Stop Comparing Trump to Communists. Just Stop.

Former Senator Jeff Flake made the comparison last year. Now it’s a Czech tennis star.

The Trump-Stalin comparisons have seriously got to stop. Like now.

Last year, I wrote here at The Resurgent about how asinine it was for former U.S. Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ) to compare President Trump to brutal dictator Josef Stalin. It wasn’t appropriate then, and it isn’t appropriate now. Here’s what I wrote on the matter then:

Trump doesn’t have a cozy relationship with the press nor does he manipulate them in a state-run fashion as Stalin did. Neither does he imprison, torture, or kill his political opponents like Stalin did. You may not like his governing style or brazen use of Twitter, but Trump’s no Stalin. Not in the slightest. Stop with this nonsense once and for all.

Most rational people—even those critical of Trump’s policies—find this comparison in poor taste and insulting to the memories of those oppressed and killed by Stalin. I’m one of those people. My maternal grandpa survived 18 months in one of Stalin’s gulags on the Russian-Finnish border. He was timid and scarred for life until his death in 1999 because of the torture he endured in that wretched place. Flake insults the memories of victims and survivors like my grandpa by insinuating Trump is like Stalin.

This time, Czech-born tennis player Martina Navratilova, who got scorched by her fellow Democrats for criticizing transgender people, is trying to redeem herself among her supporters with this tweet.

Martina Navratilova

@Martina

Here is why trump’s lying is worse than the communist propaganda and lies- they did it because either they believed in the cause, or they were scared or they wanted a better life. trump is lying only and only for himself- his bank account and, most of all, his ego.

2,043 people are talking about this

Gabriella Hoffman

Navratilova should know better as someone who grew up in communist Czechoslovakia.

Bless her heart.

Rep. Ocasio-Cortez Wants to Emulate FDR on Taxes to Fund Green New Deal

The new congresswoman from the Bronx believes this will fund the Green New Deal. She’s off-mark.

There are many issues awarding the newly-minted Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) too big of a platform before serving in Congress.

She’s the future of the Democrat Party, some observers declare, given her socialist chops. The new-found embrace of socialism by the Democrat Party isn’t so new. That party has toyed with socialism for decades; they are just more transparent about it now.

It can be strongly argued she hasn’t earned her stripes yet to be elevated to great heights. Who am I, a 27-year-old female, to say this? But I agree with former Missouri U.S. Senator Claire McCaskil (D-MO), a rarity I must say, that she’s hasn’t served in Congress long enough to be elevated.

McCaskill (D-MO), who was handily defeated by her successor Senator Josh Howley (R-MO), remarked that Ocasio-Cortez is a “bright and shiny new object” but cautioned she hopes Ocasio-Cortez “realizes that parts of the country that are rejecting the Democratic Party…need to hear how their work is going to be respected.”

It’s fair to criticize Ocasio-Cortez on her preposterous policy proposals like the Green New Deal and blunders like unemployment is low due to people having two jobs but not so much her dancing skills from her high school days.

What is fair game, however, is her complete and utter misunderstanding of economics. Case in point: her recent call for taxing up to 70 percent of high income earners who should pay “their fair share” fund outlandish proposals like a Green New Deal:

Embedded video

Jon Levine

@LevineJonathan

On 60 minutes, @AOC calls for raising taxes up to “60 or 70 percent” for highest earners

“People are going to have to start paying their fair share in taxes”

869 people are talking about this

“What is the problem with trying to push our technological capacities to the furthest extent possible?” Ocasio-Cortez asked. “There’s an element where yeah, people are going to have to start paying their fair share in taxes.”

During the 60 Minutes interview with Anderson Cooper, he probed her about whether such a proposal makes her a radical, to which she replied in the affirmative—likening herself to fellow “radical” President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s. FDR famously taxed Americans at a 94% income tax rate and felt a kinship with Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin, who also taxed and collected 90% of income for those he oppressed. I guess that’s a great radical to emulate.

Here’s a taste of FDR’s economic policies for your reading pleasure:

Congress reduced taxes. Income tax rates were cut across the board. FDR’s top marginal rate, 94% on all income over $200,000, was cut to 86.45%. The lowest rate was cut to 19% from 23%, and with a change in the amount of income exempt from taxation an estimated 12 million Americans were eliminated from the tax rolls entirely.

