EnduringSense

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Posts Tagged ‘trump’

Attack on Constitution’s First Amendment

Posted by Steve Markowitz on February 21, 2017

The U.S. Constitution is a remarkable document, including the United States’ supreme law. The Constitution initially paved the way for 13 diverse colonies to come together and form a Federation by preserving rights of each colony (state). Its fair and stable legal platform played a huge role in the Country’s success.

Amending the Constitution was purposely made difficult to inhibit changes made on the political whims of populists. Amendments require the calling of a Constitutional Convention or two thirds supermajorities in both houses of Congress. Still, the Constitution has been amended 27 times by Congress, including the pivotal Bill of Rights with its 10 amendments made in 1791.

The First Amendment under the Bill of Rights states:bill-of-rights

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

The First Amendment, free speech has come under attack in recent years through the use of political correctness with its social pressures. More recently, some on the Left have been more transparent in efforts to inhibit speech with increased ferocity since Donald Trump’s election.

This Blogger recently discussed the First Amendment with a slightly left-of-center acquaintance who would curtail speech in the name of public safety. In justifying the control of speech, he used the example of crying fire in a crowded movie theater and its risk of creating injury. He equates this example to those who take an anti-illegal immigrant philosophy in America, believing that it leads to attacks on immigrants or aliens. This author believes the comparison is a canard used to curtail the discussion of disagreeable ideas.

Inhibiting free speech, either through social pressures or the legal system, is a slippery slope traveled in the past. McCarthyism was a hammer used by the Right to inhibit the speech of liberals in the 1950s. A similar tactic is now in vogue by the Left, but for a different political agenda. For those who dare to discuss immigration policy, religion security issues, sexual mores, or social benefits, for example, are microphone labeled bigots, homophobic, Islamaphobic, or as Hillary said, “deplorable”.

The key issue with any attack on free speech should be how do we choose who gets to determine what constitutes calling the fire in a theater? Should the curtailing be to the benefit of ones’ political views, they are more likely to agree with the First Amendment attack. However, sooner or later the opposing side gains power and that is why the slippery-slope should concern all, irrespective of political views.

In a relevant example, a few years ago Harry Reid used the nuclear option in the Senate to allow Democrats to use a simple majority to get Obama appointments approved quickly. Previously this required a 60-vote Senate majority. Reid justified this drastic action claiming the Republicans to be the “party of no”, inferring that the step was required to keep government moving. Obama and fellow Liberals were all too happy to go along, irrespective of future consequences. Now, Trump and the Republicans have the use the nuclear option and the Democrats are screaming.

The Senate’s 60 vote requirement was created to make political appointments bipartisan, not easy. Similar to the Second Amendment, this rule had the long-term good of the Country behind it, with the goal of further legitimizing presidential power. The nuclear option has increased polarization and the divide in the Country and government. Instead of looking to Reid’s or Obama’s role in increasing political divisiveness, Trump is demonized for appointments.

Americans on the Left and Right would do well to look at the Constitution is a set of laws created to protect the long-term interest of all. Those that would mold it to fit their short-term agendas do so at the peril of their own future rights.

Posted in Constitution | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Congresswoman Waters Believes Russia’s Invaded North Korea

Posted by Steve Markowitz on February 8, 2017

Politicians have been known throughout to often make dumb statements. While our current president Donald Trump plays the role of the anti-politician, he too has come up with some doozies during the past year.

Not to be outdone, two of our esteemed congresswomen, Nancy Pelosi and Maxine Waters, both of California, came up with a couple recently that could put them on top for year. It seems Ms. Pelosi still thinks Bush is president. As for Ms. Waters, she seems to believe that Russia invaded North Korea. This video below might humorous if these folks weren’t charged with enacting legislation for the Country.

While the mainstream media was all too happy to take on Sarah Palin for claiming she could see Russia from her property, don’t expect coverage on the mistakes made by Leftist politicians.

Posted in Politics | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

The Trump Transition

Posted by Steve Markowitz on December 22, 2016

We will shortly have a new president, one from a different political party. This Blog wishes the new president success in addressing the issues the Country faces. This hopefully is the desire of all Americans, irrespective of political leanings.

