Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Yes, the campaign was wild and crazy, and the aftermath is, too!

Commentary by James Shott

The election of Donald Trump on November 8 set off waves of emotion, both positive and negative. Usually, such feelings wane and normalcy returns after several days, but three weeks later much of the negativism remains, and may have intensified.

Some of the reactions to the election strike many as farcical, even phantasmagoric. Many of the reactions strike directly at the very traditions and history of America and its people. Unsurprisingly, much of the craziest stuff arises on college campuses.

** A liberal arts college in western Massachusetts has taken down the American flag on campus until next semester in hopes it will free up students to have a “direct, open, and respectful conversation.”

You see, some view the flag at the center of the Hampshire College campus as a symbol of racism and hatred, and following the election, some students called for its removal.

The flag was pulled down and burned early one morning, and quickly replaced. But then the College Board decided the flag would be flown at half-staff, a decision that angered veterans and military families. The solution, the College decided, was to take the campus flag down until next semester, but not to ban all flags on the campus.

** Among the nation’s highly respected institutions of higher learning is the University of Virginia (UVA), founded nearly 200 years ago by Thomas Jefferson, author of the Declaration of Independence and third President of the United States.

After UVA President Teresa Sullivan quoted Jefferson in a campus-wide email encouraging students to stay resilient and hopeful while trying to recover from the distress suffered after the election, some students and faculty objected to the Jefferson quote.

A letter reportedly signed by 469 students and faculty said, in part: “For many of us, the inclusion of Jefferson quotations in these e-mails undermines the message of unity, equality and civility that you are attempting to convey.”

One might expect students and faculty at an institution of higher learning to be capable of appreciating that a positive message including a quote from the school’s famous founder is not necessarily rendered meaningless by the fact that Jefferson owned slaves. Such efforts by the easily offended on the left to erase elements of the nation’s history they don’t like in order to create the pretty and clean image that matches their fantasy is fundamentally dishonest.

While much of this activity has taken place on college campuses, it seems this craziness exists elsewhere in the U.S.

** An anti-Trump organization named “The #NotMyPresident Alliance” has exposed electors of the Electoral College to the whims of people who don’t want Trump to win the Electoral College vote by releasing personal information on the electors, including the personal phone numbers, addresses, religions, races, genders, and candidate preference of the electors. 

According to Buzzfeed.com, “The group hopes that its members and citizens around the country will contact electors and persuade them to change their vote from Donald Trump to another candidate before Dec. 19” when electors meet to cast their votes.

One wonders how many electors will be threatened by Trump opponents?

** Here’s an item that might produce cries of “Yes! Go for it!” People in the Golden State are calling for secession.

"The relationship between California and the federal system just isn't working," said one of those leading the protest, complaining that federal tax money paid by Californians “isn't adequately supporting aging infrastructure and public programs in the state.” He and a small group paced in front of the state capitol, chanting, "What do we want? Calexit! When do we want it? Now!"

Amid signs proclaiming "Free Hugs" and "Not my president," and some profane Trump chants, he said Trump’s election proves that America is failing. “So then the question becomes, do you want to go down with the sinking ship, knowing that you have a ship that's able to sail the international economy on its own?" California dreaming is alive and well.

** The Department of Justice charged the Denver Sheriffs Department for discriminating against illegal aliens in the hiring of deputy sheriffs. In response to this outrageous development, the Sheriffs Office did precisely the wrong thing: it worked out a settlement that included a $10,000 fine and agreed to change its job requirements to allow illegals to apply and perhaps be hired. The appropriate response: “No dice. We’ll decide who is qualified to serve our citizens, and illegal aliens in our country and state are not qualified.”

Why would anyone think it’s acceptable to hire people who broke the law when they came here to serve as law enforcement officers? It is not discrimination to exclude illegals and criminals from these jobs; it is common sense.

America is not about the majority bowing down to a minority who want to change long-standing traditions and practices they don’t like. We can’t allow ignorance and emotion to rule.

