Sunday, October 20, 2019

Progressives demand something else. Anything else!

Our current government is horrid.

I know because Democrats demand any system but the one bequeathed to us by our Founders. Any system! They yearn for a pure democracy. They romanticize socialism. They’re well-disposed toward Islam and even Sharia Law. Parliamentary systems? Yup, they’re partial to them as well. Global government? You bet. The UN and EU can do no wrong and our laws and court decisions should comply with dictates from these noble organizations. Communist countries? Democrats consistently tout and defend China and Cuba, so they must think these systems are just dandy.

What is the fatal flaw in our Constitution that makes our system so repulsive to Democrats? Direct attacks on the Constitution have recently become mainstream but indirect attacks have been going on for decades.

  • Our Founders are dismissed as racist white males.
  • They belittle the Constitution as woefully out of date.
  • Explorers were heartless genocidal maniacs.
  • Courageous pioneers were thieves with no redeeming social value.
  • They want to tear down every statue erected before their tenth birthday.

Democrats hate American history. The party of slavery encourages their supposedly non-judgmental followers to judge history using 21st Century Progressive ideals. If our heritage is ugly, it should be tossed into the dustbin of history. Then we can start anew.

Is this ‘the grass is greener on the other side’ syndrome? Only if Democrats are deaf, dumb, and blind. Burnt brown communist grass is permeated with scruffy weeds, stubborn crabgrass, stinky dog droppings, and poison ivy. So what gives? For Democrats to be lustful for other systems, there must be something very very wrong with ours. Something so off-putting that Democrats and their progressive comrades will accept anything else. Anything. Even soul crushing communism.

What’s wrong is that our Constitution hampers their agenda. Governance requires control and the Framers knew excessive control threatens liberty. To offset this threat, the Framers deliberately distributed governmental powers and provided check and balances to make it more difficult to abuse power. What Democrats see as a flaw is actually a feature. People long dead saddled Democrats with a system that won't allow them to achieve permanent and unlimited power. They must weaken or even discard our Constitution.

Despite what they may say, three elements make up the totality of the Democratic platform: (1) complete control, (2) of unrestrained power (3) forever. In the United States, cities are not constrained by pesky constitutions. Chicago, San Francisco, New York, Philadelphia, Boston, etc. are bastions of permanent Democrat control of all levers of government. Democrats use these strongholds to control states. To elevate this control to the federal level, Democrats must extinquish the Constitution, or at least negate constitutional restraints through Supreme Court rulings.

What do socialism, communism, Islam, and other isms have in common? Absolute central power. Parliamentary and global systems may not wield absolute power, but they move in the right direction. Pure democracy only requires cobbling together a majority coalition to exercise unrestrained power. Identity politics anyone?

There are far too many people who staunchly believe the government is benevolent and can effect great change to make more and more people happy and comfortable in their chosen lifestyle. The Founder knew this wasn’t true. Reasoning people know this is not true. The fulfillment of everyone’s needs is just an empty promise by politicians who want to fulfill their own needs. 

Culturally, fear of overly powerful government used to be as American as apple pie. This fear needs to be reignited.

It’s our job to remind every American, and every generation, of this vital lesson from our Founders.

Monday, September 16, 2019

Are Lefties serious? Red hats scary? What's that about anyway?

I'm always suspicious when the left turns in lockstep to shout out a new narrative. When it even includes late night comedians and celebrities, something's afoot. Recently, the trendy mantra is that red hats are scary. Not just MAGA hats, any red baseball caps. There have been tweet storms, opinion pieces, and talking heads galore making this a "thing." Are they serious? Can TDS afflict their delicate souls to such an extent that they quiver in dread at the sight of a red hat?

Not on your life. Perhaps a few daisies, like writer Rebecca Makkai, have bought the Democrat demonization of opponents, but most political operators have a more sinister purpose. Remember an election is coming up. Part of the Democrat platform—okay, the entire platform—is to paint Trump as a pitiful loser with a weak following made up of the dredges of society. No one wants to be lumped in with uneducated, racist, misogynist, bigoted, Nazi, deplorable, gun totting, deep-fried-Twinkie eating rabble. How crummy would that be?

