What’s wrong with Liberalism? The case against the FDA

If you want to understand the revolt against Liberalism as exemplified by the policies advocated by Obama/Clinton Democrat Party, look no further than the way in which the FDA is shutting down cigar manufacturing in the U.S. costing hundreds of people their jobs under the guise of protecting smokers from themselves.

The “FDA is in the business of reducing the harms associated with tobacco use,” according to Mitch Zeller, director of the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products, as quoted in the December 4th Washington Post. The FDA has introduced new regs that “require manufacturers to get approval for new products, pay increased fees and add prominent warning labels.” The result, however, will only succeed in putting American manufacturers out of business or forcing them to move their remaining plants overseas. Ironically, this is being done at the same time we have opened to door to Cuban cigars.

“On the one hand, the government is saying ‘smoking is bad’ and making us jump through all these hoops,” stated Eric Newman, co-owner of the last cigar manufacturer in Tampa Florida. “On the other, they’re welcoming Cuban cigars––which haven’t been tested, which aren’t taxed––into the country.”

Whether the new fees and regs will reduce cigar consumption is an unproven assumption on the government’s part. My guess is that it will not, as unlike cigarette smokers, cigar smokers are a much more independent breed. Further, it is highly doubtful the new regs will prevent underage use of cigars since young people don’t smoke cigars in the first place.

The core assumption that Americans want or need a government agency to protect them against tobacco use lacks grounding in reality. Everyone knows the “harms” associated with tobacco use. Since smoking remains legal, however, those who are over 18 ought to be treated like adults and allowed to make up their own minds. Further, government agencies should not be interfering with legal manufacturing by imposing fees and regulations to accomplish social ends.

If you don’t understand why manufacturers have been leaving the U.S., here’s a perfect illustration, and if you don’t understand why people rejected Hillary Clinton’s candidacy and voted for someone whose past behavior has clearly been offensive to traditional mores, here’s another case in point.

History Matters

If anyone needs evidence that what is taught in our schools impacts public behavior, look no further than the response to the results of the November 8 election. In the days after the election, when it became apparent more people voted for Hillary Clinton than Donald Trump, columnists, editorial writers, and social media posters trumpeted calls for the elimination of the Electoral College.

Learning that doing so would take a constitutional amendment and thus fail to impact the 2016 election, those who felt cheated turned to other panaceas, attempting to sway electors to betray their mandates and recount filings. That none of those has a chance of succeeding seems irrelevant.

Their efforts now focus on denying Trump’s victory legitimacy and undermining his ability to fulfill his campaign promises. The strength of the protest movement depends, however, on the lack of knowledge of its followers of the history of our country and how our political system works.

Every four years millions are shocked to learn that the person who wins the most votes is not automatically elected president. Every four years millions are dismayed to discover that America is not a direct democracy where the majority rules, but a representative republic. This can only be attributed to the failure of our educational system to teach those essentials or to have done so in a manner that sticks.

I can hear the protesters’ objections to my claim. What happened in the past doesn’t matter, they might say. We need a system for the present, they add, and of course, some will argue, as the man some Democrats have put forward to chair their organization once did, that the Constitution can be dismissed as a document of a rich, white, male elite, providing further evidence of the failure of our educational system.

If the past is irrelevant, there’s no need to teach about slavery or Jim Crow or women’s struggles for equality since those are all part of our past. Right? Either history is relevant or it is not, and I can’t imagine too many people coming down on the side of ignoring it altogether.

That said, what corrective can be offered in terms of our political system? Let’s start with a re-writing of the textbooks to go back to the core story––from the settling of the continent to the Revolution to the writing of the Constitution and the first ten amendments.

What a study of those events would disclose is that our system represents a compromise between competing interests. Let’s take the matter of slavery. Had those among the founders who objected to slavery been unwilling to compromise with the Southern states, there would have been no United States of America. Had the compromise failed, England would have found little resistance to re-conquering the continent since the colonies barely won the war and faced a future with depleted resources.

Further, had those in favor of a strong, centralized national government lessening the power of the states held out, the Constitution would not have passed, and once again the colonies would have been subject to conquest. The Electoral College is testimony to the compromise that established a central government for the protection of the country, but allowed states to retain a strong voice.

The notion that our system of government is the product of a compromise is something today’s protesters fail to appreciate. That it is the best political system mankind has yet created is something they don’t understand given how poorly history has been taught in our public schools and colleges, and by the willingness of some to ignore both the rationale for our present system and how well it has worked for 240 years.

Two Must Reads to Understand International Politics in a Trump Presidency

People spending their limited energy trying to reverse the election results or demonize Donald Trump in hopes he will fail and be impeached are missing a huge opportunity to understand what lies ahead of the U.S. on the world stage.

