The presidents and the press

By Christopher Harper

President Trump probably wouldn’t rank in the top five opponents of the media among U.S. presidents.

That’s the verdict of The New York Times in a review of a recent book, “The Presidents vs. the Press: The Endless Battle Between the White House and the Media — From the Founding Fathers to Fake News” by Harold Holzer. 

Yes, that assessment appeared in DaTimes, albeit from Jack Shafer, the media analyst of Politico.

The book’s author is no fan of President Trump. Holzer worked for U.S. Rep. Bella Abzug and New York Gov. Mario Cuomo. 

John Adams signed sedition acts into law and used them against his critics in the media. George Washington even supported Adams’ anti-media tendencies. In his post-presidential years, Adams lamented that people read only Federalist or Republican newspapers—not both—leaving them with a one-sided view of the government in power. Sounds like a prelude to Fox and MSNBC.

Abraham Lincoln, arguably the best president in the nation’s history, imprisoned editors during the Civil War, banned newspapers from using the mail, and even confiscated printing presses. “Altogether, nearly 200 papers would face federally initiated subjugation during the Civil War,” Holzer writes. 

The Roosevelts enjoyed some of the best press among the presidents. But even they took aim at recalcitrant reporters. Theodore Roosevelt rebuked investigative journalists as “muckrakers,” or those who could only look down into the muck. He also filed a libel suit against Joseph Pulitzer’s New York World, which finally was dismissed by the U.S. Supreme Court. 

During World War II, Franklin Roosevelt ordered massive censorship of news organizations, including a government Office of the Censor. His administration also penalized any news organization that reported about his paralysis or his ill health in his final years.

President Woodrow Wilson imposed censorship during World War I in a heavy-handed manner, and his Espionage Act still stands as a repressive law against whistleblowers. 

The battle between President Richard Nixon and his press critics is well documented here—as it has been elsewhere. 

Although Holzer batters Trump for his attacks on the press, the author doesn’t hold back on Barack Obama. Holzer recalls the analysis of former Washington Post managing editor Leonard Downie Jr. that Obama’s “war on leaks and other efforts to control information” were the worst Washington had seen since Nixon.

All told, the book analyzes the 18 of the 45 presidents, with many nuggets about the various administrations.

For example, one journalist confides that the press was as much responsible for the New Deal as was FDR because of the glowing media coverage. That sounds about right!

Moreover, the press ignored JFK’s extra-marital affairs because journalists didn’t think the private doings affected public business. That, of course, ignored at least one affair that straddled a mistress and the Mob. One reporter referred to the president as the “swashbuckler in chief.”

Despite JFK’s tryst with the media, he targeted some enemies, including Henry Luce of Time and David Halberstam of DaTimes.

Although I’ve never been a fan of Lyndon Johnson, the saddest tales come from his administration. LBJ had a massive mandate from the voters in 1964–more than 61 percent–and an excellent rapport with the press. He managed to lose both public and the media’s support by misleading them about the war in Vietnam in what became known as the government’s credibility gap.

Quinnen Williams and another opportunity to change the gun narrative

Gun Case, from eBay

Democrat presidential candidates continue to dominate the news with calls for increasing gun control measures. They are quick to cite fake statistics about gun violence and use every tragedy to maximum extent. While President Trump has remained pro-Second Amendment, he hasn’t pushed much in terms of a counter-narrative recently. The recent arrest of New York Jets player Quinnen Williams provides a great opportunity to strike back.

Quinnen was arrested recently in LaGuardia Airport for gun possession. Most of the headlines would have you believe he walked into the airport with a loaded weapon and attempted to board a flight. That’s not what happened. Quinnen brought an unloaded firearm in his checked luggage into the airport. He had a permit for the weapon, but it was from Alabama, not New York. In typical New York fashion, he was immediately arrested and faces a felony possession charge.

New York gun laws are ridiculous. Even if you aren’t a state resident, the state of New York requires regularly attempts to enforce local laws on you. This is key because LaGuardia is particularly notorious for violating the Federal Owners Protection Act (FOPA), which allows transportation of firearms between states. But as noted at NRA’s website:

Special advisory for New York & New Jersey airports: Despite federal law that protects travelers, authorities at JFK, La Guardia, Newark, and Albany airports have been known to enforce state and local firearm laws against airline travelers who are passing through their jurisdictions. In some cases, even persons traveling in full compliance with federal law have been arrested or threatened with arrest. FOPA’s protections have been substantially narrowed by court decisions in certain parts of the country, particularly in the Northeast. Persons traveling through New York and New Jersey airports may want to consider shipping their firearms to their final destinations rather than bringing them through airports in these jurisdictions.

NRA-ILA website

Personally, I hate flying through New York anyway, and unless I have to, I won’t use their airports. Perhaps a long-term boycott by gun owners would be in order?

Quinnen obviously attempted to follow the law. He wasn’t walking into an airport with a loaded weapon. His story shows that attempting to follow the rules doesn’t matter to New York, where its OK to pick and choose what federal laws you follow. This makes him the perfect person to hold up and challenge the ongoing gun narrative. His case may be one to help challenge, and ultimately change, some of New York’s onerous rules on gun transportation.

