Freedom of speech on the internet 7

In 2011 Elizabeth Warren said:

There is nobody in this country who got rich on his own — nobody. You built a factory out there? Good for you. But I want to be clear. You moved your goods to market on the roads the rest of us paid for. You hired workers the rest of us paid to educate. You were safe in your factory because of police-forces and fire-forces that the rest of us paid for. You didn’t have to worry that marauding bands would come and seize everything at your factory — and hire someone to protect against this — because of the work the rest of us did.

In 2012 President Obama said:

There are a lot of wealthy, successful Americans who agree with me – because they want to give something back. They know they didn’t – look, if you’ve been successful, you didn’t get there on your own. You didn’t get there on your own. I’m always struck by people who think, well, it must be because I was just so smart. There are a lot of smart people out there. It must be because I worked harder than everybody else. Let me tell you something – there are a whole bunch of hardworking people out there. If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you’ve got a business – you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen. The Internet didn’t get invented on its own. Government research created the Internet so that all the companies could make money off the Internet.

Whether or not they meant to be attacking private enterprise capitalism, that is what they were generally understood to be doing.

The capitalist, free-market argument is that if you own something you can use it as you like for all lawful purposes. If bakers of wedding cakes do not want to sell a cake, or florists do not want to supply bouquets, to same-sex couples, they are within their rights not to do so.

It is generally agreed that the private owners of places of public entertainment such as restaurants, movie theaters, hotels cannot be permitted to shut out some customers on grounds of personal antagonism.

Controversy has arisen as to whether the private owners of the “social media”, notably Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Google, have a right to refuse the use of their forums to persons whose opinions they dislike, or whether they have the same obligations as owners of restaurants, movie theaters and hotels not to discriminate against some on grounds of personal disagreement.

Daniel Greenfield writes this magisterial opinion on the arguments:

“But, it’s a private company.”

It’s a familiar argument. Bring up the problem of Google, Facebook and Twitter suppressing conservative speech and many conservatives will retort that it’s a free market. The big dot com monopolies created their own companies, didn’t they? And we wouldn’t want government regulation of business.

In a FOX Business editorial, Iain Murray writes that breaking up dot coms like Google would be “a repudiation of conservative principles”. He argues that “Twitter is a private company” and that “there is no positive right to free speech on Twitter or any other private venue.”

“The same goes for the president’s attacks on Google and the complaints of conservative censorship,” Diane Katz writes at the Heritage Institute. “These private enterprises are not obligated to abide any sort of partisan fairness doctrine.”

The talking point that Google, Facebook and Twitter are private companies that can discriminate as they please on their private platforms, and that the First Amendment doesn’t apply, is in the air everywhere.

But it overlooks two very simple facts.

The driving force behind the censorship of conservatives isn’t a handful of tech tycoons. It’s elected officials. Senator Kamala Harris offered an example of that in a recent speech where she declared that she would “hold social media platforms accountable” if they contained “hate” or “misinformation”.

“Misinformation” is a well-known euphemism among Democrats and the media for conservative political content. It was originally known as “fake news” before President Trump hijacked the term to refer to the media. The recent Poynter list of “unreliable” sites was stacked with conservative sites. Lists like these aren’t hypothetical. Poynter runs the International Fact Checking Network which had been empowered by Facebook and other sites to deplatform conservative content through its “fact checks”.

All of this got underway in response to claims by Hillary Clinton and her allies that “fake news” had cost her the election and represented a grave attack on our democracy. The call was quickly taken up by Democrats in the House and the Senate. It’s been commented on supportively by powerful Clinton allies in the tech industry, like Eric Schmidt, the former chairman of Google.

Dot coms like Facebook are cracking down on conservatives as an explicit response to pressure from elected government officials. That’s not the voluntary behavior of private companies. When Facebook deletes conservatives in response to threats of regulatory action from Senate Democrats, its censors are acting as government agents while engaging in viewpoint discrimination.

Free market conservatives can argue that Facebook should have the right to discriminate against conservatives. But do they really want to argue that Senate Democrats should have the right to compel private companies to censor conservatives?

What’s the difference between that and a totalitarian state?

It might, arguably, be legal for your landlord to kick you out of your house because he doesn’t like the fact that you’re a Republican. But is it legal for him to do so on orders from Senator Kamala Harris?

Defending abusive behavior like that is a desecration of the free market.

The second fact is that the internet is not the work of a handful of aspiring entrepreneurs who built it out of thin air using nothing but their talent, brains and nimble fingers.

At this point we are going to have to concede, however much it stings our political nerve to do so, that Obama got something right when he said that Government research created the internet.

