Friday, August 28, 2015

Polygamists Use Gay Marriage as a Defense or Right

The infamous polygamist Kody Brown family of the TV show “Sister Wives” has done what conservatives (particularly Mormons) have feared would happen ever since the gay marriage debate began to take hold. They used the same-sex marriage rulings to argue the legality of polygamy.  
The Browns have used this argument before in lower courts with some success. That includes the U.S. Supreme Court case of Obergefell v. Hodges, in which the court upheld the fundamental right of same-sex couples to marry, and Kitchen v. Herbert, the case that brought same-sex marriage to Utah. Turley also cites a Supreme Court case that decriminalized all gay sex as sodomy, Lawrence V. Texas.
In short, the Browns’ lawyer is arguing for the decriminalization or rejection of morality legislation. For the same reasons homosexuality was considered immoral and illegal, polygamy has as well. Now that the gay marriage contingent has convinced the world that this was an archaic belief, the polygamists want to make the same argument. If the argument on behalf of gay marriage is that any two people who want to be married should be allowed to do so, why can't polygamists legally marry? Polygamists don't marry one wife to another. They marry the woman to the man. It's still just a marriage of one woman to one man, but the man happens to also be married to another woman. If all parties are clear on the facts, using the gay marriage defense, why shouldn't it be legal? 
"From the rejection of morality legislation in Lawrence to the expansion of the protections of liberty interests in Obergefell, it is clear that states can no longer use criminal codes to coerce or punish those who choose to live in consensual but unpopular unions," Turley wrote in his answer to Utah's appeal.
When U.S. District Court Judge Clark Waddoups overturned Utah's ban on polygamy in December 2013, same-sex marriage wasn't mentioned in the ruling. The Browns want the want the U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals to uphold Waddoups' ruling. The state has argued that polygamy is inherently harmful to women and children and that the Browns have not suffered from the law, because they haven't been prosecuted. (They were just threatened with lawsuits and run out of the state.)
It's an interesting legal argument. Why shouldn't polygamy be legalized? 

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Roanoke Strong Unfolds on Social Media

Photo shared by Daryl Watkins from Creative Dog Media via the City of Roanoke Facebook page. I believe it was created to be shared, and therefore hope Mr. Watkins is okay with me sharing his beautiful image here without his explicit permission. Thank you Mr. Watkins. 

I live in Roanoke, Virginia, the town where the terrible on-air murder of two news reporters happened yesterday. Needless to say, our town is still reeling from the shock of what happened.
Not too surprisingly, in wake of the shooting, the national conversation has turned to gun control. (It's not yet a conversation in this town, and I don't expect it will be for a while.) I've explained my unusual background with firearms before, so I won't do it again today.
This story has hit not just "close to home" for me, but has hit my community, my town, and my world. I work in social media. This is my realm. And now someone has committed an atrocity in both my virtual and physical worlds. Of course I have a few things to say about it!
I can't think of any other instance where someone so flagrantly and blatantly flaunted their crime-in-progress online. I've heard of criminals stupid enough to share their spoils online, never have I heard of a crime-in-progress unfolding online.
The entire premise and concept scares me.
It scares me that someone was so desperate for attention and "glory" (after all, criminals of this nature often have a self-righteous belief that they are doing something good) that they would broadcast their crimes live.
Since the horrific Aurora movie theater shootings, there have been at least two more that I can think of without looking it up. I can't even wrap my head around how many school shootings there have been since Columbine. If there is one thing we have learned from these types of atrocities, it is that they will be copied.
And it all begs the question - will this spurn a new trend in online crime-in-progress streaming?
I pray that it will not. But I think we all know deep down inside, that it is inevitable.
Will it lead to social networks creating filters that search for such activity? (For instance, right now Facebook filters your posts for certain key words like wedding, marriage, birthday, baby, birth, born, etc., and makes sure those posts get seen by more people, using the assumption that people want to know when you get married or have a baby.) Will social networks be forced to start filtering for criminal activity?
I hate the concept, but just 30 hours after the shootings yesterday, I can foresee the need to prevent attention/glory seekers from taking advantage of social media for criminal intent.
(For the record, when I say I hate the concept, I mean I hate that there is going to be a need for it. Also, I hate that it will lead to some controversy about free speech and the First Amendment. I hate any time the First Amendment must be debated in the context of public safety. I love the First Amendment. Hate that it can be abused to hurt others.)
In my version of a perfect world, there wouldn't be crime (obviously). But in my more realistic perfect world (where crime is inevitable because no two people will ever think the same), we would be a better self-policing society. If there is one good thing that came out of yesterday, it is that as the shooter's activities were revealed online, his networks (I won't call them friends) didn't retweet or share his activities. They reported him. They told Twitter and Facebook what he was doing, and got him shut down. This is self-policing at its finest.
But it didn't work perfectly. Because before Twitter and Facebook figured it out and removed the offensive content, there were people out there who did copy and download the images and video. Because, like I said, no two people think alike.
I will let the rest of the world debate gun control and the right to bear arms. But for now, I'm going to focus on what I know best - social media - and work to make the world a better place there.

