Trump Will Make America Weak

Editor’s note: This article originally appeared at

Longtime political troll, temporary (we hope) Republican presidential frontrunner, and adept public entertainer Donald Trump has captured the attention of large swaths of the conservative base. Three aspects central to his success: His larger-than-life, captivating persona. His blunt, plainspoken, political outsider approach. And, most important of all, his unifying central campaign thesis: Make America great again. The bread and butter of successful revolutionaries and dictators the world over, “make us great again” is a powerful message. Unfortunately for Trump, who has historically been light on the details of his policy proposals, everything he intends to do to make America great again would, in fact, do exactly the opposite.

While there are plenty of terrible ideas in Donald Trump’s head to occupy pundits for ages, let’s focus in on his two biggest, and worst, proposals: keeping out illegal immigrants, and restricting trade with foreign countries.

The centerpiece of Donald Trump’s misguided platform is his plan for a grandiose border wall to end illegal immigration. Ignore for a moment that a wall currently exists, and the unlikelihood of being able to actually implement the policies necessary to effectively halt illegal immigration. For the sake of argument, let’s say Trump gets his way here. Building the border wall alone would cost tens of billions of dollars. Add to the bill the personnel required to monitor and maintain the wall, as well as respond to any security breeches anywhere on its length, and you have one titanic government program.

Looking at the costs of removing all illegal immigrants currently residing in the United States provides an even greater sticker shock. There are 11 million illegal immigrants residing in the U.S. today. That’s more than the collective populations of Maine, Vermont, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire put together. Many brought their families, others started families since moving (complicating the legal consequences of deportation), and all have fully integrated into the local economy. Put together the devastation of abruptly removing millions of tenants and customers, and you have several industries scrambling to deal with the shortfall. The worst impact would be felt by industries that rely on cheap immigrant labor to survive, such as construction, landscaping, agriculture, and the restaurant industry. The prevailing counter-argument is that these jobs would be snapped up right away by American workers. This is, however, looking increasingly doubtful, especially after Alabama’s anti-immigrant policies ended up devastating its agricultural sector, leaving it unable to find Americans to fill the job vacancies. Apparently, there are plenty of jobs that only poor immigrants will do.

The highest cost associated with the Trump border scheme isn’t economic at all: it’s lost liberty. One of the challenges to building a comprehensive border wall is that much of the land along the U.S.-Mexico border is privately owned; and while some landowners would consent to a massive federal government operation on their property, many would not. The only solution would be to use the force of government to steal private citizens’ land for public purposes (a concept that eminent domain-happy Donald Trump is no stranger to putting into practice). Enforcing immigration law behind the wall would be another matter of lost liberty entirely, requiring a transformation to a “papers please” society where all citizens are accounted for and their immigration status is routinely verified.

Finally, Trump’s vintage trade policy. And by vintage, I mean 18th century. Chief among his retro economic fallacies is the notion that Americans somehow “lose out” to other countries over voluntary trade. He asserts that, when a company moves a factory to a place like China or Mexico, those jobs, and profits, are lost forever, gone into the mist that is the world beyond U.S. borders. What he misses is that, through trade, goods and services are able to be produced more efficiently, lowering the cost of living for all. This increased efficiency and savings allows companies to create more and better jobs than the low-end ones sent overseas. In addition, better jobs in other countries mean those foreign populations are able to afford to import more goods and services from America. In short, everyone, just about everywhere, is better off. That’s why, in a deregulated environment, global trade skyrockets. Everyone would trade with everyone else if it weren’t for would-be despots like Trump getting in the way. If allowed to, he would cause prices to go up many times over, all while restricting American workers to the same difficult and ill-paying jobs for years to come.

Now, if all Donald Trump’s ideas are so terrible, how has he had so much success using them to buttress his campaign? Simple: he blames those without a voice. To a rational, educated populace, every problem’s claims of cause and effect are open to objective investigation. Who’s ruining the economy? Let’s look at the facts, and test the various hypotheses. With an ignorant (willfully or otherwise) population, all manner of claims can be made into the void with no examination or pushback. The only thing that can cause resistance to a narrative among the ignorant is a public counter-narrative. Talk smack about someone, and they may come around to set the record straight. If your boogeymen are foreign countries and immigrants who have very real reasons for wanting to remain quiet and off the radar, the odds of them speaking up to call you on your nonsense are close to zero. You can keep blaming them for an eternity, because for your uninformed voters, all foreign countries are just specters in the massive black void of their ignorance. China and Mexico are whatever Trump supporters want them to be, because they have little to no real information to counter their beliefs.

Donald Trump surged to the top of the Republican presidential field through the vague proposition of making America great again. Too bad the policies he actually espouses would only make her weak. Let it be known that Trump is the weak America candidate.

