Are These People Serious?

My last post was upbeat. It honored the life of a great public servant, George H. W. Bush. Alas, we have ushered in a new year, and a new Congress. And no new Congressperson more personifies the bizarre machinations of the left than does Alexandria Octavio-Cortez, a NYC born Latino. One of two things are happening here. She either really does not like anything about what has made the United States the singularly most successful experiment in freedom and upward mobility over the course of recorded history, or is she just another progressive leftist spouting populist drivel to incite the dreamers and free-lunchers to revolt? I don’t know.

Her Green New Deal is the most confounding document bandied about in Washington for a long time. Do these people understand that money is generated by the private sector? Sometimes I think they actually believe the Government makes the money we spend. Well, I guess, given our $22,000,000,000,000 deficit, one could argue the Government has done a pretty good job spending money it does not have, but that is another topic for another day. Let’s just dwell a moment on how downright crazy her Green New Deal actually is. I was pleased to see that potential independent candidate for President Howard Schultz was in Houston today, and called the Green New Deal “not realistic” and “immoral”. Run, Howard, run! Click here to read more about his comments in Houston. By the way, while all the focus is on climate change in this drivel, there are other lofty pro-growth goals stipulated. One that grabbed my attention is the that the Deal would provide “economic security to all who are unable or unwilling to work”. UNWILLING TO WORK! I rest my case on this one. Well, not quite….

I mean, these people don’t actually believe this stuff, do they?! When you read this palaver, do you find yourself wondering if the progressives actually have no idea what fuels the entire world economy? Do they think plastic grows on trees? Do they see planes, rockets, missiles, trains, and automobiles powered by solar energy? Is the next trip to the moon going to be wind powered? Americans are ready to tear down all inefficient buildings and houses, right? Maybe its time to invest again in buggy whips, because when the progressive luddites (that should be an oxymoron) finally take over, horse and wagon transportation will be in vogue! 

But seriously folks, I cannot figure out whether this is all a power ploy; something sweeping and grand to capture the imagination of the dreamers and mentally challenged. Surely the end game is about seizing control. Surely they do not actually believe what they purport to espouse!

I took some heart today in a Fox News poll which shows overwhelming support for capitalism over socialism. Click here to read this poll. It is comprehensive and no matter on what side of the aisle you may sit, it is worth your time.

We live in strange times. The left detests President Trump so much they will say and do anything to obstruct him. As I have said myriad times, I am no fan of Donald Trump. But I am 100% supportive of what the administration has done to support our middle class, and, in turn, the US economy. When I count the good things that have happened in the past two years compared to some decisions with which I disagree, the good things win! This country is so much better off than it would have been under four more years of democrat regulations and taxation. The numbers speak for themselves. And while we are on the numbers, can you tell me that you weren’t just a little agitated  during the State of the Nation address, when the “women in white” were so visibly angry at Donald Trump that their detestation of him blinded them from realizing how ridiculous it looked to not applaud the lowest white, black, and hispanic unemployment in US history? C’mon! Facts may be inconvenient truths for the left, but when one is on national tv, one should be somewhat sensitive to looking like an idiot.

How about those who have declared for the race to be the Democrat nominee? So far, the run should be called the “let’s see who can turn left and run as fast as possible into the abyss” race! Surely sane-minded democrats must be apoplectic at what they are witnessing. Don’t they see that the Democrats’ best shot is to nominate a moderate who can swing the independent vote? Alas, I am a Republican, so all I can implore them all to do is “keep running to the left”!

Lastly, and mostly as an aside, can you imagine the conversations Nancy Pelosi is having behind closed doors?  She is the Speaker. She wants to be the face of the party. But every day, one freshman congresswoman or another is stealing the limelight, and those lights do not reflect well on the Democrats. Poor Nancy. 

The gloves are off. I can’t wait to see the likes of Booker, Harris, and Warren pummel each other in their efforts to prove how much more socialist each one is compared to the other.

