Richard Barnes

A wise and frugal government which shall restrain men from injuring one another, which shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government. – Thomas Jefferson



Death Penalty In Boston

With the surviving Boston bomber being found guilty on all 30 counts the question now turns to how he should be punished for his crime.

Personally I believe there are states where the death penalty is given out far too easily, as evident by those who years later end up being cleared by evidence that wasn't available during their trials.  As a result I believe it should be reserved for cases where there is no doubt to the person's guilt.

In the case of the surviving member of the two Boston bombers, there is no doubt he was behind the crime with his brother.  Even the defense of the living bomber admits his guilt but pled that his brother made him do it.

That brings me to the article found HERE in the Boston Globe.

For jurors who believe execution should be reserved for the worst criminals, the lawyers laid out a clear path to conclude Dzhokhar wasn’t even the worst of the Tsarnaevs.


Tsarnaev was 19 at the time of the bombing; he was apparently a heavy drug user; he had no prior criminal record. By themselves, none of these would seem like a particularly good reason to spare him, but taken as a whole, and alongside evidence of his brother’s dominant role, they should plant seeds of doubt.

So the defense from the Boston Globe is that he was young and stoned and that his brother was worse then he was?

Look at the faces of those who suffered because of this fool, you can see the complete list of victims HERE.

Did he not know murdering children was wrong?  Did he not understand the building bombs to harm people was a crime?

Sorry but if there is ever a case for the death penalty, this is it.



Ignoring the Cause of Problems

Over the past few weeks I've step back, which is why you haven't seen any new columns written by me, and observed life.  I've been watching local political races in Merrimack, national politics leading into the 2016 elections and just general debates online.  One thing I've observed is that while everyone is quick to offer up solutions, and I'm talking about both sides of the political spectrum, very few if any ever stop to ask what is the cause of the problems in the first place.

Case in point, I was following a discussion about college tuition.  The argument was college tuition is too high.  Instead of discussing the problem and what was causing it, they jump right away to a "solution" supporting Obama's plan to pass the college bill from the college students to the tax payers.

This doesn't fix the problem, it only shifts it from one group to another.  Intead of driving students into debt, it drives the country and tax payers into debt.

Worse yet, the article found HERE, debating the need for "free" college education ignores basic economics of supply and demand.

Making college free would have one additional benefit: it would drive the for-profit schools out of business. They now enroll 13 percent of those currently attending American colleges, or 2 million students. A Senate Education Committee report in 2012 released by Iowa Democrat Tom Harkin provided “overwhelming documentation of exorbitant tuition, aggressive recruiting practices, abysmal student outcomes, taxpayer dollars spent on marketing and pocketed as profit, and regulatory evasion and manipulation.” For-profit colleges represent predatory capitalism at its worst.

Look close at the part I put in bold. 

Aggressive recruiting practices.  You mean like the concept that everyone needs a college education?  That's the problem.  Our public schools are judged by how many kids go on to college (which most fail to ever look at how many actually graduate) but let's face it, not everyone should go to college.  There are some very good careers for non college educated people.

It has more to do with the types of classes and degrees being offered then it does with private schools.  What exactly would you with a degree in Women's Studies other then perhaps teach Women's Studies?

But the problem is ignored, only the symptoms of higher education costs are looked at and addressed by passing the buck onto the tax payers.

College costs is just one example, when you begin to look at problem after problem you begin to see a pattern of people ignoring the difficult question of what is causing it and instead looking for what solution would make the most people happy.  Who wouldn't be happy with "free" college right?




How Facts Can Mislead

I have attached here the perfect example of how the media misleads with the stories they cover.

Here is a link to a story about an innocent man who while talking on his phone was pepper sprayed by the police.

The story includes a link to the following video:

Here's what the Seattle Times had to say about the inncident:

Jesse Hagopian, a history teacher who gave a speech during the event, says in the claim that as he began to head home in the afternoon to celebrate his 2-year-old son’s birthday, he was walking on the sidewalk in the South Lake Union area talking to his mother on the phone when the officer sprayed him.