The internet was the work of DARPA. That stands for Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. DARPA is part of the Department of Defense. DARPA had funded the creation of the core technologies that made the internet possible. The origins of the internet go back to DARPA’s Arpanet.

Nor did the story end once the internet had entered every home.

Where did Google come from? “The Anatomy of a Large-Scale Hypertextual Web Search Engine,” the original paper by Sergey Brin and Larry Page, the co-founders of Google, reveals support from the National Science Foundation, DARPA, and even NASA.

Harvard’s computer science department, where Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg learned to play with the toys that turned him into a billionaire, has also wallowed in DARPA cash. Not to mention funds from a variety of other DOD and Federal science agencies.

Taxpayers sank a fortune into developing a public marketplace where ideas are exchanged, and political advocacy and economic activity takes place. That marketplace doesn’t belong to Google, Amazon or Facebook. And when those monopolies take a stranglehold on the marketplace, squeezing out conservatives from being able to participate, they’re undermining our rights and freedoms.

“A right of free correspondence between citizen and citizen on their joint interests, whether public or private and under whatsoever laws these interests arise (to wit: of the State, of Congress, of France, Spain, or Turkey), is a natural right,” Thomas Jefferson argued.

There should be a high barrier for any company seeking to interfere with the marketplace of ideas in which the right of free correspondence is practiced.

Critics of regulating dot com monopolies have made valid points.

Regulating Google or Facebook as a public utility is dangerous. And their argument that giving government the power to control content on these platforms would backfire is sensible.

Any solution to the problem should not be based on expanding government control.

But there are two answers.

First, companies that engage in viewpoint discrimination in response to government pressure are acting as government agents. When a pattern of viewpoint discrimination manifests itself on the platform controlled by a monopoly, a civil rights investigation should examine what role government officials played in instigating the suppression of a particular point of view.

Liberals have abandoned the Public Forum Doctrine, once a popular ACLU theme, while embracing censorship. But if the Doctrine could apply to a shopping mall, it certainly applies to the internet.

When dot com monopolies get so big that being banned from their platforms effectively neutralizes political activity, press activity and political speech, then they’re public forums.

Second, rights are threatened by any sufficiently large organization or entity, not just government. Government has traditionally been the most powerful such organization, but the natural rights that our country was founded on are equally immune to every organization. Governments, as the Declaration of Independence asserts, exist as part of a social contract to secure these rights for its citizens.

Government secures these rights, first and foremost, against itself. (Our system effectively exists to answer the question of who watches the watchers.) But it also secures them against foreign powers, a crisis that the Declaration of Independence was written to meet, and against domestic organizations, criminal or political, whether it’s the Communist Party or ISIS, that seek to rob Americans of their rights.

A country in which freedom of speech effectively did not exist, even though it remained a technical right, would not be America. A government that allowed such a thing would have no right to exist.

Only a government whose citizens enjoy the rights of free men legally justifies its existence.

If a private company took control of all the roads and closed them to conservatives every Election Day, elections would become a mockery and the resulting government would be an illegitimate tyranny.

That’s the crisis that conservatives face with the internet.

Protecting freedom of speech does not abandon conservative principles, it secures them. There are no conservative principles without freedom of speech. A free market nation without freedom of speech isn’t a conservative country. It’s an oligarchy. That’s the state of affairs on the internet.

Conservatives should beware of blindly enlisting in leftist efforts to take regulatory control of companies like Facebook. The result would be a deeper and more pervasive form of censorship than exists today. But neither should they imagine that the “free market side of history” will automatically fix the problem.

We have an existing useful toolset to draw on, from anti-trust laws to civil rights investigations to the Public Forum Doctrine. This will be a challenging process, but we must remember through it all, that we have a right to freedom of speech on the internet.

Our tax dollars, invested over generations, built this system. It does not belong to the Left. Or, for that matter, the Right. It belongs to all of us.

Now how to make sure Facebook etc. do not discriminate against us because of their political bias?

President Trump is willing to help us. (Though exactly what he can do we don’t know.)

SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORMS should advance FREEDOM OF SPEECH. Yet too many Americans have seen their accounts suspended, banned, or fraudulently reported for unclear “violations” of user policies. 

No matter your views, if you suspect political bias caused such an action to be taken against you, share your story with President Trump.

https://whitehouse.typeform.com/to/Jti9QH?fbclid=IwAR1oumZ36_InMnU29hRFZukzdSUrbBAxAaQ338B2_Lf-DYxMTJr2UBJMJWs

It’s worth trying.

.

