Tax Relief, Tax Reform, or Total Capitulation?

The 1% that pays the 80(+)% of Federal taxes today already see circa 43 cents of every salary dollar they make taken by the US Government.

Just when I thought the GOP couldn’t screw things up more than they already have, lo and behold, they produce a tax relief/quasi-reform bill that Democrats would (if they were honest with themselves and the people) proudly promulgate and foist on the American people. Why can’t the GOP do anything right? When will we ever have another opportunity to stimulate growth in our economy as we could do right now? That is a rhetorical question. But for those of you who are not catching my drift, the answer is “We won’t; not in our lifetimes, at least, and if the history of all successful civilizations that have come before us is any barometer, not in any succeeding generations either.

How’s that for optimism? Look, all is not gloom and doom yet. If, by some miracle, 51 Republicans vote “Yea” on the Senate’s version for the tax bill, then the bill will go to conference with the House, and something will emerge for the President to sign. That something will most likely have provisions for phased in corporate tax relief. That is not as good as the mind-numbingly  simple notion that the relief should come no later than 1 January, 2018, but something is better than nothing. For all those who do not understand that a rising tide lifts all boats, take some time to read Adam Smith and Milton Friedman. They didn’t write in innuendo. They wrote and spoke in terms backed by data and results. So let’s grant the GOP that there is still a possibility that some form of corporate tax relief is headed our way. Praise the Lord.

What about the people and the more direct impact on their wallets? The House and Senate plans are not totally dissimilar. Again, if the bills actually get to conference, a compromise will most likely be achieved. But what exactly have they done? Let me help you. Both Houses of Congress capitulated. They are so browbeaten by the Obama era populist 1% refrain that they are scared to even propose any legislation that actually helps the people who pay 80% of the federal taxes. They are proposing tax relief for the 20%! Don’t get me wrong. I am happy for any help we can provide to our middle class. But a tax relief bill that focuses solely on those who pay a small percentage of the taxes does not address the problem. It is a bandaid on a severed artery. The point is that the 80% pay anywhere from 35% to 43% of every dollar they make today in federal taxes-including the hidden Obama-care tax that will remain in place. Those numbers are simply not going to change in any material manner. 

I haven’t dug deeply enough, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see that both bills have features that provide relief to those who don’t even pay any taxes now! What on earth has happened to common sense? That is another rhetorical question. The answer, for those who are refusing to follow along here, is that the GOP is scared to do the right thing. Our representatives know that doing the right thing exposes them to being accused of promoting a tax bill about which Democrats can accuse them of favoring the wealthy. God forbid! I mean, what benefit could be derived from a tax bill that cuts taxes for the people who pay all the taxes? That is simply not acceptable.

We are intellectually bereft. Our Democrat politicians talk in populist sound bites aimed solely at creating division and envy, and our Republican party (divided and fractured as it is) is now petrified of taking positions that are right for our economy but can easily be used as weapons of deceit by the Democrats. 

The only hope I can see for meaningful tax relief/reform is is the GOP passes the compromise bill coming out of conference, and then somehow, someway, it introduces further relief and reform next year. 

Then there is the death tax-known more formally as the estate tax. What a joke. First, the death tax is materially irrelevant. The revenue generated by the death tax is meaningless. Yet the notion of abolishing the death tax is to Democrats as luscious a talking point as a juicy steak left on the counter for dinner is to a labrador  alone in the kitchen.  Democrats have a field day with this red herring. Earlier today, I wrote “…what an amazing discussion. How have we arrived at a place where citizens of our great country think it is perfectly ok for the long arm of government to take money (money that has been earned and on which taxes have been paid) away from a family simply because the principal has died? It is preposterous. It is no one’s business what the family does with its money. Nowhere in our Constitution is it decreed that fellow citizens must decide how one’s hard earned money should be judiciously redistributed following one’s death. The entire conversation is preposterous. Yet that is where we find ourselves. Woe are we.”

A refutation was not long in coming from someone on the left. He replied, “The estate tax…(is) like other taxes helps fund your military, healthcare, highways, parks, welfare for farmers, your congress, president, etc. You won’t need it because your dead. Your kids won’t need more than 50% of it because you taught them to be self sufficient and you want them to have some semblance of success all on their own. If you got creative you donated it to charitable causes minimizing the estate tax. Remember nobody got rich on their own. And the constitution doesn’t preclude an estate tax…our kids and their kids don’t need huge trust funds that last several generations. It robs them of a life. They need to wait tables, bag groceries, mow lawns, go to college and get a job. This is what builds character and self esteem which will ultimately bring satisfaction. A 50% estate tax over 10 million won’t kill our country club pals. Indeed doing away with the estate tax will create more depression in our kiddos who have done little but rely on parents after spending summers at air conditioned camp, Traveling to Europe, and playing golf at (a country) club.”

My response to that mind-boggling lack of logic was simply “amazing”. Seriously, there is no point debating much with people who think the government should decide what families should do with their money, and the government should apparently also decide how our children and grandchildren should order their priorities! Wow. 
I could go on, but I imagine you get the picture. The GOP just keeps digging a hole for itself. It’s not too late, but if I were you, I would send a shovel or two to DC and tell your representatives to get the heck out of this hole and fill in the dirt as soon as they can!
More to follow-

“The Need for Civility in an Uncivilized World”

The Secretary of State under George H W Bush was (and remains) a gentleman and a superb diplomat

The following is a speech that Secretary James Baker recently gave to a group at St. Martin’s Episcopal Church in the great city of Houston, Texas.  Pierce Wire readers will know that I have longed for the return of grace, dignity, and statesmanship to the political process. Alas, I (and many of you) have largely been spitting in the wind-better than the alternative, I guess. 

