Thanks Ronald Reagan for the Speeches and the Laughs, but Mostly for Your Wisdom and Your Example

RONALD REAGAN - black and white

by Diane Rufino, August 24, 2018

I’d like to take a trip down memory lane, back to the time when Ronald Reagan was president, when most Americans admired our leader, trusted him, and felt comforted and safe knowing he was in charge. He had class and a certain gentility, yet also having a backbone to stand up for our country’s values and to stand firm on his moral convictions.

Ronald Reagan should be a role model for all Americans. He was civil and polite and even if he disagreed with you, you felt that it could never shake the bonds of friendship or make him have any less respect for you. For him, government served a purpose and that purpose was clear and limited. To view it any other way was to sacrifice individual liberty and to diminish its security.  He believed our country was founded on individual liberty to secure individual liberty.  Yet he was fully aware that government belongs and serves all citizens and it is their voice, at the ballot box, that sets its course.

In looking at Reagan’s entertainment and then his public service career, we see that he refused to be defined by a particular political party, looking instead to see which party supported the best policies, which party best served the American people and furthered the safety and security of the country. As most people know, he started off as a Democrat but later switched to the Republican Party.

In 1986, speaking at a fundraiser for Illinois Governor James Thompson (running for the US Congress), Reagan recounted a conversation he had in the White House with a man, Jim O’Grady, who went through a similar political transition, or transformation. He said:

“When he was at the White House, Jim said to me, ‘The great Democratic Party of my father’s and grandfather’s time just doesn’t exist anymore. Mr. President, I didn’t leave the Democratic Party, the Democratic Party left me. That’s why I switched parties.’ And I said, ‘Jim, join the crowd.’”

He went on to share the experience of the great Winston Churchill:

“I know how tough it can be to change parties. I was working for Republican candidates for some time before I changed my registration. But for anyone who’s concerned about, and thinking about doing, that, I think Winston Churchill—when he changed parties, was a member of Parliament in England. And he answered a question as to why. He said, ‘Some men change principle for party, and some change party for principle.’”

There was a time when the Democratic Party still stood for solid principles and policies.

Being an actor and president of the Screen Actor’s Guild, it would have been very unusual for Ronald Reagan not to be a Democrat. As we all know, Hollywood has been historically Democratic. Most likely, he used his political affiliation only to enhance his own interests, and the Democrat Party was more suited to his own personal advancements in the Hollywood business industry.

Once Ronald Reagan became more successful as a businessman than he actually was as an entertainer and became more involved in politics, it seems he realized that while the Democrat Party was good to address the plight and situation of certain groups of individuals, it was not looking out for the best interest of the country or American citizens as a whole. He realized, despite the policies of the Democratic Party to “take care of people,” at their core, the policies did more harm than good – for both those they intended to help, for taxpayers, and for the rest of Americans. For all the spending that Democrats did on entitlement programs, there was little good to show for it; in fact, the policies did little to actually further individual success, dignity, or advancement, and rather created a problem of dependency, inferiority, and victimhood. As Reagan would point out, entitlement policies were fraught with fraud, abuse, and dependency and they (more than anything else) were enabling government to become larger and larger, something he had always viewed with great skepticism. He found it inconsistent that a country that calls itself free could allow the federal government to have increasing control and influence on citizens’ everyday lives.

Ronald Reagan became a Republican.

Reagan officially switched political parties in 1962, although some say that he wanted to do so even as far back as 1952, when he threw his support for Dwight D. Eisenhower and his running-mate, Richard Nixon.

In fact, in 1964, being asked to speak on behalf of presidential candidate Senator Barry Goldwater, Reagan delivered one of the most significant and famous speeches of all time – “A Time For Choosing.” In that speech he alluded to the choice Americans would have to make in the 1968 election — a choice for big government and less freedom or limited government and more freedom (“This is the issue of this election: whether we believe in our capacity for self-government or whether we abandon the American revolution and confess that a little intellectual elite in a far-distant capitol can plan our lives for us better than we can plan them ourselves.”)

With that speech, California Republicans took notice. They were impressed with his political views and his undeniable charisma. And so they nominated him as the Republican party candidate for Governor in 1966.

The rest is history. And to a great many Americans, he is sorely missed.

Like it or not, agree or disagree, President Trump is a lot like Reagan. Like Ronald Reagan, Donald Trump started off as a Democrat. That makes sense…. he’s a New Yorker. And like Reagan, Trump became more civic-minded once he achieved personal wealth… once he came to understand all the intricacies of how businesses are affected by government policies; how wealth is created.

Both men gravitated to party that allows American citizens to have greater opportunities to control their own destinies rather than be made to be dependent on government agencies.

