Guest post

Trump’s da man!

(The following is an editorial from the Investor’s Business Daily. For an even more detailed list of President Trump’s many accomplishments, go here.)

AFTER WEEKS and months of fixating on tweets and Russia, someone in the press decided to have a look at what the Trump administration has been up to since January. Lo and behold, they discovered that it’s getting a lot done.

serveimage“Trump Has Quietly Accomplished More Than It Appears,” reads the headline in the Atlantic.

“With the Trump administration’s chaos sucking up all the attention,” the article begins, “it’s been able to move forward on a range of its priorities … It is remaking the justice system, rewriting environmental rules, overhauling public-lands administration, and greenlighting major infrastructure projects. It is appointing figures who will guarantee the triumph of its ideological vision for decades to come.”

It goes on to detail these achievements, many of which we’ve highlighted on these pages.

Border crossings, for example, have plummeted, even though all Trump has done so far is promise to enforce existing laws.

The Supreme Court approved parts of Trump’s travel ban, a success made possible by Trump’s appointment of Neil Gorsuch to the bench.

Trump is busy filling lower court positions with conservative justices. Ron Klain, a White House aide to Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, said that Trump “is proving wildly successful in one respect: naming youthful conservative nominees to the federal bench in record-setting numbers.”

What else? Well, Trump pulled out of the Paris climate change deal, which as we noted in this space is a yuuuge win for the economy.

The EPA, meanwhile, is dismantling Obama’s coal-killing, growth-choking Clean Power Plan, and draining the heavy-handed Waters of the United States rule. When a veteran EPA official resigned this week, she complained in a letter to her former colleagues that “the new EPA Administrator already has repeals of 30 rules under consideration,” which the New York Times described as “a regulatory rollback larger in scope than any other over so short a time in the agency’s 47-year history.”

Trump promised to kill two regulations for every new one enacted, but in his first six months the ratio was 16-to-1.

Trump also approved the Keystone XL and other pipeline projects held up by Obama. He’s also rolled back a ban on coal mining on public lands.

To be sure, Trump hasn’t scored a major legislative achievement on signature issues like ObamaCare and tax reform.

The Atlantic writer describes the administration’s achievements as something akin to a shadow government. But these actions aren’t in the shadows. They’re just being ignored by a media that is obsessed with digging up dirt on Trump.

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(Note: An excellent way to get correct information on the Trump Administration is to go to the White House website and subscribe to the 1600 Daily, which is a brief wrap-up emailed to you of what’s actually happening every day in the administration.)

Guest post

Valley of the Shadow

Good stories from Alabama. By Ray Clifton.

Words Not On Paper

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It is Coleta Valley on the map.

I passed this way a few days ago.  Stopped for a photo and a memory.

Once upon a time three boys wandered into this spot in an old Jeep Ranger.  The Ranger is no more.  Neither is one of the boys.  The other two are worse for wear.

The day that old Ranger clanked into the valley the driver immediately christened it “the back side of heaven.”   It was the most beautiful landscape they had ever seen, and the name stuck, part and parcel of the bond between them.

In their boyhood journeys together it became the end of the line.  The turning-point back toward home.

The mountains in the background are a part of the Talladega National Forest and the Hollins Wildlife Management Area.  The boys spent countless teen-age hours in those mountains, learning to hunt white-tailed deer.  Never any success, as…

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Guest post

The curtain falls

A stunning – and stunningly disturbing – event took place this past weekend.  But unless you were scouring the news very carefully, chances are you didn’t even hear of it.

The annual Bravalla Festival, one of the most popular summer music concerts in Sweden, was abruptly canceled.  There will be no festival next year.

Or ever.

Given that tens of thousands of tickets were sold, the problem was not attendance.  Nor was there any difficulty booking big-name rap and rock stars.  No, this festival was canceled because of something far more ominous – Bravalla has become synonymous with rape and sexual assault.

Festival officials, as they announced the end of Bravalla, complained that “certain men” don’t know how to behave.  You might wonder if those “certain men” are strapping blonde Swedes with names like Erik, Viktor, and Gustav.