Democrats have a problem, of course. None of that is true. Trump supporters come from all classes, all regions, and all races. And they come in droves. Not to worry. Democrats believe that by shifting perception, they can bend reality. That why polls show that even a Creepy Porn Lawyer could trounce Trump in the general election. All the legacy media are on board. Hollywood is doing its part by sneaking anti-Trump messaging into movies, television, music, and award shows. Big Tech has the internet and social apps covered. (They're still struggling to get control of gamers.) Cowardly CEOs have been browbeat into practicing "woke" business practices and signing open letters to protest the latest outrage from the unstable orange-man. Everything is going to plan except for one little thing. The public ain't buying it.

Trump remains popular. Democrats are realizing they have a problem The everyone-hates-Trump stratagem must work. They got nothing else. Well, nothing beyond phony offers of free stuff to everyone in the free-world and beyond.

Democrats must disguise Trump's support. The rallies! Hell, that's easy. They'll just tell their housebroke legacy media to ignore them. If you didn't personally attend, it didn't happen. It's worked great for March for Life rallies. If you didn't live in D.C., who knew.

Polls? No problem. By restricting polling to coastal urban areas, carefully crafting questions, and  jiggling the numbers a bit, they'll paint the politically correct picture.

That leaves those damn hats. If voters keep seeing red hats, we won’t convince them that Trump has minuscule support. It doesn’t matter that political paraphernalia has been around since George Washington, we need rid ourselves of those damn hats. We tried grabbing them off their heads, pounding a drum in their face, and even beating a few of the fools, but those dumb-bunnies don’t respond to object lessons. We need to ramp up the hysteria. And not just against MAGA hats. Voters might confuse red baseball caps for Trump supporters. We gotta make them all go away.

Red baseball caps must be made socially unacceptable. Any red cap. Gone. The lot of them. Completely. Verboten. Red meat, red states, red caps—all swept away.

Oh yeah, and while we're at it, black guns.

Friday, August 30, 2019


Boy, was it ever a struggle to finish Justice on Trial by Mollie Hemingway and Carrie Severino. Don't get me wrong, this was a seriously good book. Unfortunately, something that makes you restless is not appropriate at bedtime, and that’s the only time my reading isn't dedicated to my latest writing project. 

Justice on Trial kept me agitated. Not because it was polemic. Hemingway and Serverino present the Kavanaugh confirmation with a detached, matter-of-fact style. The book often mentions the emotions of the players, but the authors themselves never hyperventilate their prose. Justice on Trial reminded me of the Sergeant Joe Friday's mantra; “just the facts, ma’am, just the facts.”

So how did a calm presentation of facts and events cause me anguish? Because those events were abhorrent to our American way of governance. Hemingway and Severino made a wise “author voice” selection for this endeavor. The ruthlessness of Kavanaugh’s opponents was quite enough to get the reader worked up. 

Justice on Trial is an excellent recounting of the Kavanaugh confirmation process. It provides just enough historical baseline to put this confirmation in perspective, without boring the reader with voluminous sidebars. In addition to new material and revelations, the book effectively recounts public information about the long process. Justice on Trial is more unsettling than expected because it lays bare all the dastardly deeds in a way that registers more intensely than flitting news reports. All those querulous months are compacted into a single, well-crafted narrative.

With a new nomination in the wind, Justice on Trial is extremely timely. The Kavanaugh confirmation may not have been the low point, especially since none of the ignoble parties have been punished for bastardizing our constitutional processes. The person next up in the witness chair will undoubtedly need to defend against ruthless, unsubstantiated accusations—accusations purposely crafted to destroy their reputation and life. 

Whatever your politics, if you don’t think this is horribly underhanded, then you are the problem.

Sunday, August 18, 2019

The New York Times ... Storyteller Extraordinaire


New York Times Editor-in-Chief Dean Baquet held a town hall meeting to announce a shift in editorial direction from promoting the Russia Hoax to painting President Trump as a racist. The covert audio recording was leaked to Slate Magazine.
We built our newsroom to cover one story, and we did it truly well. Now we have to regroup, and shift resources and emphasis to take on a different story.
Funny that. How Baquet knows the “story” in advance. Baquet is so prescient that he can redirect “resources” and “emphasis” ahead of news happening.

