Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Gervais pleased many, angered others at Golden Globe awards show

Don’t you get sick of seeing and hearing people in the entertainment industry, including athletes, when they inform us of how we should think about things, especially things outside their miniscule area of expertise? We may even wish there was a way to stop them.

But then, if they were somehow convinced to stop their proselytizing and propagandizing, we would lose the exciting evidence of their egotism and often their idiocy.

Last week, for those who watched the Golden Globes, it was a celebration of comeuppance for those purveyors of “I know better than you do” when the host, comedian Ricky Gervais, gave the audience and viewers a great show.

At the top he announced that it was his “last time” hosting the show and then proceeded to do what so many of us have been wanting someone to do: put virtue-signaling Hollywood in its place. 

“Let’s go out with a bang, let’s have a laugh at your expense,” he said. “Remember, they’re just jokes. We’re all gonna die soon and there’s no sequel, so remember that.”

Suggesting to them the way they should behave in accepting an award, he said, “So if you do win an award tonight, don’t use it as a platform to make a political speech. You’re in no position to lecture the public about anything. You know nothing about the real world. Most of you spent less time in school than Greta Thunberg. So, if you win, come up, accept your little award, thank your agent, and your God and [expletive deleted] off, OK?”

Gervais poked fun at a few folks. He teased Leonardo DiCaprio, who has a penchant for women younger than his 45 years, and the premier of his new two-hour and 40-minute film “Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood.” 

“Leonardo DiCaprio attended the premiere and by the end — his date was too old for him,” he said. “Even Prince Andrew is like, ‘Come on mate, you’re nearly 50.'” he said, as DiCaprio laughed approvingly.

He got a bit edgy about director Martin Scorsese, making fun of his feud with the Marvel franchise, comparing the fight with a theme park, and mocking Scorsese’s diminutive height. Gervais said, “I don’t know what he’s doing at theme parks.” He’s not big enough to go on the rides.”

“Lots of big celebrities here tonight,” he said. “Legends. Icons. This table alone — Al Pacino, Robert DeNiro … Baby Yoda. Oh, that’s Joe Pesci, sorry. I love you man. Don’t have me whacked.”

For the most part, the celebrity-infested audience took it pretty well. 

Pat Sajak, the long-time host of “Wheel of Fortune,” also has taken it to our entertainment betters, although in a much less splashy way. “I’m sick of hearing how we celebrities are in some kind of bubble and we don’t understand real life,” he tweeted. “When I’m out in public and people approach me, I’m always interested in what they have to say to my security detail.”

In another tweet last August, Sajak took it upon himself as a celebrity to help Americans understand how to live well: “As you probably know, we celebrities are uniquely qualified to tell you how to live and what to think, and I take that responsibility seriously. I’m working hard, and I expect to have my list of rules available in a week or so. Meantime, just do your best on your own.”

Following the Las Vegas massacre in 2017, celebrities rushed to Twitter, cameras and other outlets to make sure everyone knew exactly what they thought about it. Unable to resist the opportunity to poke them, Sajak tweeted, “OK, let me explain this again: We’re celebs. We’re wiser & more empathetic than you. We are famous. Please take our opinions more seriously.”

However, while the winners took Gervais’ ribbing pretty well, they didn’t take his advice on how to properly accept their awards, holding forth with their predictably self-important advice and political opinions.

Without giving them undeserved promotion, the following nameless winners got political:
* One big name, who was not present, but had submitted an acceptance message, blamed climate change for the Australian fires.
* Another condemned President Trump’s killing of the Iranian terrorist Qassem Suleimani.
* A third used her acceptance speech to defend killing the unborn.

The news media, on the other hand, was horrified at the insolent treatment of the nation’s beloved elite. The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, Slate, Vulture, USA Today, and others blasted Gervais for daring to speak so negatively about America’s cherished celebrities.

Summing it all up, The Federalist wrote: “If the Monday morning analyses of Gervais’s hosting gig are to be believed, we really ought to be more sensitive to those poor celebrities and not be so ‘just plain mean’ to them simply for ‘having hope.’ Entertainment writer and self-proclaimed ‘neoliberal shill coastal elitist’ Bob Chipman even suggested that celebrities are a marginalized people who don’t deserve to be skewered this way.”

Having been duly chastised for our brief period of enjoyment at the celebrities’ discomfort, we will now obediently go back to bowing and scraping before them.

Remember, they’re just jokes.

Thursday, January 09, 2020

A few days into the new year, and Trump’s already in trouble!

An American drone attacked and killed the leader of Iran’s Quds Force, terrorist Qasem Soleimani, last Thursday night in Bagdad, Iraq. The action, one of President Donald Trump’s first acts in 2020, has earned him the wrath of Iran, Democrats, and much of the news media.

