Distract and Divide

Distract and Divide – Integrity and Using Cyrus

On Morals and Mulligans…

Tony Perkins, FRC

January 25, 2018

   If there’s one thing I’ve always said, it’s that Christians should never check their faith at the door when they enter the public square. So, let me start by practicing what I preach. Like you, I’ve heard all of the allegations about Donald Trump’s past, his years of baggage and personal failings. I don’t pretend to know what’s true and what isn’t — certainly not now, in an environment as toxic as ours. But there is a truth I do know: faith in Jesus Christ that calls us to live with moral clarity in everything we do. And that means calling sin — sin.

   Earlier this week, in a lengthy interview published by Politico’s Edward-Isaac Dovere, I was asked about an accusation of infidelity that’s resurfaced against Donald Trump from 2006. I explained to Dovere what I’ve said before: if this were happening today, his evangelical support would not exist. Adultery was wrong then, and it’s wrong now. If the rumors turn out to be true, then that behavior is unconscionable. No question. Where wrongdoing is brought to light, it is exactly that: wrongdoing.

Donald Trump has denied this latest allegation through his attorney, and we can find some comfort in his openness about his past mistakes. “I’ve never said I’m a perfect person, nor pretended to be someone that I’m not,” he told Americans before the election when a vulgar tape surfaced. “I’ve said and done things I regret. And the words released today on this more than a decade-old video are one of them. Anyone who knows me, know these words don’t reflect who I am. I said it, it was wrong, and I apologize.”

As I said when that footage was released in October of 2016, his actions were inappropriate and disturbing. I did not then, and I will not now, try to rationalize or excuse this type of behavior. But let’s also be realistic: Americans can only hold President Donald Trump accountable for what he does in office. We can’t do anything about the past. Americans may not like it, find it distasteful, and wish it hadn’t happened — but it did. Like any of us, he needs to own his failings and take responsibility for his actions. And in some of these cases, I believe he did.

That’s why, in explaining how evangelicals could come to the point of supporting Mr. Trump, I told the reporter that we — of all people — understand new beginnings. So, our attitude toward Trump politically was, “You get a mulligan. You get a do-over here.” Some people interpreted that statement — incorrectly — as excusing, or worse, condoning Donald Trump’s past behaviors. Nothing could be farther from the truth.

As I said again on CNN Tuesday night, I was not an early supporter of Mr. Trump because of his past personal conduct. But, after the candidate I was supporting dropped out of the race, it became a choice between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. So, I began communicating what I thought it would take for Mr. Trump to gain evangelical support. You may recall that we said he would: 1) need to commit to appointing pro-life judges, 2) choose a conservative pro-life, pro-family running-mate with a solid record, and 3) agree not to undermine or dilute the conservative GOP platform. To my amazement (and several others’), he not only met — but exceeded — the high bar we had set. No other Republican nominee had ever pledged to nominate “pro-life” judges. Mr. Trump put it in writing and released it to the nation.

This is all the more remarkable because I’ve worked on the GOP platform since 2004. And every election, we’ve had to battle the Republican presidential campaign on many conservative planks. The Trump campaign not only didn’t fight us, they worked with us. As the GOP nominee, Donald Trump embraced the platform, which helped turn the election from a contrast of personalities into an election about policies. And what has he done since he earned our support? A lot of what he pledged to do. In fact, he’s done more than any recent president to advance the values and policies that are critical to making America a good and prosperous nation.

On CNN, I restated that our support of the president is conditional. If Donald Trump were to stop keeping his promises or revert to the behavior of his past, evangelicals would quickly exit his base of support — and I would lead the way. But the reality is, he has kept his promises, so why would we stop supporting him based on allegations of repugnant behavior from more than a decade ago? What’s changed since the election?

Does that mean we don’t wrestle with the president’s tone or cringe at some of his inartful tweets? Not at all. Character matters. Personal conduct matters. It’s up to us to use our influence to ensure that the president does his very best to live in a way that doesn’t dishonor his office or the American people. But let’s also be clear: evangelicals have never looked at Donald Trump as a role model. They’re looking at his record as president.

As Rev. Franklin Graham pointed out, “We certainly don’t hold him up as the pastor of this country, and he’s not. But I appreciate the fact that the president does have a concern for Christian values, he does have a concern to protect Christians — whether it’s here at home or around the world — and I appreciate the fact that he protects religious liberty and freedom.”

When Dovere asked me if I vouched for Trump as a moral leader, I made it clear that I vouched for his leadership in delivering his promises. To this point, he’s making positive change in our country that evangelicals can support and all Americans benefit from. I’m not saying his performance as president can buy him grace — only Christ can do that. And while evangelicals can give him a mulligan regarding their political support, only through repentance and God’s forgiveness can he have a totally new start.

I respect that there are some very frustrated conservatives out there, who the Left is seeking to distract and divide. But if we care about the future of our nation, we have to deal in the present. This isn’t blind allegiance on the part of evangelicals. This is reasoned support for a political leader who has made and kept his campaign promises.

More Lies and Deceptions Invading America

More Lies and Deceptions Invading America
    The lies related to evolution as the origin of the species contaminated the education system offering an excuse for the religions of humanism to reject immutable Law. Following that, the interpretation of the Constitution, itself based on that immutable Law, was altered and corrupted by the enemies of freedom and justice for all. True freedom is inextricably bound by Law beyond comprehension. Justice is defined by the Truth established by that Law.
    Now, rejecting true science and history, some of America’s enemies have focused their agenda on attacking the reality on which all human relationships exist. The following excerpt by Dr. Ryan T. Anderson, Ph.D. in The Daily Signal describes the errors of their false ideology.
    [Years ago], “Dr. Paul McHugh thought he had convinced the vast majority of medical professionals not to go along with bold claims about sex and gender being proffered by some of his colleagues. And as chair of psychiatry at Johns Hopkins Medical School and psychiatrist-in-chief at Johns Hopkins Hospital, McHugh put a stop to sex-reassignment surgery at Hopkins.
    Once the elite Johns Hopkins did this, many medical centers across the nation followed suit.
    But in recent years we have seen a resurgence of these drastic procedures — not in light of new scientific evidence, mind you, but as a result of a growing ideological movement. Such is our transgender movement.
    According to the best studies — the ones that even transgender activists themselves cite — 80 to 95 percent of children with gender dysphoria will come to identify with and embrace their bodily sex.
    Never mind that 41 percent of people who identify as transgender will attempt suicide at some point in their lives, compared to 4.6 percent of the general population. Never mind that people who have had transition surgery are 19 times more likely than average to die by suicide.
    These statistics should stop us in our tracks. Clearly, we must work to find ways to effectively prevent these suicides and address the underlying causes. We certainly shouldn’t be encouraging children to “transition.”
    Many psychologists and psychiatrists think of gender dysphoria as similar to other dysphorias, or forms of discomfort with one’s body, such as anorexia. The feelings of discomfort can lead to mistaken beliefs about oneself or about reality, and then to actions in accordance with those false beliefs.
    The most helpful therapies focus not on achieving the impossible — changing bodies to conform to thoughts and feelings — but on helping people accept and even embrace the truth about their bodies and reality.
    Operating in the background is a sound understanding of physical and mental health — proper function of one’s body and mind — and a sound understanding of medicine as a practice aimed at restoring health, not simply satisfying the desires of patients.
    For human beings to flourish, they need to feel comfortable in their own bodies, readily identify with their sex, and believe that they are who they actually are.”
    From the myths of global warming being able to be controlled by any human initiative, to proposing political actions contradicted and proven untenable by history, to promoting the false ideology of evolution, we are now confronted with the physical and psychological devastation of the transgender atrocity.
    Lacking any valid logically derived or scientific, i.e. proven, mechanism for evolution, its proponents opened the door to other false ideologies enabling the attack on America as seen in the political activism of the transgender movement.
    The original intention of the Constitution must be protected and defended in order to reclaim all that made America great.

