Observations of an Irishman: The Idea of America Is the Ultimate Experiment

The Beginning of an Adventure

It's 5am.

I am not an early riser, so most mornings I struggle to get out of bed. It is especially harder in the winter --- it's dark, it's cold and the days are shorter.

I am also a believer that the snooze button is my best friend --- every time my alarm goes off, I am convinced just eight more precious minutes will refresh me. I forget logic and reason at this moment. I forget that I have been asleep for six hours and am still tired, but I know just another 480 seconds will make that big difference.

Today is different.

Today, I lie in my bed wide awake, refreshed and ready to take on the world. I am lying in my bed looking at my iPad, waiting for it to go off and wondering what’s taking so long. I watch as it goes from 4:58am to 4:59am and finally to 5am.

So why is today different? Today is the start of an exciting and a unique adventure. I feel like a child on Christmas morning, because today I will board a plane and head towards the only country I truly love, where I feel like I belong and that I long to call "home."

The idea of America is the ultimate experiment of mankind at its finest.

As I rise and finish my packing, it becomes easy for my mind to wonder about the adventures that await me. I am excited to see some old friends again, intrigued at making new friends, as well as the prospect of visiting new places and experiencing different parts of America’s vast culture.

America has changed my life so much by providing answers to how life should be and its history has provided so much inspiration. The idea of America is the ultimate experiment of mankind at its finest --- an example of freedom, hope and what people can achieve when they are free to pursue their dreams.

If I had to give America a slogan it would simply be:

America = making the impossible possible!

Behind all the excitement and joy is a sense of fear and apprehension. I experience these feelings every time I do a public speaking engagement, talk on my show or write a column.

What happens if I cannot give back to America by helping inspire someone as I have been inspired? What if I can’t reach Americans and help them see their own great history and the principles that made America exceptional? What if I can’t explain why both parties are on a path towards European-style big government, which has never and will never work? How can I make a connection with people and help them understand the only solution is America’s Founding Principles? This is my constant challenge.

Outrage of the Day

With the creation of social media, it is easier than ever before to learn the news of the day and share your reaction. Today, people on all sides love to get outraged, achieve social justice and destroy someone on the other side.

As I flew into JFK and had a five-hour layover before my flight to RDU, I came across the latest outrage, which was an attack on capitalism.

There was a report of price gouging as someone was charging $100 for a case of water during the hurricane season. As you can imagine, there was plenty of outrage --- calls for government regulation to make such practices illegal, demands for pricing controls, a resurgence of the narrative that all businesses are evil and probably a fancy hashtag campaign along the lines of #DownWithCapitalism.

(Before I continue, let me state clearly I am not defending or promoting this price for a crate of water.)

I know this may shock some people, but I believe in life, you are entitled to nothing, and you certainly do not have a right to any product regardless of your situation. If I own a crate of water (or any product or service), I can choose to sell it for any price I see fit, and you have a right to purchase it or decline my price.

If you understand economics, you know there are two ways this problem can be solved.

The only solution is less government, less regulation.

Firstly, the laws of supply and demand help determine the pricing of a product --- if there is a surplus, prices go down. If there is a shortage they go up. If a business puts a price of $100 on a crate of water and enough people say "no," eventually the business will have to reduce the price until enough people are happy and decide to purchase the water, because business cannot make a profit without sales.

The second way has to do with your personal mindset. A growing number of people today will look at a problem and that is all they will ever see. Others will see the problem and focus entirely on finding the solution and possibly get rewarded for their efforts.

In this case, if someone is charging $100 for a crate of water, it opens the door for a new or existing competitor offer a similar product for a cheaper price. Another business might still be profitable by selling crates of water for only $80 each, which would greatly disrupt the market. The original business would then have three choices, keep his pricing the same, match his competitor’s price or beat the price. This simple solution may result in a price war between the businesses, and generally, price wars lead to greater outcomes for the consumer.

