The Rod Martin Report – March 31, 2017
BeLEAVE in Britain! Theresa May Makes Brexit Official
The RyanCare Debacle
The “Trump is Hitler” Narrative Dies
Schadenfreude Section: Nine New Democrat Disasters
Sessions Declares War on Sanctuary Cities
Why We’re For Immigration But Against Open Borders
Why Elon’s Reused Falcon 9 Matters
The Rod Martin Show – PODCAST
- The Rod Martin Show
Whew! Did I ever need a break! Pumping out 4,000 to 10,000 words a week for an entire election cycle — especially when that’s not your main job — is a lot! So the Rod Martin Report has been on a break since the Inauguration.
But you know what’s amazing? I was just told that while we were gone, over 10,000 new folks subscribed! That’s pretty good by any standard.
Anyway, break’s over.
So let’s get started.
On Wednesday, the hopes and dreams of millions came true as Prime Minister Theresa May signed the letter triggering Article 50, formally and irrevocably commencing the two year process withdrawing the UK from the European Union.
The House of Commons cheered.
So did I. For those of you who don’t know, I have been speaking and writing (and organizing) in favor of U.K. independence (the idea which became #Brexit) since before Margaret Thatcher, before Conrad Black, even before the founding of UKIP, all the way back when I was Political Officer of the Cambridge University Conservative Association in 1990 and 1991.
So this was an especially wonderful week for me.
It was not so wonderful for the EU. And that showed, particularly yesterday, when the unelected President of the unelected European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, lashed out at Donald Trump’s pro-UK statements, literally threatening to work for the breakup of the United States.
That’s mighty tall talk for a NATO free-rider.
But more to the point, it betrays the fundamental reality against which Britons rebelled. The UK joined what was then called the European Economic Community, a free trade area like NAFTA. In the half-century since, the EEC became the EC, which in turn became the EU, which has grabbed ever greater power over every area of every European’s life.
Just one small example. When I was at Cambridge, the then-EC promulgated regulations on the ingredients in potato chips (or in England, crisps). Now in America, that would mean safety rules excluding certain ingredients someone thought unsafe. As long as your chips excluded those ingredients, you could make any kind of chip you wanted.
Not in Brussels. The unelected Eurocrats produced a list of permitted (!) flavors: if a flavor — not ingredient, flavor — wasn’t on the official list, it was banned, without input, without discussion and without recourse. And sure enough, because no one on the Continent cares a fig about Britain, two popular British flavors were banned, simply because no one in Brussels knew about them or cared.
Imagine applying this mindset to bigger things. This is soft totalitarianism. Soft, yes. But still totalitarian.
The UK voted to join a trade bloc. Juncker’s reaction yesterday makes all too clear that bloc has become a country, one in which all power is increasingly drawn toward an unelected bureaucracy accountable to no one.
Some have called the EU a “United States of Europe.” But that could not be further from the truth. The EU is the USSR, just without the gulags or the ambition.
Or to put that another way, imagine how you’d feel if Canada and Mexico started making decisions about your life and business. And if Washington let them take more unelected power over us year after year after year.
Oh, and since Juncker made the threat, if the EU really wishes to have America as an enemy, well, let’s just see how well that works out.
One last note before we move on. On Tuesday, the SNP-led Scottish Parliament voted to request a second independence referendum at the soonest opportunity, which Mrs. May made clear would be post-Brexit, if ever.
Juncker and his Eurobuddies would love to break up the UK (though they’ve already hit resistence in the rest of Europe, where Spain, Italy and others face independence movements of their own). Any move by Juncker to help the SNP might well finish the EU.
Still, particularly for my American readers, it’s worth revisiting what a UK breakup would actually mean. A lot of people think England and Scotland are equals. They’re not.
The United Kingdom is the world’s 5th largest economy quite without Europe, at $2.85 trillion. It has 65,000,000 people, making it 21st in size by population. It also has a potent nuclear force, almost the equal of China’s, and the world’s 4th best navy and 6th best armed forces overall. It has virtually no rivals in Europe — or elsewhere — by any of these measures.
Would a Scottish departure shatter this? Hardly.
England by itself has 55,000,000 of those 65,000,000 people. Adding Wales (which voted Remain) gets you to 58,000,000. If abandoned by the rest of the UK, it would still be the world’s 24th largest country by population, down a scant three places. Moreover, its GDP would still be $2.68 trillion — it would still be the 5th largest economy — which is another way of saying that 94% of “Britain’s” economy is English.
