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Thursday, March 21, 2019

Democrats exercising new-found power: some good, some not so much

Since Democrats reclaimed the majority in the U.S. House of Representatives last November, they have wasted no time in putting their agenda into action. 

Unsatisfied with the special counsel’s investigation of then-candidate, and now-President, Donald Trump’s alleged illegal interaction with Russians to steal the election from Hillary Clinton, there has been a lot of talk about starting new Trump investigations, all while serious national problems are left waiting for attention.

But the House has produced and passed one piece of legislation, H.R. 1, which the Democrat majority calls the “For the People Act.” It is intended “To expand Americans' access to the ballot box, reduce the influence of big money in politics, and strengthen ethics rules for public servants, and for other purposes.”

H.R. 1 has some potentially good features, if properly structured, such as reducing big money in politics.Money for political campaigns should come only from those who are eligible to vote for those candidates or measures on the ballot, and who will be directly affected by those elections. That includes businesses in districts where they actually operate, which should be able to make limited contributions.

However, H.R. 1 contains campaign-spending restrictions that benefit incumbents, including President Donald Trump. Why should incumbents receive favored status?

One poorly considered feature is that Democrats want to lower the voting age to 16. They argue that 16 year-olds are old enough to drive, get married, rent an apartment, work and pay taxes, therefore they are old enough to vote. However, that list contains things that are not universally allowed for 16 year-olds across the nation, and other things that require parental approval.

We are reminded that voting is a right. But it is also a serious responsibility; it should not be available to just anyone, or to everyone. Voting requires maturity, knowledge and forethought. Are 16 year-olds really mature enough, and knowledgeable enough to vote responsibly?

When the voting age was lowered from the age of majority – 21 years of age – to 18, the rationale was that anyone old enough to fight, be injured or perhaps die for their country is old enough to vote.

Whether one is capable of voting responsibly is not a question of age, but of preparation and maturity. At what age is someone adequately versed in the way our country is organized, and why it was designed that way? At what age are they knowledgeable enough about political issues and candidates?

Therefore, a better idea would be that someone 18, 19 or 20 who is actually serving in the military would be able to vote. Otherwise, that right and responsibility comes at age 21.

Some Democrats would go even farther in allowing unprepared and otherwise ineligible people to vote. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), for example, recently proposed a truly irresponsible idea. Citing what she termed the wondrous things immigrants bring to America, she said: “And we want them, when they come here, to be fully part of our system. And that means not suppressing the vote of our newcomers to America.” She left unaddressed the question of whether they are here legally or illegally.

Given the Democrats consistent obstruction of Trump’s efforts to halt the entry of thousands of illegal aliens across the southern border, it appears that she not only prefers no restriction on who comes into America, but also thinks that once here they should be able to vote in elections.

It is incomprehensible that so many actually think this idea is sensible. Many or perhaps most of those wanting to enter America are good people looking for a better life. But not all are. They need to prove they deserve to be admitted, before they come in, and not receive any benefits until they do.

Though not a part of H.R. 1, the Electoral College is a target of the Left. Many of them, still feeling the sting of defeat more than two years after the election, think it denied Clinton the presidency after she collected more of the popular vote than did Trump.

The Electoral College is an original element in the Founders’ design of the government, being addressed in Article II, Section I of the U.S. Constitution, which outlines the way presidential elections are conducted. It was a brilliant element of our government’s structure.

In reality, Clinton lost because she ran a bad campaign, choosing not to campaign in some states that ended up voting red. This helps explain precisely why the Electoral College is necessary: because Americans who do not live on the coasts and in other population centers – who live in what is called “flyover country” – deserve something to balance their desires and electoral preferences against those of the population centers.

Ask yourself: Do we really want presidential candidates focusing only on New York, California and a few other highly populated places during campaigns, telling them what it takes to get their votes, and ignoring the rest of us? 

