Views on the News

Views on the News*

 January 28, 2017


Donald Trump was elected because Democrats talked down to the people.  It happened because you banned super-size sodas; and smoking in parks; and offensive ideas on campus.  You branded people who oppose gay marriage ‘homophobic’, and people unsure about immigration ‘racist’.  You treated owning a gun and never having eaten quinoa as signifiers of fascism.  You thought correcting people’s attitudes was more important than finding them jobs.  You turned ‘white man’ from a description into an insult.  You used slurs like ‘denier’ and ‘dangerous’ against anyone who doesn’t share your eco-pieties.  You treated dissent as hate speech and criticism of Obama as extremism.  You talked more about gender-neutral toilets than about home repossessions.  You beatified Caitlyn Jenner.  You policed people’s language, rubbished their parenting skills, destroyed their beliefs.  You cried when someone mocked the Koran but laughed when they mocked the Bible.  You said criticizing Islam is Islamophobia.  You kept telling people, ‘You can’t think that, you can’t say that, you can’t do that.’  You turned politics from something done by and for people to something done to them, for their own good.  You treated people like trash, and people don’t like being treated like trash.  Trump happened because of you. 

(“Trump! How did this happen?” by Brendan O’Neill dated January 20, 2017 published by The Spectator at http://blogs.spectator.co.uk/2017/01/trump-how-did-this-happen/ )

Donald Trump’s inaugural address was a stirring call for national unity and a declaration of war against the establishment in Washington, D.C.  The speech was vintage Trump: politically incorrect, critical of both parties, amped up, biting, strongly delivered, and wildly ambitious.  Anyone who believed Trump would change his beliefs or style when he assumed the office of the presidency was proven wrong.  He’s not going to change, and he’s not going to let up.  Trump espoused his worldview in remarkably few words.  He is a big critic of the post-Cold War international system.  Where the architects of that system see it as a bulwark of stability and global prosperity, Trump sees it as diminishing the U.S. in favor of foreign countries and an international class of wealthy political and financial elites. Washington has been serving its own interests, he said, and not the people’s.  His America will turn inward, focusing on domestic stability, education, infrastructure, and jobs.  The one exception will be the fight against Islamic terrorism, where Trump is prepared to join with autocracies in pursuit of common goals.  Trump forcefully rejected identity politics. Racial and ethnic identities, he said, are less important than our status as American citizens. “When you open your heart to patriotism, there is no room for prejudice.”  There are no hyphenated Americans in this worldview, only Americans and outsiders.  What a contrast to Barack Obama’s second inaugural address, where he called for a “world without walls.”  This was not a programmatic speech.  There will be more policy specifics when Trump addresses a joint session of Congress on his budget proposal.  Instead the inaugural address was Trump distilled: nationalist, populist, and ready to fight.   Trump delivered his combative speech in the midst of the very establishment he is attempting to overthrow.  Surrounded by Bushes, Clintons, Obamas, Bidens, and Ryans, Trump aligned himself with the crowd against the celebrities and VIPs on the dais.  Mass rallies, social media, and sheer force of personality are his weapons as he uses to weaken the ruling class in Washington and bring a new spirit of patriotism to America.

(“Donald Trump and the New American Patriotism” by Matthew Continetti dated January 20, 2017 published by Washington Free Beacon at http://freebeacon.com/columns/donald-trump-new-american-patriotism/ )


