Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Bushes Polarize Like Progressives

Given the unanticipated election of Donald Trump, it's difficult to determine which establishment faction is more perturbed, liberals or old guard Republicans. Despite clear and unambiguous Clintonian corruption, neither “side” seems capable of respecting the democratic process when one of their own is not in the winner's circle. Thus, to them, the people's will—and, by extension, the fate of the nation be damned!

The childish cattiness that has resulted is expected of Democrats. They're myopically focused on reelection, but little else. What political party wouldn't be furious over losing over 1,000 officeholders during the Obama era—including, stingingly, the presidency? Yet, what's unseemly is for GOP stalwarts to publicly chastise their party's current standard bearer. For example, George W. Bush said, “This guy [Trump] doesn't know what it means to be president.” How's that not calling the kettle black? What happened to the generations-long tradition of remaining silent regarding one's presidential successors? Likewise, what of Ronald Reagan's Eleventh Commandment never to speak ill of another Republican? So much for honoring “the rules” of political discourse.

In truth, if Mr. Bush was going to “go there” he's waited eight years too long—and picked the wrong target. Recall, as a go-to excuse for Barack Obama's own multitude of failures, he conveniently “blamed Bush”. Specifically, Mr. Obama called his predecessor's deficit spending “unpatriotic” and “irresponsible”. For that demonization, the younger Bush has reason to be incensed. Not at Trump, but at the Democrat's hypocrisy for running through almost twice as much as he: 4.9 versus 9.3 trillion. If that's not egregious enough, what of Mr. Obama's cash payment of 1.7 billion to the pro-terrorist Iranian regime? Why was “W” as silent as a church mouse when actual presidential mismanagement—and malfeasance—transpired? (Is his anti-Trump fervor sour grapes for thwarting his brother Jeb's presidential prospects?)

As was widely reported, shockingly 41 voted for Hillary Clinton, and 43 voted for “none of the above.” How out of sync can two former Republican presidents be? In a recent speech “W” obtusely said, “At times, it can seem like the forces pulling us apart are stronger than the forces binding us together.” With their polarizing rhetoric on full display, isn't the Bush clan doing precisely that? Furthermore, doesn't their brand of divisiveness have the same negative impact as that of any progressive?

Naturally, the Bushes are free to squawk, and uselessly wring their hands. So, too, is the rest of the unsettled GOP establishment. However, piling on is a fool's errand that only makes matters worse. After all, thanks to the hard left MSM, untruths and distortions about Trump already run rampant. And unlike either Bush, at least President Trump has the courage to fight back against these false narratives rather than “dignifyingly” taking them. (Defeated Mitt Romney epitomized that failed philosophy.)

That both former presidents surnamed Bush would now speak out against a sitting president shows disdain for established decorum, and the voice of the electorate. With the nation coming apart at the seams during the disastrous Obama years, they collectively made not a peep. Apparently, for these beltway blue bloods, unjustly trashing Trump is a favorite pastime. That the Bushes partake shows their loyalties truly lie with the insulated political class (regardless of party affiliation) rather than with the voters. Moreover, as their sentiments are indistinguishable from that of Democrats, party labels are rendered meaningless. Herein, to any clear-thinking person is proof of the necessity of electing Donald Trump. The political pendulum has indeed swung far away from dynastic families—and, in 2016, an entitled insider. That maddening reality—as much as the brash billionaire himself—is deliciously driving the D.C. ruling elite daffy.

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Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Virtuous Hands with a Gun

What actually stops an evil psychopath is what we saw on Sunday—a good guy with a gun.” – Jordan Stein, spokesman, Gun Owners of America

Would the massacre have happened if the congregation of the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas had clung as tightly to guns as their Bibles? On Sunday, in a bizarre echo of Sayfullo Saipov's Halloween rampage in New York, suspect Devin Patrick Kelley, 26, brought death into a house of worship. Like some villain straight out of the slasher flick “Scream,” he was outfitted in black body armor and a skull mask. Within this sacred space, this Grim Reaper killed 26 innocents and wounded 20. Thirty miles east of San Antonio, in the worst mass shooting in Texas history: about 4% of the town's population (reported as 683) were slain.

Since time immemorial, that's what civilized people call acts of evil. Ultimately, Mr. Kelley's true problem was his homicidal impulses—expressed as externalized rage. Therefore, holding responsible the inanimate object, that was his tool of choice, is a simplistic response. So too is blaming the law that criminals habitually disregard as somehow “insufficient”. In that vein is the imperfect background check that inadvertently allowed Mr. Kelley access to the firearm he utilized (read: The Air Force failed to provide the FBI with the shooter's criminal history). And despite this unfortunate bureaucratic blunder, where does individual accountability factor into this latest bloodbath?

In reality, almost anything physically imposing can be used as a weapon. For example, just last week in New York a zealot screaming “Allahu akbar” misappropriated a rental truck killing 8 and injuring 12. Likewise, at a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, South Carolina on August 12, a third unhinged miscreant, James Alex Fields Jr., killed local protester Heather Heyer, 32, and injured 19 others with his Dodge Challenger. If guns are truly the systemic “problem” here—as gun control advocates repeatedly parrot—why does Chicago persist as an annual killing field despite the strictest gun laws in the nation? And why aren't these same critics ignoring the unfettered freedom to buy cars, and rent trucks? After all, don't all of the above potentially serve an evildoer's murderous design?

