Views on the News
Views on the News*
April 15, 2017
The confirmation of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court highlights the divergence between the state of the Trump presidency and official Washington's assessment of it. If you were to judge by the news coming from the television in my office, your inescapable conclusion would be that the Trump administration is a disaster, that the president lacks any achievement, that collusion with Russia put him in the Oval Office and the FBI is on the verge of throwing him out. You could easily tell another and quite different story from the president's daily schedule and the available empirical evidence: Trump is presiding over a surging U.S. economy, fulfilling promises made on the campaign trail, and rolling back the burdensome regulatory legacy of his predecessor. A Trump voter would have very little reason to be disappointed in this Presidency so far. The negative poll numbers are in part a response to Washington's unrelenting hostility to Trump. The failure of his health care bill, was largely a consequence of him deciding for once to play by Washington's rules. On those matters under his direct control, the president has delivered. Above all, Trump pledged to be a jobs president, to restore growth and opportunity and ultimately to improve the standard of living of working people. His election coincided with a burst of economic activity and investor and consumer confidence: the Trump Trade that continues to this day. The market seems to have been elated at the prospect of a business-friendly president who would not cede authority to unelected and capricious regulatory bodies. The jobs picture is also pleasing. In February the unemployment rate was 4.7%. The latest ADP survey showed a higher-than-expected 263,000 jobs added in March, continuing the record begun under President Obama. Not all of the data are positive. Median household income has yet to reach its pre-crisis high, and the civilian labor force participation rate remains stubbornly low, including among prime-age males. The Trump voter outraged at more than a decade of unchecked illegal immigration would also be happy at the news that border apprehensions have fallen some 60% since the president took office. Trump's presence in the White House, his plans for a border wall, and his policies against sanctuary cities and visa abuse appear to have had a deterrent effect on illegal immigration. Illegal immigrants bypassing America for Canada suggest as much. Other pledges have been kept. The Trans-Pacific Partnership was scuttled, the Keystone and Dakota Access Pipelines approved, ISIS on its way to the dustbin of history. Most important has been Gorsuch, selected from a list of conservative jurists, whose confirmation by a simple majority will make it easier for Trump to select another originalist when the next seat opens on the Court. Trump has initiated a rollback of the Clean Power Plan, by which the Obama administration hoped to destroy the coal industry, as well as the Waters of the U.S. rule, an EPA power grab. He has lifted moratoriums on energy development in federal lands and instructed the EPA to review its strict fuel efficiency standards for autos. He has delayed a regulation that would have caused widespread disruption in the financial industry, the so-called Fiduciary Rule. He has reinstated the ban on taxpayer funding for international organizations that support abortions, has revoked a last-minute Obama rule forbidding states from defunding Planned Parenthood. All of these things will affect Americans more directly than the news that GRU agents thought Carter Page too stupid to spy for Mother Russia. Yet the cable channels, the print and electronic media, the professional political class seem transfixed by the Russia story, by Devin Nunes, by Susan Rice, by Jared and Ivanka and Bannon and Conway, by where Melania is living, by the latest silly thing Trump said, by the minutiae of House negotiations and bureaucratic sniping. Behind the flurry of zany headlines and interviews and leaks and legislative foolishness is a President implementing his agenda and an America chugging along.