Joël Valenzuela is the editor of The Desert Lynx. He is also the founder of the Rights Brigade, a mover for the Free State Project, and a martial art instructor.

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by

Freedom’s Last Hope Is In New Hampshire


In Obama’s America, it can seem like freedom and limited government are a thing of the past. With a ballooning federal deficit, religious freedom under fire, and the Constitution treated as a joke, it’s hard to find good news for our great country.

Hard, but not impossible. Thankfully, there’s hope, in the form of a determined group of conservative activists that’s growing by the day: the Free State Project.

With too few dedicated conservatives to reclaim America from the destructive policies of the Obama administration, a group of patriots hatched a plan to take our country back one state at a time starting with New Hampshire–the Live Free or Die state. The goal was to get 20,000 participants to sign a pledge to move to New Hampshire where they would vote and run for public office, taking back state government from liberal control and reestablishing limited government. So far, over 16,000 signers have pledged to move once the 20,000 number has been reached; and almost 2,000 have already moved without waiting for the final number to be achieved.

The brave early movers have turned an already-free New Hampshire into a much freer place. Dozens of these Free Staters have been elected to public office, passing (and blocking) legislation by Free Stater margins, including providing the crucial votes that returned conservative Bill O’Brien to his position as state House speaker. Liberal state representative Cynthia Chase even called out Free Staters as the biggest threat to her socialist agenda, and called on government to limit their freedom.

A team of intrepid filmmakers made an hour-long documentary, 101 Reasons: Liberty Lives in New Hampshire, to show off all the ways conservatives are winning in the Free State and inspire others to do the same. By studying what works there, we can replicate their successes elsewhere.

Liberty isn’t dying everywhere. It lives in New Hampshire. We can take America back, one state at a time.


Joël Valenzuela is the publicist for the 101 Reasons documentary. He also runs The Desert Lynx.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom

A Domestic Cold War?

US Army 2 SC A Domestic Cold War?

The battle lines are drawn. The great war between America’s government and her people fast approaches.

No, this isn’t some dystopian near-future science fiction scenario. This is present-day America we’re talking about. There’s a growing hostility between the U.S. government and certain incorrigible freedom-loving citizens, with the live-and-let-lives caught on the side of their more rowdy fellows, despite best efforts to bury their heads in the sand.

But where are all the battles? Where are the troops filling the streets? Where are the tanks rolling across the countryside, steamrolling all dissidents in their path? In waiting, that’s where. This isn’t a traditional armed conflict I’m predicting; at least, not yet. It’s a cold war. Each side is building up its record of hostile actions against the other, all stopping short of the point of no return.

First, there’s the war over control of information. The degree to which the U.S government has pursued whistleblowers, leakers, and all those who would enforce transparency is worrisome, almost to the point of making the American people out to be some sort of sworn enemy. Almost. As the Bradley Manning trial showed, they will prudently stop short of making that overt declaration of war.

Then we have the great petition embarrassment of 2012. In an attempt to feign concern for the wishes of We the People, the Obama White House set up an online petition mechanism to allow concerned citizens to offer questions and concerns to be answered, provided they could acquire 25,000 signatures. Almost immediately, this tool was used by the denizens of several states as a vehicle to attempt secession from the United States, gathering record numbers of signatures. Naturally, the response was the most diplomatically-worded “no” possible in this situation, but so many voices of dissent to the point of wishing for separation can’t be good news for the federal government.

While we’re on the subject of searching for greater freedom for the states, Free Staters, liberty activists seeking to move to New Hampshire in order to consolidate reform efforts, have become targets of government discrimination. The city of Concord, in its application for federal funds to purchase a Bearcat armored vehicle, cited concerns of domestic terrorism and singled out the entirely-peaceful Free Staters as a primary source for this concern. Under pressure from Free State Project President Carla Gericke, Concord Chief of Police John Duval has since softened his wording to avoid a sense of overt hostility towards Free Staters. But the covert hostility is still there. If one can call buying a tank with your name on it “covert.” This isn’t an isolated incident, either. Hundreds of police departments are doing the same.

Meanwhile, states are pushing back hard against federal overreach through a little thing called nullification, where a state passes a law directly contrary to a federal regulation. Dozens of states have moved to nullify both indefinite detention and infringements on firearm ownership rights. The clear message to Washington of these nullification efforts: you have no power here. Normally, this would provoke a violent response from D.C. to reassert its authority. Instead, the reaction we have had has been very quiet.

Finally, as proof that the potential for domestic armed conflict is on people’s minds, we have a paper detailing a fictional Tea Party armed revolution scenario. While a couple of professors musing over how the military would destroy a citizen uprising doesn’t exactly constitute national policy, it’s a sign of the times nonetheless, reminiscent of Red Dawn and countless other Soviet conflict scenarios from the Cold War era. Also reminiscent of yesteryear’s hostile standoff is a massive arms buildup. Federal agencies’ purchase of billions of rounds of ammunition is fairly well-documented by now. Less well-known is the fact that the American people have also been stocking up, purchasing enough firearms to outfit the entire Chinese and Indian militaries just during the immediate aftermath of the Sandy Hook massacre.