In all the media back and forth over President Donald Trump's inaugural speech, most have missed a central point: His address was infused with a wonderful sense of optimism.  As an old Ronald Reagan guy, I have learned through the years that optimism equals true leadership, and true leadership cannot be achieved without optimism.  Toward the end of his speech, Trump said, "We must think big and dream even bigger."  He then added: "The time for empty talk is over. Now arrives the hour of action. Do not let anyone tell you it cannot be done.  No challenge can match the heart and fight and spirit of America.  We will not fail.  Our country will thrive and prosper again."  I am tired of all this talk of permanent American decline, secular stagnation, a new normal that dooms us to slow growth, falling living standards, weak middle-class wages and all the rest.  You hear it enough that you could almost come to believe it.  In recent years, the country has fallen into a pessimistic funk, but this is not the America I know.  Far more important, it's not the America President Trump wants.  Trump was a change candidate who blasted away at the establishment's failures at the expense of ordinary Main Street folk.  He successfully ran with the simple idea that things can be fixed, and he brought that optimism to his inaugural address.  He said: "Now arrives the hour of action. Do not let anyone tell you it cannot be done."  Trump's governing style will be nothing like Reagan's, but the underlying principle of optimism is the same.  "Finally, we must think big and dream even bigger," he said.  How quintessentially American is that?  Can we return to being the proverbial City Upon a Hill?  Yes, we can.  For these reasons I believe President Trump has the potential to be a transformational figure.  He is moving fast and his actions and energy in just the first couple of days have been remarkable.  Everywhere he repeats the theme of economic growth with lower taxes and fewer burdensome regulations.  The war on business is over.  We will reward success, not punish it.  He talks bilateral trade deals that can be enforced.  He is freezing federal hiring, proposing to cut government spending $10.5 trillion over 10 years, doing away with ObamaCare mandates, getting the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines in place, welcoming a constant flow of visitors from businesses and unions and taking calls from foreign heads of state.  He has set up a meeting with British Prime Minister Theresa May, moving a U.S.-Britain free-trade agreement from the back of the queue to the front.  He is making it clear that he will seek border security, replace catch-and-release with catch-and-deport, institute skills-based legal immigration (rather than family-based), deport criminal illegals and end sanctuary cities.  Following up on his inaugural pledge to eradicate the Islamic State group, to "unite the civilized world against radical Islamic terrorism, which we will eradicate completely from the face of the Earth," as he said, he is calling for a military strategy memo from the joint chiefs.  There will be no more containment of IS, but rather the eradication of IS.  We have wanted to hear this for years. Trump said it, and he means it.  Conservative journalists are recognized at the beginning of press conferences; Cabinet nominees are getting through confirmation; and Republicans on the Hill are finding they can work with the new president.  Trump is moving at warp speed.  He is keeping to his inaugural pledge that "Every decision on trade, on taxes, on immigration, on foreign affairs will be made to benefit American workers and American families."  This is what he ran on, and thankfully, he is not about to change.  That's why he has the potential for greatness.  Right now, I truly wish folks would help him, not seek to harm him. Give him a chance.  We must think big and dream even bigger. 

(“We Must Think Big and Dream Even Bigger” by Lawrence kudlow dated January 25, 2017 published by Real Clear Politics at http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2017/01/25/we_must_think_big_and_dream_even_bigger_132891.html )

With four of his predecessors on the platform with him, President Trump blasted all those responsible for the recent government of the country as self-interested incompetents, compulsive, impotent talkers who had allowed America to decay and to be out-maneuvered by its rivals in the world and to take leave of the interests of the people of modest means and no influence within America.  It was a forceful message, powerfully delivered with a completely disciplined attachment to his prepared text, as it was essentially the message he had been giving for 583 days, since he announced his candidacy for the Republican presidential nomination to almost universal mirth, scorn, and hilarity.  The new president was very gracious in personal conversation with the Obamas and the Clintons and more than civil toward the Bushes and the congressional leaders, all of, whom, in both parties, he implicitly rebuked with a severity unprecedented in such addresses.  The usual practice of trying to de-escalate the pyrotechnics of the campaign was replaced not only by continued polemics, but by a patriotic and quasi-religious evocation of, in Franklin D. Roosevelt’s parlance, “the forgotten man.” No one can fault him for inconsistency or waffling once the prize was his.  Americans often swaddle themselves on official occasions in a patriotism that most foreigners find oppressive, naïve, and often tasteless.  I found it less annoying because patriotic fervor was trumpeted in spite of the graphically highlighted facts of urban blight, civic violence, economic stagnation, official corruption and racial hostility.  It was an enduring, almost recessed or somnolent patriotism with the magical powers of a panacea, which, when called forth, would be a balm of Gilead that would anneal the nation and vaporize the many failings that afflict it, which he had just recounted so thoroughly as he laid them at the door of the political class that has governed for the past 30 years, and whose exemplars surrounded him as he spoke.  He didn’t say any more than he has already about how he proposed to help the disadvantaged, clean up the cities, reduce violence, reorder the country’s relations with the world, and specifically, as he promised, stamp out “radical Islamic terrorism,” words that Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton notoriously declined to utter.  That also meant that he did not back off his pledges to replace ObamaCare with a more efficient and less onerous universal system of health care, for higher taxes on luxury spending and non-essential financial transactions, lower taxes on small incomes and corporations, and a mighty effort to repatriate jobs and rebuild infrastructure.  I even liked the religiosity of Trump’s speech, not least because it was so unexpected.  I don’t believe he and his wife are regular religious communicants, but his invocation of divine power and obligations was not sanctimonious or pious or fervent, but rather respectful. It was an invocation of a sacred duty to make more of such a magnificent country.   It was a legitimate lamentation of what a mess America has become, and of both the duty and the possibility of raising it back up and above the heights that once seemed to justify some of the insinuations of a chosen and preferred nation.  It was a refreshing departure from the relentless promulgation of the state religion of atheism by the Obama administration, with its outrageous persecution of some churches and mollycoddling of hostile sources of Americophobic sectarian zealotry, and the tedious pious lip-service of the Clintons and Bushes before that.   The polls are not now overly favorable to Trump personally and that could hardly be otherwise given the extremely nasty campaign and the fact that he ran against all factions of both parties, everyone who has exercised great office in the U.S. since Reagan, and practically every adult resident or job-holder in Washington D.C.  He has a clear mandate to implement his program, the congressional majorities to do so, and the negotiating talents to break the paralytic gridlock of the last 15 years and be one of only seven or eight transformative presidents in American history.  It is less easy, and less fashionable, to dismiss Donald Trump as a boor and a blowhard now that his every appearance is greeted by the Marine Corps band playing “Hail to the Chief.” The closest comparison with such a populist upheaval in American politics was Andrew Jackson, but he was a general and briefly a senator, had run once before, and gave a rather brief and reserved first inaugural address (1829).  If Donald Trump enacts the program he has promised, and confirmed on his induction into the presidency, he will be an outstanding president; if he does not, those who have castigated him as a blowhard will be vindicated.  

