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On Exhaustion: Life in the Age of Trump

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“I’m tired, Boss.”  So says John Coffey in the movie The Green Mile.  I know the feeling.  As CRTV’s Steve Deace has stated on several occasions, trying to keep up with the goings on of the Trump administration feels like aging in dog years.  Every month, week, day, sometimes even every hour, is going to be some new fire to put out.  When will it end and where will it leave us?

Now, when I say I’m exhausted, I don’t mean physically.  All things considered, and most people probably feel the same way, I have a good life.  I’m happily married.  My wife and I have three wonderful children.  I’m active at a wonderful church and I enjoy the work I do as an attorney.  With that said, like many of you, I am mentally and emotionally exhausted.  I have followed politics closely most of my life and I have never been so mentally drained from trying to process it all.  Just checking my news feeds can be excruciating.

Death by A Thousand Cuts

Last night, President Trump announced his new strategy for Afghanistan and South Asia.  These are serious issues, and are times where a President can shine by focusing national attention on our collective security.  However, almost up to the moment he took to the podium, we were discussing whether or not he’s a racist and why he’s providing moral equivalency to white nationalists.  From one minute to the next, there is no down time.  It’s constant crisis, with no time for the adrenaline to level off and get the heart rate back to normal.

This type of leadership, or lack thereof, leads to exhaustion for the average citizen.  This is a problem for the President.  Full disclosure, I did not vote for Trump.  I left the Republican Party in May 2016.  My fears of what a potential Trump presidency would look like have become reality.  With that said, I do want the President to be successful, in that I want what’s best for my country and fellow citizens.  President Trump’s problem now is that the dumpster fire is so big, he’s lost any moral authority to push any type of agenda.  Even those agenda measures we may agree with.  No matter the issue, for the remainder of Trump’s presidency, his motivations will be second guessed.  Sadly, nothing of the conservative agenda will be advanced.  As the recently unemployed Steve Bannon said, the presidency that millions voted for is effectively over.

Take last night’s speech for example.  We’ve been in Afghanistan for sixteen years.  I served in the US Navy during, and after, 9/11.  That makes me very hesitant to be critical of any mission where men and women are still in the field, but there are concerns.  I do not sit in the Pentagon and I have no idea what the current intelligence looks like.  I have to trust that the President and his military advisors are making the best decisions for the safety and security of our nation.  They very well may be, but how many among us looked at that speech and somewhere deep down thought “he’s just trying to move on from the Charlottesville controversy?”  How many have thought the timing of the speech a little too suspect?  We judge actions and motivations based on past performance, and with this president we’ve got a lot of material.

The eight years of the Obama administration were a disaster for the political right.  We watched as policy and culture raced leftward at an extraordinary pace.  Yet, somehow I do not recall being as mentally and emotionally drained, politically, over those eight years as I have been the last seven months.  It just wears on, day after day.  Week after week and month after month.

Getting Up Off The Mat

Republicans cannot win this two front war.  They cannot simultaneously defeat the left in the war of ideas and institute a conservative agenda in the age of Trump.  They will continue to suffer losses and lose ground on both fronts.  Trying to defend and deal with each crisis being inflicted by “your side” is exhausting.  That is constant damage control.  Attacking an opposing ideology actually invigorates and bolsters one’s resolve.  It provides a clarity of purpose.

There does appear to be a new voice emerging.  The Federalist Party has stepped into the breach and is attempting to return us to our founding principles, which served this nation so well for the first 150+ years of our existence.  They wish to return to the system as founded.  At the nation’s founding, the federal government was limited by the Constitution.  The many States had the power to regulate their own affairs, so long as they did not violate the Constitution.  Decisions affecting communities were made by those who lived in the communities affected.  The people’s representatives were citizen-servants, not career politicians.

Being a part of renewing the Federalist Party has given me a new sense of purpose and a renewed political energy.  It is exciting to look to the future and see what could be, for the sake of our children and our nation.  We are in a time of binary choices, which have led to nothing except bad choices.  Democrats and republicans are beholden to special interests that do not reflect the needs and wants of the citizens.  The Federalist Party is creating a home for those who realize the real power lies with the people.  The party trusts our fellow citizens to be able to debate ideas.  Residents can reach solutions which are most beneficial for their own communities.  They are building the party from the ground up.  Local elected offices are just as important, if not more so, than national office holders.

I’m not saying we all need to wear powdered wigs and debate the issues of the day in hot rooms.  After all, it is not the middle of summer circa 1776.  However, the time is ripe to establish a place where we can once again debate issues respectfully and win over our fellow citizens on the merits of our ideas.  All I know is that it will be much more beneficial to our metal and emotional health if we can establish a new paradigm.

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Democrats

2020 hopefuls lurching leftward to appeal to radical progressive base

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2020 hopefuls lurching leftward to appeal to radical progressive base

The great primary evolution is already starting. We saw it in 2016 as every Republican candidate tried to “evolve” their views to cater to the conservative base. No evolution was more striking than candidate Trump’s, who went from supporting gun bans and partial birth abortion as a younger man to being one of the most conservative candidates during the primaries.

