Beliefnet
At the Intersection of Faith and Culture

A friend and colleague—a Democrat—sent me a text the other night.  The resignation of General Flynn and the recusal of Jeff Sessions from an investigation into alleged connections between President Trump and “the Russians,” he wrote, are “huge victories for journalism.”

I disagree.

First, it is highly debatable whether, on the merits of the case, Flynn even should have resigned. Following Flynn’s resignation, Trump himself announced unabashedly to the press that, in his judgment, the distinguished general did nothing wrong in assuring those inside the Russian government that the 11th hour sanctions that President Obama imposed would soon be relaxed.

In fact, it seemed to Trump (and others) that Flynn actually did his job in trying to ease, rather than exacerbate, tensions with the world’s second most heavily armed nuclear power.

He accepted Flynn’s resignation, however, because the general failed to disclose to Mike Pence that he had this conversation.

Though the failing Democrat Party salivates over the prospect of people thinking otherwise, there was no scandal here.

Secondly, Sessions’ recusal is neither here nor there. While a member of the Armed Forces Committee, Sessions spoke to over 20 foreign ambassadors. One of them was from Russia.  When he was initially asked as to whether, as a proxy for the Trump campaign, he corresponded with anyone from Russia, Sessions answered that he had not. As far as anyone can determine at this moment, this was a perfectly honest answer.

Sessions is now acting honorably in recusing himself from an investigation into the alleged (and phony) Russian connection. The optics would be dubious and, doubtless, Sessions wants to avoid tainting the verdict that will surely align with what most of us have known all along: the Democrats have been blowing smoke.

Still, suppose that “journalists” had unveiled real scandals. Suppose, let’s say, that they blew the lid off of something so huge that it drove Trump from the White House for good.  Would this prove, as my colleague thinks, that journalism—objective, impartial, hard-hitting journalism—is alive and well?

It would prove no such thing.

There are three distinct considerations that can all too easily become conflated: (a) the benefit of government transparency; (b) the distribution of this benefit; and (c) the motives of those distributing the benefit. Let’s consider each of these in turn.

First, make no mistakes about it, the freedom that the press enjoys, a freedom granted by the Constitution, is not some abstract, universal absolute but a culturally-specific artifact. Existing as it does for the sake of informing the citizenry and functioning as a check on government power, it is essential to the liberty of the self-governing members of a Republic.

This being said, whether it is President Trump’s government or that of anyone else, it indeed benefits Americans to know that they are being deceived. It is a good thing, in other words, for there to exist, if not an outright adversarial relationship between government and the media, then at least a methodological skepticism on the part of the latter toward the former.

As of now, the media, meaning the liberal or leftist press, is meticulously scrutinizing the Trump administration.

Second, while government transparency is a benefit, and while it remains a benefit irrespectively of how it is distributed, the fact remains that the same press that is salivating over the prospect of ousting Trump was—as my colleague, to his credit, concedes—“complacent” during President Obama’s eight years in office.

Actually, as I replied to my colleague, those in the press were obsequious during Obama’s reign.

And this is how the journalists who my colleague now praises typically conduct themselves toward their fellow Democrats generally.

This brings us to our next point.

Journalists who now style themselves watchdogs have given the public no reason to think that they are motivated by anything other than partisan considerations.  Their aim is not to inform citizens of corruption or potential corruption in government.  Rather, their aim is to convince the public, by hook or by crook, that there is corruption in the Republican Party generally and President Trump’s administration in particular.

It is crucial to recognize that even if the news that they report isn’t fake, because of their ideological and other motivations that lead them to arbitrarily distribute the benefit of government transparency, they are fake journalists.

That this is so can be gotten easily enough from an analogy.

Imagine a teacher who awards an A only to some of those of his students who deserve it.  This teacher, let’s suppose, withholds the A from those students whose politics he dislikes, or who he dislikes for personal reasons.  Now, there is nothing objectionable about the grade of an A, and it is desirable and just that those who earn it receive their A.

But a teacher who arbitrarily distributes A’s we would agree is not a good or honest teacher, but a bad and dishonest one.

Or imagine a ruler who punishes some of those of his subjects who commit horrible crimes, but only if the offenders belong to another class, race, or party than that of his own.  The criminals deserve to be punished and the ruler acts justly in giving them what they deserve.  Justice is a good.  Yet if this ruler refuses to distribute justice fairly; if he refuses to punish his own because they are his own, we would not judge him to be a good or honest ruler.

We would judge him to be a bad and dishonest ruler.

For most of the history of our civilization, Westerners recognized a link between goodness and reality.  In many contexts, we continue to assume it.  For example, a real man, as we say, is a good man.  Conversely, a bad man is not a real man.

Similarly, a bad journalist—one who is driven not by a love for liberty, professionalism, and fairness, but by partisanship—is not a real journalist.

