Washington media has sold out to advocacy

First published May 2, 2017 in the Toronto Sun

President Donald J. Trump eschewed this year’s White House Correspondents dinner — the annual ritual notoriously oozing with journalistic hubris (an event the president of the United States has traditionally headlined) — to “meet with much better people.”

While an elite group of journalists, who mostly despise Trump, were in a fancy D.C. ballroom, heaping self-congratulatory praise upon one another, Trump was in Harrisburg, Pa. at a rally with 7,000 adoring fans of his own.

“I could not possibly be more thrilled than to be one hundred miles away from Washington’s swamp,” Trump roared.

This is the first presidential administration in 36 years to shun the ‘Nerd Prom’ dinner event, which is customarily held for the president and the reporters who cover the president — or in this case, mock him.

And what better place for Trump to be than in Pennsylvania? After all, it was one of few blue wall states whose heavily Democrat, union-workers voted for him and helped win him the presidency. Hillary Clinton took the votes in rural Pennsylvania for granted, and the liberal media laughed at Trump for campaigning there. Look who’s having the last laugh (at the press) now!

Reveling in the glory of his Harrisburg visit, Trump ticked off his first 100 days’ accomplishments. Some wins: Confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch, bombing Syria after President Bashar al-Assad used chemical weapons on his people, a tax reform plan, and demanding China join the U.S. to fight North Korea’s nuclear ambitions.

Is there more work to be done? Sure, like keeping campaign promises by repealing and replacing Obamacare, and “building a wall.” Yet, the liberal media refuses to give him credit for what he’s done, particularly showing leadership abroad — where president Barack Obama abdicated to dictators.

Back in D.C. — at the Washington Hilton — 190 km away from real Americans with real problems, members of the White House Correspondents Association and their guests were in full-on party-and-trash-Trump mode.

“We cannot ignore the rhetoric that has been employed by the president about who we are and what we do. We are not fake news,” insisted association president Jeff Mason.

Paradoxically, ironically, and hypocritically (had to get them all in!), many of the White House journalists who cover Trump have fueled Russia-Trump campaign conspiracy stories, despite there being any conclusive evidence. As well, they have demonstrated hostility, contempt and sarcasm in their coverage of the president. Trump has gotten zero credit and coverage by the mainstream, liberal media for donating his $400,000 a year presidential salary back to the government. His first quarter 2017 salary of about $80,000 was donated to the National Park Service.

“We are not failing news organizations. And we are not the enemy of the American People,” Mason added.

Yet, Trump supporters trust Trump more than they trust the news media, and it drives the liberal news media crazy. Starting with this past presidential election, the media lost its credibility and influence with many voters by being in the tank for Hillary Clinton. The skewed polls (and biased analysis of results) showed Clinton winning by a landslide over Trump. Now the same reporters are convinced (still, without evidence) that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia to rig the election.

Looks a lot like the fake news Trump has described.

“We are here to celebrate the press, not the presidency,” boasted Mason at what he claimed was a “sold-out” dinner.

And herein lies the problem: The Washington media has sold out to ideology and advocacy; objective journalism is no longer being served up by these correspondents.

President Donald Trump’s health-care failure embarrassing

First published March 27, 2017 in the Toronto Sun

Embarrassment.

That’s the only word which describes the Republicans’ inability to pass the bill to repeal Obamacare in a House they control.

After President Donald Trump demanded House Speaker Paul Ryan schedule a vote on the bill last week, the joke was on Trump.

Acting like he was still in campaign mode, Trump gambled that his defiance would force Republican members to vote for the bill. It didn’t.

Ryan drudged over to the White House Friday afternoon and informed the President he was pulling the legislation because he lacked the votes to pass the bill.

Rewind to 2010 when Democrat House Speaker Nancy Pelosi successfully used public intimidation and behind-the-scenes cajoling to force her caucus to pass the nearly 3,000-page Obamacare bill so that “we can see what’s in it.”

But that’s the difference between Democrats and Republicans. At big moments of political importance, Democrats win while Republicans fight. For seven years, GOP members fought a useless battle to repeal Obamacare, knowing none of their bills could pass the Democrat-controlled Senate, much less gain two-thirds majority of both chambers to be veto proof.

Now GOP members are fighting against each other to repeal an entitlement program that even Democrats have said is unsustainable. The bill certainly wasn’t perfect but it was a start. As Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz noted: “We appear incapable of passing a bill that all the conference has run on for multiple election cycles. I don’t know if we could pass a Mother’s Day resolution right now.”

