The Blood of Those Slaughtered In Mexico Should Be Poured In The Rotunda Of The US Capitol

INSERT OWN TRAGIC LEAD LINE HERE: Funerals for the nine Americans shot to death Monday in a small, remote town in northwest Mexico were held Thursday. Three women and six children were slaughtered. None of this is news. Children and foreigners, once more or less off-limits, are now fair game for Mexico’s drug cartels. 

Dry, Technical Matter: Mexico has been at war with its drug cartels since 2006, obliged to do so by America’s own drug war, which forces cartels to smuggle in products a lot of Americans want. The profits from smuggling drugs into America are not small, and the fight amongst cartels for control is as violent as it is competitive. 

Fly In The Ointment: We have no one to blame but ourselves. A violent America has produced a violent world and our drug war has produced the violence in both countries that attends the importation of narcotics into America. 

Here He Goes: The shootings illustrate one of the reasons to end the drug war, over and above the fact it is not the government’s job to criminalize a personal choice like this:

Legalize drugs and violence like this disappears. 

Oh Crap, He’s Appealing To Logic And Reason: Is the US/Mexican border currently awash in violence over the importation of coffee? Of course it isn’t. Coffee is legal. Legalize drugs and drug lords immediately go from drug smugglers to vendors trying to move some product. 

Get Out Your History Books: This week’s shootings reinforce a lesson Prohibition taught us, a lesson America still refuses to heed: morality laws do not work, unless your goal is to make criminals rich, then they work fine. The violence that currently attends trying to smuggle drugs into the US will remain as long as such drugs remain illegal. It’s a lesson America should have learned decades ago. 

It’s time for us to learn it now.

Thank you for reading,


Click here to donate to Gaylon for United States Senate. 

Jamal Khashoggi Is Still Dead

This item originally appeared on my personal website.

THE MORE THINGS DON’T CHANGE…: It’s been over a year since Jamal Khashoggi walked into the Saudi embassy in Istanbul and soon found himself dead and dismembered. It soon became clear Khashoggi was murdered by Saudi agents and that it was not entirely beyond comprehension Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was in on it, too.

…The More They Don’t Change: It also soon became clear the Saudis would get away with it. The Trump Administration shamefully waved away the matter and did their darndest to usher the Saudi crown prince back onto the world stage. The veil began to lift at a G20 meeting in June as countries, paced by a disinterested America, went about the process of dismissing Khashoggi’s murder so everyone could resume making money off and with the Saudis again. President Trump did everything but rub the crown prince’s feet while having Secretary of State Mike Pompeo spread za’atar on the prince’s morning flatbread. Pakistan has given the crown prince their highest civilian honor after signing assorted, billion-dollar investment deals.

Fly In The Ointment: The UN did get their shorts in a knot in June when they issued a report saying, among other things, there was:

…credible evidence, warranting further investigation of high-level Saudi officials’ individual liability, including that of the Crown Prince.

Yeah, Yeah, Whatever: This could not have been met with a bigger collective international yawn had prizes been issued for ignoring it. Even we’ve stumbled a bit here. We used to provide occasional updates, but we’ve been too busy ranking lousy college football teams to bother lately.

USA! USA! Saudi Arabia is scheduled to host the November 2020 G20 summit. While it is not clear that President Trump will lead the crown prince pep rally, it is even now expected to be well-attended, which all but assures Khashoggi died in vain and his death will not be punished.

Business As Usual: The killing itself isn’t a big surprise. Governments have been carrying out precautionary murders like this since time immemorial. All of us should be ashamed, though, by our government’s reaction to it. We’ve allowed our government to ignore it, which has allowed the world to ignore it. US insistence on accountability, both in public and in private, would have ensured we would be getting more than the secret trial the Saudis are currently holding. Sure, some hapless lower level prince might be offered up for a severe wrist-slapping, but the Saudis have brazened their way through the murder of Jamal Khashoggi with full US complicity.

God, Lighten Up, Will You?: Like a lot of things with the Trump Administration, we are the lesser for it. We deserve better than this, of course. We deserve a government that abhors and demands answers for murders like this, but we won’t have that until we demand better on Election Day.

Thank you for reading,

Click here to contribute to Gaylon For United States Senate 2020.

