Wednesday, August 8, 2018

The politics of fear

President Franklin Roosevelt once famously stated as he took over leadership of a United States in the throes of the Great Depression, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” It was an attitudinal shift from the terror that had gripped the nation since the mighty crash on Wall Street just over three years prior. Historians will continue to debate whether or not FDR’s busy-work policies and alphabet soup agencies ended or exacerbated the depression, but one thing is for certain. His presidency set a high watermark for optimism for the country at large and the Democrat Party specifically.

That optimism enjoyed a brief resurgence under John F. Kennedy that his assassination seems to have stripped from the party permanently. Bill Clinton managed to put a happy face on the pessimistic party, but even his rise to power was on the back of a commodity the Democrats have mined and traded now for half a century. That commodity is fear itself.

While Ronald Reagan was restoring the country’s sense of self-worth, a new cult of despair was in its infancy. It was called the global warming movement. Its godfather, James Hansen, was taking a cue from Paul Ehrlich and his wildly successful freak-out, The Population Bomb. Ehrlich confidently and boldly predicted in 1970, “The death rate will increase until at least 100-200 million people per year will be starving to death during the next ten years.” He took the occasion of the first Earth Day in 1970 to predict that 4 billion people would die sometime between 1980 and 1989 in the “Great Die-Off.”

We’ve had nearly fifty years to assess the utter absurdity of Ehrlich’s predictions, yet he still stands by most of them. That’s what happens when you go all in on fear. There’s no backing down without totally destroying your reputation in the process.

Such now is the fate of the global warming alarmists. They have peddled fear for a demonstrable 30-year period, a time-span that scientists and political observers can assess for its accuracy, or lack thereof. Philip Shabecoff, an environmental reporter for the New York Times, wrote in June of 1988, “The rise in global temperature is predicted to cause sea levels to rise by one to four feet by the middle of the next century.” While we haven’t reached the middle of the century we are nearly halfway there. On the low end sea levels should’ve risen by six inches. Of course, they haven’t.

Liberals, devoid of positive ideas of their own, have resorted to exploiting not only fear but guilt. You’re destroying the planet so you must do something about it. You have too much and you’re far too comfortable so you must do something about it. All of the great gulit-and-fear schemes from peak oil to global warming to the population bomb have something else in common other than guilt and fear. Redistribution of wealth. If you’ve managed to work hard and produce it’s somehow your fault that others have not.

Now, that’s not to say that misfortune doesn’t befall people for no apparent reason, but history teaches us that misfortune has visited many successful people. It’s how they deal with that misfortune that makes the difference.

The volume of hysteria among the liberals increases with each new bit of economic news. One would think that black and Hispanic unemployment at historic lows would be cause for celebration. It is only if you measure success by the normal metrics of success. It’s bad news if you measure it only by fear.

Phil Valentine is the host of the award-winning, nationally syndicated talk radio show, 
The Phil Valentine Show.

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Taxis are clinging to life like the horse and buggy

Taxis went on strike in Spain in an effort to coax the government into regulating ride-hailing services like Uber. In Madrid, they clogged a main thoroughfare several miles long by forming long lines in all three lanes and stopping traffic. Yeah, that’s the way to win the public over.

At the heart of the argument I get it. They say their industry is heavily regulated. In places like New York City you have to buy an expensive taxi medallion, essentially a permit to operate a cab, although that cost has come down dramatically because of Uber and Lyft. That’s part of the outcry. Taxi medallions in New York were going for $1.3 million in 2013. Yeah, $1.3 million. Can you imagine? Now those medallions go for less than $200,000. And that’s probably overpriced. 

This is a government-imposed problem. The medallion system in New York was created in 1937. The government didn’t sell any new medallions until 1996 when it auctioned off a little over 2,000. Right now there are roughly 14,000 medallions. Compare that to 63,000 ride-share vehicles. You see why the taxi operators are upset.

What all this demonstrates is not that Uber and Lyft aren’t regulated enough. It’s that the taxi industry has been regulated too much. Apparently you don’t need a medallion and an uncomfortable car to take someone from JFK to Midtown Manhattan. You can actually use your own car. This is the ultimate free market economy.