Following such an epic failure on a core issue of Trump’s campaign, one would think Ryan and the President’s response would be to work harder and try again.

Instead, Ryan declared: “We will proceed with tax reform,” which is even a more contentious topic for Democrats. Good luck with that.

But total blame can’t be levied at Ryan. Equal or more blame rests on the shoulders of Trump, the head of his party, whose response was to blame the GOP Congress.

“A lot of people don’t realize how good our bill was,” Trump insisted.

That’s probably because instead of selling it to Americans and Congress, he was too busy tweeting insults at Arnold Schwarzenegger and doubling down on wiretap conspiracies.

Why would Trump insist that Ryan schedule a vote for a bill that attracted only 17% of GOP House members’ support and couldn’t pass?

People voted for Trump to get the job done. Not walk away from the responsibility of the job! Obamacare must be repealed and Trump’s job is to roll up his sleeves and make a deal.

Even though Democrat President Barack Obama rode into office in 2009 with control of Congress, he spent one year making sure he had the votes to pass his bill.

It’s called work, negotiating, cutting deals ensuring his signature campaign issue and legacy got passed before Democrats lost control of Congress, which they did in 2010!

Republican President Trump thinks having a super-majority in Congress means sitting in the comfort of the oval office, dictating orders to GOP Congressional members. Perhaps that kind of bullying works when you’re a billionaire orchestrating “the art of the deal” but not in governing.

London mayor should follow Trump’s lead

First published March 23, 2017 in Toronto Sun

Last year, London’s Muslim Mayor Sadiq Khan shrugged off terror attacks as “part and parcel of living in a big city.”

With an attitude like that, no wonder London sadly finds itself recovering from a heinous, terrorist attack.

ISIS claimed responsibility for the Muslim madman who plowed an SUV into a crowd of pedestrians on Westminster Bridge, then crashed into the fence outside the British Parliament building. Four people were murdered and around dozens others suffered injuries.

Tragically, Mayor Khan’s words from 2016 proved prescient. Khan was visiting New York City after that London terror attack in September.

In an interview at the time, reported by the Independent, Khan explained that major cities like London “have got to be prepared for these sorts of things” to happen.

Well, actually no — not if they have a plan to thwart radical Islam.

Here are two simple, common-sense ideas: Call it the ugly name that it is — “Muslim terrorism” — and tighten immigration laws to keep out Muslim extremists who want to kill its citizens.

Khan’s complacency towards the inevitability of terror attacks against Britain is a consequence of the past decades of Britain’s soft immigration polices and an eagerness to put political correctness above the safety of its citizens. Germany, France and Belgium have seen the same heinous carnage because of Europe’s open-border policy.

After the recent attack in London, Donald Trump Jr. posted a tweet with a link to Independent story from last year:

“You have to be kidding me?!: Terror attacks are part of living in big city, says London Mayor Sadiq Khan”

Trump Jr. is right.

America doesn’t accept the probability or inevitability of terror attacks as a common occurrence in our big cities.

Americans work at the federal, state and local level to prevent them. And there’s a new president committed to stopping ISIS from blowing up, plowing into and killing Americans.

In fact, if Mayor Khan is really committed to “keeping Londoners safe” and “exchanging ideas and best practice” with other world officials as he said last year in New York, he would support a travel ban similar to the American president’s effort — for his nation.

Instead, in January, Khan, the first Muslim mayor of a major western city, railed against Trump’s ban, calling it cruel.

In a haughty interview with Sky News, Khan said: “I am quite clear, this ban is cruel, this ban is shameful, while this ban is in place we should not be rolling out the red carpet for President Trump.

“I don’t think he should be coming on a state visit while the ban is in place, I couldn’t be clearer.”

Khan’s refusal to face the reality that some of his brethren are committing “sick and depraved” acts in the name of Islam, as British Prime Minister Theresa May recently said, makes it appear that he’s rolling out the red carpet for terrorists.

Not killing Obamacare would be epic GOP fail

First published March 21, 2017 in the Toronto Sun

Remember when Democrat President Barack Obama and his Democrat-controlled Congress worked with Republicans to craft Obamacare? Neither do I.

Obama’s US$1-trillion deficit-distending Obamacare became law in 2010 without a single Republican voting for it – or anyone reading it – for that matter.

Obamacare is a social engineering, wealth redistributing nightmare that provides subsidized health care to a few at the expense of the many.

Hardworking Americans witnessed their health premiums double, triple and quadruple so they could pay for others’ ‘care,’ as they watched theirs being rationed.

