bunny person bugging me, I have giant amazing walls to build,” but the reason I’m writing you is we need to talk, and I can’t do it in 140 characters so I’m “blogging” you a letter. And the reason we need to talk is simple… you’re a disaster.

Yeah, you won’t agree and I’m sure at least two dozen Nazis will call me a word that begins with a “c” then threaten me with bodily harm for saying so but it needs to be said. Really and truly, you’re a mess. And I get it, people like you because you are a mess, you’re supposedly just like the rest of us poor slobs on Twitter ranting and raving about a country falling apart, shaking our social media fists at a government that seems to ignore us, thinking we make a difference…

Except YOU do make a difference. Sure, there’s a handful of people who pay attention to me but YOU, millions of people read your timeline and facebook pages so ultimately you have a real opportunity here, yes? An opportunity to speak for those of us who no one pays attention to, to speak for the “every man,” average Americans whose government has forgotten they work for us.

But unfortunately you’ve taken this opportunity and turned it into a one-man shit show – you’ve made this process about YOU, and it should be about country. It shouldn’t be about how people like you, or that you know this guy, or that you win so we’ll all win so much we’ll get sick of winning. This election is bigger than you, and I don’t think you understand that.

There are a lot of people in this country who are counting on you, who believe in you for whatever reason to be a leader, so be one. Stop being a jackass, learn about the positions you’ve taken, understand the plans you’ve paid people to write for you, study the Constitution and instead of being an incredible cry baby every time someone criticizes you, learn from it. Take a moment and try to understand why those of us who don’t support you, don’t trust you, why we question your motives, why we fight against you. Don’t go to a debate and yell the same talking points over and over again then pretend you said something worth saying – if you take some time to really look at what it means to be a republican you might even find you DO believe what you’re saying.

The people who put themselves on the line for you, who stand with you no matter HOW BADLY you screw up (and WOW, do you screw up) deserve better than what you’re giving them. And while I will never vote for you, there are thousands of people who believe what you’re telling them, who are desperate for your con to be true… and you and I both know it’s just not.

Be better. Be worthy of their support. You owe it to them.

Regards,
PB

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