About Me

In writing the "About Me" portion of this blog I thought about the purpose of the blog - namely, preventing the growth of Socialism & stopping the Death Of Democracy in the American Republic & returning her to the "liberty to abundance" stage of our history. One word descriptions of people's philosophies or purposes are quite often inadequate. I feel that I am "liberal" meaning that I am broad minded, independent, generous, hospitable, & magnanimous. Under these terms "liberal" is a perfectly good word that has been corrupted over the years to mean the person is a left-winger or as Mark Levin more accurately wrote in his book "Liberty & Tyranny" a "statist" - someone looking for government or state control of society. I am certainly not that & have dedicated the blog to fighting this. I believe that I find what I am when I consider whether or not I am a "conservative" & specifically when I ask what is it that I am trying to conserve? It is the libertarian principles that America was founded upon & originally followed. That is the Return To Excellence that this blog is named for & is all about.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

UMD Debate, Nationalism Versus Globalism, Exemplifies Needed Mindset Change

Thanks to my friend & colleague in liberty Gordon Cummings of Donors Trust for sending me the video of the recent debate on the subject of Nationalism versus Globalism held @ the University Of Maryland (UMD) between Nigel Farage, the architect of Brexit, & Vincente Fox, the former president of Mexico. 
 
Gordon said he "thought it might interest" me - but he knew it would. 
 
Gordon was most impressed, not with the topic or the debating skills of the participants, but that "civil discourse was held without anyone losing their minds, a rarity these days."
 
The debate was sponsored by the Steamboat Institute as part of their Campus Liberty nationwide tour of college campuses in partnership with the Ed Snider Center for Enterprise & Markets @ UMD.  The Steamboat Institute promotes America's first principles & inspires active involvement in the pursuit of liberty by hosting events around the U.S. through their fellowship program in the name of the great libertarian Tony Blankley.  ACTA helped sponsor the event.
 
For the record Nationalism (Farage) is a political, social, & economic system characterized by the promotion of the interests of a particular nation, especially with the aim of gaining & maintaining sovereignty over the homeland like President Trump is doing.  Globalism (Fox) is a group of ideologies that advocates the concept of globalization – the idea that events in one country cannot be separated from those in another & that economic & foreign policy should be planned in an international way as socialist George Soros advocates.
 
Prior to watching the subject debate my latest involvement with UMD had been in the spring of 2015 regarding the contentious on-campus showing of the film American Sniper & the Muslim Student Association's safety concerns & anti-Muslim complaints about the film being shown on campus.  I have never, even to this day, seen American Sniper but @ the time was just trying to make sense out of the event that received unfavorable national media attention @ UMD.  The media portrayed UMD as a politically correct but potentially dangerously wrong school – the University I love the most – that is undermining the very values I am personally trying to preserve.

 

My biggest concern is the poison of political correctness most prevalent on college campuses all across America but also that is infiltrating the whole of American life – up & down the very street you live on.  It is this political correctness that will be America's undoing & in the not too distant future @ the rate we are going.

 
Regarding the American Sniper episode my friend & Executive Director, Office of Gift Planning @ UMD, John McKee, presented me with the assurance that UMD "almost always falls on the side of free expression, and in fact UMD gets in trouble more often for NOT stopping a student group inviting an offensive speaker or hosting a controversial event." 
 
John sent me a copy of the message that UMD President Wallace Loh had sent him earlier that day in 2015 in which Dr. Loh explained that it was two student groups that worked out the solution to the problem - Student Entertainment Events Productions (SEE) & the Muslim Student Association – & that "Media sources then reported that UMD 'cancelled' the movie.  That UMD failed to uphold the basic right of freedom of expression. That UMD caved-in to a small number of students.  We were deluged by phone calls and messages from across the country, almost unanimously outraged by the cancellation or postponement.  Members of our faculty, staff, students and alumni, as well as members of our State's legislature, voiced their dismay with UMD's abridgment of this constitutional right" regarding "a film that can be viewed at theaters everywhere."  In short, UMD couldn't win.
 
Since the results of the 2015 on-campus showing & subsequent panel discussion of American Sniper @ UMD was somewhat controversial I left the matter in an unresolved status for myself – unresolved, that is, until I heard Dr. Loh's down-to-earth presentation in the video below prior to the subject debate in which there can be no question as to the man's dedication & quality to lead students of a major university. 
 