The Federalist reported, “According to the State Department, Soleimani’s Quds Forces plotted a terrorist attack against the Saudi Arabian Ambassador on American soil in 2011 that was luckily foiled. And in 2018, Iran and the IRGC were found liable in U.S. federal court for the 1996 Khobar Towers Bombing which resulted in the loss of 19 American lives.”

Iran is and has been the top state sponsor of terrorism for a long time, and as its top general, Soleimani had much blood on his hands, having killed or badly wounded thousands of Syrians, Iraqis, Yemenis, and Lebanese, and killed some seven hundred Americans over the last decade or so. And just last month an attack on a U.S. base in Iraq killed an American contractor and wounded several American and Iraqi forces. He was one of the most evil and wanted creatures on the planet.

And, the Trump administration said that Soleimani was planning attacks against other American troops in the region. But neither those statistics nor that explanation was enough to dampen criticism from the anti-Trump faction and media.

The attack on Soleimani served as retaliation for the December attack, and a pre-emptive act for planned attacks. Preventing attacks is far better than avenging previous ones, although the latter is better than nothing.

Among the interesting responses from the MSM: The Washington Post labeled Soleimani to be “Iran’s most revered military leader.” CBS News referred to the terrorist as both a “revered figure” and a “war hero.” A New York Timesjournalist tweeted a video of Soleimani reading poetry. Another journalist compared his death to the killing of Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, and Captain America. And one critic imagined that this attack somehow represented an “act of war,” as if Soleimani was not already at war with us.

The media discovered yet another new word, after discovering “existential” last year. This was Trump’s “Benghazi,” a term rarely used after the 2012 attack when an American ambassador and three brave associates were murdered at the American diplomatic compound in Libya. Multiple pleas for assistance were ignored or refused, while then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and then-President Barack Obama unconcernedly sipped herbal tea in the safety of their offices.

Comparing Trump’s exercise to Benghazi is a preposterous concept, even for Congressional Democrats: four Americans died in Benghazi because the Obama administration failed to act; no Americans died in the Bagdad attack when President Trump acted.

And, of course, Democrats were horrified, angered, perplexed, and ran for their safe spaces. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., criticized Trump for leaving Congress out of the decision and for the retaliation Iran promised. 

“American leaders’ highest priority is to protect American lives and interests. But we cannot put the lives of American service members, diplomats, and others further at risk by engaging in provocative and disproportionate actions,” Pelosi said in a written statement. “Tonight’s airstrike risks provoking further dangerous escalation of violence.  America — and the world — cannot afford to have tensions escalate to the point of no return.”

In 2011, another terrorist with American blood on his hands was sent to hell by the U.S. military. The Obama administration did not notify Congress prior to the raid that took out Osama bin Laden. But somehow Trump’s action against Soleimani required Congressional approval. Pelosi and the rest need to understand that the U.S. President is also the Commander-in-Chief of America’s military, whether a Democrat or a Republican.

A President Pelosi, if the nation were ever to be so hopelessly unfortunate, would apparently prefer to let Soleimani keep killing Americans a few at a time, forever. Perhaps she has forgotten, if she ever knew, that Iran has been a rogue nation for decades, breaking terms of the nuclear deal that was supposed to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons with abandon, and killing people — including hundreds of Americans — at will.

The Iraqis had a divided response to the death of the terrorist. Prime Minister Abdul-Mahdi called the U.S. drone strike an “assassination.” “Why would the Soleimani assassination not immediately trigger a limited or even major conflict?” he said in a statement. “The structural factors are powerful.”

On the other hand, many Iraqi citizens were celebrating the demise of the terrorist, who was in Iraq talking to an Iraqi militia leader for some reason. The militia leader also died in the attack.

Under Trump’s presidency, a number of terrorist leaders that have been eliminated: Hamza bin Laden, son and successor of Osama bin Laden; ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and likely successor Abu Hassan al-Muhajir;
Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the leader of Kataeb Hezbollah or the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF); and now Qasem Soleimani.

Having a president who fights back sends a beneficial message to the world, a message missing from the U.S. for a long time. If you kill Americans, this president will repond.

Wednesday, January 01, 2020

Happy New Year! The roaring twenties? Or, the middling twenties?

The new year is upon us, and our country enters the decade of the 20s with significant problems, as happens most years. But, it also begins with some positive elements.

Among the negatives and troublesome issues are: 
* Illegal immigration and illegal aliens benefitting from their misconduct, as American jurisdictions protect and cater to them. 
* There is far too much crime and dislike of, and violence against law enforcement. 
* Continued mechanization of work will gradually end job possibilities for Americans still in school, or who lack training or skills, and are doing low-skilled and unskilled work.
* Budget deficits and an enormous $23 trillion national debt require serious attention.
* K-12 schools often perform below standards, and too often brainwash kids, rather than focusing their attention on subject matter.
* Foolish political correctness and historical and factual ignorance has produced excitement over foolish ideas like the Green New Deal, Medicare for All, and misfocused attention on gun control.
* Venomous political division, which reaches its peak with the hatred of President Donald Trump. 