Shorn of the Socialist north, Labour could never elect another government in Westminster. Indeed, when I was a card-carrying Tory, we often wistfully hoped that Scotland might join California and fall into the sea. However sad a divorce might be, the UK (or even England alone) would be nimbler, richer, more innovative and more competitive than they’ve been in at least a century.
With a top-ranked military. And nukes.
As you well know, I’m to the right of Attila the Hun, so I had some serious issues with Paul Ryan’s failed healthcare reform attempt. Unfortunately, you didn’t get them in the Rod Martin Report, but I posted a lot of updates on Facebook, and again, you should definitely follow me there.
Obviously, Ryancare flopped: it was too conservative for the RINOs (who voted repeatedly to completely repeal and replace Obamacare back when they knew Obama would veto their work), and much too socialist for the rest of us who, you know, actually expected Republicans to do what they did countless times when it didn’t count.
A few quick takes on the Ryancare debacle:
1. As I’ve said repeatedly, the Republicans should have passed a one-sentence repeal bill on or about January 21, sunsetting Obamacare at some arbitrary point in the future (my preference would be October 1 “or sooner”). This would have been very difficult for the RINOs to oppose, would have given plenty of time for dealmaking, and above all would have irrevocably kept Republicans’ longstanding and most central promise.
2. Having failed to do that (Ryan’s fault far more than the White House’s), Republicans got forced into this awkward three-phase deal. The stated reason is the 60-vote rule in the Senate, but that begs the question: McConnell should invoke the nuclear option on all legislation whatsoever, first since we absolutely know we’re going to have to do it on Gorsuch next week, and second because we absolutely know the Democrats will do it the very next time they’re in the majority even if we don’t.
Repealing the 60-vote rule (which has only existed since the 1970s: it is not at all synonymous with the filibuster) would have solved that problem, and would have given the right both carrots and sticks. I believe McConnell could have pulled it off (and still can). It would have been tricky and may be trickier now (thanks to some of our RINOs like McCain), but it’s not impossible.
3. I think the President was committed to real reform (and still is). Now I can understand why you’d question that. But follow along with me for a minute.
Donald Trump campaigned on our principles. Now so did all these other guys, so that wouldn’t normally mean much, which is precisely why Trump was able to upend the entire Republican establishment last fall.
But that’s quite the point. Have you noticed that during the Rod Martin Report’s break — roughly the Inauguration until now — Trump has been a veritable whirlwind of promise keeping? It’s been utterly remarkable, almost as though he meant what he said, or at least that he meant to differentiate himself from the Washington status quo.
Immediate case in point: when Trump produced his budget proposal, his people carefully implemented every single promise he made last year. Which is kind of amazing, especially to me.
By contrast, the White House trusted Ryan to come up with the health care legislation and the strategy for passing it — since they’d already done it repeatedly, and since that seemed a sensible division of labor — and Ryan proceeded to pre-concede tons of points (rather than demand what we need and compromise where we must), ending up with an unpassable bill.
Idiot. He should have read The Art of the Deal. And Trump never, ever should have trusted him.
Anyway, this isn’t over. Not by a long shot.
If you saw the Open Letter I signed last week (along with the heads of assorted groups like Club for Growth and Heritage), you know that I believe we need to fight for a bill that includes interstate insurance, HSA enhancement and full repeal of the Obamacare insurance regulations and taxes.
I just told you why Ryan (and to a far lesser degree McConnell) own this debacle. But it’s worth understanding what the Freedom Caucus just gave away:
1. $1 trillion in both tax and spending cuts
2. Individual mandate abolished
3. EHB (“Essential Health Benefits”) mandates eliminated
4. 50+ employee mandate eliminated
5. 30+ hours/week mandate eliminated
6. Dramatically more flexibility for the states
7. Work requirement for Medicaid
8. Total federal defunding of Planned Parenthood (which, fascinatingly enough, was Trump’s highest priority in all of this)
Oh, and that’s just the Phase I bill, with Phases II and III coming behind.
As I said, I would have done all of this very differently, and had I been in Congress I probably would have voted with the Freedom Caucus. But it is a huge mistake to think there weren’t two sides to this story, as many conservatives are pretending.
There’s a silver lining, though, to virtually everything. Take this Phoenix billboard that stirred controversy a couple weeks ago:
Poor schmucks: they completely wasted their money. Because the carefully cultivated “Trump is Hitler” meme just died an irrevocable death.
