It took a historically unprecedented tie breaking vote from Vice-President Mike Pence, but Betsy Devos is FINALLY the Secretary of Education! She has had to endure a sadistic kabuki theater ritual of verbal abuse from Senate Democrats, two wayward Republicans, and the public education establishment. Devos’ “sin,” in the eyes of these plutocrats, is supporting the right of all children and adults to choose the form of education they wish to receive. Her critics have accused her of not being “qualified” to be Secretary of Education when what they mean is she doesn’t genuflect before the monopolist public education cognoscenti.
I have personally been the beneficiary of both public and private education. I attended a private nursery school, public elementary schools, junior high, and high school, a private evangelical Christian university for my undergraduate work, and earned masters degrees from two public universities. I have been employed as a faculty member at two different public universities in Texas and Indiana. My late father was a chemistry teacher in a public high school and a member of a teacher’s union. My mother spend most of her career as an professor at two different private Christian universities while also doing some teaching at a public school near her central Kentucky birthplace. For me educational choice, is a vital prerequisite for personal education enrichment and societal success. Anglospheric countries such as Australia and Canada have been able to integrate government financial support for religious institutions into their education policymaking frameworks without the “ominous” specter of theocracy.
In an ideal world, our public schools would meet the needs of all American students. We don’t live in an ideal world, however. Judeo-Christian morality has broken down due to repeated secularist encroachments. This has had an adverse affect on the heterosexual two parent family structure which is foundational to societal success in ALL countries. Two many public schools, particularly in large heavily Democratic cities, have become factories for failure with corrupt administrators, incompetent teachers, students from dysfunctional families who are unable or unwilling to learn, and have felt the spillover effect of violent crime from a society which excuses criminal behavior with lame rationalizations about systemic injustice and a mythical institutionalized racism.
As Secretary of Education, Betsy Devos has the opportunity to reinstate the Jude0-Christian moral foundations responsible for American economic, educational, and social success. A first step she can do is quit using the Education Department as a coercive mechanism for imposing gender neutral bathrooms. She can also rescind the infamous “Dear Colleague” letter of the Obama Administration which said colleges could effectively investigate sexual assault cases without ensuring due process for the accused and without colleges having personnel trained in proper criminal justice investigation procedures. Hopefully, Devos can also work to ensure that universities become citadels of unfettered intellectual discussion and debate by removing the carcinogenic stench of group identify politics and diversity apparatchiks which have plagued campuses since the 1960s.
The Education Department has been around for nearly four decades and it is difficult to think of anything tangible this department has done to improve American students educational performance. I share the general belief of most conservatives that education is best handled by individuals states but also believe that Americans must be able to compete on an international economic and educational playing field and am open to the possibility of a truly constructive government role in this regard which is consistent with conservative and Judeo-Christian normative standards.
Unfortunately, Senate Democrats have become completely unhinged by Devos and the reality that America’s top education policymaker does not grovel before teachers unions and public education monopolists. Of the 50 Senators who voted against Devos, 40 (80%) went to at least one private college or university for their undergraduate or graduate education. Some Senators, such as California’s Dianne Feinstein, went to a Catholic HIgh School. Private universities attended by Devos’ critics range from Lewis & Clark Law School and Gonzaga University Law School to Harvard, Yale, Notre Dame, and the University of Chicago. Ironically, the Senator attending this center of free market economics was Socialist Bernie Sanders. Indiana Democratic Senator Joe Donnelly is a Notre Dame graduate and once served on the school board of Mishawaka Marian high school which is a Catholic school near his residence of Granger in suburban South Bend. Undoubtedly, most of these Senators would send their children to private elementary and secondary schools, as well as universities, if they desired to. However, they are so puffed up with arrogance and teachers union campaign contributions, that they deem themselves worthy to be the arbiters of whether less fortunate and affluent children can choose which school they attend. Their hypocrisy has no limits!