But most of all, both men heeded the call of the time, to rally a people to change a disastrous course that its government was on.  In fact, the situation presented to both men is incredibly similar. One just needs to continue reading Reagan’s remarks at that 1986 fundraiser event to note the similarities:

“As you may know, I went to Eureka College. That’s a little bit to the south and west of here. And I’ll never forget graduation day, when the president of the school handed me my diploma. He asked me a question that really stuck in my mind. He asked, ‘Are you better off today than you were 4 years ago?’ Well, I’ve posed that question myself a few times since.

There was a time, and not so long ago, back in 1980, when the American people had to answer that question with a big, resounding ‘NO!’ The complete mismanagement of the party then in power had made an invalid of the once powerful giant of the American economy. After years of neglect, our proud military had fallen into disrepair and the mighty United States had become a whipping boy for penny-ante dictators and fanatics. A chorus of doom and gloom rose up from our opponents saying our best days were behind us and ringing down the curtain on America.

But you can be sure the American people never lost faith in our country. They knew that America’s best days were ahead of her, that the future was bright. And all they had to do was to clear out those people in Washington who were making such a mess of things. As usual, the American people were right. We came in and cut taxes, squashed inflation, unburdened the economy of needless regulations, heralding one of the longest peacetime expansions in history. Today there are actually 30,000 pages less in the Federal regulations than there were those few years ago. We built up our military, and around the world we spoke out loudly and clearly for freedom.

Today America is once again strong and united. Our economy is a powerhouse of economic growth and job creation, and we’ve regained our rightful place as leader of the free world. Now, there’s one change that makes me particularly proud: We have restored pride in the uniform of the military of the United States of America. Today’s recruits—and they’re all volunteers-are the most educated and some of the most highly motivated—simply the finest young men and women who have ever served their country. Indeed, we have a higher percentage of high school graduates in the military than we have ever had in our entire history, even with our wartime drafts. If we ever have to send them in harm’s way, I’m going to make sure they have the very best possible equipment that America can produce.

But it’s important to remember those dark days 5 ½ years ago, because the tax-and-spend crew is still lurking in the shadows, just waiting for a second chance. The liberal leadership of the Democratic Party hasn’t changed; they’re as addicted as ever to big government, high taxes, and inflation. They’re just itching to repeal our tax cuts, to replace our opportunity society with a welfare state. And their foreign policy is still the same: slash defense and, when in doubt, always ‘blame America first.’ The Democratic leadership would chart the most dangerous course for a nation since the Egyptians tried a shortcut through the Red Sea. You have to think about that one for a minute. We can’t let America be paralyzed by a hostile Congress. We have too much yet to accomplish…

I’ve come here today to tell you that this election in 1986 will be a crucial moment of decision for our country. Will liberal policies return us to the days of malaise?  Or will America continue down the road to progress? The answer to that question depends on one thing: [the people you elect]…..

I don’t have to tell you how important it is to have —– supporting our efforts to slim down the Federal bureaucracy and bring government back where it belongs: closer to the people. There are many people in Washington who have forgotten—or who want to forget this nation is a federation of sovereign States, and that is our basic strength……”

[Reference:   http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=37732 ]

Ronald Reagan brought us so much laughter and so much wisdom. He saw the defining issue of the day, laid it out crystal clear to the people of the United States, and put the country’s destiny in their hands. And as Reagan commented above: “The American people never lost faith in our country. They knew that America’s best days were ahead of her, that the future was bright. And all they had to do was to clear out those people in Washington who were making such a mess of things.”

And Donald Trump did the very same thing. Drain the Swamp. Make America Great Again.  The American people knew that it was DC getting in the way of the country’s greatness and the ability of people to get ahead.

I hope when people step into the ballot box in November, they remember Ronald Reagan and they realize the hope of the country lies within them, in their ability to appreciate what America needs to continues to be her greatest self and their willingness to make the right choices.  I hope they think back to Ronald Reagan and his path to finding his political identity, and especially to the criteria he used in finding that identity.

Conservatives, we may not have the mainstream media on our side, and we may not have those with the loudest platforms on our side, and we may not have the courts on our side, but if we want to do the right thing for our country, we need to use the one thing we do have…..  the ballot box.

As usual, the American people were right. We came in and cut taxes, squashed inflation, unburdened I hope everyone asks the right questions when they step into the ballot box

 

References:

Remarks given by President Ronald Reagan at a Fundraiser for Gov. James R. Thompson, Jr., in Rosemont, Illinois (April 12, 1986)  –   http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=37732

Video: Ronald Reagan’s Humor over the Years — https://www.facebook.com/diane.rufino.7/videos/10215249902793014/

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Sorry Dinesh D’Souza: Your Comparison of Trump to Abraham Lincoln Evidences a Gross Misunderstanding of American History

DINESH D'SOUZA - Death of a Nation (Saving America a Second Time)

by Diane Rufino, June 15, 2018

Dinesh D’Souza’s latest movie is an excellent example of the kind of hogwash that writers and historians can put out there when there is a gross misunderstanding of our country’s history and its leaders.