(Hat-tip to liz for the White House link)

 

 

For Freedom 3

Victor Davis Hanson explains why he supports the presidency of Donald Trump:

Posted under Capitalism, liberty, United States, US Constitution, Videos by Jillian Becker on Monday, March 18, 2019

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To save the earth 9

A new IPCC [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change] report has been emitted by the UN.

It says in effect, like all the other IPCC reports before it, “Hurry up and do something to save the earth from being burnt up by human activity – or else!”

Not a single prediction by the Warmists, since the first IPCC uttered its dire warning, has come true. But that does not discourage them.

From Investor’s Business Daily:

Assume for the sake of argument that everything environmentalists say about global warming is true. If that’s the case, then there is no chance of stopping it.

That’s what the latest UN report on global warming clearly demonstrates.

The headlines in stories reporting on the UN’s latest climate change report all say something along the lines of: “Urgent changed is needed to prevent global catastrophe.”

If global temperatures climb more than 1.5 degrees Celsius — compared with preindustrial temperatures — all hell will break loose, the UN says. There will be catastrophic flooding, drought, more weather extremes. Hundreds of millions will be susceptible to poverty by midcentury. Even at 1.5 degrees, terrible things will happen. …

Here’s an example of what the UN says would have to happen within the next 12 years [to avoid total disaster]. Keep in mind, this is the low end of the UN’s proposed changes.

  • 60% of the world’s energy would have to come from renewable sources by 2030, and 77% by 2050. (The Department of Energy forecasts that renewables will account for just 27% of the U.S.’s electric power generation by 2050.)
  • Coal use would have to drop 78%, oil 37% and natural gas 25% — compared with 2010 levels — within 12 years. (Last year, global coal demand increased, and use of natural gas has massively climbed in the U.S.)
  • There’d have to be a 59% increase in nuclear power by 2030, and a 150% increase by 2050. (Good luck getting environmentalist to buy into that).
  • Farmers would have to figure out how to cut methane emissions by 24% by 2030 (and still feed a growing world population).

Even those massive reductions won’t reduce enough CO2. So, the UN assumes the world will also remove massive amounts of CO2 from the atmosphere. That’s despite the fact that nobody knows how to do that today.

The UN itself admits [actually hopes – ed] that achieving anything like these levels of greenhouse gas reductions “would require rapid and far-reaching transitions in energy, land, urban and infrastructure, and industrial systems”.

It goes on to say that such an undertaking would be “unprecedented in terms of scale”. And it would require a “significant upscaling of investments”. In other words, massive amounts of money.

To say that changes of this magnitude within that time frame are unrealistic would be putting it mildly.

The last big attempt to get the world to cut CO2 emissions turned out to be a farce. As the UN itself admitted, the CO2 reduction pledges made by the 195 countries that signed on to the Paris Accords won’t come anywhere close to the level of CO2 reductions it says are needed to avoid “catastrophe”.

And countries aren’t even living up to those pledges.

On the whole, populations prefer to continue to exist. Obstinate, sinful, on they go.

In the EU, carbon emissions started climbing again last year. Germany is way off its carbon reduction goals, despite plans to spend $580 billion to overhaul its energy system. A recent report showed that only nine of 195 countries have submitted their CO2 reduction plans to the UN.

Does anyone honestly believe that these countries will suddenly decide to entirely decarbonize their economies in three decades?

So, if the chances of avoiding a climate “catastrophe” are gone, what should be done?

To be clear, we are highly skeptical of these doom-and-gloom scenarios. Past predictions of global warming catastrophes have failed to emerge. In the U.S., for example, there’s been no trend toward more extreme weather, drought or flooding, even though the planet has already warmed 1 degree Celsius. This year’s tornado season, in fact, has been the mildest on record. What’s more, environmentalists have issued these “point of no return” warnings for decades, only to revise them once the supposed deadline passes.

But if the alarmist predictions are true, there’s nothing that can plausibly be done at this point to stop it. That’s the real message of the annual UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report.

The chart contained in the Summary for Policymakers shows projected changes in global temperatures over the next 100 years. It also shows that temperatures will top the supposed 1.5-degree limit by around 2040, even if the world makes drastic reductions in CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions within the next two decades.

How drastic?

The entire world [would have to] become entirely carbon free by 2055 at the latest. That’s just 37 years from now.

THE ENTIRE WORLD? MADE ENTIRELY CARBON FREE? 

If all CO2 is removed, there will be nothing for green plants to feed on, so animals will starve, and then we must starve too.

Right. That’s the message.

For total carbon elimination, the world must be freed of all living things. Then whirl on, Earth, as a bare rock, cleansed of all polluting life and thus saved from overheating.  

