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Views on the News

Views on the News*

January 6, 2018

 

First we were told Donald Trump could never win the nomination; then we were told he couldn’t win the election; then we were told no good people would join his administration; then we were told he could never govern; and then we were told the Republican legislative agenda was impossible.  The next time you’re looking for positive inspiration to start your day, don’t listen to these people.  These notions are nothing new, because they’ve ruled the day in Washington D.C. for as long as anyone can remember.  When I ran for president, I was dismissed as a goofball pizza man with a crazy idea with the funny name of 9-9-9.  Yet when I won the Florida straw poll and was leading the polls: What the people think is not the same as what the elites think.  When Donald Trump ran, and people said he couldn’t win, I knew he could win because the people don’t see things the way the elites did.  In 2017, they would have you believe that President Trump didn’t play that large a role in the Republican Congress passing what it did of its legislative agenda.  I beg to differ.  President Trump had everything to do with it because he’s the one who set the standard that says, when you want to achieve something, you have to ignore the people telling you it can’t be done and focus on the people who need it, want it and believe in it.  Focus on the possible and not on the reasons people tell you it’s impossible.  The tax cut is a perfect example: when we told you here that 80% of taxpayers are getting a tax cut, only 17% think they are.  The media persisted in relentlessly negative coverage of the proposal in the hope of turning the public against it.  They convinced most of the middle class that the tax cut would not benefit them, even though simple objective fact say that it will.  Past Republican Congresses would have been scared off by that dynamic.  This Congress did not, seeing what Trump accomplished by ignoring the elites and listening to the people, since they will know better when they see the tax cut reflected in their paychecks starting in February.  So they ignored all the warnings of impending doom and they passed the tax cut, along with the repeal of the ObamaCare mandate, the opening of ANWR drilling and everything else.  They focused on the possible and they tuned out the naysayers.  President Trump is responsible for this!  While some don’t like his tweets, when the president talks about the prospects for our country, he is relentlessly positive and optimistic.  He refuses to let the usual suspects tell him things can’t be done or won’t be done.  Many members of Congress learned from his approach, and they will be more effective in the future because of it.  Much of the complaining comes from the swamp creatures voluntarily leaving because they don’t like how things have changed.  They were invested in the status quo and they were always able to convince past presidents and Congress that things couldn’t change.  Now they’ve got a president who knows better, and a Congress that’s figuring it out, it’s the sort of thing that could Make a Country Great Again.

(“2017 was a testament to what happens when you focus on the possible” by Herman Cain dated December 31, 2017 published by Canada Free Press at http://canadafreepress.com/article/2017-was-a-testament-to-what-happens-when-you-focus-on-the-possible )