As the 18th century philosophical father of modern conservatism, Edmund Burke famously remarked, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” To that end, a good Samaritan interceded on Sunday in Sutherland Springs. That small town hero gaining national attention is Stephen Willeford, 55. Synchonistically, he's a former National Rifle Association instructor who confronted the attacker, wounding him twice (in his Velcro covered side despite protective plating). As light dispels darkness, Mr. Willeford repealed villainy despite his fear, and the inherent danger. As he told local affiliate 40/29 News in Fort Smith-Fayetteville:

“I think my God, my Lord protected me and gave me the skills to do what needed to be done, and I just wish I could have gotten there faster.”

In this regard, mere mortals beg to differ. This faithful defender got to the scene so quickly he arrived barefoot. Alerted by his daughter of the sounds of a firearm discharging, Mr. Willeford removed his own rifle from its safe, loaded a magazine, and ran across the street to the church. Standing behind a pickup truck for cover, he exchanged gunfire with the escaping interloper. He even shot through the open driver's side window of Mr. Kelley's fleeing Ford Expedition SUV. At a stop sign, Mr. Willeford then flagged down a 27-year-old motorist, Johnnie Langendorff, and a high-speed highway chase ensued. En route the younger man called 911. Eventually, their pickup caught up to the gunman's SUV. Apparently, the assailant started driving erratically. He pulled over to the side, seeming to slow down, then accelerated again until he hit a road sign, lost control and flipped his truck which landed in a ditch. Mr. Langendorff pulled over, and ducked down. Meanwhile, his heroic companion exited the vehicle, planting his rifle on top of the pickup's hood. Keeping a look out, Mr. Willeford yelled for his adversary to get out of his truck, but all remained still. When law enforcement arrived on the scene, they confirmed that Devin Kelley had committed suicide by shooting himself in the head.

Separated by time, specific circumstances and geography is the fact that guns in legal and responsible hands actually preserve life. This is also true of another hero, New York police officer Ryan Nash, who subdued Islamic terrorist Sayfullo Saipov; and Charlottesville police who subsequently apprehended suspect James Fields. Indeed, the loss of life is a terrible tragedy—particularly in situations initiated by the radicalized. For resolution, what demands society's focus is the discounted evildoer himself, not the distraction of his method. Philosophically to blame a criminal's firearm is equivalent to condemning the car or the truck rather than its driver. It's a false premise that misses the crux of the issue. Such intentional naivety actually endangers the public. These days, in diverse gathering places like First Baptist Church or Sandy Hook Elementary School, what's become more unsafe than a gun-free zone?

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Thursday, November 2, 2017

America's “Terrorist” Lottery

On Halloween, Manhattanites were “treated” to actual horror. Only blocks beyond ground zero and the shadow of the World Trade Center, the worst terrorist attack since 9/11 occurred. Weaponizing a Home Depot rental truck, a Muslim immigrant, suspect Sayfullo Saipov, 29, killed eight innocents and badly injured a dozen more. Also at the nexus of the accompanying political firestorm is Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY). He was instrumental in crafting the diversity visa program that enabled Mr. Saipov to arrive stateside legally in 2010. Furthermore, perhaps foreshadowing the future carnage, this native of Uzbekistan's first name has a close association with the meaning: “sword of Allah”.

In retrospect, is it any surprise that a bad U.S. immigration policy was grossly exploited by an adherent to radical Islam? Defining Sen. Schumer's involvement is Neil Munro of Breitbart:

“The diversity visa program was created in 1990 by then-Rep. Schumer in response to Irish lobbies in his New York district. Twenty-seven years later, it annually awards 50,000 visas by annual lottery to entrants from around the world, ensuring a cascade of subsequent chain-migrants.”

Like a philosophy straight out of “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” this is a randomly awarded golden ticket to a foreigner regardless of that person's background. It gifts the holder a green card, and permanent residency in the United States. Plus, lucky's nuclear family—and distant relatives can emigrate too! After all, such good fortune should not divide families. (Incidentally, this is the same narrative echoed by illegal migrants with U.S. anchor babies.) Ah, the destructive domino effect of lax previous administrations on full display!

In the 21st century, think of the Immigration Act of 1990—signed into law by George H.W. Bush—as America's version of Russian roulette. For, in practice, that's what this law has metastasized into. To his credit, even Mr. Schumer recognized this truth back in 2013. Then, he among a bipartisan Gang of Eight passed an immigration overhaul that would have ended the Diversity Immigrant Visa. Unfortunately, the move failed to advance in the House. Yet, even if the measure had reached President Obama's desk it seems a reasonable certainty that it would not have been signed. Given all of these facts, one is mystified why President Trump has antagonized Mr. Schumer in this instance. After all, wouldn't this latest attack on NYC further incline the minority leader to align himself with Trump's desire for a merit-based replacement?

At present, that's not a question that can be sufficiently answered. However, what can be addressed is how ill-conceived this random green card lottery system is. Per Pew Center, 19 million applicants from around the world have taken a spin on America's wheel of fortune for fiscal year 2017. (Moreover, in the last decade, an astonishing 156 million have similarly rolled the dice.) What's available yearly is 100,000 chances for the U.S. to extend the welcome mat to perfect strangers with no loyalty to, or cultural appreciation of, American values. Of the 50,000 selected, the vetting process is apparently as vigorous as getting hired to work at McDonald's. To qualify, the individual must have a high school diploma, and two years of work experience in an occupation that requires at least two additional years of training or experience. Fill out form I-485, the Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status; a brief interview; an official rubber stamp—and you're in like Flynn! For all the sense this makes, the government should have nicknamed this highly valuable commodity the slacker's visa. In that regard, the loved ones of the NYC victims undoubtedly have more colorful descriptors for this now detestable policy.