Words of wisdom now follow-

“I have been asked to speak tonight about the need for civility in an uncivil world.

It is a complicated question, one that robustly challenges Christians because it puts us directly in the crosshairs of a critical theological question: How do we reconcile our Christian desire to confront what we consider wrongdoing in the world with Our Lord’s endorsement of tolerance toward others?

Further, it is a complicated question at a time when many of our values are being challenged by today’s culture.  Basic Judeo-Christian values that were generally accepted during the first two hundred years in America are now being questioned.  How do we deal with this situation?
As I consider my response, I want to make it clear that I’m no theologian and this question is probably above my paygrade!  But I am a former public servant, an attorney, a father, a grandfather and a great grandfather who is now in my 88th year. And I suspect that the some of the same things that have become apparent to me are also apparent to many of you here tonight.
The world, it seems is going through a tectonic transformation — one that brings tremendous opportunities. And with them, great risks.
 
In many ways, the future looks brighter than ever.  Technology and science are marching at the fastest paces connect us with one another around the world. Mankind will be heading to Mars by 2030. And long before then, most of us will have self-driving cars.  Our health is better than ever before. Globally, we are living twice as long today as we did less than century ago. And the average life expectancy continues to rise.
Wealth, meanwhile, is spreading around the globe as more and more countries adopt America’s successful paradigms of democratic governance and free-market economics. Last year, the World Bank announced that a smaller percentage of the world’s population lived below the extreme poverty line than at any other time in recorded history.
And if you can pull your attention away from the constant deluge of negative news, you might be surprised to learn that we are living in one of the most peaceful times during the past century. The annual global death rate due to war is down from an average of 22 deaths per 100,000 people during the Cold War years to 1.4 deaths per 100,000 in 2014, the latest year with complete numbers.
 
Yes, there are risks in the world today. Global climate change, nuclear proliferation and radical Islamic terrorism are three, to name just a few. And violence and economic disparity remain difficult challenges around the world.  On balance, however, more people may be living in relative peace, better health and greater prosperity than during any other time in world history.
At the same time, sadly, our own country is going through a period of great civil unrest, perhaps the most toxic I have experienced in my life. The tenor of our national discourse is tinged with an aggressive anger and a virulent rhetoric that threatens our society. We seem to prefer arguing over statues and other symbols of the past rather than building projects for our future.
 
When you open the newspapers or watch television, it’s sometimes hard not to cringe at the bankruptcy of our public debate. We hear shrill cries for the removal of the Jefferson Monument because that Founding Father owned slaves. We are scolded that “safe places” are needed on college campuses to protect our students from discussions they don’t agree with.

America’s national ideal of e pluribus unum-“out of many, one”-threatens to become a hollow slogan as jaded Americans constantly are confronted by tidal waves of animus from their televisions and smartphones.

