It’s been a very long time since I’ve gone into a new year with hope from a political perspective… 16 years to be exact. The last time I expected good things to come out of Washington DC was 2001. Those dreams were crushed in part by a Bush administration that started off slowly. Then, 9/11 happened and all of the rules changed. Talk of war, loss of privacy, actual war, more government overreach, concern over a “President” John Kerry, a bad economy, and then the coup de grace of electing Barack Obama made the last 15 New Years politically concerning at best and absolutely abysmal recently.

Before I go into the things that I believe are very possible in 2017 that should give us all hope for a bright year, it’s important to understand what concerns me about it. The GOP has been marginally better than the Democrats over the last two decades and they squandered their majorities in both chambers of Congress the last two years. To add to my skepticism, I’ve never been excited about Donald Trump. That’s not to say that I wish Hillary Clinton won (God forbid!), but I was against him in the primaries and unimpressed through the general election. I still have major concerns, but three things supersede those concerns. First, I support many of his plans, particularly securing the border and renewing our relationship with Israel. Second, many of his cabinet picks have been impressive. Third, Mike Pence may be running more of the show than most previous Vice Presidents.

In short, Trump has a clean slate in my books. As long as he performs near the lofty expectations we all have for him, I will be the first to admit I was wrong. Until then, I will pray that I was wrong about him and hope for the best.

With those disclaimers out of the way, let’s look at the seven things Washington DC can do in 2017 that can truly make this the best year in a long, long time for America.

Immediately start addressing illegal immigration

You’ll notice that I didn’t say, “start building the wall.” Before anyone gets too uppity, we have to address this particular issue prudently. The wall will take a long time to build, to which most will say, “all the more reason to get started.” This is a massive project that must be done properly. More importantly, there are measures that we must take to prevent the blitzkrieg of border crossers that has already begun since Trump won.

Border security can be increased dramatically in weeks. By taking this first step, we will be able to then start building the wall. It’s imperative that we send a very clear message to those wanting to cross the Mexican border that we have men with guns waiting to apprehend them and send them back. If we start with the wall, we’ll only encourage them to rush to cross the border more quickly.

If the wall gets started in 2017, great! If it has to wait until next year, so be it. This is too important to rush, especially when tripling or quadrupling the manpower and resources at the border will be more effective in the short term.

Repeal Obamacare without compromise or delay

Kill this abomination. That doesn’t mean rush it, but a motivated Congress can analyze the situation and come up with a plan that will mitigate the damage of a repeal. However, that doesn’t mean that we should delay and it definitely doesn’t mean that we should embrace portions of it as Trump has suggested. Kill it all the way. Replace it with something better that doesn’t included taxes, penalties, or removal of choices. Allowing interstate commerce of insurance would go a long way towards making sure we get rid of it quickly with minimal damage.

Move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem

As I noted in another article:

When the most powerful nation in the world takes a step that they’ve never taken before by embracing the Jewish nation’s right to the capital of their ancestors, the place where King David ruled 1600 years before Islam was even formed, it will change the way the world has to deal with both Israel and America. Instantly, we’re put back into a position of strength that we haven’t seen in eight years.When the most powerful nation in the world takes a step that they’ve never taken before by embracing the Jewish nation’s right to the capital of their ancestors, the place where King David ruled 1600 years before Islam was even formed, it will change the way the world has to deal with both Israel and America. Instantly, we’re put back into a position of strength that we haven’t seen in eight years.

If Trump does this one thing in 2017, I’ll consider myself fully chastised for not supporting him before.

Take a conservative approach to trade

I get it. “America first.” It’s hard to argue with those who believe that exporting jobs is caused by poor trade policies because that’s the line of thinking the GOP has taken. In reality, free trade is by far more beneficial to the U.S. economy as well as workers than fair trade. What people must understand is that jobs will be lost over tariffs or forced domestication. It’s basic economics. If companies are forced to pay more for American workers, they have three options: cut profits, cut jobs, or raise prices. As Carrier demonstrated, they allowed Trump to “save” jobs for now, but are now forced to replace those jobs in the near future.

The two biggest reasons we lose jobs overseas is innovation and incredibly bad economic conditions for business operating in the United States. The first reason, innovation, is going to happen regardless of trade policy. Science, technology, and an ever-changing style of consumer demand means we’ll always watch some jobs change. That means that old jobs are lost and new jobs are created as a result. As for poor conditions for businesses, a conservative approach to the free market economy and free trade will enable American businesses to stay in America. They’re not just driven out by higher domestic wages. Higher wagers are often a net wash with overseas wages when shipping and logistical costs are included. It’s the tax and regulatory systems that drives businesses away. Kill the unnecessary regulations, reduce the taxes, and you’ll find more companies flying their patriotic flags high and proud.

