Monday, November 18, 2019
Friends, check out my recent letter to the editor of the Albany Times-Union, in which I come to the defense of natural gas as a source of power and heat for New Yorkers. New York politicians and the "green energy" crowd seem determined to drive us back into the Stone Age, but I'm not having it!
In other news, check out this spirited analysis of the impeachment fiasco. Note the low Nielsen ratings for the impeachment hearings. I'm not surprised. Surely, only the true believers could sustain interest in the latest farcical attempt to undermine President Trump. Everyone with sense knows these hearings are a waste of time. As the article points out, minimal public interest means it's unlikely the polling numbers for impeachment and removal will change much -- and in fact I believe it's more likely that support for these radical steps will gradually soften. Mark my words! Impeachment is going nowhere, and I give the House only a 50/50 chance of passing a single article of impeachment, at the end of the day.
Sunday, November 17, 2019
Friends, no doubt you've noticed that, ever since the 2016 election, many leftists have acted as though they live in a fascist dictatorship, and they've called for "resistance" against the horrors of Trumpism. Attorney General Bill Barr recently gave a speech to the Federalist Society in which he called the Left on its own inflammatory rhetoric. Liberals like to accuse Trump of violating democratic norms, and once in a while he does, but the truth is that leftists seem prepared to burn our democracy down to the ground if it means they can take Trump with it. They have been crystal clear that they regard this President, and virtually everything he does and says, as illegitimate. How can a democracy prosper, or even survive, under such circumstances? Barr is right: the comprehensive "sabotage" and the campaign of slander waged against this administration is unprecedented, it's deeply unpatriotic, it's hysterical, and it's immensely dangerous, since it provides a precedent for disrespecting and undermining almost any electoral outcome that one deems unacceptable. Not only the presidency is under attack, but other key elements of our constitutional system, including the Senate, the Supreme Court, and the Electoral College. Naturally, for his trouble, Barr will be vilified, but I say he should be cheered for having the courage to state some hard truths to the American people.
In other news, Senators are starting to speculate on what a trial of President Trump in the Senate might look like. By no means is it certain that a trial will happen, or that the House will vote on or pass articles of impeachment...but it's still an amusing parlor game to imagine how Senators might tackle the high drama of a Trump trial.
Thursday, November 14, 2019
Friends, my latest article considers what stance President Trump should take on fiscal matters heading into the 2020 election. We know where the Democratic candidate will stand: he/she will promise the moon and the stars to American voters -- a veritable bonanza of new federal spending. See what you make of my advice on how Trump should respond...
President Trump: In 2020, Embrace Fiscal Responsibility, Not Tax Cuts
As Democratic presidential candidates stumble over one another in a headlong rush towards socialism and fiscal insanity — promising trillions in new spending on everything from child care, health care, and higher education for all, to “the Green New Deal,” to slavery reparations — President Trump faces a critical choice.
He could try to match the Democrats and promise more expansive government programs; he could instead offer to put more money in Americans' pockets through tax cuts; or he could do neither and stress the theme of fiscal responsibility, holding the line on new spending and tax cuts in favor of reducing the federal deficit.
Although the last choice is the least exciting, especially in an election year when people expect to be offered a cornucopia of “free stuff,” it is the right choice for America, especially given the fiscal challenges we currently face. This year our deficit will exceed $1 trillion for the first time since the Great Recession. Now is not the time, therefore, to be spending wildly or to be slashing government revenues via tax cuts. Now is the time to tighten our belts and return government finances to long-term sustainability, especially given the fact that the aging of the U.S. population means that massive spending obligations are coming soon.
To date, President Trump's philosophy on federal spending has been ambiguous. On one hand, he touts fiscal responsibility and a commitment to reducing federal deficits. On the other hand, Trump has cut taxes and simultaneously presided over a massive increase in spending. Often, he boasts about his administration's “investments” in Republican priorities like immigration enforcement and defense. Arguably, Trump is playing the Democrats' own game, parroting their view that a politician's virtuosity and even his humanity can be measured by his willingness to spend other people's money.
Lately, there is some evidence that Trump's advisers want to double down on this high spending/low taxation strategy for currying favor with voters. Although the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act already lowered middle class taxes — albeit modestly — now the Trump administration is considering further reductions to the marginal tax rates that apply to the middle class. The idea seems to be to establish a 15% rate that will kick in for those who may now be paying 22-24%.
