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Tuesday, January 17, 2017

As Obama exits the White House, a look at some of his presidency



 
Back in 2007, a candidate for president named Barack Obama arose from near obscurity to seek the Democrat Party nomination for the 2008 election. He won the nomination, defeating a well-known opponent, and then won the election to become the first black/African-American President of the United States, and would serve two full terms.

So much promise surrounded this event that even before his inauguration he was being spoken of in glowing terms because he was the first of his race and for all the great and wonderful things that would occur, based on his campaign messages.

The respected Nobel Committee even awarded him its Peace Prize in December of 2009," only several months after he was sworn in, for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples."

The stage was set for great things; a barrier had been breached. At last America had its first black president. But, alas, so much good that could have happened, didn’t.

Obama doesn’t understand or appreciate the nation he was elected to lead, so his goal wasn’t to honor and advance America’s traditional principles and standards, but to “fundamentally transform” it, as he said repeatedly. That transformation hasn’t been especially attractive.

He promised to have the most transparent administration in history. Yet so much of Obama’s personal background documentation, like his college records, has been safely hidden away from the people he serves. A Townhall.com article says a new report out finds that he hasn't even run the most transparent administration since the previous one.”

Quoting an analysis of federal data produced by the Associated Press, the Townhall article continues: More often than ever, the administration censored government files or outright denied access to them last year under the U.S. Freedom of Information Act, cited more legal exceptions it said justified withholding materials and refused a record number of times to turn over files quickly that might be especially newsworthy.”

Taking office on the downside of a significant recession, eight years later the economy has still not fully regained its former strength. He touts the U-3 unemployment rate as proof that the Obama recovery was successful, but tens of millions who couldn’t find a job dropped out of the workforce, thereby producing an unemployment rate in the respectable range near 5 percent.

The U-6 rate, which counts those discouraged workers that the U-3 ignores – the more accurate figure – sits at approximately twice the U-3 rate, and the Labor Force Participation Rate, which shows what portion of eligible workers are working or looking for a job, is at its lowest point since the late 1970s.

The nation’s productivity has been handcuffed by over-regulation and punishing tax rates, which encourage businesses to move jobs and factories to other nations where the business environment is friendlier. A healthy GDP rate is above the 3 percent mark, but Real Clear Politics (RCP) reports, “Under President Obama, annual economic growth from 2010 through the first three quarters of 2016 averaged 2.1 percent, which RCP termed “subpar.”

Where domestic policy is concerned, The Daily Signal provided these tidbits from The Heritage Foundation last week:

·         In 2009 when Obama took office the National Debt was $10.6 trillion; today it is $19.5 trillion, and counting; nearly twice the rate he inherited.

·         200 new regulations have increased the regulatory burden by $108 billion annually, a burden on the shoulders of everyday Americans. Regulations aimed at climate change will kill hundreds of thousands of jobs and increase what American households spend on electricity by 13 to 20 percent over the next 20 years.

·         The Affordable Care Act is anything but affordable. Many Americans have not been able to keep their doctors; 12 of the 23 co-ops have failed, costing taxpayers $1.2 billion, and forcing 740 thousand to scramble to try to find health insurance.

·         Food stamp claimants rose from fewer than 30 million in 2008 to 46.5 million by 2014.

·         Obama’s imperial presidency granted amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants and mandated transgender bathroom policies for public schools by using executive orders to circumnavigate Congress to get his way.

Obama claims that 75 consecutive months of positive job creation during his term is the best ever, which is true. However, this stretch produced 11.3 million new jobs, which is less than two of the last five presidents, according to a report by Business Insider, which says, “Obama ranks third among the past five presidents in total job creation over the length of his presidency — in front of both George H.W. and George W. Bush, but behind Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan,” with Clinton creating about 23 million and Reagan creating about 16 million.

Under Barack Obama’s heavily ideological presidency America is weaker, more divided, less trusted by its allies, and suffers other ill effects. Voters regarded his leadership as poor enough to cause them to abandon the Democrat Party, producing heavy losses at the federal and state levels.

Despite all of this, in Obama’s highly narcissistic perspective, his was a wonderfully successful presidency. But by American standards, his presidency represents a clear and dramatic failure of leadership, and it will take years to repair the damage his presidency has produced.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Draining the swamp: American education is ripe for improvement



Among the many hot topics since Donald Trump won election as the 45th President of the United States is America’s education system. Once at the top of the nations of the world in educating its young, America has lost ground.

Jon Guttman, Research Director of the World History Group, wrote in 2012 that “[a]s recently as 20 years ago, the United States was ranked No.1 in high school and college education,” and that “[i]n 2009, the United States was ranked 18th out of 36 industrialized nations.” He attributes that decline to “complacency and inefficiency, reflective of lower priorities in education, and inconsistencies among the various school systems.”

In 2010 at a Paris meeting of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), President Barack Obama’s first Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, who served from 2009 through 2015, said this:

“Before the 1960s, almost all policymaking and education funding was a state and local responsibility. In the mid-1960s, the federal role expanded to include enforcing civil rights laws to ensure that poor, minority, and disabled students, as well as English language learners, had access to a high-quality education.

“As the federal role in education grew,” Duncan said, “so did the bureaucracy,” adding that the U.S. Department of Education often “operated more like a compliance machine, instead of an engine of innovation,” and that it concerned itself with the details of formula funding, and not with educational outcomes or equity.

He went on to say that the United States needed to challenge the status quo, and to close the achievement and opportunity gaps. Five years later, the U.S. still lagged behind many other countries.

