Views on the News

Views on the News*

 September 23, 2017


The Constitution's beauty lies in the fact that it not only delineates our rights as Americans, but expressly limits and defines the government's ability to interfere in our private lives.  This exquisite equipoise between citizens' duties, responsibilities and rights make it the defining document of our nation's glorious freedom.  Sadly, as numerous recent surveys show, Americans know little about the document that has enabled them to have greater freedom and to create more wealth than any nation in history.  The Annenberg Public Policy Center's recent poll depressingly found that "More than a third of those surveyed can't name any of the rights guaranteed under the First Amendment."  The Intercollegiate Studies Institute has surveyed over 28,000 undergrads at some 80 colleges about civic literacy, including our Constitution, and "the average score on our basic 60-question civic literacy exam was about a 54%, an 'F.' "  Even adults with college degrees barely scored higher than those with just high school diplomas.  In one alarming finding, seniors at elite schools, including the Ivy League, actually scored lower than freshmen, suggesting what ISI called "negative learning."  America is the wonderful place it is largely because of the Constitution and those that framed it.  They ensured that we would have a republic, not a dictatorship or a monarchy, and that our country, no matter what its flaws and imperfections, would always pursue freedom, liberty and justice for its people.  Those who call this country "greedy," "racist," or "fascist" are the most profoundly ignorant of all.  We can and should do better, starting with high school civics education, which has failed recent generations of students and imperiled our future freedoms by churning out ignorant citizens who know little or nothing about our laws, rights and governing institutions.  Maybe you should look at what your kids are being taught in school, because it might surprise you, and not in a pleasant way. 

(“Are We Too Ignorant to Save Our Constitutional Republic?” dated September 15, 2017 published by Investor’s Business Daily at http://www.investors.com/politics/editorials/are-we-too-ignorant-to-save-our-constitutional-republic/ )


The Founding Fathers were brilliant in that they wrote the Constitution to limit government, not citizens.  Our rights as Americans are not granted to us by the government.  Our government is empowered by us on the condition it does not infringe upon the rights with which we were born.  The rights to free speech, freedom of religion, the press, assembly, etc., are not granted by the Constitution, they are protected from government by it.  Since government is not granting those individual rights, it can’t take them away.  For progressives, this concept is a threat; they prefer the government being not only the protector of rights, but the decider of what is and is not a right.  That’s not liberty; it’s closer to slavery.  When Be   Shapiro spoke at UC Berkeley you would have thought he was staging public executions of anyone who disagrees with him by the way these leftists greeted the event.  All Ben did was speak and answer questions; he responded to words with words.  This is offensive to the left, who consider it to be violence.  With regularity, these progressive activists greet “violent speech” with actual physical violence before the speeches are given.  Antifa believes they have the right to not be offended, and to stop anything they determine offensive.  Bernie Sanders revealed his long-awaited (by journalists) “Medicare for All” plan to end the United States being the world’s last bastion of hope for people on wait lists for life-saving medical treatment.  Health care isn’t a right; it’s a service.  Medical professionals provide this service in exchange for payment.  No other “right” protected by the Constitution requires someone else to provide a service for you.  The closest is the Second Amendment, the right to keep and bear arms is unambiguous.  Yet with health care, if it’s a right, people who’ve invested years of the life studying, and tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars in that study, have no business expecting pay for their services because to do so would be to infringe upon the “fundamental right” of another human being.  They could not refuse new patients, or really charge for their service, because to do so would be akin to a poll tax.  Of course, health care is not a right, and Bernie knows this, but it sure sounds good to people who have no understanding of the concept of liberty and find the idea of personal responsibility to be as distasteful as differing political opinions.  People who look to government to grant them rights are always finding new and creative ones they demand be honored by people who just want to be left alone.  As evidenced by President Trump’s DACA decision, the problem with this idiocy is if you believe rights come from government there is little stopping the government from taking away some rights when it suits their desires. As an American the whole idea offends me, which means liberals will support doing away with it. 