Critics of Devos such as New Hampshire “Senator” Maggie Hassan have launched scurrilous secularist attacks against Devos’ Christian faith and because, “quelle horreur”, she has contributed money to organizations supporting traditional views of sexuality. They have also falsely claimed that she is not concerned with the education of disabled children because she failed to adroitly address the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act during her confirmation hearing. These Senate Democrats wasted 24 hours of Senate debate attempting to thwart Devos’ confirmation while also delaying the confirmation debate and votes on the nominations of the Attorney General, EPA Administrator, Secretaries of Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, and Treasury, Directors of National Intelligence and Office of Management and Budget, and other critical government policymaking positions. This procrastinating procedural delays by Senate Democrats represent the longest collective infantile crying spasm in human history.
I’m confident Devos will do a good job as Education Secretary despite the somewhat poisoned chalice she has been handed by her Senate opponents. She is a gracious woman who is more concerned with students educational welfare and growth than in pandering to the obstructive and self-serving behavior of public education monopolists who seek to ensure that students and their families remain dependent on governmental largesse. The intellectual and moral bankruptcy of her critics has been on ugly display during the sordid debate over her confirmation.
The chattering classes and apologists for illegal immigration and Islamist terrorism have been tearing themselves into an infantile fury over President Trump’s executive order temporarily restricting immigration from the following seven countries: Iran, Iraq, Somalia, Yemen, Syria, Sudan, and Libya. These countries are well documented for either sponsoring terrorism or harboring Islamist terrorist cells in their countries.
While the timing and initial implementation of this policy could have been more effectively handled, it is perfectly legal and sound policy. The following section of Title 8 Section 1182(f) of the United States Code:
F)Association with terrorist organizations
“Any alien who the Secretary of State, after consultation with the Attorney General, or the Attorney General, after consultation with the Secretary of State, determines has been associated with a terrorist organization and intends while in the United States to engage solely, principally, or incidentally in activities that could endanger the welfare, safety, or security of the United States is inadmissible.”
is one of the legal anchors for the President’s action. Other portions of this section of the U.S. Code further document the legal grounds on which the U.S. Government can exclude individuals from entrance to the U.S. including membership in a totalitarian organization like ISIS. Despite the lawsuits and infantile fury which have erupted over this policy, which is temporary in nature, until extreme vetting can be effectively implemented, it is on solid legal ground and should be upheld by any sane court.
The most basic responsibility of any sovereign government, whether it is the U.S. Government or the government of some other country, is maintaining the physical safety of its citizens and legal visitors to that country. I would ask the critics of this legislation several questions. Do you want someone believing in Sharia law to live in your community or be your next door neighbor? Have you ignored 93 instances of Islamist terrorist plots and attacks which have occurred or been uncovered in the U.S. since 9/11? Let this Heritage Foundation story and info graphic refresh your memory. While you were advocating for unrestricted illegal immigration, did you forget Islamist terrorist attacks in Ottawa, Sydney, Orlando, San Bernadino, London, Berlin, Munich, Paris (including yesterday’s knife attack at the Louvre Museum), multiple sites in Israel, the Yemen-based Houthi terrorist attack on a Saudi naval ship which may been intended for a U.S. naval ship, and numerous other locales? Does your leftist secularist worldview really have room to tolerate individuals who are opposed to your concerns about “social justice” for “marginalized” groups like women, GLBT’s, non-caucasian ethnic groups, and non Abrahamic religions?
Idealized attitudes toward the Islamic world have permeated many areas of the West including foreign ministries, academe, some sectors of international business, and some public policy research institutions. The unfortunate reality is that while there may be some Muslims who wish to build and sustain respectful relations with the West, a very significant percentage of this demographic seeks to engage in perpetual violent jihad with the West. They raise their children with a petulant victim narrative that seeks to promote and build upon the scars of perpetual hostility toward those not adhering to the Sharia worldview. Unfortunately, this perpetual victim mentality has become deeply ensconced in many sectors of the west including academe as reflected in many protests occurring on university campuses. Do we have to experience violent Islamist bloodlettings on these campuses before the wool will be pulled from the eyes of these deluded academic useful idiots. Although the violent protests at the University of California-Berkeley against Milo Yiannopolous were due to his refusal to adhere to the “politically correct”GLBT ideological line, they just have easily been instigated by Islamist thugs with visions of “heavenly virgins” in their poisoned minds and souls.
