New York, New York by Tom Donelson

Years ago, my daughter noted that in the early 1990’s, that her neighbor hood was a war zone with gangs fighting over turf. Today her neighborhood is quite safe to walk around at night, there is a taco truck that does business in the evening and throng of people walking around until late at night.

I simply told my daughter that this was the legacy of Rudy Giuliani, who understood that to govern a city begins with keeping it safe. Baltimore murder rate is 300 murder in a city of 600,000 and this is the fourth year in a row, the actual murder exceeded 300. New York murder rate was under 300 in 2017 and that is with a population of over 8.5 million. The Baltimore murder would be equal to over 3,000 murders per year, and that exceeds what New York suffered in the early 1990’s when the people of New York got tired of no longer feeling safe in their neighborhoods.

New York is probably the safest major city in the United States, which makes it a great place to visit. You can’t have a prosperous city without having safe communities. So far even under the present leftist mayor, New Yorkers still insist on having a safe community.

TrumpVoters and Not Trump Voters, Is There a Connection? By Tom Donelson and J.D. Johannes


The crucial issue for the GOP is how do you deal with a President up for re-election that many Americans personally don’t care for but whose policies are popular?  If Trump decides to run for re-election, the GOP candidates will have to run with the top of the ticket and our goal is to review the divide between Trump policies and many voter’s personal disdain for Trump to find issues that can form a winning coalition.  A national online panel poll by Evolving Strategies finds issues that many Trump voters and non-trump voters agree on to design a campaign that emphasizes issues over personalities.  In another report Americas Majority researcher JD Johannes will dig deep into the personality and identity factors that will affect elections in 2020 and beyond.

The first reality is that less than 30% of all voters approve of Trump’s personal behavior and only 2/3 of Trump Voters approve of the President’s personal behavior.

However 45% of voters approve of the job he was doing.  This poll is similar to others as recent YouGov and Reuters have his approval at 45% and Rasmussen over the past months had seen his poll numbers ranging from 46% to 51%.  So many Americans, in spite of their visceral dislike of Trump, do appreciate the job he is doing.  As the chart clearly illustrates, there is sharp electoral divide on Trump’s job approval with only tiny sliver of non-Trump voters approving of the job he is doing.

That sliver of non-Trump voters more than doubles when it comes to approving his economic policies.  Overall 51% of voters approve of his handling of the economy and that includes 97% of Trump voters and 16% of non-Trump voters.  So many voters appreciate the growing economy and this could have helped save the Senate even though it did little to help the House. 

48% of voters including 97% of Trump voters approved of how Trump handles trade issues along with nearly 12% of Trump not trump voters.

            47% of voters along with 96% of Trump voters and 9% of not Trump voters favored his approach to foreign policy

To go with 46% of voters and 96% of Trump voters and 10% of not Trump voters approve his immigration policy. 

Many voters view Trump with personal disdain but are more likely to support his policies.  As we examine specific policies, we found that there policies that a significant portion of Not Trump Voters agreed with Trump policies even if they personally disliked the man. 

Abortion:  55% of all voters including nearly 40% of not Trump voters and slightly over three quarters of Trump voters favored a ban on abortions after 20 weeks.  This correspond with other polls we conducted with Voice Broadcasting and Cyngal in which the majority of voters favored restricting abortions after the second trimester.  Even many who viewed themselves as pro-choice agreed that abortions are not unlimited right for women and that babies are endowed with right to life, the only debate was where do you draw the line to protect the unborn.  While many within the Republican have decided that abortion was a losing issues for many voters, our data showed that so many Americans are now pro-life that the liberal position is out of step with the mainstream.

Healthcare  On single payer, 80% of not Trump voters favored single payer as oppose to only 16% of Trump voters and 55% of all voters but when asked about allowing health insurances that provides choices and fewer benefits to reduce cost, we see consensus.  77% of all voters favored allowing more choices and lower priced healthcare plans along with 65% of not Trump Voters and 92% of Trump voters.  

The reason health care is a near permanent issue is the constant rise in premium prices.  Even in many employer-sponsored plans the employee’s portion of the premium for a family plan is nearly as much as their mortgage.  Many voters see the tax increases associated with Medicare For All as just shifting money from the Premium Bucket to the Federal Income Tax Bucket with the advantage of guaranteed health care coverage for pre-existing conditions and if they are out of work. 

Republicans need to talk about the need for choices, lower prices and most importantly, allowing voters to keep their health care plan if they like their health care plan and keep their Doctor, if they like their Doctors.  These are values that all voters agree with and Single player plans discard the choice elements as the government will determine your care, your plan and your doctor.