(“Fundamentally Wrong About Fundamental Rights” by Derek Hunter dated September 17, 2017 published by Town Hall at https://townhall.com/columnists/derekhunter/2017/09/17/fundamentally-wrong-about-fundamental-rights-n2382661 )


Since the left and complicit journalists in the mainstream media cannot defeat President Donald Trump on the issues or legitimate grounds such as dishonesty, they have resorted to a superficial collection of tactics.  They “make a mountain out of a molehill” and spend endless hours focusing on things that don’t matter.  If you get your news from the mainstream media, you’re getting a very skewed view of what’s going on. The nightly news is devoted to trivial things related to Trump, while key events, real controversies and accomplishments are given short shrift.  We’ve seen the worst of this skewed news with the obsessive effort attempting to show there was collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government that influenced the presidential election.  Never mind that “collusion” isn’t even a crime; there must be something like a conspiracy to influence the election through a political contribution from a foreign national.  Although not a shred of evidence of collusion has been found despite nonstop media coverage since Trump took office eight months ago, the fake news never stops.  The left knows that if you repeat a lie enough, people eventually start to believe it.  Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton’s clear ties to Russian influence are ignored.  The left and its complicit allies in the media have become extremely proficient at nitpicking Trump.  His tweets are dissected and criticized every day.  Since the media no longer get as much news about him from gotcha questions at White House press conferences, they are relegated to picking apart his tweets.  Trump was mercilessly attacked after the Charlottesville rioting for not denouncing the white nationalists and neo-Nazis “properly.”  Yet the media failed to report that Trump has denounced white supremacists many times throughout the years.  No one actually believes Trump supports white supremacists, so the nitpicking was a lie.  Omitting key information is another clever tactic the left uses when reporting on Trump. They moan that Trump cannot be trusted to handle the aggression of North Korea because his tweets are all over the board and he only cares about himself — classic exaggerations.  What they fail to bring up while whining is that he has four generals in his cabinet, including one who is his chief of staff, John Kelly. This is more than any previous administration since World War II. Trump defers to their advice on military strategy and admits he has changed the left spends endless amounts of time picking apart Trump’s tweets and repeating the same things over and over about Russian collusion, Trump is quietly accomplishing more than almost any other president.  While the media writes long, critical articles about Trump’s latest “offensive” tweet, Trump is signing executive orders, cutting deals with Congress and conducting diplomacy around the world. While the media falsely blares repeatedly that he hasn’t gotten any legislation passed, he has quietly gotten 60 pieces of legislation passed into law.  By distorting Trump’s actions, the left is able to question his ethics.  Trump suggested in February to then-FBI Director James Comey that he should end the investigation into whether ex-national security advisor Michael Flynn had ties to Russia.  There is nothing wrong with this.  As president, Trump oversees the FBI as well as the DOJ which is over the FBI.  He has the right to tell a renegade gprosecutor or investigator to stop what the president perceives as an overzealous witch hunt and fishing expedition.  The mainstream media never reports this defense.  Instead, they accuse Trump of abuse of power for telling Comey what to do.  Americans should tune out this fake news that ignores real developments taking place during the Trump administration, which instead replaces them with dishonest pettiness. Much of the mainstream news, from the major TV networks and cable news to NPR and large newspapers, has become shills for the Democrat Party. 

(“Trump’s Opposition: Nitpick, Distort, Exaggerate, Omit and Lie” by Rachel Alexander dated September 18, 2017 published by Town Hall at https://townhall.com/columnists/rachelalexander/2017/09/18/trumps-opposition-nitpick-distort-exaggerate-omit-and-lie-n2382829 )