More to follow-

 

 

Grace, Dignity, and Humility

The body of George H. W. Bush now lies between those of Barbara, his wife of 73 years, and their young daughter Robin, lost way too early to Leukemia. It is as it should be. If you don’t believe the three of them are back together, well, too bad. They are. Good for them. They deserve all the happiness the next world will provide.

After the last several days, is there anything more to be said? Maybe not, but I am going to give it a shot. George Bush was an amazing man. It is a shame it took his leaving us for some members of the media to finally step up and acknowledge his earthly accomplishments. Jon Meacham, the historian and Presidential biographer, spoke eloquently at Barbara Bush’s funeral and then this week at President Bush’s service at the National Cathedral in Washington D.C.. During his eulogy on Wednesday, he referred to GHWB as a “founding father of the 20th century”. How perfect. We stand in awe of the contributions to our beginnings as a democratic republic made by the likes of Jefferson, Adams, Hamilton, Washington and others. (The list is longer, but the more I go on, the better the chance of missing out on someone, and then that person’s fan club will take umbrage!) I, for one, stand equally in awe of what George Bush, this kinder, gentler man,  did for his country over the span of more than 70 years. He remains the single most qualified man to ever be President. Ever. 

What I will not do is repeat the list of his contributions to our great country. If you do not by now know them, you have been hiding in Siberia! What I will do is share how I have tried to reduce his life to something manageable. In today’s parlance, we would call it a soundbite. George Bush believed in winning with humility and losing with grace. George Bush never forgot his priorities. His family came first, and his friends came very closely behind. I remember decades ago when he was taking shots for keeping Dan Quayle on the ticket for his 1992 re-election campaign. He looked at a mob of reporters, and was clearly weary of answering the same old questions. Finally, he simply said, “Loyalty is not a character flaw”. Perfect. Beautiful. Succinct. True. To those who did not understand why loyalty is not a character flaw, he did not try to explain. It was their loss. 

George Bush imbued senses of loyalty, love, compassion, humility, dignity, and grace in his children. The close of George W. Bush’s eulogy this week is all you need to see to comprehend the deep love he and his siblings had for their dad. Click here to review this short clip. And my reference to the close friends not being far behind the President’s family? Well, take a look at former Secretary of State Jim Baker’s words spoken yesterday in Houston. Click here for that. This is his entire 10 minute eulogy. If you watched yesterday, do yourself a favor and just fast forward to the last 40 seconds. It is all you need to know about the love between these two great friends. if you did not see Secretary Baker’s comments, I suggest you take a 10 minute break, watch him, and then return to finish this article.

For just a few days, America came together to remember a great man. It begets the question, will we ever, ever see another person of George Bush’s character and capability enter the fray and serve our country? In short, I do not know. We have become a fractured people. There are millions of Americans who do not appear to value the very characteristics I am extolling today. That is a shame, and it is risk to our country. 

Let us rejoice in this wonderful man’s life, and let us pray we find a way through these dark, partisan times, and recommit ourselves to supporting true public servants. Let us celebrate grace, dignity, and humility. 

Rest in peace, George H. W. Bush. You were a great man.

More to follow-

Power–Good Lord

It’s all about power. Lindsay Graham nailed it. For a refresher course in standing up for the right thing, watch this raw emotion exhibited during the Kavanaugh hearings by clicking here. I am not going to bask in the light of being right, but for reference, and if you missed the 23 September blog, you may review same here. I understand why the radical left will never accept what happened. As Senator Graham so ably expressed, the dye was cast the minute the Judge was appointed. Chuck Schumer made it clear that they would oppose him no matter what the cost. Good Lord; he certainly lived up to his word! That said, I will never understand how otherwise reasonable people bought into the democrat smear machine hook, line, and sinker. It’s an art form. If you doubt me, just listen to Nancy Pelosi explain how they do it by clicking on this link. That is all I am going to say about the recent Kavanaugh hearings.

