scott pruitt epa

Scott Pruitt EPA Nominee: More Leftist Slavery Ended

Leftists’ hysteria and vitriol in response to Trump winning the presidency is escalating. Enraged, they vow to stop Trump at all cost. It occurred to me that what has really driven the Left insane, enraged and quaking in fear is Americans free to live their lives. Over the past 8 years, Obama transformed government agencies such as the EPA into his personal hit squads. Using these agencies, Obama incrementally repealed our Constitutional and God-given freedoms, while criminalizing and silencing dissenting voices. Leftists arrogantly assumed Hillary would win to take Obama’s slavery of Americans to unprecedented irreversible levels.

Trump is America’s Abe Lincoln, our emancipator. His election equaled him unlocking and pushing open the 2 feet thick, 100ft high iron gates of the Left’s government plantation. Overwhelmed with the anticipation of freedom, millions of traumatized Americans ran for their lives, flooding out of the compound, joyously running free in all directions. As they ran, visions of starting businesses free from Obama’s 4000 new EPA regulations and restored freedoms like raising their kids according to their conscience danced in their heads.

Frustrated enraged Leftist overlords (Rosie O’Donnell and other evil wackos) watched helplessly as the tsunami of Trump’s emancipated runaway slaves exited the government plantation. Leftist mercenaries have already begun capturing, beating, torturing and dragging back freed Americans in chains

I want low-info voters like my professional electrician nephew Mike to understand that Leftists are a different species, Arrogantous-Superiorist. Though sighted throughout America, Leftists’ natural habitat is Hollywood, New York, LA and Washington DC. Leftists believe their superior compassion authorizes them to use their superior intellect to dictate how we inferior commoners must live our lives.

So now the battle is on folks. Freaked out Leftists are pulling out all the stops to stop Trump. Trump seeks to further our liberation. Ending Leftist government bullying will spark a new era of American prosperity; investors risking capitol, creativity, jobs and growth beneficial to all Americans.

There is no greater Leftist government plantation overlord than the EPA. Therefore, Leftists’ attempts to demonize Scott Pruitt, Trump’s pick to head the EPA, will be insanely vicious, filled with lies. Leftists hope to brand Pruitt evil incarnate. They will claim Pruitt wants dirty air and water for personal gain. Leftists will throw old standbys into the mix, racism, sexism and homophobia. They will claim Pruitt’s destruction of the environment will harm minorities, women and homosexuals most. Leftists foolishly continue to use their old school tricks to stop our new president.

Here are a few of many of our Leftist slave master’s unbelievable power grabs via the EPA.

While claiming to champion the little guy, Obama’s draconian EPA carbon regulations harm the poor and most vulnerable Americans

Ponder this folks. A record 94,708,000 Americans are not in the labor force. http://bit.ly/2aGWPJ4

And yet, stupid EPA manufacturing regulations hurt jobs and competitiveness. American manufacturers scolded the EPA. Paraphrasing,

“Look you arrogant clueless idiots. We create jobs that support our economy and build technologies which make cleaner energy possible. Poorly crafted regulations like your New Source Performance Standards for new power plants threatens both.” 

Using the EPA as his enforcers, Obama’s illegal war on coal is projected to cost 125,800 jobs.

Unbelievably, Obama’s EPA is illegally confiscating privately owned land and dictating water usage across America

For daring to challenge the EPA in court, an EPA official threatened to throw executives of HVI Cat Canyon Inc in jail to be raped by a black male prisoner named Leroy. Yes, this is the extraordinary arrogance and abusiveness of the untouchable government agency

But folks, the most egregious dictatorial command of the EPA is that we embrace their religion of Climate Change. The EPA conspired with Obama’s DOJ to jail anyone expressing unbelief in their god (Climate Change). Yes, you heard me correctly. The EPA intends to criminalize disagreeing with them regarding Climate Change, throwing “Climate Change Deniers” in jail.

Meanwhile, Climate Change is a hoax.

Scott Pruitt will liberate Americans from the shackles of the Climate Change religious zealots running the EPA. Leftists have begun launching lie-infested fake news stories trying to destroy Pruitt. They will fail folks. Trump’s election marks a new day in America.

With Scott Pruitt heading the EPA, Americans can breathe a sigh of relief and say, “Free at last! Free at last! Thank God almighty we’re free at last!”

trump ethics

Trump Makes Good Moves On Ethics Issue

President-elect Trump has to handle some pressing personal ethics issues as he takes on the presidency.  As I wrote in the New York Times on the topic:

Given the potential for conflicts, it makes sense for the American people to demand assurances that the public interest won’t be harmed by the continued operation of Trump Inc. So, what to do?

First, let’s not pretend that the Trump children will not be conflicted in running the company for their father. That is why Mr. Trump should formalize his complete separation from his company and stop working on any aspect of his business. He should draw no pay. And, difficult as it may be, he should vow not to discuss any aspect of the Trump business empire with his children — or any other Trump executive.

Mr. Trump and those at the company’s helm should commit to full transparency by making public any contracts with any federal agency, foreign government or foreign corporation. Our nation’s enemies, and some of our friends, will seek to either curry favor with or damage America through the Trump businesses. By providing full transparency, Mr. Trump and his family can show that they take seriously that, as Mr. Trump has tweeted, it is “visually important, as president, to in no way have a conflict of interest with my various businesses.”

It would be in the company’s best interest to set up an internal watchdog to help develop procedures that could help avoid conflicts

[ … ]

The Constitution’s Emoluments Clause bars the president from earning any compensation from a foreign government. Mr. Trump ought to consider a partial disinvestment from his company by either selling outright or rejecting the proceeds of any stakes with foreign government partners.

He should refuse any third party contributions to his personal foundation.

Above all, the Trump administration should be completely transparent on any government dealings with the Trump empire.

Mr. Trump’s personal lawyer announced his plans to handle these issues this week and he seems to have followed much of JW’s advice.    His interest in the Trump Organization will be put in a trust and his company will be run by his two oldest sons. The company will hire an ethics officer to help police its dealings for any conflicts.  And Mr. Trump’s business will forswear new foreign deals while turning over any “profits” from ongoing foreign deals to the U.S Treasury (to try to avoid the emoluments issue).

They are critics of the Trump ethics plan, and some of the questions  about the transparency and enforcement of his promises are fair.  But we think his plan is the right start.

While there is no off-the-shelf ethics plan for a matter as complex and unprecedented as this, Mr. Trump seems to be on the right track.  As we said in the New York Times op-ed, it would be unfair to insist that Mr. Trump destroy his business to become president.  This ethics plan follows many of Judicial Watch’s recommendations and reasonably addresses pressing concerns about separating Mr. Trump’s private business from the public’s business.

True to our independent, nonpartisan mission, we plan to police Mr. Trump on the ethics issue. We can see from the Hillary Clinton pay-to-play Clinton Foundation debacle what happens when politicians mix their government business with their private interests. 

We hope Mr. Trump understands this, but we’ll be watching just to make sure!

jeff-sessions-800x430

Gun Rights Organization: ‘Call Your Senators To Confirm Sessions as U.S. Attorney General’

BELLEVUE, Wash. /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms is today encouraging its members and supporters to contact their U.S. Senators and urge them to confirm Sen. Jeff Sessions as the next United States Attorney General.

Jeff Sessions is a man who clearly understands the Second Amendment as well as the rest of the Bill of Rights,” said CCRKBA Chairman Alan Gottlieb. “He doesn’t merely ‘support’ the Second Amendment with lip service, he has defended it against erosion by anti-gunners during his Capitol Hill career.”

The Senate Judiciary Committee will take up Sessions’ nomination Tuesday morning.

“Senate confirmation of Jeff Sessions as our next Attorney General will bring about much-needed change at the Department of Justice,” Gottlieb continued. “Instead of promoting or defending schemes that impact law-abiding Americans, his track record shows that he will go after genuine criminals.

“Senator Sessions has fought proposals that sought to ban firearms,” he added, “and he also opposed the nominations of both Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court because of their anti-Second Amendment records.”

Gottlieb recently suggested that the next Attorney General appoint an assistant whose job will be to seek out and challenge state and local gun laws that infringe on the Second Amendment.

“The nation is in serious need of an attorney general who knows the difference between civil rights and criminal wrongs,” Gottlieb concluded.

The U.S. Capitol Switchboard number is (202) 224-3121. To reach your senator via e-mail, log onto http://www.senate.gov/general/contacting.htm

ABOUT THE CITIZENS COMMITTEE FOR THE RIGHT TO KEEP AND BEAR ARMS

With more than 650,000 members and supporters nationwide, the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms (www.ccrkba.org) is one of the nation’s premier gun rights organizations. As a non-profit organization, the Citizens Committee is dedicated to preserving firearms freedoms through active lobbying of elected officials and facilitating grass-roots organization of gun rights activists in local communities throughout the United States.

RELATED ARTICLES:

Black Leaders Who Support Jeff Sessions: ‘He Is a Good Man, Let That Be Heard’

The Real Reason for the Left’s All-Out Assault on Jeff Sessions

united-states-ft-lauderdale-shooting-joe-raedle-getty-640

Readers respond to the Ft. Lauderdale attack and Guns: Here are Your Answers

We asked our US readers: Is there a way to ensure terrorists can’t carry out attacks in airports while allowing legal weapons into airports?

Clarion Project asked our American readers the following question:

Is there a way in future to ensure terrorists can’t carry out attacks in airports, while allowing citizens to legally bring weapons into airports?

Here are some of the 80 answers we received.

We urge our readers to get involved in educating the public and taking political action against radical Islam. Clarion’s full-length documentaries are all available to be screened – privately, for a group in your house or at a community function.

Get involved! For more information, please contact info@clarionproject.org.

My opinion is we can’t over react to every event.  Yes, analyze if we can improve, but not at the expense of freedoms. You can’t make every pubic place risk free.