Two brilliant articles provide insightful analysis of the implications of Trump’s victory for those with the ability to remain dispassionate and advance their personal comprehension of where things stand internationally and what needs to be done.

Start with Ruthie Blum’s “Why Abbas does not emulate Sadat,” which can be found at http://www.israelhayom.com/site/newsletter_opinion.php?id=17707&r=1.

The title doesn’t do justice to the column which reviews past peace negotiations and explains why any hope that the leader of the “Palestinians” will negotiate a peace deal with Israel is a pipe dream.

Next read the lengthy, but brilliant analysis of the current world order based on Henry Kissinger’s recent book (World Order, 2014) and his own reading of U.S. history by Niall Ferguson, entitled “Donald Trump’s New World Order,” which can be found here: http://www.the-american-interest.com/2016/11/21/donald-trumps-new-world-order/.

Ferguson lays out a potential path for Donald Trump’s administration to re-balance the world order reversing the disastrous policies of Barack Obama and taking a Teddy Roosevelt-like approach, based on existing realities and actual power alignments rather than wishful interpretations.

 

You don’t have to agree with every point made by Blum or Ferguson to come away with a greater understanding of where things stand in the world and the positions a Trump administration might take to bring restore America’s role as the number one superpower on the world stage.

Hillary Lost: Get Over It

All the post-election moaning, whining and carrying on by Clinton supporters is embarrassing to them and their followers. It’s time to face the facts of this election and to move on.

Some are whining because Hillary’s total popular vote topped Trump’s, but that’s irrelevant because that’s not the game they were playing. The Constitution says the winner is the candidate who wins a majority of the electoral college votes which are based on the population of each states as defined by seats in the House of Representatives plus two votes for the members of the Senate. That’s why Alaska, Delaware, Montana, North and South Dakota and Vermont each get three votes while California with 53 House members gets 55.

The losers want to change the rules of the game after it was played. Good luck, but it isn’t going to happen now or in the near future.

Should the electoral college be eliminated?

No! There are good reasons the person who gets the most “popular” votes should not be the winner. Not only would that make all but a few large states irrelevant, but it would change what campaigns are about, making it much easier for the person who raises the most money to win. That would be bad for our republican (small r) form of government.

The results of the 2016 campaign reflected the current rules. Clinton campaigned in the closing days in Florida, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Ohio. Why? At one point she thought she was going to win by a land-slide and thought of campaigning in red states to try to alter control of the Senate, but her own polling showed her to be in danger in those four states. It is significant that she LOST all four states where she made the greatest effort to win.

The Liberal Double-Standard

A double-standard is when you advocate something for others that you aren’t willing to do yourself. Liberals are past masters at doing so, and this election is a perfect example.

Some want enough GOP’s electors to vote for Clinton to reverse the results. Not only isn’t that going to happen, but what would it mean if it did? Are you really advocating someone go back on their word? Should electors betray the people who voted for Trump in their states? Is that something you’d tolerate had Clinton won? I don’t think so.

What about those who call for Trump to abandon his campaign promises and retain Obama’s policies? They advocate this claiming the popular vote should dictate. Again, we have to ask had Clinton won in a close race, would you have tolerated Trump supporters calling on Clinton to abandon her policies for Trump’s? Hardly!

For Crying Out Loud

There’s been a lot of moaning and whining about the election results. College professors gave students the day off, and students could get free puppies and coloring books at one college. Why not baby bottles filled with chocolate milk, too?

But face it people: all this crying is a result of the Clinton campaign strategy to try to win the election by going LOW, by focusing on Trump’s negatives––some of which he provided, others they simply made up or were responsible for, such as the violence at some Trump campaign events that were instigated by paid Democrat Party protestors.

Giving in to the fear your party created is not becoming nor is it rational. You may not like some of the policies Trump and Congress will bring about, but right now you don’t know what will happen. You don’t know which policies Trump advocated during the campaign will see the light of day or in what form or whether Congress will go along or whether the courts will upload them.

Take the Supreme Court for example. First, he has to nominate a candidate; the Senate has to consent and the person has to take his or her seat. Then any issue you are fearful about has to be brought to the Court in the form of a case passed up by the lower courts. Not only can that take years, but the outcome of any case cannot be predicted in advance. Despite Justice Roberts’ recent rulings, justices swear to uphold the Constitution, not advance a president’s agenda. Maybe a Trump appointee will be more honorable than Roberts and other liberal justices have been.

