Collusion or just Coziness? Either way…
I really doubt that Donald Trump "colluded" with the Russian government to win the 2016 election. At the same time, however, I am greatly concerned that he is allowing Putin to play him, as he appears to be oddly deferential to Russia's strongman "President". I'm sure Trump would have us believe that he is just acting strategically, but I very much doubt that as well. What do you think?Read the Full Article
The Art of the Deal? For Reagan, Yes. For Trump, Not so Much…
Finally, Donald Trump and the Republican Congress are on the verge of a legislative victory, but without any support from Democrats the benefits will, unfortunately, only be temporary, just like the tax cuts enacted under George W. Bush. We like tax cuts because they put more money in the pockets of hard-working Americans and can provide critical incentives for employers to grow their investments in our economy. Ask yourself, however, just how aggressive those investors will be knowing that a few years down the road those tax cuts will expire and rise back to current levels? Ronald Reagan won permanent and meaningful tax cuts because he was able to negotiate and earn support from Democrats as well as Republicans. Now there's your art of the deal!Read the Full Article
Perhaps We Really are Science Deniers
The Trump Administration's reported plan to prohibit the Centers for Disease Control from using certain terms and phrases, such as "science-based" and "evidence-based", gives the impression that the liberals are right. Republicans really are science deniers! Either that, or the President is playing into his opponents' hands by acting like the Nazis who rarely saw a book that didn't deserve burning. I've never understood people's fear of words and our insistence on continually repeating the mistake of attempting to censor the ideas of those who don't agree with us. In any event, is anyone really surprised that this would be the preferred tactic of our current fearless leader?Read the Full Article
Regular Americans Still Unsatisfied With Trump’s Greatness
To hear Donald Trump tell it, everything is amazing in America thanks to him. And yet, nearly 70% of us disapprove of his performance as President, making him the most unpopular first year President in history. How could that be? Is it possible that we are already tired of winning so much? More likely it is that we are smarter than he thinks and can see quite plainly that positive developments have little to nothing to do with any actions he has taken.
America has always been great, and part of that greatness is its resiliency and ability to achieve great outcomes despite the actions of less-than-great leaders,
I Still Believe in a Better America
This great article captures a key notion behind my decision to challenge Donald Trump for the Republican Presidential nomination in 2020. Especially the concluding paragraphs:
"Every Trump scandal further alienates younger voters. They may be pleased about individual policies, but they recognize that any Republican would do most of what Trump has done. They simply don’t buy the notion that we can’t have decency and conservatism at the same time."
"You don’t have to choose between decency and conservatism. The election of countless high-character Republicans proves as much. The elections of Presidents Reagan, Bush, and Bush prove as much."
You don't have to believe that Reagan and/or the Bush's were perfect in everything they attempted to do to see and agree with the point here. Whatever anyone may think could possibly be good about the Trump presidency could certainly be had with a leader of far better character. This is America, and we should NEVER have to settle for such a false choice.
Now is the time to look to ourselves for the answer. I will be a President who will promote common-sense ideas and solutions that make sense to most of us, and I will do so in a way that is dignified and honorable. I can make this promise with all the confidence in the world because I am a regular American just like the people I aim to represent, and I have no allegiance to any segment of our ruling establishment that has long forsaken us. While my motto - One of Us for All of Us - may be derided by some as trite and contrived, to me it absolutely reflects the truth of what I am about and the cause I am determined to advance. America was made to be led BY regular Americans FOR regular Americans. The big question for now is, do we still believe that, or have we given up and become resigned to the notion that we will get what the establishment gives us and we will damn well like it?
I still believe in America, and I intend to keep fighting for her. What are you going to do?
Read more at:
The Donald Trump GOP Generation Gap Is Very Real
Since the rise of Trump, the existence of a GOP generation gap has been painfully clear to anyone who spends any time around Republican voters. In my experience, the mid-forties are the cutoff. Republicans I meet who are younger than me are far more likely…
Is the Presidency Only for the Rich and Famous?
I am quickly coming to appreciate the conventional wisdom that regular Americans like me - with no money or famous name - can never rise to be President of the United States. The reason why is simple - regular Americans like me are too busy trying to earn an honest living.
Just try to imagine stepping away from your current job and throwing all your energy into a campaign for the Presidency. Trying to get people to know you and understand what you believe in is absolutely a full-time challenge. How long could you go without a regular income? How long before your household bills and other financial obligations caught up to you?
For most of us, the answer to these questions is, "not too long."
Since announcing my intent to seek the Presidency - believing idealistically as I do that America is ready for a regular American citizen to assume that position of leadership - I have committed all my savings and residual income from my small business into this mission, anticipating my ability to gradually grow an army of supporters who would eventually fund the campaign long-term with $20 donations. This is a core part of my genuine grassroots strategy to take back power from the rich and powerful establishment that has failed us.