Tariffs– Voters are undecided whether Trump’s tariff strategy is designed to increase trade and get better deals or are protectionist approach to protect jobs.  One friend who is a free trader mentioned to us that he can understand the approach of using tariffs to get better deals and increase trade but he is not favoring tariffs as a permanent approach.  Trump ran as a protectionist but his approach so far has moved toward getting better trade deals as with his recent NAFTA deal in which minor adjustments were made to help protect American jobs while maintaining the main framework of trade.  On occasion the White House has stated that the goal is zero tariffs and that can only happen when there is truly free trade.  As long as other countries erect barriers, the White House is going to tit-for-tat against those countries. 

62% of Voters including nearly 39% of not Trump voters and 92% of Trump voters favor Trump tariffs as a means to get better deals, while nearly 56% of voters view tariffs as need to protect jobs including 32% of not Trump voters and 86% of Trump voters.

Trump policies of using tariffs as a strategy to either protect jobs or get better deals have 32% to 40% of not Trump voters already in agreement with Trump on this issue and this gives GOP an opening to use this to get enough of not Trump voters to join their coalition.

Debts, Deficits and Inequality– There is one issue in our polling that Americans agree on, increasing debts, deficits or spending hurts the economy and in this poll, 87% of all voters agreed along with 83% of not Trump voters and 92% of Trump voters.  The deficits worry voters even it doesn’t worry politicians and if nothing else, this shows the potential of a Ross Perot candidate in 2020 or close facsimile.  Trump may be that figure and the GOP as a Party can promote an agenda that protects job creation and growth while dealing with deficits and debts. 

Only 37% of voters wanted politicians to focus on dealing with inequality and only 59% of Not Trump voters favored reducing inequality between the 1% and the rest of us, so that means nearly two out of every five not Trump voters favor policies dealing with economic growth.  In this election, the tax cuts produced economic growth but not necessarily loyalty among many voters as those suburban voters in blue states saw their taxes going up on 2019 due to the deduction reductions in state and local taxes.  Instead of blaming those state legislators who jumped the taxes upward, they blame their GOP congressmen.  And in many cases the benefits of the tax cut for individual workers were gobbled up by health insurance premium increases so they never observed an increase in their paycheck.  However, as we have seen, growth is important to voters, more so than dealing with inequality.  All of our pollsters, Cyngal, Voice Broadcasting and Evolving strategies saw this trend. 

Republicans need to view economic issues as promoting job growth and moving the economy forward by promoting a fair opportunity to succeed.  One way is to talk of an economic policy that uses Tariffs to open up trade opportunities and liberalizing trade while protecting jobs, a fine line to be sure but something that can happen along with reducing debts, deficits and keeping federal spending in line.  Voters will understand the connection between the two if there is a political party that defends it.

Immigration-Evolving Strategies, like our other pollsters, sees a divide on immigration between keep immigration levels where they are or increasing them and those voters who view increased immigration as preventing assimilation or hurts jobs of those in the lower income and lower middle Class. Many voters no longer believe that increasing immigration levels helps the economy and their own economic prospects.  47% of voters see high immigrations levels as diluting traditional values including 20% of Not Trump voters and 84% of Trump voters.  One of every five not Trump voters view increase immigration as a negative not a positive.  A key question for future study is are there enough voters willing to switch on this issue if this is combined with Republican plan on Tariffs to induce better trade terms and pro-growth economic message for the Middle Class?

Energy dominance and climate change– 39% supported energy dominance which is lower than other polls we did, but Evolving Strategies used the qualifying phrase “by reducing regulations” that other pollsters did not.  Without the latter phrase, the support went up over 50% and if Republicans can convince voters that energy dominance can be done safely and protect the environment, then it is a winning issue.

We have found in all of our polls that the majority of voters when presented with a more accurate view of the scientific debate over climate, reject the notion that human activity is the main cause of climate change for a more nuanced view that human activities along with natural events are behind climate change.  All groups were similar with 48% on this score and when you combined those who believe in natural events causing climate change with the combinations of both human events and natural events, over 50% of even Not Trump voters rejected the alarmists positions that climate change is strictly or mostly a man-made affair.

Conclusion- There are many issues in which Not Trump voters agree with Trump voters in large enough numbers for the GOP to make the case that they are the party of change and opportunity and build a winning coalition.  As the Democratic Party moves left, the GOP has a chance to entice enough Not Trump voters to join their coalition even with their personal dislike of Trump. 

