Sunday, December 25, 2016

Merry Christmas to All!

Eat. Drink. And be Merry! Wishing a very merry Christmas from our family to yours!

Sunday, December 4, 2016

The Electoral-College Works Well

Political “bad luck”, as President Barack Obama commented in his November 20th press conference in Lima, Peru is not what cost Hillary Clinton and Democrats the election.  Neither is alleged false news, Fox News, Russia, alt Right, or James Comey the reason.  Clinton lost because of her message, corruption, and campaign strategy.  Donald Trump won for being the opposite of Clinton.  And while Clinton won the popular vote, Trump decisively won where it mattered – the Electoral College.

The College is not some relic of the past but a key part of our Constitution because we are not a direct democracy, but a representative republic.  This is a critical distinction because our founders well understood the tyranny of the majority.  The College also represents the great compromise between the large populous states and small states.  The College gives voice to the few – what liberals claim to be the most important part of being tolerant. 

The map below (as published in the Washington Post in an article by Jim Tankersley on Nov. 22, 2016) clearly shows the over 2,500 red counties Trump won and about 500 blue counties Clinton won.  Without the Electoral-College the vast majority of the country is irrelevant.  In fact, if Southern or Northern California or even the Greater New York City areas are removed from the consideration then Trump wins the popular vote too.

Some Democrats now call for a constitutional change toward a popular vote.  But should the election be decided by California or the top 20 most populous urban centers?  Of course not – this is tyranny of the majority.  The Constitution was specifically designed to distribute the power among all the states and not limit it to the most populous states.  This was the single largest point of contention at the constitutional convention.  If national elections were only on the popular vote it would undermine the rights of states and make the values of most of the country irrelevant. 

The 2016 results, can be argued, as the most relevant since the founding of the republic because it is the fundamental manifestation of states’ rights that was at the heart of the formation of a representative republic – which we are.  However, tyranny of the minority or the majority is tyranny none-the-less; this representative republic marries popular vote with the Electoral College to balance the voice and will of the people and states.  

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Superiority is a State of Mind

Why is the American public considered racist and bigoted in the eyes of the liberal elite?  

After Barack Obama was elected president in 2008 liberals were elated. His election was a culmination of 50 years of striving for civil rights and equality for all men.  But, like the day after a New Year’s Eve Celebration, a hangover set in.  With the realization that Americans were not racists after all, liberals sought another cause to rise above the rest of us.

They rallied about healthcare, global warming, and gay rights, among other causes.  But too many people of differing political perspectives agreed on these issues and no majority consensus could be established to secure liberals the clear cut moral superiority.  As such, liberals have taken the mantel of a racist America once again to retake their moral high ground. 

To understand the return of racism we need only look to the need of liberals to be superior.  For many, they see themselves as “evolved” beings.  Better than most, they are morally evolved, which they then conflate to being intellectually evolved.  They alone are egalitarians whose sense of fairness means they are right and do not have to explain themselves.  Ergo, political discourse is a thing of agreement by and between liberals of the same view.  Whereas all others are racists, sexists, homophobes, etc.  The labels are there to quash debate and disagreement.

Liberals are not superior and Americans are not racists . . . or for that matter homophobes, sexists, or any of the other labels that are part of liberal identity politics.  Liberals need to appreciate their efforts in helping to bring tolerance and equality to the nation, declare victory, depart with identity politics, and join in fact based debate to reason good public policy.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Post Election: What Now?

This election is a defeat of every major player in politics: the media, both parties, and government institutions.  All were repudiated by voters who, over the past 16 years, were told one thing, but experienced another. 

The Democratic Party and their identity politics clearly lost, but how did the Republicans lose as well? Well, frankly, they did not want Donald Trump.  Many in the party would not come-out to support him and still others actively worked against him. 

The media may be the biggest loser.  Mired in bias, disenchanted voters turned away from their reporting and lecturing.  Voters were absolutely fed up and were as angry at the media as they were with politics and politicians.

So what now?  We just don’t know. We do not have a “normal” Democratic or Republican politician as president. We do not have a media that has received a message against hyper-bias reporting.  We do not see the defeated Democratic Party regrouping and assessing what happened, but instead doubling-down on identity politics.  But we do have hope.  

The incoming president is not a politician.  He has not held elected office and his first job in government is president.  This is as improbable as the Cubs winning the World Series!  This also brings a ray of hope that the new “non-normal” president leads to something different…something new…something that rises past politics and puts the good of the nation before the benefit of the party.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Mr. Trump Goes to Washington

It appears the surveys, media and political pundits got it wrong . . . and for good reason.  The most improbable candidate, who spat on political correctness, who had to win all the states a Republican must win plus some Democratic states, where everything had to go exactly right and then something more – actually won.

We must further recognize the terribly flawed candidate of Hillary Clinton.  Mired in lies, corruption, and investigated for criminal behavior, she just could not excite liberal, urban, minority, and millennial voters as an agent of change.  Unenthused by Clinton, this election was to her base as 2012 was to Mitt Romney when his conservative base of voters stayed home because they were unenthused with him.  Clinton (nor Trump) had the confidence of voters, who when surveyed, a majority viewed unfavorably.  Trump won the election as much as Clinton lost it. 

However, this belies the underpinnings of what lead to Trump’s election.  First, President Barack Obama declared his policies and legacy were on the ballot – and they were and all were rejected.  Second, the nation voted to obliterate the past 16 years of government’s unrestrained growth that correlated with the nation’s crippled economic growth, unnerving deficits, uncontrolled debt, unsustainable entitlements, and dysfunctional foreign policy.  Third, the media was repudiated for untrustworthy and bias reporting.  Fourth, and not to be understated, was the suffocation of political correctness and its assault on speech, religion, and family.  PC revulsion created a new class of “dark voters” who would not participate in surveys or gave false answers for fear of reprisals for being politically incorrect.  These “dark voters” were invisible to the mountain of polling done and made these surveys irrelevant. 