M

At the end of the day, the non-secure section(s) of an airport are no different than any other public space, such as a mall. I am not sure that protecting people in these public spaces is more important than any other.  Are travelers more important and/or more vulnerable than shoppers at malls or fans at a sporting event?

RP

Terrorists will use something else to kill if guns are banned.  

JM

Since criminals don’t obey laws, the solution is to stop the idea of these areas of the airports from being gun-free zones.

RK

One thing that would help is to allow law-abiding citizens to conceal carry handguns in such places. Had there been one or more such person when this criminal began to act, there would have been hope he would have been stopped! But, when guns are banned, criminals rule!

RK

I’m sorry but gun control is not needed, what is needed is to remove all gun-free zones. Our people can take care of themselves. When flying with checked firearms, the owner should have to pick up that firearm at an authorized location outside of baggage claim. A waiting time maybe warranted to pick up the fire arm.

JP

Good thing this didn’t happen in Dallas/Ft. Worth or anywhere in Texas where everyone in the state can carry a gun or dead would be tripled!!

CB

I’m all for our 2nd Amendment Rights, but there should be other measures put into place such as turning guns and ammo over to security. Security then places them in some secured box in the planes holding compartments. Once the individual gets to his destination, security retrieves the gun and ammo, escorts the individual out of the terminal before turning over the gun ammo. Maybe not 100% fool proof but pretty close.

MW

We are an unprotected population. The police show up after they are called to an event. I spent time in France this summer, and I saw groups of three armed guards everywhere I went. They wore camouflage uniforms and held machine guns in their hands. I felt safer there because of their presence.

CR

Ohio just enacted legal concealed carry in non-secure airport areas.   You can’t make all areas perfectly secure.   Best way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.

KK

Place officers both uniformed and plain clothes in public non-secure areas. Also, someone picking up a checked weapon should be required to leave the premises immediately under the supervision of an officer. Another solution is that all weapons should not be shipped with ammunition except those for authorized law enforcement personnel. No loaded clips, boxes etc. The airlines would love this — they could charge them more.

CS

I think it would be ok if people pick up the weapons in a secure and more controlled environment.  Maybe need to restrict the ammo.

RH

Aren’t guns brought into airports by travelers supposed to be unloaded?  And, what is the difference between a shooting at an aiport vs. a shooting at a mall? People are injured in both situations. The difference is the location.  

C

All guns and ammunition should be checked, catalogued and stored separately from other luggage. They should then be delivered to a specifically designed, security-controlled area outside the perimeter of the airport for collection by the owners.

AB

Checking guns in for travel isn’t the problem. If someone wants to shoot and terrorize at an airport, or anywhere for that matter, all they have to do is walk in the front doors and begin shooting. Criminals don’t obey regulations and certainly do not read signs prohibiting such activities. Allowing all people to carry concealed weapons in any public area would most likely have stopped such a mass shooting. shortly after the first bullet had been fired.

SF

Ft. Lauderdale baggage area is totally unprotected, totally lax. Anyone can enter from outside. Guards should be posted at all entrances. Luggage should be sealed with tape at trip outset, and the tape only allowed to be removed outside the airport, or under supervision of armed security. If the luggage contains firearms, it should be so labelled.

RA

Why not fear for shopping malls, football games, beaches, all dance halls and music venues, the grocery stores, parades, schools, starbucks and coffee bean, etc. The problem isn’t the location — it’s the people. Profile or lose America and world freedom to the ambitions of the globalist socialists who adamantly refuse to see truth because it conflicts with their ambitions.  The paranoia at airports relates to bringing down planes. But that doesn’t apply here

RX

I’d opt for not allowing weapons to be checked baggage and have people ship them to their destination in advance via Fed Ex or other common carrier.

DV

This is a no-brainer. Citizens with guns do not belong in airports, and if they want to transport firearms they can find a different, more suitable way. We need sensible and better gun control or we will continue to see these attacks.

AS

I suppose you will get many letters saying “take away all guns” and “guns kill people.” Well, Chicago has the strictest gun laws in the country and the most murders. Guns kill people.  Yes, and cars kill people.  And trucks kill people.  So… take away all cars?  Or trucks? We need an entirely new approach. What we have now is not working. 

LT

Law abiding citizens with lawfully owned firearms are guardians of the peace. You have never heard about a mass shooting at a gun show have you? These attacks always happen in “gun-free” ones only. If guns were the problem, the number of shootings in Wyoming would far surpass Chicago — as every vehicle in Wyoming has at least one firearm in it.

KS

This is an easy fix.  When my children were under age and flew alone, I paid $100 or so extra to check them in with an airline escort.  Weapons could be the same way.  Arrange beforehand to take a weapon.  Contact a contractor outside the airport.  Pay the fee and the certified contractor brings the weapon to the correct flight.  On pick up, it would be the same.  Get your weapons outside from the contractor. A little inconvenient but very secure.  Make it so that people enter the physical building after passing security.

GA

Perhaps all guns should be mailed separately.

M

I have a solution to stop any more terrorist attacks like the Ft. Lauderdale terror attack. Do not allow ammo to be checked in or transported while flying. Allow weapons only! No ammo allowed in  airports period.

JH

Banning the ability for passengers to carry firearms in checked luggage will not eliminate airport shootings.  The killer could just as easily have shot up the airport in Anchorage where he lived, or driven south with the loaded gun and shot up any other airport or public place.

B

The answer is simple, allow and especially train folks to carry in those areas. Totally eliminate “gun-free” zones, for they are magnets for those who would do us harm.

RELATED ARTICLES:

Should Parents Ransom Their Children From Terrorists?

How Edward Snowden Helped Terrorists Succeed

House Homeland Security Chair Backs Brotherhood Ban

U.S. Islamist Group: Fake Friendship with Non-Believers

EDITORS NOTE: The featured image is of a young woman running behind a police officer as they seek cover outside the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International airport after a shooting took place near the baggage claim on January 6, 2017. (Photo: © Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

bitcoin 3

What’s Truly Remarkable about Bitcoin: It Exists by Jeffrey Tucker

It was the second week of February 2013 when I first ventured a public opinion that Bitcoin is the real deal. The dollar exchange rate was at $25, on its way toward another run-up and crash that had been the pattern for two years.

I had just returned from a conference where some Bitcoiners surrounded me and force-fed me the information I needed to know. It would take another two months before I wrapped my brain around it enough to be able to write an article. But in these early days, it was enough publicly to dispense with incredulity to cause the ceiling to fall in.

To this day, I’ve never faced such a barrage of criticism. Derision, ridicule, outrage, disgust – I saw it on my feed, all of it very personal and hugely inflammatory. It was my first experience with what it is like to feel like that whole world is against you (an illusion social media specializes in creating).

And yet I completely understood why. I had been reviewing submissions on Bitcoin since 2009, and I had not been a believer either.

Money for Nothing?

How can you create money out of computer code? That struck me as absurd, a techno version of alchemy. Money had to grow out of commodities used in barter – this is what Carl Menger had proven. If Bitcoin had a value, it had to be an error, a result of clever marketing, like any Ponzi scheme. Like many observers at the time (and there weren’t that many), I had no idea about the underlying payment system (the Blockchain) or the complex history of fits and starts that led to its creation in 2008. I had read the original “white paper” but could hardly understand the language.

So, yes, I dismissed it.

Bitcoin Didn’t Care About My Theory

Groucho Marx once said: “Who you gonna believe, me or your own eyes?”

After having acquired Bitcoin and used it, I had to deal with something that became profoundly important in my own intellectual life. I had to recognize the reality of something my mind could not explain. I had been writing about money, its history and theory, since college. I thought I knew it all. Now this thing came along that blew up all my understanding. Who was I going to believe, myself or my own eyes?

I finally decided in favor of my eyes. The market had outwitted my expertise. This was a very humbling experience for me, and it taught me a lesson I hope never to forget. Never become so wrapped up in the certainty of your own opinions that you fail to look out the window and walk the streets to discover something that challenges what you think you know. It’s a Hayekian point but one that intellectuals are prone to ignore.

First Public Writing

As Bitcoin reaches the age of 7 and is again floating around an exchange rate of 1BTC to $1,000, I decided to look back at my first public writing on the topic (April 1, 2013), just to re-experience the lesson. And by the way, all credit to Max Borders (then the editor of FEE) and Lawrence Read (president of FEE) for daring to publish this piece, which defied all conventional wisdom. They were willing to take the risk on this piece, which was probably the first major article in the established free-market opinion world to say: this is real and it matters.

As I look back, I put the most important point up front:

Understanding Bitcoin requires that we understand the limits of our ability to imagine the future that the market can create for us.

Thirty years ago, for example, if someone had said that electronic text—digits flying through the air and landing in personalized inboxes owned by us all that we check at will at any time of the day or night—would eventually displace first-class mail, you might have said it was impossible.

After all, not even the Jetsons had email. Elroy brought notes home from his teacher on pieces of paper. Still, email has largely displaced first-class mail, just as texting, social networking, private messaging, and even digital vmail via voice-over-Internet are replacing the traditional telephone.

It turns out that the future is really hard to imagine, especially when entrepreneurs specialize in surprising us with innovations. The markets are always outsmarting even the most wild-eyed dreamers, and they are certainly smarter than the intellectual who keeps saying: such and such cannot happen.

It’s the same today. What if I suggested that digital money could eventually come to replace government paper money?

I then marched through the reasons for my conversion to the cause. The main one was the realization that Bitcoin reproduced a key feature of money that no previous attempt at digital money had achieved: scarcity. The algorithm assigned property rights to the units in question. At that point, this was enough for me to see that it could become money. It would take another year before I discerned its intellectual origins, and another half-year before I could intelligently explain why Bitcoin gained value in the first place.

My first article concluded:

It’s possible that Bitcoin will flop. Maybe it is just the first generation. Maybe thousands of people will lose their shirts in this first go-round. But is the digitization of money coming? Absolutely. Will there always be skeptics out there? Absolutely. But in this case, they are not in charge. Markets will do what they do, building the future whether we approve or understand it fully or not. The future will not be stopped.

