The Confederate monument removal frenzy has now spread from New Orleans to Lafayette, Louisiana. A monument dedicated to Confederate General “Alfred” Mouton should be removed, according to activists with the group Move the Mindset. A member of the group, Frank Crocco, says that he agrees with New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu that Confederate statues “don’t represent the community anymore.”
The Mouton monument opponents were emboldened by the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals decision clearing the way for Mayor Landrieu’s administration to remove four Confederate monuments in New Orleans. Among the New Orleans monuments, the statue honoring General Robert E. Lee is the oldest and was unveiled in 1884. In Lafayette, the Mouton statue has been in place since 1922. These Confederate statues are both works of work and historical treasures that need to be protected, not removed and potentially damaged or even destroyed.
The effort to remove Confederate monuments gained momentum in 2015 after white supremacist Dylan Roof killed nine African Americans at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina. It was later discovered on the Internet that Roof had been pictured waving the Confederate flag. Soon thereafter, South Carolina officials removed the Confederate Flag from their statehouse grounds.
In New Orleans, Mayor Landrieu used the South Carolina tragedy to mobilize opposition to the four Confederate monuments. He was successful in obtaining a 6-1 New Orleans City Council vote, which labeled the statues as “nuisances” and gave official approval for their removal.
While the decision has been ratified by the courts, there are pending lawsuits in both state and federal courts and the potential for legislative action in Baton Rouge aimed at protecting the monuments.
The whole process could also be derailed by a lack of funding. Reports are circulating that the anonymous donor who promised to cover the costs of removing the Confederate monuments has withdrawn his offer. There is also the potential for a lack of qualified bidders to handle such a delicate project. Unfortunately, no one knows who is bidding on the project or funding it because the Landrieu administration refuses to provide the public with this information.
If the Mayor is successful and the four monuments are moved to an undisclosed warehouse for temporary storage, there is no assurance that they will be preserved or relocated in a public setting. In fact, there are some rumors that a private individual may eventually possess the monuments at his “slave museum.”
Presently, there are more questions than answers, but we do know that the Mayor is fixated on removing the statues and he now has legislative and judicial approval to move forward.
The process might not end with the removal of the four Confederate monuments because there are vocal activists with the group Take ‘Em Down NOLA who want to remove dozens of other statues in New Orleans, including the city’s most iconic monument, the statue of Andrew Jackson in the French Quarter. This statue, right in front of the St. Louis Cathedral, in Jackson Square, in the heart of the French Quarter is the most photographed spot in the Gulf South. Removing such a gem would be devastating to New Orleans as a tourist attraction and historical destination.
These activists want the city of New Orleans to be completely free of references to Confederate heroes or slave owners. They demand that any landmarks and street names honoring former slave owning Presidents such as George Washington and Thomas Jefferson must also be removed.
This campaign is not new, it actually started in the 1990’s when Orleans Parish Public School Board officials stripped the name George Washington from a school. Even though he was a brilliant general, our first president and our most influential Founding Father, since he owned slaves the school board judged him to be unworthy to adorn a public school.
Along with monuments and school names, street names will also need to be changed. Residents can say goodbye to Jefferson Davis Parkway, Robert E. Lee Blvd., Jackson Avenue, Washington Avenue, Jefferson Avenue, Bienville Street, Calhoun Street, Henry Clay Avenue, among many, many others. This will cause confusion and bring economic costs to thousands of citizens and businesses who will be forced to deal with the headaches of changing their official addresses.
Before the landscape of New Orleans is changed forever, it is imperative that the residents of the city be allowed a vote on the issue. On a matter, so important to the future of New Orleans, voters should have input. It should not be left to the politicians or unelected federal judges.
If the Mayor is so confident of the correctness of his position, why not give the citizens the right to make the final decision? Surely, in a city with a 65% African American majority, citizens would agree with the Mayor, right?
Or, maybe not, which is why Landrieu and his political cronies hoard all the decision-making power and give none of it to the citizens of New Orleans, the people most impacted by their misguided governance.
Back in late January of 1999, I had just finished a two-year stint as Executive Director and Deputy Chairman of the Louisiana Republican Party. Looking for a new project, I started a political newsletter with journalist and commentator Christopher Tidmore.
While interviewing Ed Butler, the new General Manager of talk station WTIX 690 AM, we were offered positions as talk show hosts on the station. Of course, we gladly accepted his kind invitation, although we had no experience or training. It was a great opportunity for complete novices. Fortunately, Butler was patient as we learned the business and became more comfortable on the air.
Eventually, Chris moved to another station and I brought on a new co-host, Leslie Stewart, to fill the role of my liberal counterpart. A year after the radio show started, we created a television version of the show and I recruited former New Orleans Mayor Marc Morial as my liberal co-host. Our radio and TV on-air battles were spirited, but respectful, hopefully educating our audience not demoralizing them.
After another year, I bid fond adieu to both Leslie and the Mayor and had the formidable challenge to be the solo host of both programs. A show that had started as Politically Speaking Louisiana Style became Ringside Politics.
After WTIX 690 AM, the program moved to Pittman Broadcasting on the Northshore and Lafayette and then find its home in June 2007 on WGSO 990 AM. This remains the only locally owned news/talk station in New Orleans, as all the others are owned by either out of state media conglomerates or individuals.
