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My Message for July 4, 2020

Freedom’s Call to Action

The original poem was written in 1960 and proved remarkably prescient of the .events to follow in the eventful 1960;s. It was the basis for this poem which was written in 2012, at the height if the Obama era, and has proven predictive of events up to the current civil unrest. It expresses, I think, the challenges we face today when our very freedom is stake.

The hallmark of America’s genius since July 4, 1776 has been our ability to conceive and follow as our guiding star, our God-given right  “to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” A major component of this ideal is “equal justice under the law”, which has seen a long, slow, and costly struggle, including a war which cost more American casualties than all the other wars combined. And we have come a long way since 1776. But not far enough.

Some of our fellow Americans have become impatient  — and rightfully so — with the fact that this goal has not yet been achieved. Unfortunately, in their impatience, they have attacked the wrong target. Equality before the law does not require the suspension of the law or even of  enforcement of the law. It means better laws, better standards and practices of the police, better judges, and better judgement on the part of each of us.

Racism in the sense of preference for our own kind may be an unfortunate characteristic of the human condition, but it must never be allowed to cloud our judgement of right and wrong. On the contrary, we must fight against it, as in the parable of the Good Samaritan. We can strive continuously and sincerely to expand our sense of  “our own kind” to include all Americans, and the Christian ideal of “all humankind”.

The history of the past three centuries has proven America more successful than any other civilization ever “so conceived and so dedicated”. We cannot, we must not, give up now! Those who threaten our way of life must be overcome at all costs! We have to endure our shortcomings as we seek to eliminate them. Our individual freedom is a requirement to achieve these lofty goals, but they will never be achieved by mob rule. As Americans we must be true to our heritage. It is our only hope for the advancement of human rights. America is still the shining city on the hill and a beacon of light to the world,  but only if we continue to protect it.

Happy 4th of July!.

(c) 2020 Richfield Press. All rights reserved.

Trump’s controversial rally

A lot to argue about!

By Dr. Larry Fedewa

(Washington, DC – June 21,2020) President Donald J. Trump held his first post-lockdown rally last evening in Tulsa, Oklahoma. There was controversy before, during and after the event. Criticism was not confined to the content of the speech as usual but spread over the unusual areas of the timing, location, venue, and attendance of the rally.

The earliest criticism concerned the timing of the event. A Trump rally, held in an indoor arena, was criticized as a blatant violation of the CDC current (and often changing) recommendations regarding safeguards against the “Chinese virus”, as Trump calls it. Among the most obvious violations were the lack of social distancing in the densely packed house, without compulsory masks, and held indoors (as opposed to outdoors).

After the rally, much was made of the lower attendance. Not only were there noticeable empty bleachers (which the network cameras showed frequently), but also the scheduled outdoor appearance by the President was cancelled because the only crowd out there was the ever-present (thankfully peaceful) protesters. Nevertheless, there were approximately 18,000 or more in attendance, counting the seating on the floor of the arena, out of a published capacity of 19,000. One unaccounted-for factor was the absence of the 0ver-65 crowd who tend to be among the most loyal of the Trump base.

So, what to think about all this? First of all, there is the symbolic significance of the scheduling. The President has shown in various ways that the public health contingent – which essentially scared him (and all of us) into the lock-down in the first place – is no longer calling the shots in the White House response to the pandemic.     Keep Reading

What a mess!

Recovery in parisan crosshairs; New conspiracy evidence; China fighting back!

 

By Dr. Larry Fedewa

(Washington DC, May 24, 2020) – As if quarantine and recovery were not enough to worry about, Americans have other headlines competing for our attention. Most tiresome is the conflict between those who want to resume economic activity as much as possible and those who don’t. At issue is the frustration experienced by everybody at the lifestyle we have been forced to adopt because of the threat of the COVID-19 pandemic – everybody staying home while their jobs and earnings dwindle away.

Recovery in partisan crosshairs

A vocal minority has rebelled openly against the closed-door policies of many jurisdictions which have been slow to authorize the back-to-work recommendations of the President. Some are claiming that these restrictive mandates violate the basic rights guaranteed by the Constitution. Others are desperate for an income, still others are just tired of the inactivity. None of this is too surprising given the circumstances.