The bottom line is this:  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS has no place in a society that values intelligence and truth.  WE’VE GOT TO PUT POLICIAL CORRECTNESS AND GOVERNMENT INTEREST ASIDE and  TEACH OUR HISTORY ACCURATELY.

Dinesh D’Souza has a new movie out in theatres. I just learned about this. The movie is titled DEATH OF A NATION (Can We Save America a Second Time). In its advertising, Dinesh uses the movie to make the comparison between Lincoln and Trump – both men elected to be president yet in both cases, the Democrats refused to accept the outcome.

Dinesh explains. “Not that they’re the same people, but that they’ve fallen into the same situation. Not since 1865 have Democrats so dramatically refused to accept the outcome of a presidential election. … The left has been playing these cards against conservatives for a decade. We explore if the fascist-racist tail should be pinned on the Republican elephant or the Democrat donkey.”

OK, first of all, I understand Dinesh’s need to make comparisons between Republicans and Democrats, and to use history to make his point, but in this case, the connection or comparison is a bit flimsy. The country is a far different place than it was when Abraham Lincoln ran. The country was divided along geographical lines – North vs. South.  It was economic pure and simple. In 2016, the divide is along ideological lines – Democrats v. Republicans. Neither party is the same party it was when Lincoln ran. NOT EVEN CLOSE. I can go into detail, and maybe I will at some later time, but the Republican Party was an evil and despicable party. There was nothing redeemable about it, although revisionist history paints them with a noble and compassionate brush.

I also understand the obsession Dinesh has (and I’m happy for his obsession for truth) to explore the roots of America’s racism and its claims of fascism. The left has been playing these cards against conservatives for a decade – maybe more. Anyone who thinks differently from a Democrat or a liberal/progressive is, of course, a racist. Not that anyone even knows what that term means anymore; most obviously it’s the left that doesn’t have a clue. It’s merely a term used to shut down intelligent conversation and to promote perpetual victimhood. And ANTIFA, a violent leftist movement much like the KKK, is a movement that accuses the right of supporting fascism. In his movie, Dinesh makes the case (strongly, as he has done in his prior works) that it has been the Democrats who are responsible for our racist history and who are, in fact, fascists.

The movie, first and foremost, is predicated on the comparison between Lincoln and Trump.

It’s hard to make an analogy between the two figures when both the country is so fundamentally different and when the political parties are so fundamentally different.

But that’s not my big issue with Dinesh’s movie DEATH OF A NATION. The racism and the fascism component is not my issue either.

Judging by its advertising and its poster, Dinesh believes that Abraham Lincoln saved the nation back in 1860.  As Dinesh wrote on Twitter: “Lincoln united his party and saved America from the Democrats for the first time” in the early 1860’s.” He then suggested that this is what Trump’s biggest challenge is and what he must do to “save the nation.”

Lincoln saved America from the Democrats??  Is Dinesh serious??  He writes this as if it were a good thing?  He says this and articulates this point in his movie as if it were a good thing? The Democrats, back then, were the party of the US Constitution and the Declaration of Independence; they were the party of limited government and the party of the inherent “right of the People to alter or to abolish it [government], and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”  The Republicans, on the other hand, were the party of big government, the party of an ambitious government, and the party violently opposed to the right of self-determination. They were the party that believed that despite the Declaration’s assurance that in America, government is always temporary, always tasked primarily to secure the rights of the individual and always subject to happiness and satisfaction of the people, government in fact, has the primary objective to seek its own power and its own security and permanence, even when the people reject it and seek to abolish or alter it.

So, it was a good thing, Dinesh, that Lincoln and the Republicans “saved” the nation from the Democrats?

History is history. It should be taught and studied for what it was and what it is. It should be examined and studied for what it teaches all of us about the particular time period and about the people, the norms, and the views and politics of that era. It should NOT be taught or studied to suit current thought, and it should never be taught to conform to current norms, to a current agenda, or to a progressive agenda.

I am terribly disappointed in Dinesh in characterizing Lincoln as a great American leader and using him as a role model. I’ve read many of his books and I’ve usually been impressed with the research he’s done to support his views, but in this case, he has failed to do his due diligence on Lincoln, on the Civil War, and on our nation’s early history. The Civil War was the single most grievous decision by any US President. The Republican Party was an evil party formed for the sole purpose of destroying the South and subjugating its people through a highly confiscatory tariff scheme. It was not the party formed to abolish slavery. (that decision was merely a war measure, designed to encourage massive slave revolts against the women and children in the South and to discourage Britain and France from entering the war on the side of the Confederacy). The Democrats, on the other hand, merely wanted the federal government to respect the interests of all areas of the country equally, according to the Constitution. [Note, Congressmen from the North (Republicans, in both House and Senate; 7 Southern States had already seceded) passed the original 13th Amendment which would have cemented slavery in the United States; it would have completely prohibited the government from any attempts to abolish it]. If slavery is what the Democrats really wanted, the Southern States would have accepted that amendment and rejoined the Union, but they didn’t. They didn’t even consider the amendment.