The Democrat party faces a dilemma, since it defined itself as the champion of the little guy and a bulwark against plutocracy.  Over the past few years, however, a funny thing has happened: The plutocrats have been joining the party en masse, and they’re changing it in the process.  There have always been rich Democrats, just as there have always been poor Republicans.  Nor is it unusual to see rich Democrats flexing their political muscles.  In the early 1990s, Jesse Jackson famously ridiculed the centrist Democratic Leadership Council by calling it “Democrats for the Leisure Class.”  The charge stung in part because DLC stalwarts such as Bill Clinton and Al Gore really were the darlings of well-heeled Wall Street Democrats, among other wealthy, socially liberal constituencies, who welcomed the prospect of a more centrist Democrat party that eschewed class warfare.  Quite a lot has changed since then, however.  In earlier eras, Democrats were very much in the minority among the rich, but today they have, at a minimum, achieved parity.  Because the rich are by definition few in number, exit polls can only tell us so much about their political beliefs.  The numbers we do have are for broader categories that also capture upper-middle-class voters. For.  According to American National Election Studies data, Barack Obama beat Mitt Romney by a margin of 44% to 41%.  So among the broadly defined bourgeoisie, the two parties are competitive.  When we take a more granular look at the millionaires and billionaires of Silicon Valley, where most of America’s biggest new fortunes are being minted, we find that they are overwhelmingly Democrat.  The model tech grandee is best described as a business-friendly cosmopolitan left-liberal, aka “cosmocialists. The left-liberalism of the Silicon Valley elite is reflected in support for drastically higher taxes on the rich, much higher levels of anti-poverty spending, and every environmentalist cause under the sun, views that are very much in tune with rank-and-file Democrat voters.  Their cosmopolitanism is reflected in adamant support for free trade and for increasing immigration levels, which puts them somewhat out of step with less affluent Democrats, who are both more protectionist and more restrictionist. Their business-friendliness is reflected in their general skepticism towards regulation and organized labor.  As an electoral constituency, elite technology entrepreneurs are trivial, but as the women and (mostly) men who increasingly bankroll the Democrat party, they are profoundly important.  They will help set limits on what Democrat politicians can and cannot say, and they are already influencing the agenda that Democrats are choosing to pursue.  Consider the intensifying effort to purge pro-life Democrats from the party, or the Left’s sharp turn against religious-liberty protections for orthodox Christians.  Over the past decade, the Democrat party has embraced a more stridently pro-immigration position.  This is sometimes described as a by-product of the rising influence of naturalized citizens, which makes intuitive sense, as these are the voters most intent on keeping America’s borders open to their close relatives.  This constituency isn’t especially large since naturalized citizens are no more than 6% of eligible voters, and naturalized citizens vote at much lower rates than the native-born on average.  In the Silicon Valley, 57% of the technology work force in the Bay Area is foreign-born. Although conservative immigration-reform proposals would likely allow for high levels of skilled immigration, it is easy to see why elite technology entrepreneurs, many of whom are immigrants or second-generation Americans themselves, would look upon immigrants favorably.  Silicon Valley donors have played a mostly unheralded but enormously important role in mainstreaming the case for more-open borders.  Most surprisingly, elite technology entrepreneurs are cheering on the Democrat party’s headlong rush to the left.  Democrat support for Bernie Sanders’s single-payer health-care bill are hoping to appeal to the party’s activist Left, but do not discount the possibility that they are also looking to woo billionaire cosmocialists who, if properly flattered, will supercharge their fundraising.  The Obama years saw the Democrat coalition gain ground among white college-educated professionals as it hemorrhaged white working-class voters.  The result is that Democrats find themselves divided between relatively affluent whites on one side, with views that are mostly though not perfectly aligned with those of the cosmocialists, and non-white working-class voters on the other.  Without the working-class whites who were once at the heart of the Democrat coalition, it is vitally important that the party motivate Hispanic and African-American voters.  While the Hispanic share of the U.S. population now greatly surpasses the black share, a higher proportion of black adults is eligible to vote.  The question remains whether a cosmocialist Democrat party can succeed in energizing the non-white voters who are so crucial to its success.  As for African-American voters, the picture is even less clear.  The most obvious strategy for Democrats would be a reprise of the Obama formula, i.e., to identify a talented candidate, whether Hispanic or (ideally) black, who could appeal to the cosmocialist donors while also inspiring her or his co-ethnics in the public at large.  There are many Democrats who could fit the bill: Deval Patrick, the African-American former Massachusetts governor; California senator Kamala Harris; New Jersey senator Cory Booker ; and Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti, all of whom are vying to be the next Obama.  Arguing that Silicon Valley bigwigs who shelter their profits in Ireland and the Cayman Islands ought to pay more taxes by cosmocialists could turn out to be the president’s perfect foil. 