Chapter 1 of the story of Donald Trump, not only for our newsroom but, frankly, for our readers, was: Did Donald Trump have untoward relationships with the Russians, and was there obstruction of justice? That was a really hard story, by the way, let’s not forget that. We set ourselves up to cover that story. I’m going to say it. We won two Pulitzer Prizes covering that story. And I think we covered that story better than anybody else … The day Bob Mueller walked off that witness stand, two things happened. Our readers who want Donald Trump to go away suddenly thought, ‘Holy shit, Bob Mueller is not going to do it.’ … And I think that the story changed … We’re a little tiny bit flat-footed. I mean, that’s what happens when a story looks a certain way for two years. Right?

After four-plus investigations, that “story” proved to be false. That “story” ended up being nothing more than a Democrat narrative propagated with the help of a weaponized federal bureaucracy. A narrative clandestinely engineered to take down a duly elected president of the United States. Yet, Barquet not only doesn’t apologize for false reporting, he brags that the Times “covered that story better than anyone else.” A big lie. A daily lie. A treasonous lie. And Barquet has the gall to wave his two Pulitzers over his head like a heavy-weight champion. 

Additionally, in this meeting, Barquet whippily and inarticulately defended being browbeat into changing a factual headline so it no longer reflected well on the president. Not a good look.

“Chapter 1” in the “story” ended badly, but not to worry, we’re seamlessly on to Chapter 2.

I think that we’ve got to change. I mean, the vision for coverage for the next two years is what I talked about earlier … How do we write about race in a thoughtful way, something we haven’t done in a large way in a long time? That, to me, is the vision for coverage. You all are going to have to help us shape that vision. [R]ace in the next year is going to be a huge part of the American story. And I mean, race in terms of not only African Americans and their relationship with Donald Trump, but Latinos and immigration. And I think that one of the things I would love to come out of this with is for people to feel very comfortable coming to me and saying, here’s how I would like you to consider telling that story.

"Telling that story." So now, sans transition, we're on to Chapter 2. 

Barquet never told us the title of this story so I guess we'll need to wait for the climax. A tragedy or a farce? I suspect the latter, with the NYT exiting stage Left.

Ladies and gentlemen, this is how an American icon destroys itself. Not with a bang, but with a whimpering “story.”

To The Gray Lady, R.I.P

Dean Baquet

Friday, August 9, 2019

Elizabeth Warren wants your money

democrats tax plan

Elizabeth Warren has proposed a new tax on wealth. How could our government possibly need more of our money?
The United States has a huge economy. In 2018, the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was $20.5 trillion—Over 31% of the entire world’s economy. All that activity. All that income. All those investments. All those transactions. All of them taxed. By layer upon layer of government.

  • We’re taxed when we earn it.
  • We’re taxed when we spend it (we pay extra if we spend it on naughty necessities like gasoline).
  • We’re taxed when we own property.
  • We pay special taxes on utilities.
  • If we want to use the highway, we’ll probably encounter a toll booth.
  • Own a car? Congratulations, you get to pay an annual tax for being so fortunate.
  • Payroll taxes? Yup. Fifteen percent right off the top, half disguised as a fringe benefit paid by employers—unless you’re self-employed; then you get the privilege of paying both sides.
  • Don’t forget the corporate tax hidden in the price of everything we buy.
  • Want to hunt, fish, enter a state or national park, get a driver’s license or passport, avoid taking off your shoes in the airport? Welcome to the wonderful world of government fees.
  • If we hold onto our money, then inflation—the most insidious of all taxes—depletes our buying power.
  • When we die, the government demands a cut of the leavings through an inheritance tax.
  • If they can get their carbon tax, you’ll probably be taxed to exhale.
With all these taxes, why do politicians insist on more? Simple, they’re wastrels. For 2019, Congress authorized a $4.4 trillion budget. That’s approaching 25% of all economic activity in the nation. (States, counties, and cities add another $3.1 trillion in spending.) Income is estimated at $3.4 trillion, which will result in a shortfall of a trillion dollars. This trillion-dollar deficit will be heaped on top of the already existing national debt of nearly $23 trillion. Twenty-three trillion. Now that’s a lollapalooza of a number.