Let's Connect!

Monday, August 24, 2015

Trump v. Sanders

As of 12 noon, on the newest "Black Monday, on Twitter, regarding the market crash today only two presidential contenders had weighed in - Trump and Sanders. And their responses to the crash couldn't be further apart.

Note the difference in the number of retweets and favorites as well. Granted, Trump has 3.85M followers, and Sanders only has half a million. But their online popularity speaks volumes about their real potential as well.
Still, it's interesting to see that in just 160 characters Trump managed to make the market crash about him, while Bernie Sanders solidified his socialist stylings.

Let's Connect!

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Ted Cruz Will Not Be President

Ted Cruz will not be the next GOP nominee for president. Neither will Ted Cruz be the next president.
Because he fumbled the ball. Big time.
He doesn't command a room. He isn't charismatic. He's not quick on his feet. And when asked while under the spotlight about a major tenet of his campaign platform, he couldn't give a coherent, straight answer.
Write Ted Cruz off. He's going nowhere.

Let's Connect! 

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Donald Trump - what little I have to say on the subject

I've been doing my best to not talk about Donald Trump on this blog. But the time has come to say something, albeit grudgingly.
I had been sitting here, like so many other armchair quarterbacks, thinking and hoping that Donald Trump was in the GOP race for fun. For the shock value. Maybe I was reading some quiet nobility in his actions. Maybe he was thinking that by running his hairy dog and pony show that he was bringing some much needed attention to the early primary race? Or maybe that was just wishful thinking on my part.
But here's the crazy thing. It's not just the media watching him. People seem to be listening.
And that's when I remembered the picture above.
I took it at a Faith and Freedom Coalition event at least 4 years ago, if not longer than that. Trump spoke for a few minutes, and not as a keynote or even main attraction. If memory serves, he spoke for no more than 15 minutes.

Here are my notes from that day -

He's pro-life and Catholic. He hates ObamaCare. He is still proud of himself for making Obama produce "that excuse for a birth certificate." He occasionally refers to himself in the third person. And a few quotes, "OPEC is laughing at our leaders." "Our leaders are stupid, you know, right? I'm not a politician, I can say stupid." The thing he said that really bothered me was regarding the war in Iraq. "To the victor go the spoils." He believes that the U.S. (and Allies) have the right to take over the Iraqi oil fields, and take the oil from them. He also wants to give a million dollars to every Iraqi family hurt by the war, and to every American soldier wounded or killed in the war, from the profits of those oil fields. This is one of those huge ideas that non-politicians come up with who truly don't understand international laws. This made me a little mad to hear, because people will like it, and it is not something that could ever actually happen.But over all, I would say he's a smart guy and he knows his stuff. I'm starting to understand his appeal. And I'd be really surprised if we don't see him pull a Ross Perot towards the end.
"I would say he's a smart guy and he knows his stuff. I'm starting to understand his appeal." 

That's what I remember the most. He has a way of saying shocking things, but appealing to his audience. 

I have a feeling that Trump just might be in this for the long haul. He might actually stop being the media darling, and start being the voters' darling. 

We shall see. 

Let's Connect!

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Meanwhile in Russia...

Let's Connect!

