There is obviously a war between the Trump administration and much of the media. This war is two-sided and the American public is caught in its crosshairs. Trump needs to stop exaggerating and making completely untrue statements. For the media’s part, they need to reduce both the aggressiveness of their coverage as well as the volume of stories they report. Here I will address four recent topics Trump has been at odds with the media about: the Flynn’s Russia contact, Chicago crime, voter fraud and terror coverage.
Many of us exaggerate to get our points across, but we are not the leader of the free world. President Trump is free to discuss an issue he thinks is important. He should not; however, try to make the problem worse than it is. If the media is out to get him, as he thinks, then he should not give them fuel. The bigger issue is that the over the top accusations he makes gets all of the focus, leading people to ignore the point he was trying to make; often a good one.
Trump’s former national security advisor, Michael Flynn was terminated when it came out that he spoke to Russian officials prior to Trump taking office. President Trump said the call was not illegal and the focus should be on the leaked phone call. They clearly didn’t agree. Many suggested there should be an investigation to see if Flynn’s actions were criminal; largely ignoring the leak or, worse, framing it as whistleblowing.
How were Flynn’s actions dissimilar to Obama’s Sr. economic policy advisor, Austan Goolsbee, assuring Canada on its position on NAFTA during the 2008 campaign? This, in spite of Obama claiming no one contacted Canada about NAFTA. A memo disproving this was released in March of 2008. Yet, the sky was not falling.
Trump also continues to mention the violence plaguing Chicago. He falsely claimed that in 2016, Chicago had the highest murder rate in 45 years. He later claimed 47 years. These are ill-advised statements as the real numbers are bad enough. The Chicago murder per capita for 2016 was 28. This is seven times the national rate of 4. The focus should be on the horrible volume of shooting and not his misstatement. It is fine for reporters to point it out and he should choose his language better but I cannot understand how his statement gets more national press than hundreds shot or 22 shot, 11 killed in 48 hours.
He also stated at yesterday’s press conference that drugs are ‘cheaper than candy’. Some in the media jumped on this statement as well. I took it as anecdotal, however, if you think this is a problem, you should have also had a problem with Obama saying, “it’s easier to buy a gun than a book” and “some want machine guns in bars”.
Next we move to his claim of millions voting illegally. I, like many, am convinced that he has no evidence of this. This should be reported as such. The problem is that the media leads the public to believe that voter fraud itself is false. Lack of arrests doesn’t prove a lack of a crime. The system is set up to make it easy to do so. If no one is aggressively checking for fraud, you are less likely to find it. While the number is unknown, it is likely far less than three million but it could be enough to swing an election. Why not do what every other nation holding democratic elections does; require ID to vote.
Lastly, Trump said that the media doesn’t cover much of the world’s terror attacks. For this claim, he was unanimously attacked. Even many conservative outlets said his claim was false. His problem was creating a list which included some well covered attacks and, itself, left off some. I took it differently because I’ve been saying something similar for several months.
CNN took the list and did a search for the number of stories written about the attacks to debunk his claim. That is the wrong way to look at them. The problem isn’t that they don’t cover them; it’s that most are ‘below the fold’. Here’s a recent example. Yesterday I went to the Washington Post’s online paper. There were 12 stories on their home page, 11 were about Trump. I then did a search for terror attacks and found two that day; one in Iraq, killing over 50, the other in Pakistan, killing 88. Ironically, the story I found on the Pakistan attack was from the Washington Post, yet, it wasn’t on their home page.
I find this happens often. They cover the largest of the attacks but not constant attacks. You don’t hear the media constantly covering terror attacks on Christians. If you Google this, you will be amazed by the volume. No less than the NY Times had an article on July 22nd, “Is This the End of Christianity in the Middle East?” The problem is most of the coverage is in the paper. Fewer people read the papers and they don’t end up on the front page. Not exactly the same coverage Trump’s comments on crowd size gets.