History Provides Lessons To Be Learned – Good and Bad

History Provides Lessons To Be Learned – Good and Bad
    Constantly bound by immutable Law, reality evokes the ever failing inadequate responses accompanying the existential and humanistic attempts to alter or modify the indelible Order of creation.
    History and true science make us aware of reality. Motivated by false ideologies arising from human desires and imaginations, political movements ignoring or denying the lessons of history are an ever present reminder of unchanging potential for human error and failure.
    Recently seen in the anarchistic destruction of historical statues and the political arms of humanism’s removal of statues; where those monuments remind us of the past failures, errors, and injustices of individuals and institutions; is the repeated confirmation of our capacity to move beyond reason. Choosing to ignore a disease or cancer does not make it go away. Removing historical statues reminding of our past, rather than facing, addressing, and correcting what is wrong, unjust, or untrue, is the ongoing denial of reality calling for the service and sacrifice necessary to preserve freedom.

Alicia Ault

January 17, 2018

    The statue of gynecologic surgeon J. Marion Sims, MD — steeped in controversy over his experimental surgery on slaves — will be moved from New York City’s Central Park to Greenwood Cemetery in Brooklyn, where the physician is buried.

    The move was announced by New York Mayor Bill de Blasio in response to recommendations from his Mayoral Advisory Commission on City Art, Monuments, and Markers. The panel was assembled last fall to review options for a handful of what de Blasio said were controversial monuments in the city, including the statue of Dr Sims (1813-1883).

    In addition to moving the statue, which was the work of German sculptor Ferdinand von Miller, New York will add informational plaques to the statue and its existing pedestal “to explain the origin of the statue, commission new artwork with public input that reflects issues raised by Sims legacy, and partner with a community organization to promote in-depth public dialogues on the history of non-consensual medical experimentation of people of color, particularly women,” according to the mayor’s statement.

    In its January report, the mayoral advisory panel had recommended multiple options, including removal. Committee members “felt it was impossible to evaluate the monument separately from the practices of white doctors experimenting upon Black bodies without consent,” adding, “Sims had the power to make these experiments, gain fame from the process, and be venerated on a pedestal after he passed away.” But “the enslaved women he experimented upon had none of this power. Free consent to participate in the experiments was not obtainable from women who were not free. The Commission felt that it would be wrong to continue to overlook this distressing imbalance of power.”

    The panel also said that even though it is likely that Dr Sims was a contributor to medicine, “the extent of his medical advances with regard to treating the fistula remains under dispute.”

    No member of the public testified in support of keeping the statue in Central Park, according to the committee report.

A Figure Mired in Controversy

    Dr. Sims, dubbed the “father of modern gynecology,” was credited with  the first successful treatment for vesicovaginal fistula, the first gallbladder surgery, and introducing antiseptic principles in all areas of surgical treatment. The Sims position and Sims speculum, still used in gynecology today, are named after him.

    He has also been condemned for experimental vesicovaginal fistula surgeries on slave women — without their consent and without the use of anesthesia — conducted primarily during his years of practice in Alabama from 1835 to 1849.

    Dr. Sims then moved to New York City, where he helped establish the Woman’s Hospital, which was located in East Harlem. Shortly after his death, colleagues began collecting funds in the hopes of erecting a statue to honor a man they considered a pioneer in women’s health care. The New York Times reported in 1887 that those colleagues had collected some $7500 and had begun soliciting artists to create a bronze statue to be placed in Central Park. It was unveiled in 1894 — with crowdfunding from about 12,000 individuals — in Bryant Park, not Central Park.

    According to the Timesaccount of the unveiling, Dr. Sims was lauded for, among other qualities, his perseverance.  “His first operation was on a female slave and was unsuccessful. He operated again and again on the same subject, and finally, in his thirtieth trial, he was successful,” wrote the reporter. Indeed, records show  that he operated on one slave, Anarcha, 30 times.

    When Bryant Park underwent renovation decades later, the statue of Dr. Sims was put into storage. Dr. Sims’ admirers took the opportunity to lobby to move the statue to Central Park, where it would theoretically get more notice and be closer to the original and new locations of the Woman’s Hospital. They successfully had the statue moved to the park at Fifth Avenue and 103rd in 1934, where it has stood ever since.

    In August 2017, the activist group Black Youth Project 100 protested in front of the statue, according to media reports, with a group of women wearing hospital gowns splattered with red paint on the abdominal area. A Facebook post of that photo was shared more than 200,000 times. Later that month, according to the New York Daily News, a vandal spray-painted the statue with red paint and the word “racist.”

    A Medscape survey that same month found clinicians overwhelmingly against removal of monuments. Sixty-three percent of the 8200 physicians who responded said the statue of Dr. Sims should not be removed. If the statue were to be removed, survey respondents said, it should be placed in a museum or donated to a medical institution.

    When asked what type of behavior would warrant removing a monument or commemoration of a healthcare provider, about half of those surveyed cited all of these actions: conducting research without consent; knowingly harming subjects; withholding vital medical treatment during or after a study; and refusing to care for a patient based on ethnicity, gender, race, sexual orientation, or religious affiliation.

Other Removals in the Works?

    Statues of Dr. Sims were also erected in Columbia, South Carolina, and on the Capitol grounds in Montgomery, Alabama. In December, the mayor of Columbia called for the removal of the statue, according to the Post and Courier.

    No further plans have been revealed, and nothing has been said about the fate of the Alabama statue.

    In 2006, the painting “Medical Giants of Alabama,” which depicted Dr. Sims and other white men standing over a partially clothed black patient, was removed from the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Center for Advanced Medical Studies in the wake of complaints that it was offensive, the Montgomery Advertiser reported at the time.

Physician Statue To Be Removed From NYC Park

Stephanie Cajigal

August 25, 2017

    It was probably only a matter of time before the Charlottesville-inspired movement to remove offensive statues would make its way to the world of medicine. From the Tuskegee Study to Henrietta Lacks, the history of the medical field includes more than a few examples of research done via questionable means.

