Clearing Away the False Image

From the start of the Trump presidency, I committed myself to be a fair and balanced commentator. Regular readers of this blog know I wrote consistently during the primary season that Trump should not be the Republican nominee; those regular readers also know I could not bring myself to vote for him in the general election (no, I didn’t vote for the person he donated to for many years either).

I have tried to be honest about his accomplishments (the Gorsuch pick for the Supreme Court being the primary example) while maintaining a deep concern over the character of the man occupying the Oval Office.

The Left, of course, has gone even crazier than they did during Reagan’s years, and their characterization of Bush Jr. as Hitler has only gone on steroids in the first months of Trump’s tenure.

I never watch award shows anymore because they have become progressive-fests, lashing out at all things Christian, conservative, and Trump (he’s neither of those first two, by the way).

From what I’ve read, the latest Emmy awards were one long diatribe against Trump. The ratings turned out to be the lowest ever.

Certain media giants—CNN and MSNBC come to mind—have devoted themselves to Trump-bashing. But if you turn to Fox News for balance, you have to stay with the actual news programs like Special Report to find the balance; all the opinion programs are so blatantly pro-Trump that the hosts are little more than court jesters at times.

Trump’s most ardent apologists will find an excuse for anything he does. His latest foray into “reaching across the aisle” to Democrats basically violates most of what he promised his base, yet, for many, he can do nothing wrong. Why is he hobnobbing with Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer? It’s those stubborn Republicans who won’t get anything done, we’re told. He had no choice. Yet for someone who’s supposed to be a master dealmaker, he didn’t get anything in return for his latest hobnob.

Trump was a Democrat most of his life. His recent “conversion” to the Republican party, in my view, was always more of a convenience than a heartfelt conviction. He needs to be careful. His new allies are not really his friends.

So what am I trying to communicate here today? Merely this: if you have been one of those who defend the president no matter what, clear away the false image you may have of Donald Trump and see him for what he is, then be sober and sensible in your evaluation of his words and actions.

Don’t drink the Koolaid. Don’t go down with this ship. Maintain an integrity that will stand the test of time. Be someone that others will trust when this bizarre chapter in American politics has mercifully ended.

Pelosi, Trump, & Reagan–Oh My!

Democrats are in disarray. They need assurance that they are on track for the future. Their leaders are in the business of reassuring them that what happened in the 2010 and 2014 congressional elections and the 2016 presidential election are all anomalies. Don’t worry, they’re told, the leadership knows what it’s doing.

right-road

As if to prove to themselves that’s the case, Democrats in the House have given Nancy Pelosi another victory–she’s been chosen as their leader again, despite all those electoral disasters.

extend-contract

Some in the party find that incomprehensible; they need to find some excuse for how it happened.

russian-hackers

Meanwhile, congratulations on her victory come from one unexpected source:

congratulations

Yes, Republicans are on a roll, and Donald Trump has a new approach that no other president has ever tried:

old-press-conferences

I have mixed feelings about that approach. While I love having the media shut out on occasion, the constant tweet flow from the president-elect doesn’t come across as presidential to me. It would be much better, of course, if he were more restrained in his comments, but that’s probably not in the offing.

For instance, tweeting that flag burners should be punished either with prison time or loss of citizenship runs counter to the First Amendment. Now, he can get away with saying such things simply because the majority of Americans (myself included) deplore that action. It’s insulting to the nation that gives everyone the opportunity to express disagreement. Destroying the flag is an act of ingratitude, and it is supremely juvenile.

Yet it’s a political winner for Trump. Our anger over the brazen act “trumps” concern for the First Amendment.

flag-fire-dept

But anytime we minimize the First Amendment, we are treading on dangerous ground.

Trump also is congratulating himself over keeping Carrier in Indiana rather than having the company move some of its activity to Mexico.  Again, this is a mixed bag. One can be glad those jobs were saved, yet how is this different from the crony capitalism that Trump supporters supposedly deplore? Giving one company a break that other companies in the same field don’t get is the ultimate in having the government choose winners and losers.

Trump is now embarking upon what he calls a “Thank You Tour,” holding rallies ostensibly to thank his supporters. I listened to part of his first rally. I’m sorry, but to me it sounds more like a “Trump Ego Tour.”

carrier-jobs

Oh, no, there you go, Snyder, just Trump-bashing again. No, that’s not my aim. As I’ve said, I will give him credit when it is due, and I do hope for the best. I’m pleased with a number of his cabinet appointments. I’ll write about those sometime next week, I presume, once a secretary of state is chosen.