The practice of identity politics increasingly divided us along lines of race, ethnicity, gender, religion and sexual identity. Countless demagogues stand ready to exploit those differences. When a sports reporter of Asian heritage is removed from his assignment because his name — Robert Lee — resembles the name of Robert E. Lee,  it shows the insanity of the principal of “political correctness.”
The one thing that has united us in the past has been love of country, patriotism and respect for our flag and our national anthem. Now, it seems, some believe it is ok to disrespect those symbols in order to call attention to grievances they hold.  Obviously, they have a constitutional right to do that. But doing so risks unraveling what in the past has unified us.
Symbolic of our national anger is the partisan animosity between Republicans and Democrats that has brought Washington to a standstill. We can’t seem to get anything done because our government isn’t working for us.
These divisions are real. In our national politics, and particularly in Washington maintaining lines of civil and constructive communication seems increasingly more difficult.
There are, of course, several reasons for our hyper-partisan political environment:
First, there is a redistricting process that pushes congressional districts to the fringes of the political spectrum. As result, the reasonable center is being squeezed out of our politics. The art of compromise is now missing from our polity.
Second, there is the simple fact that we live in a fairly evenly divided red-state, blue-state country, with the two sides seeing the world through vastly different prisms. The problems confronting a Democrat on Chicago’s South Side are different than the ones facing a Texas Panhandle Republican.
Third, our rapidly developing social media lowers our national debate into an angry brawl. Through social media, people throw the wildest allegations against the wall to see which ones stick. Further, the spreading of fake news via social media undermines real news, and creates a jaundiced society that doesn’t know who or what to believe.
And fourth and finally, the press no longer objectively reports facts but rather acts as an advocate and player in our political debate. If you watch FOX, you think you’re watching the house organ of the Republican Party. And if you watch MSNBC, you know you’re watching the house organ of the Democratic Party.
So what can we do to revive the type of bipartisanship that is necessary for our  government to accomplish anything for the American people?
In Washington, it will take leadership in both parties!  Republicans and Democrats will have to, once again, work together and compromise if they want to get things done.  But all Americans must also shoulder some of the responsibility. Each of us needs to look inside our own heart.
The harshness of our political debate has been matched  It is becoming uglier and more crass.  The norms dictating decent behavior are eroding; and it seems that we’ve lost sight of the basic regard we owe our fellow men and women.  Rather than blame others for our myriad of problems, we should recognize that in a democracy, no one side gets to make all of the rules.
Our country has survived and thrived for so long, in large part, because we have learned how to work together on important issues. Compromise in a democracy is essential.  Our Founding Fathers differed on many issues, but they worked out compromises to define our core principles that still hold today.
As followers of Jesus Christ, when thinking about our role in society today, it’s important to ask ourselves, “What Would Jesus Do?” How did Jesus respond to the chaos of the day and the lifestyles that were antithetical to his morals?  He looked at people with hope, whoever they were. And all were invited to follow him — the good Jew AND the hated Samaritan.  He says in the book of John, “I am the light of the world.  Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
Jesus didn’t focus on the political upheaval of the day, but on each individual’s heart. He calls us to love God with all of our heart and to love our neighbors as ourselves.  Jesus’ parable of the Good Samaritan makes it clear that our neighbor is not just someone we agree with. Our neighbor is everyone with whom we have contact. He teaches us NOT to judge others, but to examine our own hearts and repent of our wrongdoing.
Jesus challenges us to love our enemies, to do good for them, and to forgive those who have wronged us. He cautions that if we aren’t willing to forgive others, God can’t forgive us.
In politics, compromise is essential. But being a practicing Christian requires us to be respectful of our neighbor even when compromise is not possible.  Working hard for our political beliefs and values is very important, but it is more important to never lose sight of walking in the light of Jesus.
Thankfully, we have been given the Good News that Jesus will never leave us or forsake us, and we have also been given prayer as the way to live. We are continually told to pray in both the Old and the New Testaments.  In II Chronicles it says, “If my people who are called by name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”
We have work to do in the civic arena, but we also have much work to do in our hearts if our land is to be healed.  When we look at our world in the context of our faith, we could despair if we didn’t know about God’s grace and mercy. The bottom line for us Christians, however, is that we are called to show grace and mercy–even to our philosophical opponents–just as we ourselves are shown mercy.
And so, when someone makes a point, listen to it, regardless of how incorrect it may seem to you. Don’t discount people just because you don’t agree with what they say. Or the way they look. Or where they live.  Listening is an important part of learning about one another.  And in this country, we need to do more of that, and do less of the screeching that too many people today think passes as discourse.
During the six weeks since Hurricane Harvey hammered the area, Houston has demonstrated many of the attributes I’ve been talking about. In the midst of the biggest crisis our community has ever experienced, we stopped being Democrat or Republican . . . rich or poor  . . . black, white, or brown . . .  Christian, Muslim, or Jew
Instead, we’ve all been Houstonians — first, and foremost. With the single focus of restoring and healing our community, we’ve prayed for one another, we’ve helped one another and we’ve looked out for one another.  This dynamic and broad-gauged response by Houstonians has been simply remarkable. And it is precisely what we need nationally.
Yes, we have many differences among us here in Houston — just as we do in Texas and across the nation.  But in the end, we are all Americans living in the very finest country in the world — the country everyone wants to come to, and no one wants to leave.  Realizing and respecting that phenomenon is what unifies us when times get tough.
 
It SHOULD unify us ALL the time.”
 

Kaepernick Gone Wild!

The Protest was one thing last year. It is quite another thing now.

What hath Colin Kaepernick wrought? This debate was very black and white (sorry, couldn’t resist) to me last year. Colin Kaepernick chose to use our National Anthem and his fame as platforms to protest what he saw as institutional injustice against black Americans. I disagreed with his decision to use the National Anthem. It seemed to me that his fame gave him plenty opportunity off the field to become as active as he desired in pursuit of social justice. But that was then. This is now.

Allow me to ask you a question. If you ran a business, and your family depended on you to bring home the bacon to make ends meet, how would you feel if one of your employees disrupted your business to make a social statement about an issue very important to that person? Can anyone seriously suggest that you wouldn’t make it very clear to that person that your place of business is not where such disruptions should occur? And can anyone seriously suggest that if that person continued to disrupt your business you wouldn’t terminate that person’s employment? Of course you would.

I cannot tell you how much I wish the President would focus on health care, tax reform, and matters pressing around the world. Weighing in on this situation during his speech in Alabama last Friday night was incendiary and unhelpful to anyone.

People already knew where they stood on this issue. The President of the United States stepping into the middle of the discussion served only to dump fuel on the fire. I guess it is the reaction of the NFL and now most team owners that bemuses me. The talking heads have droned on about how teams on Sunday displayed unity by locking arms together, or in some cases, by staying in the tunnel during the National Anthem. Give me a break! Owners and coaches were scared to death that their players would divide between themselves over the issue at hand, and the result would be implosion on the field. What we saw on Sunday was self-serving unity. 

Why can’t the NFL take a non-political position and make it clear that its players are free to do whatever they want to do on their own nickel!? How can the NFL possibly condone any of this behavior during before, during, or after a game, when players are still in their uniforms, and representing their teams and the league? It is ridiculous.

So here is where I am on the issue. The whole thing is totally bonkers. The President was wrong to step into the breach. The players who are falling into line under the mantle of “unity” are either deluding themselves or too stupid to see they are being used, and NFL leadership, owners, and coaches have lost the plot; full stop.

