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Monday, August 21, 2017

Navy Ceases Underway Operations, Investigating Collision

By Douglas V. Gibbs
Author, Speaker, Instructor, Radio Host

I served in the U.S. Navy during the mid-1980s.  We didn't have the kind of technology today's Navy enjoys, yet we didn't have the kinds of problems they now have.  In a matter of months we have yet another guided missile destroyer damaged in a collision, and as a member of the crew of the USS Chandler, DDG-996 in 1985, I can tell you, there is no excuse.  Destroyers are quicker and more maneuverable than just about any ship in the Navy aside from perhaps a frigate (of which I hear are on their way out).

As a result of the second major collision in three months of one of its front-line combat ships, Admiral John Richardson, the Chief of Naval Operations, has called for pause in operations around the world so as to allow commanders to take immediate action to keep sailors and ships safe.  Vessels in high priority regions and operations are exempt from the pause.

Richardson, who made the announcement in a video message, said the latest collision involving the USS John S. McCain had left him “devastated and heartbroken.”

On Sunday, the McCain, a guided-missile destroyer, collided with an oil tanker east of the busy Straits of Malacca and Singapore. Ten sailors remain missing, and five were injured in the latest of four major mishaps involving ships in the Navy’s 7th Fleet.

On June 17, the USS Fitzgerald DDG-62 was badly damaged in a collision that killed seven sailors off the coast of Japan.

“We need to get to the bottom of this,” Richardson said. “So let’s get to it.”

No kidding. It was bad enough when sailors were captured in the Persian Gulf by Iranians without even mounting a fight when Obama was still in office, and instead whined and cried for the world to see, but now this?

It is all supposed to come down to training, and apparently, something is not going right.  Has the training changed?  Has military bearing been compromised?  Is there a breakdown in the chain of command, or the military ethics of the personnel?  Are they even doing their jobs as sailors?

The excuse being provided is that since 2000, the Navy’s fleet has shrunk but demand for ships at sea around the world has risen, or at least that is what Bryan Clark, a senior fellow at the non-partisan Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, Navy veteran and former senior civilian official at the Pentagon, said.  “Each ship is working 20% more.”

Excuses, excuses.

When I was in the U.S. Navy, we were out to sea constantly, drilling constantly, and we still pulled off two Battle Efficiency Ribbons.

The military is a hard thing.  It's not easy.  I worked 4 hours on, 4 hours off, underway watches, and still got my work done regarding my rate, and various other drills and operations I was qualified for.  Sometimes, we got less sleep than we wanted.  Sometimes I pulled off only one meal a day, or none.  Our bodies ached.  It was hard work.  But, we did our job, we did it efficiently, we did it properly, and we performed our tasks with the pride of being a member of the United States Military.  I am wondering if Clark may simply now be voicing excuses for a softer Navy which has been decimated by not only a reduction in vessels and personnel, but the impact of social engineering which has attracted personnel who may not be as serious about their military service as they should be (or who may have just a poorer general attitude).

The damaged vessels also place more pressure on the ships still in play.  The workload will increase, and it is during those times we find out who should be weeded out, and who the real sailors are.

I am guessing the evals are not as difficult, anymore, as well.  We don't want to hurt any of the feelings of these people who received participation trophies all their lives, right?

Perhaps I am being harsh.  I am sure the Navy, and the other armed forces, have fine individuals serving.  But, I wonder, how many of them would have been wash-outs only a few decades before?

Whether the Navy ships were targeted (as the one off the coast of Japan was), or if the collision was accidental, the technology and capabilities of the ship and crew should have been good enough to avoid the incidents.  But, because of the Fitzgerald (ship that collided with a vessel near Japan a little over two months ago) and the McCain DDG-56 having their mishaps, both of which are stationed out of Japan, vessels based in Hawaii and San Diego will now have longer deployments, and an even heavier work schedule.

There is no reason for any crew to lose situational awareness when out to sea.  People are dying because of a relaxation of military bearing and training.  There is no excuse.  Back when I was in the Navy we didn't have as sophisticated navigation systems and sensors, but our crews knew what was going on around us at all times, and we were adjusting early to any potential problems.  The collisions are alarming, and unacceptable.

-- Political Pistachio Conservative News and Commentary

Solar Eclipse 2017 Groupies

https://www.nasa.gov/eclipselive/#NASA+TV+Public+Channel
By Douglas V. Gibbs
Author, Speaker, Instructor, Radio Host

As I arrived at the library, as I often do when I want to spend uninterrupted time working on my next book (A Promise of American Liberty), I had forgotten that today was the day we would be witnessing a Solar Eclipse (Total in some parts of the country, but a Partial Eclipse here in Southern California).  The crowd outside was massive, with kids and adults alike wearing special glasses so that they could watch the semi-rare occurrence in the sky (some kind of solar eclipse takes place somewhere in Earth's sky at least twice per year).

In the 1970s, when I was in elementary school, we went out into the school parking lot with pieces of paper with a hole punched in it to view a total eclipse, or at least the partial view of the total eclipse were were able to see down here in the Los Angeles Basin).  I was amazed as a young man, and I have loved science my whole life (it ranks real close to history, with me).

That's why pseudo-science like man-made climate change and the theory of evolution drives me nuts.  Those are not science, they are a use of science to fulfill an agenda.

I didn't stand outside to watch the eclipse, this time.  I'll leave that to the wide-eyed kids who are in awe of what they are watching.  It's neat, don't get me wrong, but I've seen it. . . and I do in fact love that kind of thing.  But, there's a fine line between worshiping the Creator, and worshiping his creation.

Besides, we live in an age of technology.  I watched it from an angle in Oregon on my computer.

-- Political Pistachio Conservative News and Commentary

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Trevor Loudon, Enemies Witihin, Speaking in Fountain Valley

Trevor Loudon -The Enemies Within: Communists, Socialists, Progressives in the U.S. Congress

August 20 @ 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

Trevor Loudon is a New Zealand author, speaker and political activist who maintains a blog at TrevorLoudon.com. He is founder and editor of keywiki.org, a website which compiles dossiers on activists and political figures. Loudon was also vice president of the ACT New Zealand Party from 2006 to 2008
BOOKS: Loudon is the author of two self-published books, Barack Obama and The Enemies Within: Communists, Socialists and Progressives in the U.S. Congress.
TOPIC: 
The Enemies Within: Communists, Socialists, and Progressives in the U.S. Congress

Details

Date:
August 20
Time:
7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Website:
http://www.trevorloudon.com/2014/10/expose-the-enemies-within-the-movie/

Venue

Huntington Valley Baptist Church
9779 Starfish Ave. 
Fountain Valley, CA

Fellow, American Freedom Alliance, Attends Summer Conference: From Gold To Dust

I am a fellow of the American Freedom Alliance, and I will be attending today's conference.