Some Thoughts On Who Should Provide A Living Wage

There’s been a lot of talk lately about a living wage and how not every employer is paying one to their workers. We’ve always found these interesting because it really isn’t an employer’s responsibility to ensure a living wage and it will not be a bulletin to regular readers of mine that we do not believe it is the government’s job to mandate this, either. 
It is every working person’s personal responsibility to ensure they are paid a living wage. Anyone not thrilled with the money they are making is free to put themselves in a position to make more, something we’ve done from time to time over our working lives and, in fact, are still doing. 
Louis L’Amour in his fine autobiography Education of a Wandering Man said it best: 
Everyone has it within his power to say, this I am today, that I shall be tomorrow.
So it is here. It’s not the government’s job to ensure I make a living wage and it is not my employer’s responsibility, either. It’s my responsibility and anyone who is not making the living they want is free to do what’s required to ensure they do. Here’s how you do it:
First, identify the money you want/need to make. And don’t say $10 billion either. Be reasonable. Make sure it’s an amount commensurate with what you can reasonably expect your talents and initiative to earn for you. Then identify the jobs that pay that amount, as well as the skills and experience you will need to be considered for that job. 
Finally – and this is the tough part – we must be willing to put in the time and effort required to put us in a position to get that job and it is not going to be easy because every day there will a myriad of distractions. It will take effort and commitment but these two old friends seldom fail us. A good plan properly executed usually yields dividends and once you set yourself on the right path, you may well be surprised to find what you wanted was seemingly there for the taking all along. 
Friends, no employer is going to pay one penny more in wages, salaries or benefits than they have to; it’s the way a free market is built. By the same token, employees do not have to take whatever an employer initially offers, either. As the Bible says, more than once, the laborer is worthy of his hire, so don’t be afraid to haggle.
Now, some offer no option, but you might be surprised. Some gumption and a proven track record can often lead to negotiating a higher wage, especially with unemployment low like it is now and employers needing good people. The bottom line is we cannot be afraid to make something good happen for ourselves. Some initiative and some work and soon enough we can have the working life we want.
But we have to go get it ourselves. We can’t depend on the government to do it for us.
Many thanks for reading,

Our Impeachment Imbroglio

Friends, it is not reasonable to expect an impeachment investigation of a US president to be anything other than cantankerous and partisan. It’s the nature of the impeachment beast. So the White House’s announcement that it will not cooperate with any aspect of the House investigation – which itself might well end up as an article of impeachment – is hardly a bulletin.

The announcement was contained in a letter from presidential counsel Pat Cipollone to House leaders, including Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. Like you probably did, we read the letter which, like the Trump Administration itself, is a lot of blather and nothing of any particular substance. The letter does not cite legal precedent – because it can’t – or even any logical argument.

The letter whines about the House not taking a vote before proceeding with the investigation stating, in part:

…you have denied the President the right to cross-examine witnesses, to call witnesses, to receive transcripts of testimony, to have access to evidence, to have counsel present, and many other basic rights guaranteed to all Americans.

True enough, but so what? The House is not required to provide any of these things, the Constitution allowing the House to go about its impeachment business however it sees fit. The House is conducting an impeachment inquiry, not a criminal investigation. The only penalty that can be bestowed following conviction by the United States Senate is civil – removal from office – and not criminal and rights afforded the criminally accused are not required here.

The final paragraph calls the House proceedings constitutionally illegitimate, cites the “many deficiencies” cited and implores the House to abandon its “current invalid efforts”.

The letter does point out that House GOP leaders have not been given the same subpoena power the Democrats have. OK…Two points: 1) they don’t have to provide that and 2) the White House has pledged not to cooperate, so this point is moot.

It is not really surprising the Trump Administration and the American people have been reduced to this because Trump’s presidency has been as embarrassing as his candidacy. From Day 1 President Trump has flouted and ignored precedent, protocol and good sense. He has never had a long-term vision for America probably because he’s never had a long-term vision for himself: his only goal is to draw as much attention to himself as possible, something he does supremely well.

You and me – we the people – deserve better than this, of course, but we are not going to get any better until we start demanding it on Election Day.

Thank you for reading,


El Chapo’s Conviction and Sentencing Solves All Our Drug Woes.

Recently, Mexican drug lord Joaquin Guzman, commonly known as El Chapo, was sentenced to life in prison. Earlier this year he had been convicted of 53 counts of assorted charges like murder and racketeering, but mostly El Chapo was convicted of being a vendor of assorted products there is a great deal of demand for here in the United States.

A useful question to ask is, did El Chapo’s conviction and sentencing change anything? Has the amount of drugs making their way into our country been impeded? Has our appetite for illegal narcotics abated noticeably, if at all?

No, no and no.

Nothing has changed. Drugs Americans want still cross the border. This means that the violence associated with illegal narcotics, caused solely by America’s infamous war on drugs, will continue, too. Lives will continue to be ended or otherwise destroyed because drugs are illegal. Decriminalize them and their attendant violence goes away. Lives will still be ruined by drug use, of course, but nobody will die because they are illegal, like they are now.