As such, does Donald Trump’s election bring hope to America?  At this point there is no way to tell, but it does send a message to parties, politicians, and media that they are all in ill repute.  D.C., to quote from Obi-Wan Kenobi, is a “wretched hive of scum and villainy.”  The feasting on and redistribution of income by government done at the expense of tax payers has reached a crescendo.  Voters expressed their dissatisfaction with excesses, lack of accountability, agencies that target groups and business out of political favor, special interests, and party politics that are put before the good of the nation.

Democrats and Republicans beware, as both parties are in the cross-hairs of voter wrath.  Democratic PC dogma to brand folk who do not agree with them as science deniers, homophobes, sexists, racists, or simply the “deplorables” got Democrats kicked-out of local and national offices.  Republicans crow they won the Electoral College, but fail to mention they lost the popular vote – again.  And both parties that rushed to “identity politics” were blind to voters who simply saw themselves as individual Americans. 

Parties failed to realize that a large measure of middle-income voters do not see government as the solution to their economic malaise, but see government policies as the cause of it.  Good politics should be about good policy that is reached through compromise.  Free people and free markets, more than government, are the answer.  Republicans need to accommodate some liberal items to govern.  Democrats need to accommodate conservative policies because Republicans have been given a majority by the voters.  Parties must not be captive to the vocal few but serve a wider audience. 


This election had the two most unfavorable candidates.  More people voted against a candidate than they did for a candidate.  However, this distain may have a silver lining as expressed by one disgusted voter about the choices he had: “Next time I’ll pay more attention!”

In Trump we really have no idea how he will govern or if he can at all.  He is not really a Republican, Democrat, conservative, or liberal.  Heck, he is not even a politician.  We cannot tell if any of the statements he made during the election process are real or illusory.

We wish Mr. Trump well as he goes to Washington with the hope he can bring better policy and compromise.  That he will see people individually instead of by identity.  He will get only one shot at this.  He can, if he chooses, transcend parties and become an historic figure, he could fail into divisiveness, or simply fade into history as the most improbable candidate that got elected...but nothing more.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Watergate 2.0

Watergate was an event that roiled President Richard Nixon to leave office.  It involved a group of men who burglarized the Democratic Nation Committee headquarters in the Watergate Hotel in Washington, D.C.  While Nixon did not commit the crime or direct it, Nixon chose to attempt to cover-up or prevent investigations of the crime.  It took investigative reporting, non-partisan political hearings, and cooperation of some independent minded men in the bureaucracy to expose the issues.  Nixon, conferring with Republicans, realized he could not avoid impeachment and, rather than fight, put the country in front of his personal interest and resigned.

Fast forward to 2016 and, we argue, this election cycle is Watergate 2.0.  However, in this version the press helps Nixon, the Republicans circle the wagons around Nixon, the bureaucracy covers for Nixon, and Nixon puts his interests in front of the country. In 2016 Hilary Clinton is Richard Nixon and Watergate 2.0 poses a great threat to our liberty and prosperity.

The framers designed the Constitution to separate power so that no man or group of men could consolidate power.  It also protected the most fundamental rights of freedom of speech and press to assure free men could speak to and against power.  But when government, press, and politicians conspire toward a political person or ideology, then freedom itself is at risk.

Clinton represents a collusion to consolidate power.  It is incredible that a candidate with a 30 year history of failure and corruption could advance to the highest political office, and doing so with relative ease.

Backers of Clinton argue this is a historic moment to elect the first woman president, and that she has the temperament and experience to effectively pursue her legislative agenda.  But electing a woman for a women’s sake is not the purpose of any election.  Looking at her tenure as Secretary of State there is a trail of failure that follows her in Libya, Syria, Iran, Iraq and, of course, Benghazi.  Europe fared no better with the Russian intervention in Ukraine and China was allowed to expand its military in the South China Sea.

When assessing Clinton’s domestic policy she declared to be left of President Obama.  If we give credit to Obama policies for seven years of a growing economy, slower increases in the cost of healthcare expenses, lower  unemployment (U-3 Index) to under 5%, cutting the budget deficit in half, and high stock market, then we must also give him “credit” for the slowest economic growth since the Great Depression, the highest increase in health insurance premiums, the highest level of real unemployment (U-6 Index) of over 9% seven years after the recession ended and the lowest workforce participation since the 1970s, cutting the budget deficit to exceed the highest level previous to his taking office with a doubling of the debt to over $19 trillion, and providing low interest money to give the highest stock market in history and fueling the wealth of the richest Americans.

Regardless of who wins the office of president, either candidate will face a battle after election.  If Trump, then press, Democrats and even some Republicans will work against him on a host of issues.  Trump, as a neophyte in D.C., will have to find allies with political savvy to make him relevant and during his campaign he has offended many of the allies he will need in Congress.  If Clinton, who is knowledgeable in the ways of D.C. politics, she will face a united Republican opposition who will continue hearings in her potential crimes and fill the air with the specter of impeachment, all of which will work against her efforts to be relevant.

The problem with the Clintons is the daunting threat their actions pose when concealed or protected by politicians, agencies and press.  This enables the consolidation of power.  This disheartens voters.  This is acid on the trust of fundamental institutions.  This breeds populism that can heighten into the tyranny of the majority.

