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Tuesday, April 16, 2019

William Barr joins Robert Mueller on the Democrat’s Wall of Shame



Attorney General William Barr testified recently before the House Appropriations Committee’s Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Subcommittee. The purpose of the hearing was to discuss the Department of Justice budgetary request, but he was asked question after question after question about Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report on the Russian collusion investigation, and the conclusions from  that report Barr released.

For doing his job as AG, Barr suddenly became the new Democrat target, as his conclusions from the Mueller report failed to satisfy the intense hunger of Democrats for evidence of impropriety, even criminality, by then-candidate Donald Trump and his team.

The sudden, virtually automatic and universal distrust of Barr by Congressional Democrats and the MSM for doing his duty in accepting the Mueller report and releasing the conclusions is more than just curious. 

Years ago, a Democrat-controlled Senate confirmed Barr by voice vote for attorney general under President George H.W. Bush. He was highly praised, both by Republicans and Democrats, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted unanimously to recommend his confirmation, and then-Senate Judiciary Chairman, former Vice President, and now potential presidential candidate Joe Biden, and Democrat Sen. Patrick Leahy both enthusiastically endorsed him for the position.

But now that political considerations have replaced obligations to duty, that support has vanished in a flash of desperate partisanship.

This same response occurred when Robert Mueller was named special counsel. Praise came abundantly from both sides of the political aisle, and Democrats could hardly contain their eagerness at the expected results of the investigation by this giant of a man, imagining a handcuffed Donald Trump being perp-walked out of the White House to the hoosegow along with Don, Jr., Eric, Ivanka, and yes, Melania and Barron, too.

But that was not what happened, and suddenly Mueller’s reputation lay in shambles in the gutters of Pennsylvania Avenue. Now there are two once-widely respected people associated with the Department of Justice who, by doing their jobs, lost the confidence and respect of Congressional Democrats.

When Barr’s appearance before the Subcommittee began, New York’s Rep. Nita Lowey, Chair of the House Appropriations Committee, got things off to a creaky start: “Before getting into your budget request I want to discuss a serious oversight matter, your unacceptable handling of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report.” 

“It’s been reported that the report is 300 to 400 pages, and I use the term ‘reported’ because we have no idea how long it actually is,” she continued. “All we have is your four-page summary, which seems to cherry pick from the report to draw the most favorable conclusion possible for the president.” 

And how would she know whether he is cherry picking or not, since she complained about having no knowledge of what is in the report?

Her deep ignorance of the situation shone forth again when she said, “I must say it is extraordinary to evaluate hundreds of pages of evidence, legal documents, and findings based on a 22-month-long inquiry, and make definitive legal conclusions in less than 48 hours.” 

Again, she makes assumptions without having seen the document, which might have contained conclusions. And she also didn’t know that Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein, to whom Mueller reported during the investigation, helped Barr produce the document that contained the findings.

And then there was this brilliant question from Michigan Congresswoman Brenda Lawrence: “Who do you report to, the President of the United States or to the people of America?” 

After such great mischaracterizations of the Barr “summary,” the DOJ offered some perspective on it: "Given the extraordinary public interest in the matter, the Attorney General decided to release the report's bottom-line findings and his conclusions immediately — without attempting to summarize the report — with the understanding that the report itself would be released after the redaction process.”

Barr also aroused the ire of Committee Democrats, and others, when he said he believed there was “spying” during the presidential campaign.  By using the term “spying,” rather than their much-preferred and less-severe term, “surveillance,” he upset a lot of people.

Spying by any other name, like “surveillance,” is still spying. Which term is the correct one for listening to (intercepting) private conversations, and other such activities: Spying, eavesdropping, or the Democrats’ preferred term, surveillance?

Do you refer to your cousin as a relative, as family, or as kinfolk? Does it really matter? Isn’t this really just playing rhetorical games?

Whatever term one carefully chooses for describing the deed, spying is spying. AG Barr said the difference between legal spying and illegal spying occurs when there is a legitimate predicate for the deed. If there is one, fine; the spying is legal. If not, the spying is a crime.

After being questioned about believing spying occurred, Barr said that he wants to know whether the spying was done appropriately, or not, and plans to look into the matter to find if a suitable predicate existed to justify it.