(“Democrats and Plutocrats” by Reihan Salam dated September 19, 2017 published by National Review Online at http://www.nationalreview.com/article/451463/democrats-silicon-valley-rich-entrepreneurs-changing-party-working-class-image )


The latest round of deal making between President Trump and Democrat congressional leaders is the latest evidence that the major political parties have lost all semblance of real power.  The power vacuum is currently enabling the president to act without any loyalty to his own party, while working with whomever he pleases on whatever issues he wants.  It's why we have a Republican congressional leadership, headlined by a Senate Majority Leader with an 18% approval rating in his own home state that could not deliver on its party's seven-year-long promises to repeal and replace ObamaCare.  It's why the Democrat Party is getting more and more embarrassed as its highly-experienced-but-failed 2016 presidential nominee continues to weaken the brand by going on a national tour blaming everyone else for her election loss.  None of the above would have been possible before then-candidate Trump eviscerated a crowded field of 16 more experienced GOP regulars in the 2016 primaries.  It wouldn't be possible before Senator Bernie Sanders, an independent who only registered as a Democrat months before the primaries, came extremely close to upsetting long-held party plans to nominate Hillary Clinton.  Now Senator Sanders is leading a march away from Democrat Party orthodoxy and fully advocating single payer health care, with a third of the Democrats in the Senate happily marching away with him.  Even at the state level, we're starting to see party power dwindling, with outsiders like Kid Rock and Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson being seriously considered as candidates.  This didn't start with President Trump or Senator Sanders.  Barack Obama proved the party hierarchy and seniority system was on the wane when he stepped over Hillary Clinton in 2008 to win the Democrat presidential nomination and the presidency after just two years in the U.S. Senate.  Even prior to that, the parties were becoming less discernible from each other, aside from a few wedge issues like abortion and gun control.  They pull donations from the same entities with just a few exceptions, and have similar track records when it comes to enduring challenges like controlling the debt, reining in health care costs, or improving the infrastructure.  That corruption, or perceived corruption, played a big role in Donald Trump's successful "drain the swamp" campaign.  Now, Trump is continuing to exploit the breakdown of major party influence, pushing for conservative priorities like tax reform and a ban on immigrants from several Muslim countries tied to terrorism, even as he also makes deals with Democrats on the debt ceiling, DACA, and maybe even ObamaCare.  We all know just how loudly and angrily the left has been reacting to President Trump.  In case there's any doubt about how the partisan right is responding to the Trump team's moves lately, they're infuriated, but there's also seems to be an understanding that there's little they can do about it.  George Washington's ghost must be smiling wide with those wooden teeth of his. It was Washington who warned against the formation of political parties and urged the nation to choose leaders for reasons that transcended partisan politics.  Of course, this will not result in the total disappearance of party titles in elections, at least not yet.  Too much of the election infrastructure in too many states relies on major party nominees dominating the ballot choices.  Several states, like California, already have statewide primary elections where the top vote-getters regardless of their party are the ones who go before the voters in general elections.  That's why Senator Kamala Harris faced off against another Democrat last year in the general election.  We could see more states going this way, thus making it less important to hook up with one party or another just to get on the ballot.  For now, lost party influence will continue to enable Trump's generally hard-to-define policy leanings.  He'll easily shift between the right and the left as it suits him with more freedom than perhaps any other president in 100 years.  Republicans and Democrats will likely begin to decide on a case-by-case basis when to support the president, when to oppose him, and when to simply keep quiet.  Meanwhile the long-coveted positions like Speaker of the House and majority leader will become less important.  Looking to 2018 and the next presidential election, expect more outsider candidates to throw their hats into the ring without established party members being able to do much about it.  Supporters of President Trump are likely to challenge incumbent Republicans in several primaries.  Many believe the Democrats might even get more serious about recruiting outsiders and celebrities for the 2020 race against President Trump.  The important thing to remember is that all the craziness we're seeing in Washington these days is not just the result of this president's personality or some new level of political anger across the country.  An old order that's been in place for generations that kept a lid on the kind of chaos we've seen in recent months has crumbled.  These are uncharted waters for sure, but they may not lead to such bad results. After all, the partisan political structure in place for so long has brought us numerous wars, $20 trillion in debt and a government that's grown well beyond its usefulness.  Love or hate it, it's time to face this new reality: The Democrat and the Republican parties as we know them are finished and the politicians, the people who give them money, and the people who cover them need to adjust accordingly. 

