Three Things You Need to Know – February 23, 2018

The Most Hated Man in America Today

He is the most hated man in the world today.

Former Deputy Scot Peterson resigned yesterday after video surveillance showed that he was armed and stationed at Stoneman Douglas High School while the shooting took place.

Instead of immediately addressing the target and putting an end to the rampage, Peterson cowered behind a concrete column in a stairwell.

The sheriff of Broward County suspended Peterson without pay pending an internal investigation, but the officer beat him to it. Peterson, knowing his fate, resigned and retired yesterday.

This morning, police officers line Peterson’s home. They are guarding against anyone who wants to harm Peterson—and that’s a lot of people. The officers themselves probably don’t even want to protect this coward.

But before we take up our pitchforks and torches and charge his door, let’s remember something.

We weren’t there.

As much as we would like to think that we would be brave and execute a single kill shot to the Stoneman shooter before he could take 17 lives, would that actually play out in real life?

Would we be brave?

Would we have the courage?

We all hope we would, but you don’t really know until you are in that situation.

I’m not trying to defend Peterson’s gutless inaction. I absolutely think he should have used his training to save lives that day.

I’m just saying we aren’t him. We don’t know what was going through his mind.

Peterson could have been a hero, but he made other choices.

Now, he has to live with that guilt for the rest of his life.

So before we call for blood, let’s remember that he already has his punishment.

National Socialism Hits CPAC

“France is no longer free!” Marion Le Pen took the stage at CPAC yesterday and spent the first several minutes of her speech destroying the EU. She lamented about lost sovereignty at the hands of Brussels and advocated the new global slogan: America First… Britain First - and yes - FRANCE FIRST!

I searched around yesterday - after she left the stage - to see what people were saying. By and large, no one was saying a thing. The conservative media and voices were all but silent. That’s probably because everything she said sounded exactly like what Trump campaigned on in 2016. Anti-EU and other large trade organizations? Check! Anti-immigration? Check! Sceptical of Muslim migrants? Double check!

Now here’s why this is so scary. All the issues I just said, mega trade alliances, immigration, AND Muslim migrants are ACTUAL legitimate issues. In fact, a big reason for why Trump won was because he gave voice to these concerns that, by and large, had been ignored for decades. If you watched Marion Le Pen yesterday, you saw something the new American right hasn’t had in… well ever. A young, female, photogenic firebrand. There she was at CPAC, flashing that million dollar smile, and giving the crowd EVERYTHING they wanted to hear. At one point a chant of “VIVA LA FRANCE” rang out over the conference hall.

Let’s get one thing straight right now. The far-right in Europe has absolutely NOTHING in common with American conservatism. These people and groups are ethno-nationalist populists. The only thing they’re concerned with is using real issues - like trade, the economy and immigration - and focusing people’s rage. That right there is how monsters are born. That’s how they gain power, and when they get that power, they aren’t interested in reducing the size and scope of government. They expand it through control, a massive welfare state, and aggression. That right there is National Socialism.

There is a global effort among the far-right to link themselves to the success of Donald Trump. Now, I get that they would want to try and emulate that success and ride our coattails, but we shouldn’t be helping them do it. The European far-right, which has more in common with the alt-right than anything else, was actually giving a speech to American conservatives yesterday. They’re being legitimized and co-opted into the American right. This is dangerous, and we need to put a stop to it right now.

March for Our Lives

Abraham Lincoln said, “I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The great point is to bring them the real facts.”

So, here are the real facts about the #NeverAgain movement and the upcoming “March for Our Lives” rally, planned for March 24th in Washington DC. All week, CNN and the rest of the media have portrayed this movement as “grassroots” and totally teen-driven. Maybe it was in the very beginning. But it’s not anymore.

Last Sunday, less than a week after the horrible tragedy at Stoneman Douglas High School, junior Cameron Kasky set up a GoFundMe account to raise money for the “March for Our Lives.” Kasky is the teenager who confronted Senator Marco Rubio onstage at CNN’s Monster Truck Rally event Wednesday night. So far, more than 25,000 people have donated over $2 million.

What is the money actually for? On the GoFundMe page, Kasky says, “the funds will be spent on the incredibly difficult and expensive process that is organizing a march like this. We have people making more specific plans, but for now, know that this is for the march and everything left over will be going to the victims’ funds.”

The “March for Our Lives” has received an additional $2 million in pledges from George Clooney, Oprah Winfrey, Steven Spielberg, and Jeffrey Katzenberg.

Cameron Kasky’s father said that Cameron and his friends are “being directed by people with knowledge of how to responsibly spend this money and it’s going to be very transparent.”

Hope it goes a lot better than George Clooney’s September 11th fund.

Kasky’s dad also said that “with Clooney’s help” the teens have brought in some attorneys, some administrative help, and a public relations firm whose clients include Meryl Streep, Will Smith, Charlize Theron, and Woody Allen, among many other celebrities. Why do you need all that if this is such a grassroots thing, driven by teenagers? Because these are now 16-year-olds with $4 million at their disposal.