“Brothers and sisters, there’s plenty of money in the world. There’s plenty of money in this city. It’s just in the wrong hands,” Bill de Blasio, the grasping hands Mayor of New York.

Do Elizabeth Warren and her chums want to use her proposed wealth tax to pay down the national debt? Silly you. Of course not. They want to spend it on new goodies. 
There’s one annoying obstacle that stands in the way of Elizabeth Warren thieving money out of your accounts: The Constitution of the United States of America. 
Prior to being amended, the Constitution restricted taxes to external trade and an equal amount per person as measured by the census. You read that right; the Founders believed in a flat tax. Not their political progeny, however. Although the original tax scheme built one of the greatest nations in the world, early 20th Century politicos yearned for access to all that income that flowed freely to the county’s inhabitants. Not fair. Not fair at all. Where was their vigorish?
Then came February 3, 1913. A dastardly date. The date that the requisite number of states ratified the 16th Amendment. It reads in full:
The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration.
Thus, the word “whatever” became the most powerful word in the English language.

Notice that it took a constitutional amendment to tax income. Now Democrats want to tax whatever you don’t spend. A dilemma? A hundred years ago, we still felt obligated to abide by the Constitution. No longer. Progressives believe the Constitution, laws, rules, ethics, morality, consistency, and truth are in place to constrain opponents. Principles are malleable to the moment. Don’t like the Electoral College, jerry rig a workaround. Don’t like a Supreme Court nominee, throw mud until he or she cries uncle. Want to tax wealth? Come on, people, get creative.

Elizabeth Warren has minions already working on a solution. Ari Glogowerhas posted a paper to SRNN that explores ways to sidestep that pesky Constitution to get a wealth tax. 
If the Supreme Court were to find that the Constitution foreclosed a traditional wealth tax, Congress could instead tax wealth indirectly, by adjusting a taxpayer’s income tax liability on account of her wealth. This Article describes three methods for making this adjustment …
And there you have it. Where there’s a will, they will find a way. Remember, the existing inheritance tax is basically a wealth tax, but to get around constitutional restrictions, it’s structured as an income tax. The tax isn't due until a beneficiary receives a largess. Income, get it? But come on, progressives don’t want to wait until you die. They insist on wetting their beak every year.

Will it pass? It will if Democrats win the next election. A wealth tax is highly popular. Hardly anyone objects to people with over fifty million dollars paying a 2% annual tax. 
It’s good for the country, and besides, what could possibly go wrong?
Except … this is not our first rodeo. In 1913, the new income tax applied to about four percent of the population and the top rate for the handful who earned $500,000 was … wait for it … a meager 6%. Progressive Democrats say they only want to tax the extremely wealthy, but before you know it, you’ll find yourself lumped in with the Hampton folks. 
Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.
You know they’re going to say this time it will be different. 

Friday, July 26, 2019

In remembrance of my father

 My father was a P-51 pilot in World War II. He flew bomber support missions out of Iwo Jima and never returned after his flight encountered a tropical storm that grew into a typhoon.

Recently, I saw an advertisement to ride in a P-51. I had worked ten years in the factory where the P-51 was built (the F86 and F100 as well), and it was the plane my father flew, so I jump at opportunity. I wanted to share an experience with my father. A very fun and memorable ride.

Monday, July 15, 2019

Are the Founders Worthy of Our Admiration?

The United States of America once venerated this nation's Founders, but today they are often heavily criticized—even vilified. Statues are knocked down, murals painted over, their names removed from schools. Is it right that we cast them aside to chart our our course into the future? A little background is in order before we answer that question.

People frequently refer to the Founders as if they were a homogeneous group. They did share a belief in key principles, but they were very different in other respects. For example, George Washington was a wealthy plantation owner, but his top officers in the Revolution included Major General Nathanael Greene, who entered the war as a militia private and was the son of a small farmer; Major General Henry Knox, a Boston bookstore owner who later became President Washington’s Secretary of War; and Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Hamilton, born illegitimate in the West Indies to a struggling mother who died when Hamilton was thirteen. Hamilton went on to become the first Secretary of the Treasury.

When you examine the Founding era, you find that the American Dream was already firmly implanted in the culture. As with Washington and his staff, this mix of so-called aristocracy and common man can be seen throughout society. The Constitutional Convention included physicians, shopkeepers, academics, farmers, merchants, bankers, lawyers, politicians, and even an educator who lived on the edge of the then-frontier.