    As the New York Daily News reported this week, protestors have urged the removal of a statue of a controversial physician in New York City’s Central Park. (There are two additional statues of this physician on state-owned property, one in Montgomery, Alabama, and another in Columbia, South Carolina.)

    The physician depicted in the statue, J. Marion Sims, MD (1813-1883), is considered the “father of modern gynecology” and is credited with such advances as conducting the first successful treatment for vesicovaginal fistula, the first gallbladder surgery, and introducing antiseptic principles in all areas of surgical treatment. The Sims position and Sims speculum, still used in gynecology today, are named after him. Marion Sims served as the inspiration for gynecologist Marion Stone in the popular book Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese.

    But critics of Dr. Sims say his legacy is marred by the fact that from 1845 to 1849, he conducted experimental vesicovaginal fistula surgeries on slave women without their consent and without the use of anesthesia. One of his subjects, as Durrenda Ojanuga describes in a 1993 article published in the Journal of Medical Ethics, was forced to undergo an hour-long operation in a hands-and-knees position in front of an audience of 12 physicians. She nearly died from blood poisoning, the result of an experimental sponge used by Dr. Sims to drain urine from her bladder. And Dr. Sims reportedly operated on another slave woman 30 times.

    In a 2006 article published in the same journal, however, L. Lewis Wall, MD, DPhil, a Washington University professor of obstetrics and gynecology, claims that Dr. Sims’ subjects willingly allowed him to experiment on them in hopes that he’d cure their vesicovaginal fistulas, a devastating, life-altering condition that at the time had no other viable treatment. Dr. Wall’s article includes the following quote from a doctor speaking at the 1857 annual meeting of the Georgia State Medical Society, describing how some women with vesicovaginal fistulas are: “compelled to sit constantly on a chair, or stool, with a hole in the seat, through which the urine descends into a vessel beneath.” In addition, as Dr. Wall notes, during the time that Dr Sims was performing his experiments, anesthesia was not widely used, and a few of Dr. Sims’ published cases describe operating on white women without anesthesia.

Why We Are a Republic, Not a Democracy

Why We Are a Republic, Not a Democracy

Walter E. Williams

The Founding Fathers designed a system that places heavy checks on the power of the majority. (Photo: iStock Photos)

    Hillary Clinton blamed the Electoral College for her stunning defeat in the 2016 presidential election in her latest memoirs, “What Happened.”

    Some have claimed that the Electoral College is one of the most dangerous institutions in American politics.

Why? They say the Electoral College system, as opposed to a simple majority vote, distorts the one-person, one-vote principle of democracy because electoral votes are not distributed according to population.

To back up their claim, they point out that the Electoral College gives, for example, Wyoming citizens disproportionate weight in a presidential election.

Put another way, Wyoming, a state with a population of about 600,000, has one member in the House of Representatives and two members in the U.S. Senate, which gives the citizens of Wyoming three electoral votes, or one electoral vote per 200,000 people.

California, our most populous state, has more than 39 million people and 55 electoral votes, or approximately one vote per 715,000 people.

Comparatively, individuals in Wyoming have nearly four times the power in the Electoral College as Californians.

Many people whine that using the Electoral College instead of the popular vote and majority rule is undemocratic. I’d say that they are absolutely right. Not deciding who will be the president by majority rule is not democracy.

    But the Founding Fathers went to great lengths to ensure that we were a republic and not a democracy. In fact, the word democracy does not appear in the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, or any other of our founding documents.    How about a few quotations expressed by the Founders about democracy?

In Federalist Paper No. 10, James Madison wanted to prevent rule by majority faction, saying, “Measures are too often decided, not according to the rules of justice and the rights of the minor party, but by the superior force of an interested and overbearing majority.”

John Adams warned in a letter, “Remember democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet, that did not commit suicide.”

Edmund Randolph said, “That in tracing these evils to their origin, every man had found it in the turbulence and follies of democracy.”

Then-Chief Justice John Marshall observed, “Between a balanced republic and a democracy, the difference is like that between order and chaos.”

The Founders expressed contempt for the tyranny of majority rule, and throughout our Constitution, they placed impediments to that tyranny. Two houses of Congress pose one obstacle to majority rule. That is, 51 senators can block the wishes of 435 representatives and 49 senators.

The president can veto the wishes of 535 members of Congress. It takes two-thirds of both houses of Congress to override a presidential veto.

To change the Constitution requires not a majority but a two-thirds vote of both houses, and if an amendment is approved, it requires ratification by three-fourths of state legislatures.

Finally, the Electoral College is yet another measure that thwarts majority rule. It makes sure that the highly populated states—today, mainly 12 on the east and west coasts, cannot run roughshod over the rest of the nation. That forces a presidential candidate to take into consideration the wishes of the other 38 states.

Those Americans obsessed with rule by popular majorities might want to get rid of the Senate, where states, regardless of population, have two senators.

Should we change representation in the House of Representatives to a system of proportional representation and eliminate the guarantee that each state gets at least one representative?

Currently, seven states with populations of 1 million or fewer have one representative, thus giving them disproportionate influence in Congress.

While we’re at it, should we make all congressional acts by majority rule? When we’re finished with establishing majority rule in Congress, should we then move to change our court system, which requires unanimity in jury decisions, to a simple majority rule?

My question is: Is it ignorance of or contempt for our Constitution that fuels the movement to abolish the Electoral College?