And Yet, the Price Doesn’t Matter

Like many observers, I became caught up in the exchange rate madness, thinking that a higher rate confirmed my embrace while a lower rate raised doubts. In my mind, I became a cheerleader for the Bitcoin boom and correctly predicted the first price break above $1,000 (December 2013) but failed to predict the bust that followed.

In retrospect, I should have stayed focussed on my main theme that started me off on this journey. The remarkable thing about Bitcoin is not its upward trajectory in valuation, the rate of its adoption, the pace which which it made its march to the mainstream. All that comes in time, and no one is in charge of the process or pace or direction of change. The main insight I had at the time is still the right one. What’s wonderful about Bitcoin is that it exists at all.

Money for the digital age, and without the state: the concept has been proven. That’s what matters. The technology is known. It works. It represents a path for reforming the world’s monetary and legal systems. It points to a bright future.

It is all the more wonderful to consider the glorious way in which Bitcoin has outsmarted the experts, including me. And this is precisely why I adore market forces so much. No one is in charge of them. No one can consistently outthink them. Markets keep us humble. They constantly remind us that even the most astute and prescient observer can be surprised, even shocked.

I like living in such a world, one where the future is not only unknown but unknowable. That will always be true, and this is also why no one will finally gain control of it.

That is the lesson that the astonishing experience with Bitcoin teaches us.

Jeffrey Tucker

Jeffrey Tucker

Jeffrey Tucker is Director of Content for the Foundation for Economic Education. He is also Chief Liberty Officer and founder of Liberty.me, Distinguished Honorary Member of Mises Brazil, research fellow at the Acton Institute, policy adviser of the Heartland Institute, founder of the CryptoCurrency Conference, member of the editorial board of the Molinari Review, an advisor to the blockchain application builder Factom, and author of five books. He has written 150 introductions to books and many thousands of articles appearing in the scholarly and popular press.

BUSINESSMAN DROWNING IN PAPER   Original Filename: AB26186.jpg

You Will Comply: The Regulatory Menace vs. America

The regulatory hive centered in Washington, D.C., buzzes with a power and reach that even the Caesars never imagined. And they were considered gods.

Federal regulators can bankrupt companies, distort markets and shut down entire industries with their decrees — the rules that implement Congressional laws. They can also move or slow entire economies and prop up or undermine Presidents. Not good.

Here’s how it works.

Laws are often and by necessity general. The rule-writing and rule enforcement is where the power is. Regulators, lifelong employees with little accountability to the people, write the rules and enforce the rules. If you as a private citizen or a business person have the misfortune of running awry of the regulators, you have virtually no recourse.

They are all powerful. Like gods of an industry. And like all people, they are given to ideology, partisanship and self-interest.

So here is the dynamic: Ideological, partisan, all-powerful regulators write and enforce rules and are unaccountable to the people. This is why so many conservatives want deregulation, in addition to the job-creating economic boost.

Their power is really stunning. Because of that, we have the armies of lobbyists. People mistakenly think the lobbyists are only interested in persuading the politicians. Actually what they are looking for is language that will help their industry or hurt their competitors — when the regulators write the rules. They can also lobby — unofficially — the regulators themselves.

What we have seen in spurts with FDR and Nixon was a corrupting of certain federal regulators. But what we have seen in recent years is a wholesale corrupting of regulatory agencies along ideological and partisan lines. Here’s a few.

  • The U.S. Department of Justice selectively enforcing laws
  • The IRS in blocking the non-profit status of tea party and conservative organizations, thus eliminating their influence
  • The Environmental Protection Agency used on multiple levels to achieve political aims
  • The Department of Homeland Security body-patting grandma while allowing burka-covered Muslim women through in the name of multicultural correctness
  • The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency that refuses to enforce immigration laws and allows millions of people to come and live here illegally
  • The U.S. Department of Agriculture targeting of small farmers and closing down “undesirable” farmers and ranchers

Abuse by the EPA undermine Trump

And so now we come to this moment. The EPA regulators have changed the agency’s report on fracking in groundwater contamination to make it more difficult for future approvals.

In last year’s draft version, the EPA reported that there were no “widespread systematic impacts on drinking water.” That report said the number of contaminated sites was quite small compared to the number of fracking sites and concluded the impact to be minimal. Good for the fracking industry, jobs, energy costs and energy independence.

However, that did not make the anti-fracking environmentalists happy, and those conclusions are now gone from the final report that just came out — one month before the new president is sworn in. Now the same EPA — based on the same data — reports that there is not enough evidence to dismiss the water contamination threat and says more vaguely that fracking activities “can impact drinking water resources under some circumstances.”

This is regulatory abuse at its clearest, because it is supposedly relying on scientific evidence to tweak the wording. But what it does is empower regulators to deny permits, allow stronger legal challenges to fracking and, probably most specifically, undermines Trump’s stated desire to open up more fracking to create American jobs and energy independence.

Abuse by the Fed undermine Trump

The Federal Reserve manipulates interest rates to spur the economy or try to slow it. The supposedly politically independent organization has kept interest rates at record lows for almost the entire Obama presidency. Obviously the economy needed all the help it could get, and it still wasn’t enough.

But interestingly, right before Trump takes office the Fed is planning a rapid series of rate increases. Either the Fed leadership knows exactly which policies goose the economy (Trump’s, not Obama’s) or they are actively trying to undermine a Trump recovery.

We never know what is going on inside of the secretive Fed, but given that Fed Chairwoman Janet Yellin chaired Bill Clinton’s Council of Economic Advisors and was appointed to the Fed’s top seat by Obama, who appoints fellow ideologues, it seems likely that it is not suddenly a clear view of what is good for the economy. If that is right, then this is another abuse of one of the most powerful and unaccountable of regulators.

This will not be the end of the Regulatory State’s attempts to undermine Trump at every turn. We saw this regularly in the Bush Administration, particularly in the State Department.

Americans should not have to fear the federal government and whatever local regulators show up at the door. But many do. And virtually all businesses do. Now, Republican presidents also must deal with the menace.

This needs to stop. But that will be a Herculean task, requiring a commitment to substantially reducing the size and scope of the federal government through agency elimination and deep funding cuts.

northwestern-univirsity-protest

How Bad is the Neo-Antisemitism on American Campuses?

Our review of the Americans for Peace and Tolerance documentary, Hates Spaces:  The Politics of Intolerance on American Campuses raised the question of how extensive is the problem of the New Antisemitism. Moreover with the recent US abstention on UN Security Council  adoption of Resolution  2334 how might  the strident  anti-Zionism  messages exacerbate the problems  of Anti-Israelism, Antisemitism  and  Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions on American university campuses.

We saw in our review of Hate Spaces that hate mongering of Israel and Jewish students has been fostered by Palestinian and Muslim Brotherhood groups connected to the US designated terrorist organization Hamas, Muslim Students Association  (MSA) and Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP). They have been abetted by progressive academic associations and even anti-Zionist groups like Jewish Voice for Peace and J Street that alleges it is “pro-peace, pro-Israel.”

Moreover, administrations at many higher education institutions are caught in the dilemma of trying to prevent disruption and threats to Jewish and non-Jewish students  by the abuse of traditional academic freedom and free speech standards. Further, as we shall see adoption of state and even federal standards of what constitutes Anti-Zionism  as Anti-Semitism have failed  to  stop the  atmosphere of intolerance on  American campuses.   That may result in draconian measures possibly violating Supreme Court rulings on so-called ‘protected speech’.  This article will provide   background that  might determine how much worse  the hostile environment  could  become  for  Jewish students on  many  American campuses and  the seeming  difficulty  in the academy to alleviate it.

Spike in Israel Hate and Antisemitism across U.S. College Campuses

AMCHA Initiative, the leading NGO focused on campus Antisemitism, in a recent report identified more than 600 incidents at the top 100 American campuses; an increase of 45 percent over the same period in 2015.  AMCHA was co-founded in 2011 by Tammi Rossman-Benjamin , a Hebrew  Language lecturer at the University of  California Santa Cruz and  UCLA professor emeritus Leila Beckwith “ to investigate, document, educate about, and combat Antisemitism at institutions of higher education in the United States.”  AMCHA, “Hebrew for ‘your people’, sought to adopt protocols for defining as discriminatory anti-Zionism as Antisemitism.  The AMCHA report attributed this increase to:

The suppression of Jewish students’ freedom of speech and assembly doubled, while calls for Israel’s elimination tripled. The calls and acts opposing Israel’s right to exist were found to be highly correlated with behavior that targeted Jewish students for harm.amcha-logo

Underlying this spike in campus Antisemitic intolerance, she said was:

The presence of three factors — anti-Zionist student groups; faculty who support boycotts of Israel; and pro-Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) activity — are “each strong predictors of anti-Jewish hostility.”

The target Rossman – Benjamin says is: “Jewish students …whether they actually support Israel or not. Their support is presumed just based on the fact that they are Jewish.”

The 50 Worst Universities for Jewish Students

A Brandeis University report released in October 2016 identified the top 50 American University “hotspots”. Among the top 10 were Brooklyn College of the City University of New York, Northwestern University, and the several University of California campuses at Irvine, Los Angeles, Berkeley and Davis. Here are examples of Israel hatred and Antisemitism cited by Jewish students:

Rutgers University in New Jersey

Members of the SJP “stood in front of the dining hall wearing white shirts with red ‘blood’ splattered across them. They had signs saying ‘this is what the Jews did to us.’ I felt extremely harassed; even though it was not personally directed at me, when I stood there I saw complete hatred that they had to all of the Jews walking by. There were even some people, a part of SJP, shouting profanities and giving the middle finger to the Jews that were just standing next to them.”

Northeastern University

A junior said campus life became “unsafe” when “a group on campus put eviction notices on the dorm room doors of Jewish people.” The incident, and others like it, was reported in the press to be the work of SJP members.

Ohio State

A woman student opened her door “to see my next-door neighbor drawing a swastika on my door.”