This week, I have the good fortunate to celebrate 18 years on the radio as a New Orleans talk show host, a lone conservative voice on an island of liberals. In fact, New Orleans is a deep blue island in the red sea of Louisiana. For example, in the 2016 presidential election, Hillary Clinton received 81% of the vote in New Orleans, while only receiving 38% statewide.
New Orleans is a city with immense potential, but immense problems. There is rampant poverty, blight, horrible street conditions, homelessness and a high crime rate. The liberal Democrats own all the current problems afflicting the city. Democrats literally control everything from the schools to the streets. In fact, there is not one Republican serving in an elected public office in New Orleans. The last Republican Mayor of New Orleans was elected during Reconstruction.
Hosting conservative media programs in such a liberal market is a challenge. At least, I don’t have much competition for being the conservative voice of New Orleans. One “conservative” news/talk station has all out of town syndicated political shows, while the other major talk station in New Orleans features hosts who are either moderate or outright liberal.
The so-called objective political analysts on television are liberals. The local newspapers mostly feature liberal columnists, and, quite often, will present only liberal editorial opinions, apart from an occasional establishment Republican viewpoint.
There are some exceptions such as Kathleen Benfield, a great social conservative talk show host on WSHO, a religious station, and the talented Libertarian John Osterlind who does a show on a music station. Other than that, it is all liberal, all the time.
Surviving in this climate is only possible due to our great listeners, viewers, supporters and sponsors of the Ringside Politics TV and radio programs. In 18 years, I have had the incredible opportunity to interview 18,000 wonderful guests, who have graciously shared their stories with our audience. These guests have provided tremendous insights on countless issues and helped me clarify my positions on the pressing problems we face today.
At the very top of this impressive guest list are my talented radio all-stars who generously donate their time on a weekly basis to enlighten our audience: Chad Rogers, Publisher of The Dead Pelican, Steve Sabludowsky of Bayou Buzz, Attorneys Mitch Gibbs and Nick Varrecchio, Chris Holton of The Center for Security Policy and commentator Donna Carol Voss.
None of this would have been achievable without the backing Chris Beary, Principal Owner, Richard Tate, General Manager, and the entire staff of WGSO 990 AM. Their steadfast encouragement of my program over the years has been crucial to any success I have been able to achieve. In addition, much appreciation is also given to Ron Yager, WLAE-TV Vice President and General Manager and Jim Dotson, LAE Productions Vice President and General Manager, for their generous support of my television program.
Also, very special thanks to my longtime friend Steve Sabludowsky for faithfully featuring my columns on Bayou Buzz and co-producing with me the successful political comedy show, Politics with a Punch.
Even after 18 years, this work never gets old as every day is a new adventure. Today, during this heightened political season, it is the most exhilarating time ever to be on the air discussing the major events of the day.
To be able to express my views, explore important issues, interact with guests and listeners and try to impact the political environment in our country is the biggest honor I will ever receive.
Prior to the passage of much needed reform legislation in 2004, the sale of contact lenses was primarily controlled by eye doctors exclusively. Patients were not given their prescriptions and not allowed to shop for better prices. This situation changed in 2004 with the passage of the Fairness in Contact Lens Consumers Act (FCLCA), which allowed patients to shop for the best prices for their contacts. It required doctors to provide patients with their prescriptions, leading to lower prices and more choices for consumers. The bill was a success as it introduced free market principles into this industry, which, not surprisingly, became more prosperous.
The legislation allowed consumers to purchase contacts from online sources and retail giants like Walmart. The monopoly was busted and prices dropped dramatically. Of the 41 million Americans who purchase contact lenses today, one-third take advantage of online sites and retail outlets. These sales total approximately $1.5 billion in an industry valued at $4.5 billion in the United States and $8.8 billion worldwide.
Unfortunately, a new bill has been introduced in the U.S. Senate, the Contact Lens Consumer Health Protection Act (CLCHPA), which would strip away some of these reforms. It is advocated by contact lens manufacturers and the American Optometrists Association. The bill forces third party lens manufacturers to provide additional information to doctors, who would be allowed to ask questions and delay the delivery of the contacts to patients. It clearly limits the free market advantages of the 2004 legislation and restores more of the monopoly for optometrists.
Supporters of CLCHPA claim that contacts sold by third party vendors are unreliable and have caused more medical problems in patients. However, studies have proven that eye infections have not increased as more patients have purchased lenses from online sources and third party vendors.
UCLA Professor of Ophthalmology, Dr. Paul Donzis, conducted extensive research into this topic. He concluded that “based on…authoritative scientific articles, it appears that online sales of contact lenses have not contributed to any increase in the incidence of contact lens related [injury].” The medical journal Eye and Contact Lens also conducted an extensive 20-year study of this issue and concluded that there was no increase in contact lens related keratitis after the 2004 legislation was passed. In effect, giving consumers more options did not lead to more health problems.
Since no lenses can be purchased without a doctor’s prescription, these complaints are little more than scare tactics. The entire purpose of the new legislation is to shut down a thriving industry, limit choices for patients and force them to pay more for contacts, while giving optometrists a greater percentage of the profits.
The new bill is being vigorously pushed by the medical lobby, which understands that in many European countries and Japan, it is not even required for patients to receive a doctor’s prescription for contact lenses. In these countries, there is also no evidence of increased health risks or additional eye infections. Unfortunately, even some members of the Louisiana Congressional Delegation have jumped on the cronyism bandwagon.
Hopefully, Americans will soon be able to have the same freedom as those patients in other countries. Today, a patient can totally bypass a doctor and use an online app to accurately check their vision on their phone. This type of technological innovation is threatening to the medical lobby which is trying to maximize profits and limit patient choices.