The Electoral College helps balance the electoral power of large states and large cities with the tens of millions of Americans who would otherwise be at their mercy. It must be protected from the power seekers.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

More news of concern on the environment and manmade climate change



 
The results of a new peer-reviewed Organization Studies survey are out, published in a Forbes article. Founded in 1993, the Organization Studies Research Network’s website explains that it “comes together around a common concern for, and a shared interest to explore, new possibilities in knowledge, culture and change management, within the broader context of the nature and future of organizations and their impact on modern society.”

The survey polled 1,077 geoscientists to find the current thinking of this large group on how human activities are affecting our climate.

The largest subgroup of participants fit the “Comply with Kyoto” model. This subgroup of 36 percent of participants expressed the strong belief that climate change is happening and is not a normal cycle of nature, and humans are the main cause. This result will not surprise the manmade climate change faction among us.

The next largest subgroup is the “Nature is Overwhelming” faction, at 24 percent. These scientists believe that changes to the climate are natural and normal, but they strongly disagree that climate change poses any significant public risk, and see no impact on their personal lives.

Those two groups, however, represent only 60 percent of the total.

Following at 17 percent in third place are the “Fatalists.” They credit both human and natural causes for climate change; consider climate change to be a smaller public risk with little impact on their personal lives; are skeptical that the scientific debate is settled regarding the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) modeling; and think climate change is but a small risk. They are said to hold the position, “How can anyone take action if research is biased,” the report notes.

Coming in fourth are those in the “Economic Responsibility” model at 10 percent of participants. These Earth scientists “diagnose climate change as being natural or human caused,” but more than any other group hold to the idea that the real cause of climate change is unknown, as nature is forever changing and therefore uncontrollable. They also are unlikely to accept that scientific debate is settled.

The smallest subgroup is the “Regulation Activists,” which, at just 5 percent of the total, are skeptical that the scientific debate is settled, and also blame both natural and human causes.

These findings prompted the author of the Forbes article, James Taylor, to conclude that, “Taken together, these four skeptical groups numerically blow away the 36 percent of scientists who believe global warming is human caused and a serious concern.”

Taylor adds, “Now that we have access to hard surveys of scientists themselves, it is becoming clear that not only do many scientists dispute the asserted global warming crisis, but these skeptical scientists may indeed form a scientific consensus.”

These findings should not surprise those who have followed this debate, and who do not automatically subscribe to the idea that fossil fuel use is causing climate change.

“Climate change itself is already in the process of definitively rebutting climate alarmists who think human use of fossil fuels is causing ultimately catastrophic global warming,” wrote Peter Ferrara of the Heartland Institute, in Forbes all the way back in 2012, discussing the seventh International Climate Change Conference.

“That is because natural climate cycles have already turned from warming to cooling, global temperatures have already been declining for more than 10 years, and global temperatures will continue to decline for another two decades or more,” Ferrara continued.

He called attention to the fact that temperatures dropped steadily from the late 1940s to the late 1970s. The popular press even predicted a coming ice age. Ice ages have cyclically occurred roughly every 10,000 years, with a new one actually due around now, Ferrara wrote.

He writes about Don Easterbrook, Professor Emeritus of Geology at Western Washington University, who “publicly predicted in 2000 that global temperatures would decline by 2010. He made that prediction because he knew the Pacific Decadal Oscillation had turned cold in 1999, something the political scientists at the UN’s IPCC did not know or did not think significant.”

Easterbrook was correct, and the IPCC was wrong, Ferrara notes. And 56 percent of the Earth scientists surveyed say that natural causes are a significant factor, and perhaps a more significant factor than fossil fuel use.

Using fossil fuels will naturally give way to other methods when those methods are able to provide the needed energy economically and without drastic disruption.

Until then, we need to stop the climate alarmism and focus on actual problems, like drug addiction, the national debt, and illegal immigration.

Thursday, March 07, 2019

U.S.A. to become U.S.S.R.: United States of Socialist Regression?


https://www.bing.com/th?id=OIP.FzDKDGn0dbjtRH6JYLECVQHaEf&w=272&h=163&c=7&o=5&pid=1.7
No doubt that the Founders and the Framers are spinning in their graves at the degree of sympathy and affection that exists in America today for socialism. They were so smart in creating a nation the design of which is superior to every other that has yet existed, and yet even that nation seems destined to fulfill the prophecy that democracies are doomed to survive only about 200 years.

