27 June 2016

Update no.758

Update from the Heartland
20.6.16 – 26.6.16
To all,

            The follow-up news items:
-- There is considerable jibber-jabber about war with Russia since pro-West Ukrainians took control of their government [21.2.2014, 657] and sought alignment with (and protection of) NATO and the European Union.  Then, to exert its presence and intimidate the Ukraine, Russia stimulated ethnic Russians in Eastern Ukraine to “rebel” and unilaterally annexed Crimea [16.3.2014, 640].  Russia’s aggression in the region resulted in the shoot down of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 [17.7.14; 657, 665, 722], and the war talk persists.  So, I ask, does Ukraine have the right to align with any other countr(ies) other than Russia?  Do they have the right to join NATO and/or the EU?  Does Russia have a right to occupy the sovereign territory of a neighboring nation simply because ethnic Russians make up a majority or largest population segment of that region?  And, if so, how is that any different from what Adolf Hitler did in 1936-1939?  Where do we draw the line?

            Part of the problem with the congressional action on gun control, so far, is simply beyond the obvious of making a law prohibiting individuals on the “No-Fly” list from purchasing firearms – the potential collateral or unintended consequences.  The list is exactly what it is intended to be . . . a “WATCH” list.  People who are suspected of being affiliated with or supportive of terrorist organizations should not be allowed to fly, and logically, they should not be allowed to buy or even own firearms of any kind, or weapons with mass casualty potential, e.g., an 8-inch, double-edge knife.  Sounds quite reasonable and appropriate, doesn’t it?  Yet, what happens when you or I are erroneously placed on that list?

            Considerable hubbub erupted over the image of a pre-school girl standing on a restroom stall toilet seat, purportedly in a lock-down drill.  Those who are outraged must not be children of the 40’s or 50’s.  During my elementary school years (1953-1959), we did “duck and cover” drills in preparations for a nuclear attack by the Soviet Union.  I remember well, but I was not scarred by those drills, or by the reason we even did those drills.  Those drills were just a reality of the times in which I lived.

            In a campaign speech this week, one particular line (among many) from the Democratic presumptive nominee struck me.  She said, “Everyone should make a living wage to feed a family.”  No!  If you do not have a job that pays sufficiently to afford a family, you should not create or produce a family.  It is no different from living within the means of any set of conditions.  If a person wants a family, s/he should acquire the necessary education, skills, and sufficient income to properly care for and provide for a family.  Further, you should not be procreating beyond your means.  The State is not your piggy-bank.  And, producing children is not a right . . . only a privilege.  Yes, every citizen has a fundamental right to freedom of choice, but that choice does NOT obligate the State, or any other citizen into supporting, or sustaining your choice(s).  You earn the means to support your choices.  So, if flipping burgers does not pay you well enough to support a wife and/or children, then do not get married and do NOT procreate, period, full stop, end of story.

            An interesting off-shore perspective:
“America's Last Hope: Can Clinton's Reason Defeat Trump's Rage?”
by Holger Stark
Der Spiegel
Published: June 23, 2016 – 01:08 PM

            My hat is off to CNN for holding the Libertarian Presidential Town Hall on Wednesday evening in New York City.  My main complaint . . . it was not long enough.  I must say in general, what a welcome respite from the insult politics of the Republican presumptive nominee and the ethical uncertainty of the Democratic presumptive nominee . . . well, both major party nominees.  The Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson and his vice presidential running-mate William ‘Bill’ Weld – self-proclaimed fiscally conservative, socially inclusive (liberal) – gave us some thought-provoking responses.  As Governor Johnson stated, “Most Americans are Libertarian, but they just don’t know it.”  They are in favor of small government, less international intrigue and intervention, and removing government from our bedrooms and private lives.  To be frank, I find far more affinity with their message than I find objectionable; and yet, my single greatest concern is how would they get things done without a majority in Congress and two opposition parties (one of which is likely to have a majority of seats)?
            I listened and heard Green Party presumptive nominee Jill Stein, as well, again on CNN only.  What a contrast with the shallow, emotional, insult politics of the Republican presumptive nominee.  I must say, I truly hope CNN can bring all four candidates together on one stage, at least once for the presidential and the vice presidential debates.  I truly believe if the American people are allowed to see the candidates together in the same forum, we will see clear choices and quite likely the best choice.

