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Views on the News

Views on the News*

January 27, 2018

 

Trump was not my first choice for president, but a full two years ago I predicted he would win.  I also predicted he’d be a progressive president, which explained why I was not among his supporters and why I am so pleased now.  Trump supported the 2009 stimulus, the auto bailouts and the bank bailouts.  He’d recently left the Democrat Party and had raised a ton of money for the Clintons, Nancy Pelosi and Charles E. Schumer.  He’d supported single-payer health coverage, tax increases and even Planned Parenthood.  He was a New York liberal who had conquered the Republican Party in part by promising a good Supreme Court nomination.  The nomination of Neil M. Gorsuch to fill the vacancy of Antonin Scalia more than fulfilled that promise.  Gorsuch isn’t a John Roberts, David Souter or Anthony Kennedy, to name three disappointing justices appointed by the three previous Republican presidents, but a brilliant legal mind with tremendous writing ability and persuasive powers.  He has appointed 12 outstanding federal appellate judges, a record number for a president in his first year.  Trump announced the U.S. departure from the Paris climate accord, an agreement that would have had virtually no impact on future temperatures but would have come at a large cost in the growth of government and control over the economy.  Since Obama never ran the treaty through the Senate, it was nonbinding, but the federal bureaucracy was working to implement it with new regulations on U.S. businesses.  The Clean Power Plan, which gave the Environmental Protection Agency unprecedented authority over states and businesses and was on track to be the most expensive regulation in history, is under review.  For the 2017 fiscal year, Trump revoked 22 regulations for each new regulation that was issued.  His chief regulatory officer, Neomi Rao, said the administration would continue the pace of deregulation through 2018, announcing 448 deregulatory actions and 131 regulatory actions.  It took a while for Capitol Hill to get used to working with Trump, but by the end of the year, lawmakers had passed the largest corporate tax reform in U.S. history and secured tax cuts for the vast majority of Americans.  Businesses are responding to the deregulation and historic corporate tax reform by loosening purse strings and investing in plants, equipment and factories.   Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is restoring due process to college campuses by rescinding Obama-era guidelines that made the mistake of encouraging college administrators to adjudicate serious crimes such as sexual assaults.  Trump’s foreign policy could be more restrained, but it’s far less interventionist than that of any of his recent predecessors, focused on national interest over nation-building or other less pressing and more expensive concerns.  By trusting his military leaders to make decisions on the battlefield, in contrast to Obama’s desire to placate Iran and micromanage trivial moves such as helicopter deployments, Trump is crushing the Islamic State.  Sanctions and other nonmilitary efforts are being used to keep North Korea at bay after the failure of de-nuclearization as practiced by presidents since Bill Clinton.  He recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel more than two decades after the Senate passed legislation requiring it, and after two decades of presidents signing waivers every six months to avoid it.  More recently, he froze funding for Pakistan until it stops harboring terrorists.  Like most people, I don’t particularly like Trump’s rhetorical style, juvenile insults and intemperate disposition.  That boorish attitude has come in handy after decades of media bullying of conservatives.  Ironically, the very lack of conservative bona fides that worried me two years ago means he’s less beholden to a conservative establishment that had grown alienated from the people it is supposed to serve and from the principles it ostensibly exists to promote.  His surprising conservatism might also be the result of the absolutism and extremism of his critics, whether among the media, traditional Democratic activists or the anti-Trump right.  If Trump were ever inclined to indulge his liberal tendencies after winning the election, the stridency and spite of his opponents have provided him with no incentives to do so.  My expectations were so low that he could have met them by simply not being President Hillary Clinton, but a year into this presidency, he’s exceeded those expectations by quite a bit and I’m thrilled.

(“I wasn’t a Trump supporter. I am now.” by Mollie Ziegler Hemingway dated January 19, 2018 published by The Washington Post at https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/i-wasnt-a-trump-supporter-i-am-now/2018/01/19/58abd43a-fca2-11e7-a46b-a3614530bd87_story.html?tid=ss_tw&utm_term=.ba56b99eaee7 )