Policies left of Obama means more regulation, taxes, expanded unaffordable entitlements, growing debt and ballooning deficits if these policies are enacted.  Policies to the left of Obama mean the president will continue to attempt circumventing Congress to enact laws by decree.  And a liberal Supreme Court will be a threat to the Bill of Rights when liberty collides with liberal views of whatever they deem “equality”.

Liberals clasped their hands and told us the lesson from Watergate was that no man is above the law.  But the real lesson was that no Republican is above the law.  It is another story if you are a Democrat where the liberal battle cry is the nobility of the ends justifies the means.  A President Clinton is Watergate 2.0 that will stab at freedom and growth.

Arguably, neither Trump nor Clinton is an existential threat but they do represent what could be a zenith to the America followed by a gradual decline – the new normal of deteriorating growth and dependency on government.  The way to avoid this is for Americans, who a majority surveyed, believe both choices are bad, demand better.  The hope we have is for a one term President Clinton or President Trump and that the institutions that protect liberty remain strong enough to weather the next four years.

We must recapture our political processes.  We can do this if we are informed and vigilant.  The great 18th century political thinker J.J. Rousseau famously wrote about the people of England in Social Contract: 
The people of England think they are free. They are much mistaken. They are never so but during the election of members of Parliament. As soon as they are elected, they are slaves, they are nothing. And by the use they make of their liberty during the short moments they possess it, they well deserve to lose it.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

The 2nd Collegiate Forum: Which Candidate's policies would be best for the college graduate's future?

US Vigilance worked in collaboration with the Nixon Foundation once again to bring together a panel of 5 bright California college students to discuss the outcome of the upcoming election. Moderator Nick Roman, host of KPCC's All Things Considered, steered the panelists through their thoughts, as college students part of the Millennial generation, on which Presidential candidate's policies would be best for the college graduate's future.

If you missed the even earlier this month at the Richard Nixon Presidential Library in Yorba Linda, CA check out the video of the event here!

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Some Light in the Dark Tunnel of Presidential Candidates

This week, US Vigilance, in collaboration again with the Richard Nixon Foundation, gathered five bright California college students at the Richard Nixon Presidential Library in Yorba Linda, CA for the 2nd Collegiate Forum.  The panel discussion “Which presidential candidate is better for the college graduate’s future” was moderated by Nick Roman, host of KPCC’s All Things Considered.  The audience had the pleasure of listening to calm, reasoned, and sometimes humorous political dialogue among panelists who had different views of the candidates.  What we witnessed was something that our presidential candidates for 2016 have yet to accomplish: reasoned political debate of substance on policy.

In the newly renovated Nixon Library, we were reminded of the serious dialogues that drove debates between candidates.  And we were reminded of the consequential policies that can be derived from presidents.  And the setting was only fitting, as the event was held in the replica of the East Wing in the White House.

It is embarrassing that out of 320 million people we have come to, essentially, the decision between what some have referred to as a clown or a criminal to lead our country. However, the five college students of the Forum give us pause for hope that the next election cycle could bring more people to make their voices heard.  That a majority of responsible citizens will produce better candidates than the vocal minorities who drive too much of our politics.  With smart individuals like these students who are our future, we hope they will usher in a much needed reform and bring a light into this very dark tunnel our country has ventured into.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

No More Americans

This election marks the end of Americans, and the rise of the “identity”.  Identity has no country affiliation and eviscerates the individual.  It prepares you to think and act as your identity dictates and is essentially – and dangerously - driven by one party and ideology.

Women, gays, blacks, Hispanics, Muslims, Jews and Catholics are all identified and demanded to vote Democratic.  The remaining white men are misogynistic, homophobic, xenophobic, racists and make-up the “deplorables”.  There is a vast “media indoctrination complex” to support this view that works in concert with the Democratic Party.

As morally evolved liberals, all are expected to tow-the-line on policies and preferences in the name of equality…because equality trumps liberty.  If one man has more than another, the man with more is taxed more.  If one is of religious conviction, the religious individual must yield their convictions in the name of equality.  Equality replaces the inalienable rights of liberty from the Creator with the pernicious and perverse interpretation of the political man.

The trail of the media indoctrination complex is chronicled with attention to the collusion between the New York Times, CNN, MSNBC, the Hillary Clinton Campaign and Democratic Party in the staff article on Bill O’, Hacks Exposed…By Hacks (click here to view the article). 

The media, for example, is in a feeding frenzy regarding an 11 year old tape of Donald Trump.  There are those that consider his talk offensive, but this seems petty being contrasted with dealings by Clinton that exposes national security, criminal behavior and political cover-up at the highest levels of government.  These activities were barely addressed by the media indoctrination complex.

This brings us back to your identity.  You are now under the “requirement” to conform or be ostracized.  All polling discusses identity and the identity’s reaction to the circumstances presented.  Gone is the American individual . . . only group identity remains.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

The 2nd Collegiate Forum: Which Candidate is better for the College Graduate?

In the Spring, US Vigilance worked in collaboration with the Nixon Foundation to put on the first Collegiate Forum.  A panel of five college students from California endeavored to discuss political correctness (PC) on college campuses and its effect on free speech.

Once again, we have brought another group of young, bright college students to the table to discuss which candidate is best for them in this rapidly approaching Presidential election.  The event will be held for a second time at the recently renovated Nixon Library in Yorba Linda, CA on Tuesday, October 25th at save the date!

You can view the previous Collegiate Forum below and visit the our website or the Nixon Foundation website to learn more and RSVP for the event.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

What Does Obama’s 3rd Term Look Like?

No matter the candidate that wins the Presidency, the future of government is going to look more or less like President Obama’s third term.  This is not good for freedom and free markets.  Both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump crow about government as a source of solutions when, beyond a modicum of involvement, government is more a source of problems, ineffectiveness and waste.