This post represents the views of the author and not those of the Department of Defense, Department of the Navy, or any other government agency.

Who is Mike Bloomberg?

By John Ruberry

As expected because Michael Bloomberg is rising in the Democratic polls, there’s a backlash from the far-left against his candidacy. The far-left of course is no longer a fringe within the Democrat Party. Socialist Bernie Sanders has a very good shot of winning the Democratic nomination. The Vermont senator will almost certainly lose to Donald Trump if he gets the Dems’ nod in Milwaukee, but Bernie will set a new record for highest percentage of vote collected by a self-admitted socialist, the previous high was the six percent collected by Eugene V. Debs in 1912, which until recently was seen as an astoundingly high amount.

Times have changed but not that much. A majority of Americans do not want socialized medicine, oops, make that “Medicare for All,” the Green New Deal, and student loan bailouts.

But most Democrats oppose Trump, no, make that they despise Trump. And with the collapse of the not-so-left wing campaign of Joe Biden, some Dems are looking at Mike Bloomberg as their savior.

Bloomberg was a lifelong Democrat until he successfully ran as a Republican for mayor of New York in 2001. Then he quit the GOP and ran as an independent for mayor in 2009, winning again. Now he’s a Democrat again.

As mayor Bloomberg kept Rudy Giuiliani’s successful CompStat policing program. New York endured 2,245 murders in 1990.Three years Guiliani was elected, now annual murders in NYC hovers around 300. CompStat floods dangerous neighborhoods with police officers–and until recently stop-and-frisk was part of policing in those crime-ridden areas. Last week leaked audio emerged from 2015 where Bloomberg supports it. “95% of murders — murderers and murder victims — fit one M.O. You can just take a description, Xerox it, and pass it out to all the cops. They are male minorities, 16 to 25,” Bloomberg said. “The way you get the guns out of the kids’ hands is to throw them up against the wall and frisk them … And then they start … ‘Oh, I don’t want to get caught,’ so they don’t bring the gun. They still have a gun, but they leave it at home.”

Remember, the Dems are the party of Black Lives Matter. When former Maryland governor Martin O’Malley said at a Netroots even “All lives matter,” he was booed and then he quickly apologized.

Whatever happened to O’Malley?

This morning Politico found a 2013 videotape where Bloomberg, not favorably, compared an NYC teachers union to the National Rifle Association. That’s a problem for Bloomberg, as the Democrats, among other things, is the party of the public-sector unions. The same unions that have destroyed the finances of many states and cities, most of them run by Democrats

New York City hasn’t been hit as hard by the pension bomb as much as Chicago, which is bankrupt-in-all-but name because of unfunded public-sector union pension obligations, and Bloomberg deserves some of the credit for that. As he was leaving the mayor’s office Bloomberg warned of a “fiscal straitjacket” for cities and a “labor-electoral complex that has traditionally stymied reform.”

Bloomberg got rid of, or at least eliminated, the infamous “rubber rooms” for New York public school teachers who were paid to do nothing, while still getting paid by taxpayers, as they awaited their dismissal hearings.

So Bloomberg, in my opinion, did some good as mayor. Now he has apologized for his support of stop-and-frisk. Now Bloomberg has to make peace the public-sector unions. Look for other embarrassing video and audio clips to emerge. Surely staffers from the remaining Democratic campaigns are scouring the internet and public records; hey, they even may be scanning Babylonian tablets looking for dirt on Bloomberg.

Like Trump, Bloomberg has not released his tax returns. He promises them “soon.”

Bloomberg risks looking like an opportunist who will change his views to be elected president. The NeverTrump movement of 2016 within the GOP accused Trump of being a Democrat who was masquerading as a Republican to win the White House, one who would govern as a Democrat. Of course that hasn’t happened, Trump is the most conservative president since Ronald Reagan.

There’s much for woke Democrats, the Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez wing, to hate in regards to Mayor Mike.

Just as I am in this post, the far-left wing of the Democrats will be wondering, if they are not already, just who is the real Michael Bloomberg.

Republicans and many independents already know who the real Donald Trump is. Love him or hate him, Trump is genuine.

People don’t like phonies. They don’t like sneaky people, and Hillary Clinton has been a sneak for decades. So it’s pretty funny that according to the Drudge Report, Bloomberg is considering HRC as a running mate, even though one of them will have to declare residency in another state because the Constitution prevents a presidential ticket with two candidates from the same state. 

Back to the beginning of my post: Most Americans don’t want a socialist president.

The Democrats might need a new candidate to rescue them. Biden of course has already failed. Who else do they have? Martin O’Malley?

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

Andrew Jackson’s censure was expunged, what about Trump’s impeachment?

By John Ruberry

Last week of course President Donald J. Trump was acquitted by the Senate after being impeached by the House. Ironically the acquittal comes in what was arguably the president’s most successful week in his 37 months in office. His not-so-loyal opposition, the Democrats, embarrassed themselves by taking several days to count 170,000 or so votes ending up with results, essentially a tie between Pete Buttigieg and Bernie Sanders, that leave more questions than answers.