(“Without the trite sanctimony, Trump invokes a sacred duty to raise up America’s magnificence” by Conrad Black dated January 20, 2017 published by National Post at http://news.nationalpost.com/full-comment/conrad-black-without-the-trite-sanctimony-trump-invokes-a-sacred-duty-to-raise-up-americas-magnificence )

Besides the fact that Hillary Clinton was a horrendous candidate, Democrats lost big in November because of Identity politics.  Hillary Clinton was owed the presidency, because she was a woman.  Likewise, before her, Barack Obama was owed the presidency because of the color of his skin.  These were the things that were wielded as weapons against the American people for the past 8 years.  Hillary Clinton couldn’t be a qualified, competent candidate, who just happened to be a woman, the same as Obama couldn’t be a qualified, competent candidate who just happened to be biracial.  Democrats put all their chips on making straight, white males out to be the Great Oppressors, and even better if those straight, white males were also Christian.  After eight years of a president setting neighbor against neighbor, based on skin color or religion, crafting a narrative of rogue police officers, out to destroy minorities, America used this past election to push back.  So sick and tired of being lectured to and demoralized were the citizens that they were willing to elect a caricature of who the Obama administration made them out to be.  When Hillary Clinton promised more of the same (Don’t you just want a woman president?), it became clear that Democrats underestimated the anger of the nation.  They still don’t get it.  Democrats are using identity politics and using race to beat people over the head.  Black Lives Matter are the absolute last group Democrats should be hanging their hopes on.  Most people are basically good and they want the benefit of the doubt until proven otherwise.  In the world of Democrats, there are three groups of people: The victim class (women, minorities, LGBT groups, non-Christians), the victimizers (white, heterosexual, Christian males or pro-life females), and the benevolent overseers, tasked with doling out protection and entitlement programs to even the score (Democrats).  That way of thinking has served Democrats in the past, but we’re in a different world now and the shtick has worn thin.  It is so insulting that it defies terms.  This is why Democrats will keep losing, because they did not learn the lessons from 2016. 

(“Identity Politics: Democrats Did Not Learn the Lessons of 2016” by Susan Wright dated January 24, 2017 published by The Resurgent at http://theresurgent.com/identity-politics-democrats-did-not-learn-the-lessons-of-2016/ )

In 2009, the progressive left embarked upon an ideological agenda evidencing a serious delusion and disconnection with America.  Instead of focusing on 2 simple issues, economic growth and national security, Barack Obama, Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, and their acolytes engaged a direction for America focused on “fairness,” and not rooted in sound policy.

·    The first case of delusion was to try and make the American people believe that Keynesian economic policy, tax and spend, was still viable.  First thing out of the gate was a massive $1 trillion stimulus package that was centered upon what was termed “shovel ready jobs”.  Obama in his eight years focused more on wealth redistribution, you know, we all do better when we “spread the wealth around”.  Obama and his disciples of economic disaster failed to grasp the concept that economic growth emanates not from Washington DC, but rather from the policies that unleash American investment, ingenuity, and innovation… along with production and manufacturing.  His design was to expand the welfare nanny state of government dependency. The result of this delusion was our national debt going from $10.67T to $20T.  We exploded our food stamp and poverty rolls, and we have suffered the lowest workforce participation rate in some 40 years.