Saturday, August 19, 2017

Finland Faces Muslim Stabbing Attack

By Douglas V. Gibbs
Author, Speaker, Instructor, Radio Host

A Muslim migrant is the suspect in a mass stabbing assault in Finland.  Witnesses claim he cried out "Allahu Ackbar" as he carried out the attack. So far, ten people have been identified as injured in the attack.  The attacker was shot in the leg and is in police custody.  While authorities are reluctant to label the attack as terrorism, more suspects are being sought.  Social media show on body covered, but any fatalities in Turku, Finland have not been verified. The attack follows by one day the attack in Barcelona, Spain where a van mowed down and killed at least 13 people, and wounded more than 100 others.

-- Political Pistachio Conservative News and Commentary

Trump's "Many Sides" Speech About Charlottesville Was Not Accurate

By Douglas V. Gibbs
Author, Speaker, Instructor, Radio Host

In response to Charlottesville, where white supremacists and neo-Nazis faced off with antifa and Black Lives Matter, and an idiot in a car mowed down folks which resulted in multiple injuries, and one death, President Trump said both sides are to blame. . . the alt-left and the alt-right.  I get what he was trying to do, and for the most part I support our President, but he was not accurate in what he said.

There is no alt-right.  That is a term created by the media and Democrat Party politicians in the hopes of lumping their conservative and Republican enemies in with fascists and racists.

In reality, the many sides locked in combat in Charlottesville were all left-wing, based on a basic political spectrum that places more government to the left, less government to the right, and the Constitution at dead-center.  Charlottesville was a clash of leftism, with Democrats and socialists and a party mix of off-shoots from each all jumbled up in an orgy of leftist violence.  Not a single person who would be considered a conservative constitutionalist was present at that horrific incident.

To be honest, the Democrat Party owns each and every idiot that was there.  Conservatives and Republicans believe in less government, a Laissez Faire approach that calls for letting things take their own course, for government to not interfere in the basic workings of a free market economy, and localism (local issues handled by local government, not the federal government).  Each and every group claiming presence in Charlottesville has a foundation in the idea of a stronger central government and authoritarianism.

● Progressive Democrat: Increase of central government control over all issues, using government to bring about societal reform, federal supremacy over the States on all issues.

● Socialist: Central government control over the means of production, which leads to central government control of pretty much everything.  Central government supremacy.

● White Nationalism: Created by the Democrats during the slave era, pushing that citizenship and the rights of citizenship, should only extend to one ethnic group; central government supremacy to force the policy into place.

● Antifa: The group calls themselves anti-fascists, but use fascist methods, and call for a stronger central government; Marxist.

● Black Lives Matter: Racist Marxist group calling for preferential treatment by the central government of one ethnic group; calls for federal supremacy over all issues.

● Nazi: National socialism, calling for stronger central government through fascist and nationalist means.

● Communism: Utopia theorized to rise up as a result of the central government controlling the means of production, and after the central government achieves societal reform.

● White Supremacists: Created by Democrats during the era of slavery, calling for citizenship to extend to one ethnic group and for that to be controlled by a strong central government.

● KKK: Ku Klux Klan, created by the Democratic Party during the Reconstruction Period to enforce white supremacy rule and to terrorize blacks and white Republicans in order to keep them from voting; believes in federal supremacy in order to enforce their policies.

So, what do all of the groups listed have in common?  Bigger government.  A strong central government.  They are all left-wing, and they are all cousins of each other.  Conservatism and Constitutional Originalism have nothing in common with those groups.

In short, there is no alt-right.  The term was made up by the Democrats to try and steer the bloodhounds off of their own racist and Marxist fingerprints on American History.  Only one side of the political spectrum was present in Charlottesville, and all of the morons that were present are directly related to the Democrat Party, whether they wish to admit it, or not.

In reality, it was alt-left versus alt-left, and whenever Democrats are involved, things get violent, and people die.

As for you conservatives using the word "nationalism" or "populism" to describe yourselves, or Trump, toss those terms aside.  Nationalism is a leftist construct that calls for central government control, and populism is pure democracy (mob-rule, which leads to mob-violence) . . . both of which are Democrat Party animals, and both of which do not represent conservatism, nor the original intent of the U.S. Constitution.  As Constitutional Conservatives we believe this country is a republic, not a democracy, that government must be restrained to only the authorities granted by the Constitution, and that all men are Created Equal (that means God's definition of equality, not man's. . . man's definition of equality finds its roots in Marxism, and calls for equal misery, not equal opportunity, self-reliance, personal responsibility, and a pursuit of wealth in a free market economy that can be achieved based on the level of work and talent).

Don't get sucked in.  Don't use the leftist Democrat Party's terminology.  Don't fall into their trappings of messing with language.

-- Political Pistachio Conservative News and Commentary

Will Bannon's Departure Change Trump Presidency?

By Douglas V. Gibbs
Author, Speaker, Instructor, Radio Host

Steve Bannon is a hard hitting conservative.  I don't like his "popular nationalist" talk, however, because nationalism is a leftist idea, not a conservative one.  That said, he's on his way out of the Trump administration, and I am thinking he will be more effective on the outside, than on the inside.  That said, as we see yet another conservative depart from Trump's team, we wonder if the President will be able to hang on to his conservative leanings.

“If there’s any confusion out there, let me clear it up: I’m leaving the White House and going to war for Trump against his opponents -- on Capitol Hill, in the media, and in corporate America,” Bannon told Bloomberg on Friday.

He told The Weekly Standard the country would see a new kind of presidency without him there. “We still have a huge movement, and we will make something of this Trump presidency. But that presidency is over. It’ll be something else. And there’ll be all kinds of fights, and there’ll be good days and bad days, but that presidency is over.”

