Seven things that did not happen in 2018

Happy New Year! At the beginning of 2018, I wrote down a few common sense predictions about what would not happen in the world in the following twelve months. Did I get any right? Of course, spoiler alert, all of my predictions came true! Here are the predictions and what ended up happening:

Everyone 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…

So, what actually happened:

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

The polar bears were quite safe, and they will be again this year. The French people apparently feel pretty optimistic about their future too, not so much about their own economically after carbon taxes were slapped on them briefly until they rose up in revolt.

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”.

We’re still here and Li’l Kim and Trump are trading love letters. Better than bullets.

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.

According to the CBO: “In 2018, real GDP is projected to grow by 3.1 percent.” It was as high as 4.1% On January 1st, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act went into effect, Vice President Pence noted that within a few weeks after the bill’s passage, companies began to offer their employees thousand dollar bonuses and that in his own family when his kids were little, there was a word for such a year-end windfall, “Christmas”. You don’t hear the term “Taxpocolypse” much around Capitol Hill anymore.

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.

Still no boxcars full of illegal immigrants being shipped to concentration camps. There was a caravan of prospective immigrants headed here from Central America. Funny thing, after storming Mexico’s southern border, causing riots, and sweeping like as a horde through the interior bringing crime and sickness with them, an amazing thing happened, Mexican officials and citizens started to sound a lot like Trump and his supporters with regards to an unsustainable increase in illegal aliens crossing their border and using up public resources. Tragically, there have been a couple of children among those who crossed into the US who died of sickness. Obviously, if the caravaners had their way, they would be pouring into the country with nary a medical screening. It kinda reminds one of the logic of controlled, legal immigration of screened and vetted individuals. Meanwhile, there are incidents of preventable crime by illegal immigrants who could have been deported except for asinine sanctuary city laws. In an incident of horrible irony, a legal immigrant policeman was killed by an illegal immigrant felon in the sanctuary state of California.

5. Venezuela: “A socialist success story”. There’s an outside chance of them becoming a capitalist success story sometime 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.

Venezuela is still socialist, its people still lack basic necessities, so much so that thousands have fled to neighboring Columbia causing a bit of a refugee crisis for that country. Representative (elect) Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and her fellow Democratic Socialists in this county have yet to connect socialism with Venezuela’s economic and human-rights catastrophe.

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.

Though the Democrats did win back the House, it was not the wave that they had counted on. They lost ground in the Senate, thanks in large part to their ridiculous antics in the Senate during the Justice Kavanaugh hearings that saw several Democrat senators tripping over each other to grandstand during the proceedings. Those particular senators may not have lost their bids for reelection, but may have cost some of their peers in red states theirs.

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.

With control of the House flipping over to the Democrats, impeachment proceedings are almost a guarantee, certainly some of them have been chomping at the bit since January of 2017. It’s a lead-pipe cinch that there will be myriad Congressional investigations into the President and his associates. The presumed Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi will probably be able to hold off on an impeachment vote until after Robert Mueller’s report, which may merely serve as the DOJ passing the impeachment baton off to the various House committees that will run with it, regardless of what it actually says.

Well, 2018 is now in the books and surprise, we’re all still here and doing OK. Trump is still President and it won’t be a nuclear winter. There are no concentration camps filled with non-white slave laborers waiting to die at the hands of MAGA hatted stormtroopers. There may even be a surplus of polar bears this coming year and Miami and New York are still not under water. It wasn’t exactly a wave, but the Democrats did win back the House but lost ground in the Senate. Nancy Pelosi will be telling her party to curb their enthusiasm over impeachment, at least in the beginning. Democrats don’t not overplay their hand when given a chance, so of course, they will. Their efforts will be to no avail, as Republicans still control the Senate. In 2019, count on many of these things continuing not to happen, especially, hopefully, the bit about not having a nuclear war, that would really suck. Happy 2019!

-J.P. Mac.


