(EDITOR’S NOTE: When even Slate now questions the “science” behind smoking bans, you know the science was BAD.)
Helena, Montana, does not often make global headlines, but in 2003 the small capital city became known for briefly achieving one of the most astounding public health triumphs ever recorded. In June of the previous year, Helena had implemented a comprehensive smoking ban in its workplaces, bars, restaurants, and casinos. In the first six months of the ban, the rate of heart attacks in the city plummeted by nearly 60 percent. Just as remarkably, when a judge struck down the smoking ban in November of that year, the rate of heart attacks shot right back up to its previous level.
For three anti-smoking advocates—local physicians Richard Sargent and Robert Shepard, and activist and researcher Stanton Glantz from the University of California at San Francisco—this sudden drop in heart attacks was proof that smoking bans usher in extraordinary benefits for public health. “This striking finding suggests that protecting people from the toxins in secondhand smoke not only makes life more pleasant; it immediately starts saving lives,” said Glantz in a press release sent out by UCSF.
What is going to happen to society when robots are able to do just about everything better, faster and cheaper than human workers can? We live at a time when technology is increasing at an exponential pace. Incredible advancements in robotics, computer science and artificial intelligence are certainly making our lives more comfortable, but they are also bringing fundamental changes to the workplace. For employers, there are a lot of advantages to replacing human workers with robots. Robots don’t surf around on Facebook when they are supposed to be working. Robots don’t need Obamacare, lunch breaks or vacation days. Robots never steal from the company and they never complain. Up until fairly recently, human workers could generally perform many tasks more cheaply than robots could, but now that is rapidly changing.
Tired of your barista misspelling your name on your morning cup of joe? Perhaps a robot could do better. On Monday, Cafe X opened its very first robotic cafe in San Francisco’s Metreon shopping center. Promising “precision crafted specialty coffee in seconds, the way the roaster intended,” Cafe X thinks that anything a human can do, its machines can do better.
Specifically, one very special machine. Nicknamed Gordon, after a Cafe X employee, this robot mans, or robots, two standard professional coffee machines in order to serve up espressos and lattes. In the San Francisco location, customers can grab a cup of coffee with beans from AKA Coffee, Verve Coffee Roasters, or Peet’s. While the coffee itself may not make Cafe X stand out from the competition, the startup hopes that the robot’s efficiency will.
If that coffee shop demonstrates that it can be much more profitable than a coffee shop with human employees, it is just a matter of time before human baristas start to be phased out all over the nation.
A similar thing is happening in many supermarkets. Personally, I hate the “self-checkout lines”, but you are starting to see them everywhere these days.
“Those who ignore history are doomed to listen to lectures from those who study history.”
~ Alan Poirier
As the scholars and politicians on the Left bemoan the resurgence of nationalism in the United States, Europe, India and Russia and are driven into fits of rage over the election President Donald Trump, they would do well to reflect on the forces that drive history.
In this respect, R.R. Palmer’s The Age of Democratic Revolution is a much unappreciated tome in comparison to the renowned essay by Francis Fukuyama, The End of History and the book The End of History and the Last Man.
I remember reading Palmer’s award winning study of the American and French Revolutions back in my last year of high school in 1967 and thinking how incredibly well he had managed to pull together the disparate themes of the great exercises in popular will.
The late ’60s, of course, were a tumultuous time. There had been race riots in the United States and violent demonstrations worldwide against American involvement in the Vietnamese civil war. It seemed the people were once again on the move, restless and demanding change on all fronts – economic, social and political.
What Palmer showed was the American and French Revolutions were essentially outgrowths on the historic drive for individual liberty founded on a belief in natural rights.
That, of course, is the driving force of all Western civilization and, by extension, a driving force of countries which came under the control of the West in one form or another.
Those revolutions established the mold for the modern nation state and, by definition, nationalism. They established the rights of the individual and that the state existed to protect those rights.
That was truly revolutionary thinking and the world has been reeling from its effects for hundreds of years as peoples seek liberty and self-determination around the globe.