If you truly care for the consumer and have their best interests at heart, the only solution is less government, less regulation and letting individuals innovate and compete with each other for the opportunity to make a profit.

That Time I Was Price Gouged at the Airport

There's another reason I was frustrated by the "outrage" of the day. While sitting in JFK, I suddenly realized I had a price gouging situation of my own to deal with, and government regulations were making matters worse.

If you have traveled through an airport recently, you know government regulations with the assistance of the TSA make it illegal for you to bring any fluids through security gates. As a result of this regulated market, I ended up paying $8.04 for two bottles of Powerade at Hudson on the inside of the security gates.

Crazy, huh?

If you are doing the math, that adds up to nearly $90 for a crate.

Photo by Jonathon Dunne.

The above price list is from Hudson, and as you can see, a crate of water would cost $72.

This happens every day to tens of thousands of passengers as they travel through JFK, and yet where is the outrage to fix this? Where is the fancy hashtag?

Thankfully, there is no outrage, because I was not really price gouged.

Nobody was beside me with a gun saying, "you must buy this product at this price," and I could have said "no," but I was thirsty and wanted a bottle of Powerade.

Hopefully one day, airports will be open to more competition, which will bring pricing down and then once again the consumer will win.

Until then, may the idea of America continue to see us through.

Jonathon Dunne is an Irishman with a lifelong dream of becoming an American citizen. After waiting for over 13 years, Dunne received a job offer from Glenn Beck so he could achieve his dream, but unfortunately, he did not meet the requirements to apply for a visa. Unless laws change or Dunne decides to break the law (he won't), his American dream is dead. Despite this setback, he still loves America and seeks to be a positive influence on society by promoting the idea of America and God-given freedoms. While on a recent vacation, Dunne delivered sixteen presentations (for free) in eight different states across the U.S. During this time, he kept notes and we asked him to share some of his experiences. As you read the column below, imagine the words are being spoken in a thick, Irish accent. If you're having trouble imagining how that sounds, you can hear it for yourself by tuning into Dunne's free weekly podcast, "Freedom's Disciple," on TheBlaze Radio, available on SoundCloud, iTunes, iHeart Radio, Google Play and Stitcher.

Stop trying to be right and think of the children

Mario Tama/Getty Images

All the outrage this week has mainly focused on one thing: the evil Trump administration and its minions who delight in taking children from their illegal immigrant parents and throwing them all in dungeons. Separate dungeons, mind you.

That makes for a nice, easy storyline, but the reality is less convenient. Most Americans seem to agree that separating children from their parents — even if their parents entered the US illegally — is a bad thing. But what if that mom and dad you're trying to keep the kids with aren't really the kids' parents? Believe it or not, fraud happens.

RELATED: Where were Rachel Maddow's tears for immigrant children in 2014?

While there are plenty of heartbreaking stories of parents simply seeking a chance for a better life for their children in the US, there are also corrupt, abusive human traffickers who profit from the illegal immigration trade. And sorting all of this out is no easy task.

This week, the Department of Homeland Security said that since October 2017, more than 300 children have arrived at the border with adults claiming to be their parents who turned out not to be relatives. 90 of these fraud cases came from the Rio Grande Valley sector alone.

In 2017, DHS reported 46 causes of fraudulent family claims. But there have already been 191 fraud cases in 2018.

Shouldn't we be concerned about any child that is smuggled by a human trafficker?

When Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen pointed out this 315 percent increase, the New York Times was quick to give these family fraud cases "context" by noting they make up less than one percent of the total number of illegal immigrant families apprehended at the southern border. Their implication was that Nielsen was exaggerating the numbers. Even if the number of fraud cases at the border was only 0.001 percent, shouldn't we be concerned about any child that is smuggled by a human trafficker?

This is the most infuriating part of this whole conversation this week (if you can call it a "conversation") — that both sides have an angle to defend. And while everyone's busy yelling and making their case, children are being abused.

What if we just tried, for two seconds, to love having mercy more than we love having to be right all the time?