The forces are marshalled and well-armed. Hostile intentions have been made clear. The stage is set for a war over control of these United States of America. A war that may never take place. Instead, we may be treated to years of a hostile standoff punctuated by occasional skirmishes and violent sparks, all falling short of setting the entire country ablaze with war. Only time will tell how this conflict will pan out. I, for one, am expecting a cold war.

Pack your jackets, kids. It’s going to be a long and chilly next few years.


Joël Valenzuela is the editor of The Desert Lynx.

Photo credit: The U.S. Army (Creative Commons)

Cancerville, D.C.

k street dc 207x300 Cancerville, D.C.

Washington, D.C. is booming. And that’s a problem.

America is still sick. Its economy, and indeed that of the world, struggles on in a sorry state of disrepair. The much-awaited recovery is finally here, and it’s nothing to get excited about. Frustrated millenials have even taken to cracking jokes about how easy it was for their parents’ generation to secure a stable financial future. The whole country is still feeling the pain.

Except for Washington. For the District of Columbia, things are going just fine.

Stroll the streets of the nation’s capital city, and you will be greeted by the busy clamor of construction. Visit its bars and restaurants, and you will find them packed and thriving. Wherever you go, you will be hit by an undeniable reality: things are going great here. Make no mistake; in the midst of a miserable economy, Washington, D.C. is a boom town. And there’s something deeply wrong with that.

Washington isn’t a large city. Even the greater D.C. metro area is only the 7th largest in the country, hardly making it the national commercial epicenter. The title it can claim, however, is that of the national seat of government. And that’s the source of its growth. As the government expands and employs more people, so do services and business that directly feed off of a ballooning public sector. This can be anything from housing, restaurants, and other services that cater to employees residing in the D.C. area, to more sinister elements such as lobbying and consulting.

The problem with Washington, D.C.’s boom is this: all its success comes at the expense of the rest of the country. Every dollar the government spends comes out of the pocket of some private citizen or business. D.C. growing while the rest of the country stagnates isn’t a coincidence. The two trends are correlated. The economy languishes because of the increasing burden of the unproductive sector, i.e. the government. We will never have the recovery we long for as long as this direction continues.

When the cancer grows, the host must weaken. As America continues to suffer under the crushing weight of a perpetually-ailed economy, Washington, its parasitic overlord, only becomes stronger. It’s time to cut out the cancer.

Joel Valenzuela is the editor of The Desert Lynx

Cruz And Paul Betrayed By Own Party

Rand Paul Ted Cruz 300x200 Cruz and Paul Betrayed by Own Party

It’s been a rough last few years for the Grand Old Party. From utter vilification during the Bush years to two consecutive presidential election defeats, the Republican Party could use a little pick-me-up.

That’s why it seems so baffling that the two most prominent and accomplished rising stars of the GOP, Ted Cruz and Rand Paul, have been getting so much hate from their own party.

This dynamic senatorial duo has been doing most of the heavy lifting for their party as of late. Sen. Cruz has really had his chance to shine staring down the Obama Administration on gun control. Now he’s at it again, throwing down the gauntlet to Vice President Joe Biden, challenging him to an hour-long debate on gun control. His fearless efforts have even earned him the praise of his enemies.

Sen. Paul, meanwhile, has served splendidly as the face of the resistance to the current Administration. Whether providing the only solid rebuttal to the State of the Union address, grilling then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on the Benghazi debacle and suggesting she be removed from her position, or bringing the whole country to a standstill in a valiant filibuster against drone assassinations of American citizens without due process, Rand Paul has solidified his position as the de facto leader of the Republican Party. He may very well be the foremost GOP contender for a 2016 run for President.

Unfortunately, it seems like there’s no rest for these two weary leaders. Not even from their own party. Cruz has earned ire from fellow Republicans who wish out loud that he would just shut up and stop doing what he does best, never mind that the prevalence of the silent strategy is the reason such bold stands are needed in the first place. Even Paul, the GOP’s unequivocal workhorse, has faced ambushes from his own supposed comrades for standing up for the very principles the whole party is theoretically behind.

The Republican Party purports to stand for limited Constitutional government, personal responsibility, liberty, and a strong family. When said party bites the very hands that lead them into battle for those exact principles, something is clearly wrong. The GOP no longer represents the will of its patriotic American supporters, and is no longer deserving of their support.

Joel Valenzuela is the editor of The Desert Lynx

Photo credit: Gage Skidmore