Supporters say President Trump accomplished a great deal in his first year of office: helping to pass a massive tax overhaul, putting Neil Gorsuch on the court, snuffing out President Obama’s regulatory excesses, signaling a more robust foreign policy and damping illegal immigration, for starters.  It is also important to note what Trump didn’t do: he didn’t start World War III, he didn’t deport 11 million people in the country illegally, he didn’t eliminate guarantees of equal status for women, he did not toss the Iran nuclear deal, he did not fire Special Counsel Mueller or Attorney General Sessions, he didn’t cause the stock market to crash or upend our monetary policy, he failed to green-light Putin’s mischief-making in Eastern Europe, he hasn’t reinstated the use of torture, and also hasn’t ignited a trade war, and, he didn’t plunge the country into recession.  Trump’s hysteria-prone critics, who repeatedly warned he was about to do all or any of the above, are no doubt gravely disappointed, but also unrepentant.  Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi continue to sound grave warnings, hinting that Trump’s dangerous policies are leading the ship of state aground.  The GOP tax policy is Armageddon, said Pelosi, and Schumer said it would “skewer” the middle class.  Other Democrats have insisted that axing ObamaCare’s individual mandate “kicks 13 million people off” health care insurance.  Meanwhile, Americans have greater confidence in their circumstances than at any time in the past 17 years.  The country remains more upbeat than they did during the Obama years, tuning out the most ominous warnings from the Left.  The night Trump trounced Hillary Clinton, Paul Krugman predicted the stock market, which initially sold off on the unexpected outcome, would “never” recover from the blow.  The next day, the Dow soared 257 points, and has barely paused for breath ever since.  In the same column, written in the wee hours of Election night, a despondent Krugman said Trump would plunge the country into a terrible recession.  Paul Krugman followed that mistaken call with dire warnings about everything Trump for the past year.  He warned that the president would recklessly choose a partisan hack to fill Janet Yellen’s shoes, “Trumpifying the Fed,” as he described it.  How disappointed he must have been when Trump picked mainstream Fed board member Jay Powell to fill the role.  Columnist David Brooks, who fancies himself a moderate, said Trump would “probably resign or be impeached within a year.”  The New Yorker’s David Remnick, wrote a piece the day after the election entitled An American Tragedy.  Remnick saw End of Days horrors spilling out from the Trump presidency, calling the election “a sickening event in the history of the United States and liberal democracy.”  The president took strong stances during the election, as does every candidate and has certainly shaken up establishment thinking on a variety of fronts, including our relationship with NATO, the UN and respect for the Iran deal.  Moreover, the president surprised many by following through on his threat to withdraw from the TPP trade deal, his disavowal of the Paris climate accord and, most recently, by declaring Jerusalem the capital of Israel.  There is nothing incoherent or reckless in these decisions however; they are compatible with Trump’s focus on jobs, and applauded by his supporters.  Trump voters, like the president, see the Paris deal as bad for our economy.  A realistic assessment of Trump’s first year would note a transition to a smoother and more disciplined White House, better coordination with Congressional allies and a more integrated messaging on foreign policy.  As we move into 2018, Democrats will hope that talk of impeachment motivates their supporters to take back control of the House.  They will try to scare Americans with continued visions of gloom and doom.  If the economy continues its steady climb, wages move higher (as is almost certain), and the stock market follows suit, they will need new talking points.  Judging from surveys of consumer and business sentiment, Americans do not think the world is coming to an end.

(“What Trump Didn’t do in 2017: President’s hysteria-prone critics must be sorely disappointed” by Liz Peek dated December 31, 2017 published by Fox News at http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2017/12/31/liz-peek-what-trump-didnt-do-in-2017-presidents-hysteria-prone-critics-must-be-sorely-disappointed.print.html# )

As he finishes his first year in office, President Donald Trump is hitting his stride politically.  Right before Christmas, the President led the Republican Party to a major congressional victory, passing the huge $1.5 trillion tax cut legislation a political triumph for the President and the GOP.  The victory was secured despite a very thin GOP majority in the Senate and the President’s perilous relations with a number of anti-Trump Senators.  Fortunately, the benefits of the bill persuaded all Republican Senators to support the far-reaching legislation. The booming economy will now grow even faster in 2018.  The tax bill will give average Americans and businesses needed relief.  It will also eliminate the odious ObamaCare mandate and open drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR), which will help America become more energy independent and create more manufacturing jobs.  With lower overall rates and a one-time tax holiday, American companies will have the incentive to repatriate trillions of dollars that are currently being held in foreign countries.  Allowing corporations to grow will undoubtedly lead to more employment and spending on beneficial purposes such as new equipment.  All of these aspects of the tax bill will help create even more growth in a strong economy, which expanded at a fast clip of 3.3% in the third quarter of 2017.  Passing the tax plan builds on the solid progress made in the overall economy over the last year.  In 2017, the stock market soared, consumer confidence rose to a 17-year high, and housing starts increased 3.3% in November, reaching a 10-year record.  Most importantly, there has been strong job growth.  Unemployment decreased to 4.1% while unemployment for Hispanic Americans is at an all-time low and for African Americans; it reached a 17-year low.  A vital component of the job growth has been manufacturing jobs.  In the past year, there has been a significant increase of over 170,000 manufacturing jobs.  During the previous administration, there was an increase in lower paying service sector jobs and part-time employment.  In addition, millions of Americans became so discouraged that they left the workforce altogether, creating the lowest labor force participation rate since the Jimmy Carter era.  Fortunately, under President Trump, these trends are reversing.  The success of the President’s first year has not been limited to the economy.  In 2017, there has been tremendous progress in the civilized world’s ongoing war against Islamic jihadists.  The terrorist group ISIS suffered tremendous losses in 2017 as the President unleashed our military to fight the enemy.  ISIS has lost 98% of its caliphate and is in serious decline.  If this type of success had been achieved during the Obama administration, the media would be continually highlighting the story.  Instead, this Trump administration achievement is the most under reported story of 2017.  The reason is that President Trump has been the target of an unrelenting media barrage while former President Obama was a press favorite.  Trump has faced more hatred from reporters than any politician in American history.  Independent researchers have uncovered that over 90% of the media reports about President Trump have been negative.  These negative reports have contributed to the President’s low poll numbers.  It is hard for the President to gain traction with the American people when the media is constantly promoting an anti-Trump agenda.  However, it has started to turn around because Americans always “vote their pocketbook.”  Voters have the good sense to support Presidents who are good for the economy.  For example, during his first term, President Ronald Reagan was very successful in producing quality American jobs and creating growth.  Not surprisingly, he was rewarded with a historic landslide in 1984.  The same dynamic may occur with President Trump in 2020.  The great economic news has started to boost the President’s approval ratings. Americans are beginning to realize Donald Trump’s policies are having a beneficial impact on not only the overall economy, but also on their individual financial situation. These real facts will begin to overcome the “fake news” of the Russian collusion story and the other media created controversies.  In the end, the truth always wins, even in American politics.  President Trump is certainly the politician that the media loves to hate.  Amazingly, the negative coverage has not totally destroyed his approval ratings with the public. According to the latest Rasmussen poll, the President has a 46% approval rating, which is the same level that Barack Obama had at the end of his first year.  To be as popular as his beloved predecessor when so much of the media is arrayed against him is certainly one of the President’s most impressive accomplishments of 2017.

