What is free-market capitalism? 47

This post was born as a comment by our economist reader and contributor, Don L. He expanded it into an article. 

It is addressed to the average American who earns, banks, invests, and pays taxes, but might confess that he doesn’t really understand “the dismal science” (as the Scottish philosopher Thomas Carlyle called Economics). Free-market capitalism is the only system that benefits everybody, and the only economists who were right about this were those of the Austrian School (of which the best known members are, probably, Ludwig von Mises and Friedrich Hayek). The article points the way to finding out what free-market capitalism really is. 

The possibly surprising point the author makes is that the United States is not really the free-market capitalist country it is purported to be …  

**

There’s a tactic employed in the field of Economics, and other corrupted fields of study/“professionalism” (history, law, meteorology/climate, education/compulsory schooling, etc.) that I label the “3rd-Party Authority Justification & Deflection Tactic”.  The tactic invokes authority to implement a plan and the ability to escape blame when it fails: “We relied on the experts.” And, the experts (unjustified) sell their name and authority (the “Top 500”, the “Leading” or the “Council of Advisers”, etc.) for grants, subsidies, a new regulation or a tit-for-tat pay raise. Being right is subordinated to the reward from political benefactors: “We support the Senators program”; which, as all unconstitutional social plans do, inevitably fails with tragic consequences.

It must be understood that in the US of A it is estimated that from 53% to 60% of ALL economists are employed directly by government (split approx. 60/40 percent by federal and state respectively) with another 20% plus estimated to be employed in positions dependent on government support. Upton Sinclair said it best: “It is hard to get a man to understand a thing when his job depends on his not understanding it.”  (Do you think there might be a “favor government” over human beings bias in the profession? DUH)

The challenge stands: The Austrian economist Robert Murphy challenged the icon of leftist economics, Paul Krugman, to debate. The inducement was a prize of $100K to be given to a food bank in NYC if Krugman merely showed up …he has refused. Consider, he refused to just put in an appearance and thereby denied a food bank, the hungry, a windfall of $100K of needed funds/foodstuffs. So much for social justice; even primary leftist cause takes a back seat to being exposed as a fraud. He’s a fraudulent coward!

A debate on what the political economic policy should be has never happened. Indeed, every measure is taken to insure that economics qua economics is never ever exposed to the general public. Mainstream economics is as fake as mainstream news. It is a fraud, sham, scam and lie. What is shoved down our throats as economics is singularly and only government central planning of the economy. Economics qua economics is a descriptive social science requiring thinking. IT IS NOT pretend hard science employing mathematical-modeling of historic, static, limited point-in-time data toward predicting (crystal ball) the future for unconstitutional, politicized, social engineering.

The world has been brought, through ideologically-designed compulsory schooling , to unquestionably believe the lie that the economy is so large and complex that only experts can manage it. Yes, the economy is large and complex … SO? How does “manage it by experts”  follow? IT DOESN’T.

In fact it was at the end of the 19th and into the 20th century that the answers to all the significant questions about economics, after 500 years of scholarship, were finally answered. And, the paramount finding was the irrefutable fact that an economy cannot and ought not be managed at all; by anyone whether “expert” or not.

These findings, however, did not and do not sit well with the rulers … implementation requires  stripping them of their power over the people: He who has the gold makes the rules. Well, simultaneous with the revelations of real economics, the opportunist and clownish son of a noted economist, admittedly fabricated a politician-pleasing economic theory, out of thin air (like the phony money monetary policies he backed – the FED). The sophomoric son was John Maynard Keynes and his ludicrous and wholly incomprehensible theory was presented in his book The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money.

Keynes’s theory has been totally destroyed, yet it persists because it justifies – absolute nonsensical and proven tragically wrong – government intervention in the economy: social engineering. Marx – also a failed thinker with a failed tragic theory – and Keynes have done more to destroy lives, wealth and natural resources than any other two men. They provided the “3rd-Party Authority Justification & Deflection Tactic” cover, employed by governments around the world, behind which rulers could hide as they engineer “social justice” – i.e. control and manipulate their populations. Like here in the good ol’ US of A.

Incidentally, the supposed icon of Free-Markets, Milton Friedman, was NOT!  In fact, Friedman naively supported the worst and most deleterious of the government interventions, thereby negating his promotion of free enterprise (curiously not free-markets): monetary manipulation (inflation) for the benefit of government – not the governed!

Austrian economics, for those who do not know, is the only school of economics that does NOT incorporate any notion of government intervention in the economy – ALL OTHERS DO! Austrian Econ is the only school that advances Free-Market Capitalism; which mirrors, coincidentally, the Founder’s principles of individual sovereignty and government by the consent of the governed.

It is the only school that has been proven correct, 100% of the time, in projections and warnings for more than 100 years. Name one economist from any other school that has ever been right. That was rhetorical as one cannot find any other school of economics that has ever been correct …PERIOD. All they offer is the fake cover for fraudulent banking schemes that benefit politicians and their cadres of sycophants.

If you don’t know what free-market capitalism IS, you can be made to believe it is the economic system in America when it isn’t; and, IT ISN’T!

If you don’t know what free-market capitalism IS, you can be made to believe it is the cause of all manner of horrific and immoral human tragedy when it isn’t; and, IT ISN’T!

If you do not know what centralized fractional reserve banking is then you have to begin to ask yourself: “How have I been made to not care about my own best interests?” Why? Because centralized fractional reserve banking IS the fascistic political economic system of the united States of America NOT Free-Market Capitalism! It was enacted as law in 1913. It replaced Free-Market Capitalism with what can only be described as Centrally-Planned “Debtism” (dollars do not represent wealth but, rather, DEBT). You may know it’s intended-to-deceive name: The FED – not a federal government entity. How is it you have never been taught this?

Economic tragedies cannot be blamed on an economic system that does not exist. Every economic turn down in America’s history is directly and demonstrably the fault of government intervention in the economy; specifically, monetary manipulation by the FED. And, not one bit of it is FREE-MARKET CAPITALISM! So, why is it blamed? Well, the planners aren’t going to blame themselves … are they?

If life, liberty and prosperity are inextricably linked to the economy and there can be no exercise of rights, unalienable or otherwise, without economic freedom, how is it over 95% of Americans, including bankers and top CEOs, do not know what centralized fractional reserve banking is or does – to their detriment.

NOTE: Centralized fractional reserve banking IS the system by which purchasing power (wealth) is stripped from those on the lowest rungs of the economic ladder and transferred to those already up the ladder and standing on the roof: currency inflation is the FED’s ONLY function.

It is time that every citizen fulfilled his duty to give INFORMED consent. First, each individual must take the time to discover Free-Market Capitalism – Austrian economics. Once done, the informed citizen will never be Lulled, Gulled & Dulled by duplicitous and/or dangerously ignorant career-politicians, their army of cronies and their deceptive 3rd-Party Authority Justification & Deflection Tactic ever again … GUARANTEED!

Here’s some further “discover” info:

Keynes The Man by Murray N. Rothbard

Where Keynes Went Wrong: And Why World Governments Keep Creating Inflation, Bubbles, and Busts by Hunter Lewis

A Free-Market Monetary System and The Pretense of Knowledge by F. A. Hayek

Recovering Economics by Harry C. Veryser

The Red Prussian by Leopold Schwarzschild

QUICK INTRODUCTION TO AUSTRIAN ECONOMICS:

Why Austrian Economics Matters by Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr

What is Austrian Economics? — The Ludwig von Mises Institute

Economic Policy: Thoughts for Today and Tomorrow by Ludwig von Mises

Liberty and Property by Ludwig von Mises

 

Don L     April 5, 2018

(For more books that will aid discovery in the field of of Economics, please see The Atheist Conservative’s (starter) reading list, under Pages in the margin.)

Posted under Economics by Jillian Becker on Thursday, April 5, 2018

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The case for President Trump’s tariffs 23

This post is intended to be read along with the post immediately below, The case for free trade.

“Our Steel and Aluminum industries (and many others) have been decimated by decades of unfair trade and bad policy with countries from around the world. We must not let our country, companies and workers be taken advantage of any longer. We want free, fair and SMART TRADE!” – President Trump

According to Forbes:

While the exact amount of tariffs has not been confirmed, the President has indicated that he favors tariffs of 25% on steel imports and 10% on imported aluminum. Similarly, the specifically affected countries were not called out, but it’s likely the President might exempt some of our closest trading partners.