The economy is burdened to the tune of $2 trillion in regulations and, with corporate tax rates at 35%, expect $2 trillion of corporate cash to remain off-shore.  Without a moderate reduction in both, we predict continued anemic growth of GDP under Trump or Clinton.  With this back-drop, what does the future look like in a Clinton and Trump presidency?

ObamaCare: Trump says he will repeal ObamaCare but with what?  The Republicans will offer an “ObamaCare Light” and the Democrats will have a single payer government option to eventually replace private health insurance companies.  Both alternatives are based on more government intrusion and take-over of healthcare.  Expect accelerated premium increases and more subsidies.

Taxes:  Here there is a difference.  Clinton will go full-tilt to raise income taxes, ObamaCare taxes, and capital-gain taxes.  Whereas Trump will try, and probably fail, to lower corporate taxes, but probably succeed at keeping capital-gain taxes unchanged.  Since each party behind each candidate wants a “revenue neutral” tax plan, the result will be just squeezing a balloon. Clinton can take a populous stand to “tax the rich” because she know that even when the individual tax rates were 90%, the rich were paying 15%-25%.  This is because the rich have lawyers, accountants and lobbyists who are in league with politicians willing to manipulate the tax code.  However, do note that the top 10% of income earners pay 70% of total federal taxes.  Accordingly, cries from the left of the rich not paying their “fair-share” are without merit.

Regulations:  These will continue to increase and be a drag on the economy.  The only difference is Trump and Republicans might have a smaller growth than Clinton and Democrats – but both will grow regulations.  For example, in the first six years of George W Bush and Obama, major regulations grew by $30 billion and $80 billion, respectively.

Existing Entitlements: Expect no major changes here as both parties are not going to make the material structural modifications needed to blunt the $100 trillion of unfunded liabilities.  The Democrats see the path to "fixing" entitlements as more entitlements.  The Republicans are all talk and no action about entitlement reform as they lack the political backbone it will take.

Deficit & Debt:  These will only grow dangerously larger.  As government increases so will the gap in taxes collected and expenditures.  This will continue for the next Presidential term, after which, expect a discussion to begin on a Value Added Tax (VAT) as a new source of taxes will be needed to plug the hemorrhaging expenses.  What is more, as the debt continues to swell and interest rates eventually climb, the amount of money needed to service the debt will also grow, thus feeding an out of control debt spiral.

Immigration: Clinton has already proclaimed she will do more than Obama, so expect more open borders, sanctuary cities, and executive orders.  Trump talks tough, but Republicans have no stomach for what Trump wants.  Republicans politically need immigration reform but it will look more Democratic than Republican.  As such, there is a chance for an immigration policy, which includes amnesty – though it will not be called that.

Trade:  Both candidates are protectionists so expect more tariffs and protectionism.

National Security:  Here the choice is bleak and bleaker.  Trump has no intellectual interest in foreign policy and Clinton has a record of failure (being on the wrong side of history in all she has done).  The best we can say about Trump is he has not screwed-up foreign affairs only because he has not tried to do it.  Whereas the best we can say about Clinton is . . . nothing.

Global Warming:  The charade continues as Obama, Clinton, Kerry and the minions on the left flail unproven claims of man-made global warming to increase taxes and government control over the economy.  Trump has no interest in climate change and will go where the political winds (pun intended) take him.  Expect Clinton to push the Obama agenda with its requisite damage to the economy, while Trump will largely be on the sideline and let the bureaucrats go un-checked.

Supreme Court:  With Clinton the Court will certainly turn sharply left and the Bill of Rights will be under assault.  Trump is a wild card.  It is uncertain if he is ready and can fight what will be a cage match - a battle to put Scalia like justices on the Court. This is the most dangerous area to freedom we face.  Clinton is a clear enemy, but Trump is an uncertain friend.

Executive Orders: Both candidates will try to expand the dangerous Obama course of going around Congress with executive orders.  Clinton will be more aggressive.

Much of the above depends on which party controls Congress.  If Democrats, expect an explosion in government, taxes and regulations as seen under Obama.  If Republicans, expect the same only smaller.

But, you ask, Republicans are for business, limited government, and reduced taxes?  However, this is more marketing than reality.  George W Bush and the Republicans gave us expanded entitlements (Medicare Part D), Wall Street bailouts, bank bailouts, auto industry bailouts, stimulus, a tax reduction that expired, and two wars that, at least, kept America from another terrorist attack on its shores.  Obama gave us a bigger entitlement of ObamaCare, bigger bank bailouts, bigger Wall Street bailouts, bigger car industry bailouts, bigger stimulus, a tax hike, and rushed out of two wars that gave rise to ISIS, put the Middle East in turmoil and brought terrorism to American soil.

As such, we conclude that we have had the two worst successive Presidents in Bush and Obama that have given unrestrained growth of government.  So, more than a 3rd Obama term, we are potentially staring at a fifth failed term of whoever is elected.  The reason we have the abysmal choices for President is because the people have put them there.  The only shred of light is that 57% of people surveyed say they will be voting against a candidate rather than 39% voting for a candidate.  This means that either candidate elected may be a one term President and people may be more vigilant next time to vote for, rather than against, a candidate.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

What the “Never Trump” Republicans Seem to be Missing

First, we emphasize, that we do not support Donald Trump nor are advocates for him.  Our purpose is to shine a corresponding light on Hillary Clinton as bright as that shown on Trump by the NeverTrump folk.  The NeverTrumpers, while having no love for Clinton, show almost a forgiveness of her record as they excoriate Trump.  They take solace in the “devil you know” in Clinton vs. the unknown that is Trump.