Of course, there were a few great thinkers like Fukuyama who argued History was essentially over because in the aftermath of World War II capitalism and socialism had merged into a synthetic, neo-liberalism embraced by the entire world. Communism was dead. The United Nations was in ascendance. The New World Order had arrived.
Well, history is back with a vengeance and nationalism is resurgent.
In the United States, Trump road to victory on the back of nationalism. It was nationalism that saw the British voted to leave the European Union. It is nationalism that is fueling Marine LePen’s march to victory in France. It is nationalism that brought Narendra Modi to power in India.
This resurgence of nationalism leaves some people filled with dread. In the U.S., for example, Democrats and their allies on the Left see nothing less than the reincarnation of Nazi Germany, whose toxic nationalism nearly enslaved an entire world. And those who believe globalism is the answer to all our problems are sickened by the thought the EU and the UN will crumble.
That nationalism can be a force for evil is true, but nationalism at its foundation is a force for good.
It is founded on the idea that the state exists to protect the rights of individuals, that liberty and equality are fundamental rights.
That is why Brexit succeeded in Britain and why Trump succeeded in the U.S. , because both campaigns vowed to put national interests first. For voters rightfully aggrieved by policies and institutions that took away rights, that took away economic and political liberties, that message rang true.
The campaigns succeeded too because individuals understand that all relationships are based on reciprocity, be they personal, social, economic or political. A person entering into any relationship has an expectation that that he or she will get as well as give. And if all you do is give and get nothing in return, then the relationship will fail.
Mainstream journalists to a man and woman have succumbed to the Trump Derangement Syndrome where everything newly elected President Donald Trump does is reproachable, evidence of xenophobia, homophobia, Islamophobia and every other politically correct phobia there is.
Case in point is the near universal hysteria in the press about Trump’s so-called Muslim ban.
To hear the bobble heads drone on after Trump signed the executive order temporarily halting entrance to travelers, immigrants and refugees from a number of countries one would think that the president had declared war on Islam.
What utter nonsense. This is not a Muslin ban. Repeat, THIS IS NOT A MUSLIM BAN.
Islam, after all, is not a religion exclusive to the Middle East. In fact, the top five Muslim countries are not even located in the Middle East.
Travel by citizens of Indonesia (210 million Muslims), India (176 million Muslims), Pakistan (168 million Muslims), Bangladesh (135 million Muslims) and Nigeria (78 million Muslims) is not affected by the order.
The countries whose citizens are affected are: Syria, Iraq, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia and Yemen.
All of those countries are notorious breeding grounds for terrorists and, as such, pose a threat to the United States.
So how can the press promote the notion this TEMPORARY ban is a Muslim ban?
It is being portrayed by mainstream media as a Muslim ban because the press see themselves as the opposition to Trump and the Republican Party in the face of the decimation of the Democrats. Journalists have taken it upon themselves to oppose everything the new president does – everything.
This is not journalism. It is advocacy.
If journalists were doing their jobs, they would be pointing out that former President Barrack Obama did exactly the same thing in 2011.
What’s that? Yes, the feel good president of all time imposed a six month ban on the processing of immigration and refugees from Iraq in 2011.
The decision to stop processing Iraqi refugee requests for a full six months came after the FBI had discovered that several dozen terrorists from Iraq had infiltrated the United States via the refugee program.
Let that sink in for a moment. SEVERAL DOZEN TERRORISTS.
In other words, the vetting of refugees is nowhere as thorough as it should be.
In fact, the capture of one Waad Ramadan Alwan only came about because his fingerprints were found on a phone used to detonate an IED.
Let that sink in as well: It was PURE LUCK that this terrorist, who was living in the US and had gotten in as a refugee, was found.
The interesting part of about this little trip down memory lane is that NO ONE in the media said a blessed word about the ban. NOT A SINGLE JOURNALIST called Obama a xenophobe. No one said he was an Islamophobe.
Let that sink in: Obama was given a FREE PUBLIC RELATIONS ride courtesy of the press.