Steven Hayward points out that we are a highly adaptable species, and would not find it difficult to live in a world that was warmer by a few degrees.

Trouble is, as we see it, the alarmists would only become more importunate. Ever more drastic changes to our lives would be demanded. We can tolerate warmth, but  can we tolerate the Warmists?

They claim the earth is doomed as long as we live and breathe. So we really have no choice. We must destroy the plants, mercy-kill the animals, and then commit suigenocide. 

Okay. We’ll start getting used to the idea.

But there’s one thing we would like to do first.

WE MUST DESTROY THE UN.  

And who knows but by that one small action we might save ourselves, all the kingdoms of living things, and the planet on which we dwell?

Posted under Capitalism, Climate, Collectivism, Environmentalism, United Nations by Jillian Becker on Thursday, October 11, 2018

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Candace Owens speaks 4

“Racism is being used to turn blacks into single-issue voters.”

Candace Owens speaks for conservatism, capitalism and the free market:

Posted under Capitalism, Conservatism, Race, Videos by Jillian Becker on Thursday, May 17, 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. …

The Colossus … and the enriching of America 26

Watch Donald Trump, President of the United States, as the Colossus standing astride the world, to whom the CEOs of the biggest companies in the world bring their tribute – their promises of doing business, more business, much more business in America, with investments of vast sums.

Several of the CEOs acknowledge that President Trump’s tax reform and deregulation have prompted them to grow their business in the United States.

Could any other American politician do this?

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.

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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The achievements of President Trump in his first four months in office 8

Wanna see Democrats and media hacks weep? Hand them this list!

So writes Joan Swirsky at Canada Free press. We want to see Democrats and media hacks weep, and we also want to see conservatives and libertarians, nationists and populists, Republicans and all our friends and allies smile.

Here is the list:

If these accomplishments are not familiar, that’s because 99 percent of the media – the jerks – are a de facto arm of the Democratic National Committee and the far-left fringe, and are so terminally distressed by the fact that Mr. Trump won the presidency that they obstinately refuse to report what by any objective standards is the news. This is because:

  • They’ve been pushing leftist values for well over a half century and are unable to admit that their anti-Trump, pro-Hillary message was an utter and complete failure.
  • They are part and parcel of the vast, contaminated, rancid, crooked, pay-for-play, corrupt swamp that candidate Trump promised to drain, and President Trump is now draining.
  • The man they mock – for his syntax and phrasing, style of governing, unpredictability, and so-called contradictions – has both confounded and trumped them at every turn.

This is why they remain fixated on the fairy tale of a Trump-Russian connection. They have nothing else – as in nothing!

LIGHTNING

After Pres. Trump’s first month in office,

  • 235,000 jobs were added to our economy in February, 100,000 more than expected;
  • 40 percent fewer illegal immigrants crossed our border;
  • $3 trillion was added to the stock market;
  • Judge Gorsuch, a constitutionalist worthy of Justice Scalia’s seat, was nominated to the Supreme Court.

In his first 100 days:

  • appointments of Vice President Mike Pence, pro-life conservative;
  • Justice Neil Gorsuch, an originalist committed to the Constitution;
  • Attorney General Jeff Sessions, staunch conservative committed to the rule of law;
  • Defense Secretary James Mattis, a warrior committed to restoring America’s military;
  • Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, a former general committed to border security;
  • Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, a former CEO who understands how the real world works;
  • Housing and Urban Development Secretary Dr. Ben Carson, a brain surgeon from a humble background;
  • Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, a doctor who understands health care;
  • Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, an advocate of school choice and educational reform;
  • Energy Secretary Rick Perry, former governor of Texas and expert on the energy industry;
  • Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, former CEO who understands the business world;
  • EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, a conservative committed to reining in big government;
  • U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, a fearless advocate for American values;
  • U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, a true friend of Israel;
  • White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon, a conservative warrior against crony capitalism and the left;
  • National Security Adviser Lt. Gen. H. R. McMaster, an accomplished military commander;
  • and White House Counterterrorism Adviser Sebastian Gorka, committed to defeating radical Islam.

