Unleash the Karens

Tomorrow marks the start of a new chapter in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Our Governor’s edict from on high that we peasants must do as he says and not as he does goes into effect. Starting tomorrow, everyone in the Commonwealth over the age of 10 must wear a mask when out in public. I guess the virus doesn’t affect 10 year olds? And apparently it will wait until Friday before attacking the rest of us?

But I digress. The completely unlawful and unconstitutional actions of this order aside, I have to hand it to Coonman, his strategy for enforcing the mask mandate is pretty smart. He’s come up with a surefire way of ensuring compliance and tracking anyone who dares defy him. In a move eerily reminiscent of the book 1984, he’s decided to unleash the power of Karens.

The Governor has managed to find a way to weaponize the Karens. The particulars of his order are such that the enforcement of it is almost entirely dependent on the power of peer pressure and social shaming. Which, as we all know, is where the Karens thrive.  

You see, while individuals can be arrested and charged with a class 1 misdemeanor, the highest of all misdemeanors, the real threat is to the businesses. Businesses who dare allow their patrons to exercise their free will face crushing fines and potential loss of licenses for providing goods and services to anyone at odds with Lord Northam’s decrees. The strategy isn’t so much to actively go after those not wearing masks as it is to force the businesses to maintain compliance. The front lines of enforcement then, has shifted from the redcoats to the loyalists.

But how can businesses keep up with this? How can it be monitored well enough to ensure complete subjugation? Simple: the Karens.

These sanctimonious Tories already looked for people not doing what they think they should be doing prior to this mandate. These people called the police without a governmental diktat backing them up. How much more so now that they have been empowered by Big Brother to do so?

Because empowered they most certainly are. Just look at the newest talking point by the authoritarians, “if you don’t wear a mask you’re not being respectful of other people.” This sentiment has been echoed by NY Governor Cuomo as well as our own sovereign, His Highness Blackface. When this overinflated sense of self-righteousness is combined with the appeal to their sense of safety it works like rocket fuel for the busybodies. The typical “think of the children” rallying cry used for anti-gun rhetoric is simply changed to “think of the elderly.” Or, think of your neighbors or the front-line workers, or anyone they can think of in an attempt to shame you into submission. Which as we all know is practically a life purpose for the Karens.

In all honesty when I go out tomorrow without a mask, which I will most certainly do, I fully expect to see something like this:

In utilizing social pressure as the Governor is doing, the brown shirts have been successfully morphed into an angry cat lady with a phone. Someone who without this newfound sense of purpose would otherwise be demanding to speak to the manager. Not now though, now she gets to feel superior by doing her part to shame you into submission.

But why does this matter? It matters because the iron fist of totalitarianism doesn’t start with gulags and public executions. It starts with Karens getting businesses shut down because you didn’t wear a mask.

To some this may be trivial, it may seem far less important than other things going on in the world. It isn’t. Rights are rights and tyranny is tyranny no matter what form it takes. Whether it is a Governor issuing orders or police murdering a man in cold blood because they can, they both come from the same place. They come from a belief structure in which government tells people what they can and can’t do. While a man having his neck smashed into oblivion causing him to die because a jackbooted thug thinks he is the end all be all with regard to the law is tremendously tragic; it doesn’t start there, it starts with enforcing the small laws.

To be clear, no one is suggesting that being forced to wear a mask is the same as being killed by the police. What I am suggesting is the root of both of these issues is the same. They both come from the same place, and if you don’t stand up to the unconstitutional orders when they are for facemasks then you have no chance of stopping the homicides.

Authoritarianism can only survive by scaring you into submission with the threat of violence. The threat of violence produces fear. Fear that police will come and murder you. Fear that your business will be shut down because you let someone in without a mask. That fear is what is used for control.

So no, it doesn’t start out with spies and the Ministry of Love. It doesn’t start out with thoughtcrime and unpersoning. It starts with the Karens. It starts with accepting the bullying of an unhinged woman shrieking at you over not wearing a mask. It starts with the pressure of social shaming. But the end? The end is you in complete servitude to the state, with tears in your eyes, saying “I love you Big Brother.

Don’t Just Stand There, Do Something

Have you ever seen those commercials where they list the side effects of a medicine and they are considerably worse than the issue the medicine is treating? Yeah, that’s us right now. Our society is falling in to the trap of the cure being worse than the disease, and in all honesty it shouldn’t be a surprise.

This has been a pattern within our culture for quite some time now, it doesn’t necessarily matter to people what the solution to an issue is so long as we’re attempting one. This is a personal pet peeve of mine to begin with so it’s likely something you have heard from me and will hear from me again and again. People get so concerned with needing to do something that they pay little attention to the fact that what they are doing is not helping and in most instances is making things worse.

You’ve seen it before, the hand wringing and cries of think of the children (or elderly, or animals, or the planet, etc…). It happens with gun control legislation pushes whenever someone shoots someone (outside of inner cities anyway), it happens with every single piece of climate legislation and it happened with Obamacare, just to name a few. People rush to act on a particular issue that they believe is cause for concern. Consequences be damned, at least they’re doing something.

The problem is at best these solutions fail to actually address the issue and at worst exacerbate it. Case in point: Coronavirus. Right now we are being bombarded with government oversteps that create issues far worse than even the most liberal of models for the disease itself could predict. Worse still, based on the fear that these government actions induce, especially when coupled with the media’s breathless coverage, people are changing their behaviors to help prevent the spread of the virus.

While flattening the curve is an arguable solution to begin with, the desire on the part of the average person to “do their part” has people acting in ways not just idiotic but actually counterproductive. In the rush to do something many companies are enacting policies to protect themselves and other people from the spread of the virus. The problem is that the things they’re doing are making it worse. Economic consequences aside, some of the procedures people are doing are downright dangerous. Because not only are they increasing people’s chances for spreading the disease, they’re actually making these same people feel safe.

To give you an example of what I’m talking about here is a situation that just happened to me. I needed to buy groceries because I was not really stocked up on a few items without dipping into some reserves I had set aside for if this situation gets really bad. Since it isn’t at that point yet, I decided to go out and buy food. However, I had been working and lost track of time until my stomach let me know it had been too long since my last meal. As I was now beginning to venture into “hangry” territory, I figured I would grab some fast food before getting real food. Yes, I know, not a great idea to begin with but hey it’s not an every meal situation so I said oh well and went to get a burger.