We just celebrated Thanksgiving, expressing our gratitude for the blessings we now have. Looking to next Thanksgiving, perhaps these misguided Americans will have realized that these things and the thoughts behind them are not what America is all about.

Cross-posted from Observations

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

The Trump transition is well underway, despite his enemies’ wishes

Commentary by James Shott


Two weeks after the presidential election, things are moving forward for President-Elect Donald Trump, who is busy selecting individuals for administration posts. 

Last week, Trump’s first two appointments were Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus as chief of staff and former head of Breitbart News, Stephen Bannon, as chief strategist. 

Amid assessments of the transition’s first few days as chaotic and on the cusp of failure, Bannon’s choice drew sharp criticism from the leftist Trump opponents and the major media, who are determined to criticize most everything Trump’s team does or says. 

Next came the choice of retired Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn as national security adviser, Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.) as director of the CIA, and Sen. Jeff Sessions, (R-Ala.) for Attorney General, subject to Senate approval, and meetings Saturday with 2012 Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, thought to be a candidate for secretary of state, and with retired Marine Corps Gen. James Mattis, who is said to be a potential contender for defense secretary.

Meetings with potential selectees continued through the weekend, stoking the fires of speculation about who might go where and, of course, the predictable Democrat opposition’s criticism of people under consideration, as well as those already chosen.

As bad a choice as media and political enemies believe Trump to be, so far his transition is right on schedule.

Saturday, Trump took action to remove what likely would have become a big distraction to organizing his administration, doing so prior to being sworn in, and which likely would have continued at least into the early months of his presidency. Agreeing to a settlement of $25 million, three lawsuits aimed at Trump University have been resolved. The agreement also includes $1 million in penalties to the state of New York.

Former students of the school claimed that they paid thousands of dollars to learn Trump’s real estate success secrets, but contended that they were lured into paying up to $35,000 to learn from instructors hand-picked by Trump, which they claim did not happen.

The settlement was negotiated between Trump’s lawyers and New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and the law firm that brought the suit against the now closed school. The settlement does not require an admission of guilt from Trump, but Trump’s organization issued a statement that said, "We are pleased to announce the complete resolution of all litigation involving Trump University. While we have no doubt that Trump University would have prevailed at trial based on the merits of this case, resolution of these matters allows President-Elect Trump to devote his full attention to the important issues facing our great nation."

If there is a downside to settling the lawsuits, it is that we may never know which side is right. Did Trump defraud the students, or is it merely an opportunity seized upon by students and lawyers hoping for a big payout?

Removing what would have become a huge distraction enables Trump to get on with the business of organizing his presidency, even as his political enemies occupy themselves with petty criticisms about appointments and who he is talking with, suggestions of who he should be talking with, and arguing about whether it was FBI Director James Comey’s handling of the email investigation or the Electoral College that defeated Hillary Clinton, not Donald Trump.

Democrats have begun a move to have the Electoral College, the Constitutional mechanism to determine who becomes president, replaced by the popular vote. At the Constitutional Convention, several methods of electing a president were considered, but the Founders well knew the dangers of consolidated power. After much debate and compromise they devised a system that instead distributed power more broadly, balancing federal powers with those of the states, and providing a voice to all states, not just the most populous. 

As Heritage Foundation legal expert Hans von Spakovsky noted: “In creating the basic architecture of the American government, the Founders struggled to satisfy each state’s demand for greater representation while attempting to balance popular sovereignty against the risk posed to the minority from majoritarian rule.”

And the result has been that the Electoral College has provided stability to the process of picking presidents. Though the national popular vote winner typically wins the presidency, that vote failed to determine the winner in four previous elections: 1824, 1876, 1888, and 2000, and the republic survived quite well, thank you.

And the wisdom of the Founders has once again been proven in the 2016 election where the least desirable candidate, Hillary Clinton, wound up with a comparatively thin popular vote margin of 50.6 percent of the vote to Trump’s 49.4 percent; 1.4 million votes out of 124.7 million, meaning that Clinton got 1.15 more votes per hundred voters than Trump did. 

