Commentary - page 43
Facts About the Dakota Access Pipeline - 11/17/16

-- Dodd-Frank Must Go - 12/06/16
Facts About the Dakota Access Pipeline That Protesters Don’t Want You to Know - 11/17/16

-- European Parliament Takes Initial Steps on EU Gun Control Measures - 3/18/16
-- Europäisches Parlament nimmt erste Schritte auf EU-Gun Kontroll maßnahmen - 16/03/18
-- Trump and the Rise of the Unprotected - 2/27/16

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 Facts About the Dakota Access Pipeline That Protesters Don’t Want You to Know

Rep. Kevin Cramer /

For more than three months, thousands of protesters, most of them from out of state, have illegally camped on federal land in Morton County, North Dakota, to oppose the construction of a legally permitted oil pipeline project that is 85 percent complete.

The celebrities, political activists, and anti-oil extremists who are blocking the pipeline’s progress are doing so based on highly charged emotions rather than actual facts on the ground.

This 1,172-mile Dakota Access pipeline will deliver as many as 570,000 barrels of oil a day from northwestern North Dakota through South Dakota and Iowa to connect to existing pipelines in Illinois. It will do this job far more safely than the current method of transporting it by 750 rail cars a day.

>>> The Dakota Pipeline Protests, Explained

The protesters say they object to the pipeline’s being close to the water intake of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. However, this should be of no concern as it will sit approximately 92 feet below the riverbed, with increased pipe thickness and control valves at both ends of the crossing to reduce the risk of an incident, which is already low.

Just like the companies that run the 10 other fossil-fuel pipelines crossing the Missouri River upstream of Standing Rock, Energy Transfer Partners—the primary funder of this pipeline—is taking all necessary precautions to ensure that the pipeline does not leak.

But even if there were a risk, Standing Rock will soon have a new water intake that is nearing completion much further downstream near Mobridge, South Dakota.

From the outset of this process, Standing Rock Sioux leaders have refused to sit down and meet with either the Army Corps of Engineers or the pipeline company.

The Army Corps consulted with 55 Native American tribes at least 389 times, after which they proposed 140 variations of the route to avoid culturally sensitive areas in North Dakota. The logical time for Standing Rock tribal leaders to share their concerns would have been at these meetings, not now when construction is already near completion.

The original pipeline was always planned for south of Bismarck, despite false claims that it was originally planned for north of Bismarck and later moved, thus creating a greater environmental danger to the Standing Rock Sioux.

The real reasons for not pursuing the northern route were that the pipeline would have affected an additional 165 acres of land, 48 extra miles of previously undisturbed field areas, and an additional 33 waterbodies.

It would also have crossed zones marked by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration as “high consequence” areas, and would have been 11 miles longer than the preferred and current route.

North Dakotans have respected the rights of these individuals to protest the pipeline, but they have gone beyond civil protesting.

Though these protesters claim to be gathered for peaceful prayer and meditation, law enforcement has been forced to arrest more than 400 in response to several unlawful incidents, including trespassing on and damaging private land, chaining themselves to equipment, burning tires and fields, damaging cars and a bridge, harassing residents of nearby farms and ranches, and killing and butchering livestock. There was even at least one reported incident where gun shots were fired at police.

The recent vandalization of graves in a Bismarck cemetery and the unconscionable graffiti marking on the North Dakota column at the World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C., are examples of how the protesters’ actions do not match their claims of peaceful demonstration.

Equally disturbing is the meddling by the Obama administration in trying to block this legally permitted project through executive policymaking. This has encouraged more civil disobedience, threatened the safety of local residents, and placed an onerous financial burden on local law enforcement—with no offer of federal reimbursement for these increasing costs.

All that remains for the pipeline project to be completed is for the Army Corps of Engineers to issue a final easement to cross the Missouri River at Lake Oahe. With no legal reason remaining to not issue it, I am confident the Trump administration will do what’s right if it’s not settled before President Donald Trump takes office.

The simple fact is that our nation will continue to produce and consume oil, and pipelines are the safest and most efficient way to transport it. Legally permitted infrastructure projects must be allowed to proceed without threat of improper governmental meddling.

The rule of law matters. We cannot allow lawless mobs to obstruct projects that have met all legal requirements to proceed.

 Dodd-Frank Must Go

Here’s the Republican Plan to Save Community Banks, Spur Economic Growth.

Commentary By Rep. Keith Rothfus / @KeithRothfus / December 06, 2016

The Dodd-Frank reforms of 2009 were aimed at reigning in Wall Street, but have imposed destructive compliance costs on small financial institutions.

Rep. Keith Rothfus is the U.S. representative for Pennsylvania's 12th congressional district. He serves on the House Financial Services Committee.

With control of both the White House and Congress, Republicans finally have the opportunity to reignite the economy.