The imposition of tariffs would, according to the President, level the playing field between the United States and countries like China.

Now we quote Seton Motley, president of Less Government, a DC-based organization “dedicated to reducing the power of government and protecting the First Amendment from governmental assault”. (And so also, it would seem, a libertarian.) He is a leading authority on technology and telecom policy, and a policy adviser to The Heartland Institute.

He makes a case for President Trump’s tariffs not because he is for protection in principle – he says he is not – but because other countries practice it to the detriment of the United States.

He writes at Townhall:

President Donald Trump wants to fix the nightmare mess that is DC’s crony globalist fake “free trade” – and conservatives all across the nation are up in arms.

A lot of really great conservative thinkers are very, very angry with Trump’s tariff threat.

(Please note: They at this point remain threats – not tariffs. Read“The Art of the Deal. Very often you threaten, but never enact – the threat is enough to better the deal.)

And as much as I like and respect so very many of these conservative thinkers – they are all very, very wrong.

A lot of what you get from them is a lot of talking points … “Tariffs are taxes!” “Protectionism is bad!” “Free trade is good!”

The very obvious secret is I agree with all of these points.

The other very obvious secret is none of them apply to what DC pretends is “free trade”. 

Globalist big business robber barons have spent the last half-century-plus lobbying DC for more and more one-sided, America-last trade deals in which America removes all of our government impediments – tariffs, domestic subsidies, import caps, etc. – to our world’s-largest now-$18-trillion-per-year economy. This thereby allows the unfettered flow of goods and services from all round the world.

We have done absolutely nothing about the very many government impediments – tariffs, domestic subsidies, import caps, etc. – that just about every other nation imposes upon us, severely limiting the flow of our goods and services into their relatively paltry markets.

This has been one long, ongoing trade war declared and engaged in by every nation on the planet – except the U.S., and one incessantly long run of titanically stupid trade policy. …

These terrible deals have been a key component in our nation’s loss of millions and millions of jobs. And the loss of who should be key allies in the fight for less government domestically.

Rather than fight for less government domestically – thereby making it more tenable to remain in the States – the globalist big business robber barons flipped the script.

They got DC to emplace ever more America-last trade deals – and then moved their businesses to the countries from which they had just negotiated unfettered access to our economy, costing us millions of gigs and escaping all of our stupid domestic government – and all of the government impediments the other countries emplace upon U.S. exports.

Now their new host nations’ continued protectionism benefits them. Heck, their new host nations often subsidize their companies.

Meanwhile, America’s small businesses – which can’t move overseas – have to stay here and get pummeled by ever-expanding domestic government and the relocated-globalist-big-business-robber-baron subsidized-and-protectionism-protected goods and services – being brought in unfettered to compete against them.

These small domestic businesses very often cannot endure the relentless pummelings – and succumb and go under. Thereby costing us millions of additional gigs. …

All of this has for decades been DC’s definition of “free trade”.  It has absolutely nothing to do with actual free trade, free markets, or freedom of any sort.

And this is what conservatives all across the country are in the midst of defending.

Ok: You don’t like Trump’s proposed tariffs – I get it.

But at least Trump knows there is a HUGE problem that needs to be addressed (and has known it for decades).

So until someone amongst the many contesting conservatives acknowledges there actually is a HUGE problem – I’ll be siding with the guy who knows there is, and is looking to address it.

We invite the opinions of our readers on whether President Trump is justified in imposing – or at least threatening to impose – tariffs on steel and aluminum.

Posted under China, Economics, Trade, United States by Jillian Becker on Wednesday, March 7, 2018

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The case for free trade 10

President Trump is speaking of imposing tariffs on steel and aluminum to boost domestic production.

To explain the case for free trade, we quote from a speech delivered at the (libertarian) Mises Institute a few days ago by Thomas J. DiLorenzo.

It is not an exaggeration to say that trade is the keystone of modern civilization. For as Murray Rothbard wrote:

The market economy is one vast latticework throughout the world, in which each individual, each region, each country, produces what he or it is best at, most relatively efficient in, and exchanges that product for the goods and services of others. Without the division of labor and the trade based upon that division, the entire world would starve. Coerced restraints on trade – such as protectionism – cripple, hobble, and destroy trade, the source of life and prosperity.

Human beings cannot truly be free unless there is a high degree of economic freedom – the freedom to collaborate and coordinate plans with other people from literally all around the world. That is the point of Leonard Read’s famous article, “I Pencil,” which describes how to produce an item as mundane as an ordinary pencil requires the cooperation and collaboration of thousands of people from all around the world, all of whom possess very specific knowledge … that allows them to assist in the production and marketing of pencils. The same is true, of course, for virtually everything else that is produced.

Without economic freedom – the freedom to earn a living for oneself and one’s family – people are destined to become mere wards of the state. Thus, every attempt by the state to interfere with trade is an attempt to deny us our freedom, to impoverish us, and to turn us into modern-day serfs.

[Ludwig von] Mises believed that trade or exchange is “the fundamental social relation” which “weaves the bond which unites men into society”. Man “serves in order to be served” in any trade relationship in the free market. …

Trade involves the exchange of property titles. Restrictions on free trade are therefore an attack on private property itself and not “merely” a matter of “trade policy”. This is why such great classical liberals as Frederic Bastiat spent many years of their lives defending free trade. Bastiat … understood that once one acquiesced in protectionism, then no one’s property will be safe from myriad other governmental acts of theft. To Bastiat, protectionism and communism were essentially the same philosophy.

It has long been recognized by classical liberals that free trade was the most important means of diminishing the likelihood of war. …

[I]t is not democracy that is a safeguard against war but, as the British (classical) Liberals were to recognize, it is free trade. To Richard Cobden and John Bright, the leaders of the British Manchester School, free trade – both domestically and internationally – was a necessary prerequisite for the preservation of peace. …

As Frederic Bastiat often said, if goods can’t cross borders, armies will. This is a quintessentially American philosophy in that it was the position assumed by George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Thomas Paine, among others. A foreign policy based on commerce,” wrote Paine in Common Sense, would secure for America “the peace and friendship” of the Continent and allow her to “shake hands with the world – and trade in any market.” Paine – the philosopher of the American Revolution – believed that free trade would “temper the human mind”, and help people to “know and understand each other”,  and have a “civilizing effect” on everyone involved in it. Trade was seen as “a pacific system, operating to unite mankind be rendering nations, as well as individuals, useful to each other. . . . “War can never be in the interest of a trading nation.”

George Washington obviously agreed. “Harmony, liberal intercourse with all Nations, are recommended by policy, humanity and interest,” he stated in his September 19, 1796 Farewell Address. Our commercial policy “should hold an equal and impartial hand; neither seeking nor granting exclusive favours or preferences; consulting the natural course of things; deversifying by gentle means the streams of Commerce, but forcing nothing . . .”

The period of world history from the middle of the fifteenth to the middle of the eighteenth centuries was an era of growth in world trade and invention and of institutions suited to trade. Technological innovations in shipping, such as the three-masted sail, brought the merchants of Europe to the far reaches of America and Asia. This vast expansion of trade greatly facilitated the worldwide division of labor, greater specialization, and the benefits of comparative advantage.

But whenever human freedom advances, as it did with the growth of trade, state power is threatened. So states did all they could then, as now, to restrict trade. It is the system of trade restrictions and other governmental interferences with the free market, known as mercantilism, that Adam Smith railed against in The Wealth of Nations. … [He] was defending trade on moral as well as economic grounds by enunciating his doctrine of how free trade was part of the system of “natural justice”.  One of the ways he did this was to defend smugglers and the act of smuggling as a means of evading mercantilist restrictions on trade. The smuggler, explained Smith, was engaged in “productive labor” that served his fellow man (i.e., consumers) …

For the same reason, black markets are defensible.

Despite powerful arguments in favor of free trade offered by [Dr. Francois] Quesnay, [Adam] Smith, David Ricardo, and others, England (and other countries of Europe) suffered from protectionist trade policies for the first half of the nineteenth century. But this situation was turned around due to the heroic and brilliant efforts of what came to be known as the “Manchester School,” led by two British businessmen, John Bright and Richard Cobden. Thanks to Bright and Cobden Great Britain achieved complete free trade by 1850.