Last week the stock market reached new highs–again. The employment numbers that were released on Friday were great–again. His State of the Union speech, which extolled “the Great American comeback,” given the evening before his acquittal, was enthusiastically received by his base, as was his “victory lap” celebration at the White House on Thursday.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi looked petty–wait, make that she was petty–as she ripped up her copy of President Trump’s SOTU speech.

“Trump keeps going,” Greg Gutfeld said on his Fox News show last night. “He doesn’t have the wind at his back. He’s got a Category 5 hurricane.”

In a feeble defense of why the House impeached the president, Pelosi said in December, “He’ll be impeached forever.” On Wednesday, Acquittal Day in the Senate, Trump was forever acquitted.

Trump’s favorite president is Andrew Jackson. Ironically he was the founder of the Democratic Party. In 1834, after Old Hickory removed federal funds from the government-chartered Second Bank of the United States and deposited them in state banks, the Senate censured Jackson. In 1837 the Senate expunged the censure.

There is talk of the House expunging Trump’s impeachment, which, like the expungement of Old Hickory’s censure, will be symbolic. Then again, “impeached forever” is largely symbolic too. Last week House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) said he favors it. “This is the fastest, weakest, most political impeachment in history,” McCarthy said. “I don’t think it should stay on the books.”

Calling it, again, “a total political hoax,” Trump supports McCarthy’s suggestion.

If the Republicans retake the House this year, look for the 117th Congress to expunge Trump’s impeachment.

A lot has been made of Trump’s demeanor, most of it criticism from his opponents. But Jackson, who killed a man in a duel, tops Trump in bellicose talk. As he was leaving office in 1837, he asked by his successor, his second vice president, Martin Van Buren, if he had any regrets. He had two, “[That] I didn’t shoot Henry Clay and I didn’t hang John C. Calhoun.”

Clay led the censure battle. Calhoun was Jackson’s first vice president and who was a primary figure opposing Old Hickory during the Nullification Crisis.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

Egyptians for Trump

By Christopher Harper

It came as a pleasant surprise when I heard about the widespread support for Donald Trump in Egypt.

“No one wanted Hillary,” said one Egyptian acquaintance. “She and Obama were a disaster.”

I heard this sentiment several times during a two-week stay in Egypt.

Back in 2009, President Obama called for a “new beginning” between the Islamic world and the U.S. during a speech at Cairo University. He promised to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay, to pursue Palestinian-Israeli peace, and to bring U.S. troops home from Iraq.

His promises went nowhere. It’s also worth noting that the president insisted on having a delegation from the Muslim Brotherhood attend the speech, a group that eventually came to power and ushered in two deadly years at the head of Egypt’s government. 

By the end of his presidency, Obama faced a great deal of bitterness from Arabs. That view came across in a variety of Arab countries in a Pew Research Center survey in June 2015. Support for Obama was incredibly low: about a third of the Lebanese, 15 percent of Palestinians, and 14 percent of Jordanians. See https://www.pewresearch.org/global/2015/06/23/1-americas-global-image/

Although Egypt was not included in the Pew survey, the country got little support from Obama after the 2009 speech.

The Hoover Institution provided an analysis of what Obama did wrong in his relationship with Egypt:

–Obama ignored Egypt’s traditional role as a bridge between Arabs and Israel.

–The president ignored Egypt when taking on Libya and removing its leader.

–The administration failed to lean on the most significant military power in the Arab world during a variety of problems in the region. 

When the Egyptians finally got rid of the Muslim Brotherhood, Obama suspended military aid. 

Ultimately, Obama and Egyptian President Abdel el-Sisi only met on the sidelines at the United Nations. That rebuff to a traditional Arab ally left a bad taste in the mouths of many Egyptians.

“For its part, Washington should expect to provide Egypt’s military leaders the political embrace that Obama was always reluctant to offer, but also requests from Egyptians that it would compensate them in the currency that matters most – U.S. regional leadership that would lead to a resumption of Saudi and other Gulf assistance to help Cairo weather crushing economic problems,” a Hoover Institution analysis argued at the beginning of the Trump era. 

Three years later, Trump has accomplished much of what the Hoover Institution suggested. That’s why Egyptians were happy that Trump beat Hillary and remain so today.

Five Quick One Line Truths Media vs Trump, the London Stabbing, Pot, Education and this year’s Pats Under the Fedora

If the Democrats / Media had treated Donald Trump like both a regular candidate, and a regular president right from the start, they would not be in the pickle or the bubble they are in today.

Thinking of the rise of Islam in general and the London stabbing in particular, you have to go to the mid 30’s to find European governments in general and England in particular so wedded to the idea of appeasement in the face of a foe willing to supplement or destroy them.

The social costs of the normalization and/or legalization of Pot were as obvious as the social costs the normalization of porn which were, in my opinion, a feature rather than a bug to those who have pushed these results.

When I look at Universities taking big money from those who have made it their mission to bring down American society and destroy education I understand the old communist saying about capitalists selling them the ropes to hang them.

Finally, the most amazing thing about the New England Patriots record this season is that, thanks to Nick Folk emergency surgery, as of today they have field twice as many different kickers this season (4) as they have from 1996 till last year (2).