(“The party’s over: Republicans and Democrats are both finished” by Jake Novak dated September 15, 2017 published by CNBC at https://www.cnbc.com/2017/09/14/trumps-new-reality-republicans-and-democrats-are-both-finished.html )


During last year’s campaign, The New York Times justified its biased coverage of Donald Trump by saying he was the “abnormal” candidate while Hillary Clinton was the “normal” one, but oh, what a difference a year makes.  Now it’s President Trump who is doing bipartisan deals with congress and trying to rally the world against North Korea while Clinton is embarrassing herself and her party with a sore-loser blame game.  It’s time to reverse the normal and abnormal labels.  The remarkable contrast between the 2016 foes these days is more vindication of the outcome, and helps explain why he won and she lost.  Clinton’s sour decision to point fingers in every direction, including at former President Obama and former vice-president Joe Biden, is a first for a losing candidate, but not surprising.  The self-pitying, entitled core she spent a lifetime trying to hide is now on naked display.  As a Democrat who knows her well told me, “People always complained she wasn’t authentic. Well, she’s being authentic now. This is who she really is.”  Imagine that train wreck in the Oval Office.  Even Clinton’s reputation for being a smart lawyer is now suspect.  As Peggy Lee asked, “Is that all there is?  In Hillary Clinton’s case, the unfortunate answer is yes, that’s all there is.  America is witnessing the normalizing of a new president, flaws and all. There are even signs that the media, while still hostile, is getting tired of declaring that the sky is falling every time Trump colors outside the lines.  To be sure, his journey from playboy developer and TV star to the Oval Office continues to have more than its share of bumpy moments, but there are unmistakable signs that he is growing into the demands of the job.  Some of that progress is reflected in the declining number of times Trump has created off-topic controversies lately.  He’s still tweeting, but causing fewer storms.  Another kind of normalizing was forced on Trump last week when he got ahead of his skis in talks with Democrats over the “Dreamers.”  After Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi announced they had a deal with the president to resolve the thorny issue, and that the pact did not include a wall on the Mexican border, Trump confirmed the outlines, saying “the wall will come later.”  Trump quickly realized his error and a flurry of emails insisted he is “100% committed to building the wall” and “the wall is non-negotiable.”  His decision to court Dems on a host of issues, largely out of frustration with GOP leaders, is a high-wire act that could yield big benefits, or end in a spectacular fall.  While much of the public despises gridlock and embraces the president’s “let’s get it done attitude,” Washington is an unforgiving place for a president who loses his own party.  Not incidentally, Schumer and Pelosi are getting attacked from the left for the same reports, with Moveon.org and others warning they should not give Trump any credibility by making deals with him.  Talk about abnormal, some in the “out” party would rather abdicate their duties than accept Trump as president.  So it goes, with the country along for the ride on the learning curve of a most unorthodox president.  Perspective and patience are required.

(“Donald trump shows he is not an ‘abnormal’ president” by Michael Goodwin dated September 16, 2017 published by New York Post at http://nypost.com/2017/09/16/donald-trump-shows-he-is-not-an-abnormal-president/ )


In recent years American liberalism has slipped into a kind of moral panic about racial, gender and sexual identity that has distorted liberalism’s message and prevented it from becoming a unifying force capable of governing.  They do not know the face that identity politics presents to Americans outside the progressive bubble.  Minority identity politics is a defensive response to white identity politics that is used for achieving a measure of justice and fairness in society.  They don’t know or care the extent to which a hostile, illiberal brand of identity politics has seeped into every nook and cranny of American culture.  Conservatives experience identity politics at their jobs, hear their children and grandchildren describe experiencing it at school, and find it so omnipresent on television and online that they can’t seem to find any space where someone isn’t mocking their values or accusing them of being complicit in historical atrocities. At colleges, immersion in identity politics begins on Day One, when countless students start their orientation-mandated “privilege walks” designed to teach white kids who don’t have a racist bone in their body that there is something inherently wrong with them.  People are treated as members of groups, not individuals, which leads to the absurd spectacle of poor kids’ being mocked as “privileged” by the wealthy, powerful children of doctors and lawyers.  For every embattled student group we hear about, there are dozens more that suffer in obscurity.  Would you know from watching Fox that hundreds of Christian student groups have been forced to fight for their campus lives simply because Christian organizations want Christian leadership?  For every incident like the one that derailed Charles Murray’s speech at Middlebury, there are countless unreported shout-downs, cancellations, and acts of petty censorship at universities across the U.S.  Then students graduate and work for companies that have jumped with both feet into the sexual revolution to such an extent that Christian Americans are terrified of openly discussing their views of religion and morality at work.  Diversity trainers and human-resources departments set the rules, and the rules increasingly say that dissent from identity-politics orthodoxy represents “discriminatory harassment.”   Conservative Americans aren’t making up the fact that the race-obsessed Left imposes the worst sorts of double standards.  It speaks with true venom about whiteness,” “white privilege,” and white people.  Conservative Americans aren’t making up street violence in St. Louis, Atlanta, Baltimore, Charlottesville, Portland, Minneapolis, Berkeley, and many other cities across the United States. Nor are they making up the fact that identity-politics activists will excuse that violence or dismiss it by calling protests “mostly peaceful” while the bricks are still flying or the fires are still blazing.  Far-left progressives are constantly making sweeping, stereotypical, and hateful arguments about those outside their own tribe.  They’ll speak with venom about white people.  They’ll act as if “whiteness” represents a malicious, cultural monolith.  They’ll behave as if orthodox Christians are bigots who adopted their theology to justify their hatred.  Racism still exists in American life and inflicts real harm on American citizens, but treating people who are not racists and not bigots as if they’re evil, and then sometimes even attempting to suppress their liberties, is often the very essence of modern identity politics, and it is exactly as divisive and destructive.  Progressives cannot make false accusations of hate and expect support, and then seek to restrict another person’s most fundamental rights to speak or practice their religion and expect compliance, yet that is how conservatives experience identity politics.