He or she is a fake journalist.

He or she is a bad journalist.

 

The Democrats are hoping to break their spectacular, nearly nine year losing streak by forcing Attorney General Jeff Sessions to resign.  That he recused himself from an investigation into the alleged connections between the Russian government and Donald Trump’s presidential campaign is being chalked up by some as a victory.

This is ludicrous.

There isn’t a speck of evidence that Sessions lied when, upon being asked whether, as a proxy for the Trump campaign, he spoke with representatives of Russia, he answered in the negative.  There is no reason at present to suspect that this isn’t true.

What is true is that as a Senator on the Armed Services Committee, Sessions met with over 20 ambassadors of other nations.

One of them was an ambassador from Russia.

Sessions recused himself from an impending investigation into the trumped up Trump/Russia connection in order to avoid the verdict—which will expose the Democrats’ charges for the lies that they are—from being suspect.

Sessions, Democrats will be sorry to hear, will not be going anywhere.

It is high time for the President to put to rest these allegations regarding his election and Russia. He should address the country and, with thoughtfulness and clarity, reveal to all remotely reasonable Americans both the scandalous silliness of the Democrats’ conspiracy theory as well as their recklessness in saber rattling with the second most heavily armed nuclear power on the planet.

Trump should make explicit what most Democrats are only implying: The Democrats, beginning with his predecessor, President Obama, would have Americans believe that had Vladimir Putin not “hacked” the election, Hillary Clinton would now be in the White House.

Had Putin—all the way from Russia, mind you—not fixed the election, Trump would not have been the first Republican since 1988 to have won, say, Pennsylvania.

Had Putin not fixed the election, coal miners and other blue-collar laborers in the 220 or so counties that Obama won just four years prior and that Trump flipped would have voted for Clinton.

Had Putin not fixed the election, it would have been Clinton, not Trump, who won more than 2600 of America’s 3100 counties, and Trump, not Clinton, who would have won fewer than 500 of these counties.

Had Putin not fixed the election, it would have been Clinton, not Trump, who won 30 of America’s 50 states.

Had Putin not fixed the election, Clinton would not have jeopardized national security by using, and lying about having used, a private server while serving as Obama’s Secretary of State.

Had Putin not fixed the election, Americans would never have found out about Clinton having used, and lie about having used, a private server.

Had Putin not fixed the election, Americans would never have found out about the DNC emails that had been leaked (not hacked), emails exposing considerable corruption in the party.

Had Putin not fixed the election, candidate Trump never would have been able to garner more votes, with a higher degree of voter participation, and in the most crowded of GOP primary fields, than any Republican in the history of the Republican Party.

Had Putin not fixed the election, the Democratic Party’s losing streak launched by Obama’s election in 2008 never would have occurred.

Had Putin not fixed the election, the Democrats would not have lost over 1200 Congressional seats at the state and federal levels.

Had Putin not fixed the election, Republicans would not have secured about two-thirds of the country’s governorships and about the same number of state legislatures.

The Russians-Made-Us-Lose conspiracy that Democrats have been busy spinning is the Mother of all conspiracies.  It is distinguished, however, on account of its patent silliness.

It’s also hypocritical.  President Trump should remind Americans that the only time (that we know of) when an American politician colluded with Russia to rig an American election was when a Democrat senator, Ted Kennedy, “the Lion of the Senate,” sent an informal ambassador to the Soviet Union to enlist its aid in defeating Ronald Reagan in 1984.

Trump could remind them as well that when Russia was communist, when it was known the world over as the Soviet Union, Democrats resisted mightily Reagan’s efforts to defeat it.

It is not the Russians, but the Democrats, who have been laboring incessantly since November 8 to undermine the integrity of both our most recent presidential election and our government. What’s worse, for the sake of denying their own glaring weaknesses and advancing their own partisan interests, Democrats are once again guilty of jeopardizing not just national security but world peace by antagonizing one of the world’s few superpowers.

The President could remind Americans that in spite of making tireless allegations that the Russians fixed the election for him, no one—including and especially the Democrats’ fellow travelers in the leadership of the Deep State, the political hacks that are the heads of the Intelligence Agencies—has submitted a speck of evidence in support of this charge.

Moreover, Trump should remind those who need reminding that what evidence has been advanced has been exposed as the fakest of fake news.

Jeff Sessions will remain our Attorney General.

And President Trump should put this lie about the Russians out to pasture once and for all.

President Donald J. Trump is receiving much praise from friend and foe alike for the unofficial State of the Union address that he delivered before a Joint-Session of Congress on Tuesday night.

Chris Wallace, of Fox News, and Van Jones, of CNN, represent the view of no small number of pundits when they declare that Trump “became the President” with this most recent speech.