            The British people voted to leave the European Union.  With 72.2% of eligible voters casting their ballots, 48.1% voted to remain in the EU and 51.9% voted to leave the EU.  The divorce begins.
            The action shocked markets and spurred nationalistic movements in Scotland, France, Netherlands, Austria, Finland and Hungary and even our beloved Republican presumptive nominee.  Divorce is never (well, rarely) a pleasant action, but sometimes it is necessary.  I truly hope and pray we are not bearing witness to a resurgence of nationalism.  I would not be surprised to hear from South Carolina or Louisiana to leave the United States.  Perhaps the endgame to all this is, we break up the Union, then the States, down to the counties, oh hell, why not make every individual a nation-state.

            We appear to be headed toward disassembly or devolution.  We disagree, reject compromise and inherently find attraction to those who look like us, belief like us, act like us, and all the other social factors that govern our affinity associations.  Unfortunately, desperate times lead desperate people to do desperate things.  There are no guarantees how all this is going to settle out, and we likely have a very rough ride in our future.  Hang on tight!  We shall overcome!

            Comments and contributions from Update no.757:
“With the news stories coming out today regarding redactions of the Pulse Nightclub shooter’s telephone calls with 911 I have to question whether or not the editing and release of the initial transcripts was a lame attempt to by the Justice Department to help soften and provide some deflection of the ensuing condemnation toward radical Islamic terrorism, and help to possibly politically shape this abhorrently insidious act as a hate crime for the head of the Justice Department and on up the chain of command.  The more we learn, the more this appears to be precisely what it was, another radical Islamic terrorist attack.”
My response:
            I cannot argue with that.  The redaction was an ill-conceived, perhaps well-intentioned, action by the Justice Department.  They promptly reversed and released the unedited transcript.
 . . . Round two:
“But who allows such things to go on?  Who will hold them responsible?  Who does the Justice Department ultimately report to?  Something like this doesn’t happen by accident.”
 . . . my response to round two:
            Whoa, dawgy!  These are bureaucrats performing their dut(ies) as they understand it.  No law was violated by their actions.  Last time I checked, we do not lynch people for doing their job, even when they make a well-intentioned mistake.  I understand you are not a fan of President Obama, and probably not anyone serving in his administration, but we need to lighten up just a smidge.
 . . . Round three:
“Did you see that Attorney General Loretta Lynch refused to say who gave the order for the editing of the Pulse terrorist 911 call tapes.  What a surprise!  Who is she protecting and why?  Why can’t people just do the right thing and take responsibility for their actions.  Lighten up, huh?  Why does this bother me so much, but not you?  Over the years I have learned much from your blog.  I have been here from the beginning.  But it seems things have changed.  Maybe it’s me, as I have grown fed up and become extremely disenchanted with the state of our country—with leadership more and more not taking responsibility for their actions and the actions of their subordinates.  But from you I see a continuous attack against those you don’t like, just like you see from me, but a blatant practice of protectionism for those you favor.  This is certainly your prerogative.  And now I don’t know where I am going with this.  I am just so damn frustrated with the state of things.  I can’t stay away from the news for I do not want to be ignorant of what’s going on, but I get so upset when I watch the news and I see stonewalling, deflection, and obscuration by those that are unwilling to take responsibility for their actions.  This is so against my character that it just drives me up a wall.”
. . . my response to round three:
            I am sorry this public debate is so upsetting to you.  Unfortunately, these are the days in which we live.
            We must acknowledge the Republican presumptive nominee has successfully tapped into and unleashed the anger, xenophobia, and contempt in a significant portion of the citizenry of this Grand Republic.
            For the record, I do not favor anyone.  The candidates for president have not been determined, as yet, and I am at least several months away from favoring anyone, or more importantly deciding on my vote.
            Just an FYI, I suppose, Jeanne used to watch The Apprentice.  For the record, I did not like his characteristics then either, even in that context.  That was a television show of no substance.  Today, we are talking about the presidency of the United States, commander-in-chief of the most powerful military on the planet . . . not some meaningless television show.  This is serious business.