This is what I wrote in response to Dinesh on Instagram: “Lincoln didn’t save the nation; he destroyed it. He re-made it, but on the most un-American and anti-revolutionary terms (reference to the principles the colonies fought for in the American Revolution). All the problems we have in the country right now can be traced to the government system that resulted from Lincoln’s purely political decision to instigate the war, his willing rejection of our founding principles, and his absolute incorrect re-characterization of our federal union and our Constitution. Thanks to Lincoln, there are no more effective checks on the power and ambition of the federal government. The government of our Founding Fathers is dead. To say Lincoln saved the Union (“saved America”) by fighting the Civil War is like saying a man saves his marriage by beating his wife. Submission by violence is NOT freedom.”

I have no problem bashing and criticizing the current Democratic Party. They voted to take God out of their platform 3 times at their Convention in 2016, they are violent, they are rude and offensive, they are hypocritical, they are un-American in their views, they work incessantly to undermine our country and are now vocal in their hopes that our country fails (just to be able to blame Republicans), and they are highly antagonistic to our essential freedoms. BUT, I am ever so disappointed in Dinesh D’Souza for enlisting Lincoln in any attempt to elevate the modern-day Republican Party.

 

- 2018 (BEST BEST, gray shirt)

Robert DeNiro at the Tony Awards: Another Member of the So-Called Entertainment Industry Goes Full Retard

ROBERT DeNIRO - Tony Awards (WT News)

(WT News photo)

by Diane Rufino, June 11, 2018

At the Tony Awards last night, Robert DeNiro delighted the audience with these words: “I’m gonna say one thing: F— Trump!” As he spoke, he clenched his two fists in the air, with great dramatic flair, probably hoping to be considered for another award.

What we have here is another liberal member of the so-called entertainment industry who has gone full retard. In the movie Tropic Thunder, Robert Downey Jr warned his fellow actors: “Everybody knows you never go full retard.” Apparently, DeNiro wasn’t paying attention.

Downey’s entire line went like this: “Everybody knows you never go full retard. Check it out. Dustin Hoffman, ‘Rain Man,’ look retarded, act retarded, not retarded. Counted toothpicks, cheated cards. Autistic, sho’. Not retarded. You know Tom Hanks, ‘Forrest Gump.’ Slow, yes. Retarded, maybe. Braces on his legs. But he charmed the pants off Nixon and won a ping-pong competition. That ain’t retarded. Peter Sellers, “Being There.” Infantile, yes. Retarded, no. Never go full retard. You don’t buy that? Ask Sean Penn, 2001, I AM SAM. Remember? He went full retard, went home empty handed…”

DeNiro went full retard. Up until last night, he had been acting essentially like an over-inflated, entitled, whining liberal crybaby. But on that stage last night, tasked with introducing fellow libtard Brice Springsteen, he went full retard.

In the court of public opinion, which is the realm where intelligent people exist, the empty-headed go home empty-handed.

In other words, good luck finding fans who give a damn about you or your movies anymore.

It’s true what they say about Trump Derangement Syndrome (TDS)….. Those afflicted simply can’t get Trump out of their heads. The fact that he is president is enough to ruin every minute of their day and to cause them to turn every event and every conversation into an opportunity to insult him or to wish for his failure or his death.

Robert DeNiro, like Meryl Streep and Samantha Bee and Kathy Griffin and Bill Maher and Joy Behar, has gone bye-bye. He has left the building. He’s checked out of the world of sane people.

Let me put it another way……..

De-Niro is de-ranged! The Taxi Driver has driven off the planet. The Raging Bull is full of rage and bull.

How Quickly Trump’s Tax Return Story Has Disappeared

Trump - where are your tax returns

by Diane Rufino, April 23, 2017

During the September 26, 2016 presidential debate, candidate Hillary Clinton hinted that her opponent, Donald Trump, was hiding something by not releasing his taxes. Who can forget her attack: “You’ve gotta ask yourself, why won’t he release his tax returns? And I think there may be a couple of reasons. First, maybe he’s not as rich as he says he is. Second, maybe he’s not as charitable as he claims to be. Third, we don’t know all of his business dealings, but we have been told, through investigative reporting that, he owes about $650 million to Wall Street and foreign banks. Or maybe he doesn’t want the American people, all of you watching tonight, to know that he’s paid nothing in federal taxes. Because the only years that anybody has ever seen, were a couple of years where he had to turn them over to state authorities when he was trying to get a casino license. And they showed he didn’t pay any federal income tax.”  Most of us shook our heads at the audacity of the likes of Hillary Clinton, a serial liar, cheat, intimidation expert, and lawbreaker, and known roundly for her lack of ethics, morals, and decency (particularly in a so-called charitable organization, the Clinton Foundation, which turned out to be a sham or front for her own campaign financing)

When Trump’s 2005 tax returns were inappropriately leaked (the smear campaign against Donald Trump already in full swing), Rachel Maddow, and MSNBC, couldn’t wait to treat their rabid progressive audience to what they were sure was evidence of a tax-evader. And so, on air, Maddow, filled with the kind of exuberance that only liberals and progressives are capable of – in anticipation of destroying the reputation of a hardworking, patriotic, conservative family man, exposed Trump’s tax results.