Today, you would be hard pressed to find a single journalist who has even bothered to read the executive order. If they had, they would know it contains no reference to Muslims, that the ban is temporary, that the president calls upon agencies to address deficiencies in the vetting process and has given them strict deadlines to follow.
Let that sink in: The leader of a nation which has been a target of terrorist attacks temporarily halts travel from countries that harbor terrorists until security agencies can develop proper vetting procedures.
Does that sound unreasonable? Was it unreasonable when Obama did the very same thing, but failed to manage the security agencies responsible for improving vetting procedures?
Trump’s first duty is to Americans, to ensure their safety and security. That is what national leaders are supposed to do. Yet he is being castigated by gutless journalists for doing his job.
The press is destroying whatever little bit of credibility it has left. Less than 40 per cent of Americans trust the media today. It used to be 70 per cent. Soon it will be zero.
For the political elite, President Trump’s inauguration was like a party from hell. First there was the inaugural speech, in which Trump skewered “a small group in our nation’s capital” who have prospered at the expense of heartland America. His election was more than a routine contest between parties, he said; it was a movement, and “at the center of this movement is a crucial conviction, that a nation exists to serve its citizens.” “From this day forward,” he roared, “it’s going to be America first, America first.”
Then there was the inaugural parade, with the military ensembles; the police and veterans’ groups; the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, the bands from Olivet Nazarene University and Texas State; the high schoolers from Indianapolis and Frankfort, West Virginia; the Mid America Cowgirls Rodeo Drill Team; and, not least of all, the Rural Tractor Brigade.
Where was Beyoncé, Michelle’s “role model” for her girls? (Those inured to vulgarity may wish to check out her performance of “Formation,” not what I’d want my daughter, if I had a daughter, to be doing.) Where were Usher and Alicia Keys, with their chart-topping “My Boo,” an insipid testament to hormones and doing just about anything you want? Where was the rhetoric of “us” and “them,” designed to wrench the country further apart and drive minority turnout in future elections? (There was plenty of that in Charles Schumer’s mind-numbing introduction of Justice Roberts, but Trump had nothing to do with that.)
Life is filled with ironies, telling stories lurking below the surface of consciousness, surfacing in moments of epiphany.
So it is with The Resistance.
The Resistance is the rag-tag assemblage of Democrats, leftists, socialists, feminists who fancy themselves all that stands in the way of the fascistic dreams of President Donald Trump.
They see Trump as the embodiment of Hitler and so they are the Resistance.
We saw them out in force the day of inauguration harassing people on their way to the event. We saw them chanting their slogans. We saw them hurling abuse at Trump supporters. And we saw them destroying public and private property.
(In fact, police arrested more than 200 rioters on Friday and those charged with rioting face 10 years in prison.)
The next day we saw half a million women descend upon Washington for the Women’s March and reportedly 2.5 million women take to the streets across the West to protest Trump’s presidency.
It was as, Piers Morgan so aptly put, a gigantic hissy fit.
Now, the newly elected president has done little yet to warrant this level of opposition, but it is the promise (or threat) of what he proposes that sends shivers down their spines.
President Trump will upend the New World Order which holds that national interests should be subordinate to global interests, that borders are lines on a map, that the developed nations owe the less developed nations reparations because the success of the former came at the expense of the latter, that the global economy must be managed and controlled in the name of the environment.
Or as Gloria Steinem put it poetically, talking about the Women’s March:
“We are here and around the world for a deep democracy that says we will not be quiet, we will not be controlled, we will work for a world in which all countries are connected. God may be in the details, but the goddess is in connections.”
The New World Order has been in the making for decades with like-minded politicians in countries across the West wholly embracing the ideals of globalism. It is the reason the European Union exists. It is the reason the IPCC exists. The goal is always the same: a socialist global authority that ultimately controls nations.
The fight against climate change was to be the vehicle carrying us to the socialist utopia, with the United Nations in the driver’s seat, because to save the planet from CO2 emissions meant that governments had to take control of their economies, choosing who would win and who would lose and handing over hundreds of billions of dollars to the UN and less developed countries.