My Predictions

It is still incredibly early in the game, but just for fun, here are my 2016 Presidential Election Predictions-

  • Bernie Sanders will gain in momentum until the first real televised debate. He's fun, he's shocking, etc, but really, he's not presidential material. Once people see him on stage next to other candidates and realize he's radical, but not relate-able, he will dwindle off. 
  • Hillary Clinton will always have deep pockets, so she will stay in the race. She won't exit until the Democrats produce a viable candidate who beats on a Super Tuesday in the primaries. I expect she will easily win Iowa and New Hampshire though. 
  • I predict that sooner or later Joe Biden will enter the race, but not until Clinton has suffered an extreme blow that he (and Obama) can safely claim no relationship to. (Said blow, which is inevitable, since she gets them all the time, will not hurt her campaign, because said blows never do hurt Clintons somehow.) I do expect he will be a very likable candidate. 
  • Carly Fiorina will continue to rise in the polls. 
  • At the next major GOP debate, everyone will try to beat Fiorina, and be the anti-Donald, by being The Donald (with stunning sound bytes). 
  • Donald Trump, Scott Walker, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, Carly Fiorina, Jeb Bush, and Rand Paul will survive till January/Iowa/South Carolina. The others will drop out due to lack of funds in the meantime. 
  • There are too many GOP candidates to predict which ones will emerge as the real leaders. My hope, at this juncture, is that it will be Carly Fiorina, Scott Walker, and Jeb Bush. 
  • The Democrats will eventually produce a few more candidates. 
  • Bobby Jindal will be considered a VP candidate for the GOP
  • We will be subjected to multiple news articles about the potential of another Bush/Clinton showdown. This will not change the actual likelihood of a Bush/Clinton showdown. 
  • Iowa and New Hampshire will continue to be unfairly represented in campaigns. But the swing states will get a lot more time and attention. Ethanol will be discussed ad nauseum, because Iowa corn farmers like it, even though it's not good for the overall country. 
  • I do think Jeb Bush will go far, but I can't see him winning the national election. But I do see him lasting at least 2-3 Super Tuesdays. 
  • Bernie Sanders will break off and go third party. It will be an extreme, left wing third party, with the support of Ralph Nader. 

Let's Connect!

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Carly Fiorina at the Iowa State Fair

Carly Fiorina spoke at the Iowa State Fair "soapbox" over the weekend, and just continued to prove that she gets what voters want from a candidate - which is not a stump speech.

She gave a quick intro speech and went right into taking questions. She let the public ask questions! And didn't just talk at them! THANK YOU CARLY FIORINA!!!

You can watch the 20 minutes clip above or read the highlights below-

1. Minimum Wage- should be a state decision, not a federal standard
2. Federal government is "crushing" small business, and keeping people from getting jobs
3. Stronger military, tough foreign policy, stand with Israel
4. Pro-life, defund Parent Parenthood
5. Fix the Veterans Administration, it's a stain on our country that this has not yet happened
6. Iran must open themselves to nuclear inspection. No deals with Iran.

Let's Connect!

Friday, August 14, 2015

A Quick Look at Jeb Bush

Governor of Florida Jeb Bush, Announcement Tour and Town Hall, Adams Opera House, Derry, New Hampshire by Michael Vadon 07" by Michael Vadon - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Of all the GOP candidates, it is in my humble opinion that Governor Jeb Bush is the most serious and viable long-term candidate. He has name recognition, experience, and deep pockets. He is more credible than most of the other GOP candidates. And for that reason, it is time to take a look at him. I'll save the deeper look for later.