Corporate tax rates were trimmed and FDR’s “excess profits” tax was repealed, which meant that top marginal corporate tax rates effectively went to 38% from 90% after 1945….By the late 1940s, a revived economy was generating more annual federal revenue than the U.S. had received during the war years, when tax rates were higher. Price controls from the war were also eliminated by the end of 1946. The U.S. began running budget surpluses.

UCLA put out a 2004 study by economists Harold L. Cole and Lee E. Ohanian that found that FDR’s policies — including high taxation — prolonged the Depression by seven years.

“Why the Great Depression lasted so long has always been a great mystery, and because we never really knew the reason, we have always worried whether we would have another 10- to 15-year economic slump,” said Ohanian, vice chair of UCLA’s Department of Economics. “We found that a relapse isn’t likely unless lawmakers gum up a recovery with ill-conceived stimulus policies.”

“President Roosevelt believed that excessive competition was responsible for the Depression by reducing prices and wages, and by extension reducing employment and demand for goods and services,” said Cole, also a UCLA professor of economics. “So he came up with a recovery package that would be unimaginable today, allowing businesses in every industry to collude without the threat of antitrust prosecution and workers to demand salaries about 25 percent above where they ought to have been, given market forces. The economy was poised for a beautiful recovery, but that recovery was stalled by these misguided policies.”

“High wages and high prices in an economic slump run contrary to everything we know about market forces in economic downturns,” Ohanian said. “As we’ve seen in the past several years, salaries and prices fall when unemployment is high. By artificially inflating both, the New Deal policies short-circuited the market’s self-correcting forces*.”*

Giancarlo Sopo, a self-proclaimed Democrat with family who fled communist Cuba, sounded the alarm on the danger of his fellow embracing Ocasio-Cortez’s policies, which his family escaped. Sopo wrote:

Democratic socialism is a lot like the system my family fled, except its proponents promise to be nicer when seizing your business…Despite my working-class immigrant roots, I am concerned by the popularity of socialism within my party. On the night of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s victory in New York, I thought her use of the term was a misnomer. Then I began studying the views of the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), the rapidly growing national organization she belongs to, and was disturbed by what I learned.

Like those of yesteryear, today’s socialists believe the government should nationalize major industries, propose eliminating private ownership of companies, and reject profits. In other words, democratic socialism is a lot like the system my family fled, except its proponents promise to be nicer when seizing your business.

When I confronted some progressive friends about this, they initially dismissed my concerns. After sharing some articles with them, the conversation shifted to “they just want us to be more like the Nordic countries” and “they’re not like real socialists!” Both are reductionist, self-delusions to avoid confronting difficult truths.

The latter is a particularly absurd fallacy because it requires one to believe that adults who willfully join socialist organizations, sound like socialists and call themselves socialists are not what they claim to be.

Unbeknownst to Ocasio-Cortez and her acolytes, unleashing market-based economic policies globally has substantially reduced economic inequality here and abroad.

In 2015, the Huffington Post published a piece on how capitalism—not high taxation or nationalizing business—can reduce income equality.

The answer to fixing the deficit and fixing income inequality is innovation driven through capitalism. Many of the best ideas that work in anything are the non-linear strategies, or the non-obvious ways of getting things done. When the obvious doesn’t work, which it isn’t right now, it’s time to look at the problem in a non-linear fashion.

If you want to help balance the budget and reduce the federal deficit, instead of putting a gun to the head of the wealthy and forcing them to pay more in taxes, play to the vanity of large corporations and sell them the naming writes to streets, parks and other publicly held properties.

Even the New York Times argued income inequality was on the decline as recent as 2014. Moreover, the World Bank noted that although the population grew by about 2 billion, roughly 1.2 billion people moved up and out of extreme poverty. The more economically prosperous a country—especially when the wealth generators and highest income earners aren’t burdened by high taxes—the less income equality the world sees.

I implore my fellow Millennial, the newly-elected Congresswoman from New York, to not take cues from The Communist Manifesto on economic policies. High taxation and nationalization of industries doesn’t reduce economic inequality; it aids and abets it by lending itself to creating equal miserable outcomes.

President Trump Signs Bipartisan Modern Fish Act Into Law

This legislation was over two years in the making. This will simplify federal law with respect to recreational fishing.

