One of the biggest misconceptions about states’ rights is that their purpose is to protect the states from overreach by the federal government. On the surface, this is correct, but we have to dig just a little deeper to understand why they’re so important to every American.

The states do not need direct protection. It’s rare for DC to target an individual state governing body or the foundation of a state’s existence, though one can argue it has happened from time to time. The reality is that states’ rights are so clearly protected in the Constitution to empower the states to protect the people from oppression. The founders feared an overly powerful federal government could systematically attack the rights that the Constitution defends if they weren’t held to account by the states through the checks and balances the Constitution allots them. What we’ve seen since the 19th century and what has accelerated since FDR is the founders’ fears coming true.

From education to the environment, from health care to the use of natural resources, Washington DC has stepped into arenas where it has absolutely no business entering. The real victims are not simply the embodiment of the states themselves but rather the people within the states who are being made to feel they have no recourse. As states bend and often break to the will of the federal government, Constitutional protections for the people are being trampled.

Some states have fought back. Most have accepted their fate, forgotten the 10th Amendment, and sat stagnant as DC continues to dictate what they can and cannot do. Lest we forget, the federal government was granted many enumerated powers that give them plenty of clout; I’m not one who thinks DC should be powerless. I simply want them to stick with the powers they were given.

A look at the enumerated powers and the various amendments that added to them presents us with a federal government that should be much less powerful than it is today. The reason the 10th Amendment allows the states and individuals to govern themselves in all regards outside of the enumerated powers is because the founders believed safeguards were necessary to prevent limited representation in important matters. The states, local governments, and especially individuals are more aware of how to handle their situations than the federal government. In other words, they can solve problems for themselves much more easily than DC could ever imagine doing. Education, for example, requires no input from DC. None. It’s time to get rid of the Department of Education for good.

As much as I’d like to hope one of the two major parties will break from the overreaching trends they’ve both demonstrated over the decades, I’m not waiting around. The Democrats are calling for Federalism to combat President Trump just as the Republicans called for Federalism to fight President Obama, but both have failed to bring about the degree of change necessary to make a real impact. Part of this is because they tend to call for Federalism when they’re in a position of weakness. It’s for this reason that we’ve formed the Federalist Party. Regardless of which major party champions Federalism at any given moment, it’s our party’s belief that they’re just bluffing. Their actions when they’re in control indicate they have no intention of returning the country to the balance of powers the founders intended.

This article is being written on a conservative blog and I consider it a blessing to have access to this forum. I do not speak for this site, but as a conservative who feels that both parties are veering to the left, it’s imperative that I talk about states’ rights to appeal to conservatives and liberals alike. Otherwise, I’d be lying to myself and this audience if I were to say that I’m confident the two-party system will ever yield a true champion for the Constitution. There are those within the major parties who love the Constitution, but they are dwindling in numbers. A time is coming when they’ll need to make a choice. I’m confident many will choose the Federalist Party as their home.

The key to Federalism is balance. When the original Federalists were fighting for ratification of the Constitution, their opposition wanted the states to be too powerful. It was up to Federalists to bring the balance of powers necessary to have a vibrant constitutional republic. Today, we fight for this balance from the opposite direction. DC is too powerful. Just as Presidents Nixon and Reagan before us, their concepts of “new Federalism” require us to fight to limit the federal government’s power to reestablish a balance with the states. This is the only way individual Americans can be secure from overreach by either their state or federal government.

A return to the checks and balances that were designed to protect the people and defend the Constitution is growing more necessary every day. We’ve seen strides in the right direction in DC, but these strides are quickly erased by further overreach, increased budgets, and expanded federal powers. It’s time for Constitution-loving Federalists to rise up and show DC they cannot continue down this road.

IDOT facility, Northfield, IL

By John Ruberry

You’ve heard of “Deep State,” right? If you haven’t, it’s the powerful yet anonymous cadre of senior bureaucrats within the federal government who are toiling to undermine President Donald J. Trump. They are “the swamp” Trump wants to drain.

In Illinois, where I live, we have Deep Corruption.

Last week in my own blog I reported on Deep Corruption when former Chicago Public Schools CEO Barbara Byrd Bennett received a 4 ½ year prison sentence for wire fraud for her role in a bribery scheme with a former employer, a contractor. Her old boss there likely engineered her hiring as the boss of CPS.

In 2014 as Illinois’ financial situation was clearly dire–it has gotten worse since then–a political hiring scandal broke at the Illinois Department of Transportation. Over 200 unqualified people were hired as “staff assistants.” The title sounds innocent enough, but staff assistants in Illinois government are supposed to be policy-making posts, which makes those positions exempt from anti-patronage rules. Most of these so-called policy makers were hired during the six-year term of so-called reformer Pat Quinn, then the Democratic governor of Illinois. But candidates with backgrounds such as managing an ice cream store, laying bricks, and working for the Democratic Party were hired as staff assistants at IDOT. Well, these hires were diverse that’s for sure. Once on the state payroll, naturally these unqualified employees were given duties that matched their modest skill set. Many of them now hold new titles and are exempt from being discharged–except for extreme indiscretions–because of union rules.

Meanwhile, Illinois has the worst credit rating and the worst-funded public pension system of the fifty states. It currently has $11 billion in unpaid bills.

