Views on the News
Views on the News*
December 17, 2016
What is common sense conservatism? As articulated by Donald Trump, first and foremost, it is America controlling its borders. Trump says we are not a country if we don't control our borders – no borders, no country. That's plain common sense. At the very least, the Trump phenomenon means that for many Americans, the tsunami of immigrants, illegal and legal, washing over our country threatens to destroy America. Those Trump voters understand that the Democrats have been pushing legal and illegal immigration hard, evidently with the intent of replacing the American people with a population more to their liking. Common sense conservatism, as articulated by Donald Trump, means putting America and Americans first. It means policies that protect the jobs of American workers, American soldiers not being made to risk death and dismemberment in doomed attempts to bestow political blessings on the people of the Middle East, and an end to the bad deals from international trade and climate deals that penalize American workers to Obama swapping a deserter for five high-ranking leaders of the Islamist war on America and propping up the mullahs in Iran with billions in cash and relief. Common sense conservatism also means restoring the sovereignty of the American people. When that portion of the international elite that occupies the federal government tells American citizens they must allow males who consider themselves females to use the bathrooms and showers set aside for females, you can anticipate a backlash from the voters. The political class and the ruling elite have not just abandoned common sense; they are actually making war on common sense. Politicians can get away with violating common sense in America only so long, because as Trump's election shows, we are still the common sense nation. Tom Paine's Common Sense did more than ignite the Revolution; it provided the model for how America was going to govern itself. He discussed the great issue of the day like a neighbor talking to his neighbor over the fence. According to the Founders' vision, the common sense of the American citizen replaced the divine right of kings. America the common sense nation lives on, though our ruling class has lost contact with that America. Government by, for, and of the people had become government by, for, and of the bipartisan elite, and then, along came Donald Trump.
(“Donald Trump’s common sense conservatism” by Robert Curry dated December 11, 2016 published by American Thinker at http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2016/12/donald_trumps_common_sense_conservatism.html )
Whether it be convincing Carrier to keep its plant in Indiana or signaling a new day in Sino-American relations by talking to Taiwan’s president, the Trump era has already begun. President Obama is not so much yesterday’s man as he is the President eagerly, and easily, forgotten. Obama was elected in 2008 for his biography more than for his accomplishments, of which there were precious few: an elite education, some “community organizing” (whatever that is), a stint in the state legislature, and a cup of coffee in the U.S. Senate. He sold the American people on a package of “hope and change” and the people bought it. Twice. The election this year of Donald Trump is more than just buyer’s remorse, it’s a repudiation of Obama’s promise to “fundamentally transform the United States of America.” In office, his agenda was stymied by a constitutional order designed to impede radical change. The framers of the Constitution understood that time allows passions to recede so that cooler, and, one hopes, wiser, heads prevail. Yet Obama, the only “constitutional law professor” ever elected President was repeatedly frustrated and apparently bewildered by the Constitution’s checks and balances. When the system is running right, change comes slowly and only by building a consensus among the American people. Education and persuasion are fundamental to the art of politics. This didn’t suit Obama or the Democrats, all supporters of the progressive belief in rule by experts through the administrative state and disdainful of the republican idea that government must be accountable to the people. Progressives see the people as ignorant, backwards, uneducated, and an impediment to their Utopian dreams. When your ideology tells you that history is advancing inexorably toward a better future you become understandably impatient with those who don’t want to hurry forward. Obama’s signature, and only meaningful, legislative accomplishment is the government takeover of healthcare accomplished under the Affordable Care Act, known colloquially as ObamaCare. Congress passed the bill without a single Republican vote through a constitutionally suspect use of a budget reconciliation procedure. ObamaCare will very likely be gone in the opening days of the Trump Administration. Not only is ObamaCare unpopular with the American people, it was based upon a series of shady deals, phony promises, and outright lies: “If you like your doctor you can keep your doctor”; “ObamaCare will reduce the deficit”; “there will be no rationing”; the Cornhusker Kickback; ObamaCare won’t violate the Hyde Amendment and pay for abortion or abortifacient drugs. Obama and the Democrat Party leadership said and did everything