The only thing….  Trump’s tax returns weren’t at all what she, or the left, were expecting. Not only did Trump not escape paying taxes, but he paid a higher rate than the likes of Bernie Sanders and Barack Obama. The Obamas paid an effective tax rate of only 18.7% in 2015. Bernie Sanders paid a federal tax rate of only 13.5% in 2014. Ironically, Comcast, the parent of MSNBC, paid a tax rate of only 24% from 2008 through 2012, less than Trump’s 2005 effective rate of roughly 25.3%. Trump paid $38 million in taxes on an income of $150 million.

Back in 1995, Trump had serious financial issues. We know this because of another “inappropriate” leak of Trump’s tax returns. In fact, by the early 1990’s, Trump was hemorrhaging money and was on the hook for hundreds of millions of dollars. He was heading toward personal bankruptcy as a result of a series of misguided investments and mismanagement of his company in the late 1980’s which ended up forcing him to borrow money from his family. Trump suffered a staggering loss of $916 million in 1995 – enough to allow him to take advantage of a tax law which would permit him to avoid paying income taxes for 18 years.

Perhaps Hillary Clinton and her campaign strategists took a gamble on this information, using it to make the bold accusation that Trump wasn’t releasing his tax returns because he wasn’t in fact, paying taxes. This, of course, begs the follow-up: She must have been given this information in advance; someone must have leaked information to her and the campaign prior to its release through the news that Trump suffered such devastating losses that surely he was exempt from paying federal income tax. Was that Hillary’s “October surprise”?

Trump’s tax information was leaked to the New York Times; it was received by an “anonymous” package in the mail. It then made it to Maddow and to all other news outlets. Those who gleefully exposed it, hoping it would embarrass and harm Trump’s legitimacy for the presidency, suffered ridicule and embarrassment themselves. We enjoyed watching them with egg on their faces.

TRUMP - tax returns (Rachel Maddow meme - fake news)

Indeed, Trump’s near-billion-dollar loss in 1995 might have been the single biggest net operating loss in the country that year, amounting to almost 2 percent of the total “net operating losses” reported by all American taxpayers who used the same tax provision as Trump.

Sure, Donald Trump did not pay federal income tax in 1995, and perhaps even a few years after that. But as the leaked 2005 tax return shows, he chose NOT to take advantage of a tax law that Congress itself put into the IRS code to enjoy relief from taxes for nearly two decades.

That speaks to the man that is Donald Trump.

Trump may not be as good a businessman as he claims nor as rich, but he is clearly an honest-enough taxpayer and loyal American who believes that if he has made money in this country, he is obligated to pay taxes and not shift the burden to the middle class to pay the taxes he should. He doesn’t have the intuition of a Hillary Clinton to break and skirt the law, nor the audacity of a Bernie Sanders, who paid minimal while being quite rich.

This story goes to show one thing —  Liberals and Democrats are so happy to go after conservatives and Republicans for character assassination. All too often, as in this case, we find the charges to be baseless or trumped up (couldn’t resist!) and in the end, we find that, by comparison, liberals and Democrats are guilty of far worse and have gotten away with it.

Maybe the American people will begin to take accusations by the left a little less seriously, maybe they will begin to note the glaring hypocrisy, and maybe – just maybe – they will give President Donald Trump a chance to help the American people, as a whole, and to Make America Great Again !!

 

References:
Daniel John Sobieski, “Rogue IRS Felons Vindicate Trump,” American Thinker, March 16, 2917.  Referenced at:  http://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2017/03/rogue_irs_felons_vindicate_trump.html

Abigail Tracy, “Trump’s Financial Troubles in the Early 1990’s Were Even Worse Than Anyone Thought,” Vanity Fair, October 4, 2016.  Referenced at:  http://www.vanityfair.com/news/2016/10/donald-trump-financial-troubles-taxes-1990s

David Barstow, Russ Bruettner, Susanne Craig, and Megan Twohey, “Donald Trump Tax Records Show He Could Have Avoided Taxes for Nearly Two Decades,” The New York Times, November 2, 2016.  Referenced at:  https://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/02/us/politics/donald-trump-taxes.html

Adam Liptak, “Is It Illegal to Publish a President’s Tax Returns,” The New York Times, March 15, 2017.  Referenced at:  https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/15/us/politics/trump-tax-returns-legal-precedent.html

Give Trump a Chance

- at school (Feb. 28, 2017)

By Diane Rufino, March 18, 2017

I’m tired of the insane talking points and reactions to everything President Trump is doing. I’m tired of the messages and texts from people who accuse me of being some horrible person for supporting the election of Trump and his policies of tax reform, healthcare reform, trade deal reform, job creation, immigration enforcement and increased homeland security. Everyone who voted for Trump saw the necessity for these policies. And guess what, most of America (through the electoral system) agreed with him and rejected the decaying policies of the Democratic party and it spokesperson, the deeply-flawed Hillary Clinton. It indeed was a revolution of sorts, accomplished by a momentous turn-out at the ballot box and a major shift in ideology by a good chunk of the American people. Government wasn’t working for them.