We’ve made some progress in achieving greater public understanding of the existential threat posed to our lives, values, and interests by militant Islam. Unfortunately, we still have a long way to go as the infantile protests and legal action against Trump’s purposeful policy action indicate. The power of ignorance and denial about Islamist terror retains its tenacious grip and we must pray that more terrorist assaults are not the price we will pay to remove the veil from our eyes and minds.
The first week of Donald Trump’s presidency has gotten off to a promising start. He made a succinct inaugural address promising to place America first in his administration’s policymaking objectives. Contrary to the isolationist historical connotations of this phrase which Trump’s leftist critics have harrumphed about, putting America first, or any national leadership of any country vowing to put their country first, is a common staple of governmental policymaking and political rhetoric. It does not have the ethnocentric or “racist” connotations so entrenched in the fevered imaginations of leftist group identity politics apostles.
The administration let itself get unnecessarily distracted by how many people attended the inauguration. Plenty of people attended, but the administration should attack the leftist media when it inaccurately depicts administration policy. I’m pleased with the executive orders and memorandum the administration has issued such far including restarting the Keystone and Dakota XL pipelines, limiting the scope of Obamacare, the executive branch hiring freeze which will exclude the military, and am also pleased the administration is seriously considering allowing enhanced interrogation of Islamists terrorists to occur again despite the howling of the apologists for these depraved individuals.
I disagree with the decision to pull out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership. I am a committed free trader and I don’t think that negotiating individual free trade agreements with Asia-Pacific countries will be enough to keep China from imposing coercive economic influence on these countries which could be contrary to our national economic and strategic interests. However, I am heartened that the Trump Administration is planning on negotiating bilateral trade agreements with other countries, including the United Kingdom, which will be mutually beneficial to our interests and those of allied countries we negotiate such agreements with.
It was also good to see the positive first meeting between President Trump and British Prime Minister Theresa May. Negotiating a free trade agreement with the UK should be one of our first priorities to help Britain as it pursues Brexit. As an anglophile, it is also gratifying to see the bust of Winston Churchill returned to the Oval Office from which it was shamefully banished by the anti-colonialist Barack Obama.
I’m also pleased to see we have an administration which supports the right to live of unborn children and to hear Vice-President Pence speak at the March for Life in Washington on Friday. Hopefully, this upcoming week will see more Trump cabinet secretaries confirmed by the Senate and the Democrats stopping their infantile procedural procrastination which has unnecessarily delayed these confirmations including the highly necessary confirmation of Jeff Sessions as Attorney General. Defense Secretary Mattis’ forthcoming visit to Japan and South Korea this week should also be a signal that the U.S. is serious about increasing its military commitment to the western Pacific and intends to support our allies in that region as they strive to enhance their military capabilities against Chinese attempts to dominate these waters. We also can look forward to seeing whom Trump nominates to fill Justice Scalia’s position on the Supreme Court and hope this individual will be a stalwart strict constructionist like Scalia and began the process of tilting the court into a more conservative position.
Donald Trump’s presidency has begun and the leftist waling and teeth gnashing continues unabated. Saturday a plethora of social media organized marches against Trump’s presidency occurred in Washington, DC and other locales including my community of Lafayette. Some of these protests were violent resulting in police being injured and property destroyed. These protests are reminiscent of the Great Fear which occurred in France during the summer of 1789 as a series of peasant riots occurred out of a mistaken belief that forces loyal to ousted monarch Louis XVI were seeking to regain power
A similar mindset is present in yesterday’s protests and others which may occur in forthcoming days and weeks. The power of the perpetual victim narrative in leftist group identify politics is so pervasive that the hard core social justice warriors and delusional nymphs of these protests actually believe that the Trump Administration is going to engage in wholesale repression of them. I was particularly saddened to see that some 8 year old child attending a “rally” in Lafayette was spouting the inane cliched leftist drivel his alleged parents were mouthing. These “parents” should not be surprised when this budding Stalinist denounces them for all sorts of ideological impurities when he reaches adolescence. Such drivel from these protestors includes the infantile verbal ejaculation “Love Trumps Hate” which actually means perversion triumphs over virtue. Ululating protestors engaged in their instinctive denunciations against the meaningless tropes of racism, bigotry, Islamophobia, capitalism, homophobia, hate, and other vapidities of leftist social justice warriors.
