Views on the News

Views on the News*

January 12, 2019


Despite the media’s unyielding obsession with Russian-collusion conspiracies, tax returns, Stormy Daniels, and any other scandal conjured through sophistry, President Donald Trump has accrued a slew of accomplishments in 2018 that deserve recognition:

·    Economy – The economy achieved GDP growth of 4.1% in 2018.  The corporate tax rate was reduced from 35% to a more competitive 21%.  The national unemployment rate fell to 3.7%, the lowest it’s been since 1969.  The economy added 312,000 new jobs in December, far exceeding expectations.  Manufacturing jobs grew 714% faster under Trump than Obama.  Average hourly wages increased by 3.2% from the previous year.

·    Trade - Trump renegotiated the North American Free Trade Agreement with Canada and Mexico.  The new deal, USMCA, opened Canada’s nineteen-billion-dollar diary industry to American markets, eliminating prior provisions that gave Canadian milk products an edge over their American competitors, and helped boost the domestic production of automobiles.  Over in the East, China agreed to crack down on the production and trafficking of fentanyl, the lethal, synthetic opioid.

·    Foreign Policy - In stark contrast to every past president since Bill Clinton, Trump finally moved the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.  The U.S. withdrew from the UN Human Rights Council, the nominal human rights organization which fills its board with egregious human rights violators.  Trump also withdrew the U.S. from the Iran Deal (another campaign promise kept), and in 2018, reinstated all economic sanctions against the Iranian regime.  Trump restored essential non-military options for dealing with Iran in the event that they accelerate their plans to procure a nuclear weapon.  Trump became the first sitting US president in history to meet with a North Korean leader.  The momentous summit between the United States and the communist regime was promptly followed by North Korea announcing its plan for denuclearization before the end of Trump’s first term.

·    Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) - Trump filled his second Supreme Court vacancy in 2018 with Brett Kavanaugh, overcoming bombardment by fake sexual misconduct accusations.  Trump supported Kavanaugh through the entire charade, refusing to withdraw his nomination at the behest of far-left activists and the media.

·    Freeing Americans From Foreign Captivity – The Trump administration negotiated and secured the release of 17 American citizens from foreign captivity.   Trump negotiated the release of an American pastor from Erdogan’s regime in Turkey, secured the freedoms of three Americans held in North Korea, and gave an endearing welcome home to an American held prisoner in a Venezuelan slum for two years, just to name a few.

Tune in to CNN or MSNBC, pick up a copy of the New York Times or Washington Post, and you’re force-fed the same fodder: "Trump is trying to distract you from his criminal wrongdoings. His presidency is headed downhill and impeachment is imminent."  Successive studies on the media’s coverage of Trump’s presidency arrive at the same conclusion: it’s overwhelmingly negative (upwards of 92%).  The media isn’t enamored with the vagaries of the Mueller investigation because they deem it to be the most pressing story of the modern era.  Mueller coverage is the media’s way of distracting from what Trump is really doing: successfully following through on a bevy of campaign promises.  

(“Don’t Listen to the Media. President Trump Had a Strong 2018” by Harry Khachatrian dated January 5, 2019 published by The Daily Wire at https://www.dailywire.com/news/39981/khachatrian-dont-listen-media-president-trump-had-harry-khachatrian  )

