Whither goest thou, First Amendment?

You will be happy to learn that, unlike every other blogger today, I will not mention President Trump’s post-summit news conference with Vladimir Putin.

Today I wish to reminisce about that which I consider our single most important “right” as Americans – freedom of speech. It was not a mistake that our Founding Fathers thought to embody that right in the First Amendment to our Constitution. Why is it that you use the word ‘reminisce,’ ask you? Because, answer I, it has been effectively destroyed by leftists.

My first reminiscence is the recollection that I was a liberal Democrat until my conversion from the dark side by Ronald Reagan. However, not all of my liberal notions evaporated in that transformation. I was then and remain today a “First Amendment absolutist.” While my infatuation with the liberal philosophy ended, no surprise was as great as to see the Democrat Party daily undermining this foundational principle of American freedom.

Perhaps you have seen the movie, The American President. In that movie the final speech by President Andrew Shepherd (Michael Douglas) speaks loudly of the Democrat Party’s previous devotion to free speech. Of course, he portrayed a Democrat president (it was a Hollywood production after all) and an extremely liberal one at that. “You want free speech? Let’s see you acknowledge a man whose words make your blood boil, who is standing center stage and advocating at the top of his lungs that which you would spend a lifetime opposing at the top of yours.”

Now to the point of today. A friend and reader (BC) sent me an article that tore at my heart. The article was: Commentary: How I lost the war against ‘free’ speech, by Daniella Greenbaum.

[From the Greenbaum article] As an opinion columnist for Business Insider until my resignation Thursday, I had grown accustomed to strong reactions from readers when I wrote about Hamas (I’m not a fan) or the problems with accusations of cultural appropriation.

But I didn’t see this one coming.

Commenting on recent criticism of actress Scarlett Johansson for taking a movie role that called on her to portray a transgender man, I made the commonsensical and, I admit, not particularly original observation that actors specialize in make-believe and ought to be allowed to take any jobs they like.

The brief online post stirred immediate fury — among some of my Business Insider colleagues… several people within the organization complained to the editor, who responded by scrubbing the ScarJo post from the site and instituting a new policy of requiring “culturally sensitive” work to be reviewed by an executive editor or an editor in chief before it can be published. As the Daily Beast reported, he also suggested writers and editors talk with a group of employees who would volunteer to be sounding boards on issues of cultural sensitivity.

Given that in these thin-skinned days just about any subject can be called “culturally sensitive,” and given that a committee basically would ensure my column became a safe space, I had no alternative but to resign. And so I’ve had the disorienting experience of becoming one small data point in what is a disturbingly large set.

Leftists are a persistent lot. The chip and chip away… no, that is incorrect. They intimidate and intimidate until the foundation is so weakened that it collapses. The constant policing of speech and opinion has had the appropriate intimidating effect. Policing speech is now the new normal.

The left has invaded and secured a landing zone in every institution that could possibly thwart their agenda: colleges (safe spaces), the media, entertainment, etc. As Ms. Greenbaum so poignantly describes: It’s beginning to permeate every area where we use language — every area of life. Ultimately, even the wokest (I simply cannot express how that very word eats at my soul and not simply because it is a grammatical abomination) of the warriors will realize that when it comes to outrunning the predatory mob they’ve created, no space is safe.

If the leftists want to destroy democracy, they have secured their first victory.

I invite you to read her entire article (and do not fail to note that is was published in the Washington Post). It is very sobering.

Roy Filly

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Politics in cartoon form.

Must admit to being a little “bummed out” after yesterday’s summit press conference. I needed a laugh and thought you might also.

This week we got a chance to hear from an FBI stalwart. Like most Democreeps, this guy thinks “average Americans” are stupid.

The lame-stream media has lost all credibility. Liberals were huge supporters of the First Amendment. Leftists want to destroy the First Amendment and they are within a stone’s throw of accomplishing their goal. They own the media. No, that’s not correct. The media is a more powerful wing of the Democrat party than is the DNC.

Colleges, network television, comedians… they are all falling in line.

Now we have the Democrat National Committee espousing socialism. Again, leftists think Americans cannot think for themselves.

Well, I have a news flash for the Democrats; Americans are a lot smarter than you think and A LOT SMARTER THAN YOU!

Personally, I can’t wait to see the Democreeps try to sell this one in the midterm elections.

Sadly, for the leftists, their main avenue to accomplish their nefarious plot is about to run into a major roadblock.