Let’s move on; something the left is completely unwilling to do. The narrative is changing. Now they want to focus on the electoral college. The left can’t let go of the fact that democrats can win the popular vote, and lose the election. Good Lord. The electoral college is there to make sure Presidents are elected with and by the consent of the people. The democrats own the cities. Hmmmm. I wonder why? Could it be that the cities are where the greatest mass of people living on entitlements are gathered? And just think, with endless open borders and voting rights for people who aren’t even American, (which is now a platform issue for democrats from coast to coast) can you imagine that situation changing?

The new darling of the left (28 year old Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez) thinks the electoral college should be abolished. She doesn’t quite have her facts straight, but since when did facts get in the way of a good socialist narrative? Watch this brief narrative about the issue here.

Let’s just make sure we all remember why a popular vote is a horrible idea. Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words. You see, if we ever abandoned the genius of the electoral college, the little bits of blue below would dictate who our President is. So folks, whenever you hear a democrat ranting about the need to eliminate the electoral college, just remember why. It’s all about Power. 

 

 

 

 

 

I will conclude with a more parochial note. Several friends here at home in Texas are enthralled with the young hipster, Beto O’Rouke. He is the rising star of the left taking on Ted Cruz in the US Senate race. I do not write to discuss the merits of the young novice versus Ted Cruz. Mr. Cruz is not a personal friend, and he has done any number of things to annoy me. But that simply is not the point. A Senate seat is not a popularity contest. At the end of the day, he/she/they/ze who controls the Senate controls policy. A vote for Beto is a vote for anarchy. It is that simple. You don’t have to like Ted Cruz, but you need to realize what the loss of a Senate seat means to the direction in which the United States could head. The barbarians are at the gate. They hate capitalism. They detest success. They want to endlessly redistribute earnings. I could actually make a case that the likes of Pelosi and Schumer know better, but it would not matter. They have decided the road to power lies with a hard turn to the left, and they are willing to say and do anything to regain the holy grail; power. If you are thinking about voting for Beto because he just seems like a nice guy, please think again. There is far more at stake.

Senator Graham nailed it . It’s all about Power. The dems want it, and will stop at nothing to obtain it. Good Lord.

More to follow-

 

 

Righteous Indignation

This blog has never been a home for rationalizing, justifying, defending, or supporting Donald Trump. It’s author is not about to start now. That said, this blog is a home for defending and supporting traditional GOP principles. We are a nation of immigrants. It is our core and our strength. All of us are immigrants.

This week’s hullabaloo was all about President Trump’s alleged (it was, after all, in a private meeting behind closed doors) reference to Haiti and several African countries as, in short, “Shitholes”. 

Lesson #1-There is no longer such a thing in Washington DC as a private meeting.

Lesson #2-Donald Trump really doesn’t care whether participants in a private meeting violate the implicit pact of silence. If he is so inclined, he will simply deny he said that which he is accused of having said. 

Lesson #3-The President’s mind boggling, endless bombshells are used by his detractors  to pursue their agendas with just as much disdain for the truth as that of which they accuse the President!

In short, truth, honesty, and transparency are in short supply in Washington. “This is nothing new”, you may say. Perhaps that is the case, but certainly this administration has brought out the worst on both sides of the aisle.

Lest I lose the plot, let’s take a look at the context of the conversation in which the President is alleged to have made his defamatory remark. A group of Republican and Democrat congressional representatives were gathered to talk about immigration reform. This is when the President is alleged to have made his remark. Within 12 hours, there was global uproar. The vast majority of the tumult was about his blatant, unrepentant racism.

I’m sorry, what did I miss? Where does racism enter the equation? You see, this is classic spin. The President made a callous, very un-Presidential remark. Is anyone, at this point in time, shocked by that? But he did not say anything about race. For the record, and for balance, the President tweeted this remark. “Never said anything derogatory about Haitians other than Haiti is, obviously, a very poor and troubled country. Never said “take them out.” Made up by Dems. I have a wonderful relationship with Haitians. Probably should record future meetings – unfortunately, no trust!”