Dr. Loh's opening message in the video below is the same as the one he presented, after the fact when the students resolved the matter, in the written message in 2015 regarding American Sniper.  But this time Dr. Loh was able to directly take responsibility for authorizing the debate despite the letters & e-mails of outrage that he once again received that he was allowing the debate to proceed.  In short, the written message of three years ago got bigger to me after watching & listening to Dr. Loh in the video below.
 
Click on Nationalism – Globalism debate & go to the 02:40 mark to hear Dr. Loh's inspirational defense of free speech that explains that exceptional American nationalism is enlightened patriotism & civic nationalism based on freedom of expression, a free press, freedom of association, the right to worship who you want – i.e., a liberal democracy in a constitutional republic, a tolerant accepting democracy accepting of other people with whom you disagree.  Dr. Loh says that to be an American is a matter of the heart, a state of mind that drew him, a Latino – Asian, to this country to become a naturalized citizen. 
 
The conduct of both the audience & the participants during this debate exemplifies what he was talking about – a chance not just to change minds on a particular issue but for all concerned to have the chance to become enlightened – which requires a mindset where there is an expectation of civility & trust.  But Dr. Loh realizes, as do I all too well, that it has been a long time since higher education has been successful in training students "to become responsible citizens to live rightly in a free society."
 

Thursday, June 7, 2018

John Cox Gives California Chance To Avoid Detroit-like Collapse

Over the past six weeks the California primary conducted on Tuesday has been the subject of two RTE posts & for good reason – California has long been a trendsetter for the rest of the country & the recent trend has not been good.  The two posts highlighted the things that are happening in California to turn the state around & the first was to get a bonafide libertarian candidate for governor on the ballot in November who could win so that he could lead the needed return to excellence in the Golden State.
 
On Tuesday John Cox positioned himself to be the first Republican in a decade to win a California state-wide office when he finished second in the gubernatorial jungle primary in which the top two finishers proceed to the general election regardless of party affiliation.  Democrats were hoping to have two Democrats @ the top of the ticket with the GOP shut out.  Results below:
 
click on results to enlarge
 
Mr. Cox will continue to campaign on reversing the socialist policies that Democrats in office have put in place that have plagued California for years – policies supported by his opponent former San Francisco Mayor & current Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsome.  Mr. Newsome promises more of the same if not much more of the same.
 
Specifically California has the highest marginal state income tax rate (13.3%) in the country, the highest state sales tax rate (7.25% but varies by district with 9.5% in LA), sky-high gasoline taxes including a recently passed $52 billion gasoline tax increase, car registration fees, traffic fines, high utility rates, & high crime rates & large homeless encampments in many areas.  The state ranks dead last in friendliness to business, has the highest poverty rate in the country, a growing unfunded public pension liability that has reached a critical stage, & a huge public retiree healthcare liability that has not even begun to be funded – all of which hurts the middle class.
 
But most despicably California has not only declared itself a "Sanctuary State", along with Illinois, Colorado, Massachusetts, New Mexico, Oregon, & Vermont but has mandated & expanded protections for undocumented immigrants including actually prohibiting state & local police agencies from notifying U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials when illegal immigrants in their custody, who may be subject to deportation, are about to be released.
 
California has instructed its counties, cities, & businesses to follow suit providing sanctuary for illegal immigrants or face criminal charges meaning that California will fine businesses &/or imprison people who cooperate with federal immigration law & the Constitution.
 
But a still growing number of cities & counties have been pushing back against California's sanctuary policies & on Tuesday they found the best way, namely through the leadership of John Cox as Governor, to end the state's aforementioned terror tactics.
 
California is on the precipice of becoming the microcosm of America in a very negative way.  In November the citizens of California, along with the illegal aliens who vote, will decide if California will continue on the ruinous socialist path it has been on under Newsome's participation & involvement as Jerry Brown's Lieutenant Governor as described above or be turned around by electing John Cox Governor of California.
 
The people of California have a real chance to reverse, both financially & culturally, the terrible manner, way, & mode of life described above - lousy conditions that no one in their right mind would want to live under where the state government fights the federal government using American citizens as disposable pawns @ every turn while favoring illegal aliens wherever they find them.
 
But electing Mr. Cox Governor of California won't be easy.  WSJ Editorial Board Member Allysia Finley responded to my inquiry to her regarding Cox's chances – "But the rub is that Democrats make up 44% of registered voters while Republicans are just 25%.  Independents are about 25% but they generally lean left in California. Newsom would lock up nearly all of the Democratic support while Cox would win most Republican voters.  Villaraigosa's (refers to former Democrat Mayor of LA Antonio Villaraigosa who finished 3rd) core support is Hispanics and blue collar Democrats. Hispanics are more likely to vote for Newsom while blue collar Democrats would likely stay home. Neither group is likely to vote for Cox."
 