In any case, as the October 31st tragedy has clearly demonstrated, radicalized Islamic proponents are hidden among those admitted into the U.S. Since they are invisible, we must consider past experience as a guide. Therefore, a trend articulated by Alex Nowrasteh, of the Cato Institute, comes to bear. In “Terrorism and Immigration: A Risk Analysis,” he wrote:

“Foreign-born terrorists who entered the country, either as immigrants or tourists, were responsible for 88 percent (or 3,024) of the 3,432 murders caused by terrorists on U.S. soil from 1975 through the end of 2015.”

Likewise, one must consider the larger, visible group that contains them. Recall that Muslims comprise 1% of the total U.S. population (per the Pew Center's 2015 figures). Based upon a total population then of 322 million people, that's still 3.2 million people. Also consider that 1 million people have gained residency in the U.S. annually since 1990 via chain migration of extended relatives (see: NumbersUSA.com). So, what's likely to happen to the homeland's Muslim population in the future? This is Pew's prediction:

“Indeed, even before 2040, Muslims are projected to become the second-largest religious group in the U.S., after Christians. By 2050, the American Muslim population is projected to reach 8.1 million people, or 2.1% of the total population.”

Naturally, one does not intend to impugn an entire community for a few bad apples. Yet, a legitimate concern remains: a small number of the radicalized have caused mass-casualty truck attacks in London; Berlin; Barcelona, Spain, and Nice, France. Clearly, a first step is to finally abolish, and replace, the deeply flawed 1990 immigration law forthwith. The unacknowledged monkey wrench in this debacle is the wrongheaded application of “high-admission regions” and “low-admission regions”. If the invited do not provide, for example, a needed skill set what's the point of further diversification of legal migrants? Just for the heck of it? By definition, a large immigration population inherently diversifies an established culture. In fact, by a wide margin, America already accepts more immigrants than any nation on earth. Thus, diversity has already been automatically achieved without all of the unnecessary—and risky—human geo-political gerrymandering!

A vital second step is to linguistically distinguish diversity from multiculturalism. Liberals intentionally use the words interchangeably to muddy their meanings. In truth, they actually represent opposing concepts. Specifically, diversity means the general acceptance of differences—whether they be physical, psychological or behavioral. That's the warm embrace of America's vulcanizing “melting pot”. Hence, the U.S. motto of unity: e pluribus unum, Latin for “out of many, one.” Contrarily, multiculturalism is the rejection of Americanism. Like identity politics, it promotes the idea that assimilation to our constitutional ideals—freedoms enjoyed by all—is somehow repressive. Furthermore, it's the nonsensical idea that society at large should shift itself to pacify even one objector. Witness its (justified) effect on the shadowy and corrupt industry that is Hollywood. A volcanic grievance culture is currently shaking the dream factory's power structures apart. Hasn't America's dysfunctional immigration system, and radical Islamic terrorism done even greater damage? The confluence of both instantly invokes Shirley Jackson's short story “The Lottery.” In it, lots are drawn and the unfortunate winner is stoned to death. Those encountering the “sword of Allah” in NYC on Halloween met an equivalent malevolence.  

Twitter: @DavidHunterblog
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Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Church to Purge George Washington

Why has the Christ Church in Alexandria, Virginia embraced political correctness rather than Christian forgiveness and acceptance? Historically, haven't churches traditionally been sanctuaries from political persecution? Hence, how shameful to attack the memory of an original member—and most famous attendee: the George Washington! Undoubtedly, his family's pew, No. 5, still stands in mute protest of the leadership's plan to remove two memorial plaques framing the altar of his church. Regarding their wrongheaded decision, Scripture says, “They will put you out of the synagogue; in fact, the time is coming when anyone who [metaphorically] kills you will think they are offering a service to God” (John 16:2). Ironically, this organization publicly proclaims: “All are welcome—no exceptions”. Thus, in the name of “inclusiveness,” a Founding Father—and America's first president—will shortly be excluded.

A statement released to the congregation last week from church officials explains this highly controversial decision:

“The plaques [of Washington, and Lee] in our sanctuary make some in our presence feel unsafe or unwelcome. Some visitors and guests who worship with us choose not to return because they receive an unintended message from the prominent presence of the plaques.”

As the cherry tree myth tells us that George Washington could not tell a lie, one wonders if this narrative would meet that standard. Apparently, the witch hunt of symbols of the Confederacy has mutated to now generally include long-dead slaveholders. Speaking of truth-telling presidents, Donald Trump predicted this outcome back on August 15, 2017:

“But, many of those people were there to protest the taking down of the statue of Robert E. Lee. So this week, it is Robert E. Lee. I noticed that Stonewall Jackson is coming down. I wonder, is it George Washington next week? And is it Thomas Jefferson the week after? You know, you really do have to ask yourself, where does it stop?”

That is the essential question. Another is how can a George Washington plaque reasonably give offense? It can't. Unfortunately, zealotry has migrated from tearing down statues in parks to the interior spaces of church walls. For example, liberal “do-gooders” have doggedly pursued Robert E. Lee wherever he's referenced. As a fellow parishioner of Christ Church, Gen. Lee's plaque will also be rooted out in a similar manner as the National Cathedral's stain glass window that featured him. Ah, these poor beleaguered generals! They survived brutal American wars, but are proving no match for the revisionist fervor fouling today's air.

It's unfair to punitively apply 21st century sensibilities to great men from long gone eras. Like the rest of the human race, they're not perfect. They also don't have the benefit of hindsight. Flaws and all, their lives shaped our collective cultural heritage. Thus, their “mistakes” remain valuable because they're instructive. Indeed, the wise study, learn from, and remember history. That's precisely why it should be preserved: warts and all.