The taxi industry created its own demise. I have to travel to New York City every once in a while as a talk show host with Westwood One. I can tell you nightmares about waiting in lines at taxi stands at LaGuardia. I can remember coming out of Penn Station on a sleet-soaked day that was turning to rain only to behold a line at the cab stand a block long.

Here’s the basic problem with a cab. A) You don’t know how long you’ll have to wait before you find one, and B) You have no idea how much it’s going to cost once you sit down in one. Ride-share services solve both problems. On your app you hail a car. You can see exactly where it is along with a timer telling you the approximate time of arrival. Even before you step foot in the car you know exactly how much it’s going to cost and you don’t have to fumble for cash or a credit card. It’s all automatic. And you don’t have to tip. They’ve started sending you a notice after the ride asking you to rate the driver. If you rate them high they’ll ask if you want to tip, but there’s no angry driver screaming at you in a language you don’t understand as he drives away because he thinks you’re a cheapskate.

There simply is no downside to ride-share services. If you’re worried about inexperienced drivers or accidents, how many times have you said a prayer in the back of a cab? I feel completely comfortable in the back of an Uber.

The genius is something I call self-monetization. If you want to know where everything is going it’s moving towards self-monetization. Look at Airbnb. Your spare bedroom is now a hotel. There are people who rent their spare cars out. I could rent out a plot for locals in the neighborhood to grow a garden. Amazon is now hiring people to throw packages in their backseats and make same-day deliveries.

The taxi is old twentieth century technology. The world has moved on.

Phil Valentine is the host of the award-winning, nationally syndicated talk radio show, 
The Phil Valentine Show.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

What you need to know about the FISA app and the FBI

The release of the heavily redacted FBI application for a FISA warrant to wiretap Carter Page, a former Trump foreign policy advisor, fell with a thud in the mainstream media. For one, it was released on a Saturday when the fewest number of eyeballs were watching. The normally sensationalized headlines that greet news of the Russian investigation were absent.

Some, like New York magazine, even went so far as to say the FISA app debunked Trump’s ‘witch hunt’ claims. The truth is, as Byron York from the Washington Examiner so artfully laid out, the FISA app to spy on Carter Page vindicates Devin Nunes’s contention that there was serious misconduct on behalf of the FBI.

Here’s pretty much the problem in a nutshell. The FISA warrant against Page relied heavily on the now-debunked Steele Dossier. James Comey, as director of the FBI, signed off on the application three times before he was booted from his job. Running concurrently with those application renewals was his telling President-elect Trump in early January of 2017 that the Steele Dossier was “salacious and unverified.” The mainstream media run interference on this point claiming Comey wasn’t talking about the entire dossier, just the parts that were “personally sensitive” to the incoming president. You be the juWhat dge. This is the full sentence in context of what Comey said under oath when recounting his meeting with Trump.

“The IC (Intelligence Community) leadership thought it important, for a variety of reasons, to alert the incoming president to the existence of this material even though it was salacious and unverified.”

Let’s assume for the moment that the Democrats and their willing accomplices in the media are right. If portions of intelligence you’re receiving on something as serious as a political candidate colluding with a foreign power to rig an election are unverified how can you believe anything else in the document? In other words, what constitutes verified? Well, as we now know nothing in the Steele Dossier has been verified. If that’s the case now it was certainly the case when they filed the application. That would indicate that there was a concerted effort to mislead the court in order to allow them to literally tap into the Trump campaign surreptitiously.

The main point that’s being ignored by everyone is in spite of a FISA warrant and at least five or six renewals at 90-day intervals they found nothing on Carter Page. What they did find is Russian intelligence tried to recruit him as an agent and he didn’t take the bait. More importantly, they found nothing on Trump and any kind of collusion. Surely we’d know by now. Those wiretaps started almost two years ago in October of 2016. Carter Page stepped down as an advisor in September of 2016. He wasn’t even with the Trump campaign when he was being wiretapped.