I have a suggestion. It’s not a new one.

Roy Filly

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Didn’t leftists say, “Trump’s tax cuts hurt the poor?”

Leftists have a playbook. It hasn’t changed in my memory. There are no policies – only ‘tasing points.’ Among those talking points near the top of the playbook is the mantra that “tax cuts” help the ‘rich’ and hurt the ‘poor.’

Let’s take a look. Unemployment is at near record lows overall, but is at record low for minorities. Black American unemployment is at a record low. Would a “racist” try to accomplish that? Hispanic unemployment is at a record low. Would a “xenophobe” try to accomplish that? Women’s unemployment is approaching a record low. Would a misogynist try to accomplish that?

Indeed, there are a record number of job openings. There are so many job openings that, if filled, the US unemployment would actually reach ZERO. What is the effect of these historic lows in unemployment? It causes employers to raise salaries in order to attract workers and keep their most productive workers. Doesn’t that help the ‘poor?’

However, there was a portion of the Trump Tax Cut legislation that has received virtually no coverage.

[Source: New Hotel or Affordable Housing? Race Is On to Define ‘Opportunity Zones,’ by Ruth Simon and Richard Rubin]

That part of the tax legislation provides tax breaks for those that invest in the new “opportunity zone” program. Who lives in these so-called “opportunity zones,” ask you? Why the ‘poor,’ of course, answer I. Have you ever noticed that Democreeps always talk about helping black and Hispanics Americans during an election cycle, BUT THEY NEVER DO AFTER THE ELECTION.

Look at this. Then look at this.

But the unbelievable aspect is that the Democreeps never tell minorities (or women) how they plan to help them. Instead they tell them they should “vote” democrat because they are “victims” and want “vengeance” – the three Vs of democrat politics.

The new “opportunity zone program” will likely have profound effects on black and Hispanic low-income communities. Let’s pick someone who likely hates Trump with a passion – the Mayor of Los Angeles, Eric Garcetti. What does he have to say about the program?

“This is the biggest initiative of this type by the federal government with the least debate, the least staff support, the least research and still the least clarity,” said Mr. Garcetti, who has been working on his own city’s zones. “It hasn’t really been fleshed out and that’s exciting for me.” What? A federal program that doesn’t have 500 rules about how to spend each dollar? Indeed, there are no “federal dollars.”

[Directly from the Simon and Rubin article] Unlike earlier federal efforts to spur economic development in poorer communities, the program takes a free-market approach and isn’t backed with federal spending. Being designated an “opportunity zone” doesn’t guarantee that a community will receive money for schools, health care or other services. Instead, private investors will decide whether to invest in designated areas and how to use those funds.

City and state officials are trying to determine how to attract funding and use their zoning rules, incentives and other tools to guide where and how money is spent. “There is going to be a lot of creativity,” said Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer, who heads a U.S. Conference of Mayors committee studying how cities can tap the new program.

Foundations are exploring how they can foster investments that create jobs or services needed by low-income communities and ensure that existing residents benefit without getting displaced.

Hey! What do ya’ know? Someone is finally trying CAPITALISM instead of socialism and the welfare state to improve the lives of low-income Americans living in our poorer communities.

And thanks to HP for sending this to me.

Roy Filly

 

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Sowell.

“Our peculiar security is in the possession of a written Constitution. Let us not make it a blank paper by construction.”

Thomas Jefferson

“A Constitution of Government once changed from freedom can never be restored. Liberty, once lost, is lost forever.”

John Adams

I would like to quote from the very first post I ever wrote as The Rugged Individualist: “Thomas Sowell is the most convincing economist of our day, in my extremely humble opinion. More importantly, his notions of equality and the plight of black americans are inspiring. Like nearly every American, I was very proud on the day that America elected its first black president. I didn’t vote for Obama, but let’s face it, a black American president… However, if God had been paying attention or, at least, not playing a practical joke, our first black president would have been Thomas Sowell.”

Sowell is the past master at distilling conservative wisdom. I have found that extraordinary thinkers understand the importance of conservatism. Thank you Dr. Sowell.

30. “The problem isn’t that Johnny can’t read. The problem isn’t even that Johnny can’t think. The problem is that Johnny doesn’t know what thinking is; he confuses it with feeling.”

29. “One of the consequences of such notions as ‘entitlements’ is that people who have contributed nothing to society feel that society owes them something, apparently just for being nice enough to grace us with their presence.”