Here’s where the issue arises. After ordering I noticed that at the payment window they were not touching people’s payments but rather having people place their payment method into one of the empty containers that they use in the kitchen. Probably what holds the lettuce or something to that effect. Then the person working the payment window reaches into the container and gets the card or cash with a gloved hand. A glove that appears to never be changed. This gloved hand then touches all the payment station and your card or cash then places the card or change along with the receipt back into the container for you to grab.

When I pulled to the window, trying hard to sound like I wasn’t intentionally being a jerk I asked the question: “how does this help me? Everyone is touching it.”

Startled, the woman answered “it protects me”

Oh, so clearly this isn’t for the customers’ benefit. The manager who happened to be standing beside her and noticing my reaction to being told that they don’t care about the customer immediately chimed in with “it would if you had gloves on.”

I stared at her for a minute with a face that had to have been screaming “REALLY??” then finally held up my hands and said “I’m not wearing gloves”

To which she replied “it’s our policy”

Oh, wow, thank you, that clears it up. It’s our policy, I feel much better now.

I tried to reiterate that the issue was at the point of contact. I tried to explain that the cards, cash and receipt all lay flat within this small plastic bucket forcing every ungloved person to touch the surface of this container effectively turning it into a collection plate of contamination. I tried to explain that this was actually making things worse and potentially spreading contaminants to people. More so than if the cashier simply took the card directly. Again I was met with “it’s our policy.”

Which brings us back full circle to the heart of the issue. They don’t care what they’re doing just as long as they are doing. It’s a sadly common problem that seems to be getting worse as time goes on and problems intensify.

Worse still, there are those who will realize the validity of an argument that points out issue with their logic but dismiss it by saying “at least I’m trying.” Let’s look at this with an analogy: say you’re walking along and someone punches you in the face. Then, you punch the person who happened to be standing beside the person who hit you. Then I say “that’s not the one who hit you” and you reply “so, at least I did something.” See the problem here?

It doesn’t matter if you do something if you’re only doing it just to do it. If it doesn’t solve the issue at hand, then what did you really do? Nothing, all you really did was make things worse because even if it didn’t worsen the problem you directed energy at something that didn’t touch the problem at all. Every bit of energy that doesn’t actually solve the problem is wasted, and unfortunately that’s the best-case scenario.

Ironically, this is something government excels at. They create things like fiscal cliffs, then manage to kick the can down the road to avoid going over them and applaud themselves for managing to avoid the crisis they created. They caused the housing crisis through forcing themselves into the housing markets then slept through the whole thing collapsing. Then, they “solved” the problem by increasing burdensome regulations that don’t even address the issue that they created. They deplete stockpiles of resources, weaken national security, and promote open borders then claim they need to deprive you of your rights to manage a “global pandemic” that kills less people than the flu.

So far we’ve seen people having their personal property forcibly stolen by the government, pastors arrested for holding church services and restrictions on what people are allowed to buy within stores. On top of that, businesses are being forcibly closed, people are being physically restrained and quarantined to the point of police surrounding their homes and we have completely lost the right of assembly. Then, the icing on the cake, they’re going to redistribute a portion of your money back to you. Not all of it mind you, just some. Oh, and if you’re a business then that comes with restrictions on how it can be used.

I guess time will tell how it works out, but so far it isn’t looking great. Government authority seems to be growing exponentially as a result of this crisis and as history has shown us, once government gets a power it is unlikely to relinquish it. The leviathan has awakened and will continue on its gluttonous ways.

But hey, at least they’re doing something.

Tyrants Gonna Tyrant

These are scary times. What’s really unfortunate is that the previous statement has absolutely nothing to do with Covid-19. Well, it does, just not the disease itself.

Before I go further I want to state that this is not meant to slight the global pandemic that we are experiencing. It is a serious issue and not something to be taken lightly. However, as I have previously stated, based on my assessment the disease itself is not the real threat. For the record, I say that as a person who is actually in an at-risk group for an adverse reaction to the contraction of the virus. So please, believe me when I say that I do take the virus seriously and that this is not meant to downplay the virus itself.

With that being said, the far more serious issue of concern relates to the dangerous precedents being set. These precedents to which I refer are the rapid increase of government capabilities disguised as an effort to combat the virus. Worse still, these are happening quickly with almost no resistance. There has been little to no effort to mitigate or curtail the long-term impact that this unchecked government power will have.

As if that weren’t enough, there are actually citizens of this country begging for these increases in government power to occur. It’s genuinely frightening to me to see this happening. Almost daily, we have seen the president, governors and even mayors on television giving press conferences outlining steps being taken to stall the spread of the virus to give us a fighting chance to withstand it and keep it from overwhelming the system. What’s alarming about these press conferences though is that if you listen to the questions the press asks they almost always center around the government exerting more control over people’s day to day lives. Then, if you look at the comments that these conferences get on social media there are a troubling amount of people begging for the government to literally force people to stay in their homes.

In my own state, the Commonwealth of Virginia, Lord Blackface is issuing decrees left and right. Even still, you will find people deriding his actions as not going far enough. People are requesting that businesses be forcibly shut down, curfews enforced, and that people be compelled by force to remain in their homes. So much for “give me liberty or give me death.”

The sheer number of people chomping at the bit to give government more authority under the illusion of increased safety is staggering. Even people who identify as conservative are jumping up and down with anguish saying, “we must do more!!” And the tyrants on the left are taking notice.

Never the party to let a crisis go to waste, the would-be overlords are doing everything from insisting that we nationalize the supply chain for the medical sector to banning guns (also here and here). Because, you know, stopping people from owning guns is going to stop the spread of a virus. All while admonishing the president to roll back restrictions he put in place to stop the spread of the virus, and quite literally spouting out Chinese Communist Party propaganda.

None of this should be surprising though, given that it was Bill Clinton who sold us out to the Chinese to begin with, giving the CCP the foundation from which to begin its rapid development to where it is today. See, that’s the problem, tyrants gonna tyrant. The left just can’t help themselves when it comes to being anti-American and taking steps to increase their power. They don’t see China as an enemy, they see them as a kindred spirit or komrade, if you will. Because deep down they both want the same thing: the advancement of Marxist ideals.