necessary to muscle the bill through Congress, everything other than convincing Americans that the law was necessary or wise. Early next year, with an act of Congress likely to have support from at least some Democrats, ObamaCare will be repealed and will vanish like a mere breath or a passing shadow. Since Barack Obama saw himself and his presidency as post-Constitutional, he did not govern in co-equal partnership with Congress but chose instead to reign with pen and phone. For Obama, Congress, even when controlled by Democrats, was a nuisance and an impediment. He was always impatient with constitutional forms so he ignored them, relying instead upon executive orders, unconstitutional power grabs by the administrative state, and a pliable judiciary. Obama’s tenure, especially after the 2010 Tea Party election, has been characterized by high profile and highly questionable executive actions that run counter to the expressed will of the people through their representatives in Congress. Among these were the infamous Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (“DACA”) order that undermined existing immigration law and the unconstitutional Iran deal which Obama refused to submit to the Senate because it only had 34 votes not the two-thirds required for a treaty. Not even all Senate Democrats supported the Iran deal so, without congressional approval Obama agreed to send $150 billion of taxpayer money to Iran, the world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism, and to accept their word that they won’t pursue a nuclear weapons program. Not only is this a blatantly unconstitutional power grab that undermines national security, it amounts to paying Iran to lie to us. Because Obama acted so often without Congress, at the stroke of the new President’s pen it can all be undone. This is the Achilles heel of the Left’s post-constitutional will to power politics: it only works when you’re winning. When an election goes against you everything you have accomplished by force of will can be overturned by your successor. If you don’t pass a law through Congress, your successor doesn’t need to go to Congress to reverse it. More important, the reason Obama didn’t go to Congress to enact his agenda is because the American people, while personally attached to him, did not support it. Republicans maintained control of both houses of Congress and expanded their advantage in the states, now controlling 33 governorships and 67 of 98 state legislative chambers, a level of dominance not seen in nearly a century for the GOP. The challenge for Republicans will be to govern effectively and meet the needs of the people who have placed so much trust in the party. Republicans have taken the time to educate and persuade the people upon whom they have built a surprisingly effective electoral coalition. What is more, grassroots organizations have been active at the state level on issues like abortion, criminal justice reform, and immigration. Trump will become President on January 20 and while the significance of that cannot be underestimated, it is more important to realize that he is the tip of the iceberg. The much larger mass of the Republican Party is below the surface, in Congress, in governors’ mansions and state legislatures, and in grassroots organizations throughout the country that have worked within the system to build consensus and pass laws. That’s the way the system is supposed to work. Republicans have done it the hard way, but it’s also the only way to build anything that lasts. The Left, in its hurry to realize the next new thing has no patience for that. Impatient as their historicist ideology makes them, they have built their house on sand. Most of what Obama accomplished was ephemeral and will be gone before winter turns to spring. The only things that will remain are an additional $10 trillion in debt, his anti-constitutionalist judges, and a dog’s breakfast of foreign policy disasters that someone else will have to clean up. After undoing Obama’s executive actions, Trump will enact his agenda through Congress. That will make it be more durable—and more likely to transform America. Obama might be remembered, but his political legacy will fade like memories of a summer fling, and he will become the President that never was.
(“The President Who Never Was” by Chris Buskirk dated December 10, 2016 published by American Greatness at http://amgreatness.com/2016/12/10/the-president-who-never-was/ )
Liberals believe social media contributed to Hillary’s loss in 2016; so there’s a big push to shut down conservative voices on Twitter and Facebook. The excuse they’re using to do that is “fake news.” There are straight up fake news websites that specialize in turning out untrue stories for fun and profit. For example, here are some fake news websites run by a liberal who wants to embarrass conservatives. It gets much more complicated from there because there are a number of websites that scramble for breaking news, do good reporting, but also churn out crazy stories in the, “How Hillary Is Teaming Up With George Soros To Give Trump Cancer” vein on a semi-regular basis. Then there are other websites that are okay with running sketchy stories if they believe they’ll get traffic out of it. There are so many small examples that could be listed that they could fill a book, but why not go big?
