Newsletters

Newsletter 100 - Winter 2020

Advocating smaller, more focused, less costly government since 1996.



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Milestone
Congressional failings
Hunter Biden laptop
Foreign affairs
Media spite
Let’s make a deal (electoral reform)
Climate Hustle 2 (John Greer)
Video corner (wind & solar)
About SAFE

Milestone – This is issue no. 100 of SAFE’s quarterly newsletter, marking 25 years of continuous operation. Our founders (former members of the American Association of Retired Persons, as it was then known) envisioned SAFE as the polar opposite of AARP. Grassroots vs top-down – advocates of smaller government & debt repayment versus ever-growing government benefits. To get a feel for the SAFE mindset in the spring of 1996, check out the first issue of this newsletter.

Some things have carried over. The organization might have members elsewhere, but would be primarily centered in Delaware. Most members were senior citizens versus younger people. The core issue was “the debt problem” of the federal government, and the envisioned solution would be “promoting elimination or cut-back of specific government programs.”

Other things have evolved. Our original name (Seniors Against Federal Extravagance) was changed to Secure America’s Future Economy, although we are still called SAFE for short. This newsletter has been augmented by posts on the SAFE website, including a weekly blog. The national debt has grown from $5 trillion in 1996 (about $8.5 trillion in 2020 dollars) to about $27.5 trillion, and the debt counters on the “national debt clock” are still moving in the wrong direction.

Most conservatives agree that ever-bigger government should not be expected to solve all of society’s problems and that government borrowing is not “free money.” The opposing mindset (aka Keynesian economics or “modern monetary theory”) is seductively appealing, however, and has been accepted by many government agencies, the mainstream media, Big Tech, educational institutions, and even business firms.

Both before and after the pivotal 2020 elections, media coverage was heavily skewed in favor of liberal/progressive candidates. This edition will discuss a sampling of such coverage (perhaps more properly described as propaganda), and also review a documentary film (Climate Hustle 2) re the motives of global warming alarmists.

Congressional failings - This year’s Constitution Day essays (9/18/20) were interesting, but we have reservations about the substance.

Alan Garfield seems to blame President Trump for all problems. For example, he talks about Congress being paralyzed by the “bitterest partisan divide in memory” without considering the behavior of congressional Democrats. And whoever was president would have had a rough go with the coronavirus pandemic; it was (and remains) a tough challenge and all concerned (including the “experts”) have been learning as they go.

Edward Larson says the founders intended that Congress legislate while presidents execute; he decries the tendency of presidents to legislate by executive orders, etc. Although “dubious practices of prior administrations” are mentioned, all the examples of presidential overreach provided took place in the past four years. President Barack Obama (“I’ve got a pen and phone”) might have rated equal billing.

Mr. Larson fails to mention the subpar performance of Congress. With very few exceptions, e.g., the GOP tax cut in 2017, our national legislature hasn’t passed any notable legislation since 2010.

Perhaps the real challenge isn’t to “crack down” on presidents, but rather to find some way to improve the functioning of Congress.

Hunter Biden laptop – A USA Today “news” report (10/18/20) shaded the details of the Hunter Biden laptop story to portray it as Russian misinformation.

The “New York tabloid” that broke the story was only belatedly identified as the well-respected New York Post.

The story is based on “unverified documents” and references a meeting between father Joe Biden and an adviser to Burisma (a Ukrainian energy company) that supposedly never happened. Biden’s campaign hasn’t denied that the documents on the laptop are authentic, however, and he has declined to answer questions about the story.

The FBI is reportedly investigating whether the laptop represents Russian misinformation. Maybe, but are they also considering that it might demonstrate corrupt business dealings in the Ukraine and elsewhere, e.g., China? [According to post-election reports, the investigation is probably directed at Hunter Biden.]

Two Senate committees cleared the former vice president re Hunter’s business activities in Ukraine, notwithstanding Joe Biden’s hold-up of $1 billion in aid until a Ukrainian prosecutor was fired, but that was before the laptop story surfaced.

Twitter and Facebook are social media platforms with statutory immunity for the information published. Nothing entitles them to restrict circulation of reports by recognized news organizations.

Foreign affairs - A 10/28/20 editorial (USA Today) on “Trump’s foreign policy record” starts with snark: With the coronavirus pandemic raging, why should anyone worry about foreign policies (especially as the president has done no better in the international arena)?

The writeup recites a litany of purported mistakes - two of which were good decisions. It made sense to withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord, which never figured to slow global warming, and from the Iranian Nuclear Deal that ensured Iran could develop nuclear weapons while continuing to terrorize the Middle East.

Some progress is conceded in other areas, but in each case with an asterisk. Normalization of relationships between Israel and several Arab states, for example, is faulted for falling short of a peace agreement between Israel and Palestine (which had eluded all of Trump’s predecessors).

Biden’s foreign policy experience is cited without connecting him to policy blunders of the Obama administration; Allowed ISIS to blossom by premature US withdrawal from Iraq - invited Russian military forces into Syria – provided zero support for Ukraine versus Russian aggression – made no effort to stop China from eating this country’s lunch.

Media spite - In an 11/4/20 column, Mitch Albom of the Detroit Free Press decried the type of partisan warfare that is currently in vogue and suggested that the media have helped to fuel it.

“Who put us in charge? Many in our business act as if we’re simply smarter than the common folk who vote, and it is therefore our duty to give those people what’s good for them.”

Was this column a sign that USA Today would be reverting to the traditional “rules of journalism”? Perhaps, but some ensuing commentary suggests otherwise.