The special case of the University of California at Irvine

Perhaps the worst case of anti–Israel and Jewish hatred has occurred on the University of California at Irvine over the past decade. Unfortunately, it had been abetted by the former head of the local Orange County Jewish Federation.  An affiliate foundation of the Federation financed a program called the Olive Tree Initiative that brought students in a supposed ‘accidental’ contact with a Hamas Palestinian legislative leader in 2009 in the west bank. Local Orange County Jewish community activists found themselves under attack creating counter marches during MSU Israeli Apartheid Awareness Weeks that featuring notoriously Antisemitic speakers like Malik Ali.

In February 2010, MSU students from both UC Irvine and UC Riverside disrupted a speech being given by former Israeli Ambassador to the US, Michael Oren. That brought charges by the Orange County District Attorney against 11 MSU members of heckling under California laws. The trial resulted in convictions of 10 MSU members and a year’s suspension by the university, subsequently reduced to one term.

Over the past six years we have written and interviewed Jewish students at UC Irvine regarding MSU/SJP disruption of campus Israeli Independence Day events. On May 18, 2016, another disruption by the SJP chapter, Jewish Voice for Peace and Black Student groups occurred at UC Irvine. They were objecting to a showing of an Israeli film, “Behind the Helmet” about IDF soldiers, two of whom were present, at an event sponsored by Students Supporting Israel. The SJP –led protesters blockaded the exit, verbally assaulted the audience with anti-Israel and Antisemitic epithets that required campus police to escort attendees from the SSI event.  Chancellor Gilman released a statement condemning the SJP-led disruption:

A group of protesters reportedly disrupted the event, blocking exit paths. Participants feared for their safety, calling on our police force for assistance. While this university will protect freedom of speech, that right is not absolute. As I mentioned in a campus message at the beginning of the academic year (freespeech.uci.edu), threats, harassment, incitement and defamatory speech are not protected. We must shelter everyone’s right to speak freely – without fear or intimidation – and allow events to proceed without disruption and potential danger.

He referred the matter to the office of the Orange County District Attorney for review of  campus police incident reports and statements of eyewitnesses that found no basis for criminal charges.

Notwithstanding in August 2016, the UC Irvine Office of Student Conduct found that the SJP chapter violated university policy. A  Los Angeles Times  August 18, 2016  report noted “university policy prohibits “obstruction or disruption of teaching, research, administration, disciplinary procedures or other university activities.”  The SJP chapter at UC Irvine will be required to undertake a so-called “power meeting” on conduct of protests.  An UC Irvine spokesperson Cathy Lawson said:

The program is designed to help SJP members “better understand how to host constructive events and protests if they want to protest and add to the conversation, rather than detract from it.” The written warning, she said, puts SJP on notice through March 2017 that its behavior is under increased scrutiny and that another violation could lead to harsher consequences.

Office of Student Conduct head Parham noted in an email:  “We support and defend groups exercising free speech and assembly, yet we must protect everyone’s right to express themselves without disruption. This is a bedrock principle of our university.”

amcha-coalition-at-the-university-of-california-board-of-regents

AMCHA coalition at the University of California Board of Regents, March 23, 2016.

So what’s being done about the problem?

On March 23, 2016, AMCHA co-founder, Tammi  Rossman-Benjamin,  backed by Jewish community leaders ,  was successful  in having the Regents of the California University System adopt hate speech standards, specifically addressing the various forms of  campus  Antisemitism.   Leaders and Representatives included AMCHA Initiative, Bruins for Israel, Iranian American Jewish Federation, Proclaiming Justice to the Nations, Simon Wiesenthal Center, StandWithUs, Students Supporting Israel at UCLA, Zionist Organization of America, UC Students, UC Professors, and concerned UC Alumni testified at the UC Regents Meeting.  Rossman-Benjamin in a statement wrote:

The vote, with the inclusion of the condemnation of Antisemitic forms of anti-Zionism, represents a new direction in administration addressing modern Antisemitism.  We are incredibly proud of this achievement. It was a challenging journey to arrive at this point, one that required the persistence of AMCHA, our extraordinary at-will coalition partners, students, activists, alumni and supporters.

The Board of Regents adopted an anti-discrimination protocol that included “anti-Zionism” such as BDS, as long as the matter was deemed “Antisemitic”.

The reality following this remarkable achievement in California was that the MSA and SJP were allowed to carry out their annual Israel Apartheid Awareness and anti-BDS campaigns on university system campuses, including the May 18, 2016 disruption at UC Irvine.

Swastika vandalism breaks out on campuses after Presidential Election

Following the electoral victory of Donald Trump there was a spike of Antisemitic Swastika vandalism on college campuses across America reported by The Algemeiner:

At Northwestern University in Illinois, two anti-Trump freshmen — one of them Jewish — spray-painted a swastika, images portraying genitals and anti-gay and racist slurs, alongside the president-elect’s name, on the wall of a non-denominational campus chapel.

At the University of Mississippi, a swastika was found in a residence hall elevator. According to a report in the student newspaper The Daily Mississippian, it was the “fourth instance [on campus] since Election Day.”

At the American University in Washington, DC, a swastika next to the phrase “Go Trump” was discovered on a classroom wall. According to the student newspaper The Eagle, students later modified it to look like an octagon, and changed the words to “Go Drumpf,” adding the words “peace” and “love” to the graffiti. The incident came on the heels of an anti-Trump protest on campus, during which students burned American flags.

At Franklin & Marshall College in Pennsylvania, a Star of David with a swastika drawn in its center was found in a classroom.

In Indiana, a swastika was discovered drawn on a dry erase board hanging outside of a dorm room door at Earlham College. “This act was completely reprehensible and totally unacceptable,” the school’s president said in a statement.

In Oregon, Reed College students found Antisemitic, racist and homophobic graffiti — such as a swastika surrounded by a circle alongside the phrase “White is right” — on the wall of a bathroom at the school’s library.

That prompted Aviva Slomish, International Campus Director for Boston-based Middle East Media watchdog CAMERA to call on university officials to “denounce these episodes and thoroughly investigate and punish the offenders.”

In early December 2016, a Rutgers Jewish student, Avi Kulich was interviewed by The Tab about the continuing threats on the New Jersey campus in the wake of this swastika vandalism.  His comments underline the increasingly hostile campus environment towards Israel and Jews graphically portrayed in Hate Spaces:

Students for Justice for Palestine are pretty big on campus. And at virtually every left-wing protest Israel manages to get mentioned somehow.

I think they see Jews as both benefiting from white privilege and as complicit in so-called Palestinian ‘suffering.’ Most of this is based on misinformation and lies and they have no issue supporting groups like Hamas that expressly call for extermination of Jews.

People like to pretend they’re just ‘anti-Zionist’ and not ‘Antisemitic,’ but Israel is a Jewish state and Zionism is the effort to have a Jewish state in their ancestral homeland.

[…]

It’s blatant Antisemitic blood libel. Most anti-Israel rhetoric is tinged with Antisemitism.

Abusing Free Speech – the Dilemma Facing American Universities

On December 1, 2016, the US Senate unanimously passed the “Antisemitism Awareness Act”.  Final passage of the companion House version awaits the start of the 115th Congress on January 3, 2017. The legislation “expands the Department of Education’s definition of Antisemitism to include problematic criticism that ‘demonizes’ and ‘delegitimizes’ Israel or applies a ‘double standard’ against the Jewish state.”   The effort to rein in Antisemitic speech by Muslim Brotherhood affiliated groups on American campuses runs into existing Supreme Court rulings allowing protected speech under the 1969 ruling in the Brandenburg v State of Ohio matter involving a KKK leader. The dilemma that many university administrators face is barring campus  protests that violate academic freedom and  ‘protected speech’ standards. Barring disruption of free speech events and threatening physical harm are matters about which  university administrations have established policies.  However  preserving  free speech  on campus  some critics believe, as expressed in a recent Wall Street Journal exchange of letters, “shields campus free-speech intimidators.”

The trigger for the WSJ letters was a December 16, 2016, op-ed by UC Irvine Law School dean Erwin Chemeresky and Chancellor Robert Gilman, “A Bill to Police Campus Speech.”  Their  argument is that  the changes in the definition of what constitutes Antisemitic campus speech runs  afoul of First

Amendment ‘protected speech’.  They concluded:

To put the point simply: Congress should not pass legislation that requires a government agency to monitor and respond to political speech—even if that speech ‘demonizes’ Israel or any other country.

We agree that the problem of anti-Semitism on campus and in society generally, is real and ought to be addressed. There are many steps colleges can take. They should ensure that Jewish and pro-Zionist students are included and that the proud expression of Jewish identity on campus is welcomed. Universities should make clear that attempts to disrupt events organized by Jewish or pro-Israel students will not be tolerated. Campus leaders should speak out against hateful speech, and they can react swiftly to any actual threats, harassment or destruction of property.

But the solution most despised by the Constitution is for Congress to pass a law that threatens universities and speakers merely because of the views being expressed. The Antisemitism Awareness Act is troubling because it seems to do precisely that.

One critical letter writer to the editor of the WSJ, pointed out that Dean Chemeresky had violated his own principal in the matter of a fee imposed on the campus Young Republican for bringing in anti-PC gadfly Milo Yiannopoulous alt-right speaker.  That , the letter writer suggested violated the 1992 Supreme Court ruling in the Forsyth County  case banning so-called “pay to speak”  The argument being that “UC Irvine penalizes those who engage in speech.” Noting that Dean Chemeresky had defended the convicted MSU 10 students who “criminally disrupted” the speech  of former  Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren on campus at UC Irvine in 2010.

Conclusion:

Perhaps the answer lies in adopting federal standards regarding Antisemitic hate speech protocols modeled on that adopted by the Board of Regents of the University of California system.  A more drastic step may be the adoption of legislation designating the Muslim Brotherhood  affiliates in the U.S. as terrorist organizations.  That in the opinion of some Trump advisers might stop the anti-Israel and Antisemitic activities of Muslim Brotherhood affiliates on college campuses.