No doubt this has not eased the Democrats’ disgust over Barr’s findings, and likely has caused a spike on their nervous meter, as the possibility of subversive shenanigans in the Obama FBI, DOJ and elsewhere being exposed looms large.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Jobs combat poverty; over-regulation discourages businesses and jobs

Magatte Wade was born in the West African nation of Senegal, was educated in Germany and France, then came to the U.S. She is a frequent speaker at business conferences and college campuses, including Harvard, Yale, Columbia, Cornell, Brown, Dartmouth, MIT, and Wharton. She has started businesses and with her husband is working to create schools in Senegal.

Part of one of her addresses featured on YouTube dealt with how not to be poor. What she said to her audience is a good lesson for everyone.

“People are poor. Why are you poor?” She answered, “you're poor when you don't have enough money to meet your basic needs.” 

And then, the big question: “Where does a source of income come from for most of us?” The answer is, as former Vice President Joe Biden famously said: that three-letter word: ‘JOBS.’

This is not a bolt from the blue to most of us, but to her audiences in colleges and in her native Senegal, this solution may not be so obvious. In fact, some of her audiences responded that jobs actually come from government.

Yes, she responded, some jobs are provided by government. But where does government get the money to pay its employees?

“It comes from taxes. People who work, employees; people who hire them, the companies and employers, pay [taxes] so that we in turn pay these government people.”

So, “we're back to commerce … we're back to business.”

“So I say,” Wade continues, “okay, if ‘jobs’ is the solution to this massive, massive problem we have out there of poverty, then don't you think that maybe we should try to think about where jobs come from?”

If jobs are the answer, and jobs come from entrepreneurs, businesses, “then don't you think that we should really try and pay attention to what type of environment those businesses get to operate in,” Wade asked?

What a concept! Since businesses large and small provide the jobs people need to avoid poverty, and enable workers to pay taxes, and pay taxes themselves to support the government, let’s be careful about the environment that we create for businesses.

In America, it should be easy for someone with a new idea or just the drive to start a business that will provide goods or services, and hire some people to work in it, so long as it follows reasonable laws and regulations. The operative word is, “reasonable.”

Far too often, this is not easy, and sometimes impossible. 

Writing in Business Insider, Michael Snyder addresses this issue. “Small business in the United States is literally being suffocated by red tape. We like to think that we live in ‘the land of the free,’ but the truth is that our lives and our businesses are actually tightly constrained by millions of rules and regulations.” 

“Today there is a ‘license’ for just about every business activity,” Snyder adds. “In fact, in some areas of the country today you need a ‘degree’ and multiple ‘licenses’ before you can even submit an application for permission to start certain businesses.” It gets worse. “And if you want to actually hire some people for your business, the paperwork nightmare gets far worse. It is a wonder that anyone in America is still willing to start a business from scratch and hire employees.”

“The truth is that the business environment in the United States is now so incredibly toxic that millions of Americans have simply given up and don't even try to work within the system anymore.”

To put the regulatory issue into perspective, the Federal Register is where federal rules are catalogued. The number of pages in it was about 2,600 in 1936. That’s a lot of pages of rules, but it pales in comparison to the calendar year of 2016, when the number of Federal Register pages stood at 95,854.

Certain variables factor into this: Some rules take more pages than others, and page size is also important. However, most novels have 250 words per page, and a really long novel has 425 pages. At the end of 2016, the Federal Register had as many pages as 225 long novels, and 383 normal-sized ones.

President Donald Trump has implemented efforts to reduce regulations by signing an executive order on Jan. 31, 2017 for the agency requesting a new regulation to cut two older regulations.

A Daily Caller story said that the Trump administration “reported $23 billion in savings from 176 deregulatory actions in fiscal year 2018. Even more consequential, the administration has issued 65 percent fewer ‘significant’ rules — those with costs that exceed $100 million a year — than the Obama administration, and 51 percent fewer than the Bush administration, after 22 months in office.”

That’s a start, but a lot more needs to be done to give Americans the freedom and ability to start a business or get a job.

A final word from Magatte Wade: “Not living up to our potential is a failure for which the only person who can possibly be responsible is oneself.“

She’s right, of course, but things like over-regulation make that much more difficult for even those who are determined to succeed.