Indeed, stylistically and, in some respects, substantively, the President’s address was among the more powerful and memorable that had been given before that body.  And it undoubtedly had its share of highlights. President Trump:

–forcefully reiterated his resolve to construct a border wall and deport and ban criminal illegal immigrants.

–reminded the nation once more of the real-life victims of violent illegal immigrants by welcoming their loved ones—themselves victims—to his address and referring to them by name.

–insisted that he was the President of the United States, not the world, and that the creed by which the government would conduct itself during his tenure is simple: Buy American, Hire American.

–reminded the country of President Obama’s lies and broken promises that Obamacare would not upset the desire of Americans to keep their doctors and their insurance plans.

–distinguished himself from the 44th President by underscoring the importance of supporting, rather than undermining, law enforcement in its struggle to preserve civilization against the threats posed to it by criminals.

–called out the Obama administration for presiding over what could be among the worst of economic recoveries while adding to the national debt an amount exceeding that of all of his predecessors combined.

–alluded to a young, attractive black woman who he had invited to his speech and who served as a concrete illustration of the success that students can achieve if they are free to escape the monopoly of the public school system.

–acknowledged and thanked the widow of a slain Navy Seal, his guest who received the longest applause in the history of these Presidential addresses to Congress and the nation.

Trump articulated himself in his own inimitable manner.  The Democrats, in glaring contrast, appeared small, petulant, and even offensive. Their antics will surely cost them more losses in the future.

This being said, I can’t say that I liked all that I heard.

First, to resounding bipartisan applause, Trump expressed his commitment to infrastructure spending. “Crumbling infrastructure will be replaced with new roads, bridges, tunnels, airports and railways, gleaming across our very, very beautiful land.”  Invoking “another Republican president, Dwight D. Eisenhower,” who “initiated the last truly great national infrastructure program [the system of interstate highways],” Trump declared: “The time has come for a new program of national rebuilding.”

To achieve this objective, the President announced that he “will be asking Congress to approve legislation that produces a $1 trillion investment” that will be “financed through both public and private capital [.]”

One trillion dollars.

Second, the President proposed, as he happily admitted, what amounts to a historically unprecedented increase in defense spending. “I am sending Congress a budget that rebuilds the military, eliminates the defense sequester, and calls for one of the largest increases in national defense spending in American history.”

Third, Trump’s determination to repeal and “replace” Obamacare is genuine enough. While the replacement, whatever it is, may prove to allow for more flexibility for states and individuals, the bad news for liberty-lovers is that this new scheme will be every bit as massive and every bit as centrally directed as the monstrosity that it will succeed.

Not only does Trump want to make sure that taxpayers arrange for those with “pre-existing conditions” to have coverage, he also maintains that “we” (government) make it possible for everyone else to purchase health care coverage.  In addition, “we” (government) must “give our state governors the resources and flexibility they need with Medicaid [another Big Government program] to make sure that no one is left out.”

Fourth, the President thinks it is the task of the national government to make “child care accessible and affordable” and “to help ensure new parents that they have paid family leave [.]”  He evidently also believes that income-earners and wealth-creators should have more of their resources confiscated by government and redistributed so that “we” can “invest in women’s health [.]”

Fifthly, Trump ominously echoed George W. Bush in describing “education” as the “civil rights issue of our time.”  “I am calling on members of both parties to pass an education bill that funds school choice for disadvantaged youth [.]”  Some range of choices is better than no choice at all, I suppose, but it shouldn’t be lost on anyone that an agenda of so-called “school choice” that the national government will “fund” remains a centrally-directed, Big Government, plan by another name, for the options afforded the “disadvantaged” are still predetermined by central political authorities.

Finally, Trump opened his speech by condemning a recent string of crimes directed against Jewish community centers and cemeteries.  These events “remind us that while we may be a nation divided on policies, we are a country that stands united in condemning hate and evil in all its forms.”

While hate and evil are certainly worthy objects of condemnation, if the President was determined to tackle them in this venue and on this occasion, I wish he would’ve targeted the hate and evil that neo-communist leftist terrorists—those whom Democrats call “protesters”—have been unleashing on his own supporters in cities around the country.  It would have been refreshing to have heard him call upon Democrats in Congress to join the rest of us in condemning the violence, intolerance, and hatred of those on their side of the political divide.  Or maybe he could have condemned those hordes of gutless cyber-thugs—let’s call them the Unconscionables—who called for the raping of his wife and his assassination.

Time will tell where we go from here.

 

 

 

Not long ago, a conversation transpired on a nationally syndicated radio program between the host and a writer for The New York Post.  Both are supporters of Donald J. Trump. Referring to the relentlessness and intensity of the opposition to the President on the part of the left, the host asked his guest whether the latter believed that the madness will soon have to come to a head. The Post writer replied that, in time, when the country improves materially, Trump will get the credit that he deserves and calm will set in over the land.