But under Quinn money was available to place political cronies on the state payroll.

Last week a court-ordered monitor issued her report on the political hiring scandal, or what should be called the Hack Pol Job Fair. The unqualified candidates of course had one thing in common: connections, often family ties, to a Democratic politician.

Rauner: Shake Up Springfield, Bring Back Illinois

Fed up Illinois voters threw Quinn, out of office in 2014, replacing him with Republican Bruce Rauner, who eliminated the staff assistant job classification but has been largely stymied in his attempt to “Bring Back Illinois” and “Shake Up Springfield” by state House Speaker Michael Madigan, who is also chairman of the Illinois Democratic Party.

Seven staff assistants with Madigan ties were hired by IDOT.

Chicago talk radio host and onetime gubernatorial candidate Dan Proft likes to say “Illinois isn’t broken–it’s fixed.” True, very true.

Quinn’s office was the clearing house for the IDOT job scandal and this episode should finally destroy his undeserved reputation as a reformer. In 1996 a prominent Illinois Democratic politician accused Quinn of being a ghost payroller for the Dan Walker administration. You probably never heard of Walker, but he’s one of those Illinois governors who later served time in federal prison. Public pensioner Quinn now says he’s working on ending gerrymandering in Illinois, yet he approved the current disgraceful gerrymandered map that created supermajorities for the Democrats in the General Assembly.

Who was that politician who called Quinn a ghost-payroller? It was US Sen. Dick Durbin. And the senior senator from Illinois’ office tried to get “Candidate 5” a job “with various state agencies.” And after pressure from Durbin’s office, “Staff Assistant 47” was hired at IDOT.

There is some good news in regards to this scandal, besides its exposure. Honest Illinois state employees alerted authorities of these abuses.

John “Lee” Ruberry of the Magnificent Seven

And those were illegal abuses, I’d like to add. Who will be indicted for these crimes?

On personal note, my mother passed away three weeks ago. As is natural for someone going through a parental loss, my thoughts have veered to the past of late. Years ago my mother told me about a conversation she had with my father–he’s gone now too. My dad declared to my mom that his goal was to enter politics, which of course meant Illinois politics as they lived in Chicago. “That will never work out,” she explained to him. “You’re honest.”

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

Here’s a pop quiz for all you students at every level. It doesn’t matter whether you’re in school today or if you’re simply a student of life (as we all should be until we die). Since Jimmy Carter brought us the Department of Education, what has been the positive impact it’s had on our students, teachers, parents, or communities?

It’s somewhat of a trick question because no matter what positive impact you recall hearing about or seeing on Wikipedia, there are more negatives that have come out of every action the department has taken and every decree they’ve made. I won’t bore you with statistics or point to individual instances of complete failure to improve the quality or efficiency of education in America. Either you see the clear dysfunction in our schools today or you don’t. Nothing I say will change your mind.

If ever a department begged to be eliminated for the sake of Federalism, this is it. Nothing screams localization like education. Nothing demands standards be set by states, the communities within them, and parents themselves as much as schooling. To say the federal government is capable of properly overseeing education is as asinine as thinking they can properly manage health care.

They can’t. They’ve proven this very clearly, yet we’re still in the middle of a 38-year-old failed experiment.

This isn’t just about eliminating Common Core or pushing for more charter schools. It’s not about deciding how to allocate budgets based upon which school districts can meet meaningless standards the best. We’re at a point that the only correct answer to this very easy question is to begin the transition to get DC out of schools altogether.

There is too much money in play to pull the rug out from under them which is why a transition is necessary. It doesn’t have to be a long one. If they start now, they could have a plan in place before the next election followed by elimination of the department before the 2020 Presidential elections. As horrid as it is to have to think about this in terms of election cycles, that’s the only way to get DC politicians to act.

Will education be harmed for a time as a result? It’s hard to say. On one hand, there’s certain to be obtuse state legislatures and/or governors who fail to prepare for the burden that should have belonged to them all along. On the other hand, it’s hard to imagine that it could get much worse. Many if not most school districts and state departments have become so focused on staying within the boundaries set by DC that they may struggle at first. This may seem unfair to the students directly affected, but just as the states and cities need to step up, so too do the districts and individual schools. Many won’t like it, but enough education professionals will take responsibility and make it work. Those who do not don’t belong in such important roles in the first place.

America has been shifting away from a mindset of personal responsibility since the 1960s. There was a brief intermission when things were looking up in the 1980s, but that quickly faded after Ronald Reagan left the White House. This is why when looking at the big picture, dissolving the Department of Education is a microcosm of what must be done to much of the federal government as a whole. It’s the most obvious example of overreach, unnecessary bureaucracy, and wasted taxpayer dollars. As such, eliminating it would be an excellent guide for future acts of deconstruction that are also needed in DC. If we don’t immediately begin chopping away at the bloat, the big-government monstrosity will continue to grow.

Applying Reagan’s concepts of Federalism to slice the fat in DC may seem radical today just as it seemed radical when Reagan was in office. He had few government-limiting allies within the GOP which is why he couldn’t cut nearly as much as he would have liked. Today, it’s much worse as both major parties seem to be racing to see who can grow DC power the fastest. It’s time to start dismantling the administration state one agency, program, committee, and department at a time. The Department of Education is a prime candidate to face the guillotine first.

