Tag Archives: America

Trump’s State of the Union speech: “Americans are dreamers, too”

Trump's State of the Union pitted America against Democrats
Trump’s State of the Union pitted America against Democrats

I can’t recommend that you go back and watch the speech, because it was so very long. Too long. However, the guys over at the Daily Wire liked the speech a lot, and they gave it high grades. Why? Because Trump put forward conservative principles with examples in a way that linked conservative virtues to America. However, the Democrats sat through almost all of it with stone faces, sitting on their hands.

The best summary I found so far was up at the Daily Caller.

Excerpt:

President Donald Trump delivered a largely conciliatory speech during his State of the Union address Tuesday.

[…]The major policy proposals put forth to Congress were calls for a new infrastructure investment package and the acceptance of a new proposal to reform the U.S. immigration system. “Every Federal dollar should be leveraged by partnering with State and local governments and, where appropriate, tapping into private sector investment — to permanently fix the infrastructure deficit,” the president said of infrastructure.

Trump’s immigration package offers a pathway to citizenship for 1.8 million illegal immigrants brought to the U.S. as children in exchange for full funding for wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, eliminating chain migration and an end to the diversity visa lottery program.

The president frequently pointed out guests of the First Lady throughout the speech including U.S. soldiers recognized for valor in combat, firefighters from California, ICE agents, parents who lost their children to MS-13 gang violence, and a North Korea defector.

And here is the detail on one case I liked from the Daily Caller:

President Donald Trump celebrated Staff Sgt. Justin Peck for his role in saving the life of his fellow soldier who was wounded clearing deadly traps form buildings in the former ISIS stronghold of Raqqa, Syria.

“Near Raqqa last November Justin and his comrade, Chief Petty Officer Kenton Stacy, were on a mission to clear buildings that ISIS had rigged with explosives so that civilians could return to that city hopefully soon and hopefully safely,” Trump said. “Clearing the second floor of vital hospital, Kenton Stacy was severely wounded by an explosion. Immediately, Justin bounded into the booby-trapped and unbelievably dangerous and unsafe building and found Kenton, but in very, very bad shape.”

Trump went on to describe the incredible medical care administered by Peck, who rose stoically to his feet amid overwhelming applause from the audience.

“He applied pressure to the wound and inserted a tube to reopen an airway, he then performed CPR for twenty straight minutes during the ground transport and maintained artificial respiration through two and a half hours and through emergency surgery,” Trump said. “Kenton Stacy would have died if it were not for Justin’s selfless love for his fellow warrior. Tonight Kenton is recovering in Texas, Raqqa is liberated and Justin is wearing his new bronze star with a V for valor.”

U.S. backed coalition forces cleared ISIS militants from Raqqa in October after four years of occupation. The terrorist group has been eradicated from roughly 98 percent of the territory they held at the height of their power.

Here’s the clip for that one:

This is good because Democrats think that our armed forces need to be disarmed and pulled out of wars against our enemies. That is why Obama pulled out of Afghanistan and Iraq, and cut funding for the military. He thought they were doing harm, and wanted them to stop doing harm. Obama’s allies in the mainstream media go out of their way to paint the US armed forces in a bad light – remember how many months they talked about Abu Ghraib and waterboarding? But Trump counters the Democrats with an example of people in the Armed Forces doing great things. And since Trump is the one speaking, praise for the military is naturally linked with Trump’s Republican party. Republicans believe in the military, and here is an example of why we do. And Democrats sat on their hands and kept silent.

There were lots of examples that helped everyone to understand why Republicans take the positions they do.

Here’s an example – why are Republicans for border security?

And another – why are Republicans opposed to North Korea?

And another – why do Republicans cut taxes for the middle class?

And another – why do Republicans think America is better than some other countries?

When a Republican president points out examples of things Republicans like, other people start to understand that Republicans are not the horrible devils that Democrats make them out to be. When the Democrats refused to clap for goodness, it helps people to think “maybe I’m not a Democrat after all”.

This went on and on throughout the speech. The Democrats were silent for tax cuts. The Democrats were silent for hard working Americans. The Democrats were silent for small business owners. The Democrats were silent for lower black unemployment. The Democrats were silent when the national anthem was praised. The Democrats were silent when the flag was celebrated. What came across over and over again was that what is good for America is bad for Democrats, and vice versa.

It was a great speech, and it moved the ball forward as far as the place of conservatism in the culture.

Happy Independence Day 2017!

The Stars and Stripes
The Stars and Stripes

The Declaration of Independence

Here’s the complete text of the Declaration of Independence here.

