Could postal reform kill rural mail delivery? Some argue that giving the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) more flexibility to set its service levels and allowing competition from private companies would leave rural areas behind. They’ve got it exactly backward. Innovation and targeted service changes are actually the best hope for continued mail service to rural areas.
When Congress established the Post Office in 1792, its mandate did not include rural areas. When rural delivery began 100 years later, the service was an instant hit, and routes proliferated rapidly. Congress encouraged this, mandating that the Post Office Department (and now the Postal Service) provide “prompt, reliable and efficient” mail service to all parts of the country, without regard to cost.
That mandate, now known as the “universal service obligation,” in effect created a subsidy where suburban and urban pay higher-than-necessary rates to cover the higher delivery costs of rural areas. This high-cost subsidy was protected by “private express” statutes, legally banning anyone else from offering mail service. These statutes ensured that the postal service would not lose customers in easy–to-serve areas to competition, assuring revenues sufficient to cover higher-cost deliveries to rural customers.
The world has changed greatly since then. Alternatives to letter mail — like email, texting and other digital technologies — have shattered the USPS model and knocked the legs out from under that system. Since 2001, letter volume has shrunk by 50%. Over the last 13 years, USPS has lost $78 billion.
Rural areas are doomed, say some. They predict that, without substantial subsidies from Congress, postal service in rural areas will become unaffordable. This is unlikely.
As a first matter, while costlier in general than urban areas, not all rural areas are unsustainable. There’s great cost variation among them. Historically, most rural routes paid for themselves, and thus were less dependent on government intervention to keep service.
Nevertheless, it is clear the old system no longer works and is unsustainable. Peter is no longer able to pay Paul. Without much needed reforms, the USPS is rapidly headed toward bankruptcy. Common sense service reforms could lower costs for all types of mail and be implemented in a way that protects rural customers.
For instance, mail could be delivered to central locations, such as post offices. Delivery days could also be reduced. Most rural customers value reliability over frequency in any case. At the same time, new technologies, such as drones, promise to reduce the cost of delivery significantly, especially in less densely populated areas.
The USPS can make many such changes now. However, Congress has made many potential reforms off limits. Ten years ago, the postal service tried to change to a 5-day-per-week delivery schedule for letters. Congress passed what has now become a perennial appropriations rider blocking any such move.
Competition can also help protect rural service. Innovation increases when a challenger enters the arena, able to look at problems with a different eye and imagine a solution. But direct competition in letter mail is verboten. Congress should lift that ban.
If necessary, Congress could also establish a subsidy program for the hardest-to-reach Americans, ranging from Inuit villages north of the Arctic Circle to survivalist compounds in eastern Idaho. The cost of any such program should be subject to annual congressional appropriations, with full transparency of all expenses. This is different from today’s opaque cross-subsidies, the cost of which is hidden from view.
The Postal Service has been forever changed as digital alternatives have significantly replaced “snail mail.” This will help all Americans, but has left some rural Americans worried their access to continued postal mail service. They are right to be concerned, but the problem is not change, but the lack of it. Rather than dreading reform, rural Americans should cheer the replacement of the federal government’s monopoly-and-bureaucracy model with innovation-focused market alternatives.
• James Gattuso is the senior research fellow in regulatory policy at The Heritage Foundation’s Roe Institute for Economic Policy Studies.
Stop it. For the sake of sanity and common sense, stop it. Cloistered away with idle time, and in search of new targets, the musty library shelves provided two academics with a 50-year old interview to tarnish one more idol: Duke Wayne.
Then, the local Democratic Party, in search of one more lever to divide our citizens lunged to capitalize on its good fortune, to seek political advantage. As an actor and public personality over the generations, John Wayne presented America an opportunity to walk into a world of honor, strength and allegiance. Yes, it may have been make-believe, but he shared it in times when it seemed we needed it most.
Do we want to go down this road of tearing down all of our icons? Do we want to peek into that window or open that door? If Ada Briceno, the Democratic Party chair wants to tear off those scabs, then let’s begin with the ultimate Democratic icon, Franklin Delano Roosevelt — a malicious, bigoted anti-immigrant and anti-Semite.
Rafael Medoff, founding director of the David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies in Washington and author of “FDR and the Holocaust: A Breach of Faith,” shared his research on the late president in a 2013 Los Angeles Times op-ed. Mr. Medoff wrote that in 1923, as a member of the Harvard Board of Directors, FDR “decided there were too many Jewish students at the college and helped institute a quota.”
In 1941 at a Cabinet meeting, he remarked that “there were too many Jews among federal employees in Oregon.” He expressed pride that “there is no Jewish blood in our veins” and characterized a tax maneuver by Jewish newspaper as “a dirty Jewish trick.”
FDR’s views weren’t limited to Jewish people, wrote Mr. Medoff. He didn’t like immigrants in general. In a series of articles for the Macon (Ga.) Daily Telegraph and for Asia magazine in the 1920s, he opposed Japanese immigration on the grounds that “mingling Asiatic blood with European or American blood produces, in nine cases out of ten, the most unfortunate results.” He recommended that future immigration should be limited to those who had “blood of the right sort.”
