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, “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:

Tuesday, November 08, 2016

October’s jobs and economic numbers do not warrant much celebration

President Barack Obama’s last chance before the election to show that Democrat policies are producing favorable economic and job conditions has ended, and October’s economic numbers contain some positive news, but not a lot.

Among the better news, the most often cited unemployment rate dropped slightly, and average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls rose by 10 cents.

President Obama and the Democrats are thrilled that the U-3 unemployment rate dropped a bit in October to 4.9 percent, the same level at which it stood in June, July and August before rising to 5.0 percent in September. Unemployment of 4.9 percent is a respectable rate, so long as other factors do not provide contradictory facts. But, alas, they do.

The U-3 rate is one of six different looks at alternative measures of labor underutilization in the country, and counts those in the labor force who are working as well as those who have lost their job, but are actively looking for another one.

The weakness of the U-3 is, however, that there are a tremendous number of Americans of working age who are not working or looking for a job any longer because they became discouraged at being unable to find a job, and have dropped out of the labor force, although they would gladly go back to work if the business climate improved and the economy produced a job for them. The U-6 rate reflects the unemployment rate with these folks included in the calculation, and stood at 9.5 percent at the end of October. The U-6 rate is far more reflective of the actual health of the employment environment than the more frequently cited U-3 rate, and 9.5 percent is not good.

Thus far in 2016, employment growth has averaged 181,000 per month, compared with an average monthly increase of 229,000 in 2015. Neither level has been enough to help those millions of discouraged workers who have given up looking for work, as demonstrated by the U-6 unemployment number.

In October, 1.7 million persons were marginally attached to the labor force. While total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 161,000 in October, 487,000 discouraged workers dropped out of the workforce; three times as many people quit the workforce because they couldn’t find a job as were hired for a new job. That explains the small improvent in the U-3 rate.

“The sectors witnessing the strongest boost in hiring over the past year included education, health and professional and business services in October,” write Nick Timiraos and Josh Zumbrun on The Wall Street Journal blog. “The sectors with the weakest performance included manufacturing and mining.” Service sector jobs thrive while manufacturing sector jobs continue to suffer. And, since the last recession began in December of 2007, the number of new full-time positions and the number of new part-time positions are nearly equal.

Neither of these are good signs. Most people want full-time jobs, but they are in short supply, and that means lower earnings as a part-timer, or having to work multiple jobs to make ends meet. And in terms of worker earnings, manufacturing jobs most often pay better wages than service jobs.

The Labor Force Participation Rate was at 62.8 percent at the end of October, muddling along at levels not seen since the late 1970s.

A participation rate of 62.8 percent means that of every 1,000 people of working age that are actively in the labor force or have dropped out but are willing and want to work, only 628 have a job, a little less than two out of three. That translates to 94.5 million Americans of working age that are not working. The highest the participation rate has been in 2016 is 63.0 percent and the lowest is 62.6. Until after the recession began near the end of 2007, the participation rate hovered around 66.0, and nothing President Obama has done in eight years has reversed the steady slide and the leveling out in the 62 percent range.

After seven years in office the Obama economy had produced an average real GDP growth rate of a weak 1.55 percent, ranking Obama as fourth from the bottom of previous Presidents of the United States. In October 2016, GDP registered a growth rate of 2.9 percent, by far the best this year. However, by comparison, U.S. real GDP growth averaged 3.79 percent from 1790 to 2000. The Obama administration’s over-regulation and poor tax policies hampered business activity, hence job production.

As voters go to the polls to complete the process of choosing Obama’s successor, a major question is whether they will vote to elect Hillary Clinton and stay on the present failed course for four or perhaps eight more years of economic weakness, millions of Americans out of work, weak GDP, and jobs forced overseas by foolish tax and regulatory policy.

Or, will they vote for a change by electing Donald Trump, who at least very well understands business and how economic policies like those of Obama and Clinton harm the very people they are elected to serve. Let us hope for the latter, and provide America the chance for better things in the future.

Monday, October 31, 2016

Presidential campaign has not focused much on important issues

The presidential campaign has not adequately addressed the issues and problems facing the United States, but the next president has a mountain of problems needing attention.