The Modern Fish Act was signed into law on December 31st, 2018, by President Donald Trump.

Over 11 million Americans partake in recreational saltwater fishing—with the activity being heavily concentrated in the southeastern U.S.

In what is being celebrated as a victory for recreational fishing and boating, this law will be bring much-needed clarification and reforms to the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act. While the bill is not entirely perfect, various stakeholders agree this new law will clarify any confusion previously inset in the law and bring recreational fishing management into the 21st century.

The Modern Fish Act was passed unanimously in the U.S. Senate on December 17th, and by overwhelming approval in the House (350-11) on December 19th, 2018.

View image on TwitterView image on TwitterView image on Twitter

Gabriella Hoffman

@Gabby_Hoffman

The is now law thanks to @POTUS @realDonaldTrump’s signage. An incredible victory for recreational fishing in America before the new Congressional session begins. Press release c/o @sportfishpolicy

See Gabriella Hoffman’s other Tweets

In a press release issued by the Center for Sportfishing Policy and various stakeholders, they heralded the new law as a fix to the problem of regulating recreational fishing like commercial fishing. Anglers, boaters, and others vested in these industries long argued for distinctions to be made between between recreational and commercial fishing, especially in how they are regulated.

The law adds “more appropriate management tools for policymakers to use in managing federal recreational fisheries.”

“Millions of American families take part in saltwater recreational fishing and boating activities and support multi-billion dollar industries that generate hundreds of thousands of jobs in our country,” said Jeff Angers, president of the Center for Sportfishing Policy. “Today, we are thankful for this important milestone for federal fisheries management and marine conservation, and we look forward to continuing to improve public access to our nation’s healthy fisheries.”

“This is historic for the recreational boating and fishing community, capping years of hard work to responsibly modernize recreational saltwater fisheries management,” said Thom Dammrich, president of the National Marine Manufacturers Association. “The Modern Fish Act is a critical first-step solution towards establishing a framework for expanding access to recreational saltwater fishing, while ensuring conservation and sustainability remain top priorities in fisheries management. We thank President Trump and Congress for making the Modern Fish Act the law of the land and look forward to working with them in the coming years to advance policies that protect and promote recreational saltwater fishing.”

“The recreational fishing industry is grateful to see this legislation enacted,” said Glenn Hughes, president of the American Sportfishing Association. “We look forward to continuing to work with Congress, as well as NOAA Fisheries and the regional fishery management councils, to improve the management and conservation of our marine fisheries.”

“The Modern Fish Act signed by the President provides an opportunity for significant, positive change on behalf of millions of recreational anglers who enjoy fishing in federal waters,” said Jeff Crane, president of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation. “We look forward to working with NOAA Fisheries, the regional fishery management councils and the states to fully implement the provisions of the bill and improve federal fisheries management for America’s saltwater anglers.”

“CCA is proud to be a part of this important coalition, and we are grateful to our champions in Congress who stood by us during the intense, sometimes contentious negotiations on this legislation,” said Patrick Murray, president of Coastal Conservation Association. “There is still work to be done, but this is a valuable first step. We are hopeful this opens the door to an ongoing discussion of tools and processes that can be developed to better manage recreational fisheries in federal waters in all regions of the United States.”

What is the Modern Fish Act?

Modernizing Recreational Fisheries Management Act of 2018, or Modern Fish Act, is a bill that would accomplish the following if passed. Now that it’s law, it’ll set out to accomplish the following per Center for Sportfishing Policy’s press release:

  • Providing authority and direction to NOAA Fisheries to apply additional management tools more appropriate for recreational fishing, many of which are successfully implemented by state fisheries agencies (e.g., extraction rates, fishing mortality targets, harvest control rules, or traditional or cultural practices of native communities);
  • Improving recreational harvest data collection by requiring federal managers to explore other data sources that have tremendous potential to improve the accuracy and timeliness of harvest estimates, such as state-driven programs and electronic reporting (e.g., through smartphone apps);
  • Requiring the Comptroller General of the United States to conduct a study on the process of mixed-use fishery allocation review by the South Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico Regional Fishery Management Councils and report findings to Congress within one year of enactment of the Modern Fish Act, and
  • Requiring the National Academies of Sciences to complete a study and provide recommendations within two years of the enactment of the Modern Fish Act on limited access privilege programs (catch shares) including an assessment of the social, economic, and ecological effects of the program, considering each sector of a mixed-use fishery and related businesses, coastal communities, and the environment and an assessment of any impacts to stakeholders in a mixed-use fishery caused by a limited access privilege program. This study excludes the Pacific and North Pacific Regional Fishery Management Councils.