Bannon, now that he's free to be the hardcore guy that he is, has returned to Breitbart News, where he resided prior to his brief stint in Washington D.C.

“White House Chief of Staff John Kelly and Steve Bannon have mutually agreed today would be Steve's last day,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said. “We are grateful for his service and wish him the best.”

Breitbart announced Friday that Bannon returned as executive chairman.

That said, Bannon won't go easy on Trump if he's in disagreement with him.  Ben Shapiro said, "He's going to use that power to smash the president when he thinks the president is wrong."

A source close to Bannon told Fox News there is “no way” the outgoing adviser will go to war against Trump himself.  He will “100 percent have POTUS’ back,” the person said.

Bannon told The Weekly Standard he spoke with the president and Chief of Staff John Kelly last week about resigning on Aug. 14, his one year mark working for Trump. But the events in Charlottesville last weekend delayed his departure.

“I’d always planned on spending one year.... I want to get back to Breitbart,” he said.

Bannon said he feels “jacked up” as he returns to the conservative news site.

“Now I’m free,” he said. “I’ve got my hands back on my weapons. Someone said, ‘it’s Bannon the Barbarian.’ I am definitely going to crush the opposition. There’s no doubt.”

He added, “I built a f---ing machine at Breitbart. And now I’m about to go back, knowing what I know, and we’re about to rev that machine up. And rev it up we will do.”

Trump had nice things to say about Bannon, but I believe Bannon's departure will make Trump waver on his conservatism.

“I like Mr. Bannon, he’s a friend of mine,” Trump said. “I like him. He’s a good man.”

While Trump still remains in good hands, people like Kelly around him makes the White House look more military, than conservative, an image the Democrats are already trying to slam.

-- Political Pistachio Conservative News and Commentary

Constitution Radio: The Communists Within

While Douglas V. Gibbs, Author, Speaker, Instructor, Radio Host, a.k.a. Mr. Constitution, is out of town, Dennis Jackson and Alex Ferguson will be filling in and will be joined by guest co-host Trevor Loudon on Constitution Radio on KMET. Miss the program?  Podcast will be Here.

The show will be live Saturday from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm Pacific Time.  Be sure to call in: 951-922-3532.

Here's the CarStar/AllStar Collision Big Stories of the Week, August 19, 2017:

⬝ Erasing Leftist Sins and Creating the Hegelian Dialectic


https://politicalpistachio.blogspot.com/2017/08/anti-confederacy-movement-driven-by.html

Conservative Voice Radio: Communists On The Move

Conservative Voice Radio
Saturdays, 8:00 am Pacific
KMET 1490-AM

The Banning-Beaumont-Cherry ValleyTea Party's own radio program, Conservative Voice Radio, will be on the air Saturday Morning.

Host Douglas V. Gibbs leads a round-table discussion with members of the Banning-Beaumont-Cherry Valley Tea Party (Glenn, Jan and Diane) on Conservative Voice Radio, KMET 1490-AM, every Saturday at 8:00 am Pacific Time.

Here's the topics for this week's program:
  • Race War in Charlottesville
  • Tightening Grip on 1st Amendment
  • Cap and Trade in California
  • North Korea Backs Down
  • Crosshairs: Maxine Waters
  • No-Go Zones and Terror Attacks
If you missed the episode, check out the podcast.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Anti-Confederacy Movement Driven by Communists

By Douglas V. Gibbs
Author, Speaker, Instructor, Radio Host

Hegelian Dialectic and the General Will - working hand in hand.  The assault on our history, an assault on liberty, and a desire to erase American History, especially regarding the War Between the States, is not only an attempt by the liberal left Democrats to erase their fingerprints from the racism, but also to create a problem, create an opposition to the problem, and then establish a governmental solution.

Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel was a German philosopher, and a major figure in German Idealism. Georg Hegel was born on August 27, 1770, in Stuttgart, Germany, and died on November 14, 1831, in Berlin, Germany.  Hegel was a man who Karl Marx idolized.  Hegel established the recipe for revolution, and the Democrat Party leftists are following it to a tee.  Charlottesville was an attempt to heighten the chaos.  The demands to tear down confederate symbols are also a part of the process.

  • Create a Problem: Racism, "white nationalism" (both of which the Left is actually guilty of)
  • Create an Opposition: Black Lives Matter, Antifa, etc.
  • Create a solution: Increase of government control as a result of racial division, chaos, class warfare, and radical revolution.
  • Goal: Establish communist rule.

There have been four arrests in the wake of the vandalism of a Confederate statue in Durham, North Carolina.  Takiyah Fatima Thompson, Dante Emmanuel Strobino, Ngoc Loan Tran and Peter Hull Gilbert have all been arrested in relation to the unlawful tearing down of the prominent Durham statue.  The were charged with disorderly conduct by injury to a statue and damage to real property, which are both misdemeanors, and participation in a riot with property damage in excess of $1,500 and inciting others to riot where property damage exceeds $1,500, which are both felonies.

Three of them are confirmed members of the Communist Party.

The protests were organized in large part by the communist Workers World Party, which the arrested members belong to.

The Workers World Party is fighting to bring about a socialist America.

The party is active in the Black Lives Matter movement and supports the struggles of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer community. The group says they're “dedicated to organizing and fighting for a socialist revolution in the United States and around the world.”  The group said it destroyed the statue hoping to “take down white supremacy.”

The group also proudly supports socialist Venezuela and communist North Korea.

The Bolsheviks also supported immigrants, minorities, and homosexuals before the Russian Revolution. Once the Soviet Union was established, all members of those groups were targeted for termination and slaughtered without mercy or remorse.

The groups the liberal left Democrats and communists support are simply pawns, a pathway to power, who will be disposed of once they reach their communist dream in America.

Statues of George Washington and other Founding Fathers is next.

-- Political Pistachio Conservative News and Commentary

Barcelona Attack Longtime Coming. . .

By Douglas V. Gibbs
AuthorSpeakerInstructorRadio Host

The Islamic invasion of the Western World is on the move in Europe.  I am suspecting in Spain the attacks will get more frequent and more vicious as time passes.  Spain, after all, used to be a part of the Muslim expansion into Europe, and once land is under Muslim control, no matter how brief of a time period, the monsters of Islam consider that land to belong to Allah for eternity.