· Newsweek’s Flushing The Koran Story: Newsweek reported that interrogators had desecrated a Koran at Guantanamo Bay, which did more damage to the U.S. than the Abu Ghraib prison scandals. Since the story was published, there has been outrage and mayhem in much of the Muslim world. Anti-American demonstrations have taken place from North Africa to Indonesia. In the face of Pentagon denials, Newsweek backtracked. Newsweek seemed to have had doubts about the report from the beginning, since it ran it not as a straight news story but as a squiblet in the “Periscope” section. They admitted that its sourcing was suspect and stated, “We regret that we got any part of our story wrong and extend our sympathies to victims of the violence and to the U.S. soldiers caught in its midst.” Much of the Muslim world regarded it merely as a cover-up and feel reconfirmed in the view that America is at war with Islam.
· Rathergate: CBS had an unreliable, mentally unstable man with a grudge against George Bush giving them copies of documents that he claimed were received from a person no one has been able to prove exists. The documents, which were supposed to have been created on a typewriter in the early seventies, were written in the exact same font as Microsoft Word, which is on half the computers in America. In other words, Dan Rather and CBS wanted to help John Kerry win the election so badly that they got scammed by a tall tale that wouldn’t have fooled the average pimply faced high school journalist...”
· NBC And CNN Lying About The George Zimmerman Tape: During a Today Show segment NBC edited the 911 phone call of George Zimmerman, the man who shot and killed Trayvon Martin. The edited version made him sound like a racial profiler. On Anderson Cooper 360, a CNN audio expert enhanced Zimmerman's 9-1-1 call and suggested he had used a racial slur. Two weeks later, CNN re-assessed the tape with another CNN expert, and now felt it suggests George Zimmerman was just chilly, muttering the words ‘f--ing cold’ under his breath. With this kind of analysis, if Zimmerman were charged, it would be tough to talk a jury into reading Zimmerman’s mind. CNN can’t seem to do it.”
· NBC’s Phony Exploding GM Truck: Dateline's report 14 minutes of balanced debate, capped by 57 seconds of crash footage that explosively showed how the gas tanks of certain old GM trucks could catch fire in a sideways collision. Following a tip, GM hired detectives, searched 22 junkyards for 18 hours, and found evidence to debunk almost every aspect of the crash sequence. GM showed that the conflagration was rigged, its causes misattributed, its severity overstated and other facts distorted. Two crucial errors: NBC said the truck's gas tank had ruptured, yet an X ray showed it hadn't; NBC consultants set off explosive miniature rockets beneath the truck split seconds before the crash -- yet no one told the viewers.
· The Jayson Blair Scandal At The New York Times: The New York Times is to be commended for ferreting out Jayson Blair, the reporter recently discovered making up facts, plagiarizing other news organizations and lying about nonexistent trips and interviews. Blair's record of inaccuracies, lies and distortions made him a candidate for either immediate dismissal or his own regular column on the op-ed page. Ignoring the warnings of a few intrepid whistleblowers, top management kept assigning Blair to bigger stories in new departments without alerting the editors to Blair's history because it would ‘stigmatize’ him.”
· The Rolling Stone Rape Story: Rolling Stone crossed the line in its now-retracted story about sexual assault on the campus of the University of Virginia. A jury found the magazine had committed defamation against a former UVA associate dean, who had been portrayed negatively in the article ‘A Rape on Campus.’ The jury also said the author committed actual malice, an important decision that means the author either reported something knowing it was false or recklessly disregarded whether something was true or false.
· Hands Up, Don’t Shoot: Milwaukee Sheriff David Clarke criticized liberal hysterics about fake news, pointing out that liberal journalists ought to take a good look in the mirror over their reporting on the 2014 death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri . ‘Fake news’ was born in August 2014 in Ferguson MO. when MSNBC, the New York Times and the Washington Post ‘all propagated the Hands up, Don’t shoot lie.' Liberal journalists and activists spread far and wide the myth that Michael Brown had his hands up before being gunned down by police officer Darren Wilson. That claim was the origin of the Black Lives Matter movement and eventually led to violent rioting in Ferguson. The facts of the case showed the ‘Hands up don’t shoot’ claim to be false and Wilson justified shooting Brown."