Far from content living his golden years on the $400,000 speech and lecture circuit of other former presidents, President Obama has been busy with clawing back his old power.   He's actually covertly plotting to oust his democratically elected successor, President Trump, vowing to his associates to "rip him a new one" in the 2018 midterm elections.  Seems he's not all that interested in watching his younger daughter grow up.  Obama's Kalorama mansion, in the heart of the capital's toniest district, is the center of significant comings and goings among the Obamatons, who, led by his consigliere, Valerie Jarrett, are busily raising funds for the project as Obama eggs them on.  The Obama Machine has been raking in tens of millions in preparation for a significant 2018 midterm war effort, primarily through an LLC called Citizen 44, run by Paulette Aniskoff, a longtime Obama staffer who answers directly to Jarrett.  Citizen 44's primary purpose is to keep the 2008 and 2012 Obama campaign machine intact, continue to build up its state-by-state influence, and use it as an election entity that will rival the influence of the DNC itself.  Knowing how Obama's campaign organization was run, with its slipshod accounting of foreign cash infusions and phony claims to be running on small-dollar donations, it's probable that this operation is as shady as all the other ones.  It's a disgusting picture for any ex-presidency.  What we are looking at right now is a third-world coup-plotting effort, done under legal pretenses, to oust a sitting president.  It's unprecedented.  What we have here is the creepy specter of an embittered ex-president trying to restore his legacy after angry voters elected someone else who would dismantle the unpopular doings of his administration.  It's also a nefarious thing for the U.S. republic, signaling that the old era of political pendulum swings and peaceful transitions of power are now over.  We now have the specter of ex-presidents in the shadows openly plotting to oust their successors.  It's happening because Obama doesn't think he should be out of power.  It's a leftist thing, a belief that "history is on our side" and "history will absolve me," and progress in the direction the left decrees is "inevitable" that likely makes him think he's entitled to rule forever.  Don't dismiss that his lip-curdling contempt for President Trump is part of it, too.  Obama mocked Trump at a press correspondents' dinner, and Trump refused to go along with the then-president's kingly jokes.  Trump, refusing to humor Obama by laughing at his jokes, instead ran for president in the aftermath...and won.  That has to burn Obama, who must remember the incident and how it triggered his successor, and now he is bitterly plotting his revenge.  It's tinhorn dictator stuff, and it needs to be called out.

(“Vowing to ‘rip’ Trump ‘a new one,’ Obama in his ex-presidency devolves into third-world coup-plotting” by Monica Showalter dated January 19, 2018 published by American Thinker at http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2018/01/vowing_to_rip_trump_a_new_one_obamas_expresidency_devolves_into_coup_plotting.html )

One year ago, Barack Obama’s presidency came to an end.  His election as the nation’s first black president was a major accomplishment for him and for the nation. Time will never erase that achievement, but as time passes, this may be just about his only lasting political accomplishment.  His legislative, regulatory and policy initiatives are disappearing rapidly:

§ Economy: The economic recovery beginning in 2009 produced historically slow economic growth, stagnant wages and increasing food stamp usage. Today’s economy is growing more rapidly, the labor participation rate is up, wages are beginning to rise, and food stamp usage is down.

§ Labor: The Obama-controlled National Labor Relations Board rule treating franchise chains as single employers for the purpose of collective bargaining has been repealed.

§ Internet: Net neutrality has been repealed.

§ Health care: ObamaCare has been significantly modified by regulations to allow new, less costly forms of health insurance and by the repeal of the individual mandate. As the health exchanges continue to shrink, the principal impact of Obamacare will be the expansion of Medicaid enrollment.

§ Energy: The Keystone XL Pipeline has been approved. The Dakota Access Pipeline has been approved and is operational. U.S. energy production is up, and gas prices are down. Obama administration reductions in offshore drilling leases are being reversed.

§ Education: The Obama Education Department’s Title IX “guidance” to colleges and universities mandating how to treat sexual assault cases has been rescinded. Numerous other programs begun in the Obama administration are being terminated.

§ Environment: The United States has announced its intent to withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord.

§ Environment: The Obama EPA’s Clean Power Plan to regulate carbon dioxide as a pollutant, the implementation of which was already blocked by the Supreme Court, has been rescinded.

§ Consumer protection: The structure of the Obama-era Consumer Financial Protection Agency has been ruled unconstitutional by the District of Columbia Circuit Court because it is unanswerable to any elected government official. The CFPB is facing additional legal and legislative challenges.

§ National parks: Obama’s vast additions to U.S. national monuments are being rescinded.