Tuesday, April 02, 2019

Border officials and facilities overwhelmed by illegal entrants


The number of illegal aliens captured at the southern border has overloaded the facilities that hold them, and thousands have been released into the country.

Illegal entry has been routinely called a non-crisis by much of the media and Congressional Democrats, and recently Jeh Johnson, Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security under President Barack Obama, called it that. Appearing on CBS last month, Johnson said: "So here are the facts: the facts are that illegal migration on our southern border is a fraction of what it used to be." He added, "But a security crisis per se? No. I would not characterize it that way. I think there is some fear-mongering going on."

However, Saturday Johnson said on Fox News’ “Cavuto LIVE,” “By anyone's definition, by any measure, right now we have a crisis at our southern border.” He added, “According to the commissioner of [Customs and Border Protection], there were 4,000 apprehensions in one day alone this past week, and we're on pace for 100,000 apprehensions on our southern border this month.”

Perhaps Congress will finally get the message. Had Congress taken administration warnings seriously and acted to relieve the situation months ago, this crisis could have been resolved.

Representative Henry Cuellar, D-Texas, noted that in the heat of summer “it’s going to be very, very dangerous in this part of the country to have young kids, women and other folks to come in.”

Cuellar said, after speaking to Customs and Border Patrol agents, he had discovered a disturbing trend of adults “renting” children in Central America in order to increase their chances of being able to stay in the U.S. once they cross over.

Chris Farrell of Judicial Watch visited Guatemala earlier this year to get a first-hand look at the first of several caravans headed toward our southern border.

Contrary to reports in the media and those who support unfettered immigration that the migrants were mostly women and children, Farrell observed that while there were women and children in the caravan, he estimated that between 90 and 95 percent of them were men 15 to 45 years old. The children, he said, were “recovered from a human smuggling operation using the caravan as ‘cover.’”

He said that it’s “A highly organized, very elaborate and sophisticated orchestration,” not a sudden movement of thousands of people who just happened to all decide to travel north at the same time. It’s an “organized group of people pushing a certain political agenda by a group calledPueblos Sin Fronterasbeing aided by hundreds of that organization’s workers.”

This effort, he estimated, cost several millions of dollars for food, water, transportation, medical equipment, mobile hospitals and child services, which reminded Farrell of a complex military operation. And while they did walk portions of the tremendous distance through Mexico, they primarily traveled on chartered tour buses, dozens of them.

The media reports of the plight of the migrants say that “they are trying to escape daily violence and daily threats. People are dying left and right. The conditions are extraordinarily dangerous.”

Farrell interviewed some of the marchers. He started every interview with, “Why are you coming to America?”

“They all said that their reason for joining the ‘caravan’ was economic,” he said. “It was job driven. And then, someone would say, ‘Oh, yeah, … we’re also fleeing violence’ as an after-thought.”

And then, Farrell asked the obvious question: “Well, if things are so bad, why did you leave your family back home? Of course, they couldn’t answer that question,” he said. 

Perhaps the growing recognition of the crisis at the southern border will bring a realistic attitude about the nature of the numerous migrant caravans headed our way and get Congress to do its job, and take action to address this crisis.

President Donald Trump has threatened to completely shut down the border this week if Mexico doesn’t take steps to stop the caravans from traveling through to the border. He has already cut funding to El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras because they have not taken action to halt the flow of migrants. 

Shutting down the border has some serious problems for Mexico and the U.S., so Congress must act quickly. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said yesterday on Fox News’ “America’s Newsroom” that his state cannot deal with the number of illegals entering it, and the same situation exists for other border states.

The Los Angeles Timesaddressed the border shutdown in February: “Fortunately for Trump, the law on immigration and related matters favors the president. Legal precedents have traditionally accorded the chief executive complete and nearly unchecked power to deny foreigners permission to enter the United States.”

"The exclusion of aliens is a fundamental act of sovereignty … inherent in the executive power," the Supreme Court said in 1950. And the Timesadded, “Congress adopted a provision in 1952 saying the president ‘may by proclamation … suspend the entry of all aliens and any class of aliens as immigrants or non-immigrants’ whenever he thinks it ‘would be detrimental to the interests of the United States.’”