28. “Each new generation born is in effect an invasion of civilization by little barbarians, who must be civilized before it is too late.”

27. “Virtually no idea is too ridiculous to be accepted, even by very intelligent and highly educated people, if it provides a way for them to feel special and important. Some confuse that feeling with idealism.”

26. “I wonder what radical feminists make of the fact that it was men who created the rule of ‘women and children first’ when it came to rescuing people from life-threatening emergencies.”

25. “The word ‘racism’ is like ketchup. It can be put on practically anything — and demanding evidence makes you a ‘racist.’

24. “To believe in personal responsibility would be to destroy the whole special role of the anointed, whose vision casts them in the role of rescuers of people treated unfairly by ‘society.’”

23. “What sense would it make to classify a man as handicapped because he is in a wheelchair today, if he is expected to be walking again in a month and competing in track meets before the year is out? Yet Americans are given ‘class’ labels on the basis of their transient location in the income stream. If most Americans do not stay in the same broad income bracket for even a decade, their repeatedly changing ‘class’ makes class itself a nebulous concept.

22. “There is much discussion of the haves and the have-nots, but very little discussion of the doers and the do-nots, those who contribute and those who merely take.”

21. “It would be hard to think of a more ridiculous way to make decisions than to transfer those decisions to third parties who pay no price for being wrong. Yet that is what at least half of the bright ideas of the political left amount to.”

20. “When you want to help people, you tell them the truth. When you want to help yourself, you tell them what they want to hear. People with careers as ethnic leaders usually tell their followers what they want to hear.”

19. “‘We are a nation of immigrants,’ we are constantly reminded. We are also a nation of people with ten fingers and ten toes. Does that mean that anyone who has ten fingers and ten toes should be welcomed and given American citizenship?”

18. “It is amazing how many people think that the government’s role is to give them what they want by overriding what other people want.”

17. “Those who cry out that the government should ‘do something’ never even ask for data on what has actually happened when the government did something, compared to what actually happened when the government did nothing.”

16. “Four things have almost invariably followed the imposition of controls to keep prices below the level they would reach under supply and demand in a free market: (1) increased use of the product or service whose price is controlled, (2) Reduced supply of the same product or service, (3) quality deterioration, (4) black markets.”

15. “Much of the social history of the Western world, over the past three decades, has been a history of replacing what worked with what sounded good.”

14. “Weighing benefits against costs is the way most people make decisions – and the way most businesses make decisions, if they want to stay in business. Only in government is any benefit, however small, considered to be worth any cost, however large.”

13. “Considering how often throughout history even intelligent people have been proved to be wrong, it is amazing that there are still people who are convinced that the only reason anyone could possibly say something different from what they believe is stupidity or dishonesty.”

12. “Since this is an era when many people are concerned about ‘fairness’ and ‘social justice,’ what is your ‘fair share’ of what someone else has worked for?”

11. “For the anointed, traditions are likely to be seen as the dead hand of the past, relics of a less enlightened age, and not as the distilled experience of millions who faced similar human vicissitudes before.”

10. “It is amazing how many of the intelligentsia call it ‘greed’ to want to keep what you have earned, but not greed to want to take away what somebody else has earned, and let politicians use it to buy votes.”

9. “If you cannot achieve equality of performance among people born to the same parents and raised under the same roof, how realistic is it to expect to achieve it across broader and deeper social divisions?”

8. “It is amazing how many people think that they can answer an argument by attributing bad motives to those who disagree with them. Using this kind of reasoning, you can believe or not believe anything about anything, without having to bother to deal with facts or logic.”

7. “Experience trumps brilliance.”

6. “There is usually only a limited amount of damage that can be done by dull or stupid people. For creating a truly monumental disaster, you need people with high IQs.”

5. “There are few modest talents so richly rewarded — especially in politics and the media — as the ability to portray parasites as victims, and portray demands for preferential treatment as struggles for equal rights.”

4. “In short, killing the goose that lays the golden egg is a viable political strategy, so long as the goose does not die before the next election and no one traces the politicians’ fingerprints on the murder weapon.”

3. ”The charge is often made against the intelligentsia and other members of the anointed that their theories and the policies based on them lack common sense. But the very commonness of common sense makes it unlikely to have any appeal to the anointed. How can they be wiser and nobler than everyone else while agreeing with everyone else?”