A margin this thin is well within the margin of error of political polling, and hardly worthy of the hysteria that has been demonstrated by this miniscule difference in vote totals.

What this effort does best is illustrate the level of desperation, disbelief and unwillingness to accept the outcome that is so firmly ingrained into the political left and their sub-faction, the major national media.

But as before, the republic will endure and thrive.

Cross-posted from Observations

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Moving forward, with the election of 2016 in the rearview mirror

Commentary by James Shott


Tuesday, November 8 was a stunning repudiation of the eight years of Barack Obama’s presidency. It was a revolution. The media and the left are in a daze; they don’t understand what happened. They didn’t notice that the people were unhappy with the direction of the country, and the people showed them that they are in charge.

With a Republican president and Republican majorities in each House of the Congress, the stage is set for needed change, and the by-word for Republicans is: Restoration.

That is a tall order; given the deep slide the country has been in for so many years. Among items badly needing attention:

* Gain control of the borders and restore immigration laws and policies so that they benefit and protect the people of the United States. There is no obligation to accept immigrants or refugees, and if we choose to accept some, they must be carefully vetted to select those that will help America the most. Do away with sanctuary jurisdictions in the U.S.

* Reverse many/all of Obama’s Executive Orders that are either unconstitutional, attempts to circumvent Congressional treaty authority, or just bad ideas.

* Revitalize and build up the American military to its former strength and effectiveness.

* The IRS, EPA, DOE and other executive departments are staffed by many who, instead of serving the people, are serving political/ideological masters. Replace these people with true public servants.

* Repeal or heavily modify the Affordable Care Act to increase private sector insurance coverage and encourage more choices and more competition among providers of insurance and health care, and to lower prices. Get the government out of healthcare as much as possible.

* Simplify the tax code and adjust rates, and reduce regulations. These things impair business development, stifle job creation, and that make moving jobs and companies overseas more appealing.

*Restore the constitutional balance of power and reverse Congress’ unconstitutional transfer of law making through regulations by executive agencies and departments.

* Vacancies on the Supreme Court and other federal courts must be filled by people who not only understand the original language and intent of the Constitution, but will honor it. Changes to the Constitution must occur through the process outlined in the Constitution itself, not through unelected activist judges.

* The election process has many weaknesses that allow the dead to vote and other problems that can be utilized for illegal purposes. Furthermore, there is simply no legitimate reason to not implement a photo ID requirement to vote in federal elections. A photo ID is required to buy alcohol or cigarettes; open a bank account; apply for food stamps, welfare, Medicaid/Social Security, unemployment, a mortgage or a job; drive/buy/rent a car; get on an airplane; purchase a gun; adopt a pet; rent a hotel room, and many other things. But not to vote. Clean up voter rolls, be more vigilant and punish cheaters.

* A balanced budget is not immediately possible, but begin to decrease the size and cost of government and start reducing the gargantuan National Debt.

* Congress was not intended to be, and should not be, a career, and lengthy Congressional service has produced an unhealthy culture. The Framers envisioned citizen legislators, people who did their elected job for part of the year and worked their jobs at home the rest of the year, and after a term or two returned to civilian life. We need to move toward that environment.

* And last, but certainly not least: Uphold the Rule of Law; eliminate the double standard: Government workers at all levels must be held to the same legal standards as the people who pay their salaries. This includes such folks as the IRS’s Lois Learner and, yes, Hillary Clinton. It is true that the defeat in the election was a true blow to her, and yes, that can be taken into account. However, as Secretary of State, Clinton breached security and put at risk sensitive national security information, destroyed evidence, and lied to Congress about it.

Others who have done similar things have suffered criminal penalties for their wrongdoing; retired Army General David Petraeus and active-duty Petty Officer First Class Kristian Saucier, and many others were punished through the legal system for security breaches. So, too, must Clinton be.