NeverTrump arguments can be distilled into two major thoughts:
  1. Trump is a narcissist
  2. Trump will irreparably damage the Republican Party 

These are not far-fetched thoughts but, as we shall reason, they are unjustly exaggerated and pale in comparison to the scrutiny of Clinton.

Brent Stephens wrote an elucidating article appearing in the Wall Street Journal Opinion Section on September 12th amusingly entitled “NeverTrump for Dummies”.  Stephens refers to himself as a conservative and argues largely that Trump is “anti-conservative, un-American, immoral and dangerous”.  But his analysis of Trump is erroneous at times and, at other times, unbalanced, weak and unsupported.

We can agree that Trump is not a conservative and admit his style at times gives a dangerous discomfort.  However, to categorically state he is un-American and immoral is unfounded and unsupported.  Stephens’ fundamental objection to Trump is “that he is unfit, as a person, to be president”.  Stephens continues by identifying that Trump has not released his tax returns, has had six business bankruptcies, been involved in some 4,000 lawsuits and “routinely shortchange suppliers or stiff his charities.”

Without arguing all that Stephens puts forth, we also need to examine the other side of the ledger with Clinton, which we assess as arguably more severe.  The Clintons have been described as a “Crime Family”.  Their foundation has been in a pay-for-play position while she was Secretary of State and, during this time, Clinton’s actions placed national security at risk in the process.  Trump may be a bore, but Clinton’s abuse of power for self-profit has put the nation at risk.

Further, while Trump is ignorant of the Constitution, Clinton is an enemy of the Constitution and will actively work against it.  She is also the nemesis of the most basic principles of a Republic and a democracy, namely, that of virtue and transparency, respectively.  Clinton has repeatedly proven herself corrupt and a lair.  While Trump may be “unfit” to be President, Clinton is disqualified from holding any public office.

Under Clinton, the Democratic Party is unified and continues its march to the left.  She has stated she will continue Obama’s policies and expand socialism by adopting portions of Bernie Sanders’ positions.  Accordingly, we can forecast with confidence, a Clinton administration for higher taxes and more regulations that, for the past seven years, have resulted in:
  • Stunted economic growth to under 2%,
  • Persistent high unemployment of over 9% (from the broader U-6 indicator),
  • The lowest workforce participation since the 1970s coupled with the highest welfare participation of over 100 million people, and
  • Crushing national debt approaching $20 trillion that is a ticking time-bomb.

While Trump also trumpets new entitlements and no structural changes in existing entitlement programs, he does offer at least the glimmer of hope with a nod toward lower taxes and regulations that are desperately needed to boost growth.  Only growth can cure our dreary economic malaise.  And whatever Trump may say about immigration and trade, he will need the approval of the Republicans and Congress.  It is here that, unlike Clinton, Trump will be corralled and moderated by his own Party.

But what of foreign affairs and national security?  Could his ego could get us into a war?  While Trump may be a lot of things, he did not create a large business by being a fool.  If he were in office, we surmise, the seriousness would be apparent vs. the clown act that we have witnessed on the campaign trail thus far.  Also, Trump isn’t the only Circus Master, remember Hillary barking like a dog?  Trump may be a narcissist that some compare to Hitler, but then the same adjective would be accurate to describe Barak Obama.  If narcissism is the trait for launching a nuclear war, then we would already have had such. 

Trump’s approach to foreign affairs is uncertain, but Clinton’s foreign and national security blunders are proven and have put the country at risk, given to the rise of ISIS, and generally destabilized the world. 

As Secretary of State, Clinton has a long record of failure: Libya, Syria, Russia, China, and Iran policies.  Then there is her crown jewel…Benghazi.  Clinton says she takes “full responsibility” – but what does that mean?  Four Americans died.  She ignored requests for more security before the attack, then, when the attack happened, she was absent. Then after the attack she prosecuted a full scale cover-up to lie about the cause of the attack.

She has potentially compromised national security by using a private email server then lied to the American people about why she did such.  She only came forward after she was caught, yet continues to lie about it even in the face of the FBI report to the contrary.  Her motives are clear – to shelter from public scrutiny her linkage and influence peddling with the Clinton Foundation while Secretary of State.  Further, at least one of these dealings resulted in transferring controlling interest of the nation’s uranium mines to a Russian controlled company.  Accordingly, Clinton’s record displays a pattern of reckless and self-serving wrong decisions.

It is reasonable to assess Trump as unqualified for lack of experience, but how many presidents came into office qualified?  Certainly, Trump is better prepared than Obama was, and Clinton’s “experience” shows her inept.  Would you want to hire a jockey with a 30 year losing record? 

Then there is the notion that the narcissist Trump will, like Hitler, consolidate power through executive action.  But how will Clinton be any different?  A Trump consolidation of power will be resisted by both parties and all media, whereas, a Clinton consolidation will find accommodation by the Democrats and the liberal media – as was the case with Obama.

Finally, there is the Supreme Court.  Clinton will only nominate liberal justices and liberal justices believe in the “Living” Constitution; i.e. one in which they interpret for “modern” times.  As such, only five justices will decide what “rights” you have.  We cover the path to tyranny a Living Constitution can inflict on our freedom in our book, Vigilance The Price of Liberty.  Liberal justices believe that:
  • Property rights should be few,
  • The right to bear arms is limited to a militia,
  • The conservative media should be restrained,
  • Free speech should be confined to politically correct speech, and
  • Freedom of religion should not interfere with politically correct public policy.  

We are only one justice away from a liberal majority on the Court.

Now, will Trump appoint conservative justices as he has proposed?  We just do not know.  But a liberal Supreme Court is certain with Clinton.