The argument many will have is that Trump lies constantly where Obama may have simply had a couple of gaffes. This is not exactly true. In 2007, Obama was speaking at Brown Chapel AME in Selma, AL commemorating the 1965 civil rights march. In that speech, he claimed his parents ‘got together’ and he was born after that march. The problem is, it took place four years after he was born. In 2008, Obama told the Today Show he won the Michigan primary even though he wasn’t even on the ballot? In 2009, Obama promised there would be no earmarks in his stimulus package? The final bill had over 9,000 earmarks in it. In May 2011, he stated that the border fence congress approved was ‘basically complete’; it was closer to 5% complete.
As you read this, the media is reporting that Trump’s administration is in chaos. Let’s look at Obama’s first 100 days to compare. In 2009, he had four cabinet nominees withdraw their names from consideration due to scandal. Charles Freeman – National Intelligence Council, Tom Daschle – HHS, and Bill Richardson and Judd Gregg both nominated for Commerce. Was his presidency called ‘chaotic’?
The point here is that both the Trump administration and the media are complicit in this war. At least there’s nowhere to go but up. The media scrutiny should incentivize the Trump administration to be more detailed and professional. The media needs to see that their personal attacks compromise their integrity. We are all truly better off if they do a better job but there are no signs of this happening anytime soon.
Three weeks into Trump’s presidency and the country is reeling. The new president has been working feverishly to make change, mostly through executive orders. Some have been to undo the work of Obama, while others have chartered course for a new direction. Because of the protests, most of the focus has been on the constitutionality of the executive order banning travel, temporarily, from seven majority Muslim countries. I’d like to focus on the bigger issue; federal government cannibalizing the power of ‘the people’ and why we continue to allow it. The two biggest methods of increasing federal power has been adding new cabinet departments and presidential executive orders.
Executive orders, especially the controversial ones, get all of the attention. Some have had good outcomes. The emancipation proclamation was an executive order. Truman desegregated the military and Eisenhower desegregated public schools via executive order. Others were bad. FDR forced citizens to sell their gold to the US Treasury and interned German, Italian and Japanese Americans via executive order. While executive orders can be too extreme, they can be struck down. The bigger problem is increasing the size and scope of cabinet-level departments.
George Washington had four cabinet posts: State, Treasury, War (now Defense) and Attorney General. The country hummed along for 100 years adding only the Department of the Interior and a few amendments. Then, in 1903, Teddy Roosevelt needed to regulate big businesses during the industrial revolution so the Department of Commerce and Labor was created. This was the start of a snowball which hasn’t stopped growing.
Just ten years later, while Wilson was being inaugurated, Taft split Commerce and Labor into two departments. Wilson went on to impose tariffs, tried to privatize all banks, leading to the compromise of the Federal Reserve, and push an amendment to implement an income tax after the Supreme Court found it unconstitutional.
FDR had more time than any other president and he certainly put it to use. He instilled more banking regulations, established the SEC, the FDIC and the Social Security System. Under the new deal, he created works programs, issued loans and paid farmers not to plant crops. The country saw the largest shift of power to the executive branch under FDR. To date he has issued over 25% of all presidential executive orders.
Eisenhower created the Department of Health, Education and Welfare. It later grew to two department; HHS and Education. LBJ added HUD and Transportation as part of his ‘Great Society’. Nixon, through executive order, added the EPA. Reagan added the VA and George W. Bush added Homeland, which includes over 100 agencies.
So, why the focus on the cabinets? The president is the CEO of the federal government and an executive order is simply a directive given by the CEO to the agencies he oversees. Therefore, when we give the executive branch the power to regulate something, it has greater implications. If education, for instance, was handled solely by the states, the president could not issue an executive order concerning bathrooms in schools. Give him a Department of Labor, and it is now under his jurisdiction. The same goes for banking and commerce, labor and overtime pay, homeland and terror suspect detainment.
Many will say that these departments were needed. They make fun of conservatives who talk about eliminating some of them. But be honest, do you believe that students were failing until 1953 or that the only way to keep America safe was to create a new department with over 100 agencies? Do we need an entire department to ‘promote job creation’ or to ‘establish wage standards’? A better questions may be are the schools, housing, and standards of living better because of these departments?