Don’t forget it was Peter Strzok who was tasked with heading up the investigation into Trump-Russia collusion. He was involved with the Steele Dossier. When asked to join the Mueller investigation he sent a text to his lover, Lisa Page, telling her there’s “no big there there.” Then why did he join the investigation? The answer is obvious. It was all about getting Trump.

Keep this in mind too. Lisa Page gave two days of closed-door testimony to Congress. The only people talking to the press about that testimony were the Republicans who called it “enlightening” and “very useful.” We haven’t heard a word from the Democrats on that committee. That is the story to watch in the coming weeks.

Phil Valentine is the host of the award-winning, nationally syndicated talk radio show, 
The Phil Valentine Show.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

The real story of Trump and Putin in Helsinki

The news media went hysterical over President Trump’s comments at a press conference in Helsinki after meeting with Russian President Putin. It’s instructive to first examine what it is the president actually said.

What got the media stirred was this answer to a question about Russian meddling in the election. Trump said, “All I can do is ask the question—my people came to me, Dan Coats came to me and some others, they said they think it’s Russia. I have President Putin he just said it’s not Russia. I will say this, I don’t see any reason why it would be but I really want to see the server but, I have confidence in both parties.”

The Trump haters seized on that line of “both parties” and spun it that Trump was trashing our intelligence services. Keep in mind this is while Congress is investigating the possibility that several FBI agents were involved in a plot to first block his election to the presidency and then bring him down once he won. It’s important at this point to break the issue of Russian interference down into two distinct categories.

First, there’s no doubt that the Russians have been buying ads on platforms like Facebook to sow discontent in the country. What is not widely reported is they bought ads both pro-Trump and anti-Trump. They bought ads both pro-Hillary and anti-Hillary. They play both sides of the Black Lives Matters issue as well as Texas and California secession movements. In other words, the Russians take the opportunity to drive the wedge deeper on any issue that divides us. Why? Nobody really has a good answer. There could be a geopolitical strategy to topple us as the world’s superpower. It could be as simple as Putin’s hatred for America. Whatever it is, they’re certainly active on every side of the issues.

In the indictment of the twelve Russians unsealed recently by Robert Mueller’s team they contend that the Kremlin-linked Internet Research Agency set up shop to interfere with the U.S. presidential election in the spring of 2014. That was over a year before Donald Trump jumped into the race. It is inconceivable that such an operation was devised to get Trump elected president.

But it’s the second part of this equation that Trump is questioning. The part about the Russians hacking the DNC servers, or as the left-wing media like to say it, “hacking the election.” There’s no evidence at all that the Russians or anybody else “hacked the election.” Whatever the Russians did had no bearing on the outcome of the election. That’s one of the reasons why Trump is so defensive. The left is trying to convince the American people that his presidency is illegitimate because the Russians got him elected. That is utter bovine scatology. 

The real issue is the DNC server itself. This is the point Trump was making when he said, “I really want to see the server.” Something most Americans don’t even know is the FBI has never examined the DNC server that was supposedly hacked. How incredible is that? The whole investigation hinges on testimony from a company, CrowdStrike, hired by the DNC to say the server was hacked. Until our intelligence agencies have actually examined the server themselves how on Earth can they definitely say who hacked it, or if it was hacked at all?

That is the point Trump was making in Helsinki, and the left-wing media chose to ignore the real story in favor of flogging the dead mule of Trump-Russia collusion.

Phil Valentine is the host of the award-winning, nationally syndicated talk radio show, 
The Phil Valentine Show.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

It's time somebody put America in perspective for the snowflakes

I don’t know what you did on the recent Independence Day holiday (unless you had to work). I had all sorts of bold plans to do some bush hogging or clean up the garage. I sat down in front of the tube around nine in the morning and came across a History Channel miniseries that was released in 2010 called ‘America: The Story of Us.’ I actually had the whole series on DVD, but I had never gotten around to watching it. I was about a third of the way through the first episode when my wife joined me. Next thing I know it’s early evening and we’re finishing up episode eight.