Spain was reclaimed by Christendom in 1492.  Ferdinand and Isabella, in an attempt to unite Spain, funded Italian Christopher Columbus to sail westward in search of a westward route to the Far East.

Now, Islam wants Spain back.

A series of Muslim terrorist incidents have recently slammed Spain, leaving 13 people dead and more than 100 injured in an attack Barcelona, alone.  The attack in Barcelona was conducted by terrorists driving a van into a crowd of people.

There were also other attacks, including a terrorist incident in the seaside city of Cambrils and a house explosion farther down the coast in Alcanar.  It is believed they were all linked to the van attack in Barcelona.  A second attack involving explosives in Cambrils was stopped by police before it could be carried out.

Also, two police officers in Barcelona were hurt when they were hit by a car, though it is believed to be unrelated.

The Barcelona attack was one of the most deadly in Spain since more than 190 people were killed in a March 2004 attack against commuter trains.

-- Political Pistachio Conservative News and Commentary

Why wasn’t an amendment to abolish slavery voted on before the American Civil War started?

By Douglas V. Gibbs
AuthorSpeakerInstructorRadio Host

A reader asked: Why wasn't an amendment to abolish slavery voted on before the American Civil War started?  The following answer is from my upcoming book, "A Promise of American Liberty."

The ratio between Slave States, and States in which slavery had been abolished, would not have allowed for a successful proposal or ratification of an amendment to abolish slavery.  To propose an amendment the U.S. Constitution requires two-thirds of the States in convention, or two-thirds of both Houses of Congress to approve the proposal, and to ratify the requirement is three-quarters of the States by State legislature or by convention.  After the Constitution and the Bill of Rights were ratified, the Slave States outnumbered the free States.  When New York in 1799, and New Jersey in 1804, became Free States, the number was even, as it was during most of the years spanning the early 1800s.  At the time just prior to the secession of eleven Slave States to form the confederacy, of the 34 U.S. States, nineteen were Free States, and fifteen were Slave States.

At the time of secession, not all of the Slave States seceded.  Arkansas, Tennessee, Virginia, and North Carolina did not secede until after the Battle of Fort Sumter, and two of those States had gone to John Bell of the Constitutional Union Party in the 1860 Election (Tennessee and Virginia), rather than a Democrat.  Four other Slave States,  Missouri, Kentucky, Maryland and Delaware, never seceded.  Missouri, during the war, was split on the issue of secession, and though the State never technically seceded from The Union, Missouri had representatives in both the U.S. Congress, and Confederate States of America (C.S.A.) Congress.  Tennessee, while the State did secede, was politically split internally on the issue of secession, and was under Union control during most of the war.  West Virginia, when it was formed, was admitted as a slave state to the union.  They were not against slavery, they were against secession, and voted to separate from the rest of Virginia, which had decided to secede from the union.  The State of West Virginia wound up abolishing slavery 18 months later and also ratified the 13th Amendment in 1865.  The New Mexico territory and the Indian territories (Oklahoma) were also Pro slave.  In the Kansas territory the internal split between pro-slavery and anti-slavery resulted in a civil war in the territory before it became a State.  Discord also emerged in other Southern States during the War.  Newton Knight led a band of Confederate Army deserters as an opposition force against the Confederacy during the war in Mississippi.  Local legends tell of Knight forming the “Free State of Jones,” an area encompassing Jones County and some surrounding areas in southeast Mississippi.  After the war, Knight joined the Republican Party,serving in Mississippi’s post-war government during the Reconstruction Period as deputy U.S. Marshal.

The abolition of slavery was not a yet a firm political issue during the years approaching the War Between the States.  Abraham Lincoln of the Republican Party ran on containing slavery, John Bell of the Constitutional Union Party ran on neither abolition, nor the expansion of slavery, and wanted the issue to work itself out through the States, Stephen A. Douglas (the official Democrat Party nominee) was more popular among northern Democrats and called for “popular sovereignty” (pure democracy).  Like Bell, he also believed slavery should be decided upon locally by States and territories without interference by the Northerners.  He was popular among Democrats in the free States who didn't want to take sides over the slavery issue.  It was famously said of Douglas that he didn't care "whether slavery was voted up or voted down," as long as it was voted on by the people.  John C. Breckinridge represented Southern Democrats who walked out of the 1860 Democratic National Convention, and formed their own political party to make sure he was on the ballot.  Breckinridge had been Vice President of the United States under President James Buchanan from 1857 to 1861.  Breckinridge took a “States’ Rights” position on slavery, repeatedly standing against northern interference while serving in Congress from 1849 until he took office as Vice President in 1857.  Breckinridge carried most of the Southern States in the 1860 Presidential Election.

As new President of the United States, Lincoln's primary goal was to hold together the union of States.  Lincoln did not believe, early on, that blacks and whites could live together peacefully.  The Southern States desired to simply be left alone by The Union and not be told what they could or could not do by the federal government regarding what they considered to be an internal issue, especially when it came to slavery.  While Lincoln had campaigned on containing slavery, not abolishing the institution, the concept of outlawing slavery was raised shortly after he took office.  Outlawing slavery early on in his presidency, it was determined, would have created a greater divide, and increased the level of difficulty of the task at hand of holding together the union.

In the Lincoln-Douglas debates of 1858, Lincoln argued in favor of containing slavery.  Lincoln also argued that blacks should not have the same rights as whites, and suggested creating colonies in Central America, the Caribbean, and Africa for them.  He delivered the Emancipation Proclamation January 1, 1863 reluctantly, but knew it was necessary for political and military reasons (largely in order to convince European countries to cease their support for the Confederate States and withdraw from the war).  Unfortunately, along with Lincoln's primary original goal of holding together the union, he also sought to strengthen the grip of the federal government over the States.  Politically, Lincoln was a progressive.


Thomas Jefferson in 1814 said, “There is nothing I would not sacrifice to a practicable plan of abolishing every vestige of this moral and political depravity,” and understood (1815) that “where the disease [of slavery] is most deeply seated, there it will be slowest in eradication.”  Jefferson, however, also warned against slavery being abolished all at once.  Despite his own ardent views that slavery was immoral, Jefferson believed that slavery had to be done away with bit by bit in order to prevent trouble between the races.