Our political leaders should embrace new technologies, while maintaining a strong interest in promoting patient safety. Unfortunately, the new Senate bill is little more than a throwback to a bygone era of monopolies which did not place the interests of patients first.
At the very least, the new bill should be defeated and the next step should be to follow the lead of other nations in giving patients even more control of how they purchase contact lenses.
Since my Ringside Politics radio and TV programs started in 1999, I have enjoyed an annual Thanksgiving tradition of bestowing a “Turkey of the Year” award to the most deserving celebrity or politician. Of course, these are “winners” who distinguished themselves in a particularly foolish way. Previous winners have included filmmaker Michael Moore, former House Speakers John Boehner and Nancy Pelosi, President Barack Obama and former New Orleans Mayor, current federal inmate, Ray Nagin.
This year, the list of nominations was almost endless. It has been a political year like no other, but it has been dominated by one person, President-elect Donald Trump. He burst onto the political scene as a businessman and outsider who was tired of the insufferable weight of political correctness. He declared his goal was to “Make America Great Again,” by “draining the swamp” around Washington D.C. and putting “America First.”
It all started on June 16, 2015 before a huge crowd at the Trump Tower in New York City. In his initial speech, Trump claimed that the country needed a wall on the southern border and that Mexico would pay for it. He also lambasted Mexico for “sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.”
Immediately, Trump was labeled a racist and the media started to ridicule his presidential plans. There were also efforts to financially harm Trump’s business empire. His Miss Universe show was dropped by television networks, the first indication that his presidential aspirations would be met with fierce opposition.
In the GOP race, Trump faced 16 seasoned challengers, many of them are members of the Republican Party establishment. These candidates were quick to condemn Trump whenever he made a controversial comment. Many issues arose that gave his opponents fodder. Trump’s statements about Megyn Kelly of Fox News, Senator John McCain, and an Indiana judge presiding over the Trump University legal case caused continual controversy.
After he secured the Republican presidential nomination, there were other controversies such as his statements about a Muslim father who lost a son in the Iraq War, a former Miss Universe and his infamous remarks about women captured on a 2005 tape recording which was conveniently released to deflect from the WikiLeaks disclosures about Hillary Clinton. The icing on the political cake occurred when 12 women came forward to allege Trump sexually assaulted them.
In every one of these incidents, Trump was viciously attacked by the usual collection of news reporters, Hollywood celebrities and liberal politicians. Unfortunately, they were joined by many Republican politicians who were eager to be critical of Trump and unwilling to support his candidacy, even after he secured the nomination.
Former Republican Presidents George H. W. Bush and George W. Bush refused to endorse Trump, as did 2012 Republican Party presidential nominee Mitt Romney. U.S. Senator and 2008 Republican Party presidential nominee John McCain was among several prominent Republicans who withdrew their support after the 2005 tape was released.
Joining these political leaders was a collection of conservative misfits in the media and political worlds who refused to endorse Trump. This group became known as the “Never Trumpers” and included radio talk show host Glenn Beck, commentators Erick Erickson, George Will and Bill Kristol and Senators Ben Sasse of Nebraska and Jeff Flake of Arizona. Many of these individuals bitterly opposed Trump, even though he won the nomination fairly and faced Hillary Clinton, a corrupt liberal, in the general election.
From this “Never Trump” universe, I selected my three Ringside Politics Turkeys of 2016. These were the worst of this motley crew because they were presidential candidates who betrayed their party and reneged on a promise to support the nominee. All 17 GOP presidential candidates signed a pledge to officially endorse the eventual party nominee. Unfortunately, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham and Ohio Governor John Kasich placed their own political interests in front of their party and their country.
Not only did they make a horrific mistake, but they looked quite foolish in the process. Graham said that “If we nominate Trump, we will get destroyed…….and we will deserve it.” Not quite Lindsey, as Trump won 30 states, plus Maine’s 2nd congressional district, and collected 306 electoral votes, the most won by a Republican presidential candidate since 1988. Jeb Bush who was embarrassed by Trump and famously labeled “low energy” acted like a petulant child and refused to endorse anyone, and indicated he would vote for a third-party candidate.
While Graham and Bush acted poorly, the most egregious political violation of the year was committed by Ohio Governor John Kasich. He not only refused to endorse Trump but later confessed to writing in the name of John McCain as his presidential choice.
Kasich declined to participate in the Republican National Convention which was held in his home state of Ohio. He did not welcome the delegates nor attend any of the events which culminated in Trump’s nomination. He was under the delusion that he was the “most electable” Republican presidential candidate even though he only won one primary in his home state of Ohio. In contrast, Trump won 37 states and four times the number of delegates as his nearest competitor.
In a year of the Trump political revolution, where one candidate defeated the combined forces of the political, business, media and globalist establishment, these three Republican Turkeys did not join the historic party.
Sadly, Graham, Bush and Kasich put their selfish interests first and lost badly. Their only consolation is that they are the clear winners of the 2016 Ringside Politics Turkey of the Year Award.
Billionaire Elon Musk is a brilliant entrepreneur, futurist and visionary. From humble origins in South Africa, Musk has become one of the richest men in the world.
He earned his money through successful high tech ventures such as the first online version of the Yellow Pages, X.com, and another company which he founded and merged to create the incredibly lucrative and transformative online payment site, PayPal.