President Trump;

  • restored the U.S. alliance with Israel and welcomed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to the White House;
  • restored U.S. leadership in the world;
  • enforced red lines against the use of chemical weapons in Syria;
  • dropped the Mother of All Bombs (MOAB) on ISIS, sending a clear message to Iran and North Korea;
  • secured the Chinese cooperation in pressuring North Korea and the release of Aya Hijazi, American charity worker held in Egypt since 2014;
  • imposed a five-year ban on lobbying the government by former White House officials and a lifetime ban on lobbying for foreign governments by former White House officials;
  • repeatedly called out the liberal media for “fake news”;
  • repealed Obama mandate that forced states to fund Planned Parenthood;
  • signed executive order reinstating Reagan policy against taxpayer funding of overseas abortions;
  • stopped U.S. funding to the United Nations Population Fund, which promotes abortions;
  • signed the following Executive Orders
    1. to mandate a comprehensive plan to defeat ISIS,
    2. to begin construction of the border wall and hire additional 5,000 border agents,
    3. to order the Justice Department to cut funding to sanctuary cities,
    4. to institute a temporary federal hiring freeze,
    5. to institute a travel ban on individuals from a select number of countries embroiled in terrorist atrocities;
    6. to withdraw from the Transpacific Partnership trade deal,
    7. to mandate that two regulations will be repealed for every new one issued,
    8. to institute a comprehensive approach to illegal immigration and crime; et al.

THUNDER

Further,

  • Pres. Trump issued orders to seek increased penalties for crimes against police;
  • to promote energy independence; to put American companies and workers first;
  • to review federal regulations in education; to investigate national security impact of foreign steel imports;
  • to require an audit of executive branch agencies;
  • to order every agency to create a regulatory reform task force;
  • to roll back Obama environmental infringements on private property.

In addition,

  • Pres. Trump issued orders to prevent future taxpayer-funded bailouts; to reverse Obama restrictions on offshore energy development;
  • for a major review of national monument designations on federal lands;
  • to establish a new office to reform the Veterans Administration bureaucracy;
  • to address concerns of Rural America;
  • to establish a White House Initiative on historically Black Colleges and Universities;
  • to create a commission on drug addiction and the opioid crisis;
  • to combat transnational criminal organizations and international trafficking; to repeal the following:
  1. Obama’s transgender public school bathroom mandate,
  2. Obama’s “Stream Protection Rule” that has hurt the coal industry,
  3. Obama’s Social Security Administration’s gun ban,
  4. Obama’s Labor “blacklisting” rule with $500 million in regulatory costs,
  5. Obama’s Interior rule that restricted state and local authority in land use decisions,
  6. Obama’s unfunded education mandate that created new standards for teachers,
  7. Obama’s education rule that undermined state and local control,
  8. Obama’s regulation that prevented drug testing for unemployment compensation,
  9. Obama’s rule that banned some hunting in Alaska,
  10. Obama’s regulation that created vastly more paperwork and reporting of worker injuries,
  11. Obama’s regulations on Internet Service Providers,
  12. Obama’s rule that allowed states to force workers into government-run savings plans, and the Dodd-Frank regulations that disadvantaged domestic companies.

Going further,

  • Pres. Trump Imposed sanctions on Iran for its ballistic missile violations and human rights violations;
  • Ordered review of the Iranian nuclear deal;
  • Produced a budget that cut $54 billion from bloated federal bureaucracies, that would eliminate 50 programs and more than 3,000 federal jobs, and that boosted spending for defense, homeland security and veterans; produced a tax-reform plan that simplifies the tax code and reduces taxes for businesses and families;
  • Approved construction of the Keystone XL pipeline and the Dakota Access pipeline; shut down illegal immigrant advocacy program at Department of Justice;
  • Established Victims of Immigration Crime Engagement (VOICE) office;
  • Reduced illegal immigration at the border by 61 percent;
  • Called for “major investigation” of voter fraud led by Vice President Mike Pence;
  • Called for repeal of the Johnson Amendment, which limits free speech of pastors and churches;
  • Called for 50 percent cut in funding to the United Nations; supported English as official language by dropping Spanish version of the White House website;
  • Purged “climate change” alarmism from White House website;
  • Returned bust of Winston Churchill to the Oval Office;
  • Succeeded in getting NATO nations to boost defense spending by $10 billion;
  • Halted $180 billion in Obama regulations;
  • Signed legislation expanding private healthcare options for veterans;
  • Relaxed Rules of Engagement in the fight against ISIS;
  • Imposed sanctions on Venezuelan vice president for international drug trafficking.

UP, UP & AWAY

At this early point,

  • Consumer confidence is the highest in 17 years;
  • Small business confidence highest in 11 years;
  • Stock market is up 10 percent since inauguration, up 15 percent since election;
  • Exxon Mobil announced $20 billion-45,000 job expansion in U.S.;
  • Charter Communications announced $25 billion expansion, creating 20,000 jobs in U.S.;
  • Accenture announced $1.4 billion expansion, creating 15,000 jobs in U.S.;
  • Intel announced $7 billion expansion, creating 10,000 jobs in the U.S.
  • Pres. Trump ordered renegotiation of North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) with Canada and Mexico;
  • Named former Congressman Scott Garrett, an outspoken critic of the Export-Import Bank to the bank’s Board of Directors
  • Today, U.S. unemployment is at its lowest level since 1988!