Comment to the Blog:
“I agree with your assessment of Mr. Mateen, the Orlando shooter, and also with your statement that, ‘. . . we ignore and will do nothing about the mentally ill or violence-prone people in our midst.’ However, conflating the mentally ill with those prone to violence is a false correlation. Many of those prone to violence cannot be found to have a mental-illness diagnosis, and most of the mentally ill are not violent. Perhaps rather than try to read individual minds, we could rely on making mass homicide (and other homicide as well) more difficult.
“Your ‘social police’ idea suffers from many flaws. First, it embodies the ‘thought-based, pre-emptive, governmental interdiction prior to crimes being committed’ that you decried in your response to one of my comments. Not calling your agency ‘police’ does nothing to change its nature. It's still an enforcement agency without even the grace of law enforcement's limits to restrain it. The balance of the issues stem from a failure to recognize psychology (broadly and accurately defined) as the source of personal behavior. The nature of caring prevents most of the parents and others closest to potentially violent people from contacting any extra-legal control system, probably even more than it now slows them from calling the police. As time goes on and violent behavior develops, fear of the violent person's response to such behavior reinforces the reluctance to seek ‘help.’  In the case of minorities and the poor, the practical consideration of further harm from ‘the system’ is not only psychology but experience. Benevolent results do not come to us from the behavior-control authorities. The psychology of secret operations is a further threat. We need look no further than the multiple failures of the spy agencies to confirm that.
“The spy agency failures include the ‘no fly list’ and/or ‘terrorist watch list’ currently being put forward by liberals as standards for screening firearm buyers. Those lists are essentially arbitrary, totally lack oversight, and provide no means of correcting their many mistakes. Beyond the internal flaws of those lists, they also provide no means of screening violent criminals, violent American radicals, or diagnosed mentally ill people who have violent histories but may not have been convicted due to insanity pleas or treatment outside the legal system. I am surely a liberal myself, but that does not blind me to the failures of good intentions that are not well considered.
“Your response to the UK commenter is too dismissive. I agree that we need not ‘bin’ (end) the Second Amendment, but we surely need to go back to the Amendment as written and intended. Americans' freedoms do not and should not include imposing death, injury, and physical coercion on other Americans. By the way, the ‘gun lobby’ is not composed of the broad population to which you refer. It is basically the NRA and their corporate members. The majority of NRA individual members do not support unlimited firearms ownership, and even they are not as large a group as you may think. The NRA's membership is around 5 million as of 2013; the U.S. adult population is close to 245 million (figures per Wikipedia.org).
“In a point of legal fact, the U.S. is not at war. As a former military officer, you should know better.
“Your UK commenter also makes a very important point. The UK and the rest of the world no longer see the United States as a leader because they understand that our government has become corrupt and irrational. Our level of internal violence, our catering to the very wealthy and corporate interests, and our permanent undeclared ‘wars’ against much smaller nations or, worse still, organizations (most of which are predominantly Muslim) have eliminated the respect necessary to leadership.”
My response to the Blog:
            Re: “conflating the mentally ill.  Agreed!  Quite so, which is precisely why we need some form of active triage system to sort those facets out for public safety.  Ignoring or pretending the problem does not exist serves no one, and in this instance, any action is better than no action.
            Re: “making mass homicide . . . more difficult.  Amen, brother.  I am all for that.  However, I learned a long time ago that treating symptoms rather than root causes is often and usually wasted effort that does not resolve the illness and sometimes actually makes things worse.
            Re: “social police.”  I make no claim to that being the solution.  At best, it is only an earnest attempt to find a solution.  Certainly, my suggested social police have the potential for abuse by zealous moralists intent upon enforcing their values and beliefs on others.  We must have safeguards to protect against such abuses.  I will disagree with your “thought-based” assessment.  It is really an active, dedicated, intelligence process of collecting public facts like school reports, un-action-ed police reports, citizen complaints, et cetera.  There is no intention of intruding upon a citizen’s fundamental right to privacy.  It is solely intended to collect dots and develop an image, to find those who need mental treatment or have the potential for violence.  Yes, it is a proactive process short of law enforcement.  Case in point – Adam Lanza, who clearly had public signs of his instability, including his mother’s repeated effort to get mental treatment (protection) for her son.  His school knew he was disturbed.  The social police is not a “behavior control” mechanism, only a means of finding those with the potential to harm others.
            Re: no fly list.  As you recall, the list was a knee-jerk reaction to our obvious intelligence failures prior to the 9/11 attacks.  When the first reports of the wrong people being denied freedom of movement by “The List,” I began voicing due process concerns over the apparent unilateral, anonymous, action-agents; the potential for abuse is literally unbounded.  Now, we have a goodly portion of our society and the legislature vigorously trying to link up this extra-judicial “list” with the government’s sanction authority surrounding a constitutional right.  Omar Mateen had a history of violence and anti-social behavior over many years that should have triggered red flags, but did not. We are bounding down the road of yet another knee-jerk reaction.
            Now, wait just a minute, I am not and have never been a member of the National Rifle Association or any other “gun lobby” organization, so your generalization is either exaggeration or ill-informed.  Yet, I remain concerned about infringement upon our collective constitutional rights.  Passing a blanket law that imposes upon every single citizen especially in the realm of fundamental or constitutional rights must have a very compelling reason.  We failed miserably with the 18th Amendment.  I do not want to see that mistake repeated.
            Re: war.  Well, actually, I agree from a legal perspective, i.e., Congress has not formally, properly, and legally declared war in accordance with Article I of the Constitution, e.g., PL 77-I-328; 55 Stat. 795.  FYI: this Grand Republic has fought several major and more minor wars since the last formal declaration of war – PL 77-565; 56 Stat. 307.  Yet, that does not alter the reality that we are and have been under attack from a violent enemy, seeking to harm Americans and impose their will, their values, their beliefs on everyone including the United States.  That sure as hell sounds like war to me.