The USA is not a pure democracy, but something even better: a democratic republic, with protections pure democracy does not offer. That may be what explains why the USA has beaten the 200-year mark by 20 percent.

As Benjamin Franklin explained to Mrs. Powel, who asked outside Independence Hall when the Constitutional Convention of 1787 ended, "Well, Doctor, what have we got, a republic or a monarchy?" Without batting an eye Franklin responded, "A republic, if you can keep it.”

Our democratic republic until fairly recently openly and strongly promoted the ideal of individual freedom supported by individual responsibility, an opportunity open to all who wished to pursue it.

This right of the people, and others, were guaranteed by the Bill of Rights, the first 10 amendments to the U.S. Constitution. These amendments were thought so important that without their specific guarantee some of the states would not have voted to ratify the Constitution.

Today’s socialism promoters use a combination of scare tactics and too-wonderful-to-be-real promises to hoodwink the populace into following them.

These promises, to be completed in the next 10 years, include such things as universal health care; rebuilding every structure in America to meet energy efficiency goals; a guaranteed job with a family sustaining wage, adequate family and medical leave, paid vacations and retirement security for every American; replacing air travel with energy efficient, high speed trains; and to save the world from the idea of life-ending climate catastrophe due to fossil fuel use, as well as eliminating climate-harmful bovine flatulence by doing away with beef as a food.

Trouble is, even if wind, solar and a couple of other sources could actually provide the power the US and the world need, the costs are themselves catastrophic, in the US running to something like $600,000 per household over 10 years. We are told by the proponents of this plan that the costs are not that important, even as we are confronted by a national debt of $22 trillion.

But so many of those on the left have likely already heard and discounted these well-founded negatives. And they may even believe that socialism’s dark past is unimportant.

Do these proponents of socialistic elements not know the history of this ignominious ideology? Do they think it has never succeeded in history only because the right people have not been in charge? Or, do they just not care?

After all, who can argue with the siren song of all this free stuff and utopia just over the horizon?

Perhaps you regard the ubiquitous rookie Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez as a true “seer” of how socialism can and will work under her control – she’s the boss, you know – with the assistance of Bernie Sanders, and far too many other Democrats.

Socialism developed in the mid 1800s. Let’s take a look at the A-List of Socialist Leaders since then: Karl Marx, Vladimir Lenin, Joseph Stalin, Mao Zedong. These rulers, and others like them, brought the socialist utopia to 19 nations, including the Soviet Union, Communist East Germany, Czechoslovakia, Poland, Hungary, the People’s Republic of China, North Vietnam, Cuba, and North Korea. All of them failed.

History tells us that governments in socialist countries killed approximately 110 million people between 1900 and 1987.

And then there’s Venezuela, formerly a prosperous country before the socialist scourge turned wealth to poverty. Today, Venezuelans are short on basic necessities like food, water, medicine, toilet paper, and now must eat out of trashcans, even as humanitarian aid is blocked or destroyed at the border.

Scandinavian countries often are cited as successful socialist nations. However, even with their high taxation they are not truly socialist. In fact, they are less so than before, according to The Federalist online. Sweden, for example, has abandoned its tax-and-spend philosophy, which drove it from prosperity to mediocrity in just over two decades, and while it and its neighbors still have high taxation, Sweden is incorporating more free market ideas.

We can blame much of the ignorance about what real socialism is, especially for younger Americans, on our education system, which to a significant degree has become a tool of the left.

But many of those on the left have already heard and discounted these well-founded negative impacts. And they may even believe that socialism’s dark past is just unimportant. Besides, the truth about socialism stands in the way of their plans for domination.

We had better pay attention to former President Ronald Reagan: “If we lose freedom here, there is no place to escape to. This is the last stand on Earth.”

The United States of America’s long and illustrious success is not an accident. Socialism can never match what we have. We must heed Mr. Reagan’s warning.