Mike Pence Talks Taxes and Other Issues in Philadelphia

Mike Pence
Vice President Mike Pence (R)

PHILADELPHIA– On Monday, Vice President Mike Pence made a stop to speak at an event sponsored by America First Policies, a non-profit organization to promote President Trump’s agenda. The main topic was the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 and its positive effects on the economy, but it was also an opportunity for the Vice President to stump for Republican Candidate for U.S. Senate, Congressman Lou Barletta of PA.

The event began with a panel discussion on taxes which featured several political and business leaders from the greater Philadelphia area, to include Representatives Tom MacArthur (R-NJ), and Lloyd Smucker (R-PA) At several points during the discussion, the figure of 1.9% GDP growth during the Obama presidency was contrasted with the current GDP under Trump of 2.9%. Though there was no question and answer segment, an audience member nonetheless shouted out a question about how the CBO (Congressional Budget Office) predicted a revenue shortfall and increase of our national debt under the tax cut plan. Though the moderator attempted to move on, the panel did address the question. It was noted that the current GDP growth was outperforming the CBO estimates, and that sustained economic growth, according to Congressman MacArthur, was “our best shot” at reducing the debt. The panel also noted the many pay increases, bonuses, and expansion of benefits enjoyed by many working Americans due to the tax cuts, Vice President Pence would later provide examples of this in his own speech.

After a discussion panel on the positive effects of the tax cuts on local business and workers, and a speech from Under Secretary of Commerce for Economic Affairs, Karen Dunn Kelly, the Vice President was introduced by Congressman Lou Barletta, whom Pence was in town to campaign and raise money for in an effort to unseat Democrat incumbent, Bob Casey from his position in the U.S Senate. Though Casey was advertised as a “moderate Democrat” Pence maintained that on the issues of Obamacare, taxes, and abortion, the Senator voted more like socialist Democrat Bernie Sanders. The Vice President spoke highly of Barletta, noting how he built a small line painting business in Hazleton, PA into the sixth largest of its kind in the country. Pence also mentioned how President Trump also strongly endorsed his candidacy saying, “The President and I love you,” referring to Barletta, later saying about him, “I am gratified for his service in the past, and the president, and the future.”

After thanking Rep. Barletta for a warm introduction and acknowledging his accomplishments, the Vice President started the main body of his speech by asking all of the veterans in the room to stand up and be recognized, the audience applauded and cheered as the men and women stood. He then extended is thanks to all who put on the uniform to serve their fellow citizens, especially those in law enforcement. He used that to segue into the topic of border enforcement. One of the big applause lines of the speech came when he reaffirmed his and the President’s unwavering commitment to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency better known as ICE, stating emphatically, “ We will never abolish ICE we will stand by them and give them the support they deserve.” This was in response to what he characterized as “irresponsible rhetoric by many of leading liberal Democrats,” calling for the abolition of ICE. He went on to tout several of the agency’s accomplishments, including 127,000 criminal illegal aliens arrested in the last year, nearly five thousand gang members off the streets, and one thousand children saved from child exploitation and human traffickers. He also mentioned that the administration had secured greater funding for border security to include funding for “the wall”.

The recent retirement announcement by Justice Anthony Kennedy gave Pence a reason to talk about the Trump Administration’s accomplishments getting federal court vacancies filled. He cited a record number of appointments by a presidential administration in their first year as a major achievement for Trump. When he mentioned his boss’ appointment of Justice Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, the mostly partisan room erupted into applause, applause that continued when he mentioned the name of Brett Kavanaugh, the judge President Trump recently nominated to fill the upcoming vacancy by Justice Kennedy. The Vice President reiterated the President’s wish to appoint strict constitutionalist judges to the Supreme Court, a stance strongly opposed by liberal Democrats who prefer SCOTUS justices with a more flexible view of the Constitution. He suggested that if Senator Bob Casey would not support the appointment of Kavanaugh, the people of Pennsylvania should replace him in November with someone who would.