The British public was plundered by the mercantilist “corn laws” which placed strict import quotas on the importation of food. The laws benefited political supporters of the government who were engaged in farming at the expense of much higher food prices, which was especially harmful to the poor. Bright and Cobden formed the Anti-Corn Law League in 1839 and turned it into a well-oiled political machine with mass support, distributing literally millions of leaflets, holding conferences and gatherings all around the country, delivering hundreds of speeches, and publishing their own newspaper, The League. …

From his home in Mugron, France, Frederic Bastiat single handedly created a free-trade movement in his own country that eventually spread throughout Europe. Bastiat was a gentleman farmer who had inherited the family estate. He was a voracious reader, and spent many years educating himself in classical liberalism and in just about any other field that he could attain information about. After some twenty years of intense intellectual preparation, articles and books began to pour out of Bastiat (in the 1840s). His book, Economic Sophisms, is to this day arguably the best defense of free trade ever published. His second book, Economic Harmonies, quickly followed, while Bastiat published magazine and newspapers all over France. His work was so popular and influential that it was immediately translated into English, Spanish, Italian, and German.

Due to Bastiat’s enormous influence, free-trade associations, modeled after one he had created in France and similar to the one created by his friend, Richard Cobden, in England, began to sprout in Belgium, Italy, Sweden, Prussia, and Germany.

To Bastiat, collectivism in all its forms was immoral as well as economically destructive.

Collectivism constituted “legal plunder,” and to argue against the (natural) right to private property would be similar to arguing that theft and slavery were “moral”. The protection of private property is the only legitimate function of government, Bastiat wrote, which is why trade restrictions – and all other mercantilist schemes – should be condemned. Free trade “is a question of right, of justice, of public order, of property. Because privilege, under whatever form it is manifested, implies the denial or the scorn of property rights.” And “the right to property, once weakened in one form, would soon be attacked in a thousand different forms.”

There is no clearer example of how trade restrictions are the enemy of freedom than the American Revolution. In the seventeenth century all European states practiced the policy of mercantilism. England imposed a series of Trade and Navigation Acts on its colonies in America and elsewhere, which embodied three principles: 1) All trade between England and her colonies must be conducted by English (or English-built) vessels owned and manned by English subjects; 2) All European imports into the colonies must “first be laid on the shores of England” before being sent to the colonies so that extra tariffs could be placed on them; and 3) Certain products from the colonies must be exported to England and England only.

In addition, the colonists were prohibited from trading with Asia because of the East India Company’s state-chartered monopoly. There were import duties placed on all colonial imports into England.

After the Seven Years War (known in America as the French-Indian War), England’s massive land holdings (Canada, India, North America to the Mississippi, most of the West Indies) became very expensive to administer and police. Consequently, the Trade and Navigation Acts were made even more oppressive, which imposed severe hardships on the American colonists and helped lead to revolution.

After the American Revolution trade restrictions nearly caused the New England states — which suffered disproportionately from the restrictions — to secede from the Union. In 1807 Thomas Jefferson was president and England was once again at war with France. England declared that it would “secure her seamen wherever found”,  which included U.S. ships. After a British warship captured the USS Chesapeake off Hampton Roads, Virginia, Jefferson imposed a trade embargo that made all international commerce illegal. After Jefferson left office his successor, James Madison, imposed an “Enforcement Act” which allowed war-on-drugs style seizure of goods suspected to be destined for export.

This radicalized the New England secessionists, who had been plotting to secede ever since Jefferson was elected, issued a public declaration reminding the nation that “the U.S. Constitution was a Treaty of Alliance and Confederation” and that the central government was no more than an association of the states. Consequently, “whenever its [i.e., the Constitution’s] provisions were violated, or its original principles departed from by a majority of the states or their people, it is no longer an effective instrument, but that any state is at liberty by the spirit of that contract to withdraw itself from the union.”

The Massachusetts legislature formally condemned the embargo, demanded its repeal by Congress, and declared that it was “not legally binding”. In other words, the Massachusetts legislature “nullified” the law. Madison was forced to end the embargo in March of 1809. …

John Taylor, a noted Anti-Federalist, was a lifelong critic of mercantilism and laid out his criticisms in his 1822 book, Tyranny Unmasked. Like Bastiat, Taylor saw protectionism as an assault on private property that was diametrically opposed to the freedom the American revolutionaries had fought and died for. The tyranny that Taylor sought to “unmask” was the collection of fables and lies that had been devised by mercantilists to promote their system of plunder. If one looks at England’s mercantilist policies, Taylor wrote, “No equal mode of enriching the party of government, and impoverishing the party of people, has ever been discovered.” …

Many of Taylor’s arguments were adopted and expanded upon by the great South Carolinian statesman John C. Calhoun during the struggle over the 1828 “Tariff of Abomination”,  which a South Carolina political convention voted to nullify. The confrontation between South Carolina, which was very heavily import dependent, as was most of the South, and the federal government over the Tariff of Abominations almost led to the state’s secession some thirty years prior to the War for Southern Independence. The federal government backed down and reduced the tariff rate in 1833.

The Northern manufacturers who wanted to impose British-style mercantilism on the U.S. did not give up, however; they formed the American Whig party, which advocated three mercantilist schemes: protectionism, corporate welfare for themselves, and a central bank to pay for it all. From 1832 until 1861 the Whigs, led by Henry Clay and, later, by Abraham Lincoln, fought mightily in the political arena to bring seventeenth-century mercantilism to America.

The Whig party died in 1852, but the Whigs simply began calling themselves Republicans.

We have often praised the Republican Party for its opposition to slavery, but we do not praise it for this:

The tariff was the centerpiece of the Republican party platform of 1860, as it had been when the same collection of Northern economic interests called itself “Whigs” for the previous thirty years.

By 1857 the level of tariffs had been reduced to the lowest level since 1815, according to Frank Taussig in his classic Tariff History of the United States. But when the Republicans controlled the White House and the Southern Democrats left the Congress the Republicans did what, as former Whigs, they had been itching to do for decades: go on a protectionist frenzy. In his First Inaugural Address Lincoln stated that he had no intention to disturb slavery in the Southern states and, even if he did, there would be no constitutional basis for doing so. But when it came to the tariff, he promised a military invasion if tariff revenues were not collected. …

By 1862 the average tariff rate had crept up to 47.06 percent, the highest level ever, even higher than the 1828 Tariff of Abominations. These high rates lasted for decades after the war.

[B]y 1860 England itself had moved to complete free trade; France sharply reduced her tariff rates in that very year; and Bastiat’s free-trade movement was spreading throughout Europe. Only the Northern United States was clinging steadfastly to seventeenth-century mercantilism.

After the war the Northern manufacturing interests who financed and controlled the Republican party (i.e., the old Whigs) were firmly in control and they “ushered in a long period of high tariffs. With the tariff of 1897, protection reached an average level of 57 percent.” This political plunder continued for about fifty years after the war, at which time international competition forced tariff rates down moderately. By 1913 the average tariff rate in the U.S. had declined to 29 percent.

But the same clique of Northern manufacturers was begging for “protection” and persisted until they got it when Herbert Hoover signed the Smoot-Hawley tariff of 1929, which increased the average tariff rate on over 800 items back up to 59.1 percent. The Smoot-Hawley tariff spawned an international trade war that resulted in about a 50 percent reduction in total exports from the United States between 1929 and 1932. Poverty and misery was the inevitable result. Even worse, the government responded to these problems of its own creation with a massive increase in government intervention, which only produced even more poverty and misery and deprived Americans of more and more of their freedoms.

The case for President Trump’s tariffs follows immediately in the next post. …

Trump, Trumpism, and THEM 2

It’s altogether too much for THEM to bear! The man is a billionaire who loves life, lives well, and enjoys himself tremendously both at work and at play; has a wife who is one of the most beautiful women in the world, and is also graceful, gentle, intelligent and competent; has handsome successful children and bright charming grandchildren; and, on top of all that, has become the most powerful man in the world. To add a final insult to THEM, he is perfectly healthy at the age 0f 71; immensely energetic and strong; and fully capable of continuing to do what he wants to do.

And then, try as THEY might to find something he has done terribly wrong to blot his intolerably immaculate escutcheon, THEY cannot find anything!