Of course, liberals being liberals, they lump pretty much every conservative website that gives them a case of the “sads” into the “fake news” category. What they really want is to use “fake news” as an excuse to encourage social media platforms to censor conservatives. For every piece of “false news” there are probably five pieces of news put out by left-wing sources that either don’t feel compelled to tell the truth about conservatives, have become largely indistinguishable from Democrat Party press releases or that have fallen so in love with a narrative that they don’t care whether a story is true or not as long as it fits.
(“The 7 Worst Examples of Fake News From the Mainstream Media” by John Hawkins dated December 10, 2016 published by Town Hall at http://townhall.com/columnists/johnhawkins/2016/12/10/the-7-worst-examples-of-fake-news-from-the-mainstream-media-n2257896 )
Donald Trump didn’t just beat Hillary Clinton, he also defeated the left-wing news media by exposing its prejudices and taking his case directly to the American people. He can continue this success by modernizing the flow of news and disintermediating the elitist Beltway press. To say that the media is biased and deceitful is to say that the sun rises in the east, a truism that is apparent to the vast majority of Americans, of whom only 32% have "a great deal" or even just "a fair amount" of trust in the media according to Gallup. That small amount of trust has probably declined since the poll was taken in September. Subsequently, Wikileaks revealed that a CNN employee tipped off the Clinton campaign about multiple Presidential debate questions. An ABC News moderator jumped into a debate on behalf of Clinton. The Atlantic ran a story asking, "Why is Hillary Clinton So Widely Loved?" CNN defended media bias outright, approvingly quoting a delusional but revealing former NPR boss who said, “Journalists have been unburdened from their adherence to blanket neutrality that we lived with before Trump came along." Since the election, the media has had much to say about “fake news,” and remarkably isn’t referring to their own anti-Trump product. The Washington Post’s big story about supposed Russian propaganda and fake news has turned out to be fake news itself. Trump has prevailed despite this bias, and the left-wing media is out for blood. The traditional tools a White House and its government agencies use to disseminate information heavily favor incumbent media outlets like these. Furthermore, despite social media and technology changing the media, the basic news conference format the executive branch uses to get information to the public is stuck in the era when TV news first matured, basically the early 1960s. The Trump administration should use technology to reach the public with fewer or no middlemen. There is no reason to advantage an incumbent press corps that hates the incoming President and has no intention of giving him a fair shot. The White House should use technology like Google Hangouts to hold video press conferences where local correspondents from around the country and independent media are on an equal footing with the Beltway reporters. The President and senior officials could address issues of importance to the public in video distributed by Facebook Live and YouTube. The White House could gradually replace its physical briefing room with a virtual one, enabling more diversity in media by lowering the barriers to entry of covering the administration. The 49 press poobahs could still be invited back when it’s deemed useful, but they would no longer have the competitive advantage of the White House as a backdrop for their daily propaganda. Spokesmen could take questions from normal Americans in addition to journalists. President Trump should also take pains not to disengage from the public with which he connected so successfully with a combination of candor and technology. He and his cabinet should take government on the road outside of Washington conversing with average Americans in flyover country, especially states like Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin where the elitist media ignored or scorned the concerns of voters. Conduct press conferences with local media and do town hall meetings and debates where high school students ask questions, they’re far more likely to reflect parents’ real concerns than the elite progressive media. It’s time for radical change. Journalism has collapsed to such a degree that even some prominent liberals have become embarrassed. Rather than feed this beast, the Trump White House and its agencies should work toward a more democratic media that doesn’t help progressive elitists mislead voters, which is crucial for the success of the Trump presidency and the health of our nation.