He eventually became involved in a variety of businesses that are fantastic conceptually, but have problems translating into financial solvency. Musk owns Tesla Motors, which is trying to make the electric car profitable, SpaceX, which is working on a plan to transport humans to Mars and SolarCity Corporation, which is attempting the impossible, turning a profit on solar energy.
What has saved Elon Musk from total collapse has been a very healthy dose of federal government subsidies and contracts. In each of his businesses, Musk is facing product questions and fierce competition.
While Tesla require most customers to travel great distances to purchase and service their vehicles, the Chevy Bolt will soon be available nationwide and will be easily serviced at accessible dealerships.
Musk’s ambitious goals for SpaceX might need to be adjusted after the recent failure of the Falcon 9 rocket. This explosion cost at least $62 million and destroyed a payload including a $195 million Facebook satellite.
It was the second explosion of a SpaceX rocket in the last fifteen months, even after launch delays that have averaged two years or longer. In the process, the explosions also destroyed $118 million in taxpayer cargo.
For the first failure, Musk blamed a vendor for an inferior product and in the last catastrophe, there has been wild speculation about potential sabotage from a rival company including images of an unidentified flying object coming from a neighboring building. An investigation has turned up no smoking gun. While some conspiracy theorists believe that SpaceX was the victim, the American taxpayers are the true victims.
With such a track record, it would seem investors might be worried about the future of SpaceX, but the good news for Musk is that he has healthy government subsidies and contracts to carry him through the tough times. For SpaceX, Musk has reportedly received federal government contracts valued at $5.5 billion, and government subsidies worth $4.9 billion, which also benefit his other two enterprises, SolarCity and Tesla.
Overall, Musk’s companies have accumulated over $10 billion in federal government subsidies and contracts with a very minimal track record of success. Surely, Musk is a dreamer who inspires others to support his fabulous journey, but in a federal government with a debt approaching $20 trillion, the taxpayers are being taken for a ride on a rocket that keeps crashing.
In the private sector, these companies might very well be bankrupt after so many failures, but in the fiscally irresponsible realm of the federal government, the bailouts continue undisturbed. It is time Congress starting exercising their responsibilities for fiscal oversight.
It is time that questions were asked about accountability. Is this the best use of $10 billion? Why should our government play favorites and fund Musk’s enterprises at the expense of his competitors?
SpaceX’s competitor is United Launch Alliance, a collaboration of Boeing and Lockheed Martin. It performed 106 space launches successfully, but at a higher price tag than SpaceX promised. Thus, SpaceX just won its first Air Force contract worth $82.7 million, to launch a satellite in 2018.
Musk is an incredible salesman and has wowed the federal government with his promises and his ability to market his companies. According to Forbes, he is worth $14.3 billion; however, it is time to analyze whether taxpayers are getting their money’s worth with these investments.
Incredibly, all three of his heavily subsidized companies have experienced massive delays and none of them are making a profit. Tesla Motors produces cars that can cost up to $115,000. While consumers can utilize some tax breaks and credits to ease the pain of a new electric vehicle, the price tag is still out of reach for most Americans. This is a product with a very limited potential audience, so it is worthwhile to question why the government is investing so heavily in Tesla, including $1.3 billion in government assistance from the U.S. Department of Energy other sources.
To propel the use of solar energy, SolarCity has been the recipient of over $300 million in local, state and federal grants and subsides. With the price of oil and natural gas so low we should not expect this investment to make a profit anytime soon, especially with tax credits for consumers ending in 2017.
If Musk can achieve his dreams of widespread space travel, solar energy use and electric vehicles, he should be applauded. However, this should be accomplished with private sector funding. In this arena, mistakes are costly, but triumphs are handsomely rewarded.
In the world of federal subsidies, a company can fail for years and still receive generous taxpayer funding. It is a symptom of what is wrong in our Nation’s Capital and it needs to be fixed before we accumulate another $20 trillion in debt.
At this point in the race, as his poll numbers are surging and Hillary Clinton is dealing with the negative fallout over her health scare and continual lying; only the media can stop Donald Trump from being elected the next President of the United States.
The media will have multiple opportunities in upcoming debates, featuring mostly liberal moderators. In fact, in an interview this week with the Washington Post, Trump questioned the impartiality of CNN’s Anderson Cooper. According to Trump, Anderson is “very biased, very biased. I don’t think he should be a moderator.” Trump also said that Cooper cannot “be fair” and that “CNN is the Clinton News Network.”
CNN is just like the other networks, tilted to the political left. Only Fox News has true ideological balance.
Thus, it is no surprise that Americans have a very dim view of the news media. According to a new Gallup survey, only 32% of Americans have a fair or great deal of faith in the news media to “report the news fully, accurately and fairly.” Among Republicans, it is even worse with only 14% expressing a belief that the media is fair. These are the lowest media ratings in the 44-year history of the Gallup survey, dropping eight points in just one year. In the view of Gallup, these dismal results are “a stunning development for an institution designed to inform the public.”
The problem is that the media does not inform; they mostly try to persuade. For example, Republicans have certainly noticed how horribly the media treats Donald Trump and they obviously do not like what they see. Among Democrats, there is much more support for the news media with 51% expressing faith in their work. Democrats obviously appreciate how the media has covered for Hillary Clinton on so many issues.
In the last week, a video showing Hillary collapsing and being dragged into her van forced the mainstream news media to reluctantly cover Hillary’s health problems. Previously, it was viewed as a major conspiracy theory pursued by suspicious websites and crazy Republicans. The media prefers to focus on Trump controversies and found a new one this week, the President’s birth certificate, to drag back into the spotlight.