Already, the “March for Our Lives” rally has a slick website selling merchandise. Make no mistake, this is a campaign.

The new spokesman for the rally (yes, it already has a “spokesman”) says, “Any leftover funds will go towards supporting a continuing, long-term effort by and for young people to end the epidemic of mass shootings that has turned our classrooms into crime scenes.” In other words, “March for Our Lives” is essentially a new gun-control lobbying firm.

Now the teens have brought in Deena Katz to help organize the rally. Katz is the co-executive producer of Dancing With the Stars. Oh, and she was also co-executive director of the Los Angeles Women’s March.

The rally is also being organized in collaboration with a nonprofit group called “Everytown for Gun Safety.” The advisory board of this group includes one former governor and six former mayors – all Democrats. It also includes Michael Bloomberg, Warren Buffett, and Kenneth Lerer [Leer] who helped start The Huffington Post, BuzzFeed, and a website called StoptheNRA.com.

Kasky told CBS, “At the end of the day, this isn’t a red and blue thing. This isn’t Democrats or Republicans. This is about everybody and how we are begging for our lives.”

Perhaps Kasky truly feels that way, but he’s getting a crash course in how American politics and media work. This may have started as a teen cause, but it has been hijacked by powerful forces on the Left with a very specific agenda.

MORE 3 THINGS

This compromise is an abomination

Zach Gibson/Getty Images

Three decades ago, "The Art of the Deal" made Donald Trump a household name. A lot has happened since then. But you can trace many of Trump's actions back to that book.

Art of the Deal:

In the end, you're measured not by how much you undertake but by what you finally accomplish.

People laughed when he announced that he was running for President. And I mean that literally. Remember the 2011 White House Correspondents' Dinner when Obama roasted Trump, viciously, mocking the very idea that Trump could ever be President. Now, he's President.

You can't con people, at least not for long. You can create excitement, you can do wonderful promotion and get all kinds of press, and you can throw in a little hyperbole. But if you don't deliver the goods, people will eventually catch on.

This empire-building is a mark of Trump.

RELATED: 'Arrogant fool' Jim Acosta exposed MSM's dishonest border agenda — again.

The most recent example is the border wall. Yesterday, congress reached a compromise on funding for the border wall. Weeks of tense back-and-forth built up to that moment. At times, it seemed like neither side would budge. Trump stuck to his guns, the government shut down, Trump refused to budge, then, miraculously, the lights came back on again. The result was a compromise. Or at least that's how it appeared.

But really, Trump got what he wanted -- exactly what he wanted. He used the techniques he wrote about in The Art of the Deal:

My style of deal-making is quite simple and straightforward. I aim very high, and then I just keep pushing and pushing and pushing to get what I'm after.

From the start, he demanded $5.7 billion for construction of a border wall. It was a months' long tug-of-war that eventually resulted in yesterday's legislation, which would dedicate $1.4 billion. It would appear that that was what he was after all along. Moments before the vote, he did some last-minute pushing. A national emergency declaration, and suddenly the number is $8 billion.

Art of the Deal:

People think I'm a gambler. I've never gambled in my life. To me, a gambler is someone who plays slot machines. I prefer to own slot machines. It's a very good business being the house.

In a rare show of bipartisanship, Senate passed the legislation 83-16, and the House followed with 300-128. Today, Trump will sign the bill.

It's not even fair to call that a deal, really. A deal is what happens when you go to a car dealership, fully ready to buy a car, and the salesman says the right things. What Trump did is more like a car dealer selling an entire row of cars to someone who doesn't even have a licence. When Trump started, Democrats wouldn't even consider a wall, let alone pay for it.

Art of the Deal:

The final key to the way I promote is bravado. I play to people's fantasies. People may not always think big themselves, but they can still get very excited by those who do. That's why a little hyperbole never hurts. People want to believe that something is the biggest and the greatest and the most spectacular. I call it truthful hyperbole. It's an innocent form of exaggeration—and a very effective form of promotion.

He started the wall on a chant, "Build the wall!" until he got what he wanted. He maneuvered like Don Draper, selling people something that they didn't even know they wanted, and convincing them that it is exactly what they've always needed.

As the nation soaks in the victory of the recent passing of the historic First Step Act, there are Congressmen who haven't stopped working to solve additional problems with the criminal justice system. Because while the Act was impactful, leading to the well-deserved early release of many incarcerated individuals, it didn't go far enough. That's why four Congressmen have joined forces to reintroduce the Justice Safety Valve Act—legislation that would grant judges judicial discretion when determining appropriate sentencing.

There's a real need for this legislation since it's no secret that lawmakers don't always get it right. They may pass laws with good intentions, but unintended consequences often prevail. For example, there was a time when the nation believed the best way to penalize lawbreakers was to be tough on crime, leading to sweeping mandatory minimum sentencing laws implemented both nationally and statewide.