(“Conservative Americans Experience Progressive Identity Politics as Hatred” by David French dated September 20, 2017 published by National Review Online at http://www.nationalreview.com/article/451551/identity-politics-democrats-preach-hate-toward-conservatives )


Massive premium rate increases have become an ugly trend under the Affordable Care Act (ACA); one that shows no signs of relenting.  Across the country, insurers have requested hefty rate hikes for individual plans in 2018.  In Maryland, insurers are seeking an average rate increase of 48%.  In Nevada, that number is 45%.  Meanwhile, in Wyoming and Tennessee, the numbers are 48% and 32% respectively.  These proposals could change, but with very little competition in ObamaCare's marketplaces, insurers will have little incentive to lower their prices.  The pain of these steep price increases will be felt the hardest by the roughly 9 million Americans who don't receive subsidies to help pay their premiums, and thus will be forced to bear the full cost of these rate increases.  Lest anyone try to claim that this year's rate hikes are merely a one-time fluke, remember that individual market premium rates surged an average of 25% last year under the previous administration.  Last year, Americans were told that insurers had priced their plans too low and thus, needed to drastically raise them.  Now, that blame is falling on the Trump administration over discussions they may end billions in illegal payments to insurers.  Some in Congress believe the solution is to simply throw more taxpayer money at insurers, but history shows this isn't the answer.  In fact, last year Washington doled out billions of dollars in such handouts, including $12 billion in risk adjustment and reinsurance payments, $1 billion in marketplace grants to states, $32 billion in premium tax credit payments, and $7 billion illegally in Cost-Sharing Reduction payments that Congress never appropriated.  Despite the largesse, prices soared and choices vanished.  Now, the question isn't whether prices will soar again next year, it's whether even more taxpayer money will be wasted in the process.  Instead of continuing the hopeless, never-ending quest to rescue ObamaCare on the backs of hardworking taxpayers, Congress must get serious about truly delivering relief to Americans suffering from the law.  Repealing ObamaCare earlier this year would have begun that process, but Congress' initial failure doesn't mean lawmakers, many of whom promised for years to repeal the law, should simply give up.  Repeal efforts should continue, and while they do, there are a number of smart solutions available that would help create more affordable access to quality care.  First, lawmakers can give patients more control of their health care dollars by expanding pretax Health Savings Accounts (HSAs).  Increasing HSA contribution caps and allowing patients to use this money to pay for insurance premiums, direct primary care physician membership fees, and over-the-counter medicines will empower individuals and families over special interests who want to protect the status quo.  Next, Congress can increase access to health care by raising or lifting the current limits on the number of annual medical residencies.  Not only does the U.S. suffer from a lack of doctors, but the ACA has motivated insurers to offer policies that cover fewer of them.  Congress can help patients, especially those in rural areas, gain access to the care and treatment they need by increasing or lifting these limits.  In addition, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price can chip in help through a series of administrative actions.  A good place to start would be undoing an Obama-era regulation that prevents patients from carrying short-term insurance plans.  These are affordable and flexible options that could really benefit Americans who live in one of the nearly 1,500 counties projected to have only have one ObamaCare insurer next year.  The bottom line is this: The ACA has been propped up with billions in taxpayer dollars for several years, but prices continue to rise with no end in sight.  Short of real reforms that provide relief from the failing law, Congress should refuse to continue squeezing more out of the American people to subsidize its collapse.  Ending the days of business as usual — now that's a trend worth starting. 