The answer. – Why We Use Electoral College, Not Popular Vote

Donald Trump, #MeToo, Facebook, And The Breakdown Of Institutional Power

January 28, 2018
 

Carlos Barria / Reuters

The phantom feeling that something should’ve happened, but didn’t or won’t, flows through each of the central stories of the moment: Trump’s presidency, the nightmare revelations of sexual abuse, and the accumulating problems of Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. What institutional power looks like in 2018.
    Donald Trump has an unusual kind of power: He reveals weakness.
    This quality he extends to all things — people, traditions, movements — and while you know all this by now, the way he traffics in lingering doubts (e.g., Lyin’ Ted) and the malleable dignity of those around him, in all the small compromises people make with themselves toward an end, what all these individual shortfalls do in the aggregate is to expose the fragility of our modern national institutions.
    What exactly, for instance, is supposed to happen if the president wonders why we accept immigrants from “shithole” countries? Or says a group of white supremacists included “very fine” people? Backhandedly calls the North Korean dictator short and fat?
    Nothing, of course. There’s no institution to guard against any of that. And since there’s no way to quantify the harm in any of it, either (no laws broken, no physical destruction), all these things that President Trump says just land in a weird rhetorical DMZ, where there is no recourse. That unease defined the last year. And it’s this kind of phantom feeling that something should’ve happened, but didn’t or won’t, that flows through each of the central stories of the moment: Trump’s presidency, the nightmare revelations of sexual abuse, and the accumulating problems of Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. What brings all these things together is the assault, from the White House and from journalists, for worse and for better, on core institutions.
    With Trump, it’s like constantly watching a fly ball fall between a shortstop and a left fielder — that kind of suspended anxiety free fall, where nobody really knows what to do, because there’s nothing to do. Morning in America is disorientingly open with possibility, because who knows where Trump will take things next?
    “It’s oddly riveting,” George Saunders wrote during the campaign, nearly two years ago, “watching someone take such pleasure in going so much farther out on thin ice than anyone else as famous would dare to go.” Nobody ever decided whether that dynamic drove or hindered Trump’s success, but what it definitely did was expose the extent to which the American political system was relying on shame to keep it in check.
    Trump constantly subverted the expectation of what a normal candidate would do (e.g., apologize for accusing Judge Curiel of bias based on his Mexican-American heritage) by never conceding any mistake. The idea generally is that campaigns, like corporations, are basically built to apologize, walk back, and/or preemptively manage expectations so that the minimum number of voters take offense at any given thing. Trump rejected that framework entirely, but stretched the understanding of what was normal so far that there was a sense (a flame that apparently burns eternal) that some objective, imagined hand of authority — the Republican Party or the RNC or the delegates at the convention — would step in. No one did, because the uneasy reality is that candidates and their own campaigns alone govern the candidate and campaign’s conduct. If you’re unafraid of the public’s distaste, there are a lot of places you can run with that. Basically: If a candidate says, well, listen, I’m doing this and you can’t stop me — maybe you actually can’t. Trump, then, is like some classical Greek, Shakespearean character sent to reveal that weakness in the system.
    That has produced some nostalgia from all different sides for back before, when a political party might change the rules on a candidate, or the media could more tightly control what viewers saw and heard. But these are also the same kinds of institutional controls that made all Harvey Weinstein’s accusers go away for so long, and that realization — the way institutions made bad things go away — links a lot of these kinds of stories.
    Smash the exterior of an institution and you may reveal catacombs of cruelty, shame, sickness, all the terrible things people with power can do to those without it in the corridor of a hotel suite, inside an office, inside a home, in small places you feel as though you are not meant to be. This past year dropped floodlights into the biblical depths of human behavior — the way an obsession with control or some sadness within a person can curdle and warp in the dark of a professional, civilized society. And for all the righteous strength witnessed in and derived from the crack-up of an open secret, each begins with long-suppressed anguish. “That’s the most horrible part of it,” Lucia Evans told the New Yorker of Harvey Weinstein. “People give up, and then they feel like it’s their fault.”
    If you read all these stories and start writing down (or calculating out) the ages of the people in them, the interns and assistants and desk assistants and students, especially the women (and men) whose names you’ve never heard before, a pattern emerges. “We were so young at the time,” Karen Katz, who’d worked at Weinstein’s Miramax, told the Times. “We did not understand how wrong it was or how [she] should deal with it.” Many of these stories concern people too inexperienced to know who to tell, or how or when. “I still on some level thought I had been a tiny adult,” one man explained of how he did not appreciate, until he was an adult, the way he says Kevin Spacey abused him when he was 14. “I assumed I was the problem for thinking badly of you,” Aly Raisman said of Larry Nassar, the Olympic doctor who is accused of abusing more than a hundred girls. “I wouldn’t allow myself to believe that the problem was you.”
    A robust institution can be isolating in that way. You can’t identify patterns like those alone. You can suffer alone, questioning even your own story. You can also be the cool cynic wise to the harsh ways of the world (“I felt a weird sense of pride about being able to ‘handle’ the environment,” wrote a colleague) only to realize, in retrospect, years later, you were in over your head. “I was, like, ‘Look, man, I am no fucking fool,’” Asia Argento said of Weinstein. “But, looking back, I am a fucking fool. And I am still trying to come to grips with what happened.”
    The wild and unsettling thing about the last six months is both the pervasiveness of abuse and harassment, and how what’s at the heart of an open secret often turns out to be much worse; there is a sudden realization that maybe something terrible has been lurking beside you all along. Because it’s apparently at the ballet, on the manufacturing floor, inside the massage parlor, in jail, at the Olympics, on the morning show, at the theater, on the radio, on the court, on Capitol Hill. This is where you can end up wondering what the point of a “civic institution” even is. And on the most basic level — in the most amateur-hour intro philosophy seminar way — isn’t the idea that any one of these institutions (the church, the military, the government, the media, any of them) is meant to give people place and purpose, and to judiciously amplify some virtue in men (strength or kindness or charity), or to bend our collective power toward some common benefit (safety or prosperity), and above all, isn’t the idea to blunt wickedness? But here you have the agents who kept taking women to Weinstein, the studios that didn’t look at his finances, parts of the tabloid machine under his control, the way everyone seemed to know, and it’s like a blood disease — everything an institution is supposed to do, but corroded, and turned in on itself.
    And then there’s all of us, consuming this weird year through our phones, living inside new institutions that are mind-blowing in scale and horribly ill-equipped for the task of handling us. Whatever it was that happened — the election? — something has shifted in the way the media, lawmakers, and even some people on them view the platforms.
    “Facebook has grown so big, and become so totalizing, that we can’t really grasp it all at once,” Max Read wrote last year, listing off a dozen different comparisons the platform has elicited, from the Catholic church to a railroad company. “Like a four-dimensional object, we catch slices of it when it passes through the three-dimensional world we recognize.” Twitter (in 34 languages and producing inconceivable numbers of words every second) and YouTube (in 88 countries with people watching 1 billion hours each day) operate in similar dimensions.
    Nobody can monitor that kind of volume — but algorithms can’t quite either, and so all kinds of bad behavior can only belatedly be contained, if at all.
    YouTube will soon employ more than 10,000 people to screen videos (and train algorithms) to detect child exploitation (e.g., kids “restrained with ropes or tape”) and extremism (e.g., jihadi videos); that news preceded the 48 hours a (now former) YouTuber’s video lived online featuring a dead man’s body inside Japan’s suicide forest. Twitter still, still struggles with harassment, especially in places like India, where women are on the receiving end of harassment in six different local languages. In realms where political news gets delivered and consumed, the platform can feel constantly combative, meta, and wearing — kind of like a game of Hungry Hungry Hippos where the hippos are outfitted with razors. Facebook has found itself the host body for live shootings, dystopian authoritarian propaganda, and a philosophical debate about the meaning of news and truth, in which a small move could result in shifting reality for someone. Kevin Roose compared an admission from Facebook leadership that they did not realize ad targeting would be used to reach anti-Semites to Victor Frankenstein’s lament: “I lived in daily fear lest the monster whom I had created should perpetrate some new wickedness.”
    Basically, the platforms are dealing with a) the loftiest, most existential of questions about information and speech, and b) every kind of domestic dispute in every small town across dozens of countries every hour of every day.
    And every response to these super-old problems — rumors, lies, abuse — tends to be thin and unsatisfying, almost alien, from the endless vow to improve transparency to Facebook’s intention to have 2 billion people decide the trustworthiness of news outlets. These are the products of a culture that sometimes “views nearly all content as agnostic, and everything else as a math problem.” The underlying principle to these platforms isn’t some huge mystery: Everything is keyed toward cascading reactions, an endless series of provocations, both good and bad. “I wish I could guarantee that the positives are destined to outweigh the negatives,” wrote Facebook’s Samidh Chakrabarti last week, “but I can’t.”
    There’s been a lot of talk, over this first year of Trump, about an abstract sense that things are falling apart, or that it’s not the same country it used to be, or that this feels like the end of an era, even if what that era was cannot be so easily defined. This is, I think, partly a function of the way our phones intensify everything intellectually, in both good and bad ways, so that you can feel, within the space of minutes, a directionless jolt of anxiety at every Trump tweet about North Korea and the immersive warmth of texting with exactly who you hope most to hear from. It is disorienting to know so much and feel so much all the time. It is also a function of the reality where we get hit again, and again, and again, with reminders that fundamental assumptions about the society we live in (that you can’t say that, that you can’t do that, that you couldn’t have hid something like that) aren’t really true. It’s too difficult to keep a secret in 2018, especially about the bad things people can do to one another.
    So maybe it’s political insecurity that’s causing that static in the signal, or maybe it’s disillusionment with these old, sick systems that kept sending people to Harvey Weinstein and Larry Nassar, or maybe it’s the sense that the platforms are like big boxes that we’ve thrown the full crush of humanity into. Whatever it is, now we are free to tear apart every last institution until every last vestige of that kind of pain is gone, hurtling toward some new future where you can only hope the kindness in our hearts wins out.●