In its common definition, the job of president of the United States is to deliver peace and prosperity.  Donald Trump is doing well on both fronts, so let’s impeach the bastard!  As insane as it sounds, that is what many Democrats have in mind.  Impeachment, or death by a thousand investigations, is the heart of their plan.  For proof, eliminate their desire to remove Trump from office and see if you can pinpoint anything else with broad Dem support.  Some advocate for open borders, others for tax hikes or Medicare-for-all, but ending the Trump presidency ASAP is the glue holding the party together.  Its migration from the far-out fringe to a daily talking point among party faithful and their national media lapdogs represents a breathtaking development.  The implications are staggering, and a potential disaster for America.  An immediate result is that good news for the country is bad news for the impeachment caucus.  As Obama once said, elections have consequences, and sometimes they are good consequences.  Never in modern times has there been such a disconnect between the opposition party and the realities of national life.  The very talk of removing Trump, without evidence of an impeachable offense, is a stick in the eye to history and most Americans.  To be clear, the disconnect is not the product of policy differences, though they exist too.  This is instead a mass outbreak of Trump Derangement Syndrome that, for those infected, can be cured only by undoing the results of the 2016 election.  What Democrats forget is that none of their ideas help the country address its infrastructure needs, reform entitlement programs or ensure better schools and more opportunities.  The relentless fixation on impeachment is a destructive decision that sacrifices national progress and security on the altar of partisan madness.  All politics, all the time is great fodder for the media and consultant class, but is usually a disaster when it comes to getting things done for the country.  On that score, good luck to Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer trying to get the impeachers and presidential wannabes to focus on the details of legislation.  Paralysis by politics, of course, is a bipartisan disease, and Trump is not immune.  His decision to force a partial government shutdown over border wall funding followed warnings that he was on the verge of betraying a key promise to his supporters.  Trump is clearly right that there can be no national security without border security and that border security is not possible without barriers to block and deter illegal crossers.  Schumer and Pelosi would rather share a glass of hemlock than give Trump a win on the wall.  gIf they had the courage to stand up to the lynch mob setting their party’s agenda, they would have spent the last two years negotiating with a president who likes nothing better than cutting deals.  By caving into the demands of the fanatical resistance movement, Schumer and Pelosi painted their party, and the nation, into a corner, so unless they inject sanity into the chaos, the shutdown will be a mere taste of the trouble ahead.  

(“Democrats keep proving how detached they are from reality” by Michael Goodwin dated January 5, 2019 published by New York Post at https://nypost.com/2019/01/05/democrats-keep-proving-how-detached-they-are-from-reality/ )

Today, it is the American left that, if not the gravest menace, certainly seek to put the homeland in peril.  They are doing everything in their power to assure that we are vulnerable to the migrant throngs who want to enter the country over the southern border.  They want a border permeable to the drug cartels, gang members, and terrorists from all over the world who make their way there in order to enter the U.S.  The left is positively giddy at taking back the House majority.  Nancy Pelosi thinks she is the cat's meow, equal in power and significance to the President.  She does not yet realize that she is a national joke, a symbol of the gerontocracy that has for so long ruled the Democrat Party.  As Rashida Tlaib profanely promises to impeach President Trump, Pelosi politely declines to criticize her language.  She is thrilled to be head of her party once again but afraid to rein in the new, young, socialist Democrat members of the House for fear of offending them, no matter how inappropriate they are.  She is like the parent of a rebellious teenager who fears making her child angry!  So many of these new members are not only thoroughly unfamiliar with the Constitution, they do not bother to know it because they believe it to be just an outdated piece of paper written by old white men.  They have no sense of the fact that the Constitution is the reason this nation has prevailed so long as the greatest country in the world.  Voters of too many districts have elected too many ignorant ideologues who lack any significant knowledge of the Bill of Rights or the Constitution.  Alexandria Ocasio Cortez compares herself to Lincoln and FDR and yet she is shockingly ignorant of the basics of American history with which most fourth-graders are familiar, or used to be.  Now she is a media sensation, a pretty girl, and her gaffes are endlessly amusing.  She is equally ignorant of basic economics but somehow has a degree in that discipline, so Boston U should be ashamed.  She is the Kardashian of politics, embraced by a portion of the populace that, like the Kardashians, know nothing of value or importance beyond meaningless details of pop culture.  Ocasio Cortez is an avowed socialist/communist.  She seems unaware of the fact that these ideologies killed a hundred million people over the span of the twentieth century and have destroyed Venezuela in the twenty-first.  Like Bernie Sanders and the rest of the hard left, Ocasio Cortez means to destroy America as founded.  The newly-elected socialists in Congress see the tragedy that is Venezuela as a success -- the extermination of the middle class, a starving poor, and an oligarchy that lives like Nancy Pelosi does here in San Francisco while her own city disintegrates due to the policies she has long embraced.  Pelosi never, ever, stands on principle, only for power.  These are despicable people.  They have and will lie, cheat, and seek to destroy anyone who gets in their way.  They do not care about the security of the country, only about their own job security, their own hold on power.  The essence of the Democrat Party today is hatred:  hatred of the President, hatred for the millions of people who voted for him, hatred of anyone who challenges their dogma, and hatred of the Constitution because it lays out what they cannot do.  If America is to prevail, the Democrats as currently composed must be destroyed, and with arrogant people like Ocasio Cortez, Tlaib, Ilhan Omar (another anti-Semite), it looks like they may do just that all by themselves.    