§ Immigration: The Obama executive order on Deferred Action Against Parents of Americans, which was blocked by a federal court, has been rescinded. His executive order on Deferred Action Against Childhood Arrivals has been rescinded, awaiting potential congressional action.

§ Trade: The United States declined to join the Trans-Pacific Trade Partnership.

§ Military: Reductions in military spending and U.S. troop levels are being reversed.

§ Israel: The United States and Israel have restored their historically close relationship.

§ ISIS: Changes to the Obama rules of engagement for using military force led to the rapid defeat of ISIS.

§ Iran nuclear deal: The president has declined to certify the Obama Iran nuclear agreement, setting the stage for withdrawal or modification.

§ Syria: The president has used military force to enforce Obama’s “red line” against Syria’s use of chemical weapons.

§ Egypt: The flirtation with the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt has been replaced by U.S. support for Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi.

§ Ukraine: U.S. policy toward Ukraine is changing; the U.S. will now send lethal weapons to assist Ukraine in resisting Russian aggression.

§ Cuba: Obama’s opening to Cuba has been put on hold.

With the exception of a shrinking ObamaCare and the CFPB, no significant initiative of the Obama administration remains in place.  The near doubling of the federal debt during his eight-year presidency seems like a very high price to pay for such ephemeral results.  The Obama’ legacy is vanishing before our eyes, and is best captured by the motto of a well-known disaster restoration company: “like it never even happened.”

(“The vanishing Obama presidency” by Jeff Bergner dated January 14, 2018 published by The Virginia-Pilot at https://pilotonline.com/opinion/columnist/guest/article_b5a45d67-6e2d-5e45-b094-cc3112b1195f.html )

“A Nation of Laws, Not of Men.” are words engraved in stone atop the pillars of many a courthouse across our land.  This principle was surfaced in the question centering on a potential reopening of investigations into illicit Clinton shenanigans during the Obama years. It questioned whether we’re now in a country where presidential enemies are investigated and prosecuted.  Progressives have a steroidal entitlement when it comes to double standards. Their short-term memory loss means no one else is permitted a misdeed with impunity.  The DOJ is being interested in the Clintons because the POTUS thinks it should be. A huge slice of the American population wonders why it hasn’t occurred already. No one expected Obamians to do their duty, since it was an administration apparently dedicated to preserving, protecting, and defending progressive impulses, criminal and otherwise, at all costs.  Scandals during the Obama years cling like iron filings to a magnet:

·    Operation Fast and Furious - Arming Mexican drug lords for a questionable purpose, with AG Holder the first of many to plead incompetence to avoid nastier truths.   

·    Solyndra - We never did get to the bottom of that $500 million taxpayer gift, did we? 

·    Lois Lerner and the IRS - The second-best example of weaponizing a federal agency to go after political adversaries—was this ‘where it began’? 

·    Benghazi - Progressives are tired of this one because it comes closest to their creed: human beings are expendable in the cause of political action.

·    Clinton Global Initiative - Was this a one-stop shop to offer millions in trade for face time and favors? Finders fees in the extreme?

·    Uranium One - A word like treason should rarely be used, but this is another example of progressives’ hate for America going the limit. Is there anything progressives won’t do to take America down a few notches?

·    James Comey - His exoneration of HRC two months before completion of the FBI investigation conducted by known politically conflicted civil servants is breathtaking?

·    The Lynch-Clinton tarmac tete a tete - Whoever believes AG Lynch and Bill Clinton talked about grandchildren must believe Bill never preyed on Monica Lewinsky.

·    Sanctuary Cities/States - Who’d have thought we’d have whole American cities and states regularly, routinely, ritually flouting federal law—all thanks to an Obamian strategy?

·    Planned Parenthood - How did the selling of infant body parts pass anyone’s aroma test for the right thing to do? Did Obamians lift a finger to prevent those infants from being drawn and quartered, for profit?

·    Burwell v Hobby Lobby and Little Sisters of the Poor - Just two of the cases where the Obama crowd used the Affordable Care Act to deny First Amendment religious rights to citizens. Should we have been surprised?

·    FISA warrant abuse - Trusted organs of government were used to directly attack and foul an opponent’s presidential campaign. There is no limit after all, is there?