That does not, however, preclude a block by an activist liberal judge.

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

If you lose, improve your game; don’t change the game to suit you


What do people do when they can’t win by being better, but cannot stand to lose? The answer often is to fudge a little, or a lot, rather than to gracefully accept defeat, and try to improve.

Pitchers threw illegal spitballs to win. Some quarterbacks prefer underinflated footballs. Election officials stuff ballot boxes, encourage unregistered people to vote, or vote often, or simply report false totals.

Sometimes, those who can’t win under existing rules want to change the rules to make it easier to win, but they often choose the easier route of relying on preferable, though improper, interpretation of the rules.

Democrats once merely thought about things differently from Republicans, but worked within the existing, long-standing and sensible election system created by our Founders. Not so much these days.

What we are witnessing today is a broad coalition of people trying to silence ideas and points of view they disagree with, rather than try to win a debate against those opinions in the light of day.

We see this in the malpractice of some media outlets, both old (print media and radio/TV news providers), and new (social media etc.).

A veteran newsman, Ted Koppel, 25-year host of ABC’s “Nightline,” from 1980 to 2005, agrees that President Donald Trump is “not mistaken” when he says the major media are “out to get him.” “We are not the reservoir of objectivity that I think we were,” he told Marvin Kalb at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace earlier this month.

“We have things appearing on the front page of The New York Times right now that never would have appeared 50 years ago. Analysis, commentary on the front page,” Koppel added.

Social media platforms, such as Facebook, Google, YouTube and Twitter, frequently receive criticism from conservatives, who say they are singled out and censored. Hardly ever do liberals/progressives have this complaint. And today, if you say certain newly unpopular things, you might be charged with a crime.

College campuses, once the arena for lively and beneficial debate of ideas, both friendly ideas and otherwise, now often ban conservative speakers from campus when heated protests against them arise. Claiming safety as the reason, administrators ban these speakers. But whose safety is at risk, and safety from whom?

The conservative speakers and those who support them are at risk of violence because campus leftists cannot abide those who do not think like they do. And rather than disciplining the violent protesters and restoring order and healthy debate to the learning environment, college administrations take sides and cave in to the leftists.

Stories of political indoctrination replacing or supplementing the presentation of subject matter in schools, all the way from colleges down to elementary grades, are not uncommon, particularly at the higher education levels.

Thanks to the abandonment of professional ethics by the leftist media and leftist educators, free speech is being stamped out, replaced by an “our way is THE way” message.

Along with free speech, important historical monuments and other fundamental elements of our democratic republic are under attack. Changing inconvenient rules is gathering a significant following. Some of the Democrat presidential hopefuls have targeted the Electoral College, and some have taken aim at the Supreme Court.

Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), both of whom see themselves someday wearing the president’s title, are ready to chuck the Electoral College in order to earn that title.

And much of the electorate has been uneducated or mis-educated in the whys and wherefores of their country’s system of government, and have no idea why this is a bad thing. 

As a safety device – an “insurance policy,” in common parlance – they now want to stack the United States Supreme Court with more activist justices, who will focus on desired outcomes, not on constitutional and legal original meaning and intent.

This group includes Robert Francis O’Rourke (D-Texas), who calls himself by the Hispanic nickname “Beto,” to attract votes. And the previously mentioned Sens. Harris and Warren, along with Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) are on board with this “solution” to their electoral problems.

And if changing those rules isn’t sufficient to win elections, some also want to lower the voting age to 16, and even allow illegal aliens to vote. Claiming “voter suppression,” they complain that asking people at polling places to prove they are eligible to vote, one of the most valued rights of a United States citizen, is somehow voter suppression.

Missing the essential point, liberals/progressives say, “If the Founders were alive today, they would think differently about things than they did back then.” The point they miss or ignore, of course, is that the Founders were not speaking about specifics, but about principles in creating a unique system of government.

Never before in recent history has an American political party been so determined to trash so much of the design of a government that has proven to be so superior to any other in history as today’s most prominent Democrats.

Are they really so desperate to impose their will on the rest of us that they will act to take down the entire country in order to gain power?

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?


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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.