Hitler is a guy who bulldozes everyone in his way, figuratively if not literally. Hitler cuts evil deals with Russia (so does FDR, but we’re studiously ignoring that). Hitler sets fire to the Capitol when he doesn’t get his way. He certainly doesn’t put up with Paul Ryan or Chuck U. Schumer getting in his way.
Post-Ryancare, the Enemedia’s narrative is that Trump is incompetent. And the average Democrat believes it with or without them, because they know the Democrats didn’t stop Trump: the Republicans did.
Hitler isn’t incompetent. Hitler builds superweapons and almost conquers the world.
As Scott Adams put it, Donald Trump just had one of the best days of his career: he got promoted from Hitler to incompetent. By the end of the year, he’ll be further promoted to “competent, but we don’t like it.”
The Democrats don’t realize they just lost their strongest line of attack. But they did. And they will.
Every now and then, I include a schadenfreude section. While we were on our break, the Democrats had a couple of other problems you might not have heard about from the Enemedia. We should take this opportunity to laugh at them (and shamelessly exploit them, of course).
1. Former DNC Chair Donna Brazile confessed to stealing debate questions from CNN for Hillary Clinton, thus helping former DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz rig the Democrat primary against Bernie Sanders, and later the fall debates against Trump.
DWS was fired by the DNC on the opening day of its Convention, the only way peace could be kept on the floor. But though Brazile was fired by CNN when they discovered her corruption, the DNC kept her on for months, proving the full extent of their character.
Asked by no one, and unaddressed by Time or CNN: how is it possible that Hillary could benefit from debate questions she didn’t know to be stolen? Because she couldn’t.
2. This week, incoming DNC Chair Tom Perez, no doubt realizing he can never regain the trust of party regulars without drastic action, fired the entire DNC staff.
3. The off-year equivalent of the “money primary” is going terribly for the Dems, who at the end of March have just $10.2 million cash-on-hand (and $2.8 million in debt), vs. zero debt and $39.2 million for the Pubs. If Americans believed Trump was Hitler…. (But then, if Trump was Hitler, the DNC would be in a camp somewhere, now wouldn’t it?)
4. Former Obama CIA Director Mike Morell destroyed the entire Trump-Russia narrative, telling an intelligence community forum that “On the question of the Trump campaign conspiring with the Russians here, there is smoke, but there is no fire at all. There’s no little campfire, there’s no little candle, there’s no spark. And there’s a lot of people looking for it.”
Not that anyone without a partisan axe to grind (by which I mean as many RINOs as Democrats) thought otherwise.
5. Meanwhile, evidence continued to emerge of millions of dollars spent by Russian interests with top Democrat lobbyists and even the Clinton campaign. Clinton campaign chair John Podesta’s brother personally received $200,000 to lobby for an end to sanctions…during the 2016 campaign. Some might call that a bribe, but it seems as nothing beside the Russian money that went to the Clinton Foundation while Hillary was handing over America’s uranium to what is suddenly the world’s most evil country (you know: for atomic bombs and stuff).
That last bit is now labeled “a conspiracy theory.” Which makes this 2015 New York Times piece (written before the Democrats thought Russia was bad) a bit more interesting than it might be otherwise.
6. A Harvard-Harris poll finds that Democrats kind of hate all their leaders. Especially Hillary.
7. More significant still, an Echelon poll finds that in key swing state counties, 18-29 year olds are Trump’s strongest supporters. That’s a reversal bigger than winning Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.
8. Awkward: Khizr Khan got caught red-handed in a great big lie.
Oh, and this:
9. Decades ago, Rasmea Yousef Odeh was convicted of murdering two Israeli students when she terror bombed a grocery store, AFTER she was convicted of attempting to bomb the British consulate.
You might think these things happened in a country like today’s Syria, where even the FBI admits meaningful vetting of refugees and immigrants is impossible. But no: her trials took place in Israel, a country which keeps good records and shares them with the United States.
So of course the Clinton Administration’s “vetters” let her in. And twenty years later, the Clinton/Obama-era Democrats made her head of the Women’s March.
Makes you feel safe, huh?
In all the Ryancare furor, you may have missed Trump’s “Energy Independence” executive order overturning a raft of Obama overreaches, particularly the draconian and unconstitutional “Clean Power Plan”; or that the Trump Administration just gave final approval to the long-delayed Keystone XL Pipeline.
Leftists squawked, raising for many this question:
Yet more job-creating promises kept.