(“Americans Need Relief – Not Another Costly ObamaCare Rescue” by Nathan Nascimento dated September 15, 2017 published by Investor’s Business Daily at http://www.investors.com/politics/commentary/americans-need-relief-not-another-costly-obamacare-rescue/ )


In the name of social justice and diversity, students at elite colleges are casting aside the very works that probe those topics so deeply.  The central authors of the Western tradition, from Plato and Aristotle to Mill and Orwell, are no longer part of the required curriculum in the social sciences and the humanities.  Their absence carries a high price.  It means liberal-arts students are no longer liberally educated.  They are not historically literate or well-versed in such uniquely Western achievements as free speech, government by consent, rule of law, secure property rights, and religious toleration.  They won’t understand the rarity or fragility of those achievements, the struggles needed to secure them, or the ways they protect ordinary citizens from tyranny.  One cost of this ignorance is now painfully obvious: Free speech is imperiled on campus, burned at the stake of other values deemed more important: “social justice,” “inequality,” and “oppression.”  To understand the other losses inflicted by this cultural shift, it helps to remember a once-popular but now forgotten name from mid-century America: Clifton Fadiman.  Fadiman served as a friendly, knowledgeable guide to the world of liberal education, a maître d'hôtel for that rich banquet.  His most lasting achievement was "The Lifetime Reading Plan," a book meant for Americans who wanted to educate themselves and so enrich their lives.  That guide, now in its 4th edition, is still immensely valuable.  With a little guidance, you can do a lot to educate yourself, and you can do it at any age, and Fadiman’s Lifetime Reading Plan does that.  Any serious plunge into the greatest works of Western literature must begin with Homer, Virgil, Chaucer, Dante, Rabelais, Shakespeare, Cervantes, Austen, Dickens, and Melville.  Top colleges would rather talk gender and inequality.  Gender and inequality are vital topics, but to study them seriously requires a background in history, philosophy, sociology, politics, and economics.  How would they even know if they haven’t read foundational thinkers such as Locke, Voltaire, Tocqueville, and Mill, or Lincoln’s second inaugural address?  If America’s universities won’t do that, they have abrogated their core missions, just as they are failing in two others: protecting open discourse and encouraging diverse viewpoints. 

(“Do-It-Yourself Liberal Education” by Charles Lipson dated September 20, 2017 published by Real Clear Politics at https://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2017/09/20/a_do-it-yourself_liberal_education_135045.html )


