Seven Things That Won’t Happen in 2018.

Happy New YearEveryone likes to make New Year’s predictions. Just to be a little different, here is a list of things that are exceedingly unlikely to happen in 2018. Although there are scores of pundits, celebrities and other talking heads who will try and convince you otherwise, here are seven things that logic and clear thinking suggest won’t occur in calendar year 2018…

  1. Global Warming. Have you been outside lately? The polar bears will be quite safe in 2018.

  2. Nuclear War. No, WWIII won’t start over a tweet, despite what the pundits from MSNBC and CNN want you to believe. (Gotta hedge a little because we’re talking about Kim Jong Un here after all. ) If it does happen it will be because N. Korea does something tragically stupid, and God-forbid maybe even gets in a single blow before they cease to exist. It won’t happen however, because President Trump calls Kim Jong Un fat or “Rocket Man”.

  3. The Taxpocolypse. Lower Taxes won’t destroy the country. On the contrary, expect more economic growth.  The promise of lower taxes has already helped the economy and should continue to do so in FY18.

  4. Immigration Stormtroopers. Democrat scare tactics are just that, scare tactics. There will be no squadrons of ICE rounding up foreigners and people of color for mass deportation. There will be no liquidation of East L.A., or South central Chicago.  Yes, plenty of illegal immigrants will be deported, after due process and according to existing law, but if you seriously believe they’re coming for you, and you’re a legal alien- well, you’re a just a little bit gullible.

  5. Venezuela: “A socialist success story”. There’s an outside chance of them becoming a capitalist success story some time in the future, but will take some doing and would probably take years. On a related note, the Che Guevara-T-shirt wearing-die-hard-leftists in this country (still) won’t acknowledge that socialism destroyed that country.

  6. A “wave election” for the Democrats. Conventional wisdom says the party that holds the White House loses Congress during the mid-terms. The Democrats have little to offer except anti-Trump sentiment. If the stock market continues to go up, and GDP growth stays where it is or increases, the public won’t have much incentive to change course. Only if the economy goes south or a major crisis arises and is bungled by the White House will the Democrats have any chance of retaking either branch of Congress. That having been said, Capitol Hill is the Republicans’ to lose.

  7. Impeachment proceedings. Since the Republicans hold Congress and probably will after 2018, Trump would have to have committed an actual high-crime or misdemeanor, not an imagined one to get himself impeached. Sorry left-leaning news media– not gonna happen, not in 2018 and probably not ever.

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Trump’s first 100 days evaluation: Good, with some improvement needed.

trump-1st-100-daysAs past presidents have shown, a president’s term can’t be judged by their first one hundred days, Kennedy had a terrible first hundred days, Carter was highly successful at doing the wrong things during that period.  That having been said, it is a good mile marker, an opportunity for course evaluation and correction.  I give President Trump a “B” for his first 100 days. He’s done as well as can be expected for someone with no previous political experience. He’s maxed-out on what a President alone can do in that period. He’s started to dismantle the regulatory state, and has exceeded expectations in the area of foreign policy.  American is back in the business of leading. His administration stumbled a bit on the initial travel ban rollout. He has yet to make any major economic policy.  He (luckily) has not had to deal with any world crisis of the 9/11 or Cuban Missile Crisis magnitude so those remain ungraded.

He has definite room for improvement though. He’s learned the hard way that the Courts are against him, but that is a fixable problem over the long-term. He’d have done better if certain Federal courts actually followed the Constitution. He made a good start with the appointment of Gorsuch to SCOTUS. Where he’s fallen short is when he’s needed the cooperation of Congress. Not getting the healthcare bill on the first try has exposed a need to add dealing with Capitol Hill to his skill set. Like it or not, he’s a politician now and needs to learn how to herd cats. There are also those things that one can only learn by being President, so far at least he’s shown an openness to growing with the job, which is good because the job’s only going to get tougher from here.

Trump has met expectations in some areas, and exceeded them in others, but he’s gone as far as his business skills alone will take him.  He needs to learn how Washington works– not how it should work, but how it really works. He has considerable negotiation skills as we all knew, but now he’s going to have to apply them to a whole new realm of problems and situations that just never occur in the boardroom.  The seeds he sows now with regards to economic policy will take some time to bear fruit, if at all.  It’s too early to judge on that front.  Thankfully, he’s not had to deal with a world-class crisis, although ISIS and North Korea are working hard to provide him with one.  He’s done okay so far but his hardest days are ahead of him.  He’s going to have to continue to grow as a President and he’s not likely to be afforded much time to learn on the job.  On top of that he has many adversaries within the beltway and the media looking to trip him up at every turn, not for the sake of America, but for the sake of damaging his presidency.  That’s not fair, but that’s the reality he faces.  He can and needs to do better despite all that is against him.

The Freedom Caucus won the battle but still could lose the war.

trump-1st-100-daysIf President Trump is correct, Obamacare will implode and the Democrats will have little choice but to join the effort to fix healthcare. Don’t count on them to bring conservative solutions to the table though. The problem for the Freedom Caucus if this happens will be to hold onto the concessions they gained during the last few days. The more Democrats elect to take part in the effort the less chance any further conservative initiatives will make it into any new healthcare legislation. The Freedom Caucus having won this most recent battle, may well lose the war.  The best hope for the Freedom Caucus going forward is to continue to explain to the American people at every opportunity the virtues of their positions on healthcare and build public awareness of them to the point that by the second go-round they seem common sense.  They will need to expand their sphere of influence beyond conservative diehards to the more moderate Republican constituencies and Trump supporters if they are to have any hope keeping their gains in tact much less building upon them in the event that Democrats decide they want a hand in fixing the mess they made with Obamacare when next attempt at healthcare reform is made.