So, while Ms. Briceno is on this rant as head of the Orange County Democratic Party, I have some suggestions. Congresswoman Katie Porter is known for her aggressive, forceful representation. Ms. Porter would be the perfect candidate for demanding that Congress take the Franklin Roosevelt dime out of circulation on grounds of the late president’s pernicious anti-Semitism.
And as an immigrant herself, Ms. Briceno’s outrage at FDR’s anti-immigrant and anti-Asian statements would suggest she turn to Congressman Mark Takano to take up the cause of removing the FDR Memorial at Washington, D.C.’s Tidal Basin.
There’s more. How about Sen. William Fulbright, that hero of the left for his views on the Vietnam War, and Sen. Sam Ervin, the Watergate legend adored by the Democratic Party? Ervin authored the Southern Manifesto to repudiate the historic school desegregation decision and maintain Jim Crow rule in the South — keeping blacks in separate schools, unable to sit at lunch counters, drink from the same fountains as whites or share public restrooms. Bill Fulbright signed onto the same Southern Manifesto and shared the same views.
Ervin and Fulbright filibustered the landmark 1964 Civil Rights Act and voted against the 1965 Voting Rights bill to give equal voting access to African-Americans. Based on these records, I don’t see how you can classify those two icons as other than bigots and racists — hoping that they could keep their Black brothers and sisters mired in segregated America. I offer to Fred Smoller this cause: There’s a statue of Ervin in Morganton, North Carolina. No city should honor a racist with a statue for views he held 60 years ago.
And Mr. Moodian can join the Black students at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville in their efforts to take down the statue of Fulbright. That certainly would be an appropriate conclusion to his racist career. And Congressmen Harley Rouda, Gil Cisneros and Mike Levin should be similarly encouraged by Ms. Briceno to offer legislation to remove Fulbright’s name from the Fulbright Scholarship. Why would anyone honor a racist with an academic title?
As a partisan Republican, I should revel in all these actions. But this insanity has to stop. Now. Otherwise, this gotcha game has no end. Great men and women in history have frailties and flaws, and we can spend a lifetime searching for them. If the Orange County Supervisors bend to his shabby mob of Briceno, Umberg, Smoller and Moodian, they will be shamed.
In 1973, I attended the White House dinner honoring the return of the Vietnam POWs. It included entertainment by Bob Hope and Sammy Davis Jr. as well as a brief message by John Wayne. The Duke walked up on the stage to massive applause. I’ll never forget how he concluded his remarks, delivered in that unforgettable voice to men who had been imprisoned, some for as much as seven or eight years, in the worst of conditions: “I don’t want to thank you for any one thing …. just for everything.” That one statement salved the wounds, the torture and emotional duress of all those years as they stood up and cheered. The inimitable Duke.
You can take Briceno, Porter, Umberg, Smoller, Moodian, Levin, Cisneros, Rouda and all the rest of that bunch and wrap them together, and I’d trade them all for a single two-hour matinee of John Wayne on the big screen projecting the greatness of America.
• Kenneth L. Khachigian practices law in San Clemente and is former chief speechwriter to President Ronald Reagan.
We were told this was a “movement” to make Black lives matter. We were told this was a movement to reform and improve the police. We were told Black Americans were being targeted and killed indiscriminately and that had to stop. After George Floyd’s death, we were told many things with which we agreed.
But instead of a movement to make Black lives matter, anarchist Antifa thugs and the Democratic Party-associated Marxist Black Lives Matter swooped in — exploiting Black lives, the continuing tragedy of the inner-city and the goodwill and unity of the American people.
The organized political Marxists, with the apparent wink and nod from the Democrats running various American cities, has erased any positive movement and instead has replaced “reform the police” with “defund the police.” Black lives mattering was replaced with Black Americans murdered at a record pace. Instead of lifting people up, we watch as anarchy and mob violence takes hold and destroys lives in some of our most important and historic cities.
The moment mass hysteria took hold of our ruling class, the panicked desire to not be called “racist” by Marxist bullies destroyed any hope for actual reform and progress not just of policing tactics, but also of a law enforcement system that caters to the rich while condemning the disenfranchised.
The “movement” instead became a parade of White people, individually and in corporations, jockeying to prove who was the most woke by confessing to racist thoughts or actions.
Americans were repulsed by embarrassing videos of celebrities begging for forgiveness and pledging to “learn” about how they could do better. Sports teams began placating the mob by embracing kneeling during the national anthem. A coach, who was shamed for wearing a T-shirt that offended our new mob bosses, apologized and publicly begged for forgiveness.
Movie, book and pancake syrup makers were determined to get in on the Woke Olympics. Statues continue to come down — including one of an elk in Portland. One would guess the poor creature had not been fast enough with his own racism mea culpa on behalf of his four-legged brethren. So down, down came the elk!
There have been many absurdities exposing the farce that has descended upon us in the aftermath of Floyd’s death, none of which is more shocking and heartbreaking than the chaos and riots unleashed in our inner-cities destroying the lives primarily of people of color.