The findings in the 2015 Program International Student Assessment (PISA), described by CNN as “a benchmark of education systems conducted every three years by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), a grouping of the world's richest economies,” finds the U.S. education system improved since the last assessment in 2012 in the areas of science, math and reading.

However, that improvement leaves American students ranked behind the students of 24 other countries, among the 72 participating nations. Teens in Singapore, Japan and Estonia led the more than half a million 15-year-olds in the 2015 assessment, the primary focus of which was science, with math as the primary focus in 2012.

President Jimmy Carter signed the federal Department of Education into law in 1979, and since it became active the following year, American education has gotten worse, as measured by these international assessments. Marginal or negative performance is not unusual for federal agencies, however. President-Elect Donald Trump, like Ronald Reagan before him, has called for abolishing the Department of Education, citing the need to cut spending.

Looking back to the formative years of the republic, we find the Founders established only four cabinet level activities: foreign relations through the State Department; national defense through the Department of War (now Defense); taxation and spending through the Department of the Treasury; and enforcement of federal law through the Attorney General (now the Department of Justice).

The increase of federal agencies has no doubt produced some benefits, but does their performance justify the costs incurred?  They have produced huge growth in government control of our lives, and enormous expense. Today there are nearly four times as many cabinet level agencies as the Founders thought necessary.

The federal education effort has many sins on its list, but the primary sin is the shifting of control of local schools to Washington by dangling federal dollars in front of state school officials, which they can earn in return for giving up some degree of control over their schools. Federal influences also contribute to the infestation of standardized testing, which in moderation can provide benefits, but when a typical student takes 112 mandated standardized tests between pre-kindergarten classes and 12th grade, that is over the edge. Eighth-graders, it is said, spend an average of 25.3 hours on standardized testing.

Trump has named Betsy DeVos to become education secretary. Her bio explains that in education she “has been a pioneer in fighting to remove barriers, to enact change and to create environments where people have the opportunity to thrive,” and that her political efforts are focused on advancing educational choices. She currently chairs the American Federation for Children.

Like all of Trump’s cabinet selections so far, DeVos is seen as unqualified, criticized for her lack of experience in education and for pushing to “give families taxpayer money in the form of vouchers to attend private and parochial schools, pressed to expand publicly funded but privately run charter schools, and trying to strip teacher unions of their influence,” according to an unflattering story in The New York Times.

Perhaps the contrary is true, however. Given the lackluster performance of the Department of Education when run by apparently qualified people, someone with other strengths just might be able to turn the department into a positive influence on what is broadly considered a mediocre education system.

Schools are best operated by those closest to the students, so returning control to states and localities will be a good first step.

Tuesday, January 03, 2017

Trigger warning: Immigration problems are being discussed here



Immigration ought to be one of a nation’s primary concerns, and after the last eight years of lax enforcement of immigration law and the horrible consequences to some individual Americans at the hands of some illegal aliens, President-Elect Donald Trump faces the screaming need to make changes to the immigration process once he is sworn in, and he has stated the desire to do so.

President Barack Obama touts his record on deportations, which some say is nearly 3,000,000 illegal aliens. That certainly is a good thing, but like Paul Harvey famously provided his listeners for so many years, here’s the rest of the story.

The Obama administration did not go around the country rounding up and deporting illegal aliens, some of whom are criminals with varying degrees of violent behavior, including murder. Instead, the Border Patrol caught these nearly three million illegals near the Mexican border as they were entering the country, and turned them around to head back south. Better than nothing, certainly, but far less laudable than that for which Obama takes credit.

In the meantime, the many millions of illegals that have found their way into the country remain, many of them in self-proclaimed “sanctuary” jurisdictions, where local officials brag that they will protect the illegals – criminals and non-criminals alike – from being discovered and deported, or otherwise dealt with as federal law provides.

Like his failure to identify and correctly label radical Muslims who commit terrorism in America and elsewhere, Obama’s failure to properly address illegal immigration will forever be near the top of his lengthy failure list.

It is said, and in proper context it is true, that America is a nation of immigrants. In the earliest days everyone who came to the colonies was an immigrant, and after the colonies gained independence and formed the new nation many other immigrants came to America over the decades and did their part to build and strengthen the nation. But the idea that America still needs immigrants to make it successful and desirable is ridiculous.

American culture was established long ago, so we no longer have a burning need for immigrants for that purpose, or for any purpose. These days, with the foolish suspension of border and immigration control, largely during the term of Barack Obama, the millions of illegal aliens in the country today often weaken our country and pose threats to Americans.

Our country belongs to Americans, those of us whose families have been here for more than a few years, families that have been here for generations. Our Founders created a nation with a unique set of principles from which deep traditions were formed that have survived more than two centuries since the United States came into existence.

We have our ways of doing things – our culture – and a body of laws that evolved from that culture. Americans decide how things are done here, and those who want to come here from places near and far, and places often much different, and many far worse than America, are expected to adapt to our way of doing things.

What sense does it make to do what is required to get to America legally from countries hundreds or thousands of miles away, become a US citizen, and then maintain an allegiance to the land you wanted to get away from instead having an allegiance to America? Or to try to institute the culture of the home you left to come here? If you don’t want to adapt to our way of life – to become an American – why did you come here?

Our policy ought to be: If you want to come here, and you agree to embrace our culture and to assimilate into the American way of believing, living and behaving, and you are a good and honest person with something positive to contribute to America, you will be considered acceptable to apply for citizenship.