Trump is not a conservative, but Clinton is an enemy of all that so-called conservatives say they stand for.  Stephens defines a conservative as "A principled commitment to limited government, free markets, constitutional rights, equal opportunity, personal responsibility, e pluribus unum and Pax Americana”.  Setting aside the last two bits of an attempt at humor, Clinton is for expansive government, centrally controlled economy, evisceration of the Constitution, replacement of equal opportunity with equal outcome, and against the notion of personal responsibility.  While Trump is no friend of the Constitution, there is certainly some agreement between himself and conservatives on free markets, equal opportunity, and personal responsibility.

If conservatives believe that the Republican Party will be a check on Clinton, then we need only look at the weak-kneed push back they had on Obama and ask why they would do any different with Clinton?  Quite the contrary, the Republicans will most probably have more spine against Trump, as Republicans would do what they need to do for their election rather than remain loyal to the Party’s leader.

Clinton is committed to growing government, taxes, entitlements, and regulation.  All of which are taking their toll on the economy, society, prosperity and liberty.  As has been the case throughout history, when the government of a nation controls more and more, the nation becomes more and more impoverished.  The prosperity that springs from the growth created by free men and free markets dwindles to stagnation and is eventually reduced to rationing from the heavy hand of government regulations.

As JFK said “ask not what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country.”  Better we ask less from government as, beyond a limited boundary, the more it does the less we have in both prosperity and liberty.  NeverTrumpers should keep this in their thoughts when considering which candidate they would reject.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

The Terrible Twos

The upcoming political debate has been described as a potential cage match but we speculate it will be more akin to a couple of toddlers in a sandbox.  More particular, it could be promoted as the Terrible Two in their terrible twos.  

We call these “debates” but, honestly, we should call the series of public displays of complaining and blaming the “Urinary Olympics”.  There will be little policy discussed as the Terrible Two spit and throw sand.  Most answers will be dishonest and disingenuous as will questions be bias.  Gone will be honest and reason debate on policy, as each candidate further shreds the Constitution.

The debate can be expected to achieve a level of viewership comparable to a major sports event.  It will probably be the most watched presidential debate in the history of debates – unfortunately for the wrong reasons.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Sunday Football & Freedom

Disagreement, discussion, debate. These are all things that should be celebrated as we have the opportunity in this country to freely disagree and debate our differing opinions. This is something that every citizen of the United States should participate in – respectfully of course.  We can have round table discussions and peaceful protesting to address dissent among the people in which the other side may be argued against but each party is still respected.

Colin Kaepernick’s action to sit during the national anthem to address his opinion of the unfair treatment of the African American community in this country has gotten quite a bit of media attention recently. His opinion can be respected, but his display has disrespected those who put their lives on the line for people of this country.

Whether you agree or disagree, respect is the backbone of discourse to insight progress.  When that respect is lost, true progress is forgone and pointless complaining replaces it.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Commander-in-Chief Forum

This week MSNBC presented a Commander-In-Chief Forum with an interview of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump by Matt Lauer.  However, the title belies the real mission of the show.  The questions ranged from – among other items – Clinton emails, Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome, the Veteran Affairs Administration, veteran suicides, and rape in the military.  Questions about the sequester effect on military readiness, approach to current conflicts, deployment and development of weapon systems, and engagement strategy were essentially absent.  Instead of asking these questions pertinent to the role of Commander-In-Chief, Matt Lauer wondered about Vladimir Putin’s compliment of Trump.

Today, on September 11th, is a day that marks the turning point of the nation’s response to terror.  President Bill Clinton saw terror as something for police action, but 9-11 transformed it into military action.

In light of this, we need to first remember the constitutional role of the Commander-in-Chief.  Only Congress can declare war while the president executes the war.  Article II, Section 2 of the Constitution states the "President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States."

The Commander-In-Chief when executing a war has to have a clear mission, a strategy for the mission, an ability to assure the resources for the mission, and a capability to communicate the mission to maintain the public’s support of the mission.  The MSNBC forum failed to show how either candidate is qualified for the job of Commander-In-Chief.

In essence, the show was more about advocacy for social programs for veterans than a probative interview in the duties and responsibilities of the Commander regarding our national security.

Men and women who volunteer to serve are a special class because they choose to put themselves in harm’s way for political causes – some just and some misplaced.  Honor, glory, duty, bravery, courage and dedication are characteristics of these men.  It would do the nation well if the political class had these characteristics too.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Too Much Spice Makes Nothing Nice

Government should act as a spice: used sparingly in the recipe of prosperity it enhances the public good but, too much overpowers the natural flavors and, in excess, will poison.

Politicians proclaim how more spending and bureaucratic controls will stimulate demand, but there is no example to demonstrate how more taxes create more demand and incessant regulations create productivity.  As we discuss in our book, Vigilance The Price of Liberty, economic growth is dependent on productivity. Productivity flows from innovation. Innovation comes from investment. Investment needs lower taxes that enable investors to take risk.  Therefore, past a modest point, taxes choke investments which strangle the innovation that drives productivity and grows prosperity.

Too much government works against itself.  For example, the highest taxed people, if you compare by percentage, are the poor.  Welfare programs that provide disability income to some 10 million people, provide them a financial disincentive to break from the disability hand-out because for each dollar they earn in honest work, they lose a dollar in hand-out.  Rational financial response: don’t work.