The Founders differed also in their religions, preference for agrarian versus city life, whether they owned slaves or supported abolition, and most of all by their state of residence.  At the time, Americans saw themselves as first being New Yorkers, Virginians, or Georgians. State allegiance was akin to national loyalty.

The Founders lived over two hundred years ago in a completely different world. Some dismiss the Founders by saying that most were wealthy and many owned slaves. Let’s leave aside for a moment whether those are valid reasons to dismiss the Founders. These criticisms may be true for some of the more prominent Founders, but they are woefully misleading when applied to the great body of people who committed everything to the idea of self-government.

The Founding of this great nation was unique. Prior to 1776, with a few brief exceptions, world history was about rulers and empires. The American experiment shook the world. Not only did we break away from the biggest and most powerful empire in history, we took the musings of the brightest thinkers of the Enlightenment and implemented them. Our Founding was simultaneously an armed rebellion against tyranny, and a revolution of ideas—ideas that changed the world.

For our purposes, let’s define the founding as extending from the Stamp Act through the first administration of George Washington. This would include the development of a revolutionary spirit, the revolution itself, a few non-war years under the Articles of Confederation, the adoption of the Constitution, and Washington’s first term, which set so many precedents. Who were the people involved in these events?

First off, it was a lot of people.

  • 57   men committed treason by signing the Declaration of Independence
  • 48   signed the Articles of Confederation
  • 437 were members of Congress prior to the ratification of the Constitution
  • 55   attended the Constitutional Convention
  • 30   were members of the first Senate
  • 67   were members of the first Congress
  • 7     were Cabinet level or above in the First Executive
  • 6     were members of the Supreme Court

If you eliminate those who served in multiple roles, there were still 488 people who could rightfully claim a Founder’s role. And that’s not nearly all. 

  • Over 120,000 served in the Continental Army. 
  • There were state legislatures, governors, and delegates to the state Constitutional ratification conventions. 
  • Thomas Paine, George Whitefield, Noah Webster, James Otis Jr., and hundreds more contributed to the founding through writing or sermons. The pundit class of the day.

Nor were the Founding Fathers all men. Here are just a few of the women.

  • Fifty-one women from the Society of Patriotic Ladies at Edenton, North Carolina, signed a revolutionary statement
  • Esther Berdt Reed organized women in Philadelphia to raise $7,500 dollars, an enormous amount at the time
  • Women defended their homes against the British and Native Americans troops 
  • Some women served as spies
  • Catherine Van Rensselaer Schuyler burned wheat fields around Albany, NY, to prevent British forces from harvesting them
  • Mary Katherine Goddard printed the first official copy of the Declaration of Independence, and paid post riders to carry it throughout the colonies
  • A few women actually participated in battles

The population of the United States during this period grew from 2.4 to 4 million. During the war, probably over a million people thought of themselves as contributing to the cause. Once the Constitution was presented to the nation, the entire population participated in the debate in halls, taverns, and churches.

They knew they were doing something historic. John Adams said, “The lives and liberties of millions yet unborn are now before us. We are in the very midst of a revolution the most complete, unexpected and remarkable of any in the history of nations.”

Are the Founders worthy of our admiration? We owe them more than admiration: we owe them our attention. They were educated about governments systems, debated endlessly on the subject, and came to a national consensus on the best form of government that would protect liberty and enrich lives. Most were not rich, but those that were committed their fortunes and life to a revolutionary idea.

The Founders bequeath to us a system of self-government, but they also gave us a loftiness of purpose that has continued to expand liberty. It is that idealism and sense of fairness that has made this country great. It’s easy to denigrate their societal inequities, but the Constitution included a way to change and evolve. The people have used the amendment process to add a Bill of Rights, end slavery, give women the right to vote, and institute several other expansions of liberty to all citizens.

Yes, they deserve admiration, and our eternal gratitude.  Let’s honor their legacy by studying their deliberations and continuing to work within our Constitutional framework.

“Threading an idea into the slipstream of politics, then into government, then into history ... is a craft which I have since come to consider the most important in the world.”  Theodore White, In Search of History

The real story of our nation's founding.