During the press conference, Hagopian’s attorney, James Bible, said Hagopian was pepper-sprayed “irrationally” with “No provocation and no reason,” Bible said, characterizing the officer’s assault on innocent citizens as a challenge to free speech.

Watch the video a few times before reading on.

Being the skeptic I noticed a few things about the video right away.  For starters the cop already had the mace out and was in a defensive position before the video even started.  What caused that?

I also noticed how tight the video shot was.  You don't see what's going on behind the few people on the left or what is going on behind the police.

Clearly there is more going on then the video shows but based on that small slice of facts it does look like the cop went off for no justified reason.

But since I questioned what I saw I dug deeper.  For starters, who was Jesse Hagopian.  It points out he was a teacher who spoke at the "event" but doesn't say what the event was other then it being on MLK day.

Searching his name turned up a blog site he runs called on which he mentions his protesting for "Black Lives Matter".  One article titled "Hands Up, Don't Test: Police brutality and the repurposing of education" promotes the false claim about Brown having his hands up.  Several other articles echo the claim about police brutality which helps builds evidence that this is a man who already has a chip on his shoulder against the police and sees them as the bad guys.

Digging deeper uncovered the following YouTube video which shows the same event above from a different angle and covering more of the scene.  The scene in the above video takes place in the top left of the screen in this video.

Watch this one a couple times.

Couple things I noticed right away from this coverage.  For starters there is an injered cop on the ground on the right side of the screen proving this was not a peaceful protest.  Things had turned violent.  It's unclear how the cop was injured or who was involved but clearly something happened that wasn't peaceful.

At roughly 20 seconds into this second video you can see the police with a demonstrator who kicks over several newspaper stands directly behind the cop from the first video.  This was before the first video even started.

Several of the protestors in the center of the video are making jeastures with their hands toward the police.  At 24 seconds in a cop in the center of the video first uses pepper spray on the protestors getting the to back away from the area with the injured officer.

By 30 seconds in they have established a 2nd make shift bike baracade to keep people away from the injured officer.  It's at this same time (roughly 29 seconds in) that the officer from the first video can be seen pulling out her can of mace and at 33 seconds in she begins spraying as well.

Through the rest of the video you can see protestors swinging signs at the police and several stepping toward the police with hands up in agressive poses clearly yelling out.

Further digging turned up the article you can find HERE about the event.

Police say 19 protesters were arrested in the Martin Luther King holiday demonstration that blocked traffic on Highway 99 and the Mercer exit from Interstate 5 in the South Lake Union area.

Police say one officer was assaulted Monday afternoon and treated at Harborview Medical Center.

Protesters chanted “black lives matter” and said they were engaging in civil disobedience to protest police violence.

So we have gone from the original story of the innocent man walking down the street after speaking out at an event who was sprayed for no reason to a group of protestors who blocked traffic, injured a cop while screaming out "black lives matter". 

Interesting how some media sources choose to take that small video clip that doesn't show the whole story and present that as all the facts you need?  Then we wonder why people get so upset and protest in the streets convinced about things that never happened are fact.


Patriots The Democratic Party Of Football

I'm going to preface this by stating up front that I am not a football fan.  That said, I'd like to weigh in on the Patriots deflated ball scandal and compare it to something I see in politics.

To sum it the ball scandal, the Patriots were found to have 11 of the 12 balls their team used in their last play off game to be under inflated, giving an edge on handling.

As I've been reading about what the Patriots did I've been playing close attention to the comments being made and feedback given from fans.  Those who are not Patriots fans range from those laughing about the whole thing to those who want the Patriots punished to some degree for their actions breaking the rules of the game.  It's the Patriots fans however I see as the most interesting and the ones I will be discussing here.