For perspective, in all of 2019, having made at least 10 million arrests, police throughout the United States killed 15 unarmed Black people. Total. For the entire year. That is obviously 15 too many, but the rhetoric generated by the “defund the police” mob has convinced many that there has been a “genocide” of Black Americans at the hands of the police. That’s simply not true.
But one is unfolding now, courtesy of those who have hijacked the genuine desire for reform and progress. Cities right now are enacting or are seriously considering defunding their local police, and havoc is the result.
The New York Post reported, “A wave of gun violence swept through the nation over the holiday weekend, leaving dozens dead from coast-to-coast — with children as young as 5 among the casualties. The bloodshed marred a sunny Independence Day weekend throughout the U.S., including in the Big Apple, where the number of shootings tripled over the past week compared to last year, and Chicago, where police reported 87 shootings and 17 deaths. Nearly a dozen of the victims were children caught in the crossfire. …”
Consider this — more unarmed people of color — 12 being children — were murdered during this one holiday weekend than the police killed in the entirety of last year.
Tom Winter, an NBC News reporter, tweeted, “Every single person who has been shot in New York City this July, nearly 100 in total, has been a member of the minority community and 97% of shooting victims in June were members of the city’s minority community, the NYPD says.”
For New York, Mr. Winter notes the city has seen a 204% increase in shooting victims over the past 28 days when compared to the same period last year. Philadelphia’s is up 27%, its highest in 10 years.
The violence in Atlanta is so bad, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp has called in the National Guard.
USA Today reported, “Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp declared a state of emergency Monday and authorized the deployment of up to 1,000 National Guard troops in the wake of violence in Atlanta over the weekend that left more than 30 people wounded and five dead, including an 8-year-old girl.”
The moment the Marxists co-opted the unity of the American people after the death of Floyd, what transpired was the unleashing of a political cancer the world is far too familiar with. Defunding the police is insane and impacts the safety of people of color and the disenfranchised who are unable to flee urban areas that are turning into dystopian hellscapes.
This is no American “movement.” It’s an organized, craven political con job hoping, somehow, the ensuing misery inflicted on you and your family will compel you to vote against Republicans in November. The Democrats have talked about not wanting to let a crisis go to waste, and you and our culture are now the sacrificial lambs in their political games.
• Tammy Bruce, president of Independent Women’s Voice, author and Fox News contributor, is a radio talk-show host.
As you already know, we’ve descended into full idiocy. The world — with its cancel culture and PC police, its race riots and pandemic panic — has gone insane, and there’s no end in sight.
Think that’s hyperbole? Then consider this: CNN wants to ban such “racist” words and phrases as “blackball,” “sold down the river,” “whitelist” and, of course, “master bedroom.” The liberal cable network notes that the term “master bedroom” first appeared in 1926 — 63 years after President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, freeing the slaves — but adds this wonderful line, “While it’s unclear whether the term is rooted in American slavery on plantations, it evokes that history.”
What’s the point of all the madness, you ask? It’s all to discredit President Trump, which CNN and most every liberal “news” outlet has been painting as a blatant racist since before he moved into the White House.
And for CNN, it’s a game they play openly and brazenly.
Case in point: Mr. Trump’s visit to Mount Rushmore on Independence Day weekend. CNN called the massive carved sculptures of Lincoln, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Teddy Roosevelt a “monument of two slave owners” on “land wrestled away from Native Americans.”
But the monument was something very different when Democratic President Barack Obama visited the monument.
“Barack Obama is campaigning in South Dakota,” CNN anchor Ron Marciano said in 2008. “That state’s primary is Tuesday. Obama arrived there late last night and got a good look around Mount Rushmore — it’s quite a sight if you haven’t seen it.”
“Barack Obama is in South Dakota today,” added fellow CNN anchor Betty Nguyen. “He arrived there last night. Take a look at this. He got a good glimpse of the majestic Mount Rushmore.”
On Friday, when Mr. Trump visited, somehow the site had morphed into a racist ode to slave owners.
“At a time of racial unease, when protesters are tearing down statues of slaveholders and calling for the names of Confederate generals to be removed from army bases, the Rushmore event is a reminder that Trump is fighting to preserve these relics of heritage and history that some see as symbols of oppression,” CNN’s Washington correspondent Joe Johns said. “And to indigenous people, Mount Rushmore, with four white presidents, two of whom were slave owners, is one of those symbols.”
CNN correspondent Leyla Santiago echoed the sentiment. “President Trump will be at Mount Rushmore, where he’ll be standing in front of a monument of two slave owners and on land wrestled away from Native Americans told that, uh, be focusing on the effort to ‘tear down our country’s history,’” she said.
During her report, a chyron on screen said, “Reexamining ‘Independence’ Day” (yes, the word “Independence” in quotes). And at the end, anchor Jake Tapper said simply: “All right. Leyla Santiago, with that report, thank you so much.”
CNN also turned to an “expert” — Sioux Falls Argus Leader columnist Stu Whitney — who said: “I think that is a source of concern for people that see this certainly within a state with a Native American population nearly 10% and much higher in Rapid City, concerned about a place that has a lot of spiritual significance. And historical significance when you look at what they and most historians consider to be broken promises and broken treaties.”