Xi’an, the former capital of mainland China, may be the best example of the country’s heart, power, history and future of the country.

Emperor Qin [pronounced chin] Shi Huang unified China in the Third Century B.C, making Xi’an [pronounced she-ON], the country’s most important city for roughly 1,500 years.

During his reign, his generals greatly expanded the size of the Chinese state. He enacted major economic and political reforms aimed at the standardization of such things as roads and currency. He is said to have banned and burned many books and executed scholars,  but experts dispute these claims.

His public works projects included the unification of diverse state walls into the Great Wall of China and a national road system, as well as the city-sized  mausoleum guarded by the life-sized Terra Cotta Army. He ruled until his death in 210  B.C.

Today China looks back at the history and the ties to its national roots.

Nearby lies the tomb of Wu Zetian, the only woman to ever rule China and a key component of the Tang Dynasty’s role in building the Silk Road that made the region rich. She’s well known and revered in China, but I was the only visitor to her massive tomb on a brilliant Sunday morning.

Wu (624-705) and the Tang Dynasty devised The Silk Road or Silk Route, an ancient network of trade routes that were for centuries central to cultural interaction through regions of the Asian continent connecting the East and West. Think Marco Polo.

While the term is modern, the Silk Road derives its name from the lucrative trade in silk  (and horses) carried out along its length.

Trade on the Silk Road played a significant role in the development of the civilizations of China, Korea, Japan, Iran, the Horn of Africa and the Arab Peninsula, opening long-distance political and economic relations between the civilizations. Though silk was certainly the major trade item exported from China, many other goods were traded, as well as religions, philosophies and various technologies.

Today, President Xi has revived the Silk Road philosophy through his “One Belt, One Road” strategy to improve economic and political relations with a variety of countries.

Essentially, the plan includes countries situated on the original Silk Road through Central Asia, West Asia, the Middle East, and Europe. The initiative calls for the integration of the region into a cohesive economic area through building infrastructure, increasing cultural exchanges and broadening trade. Apart from this zone, which is largely analogous to the historical Silk Road, another area to be included in the extension of this ‘belt’ is South Asia and Southeast Asia.

A report from Fitch Ratings suggests that China’s plan to build ports, roads and railways in under-developed Eurasia and Africa is out of political motivation rather than real demand for infrastructure. Fitch also doubts Chinese banks’ ability to control risks, as they do not have a good record of allocating resources efficiently at home, which may lead to new asset-quality problems for Chinese banks that most of funding is likely to come from.

Simply put, the plan is believed to be a way to extend Chinese influence at the expense of the United States, in order to fight for regional leadership in Asia. The estimated $1 trillion for the projects can be considered a masterstroke by China to establish itself as a world-leading economy and to spread its power, particularly in the South Asian region. China has already invested billions of dollars in several South Asian countries like Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Afghanistan to improve their basic infrastructure, with important implications for both China’s trade regime as well as its military influence.

One final note: Put Xi’an on your bucket list. It’s easy to get to and easy to get around. But make sure you see more than the Terra Cotta Army!

My new friends in Xi’an

Briefly…

There seem to be a lot of Democrats complaining that the leader of the DNC announced there’s no room for pro-lifers in his party. Most Democrats are pro-choice, but even many of abortionists are saying that the issue is too polarizing for the party to take such a strict stance that alienates a small portion of their party. Obviously, pro-life Democrats are furious.

Why should they be? The party has made no secret of their stance on abortion in the recent past. Coming out and declaring that members of the party need to be pro-choice is not only expected but welcomed, at least by those who want to be politically honest. Being a pro-life Democrat is essentially saying, “I believe in most of what my party believes but I accept they will never do a thing I want them to when it comes to abortion.”

I wouldn’t go so far as to say a “pro-life Democrat” is an oxymoron, but there are clear contradictions. Rather than denouncing, I applaud the DNC for stating the truth about themselves, their ideology, and what they expect from members. All parties should do the same. My membership with the Federalist Party comes fully attached to a pro-life stance. The vast majority in the GOP are either pro-life or, if they happen to be pro-choice, accept that they’re not going to get their way on that issue. The Libertarian Party, Green Party, and Constitution Party have all made their stances known.

This issue is far too important to leave room for interpretation within a party. I have no love for Tom Perez or the Democrats he represents, but again I think it’s best for them to be honest to their own membership. The Democrats are the pro-choice major party. To pretend otherwise is silly.

Abandoned plant in Harvey

By John Ruberry

Contained in my inbox this morning was an email from Crain’s Chicago Business touting an article by Dennis Rodkin, “Can Chicago’s Southland Be Rebuilt?” In short, “probably” is his answer. Mine is “no.”

Chicago’s Southland covers the city’s South Side and its southern suburbs, some definitions include the Southwest Side and the southwest suburbs. I grew up in Palos Heights, a southwest suburb, after spending my early childhood on Chicago’s Far South Side.