But I’m looking for something else in him—humility. You see, I’m old enough to remember Ronald Reagan, the president who never took credit for anything, but always thanked God for blessings and praised the innovative nature of the American people. He gave credit to both God and the people for the economic revival in his day, not to himself. Trump is always bragging about the credit he deserves. That’s not the Reagan spirit that I seek.

I have a paperweight I purchased at the Reagan Library with one of my favorite Reagan quotes engraved upon it. It reads as follows:

There is no limit to what a man can do or where he can go if he doesn’t mind who gets the credit.

That can be true of Donald Trump also. For the sake of the nation, I pray he will begin to understand that truth.

The Obamacare Deception

Jonathan GruberJonathan Gruber. Ever heard of him? He’s now infamous, at least for those who are paying attention to the latest Obamacare development. Gruber is an MIT health economist who was one of the key architects of Obamacare. A video has surfaced from 2013 where he is on a panel discussing the passage of that law. His comments are eye-opening.

First of all, he admits the bill “was written in a tortured way to make sure [the Congressional Budget Office] did not score the mandate as taxes.” So, it was a tax, but the wording was so convoluted that it would be hard to figure that out. Understand, this is not Gruber bemoaning that fact, but trumpeting it as a “win.”

He continued by saying that the goal was to hide the truth from the American people: “If you had a law which said that healthy people are going to pay in – you made explicit healthy people pay in and sick people get money, it would not have passed.”

Well, he’s right about that. But, as Nancy Pelosi, one of the self-proclaimed brilliant minds of the Congress, informed us back then, we needed to pass this bill so we could find out what is in it. Right. That’s how all bills should be passed—vote first, read it later.

Gruber wasn’t done. He then got to the bottom line: “Lack of transparency is a huge political advantage. And basically, call it the stupidity of the American voter or whatever, but basically that was really really critical for the thing to pass.”

Obamacare LogoThere you have it. The people who designed Obamacare, and those who promoted it, essentially relied upon Americans’ stupidity to make it law. There’s the demeaning aspect of Gruber’s comment—how he and others in this administration view the American public—but there’s also the element of truth in his analysis: the American people can sometimes be terribly stupid and go along with policies intended to destroy them.

Gruber concluded those comments with this: “Look, I wish … we could make it all transparent, but I’d rather have this law than not.”

Let me translate: “The ends justify the means.”

Why would Gruber be so open about this? Did he think this would go unnoticed because the American people are so stupid? Is it simply the hubris of the arrogant class that knows what is good for the rest of us and will impose it upon us without our consent?

Regardless, the most transparent administration in history—in theory, not in reality—has just had a bright light shined on its deceptive practices. This is not an isolated incident; it’s the modus operandi for this White House in all things. Think Benghazi, the IRS, the DOJ, the NSA.

If you have been an Obama supporter in any fashion, you have aided in this deception. It’s time to wake up to the truth.

Now, will the mainstream media mention this or will they once again feign ignorance or declare it’s a non-story?

If you want to view this video, I hope you can. According to the account I read, though, it was pulled off YouTube yesterday after the initial furor. The coverup begins.

Inevitabillary?

Polls are indicating this could be a big November for Republicans. They are poised to regain control of the Senate along with retaining leadership of the House. For some people, of course, this is viewed as a calamity. Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, in her usual understated manner, declared that a Republican takeover just might lead to the end of civilization as we know it:

Great Threats

No, a Republican takeover would be more of a threat to Nancy Pelosi and her dreams of creating the perfect Nanny State. If she needs any comfort, someone should remind her that she will still have her man in the White House, regardless of what occurs in the congressional elections.

Speaking of the White House, that 2016 race is already on everyone’s mind. Is there really any question about who will be the Democrat nominee?

Is Hillary Running

She put in an appearance in Iowa the other day, along with her presumed husband:

Came Back

Even though these two don’t see each other that often, you can be sure they will be together a lot in the coming months. Does anyone with a memory really have Clinton nostalgia?

Inevitabillary

Along her path to the nomination, speed bumps will appear, if anyone is paying attention. Benghazi hearings have now begun, and a former State Department official who was in the know has come forward to say that Hillary’s functionaries were busy cleansing the files of anything that incriminated her in that fiasco. This is the typical Clinton coverup routine. It’s just an extension of what they’ve always done. I continue to believe this is one of the most corrupt couples ever to come on our political scene.