No one likes income taxes or the IRS, but the American people ought to be skeptical of such proposals. Already, our deficit has inched up to almost 5% of GDP, a level that economists believe to be unsustainable. Trump's previous tax cuts were close to revenue neutral, but cuts on the scale now being proposed could be far more serious. Keep in mind the broader context: Social Security, Medicare, and Obamacare spending is all forecast to surge in the coming years. So far, inflation and interest rates have remained low, and the U.S. has been able to service its huge national debt with relative ease. If we were to depart totally from the path of fiscal responsibility, however, as Trump's advisers suggest, we have to wonder whether the wheels could come off of not just federal finances, but the overall U.S. economy. In that case, a negative feedback loop could lead to a severe recession, or even a depression.
President Trump should also consider the political optics of advocating for further tax cuts in an election year in which the eventual Democratic candidate will be promising the American people a laundry list of new entitlements, as well as tax breaks. Does Trump really want to compete with the Democrats for the job of Benefactor-in-Chief, or would he be better off drawing a sharp contrast with free-spending liberals? The Democratic candidate will be offering a vision of unprecedented growth in governmental power, unbridled hostility to job creators, and almost limitless federal spending. Presumably, it would be easy to argue in response that Democratic promises are empty and/or reckless. If Trump is making irresponsible claims and promises of his own, though, about either spending or taxation, his appeal as the economic voice of reason could be blunted. A socialist could then enter the White House by the back door.
My advice, President Trump, is to be honest with the American people. Tell them that, at this point in our history, huge new spending commitments are neither affordable nor prudent. In addition, given the future expenses that are already locked in, especially for Social Security and Medicare, it's clear that further tax cuts would be irresponsible.
If President Trump makes this his economic message going into 2020, he can frame the election as one of realism versus socialist fanaticism.
That sounds to me like an election that Trump can win. In fact, it sounds like an election in which only a fool would vote against him.
Dr. Nicholas L. Waddy is an Associate Professor of History at SUNY Alfred and blogs at: www.waddyisright.com. He appears weekly on the Newsmaker Show on WLEA 1480.
And here it is at American Greatness:
And here it is at American Greatness:
Wednesday, November 13, 2019
Friends, this week's Newsmaker Show with me and Brian O'Neil focuses on some of the biggest news stories around: the question of whether Joe and Hunter Biden should be called as witnesses in the impeachment inquiry, the Supreme's Court decision to allow lawsuits against gun manufacturers to go forward, and the evolving electoral pact between the Conservatives and the Brexit Party in the U.K. In addition, Brian and I talk about the selection of Yuri Andropov as the Soviet leader in 1982, and about war crimes trials against the Japanese leadership after World War II. We cast a wide net, you might say... Check it out!
Monday, November 11, 2019
Friends, breaking news out of the U.K. increases the chances of both a Conservative victory and of Brexit: Nigel Farage's Brexit Party will not oppose the Conservatives in 317 constituencies. It isn't quite an "alliance," but it will be a big boost to the Tories all the same.
Saturday, November 9, 2019
Friends, Adam Schiff has sold half the country a bill of goods, and not for the first time either. He's claiming that, if a "quid pro quo" can be proven in the Trump administration's outreach to Ukraine, that would justify the impeachment and removal of the President. My latest article, soon to appear at WND, explains why this is pure bunkum.
Quid Pro What?
As Democrats pursue their “impeachment inquiry” into President Donald Trump's efforts to induce Ukraine to investigate the alleged corruption of Joe and Hunter Biden, on every American's lips these days is a Latin phrase: quid pro quo.
Does the fate of the Trump presidency really rest on a Latin saying that few citizens have ever heard, and which only a small percentage understand? Possibly, but, as I will explain, there's no reason why it should.
In simple terms, quid pro quo means “you scratch my back, and I scratch yours.” It refers, therefore, to a transaction from which both parties expect to derive benefit. The flip side of a quid pro quo is an assurance, spoken or unspoken, that, if you refuse to scratch my back, I certainly won't be scratching yours.
Given the seemingly innocuous nature of quid pro quos, we might reasonably ask: why are the Democrats concentrating on proving a quid pro quo in President Trump's outreach to Ukraine? Why do so many deep state denizens, including the whistleblower, view it as scandalous that a quid pro quo may have been at issue? Why, moreover, have even some Congressional Republicans hinted that, if a quid pro quo could be proved, then President Trump would be in serious trouble?
Everyone seems to be assuming that the real issue at stake in these impeachment proceedings is a quid pro quo. Since impeachment is an inherently political and therefore subjective process, in a sense they may be right: a quid pro quo is, or can be, impeachable, if Congressmen believe it to be so. The truth, however, is that the presence of absence of a quid pro quo in the Trump administration's relationship with Ukraine is utterly irrelevant to the legality or even the propriety of President Trump's behavior. No one, in fact, should care whether there was a quid pro quo at all.
Why do I say that? It's simple: quid pro quos are the very substance of foreign policy. Countries are constantly negotiating with one another, and in the process of negotiating they routinely offer to do favors for one another on a transactional basis. They offer quid pro quos.