Trump’s unpopularity is due in part to his divisive behavior. But much, or most, of it stems from him being an “outsider.” He defied all the expert political pundits, confounded all the pre-nomination and pre-election pollsters, and won election in the political arena, where he was an absolute green-horn. The insiders were and are beside themselves.

He doesn’t do things in the “approved” way, and that really bothers a lot of people. However, Trump is not the only president to do things that lots of folks didn’t like. That history of other nonconformist presidents should help people understand that being different isn’t necessarily bad.

Trump threatens the continued existence of “the swamp,” the “Deep State,” the unelected bureaucratic establishment, which has gained much power through the years. With that power an out-of-all-reason sense of privilege developed and produced the fallacious idea that these mere public servants really run the country. These misguided employees resent and resist obeying those who hold office, their bosses.

Trump really is an “existential threat” to that group, a group that includes James Clapper, John Brennan, James Comey, Peter Strzok, Lisa Page, and a cast of hundreds or thousands of federal employees and politicians who play the treasonous game.

Trump’s divergent approach to governing/government drives the swamp-dwellers crazy, not only because of the way he does and says things, but because he doesn’t behave in the proper way, and often doesn’t follow their advice.

Worse, in undoing so much of what went on before his election, actions that did much damage to the country, many positive results have occurred that drive the opposition doubly crazy, as their behavior so plainly illustrates.

First, Trump is different, and that is not acceptable, and they also find him disagreeable, disgusting and uncouth. Second, he is successful! Not everything he ran on has come about, but many good things are happening that were not supposed to happen.

Which of those angers Democrats the most? Probably Trump’s successes. It must be frustrating to have a president that they dislike and wasn’t supposed to win, that has done things they either haven’t been able to do, or that they didn’t want done.

Consequently, the opposition is devoted to bringing him down, and will use anything they can dream up to do it. Hence, the badly flawed impeachment and removal process. 

There are many good things going on that we should be thankful for, several of them in the economic sector, which lead to broader improvements in the lives of most Americans:
* A reduction in business-paralyzing regulations has spurred business expansion and job development.
* More than 7 million new jobs have been created since 2017; there are now 1.2 million more job openings than people needing a job; a 50-year low unemployment rate, record lows in Hispanic and Black unemployment; and an increase in the workforce participation rate.
* 6.4 million fewer people now need food stamps, since more of them are working again.
* Median household income, adjusted for inflation, has risen by 8.2 percent, or $5,003 since January 2017.
* The reduction in tax rates has enabled people to keep more of their earnings, raising their standard of living.
* Lower interest rates have decreased the cost of buying a home or a new car, and other borrowing.
* There are 187 new originalist (non-activist) judges now on the federal courts.
* Slowly, the foreign involvement of our troops is being reduced.

These are things Trump campaigned on. Some of his campaign issues have been accomplished, and others are yet to be accomplished. Most of these things have the support of the voting public.

A great way to start the new year, with an election less than a year away, is to adopt a pro-America attitude. Stop trying to reverse the results of the 2016 election and accept Trump as president. Then, acknowledge the good that is happening, focus on the problem areas and work to improve them.

And, if you are not satisfied with the current occupant of the White House, you can vote for a new president in November.

Thursday, December 26, 2019

“Merry Impeachmas!” A celebration of impeachment and Christmas?

That greeting, “Merry Impeachmas,” is a comment from a reporter at The Washington Post, celebrating either the impeachment of the president, or the end of a long day, depending upon whether you believe the Post VP’s explanation.

The impeachment process, so far three months long, is an exercise in futility, desperation, and division. The only good thing about this wasteful exercise is the embarrassing lack of evidence against President Donald Trump.

After the vote last week by the House of Representatives to impeach the president, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., still has not delivered the articles of impeachment to the Senate so it can do its part of the process. She didn’t do that, she said, because she is waiting to be sure the process in the Senate is a fair one.

How interesting. Fairness only became of interest to her after the House impeachment hearings broke records for unfairness. Due process — a major element of American jurisprudence where each side has the same rights — was happily shoved into the corner by the majority party. 

Republicans were denied being able to call witnesses, and Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff, D-Calif., was not the least bit shy about telling witnesses not to answer questions from Republican Committee members.

But even though House Democrats denied due process to President Trump and House Republicans, Pelosi insists on fairness for Democrats in the Republican-controlled Senate phase, apparently believing that she controls the Senate, too.