Remember when cartoons were happy things? Each panel took you on a tiny journey, carrying you to an unexplored place. In Understanding Comics, Scott McCloud writes:

The comics creator asks us to join in a silent dance of the seen and the unseen. The visible and the invisible. This dance is unique to comics. No other artform gives so much to its audience while asking so much from them as well. This is why I think it's a mistake to see comics as a mere hybrid of the graphic arts and prose fiction. What happens between . . . panels is a kind of magic only comics can create.

When that magic is manipulated or politicized, it often devolves the artform into a baseless thing. Yesterday, Occupy Wall Street published the perfect example of low-brow deviation of the artform: A six-panel approach at satire, which imitates the instructions-panel found in the netted cubbyhole behind seats on airplanes. The cartoon is a critique of the recent news about immigrant children being separated from their parents after crossing the border. It is a step-by-step guide to murdering US Immigrations and Customs Enforcement agents.

RELATED: Cultural appropriation has jumped the shark, and everyone is noticing

The first panel shows a man shoving an infant into a cage meant for Pomeranians. The following five panels feature instructions, and include pictures of a cartoonish murder.

The panels read as follows:

  1. If an ICE agent tries to take your child at the border, don't panic.
  2. Pull your child away as quickly as possibly by force.
  3. Gently tell your child to close his/her eyes and ears so they won't witness what you are about to do.
  4. Grab the ICE agent from behind and push your knife into his chest with an upward thrust, causing the agent's sternum to break.
  5. Reach into his chest and pull out his still beating heart.
  6. Hold his bloody heart out for all other agents to see, and tell them that the same fate awaits them if they f--- with your child again.

Violent comics are nothing new. But most of the time, they remain in the realms of invented worlds — in other words, not in our own, with reference to actual people, let alone federal agents.

The mainstream media made a game of crying racism with every cartoon depiction of Obama during his presidency, as well as during his tenure as Senator, when the New Yorker, of all things, faced scrutiny for depicting him in "Muslim clothing." Life was a minefield for political cartoonists during the Obama era.

Chris Hondros/Getty Images

This year, we saw the leftist outrage regarding The Simpsons character Apu — a cartoon representation of a highly-respected, though cartoonishly-depicted, character on a cartoon show composed of cartoonishly-depicted characters.

We all remember Charlie Hebdo, which, like many outlets that have used cartoon satire to criticize Islam, faced the wrath and ire of people unable to see even the tamest representation of the prophet, Muhammad.

Interesting, isn't it? Occupy Wall Street publishes a cartoon that advocates murdering federal agents, and critics are told to lighten up. Meanwhile, the merest depiction of Muhammad has resulted in riots throughout the world, murder and terror on an unprecedented scale.

The intersection of Islam and comics is complex enough to have its own three-hour show, so we'll leave it at that, for now. Although, it is worth mentioning the commentary by satirical website The Onion, which featured a highly offensive cartoon of all the major religious figures except Muhammad. It noted:

Following the publication of the image above, in which the most cherished figures from multiple religious faiths were depicted engaging in a lascivious sex act of considerable depravity, no one was murdered, beaten, or had their lives threatened.

Of course, Occupy Wall Street is free to publish any cartoon they like. Freedom of speech, and so on—although there have been several instances in which violent cartoons were ruled to have violated the "yelling fire in a crowded theater" limitation of the First Amendment.

Posting it to Twitter is another issue — this is surely in violation of Twitter's violent content policy, but something tells me nothing will come of it. It's a funny world, isn't it? A screenshot of a receipt from Chick-fil-A causes outrage but a cartoon advocating murder gets crickets.

RELATED: Twitter mob goes ballistic over Father's Day photo of Caitlyn Jenner. Who cares?

In Understanding Comics, Scott McCloud concludes that, "Today the possibilities for comics are — as they've always been — endless. Comics offers . . . range and versatility, with all the potential imagery of film and painting plus the intimacy of the written word. And all that's needed is the desire to be heard, the will to learn, and the ability to see."