As it turns out, however, this is not as easy as it sounds. As much as most of us will readily agree that we should not abandon our politics to the rich and famous, we undermine ourselves and those very beliefs by looking at idealistic candidates like me and immediately discounting our chances because we are "nobody" with no money. We withhold our full support - both financial and otherwise - because we fear wasting it on a hopeless cause, thereby creating a self-fulfilling-prophecy. And when people like me are given no chance by the very people who want people like me as our leaders, we doom ourselves to the very thing we spend so much time whining and complaining about - political leadership that neither understands nor truly cares about us.
So here's the question: Are we prepared to give up forever on an America where a regular American can be President?
We all complain and complain and complain about politics and politicians, but most of us never do anything about it, because we don't think we can. And so, the fault behind all our complaints ironically lies with us. We are our own worst enemies because we fail to act upon what it is that we say we want because we have convinced ourselves that we can't have it.
Well I call bullshit to that. Not only can we have the kind of President we really want and deserve, but we should have that, and the time is now. The only thing stopping us is us. All we need to do is believe in our own power and then take action. What sort of action, you ask? Simple - donate, promote, volunteer and vote. These are things all of us can easily do, and there can be no excuse when we don't and continue to get stuck with terrible leadership.
As I mentioned earlier, if everyone who supports the idea of a regular American as our next President gave us just $20, we would have way more than enough money to run our campaign and win. Think about it. For the mere cost of a few cups of coffee we can effectively reclaim power from the ultra-rich establishment.
Next, given the nature of social media in addition to old fashioned, in-person social networking, how hard is it really to share our posts and to tell everyone you know that they should check us out and get on board our effort to restore power to We the People? So promote our campaign every chance you get - I promise it will make a difference.
Third, volunteer. Believe it or not, we don't need a ton of volunteer help just yet, but I assure you we will soon. So let us know now that you stand ready to help in your community, state or wherever, and we'll be sure to put you to work when it's time. Include your family and friends, as it will be an exciting, once-in-a-lifetime experience.
And finally, vote. Throughout this campaign you can be assured that the establishment and mainstream media will denounce and ridicule our campaign and tell you that I can't win; that a vote for me is wasted; that voting for me may assure the election of someone else whom you really don't want. When you hear this, just remember this is what they always say as a way of manipulating us, and most of the time we fall for it. Don't fall for it this time, and when it is time to vote, run to the polls with as many other voters you can drag along and let everyone know that you're voting for Pep!
I'll ask it again - Are you ready to give up on an America led by regular Americans? Forever??? Are you willing to lay down and accept it as fact that only the rich and famous forevermore shall be qualified to lead us?
To paraphrase the immortal Winston Churchill, never, never, never, never give up. Join us today and let's truly take our country back. Go to www.peppe2020.com to Join our Revolution and don't forget to make your $20 contribution while you are there, or by clicking here: https://peppe2020.com/contribute/ Then take a few minutes now and then and aggressively share our posts with your friends and tell them how important it is that they jump on board too. Encourage them to sign up and, of course, to make their own $20 donation.
This is how real change is made. It's time for all of us to put up or shut up.
What is “Merit-Based” Immigration Anyway?
I've been enjoying a good discussion with some of you about the merits of merit-based immigration, but it occurs to me that I'm not sure we are talking about the same thing. More to the point, I think it is important that we know what President Trump means by it, since he seems to be the one pushing for it. Here's an email I just got from Team Trump that might help:
The liberal Washington swamp was hoping you wouldn’t notice, but more than 50,000 people are being funneled into the United States every year through the “diversity visa lottery” program.
A Washington attempt to ENGINEER the social fabric of our country, the “diversity visa” IGNORESwhether individuals are actually likely to contribute to American society and respect our country and customs. DEMAND THIS BIASED, DANGEROUS POLICY END NOW.
END DIVERSITY VISA LOTTERY
OFFICIAL PETITION W.H. 4756
SIGNATURE: NONE ON FILE
SIGN YOUR NAME
The American People are SICK of the government forcing us to pay TAXPAYER DOLLARS to fund unqualified migrants. Merit-based immigration is the ONLY acceptable alternative for the United States.
SIGN THE PETITION NOW >>
Now, I'm not endorsing the "Diversity Visa Lottery", but I am struck by some of the language in this appeal. For instance, "likely to contribute to American society and respect our country and customs" and "unqualified migrants".
Language like this sends up red flags for me, because it seems so reasonable on the surface. Of course we want immigrants to contribute to our society and to respect our country and its customs. Of course we want migrants who come here to be qualified.
But stop and ask yourself, what do these things really mean, and who will decide on our behalf?