Given it has been eight years since we have prepared for a new president, it is an appropriate time to reflect on changes that have occurred during this period. Blog reader Jim Mahoney shares his reflections in the post below “A Tale of Two Transitions”. As Jim concludes: “They [the media and the Left] have painted a caricature of Donald Trump as being so buffoonish and inept, that he will hit a home run if he comes into office acting even halfway presidential.” This Blog will hold Donald Trump to a much higher standard.

A Tale of Two Transitions, By Jim Mahoney

Remember back in November 2008? Barack Obama had just won the election and expectations for his presidency were running white hot for no apparent reason. Throughout the campaign liberals, the media and the Obama campaign constantly reminded us about his high level of intelligence and capability and the official narrative was that he would easily be able to solve all of the country’s problems. This led some of us at the time to question exactly what in his background made him so qualified. For those who may not remember, here is a rundown of Barack Obama’s resume.

By his own admission, Obama had a lackluster high school academic career in which he spent most of his time smoking pot with his friends in the Choom Gang. That didn’t prevent him from being accepted to Occidental College and later transferring to Columbia University in his junior year. After graduating in 1983 he had brief stints as a research associate at a New York Public Interest Research Group and as the Director of the Developing Communities Project on Chicago’s South Side.

Obama entered Harvard Law School in the fall of 1988, where he was selected as an editor of the Harvard Law Review at the end of his first year, president of the journal in his second year, and two years as a research assistant to the constitutional scholar Laurence Tribe. After graduation, he was an associate with Davis, Miner, Barnhill & Galland, a 13-attorney law firm specializing in civil rights litigation and neighborhood economic development. He also taught constitutional law at the University of Chicago Law School as a Senior Lecturer until 2004.

Obama was elected to the Illinois State Senate in 1996, where he developed a habit of voting “Present” to avoid taking a stand on any tough issues that might give him a legislative paper trail.   Sensing an opportunity to run for the United States Senate, Obama became an early opponent of the George W. Bush administration’s 2003 invasion of Iraq. The Illinois U.S. Senate seat was open in 2004, giving Obama the opportunity to win a landslide victory in the March Democrat primary. The primary victory made him an overnight rising star in the Democrat Party and led to him being selected to deliver the keynote address at the 2004 Democratic National Convention. Obama’s expected opponent in the general election, Republican primary winner Jack Ryan, was forced to withdraw from the race in June 2004 after sealed court records from his divorce proceedings were made public. With no viable opponent, Obama won the November 2004 general election with 70% of the vote. After serving 144 days in the United State Senate, Obama was suddenly on the fast track to the Presidential nomination and ultimate victory.

Bear in mind that this biographic information came from the left-leaning Wikipedia website, which presumably would give the most glowing accounting of Obama’s accomplishments. Even if we accept Obama’s resume as fact, (and we have no choice since none of his school transcripts have ever been made public), there is nothing in his official background to suggest he had any executive experience or that he was even remotely capable of addressing the complex level of economic and structural problems facing the country at that time. Of course, in what rapidly became standard operating procedure for the Obama administration, anyone who dared to question the party line on any aspect of Obama’s intelligence, experience or intentions, even based on legitimate policy differences, was preemptively labeled a racist. What is now abundantly clear in hindsight is that with his wafer-thin resume, Obama was probably the emptiest suit to ever occupy the Oval Office.

obama-pres-electThe media were deeply invested in the charade, and they dutifully played along by immediately shifting all attention away from George W. Bush, other than to continually highlight his falling poll numbers, and turned the spotlight almost exclusively on Barack Obama. During the transition period, we received daily briefings and pronouncements from Obama. He even created something called the “Office of the President Elect”, complete with a sign for his podium. There is no provision in the Constitution for such an office, which should have been our first indication of how Obama planned to govern for the next eight years. Of course, the press covered all things Obama with all of the seriousness of a presidential press conference. They breathlessly reported each day’s pronouncement and the brilliance of each of Obama’s cabinet announcements. Concurrently, the media initiated the narrative that since there were so many problems created by the Bush administration that needed to be addressed, “some people” thought it was a shame that Obama had to wait until January 20th to take office. They longingly wished the Constitution could be changed so he could take office immediately and get right to work curing all of the nation’s ills.