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Smollett fiasco reveals much about leftists, and the news media

As President Donald Trump is inclined to do, he frequently comments and tweets about “fake news.” This most often upsets the news media, which maintains they do not indulge in fake news.

That, of course, is sharply debated by a large faction, those who are the targets of, or suffer from, those news stories. Some events are more useful than others in demonstrating how crazy some of these tales really are. For this noble purpose the fates have provided the celebrity bright light Jussie Smollett, who is called the “star” of a less-than-well-known TV show called “Empire.”

For those who may not know the gory details, when the story first broke, Smollett had reported that he was attacked about 2 a.m. on Jan. 29 in a Chicago neighborhood by two people who yelled racial and homophobic slurs at him, tied a rope around his neck, and poured a chemical substance on him, which he believed was bleach. Smollett said at least one assailant told him “this is MAGA country” during the alleged attack, as reported by The Washington Post.

He then appeared on ABC’s “Good Morning America” to further expound upon the racial and homophobic nature of the attack, to assert that the seriousness of the event was not being fully acknowledged by the public, and then proceeded to insult everyone who did not immediately rise to his cause.

However, Chicago police have discovered a substantial amount of evidence supporting the position that the reported hate crime was really a hoax. This evidence is sufficient to have caused the police to charge Smollett with a crime. The “Empire” bright light now looks like a dim bulb.

Even some of the left’s more dependable critics of all things not-liberal condemned Smollett, and others have moved from their previous joyous and unbounded support to a neutral “let’s wait and see’” position.

In the coming days, weeks and months, this story will play out, hopefully getting as much attention as the initial media-friendly story of racist Trumpsters attacking a gay black man in a troubled Chicago neighborhood in the middle of a 20-degree February night.

If there is anything good to come from this, it’s that is it is no longer a tale of horrible racism committed by Trump supporters. Given that a neutral body, the Chicago PD, has put the charge of racism to rest, and put a truthful perspective on this event, it opens the door to demonstrating other false narratives promoted by supposed victims of discrimination.

Many “fake news” stories are automatically accepted as fact without adequate vetting, or because they fit a particular narrative, or both. A few examples are:
** At Drake University, several students were targeted in racist notes this past December. The notes were, in fact, written by one of the students targeted in the notes.
** In the now infamous incident, Covington Catholic High School students in Washington, DC for a pro-life rally were blamed for hassling Native American Nathan Phillips. The disruption turned out to be caused by Phillips, a known troublemaker.
** A liberal journalist for Mic.com was fed a story about a Native American being harassed by a Trump supporter, but it was never confirmed … because it was a hoax.
** Reported hate crimes directed at Muslims, blacks and a bisexual student in different states recently were all later revealed to be hoaxes.

All of these examples were taken as truth and reported before their lack of credibility came to light. Real journalists practicing real journalism could have saved everyone affected by these false stories a lot of grief, had they done their jobs in the required way.

Much of – perhaps most of – the news media reveals itself to be biased toward certain topics – like racism, homophobia, anti-Islamism – and biased against other topics – like Donald Trump, conservatives, and white people, particularly men.

Among way too much of the news media new standards have replaced the traditions of truth, objectivity, fairness, due diligence and balance. The new standards seem to be: Getting it out fast is better than getting it out right; assuming truth is better than finding truth; and inches and minutes of ad sales, and mouse clicks, are foremost.

News should be news and opinion should be opinion and never the twain shall meet. That is a rule that is these days routinely broken. This represents a true crisis that has rendered news journalism a profoundly tattered and broken profession.

When President Trump calls bad news “fake news,” and when he says that purveyors of dishonest news are the “enemy of the people,” he is reacting to what the purveyors of these stories have created for themselves.

When the American people are deliberately misinformed by the very voice upon which they depend for essential information, how is that different from the work of propagandists?

Rather than reacting to the revealing of their corruption as a wake-up call, many of them merely issue denials, and keep traveling the same road.

Few things in life ever match their ideals, but news journalism has fallen to an historic low. The question now is: Can news journalism ever re-earn the trust of the American people?