You know, normally I hate it when the liberal media and folks on the left paint Republicans as Nazis, but it's language like this that too often gives them the ammunition. It's the subtle change disguised as reasonableness carefully designed to fan our resentment towards foreigners and eventually others who may be considered "unqualified" to enjoy the benefits of America. It's insidious, and it's dangerous, but it is not accidental.
The Statue of Liberty says "Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore" for a reason. Those are the kinds of people who most often want to come to the land of opportunity to make a better life for themselves and their families. And it is this commitment to being that beacon of freedom and hope for so many that has made us great over the centuries. Do we no longer believe in these ideals?
I've invoked my immigrant grandparents to make the point that many of us would not be here today if a "merit-based" immigration policy had been in place earlier in our history. To that, some of you have responded, "times have changed".
You're right. Times have changed. They are constantly changing. They changed from 1776 to 1876 to 1976 to today. What did not change throughout all that time, however, has been our belief in and commitment to those words on Lady Liberty. I know we have real problems with our immigration system, and I know that any smart country must secure its borders. But I also know that, with strong leadership, we are absolutely capable of effectively addressing these issues without allowing misinformation and fear to fundamentally change who we are and who we have always been. Let's keep our doors open and our light shining brightly.
No Place for Abusers in the White House
The most recent White House scandal appears to me to reflect an ongoing failure of leadership all the way around. While these particular incidents involve high-ranking White House officials and, therefore, reflect upon the leadership of President Trump and his team, this is the kind of thing we see over and over again on both sides of the political aisle and in all walks of life.
Here's the situation. It has come to light that an individual was employed in the White House in a position of national security sensitivity, even though it may have or should have been known that he had been credibly accused of abusing both of his ex-wives. One day before this individual resigned, the White House Chief of Staff, General John Kelly, released a statement profusely praising him and offering his staunch support. One day after, the President himself also praised this man while expressing sympathy for the alleged abuser's troubles.
I believe I understand what is happening here. Like many abusers, this guy is a Jekyll and Hyde character who seemed like one thing to his friends and co-workers while being very different to the people closest to him in private. So Trump and Kelly were probably just trying to say that they really liked the guy they knew at work and thought he did a great job. They also wanted to make the point that the man is maintaining his innocence and that he deserves to be presumed innocent. I get it.
However, accepting this narrative ignores at least a couple key points. The first is the likelihood that they were aware of these allegations much earlier than they are admitting and chose to look the other way. The second is that even after they apparently came to the realization that the allegations were so credible that they could no longer keep him on board, they still felt a need to express praise and sympathy for him.
Once again, I can appreciate the idea that people deserve the benefit of the doubt and the presumption of innocence, but it seems very clear that the unrelated accusers and their situations would have been persuasive to anyone with even a little common-sense about them. This is not a court of law, it is the politics of life in the White House and the importance of our leaders setting the proper example.
What bothers me the most is the need they apparently felt to still say nice things about the man after they learned enough about the accusations to cut him loose. Regardless of what they may have understandably thought about Doctor Jekyll as a colleague, their public statements upon his resignation should have been unequivocally critical of any man who would abuse his spouse(s). They could have and should have said that all the positive things they thought about this person previously are absolutely irrelevant now in light of the emerging truth about his Mister Hyde. There is no place for it in America, and there is certainly no place for it in the White House.
Democrats and liberals have been just as guilty of this faulty leadership in the way they have defended the likes of Bill and Hillary Clinton and their private benefactors like Harvey Weinstein and so many others. In other words, this is not a Republican/Democrat or a conservative/liberal issue. It is a failure of leadership throughout the existing establishment on all sides, and it is up to all of us regular Americans to put an end to it.
We can do that by not falling for the same old political manipulation. Let's stop acting like their pawns, defending our guys while criticizing theirs, because there is always some really important difference (there isn't). Let's start holding all our leaders strictly accountable for their behavior, no matter what part of the political spectrum they represent. Whatever our interests in the legitimate political struggles of the day, let's remind ourselves that we should always be able to find leaders who represent us and the principles and values we hold with honor and dignity and without the skeletons of a Mister Hyde in their closet.
This is Our America. Never Settle for Less.
I am running for President because I believe we deserve a much better leader than Donald Trump, and I believe I am that kind of leader.
My central concerns about Trump relate to his character - or lack thereof - and his fundamental lack of fitness to serve as our President. To be clear, I actually agree with several of the President's policies and, in fact, am more than willing to give him credit for things such as his dramatic upset of the ruling political establishment and for the recent passage of overdue tax cuts.
In a country as great as ours, however, I firmly believe we should be able to find leaders of strong character AND common-sense vision, and that's what I am offering.
I will continue to aggressively highlight Trump's character flaws and leadership failings because, again, that is why I am running. However, I will also continually strive to positively contrast myself and my leadership vision such that you may see how we can do better. If the way I criticize him bothers you, then I may not be the candidate for you. And if you think that I haven't told you enough about the kind of leadership you can expect from me, just ask and I will be happy to oblige.