But a new day has dawned in Washington, and payback is a bitch.

Republican President Donald Trump and a GOP-controlled Congress are following through on their pledge to repeal and replace Obamacare.

As expected, Democrats and their liberal media groupies are crying foul, warning that millions will lose coverage, and people will die. Liberals seized on the recent Congressional Budget Office report, which estimated that the GOP American Health Care Act would cause 14 million to lose insurance in 2018.

CBO also predicted that by 2026, about 24 million wouldn’t have insurance due to the GOP’s removal of the individual mandate to buy insurance, and changes in Medicaid eligibility.

Under the new American Health Care Act, Medicaid would be removed from Obamacare. Instead, states would be given Medicaid block grants to incentivize more innovative, efficient ways to offer health coverage to more people. But the devil is in the details. Buried amid the hyperbolic headlines is the fact that the CBO found that Trump’s version would cut the budget deficit by $337 billion over 10 years, cut taxes by $900 billion, and spending by $1.2 trillion.

Obama’s promise that we could keep the plan if we liked it … that was a big lie. For many, the Affordable Care Act made health insurance anything but. As a small business owner, I know.

In 2011, I paid $298 a month for my health insurance plan with a $1,000 deductible.

In 2016, I paid over $600 a month and was forced to cancel the plan I liked. My new policy sucks. I was forced to the only one offered by the Washington exchange – a single-payer system, which allows for ZERO competition. My current plan costs about $367 a month with a $5,000 deductible.

So basically, I’m not covered unless something catastrophic befalls me.

Please. Let’s not pretend that Obamacare is working.

The good news is the GOP plan replaces Obamacare with tax credits, tax cuts, deregulation and market-driven incentives.

Insurers will be able to offer different plans with different options at different prices.

It increases competition and reduces prices.

Despite the perfect storm aligned for Republicans to rid America of Obamacare, a mutiny has erupted within the GOP. Several Republicans are threatening not to vote for the bill because it doesn’t go far enough.

Senators Ted Cruz and Rand Paul want Speaker Paul Ryan to craft a bill that completely repeals Obamacare – and then replace it. Cruz is the same senator who quite memorably held up a government funding bill in 2012, demanding the repeal of Obamacare with his ‘Green Eggs and Ham’ stunt.

Reading the Dr. Seuss book on the Senate floor in an epic filibuster, Cruz’s one-man show of self-promotion turned out to be a dry run for his 2016 presidential campaign.

Republicans’ best chance to stop Obamacare’s bionic march toward socialized medicine is now.

Ryan’s plan may not be perfect, but with control of Congress and the White House, if the GOP fails to repeal Obamacare soon … it will be an epic fail, and this time, the egg will be on their faces.

Yes, Cruz and Rand, I’m talking to you.

Trump needs spokesman who speaks (well) for him and his tweets

First published March 8, 2017 in the Toronto Sun

Rather than focusing on important issues facing the country, official Washington has devolved into an embarrassing match of Democrats-said-President-Trump-said, in a daily war of words and tweets. Allegations of Russia rigging the US election and President Obama wiretapping Trump Tower sound like something straight out of a spy novel or a game of Clue.

And President Trump doesn’t help himself when it comes to winning the battle of legitimacy, when he posts an outlandish tweet and then doesn’t trot out competent White House manpower to defend his claim to the media.

Around 6:30 a.m. Eastern Time this past Saturday, Trump roused the Twittersphere and sent it into a tailspin with this tweet contortions:

“Obama had my wires tapped in Trump Tower just before the victory. Nothing found. This is McCarthyism.”

Trump served up no evidence; and of course the liberal media went ballistic. When you accuse a former president of committing illegal wiretapping, the likes of which got President Richard Nixon impeached, you’re gonna catch hell from everyone. Knowing this, as Trump did, it is even more perplexing that White House Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders’ communications did such a clumsy job handling the press.

During an interview with ABC’s This Week host Martha Raddatz, she actually used to the term “B.S.” twice. Then Sanders told Raddatz that she couldn’t speak with “100%” certitude about Trump’s allegations, (and um) nor had she consulted with the president.

SANDERS: Look, I — I will let the president speak for himself. But in terms of where we are in the White House, our ask –

RADDATZ: You’re his spokesperson.

SANDERS: And I’m speaking about it right now.

Yet Sanders was not speaking with any credibility.