Actually, it is even worse for THEM. Far worse. Because not only is he victorious, THEY are defeated. Probably (with luck) irrecoverably. He has risen to power at a moment when THEY had  almost conquered the world; almost made it poor; almost brought the nations – possibly even including the USA – into universal homogeneity at the lowest level of subsistence in subjection to THEM running a world communist government (in order to “save the planet” from people using cars and making things in factories); almost destroyed Western civilization.

We are enthusiasts for Trumpism because we are warriors against THEM.

As such, do we exaggerate his achievements? If so, by how much? Overlook his flaws? If so, what are they?

As a corrective to our possibly overindulgent judgment of the president, we reproduce an article by Victor Davis Hanson; surely a reasonable and fair assessment of the Trump presidency thus far and prospectively. It is also necessary to know that it appeared at the mostly, persistently, and emphatically anti-Trump National Review:

As President Trump finished his first full year in office, he could look back at an impressive record of achievement of a kind rarely attained by an incoming president — much less by one who arrived in office as a private-sector billionaire without either prior political office or military service.

As unintended proof of his accomplishments, Trump’s many liberal opponents have gone from initially declaring him an incompetent to warning that he has become effective — insanely so — in overturning the Obama progressive agenda. Never Trump Republicans acknowledge that Trump has realized much of what they once only dreamed of — from tax reform and deregulation to a government about-face on climate change, the ending of the Obamacare individual mandate, and expansion of energy production.

Trump so far has not enacted the Never Trump nightmare agenda. The U.S. is not leaving NATO. It is not colluding with Vladimir Putin, but maintaining sanctions against Russia and arming Ukrainians. It is not starting a tariff war with China. The administration is not appointing either liberals or incompetents to the federal courts. A politicized FBI, DOJ, and IRS was Obama’s legacy, not Trump’s doing, as some of the Never Trump circle predicted. Indeed, the Never Trump movement is now mostly calcified, as even some of its formerly staunch adherents concede. It was done in by the Trump record and the monotony of having to redefine a once-welcomed conservative agenda as suddenly unpalatable due to Trump’s crude fingerprints on it.

On the short side, Trump has still not started to build his much-promised border wall, to insist on free but far fairer trade with Asia and Europe, or to enact an infrastructure-rebuilding program. Nonetheless, Trump’s multitude of critics is unable to argue that his record is shoddy and must instead insist that his list of achievements is due mostly to the Republican Congress. Or they claim he is beholden to the legacy of the Obama administration. Or they insist that credit belongs with his own impressive economic and national-security cabinet-level appointments. Or that whatever good came of Trump’s first year is nullified by Trump’s persistent personal odiousness.

At the conclusion of Trump’s first year, the stock market and small-business confidence are at record highs, and consumer confidence has not been higher in 17 years. Trump’s loud campaign promises to lure back capital and industry to the heartland no longer look quixotic, given new tax and deregulatory incentives and far cheaper energy costs than in most of Europe and Japan. Trump has now ended 66 regulations for every one he has added. Few believed a Republican president could cut the corporate-tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent while capping state- and local-tax deductions for mostly high earners to $10,000. Those are the highlights of a comprehensive tax-reform and -reduction agenda that will likely accelerate the economy to an even more rapid growth rate than Trump’s first two full quarters of annualized increases in GDP of more than 3 percent. Dozens of large companies are already passing along some of their anticipated tax cuts to employees through increased wages or bonuses — dismissed as “crumbs” by House minority leader Nancy Pelosi. Rising workers’ wages and anticipated tax credits and savings for the lower and middle classes for now are rendering almost mute the age-old fights about state-mandated minimum-wage laws.

The mostly unheralded nixing of the Obamacare individual mandate — once the great ideological battlefield of the Affordable Care Act — will insidiously recalibrate the ACA into a mostly private-market enterprise.

Domestic oil production is slated to exceed 2017 record levels and soon may hit an astonishing 11 million barrels a day. “Peak oil” for now is an ossified idea, as are massive wind and solar Solyndra-like government subsidies and the mostly unworkable Paris Climate Accord. Gas, oil, and coal production are expected to rise even higher with new Trump initiatives to open up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge field in Alaska, encourage more fracking on federal lands and offshore, and complete needed pipeline links while encouraging coal exportation.

For all the political horse-trading over extending or ending the Obama executive orders on DACA, illegal immigration has declined according to some metrics by over 60 percent. It is now at the lowest levels in the 21st century — even before the ending of chain migration and enacting of new border-security initiatives. Abroad, the ISIS caliphate is for all purposes now extinct. Its demise is in part due to Trump’s outsourcing of the conflict to Secretary of Defense James Mattis, who liberated ground commanders from Obama-administration-era legalistic rules of engagement. Trump’s appointees, such as Mattis, National Security Adviser H. R. McMaster, U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, CIA Director Mike Pompeo, and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, have worked in concert to restore U.S. deterrence.

Variously called “principled realism” or a new “Jacksonianism”,  the Trump doctrine has now replaced the “strategic patience” and “lead from behind” recessionals of the prior administration and not emulated the neoconservative nation-building of the George W. Bush administration. New pressures on nuclear North Korea have prompted the toughest U.N. trade sanctions in history on the rogue state. After Trump’s fiery and erratic rhetoric and muscular displays of U.S. naval and air power in the Pacific, Pyongyang has agreed to landmark talks with Seoul. China is slowly beginning to pressure North Korea to stop launching missiles. Beijing’s Asian neighbors are beefing up missile defense and growing closer to the U.S. For now, the bad cop Trump and the good cops Mattis and McMaster have encouraged friends and frightened enemies, although the shelf life of such diplomatic gymnastics is limited.

Trump almost immediately voiced support for mass demonstrations in Iran, in a manner Obama failed to do in 2009. An ironic fallout of the disastrous 2015 Iran deal may be that the theocracy so hyped its cash windfalls from American relaxation of embargoes and sanctions that it inadvertently raised Iranians’ expectations of a rise in the standard of living. Then it dashed just those hopes by squandering hundreds of millions of newfound dollars in subsidizing Hezbollah, conducting a costly expeditionary war to save the genocidal Bashar al-Assad regime, and likely continuing an exorbitantly costly nuclear-weapons program. What is different about Iran’s internal unrest this time around is twofold. The Trump administration is not invested in any “landmark” deal with Tehran that requires ignoring protesters in the street. Trump also does not envision revolutionary and terror-sponsoring Iran as a “very successful regional power” with “legitimate defense concerns”. Rather, he sees Tehran, along with ISIS and al-Qaeda, as the chief source of Middle East unrest and anti-Americanism.

Moving the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, in line with past congressional mandates, along with threatening to curtail Palestinian aid, only reifies what is now widely accepted. The new Middle East is not the old. There are no longer any ongoing and viable “peace plans”, “road maps”, or “summits”.  America is becoming energy-independent and immune to oil boycotts. There are new and greater threats than Israel to Arab regimes, from nuclear Iran to the scourge of Islamic terrorism in Iraq and Syria. Patience is wearing thin as after 30 years the Palestinians still cannot create transparent and consensual government. Seventy years after the birth of Israel, the Palestinians still insist on being called “refugees” — when most of the world’s millions of displaced persons decades ago moved on.

Yet as Trump heads into the 2018 midterms, his favorability ratings are unimpressive. Because of loud Democratic threats of using impeachment proceedings to undermine the Trump project, the 2018 fight for the House is taking on historic importance. It is not just a referendum on the Trump agenda, but likely a means to seek to discredit or remove Trump himself — even if the prosecution in the Senate would likely never find the necessary 67 votes. In sum, an embattled Trump now finds himself in a war on all fronts. The first and most important conflict is one of favorability. Trump’s actual approval ratings, as in 2016, are probably somewhat higher than the low 40s reported in many polls. But Trump’s image is still astonishingly dismal in relation to his unappreciated achievements. For congressional Republicans to survive the midterms and retain majorities, Trump perhaps has to hope that the economy will grow not just at 3 percent but even more robustly — with marked rises in workers’ take-home wages due to tax cuts and labor shortages. Is it really true that politics can be reduced to “It’s the economy, stupid”? Obama failed to achieve 3 percent growth per annum over his eight years. As a result he may have lost both houses of Congress, but he also was reelected. More likely, no one quite knows the exact political consequences of economic growth. Between November 1983 and November 1984, the economy grew at 7 percent and ipso facto ushered the once “amiable dunce” Ronald Reagan into a landslide reelection victory over a previously thought-to-be-far-more-impressive Walter Mondale. Yet this time it may be that 3 percent GDP growth will not mitigate Trump’s personal negatives but 4–5 percent would.