2. “No one will really understand politics until they understand that politicians are not trying to solve our problems. They are trying to solve their own problems – of which getting elected and re-elected are number one and number two. Whatever is number three is far behind.”

1. “There are no solutions; there are only trade-offs.”

And thanks to JM for sending these to me. And thanks to Thomas Sowell for much of my enlightenment.

Roy Filly

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You can learn a lot from graphs.

Let’s start with a little fun! I guess when “ET phoned home” they told him they had cancelled his credit cards (or maybe he heard about Space Force).

You hear a lot about our contribution to NATO compared to Germany, for example. My readers are likely aware that NATO members are “required” to spend at least 2% of their GDP on defense. But when the US and Germany are compared on that basis (3.6% – 1.2% = 2.4%) the difference is fairly meaningless to most Americans. But when one sees a graph in DOLLARS we can appreciate that the US spends 93% MORE DOLLARS. President Trump is right to belittle Europe’s committment to NATO.

Public sector unions just took a big hit (SCOTUS decision in Janus v AFSCME), but it will take decades still to even this playing field.

The following graph is a “two-fer.” In part one the “red state/blue state” dichotomy should slam you right between the eyes. In part two we see that private sector unions have been on a steady and continuous decline. That decline will soon afflict public sector unions because of the SCOTUS decision.

 

Even the most fertile countries in Europe are below replacement levels (roughly 2.1 children per woman). Who would have thought that the uterus would be the weapon of Europe’s demise? Our own birthrate just fell to a 30-year low. Some demographers think that the societies at the bottom of the graph have already hit the point of “no return.” That is, they can no longer reverse the trend in time to save their cultures or nationalities.

There is a new President in Mexico. He intends to eliminate corruption. Good luck with that! And tell me again why leftists are opposed to protecting our southern border?!?!

Yes, there are America jobs dependent on trade with Canada, but let us not forget how many Canadian jobs depend on trade with America. More than 150 million Americans are part of the U.S. workforce. Canada has 9,636,700 in their workforce. According to Trevor Tombe, a University of Calgary economist, there are in fact only two American states out of 50 – Michigan and Vermont – where trade with Canada exceeds 10 per cent of their annual economic output. By comparison, Canada’s provinces are in large part overwhelmingly dependent on keeping the borders open with the U.S. Forty-nine per cent of Ontario’s gross domestic product depends on trade with the United States. For Quebec, that number is 23 per cent. For Alberta, it’s 31 per cent.

And just FYI.

Roy Filly

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We need some perspective on separating children at the border.

I am a strong supporter of legal immigration and unalterably opposed to illegal immigration. Do I like the idea of separating children from parents at our southern border? WHO WOULD? But we need some perspective on leftists current favorite rant (well maybe not “current” due to the recent nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to be the next Supreme Court justice).

2,700,000 kids have a parent in prison (ABC News says 1.5 million American children have a mother or father in federal or state prison – just to be certain we have the leftwing perspective). The 2,700,000 number is from 2013 Pew Research  – and Sesame Street).

On any given day, there are nearly 438,000 children in foster care in the United States. In 2016, over 687,000 children spent time in U.S. foster care.  On average, children remain in state care for nearly two years and six percent of children in foster care languish there for five or more years.

There are 220,000 children separated from a parent because the parent is actively deployed in the US military. (A figure of 765,000 seen commonly is the number of children of active duty military, not necessarily those deployed overseas – and, indeed, even stateside deployments may require a parent to be separated from his/her child.)

By contrast, there are approximately 2000 children temporarily separated from their illegal immigrant parents at our southern border at any one time – the number changes by the day as new illegals with children arrive and others are reunited with their parents. A 2015 court order, based on a document called the Flores settlement, prevents the government from keeping migrant children in detention for more than 20 days. Prison sentences, military deployments, and foster care stays are far longer.

But leftists and the lame-stream media focus on these. Why is that, ask you? Because answer I, it is politically expedient!

[Sources: Waiting List for Legal Immigrant Visas Keeps Growing, by Jessica M. Vaughan; The Asylum Phenomenon on the Southern Border, by Betsy McCaughey]

Most of these “family separations” at the southern border are “asylum seekers.” It therefore behooves us to try to get a handle on how truthful their stories are about a need for asylum. I believe that those cases adjudicated by asylum court judges give us a reasonably accurate figure. Among the hundreds of thousands of Central American migrants claiming “asylum” only 12 percent of requests from El Salvadorans, 11 percent from Guatemalans and 7.5 percent from Hondurans are actually granted (according to the Department of Homeland Security). Therefore, the stated need for “asylum” is bogus in approximately 9 out of 10 cases.