So it should be no surprise then that American leftists would willingly, gleefully, parrot Chinese propaganda. They don’t look east and see tyranny, they see a blueprint. They see what the Chinese are doing, how they’re implementing new restrictions and controls and they’re giddy at the thought of being able to do that here.

Leftists have always looked to capitalize on chaos. It’s how they took over Russia, how they took Korea and Vietnam, and even how they’ve been able to slowly chip away at rights within the United States. Look at 9/11, the extraordinary power grab that came as a result of the USA PATRIOT Act was unprecedented. Now before someone gets up in arms and claims the Patriot Act was Bush, Obama extended and reauthorized it with help from Democrats. Tyranny knows no party, thanks in part to RINOs within the Republican party, but that’s a subject for another blog.

The issue here is that the controls enacted in times of panic chip away at our fundamental rights and increase government power. Sure, they’re sold to people as temporary necessities in order to protect us, but when does a government power ever get repealed once it’s in place? Once a government control is enacted, it stays.

The previously mentioned Patriot Act is a prime example of this. Look at how many times it’s been abused (cough FISA cough) and challenged on its Constitutionality, yet here we are almost 20 years later and it’s still kicking. Sadly, that’s just one example.

Which brings us full circle back to the original point: the increases in government power as a result of this global pandemic are frightening. The bad part is that these increases are happening by way of executive fiat, they aren’t even new laws. The tyrants at the top of the state governments, the House and Senate Democrats, and some Republicans, are frothing at the mouth at this unprecedented opportunity to increase the power of government. People are openly accepting blatant infringements on their rights and flagrant oversteps of authority by the government because they’re scared of a virus that the media has blown out of proportion in an attempt to weaken a president prior to an election. Further still, some people are even trying to encourage these deliberate power grabs because they don’t think the people in charge have done enough.

The tyrants will always be tyrants, we have to guard against them at all times. Unfortunately though, it doesn’t take much for otherwise good people to run to the open arms of big government the moment something scary threatens their perception of safety. Turning to government in times such as these may seem like the only option to some, but history has shown that this never works out. Just ask the Romans who ceded authority to Caesar, the 100 million killed in the last century alone or a lucky survivor like Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn.

You cannot compromise with tyranny; you have to fight it at every turn. Even in times of upheaval and uncertainty the answer is never more government. This virus, like others before it, will pass; the restrictions we allow the government to enact, will not.

Some Thoughts Regarding Coronavirus

I am not a doctor. Nor am I a medical professional of any kind. So, I can’t really give you a breakdown of any medically detailed information regarding the Coronavirus. What I can do, though, is provide you with some brief information based on a little bit of training that I have had.

One of my majors was National Security and as part of that major I have had some training in threat assessment. I want to make it clear that I do not consider myself an expert in this area and am not in any way claiming to be one so take what I say with a grain of salt. If you find value in what I say, good. If not, then that is fine too. So, having said that, based on my own personal assessment of this situation I have come to this conclusion:  

If you are under 60 and have no underlying or chronic health issues then Covid-19 poses no real threat to your health.

However

There is a real possibility of an infection rate high enough, because of its R0, to overwhelm the hospitals in this country because they already operate at close to capacity. IF this happens it could have serious societal consequences.

HOWEVER

The panic and knee jerk reactions are actually what is the biggest threat. Especially in the financial sector, and this particular issue could be exacerbated once the stores start running low on items. When the stores get low on things that could trigger a domino effect of panic that causes a ripple into the markets.

I’m being blunt about the possibility of items running out for a reason. The Chinese have not been in production of anything since around early January and what was being shipped over at that point is stopped either in their ports waiting to go out or being quarantined in ours. People don’t realize just how much China dominates our entire supply chain and that chain is currently broken. It’s not a question of if some items run out, but when.

That said I’m not changing anything about the way I live other than increasing vigilance on decontamination when I get back home from anywhere. Not necessarily because of the virus, but because there’s more nasty people with bad hygiene out panic buying.

Just my $.02, I could write a bit more and go into greater detail on a few things, but in my mind these are the important points at a macro level. Drop a comment if you’d like more detail.

Book Review: Excommunicated Warrior

I have been sick, which obviously sucks. So, since I haven’t been able to do too much in the way of blogging or podcasting, I thought I’d do another book review for a book I just finished. I’ll try to get back on schedule with the blogs and podcasts as soon as I am feeling better but in the meantime give this review a gander.

I read a lot of non-fiction. Anyone who has read the previous book reviews on this blog shouldn’t be surprised by that. Nor would anyone who knows me be surprised by that statement. It’s not that I don’t like fiction, I do. It’s just that my nonfiction reading outnumbers my fiction reading usually by about 2 to 1. I really have no explanation for it other than I like what I like. That said though, I don’t really do a lot of non-fiction in audiobook format. I typically prefer my audiobooks to be fiction. However, there are some notable exceptions to that. Things like David Goggins’ “Can’t Hurt Me,” Jocko Willink and Leif Babin’s “Extreme Ownership,” and now the current book I am reviewing: Nick Koumalatsos’ “Excommunicated Warrior “.

In addition to that, there are actually very few times I will recommend an audiobook over a physical hard copy. That’s just me, I like to hold them and read them. Obviously I do listen to audiobooks, we just went over that, but typically there are certain times, things, and reasons, why I choose them. They’re usually not my go to format is what I’m saying.

That said, in this instance I highly recommend listening to the audiobook version of this book. The main reason for that is the way the book is formatted. It has the chapters of the book just as the physical copy of the book would, but in addition to that there are interviews by the author of various associates and friends of his in between the chapters wherein they discuss the previous chapter like a podcast. If you’ve listened to the Goggins book it is a similar format to that, albeit less polished, which actually aids the rawness of the subject matter and discussion. The beauty of this type of format is that it both provides valuable insight into what you’ve just read (heard) but also provides context and time to process what you’ve just gone over. For a book like this, one that is aimed at helping people understand and get through the various phases of transition, that type of additional content is invaluable.