(“Trump is Delivering for His Voters” by Matthew Continetti dated April 7, 2017 published by Washington Free Beacon at http://freebeacon.com/columns/trump-delivering-voters/ )
The #Resistance movement means the overthrow of our government. The Democrats rejected the outcomes of the two presidential elections won by Republicans. After Bush won, they settled for accusing him of being a thief, an idiot, a liar, a draft dodger and a mass murderer. They fantasized about his assassination and there was talk of impeachment, but elected officials gritted their teeth and tried to get things done. This time around it’s “radically” different. The official position, from the Senate to the streets, is “Resistance.” Leftist media outlets are feeding the faithful a fantasy that President Trump will be brought down. There is fevered speculation about the 25th Amendment, a coup or impeachment due to whatever scandal has been manufactured last, but there is a bigger and more disturbing radical endgame. The left can be roughly divided into moderates and radicals. The distinction doesn’t refer to outcome; both want very similar totalitarian societies with very little personal freedom and a great deal of government control. Instead it’s about the tactics that they use to get to that totalitarian system. The “moderates” believe in working from within the system to transform the country into a leftist tyranny. The “radicals” believe that the system is so bad that it cannot even be employed for progressive ends. Instead it needs to be discredited and overthrown by radicalizing a revolutionary base. Radicals radicalize moderates by discrediting the system they want to be a part of. Where moderates seek to impose a false consensus from within the system, radicals attack the system through violent protests and terrorism. Their goal is to set off a chain of confrontations that make it impossible to maintain civil society and polarize the backlash and chaos into consolidating the left for total war. A similar program implemented in Europe, with a covert alliance between Communists and Nazis, led to the deaths of millions, the destruction of much of Europe and the temporary triumph of the left. The radical left’s efforts in America caused death and destruction but, despite the sympathy of many liberals for terrorist groups such as the Weathermen and the Black Panthers, failed to escalate because the majority of Democrats and even liberals did not accept the premise that our system was illegitimate. That began to change this century. The left has declared that President Trump’s victory is illegitimate. The response is “Resistance.” That covers violent anti-government protesters, states declaring that they are no longer bound to follow Federal immigration law and Senators obstructing for the sake of obstruction. It’s easy to get lost in the partisan turmoil of the moment, but it’s important to understand the implications. If two presidential elections were illegitimate, then our entire system of elections might be illegitimate, and indeed the left made exactly that case with its attack on the Electoral College. The left pressed Dems to oppose President Trump for the sake of opposition. The goal wasn’t just spite. It was to break the government. When the left forced Senate Dems to filibuster President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, the filibuster became the first casualty of the fight. The goal of the radicals was to make bipartisan legislative activity impossible. Senate Democrats adopted the position of the radical left that their mission was wrecking institutions to deny them to Republicans rather than governing. Once that was done, the radical left could unveil arguments such as, “The United States Senate is a Failed Institution”. The radical left’s goal is to convince its natural base that our system of government is illegitimate. It knows that this can’t be limited to the theoretical level of ideology. Instead it must radicalize by demonstrating it. Democrats have become complicit in the radical left’s program to bring down the government. They have normalized the radical leftist position that our system is illegitimate. They have moved into the second phase of the left’s program of demonstrating that illegitimacy through confrontation. The final phase is to overthrow the system through actions ranging from protests to terrorism. This is Cloward-Piven institutional sabotage on a whole other scale. The goal is to collapse our entire system of government, and the Democrats have climbed on board with it using President Trump as a pretext. Regardless of which Republican had won, the end result would have been the same. The left makes its opposition to the Constitution, the election process and the rule of law into a crisis, and then it uses that crisis to demand a new system. It has pursued this approach successfully in local areas and in narrower causes. This is the first time that it has the full support of a major national political party. The left’s endgame is a totalitarian state. Its “moderates” pursue one by peaceful means only so long as they are allowed to hijack the system. When an election fails to go their way, the radicals brandish it as proof that the system has failed and that violent revolution is the only answer. But what was once the obscure behavior of a deranged political fringe has become the mainstream politics of the Democrats. The Resistance theme shows that the radicals have won. The Democrats haven’t just fallen to the left, they have fallen to the radical left which believes in overthrowing our system of government through conflict and confrontation rather than covertly engineering change.