Speaking of promises kept, yesterday, Mike Pence cast the deciding vote in the U.S. Senate overturning the Obama-era rule preventing states from defunding Planned Parenthood.
PBS, along with NPR, the NEA, the NEH and other leftist slush funds and propaganda arms, is on Donald Trump’s chopping block. So the left is fighting back…with your tax dollars.
This week, Sherri received an email from PBS. It claims that 82% of Americans watch public (i.e., socialist) television, and that it “only” costs $1.35 for every citizen each year (for those of you who can’t add, and PBS chose not to, that’s “only” about $430 million, every single year). They then provided a website you should visit to lobby against Donald Trump.
Yes, PBS just paid to lobby you with your own tax money (on top of providing exactly one side of every issue for 50 long years). Which is about as obscene as it is demonstrative of the sheer depravity of the existence of these agencies.
So by all means, go to their website — ProtectMyPublicMedia.org — and tell them exactly how much you “appreciate” their efforts.
Speaking of government abusing its power: it’s hard to top the Sanctuary Cities. These outposts of lawlessness are deliberately thwarting federal immigration law, and as we’ve chronicled all last year, doing so largely to pump up Democrat voter rolls.
This constitutes theft of your tax dollars, theft of welfare benefits, theft of educational opportunities for your children, and of course, theft of your right to rule yourselves: every illegal vote dilutes and diminishes all the legal ones. That’s quite apart from the theft of your security resulting from illegal alien’s violent crimes.
Democrats would have you believe they can do this with impunity, and of course under the last three Presidents they could. But it is actually a federal felony, punishable by five years in prison for each violation, for any person to conceal, harbor, or shield from detection any illegal alien. The word “harboring” means any conduct that tends to substantially facilitate an alien’s remaining in the U.S. illegally.
Sounds like a Sanctuary City, doesn’t it?
On Monday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced he will withhold billions of dollars in federal aid from these outlaw cities. Then this morning, Sessions announced he is expediting deportations of illegal aliens already in our prisons.
That’s two more Trump campaign promises kept. It’s just the beginning.
But with numbers out showing that illegal immigration is down 40% since Trump took office — before these new sanctions and before the wall — the lesson is clear: illegals (er, “Undocumented Democrats”) don’t come when they’re not welcomed. There might be no illegal immigration crisis at all if it weren’t for the Sanctuary Cities. And indeed they are absolutely welcomed there: Pew finds that just 20 such cities harbor 60% of all illegals.
That’s a lesson which provides its own solutions.
First, ICE should immediately target these 20 cities with all possible resources. They don’t have to get everybody: they just have to make life sufficiently unpleasant to modify behavior.
But second, if Sessions really wants to incentivize these cities to cease being quite so “welcoming”, he should start seeking criminal indictments against Rahm Emanuel, Jerry Brown and others like them personally.
Something tells me that might help Sally Hernandez discover a newfound respect for the law.
But regardless, campaign promises kept are rare and precious (albeit not so rare for this Administration so far). And for it, Jeff Sessions is our RMR Hero of the Week.
Just as an aside before we wrap this up, I want to stress that our opposition to illegal immigration is not opposition to all immigration. My 11th great grandfather Thomas Graves was an original investor in the Jamestown Colony, and settled in Virginia within the first 18 months of its existence. All the Indians he met there were the descendants of immigrants too. My 5th great grandfather and Revolutionary War General Joseph Martin was the son of an immigrant. America is a nation of immigrants. We celebrate and affirm that.
What we do not affirm is criminality. What we do not affirm is the idea that nations are meaningless, that the people who live in a place do not have the right of self-determination, that a community may not make reasonable decisions for its own future.
Marx preached an internationalist revolution that would abolish nation-states. The modern left has similarly demonized nationalism, which it equates with Nazism (funny how they remember the “National”, but not the “Socialist” part of the Nazi Party’s name).
It has done so for the reasons we began with, speaking of Brexit. The left plays on fears of resurgent fascism in Europe to herd Europeans into a superstate, one led entirely by unelected bureaucratic “experts” who “know better” than the unwashed masses. Supposedly this is to keep Angela Merkel from invading Poland, or something. The unwashed masses, after all, might vote for Brexit, or for Trump, and that would destroy the plan.
I said at the outset that this is a soft totalitarianism, one lacking the vulgarity of gulags, but otherwise centralizing all power, at the expense of the individual and of self-determination.