Let us not forget that in many ways the current Ukraine crisis has its origins in former Vice-President Biden's boast on tape that he demanded that Ukraine fire its chief prosecutor, or else it would not receive a $1 billion loan from the United States. That's what we call, if we're inclined to Latinized pomposity, a “quid pro quo.” Biden didn't conceal the terms of the deal he was offering to Ukraine, because he was proud of his accomplishment. Ukraine wanted its money, and we wanted a prosecutor fired. Thanks to the magic of the quid pro quo, we both got what we wanted. Marvelous!
Why, then, are Democrats, the media, and all too many Beltway Republicans prepared to assume that, if President Trump engaged in a quid pro quo with Ukraine, he is therefore in violation of his oath of office and liable to impeachment? The answer is simple, but deeply disturbing to any Trump supporter: all these groups fault President Trump for a quid pro quo not because they are opposed to quid pro quos in themselves, but because they assume, almost entirely without evidence, that Trump's core motivation in advocating for a Ukrainian investigation into the Bidens was corrupt. They assume in the process that the Bidens are innocent of any wrongdoing. They assume that Trump knows that the Bidens are innocent. They assume, moreover, that Trump's only possible reason for pursuing a “bogus” investigation of the Bidens is to slander them and thus to gain advantage in the 2020 presidential election.
These are, in case you haven't noticed, some mighty big assumptions!
As far as I am aware, Democrats like Adam Schiff haven't wasted a single minute trying to validate any of these assumptions, and nor has the media upbraided them for their omission. That's because the ill will and corrupt motives of Donald J. Trump are taken for granted in almost all quarters in Washington, D.C. But you and I know better: we know that, if the really substantive charge in this impeachment inquiry is that President Trump conducted a foreign policy motivated not by the national interest but by his personal, private interests, then we have a right to expect that this all-important contention will be not simply assumed, but amply proven with evidence. Thus far, it hasn't been. Not even close.
It bears repeating that the same Democrats who are scandalized by Trump's attempt to involve Ukraine in an investigation of the Bidens are not troubled in the least by the intelligence community, the Justice Department, and the Obama administration seeking the help of a wide network of foreigners — Australians, Brits, Italians, Russians, and Ukrainians, among others — in spying on and digging up dirt regarding Donald Trump and his 2016 presidential campaign.
Just as the Democrats, the media, and many establishment Republicans assume Trump's corruption in 2019, they assumed, and continue to assume, the Obama administration's and the deep state's patriotism, professionalism, and even-handedness in 2016. Moreover, anyone who looks critically at those efforts to undermine Trump and his campaign — anyone such as Bill Barr and John Durham — is assumed to be engaged in a witch hunt, or to be peddling “conspiracy theories.” But how would we ever know that the “conspiracy” against Trump was merely theoretical, and not real, unless we investigated the matter fully?
In the end, Democrats in Congress are chasing their tails, and in more ways than one. They have set themselves the task of proving that Donald Trump engaged in a quid pro quo with Ukraine, presumably because proving a quid pro quo, which is a commonplace in politics and in life, is easier than proving corruption or “treasonous” intent. It certainly looks, though, as if the Democrats will fall short even of their self-appointed and minimal task of proving a quid pro quo. The evidence is murky at best that any such transaction ever occurred, or was suggested in an intelligible way to both sides. For this reason, the quid pro quo is a dud, and the impeachment inquiry will fail.
What's more, though, the Democrats, by starting their inquiry with an unspoken but deeply inappropriate assumption — that the President of the United States is corrupt and unpatriotic — have invalidated and tainted all their subsequent efforts. Adam Schiff and his ilk, by starting with the assumed guilt of President Trump and working backwards to try to find the “evidence,” no matter how flimsy, to substantiate it, have turned American justice on its head. They have made a mockery of the very Constitution which they profess to revere. They have, in short, sunk the S.S. Impeachment before its keel was ever laid. The sooner they realize this, the better.
I have, therefore, a quid pro quo to offer the impeachment-happy Democrats in Congress. Resign now, and we, the American people, will assume (in a fit of generosity) that you regret your betrayal of our constitutional system and your repeated calumnies against our duly elected President. We will therefore forego exacting justice on you, which will, should you foolishly reject this offer of clemency, come swiftly and surely in the form of your ignominious defeat in 2020.
There it is. Take it or leave it.
You can't say we didn't warn you.
Dr. Nicholas L. Waddy is an Associate Professor of History at SUNY Alfred and blogs at: www.waddyisright.com. He appears weekly on the Newsmaker Show on WLEA 1480.
