Wednesday, February 12, 2020

George Orwell’s vision is coming true, but his timing was off

In 1946, author George Orwell, fighting tuberculosis, isolated himself on the Scottish island of Jura to write his last book, “Nineteen Eighty-Four: A Novel.” The story describes a totalitarian state where the government — “Big Brother” — created the language — “Newspeak” — to control the thoughts of its citizens.

Published 71 years ago, and having gained great fame, Orwell gave us concepts like “Big Brother,” “doublethink,” “thoughtcrime,” “Newspeak,” “2+2=5,” and “memory hole.” Some of those concepts are relevant today, both in Orwell’s fictional account, and in reality.

Now, 36 years after 1984, Orwell’s dystopian society — a society in which individual freedoms suffer under government edicts and other forms of control — is forming in the United States.

It is becoming easier and easier to find evidence of the creeping impact of Big Brother-like control. Many instances go unreported, and are even unknown beyond the local area where they occur. Some, however, are reported for all to see.

The president of a libertarian think tank in Colorado, Jon Caldara, who also was the most-read opinion columnist of The Denver Post, lost his job with The Post because of a comment in a recent column. What could he have written that would deserve such strong action? “[T]here are only two sexes, identified by an XX or XY chromosome,” he wrote. “That is the very definition of binary.”

This comment is absolutely consistent with biologic science, but is a no-no in much of today’s America. You see, it does not conform to the politically correct “Newspeak” imposed on us by a relatively tiny minority of people, even though it is the scientifically correct position.

In 2018 a French teacher at West Point High School in West Point, Virginia was fired by the local school board after a four-hour hearing, an hour of which was a closed session, in a 5-0 vote. Why was Peter Vlaming fired?

Because he resisted administration orders to refer to a ninth-grade female student with male pronouns. The girl had undergone a gender transition, and insisted she be treated as a male. Vlaming resisted because it put him in conflict with his religious beliefs. He suggested to the student that he would instead use a first or last name, but that wasn’t good enough for the student. Or, apparently, the school board.

So, a teacher’s First Amendment right to freedom of religion takes a back seat to a female ninth-grader’s desire to change genders and be identified by everyone as a male. “Thoughtcrimes” are real and being punished.

This case is thought to be the first in Virginia. It likely will not be the last.

Today, on some college campuses, where the intersection of competing ideas was once a strong and valued concept, conservative speakers are shouted down or prevented from opportunities to speak, and this occurs with the unquestioned support of the school administrations.

Professors are urged, or ordered, to give prior “trigger warnings” when a topic that may upset students is scheduled. Some schools have mandated that some types of speech are restricted to “free speech zones,” so that students will not accidentally stumble on information that is at odds with their beliefs, which may upset them, or make them think. Students now have “safe zones” where they may hide from ideas differing from their own.

A fascist group called “Antifa” (short for “anti-fascist”) indulges in violence, and crosses the line of Constitutionally protected peaceful protests in public places. Members attack police, throwing eggs, bottles and other things at them. Yet the police often retreat, rather than arresting and jailing the law-breakers, and doing so forcefully if necessary. This is partly due to the generally false narrative that police frequently indulge in unnecessary violence, so they play it safe, and back off.

And Virginia’s government is now under control of the liberal/progressive elite from the DC-Richmond corridor, and the Democrat-led government has set about turning the state into California-East, despite the strong objections of a substantial portion of state residents.

This dystopian direction America is now traveling is fueled by liberal/progressive thinking, not the national government. Many people, both in and out of government, however, prefer majority rule — a strict democracy — which can be more easily turned against the people than the republican system our Founders developed.

John Adams reminded us: "Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There was never a democracy yet that did not commit suicide."

John Marshall, the highly respected fourth chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court observed, "Between a balanced republic and a democracy, the difference is like that between order and chaos."

Thomas Paine said, "A Democracy is the vilest form of Government there is."

The brilliant columnist Walter Williams notes that “We would no longer be a government ‘of the people.’ Instead, our government would be put in power by and accountable to the leaders and citizens of a few highly populated states. It would be the kind of tyranny the framers feared.”

But this faction doesn’t understand the reasons our nation was created as it was; a large number of Americans have no idea how much damage their desires will impose on their country.