Each of these cabinets also brings with it billions in tax costs, thousands of employees and massive regulations. It also brings more power under the umbrella of the federal government. Even if you believe the president ‘means well’, it is still dangerous. Every president had more power at the end of his presidency than at the beginning and he never gives that power back. The tendency has been to give the president more leeway when your guy is in power. But if you don’t stop your guy from overreaching because you like the direction he’s going, remember he won’t be in office forever. You may find yourself complaining about the amount of power a president you dislike has and worrying about how he’ll use it. When this happens ask yourself, “How did he get that power?”
There has been constant talk about how liberals are losing their minds over the Trump election. I’ve heard calls that we all ‘get along’. Not only is this wrong, it is completely implausible. It is as wrong to tell liberals to accept Trump as it was to tell conservatives to accept Obama. If you look at the vast difference in their beliefs, how could they get along? Here are some of the major differences in their beliefs.
Most conservatives equate abortion to murder; liberals want women to have full access without interference. For those who are pro-life, limiting abortion is suborning ‘a little bit of murder’. For pro-choice advocates, fewer restrictions are still too many restrictions.
On the gun issue, conservatives believe that any law abiding citizen should be able to own a gun while many liberals want gun bans in most situations and, where they are allowed, they want to limit where you can take them. In Chicago, they’ve gone as far as banning officers at O’hare airport from being armed.
One side believes taxes should be low with limited red tape and whatever tax policy we keep should be consistent for all citizens; the other side wants to selectively tax individuals, inflicting punitive taxes on the highest earners under the guise of having them ‘pay their fair share’.
Liberals want free speech, for those they agree with; they call those they disagree with, racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic and Islamophobic. They shout down speakers, boycott companies and protest those they oppose. The same goes for crime, international affairs, immigration and many other hot button issues. If each side thinks the other side is wrong and will lead the country down a dangerous path, why would they try to get along?
The problem with this isn’t the resistance, it’s how they resist. No honest minded liberal will attempt to say the opposition of Obama was the same as that of Trump. People threw a ‘dance party’ outside of Mike Pence’s rented home while others held a ‘cough-in’ at a fine dining restaurant housed inside Trump’s New York hotel. Over one third of the Democrats in the house are ‘boycotting’ the inauguration. They personally attack and try to hurt the career of entertainers and businesses that make the sin of simply meeting with the president-elect. This can prove detrimental to people in many ways.
If you are anti-Trump and your U.S. representative is refusing to accept him as ‘legitimate’, you may be happy. But think about what happens when you need federal support for something. Or, better, when you want a program to be maintained or implemented. If your representative is aggressively against Trump, why would anyone expect Trump to take him seriously? The entire Congress is controlled by the Republicans. In order to stop him, if that’s your desire, Democratic votes won’t be enough. You need Trump, even if you’re trying to defeat him.
Many on the left try to compare their opposition to the Tea Party, but this is disingenuous. The Tea Party began as a specific attack on economic issues. They opposed policies and were not, contrary to popular belief, formed to oppose Obama. In fact, the organization started in 2004 nearly five years before Obama. They also attack Republicans as well as Democrats. They lobbied to replace incumbent Republicans they felt were not adhering to conservative principles. Liberals say things like, “We are fighting for women’s rights’ or “We want to create new rights!” Here again showing that they don’t understand policy or have a historic perspective on anything.
There were some conservatives who did attack Obama personally. However blogs, Facebook pages, and other communications cannot compare to having the New York Times, CNN, and other major news outlets devote the majority of their coverage to attacking Trump.
So as we usher in a new administration, remember that opposition is not the problem. The problem is opposition of a man rather than policies and unnecessary personal attacks. Trump’s opposition cannot be policy based as some claim. That would involve waiting until he actually imposes a policy.
This can be a new start. All we need is for the childish, angry, whining, safety-pinning, safe spaces demanding, vile, race-baiting, yelling, profane, hypocritical left to focus their opposition on specifics. I won’t hold my breath for that to happen.