Many astute viewers caught the blatant two-faced bias. Trump campaign Deputy Director of Communications Zach Parkinson posted a video clip from 2016, when then-presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders visited the monument.
“In 2016, CNN’s Jeff Zeleny called Mount Rushmore a ‘monument to four great American presidents’ … Bernie Sanders said ‘this is our country at its very best,’ called it an ‘incredible achievement,’ and said it ‘really does make one very proud to be an American,’” Mr. Parkinson wrote on Twitter.
He added: “Fascinating how CNN called Mount Rushmore ‘majestic’ and ‘quite a sight’ in 2008 when Obama visited, but now its a symbol of slavery and stolen land.”
And he noted that CNN’s Jim Acosta — a longtime sufferer of Trump Derangement Syndrome — gushed when Mr. Obama visited Mount Rushmore, calling it in 2008 a “fitting stop for a presidential contender.”
Others chimed in. “Pursuant to the new moral stricture promulgated this week by the NYT & CNN — that Mount Rushmore is a shameful monument to racism and white supremacy — both CNN and Bernie Sanders ought to repent for this praise they jointly heaped on it in 2016,” said Glenn Greenwald of The Intercept.
Said GOP Rapid Response Coordinator Steve Guest: “This is what media bias looks like.”
Ryan Fournier, founder and co-chairman of Turning Point Action, asked simply: “What changed?”
The answer: The president now is a Republican, not a Democrat.
And to CNN, that’s all that matters.
• Joseph Curl covered the White House and politics for a decade for The Washington Times. He can be reached at [email protected] and on Twitter @josephcurl.
For over two years in the mid-1990s, I was an absentee father — not by choice, but because I was inmate 06833-097, a federal prisoner. We had two daughters, Courtney and Katie, and one son, Jamie. When I was sent to prison, Courtney was five years old, Katie was four, and Jamie was just 10 months old. Too young to understand any of the legal issues, they only knew that their father was not at home with them. They felt abandoned. Neither the children nor my wife Gail had done anything wrong, yet they were paying a terrible price.
My imprisonment caused serious disruptions for my family. I was no longer able to provide the financial and emotional support they needed. There is a tremendous cost to imprisonment that goes far beyond the loss of income. Gail was on her own with no one to “spell” her and take over when she was exhausted. When all three children came down with chicken pox at the same time, my wife was at the end of her rope. Had I been at home we could have taken turns caring for the children.
Even prison visits could be traumatic. My daughters were shocked and wide-eyed with fear when a prions officer screamed at my wife for setting little Jamie down on the counter at the security checkpoint to get her license out. “You can’t start another line,” he screamed. The girls had never seen their mother treated with such disrespect.
It is important that we rethink the assumption that prison should be the default sanction for every crime. Up until the 1970s prison beds were reserved for truly dangerous offenders, with low risk offenders punished in the community with strict supervision. That way they could remain with their families, and work to support them.
In the last 30 years, we have seen dramatic drops in crime rates, yet over two million Americans remain behind bars. We maintain our prison system at an enormous fiscal expense. This cost to taxpayers might be worth it if these institutions actually reformed the hearts as well as the habits of offenders. But they cannot. Too many leave prisons without the skills they need to survive on the outside as law-abiding citizens. In fact, the experience of incarceration leaves many with more anti-social attitudes than they had held when they went into prison.
Separation of children due to imprisonment is a major national problem. Research staff at the Pew Charitable Trusts have found that one in 28 children in the United States has a parent held behind bars. My own experience as a prison father convinces me that we must re-examine our sentencing policies to take into account concern for the well-being of the children left behind — and, as well, to acknowledge the important and unique influence as father has on their children.
Losing a parent to prison often results in poverty that long outlasts the parent’s release because employment opportunities are few and far between when they return home. These children may face disruptions that can land them in foster care. They are likely to have difficulty in school. They may be stigmatized and ostracized by their peers. Lacking positive role models to encourage pro-social behavior, too many of these children will engage in delinquent behaviors and land themselves in jail.
The criminal justice system doesn’t have to remain such an impediment to strong families. And we have some powerful examples of better alternatives. In Washington state the Family Offender Sentencing Alternative (FOSA) grants judges the power to waive a prison sentence for a parent convicted of a felony, and instead impose specialized community supervision with treatment and programming, provided by the state Department of Corrections, Community Corrections Division. Washington’s FOSA program has a remarkable 10-year record of success in keeping families together while reducing the rate of reoffending more than 71 percent.
Recently, efforts to create alternatives that promote and sustain family unity are growing. Five more states, Oregon, Massachusetts, Illinois, California and Tennessee have enacted legislation to encourage consideration of such alternatives at sentencing and some have provided resources for development of supervision and community programs that focus on the well-being of the child. Oregon is currently maintaining pilot programs in five counties.
A prison sentence should never be the automatic punishment in felony cases. A judge should be mindful of the consequences — short-term on the family, even longer-term on the community. Liberals and conservatives alike need to look at the larger social toll of our current practices and turn toward more effective, humane alternative options that allow a parent to remain with — and nurture – their children, while improving their parenting skills, and maintain gainful employment.