The book itself is not quite an autobiography or war story, neither is it a self-help book. To try and pigeonhole it into those categories doesn’t actually work because it will never strictly fit those categories. Which is a good thing, it has value in those areas and more. Nick has nicely woven in personal experiences and real-world illustrations to aid in telling a story of how he went through the various stages people go through in times of transition. The book provides concrete usable actions pitted against some very raw and personal examples to provide context for anyone experiencing a transition phase in their life. It isn’t just “here’s what happened to me and how I got through,” its “people experience this, here’s what mine was like,” and “here are relevant examples of what professionals have found needs to happen for you to not just survive but thrive.” While that may sound like a warm and fuzzy anecdotal self-help seminar in the guise of a nonfiction book, it’s really more of a framework to use for building on your own capabilities in times of change based on concrete examples.

As the author repeatedly states, these lessons and principles apply to anyone encountering a stage of transition in their life, regardless of what this transition may be. While Nick Koumalatsos is a veteran, the lessons and strategies here are universal not military specific. Whether you have been in the military, plan to join the military or have no connection to the military in any capacity the usefulness of this book is the same. Everyone goes through transition phases in their life, and this book can help ensure that experience is a positive one.

I personally plan to listen to this book again, maybe even multiple times. I got a lot of value from it and I think if you’re looking for something that could even remotely fall into this category you’d be well served by listening to this book. Regardless of whether or not you’re looking for any titles that fit into this category, I still definitely recommend checking it out. This book has value, even if you don’t know you need it.

If you’re interested in checking it out, you can purchase it here.

Wall of Separation

I have a lot of pet peeves, it’s a character flaw (or superpower). I know this about myself. As a result, I try not to rant about them too often because once I get going I can end up going on and on forever. Nobody wants that, least of all me.

The reason I bring this up is because I am specifically about to address one of those peeves. The infamous (or dreaded depending on perspective I suppose) separation of church and state. There are a lot of things regarding the Constitution and the Bill of rights that I can be extremely passionate about, one of them is misinterpretations and misconceptions. Specifically, interpreting the Constitution or Bill of Rights to say something that is doesn’t, or worse claiming something is in it that isn’t.

This is why I get so worked up about the concept of separation of church and state. It is simultaneously both of those. Not only do those words not appear anywhere in the Constitution, the concept itself does not exist there either.

Now you wait just a minute there Keith, everyone knows that in this country we have separation of church and state. EVERYONE!! What do you mean it isn’t in the Constitution??

I mean exactly what I said, it simply is not there.

Before we get too much farther I want to stop and clarify that I am not trying to be that annoying literalist playing gotcha with specific wording. I’m not that guy. We all know the one, the one that can’t take a joke. The one that shows up on your facebook post to tell you why the post is wrong even though it is CLEARLY being facetious. I’m not saying I’ve never been that guy, just that it isn’t my whole personality and that isn’t what I’m getting at here. While yes, the specific words “separation of church and state”  do not appear anywhere in the Constitution or Bill of Rights, that’s not exactly what I’m talking about.

What I am talking about is the concept. I’m talking about the idea of separation that anyone to whom you make the previous statement will immediately assert is there within the First Amendment. When I say there is no separation of church and state within the Constitution I mean that what people are interpreting the First Amendment to say is not at all what it says or even what it was trying to accomplish.

Well ok then smart guy, what does it say??

I’m glad you asked. What the First Amendment actually says is that: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”[1]

SEE there it is! It’s right there! SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE!!!!

You keep using those words, I do not think they mean what you think they mean.

I think perhaps that in order to better understand what this amendment means, we should look to the intent behind the creation of the amendment. These amendments weren’t written haphazardly, there were specific issues they were trying to address. Specific problems that can arise as a direct result of government power that must be addressed and constrained prior to their existence to prevent future problems. Like, for example, another part of the First amendment: freedom of speech.

People were often arrested and imprisoned for things they said in the previous colonial structure. Not just against the king, anyone in a position of some kind of authority could have someone jailed because of something they said. Therefore, the free speech principle was established with the words: “Congress shall make no law…abridging freedom of speech.”[2]  So then, with regard to the separation of church and state, let’s look to the problem they were trying to solve by creating this amendment in the first place.

As the majority of people in the United States are aware, one of the reasons that people came to the New World in the first place is for freedom of religion. In the Old World, there was a lot of restriction involving religion. Many places, and England in particular, had official state religions. Adherence to the same religion as the king was compulsory. It was required by law that you had to be a member of a specific religious denomination or sect regardless of whether you actually believed in the tenets of that religion or not.

This was the problem the First Amendment was trying to solve. Our Founders believed that your religion was between you and God. They did not think it fair for the government to try and force a religious belief on you by mandating that everyone would be part of a specific religion.

Thomas Jefferson addresses this in his letter to the Danbury Baptists. The Danbury Baptist Association had written to Jefferson, essentially advocating for the establishment of a national denomination. In his reply he stated to them: “Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should ‘make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,’ thus building a wall of separation between Church & State.”[3]

AHA!! THERE IT IS!!! SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE!!!!

Yeah, not exactly.

The problem here is that when people hear or read that quote from Jefferson they seem to completely disregard the preceding sentences. Specifically, the part that says, “religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God.”[4] It is with that section that we can begin to understand the context of not just the “wall of separation” but the entire First Amendment itself. The intended wall of separation was meant to keep the state out of the church, not the other way around. The wall was a wall of protection, not of exclusion.

The entire purpose of the First Amendment with regard to religion was to prevent the government from interfering in the church and mandating an official state religion. That was it. There was never any intent on keeping religious beliefs out of government. These were men of deeply held religious beliefs; it is absurd to suggest that they wanted to keep religion relegated to Sundays and neatly tucked away within its own little compartment, never to be involved with the government.

In fact, there are numerous examples of direct quotes from our Founders which directly refute the idea that religion was to be excluded from government.  For example: John Adams said that “our Constitution was written only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”[5] George Washington stated that “of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports”.[6] Benjamin Franklin, the man most often pointed to as an example of a secularist within our founders, actually called for a halt to the Constitutional Convention in order for the delegates to engage in prayer.[7] Additionally, the Massachusetts Constitution which was created in 1780 (by men involved in the creation of the US Constitution), included language that authorized the “public worship of God”[8] because they believed the government depended upon “piety, religion, and morality.”[9] Also, in his questioning for the Van Orden case, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia (rightfully) pointed out that the same legislature which passed the First Amendment also recommended Thanksgiving proclamations.[10]

These repeated references to religion with regard to government, by the men most familiar with the intent of the First Amendment, could under no circumstances be considered to equate to a desire to prevent the comingling of religion and government. In other words, there is no such thing as separation of church and state. At least, not in the way most people use it. The simple fact of the matter is that when our government was created it was created with the intent and understanding that religion would be a major influence on the people who comprised that government.