We’re seeing it now with the Democratic candidates and potential candidates as they try to plant their ideological flags as far to the left as possible. Former Trump pollster John Mclaughlin gave his opinion on the leftward lurch of the field, focusing on Elizabeth Warren, Cory “Spartacus” Booker, and Kamala Harris. Each has attempted to paint themselves as the radical progressive the primary-voting base desires. All of them were much more moderate in the past. Warren was even a Republican in the 1990s.

The thing that makes this trend most disturbing is that the “far left” of the past is nothing compared to the radical progressivism of today’s Democratic base. By the time the primaries really heat up, most if not all will be full-blown socialists.


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Foreign Affairs

NY Times invokes Martin Luther King Jr. to attack Israel

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NY Times invokes Martin Luther King Jr to attack Israel

When a nation the size of New Jersey is surrounded by enemies and is the subject of incessant condemnation from the United Nations, it’s natural to assume thoughtful people will take a complete look at its circumstances before deciding which side of a contentious debate to support. This is why many Americans still choose to support the nation of Israel despite mainstream media’s efforts to frame it as evil.

Unfortunately, the debate is so complex, most Americans form their perspectives based on very limited data. Passions are so strong on both sides that it often comes down to which side’s message is loudest in the ears of those deciding who to support. The Israel-Palestine debate has been ongoing since the tiny nation was first formed and ramped up greatly following the attacks on Israel in 1967 that resulted in necessary expansion.

Today, the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and Golan Heights are all considered “occupied” territories by a majority around the world, at least among those who are paying attention. Despite clear evidence that the very existence of Israel would be threatened if these lands were “returned” to the Palestinians, most of the world calls for the two-state solution as the path to peace.

On top of the disputed lands, the way that Israel maintains peace within its own lands is labeled as oppression against Palestinians living there. The core of the BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) movement’s message is that the Palestinian people are being persecuted. To support this premise, an activist at the NY Times is invoking Martin Luther King Jr and his opposition to the Vietnam War as the roadmap by which BDS activists should muster their own courage and build more support to fight the nation of Israel.

Time to Break the Silence on Palestine

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/19/opinion/sunday/martin-luther-king-palestine-israel.htmlReading King’s speech at Riverside more than 50 years later, I am left with little doubt that his teachings and message require us to speak out passionately against the human rights crisis in Israel-Palestine, despite the risks and despite the complexity of the issues. King argued, when speaking of Vietnam, that even “when the issues at hand seem as perplexing as they often do in the case of this dreadful conflict,” we must not be mesmerized by uncertainty. “We must speak with all the humility that is appropriate to our limited vision, but we must speak.”

To be clear, King was opposed to a war that resulted in the deaths of 1,350,000 people, which is nearly the same amount of Arabs living in Israel currently. King was opposed to a war in which no Americans were attacked prior to us getting involved. Israel is attacked regularly from multiple groups in and out of the nation who support the Palestinian movement. King was opposed to a war that took focus and resources away from his cause.

As he said, “We were taking the black young men who had been crippled by our society and sending them eight thousand miles away to guarantee liberties in Southeast Asia which they had not found in southwest Georgia and East Harlem.”

To be fair, the author of the NY Times article, Michelle Alexander, was using his anti-war speech to demonstrate the courage King displayed as inspiration for the courage she feels BDS supporters need today. Had she left it there, then there wouldn’t be much of a need to respond. However, she continued in the article to speculate King may not have been happy with Israel back then. Worse, she implied that he could have been a supporter of the BDS movement today.

This opinion is beyond questionable. King’s motivations for not wanting to outwardly support Israel’s actions following the Six Day War were for the sake of his movement, not based on personal feelings on the matter. It made sense to not take a side in a debate in which many of his supporters of African or Middle Eastern descent may have objected.

It is becoming increasing common in the BDS movement to point solely towards the actions of the Israeli government while ignoring the reasons for these actions. They often talk about homes being bulldozed, but they ignore the fact that punitive demolitions are a result of terrorist attacks. I am not in favor of these demolitions, but I would never hide the facts to support my claims. The BDS movement realizes calling out Israel for bulldozing Palestinian homes is most effective if the reasons are never mentioned.

As pro-BDS articles go, this one was strikingly coherent. This is a bigger problem than the unhinged hate articles we often see from BDS supporters. It’s easy to see how this one-sided portrayal in a publication as strong as the NY Times that invokes an icon like Martin Luther King Jr can garner support for the movement from those who would otherwise never consider it. The article is very careful to cut off cries of antisemitism and is written for rational thinkers rather than emotional feelers.

But therein lies the problem. It invokes King and his famous speech knowing full well few will actually read it. If they take the time to read or hear it, they’ll wonder what any of that has to do with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The NY Times is betting on the easy odds that nobody’s going to take the time.