Friday, February 07, 2020

Radical ideas by Virginia Democrats will hurt the state

From before there was a United States of America, there were future Americans in what is now the Commonwealth of Virginia. The first English settlement in North America occurred in what is now Jamestown, Virginia in 1607. 

One of the original colonies, Virginia played an important role in the American Revolution of 1775-83, and was home to numerous now-famous persons from history, including George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Patrick Henry, George Mason, and others. 

These men were instrumental in crafting a governmental structure second to none, based upon democratic principles. But it was not, and is not, a pure democracy; it is a democratic republic. 

The United States Constitution was ratified in 1788, and it put that system of government into effect. The first ten amendments to the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, which forbid federal restriction of personal freedoms and guaranteed a range of legal protections, was adopted in 1791. 

The greatest threat in the 200-plus years the United States has existed is a rise of leftist idealism that today threatens the continued existence of America as we know it. 

If this trend continues, it is only a matter of time before our history and our traditions will be erased, and the country will have adopted socialistic concepts like those radical ideas championed by the current cast of Democrat hopefuls seeking the party nomination for president. 

California has long been a cauldron of crazy ideas and failed policies, generally leading the way toward societal collapse. But now we find a state that was one of the leaders in formation of the United States of America behaving like California, and Virginia is its name.

With a Democrat governor and Democrat-controlled General Assembly for the first time in more than 20 years, several radical ideas have been proposed in Virginia. Gov. Ralph Northam and legislative leaders recently announced an 11-point ‘Virginia 2020 Plan.’ Among those 11 points are:
* Restore women’s reproductive rights.
* Raise the minimum wage.  
* Advance common-sense gun safety measures.
* Fight climate change, protect natural resources.

It all sounds so harmless, so good. But these four points from the list have great potential for very negative consequences:

* Women’s reproductive rights - removes the ultrasound and 24-hour waiting period requirement, as well as a requirement that abortion clinics meet the same standards as hospitals. 

It also loosens several restrictions on third-trimester abortions, including a requirement that three doctors certify that continuing the pregnancy would likely cause the patient’s death or “substantially and irremediably impair” their mental or physical health, expanding abortion rights during the last three months of pregnancy. Preventing pregnancy is both easier and better than ending pregnancy.

* Raise the minimum wage - enacting a $15 minimum wage will drive up unemployment, and place a hardship on small businesses. When California increased the minimum to $15, a Moody’s economist calculated that as many as 160,000 jobs would be lost, and that was just in the manufacturing sector. With the advances in technology, a higher minimum wage speeds up ending job possibilities for young people and others with limited skills.

* Gun safety measures - very aggressive anti-gun laws, including a “Red Flag law” that would allow weapons to be temporarily confiscated from legal owners, merely on the say-so of another individual that the person constitutes a danger to himself or others, all without due process. It impinges on law abiding Virginians’ Second Amendment rights.

* Climate change - Northam signed an executive order last September calling for the state to use 30 percent renewable power by 2030 and to be 100 percent carbon-free by 2050. In 2018, about 64 percent of electricity generation was from fossil fuels (coal, natural gas, petroleum, and other gases). About 19 percent was from nuclear energy, and only about 17 percent was from renewable energy sources like wind and solar. 

Like the Green New Deal, the Virginia plan promises more than can be, or should be delivered, and is an attack on the local economies that still depend on jobs and revenue from fossil fuels. Renewable energy sources may someday replace other sources through natural processes, but shoving them down the throats of Virginians through government edict is neither smart nor necessary.

In addition to these goals, others liberal ideas also promise negative results:

* repealing the Right to Work law - this likely will have a negative impact on job growth. This law ensures that nobody will be denied a job because of that person’s decision to join or not join a union, and joining a union will be a choice, not a must.

* abolishing the death penalty in favor of life without parole - this action leads many states to also eventually abolish life sentences, meaning violent criminals could be released into society after serving their time. Some crimes deserve the death of the perpetrator. Leave the death penalty alone.

These measures turn Virginia away from the American design, which isn’t perfect, but is better than any other design. Who would ever have thought that a state so deeply imbedded in the nation’s founding would become one that would lead its downfall?