Being an asylum grantee is a pretty good deal. They receive the Refugee Cash Assistance program, including medical care, a housing allowance and hundreds of dollars a month in cash.

Let’s compare “asylum seekers” to the large number of individuals seeking legal entrance to the US:

  • More than 4.4 million people as of 2015
  • Ninety-eight percent of those waiting have been sponsored by a family member in the United States.
  • They must show that they have a qualifying family relationship or that they have been sponsored by a qualifying employer.

The Table below shows the number of applicants waiting by country (as of 2014).

Table 1. Immigrant Waiting List By Country 

Country Applicants
Mexico 1,323,978
Philippines 428,765
India 323,089
Vietnam 259,030
China, Mainland-Born 243,440
Dominican Republic 197,351
Bangladesh 170,739
Cuba 122,088
Haiti 117,489
Pakistan 116,766
El Salvador 77,301
Jamaica 58,984
South Korea 53,360
Peru 52,284
Colombia 51,154
Iran 50,326
All Others 776,516
Worldwide Total 4,422,660

[From the Vaughan article] The waiting times in the family categories range from 19 months to 33 years. More than half of the waiting list is comprised of about 2.5 million people who have been sponsored by a sibling who is a U.S. citizen. These applicants must wait at least 13 years for their application to be adjudicated. The largest number (30 percent) are citizens of Mexico, and the wait for them is just over 18 years.

Leftists have forgotten (or ignored) the 2014 family migrant crisis “handled” by the Obama administration.

During fiscal year 2014 (October 2013-September 2014), 68,541 unaccompanied children were apprehended at the US/Mexico border. One must presume that their parents voluntarily “separated” from their children (or, at the very least, the children voluntarily separated from their parents). As well, the federal government apprehended about 55,000 adults with children from October 1, 2013 to June 30, 2014. They all could not be housed together.

However, I must admit that I enjoy seeing red-faced leftists with their eyes bulging as they intone their latest diatribe, tirade, phillipic, screed, rant… you choose the correct noun. I especially love the old standards they drag out; ‘Hey Hey, Ho Ho, (fill in the blank) has got to go!’ Will they ever learn?

I hope the above gives you a little better perspective on this recent rant by leftists.

Roy Filly

 

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The Wall – take a look!

Is this an artists rendition of our new southern border wall? Did Mexico pay for it? NO!!! This is The Wall between Turkey and Syria and the EU paid for it!!

[Sources: Firing at Refugees: EU Money Helped Fortify Turkey’s Border, by Maximilian Popp – writing in Der Spiegel; European Commission Fact sheet, EU-Turkey Statement; The EU-funded wall that nobody wants to talk about, by a blogger who calls himself “I Am Awake”]

See footnote for other articles of note concerning this issue.

Is anyone but me sick to death of “our allies” in Europe. If there was ever a bigger group of “virtue signalers” I would be surprised. They have ever so many suggestions on how the US should govern itself and an equal number of suggestions on how we should spend our tax dollars supporting and defending their countries.

To say that they are not fans of our President is an understatement. He is holding NATO’s feet to the fire and asking for fair trade practices. The nerve of the man!

Most of the information below was printed in Der Spiegel, hardly a right-wing-rag:

  • This is a 764 kilometer (475 mile) wall between Turkey and Syria.
  • EU states have provided the government in Ankara with security and surveillance technology
  • The equivalent of 80 million euros ($94 million) was given to Turkey to protect its southern border.
  • The wall runs through the provinces of Sanliurfa, Gaziantep, Kilis, Hatay, Mardin and Sirnak and incorporates physical, electronic and advanced technology layers.
  • The physical layer includes modular concrete walls, patrol routes, manned and unmanned towers and passenger tracks.
  • Turkish soldiers fire machine guns at refugees approaching The Wall.

For all we hear from the leftists in our country telling us that we should “welcome” refugees in the same way our betters in Europe welcome them:

  • The EU pledged €3 billion ($3.53 billion) to Turkey under the guise of humanitarian aid to the Syrian refugees in the country. In reality, this deal served to trap the existing 3.5 million refugees in Turkey.
  • Once these resources are used in full, the EU will contribute an additional €3 billion.