-- Political Pistachio Conservative News and Commentary

Alex Jones: Charlottesville Staged

By Douglas V. Gibbs
AuthorSpeakerInstructorRadio Host


-- Political Pistachio Conservative News and Commentary

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Riverside Central Committee: Out with Mayes, In with Melendez

By Douglas V. Gibbs
AuthorSpeakerInstructorRadio Host

Note: As I was leaving the meeting, protesters were outside.  One had a sign that read: No Nazi Scum.  They do realize that Republicans are for limited government, and Nazis were socialists, just like Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and the rest of the Democrats, right?

I have been becoming more involved in the Riverside County Central Committee, and tonight's meeting was a continuation of the last one where we were very critical of our GOP leadership because of their votes to support extending a cap and trade monster that has been devastating to our economy, driving businesses out of the State, and has raised the cost of goods, services, and gas.  This comes after the gas tax, which will already raise our gasoline prices seventeen cents per gallon (and we already have the highest prices in the country).

The Cap and Trade Chad Mayes, and his gang of idiot 8 (7 assembly, 1 senate) Republicans, voted for is a continuation of Proposition 32 which was set to expire in 2020 and will raise gas taxes another 45¢ per gallon.  It requires us to reduce our "carbon emissions" to 1990 levels, while forcing companies to be taxed on their emissions, and to buy and sell carbon credits based on their amount of emissions.  In short, it is a scheme that is designed to tax pollution.  Since then, other sinister bills by the Democrat super-majority have been emerging, one being S.B. 32 which would require levels by 2020 to reach 40% below 1990 levels and raise gas taxes $1.25 per gallon, and another proposal demanding 80% below 1990 levels which would pretty much kick everyone out of their cars.  The cost is enormous, and the rise in the prices of everything associated, from energy costs, gas costs, and the prices of all goods and services as a result, is already out of control.  Just Prop. 32 adds $5,000 to $10,000 per year on the cost of doing business to small businesses.

The higher cost of living is especially devastating on those in poverty (of which California under Democrat control now ranks highest in the country), and working class families.

Mayes said he voted for Cap and Trade because if it passed, the other ones with greater requirements goes away.

We didn't buy it.  We voted to tell him to resign as Republican Caucus leader, and we voted to endorse Melissa Melendez in his place.

Here's Melissa's speech: https://www.facebook.com/MelissaMelendezCA/videos/1540300569323926/?hc_ref=ART5aIKL0EqxYHxgleAV6G4755LZGEDwPoKJJq98GHM1re1Pt18BPB8sxEc1dUL_o7M&pnref=story

Special kudos out to Jonathan Ingram for running a tight ship as chairman, and Melissa Melendez for stepping up to the plate when we need her.

-- Political Pistachio Conservative News and Commentary

The Founding Fathers and the Sin of Slavery

By Douglas V. Gibbs

“In the inner-cities, where we have food deserts (zones where mainstream grocery outlets have removed their stores), those people have never experienced liberty.  They don’t know what liberty is, and from what they’ve been told, they don’t want it.”

The words by the black pastor from Ohio lingered in my mind.  I feared the task ahead of me may be more like teaching a person blind from birth the magnificence of the colors of a rainbow.

“They don’t know what they don’t know.”

The foundation of the difficulty of teaching liberty is that in a country based on liberty, of which its founding document says that “all men are created equal,” the slavery of a race of people continued for nearly one hundred years.

Early American movements towards abolishing slavery came as early as 1688 when Quakers in Pennsylvania condemned the practice, and urged the leadership of the Quaker church to assist in the elimination of slavery. The Society of Friends did not bring about any action by the establishment, but the petition brought the sin of slavery to the forefront of politics, and initiated a process that eventually led to the banning of slavery in Pennsylvania in 1780.

During the American Revolution, founders like Thomas Paine wrote about the importance of the United States abolishing slavery and freeing the slaves. The Quakers would once again lead the charge, while also joined by other evangelical Christian organizations, in the campaign against slavery, ramping up the effort after the Revolutionary War. With the help of Benjamin Franklin, a reorganized Society of Friends, led the charge. The movement eventually led to actions in all of the states toward the abolition of slavery.

George Mason refused to sign the U.S. Constitution on September 17, 1787 because it did not have a bill of rights, and because the Framers did not use the opportunity to require an abolition of slavery from every State if they were to remain in the union under the new government created by the Constitution.

Most of the delegates attending the Constitutional Convention in 1787 did not own slaves.  Of those who did, many were abolitionists, or would become abolitionists during their lifetime.

Slavery had been introduced to the English Colonies nearly two centuries before the Founders established independence and Thomas Jefferson penned his line about equality.

President of Congress Henry Laurens explained: “I abhor slavery. I was born in a country where slavery had been established by British Kings and Parliaments as well as by the laws of the country ages before my existence. . . . In former days there was no combating the prejudices of men supported by interest; the day, I hope, is approaching when, from principles of gratitude as well as justice, every man will strive to be foremost in showing his readiness to comply with the Golden Rule” [“do unto others as you would have them do unto you” Matthew 7:12].

Attempts to dismantle the institution of slavery dot the history of the Colonies prior to the Revolutionary War, and the war itself became a major turning point in the attitude towards slavery.  If the revolutionaries were willing to fight against Great Britain for their own freedom, should not the slaves feel the same way and be given the opportunity to pursue their own liberty?

Many of the Founders did, in fact, lodge complaints against Britain for the policy of slavery imposed upon the Colonies.  Thomas Jefferson wrote, “He [King George III] has waged cruel war against human nature itself, violating its most sacred rights of life and liberty in the persons of a distant people who never offended him, captivating and carrying them into slavery in another hemisphere or to incur miserable death in their transportation thither. . . . Determined to keep open a market where men should be bought and sold, he has prostituted his negative for suppressing every legislative attempt to prohibit or to restrain this execrable commerce [that is, he has opposed efforts to prohibit the slave trade].”

In a 1773 letter to Dean Woodward, Benjamin Franklin confirmed that whenever the Americans had attempted to end slavery, the British government had indeed thwarted those attempts.  “. . . a disposition to abolish slavery prevails in North America, that many of Pennsylvanians have set their slaves at liberty, and that even the Virginia Assembly have petitioned the King for permission to make a law for preventing the importation of more into that colony. This request, however, will probably not be granted as their former laws of that kind have always been repealed.”