(“The Democrats go blue on blue” by Patricia McCarthy dated January 7, 2019 published by American thinker at https://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2019/01/the_democrats_go_blue_on_blue.html )

The partial shutdown of the federal government just confirms the low opinion voters already have of them.  Just 27% of voters believe that their representative in Congress cares about what they think, and most (53%) believe their own representative trades votes for cash.  Moving beyond skepticism of individuals, voters tend to see the federal government as less responsive to their needs than local governments, small businesses, not-for-profit groups, state governments and large businesses.  Just 16% trust the federal government to do the right thing most of the time.  Today, there is only one group seen as less responsive to voters than federal elected officials: bureaucrats appointed by those elected officials.  A big part of the problem is that the national politicians think they're more important than they really are.  The national political media covers their every utterance as if the world revolves around them.  Voters see it much differently (and more clearly).  In fact, 60% agree that while politics has a role to play in governing our society, it is not the lead role.  That understanding naturally makes voters hesitant about relying upon the agendas and schemes of political leaders.  With all that as context, the frustration with the shutdown becomes easier to understand.  On the one hand, despite the hype generated by official Washington, few people notice it in their daily lives.  Currently, 13% claim they have felt a major impact; 11% don't know there's a shutdown; and the rest are aware but not impacted.  On the other side of the coin, Americans are clearly frustrated with the political elite's refusal to treat border security seriously.  Eight-out-of-ten voters believe that illegal immigration is bad for the United States, but just as with the shutdown itself, few feel any direct impact in their daily lives from not having a wall.  So it's hard for voters to understand why President Trump, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi are so committed to this game of political chicken.  Regardless of how the shutdown turns out, voters are still going to want more attention paid to border security.  And they're going to seek action on other issues as well.  The political leaders seem more committed to gamesmanship than to meeting the needs of their constituents.  Fortunately, we live in a world where the culture and technology lead while politics and government lag behind.  

(“There is More to Governing Than Government” by Scott Rasmussen dated January 10, 2019 published by Town Hall at https://townhall.com/columnists/scottrasmussen/2019/01/10/there-is-more-to-governing-than-government-n2538806 )


President Trump’s achievements for black Americans are registering in awareness in these communities.  It’s a subject of enormous importance not just because of what the president is doing to the benefit of low-income Americans, but also because of how he is doing it, his approach to lifting up those not participating as they should in our prosperity.  First and foremost, the American economy needed to grow.  He also needed to make sure that all Americans participate and contribute.  It appears that in 2018, because of the Trump tax cuts and deregulation, the U.S. economy will have its first year of 3% growth in over a decade.  Black unemployment, 5.9%, and white unemployment, 3.4%, are at historic lows.  The gap between black and white unemployment has dramatically shrunk, showing that blacks are, in an unprecedented way, participating in the economic recovery.  Hoover Institution notes that if growth averages 3% annually over the next 30 years, rather than 2%, average income per person will be 35% higher.  So, of highest importance was getting the American growth engine restored, and this is happening to the benefit of every American.  A difficult history has placed too many African-Americans on the sidelines.  The approach of this administration is to seek opportunities to inject economic vitality into our hardest hit communities.  Trump issued an executive order establishing the White House Opportunity and Revitalization Council.  This council will establish economic Opportunity Zones, as a provision in the 2017 tax bill.  Governors in the 50 states were asked to identify their most economically distressed ZIP codes, neighborhoods where, for instance, poverty stands at twice the national average, to qualify as Opportunity Zones.  More than 8,700 ZIP codes have been designated, and they qualify for tax-preferred investment that, by estimates from the Treasury department, could amount to $100 billion.  This is all private investment, which can flow into these troubled areas, that because of preferred tax treatment, forgiveness of capital gains taxes, would not otherwise be made.  The combination of putting money into communities will allow for those communities to become vibrant, to become safe, to create ownership, and, most important, to contribute to the well-being of this country.”  Let’s hope the big government Democrats about to take over Congress don’t mess up President Trump’s commitment to using American capitalism to lift up the poor.  