Washington, DC featured a so-called women’s march which showed its fallacious commitment to diverse viewpoints by excluding a contingent of pro-life women from its ranks. Such behavior further demonstrates the talismanic hold abortion holds over leftist women’s political worldview and how those who actually care about the rights of the unborn are not wanted in many segments of what constitutes women’s political discourse.
While it is known that Donald Trump has sometimes engaged in uncouth rhetoric toward women, it is very revealing and hypocritical that these feminist protestors did not denounce similar behavior from leftist Democratic politicians as varied as the Kennedy’s, Bill Clinton, Anthony Weiner, and Christopher Dodd who repeatedly engaged in drunken fraternity brother behavior toward women. Did these female protestors denounce members of their “sisterhood” who got drunk or high on drugs impairing themselves and making themselves vulnerable to sexually predatory behavior? Of course not! In their eyes, social justice warriors are always in the right against mythical constructs of “institutional racism,” “entrenched sexism”, and “systemic bias”.
These protests will be one of the many tests the Trump Administration will face in upcoming weeks and months. The administration must remain firm in its desire to implement necessary economic and social reforms to improve our national well-being and societal cohesion. It must not let itself get distracted by fawning leftist media coverage over these spoiled narcissistic brats who are congenitally incapable of uttering a coherent intellectual thought or presenting credible policy programs outside of infantile leftist babbling points.
The protestors are actually their own worst enemies. Destroying property and engaging in profane language is not the way to get public opinion on your side. Such protests only harden the convictions of those of us who are tired of the poisonous rhetoric and content of group identity politics which has poisoned our country in recent years. Hopefully, the Trump Adminstration will repeatedly emphasize the importance of American adhering to the national motto of “E Pluribus Unum” which means “out of many one” as the key to healing our fractured polity. We must become a nation of confident and empowered individuals seeking to reach our God-given potential instead of a bunch of petulant victimized crybabies thinking we’re entitled to everything because we may be members of a group which has experienced hostile rhetoric or action at some time. Successful nations are built and sustained on individuals with virtue instead of petulant losers.
The advent of a new presidential administration sees the incoming President nominate individuals for cabinet secretaries and other executive positions. As part of its Article 2 constitutional responsibilities, the U.S. Senate holds confirmation hearings to “advise and consent” and, in some cases, reject the President’s nominations. This process has been going on a few days and will continue for a few weeks.
The confirmation hearings on Jeff Sessions nomination to be Attorney General are a revelatory example of how group identity politics from the Democrats have poisoned and continue poisoning our political debate. Sessions is a superbly qualified individual serving as Alabama’s Senator for two decades and having extensive law experience. He is a stalwart conservative and defender of the ideal of equal justice for all regardless of their race or gender. Into this process steps New Jersey Senator Cory Booker. Many of the Democratic luminaries see Booker with the dewy eyed sentimentality Democrats saw in Barack Obama in 2008. At one time, Booker and Sessions appeared to enjoy a cordial relationship with Booker praising Sessions for his support for legislation granting an award to Civil Rights pioneer Rosa Parks.