How is it not a barbaric act to destroy history, whatever the excuse? As food for thought, across the world there is another, more strident group doing a lot more than simply defacing ancient places of worship for jaded political purposes. With similar self-righteousness, they rationalize dynamiting churches, and wielding sledgehammers against priceless religious iconography. Undoubtedly, the decision-makers at Christ Church, like the rest of us, would see this as wrong. But the difference between the actions of both parties is ultimately only a matter of degree, isn't it?

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Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Kaepernick's Culture Warrior “Curse”

A week shy of the midway point of the football season, the two winless NFL teams are no surprise. They are the Cleveland Browns and Colin Kaepernick's former team, the once storied San Francisco 49ers. As the Browns have never even made it to the big game, this is frankly to be expected. But what of the Bay City's franchise, winners of five Super Bowl championships: the second most in the league? Making matters worse is a now disgruntled NFL fan base—and the domino effect causing professional athletes not to perform at their best.

In the sports movie “A League of Their Own,” Jimmy Dugan (played by two-time Oscar winner Tom Hanks) famously exclaimed, “There's no crying in baseball!” As an inverse parallel, neither should there be mute obstructionists in football. Let's be clear on a couple of important details. First, the field is the football player's workspace. In no industry does any employee have the right to engage in political demonstrations—whether they're physically disruptive or not. Thus, the setting for such “social justice” stunts is inappropriate. Moreover, such blatant disrespect of country should not have been condoned by the NFL. Second, while Colin Kaepernick's antics have clearly not endeared him to the NFL, his lack of gridiron success tells the tale according to Doug Farrar of bleacherreport.com:

“He started 11 games last season, completing 196 of his 331 passes for 2,241 yards, 16 touchdowns and four interceptions, and he added 69 runs for 468 yards and two touchdowns. He did so on a 49ers team that finished the season 2-14 ….”

Given the pitiful result of only two victories, what coach would hire him as a starting quarterback for a different team? Kaepernick's MSM supporters spuriously suggest racial discrimination as an alternative explanation, but that's preposterous: 70 percent of the players in the National Football League are black! In truth, his lack of success and his overvaluation of self are the main reasons he finds himself unemployed. In retrospect, was it wise for Mr. Kaepernick to choose to walk away from his lucrative contract with the 49ers?

Successful football teams—same as flourishing nation-states—are based upon harmony and cohesion. Who wants to take a multi-million dollar chance on a rabble-rouser who has repeatedly demonstrated he can't win football games? Adding to his troubles is his own rampaging political Frankenstein monster. Mr. Kaepernick's very presence now detracts from any team's purpose: to gain fans and win Super Bowls. Such is the self-imposed fate of this lightning rod for un-Americanism.

Another absurdity is that an entitled millionaire 20-something claims to represent the oppressed! Only an egotist—wanting to distract from the reality of his poor track record—would “elevate” himself by initiating a counterculture insurgency. What better way to draw media attention to himself than to flout the enduring tradition of standing during the National Anthem?

Kneeling-as-protest remains a silent criticism of this foundational symbol of American unity. Speaking of social inequality, why should less well-heeled spectators spend their hard earned money watching spoiled athletes grandstand? As the cratering TV ratings indicate, Sundays are days off for former football aficionados to seek out less polarizing forms of entertainment.

For those who remain, booing fans and partially filled stadiums aren't helping team morale across the league. Synchronistically, this dynamic is epitomized by San Francisco's record as tied-for-worst. On a psychological level, is it possible that Kaepernick's former team shares in the stain of his dishonorable behavior? Simply put, have they so internalized his self-defeating victimization narrative—and been distracted by its fallout—that they believe they are losers, and act accordingly?

For context, recall that football games are mock battles. Thus, NFL players experience similar stressors to mind and body as any soldier in a war zone. Ultimately, it matters not that they are world-class athletes if their heads are not collectively in the game. Negative mindsets and debilitating mood swings lead inexorably to risk of injury, lost play opportunities, and subpar game day performance. This remains true whether or not individual players have chosen to protest; clearly whole teams have been adversely affected. So, too, has the ringleader. Ironically, perhaps he most of all. By decisions he clearly regrets today, Colin Kaepernick finds himself outside the NFL. Thus, for all concerned, important life lessons can be gleaned. At their root is that politics in sport is poisonous.

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Thursday, October 19, 2017

Alexander-Murray Bill Dooms GOP

Besides the certainty of death and taxes, it seems, Democratic-passed entitlements never really end. For context, the President has rightfully proclaimed Obamacare “a disgrace to our nation.” Furthermore, after cutting off the Obama administration's illegal subsidies to the insurance companies (known as Cost-Sharing Reduction (CSR) payments), Trump added, “It's virtually dead,” but is it?

Well, it would be if the Republican establishment would finally honor 7 years of broken promises to repeal and replace Obamacare. Yet, just days after these latest developments what's Congress's response? Enter the touted bipartisan Alexander-Murray bill. A “deal” to legally fund Obamacare—the governmental behemoth that appropriated 1/6 of the U.S. economy—for another two years! A grand trick on the American people: Obamacare is undead for Halloween!

That's rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic, folks. For progressives, that's vitally past the midterm elections, giving the GOP nothing of substance to run on. That, in turn, will likely give Democrats control of the Senate. In other words, the same anti-Trump obstructionists—whose party created this health-care mess in the first place—will be back in charge. The horror gets worse. This Republican “stop-gap” measure wastes time; adds another 14 billion to the nation's escalating 20 trillion dollar debt; and can be hung around Donald Trump's neck in 2020.