Don’t you just love being lectured by these “virtue-signalers” about how we should deal with our southern border and asylum seekers.

And thanks to PCoop for sending this to me.

Roy Filly

Footnote:

http://harekact.bordermonitoring.eu/2018/03/26/no-way-out-the-european-union-is-funding-military-equipment-used-by-turkey-to-stop-refugees-from-fleeing-the-syrian-civil-war-and-entering-the-eu/

http://eaworldview.com/2018/04/the-european-union-turkey-and-refugees/

https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2018/mar/26/scheme-cash-transfer-turkey-1m-refugees-eu-aid

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Finally, Inspectors General are unleashed.

Okay, Dr. Filly, whatever is that title supposed to mean, ask you? It means that President Obama did everything in his power to SILENCE inspectors general. Now, President Trump is allowing them to do their jobs.

The “hidden” things in the Obama administration are too numerous to list. But today’s topic was a surprise to me.

[Source: The Silencing of the Inspectors General, by Victor Davis Hanson]

The media and the Obama administration did pretty much everything in their power to hide the dirt. Obama recently stated, and rather dogmatically at that, “I didn’t have scandals.” Possibly he has had an amnesic episode because I recall innumerable scandals: the IRS; General Services Administration; Peace Corps; Secret Service – too numerous to count [hiring prostitutes (even the person investigating hiring of prostitutes hired a prostitute and had to resign), drunk driving, crashing cars, breakdown of security at the White House. etc.]; Veterans Administration; and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. And let us not forget the Clinton email server scandal, the Benghazi scandal and the 2016 Democratic National Committee email scandal.

[Directly from the Davis Hanson article] For nearly eight years, the Obama administration sought to cover up serial wrongdoing by waging a veritable war against the watchdog inspectors general of various federal agencies. In 2014, 47 of the nation’s 73 inspectors general signed a letter alleging that Obama had stonewalled their “ability to conduct our work thoroughly, independently, and in a timely manner.”

How did the Obama administration go about doing this, ask you? They withheld any documents that might be incriminating, answer I. Does “withholding documents”  sound familiar?

Unfortunately for Obama, these hardworking and tenacious inspectors general still managed to issue a number of damning reports [from the Davis Hanson article]:

  • In 2012, Horowitz recommended that 14 Justice Department and ATF officials be disciplined for their conduct in the “Fast and Furious” gun-walking scandal.
  • A 2013 IG audit found that the IRS had targeted conservative groups for special scrutiny prior to the 2012 Obama re-election effort.
  • In 2014, an internal audit revealed that CIA officials had hacked the Senate Intelligence Committee’s computers while compiling a report on enhanced interrogation techniques. CIA Director John Brennan had claimed that his agents were not improperly monitoring Senate staff computer files. He was forced to retract his denials and apologize for his prevarication. (Nice way of saying he is “a lying sac of sh*t, and he hasn’t stopped.)
  • In 2016, the State Department’s inspector general found that Hillary Clinton had never sought approval for her reckless and illegal use of an unsecured private email server. The IG also found that staffers who were worried about national security being compromised by the unsecured server were silenced by other Clinton aides.

So what happened, ask you? Essentially nothing, answer I. When you have Eric Holder and Loretta Lynch as attorneys general, they will do nothing to damage the “anointed one.”

But then something did happen. Hillary didn’t get elected and Trump did. Let’s think now. Does President Trump have any reason to hide the Obama administration’s dirty secrets? (Pause… Good answer!)

We have just heard from the inspector general of the Department of Justice – not a good day for the Obama era FBI. Soon other inspector general reports will start appearing:

  • FISA court abuse
  • Improper behavior at the Department of Justice, FBI, CIA and National Security Council during the 2016 campaign cycle
  • Hillary’s email server

Interestingly, these inspectors general were appointed by Obama. It appears that the “anointed one” cannot corrupt everyone.

Roy Filly

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Politics in cartoon form.

It has been an awesome week for political cartoonists. So, rightfully, a few more than usual!

I am a free speech absolutist. So Maxine “the moron” can say whatever she likes. But I calculate she just put a breakwater in the line of the fading “blue wave.”

As I have said many times, the last gasp of a dying political philosophy is “name-calling.”

Children really do take their clues from adults. Thank you Democrats for poisoning what was left of good manners in our nation.