Come up with a trillion dollar infrastructure plan that doesn’t cost a trillion dollars

We have infrastructure problems. Unlike many conservatives in my circles, I’m willing to acknowledge that the problem is as big as Trump paints it to be. However, with a national debt nearing $20 trillion and a budget deficit that could hit a trillion dollars in less than two years, adding another trillion dollar program is insane.

Trump’s team has been relatively obscure with their plans, but if they can truly use investments and private industry to undertake a trillion dollar infrastructure fix without having American taxpayers foot the majority of the bill, I’m all for it. In fact, it may be the road map to privatizing future projects that Libertarians and Federalists have been seeking for a long time. This could be an extremely good thing if they can pull it off.

Stop the wave of attacks on the 1st Amendment

Free speech. Freedom of the press. Freedom of religion. All of these are under attack. Those attacks need to stop. Trump, Congress, and most importantly the Supreme Court must do what they can in 2016 to reverse the direction this nation is heading. Between Barack Obama and his social justice warriors, we’ve seen more attacks on the 1st Amendment in the last eight years than in the years we’ve been a nation combined.Stop the wave of attacks on the 1st Amendment Free speech. Freedom of the press. Freedom of religion. All of these are under attack. Those attacks need to stop. Trump, Congress, and most importantly the Supreme Court must do what they can in 2016 to reverse the direction this nation is heading. Between Barack Obama and his social justice warriors, we’ve seen more attacks on the 1st Amendment in the last eight years than in the years we’ve been a nation combined.

Acknowledge our enemies, including Russia

No, I don’t think Russia hacked the election. Whether or not they hacked the Democrats’ email is debatable, but it changes nothing. Russia has been adversarial to us for years. The only thing different in 2016 is that the Democrats, who laughed the Russians off four years ago, are now screaming about them while the Republicans, who called them the greatest threat to America four years ago, are now saying it’s no big deal and we can all be friends thanks to the Trump/Putin bromance.

Here’s the reality: Russia is our enemy. They have recognized this for many years while partisan bickering prevented most in Washington DC from acknowledging it. Trump’s connections to Russia won’t be a concern as long as Congress is able to keep Russia in proper perspective. From Syria to Ukraine to BRICS to just about every action they take, they clearly demonstrate that they are not our friends. Trump will realize this at some point. Then, we can start classifying them with Iran, China, North Korea, and Cuba.

Remember, enemies can cooperate. The old adage of keeping your friends close and your enemies closer applies today. The challenge is in keeping our guard up while sharing many spaces with these countries.

Real hope and change

Things are looking up for the first time in a while. There are so many things that need to be accomplished, but never since Ronald Reagan has there been an opportunity to actually accomplish them. Don’t let liberals get you down. If these seven goals can be achieved, even some on the left will realize that 2017 was a great year when all is said and done.

By John Ruberry

“So listen, there’s still a little bit of it to go,” the host of NPR’s witty Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me!, Peter Sagal said as he opened his New Year’s Eve show, “but all the pundits and the pollsters have already called it: 2016 will go down as the worst year ever.” Which led moderator Bill Kurtis, the longtime journalist and Chicago news anchor to reply, “Sure, 1346 had the plague, but at least Black Death was a cool name.”

I’m here to explain, at least for me and people who visit Da Tech Guy and my own blog, Marathon Pundit, that 2016 was a darn good year, and absolutely a better one than 1346.

Defying the “pundits and pollsters,” but perhaps not the same ones Sagal was talking about yesterday, Donald J. Trump was elected president–he’ll be sworn into office in nineteen days. Although not as historic as being the first African-American elected to America’s highest office, Trump will be the first president who was not a prior public office holder or a general. That’s yuge.

Like Bob Dylan in 1964 keeping his love for the Beatles to himself and not, initially, telling his folk-music pals, I secretly hopped on the Trump Train in the autumn of 2015, but I was a vocal passenger well before the Iowa Caucuses. Like Sean Hannity, I saw Trump’s, yes, historic candidacy as the last chance to save America from collectivism and socialism, mediocrity, malaise, globalism, cronyism; and in what would have sealed the unpleasant deal, a runaway leftist Supreme Court. I am not an aberration, there are tens-of-millions of Americans who look at the rise of Trump in a similar manner.

A Hillary Clinton victory could have possibly hobbled America as much as the 19th century Opium Wars did to China. A large and populous nation does not necessarily mean that it will be a prosperous and powerful one, as India and Indonesia show us. And Russia is not prosperous.

I look at Trump’s win as the best news of the decade. But even as blogs and new media continue to prosper–my blog’s readership soared last year–the old guard media, which is dominated by leftists, for the most part despises Trump. Their bad news needs to be your bad news.