In the years 2010-1014, the biggest percentage increase in immigrants to the United States came from these countries; Saudi Arabia (up 93 percent), Bangladesh (up 37 percent), Iraq (up 36 percent), Egypt (up 25 percent), and Pakistan, India, and Ethiopia (each up 24 percent). (Click here for more details.) Now ask yourself; if, by chance, the subjects of the conversation had been Saudi Arabia, Bangladesh, Iraq, Egypt, Pakistan, India, and Ethiopia, do you think the President would have had any different comment?

His commentary had nothing to do with race. He simply thinks there are a lot of crappy countries in the world, and, surprise, surprise, a disproportionate amount of our immigrants come from those countries. You, (and I, for that matter) may argue that opening our arms to those from the most depressed countries in the world is what we are all about. The President may disagree. He would tell you that disagreement is the crux of the discussion that took place last week. Alas, that was not the proverbial take-away.

Mr. Trump’s intemperate remark (as reported by his detractors ) opened the door for another round of media and late night President bashing, but the at the heart of these diatribes there lies a farce. There was wasn’t anything blatantly racist in or around his comments. They could have been about the vast majority of countries from which immigrants flee to come to the United States. You see, folks, they want to leave their countries too! Why? Because THEY think their countries are shitholes, and they want to come to the last great land of opportunity and hope left on this planet.

Have you ever seen Brittany Hughes on Reality Check TV? Watch this video. Bingo!

Now, the typical media response was more like this one, when MSNBC interviewed Congressman John Lewis. I don’t have a quarrel with much of what the Congressman says in the interview. But the leap to racism is subjective! Across the board, people have played the race card on Trump based on their own feelings, tastes, and opinions. NBC published this article entitled “Is it Finally Time to call Trump a Racist?” Perhaps more than anything, they label President Trump a racist simply because they detest the man. They hate everything about him. Let me be clear one more time. There is much about President Trump that I do not like! But don’t lose your own personal virtue and integrity by throwing around disingenuous labels.

I’ve had enough of the righteous indignation. It seems to me that the President gives his detractors plenty of valid reasons to form opposing positions without them having to resort to tangential, obfuscatory, pandering attacks.

More to follow-

 

Hypocrisy, But I Repeat Myself!

The Iron Lady of England. She was a strong leader who led England out of a massive economic hole created by socialist policies.

Rarely, (never, actually) do I write back to back blogs on the same subject. Well, rules are made to be broken.

The GOP appears to be making the tax reform bill better and better. Don’t get me wrong; what comes out of conference will still be a bill developed by Republicans looking over their shoulders, always fearing the 1% moniker. The Obama years left us with two legacies that will take time to eradicate. They are:

–deliberately heightened racial tensions, and

–economic warfare.

The first bullet speaks for itself, but in case you need a refresher course, I will give it to you in one word: Ferguson. Next subject please.

The second bullet should also be self explanatory, but I will use more than a word to explain. We are a nation that has always lauded entrepreneurs. Our colonists were capitalists. They were traders. They found ways to survive (and in many cases thrive) in spite of Big Brother (King George) making life more and more difficult for them. Over the centuries we have applauded success. Now, for some heinous and insidious reason, success is mocked. Success is greed. Success now foments social tension, and the cure is, (duh) higher taxes and redistribution!

Any nation of 330,000,000 people is going to have challenges. We have many. But the idea that the solution lies in eliminating income disparity is shamefully (and cynically) laughable. I think Margaret Thatcher explained it best when asked a question by William Buckley. She kept it simple! Click here to see for yourself. Even better (yes, it gets better!) watch Mrs. Thatcher take on the liberals in Parliament on the issue of redistribution. As she said, the left would “rather have the poor be poorer” than to admit conservative economic policies work. Watch her here. Now you have to admit, that is good stuff!