            Re: “respect necessary to leadership.”  The reluctant leader, I suppose.  The United States should not be the world’s policeman.  So, there is so much wrapped up in this one, and I have run out of capacity.
 . . . Round two:
“So far as I know, no person or group has a believable clue to the nature of a ‘root cause’ of mass homicide, or of other homicides. How many more deaths should we tolerate while we pursue a ‘root cause’ before we address the obvious means? Very likely, no single uniting factor exists.
“Your social police concept suffers the same flaws as the no-fly list and the terrorist lists. In my view, zealous moralists are by no means the only threat. Consider personal vendettas, power-mad officials or politicians, human error, and all the other flaws already revealed in ‘intelligence’ processes. By their nature, these processes cannot be transparent, so safeguards will fail.
“The alleged infringement on the Second Amendment of firearm registration and of refusing firearms to dangerous felons is purely the creation of the NRA. Not selling combat weapons to civilians likewise. Even Ronald Reagan supported the assault weapon ban. A solid majority of firearms owners support at least registration and stopping sales to felons.
My comment stands.”
 . . . my response to round two:
            Well, then, I guess we are at loggershead . . . and we do nothing.
            Continuing to call them assault weapons does not alter reality.  Automatic weapons have been illegal in the United States since the National Firearms Act of 1934 [PL 73-474; 48 Stat. 1236; 26.6.1934].  Firearms that look like automatic weapons does not make them automatic weapons.
 . . . Round three:
“Not calling them assault weapons does not alter reality either. Semi-automatic weapons, particularly with large clips, offer firepower never needed for civilian use. Beyond that, weapons sold as semi-automatic can be made into automatic weapons without exotic knowledge or skills. As I mentioned earlier, I encountered two easy options for that conversion in the two days after the Orlando shooting with no request, effort, or interest on my part.”
 . . . my response to round three:
            We are discussing the prohibition of an entire class of firearms.  It is important that we do not erroneously generalize.  The conversion of a semi-automatic firearm to enable automatic operation has been and remains illegal and a federal felony; we do not need any new laws; just enforce the ones we have.  Also, banning firearms because of their appearance is equally wrong and vastly too generalized.
            I am far more concerned about preventing and criminalizing the ownership, possession or purchase of ANY firearm from a muzzle-loader on to current weapons by certain individuals.  You categorically reject my attempts to find that solution.  So, here we sit.
 . . . Round four:
“First and most, I have not rejected the prevention of dangerous people from owning firearms. I have objected to one method (the no-fly and terrorist watch lists) because it will not work.
“Second, I see no reason why a person who is capable of committing mass homicide would respect the law on his choice of weapon.”
 . . . my response to round four:
            Re: rejection.  Essentially, you have.  You rejected my proposal and have not offered a better process that you believe would work.  What do you propose?
            Re: respect for the law.  Quite so, which is precisely why citizens should be armed with capable weapons.  The police cannot be everywhere all the time.
 . . . Round five:
“Yes, I rejected your proposal for the reasons given. I also believe ideas involving the no-fly list or any terrorist ‘watch list’ will fail. Instead, how about simple screenings, rigidly enforced, of people convicted of any violent offense (felony or misdemeanor) and of people with documented violence handled by the mental illness treatment system? That has not been done, although most of the legal mechanisms are in place. A national database connection would be necessary, but not involving any kind of spy agency or function. Closing a few loopholes would accomplish much, as would banning weapons useful only for mass homicide.”
 . . . my response to round five:
            I believe there are both state and federal existing laws prohibiting violent felons from owning, possessing or purchasing any firearm.  That is the principle purpose of the existing background check.  Notably, citizens who show up on that search have been tried, convicted and sentenced, so restricting those is fairly straightforward.  The “no-fly” or “watch” list involves no due process or judicial process, thus the difficulty with linking those lists to the background check process.  As you have so aptly noted, adding mentally ill or violence-prone individuals is even farther away from due process.  One salient question: who approves someone to be on the prohibited list, and how is that qualification determined?  I am in favor of the linkages of which you speak; however, there must be a concomitant due process provision to protect the rights of those falsely accused or erroneously identified, and to avoid political abuse.  The process from initial entry through reconciliation of errors must be clearly and precisely defined.  Linkage of the “No-Fly” list to the background check process without due process is unacceptable.
 . . . Round six:
“You have restated my argument against using the no-fly and similar lists. We agree on that. You have a valid point about being cautious in regard to the mentally ill; that whole field still needs a great deal of progress. There are indeed laws prohibiting felons from owning firearms. They are enforced by means of finding the weapon in the felon's possession, often after a subsequent violent incident. Why not take reasonable steps to prevent the felons (and people with violent misdemeanor convictions) from acquiring such weapons? Closing the various loopholes by which these people obtain weapons will be preventive rather than reactive and will not change anyone's legal right to own weapons. It will only prevent those who have lost that right from easily getting them.”
 . . . my response to round six:
            The current background check does just that – check the background of each gun purchaser to see if they have a criminal record that warrants rejection of their purchase.  The last bunch of firearm mass murders have been committed by mentally ill or disturbed individuals with firearms legally purchased or acquired.  The Pulse killer in fact passed FBI background checks and three terrorism interviews.  The current system failed.  We need to widen the net and close loopholes, yes, but to do so, we need to ensure due process protections.
 . . . Round seven:
“With what you just pointed out, you still don't want to ban that kind of weapon?”
 . . . my response to round seven:
            I thought I was clear on that point.  Short answer: nope, not until the background check system is improved and the constitutional rights of all citizens are protected.

