Monday, November 21, 2016

Gerald R. Ford: A Conservative At The Wrong Time

Gerald R. Ford was a moderate Republican who became the first and only person to become President without being elected President or Vice President. He also had the misfortune of entering the presidency at a time when Americans were fed up with liberalism but not quite ready for a conservative president.

Some people might contend that Ford was a Conservative. However, I think this was mainly because he was way more conservative than Lyndon B. Johnson, and even more conservative than even Richard M. Nixon. So, he did have conservative tendencies. That said, he was not, by any means, a conservative of the likes of Ronald Reagan; he was in no way the leader of the Conservative Movement that was salivating, waiting for an opportunity to gain control of the republican party.

For lack of a better comparison, he was more of a moderate republican, along with the likes of George H. W. Bush, Bob Dole, John McCain, and Mitt Romney, all of whom would lose (with the exception of 1988) their bids for the Presidency.

For the sake of simplicity, let us just assume that he was a conservative. The American people may actually have been ready for a conservative. Who wasn't ready was the republican establishment, which had a false belief (and still does) that a moderate president has a greater chance of drawing in independent voters and winning the presidency than a conservative one. He also had the misfortune of entering the office when liberalism, while on the downswing, was high on pride after the Watergate scandal.

Likewise, even though Nixon, a moderate (with moderate meaning liberal leaning) republican, was fresh off his second landslide victory in 1972, democrats held control of both chambers of Congress. While Ford may have been a good conservative with good conservative ideas, these and other forces would work against him.

He was born in Omaha, Nebraska, although he grew up Grand Rapids, Michigan. He became a star football player at the University of Michigan. He then served as assistant football coach at Yale, where he earned his law degree.

He was first elected to Congress in 1948, and from 1965 to 1973 he served as Minority Leader. When Vice President Spiro Agnew resigned in disgrace due to the Watergate Scandal on October 10, 1973, then President Richard M. Nixon chose Representative Gerald Ford to succeed him. This made Ford the first person to become Vice President under terms of the 25th Amendment.

Then, when President Nixon resigned in disgrace, also due to the Watergate Scandal, less than a year later, Ford became the 38th President of the United States. He kept some of Nixon's cabinet members, although he named some of his own. To please the liberal wing of the republican party he nominated Nelson D. Rockefeller as his Vice President, thereby making Rockefeller the second person to be named Vice President using terms of the 25th Amendment.

Among his first orders of business, after filling out his administration was to assure the American populace that he would not be an "imperial president," like FDR, Johnson, and Nixon before him.

What is an "Imperial President?"  The term was coined in a 1973 book by Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., who observed that, since FDR created the Executive Office of the President in 1939, the White House had become overcrowded with staff. In this way, Schlesinger observed that the executive had overstepped its Constitutional bounds: it had become too large and was gaining too much control over the people at the expense of freedom and liberty.

So, Ford assured the populace that this executive overreach would not continue during his tenure in the Washington.

FDR had increased regulations on transportation, communications, finance, and other businesses. Like FDR, Nixon was a fan of federal regulations. Ford was the first post-FDR President to begin a trend toward slashing New Deal regulations in order to get government out of the way so that businesses had more freedom and were more likely to make profits and expand to create more jobs. During the 1980s, Ronald Reagan would continue this trend.

All seemed to go rather well for the Ford administration, that is until he decided it would be a good idea to pardon Richard Nixon for crimes he might have committed during the Watergate scandal. To Ford, this seemed like an honorable idea, as the nation did not need to endure the embarrassment of a criminal trial against a former President.

So, in 1974, not long before the mid-term elections, Ford pardoned Nixon. This did not sit well with the liberal press and was highly criticized; the nation had witnessed a scandal so mischievous that it cost the nation its President and Vice President, and now there would be no trial.

Ford's decision and the media lamenting over it would end up costing republicans many Congressional seats to democrats during the mid-term election.

Like his anti-imperialistic Washington view, Ford's fiscal policies, or his economic policies, were in line with conservatives. He believed it was important to cut the size of government by slashing regulations, slashing taxes, and decreasing spending. Yet he clashed with the democratic Congress and vetoed 66 bills that would have increased spending.