The U.S. debt decreased by $100 billion during Pres. Trump’s first hundred days; the U.S. Manufacturing Index soared to a 33-year high! In the first month alone, he added 298,000 jobs; housing sales are off the charts right now … in 2011, the average time a house was on the market was 84 days, now, it’s just 45 days; illegal immigration is down 67% since the Inauguration; NATO announced Allied spending is up $10 billion.

This Mt. Everest of accomplishments belongs to a man who is straight out of central casting. Every day, he looks like a million dollars and is stunningly successful in his dealings with everyone from heads of state to manual laborers to ardent fans to entrenched skeptics. Every day, he brings both ebullience and laser-like focus to a job he clearly relishes, displays admirable courage in making hard choices, and is zooming along at warp speed to Make America Great Again!

All this while never hesitating to take on the sacred cows of the leftist jerks among us – political correctness and global warming rank high – and to illuminate the public about the widespread scourge of the fake news and fake polls that those same leftist jerks tried but failed to foist upon us in the November election.

It was easy for the media when all they had to do was pretend that 94-million unemployed citizens, a weakened military, alienated allies, a genocidal Iran deal, and unprecedented escalation of Muslim Brotherhood operatives implanted in the highest reaches of our government, and an increase in the national debt by $9 trillion to almost $20 trillion, were nothing to worry about – all while they asked the guy in the Oval Office what his favorite ice-cream flavor was!

Now there’s a grown-up in charge and the children among us (Democrats, leftists, progressives, whatever they’re calling themselves these days) are as ineffectual – indeed, impotent – as they were when Donald J. Trump announced for the presidency in June of 2015.

Important omissions:

President Trump also fired dangerous James Comey from his directorship of the FBI.

He gained the co-operation of China – at least to some extent, though how far remains to be seen – in dealing with hostile North Korea.

His tax proposals will reduce the burden of taxation – and at the same time increase revenue.

His proposed health legislation, while not ideal, at least hastens the end of Obamacare.

While we fully appreciate the quantity and quality of these achievements, and the speed with which they have been executed, there are others we are hoping to see in due course (perhaps in some cases over-optimistically). Chief among them are (in no special order):

The disarming of  North Korea.

The cancellation of the Obama “deal” with Iran and the destruction of Iran’s  nuclear facilities.

The permanent crushing of ISIS.

An effective restraint on Muslim immigration.

Effective resistance to the Islamic jihad, putting a stop to both its stealthy and its terrorist tactics.

The completed Wall on the southern border of the United States.

The US embassy in Israel moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

The defunding of the UN – ideally to the end that it withers and dies.

The defunding of sanctuary cities.

The defunding of so-called universities that have become madrassas to indoctrinate leftist ideology.

A refusal to sign any international agreement demanding action to “change the climate” of the earth, since it is impossible as well as unnecessary, and the pointless effort is a colossal waste of money.

*

Update:

Two more needed achievements we hope to be able to celebrate:

The investigation, conviction, and incarceration of both Obama and Hillary (among others) for their various crimes including treason.

The Muslim Brotherhood declared a terrorist group.

.

[Hat tip for these additions to our highly valuable commenter liz)

The philosopher of Trumpism? (Part Two) 1

(Continuing from the post immediately below, being a commentary on an article by Gwynn Guilford and Nikhil Sonnad at Quartz, about the political philosophy of Stephen K. Bannon, whom President Trump has appointed Chief  Strategist.)  

The authors write:

It’s important to note that “Judeo-Christian values” does not necessarily seem to require that all citizens believe in Christianity. Bannon doesn’t appear to want to undo the separation of church and state or freedom of religion enshrined in America’s constitution. After all, both of these are traditions that have led America to success in the past. What he believes is that the founding fathers built the nation based on a set of values that come from the Judeo-Christian tradition. …

But the values the founding fathers built the nation on did not come from “Judeo-Christian values”; they came from a revolution against Christian values – the Enlightenment.

True, “Nature’s God” is mentioned in The Declaration of Independence, which also declares that Men “are endowed by their Creator” with certain rights. But when one looks at the actual values that the Declaration and the Constitution enshrine, they are the values of the Enlightenment – individual freedom, self-determination, tolerance, responsible ownership, rationality, patriotism: not the values of any religion.