In an interview with the Washington Post, Trump was questioned about whether he accepts that Obama was born in Hawaii. Of course, with so many important issues facing the nation, it is amazing that Trump would be asked about an old controversy. It was another media trap set to destroy Donald Trump.
After first refusing to acknowledge the authenticity of the birth certificate, Trump later said that he accepts that Obama was born in the United States. Today, at a media event at his new Washington D.C. hotel, Trump said that “President Barack Obama was born in the United States, period.”
Today, Trump handled the event masterfully by first introducing military heroes who endorsed his candidacy. He only addressed the birth certificate at the very end of the event, but only after getting the media to cover his powerful endorsements. This is exactly what happened during his highly anticipated immigration speech in Arizona. He used it as an opportunity to show endorsements from “Angel Moms,” parents who suffered the loss of a child due to the criminal actions of an illegal alien.
For the next few days, the media and their favored candidate will try to trumpet the birth certificate issue as another way of calling Trump a racist. Hillary Clinton said that the debate shows “bigotry and bias” and that Trump owes the President “an apology.” These attacks are only the beginning as Hillary and the media will join forces in an attempt to sidetrack Trump’s momentum in the polls.
The good news is that the public is wise to the media’s game. The Gallup poll results show that the American people understand what side the media is on and will discount much of what is reported. Luckily, the mainstream media cannot influence the American public like it once did. There are too many alternative news sources today and, clearly, the American people are too smart to fall for the media’s tricks once again.
The Great Flood of 2016 devastated 40,000 homes across the state of Louisiana. Sadly, 13 people have lost their lives in this historic storm, which produced up to 31 inches of rainfall in some areas over the course of four days. This is more rainfall than the City of Los Angeles experiences in four years. It was a storm that was so intense that it only happens once every one thousand years.
Emergency officials claim that the Great Flood of 2016 was the worst natural disaster in this country since Hurricane Sandy in 2012. After that storm, President Obama famously met with New Jersey Governor Chris Christie to show support for the region.
This time it was a much different scenario. Despite the magnitude of the disaster, President Obama did not visit the region, in fact, he stayed on vacation at Martha’s Vineyard and played multiple rounds of golf. The images of our golf obsessed President enjoying his favorite pastime while his fellow citizens were in such pain was quite troubling to say the least.
Over the course of almost two terms, Obama has played more than 300 rounds of golf. This compares to President George W. Bush who played only two dozen rounds of golf during his two terms in office. In 2005, Bush was roundly criticized for his tardy response to the disastrous Hurricane Katrina. No one can forget the images of Bush looking out of the window of Air Force One at the devastation below. However, at least he flew over the region and eventually visited the area multiple times before the end of his presidency. In contrast, Obama did not leave Martha’s Vineyard early and did not cancel one golf game with a Hollywood star.
The media crucified Bush for his delayed response in 2005, but gave Obama a pass this year. Even Democrat Governor of Louisiana John Bel Edwards had to cover for Obama maintaining in an interview on MSNBC that he did not want a presidential visit at this time. He claimed it would divert resources that were needed for the recovery. However, back in 2005, during an even worse disaster, no one came to Bush’s defense. He was pilloried mercilessly for not immediately visiting the New Orleans area.
An immediate Obama visit would have been helpful because it would have highlighted the needs of the region. The area suffered a tremendous blow considering that so many of the victims did not have flood insurance as their houses had never flooded before. Unlike so many of the victims of Hurricane Katrina, the victims of this disaster live in areas that are above sea level and are not considered flood zones.
At least Donald Trump and Mike Pence visited Louisiana, showing leadership and concern and giving the thousands of victims some much-needed attention. Even with the incredible magnitude of the disaster the national media moved on from the Louisiana flood and the story quickly faded from the headlines. With Trump and his running mate in the state the media spotlight returned to the plight of the many victims of this horrible natural disaster.
Trump’s visit was accompanied by an 18-wheeler of supplies that he donated to the victims. It will surely spur more donations to the agencies that are providing vital resources to the many thousands of victims who need help. By expressing his sympathy and personal concern, he also gave a boost to the people who lost everything and are in tremendous pain. By visiting the disaster area and comforting the victims, Trump acted presidential, a trait that has been in short supply for the past eight years.
While Trump was on the ground in Louisiana, Hillary Clinton was literally phoning it in, calling the Governor and tweeting a link for donations. She will visit the state in a few days, as will President Obama, finally. Clearly, Trump shamed both of them into scheduling a trip to Louisiana. It is quite sad that Obama’s first reaction was not to personally visit the region and see the damage in person, but to continue his golfing vacation.
The victims of this horrific storm deserved the full attention of their President, instead they received visits from his underlings and saw images of Barack Obama riding around in a golf cart while their homes were literally under water. This whole episode has brought back painful memories of Obama’s pitifully slow response to the BP oil spill disaster in 2010.
Some Louisiana residents speculate that the reason for the President’s negligence is that this is a state that votes Republican. It is highly doubtful that a similar catastrophe in a “Blue State” would have been handled by the President in the same way.
Who knows the real motivation for his inattention to Louisiana, but at least local residents have some good news to celebrate, Obama leaves office in five months.
Back in 1992, political consultant James Carville coined the phrase “the economy, stupid” as one of the three top campaign messages for the presidential campaign of Bill Clinton.