A problem he faced was stagflation or an economic situation where economic growth was low, and unemployment was high at the same time that inflation was high. This was the first time the United States had ever faced this situation, so no one was certain what the remedy was.

Ford believed the solution was to combat inflation through:
  • Decreased government spending on social programs, and this was accomplished by his vetoes. This was good. 
  • Curbing spending by the private sector, and this was accomplished by raising taxes on personal income. He failed to get this through a democrat controlled Congress. 
Part of the reason for stagflation was not Ford's fault, as international forces caused oil prices to skyrocket. This created an energy crisis. Gas prices were high. Most cars were huge gas guzzlers. And, for the first time, American factories were facing competition from Japanese and German imports.

Despite his efforts, the economy continued to lag and inflation continued to climb. Unemployment was 4.8% when he entered office in 1972, and when he left office it was 8.0%. During the same timespan, consumer price inflation increased from 3.4% to 11%. This, along with high prices, made planning for the future difficult.

In 1975, he had an opportunity to put a conservative judge on the Supreme Court when New Deal justice William O. Douglass resigned. But in an attempt to keep the peace (or, showing his libera tendencies) between himself and a democratic controlled Congress, he nominated John Paul Stephens, who would become a very liberal Justice, although not nearly as liberal as Douglass.

In foreign affairs, Richard Nixon called for all forces to be removed from South Vietnam, and Ford was President when it fell victim to Communism. This was one of the sadder events of the Ford administration. All the efforts of the American military and all the lives lost in the name of Freedom were for naught and no thanks to a democratic Congress that seemed to want to see their own country punished and humiliated. 

He supported Nixon's detente approach to the Cold War with the U.S.S.R or Russia. The idea was that both countries would benefit from increased trade and the decreased threat of nuclear warfare. 

Former California Governor Ronald Reagan greatly disapproved of this policy when he ran against Ford during the 1976 Presidential campaign. Reagan also championed for easing regulations and cutting taxes as a means of rebooting the economy.

The up and coming Conservative movement were eager to get a (true) conservative into the Whitehouse, and Reagan was their man. Standing in their way, however, was the republican establishment.

As noted earlier, the establishment had then and still does this false belief (that both Reagan and Trump would prove wrong) that moderate republicans have a better chance of winning. Ford was the embodiment of this establishment. And even though he was former governor of California, Reagan was the embodiment of anti-establishment.

While his policies succeeded at improving the economy and reducing inflation, unemployment remained high. Reagan gave him a good fight, although Ford would be the eventual republican nominee.

The democrats chose a relatively unknown, a Washington outsider, as their nominee. Carter was actually expected to win easily, yet Ford gave him a good fight. Ford lost to Carter by an electoral count of 240 to 297, and a popular vote of 48.0% to 50.1%. 

Ford assumed the office of the President at a time when the nation felt great distrust in government due to Watergate, and a defeatist attitude due to perceived failure in Vietnam. He seemed to improve trust in government, and Faith in the American foreign policy.

He also assumed the office at a time when the economy was depressed amid a period of massive inflation. Perhaps as a result of battling with a liberal Congress, his ideas failed to get the economy moving again and thereby failed to get the public excited about his Presidency.

Not helping matters was the fact that, despite being known as an athlete in his youth, he was a very clumsy president. Chevy Chase, during a Saturday Night Live Skit, made fun of Ford's clumsiness, making everyone well aware of it. Also not helping was, during a presidential debate, Ford seemed confused about Poland being independent of the Soviets, and this seemed to hamper his image.

Ford is often seen as a failed president. In retrospect, we can see that Ford was a good man and a good conservative with good ideas. He may even have had a chance at becoming a great president if only he had given a chance at one more term, or at least one full term.

He just so happened to come into office at a difficult time for the advancement of his good ideas. But he did have some success, and for that, we herald him as an above average president.