The surprising part comes when many leading Democrats began advocating the stay-at-home crowd, claiming that the plague is still too widespread to admit the proximity of daily life encounters in businesses and churches. They blame President Trump for sloppy management of the national response, apparently because he has instituted a “go-local” approach economic recovery. Keep Reading

Trump’s Leadership Underrated

 

Look past the words at the actions

By Dr, Larry Fedewa

(Washington DC, May 17, 2020) – As the saying around Washington goes, “President Donald J. Trump frequently steps on his own message”. Nowhere is that observation more accurate than in the matter of his leadership during the current crisis. His verbal descriptions of the steps he has taken and the reasons for each step sound a lot like bragging – even, at times, a plea for credit. But in few cases do they clearly and accurately convey either the obstacles or the strategy that led to these decisions – both of which have been significant. Keep Reading

Recovery, Pandemic and China

Tiananmen Square Parade 10-2019 (Notice ID’s in Arabic not Chinese script)

Important to get our priorities straight

By Dr. Larry Fedewa

(Washington DC, May 11, 2020) There appear to be two major stories contending for coverage by the press and the attention of Congress at the moment, both related to the COVID-19 pandemic: the economic recovery and the culpability of China in the escalation of the coronavirus from a potentially local tragedy to an international pandemic.

On the one hand, the USA faces an almost insurmountable challenge to restore our recently booming economy from the depths of a Depression-like crash. On the other hand is the primal need to find a culprit for all the pain, sorrow, and deprivation we — and the rest of the world — have suffered in fighting this evil scourge and to punish that source accordingly. The issue at hand is how to accommodate both needs at the same time.

This issue arises because the two factors are on a collision course. The facts are increasingly obvious. While the federal government appropriately pursues an intensive investigation of the precise sequence of events in the discovery and dissemination of this strain of coronavirus, evidence from outside sources is rapidly emerging that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) consciously, deliberately, and with malice of forethought concealed from the rest of the world its early experiences with the outbreak of the plague and then schemed to spread the virus to all parts of the world. The motivation for this policy is not clear, although the working hypothesis is that the leadership was not about to suffer a severe economic catastrophe while the rest of the world looked on from the safety of having escaped the same fate. Keep Reading

Notes on the President’s May 3rd “Town Hall”

A matter of language

By Dr. Larry Fedewa (Washington DC, May 4, 2020)

Fox News presented a “virtual Town Hall” program last evening featuring President Donald Trump answering videotaped questions for two hours. For those who have been catching the President’s daily news conferences, there was little new information. Apparently, the President’s assumption was that the audience had not been following the daily briefings. For those voters this was a status report on the country’s efforts to recover from the pandemic, both medically and economically.

Rather than attempt to summarize the status report – most of which is already familiar to those who follow the news — we will look here at whether the interview was an overall success of the interview.

The first item on that agenda is the President’s style. On the positive side, he reveals his command of the facts involved on a wide variety of issues. Equally important is his candor in admitting when he does NOT know something. Another characteristic which comes through is his sincerity. He clearly believes what he is saying – and it is this sincerity which allows him to connect with people.

On the other hand, he speaks in a sort of stream-of-consciousness style, which is well suited to his amazingly successful rallies but does not serve him as well when the question requires an authoritative response. His manner of speaking is entirely consistent with his overall approach to many of the issues he deals with. That is to say that he is a transactional thinker. He thinks in terms of negotiating each issue rather than in factual terms.

Thus, in answer to a speculative question like, “when will America return to normal?” his answer will be to list some of the elements of the prediction rather than giving a simple answer like “I think we will be back to normal by January 2021”. Instead, he starts thinking of all the elements which go into such a prediction, like: “Americans really want to get back to work. We are not meant to sit around waiting etc.” After surveying the main elements of the prediction, he finally opines that he expects the third quarter, 2020 to be transitional, the fourth quarter to be very vigorous, with a return to the booming economy by the beginning of 2020.

The effect of this style is frustration on the part of the listener. The President seems to be wandering all around the problem, touching on some points that seem irrelevant before finally stating – or not stating – a simple answer to what seems like a simple question. In his mind, he is reviewing all the possible items that might influence an action; he is “negotiating” with the questioner.