The point being, most of what government does simply does not, cannot and will not work. With anemic GDP growth at the lowest level since the Great Depression, here is a collection of charts received today that paint the overall picture:

So what is the answer?  The best solution is less government.  One that is used as a spice to enhance prosperity, not a poison to success.  So when thinking about what you want this election cycle, maybe by asking less of government is more prosperity.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Complaining: The Drug of the Millennial

It seems each generation has an “addiction”.  For my grandfather’s generation it was smoking, for my parent’s generation it was drugs, and for Millennials it appears to be complaining.  Like all addictions, complaining began with an enabler: lack of discipline, participation trophies and, most of all, the idea of not just starting on an even playing field, but requiring an equality in outcome no matter the input effort.

We now have a generation that is addicted to complaining. You didn’t get your way? Complain. You didn’t get the grade you wanted on an assignment in school? Complain. You lost a game? Complain.

Millennials have forsaken hard work, dedication and respect as the tools to move through society and gain prosperity.  For too many, complaining has become a route to reap rewards from the ambition of others.

According to surveys, Millennial's number one issue in the workplace is fairness.  But fairness is in the eyes of the beholder.  Translated, it can be taken to mean, if I get my way it is fair, otherwise it is not.  This concept of fairness is juvenile and, as working adults, needs to be left in the childhood sandbox where it started.

We subscribe to the notion of equal opportunity that removes artificial barriers.  But beyond that, prosperity takes tremendous individual effort, risk and some luck!  Try scaling a mountain.  The ones that make it to the top all started with the equal opportunity to try.  But on the path from the base to the summit, weather, skill, strength and determination make the difference between those who make it up the mountain and those who do no…fairness has nothing to do with it.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Presidential Policies – A Non Sequitur

A non sequitur is a conclusion that does not follow from its premise.  For example, summer is a wonderful time which makes dogs better than cats.  The premise, summer, is not connected in any logical way to making dogs better than cats.  Presidential policies too are replete with non sequiturs.

Donald Trump wants to stem the flow of foreign trade with China and Mexico.  He derides these countries for taking American jobs.  He degrades the “stupid” bureaucrats in Washington for making bad trade deals, like NAFTA, and scolds Carrier Corporation for moving its manufacturing to Mexico.  For Trump, NAFTA is the premise that caused Carrier to move - this is a non sequitur.  Carrier moved because of the excessive tax and regulatory burdens imposed on it by the government.  NAFTA just made Mexico a potential place to move to, but NAFTA was not the premise for the move.

Hillary Clinton would cure anemic economic growth with, among other big government programs, infrastructure spending to the tune of about $55 billion a year.  Her premise is that government spending has a multiplier and any government spending will increase demand.  This is a non sequitur.  President Obama and the Congressional Democrats allocated close to a trillion dollars in economic “stimulus” in 2009 – with a portion dedicated to infrastructure – yet their touted “recovery summer” of 2010 did not materialized: unemployment spiked over 10% when they assured us that the stimulus would hold unemployment to under 7%, and workforce participation sank to the lowest level since the 1970’s.  So the premise that government stimulus will spur demand and accelerate economic growth does not follow.

Partisans will cheer their candidates and not stop to question policies they accept as dogma.  However, non-partisans need to be clear minded and question the premise before being agreeable to the policy.

Monday, August 8, 2016

The Poison of Populous Partisans

On August 1st Hillary Clinton held a rally in Omaha, NE.  In attendance and on-stage to promote Clinton’s campaign was renowned investor Warren Buffet.  One of the items Mrs. Clinton focused on was increasing taxes on the wealthy – what Buffet has also proposed.  She railed against the wealthy, proclaiming that the wealthy had to pay their fair share of taxes, and she would not tolerate Trump’s tax cuts for the wealthy.  She exclaimed “We’re going to write fairer rules for the middle class”. Then, with a stern and determined look on her face, she pointed her finger into the crowd to emphasize as she shouted “And we are going to raise taxes on the middle class!”  The crowded erupted in applause, as she looked at them in an air of certainty and, Buffett, seated behind Clinton, clapped profusely to show his approval too.

This miss-step by Clinton, to raise taxes on the middle-class, unfazed the crowd as their cheers continued.  Nor did anyone tap Mrs. Clinton on the shoulder to correct her vow to raise taxes on the middle class.  She gave it no heed either, as she continued her speech.   This is the poison of partisans who do not even listen to their candidate, as they are deaf to the candidate’s words while they cheer in delight.  These people have a “mob” mentality and, like locus, will devour anything in their path.

Political partisans, especially those of the populous bent, should be feared.  Populism is an enemy of democracy.  As we have covered in Vigilance The Price of Liberty, the Bill of Rights was specifically written to protect our liberty from encroachment by government and – the tyranny of the masses a.k.a. populism.

When candidates Trump and Clinton insight populism, they actively work against what the Constitution stands for.  Promoting division by demonizing success, pitting the classes against the masses, and brow beating identity politics is divisive and dangerous to liberty and prosperity.

We need to carefully listen to the candidates and have open discussions to challenge their views.  We must be objective and free to be persuaded by fact and reason.  And unless we tune-out the partisans and parties we face the threat of sacrificing our freedoms to fear and jealousy.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Political Theater

Politics is a matter of theatrics that plays to the heart and not to the mind.  Electing a president is not about thoughtful debate of public policy but of appealing to basic instincts of humans.

We should not be surprised because we, largely as a people, have nary a clue at what government is granted the authority to do, the most basic concept of freedom, and the requirements to be a good citizen.  As such, we listen to what each candidate will “give” us whilst he paints a dire picture of life with his opponent.