And now let’s take a look at an article at The Federalist which talks about what the Declaration of Independence tells us about the character of America.

It says:

The Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson famously wrote, was “intended to be an expression of the American mind.” Although not intended as such, it was also an expression of the American character. Woven throughout the text are insights into the minds and virtues of those Lincoln called the “once hardy, brave, and patriotic, but now lamented and departed race of ancestors” who fought for the independence we still enjoy.

This aspect of the Declaration of Independence receives scant attention from scholars and citizens, yet it must be understood. The theory of government elaborated in that text presupposes the existence of citizens who know how to govern themselves and are willing to assert their rights. The American character is the unstated premise of the argument, without which the theory, though still true, doesn’t work in practice.

So, what’s the American character?

What sets us Americans apart is that we do not merely declare for liberty. We staunchly stand for it. To be an American is not only to know that you are born free, it is to have the courage to defend your freedom. This admirable aspect of the American character is evident in the fifth grievance the Declaration levels against the king.

It reads: “He has dissolved representative houses repeatedly, for opposing, with manly firmness, his invasions on the rights of the people.” The king acted as monarchs are wont to do. Our forefathers, although they were subjects, did not take his abuses passively. They resisted—with manly firmness.

Today, King George III is long gone. Our representative houses are no longer dissolved at will (although they have unconstitutionally been declared to be in recess). Our rights, however, are still encroached upon, whether by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services or the Environmental Protection Agency. Thankfully, courageous Americans still push back, like the Green family, who challenged Obamacare’s abortifacient mandate, or the Sacketts, who fought the EPA’s effective seizure of their property.

No charter of liberties or Constitution—not even one handed down by God himself—could ever, on its own, protect the rights of the people. James Madison, the father of our own Constitution, was not so foolish as to place his trust in mere “parchment barriers against the encroaching spirit of power.”

In Federalist No. 57, Madison takes up the question of “what is to restrain the House of Representatives from making legal discriminations in favor of themselves and a particular class of the society?” His answer: “the genius of the whole system; the nature of just and constitutional laws; and above all, the vigilant and manly spirit which actuates the people of America—a spirit which nourishes freedom, and in return is nourished by it.”

The 56 men who signed our Declaration of Independence set the example for their fellow countrymen and for future generations. They did not simply proclaim the universal rights of man. They also pledged “to each other, our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.” And they meant it. Twelve served as combat commanders during the Revolutionary War. Five were captured and imprisoned by the British. Seventeen lost part of their fortunes.

America is not a country for servile men and women. We not only have a right to be free, but a duty to be free. For “when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security.” Free as we are, we have no liberty to choose despotism—even if it is sugarcoated, as it is today, with material comfort and license.

[…]Two centuries later, the American character endures, battered and bruised though it may be. It has been corroded by the Progressive faith in government, the sixties ethos of “if it feels good, do it,” and the mindlessness and vulgarity of pop culture. But we can still readily discern among many Americans the habits of mind and the virtues of a free people. For this, we should be grateful on this Fourth of July.

To love liberty means to be willing to stand up for liberty, and that can mean something as simple as 1) not voting for bigger government just because they are handing out money to you and 2) not voting for bigger government because they are letting you do immoral things.

Standing up for liberty means standing up for your own personal responsibility. It means looking primarily to yourself for earning a living. It means choosing to behave morally so that you don’t create a situation where you need the government to bail you out of your own immoral decisions with someone else’s money.

Happy Independence Day 2016!

The Stars and Stripes
The Stars and Stripes

The Declaration of Independence

Here’s the complete text of the Declaration of Independence here.

And now let’s take a look at an article at The Federalist which talks about what the Declaration of Independence tells us about the character of America.

It says:

The Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson famously wrote, was “intended to be an expression of the American mind.” Although not intended as such, it was also an expression of the American character. Woven throughout the text are insights into the minds and virtues of those Lincoln called the “once hardy, brave, and patriotic, but now lamented and departed race of ancestors” who fought for the independence we still enjoy.

This aspect of the Declaration of Independence receives scant attention from scholars and citizens, yet it must be understood. The theory of government elaborated in that text presupposes the existence of citizens who know how to govern themselves and are willing to assert their rights. The American character is the unstated premise of the argument, without which the theory, though still true, doesn’t work in practice.

So, what’s the American character?

What sets us Americans apart is that we do not merely declare for liberty. We staunchly stand for it. To be an American is not only to know that you are born free, it is to have the courage to defend your freedom. This admirable aspect of the American character is evident in the fifth grievance the Declaration levels against the king.