The Virginia Founders were not only not responsible for slavery, but actually tried to dismantle the institution.  John Quincy Adams wrote, “The inconsistency of the institution of domestic slavery with the principles of the Declaration of Independence was seen and lamented by all the southern patriots of the Revolution; by no one with deeper and more unalterable conviction than by the author of the Declaration himself [Jefferson]. No charge of insincerity or hypocrisy can be fairly laid to their charge. Never from their lips was heard one syllable of attempt to justify the institution of slavery. They universally considered it as a reproach fastened upon them by the unnatural step-mother country [Great Britain] and they saw that before the principles of the Declaration of Independence, slavery, in common with every other mode of oppression, was destined sooner or later to be banished from the earth. Such was the undoubting conviction of Jefferson to his dying day. In the Memoir of His Life, written at the age of seventy-seven, he gave to his countrymen the solemn and emphatic warning that the day was not distant when they must hear and adopt the general emancipation of their slaves.”

Thomas Jefferson actually introduced a bill designed to end slavery, but opposition was provided by the Founders from North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia, who strongly favored slavery.

Despite the support for slavery in those States, the clear majority of the Founders opposed the sin of slavery.

Elias Boudinot, President of the Continental Congress, used the Bible to explain why slavery was a sin, and that America must shed the evil.  “[E]ven the sacred Scriptures had been quoted to justify this iniquitous traffic. It is true that the Egyptians held the Israelites in bondage for four hundred years, . . . but . . . gentlemen cannot forget the consequences that followed: they were delivered by a strong hand and stretched-out arm and it ought to be remembered that the Almighty Power that accomplished their deliverance is the same yesterday, today, and forever.”

David Barton on his Wall Builders website explains that “Many of the Founding Fathers who had owned slaves as British citizens released them in the years following America’s separation from Great Britain (e.g., George Washington, John Dickinson, Caesar Rodney, William Livingston, George Wythe, John Randolph of Roanoke, and others). Furthermore, many of the Founders had never owned any slaves. For example, John Adams proclaimed, “[M]y opinion against it [slavery] has always been known . . . [N]ever in my life did I own a slave.”

Samuel Adams proclaimed, “But to the eye of reason, what can be more clear than that all men have an equal right to happiness? Nature made no other distinction than that of higher or lower degrees of power of mind and body. . . . Were the talents and virtues which Heaven has bestowed on men given merely to make them more obedient drudges? . . . No! In the judgment of heaven there is no other superiority among men than a superiority of wisdom and virtue.”

A signer of the Declaration of Independence, Charles Carroll, said, “[W]hy keep alive the question of slavery? It is admitted by all to be a great evil.”

John Dickinson, a signer of the Constitution, and Governor of Pennsylvania, said, “As Congress is now to legislate for our extensive territory lately acquired, I pray to Heaven that they may build up the system of the government on the broad, strong, and sound principles of freedom. Curse not the inhabitants of those regions, and of the United States in general, with a permission to introduce bondage [slavery].”

Elder statesman Benjamin Franklin, signer of both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, and the President of the Pennsylvania Abolition Society, “I am glad to hear that the disposition against keeping negroes grows more general in North America. Several pieces have been lately printed here against the practice, and I hope in time it will be taken into consideration and suppressed by the legislature…That mankind are all formed by the same Almighty Being, alike objects of his care, and equally designed for the enjoyment of happiness, the Christian religion teaches us to believe, and the political creed of Americans fully coincides with the position. . . . [We] earnestly entreat your serious attention to the subject of slavery – that you will be pleased to countenance the restoration of liberty to those unhappy men who alone in this land of freedom are degraded into perpetual bondage and who . . . are groaning in servile subjection.”

“That men should pray and fight for their own freedom and yet keep others in slavery is certainly acting a very inconsistent, as well as unjust and perhaps impious, part.”  John Jay, President of Continental Congress, Original Chief Justice U. S. Supreme Court.

The whole commerce between master and slave is a perpetual exercise of the most boisterous passions, the most unremitting despotism on the one part, and degrading submissions on the other. . . . And with what execration [curse] should the statesman be loaded, who permitting one half the citizens thus to trample on the rights of the other. . . . And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are of the gift of God?  That they are not to be violated but with His wrath? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that his justice cannot sleep forever.”  Thomas Jefferson

“Christianity, by introducing into Europe the truest principles of humanity, universal benevolence, and brotherly love, had happily abolished civil slavery. Let us who profess the same religion practice its precepts . . . by agreeing to this duty.” Richard Henry Lee, President of Continental Congress; Signer of the Declaration of Independence.

“I have seen it observed by a great writer that Christianity, by introducing into Europe the truest principles of humanity, universal benevolence, and brotherly love, had happily abolished civil slavery. Let us, who profess the same religion practice its precepts, and by agreeing to this duty convince the world that we know and practice our truest interests, and that we pay a proper regard to the dictates of justice and humanity!”  Richard Henry Lee, Signer of the Declaration, Framer of the Bill of Rights.

“I hope we shall at last, and if it so please God I hope it may be during my life time, see this cursed thing [slavery] taken out. . . . For my part, whether in a public station or a private capacity, I shall always be prompt to contribute my assistance towards effecting so desirable an event.” William Livingston, Signer of the Constitution; Governor of New Jersey.

“[I]t ought to be considered that national crimes can only be and frequently are punished in this world by national punishments; and that the continuance of the slave-trade, and thus giving it a national sanction and encouragement, ought to be considered as justly exposing us to the displeasure and vengeance of Him who is equally Lord of all and who views with equal eye the poor African slave and his American master.”  Luther Martin, Delegate at Constitution Convention.

“As much as I value a union of all the States, I would not admit the Southern States into the Union unless they agree to the discontinuance of this disgraceful trade [slavery].”  George Mason, Delegate at Constitutional Convention.

“Honored will that State be in the annals of history which shall first abolish this violation of the rights of mankind.”  Joseph Reed, Revolutionary Officer; Governor of Pennsylvania.

“Domestic slavery is repugnant to the principles of Christianity. . . . It is rebellion against the authority of a common Father. It is a practical denial of the extent and efficacy of the death of a common Savior. It is an usurpation of the prerogative of the great Sovereign of the universe who has solemnly claimed an exclusive property in the souls of men.”  Benjamin Rush, Signer of the Declaration.