Prior to the Modern Fish Act being passed, data collection methods of saltwater fishing catches were Byzantine at best. For example, those who partook in the data collection process in sync with federal managers had to rely on landline phone surveys. Moreover, Draconian standards that harmed recreational fishing interests like cancelled seasons, reduced bag limits, and unnecessary restrictions were commonplace. This led to economic upheaval, job uncertainty, and endless headaches.

Anglers and boaters are optimistic the new law will prevent this from happening again.

Why was this needed?

This law was needed for several reasons.

The first being the need to recognize the impact recreational fishing has on our country economically and with respect to conservation efforts.

Much like hunting, fishing bolsters conservation efforts. Why not have laws that better reflect this too? Anglers, hunters, and shooting sports enthusiasts helped fund a minimum of 60 percent of conservation funding through excise taxes under the Pittman-Robertson Act of 1937. Excise taxes are taxes paid when purchases are made on a specific good in the form of licenses, firearms, and tackle to be collected by the Interior Department to be distributed to state wildlife agencies for habitat and wildlife conservation efforts. Better management and science-based policies encouraged by the Modern Fish Act will bolster resources and fish species, not see an end to them.

The second reason for the Modern Fish Act was to bring recreational fishing management to the present day. ​The 1976 Magnuson-Stevens law set out to chart out the course of commercial fishing but never tackled recreational fishing adequately, and arguably, to its detriment.

Recognizing serious deficits in federal recreational fisheries management, a group of stakeholders came together in 2014 in the form of the Commission on Saltwater Recreational Fisheries Management, or the Morris-Deal Commission. The co-chairs of this commission were Johnny Morris (founder of Bass Pro Shops) and Scott Deal (president of Maverick Boat Group). They drafted a report titled “A Vision for Managing America’s Saltwater Recreational Fisheries” that laid the groundwork for many of the provisions and recommendations found in the Modern Fish Act.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) noted in a December 2018 report — the 11th Fisheries Economics of the United Statesreport — that in 2016, both commercial and recreational fishing generated over $212 billion in sales and contributed $100 billion to the country’s gross domestic product. It also noted that these two industries supported 1.7 million jobs across the country.

Here’s a breakdown of both industries’ economic impact by the numbers from the same report:

9.8 million saltwater anglers took recreational fishing trips in 2016 — a 9 percent increase in anglers from 2015. Saltwater recreational fishing supported 472,000 jobs, generated $68 billion in sales impacts across the economy, and contributed $39 billion to the GDP, all metrics that increased 7 percent from 2015 measurements.

The commercial fishing and seafood industry — harvesters, processors, dealers, wholesalers, and retailers — supported 1.2 million jobs in 2016, generating $144 billion in sales impacts and adding $61 billion to the GDP. The domestic harvest produced $53 billion in sales, up 2 percent from 2015, and supported 711,000 jobs across the entire American economy. Sea scallops had the largest revenue increase in 2016, bringing in $46 million in landings revenue.

​Recreational anglers, much like commercial anglers, play a central role in our economy. It was time the law recognized their contributions and importance too.

How does it help recreational anglers?

While groups like Audobon Society accused this law of going “against all common sense and ignores science by weakening the requirement on how many fish are caught each year” and forecasted overfishing if it were to pass, recreational anglers and boaters don’t see it that way. It’ll empower them to further practice science-based, sustainable fishing practices ever further.

Recreational anglers are conservationists who abide by catch limits, seasons, and practice sustainable fishing methods. To suggest otherwise, like Audobon, radical environmentalists, and some in commercial interests have put it, is simply false. There are bad actors who disrespect fishing rules across the country, but they are in the minority and shouldn’t be lumped in with responsible recreational anglers. The majority of anglers —myself included—are law-abiding and don’t want to see our fisheries decimated. If fish were to be harvested unsustainably and with little regard to conservation methods, all of us — fish and humans — would suffer. No angler wants to see this happen, let alone any recreational angler.