President Donald Trump went to the United Nations as the “representative of the American people,” not as the “global citizen” that Barack Obama had portrayed himself to be.  He apologized for its alleged past misdeeds, not to praise his home country.  President Trump could not have presented a starker contrast.  He praised the U.S. Constitution, called out the miserable failures of socialism and confronted the totalitarian enemies of the United States, singling out radical Islamic terrorists and the rogue authoritarian regimes of North Korea, Iran and socialist Venezuela with a moral clarity reminiscent of former President Ronald Reagan.  During his inaugural visit to UN headquarters in New York for the annual convocation of world leaders, Trump delivered two speeches and held a series of high level bilateral meetings.  His first speech on UN reform hosted by the United States, focused on the need for significant management reform at the UN.  Trump criticized the UN for its bloated bureaucracy and mismanagement, while not producing results in line with the sharp increase in the UN budget, which is disproportionately funded by the United States.  However, he included in his remarks some praise for the UN’s disaster relief efforts, its feeding of the hungry and UN Secretary General António Guterres’ own UN reform initiatives.  Trump’s second speech, delivered on the opening day of the General Assembly’s world leaders’ debate, was much tougher in tone.  It focused on his notion of “principled realism” in international relations, balancing effective multilateralism to combat problems of global concern with the primacy of national sovereignty.  The U.S. president explained his “American First” principles in some detail and put the rogue nations of North Korea, Iran and Venezuela on notice that their misdeeds would have serious consequences.  A globalist appeaser is clearly no longer in the White House.  "Our government's first duty is to its people, to our citizens -- to serve their needs, to ensure their safety, to preserve their rights, and to defend their values. I will always put America first, just like you, as the leaders of your countries will always, and should, always put your countries first," the president declared.  The success of the UN depends on the “independent strength” of its member states, built on each nation’s respect for the interests of its own people and for the rights of every other sovereign nation.  America would do its fair share, continuing to “lead the world in humanitarian assistance,” the president assured the assembled dignitaries, and to shoulder the burden to protect freedom and security around the world without territorial ambitions. However, under his watch, President Trump would no longer allow the United States to be taken advantage of or enter into “a one-sided deal where the United States gets nothing in return.”  Obama certainly won the popularity contest when he strutted onto the world stage year after year during his presidency to deliver his encomiums to global governance and to place the United States at the same level as all the other 192 member states of the United Nations, no matter how authoritarian they were or how little they contributed to the budget of the UN.  President Trump came across during his General Assembly speech as the serious teacher, seeking to bring some sense and discipline to what he once referred to as “just a club for people to get together, talk and have a good time."  Trump reminded his audience of America’s unparalleled economic and military strength, rather than apologize for it as Obama so often did in front of foreign audiences.  Of particular note, Obama used his global platform at the UN General Assembly in 2012 to shamelessly declare that “the future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam."  Obama had more concern for the Islamists offended by an obscure anti-Muslim video than he did for the victims of terrorism.  He refused to acknowledge the ideology that inspires and sanctions Jihad.  President Trump, in contrast, used his global platform at the UN General Assembly to categorically declare that the United States “will stop radical Islamic terrorism because we cannot allow it to tear up our nation, and indeed to tear up the entire world.”  The world must rally against “Islamist extremism,” he said, not wish it away or make excuses for it.  Obama praised his nuclear deal with Iran at the UN and anywhere else he thought would provide a sympathetic venue, and made sure it was endorsed in a UN Security Council resolution.  President Trump called Obama’s Iran nuclear deal an “embarrassment” and "one of the worst and one-sided transactions the U.S. has ever entered into," warning the General Assembly that "you haven't heard the last on it, believe me."  He said the U.S. “cannot abide by an agreement if it provides cover for the eventual construction of a nuclear program.”  Trump called Iran a “rogue state” whose chief export is violence, and stated that the United States sided with the Iranian people, not their dictatorial regime.  Trump warned North Korea, led by “Rocket Man” Kim Jong-un, in no uncertain terms, that it risked total destruction if it proceeded with its “suicide mission.”  Obama boasted of his diplomatic rapprochement with Cuba and shook hands with Venezuela’s late socialist dictator, Hugo Chavez.  Trump criticized the “corruption and destabilizing regime” in Cuba and stated that his administration would not lift U.S. sanctions until the Cuban regime significantly changed its ways.  As for the Venezuelan regime, the U.S. president noted the suffering of the Venezuelan people at the hands of a socialist dictatorship that “destroyed a prosperous nation by imposing a failed ideology that has produced poverty and misery everywhere it has been tried.”  America's Commander-in-Chief criticized unaccountable globalist institutions that failed to keep faith with the people they were supposed to serve.  He spoke eloquently about the need for “proud independent nations” to “embrace their duties, seek friendship, respect others and make common cause in the greatest shared interest of all, a future of peace for the people of this wonderful earth."  He called for global resolve “to fight together, sacrifice together, and stand together for peace, for freedom, for justice, for family, for humanity, and for the almighty God who made us all.”  The last US. President who spoke with such moral clarity on the world stage was Ronald Reagan.  Just as Reagan spoke about the evils of communism, Trump used Venezuela and Cuba as living proof that the discredited ideologies of socialism and communism “only contribute to the continued suffering of the people who live under these cruel systems.”  For America’s sake and the world’s sake, President Trump would do well to continue channeling Ronald Reagan and to rectify the abysmal failures of the Obama foreign policy, which shamefully betrayed millions of persecuted people worldwide, crippled America's strength and enabled its deadliest enemies. 

(“Trump’s Stand at the UN for America” by Joseph Klein dated September 20, 2017 published by Front Page Magazine at http://www.frontpagemag.com/fpm/267926/trumps-stand-un-america-joseph-klein )


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:

·  Preface at http://www.returntocommonsensesite.com/welcome/preface.php

·  Budget at http://www.returntocommonsensesite.com/dp/budget.php


David Coughlin

Hawthorne, NY