We are for immigration. Lest you forget why, consider this: more than 40% of Fortune 500 companies were founded by immigrants or their children. These companies employ more than 19 million people globally with combined revenues of $4.8 trillion (2014) for the United States, or twice the entire British economy. Indeed, this figure exceeds the GDP of every country in the world except the U.S., China, and Japan. Immigrants are twice as likely to start a new business as non-immigrants. Seven of the ten most valuable brands in the world come from American companies founded by immigrants or children of immigrants.
Among those immigrants and their children are names like Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, Andrew Carnegie, Alexander Graham Bell, William Proctor and James Gamble, Albert Einstein, Werner von Braun, Irving Berlin, Steve Jobs, Pierre Omidyar, Steve Chen, Sergey Brin, Max Levchin, Peter Thiel, Elon Musk.
And Thomas Graves. And Joseph Martin.
We are for immigration.
But we are not for the abolition of our nation, or of nations generally, which is the necessary result of “open borders”, which is to say, claiming that anyone may show up at any time in any number and swamp the system. Trust me, the DNC doesn’t allow an unlimited number of random people to show up and vote in its meetings; indeed, it hypocritically posts security at the closed doors to the room, and requires valid ID to enter.
Yet it happily uses illegals to augment its voting power and swamp the majority.
Nations are the means by which likeminded groups of people may have meaningful self-government. It was monarchs who stood against the rise of them, and it is the new bureaucratic monarchs who stand against them now.
And the left stands against the United States for the same reason: it is not only the embodiment of the ideals of the American Revolution, it is the modern bulwark of the sort of liberty and nationhood that the internationalists have sought to abolish all along.
Our Founders believed in “ordered liberty”. The left believes in a disorder that results in the need for ever-increasing government control. And that’s the core of the illegal immigration battle, just as it was of Brexit.
One last thing before we go. Yesterday, Elon Musk successfully launched a satellite using a reused Falcon 9 first stage. This is the next and crucial step in what is nothing short of a revolution.
Perhaps that sounds like hyperbole to you. But consider this. Imagine what an airline ticket would cost if you had to build a new 737 every time you flew.
Currently, an Atlas V launch costs about $150 million. Elon’s first generation Falcon 9 could do the same thing for $70 million (amazing what innovation and entrepreneurship can do outside the space-industrial complex).
But if Elon (and Jeff Bezos) continue to be successful, they’ll eventually be able to reduce the cost of that launch to around $700,000. Add technologies they’re already working on and it could be dramatically less even than that.
Elon has a tiny fraction of the government’s, Boeing’s and Lockheed Martin’s resources. They’ve all been at it for decades longer. So one has to wonder: why didn’t they figure out how to land a rocket in, say, about 1980?
Likely answer: government was paying a “single payer” price, and of course no one was complaining. For 60 years, NASA has been Medicare Meets Space. And just as with socialized medicine, you lost. Back of the envelope math suggests that the difference in price would have added up to a savings equivalent to the cost of another Apollo program.
And that’s just launching the satellites and space probes of the past several decades. That’s not Mars ships or colonies. But it might well be the difference between what we’ve had and what we don’t.
Let’s put that another way. By stifling innovation, your government robbed you of about $108 billion. We could have gone to Mars on that. We could have bought 1,100 F-35 fighter jets for that. Or 40 nuclear submarines. Or 28 World Trade Centers. Or the entire annual budget of the American Heart Association for 141 years.
Should they really be running your health care?
But the real issue isn’t the lost money: it’s the lost opportunity. People crossed the Great Plains in Conestoga wagons. But they called that most fertile of lands “the Great American Desert” because with then-existing technology it was largely unusable.
It took the transcontinental railroad to settle what became America’s breadbasket, to feed the growing cities, to tap the vast mineral wealth of a continent, to unite our nation from sea to shining sea. From a handful of settlements hugging the East Coast, cheap rail and steamboat transport spawned an era of opportunity and technological advance like nothing the world had ever seen, forging the greatest power on Earth and vaulting humankind’s standard of living from the outhouse to the iPhone.
And it all happened in about the same time we’ve squandered since Sputnik.
This is one of oh so many reasons the 2016 election was important. It’s easy to get lost in the immediate issues that were and are at stake. But it was also about the lost opportunities socialism has and would have stolen from us, opportunities we’d have never seen that we might miss them, from dramatically greater lifespans to the incalculable benefits of a multiplanetary civilization and a billion unimaginable things in between.
We owed and owe our children, and the whole world, better. Let us endeavor to make the most of that opportunity which we have been given in this glorious new 2017, and in all the years remaining to us so long as we have breath.
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