References:
  1. Gerald R. Ford, Whitehouse.gov, http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/vice-president-agnew-resigns, accessed 11/12/16
  2. Gerald Ford, Conservapedia, http://www.conservapedia.com/Gerald_Ford, accessed 11/12/16
  3. Detente, history.com, http://www.history.com/topics/cold-war/detente, accessed 11/12/16
  4. Remembering Gerald R. FordRemembering Gerald R. Ford, http://www.nationalreview.com/article/219602/model-ford-nro-symposium, 11/12/16

Saturday, November 19, 2016

I do not want republicans to move to center and negotiate with the party that lost, as Obama suggested to Jimmy Fallon

So, Donald Trump is the 45th President of the United States. Hillary Clinton lost. Obama's agenda was repudiated. Still, there are those who champion for the Trump administration to move to the center and to negotiate with democrats.

Before the election a democratic friend of mine wanted me to watch a video of Obama on the Jimmy Fallon show.
Fallon: "Do you think the republicans are happy with their choice? 
Obama:  "Um, we are! But I don't know how they're feeling.  That was too easy. But, the truth is, actually, I am worried about the republican party... But democracy works, this country works, when you have two parties that are serious and trying to solve problems. And they've got philosophical differences, and they have fierce debates, and they argue, and they contest elections. But, at the end of the day, what you want is a healthy two-party system. And you want the republican nominee to be somebody who could do the job if they win. And you want folks who understand the issues, and where you can sit across the table from them and you can have a principled argument and ultimately can still move the country forward. So, I actually am not enjoying, and I haven't been enjoying over the last seven years, watching some of the things that have happened to the Republican party, 'cause there's some good people in the Republican party. There are wonderful Republicans out in the country who want what's best for the country and may disagree with me on some things, but are good, decent people. But what's happend in that party, culminating in this current nomination, I think, is not actually good for the country as a whole. It's not something Democrats should with for. And my hope is that, once we get through this cycle, there's some corrective action, and they get back to being a center-right party and the Democrat party being a center-left party, and we start figuring out how to work together. 
As soon as the video was over, I said to my friend:
"That's exactly what I don't want. I don't want more government. I want them to oppose democrats. I want them to reject their agenda. I don't want every time there's a problem to solve it with more government. More government is the antithesis of what the founders wanted. They wanted limited government. More government takes away liberties. I want republicans to oppose new laws, new regulations, and new taxes. I don't want more regulations. I want to get rid of the department of education, not add to its power. I want to give education back to the states so that parents and teachers can decide what kids learn, as opposed to eight liberals sitting in a room in Washington. I want to get rid of the IRS. I want to take power away from government agencies like the EPA so we can get rid of regulations based on global warming hoax that is burdensome to the economy. I don't want to move the liberal agenda forward, I want to stop it. I voted for republicans to stop Obamacare, not negotiate with democrats so it can keep functioning. I want them to cut funding for it. I want them to place bills on his desk repealing Obamacare. I want them to place bills on his desk getting rid of global warming regulations. But they don't do that. They do move to the center. Rather than opposing amnesty, they come up with their own amnesty program. The bottom line: I'm tired of that. I want them to oppose the party whose agenda has caused all the problems our country faces. So having someone like Trump IS actually good for the country as a whole, someone who calls a liberal a liberal and a liar a liar and who wants to stop the liberal agenda at all costs to make America great again... to take it back to where it was before Obama succeeded in fundamentally transforming it, moving it forward from a capitalistic nation to a socialistic-like nation."
I was on a roll. And as I went on my friend sat stiffly on the couch, crossed his arms, puckered his lips, and pretended to ignore me. I guess I offended him, as he was convinced I would agree with Obama about moving to the Center.

Monday, November 14, 2016

The Forgotten Man

The Forgotten Man -- by Jon McNaughton
President Obama is stomping on the Constitution,
and all the presidents and a guy on the bench:
he is the one left out. He represents the working class.
He is the working guy being forced to pay for
all the entitlement programs. He is the guy forced
out of his job when factories move across the border.
Trump ran with THAT guy in mind.

Franklin D. Roosevelt used the phrase "The Forgotten Man" on April 7, 1932, during a Fireside chat in reference to the impoverished people in the U.S who needed money and didn't have access to any. They had to do without, and we as Americans had the duty to help them out.

He said they were forgotten, and he used that phrase to convince Americans to pass his progressive programs, whereby he taxed the people who made money to give it to those who had little money to feed themselves and their families.