Contrast the coronation atmosphere created for Obama with the hostile reception being given to the incoming Trump administration. The media’s emphasis is still squarely on Obama as they cover his world tour “explaining” Donald Trump to world leaders and they cheer his last minute flurry of unconstitutional executive orders in an attempt to institutionalize his policies into the future. Any coverage of Trump consists of highlighting the controversies of the ongoing protests against his election, the attempted liberal hijacking of the Electoral College, hit pieces on his Cabinet choices and comparisons to Hitler. They are performing a full court press to cast him as an illegitimate president before he even takes office.

If you look at Donald Trump’s Wikipedia page to get an indication of his background and experience you will have to wade through paragraph after paragraph detailing active and pending litigation against him, unsubstantiated sexual misconduct allegations, his bankruptcies and aspersions on his legitimate use of the Federal Tax Code. However, if you do a little digging, you will find that Trump graduated from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania in 1968 and followed his father into a career in real estate development. He was made head of the company in 1971, and expanded it beyond real estate development into the successful, multinational organization it is today. Based on his 45 years of experience running large companies, managing complex projects and recruiting and evaluating talent, it certainly appears that Donald Trump is far more qualified than Barack Obama to tackle the problems of a bloated, out of control federal government bureaucracy. After all, the federal government is the nation’s largest creditor, debtor, lender, employer, consumer, contractor, grantor, property owner, tenant, insurer, health-care provider, and pension guarantor. In many respects it is similar to a large company in need of effective management, which is right in Donald Trump’s wheelhouse.

Despite the manufactured feel-good stories coming out of the Obama administration, this country faces problems today that are even more ominous than they were in 2008. Consider the following troubling statistics:

  • There are currently 96 million Americans out of work, over twice as many as when Obama took office;
  • The US debt stands at 19.8 trillion; after Obama added more to the national debt than all of his predecessors combined;
  • One in six households currently has no adult in the workforce;
  • Our total debt now stands at 106% of GDP;
  • 45 million Americans are living in poverty and receiving food stamps, up from 32 million when Obama took office; and,
  • Obama is the only president who never achieved a 3% growth in the economy in any year of his presidency.

This country is on its back, and when you add in the problems of a federal government unmoored from the Constitution, unchecked illegal immigration, unvetted Islamic refugees and worldwide tensions we need some help fast. Could you imagine the reaction of liberals and the media if we were to suggest that with all of these major problems facing the country it would make sense for Donald Trump to be able to take office right now to start fixing things rather than waiting until January 20th? The same mainstream media that protected Obama and amplified his meager accomplishments are already in full attack mode against Donald Trump and anyone who dares to support him. The mask has finally come off the media in this election cycle. We used to think they were cheering liberal candidates from the stands, now we know they are really sitting on the bench. However, Trump understands something that made Ronald Reagan so effective; the value of bypassing the media filter and delivering his message directly to the American people – and public seems to be responding positively. The stock market is hitting new highs and a recent poll showed that 70% of Americans surveyed are feeling optimistic, the highest level since 2004.

In many respects, Donald Trump was created by the media. They built him up during the primaries, believing he would be the weakest candidate to face Hillary Clinton, secure in the belief they could tear him down at the right time during the general election. His tendencies to say what’s on his mind and shoot from the hip were also great for their ratings. What the media failed to consider was that his message was resonating with a sizeable portion of the American people who felt the country is on the wrong track. They are tired of the lackluster economy of the past eight years, they are tired of massive government intrusion into every aspect of their lives and they are tired of having their traditions and beliefs ridiculed by elitists.

So buckle up everyone, because the over-the-top behavior we’re currently seeing from liberals and the media will only harden and intensify over the next 8 years. At the same time, liberals have really overplayed their hand. They have painted a caricature of Donald Trump as being so buffoonish and inept, that he will hit a home run if he comes into office acting even halfway presidential. There will be no honeymoon period with the press for the incoming administration, but positive results Trump achieves will speak the loudest.

Posted in Politics, President Obama | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Making Sense of the Trump Election

Posted by Steve Markowitz on November 20, 2016

With the presidential election behind us, pundits attempt to analyze and explain the results.  Some on the Right interpret the Trump victory as a conservative mandate.  Others on the Left blame Hillary Clinton’s poor campaigning skills or the low intelligence of voters for the loss.  Such conclusions from both sides miss the greater meaning of the election, which is a continuation of the political paradigm shift worldwide.