What we don’t need, don’t want, and must not abide is people coming here illegally, even if they do so because they truly want a better life in the US. And we also can’t allow those to immigrate here whose national allegiance lies with a country other than the United States. Be an American; accept the country as it is, not as you want it to be. Do not be, for example, a Nicaraguan that lives in America.

Every American needs to understand that there is no divine right held by citizens of other countries to come to America, either asvisitors, immigrants, or as refugees. And further understand that America has no obligation to accept people who want to come here. We can accept them, or not, as we choose.

However, America does have the right, and the obligation, to control who it allows into the country, to be sure they are fit to be here, and have something beneficial to offer us.

America became the great and wonderful country that it is through decades of honoring and sustaining its founding principles, and not by kowtowing to the demands of every dissatisfied minority group that believes its desires are more important than our heritage.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

We need to learn to appreciate what America’s Founders gave us



Donald Trump was unofficially declared the winner of the 2016 presidential election early in the morning on November 9, and that victory survived the slow vote counting in some states, and challenges of voting irregularities. And last Monday that victory was finally verified when the electors of the 50 states and the District of Columbia that comprise the Electoral College gathered in their respective districts to officially cast their votes.

The integrity of the Electoral College survived both the illegal and legal efforts of Trump opponents to bribe, intimidate or otherwise persuade Trump electors to not vote for him, with unexpected results: While a few electors did not vote as they were instructed by the voters they represented, the vast majority did as they should have done. And Trump won this contest, too. Of the 538 electors only seven of them did not vote according to the voting in their districts. Five of the “faithless” electors withheld their vote from Hillary Clinton, while only two withheld their vote from Trump.

Democrats and liberals have been crazy since the election, and now want the Electoral College to go the way of those thousands of missing emails from Clinton’s private server, since she won the popular vote by 2.1 percent, but lost the electoral vote. However, the Electoral College did precisely what it was designed to do; it did not “misfire,” as the Clinton camp charges.

The opinions of scholars and other commentators uphold the value of the Electoral College. For example, The Heritage Foundation’s Hans von Spakovsky explains: “In creating the basic architecture of the American government, the Founders struggled to satisfy each state’s demand for greater representation while attempting to balance popular sovereignty against the risk posed to the minority from majoritarian rule.”

In addition to those concerns, “as students of ancient history, the Founders feared the destructive passions of direct democracy, and as recent subjects of an overreaching monarch, they equally feared the rule of an elite unresponsive to the will of the people. The Electoral College was a compromise, neither fully democratic nor aristocratic,” writes Jarrett Stepman, an editor for The Daily Signal.

The University of Buffalo’s James Campbell explains that had the popular vote been the mechanism that chose the president, candidates would have focused their campaigns on the population centers, ignoring the rest of the country. And he further suggests that then voters probably would have behaved differently, too. Many in the less populated areas, for example, might have stayed home, feeling that their vote didn’t matter, effectively disenfranchising them.

California essentially provided Clinton the 2.8 million votes that comprised her popular vote victory. The Electoral College protected the interests of those millions of Americans who do not live in the population centers.

The other side of that argument is that under the Electoral College system, candidates would limit their campaigns to the swing states, producing a similar effect as the popular vote method does. However, swing states change from time to time, whereas population centers do not.

Looking at the final version of the electoral map, Clinton’s strength lay primarily in the coastal areas and a few spots in the middle, while Trump’s support covered a tall and wide swath across the area between the coasts. Clinton’s ballot power came primarily from New York, California and Chicago, the population centers, while the huge area of the country that went for Trump covers primarily small towns/cities and sparsely populated areas, the heartland of America.

And that is the value of the Electoral College system: it protects Americans in flyover country from the tyranny of big city dwellers, who generally have a much different set of values and desires. And remember that the president’s job is to act in the best interests of the entire country, not to satisfy the desires of a voting majority or of the big cities.

What if instead of the football team that scores the most points winning the game, the winner is the team that gained the most yards? That is a similar situation to electing a president: The number of votes – like the number of yards – is not necessarily the most important factor.

So don't do away with the Electoral College, as the spurned Clinton voters want. It provides the balance of national interests the Founders understood was necessary.

One change that makes sense is to stop having electors that must get together in a formal ceremony to vote. Since the results are known when the vote count is done, this step is unnecessary; it serves no useful purpose, costs money, delays the finalizing of the voter’s decision, and provides losing parties an opportunity for harmful mischief, as we witnessed.

And while the aggrieved are creating mischief, they are also building false hopes, which will cause even more grief when their mischief fails to change the results of the election, and generates bad feelings that will endure long after the election is over.

These days some group wants to change virtually everything about America that made it the unqualified success it has been since it was founded.

Stop trying to change it and instead enjoy its abundant benefits.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Can the Democrat Party recover and rehabilitate in time for 2020?



Having blown the 2016 "sure thing" coronation of Hillary Clinton; having magnificently failed to realize how badly they had alienated the people who live between the two coastal liberal strong-holds, not noticing their growing displeasure and desire for change, we are left to wonder if the Democrats can return to Earth in time to rebuild their party and find good candidates to head the party ticket in 2020.

In their effort to figure out what happened the Democrats have blamed James Comey and the FBI, Jill Stein and Bernie Sanders, Wikileaks, racism, sexism, fake news, Russia, and voters: everyone and everything is to blame except the DNC itself and its candidate.

After the election there were demonstrations by Clinton supporters that turned into riots, crying sessions and a search for safe spaces, suggestions that Russian hacking impacted the election, which led to efforts to undermine the Electoral College by persuading Republican electors to not vote for Trump, as their voters has instructed them. There were instances of intimidation and death threats against some electors.