However, the general public may not get all the truth if they depend on the mainstream news for information. Just as the networks actively ignore the truth about the current occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., they have already begun shielding the heir-apparent:

Perfect Team Work

Will the networks be able to achieve a total blackout on whatever comes from the Benghazi hearings? If not, these hearings could have a major impact on 2016.

Adventures in Obamacareland

What might be a better name for Obamacare? Adventures in Wonderland? Theater of the Absurd? The New Twilight Zone?

If you are paying attention at all, you ought to be stunned by the ludicrous nature of this legislation: from its false philosophical basis, to its awful rollout, to the many changes made to it by executive fiat, Obamacare is pretty much a laughingstock. Or at least it would be if not for the dismal fact that millions have been forced off their previous healthcare plans and now experience higher deductibles and premiums, along with loss of doctors and hospitals to treat them. Oh, and all those uninsured this was supposed to help? Of the estimated 30 million, only about 1 million now have insurance. And soon the tentacles of this vast government overreach will begin to hit hard on those who have employer-based plans. The millions currently affected will mushroom into the many millions.

The deadline for signing up in this first round always has been March 31. Well, not anymore. We now have Unilateral Change #29. There no longer is a deadline; anyone can get an extension simply by clicking on a box on the website. How much of an extension? Who knows? Probably an indefinite one. Why? Because the administration can’t get enough people to register to make it financially stable.

Countdown

Those who are staying away in droves are the younger people, without whom this law falls flat on its face. Obama and his people have practically been begging them to join, without success:

More Millennials

Maybe the younger generation isn’t quite as clueless as I feared. The measures to pressure them, though, may become extreme over time:

Halt

Remember all those promises about how great the new healthcare law would be for everyone? We have been told incessantly that once we saw it in action, we would be overwhelmed with gratitude. Apparently, that hasn’t been the case:

Grow on You

Democrats in Congress who are running for reelection are practically living in a state of panic, especially since they were complicit in selling Obamacare all along. Senators like Mary Landrieu of Louisiana are particularly vulnerable, no matter how often and how loudly people like Nancy Pelosi tell them it’s a winning strategy to run on Obamacare:

Lovely Necklace

Throughout this ordeal, President Obama can at least be gratified that he’s made one former president quite happy:

Thank You

I have to admit I’m looking forward to November.

Obamacare: A Call for Action

Obamacare LogoIt’s time to take stock of where we stand with Obamacare. It’s also time for both Democrats and Republicans to consider the steps they need to take in this present crisis. And crisis is not too strong a term to use for this disaster. Millions are losing their healthcare plans and have nowhere good to go to replace them. That’s just the individual plans. Next year, this law will begin to affect employer plans, which will multiply the anguish nearly twentyfold.

What do we know for sure right now? First, as almost everyone on any place on the political spectrum admits, the promise that we could keep our healthcare plans if we liked them was either a gross misunderstanding of what was going to transpire or an outright lie. I opt for the latter. When we have President Obama in a video telling congressional leaders three years ago that 8 or 9 million individual plans will probably have to be scrapped, what else can the promise be but a blatant lie?

Second, Democrats are in panic mode. It’s as if they once were blind but now they see. But if they were blind, it was a willful blindness. Remember the classic statement from Nancy Pelosi—Speaker of the House at the time—informing us that we have to pass this law in order to find out what’s in it? In what universe does a congressman vote for a law first, then figure out what’s in it? Only in Nancy Pelosi’s alternate universe. And all those promises were no more than fantasy.

DC World

Democrats, my first admonition is to you: you put yourselves in this fix by your willingness to line up unquestioningly behind your leader, giving him your trust without taking responsibility for your own vote. You are fully to blame for what you are now experiencing. The only reason, it seems, that you now are frantically running here and there to find a fix is your fear of losing your seat of power. Well, frankly, you deserve to lose. No one who has done what you did should ever be entrusted again with the authority to pass laws for the rest of us.

What should you now do? Come to the realization that this entire thing called Obamacare needs to be scrapped. Your fearless leader came out yesterday and made a pronouncement from on high that he would deign to allow people to keep their plans for one more year. If you go along with this, you are making it pretty clear that your only priority is to put this off long enough to win reelection. If that’s all that matters to you, I pray you will lose, and lose big time.

