Sunday, March 19, 2017
Stefan Molyneux is a libertarian who believes that values matter
In the video below he says that Europe has betrayed Western civilization. He is a powerful speaker and has a considerable following. Worth hearing.
I am a little perturbed at his use of "we". He uses "we" to refer to contemporary society as a whole, which is OK in its way but he is really referring to the strong Leftist influence on current political thinking. So I would have said "the Left", where he says "we". As we see in the rise of Trump, however, conservatives values are still there in the community and are now rising to the surface again. So there is some hope that the weak-kneed response to challenges from Muslims and others might be reversed soon.
He is however right to be amazed that socialist policies are still popular -- when we see how gory they become when socialists get unrestricted power -- as in Stalinist Russia and Mao's China. When will people learn where such coercion-based policies must lead? Taking money off people who earned it and giving it to people who have not earned it requires a naked exercise of power -- and that power tends to grow and find more targets as time goes by. It's a slippery slope
Trump: ‘The Democrats Will Always Vote Against Us. The Hatred Has Been There for Years’
President Donald Trump says even if the Republican health care bill were perfect, Democrats' hatred for Republicans would prevent them from voting for it. (Screen grab from Fox News)
(CNSNews.com) – Asked if he is satisfied with the Republican bill to repeal and replace Obamacare, President Donald Trump said if he could get 60 votes in the Senate, things would be different – “but we will never get a Democrat vote.”
Trump told Fox News’s Tucker Carlson on Wednesday:
To get 52 people is very hard. If we had 60 votes, we could do something differently, but we’re never going to get a Democrat vote. If I had the greatest bill in the history of the world, they would not vote for us because they hate the Republicans, probably hate me, but they hate the Republicans so badly that they can’t see straight.
So they’re always going to vote against us. It's really a shame – and that's one of the problems that we have when people come into my office about lowering drug prices, lowering other things. The Democrats are always going to vote against us. It’s been simmering for years. The hatred has been there for years. Not just with me.”
Trump said the “incredible” hatred from Democrats dates back to the Bush and Obama years. And because of that, the only way to pass the Republican health care bill is with Republican votes.
Trump said President Obama was a “smart guy” to leave office just as Obamacare imploded. And he said Democrats know Obamacare is imploding, but they are being “very selfish.”
“If we had the greatest health care bill ever in history, and we needed eight votes from the Democrats to get us up to the 60 number that you would need? They wouldn’t vote for it. So it’s a very selfish thing. They are doing a very, very bad disservice to the country.”
Trump said it will take “some negotiating” to pass the Republican bill, and he described his role as that of an “arbitrator” among Republicans:
“We have the conservatives, we have the more liberal side of the Republican Party, we have the left, we have the right within the Republicans themselves -- you got a lot of fighting going on. We have no Democrats – again, no matter what we do, we’re never going to get a Democrat. Maybe we’ll get one along the way. Now, if we could get … some Democrat votes, we could change the bill.”
Trump predicted that Republicans will get some Democrat votes in phase three of their repeal-and-replace plan, when they start passing stand-alone bills. Trump said a bill aimed at lowering prescription drug prices will be part of phase three.
Trump also told Carlson:
-- He had some “run-ins” with House Speaker Paul Ryan initially, “but “I think he’s on board with the American people. I do believe that strongly. I think he is on board with my presidency, I think he wants to make it very successful.”
-- The White House did not release Trump’s 2005 tax return. “I have no idea where they got it, but it is illegal if you are not supposed to have it. It's not supposed to be leaked,” he said.
-- He’s aiming for a corporate tax rate of 15 percent. “I think we’ll probably be a little bit higher than that we will try to get the 15 percent level,” he said.
-- He really likes Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), with whom he met recently in the Oval Office, and he will work with Cummings to bring down the price of prescription drugs.
-- He believes “it’s not easy” to assimilate large numbers of Muslims into western culture.
Just What the Doctor Ordered at the FDA
As frustration only grows regarding the Republicans' continued wrangling over how best to repeal and replace ObamaCare, Donald Trump’s choice to head the Food and Drug Administration, Scott Gottlieb, is a needed encouragement. Gottlieb, a physician who has been described as a pragmatist and a policy expert, has a striking resumé and a has written extensively as a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute on both the need and the how to reform the FDA’s drug approval processes. Gottlieb is well versed in both the medical needs and the business end of the drug industry. He’s also a cancer survivor, so he knows the personal side too.
A lack of genuine competition within the drug market, specifically regarding production of generic drugs, due primarily to FDA regulations has prevented low cost drug availability. Dr. Gottlieb wrote last year, “Of the more than 1,300 branded drugs on the market, about 10% have seen patents expire but still face zero generic competition. … New regulations have, in many cases, made it no longer economically viable for more than one generic firm to enter the market.”