Globalization allowed China to rapidly develop its economy at the expense of the West, particularly the United States which lost millions of manufacturing jobs and saw massive increases in its trade imbalance.
China’s rapid growth began when Republican President George Bush granted that country favored nation trading status. That made it safe for corporations to move manufacturing operations to China.
Under the Democrats, America embraced the UN’s climate change programs to such an extent that CO2 was declared a pollutant. That gave the Environmental Protection Agency license to wage war on producers and industry alike.
Now, many Americans resisted all of these developments. Tea Party Republicans fought a rear-guard war against President Barrack Obama for eight years. But it wasn’t until Trump threw his hat into the GOP primaries that a majority of Republicans knew they had a champion.
Trump brought the rank and file together on a promise he would essentially undo all the policies that had led to the destruction of the working and middle classes. National interests would be upheld. Borders would be protected. Interventionism would end. Security would be paramount. The Constitution would be revered. It was old fashioned nationalism and patriotism.
In other words, Trump was the spearhead of the true resistance.
That’s the message he took on the campaign trail and it won him the election.
It was not force that propelled Trump to victory. There were no brown shirts descending upon the rallies of opponents. There was no rioting. There was no intimidation. No buildings were set ablaze by his supporters. No businesses were looted. No streets were blocked.
No, this great debate which Trump started was settled peacefully in polling stations across America.
So for the Democrats and their globalist supporters to claim today they are the Resistance is ludicrous. It is they who have tried to intimidate people. It is they who are the bullies. It is they who employ the tactics of fascists.
Whenever The New York Times or some other mainstream news outlet holds itself out as a paragon of professional journalism – by wagging a finger at some pro-Trump “fake news” or some Internet “conspiracy theory” – I cringe at the self-delusion and hypocrisy.
No one hates fake news and fact-free conspiracy theories more than I do, but the sad truth is that the mainstream press has opened the door to such fantasies by losing the confidence of the American people and becoming little more than the mouthpiece for the Establishment, which spins its own self-serving narratives and tells its own lies.
Rather than acting as a watchdog against these deceptions, the Times and its mainstream fellow-travelers have transformed themselves into little more than the Establishment’s apologists and propagandists.
If Iraq is the “enemy,” we are told wild tales about how Iraq’s non-existent WMD is a danger to us all. If Syria is in Washington’s crosshairs, we are given a one-sided account of what’s happening there, black hats for the “regime” and white hats for the “rebels”?
If the State Department is backing a coup in Ukraine to oust an elected leader, we are regaled with tales of his corruption and how overthrowing a democratically chosen leader is somehow “democracy promotion.” Currently, we are getting uncritical stenography on every conceivable charge that the U.S. government lodges against Russia.
Yet, while this crisis in American journalism has grown more severe in recent years, the pattern is not entirely new. It is reflected in how the mainstream media has missed many of the most significant news stories of modern history and has, more often than not, been an obstacle to getting at the truth.
Then, if the evidence finally becomes so overwhelming that continued denials are no longer tenable, the mainstream media tries to reclaim its tattered credibility by seizing on some new tidbit of evidence and declaring that all that went before were just rumors but now we can take the long whispered story seriously — because the Times says so.
It cannot be merely coincidental that the incomes and wealth of the top 5% have pulled away from the stagnating 95% in the 25 years dominated by neocon-neoliberalism.
One unexamined narrative I keep hearing is: “OK, so neocon-neoliberalism was less than ideal, but Trump could be much worse.” Let’s start by asking: would Syrian civilians agree with this assessment? The basic idea in the “OK, so neocon-neoliberalism was less than ideal, but Trump could be much worse” narrative is that the modest problems created by neocon-neoliberalism will pale next to what Trump will do, implying jackbooted Waffen SS troops will soon be marching through America on Trump’s orders.
This narrative is yet another example of American parochialism: since neocon-neoliberalism didn’t cause American cities to be bombed and its institutions demolished, it’s really not that bad.
Try telling that to the Iraqis, Libyans and Syrians who have been on the receiving end of neocon-neoliberalism policies. The reality is very unpleasant: for those targeted by America’s neocon-neoliberalism, nothing worse is imaginable, because the worst has already happened.
