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Category: Politics

Where Do We Go From Here?

We are less than a year away from another presidential election in the US. Can it really be eight years ago that Donald Trump announced he was running for president and the left lost its collective mind?

And are we really going to have a rematch of the candidates from 2020?

Both parties seem deeply divided and both leading candidates have many strikes against them. If you know me, you know that I will vote for whomever the Republican candidate is, especially now, even if I have to hold my nose to do it. And I usually do (have to hold my nose).

They say (whoever “they” are) that most people vote against a candidate instead of FOR a candidate. That is true of me, since I have to believe that the Republican in any race is going to align more closely with my principles of freedom and free markets than any Democrat. That has never been more true than now. Economic freedom and individual empowerment are not high on the Democrats’ “to-do” list, with their anti-business stance and tendency to focus on victim groups, but Republican politicians often fail to protect our rights as well. So we usually have to vote for the lesser of two evils.

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“Backlash” Featured on The Author Show

I was recently interviewed for The Author Show podcast. The finished interview will be available On Demand on The Author Show website all day Tuesday, Jan. 18, 2022.

The interview is about 15 min. long and was conducted by Linda Thompson, one of several hosts of the podcast, which began in 2005 and features authors of all genres (except erotic) on multiple online channels. The Author Show is based in Arizona and since 2005 has interviewed more than 5,000 authors.

I was able to talk about both “Backlash” and “Backlash 2: Justice Denied” because Thompson had read both books in preparation for the interview. I also talked about the influences on my writing and the life experiences which gave birth to these books.

“Tune in” on Jan. 18 to hear the interview.

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Lingering Questions

On Sept. 9, 2021, President Biden announced his intention to mandate through the Department of Labor and OSHA that all Federal Employees (except postal workers) and all employees of all Federal government contractors receive the COVID-19 vaccine, plus all employees of all private companies and NGOs with more than 100 employees. In his statement he hinted that no one should have questions about the efficacy and safety of the vaccines. Therefore, everyone should be forced to receive the vaccine.

However, I do have lingering questions, going all the way back to the beginning of the pandemic.

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Climate Change: Are We Asking the Right Questions?

This week president Biden appointed former senator, secretary of state and presidential candidate John Kerry as his climate czar, despite the Kerry family owning multiple homes, a fleet of cars and a private jet, which all use tremendous amounts of energy. Arguably, the Kerry family has a carbon footprint many times that of the average American. However, that does not stop John Kerry from lecturing average Americans about their use of energy; in fact he wasted no time informing hard-working Americans that many of them would likely lose their jobs as he transitions us to “renewable” modes of energy.

When talking about climate change, we are told by the dominant culture that the “science is settled” and no discussion is necessary. Like a lot of other things at the moment, we average Americans are told to sit down, shut up and accept what our betters tell us.

But is that the right way to approach climate change? I would suggest that there are many things to consider when discussing climate change. It is not a single subject; there are multiple questions to consider and the answers to those questions should determine what policies are put in place. Here is my list of the questions that should be considered, but which we are told not to consider.

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The Socialist Headache

A couple of days ago, I heard that, after Amazon decided not to put its east coast headquarters in Long Island City, New York, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez rejoiced at the “victory” and remarked that the $3 billion New York would have “spent” could be used by the state to create their own jobs. Here’s part of what she said:

“If we were willing to give Amazon…$3 billion for this deal we could invest those $3 billion in our district ourselves if we wanted to.”

When I heard that my palm hit my forehead so hard I got a headache.

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This WAS Election Different

I wrote an earlier blog post saying the recent presidential election was not different from previous elections for me because, while I was not entirely happy with the Republican nominee this time, I have not been entirely happy with the Republican nominee in any election since 1984.

However, this election WAS different in a very important way.

Whereas usually presidential elections can be analyzed as binary events, with a liberal-to-moderate Democrat vs. a moderate-to-conservative Republican, this election was different. Yes, I know there are usually third and fourth party candidates in the mix, but they rarely impact the outcome.

Because both major parties had very raucous primary seasons, and because the eventual Republican nominee and election victor was so unexpected, I see this election differently. I’ve created a chart to show how I think it was different.

Instead of a binary division I think this time there were four quantrants, with the top two quandrants being “Establishment” and the bottom two “Populist”. The right quandrants were Republican and the left Democrat. You can see from the grid where I place each of the candidates. (Yes, I know I left people out, including the Libertarians and Greens. They just didn’t figure in for most voters.)