It is [in Bannon’s view] through … the primacy of the nation-state’s values and traditions — that America can drive a stake through the heart of the global, secular “establishment”.

In addition to enriching themselves and encouraging dependency among the poor, global elites also encourage immigrants to flood the US and drag down wages. Immigrant labor boosts the corporate profits of globalists and their cronies, who leave it to middle-class natives to educate, feed, and care for these foreigners. The atheistic, pluralist social order that has been allowed to flourish recoils at nationalism and patriotism, viewing them as intolerant and bigoted. …

Atheism has nothing whatever to do with it. Hundreds of thousands of the immigrants have been Muslims, and however secular the Left governments have been, they have demanded that the host nation treat the – extremely intolerant – newcomers with deference. But it is true that those who welcome the Muslims “recoil” at nationalism and patriotism. 

[Bannon] pointed out that each of …  three preceding crises had involved a great war, and those conflicts had increased in scope from the American Revolution through the Civil War to the Second World War. He expected a new and even bigger war as part of the current crisis, and he did not seem at all fazed by the prospect. …

War with whom?

Bannon is left searching for a major, existence-level enemy. Does the “Party of Davos” alone qualify? Who else could this war be fought against?

In the 2014 Vatican lecture, Bannon goes further. “I think we are in a crisis of the underpinnings of capitalism, and on top of that we’re now, I believe, at the beginning stages of a global war against Islamic fascism. … I believe you should take a very, very, very aggressive stance against radical Islam…. See what’s happening, and you will see we’re in a war of immense proportions.” …

We agree with Bannon about that too.

Bannon’s remarks and his affiliations with anti-Muslim activists like Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer leave the impression that the enemy might well be Islam in general.

Yes. And so it is. Islam has declared war on the West, and sooner or later the West must fight and win it.

[He] entertains the argument that Islam’s “war” against Christianity “originated almost from [Islam’s] inception.”

It did.

He endorses the view that, in the lead-up to World War II, Islam was a “much darker” force facing Europe than fascism.

It was as dark. And Turkey and most of the Arabs were allies of Hitler and Mussolini.

Other ideas he has supported include: a US nonprofit focused on promoting a favorable image of Muslims is a terrorist front

If they mean Hamas-affiliated CAIR, which seems most probable, then again Bannon is right …

the Islamic Society of Boston mosque was behind the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing

It very likely was …

and Muslim-Americans are trying to supplant the US constitution with Shariah law.

Many are.

… Bannon’s diatribes against the media brim with spite toward journalists’ arrogance, superiority, and naivety.

“Spite”? The media are spiteful. Say “anger” instead, and there are millions of us who share it with him.

… [R]ecently, he told the New York Times that the media “should be embarrassed and humiliated and keep its mouth shut and just listen for a while”. He added: “I want you to quote this. The media here is the opposition party. They don’t understand this country. They still do not understand why Donald Trump is the president of the United States.” …

Again, we agree.

In his 2014 Vatican speech, he says:

I could see this when I worked at Goldman Sachs — there are people in New York that feel closer to people in London and in Berlin than they do to people in Kansas and in Colorado, and they have more of this elite mentality that they’re going to dictate to everybody how the world’s going to be run. I will tell you that the working men and women of Europe and Asia and the United States and Latin America don’t believe that. They believe they know what’s best for how they will comport their lives.

And we think that is true.

But this cosmic avenger role Bannon seems to claim as voice-giver to the “forgotten” middle-classes hints at a deeper relish of conflict. … In particular, the aesthetic of his documentaries can be nauseatingly violent. Torchbearer is a tour de force of gore. (There are at least six separate shots of falling guillotines, as well as lingering footage of nuclear radiation victims, mass burials from Nazi gas chambers, and various ISIL atrocities.)

Events brought about by self-appointed elites and savage jihadis. Should they be ignored? Forgotten?

The authors then ask what all this means for the Trump presidency, and give us their answer:

Even before he took charge of Trump’s campaign, in Aug. 2016, Bannon’s philosophies pervaded its rhetoric. If there was any question about the role his views would play in the Trump administration, the last two weeks have made it clear: The president’s leadership hangs from the scaffolding of Bannon’s worldview.

Trump’s inaugural address was basically a telepromptered Bannon rant. Where inaugural speeches typically crackle with forward-looking optimism, Trump’s was freighted with anti-elite resentment. He described a Bannonistic vision in which the “wealth of our middle class has been ripped from their homes and then redistributed all across the world.” The “forgotten men and women of our country” — a meme that Trump claimed, but that appears in Generation Zero — had a cameo too.