Your obligation now is to make this right. Sign on to Republican efforts to overturn this destructive law. Laws, by the way, can be overturned, in case you didn’t know it. Don’t listen to Pelosi and Harry Reid say “settled” law is sacred. Slavery was once settled law. It’s time for you to set the captives free again.

Now, for you Republicans. First, congratulations that you have a solid record in opposition to Obamacare. Not one of you voted for it to become law when it sneaked through three years ago. But here is your real test. Will you now avoid the temptation to “fix” something that cannot be fixed? Will you put an ineffective bandaid on this cancer or will you root it out completely? Only the second option will work.

Another important point you Republicans need to make is that no president, regardless of political party, has the authority to simply declare a change in a law. Only totalitarian dictators can do that. We live in a constitutional republic where the rule of law must prevail. Make a strong case before the public that Obama has stepped so far out of bounds with his latest pronouncement that he has taken on the air of a dictator. Convince the citizens that this must be stopped at all costs. The very future of our form of government is at stake.

Prayer for NationFinally, for those of you who claim the name of Christ, now is the time to pray. That’s not just some pious platitude. I’m beginning to hope that the reason we are seeing this Obamacare monster blow up/disintegrate before our eyes may be the result of the fervent prayers of many. Those pleas to the God of heaven must continue, coupled with humility and a sense of our own culpability for ever permitting this nation to fall to this low ebb spiritually and morally. For some, the following Scripture may have become a cliché, but it’s worth repeating:

If my people, who are called by My name, humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

Lord, as a people, we lack humility. Wicked ways permeate our society. Yet Your promises of forgiveness and healing remain. Please forgive us and start the healing we so urgently need.

Obamacare’s Looming Train Wreck

Maybe this Obamacare nightmare may be put to rest after all. Could we perhaps call it a mercy killing? Democrat Senator Max Baucus of Montana, who played an instrumental role in shoving the misnamed Affordable Care Act on all of us, in a recent hearing, called the implementation of this monstrosity a potential train wreck. In that April 17 hearing, Baucus issued a warning to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius that he didn’t believe her department had done enough to ensure Obamacare would fully go into effect as planned for 2014. He expressed concern for small businesses and accountants who, he said, are throwing their hands up over this law. They aren’t getting enough information to know how to deal with it, leading to his specific comment, “I just see a huge train wreck coming down.”

Well, Sen. Baucus, there were any number of your colleagues in the Congress, policy analysts, and conservative commentators who could have told you that ahead of time. They tried. You didn’t listen. And only now you are coming to grips with this reality? What’s even more interesting is that Baucus, shortly after this hearing, announced he won’t be running for reelection. Politicos in the know were already predicting tough sledding for him in a state that seems to be far more conservative now than its own senator. I think he’s getting out of town while the getting’s good.

In a new article by John Stossel, found at Real Clear Politics, Stossel notes that HHS has already added 20,000 pages of rules to the already bloated bill itself. Those rules form a stack seven feet tall—and there are more to come. Under healthcare prior to Obamacare, there were 16,000 codes for various medical ailments; Obamacare is giving us more than 100,000. Consider these examples:

Government likes to think regulations can account for every possibility. Injured at a chicken coop? The code for that will be Y9272. Fall at an art gallery? That means you are a Y92250. There are three different codes for walking into a lamppost—depending how often you’ve walked into lampposts. This is supposed to give government a more precise way to reimburse doctors for treating people and alert us to surges in injuries that might inspire further regulation.

On Government-Planned World, this makes sense. But it will be no more successful than Soviet central planning.

And that’s where we’ve arrived on this train: the type of planning that brought down the Soviet Union. You know, the country we battled in that decades-long Cold War, the war we supposedly won. Yes, “train wreck” is the perfect description of what is taking place:

A few days ago, there were reports that Congress was considering exempting staffers from Obamacare. Apparently, that was a little overblown, but they were trying to figure out how to help staffers afford it. That’s funny. I thought this was the “affordable” care act. Perhaps we wouldn’t have all this confusion if Congress hadn’t followed Nancy Pelosi’s advice to pass the law so we can find out what’s in it. By the way, that comment ought to win some kind of award for one of the dumbest things ever to come out of the mouth of a Speaker of the House.

Will Obamacare sink itself? The ideology that brought it into being has been shown to be faulty everywhere it has been implemented. The administration tasked with carrying it out may be the most incompetent in American history. So, yes, there is hope it will implode. For the good of the country.