But no evidence has been advanced suggesting that the Russians actually changed votes or affected the results of the election. One analysis says all the Russians did was hack Democrat emails that were then released by Wikileaks, which exposed the lies, deceit, corruption, and collusion of the Clinton campaign, the DNC, and the media to the public. Since their dirty little secrets were exposed to the world, naturally the Democrats had to try to get the electors to overturn the results of the election, right?

Of course, Democrats disagree with this analysis, but the fact remains that they are so badly flummoxed and disoriented that we have every reason to wonder if they can recover rationality in time for their party to function well enough to field competent candidates for the next presidential election.

Assuming the DNC is able to establish lucidity, who are the potential candidates? Odds are that if Hillary Clinton is still alive and well, she will put herself out there again, despite her weak performance in 2008 and her substantial defeat this year.

But there are alternatives, too.

The Wall Street Journal’s James Taranto cites a poll by Public Policy Polling showing that “Joe Biden leads the way for Democrats with 31 percent to 24 percent for Bernie Sanders, and 16 percent for Elizabeth Warren.” As if to underscore the depths of confusion among Democrats, however, Taranto goes on to say that they also expressed preference for younger candidates: “57 percent of Democrats say they want their candidate to be under the age of 60, and 77 percent say they want their candidate to be under the age of 70. Only 8 percent actually want a candidate who’s in their [sic] 70s.”

He points out that by the time of the 2020 election the favored potential candidates will be north of 70: Biden will be 77, Sanders will be 79, and Warren, the baby of the group, will be 71. Based upon the ages of the favored Democrats, Taranto termed the DNC the “Great-Grand Old Party.”

James Hohmann, national political correspondent for The Washington Post, suggests that since VP candidate Sen. Tim Kaine, D-VA, has declined to seek the presidency in 2020 that the door is open for other recognizable faces to enter the fray, such as New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, and New York’s Kirsten Gillibrand, who took over Clinton’s Senate seat when she became secretary of state.

In addition to the aforementioned possibilities, Post opinion writer Chris Cillizza names some other lesser-known potential candidates in a commentary published by the Chicago Tribune.

California’s Attorney General Kamala Harris, who was elected to the U.S. Senate in November, is the first African-American woman elected to the Senate since Carol Moseley-Braun in 1992, Cillizza notes. He points out that she also represents the largest and most-Democrat state in the country, and that her “law-and-order-background” as AG will help her.

With first a business background, then serving as a mayor, and now Colorado’s governor, John Hickenlooper would have broad appeal, Cillizza believes. One negative is Hickenlooper’s moderate political position, which may not appeal to the current very-liberal Democrats.

Having demonstrated an ability to work across the aisle to achieve things for veterans and child adoption, Callizza believes Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., has a positive profile for national office. Despite that her state is not exactly a fundraising hotbed for national politics, her ambitious demeanor may be attractive to Democrats.

Cillizza also notes that while current First Lady Michelle Obama has never run for office or expressed interest in doing so, she has excellent name recognition and “star power,” and would go into a race for the nomination as a beloved figure. He noted his approval of two of her political speeches, which he termed the two best in the last two years.

So, after Biden, Sanders, Warren, Booker, and Obama, the other possibilities have the name recognition hurdle to clear, so watching who says and does what during Trump’s first four years will help clarify the DNC’s dilemma.

Of course, if none of the above finds favor with the Democrats, Kanye West has already thrown his hat into the ring, and Martin Sheen of the recent effort to persuade electors to not vote for Trump is available. He’s never been a president, but he did play one on TV.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Trump's choices for administrative positions confound the left




The fact that Donald Trump, the President-Elect of the United States, is following an unconventional path toward assembling his administration is precisely what anyone who has paid attention to the campaign and election process should expect. And yet, more than a year after he started down the path to become president, the left still seemingly can’t quite figure out Donald Trump. Failing to exercise caution about what to do when they find themselves in unfamiliar territory, the left doles out generous criticism of that which they so poorly understand. Clearly, desperation, and more than a little hysteria, rules the left these days.

Most everyone else gets it: Trump does not think like, act like or speak like a typical politician, because he isn’t a politician.

Coming from the world of business, Trump selects his team like a CEO, using not political considerations, but focusing on competence in management: top retired military people and successful business people, people who have proved themselves in endeavors other than as a long-time or lifetime government functionary.

And that is really why the left is horrified. It’s not that they don’t understand Trump, it is that they are offended and in disbelief that the voters have given them and their idea of government a big thumbs down, and they simply cannot, and will not adapt to this reality.

The narrow view that you have to be a career bureaucrat or politician, or a manic ideologue in order to successfully handle an important government position is the height of arrogance. It ignores reality, the fact that there are tens of thousands of successful people outside government that are every bit as qualified and competent as is a career politician or bureaucrat, and it certainly is possible that such a person might actually be better at it, because they will bring a vastly different approach to the job. In business and the military, efficiency is a fundamental element for success, but in government, efficiency is not common.

They have forgotten, never knew, or perhaps have just ignored the fact that the first Americans to serve in executive or legislative positions were common people, business people: farmers, bankers, blacksmiths, lawyers, surveyors, printers, merchants, etc. And in the early decades they served their country in office part of the time, and plied their private sector trade at home the rest of the time. Given the generally below-par performance of the federal government, restoring this characteristic to government service is one of the better changes we can make.

President Obama used political and ideological factors to make his selections; relying on people he knew who shared his leftist viewpoint.