I wish that I could believe that this is so.

Even if they are certain that he is entitled to it, leftist will never give the President his due. And for as long as Trump is in office, and probably even long afterwards, leftists will spare no occasion to manipulate other Americans into seeing things their way.

From Democrats in Washington D.C. to those of their ideological ilk in the media, academia, Hollywood, and the streets, the left has been traumatized by Trump’s upset victory.  For that matter, it isn’t just the American left that remains shocked to its core, but leftists around the world.  It is telling that in spite of Trump’s massive rallies and the personal connection that he established with his supporters, leftists apparently could not so much as conceive of the possibility that Hillary Clinton could lose to the Republican nominee.

Although fake news outlets and their phony polls consistently showed Trump losing in a landslide to Clinton, the President won 2623 American counties compared to Clinton’s 489. If we subtract that bluest of blue states, California, Trump would have won the popular vote by over a million votes (and this is assuming, counterfactually, that there was no voter fraud).  If you subtract New York also, he would’ve won by 3 million votes over 48 states.

Trump swept most of the country, making it painfully obvious to Democrats that their party is now largely a coastal party.  As far as the Electoral College goes—and this, let us not forget, is how presidential elections are supposed to be decided in the United States—Trump crushed his opponent with 306 votes to Clinton’s 232.

The left’s collective head exploded.  After a month or so of waxing outrage over Trump’s refusal to say in advance of the election whether he would automatically accept the outcome if Clinton won, leftists still refuse to accept the outcome after Trump actually won.  First they demanded phony recounts.  Then they tried to coerce the electors of the Electoral College to deny Trump the votes that he earned.  When this dirty tactic failed, leftists contrived a conspiracy theory of epic proportions: Trump, they tried to convince the country, had won in an immense landslide because Vladimir Putin wanted for him to win.

Now, as leftist millionaires and billionaires (like the evil George Soros) finance massive anti-Trump protests and violent left-wing, neo-communist and anti-American terrorists wreak havoc in the name of “demonstrating” against Trump and “fascists,” Democrats in Congress are on a quest to create any opportunity that they can to impeach the President and bring about his downfall.

Trump and his army of some 63 million or so “Deplorables,” against overwhelming odds, defeated the elitists of both parties and the Regime that they constitute along with the media, academia, and Hollywood.  Hard leftist and alt-leftist (neoconservative) Regimists threw every weapon in their arsenal against the Donald—all to no avail.

The Regime didn’t just go down to defeat.  It suffered a humiliating defeat.

Democrats have lost over 1200 seats at the national and state levels since Obama has been elected (yes, he’s not only been terrible for the country, he’s been terrible for his party).  Republicans control the legislatures in some 32 states and the governorships in about two-thirds of the states.

And then along came Trump.

Leftists’ whole world is crashing in around them.  They will never accept their losses—even if that means dispatching thugs to terrorize innocents, destroy property, attack police, set fires, issue calls for “punching” their opponents “in the face,” organize demonstrations, and lie through their teeth to delegitimize and/or impeach President Trump.

But here’s the question that, to my knowledge, no prominent Trump-supporter in national media has yet to ask:

What are the rest of us going to do about all of this?

It’s true that in writing, talking, and, thus, exposing the hysteria, deception, and violence, commentators go some distance toward combatting leftist rage. Yet given the fever-pitch of the times, this has begun to feel inadequate. More needs to be done.

First, conservatives and others who are appalled by the hostility of the left should organize boycotts of every commodity produced by those who regard them as, well, deplorable. The left doesn’t hesitate to engage in boycotts. Neither should we. Those who repudiate our values must be made to pay a steep price for their actions.

Second, while “conservative” talk radio hosts like Rush Limbaugh and some others deserve credit for affecting what changes in the media landscape that they undoubtedly achieved over the decades, they especially could do more than they currently are doing.  These top-tier hosts have abundant resources at their disposal. It’s hard to imagine that it would cost them very much at all to organize some pro-American, anti-left demonstrations.

They could help bus in hundreds of thousands (and maybe more) exacerbated, yet proud, Second Amendment-availing patriots to Washington D.C.  Perhaps Bikers for Trump and Truckers for Trump could join them, bringing the city to a standstill.  Uniformly dressed in, say, red—the color for courage—or maybe dark blue—the color for justice—the sea of pro-American demonstrators, hoisting their American flag poles high, could put the leftist thugs, terrorists, and bullies on notice that a new day has indeed dawned and they are no longer going to tolerate being pushed around

Shows of force are necessary.

Any violent-prone, “antifa” terrorists would enter these zones at their own peril.

Since the left will never stop fighting, the right must start fighting with the same tenacity.