It seems to me that Trump and Sanders were two sides of the same Populist coin. Neither was truly established in the party for whose nomination they were running. Trump has voted Democrat most of his life and Sanders is a proud Socialist. Each of them were free to take whatever position they thought was important or would play well with voters. They usually had different solutions but they often agreed on the nature of the problems.

In the two Establishment quadrants, the candidates were much more tied to their respective parties, and in this election that was a real disadvantage. On the Republican side, Trump was able to paint his rivals as beholden to special interests and the policies of the Bush administration. Prominent Republicans reacted, some even pledging to vote for Clinton or the Libertarian nominee. For the Democrats, Sanders came very close to upsetting the anointed Hillary Clinton, by pounding her connection to Wall Street and the Washington elite. Sanders might have won the nomination if the party and the press had not aided and abetted Clinton.

So, I believe this election was not so much Republican vs. Democrat as Establisment vs. Populist. In then end, Trump won by pulling voters from each of the four quandrants: 10% of Bernie Sanders’ primary voters voted for Trump in the general election. The number of Democrats who voted for Trump reminded one of Reagan. More African-Americans voted for Trump than for Romney four years ago. A surprising 29% of Hispanics voted for Trump; surprising because the conventional wisdom was that no Hispanic would vote for Trump because of his intention to secure the southern border with Mexico. And of course, he got the majority – but not all – of the Republican vote.

The big loser was not just the Democrat party, but the Democrat signature idea of identity politics. Clinton’s candidacy was predicated on the fact that she was a woman and the party and the campaign tried unsuccessfully to paint Trump as a sexist (unsuccessfully as far as the final vote was concerned at least). While Clinton won the women’s vote, Trump’s share was only two percentage points less than Romney’s and he actually won among white women.

With almost one-third of Hispanics voting for Trump, the Democrats failed to convince voters that Trump’s promise to build a wall was racist. Hispanics showed that they are not monolithic and those here legally are just as concerned about illegal immigration as anyone else.

African-American Trump supporters were more vocal in their support for a Republican nominee than they have been since the 1960s. Social media postings by Black Trump supporters were more numerous than ever before as I noted previously.

All this means that the Democrats need to realize that treating people as members of groups with monolithic opinions is, in fact, bigoted and condescending. Take the African-American community, for instance. It is indeed condescending in the 21st century to believe that the only thing Blacks care about is welfare when today African-Americans may hold any type of job and many are entreprenuers making enough money to turn them into Libertarians when it comes to taxes. Their pocket-book issues may actually be the opposite of what Democrats think they are. Many African-Americans have much more in common with middle-class whites on economic issues than they do with poor Blacks.

Then there’s religion. Many African-Americans are conservative Christians. As the Democrats become more and more extreme on the topics of abortion and removing all references to God from public life, more and more Black pastors and their congregations will be unable to support them.

Republicans need to learn the lessons of this election as well. They need to understand that their timidity and moderation in past elections and in governing will not serve them well in the future. Trump has shown that it is time for bold and decisive leadership, regardless of how politically incorrect it may be for the Establishment in both parties.

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The Bottom Line

shutterstock_239614381I haven’t had much to say during this excruciating political season. One reason it has been excruciating is that I have friends on almost every side of the four-sided presidential battle. I don’t know that anybody is totally enthusiastic about the options this time around, but as I said in an earlier post, I haven’t been totally enthusiastic about any Republican nominee since 1984 (What about the Democrats, you ask? Not a chance! They have moved so far left that JFK wouldn’t recognize his party).

But I will vote, as I always do. As usual, it comes down to the lesser of evils (or incompetents!). You can rage against the injustice and cry, “Is this the best we can do?” all you want, but on election day we all have to decide among the choices on the ballot, unless we just stay home and let everyone else decide for us. Then we have no right to complain for the next four years.

So, what’s the bottom line?

For me, it’s about playing the odds. Who is more likely to do the things I think need to be done? I’m only going to consider Trump and Clinton. Sorry my third-party friends, but Johnson (Libertarian) and Stein (Green) will only play a spoiler role; there’s no chance either of them will be elected.

There are a few things that are important to me. Which of the two major-party candidates will be more likely to do what I think needs to be done? Below is the way I score it. It’s not the least bit scientific. I’m just giving you my gut feeling.