Another contribution:
“Omg ... All Islamic extremists are angry power hungry men (and women) Cap!!!  Was the Boston Bombing a hate crime too???  How about the following. ..is this hate?  YES!  Hatred of America!  Open thine eyes!!! Someday your rose color glass of wine is going to turn black!!  I'm not being overly reactive .. just proactive!!
“By the way .. As usual, the liberal media turned around what Trump said about the Pulse shooting ... not so much the President was involved but the President uses a crises situation to his advantage to further promote gun control (or gun confiscation) and now wanting to control free speech I.e. Facebook and recent meetings with Zuckerberg.. don't be surprised if he starts talking about internet restrictions !! Again .. proactive ..”
My reply:
            Re: “Islamic extremists.  Actually, we agree.  They are angry and power-hungry, and more importantly violent, who seek to impose their beliefs, values and ideology on everyone, which is precisely why I call them Islamo-fascists.  Yet, we need to be careful and precise with our accusations.  All Muslims are NOT Islamo-fascists; in fact, a mere fraction are the violent variety.  We need Muslims to help us find the bad guys in our midst, not alienate them with all this ill-conceived, mis-applied, inflammatory, emotional rhetoric.
            Re: “the liberal media turned around.  Really?  I am not in the liberal media.  I have a reasonable understanding of the English language.  Why on God’s little green earth should we need some magical de-coder ring to understand what “he really means” with his peculiar choice of words.  My opinions of the Republican presumptive nominee have absolutely nothing to do with the Press.  I simply listen to his words directly.
            Re: “the President uses a crises situation to his advantage.  First, he is President of the United States.  He has a responsibility, if not an obligation, to speak about crises in this Grand Republic.  So, if I simply compare the words spoken by the President with the words spoken by the Republican presumptive nominee, there is a world of difference between meter, tone, image, content, delivery, or any other metric between the two messages.  Second, as he has done repeatedly, he has jumped to conclusions that are not supported by the facts.  That may be tolerable for a private citizen; it is outright dangerous for a president.  Third, you imply that it is OK for the Republican presumptive nominee to use a crisis for his advantage, because you happen to agree with him, while you reject the President’s right to do the same.  I cannot support such disparity.
            Re: “wanting to control free speech.  Holy moly, this is way off the page.  The Republican presumptive nominee wants to choose who he talks to, who he grants press credentials to, who he approves of, and attempts to bully anyone in the Press he does not like . . . who the hell is trying to control free speech?  I respectfully suggest you listen more carefully to what the Republican presumptive nominee actually says – publicly.
            His word choices speak volumes.  I refuse to buy the decoder ring.  My opinion of each presidential candidate will stand on their words, period, full stop.
 . . . Round two:
“IT'S been reported that many Muslims hold fear in turning in others they believe may be involved in terrorist activities .. people who worked with the Orlando shooter heard him make threatening comments yet no one came forward .  Everyone is way too concerned about being politically correct .. not I ...if I see or hear ANYTHING suspicious from any person that appears to be a potential ‘fascist’ I will report and follow up on my report .. I believe the word fascist is loosely used on too many however ...fascist is a description used against anyone who doesn't have ideas agreed on by the describer  .. In my opinion, based on our country's financial and security position, Trumps ideas/platforms are on target  ..  those who try to categorize him as a fascist are ignorant.  Clinton is the one who speaks the words Sharia Law.  That is more of what constitutes fascism  .. if the persistently negative few would just realize Trump’s ideas will be beneficial for America, this election would be a certainty for him and us.
“The persistently negative few will read his words negatively persistently .. no need for a decoder ring if one relaxes and realizes Trump has no intentions of ruining America ..Hillary has every intention of continuing in Obama's footsteps .. this will be the ruin if she is elected ... Trump is the business minded outsider this government needs ... 