It reads: “He has dissolved representative houses repeatedly, for opposing, with manly firmness, his invasions on the rights of the people.” The king acted as monarchs are wont to do. Our forefathers, although they were subjects, did not take his abuses passively. They resisted—with manly firmness.

Today, King George III is long gone. Our representative houses are no longer dissolved at will (although they have unconstitutionally been declared to be in recess). Our rights, however, are still encroached upon, whether by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services or the Environmental Protection Agency. Thankfully, courageous Americans still push back, like the Green family, who challenged Obamacare’s abortifacient mandate, or the Sacketts, who fought the EPA’s effective seizure of their property.

No charter of liberties or Constitution—not even one handed down by God himself—could ever, on its own, protect the rights of the people. James Madison, the father of our own Constitution, was not so foolish as to place his trust in mere “parchment barriers against the encroaching spirit of power.”

In Federalist No. 57, Madison takes up the question of “what is to restrain the House of Representatives from making legal discriminations in favor of themselves and a particular class of the society?” His answer: “the genius of the whole system; the nature of just and constitutional laws; and above all, the vigilant and manly spirit which actuates the people of America—a spirit which nourishes freedom, and in return is nourished by it.”

The 56 men who signed our Declaration of Independence set the example for their fellow countrymen and for future generations. They did not simply proclaim the universal rights of man. They also pledged “to each other, our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.” And they meant it. Twelve served as combat commanders during the Revolutionary War. Five were captured and imprisoned by the British. Seventeen lost part of their fortunes.

America is not a country for servile men and women. We not only have a right to be free, but a duty to be free. For “when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security.” Free as we are, we have no liberty to choose despotism—even if it is sugarcoated, as it is today, with material comfort and license.

[…]Two centuries later, the American character endures, battered and bruised though it may be. It has been corroded by the Progressive faith in government, the sixties ethos of “if it feels good, do it,” and the mindlessness and vulgarity of pop culture. But we can still readily discern among many Americans the habits of mind and the virtues of a free people. For this, we should be grateful on this Fourth of July.

To love liberty means to be willing to stand up for liberty, and that can mean something as simple as 1) not voting for bigger government just because they are handing out money to you and 2) not voting for bigger government because they are letting you do immoral things.

Standing up for liberty means standing up for your own personal responsibility. It means looking primarily to yourself for earning a living. It means choosing to behave morally so that you don’t create a situation where you need the government to bail you out of your own immoral decisions with someone else’s money.

Ted Cruz crosses the street and confronts Trump mob in Indiana

Ted Cruz meets voters at a campaign event
Ted Cruz meets voters at a campaign event

Everything you need to understand about the 2016 election is in one video.

First, the back story from the New York Times: (H/T Mysterious H.)

Senator Ted Cruz of Texas had a date with a waiting car.

It was the second of five stops on Monday, the eve of Indiana’s critical primary, and the event at a restaurant here had been billed as little more than a meet-and-greet.

When he got back outside, a half-dozen protesters who supported Donald J. Trump were waiting across North Washington Street, some holding signs.

“Vote Trump!” one shouted.

“Say something really funny!” a Cruz supporter replied.

“Ted Cruz is going to win!” a Trump fan in dark sunglasses shot back.

Then Mr. Cruz did something unusual: He crossed the street.

Then the video:

Here is the rest of the New York Times article, which has additional material about the confrontation:

With a phalanx of aides and reporters trailing him, Mr. Cruz approached his critics with a question.

“What do you like about Donald Trump?” he asked.

“Everything,” said the man in the sunglasses, who later refused to give his name.

When the protester mentioned the Second Amendment, Mr. Cruz said he had defended gun rights in front of the Supreme Court. The man appeared unimpressed.

When he mentioned immigration, Mr. Cruz was ready with a bit of opposition research.

“May I ask you something?” the Texas senator said. “Out of all the candidates, name one who had a million-dollar judgment against them for hiring illegal immigrants. Name one. Donald Trump.”

“Self-funding,” the man replied.

“O.K.,” Mr. Cruz said, “so you like rich people who buy politicians?”

The man asked Mr. Cruz where his “Goldman Sachs jacket” was, alluding to the employer of Mr. Cruz’s wife, Heidi, who took a leave from her job for the campaign.

Mr. Cruz responded that he had attracted more than a million campaign contributions, with an average of $60. He was interrupted sporadically by shouts of “Lyin’ Ted” from the protester’s peers.

“Sir, with all respect,” Mr. Cruz said, “Donald Trump is deceiving you. He is playing you for a chump.”

Mr. Cruz conjectured that Mr. Trump would not have walked over to meet the protesters.