What it demonstrates, however, is that our problems are not new or unique. Progressive leftist redistributionists have been spouting this gibberish for decades. It is as it always has been. There will forever be those who wish to undermine the very foundation of our capitalist structure that has made us the economic superpower we are.

At the risk of repetition, I repeat that which was written last week:

“Time and again over the decades, tax reform has led to increased revenues to the US Treasury. When the environment is right for investment, American companies (big and small) have always spent money, hired people, and generated more tax revenue to Uncle Sam. Our deficit problems have nothing to do with tax reform. They are solely a function of the lack of willpower to come to grips with social spending that is completely out of control!”

It is not rocket science. But as long as we have the demogoguery of the Schumers, Warrens, and Pelosi’s of the left stirring up social unrest, we will always be fighting a rear guard action to help our economy (and our citizens) be uplifted.

Stay Strong, my friends!

More to Follow

Hypocrisy!

All this bloviating and no one is addressing the real issue!

Chuck Schumer calls the GOP tax bills (there are still two bills and only one will ultimately go the the President’s desk for signature into law) “wealthfare”. Nancy Pelosi says they are “give-aways to big corporations and billionaires”. Elizabeth (aka Pocahontas) Warren says the tax cuts will “deliver massive cuts to corporations” and will “kick working families to the curb”. Bernie Sanders says the tax cuts are “morally repugnant” because the rich don’t pay their “fair share”. Oh boy…where does one start? 

First, let’s get real. When over 80% of all federal taxes are paid by less than 10% of the taxpayers, any tax reform is going to impact those who pay virtually all the taxes! Let’s look at this another way. The bottom 50% of taxpayers pay a whopping 3% of the Federal tax bill. Folks, tax reform and cuts will, by definition, impact the people who pay the taxes! The democrat leadership cannot get out of its own way. They pander to the people, preying on their emotions and fears. They will say and do anything to attack the GOP. 

Let’s talk about another  myth. Democrats and liberal think tanks are ridiculing the GOP bills because they increase the deficit. That is rich, isn’t it? Democrats are concerned about the deficit. Give me a break! You need to know two things:

  1. In 1962, President John F. Kennedy slashed investment taxes. After his assassination, his broader tax cuts were enacted, producing eight years of soaring growth — 5 percent a year.In the 1980s, President Ronald Reagan slashed rates again, giving the nation nearly a decade of robust 3.8 percent growth.

    In 2003, George W. Bush’s tax cut boosted the economy, producing 4 percent growth for six straight quarters.

    Compare this vigorous growth with President Barack Obama’s eight years of stagnation. Obama’s economy lumbered along at around 2 percent growth because high taxes and over-regulation discouraged companies from investing. Democrats still insist that 2 percent growth is the new normal. Nonsense. Roll back regulations and taxes, and the economy will surge. (Betsy McCaughey–NY Post, October 1, 2017)

  2. If the deficit increases over the next decade, it will do so because no one has had the guts to control run-away spending on entitlements. Just look at the chart above. Our federal spending on social programs is a disaster waiting to happen. 

 

Time and again over the decades, tax reform has led to increased revenues to the US Treasury. When the environment is right for investment, American companies (big and small) have always spent money, hired people, and generated more tax revenue to Uncle Sam. Our deficit problems have nothing to do with tax reform. They are solely a function of the lack of willpower to come to grips with social spending that is completely out of control!

So, you can listen to the same-old, same-old palaver spewed out by democrat leadership, or you can let history guide you to what will be a good outcome for the United States. Tax reform works. It has always worked. But if we do not get a handle on Federal Government spending, no amount of economic stimulus will be able to stop the tsunami that is headed in our direction. Let’s get the tax bill passed, then focus on passing legislation that corrals our irresponsible escalation in social spending.

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.”
 

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!

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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. 

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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.

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