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Guest Column: A/O Global Intelligence Weekly: The State of American Foreign Policy

The National Security Strategy as a Blueprint for the New Direction for America

By James S. Gilmore III, President and CEO, American Opportunity Foundation.   

As we have stated in previous essays, America today is in a world-wide conflict to determine how mankind will live in the years ahead.  This conflict engages all aspects of national power: military, economic, diplomatic, and the competition of values. Parts 1-5 of this series of essays can be accessed on online at American Opportunity.

Often we think of economics, defense, and diplomacy in separate categories or stovepipes. The truth is that all elements of national power work together to further the goal and mission of any national policy.  The Trump administration is seeking to align all parts of government activity toward one unified mission: the security and prosperity of the American people.

The new National Security Strategy (NSS) announced in December 2017 emphasizes the role of all parts of our country’s national policy working together.  The NSS reaches beyond traditional concepts of military preparedness, and combines all levels of the nation for national security. When the NSS is read, the initiatives of the Trump administration come into focus as a unified whole.

The national security of the U.S. as set out in the NSS is said to rest on four pillars:

  • Pillar I protects the Homeland, its borders, and recognizes threats from international criminal and terrorist organizations.
  • Pillar II of the National Security Strategy calls for economic growth, fair and reciprocal trade agreements, energy dominance, and fostering technology and innovation.
  • Pillar III covers the traditional strength of America through its military, industrial base, space, cyberspace, intelligence, and diplomacy.
  • Pillar IV calls for advancing American influence and values through present and prospective allies and international organizations.

For these reasons the NSS is much more than a military strategy.  For instance, Pillar II of the NSS directly addresses the need for economic strength, as part of an entire national strategy.  The lead statement by President Trump is “economic security is national security.” Pillar II goes on to state “a strong economy protects the American people, supports our way of life, and sustains American power.”.

We here at American Opportunity/Free Congress Foundation have been advocating that  economic growth become a national priority. Our Growth Code published in 2010 recommends a tax reform package for economic growth similar to the one recently passed by Congress this year.

The tax cuts and jobs measure passed in 2018 is one element of the new economic policy set out in the NSS.  The tax reform legislation recently passed is designed to spur investment in our country and economic growth and job creation.  The infrastructure proposal is another element yet to come of the overall new policy.

Recent headlines have drawn attention to new trade policies of the Trump Administration.  The U.S. has withdrawn from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) with an offer to renegotiate.  Likewise, The Trump Administration has entered into new discussions with Mexico and Canada, our largest trade partners, to re-negotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).  Tariffs are being imposed on China and other countries to level the playing field in trade transactions.

Trade policy does not stand alone.  It is a part of The Trump administration’s new economic policy for the United States as set out in the NSS with far different objectives than previous administrations, Republican and Democrat.  The new economic objective is strengthening the United States and the prosperity of working class Americans in every condition no matter what their background.

One example of America’s new thinking in the NSS is a focus on China’s economic and trade policies.  China’s economy is heavily controlled by their central government. For instance, if American businesses seek to enter the Chinese market, China demands that they turn over proprietary intellectual property.  Often such information is stolen.

Why? For Chinese profit — to allow them to catch up to the West quickly and to make China independent if they generate a conflict with the West. Massive Chinese trade surpluses from the U.S. are being used to finance military aggression in the South China Sea and beyond.  These trade surpluses finance “belt and road” initiatives to gather less developed countries under the Chinese economic umbrella.

Many pessimists claim that China — with its large population — will overtake the U.S. economy and surpass us.  Chinese dominance in the future is not necessarily inevitable. Our national policy should be to build up our GDP to $25 trillion as soon as possible and extend the benefits of growth to working Americans everywhere.  Such growth would also give notice to the Chinese government that their national goals need readjustment to harmonize with others in the world.

Many of these same detractors will criticize the new American economic policy as “America First.”  President Trump has stated as such, but putting America First does not mean America Alone.

Our goal must be fair and reciprocal trading policies with all other nations, but we should not purchase friends by placing our own citizens at a disadvantage. Trade is not a zero-sum game with only winners and losers.  Everyone can benefit from fair and equal treatment in the world marketplace, but fair trade will not come to be without American leadership.

