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What should Republicans do?

August 29, 2016

Tom Korologos and Richard Allen have published an appeal to Republicans to look beyond the Presidential election of 2016 and prepare to wage vigorous battle with Democrats in 2018 and 2020. Both Korologos and Allen are knowledgeable advocates. Korologos, is a Washington lobbyist and former assistant to President Gerald Ford and Dick Allen was an assistant to Richard Nixon and, later, National Security Advisor to President Ronald Reagan.

They make a very good case for what to do to save the GOP after the coming defeat of the GOP nominee for President, Donald Trump.

Donald Trump’s Government

August 27, 2016

American voters are interested to see if Donald Trump can win enough Electoral College votes to become President. If he does, whom will Donald Trump appoint to top positions in a Trump Administration?

Since Trump disdains policy analysis himself, we can infer that he will rely on those who were his surrogates during his Primary and Presidential campaigns.

Rudy Giuliani is clearly at the top of that list and can be expected to be appointed Attorney General.

Chris Christie (R-NJ) is also influential but may not accept nomination to a Cabinet position because he was passed over for Vice President. But, if he relents, he also can be expected to be nominated for Attorney General.

A couple of former Generals have appeared on Trump’s behalf and are probably in line for appointments to NSA or CIA.

The important position of National Security Advisor shapes national security policy, but none with that knowledge has, as yet, appeared, except John Bolton.

Nomination of someone to be Secretary of State is a question mark, though I’ve suggested Trump should consider Gov. John Kasich (R-OH).

In a normal Presidency, the candidate’s immediate advisors move into the White House and take charge. That would suggest that Giuliani and Christie will show up during the first several weeks of a Trump Presidency and possibly some businessmen that Trump has appointed to his Economic Policy team.

But, beyond those two experienced Republican politicians, who else is there?

Elizabeth “Betsy” McCaughey’s appearance today on the Michael Smerconish program on CNN suggests a New York connection. McCaughey was a disastrous appointee of Gov. George Pataki as his Lt. Governor and had to be dumped. Why Trump would call her into his circle knowing that she is not a stable political surrogate or prospective appointee is difficult to fathom.

Having banished Paul Manafort, it’s not likely that Reagan era personalities will be pulled from obscurity to man a Trump Presidency.  But, let’s throw out some names:

Secretary of State                            Gov. John Kasich (R-OH)

Treasury Secretary                          David Malpass

Secretary of Defense                      Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn

Attorney General                            Rudolph Giuliani

Interior                                               Jan Brewer

Agriculture                                        Charles Herbster

Commerce                                         Donald Trump, Jr.

Labor                                                   Chris Christie

Health & Human Services            Dr. Ben Carson

HUD                                                    Kim Abrams

Transportation                                William Palatucci

Energy                                                Harold Hamm

Education                                          Dr. Sam Clovis

Veterans Administration             Col. Oliver North

Homeland Security                         Corey Lewandowski

Chief of Staff                                     Jared Kunsler

National Security Advisor             John Bolton

CIA                                                        Gen. Jack Keane

United Nations                                 Elizabeth McCaughey

Council Economic Advisors          Peter Navarro

Domestic Policy                                Kellyanne Conway

Press Secretary                                 Katrina Pierson

How Much Time do We Have?

August 25, 2016

Twenty-three years have passed since William Jefferson Clinton was elected President in 1993 and seven years since Hillary Clinton was appointed Secretary of State in 2009.

Only in 2016 are the activities of the Clinton Foundation and allegations of conduct by Hillary Clinton been portrayed as “Pay to Play.”

What is it about American politics that responsible citizens react too late to bad policies and questionable activities?

William Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama were each elected to second terms when it is clear in hindsight that none was worthy of re-election.

In a recent post titled “Irresponsible Generation,”  I wrote that “this generation did not do the hard work to understand forces in the world that wanted to destroy the United States, nor to prepare to sustain that world leadership.”

We were worse off at the end of each of these second term Presidencies than we were at the end of their first terms, yet the American people seemed to yawn and moved on to more important decisions.

Well, we now face a decision in the current Presidential election between a reprise of the Clinton and Obama Presidencies and something so totally new and unexpected that none dare name it.

What is Donald Trump? And what forces within the GOP allowed Trump to gain control of the Republican Party.

“Do Nothing” Congress comes to mind, especially since 2015 when Republicans controlled both Houses of Congress. If Barack Obama was as bad as the GOP claimed, why didn’t the House and Senate immediately introduce an Impeachment resolution?

Indeed, why didn’t they do that when the GOP took control of the U.S. House of Representatives in 2010?

Clearly, John Boehner and Mitch McConnell were “insiders” who were consumed by the legislative process and ignored the educational role of Congress.

Even though they wouldn’t have succeeded in Impeaching the President in 2010, they should have begun that process when the GOP controlled the U.S. House of Representatives six years ago.

Blame may be placed firmly on Cong. John Boehner (R-OH), but surely there is blame to be placed on his successor Cong. Paul Ryan (R-WI) for not immediately understanding that Republicans were dissatisfied and would bolt the GOP for an alternative.  Ryan, too, is a Congressional “insider.”

Donald Trump is the “outsider” that Republican primary voters have chosen and that will force a total realignment of the Republican Party which can easily take three to four Presidential cycles to sort out.

Unfortunately, if there is no forceful opposition party that comes into being during that time, we may not have the luxury of politics as usual..

Why Some Religious Colleges go Bad

August 24, 2016

The “drift” of religious colleges in the United States away from sectarian education and direction has been swift. Catholic colleges, in particular, have rapidly moved to become non-sectarian. The University of Notre Dame is a particularly egregious example that has aroused concern of some Notre Dame alumni. But the descent into non-sectarian education is most visible in New York State:

Take a look at the Websites of these formerly “Catholic” colleges and ask yourself what can be done to recover their former strength as “religious” institutions.