(“The ‘Resistance’ Democrats are a Terrorist Party” by Daniel Greenfield dated April 13, 2017 published by Front Page Magazine at http://www.frontpagemag.com/fpm/266380/resistance-democrats-are-terrorist-party-daniel-greenfield )
The term “postmodernism” is a catch-all term which is used primarily for convenience's sake. All the movements and philosophers referred to are postmodernist in a literal sense are united as left-wing (usually Trotskyist/communist/Maoist/etc.). Professor Stephen Hicks's central thesis on postmodernist intellectuals is that they recognized that socialism was dead or dying (in the late 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s) and thus decided to do something about it. They developed their own distinctive “skeptical” (yet still left-wing!) philosophies. It can be said that skeptical epistemology, deconstruction, etc. are all means to achieve the political ends which can't be sustained by truth, evidence and argumentation. Truth is a “tool of power” (Foucault) and is specific to different “language games” (Wittgenstein, etc.) or “phrase regimes” (Lyotard). Thus, “regular deployments of ad hominem, the setting up of straw men, and the regular attempts to silence opposing voices” aren't only legitimate, they're to be encouraged (at least if you're on the same side). Nearly all these intellectuals pushing postmodernism did indeed begin their lives as outright communists/socialists. What was the root of this deep faith in socialism/communism generally? Why didn't postmods, poststructuralists, structuralists, etc. reject it out-of-hand? Hicks believes that there was a religious (or at least a quasi-religious) reason for this. They see socialism/communism as the religion that it is. Hicks, specifically, picks up on the psychological root of their religious infatuation with socialism. Strangely enough, a deep faith in Leftism allows one to ignore socialism/communism's bloodthirsty history. That means that the Left can conveniently erase Lenin, Stalin, Pol Pot, etc. from the socialist picture. (As Stalin himself erased various political enemies from official Soviet photographs.) The socialist future of Leftists is a perfect and Utopian future. The socialist past, as we know, is blood-soaked. Thus, the socialist past never guides the future: it is erased or denied. To the Leftist, no “actually existing” regime was ever theologically/truly socialist.
(“Postmodernism is Leftism” by Paul Austin Murphy dated April 8, 2017 published by American Thinker at http://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2017/04/4_3_2017_23_35.html )
There are hundreds of programs that make the poor, poorer and increase poverty in America. There are many government policies that exacerbate the problem:
· Trade barriers raise prices and “act as a regressive tax” on Americans. They also stunt the very innovation process that makes goods and services widely available to people at affordable prices to begin with.
· Minimum wage clearly fits into this category as well. In every other industry, when something is more expensive we buy less of it. Why do some economists think that isn’t so when it comes to buying labor. Especially for the young and the lowest skilled, minimum wage becomes a toll that prevents many from entering the work force and gaining the skills that can make a low income or middle class worker a high income worker.
· The fuel economy standards promoted by the leftist environmentalists add thousands of dollars to the cost of a new car. These “green” policies could mean that 7 million fewer Americans each year can’t afford a new car.
· Another green policy that hurts the poor is the anti-fracking crusade of the environmentalists. The lower cost of electricity due to cheap shale natural gas has benefited low income households to the tune of well over $4 billion a year.
· Social Security is the greatest swindle of the poor ever. The average poor person who works 40 hours a week during his or her working life would retire with a larger monthly benefit and would have $1 million or more in an estate that could be left to a spouse or children at death if they could simply put their payroll tax dollars into a personal 401k retirement account and tap into the power of compound interest.
· Under Social Security poor (and middle class) households leave next to nothing for their kids at death. So Social Security robs nearly every low and middle income family with a full-time worker of at least $1 million over their lifetime.
· Occupational licensing laws, in trades like moving companies, realtors, hair dressers, limousine services, beauticians, physical therapy and on and on, stunt small business start-ups, destroy jobs, and raise prices for lower income consumers.
· Big government advocates defend these statist occupational barriers to entry by arguing that they are needed to uphold professional service quality.
· Arguably the program that has set back upward income mobility for the poor the most is the government school system in inner cities. Every study finds abysmal educational outcomes and even unsafe environments for school children despite cities spending upward of $20,000 per child. In Catholic inner-city schools, these same kids could and should be receiving a better education at half the cost.