The NSS is not only a military plan, but a comprehensive roadmap in all aspects of public policy.  The directions and initiatives are new and provide a path of true security and prosperity for all Americans.   Readers with experience in trade issues may wish to add further comments or may wish to agree or disagree with the American Opportunity position.  We invite them to comment.

Some news and articles we recommend for information and discussion

    purposes, none of which necessarily represent the position of A/O:

As always, American Opportunity is always looking for new resources and topics we can address in detail.  Please feel free to stay in contact!

 

Sincerely,

James S. Gilmore

©2018 AMERICAN OPPORTUNITY, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

[Reprinted with permission}  `

 

 

 

 

 

Is There a Trump Master Plan to Eliminate the National Debt?

by Dr. Larry Fedewa (September 29, 2018)

The Threat

The greatest threat to the long-term security of the United States of America is the $21 trillion (and growing) national debt. There are many possible outcomes of an uncontrolled national debt – none of them good.

Gradual outcomes have already begun in the form of efforts to undermine the position of the dollar as the world’s reserve currency. The chief force behind this move is China, with serious support of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) which, with the support of the Obama administration, invented its Special Drawing Rights (SDR’s) as an alternative to the dollar for international trade.  Keep Reading

The Origins of the American New Left

Where did they come from?                         

2016 Rally – Maxine Waters (D-CA) and Hillary Clinton

By Dr. Larry Fedewa (September 23, 2018)  America’s academic institutions today are dominated by the heirs of people who grew up in the 1960’s and 1970’s. A look at the anti-establishment movements of those days helps us to understand the themes that have survived and evolved into today’s New Left.

The overarching issues of those days were opposition to the Vietnam War, which started in the universities of the time, and the civil rights movement whose champion was

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Almost unnoticed in the confusion was President Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society programs, which introduced the most radically socialistic legislation in American history, extending the role of the federal government to responsibility for care of the poor.

Civil rights and the anti-war causes were directly anti-establishment, and both were based on a sense of moral superiority. It did not take long for the believers in the two causes to join forces. They filled mutual needs: the anti-Vietnam movement was based initially on the objections of college students (mostly white) to being required to fight in a war which was neither understood nor supported by most Americans.

The issue quickly became whether the federal government even had the right to draft youngsters at all. Middle America stood firmly with the government on that issue, thus spawning widespread opposition to the anti-war movement and solidifying support for the War beyond what is had been in the beginning.  The champion of the Middle American view was Alabama Governor George Wallace, who also had come to prominence as a segregationist (a position he later repudiated).

What the anti-war movement needed was a cause larger than the discomfort of some white college boys. They needed a transcendent cause and they found it in the civil rights movement. That cause was social justice. Specifically, social justice as interpreted to mean equality of all Americans — legally, socially, economically and morally. The civil rights movement needed white support; the leaders were aware that without it, they would never achieve their goals.

It was a marriage made in heaven.      Keep Reading

The New Left in American Colleges

Academic Freedom or Academic Censorship?

by Dr. Larry Fedewa

Many Americans have been shocked and dismayed by the lawless behavior of students on several campuses protesting conservative speakers, harassing conservative students, and censoring student publications. What is going on? What has happened to the university as the bastion of free speech?

Two Keys

There are two keys to understanding these demonstrations:

  1. First, these student protests are flourishing in an environment fostered by the faculties at these institutions; and
  2. Second, the faculty preaches dogmas which mark a generational shift in values.

The fundamental analysis therefore must begin with the faculty. Student behavior is primarily an acting out of faculty teaching. Administrators, while generally sympathetic to the students, are caught between angry students and their Boards and other supporters demanding a stop to these outrageous demonstrations.

What is the faculty teaching and why? Keep Reading

What about a Free Market Health Care System?

Shrink insurance and government down to size! Patient-centered medical care is possible.