But in fact, the assailants are allegedly immigrants from the Middle East, North Africa, and other predominantly Muslim areas of the world.

One year ago the Bravalla Festival gained a measure of infamy when police reported five rapes and a dozen cases of molestation.  The story got minor coverage in some media outlets, including the New York Times, which described the assailants as “foreigners” and “refugees.”

Predictably, the Times also warned of a “far-right” backlash.

This year the situation was even more sickening, with four reported rapes and 23 instances of sexual assault.  And the Times?  The “paper of record” chose to run a brief Associated Press dispatch noting that the festival has been shut down.

Nowhere was there any mention that Muslim immigrants were the likely perps.

Sweden, like many European socialist paradises, has been in a state of deep denial about its refugee crisis.  If you believe authorities and tourism officials, immigrants are fitting in quite nicely in the world’s most liberal nation.

But what about those rumors of “no-go zones,” where crime is rampant and where police fear to tread?  Well, we’re assured that’s just “fake news” perpetrated by anti-immigrant groups.

But earlier this year a courageous British reporter named Katie Hopkins decided to take a look for herself.  She ventured into some of Sweden’s imaginary “no-go zones” and spoke with women who are absolutely terrified of going out alone, day or night.

They know that crossing onto the wrong street in some cities is an invitation to harassment, assault, even rape.

These women are also afraid of feminists and liberals, who accuse them of being racists if they speak the truth.  Hopkins wrote this about one woman she met in Stockholm:  “The migrant men scare her.  But it is the Swedish women who have silenced her.”

Bravalla is not the only music festival where women are in jeopardy.  There were dozens of rapes and assaults at another concert a few years ago, allegedly committed by young Afghan men who had been embraced by Sweden’s outstretched arms.

And of course it’s not just Sweden.  In Germany, New Year’s Eve of 2016 was marred by sexual assaults and rapes in many cities.  Police reported that more than 1,000 women were victimized by hordes of young men.

Again, the perps weren’t Wolfgang, Hans, und Dieter.  They were described by the women as men of “Arab or North African appearance.”

Governments in Europe and a compliant media do their best to ignore the unending and escalating threat of violence.  It simply does not fit the liberal narrative, which dictates that all cultures and all religions are pretty much the same.  But reality has a very harsh way of prevailing over fantasy.

Sweden has the highest rate of immigration in Europe, having taken in tens of thousands of refugees from Syria, Somalia, and elsewhere.  So you can think of the country as the canary in the coal mine.  That proverbial canary is now gasping for air as European bureaucrats turn a blind eye.

Most Swedes still embrace their reputation for tolerance and liberalism.  Many even seem quite willing to sacrifice a music festival or two if that’s what it takes to display their virtue.

And they willingly pay exorbitant taxes to subsidize refugees who despise Sweden’s libertine culture and sexual permissiveness.

Let’s put it this way:  The world’s most tolerant people are inviting the world’s most intolerant people into their nation and their cities.  The Swedes believe it’s a noble experiment.  But whether noble or foolish, it is an experiment doomed to fail.

The Bravalla Music Festival was just one casualty.  There will be many more.  Ironically, the festival urged fans to “choke hatred and violence and let the music win.”  Well, hatred and violence won and the music lost.

In the process, another small part of Europe has vanished, thanks to cowardly ideologues who so desperately cling to their open-border, one-world fantasies.  A once-great continent and its cultures are slowly dying.  To be more accurate, they are committing suicide.

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(The above was written by former Fox News star Bill O’Reilly. His excellent website is here.)

Guest post

California Rebs

(California was a magic spot when I lived there a spell in the early 1960s. But no more. Today’s post is written by Victor Davis Hanson, a historian with the Hoover Institution.)

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9942878-confederate-flag-rendered-with-fabric-texture1MORE THAN 60 percent of California voters went for Hillary Clinton — a margin of more than 4 million votes over Donald Trump.

Since Mrs. Clinton’s defeat, the state seems to have become unhinged over President Trump’s unexpected election.

“Calexit” supporters brag that they will have enough signatures to qualify for a ballot measure calling for California’s secession from the United States.