Let’s get back to honoring our flag and our country and playing football. These players are famous. They can find other times and places to pursue their respective quests for social justice. In short, knock it off!

More to follow-

Batshit Crazy

When does the madness end?

In 1933 the Nazi’s organized a campaign to burn books. Yes, books were written by intellectuals, and intellectuals were Jews; ergo, all books had to go. This video ( click here) shows Joseph Goebbels getting the boys all riled up.

From 1966 to 1976, Chairman Mao murdered millions of Chinese in the name of Communist purity. Their sin? Their alleged bourgeois tendencies threatened the very foundation of the communist revolution. They needed to disappear! (For more detail, click here. )

Religion is certainly not exempt from the abuse of power. The Catholic Inquisition (read more here) was used as weapon to stifle dissent for centuries. More recently, the Taliban has attempted to totally eliminate any vestige from the past in order to ensure total domination of its people and allegiance to its twisted interpretation of its creed. Who can forget the annihilation of the 5th century Buddhist statues back in March of 2001? (click here for a video of that barbaric act.)

I could go on and on. History is replete with horrific tales of man trying to eradicate history in order to create his more perfect vision of himself.

And so we come to the United States in 2017; a polarized nation, to say the least. The polarization is not just between the traditional left and right. No, this is more complex. We have massive divisions between left and right, but cutting across those customary lines are levels of anger, disenfranchisement, frustration, and isolation. In essence, we find ourselves in yet another William Holden moment. Some of you may remember. Others are too young. Click here to see for yourself. If you just kept reading, I implore you to go back and click on that link. I dare you to watch it and not feel some level of connection.

I have been moaning about the PC left for the past several years. My focus has been on the continued leftward trajectory of our education system up to and through the universities. I have highlighted the reality that the capital L in Liberal Arts no longer exists. Our universities are markedly small case l these days. They do not teach anything close to the classical definition of Liberal. Our children are exposed to endless palaver demonizing anything traditional or conservative. Hillary may have once written that ‘it takes a village”, but as far as I am concerned, it takes a remarkably strong family unit to offset whatever garbage one’s child is likely to be taught throughout the entire spectrum of educational exposure. In short, the “village” has become the problem!

The events in Charlottesville two weeks ago triggered yet another wave of knee-jerk reactions from the progressive left. Now let’s be clear. The President is operating in his own universe. I have no idea what motivates him to say the things he does. More importantly, I have no idea why he says the things he does the way he does!

Cutting through all Mr. Trump’s  apparent lack of sensitivity to the events that led to the loss of life in Charlottesville, the President also made some irrefutably true statements. When he called out groups on the left (Antifa, for example) for fomenting hatred and violence, he was absolutely right. The left has long been given a free pass on the destruction of property and violence toward its fellow man, all in the name of a good protest. The double standard is appalling.

It is the aftermath of that regrettable day that is actually the focus of today’s short tome. The nationwide movement to tear down all statues of anyone who fought for the South in the Civil War is simply appalling. And the PC left wasted no time. Scores of universities and municipalities have jumped on the bandwagon. Yes sir, the South must not rise again. Let’s simply pretend it never existed to begin with! Let’s eliminate all memories of the South and those people who were its leaders!

Ladies and Gentlemen. History is art. It is a painting; something to look at and study: a canvas from which to learn. If you don’t like the art,  create your own. You can’t destroy the painting just because you don’t like it.

I could digress and discuss what an amazing man Robert E. Lee was. Alas, I would lose the plot. That is not the point of this blog. My thesis is simple. These people who wish to eradicate a major part of our nation’s history are simply batshit crazy! One cannot apply morals of today to events of yesterday. That is not the way history works. Unless, of course, Chairman Mao and the Taliban are one’s heroes. Then, I suppose, eliminating all statues of Confederate Generals makes complete sense.

And where exactly does it end? Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York City is presently studying whether to take down statues of Christopher Columbus and Peter Stuyvesant! You can’t make this stuff up! (Click here to see the article. )

The ironies implicit in all this tomfoolery are many. Perhaps the ultimate joke on people is the notion that today’s activists who seek to eradicate our nation’s history do so having taken by storm some form of self-assumed higher moral ground. The imperfections of the past must be eliminated so the perfection of the present is all that we know in the years ahead! Wait, where exactly is that perfection to be found? Antifa? Nancy Pelosi? Chuck Schumer? George Soros? Maxine Waters? Bill de Blasio?

You get the picture? They’re all batshit crazy.

Never try to pretend the people who made our nation what it is today simply did not exist, merely because you don’t think they were good people. Leave that mentality to the fascists, communists, religious zealots, and totalitarians.

Study your American history. It’s  fascinating; warts and all. Learn from it. Become a better person because of it. Embrace American Exceptionalism and appreciate the fact that we are who we are because of our incredibly complicated history. Rise above the PC clamor. In short, don’t be batshit crazy!

Fire and Brimstone!

Let’s get this note off on the right foot. Yesterday, the President said this of Kim Jong-Un. (click here ) Not to be outdone, and obviously not visibly quaking in his shoes,  North Korea’s fearless, all-powerful, all loving, all knowing leader instructed his news agency to tell the world he is preparing to reduce Guam to rubble. (click here to see that report.) Meanwhile, Secretary of State Tillerson is hopping around Asia trying to keep the lid on the pot. 