Lies, Deceptions, and Hypocrisy

Lies, Deceptions, and Hypocrisy
    In attempting to fulfill his campaign promises to the American people, President Trump has faced the obstructionism of liberals, Democrats, the Washington establishment, and all who replace truth with lies and deceptions. Left with nothing to advance any righteous cause, our enemies, foreign and domestic, dredge up past failures and accusations in targeting political opponents. Never mind the indisputable fact that as constituents of a constantly failing species, we all have those transgressions that should lead to repentance. Those seeking to destroy all that made America great neither repent or even acknowledge their failures and sins, many of which rise to the level of felonies and treason.
    Worse, those holding and espousing ideologies that the Framers and Founders would have challenged and defeated with truth and justice are tolerated in the unjust forum of political correctness. Moving supported only by lies and  deceptions, our enemies would ask for tolerance and acceptance of their intolerance and discrimination. Attempting character assassination to put up a smokescreen to hide real issues, positive accomplishments, years of exemplary behavior, historical record, and scientific truths, we are in a war of political ideologies. Often those attacking America are those who achieved success because of the freedoms and blessings found only in the American political tradition. Ungratefully, they seek to deny others those same “unalienable Rights”.
    Criticized for racially charged tweets and comments, such as blaming “both sides” for violence at a deadly white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, where the radical right had a permit to assemble, President Trump has also been critical of NFL players who kneel during the national anthem to protest police violence and racism. Charging the millionaire ingrates, he and Vice-President Pence have said our flag and our National Anthem stand for all that is good in America acknowledging the sacrifices of those who have paid for our freedom. With pressure from him, the RNC has moved to endorse Judge Moore despite the Establishment’s efforts to vilify him. When this President of sincerity and integrity moves with truth and justice, the litany of untruths, lies, deceptions arising from the liberals and progressives continue to foment division and discrimination.
CftC  
 Thursday, 30 November 2017
 A man who served in Vietnam with now-Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore, and who is now a lawyer, has some interesting things to say about the judge’s character. The question is, do we want to hear the truth?

    “Stop me if you’ve heard this one before,” writes columnist Paul Mulshine.

    “Alabama U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore walked into a brothel …  and then he walked right back out.”

    “That’s the account I got from Bill Staehle, a lawyer living in Asbury Park [N.J.] who served in Vietnam with Moore in the early 1970s,” Mulshine continued.

    Mulshine spoke to Staehle after the attorney wrote a recent open letter to Alabama voters relating his knowledge of Moore’s character. Staehle, now 70, knew Moore from a base just outside Da Nang. Both men were captains in the 504th Military Police Battalion at the time.

    Staehle considers Moore a man of sterling integrity, writing, “I served with Roy Moore in Vietnam in 1971-72, where I knew him to be an altogether honorable, decent, respectable, and patriotic commander and soldier.” One incident in particular, however, stands out in his mind. As he related in his open letter:

While in Vietnam, there came a time when another officer invited Roy and me to go with him into town after duty hours for a couple of beers. That officer had just returned from an assignment in Quang Tri Province north of Danang, and we were interested to learn of his experiences.

I had not met him before, and I don’t believe Roy had either. On other occasions with other officers, we would go to the officers’ club at the air force base, but on this occasion, he told us he knew of another place in town.

When we arrived at the place and went inside, it was clear to Roy and me that he had taken us to a brothel. That officer appeared to know people there, as he was greeted by one or two young women in provocative attire.

The place was plush. There were other American servicemen there. Alcohol was being served. There were plenty of very attractive young women clearly eager for an intimate time.

In less time than it took any of the women to approach us, Roy turned to me and said words to this effect, “We shouldn’t be here. I am leaving.”

    Moore and Staehle, just 24 years old at the time, did in fact leave.

    Staehle doesn’t believe the allegations against the Senate candidate. And while he hadn’t heard from his old buddy in years since Vietnam, his letter prompted a call from Moore. As Staehle related to Mulshine, “He said to me, ‘Bill, I’m telling you, these allegations are not true.’”

    This satisfied Staehle. As he put it, “You don’t lie to a guy you went to war with.”

    Nonetheless, Staehle has more informing his opinion than just a brother-in-arms bond. He has his experience, too, having been a lawyer for 42 years and currently supervising 44 attorneys in his position at a major insurance company. And this background causes him to wonder about one of Moore’s accusers, Leigh Corfman, who claimed Moore behaved inappropriately with her when she was 14. Referring to a recent televised interview with her on the Today Show, Staehle told Mulshine, “I know when somebody is meticulously prepared and when the witness is using words that don’t seem to suit where she’s coming from…. I prepare witnesses as well as depose witnesses. It was clear she was very well prepared.”

    Staehle said that this doesn’t mean Corfman is or isn’t lying. But with “‘the passage of time, the story changes,’ he said. ‘I see that in my litigation all the time. People exaggerate things. They add to the story,’” related Mulshine.

    In fact, it seems much has been “added” to the Moore allegations. Last week I reported on how the claims of Moore’s most damning accuser, Beverly Young Nelson, have apparently unraveled; most notably, Nelson and her attorney, Gloria Allred, have refused to allow the third-party analysis of a signed yearbook entry they claimed is Moore’s but that is now widely considered a forgery. In fact, Alabama Congressman Mo Brooks, who lost to Moore in the GOP primary, thus asserts and says that Nelson is “clearly a liar.”

    Brooks isn’t the only one making this claim. Nelson’s stepson, Darrel Nelson, said that his stepmother’s allegations are “100 percent a lie.”