People are trying to twist the Constitution to suit their agendas rather than admit that it says what it says. They don’t like that it establishes specific enumerated powers and is intended to solve specific problems. They need it to be pliable in order to suit their agendas so they work to reinterpret it in an effort to make it say what it does not say. By doing that, they undermine the framework upon which this nation was built. They erode the very foundation of our Republic.

And that’s why I get so annoyed when people misinterpret or misrepresent the Constitution and Bill of Rights.



[1] US Constitution, amend. 1, sec. 1.

[2] US Constitution, amend. 1, sec. 2.

[3] Thomas Jefferson. “Jefferson’s Letter to the Danbury Baptists.” Library of Congress. January 1, 1802. https://www.loc.gov/loc/lcib/9806/danpre.html

[4] Ibid.

[5] John Adams. “From John Adams to Massachusetts Militia.” Founders Online, National Archives. October 11, 1798. https://founders.archives.gov/documents/Adams/99-02-02-3102

[6] George Washington. “Transcript of President George Washington’s Farewell Address (1796).” OurDocuments.gov. 1796

[7] John Eidsmoe. Christianity and the Constitution. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 1987.

[8] Vincent Philip Munoz. “Thou Shalt Not Post the Ten Commandments – McCreary, Van Orden, and the Future of Religious Display Cases .” Texas Review of Law & Politics, 2006: 357-400.

[9] Ibid.

[10] Van Orden v. Perry. 03-1500 (United States Supreme Court, June 27, 2005).

Book Review: Triggered

As you may or may not be aware, I am a fan of Donald J. Trump. Based on my previous posts that should probably come as a shock to exactly zero people. It should then also probably shock the same number of people to learn that I am also a fan of Donald J. Trump Jr.

Now before I get too into the meat of the review, I want to preface this by saying this is not meant to be any kind of formal or academic review. For starters, this was never intended to be that type of book so to review it from an academic standpoint or along formal review guidelines would be unfair. Not that it couldn’t withstand that kind of review, I actually think it could. But, to do that style review for a book clearly meant to be a more of a conversation starter would be doing a disservice to the book and author. So, without further adieu, let’s get to the review.

I wasn’t in any hurry to read this, not because of the subject matter but because honestly I usually prefer my nonfiction to be different than what my presumptions of this book led me to expect. In truth, I don’t really know what I expected this book to be. But based on the way the author handles the media I think I may have thought the book would be just a series of swipes and digs at prominent leftists and media figures. Not that I wouldn’t have enjoyed that, I absolutely would have. So, based on that assumption it had caused the book to fall into the “I’ll get to it eventually” category. But as luck would have it, my mother got it for me as a Christmas gift.

Honestly, I’m glad she did. As it turns out, this book is nothing like what I expected. It does, thankfully, take swipes at people like I expected. However, intermingled within Don Jr.’s triggering of various people and groups is a book with a good bit of depth. It’s part irreverent jab at the haters, part autobiography and part economics and history lesson. When combined in the way that he does it, it makes for not just entertaining reading, which it certainly is, but a book that actually helps you to understand the man, his positions and why he operates the way he does. It is a nice peek into the world of the Trump family with a sprinkling of some excellent personal, historical and financial lessons.

This, to me, is where the book really shines. It is an extremely easy read while still being somewhat thought provoking. It espouses certain virtues and provides certain truths while backing them up with solid information and facts. Best of all, it is able to do this without being preachy or coming across as dryly academic. It is written in a conversational style that at times genuinely feels like the author is telling you the stories in person. If you’ve ever heard Don Jr. talk you can immediately recognize his personality in the writing style. Meaning, it is definitely written in his voice.

If there is a drawback to this book, it’s that there are undoubtedly some people who need to read it that won’t simply because of who wrote it. There are a lot of hidden gems tucked away within this book. Throughout the pages there are some very interesting tidbits and perspectives that are funny, enjoyable, even enlightening and certainly worth reading. So, if you like Don Jr. or his father, or even if you are someone on the fence about them I would say it is definitely worth picking up this book and reading it. If nothing else you’ll get some insight into the Trump family and, given that they are the current first family, that alone is worth the price of the book.

If you’re interested in in picking it up, you can get it by way of the link at the top of the page or by clicking here.

Sic Semper Tyrannis: The Empire Strikes Back

Roughly six months ago I wrote a blog detailing the Governor of Virginia’s attempt to strip law abiding citizens of their rights under the guise of safety. In it I lamented that we have drifted pretty far away from the original attitudes towards government that existed within this nation. Sadly, in the six months since that post, things have only gotten worse.

Because the Republicans controlled the General Assembly six months ago they were able to shut down the Governor’s agenda in that special session extremely quickly. Unfortunately for us, in the long run that probably made things worse. The Democrats have since, through various nefarious means which deserve their own blog, regained control of the state legislature. One thing about Democrats is that they are nothing if not consistent on their agenda and as a result their anti-gun proposals are back with a vengeance.

That’s not all either, they pre-filed all manner of bills that amount to a leftist’s Christmas wish list of government intrusions, overreaches and infringements. As I write this, there is subsequently a protest going on in Richmond. Estimates of anywhere from 20,000 to 100,000+ people are expected to show up in an effort to let the General Assembly know that the people of the Commonwealth are not in agreement with this progressive agenda. Or, more specifically, that we do not support the proposed infringements upon our rights. Especially those of the Second Amendment variety.

Originally, this day was supposed to be “Lobby Day.” An annual event put on by the Virginia Citizens Defense League (VCDL) in which constituents can come to Richmond and get some face time with various State Delegates and Senators. In other words, lobby their elected representatives for the causes that are important to them. However, due to the the pre-filed bills the legislative agenda was seen for the attack on freedom that it is which caused more and more people to state their intent to come.