In the United States the shift began with the Tea Party after Obama’s first election.  It continued with Democrats losing power in both subsequent mid-term elections.

trumpThe United Kingdom voted for Brexit, to disconnect themselves from the European Union.  Similar to the US presidential election, expert pollsters indicated Brexit would not occur.  Just like in the United States the People proved the experts out of touch.

The paradigm shift is the result of the failure of Progressive governments to meet the needs of the People.  While governments bailed out banks in 2009 to the benefit of the wealthy, and continually come up with social programs for the less fortunate, they have ignored the needs of the middle class whose financial well-being has been eroded.

The forces that led to Brexit and the election of Donald Trump will continue to pick up momentum.  As governments continue with the same failed policies, they will lose legitimacy and be voted out.  These forces will likely lead to the breakup of the European Union, as well as increased European nationalism.

John Mauldin recently published an article titled This Could Be Our 1989” that helps explain the eroding authority of Progressive governments.  He begins by quoting Jeffrey Tucker of the Foundation for Economic Education who correctly said:

“All these details of the Trump platform are still important, but strike me as less relevant to what we can expect going forward.  The more I look at it, the less it seems to me that the election results are less about what Trump believes and more about what he represents: a fundamental shattering of an old paradigm.  And I’m finding the widespread commentary that this represents some kind of triumph of racism, misogyny, etc. etc., to be superficial and even preposterous.  And you know this if you visit with any regular voter.

What lies in ruins here is not common decency and morality – much less the character of a whole people and nation – but rather an anachronistic, arrogant, entitled, smug, conceited ruling elite and ruling paradigm.  You can see this in the clues that show that the vote was not so much for a particular vision of one man, but against a prevailing model of managing the world.” [Emphasis added.]

Mauldin then goes on to offer some logical conclusions relating to not only the Trump election, but also the paradigm shift in political power unfolding before us.  This includes:

  • When I read (somewhat bemusedly) that the halls of power in Europe are in an uproar over our election, I think that they should be. Not because Trump is now president but because elites everywhere – the people who “know” how the world should be run and expect the “little people” to stay in line – are an endangered species”.  Yes, these elites have much to fear as they watch their base of power disintegrate.
  • “It is up to the leadership of countries and communities to make sure that everyone is protected – equally – and to do so without burdening future generations with the task of paying for the solutions they come up with.” For decades governments worldwide have ignored the plight of the middle class who are now revolting at the ballot box.
  • The old institutions are not up to the task of managing a world awash in massive and ever faster technological and social changes that are not leaving us enough time to adjust. We went from a world where 50% of us worked on family farms to where less than 2% do today, but that took 8-10 generations.”  Many of the institutions that Mauldin is referring to were created shortly after World War II.  It is not surprising that they are not working in this rapidly changing world.  Expecting the ruling political class to implement change that while necessary, would diminish their power, is illogical.  It is also not surprising that the old guard claims that incoming change endangers society.

Mauldin concludes that those shaking at the idea of a Trump presidency should “get a grip”, reminding us that the power of US presidents are quite limited by the Constitution.  While Progressives, including the current president, have suggested that the Constitution should be a living document that can be morphed to their political agenda, many in this country, including real conservatives, conclude otherwise.  Strict interpretation of the Constitution and the powers it gives the office of the presidency inhibits any president, including Trump, from significant overreach.

The American People have spoken.  They are demanding change and have elected Donald Trump to carry out that mandate.  Time will tell if he is up to the task.  Should he not, he will be voted out by the same group that have given him the office he will shortly command.

Posted in Politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Democrat Party’s Self-Inflicted Wounds

Posted by Steve Markowitz on November 1, 2016

It has been a few wild days in the race for the White House.  On Friday, FBI Director James Comey announced that the Bureau is reopening its criminal investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server and potential mishandling of classified documents.  If found guilty of a felony Clinton would be subject to potential jail time.  Quite a shadow hanging over a potential president-elect!

It is remarkable that James Comey, who just a week ago was considered a hero and patriot by the Left after recommending against Clinton’s prosecution in July, is now demonized by these same people.  Either they were wrong about Comey in July or they are wrong now.  In fact the issue is not Comey’s credibility or patriotism, but his findings that go against the political leanings of the Left.  This is incredulous for a group that often claims the need for bipartisanship, blaming Republicans for the polarization in Washington.  How quickly the worm has turned.