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Bureaucratic malfeasance in high places puts the nation in jeopardy


Now that President Donald Trump has declared the situation on the southern border a National Emergency his opponents have predictably offered criticisms. It is unconstitutional, or illegal, or unnecessary, or whatever negative arguments they can come up with.

However, while the Constitution does not grant presidents this authority, the Congress gave them the authority to declare national emergencies with the National Emergencies Act of 1975, requiring that the president outline the specific emergency powers he is using under existing statutes.

Declaring a National Emergency is not the rare bird that Trump’s critics would have you believe. There have been nearly 60 declarations since the law passed, including these by the following presidents: Jimmy Carter – twice; Ronald Reagan – six times; George H.W. Bush – five times; Bill Clinton – 17 times; George W. Bush – 13 times; Barack Obama – 12 times; and three previously by Trump.

Even though the statute has been used often since it became law, Trump has received criticism from both sides of the aisle for this one. 

Andrew McCarthy is a former Chief Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York and legal authority. He wrote the following about Trump’s considering using the National Emergency declaration: “The presumption in our law, whether we agree with it or not, is that this power to declare emergencies and, in effect, legislate measures to deal with them has been delegated to the president by Congress in numerous statutes,” and he may “invoke any powers Congress has delegated by statute for such emergencies.”

Of course this does not mean that a court challenge will not be made to the declaration, which Trump has already predicted will happen. The argument made by Congressional Democrats – who seem to defend open borders and illegal aliens, etc. – will be that there is no crisis justifying a National Emergency declaration that will allow the president to build barriers on sections of the border to stifle illegal entry into the country.

We do know that millions of illegal aliens are in the country. We know that thousands of people are coming to the border in caravans desiring to enter illegally. We know that some of them are violent, are drug traffickers, gang members and other unseemly characters. But we don’t know how many of them will commit crimes if they get in. We know how many of those who got in illegally were captured and how many of those committed crimes. We don’t know how many that committed crimes were not caught.

But we do know that FBI data show that there were 115,717 murders from 2003 through 2009. The General Accounting Office documents that criminal immigrants committed 25,064 of these murders. That averages out to 3,580 Americans that were murdered by illegal aliens in each of those seven years.

We also know that many Congressional Democrats say that these figures do not constitute a crisis, only a problem. And such insignificant problems do not justify the erection of additional barriers along the southern border to help keep illegals out.

If this is such a serious problem, they ask, why didn’t Trump take care of it before now?

Fair question. Perhaps it is because the most effective and acceptable way to address border security is through legislation, and with a Republican majority in both houses of Congress when he took office, he expected Congress to do that job. It failed to do so.

One might expect the numbers related to illegal aliens in America, from dollars to deaths, to catch the attention of Republicans in Congress. Unfortunately, like Democrats, many Republicans do not consider these numbers a crisis, either. How many Americans have to die at the hands of illegal aliens before these elected public servants consider it a crisis?

Some of this failure to recognize the seriousness of inadequate border control no doubt results from the personal dislike of Donald Trump. So strong is this hatred that it compels people to abandon their sworn duties to the American people and obstruct Trump’s efforts to guide the country.

Others go farther: they work in the DOJ and FBI and plotted to remove him from office. Their motto might go something like this: “We don’t like Trump, and we are going to look until we find a crime to take him out. Or create one.”

Removing a duly elected president is way above the pay grade of these arrogant, self-important bureaucrats. It is not part of the job description of the hired hands in the Justice Department and FBI to plot the overthrow of the President of the United States. Their job is to serve their bosses, the American people. Yet, we find that such plotting did occur.

Whether this behavior meets the legal definition of treason is open to question, but it definitely resides in the neighborhood of that high crime. Certainly, this behavior warrants some degree of serious punishment. Yet today, the worst that any of them has received is being fired.

The Justice Department has sat peacefully on its hands while this subversion of the president was occurring and has done nothing since then.

Perhaps the newly confirmed attorney general will fix that.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Due process and proving guilt are important principles of fairness


Defending Democrats is not something I feel the need to do very often, but recent developments compel defending those condemned for something without due process.

In America, we live by an important principle: everyone is innocent until proven guilty.