The matter of addressing the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign against Israel was taken up in model state legislation  developed by  Professor Eugene Kontorovich of  Northwestern University’s  Pritzker School of Law and promoted by the Washington, DC –based Israel Allies Foundation. To date 14 states have passed the anti-BDS legislation, the latest being signed into law by Ohio Governor John Kasich.  We will see if any of these initiatives come to fruition in 2017.  In the meantime, the SJP is seeking to establish chapters at high schools across the country.

Parents of college students  concerned about the potential spike in New Antisemitic  incidents on American campuses  might keep a watching brief by periodically checking with the AMCHA Initiative Antisemitism Tracker.  Another  useful  source is the Algemeiner report on the 2016 40 worst American universities hostile to Jewish Students.

israel-star-of-david-palestinian-flag

Donald J. Trump and the Death of the Two-State Solution

President Obama has set the stage for President-elect Donald J. Trump to pivot away from a two-state solution between Israel and the Palestinians to a one-state solution policy.

How is this possible?

Sandy Tolan, in her article The Death of the Two-State Solution, writes:

Washington has finally thrown in the towel on its long, tortured efforts to establish peace between Israel and the Palestinians. You won’t find any acknowledgement of this in the official record. Formally, the U.S. still supports a two-state solution to the conflict. But the Obama administration’s recent 10-year, $38-billion pledge to renew Israel’s arsenal of weaponry, while still ostensibly pursuing “peace,” makes clear just how bankrupt that policy is.

For two decades, Israeli leaders and their neoconservative backers in this country, hell-bent on building and expanding settlements on Palestinian land, have worked to undermine America’s stated efforts — and paid no price. Now, with that record weapons package, the U.S. has made it all too clear that they won’t have to. Ever.

Read more…

Given the reality on the ground and the failure since 1967 to negotiate a two-state solution President-elect Trump has a historic opportunity to reverse U.S. policy in the Middle East, starting with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The Began-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies in a white paper UNSCR 2334: A Sad Disservice to the Cause of Peace by Col. (res.) Dr. Eran Lerman concludes:

In four respects, UNSCR 2334 undermines the prospects of Israeli-Palestinian peace and threatens what little regional stability is left. First, it could force Israel to fall back on its powerful legal position as the only existing legal inheritor of the British Mandate. Second, it compounds the error made by Obama’s transition team even before he came to power of ignoring a written commitment of a US president. Third, it has placed Sisi’s government in Egypt – a keystone of regional stability – in an untenable position. Fourth and most painfully, it will make it far more complicated – if not impossible – for the Palestinian leadership, enticed by the prospect of international coercion, to accept a reasonable compromise. The New Zealanders, do-gooders with a very dim understanding of what they have wrought, can be forgiven such folly. The Obama administration has no such excuses.

Read more…

Jews have lived in Judea and Samaria—the West Bank—since ancient times. The only time Jews have been prohibited from living in the territories in recent decades was during Jordan’s rule from 1948 to 1967.

Numerous legal authorities dispute the charge that settlements are “illegal.” Stephen Schwebel, formerly President of the International Court of Justice, notes that a country acting in self-defense may seize and occupy territory when necessary to protect itself. Schwebel also observes that a state may require, as a condition for its withdrawal, security measures designed to ensure its citizens are not menaced again from that territory.

According to Eugene Rostow, a former Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs in the Johnson Administration, Resolution 242 gives Israel a legal right to be in the West Bank. The resolution, Rostow noted, “Israel is entitled to administer the territories” it won in 1967 until ‘‘a just and lasting peace in the Middle East’’ is achieved.

Though critical of Israeli policy, the United States does not consider settlements illegal.

End the two-state solution and it will have a ripple effect across the Middle East.

In an The Algemeiner column titled “Trump Announces Next US Envoy to Jewish State Will Be Attorney David Friedman, Who Says He Looks Forward to Working From ‘Israel’s Eternal Capital, Jerusalem’” Barney Breen-Portnoy writes:

In a pre-election interview with The Algemeiner in early November, Friedman said that a Trump administration would not expect Israel to uproot its citizens who now live in the West Bank and east Jerusalem as part of any future peace deal with the Palestinians.

“It is inconceivable there could be a mass evacuation on that magnitude, in the unlikely event that there was an otherwise comprehensive peace agreement,” Friedman said. “It makes no sense for Judea and Samaria to be ‘Judenrein [void of Jews],’ any more than it makes sense for Israel to be ‘Arabrein [void of Arabs].’ It’s not fair.”

[ … ]

Friedman went on: “The critical thing is to recognize that there is not going to be any progress on a Palestinian state until the Palestinians renounce violence and accept Israel as a Jewish state. Until that happens, there is really nothing to talk about in terms of a political process.”

What a Trump administration would not do, Friedman said, “is put its finger on the scale and try to force Israel into a particular outcome, but rather will support Israel in reaching its own conclusion about how to best achieve peace with its neighbors.”

Read more…

Some, like Amos Yadlin from the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS) , still cling to the idea of a two-state solution. Yadlin in his INSS article Security Council Resolution 2334 and a Strategy for Israel writes:

In the final days of 2016, it is more important to look ahead than to engage in a retrospective analysis of the events that led to Resolution 2334. Preparations must be made with the aims of minimizing the negative impact of this resolution and formulating a more suitable policy for Israel, considering the difficult political situation that the resolution has created.

What will minimize the “negative impact of this [UN] resolution”? Donald J. Trump. Yadlin suggests, “[I]t would be advisable for Israel to adopt a proactive strategy that is based on understandings with the United States. Israel could present a proposal to the Trump administration for a proactive Israeli initiative that involves practical actions to shape an improved reality. Israel must successfully resist the contentions that the settlements are the obstacle to peace…”

The two-state solution is dead. Long live the one-state solution.

i_luv_islam6

Islam is the Problem

“Islam is not the problem,” proclaims the Left. And if you say otherwise, you’re a “racist,” even though “Muslim” is not a race. Yet a fact remains: virtually all the world’s terrorists today claim Islamic motivations. So if Islam (belief) is not the problem, are we then left with a genetic explanation for this violence? Is there something inherent in the groups generally embracing Islam — Arabs, Persians, Punjabis, etc. — that would account for it? And, hey, I’m just asking; it’s the liberals who profess ideas suggesting this possibility.

Consider: When analyzing WWII and Germany, few claim the problem was Germans, but Nazism. When looking at 1917 Russia, we don’t say the problem was Russians, but Marxism. So fill in the blank: when evaluating the Muslim world and its violence, do we assume the problem is the people or _____?

Then there are other explanations for Muslim violence, all of which amount to Islamsplainin’. Poverty is one, but the Muslim world is not uniquely poor. There are many millions of poor Catholics in South America, Africa and elsewhere; and hundreds of millions of poor Hindus in India. Yet they aren’t committing terrorist acts. And Osama bin Laden was worth $125 million.

Another excuse is U.S. “meddling” in Muslim nations’ affairs; our taking Israel’s side in the Mideast is always Exhibit A. But there’s simply no good correlation between American interventionism and Muslim violence. Many nations and regions, such as Nigeria, Kashmir, Sudan, Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso and Mali, have problems with Islamic terrorism in the absence of a Yankee hand.

In fact, it isn’t unusual for Muslim nations to occupy 8 spots on a list of the world’s 10 most dangerous countries (examples found here and here). It also isn’t unusual for a non-Muslim nation in the top 10 to be a country such as North Korea or Central African Republic, the latter of which is 15 percent Muslim. This is no surprise, mind you, if we’re to believe a comprehensive German study of 45,000 youths that was reported in 2010. It found that while increasing religiosity among the Christian youths made them less violent, increasing religiosity among the Muslim youths actually made them more violent.

When evaluating Islam and seeking to understand such phenomena, a simple but important point is never made. Christians may use as a guide for behavior, “What would Jesus do?” (WWJD); likewise, Muslims view Mohammed as a role model, considering him “the Perfect Man.” But there is a difference.

I’ve heard leftists diminish Jesus, saying things such as He wasn’t divine, He never existed, we don’t know anything about Him, He had brothers and that He was married. What I’ve never heard them say — it might have been uttered but is rare enough to have eluded my ears — is that He wasn’t a good man. This is why instead of condemning Jesus, un-Christian movements will often seek to co-opt His story for their own purposes, as the Nazis did with their so-called “Positive Christianity.” That’s how unassailable Jesus is as a model for behavior.

What of Mohammed? He was a warlord who launched close to 30 military campaigns, many of which he led himself. He was a caravan raider (a bandit) and captured, traded in and owned slaves (note: will liberals suggest slave-owning Mohammed be diminished, as they have sought to erase our founders’ memory?). He ordered massacres, used torture and had dissidents assassinated. He was a polygamist and made it lawful for masters to have sexual relations with their female captives. Mohammad also wasn’t very fond of dogs, an attitude begetting their mistreatment in the Islamic world (warning: last three links are disturbing).

One could quip here, if the dog is man’s best friend and Mohammad hated dogs, was he really part of the family of man? But, in fairness and as I’ll acknowledge, as with Attila the Hun, Genghis Khan or Tamerlane, Mohammad was largely a man of his time and place. And I’d be happy to let him rest in peace and put his memory to bed — except for one thing: more than a billion people worldwide won’t. This brings us to that seldom heard point.

If someone said Attila the Hun, Genghis Khan or Tamerlane was “the Perfect Man” and used him as his role model, would you turn your back on that person?

This factor’s significance cannot be overstated. It’s well known that a child’s role models — the examples set for him — are more significant than mere teaching; virtues (and vices) are caught more than they’re taught. This is also true with the “children of a larger growth.” Thus, when analyzing Islam, people may be overemphasizing Mohammad’s teachings and underemphasizing his example. Tell me who your role models are, and I’ll tell you who you are.