My daughter at the old
M*A*S*H set

The old year of course will forever be remembered as the year of so many celebrity deaths, which included Leonard Nimoy, B.B. King, Ben E. King, Dick Van Patten, Omar Sharif, Yogi Berra, and in one last cruel harvest by the Grim Reaper, a beloved actor from the television show MASH, Wayne Rogers, passed away on New Year’s Eve.

Wait…wait…don’t tell me! Yes, those are deaths from 2015. Celebrities die every year. Trust me, they really do.

Okay, second verse almost as same as the first: In 2016 the celebrity departures included David Bowie, Prince, Florence Henderson, George Michael, Carrie Fisher, and in one last cruel harvest by the Grim Reaper, a beloved actor from the television show MASH, William Christopher, passed away on New Year’s Eve.

[Editorial note: The WordPress blogging platform does not like words with asterisks within them.]

Admittedly, some of these celebs are a bit different from the Class of 2015. Although enigmatic, Bowie, Prince and Michael meticulously cultivated their public images, they became familiar presences on MTV; so people, even if they weren’t fans, believed they “knew” these performers, and their 1980s videos enjoy eternal life on VH1 and on YouTube.

Fisher played Princess Leia in Star Wars, which was arguably the most influential movie, both artistically and in the business-sense, since The Jazz Singer. If you haven’t seen Star Wars, then you probably haven’t seen many films. Florence Henderson’s TV show, The Brady Bunch, was not a first-run success, but it achieved legendary status on the re-run circuit. Like Bowie’s “Modern Love” video on MTV, sometimes you need to watch something every day instead of once-a-week for it to be properly digested.

Oh, I mentioned earlier that Dick Van Patten of Eight Is Enough died in 2015. And few cared because I’m pretty sure you have to buy DVDs of his show to watch it.

As members of the Greatest Generation and the Silent Generation pass on, there are proportionately more self-absorbed people remaining, those of course being the Baby Boomers, Generation X, and the Snowflake Generation, many of whom view every event, whether it is a natural disaster, a terrorist attack, an election, and of course, a celebrity death, as being about themselves. When Ish Kabibble, a kind of proto-Jerry Lewis, died in 1994, my parents didn’t take it as a personal loss.

John “Lee” Ruberry of
the Magnificent Seven

Here is some more good news from 2016: Third quarter growth in the United States was a robust 3.5 percent, perhaps because the end of the Obama era was in sight. And since Trump’s win, the stock market has been soaring, clearly many people, smart ones, are confident that 2017 will be a year of strong economic growth.

Now if we can only convince the self-absorbed ones to stop thinking about themselves so much, then 2017 will certainly be a great year.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

Everyone likes to talk about the years biggest hits but like everyone else we had a few flops here. So today we are going to highlight 10 posts in no particular order that other than being seen on the main page got almost no linkage or love. I’m going to start with a post that I really wanted to do well because it was for a good cause

Cameron’s Crusaders Helping the families of Sick Children

The Charity supports families of sick kids helping to cover the incidental expenses of Hospital trips from gas to meals.

If you went to see the movie Miracles from Heaven you’ll get the idea of what kind of things they’re talking about.

Their website is here. They’re worth your support.

I really hoped to give this very worth charity some well deserved attention and bucks but for some reason (I presume because it was a local event) passed on this post.

I’d urge all my readers to give them a 2nd look and kick in if they can.

Now that we’ve got that out of the way let’s examine some categories.

Not falling for the (Click) bait:

Since like all blogs we are click driven on occasion we put up post that are click bait, this was one of them

Trump sums up the Obama Years in a single sentence

Since nobody bothered to click, here is the sentence:

“If he were in the private sector, he’d be sued for fraud.”

I thought that was pretty good but you disagreed.

Double standards everywhere.

We do a lot of pointing out double standards here and often it gets attention but these posts didn’t

The Melania Trump Bill Clinton Late Night Comic Test

NY Post has also inadvertently thrown a gauntlet down to every late night comic on TV.

What gauntlet? The obvious Bill Clinton Melania Trump skit test.

It is completely impossible to look at the NY Post’s photos of the possible future first lady and not imagine Bill Clinton’s reaction to it and start laughing.

Furthermore is it almost impossible to not picture a skit whereby Bill Clinton is ogling the NY Post Melania Trump cover and Hillary walks in.

The possibilities, from Bill Trying to hide the newspaper, to Hillary getting jealous (to Monica getting jealous), to Bill deciding to submit an absentee ballot for Trump over it, are practically endless.

For a comic writer it’s a fatter pitch than Denny McLain’s final toss to Mickey Mantle in Sept 1968.  Such a skit practically writes itself.  It’s a total no brainer.

I thought this post combined the best of double standards with a click bait title plus alluding to Melania Trumps racy nudes in the NY Post , apparently nobody else did.