When the hearings for Judge Brett Kavanaugh for appointment to the U.S. Supreme Court began last year, many people automatically believed Kavanaugh was guilty of the accusations against him without having seen or heard anything besides the accusation of wrongdoing that allegedly occurred decades ago.

Today, the Lt. Governor of Virginia, Democrat Justin Fairfax, stands accused of sexual improprieties from years ago. Immediately upon those accusations being made public, there was again the jumping to the conclusion that he was guilty, based upon nothing more than accusations.

Yes, there is more evidence of Fairfax having a connection to each of his two accusers than what was shown against Kavanaugh. But so far it is just an accusation, albeit a somewhat convincing story. Even so, that falls well short of what ought to be required to remove someone from office.

There is a process for removing an official like a lieutenant governor from office. It’s called impeachment and trial. 

If we are so shortsighted as to be willing to demand someone be removed from a position simply because of an accusation, we will have abandoned a critical protection from vicious and unfounded charges that every one of us benefits from.

Never forget: Anyone can accuse anyone of anything at any time. If that is the standard required for trashing someone’s reputation and removing them from a position they hold, we are indeed in trouble as a nation.

The resignations of two other Democrats in high Virginia government offices also are being demanded for activity decades ago. Gov. Ralph Northam and Attorney General Mark Herring both have admitted to appearing in public in “blackface,” being made up to look like African Americans.

Northam first apologized for being in a photo showing a blackface man and another person in a KKK costume, and later denied being one of those two people. He also said later he had participated in a dance contest in blackface as Michael Jackson.

Northam and Herring are also hearing demands for them to resign. If these resignations happen, the new governor for the Commonwealth would be the Speaker of the House of Delegates, who is a Republican.

As much as I personally would like to see a Republican as Governor of Virginia, this is not the way that should be accomplished. Northam and Herring might be racists. This episode of decades ago, however, does not prove that.

Today, such activity as Northam and Herring participated in is identified as wrong. However, a few decades ago, it was not unusual for white folks to appear in blackface for minstrel shows and other performances. Blacks actually were sometimes in those shows. Many times these performances involved a white person playing the part of a black person, but they were not ridiculing or insulting blacks, they were often honoring them.

Perhaps this outrage is due, at least in part, to not knowing much about our history. White people appearing in blackface goes back a long, long way, to the 19thcentury. More recent Americans to have appeared in blackface include old timers Judy Garland, Al Jolson, Bing Crosby and Bob Hope.

But some current popular folks appearing in blackface include Ted Danson, as his girlfriend, Whoopi Goldberg, looked on laughing. Dan Aykroyd appeared in a movie with Eddie Murphy. And left-media darlings Jimmy Fallon, Jimmy Kimmel, Joy Behar and Sarah Silverman also have painted their faces. So have Billy Crystal, Cyndy Lauper, Robert Downey, Jr. and Jason Aldean.

The key element here is that when Northam and Herring performed these acts, they were not considered wrong. Context is important.

When someone is offended by what someone else does, says or writes, that is not all there is to the story. Being offended has replaced baseball as the National Pastime. It’s almost as if people go to college and major in “how to be offended.”

But just because being offended is popular today does not mean that the offended party is always correct in their reaction to things. And just because someone or some group takes offense at something doesn’t mean we must hasten to pass laws against it. The intent of the person being accused of some social infraction is far more important – it is the most important thing.

Just because one or more people think what someone wrote, spoke or did is bad doesn’t mean that the person intended it that way. The error might well be on the part of the offended party, who doesn’t understand the context, but feels empowered to complain about it.

Furthermore, it is unfair for people to be criticized today for doing things that were common and not unacceptable when they did them years or decades before.

We’ve got to get past this idea of perpetual victimhood, get control of the tendency to believe that our individual feelings are paramount, and return to dealing with things we don’t like in a mature, American fashion.

Tuesday, February 05, 2019

Democrats’ move toward socialism isn’t sitting well with their base


Most would agree that since the election of Donald Trump as President of the United States things have been crazier than they have ever been, or at least crazier than they have been in our memory.