Another day, another last minute Obama directive. For Obamaites who are excited about these ‘11th hour’ decisions, be honest and ponder if you’d be ok with George W. Bush, or now Donald Trump, doing the same thing. I was as much against Trump’s victory rallies as I am against Obama going out slowly, kicking and screaming. But let’s address his latest move; a change in Cuban immigration policy.
Yesterday, Obama ended the ‘wet foot, dry foot’ policy of allowing Cubans fleeing Cuba to become legal residents if they reach US soil. Obama stated, “By taking this step, we are treating Cuban migrants the same way we treat migrants from other countries.” I assume any logic-minded person can see the irony in this. Just the opposite is true.
Obama started by supporting the DREAM Act, allowing children under 16 who came into the country illegally, a path to permanent status. Then, just before the election, he came pretty close to telling them they can vote.
Just days before the 2016 presidential election, Obama was interviewed by Jane the Virgin star Gina Rodriguez. She told the president 'dreamers', whom she calls citizens, are fearful about voting and wonder, "iff they do, will Immigration know? Will they come for my family?" Obama said, “Not true. The reason is, first of all, when you vote, you are a citizen yourself, and there is not a situation where the voting rules are transferred over and people start investigating. The sanctity of the vote is strictly confidential.” He might as well have said, “Tell them to vote, nothing will happen!”
Now, post Trump’s win, He and his fellow Democrats have gone far beyond just advocating for ‘dreamers’. Many big city mayors are refusing to cooperate with federal agents, even in the case of criminals; a move which got Kate Steinle killed and allowed two women to be killed by a man who had been deported eight times. There are now sanctuary universities and many cities, including Washington D.C and Chicago, whose mayor is Obama’s former chief of staff, are setting aside taxpayer money to create legal funds to stop deportations. All while their cities are in debt.
This is what makes this latest move so perplexing. He’s literally saying if you want to stay in the US, use the normal immigration channels and wait your turn, unless you are Mexican or from a terror rich country we cannot vet.
I know that Obama believes he has normalized relations with Cuba. Just because the US changes its policy doesn’t mean Castro will change his behavior. For over 50 years Cuba has been a violent dictatorship with few freedoms. But if you flee and come to the US, you must return. Mexico is a democracy we have a great relationship with, but if you leave to make a better life, you’re a ‘dreamer’ and can stay.
Many on the left were hesitant to ‘label’ Fidel Castro as a dictator; the same goes for his brother. But even if they are right, it doesn’t change the fact that Obama is being disingenuous. He claims this move is to be fair and treat Cubans like everyone else coming to America. But how is this fair? Putting aside the atrocities in Cuba. If Mexico and Cuba are similar governments with equal freedoms and opportunities, why is Obama sending one group back while doing everything in his power to keep the other group here?
The story most dominating the news in the last two days is that of the special needs teen being tortured by four young adults in Chicago. As usual, race is permeating the coverage. The victim is white and the perpetrators are black. The level of coverage is so high because the attack was recorded and posted on Facebook. Many conservatives are noting that had it not been for the video, the story would not have gotten so much coverage and the coverage still pales in comparison to what it would have been if the races were reversed. I have no doubt this is true, but this is not the point of my article.
I was listening to a black radio station that was discussing the topic. While each caller called the actions vile, reprehensible and inexcusable, there were two recurring themes that stood out to me: the need to be sure not to internalize and the parallel of crimes committed by whites.
I am in agreement with those who say that blacks should not internalize crimes like these. I say the same about any crime. There is no plausible reason why as a black man I should take on guilt, societal judgment or shame for a crime committed by someone else simply because he is black. To expect me to or to say, “That’s how blacks act” would be foolish and the very definition of racist. Here’s the problem. Many mistakenly believe this is exactly what white conservatives do. This is not true. Saying that a certain percentage of crimes are committed by blacks, when it is factual and disproportionately high, is not the same as saying that all blacks do it or committing the crime is a ‘black trait’.