(“Trump using American capitalism to lift up the poor” by Star Parker dated January 5, 2019 published by Boston Herald at https://www.bostonherald.com/2019/01/05/trump-using-american-capitalism-to-lift-up-the-poor/  )


Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s so-called Green New Deal calls for a top-down revolution in the ­operation of American society so sweeping that it would be disturbing if it weren’t so wholly ridiculous.  It shows all the thoughtfulness of a college sophomore pulling an all-nighter to write a term paper for his Millennial Socialism 101 class.  The Green New Deal, as explained in draft legislation to create a congressional committee to pursue it, would transition to 100%% renewable sources of national power in 10 years.  Since renewables only account for 17% of US power now, with 7.5% from hydropower, which might not pass muster under the Green New Deal, the plan would ­require shuttering more than 80% of current sources of American power.  The architects of the Green New Deal apparently believe once you have lost touch with reality with one proposal you might as well pile on as many wild-eyed schemes as possible.  It would build a new energy-efficient grid, itself a massive proposition, upgrading every residential and industrial building for energy efficiency, including 136 million homes in the US.  It would eliminate emissions from industry, including farming, offering instead a vision of investment “in local-scale agriculture.”  It would eliminate emissions from transportation, which sounds like mandatory electric cars and hydrogen-powered planes.  Because the Green New Deal ­aspires to achieve all of socialism in one energy plan, it includes a “federal job guarantee” with a living wage and perhaps “basic income programs” and “universal health care.”  It would even “mitigate deeply entrenched racial, regional and gender-based inequalities in income and wealth” and “virtually eliminate poverty.”  All of this would be so tremendously costly that it is hard to fathom, not to mention technologically infeasible.  Since wind and solar energy aren’t continuously available if we relied on them ­entirely, we’d either have to have regular blackouts or deploy ­unimaginable amounts of storage relying on technologies that ­haven’t been proved at scale.  The Green Energy Plan would take one of the country’s unadulterated policy triumphs of the last 20 years, the revolution in oil and gas drilling, and trash it for political reasons.  It would throw hundreds of thousands of employees in this industry out of work, but they would qualify for a federally guaranteed job and perhaps grow fruits and vegetables in their backyards.  The case for the Green Energy Plan is based on the alleged climate crisis being so dire that it must overwhelm all cost-benefit analysis.  We have ­already been making incremental progress in reducing emissions, thanks largely to natural gas which the Green Energy Plan can’t abide.  Ocasio-Cortez said we must pursue change we don’t conceive as possible, and the Green New Deal certainly meets that standard. The Green New Deal is the perfect program for a movement that has no idea of how to make means meet ends and doesn’t even care to try.  

(“The ‘Green New Deal’ isn’t just ambitious – it’s insane” by Rich Lawry dated January 7, 2019 published by New York Post at https://nypost.com/2019/01/07/the-green-new-deal-isnt-just-ambitious-its-insane/  )


Politicians and the education establishment, after decades of promises, cannot do much to narrow the huge educational achievement gap between Asians and whites on the one hand and blacks on the other.  The most crucial input for a child's education cannot be provided by schools or politicians.  Continued calls for higher education budgets will produce disappointing results, as they have in the past.  There are certain minimum requirements that must be met for any child, regardless of race, to do well in school.  Someone must make the youngster do his homework, and possibly help him with it.  Someone must ensure that he gets eight hours of sleep.  Someone must feed him wholesome meals, including breakfast.  Finally, someone must ensure that he gets to school on time, behaves in school and respects the teachers.  If these minimum requirements are not met, and they can be met even if a family is poor, all else is for naught.  It's time for the black community to accept part of the blame. Part of the problem is the lack of parents' involvement in their children's education.  Having children's books around the house and reading to preschoolers is vitally important.  One vital measure for community involvement in black education is preventing youngsters who are alien and hostile to the educational process from making education impossible for everybody else.  That can be accomplished by ignoring politicians and the liberal vision that restricts schools from removing students who pose severe disciplinary problems.  The problem goes beyond simple misbehavior.  Given the huge educational achievement gap between blacks and whites, one might ask whether black people can afford to allow students who have little interest in being educated to make education impossible for others.  Students who assault teachers ought to be summarily removed from the school.  Black people cannot afford to allow them to remain in school and sabotage the educational chances of everyone else.  The educational achievement gap between blacks and whites is hidden from black students and their families.  All too often, a black student with a high school diploma cannot read, write or compute at a sixth- or seventh-grade level, making high school diplomas held by blacks less valuable in the eyes of employers.

(“Black Education: A Glimmer of Hope” by Walter E. Williams dated January 9, 2019 published by Town Hall at https://townhall.com/columnists/walterewilliams/2019/01/09/black-education-a-glimmer-of-hope-n2538591  )


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 issues sections.


David Coughlin

Hawthorne, NY