Keeping the lid on the pot when two wholly self absorbed leaders are engaged in a verbal jousting match is not easy. Maybe we should actually refer back to the good ole days and put the two of them on horses and let them have a run at each other with lances. What’s the downside?

I grew up in the “duck and cover” world. Some of you readers don’t even know what that is. Suffice to say, Americans over 50 were never wholly removed from the specter of nuclear Armageddon. Of course, the arms race with the Soviets led us down the path to a place called “mutually assured  destruction”, and neither the US nor the Soviet Union were particularly anxious to test that theory out. Of the whack-job in North Korea, who’s to say? It is true that Republican and Democrat Presidents alike have kicked the North Korean confrontation can down the road for decades. Democrats have generally been inclined to buy more time by dumping largesse on the totalitarian state. In hindsight, that has been rather foolhardy. Shockingly stupid, actually. 

Time (and probably not a lot of it) will tell where all this bluster will lead us. But there is some good news in all this. The main stream media is not really talking about it, but here goes: We actually achieved a 15-0 UN Security Council vote sanctioning North Korea. That means Nikki Haley was successful in getting Russia and China to support sanctions. That is no small feat. And on the other side of the globe, Rex Tillerson is quietly lining up support from a number of Asia countries to rally around the notion that we must be united in isolating the endlessly rogue nation that is North Korea.

And this brings me back to an oft-made point. The President, by design, grabs the spotlight, and insists on it shining directly on himself. He blusters and tweets inanities to his base. He appears to care less about reaching out to Republicans or Democrats with whom he disagrees. He attacks those he considers enemies, and those who thought he was their friend! He attacks his own cabinet picks!  But all the while, he has, actually, surrounded himself with very competent people. Notwithstanding the noise around the Communications Department, and Steve Bannon (the left love to hate Steve) Trump’s Cabinet is out doing its job. We are moving toward a more nimble, deregulated economy, and, believe it or not, we are working well with foreign states. 

If you find yourself pounding your head against the wall over Mr. Trump’s alleged daily shenanigans (real or contrived-just depends on which side of the fence you sit) take some solace in the fact that some really good people are actually working on your behalf and getting things done. 

And on that note, lest anyone think I am getting giddy, the GOP had better get its act together and pass the Trump  tax cut plan, or some variation thereof. If Obamacare isn’t replaced with some negotiated compromise, and a tax plan does not hit the President’s desk for signature, Katy can bar the door, but it will be too late. November 2018 will be an Old Testament style day of reckoning! The table is set folks. Let’s get it done!

More to Follow

The 1% Fallacy

The left wages endless class warfare. One of the foundational talking points revolves around endless drivel concerning the widening gap between our “rich” and “poor”. Those terms in and of themselves connote separation and anxiety. Those who favor redistribution of wealth  insist that without same the United States is sliding perilously down the slope of inevitable revolution. Social upheaval is apparently what must happen unless the “rich” give more to the “poor”. Proponents of this are quick to point to the French (1789) and Russian (1917) Revolutions as cases in point. 

Let’s put this class warfare to rest, shall we? First, let’s understand that both aforementioned revolutions were indeed revolts by the people. They were not political, they were social. It is important to understand the difference. The people simply rose and upended the political framework. In Russia’s case, they literally did so in the space of one week. Both revolutions (each in their own way and in their own time) became political, but they were not inspired by politics or politicians. 

In each case, the people rose up because they had nothing; nada. In each case, they were truly the 99% who were relegated to hopeless lives; no upward mobility, no ability to put food on the table, no anything!

The United States bears no resemblance to the failed monarchies that created the social upheaval which ended pre Revolutionary France and Russia. The hue and cry over GOP ruthlessness is a mockery. We are arguing about runaway deficit spending and entitlement philosophy. No one in the United States is suggesting we should not help our “poor”.

So lets start by stopping the “rich” and “poor” rhetoric. We have successful and less successful Americans. Some Americans are completely down on their luck and are just plumb not successful. They have run into roadblocks at every turn. The GOP wants to help those who want to help themselves. The GOP also wants to help those who have given up. The difference between the left and the GOP is that the GOP doesn’t want to perpetuate hopelessness and make it a way of life. In short, we believe government support should be like a trampoline. One should be able to receive assistance until one can bounce back onto one’s feet. We do not think the taxpayer should be required to provided a metaphoric  hammock; something that encourages one to lie down and never get back up! 

To put things in perspective, look how much money we spend on social programs. (Click here to see.) We spend over $350,000,000,000 a year on the social safety net! All I am saying is that we should all agree that the net should be more like a trampoline than a hammock!

It is a sham for the left to continue to try to foment social upheaval based on the economic gap between those who have succeeded and those who haven’t. We are a kind nation. There is help for those who need it. Let’s also not forget the magnificence of our philanthropic endeavors. Those who have succeeded contribute billions of dollars a year to those less fortunate. In fact, in 2016, Americans gave over $390,000,000,000 of their own money to charity. (Click here to see report.) The private sector will always be able to target and more efficiently help those in need than will the massive bureaucracy that is our US government. Just out of interest, how much money do you think our private sector will contribute if the government continues to tax it into ruin?

As an aside, if you want to help someone, I recommend you check out I Am Waters. It is the only non-profit organization in the country dedicated to the physical and spiritual hydration of our homeless population; a group of people democrats and Republicans have left behind. If you want to learn more, click here.) 