“The commerce in African slaves has breathed its last in Pennsylvania. I shall send you a copy of our late law respecting that trade as soon as it is published. I am encouraged by the success that has finally attended the exertions of the friends of universal freedom and justice.”  Benjamin Rush, Signer of the Declaration, Founder of the Pennsylvania Abolition Society, President of the National Abolition Movement.

“Justice and humanity require it [the end of slavery] – Christianity commands it. Let every benevolent . . . pray for the glorious period when the last slave who fights for freedom shall be restored to the possession of that inestimable right.”  Noah Webster, Responsible for Article I, Section 8, of the Constitution.

“Slavery, or an absolute and unlimited power in the master over the life and fortune of the slave, is unauthorized by the common law. . . . The reasons which we sometimes see assigned for the origin and the continuance of slavery appear, when examined to the bottom, to be built upon a false foundation. In the enjoyment of their persons and of their property, the common law protects all.”  James Wilson, Signer of the Constitution; U. S. Supreme Court Justice.

“[I]t is certainly unlawful to make inroads upon others . . . and take away their liberty by no better means than superior power.”  John Witherspoon, Signer of the Declaration of Independence.

In 1774, Benjamin Franklin and Benjamin Rush founded America’s first anti-slavery society; John Jay was president of a similar society in New York. In fact, when signer of the Constitution William Livingston heard of the New York society, he, as Governor of New Jersey, wrote them, offering:

“I would most ardently wish to become a member of it [the society in New York] and . . . I can safely promise them that neither my tongue, nor my pen, nor purse shall be wanting to promote the abolition of what to me appears so inconsistent with humanity and Christianity. . . . May the great and the equal Father of the human race, who has expressly declared His abhorrence of oppression, and that He is no respecter of persons, succeed a design so laudably calculated to undo the heavy burdens, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke.”

Other prominent Founding Fathers who were members of societies for ending slavery included Richard Bassett, James Madison, James Monroe, Bushrod Washington, Charles Carroll, William Few, John Marshall, Richard Stockton, Zephaniah Swift, and many more. In fact, based in part on the efforts of these Founders, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts began abolishing slavery in 1780; Connecticut and Rhode Island did so in 1784; Vermont in 1786; New Hampshire in 1792; New York in 1799; and New Jersey did so in 1804.

By 1804, as a result of the activism by the abolitionists, legislation had been passed that would eventually lead to the emancipation of slaves in every State north of the Ohio River and the Mason-Dixon Line.  That legislation kept slavery out of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Iowa.  The Congressional act was authored by Constitution signer Rufus King and signed into law by President George Washington. It is not surprising that Washington would sign such a law, for it was he who had declared, “I can only say that there is not a man living who wishes more sincerely than I do to see a plan adopted for the abolition of it [slavery].”

While the U.S. Constitution did not abolish slavery, it did begin the process.  Article I, Section 9 established that as of 1808, Congress had the authority to outlaw America’s participation in the Atlantic Slave Trade.

Missouri petitioned to become a state in 1818 twice.  By 1819 the debate over Missouri was in full swing.  New York Representative James Tallmadge proposed an amendment to the Missouri statehood bill requiring Missouri to halt the further introduction of slaves to the territory and to provide for the gradual emancipation of the slaves already there.  After much debate, Missouri rejected anti-slave rhetoric, and a compromise arose from the arguments. On March 3, 1820 Maine was admitted to the U.S. as a free state, and Missouri was then admitted to the U.S. as a slave state.  A few months later, on July 1, 1820, at a convention in St. Louis, Missouri passed a pro-slave state constitution.  Missouri was officially admitted to the Union on August 10, 1821.  As a result of the debates regarding Missouri, The Missouri Compromise was passed.  It was an effort by Congress to appease the slave States who feared being overpowered by non-slave States through congressional representation and the Electoral College, and the northern States who did not wish to see slave States added to the union without a non-slave State being added at the same time.  After the admittance of Maine and Missouri, the United States contained twenty-two States, evenly divided between slave and free.

The concept of attempting to keep the voting power in Congress even between slave an non-slave States goes all the way back to the framing of the United States Constitution.  In the 1787 Philadelphia Convention, as a compromise to keep both the north and the south willing to ratify the new constitution, in Article I, Section 2 the delegates established the Three-Fifths Clause.

Opponents of the U.S. Constitution, in an effort to revise history and show the Framers to be nothing more than a bunch of racists, claim the Three-Fifths Clause demonstrates that the Founders considered one who was black to be only three-fifths of a person.  In reality, the clause was designed to reduce the voting power of the pro-slave southern States in the House of Representatives, while convincing them it was a move based on fairness.

The Framers understood that if the U.S. Constitution was to outlaw slavery with a blanket clause, the Southern States would not remain in the union.  The Southern States served as a buffer against the Spanish Empire who was nearby to the south in Florida.  The Framers, while largely against slavery, believed that even the southern States would eventually abolish slavery voluntarily, and likely within the lifetimes of those who were delegates in the convention of 1787.  Besides, a blanket ban of slavery would go against the very purpose of creating a system based on the concept of limited government.

The purpose of the creation of the federal government was so that it could handle external issues, and issues regarding protecting, preserving, and promoting the union.  To guard against the potential of tyranny, however, all local issues were reserved for the local governments.  Slavery was considered a State issue, therefore, to remain consistent with the original intent of the U.S. Constitution, the States would be left with the opportunity to abolish slavery themselves.

While the Framers were willing to make a compromise to keep the pro-slave States in the union with the Three-Fifths Clause (giving some enumeration towards representation based on slave population), the clause also denied the Southern States from having representation based on the whole number of slaves in their population.  In short, the Three-Fifths Clause was a mathematical calculation, giving the Southern States some representation in Congress based on their slave population so that they would be willing to ratify the Constitution, but restricting those States’ political power so that they could not dominate the House of Representatives, and succeed in spreading slavery further.

The Three-Fifths Clause only applied to slaves, and not to free blacks in either the North or South.

Despite the efforts of the Founding Fathers to usher in the abolition of slavery, in the United States slavery remained legal until the ratification of the 13th Amendment following the War Between the States.