As ambassador of the White House, Sanders should have stuck to two points. The New York Times reported that anonymous senior Obama White House officials ordered the surveillance (spying) of Trump campaign associates. The raw (unverified) intelligence was spread like confetti, far and wide not only across the US government to people without security clearances and members of Congress but also shared with foreign governments. Why do this unless you wanted to trash the next president?

Sanders should have reminded Raddatz that Obama was indeed their boss at the time and it’s highly unlikely that he didn’t sanction the sleuthing. So, is it really that preposterous to believe that Obama couldn’t have ordered the wiretapping of Trump Tower? No more outlandish than the Trump-Russia connection ….

An even more salient point that Sanders needed to make was that days before the inauguration, Obama ordered the National Security Agency to share raw intelligence with 16 other intelligence agencies. Previously, the NSA would share only the data redacted of irrelevant personal information. Now this is stuff leaks are made. Holdover Obama political appointees likely leaked raw intelligence to the press about Michael Flynn’s calls with the Russian ambassador. Flynn did nothing wrong but was forced to resign as Trump’s NSA adviser amid the liberals’ Russia conspiracy hysteria.

Obama loyalists also leaked information to the press about Attorney General Jeff Sessions meeting with the Russian ambassador, hoping to force his resignation. But Sessions made it clear that these meetings occurred in his capacity as a US Senator and member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee not as a Trump surrogate.

Collectively, these actions committed by Obama and his politically-vengeful White House warrant the same level of scrutiny that Congress and the intelligence community have given Trump.

Democrats trump up a ‘red scare’

First published March 2, 2017 in the Toronto Sun

Democrats (and perhaps even a politically-motivated FBI) are trying to create a mountain out of molehill when it comes to President Donald Trump and Russia.

Their latest “red scare” is aimed at U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

According to the Washington Post, “justice department officials” revealed that Sessions met with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak twice before the 2016 election, but did not disclose it during his confirmation hearing.

Once again, FBI officials appear to be leaking intelligence information to the media, as retribution for Trump’s public disdain of the nation’s spy agencies.

Don’t believe the liberal hype.

“My reply to (Democratic Sen. Al) Franken was honest and correct at the time,” Sessions told reporters, at a press conference Thursday about the trumped-up allegations.

Franken asked Sessions during the Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing:

“If there is any evidence that anyone affiliated with the Trump campaign communicated with the Russian government in the course of this campaign, what will you do?”

“I’m not aware of any of those activities. I have been called a surrogate at a time or two in that campaign and I did not have communications with the Russians,” replied Sessions.

During Thursday’s press conference, Sessions added that he “never had conversations with Russia about the Trump campaign.”

Further, in order to remove any doubts — and to placate Democrats’ carping about a Russia conspiracy, Sessions announced that he recused himself “from any investigations in the Trump campaign.”

In July 2016, Sessions attended an event hosted by the Heritage Foundation, during the Republican National Convention in Cleveland. About 50 ambassadors were invited to the event, including Kislyak.

After Sessions spoke at the event, “a small group of ambassadors approached him as he was leaving the podium.”

So, let me get this straight: As the Democrats would have it, it’s illegal and tantamount to treason, for American officials to talk to Russians. At the time, Trump had won the GOP nomination and then-senator Sessions was a senior member of the Senate Armed Services committee, as well as a Trump supporter. So, yes, it’s not surprising that Kislyak and other ambassadors would want to chat with Sessions.

The other meeting occurred in September 2016, when Sessions met with the Russian ambassador as part of his job serving on the Armed Services Committee. Sessions had more than 25 conversations with foreign ambassadors in 2016.

Because of Sessions’ dual role as a senator and a Trump supporter, and the fact that the federal government was investigating Russia’s hacking of the Democratic National Committee e-mail at the time, the attorney general was smart to clarify the facts at Thursday’s press conference.

But what is worrisome — on a grander scale — is this liberal witch hunt against Trump’s cabinet; one that is eerily reminiscent of McCarthyism.

On Feb. 9, 1950, Sen. Joe McCarthy gave a speech declaring that hundreds of state department officials were members of the Communist Party. Later that month, the Senate invited McCarthy to testify. His claims were unfounded as the Senate investigated 81 cases, but found nothing.

Undeterred, McCarthy accused members of the U.S. Army of being communist spies. More hearings were held, during which the lawyer representing the Army asked McCarthy, “At long last, have you no sense of decency left?”

The icing on the cake: House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi declared Sessions isn’t “fit to serve,” and demanded he resign — even though she has no evidence he committed a crime.

My question is do Democrats have any decency left?