It is for this reason that several results occur: 1) he is hard to listen to when the questions concern results rather than the elements of an answer; 2) he is better judged on the basis of his actions rather than his words; 3) a more effective presentation of his accomplishments is done by others. This latter point was graphically illustrated last evening when Vice President Mike Pence and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin appeared with the President in the last segment and explained the President’s accomplishments more convincingly than did the President himself.

Another aspect of the President’s transactional mode of thinking occurred near the end of the interview when he was asked about his intentions regarding tariffs on China’s imports. He indicated that the question was forcing him to explain his negotiating position prior to opening talks with China on the issue. In other words, like any good trader, he does not want to reveal his “hold card” (his true goals) in advance. It is often the case that only if the opposition is approached with no prior conditions will talks even commence.

I have noted this characteristic many times before, specifically in terms of his press relations. Reporters always want to know the goals of any negotiation before it even starts, obviously so that they can judge the results as success or failure. They don’t realize that such an approach to negotiations constitutes a set of demands rather than a negotiation. After all, prior to engagement, how does anyone know what might be agreed to in the final outcome. But the press just doesn’t get it. The bottom line is that President Trump likes to play his cards close to his vest – and the press hates him for it!

My conclusion is that President Donald Trump is better judged on results than on discussions. Let him tell his story in his own words at rallies and let others tell us about his accomplishments at town halls, virtual or otherwise. After all, in the end what counts is, “Promises made, promises kept!”

 

© 2020 Richfield Press. All rights reserved.

 

 

Republican activist agenda for 2020 elections

 

Republicans have a once-in-a-lifetime chance to become the majority party!

Washington DC. April 11, 2020 by Dr. Larry Fedewa) For Republican activists who would like to a plan of action for the summer and fall, I would suggest that they work to increase the Republican Party’s base. There are three constituencies which the Republicans need to capture if they wish to return to majority party status:  black voters, Hispanics, and suburban women.

Black voters

Background

Remember that Abraham Lincoln freed the slaves in 1863 and black Republicans were the first elected officials of their race during Reconstruction. This phase ended when the Democrats struck back with the Ku Klux Klan and began a reign of terror against southern blacks which lasted until Republican Dwight Eisenhower signed the Voting Rights Bill of 1957, the first victory of the civil rights movement. Keep Reading

How do we end this?

Employers must be part of the re-open strategy

By Dr. Larry Fedewa

(Washington DC — April 6, 2020) Two weeks ago, we discussed “Trump’s huge gamble”, namely, his decision to follow the action plan prescribed by the public health experts rather than attempt to mitigate the effects of coronavirus with less drastic means. To date, that strategy seems to be effective in reducing the spread of the disease to more or less manageable dimensions. The prevalence of cases seems increasingly limited to densely populated urban areas, most notably, New York City.

The economic cost, however, is already beyond any recession in recent memory, with the possibility of becoming catastrophic. The entire sequence of events is unique in American history. Never before has the country simply stopped in place 75% of the economy. The closest parallel may be the 14th century Black Death which is estimated to have reduced the population of Europe by 50% after returning several times over a span of two generations. But the resulting drastic effects on the medieval economy were not voluntary like this one. Plus, it was so long ago that few lessons can be drawn to benefit our current decisions. Keep Reading

Trump’s Huge Gamble!

Was shutting down the economy the right choice?  

By Dr. Larry Fedewa

(Washington D.C. March 21, 2020) President Donald John Trump, 45th president of the United States of America, has just made the biggest gamble of his career.

On the unanimous recommendation of the public health professionals, he decided to close down the US economy in a manner more severe than any other measure ever taken by a U.S. president, with the possible exception of Abraham Lincoln’s declaration of martial law on September 15, 1863.

Clearly, no one can reasonably disapprove of the need to save American lives by containing the deadly coronavirus. If the next few weeks occur as expected by the public health experts, the virus will peak and begin to recede, allowing normality to return. If that sequence of events is delayed much longer than a total of 30 days or so, the country risks falling into a recession that could rival the Great Depression of the 1930’s – 25% unemployment, long bread lines, starvation staring out of the hallow eyes of children.

The President is fully aware of this danger. He knows he is risking becoming another Herbert Hoover, who was unjustly blamed for the Depression and lost the presidency by a landslide in 1932. One big difference is that Hoover was a victim of circumstances, whereas Trump’s fate will be seen as the inevitable result of his own decision. Keep Reading