Thus, the most common reference to "The Forgotten Man" today usually refers to the meaning as FDR eluded to in that 1932 speech.

However, the original use of that phrase was by a Yale professor named William Graham Sumner (1840-1910) and his meaning was completely different from that used by FDR.

Graham's definition was in reference to the average working class American like you and me. We are the real forgotten men and women. We are forgotten because of our politicians and their progressive movement; they are so concerned about creating entitlement programs for taking care of the poor and the needy that they have forgotten about us -- the one's flipping the bill.

Sure the rich can be taxed to a certain extent, but the top 5% of income earners already account for 86% of all revenue from taxes. So in order to pay for all the government programs, the middle class must also be taxed.

Graham, in an 1883 speech, described the forgotten man this way: You have four men: A, B, C and X. A and B get together and decide something has to be done to help out X, who is poor and has no job. So to help X, A and B pass a law whereby A, B and C will be taxed so the money can be used to help out X.

A and B can afford to give the charity. But C is just your common man trying to make a living. And when the government taxes him, he is unable to get by, or barely able to get by. Because he is forced to help out X, he has to make cut backs other places. In essence, he is the true Forgotten Man.

Graham describes the Forgotten Man as such:
It is when we come to the proposed measures of relief for the evils which have caught public attention that we reach the real subject which deserves our attention. As soon as A observes something which seems to him to be wrong, from which X is suffering, A talks it over with B, and A and B then propose to get a law passed to remedy the evil and help X. Their law always proposes to determine what C shall do for X or, in the better case, what A, B and C shall do for X. As for A and B, who get a law to make themselves do for X what they are willing to do for him, we have nothing to say except that they might better have done it without any law, 'but what I want to do is to look up C. I want to show you what manner of man he is. I call him the Forgotten Man. Perhaps the appellation is not strictly correct. He is the man who never is thought of. He is the victim of the reformer, social speculator and philanthropist, and I hope to show you before I get through that he deserves your notice both for his character and for the many burdens which are laid upon him.

Now who is the Forgotten Man? He is the simple, honest laborer, ready to earn his living by productive work. We pass him by because he is independent, self-supporting, and asks no favors. He does not appeal to the emotions or excite the sentiments. He only wants to make a contract and fulfill it, with respect on both sides and favor on neither side. He must get his living out of the capital of the country. The larger the capital is, the better living he can get. Every particle of capital which is wasted on the vicious, the idle, and the shiftless is so much taken from the capital available to reward the independent and productive laborer. But we stand with our backs to the independent and productive laborer all the time.
I just think this is such an interesting concept. Basically, the concept is that lawmakers get together and decide to help the poor by taking from the common man, and they "overlook" the class of Americans that make the country possible -- the forgotten man.

While history tells a story where FDR ended the Great Depression by helping out FDR's Forgotten Man, Shlaes tells the true story about how FDR overlooked the true Forgotten Man, who was overtaxed and burdened by regulations.

Jon McNaughton, who created the painting displayed, depicts a U.S. where, in order to pass the programs needed to help man X, or FDR's Forgotten Man, Obama ignored the Constitution. This is why in his painting he has Obama standing over a copy of the U.S. Constitution, with most of our Presidents observing this with confused expressions on their faces as though saying, "What are you doing with OUR country?"

Donald J. Trump ran for president by tapping into the frustrations of Sumner's Forgotten Man. In his acceptance speech in the early hours of November 9, 2016, he said, "The forgotten men and women of our country will be forgotten no longer"

Further reading:

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Donald Trump: Liberalism Rejected!!!

So, Donald Trump has been elected to be the 45th President of the United States. Now democrats and the media are calling for him to reach across the aisle to ease tensions in Washington. What is forgotten here is that by electing Trump, the people have rejected the democratic party; rejected the democrat agenda; rejected Obama's agenda; rejected liberalism; rejected globalism.

For some reason, people fail to see what just happened. They fail to see that American citizens do not like the current direction the United States is heading, and have clearly said they want to go in another direction. That, I believe, is why Trump was elected president.