On abortion, the majority of voters are pro-life and support restrictions on abortion, the only question is where to begin the restrictions.   On trade, at least a third of Not Trump voters see the merit of Trump trade strategy.  On economic growth, Trump and Not Trump voters view increasing debts, deficits or even spending as hurting the economic showing the rejection of Keynesian economics.  From 47% to 52%, voters overall approve of Trump handling of trade issues, immigration, economy and foreign affairs even if they don’t particularly care for him on a personal level.

On Health care, most voters prefer choices in their health care, they want to keep their plans if they like them or keep their doctor and here the GOP can win if they chose to promote a health care plan that offers those things.

The Democrat’s leading candidates will either be billionaires like Michael Bloomberg or Tom Steyer or they will go to younger more leftist candidates such as California Senator Kamala Harris, so likeability issue may not be factor as it wasn’t in 2016 when the Democrats nominated one of the most unlikeable candidates ever in Hillary Clinton.  Ted Cruz survived a tough Senate race in 2018 despite being unlikable and outspent two to one, so being likable could be overlooked if the alternative is worse and the plan that Trump promoted in 2016 is working.

For many Republican candidates, there is a discomfort with having Trump on top of the ticket. Many GOP voters though like Trump more than their candidates for U.S. House and Senate so Republicans need to run on a positive message that they will be the party of reform and the Middle Class.  Even with the recent gains by Democrats, the Democrat Party is still a Party of the two coasts and no longer the party of Middle America or the South.  Much of Middle America and the South still remains Republican so the key issue for the GOP is whether they can get enough of the Democratic base to build a new coalition in key Midwest States just as Michigan or Wisconsin plus make inroads in Western states just as Colorado and Nevada.

In Florida, school choice prompted 18% of black women to vote for Ron DeSantis and this alone would have propelled DeSantis to victory.  In Tennessee, Martha Blackburn cleaned up in the suburbs, exceeded national average among blacks and Hispanics (gaining 45% of Hispanic voters in her state).  In Missouri, Josh Hawley had similar success in both the Suburbs and with minorities plus turnout among black voters cratered for Claire McCaskill and Hawley did very similar among Hispanics than Blackburn. 

De Santis, Hawley and Blackburn received over 50% of suburban votes while on a national average the GOP only received 49%, the same as Democrats.  The lesson for GOP is to study these candidacies. Rick Scott did well among Hispanics and that even includes Puerto Rican voters and like De Santis, expanded his reach into the Suburbs.

These candidates expanded upon the Trump coalition of 2016 and won as a result.  The key for Republicans is to fight on issues and expanding the theme on fair opportunity to succeed.  In 2020 and as long as the economy holds, the 2020 election will be a values election with values meaning more than just traditional social issues but more broad value battle including should voters chose their health care plan and their doctors or should the government do it for them?  On the abortion issue, the battle will be on the value of when is life worth protecting or does the unborn allowed no rights to life?  On economy, which values is more important, the right to a job and opportunity or do we engage in the politics of envy at the expense of opportunity.

The GOP won’t have an easy time with Trump on the top of the ticket due to his personality but his ideas are more popular than his opponent’s will be and that is the battleground that needs to be fought, the battleground of ideas. 

A letter to a friend

(Most recently I had a liberal friend ask me about being a Republican and compassion.)

I saw your tweet on the Republican Tom and the divide you view in my heart. I am guessing the implication that one can’t be a Republican or conservative and still have a heart.  There lies a confusion on what is conservatism is and represent.  I think you were responding on a tweet on climate change. I will leave that issue alone and want you to understand a little deeper into what makes a American conservative.  Never confuse compassion and political ideology and as someone who has been in politics for five decades, and who has moved from left to right, I find that most people on both sides truly believe that their philosophy will benefit America including helping the poor but I will tell you I have seen my share of those who view government as the path to power over the rest of us.

My own view has been shaped in what I has observed over the years and the trends I detailed in my book the Rise of National Populism and Democratic Socialism, and we are at important junction in our history.  For me, I fear a bigger government than even the worst of corporations since government have police power to compelled their citizens to their will and history has shown the abuse of power to goes with that.  As I noted in my book, fascism in America will come from the left and not the right.  Let deal with the obvious, is Trump is a Fascism?  No, while Trump complains about media coverage, he has done nothing serous to impede freedom of speech but the left has been more serious about restricting freeom of speech.  Speech codes on college campus in the guise of reducing hate speech is nothing more than attempt to thwart freedom of speech.  I would suggest anyone to review the Wisconsin DOJ review of the John Doe 2 investigation in which supporter of Scott Walker were treated to midnight raids on their home under the guise of finding campaign finance abuses.  Just imagine yourself in your home at 11 pm at night when several police cars with cherry top blazing and police officers ransack your house while demanding all of your computers, and then being warned by the DA, talk to your lawyer and we will send you to jail for contempt.  This happened n 2012 through 2014and I talked with those involved.  This is Gespto tactics in action and this is what Fascism in Europe and US will look like.  http://thefederalist.com/2017/12/07/bombshell-report-political-persecution-scott-walker-swept-high-level-gop-officials/