There will soon be legislation introduced in Congress to encourage states to adopts pilot programs like FOSA. I hope they adopt this legislation and fund some of these pilots. Our goal must be to strengthen the bonds between parents and their children, not to break them. The result will be stronger families and safer communities.
• Pat Nolan was previously Republican Leader of the California State Assembly and is the founder and director of the Nolan Center for Justice Reform at the American Conservative Union Foundation.
Many Americans, after they have been in Washington, D.C. for a few years, become less fervent about their beliefs. Donald Trump has become more fervent about the things he believes. After this past weekend and Donald’s solemnly expressed indignation about the shredding of our shared values and beliefs he is being excoriated by the media — The Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, The Washington Post — for being divisive, racist and provocative.
For some reason Americans both on the left and the right have taken a pass on defending American values and beliefs. Donald Trump is not taking a pass. He is indignant. If he has to stand alone he will stand alone for American values. He did not come to Washington to get along with the Establishment. He came to defend our values and to use the American system of capitalism and democratic values to assure our prosperity. He is doing just that.
Did you note this past week’s economic news? Or how about the good economic news of the month before? My guess is that Donald will not be standing alone this election day. That is my prophecy. He will have the American people with him, and Official Washington will again be without a clue.
His two speeches, one at Mount Rushmore on Friday and a second at the White House on Saturday, outlined what he believes and what he thinks the American people believe. It is not just capitalism or the rule of law. It is also the ordinary stuff: family, religious services, freedom of association, saluting the flag, unions for union folk, non-unions for non-union folk, the great outdoors for some Americans, the environment for others.
After watching him—unimpeded by the Trump-haters or even by the Trump-lovers — I have come to the belief that the president is a practical American who understands how to get things done. He is neither a conservative nor a leftist. He is just an American. I wish I could report that he was a hardcore conservative, but I cannot and that is good enough for me.
He trusts capitalism, though he is aware of its vulnerability to excess. He trusts government, though he wants to keep it limited. He believes in the American spirit at work and at play. He would not be embarrassed to be reminded that he loves America — and he hates those who would belittle America. Most of us Americans do too.
When he spoke out against defiling monuments he saw it all coming. First you tear down statues to Gen. Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson, the president said, and what comes next? As the president said, the next will be George Washington, the father of our country, and Thomas Jefferson. That sounded extreme but it has happened.
Now we have assaults against Christopher Columbus and a saint, St. Junipero Serra. But wait, it gets worse. There are threats to statues raised for the Great Emancipator himself, Abraham Lincoln. He was assassinated for freeing the slaves and saving the Union by the first of a long line of public-spirited actors, reaching right up to Jane Fonda and Alec Baldwin. The cowardly killer was John Wilkes Booth.
And forget not the defilement of a statue raised by the great sculptor, Augustus Saint-Gaudens, to America’s first all-Black regiment, the historic 54th Massachusetts Regiment in Boston. And now the ignoramuses are threatening the great, and need I say Black, Frederick Douglass.
Finally, the mob in its ignorance has attacked a statue in San Francisco to Ulysses S. Grant, the general who beat the Confederate armies and as president sent our army repeatedly into the South to protect the recently freed Blacks. Grant was Donald Trump’s kind of guy. He was greater than all the generals of the South or the North, and there would be no defiling of monuments if he were alive today.
Donald Trump came to Washington burning with an ardor to achieve things. He did not come with ardor to get along. He planned to cut taxes, to deregulate the economy, to invigorate the courts, to build his wall, to rebuild the military, and to make the rest of the world pay for the things that this country has been giving them for years. He has made good on all those promises.
The coronavirus was not part of the deal, but he has handled that threat as well as anyone else, even the guy in his basement in Delaware. Now he is going to embark on his second election ever. Who will the American people elect? The man who gave them all of the above, or the man who spent the race in his basement?
• R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr. is founder and editor in chief of The American Spectator. He is the author most recently of “The Death of Liberalism,” published by Thomas Nelson, Inc.
Shootings in New York City are up an astounding 358 percent.
Not a typo.
Is it a coincidence this spike in crime occurred immediately after NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea disbanded undercover anti-crime units across the city? There are now 600 fewer cops on the streets of the city, which have suddenly become a lot more dangerous.
Mr. Shea characterizes this as a “seismic” shift — and he’s right. Just not in the way he meant.
Will it also be considered coincidental when terrorists take advantage of the same “opportunities” afforded by the disbanding of those who used to protect New Yorkers — and America — from that?
This criminal negligence of duty — of the most fundamental obligation of and justification for government — is breathtaking in the scope of its effrontery.
And the damage caused by it.
Scores of New Yorkers have already died because of the open-season on New Yorkers declared by government officials such as Mr. Shea and his overlord of incompetence — or is it contemptuous indifference? — Bill de Blasio, the mayor of the city.
But it’s not enough damage.
Mr. de Blasio just announced he will be “shifting” $1 billion dollars away from the NYPD. Which is to say, defunding the protection of the persons and property of New Yorkers by that amount — on top of the previous defunding by Mr. Shea.
“We are reducing the size of our police force by not having the next recruit class. We are reducing our overtime levels. We’re shifting functions away from police to civilian agencies,” Mr. de Blasio said.