Predictably, the tyrants in Richmond reacted as tyrants do and doubled down on their tyranny. Not only have they shown that their intent is to ram through this agenda, the rest of us be damned, but they also placed even more restrictions on the people and further attempted to trample rights. The Governor declared a state of emergency and banned not just guns but “weapons” from a specific area of the capitol and even erected barriers to corral the citizenry. I’m not being hyperbolic when I say this; this is textbook tyranny.

The problem is that there are those who still refuse to admit this. I’ve recently seen articles at other sites proclaiming “No, Virginia hasn’t descended into tyranny” and decrying misinformation regarding the Governor and the legislative session. While I will not at all disagree that there has been a tremendous amount of misinformation, I must, conversely, vehemently disagree with that sentiment on tyranny.

The problem with that sentiment is it is based in the idea we are reacting to things that have not yet occurred since the proposed bills have not yet passed. This is fallacy. We are being denied our right to interact with our elected officials because the people who plan to ram through this legislation don’t like our reaction to it. Never mind that Lobby Day has happened yearly with no incidents prior to this. Never mind that people have previously brought weapons to the capitol for this event without incident every year that it has happened. We’re now supposed to simply be ok with having our inherent right to self defense stripped from us by executive fiat because the impending legislative infringements haven’t passed yet?

No. No matter how far some people want to bury their head in the sand, the tyranny is here. We saw the bills that were pre-filed and saw that they would make the majority of gun owners in the Commonwealth felons overnight. We reacted to it within our legal authority to do so by enacting Second Amendment sanctuary resolutions and were subsequently threatened with police and military force. At every turn the law abiding citizens of the Commonwealth of Virginia have tried to peacefully counter through legal channels the attacks on our liberty and at every turn we have been met with increased threat of violent force.

I don’t have the ability to see the future, I don’t know where these proposed bills will go. What I can do, though, is make an honest assessment based on the evidence at hand. The evidence I have so far is this: with his executive order the Governor has violated the U.S. Constitution, Virginia’s Constitution and even a recently passed measure forbidding a state of emergency being used to ban guns. In addition to that, the citizens have been threatened with force from the National Guard by a legislator as well as threatened with force from the U.S. Army by another. We have also been threatened with police force by the Virginia Attorney General and Governor. All over our compliance with bills that have not yet even been passed. If that is not tyranny I do not know what is.

While what will come to pass remains to be seen, I do think history provides us with some potential answers. And to that point, for those who may believe that I am exaggerating, or that I am jumping to conclusions, or even that I should simply wait and see what happens. I will leave you with this: “The accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive, and judiciary, in the same hands, whether of one, a few, or many, and whether hereditary, selfappointed, or elective, may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny.” – James Madison, Federalist 47 [emphasis mine]

The Cultural Jihad Squad

Recently, there has been much ado over exchanges between the President and a group collectively known as “the squad.” This group consists of four U.S. Congresswomen and while they are all dangerous in their own ways, I would like to focus specifically on two of them here today. While I am not dismissing Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s extreme socialist agenda or Ayanna Pressley’s “you’re only authentically black if you think like me” racism, they are subjects for another post. Today, I’d like to focus on the other half of the squad. Specifically, their ongoing Cultural jihad and the danger it poses our country. 

Many Americans are familiar with the term jihad. What many are not familiar with, however, is the term Cultural jihad. Cultural jihad works like a trojan horse, a beachhead if you will, in which the jihadists establish themselves in an area and then begin to secure their enclaves. It starts with no go zones and local shariah[1]and ends with a complete takeover of the American system. Sound hysterical? Far-fetched? Fear mongering? Actually, I wish. While I am not suggesting we are there yet, what I am suggesting is twofold: one, this complete takeover is the end goal and two, it has already begun. Unfortunately, most Americans are ignorant to this stated goal and scarier still, this ignorance is exploited to further the agenda of the Cultural jihad.[2]

Regrettably, we can see the effects of the early stages of this Cultural jihad beginning to come to fruition within the United States today. In 2016, the United States took in more Muslim refugees than it ever had before[3]and the vast majority of those were from Syria and Somalia.[4]This is especially troubling given that Syria is part of the area responsible for the formation of ISIS[5]and Somali refugees make up the largest population segment to have joined or attempted to join terrorist camps in the last 12 years.[6]In fact, Minnesota’s fifth congressional district is the terror recruitment capital of the country.[7]Additionally, there is a convincing indication that the Somali community within the United States does not identify itself as being a part of the American community much less the Minnesota one.[8]There is also a strong amount of evidence to suggest that when a community, such as the Somali one in Minnesota, simply relocates in large numbers they are effectively transplanting themselves to a new location rather than integrating to that new location. As a result they will subsequently be less likely to embrace the values and culture of their new home.[9]This is especially true for Somalis as there is an active element within their community that specifically discourages them from identifying as “black” or “African-American.”[10] It is particularly troubling then, that this same area is attempting to spread its ideology to the rest of the country by sending their values to the U.S Congress in the form of one of their own, another refugee, Ilhan Omar.[11]

In a similar fashion, Detroit, Michigan has been previously called the Arab capital of North America.[12]Arab-Detroit, even as recently as 2016, was seen as the capital of Arab-America[13]and it too has sent a representative of its values to the United States House of Representatives by electing Rashida Tlaib.[14]It is interesting to note that Representative Tlaib, despite having been born in the U.S., refers to herself repeatedly as Palestinian.[15]This is more evidence of the same type of cultural displacement and rejection present in the Arab-Detroit community as evidenced in the Somali areas.[16]Immediately upon swearing in to her newly elected office, Rep. Tlaib hurled expletives at the President and threatened to impeach him.[17]Rep. Tlaib also has ties[18]to the Hamas linked Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR)[19]and has even knowingly shared the stage with Muslim Brotherhood representatives.[20]