It is appropriate to ask, if Trump is such a bad president, and if he has actually done anything warranting impeachment and removal from office, why wouldn’t Democrats make sure the process is excruciatingly fair and just to preclude claims of bias and discrimination? Because their case is paper thin. Due process was tossed out to make their job easier.

Contrary to Trump’s insistence, the phone call with Ukraine President Zelensky, a major focus of Democrats, was not perfect. But it was not a quid pro quo, nor was it bribery. Zelensky denies being pressured; he did not know the aid was being withheld until after the call; all of the aid was provided, and all but a little of it was provided on time.

The thing that got this case started, the so-called “whistleblower,” was not in on the phone call, and only knew what he/she heard about the call from others: hearsay. Most Democrat witnesses were unable to provide anything other than hearsay, deeply held hopes and wishes, exaggerations and no real or persuasive evidence. This explains why Democrat leaders are so afraid for the whistleblower to testify. 

They don’t admit that, of course. Instead, they say they don’t want him/her to become a target. However, a whistleblower’s identity is not protected; he/she is protected only from workplace retaliation, and is not protected from testifying, or from criminal charges, if appropriate.

Congress approved the foreign aid to Ukraine. However, most people understand the president has the duty to ascertain that the country receiving our money is behaving appropriately. 

Democrats allege that Trump held up aid unless Ukraine did certain things, including looking into possible corruption involving then-Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter, who had an extraordinarily odd relationship with a Ukrainian company.

Using the fact that Joe Biden is a potential Trump opponent for the presidency, they assert that Trump wanted to investigate a political rival. However, at the time, Biden was just one of 24 Democrats seeking the nomination, not THE nominee, thus not yet really a political rival. Further, being a political rival does not immunize one from investigation of possible corruption.

Biden admitted — bragged about — withholding aid to Ukraine when he was Vice President unless a Ukrainian prosecutor, who was looking into the company that paid Biden’s son millions to be on its board of directors, was fired. The prosecutor was fired. The video of Biden telling this story has been played frequently, and that this occurred is not in question.

Biden actually issued a real quid pro quo, and bragged about doing so. And, the relationship between the Ukrainian company and the Vice President’s son was a legitimate focus of an investigation of corruption in Ukraine involving Joe and Hunter prior to the 2016 election.

This entire exercise appears to be a hard-feelings effort to undo the legitimate election of Donald Trump to the presidency. Its credibility is further damaged by talk of impeachment back when Trump was still a candidate, and again the day after the election, before he was sworn in.

Texas Democrat Rep. Al Green said, “I’m concerned if we don’t impeach this president, he will get re-elected.” The fear of losing again in 2020 is not grounds for impeachment. He also said that if Trump wins in 2020, he can be impeached again. And Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-NY, said: “Our next election is at risk … That is why we must act now.”

Leaving aside for the moment the impeachment, things are going pretty well for our country. Even CNN, a ranking anti-Trump network, acknowledged that the US economy has earned its highest ratings in almost two decades. 

Too much success is bad for the Democrats, and demands impeachment.

Friday, December 20, 2019

We should embrace and build on America’s traditional values

Today’s political atmosphere is toxic. It is filled with hard feelings, bad intentions, exaggeration, insults, misunderstandings, and more. People on one side of the political spectrum often automatically write off people on the other side simply because they hold different opinions.

It is difficult to have a calm, rational discussion about the differences, as some are offended or angered with the mere prospect of coming face to face with ideas that are different than their own. In this atmosphere, details get lost in the noise, and the essence of the broad philosophies of each side, which need to be discussed, compared and evaluated, lie there ignored while the battle rages.

Those on the political right, conservatives, hold to a set of principles that should not scare or anger anyone. They are practical concepts to which our country has subscribed for many decades, such as: free enterprise, limited government, individual freedom, traditional American values and strong national defense.

Here, stated more broadly, are those conservative principles:

1. The federal government exists to preserve life, liberty and property, and it is instituted to protect the rights of individuals according to natural law. Among these rights are the sanctity of life; the freedom of speech, religion, the press, and assembly; the right to bear arms; the right of individuals to be treated equally and justly under the law; and to enjoy the fruits of one’s labor.

2. The federal government’s powers are limited to those named in the Constitution and should be exercised solely to protect the rights of its citizens. As Thomas Jefferson said, “The government closest to the people serves the people best.” Powers not delegated to the federal government, nor prohibited by the Constitution, are reserved to the states or to the people.

3. Judges should interpret and apply our laws and the Constitution based on their original meaning, not upon judges’ personal and political predispositions.

4. Individuals and families—not government—make the best decisions regarding their and their children’s health, education, jobs, and welfare.

5. The family is the essential foundation of civil society, and traditional marriage serves as the cornerstone of the family.

6. The federal deficit and debt must not place unreasonable financial burdens on future generations.

7. Tax policies should raise only the minimum revenue necessary to fund constitutionally appropriate functions of government.