Instead, “free” high-speed Internet for residents of public housing — provided at the expense of the physical security those residents and of the New Yorkers whose taxes will finance it rather than their physical security.
This, he claims, is “the right thing to do.”
Criminals agree. Terrorists, too. It makes their jobs a lot easier.
It’s easier to assault and murder people, after all, when you know there’s no one around to stop you – and when there’s nothing more than your conscience to restrain you. Criminals and terrorists lacking exactly that.
Meanwhile, New Yorkers who do have a conscience lack the means to defend themselves from this open-season … on them.
Guns — for the law-abiding — having been effectively outlawed, such that only criminals have them.
Well, not just them.
Those protecting Mr. Shea, Mr. de Blasio and other elite city officials and very well-protected liberal politicians also have them.
These criminal elites “defund” the protections New Yorkers have a right to — what else are they paying among the highest taxes in the nation for? — from within the safety of a cordon of heavily armed men, not defunded.
Because their physical security remains important.
The rest can fend for themselves.
This sentiment was practically ululated by New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson, another liberal elitist defunder — who expressed his “disappointment” that Mr. de Blasio “did not go farther.”
By which he meant not just defunding but also firing. And not hiring. “I wanted a real hiring freeze,” he told NPR. And “headcount reductions.”
Which all guarantees increases … of another sort.
The crime spike has already happened — but it’s also just begun — as the effects of the defunding jihad — which is only a couple of weeks old — have yet to be tabulated.
Wait a few weeks.
Shootings and other mayhem could easily be up another 358 percent by this time next year. Or sooner. It won’t take long for criminals to seize their chance. They may not have a conscience but they do have the predator’s finely honed ability to sense the helplessness of their prospective victims.
No cops, no protection. No repercussions.
From Antifa to al Qaeda, it’s open season.
The other effects are incalculable — or rather, we may not be able to tabulate them until it’s too late. The cost’s potential measured not merely in terms of hundreds of shootings and muggings over a few months but in thousands or even tens of thousands of lives in a day.
It could be worse than that.
It was lucky for New Yorkers on that bright fall day almost 20 years ago that the targets of the terrorists — WTC Towers One and Two — were largely empty when they took advantage of the innocent unawareness of what could happen and used that opportunity to fly those jets into them, killing only thousands.
Had the Towers been full of workers that day, it could easily have been many times as bad.
It could be hundreds of thousands the next time — if today’s terrorists use something more lethal than 757s — and this time, it won’t be because of innocent unawareness, mistakes made and balls dropped. It will be the result of deliberate dereliction by government officials like Mr. Shea, Mr. de Blasio and Mr. Johnson who know exactly what they’re doing and simply don’t care.
Which is something much worse than a crime.
• A.J. Rice is CEO of Publius Public Relations. Find out more at publiuspr.com.
According to the Small Business Administration, there are about 30 million small businesses in the United States. Among them are 6 million companies that each employ up to 500 people. Regardless of which way you look at it, the small business voting bloc is very substantial. So will President Trump win over this group?
There’s no reason to believe that he shouldn’t, particularly when you line up his policies — and his accomplishments — with his Democratic opponent, Joe Biden.
For the past three years, and up until the COVID-19 outbreak, the president has overseen a massive economic surge. Just about every metric that impacts the livelihood of the typical small business owner — from retail and restaurant sales to industrial production, construction spending and manufacturing output – reached or closely reached all-time highs. Small business confidence was at historic levels.
The stock market had appreciated more than fifty percent. Employer health care choices were expanded. Regulations were reduced and tax rates were cut. Our biggest problem up until March wasn’t a slow economy — it was that the economy was so strong we couldn’t find enough people to get product out the door.
Even during the pandemic, the Trump administration’s actions have been extremely pro-business. The Paycheck Protection Program — a Republican initiative thanks to Sen. Marco Rubio has, despite its hiccups, been an enormous success. Other facets of the administration’s supported CARES Act — from expanding emergency relief and unemployment payments to contractors and freelancers to generous tax credits and deferrals and forgiveness of SBA loan payments, all benefited small businesses.
Even today, critics are aghast at the Trump administration’s continued ignoring of rising COVID-19 cases but small business owners around the country are grateful for the president’s efforts to support their re-openings, despite the risks.
Another thing in favor of the president is demographics. According to a study of more than 3,000 small business owners released last year from financing firm Guidant Financial, 87 percent said that they were over the age of 39, with 43 percent being over the age of 55. Older voters have historically leaned to Mr. Trump. It also isn’t surprising that 73 percent of these business owners are men and 41 percent identify as Republicans, compared to 29 percent who said they were Democrats.
All of these numbers should translate into a landslide vote from small businesses for the resident this fall, particularly when you consider his opponent.
While not as extreme as some of the other more progressive Democratic candidates he defeated, Joe Biden’s policies are certainly more in favor of labor than business owners. He supports an increase in individual, capital gains and corporate taxes. He wants a national minimum wage and mandated paid time off. He’s determined to restore the Affordable Care Act, which will provide less options to small businesses, and step up rules and regulations to more protect workers, the environment and industry practices. All admirable goals. But all at a cost to small businesses.