Most Democrats like most Republicans would oppose this but it has happened over the past couple of decades.  I have witnessed first hand attempts by many politicians who have used their power to restrict freedome of speech and most of them have been Democrats. I have seen Radio stations threaten with their FCC liscenses if they don’t remove ads the other side don’t like. (So far I have yet to see a Republican or conservative group threaten a radio station with FCC licensing but I have seen Democrats do this in three states.) https://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2014/07/the-real-war-on-women-and-speech-dick-durbin-edition.php

 

Trump is many things but a Neo-Nazis, Hitlerian character is not one of them.  The biggest difference I have seen over the past four decades is the actual criminalization of political differences.  There is no golden age of politics in which we treated each other with respectbut there was a feeling that after a election, we are all Americans and moved on to the next elections.  Today, that is being lost. Spend a day on twitter and you see it, the hatred often spew on both sides.    We still have our freedom but it is fragile and the greatest threat to the Press is not Trump but his opponents. Nor does the media help itself with own bias being shown on a daily basis. Consider what NPR and Pew Reserch found, there were eight times as many positive stories about Obama than Trump and for every positive story about Trump, you had 12 negative stories.  If the media themselves refuse to be accurate in their coverage, they are merely sowing the seed of their own destruction since they have thrown away the one thing they can never get back, their reputation.  I don’t spend my night worry about what Trump will do or won’t do since he is limited by the Constitution about what he can do when it comes to the media. I worry more about those who favor weakening the constitution and use the power of government to criminalize the political difference.  This I document in my book with enough references.  Having both dealt with this on a personal basis and seen it first hand,  the very same people who consistenly warns us about Trump have been doing far worse over the past decade.

Now for the compassion.  The story Christmas Carol is one of my favorite for Dickens in his own way, in which he tells those asking for his aid, “are there no poorhouses?” as he makes the point, he pays his taxes for “welfare for the poor” and this is enough.  He refuses to part with his own money for charities for he is selfish but equally bad, he view it is the role of government and not individuals to care for the poor.  This is complete opposite of most Americans believe.  There have been a chartible aspect to Americans that impressed even Tocqueville in his Democracy in America plus. 5% of our economy is the charity sector and the number of people involved in charity could be as much as 1/3rd of our work force.   Bernie Sanders in the early 80’s told the Unite Way in a speech he didn’t believe in charity suggesting that government handles all that charity does.  For many on the left, there is no room for private charity and that is now extending to the private sector in general.  Scrooge own view was that he wasn’t responsible for his fellow man but let others through government deal with it.  I have heard this myself from individuals over the years who have made similar statements.  When I lived in Kansas, I worked with a breakfast club at our church in which we offered free breakfast before school to many of our poor children.  I had members of our church ask why we did this, couldn’t the government handle it?  Eventually we discontinued the program when the state government expanded their own breakfast program for 10 time the cost but what was lost, the breakfast included something that government didn’t provide, love for those children, many of whom didn’t see it often in their own home.  As the Vermont governor who followed Sanders noted, “You can’t buy caring.”  I will point out the majority of studies that dealt with charitable giving among different groups consistenly show that on the average conservatives donate more to charities than liberals to make a point that many conservatives do indeed show real compassion with their own resources.   This is not to say that government doesn’t have a role in helping the poor, they do but that role is limited and can never be permanent aspect but a mere helping hand to move up the economic ladder.  We have spent litterally trillion of dollars on poverty programs since the 60’s and poverty have ranged from 11 to 15% and the biggest drop in poverty rates came from the late 40’s to mid 60’s before the war on poverty began.