I could easily segue into the the current (and seemingly endless) health care repeal and replace debate. No folks, the GOP is not trying to kill you. Obamacare is imploding. It will die under its own weight. Will whatever comes out of the House and Senate conference be perfect? No! But whatever comes out will be better than the DOA legislation that is currently derailing. The left is not being honest with the American people. They are not acknowledging how terribly flawed the current law is. We will end up with a muddled compromise, but it will be less murky and more navigable than the quicksand in which we now try to walk.

But I digress. All I ask is this; the next time Chuck Schumer or Nancy Pelosi rise up in righteous indignation about GOP cold hearted 1% callousness, just take a step back and ask yourself, “wait, what?” And when you take the time to see what is driving the GOP’s philosophy, you just might find that it makes some sense. Only time will tell. I’m just asking you to give it a shot. 

Just to close, we are not France in 1789. Nor are we Russia in 1917. Not even close. We have a heart. Don’t smirk at Lee Greenwood. This song (here) resonated for a reason. 

More to follow-

 

 

 

Dazed and Confused

Hillary continues to blame everything under the sun for her election loss.

Can anyone actually put today’s politics into rational perspective? I don’t know about you, but sometimes it is all a bit too daunting. And perhaps sometimes others should do the talking. This is one of those times. On June 1, Peggy Noonan wrote “I don’t want to beat up on Hillary Clinton. She thought she’d win and she lost, embarrassingly, to a man she considered deeply unworthy. At the same time she won the popular vote by 2.9 million. It would take anyone time to absorb these things emotionally and psychologically.

But wow. Her public statements since defeat have been malignant little masterpieces of victimhood-claiming, blame-shifting and unhelpful accusation. They deserve censure.”

She then said “She lost because America is a hopelessly reactionary country in which dark forces fight a constant “rearguard action” to “turn back the clock.” She lost because Republicans are both technologically advanced and underhanded. Democrats, for instance, use data and analytics to target and rouse voters—“better messaging.” Republicans, on the other hand, use “content farms” and make “an enormous investment in falsehoods, fake news, call it what you will.” Democrats “did not engage in false content.” She lost because of the Russians: “Who were they coordinating with, or colluding with?”

She lost because of “voter suppression” and “unaccountable money flowing in against me.” She lost because the Democratic National Committee didn’t help her. “I inherit nothing from the Democratic Party. I mean it was bankrupt. . . . Its data was mediocre to poor, nonexistent, wrong. I had to inject money into it.

She lost because FBI Director James Comey told Congress the investigation regarding her email server had been reopened. “So for whatever reason . . . and I can’t look inside the guy’s mind, you know, he dumps that on me on Oct. 28, and I immediately start falling.”

She lost because she was “swimming against a historic tide. It’s very difficult historically to succeed a two-term president of your own party.” She lost because she was “the victim of a very broad assumption that I was going to win.” She lost because the news media ignored her policy positions.

And then there was sexism. “It sort of bleeds into misogyny. And let’s just be honest, you know, people who have . . . a set of expectations about who should be president and what a president looks like, you know, they’re going to be much more skeptical and critical of somebody who doesn’t look like and talk like and sound like everybody else who’s been president. Any you know, President Obama broke that racial barrier, but you know, he’s a very attractive, good-looking man.”

Oh my goodness, how she thinks.”

I could go on (or Peggy could-and did) but you get the point. As a Republican, I can’t tell you how much I hope Hillary deludes herself into considering another run at the White House. As a reasonable human being, I can’t imagine that ever happening. But good Lord, I could never imagine so much of what happens every day ever happening!

To summarize, here is my note to Hillary. ‘Hillary, enough already. Stop looking for scapegoats. You ran a horrible campaign. You had no resonating message. You cannot succeed on the politics of envy if you make people squirm when you talk. Get over it, and do so now, for your sake, your family’s sake, and out of compassion for your country.”

Moving on, I want address an issue that has been raised by two good friends. One is a registered democrat, and the other (I believe) considers herself to be independent. In both cases, they have taken umbrage at my reference to the progressive left and “dimocrats” as too broad and sweeping a characterization, and insulting to those who feel unjustly swept up in the wide swath of my broom. In hindsight, I do tend to throw all democrats to the wolves when I refer to the imponderably inane policies promulgated by their spokespeople. And for that, I apologize. There are obviously myriad forms of democrats just as there are many factions in the GOP. It is not fair to throw all who voted for President Obama or Hillary into the same fruit basket. Some deserve an opportunity to repent! Suffice to say, I will attempt to be more prescriptive in my future diatribes.

Moving on. The President’s overseas trip was good. I love the fact that he restored relations with the Sunni leaders in the Middle East, reiterated his support for Israel as our staunchest ally in the region, and visited the Pope. It was well conceived, and well executed. His ensuing NATO message was clear. He supports NATO, but deadbeats need to pay their fair share. (NATO also believes he supports the organization. Click here to read more.) Look, I don’t like the way President Trump says and does a lot of things. He is abrasive and can act like a bully. But at the end of the day, he is absolutely right to take on those NATO allies who have drafted on the back of our economic engine for far too long.