After several readings–I want to make sure I’m right before pointing fingers–I was surprised, but not shocked, to learn that three words were missing from Rodkin’s piece: Corruption, cronyism, and graft. While Illinois is a very dishonest state, and Chicago and Cook County are the epicenter of  its dishonesty, Chicago’s Southland is the rottenest apple in this foul orchard. Five of the last six sitting or former Chicago aldermen convicted of crimes were South Siders. The two most recent Chicago City Council indictments are for Ald. Willie Cochran, whose predecessor went to prison for bribery, and former alderman Edward Vrdolyak, who has already served time in the House with Many Doors. Do you want to guess what part of the city they are from?

Vacant Far South Side home

South of Chicago is Harvey. While surprisingly light on convictions, Harvey is considered the most corrupt town in Illinois, which is saying a lot. For years the Daily Southtown, among its front web page tabs such as “Weather” and “Sports,” there was another, “Harvey.” Next to Harvey is Markham. Earlier this month voters foolishly elected a convicted felon as its mayor. The Cook County state’s attorney office is suing to prevent the mayor-elect from taking office. Nearby is Dolton. Four years ago its village president told CBS Chicago, “Over the past few weeks we’ve heard reports of ghost payrolling, vehicles being purchased without authorization, unauthorized overtime and the unauthorized use of village gas.”

Cochran was indicted last year

Illinois’ second congressional district covers much of the Southland. In 1995 its representative, Mel Reynolds, was found guilty of crimes centered around a sexual relationship with an underage campaign volunteer. He was later convicted of a slew of financial crimes. His successor was Jesse Jackson Jr, who, along with his wife, a South Side Chicago alderman, went to prison for spending campaign cash on personal items.

The most notorious Chicago Southlander is Michael Madigan of the Southwest Side. Illinois’ financial situation has descended to the point that it is functionally bankrupt. Because of generous public-sector pension commitments, which were never properly funded, Illinois is over $200 billion in debt, despite a balanced budget requirement in the state constitution.

Yes, Chicago’s Southland is majority black. Which means African Americans are being robbed the most by these so-called public servants who see government not as a higher calling, but as an opportunity to dishonestly enrich themselves and their cronies.

Much of the Southland is blighted. But there is still plenty of money to be made there, but for the most part, only if you are a crook and if you know the right people. Or if you pay off the right people. Or if you hire that politician’s brother-in-law to remodel your office so you can get that zoning variance passed.

Rodkin does touch on the soaring property tax rates in the south suburbs. But he misses the point. As people leave the Southland–and yes, they are leaving–there are fewer people left to pay the bar bill for these corrupt-and-drunk-with-power politicians in Illinois’ Corruption Corridor.

Public graft is expensive.

Oh, 600 words or so into this piece, and I didn’t even, until now, mention the region’s problems with rampant violence.

Every politician I mentioned so far is a Democrat, except for Vrdolyak, is once was chairman of the Cook County Democratic Party.

Blogger in Harvey

In related news, last week the 14 year corruption sentence of former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich, who is not from Chicago’s Southland, was upheld by a US Appeals Court. That’s bad news for course for Blago, but good news for law-abiding Illinoisans–yes, we do exist. If Chicago’s Southland–and the rest of the state–has any hope of receiving honest government, long sentences such as the one Blagojevich was given just might be the cure. Fear of a long stay in a federal prison might scare some scoundrels straight–or better yet, frighten dishonest people away from a career in government.

But at least in the short term, I predict things will get even worse in Chicago’s Southland–and in the rest of Illinois.

John Ruberry, a lifelong Illinoisan, regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

For the next three days I’m going to be flat out.  Fr. Stephen Imbarrato of Priests for life who you’ve seen hosting EWTN’s series Defending life, will be doing several events in several cities for WQPH 89.3 and I’ll be covering him and those who attend the various, events, masses and dinners over Divine Mercy Sunday.  You can get tickets for the various dinners and lunches here and the events are open to the public so I hope to see you in Boston, Malden, Medford and Fitchburg particularly at the Eucharistic Procession on Saturday in Fitchburg.

If you are only interested in mass there will be four two of which he will be the celebrant.

Sat 8 AM  St. Joseph’s Church Medford  Fr. Imbarrato celebrant

Sat Noon St. Bernards Church at St. Camillus Parish Fitchburg

Sat 5 PM Madonna of the Holy Rosary 118 Theresa st. Fitchburg 

Sunday 4:30 PM  Madonna Queen of the Universe Shrine Boston Fr. Imbarrato celebrant

(the Final Mass will be preceded at 2:30 by confession and a Holy Hour)

Full details are here.


Speaking of life the most pro-life president of my lifetime has once again taken concrete action defending it.

America’s largest provider of terminations, Planned Parenthood, described the new measure, which has delighted pro-life conservatives, as “designed to undermine women’s health”.

The new law nullifies a rule finalised in the last days of the Barack Obama administration that effectively barred state and local governments from withholding federal funding for family planning services, regardless of whether groups offering these services also performed abortions.

The new measure cleared Congress last month with Vice President Mike Pence casting the tie-breaking vote in the Senate.

The Yahoo article describing this drips with contempt but this was also a win for States as Hotair noted:

When the vote was cast, Senator Joni Ernst praised the bill. “It should be the right of our states to allocate sub-grants under the Title X program in the way that best fits the needs of the people living there,” Ernst said according to a report in the NY Times. She added, “Unfortunately, like many other rules issued during the Obama administration, this rule attempted to empower federal bureaucrats in Washington and silence our states.”