  • Governor of Florida from 1999 to 2007
  • Real name: John Ellis Bush
  • He's 7 years younger than George W. Bush
  • His wife, Columba, is from Mexico. He met her while she was on a summer exchange student program. She spoke little English. He spoke no Spanish. He learned Spanish just to be able to talk to his crush. 
  • Supports stem cell research; opposes abortion, supports parental consent, pro-life counseling
  • Supported government bailouts
  • Florida budget grew by 27% under Bush
  • Supports a balanced budget amendment
  • Has a complicated record on gay rights, depending on how you look at it. His record on "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" has been straight forward. He's voted in favor of it, and was supportive of the related civil rights involved. As for gay marriage, he has urged "respect" for same-sex unions. He has stated support for businesses to express the religious views regarding gay marriage. "This is simply allowing people of faith space to be able to express their beliefs, to be able to be people of conscience," Bush said. "I just think, once the facts are established, people aren't going to see this as discriminatory at all."
  • A former entrepreneur and business owner, he has a free-market, pro-development, pro-growth philosophy
  • Pro-Common Core, supports teacher bonuses based on student performance
  • It should be noted, Florida doesn't have a great record when it comes to education
  • Skeptic on global warming
  • In Jan 2004, he did not support Obama's actions on the Cuba embargo, "the latest foreign policy misstep by this President, and another dramatic overreach of his executive authority. It undermines America's credibility and undermines the quest for a free and democratic Cuba." This week he said, "Secretary of State John Kerry’s visit to Havana is a birthday present for Fidel Castro." He went on to say, "We need an American president who will work in solidarity with a free Cuban people, if I am elected President, I will reverse Obama’s strategy of accommodation and appeasement and commit to helping the Cuban people claim their freedom and determine their future, free from tyranny. Standing up for fundamental human rights and democratic values should not be an afterthought to America’s Cuba policy, it should be its guiding principle."
  • Like all candidates, he is anti-ISIS. We'll save foreign relations and international conflicts with the Islamic state for another day, as that is a subject that shouldn't be summed up in a bullet point.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

A Closer Look at Rick Perry

At the top you will find Rick Perry's 2016 campaign platform (copied from his website). After the break line, you can find his 2012 campaign platform. Compare and contrast.

Expanding Opportunity For All

If we want to live up to that timeless American commitment – to expand opportunity for all who come after us – we need to do big things.

We need to grow the economy, so that every American can find work, and that those who already have work can earn more.

We need to make life more affordable, by helping Americans keep more of what they earn, and by lowering the cost of everyday expenses.

We need to retire the federal debt, in order to protect the safety net for the most vulnerable, and to ensure that our children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren can enjoy the prosperity, security, and freedom that we have promised them.

We need to make America safer and stronger by rebuilding our military, and working with our allies to promote peace, prosperity, and tolerance around the world. The federal government also needs to do its constitutional duty and secure the border once and for all.

We need to end the culture of cronyism and bailouts, a culture that caters to politically- connected people and politically-connected businesses at the expense of small enterprises and average Americans.

  • Under Gov. Perry’s leadership, Texas banned abortions after 20 weeks.
  • Gov. Perry signed the Women’s Right to Know Act, which requires doctors performing abortions to let women know that benefits may be available to help with medical care before, during and after childbirth. He has also signed legislation funding alternatives to abortion.
  • To ensure a woman has all the facts before making the decision to get an abortion, Gov. Perry signed a law requiring doctors to perform a sonogram prior to an abortion.
  • In 2005, Gov. Perry signed legislation requiring parental consent before a minor daughter can receive an abortion.
  • Gov. Perry championed a constitutional amendment that was supported by 76% of Texas voters defining marriage as between one man and one woman.
Health Care
  • In 2003, Texas passed tort reform legislation that is touted as a national example. The number of medical malpractice lawsuits fell by nearly 2/3 between 2003 and 2011, and Texas has licensed nearly 30,000 more doctors since the passage of this bill.
  • Rather than further straining a broken system, Gov. Perry refused to expand Medicaid under Obamacare.
  • Gov. Perry also refused to facilitate the government takeover of health care by declining to start a state-run health insurance exchange in Texas.

Texas’ economic success under Gov. Perry’s leadership is a model for a foundation that allows employers to create jobs and opportunity for hardworking families. As governor, Rick Perry focused on keeping taxes low and regulations smart and predictable, on creating a legal system that doesn’t allow for over-suing, and on ensuring Texas has a skilled and educated workforce. The results are undisputed – Texas created 1.5 million jobs from December 2007 to December 2014, and without those jobs the nation would be a net-negative 400,000 jobs.
  • Texas added over 2.2 million new jobs while Perry was governor.
  • Under Perry’s leadership, Texas created nearly 30% of all new private-sector jobs in America.
  • Texas created almost four times more jobs under Gov. Perry than the nation at large.
  • The number of women in the workplace has grown by over 1 million since Gov. Perry took office.
  • The number of jobs in the upper-middle wage quartile increased by more than 25% in Texas under Gov. Perry’s leadership, while job growth in that category has been stagnant in the rest of the country.
  • Texas is the nation’s top exporting state for the 13th year in a row, and surpassed California in 2012 to become the nation’s top high-tech exporting state.
  • Texas’ real GDP increased by more than 55% under Gov. Perry’s leadership.
  • Texas’ real per capita GDP increased by $9,250 under Gov. Perry.
(In the interest of time and space, here's the link to the rest of his record - 
Who is Rick Perry?