8. America’s economy and the prosperity of individual citizens are best served by a system of free enterprise, with special emphasis on economic freedom, private property rights, and the rule of law. This system is best sustained by policies promoting free trade and deregulation, and opposing government interventions in the economy that distort markets and impair innovation.

9. Regulations must not breach constitutional principles of limited government and the separation of powers.

10. America must be a welcoming nation—one that promotes patriotic assimilation and is governed by laws that are fair, humane, and enforced to protect its citizens.

11. Justice requires an efficient, fair, and effective criminal justice system—one that gives defendants adequate due process and requires an appropriate degree of criminal intent to merit punishment.

12. International agreements and international organizations should not infringe on American’s constitutional rights, nor should they diminish American sovereignty.

13. America is strongest when our policies protect our national interests, preserve our alliances of free peoples, vigorously counter threats to our security, and advance prosperity through economic freedom at home and abroad.

14. The best way to ensure peace is through a strong national defense.”

Contrary to the common narrative, conservatives who hold these principles are not racist. They are not xenophobic, or homophobic, or sexist, or white-nationalistic. Those mischaracterizations come from political antagonists who either don’t make the effort to understand conservative principles, and instead react emotionally. Others deliberately twist their meanings in an effort to delegitimize them, hoping to demonize the opposition and generate support for their own rebellious ideas.

Those 14 principles, “True North: The Principles of Conservatism,” were articulated by The Heritage Foundation, and have in their favor ages of proven success. It was upon these steadfast, common sense principles that the United States of America was established, and upon which it became the great nation that it is.

Rather than working to further improve the American system, an opposition force works to tear it down and replace these solid, proven principles with historically unsuccessful and dangerous principles of socialist and communist systems that have failed wherever they have been tried.

Democrat socialists won’t admit that socialism is their goal, saying that they really don’t want full-blown socialism, only certain desirable parts of it.

But socialistic methods are a slippery slope, and once a nation is well down the slope, escape is virtually impossible. For a real life, contemporary example, review the recent history of Venezuela.

During the 1970s, Venezuela was the richest country in Latin America, and one of the most stable democracies in the Americas. Then came the election of President Hugo Ch├ívez, who propagated "socialism for the 21st century," which was about establishing liberty, equality, social justice, and solidarity. 

Today, Venezuela is the third least free economy in the world, ahead of only Cuba and North Korea.

Thursday, December 12, 2019

Impeachment effort is falling short of Constitutional standards

Democrats have wanted to impeach President Donald Trump for a long time. Here is some background on the process.

Impeachment allows Congress to remove the President, Vice President or any civil officer of the United States. This is the fourth attempted impeachment of a president in our history. 

The Constitution says the House of Representatives may begin impeachment proceedings when it believes some official has committed treason, bribery, or a high crime or misdemeanor. Treason and bribery are well defined. However, high crimes and misdemeanors are not well defined.

After investigation the House may vote to impeach. If the measure passes, the U.S. Senate holds a trial, and if it convicts the accused, he or she is removed from office and may not hold any such U.S. office in the future. If the Senate does not convict, the impeached official remains in office.

In reality, the House can impeach an official merely by voting to do so, whether or not an impeachable offense has been proved, or even identified. All that is important is whether the vote to impeach passes. Such a situation, however, is not what the Constitution intends. 

Enemies of Donald Trump began calling for his impeachment immediately after he won the 2016 presidential election and before he had even taken the oath of office. Investigations of him and his campaign began in July 2016, when the FBI began investigating Russia’s attempt to influence the 2016 presidential election, including whether Trump’s campaign was involved in those efforts.

Investigations of one sort or another have been going on ever since. The House Judiciary Committee chaired by Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., is now holding hearings on impeachment, following the highly partisan, one-sided episodes in the House Intelligence Committee, chaired by Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif.

Conventional wisdom holds that the House Democrat majority will vote to impeach Trump, but that the Republican controlled Senate will not vote to convict. This means Trump will remain in office, and will run for, and quite possibly win, reelection.

Of the many Trump offenses, real and imagined, the one currently being pursued involves a phone call to Ukrainian President Zelensky. 

During the call, the official transcript shows Trump asking for help in investigating the election irregularities: “I would like you to do us a favor, though, because our country has been through a lot, and Ukraine knows a lot about it. I would like you to find out what happened with this whole situation with Ukraine …”

And later, he asks for assistance with potential corruption on the part of former Vice President, Joe Biden. “The other thing, there’s a lot of talk about Biden’s son, that Biden stopped the prosecution and a lot of people want to find out about that, so whatever you can do with the Attorney General would be great. Biden went around bragging that he stopped the prosecution, so if you can look into it … It sounds horrible to me.”