Some on the Left are beginning to take their compatriots and Clinton to task for the email mess, Hillary’s own creation.  Earlier this week Doug Schoen, long-time supporter of the Clintons, pulled his support for Hillary due to concern for a Constitutional crisis that would likely occur should she be elected president.  Just as amazing, MSNBC’s liberal cohost, Mika Brzezinski, took off after Hillary Clinton and those on the Left that have attacked James Comey, as shared in the video below.

Both political parties are to blame for the state of American national political mess.  Republicans rejected their Party’s conventional wisdom and nominated Donald Trump merely because he was an outsider and irrespective of qualifications or policies.  Taking a different route, the Democrat establishment chose to coronate Hillary Clinton even though she was deemed dishonest by many and under FBI investigation for potential criminal acts.  Those who cry foul on both sides of the aisle need to take a long look in the mirror to locate the source of the Country’s problem.

Posted in Politics | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Obamacare May Implode

Posted by Steve Markowitz on October 19, 2016

The news media and Americans are focused on the upcoming presidential election.  Given the important role the president plays in the United States this is natural.  However, the focus on the election has been on the questionable personal traits of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.  This myopic focus masks serious issues that face the Country and the next president, irrespective of who is elected.

The significant challenges the Country faces include international relations, as well as economic issues.  The Middle East is devolving into chaos that will eliminate the artificial borders and countries created after World War I.  Russia is again adversarial and imperialistic.  Economic growth in the United States is tepid with the total debt soon to exceed $20 trillion.  Irrespective of whether Clinton or Trump become president, these issues will prove intractable.

Within the broader subject of economic challenges is the out of control medical costs.  This problem had its roots long before Barack Obama became president.  However, the President’s signature program, Obamacare, exasperated the problems and is showing signs of heading into a death spiral.

The President is aware of Obamacare failings writing in The Journal of the American Medical Association: “Too many Americans still strain to pay for their physician visits and prescriptions, cover their deductibles or pay their monthly insurance bills; struggle to navigate a complex, sometimes bewildering system; and remain uninsured.”  This is a far cry from the President’s promises to the American people that healthcare costs would decrease.  Obamacare not only added expensive mandates to the cost of medical insurance, but covered some 20 million people who previously did not have insurance.  For the President to have made this cost cutting promise indicates incompetence or dishonesty, there is no third option.

A more honest representation of the realities of Obamacare was made earlier this month by former President Bill Clinton who said:

bill-clinton“You’ve got this crazy system where all of a sudden, 25 million more people have health care and then the people that are out there busting it – sometimes 60 hours a week – wind up with their premiums doubled and their coverage cut in half.”

Leave it to Bill Clinton to take a complex issue and break it down to its most basic problem; the middle class and healthy younger Americans are being forced to pay for the health costs of others.  Insurance is a system whereby risk is spread amongst a population of people with an example being auto insurance.  Some drivers will have accidents while others will not.  In the case of so-called health insurance, all beneficiaries will require significant benefits.  Therefore what we call health insurance is an entitlement and cannot be financed as if it was insurance.

In early October Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton said: “The reality is the Affordable Care Act is no longer affordable”.  This is no partisan attack coming from a Democrat governor of a state that is projected to have increases in the Affordable Care Act medical exchanges in excess of 50%. (Source)  Other states are facing similar problems.

In business or economics matters, prior to resolving a problem the issue and goals need to be clearly vetted and defined.  This was not done with healthcare reform.  Instead, proponents of Obamacare promoted problems to elicit emotional responses.  This included Americans without medical insurance and the increasing costs of medical care.  Ignored were the basic laws of supply and demand that have impacted these issues and will play a role in any propose resolution.  The upcoming implosion of Obamacare is the result of this gross failure.

After the presidential election the winning party will throw celebrations for the power they gained or maintained in Washington.  Beginning in January a new president who will be forced to address the problems left behind by Barack Obama.  A major issue will be the growing problem of the increasing cost of healthcare.  Democrats will promote a single-payer system; i.e., government run healthcare.  This should concern Americans given the government’s poor track record managing the health care of veterans through the VA Administration.

Republicans will promote market oriented solutions for health care reform.  However, continue calling a solution “insurance” improperly defines the problem and will not lead to productive results that are politically or economically palatable.