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Monday, October 16, 2017

Obamacare's Embezzlement Scheme

Shockingly, at the rotting core of Barack Obama's signature heath-care law is a crime. When his administration initiated Cost-Sharing Reduction (CSR) subsidies to health insurance companies under Obamacare, it actually misappropriated public funds. Per 18 U.S.C. § 644:

“Whoever, not being an authorized depositary of public moneys, knowingly receives from any disbursing officer, or collector of internal revenue, or other agent of the United States, any public money on deposit, or by way of loan or accommodation, with or without interest, or otherwise than in payment of a debt against the United States, or uses, transfers, converts, appropriates, or applies any portion of the public money for any purpose not prescribed by law is guilty of embezzlement....”

Why do Democrats perpetually get away scot-free with such outrageous wrongdoing?

Recall that the Appropriations Clause is the cornerstone of Congress's “power of the purse”. In other words, only the legislature has the authority to disburse federal funds, not the former president's executive branch. Specifically, that responsibility is defined by the U.S. Constitution, Article I, section 7, cl. 1: “All Bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives; but the Senate may propose or concur with amendments as on other Bills.” Hence, President Trump's action to immediately terminate said illegal payments.

Naturally, the anti-Trump MSM opposes his rightful action. For example, Washington Post contributor Ilya Somin writes, “Now, President Trump is making the situation worse by trying to use these illegal payments as leverage to force the legislature to do his bidding.” For the record, didn't the Democratically-controlled Congress do Obama's bidding when they passed the ironically named Affordable Care Act (ACA) in 2010? For context, that's the same bill—without one Republican vote—that then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said had to be passed, “...[S]o that you can find out what is in it—away from the fog of the controversy.” That controversy, as this column details, is unceasing.

What liberals don't scramble, it seems, they tend to mix up. For starters, only Obama overstepped here, not Trump. Yet, Mr. Somin continues:

“What is ultimately at stake here is not only the future of the health care law, but of the constitutional separation of powers and the limits of executive branch authority. Trump’s ham-fisted attempt at dealmaking is eroding those limits....”

In truth, Trump's new executive order actually affirms Congress's autonomy. After all, House Republicans filed a lawsuit contending that the CSR payments were illegal. In May 2016, federal district Judge Rosemary Collyer agreed, though she stayed her judgment pending a possible appeal. The basis of her decision was Article I, section 9, cl. 7 of the U.S. Constitution which states, “No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law.” Misconstruing the facts makes Mr. Somin, a professor of law at George Mason University, look foolish. Such intellectual dishonesty is the unfortunate result of obvious political blinders.

As does blaming Mr. Trump for the current dysfunctional state of U.S. health-care policy. After all, The Donald entered presidential politics on June 16, 2015. For five years previously, the GOP establishment repeatedly made promises—subsequently broken—to repeal and replace Obamacare. Irrespective of the president's “bidding,” don't the American people have the right to expect elected representatives to honor their own pledges? Therefore, it takes real chutzpah to criticize the new guy for trying to remedy an escalating problem that proceeded him. Truth-teller Trump tweeted Friday, “ObamaCare is a broken mess. Piece by piece we will now begin the process of giving America the great HealthCare it deserves!” What's wrong with moving the ball forward by taking legal steps that set things right?

In any case, the CSR payouts, made by the Department of Health and Human Services, were a considerable boon to health insurers’ bottom line: about $7 billion annually. How crooked to circumvent Congress—and misuse the Treasury as a slush fund for such ultra-Constitutional plotting! Likewise, how two-faced to publicly malign the very businesses the Obama administration was subsidizing via the back door. Clearly, chicanery rivaling Shakespeare's tangled web!

Importantly, this issue illuminates the interchangeability between progressivism and fascism. After all, didn't Democrats create a health-care behemoth designed to cede private industry (read: 1/6 of the U.S. economy) to jackbooted governmental control? The underlying criminality “greasing the wheels”—same as Obama's empty promises of keeping your doctor, and lowering premiums by $2,500—is apparent for all to see. If, in eight years, anyone had bothered to scrutinize the artifices of political Pinocchio's “hope and change,” that is. In retrospect, partisans voted blindly for a dystopian dream; without the foggiest notion of who—or what—they were really getting.

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Thursday, October 5, 2017

Trump: Our Generation's Reagan?

Roughly ten months in, how is it not presumptuous for anyone—especially a conservative—to proclaim in print that Donald Trump is “no Reagan”? Perhaps Washington Times columnist Robert W. Merry should wait another three years before making any sweeping pronouncements?

What's Mr. Merry's basis for this flawed, and premature, conclusion? The failure of the entrenched Republican Congress to repeal and replace Obamacare. After seven years of the establishment's broken promises, that's the fault of Mitch “expectations are too high” McConnell, Paul “not ready” Ryan and the logjam created by anti-Trump Republicans (read: John McCain and the Washington swamp).

For starters, Mr. Merry needs a refresher course in civics 101. Specifically, only Congress has the authority to make (or unmake) law. That's the separation of powers, which means the legislative branch is autonomous to any U.S. president's desires (like campaign pledges). Hence, Mr. Merry's claim, “The Donald is failing to win over the public with bold and clear political messages” is pure hogwash. What of his Reaganesque “Make America Great Again,” and “America First” slogans? For the record, Mr. Trump is vigorously accomplishing those aims: with renegotiated trade deals favorable to the U.S.; his exit from the job-killing Paris climate accord; illegal border crossings plummeting by 76% (as reported by the Washington Times); and future changes to tax policy to promote domestic job growth. In every case, Mr. Trump's message remains unambiguous and crystal clear. So, too, are his actions. Put a new GOP health-care bill on his desk guarantees his signature.