While it was initially designed for only the Clinton staff, it eventually became the overall message of the campaign and the main rationale why the incumbent George H. W. Bush should be defeated.
Twenty-four years later, another Clinton is running for President, but this time as the de-facto incumbent. Hillary Clinton recognizes the severe economic problems in the nation; however, she vows to continue the policies of Barack Obama. Her only answer is to be more progressive than Obama. She promises to raise more taxes and expand government even more, with free college tuition and expanded Obamacare. In contrast, Donald Trump promises to cut taxes, restructure “bad” trade deals, end Obamacare, and expand domestic oil exploration. Unlike Clinton, Trump vows to protect coal industry jobs, while both candidates claim they will return more manufacturing jobs to the country.
The problem for Hillary is that millions of Americans are suffering financially and the overall economy is not doing very well. Once again, along with national security, the main issue in this presidential race will be “the economy, stupid.”
Today, the latest key indicator was announced, showing our economy grew at an anemic rate of only 1.2% in the second quarter. This was approximately half the level of growth expected by most economists. The report is especially troubling since the economy only grew by .8% in the first quarter and .9% in the last quarter of 2015. An economy in recovery should be growing at a 3% level or more, so our economy is sputtering at best.
Other indicators show serious economic problems as well. The level of home ownership in our country is now at a fifty year low, only 62.9%. The rate has been plunging ever since Barack Obama became President. Since the financial crisis of 2008, credit is much tighter and housing prices are increasing much faster than incomes. Even low mortgage rates have not succeeded in turning around the downward trend in home ownership. Buying a home used to be a major part of achieving the American dream, but today it is an unattainable fantasy for millions of people struggling in this economy.
While the President touts an unemployment rate of only 4.9%, the real picture only emerges after looking at the labor force participation rate which is only 62.7%, near a forty year low. Currently, there are almost 95 million Americans who are not in the labor force. Approximately 50 million Americans are impoverished with almost 44 million receiving food stamps.
With such economic woes, will Americans want to stay the course and elect Hillary Clinton or vote for change and support Donald Trump? In 1992, voters embraced change and elected Bill Clinton as President. If they see the economy in decline today, they will also likely reject the incumbent party and vote for Trump. It remains to be seen which candidate will have the most compelling argument, which is why the next three months will be so interesting.
Another week, another campus threatened by the dangerous slogan, “Trump 2016.”
Last week, the students of Emory University in Atlanta needed counseling and mental health evaluations after noticing their campus was polluted by disgusting chalk markings. The offensive words included “Trump,” “Trump 2016,” and “Vote Trump” and they were found on concrete steps and even, heaven forbid, the sidewalk.
Immediately after noticing the horrific chalk graffiti, 50 students demanded a meeting with Jim Wagner, Emory University President, because they felt “genuine concern and pain.” Even worse, Wagner met with the lunatic liberals and promised an “investigation,” which raises the true concern of whether free speech is even allowed on the campus.
This week, a student at Scripps College, an all-female liberal arts college in Southern California, noticed the dangerous phrase “Trump 2016” written on a marker board. Thereafter, student President Minjoo Kim took decisive action and called the police because the slogan was “racist” and obviously expressed “violence.”
Of course, such foul language had never before been seen on the pristine campuses. Never mind that slogans for Democrats and far left groups such as Black Lives Matters frequently have appeared on the Emory University campus. These markings never generated a scintilla of criticism, but the word “Trump” turned the students into piles of mush in need of psychiatric care.
At Scripps College, the offending “Trump” slogan was written on the marker board of a Mexican-American student. According to Kim, this marking was “intentional violence” that indicates “racism continues to be an undeniable problem and alarming threat on our campuses.”
Kim’s language is both hilariously dramatic and completely inappropriate. No one committed “violence” against the student. In fact, no one committed “violence” against the marker board either. Kim wants the offending artist to be “held accountable” since the “mental and emotional health of our students is our top concern.”
If the students of Scripps College cannot handle a word on a marker board, they are not going to be able to deal with the real world. Our colleges and universities are obviously educating millions of young nitwits who lack the courage and common sense of students in previous generations. It shows what unadulterated political correctness is doing to our young people today, a genuine tragedy.
These ridiculous episodes perfectly highlight what is happening to the vast majority of the college campuses of today, which are factories for liberalism and sensitivity training where no serious debate is even allowed. In fact, conservatives are rarely hired as professors or administrators or even allowed to speak on campuses. If one does actually get invited, they are met with howls of angry protests and calls to cancel the engagement.
This is exactly what happened a few weeks ago when conservative author Ben Shapiro was invited to speak at California State University, Los Angeles. He was met by hundreds of student protesters who tried to storm the auditorium and prevent him from speaking. It was such a chaotic scene that he needed police protection to safely leave the event.
Liberals on college campuses today do not want to allow conservatives to give commencement addresses, teach a class, speak or even write a slogan on a sidewalk or marker board. It shows that our college campuses, which should be laboratories for healthy discussion and debate, are actually stifling true intellectual curiosity. These campuses are not bastions of the First Amendment at all, in fact, free speech is discouraged.
A major reason for this oppressive environment is that liberal students, professors and administrators do not have any confidence in their convictions. They realize that if their positions on income inequality, racial justice, climate change or a myriad of other liberal causes are actually challenged by conservative opposition, the weakness of their arguments will be exposed.
It is the educational equivalent of one party rule. In such a sad state of affairs, chalk and markers have become dangerous methods of projecting either unacceptable ideas or even the name of a politically incorrect candidate such as Donald Trump.