  1. Defeat the Islamic State savages and end the Christian genocide around the world: Trump 48%; Clinton 22%. I put Trump below 50% because fighting Islamic extremism is pretty much a game of Whack-a-Mole, but I believe he will try. Clinton may try also, but I believe she would be less effective because her political correctness hamstrings her.
  2. Stop the bleeding and reduce the national debt: Trump 25%; Clinton: minus 10%. I only gave Trump 25% because reducing the national debt will be very difficult even if you want to, since there are so many programs like Social Security and Medicare that are huge revenue hogs. Clinton will not only NOT reduce the debt but will certainly increase it.
  3. Simplify the tax code and reduce taxes on small business to reboot the economy and create jobs: Trump 65%; Clinton: 0%. Another big job, but I think Trump will try. Clinton doesn’t have a clue how the economy works or how jobs are created.
  4. Turn back the tide of onerous regulations from the un-elected, unaccountable, byzantine Federal bureaucracy: Trump 30%; Clinton: 0%. I’ve been gratified to hear Trump mention cutting the bureaucracy; it would make me very happy, but I know that the interests are deeply entrenched and powerful, so it will be very difficult. Clinton, are you kidding?
  5. Repeal and replace ObamaCare: Trump 45%; Clinton minus 30%. Again, it won’t be easy, but I believe Trump will try. Clinton, who tried to put us on the road to socialist health care when she was first lady, will definitely make things worse.
  6. Actually enforce existing immigration laws and once again honor immigrants who enter the country legally: Trump 75%; Clinton:0%. Trump has made getting control of our porous borders and following existing immigration laws a centerpiece of his campaign. As for Hillary Clinton, in spite of Trump’s position on immigration being identical to her husband’s when he was president, she is totally committed to a borderless, lawless society.
  7. Once again make America’s friends trust us, our enemies fear us and our citizens proud: Trump 45%; Clinton 10%. Why did I score Trump so low, when his campaign slogan is “Make America Great Again”, you ask? Simply because Trump means well, but he does say embarrassing things, so at times he will make us very proud; other times not so much. Clinton will continue Obama’s legacy of apologetic timidity. The only reason I gave her 10% is because she is at least culturally an American, unlike Obama.
  8. Appoint federal judges to the circuits and the Supreme Court that will follow the Constitution and uphold our founding principles: Trump 70%; Clinton 5%. This won’t be hard for Trump to try to do, but even when you try, sometimes you get David Souter. Clinton might accidentally appoint a good judge.

I could go on, but you get the idea. As I see it, the choice is clear. Not ideal, but clear.

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Did Trump End the “Birther” Controversy?

There was a kerfuffle yesterday when Hillary Clinton accused Donald Trump of starting the “birther” movement, which questioned whether Barack Obama was born in the United States and therefore might not be qualified to be president according to the Constitution. Trump answered by stating that “President Obama was born in the United States, period.” He went on to say that he ended the “birther” controversy, an apparent reference to the fact that his urging the issue led to the release of the president’s long-form birth certificate.

ObamaHe also referenced the fact that it appears to have been a Hillary supporter during the 2008 Democrat primary who circulated the first questions about Obama’s birthplace. I say, “At this point, what difference does it make?”

For me, the most important question has never been, was Obama born in Kenya, where his father was from and where his African grandmother has said he was born, or did his mother return to Hawaii in time for him to be born there? The real question is: Is Barack Obama an American CULTURALLY?

I think the answer is “No”. He wasn’t raised in the United States during his formative years. His mother was an anti-American, anti- “establishment” hippie and his step-father (he never knew his father) was a Muslim from Indonesia. He did live with his white grandparents in Hawaii for a while, but he didn’t identify with their American upper-middle-class values. I recently moved to Hawaii and I can tell you that, while I love my new home, it has a very different culture from the states on the mainland. That’s not automatically bad; it’s just that Hawaii has only been a state since 1950 and doesn’t have the Judeo-Christian heritage of the mainland US, or the background of liberal (small “L”) Jeffersonian and Enlightenment democracy.

The president has often demonstrated while in office that he doesn’t value and maybe doesn’t even understand the American spirit; that self-confident, self-reliant, indomitable spirit that built the greatest, most free republic in the history of the world. He once scoffed at the idea of “American Exceptionalism”. But American IS exceptional because of our founding principles. He showed by his “You didn’t build that” speech that he doesn’t understand or appreciate the spirit of innovation and entreprenuerism that has created the highest standard of living the world has ever known, where even poor Americans are rich compared to the people of other countries. That didn’t happen accidentally, but the president doesn’t seem to appreciate what’s behind it.

