Monday, June 20, 2016

Trump & Guns

This is too much to believe!  Donald Trump and guns!  Let us do a chronological review:

"In November (2015), Trump told a crowd of several thousand at a rally in Knoxville, Tennessee, that "Paris is one of the places in the world that's toughest on guns" so Parisians were left vulnerable when the terrorists struck.

"There was nothing anybody can do," he said. "I know one thing, in this room, it's a whole different story, right?" The crowd cheered.

He was right that it was a different story than Paris — but that was because of the Secret Service people in the room, not citizens packing guns.

Asked about the rules after that rally, Secret Service spokeswoman Nicole Mainor said, "Any assumption that non-authorized law enforcement personnel at this venue or any other Secret Service-secured protected event were armed would be inaccurate." She said if someone who did not have authority to bring a weapon showed up with one, that person would be arrested by local authorities."  (Go to .)

So here he is criticizing Paris for being tough on guns while his own event banned guns and only law enforcement could legally have guns.  As usual, the facts seem to have an anti-Trump bias.  More facts...

"GOP front-runner Donald Trump said Sunday that he will take a closer look at an online petition calling for the Republican convention this summer to allow guns into the convention space has received tens of thousands of signatures on  The petition notes that Ohio is an open-carry state, but that the website for the Quicken Loans Arena--the site of the convention in Cleveland--says the venue forbids "firearms and other weapons of any kind."  "This is a direct affront to the Second Amendment and puts all attendees at risk," the petition reads. "As the National Rifle Association has made clear, 'gun-free zones' such as the Quicken Loans Arena are 'the worst and most dangerous of all lies.'"  (Go to .)

Yup, for the sake of the safety of Republicans, no guns are allowed at the convention.  But all guns allowed everywhere else, apparently.

Fast forward to June 13, 2016 after the horrible mass murder at the Pulse nite club at the hands of a crazed Muslim gunman:  "Trump said on Friday night, "If some of those wonderful people had guns strapped right here — right to their waist or right to their ankle — and one of the people in that room happened to have it and goes 'boom, boom,' you know, that would have been a beautiful sight folks."

Speaking on "The Howie Carr Show" on June 13, Trump said, "It's too bad some of the people killed over the weekend didn’t have guns attached to their hips, where bullets could have thrown in the opposite direction. Had people been able to fire back, it would have been a much different outcome."  (Go to .)

Afterward, after an outcry of criticism (even from the N.R.A.!) Trump tried to claim he was talking about arming authorized guards at the club even though it was well known that the club had an armed guard who actually fired at the perpetrator.  He was simply outgunned by the assault weapon equipped killer.  Everyone believes Trump as actually referring to the club goers and for good reason - why would he refer to security guards as "those wonderful people."  This is not to say that security guards are not wonderful but it  is doubtful that was Trump's intent. In my book he is bald-faced lying.

Finally, after the Orlando tragedy:  "Michael Steven Sandford was arrested at the Saturday rally after grabbing at the holster and handle of a gun at the hip of a Las Vegas police officer who was providing security at the event for the presumptive Republican nominee.

A federal magistrate on Monday found that Sandford was “a danger to the community and a risk of non-appearance” and ordered that he be held without bail, according to a spokesperson for the Department of Justice, who also confirmed that Sandford is a British citizen... 

The complaint, which was filed on Monday in the US district court for Nevada, says Sandford “knowingly attempted to engage in an act of physical violence against Donald J Trump ... by attempting to seize a firearm from Las Vegas Metropolitan Department Officer”.

Sandford allegedly told a US agent, referred to in the complaint as special agent Swierkowski, that he had driven to Las Vegas from California in order to kill the presumptive Republican nominee for president.

According to the complaint, Sandford had gone to a gun range called Battlefield Vegas on 17 June in order to learn how to shoot. There, he fired 20 rounds from a Glock 9mm pistol, which, the complaint says, was the first time he had ever fired a gun.

The document also states that Sandford told Swierkowski that if he were on the street tomorrow, he would try it again. He claimed he had lived in the US for approximately a year and a half and had been planning to attempt to kill Trump for about a year but finally felt confident enough to try it on Saturday, according to Swierkowski’s report."  (Go to  .)

Before we go further, give  the arresting security person a raise - job well done!

But why didn't Mr. Sandford just buy a gun at a gun show or wherever they cannot do background checks and bring it to the rally and shoot Mr. Trump?

Answer: Oh yeah, guns are banned at the rallies and only authorized law enforcement such as the Secret Service are allowed to have guns.  That is why he had to try to take a gun away from an officer and fortunately he failed.

Yes, Donald Trump may be alive because of being "tough on guns" but sees no reason to share his good fortune with others.

Monday, June 13, 2016

The Terror in Orlando: You Can't Make This Stuff Up: Texas Lt. Governor believes "Something is Good Because God Says So!"

You can't make this up!  As if on cue, Texas Lt. Governor Dan Patrick tweeted the following, appearing shortly after the terror in Orlando, Florida.

My previous blog entry had a simple choice that we all, as moral individuals, have a responsibility to decide and then live by: Is Something Good Because God Says So?  Or is Something Good Because it Makes the World a Better Place?

Obviously, Lt. Governor Patrick has made his decision.  If God says so, it is good.  This would probably be comforting to those who sympathize with the terrorist perpetrator.  Am I exaggerating or misconstruing Mr. Patrick's intent?