I don’t expect you Democrats to go away or stop advocating your positions, but I suggest you abandon the silly season issues of the electoral college and focus on why you lost before you try to prevent Trump and Congress from implementing the changes the public is demanding. You lost because people did not want more of your party’s policies. They did not want more economic stagnation, or more foreign policy set backs, or more expensive and intrusive government interference with every aspect of their lives. They wanted America to be great again, which means they realize America is not what it could be. Maybe you should listen and look for ways to help bring about a revival of our society, to lift people up instead of tearing them down, and to being once again a beacon on the hill for those less fortunate throughout the world.

Neither Deserves to Win

Neither Hillary Clinton nor Donald Trump deserves to win the presidency. Here’s why:

Why Clinton Deserves to Lose

Hillary Clinton assumed the Democrat Party owed her its nomination because she had tolerated Bill’s infidelities, played second fiddle while he served as governor of Arkansas and President, and then lost to Barack Obama in 2008 mainly because of the latter’s patrimony. In her mind she had paid her dues and therefore was entitled to be the nominee. The problem is the divine right of queens went by the wayside two centuries ago. Today you have to earn the right to carry your party’s banner and she hardly did so, but what’s worse is how she conducted herself as Secretary of State and head of the Clinton Family Crime Foundation. She traded on her status as the likely nominee for $250,000 a pop speaking engagements for herself and Bill and for donations to her foundation. That’s taking the mafia’s manner of raising money by threatening to burn down a business unless the owner donates a percentage of its weekly take and modernizing it. Want a government contract? Want a job? Want an audience with the queen? Donate! Assuming she deserved to win, Clinton put forth a platform of platitudes, offering incremental changes and pandering to Sanders supporters. People are not enthusiastic about her candidacy, which meant she could only win by attacking Trump’s qualifications. Fortunately for her Trump made that part too easy. If Hillary loses, she has only herself and her arrogance to blame.

Why Trump Deserves to Lose

Trump tells us he’s a very smart man. Fact is he’s too smart for his own good. He assumes his success as a businessman is a reflection of his being smart, and while that’s undoubtedly true in part, it’s not the whole story. There are also the hundreds of people who worked for him who enabled him to make good deals and whose advice he failed to follow when he made bad ones. Seeing himself as smart he failed to understand the nature of the game he had interjected himself into. He failed to understand you don’t go out of your way to make enemies in politics. You don’t insult whole groups of people. You do build an organization capable of registering voters and getting out the vote. You do know you need money to compete with your opponent’s fund-raising capabilities. Trump could have won handily had he not alienated Ted Cruz by attacking him on a personal level. Had Cruz campaigned as a Trump surrogate, he would have cut into the Hispanic vote now going to Clinton making it unnecessary for Trump to spend so much time in Florida. Trump could have spent more time in Michigan, Wisconsin, New Hampshire, and Pennsylvania. If Trump loses he has only himself and his arrogance to blame.

Entertainment Industry Goes Politically Correct with Designated Survivor

Ever wonder to what extent films, TV shows, books and other forms of entertainment are censored for content? The answer is clear if you pay attention to trends that dominate the industry––particularly lately. Villians in 2016 are typically rich, white men and to the extent that their religion is revealed they are Christians. Protagonists, on the other hand, are women of any ethnicity, minorities, and to the extent their religion is revealed, they are Muslim.

No clearer example of the shift away from portrarying Islamic terrorists as the feared villains of American society can be seen from the appearance of Kiefer Sutherland, once the fearless Jack Bauer of 24 fame, as the unpresidential president in Designated Survivor. In episodes two and three, President Kirkman (Sutherland) faces down the governor of Michigan and the head of the state national guard, both of whom support the efforts by local police in Dearborn, Michigan to crack down on one of the largest, most concentrated Muslim populations in the U.S. in the aftermath of the bombing of the U.S. Capitol and murder of one thousand of the country’s highest elected and appointed officials. This kind of simplistic assumption that local police and government officials are bigoted and bent on taking the law into their own hands while Washington is pure and rational is standard fare in American media as of late.

The very fact of suggesting such an event as the bombing of the nation’s Capitol Building could occur is testimony to how far the entertainment industry is willing to go to make viewers think America deserves such a fate and the country’s salvation lies in adopting Democrat Party platform.

Contrast today’s themes to the entertainment industry’s response to World War II and the Cold War when films, TV shows and books portraryed the Nazis and communists as our mortal enemies requiring heroic efforts on the part of our bravest, most dedicated citizens to prevent our destruction. Instead of shows portraying that same theme brought up to date to tackle jihadist ideology, we get stories that blame the United States for the troubles that have befallen us. It is our fault that heroin and guns are smuggled into our inner cities from Mexico. Don’t do what Donald Trump did––don’t blame Mexico. It’s our racist past and present that are to blame. Don’t blame disturbed Muslims egged on by ISIS propaganda for bombing innocent civilians. It’s the greed of our corporate society that’s to blame, not only for repressing third world peoples and turning them into terrorists, but for climate change as well.