It is said that Trump is also at war with himself, in the sense that his tweeting alienates the key constituencies of women voters and independents. Conventional wisdom assures that Trump’s off-the-cuff invectives only fuel his critics and overshadow his achievements. In the heart of immigration negotiations, Trump was quoted secondhand as having called Haiti and other formerly Third World countries “sh**hole” countries and thus undesirable sources of mass immigration to the U.S. Whatever the reliability of reports of the slur, Trump is certainly not the sort of politician to have said instead, “It would seem wiser to encourage diverse immigration, including immigration from the most developed countries as well as the least developed” — even as many people privately agree with Trump’s earthy assessment that immigration should be far more selective and include a far greater variety of countries of origin.

Both Trump’s spoken and electronic stream-of-consciousness venting can be unorthodox, crude and cruel, and often extraneous. But can anyone measure whether and to what degree his Twitter account energizes and widens his base more than it loses him supporters otherwise sympathetic to his agenda? The orthodox wisdom is that Trump should let his achievements speak for themselves, curb his raucous campaign rallies, and restrict his daily tweets to expansions on his agenda and achievement and leave the feuding to subordinates. When Trump has avoided ad hominem spats, and been filmed conducting policy sessions with his cabinet and congressional enemies and friends, he has looked and acted “presidential”.  How good then must Trump’s record become to overshadow both the prejudices against him and his own inner demons to achieve favorability ratings that will provide coattails for his congressional supporters and fuel an even more ambitious second-year agenda? Again, time is running out, and in the next ten months the economy must boom as never before or Trump must learn to sound more like a Ronald Reagan than a Howard Stern.

Trump is simultaneously at war with Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Once again, the critical element is time in the sense of the looming midterm elections. So far, after months of media speculation and press leaks, there is no evidence of Russian–Trump collusion. Robert Mueller’s investigative team has been riddled by charges of conflicts of interest, workplace unprofessionalism, and political bias. The basis of the entire writ against Trump, the Fusion GPS–Steele dossier, is now mostly discredited. The file’s lurid sexual accusations alone likely won it notoriety in 2016 among journalists and Obama-administration enablers. The more that is learned about the Steele opposition-research file — paid for by the Clinton campaign, polluted by Russian rumor-mongering, peddled to the FBI, manipulated by the Obama administration to justify FISA surveillance, likely leaked to pet reporters by Obama-administration and Clinton-campaign officials — the more apparent it may become that Mueller is investigating Russian collusion in entirely the wrong place. Another irony is that pushback against the Mueller fishing expedition may prompt reinvestigations into the earlier election-cycle-aborted inquiries about Clinton email improprieties. The Obama administration also likely acted improperly in ignoring the Clinton–Uranium One connections and Hillary Clinton’s violations of agreements with the Obama administration to report the sources of all private donations to the Clinton Foundation during her tenure. So far resistance at both the Department of Justice and the FBI to releasing documents pertaining to all these avenues of interest has stymied House and Senate inquiries. If the Republicans lose the Congress, these investigations will shut down entirely. Democratic majorities will give Mueller a free hand to do as he pleases without worries about past complaints over the ethical shortcomings of his investigation. Select Intelligence and Judiciary Committee hearings will likely give way in the House to impeachment proceedings. But if within the next nine months there are new explosive revelations about the improper or even illegal uses of the Steele dossier and the Clinton scandals, while the Mueller team settles for face-saving indictments of former Trump subordinates for transgressions that have little to do with the original Mueller mandate to investigate Russian–Trump collusion, then Trump will win the legal war. In that case, Trump finally will not only weather the collusion crisis but find himself a political beneficiary of one of the most scandalous efforts to subvert a political campaign and improperly surveil American citizens in recent American history.

Trump wages a fourth war against the proverbial mainstream media, whose coverage, according to disinterested analyses, runs over 90 percent anti-Trump. Negative Trump news fuels Trump-assassination chic in popular culture, the rants of late-night-television comedians, the political effort to grandstand with impeachment writs, calls to invoke the 25th Amendment, and lawsuits alleging violations of the emoluments clause. The threats of a Madonna, the raving of Representative Maxine Waters, the boasts of the “Resistance,” the efforts of blue states to nullify federal immigration law or to dodge compliance with unwelcome new federal tax statutes, and the conspiracy fables of Representative Adam Schiff are all fueled by media attention and preconceived narratives hostile to Trump. The anti-Trump news is still determined to accomplish what so far the Clinton campaign, Obama holdovers, and deep-state bureaucrats have not: so discredit Trump the messenger that his message becomes irrelevant. Trump apparently fights his war against the media in the fashion in which toxic chemotherapy battles cancer. His personal and electronic rants against “fake news” and “crooked” journalists are intended to exhibit media biases and thus discredit negative coverage just before the public tires of Trump’s own off-putting venom. On the one hand, Trump’s anemic approval ratings might suggest the media are winning in their 24/7 efforts to portray Trump as a Russian colluder, rank profiteer, distracted golfer, tax cheat, sexual predator, trigger-happy warmonger, or senile septuagenarian. On the other hand, the media are polling worse than Trump. And his battle has nearly destroyed the credibility of CNN, which has fired marquee journalists for false anti-Trump narratives, been embarrassed by hosts mouthing scatological venom, suffered employees’ hot-mic wishes for Trump’s death, and seen its anchors and special correspondents reduced to on-air rants. For now, no one knows whether Trump’s war against the media is pyrrhic, in that he may defeat his journalist enemies and even render their entire networks discredited, but at such costs that he is no longer politically viable.

Trump is waging a fifth and final war against Democrats. So far Trump has sucked all the oxygen out of the Democratic atmosphere. Politicians and operatives are so obsessed with proving Trump a liar, a cheat, a pervert, a con artist, or an incompetent that they have offered so far no viable opposition leader or alternative agenda. But will just being not-Trump make Democrats preferable? The centrist Democratic party of the 1990s no longer exists. It has become instead a coalition of patched-together progressive causes. The redistributionism and neo-socialism of Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren are now Democratic economic mainstays. Barack Obama’s lead-from-behind legacy remains Democratic foreign policy. Identity politics still constitutes the culture of the party establishment.

In more practical terms, for all the animus against Trump the person, his agenda — tax cuts, deterrence, reindustrialization, middle-class job growth, closing the borders, the melting pot — is increasingly polling well. In many cases, Trumpism is more popular than Democratic signature issues such as tax hikes, larger government, more entitlements, open borders, more identity politics, and European Union–like internationalism.

The idea of Oprah Winfrey as the 2020 Democratic nominee and the unwillingness of Democrats to secure the border reveal what can happen when a party is reduced to defining itself as not being the incumbent president. The Republicans learned that lesson in their four-time failure to defeat the hated Roosevelt. Democrats in the 1980s had little to offer the country other than not being the supposed buffoon Ronald Reagan. Shutting down the government is also rarely a winning strategy for an out party — as the Republicans learned in their politically disastrous 1995–96 showdown with Bill Clinton. In 2018, it may be enough for congressional candidates to run on anti-Trump invective without expressing strong views on the issues or identifying with any particular national leader. But it won’t be so in 2020, especially if the Trump agenda grows more popular and Trump allows it rather than himself to become his signature message.

For now, all that is certain about Trump’s first year is the 2016 truism that past prognostications and current polls are irrelevant. The jester candidate, Donald Trump, destroyed, not just beat, his 16 primary rivals. The doomed candidate Trump defeated the most well-financed, experienced, and media-favored Democratic candidate in memory. The inept President Trump’s first year was not liberal or directionless, but marked the most successful and conservative governance since Ronald Reagan’s. Trump’s critics insist that his comeuppance is on the horizon. They assure us that character is destiny. Trump’s supposed hubris will finally earn an appropriately occasioned nemesis. But in the meantime, nearly half the country may be happy that the establishment was not just wrong but nearly discredited in its non-ending, prejudicial dismissal of the Trump agenda and, so far, the successful Trump presidency.

So: HOWL globalists, socialists, warmists, feminists, Muslims, and Democrats.

He is impervious to your insults.

He is charitable and generous. Yes, he is.

He is not a “racist” or “anti-woman”. Certainly not.

He does not take drugs, drink alcohol – or even coffee.