After we finally decided to turn it off, I sat there reflecting on what I’d seen. We had been taken from the settlement at Jamestown through the Revolutionary War, the Industrial Revolution, the Civil War, Reconstruction, and the Gilded Age. We saw the good, the bad, and the ugly. We saw the slaughter of the Indians. We saw the enslavement of Africans. We saw the connection of east and west by the railroad, the invention of the lightbulb that lit the darkness, the discovery of how to make steel affordable thus ushering in the age of the skyscraper.

And we hadn’t even gotten to saving the world from Nazi domination or putting a man on the moon.

I reflected on our country as a whole. Not as a white man. Not from the perspective of an Indian or a black American or anybody else. Just from the perspective of an American. When you look back over our entire history it’s impossible to deny that we are the greatest country the world has ever known.

I was sharing my reflections with one of my sons, and he commented that any time the greatness of America is brought up in conversation his liberal friends say, “What about the Indians? What about slavery? What about the internment camps of World War II?” There’s no denying all of that is bad, but does the bad outweigh the good? It’s not even close.

I know this is a bold statement but here goes. No matter who you are—no matter what ethnic or racial or religious background—you are undoubtedly better off because of America. I was discussing this on my radio show and a guy called in and said, “Tell that to the Indians.” OK, I will. No matter the brutality that befell your people many years ago, you are better off today as an Indian living in America than you would be had the Europeans never dawned these shores. The alternative is living in a teepee somewhere in the middle of Kansas. If you’re black the alternative is living in a hut somewhere in Timbuktu. On the UN’s top 10 list of the poorest nations on Earth, all of them are in Africa.

Again, that’s not to excuse the slave trade or the Trail of Tears. We can’t change history. What we can do is appreciate our place in it. My genealogy tells me my ancestors came from England, Wales, and Ireland. Pretty cool places to live, but I’m certainly better off because my ancestors decided to move here.

Countries are like people. There’s no such thing as a perfect country. They all have their histories. They all have things they’re not too proud of. However, we judge countries in their totality, not by cherry-picking the negative things we want to highlight.

America ain’t perfect, but it’s a sight more perfect than 99 percent of the other places on Earth.

Phil Valentine is the host of the award-winning, nationally syndicated talk radio show, 
The Phil Valentine Show.

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Brace yourself for Reconquista

A reconquistador has been elected president of Mexico. Why should you be concerned that Andrés Manuel López Obrador is the next president of Mexico? Because his agenda will have a tremendous impact on the United States.

First, what is a reconquistador? You must first understand what the modern Reconquista movement is all about. Reconquista means reconquest. Many south of the border believe the American Southwest was stolen from them. They want it back. Mexico obviously doesn’t have the military might to do it so their plan is to flood as many people as they can into the region and vote it back to Mexico.

This all started after the Mexican-American War. To give you a better sense of the attitude, the Mexican-American War, or Mexican War, is known in Mexico as the American Intervention in Mexico. Texas had fought for its independence from Mexico and won it on April 21, 1836. Texas petitioned to become a state of the United States and did so on December 29, 1845.

Mexico had only gained its independence from Spain in 1821 so they were eager to hang on to every acre of land they could. In April of 1846 the Mexican army invaded the United States in the new state of Texas. We declared war on Mexico the following month and the Mexican-American War thus began.

We drove the Mexican army all the way back to Mexico City and in 1848 they were defeated. We agreed to pay them $15 million for the physical damage of the war and for the disputed territories. We also agreed to assume another $3.25 million in debt the Mexican government owed United States citizens. When the dust settled the Mexicans had lost over a third of the territory they had when they won their independence from Spain just 27 years prior. They were not happy.

To add insult to injury, just a year later, in 1849, something happened in California, a new territory we had just won and bought from Mexico. Gold was discovered. That really hacked them off. Thus was born the modern Reconquista movement.

Now, if you’re prone to believe this is just a conspiracy theory I invite you to do an Internet search and see for yourself. The stated goal of the reconquistadors is to take back the American Southwest for La Raza, the race. They mean the race of people in Mexico, which is not technically a race, but you get the picture. The plan is to flood the Southwest with enough people to take over the area politically and cede it back to Mexico. You may think this is far-fetched but it’s not. California is already 40 percent Hispanic. Same for Texas. 