Can a Republican and conservative have a heart, yes and often they do.  As a liberal pastor of mine admitted that her pew were full of conservatives and Republicans on a Sunday morning and provided the money needed to run the church including the various outreach the church provided.   A functioning market economy is the most efficient way to relieve poverty ever seen and while like any human endeavor, it is imperfect but as James Madison observed in the Federalist paper, If men were angel, we would have no need for government.  Conservatives don’t disavow the role of government but understand that government needs to be limited to protect our liberties and not be a threat to them.  There is a difference between a safety net and a government that attempts to provide for all needs. The former allows individuals to move up the economic with temporary help and a permanent welfare system that traps individuals and provides obstacles to moving up the economic ladder.  The state with possibly the greatest inequality and highest number of people living in poverty based on Census buearu is California which spends plenty on a state wide basis to compliment what they get from the Federal government to deal with poverty.  In California, infrastructure is failing to go with the schools, housing and energy prices exceeds that of other states with the middle class and the poor unable to find even decent housing for the price.  If you are a middle class living in San Franscico or LA, you barely making ends meet.  US News and World Report rated California as the worst state overall based on host of items includig business climate, affordability and providing for the basics.  Liberal policies don’t alway  provide compassion even with all the best intentions.   Politicians like Trump come and go but ideals stay with us. How can a Republican have a heart, I could ask the same thing of most liberals, how can you be a liberal and have a heart when the very basis of their policies is coercing others to give through a government police power.

Sincerely

Tom Donelson

Brexit and Europe

(With Marcon call for a European Army supported by Merkel and the challenge that Nationalism is presenting to the EU along with Brexit, this was adopted from my book, https://posthillpress.com/book/the-rise-of-national-populism-and-democratic-socialism-what-our-response-should-be and I explained these movements in Europe.)

The English monarch was never as absolute as his or her counterparts in continental Europe. From the Magna Carta onwards, the powers of the monarch were restricted. The belief in limited government has given Americans and the rest of the Anglosphere an advantage over their competitors. In the Anglosphere nations, entrepreneurship has flourished and spread beyond their borders. From the time of the American Revolution and development of the Constitution, the French have endured two Napoleons and five Republics. Outside of England, no European nation has had more experience with democratic rule than the United States. The development of a strong civil society and long time understanding of constitutional rule has fostered both political and economic freedom within the Anglosphere and led to its present domination throughout the world.

Within the Western traditions, there are now two competing ideas. For the French, there is a continental system that features extensive government intervention within the economic sphere and beyond. Many French have derided what they call “Anglo-Saxon” Ideas. In the 1960s, de Gaulle envisioned a block of nations as a separate world power that stood as a counter to the Soviet Empire and the American led “Anglo-Saxon Empire.” Whether it is attacking American culture or complaining about America hegemony, much of the French intellectual and foreign policy apparatus viewed American ascendancy as counter to their goal of dominating Europe through the EU. France wants to become a major player on the world scene through various international bodies such as the European Union and the United Nations. For many French intellectuals, the EU represented the both the political and economic counterweight to what they view as “cowboy capitalism.” (The problem is that EU and the euro aided Germany in being the dominant economic power within Europe, and it is no longer the French leading the way but they are becoming a tail wagged by the German dog.)

One of the future key issues for the Anglosphere nations will be Great Britain’s relations with Europe. The present EU and continental system favors more bureaucratic control over the economy and increased industrial policies targeting specific industries. The harmonization of taxes and budgets within the EU is designed to maintain high taxes and support an ever-expanding welfare state. The policy of harmonization is being used as wedge against lower tax countries such as those in Ireland and in the emerging democracies in Central Europe. Britain’s goal of being “the Anglosphere voice” would have been compromised by dealings with the French and Germans, the present leaders of the EU. James C. Bennett observed in 2007, “Were the United Kingdom to leave the Union and join NAFTA, it would lead to far more productive partnership.”

For Bennett, Britain needs to be more closely integrated into the Anglosphere through inclusion in NAFTA and the other Anglosphere pacts. This is a more logical alliance as Bennett observed that having the United Kingdom join NAFTA would, “accelerate the existing trend toward mergers, partnerships, and alliances between U.S., Canadian, and British infotech companies. It would extend them into allied defense and defense-impacted fields such as aerospace and commercial aviation.” In other words, Brexit.

Many European leaders have learned the wrong lessons of the past fifty years. At this moment, Europe is at peace for the first time in a millennium but with the resurgence of Putin’s Russia, there exists for the first time a prospect of a major European war. This peace came as a result of American steadfast military support of Western Europe. During the 2016 campaign, Trump refuse to committing American support for NATO and European collective security.  (Even though since then, he has maintained support for NATO while trying to strengthen it.  Marcon and Merkel are doing the opposite, weakening NATO. )

 

 

Data on Voter Fraud presented by Tom Donelson

This is a report we put together through Americas Majority Foundation. http://amermaj.org/pdf/Voting-Noncitizens.pdf

Incident of voter fraud documented

https://www.heritage.org/voterfraud

Voter fraud exists, it is only  a matter of how much. Our own data does not support that any of the past three elections were impacted by voter fraud but there is evidence to suggest that specific elections may have been affected. There is evidence to suggest that voter fraud could have tilted North Carolina from McCain to Obama in 2008, our own data suggests that the possibility that 2016 North Carolina race may have been impacted.