Friends, consider this: is our border with Mexico racked with violence over tequila? Of course not. Why? Because tequila is legal. Producers and importers merely need to find people to sell their product to and arrange to have it imported.

If, like me, you prefer not to use drugs, don’t do them. Just because something is legal does not make it mandatory. When America decriminalizes drugs the attendant violence goes away. Drug lords go from being evil arch-criminals to mere vendors trying to move some product, product there is a great demand for here in the United States.

We deserve better than drug violence. We deserve an America that realizes the drug war has failed and is ready to decriminalize their manufacture, sale and use.

Thank you,

Apollo’s Legacy And Final Mission

As regular readers of mine know, we’ve long been fans of manned space travel and this week was the 50th anniversary of what Roy Neal of NBC News called man’s greatest adventure.

The term man’s greatest adventure is appropriate, simply because of where we went. Other adventures we’ve taken over the centuries would come close to qualifying, too and some of those might even be more incredible because Apollo had the support of 400,000 others guiding them. Other adventurers lacked this luxury. When you get right down to it, though, Apollo 11 was merely humans being humans: we saw someplace we’ve never been and we decided to go there.

And when you get right down to it, Apollo didn’t really find anything earth-shattering, either. Certainly, an unmanned mission could have discovered everything us humans did. Sure, they brought some rocks back, but the mysteries of how and why we were formed are still with us. That’s all right. Like great explorers before and since, the twelve men who walked on the moon found what was there for them to find.

No, the greatest legacy of Apollo is not what they did, but that they actually went and did it. Nine times we sent men to the moon. Three missions (Apollos 8, 10, and 13) orbited the moon and came home while the others landed, explored, took off, and came home. Us humans are no longer wondering what it’s like to be on the moon because every July 20th, Apollo provides an example of what we’ve accomplished.

Apollo still has one more mission to accomplish, though: to inspire us to once again see how far we can go.

Perhaps one day it will accomplish that mission.


Roger Federer, Donald Trump, and Civility

We were reading an article on Novak Djokovic’s apparently thrilling five-set, tie-breaker victory over Roger Federer in the men’s Wimbledon final when we came across a quote from Federer. It came in response to a question about the new fifth set tiebreak, which goes into effect when the fifth set is tied 12-12. It’s a new rule at the Championships, designed to cut to the chase and prevent matches from lasting three days. It was the first Wimbledon final to utilize the 12-12, fifth set tiebreaker, probably a good thing because without it they might still be playing. Federer said: 

I respect whatever the rule is. 

Imagine that, a professional athlete, any athlete, publicly declaring respect for a rule. What a refreshing point of view, especially nowadays when respect for anything, rules, authority, oneself is a vanishing commodity.

We see it on a daily basis. We saw it last week when a minor league pitching coach got thrown out of an Atlantic League game for arguing balls and strikes called by an electronic pitch-calling program. This is where we are at right now: arguing decisions not even made by a human!

Now, in fairness to the coach – former major league pitcher Frank Viola – he wasn’t actually arguing with a computer program, he was arguing with the plate umpire who declined to exercise his prerogative to overrule the electronic umpire, something you probably won’t see unless a pitch that ends up in the nickel seats is called a strike. Viola completely lost his mind, something we are seeing more and more of in sports, and elsewhere, nowadays. Lighten up, Frank. You are arguing, in essence, with an experimental technology that your league is the petri dish for. There was no reason to take to DefCon 1. 

And, of course, there are the daily examples provided by our president, Donal Trump, who every day continues to ignore the rules of protocol and civilized discourse. In fact, the only rule Trump seems to follow is the rule – usually adhered to only by first-graders – of drawing as much attention to yourself as possible. 

We continue to tolerate it, though. We are tolerating the blather and the venom and the racism and friends when we ignore our leader(s) ignoring these rules we are ignoring them ourselves. There are no two ways about it. 

We deserve better than this. We deserve an America that has some sort of dignity and respect for decorum, for others, and for ourselves. We are not going to get the America we deserve though, until we start demanding it, both individually and collectively.

Free College: Beware Democrats Bearing Gifts

With 732 candidates running for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination it was, we suppose, inevitable that some started talking about offering free college. They’re Democrats. It’s what they do, spend money on the theory that the more money they spend, the better off society will be, which History as proven to be false. Plans vary, with some calling for a free four-year college education, some a free two-year college education and there are other plans, too.

We do not favor any of these plans. Unless you are attending a service academy or taking advantage of whatever veteran’s benefit Congress chooses to provide, it is not the purpose of the federal government to provide anyone with a free college education, just like it is not the purpose of government to mandate we buy health insurance. Government’s only purpose is to ensure we can do want we want with the 24 hours each of has every day.