Representative Omar shares similar cultural jihad proclivities as well, having actually gone so far as to raise money for extremist organizations.[21]When she is not engaging in fundraising for jihadist groups like the Muslim Brotherhood[22]she is busy blaming America for terror activity,[23]insulting the victims of 9/11,[24] and falsely accusing the United States of slaughtering thousands of Somalis.[25]She even recently was seen refusing to condemn al Qaeda[26]and even laughing at Americans for fearing them.[27]On top of that, there is increasing evidence to suggest that she committed fraud against the United States.[28]Additionally, Representatives Tlaib and Omar also both misled their constituents on their views regarding support for anti-Israeli organizations and movements.[29]

These are prime examples of cultural jihad. Two women, with deeply held beliefs that clearly align with Muslim Jihadists, are now responsible for enacting legislation that affects the entire United States. Setting aside the religious doctrines of Islam and the evidence of its seeming incompatibility with western democracy,[30]the important thing to remember about this type of thinking is that it does not matter what we think about their religion or even what others in their religion think about their religion, it only matters what they think about their religion. The people who subscribe to this ideology believe that they are called by Allah to do everything in their power to institute Sharia law all over the world.[31]There is no room for coexistence, despite what the bumper stickers would have you believe. The adherents to this ideology believe that such ideals do not overlap. As one Muslim writer put it: “these two competing political systems are antithetical to each other. You can’t be democratic and be a Muslim or a Muslim and be a democrat.”[32]

This type of slow infiltration, this Cultural jihad, is extremely dangerous. It is a slow erosion of our own culture and traditions with the expressly stated goal of our subjugation.[33]These are just two examples in a country of millions, yet they have already made it to our lawmaking establishments. These two women, with clear and demonstrable ties to anti-American organizations, are an active threat to the continued existence of the United States. I understand if people want to disregard these statements as hyperbole, but the simple fact of the matter is, they are not. You can go to any Muslim-organized activity in this country and hear the evidence for yourself. They insist that America will be a Muslim nation. I urge anyone reading this to remember what I said previously: it doesn’t matter what you or I believe about their beliefs, it only matters what they believe. I strongly encourage you to take these people at their word and judge them by their actions. Because actions speak louder than words, and their words are speaking volumes.


[1]Raheem Kassam. No Go Zones: How Sharia Law Is Coming to a Neighborhood Near You.Regnery Publishing. Washington, DC: 2017

[2]The Clarion Project. The Third Jihad. 2009 https://clarionproject.org/films/thethirdjihad/ or  https://topdocumentaryfilms.com/third-jihad/

[3]Philip Connor. “U.S. admits record number of Muslim refugees in 2016” Pew Research Center. 2016 

[4]Ibid.

[5]Jonathan R. White. Terrorism and National Security.9thEd. Cengage Learning. 2017

[6]Matt M. Miller. “Ilhan Omar’s Minnesota Congressional District Is The Terror-Recruiting Capital Of The US.” The Daily Caller. February 18, 2019 

[7]Ibid. 

[8]Kristine J. Ajrouch and Abdi M. Kusow. “Racial and religious contexts: Situational identities among Lebanese and Somali Muslim immigrants.” Ethnic and racial studies 30, no. 1 (2007): 72-94.

[9]Robert Murdie and Sutama Ghosh. “Does spatial concentration always mean a lack of integration? Exploring ethnic concentration and integration in Toronto.” Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies 36, no. 2 (2010): 293-311.

[10]Martha Bigelow. “Somali adolescents’ negotiation of religious and racial bias in and out of school.” Theory into Practice 47, no. 1 (2008): 27-34.

[11]Holly Rosenkrantz. “Ilhan Omar, first Muslim refugee elected to the House, wants to be a check on rhetoric of fear.” CBSNews. November 7, 2018

[12]Habeeb Salloum. “Detroit – Arab Capital of North America.” Al Jadid, Vol. 4, no. 25.1998

[13]Marcia C. Inhorn. “Multiculturalism in Muslim America? The case of health disparities and discrimination in “Arab Detroit,” Michigan.” In New Horizons of Muslim Diaspora in North America and Europe, pp. 177-187. Palgrave Macmillan, New York, 2016.

[14]Clare Foran. “Rashida Tlaib made history with her swearing-in. Here’s what to know about the first Palestinian-American woman to serve in Congress.” CNN. January 3, 2019 

[15]Rashida Tlaib. Twitter Post. 6:12 PM – 15 Jan 2019

[16]Kristine J. Ajrouch and Abdi M. Kusow. “Racial and religious contexts: Situational identities among Lebanese and Somali Muslim immigrants.” Ethnic and racial studies 30, no. 1 (2007): 72-94.

[17]Aaron Rupar. “New Congress member creates stir by saying of Trump: ‘We’re going to impeach this motherfucker!’” Vox. January 4 2019. https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2019/1/4/18168157/rashida-tlaib-trump-impeachment-motherfucker

[18]Jordan Schatchel. “Rashida Tlaib joins extremist imam on CAIR speaking circuit.”Conservative ReviewFebruary 19, 2019. (accessed June 21, 2019)

[19]Daniel Pipes and Sharon Chadha. “CAIR: Islamists fooling the establishment.”Middle East Quarterly(2006).

[20]Jordan Schatchel. “Rashida Tlaib joins extremist imam on CAIR speaking circuit.”Conservative ReviewFebruary 19, 2019. (accessed June 21, 2019)

[21]David M. Swindle. “She’s not naive: Ilhan Omar is on the road, raising money for extreme Islamist groups.”The Washington Examiner.2019

[22]Ibid.

[23]Karl Rove. “Ilhan Omar Blames America First: She plays down 9/11 and falsely claims the U.S. killed thousands in her native Somalia.” The Wall Street Journal. April 24, 2019 

[24]Ibid.

[25]Ibid. 

[26]Madeline Osburn. “Rep. Ilhan Omar Refuses to Denounce al-Qaeda, Islamic Terrorism.” The Federalist. July 16, 2019. https://thefederalist.com/2019/07/16/rep-ilhan-omar-refuses-denounce-al-qaeda-islamic-terrorism/

[27]Lukas Mikelonis. “Ilhan Omar once blamed ‘our involvement in other people’s affairs’ after al-Shabab attack on Kenyan mall.” Fox News. February 4, 2019. https://www.foxnews.com/politics/ilhan-omar-once-blamed-our-involvement-in-other-peoples-affairs-al-shabab-attack-on-kenyan-mall

[28]J. Patrick Coolican and Stephen Montemayor. “New Documents Revisit Querstions About Rep. Ilhan Omar’s Marriage History.” Star Tribune. June 23, 2019 http://startribune.com/new-documents-revisit-questions-about-rep-ilhan-omar-s-marriage/511681362/

[29]Soeren Kern. “First Muslim Women in US Congress Misled Voters About Views on Israel.” Gatestone Institute. 2018

[30]Steven Ryan Hofmann . “Islam and Democracy: Micro-Level Indications of Compatibility”Comparative Political Studies 2004; 37; 652 

[31]Ibid. 