Some California officials have talked of the state not remitting its legally obligated tax dollars to the federal government. They talk of expanding its sanctuary cities into an entire sanctuary state that would nullify federal immigration law.

Californians also now talk about the value of the old Confederate idea of “states’ rights.”

They whine that their state gives far too much revenue to Washington and gets too little back.

Residents boast about how their cool culture has little in common with the rest of the U.S. Some Californians claim the state could easily go it alone, divorced from the United States.

Sound a bit familiar?

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Today’s leftist

In December 1860, South Carolina seceded from the Union in furor over the election of Abraham Lincoln.

Lincoln did not receive 50 percent of the popular vote. He espoused values the state insisted did not reflect its own.

In eerie irony, liberal California is now mirror-imaging the arguments of reactionary South Carolina and other Southern states that vowed to go it alone in 1860 and 1861.

Like California, South Carolina insisted it could nullify federal laws within its state borders.

Like California, South Carolina promised to withhold federal revenues.

Like California, South Carolina and other Confederate states bragged that their unique economies did not need the Union.

They boasted that “King Cotton” had created the wealthiest class in the United States. Silicon Valley now often assumes that Google, Facebook, Apple and others are near-trillion-dollar companies that are a world unto their own.

Slavery and the extravagant income from cotton warped the Southern economy and culture. A wealthy plantation elite, with its millions of exploited slaves, ensured that there would be virtually no middle-, working- or small-business class.

Huge estates were surrounded by the impoverished shacks of servants. Hardscrabble farmers or small businessmen often fled westward to escape the shackles of wealth disparity.

The export-dependent Southern elite demanded unfettered free trade. It offered bitter resistance to Northern protectionism.

South Carolina elites were opposed to federal infrastructure projects such as the building of roads, canals, bridges and reservoirs, and other such unwelcome “progress.”

Confederates boasted that their antebellum culture was more romantic, natural, pristine, healthy and moral than was the bustle, grime and hyper-capitalism of Northern industrialism.

Southern aristocrats believed that they were culturally superior — in terms of music, art and literature — to other Americans.

Of course, this is 2017, not 1860, and California is superliberal, not an antebellum slave-owning society.

Nonetheless, what is driving California’s current efforts to nullify federal law and the state’s vows to secede from the United States are some deeper — and creepy — similarities to the arrogant and blinkered Old South.

California is likewise becoming a winner-take-all society. It hosts the largest numbers of impoverished and the greatest number of rich people of any state in the country.

Eager for cheap service labor, California has welcomed in nearly a quarter of the nation’s undocumented immigrants.*

California has more residents living in poverty than any other state. It is home to one-third of all the nation’s welfare recipients.

The income of California’s wealthy seems to make them immune from the effects of the highest basket of sales, income and gas taxes in the nation. The poor look to subsidies and social services to get by. Over the last 30 years, California’s middle classes have increasingly fled the state.

“Gone With the Wind”-like wealth disparity in California is shocking to the naked eye.

Mostly poor Redwood City looks like it’s on a different planet from tony nearby Atherton or Woodside.

The California elite, wishing to keep the natural environment unchanged, opposes internal improvements and sues to stop pipelines, aqueducts, reservoirs, freeways and affordable housing for the coastal poor.

California’s crumbling roads and bridges sometimes resemble those of the old rural South. The state’s public schools remain among the nation’s poorest. Private academies are booming for the offspring of the coastal privileged, just as they did among the plantation class of the South.

California, for all its braggadocio, cannot leave the U.S. or continue its states’-rights violations of federal law. It will eventually see that the new president is not its sickness, nor are secession and nullification its cures.

Instead, California is becoming a reactionary two-tier state of masters and serfs whose culture is as peculiar and out of step with the rest of the country as was the antebellum South’s.

No wonder the state lashes out at the rest of the nation with threatened updated versions of the Old Confederacy’s secession and nullification.

But such reactionary Confederate obstructionism is still quite an irony given California’s self-righteous liberal preening.

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* Old Felipe prefers “illegal aliens.” He also continues what appears to be a one-man war against the use of “liberal” and “progressive” when referring to leftists.