The budget is outstanding. (Click here if you want to read about it.) If any semblance of this White House budget is passed, we will see economic growth and, ultimately, increased revenues to the Treasury. (Once and for all, let’s put this piece of democrat propaganda to rest once and for all. In spite of all protestations to the contrary, the Laffer curve works. It worked wonderfully after the Reagan tax cuts. Yes, the deficit increased, but that is because we were in an arms build-up war with the Soviet Union. The irrefutable truth is that revenues to the treasury increased during those years. Click here to read more on this topic.) Just as important, we will see curtailment of runaway Federal spending. Folks, I said it in 2008, 2012, and 2016. We cannot keep spending money we don’t have! Sure, it would be wonderful to throw money at every problem that comes our way. Allow me to ask you a question. Is that the way you handle things in your family? Well, a nation is no different. It has to make tough decisions, and those tough decisions have been deferred for decades. If President Trump can actually make the buck stop “here”, (nod to President Truman) all power to him.

The Russia thing. Yawn. The only part of this whole story that intrigues me is if, at the end of the day, Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller ends up focusing on the Obama administration  surveillance activities before and after the election, and conscious decisions taken to “unmask” names of American citizens; names that may have surfaced during (possible illegal) covert intelligence operations. This, folks, is where it could get interesting. Of course, if Mr. Mueller’s investigations do head in that direction, you may rest assured the main stream media will quickly lose interest.

And so there you have it. Not too much happening, right? Are you dazed and confused? I am.

More to follow-

WTF!

Just when you thought it couldn’t get any more bizarre, lo and behold, it is! Look, let’s be clear; this President doesn’t do himself any favors. But let’s be equally clear; this media is out to get him. Full stop! Drastic times call for drastic measures! Perhaps the White House press room would be better off being restored as the indoor swimming pool it once was. (Click here for that little piece of history.) Alas, instead of a swimming pool, the media room has devolved into a cesspool. President Trump may rankle a tad, but the fervor and rancor of the leftist press is just plumb wrong! These people are simply out to destroy Donald Trump. They could care less about the cost to the country. They detest the man. They will stop at nothing.

There is not one scintilla of actual evidence that the President has done anything illegal; zip, nada, zero, nothing! There is innuendo. There is rumor. There is malicious gossip. There are plenty unnamed sources. There is enough fodder for left leaning journalists to write until their fingers fall off. But there is no smoking gun. Whether the issue is Trump campaign officials talking to Russian officials or the firing of Comey, while dozens of naysayers have alleged multiple sins, no one has proof that anything untoward has actually occurred. Houston Congressman Al Green actually took to the floor of the House this week and called for President Trump’s impeachment! If you don’t believe me, you can watch it here

Just so we are on the same page here, I will attempt to paraphrase what the left is saying. It goes something like this. “Fellow Americans, we detest the President. We dislike everything about him. He appalls us. We hate his politics, and we hate him. Our savior, the beloved Saint Hillary lost to him because he  cheated. He obviously colluded with the Russians and the Russians helped him steal the election. And then, when FBI Director Comey started getting uncomfortably close to discovering the truth of the shenanigans that allowed him to steal the election from her, Trump fired him. His administration is one big lie. He must be impeached!”

That, in a nutshell, is what the left thinks. They are flat out crazy. 

To be clear, as I have attempted to be from day one, I am not saying that President Trump hasn’t done anything wrong. I am saying I don’t know if he has or not, and neither do you or anyone else. The dim-ocrats know nothing more than you or I do. And that, folks, is why all this hue and cry in DC is just a large turd pile.

The talking heads and politicians on the left need to put their Saul Alinsky books on deflection and propaganda back on their shelves and (respectively) focus on reporting real news and governing once again. Enough is enough! But of course, it isn’t and I fear we have only witnessed the beginning of what will be an endless attack on President Trump. As Winston Churchill said, “This is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. It is merely the end of the beginning!”

More to Follow

The Mother of all Bombs

The GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast bomb sits at an air base in Southwest Asia waiting to be used should it become necessary. It was used!

The Press Briefing Room-The White House

The air was so thick with tension that it could have been cut with a knife. The media was ready to pounce yet again on this the eighty-ninth day of the Trump administration. Most pundits hadn’t had this much fun in years. Yes, they had to give perfunctory lip service to the Hillary e-mail scandal, but they had no choice. That damn Wikileaks had injected too much noise into the marketplace. Even the most leftist journalist could not completely ignore the outrageous behavior exhibited by Mrs. Clinton. But the good news was that Mrs. Clinton gave President Obama great air cover. She let the mainstream media escape without seriously going after Mr. Obama one time in eight years. Mrs. Clinton deserves credit for (albeit unwittingly) really having Obama’s back!

But this guy Trump, well it’s now a whole new ballgame. The media has never enjoyed such a feeding frenzy. The Bushes were nothing compared to this guy. Most of the media are in a state of apoplexy. They still can’t believe he is President. 

Today was a special day, as the President announced he would be stepping in for Sean Spicer and he would conduct the press briefing. The media were on the edges of their seats; palpably excited at the looming opportunity to skewer this man they so despised. 

Into the room he floated. Handing his wings to an aide, he addressed the gathered throng.