“If I were Donald Trump, I wouldn’t have come over and talked to you,” he said. “You know what I would have done? I would have told the folks over there, ‘Go over and punch those guys in the face.’ That’s what Donald does to protesters.”

The catcalls of “Lyin’ Ted!” returned.

“O.K., stop,” Mr. Cruz said. “What word did I say was a lie?”

“About Donald telling people to punch people,” the man said.

“O.K., let me ask you, sir,” Mr. Cruz responded. “Just go home and Google ‘Donald-punched-in-the-face-protester.’ This is on national television.”

The man ignored him to make a conjecture of his own: “You’ll find out tomorrow. Indiana don’t want you.”

Mr. Cruz turned toward the cameras, as if making a closing argument in court.

“A question that everyone here should ask,” he began.

“Are you Canadian?” the man interjected.

“Do you want your kids,” Mr. Cruz continued, “repeating the words of Donald Trump?”

Mr. Cruz said he respected the man and believed in the people of Indiana to show good judgment. He started walking to his car.

A television reporter asked why he had bothered to engage.

“Because I believe in the democratic process,” he said.

[…]Moments later, when the cameras cleared out, the man strolled east, crossing railroad tracks with his peers in tow. He reached for a cigarette.

Mr. Cruz’s nerve had surprised him, he allowed, but failed to impress him.

“Anything that Donald Trump talks about,” he said, “that’s what I’m about.”

What you see in the video is a microcosm of this entire election.

Ted Cruz is a Princeton and Harvard educated Tea Party conservative who has a record of conservative achievements that runs all the way back to his days in high school, when he traveled around giving lectures on the Constitution and fiscal conservatism to different groups in his community. Ted Cruz has a 100% conservative record from Heritage Action and he has been endorsed by the National Right to Life because of his record of pro-life actions.  He defended the second amendment and religious liberty at the Supreme Court and won. And there are many, many more conservative achievements. Ted Cruz is a man who is confident in his views, and he believes that he can win over the average American voter if he is able to dialog with them, and compare arguments and evidence. He respects the American voter.

The Trump supporters know absolutely nothing about Senator Cruz’s career, and his record of going against the Republican establishment. And everything they know about Donald Trump’s record was what they saw when they watched him clowning around on reality TV shows and beauty pageants. In short, they know literally nothing about his past positions and past actions. They like him because he talked about his penis size in a national debate. They think that is “telling it like it is” and “not being politically correct”. They don’t know that he has always been a Democrat, and that he has always donated to Democrat causes. To them, entertaining words have more value than the patterns of past actions.

Trump supporters have done literally no homework at all in trying to look into the past actions and achievements of the candidates. The only thing they know how to do when confronted with Trump’s liberal record, and Cruz’s conservative record, is to try to drown out the truth with slogans that they obtained from the liberal media, or from their idol Trump himself. The reason why they support an airhead leftist con man like Donald Trump is because they are just not willing to invest the time to know what the candidates have done. They want to figure out who to vote for by watching television, not by researching or reading.

Trump supporters like Trump because they want to blame others for their own failure to grow up and achieve the American dream. America is a country where penniless first-generation immigrants who could not even speak English were able to come here and raise children who would later run for President, e.g. – Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz. Unfortunately, America is a country where too many who are born here think that they are entitled to such success without having to do any work to earn it. But I suspect that this failure has more to do with an attitude that disrespects knowledge and dismisses hard work.

By the way, this isn’t a one-off video… this happens all the time. One previous example occurred in Iowa, where Cruz took time to talk with an angry Iowa farmer about why he opposed ethanol subsidies:

Donald Trump not only supports ethanol subsidies, he pandered to Iowans and offered to raise them – passing the costs of this vote buying on to other taxpayers.

If Ted Cruz loses this election, it will be because too many natural-born Americans abandoned learning about their own history and heritage. To learn those things, they would have to turn off the TV and do their own research. One thing is for certain – if you meet a Trump supporter, you can absolutely assume about that person that he knows literally knows nothing about the Constitution, economics, American history, foreign policy, or anything else that matters.

Related posts

Arthur Brooks: why is the American public shifting from optimism to envy?

Labor Force Participation down to 62.8%
Labor Force Participation down to 62.8%

An editorial by Arthur Brooks appeared today in the leftist New York Times. His topic is the shift from optimism to envy, why it is happening, and whether envy makes us happier than optimism.

Excerpt: (links removed)

The Irish singer Bono once described a difference between America and his native land. “In the United States,” he explained, “you look at the guy that lives in the mansion on the hill, and you think, you know, one day, if I work really hard, I could live in that mansion. In Ireland, people look up at the guy in the mansion on the hill and go, one day, I’m going to get that bastard.”