And here it is at WND:
And here it is at WND:
And, if you get through all that and still have an appetite for more, check out this superb article on the myth of Nazi German invincibility in WWII. Most people don't like the Nazis (imagine that!), but many still assume that they were hyper-efficient and master strategists. The truth is that they made innumerable blunders which cost them the war. There's very little in this analysis with which I would disagree.
Friday, November 8, 2019
Friends, if you're rooting for Brexit, as I am, then you cannot but be troubled by the current feuding between the Conservative Party and the Brexit Party. Neither Boris Johnson nor Nigel Farage seem interested in sealing a deal that could increase the chances of a "Leave" majority in the next Parliament. If such a deal is not struck, then the risk of a Labour or Lib-Dem government rises. The Conservatives are far ahead in the polls, so they may not be worried...but circumstances can change, and polling shifts.
This article suggests that a path to a Conservative-Brexit Party alliance still exists. I believe it. And I also believe that there could be advantages to both parties in waiting to "spring" such an alliance on unsuspecting voters... Time will tell.
In other news, there are rumblings coming out of Manhattan to the effect that Mike Bloomberg may be joining the Democratic presidential field. You wouldn't think a multi-billionaire could be that dumb... I'm pretty sure there's little appetite among Democratic primary voters for a centrist, New York City titan of industry, but hey -- he might as well give it a go. My guess is that the only thing he'll succeed in doing is taking even more of the wind out of Joe Biden's sails. And, if that's the case, I say: Run, Mike, Run!
Thursday, November 7, 2019
Friends, we hear a lot of pro-pot propaganda these days. We hear how it's great for the economy, utterly harmless to those who smoke it, and in fact life-affirming and mind-expanding in its effects. Well, I read an article today that I feel compelled to share with you. It details an insidious link between marijuana use and psychotic violence. The potheads among you will guffaw, no doubt, and I'm certainly open to hearing other perspectives on the issue, but it seems pretty clear from what we read here that marijuana increases the risk of violence and the incidence of mental illness in some people.
I hasten to add that this article comes to us courtesy of Hillsdale College, about which I'm just learning. It's a college in Michigan with a long history of dedication to the values of Western Civilization, including equality and liberty. It's also a place where the canon of Western literature is still read -- and not spat upon! Hillsdale has even foregone federal and state funding in order to avoid subservience to objectionable laws. I look forward to exploring more of the great materials and lectures which Hillsdale makes freely available to the public, and I encourage you to do the same.
Wednesday, November 6, 2019
Friends, this week's Newsmaker Show with me and Brian O'Neil covers a host of intriguing topics. First, Brian and I discuss the murders of virtually an entire American family in northern Mexico. Mexico, and much of Central America and the Caribbean, suffers from very high rates of violence. Drugs and organized crime are largely to blame. A great argument for open borders, right? Uh, no thanks! In addition, Brian and I talk about the turning of the tide on impeachment, the upcoming Conservative victory (I trust) in the UK's general election, and the media's suppression of the Epstein story. Historically, Brian and I talk about the horrifying legacy of the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia, the Japanese strategy in the opening rounds of World War II, and what the 1912 and 1968 elections can teach us about how Trump can prevail in 2020. Don't miss it!
Sunday, November 3, 2019
Friends, today I bring you two great articles. The first is a retrospective about Richard Nixon's 1969 speech about America's "silent majority". He added the line almost as an afterthought, but it became one of the signature phrases of the Nixon presidency. He was expressing an idea that has great salience today: that the great mass of the American people are not represented by elite opinion leaders and the most vocal agitators, who soak up so much of the media's attention. It was an homage to populism, at bottom, as well as to solid, middle class American values. Today, we hope that the Silent Majority is still lurking out there, ready to prove the pundits wrong in 2020!
The second article is about young Americans' seeming love affair with socialism. No one can deny that many youngsters have lost faith in capitalism, and perhaps even more alarmingly in democracy, free speech, and equal opportunity. I disagree strongly with the claim that forcing elite universities to spend down their endowments will make the slightest difference to our socioeconomic malaise -- in my view the problem is the deeply-rooted domination of extreme leftists over our popular culture and our education system. Changing our tax laws won't be nearly enough to dislodge the neo-Marxists from the commanding heights of American culture. I also disagree with the absurd suggestion that young Americans' disdain for capitalism is essentially rational and is based on their alleged suffering. Sure, high student loan debt is a kick in the pants, but last time I checked America is still a land of opportunity, and many youngsters are doing great. Simply put, no group of people in history has ever had LESS reason to give up on its political and economic institutions than Americans at the beginning of the 21st century -- we are BLESSED as no people before us -- and yet many of us seem to be writhing in mock despair. It's propaganda, people! The only way we'll ever beat it is by re-educating the young and acquainting them with the truth. And if we happen to send the cultural Marxists into metaphorical Siberian exile in the process, so much the better.