Preservation and overfishing are extremes that should never become the norm in this country. Many anglers believe in catch-and-release and partake in reasonable put-and-take practices that don’t undermine fishing populations. Their contributions, like those in commercial fishing, are important to sustain this country and conservation efforts.

Anglers felt extremely marginalized under the Obama administration as the former president routinely sided with radical environmentalists keen on seeing the end of the fishing industry. One ESPN columnist noted in 2010 that Obama’s ocean policies could kill sport fishing altogether.

During the Obama administration, fisheries management councils heavily placed limits on what recreational saltwater anglers could harvest in the Gulf of Mexico—particularly on red snapper (where seasons went from three days to 46 days under the Trump administration).

In a March 2018 article in USA Today, the author noted how President Trump and his secretaries in Commerce and Interior sought to restore recreational fishing privileges in previously off-limit territories once available to sport fishing. Here are some of the measures passed after the new administration came to power:

  • Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross personally approved a plan in June extending the recreational fishing season for red snapper in the Gulf of Mexico from three to 42 days even though his own agency warned it would lead to significant overfishing.
  • In July, Ross again intervened. This time, he sided with New Jersey to loosen restrictions on the harvest of summer flounder, known as fluke,over the objections of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission. Commission Chair Douglas Grout said he was “very much concerned about the short and long‐term implications of the Secretary’s decision on interstate fisheries management.”
  • In the fall, the South Atlantic  Fishery Management Council, working closely with the Trump administration, allowed recreational snapper fishing from Jupiter Inlet Florida to the North Carolina-Virginia border for the first time since 2014. Kellie Ralston, Florida Fishery Policy Director of the American Sportfishing Association, called it “a victory” for anglers while environmentalists called it a “risky move” given that red snapper in the South Atlantic is still recovering.

As a result of the Modern Fish Act’s passage into law, recreational fishing will get a boost, see increasing participation numbers, and continue to bolster our GDP. It’s encouraging to see Congress and the Trump administration pass landmark legislation that adds to and not subtracts from recreational fishing.

We All Should Have Died After Net Neutrality Repeal. Now Internet is 40% Faster

Imagine that? We survived Net Neutrality’s repeal and got fast internet in the process.

Despite the doomsday forecasters’ grim predictions for the Internet’s future following Net Neutrality’s repeal, here we are still alive and still breathing. Even more positive news: U.S. Internet speeds rose 40%.

Ookla’s latest Speedtest found that ” US internet speeds rose nearly 40 percent this year.” Here were the winners and losers of fastest broadband and upload speeds per Recode:

New Jersey had the highest mean download speed — 121 megabits per second — while Rhode Island had the fastest upload speed — 63 Mbps — in Q2 and Q3 of 2018. Maine had the slowest mean upload and download speeds (50 Mbps download, 10 Mbps upload) of any state. California, the home of Silicon Valley, ranked 17th in downloads and 24th in uploads

With respect to download speed, the report placed the U.S. in the seventh coveted spot—between Hungary and Switzerland. With respect to upload rate, the U.S. ranks 27th between Bulgaria and Canada. These findings were studied during Q2-Q3 2018. Despite 5G being on the horizon, the U.S. is best positioning itself to have “faster speeds and greater increases in speed.”

Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai was heralded as a nemesis of net neutrality and Internet freedom. He was supposed to “break the Internet” and bring about its imminent demise and death. Ironically, his agenda has proven to be otherwise and a net benefit to Internet freedom.

Last month, the FCC proposed doubling the speed of rural broadband through “government-subsidized programs.” Here’s Pai’s explainer on how they should be allocated and used:

There are a few basic principles that animate — or should — the high-cost program. First, subsidies should provide maximum incentive to be efficient; we want to stretch taxpayer dollars as far as possible. Second, subsidies should be sufficient to build out networks; after all, these are areas where the business case for private investment is lacking. Third, the program should support high-quality services; rural Americans deserve services that are comparable to those in urban areas. And fourth, subsidies should be predictable; after all, building networks is a serious long-term proposition, not a one-time whim. Unfortunately, for many, many years, the program hasn’t satisfied each of these important principles.

Tax cuts were supposed to bring about our extinction, as well, but here we are. Don’t believe the scaremongers.

Now That Democrats Retook The House, They Aren’t Shy About Pushing Gun Control.

Any gun control effort will thankfully die in the GOP-control U.S. Senate and not be signed into law by President Trump.