Friday, January 31, 2020

The Equal Rights Amendment died in 1982. But is it really dead?

The Equal Rights Amendment (ERA), aimed at providing legal equality of the sexes and prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex, was first proposed nearly a century ago, in 1923. Four decades later, sponsored by New York Democrat Rep. Bella Abzug, with the support of well-known feminists Betty Friedan and Gloria Steinem, the ERA was introduced in Congress. It was approved by the House in October of 1971 and by the Senate in March of 1972. It was then sent to the states for ratification, where more than 30 states ratified it within a year.

However, ratification requires the approval of three-quarters, or 38, of the 50 states to become an Amendment to the Constitution, and it fell short. At the seven-year deadline for its ratification set by Congress, and even after the deadline was extended to 1982 by Congress and signed by President Jimmy Carter, fewer than 38 states had ratified the ERA.

In 2018, nearly 40 years after the initial and the extended deadlines had expired, the Illinois legislature adopted a resolution to ratify the ERA, making 37 of the 38 states needed for ratification. 

Earlier this month the Commonwealth of Virginia’s Democrat-controlled General Assembly became the necessary 38thstate to ratify, when the House passed the ERA. Whether this effort matters, or was just a waste of time depends upon whether the deadlines set for ratification by Congress are valid.

This situation is made even more complicated by the fact that five states which previously ratified the ERA had rescinded their approval before the initial deadline occurred. ERA advocates insist, first, that the deadlines did not end the viability of the proposal, and second, that those five states could not rescind their approval.

Logically, if Congress has the authority to pass and send to the states proposals that may become Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, it also has the authority to set a time limit for ratification of these proposals.

Advocates argue that both the initial and the extended time limits should be ignored. But if advocates thought an extension of the deadline was necessary to extend the ratification period until 1982, how can they now argue that deadlines are not valid?

Furthermore, precedent was established for Congress setting a time limit on ratification when, starting with the 18thAmendment and continuing through the last one, the 27th Amendment, Congress did set expiration dates for ratification.

Advocates’ argument that states may not rescind their ratification of the proposed Amendment also seems weak. If a state has the authority to pass a state constitution and state laws, does it not also have the authority to amend that constitution and those laws? If states can pass and amend constitutions and laws, why can they not ratify and then rescind ratification of Amendments to the U.S. Constitution?

The effort to pass the ERA in the 70s and 80s fell short, in part because of efforts of conservative activist Phyllis Schlafly in opposition to it. But had there been truly strong sentiment for the ERA, it would have passed then. And today, decades later, the equality between men and women has substantially improved. Why, then, is the ERA needed?

Following the Illinois vote for ratification in 2018, an article in Business Insider by Daniella Greenbaum stated that “[w]e are no longer living in a time in which women don't have the right to vote or own property. The status of women in the United States could not be more different now than it was in the 1920s, when the ERA was first written.”

Jarrett Stepman, a contributor to The Daily Signal, suggests that among the many potential problems the ERA would cause today if ratified, four deserve discussion.

“Perhaps one of the clearest results of the ERA would be that it would almost be impossible to exclude women from the draft,” he wrote. “At 18 years-old, women would have to sign up for Selective Service just like men. Though the reinstatement of the draft in the near future is unlikely, in any case in which the draft was deemed necessary, women would be included due to the ERA. Given the legal push to open up all combat roles to women, this could have potentially profound societal and individual consequences.”

The second of the four is the possible abolishment of same-sex bathrooms in public buildings. This issue has already become the subject of fierce debate, and more than a few sexual assault crimes have resulted from the creation of gender-neutral bathrooms.

The end of government-funded women-only shelters and other such facilities that help battered women and women harmed by domestic violence is a third problem.

And last, but hardly least, the ERA could force the “right” to taxpayer funding of abortion into the Constitution, at least in Medicare cases where abortion was a “medically necessary procedure,” equal to a “medically necessary procedure” for men.

However, the abortion lobby will certainly seek expansion of federal money for abortions.

Abortion is rarely “medically necessary,” given that unwanted pregnancy nearly always results from voluntary actions, not involuntary actions, like rape or incest. Given that truth, there is little reason for any federal money to be used for abortion. 

Friday, January 24, 2020

Is it desperation that pushes the left to promote such crazy ideas?