·    Second, Obama and the left sought to use effective free market policy to improve the healthcare situation in America. Instead, they believed there was a mandate to do what they had always wanted, push a government-driven healthcare system. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act a.k.aObamaCare” was nothing more than a domestic wealth redistribution scheme, with some twenty new taxes. It spanned to gamut from increases in capital gains and dividends taxes to creation of an individual and employer mandate tax along with medical device and taxes on health savings accounts.  ObamaCare turned out to be nothing more than a huge expansion of Medicaid.  It proved unaffordable and did not provide protection for patients, but a segment of people got something for free.

·    Third, Obama departed the White House trying to have us buy into his delusion by stating that on his watch there had not been a terrorist organization attack.  Obama and the left could never articulate that the non-state, non-uniform unlawful enemy combatants we face on the 21st-century battlefield are Islamic terrorists and jihadists.  Obama was more interested in freeing them under the delusion that their being detained in GITMO was an impetus of their hate and a recruiting tool.  The left, aided by the liberal progressive media, tried to castigate those who understood this enemy as “islamophobes”, a moniker created by an Islamic organization with ties to the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas.

The biggest issue is that we are watching the progressive left continue to wrap themselves in their own delusion.  More violence, threats, intimidation, protests, denigrating, disparaging, rantings, and demeaning language from the left will not win folks over to their cause.  It will only further distance them from the America that has rejected and repudiated them, the electoral losses of the past eight years is evidence.  The delusion of the progressive left is that they conducted a self-analysis or assessment.  Their way did not advance economic growth or national security.  Albert Einstein said, “The definition of insanity is to continue to do the same thing, and expect different results” and this certainly describes the progressive left. 

(“The Grand Delusion of the Progressive Left” by Allen West dated January 23, 2017 published by Town Hall at http://townhall.com/columnists/allenwest/2017/01/23/the-grand-delusion-of-the-progressive-left-n2275721 )


During the primaries and the presidential campaign, Donald Trump rarely described himself as a conservative.  His appointments and his initial actions as president have turned out to be as about as right wing as it gets.  Trump has earned a healthy amount of skepticism from conservatives.  Since winning the election, Trump has acted more conservative than Ronald Reagan.  Consider the Cabinet Trump has assembled: school choice activist Betsy DeVos for Education, attorney general and EPA foe Scott Pruitt to head that agency, and former Texas governor Rick Perry to run Energy.  Trump picked Tom Price, who had developed a detailed ObamaCare replacement plan, to run Health and Human Services, and Jeff Sessions, who gets a 94% lifetime rating from the American Conservative Union, as attorney general.  Trump also named a staunch opponent of net neutrality to head the Federal Communications Commission.  Conservative favorite Ted Cruz summed it up by calling Trump's picks "a team of all stars."  CNN described it as a "conservative dream team of domestic Cabinet appointments that promises to move swiftly to dismantle the Obama administration's legacy in health care, education, labor and environmental policies."  Meanwhile, his early actions as President have made liberals' heads swim.  In his first three days in office, Trump has ordered a freeze on federal hiring and raises, moved to overturn President Obama's ban on the Keystone XL pipeline, talked about turning Medicaid into block grants and vowed to cut spending by $10 trillion. He's been prodding the GOP to come up with an ObamaCare replacement plan now, not put it off for two years as the Republican leadership had planned.  He re-instituted Reagan's ban on U.S. aid to foreign organizations that perform abortions.  He told business leaders he wants to cut federal regulations by 75% or "maybe more."  We don't know what Trump has in mind for health care, spending on roads, and other areas that will reveal his governing style.  We are suspicious of his anti-trade rhetoric and his interventionist instincts at home, even if they are labeled "pro-worker."  It's also possible that the ferocious attacks coming from Democrats, the liberal media and the "Never Trump" crowd are pushing Trump further to the right, out of spite if nothing else.  If that's the case, then we hope Trump's critics keep it up, turning the volume up to 11. 

(“Trump Is Off to a Stunningly Conservative Start” dated January 25, 2017 published by Investor’s Business Daily at http://www.investors.com/politics/editorials/trump-is-off-to-a-stunningly-conservative-start/ )


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/language.php


David Coughlin

Hawthorne, NY