In previous generations, America’s young people help defeat the Great Depression, Nazism and fascist tyranny. Today, our young people are captives of a system that is turning them into sniveling cowards afraid to debate and face the challenges of the real world. Alas, these developments do not bode well for our country’s future.
Once again, President Obama is in the wrong place at the wrong time. This week, it was Havana, Cuba, the home of the tyrannical Castro brothers, murderous communist dictators.
On Tuesday, the President concluded his historic visit to the island nation. It was the first official trip by a U.S. President since Calvin Coolidge 88 years ago.
The net effect of the visit is that Cuba scored massive propaganda points. They will soon start cashing in on more tourism and economic assistance. While the embargo is officially in place, the President is pleading with Congress to open up the economic floodgates to the communist nation.
The impact of more economic ties will be that the Castro brothers and their cronies will become wealthier, but the average Cuban will continue to suffer under communism. The Cubans will not open up their society or even release their political prisoners. In fact, the dictator Raul Castro even denies there are any political prisoners in Cuba.
In an interesting slight, when President Obama arrived in Cuba, neither of the Castro brothers greeted him at the Havana airport. Later, Raul Castro joined the President at a press briefing in which he had the audacity to lecture Americans about our civil rights record.
It was an amazing display of hypocrisy since it is the Castro regime that has conducted mass murders and still organizes daily repression of all types of freedoms in the country. He was lecturing a country where people are guaranteed constitutional rights only dreamed of in Cuba.
In a tragic irony, as the President was concluding the trip, terrorists struck in Brussels, Belgium. It was another deadly ISIS attack that targeted two locations, including the airport, killing at least 31 innocent people and injuring hundreds of others.
This is only the latest in a long line of jihadist attacks that have been going on for decades throughout the world. In fact, in recent months, ISIS has been effectively striking Western targets with seeming ease. In November, there were gruesome attacks throughout Paris, France and in December ISIS inspired terrorists killed 14 innocent people in San Bernardino, CA.
Even after the Brussels bombings, the Obama administration will continue with the facade of labeling the attacks “extremism.” The President is overly concerned about Muslim sensitivities and, as a result, the truth is a casualty.
Currently, there is no worldwide extremism other than Muslim extremism. Members of other religions are not organizing terror attacks in multiple countries targeting innocent people, but the President refuses to confront this truth.
In his initial remarks from Cuba, he spent just 51 seconds on the terror attacks, reserving most of his time to extol the virtues of the communist regime in Cuba. This was astonishing neglect toward a major terror attack that deserved much more of a response from the leader of the free world.
Hours later as the people of Brussels were still reeling from the bombings, Obama was seemingly carefree and doing the “wave’ with Raul Castro at an exhibition baseball game. It was the latest example of the President selfishly enjoying himself at the wrong time, sending the wrong message to the rest of the world.
Sadly, the U.S. President also has the wrong values and the wrong friends. Not only should he not be doing deals with communist dictators in Cuba, but he should also not be giving $150 billion to the radical Islamic clerics in Iran to use on terrorism.
In Egypt, the President tried mightily to support a corrupt Muslim Brotherhood regime led by Jew and Christian hating Mohamed Morsi. Fortunately, the Egyptian people eventually overthrew the radical Islamic theocracy and paved the way for General el-Sisi, a secular, pro-military leader who is waging war against ISIS.
In the final few months of the Obama administration, Americans may find the President doing more deals with enemies of the country. Let’s hope the President does not try to open the door for closer relations with the dictatorial madman in North Korea.
Whatever he does it will not be in the best interest of his country.
Today, our military is facing dangerous cutbacks and our financial situation is precarious. Thus, Barack Obama will leave office with our country in a weakened state and our enemies growing in power and influence.
No wonder, Bill Clinton recently admitted that the past eight years have left “an awful legacy.” Slick Willie doesn’t normally get it right, but, every now and then, the truth catches up to him.
Super Bowl 50 drew a massive television audience, although slightly lower than record set for last year’s game. For many non-football fans, the highlight of the telecast is the halftime show. After the controversy of Janet Jackson’s “wardrobe malfunction” in 2004, the NFL started booking legendary rock performers like Paul McCartney to perform at halftime.
Unfortunately, in recent years, the trend has been to feature the hottest music stars of today. Thus, for Super Bowl 50, the NFL decided to showcase the band Coldplay and pop stars Bruno Mars and Beyoncé. There must be limited talent in today’s music industry, for the NFL brought back two performers, Beyoncé and Bruno Mars, who had recently performed during Super Bowl halftime shows.
While the repeat performances were unusual, that was not the real problem with this year’s show. In contrast to Coldplay and Bruno Mars who were generally given positive reviews, Beyoncé’s performance was panned by many outraged viewers, including police officers.
For the show, Beyoncé and her backup dancers were dressed in militant outfits that paid homage to the Black Panthers movement, which sold drugs and engaged in criminal behavior such as extortion to finance a radical agenda. The group was also linked to numerous murders and was labeled by FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover to be “the greatest threat to internal security in the country.” One of the popular slogans of the Black Panther members was the disgusting chant, “The revolution has come. It’s time to pick up the guns, off the pigs.” It is little wonder that police officers were not amused by Beyoncé’s stunt.
During the Super Bowl performance, the group also formed the letter “X” on the field to honor the late Civil Rights Activist Malcolm “X” who promoted racial separatism and preached a message of violence in contrast to the peaceful tactics of the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.