[32]Salem Ben Ammar. Democratizing Muslim countries means leaving Islam. (translated from French by JihadWatch.org) 2015. (accessed June 21, 2019)

[33]The Clarion Project. The Third Jihad. 2009

The Greatest Generation

Today is the 75th anniversary of D-Day. The day that the Allies stormed the beaches of Normandy in an effort to liberate mainland Europe from the grip of tyranny. No matter how grandiose you try to make that sound it doesn’t do it justice. It’s hard for most people to comprehend the almost insurmountable odds those men faced and it’s equally hard for most people to understand the sacrifices that entire generation made in the name of freedom. What is sad to me is how that sacrifice seems to be lost on so many people.

On more than one occasion in the past two months, I have had interactions with people who would be considered millennials or younger who seem to be oblivious to the greatest generation. Example: twice now I have attempted to show someone in that age vicinity the opening scene from Saving Private Ryan, the scene showing the invasion of Normandy, and it absolutely did not hold their interest. In both cases I was completely shocked. I wanted to grab them and shake them, screaming at the top of my lungs “DON’T YOU CARE???? WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU?? LOOK AT THEIR SACRIFICE!!!!” But all I could do was stand by horrified, thinking I had somehow let down both their generation and the greatest generation at the same time.

Before I go any further, I want to stress this is not a knock on millennials or any of the younger generation. They catch a lot of flack, and not all of it is warranted. Let’s face it, the Boomers and Generation X were the ones who raised them, so many of their perceived shortcomings owe at least a little thanks to that. Or, to paraphrase Marcus Aurelius in the masterpiece that is the film Gladiator, their faults as children are our failures as parents.

The problem is that it is ancient history to them. The remaining veterans of that era who are trotted out on D-Day, Veterans day and other occasions to serve as the feel good props for everyone to say they remember have no relationship to them. At best they are their great-grandparents or great-great-uncles and aunts. That’s the best case scenario. In most cases they may be farther removed than that, if they have any relationship at all. The harsh reality is these are simply old people to whom they have no connection. The events of World War II may as well be Peloponnesian War, it is that distant to them.

That is a hard pill to swallow for those of us to whom these people are our grandparents and parents. We have direct relationships with the people involved. When I see the stunning visuals of Saving Private Ryan or the brilliant Band of Brothers, I am imagining my grandfathers and great-uncles. When I hear about the sacrifices of the people back home I think about my grandmothers and the remaining family members who were not over there but lived through it. I think about them because these are people I knew and know. I have direct relationships upon which to draw with the people who lived these events. Most millennials and younger, sadly, do not.

Another perhaps even harder pill to swallow is that these children grew up in a time of war that was vastly different from other wars and as a result they are a bit desensitized. The casualties of D-Day alone are almost the same number as the total for the entirety of the Iraq war, so the size and scope of World War II is lost on them. To them, war is no big deal. They lack the frame of reference that we have. They don’t understand the brutal, ruthless tyranny that we were fighting against because they are now being bombarded with the idea that Donald Trump is some kind of dictator.

Despite my usual proclivities, I am not trying to make this a political post. What I am simply trying to do is shed light on the differences between how we grew up and how they did. It is a drastically different world today than when the people of the greatest generation lived. Let’s face it, it is even drastically different from when I grew up. These worlds are night and day. They are as different as Mercury and Pluto. They simply are not the same.

Even the moniker “the greatest generation” only works to drive a wedge between that generation and this one. When they hear us say that our grandparents were the greatest generation, oftentimes today’s youth take it as an insult. It comes across to them as though we are proclaiming “you’ll never be as good as they were.” Rather than taking it as something to live up to, to be a person worthy of their sacrifice, it has the unintended effect of further alienating an already estranged generation. For a generation constantly bashed on social and traditional media by their forebears it does nothing to encourage, only discourage.

Still though, it’s a shame. It’s a shame because what those people did was unlike anything in the history of the world. I don’t say that to be hyperbolic. People went on rations, they worked in factories to make the equipment, they spent what little money they did have to buy bonds to fund the war effort. Women who had never worked outside the home, and had no desire to, went to work to keep everything going. Audie Murphy, who became one of the great legends of the war, was 5’5″ and weighed 112 pounds when he joined the Army and he had to talk his sister into helping him lie about his age just so he could enlist. He wasn’t alone either, many other young men did similar things just to step up and serve their country in the name of freedom.

Because that’s what this is all about: freedom. The reason we praise them so much and call them the greatest generation is because they willingly made sacrifices that caused themselves extreme hardships and even death just to stop brutal tyrants from conquering the world. From Normandy to the Pacific, from Africa to Russia, these brave souls threw themselves willingly into harms way so that the tide of tyranny could be stopped. What’s more, they knew that many of them would die but they did it anyway.

This is why we make such a big deal about them. Because they made sacrifices that most of us can’t even comprehend just to ensure freedom. Because they laid down their lives willingly in order to change the tide of history. Because they fought to give us the very freedoms the we all take for granted every day. This is why we call them the greatest generation, because they sacrificed themselves so that we wouldn’t have to.

We would all do well to remember and honor that rather than simply paying it lip service as it seems we so often do. Because it isn’t the younger generation’s fault that they don’t understand these things, its ours. We haven’t lived it for them and we haven’t shown it to them. We can’t hold them to a standard that we fail to meet ourselves. We don’t get to parade the men and women of that time in front of their faces while admonishing them for living in the world we created with what that era gave us. It isn’t fair to them and it isn’t fair to the greatest generation.

So take the time this D-Day to reflect on those sacrifices. Examine yourselves and see if you’re adhering to the standards they set or hiding behind them. Then, make adjustments accordingly. I know I’m going to.