FBI Director James Comey introduced a new element into criminal law when he decided Clinton should not be indicted for her wrong doing because he was unable to establish the intent to breach security. She thus escaped justice where others did not. However, when lawyers for Saucier told the court their client did not intend to breach security, as Comey asserted about Clinton, the judge rebuked them for using that defense.

She should not be pardoned; the legal system exists to find and punish criminal behavior. If appropriate for her deeds, she should be charged, and absent a guilty plea, tried. If guilty by plea or by trial, a large fine and/or probation would be appropriate. It’s only fair: equal justice under the law. Otherwise, it will be a huge statement that some are above the law.

There is much to be done. Let’s get started.

Cross-posted from Observations

Tuesday, November 08, 2016

October’s jobs and economic numbers do not warrant much celebration

Commentary by James Shott

President Barack Obama’s last chance before the election to show that Democrat policies are producing favorable economic and job conditions has ended, and October’s economic numbers contain some positive news, but not a lot.

Among the better news, the most often cited unemployment rate dropped slightly, and average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls rose by 10 cents.

President Obama and the Democrats are thrilled that the U-3 unemployment rate dropped a bit in October to 4.9 percent, the same level at which it stood in June, July and August before rising to 5.0 percent in September. Unemployment of 4.9 percent is a respectable rate, so long as other factors do not provide contradictory facts. But, alas, they do.

The U-3 rate is one of six different looks at alternative measures of labor underutilization in the country, and counts those in the labor force who are working as well as those who have lost their job, but are actively looking for another one.

The weakness of the U-3 is, however, that there are a tremendous number of Americans of working age who are not working or looking for a job any longer because they became discouraged at being unable to find a job, and have dropped out of the labor force, although they would gladly go back to work if the business climate improved and the economy produced a job for them. The U-6 rate reflects the unemployment rate with these folks included in the calculation, and stood at 9.5 percent at the end of October. The U-6 rate is far more reflective of the actual health of the employment environment than the more frequently cited U-3 rate, and 9.5 percent is not good.

Thus far in 2016, employment growth has averaged 181,000 per month, compared with an average monthly increase of 229,000 in 2015. Neither level has been enough to help those millions of discouraged workers who have given up looking for work, as demonstrated by the U-6 unemployment number.

In October, 1.7 million persons were marginally attached to the labor force. While total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 161,000 in October, 487,000 discouraged workers dropped out of the workforce; three times as many people quit the workforce because they couldn’t find a job as were hired for a new job. That explains the small improvent in the U-3 rate.

“The sectors witnessing the strongest boost in hiring over the past year included education, health and professional and business services in October,” write Nick Timiraos and Josh Zumbrun on The Wall Street Journal blog. “The sectors with the weakest performance included manufacturing and mining.” Service sector jobs thrive while manufacturing sector jobs continue to suffer. And, since the last recession began in December of 2007, the number of new full-time positions and the number of new part-time positions are nearly equal.

Neither of these are good signs. Most people want full-time jobs, but they are in short supply, and that means lower earnings as a part-timer, or having to work multiple jobs to make ends meet. And in terms of worker earnings, manufacturing jobs most often pay better wages than service jobs.
The Labor Force Participation Rate was at 62.8 percent at the end of October, muddling along at levels not seen since the late 1970s.

A participation rate of 62.8 percent means that of every 1,000 people of working age that are actively in the labor force or have dropped out but are willing and want to work, only 628 have a job, a little less than two out of three. That translates to 94.5 million Americans of working age that are not working. The highest the participation rate has been in 2016 is 63.0 percent and the lowest is 62.6. Until after the recession began near the end of 2007, the participation rate hovered around 66.0, and nothing President Obama has done in eight years has reversed the steady slide and the leveling out in the 62 percent range.