He has not colluded with the Russians, or any other foreign power. (Obama did with the Russians and the Iranians. Hillary Clinton did with anyone who would pay her.)

He flourishes, he laughs, he acts, he wins.

Democrats for Trump 7

Former Democrats praise President Trump!

AND CNN SHOWS THEM DOING IT!!

Posted under Commentary, Economics, United States by Jillian Becker on Saturday, January 20, 2018

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Big issues 9

What are the Big Issues of the day?

  1. Donald Trump has been elected president of the USA, which is (a) impossible and (b) intolerable. 
  2. President Trump has or has not called shithole countries “shithole countries”; and can it really be true that he weighs only 239 lbs. and is in good health?
  3. It has come to light that over the last thirty years or so, for the first time in history, women have been pursued by men for sexual gratification, which is wrong except when Bill Clinton does it.
  4. Studies show that white men run everything and must be replaced in all leadership positions by non-whites and women.
  5. The academic discipline of mathematics is racist and sexist, and must be made more comprehensible to feminists and other non-intellectuals by infusions of emotion.
  6. In a hundred years or so the planet could be a degree or two warmer than it is now.

There are other issues, good and bad, but they are comparatively trivial. Fox TV, conservative papers, some users of social media, and right-wing radio bring them up, but the mainstream media have the good sense not to excite or trouble the public over them.

  1. The United States is in the grip of economic recovery.
  2. The Democratic Party and Hillary Clinton corrupted the Intelligence agencies and the Department of Justice, by bringing them into a conspiracy to falsely accuse Donald Trump of collusion with the Russians in order to scuttle his candidacy, and later to try to nullify his election as president.
  3. Nation states are coming to an end as borders are opened and vast numbers of refugees from shithole countries are moving into the West, which will soon experience radical transformations of their laws, culture and values to turn them into shithole countries.
  4. Chief among the transformers are Muslims, whose law, culture and values will bring women – even feminist women – into subjection.
  5. Muslims are further advancing their conquest of the West by means of terrorist attacks which can and do kill anybody anywhere at any time.
  6. The aggressive states of North Korea and Iran are threatening nuclear war.

Admittedly the nuclear war threats are noticed sometimes by the mainstream media – but only because they are entirely the fault of President Trump.

A great man, a great president 4

It is time to sing the praises of a great president who has accomplished wonders in just one year of his presidency – while being opposed, impeded, maligned, frustrated, denigrated and threatened  by his political opponents, most of the media, and a large contingent of snobby Republicans.

Karin McQuillan does the singing beautifully. She understands that great accomplishment is possible only to those who possess the character and talent for it.

She writes at American Thinker:

As more and more people who hate Trump are forced to admit his achievements as president, they are doubling down on character assassination. Even Trump voters often preface their satisfaction with Trump’s actions by criticizing his tweets or his personality.

Here’s an alternate take on things: Trump’s character is responsible for his outstanding performance in his first year as president. If you want to know who someone is, you look at what he does. What we have: a booming economy, growing jobs, more lawful governance, fewer regulations, more global security. What character traits this took: hard work, focus, commitment, courage, honesty, independence, incorruptibility, self-confidence, love of excellence. The list of Trump’s positive character traits goes on and on. You don’t get achievements independent of character.

I think Trump’s character is excellent.

Trump’s integrity in office is outstanding – the first politician in my memory who is sticking to his promises to voters. We are hugely benefiting from his promise-keeping.

His primary promise was to focus on jobs. Wow, has he delivered. Jobless claims have dropped to the lowest level in 44 years – last seen in 1973, under Nixon. Record-breaking low unemployment in 13 states. Investment reinvigorating the Rust Belt. More high-paying jobs in mining, oil, and industry – another promise kept, as President Trump has unleashed the energy sector and boosted capital investment.

Lazy, leftist, passive President Obama lectured us to accept the new normal of a stagnant economy, which was what his policies delivered. GDP growth was 1.6 percent in 2016.

Passivity and defeatism are not in Trump’s nature. He is a fighter who thinks big. He believes in free enterprise in his gut, because he is himself a go-getter. He thought big for the American economy, because he believes in Americans. Trump likes to say he completed his projects on time and under budget. It was a matter of pride for him. Pride can be a good thing.

Trump was scoffed at as a braggart and buffoon for promising 3-percent growth. He has already over-delivered.

The unemployment gap between blacks and whites has fallen to a record low. Trump promised the black community a better life in a better economy, and he has come through.

Unemployment for Hispanic Americans is the lowest in history. Another promise kept, as our Hispanic citizens have benefited from Trump enforcing our border laws and driving farm wages up. …

Trump boosted the economy through vigorous action: cutting regs, boosting the energy sector, restoring business confidence, dramatic corporate tax cuts, bringing back investments from overseas, and cutting job competition from illegal aliens. We now have a tight labor market, and wages are rising.

For much of the year, Trump was doing a lot of jaw-boning and executive actions, with no legislative back-up. These economic achievements came from President Trump’s character strengths. He is a high-focus, driven bulldozer of a man who gets things done. He’s a practical man. He’s a hard worker. These are not sophisticated or cultured or warm, fuzzy traits; they are traits of a strong man.

We have forgotten to honor masculinity in our culture.

President Trump did more than any president in history in his first year to relieve the regulatory burden on Americans. Complying with useless government regulations costs the economy $2 trillion a year, or 21% of the average payroll per American company. Estimates are that the Obama regs slowed the economy by 0.8%. Trump’s regulatory cuts, in which his administration removed 22 outdated regulations for each new one, is a big part of his doubling our economic growth in one year.

What did it take to cut the size of government and unleash the power of capitalism in this way? It was motivated not by conservative principles of small government. It was based in Trump’s character. He is one hundred percent practical. He has a strong sense of fairness. He is fearless. He thrives on opposition. He has incredible guts and stubbornness, necessary to take on the federal bureaucracy. He doesn’t give in when opponents fight dirty, and boy, does the Deep State fight dirty. He is not scared of the media’s attacks on him as a monster destroying the planet and abandoning the poor.

He is a creative and master fighter, as we see in the his effective use of tweets and branding to encourage his supporters and sow confusion among the enemy. …

He does not flout the law … like the underhanded Barack Obama. Obama’s DOJ and EPA created secret and illegal slush funds. The Democrat DOJ blackmailed the industries it was regulating in order to provide half a billion dollars to left-wing groups. The EPA used phony sue-and-settle tactics to hand undemocratic power to privileged leftist groups.

In sharp contrast, Trump … respects the rule of law. He honors the presidency. He is open and forthright. His administration has turned the DOJ and EPA back to following the laws as written.

Obama was an unhealthy narcissist who had never accomplished anything in the real world, yet he boasted that he knew more about every topic than his top advisers. … The mediocre surround themselves with lesser mediocrities. Obama undoubtedly did know more about foreign affairs than his right-hand national security adviser, Ben Rhodes, a speechwriter with a degree in creative writing.

Trump … is not afraid of being surrounded by top experts. He expects them to know far more in their fields than he does. Trump’s pride makes him seek excellence in others. He has created an impressive Cabinet and White House staff of brilliant achievers. You don’t get effective results on the economy and foreign affairs without a high-quality leader.

The importance of character to effectiveness cannot be overstated. … He is not discouraged by failures and mistakes; he learns from them. He doesn’t just set goals; he follows up on results. He faces reality.

Trump does not see Americans in different categories.  He cares about all Americans, black, white and brown; rich, middle-class, and poor; city-dwellers and country-dwellers; New York sophisticates and Evangelicals. He values freedom and prosperity for himself and for the rest of us. He wants to do what is best for the country, not what is best for only some identity groups or some regions at the expense of others, as in Obama and Hillary’s zero-sum game of identity politics.

We barely survived eight years of a bigot in the White House: the resentful, racially obsessed President Obama, who disliked Evangelicals, rural Americans, working-class whites, white small businessmen, and Jews. At home, Obama purposefully stirred up racial hatred and violence for political gain. Abroad, Obama tried to hand over the Middle East to the Muslim Brotherhood and facilitate nuclear weapons for the mullahs as payback to America. Obama’s race-baiting led to Americans dying – assassinations of our men in blue and innocent black victims of the resulting crime spree. He chose to destabilize Iraq, Syria, Egypt, and Libya, setting off an unprecedented war on Christians and a Muslim migrant invasion of Europe. Maybe I missed it, but I don’t remember NeverTrumps criticizing Obama on character flaws.