(“Trump Should Skip Beltway Media” by Newt Gingrich and Christian Whiton dated December 13, 2016 published by The National Interest at http://nationalinterest.org/feature/trump-should-skip-beltway-media-18728 )
On Election Day, the American people made a resounding call to “drain the swamp” that is modern Washington, yet on Capitol Hill, we seem mired in the same cycle of complacency: The game hasn’t changed, and the players remain the same. Thankfully, there’s a solution available that, while stymied by the permanent political class, enjoys broad public support: congressional term limits. During the presidential campaign, Donald Trump called for enacting term limits, and House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) has endorsed the idea. As soon as the 115th Congress convenes, both of us will move to restore accountability among the entrenched Washington establishment by introducing a constitutional amendment to limit the number of terms that a member of Congress can serve to three in the House and two in the Senate. Passing term limits will demonstrate that Congress has actually heard the voice of the people. In an age in which partisan divisions seem intractable, it is remarkable that public support for congressional term limits is strong regardless of political affiliation. Huge majorities of rank-and-file Republicans, Democrats and independents favor enacting this reform. According to a Rasmussen survey conducted in October, 74% of likely voters support establishing term limits for all members of Congress. This is because the concept of a citizen legislature is integral to the model of our democratic republic. Our Founding Fathers feared the creation of a permanent political class that existed parallel to, rather than enmeshed within, American society. As Benjamin Franklin said, “In free governments, the rulers are the servants, and the people their superiors. . . . For the former therefore to return among the latter was not to degrade but to promote them.” We believe that the rise of political careerism in modern Washington is a drastic departure from what the founders intended of our federal governing bodies. To effectively “drain the swamp,” we believe it is past time to enact term limits for Congress. The American people have lost confidence in Washington. Enmeshed in backroom deals and broken promises, our capital has become a political playground for the powerful and well-connected, for members of the permanent political class looking to accumulate more and more power at the expense of taxpayers. The Washington Cartel is hard at work picking winners and losers, with hard-working Americans typically winding up as the losers. Term limits will change the calculus of those who serve in Congress. Without term limits, the incentive for a typical member is to stay as long as possible to accumulate seniority on the way to a leadership post or committee chair. Going along to get along is a much surer path for career advancement than is challenging the way Washington does business. With term limits, we will have more frequent changes in leadership and within congressional committees, giving reformers a better chance at overcoming the Beltway inertia that resists attempts to reduce the power of Washington. The American people have offered Republicans an opportunity to enact meaningful change. They have rejected the status quo and put the Washington elites on notice that they will no longer accept the old way of doing business. Favors for the political elite have gone on for far too long. Congressional term limits are critical to stopping the ongoing abuse by D.C. insiders. The time is now for Congress, with the overwhelming support of the American people, to pass a constitutional amendment establishing term limits and send it to the states for speedy ratification. With control of a decisive majority of the states, the executive branch, the House of Representatives and the Senate, the Republican Party has the responsibility to respond to the voters’ call to action, so we must, and we can, deliver.
(“If Republicans really want to drain the swamp, here’s how to do it” by Ted Cruz and Ron DeSantis dated December 9, 2016 published by The Washington Post at https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/if-republicans-really-want-to-drain-the-swamp-heres-how-to-do-it/ )
Democrats have rediscovered the virtues of federalism, a system of government in which substantial power is left with sovereign states, and the federal government has limited authority to command Americans and their state governments. This is an opportunity that may not come again, which Republicans ought to seize with both hands. True federalism is the cure to every problem of our nation, because the marketplace of governments rewards the best combinations of liberty and efficiency in the regulation of human affairs. Federalism gives each state a vested interest in protecting the rights of other states, much in the same way as the First Amendment gives all citizens a right in protecting the freedom of speech of others. Republicans in Washington have in their power two related major reforms that would devolve much power back to states, and these reforms require nothing more than a change in federal law. First, shift from federal bureaucracies to state officials the duty and the right to enforce federal laws. This would allow the practical abolition of many federal agencies and departments. Keep federal employees only to enforce laws connected to those few enumerated powers in Article I like the postal service or national defense. Second, strip all federal courts of subject matter jurisdiction regarding all federal questions and place original jurisdiction over federal questions where it was for the first century of our republic: solely with state courts. The Supreme Court would retain appellate jurisdiction on cases involving federal questions coming out of state courts, but the other federal courts would deal only with diversity of citizenship cases, as the Founding Fathers envisioned. Congress could refrain from forcing these devolutions of power to states by allowing individual state legislatures to opt out. As an incentive not to opt out, Congress could bestow on each state that assumes the administrative and judicial duties a federal grant equal to what Washington had been paying for those activities in the state. This amount could gradually decrease over a period of years, so after ten years, the federal government would be sending to states each year only 25% of what had been the original award, but that would have allowed states a decade to find better and cheaper ways of administering and adjudicating federal laws. The real change would be the savings of federal administrative costs, although this would be a real and not imaginary savings. The real change would be the transfer of that practical power that comes from controlling day-to-day administration from Washington to the state capitol. The President would still retain the power to see that the laws be faithfully enforced, but today, he has little practical authority, because the President cannot hire or fire the vast majority of federal employees. He would retain the power he has today: the president could hire and fire the highest-level officers, and he could issue instructive orders about how laws are to be enforced. State court systems could streamline the adjudication of federal questions so that these cases, which sometimes take decades and leave so much hanging in the air during the years of litigation, could be completely resolved in a year or less. Almost certainly every single state, including those run completely by Democrats, would opt in for both the money and the power, and once that happened, the change in the structure of government would be permanent and revolutionary.