When discussing the problems of increasing healthcare costs, rarely will politicians discuss economic realities including supply and demand.  Instead, many scapegoat insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies, and/or doctors.  While these factors play some role, it is minor compared to demographic changes.  For example, the Country is rapidly aging.  In 2000 there were 35 million Americans over 65 years of age.  In less than two decades this has increased to 47 million.  In addition we have become more obese.  Both factors increase the demand for healthcare and therefore cost.  Not including these issues in the broader discussion of healthcare reform dooms any program to failure.

The Kaiser family Foundation reported that in the last six years, health insurance premiums rose about 19%, three times greater than inflation.  At the same time, peoples’ salaries rose only 11%.  This increasing cost of healthcare as a percentage of total income is one reason the recovery has been sluggish.  Consumer spending on other goods and services has been decreased as a result.  Unless healthcare costs are brought under control, this negative impact on the economy will grow.  May the force be with the next president!

Posted in Healthcare, healthcare costs | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Audience Laughs When Congressman Charlie Crist Calls Hillary Honest

Posted by Steve Markowitz on September 21, 2016

Earlier this week Florida held a debate between current Democratic Congressman Charlie Crist and Republican challenger David Jolly.  When asked about Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, Chris responded:

“I am proud of Hillary Clinton.  I think she’s been a very good secretary of state, a very good senator from the state of New York.  The thing I like most about her is I believe she is steady.  I believe that she is strong.  I believe that she is honest.  And I look forward to voting for her.”

Hillary Clinton may be may be connected to many adjectives.  However, calling her “honest” is just plain ludicrous.  As indicated in the video below, Crist’s comment drew laughter from the audience.  It is statements such as this one made by Crist that has turned so many Americans against the political elites.  It is a major reason why Donald Trump with all of his weaknesses has a reasonable chance of becoming America’s next president.  Should he be elected, the political elites and those that back them need look in a mirror to see Trump’s greatest asset.

Posted in Politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Understanding the Trump/Sanders Phenomena

Posted by Steve Markowitz on May 22, 2016

Let us travel back in time only 12 months.  America was starting to focus on the next potential President.  There was seeming certainty over the choices.  For Republicans, Jeb Bush was anointed the chosen one with a campaign war-chest that was unrivaled.  Similarly for Democrats, Hillary Clinton was to be anointed, being the next person up.  What was certain twelve months ago has since evaporated, ushering in a paradigm shift in American politics.

There is much in common between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton and their supporters.  Historically, Donald Trump’s politics have had more in common with Democrat platforms.  Until recently Trump not only donated to Democratic candidates, but also hobnobbed with many of its elites including the Clintons.  Like Trump, Hillary has led a protected life, enjoying the benefits of the top 1% and with access to and being a powerbroker in Washington.

It is ironic that given the many similarities between Hillary and Donald, that Hillary is considered an insider and Donald the insurgent.  Both in fact are consummate insiders.

Trumps ascendancy to being the presumptive Republican nominee is remarkable.  He defeated 16 Republicans in the primaries, some who had been quite formable candidates.  Trump has since broken the spirit of the Republican establishment, who were powerless against his insurgent appeal.

Bernie Sanders, who has near zero chance of becoming the Democratic Party’s nominee, has encountered remarkable success against the Party’s anointed one, Hillary Clinton.  Hillary has the backing of nearly every Party leader, has had a significant funding advantage, yet has had difficulty competing against the 73 year old socialist.  With a bit of luck and a more sophisticated campaign early on, Sanders could have won the Party’s nomination.

Ignoring policies proposed by Sanders and Trump, there are similarities behind their successes.  Both are seen as outsiders to voters who are disenchanted in the direction the Country has taken, even though their support comes from opposite ends of the political spectrum.  Understanding the reasons behind this disenchantment by is more important than who wins in November.