President Donald Trump gave a masterful inaugural speech that resonated with the people who voted for him and for whom he is a beacon of hope.
Trump laid down the law and underlined why he won:
“Today’s ceremony, however, has very special meaning because today we are not merely transferring power from one administration to another – but transferring it from Washington DC and giving it back to you the people.
For too long a small group in our nation’s capital has reaped the rewards of government while the people have borne the cost.
Washington flourished but the people did not share in its wealth. Politicians prospered but the jobs left and the factories closed.
The establishment protected itself but not the citizens of our country.
Their victories have not been your victories. Their triumphs have not been your triumphs. While they have celebrated there has been little to celebrate for struggling families all across our land.
That all changes starting right here and right now because this moment is your moment. It belongs to you. It belongs to everyone gathered here today and everyone watching all across America today.”
Trump let it be known that he holds both parties and past presidents responsible for the mess in which America finds itself today. Tough words, but they needed to be spoken.
That’s why he pointedly drew attention to the problems Americans face – from the loss of jobs to the carnage in many inner cities.
And so he promises to deliver:
Safe schools and neighborhoods
Affordable health care
Fair trade policies
Sane foreign policy
In making these promises, Trump cuts across ideological lines. He will not please conservative purists, nor will he please liberal purists either. But he stands a good chance of pleasing the American people who are not driven by ideology.
The new president is facing an incredibly rough couple of years. He needs to grow the economy by at least four per cent per year and create 25 million jobs to make a dent in the deficit and ultimately the $20 trillion accumulated debt.
It can be done. He is a businessman and his cabinet is filled with businessmen. They know what to do.
If Trump can secure a few big victories earlier on, he will win over his detractors. He deserves a chance to try.
After all, Americans gave Barack Obama two chances to keep his promises and still he failed.
I really don’t know what the Left truly believes is going to happen the day after Donald Trump is sworn in as President.
Do they believe that people will be rounded up and shipped off to concentration camps?
To judge by the comments on social media, it is literally the end of the world.
I can appreciate the sorrow at losing an election. No one likes to lose. It hurts. I get it. But try and be a gracious loser.
After all, Trump was elected fair and square. He gained the most electoral votes and that is how presidents are elected.
Those who seek to delegitimize his victory argue that he didn’t win the popular vote or that he was aided by Russian hackers.
It’s all nonsense. Presidential elections are not a national popularity contest. It’s 50 popularity contests. A candidate has to win in a sufficient number of states to earn the 270 electoral votes to win the election.
Hillary Clinton forgot that. The media forgot that. The pollsters forgot that. The only one who didn’t forget that was Trump.
That’s why he was stumping and holding rally after rally in key states. That is where he won.
Clinton won big in California and New York. That’s it. California is what gives her the edge in the popular vote.
Big deal. It just doesn’t matter. It’s not how the race is won.
As for the role of the Russians, it was non-existent. No evidence, not a single shred of evidence has been presented that says the Russians hacked the DNC email servers or the account of John Podesta. There is nothing. Nada. Zip. Zero. If there was, you can bet your bottom dollar we would have heard about it. All we have are assertions. Nothing more.
So Trump’s presidency is legitimate. There are no ifs, ands or buts. He is president. Period.
There is nothing in Trump’s campaign, his speeches, his track record that suggests in any way, shape or form that he will be some sort of crazy, dictatorial president.
If anything the last few weeks have shown his priority is on creating jobs and reaching out to people who can help rejuvenate the crumbling inner cities of America.
Obamacare will be replaced with something better and more affordable.
Existing laws governing immigration and security will now be enforced.
Parents are going to get some choice in how their children are educated.
US allies will be asked to pull their weight in NATO.
A rapprochement with Russia will be attempted.
There will probably be extensive efforts made at deregulation.
Energy resources will be developed.
And there will be less government involvement in people’s lives.
None of this is radical and none of it threatens anyone’s lifestyle or ability to participate in American society.
So grow up. Quit your bitching. Be part of the solution and not part of the problem.