Note also that modeling after Mohammad isn’t just like admiration for George Washington or Thomas Jefferson, which would wisely be tempered with the knowledge that they were, like everyone else, humans with flaws. For there simply is no room for criticism of a “Perfect Man,” no way to say “Alright, I’ll take the good he did and run with it and ignore the bad.” If a perfect man does something, it cannot be bad. So if much of the Islamic world appears mired in a medieval mentality, it could be because they’re modeling after a medieval man.

Yet what mainly plagues us is not Muslims’ enslavement to misbegotten ideas, but our own. For example, many Westerners cannot open their minds to the possibility that any religion could be a destructive force because they’re in the grip of a destructive force themselves: Religious Equivalence Doctrine, which holds as dogma that all faiths are morally equal.

Some may say a solution to this is, as they put it, to “realize Islam is not a religion.” I hope these people will read the following with an open mind, because I believe this is a misguided notion that itself is dangerous.

The idea is thought to have utility: declassify Islam as a religion and rob it of First Amendment protection. Yet how much good would this do? The amendment also guarantees freedom of speech and allows even secular beliefs such as Nazism and Marxism to be promoted. All the proposal could really do is remove Islam’s tax-free status.

The idea is destructive, too, because it appears predicated on the assumption that a “religion” would have to be good or prescriptive of peace. (In reality, many if not most religions in history, such as that of the human-sacrificing Aztecs, don’t meet that standard.) Yet this notion strays mighty close to Religious Equivalence Doctrine, which is corruptive because since different faiths espouse different values, not all faiths can be equal unless all values are. This is moral relativism, which has some serious implications.

For example, what differentiates different ideologies is also that they espouse different values. Yet if all values were equal, we couldn’t say that conservatism was any better than Nazism or Marxism. We rightly don’t believe this, of course, and we should apply the same standard to “religion.” To wit: religion isn’t bad, but there is bad religion.

In other words, if we refuse to make qualitative distinctions among religions — any group of religions — it implies that qualitative differences among values or value sets don’t exist. This would mean tolerance could be no better than intolerance, Christianity no better than Islam, and good will toward men no better than jihad.

Delving deeper, however, the truth is that, in the most important sense, the secular/religious distinction is a false one. Consider: If God exists, is it more significant that we label belief in Him “religious” or that it’s true? If Marxism is essentially a lie, is it more significant that we label it “secular” or that it’s untrue? The most important distinction, the only one that really matters, is the true and the untrue.

(Note: because we’ve lost sight of this, our courts now essentially say that Christianity cannot be in government schools but Marxism can. Ponder that.)

In the final analysis, people believe things. Some of those things are good and some of those things are bad. Some awfully bad things are believed by a large number of people today. If we want to survive, we’d better recognize what those things are and who promotes them — and act accordingly.

Contact Selwyn Duke, follow him on Twitter or log on to SelwynDuke.com

RELATED ARTICLES:

Islamists Attack Christmas, but Europeans Abolish It

‘The Crescent Must be Above the Cross’: Muslim Persecution of Christians 2016

CHRISTIAN WORSHIP IS ‘WORSE THAN MURDER AND BLOODSHED’: Another Islamic teaching behind the slaughter of Christians

anis-amri

Muslim illegal migrant wanted for Berlin slaughter was jailed 4 years in Italy; police lost him

Why was he allowed into Germany at all? Because it would have been “Islamophobic” to keep him out. Why did police lose him after he was arrested three times? Because there are so many young Muslim men like Anis Amri, young men who could be jihad threats, that German authorities simply can’t keep up with them all. Thus it is madness for them to admit even more, but Merkel seems hell-bent on doing so anyway.

“Revealed: Tunisian asylum seeker wanted for Berlin massacre was jailed for four years in Italy for burning down a school and arrested three times in Germany before police lost him,” by Allan Hall, Martin Robinson and Julian Robinson, MailOnline, December 21, 2016 (thanks to Mike):

The Tunisian terror suspect wanted in connection with the Berlin Christmas market atrocity spent four years in an Italian jail before moving to Germany, his father revealed today.

Anis Amri settled in Italy after leaving his hometown of Tataouine, Tunisia seven years ago to travel to Europe as an illegal immigrant, his father claimed in a radio interview.

Amri, who has a €100,000 reward on his head, spent four years in an Italian jail after burning down a school before leaving the country for Germany last year.

Since then the 23-year-old has been arrested at least three times but German authorities have allowed the him to slip through their clutches time after time – even though Amri has been identified as an ISIS supporter known to have received weapons training.

He had been under covert for much of the time since his arrival in Germany last year.

Security forces exchanged information as recently as last month that allegedly tied Amri to Islamic extremists, Fox News reported.

And in June German authorities reportedly tried to deport Amri after learning he was plotting a ‘serious act of violent subversion’, a source told the Washington Post.

Amri even tried to recruit an accomplice for a terror plot – and again the authorities knew about it – but still he remained at large, it has emerged.

It is understood, Amri has used at least six different names under three different nationalities.

Berlin prosecutors announced they had launched an investigation into Amri on March 14 after receiving a tip-off from federal security agencies.

It was claimed, Amri was planning a string of break-ins or robberies to purchase automatic weapons for use in a terror attack.

Surveillance showed that Amri was involved in drug dealing in a Berlin park and involved in a bar brawl, but no evidence to substantiate the original warning. The observation was called off in September.

He arrived in Germany in July 2015 and was given a hearing by immigration authorities in April this year. He was denied the right to asylum and was due to be deported before the end of the year.

But under a peculiarity of the German asylum system he was granted a ‘Duldung’ or toleration papers allowing him to stay for unknown reasons.

According to BILD newspaper the German authorities were in touch with their Tunisian counterparts to get him a passport so he could be kicked out. But Tunis said it had no record of him being a citizen.

Tunisia has now been accused of delaying his extradition as it emerged that new ID papers had only just arrived in Germany today – two days after the carnage.

Amri was put on a danger list shortly after arriving – a move which meant authorities considered him prone to extreme violence. Yet just how much surveillance he was under remains unclear.

In July this year he got into a knife fight over drugs and was charged with GBH. But he went underground before getting to court.

Yet he surfaced again in August in Ludwigsburg when he was arrested for possessing a fake Italian document. Again, why he was allowed to slip through the fingers of the security services, given his known affiliation to hate preachers, is unclear.

Before his vanishing act he had contact with Salafist preachers who promoted Jihad among German young men who converted to Islam….

RELATED ARTICLES:

Italian girl converts to Islam, joins the Islamic State: “I can’t wait to die as a martyr”

Germany: Police chiefs warn of “further significant attacks”

thumbs-up

Advertising agencies ‘confidence high heading into 2017’ — Digital Video gains over TV

CHICAGO, IL /PRNewswire/ — According to a fourth quarter survey of advertising agencies conducted by STRATA, a Comcast company, confidence among agencies heading into 2017 is high. Forty-three percent of agencies report that their business will increase in the first quarter of 2017, while only 11% expect a decrease. Forty-two percent of respondents anticipate the need for additional staff next year, and not a single agency reports plans to reduce staff sizes. This comes in contrast to Q2 this year, which found that the rate of hires was decreasing, and concerns over needing to reduce staff sizes were increasing rapidly.

When asked what the biggest challenges ahead were, 51% stated that their biggest concern was expanding their client roster, followed by determining the right media mix (22%). Only 13% of agencies felt that client retention was their chief concern, reflecting confidence in existing relationships.

The fourth quarter survey found video advertising remains the dominant focus, with 34% of agencies noting their clients’ primary focus was local TV & cable. For the first time the survey’s history, digital video claimed the second spot, with 27% of agencies responding that it was their primary focus, a 79% increase over the previous year. Display advertising, previously in the second spot, fell to third with 15% reporting it as their clients’ main focus.

“At the end of a year that could be defined as turbulent, if nothing else, one of the upsides we’re seeing is the swift reversal in agency outlook and confidence. Earlier this year, we found that agencies had major concerns about budgets and revenue, but we’re now seeing much more optimism heading into 2017,” said Judd Rubin, vice president at Strata. “We’re excited to see how this new confidence impacts advertising strategies next year. Local and cable video continue to be the top focus, but digital video is increasingly coming to the forefront. With mobile advertising and rapidly growing social players like Snapchat also making strides, 2017 could prove to be a very exciting year.”

Though only 6% of agencies report plans to allocate between 26-50% of their budgets to paid social, that’s an increase of 321% compared to the first quarter this year. A majority of agencies report that paid social media accounts for the smallest portion of their budget (0-5%), and 18% percent of agencies noted that it accounted for 11-25% of their budget, an 80% increase over last year.

In terms of which platforms agencies are using in social campaigns, Facebook remains dominant, with 94% planning to use the social network. YouTube, Instagram, and Twitter reclaim their second, third, and fourth spots, respectively. Though Snapchat remains sixth, more than 20% of agencies now plan to use the messaging app, a 58% increase from the second quarter in 2016.

Heading into 2017, responses also indicate increased appetite for programmatic buying options. Thirty-six percent of agencies report that they will be allocating 10-20% of their budgets to programmatic purchasing, a 33% increase over Q2. Another 27% plan to dedicate 20-40% of their budgets to programmatic, up 43% compared to Q2. The percentage of agencies refraining from programmatic buying decreased as 24% of agencies report that they will not devote any of their budget to programmatic, a 39% decrease from Q2.

About STRATA

The solutions that STRATA provides empowers clients to buy and sell all media types including cable, broadcast, newspaper, radio, outdoor and digital advertising mediums. On average, over $50 Billion in advertising dollars flow through STRATA systems per year. As the system of choice for over 1,000 agencies in the United States, STRATA provides media technology that enables organizations to lead rather than react to industry developments.  By transforming the way advertisements are placed and tracked, STRATA adds a new level of transparency to campaigns that is necessary in the ever-evolving media world. STRATA is a Comcast Platform Services company. For more information, visit www.gotostrata.com.

RELATED ARTICLE: Trump Wins Again – Lockheed CEO Gives “Personal Commitment” To Cut F-35 Costs “Aggressively”

us-student-visa

Foreign Student Visas: Educating America’s Adversaries

Guess who Obama’s State Department issues hundreds of thousands of student visas to?