Campaign Issues 
CUT Taxes and Spending. BALANCE the Budget by 2020. GROW Jobs and the Economy.

  • Institute Individual Flat Income Tax Rate of 20%
  • Allow Individuals to Choose Existing Tax Code or Simple Flat Tax System
  • Preserve Deductions for Mortgage Interest, Charity, and State/Local Taxes
  • Include Standard Exemption for Individuals/Dependents of $12,500
  • Standard Exemptions and Other Deductions are Phased Out for Filers with Annual Incomes Above $500,000
Eliminate Tax on Social Security Benefits
Eliminate Tax on Dividends and Capital Gains
Eliminate Death Tax
No Federal Sales Tax or Value-Added Tax
Reduce Corporate Income Tax Rate to 20% to Enhance American Competitiveness
Eliminate Corporate Loopholes and Special-Interest Tax Breaks
Transition to a Territorial Tax System
Allow Locked-Up Overseas Capital to be Brought Back to the U.S. at a Reduced Tax Rate of 5.25%

Immediate Moratorium on All Pending Regulations
Full Audit of Every Regulation Passed Since 2008
Regulations that fail audit will be repealed
Federal Regulations Automatically Sunset Unless Congress Renews Them
Institute Annual Regulatory Budget for Each Agency
Create a Searchable Public Database with All Regulations Currently in Force

Preserve Benefits for Current and Near-Term Social Security Beneficiaries
Protect Social Security Trust Fund
Allow Younger Workers to Invest In Personal Retirement Accounts
Allow State Employees to Opt Out of Social Security
Gradually Increase Full Retirement Age to Reflect Gains in Life Expectancy
Use Price Growth to Index Benefits for Higher-Income Beneficiaries

-Reform Medicare to be Sustainable for the Long-Term
-Return Medicaid Responsibility to States to Increase Health Care Quality and Access

Cap Federal Spending at 18% of GDP and Balance the Budget by 2020
Reduce Non-Defense Discretionary Spending by $100 Billion in the First Year
Demand a Balanced Budget Amendment that Does Not Raise Taxes
End Baseline Budgeting and Require Common-Sense Scoring Rules
Reform the Budget Process
  • Institute Automatic Government Shutdown Protection
  • Give Annual Budget Resolution the Force of Law
  • No More Earmarks
  • Require Emergency Spending to be Spent Only on Emergencies
  • PAYGO for New Federal Programs
-Freeze Federal Civilian Hiring and Salaries Until the Budget is Balanced
-No More Bailouts
-Repeal ObamaCare
-Repeal Onerous Sarbanes-Oxley Regulations on Small Businesses
-Repeal Dodd-Frank

Energy and Jobs-
Expand energy exploration offshore and on federal and private lands across the country by executive order, creating over 1.2 million jobs
Eliminate current and proposed activist EPA regulations from the Obama administration, saving 2.4 million jobs by 2020 and lowering projected costs by $127 billion
Reduce, rebuild, and refocus the EPA federal regulators, returning authority to the states
Level the playing field for all energy producers, removing Obama’s practice of picking winners and losers and ending the Obama war on coal and natural gas production

Professional Background
US Air Force Officer (Captain) (honorable discharge in 1977)
Farmer (cotton, milo, wheat)

Political Accomplishments
47th Governor of Texas
3 terms in the Texas House of Representatives (elected 1984), as a "Reagan Democrat," switching to Republican in his third term.
Elected as Agriculture Commissioner 1990, 1994
First Republican Lt. Governor in over 100 years.
Became Governor in 2000 when George W. Bush resigned to become President. Re-elected 3 times.

Personal Background
Eagle Scout
Texas A&M University, Animal Science (1972)
Wife, Anita, 2 children

Let's Connect!

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Have the Russians Shot Down Another Passenger Plane?

If this turns out to be true, and the Russians have shot down ANOTHER unarmed passenger plane, how does the world keep from turning on the Russians?