Congressionally approved financial aid was put on hold prior to the phone call. Democrats think this indicates a “quid pro quo,” a “this for that” arrangement between Trump and Zelensky.

After the term “quid pro quo” failed to get adequate public interest, the charge was changed to bribery. However, in either case, Zelensky would have to be aware that the aid was on hold pending his assistance. For one to be bribed, one must know what the other party wants, and what it will pay for it.

Zelenskyy has at least twice said he was not aware of the aid being put on hold until long after the phone call. Further, the aid was provided, and the investigation of Biden was never done. Zelensky has also denied being pressured to do anything.

During the hearings, witnesses, many of whom had impressive credentials, testified. Like the infamous whistleblower, most were not on the call. Their testimony consisted of what someone told them about the call, or what they imagined had occurred. Two witnesses who were on the call essentially said they didn’t like the content, or were uncomfortable with it.

House Democrats want you to believe that Trump’s behavior as president is impeachable. 

However, a look a history shows that to be a gross exaggeration.

Examples of actual bad behavior include:

* John Adams and Abraham Lincoln suspended habeas corpus, the latter without any congressional approval.

* Andrew Jackson ignored courts and laws and used his power to ethnically cleanse lands that he also sometimes happened to have a financial interest in.

* Teddy Roosevelt threatened American citizens with military intervention.

* Lyndon Johnson asked the FBI and CIA to spy on the Goldwater campaign in 1964, and lied about the Gulf of Tonkin, escalating the Vietnam War. 

None of these presidents faced impeachment.

Lifelong liberal Democrat, Constitutional lawyer and civil libertarian Alan Dershowitz said the following: “There is no case for bribery based on — even if all the allegations against the president were to be proved, which they haven’t been — but even if they were to be proved, it would not constitute the impeachable offense of bribery.”

Democrats, please give it up!

Friday, December 06, 2019

Warnings for America from many years ago are still valid today

In Washington, DC in 2003, there was a conference held on the topic of immigration. The conference was attended by a houseful of great minds, one of whom was college professor, author and presenter Victor Davis Hanson, who had just released his book “Mexifornia.”

Following Hanson’s remarks, former Colorado Governor Dick Lamm warned the crowd of things that will destroy America. 

First, Lamm said, "Turn America into a bilingual or multi-lingual and bicultural country. History shows that no nation can survive the tension, conflict, and antagonism of two or more competing languages and cultures.”

Second, "Invent 'multiculturalism' and encourage immigrants to maintain their culture. I would make it an article of belief that all cultures are equal.”

Third, "We could make the United States a 'Hispanic Quebec' without much effort. The key is to celebrate diversity rather than unity.”

"Fourth, I would make our fastest growing demographic group the least educated. I would add a second underclass [which would be] unassimilated, undereducated, and antagonistic to our population.”

"My fifth point for destroying America would be to get big foundations and business to give these efforts lots of money. I would invest in ethnic identity, and I would establish the cult of 'Victimology.' I would get all minorities to think their lack of success was the fault of the majority. I would start a grievance industry blaming all minority failure on the majority population."

"My sixth plan for America's downfall would include dual citizenship and promote divided loyalties. I would celebrate diversity over unity. I would stress differences rather than similarities. Diverse people worldwide are mostly engaged in hating each other — that is, when they are not killing each other. A diverse, peaceful, or stable society is against most historical precedent. People undervalue the unity! Unity is what it takes to keep a nation together.”

"Next to last, I would place all subjects off limits ~ make it taboo to talk about anything against the cult of 'diversity.' … Words like 'racist' or 'xenophobe' halt discussion and debate."

"Lastly, I would censor Victor Hanson Davis's book “Mexifornia.” His book is dangerous. It exposes the plan to destroy America. If you feel America deserves to be destroyed, don't read that book."

A similar dark prospect was issued by the great radio commentator Paul Harvey four decades earlier. His commentary, “If I Were the Devil,” also dealt with how the United States could be destroyed from within.

Here’s how the devil would do it. “If I were the devil, I wouldn’t be happy until I had seized the ripest apple on the tree — Thee. So, I’d set about however necessary to take over the United States. I’d subvert the churches first — I would begin with a campaign of whispers. With the wisdom of a serpent, I would whisper to you as I whispered to Eve: ‘Do as you please. Do as you please.’”

A little later, he continued, “And then I’d get organized. I’d educate authors in how to make lurid literature exciting, so that anything else would appear dull and uninteresting. I’d threaten TV with dirtier movies and vice versa. I’d pedal narcotics to whom I could. I’d sell alcohol to ladies and gentlemen of distinction. I’d tranquilize the rest with pills.”

And several years before Harvey’s commentary, George Orwell wrote the novel “Nineteen Eighty-Four” that had a similar theme.