Talk about having a bad week: Travel ban upheld, union piggy bank broken, new Supreme Court pick, fake Time magazine cover (correctly revised below), Maxine Waters decides to open her mouth… even the Washington Post kicked the Democreeps while they were down.

The divisions have become stark.

The Ninth Circuit… what a joke! (Footnote)

And the last three need no commentary… enjoy these if you believe in the Constitution.

Roy Filly

Footnote: From 1999 to 2008, of the Ninth Circuit Court rulings that were reviewed by the Supreme Court, 20% were affirmed, 19% were vacated, and 61% were reversed.

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Trade war. Is Trump nuts?

Let me begin by saying, yet again, that I believe in free trade. I took my cues from Professor Thomas Sowell, my economics guru. So is our President being foolhardy in trying to renegotiate trade deals around the world and imposing tariffs? The leftists say he constantly listens to the “news” instead of doing his job. Doesn’t he hear pundits aplenty telling him he’s NUTS? “Tariffs are taxes.” “Tariffs hurt the average American.”

I have decided to keep an open mind, because I find it hard to believe that with all of the billionaires available to advise him (Todd Ricketts, Betsy DeVos, Wilbur Ross, Steve Mnuchin, and, of course, he’s a billionaire too) no one has argued forcefully, if not successfully, against his approach. What the hell is he doing???

[Source: Trade Orthodoxy Reconsidered, by Gil Gutknecht]

I suspect that President Trump has taken his cue from the greatest negotiator of all time, Al Capone. Capone advised, “You can achieve more with a soft voice and a loaded gun, than you can with a soft voice.”

[Directly from the Gutknecht article] Oh, the G-7 clucked about the possibilities of dire repercussions. The Canadian Prime Minister warned and the EU leaders lectured. China promised a tit for tat reaction. Wall Street pharmacies began running out of Valium as the money mangers fretted over an oncoming trade war. But, our president knows something that our trading partners don’t want to admit. They need us a lot more than we need them. They can huff and puff and bluff. But, he is holding a straight flush…and they know it. 

Do we really think that “voters” in Europe, Japan, South Korea (oh right, they already decided to reach a trade agreement with Trump) aren’t looking at the new tariffs their leaders are imposing on US goods and NOT ASKING THE SAME QUESTIONS OUR PUNDITS ARE SPEWING FORTH ABOUT AMERICA? Let’s look at a few of the notions that pundits roll out to refute Trump’s trade posture:

  • If Europe thinks that the current trade structure does not hugely favor their nations then look at the reaction of the G-7 leaders when the President offered to remove all tariffs and trade barriers if they would do the same.

If they weren’t greatly benefitting from current trade practices and if “tariffs” weren’t hugely already in their favor, what possible reason could they have to balk at such a proposition? After all, following the advice of another Italian Mafia Don, wasn’t this “an offer they couldn’t refuse,” especially if it was in their own best interests?

  • Smoot Hawley and the Great Depression. It is important to remember that the “Great” Depression was only “Great” in the USA. Most of Europe had returned to growth before the Second World War. I am not discounting Smoot-Hawley but there were many other factors that caused the protracted length of the Depression (thank you Franklin Delano Roosevelt for supplying many of those “factors”).
  • The federal government was funded with tariffs on imported goods during the century in which we grew from a collection of struggling colonies into an industrial powerhouse. (Footnote)
  • Americans could care less about the price of a Harley Davidson or inflation of the price of Canadian honey when they don’t have jobs. For how many decades was “offshoring and outsourcing” decried by politicians of every stripe? One analysis by the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimated that in 2007, 30 million people were employed in service-providing occupations it found to be potentially offshorable; they accounted for over one-fifth of total employment in that year. Think about why an improbable candidate (Trump) won an election over twelve highly regarded Republican contenders and then the “shoe-in” candidate from the opposition party (Hillary). Then think about those hundreds of towns across America that are shadows of their former selves because of “free trade.”

The media may poison the atmosphere, but middle America elected President Trump to put AMERCA FIRST. He may be making a misstep, but I intend to let him play his hand.

Roy Filly

Footnote: State and federal inheritance taxes began after 1900, while the states (but not the federal government) began collecting sales taxes in the 1930s. The United States imposed income taxes briefly during the Civil War and the 1890s. In 1913, the 16th Amendment was ratified, permanently legalizing an income tax. America had been a nation for 137 years before tariffs were not the major revenue source.

 

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