Looking at polls from major news organizations – CBS News/New York Times; ABC News/Washington Post; NBC News/Wall Street Journal – from May through October of this year, the economy/jobs is the leading issue in all polls, followed by the combination of terrorism, national security and immigration. Tam Warner Minton, writing on The Huffington Post blog, suggests that the Supreme Court is the most important of the issues.

All of these issues are important, but two of them – The economy/jobs; and the U.S. Supreme Court – are already affecting the country.

The thing to remember when evaluating the way Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton approach these problems is that one of them loves and lives for big and bigger government, while the other plainly prefers the private sector.

Looking at the economy and job creation, Trump has actually created jobs through his hotels, golf courses and casinos; while Clinton’s decades in the public sector leaves her with no real experience in this important sphere.

Her approach to jobs and the economy will rely on increased regulation, reducing taxes on the middle class and making the rich pay more. The National Center for Policy Analysis (NCPA) analyzed the Clinton plan and said, “As currently presented, the Clinton tax proposals would increase taxes on high-income earners, reduce the exceptions to the corporate income tax, and increase estate taxes, in an effort to raise more revenue and bring greater equity to the current U.S. tax system. According to our NCPA-DCGE model, the plan would generate $615 billion in revenue over 10 years, with most of that increase coming from the federal personal income tax. The cost to the economy would be a net loss of 211,000 jobs by 2026, and a reduction in real GDP of 0.9 percent.”

Clinton has criticized Trump’s tax cutting policy, deriding it as “Trumped-up trickle-down,” a cute phrase, but a horribly ignorant economic reality. The NCPA explains why this idea will out perform Clinton’s: “Rather, insofar as tax cuts raise after-tax profits, they induce taxpayers to expand investment and, in so doing, wages, and jobs. Insofar as they raise after-tax wages, they induce taxpayers to enter the labor force and work longer hours. This is not the result of money “trickling down” from one person to another but of the reduction of disincentives to invest and work that are inherent to any tax code,” and especially one that punishes people with money to invest in job-creating economic activity.

Where the U.S. Supreme Court is concerned, it can cause great harm to the nation if Justices stray from their Constitutional limits, and they often do.

In response to a question in a presidential debate, Clinton said: “If I have the opportunity to make any Supreme Court appointments, I’m going to look broadly and widely for people who represent the diversity of our country, who bring some common-sense, real-world experience.”

This answer displays a shocking lack of understanding of the job of the Supreme Court, and the purpose and meaning of the U.S. Constitution. The Court’s duty and function have nothing to do with ideas of diversity, or the supposed benefits of real-world experience. Its job is essentially to resolve legal disputes, being sure always to uphold the principles of the Constitution.

The Constitution is alive, but it is not a “living document,” the meaning of which would change with the winds of societal preferences. The Founders based the Constitution upon important principles that were intended for the ages. They understood that at some future point there may be a true need for modification, and they created a mechanism for doing so. That mechanism is not simply a majority of Supreme Court Justices wanting to make a change; it is a clear and difficult process, difficult by design to prevent foolish modifications to satisfy some momentary desire.

There are essentially two approaches to how justices interpret the Constitution: conservatism/originalism, which honors and adheres to the actual language and original intent of the Constitution; and liberalism, which is a willingness to interpret the language for some social or political end, which results in making law from the bench instead of in the Congress, as the Constitution requires.

Packing the Court with Justices who do not honor the original meaning of the Constitution in order to achieve some narrow ideological objective is a form of subversion, and Hillary Clinton is married to that goal.

Donald Trump, on the other hand, understands the great wrong of that goal, and has vowed to nominate judicial conservatives/originalists to fill Court vacancies.

The left likes for things to be easy: easy border control and easy citizenship; easy changing of the Constitution; easy to vote through early voting and without a picture ID; and easy to live off of government support, rather than facing the rigors of a job, among them.

Such laxness and failure to uphold traditional standards makes it much easier to turn America to liberalism/socialism through subversive measures than trying to persuade people to accept it. We must resist these efforts.