I think that democrats, and the media, are so terrified of Trump that they have never taken the time to actually listen to anything he has said. They were so busy being offended because of political correctness that they failed to listen.

(I think this is also true of many people who did not vote for Trump based on things he said, that they were so offended that they failed to listen to the substance of his words and his agenda.)

Now the media and democrats are suffering from denial. They seem to be failing to accept that those large crowds that attended Trump rallies were interested in the substance of what Trump was saying. They have already made up their minds that he is a racist, bigot, homophobe, etc., so they refuse to even give him a chance.

So now they are saying he needs to reach across the aisle. As we place "reach across the aisle" into our interpreter, it means, "move forward the liberal agenda."

Look! The liberal agenda was rejected. People are hungry for a new direction. They want change. They are tired of jobs leaving and not coming back. They are tired of illegal immigrants coming into our country, taking away the few jobs that are available and driving down wages.

They fail to understand what Trump stands for because they have not listened to what he has said. They have not heard the voices of the millions of people who supported him. They can't understand how people could support such a bigot because they failed to listen to him.

Obama has been telling the people that what they now live in is the new normal. That 94 million people no longer in the workforce is the new normal. That not getting a raise every year is the new normal.

And the people rejected this notion. Trump said that dreamers should never stop dreaming and that America's best days are ahead. And this is what so many Americans still believe. Trump tapped into this. The media failed to see it. Democrats failed to see it.

The people rejected big government. They rejected Obamacare. They rejected amnesty. They rejected the notion that America should be a nation of victims. Americans want to be working, they don't want to be among the 94 million working age people who are sitting around collecting money from entitlement programs paid for by people who are working.

The people also rejected a republican establishment that kept getting elected on the notion they would reject liberalism and Obama's agenda, only to support it and to fund it. Or, even if they didn't support it, they made no efforts to stop it. For example, they could have easily unfunded Obamacare, but they didn't.

The left does not want to give up on the notion of moving their agenda forward. So, in the face of defeat, they now ask that Trump reaches across the aisle and offer an olive branch to them and their agenda. Trump should not cater to such calls.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Democrats fail to consider future consequences

One of the things that are irritating about democrats is their inability to look into the future and see possible consequences of their actions today.

For instance, Trump won the electoral college and lost the popular vote, so democrats complain about the electoral college and call for it to be abolished. So, what if this is changed, and sometime in the future a republican gains the popular vote but loses the electoral vote to a democrat? Will these same democrats celebrate the victory?

See, they do this kind of stuff all the time. We have 40 million people without healthcare. They say they have empathy, and so they create a program called Obamacare that will force the forgotten men and women to pay for it. They tell them they will not lose their healthcare insurance, and they will end up paying less.

In doing this, they fail to look into the future and think: "What if it fails?" They do not do that. They just see a problem, get emotional about it, and create a program someone else pays for. Then when it fails, they just double down on it. They raise the debt ceiling. They borrow more money from China. Like, at some point the ceiling is going to fall down and we will all suffer as a result.

That, my friends, is why Donald J. Trump was elected as the 45th president. It's time we stop gambling the future of our country for entitlement programs to help a few people out today. It's time we start considering future consequences to our actions.

I could give more examples. As the days go by perhaps I will.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Ronald Reagan: How the Berlin Wall fell

Mikhail Gorbechev is often credited with the fall of the Berlin Wall on November 9, 1989.  However, if that were the case, you would have heard chants that day of "Gorby! Gorby! Gorby!"  And that did not happen. True credit for the fall of the Berlin Wall should go to Ronald Reagan.

In fact, Gorbechev did not want the wall to fall, and made gallant efforts to keep it up.  Instead, it was Ronald Reagan who was the first visionary who saw the writing on the wall (no pun intended) that it was time for the wall to come down.  He saw this as a great opportunity for democracy.

At the Brandenburg Gate in 1987, Reagan said:
"The advance of human liberty can only strengthen the cause of world peace. There is one sign the Soviets can make that would be unmistakable, that would advance dramatically the cause of freedom and peace. General Secretary Gorbachev, if you seek peace -- if you seek prosperity for the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, if you seek liberalization -- come here to this gate. Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate. Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!"
So, when the wall eventually did fall, it was a victory for democracy, and a failure for Communism. However, since the media is a champion of liberalism, a sister of Communism, they failed to see Reagan as being responsible; or at least failed to accept it.  So it's for this reason most history books won't give credit to Reagan.