I think it’s really something that the items this president has managed to advance have been pro-life.  I’m ecstatic.


Also at Hotair it seems like the most prolife president in my lifetime will be meeting with Pope Francis after all:

Just to John Gizzi’s point, I just want to make sure I note that we will be reaching out to the Vatican to see if a meeting, an audience with the Pope can be accommodated.  We’ll have further details on that.  Obviously, we’d be honored to have an audience with His Holiness.

Gronk scores? (Well, we’re used to that.) What’s odd about this is that several questions had come between Gizzi’s exchange and this later answer. The question on the table when Gronkowski interrupted was about NAFTA. No one had followed up on Gizzi’s question, but Spicer returned to it anyway. Hmmm.

At least as late as last night, the Vatican still hadn’t heard from the White House, either. America Magazine’s Gerard O’Connell reports that the Holy See’s diplomatic office is happy to arrange the meeting if they get the request:

While Francis has been a mixed bag great on confession and the danger of the devil and weak on Dogma (we still haven’t seen an answer to the four Cardinals dubia on the Amoris Laetitia footnote concerning marriage and communion)  on the issue of abortion he has been very clear in both speeches and encyclicals condemning it, although if you listen to democrats and the media it’s as if he never has.

Meanwhile Trump has so far been falling on the Paul of Tarsus vs the Simon the Magician side of the conversion scale.

They should have a lot to talk about.


Speaking of life guess what’s alive again? An Obamacare repeal compromise:

You can understand why the compromise might appeal to both the conservative and moderate wings inside the GOP. For the Freedom Caucus, it means red states will be able to shed onerous federal regs and offer a greater variety of health-care plans, replete with lower premiums for consumers. For the Tuesday Group, the fact that waivers are available but not mandatory means that blue states will be able to keep the more robust ObamaCare rules intact if they like. In that sense, the plan bears a slight resemblance to Bill Cassidy’s and Susan Collins’s proposal, which would have repealed ObamaCare and then let each state choose whether to “reimplement” it or to build their own tailor-made system. The new GOP deal doesn’t go that far but it’s a step in that direction vis-a-vis EHBs and community rating. If you believe a Freedom Caucus source who spoke to CNBC, there are 25 to 30 FC members ready to flip to yes to vote for this deal — a bit surprising given libertarian suspicions that waivers will be harder for states to obtain than everyone thinks.

And of course if it defends Planned Parenthood as well that’s going to be a biggie too.

There is a lot of talk about the first 100 days but I think that’s arbitrary, I’d just worry about getting it done period because it it gets done then we can always do more later.


You know what might also be alive again?  Ann Coulter’s speech not just At Berkeley but invited BY Berkeley which claims they have…

identified an appropriate, protectable venue that is available on the afternoon of May 2. While it is not one we have used for these sorts of events in the past, it can both accommodate a substantial audience and meet the security criteria established by our police department. Earlier today, we informed both the Berkeley College Republicans and the Coulter organization of this development, and we look forward to working with them. We will disclose the exact location of the venue once we have finalized details with both organizations.

Hotair explains the volte face:

She was going to show up anyway and create a security clusterfark for them when the usual suspects inevitably started smashing windows. That was the nuclear option. Berkeley doesn’t care about bad press from the right; the fascist left wears that as a badge of honor. They don’t care about First Amendment lawsuits either. But if the town is going to burn on the 27th and they’re going to get sued by the victims for not having done more to provide security, then sure, they’ll spring into action and find a “protectable venue.” If this standoff is destined to happen, better from the school’s perspective that it happen in an environment they can sort of control than one they can’t. Coulter forced them to choose. Any other conservative speaker with the guts and the dough to provide their own security, just in case, can probably get other public universities to back down with the same threat.

Coulter has told them they can go pound sand she’s coming the 27th anyway:

Hours later, Coulter shot down the invitation in a series of tweets and said she will speak at Berkeley on Thursday as planned not only because she “can’t do May 2,” but “THERE ARE NO CLASSES AT BERKELEY THE WEEK OF MAY 2!!!”

That week is “Dead Week,” a time when classes are suspended so students can study for exams.

“It’s at an awful time,” said Naweed Tahmas, 20, of the Berkeley College Republicans student group that invited Coulter. Also, the last day of instruction is three days later.

“Do not fall for b.s. Berkeley press release claiming they ‘rescinded’ cancelation,” Coulter tweeted. “GOOD NEWS FOR CA TAXPAYER! You won’t be required to pay $$$$ to compensate me & my crew for rebooked airfare & hotels. I’m speaking on 4/27.”

Your move Berkeley.


There was an interesting piece on Jake Tapper in the Washington Free Beacon worth quoting:

In a candid interview with GQ published Tuesday, Tapper acknowledged that after his tough interviews of administration figures like Kellyanne Conway, he picked up a following from many critics of President Donald Trump.

“It’s nice to be recognized, but I also know that a lot of the people who are happy with me now are not going to be happy with me in four to eight years,” he predicted.

Tapper said that he was just as tough on Obama, and earned his share of grief for it at the time.

“A lot of people sending me nice tweets today were cursing me when I was asking questions about Benghazi in 2012,” he said.

