Let’s get practical!
by Dr. Larry Fedewa (August 4, 2019)
If we thought that Hillary with all her baggage was about as sorry a candidate as the Democratic party could come up with, the current crop of aspirants is proving us wrong. This crop does not seem to have even a coherent message. They are angry, they fight each other, they see horror everywhere, they are advocating pie in the sky, and they hate Donald Trump. That’s about it.
Unless some superstar emerges from the shadows, or Mr. Trump flounders into a recession, it’s hard to see much of a contest in 2020. Not that the Republicans haven’t had their own streaks of weak candidates — one winner in two out of six elections between 1992 and 2016. But so far it is difficult to take the people in the Democrat field seriously.
Eliminate fossil fuels in 10 years – when there is no comparable substitute? When the entire world depends on fossil fuels for survival? Even their statement of the problem is out of date. Nobody can look at the violent weather we have been experiencing and doubt that the climate is changing. But when has it ever not changed? As far back as records go there have been changes in the climate. What about the Ice Age?
Can these policies co-exist?
By Dr. Larry Fedewa (July 14, 2019)
There has been a strain of missionary zeal in American foreign policy since the colonial days and it raises its head every once in a while even today. Perhaps it is the shadow of our Puritan heritage. On the one hand, the moral dilemma of slavery has poisoned our national conscience since the beginning and still haunts us today even after we suffered an estimated 650,000 casualties in the most costly war in our history in an effort to right this wrong. On the other hand, Americans have felt constrained to “save the world for democracy” through the foreign wars of the 20th century and the challenges of Islamic terrorism in our own time.
The belief that “America is the last, best hope for freedom”, as President Reagan put it, has formed one of the foundations of our foreign policy for the past 100 years. That belief carried us into two world wars and all the nearly constant stream of wars ever since in Asia, Europe and the Middle East. It has defined “America’s place in the world order” as the advocate and defender of personal freedom and at least some form of social justice. It has also established the USA as the underwriter of all these efforts in both blood and treasure.
The Top 20 candidates speak up
By Dr. Larry Fedewa (July 3, 2019)
Of all the news this past week, the most intriguing may be the two “debates” featuring the Top 20 Democratic candidates for president. It’s interesting to take a look at these politicians as a group.
The Top 20 candidates for the Democrat nomination for president showed their coalescence around a list of positions which favor a gargantuan increase in the power of the federal government. Generally, they advocate government takeover of health care, education, personal finances, seashore housing (in the name of climate control), and energy, in addition to increased government regulation of big business. No matter what the problem, they propose that the federal government has the obligation to solve it. Even to “fixing” the economies of Central American countries, although it is hard to understand what they mean by that short of US invasion as in Panama – which no one seems to advocate.
This list of their political positions arises from their ability to see victims wherever they look. “75% of Americans live from paycheck to paycheck.” “The majority of Americans don’t make a living wage.” “22 million Americans have no access to health care.” “America is a racist society, which is also biased against women, gay people, immigrants, all minorities (except maybe Asians), poor people, and homeless people – to name a few.”
Justice for this country of victims can be found in the pristine wisdom of the federal government. All we have to do is authorize that government to raise taxes – for some that means up to 70% + of income for federal taxes – on top of state and local taxes, for a total of 80-90% of income. Then the blessed feds will design and enforce programs to bring justice to all the victims in America – plus everyone else in the world who succeeds in coming across our borders. We won’t be crowded; after all the federal government already owns more than a third of US landmass so they can just open the parks, deserts and mountains to development.
Trump’s strategies too unorthodox for the opposition
By Dr. Larry Fedewa (June 23, 2019)
Every time the pundits predict the next move in President Trump’s many negotiations, he does something unexpected. He warns Iraq not to close the Straits of Hormuz, so he is a warmonger. Then he cancels a military strike for humanitarian considerations, so he is a coward. Then he piles on sanctions, so he is scaring the Ayatollahs into desperation, which will lead to war.
This all happened in three days! At the same time, he scheduled then postponed a token round-up of convicted illegal trespassers from foreign countries in ten cities, seven of which are “sanctuary cities” –which was well received presumably to assert federal precedence over local ordinances. Also, he sent an undisclosed letter, which was well received, to North Korea’s Kim Jung Un.
All this amid preparations for a meeting this coming weekend with China’s President Xi Jinping to seek progress in the trade war with China. If nothing else, no one can accuse this President of not attending to business.
So, how to evaluate this whirlwind President? A few things have become clear by this time. For one thing, he clearly judges himself on accomplishments, rather than promises. This ethic is common in the world of business, but not in politics. Thus his impressive list of “promises kept” fails to impress the Washington establishment which focuses on a myopic view of the very few issues of its immediate concern. So the Democrats are most interested in impeaching the President regardless of his record. The Neo-Conservatives (“Never Trumpers”) are critical of his reluctance to use military force. The anti-gun lobby can think only of his support for citizens bearing arms. Minorities have been fed a narrative accusing the President of being a white racist in spite of the lack of evidence to support this allegation.
And so it goes. The Washington political elite have prospered under the policies and customs which have prevailed since President Eisenhower, and there is no love for outliers like Reagan and Trump. In their view, presidents are supposed to consult the accepted “experts” on the various issues which come across their desk, follow their advice, make appointments from their ranks, and advocate policies of war and peace which allow them to prosper.