“Did you see the video of the bomb. Wow, that was yuge. I mean big. The biggest. I’ll tell you one thing. If you were alive inside that mountain yesterday, you are not alive inside that mountain today. You know what I mean? Our military is great. And I have told them to do what they need to do. We are making America great again, one rocket and bomb at a time. By the way, you think whatshisname in North Korea might have paid attention to what we just did in Afghanistan? Huh? Ya think? I think so, and so should you. Oh yeah, and stop with the ‘healthcare reform is dead’ thing. I told America we would repeal and replace so we will. You people are so stupid sometimes. Well, most of the time actually. You need to think bigger. All you want to do is find some connection to my beating Hillary and some wacko conspiracy Oliver Stone-like Russian connection. You know that is crazy, right? Heh look, I get it. Democrats deflect. Democrats mastered the best defense is a good offense strategy. I mean when you’ve got nothing, you attack, right? OK, so they have nothing and that means almost all of you have nothing. I mean, is there a difference between you and the Democrats? No, I don’t think so, so question answered. And by the way, we’re doing great things around the country. You might want to consider covering what we’re actually doing sometime. And leave Sean Spicer alone. He is a good, honest man. I know it is hard to fathom he can misspeak a time or two since you are all so perfect. Try to be nicer human beings, if it is possible.” With that the President glared over the rostrum, and turned and began to leave the room.

“Mr. President!”, shouted a member of the press corps, “What about the Mother of all Bombs? How do we know it had any impact at all?”

The President turned and said “That’s the problem with you people. I haven’t even been in office for a hundred days, and already you call my Presidency ‘The mother of all bombs’ and question whether I can have any impact. You’re all idiots, and you lie too much. Stop with the fake news already.” With a disdainful, sour look on his face, he exited stage left.

The elite journalists were too stunned to speak. One muttered, “wait, what just happened?” No one answered. They slowly exited the room and began to formulate their reports about the horror show that was the Trump administration. No one bothered to consider that the deplorables loved every minute of it.

More to Follow

Going, Going, Gone!

Nolan Ryan pitching in the 1969 World Series for the New York Mets

You are wondering, “uh-oh, where’s he going with that title?” Fair enough. Well, this is the best weekend of the year in my book. Baseball season starts, and that means every fan of every team has 162 games to live, eat, drink, and sleep thinking about their team. You see, I may live in a football state, but baseball is the American game. Baseball is our melting pot. Nothing beats the boys of summer. Do you follow me? Watch this video of the 1951 Dodgers-Giants playoff game, (won in dramatic fashion in the bottom of the 9th) and tell me you still don’t get it.(Click here for the video.)

Then in an world short of miracles (of the earthly kind) there was the 1969 New York Mets. No one, and I mean no one, predicted this perennial cellar-dweller to be anything but bottom feeding once again as the 1969 season began, and indeed as it progressed into August. But never discount providence! This rag tag group of grizzled veterans, lackluster journeymen, and a very young, talented pitching staff (my Houston friends will recall Nolan Ryan pitching on this team) overcame all odds (and the Chicago Cubs) to win the National League pennant and then they vanquished the heavily favored Baltimore Orioles in the World Series. Perhaps no one personifies what can happen in a single moment in time more than Al Weis, a utility infielder who spent four years with the Mets and batted .191 over that span, amassing a total of 4 home runs. Suffice to say, he was not feared by opposing pitchers when he stepped into the box. But in the 1969 World Series, well, click here to see for yourself.

Of course, nothing is perfect, and over the next nearly 50 years we have seen our share of player strikes, the horrible stain on the game (and some of its best players) caused by steroids, and the big money era which led players to relegate (not blaming them here!) loyalty to team (and fans) to a distant second place as pursuit of personal wealth was the first priority.

But baseball has continued to provide dramatic moments. Who can forget the best championship game ever played? Already you are wondering, right? There was even a book written about it. (Click here for the link to the book on Amazon) It was a heartbreaking loss for Houston Astros fans, but in 16 wild innings it epitomized most of that which is great about baseball.

As mentioned in the opening, baseball has also evolved into a game where star players  hail not just from the United States, from Japan, Korea, Venezuela, Cuba, Puerto Rico, and the Dominican Republic, among other nations.

If only our political disagreements could be settled on the diamond! I can’t quite get over the Republican disfunction exhibited during the Obamacare debacle. We have a Texas Congressman who personifies our problems. He is a member of the Freedom Caucus, and he is unbending in his approach to government. Don’t get me wrong. I favor most of what Louis Gohmert believes in, but his intransigence and unwillingness to compromise is jeopardizing our ability to process the Conservative agenda.  (click here for an example)

To be fair and balanced, I think Ted Cruz, (whose intellect I admire, but whose diplomatic skills I question) does an outstanding job explaining why the Conservative right did not support the House replacement bill. (Click here to see this interview.)

I don’t believe we can fix all these ills at one time. And a step in the right direction is better than the slow-motion train wreck we are now witnessing.

Tax reform is now on the docket. The GOP should be more united on this front, and should be able to do some great things for our economy. The left will employ its throw down redistributionist drivel about the 1% and the rich getting richer. It is all so boring and condescending to  Americans of myriad socio-economic backgrounds who believe in upward mobility. Listen to this clip of DNC chair speaking to his party faithful. He actually says, “Donald Trump, you didn’t win this election.” (Click here) The dems are living in cloud cuckoo-land denial. They are looking under every rock for excuses for their loss, and are either oblivious or choosing to ignore that fact that their candidate was flawed, and their message(s) did not resonate.

Alas, I digress. Because folks, it is baseball season once again, and it is time for hope to spring eternal. Here’s to hoping your team broadcasters will be uttering these words many times about balls hit and not the GOP’s legislative agenda; “And that one is going, going, gone!”