The Vice President went on to speak of several other hot political topics that the President has addressed during his first year and a half in office, including the imminent destruction of ISIS, the dismantling of the regulatory state, and our allies’ greater monetary commitment to NATO. Pence also mentioned other promises Trump has kept such as pulling out of the Paris Climate agreement and his efforts to renegotiate international trade deals that he feels are not in the country’s best interest. He also responded to Iran’s recent saber-rattling saying, “We will not tolerate threats against the United States of America.”

The main focus of the afternoon’s event was to talk about the benefits of the recent tax cuts that went into effect on January 1st. Pence went over the highlights of the tax plan, stating that the average working family in Philadelphia will save around $2500/year in taxes under the new plan. He mentioned how the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act eliminated a major component of the Affordable Care Act. “We cut out the core of Obamacare, the individual mandate is gone,” Pence said, his statement garnering approving applause. He noted that within a few weeks after the bill’s passage, companies began to offer their employees thousand dollar bonuses and that in his own family when his kids were little, there was a word for such a year-end windfall, “Christmas”. He was quick to point out that former Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, (D-CA) infamously suggested the bonuses were mere “crumbs”, left over by greedy corporations. The mere mention of her name brought boos from many in the audience. About Pelosi’s remark, he said: “Any leader who says that a $1000 in the pockets of working Americans is nothing but ‘crumbs’ is out of touch with the American People and should never lead the American Congress again.”

Keeping on taxes, and the broader issue of the economy, Pence also listed some of the benefits he attributed to the tax cuts, the promise of better trade deals and the lessening of the regulatory burden on companies. Some of the things he gave Trump credit for were: 3.7 million new jobs since the election, including 340,000 in the manufacturing sector, record low unemployment rates among American blacks and Hispanics, and he also stated that, “more than six million people have received pay raises, bonuses, or bigger benefits,” since the signing of the tax cut bill. Another benefit he mentioned was how local corporations such as Comcast and Alamo gave $1000 bonuses and promised to upgrade their facilities. Pennsylvania based Peco Energy passed much of its tax saving onto its customers.

Vice President Pence closed his remarks with a few requests for the like-minded people in the audience. He asked that they share what they have heard there with their friends and neighbors. He suggested they tell them, “…that under President Donald Trump, the forgotten men and women are forgotten no more.” Pence also reflected upon the currently divided nature of our country and asked that they pray for America, not for an agenda or a campaign, but for all of America. “Pray for all the American people, because prayer matters,” he asked the crowd. Finally, he ended with the familiar refrain of the President, “We will make America safe again, we will make American prosperous again, and to borrow a phrase, we will make America great again.”

The “What if?” Debate

Just a short note on tonight’s VP debate…

If you’re like me, a political junkie, you’ll dutifully sit down and watch tonight’s VP debate.  Of course the fact that you’re a political junkie means that you already have enough information to have picked a candidate.  So why watch?  I’m looking at it like an episode of a sci-fi show that deals with alternate realities.  Physicists suggest that there is not a single reality, but many– where every possible scenario get plaid out.  Alternate timelines where the NAZI’s win the war, where the Federation is an evil empire and so on.  The alternate reality  sub-genera is one of the more intriguing, the where we get an answer to the question: “What if?”

What if?… Donald could actually stay on message and never put his foot in his mouth?

What if?…  Hillary were actually likable enough to the non-Democrat that people actually liked to hear her speak?

That’s something like the frame of mind I’ll be as I watch tonight’s VP debate.  If you ever wondered what their policies sounded like spoken by well, better candidates, then tonight should be a good chance to find that out.  In some alternate timeline, Tim Kaine and Mike Pence are at the top of their tickets.  (…and for some inexplicable reason, Clinton and Trump are their running-mates.) What would it be like then to hear the Clinton and Trump policy prescriptions coming from candidates without all the baggage?  We get to briefly examine this alternate reality tonight.  Tomorrow, it will be back to real reality, but tonight for about ninety minutes, we get to see some political sci-fi– at least that’s how I’m going to try to make it a little more interesting to watch.