There were other double standards that rankled me that produced yawns like

The Obvious Question to West Point and This Administration

If these West Point Graduates were posing with Bibles, Rosaries and Crucifixes would they decide it was not “political activity”?

If people want to argue that such political activity is NBD that’s fine, that’s fair debate, but don’t insult my intelligence and claim it’s not.

Yeah yeah the admin loves BLM & hates Christ, we know, big deal.

The Trump but not Cruz/bush/Rubio/christie/Kasich/Fiorina is finished if he loses Iowa double standard didn’t interest you either

The GOP/MSM Donald Trump vs Cruz, Bush, Rubio, Christie, Kasich, Fiorina etc Double Standard

But the “Trump must win Iowa or he’s finished” meme is nonsense and can be demonstrated as such by two simple questions. This is the first:

“If Jeb Bush fails to win Iowa is he finished and if not, why not?”

Now for anyone who knows anything about how the primary process works that question is pretty easy to answer but the answer to that question leads to a second one.

“Given that Jeb Bush doesn’t crack the top 3 in any early state while Donald Trump leads in most of them and has more money then Bush, why does a 2nd place finish for Trump in Iowa doom him but a 2nd place or worse finish for Bush or Kasich, or Christie is nothing for them to worry about?”

These questions are so damn obvious and follow the assertion concerning Trump and Iowa so naturally that one would think the MSM & GOP would be ashamed to make them but they assume you are too stupid to think of this.

Remember I had endorsed and was actively supporting Ted Cruz at that time but I thought this was a great post that asked a great question, but nobody else apparently agreed.

You’re not as Clever (or funny) as you think you are

Sometimes you write a post that you think is really profound but everyone else thinks is boring, like

High Noon for America

I don’t know about anyone else, but if I was the police chief of such as city, and the political left that controls my city is not willing to stand with the men and women who protect them I’d pull them off the streets rather than have them risk their necks for people who don’t care if they live or die.

That way not only will the criminal element have the joy of discovering the reality that it is only the police that protect them from the wrath of those they prey on, but the elites can discover the joy of being free from those vile men and women in blue guarding their offices, their business and their home and the freedom of self reliance.

I thought it was edgy and provocative, the readers thought it was a sleeping aid

Also the jokes in this post said one thing to readers

The H & R Block / Turbo Tax Ads you’ll never see

What if that Turbo Tax ad instead of saying “In her case yes the amount goes right here” when asked about a load deduction said: “In her case yes but we at Turbo Tax aren’t going to apply it because we want to help you to be a patriotic American who pays her fair share of taxes.”

What if that H & R Block ad instead of saying “Nobody gets more of your money back then Block, guaranteed.” said “Nobody makes sure you pay your fair share of taxes like Block, guaranteed.

They said I shouldn’t quit my overnight job

Not Interested

There are times that you write about things that interest you even if they don’t apparently interest others like

Pintastic NE 2016 Interviews Pt 1: the Vendors

If you are a pinball fan these are the type of people who will help keep you running and make your experience even better, and the Hobby is all the better for them being there for us.

I still think these interviews were cool and if you are a pinball fan they should interest you, but people were more interested in the Pintastic posts on the tables than the vendors.

I do a lot of posts on my faith, most are received well, but for some reason this one wasn’t

The Unexpectedly Chronicles: The ACLU makes Matthew Kelly’s Point about the Catholic Faith

If the culture of today’s secular liberalism had been there when the church introduced hospitals and education for the masses we would be still living in a feudal age consisting of the very rich and the very poor.

Or basically what the left is trying to remake California as.

I thought it was a great post making a great point, but apparently my considerable number of Catholic readers disagreed.

The 2016 I Thought Turkey’s could Fly Award

The I thought Turkey’s could fly award goes to the post that had the best potential to be picked up nationally and get a ton of hits and fill DaTipJar but didn’t.  It’s failure surprised and disappointed me.  It came from my coverage of RedState Denver

Denver Day Four Part 2: Redstate day 1 Larry O’Connor Dave Weigel and many many more

This post had everything.  Live exclusive interviews.  Nationally known names like Dave Weigel of the Washington post and Larry O’Connor and a great interview with Steve Kelly of KNUS, regular people, conservative activists and pols running for office.  At the very least each of these groups had an incentive to promote this post and generate  a bunch of eyeballs.  At best they should have produced a bunch of eyeballs on their own and would prompt their readers and listeners to hit DaTipJar to see more.

They didn’t. My EWTN trip posts beat this one easy in both categories.

Come to think of it I didn’t finish my last two posts on the last WQPH trip up to EWTN up, but I’ll bet they’ll do better that this one too.

Well these were the lemons of 2016.  At least in terms of the charity post I hope this one turns it into lemonade as for the others, Mea Culpa, Mea Culpa.