There is simply no logical correlation to these thoughts on internalization, for anyone. However, there seems to be a constant demand from many on the left for whites to internalize, and in many cases apologize for, the Klan, slavery and other ills of ‘whites’. Are they saying that blacks should not be judged by the crimes of other blacks but whites are not afforded the same courtesy? This is at best illogical and at worst racist.
Speaking of the crimes of whites, there were also several callers who said the crime was bad but we’re exaggering it because it paled in comparison to the crimes of whites over the years. This is faulty syllogism. The existence of other crimes and the race of their perpetrators has no bearing on how a crime should be charged or judged. It’s like saying to a killer, “You shouldn’t have killed that man but fortunately for you, someone just killed two women and a child, that’s worse so you’re free to go!”
This is the type of emotional based thinking that led us to hate crimes to begin with. I understand how a criminal’s punishment can be adjusted based on severity of the crime, number of victims, method, or other factors but trying to determine someone’s motive or making a crime more extreme based on the characteristics of the victim is senseless. In addition to making some victims’ lives more valuable than others, it also portends to change the gravity of the crime. If you’re unsure, ask yourself if the crime these four youths committed would have been more or less severe if the victim were black? Obviously, the answer is no.
The solution is to stop seeing everything through a racial lens. As hard as this is for many, the easiest situations should be those involving crimes, especially heinous ones. We should all agree that this act was horrendous, sympathize for the victim and not assume all blacks act in this manner. The same goes for crimes committed by whites. There is no ‘groupthink’ on violent crime. As Viktor Frankl, a psychiatrist and holocaust survivor whose wife, brother and mother were killed by Nazis, said when asked if he hated Germans, “No. There are only two races, the decent and the indecent.”
White privilege is the latest hysteria on the left. There are movements to combat it, classes at universities to help white students recognize it and a growing number of people claiming it’s the reason many, particularly minorities, don’t get ahead. While privilege exists, and is definitely cause for some having advantages, there is a flaw in the argument that white privilege is the overwhelming problem in America.
Focusing on white privilege wastes time and effort. As I state in my book, Logic: The Truth About Blacks and the Republican Party, most people are selfish. We tend to focus on ourselves and those in our circle. So, nepotism is a natural progression. Someone hiring friends and family is not white privilege just because the person doing it happens to be white. Most would do the same thing given the opportunity. Companies literally pay their employees to bring in candidates when they need help; those employees are sure to recruit their friends.
The left then says that white privilege is more about how minorities are treated in certain situations. The problem with this is that it implies that people’s reactions and behaviors are solely based on skin color. They cite things like being followed in a store, being judged by one’s clothing or manner of speech, and seeing more people who look like you in roles of authority as examples. There’s no doubt that these things disproportionately affect blacks negatively, but the fact that whites don’t experience these in the same way is more a matter of correlation rather than causation.
Let’s take the first example, being followed in a store. I first experienced that in high school and, like many, my initial reaction was anger. I thought it was racist for shopkeepers to follow the black kids around the store. But as I thought about it more, I came to a different conclusion. I couldn’t logically conclude that these businessmen decided to come to a predominately black neighborhood to provide a necessary service primarily to have the opportunity to discriminate. There had to be a better reason. A small percentage of them may have been racists, but in most cases they were store owners trying to protect their investments. I eventually realized they were following me, and boys like me, because we looked like the people who were stealing from their stores. My anger began to shift to the people who were creating that view of me. Many of those stores eventually closed due to their excessive losses. This left our neighborhood with fewer resources.
This holds for many of the other situations lazily deemed ‘privilege’. They talk about speech. As an immigrant I’m very close to told me, “They teach us English in school!” This was in response to someone saying she didn’t sound like she was from her country of origin. The same goes for black Americans. The same language taught to whites is taught to blacks in the inner city. The difference is it’s long been considered uncool and 'white' to speak English properly.