“All I meant was Obama instantly talks gun control (again and again) ... he is so hung up on this idea and actually gets enraged when he doesn't get his way..just about everything he has wanted he has forced on us whether the majority want it or not .. he uses executive power to meet his awful agendas .. I honestly feel he needs to move to an Islamic country since that is what he is trying to convert this country into. When he says the phrase ‘This is not what WE are’ I am always offended.  
“And Hillary controls what questions the press gets to ask her.. the media IS predominantly left oriented .. I challenge you to send me ONE link to an interview involving Hillary being asked intelligent questions that involve the future of our country and Americans .. 
“I believe Trumps so called bullying of the media is a necessary tactic .. they would try to run all over him otherwise .. and they do ... 100 times more than they do Hillary ..”
 . . . my reply to round two:
            Re: fear.  Muslims are not alone in that apprehension.  Perhaps the most famous case I cite in such cases is the murder of ‘Kitty’ Genovese [13.3.1964] in Queens, New York.  More than a few people witnessed her murder and did nothing; did not even call the police.  This is not the only example.  So, please, let us not imply such fear is unique to Muslims.  Further, regardless of the social factors, when we choose to do nothing to help the police, we are accomplices to the crime we endure.
            Re: political correctness.  We often confused political correctness with simple respect for other human beings.  If you see someone weaving randomly from lane to lane on the highway, littering on the roadway, assault a woman in the parking lot, or a myriad of other crimes, political correctness is not and cannot be your excuse for doing nothing.  I say, “There but for the grace of God, go I.”  I help the police; I’m another set of eyes.
            Re: fascist.  My use of the word is independent of any one or combination of the social factors; it only reflects a governmental system led by a dictator having complete totalitarian power, forcibly suppressing opposition and criticism.
            Re: Clinton & Sharia Law.  We shall respectfully disagree.  BTW, I do agree that Sharia is certainly close to fascism as is any theocracy, e.g., Islamic Republic of Iran.  Hillary is a long way from such beliefs or actions.
            Re: the “ideas” of the Republican presumptive nominee.  Again, we shall respectfully disagree.  If he (or his supporters) must constantly tell us what he really meant by his persistent outrageous statements, we need a decoder ring.  His use of the English language is offensive and often obscene, beyond outright wrong in far too many cases.
            Re: “ruining America.”  Oh, I’m sure he has no such intention, since he is driven, if not obsessed, by his self-promotion, self-aggrandizement and deeply narcissistic me-ism.  He could care less about America or any other human being beyond himself (or those he anoints [as long as they do as he commands]).
            Gun violence usually evokes discussions of gun control – guns are a clear and obvious symptom.  I do not fault the President for voicing the concerns of all of us, but conversely, I truly wish he would focus far more on the root cause – the men who do these heinous acts.
            Re: Hillary vs. the Press.  I believe you are wrong.  Unfortunately, I have too many other high priority projects in front of me.  I have seen no signs (independent of the Press) of her even attempting to control the Press.  In fact, she has endured considerable abuse from the Press.  The same is NOT true for the Republican presumptive nominee.  A “necessary tactic” . . . oh my . . . then, do you believe Hitler’s oppression of the Press [1933 & sub] was a “necessary tactic”?  In that time, Press critics died; they were not just insulted.
 . . . Round three:
“Hello .. we could banter back and forth over our differences of opinions .. I have learned that those who have their minds made up to dislike Trump can not be swayed .. can only hope that perhaps before the election he will have done the swaying himself .. I believe he is a very intelligent person and deserves a chance just as America took on Obama .. I believe Trump If elected Will surround himself with good qualified people that will in total help this country.  We are in massive debt that NO President will be able to get us out of in one term .. Obama, with all his programs/agendas has not improved our debt issues one iota.. he has only made it worse.  I have read that Trump has some good ideas to attempt to stimulate the economy .. I do not believe he is egotistical enough to make things worse .. he states that he cares for America and that is why he is ahead .. he has children and grandchildren he considers.. all the Democrats seem to care about is global warming, gun control and bringing more and more people into the country, putting them on social programs and making us pay for them .. we are doomed if Hillary is elected ..”