While where Obama was born was important to his qualification to run for president, that horse has left the barn. It is his cultural tone-deafness to the America most of us understand and love that has made his presidency so damaging to the country.

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Is This Presidential Election Really Different From Others?

shutterstock_343758632I haven’t written anything on my blog or on Facebook or Twitter for a very long time, which is unusual for me because ordinarily I would be very active on my blog and social media during the political campaign season. However, this time has been different.

I don’t just mean that this political season has broken all molds and sent all conventional wisdom to the circular file. I also was really distracted by a big move from mainland Georgia where I had lived for almost 35 years to the island of Hawaii (the “Big Island” is really named “Hawaii” like the state). This process took all my attention and a lot of my resources (time and money). But it’s all been worth it as my wife and I see our daughter, son-in-law and grandchildren several times a week instead of once a year.

Now, with the campaigns winding down and the conventions gearing up, I’ll put my two cents in. Heaven knows my opinion isn’t needed with talk radio, 24-hour TV news channels, blogs, news websites, Facebook, Twitter, ad nauseum. But here goes nothing:

I really understand my fellow conservatives’ anguish over the primary victories and subsequent nomination of Donald Trump as the Republican standard bearer, since his bona fides as a Republican are tenuous at best, and he has gored pretty much every ox held dear to the party.

But I think it’s important to point out that, if you’re like me, you’ve had to hold your nose to vote for the Republican nominee in every presidential election since 1984! I don’t remember a single time that I was able to vote enthusiastically for the Republican nominee, but I always did because the alternative was (or alternatives were) so much worse. I did really like George W. Bush personally, but he wasn’t conservative enough to suit me. I didn’t think we needed to create the Department of Homeland Security, for example. We had apparatuses in place already that could have administered the War on Terror. We already had too much bureaucracy, but government types seem to think they haven’t done anything about a problem unless they have created a new burden for taxpayers.

And that’s an area that I actually have some hope that Donald Trump might do a good job. As the quintessential outsider, his mandate, if elected, will be to change the culture of Washington. That’s no small task, I realize, but how many people get to the White House without getting stained with the Washington stench of self-preservation at all costs, of empire building and turf defending? Trump is largely self-made, warts and all, and he has already built his empire. He will go in owing no one and, with the sharp eye of a business man who has expressed alarm at the exploding national debt brought on by both parties, he may be the only one who can tame the beast. If he brings his “You’re Fired!” mantra to Washington, the results could be really positive as I see it.

I could talk about how bad the alternative candidate is, but many have done that. Even Democrats are worried that they appear to be stuck with the lackluster Hillary Clinton and all the scandals she and her husband have spawned. There is one aspect that I haven’t heard a lot though. I’m convinced that Clinton is running for President for one purpose: to get rich(er). I believe she expended most of her energy while Secretary of State in selling influence and enriching the “Clinton Foundation”. That’s why she didn’t want her emails to be public, even within the State Department. I believe she will milk the presidency in the same way.

But voting against a worse candidate is even more depressing than holding your nose to vote for your own party’s. I could also point out that a vote for the Libertarian nominee is a vote for Hillary Clinton, just as a vote for the Green Party candidate will enhance Trump’s chances.

So while a lot of Republican voters are upset about Donald Trump, I look at it and say, what’s the difference? Usually we have a milquetoast, establishment-selected candidate that engenders no enthusiasm but I vote for him anyway. This time we have a bull-in-the-china-shop that offends me with the regularity of the sunrise, but he has built an enthusiastic following. Will he disappoint? Of course, no one can be the end-all that some voters are looking for. Will he be a disaster as president? Possibly. Will he further the conservative agenda? I’d say the chances of that are about even with the likelihood of McCain, Dole, Romney, and Bush Sr. and Jr. advancing the principles I believe in.

On the other hand, if he accomplishes no more than decisively defeating the animals populating ISIS, secures the border (as much as that’s possible) and stops the bleeding of the national debt, he will have done what none (in the Obama Administration at least) thought possible. If along the way, he jump-starts the economy, puts several million Americans back to work and at the same time reduces the bloated bureacracy which is the Federal government, he will have worked miracles.