Since winning the House of Representatives, Democrats have already pledged on proposing tough gun control laws — especially in wake of the tragic shooting in Thousand Oaks, CA.

 

When appearing on CNN with Chris Cuomo, Pelosi was quoted in saying the following about this “top-priority” come January:

 

“There is bipartisan legislation to have common sense background checks to prevent guns going into the wrong hands,” the California Democrat told CNN’s Chris Cuomo Thursday night.

That means concealed carry reciprocity and the Hearing Protection Act will be dead-on-arrival, per the National Shooting Sports Foundation.

 

During this past midterm election, two things should be noted.

 

First, several prominent A-rated NRA lawmakers were defeated by virulently anti-gun candidates, who flipped many Republican seats Democrat. This was especially seen with the defeat of Rep. Culbertson in Texas, Mike Coffman in Colorado, and Karen Handel in Georgia.

 

Second, gun control groups spent far more than pro-gun, pro-Second Amendment groups. Two gun control groups Michael Bloomberg’s Everytown for Gun Safety and Gabby Giffords’ Americans for Responsible Solutions cumulatively spent $37 million combined in the 2018 elections. Alternatively, gun rights groups spent only $20 million this past election cycle. Fortune Magazine has the figure at $11 million for gun control groups, $2 million more than pro-Second Amendment groups.

 

There is some good news, however. Democrats may flex their gun control muscle in the House but their efforts will die in the U.S. Senate, which is controlled by Republicans. You need both chambers of Congress to pass legislation which would then go on to be signed by President Trump. Trump has pledged and reiterated that he won’t support any gun control legislation or sign it into law.

 

There are so-called moderate Democrats who said they will support common sense gun control legislation. If our worst fears become true, these people must be held accountable and their votes and statements must be recorded.

 

We will keep a watchful eye on anti-gun extremists and those who pose as moderates here at The Resurgent.

North Carolina Adds Right to Hunt and Fish Amendment to State Constitution

This was one of the surprising wins of the night, and is a win for conservation!

 

North Carolina just became the 22nd state to enshrine the right to hunt and fish (RTHF) in its state constitution. At 99% precincts reporting, the ballot measure passed 57.18% to 42.82%.

 

This amendment will limit the state’s ability to unscrupulously “regulate hunting and establish hunting as the “preferred” means of managing wildlife.”

 

Here’s the language of the ballot measure spelling out how hunting and fishing heritage will be protected:

 

This amendment would acknowledge the right to hunt, fish and harvest wildlife, and to use traditional methods to hunt, fish and harvest wildlife. The amendment does not define “traditional methods.”

 

This right would be subject to laws passed by the Legislature and rules (i) to promote wildlife conservation and management and (ii) to preserve the future of hunting and fishing. If it passes, the amendment will not affect any laws regarding trespassing, property rights or eminent domain. The amendment does not address its effect on local laws concerning public safety or on commercial hunting and fishing.

 

The amendment would also establish that public hunting and fishing are a preferred means of managing and controlling wildlife.

 

This ballot measure was heavily supported by National Rifle Association, Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation, and National Shooting Sports Foundation. It also won support from North Carolina’s Wildlife Resources Commission.

 

It was heavily opposed by anti-hunting groups like the Humane Society. Governor Rory Cooper (D-NC) and North Carolina’s Democrat Party also voiced their opposition to it.

 

A lot of money poured into from anti-hunting interests to see this measure defeated—approximately $1.2 million:

 

As previously reported, Vermont was the first state to pass such an amendment in 1777. Since 1996, 20 more states adopted this amendment. Here’s what they entail:

 

Sportsmen in many states increasingly feel as if they are the ones outside the duck blind, and they are turning to state constitutions to ensure their hallowed pastime will continue in perpetuity. Increasing urbanization, decreased habitat, declining numbers of sportsmen, and more restrictions on hunting are common factors in the quest to assert the right to hunt and fish in a state’s most basic and difficult-to-amend document. On land that has been traditionally open to sportsmen, development of farmland and forests, along with pressure from other recreational groups such as hikers and off-road vehicles, is putting the pinch on the available land for harvesting game and fish…Opponents state that these provisions clutter a constitution and overstate the threat to these activities, while possibly limiting or increasing the amount and severity of restrictions that can be placed on sportsmen activities. The Humane Society states, “The constitution should guarantee fundamental democratic rights, not provide protection for a recreational pastime.