 . . . my reply to round three:
            I have not made up my mind, as yet.  We do not even have the nominees for each political party for another six weeks.  I will decide upon who will get my precious vote after the debates are concluded and before going to my polling station.
            As is my practice, once We, the People, have spoken with our votes, I will do my best to see the positives in our new president.  My practice will be no different, if the Republican presumptive nominee should actually become president.
            You appear to overlook one important, constitutional reality.  The President does NOT spend the Treasury – Congress does [see Article I, Section 8].  Blaming any President, set aside President Obama, for increasing the debt is simply wrong; again, Congress does.
            The Republican presumptive nominee is selling us a pig in a poke.  I am quite cautious with such hucksters.  My criticism of his personality flaws are simply intended to open eyes, induce thinking, and urge everyone to look carefully at what he is trying to sell us in that bag he holds up before us.
            You say he cares for America.  I simply do not see it.  His actions, his words, his conduct speaks volumes that he cares about only one thing -- himself.
            Hillary is a long way from a shoe-in.  She has her considerable baggage, as well.  I am not a fan of her character flaws either.
            So far, the Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson is the closest to what I would like to see in our president, but he has his peculiarities as well.  No one is perfect, and he carries a different set of baggage.
            This Grand Republic is far stronger than you imply.  We are NOT doomed, if Hillary, or The Donald, or Gary, or Jill, or anyone else becomes president.  We shall endure and prosper, as we have endured bad presidents in the past.  I might vomit more, but I shall survive.
            When Muhammed Ali proclaimed, “I am the greatest,” it had a brash reality to it.  When The Donald says it, I hear a snake oil salesman.
 . . . Round four:
“Key words !  Set aside Obama .. 
“Who says a president needs to have a specific personality .. who are we to judge  .. let his actions be what counts ..
“I why wouldn't he care for America ??? It's obvious Obama doesn't !! And Hillary will follow suit ..
“I would never vote for him .. it would be a vote for Hillary 
“We ARE doomed if Hillary gets in .. more taxing .. more spending ... more population explosion 
“Trump does not say he is the greatest .. you are using a decoder ring again .. a very biased one ... GO BRITAIN .. Good work !!! 
 . . . my response to round four:
            Re: personality.  You and I do . . . along with 219M other citizens.  It is our task to judge the worthiness of each candidate.  Well, actually, it is his words, his actions, his conduct that bothers me the most.
            Re: doomed.  It is your choice entirely to view anything including life or the future of this Grand Republic in any manner you wish . . . glass half empty or half full.  FYI: Republicans spent more money than Democrats; they just spent it on different stuff.
            DJT: “Nobody reads the Bible more than me.” [25.6.2016]  “I will be the greatest jobs president that God has ever created.” [6.6.2015]  “I am the most successful person ever to run for president.” [22.3.2016]  “Nobody has more respect for women than I do” {well, except for those who do not agree with me}.  I could go on; such quotes are bountiful from him.
            Re: Brexit.  Now, Scotland seeks another referendum to leave the United Kingdom.  So, you are apparently a fan of this vote.  Should South Carolina or Louisiana votes be allowed to leave the Union?  Should we break up the United States?
            Your hero is welcome to sway.  I am still listening . . . and hoping a more appropriate Donald appears soon, but I’m not optimistic given his history.  His latest outrage: haul the Press with him to Scotland for personal business activity; this is what we have to look forward to with him.
            You can buy the pig in the poke; that is your choice entirely.  Apparently, I am more skeptical than you, and that is cool.  Your choice, entirely, as it is mine.  You choose what you wish to see, what you wish to believe, and that is your right . . . as it is mine.