(“Trump Still Standing Despite Media Onslaught” by Jeff Crouere dated December 30, 2017 published by Town Hall at https://townhall.com/columnists/jeffcrouere/2017/12/30/trump-still-standing-despite-media-onslaught-n2428352 )

 

President Trump is on the hunt for a 2018 issue as a strong follow-up to his tax-cut victory that will motivate voters and gain bipartisan support.  Democrats are pushing for an infrastructure bill, inviting the president to spend with them.  House GOP leaders are mulling entitlement reform, a noble goal, if unlikely in a midterm cycle.  Fortunately for the president, there’s a better idea out there that’s already a Trump theme, a sure winner with the public, so Republicans ought to be able to pressure Democrats to join.  Let 2018 be the year of civil-service reform, a root-and-branch overhaul of the government itself - Call it Operation Drain the Swamp.  When Candidate Trump first referred to “the swamp,” he was talking about the bog of Beltway lobbyists and “establishment” politicians.  President Trump’s first year in office has revealed that the real swamp is the unchecked power of those who actually run Washington: the two million members of the federal bureaucracy.  That civil-servant corps was turbocharged by the Obama administration’s rule-making binge, and it now has more power, and more media enablers, than ever. We live in an administrative state, run by a left-leaning, self-interested governing class that is actively hostile to any president with a deregulatory or reform agenda.  It is a federal workforce whose pay and benefits are completely out of whack with the private sector.  A 2011 American Enterprise Institute study found federal employees receive wages 14% higher than what similar workers in the private sector earn.  Factor in benefits and the compensation premium leaps to 61%.  These huge payouts are the result of automatic increases, bonuses, seniority rules and gold-plated pensions that are all but extinct in the private sector.  The federal workforce is also shielded by rules that make it practically impossible to fire or discipline bad employees, to relocate talent, or to reassign duties.  It’s been nearly 40 years since the last civil-service overhaul.  Trump appointees are doing valiant work to shift the bureaucracy by canceling programs and using buyouts to cut staff.  Trump officials spend most of their days fighting rearguard actions against their own employees when they should be implementing the president’s broad vision across the executive branch.  Since congressional Republicans refuse to slash agencies, the least they can do is make oversight a priority.  Americans generally have a higher opinion of federal agencies than they do of Congress, though the Veterans Affairs and Justice departments have seen their ratings slip in recent years, as has the Environmental Protection Agency.  Government overhaul is an issue that unites across parties on grounds of accountability, fairness and spending.  Civil-service reform’s bipartisan appeal means it has a shot in the Senate.  If Democrats insist on engaging in class warfare, Republicans should take on the governing class. Washington is now home to a bureaucratic elite, fantastically paid and protected, divorced from economic reality, and self-invested in thwarting conservative policy efforts. Let’s drain the swamp, or at least make it smaller.