•Trump’s massive vote total breaks my heart by Michael Stern (11/6/20) not only trashed President Trump, but effectively labeled the 74 million Americans who voted for him as bigots and/or fools.

•Trump’s historic, dishonest press conference by Tom Nichols (11/8/20) characterized the president’s announcement of plans to file legal challengers as baseless and unhinged from reality. Having watched the conference and reviewed the transcript, we would disagree.

Considering Mr. Albom’s premise that all Americans need to take a step back, what’s the purpose of publishing vitriolic rants like this? Perhaps the USA Today editors should do some soul searching.

Let’s make a deal – Jonathan Zimmerman’s column (12/15/20) proposes that liberals contribute to dialing back the bitterly divisive political conversation by giving President Trump credit (along with the scientists, drug companies, and others involved) for the COVID vaccines now being rolled out. Better late than never, great.

Conservatives would accept the outcome of the recent election and congratulate President-elect Biden on his victory. OK, there don’t seem to be any viable alternatives at this point so conservatives might as well bow to the inevitable.

We don’t agree, however, that Biden’s victory was demonstrated by “every shard of real evidence.” To the contrary, affidavits and/or testimony of poll workers and monitors, voters, computer experts, and data analysts have revealed a host of irregularities that could have changed the election outcome in half a dozen states.

The courts concerned may have lacked the time or inclination to thoroughly review this evidence, but that doesn’t mean the apparent problems weren’t real.

Accordingly, Mr. Zimmerman’s deal should be expanded to include creation of a bipartisan Electoral Reform Commission (along the lines of the Carter-Baker commission after the 2000 election) to thoroughly assess what happened and recommend corrective action.

Climate Hustle 2, John E. Greer, Jr., P.E.(ret.) – Featuring appearances by about 150 people from both sides of the global warming debate, this CFACT film draws parallels from “1984” (George Orwell’s vision of life in a government-controlled society).

Activists see the virus lockdown as a climate emergency dress rehearsal. "If you like living under a coronavirus government lockdown" says investigative reporter Mark Morano, "you will love living under a climate emergency."

In a hilarious introduction, "Mini AOC" says her plan to save the planet will cost $93 trillion and that if sea level keeps rising "we won't be able to drive to Hawaii anymore."

Narrator Kevin Sorbo reprises the skepticism about the manmade global warming theory that was expressed in Climate Hustle (2017), thereby setting up the questions to be explored in this sequel: Why spread false alarm? Why try to Hustle you? The suggested answers are as old as mankind.

MONEY. Climate change is a $1.5 trillion annual global industry. "We've created a vast industry in renewable energy and other activities ... which is wasting money, misallocating resources on a gargantuan scale." Roger Helmer, former UK MP.

Global warming is driving academia with a funding ratio of $3,500 for alarmists to $1 for skeptics. Yet the alarmists accuse skeptics of being in it for the money!

POWER, CONTROL, IDEOLOGY. "Stopping Climate Change is not about Saving the Planet...It is about climate elites trying to convince the rest of us to accept a future in which they call all the shots” and dictate how we should live our lives.

As former Czech President Vaclav Klaus puts it: "Our life in communism increased our sensitivity to all ways... endangering freedom and democracy in the world and therefore I am so active against any other ideology which is killing freedom, democracy, and prosperity” such as global warming alarmism.

UN support for the global warming dogma was started by the late Maurice Strong, whose often-stated aims were to "install an unelected global socialist governance and de-industrialize western civilization."

The solution is always bigger government, more regulation, less freedom – to be achieved without taking time for debate. Justification of the plan details, however, doesn’t seem to be provided anywhere. As Oren Case of the Manhattan Institute puts it, "the Paris Accord is somewhere between a farce and a fraud".

"If everyone does what they promise ... it would reduce [temperature increase] by 0.03 oF" in 100 years and cost the US $1-2 Trillion per year. Bjorn Lomborg, a skeptical environmentalist.

Kevin Sorbo closes the film: "The fight to maintain our freedom from those who want to use global warming to centrally plan our lives is an ongoing challenge. But no great battle has been won by sitting on the sidelines. We have the gift of freedom. Don't let it slip away. Don't let them establish a Climate Monarchy."

Video corner – Before accepting the desirability of wind and solar power, consider their intermittency, high cost and environmental drawbacks. What’s wrong with wind and solar, Mark Mills, prageru.com, Dec. 2020, video (5:28).

About SAFE - SAFE is a non-partisan, all-volunteer organization that was founded in 1996. We advocate smaller, more focused, lower cost government, to be achieved by cutting spending, restructuring “entitlements,” simplifying taxes, and rationalizing regulations.

SAFE BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Andrew Betley, (302) 239-9679
Suzie Dickson
John Greer, (302) 479-0485
Dan Kerrick, treasurer, (302) 521-4272
Steve McClain, (302) 998-3910
Jerry Martin, (302) 478-5064
John Nichols, (302) 743-2783
rycK Stout, (302) 478-9495
Bill Whipple, president, (302) 464-2688
For e-mail addresses see
LINK.

The SAFE agenda is promoted through: (1) Our website, including issue statements, a weekly blog, and a “Delaware Chatter” microblog; (2) Letters to the editor, public events, legislative contacts, etc., which are also posted and/or recapped on the website; (3) This quarterly newsletter, available in print (since 1996) and now electronic editions; and (4) Posts on Twitter and/or Facebook (click icons on the website to access).

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