Note the word may have been impacted.  An updated study from the Americas Majority Foundation 2017 study will be completed within the next two months.

This link from Senator Rubio, this is what stealing an election looks like. https://twitchy.com/gregp-3534/2018/11/08/bush-vs-gore-part-ii-marco-rubio-sounds-the-alarm-over-vote-counting-issues-in-broward-county-fl/?utm_campaign=twitchywidget

 

 

Why Vote Tuesday by Larry Fedewa

The USA is facing again a mid-term election on Tuesday. This is being called the most important mid-term election in our lifetime. Why is it important?
This mid-term is important because it may be our last effort to save our Congress’ role in our government. The Congress is the second of our three branches of government. With the Executive Branch and the Judiciary, the Congress was designed to be a vital player in the checks and balances by which our republic is governed. The most important role of the Congress is to limit the ability of either of the other branches to institute laws or regulations which unduly limit the freedoms of the people. Every single Congressman and Senator is elected personally by the people.
This is not exactly the case of the other two branches. It is true that the President and Vice President are elected, but the rest of the vast bureaucracy which they oversee is not elected and is in fact too large and diverse for any two-person team to supervise. The Judiciary consists of Judges who have been appointed by the President with, in some cases, the consent of the Senate. Thus, the Congress is closest to the people.
Another effect of legislative paralysis is the rise of the third branch of government, the Judiciary. We have already seen recent examples of a single, obscure federal judge issuing edicts which curtail the executive power of the President. Or, a nationally enforced injunction by a federal appeals court restricting law enforcement of the United States. Even if these foolish opinions are eventually reversed by the Supreme Court (which thus has more power than ever), they have led to various tragic consequences in the meantime, as we have seen in the immigration crisis.
So, the efforts of the President to “nationalize” the current mid-term elections is extremely pertinent to the health, even the survival, of our republic. The Congress is the PEOPLE’S GUARDIAN of our freedom and our representative government. It must remain viable and aggressive in the ongoing, everlasting struggle of our people to remain free.
The standard to which all elected officials are to be held was stated in the Declaration of Independence many years ago. This is the pledge which the Congress is sworn to protect:
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
That is why we all need to vote, and vote thoughtfully, on Tuesday.
So, why the concern about the effectiveness of the Congress?
The reason is that the USA has had divided government for ten of the last eighteen years. Divided government – when the President and only one or neither House of Congress is of the same party – used to work most of the time. It certainly came apart in 1860 and led to a Civil War. But for most of the 20th century the nation survived the periods of divided government without serious consequences.
But those days are over.
During the past decade, the differences between the two major parties have grown so sharp in rhetoric and views of the role of government that we are faced with the inability of the Congress to pass important and needed legislation. In order to pass legislation in our system, both Houses of Congress as well as the President have to vote in favor.
But the traditional limitations which the Senate has imposed upon itself for specific situations, (e.g. sometimes a 60-vote majority is needed to halt a filibuster), it has traditionally taken 60 votes to assert complete control over legislation (called a “super majority”). The last two times one party held a super majority were 1977-1979 and 2009-2011 – both were held by Democrats.
The constraints on the Senate requiring a super (filibuster-proof) majority are gradually being reversed as the super majority becomes ever rarer (three times since WWII). These rules were originally adopted to enforce compromises on important issues. Recently, however, compromises have become rarer than super majorities, so the rules have to change or all activity – including the actual operation of the government itself – as has happened twice recently (i.e. 2013 and 2018).What has now become a fact of life is the power of one House of Congress – or the President himself – to bring the entire government to a halt.
In addition, party discipline has now enforced straight party line votes on selected issues. In previous eras, it was always possible for each member to act independently. No longer. These days, every member is expected to follow directions from the Leader or suffer severe consequences, including committee assignments and campaign funding.
That leaves two alternatives – either the nation must elect a government unified by one party holding both houses of Congress, including a super majority of the Senate, as well as the Presidency, or the Congress will in effect cease to govern except in extreme emergencies, such as an attack on the homeland or an economic collapse, both of which have occurred in recent years.
There are other dangerous effects of legislative paralysis as well. First is the gradual ascendance to greater and greater power of the federal bureaucracy. It will continue to function and to fill any vacuum left by an absent second branch of government. We have seen how the IRS and the Justice Department/intelligence agencies have attempted to impose the will of a few high-ranking officials on the selection and effectiveness of the duly elected President of the United States. This usurpation must be halted by aggressive oversight of the Congress.
(Larry Fedewa is the host of Dr. Larry Show, all rights belong to Larry Fedewa)

Is There a Trump Master Plan to Eliminate the National Debt by Larry Fedewa

by Dr. Larry Fedewa (September 29, 2018)

The Threat

The greatest threat to the long-term security of the United States of America is the $21 trillion (and growing) national debt. There are many possible outcomes of an uncontrolled national debt – none of them good.