This controversial theme generated a storm of criticism, including a protest planned for Tuesday February 16 at NFL headquarters in New York City. Obviously, the NFL knew of Beyoncé’s performance and approved of it, even though it was totally inappropriate for a Super Bowl halftime show. It was quite a contrast from the patriotic and widely praised pregame entertainment, which included a rousing National Anthem sung by Lady Gaga.
It is unfortunate that the NFL highlighted an entertainer who promoted both racial divisiveness and criticism of police officers. In Beyoncé’s new music video there is a scene showing a hoodie clad African American youngster being confronted by obviously evil police officers as the words “stop shooting us” are displayed in the background.
This was too much for former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who called her performance “outrageous.” He said that Beyoncé used it “as a platform to attack police officers who are the people who protect her and protect us and keep us alive.” He also blasted the NFL’s decision to allow Beyoncé’s act to appear in the halftime show. According to Giuliani, “if you’re going to have entertainment, let’s have decent, wholesome entertainment.”
Exactly, Mr. Mayor! Beyoncé’s theme was anything but wholesome. She wore military attire with fake bullets attached to her outfit. To make matters worse, her dancers were pictured with Beyoncé’s mother with their fists raised in the air in a “Black Power” salute.
In fact, some commentators noted that Beyoncé’s performance was also a tribute to the radical activists of the Black Lives Matter movement, which formed after acquittal of George Zimmerman in the shooting death of African American teenager Trayvon Martin. One leader of the movement gushed that Beyoncé used “artistry to advance social justice.” In reality, it was not art, but a political statement. Sadly, the NFL promoted both a leftist political agenda and racial divisiveness by allowing Beyoncé to appear on the halftime show.
It is the last thing Americans should be exposed to when they are just trying to watch a football game on television. While this might not have been a “wardrobe malfunction,” it was a decency malfunction and the NFL should be ashamed.
For many years, we have bestowed a Ringside Politics Turkey of the Year Award to a worthy celebrity or politician. This designation is anything but flattering, so last year we decided to start a positive award category by recognizing an annual Champion of the Year.
The 2014 recipient was quite deserving, U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX). Ever since he burst upon the national stage, Cruz has stood up for conservative values in the midst of withering criticism. He has run a very efficient and effective presidential campaign and is now unquestionably in second place in the national polls of Republican Party voters.
The front-runner in the national polls is also the winner of the 2015 Ringside Politics Champion of the Year Award, Donald Trump. Even though the past year has been a crazy one in American politics, it has been dominated by one person, Donald Trump, who stole the spotlight from President Barack Obama.
Ever since he entered the presidential race in June, Trump has captured the media headlines. All of the other candidates have responded to his statements and his positions on the issues.
The public has responded very favorably to Trump’s politically incorrect message. While other politicians apologize on a regular basis for making controversial statements, Trump does the opposite, he doubles down.
Whether the issue is illegal aliens, the border wall, relations with Mexico, trade with China, Muslim immigration, or Hillary Clinton, Trump refuses to play the normal political games and let the media dictate the conversation.
His rallies generate massive crowds and enthusiasm. Unlike other candidates, Trump is not scripted and actually takes questions from the audience and the media. He will go on all of the national political shows, avoiding none of them, as opposed to Hillary Clinton who only appears on friendly programs.
In one respect, he has won all five of the presidential debates, because his presence has attracted massive viewership. The ratings for the GOP debates have been spectacular due to one person, Donald Trump. On the other side, the Democrat presidential candidates drew only 8 million viewers to their last debate on ABC, which is a paltry one-third of the audience that watched of the first Republican debate on Fox News.
All of the attention is due to the fact that Americans have never seen a presidential candidate like Donald Trump. He is a lifelong businessman who has been extremely successful building a real estate empire worth $10 billion. He has also valuable experience in the media by hosting a successful reality TV show, The Apprentice. What distinguishes Trump from the other candidates is not only his business background, but also his track record of accomplishment in the private sector, which is quite a contrast to most of his opponents, who are career politicians.
As a shrewd capitalist, Trump has run a very unorthodox and streamlined campaign, spending very little money. Since he generates such massive media attention, Trump does not need to traditional advertising to bolster name recognition. Nonetheless, he will start to advertise in the next month and spend some of his fortune to bolster his frontrunner status.
While most politicians have to spend precious time and energy raising funds, Trump can finance his entire campaign with little impact on his net worth. This gives Trump as major advantage over his opponents. Unlike other candidates who will be beholden to big donors, Trump is the ultimate independent candidate, beholden to no one except the voters who will determine whether he wins the presidential election or not.
A candidate that is not tied to special interests is a major threat to the Republican Party establishment, which is the reason GOP bigwigs have tried to thwart his campaign. These Republican Party insiders and power-brokers have selected every Republican presidential nominee since Ronald Reagan, but they have no control over Trump.
It is very refreshing to see the elitists inside the Republican Party have such anxiety over the Trump campaign. Hopefully, he will continue to cause them heartburn and his message of making America great again will continue to find strong support among Republican voters.
Even if he does not win, he has provided a tremendous service to the political system by challenging the corrupt alliance of special interests, party leaders, political consultants and the national news media. Trump has gone around, above and through the forces arrayed against him and connected with the one group often forgotten by these Beltway snobs, the American people.
For all of these reasons and more, we are proud to present the 2015 Ringside Politics Champion of the Year Award to Donald Trump.