In addition to behavioral things, they site stats that are cause for alarm. The fact that unemployment, incarceration rates and household incomes are skewed against blacks. These are true and need to be addressed but are not due to the privilege of others. No amount of diversity training or white privilege courses will prevent blacks from being incarcerated. As far as unemployment and income goes, education is the key to improving this; the quality of which is not affected by the privilege of whites. The social justice crew doesn’t want to talk about real privilege. Here are actual types of privilege that greatly increase your odds of being successful:
• ‘Two parent home privilege’ – Children raised with both parents in the home
• ‘Weekly religious service privilege’ – Those who attend regular religious services
• ‘No child before marriage privilege’ – Those who wait until marriage to have children
The truth is that even if you give them all of their arguments, ‘white privilege’ is inaccurate. Privilege indicates a special right or advantage. These are things that whites are less likely to experience, rather than, what they are entitled to. Perhaps they should address the causes of the discrepancies instead of focusing on placing blame on others for the existence of them.
With Trump’s shocking victory, the Electoral College has been fervently under attack. Some are even willing to change the rules in the middle of an election. While I’m all for intellectual debate about the pros and cons of the Electoral College, I have serious problems with those who use misinformation as a means to convince people to join their cause. In the argument against the Electoral College there are two recurring challenges: 1) The Electoral College was born out of slavery. 2) The job of the electors is to make sure an unqualified candidate doesn’t win. Here is the truth about both.
I’ve been hearing the first argument for as long as I can remember. Blacks have been told that the constitution considered us ‘three-fifths’ of a person. This belief has proven detrimental to blacks as it has been used as the primary indicator that America is a racist country at its foundation. The opposite is actually true. The three-fifths rule was solely to determine taxation and representation. Those who believe the fraction should be higher, or not a fraction at all, are enabling slavery. Here’s a simplified example:
If a slave state had a population of 300,000 whites and each state got one representative for each 50,000 people, that state would have gotten six representatives in the House. If they also had, 200,000 slaves and slaves were counted as one person each, they would have gotten an additional four representatives for a total of ten. Since they would have likely elected pro-slavery representatives, the additional representatives would have given them stronger influence and slavery would have lasted longer.
You may say, “Why the compromise at all?” Keep in mind, declaring independence was only the first step. To win a difficult fight against Britain and create a strong country, we’d need all of the states. The southern states would not join the north if they had to give up their slaves. They actually turned down the compromise until taxation was added. With the addition of taxation, it meant they would only be able to count three-fifths of their slaves for representation but they would only have to pay taxes based on that smaller number. The founders were also keen enough to add the line, “…three-fifths of all other persons.” This is key because the south considered blacks property, not people. In agreeing to the constitution as written, it actually set the stage for the basis of freeing all slaves.
The second argument is that the Electoral College was created to prevent an unqualified candidate from taking office. In a Unite for America ad, celebrities make a plea to Republican electors to vote against Trump. Martin Sheen says, “Our Founding Fathers built the Electoral College to safeguard the American people from the dangers of a demagogue…” While it is true that Alexander Hamilton said in the Federalist Papers, “that the office of President will never fall to the lot of any man who is not in an eminent degree endowed with the requisite qualifications.”, he did not reference a ‘demagogue’. This is also only one argument cherry picked from many. In the very same Federalist Papers, James Madison, the father of the Constitution, was concerned about ‘factions’. He wrote, “When a majority is included in a faction, the form of popular government, on the other hand, enables it to sacrifice to its ruling passion or interest both the public good and the rights of other citizens.”
The framers thought carefully about what type of country we should be. In thinking of potential problems and inevitable expansion, they chose a republic rather than a democracy specifically because they knew the dangerous pitfalls of majority rule. The primary reason for having electors was to protect small states from influence by those with large populations. This campaign to make Clinton president because she won the popular vote is directly antithetical to the basis of the country. Their argument is apparently weak when you consider this: They complain because Hillary won the popular vote by nearly three million votes that electing Trump would be against the will of the people, however, they are willing to let as few as 37 people vote against the popular vote in their state. They will then be ok with 538 picking anyone they like to be the next president; as long as it’s not Donald Trump.
We should all agree that this is flawed and dangerous. However, if we can’t all agree on this, we should at least agree that lying about indisputable facts to convince people to give you what you want is childish and abhorrent.
C. Douglas Love