Smile, and keep moving forward.

Crude and awful as the Occupy Wall Street comic is, the best thing we can do is nod and look elsewhere for the art that will open our eyes. Let the lunatics draw what they want, let them stew in their own flawed double standards. Otherwise, we're as shallow and empty as they are, and nothing good comes of that. Smile, and keep moving forward.

Things are getting better. Show the world how to hear, how to learn, how to see.

People should start listening to Nikki Haley

ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP/Getty Images

Okay. Let's take a vote. You know, an objective, quantifiable count. How many resolutions has the UN Human Rights Council adopted condemning dictatorships? Easy. Well. How do you define "dictatorship"?

Well, one metric is the UN Human Rights Council Condemnation. How many have the United Nations issued to China, with a body count higher than a professional Call of Duty player?

Zero.

How about Venezuela, where socialism is devouring its own in the cruelest, most unsettling ways imaginable?

Zero.

And Russia, home of unsettling cruelty and rampant censorship, murder and (actual) homophobia?

Zero.

Iraq? Zero. Turkey? Iraq? Zero. Cuba? Zero. Pakistan? Zero.

RELATED: Nikki Haley just dropped some serious verbal bombs on Russia at the UN

According to UN Human Rights Council Condemnations, 2006-2016, none of these nations is as dangerous as we'd imagined. Or, rather, none of them faced a single condemnation. Meanwhile, one country in particular has faced unbelievable scrutiny and fury — you'll never guess which country.

No, it's not Somalia. It's Israel. With 68 UN Human Rights Council Condemnations! In fact, the number of total United Nations condemnations against Israel outnumbers the total of condemnations against all other countries combined. The only country that comes close is Syria, with 15.

The Trump administration withdrew from the United Nations Human Rights Council on Tuesday in protest of what it perceives as an entrenched bias against Israel and a willingness to allow notorious human rights abusers as members.

In an address to the UN Security Council on Tuesday, Nikki Haley said:

Let's remember that the Hamas terrorist organization has been inciting violence for years, long before the United States decided to move our embassy. This is what is endangering the people of Gaza. Make no mistake, Hamas is pleased with the results from yesterday... No country in this chamber would act with more restraint than Israel has.

Maybe people should start listening to Haley. Hopefully, they will. Not likely, but there's no crime in remaining hopeful.

Here's a question unique to our times: "Should I tell my father 'Happy Father's Day,' even though he (she?) is now one of my mothers?"

Father's Day was four days ago, yes, but this story is just weird enough to report on. One enjoyable line to read was this gem from Hollywood Gossip: "Cait is a woman and a transgender icon, but she is also and will always be the father of her six children."

RELATED: If Bruce was never a he and always a she, who won the men's Olympic gold in 1976?

Imagine reading that to someone ten — even five — years ago. And, honestly, there's something nice about it. But the strangeness of its having ever been written overpowers any emotional impact it might bring.

"So lucky to have you," wrote Kylie Jenner, in the Instagram caption under pre-transition pictures of Bruce Jenner.

Look. I risk sounding like a tabloid by mere dint of having even mentioned this story, but the important element is the cultural sway that's occurring. The original story was that a band of disgruntled Twitter users got outraged about the supposed "transphobic" remarks by Jenner's daughter.

But, what we should be saying is, "who the hell cares?" Who cares what one Jenner says to another — and more importantly and on a far deeper level — who cares what some anonymous Twitter user has to say?

When are we going to stop playing into the hands of the Twitter mob?

When are we going to stop playing into the hands of the Twitter mob? Because, at the moment, they've got it pretty good. They have a nifty relationship with the mainstream media: One or two Twitter users get outraged by any given thing — in this case Jenner and supposed transphobia. In return, the mainstream media use the Twitter comment as a source.

Then, a larger Twitter audience points to the article itself as proof that there's some kind of systemic justice at play. It's a closed-market currency, where the negative feedback loop of proof and evidence is composed of faulty accusations. Isn't it a hell of a time to be alive?