“President Obama was not friendly to the press, but the press was very friendly to President Obama,” Tapper told GQ. “I mean, President Obama did not like me, and I understand why. I was a pain in his ass and I didn’t drink the Kool-Aid, and, you know, a lot of other people did.”

This is what I’ve been saying for years, that once a Republican was elected, conservatives would think Tapper had turned on them, but he’s never been with us, he’s just been a reporter who actually reports.  Yeah he’s gotten a thing wrong or two on Trump (who he clearly doesn’t like) but I’m not going to throw Jake out of the bus for being what he’s always been, a journalist who asks a lot of tough questions that make people in power uncomfortable, whoever they are.


Some culture?  Olivia De Havilland (who I think my wife resembles) is the last great star of Hollywood’s golden age still alive, from Captain Blood (1933) to Gone with the Wind (1939) she’s done it all and this week demonstrated the class of that bygone generation in reply to questions concerning a new mini series Feud about Hollywood circa 1963.

De Havilland is played on the series by fellow Oscar winner Catherine Zeta-Jones as a regal friend and supporter of Davis, but she was not consulted by the show’s creators — Murphy recently told THR that he “didn’t want to intrude on Ms. de Havilland” — so THR emailed her (yes, she uses email) to ask for her thoughts about the show and the women at the center of it.

“I have received your email with its two questions,” De Havilland replied. “I would like to reply first to the second of these, which inquires of me the accuracy of a current television series entitled Feud, which concerns Bette Davis and Joan Crawford and their supposed animosity toward each other. Having not seen the show, I cannot make a valid comment about it. However, in principle, I am opposed to any representation of personages who are no longer alive to judge the accuracy of any incident depicted as involving themselves.”

Added De Havilland, “As to the 1963 Oscar ceremony, which took place over half a century ago, I regret to say that I have no memory of it whatsoever and therefore cannot vouch for its accuracy.”

I’m with Vulture.com here

Now, time to find a throw pillow large enough to embroider with every word of this email.


Susan Sarandon is one of the Stars of that series playing Joan Crawford.  She is an ultra leftist but as this story shows, she is an honest one:

“It doesn’t matter if you’re outspoken about Trump, because Hollywood hates Trump,” she says. “But it was brave of Richard to say what he said. He was drawing attention to the things that everyone has agreed not to pay attention to. That’s the sin.”

She’s talking about Richard Gere who has been blacklisted in Hollywood for the crime of Supporting Tibet and criticizing China and even indy films are iffy now:

Gere is now appearing in “Norman,” the story of a Jewish “fixer” who gets involved with an Israeli politician. He’ll soon star in “The Dinner,” a modest story about two couples arguing over their adult children’s troubles.

Pure indie filmmaking. Yet even some indie films are off limits to him now.

“There was something I was going to do with a Chinese director, and two weeks before we were going to shoot, he called saying, ‘Sorry, I can’t do it,’” confides Gere. “We had a secret phone call on a protected line. If I had worked with this director, he, his family would never have been allowed to leave the country ever again, and he would never work.”

It’s a reminder that China is the same dictatorship it always was, but just imagine if they told Hollywood to lay off of Trump or no $.  It would be fun to see which Hollywood types would bite their tongues off.  Sarandon wouldn’t, that’s why I respect her.


An earlier item mentioned Gronk that is Patriots Tight End Rob Gronkowski who was part of the Pat’s continent that visited the White House and caused the Patriots to call out the New York Times for Fake News:

and they posted a tweet comparing two compatible super bowl win visits

If you want to know why so many non-New England fans hate the patriots it’s because most can only dream about tweets that say “The last time the [insert their home team here] won two Super Bowls in three years”

and while the NYT has offered a mea culpa (via hotair)

You’ll notice that the 800+ retweets that got is a lot less that the Times original 50,000+


Finally while the Boston Bruins (down 3-1) and the top seeded Boston Celtics (down 2-0) are nearing first round playoff elimination and the Boston Red Sox season just starting (10-6) 3rd place in the East have are all newsworthy I think the big story is the real likelihood that Superbowl Hero Malcolm Butler might be done in New England:

New England Patriots cornerback Malcolm Butler has signed his restricted free-agent tender, which opens the possibility that the team could trade him.

Because a player can’t be traded unless he is under contract, Butler’s status was in limbo until he signed the $3.91 million tender.

Here’s why it makes it likely that he’s done here

The thinking would be similar to what the club did in 2016 when it shipped defensive end Chandler Jones to the Arizona Cardinals in exchange for a late second-round pick. The Patriots knew they were unlikely to sign Jones to a big-money extension after the season when he became an unrestricted free agent, so they decided that getting something valuable for him one year earlier was a worthwhile investment. They ultimately turned the pick they received for Jones into two players — starting guard Joe Thuney and promising receiver Malcolm Mitchell — en route to a Super Bowl championship.

Butler might even bring the Patriots a greater return in a year in which the club’s earliest selection in the draft is currently early in the third round, No. 72 overall. If the Saints were willing to return the first-round pick they received from the Patriots (No. 32 overall) in the Brandin Cooks trade, that might be enticing for Bill Belichick. Or a combination of high second- and third-round picks might even be viewed as more valuable to Belichick for a player who is unlikely to return to the team in 2018 after New England invested five years and $65 million in free-agent cornerback Stephon Gilmore.