Trump does none of these things. He is largely unpredictable. What the opposition resents more than anything else perhaps is the fact that they are not part of the decision-making process. In fact, they are so far removed that they don’t even understand the thinking behind most of his actions. They are quick to impute motives and make solemn judgement ad hoc on anything he says or does. But events usually prove them wrong. All the proof needed for this can be found on the editorial pages of the New York Times or CNN broadcasts. (The broadcast networks tend to bury Trump news – except on Sunday morning.)
What we do know is that President Trump is a risk-taker. He has wagered his re-election on winning the trade war with China. If he does not succeed in coming to some kind of trade accommodation with China, his credibility will be seriously damaged. This confrontation has become the signature initiative of his presidency thus far. Lost to the concern about the tariffs is what he has achieved already in standing up to China as the first U.S. president to do so. If a deal with China is worked out, the North Korean stand-off may very well follow, since the North Koreans cannot prevail against both the U.S. and China.
If Mr. Trump succeeds in these two initiatives, his will be considered by historians as a truly transformative presidency and the 21st century will be another “American century”. If he fails, and then loses a second term, the establishment will resume power and the USA may follow the same fate in the 21st century as did the British Empire in the 20th century, when the inevitable rise of China consigns the USA to a gradual decline into a second-class power.
© 2019 Richfield Press LLC. All rights reserved.
How will Mr. Biden rebuild the middle class?
By Dr. Larry Fedewa (April 30, 2019)
As our regular listeners and readers know, I have been talking about the “wealth gap” between the 1% of Americans — who control as much as 80% of America’s wealth — and the rest of us for the past several weeks. In a consumer-dominated economy (68% of GDP), the major consumers are the middle class. If the buying power of the middle Americans continues to be eaten away by inflation, the economy will begin to contract, and recession becomes more likely and more severe than anything seen in America since the Great Depression of the 1930’s. So, my conclusion is that something has to be done to increase the wealth of the middle class.
I’m pleased to note that former Vice President Joe Biden has taken this issue as his campaign theme! He has not yet told us how he intends to rebuild the middle class. We shall have to see about that.
The middle class share of American wealth has gone to the very rich
By Dr. Larry Fedewa (April 7, 2019)
For the past three weeks, The Dr. Larry Show (www.blogtalkradio.com/LA-Batchelor/ or at 646-929-0130; 7 -8 pm every Wednesday) has been discussing the “wealth gap” in 2019 America. Now, it’s time to get back to basics.
Q. What is the “wealth gap”?
A. This term refers to the present and growing concentration of financial assets (cash, stock, real estate, intellectual properties such as patents, copyrights, and royalties, etc.), and all forms of passive income to the control of fewer and fewer people (1% of the population) while the middle-class controls less and less of the nation’s wealth. The word, “wealth”, is used instead of “income”, because the value of assets is frequently allowed to appreciate untouched ( e.g. to avoid taxable income). Money comes and goes in the form of income; assets are for long-term welfare.
Q. Is there really a wealth gap in America? Surely there will always be differences in wealth.
A. The changes in the proportion of the nation’s wealth held by individuals over time are clearly traceable statistically. This trend can and has been analyzed by experts for decades. Currently, nearly 80% of America’s wealth is held by 1% of the U.S. population.
“You have achieved Russia’s greatest victory in the 21st century!”
By Dr. Larry Fedewa (March 25, 2019)
Texas Representative John Ratcliffe (R), former federal prosecutor and among the most impressive and careful members of Congress, made a case to Fox’s Maria Bartiromo yesterday morning that the enemies of President Trump have accomplished the goals of Russia’s interventions in the 2016 USA election far more successfully than the Russian spies could ever have hoped for.
Those goals have been revealed as the division of the American public in such a way as to discredit the new president, to sow deep mistrust of the electoral process, and to encourage contempt for the rule of law. Altogether to undermine America’s democracy in the eyes of her citizens. In addition, this continual distraction of the American government and media has precipitated a monumental effort to paralyze the Washington establishment with respect to foreign policy and performance – a goal shared with the entire Democrat Congress.
Triumphs and Less in American Politics
By Bob Livingston, 2018 University of Louisiana at Lafayette Press, 296 pp
This is the extraordinary story of an extraordinary man. Bob Livingston’s memoir starts with his beginnings in a troubled family through his time in the Navy, law school, first jobs and finally his entry into politics as the first Republican Congressman from his district near New Orleans, LA since before the Depression.
The story hits its rhythm, as they say in sports, as his 22 years in the U.S. Congress unfolds. The climax comes when he ascends to Speaker, only to have it snatched away at the last minute.
Along the way, Bob explains in simple language his common-sense politics and comments on past and current people and events from his own perspective. What emerges is a very attractive conservative philosophy which is worth reading for its own sake.
The reader is also struck by the author’s honesty, even humility — a quality not commonly expected in a politician. This perspective is particularly evident as he details the background and events surrounding the House impeachment of William Jefferson Clinton. That segment adds a first-hand account of his part in that historical epic, with all the pathos and tragedy he and his supporters experienced. Equally enlightening is his assessment of the impact of those sad days through the years that followed. Altogether a valuable and occasionally riveting addition to the literature of that era.
Amazon Book Review
by Larry Fedewa, PhD, Richfield Press 2019
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