Both parties’ conventions touted exaggerated pictures of our current state of affairs and offered slogans – that are not to be confused with plans or policy.  So let us shine a non-partisan light of some key points of where we are:
  • Economy – GDP has grown for 15 of the last 16 quarters but the rate of growth is under 2%, which is less than half of what it has been post-recession in over the last 80 years.
  • Unemployment – the unemployment rate (U-3) widely quoted by politicians and the media is 4.7% but the broader unemployment rate (U-6) is over 9.5%.
  • Workforce Participation – this is the measure of the percent of working age people in the workforce and it is 62.5% the lowest since the 1970’s when Jimmy Carter was president.  This translates to some 94 million Americans that are not in the workforce.
  • Stock Market – is at record highs of over 18,000 and interest rates for home loans are near record lows of under 4%.
  • Safety – global terrorism as well as domestic crime is way up and the number of policemen killed this year is on pace to double from the previous year.
If the economy and safety are the most important items to Americans then the facts above are not encouraging.  Which is why about 70% of Americans surveyed say they believe the country is on the wrong course.  There needs to be deep dialogue in these areas, yet there is not.

Minimum wage, child care, abortion rights are insignificant issues that appeal to interest groups and are insufficient to deal with an underperforming economy.  Wrangling over what to call terrorism, while necessary, is insufficient by itself to wipe-out the radical infestation that is killing innocents.

Unfortunately, political theatrics cross party lines. The dramatic “law and order” speech given by Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump at the Republican convention, and bright and cheery “love” speech by Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton play to fear and hope.  Politics should be more than a 3-ring-circus but, unless and until we demand better, the conventions will look like the half-time show at the Super Bowl than a forum for responsible citizenship.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Can't trump Trump

Humans react rather than reason in most matters – especially in dealing with politics.  As such, the better candidate is one that can tap into emotions.  Love is a puny driver to motivate people to the polls but, anger and fear will have proven quite effective.  That is why in this election for President when the demographics, electoral map, and media bias should make Hillary Clinton’s candidacy a “coronation”, the most unlikely candidate, Donald Trump, is within the realm of probability to assert the biggest upset since Harry Truman beat Thomas Dewey in 1948.

Trump’s acceptance speech at this week’s Republican Convention was a masterful and powerful work that painted America and the world in the clutches of dark corruption, chaos, and calamity.  Hillary Clinton was the Queen of all things deceitful and Donald Trump the only man capable to restore law and order.  No doubt his message of “I am your voice” will resonate across party lines and compel many to go vote for him.  This, for lack of a better word, analysis of Trump is not of policy or substance, but his seemingly innate ability to communicate on an emotional level that can reach the average American voter.

As such, look to this election cycle to have less than the usual low level of reasoned debate – from both candidates – and brace yourself for the onslaught of fear and division.  The winner will be the one who can instill the highest anxiety.  It will not be Ronald Reagan’s Good Morning America, but a race to the bottom, where voters are driven to vote against the candidate they fear more rather than the candidate they support more.  

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Thanks Ruth

This week Supreme Court justice Ruth Ginsberg had a bout of candor.  For some it was shocking, but for us it was refreshing.  It exposed what we have written about: liberal justices see themselves as dispensers of social justice, not dispassionate justices of the law and guardians of the Constitution.  In an interview with the New York Times, she spoke of her aversion to Donald Trump and a variety of decisions the court made that should be overruled.  Particularly revealing was her thinking on the Second Amendment.  Previously she expressed that a right to bear arms is tied to serving in a militia, but now she plainly expresses the Second Amendment is as just “outdated” as “its function has become obsolete”.  This is an astounding thought from a justice of the Supreme Court.

First, Justice Ginsberg knows full well that the right to bear arms and a militia are separate considerations of the Constitution.  Second, and more importantly, she is eminently aware that the Constitution is a grant of enumerated powers from the people to the government, and that those powers may only be amended by the people pursuant to the process defined in the Constitution.  Yet, here she is, declaring that she would take a right - specified in the Bill of Rights - from the people without their consent.  This is the philosophy known as the “Living Constitution” that liberals purport as their justification to usurp the consent of the people.

Liberals would argue that the late Justice Antonin Scalia was an activist just as Ginsburg.  However, Scalia’s “activism” was being bound by the Constitution and not revising it based upon his view of morality or decency.  As we write in our book, Vigilance The Price of Liberty, Scalia was particularly concerned that the Living Constitution was “illegitimate”, as the job of the Court is not to make law, but to resolve laws that conflict with the Constitution. Scalia argued that resolution of the Constitution should be as lawyers, not sociologists.  The crux of his concern, and ours, is who decides what is best for us.  Ourselves or five justices?

Ginsberg demonstrated she does not have the judicial temperament nor fidelity to the Constitution to be a justice of the Court.  If we remain silent, then our liberty is threatened.  However, if we are vigilant and speak against public officials who would break their oath to defend the Constitution then they will think twice before putting their notions of what is best for us before ours.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Conceal Don't Feel

FBI Director James Comey this week pronounced that Hillary Clinton had no “intent” to act illegally, and therefore no crime was committed – case closed.  However, she did indeed consciously and intentionally act to conceal her official activities while holding a high level public office of the United States.  She spent considerable resources to enable this intent that included procuring infrastructure, hiring people to implement the infrastructure, and maintaining the infrastructure and processes to fulfill the intent over four years while she was Secretary of State.

The problem with this, separate from Comey’s determination of legality, is that in a democracy, concealment is in direct contravention of a democracy’s requirement for transparency.  Clinton’s concealment signifies a women who sees two sets of rules.  Where she feels not part of the public, rather, above it and its laws.

Hillary Clinton is a major player in flouting the rule of law but she is not alone.  It runs rampant in our political system, across the aisle, and through every bureaucratic circle.  There is a rift that separates those who rule and those who are ruled, which can only be closed if enough of us get smart and collectively become vigilant to demand a government that is better and virtuous.  We have said before, knowledge is power and there is power in numbers.

Be Vigilant. Be Free.