Gradual outcomes have already begun in the form of efforts to undermine the position of the dollar as the world’s reserve currency. The chief force behind this move is China, with serious support of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) which, with the support of the Obama administration, invented its Special Drawing Rights (SDR’s) as an alternative to the dollar for international trade. 

Further, the new international development bank called BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa), an economic coalition representing 41% of the world’s population and 23% of the global Gross National Product (GDP), has pledged to fund a one trillion-dollar development bank to rival the World Bank and the IMF. The rapidly increasing preferred currency of BRICS is the Chinese yuan. BRICS started as an economic coalition for mutual support but has already begun to branch out into nuclear security and similar fields of cooperation.

Some commentators, such as James Rickards, see this and similar efforts as genuine threats to the stability of the dollar. As long as the huge debt keeps growing and the proportion of the world gold supply held by the USA keeps dwindling, the USA stands to continue watching confidence in the dollar decrease apace. That path eventually leads the USA toward becoming a giant Greece or post-WWI Germany.

Another threat to the US currency is the rumor that twelve “blue” states, led by California, are set to begin circulating dollars backed by state banks (rather than the US Treasury) as legal tender to undercut federal control of the US economy, reverting to pre-Federal Reserve (1912) US practice. If true, this could have catastrophic consequences for USA solvency, perhaps the end of “King Dollar”.

Conservative Support for Donald Trump

One of the first reasons many conservatives supported Donald Trump for President was their expectation that the national debt was one of his main targets in making America great again. So far, there has been no movement in that direction other than his bargaining a lower price for the Jerusalem embassy and some similar economies. So, the question is, Does Mr. Trump have a long-term strategy for eliminating the national debt? Budget hawk Paul Ryan’s leaving his power position as Speaker of the House does not look like a good sign.

The Trump Strategy

There is a school of thought that maintains the following logic:

  • in order to have a chance at reducing federal spending, the USA has to have a thriving economy, because experience shows that a country cannot spend its way out of recession. The Obama administration tried that and contributed to the longest recession in history.
  • But neither can a country starve its way out of recession, because the population will not stand for it.
  • Therefore, the only time spending reductions can be made successfully is when the economy is booming. This was known even in biblical times, as in the story of Joseph and Egypt’s seven years of plenty followed by seven lean years.
  • It is also necessary in these times of international challenges to maintain the USA’s military preeminence in order to guard the peace. Starving the American military as the Obama administration did would work only in a world without enemies as imagined by Obama’s idealists.
  • A strong military and a strong economy are also necessary conditions for prevailing in a contest of wills over radical re-alignment of trading relationships.
  • In order to prepare the country for federal cost-cutting, therefore, these preparations are necessary.
  • Conclusion: We are still in the first stage of the Trump national strategy,
  • The next step will be a debt reduction phase.

 

The Cost Cutting Phase

It is clear that the key to reducing the national debt as well as securing the dollar is the so-called entitlements. We have already heard President Trump’s most basic approach to this issue. Namely, he has promised not to rescind the Government promises to those who have contributed all their working lives to Social Security. Speaker Ryan’s formula for dealing with this issue recognizes the Government’s moral obligation to honor its role as custodian of the contributors’ funds, but also saves significant money by gradually adjusting the timing: raising the eligibility age from 62 to a later date (which corresponds to changes in the workforce which have already occurred). There are also other minimally painful adjustments available in areas of other federal and state pension programs, such as, civilian, military and railroad employees. Another area of saving has already begun with the reduction regulations and the corresponding need for enforcement personnel. The key is not really the actual metrics; at this stage the keys are the will to do it and the adequacy of the  targets.

Energy

I cannot leave this topic without noting another possible advantage that may be emerging in defense of the dollar. That is the steady increase in America’s energy production. In the past, America’s major attractions to the rest of the world have been our nuclear shield and our huge retail markets. Our chief exports have been technology and the corresponding jobs it created.

