Is Violence the Issue or Just Gun Violence?

The debate over violence cannot be solved with sound bites and pre-conceived, emotional reactions…

The shooting and killing at YouTube Headquarters this week was done in a state with the most strict gun control laws in the nation, by a foreign-born, vegan who spoke out against the ‘murder of animals’ (but apparently didn’t put humans on the same level) who did not use any automatic weapons.

Today, a series of seven  attacks in ninety minutes (a attempted mass murder, would we agree?) in London were done by a knife.

Earlier this week, two bombs were detonated in a Sam’s Club in southern California.  Fortunately, no one was injured in the blasts.

None of the examples this week fit the standard narrative, and so have resulted in much less ‘cries for action’ because the solutions aren’t that simple.

Two weeks ago, a serial bomber exploded five bombs in nineteen days in Austin, TX and was planning another until police caught him.  Several people were killed and more were injured.

The problem with violence we are seeing is a societal and social problem, which are complex. The problem is not how many things are nearby that can hurt someone, as those are varied and abundant and always have been.

 

 

 

Updates and Quick Takes

The passing of an American icon, Russia gets a hard slap on the hand, the latest update on sanctuary cities and states, kids can now legally be kids and other news of note that you will want to read to keep informed:

Passing Of An American Hero

Yesterday Linda Brown, the central figure in the historic Brown vs. Board of Education Supreme Court case that ended separate but equal, passed away.

To the family of Ms. Brown, may your personal memories sustain you and may the knowledge that Linda Brown fought injustice and forever changed our country in a positive way be a remembrance of a life that made a difference to millions of people.

Thank you Ms. Brown and may you rest in peace.  We are better for you living your life as you did.

A Coordinated Response To Russia

In an unusually widespread, coordinated response to Russian actions, at least 20 countries have expelled Russian diplomats in response to the March 4 poisoning of former spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, in Salisbury, England (A British law enforcement officer was also affected).

British Prime Minister Theresa May announced that an investigation into the incident had revealed Russian involvement, which was actually very similar to another incident involving a former Russian living in the UK a number of years ago.  The UK then expelled a number of Russian diplomats who, the Prime Minister said were using diplomatic passports to spy.  In support of the British and as a reaction to the Russian attempt to commit murder on another country’s soil, the United States expelled 60 Russian diplomats which was more than any in history.  Expulsion announcements on the same day included almost all members of NATO and the European Union, along with a number of other countries. Continue reading “Updates and Quick Takes”

So What’s the Real Word on Taxes?

Like most things, it’s safe to say that the tax reform bill passed in December has both good and bad aspects of it.

During the debate on the bill, most of the opposition argued that it was a tax cut for the rich at the expense of the lower and middle classes.  But that’s too easy.  That argument is used when any tax bill that includes cuts is debated and the reaction this time, and this time it appears to be out of habit.  And this time it’s just not that clear cut.  So let’s dismiss that and look closer at the actual provisions of the law… Continue reading “So What’s the Real Word on Taxes?”

The Real Problem with ‘Sanctuary’ Cities and States

On January 1, California declared itself a ‘sanctuary state’, refusing to cooperate with federal law enforcement on enforcement of immigration laws.

Also this month the state of Washington, whose governor had earlier issued an executive order making that state a ‘sanctuary state’ to keep from enforcing “mean-spirited policies”, filed charges against Motel 6 accusing it of cooperating with federal immigration officials. Continue reading “The Real Problem with ‘Sanctuary’ Cities and States”

House Introduces Tax Reform Plan With Big Breaks for Low Income Families

The House leadership released its tax reform package last week.   The odd thing, though these days maybe it’s to be expected, is that the immediate criticisms of the plan were the same old arguments and, in this case, didn’t really apply in most cases.

The tax plan had two major goals:  simplifying the tax code and trying to get US corporations to keep and move assets back to the US.  Along the way, it doubles the tax income threshold for low income individuals and increases the child tax credit.

Immediate attacks on the plan said it was a tax cut for the rich.  However, the only tax bracket unchanged in the plan was the highest bracket for those with the highest incomes.  And it also takes away deductions for people who own more than one home and whose home is worth more than half a million dollars. So you have to immediately also question the credibility of criticisms from those people and groups.  They are against something, but not sure why they are against it so they just say anything they have used before that comes to mind. Continue reading “House Introduces Tax Reform Plan With Big Breaks for Low Income Families”

ISIS–Beaten Down But Not Totally Out

Author's note:  At the time of publishing, we did not know of the terrorist truck attack in New York. It shows that terrorism is still a threat.  Our thoughts and prayers for those impacted by the attack.

Last week saw the final military defeat of ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria).   Iraqi military forces captured the self-proclaimed capital of the caliphate, Raqqa, and drove ISIS fighters into the desert.

At its peak, ISIS had proclaimed a capital in Raqqa, Iraq and had conquered significant territory in Iraq and Syria.   Significant to Muslim imagery, ISIS declared itself a modern caliphate and its leader a successor to Muhammed.   And early in its ascendancy, ISIS seemed to threaten the very existence of the Iraqi government as Iraqi forces often simply ran in early fighting against fanatical militants.

The war against ISIS, and al Qaeda before that was different in ways we haven’t fully grasped because of the nature of the terrorists themselves.  Continue reading “ISIS–Beaten Down But Not Totally Out”

Trump’s Biggest Political Enemy

President Trump has shown repeated frustration over not being able to get things done.  Since becoming President, other than things he has done through Executive Orders, his presidency has seen little in the way of legislative success.  The repeal and the replacement of Obamacare didn’t pass, tax reform originally was on the slate to be completed by August but has yet to even come to a vote, the building of a border wall remains undone and no infrastructure or immigration bill has been brought to a vote.   And this despite the President’s party controls both houses of Congress. Continue reading “Trump’s Biggest Political Enemy”