    Nelson is not the only accuser whose credibility has been called into question, or who may have an axe to grind. Tina Johnson, who claims the judge grabbed her buttocks in 1991, was unable to wrest custody of her 12-year-old son away from her mother, Mary Katherine Cofield, who had hired Moore to help her obtain permanent custody of the boy. Johnson has had drug problems and once pled guilty to felony fraud for check forgery.

    Then there’s ex-Gadsden, Alabama, police officer Faye Gary, who claimed she’d been told to watch Moore in the late ’70s and keep him away from “cheerleaders” but then admitted she was just relating “rumor.” Not only did my news-making conversation with her reveal that she’s a staunch anti-Moore ideologue, but she also reportedly has ties to the drug-dealing underworld. Her two sons, who have different last names, both were arrested for distributing illegal drugs; one was shot to death before he could go to trial while the other is currently in a federal penitentiary, reported One America News Network.

    Perhaps even more telling, Gary’s brother, Jimmy Wright, was arrested in 1981 for distributing controlled substances — and Roy Moore was the prosecutor in his case.

    In fact, with Moore’s senatorial opponent being far-left Democrat Doug Jones, who’s pro-prenatal infanticide, pro-“transgender” agenda and pro-amnesty, it just may be that the judge is one of the only people of integrity in this sorry saga. This would include the politicians, Democrat and Republican, who’ve condemned him. As Mulshine put it, “If elected, Moore will be the first senator in memory to have eyewitness evidence that he exited a brothel without having sex. That may not sound like much. But by Beltway standards, it’s a lot.”

    For sure. And the only question remaining is whether Alabamans will be stopped from electing a man who stands above the Beltway by a focus on matters originating below the belt.

Thanksgiving Proclamation, President George Washington

Thanksgiving Proclamation

New York, 3 October 1789

By the President of the United States of America. a Proclamation.

Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor—and whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested me “to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness.”

Now therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th day of November next to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be—That we may then all unite in rendering unto him our sincere and humble thanks—for his kind care and protection of the People of this Country previous to their becoming a Nation—for the signal and manifold mercies, and the favorable interpositions of his Providence which we experienced in the course and conclusion of the late war—for the great degree of tranquillity, union, and plenty, which we have since enjoyed—for the peaceable and rational manner, in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national One now lately instituted—for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed; and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and in general for all the great and various favors which he hath been pleased to confer upon us.

And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech him to pardon our national and other transgressions—to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually—to render our national government a blessing to all the people, by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed—to protect and guide all Sovereigns and Nations (especially such as have shewn kindness unto us) and to bless them with good government, peace, and concord—To promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the encrease of science among them and us—and generally to grant unto all Mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as he alone knows to be best.

Given under my hand at the City of New-York the third day of October in the year of our Lord 1789.

Go: Washington

Why We Celebrate Thanksgiving – Stephen McDowell

Why We Celebrate Thanksgiving

 Stephen McDowell

    Innumerable blessings have been bestowed upon the United States of America. Concerning these blessings President Lincoln wrote: “No human counsel hath devised, nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God.” President Lincoln went on to set apart the last Thursday of November as “a day of thanksgiving and praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the heavens.”1

    While President Lincoln established America’s official Thanksgiving holiday in 1863, it was the Pilgrims who first celebrated a day of Thanksgiving in this land in 1621 and who set an example that many followed in the succeeding years.2

As the Pilgrims gathered their harvest in the autumn of 1621 and looked back over the preceding year, they had so much for which to be thankful that they decided to set aside a day of Thanksgiving unto God, Whom they acknowledged as the Giver of all blessings and the only reason for their survival. It was indeed a miracle that they did survive their first year in the wilderness of New England and had a good harvest. Desire for a home where they could freely worship God, and the desire to “propagate… the Gospel of the kingdom of Christ” and be stepping stones for others to do the same, motivated a band of Christians later called Pilgrims) to set out on a hazardous voyage to plant a colony in the new world of America.

After sixty-six perilous days at sea, where the storms were so great that they were blown unknowingly hundreds of miles north of their intended destination, they reached Cape Cod. The captain attempted to sail south to Virginia, but the weather forced them to settle in New England. They later learned that the site they chose for a settlement – Plymouth – had been the home of the Patuxet Indians. Had they arrived a few years earlier, there would have been no place for them to settle, but a plague had mysteriously wiped out the Patuxet tribe in 1617, and no other tribe would settle in the area for fear of the same thing occurring to them.

Winter had already set in as they started to build houses to protect themselves from the unrelenting cold. Scurvy and other diseases began to infect the settlers due to the long voyage, lack of provisions, and unaccommodating conditions People began to die so rapidly that in two or three months’ time only half of the original 102 persons remained. While this was quite a tragedy, they still fared much better than the early settlers at Jamestown, who saw nine out of ten persons die in the first years of colonization.

During this dark winter in America, the Christian character of the Pilgrims shone brightly. At the time of greatest distress, there were only six or seven persons strong enough to move about. With the sick they “spared no pains night nor day, but with abundance of toil and hazard of their health, fetched them wood, made them fires, dressed them meat, made their beds, washed their loathsome clothes clothed and unclothed them; in a word, did all the homely and necessary offices for them which dainty and queasy stomachs cannot endure to hear named; and all this willingly and cheerfully, without any grudging in the least, showing herein their true love unto their friends and brethren. A rare example and worthy to be remembered.”3

Though half of their number survived, the prospects of the coming year looked very bleak – they were surrounded by Indians, some hostile, they were short of food and supplies, and they knew little of how to survive in the American wilderness. But to their astonishment, and gratitude to God, an English-speaking Indian named Squanto came among them, took them under his care, and taught them how to survive in the new land.

He showed them how to plant corn, assuring its growth by setting it with fish; he taught them how to catch fish and the times when they could find the creeks stocked with fish (for the Pilgrims had only caught one cod in the preceding four months); he taught them to stalk deer, plant pumpkins, find berries, and catch beaver, whose pelts proved to be their economic deliverance.

Squanto was also helpful in securing a peace treaty between the Pilgrims and surrounding Indian tribes, which lasted over fifty years. In the words of William Bradford, “Squanto… was a special instrument sent of God for their good beyond their expectation.”4 His life story is amazing in itself.

In 1605, Squanto, a member of the Patuxet Indian tribe, was captured by an English explorer and taken to England. He remained there nine years, during which time he learned to speak English. In 1614, Captain John Smith took him back to New England, but shortly after this he was again taken captive and sold into slavery at a port in Spain. Providentially, some local friars bought and rescued him.

From Spain, he eventually went to England where he remained until 1619, when he obtained passage back to his home in New England. As Squanto went ashore at what was to become Plymouth, he found his entire tribe had been killed by a plague. He was the only survivor of the Patuxet tribe. Joining himself to a nearby tribe, he remained there until the spring of 1621 when he joined himself with the Pilgrims, determining to see them survive at the place where his tribe had not.5

Thanks to God, his instrument Squanto, and the character and determination of the Pilgrims, half of them had survived an unimaginably difficult first year. Moreover, they harvested a sufficient food supply for their second winter at Plymouth. Even though there was no surplus food, things looked much better than the preceding winter.