Economist John Mauldin recently published a piece titled “trump” that goes a long way towards explaining American’s radically switched politics.  While Mauldin shows compassion and understanding of the plight many less fortunate Americans, his economic background helps explain the difficulty in problem resolution.  Mauldin’s comments/conclusions include:

  • He castigates both political parties for giving us the choice of, as Peggy Noonan states, “Crazy Man vs. Criminal ”, concluding that: “People have real problems, and increasingly they don’t trust traditional leaders to solve them.”
  • Sanders is supported by left-leaning Americans who are “living on the edge, vulnerable and unprotected”.  Trump is being supported by another portion of Americans who believe they are being marginalized.
  • Mauldin divides Americans into the “protected” and “unprotected”.  He makes the important conclusion that the protected make public policy, but it is the unprotected who must live with the results.  The protected that create public policy are not subject to the penalties of these policies with Mauldin including “Because they are protected they feel they can do pretty much anything, impose any reality. They’re insulated from many of the effects of their own decisions.”  The unprotected are now saying enough is enough.
  • The protected Mauldin refers to are both Republicans and Democrats.  So too are the unprotected.  Party affiliation has become meaningless in this discussion.
  • A Federal Reserve survey found that nearly 50% of Americans could not cover an unexpected $400 expense.  No wonder voters are scared.  No wonder they have lost faith in politicians who not only promised so much, but whose policies helped create the economic problems the Country now faces.

sandersThere are many examples of policies created by the protected that inflict pain on the unprotected.  Progressives propose open borders for immigration.  These immigrants are mainly unskilled and compete for the lower skilled jobs in the United States.  This increased competition hurts poorer Americans.  It also benefits businesses that have access to cheaper labor.  In an effort to fix the damage done by the ill-conceived immigration policies, the protected then promote increasing the minimum wage.  This too hurts poorer Americans who lose their jobs to machines that are made still cheaper by the artificially low cost of capital.  A higher minimum wage also benefits larger corporations who are better equipped to pay higher wages than startups, their potential competitors.

Obamacare is another example of Progressive policies damaging the unprotected.  While many Americans now face doctor shortages and increasing healthcare premiums caused by Obamacare, the protected have access to concierge doctor services.  They also have access to accountants and lawyers who can take advantage of the ever-increasing regulatory and tax environments that average Americans do not have access to.

Finally, there is the rigged government numbers.  Unemployment is supposedly down to 5%.  However, this number does not take into account those Americans who have quit looking for jobs.  It also does not take into account less hours available for workers or the quality of jobs available.  Similarly, the government’s inflation numbers are rigged, removing from the calculation must-have goods and services whose costs have increased.  As a result, many Americans feel they are being left out of a supposedly improving economy.

We are eight years after the beginning of the Great Recession.  While various government stimulus programs and artificially low interest rates created bubbles that increased the wealth of the protected, it damaged the unprotected, increasing the wealth gap.  This led to the popularity of Sanders and Trump.  The fact that a Socialist and a bully have become so popular indicates how deep the frustrations are.  While this trend favors Donald Trump in the upcoming election, it blocks intellectual discussion concerning realistic policies that could actually improve the plight of middle Americans.

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CNN Exposes shallowness of Trump and Obama

Posted by Steve Markowitz on March 31, 2016

During a recent 24-hour period, two different CNN anchors exposed shallow aspects of two very different politicians.

Earlier this week President Obama went on the attack of the news media at an awards dinner for journalist.  His attack related to the media’s coverage of the 2016 presidential primaries.  In typical narcissistic form, Obama praised the media for asking “really tough questions” during his first run for the presidency in 2008.  Taking it further he then chided the media for not doing the same this year.  Translation, during 2008 you held me (Obama) to a high standard, but are not doing so to for the Republicans today.  This claim is comical.

Barack Obama was perhaps the most coddled presidential candidate to run for the office.  During 2008, some in the media actually went so far as to publicly state that they had an emotional attachment to Obama.  Since being elected, the President made many unbroken promises, but was never taken to task by the media for them.  Examples include how his first major bill, the Stimulus Package, would lower unemployment, as well as calling ISIS the “JV team”.  Who can forget the President going to the United Nations two weeks after the terrorists attack on America’s Benghazi consulate and ludicrously blaming them on some obscure video?

After listening to Obama’s media bashing, CNN reporter Jake Tapper appropriately chastise the President for his administration’s lack of transparency stating (see video below):

Was President Obama the right messenger?”, and “Mr. President, with all due respect … Maybe, just maybe, your lecturing would be better delivered to your own administration.”

Donald Trump is never one to be overshadowed by another politician’s outrageous statements.  During a town hall interview this week with CNN’s Anderson Cooper, Trump’s justification for his attacks on Ted Cruz’s wife was appropriately compared to the actions of a five-year-old, as seen in the video below.