By the middle of the 19th century the abolition movement had grown to the point that Northern abolitionists controlled the House of Representatives. In 1850, California was admitted to the Union, and for the first time the number of free states (16) exceeded the number of slave states (15). Also, as a part of the Compromise of 1850, the District of Columbia banned the slave trade.

The Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 was a part of the compromise of 1850, along with admission of California as a free state.  In order to convince The South to allow the number of free States to outnumber the number of slave States, along with the prohibition of slave trading in the District of Columbia, certain concessions were given to slaveholding in Texas, and the law was written to further enforce the Fugitive Slave Act of 1793, of which northern States had been ignoring because they considered the law to be unjust.  Northern states had been passing "personal liberty laws" which was not only designed to keep free blacks from being kidnapped into slavery, but to disallow escaped slaves from being returned to the South.

The Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 was put into place to enforce Article 4, Section 2 of the United States Constitution which required the return of runaway slaves to their owners.  The purpose was to compel the authorities in free States to return fugitive slaves to their masters by making it illegal for law enforcement not to arrest escaped slaves and ensure their return to their masters.  The need for the law was induced by a U.S. Supreme Court ruling in 1842, Prigg v. Pennsylvania, which stated States did not have to offer aid in the hunting or recapture of slaves.

The laws were seen by Northerners as making them, and their institutions, responsible for enforcing slavery. In 1854 the Wisconsin State Supreme Court went so far as to declare the law unconstitutional, of which the U.S. Supreme Court overturned in 1859. Those involved with the "underground railroad," and other activities to bring slaves to freedom, like Harriet Tubman, treated the Fugitive Slave Law as just another complication in their activities, and a complication that made them simply change the destination of the runaway slaves to the neighboring country of Canada.

The American Civil War, while slavery was an integral ingredient, was not initially waged solely regarding slavery.  The Southern States were in retaliation against the federal government for attempting to impose its wishes on the pro-slavery States without their permission.

Long before the American Civil War, before the United States was even a sovereign union, General Stark's Revolutionary War cry was, "Live free or die!"

The Southern States believed it was their right to do with slavery as they pleased, so the War Between the States began on the claim that it was a war regarding “States’ Rights.”  The Southern States believed that if the federal government was going to impose its wishes that they abolish slavery upon them, then they were not truly free.  Slavery was considered a lifestyle that they chose to follow, and it was none of the federal government’s business if they chose to live that way.

Slavery had already been abolished in Europe.  Spain abolished slavery both in the motherland, and its colonies, in 1811.  In 1813, Sweden banned slave trading.  The Netherlands followed suit in 1814.  France banned slave trading in 1817, but the ban did not officially go into effect until 1826.  France eventually banned slavery completely in 1848.  In 1833, Britain passed the Abolition of Slavery Act, ordering gradual abolition of slavery in all British colonies.  Shortly after that, Great Britain and Spain signed a treaty prohibiting the slave trade.  Denmark proclaimed the emancipation of slaves in the Danish West Indies, and ultimately abolishing slavery in all of their colonies, in 1846.  In 1858 Portugal abolished slavery in all of its colonies.  Portugal had withdrawn from the slave trade north of the equator in 1819.

Abraham Lincoln was elected President of the United States on November 6, 1860; despite not being on the ballot in the pro-slavery States.  The Southern States were alarmed by his election, and the rapid rise to domination of the new Republican Party in Congress.  The Republican Party had been birthed on March 20, 1854, and in half of a decade, using a platform opposing slavery, had risen to the point that the Grand Ol’ Party was in majority control of both Houses of the federal legislature, and the White House.  Between Lincoln’s election, and his inauguration in March of 1861, eleven Southern States seceded from the union.  As an interesting note, in two of the States that wound up seceding, Lincoln was victorious during the election of 1860.  Those States were Virginia and Tennessee.

South Carolina was the first State to secede, making their separation from the union official on December 20, 1860.  Fort Sumter, a military base in South Carolina, remained in union hands despite the secession, and Lincoln’s government refused to abandon the base.  Confederate forces bombarded the location on April 12, 1861, launching the American Civil War.

The countries of Europe, though they had all abolished slavery prior to the commencement of the War Between the States, largely supported the Confederate States of America because the cheap labor provided by slavery kept the prices of the goods coming out of the Southern States low, and from an economic standpoint, the lower prices were preferred.

To protect the Confederacy from invasion by The North by way other than land forces in the interior, European vessels blockaded the northern fleet away from the shores of the Confederate States.

Recognizing the necessity to remove the European countries from the war, Abraham Lincoln used a brilliant political move.  While the war, according to the Southern States, was about States’ Rights, and Northern Aggression, Lincoln knew that if the war was solely about slavery the citizens in Europe would demand their political leaders to withdraw their aid to the Confederacy.  The political move to accomplish his aim was called The Emancipation Proclamation.  Once the Emancipation Proclamation was offered, as expected, the citizens in Europe rose up in protest, and the European fleets were withdrawn.

Any hope by the Confederate States of America to gain official recognition internationally as a sovereign country was dashed by the Emancipation Proclamation, and now any and all slaves who escaped to union forces were considered free, and would be protected by union forces.

The Confederacy was also down to ten States, at this point, as Tennessee had been captured by the union and fully occupied.

Lincoln's Gettysburg Address in November 1863 made indirect reference to the Proclamation, which made ending slavery the primary war goal.  Lincoln used the phrase "new birth of freedom", solidifying Lincoln's support among his fellow Republicans. 

Technically, the Emancipation Proclamation did not free all of the slaves, and the abolitionists were concerned that the emancipation of the slaves would no longer be applied after the end of the war.  Therefore, Lincoln campaigned during his 1864 presidential reelection bid on a constitutional amendment to abolish slavery uniformly throughout the United States.  After Lincoln's win in November of 1864, slave States that had not seceded, nor joined the confederacy, began to abolish slavery on their own.  Maryland's new constitution abolishing slavery took effect in November 1864. Slavery in Missouri was ended by executive proclamation of its governor, Thomas C. Fletcher, on January 11, 1865.

The Declaration of Independence declares "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. . . "

When those iconic words were written, were some men more equal than others? With their cry for liberty, how could the men of that era live with their choice to enslave fellow members of humanity?

It is reasonable that these questions weighed heavily on the minds of the founders, and that the abolition movement found its roots in those very thoughts.


-- Political Pistachio Conservative News and Commentary