Governor Bradford appointed a day of Thanksgiving and invited the nearby Wampanoag Indians (Squanto’s adopted tribe) to celebrate and give thanks unto God with them. Chief Massasoit and ninety of his men came and feasted with the Pilgrims. They ate deer, turkey, fish, lobster, eels, vegetables, corn bread, herbs, berries, pies, and the Indians even taught the Pilgrims how to make popcorn. The Pilgrims and Indians also competed in running, wrestling, and shooting games. Massasoit enjoyed himself so much that he and his men stayed for three days.6 It is easy to see where the American tradition of feasting at Thanksgiving began.

While many people today follow the Pilgrim’s example of feasting at Thanksgiving, they too often ignore the entire reason that the Pilgrims set aside a special day – that was to give thanks to Almighty God and acknowledge their utter dependence upon Him for their existence. While many today take ease in having plenty, never seeing a need to cry out to God, the Pilgrims relied upon God in their lack and thanked Him in their abundance. Their trust was in God and not in their abundant provisions. This was seen even more fully in the two years following their first Thanksgiving.

Shortly after their Thanksgiving celebration, thirty-five new persons unexpectedly arrived who planned to remain and live at Plymouth. These being family and friends brought much rejoicing, but when they found out they had no provisions it also brought a soberness. Yet their reliance was upon God, so they gladly shared their food, clothing, and homes. With the new additions, their food, even at half allowance for each person, would last six months at most.

Their provisions had almost completely run out when they spied a boat in May of 1622. They hoped the English Company who had sponsored their colonizing Plymouth had sent provisions; however, this boat not only did not bring any food (nor the hope of any), but seven more hungry people to stay in Plymouth. In their extreme hunger, as in times of plenty, they put their complete trust in God to provide.

No one starved to death yet, it would be over a year before famine was completely removed from their midst. During that time there were many days where they “had need to pray that God would give them their daily bread above all people in the world.”7

That spring and summer of 1622 God miraculously fed them, even as the ravens fed Elijah in the wilderness. He provided because the Pilgrims had determined to walk in the way of their Lord Jesus. This was most evident in early summer when sixty “lusty” men (as Bradford called them) came to them for help. Even though these men showed no gratitude, the Pilgrims still gladly took care of them, for many were sick. They gave them housing and shared their meager provisions. This they did for almost the entire summer until the men left.

Like the year before, the harvest of 1622 proved insufficient to meet the Pilgrims’ needs. Outside help appeared doubtful, so the Pilgrims considered how they could produce a larger harvest. Through God’s wisdom they chose to replace the collective farming they had practiced the two preceding years (being imposed upon them by their sponsoring company) with individual farming, assigning to every family a parcel of land.

Bradford wrote: “This had very good success, for it made all hands very industrious, so as much more corn was planted than other wise would have been by any means the Governor or any other could use… and gave far better content. The women now went willingly into the field, and took their little ones with them to set corn, which before would allege weakness and inability; whom to have compelled would have been thought great tyranny and.”8 As they were freed from economic communism and entered into individual enterprise, abundance began to come upon these people.

The Pilgrims learned the hard way that communism doesn’t work, even among a covenant community. Bradford wrote that “the experience that was had in this common course and condition, tried sundry years, and that amongst godly and sober men, may well evince the vanity of that conceit of Platos & other ancients, applauded by some of later times; – that the taking away of property, and bringing in community into a common wealth, would make them happy and flourishing; as if they were wiser than God.”9

The Pilgrims’ hard work, resulting from them being able to directly benefit from the fruit of their labors, caused them to plant about six times more crops than the previous year. While labor certainly increases our prosperity, there are other factors. God wanted the Pilgrims to never forget that it is the Lord that gives men the power to get substance or wealth (Deut. 8:18).

The Pilgrims had great hopes for a large crop, yet as Bradford wrote, “the Lord seemed to blast, & take away the same, and to threaten further & more sore famine unto them, by a great drought which continued from the 3. week in May, till about the middle of July, without any rain and with great heat (for the most part) insomuch as the corn began to wither away.”10

In response to this, “they set a part a solemn day of humiliation to seek the Lord by humble & fervent prayer, in this great distress. And he was pleased to give them a gracious & speedy answer, both to their own & the Indians admiration, that lived amongst them. For all the morning, and greatest part of the day, it was dear weather & very hot, and not a cloud or any sign of rain to be seen, yet toward evening it began to overcast, and shortly after to rain, with such sweet and gentle showers, as gave them cause of rejoicing, & blessing God. It came, without either wind, or thunder, or any violence, and by degrees in that abundance, as that the earth was thoroughly wet and soaked therewith. Which did so apparently revive & quicken the decayed corn & other fruits, as was wonderful to see, and made the Indians astonished to behold.”11

An Indian named Hobamak who witnessed this event said to a Pilgrim: “Now I see that the Englishman’s God is a good God, for he hath heard you, and sent you rain, and that without storms and tempests and thunder, which usually we have with our rain, which breaks down our corn, but yours stands whole and good still; surely your God is a good God.”12

The harvest of 1623 brought plenty to each person, with the more industrious having excess to sell to others. From the time they started a biblical economic system, no famine or general want ever again existed among them.

That autumn of 1623, the Pilgrims again set apart a day of Thanksgiving unto God. They had much to give thanks for and knew Who to acknowledge.

Each year when we celebrate Thanksgiving, let us remember the heritage of that day and why the Pilgrims, as well as President Lincoln set aside a day of Thanksgiving. In the words of Lincoln, proclaiming the second National Thanksgiving Day: this is “a day of thanksgiving and praise to Almighty God, the beneficent Creator and Ruler of the Universe.”13

End Notes

  1. A Compilation of the Messages and Papers of the Presidents, Vol. 8 (New York: Bureau of National Literature, Inc., 1897), p. 3374.
  2. Some colonists in Virginia actually observed the first Thanksgiving celebration in America. This occurred at the Berkeley plantation in 1619. It is the Pilgrims, however, who provide us with the tradition of a Thanksgiving celebration. Lincoln’s proclamation for a day of thanksgiving was certainly not a new event in our history, for various colonies, congresses, and presidents have made many such proclamations throughout our history.
  3. William Bradford, Of Plimoth Plantation (Boston: Wright & Porter Printing, 1901), p. 111. Spelling has been changed to modern usage in this and the other quotes from Bradford.
  4. Ibid., p. 116.
  5. Peter Marshall and David Manuel, The Light and the Glory (Old Tappon, NJ: Fleming H. Revell Co., 1977), pp. 130-132. See also, Bradford, pp. 116-117; and Mourt’s Relation: A Journal of the Pilgrims of Plymouth (Plymouth, MA: Plymouth Rock Foundation, 1985), p. 48.
  6. Mourt’s Relation, pp. 72-73; Marshall and Manuel, pp. 135-136; see also, The Pilgrims and Plymouth Colony, by the editors of American Heritage (New York: American Heritage Publishing Co., 1961), pp. 102-103.
  7. Bradford, p. 164.
  8. Ibid., p. 162.
  9. Ibid., p. 163.
  10. Ibid, p. 170.
  11. Ibid., p. 170-171.
  12. Nathaniel Morton, New England Memorial, pp. 64-65.
  13. Messages and Papers of the Presidents, Vol. 8, pp. 3429-3430.