The dishonest news better get on board and start paying allegiance to the ones it was granted first amendment protection in the first place – the American people….. not a political party and not the federal government. They need to start reporting objectively and accurately and start recognizing the legitimate concerns of the people and not the goals of the Democratic Party or the progressive movement. Otherwise, let them organize as a PAC. Progressive judges need to read the Constitution, understand it, and stop trying to be a branch of government that they are not. People need to show respect for the results of 2016 election because that was the voice of their fellow citizens. The election was extremely significant in what it stood for. All anyone needs to do is to take a look at a breakdown of the election county-by-county across the 50 states. Again, it was a grassroots revolution…. a unified message that government is corrupt, bloated, antagonistic to the interests of business and taxpayers alike, unfit to protect the American people and manage who comes across our borders, and incapable of putting the interests of American citizens before the interests of other groups.

Give President Trump a chance. Sit back and enjoy the increase in jobs. People who have jobs can support themselves and their families and can live productive lives with dignity and self-respect. Sit back and enjoy the lower taxes you’ll have to pay (if you are, in fact, one of the ones who pay). Sit back and watch how greater homeland security will make you feel safer. Sit back and watch how a common-sense immigration policy will reduce the burden on our social services, provide jobs for citizens, and reduce the violence in our communities. Sit back and enjoy the lower healthcare insurance premiums that you will have to pay. Sit back and enjoy decreased federal regulations that used to strangle small businesses, burden agriculture, increase costs of energy, lower the efficiency of public education, and lessen the personal use and enjoyment of our real property. Give him a chance. Maybe you’ll see that, in fact, the good and decent people of the United States got it right and that the people’s revolution was a good thing after all.

Let’s not forget the words of President John F. Kennedy: “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.”

TRUMP - thumbs up

What Our Founding Generation Would Have Said About Obamacare

tea-party-you-mean-we-can-tax-them-for-not-buying-tea       by Diane Rufino, February 25, 2017

Although we are on the verge of having President Obama’s signature piece of legislation, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (aka, “Obamacare”) repealed and replaced, I am writing this piece to remind folks of the loss of freedom we suffered at the hands of President Obama and his administration with the unconstitutional and universal healthcare scheme he misrepresented and then forced on the American people.

The assault on the precious liberties of the American people were realized by only a handful (and certainly not the liberal members of the Supreme Court) and to half of these, it didn’t matter. When I talk about those who could care less, I am referring to the Republican members of Congress, who for years seemed unable to craft legislation or summon a vote.

Certainly, the caliber of an “American” has changed. We should all shutter for the future of our republic and for the security of the liberties our forefathers fought a revolution for. The debacle known as Obamacare has shown that they are never secure in the face of a hostile president who uses a “phone and a pen” and secret meetings to pressure legislation that that are violative of them.

Yes, it would be wonderful for everyone to have healthcare insurance to help them with their healthcare costs. It would be great if insurance didn’t make it cost prohibitive for those with pre-existing conditions. It would be great if times were like they were many years ago when everyone went to school, took their education seriously, got a job, and took care of themselves and their families. But jobs are scarce and people willing to invest in themselves and look for a job are even scarcer. It would be great if people took stock of their health and avoided tobacco, drugs, and fattening foods so that they are not obese and prone to diabetes and heart disease and therefore put an enormous strain on our healthcare system, but they don’t.

Yes, there are poor people out there. Some are poor because of a legitimate situation but most are poor because of a mindset and lifestyle choice. Some complain about being poor but don’t want a job; they merely want to be made more comfortable in poverty, which the Democratic Party is all-too-happy to do. Dependents make the most loyal voters. Why would anyone want to set an alarm to get up early every morning, worry about shuffling their kids to daycare, deal with traffic on the roads, put up with bullshit at work, put up with a horrible boss, have to show up even when they don’t feel well, strive to earn a decent performance evaluation just to hopefully be able to take home the same amount of money the following year, stress out about whether he or she has job security, balance work with other parenting obligations (such as when children get sick), and deal with limited days off when they could stay home, sleep late, get a welfare check from the government, have their apartments paid for, heating and air-conditioning paid for, food paid for, daycare covered (even though they aren’t working), a free cell phone, and free healthcare. Why do they need to work? Why would they even want to work?

American used to produce things. Americans used to be productive citizens. They were ambitious, resourceful, proud. Our government programs are creating the human waste and decay that is beginning to define America and destroy our cities, our schools, and our ability to live contently amongst each other. How can one group of Americans, who work hard, raise their families responsibly, pay their taxes and then find out that those exceedingly high taxes are going to pay for others and their families, have any respect for the latter? They don’t. They don’t look at them as equals.