“Nineteen Eighty-Four” is not specifically about destroying America, but is still relevant to our country. Orwell tells of an omni-present and dictatorial government which even controls people’s thoughts. This story is the origin of terms like “thought police” and “Big Brother.” Three slogans are engraved in the Ministry of Truth building: "War is peace," "Freedom is slavery," and "Ignorance is strength."

All you have to do is look objectively to see how far down Destruction Road America has been driven. Our government has grown far beyond its intended size and scope. If someone who would turn healthcare over to the government and make things “free” is elected president, it will grow even larger, and control our lives even more.

We already see ideas that millions consider unacceptable, and that run counter to our traditions, being shoved down our throats. We see how the conservative ideas that built America are being treated like a plague. Insults like “racist” and “xenophobe” are tossed around frequently, and recklessly.

One political party favors easy immigration, with its fringe element supporting open borders, sanctuary jurisdictions protecting illegal aliens, and granting them an easy citizenship without needed encouragement for immigrants to become true Americans in thought and deed. 

At the same time, college campuses and schools at lower levels are becoming politically correct indoctrination camps. They encourage students to seek safe spaces that protect them from uncomfortable ideas about being an adult in today’s world, and instructors are encouraged to issue trigger warnings when such “troublesome” ideas are on the classroom agenda. And in many, the fundamentals of America’s founding are no longer taught.

The Left wants us to believe that climate change will consume the world in 12 years, if drastic action isn’t taken. But a true threat facing us is losing our country to subversive ideas.

Saturday, November 30, 2019

When egos and political considerations trump honorable service

Have you ever been in a situation where the person in charge of a unit is neither liked or respected by some members? Most likely, you have; such dynamics are not unusual.

Sometimes, some members get together and talk about how the leader is heading in the wrong direction, how her/his ideas are at odds with the previous leader. 

Some of the disaffected have been there for many years, and feel a deep connection to the unit, and like the way things were done in the past. They believe that things will go downhill quickly, unless something is done.

At this point, there are options for the disaffected, but only two of them are honorable. First, they can swallow hard, follow the direction of the leader, and do their job as well as possible. Second, they can turn in their resignation and look elsewhere for a situation that suits their preferences. 

That’s all; nothing else is acceptable. Anything else is subversive.

This scenario can be an issue for any new president of the United States upon taking the oath of office. Federal career employees — bureaucrats, the establishment — have been around for a while and likely served more than one president. They often have their own ideas about who “really” runs the country — them, many believe — and how things should be done.

Depending upon how those bureaucrats and political appointees decide to behave, problems often result. Most of the current federal bureaucracy served during some or all of the administrations of presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama. Many of them probably did not like some of what one or more of the presidents under whom they served was doing. 

On January 20, 2017, Donald Trump became President of the United States, and the stage was set for what we see happening today. Many government employees have their own ideas about how the country should be run, and some don’t like what Donald Trump is doing.

Trump’s actions have been, shall we say, different, unusual, unconventional, compared to other recent presidents. And, his political philosophy is undoubtedly in conflict with some career bureaucrats and political appointees. Some of them have no doubt made their differences known, directly or indirectly.

It is a president’s option to replace any or all political appointees, and many have done so. The Washington Post reported the following: “The incoming Obama administration has notified all politically-appointed ambassadors that they must vacate their posts as of Jan. 20, the day President-elect Barack Obama takes the oath of office, a State Department official said.”

The Atlantic reported the day before Trump’s swearing in, however, that his administration would keep more than 50 Obama administration appointees in place temporarily. This was perhaps done due to the slow process of getting new appointees through the confirmation process, and thinking the hold-overs would behave.

Donald Rumsfeld, Secretary of Defense in George W. Bush’s administration, had a famous rule that is applicable in such situations: “You go to war with the Army you have — not the Army you might wish you have.” 

But egos magically inflate in Washington politics, and inflated egos often lead to problems in the performance of one’s duties when the ego dwarfs the duty to the president and country.

Given the philosophical differences between Trump and his three predecessors, particularly with Obama’s philosophy, the probability of substantial hostility among some career bureaucrats and appointees to Trump’s policies and methods is great. 

There is no scarcity of federal bureaucrats who have trampled on their professional and ethical responsibilities and engaged in activities that work against their boss, the elected President of the United States.

Some older names are FBI agents Peter Strzok and Lisa Page and their thousands of exchanged emails. James Comey, Director of the FBI from 2013 until his dismissal in May 2017. The as yet unidentified former FBI lawyer accused of altering a document in the application for a FISA warrant. Andrew McCabe, an FBI veteran, former deputy director and former acting director who “lacked candor” in connection with a leak investigation, which means he knowingly provided false information. 

More recently, National Security Council aide Alexander Vindman, State Department diplomats William Taylor Jr. and George Kent, Ambassador Gordon Sondland, former Ukraine Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch, and former National Security Council staffer Fiona Hill. 