None of the seven reasons King gives for opposing the Vietnam War could be applied to Israel. Invoking the speech and insinuating he would have been a BDS supporter is a disingenuous attempt to equate his righteous activism to the BDS movement itself.


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Entertainment and Sports

Harden scores 48 points, Rockets beat Lakers 138-134 in OT

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Harden scores 48 points Rockets beat Lakers 138-134 in OT

HOUSTON (AP) — James Harden was the star for the Houston Rockets as usual on Saturday night, but he and the team got a big boost from Eric Gordon in his second game back after recovering from a bruised knee.

Harden scored 48 points, Gordon added 30 and the Rockets overcame a 21-point deficit to beat the Los Angeles Lakers 138-134 in overtime.

The Rockets trailed for most of the night and were down by 18 in the second-half. Gordon sent it to overtime with a 3-pointer, and made four free throws in the last seconds of the extra period.

“He’s playing unbelievable,” coach Mike D’Antoni said of Gordon.

Coming off 57- and 58-point games, Harden had his 19th straight game with at least 30 and he’s had 40 in 10 of the last 13. He was 14 of 30 from the field, going 8 of 19 on 3-pointers, and hit 12 of 15 free throws.

Harden was asked if Gordon being back after missing eight games before his return on Wednesday night eased the burden on him a little bit.

“A little bit? It takes a lot of burden off me,” Harden said. “He’s so offensively gifted and talented being able to shoot the basketball, being able to get to the rim, being able to make plays for others. You get a guy like that on the floor with you it makes it easier for not only myself but for everybody.”

Brandon Ingram missed a 3 for Los Angeles before Harden hit 1 of 2 free throws to make it 132-130 with less than a minute left. Ingram tied it with a basket, and Harden again made 1 of 2 free throws to make it 133-132.

Los Angeles missed a 3 before Gordon also made just 1 of 2 free throws to leave Houston up by two with 12.6 seconds left. Kyle Kuzma lost the ball and it went out of bounds to give Houston the ball back. Gordon added four free throws after that to secure the victory.

It was the second straight overtime game for both teams after Houston lost to Brooklyn on Wednesday night and Los Angeles beat Oklahoma City on Thursday night.

Kuzma had 32 points for Los Angeles and Ingram added 21 in a game where coach Luke Walton was ejected in the third quarter.

Already without LeBron James and Rajon Rondo, the Lakers have another injury concern after Lonzo Ball sprained his left ankle in the third quarter. Walton said his X-rays were negative but that he’d have an MRI and “we’ll see where we are after that.”

Four straight points by the Lakers stretched the lead to nine in the fourth quarter, but Harden and Gordon made consecutive 3-pointers cut it to 112-109 with about two minutes remaining.

Los Angeles made four free throws to make it 116-109 about a minute later, but Harden made two 3-pointers around a basket by Ivica Zubac to get Houston within three with about 30 seconds left.

Lance Stephenson missed a 3-pointer and Harden made two free throws to cut the lead to 118-117 with 5.7 seconds left.

Zubac made two more free throws before Gordon’s off-balance 3-pointer with 2 seconds left sent it to OT.

“I saw Kentavious Caldwell-Pope running out to me and I thought he was going to fly right by me, but he stood right there,” Gordon said. “So I had to try to shoot it with confidence and I’m glad it went in.”

The Lakers built a huge lead early and were up 64-46 at halftime, with Kuzma scoring 24 points.

They were ahead by 17 with about eight minutes left in the third quarter after scoring five straight points capped by a basket from Kuzma before Houston scored the next 15 points to cut it to 74-72 three minutes later. James Ennis had five points in that stretch and P.J. Tucker capped it with a 3-pointer.

Ball was injured just before Houston’s run began. He remained on the court for a couple of minutes talking with trainer’s before he was helped to his feet where he hopped on his right foot for a few steps before being carried off the court and to the locker room by Stephenson and Michael Beasley.

Walton was ejected a couple of minutes after that when he got two technical fouls after yelling at officials during a timeout.

Ingram pointed to losing Ball as when things started to get away from the Lakers.

“Right when Lonzo went out,” he said. “That’s exactly when it went away. We lost momentum a little bit.”

TIP-INS

Lakers: James was out for the 13th straight game with a strained left groin and did not make the trip. … Stephenson finished with 16 points.

Rockets: Harden also had eight rebounds, six assists and four steals. … Ennis returned after missing Wednesday’s game after cutting his left leg in a fall at his house. … Chris Paul missed his 14th game in a row with a strained left hamstring … Clint Capela had surgery to repair a torn ligament in his right thumb and is expected to be out 4-6 weeks.

THEY SAID IT

D’Antoni on Houston’s comeback: “Words don’t do it. That was just our guys showing a lot of heart.”

UP NEXT

Lakers: Host Golden State on Monday night.

Rockets: Visit Philadelphia on Monday night.

___

More AP NBA: https://apnews.com/tag/NBA and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports


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