Any small business owner — when looking just at the policies and considering nothing else — would agree that voting for Mr. Trump is a no-brainer when it comes to which candidate is better for their business. But the problem is that the 30 million small business owners in this country are people with their own personal opinions and passions and they just can’t look at the policies. They look at the person.
And that’s where the problem lies: not in his policies, but with his personality. Many of my clients and colleagues — moderate, reasonable Republicans — are frustrated with the president’s behavior. They’re embarrassed by his tweets and ashamed of his public persona. They’ve grown tired of the shenanigans, fights, narcissism and selfishness.
Many of my smartest clients are re-considering their support for the president mainly because business owners want to minimize risk. We want more certainty. Yet amazingly after almost four years of a Trump presidency, we’re actually more certain of what a future Biden administration will do then a future Trump administration. As much as we’d prefer Mr. Trump, we can better navigate a Biden presidency because we can better plan.
Winning the small business vote for President Trump shouldn’t be that difficult. But, because of President Trump, it is. If he sticks to his policies and downplays his foolishness he would be much more appealing. It’s a simple strategy. Well, for most of us anyway.
• Gene Marks is a CPA and owner of The Marks Group, a technology and financial management consulting firm that specializes in small- and medium-sized companies.
The Cold War was an endless war until, to the surprise of most political scientists, intelligence analysts and astrologers, it abruptly ended.
Was the Cold War necessary? After World War II, it seemed preferable to the alternatives: A new hot war to drive the Soviets out of Central and Eastern Europe, or leaving the Western European countries we had liberated from Nazi totalitarianism to the tender mercies of Communist totalitarianism.
America’s grand strategy in the Cold War, embraced by centrist Democrats and centrist Republicans alike, aimed at frustrating Soviet empire-building in the hope, if not conviction, that Communism’s internal contradictions would cause it to collapse sooner or later. To that end, the United States supported allies and proxies, waged robust espionage and information campaigns, ran an expensive arms race and competed economically.
At a meeting in January 1943 in Casablanca, Roosevelt and Churchill agreed that World War II would not end until the Axis powers surrendered unconditionally — diplomatic compromises in pursuit of peace were not to be entertained. The two leaders also vowed to bring about “the destruction of the philosophies in those countries which are based on conquest and the subjugation of other people,” Roosevelt said.
By contrast, when the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, after Mikhail Gorbachev failed to revivify the decrepit Soviet system, President George H.W. Bush chose not to highlight the obvious failures of Communism.
Why? For one, because he didn’t want to insult Russians with whom he hoped Americans would have cordial relations. For another, he probably thought it unnecessary. Conventional wisdom then held that the People’s Republic of China was moving away from orthodox Marxism/Leninism/Maoism, and would eventually become an upstanding member of the “international community.” Without Soviet support, other Communist regimes, those in Cuba and North Korea, for example, seemed headed for the ash heap of history.
The Islamic Republic of Iran also was totalitarian and implacably hostile to the United States, but from 1980-88 it had been mired in a devastating conflict with Iraq. Ruhollah Khomeini, the founder of the revolutionary regime died in 1989. His successor, Ali Khamenei, lacked his charisma. It seemed reasonable to regard Tehran as more irritant than threat.
Indeed, over the years that followed, many analysts concluded that we had no serious enemies. This was, as Charles Krauthammer famously phrased it, America’s “unipolar moment.”
That moment ended on Sept. 11, 2001, when Islamist terrorists hijacked passenger jets, and slammed them into the World Trade Towers and the Pentagon. (A fourth plane, intended to strike the White House or the Capitol, crashed into a field in Pennsylvania thanks to the heroism of the passengers.)
Since then, one administration after another has struggled to devise a coherent and effective approach to national security, an approach that would enjoy bipartisan support.
Meanwhile, China’s rulers have been aggressing. Cuba remains hostile, despite President Obama’s gestures of conciliation. Iran’s rulers received billions of dollars from Mr. Obama in exchange for their half-hearted promises to slow, not end, their nuclear weapons program. North Korea has developed nuclear weapons and increasingly sophisticated missiles, diplomatic agreements going back to the Clinton administration notwithstanding. More recently, dynastic dictator Kim Jong-un has managed to resist President Trump’s discreet charms.
In this period of deep division within America, I don’t see even centrist Democrats and centrist Republicans agreeing on a grand strategy aimed at building the world of our dreams. But might we at least agree on the collective purpose of preventing our adversaries from building the world of our nightmares?
The primary requirement for achieving that goal: maintaining and enhancing America’s deterrent capabilities.
Such capabilities don’t come cheap, but a conflict deterred is always less expensive, in blood and treasure, than a conflict fought and won, not to mention a conflict fought and lost.
If our enemies believe we have both the means and the will to cause them serious pain in response to injuries they inflict, those who are rational will be cautious, and perhaps choose to deal with us diplomatically. As for those who are irrational, only force can keep them at bay.
Despite these ground truths, we have been allowing America’s military superiority to erode, as the bipartisan National Defense Strategy Commission has documented.