After seven years in office the Obama economy had produced an average real GDP growth rate of a weak 1.55 percent, ranking Obama as fourth from the bottom of previous Presidents of the United States. In October 2016, GDP registered a growth rate of 2.9 percent, by far the best this year. However, by comparison, U.S. real GDP growth averaged 3.79 percent from 1790 to 2000. The Obama administration’s over-regulation and poor tax policies hampered business activity, hence job production.

As voters go to the polls to complete the process of choosing Obama’s successor, a major question is whether they will vote to elect Hillary Clinton and stay on the present failed course for four or perhaps eight more years of economic weakness, millions of Americans out of work, weak GDP, and jobs forced overseas by foolish tax and regulatory policy.

Or, will they vote for a change by electing Donald Trump, who at least very well understands business and how economic policies like those of Obama and Clinton harm the very people they are elected to serve. Let us hope for the latter, and provide America the chance for better things in the future.

Cross-posted from Observations

Monday, November 07, 2016

WHY HILLARY SHOULD NOT BE PRESIDENT

  1. This video should scare anyone who sees it. The newest nuclear weapons can take out entire states. Obama has tried to start a war with Russia. A President Hilla...ry would do the same. This is the reason Hillary should never ever see the inside of the White House again.

Sunday, November 06, 2016

SHERIFF TRUMP AND HIS POSSE ARE COMING TO TOWN


SHERIFF TRUMP AND HIS POSSE ARE COMING TO TOWN



Eric Arthur Blair, better known as George Orwell, could not have written a darker scenario than America presently confronts. Government actors including but not limited to; the President of the United States Barack Obama, the Attorney General Loretta Lynch and membership of the FBI have colluded with Hillary Clinton’s campaign to alter the outcome of the presidential election.  Their actions include obstruction of justice, misuse of classified information, destruction of classified information and other offenses against this nation. Congress stands by as the Executive Branch pummels a nonpolitician who wants to “Drain the Swamp” of corruption in our Capital. Our nation has been compromised by a rogue government which puts itself before the people. Not to worry a new sheriff is coming to town.



Donald Trump is no paragon of virtue or saint. His origins are derived from the hard streets of New York City. His father, Fred Trump, built residences for those in the low and middle income brackets. In this environment our next President became intensely interested in real estate. Building an expansive company Donald Trump has developed numerous skills, lacking in most politicians, which could benefit the entire nation. The wall of skepticism generated by the left concerning Trump’s abilities and lifestyle were designed to take him down. They failed miserably. Instead media outlets pushing this adulterated garbage have been rebuked by Trump and his followers. Ratings of left wing news outlets have tanked and some Hillary co-conspirators have lost their jobs. With that stated the cleansing process has already begun.



Universal stupidity has brought the present government into power. Promises made were not promises kept. Degenerate thought processes have driven governmental departments to destroy whatever good government could do for us leaving behind a barren frontier to rebuild. Trump is the correct person to initiate this building process. Every institution, tradition and industry has been touched in some form or manner by the overreach of incompetence. As bad as this sounds there is worse. Intimidation of American citizens on a level, not seen in one human life time, has emerged as a norm for the Obama Administration. Payoffs, kickbacks and bribes have accompanied the current President’s tenure in office received by those who lather praise on him. Imagine for a moment that a Republican was in office involved in the same actions. Special prosecutors would be invoked and indictments would flow. Will this Teflon President jump ship and avoid his day in court? Not likely. With the new sheriff a few days away from appointment there is no place in the foothills or valleys to hide. Come clean Mr. President the American people and your soul need a lift from 8 years of your reign.





Mark Davis, MD platomd@gmail.com  Author of Demons of Democracy and Obamacare: Dead on Arrival, A Prescription for Disaster.

Tuesday, November 01, 2016

Presidential campaign has not focused much on important issues

Commentary by James Shott

The presidential campaign has not adequately addressed the issues and problems facing the United States, but the next president has a mountain of problems needing attention.