Democrat Michael Bloomberg, the former mayor of New York City and one of a dozen candidates for the Democrat nomination for president, offered his thoughts following the West Freeway Church shooting in Texas recently. 

“It’s the job of law enforcement to have guns and to decide when to shoot. You just do not want the average citizen carrying a gun in a crowded place.” Bloomberg said.

You could fill several large sports venues with what Bloomberg doesn't know. But as ignorant as he appears to be on this issue, you might expect him to understand that because several non-law enforcement persons had weapons at the Texas church that Sunday, rather than perhaps dozens of parishioners being killed or injured, the murderer only killed one parishioner and injured another one.

Can things go wrong in situations such as this one? Of course. But two things must not be forgotten: First, there aren't enough law enforcement officers to provide protection in every place where groups gather, and it takes valuable minutes for them to respond to calls, and second, as demonstrated by the armed parishioners of West Freeway Church, there are many law-abiding citizens who are trained and skilled enough to effectively act to end a shooting, saving many lives.

As President Donald Trump indicated in a tweet following the incident, “It was over in 6 seconds thanks to the brave parishioners who acted to protect 242 fellow worshippers,” “Lives were saved by these heroes, and Texas laws allowing them to carry guns!”

                                                                                    * * * * *

On the day the impeachment process got under way in the House of Representatives, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., dressed in black for the occasion, and declared, “I solemnly and sadly open the debate on the impeachment of the President of the United States.”

The House then rushed through its phase of the impeachment process, where the case against the president is to be built through testimony of witnesses with knowledge of the wrongs under investigation. The House was in such a hurry to save the country from Donald Trump that they couldn’t spare the time to have the third arm of the federal government — the judiciary — to resolve the stand-off blocking some witnesses the Democrat majority wanted to call. 

Pelosi, curiously, then put the two Articles of Impeachment the House felt rushed to create in a drawer for a couple of weeks. The House finally voted last week to transmit the Articles to the Senate where the second phase — the trial — is to take place, based upon the case developed by the House during the initial phase.

Prior to delivering the Articles to the Senate, Pelosi passed out commemorative pens made specifically to celebrate the solemn occasion that she had previously described. They completed the ceremony by singing, “We’ve Been Working On A Railroad.”

Then the group sang “We Love A Parade” as they walked across the Capital building to the Senate chamber. 

                                                                                       * * * * * *

Democrat hopefuls seem to take it as a challenge to see which of them can develop the craziest idea. Wild ideas that are both unworkable and ridiculously expensive, like the Green New Deal and Medicare for All, both of which have the added element of increasing the federal government’s control over our lives, now have a new partner.

At last Wednesday’s town hall, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., unveiled another grandiose plan to decarbonize the U.S. She said that her administration will decree that any new buildings built from 2028 onwards must be carbon neutral.

Appearing on MSNBC's Morning Joe, she declared, “What scares me is every time you go back to the scientists, they tell you two things. It's worse than we thought and we have less time. That means we've got to be willing to do things, for example, like regulation. By 2028, no new buildings, no new houses, without a zero-carbon footprint."

Back in September she described her plan to stop using fossil fuels to produce electricity. 

“I think the way we get there,” is to say, “sorry, guys but by 2035, you’re done. You’re not going to be using any more carbon-based fuels,” she said. “That gets us to the right place.”

Warren added, “In my administration, we’re not going to build any new nuclear power plants, and we are going to start weaning ourselves off nuclear energy and replacing it with renewable fuels. We’re going to get it all done by 2035, but I hope we’re getting it done faster than that. That’s the plan.”

The Energy Department’s Energy Information Administration (EIA) tells us that in June 2019, energy plants around the country produced a total of 352 million megawatt-hours of electricity, as follows:  Natural gas-powered plants accounted for 39% of it, coal 22%, nuclear 20%.

The preferred so-called “clean” energy sources, including hydroelectric power, provided less than 18 percent: wind less than 7 percent, solar 3.3 percent, hydro about 8 percent.

If current trends continue, the EIA projects that by 2035 renewables will generate only 24 percent of electric power, and by 2050 only 29 percent.

Warren did not explain where the rest of the needed electricity will come from.

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.