Protecting and Defending the Constitution

Thank you Mr. President for honoring your oath of office by protecting and defending the original intention of the Constitution of the United States of America!

CftC

The Verdict Is in on Trump’s Judges

November 13, 2017

    If Republicans don’t appreciate Donald Trump now, they will later. That’s when his biggest accomplishment — the courts — will reap the most rewards. For the last 10 months, the White House has been working at a frantic pace to confirm originalist judges, a quest that’s not only making history — but securing it.

Not since Richard Nixon has any president moved faster or more strategically on judicial nominees than Donald Trump. And while the Supreme Court is what captures most people’s attention, the real work is being done a step below — on the appellate level. That’s where, experts say, the real genius comes in.

In a fascinating article, even the New York Times can’t help but notice (with reluctant admiration) how the Trump team has intentionally gone about balancing the courts from the Obama years. “There has never been anything like what we’ve been able to do together with judges,” the president said recently. He’s right. By filling the appellate courts with constitutionalists, Trump’s team is making sure that Americans get a fair shake from the judges who hand down the majority of the country’s rulings. As the Times points out, “The 12 regional appeals courts wield profound influence over Americans’ lives, getting the final word on about 60,000 cases a year that are not among the roughly 80 the Supreme Court hears.”

While most of the country only tunes in to the SCOTUS fights, the reality is that most of these hot-button issues are being decided in the circuit courts below. That makes the president’s focus all the more important. In its interesting article, “Trump is rapidly reshaping the judiciary. Here’s how,” the Times explains that this plan dates back to last year, when legal experts huddled to talk about a “secret battle plan to fill the federal appeals courts with young and deeply conservative judges.” With the help of Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Republicans have delivered plenty of victories on that front, confirming eight — with more on the horizon. Thanks to Grassley, the Senate has kept up with the White House’s frantic pace, despite the Democrats’ stalling tactics.

And while the GOP is used to obstruction from Democrats, it was surprised to see some from its own party. For reasons few understand, Senator John Kennedy (R-La.) is standing in the way of Trump’s ninth federal court win — Kyle Duncan, the White House’s pick for the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. In a rare move, the senator from my home state refuses to endorse Duncan, a man many call a “conservative superstar.” As a solicitor general and law firm partner, he expertly tackled some of the most difficult issues, including marriage, the HHS mandate, bathroom bills, and gender identity. The Judicial Crisis Network calls him “one of the best lawyers of his generation.” I would hope that Senator Kennedy would join his fellow Republicans in moving on Duncan’s confirmation — and send another stellar judge to the bench.

In the meantime, conservatives who said the courts were the deciding factor in the 2016 elections have to be happy with the results. Even the New York Times can’t help but notice: “Mr. Trump is poised to bring the conservative legal movement… to a new peak of influence over American law and society.”

For more on the president’s judicial accomplishments (and otherwise), cut through the fake news with this Daily Wire’s column, “Trump’s First Year in Office Has Been Wildly Successful.”

Tony Perkins’ Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.

 

Trump’s First Year In Office Has Been Wildly Successful

 Branden Camp / Stringer

Michael J. Knowles

November 10, 2017

    A full 365 days of covfefe have passed since Hillary Clinton grudgingly conceded the 2016 presidential election. According to Democrat press releases and the mainstream media — but I repeat myself — the nation lies in ruins. Reality tells a different story.

    On the economic front, consumer confidence has hit its highest level in 17 years. Over one million jobs have been created. The post-election stock market rally is the second largest since the Kennedy administration. The destructive tariffs and trade wars conservatives feared have not materialized. Tax reform awaits congressional Republicans’ whipping the votes.

On the so-called social issues, Trump repealed the Obama mandate that forced states to fund Planned Parenthood, and he reinstated the Mexico City Policy that protects U.S. taxpayers from having to fund abortions overseas. Unlike his predecessor, Trump has refrained from refashioning the White House into a giant glowing rainbow to celebrate activist judges’ abuse of the Constitution. Quite to the contrary, Trump appointed Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, an originalist justice in the tradition Antonin Scalia. He’s also appointed 12 other textualist judges to the lower courts, and many others who await confirmation.

On immigration, President Trump has added more agents to Immigration and Customs Enforcement. He’s expanded deportation priorities, moved to end Barack Obama’s executive amnesty program DACA, and signed an executive order directing the Justice Department to defund sanctuary cities. As a result, illegal immigration rates across our southern border have dropped to a 45-year low, according to the acting chief of U.S. Customs and Border Protection. On corruption, Trump has imposed a five-year ban on lobbying the government by former White House officials and a lifetime ban on lobbying for foreign governments by former White House officials.

On foreign policy, while we were promised President Trump would recklessly plunge us into nuclear war, instead he’s wrangled trade concessions and collaboration on North Korea out of China. Trump ably handled Syrian president Bashar al-Assad’s chemical test of American resolve five years after Barack Obama failed to follow American threats with action. Trump oversaw the return of American high school student Otto Warmbier from North Korea, dropped the “Mother Of All Bombs” on ISIS, over which Syria just yesterday declared victory. He approved the Keystone and Dakota Access Pipelines after years of Obama-era red tape and pulled the United States out of the environmentally ineffectual Paris Climate Accord. Obama’s strategies of “strategic patience” in North Korea and “leading from behind” in the Middle East are finished.

On the environment, at the EPA Scott Pruitt has overturned 52 burdensome regulations. While a net 13,000 new federal restrictions have been added annually for the past 20 years, under Trump, the number of net new regulations sits around zero. The New York Times, a “former newspaper”, summed it up in May: “Trump Discards Obama Legacy, One Rule at a Time,” including Barack Obama’s disastrous so-called Clean Power Plan, which as the Heritage Foundation explains, would have resulted in higher energy prices, fewer jobs, less growth; disproportionately hurt poor families; and offered virtually no environmental benefit.

Most important of all, Trump has cracked the patina of credibility that Democrat operatives masquerading as journalists once enjoyed and “sophisticated” Republicans once indulged. As a result, nearly two-thirds of Americans now recognize that mainstream outlets shill for Democrats rather than present unbiased reporting. And Hollywood lies in rubble as the preening moralizers who hold their countrymen in contempt are caught, literally, with their pants down.

All in all, an unexpectedly covfefe year. And if you’ve enjoyed all of these improvements — the protection of our First and Second Amendment from the claws of Hillary’s Supreme Court pick, less government, more freedom, and credibility abroad — thank a Trump voter.