 

There are whole areas of inner cities and rural America, for example, which have no physicians at all. Why? Because our medical schools do not graduate enough doctors to serve the population of the United States. Why not? Lack of intelligent students? Lack of students who are motivated to give their lives in service to their fellow man? Not at all.
The reason is lack of money! Medical education is so lengthy and so costly in this country    that very few students can afford to go to medical school. This situation has created a national crisis.
One very good use of taxpayer funds would be to offer medical and nursing school students free tuition, open to all qualified applicants. We do it for the military, why not for doctors and nurses? The cost would be miniscule compared to the Department of Defense or agricultural subsidies.
This policy would have a massive return on public investment. More doctors would increase coverage of the population (perhaps there should be a requirement for a graduate M.D. and R.N. to spend two years in a “no-doctor zone”). More doctors would increase competition for the patient dollar. More could devote themselves to research. New people, new ideas, new openness to change. The quality of care would go up, and the cost would go down – a mantra we have been hearing a lot lately.
This program would also assure continuing support for U.S. medical technology which is already the envy of the world.
b. Inadequate funding
So how do we provide for adequate funding? Where does the $3 trillion we now spend go? The money flow starts with the employers who pay the insurance companies out of profits. It then goes mainly to the vast bureaucracies in the insurance companies which distribute the money, the government which oversees the money, and the hospitals and practitioners who must respond to the companies and the government. Only about one-third of the $1 trillion spent on healthcare gets to the practitioners. So how can this labyrinth be simplified?
1)       First, take the employers out of the picture. The added financial and personnel burdens on businesses of paying and accounting for employee health care is a double disaster. It is a drag on the efficiency of the economic system by vastly increasing the cost of starting and staying in a business, and on the healthcare system by removing from individuals the responsibility of seeing to their own health needs.
2)      Next, reduce the role of insurance companies. They are not chartered or ordained by God to be judging the value or disvalue of medical procedures. They are supposed to know about money, not cancer! The decisions about medical care and the balancing for costs versus therapies should be in the hands of the patients where they belong. When the ultimate decisions of life and death have been left with the patient, we will have come a long way toward patient-centered medicine. Face it, there is no way for the patient to become the main arbiter of his or her fate unless the patient is the source of the money which runs the system.
3)      This free market system would be much better and much cheaper. The individual works for the money; the individual chooses the doctor, makes the final decision as to spending the money, and pays the doctor, hospital, physical therapist, and pharmacist. So where does the individual get the money? From his or her own health savings account with enhanced income from fewer deductions, also from voluntary insurance or cooperative membership, or from family, friends or philanthropic sources. Since the money is the patient’s own, the patient is far more likely to become very cost-conscious – unlike today’s insured patient, who is always spending someone else’s money.
c. Insurance Companies and Government
A patient-centered system also reduces the role of federal and state governments (46.9% of health expenditures, NCHS, 2016). The patient doesn’t need the insurance company or the government. If both the government and the insurance companies were completely eliminated from the system, about two-thirds of the cost of American health care would be gone. Of course, there will always be some need for both, so assume that half of that cost would be gone. At today’s rates, that would be about $1.5 trillion. This is a gross number, but it shows the potential.
1) There is still a place for insurance companies in this system, although dramatically reduced. The most obvious place is for catastrophic insurance. A safety net for when something very expensive happens to someone in the family – or the church, or the credit union, or whatever assembly of people the individual chooses to participate with.
And this brings us to the role of governments.
2) The first federal government act should be to lift all interstate commerce restrictions on insurance companies, so that they are free and invited to offer policies in any or all the states they wish without the necessity of creating a separate bureaucracy for every state they enter.
3) The second federal reform should be the creation of a program for financial aid to qualified students in the medical professions. My suggestion would be a free education in exchange for a period of service in underserved areas of practice as determined by a federal government body, such as, CDC or NIH or HHS.
4) A third federal reform which would dramatically reduce national health care costs is tort reform. Everyone makes mistakes, including medical practitioners and hospitals. It is the federal government’s role to protect both the treatment sector and the patient. But the current practice of unlimited liability has led to “defensive medicine,” that is, exhaustive tests and treatments used far beyond medical purposes. These extras are done to provide a defense against the inevitable lawsuit in case anything goes wrong. This uber caution has become a major cost driver in American medicine. Congress should set reasonable and realistic limits on the monies which can be given to the victims of everything from malfeasance to honest mistakes. No more windfalls for injury lawyers.
d. Universal Coverage
The larger issue is care for the poor and the other underserved members of our nation. The concept of universal care is a noble and worthwhile goal. But socialized medicine is not the only or even the best way to achieve universal care. We have government programs to feed the hungry; to provide health care for the elderly; to protect the innocent. We can provide health care access to the poor and the underserved, whether because of poverty or location. We can also do better than the COBRA coverage for those who lose their jobs, or those who are excluded because of pre-existing conditions.
It is very tempting to design a system in which no government plays a major role. However, the most efficient way to care for the poor would seem to be a State-run program which levies a small per capita fee on each pool of insured to be placed in a designated fund, administered by the State, for the benefit of qualified citizens. A model for such a program might be the Medicaid programs in each State. Another model is the Uninsured Driver programs administered by the states.
               e. Medicare
We have now discussed the entire healthcare cycle without mentioning Medicare. There is a moral and legal mandate involved in Medicare which does not exist elsewhere. Medicare works reasonably well as a medical insurance system for those who contributed to it all their working lives. The most prudent and honorable way to approach Medicare would seem to be to leave it alone for those to whom commitments were made, even while moving the system slowly toward a patient-centered system for those just starting out, with free choices developed for those in mid-career. The pressure of the free market system we have been describing here will undoubtedly alter and reform Medicare as the new system matures in due course.
So here is what a free market system might look like. It would fulfill all our goals for an American system that is:
1. State-of-the-art;
2. Available to all in need;
3. Affordable;
4. Abundant; and
5. Well-financed.
To get there, we need to:
1. increase the supply of medical practitioners,
2. create a patient-centered system by letting the patient spend his or her own money on healthcare;
3. create state-sponsored safety nets for the poor and underserved.
 