Of course they might just decide they want to extraordinary CB’s this year to make the defense even more airtight.

He’s one of the few people to whom a Superbowl victory can be directly traced and is rightly considered by the NFL as the top Interception of all time:

I’d be sorry to see him go but if he ends up with a big contract elsewhere I’m happy to see him cash in, he earned it.


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Olimometer 2.52

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I don’t make it a practice to comment on potential legislation before reading it. Speculation takes too much bias and rumors into account which tends to sway the reader (and author) in directions before the truth is even known. I’m making this exception because if reports that Vice President Mike Pence has negotiated a deal with the Freedom Caucus turn out to be true, it could be the best move made by the administration on health care since taking office.

Then again, it might be a big nothingburger.

The good news: limited waivers for the states. This means states have opportunities to bypass certain provisions of the AHCA that would allow them to help drive down premiums.

The bad news: essential health benefits carry over from Obamacare. This will limit the decrease (and even perpetuate increases) in premiums for the vast majority of Americans.

We’ll see how it pans out, but here’s the thing. I know many if not most Republicans are in favor of repealing and replacing Obamacare with the AHCA. It would boost morale and take away certain chunks of the oppressive economic burden that Obamacare has placed on us. However, the details are terrifying to anyone who believes in limiting government and defending the freedoms we hold dear. The original AHCA was a repackaged version of nationalized medicine that would push us further down the road towards financial oblivion and what we’ve seen of the proposed changes don’t change that. It would potentially slow down skyrocketing insurance costs, but it wouldn’t reverse them. In essence, it’s not a solution to Obamacare but a way to spread out the ill effects. We will still be paying way more than we were just a few years ago. We will still be ballooning the national debt and making little impact on our outrageously unbalanced budget.

Full repeal is the right way to go. That’s not to say that we need to return to the pre-Obamacare era. Changes need to be made, but those changes should come based upon reactions and analysis once it’s repealed rather than trying to plug all of the potential holes ahead of time. If we repeal Obamacare and allow the free market to guide the government on changes to be made, the end result will be much better. We can already plan for some of the changes such as opening up competition across state lines. We can work with charities, communities, and local governments to fill the gaps and prevent people from falling through the cracks. By repealing Obamacare fully in stages over the next 1-3 years and then watching how consumers, health insurance companies, and markets react, we can make intelligent decisions rather than speculative ones.

Of note is that the Freedom Caucus is supporting the amendments to the bill. We’ll see what that really looks like. Getting government out of health care is the only truly conservative/federalist way of fixing it. If they’re willing to negotiate, I would hope it’s because they believe in the plan and not because they’re feeling pressure from donors and the White House.

Only time will tell and speculation at this point is premature, but it will be interesting to see just how revamped Ryancare 2.0 really is. The bright spot I’ve seen in initial reports is that leftist publications like WaPo and HuffPo seem to hate the idea, so that’s good.

Some kind of mask at the Chicago Moons the Trump Tower rally two months ago

By John Ruberry

On Saturday, three days before the deadline to file 2016 federal income tax returns, there were a couple of dozen rallies across the nation that called for President Donald J. Trump to release his returns to the public.

The republic somehow managed to survive nearly 200 years before Richard M. Nixon, under pressure by the way, became the first president to release his federal tax returns.

Yesterday I worked. I was building my income for next year’s tax deadline date, so I cannot pass on my eyewitness observations on any of yesterday’s anti-Trump rallies. But as with another tax-related anti-Trump gathering, one that I did see in person, Chicago Moons the Trump Tower, according to media reports, there were many colorful costumes, including masks, as well as meticulously designed signs. Leftist rallies are part protest and part Mardi Gras. For the progs these festivals are nothing more than a way to blow off steam, and a less expensive method than a session at a shrink’s office, unless, of course, you spent a lot of money on your Trump mask with devil horns, bright orange hair, and a Hitler mustache.

The mainstream media, that is the anti-Trump media, fawned over this springtime Festivus, unlike the dismissive tone they took with the 2010 Tax Day Tea Party rallies, which were arguably the halcyon moment of the Tea Party movement, that is, until Trump’s election last year.

Blogger running the Boston Marathon in 2004

“Someone should look into who paid for the small organized rallies yesterday. The election is over,” Trump tweeted this morning. And yes the election is indeed over. Despite last year’s haranguing by the Democrats and their media allies, Trump still won the presidency even though he didn’t make his returns public. That bus left the station. Very few Americans passionately care about Trump’s tax returns, unlike such concerns as keeping more of their income.

But there is an upside to Saturday’s frivolities. At least those leftists who designed those striking Trump masks already have their Halloween costume in hand. Make Halloween Great Again.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

 

I know someone who is environmentally conscious, minority-empowering, and socially aware who also happens to be extremely conservative. Her “bleeding heart” has been tempered by reality. She knows there are problems that need to be addressed but she’s not so naive to believe the gut response for action is the right way to address most situations. I know all of these things because she married me a quarter century ago. I also know she’s not an anomaly.