 

This is a win for conservation. I hope more states pass similar amendments to safeguard our hunting and fishing heritage.

If the GOP Wants to Survive in Virginia, Here’s What They Need To Do

I may be a transplant, but I care deeply for its future. Here are my recommendations for Republican survival here.

 

When I moved to Virginia from California in June 2012, I was optimistic about my adopted home’s political future.

 

I thought to myself, I finally have a reason to get excited about politics in a state. My home state was trending far-left and even my home district in Orange County, CA- one of the last vestiges of Reagan conservatism- has been lost, as of last night. Although CA-45, where I cast my first vote in 2009, was barely held on by Congresswoman Mimi Walters (R-CA), Southern Orange County is set to finally undergo a blue transformation. Gah.

 

Virginia naturally seemed like a great place to plant my political roots at the time. Now, I’m uncertain.

 

At the time of my relocation to the People’s Republic of Fairfax County, we had a Republican governor, Bob McDonnell, at the helms of the state in Richmond. Until he signed that $3 trillion transportation bill into law, he was doing a decent job at governing and advancing conservative policies. In 2012-2013, Republicans maintained control of the House of Delegates and had major gains in the State Senate.

 

Fast forward to 2018, and Republicans now only control four of 11 Congressional Districts — having lost Virginia’s 10th, Virginia’s 7th, and Virginia’s 2nd last night. Democrats control the governor’s mansion and top state positions. Republicans only hold control of both state legislative chambers by slim margins— 50-49 (House of Delegates) and 21-19 (State Senate). 2019 is slated to be a bad year for Republicans statewide.

Democrat Shift Was Predicted and Expected

 

How did Virginia get here? I may be a transplant, but I’ve done my best to engrain myself in state politics and learn the ropes. Obviously, the D.C. suburbs of Fairfax and Loudoun have increasingly trended Democrat given the influx of government employees who vote that way. The same seems to be happening in military-heavy Tidewater-Hampton Roads.

 

​The candidates fielded to challenge Democrats haven’t necessarily terrible, barring few exceptions, but they didn’t campaign effectively. Many of them were poor campaigners with a lack thereof strong message. Some of them weren’t prepared to face the Democrat political machine in 2013, 2014, and 2017.

 

Former Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli could have won in 2013 – having only lost to now-former Governor Terry McAuliffe by 2-3% — but didn’t have the backing of the state party much and hired a terrible campaign consultant who muzzled him.

 

Ed Gillespie nearly beat Senator Mark Warner (D-VA) in 2014, contra to polling. He only lost by a 0.8% margin. However, he got crushed by now Governor Ralph Northam 53.9 to 45%, despite a Northam-affiliated group releasing a sleazy immigration ad against Gillespie. Gillespie also wasn’t campaigning as hard as we thought, and 2017 was a referendum on President Trump is a state that voted for Hillary Clinton and her running mate, Senator Tim Kaine, by an overwhelming amount.

 

Don’t even get me started on the 2018 U.S. Senate race. Had Nick Freitas been the nominee, he may not have beat Senator Kaine, but would have lost by a lower margin and his candidacy would have helped Dave Brat and Scott Taylor keep their seats in VA-07 and VA-02, respectively. I hope to god crazy Corey Stewart never runs here again. I will actively work to prevent that from happening if that’s the case.

Where Do Virginia Republicans Go From Here?

Some Republican activists and strategists in Virginia won’t like me for saying this but here I go:

  • Never ever run candidates like Corey Stewart again. He caused us to lose seats and voter enthusiasm. We’ll need more like Denver Riggleman, Nick Freitas, Rob Wittman, etc., to run statewide and nationally going forward to even be competitive.
  • Moderate Republicans and conservative-libertarian Republicans need to do a better job of working together. United we stand, divided we fall. Both a moderate and a conservative Republican congressman lost.
  • Get newer, younger leadership at Republican Party of Virginia. STAT. Since 2013, the party has lost statewide. There is evidence supporting a need for a shakeup.
  • Stop being stingy with money and hire more damn good branding, digital, grassroots, campaign people. This is a big complaint I heard from people who were vested in the races this election cycle. There are plenty of us ready to help you or refer people to your campaigns.
  • New candidate? Take a Leadership Institute training. It’s the best program possible for campaigns and future politicians. I’ll refer you to my old workplace if you inquire to me.
  • You’re going to need more creative disruption to be viable. Update your technology, techniques, and be innovative for polling, voter data, and more.
  • Build up better coalitions with natural allies here in Virginia: anglers, hunters, gun owners, school-choicers, business owners, and others. Heck, try to get crossover votes.​
  • Get on offense and run on ideas against extremist far Left candidates.
  • Be prepared to fight redistricting and other factors that could tilt elections against us.