Instead, Gorbachev was seen as a hero for pushing for reform in Russia. It is for this reason that he, and not Reagan, won the Noble Peace Prize in 1990.  He received the award "for his leading role in the peace process which today characterizes important parts of the international community."

The truth is that Gorbachev did not push for reform by slight of his own desires, he did so because the Russian economy could not keep up with the United States.

The U.S. was able to accomplish this because Reagan created an economic environment whereby every person had an equal opportunity to improve his lot in life.  In the U.S. there was the incentive of making profits for those who took risks.  So Reagan was able to get the most out of the American people, and the economy thrived.

Gorbachev, on the other hand, was unable to accomplish this goal.  Because all people made the same amount of money regardless of effort made, there was no motivation to do more than the minimum needed to survive; there was no monetary incentive.

So while the American capitalistic democracy thrived, Soviet Communism failed.  This is what lead to the fall of the Berlin Wall. It had nothing to do with Gorbachev, and every thing to do with Reagan.

The truth is, as Margarette Thatcher said, the Wall collapsed because the Soviet Union could not keep up.

But the truth doesn't matter to those with a political agenda. Most of our historians, journalists, and teachers tend to be liberal, and it is they who report the news, write the history books, and teach history.  So they have a great opportunity to spin events to advance their liberal agenda.

Their version of the falling of the Berlin wall is that it was a symbol of strength of Communism and Socialism.  Since liberalism is the antithesis of capitalism and a sister of Communism and Socialism, the fall of the wall was reported not as a success of capitalism, but a failure of Communism.

Wall Street Journal's Anthony R. Dolen, on November 8, 2009, explained it best in his commentary, "Four Little Words."
Reagan had the carefully arrived at view that criminal regimes were different, that their whole way of looking at the world was inverted, that they saw acts of conciliation as weakness, and that rather than making nice in return they felt an inner compulsion to exploit this perceived weakness by engaging in more acts of aggression. All this confirmed the criminal mind's abiding conviction in its own omniscience and sovereignty, and its right to rule and victimize others.

Accordingly, Reagan spoke formally and repeatedly of deploying against criminal regimes the one weapon they fear more than military or economic sanction: the publicly-spoken truth about their moral absurdity, their ontological weakness. This was the sort of moral confrontation, as countless dissidents and resisters have noted, that makes these regimes conciliatory, precisely because it heartens those whom they fear most—their own oppressed people. Reagan's understanding that rhetorical confrontation causes geopolitical conciliation led in no small part to the wall's collapse 20 years ago today.
The Cold War between the U.S. and the Soviet Union had waged since about 1947.  It did not end until 1991, and the brilliant campaign by Ronald Reagan that went against normal thinking is what caused the Collapse of the Berlin Wall and the end of the Cold War.  It's a shame he is not given rightful credit for this success.

Further Reading:

Monday, November 7, 2016

Catholic View on Abortion

Loyalty to God should take precedence over loyalty to a political party. This is particularly true regarding the issue of abortion.

You do not create life, and therefore you cannot take life. You cannot take your own life because it is sacred. You also cannot take the life of someone else, because that life is sacred too. You also cannot take the life of an unborn child, as that life is also sacred.

The womb, in other words, is a temporary holding chamber for a new life of a baby human being. Under good Faith, you cannot have a right to choose to abort that of what you did not create.

You have a right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, and so too does that baby. If you choose to abort that child, you are violating that person's rights in favor of a right you do not own. In other words, an unborn child is not an object that you can choose to discard like it's unwanted garbage.

You did not create that baby inside your womb, therefore you do not have the right to take that life away. It's not a matter of political preference that you get to choose what to do with that baby. That baby inside your womb is a life created by God, and it should be respected as such, no matter who the father is.

So, when choosing who to vote for during this election cycle, it's important that you choose the candidate who is strongest on the issues. You should not, in good Faith, vote for any candidate who supports the killing of unborn babies.