Contrast that with Trump’s approach, which is selecting people for important positions from a practicality standpoint: Who can do this job well? Who will follow the rules, appreciate and abide by Constitutional limits on government? Transition insiders suggest that he will carefully select these leaders, and then leave them to run their departments, and not micro-manage them.

Trump has named four retired military general officers for positions in his administration, so far. The left finds this to be a very scary exercise, given that our government is supposed to be a civilian government. It seems unpersuasive to the critics on the left that these four talented and successful gentlemen are – as required – civilians, given that their military careers ended with their retirement. Obama named three generals to his cabinet without so much as a peep from the lefties. And, of course, Dwight D. Eisenhower, the 34th President of the United States, was a retired 5-star General of the Army.

Critics say that Trump’s choices to head massive federal agencies and departments fail the competency test because they have never run anything with thousands or tens of thousands of employees, as federal agencies have today. While the size of an operation is certainly a factor, the skill of management is not necessarily defined by how large the organization or department is. Further, this criticism rests on the absurd idea that the only person with input into the operation of a department is its director. This is one area where long-term government employees can be very useful, providing important guidance and input.

Obama’s disastrous 8-year presidency has been defined by ideological and political considerations. Remember the “Fast and Furious” gunrunning scandal that cost the life of a Border Patrol agent? Lois Learner using the IRS against conservative applicants for tax-exempt status? The EPA’s unilateral creation of rules with the force of law that pitted the federal government against an American industry, and put tens of thousands of Americans working in and with the coal industry out of work? Jamming Obamacare down the throats of Americans, and preventing participation in that process by Congressional Republicans?

The different approach of a Trump presidency might shock people simply because it is not the same old process that we now have. However, “different” does not automatically mean “not as good,” and may very well be much better. Despite the damage to the nation of the Obama years, the nation survived. The chances that Trump’s approach to governing will be worse than that are highly unlikely.

Tuesday, December 06, 2016

2016 is the year that saw both major political parties collapse


The election of 2016 will be remembered – and reviled, by many – for years to come.

One party’s establishment had a coronation in mind; the other party’s had a primary process it thought would produce a milquetoast candidate along the lines of the Republican majorities in both houses of Congress that failed to stand their ground. Both parties were wrong, and what transpired during the primary process and the election shocked millions.

The Republican Party's collapse began years ago, when it forgot that it was the keeper of the nation’s conservative foundations, and squandered many opportunities to make positive and needed changes and to stop an imperialist president. That collapse peaked during the primary season. Among the 17 candidates was Donald Trump, a non-politician who attracted the attention of the voters with his intention to “Make America Great Again” and his promise to “drain the swamp.” His political inexperience was ridiculed and his appeal underestimated by nearly everyone, but against the desires of the establishment Republicans and despite their subversive efforts, he won the nomination comfortably.

Along the way to winning the GOP nomination, Trump churned up enormous amounts of bad will among both Republicans and Democrats. All of that chaos rendered the GOP so badly splintered that it was barely recognizable as a political party. But Trump won the all-but-destroyed GOP’s nomination, defied the conventional wisdom and the millions of Hillary faithful and won a significant Electoral College victory.

The Democrat Party's collapse began as a strong, blinding emotion for Hillary Clinton to again declare her desire to be crowned the first female President of the United States that had been on-hold for eight years. After all, it is time for a female president, right, and who is more deserving than she? With the exception of Bernie Sanders’ strong challenge to her anticipated coronation, the signs of collapse were obscured to Democrats and liberals by their overwhelming desire for a female president.

But on the campaign trail Clinton insulted Trump supporters, saying, “you could put half of Trump’s supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables,” and generally ran a poor campaign. Her strategy was largely to slam Trump for nearly everything he did and said. She is not particularly likeable, and her list of scandals and bad judgment did not help her lagging popularity. That the jig was up became obvious early Wednesday morning, and Clinton was reportedly so disconsolate that she did not even concede the election until hours later. The pain lingers for Clinton and her supporters to this day.

What has happened to the two parties since their respective collapse is that the Republicans actually began a gradual restoration before Election Day, with some anti-Trumpers, perhaps grudgingly, coming around to give some degree of support to their party’s candidate. And as President-Elect Trump has been steadily assembling his administration, other prominent Republicans have been coming on board.

The GOP still has a long way to go, however, but is well ahead of the Democrats, who cannot accept the fact that Clinton did not win the election. They were so, so, so sure of their vision of a first-ever female president; but they were so, so, so wrong. Their disillusionment and desperation is palpable.

They didn’t notice the level of dissatisfaction of the people, and still haven’t realized what happened. Instead, they blame FBI Director James Comey’s crazy behavior in the email scandal investigation and Clinton’s inferior campaigning as causes for the loss, never aware that after eight years of President Barack Obama’s failed policies, the country wants change.

Having missed the reason for their defeat, they aren’t working to revitalize the party, but instead are indulging in playground-style name-calling and criticizing everything Trump says and does, labeling him and his choices for positions racists, sexists, misogynists, bigots, homophobes, and white nationalists. And last week rather than try someone new with different ideas, House Democrats re-elected California’s Nancy Pelosi as Minority Leader.

While Trump focuses on carefully selecting people for administration positions – capable people the left would never have thought of – those selections are automatically considered bad and are setting the country up for major failure.

Democrats and the left media are stunned that the new president has different ideas about what the country needs than they have, and have lost all semblance of common sense over Trump accepting a congratulatory phone call from the democratically elected president of Taiwan, on the grounds that it would upset China. The idea that an American president ought to check with any nation before talking to a national leader is preposterous.