(“How to Help Democrats Love Federalism” by Bruce Walker dated December 11, 2016 published by American Thinker at http://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2016/12/how_to_help_the_democrats_love_federalism.html )
The election of Donald Trump to the presidency has shed a spotlight on our divisiveness. We are in the throes of a nonviolent civil war where members of families no longer speak to each other and long held friendships have been discarded. Although the Left would like to point the finger at Trump as the reason for the division, it actually began decades earlier with the takeover of the Democrat Party by socialists, communists, and multiculturalists. Their emphasis on what divides us instead of what unites us took root and blossomed at our universities, public school systems, unions, the media, and our universities. The election of Trump is a culmination bred from years of quiet resentment and silent frustration experienced by mainstream Middle America. In Trump, they saw a man who was willing to fight for their representation. With no identity politics to cling to and no advocacy groups to lobby for them, white working/middle class stiffs who make up the masses, needed a leader who would take on the system that no longer included them. As the Left and their Democrat cohorts made race, gender, illegals, Hispanics, Muslims, and the Gay lobby the cornerstone of their political ideology and policy, mainstream white Christian working men and women began to question who was looking out for them and where was their voice in policy making decisions affecting their governance. The emphasis on class warfare, open borders, secularism, and multiculturalism at the expense of Americanism by not only the Democrat Party, but by their cohorts in the media and universities has led to a very divided America with each having a separate vision for the United States. The Left as represented by the Democrat Party seeks an open-border stateless America where anyone who sets foot on our soil is free to practice their branch of identity within our borders and with no allegiance to American sovereignty. They seek an America where equality reigns supreme and a statism to ensure it. They view socialism as noble and free market capitalism as potentially damaging their quest for equality. While the French were motivated by egalitarianism, our founding fathers had a different vision for America. They sought an America defined by three principles: Liberty, Faith, and E Pluribus Unum, the motto that shaped our republic and is responsible for its greatness. There are still Americans who cling to these principles and they are the people who reside in the vast territory that elitists on both coasts view as “flyover country.” It is they who cast their votes for Donald Trump. These free market capitalist Americans have a radically different vision for America than those of Socialist Egalitarian Democrats. They seek an America where everyone has equal opportunities, but not necessarily equal outcomes. They seek an America where faith in God is restored in our schools and public sphere, and an America governed by our Constitution and not the rule of man. They seek an America where our sovereignty is restored and respected while the opportunity to immigrate is granted only to those who share our values and respect our customs. On the other hand, the Left seeks a borderless America without boundaries. Social taboos that were once considered the norm and that held personal conduct in check are relegated as ancient and irrelevant by elitists in the media and in our universities. Be it the murder of the unborn, out-of-wedlock pregnancy, recreational drugs, alternative sexual lifestyles, illicit language, all is desired and permissible for the Left. They are defined by their feelings while conservatives on the right are defined by reason. Because they are guided by their feelings, they view conservatives as mean-spirited and lacking compassion for the common man while conservatives correctly view the Left as foolish, irrational and immature. It is difficult to fathom that a country so divided can unite for the common good when what is considered "good" is radically different for both camps. We have become a Disunited States and no amount of cajoling can unite us. It is time to admit that the differences are perhaps greater than the commonalities. Today, in these Disunited States, many view the enemy as not only from without, but from within.
(“The Disunited States Of America” by Shari Goodman dated December 13, 2016 published by American Thinker at http://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2016/12/the_disunited_states_of_america.html )
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:
· Elections at http://www.returntocommonsensesite.com/dp/elections.php