Virginia Republicans: You need to get serious if you want to prevent our state’s forecasted morphing into California or New Jersey. We are at risk of losing the State Senate and State House next year given the trends playing out…

 

If we continue to lose, you will see a massive exodus of native and transplanted Virginians (like myself). I hear and see Florida is safe for now, so I may finally get lured into the Sunshine State after all.

 

It’s on us to reverse course. Will fellow Virginia Republicans be for the task?

Critics: Keith Urban Song ‘Female’ is Transphobic, Mansplains, and Too Heavy on Biblical References

Last night at the CMA’s, country music singer Keith Urban performed a new song called “Female.”

https://twitter.com/CountryMusic/status/928473236114882560

The singer was inspired to produce and release this song immediately, especially in wake of revelations in Hollywood involving serial creep Harvey Weinstein. Urban was inspired by those speaking out against Weinstein— particularly the females. Urban is married to Academy Award-winning actress and fellow Aussie Nicole Kidman, who has worked closely with Weinstein in the past.

What inspired him to grab onto the song? Him being surrounded by strong women in both his personal and professional life:

“As a husband and a father of two young girls, it affects me in a lot of ways,” Urban told Billboard earlier. “And as a son — my mother is alive. It just speaks to all of the females in my life, particularly. For a guy who grew up with no sisters in a house of boys, it’s incredible how now I’m surrounded by girls. But not only in my house; I employ a huge amount of women in my team. The song just hit me for so many reasons.”

Here’s what he told reporters at the awards ceremony last night:

“When I heard this song, I felt very strong about the spirit in the song,” Urban told Fox News on the red carpet at the 51st Country Music Associated Awards.

“I’m in the middle of making my record but when I heard that song, I just pushed everything to the side,” he told us.

“I said, ‘I really want to record this song right now.”

Take a listen to the song for yourself:

Urban touches upon the various, multifaceted roles women take. As the lyrics note:

“Sister, shoulder, daughter, lover

Healer, broken halo, mother

Nature, fire, suit of armor

Soul survivor, holy water

Secret keeper, fortune teller

Virgin Mary, scarlet letter

technicolor, river wild

Baby girl, woman child/Female.”

I see nothing wrong with this, but many critics assert he’s mansplaining about sexual harassment, is transphobic assigning women with the female gender, and inserting Biblical references.

The Verge thought it was weird for Urban, a practicing Catholic, to reference Adam and Eve in his song “Female”:

When somebody laughs and implies that she asked for it

Just cause she was wearing a skirt

Now is that how it works?

When somebody talks about how it was Adam first

Does that make you second best?

Or did he save the best for last?

There are no annotations on this verse yet, either. I’m not sure what’s stopping people from wading in here. Maybe it’s Keith’s choice to put sexual assault on the same plane as vaguely rude readings of Bible stories? Maybe it’s the insertion of creationism into a song that is otherwise not really about disproved science?

A man who respects women believes they are made in the image of God, but how dare they be told they differ in biology yet play an important role in complementing men? Blasphemous!

One Twitter user suggested Urban keep his mouth shut on women because not all women are females. Huh?

The tweet has since been deleted, but women were rightfully quick to criticize this idiotic tweet.

 

However, the song was generally well-received:

Of all the musical genres out there, country music is the most transcendent and uplifting out there — even with the bro-country and pop-country that has emerged in recent years. Country music hasn’t become tainted like rap or pop has, so many so-called cultural critics who seek to restructure politics are eager to taint good music too. Leave country music alone!

Urban should be applauded for writing a song about true female empowerment. Strong women are usually supported by strong men. Men must be equally uplifted and should be acknowledged when they condemn piggish behavior by other individuals belonging to the same gender.

I, for one, will play “Female” on a regular basis and hope you do too.