Indeed, the president has been chopping at the bit since January 20! Why, then, does Mr. Merry write, “The fault lies primarily with the president”? That's a simpleton's answer by someone obviously afflicted with “Trump Derangement Syndrome”. Unfortunately, Republican presidents habitually get chastised for events beyond their control. For instance, despite successful federal efforts to provide relief to hurricane ravished Puerto Rico, mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz outrageously criticizes the president for her failure to distribute boated in supplies! With her city in ruins, what else is an incompetent local Democrat to do than pass the buck? Thus, for face-saving distraction—and the bonus of an anti-Trump narrative—the hard left MSM is happy to advocate propaganda as fact. That's echoed by Robert Merry's overtly cynical column. Still, as he's determined to blame a president for Obamacare, why not its namesake: Barack Obama? To that end, why not hold the responsibility-phobic Democratic Party accountable for their 2010 takeover of 1/6 of the U.S. economy: with zero Republican support. That's the unmentioned context for the dysfunctional polarization Mr. Merry blithely glosses over. Its reality predates Mr. Trump's emergence on the political scene by years (if not decades). Therefore, how is it fair to blame someone for a systemic problem that's inherited?

In truth, the Republican establishment bears equal responsibility with intransigent Democrats. Both groups populate Congress, not the White House. Specifically, per Reuters, the GOP's roughly 60 unsuccessful attempts to repeal or alter Obamacare so far. The fact remains that Republicans have held control of both houses since January 3, 2015. Therefore, their repeated failures to change this law is not President Trump's fault. Like Mr. Reagan, he must work within the framework of the Constitution—and the inert personalities of career politicians more interested in playing politics than getting positive results for the American people.

Ultimately, the underlying conflict unrecognized by Mr. Merry is one of style over substance. One suspects he would be content with a soft-spoken RINO (Republican In Name Only) like Mitt Romney or a go along to get along establishment figure like Jeb Bush. Or perhaps a fresh-faced dreamer parroting idealistic platitudes designed to pacify the most sensitive among us, but accomplishing little beyond pretty PR (read: Paul Ryan). Fortunately, none of those people reside in the Oval Office. The real question here is can Donald Trump act as a 21st century Ronald Reagan while not embodying “The Great Communicator's” particular gifts to persuade with charismatic warmth, and often pointed humor? That answer to the open minded is, of course, yes! As a case in point, the same edition of the Washington Times reported: “Banishing red tape: Trump the ‘least regulatory president’ since Reagan, study finds”. So, there's proof that a certain old guard prognosticator can't ignore. Any person so stuck in ways of the past cannot embrace an evolving present. For this Robert Merry should be pitied, but not heeded.

To some, Donald Trump's unconventional style—as a plain-speaking, brassy New Yorker—is disconcerting. But it's actually a strength that will likely checkmate those who would do our nation serious harm. Our continued survival is frankly aided by the new paradigm of his unpredictability. What's needed now is this deal making brawler to be his own man, as Reagan was. Not another polished, weak-kneed elitist offering a failed past as prologue.

Twitter: @DavidHunterblog
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Monday, October 2, 2017

Twisting D'Sousa's “Big Lie”

From his book review of Dinesh D'Sousa's latest, Washington Times columnist Michael Taube gets it wrong. Mr. Taube's article title incorrectly proclaims, “Fascists to the right, fascists to the left”. Yet, the whole point of “The Big Lie: Exposing the Nazi Roots of the American Left” is to clarify that Nazism/Fascism/Socialism are political movements exclusive to the left. In other words, despite this scribe's misleading assertion, they are never of the political right. Want an example of a “radical” right-wing group? Try the Tea Party!

To be fair, Mr. Taube touches on Ronald Reagan's famous “60 Minutes” quote from 1975, “If fascism ever comes to America, it will come in the name of liberalism.” But what else did “The Gipper” say that this reviewer vitally left out? To continue with Mr. Reagan's now prophetic words:

“And what is fascism? Fascism is private ownership—private enterprise—but total government control and regulation. Well isn't this the liberal philosophy? The conservative, so-called, is the one that says less government—get off my back, get out of my pocket—and let me have more control of my own destiny.”

Put simply, these three sister philosophies of big government cannot be of the right. On a related matter, President Trump cannot be a fascist or a socialist because he is a deregulating, unapologetic capitalist! Likewise, he can't be a Nazi either because he is, for example, staunchly pro-Israel. Indeed, Mr. Trump’s “America First” policies of economic self-determination—and his outspoken refutation of liberals and the MSM—define him as a true patriot in our tumultuous modern age.

Twitter: @DavidHunterblog
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Wednesday, September 27, 2017

When Celebrity Insults Patriotism

In our modern era of internet connectivity and 24-hour news cycles, for better or worse, celebrity is an instant megaphone for gaining national attention. Especially for the controversial, or in former quarterback of the San Francisco 49ers Colin Kaepernick's case, the foolishly aggrieved. Given his upbringing in a loving household by adoptive parents, a college scholarship—and per Spotrac earning $43,479,216 during a short-lived NFL career—one would think this manifestation of the American Dream would be the first to sing its praises. Yet, this “social justice warrior” instead chose to wear socks depicting little piggies wearing police hats. (How does that stunt not visually reference Black Lives Matter's anarchist chant, “Pigs in a blanket, fry 'em like bacon”?) Furthermore, if that wasn't derogatory enough, his habit of not standing during the national anthem also repeatedly violated polite sensibilities. In August of 2016, this agitator explained himself:

“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color. To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way.”