These examples merely scratch the surface of scores of governmental policies that are regressive. Could it be that the gridlock and polarization in Washington could be ended by a bipartisan reform movement to scout out and remove laws and rules that hurt those at the bottom of the income scale the most? Where are Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren and Nancy Pelosi and the class warfare warriors on reversing government policies that are stealing money and opportunities for low income and minority families? These Democrats apparently care more about protecting big government, rather than the poor.
(“How government makes the poor poorer” by Stephen Moore dated April 9, 2017 published by The Washington Times at http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2017/apr/9/government-makes-poor-people-poorer/ )
The ‘progressive’ left has worked overtime in the de-Americanizing of America. Our rich culture of America is well on its way to being dead and our North American continent will be just another landmass stuffed full of walking dead, like what is left of the rest of the free world. Freedom’s healthy traditions equate to roadblocks to invading tyranny. America is currently being stripped of its singular and precious cultural traditions with the complete cooperation of our stupid spoiled children who have been convinced that our Godliness and historical patriotism equate to ‘racism.’ ‘Multiculturalism’ is a worm that has already gutted most of free Europe. It is the handiest tool of every enemy we have on this planet. It is the ally of advancing Islam that just wants us for slaves in its new Western caliphate. Because baby boomer Americans generally didn’t pass the torch of American pride on to succeeding generations, we are now paying for it in our unprecedented vulnerability. Our children and children’s children don’t carry in their hearts the America that our current President is genuinely trying to resurrect. So his resistance to some baby-gassing regime on the other side of the Earth is little more than just a damned nuisance interrupting regularly scheduled programming, and could wind us up in a war. Today the spineless silver ponytails and young Americans are complicit in letting America go to hell because they take for granted and are totally unappreciative of our rapidly vanishing liberties. If what you see going on around us right now in our nation and the world is not a living nightmare, then you are either brain-dead or yet another of many Americans who have been totally lulled to sleep by a red-hot television set. Russia’s Vladimir Putin and the friend that our former president and John Kerry purchased for us, Iran, have now made threats of heavy retaliation toward the United States. They will not tolerate our daring to take issue with Bashar al-Assad’s genocidal thrashing of his own people and therefore deliberately forcing millions of Muslim Syrians into the already strained economies of the docile Western world. Putin, the Ayatollah Khamenei and anyone else with their eyes open can see that now is the perfect time to make threats against the United States: With Barack Obama’s shadow government in place, and after eight years of his racially disintegrating and generally strip-mining of America, kicking America while she is down is simply common sense. In the past three months we may as well have been listening to the black-hooded throngs of those who hate us all around the world. Here in our own nation our people have essentially been calling for the lynching of the best president we have had since Reagan. Remember how incensed we were when Osama bin Laden slammed hijacked airliners into the trade Towers. Today it seems that hardly anyone under 30 even recognizes any significance in the observance of the memory of 9/11. There was a time when America commanded an unspoken and unquestioned respect, throughout the earth, for representing the most noble standards of freedom that the rest of the world could only admire and envy. If we had been made to endure another four years of self-serving and compromising liberal political lethargy in our oval office, the greatness of the America Donald Trump is standing to resurrect would be no more than a memory. We have now a commander in chief who is replacing form with substance, and putting real power once again into the light that America has been for nearly all of her 240 years. Now that America needs solidarity in her people more than ever before, nearly half of her people have either fallen asleep at the switch or are taking sides with those who want to see us destroyed. Our president, Donald Trump, like everything else he has done to date, is trying to do the best he can with what he has been given. To all those who can hear, now is the time to stand up and walk together - or we will surely lie down and fall to pieces.
(“Stand Up America, and Walk Together!” by Dave Merrick dated April 11, 2017 published by Canada Free Press at http://canadafreepress.com/article/stand-up-america-and-walk-together )
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.