A different contribution:
“AHA!  At the risk of creating even a faint glimmer of positive halo effect for Hillary, which I would not intend, I too fully AGREE with you (and with her on this narrow point) that persons who have been put on a no-fly list by our government should as a consequence be prevented from buying weapons (of any kind, to the extent possible, which is dubious), so long as the criteria for the list (unknown to me) is enforced fairly and is judicially appealable to protect due process.  The problem is, and NRA is only too quick to remind us, even incremental infringement is unconstitutional, so an open and accessible due process avenue must be provided for the ‘accused.’   I think Mr. Trump agrees, too.  Congress?  Maybe next year.”
My response:
            It is nice to agree from time to time.
            In this instance, I happen to agree with the NRA.  If the USG is going to deny a constitutional right to a citizen, the Constitution demands that the citizen be treated with due process under the law before such infringement is carried out.  There have been too many examples of the wrong person being subjected to transportation denial for another individual with a similar name on the “No-Fly” list.  I am all in favor of denying a firearm purchase to a person on the “No-Fly” list, as long as the law provides for a reasonable, public, transparent reconciliation process.  I can easily imagine some zealous bureaucrat abusing the list for political purposes.  What and where are the safeguards against such abusive collateral usage?

Yet, another contribution:
“Well today the British nation makes the decision to stay or leave the European Union. The campaign  has been less than friendly. The ‘out brigade’ concentrating hugely on unwanted and unpreventable immigration from any of the member states and the cost of remaining a member. Whilst the ‘stay’ side explain the benefits of remaining. The polls, bless them, are putting it neck and neck but they are totally unreliable and untrustworthy.
“As we have spoken before – Europe needs to remain together, we have seen the results of a divided Europe in the past century and before so from that point of view we need to stay together. However we all agree over here that we must stop or at least slow down the desperate would be immigrants who wish to be here as a financial immigrant.
“Well Cap we shall see-this is an immense decision and I hope we get it right.”
My response:
            The British people have spoken.  Prime Minister Cameron has resigned.  World markets have been thrust into uncertainty and instability.  No one can predict how this is going to turn out.  But . . . I truly think Sir Winston would be deeply disappointed.  Then again, after all he did for the World (not just the United Kingdom), he was disappointed in the election results of his day [26.7.1945].  We shall overcome.

            My very best wishes to all.  Take care of yourselves and each other.
Cap                        :-)