The aforementioned generally worked against this president with some colluding to bring him down, and others testified to what they thought, believed, surmised and hoped for. The key factor in the Herculean effort to find collusion, quid pro quo, bribery, obstruction and whatever else they might come up with is missing in action.

First, they claimed Trump was guilty of a quid pro quo. For there to be a “quid pro quo” — a “this” in return for “that” — with the Ukrainian president, the Ukrainian president would have to be aware of both the “this” and the “that.” When “quid pro quo” didn’t garner the expected interest, the Democrats in the House took a poll and found a preferable term: bribery.

The Ukrainians, however, repeatedly insisted that it didn’t happen: their president was unaware that funds were being withheld. Neither bribery nor the quid pro quo happened.

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

The quality of U.S. K-12 and college education is on the decline

As recently as 20 years ago, HistoryNet tells us, the United States led the world in high school and college education.  

However, the American education system has lost ground. That is not to say that there are no schools or school systems that are doing well, or that no students are learning. But the U.S. standing among nations of the world has fallen to a frightening degree over the last several years.

“Every American family needs to open The Nation’s Report Card [the 2019 National Assessment of Educational Progress] this year and think about what it means for their child and for our country’s future,” said Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos. “The results are, frankly, devastating. This country is in a student achievement crisis, and over the past decade it has continued to worsen, especially for our most vulnerable students.”

Her warning didn’t end there. "Two out of three of our nation’s children aren’t proficient readers. In fact, fourth grade reading declined in 17 states and eighth grade reading declined in 31,” she said. “The gap between the highest and lowest performing students is widening, despite $1 trillion in Federal spending over 40 years designated specifically to help close it.”

The Atlantic magazine reported on a 2001 study by the Brookings Institute which, in fact, showed that international students found their U.S. classes “much easier” than classes in their home country. That number rose from nearly 60 percent of foreign students in 2001 to 66.4 percent in a 2016 study.

The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) administers an exam every three years. It is considered the gold standard for such data. The most recent available results from the exam, titled the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA), is from 2015. PISA measures reading, math and science in 15-year-olds in 72 countries every three years.
** The U.S. ranked 18th in Reading. The top five were: Singapore, Ireland, Canada, Hong Kong, and Japan. 
** The U.S ranked 36th in Math, with the top five being: Singapore, Hong Kong, Chinese Taipei, Macau (China), Japan.
** And we ranked 22nd in Science, with the leaders being: Singapore, Japan, Estonia, Chinese Taipei, Canada.

The U.S. scored just above the average of all nations in reading and science, and below average in math. East Asian and northern European countries tend to dominate the exam.

Among the most advanced countries, the U.S. ranks 38th out of 40 in graduating science majors, according to the 2015 Science, Technology and Industry Scoreboard report from the OECD.

And America is way behind China and India in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) graduates, the academic areas our future depends upon to a great degree.

“China had at least 4.7 million recent STEM grads as of 2016; India had 2.6 million as of 2017; the U.S. pulls in at third at 568,000,” according to the World Economic Forum. In terms of graduates per thousand population, the U.S. is about even with India with one grad per 573 people, but far behind China with one grad per 293 people.

Being challenged by China, our leading economic competitor, is a serious problem. Will we have enough future engineers and scientists to protect our lead in high technology fields, or will we be replaced by the Chinese?

Business Insider worries that “While American scientists still publish more papers than their international counterparts, and American companies still register more patents, not nearly enough students are graduating with degrees in STEM fields to keep pace with the rest of the world.”

The reasons for America’s declining educational performance are many and varied. Some are systemic. Some are cultural. Some are political.

The Brookings report also reflected that foreign students also say that American students spend far more time on sports than on academics.

“Nearly two-thirds of foreign-exchange students in the United States view American teenagers as placing a much higher value on athletic success than teens in their home countries do,” Brookings reported. “By comparison, only 5 percent of international students say American teens place a much higher value on success in mathematics than teenagers abroad. Around 65 percent of foreign-exchange students also feel that American teens spend less time on homework than their international peers.”

Standardized testing is a frequent target for blame. By placing so much attention on performance on these tests, it is argued, much class time and other resources that could be put to better use is wasted, and students learn what they need for the test, to the detriment of broader and deeper learning of subject matter.

Another area of criticism is the implementation of the Common Core State Standards. Common Core was heralded as “dramatically improving teaching and learning” and, indeed, “transforming education for every child.” It hasn’t. The Hill commented, “Under the suffocating hand of Common Core, true academic achievement is withering.”

The late Joseph Sobran years ago wrote, “In 100 years we have gone from teaching Latin and Greek in high school to teaching remedial English in college.” 

We have replaced so many of the concepts that made us strong for “newer and better ideas,” and now we are paying the price.