(“A Big, Beautiful Trump 2018 Issue” by Kimberley A. Strassel dated December 28, 2017 published by Wall Street Journal at https://www.wsj.com/articles/a-big-beautiful-trump-2018-issue-1514499989?shareToken=st4eb1c14a7cc245b9a57fac952057be9d&reflink=article_email_share )

 

There has been a sudden explosion of accusations of sexual harassment against an array of public figures.  The term “harassment” requires some definition: In the current atmosphere of hysteria, it would seem to include any attempt to approach a member of the opposite sex that is not immediately accepted.  Nonetheless, many of the accusations are quite serious, true examples of predatory appetites unrestrained by any sort of moral standard.  One thing has been apparent: While there has been plenty of sleaze to go around, as the cases of Roger Ailes, Bill O’Reilly, and possibly Roy Moore all indicate, such cases among figures of the Left seem to outnumber those on the Right by at least a factor of ten to one, and therein lies the problem.  Free love” has been a feature of the revolutionary Left as long as there has been a revolutionary Left.  The Communist Manifesto recommends the abolition of the family, and advocates that any resultant children be raised as wards of the state.  In other words, the current “rule” that there are no rules is a creature of the Left, an artifact of the growing secularization of Western society.  The question of what is to be done to restore sanity does not seem to be widely addressed.  First, let us please acknowledge that men and women are not interchangeable pieces in some vast social board game.  The very real physiological differences between them are paralleled by equally real psychological differences.  This has been thoroughly documented in scientific studies, for those of you for whom the wisdom of the ages from every known human culture does not suffice.  For our purposes, we’ll begin with a definition of terms.  Conspicuous by its absence so far in this essay has been the word “gender.” Sex” is a biological imperative; “gender” a mere grammatical category that may or may not have any relationship to sex.  Gender, on the other hand, is just a means of classifying nouns in certain languages; it may have nothing at all to do with the sex of the object or person at hand.  So let’s return to calling things by their proper names instead of euphemisms; we are discussing sex, not gender.  Now, one of the manifold differences between men and women is what constitutes sexual stimuli.  Normal, heterosexual men are “hard-wired,” as it were, to respond in certain ways to certain stimuli; if you don’t believe this, there is a multi-billion-dollar male-centered pornographic industry that depends upon it.  Every attempt to foster such an industry based on similar stimuli for women has foundered because women are different.  This “hard-wired” response does not mean that every man is a pig and rapist; it can be controlled. But it does mean that it has to be acknowledged and taken into account, by reasonable modesty of feminine dress, as well as by traditional rules of social engagement. There are, in reality, virtually no fields in which promotions and pay raises legitimately depend on alcohol-fueled tête-à-têtes.  The one possible exception is the entertainment industry; because in no other field does one find such a concentration of young, attractive, ambitious women seeking the patronage and help of powerful producers, directors, and stars, many of whom are male. Actresses have always had a certain reputation, and the casting couch is an old story.  The number of abuses that have surfaced as “open secrets” in this industry should not be surprising.  However, in these cases, the question of who is exploiting whom should be kept in mind.  What is needed is a rejection of cultural Marxism and the pseudo-science that suggests “gender” is a social construct and a matter of choice.  We must return to the rational and sane view that traditional social conventions arise from the biological imperative.