Unlike our last president, President Trump is who he is. What you see is what you get. His candor is blunt and refreshing.  e is not an ideologue, not a secret schemer, not a race-baiter, not a bitter person seeking payback. …  [He] is a happy warrior.

Trump is honest in another sense, also: he is not corrupt.  Indeed, he seems incorruptible. Trump does not sell himself to certain industries or lobbying groups (think the Clinton Foundation; think Obama’s wasting the trillion-dollar economic stimulus on Solyndra green schemes and payoffs to Democrat voting blocs).

President Trump is a unique politician – a free man.

There’s another set of admirable traits responsible for Trump’s economic achievements. … Trump actually notices and cares about other people.  His voters are real people to him, as he is real to them. …  His priority on growing the economy and job promotion comes from his love of ordinary people, working-class people of all colors and all regions, whom he sees as real human beings and treats with respect. What a relief after the cold and contemptuous President Obama, who cared about power, not people. Trump’s compassion and insight into working people’s lives are wonderful character traits, shared by few in his class.

The president is also our commander in chief. How has Trump’s character served him in this role?

Trump’s love of country and patriotism are dominant character traits. … [His] personal qualities have resulted in the defeat of ISIS, our improved relations with the Saudis (now on board fighting terrorism and cooperating with Israel), restoration of our warm alliance with Israel, decertifying the odious Iran deal, and supporting the Iranian demonstrators against the mullahs. European countries are finally paying their NATO dues, illegal aliens invading our country are being stopped at the border, the H-1B visa system is being applied lawfully to protect American jobs, and terrorists are no longer welcome into the country. Trump is in the process of bullying the Chinese and the U.N. and South Korea into more effective action against North Korea … The ability to bully opponents is something you want in a president.

Thanks to his fearless and clear-sighted character, we finally have a president who will not allow North Korea or Iran to have nuclear weapons.  Those of us who see that this is vital for national security are deeply grateful … 

Trump has an abundance of character strengths as a tough guy – he is brave, he is assertive, he is an experienced fighter, and he always goes on offense. He uses punishments and threats and intimidation, as well as cooperation and rewards, to get things done, because that is what it takes to win, and he wants to win. He is unpredictable and keeps his opponents off balance. He is impervious to their outrage. He is a fierce fighter against all who attack him or his family or his country.

NeverTrumps are allergic to Trump’s aggressive masculinity. … His commonsense thinking, bold methods, and blunt personality are toxic to them – never smart, never constructive, never heroic, never associated with his achievements. They are so blinded by their own hatred that they see Trump as a dangerous monster. They accept outright lies and miss the real man entirely.

In a mere 800-word column, Bret Stephens, conservative columnist for the New York Times, managed to call Trump, in Stephens’s own words, a lying, bullying, bigoted, ignorant, crass, petty, paranoid incompetent; a disgrace; an intemperate, dishonest demagogue who requires debased toadyism from his White House and Cabinet; a man who humiliates, denigrates, and insults his own officers and agencies, who is comparable to Juan Perón and Hugo Chávez and a deviant. Stephens talks of the irremediable “stain of [Trump’s] person,” Trump’s violence, his cult of strength (as in dictatorship), his disdain for truth, his hostility toward high culture, his conspiratorial thinking, and his white identity politics. In the midst of the hysterical name-calling, Stephens doesn’t point to a single bigoted word or action by Trump. He can’t. There is none. The accusations are partisan nonsense. In Stephens’s alternate universe, Trump’s evident competence, his love, respect, and commitment to help his fellow Americans, goes invisible, and we are left with a racist, fascist caricature born of leftist agitprop.

It is a sorry reflection on our polite society that they are having conniption fits over Trump’s character. They want to divide the man from his achievements, just as they successfully divided Obama from his failures. Can they succeed in besmirching Trump’s character as they succeeded in sanitizing Obama’s? Their megaphone is large, and their self-interest in supporting the status quo ante is strong. They have a ready-built audience. They have enlisted enemies within our own Republican camp.

We have Trump.  We are winning.

President Trump wants everything he works on to be as good, as well made, as fit for its purpose, as it can possibly be. He achieves it because he works for it. He is not satisfied by anything less than the best. How lucky is America that it has such a person willing and able to come to its rescue, not only to save it but to make it even better than it has ever been, after the eight-year battering it took under the former administration led by the Communist, Islam-loving, America-hating nonentity, Barack Obama!

 

(Hat-tip to Cogito for the link to Karin McQuillan’s fine article)

Posted under Commentary, Conservatism, Defense, Economics, Ethics, Law, liberty, United States by Jillian Becker on Saturday, January 6, 2018

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Winning 17

We had a commenter recently on our Facebook page who said that President Trump should “get off his ass” and do something. When we replied that he had achieved more in his first year than any other president in living memory, and against more deliberate hampering, blocking and resistance than any other president – and that he, the commenter,  only did not know this because he read the mainstream media which refused to report President Trump’s accomplishments – his further comment was a long string of hahahas.

As there must be millions who would also laugh at our assertion, it is time to list those accomplishments. And it is also time to name the conservatives who joined the hamperers, blockers and resisters in making it as hard for the president to achieve anything as they possibly could – out of sheer prejudice.

John Nolte has made such a list and named some of the most prominent guilty conservatives.

He writes at Breitbart:

Remember these names: Jonah Goldberg, David Frum, Bill Kristol, Rich Lowry, Max Boot, Mitt Romney, John Kasich, Joe Scarborough, Jeff Flake, Ben Sasse, Jennifer Rubin, George Will, Josh Jordan, Tom Nichols, Charles Cooke, Stephen Hayes, Tim Miller, John Podhoretz, Nicole Wallace, Steven Schmidt, Bret Stephens, Ross Douthat, Leon Wolf, David Brooks, Rick Wilson, Evan McMullin, Stuart Stevens, Red State, National Review, the Weekly Standard 

These are the so-called conservative men, women, and institutions who (among others) fought the hardest to sabotage Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, all in the unforgivable hope that Hillary Clinton would become president.

These are so-called conservatives who have, for nearly two years now, been promoting themselves and fundraising by smearing Trump as incompetent and “not a real conservative,” as a “Democrat in sheep’s clothing” — when, in fact, all of that best describes #NeverTrump.

These are the so-called conservatives who — after Trump’s first year in office — have now been proven as wrong as wrong can be. If their conservative credentials lost all credibility during a 2016 campaign during which they used whatever residual influence they had to hand the Oval Office to Clinton, the proven results of the past year should mean that they are written off forever as idiots, quacks, mercenaries, and con men.

Trump has had, in my opinion, the most successful first year of any president since Ronald Reagan. And not just a consequential first year that has already built a legacy, but conservative first year. Below, I do my best to list these accomplishments, but there are so many, forgive me if a few are missed:

  • Real, honest-to-goodness tax reform and cuts — the most consequential in 30 years.
  • Opening ANWR for oil exploration, an accomplishment few can appreciate who do not remember the 90s and what a sacred cow this is for the left.
  • Killing the Obamacare mandate that brutalized those making less than $50,000 a year.
  • The Islamic State (ISIS) has been decimated. [We would say obliterated– ed]
  • After a 2016 of just 1.9 percent GDP growth, we have now had two quarters in a row of growth over three percent; predictions for the final quarter of 2017 are as high as four percent.
  • [The appointment of] Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch, who has already proven himself the perfect replacement for Justice Antonin Scalia.
  • The Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines are a go — which means tens of thousands of jobs.
  • A record number of judicial appointments on the appeals courts.
  • The end of the War on Coal.
  • A surge in coal mining after 2016’s decline.
  • The end of the federal government’s violating the religious conscience through indefensible Obamacare mandates involving birth control and abortion pills.
  • The civil rights movement for school choice is getting the green light throughout the country.
  • Illegal immigration is way down.
  • The stock market hit record highs 70 times in 2017, rising 5,000 points for the first time ever.
  • The long-overdue recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
  • We are free of the awful Paris climate treaty.
  • Regulatory reform that is just getting started, but it has already had a hugely positive effect on our economy.
  • Withdrawal from the Global Compact on Migration, which undercut American sovereignty.
  • Return of nearly two million acres to the state Utah that the federal government had stolen.
  • A $250 billion trade deal with China.
  • Many of our NATO allies are finally paying their dues.
  • Consumer confidence is the best we have seen in more than a decade.
  • Pulled us out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) in favor of the American worker and sovereignty.
  • Trump has managed to get China to help rein in North Korea. [To some extent – ed]
  • Black unemployment is at a 17-year low.
  • Hispanic unemployment is at an all-time low.
  • Overall unemployment is at [four point] one percent.
  • Manufacturing jobs boom.
  • Standing up for persecuted Christian minorities in the Middle East. [More needs to be done, but it’s a start – ed]
  • Promoting Christmas.
  • Banning [immigration] or demanding stronger vetting [of immigrants] from [predominantly Muslim] countries most likely to [export] terrorists.
  • Housing sales are at an 11-year high.
  • Ban on transgender military recruits.