Continuing that erosion is the policy advocated by a bipartisan coalition, including the far left, most progressives, and the self-proclaimed “woke”; isolationists, retrenchers and self-proclaimed “restrainers”; those chanting for an “end to endless wars”; and those unable or unwilling to grasp the logic of “peace through strength,” the paradoxical wisdom expressed millennia ago by the Roman proverb: si vis pacem, para bellum (if you want peace, prepare war).
Harry Truman understood that the Cold War, like World War II, was necessary to stop those who “sought to impose their will, and their way of life, upon other nations.”
Ronald Reagan recognized that weakness is provocative, that it emboldens our enemies, tempting them to take their best shot, while appeasement “gives no choice between peace and war, only between fight or surrender.”
In the struggle against totalitarians and tyrants, there are no permanent victories, only permanent battles — though not all the battles need be kinetic.
Does that imply an endless war? It would be more precise to say we don’t yet have the means to end war. It’s dangerous to pretend we do.
We prevailed in the global conflict of the 1940s, and the one that followed. What we should be debating now is not whether to continue defending America, but how best to sustain the mission, learning lessons from the wars America has successfully fought in the past.
• Clifford D. May is founder and president of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD) and a columnist for The Washington Times.
The latest in the ever-changing COVID-19 crisis is that hundreds of scientists have joined forces and penned a letter to the World Health Organization chiefs to get an official, formal, authoritative ruling that the new coronavirus is airborne, meaning transmitted by breathing contaminated air.
Well, ba dum dum on that.
Salt, meet grain. Scientists — and that’s “scientists” buttressed between quotation marks — have long ago revealed themselves as factually challenged, devastatingly single-minded, even politically motivated on this whole coronavirus matter.
We went from wash your hands to stay in your home; from keep 6 feet apart to stay off the beaches; to shut down those fitness centers to shut down those churches; to get an abortion but not elective surgery; to protest in the streets but stay away from President Donald Trump’s rallies.
We went from hundreds of thousands of projected deaths to tens of thousands, as based on faulty computer modeling — the same kind of faulty computer modeling that climate alarmists use to advance their own faulty predictions.
We saw hospitals close, save for coronavirus cases, at the orders of governors. We saw stimulus dollars being distributed by Congress to hospitals to help with their coronavirus cases — most of which never materialized as predicted. We saw the conflicts of interest that the cash-for-coronavirus situation created within the hospitals — and heard and read the accounts from medical professionals who told of purposely skewed coronavirus case counts, particularly in fatalities. We watched as the media largely dismissed these reports.
We listened as bureaucrats like Dr. Anthony Fauci dictated economic, social, political and health policy from the widely watched White House stage, successfully shutting down businesses, sending people in fear to their homes, upsetting entire national industries and shuttering the doors on schools — all while claiming a complete hands-off approach to economic policy, political policy, education policy. All while claiming he spoke only to the “science” — all while waving his wand over the ever-changing “science.” All while pressing, pressing, pressing for patience until the development of a global vaccine. All while expecting his rapt, fearful audience to turn blind eyes to his own conflicts of interest with the development of a global vaccine — namely, that he sits on the board of the Bill Gates’ Decade of Vaccines campaign, aimed at developing and selling cure-all shots for what ails humans around the world.
And for the most part, the media did turn blind eyes.
There was the government’s every-changing wear the mask, don’t wear the mask, wear the mask if you can messaging, followed by the private sector’s no shirt, no shoes, no mask, no service attempt at avoiding litigation. Or at signaling the most consumer friendly virtue. Whichever, whatever.
And all along, the people were told: If we didn’t take these provisions, more would’ve died.
The science was that the science was ever-changing, so to keep up, the rules, the regulations, the mandates, the orders, had to — simply had to! — change as well.
That’s not science. That’s flipping a flipping coin, again and again and again.
Now comes this?
“Hundreds of scientists write letter to WHO arguing coronavirus airborne,” The Hill reported.
“239 Experts With One Big Claim: The Coronavirus Is Airborne,” The New York Times reported.
“WHO underplaying risk of airborne spread of Covid-19, say scientists,” The Guardian reported.
Catch the ratchet; see the racket? First come the scientists suggesting a danger — then comes the media criticizing the health world for failing to immediately address this danger with new rules, new regulations, new requirements, new restrictions. Then come the partisan policy wonks, the Democrats, the Dr. Fauci types, China-friendly Bill Gates’ kinds, the anti-Trumpers and pro-Joe Biden-ers with their safety recommendations and health advisements and medical suggestions. And orders.
If the coronavirus is airborne, dontcha know, the people will have to stay home. Or, wear face masks 24-7. Or — just to be on the safe side — vote by mail-in ballot.
This isn’t science.
This is bogus, bunk, best-guessing beyond imagine.
Well, in America, it’s time for the citizens to take back their rights from the charlatans. Scientists, on the coronavirus, have spent all the capital they have. They deserve to be drummed out and sent home. It’s time for the individuals to chart their own courses on personal health care.
• Cheryl Chumley can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter, @ckchumley. Listen to her podcast “Bold and Blunt” by clicking HERE. And never miss her column; subscribe to her newsletter by clicking HERE.