However, the roots of group identity politics run deep in the political DNA of congressional Democrats of all races. Booker made an exceptionally lame attempt to torpedo Sessions confirmation prospects by testifying against Sessions in yesterday’s Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing. Booker, the failed former Mayor of crime-ridden Newark and an imaginary friend named T-Bone claimed that Sessions refusal to submit to the perpetual victim mentality of leftist politics (particularly on racial issues) made him unfit to be Attorney General. Booker is so intent on maintaining his constituents dependence on government that he seeks to excuse criminal behavior as being worthy of adulation instead of condemnation. He is uninterested in materially and morally improving the lives of his constituents so long as he can enjoy the material benefits of political power and leftist ideological posturing.
Booker was joined on the Judiciary Committee witness stand by two fellow partners in group identity political agitprop. New Orleans Rep. Cedric Richmond was so full of himself that he expressed displeasure that he had to wait until the second day of the hearings to express his opposition to Sessions even though Senate Judiciary Committee rules provided for an extra day for hearing witnesses to express their views. Instead, the insufferably arrogant Richmond spouted that his having to wait until the second day was the equivalent of putting him at the back of the bus. Another leftist fixture testifying against Sessions was Georgia Rep. John Lewis. Lewis was sadly beaten by white supremacist thugs during the Civil Rights era in the 1960s. He is often portrayed as a “patron saint” of civil rights when, in reality, he is a race hustling blowhard who has done nothing to improve the lives of his constituents or the quality of national life. Instead he has coasted on his image as the media created “conscience” of the civil rights movement for five decades.
The presence of leftist group identify politics also seeped into today’s Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on James Mattis’ nomination to be Secretary of Defense. Normal Senators took advantage of the opportunity to ask Mattis real questions about U.S. military forces and strategic challenges facing the U.S. Unfortunately, New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand was more concerned with preserving the social engineering policies of the Obama Administration which have weakened military readiness. Social justice warrior Gillibrand asked Mattis whether the “gains” of GLBT military members would be protected under the Trump Administration. Mattis gave her a polite answer, but he should have told her that the purpose of the military is to kill people and destroy things which threaten the security of our country and its people. The military is not intended as a tool for social experimentation or diversity promotion.
We can expect a doubling down on group identity politics by the Democrats as the Trump Administration commences. Trump and his compatriots must resist this poisonous drivel and rhetoric with all of their energy if they are to implement the reforms this country urgently needs after the toxic debacle of the Obama Administration.
A variety of useful government information resources brought enlightenment, insight, and, in one particularly egregious case yesterday hideousness. A very desirable feature of the incoming Trump Administration will be the presence of Secretary of Defense designate James Mattis. He has been described as the warrior monk and is also a keen scholar of military history and strategy. Insight into Mattis’ thinking on military matters is provide by Michael Valenti’s The Mattis Way of War: An Examination of Operational Art in Task Force 58 and 1st Marine Division published by Fort Leavenworth’s Army Press. Various U.S. armed services branches also publish a variety of scholarly journals which I read on a regular basis and commend to readers interested in military affairs. These journals produce variegated perspectives on military and international affairs issues and include:
Air and Space Power Journal
Strategic Studies Quarterly (Both of these journals are produced by the Air Force’s Air University Press.
Naval War College Review
Parameters (produced by the U.S. Army War College)
The NSC Staff: New Choices for a New Administration by R.D. Hooker is a recently published work from National Defense University Press providing insights to policy issues confronting incoming NSC Director Mike Flynn and his staff. I also recommend hearings, reports, and studies prepared by the U.S. China Economic and Security Review Commission. Special kudos to the Benghazi Committee report produced by Rep. Trey Gowdy’s Select Committee for comprehensively documenting this catastrophic Obama Administration fiasco and coverup.
Sadly, governments often produce rhetoric and documents so appalling that they must be noted. Yesterday’s anal droppings by Beacon Hill Bumpkin John Kerry on Israeli settlement policy and his hallucinogenic belief in a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinean solution symbolize the Obama Administration’s failed and disgraceful foreign and national security policies and the cataclysmic results of “leading from behind”. I found particular mirth in Sebastian Gorka’s comment on Fox and Friends this morning that Kerry probably doesn’t know the day of the week.