My wife had been a lifelong Republican up until recently when she realized that the GOP is the slightly-less-big-government alternative to the Democratic Party. We both gave the Tea Party a shot and helped get as many conservatives elected as possible in recent years, but the Tea Party’s influence is waning with the Establishment solidifying its power over the party that once belonged to Coolidge and Reagan. That’s why we became Federalists.

For conservatism and/or classical liberalism to break through the stranglehold the Establishment’s Democratic-Republicans have over DC, we’ll need to embrace a more intellectual tone and understanding of several issues that are normally associated with liberals. We need more small-government-loving, freedom-defending conservatives in office and we need them there quickly, but conservatives can’t do it alone. It’s time to start recruiting people who are conservatives at heart but who believe their only option to promote the issues important to them is through the Democratic Party.

Here are three issues normally considered to be liberal beacons that conservatives can and should commandeer:

Save the environment… locally

There was some excitement among conservatives when new EPA chief Scott Pruitt started espousing Federalism in the government’s approach to the environment. In reality, he didn’t go quite far enough since he was promoting cooperative Federalism. What we really need is dual Federalism at the EPA where the state and local governments focus on their own areas while the EPA itself fades into nothingness; they should be cut to the point of only handling interstate challenges where the actions of one state have an impact on another. These cases are few and far between.

Those who believe that saving the environment is important almost always lean towards the Democratic Party. What these people don’t realize is that the environmental plans pushed forth by the Democratic Party are generally ineffective and invariably wasteful of time, money, and resources. The conservative/Federalist methodology to clean up the planet should focus on the local environment. Instead of spending billions on decrees from Paris, environmentalists should be mobilizing their local communities to promote recycling programs, clean-up initiatives of local water supplies, and energy awareness campaigns. Instead of laying down rules from DC, the states should be making decisions about what’s best for their own land, air, and bodies of water. After all, they know their own environment better than any Washington bureaucrat.

When environmentalists are shown the benefits  working within their own areas of influence rather than allowing the federal government to dictate, many of them will come to the conclusion they’re not wasteful Democrats. They’re small-government Federalists.

Empower minorities… with equality

Let’s face it. Affirmative Action is a broken notion. It may have been necessary at one point, but today the best way to empower minorities is to make sure they have equal footing. Every American citizen should be just that: an American citizen. Race should play no part in whether someone should be given government assistance for education, priority for employment mandated by DC, or special treatment through government programs.

Many in the Republican Party, in an effort to attract more minorities, are embracing ideas that support or resemble the tenets of Affirmative Action. When then-candidate Trump went after Justice Antonin Scalia for telling the truth about Affirmative Action’s effects on minorities, we saw the playbook that the future administration and his party would be using. They worry that if they don’t keep entitlements and programs that benefit minorities in place, they’ll lose elections.

As a minority, I know I’m not alone in not wanting a “helping hand” from the government because of my race. I don’t need it and to insinuate that I do is an insult. There’s a difference between fighting discrimination and elevating people based upon their race: one protects minorities while the other hampers them (even if it doesn’t seem like it at the time). Neither discrimination nor Affirmative Action have a place in this country anymore. Instead, we need to allow all races the equal footing they deserve to find success the American way.

The strategy the GOP is using to push left in regards to minorities is a losing play in the long term. Democrats will rebound with minorities in the coming elections because they’ll go even further to the left by giving primacy to minorities. The proper conservative message isn’t to say, “here’s more for you and your race.” It should be, “here’s equal footing, now go make it happen.” There will always be those who want any advantage they can get and chances are they’ll always be Democrats no matter how far left the GOP goes. What we’ve seen is that the message of true equality resonates much better with a good portion of minorities who would never be Republicans but who aren’t interested in what the Democrats are selling them.

Support social programs… through private organizations

When the topic of “social programs” is brought up, it’s common for people to divide along party lines. Democrats generally want more social programs while Republicans generally want fewer. To the Democrats, they’re essential. To the Republicans, they’re a waste. In a way, they’re both right. In another way, they’re both very wrong.

While there are some social programs that are absolutely not necessary, some are truly essential for the well-being of many Americans as the Democrats contend. On the other hand, they’re also a burden on taxpayers; many should be eliminated as the Republicans contend. The reality is that the vast majority of them should be transitioned to the public sector.

Republican politicians will argue that they’ve been saying that for some time and they’re correct. The problem is that they’ve done absolutely nothing to push this concept forward since the mid-1980s. Yes, they say it. No, they don’t do it. They don’t even try. It’s just part of their campaign spiel.

Fiscal and social conservative citizens and even a very small handful of lawmakers realize that privatizing most of these programs will have three effects: the burden will shift from taxpayers to fundraising (forced funding versus voluntary funding), community-based initiatives with centralized oversight and assistance (dual federalism in action in the private sector) will reduce corruption, and the overall effectiveness of the programs will generally improve. There will be some failures. There will be some corruption. Both will be reduced compared to what we’re seeing from DC-run social programs today.

There are more conservatives in America who don’t realize they’re conservative because they’ve fallen for the false narratives of both major parties. The Democrats keep saying “if you believe in this, you’re a liberal,” while the Republicans generally agree. If we expand upon the message that small-government Federalism is a better fit for addressing many issues associated with liberalism, we’ll find that more people realize they were conservatives all along.