Unfortunately, that divisive example has spurred a larger movement of disrespect by NFL players that has turned off patriotic Americans from watching a previously beloved sport. Specifically, Sunday Night Football is down 9 percent from last week. For context, that's down 11 percent from the comparable game last year. Whether the loss of viewership will make a difference to the organization remains to be seen.

In any case, Mr. Kaepernick finds himself sacked for his lack of performance. Undoubtedly, his juvenile antics didn’t help matters either. If he's made himself odious to the league, isn't the fault his own? Beyond that, what has this sideshow really achieved? Colonel Nathan R. Jessep, played brilliantly by Jack Nicholson in “A Few Good Men” (1992), has the answer:

“All you did was weaken a country today, Kaffee. That's all you did. ... Sweet dreams, son.”

Why is metaphorical defecation on the American flag “the newest sport” of multimillionaire football players in the NFL? From grade school, all children are taught to stand, place hand over heart and salute the American flag. That's the purpose of the Pledge of Allegiance—a unifying promise to country—one nation under God. Simply put, it's the basis of civic responsibility and patriotism. By taking a knee (rather than standing), how is that not an act of blatant disrespect? Not to their fellow citizens per se, but to generations of buried soldiers who sacrificed everything to guarantee American liberty. A case in point is President Trump's September 24 tweet:

Courageous Patriots have fought and died for our great American Flag — we MUST honor and respect it! MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!”

In this situation that freedom includes petulant protesters bemoaning their good fortune: being paid a king's ransom for an hour of chasing a pigskin around a manicured field of dreams. What a tough life these pampered athletes have! How they “suffer” for their weekly gridiron exertions!

At least 5-time Superbowl champion quarterback Tom Brady of the aptly named New England Patriots thinks so:

“I mean, we go through a lot together, there’s a lot of blood, sweat and tears. I don’t think it’s easy to play this sport. I mean, there’s a lot of guys that sacrifice a lot.”

Certainly actual heroes, the ones facing gunfire storming the beaches at Normandy (read: the Allied invasion, codenamed Operation Neptune, on D-Day: Tuesday, June 6, 1944) during World War II—like our recovering wounded warriors of today—would laugh at the absurdity of such a pretentious comparison! After all, football is only a game: an artificial clash with rules and penalties. The goal is not to kill the enemy, it's to achieve a high score. To that end, it has brightly uniformed teams, adversarial elements and risk to life and limb, but no weapons and medical professionals on standby. Likewise, while both activities tax body vitality, battlefields don't have referees, timeouts or commercial interruptions. Moreover, recall that the base salary for a soldier is $19,198.80. Adding combat pay of $225.00 per month means another $2,700. As the average professional football player earns $1.9 million annually, who's exactly sacrificing a lot here, Mr. Brady? (In any case, certainly not he. According to Forbes, Mr. Brady is the 15th–highest paid athlete in the world. With salary and endorsements, he earned whopping $44 million in 2016.)

What is football, or any sporting event, supposed to be? A lighthearted diversion from real-life stressors for the audience. So, who wants polarizing leftists ruining a traditional American entertainment with their in-your-face grievance pretenses? In any other profession, employees are fired for disruptive displays at the workplace on company time. Is that really what fans pay to see? And if they object, why don't their feelings count?

Despite the superficial liberal narrative that this is a “racial” issue, it is not. The only pigments involved here are red, white and blue. After all, the flag's stars and stripes do not play favorites. They do not represent a particular class, creed or color. Indeed, this uniquely American symbol epitomizes everyone within her borders. Thus, ironically, players kneeling in a posture of submission during the national anthem are a cultural “attack” on America's foundation. Factoring in the U.S.'s many legitimate challenges, who needs Colin Kaepernick's growing tempest in a teapot? Who is to blame for its cascading dishonor but his muddled followers? Game day politically correct rabble-rousers with lots of money, but not a lick of sense.

Twitter: @DavidHunterblog
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Tuesday, September 19, 2017

DACA's Robin Hood Excuse

Only in legend—and our topsy-turvy political climate—can lawbreakers be treated like heroes. As an analogy, Robin Hood famously stole from the rich to give to the poor. While doing so, he ironically wore all green: the color of money. This bowed bandit took goods benefiting one group, the wealthy, and redistributed them to another. Thus, was this Sherwood Forest dweller, this “do-gooder” outlaw, the world's first Bernie Sanders (I-VT) socialist?

Today, can't any political scheme be rationalized via Robin Hood's claim of good intentions? For example, when Democrats made their late night, locked door legislative arrangement—with zero Republican support that average Americans knew nothing about—that's called Obamacare. Given their appropriation of one-sixth of the U.S. economy, Robin of Loxley would have undoubtedly been among their number given his own sticky fingered proclivities. Yet, if a similar takeover was perpetrated in the private sector, it's likely criminal; or in DACA's (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) case at least unconstitutional.

How is stealing a quasi-legal status akin to citizenship not in the same vein as bank robbing? After all, in both cases something valuable is stolen by individuals with no legal entitlement to it. Complicating matters is the fact that such freedoms are intangible: in essence, more precious than Robin's booty could ever be. So, rather than a higher penalty, our society's lawmakers should reward such wrongdoing, again? For context, during the Reagan era, the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (IRCA) granted up to three million unauthorized migrants a path to legalization if they had been “continuously” present in the U.S. since January 1, 1982. Isn't any DACA replacement, regardless of its particulars, singing from the same sheet music? Make no mistake: it's politically correct amnesty for the undeserving. A popular and easy “fix” to low-information voters that bolsters the self-serving agendas of both political parties: cheap labor for Republicans, voters for Democrats. However, what's politically expedient still is not right. Laws turned into Swiss cheese by Washington's shortsighted whims are as effective as porous borders are safe.