But there is a constitutional way to solve problems and there is an unconstitutional way to solve them. And that’s why it is so important to vet presidential candidates for their constitutional character and not make choices based on skin color or social justice.

And so, a lesson taught so well that it inspired a revolution has been lost on today’s generation of Americans. And that lesson was to never yield individual liberties to the designs of government, even if those designs are well-intentioned. Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis once wrote: “Experience should teach us to be most on our guard to protect liberty when the government’s purposes are beneficient… The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding.”

The lesson of the Boston Tea Party, an act of civil disobedience and protest that inspired today’s Sons of Liberty movement (the Tea Party), is an important and timeless lesson.

On the night of December 16,1773, members of the Sons of Liberty dressed as Indians, boarded three ships in the Boston harbor, and tossed 342 chests of tea overboard. They did this to protest the Tea Act. The Tea Act was actually not so bad in its provisions – it provided a high-quality tea, at lower costs than the colonists had been used to, and at a lower tax than what they had been previously used to. So why were the colonists so upset?

The Tea Act of 1773 was a follow-up to the Revenue Act, which was one of the laws in the hugely unpopular Townshend Acts. The Townshend Acts set new import duties (taxes) on British goods including paint, paper, lead, glass and tea. Due to protests from British merchants, whose trade was seriously effected by the American colonists refusing to buy the goods, Parliament ultimately repealed all of the duties (taxes) – except the tax on tea.

The principal objective of the Tea Act was to reduce the massive amount of tea held by the financially-troubled British East India Company in its London warehouses and to help the struggling company survive and to do so, it created a monopoly on the sale of tea to the colonies to the East India Company. It allowed the East India company to sell its large tea surplus below the prices charged by colonial competitors and thus under-cut and threatened local tea merchants. It was able to sell its tea at lower prices because the Act granted the Company the right to ship its tea directly to North America from its China warehouses (without first stopping at Britain to pay export duties). However, as mentioned earlier, the tea imposed on the colonies was still subject to the tea tax under the Revenue Act.

Specifically, the Tea Act provided:

1. Tea could be shipped in East India Company ships directly from China to the American colonies, thus avoiding the tax on goods first due England, as required by previous legislation.

2. A duty (tax) of 3 pence per pound was to be collected on tea delivered to America. [The previous duty (tax) was 12 pence (1 shilling) per pound, which was paid on tax which had been sent from Britain, so colonists would be paying LESS in tea tax with this Act. Also, interestingly, they would be getting their tea cheaper than the people of Britain !!].

3. The tea would be marketed and forced on colonists by special consignees (receivers of shipments) who would be selected by the East India Tea Company.

The new import tax of 3 pence was considerably less than the previous tea tax on the colonists, in which 12 pence (1 shilling) per pound on tea sent via Britain, so colonists would be paying LESS in tea tax with the Tea Act of 1773. Also, interestingly, they would be getting their tea cheaper than the people of Britain !! Even King George III was reported to comment that “the colonists will finally be happy!” and will stop protesting.

The Act also encouraged British agents to seek out local merchants of tea who were smuggling in tea (in violation of the new law) and shut down their operations. In effect, they were making sure the monopoly on tea was complete and that colonists were buying only the tea that the British Parliament were forcing on them.

While the average contemporary American might look at the bottom dollar and assess the law based on their pocketbook and conclude that the Tea Act was good and fair, our founding generation looked at the insidious violations to their fundamental liberties embedded in this seemingly harmless law.

First of all, the Tea Act forced the colonists to purchase Company tea on which the Townshend duties were paid, thus implicitly asserting Parliament’s right of taxation. Even though the costs and the taxes were lowered, they would not back down on their demand that there be “No Taxation Without Representation!” This basic English right was secured in the Magna Carta of 1215 and re-asserted over and over again up until the English Bill of Rights of 1689, which essentially transferred government power from the King to the peoples’ house – Parliament. And second, the Tea Act compelled the colonists to buy a product identified by a legislative body far away. It took away their right to enjoy competition and to pursue livelihoods.

If men like Sam Adams, John Hancock, James Otis Jr., Paul Revere were alive today, they would have called out Obamacare for violations similar to those in the Tea Act. They wouldn’t be complaining about the increased premiums or the frustration in signing up for healthcare… they would be sounding the alarm to government compulsion and unconstitutional taxation.

Let’s hope that when Obamacare is repealed it will be replaced by a scheme that divests the federal government of compulsion power over the American people and returns power to the free market system. And let’s help educate our lesser-informed members of society that those who are all too happy to receive hand-outs from the government are the most insidious threats to the very liberty upon which our country was founded. “A man who has nothing which he is willing to fight for, nothing which he cares about more than he does about his personal safety,” wrote John Stuart Mill, “is a miserable creature who has no chance of being free, unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself.”