There are more than the Dirty Dozen, of course.  No one has been indicted; no one has spent even one hour in confinement; no one has been held accountable for them; no one has even lost jobs, been demoted, been reassigned, or even had their reputations destroyed.  The Obama Administration, transparent only in its total fecklessness, was comfortable in flaunting its excesses because it could.  Progressive operatives from the very top on down knew the Alt-State it manipulates would cover for it.  It is the so-called deep state in government, leftist media icons, left-biased academia, and Hollywood opinion makers, all influencing public thought.  Progressives never indict their own.  No person of conscience can have amnesia about Obamian excesses committed with Orwellian zeal.  In the Alinsky playbook, the black letter law for true progressives, no regulation, no principle, no law need stand in the way of their march to power.   There has been no accounting whatsoever, except once, and that was on Election Day.  We have witnessed the Obamic parade of governmental abuse to think we have become a nation of progressive programs, not laws.   Can a free society long endure without an accounting, even if overdue? 

(“Lawless” by John P. Warren dated January 19, 2018 published by Town Hall at https://townhall.com/columnists/johnpwarren/2018/01/19/lawless-n2436878 )

The death of a dynamic and independent free press begins when the mainstream media becomes a propaganda organ for a government, and it was during the Obama regime's eight long years that this process reached its present nadir.  Perhaps the media was once considered a respectable and trusted purveyor of objective news, but for too long now, the mainstream media in America has shed that belief and become instead a disseminator of leftwing Democrat Party propaganda.  The dread examples of disinformation and misinformation were seen during the last century of Fascist, Nazi, and Communist authoritarian regimes, but it now increasingly pollutes our own mainstream media (MSM).  The alphabet houses (ABC, CBS, NBC, MSNBC, PBS, CNN) are unapologetic shills for an increasingly leftwing Democrat party.  Newspapers share the same guilt.  The New York Times and the Washington Post are leading the way in a baleful charge.  We are now witness to the dismal spectacles of print and broadcasting reporters, journalists and talking heads taking unabashed leftwing, pro-Democrat positions to the point of dropping all pretense at objectivity or impartiality.  The co-opting of journalists and journalism by politicians and their regimes have led to a polarization of the media.  As mainstream print and broadcast journalists have veered increasingly to the left, the right has justifiably responded with its own conservative media establishment and this was a necessary development, vital for countering leftist propaganda.  As for the term, Fifth Column, which had its roots in the Spanish Civil War, it is now used to mean traitor or spy.  Cicero, the Roman senator and famous orator, warned against the "traitor within the gate who is more dangerous than a foreign enemy."  Briefly, two main triggers led us to the present untenable predicament.  The first was during the Vietnam War when the Vietnamese Communist General Giap masterfully manipulated the American press to act against its own country during a time of war, thus breaking a long standing taboo and turning much of the media into a veritable fifth column; thus opening a ghastly Pandora's box.  Second trigger was the election in 2000 when liberals and the Left erupted over what they considered a stolen election and defeat of Al Gore by the hated President Bush.  These triggers drove the Democrat Party and its allies in the media to do all in their power to attack and demonize any future Republican and Conservative president and administration, even to the extent of lurching so far left that they willingly appointed as deputy head of the Democrat Party an allegedly rabid Islamist and hater of the United States, Keith Ellison.  The last eight malevolent years of the Obama regime, during which he reduced our military, our intelligence capabilities and our influence abroad to such a degree that we were no longer able to influence the world's important events, revealed his willing and captive media becoming a colluding device of government indoctrination.  People now find it harder to obtain unfiltered news that is not editorialized by leftwing political mandarins posturing on TV screens or in the pages of once respectable newspapers.  The hope remains that the Far Left Democrat party with its willing executioners in the MSM will, by their very own hateful acts, self-destruct by alienating an increasing majority of informed Americans.  Indeed, American belief in the credibility of their news media is now at about 32%, the lowest ever polled.  The hope also remains that President Trump will indeed continue "draining the swamp," end the rampant corruption that assails the nation state, and encourage truly principled journalists and reporters to rebuild the shattered fourth estate, free of government manipulation, so that it no longer acts as a fifth column.

(“America’s malignant fourth estate” by Victor Sharpe dated January 22, 2018 published by Renew America at http://www.renewamerica.com/columns/sharpe/180122 )

 

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.  Updates have been made this week to the following sections:

·  Language at http://www.returntocommonsensesite.com/intro/changinglanguage.php

 

David Coughlin

Hawthorne, NY

http://www.returntocommonsensesite.com/