Trump heaped blame on the “establishment,” which “protected itself” but not American citizens from financial ruin. “And while they celebrated in our nation’s capital, there was little to celebrate for struggling families all across our land,” Trump continued. “We’ve made other countries rich, while the wealth, strength and confidence of our country has dissipated over the horizon.”

“America first” is Bannon’s economic nationalism in slogan form. Trump’s vow to “unite the civilized world against radical Islamic terrorism, which we will eradicate from the face of the Earth” was a mellowed-out version of the West’s battle against “Islamic fascists.”

There’s more. Trump’s remarks that the “Bible tells us how good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity,” that “most importantly, we will be protected by God,” and that children from both Detroit and Nebraska are “infused with the breath of life by the same almighty creator” seemed kind of bizarre coming from a not-very-religious man. …

We are glad of that.

Within days of the inauguration came the dizzying spurt of executive actions — written by Bannon and Stephen Miller, [another] White House policy advisor …

Now the authors, whose hostility to Bannon has been growing in clarity and force, openly show their antagonism to the Trump administration:

Bannon’s philosophy toward Islam seems likely to have influenced the order, “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States”. Recalling that line about how immigrants are not “Jeffersonian democrats”, the document prescribes ensuring the allegiance to America’s “founding principles” and the US constitution of anyone admitted to the country, including tourists.

How is that an unreasonable requirement?

Trump also implied in a TV interview with the Christian Broadcast Network that he wanted to prioritize Christians refugees over Muslims, accusing the US government of favoring Muslim refugees over Christians in the past (a claim for which there’s no evidence).

That is an outrageous statement. The Christians of the Middle East have been, and are being, atrociously persecuted by Muslims, yet far more Muslims – who do not have any values in common with most Americans – have been let in enthusiastically by President Obama, while Christians, who do, and who need asylum far more urgently, have been admitted in far smaller numbers. They were deliberately excluded by Obama. See here and here.

Some argue (fairly convincingly) that Trump’s ban risks lending credence to ISIL recruitment propaganda claiming that the US is leading the West in a war on all of Islam.

And that is an absurd argument, not convincing in the least. ISIL/ISIS has been doing its atrocious deeds for years. Everyone knows it. It is long past time for it to be opposed, eliminated from the face of the earth – and all possible ways its operatives can enter America shut off.  A banning order is common sense.

Another of the new administration’s focuses — the danger posed by Mexicans flooding over the border — is also a central theme of Bannon’s vision of America under siege. …

“America under siege”. Has Bannon made such a claim? Or Trump? A belief to that effect is attributed to President Trump by his opponents, but has he or Bannon ever actually said it? Anyway, the authors present  some spurious arguments against Trump’s executive action which declares that “many”  unauthorized immigrants “present a significant threat to national security and public safety” – something we all know to be true – and they back them up with reference to pronouncements made by “criminology and immigration experts”. The plain fact that “unauthorized immigrants” are in the United States illegally bypasses the authors’ consciousness.

 Finally, Trump’s withdrawal of the US from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a multilateral trade deal supported by what would count as the “elite”, includes a special shout-out to “the American worker”, the classic Bannon theme.

The TPP was a rotten project. It was supported by the “elite”. American workers have been overlooked and made poorer. Bannon is not the only observer to have noticed that and Trump did not need Bannon to point it out to him.

The possibility that many of these positions are right and good, and the fact that many people support Trump in espousing them, are not considered by Guilford and Sonnad.

Bannon savors the power of symbolism. That symbolic power infused Trump’s campaign, and now, apparently, his administration’s rhetoric. …  So it’s possible that the narrative flowing through Trump’s inaugural address and executive actions is simply what Bannon has calibrated over time to rouse maximum populist fervor — and that it doesn’t reflect plans to upend America.

There’s also, however, the possibility that Bannon is steering Trump toward the “enlightened capitalist”, Judeo-Christian, nationalistic vision that he has come to believe America needs.

Which it is, we can’t know, of course: Only Bannon knows what Bannon really wants. What we do know for sure, though, is that a man who has … a deep desire for a violent resurgence of “Western civilization” now has the power to fulfill it.

A “violent resurgence” of something dubiously called “Western civilization”. Is that deplorable? Is there no such thing as Western civilization? Is it not under attack?

Is there some means other than violence to destroy ISIS?

Or to stop Iran from nuking the West as it plainly intends to do?

The mind-set, assumptions, prejudices, and obliviousness to stark dangers that Guilford and Sonnad manifest, illustrate the need for the vision shared by President Trump, Stephen Bannon, and Stephen Miller to be acted upon by all necessary means.

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