History Speaks Through the Monuments on our National Mall

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by Diane Rufino, January 21, 2017

Yesterday I visited the Jefferson Memorial to commune with my favorite Founding Father. Jefferson is perhaps the single reason I am so very proud to be an American. The principles he articulated in the Declaration of Independence, which the Second Continental Congress adopted in 1776, laid the basis for our independence from Great Britain. It established the principles and government philosophy that defines us as a nation, and although it’s message is lost on most Americans, I am sure to remind my students how it laid the basis for government by proclaiming that power originates with the individual and that power can never be fully divested from them. The Declaration informed Britain and the rest of the world that the thirteen colonies were dedicated first and foremost to the recognition and preservation of individual liberty. To that end, they proclaimed “to a candid world” that individuals of those colonies have the natural right to a government of the people, by the people, and for the people. In other words, government serves the people and its primary role is, and should be, to protect their rights. Nowhere in our founding documents does it state that government is a permanent fixture. Nowhere does it provide that the government has the right to seeks its longevity or its permanence. Rather, it exists in form and organization just as long as it serves its legitimate ends. The people always have the right – even the duty – to alter or abolish it when it frustrates its purpose.  Jefferson and Madison, along with our other Founders, knew full well that power would corrupt if it was centralized enough in government, then government would eventually limit or even deny rights away to the people. And in many instances, we see that the fears of our Founders have come to fruition.

What I learned from Jefferson is that when it comes to citizenship, it is perhaps more important to represent an idea or an ideal than merely a physical location.

And so I sat inside the rotunda and gazed up for awhile at this under-appreciated Founding Father. I walked around the room and read some of his poignant quotes memorialized on the walls and reflected on their timeless message. Sadly, to some degree, our government has rejected his wisdom.  Then I went outside the rotunda and looked straight across the tidal basin towards the rest of the National Mall. I could easily see the Washington Monument.  And I could also see the White House.  What I couldn’t see was the Lincoln Memorial.  I thought about that for a moment. And then I began to  note its significance.

It’s true that the Jefferson Memorial and the Lincoln Memorial are not visible to one another. I think there is a reason for that, whether or not it was a conscious factor in the Mall’s design. Abraham Lincoln didn’t see eye to eye with Jefferson. In fact, his vision of government was quite different. While the Declaration of Independence clearly provides that individuals can alter or abolish their government, Lincoln adamantly proclaimed that the Union, and by extension the federal government, was to be perpetual. In fact, after he repeatedly ignored and even violated provisions of the Constitution, suspended habeas corpus, imprisoned journalists, publishers, newspaper owners, citizens and seized their property, waged war without a declaration, etc, he sought a resolution from Congress to excuse those violations. Such a resolution was proposed and it read: “For the preservation of the federal government,”…..  Congress would the actions of President Lincoln.  (The resolution was never voted upon because the session of Congress concluded for the year). Lincoln had to ignore the principles laid down in the Declaration if he was to use force to bring the South back into the Union and convince the North that he had the power to do so.

President Lincoln destroyed the notion of limited government and its relationship to the individual, as promised in the Declaration, and our country has never sought to reclaim those ideals. Why?  Because government had become so strong and no one, no state, and certainly no government official had the guts to challenge the creature that the government had become. States have cowered and caved. They have tacitly relinquished their independence and have become subjugated to the design and will of the federal government. Perhaps that is why, when the government designed the National Mall, it put the memorial to Abraham Lincoln at the most prestigious position. Its layout is spectacular; Lincoln sits on high, looking out over a long reflecting pool, to the strongest branch of government – Congress. Lincoln is rewarded and glorified because he is the president who achieved the most in transforming the government into one of great power and influence and coercion over its independent parts (the States). Lincoln, in a sense, destroyed the ideals that inspired our founding generation to fight for their independence.

The Jefferson Memorial directly faces the White House – the home of our President and Chief Executive. The White House does not face the Lincoln Memorial.  Could it be that this lay-out was intended to remind Presidents of Jefferson’s ideals and the principles of government outlined in the Declaration?  Could it be that the president of the United States should forever be reminded that government is not a tool of an ambitious president (as it was for Abraham Lincoln) but rather an institution which serves the people and their interests in life, liberty, and happiness.

Something to think about.

What I can say is that when I listened to Donald Trump’s inaugural address – and particularly the part when he announced: “Every four years we gather on these steps to carry out the orderly and peaceful transfer of power….  Today’s ceremony, however, has a very special meaning because today we are not merely transferring power from one administration to another or from one party to another, but we are transferring power from Washington, D.C., and giving it back to you, the people.”  — I couldn’t help but smile and think to myself how Jeffersonian he sounded.

Maybe, at least for the next few years, we can enjoy a government of the people, by the people, for the people. Maybe Trump, in fact, gets it.

inauguration-2017-in-front-of-jefferson-memorial-very-good