(“Why Are Accused Sexual Harassers Overwhelmingly on the Left?” by Avner Zarmi dated December 29, 2017 published by PJ Media at https://pjmedia.com/lifestyle/accused-sexual-harassers-overwhelmingly-left/ )

What has gone mostly unremarked in the rush and bustle of the Christmas season is the emergence of a stated foreign policy platform for the Trump Administration, and the predictable outrage from the organs of respectable opinion in the media.  The charge that the TrumpianAmerica First” vision is outrageous, xenophobic, and a great break with American tradition is predictable enough, but, of course, underneath the hype there is nothing controversial and the general ideas are well grounded in geopolitical realities, and the American tradition.  An Associated Press article by Matthew Lee set the tone for major media coverage informing the readers, “America First” is a “stark worldview that sees rivals battling each other for supremacy…has little use for alliances, treaties, and other international agreements unless they distinctly benefit the United States, its industry, and workers.”  If a reader pores through this statement, disregarding the breathless prose, you find nothing radical or out of line.  Donald Trump was elected the President of the United States, not the mythical king of the world, and, as such, he should work for the benefit of his country.  In terms of national power and influence, nations have always sought these intangibles, and it is usually a zero-sum game, with one nation’s gain resulting in another nation’s loss.  When the President and his agents talk of making America great again, they mean reasserting American power, and using it as a force for general good in the world.  While the remnants of the New Left might find this shocking most normal Americans would agree.  They would also agree that American power has traditionally rejected the notion of brute force, but has, preferred “soft power”, including money, and cultural standards to the mailed fist.  This is the American way of world leadership and Trump wants to recapture the standard.  The AP article also claimed that Trump is falling back on the old policy of “peace through strength”, i.e. the ancient idea coined by Augustus Caesar, which worked pretty well for about four hundred years.  The article posits four pillars of the new Trump doctrine:

·    Protect the Homeland (as the President is constitutionally charged).

·    Stimulate American prosperity (which is a presidential goal without question)

·    Promote peace through strength (Ronald Reagan couldn’t have put it better)

·    Enhancing American leadership (perhaps learning from Theodore Roosevelt and others)

Putting these ideas into action will require time and patience and, as H.R. McMaster, the National Security Adviser phrased it, “…Geopolitics are back and they are back with a vengeance.”  In the new Trump doctrine, Russian and China will be seen as “revisionist” powers who seek to upset the status quo to their advantage.  The Russians seek to re-establish the Soviet Empire, and the Chinese see a golden opportunity to bid for world hegemony.  The Trump idea is to treat these nations as the threats they are, not to “hit the reset button” with Russia, nor yammer on about a mythical strategic partnership with China.  Iran and North Korea will be treated as rogue states, who might be welcomed back into the international community, but must show their sincerity by behaving as civil nations.  Finally, the doctrine will recognize the threats posed by non-state actors such as terror networks and global organized crime.  This doctrine is underpinned by the idea that economic security is true national security, and must be backed by military might.  Trump has said many times that America must, first of all, retake control of her own borders, and then flesh out a strategy for defeating terrorists, drug traffickers, international prostitution rings, and cyber security threats.  Meanwhile we will keep or military strong and our alliances firm in an unpredictable world.  Future trade deals will be made only when they are truly reciprocal and advantageous to all signatories.  The Trump policy will be sterner and stronger than the wet-noodle pose of his predecessor, Barack Obama and his henchwoman, Hillary Clinton.  Trump is not projecting himself back to Roosevelt and the Big Stick, to Taft and Dollar Diplomacy, or to any of the Containment Policy chiefs who won the Cold War, but he is insisting on a more assertive foreign policy, befitting the strongest nation on earth.  Others have pointed out that we should involve ourselves more deeply in the international community, as they are moving away from us.  A nation might catch more flies with honey than we will with vinegar, and such an approach should be held in reserve, if necessary.  Donald Trump has confounded his critics by putting out a foreign policy brief that is reasonable, strong, and in line with the national interest.  It is old-fashioned statecraft of the practical style, and conforms nicely to the realist school of foreign policy begun in this country by John Quincy Adams in 1823.  Trump is off to a pretty good start, and it is why the mainstream media is flipping out, again!

(“Peace Through Strength: Another Trump Radicalism?” by Brian Birdnow dated January 1, 2018 published by Town Hall at https://townhall.com/columnists/brianbirdnow/2018/01/01/peace-through-strength-another-trump-radicalism-n2428785 )

 

There is so much published each week that unless you search for it, you will miss important breaking news.  I try to package the best of this information into my “Views on the News” each Saturday morning.  No updates have been made this week to the issue sections.

 

David Coughlin

Hawthorne, NY

http://www.returntocommonsensesite.com/

 

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