Another TV show that echoes that story line is Quantico (although it’s hard to abstract any story line out of the show given how contradictory and ad hoc the events are that it portrays.) The bombing of Penn Station in New York City was an inside job, not the work of terrorists, and one character’s supposedly having spent time in Gaza on a humanitarian mission gives the show’s writers a chance to take a gratuitous slap at Israel. Given that Israel is our number one ally in the region that slap is meant to suggest why the U.S. deserves to be bombed.

Soon (if they’re not already there) the airwaves and book shelves will be offering stories of Trump look-alikes doing great evil while the first woman president saves the day. Orange indeed is the new black.

The problem when an entire industry is controlled by a narrow group of owners is that alternative visions are not aired. Writers with contrary ideas will not have their stories purchased by the Networks or film producers. Editors will not buy books whose stories are about the threat of jihadist terrorists or the threat sharia law represents in our schools, churches and communities. We’ll continue on the other hand to get stories about those evil rich white Christian males whose greed threatens the survival of the planet and whose personal behavior threatens the virtue of women from 9 to 90.

One can’t even escape political correctness in the world of sports. The NFL has become boring with constant stoppage of play either for imaginary penalties or non-instant replays and the national anthem is only shown so the cameras can search for athletes who are kneeling or raising their fists to protest the fact that they happen to live in the only country on the planet where athletes can earn more than corporate CEOs.

My message to the Tom Clancy’s and Joel Surnow’s who are toiling in their garrets and whose stories are not in vogue in 2016. Don’t give up. Your audience will try to be patient and hope the table turns before we’re dead and gone.

Anti-Religious Sentiment is Winning in the U.S.

This year’s presidential election is a test of the role religion will play in America’s future. In recent years, America’s highly secularized society has moved from tolerating people’s commitment to their religions to becoming anti-religion. The one exception is Islam, which sharia observant practitioners can confidently tell their followers will become the dominant religion in this country in this century.

What are no longer tolerated are Christian and Jewish based beliefs and values that interfere with government authority over all aspects of life––from the womb to the grave. People of faith are routinely portrayed as bigoted and as using religion as screens for their repressive conservative political beliefs.

Anti-religious teachings dominate college campuses where students learn to despise their parents and replace traditional religious values with an unquestioning adherence to the values of liberalism––faith in government and its leaders, disdain for capitalism and its bounties, disdain for America’s past in light of slavery and imperialistic dominance over third world countries, and a belief that climate change is the just reward for man’s arrogance and greed.

That this anti-religious ideology has become overtly anti-Christian can be seen on several fronts, including the failure of the Obama administration to do anything to protect the Christian sect being slaughtered in Syria by ISIS as well as documents uncovered from the Democrat Party which show the anti-Catholic, anti-Christian tendencies of its top officials. Obamacare’s running roughshod over Christian institutions with regard to birth control is another example.

The rise of anti-Semitism in American society over the past two decades is a direct reflection of the strength of this anti-religious ideology. Modern anti-Semitism, as opposed to that based on Christianity’s slanderous claim that Jews must be punished for eternity for having betrayed Jesus, reflects the view that Israel as a Jewish state is a remnant of Western colonialism, and thus is by definition repressive and undemocratic.

The entertainment industry has already well into promulgating anti-Christian and anti-Jewish stories and I predict the number and overtness of the attacks will continue to escalate.

On the agenda for those who see religions (except Islam) as inherently repressive and irrational will be an attack on first amendment grounds that prevents the state from taxing property owned by a religious institution. We won’t see a direct attempt to tax churches and synagogues, but school buildings and other property is too enticing for liberal government officials who need to keep filling their coffers to pay off constituents and donors.

Why tolerance for Islam? It fits the overall narrative. Islam is the religion of oppressed peoples. Anyone who has watched Quantico, the TV show about the FBI, has been given a taste both of anti-Israeli and pro-Islam story lines. Ironically, liberals admire Muslims’ devotion to their religion. Christianity and Judaism have been watered down so much in American society that people who have a need to commit themselves to something prefer liberalism, and they seem willing to make room for Islam because at least its followers are not wishy-washy.

It may be too late to reverse this trend and even should long-shot Donald Trump win the November election it’s unlikely he will be able to turn the tide. Conservative Supreme Court justices could engage in delaying tactics, such as preventing local governments from taxing religious property and ruling partial birth abortion unconstitutional, but secular anti-religion liberalism is America’s prevailing ideology. Better get used to it.