It has been said that if you give a man a fish you will feed him for a day, but if you teach him how to fish, you will feed him for a lifetime.  This simple saying illustrates how important training/education is.

Incredibly, the United States’ immigration policies formulated by the Obama administration welcome hundreds of thousands of Chinese STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) students into our nation’s premier universities while it is clear that China demonstrates hostility to the United States acting not as a partner, but rather as an adversary.

Chinese computer hackers attack computers in the United States as a matter of routine. The obvious question is how many of those Chinese computer hackers may have been trained and educated in the United States.

China’s recent theft of a U.S. Navy drone in the South China Sea underscores this hostility as do the arrest of numerous spies operating on behalf of China to steal America’s military and industrial secrets.

Not surprisingly, China has offered to return the drone while President-Elect Donald Trump has been quoted as saying that China can keep that drone.

China may have had two reasons for its illegal action.  It is clearly attempting to demonstrate that it has unilateral control over the strategically important South China Sea although this claim is not based on law or fact.  Additionally, China has an obvious interest in America’s military technology.  By now China’s engineers have had ample opportunity to study the design of the drone and, perhaps, has managed to embed technology within the drone that would continue to provide intelligence about the use of that drone.

The U.S. Navy’s underwater drones seem to have drawn particular interest by China’s military.  In fact, on April 22, 2016 Newsweek reported, “Chines Spy In Florida Sent Drone Parts To China For Military.”

On April 14, 2016 Newsweek published a report about a naturalized United States citizen, Edward Lin, who had joined the U.S. Navy only, allegedly, to be able to spy on the Navy.  I cannot help but wonder if his application for citizenship had been more effectively scrutinized if his alleged disloyalty to the United States could have been uncovered sooner.

That report, “Accused Navy Spy Edward Lin Had Friends In Sensitive Places” began with the following:

Edward Lin, the U.S. Navy officer suspected of spying for China and Taiwan, had scores of friends in sensitive places, if the number of contacts who “endorsed” him for military and security “skills” on LinkedIn, the professional networking site, is any guide.

Among those who endorsed Lin, a Taiwan-born officer assigned to a highly classified naval air reconnaissance unit in Hawaii until his secret arrest last year, are senior Taiwanese military officers and a Beijing-based venture capitalist specializing in “mobile internet applications and mobile games,” according to their LinkedIn bios. His American endorsers on the site include the second in command at the U.S. Naval Air Station, Guantanamo; the U.S. Pacific Fleet’s senior political-military analyst on Southeast Asia; a Navy congressional liaison officer; and fellow former aviators in his reconnaissance squad, including one now working at the Northrop Grumman Electromagnetic Systems Laboratory in Sacramento, California.

Lin also served as a congressional liaison for the assistant secretary of the Navy for finance management and comptroller from 2012 to 2014, a position that presumably gave him access to highly classified strategic weapons planning and put him in regular contact with senior members of the House and Senate armed services and military appropriations committees.

Lin’s assignments and the relationships that he developed positioned him perfectly to have access to extremely sensitive information.

Chinese citizens are not only allegedly spying on our military.  On May 19, 2016 Reuters reported, “U.S. charges six Chinese nationals with economic espionage.”

On December 8, 2016 ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) released a press release that provided the latest statistics concerning foreign students who are present in the United States.

This press release began by noting that there are currently 1.23 million foreign students who have been admitted with F (academic visas) or M (vocational visas) studying at 8,697 schools scattered across the United States.

Consider this excerpt from that press release:

Nearly 42 percent of all F and M students pursued studies in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields. This marks a 10.1 percent increase in international students pursuing STEM studies compared to November 2015.

Out of the nearly 514,000 international students pursuing STEM studies, almost 450,000 were from Asia, with the majority of all STEM students from India and China.

Concerns about foreign students with malevolent goals is not limited to students from China.

On February 24, 1998, two days short of the fifth anniversary of the first World Trade Center bombing, the Senate Judiciary Committee, Subcommittee on Technology, Terrorism and Government Information conducted a hearing on the topic, “

The full text of that hearing, “Foreign terrorists in America : five years after the World Trade Center” includes Senator Dianne Feinstein’s prepared testimony.

Here are a few excerpts from her testimony well worth considering:

There are also a number of glaring loopholes in our immigration laws. As I serve on the Immigration Subcommittee, I just wanted to spend my time touching on some of them.

I have some reservation regarding the practice of issuing visas to terrorist-supporting countries and INS’ inability to track those who come into the country either using a student visa or using fraudulent documents, as you pointed out, through the Visa Waiver Pilot Program.

The Richmond Times recently reported that the mastermind of Saddam Hussein’s germ warfare arsenal, Rihab Taha, studied in England on a student visa. And England is one of the participating countries in the Visa Waiver Pilot Program, which means, if she could have gotten a fraudulent passport, she could have come and gone without a visa in the United States.

The article also says that Rihab Taha, also known as “Dr. Germ,” that her professors at the University of East Anglia in Norwich, England, speculate that she may have been sent to the West specifically to gain knowledge on biological weaponry.

What is even more disturbing is that this is happening in our own backyard.

The Washington Post reported on October 31, 1991, that U.N. weapons inspectors in Iraq discovered documents detailing an Iraqi Government strategy to send students to the United States and other countries to specifically study nuclear-related subjects to develop their own program. Samir AJ-Araji was one of the students who received his doctorate in nuclear engineering from Michigan State University, and then returned to Iraq to head its nuclear weapons program.

The Washington Institute for Near Eastern Policy found in September 1997 that many terrorist-supporting states are sending their students to the United States to get training in chemistry, physics, and engineering which could potentially contribute to their home country’s missile and nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons programs.

[ … ]

The defendants of the World Trade Center bombing are also an example of those coming in through non-immigrant or employment-based visas or abusing our political asylum process and then committing crimes.

For instance, Nidal Ayyad, one of the defendants in this case, used his position as a chemical engineer for Allied Signal to obtain the chemicals used in the World Trade Center bombing.

There is Gazi Abu Mezer, who was arrested in a suspected terrorist plot to detonate bombs in Brooklyn last year. He came in illegally across the Canadian border to Washington State and attempted to seek asylum, but withdrew his application and agreed to leave the country. Once he was released on voluntary departure, he fled Washington to Brooklyn, NY, where he was arrested for plotting suicide-bomb attacks in Brooklyn.

Back then Senator Feinstein’s testimony made perfect sense and asked the right questions.

Inexplicably, even after the terror attacks of 9/11, the attacks at the Boston Marathon and at San Bernardino, today Feinstein’s commonsense approach would be the source of derision by her colleagues of the Democratic party.

Meanwhile, as I discussed in a recent article, so-called, “Sanctuary campuses” shield and harbor illegal aliens from detection by ICE agents.

Finally, increasing numbers of American high-tech professionals are being fired and replaced by foreign H-1B workers, often from India.  The obvious question is how many of those aliens with H-1B visas who have gone on to replace Americans were educated in the United States?

“Knowledge is power.”  The time has come for Americans to be empowered to be successful.  Educating foreign students who may, in one way or another, use their training against America or Americans must end.

January 20, 2017 cannot come fast enough.

EDITORS NOTE: This column first appeared on FrontPage Magazine.

trump-drain-the-swamp

Will we REALLY Drain the Swamp?

Once again, the leftists took another spanking on the 19th when their efforts to derail the Trump election via buying off Electors resulted in a net loss. In the end, Trump lost two “faithless” electoral votes and Hillary lost five, a net loss of five more Electors for Hillary and the Democrats.

The left still has no clue that it isn’t Donald J. Trump who “trumped” them in 2016, but rather the American people. The leftist counter-revolution to destroy America from within hit a brick wall in 2016, with the uprising of the traditionally silent majority, who had clearly had enough. Americans from all races, creeds and colors simply wanted America to be great again and they no longer bought the leftist lies.

On the 19th, one “faithless” Trump Elector voted for Ron Paul and another voted for John Kasich. The other 304 Electors kept their oath and confirmed the election of Donald J. Trump. But Hillary Clinton lost five electors on that day, three to Colin Powell, one to Bernie Sanders and another to Faith Spotted Eagle, leaving Hillary Clinton with 229 Electoral votes to Trumps 304.

The L.A. Times reports:

Indeed, instead of an uprising against Trump, the day’s voting was punctuated more by small, but persistent, gestures of Democratic discontent with Hillary Clinton. A handful of electors deserted her and a few more tried to but were deterred by state “faithless elector” laws. Some of the Democratic dissenters were supporters of Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, who lost the primaries to Clinton but galvanized the party’s left wing. Others were backers of an abortive effort that had tried to recruit Democrats and Republicans to unite behind a third candidate other than Clinton or Trump.”

As the left and their complicit “fake news” press tries to blame everyone from Russia to Wikileaks for their devastating loss, they continue to lose even more support as more and more Americans defect from the “faithless” Democratic Party in a growing revolt. Hillary just can’t stop losing…

The snakes and gators in the swamp are in panic, as the incoming administration prepares to “drain the swamp.” But are the people REALLY ready to “drain the swamp?” Is Trump, or are Congressional Republicans really ready to drain the swamp?

I submit for consideration, that we can either pretend to drain the swamp, by symbolic gesture on hot special interest items that can only have a short-term effect, or we can actually drain the swamp, by hitting the key elements that keep the swamp in business.

In my opinion, there are three critical targets that are must hit targets if we are serious about draining the swamp once and for all. If we hit all three, we can drain the swamp. But if we don’t hit all three, we will only pretend to drain the swamp.