A Bad Call by the U.S. Courts

With the memory of the big football game still fresh in the minds of many, here is an allusion to that sport that explains the recent rulings against President Trump’s travel ban…

Imagine that during a NFL game,  one team’s coach calls a new play.  The play works and the team seemingly scores a touchdown, but the referee throws a flag, calling a penalty.  The coach of the offence team politely beckons the ref to the sideline for a chat.  The coach cites the rulebook to the official saying every element of the play was legal, from the players on the field, to their movements, to their contact with opposing players etc.  The referee says the penalty will stand because he felt the other team wasn’t prepared for such a play, and therefore the play wasn’t fair. The play goes up to the review booth and the call on the field stands and there was no touchdown.

That’s basically what happened this week with the U.S. District Court and 9th Circuit Court reversing the president’s perfectly legal travel ban.  Like the referees in the example, the judges made a call based not upon what the “rulebook” says, but what they thought was equitable.  That is not their job, their job is to know the rules and make sure the government sticks to those rules when enacting policy.  It’s not for them to judge if a policy is good, only that it is legal per statute and the Constitution. It’s for us, the voters to decide if the president’s policy was a good one.  The courts need to stick to their jobs and not assume the responsibilities delegated to others under our system of government.

President Trump, Day One

Congratulations to Donald Trump, our 45th president.

trump-1st-100-daysJust after noon Friday, Donald J. Trump was sworn in as our 45th president.  An improbable run for the White House that began over a year ago culminated in President Trump taking the oath of office in front of the Capitol building.  Inside the Mall, tens of thousands cheered.  Outside the Mall, thousands protested, at times violently, while others showed support.  Immediately after being sworn in, he gave his inaugural address that focused on how he would put America first in every decision as president saying, “We assembled here today are issuing a new decree to be heard in every city, in every foreign capital, and in every hall of power. From this day forward, a new vision will govern our land. From this day forward, it’s going to be only America first, America first.”

Rebels Without Causes

President Trump’s inauguration was marred by violence as anti-Trump protesters lashed out on the nation’s capital.  While much of the protesting was done peacefully, there were many protesters determined to disrupt the proceedings, showing little respect for their fellow citizens attempting to show support and maybe catch a glimpse of our newly minted 45th president.   Part of the problem is that for many, protesting has become a sport, a diversion devoid of any real meaning. It no longer seems to matter what the subject is, or even if the problem is real or imagined. These rebels without causes have taken to protesting like others do skiing or rock climbing. It’s just another outdoor sport except it’s borne from societal decay, done not for any real purpose than the adrenaline rush. Perhaps the worst part is that it dilutes the message who peacefully protest for sincere, heartfelt causes that deserve our attention.

Year in Review: The presidential election in a nutshell

2016-yir

Election Flag a2016 was a year jam-packed with political intrigue.  There was no shortage of scandal, double-dealing, and betrayal…and that was just the Democrats!  (OK it was the Republicans too!) 2016 Saw the rise of the populist in politics, both on the right and the left.  On the left, you had an aging senator from Vermont attracting a young and enthusiastic crowd of budding socialists.  We witnessed the rise and fall of Ted Cruz, who took Tea Party populism to a new level and became its standard-bearer.  Conservative populism clashed with and eventually gave way to well… populist populism.  Donald Trump, (now add President-elect to his name) saw a huge chunk of America that had been overlooked by conservatives and taken for granted by liberals, the disaffected white, working class voter.  On the other side of the aisle, the Democrats just could not seem to get out of their own way.  Day after day, scandal after scandal piled up eventually, at precisely the wrong time, the whole thing collapsed.  The liberal world was turned upside down when Trump won the presidency by a convincing margin in the much-maligned Electoral College.

Year in Review: Early 2016

2016-yirEarly 2016 saw the presidential race go into full swing.  It seems like a lifetime ago, but the year started with Presidential debates, the most interesting being those on the Republican side.  16 men and one woman began their campaigns in earnest. The stage literally was not big enough for all of them, so was created the undercard debate.  One candidate, Carly Fiorina, emerged as the only candidate to earn a spot on the big stage with the true contenders. Meanwhile on the Democrat side, Senator Bernie Sanders, a self-avowed Socialist caught fire with connecting with of all groups, the far-left leaning youth.  Iran became a campaign issue when the extremely dubious nuclear agreement went into effect, coincidently, four American hostages that were held in Iran were freed.  Later it would become apparent that their freedom had been purchased in the dark of night with unmarked bills.

Farewell Antonio ScaliaThe Executive branch was not the only branch to undergo far-reaching change. In February, the country lost one of its greatest jurists, Antonin Scalia, a conservative justice on a split Supreme Court.  Before the end of March, three different Republicans had won primaries, including several won by Donald Trump, establishing him as a serious contender for the nomination.  Bernie Sanders became the hot ticket on the Democratic side, stringing together early primary victories, showing that there would be no early coronation for Hillary.  Meanwhile, terrorism was set to rear its ugly head again in Europe.  The attack in Brussels, the capital of the European Union exposed the dangers of letting in millions of lightly vetted migrants and refugees from countries with serious terrorism problems.  Further attacks were to come, peaking in the middle months of the year.