RELATED: If Trump can support criminal justice reform, so can everyone else

Only in recent years have governments learned that these sentences aren't good policy for the defendant or even the public. Mandatory minimum sentences are often overly harsh, don't act as a public deterrent for crime, and are extremely costly to taxpayers. These laws tie judges' hands, preventing them from using their knowledge and understanding of the law to make case relevant decisions.

Because legislation surrounding criminal law is often very touchy and difficult to change (especially on the federal level, where bills can take multiple years to pass) mandatory minimum sentences are far from being done away with—despite the data-driven discoveries of their downfalls. But in order to solve the problems inherent within all of the different laws imposing sentencing lengths, Congress needs to pass the Justice Safety Valve Act now. Ensuring its passing would allow judges to use discretion while sentencing, rather than forcing them to continue issuing indiscriminate sentences no matter the unique facts of the case.

Rather than take years to go back and try to fix every single mandatory minimum law that has been federally passed, moving this single piece of legislation forward is the best way to ensure judges can apply their judgment in every appropriate case.

When someone is facing numerous charges from a single incident, mandatory minimum sentencing laws stack atop one another, resulting in an extremely lengthy sentence that may not be just. Such high sentences may even be violations of an individual's eighth amendment rights, what with the imposition of cruel and unusual punishment. It's exactly what happened with Weldon Angelos.

In Salt Lake City in 2002, Weldon sold half a pound of marijuana to federal agents on two separate occasions. Unbeknownst to Weldon, the police had targeted him because they suspected he was a part of a gang and trafficking operation. They were oh-so-wrong. Weldon had never sold marijuana before and only did this time because he was pressured by the agents to find marijuana for them. He figured a couple lowkey sales could help out his family's financial situation. But Weldon was caught and sentenced to a mandatory 55 years in prison. This massive sentence is clearly unjust for a first time, non-violent crime, and even the Judge, Paul Cassell, agreed. Judge Cassell did everything he could to reduce the sentence, but, due to federal law, it wasn't much.

The nation is facing an over-criminalization problem that costs taxpayers millions and amounts to the foolish eradication of individual liberties.

In cases like Weldon's, a safety valve for discretionary power is much needed. Judges need the ability to issue sentences below the mandatory minimums, depending on mitigating factors such as mental health, provocation, or physical illness. That's what this new bill would allow for. Critics may argue that this gives judges too much power, but under the bill, judges must first make a finding on why it's necessary to sentence below the mandatory minimum. Then, they must write a clear statement explaining their decision.

Judges are unlikely to risk their careers to allow dangerous criminals an early release. If something happens after an offender is released early, the political pressure is back on the judge who issued the shorter sentence—and no one wants that kind of negative attention. In order to avoid risky situations like this, they'd use their discretion very cautiously, upholding the oath they took to promote justice in every case.

The nation is facing an overcriminalization problem that costs taxpayers millions and amounts to the foolish eradication of individual liberties. Mandatory minimums have exacerbated this problem, and it's time for that to stop. Congresswomen and men have the opportunity to help solve this looming problem by passing the Justice Safety Valve Act to untie the hands of judges and restore justice in individual sentences.

Molly Davis is a policy analyst at Libertas Institute, a free market think tank in Utah. She's a writer for Young Voices, and her work has previously appeared in The Hill, TownHall.com, and The Washington Examiner.

New gadget for couples in 'the mood' lets a button do the talking

Photo by Matt Nelson on Unsplash

Just in time for Valentine's Day, there's a new romantic gadget for couples that is sure to make sparks fly. For those with their minds in the gutter, I'm not talking about those kinds of gadgets. I'm talking about a brilliant new device for the home called "LoveSync."

This is real — it's a simple pair of buttons for busy, modern couples who have plenty of time for social media and Netflix, but can't quite squeeze in time to talk about their... uh... special relationship.

Here's how it works. Each partner has their own individual LoveSync button. Whenever the mood strikes one partner, all they have to do is press their own button. That sets their button aglow for a certain period of time. If, during that time window, their partner also presses their own button, then both buttons light up in a swirling green pattern to signal that love has "synced"...and it's go time.

According to the makers of LoveSync, this device will "Take the Luck out of Getting Lucky." It brings a whole new meaning to "pushing each other's buttons." It's an ideal gift to tell your significant other "I care," without actually having to care, or talk about icky things like feelings.

If you find your significant other is already on the couch binge-watching The Bachelor, no problem! You can conveniently slink back to your button and hold it in for four seconds to cancel the desire. No harm, no foul! Live to fight another day.

Have fun explaining those buttons to inquiring children.

No word yet on whether LoveSync can also order wine, light candles or play Barry White. Maybe that's in the works for LoveSync 2.0.

Of course, LoveSync does have some pitfalls. Cats and toddlers love a good button. That'll be a fun conversation — "Honey, who keeps canceling my mood submissions?" And have fun explaining those buttons to inquiring children. "Yeah, kids, that button just controls the lawn sprinklers. No big deal."

If you've been dialing it in for years on Valentine's Day with flowers and those crappy boxes of chocolate, now you can literally dial it in. With a button.

Good luck with that.