As usual, though, the Democrats mean well because college tuition has gotten so expensive only those families of substantive financial means can afford even a public college education without government assistance. Since 1978 college tuition has risen almost twice as much as the cost of medical care and two-thirds as much as the cost of living.

We will use Yale University, a private school in New Haven, Connecticut, as an example, because we’ve found tuition figures for them through the years are readily available. To make it easier on all of us, all figures are in 2019 dollars.

It will cost $72,000 in tuition, room, and board (known as a term bill in the industry) to attend Yale this school year, a figure that has gone up $25,000 this century, $20,000 of that this decade. For the 1939-40 school year tuition was $16,000 in today’s dollars. To put it another way, a Yale education in 1939-40 would have cost $4,000 in 1940 dollars, not the $900 it actually cost back then.

And even if this is approved, what are the limits? Can I go back to college, at age 53, for free? Are trade schools included? They should be because college isn’t for everyone.

Politicians can say this and they can say that, but if college tuition costs are going to stay in line with the cost of living the federal government must get out of the higher education racket. They must stop providing grants or loans or any other form of financial aid for going to college. Consider this: you run a business where your customers get generous government support to buy your product or service. What are you going to do? You’re going to raise prices, of course. It’s human nature and colleges are no different.

Colleges, both public and private, are entitled to the same access to the free market as any other business.

Thank you for reading,

Some Thoughts Against Tariffs

And we’re underway.

The trade war President Trump inexplicably but desperately wants with China escalated this week as both countries announced another round of tariffs on the other’s imports.

We’ve said this before:

The Chinese government will not pay one penny of the tariffs.

President Trump’s blustering that they will is false, merely the latest example of our president demonstrating that he does not know what he is talking about. The Chinese government is not writing us a check nor will America be writing a check to the Chinese to pay their tariffs.

The money generated by tariffs is paid by Americans, by the companies importing the materials in the first place and, ultimately, by you and me the consumers, which makes it merely another tax on us, and not a punitive measure directed at the Chinese.

If this is news to you – and it is to some – read it again:

Tariffs are not paid for by governments; they are paid for by the companies importing the goods and materials.

All tariffs do is take money out of the economy – capital for businesses and buying power for us consumers – and give it to the government. It is, when you get right down to it, legal theft. Our money is being taken from us, with nothing of value being given in return for it. These tariffs will provide no economic benefit and, in fact, will do the usual harm done when businesses face increased costs: jobs will be cut and prices will be increased.

But we’re taking it. Nobody is occupying anything and, with few exceptions, the news media is dutifully providing a blow-by-blow account of this Chinese/US sparring but isn’t standing up and saying “wait a minute, here”.

Friends, every two years we get the government we deserve. We currently have a partisan, fractured, incompetent government that is incapable of doing anything of substance that is any good. We deserve better, of course, but we are not going to get better until you and me – we the people – demand it on Election Day.

Thank you for reading,

Our Violent American Government

America’s mass shootings, of course, simply are not stopping. Places of worship, college campuses, it doesn’t matter: America remains a shooting gallery unprecedented in human history.

It’s not even really big news anymore: the place and victims are reported, thoughts and prayers are issued and that’s really it: our national conversation on the 2nd Amendment has turned into a murmur. Yeah, there are some calls for gun laws that criminals will never follow, but the cacophony that used to attend mass shootings has left the American landscape. Us Americans have come to accept the wholesale slaughter of our fellow citizens.

As we have said virtually every hour on the hour on the campaign trail for the United States Senate and House, we have a violent world and a violent country because we have a violent American government. America has been at war every day for the past 30 years and we are reaping that harvest with every mass killing because we have a generation-and-a-half of Americans who have never known their country at peace. Violence has long been America’s calling card and violence is now the calling card of America’s citizens.

It is not going to get any better until we have an American government at peace and we are not going to have a peaceful American government until you and me – we the people – start demanding it on Election Day. Reelecting the status quo will solve nothing because if the status quo wanted an America at peace we’d have an America at peace. You know it, I know it, and the status quo knows it, too.

We must do this soon, friends. No country has survived perpetual warfare and to think America will be the exception to that is as false as it is dangerous. Eventually, perpetual war – and our mindless spending – will destroy our country, with America eventually tossed aside the scrap heap of history, perhaps before this half-century is out.

The only dividend war provides is more war and we deserve better than that. We deserve a country with the prospect of a prosperous long-term future, not collapse.

Our planet and our country are entitled to see the dividends produced by an America at peace. Peace starts with you and it starts with me and it starts on Election Day.

Thank you for reading,