Any democratic society must respect the laws that bind its members or it quickly degenerates into chaos, criminality and tribalism. Such is the ongoing occupation of America by an estimated 11 million illegals. Under the best scenario, even a handful of bad actors among this shadowy underclass are an existential threat. Who are they? Where are they? How do they support themselves? Where do their loyalties lie? How is any modern society to function without safeguards or a basic measure of cultural cohesion?

In any civilized society, lawbreakers go to jail for undermining society in various fundamental ways. Consequently, that outcome causes absences that divide families. Children from both camps, though no fault of their own, are made to suffer because of their parent's unlawful decisions. In a nutshell, illegals' offspring are “anchor babies” compelling D.C.'s current “compassionate” DACA doublespeak. In the name of their broods, why should illegals derive special privileges that no incarcerated citizen enjoys: to flout our laws with impunity, and escape consequences all to benefit their blameless loved ones? In other words, a good sounding excuse justifies almost any malfeasance. By that same skewed logic, should all convicts be liberated from America's prisons solely to rejoin their marginalized children? The fact remains that both sets of law violators present a potential danger to everyone else. Even a crowd-pleasing rogue like Robin Hood would not abet such a grand injustice.

Twitter: @DavidHunterblog
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Thursday, September 14, 2017

Paul Ryan: Nicest Swamp Creature

In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king. In other words, due to one's high status that person can claim anything without fear of being challenged by those who know less. So it is with Washington Times columnist Richard W. Rahn's muddled analysis of Paul Ryan (R-WI), an 18-year veteran of the Washington bog. Given this writer's flowery assertions, however, he sounds like the newly appointed cheerleader of the Republican excuses brigade! To that end, his doe-eyed opening sentence speaks volumes:

“It is tough to play hardball with your friends.”

Has Congress metastasized into a millionaires' social club? Are Mr. Ryan's fellow representatives supposed to be playboys for him to pal around with? If that's now the prevailing mind-set on Capitol Hill, it certainly explains a lot! Specifically, Gallup's record low approval rating for Congress in 2017: a measly 16%. And is that statistic any surprise given their collective failure to repeal Obamacare—after seven years of broken GOP promises? Thus, is it reasonable to sing Paul Ryan's praises as he's one of the primary figures responsible for the ongoing legislative morass?

That's not Pauly's fault, says Rahn. The real trouble is he's just so darn agreeable! Is affability suddenly a personality flaw in politics, or in the business of governance? If so, will someone send Mr. Ryan “How to Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie? Recall, in the natural world that honey's sweetness attracts many more flies than vinegar; so it is with human nature. In fact, didn't President Ronald Reagan epitomize a sunny disposition—and didn't that trait make him more effective as a leader, not less so?

Naturally, the reality of Speaker Ryan's inherent inability to lead is quickly glossed over:

“[He is] not particularly good at managing a large number [read: 240 of 435; one vacancy] of independently-minded people.”

For his unsuccessful cat wrangling of only his party (and half of the legislature) a premium is earned: a $223,500 annual salary. That's a whopping $49,500 more than the House's rank and file. (By comparison, President Trump runs the entire executive branch for $400,000 a year, per Title 3 of the U.S. Code; donating his whole salary, save one dollar, to charity.) Mr. Ryan has not followed suit—and given his lack of positive results—perhaps he should.

But wait, Rahn claims, Mr. Ryan real aptitude is as a “policy wonk”. If that's so, why did he capitulate to the Democrats' two trillion dollar debt-busting budget rather than opposing it? Likewise, is he “highly accomplished” for losing control of the budgetary schedule as Mr. Rahn admits? For context, when Speaker Ryan assumed his leadership role on October 29, 2015, the national debt was $18,152,590,112,385.69. As of this writing, it has increased to $20,173,505,864,062.25. After almost two years, why are all of the economic indicators under his “expert” tutelage still going in the wrong direction?

Beyond the escalating debt, proof is seen in the pitiful pre-Trump 2% GDP. By those measures alone, Mr. Ryan would have been fired in the private sector long ago. After all, as Speaker he determines the agenda; same as his chamber controls the nation's purse strings. And despite his hollow-sounding protestations about not initially wanting the post, the fact remains that he took it. In this way, he seems to cultivate a regular guy “Mr. Smith Goes To Washington” persona. Still, the fact that Mr. Rahn doesn't see through this slick veneer is troubling. It means his favorable depiction of Mr. Ryan is untrustworthy. As that is the case, perhaps a fictional one can illuminate his real-life subject better:

“Listen, I'm a politician which means I'm a cheat and a liar, and when I'm not kissing babies I'm stealing their lollipops. But it also means I keep my options open.” – Dr. Jeffrey Pelt, National Security Adviser, played by Richard Jordan in “The Hunt for Red October” (1990)

Now that sounds like a realistic baseline with which to evaluate any longtime D.C. insider. Yet, unlike Dr. Pelt, one would never expect Paul “not ready” Ryan to be so candid about his own history of mealy-mouthed capriciousness regarding his faux support of President Trump.

Hence, in the Trump era, the American electorate has had their fill of nice guy RINOs (Republicans In Name Only) who embrace the status quo by subverting “M.A.G.A.” policies. By his record and his actions, that's who Paul Ryan really is. That's also precisely why our results-driven president cut a three-month extension with the Democrats (for government funding, and Hurricane Harvey relief). And why not? When has that fresh-faced facade of the do-nothing Republican establishment ever been a friend to him? Indeed, championing such incompetence demonstrates a profound obliviousness to modern-day political dysfunction—that even a clear-eyed low-information voter can see.

Twitter: @DavidHunterblog
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