Marist                                              Dominican College

New Rochelle                                Iona

Fordham                                         Le Moyne

Mercy College                               Manhattanville

Cazenovia                                       St. Joseph’s

College of St. Rose                      St. Thomas Aquinas

One of the reasons that Catholic colleges in New York State have “gone South” is because many are on the dole. In the 1960s, Gov. Nelson Rockefeller and McGeorge Bundy crafted legislation called “Bundy Aid.” Bundy Aid was made available to non-profit, degree granting, accredited colleges and universities in the State of New York. A provision of this legislation provided subsidies to sectarian institutions under certain conditions.

Here are the relevant passages affecting participation of religious institutions in Bundy Aid funding:

1) Institutions may have no denominational control. Boards must be self-perpetuating and a majority (51%) must be laypersons. (Laypersons appointed by a Bishop, for example, would be unacceptable).

2) Institutions may not require courses in religious doctrine or philosophy. Materials such as catalogs detailing degree requirements may be used as evidence.

Silencing Religious Freedom

August 24, 2016

Conservatives of a certain age who review the past half century can see that the United States is becoming more secular.

Secularization occurs when the religious beliefs of citizens change and when instrumentalities of the state restrict religious expression.

I conclude from my reading of the influence of Transcendentalism and Darwin’s Origins of the Species and the damaging effect of the American Civil War on the religious beliefs of Americans that a substitution of secular “civil theology” with formerly dominant Christian beliefs was occurring. That process began with the acceptance of Transcendentalism by our intellectual classes beginning in the early 1830s through 1865. a period during which the United States underwent a process of secularization.

Hillsdale College Professor of History, Richard Gamble, has argued that President Abraham Lincoln played an important role in this process.

Living in secularized American society of today affects religious expression. Left to themselves, the majority of American citizens would allow any and all expressions of traditional Jewish and Christian belief. But, the U.S. Supreme Court has contributed to secularization by interpretations of the First Amendment’s religious freedom and Establishment clauses.

Requiring a prayer in public schools of the state of New York was held to be unconstitutional in  Engel v. Vitale (1962).

“Almighty God, we acknowledge our dependence upon Thee, and we beg Thy blessings upon us, our parents, our teachers and our Country.”

That prayer, inoffensive enough on its face, was seen to be an unconstitutional act of Establishment of Religion.

A review of these issues may be found in a study published by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life.

Today, though we tend to be dispassionate and accept these secular interpretations of religious freedom as “facts,” Protestant Pastors, as seen in  a recent survey, believe that religious freedom is in decline. A perception exists among these Protestant leaders  that American culture is at war with the religions of the American people.

I call this to your attention because I have begun reading The STRIPPING of the ALTARS  by Eamon Duffy which, in Part Two, examines how William Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury, and Thomas Cromwell engaged in “stripping” England’s former “Catholic” Church of its holidays, feast days, pilgrimages and other celebrations after Henry VIII’s separation of the Church in England from the Roman Church.

Though many celebrate the good effects of the decision of Henry VIII to break away from the universal Church, the process was wrenching for those Christian believers for whom these celebrations were central to their lives.

The problem in America today is that secularization of America has made its way through American culture for more than 180 years. As a consequence, we no longer experience that secularization because steps to affirm that the United States is a secular nation state were taken long before we were born.

Recovery of that understanding is critical for sustaining the freedoms of American citizens from the intrusiveness of the American administrative state.

Obsessive Political Analysis

August 22, 2016

Johnathan Chait is an accomplished journalist, if a bit obsessive. His major obsession is found in The Big Con, a book that demonizes Supply-side Economics. Published in 2007, The Big Con comes to the Supply-side Economics table a bit late.

The first incidence of Supply-side economic policies was found during the Administration of Warren Harding who recruited Andrew Mellon to become U.S. Secretary of the Treasury. Mellon designed a policy he called “Scientific Taxation” that lowered marginal tax rates. Next came President John F. Kennedy whose first and only economic plan was announced in Kennedy’s “Address to the Economic Club of New York,” on December 14, 1962.

In 1978, the maximum capital gains tax was 40% and the inflation rate was 12-13%. Jack Kemp, Art Laffer and Jude Wanniski successfully persuaded Ronald Reagan that lowering capital gains and marginal income taxes would spur economic growth.

Johnathan Chait called that historical development and application of Supply-side Economics to public policy a “Big Con.”

Yesterday, Chait took on a new challenge, the dumping of Neoconservatives onto the ash heap of history. Here’s what he wrote in an essay titled, The Neocons Have Gone From GOP Thought-Leaders to Outcasts, New York magazine on August 21, 2016.

Johnathan Martin and the NY Times

August 21, 2016

Visit this link at The New York Times  and you will find Johnathan Martin’s recent articles.

Of Martin’s last ten articles, nine are representative of bias against the Trump campaign.

I watch “Inside Politics” on CNN on Sunday mornings. The program is hosted by a professional journalist and Chief National, Correspondent John King. The program is a good summary of the week’s political news, but my eyes have wandered and have begun to watch Johnathan Martin.

I first took notice of Martin when he was introduced as a reporter for The New York Times, which alerted me to possible bias on Martin’s part. But, then Martin’s demeanor is not TV compatible. He looks like what we call a “Know it all,” and he has a way of scowling that lets us know what’s coming.

Recently, the camera has shown Martin looking down at his cell phone, as if the conversation of his colleagues on Inside Politics are not interesting. He also dresses poorly. This morning he wore a light cream summer suit, suitable for luncheon at a good restaurant in Manhattan and a garish tie.

I think it was pink.

Which brings me to this conclusion. Johnathan Martin is what we used to call a “pinko”.

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