These proposals, of course, seem radical today, even in America’s free market culture. But sometimes the most obvious solution is indeed the best. The fact is that the employer-based system we have today was initiated because the elite of another day considered average Americans too irresponsible to handle their own health and welfare. Not true today.
© 2018 Richfield Press, LC (All rights Reserved.)

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Tense times: 1968 and 2018

        We survived 1968; we will survive 2018 !                                                

l

 Recently, I have been asked whether the political tension we are experiencing today is likely to erupt into violence like it did in 1968. That year was the most dramatic and violent year America has seen in recent history. Leading up to the presidential election in November,1968, we saw increasingly numerous demonstrations against the Vietnam War, sparked by one calamity after another.
Fifty years have passed since that fateful year. Here is a list of the key events of 1968:
·        January 30-31 – the Tet Offensive is launched by the North Vietnamese and the Southern Liberation Front against the major cities of South Vietnam in a coordinated surprise attack leading to major casualties among the American forces. The Tet (“lunar New Year”) attack was to continue for six months before final victory by American forces in June 1968. The significance of the battle was that it proved that the enemy was far stronger than the American President Lyndon Johnson’s administration had led the public to believe. The serious casualties in the first days of the attack were shown on television and provoked widespread opposition to the War.
·        February 27 – Popular TV anchor Walter Cronkite announced his opposition to the War, rumored to be decisive for President Lyndon Johnson.
·        March 12 – Senator Eugene McCarthy (D-Minn.) wins second vote count and 22 of 24 uncommitted convention delegates against sitting President Johnson in New Hampshire primary.
·        March 16 – Senator Bobby Kennedy (D-NY) announces his candidacy.
·        March 31 – President Lyndon Johnson withdraws his name from nomination, leaving Vice President Hubert Humphrey as the presumptive nominee. (Humphrey declined to run in the primaries.)
·        April 4 — Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King assassinated. Weeklong riots break out across the nation in the greatest civil uprising since the Civil War, leaving 39 dead, 21,000 arrested, 2,000 injured, and $65 million in damages. Virtually every city in America saw a riot, with the two most notable being Washington DC and Chicago, Illinois where entire areas of the city were burned to the ground.
·        March-June – Democratic primary contests between McCarthy and Kennedy.
·        June 6 – Robert Kennedy assassinated after winning the California Primary.
·        August 26-29 Democratic Convention in Chicago. 10,000 anti-war protestors clash with 15,000 police and National Guardsmen while the entire spectacle. including 300 injuries from police beatings and tear gas, as well as thousands of mass arrests were watched on television by the entire nation. A night never to be forgotten.
·        November 5 – Republican Richard Nixon wins presidency over Democrat Hubert Humphrey by 7% of popular vote, less than 500,000 votes, after third party candidate, George Wallace, takes 13.5% of popular vote (nearly 10 million votes).
This review shows clearly that our present situation is nowhere near the level of division and violence which characterized 1968. It also serves to give us reassurance that America has overcome worse disruptions in the past and not only survived but flourished.
One caution, however, may indeed be in order. America does have a bloody history of assassinating prominent figures in our midst. There is a steady stream of such acts throughout our history. Assassinations, both attempted and successful, have haunted our political life
Here is a list:
1835 – Andrew Jackson (attempted)
1865 – Abraham Lincoln
1881 – James Garfield
1898 – William McKinley
1909 – William Howard Taft (attempted
1912 – Theodore Roosevelt (attempted)
1928 — Herbert Hoover (attempted)
1932 – Franklin Roosevelt (attempted)
1936 – Huey Long
1947 & 1950– Harry Truman (attempted)
1963 – John F. Kennedy
1968 – Martin Luther King
1968 – Robert F. Kennedy
 1972 – George Wallace (attempted)
1972 & 1974 – Richard Nixon (attempted)
1975 & 1975 – Gerald Ford (attempted)
1981 – Ronald Reagan (attempted)
1993 – George H.W. Bush (attempted)
1994 & 1994 &1996 — Bill Clinton (attempted)
2001 & 2005 — George W. Bush (attempted)
2009 & 2011 & 2013 – Barack Obama (attempted)
2016 – (Candidate) Donald Trump (attempted)
2017 – Steve Scalise (attempted)
This is a rather chilling list of incidents. It is not at all an overstatement that our current President, Donald J. Trump, is a prime candidate for assassination attempts, especially given the hatred towards him which has been exhibited by some of his enemies. If there is any basis for fear in America’s history of violence, it appears that assassination is at the top of the list.
Nevertheless, it is sometimes useful to recall that this Republic of ours has been through many difficult periods, contending with threats from within and without, but has survived them all and continues our march toward peace and prosperity. This too will pass.
© 2018 Richfield Press, LC (All rights reserved.)