That’s certainly not to say that every Hispanic is somehow suspect and not loyal to the United States. Frankly, it’s hard to know how many Hispanics are part of the Reconquista movement. We must simply take those who are at their word. Mario Obledo, a La Raza lawyer and Reconquista leader said, “California is going to be a Hispanic state. Anyone who doesn’t like it should leave.” A professor in LA suggested Latinos needed to speak in code so non-Latinos wouldn’t catch on.

Once you research the Reconquista movement you’ll see a lot about Aztlan. According to Aztec legend, that’s the rightful land of the indigenous peoples of Mexico. It includes the American Southwest. They refer to it as their “occupied homeland.”

Remember what you read here. When the next wave of illegal aliens hits the southern border you’ll know why. La Reconquista is on.

Phil Valentine is the host of the award-winning, nationally syndicated talk radio show, 
The Phil Valentine Show.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Trump Derangement Syndrome is a disease

They first tried to keep Donald Trump from being president. That conspiracy reached the highest levels of the FBI, maybe the highest levels of our government. When that didn’t work they demanded a recount. Then they demanded the Electoral College not seat him. That failed and they moved to impeachment talk, impeachment over nothing remotely resembling an impeachable offense. Then they tried to shout down his policies. The tax cuts would be ‘Armageddon,’ remember? Again they were wrong and the economy is at the best place it’s been in decades.

They thought they had created a lethal issue in family separation at the border. The left-wing media have been exposed for lying to the American people about it. They didn’t tell them that Obama detained children in far worse conditions. They didn’t tell them that 80 percent of the children held in detention came with no parent at all. They didn’t tell them that the viral photo of a little boy in a cage was a fraud or that the little girl, looked down upon menacingly by the president on the cover of Time, was never separated from her mother. In fact, her mother had kidnapped her from her father in Honduras. They didn’t tell them, but word got out. Now a majority of Americans, according to a CBS poll, favor building the wall. This isn’t how this issue was supposed to end.

What’s more troublesome to the left is now, according to a CNBC survey, the majority of Americans favor the president’s handling of the economy. That’s a tipping point in American politics. Pocketbook issues usually hold the strongest sway over American voters. Pretty soon some of the staunchest opponents of Trump will say, “I still think Donald Trump is a vulgarian, but…” Once that ‘but’ creeps into the conversation, it’s all over.

So, there’s only one thing left for those with Trump Derangement Syndrome to do. Sow utter chaos in the country.

Sarah Sanders, the White House press secretary, is kicked out of a Virginia restaurant because the owner says she works for an ‘inhumane’ administration. DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen is screamed at and harassed out of a Mexican restaurant in Washington, DC. Florida’s AG, Pam Bondi, can’t even attend a screening of a Mister Rogers movie without being accosted by deranged anti-Trump fanatics. Maxine ‘Mad Max’ Waters throws gasoline on the fire by encouraging everyone everywhere to harangue Trump administration officials. “If you see anybody from that Cabinet in a restaurant, in a department store, at a gasoline station, you get out and you create a crowd. And you push back on them. And you tell them they’re not welcome anymore, anywhere.”

They’ve lost. Not just their minds, they’ve lost the cause. It’s no coincidence that the better the country does the more deranged they become. America’s prosperity through tax cuts and capitalism is the worst news these people could get. They felt they were so close to fundamentally transforming this country under eight years of Obama only to see most of what he built on sand washed away in a torrent of supply-side economics.

If you’ve been waiting for these Never-Trumpers to calm down it should be clear to you that they’re not going to. The more they see their precious socialist utopia slipping away the more hysterical they become. Many of these people are ashamed of what made this country great. They think capitalism is cruel and capitalists are evil. They despise the direction we’re going.

They see only one option left, and that is to burn society to the ground.

Phil Valentine is the host of the award-winning, nationally syndicated talk radio show, 
The Phil Valentine Show.