Over the next 33 months I will constantly repeat my reason for running for President, and it is this: We deserve better. We deserve better leadership than the establishment has provided (great credit to Trump for kicking in their front door!), but we also deserve better than Trump, who is a fundamentally flawed person who should not be entrusted with our future. This is America, and we should not be forced to settle for the lesser of two evils. We deserve better, and we can do better.
As President, it is my solemn intent to continue moving our country down a common-sense, anti-establishment road, whereby regular Americans can once again truly be in charge of our own destinies. It is not hard to see that we have lost our way over the years, and it is time we got back on track. We should never accept the notion that our leaders must either be career politicians or wealthy elites. This is our country. Ours. And it is time we had a leader who is truly one of us.
I understand the pessimism many of us feel, believing there is nothing we can do to change politics-as-usual in America. Ironically, however, it was actually Donald Trump who reminded us that that is not true. We can change things. We can take control. We can reclaim our country.
Still, many of us haven't yet fully embraced this reawakening and continue to place artificial limits on our power by justifying Trump as the best we can do right now. Even as we admit that he is not a leader who makes us proud by his personal character and conduct, we explain it away as refreshing political incorrectness and say "it's about time someone spoke their mind." When we acknowledge to ourselves the obvious truth that he is neither honest nor trustworthy, we counter ourselves with, "all politicians lie." And when we admit to one another our down deep belief that he would sell us out in a New York minute if a better deal for him came along, we tell ourselves that he is still better than the establishment alternative.
Call me idealistic or even naive, but I believe we shouldn't have to settle. I believe we deserve better, and I believe we can do better. I believe in that kind of America.
As Abraham Lincoln once said, ours is a government "of the people, by the people, for the people." Those were more than mere words written by a talented speech writer. They were the very definition of who and what we are, and they damn well better be true yet today.
I still believe in that America, and that is why I am running for President. The question is, in what kind of America do you believe?
Rest in Peace Carm Cozza
In 1983 I was a leader on a very proud but very bad high school football team with dreams of following in my older brother's footsteps as a walk-on player at the University of Minnesota. Mike was a far better athlete than I, but he had to prove himself before earning a full-ride scholarship and starting position for the Golden Gophers from 1977-1981. My dad was our biggest fan, and I wanted to give him the joy of continuing his active support of U of M football.
Abruptly and completely unexpectedly, everything changed. Out of nowhere Coach Cozza's Yale team began recruiting me to play at a school to which I wasn't even sure I could earn admission. Miraculously, however, I was accepted at Yale, where I enjoyed the rare privilege of playing for and getting to know the legendary coach for four years.
Although I spent my time on the Bulldog squad primarily as a backup player, to this day I consider it one of the most uniquely special experiences of my life. True to Ivy League form, Coach showed as much interest in and concern for his players' well being, academic pursuits and off-field conduct as he did for their performance in the Yale Bowl. He was an outstanding teacher and a man who made a profound difference in the lives of thousands of student athletes.
I often reflect back and wonder how my life would be different had Coach Cozza not found me worthy to be a part of the glorious traditions of Yale and Yale Football. As a kid without any Blue Blood ancestry from a regular American family in the suburbs of Minneapolis, Coach gave me access to a whole new world and a life of possibilities generally available to so few, and for that I will forever be in his debt.
Thank you Coach. May God bless your family with the peace and comfort of knowing what a difference you made in the lives of so many. Rest in Peace.
Merry Christmas to All!
To all of us who celebrate it, Christmas holds many different meanings. There is much, however, that we share in common today about the way we observe this festive and joyous occasion.
Like many of you, I am saddened by the over-commercialization of Christmas. Thanks in no small part to our mass-media induced frenzy to purchase happiness in the form of the latest technology and other material gifts, in many ways the holiday has become an exercise in exchanging money through our favorite retail middlemen.
On the other hand, if you look closely you will continue to see reminders everywhere of the goodwill that yet lives among us and of the true spirit of Christmas that holds meaning for all of us, regardless of our religious convictions. It may be as simple as a warm smile and thoughtful greeting or as profound as an unexpected and sincere act of kindness to a neighbor in need. These are the things that continue to make Christmas meaningful to me and, I know, to millions of other across America and throughout the world.
With that in mind, I want to wish you all a peaceful, joyful and very merry Christmas. Whether you are Christian, Jewish, Muslim or anything else, let us remember the ties of humanity that bind us and keep us close - from our families to our neighbors and to the broader communities which we inhabit, may you and yours enjoy all the happiness that life has to offer.
The Man in the Arena
It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.
President Theodore Roosevelt
April 23, 1910