The Meaning of “Profit”

Without profits, no taxes                                                                                                                                                                   ABC-TV Shark Tank Cast

 

By Dr. Larry Fedewa (August 24,2018)

Much of our political discourse today demonstrates an appalling lack of understanding of the most fundamental elements of the American economy. There are two kinds of organizations which comprise the United States economy: for profit and not-for-profit. The only engine for making money is the for-profit sector, that is, businesses which buy and sell products and services.

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What (Who) Is The “Deep State”?

The Deep State wants its power. For that to happen, Trump must go!  

 

By Dr. Larry Fedewa (August 11, 2018)

The term, “Deep State”, is used increasingly in discussions of the current confrontations between the Trump administration and its opponents in government and politics. What – or who – is the “Deep State”?

The term originated to describe a group of military, political and industrial conspirators who more or less ruled Turkey for most of the 20th century (and who may be making a comeback now). The first use of the term to describe America’s ruling class may have been Mike Lofgren’s 2016 book, The Deep State, a profoundly pessimistic account of the marginalization of democratic elections in the governance of the United States of America in favor of a cabal of highly placed individuals from business, unions, academia and government bureaucracy who use their enormous wealth to dictate government policy.

As used in the current dialog, mostly by conservatives, the “Deep State” refers to the anti-Trump conspirators within the Department of Justice, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the National Security Agency (NSA), and perhaps the Department of State (DOS). While the opposition Democratic party is a major supporter of the Deep State, none of their number have been credibly accused of direct participation in the conspiracy. Keep Reading

US Politics: Alternative Realities

by Lawrence J. Fedewa (June 23,2018) 

The most striking feature of American politics today may well be the completely different perceptions held by various groups of what “facts” each considers to be truth. It’s like they are living in different worlds. While there are some cynical “realists” who knowingly fashion “fake news”,  many partisans sincerely believe their views to be correct. So much so that they feel moral indignation and outrage at the other side.

At the root of these reactions is fear. All are afraid, in varying degrees, that their way of life is threatened by the other actors on the political stage. It is fear which drives people to irrational conclusions and closes their ears and minds to dialog with those who disagree with them. When logic is thrown out the window, all that remains is instinct. Imagination can be formed  by logic, but fear obscures all but the  most dangerous fantasies.                                  Keep Reading