Trump has ably demonstrated that he, like all of us, is an imperfect being. He is not a politician; he does not think like a politician, act like a politician, nor speak like a politician. Those who support him and voted for him understand that he will have failures and shortcomings, and will make mistakes, as all previous presidents have, and all future presidents will. Nevertheless, all of this will become fuel for fires the left will kindle, and will throw misunderstood context, misconstrued comments and exaggeration on a flickering flame trying to start a blaze.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Yes, the campaign was wild and crazy, and the aftermath is, too!


The election of Donald Trump on November 8 set off waves of emotion, both positive and negative. Usually, such feelings wane and normalcy returns after several days, but three weeks later much of the negativism remains, and may have intensified.

Some of the reactions to the election strike many as farcical, even phantasmagoric. Many of the reactions strike directly at the very traditions and history of America and its people. Unsurprisingly, much of the craziest stuff arises on college campuses.

** A liberal arts college in western Massachusetts has taken down the American flag on campus until next semester in hopes it will free up students to have a “direct, open, and respectful conversation.”

You see, some view the flag at the center of the Hampshire College campus as a symbol of racism and hatred, and following the election, some students called for its removal.

The flag was pulled down and burned early one morning, and quickly replaced. But then the College Board decided the flag would be flown at half-staff, a decision that angered veterans and military families. The solution, the College decided, was to take the campus flag down until next semester, but not to ban all flags on the campus.

** Among the nation’s highly respected institutions of higher learning is the University of Virginia (UVA), founded nearly 200 years ago by Thomas Jefferson, author of the Declaration of Independence and third President of the United States.

After UVA President Teresa Sullivan quoted Jefferson in a campus-wide email encouraging students to stay resilient and hopeful while trying to recover from the distress suffered after the election, some students and faculty objected to the Jefferson quote.

A letter reportedly signed by 469 students and faculty said, in part: “For many of us, the inclusion of Jefferson quotations in these e-mails undermines the message of unity, equality and civility that you are attempting to convey.”

One might expect students and faculty at an institution of higher learning to be capable of appreciating that a positive message including a quote from the school’s famous founder is not necessarily rendered meaningless by the fact that Jefferson owned slaves. Such efforts by the easily offended on the left to erase elements of the nation’s history they don’t like in order to create the pretty and clean image that matches their fantasy is fundamentally dishonest.

While much of this activity has taken place on college campuses, it seems this craziness exists elsewhere in the U.S.

** An anti-Trump organization named “The #NotMyPresident Alliance” has exposed electors of the Electoral College to the whims of people who don’t want Trump to win the Electoral College vote by releasing personal information on the electors, including the personal phone numbers, addresses, religions, races, genders, and candidate preference of the electors. 

According to Buzzfeed.com, “The group hopes that its members and citizens around the country will contact electors and persuade them to change their vote from Donald Trump to another candidate before Dec. 19” when electors meet to cast their votes.

One wonders how many electors will be threatened by Trump opponents?

** Here’s an item that might produce cries of “Yes! Go for it!” People in the Golden State are calling for secession.

"The relationship between California and the federal system just isn't working," said one of those leading the protest, complaining that federal tax money paid by Californians “isn't adequately supporting aging infrastructure and public programs in the state.” He and a small group paced in front of the state capitol, chanting, "What do we want? Calexit! When do we want it? Now!"

Amid signs proclaiming "Free Hugs" and "Not my president," and some profane Trump chants, he said Trump’s election proves that America is failing. “So then the question becomes, do you want to go down with the sinking ship, knowing that you have a ship that's able to sail the international economy on its own?" California dreaming is alive and well.

** The Department of Justice charged the Denver Sheriffs Department for discriminating against illegal aliens in the hiring of deputy sheriffs. In response to this outrageous development, the Sheriffs Office did precisely the wrong thing: it worked out a settlement that included a $10,000 fine and agreed to change its job requirements to allow illegals to apply and perhaps be hired. The appropriate response: “No dice. We’ll decide who is qualified to serve our citizens, and illegal aliens in our country and state are not qualified.”

Why would anyone think it’s acceptable to hire people who broke the law when they came here to serve as law enforcement officers? It is not discrimination to exclude illegals and criminals from these jobs; it is common sense.

America is not about the majority bowing down to a minority who want to change long-standing traditions and practices they don’t like. We can’t allow ignorance and emotion to rule.

We just celebrated Thanksgiving, expressing our gratitude for the blessings we now have. Looking to next Thanksgiving, perhaps these misguided Americans will have realized that these things and the thoughts behind them are not what America is all about.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

The Trump transition is well underway, despite his enemies’ wishes



Two weeks after the presidential election, things are moving forward for President-Elect Donald Trump, who is busy selecting individuals for administration posts.

Last week, Trump’s first two appointments were Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus as chief of staff and former head of Breitbart News, Stephen Bannon, as chief strategist.

Amid assessments of the transition’s first few days as chaotic and on the cusp of failure, Bannon’s choice drew sharp criticism from the leftist Trump opponents and the major media, who are determined to criticize most everything Trump’s team does or says.

Next came the choice of retired Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn as national security adviser, Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.) as director of the CIA, and Sen. Jeff Sessions, (R-Ala.) for Attorney General, subject to Senate approval, and meetings Saturday with 2012 Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, thought to be a candidate for secretary of state, and with retired Marine Corps Gen. James Mattis, who is said to be a potential contender for defense secretary.