[…]Unsurprisingly, psychologists have found that envy pushes down life satisfaction and depresses well-being. Envy is positively correlated with depression and neuroticism, and the hostility it breeds may actually make us sick. Recent work suggests that envy can help explain our complicated relationship with social media: it often leads to destructive “social comparison,” which decreases happiness. To understand this, just picture yourself scrolling through your ex’s wedding photos.

My own data analysis confirms a strong link between economic envy and unhappiness. In 2008, Gallup asked a large sample of Americans whether they were “angry that others have more than they deserve.” People who strongly disagreed with that statement — who were not envious, in other words — were almost five times more likely to say they were “very happy” about their lives than people who strongly agreed. Even after I controlled for income, education, age, family status, religion and politics, this pattern persisted.

It’s safe to conclude that a national shift toward envy would be toxic for American culture.

Unfortunately, in the wake of the Great Recession, such a shift may well be underway, given the increasing anxiety about income inequality and rising sympathy for income redistribution. According to data from the General Social Survey, the percentage of Americans who feel strongly that “government ought to reduce the income differences between the rich and the poor” is at its highest since the 1970s. In January, 43 percent of Americans told the Pew Research Center that government should do “a lot” to “reduce the gap between the rich and everyone else.”

Why the shift? The root cause of increasing envy is a belief that opportunity is in decline. According to a 2007 poll on inequality and civic engagement by the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University, just 30 percent of people who believe that everyone has the opportunity to succeed describe income inequality as “a serious problem.” But among people who feel that “only some” Americans have a shot at success, fully 70 percent say inequality is a major concern.

People who believe that hard work brings success do not begrudge others their prosperity. But if the game looks rigged, envy and a desire for redistribution will follow.

This is the direction we’re heading. According to Pew, the percentage of Americans who feel that “most people who want to get ahead” can do so through hard work has dropped by 14 points since about 2000. As recently as 2007, Gallup found that 70 percent were satisfied with their opportunities to get ahead by working hard; only 29 percent were dissatisfied. Today, that gap has shrunk to 54 percent satisfied, and 45 percent dissatisfied. In just a few years, we have gone from seeing our economy as a real meritocracy to viewing it as something closer to a coin flip.

There is a good lesson in this for people who want what is best for the poor. Simply receiving money from others is not going to make poor people happy. What we need to focus on is providing the poorest people with opportunities.

One way to help the poor is by giving poor children a better education. Conservatives support school choice, which takes money away from government and puts it back in the hands of parents, letting them choose the best school for their child. Schools have to produce good outcomes in order to earn the money, just like private businesses have to compete for customers. But Democrats oppose school choice, as when they killed the D.C. voucher program that helped poor black students. Less school choice helps public schools to be insulated from competition, which provides worse outcomes to students, especially poor minority students. If we really cared about poor, minority students, we would put pressure on public schools to compete with private schools. But the Democrats don’t want that, they prefer to give favors to their teacher union allies.

Democrats also want to punish job creators with high taxes and burdensome regulations. Democrats passed Obamacare, which punishes businesses with taxes if they allow part-time workers to work for more than 30 hours a week. Many jobs were lost because of this, and many people are now struggling to pay higher premiums for plans with higher deductibles and co-pays. Obamacare is a nightmare of intrusive regulations, too. Now the Democrats are talking about raising the minimum wage, which is going to put even more pressure on employers to lay off workers, because they can’t afford to pay them more money for the same work. For Democrats, this is all to the good, though. Because if the poor don’t have jobs, or can’t work enough hours, they start to see the economic game as “rigged” and they are more responsive to “envy rhetoric”. They start to look to big government for handouts, rather than trying to prevent the government from taxing and regulating job creators.

What we need to see is that it’s not the Democrats’ objective to help people find jobs. They gain when people become more envious, like in European countries, and start to vote to grow the size and power of government to redistribute wealth. Speeches about income inequality never have the goal of giving people jobs. None of Obama’s policies aim to do that. That’s why he won’t build the Keystone XL pipeline, or boost domestic energy development here at home. Instead, they want to extend unemployment benefits and pass the costs on to the next generation. Their goal is to get you unemployed or on disability or on welfare, so that you will vote for the government to continue to take your neighbor’s money to give it to you. That manufactured envy is what keeps the Democrats in power.

This plan to borrow from young people to buy the votes of old people today works for a while, until the money runs out. But by then, the politicians who put in place the redistribution programs are usually long gone .