Here is what he said afterward in defending himself: “The verse has nothing to do with God’s judgment on any one person or a specific group of people. If some chose to read into it what they wanted they either have never read Galatians Chapter 6 or have misread it,” he said.  “Some wanted the post pulled down and others did not. Let me be clear, I didn’t pull down the FBI post & tweet because God’s word is wrong. His word is never wrong,” Patrick wrote. “Taking down his word would be like tearing a page from the Bible because we didn’t like what God was telling us. I took it down to stop the hateful comments and the misinformation being spread of God’s message to all of us- straight or gay.”

Yup, God is never wrong so the perpetrator had no choice, did he, Mr. Patrick?  And who says we can't agree on religious matters?

The Terror in Orlando: Is Something Good Because God Says So?

It is perhaps the central philosophical/theological question of all: Is Something Good Because God Says So?  Or is Something Good Because it Makes the World a Better Place?

What do YOU believe?

The perpetrator (I will not repeat his name here) of the horrific killings in Orlando, Florida earlier today, June 12, 2016, probably believed the following; that gays were an abomination and that God (the one that he believed in, not the one YOU might believe in) endorsed the killing of gays and their sympathizers.

From the Koran (7:80 - 7:84) "And (We sent) Lot when he said to his people: What! do you commit an indecency which any one in the world has not done before you? Most surely you come to males in lust besides females; nay you are an extravagant people. And the answer of his people was no other than that they said: Turn them out of your town, surely they are a people who seek to purify (themselves). So We delivered him and his followers, except his wife; she was of those who remained behind. And We rained upon them a rain; consider then what was the end of the guilty."

The "rain" referred to above is probably something like "brimstone" which would lead to the death or "the end of the guilty."

This is not much different than the following from the Old Testament which is actually more clear in  its viciousness: (Leviticus 20:13, New International Version) "If a man has sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They are to be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads."

One would think that since the source of belief in the Christian God and the Muslim God (and Jewish God) are the Holy Books quoted above, that opposition to homosexuality would be common among Christian and Muslims.   One would be correct in thinking that.  It is only very recently in the history of Christian society that homosexuality has approached majority acceptance and indeed not nearly all American or other Christians are on board with that opinion just yet.  Ted Cruz was infamously endorsed for President by a Pastor this year who prefaced his endorsement with his reminder that homosexuals should be executed according to his infallible Bible.  Ted was pleased with the endorsement.  (Go to "Why Is the Media Ignoring Ted Cruz’s Embrace of ‘Kill the Gays’ Pastor?"" .)

So I ask you again; what do YOU believe?  Is Something Good Because God Says So?  Or is Something Good Because it Makes the World a Better Place?

Of course I can hear you objecting by saying that the "True God" would NEVER tell you to do something that is wrong.  The problem is that the perpetrator of the horror in Orlando would agree.  Yes, ISIS would agree.  Bin Laden would have agreed.  ALL the terrorist fanatics would agree.  That is the problem - if God says to do it, it becomes the RIGHT thing to do.  It becomes the thing you MUST do.  This argument is of no use.

This leaves basically the final feeble argument against where we are inevitably heading; the objection that the perpetrator did not believe in the one "True God."  His God was a "false" God and the answer/solution is to believe in the "True God."

What is a "false" God?  Answer:  Basically a "false" God is what  the other guy believes in.  What you believe in is the "True God."  And what your "True God" says to do is, of course, "good."

And, of course, the perpetrator believed he worshiped the one and only "True God."  That was his opinion and your opinion is no more than that - an opinion.  As much as you'd like to transform your opinion on the  nature of the "True God" into a fact, you cannot do it anymore than the perpetrator could do it.  At the very best all you can do is present the evidence for the one "True God" and test your conclusion.

Unfortunately even believers often admit that their God cannot be tested.  The Book of Job reminds us "who are we to question God?"  The evidence for which God is the "True God" is not evidence at all; instead belief in the "True God" is built upon faith - and faith is supposedly a gift from very the same True God whom we are trying to test and by no definition of the word can "faith" be considered reasonable evidence.  Furthermore I have never heard a rational process for determining which faith is a "True  Faith" and which faith is not.  To claim that there are many contrary "True Faiths" is to accept that sometimes 2 = 3.  Is a God that is Jesus the same as a God that is not Jesus?

Is your faith the "True Faith"?  Is your Holy Book the "True Holy Book"?  Is your God the one "True God."  For all of these questions the perpetrator of this act of terror and all other religiously inspired acts of terror, would  answer "yes".  These fallible humans all elevate their fallible opinions to indisputable facts.  Conversely, reasonable persons understand that the "facts" they believe are true are conditional and probable - not certain and taken on faith.  Reasonable persons use evidence, logic, and science and accept that "facts" can be tested and subject to disproof.

Those who instead rely on faith for determining their absolute truths all uniformly and conveniently claim that reason, evidence and science cannot answer the deepest questions of human existence while implying that their personal opinions CAN answer them in an absolute manner.  This certainty on the part of the faithful in knowing the Truth is seen as a virtue by them as opposed to the incredible danger and arrogance it actually presents.  The scientific viewpoint is uncertain, conditional, testable and ultimately far more  humble.

If you have managed to read this to this point, I will ask one final time: Is Something Good Because God Says So?  Or is Something Good Because it Makes the World a Better Place?