Maybe the greatest challenge facing Dr. Gottlieb will be changing the FDA culture that, as he has described it, sees itself as the “lone bulwark standing between truth and chaos when it comes to prescription drugs.” This has resulted in the FDA’s drug testing trials becoming increasingly “longer, larger and harder to enroll.” The current average length of a clinical drug testing trial has expanded to 780 days from what was already 460 days in 2005.
Should he be confirmed, Gottlieb would be in a position to roll back these competition-stifling regulations, which can only prove to lower the cost for brand-name and generic drugs. Reforming the FDA would go a long way in helping to cut down on rapidly growing medical costs.
Trump's Budget Axe Falls on Discretionary Spending
Leftists go apoplectic over about 1% of the federal budget
Beltway bureaucrats can’t say they weren’t warned about the number of cars that would be uncoupled from their taxpayer-funded gravy train. As President Donald Trump alluded to in his campaign and promised prior to his address to a joint session of Congress, there are a number of federal agencies that will be subjected to large-scale cuts and 19 that will be shuttered entirely if Trump has his way with the budget.
On the chopping block: The favorite conservative targets of the National Endowment for the Arts, National Endowment for the Humanities, and Corporation for Public Broadcasting. As the Washington Post screamed, this budget is the “worst-case scenario for arts groups.”
Instead, the Trump proposal is a budget that’s heavy on certain core government issues — you know, constitutionally enumerated powers such as defense and immigration. As previously noted, Trump calls for a $54 billion increase earmarked for defense spending and billions set aside for border security and combating illegal immigration. Office of Management and Budget director Mick Mulvaney was tasked with producing a budget “that emphasizes national security and public safety,” and the OMB head has delivered.
It goes without saying that major media outlets, which still buy ink by the barrel, have gone off the rails with angst regarding the Trump budget blueprint — in particular, the aforementioned Washington Post, which caters to the bureaucrats who may soon find themselves in the position of seeking an honest living in the private sector.
But the Post and other media outlets aren’t writing to deliver the facts about the budget; they’re writing to warn Congress about derailing the gravy train that’s in place. Why else would these relatively modest cuts in the grand scheme of a $4 trillion budget be compared to the plans Ronald Reagan had when he first took office? (All we’re missing is Tip O'Neill and his fellow Democrats vowing the budget will be “dead on arrival” in Congress.)
But when a candidate runs on a platform that puts America first, it should surprise no one that defense wins out over foreign aid. Thus, the State Department is subject to a 28% cut. Trump wants to put $1.5 billion into a down payment on a border wall as well, along with funding additional judges to deal with deportations. While the Department of Education as a whole will be leaner to the tune of $9 billion, Trump allocates an extra $1.4 billion to school choice programs.
These are all things the voters who supported Trump demanded. As is the call to bring the Environmental Protection Agency to heel with a cut of almost one-third of its current budget. Addressing so-called “climate change” won’t be a priority item for the Trump administration, and EPA apologists are already claiming Trump’s reductions will make it “easier for polluters to get away with breaking the rules.”
Lefty columnist Eugene Robinson laments, “Trump budgets for a dumber, dirtier America.” Trump probably even hates puppies.
Yet since much of Congress will face the voters before President Trump does, members seem to have a cool reception to the budget proposal. “The administration’s budget isn’t going to be the budget,” noted Senator Marco Rubio, adding that all any president can do is give a suggested blueprint to Congress.
Rubio’s reminder is made evident by the fact that over the last six years Republicans in Congress routinely ignored Barack Obama’s budget proposals. His 2012 offering won exactly zero congressional votes. That gridlock led to government by continuing resolution, with attempts to control spending such as the sequester eventually falling by the wayside along with the debt ceiling. A compromise continuing budget resolution passed last December spared us the prospect of a government shutdown just before Christmas, but that temporary fix will expire at the end of April. So this Trump budget proposal may simply be the opening point of negotiations to deal with that as well as an increase in the debt ceiling.
The overarching question in all this talk about the budget, though, is similar to the one bedeviling congressional Republicans who campaigned for the last eight years on their opposition to ObamaCare only to punt on full repeal after voters put the GOP fully in charge of government. Now that they have a president who’s willing to eliminate many of the agencies the GOP vowed to dismantle if they were put back in power, will they stand up to the media and lobbyists to do so? The answer to that question may dictate whether Trump’s presidency will be a difference-maker or simply the latest in our nation’s drift from freedom and prosperity toward a European-style mediocrity.
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Posted by JR at 1:33 AM