The fans can be broken down into one of four groups.  Those who don't believe their team was cheating, those who do believe it but are embarrassed by it so they sit back and say nothing waiting for it to pass, those who agree the Patriots broke the rules but make excuses that they would either win anyway or that it wasn't a big deal and then you have the last group who realize the Patriots cheated but don't care and want their team to do anything and everything to win even if they have to break rules to do it.

That brings us back to politics, specifically voting.  Just like Patriots fans, you see the same thing with voters, some willing to overlook those who break the rules as long as their candidate (team) wins.

An NPR study actually found that Democrats are more willing to support a candidate who out right lies as long as they support the Democrat agenda.

We've also seen it when politicians attempt to push for laws like Voter ID, which would help prevent voter fraud, the Democratic party benefits the most and time and time again they are the ones pushing to prevent such laws being put into place.

And then just like the different levels of Patriots fans, when illegal voters are caught you see the same different levels of "fans".  There are those who disagree that the illegal voter did anything wrong, there are those who agree the voter did break the rules but argue the rules aren't such a big deal and then there are those who just don't care because those breaking the rules help their team win (but you'd see them screaming from the rooftops if it was the other team breaking the same rule).

It's also interesting that the Patriots also come from one of the most liberal Democrat states in the Nation.  Perhaps that is why they have the win at any cost including breaking rules mentality.



Challenge For 2015 Do Something Yourself

There is an image currently being shared out on Facebook that people have been continually sharing but I don't think many of those sharing have really stopped to think about what it is the image says.

It's a solid black background with a candle that reads "In memory of the six homeless Americans that froze to death in Washington, DC last week while our millionaire representatives were voting to gut the Food Stamp program."

At the time of my reading it the post had been shared over 108,000 times and had over 11,000 likes.  I saw a second group posting the same image which drew a few hundred additional likes and shares as I'm sure each of the many times it was shared around also did.  Based on the small portion I saw it wouldn't be shocking to say over a quarter of a million people agreed with the message enough to either share it or like it.  That's 250,000 people.

So the question I have is how many of those 250,000 plus people took the time to either donate to a shelter or food bank or volunteer their time helping the homeless?  If they each gave just $4 they would have raised over a million dollars for the cause.

According to ThinkProgress there are currently 578,424 homeless people living in the US.  Just helping two people each would solve the homeless problem.

That aside, let's back up for a moment and reread what the statement actually says.

"In memory of the six homeless Americans that froze to death in Washington, DC last week while our millionaire representatives were voting to gut the Food Stamp program."

How exactly would food stamps prevent someone from freezing to death?

Maybe I'm a little ignorant to how they work, being as I've been fortunate enough in my life never to need them, but having food and having a warm place to sleep are two different things, are they not?

Another fact to consider is that Washington, DC has the highest per capita income in the US.  The fact that six homeless people died freezing to death there is not a reflection on laws but on the people in Washington, DC itself.

Think about that.  What this meme is saying is that unless government passes more laws to spend our money they will not lift a finger to help out those in need.

And just where do those sharing this image think the money that those in DC are not giving willingly on their own will come from?  From their own pockets?  Of course not.  If politicians pass new spending it comes from me and you.  It will come in the form of new taxes, perhaps like those on cigarettes that lead to Eric Garner's death.

Here's an idea.  How about posting internet memes about how Washington politicians have failed to force money out of your pockets to help the homeless you actually do something about it yourself without the government gun put to your head?

I'm issuing a challenge to everyone reading this, when you see something wrong in this country, instead of complaining about how government isn't doing enough to fix it, try this.  Try to do a little to fix it yourself.  Go up in your attic and dig out some old blankets or coats that you no longer use and give them to the local homeless shelters in your area, you can find some HERE.  Find a local charity supporting the cause you find important and write a check freely of your own will, perhaps even volunteer at a fund raising event.

Stop complaining in 2015 about what others are failing to do for you and start doing more yourself!