While Donald Trump and Barack Obama are very different politicians, they have at least a few traits in common; an inability to accept criticism or responsibility for their actions..

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Trump, the Ultimate RINO

Posted by Steve Markowitz on March 6, 2016

Sometime in the not too distant past a new term entered American lexicon; RINO.  Google the word RINO and the following definition appears:

RINO

The definition of RINO is instructive in today’s political environment.  It helps define the current state of the Republican Party and more specifically the meteoric rise of Donald Trump in the Party’s presidential nominating process.

There is significant discontent within the Republican Party, especially by those who consider themselves conservative.  This discontent emanates not only from the direction the Country is travelling and the fact that conservatives feel marginalized, but also by the Republican Party’s inept response to the Progressive agenda associated with the modern Democratic Party.

President George W Bush’s policies clearly defined him as a RINO.  George W. Bush was no fiscal conservative, not only increasing deficit spending, but also supporting fiscal policies that fed into crony capitalism.  As a result of America’s discontent with the state of the economy and the ill-advised war in Iraq, Americans voted for the charm of Hope and Change and elected a radical Leftist, Barack Obama, president.

The change Obama brought to Washington quickly became unpopular, not only with conservatives, but also more moderate Americans.  Two years after his election, America sent a clear message to Washington giving Republicans an historic majority in Congress, as well as significant gains at the state level.  These gains can in art be attributed to the grassroots efforts of the Tea Party.

As unpopular as Barack Obama’s presidency had become, he was able to secure a second term.  Some of the blame for Obama’s reelection rests with the Republican Party’s inept political strategies and disjointed policies.

The discontent among conservatives and Republicans continued with the 2014 midterm elections.  Once again Republicans saw huge gains, now controlling both houses of Congress and making further advances in statewide elections.  This Republican victory should have resulted in a legislative agenda that promoting the will of more conservative Americans.  Instead, Republicans squandered the advantage.  Conservatives saw no perceptible change in the Country’s direction.  This, in a nutshell, explains discontent that has morphed into outright anger for many Republicans.

Shortly after the 2014 midterm elections, the Republican Party’s power elite decided to anoint one of its own, Jeb Bush, as the candidate of choice.  A massive war chest was collected that the Party hoped would lead to Jeb Bush’s nomination (coronation?).   The rank and file would have none of this.  Bush’s rejection was total.  The people have spoken and that is a good thing.

As is often the case when people feel marginalized, currently the case amongst many in the Republican Party, emotions overtake common sense.  A large minority in the Republican Party are exhibiting this emotional response by supporting Donald Trump.  Why understandable, this reaction will not promote the policies or values desired by conservatives.

Donald Trump has been a master at understanding and taking advantage of Republican anger.  He in fact may become the Party’s nominee.  This troubles to this Blogger given Trump’s history, irrespective of than contemporary words.  History shows Trump’s disdain for core conservative beliefs on both economic and social issues.  That history shows a man who used crony-capitalism and litigation to achieve success in business.  It shows a man who was more likely to support Progressive policies, rather than the Constitution.  It seems likely that Trump’s supposed conversion in the past year has been made for personal gain, rather than seeing the light.  Finally, it is difficult to believe that if elected president, Trump would not revert back to the same philosophies that made him successful in the business world.

Trump’s often repeated claim is that he will “make America great again”.  Yet there is no substance behind this claim.  In fact, a true conservative would instead say that government can’t make a country great.  Only the People can make a country great.  In this respect Trump’s battle cry sounds eerily similar to Obama’s “Hope and Change” message of eight years ago.

It is ironic that much of the anger currently being exhibited by Republicans at their party is the result of the power elite and RINOS who run the Party.  While Donald Trump is certainly an outsider as it relates to the Republican Party, he is a life-long member of the power elite and certainly the most famous contemporary RINO.

Donald Trump’s rise to power in the current primaries also emanates from the Party being fractured with too many candidates splitting the anti-Trump vote.  For many of us the candidate we would like to see nominated is already out of the race.  It is now crunch time and we are down to two realistic choices; Donald Trump or Ted Cruz.  While Ted Cruz is not without warts, he is the last man standing if the Republican Party wants to run a conservative against Hillary Clinton.  That makes the choice easy for this Blogger.

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