The left regards Trump as whacko, even as their own policies push the boundaries of radicalism.

Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and even Hillary Clinton are still on scene, and they are joined with a cadre of faces new to the race for the Democrat nomination to oppose Trump, or if he is somehow taken out in the primary, or otherwise, whomever the Republicans put up in 2020.

Trump’s unconventional, non-politician, combative style has put off nearly everybody at some time (or always) and the inability of folks to get beyond their personal feelings surely has further gummed things up even more.

But somehow, all of this has emboldened and set free the most radical among the Democrats, who push socialist ideals as if they are actually reasonable.

“The Democrats have become socialists,” stated liberal columnist Dana Milbank back in September of 2017, less than a year after Trump took office.

“This became official, more or less … when [Bernie] Sanders rolled out his socialized health-care plan, Medicare for All, and he was supported by 16 of his Senate Democratic colleagues who signed on as co-sponsors, including the party's rising stars and potential presidential candidates in 2020: Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker, Kamala Harris, Kirsten Gillibrand.”

You may have seen the news since then that all of those folks, and even more, have either declared their candidacy, or hinted at it.

Sen. Harris, the former California Attorney General, suggests doing away with private health insurance, replacing it with single-payer government healthcare.

She told CNN’s Jake Tapper that if people like their current health insurance, they would not be able to keep it. "Well, listen, the idea is that everyone gets access to medical care,” she said. “And you don't have to go through the process of going through an insurance company, having them give you approval, going through the paperwork, all of the delay that may require," she told Tapper.

On its face, this actually sounds like a good move. But just ask many a military veteran how government healthcare has worked for them. And the idea that government healthcare would have less paperwork? Where does she think the mountains of existing paperwork had their origin?

But returning to Milbank’s 2017 column, he noted the dramatic shift since 2013, when “Sanders introduced similar legislation” and “he didn’t have a single co-sponsor.”

Democrats obviously believe this approach is their winning strategy, and perhaps even believe it makes sense. The current environment among Democrats has allowed the emergence of a 29-year-old whippersnapper named Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to dislodge a long-time New York House member, and quickly rise to fame. So fast and so prominently, in fact, that the old guard was knocked off balance, if balance they ever had.

These folks generally advocate doing away with ICE, open borders, single-payer healthcare - Medicare for All, doing away with private health insurance, abortion up to and even after birth, removing requirements for a photo ID to vote, allowing illegals to vote, radical gun control, raising taxes, free college education, and the Green New Deal.

The latter is one of Cortez’ favored positions. Somehow, despite her wild ideas and silly answers to serious questions, she has garnered a good bit of influence, enough to attract the attention of party leaders in Congress.

And liberal gadfly Michael Moore thinks so much of her that he wants the Constitution amended so that she can run for president.

“It's too bad you have to be 35 to be president,” Moore said on MSNBC. “We put that in the constitution, the Founding Fathers, because people died at 38 or 40 back then. Y'know, we need to lower that. If that was lowered to 30 ...” Obviously, logic is not Moore’s strong point.

These Democrat ideas have gotten so radical that one liberal Democrat, former Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe, raised the flag of caution. “We’ve got to have actionable, practical ideas,” he said. “And I worry — we can’t get into this election season with everybody trying to out-promise one another.”

One survey shows that McAuliffe’s concerns are backed up by data. Democrat and Democrat-leaning registered voters responded to a Pew Research Center survey that by a 53- to 40-percent margin, they want their party to move right, to a more moderate position.

The number of Democrats who view their ever-more-socialist party favorably has fallen from 53 percent last September to 49 percent this year, and 47 percent viewed the party in a negative way.

Interestingly, the survey showed that 58 percent of Republicans seek a more conservative party, while 38 percent seek a more moderate party.

An editorial in Investor’s Business Daily puts things nicely into perspective: ”Socialism is the most pernicious political system ever. Wherever it's been tried, it's led to mass misery, poverty, loss of rights, and even mass killing. Today, Venezuela, North Korea and Zimbabwe are notable examples. True American socialism wouldn't be any better.”

Amen to that.