The energy revolution adds a major new dimension to our export menu. With the investment and legal facilitation of more sources and more refineries, America can emerge from its status as a buyer of energy to a world exporter of energy. The transition holds enormous leverage for America’s international position in reversing the balance of international trade, reversing the outflow of petrodollars, enhancing our defense of Europe, and ultimately raising our cost of living. This monumental change in America’s international position might even influence the longevity of the dollar as the world’s reserve currency – replacing gold as guarantor.

Let’s hope President Trump is on the same wave length!

Larry Fedewa is the host of the Dr. Larry Show.

© 2017, Richfield Press. All rights reserved.

The Khashoggi Matter by Larry Fedewa

 Was he really one of the “bad guys”?
By Dr. Larry Fedewa (October 21, 2018)
British Journalist Melanie Phillips provides a different narrative of the final hours of Jamal Khashoggi in her Jewish News Service column (October 18, 2018).
Far from being the liberal Washington Post opponent of revisionist Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (called MBS for short) because MBS’ reforms are too little too late, Phillips asserts that he was in reality a double agent with ties to both the radical Muslim Brotherhood and the Saudi intelligence service. Of late, he had been straying off the beaten path by connecting with the Turkey/Qatar faction which opposes the Saudi/US/ Israel triad for leadership of Sunni Islam.
In fact, he visited the Saudi embassy on that fateful day to secure Saudi government permission to marry his Turkish fiancé, who is a Turkish diplomat and daughter of a former advisor to Turkish President Erdogan.
As a Saudi intelligence asset for twenty years, Phillips reports, Khashoggi possessed a wealth of secret information which it now appeared was available to the opposition. Not only did the Saudis not want to kill him, she says, they wanted him alive and talking, preferably in a Riyadh jail. That is why they sent a large “extraction team” rather than a lone assassin.
Apparently, what happened was an accident caused by his attempt to fight his way out of the trap. He was 60 years old and overweight with a heart condition. The whereabouts of the body is unknown as of this writing, but that fact has the earmark of a panicked reaction on the part of the team.
If this account is closer to the truth than the Turks’ account which has been leaked to the international press and which was the account first made public, then the American response will be different than assumed to date. In the first place, the victim is not the Washington Post hero we have been led to believe. Jamal Khashoggi may have been one of the “bad guys”. Secondly, the Saudis did not murder him; he died in a fight against his arrest by his government. Thirdly, while MBS probably was aware of the plan to arrest and transport the traitor, he is not responsible for Khashoggi’s death.
If this whole thing was an accident, then why the mass firings and suspensions of the team members and their leaders? That is a good question. The proper answer will become more obvious when we hear the punishment the King will determine. If there was an intentional murder, the punishment would likely be arrest and trial. If accidental death, the punishment for poor judgement, incompetent performance and inadequate planning would be substantially less, one would expect.
Unfortunately, the Saudi accounts of the incident have shifted from “he left the embassy alive” to “he was accidently killed in a fight” to “we haven’t found the corpse” – all of which have undermined the credibility of anything they will have to say. The assumption is that they are desperately trying to exonerate MBS. Calls from American observers for replacement of MBS by the King are growing.
In the final analysis, the American response must be proportionate to the facts (as we perceived them to be). The underlying considerations are two: 1) Saudi Arabia is a sovereign country with traditions and values far different than our own in matters of human rights and laws; and 2) the Kingdom is a vital ally in our contest with the Shiite Arabs, led by Iran and including Syria and Palestine.
The long-standing alliance between our two countries has recently been expanded with the commitments of Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and the other Sunni Muslim countries to support not only US policies against terrorists, but also US support of Israel against the Palestinians.
These considerations must be protected in any American response to the Khashoggi matter. Our own interests must be placed ahead of calls of outrage because our government’s first priority is the protection of our own country. Not to mention the fact that America’s murder of another Saudi citizen named Osama Bin Laden was undertaken and applauded with nearly universal American support. While the context was different, the operation was executed with strikingly similar characteristics to that imputed to the Saudis by the Turks. The point being that America, like all other nations, tends to take extreme measures to advance its security.
America’s goal in the Middle East is a lasting peace – so that our own troops and bases can leave. at cannot happen unless there is a solution to the 1000-year old war between the Shiites and the Sunnis. The Trump administration has picked the Sunnis over the Obama choice of the Shiites – for better or worse.
When deciding the official response to the Khashoggi matter, it will be worthwhile to recall the picture of the American President addressing a roomful of Muslim heads- of- state for the first time in history during President Trump’s 2017 conference in Riyadh.
Larry Fedewa is the host of Dr. Larry Show.
© Richfield Press, 2018. All rights reserved.