THREE KEYS TO DRAINING THE SWAMP

  1. The Article II natural born Citizen clause must be enforced and violators must be investigated and prosecuted. Evidence now proves that the entire Obama Administration was based upon fraud. That fraud, left standing, makes it impossible to protect the Oval Office from foreign invasion and occupation. We cannot drain the swamp so long as this remains the case. Barack Hussein Obama and his fellow criminals must be held fully accountable for that fraud, or the Oval Office is unprotected. (SEE P-I and P-II on NBC) – Congress must immediately open this investigation!
  2. The arrest and prosecution of George Soros, and the seizing of all assets and organizations funded by George Soros for the overt purpose of sedition and subversion of the sovereignty and security of our Constitutional Republic. These organizations are the root enemy within that must be eliminated, or the swamp cannot be drained. This is the fuel and ammo supply for all enemy operations within the United States today.
  3. The people must file civil suits against their mayors and governors of “sanctuary cities” for threatening the safety, sovereignty and security of their own cities and states by “aiding and abetting” known criminals and criminal activities, as well as “harboring fugitives” from justice under United States Immigration and Naturalization laws. Once again, the swamp cannot be drained while mayors and governors protect “illegal invaders” at the expense of all “legal U.S. citizens.”

Now, if we are serious about draining the swamp, we cannot look past these three key elements to draining the swamp. Without a full-scale assault on these three critical targets on day one of the Trump Administration, the enemies within will continue to operate with impunity to subvert any and all otherwise meaningless efforts to drain the swamp.

While the list of high priority “things to do” is nearly endless, a hundred years into the destruction of our country from within, none of the items on that list are of higher priority than the three items above. Attention to the little things will be fruitless so long as these three elements are allowed to exist.

If we are serious about draining the swamp, we will have to hit these three targets first and hit them hard, with no mercy. If we fail to do so, we will fail to drain the swamp.

We will know how serious Trump and Congress are by their willingness to address these three top priorities. If they turn a blind eye to the three targets above, they will only create the impression of draining the swamp while allowing the swamp to remain full of snakes and gators.

The people must demand that these three items be immediately addressed. The likelihood that both Trump and Congress will turn a blind eye to these matters is high. The people will have to make it happen and they proved in the 2016 elections that they hold that power!

obama-gone

VIDEO: A Reminder for Obama — Presidents don’t write laws

President Obama is only in office for 1 more month, and he’s already rolling out his last-ditch regulations. So here’s a final reminder for him. → Presidents don’t write laws. Congress does.

RELATED ARTICLE: Here’s How Low-Income Americans Feel About the Obama Administration’s New Lending Regulations

trump-american-flag

Reflections on the Trump Presidency by Ray Dalio

Ray Dalio, Chairman & Chief Investment Officer at Bridgewater Associates, L.P. wrote a compelling analysis of the Trump administration. The title of Dilio’s Linkedin article is “Reflections on the Trump Presidency, One Month after the Election.”

Please take the time to read it in full.


Reflections on the Trump Presidency, One Month after the Election

By Ray Dalio

Now that we’re a month past the election and most of the cabinet posts have been filled, it is increasingly obvious that we are about to experience a profound, president-led ideological shift that will have a big impact on both the US and the world. This will not just be a shift in government policy, but also a shift in how government policy is pursued. Trump is a deal maker who negotiates hard, and doesn’t mind getting banged around or banging others around. Similarly, the people he chose are bold and hell-bent on playing hardball to make big changes happen in economics and in foreign policy (as well as other areas such as education, environmental policies, etc.). They also have different temperaments and different views that will have to be resolved.

Regarding economics, if you haven’t read Ayn Rand lately, I suggest that you do as her books pretty well capture the mindset. This new administration hates weak, unproductive, socialist people and policies, and it admires strong, can-do, profit makers. It wants to, and probably will, shift the environment from one that makes profit makers villains with limited power to one that makes them heroes with significant power. The shift from the past administration to this administration will probably be even more significant than the 1979-82 shift from the socialists to the capitalists in the UK, US, and Germany when Margaret Thatcher, Ronald Reagan, and Helmut Kohl came to power. To understand that ideological shift you also might read Thatcher’s “The Downing Street Years.” Or, you might reflect on China’s political/economic shift as marked by moving from “protecting the iron rice bowl” to believing that “it’s glorious to be rich.”

This particular shift by the Trump administration could have a much bigger impact on the US economy than one would calculate on the basis of changes in tax and spending policies alone because it could ignite animal spirits and attract productive capital. Regarding igniting animal spirits, if this administration can spark a virtuous cycle in which people can make money, the move out of cash (that pays them virtually nothing) to risk-on investments could be huge. Regarding attracting capital, Trump’s policies can also have a big impact because businessmen and investors move very quickly away from inhospitable environments to hospitable environments. Remember how quickly money left and came back to places like Spain and Argentina? A pro-business US with its rule of law, political stability, property rights protections, and (soon to be) favorable corporate taxes offers a uniquely attractive environment for those who make money and/or have money. These policies will also have shocking negative impacts on certain sectors.

Regarding foreign policy, we should expect the Trump administration to be comparably aggressive. Notably, even before assuming the presidency, Trump is questioning the one-China policy which is a shocking move. Policies pertaining to Iran, Mexico, and most other countries will probably also be aggressive.

The question is whether this administration will be a) aggressive and thoughtful or b) aggressive and reckless. The interactions between Trump, his heavy-weight advisors, and them with each other will likely determine the answer to this question. For example, on the foreign policy front, what Trump, Flynn, Tillerson, and Mattis (and others) are individually and collectively like will probably determine how much the new administration’s policies will be a) aggressive and thoughtful versus b) aggressive and reckless. We are pretty sure that it won’t take long to find out.

In the next section we look at some of the new appointees via some statistics to characterize what they’re like. Most notably, many of the people entering the new administration have held serious responsibilities that required pragmatism and sound judgment, with a notable skew toward businessmen.

Perspective on the Ideology and Experience of the New Trump Administration

We can get a rough sense of the experience of the new Trump administration by adding up the years major appointees have spent in relevant leadership positions. The table below compares the executive/government experience of the Trump administration’s top eight officials* to previous administrations, counting elected positions, government roles with major administrative responsibilities, or time as C-suite corporate executives or equivalent at mid-size or large companies. Trump’s administration stands out for having by far the most business experience and a bit lower than average government experience (lower compared to recent presidents, and in line with Carter and Reagan). But the cumulative years of executive/government experience of his appointees are second-highest. Obviously, this is a very simple, imprecise measure, and there will be gray zones in exactly how you classify people, but it is indicative.

Below we show some rough quantitative measures of the ideological shift to the right we’re likely to see under Trump and the Republican Congress. First, we look at the economic ideology of the incoming US Congress. Trump’s views may differ in some important ways from the Congressional Republicans, but he’ll need Congressional support for many of his policies and he’s picking many of his nominees from the heart of the Republican Party. As the chart below shows, the Republican members of Congress have shifted significantly to the right on economic issues since Reagan; Democratic congressmen have shifted a bit to the left. The measure below is one-dimensional and not precise, but it captures the flavor of the shift. The measure was commissioned by a National Science Foundation grant and is meant to capture economic views with a focus on government intervention on the economy. They looked at each congressman’s voting record, compared it to a measure of what an archetypical liberal or conservative congressman would have done, and rated each member of Congress on a scale of -1 to 1 (with -1 corresponding to an archetypical liberal and +1 corresponding to an archetypical conservative).

When we look more specifically at the ideology of Trump’s cabinet nominees, we see the same shift to the right on economic issues. Below we compare the ideology of Trump’s cabinet nominees to those of prior administrations using the same methodology as described above for the cabinet members who have been in the legislature. By this measure, Trump’s administration is the most conservative in recent American history, but only slightly more conservative than the average Republican congressman. Keep in mind that we are only including members of the new administration who have voting records (which is a very small group of people so far).

While the Trump administration appears very right-leaning by the measures above, it’s worth keeping in mind that Trump’s stated ideology differs from traditional Republicans in a number of ways, most notably on issues related to free trade and protectionism. In addition, a number of key members of his team—such as Steven Mnuchin, Rex Tillerson, and Wilbur Ross—don’t have voting records and may not subscribe to the same brand of conservatism as many Republican congressmen. There’s a degree of difference in ideology and a level of uncertainty that these measures don’t convey.

Comparing the Trump and Reagan Administrations

The above was a very rough quantitative look at Trump’s administration. To draw out some more nuances, below we zoom in on Trump’s particular appointees and compare them to those of the Reagan administration. Trump is still filling in his appointments, so the picture is still emerging and our observations are based on his key appointments so far.

Looking closer, a few observations are worth noting. First, the overall quality of government experience in the Trump administration looks to be a bit less than Reagan’s, while the Trump team’s strong business experience stands out (in particular, the amount of business experience among top cabinet nominees). Even though Reagan’s administration had somewhat fewer years of government experience, the typical quality of that experience was somewhat higher, with more people who had served in senior government positions. Reagan himself had more political experience than Trump does, having served as the governor of California for eight years prior to taking office, and he also had people with significant past government experience in top posts (such as his VP, George HW Bush). By contrast, Trump’s appointees bring lots of high quality business leadership experience from roles that required pragmatism and judgment. Rex Tillerson’s time as head of a global oil company is a good example of high-level international business experience with clear relevance to his role as Secretary of State (to some extent reminiscent of Reagan’s second Secretary of State, George Shultz, who had a mix of past government experience and international business experience as the president of the construction firm Bechtel). Steven Mnuchin and Wilbur Ross have serious business credentials as well, not to mention Trump’s own experience. It’s also of note that Trump has leaned heavily on appointees with military experience to compensate for his lack of foreign policy experience (appointing three generals for Defense, National Security Advisor, and Homeland Security), while Reagan compensated for his weakness in that area with appointees from both military and civilian government backgrounds (Bush had been CIA head and UN ambassador, and Reagan’s first Secretary of State, Alexander Haig, was Supreme Allied Commander of NATO forces during the Cold War). Also, Trump has seemed less willing to make appointments from among his opponents than Reagan was (Reagan’s Chief of Staff had chaired opposing campaigns, and his Vice President had run against him).

By and large, deal-maker businessmen will be running the government. Their boldness will almost certainly make the next four years incredibly interesting and will keep us all on our toes.