Meetings with potential selectees continued through the weekend, stoking the fires of speculation about who might go where and, of course, the predictable Democrat opposition’s criticism of people under consideration, as well as those already chosen.

As bad a choice as media and political enemies believe Trump to be, so far his transition is right on schedule.

Saturday, Trump took action to remove what likely would have become a big distraction to organizing his administration, doing so prior to being sworn in, and which likely would have continued at least into the early months of his presidency. Agreeing to a settlement of $25 million, three lawsuits aimed at Trump University have been resolved. The agreement also includes $1 million in penalties to the state of New York.

Former students of the school claimed that they paid thousands of dollars to learn Trump’s real estate success secrets, but contended that they were lured into paying up to $35,000 to learn from instructors hand-picked by Trump, which they claim did not happen.

The settlement was negotiated between Trump’s lawyers and New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and the law firm that brought the suit against the now closed school. The settlement does not require an admission of guilt from Trump, but Trump’s organization issued a statement that said, "We are pleased to announce the complete resolution of all litigation involving Trump University. While we have no doubt that Trump University would have prevailed at trial based on the merits of this case, resolution of these matters allows President-Elect Trump to devote his full attention to the important issues facing our great nation."

If there is a downside to settling the lawsuits, it is that we may never know which side is right. Did Trump defraud the students, or is it merely an opportunity seized upon by students and lawyers hoping for a big payout?

Removing what would have become a huge distraction enables Trump to get on with the business of organizing his presidency, even as his political enemies occupy themselves with petty criticisms about appointments and who he is talking with, suggestions of who he should be talking with, and arguing about whether it was FBI Director James Comey’s handling of the email investigation or the Electoral College that defeated Hillary Clinton, not Donald Trump.

Democrats have begun a move to have the Electoral College, the Constitutional mechanism to determine who becomes president, replaced by the popular vote. At the Constitutional Convention, several methods of electing a president were considered, but the Founders well knew the dangers of consolidated power. After much debate and compromise they devised a system that instead distributed power more broadly, balancing federal powers with those of the states, and providing a voice to all states, not just the most populous. 

As Heritage Foundation legal expert Hans von Spakovsky noted: “In creating the basic architecture of the American government, the Founders struggled to satisfy each state’s demand for greater representation while attempting to balance popular sovereignty against the risk posed to the minority from majoritarian rule.”

And the result has been that the Electoral College has provided stability to the process of picking presidents. Though the national popular vote winner typically wins the presidency, that vote failed to determine the winner in four previous elections: 1824, 1876, 1888, and 2000, and the republic survived quite well, thank you.

And the wisdom of the Founders has once again been proven in the 2016 election where the least desirable candidate, Hillary Clinton, wound up with a comparatively thin popular vote margin of 50.6 percent of the vote to Trump’s 49.4 percent; 1.4 million votes out of 124.7 million, meaning that Clinton got 1.15 more votes per hundred voters than Trump did.

A margin this thin is well within the margin of error of political polling, and hardly worthy of the hysteria that has been demonstrated by this miniscule difference in vote totals.

What this effort does best is illustrate the level of desperation, disbelief and unwillingness to accept the outcome that is so firmly ingrained into the political left and their sub-faction, the major national media.

But as before, the republic will endure and thrive.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Moving forward, with the election of 2016 in the rearview mirror




Tuesday, November 8 was a stunning repudiation of the eight years of Barack Obama’s presidency. It was a revolution. The media and the left are in a daze; they don’t understand what happened. They didn’t notice that the people were unhappy with the direction of the country, and the people showed them that they are in charge.

With a Republican president and Republican majorities in each House of the Congress, the stage is set for needed change, and the by-word for Republicans is: Restoration.

That is a tall order; given the deep slide the country has been in for so many years. Among items badly needing attention:

* Gain control of the borders and restore immigration laws and policies so that they benefit and protect the people of the United States. There is no obligation to accept immigrants or refugees, and if we choose to accept some, they must be carefully vetted to select those that will help America the most. Do away with sanctuary jurisdictions in the U.S.

* Reverse many/all of Obama’s Executive Orders that are either unconstitutional, attempts to circumvent Congressional treaty authority, or just bad ideas.

* Revitalize and build up the American military to its former strength and effectiveness.

* The IRS, EPA, DOE and other executive departments are staffed by many who, instead of serving the people, are serving political/ideological masters. Replace these people with true public servants.

* Repeal or heavily modify the Affordable Care Act to increase private sector insurance coverage and encourage more choices and more competition among providers of insurance and health care, and to lower prices. Get the government out of healthcare as much as possible.

* Simplify the tax code and adjust rates, and reduce regulations. These things impair business development, stifle job creation, and that make moving jobs and companies overseas more appealing.

*Restore the constitutional balance of power and reverse Congress’ unconstitutional transfer of law making through regulations by executive agencies and departments.

* Vacancies on the Supreme Court and other federal courts must be filled by people who not only understand the original language and intent of the Constitution, but will honor it. Changes to the Constitution must occur through the process outlined in the Constitution itself, not through unelected activist judges.

* The election process has many weaknesses that allow the dead to vote and other problems that can be utilized for illegal purposes. Furthermore, there is simply no legitimate reason to not implement a photo ID requirement to vote in federal elections. A photo ID is required to buy alcohol or cigarettes; open a bank account; apply for food stamps, welfare, Medicaid/Social Security, unemployment, a mortgage or a job; drive/buy/rent a car; get on an airplane; purchase a gun; adopt a pet; rent a hotel room, and many other things. But not to vote. Clean up voter rolls, be more vigilant and punish cheaters.