My analysis that Ms. Finley so graciously responded to was based on Cox picking up much of Villaraigosa's large charter school supporters (Villaraigosa had supported charter schools & confronted teachers unions by supporting a lawsuit to over turn the state's teacher tenure & seniority laws when he was LA Mayor) & virtually all of the other Republican votes cast in the primary – there were a total of 27 candidates – Michael Reagan said that his ballot had one & a half pages of candidates names for governor.
 
But no state leader has endorsed Cox.  Senator Kamala Harris (a presumed 2020 presidential candidate) is campaigning with Newsom.  Teachers unions are backing Newsome.  Charter school proponents backed Villaraigosa & upon finishing 3rd in the primary Villaraigosa immediately endorsed Newsome.  But to top it off Meg Whitman, former Republican gubernatorial candidate eight years ago, endorsed Villaraigosa before the primary. 
 
So where is the Republican Party in California?  It was demoted to third party status after the California Secretary of State reported that 44.4% of registered voters were Democrats, 25.1% were registered Republicans, & people replying "No party preference" was @ 25.5%.
 
The Republican Party in California can only be found in Trump & his endorsement of Cox.  There is no money coming in from the Republican National Committee because of the above stats, demographics, & the expensive media market.
 
California's electoral map from Tuesday's primary resembles that of the U.S. in recent years in that Democrat support is on the coast & a few isolated counties.  See below.
 
click on map to enlarge
 
Cox's presence on the ballot can only help Republican turnout in November which will help Republican congressmen hold on to their seats – as all of them, plus those in NJ & NY have been targeted.  Two Democrats @ the top of the California ballot would reduce Republican turnout affecting down ballot elections.
 

But that is another matter & this post is about showing the high stakes of the November election for California & ultimately America & the importance of changing California's negative influence on the rest of the country.

Voters in California will show what they consider to be their own best interest.  Are the Villaraigosa voters interested in following through regarding the benefits they see for their children in attending charter schools thereby giving them a much better chance of not leading a life of hopelessness due to poor education or do they say I am such & such a minority & there is my allegiance - supporting some minority candidate's endorsement of Newsome whose bread is buttered by the Teachers Unions?

In order to have any chance Cox has to reach these Villaraigosa primary voters & then some.

As a long shot exacta player I am concentrating on the fact that Trump received 4,483,810 votes for president in 2016.  Jerry Brown received 4,388,368 votes for governor in 2014 so there are enough people in California for Cox to win if he can motivate them to believe that the stakes are high enough which they are.

Long time readers of RTE will recall the many posts written about Detroit as a microcosm of America.  California fits that description as well – but as a state not just a city so the stakes are even higher.

From the August 12, 2013 post - At one time Detroit was America's wealthiest city by per capita income & fourth largest by population – then its manufacturing base collapsed.  Today Detroit is the city with America's lowest median income ($25,000), it has lost over 60% from its peak population, over half the children in the city live in poverty, just under half the residents are functionally illiterate, & the unemployment rate is 18%.  One third of Detroit's 140 square miles is a wasteland – forlorn, forsaken, vacant, &/or deserted.  The decreasing population abandoned over 33,000 homes.  There are now 91,000 vacant lots.  In some areas houses on entire blocks have been razed.  Some neighborhoods have ceased to exist & as they disappeared so did all traces of human life. 
Wild dogs roam the streets, hunting the pheasants, turkeys, opossums, roosters and raccoons that have returned to the city.  Detroit is
a city without a major chain grocery store. 
The median house price is little more than pocket change compared to housing prices in other areas of the country.  The city has put in place all of the statist's dream government-dependent programs from establishing a living wage that exceeds the federal minimum wage to supporting teachers' unions with very high per student spending that still produces extremely poor results (in 2008 there was less than a 25% high school graduation rate & in 2013 less than 20% of graduates were considered ready for college).  Detroit has borrowed to meet its operating costs & pension & healthcare insurance liabilities & as such retirees face an uncertain future.  The city's homicide rate is @ a 40 year high & it has been on the most dangerous cities in America list for over 20 years.
 
The above description of Detroit is the kind of deterioration that California can avoid under the governorship of John Cox who is first & foremost a successful businessman & CPA who built his own business from scratch to a $200 million company with approximately 100 employees – just about my most desirable qualification & first requirement to be able to run for president let alone governor.
 
If California doesn't learn from Detroit's collapse, they will be next.