Looking at polls from major news organizations – CBS News/New York Times; ABC News/Washington Post; NBC News/Wall Street Journal – from May through October of this year, the economy/jobs is the leading issue in all polls, followed by the combination of terrorism, national security and immigration. Tam Warner Minton, writing on The Huffington Post blog, suggests that the Supreme Court is the most important of the issues.

All of these issues are important, but two of them – The economy/jobs; and the U.S. Supreme Court – are already affecting the country.

The thing to remember when evaluating the way Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton approach these problems is that one of them loves and lives for big and bigger government, while the other plainly prefers the private sector.

Looking at the economy and job creation, Trump has actually created jobs through his hotels, golf courses and casinos; while Clinton’s decades in the public sector leaves her with no real experience in this important sphere.

Her approach to jobs and the economy will rely on increased regulation, reducing taxes on the middle class and making the rich pay more. The National Center for Policy Analysis (NCPA) analyzed the Clinton plan and said, “As currently presented, the Clinton tax proposals would increase taxes on high-income earners, reduce the exceptions to the corporate income tax, and increase estate taxes, in an effort to raise more revenue and bring greater equity to the current U.S. tax system. According to our NCPA-DCGE model, the plan would generate $615 billion in revenue over 10 years, with most of that increase coming from the federal personal income tax. The cost to the economy would be a net loss of 211,000 jobs by 2026, and a reduction in real GDP of 0.9 percent.”

Clinton has criticized Trump’s tax cutting policy, deriding it as “Trumped-up trickle-down,” a cute phrase, but a horribly ignorant economic reality. The NCPA explains why this idea will out perform Clinton’s: “Rather, insofar as tax cuts raise after-tax profits, they induce taxpayers to expand investment and, in so doing, wages, and jobs. Insofar as they raise after-tax wages, they induce taxpayers to enter the labor force and work longer hours. This is not the result of money “trickling down” from one person to another but of the reduction of disincentives to invest and work that are inherent to any tax code,” and especially one that punishes people with money to invest in job-creating economic activity.

Where the U.S. Supreme Court is concerned, it can cause great harm to the nation if Justices stray from their Constitutional limits, and they often do.

In response to a question in a presidential debate, Clinton said: “If I have the opportunity to make any Supreme Court appointments, I’m going to look broadly and widely for people who represent the diversity of our country, who bring some common-sense, real-world experience.”

This answer displays a shocking lack of understanding of the job of the Supreme Court, and the purpose and meaning of the U.S. Constitution. The Court’s duty and function have nothing to do with ideas of diversity, or the supposed benefits of real-world experience. Its job is essentially to resolve legal disputes, being sure always to uphold the principles of the Constitution.

The Constitution is alive, but it is not a “living document,” the meaning of which would change with the winds of societal preferences. The Founders based the Constitution upon important principles that were intended for the ages. They understood that at some future point there may be a true need for modification, and they created a mechanism for doing so. That mechanism is not simply a majority of Supreme Court Justices wanting to make a change; it is a clear and difficult process, difficult by design to prevent foolish modifications to satisfy some momentary desire.

There are essentially two approaches to how justices interpret the Constitution: conservatism/originalism, which honors and adheres to the actual language and original intent of the Constitution; and liberalism, which is a willingness to interpret the language for some social or political end, which results in making law from the bench instead of in the Congress, as the Constitution requires.

Packing the Court with Justices who do not honor the original meaning of the Constitution in order to achieve some narrow ideological objective is a form of subversion, and Hillary Clinton is married to that goal.

Donald Trump, on the other hand, understands the great wrong of that goal, and has vowed to nominate judicial conservatives/originalists to fill Court vacancies.

The left likes for things to be easy: easy border control and easy citizenship; easy changing of the Constitution; easy to vote through early voting and without a picture ID; and easy to live off of government support, rather than facing the rigors of a job, among them.

Such laxness and failure to uphold traditional standards makes it much easier to turn America to liberalism/socialism through subversive measures than trying to persuade people to accept it. We must resist these efforts.

Cross-posted from Observations