* A balanced budget is not immediately possible, but begin to decrease the size and cost of government and start reducing the gargantuan National Debt.

* Congress was not intended to be, and should not be, a career, and lengthy Congressional service has produced an unhealthy culture. The Framers envisioned citizen legislators, people who did their elected job for part of the year and worked their jobs at home the rest of the year, and after a term or two returned to civilian life. We need to move toward that environment.

* And last, but certainly not least: Uphold the Rule of Law; eliminate the double standard: Government workers at all levels must be held to the same legal standards as the people who pay their salaries. This includes such folks as the IRS’s Lois Learner and, yes, Hillary Clinton. It is true that the defeat in the election was a true blow to her, and yes, that can be taken into account. However, as Secretary of State, Clinton breached security and put at risk sensitive national security information, destroyed evidence, and lied to Congress about it.

Others who have done similar things have suffered criminal penalties for their wrongdoing; retired Army General David Petraeus and active-duty Petty Officer First Class Kristian Saucier, and many others were punished through the legal system for security breaches. So, too, must Clinton be.

FBI Director James Comey introduced a new element into criminal law when he decided Clinton should not be indicted for her wrong doing because he was unable to establish the intent to breach security. She thus escaped justice where others did not. However, when lawyers for Saucier told the court their client did not intend to breach security, as Comey asserted about Clinton, the judge rebuked them for using that defense.

She should not be pardoned; the legal system exists to find and punish criminal behavior. If appropriate for her deeds, she should be charged, and absent a guilty plea, tried. If guilty by plea or by trial, a large fine and/or probation would be appropriate. It’s only fair: equal justice under the law. Otherwise, it will be a huge statement that some are above the law.

There is much to be done. Let’s get started.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

A Democrat's Guide for Moving to Canada


By Dennis Evers

If you were one of the registered living or deceased voting Democrats that made a pledge that if Trump wins, you would be heading north of the border to escape the horrendous possibility of fewer taxes, less government intervention and fewer handouts, this guide’s for you.

A few tips before you head north. First if you do keep your promise, bundle up; 22 below zero isn’t uncommon in some cities, but the frostbite scars and missing appendages will make you a living testament to your integrity and show all of those people in the lower 57 states you are a person of conviction. Summer isn’t that hot, although highs of 113 degrees have been recorded, but the intense humidity helps you sweat and keeps you more comfortable. Also, watch out for the state bird: it is actually a mosquito.

Once you have crossed the highly secure border if your paperwork is in order, great things await you. If you are polygamous, each one of your wives can get welfare, too.

Because there is “Gun Control” you can rest easy, as government statistics show that roughly a third of murders are firearm related. On the down side, one of those thirds are stabbings, so you might get carved up like a Thanksgiving turkey, but that’s a small price to pay for not having dangerous guns around for self defense. If you do find yourself with a steak knife sticking out of your torso, “free” healthcare will be something you can look forward to. If you have a job, you know just how large of a chunk of your paycheck is taken to provide this free service, but hey, depending upon what hospital you visit, they may get around to removing your steak knife in a week or two. However if complications arise, the government “death benefit” will pay you a lump sum of $2,295.85 to be planted, if you can find a really good deal on a casket. Unfortunately, you have to contribute for ten years before you are eligible.

Housing: no problem. Assuming you were totally committed to honoring your promise, you went ahead and sold your Prius (after removing the Hillary bumper stickers) or if you’re a “big Hollywood star,” your eco-friendly Hummer and your other worldly possessions, and are heading north. Keep in mind that the average price of a house in Vancouver runs $1,513,800.00, but if that’s out of your price range, you can pick up a deal in Toronto for around $450.000.00. If you want to save big and rent, and test the whole “Canadian” thing, rent is around $1,368.00 for a two-bedroom apartment in Vancouver, and in Toronto it costs around $1,288.00

Here’s something you’re sure to like, progressive laws forbid defaming homosexuals and other “special” people, so you could end up in jail for having a non-government approved joke or opinion. However, as a dyed-in-the-wool lib, you should be right at home with the restrictions on speech and thought. Just like here, you’re entitled to your own opinion, as long as it's government approved.

Good news for animal lovers. If you cherish kitty cats and cuddly puppy dogs, but feel that slaughtering the most helpless creatures on earth is OK, Canada has more laws protecting animals than it has for innocent baby Canadian humans.

By now you’re wondering about food, and if you can maintain your bourgeoisie, capitalistic, semi-vegan diet of humus, cheese, yogurt, wine and other delights, the answer is a resounding “YES”! There is just one little problem: a gallon of good ol USA milk runs about $3.00 (just bought a gallon at wally world for $2.00) while it is upward of $7.00 in the great white north. You can still enjoy eating out, but expect to pay higher prices as the competition in the capitalist US keeps the prices down here much lower. If you prefer to eat healthier, it’s only about $1.50 more a day, which works out to only about $550.00 a year per person.

While gas in the states is around $2.25 per gallon, it’s only $1.19 per liter. Wait, my bad, there are 3.78 liters in a gallon so gas is around $4.50 per gallon. You’ll probably wish you hadn’t sold your Prius before heading north.

If you are serious about leaving, you might consider a crowdfunding effort to help offset your expenses as almost everything in Canada is more costly, and there are a lot of us “deplorables” (more of us than you, actually) that would love to assist you in your transition.

It’s a win-win and you really can’t put a price on conviction, eh.

Dennis Evers is a former small town police chief and best selling author. He can be reached at: prepperpro@gmail.com