Turning to more edifying government information resources, this year saw the British electorate throw off the shackles of the European Union. The UK is now in the complicated process of extricating itself from burdensome Brussels and the House of Commons Library has prepared a series of ongoing reports on the multifaceted implications of Brexit. I also recommend reading Air Power Review produced three times a year by the Royal Air Force’s Centre for Air Power Studies and works by the Ministry of Defence’s Development, Doctrine, and Concepts Centre for insightful geopolitical and strategic forecasting.
Traveling to the antipodes, this year saw Australia’s Government produce some interesting resources. The 2016 Defence White Paper and accompanying volumes on finance and Australian defense industry capabilities detailed Australia’s military and strategic priorities going into the future. You can read my analysis of this work and its historical predecessors here. Australian military forces also produce the following useful journals Australian Army Journal and Australian Defence Force Journal.
The advent of a new U.S. administration brings with it the hope that the quality of governmental policy thought and analysis will improve significantly as the Obama-Clinton cabal sinks down the Stygian sewer it came from.
This year featured a number of worthwhile books produced by non-governmental publishers. Continuing my past year end tradition of recommending books I found illuminating and inspirational, I now present a list of works I found helpful during this past presidential election year. Numerous works of varying perspectives and quality document contemporary and historical presidential elections. I particularly enjoyed Donald Ratcliffe’s account of the 1824 election whose aftermath has some unique similarities to this year’s election and Karl Rove’s account of William McKinley’s 1896 election victory.
Gaining enhanced understanding of intelligence operations from U.S. and Australian perspectives also enriched this past year’s reading. The third volume of the authorized history of the Australian Security and Intelligence Organization (ASIO) The Secret Cold War covering this agency’s operations from 1975-1989 by John Blaxland and Rhys Crawley shows how Canberra’s internal security agency had to confront a variety of challenges and opportunities. David Priess’ The President’s Book of Secrets : The Untold Story of Intelligence Briefings to America’s Presidents from Kennedy to Obama documents how these Presidents used the CIA’s President’s Daily Brief and the interactions they had with various CIA Directors and analysts preparing this document. It will be interesting to see how incoming President-elect Trump uses this resource and interacts with intelligence community personnel. Former CIA and NSA Director Mike Hayden’s Playing to the Edge: American Intelligence in the Age of Terror describes the often complex and tense relationship between policymakers and intelligence community professionals over how far to go in interrogating terrorist suspects.
Besides the aforementioned work on ASIO, my interest in Australian history and politics was stimulated by reading various volumes of Oxford University Press’ The Centenary History of Australia and the Great War including The War at Home by John Connor, Peter Stanley, and Peter Yule and the second volume of eminent Australian historian Geoffrey Blainey’s The Story of Australia’s People: The Rise and Rise of a New Australia.
Insights were derived from Sebastian Gorka’s Defeating Jihad: The Winnable War which contains excellent analysis of fighting Islamist terror and should be readily consulted by the Trump Administration, Robert G. Kaufman’s Dangerous Doctrine: How Obama’s Grand Strategy Weakened America, (take a look at John Kerry’s pathetic speech today on the U.S. abstention from a horrendously anti-Israeli UN Security Council resolution for further documentation), John Bew’s Castlereagh: A Life which is an exhaustive biography of the tragic early 19th century British Foreign Secretary, this same writer’s Realpolitik: A History, and the titanic Empire & Revolution: The Political Life of Edmund Burke detailing the immense political career and intellectual accomplishments of a great 18th century British parliamentarian.
We can be grateful that the long dark night of Barack Obama’s presidency is coming to an end and that America has been given a chance to restore its values, fiscal prosperity and solvency, and international credibility and security in the unlikely personage of Donald Trump. It is said that God works in mysterious ways and this year’s election is an example of that. It behooves us as conservatives to work diligently to impart our vision of society and the world to all we interact with. May our reading help positively influence our roles in society as exemplars of salt and light in a world still besotted with multiple forms of darkness.