Now, you need to close your eyes and imagine what the list above would look like had #NeverTrump won the day and made Hillary Clinton president.

Now, try to imagine any one of the 16 Republicans who competed [with Trump] for the 2016 nomination accomplishing all of this, or even having the courage to stand up to a media onslaught to accomplish all of this, or even being, yes, conservative enough to do things like pull us out of the Paris climate agreement (something the Republican establishment’s failed 2012 nominee, Mitt Romney, opposes).

Trump’s conservatism, his competence, his willingness to stand up to gale force media hate to keep his promises, is unlike anything we have seen since 1981.

In the pursuit of only their own grift, personal fame, the gratification of bottomless egos, and a soft place to land among the Beautiful People, #NeverTrump lied to us, took our money, and fought tooth and nail to extend the disastrous Obama presidency into a third term.

And now, just one year into Trump’s presidency, #NeverTrump has once again been exposed for who they truly are — bitter, dishonest saboteurs more interested in their lofty place at the trough than the future of their own country.

All these bitter clingers have left now is to further degrade outlets such as the once-necessary National Review, a once-cherished laboratory of vibrant conservative ideas and thought, which is now a hangout for sore losers to keep rewriting the same column over and over and over again about how pure and virtuous they are, as they scold the rest of us for fighting for and sticking with a president who has delivered in ways they told us was not even within the realm of possibility.

So now the real conservatives can laugh – the longest string of triumphant hahahas they can manage while their breath lasts.

*

Later: WND provides an even longer list: 168 accomplishments.

How to shrink the government 4

We are often challenged on our Facebook page to explain how we are conservative – the prejudice behind the question being that all conservatives in America are religious Christians so “atheist conservative” is “an oxymoron”.

Our reply is that our principles, values, political aims are conservative, in that we are for: individual freedom, small government, low taxes, a free market economy, strong defense. We add that there is nothing about conservatism that requires belief in the supernatural.

Lower taxes should mean smaller government. Small, limited government is essential for individual freedom. Freedom requires and would naturally produce a free market.

A government should do only what only a government can do: protect the liberty of the people, and of the nation as a whole. Little more.

But is it possible to shrink a government that has grown enormously too big, doing far more than a government is necessary for, having far too much power?

Kris Kobach writes at Breitbart:

For more than eighty years, beginning with FDR’s New Deal, Americans have witnessed a constant increase in the size and scope of the federal government. This expansion has continued unabated during both Democratic and Republican administrations. 

Whether measured in terms of dollars spent, or in terms of percentage of Gross Domestic Product (“GDP”) consumed by the federal government, big government has become inexorably bigger.

In 1940, federal spending was a relatively modest 9.6% of GDP – or $9.5 billion out of $98.2 billion. In 2009 under President Obama, federal spending hit a high water mark (excluding the World War II years) of 24.4% of GDP – or $3,517.7 billion out of $14,414.6 billion.

The growth of the federal civilian workforce has slowed since 1960 – leveling off between 2.5 and 3 million – but this has masked the transfer of federal programs to state and local bureaucracies. Since 1960, the number of state and local government employees has tripled to over 18 million. This growth has been driven by a tenfold increase in federal grants to cities and states. For conservatives, this trend has been depressing. We plead for smaller government, but our cries have been futile as Congress and state legislatures refuse to make significant or lasting cuts in the size of government. The growth of the Leviathan has seemed unstoppable.

The forces pushing the expansion of government are powerful. Bureaucrats justify their existence by spending every dime appropriated to their agencies and then asking for more. Politicians of both parties find it easier to win votes by serving up pork than by offering austerity. Congresses deals with every crisis by spending money. And the progressive Left continually pushes the growth of entitlements for its own political advantage.

Fortunately, there is now hope in the fight against big government. There is a demographic sea change at work – something that has the potential to shift the forces in favor of conservatives who are serious about shrinking government. The baby boomers are retiring.

The baby boomer generation – those born between 1946 and 1964 – includes 76 million Americans. Over a 19 year period that started approximately in 2011, virtually all of them will retire. That’s an average of four million people retiring every year, or nearly 11,000 every day.  And a large percentage of them are working for the government. Government agencies across the federal government, as well as in state and local governments, are seeing a slew of retirements.

Take the Social Security Administration. Starting in 2011, the SSA began seeing 4,000 retirements a year. The same is happening throughout the federal government. The bureaucrats see this as a crisis. Conservatives should see it as an opportunity.

Attrition through retirement is causing federal and state workforces to turn over. Many of these retirees need not be replaced. The size of government can be dramatically reduced simply by making the decision not to fill every vacancy. And it doesn’t take an act of Congress to do it.  All it takes is political will in the executive branch not to fill vacancies. The only exceptions should be law enforcement agencies and the military.

But can it really be done in practice? The answer is yes, it can. I know because I’ve done it. Shortly after I became Kansas Secretary of State in 2011, I saw baby boomer retirements occurring in my own agency. Realizing this opportunity, I directed my deputies to reassign the duties of retiring employees to those who remained. Wherever possible, the open positions were not to be filled. We left approximately 1/3 of the vacancies unfilled.

Over the course of six years, I was able to shrink my agency’s workforce by 18 percent. We did it through natural attrition, without massive layoffs. The smaller payroll, along with other cuts, also allowed me to reduce agency spending by over 30 percent. And the agency is still carrying out all of the same responsibilities that it was back in 2011.

The same must be done in the federal government and in state governments across the country. President Trump has already taken the first steps.  In January he imposed a freeze on hiring. And in March he issued an executive order directing agencies to find redundancies and other ways to make cuts.  Looking at the bloated federal bureaucracy, he pointed out, “Today there is duplication and redundancy everywhere.” Consequently, “Billions and billions of dollars are being wasted.”

When the hiring freeze is lifted, as it eventually will be, President Trump should order the relevant departments to fill no more than 2/3 of the vacancies that exist. Without such an order, the career bureaucrats will carry on as before, deeming every position necessary to be filled.

The baby boomers are creating those vacancies by the thousand as they retire. Fortunately, this historic opportunity coincides with a President who is serious about cutting the size of government. If he declines to fill those vacancies and if state governors do the same, we could witness the first substantial reduction in big government in our nation’s history. But it will take political will to make it happen.

It would be a start, but there would still be a long way to go to small government.

One helpful measure would be to deny government employees the right to vote. While they have it, they are all too likely to vote in their own interest – of course – and that means voting for the Party of Big Government.

It is not very likely to happen, even under a Trump administration. But it’s a good conservative idea.

Posted under Economics, government, liberty, United States by Jillian Becker on Wednesday, September 6, 2017

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What not to do for the poor 1

Roy Beck shows how Third World poverty is not helped by immigration into the United States.

His solution, let’s help them where they live, sounds nice. But the question remains, “How?”

Aid is counter-productive. It has rightly been called a curse. (That’s a link to a great essay, very well worth reading.)

Teaching capitalism is a better idea. It works. It’s the only system that cures poverty on a large scale.

As Dr. Yaron Brook makes brilliantly clear:

But capitalism is hampered, blocked, maligned, denigrated and anathematized by the ruling Leftist elites of the Western world, and the academies, and the media.

Because – what would Leftists do if there were no poor people to claim as their cause? To provide the excuse for their personal bitterness, envy, and anger?

Well yes, there is always Race. With a bit of luck, we’ll be able to enjoy the spectacle of white politicians, white professors and white journalists deploring “white privilege” for many years to come.

Posted under Africa, Asia, Capitalism, China, Demography, Economics, immigration, Labor, media, North Korea, Race, Videos by Jillian Becker on Tuesday, August 1, 2017

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