American families and workers have been waiting for eight long years for a return to healthy economic growth and opportunity, and congressional Republicans are ready to deliver.

Along with Obamacare and the Environmental Protection Agency’s regulatory excesses, the Democrat-backed Dodd-Frank financial regulatory reform stands out as a leading cause of the Obama era’s economic malaise.

At the Financial Services Committee, we have been hard at work crafting a legislative solution that will end “too big to fail” and puts in place reforms that will allow our economy to grow again.

It’s called the Financial CHOICE Act.

The Financial CHOICE Act is based on several key principles. First, we recognize that American families, as well as businesses large and small, need access to capital. Dodd-Frank’s onerous rules have choked off the loans that so many Americans rely on to make their dreams a reality.

Under Dodd-Frank, community banks are forced to spend so many resources and so much time complying with complex rules and regulations that they have less and less time and money to actually serve the people in their communities.

Since Dodd-Frank became law, we have seen the decline of more than 1,600 banks either through consolidation or closure, destroying jobs and reducing choice for Americans seeking loans.

Financial CHOICE implements a suite of regulatory reforms that will reduce pressure on community banks and other institutions that provide vital capital to millions of Americans.

>>>Check Out the House Republican Plan to Pass Financial Reform Here

We also believe that every American, regardless of his or her circumstances, deserves a chance to achieve financial independence.

Washington should rightly protect us from fraud and deceptive practices—and there are ways that we can improve consumer and investor protection—but bureaucrats in the nation’s capital should not be in the business of micromanaging personal decisions about which financial products Americans choose.

Financial CHOICE reforms the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau so it can fulfill its intended purpose of consumer protection, not political witch hunts that reduce choice.

Of course, Dodd-Frank was cobbled together in response to a financial crisis characterized by systemic risk and bailouts. Eight years and thousands of pages of rules later, systemic risk has not been appropriately addressed and too-big-to-fail banks continue to operate with an expectation that the American taxpayer will save them in the event of a crisis.

Through Financial CHOICE, we can finally bring an end to “too big to fail” and bank bailouts. At the very least, the American people should never be on the hook to cover bank losses.

I understand why Democrats pushed Dodd-Frank and protect it so dearly. Dodd-Frank was built on the false premise that there were insufficient regulations leading up to the 2008 financial crisis.

In fact, in the decade prior, there was a marked increase in financial regulation. The problem was not insufficient regulation; the problem was misguided regulation.

After the financial crisis of 2008, Congress created the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission to investigate the causes of the crisis. But astoundingly, Congress went forward and enacted Dodd-Frank before the commission had even issued its final report.

Thus, instead of thoughtful reforms and measured regulations, we were given a 2,300-page bill full of provisions springing from the motto of President Barack Obama’s then-chief of staff: “Never let a good crisis go to waste.”

This misguided law opened the door to heavy-handed, one-size-fits-all regulations that are crushing our economy. Republicans have a better way forward, and we plan on making it a reality in the 115th Congress.

 European Parliament Takes Initial Steps on EU Gun Control Measures

Friday, March 18, 2016

Since we last updated readers to the European Union’s efforts to enact further gun controls, the transnational government has continued the process of enacting stringent new restrictions across the political bloc. However, recent developments indicate that the final legislation could be dramatically different than the draft measures proposed by the European Commission. While any further additions to Europe’s already onerous gun control regime is unwarranted, some of the European Parliament’s proposed changes to the draft legislation, if adopted, would make the new rules somewhat less onerous. Unfortunately, other areas that the European Parliament seems willing to explore could exacerbate problems with the proposal.

To recap, following the November terrorist attacks in Paris, the EU’s technocratic European Commission expedited plans to alter the European Firearms Directive to require member states to enact severe new minimum gun control measures. While the Firearms Directive is a tool through which the EU regulates and facilitates ownership, use and trade of legal firearms throughout the bloc, the Commission’s proposal used the Directive to propose bans on several categories of firearms and the legitimate activity that makes use of them. These changes were adopted by the European Commission on November 18, 2015. Among the most burdensome provisions is a change that would place popular semi-automatic firearms into the same category as automatic firearms, barring civilian use. Some of the other most egregious changes include new rules governing deactivated firearms, and the imposition of new licensing standards, such as a five-year limit on license validity and medical examinations for prospective license holders.

Following EU legislative procedure, after the European Commission’s adopted the changes, the proposal moved to the European Parliament, which has the opportunity to amend the legislation, adopt it, or eventually reject it. Currently, the proposal is under the jurisdiction of the European Parliament’s Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee, led by Chair Vicky Ford of the UK.

Since the proposed changes to the Firearms Directive have come under the more democratic European Parliament’s authority, there have been some mildly encouraging developments. In a February 23 press release that coincided with the Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee’s “First exchange of views” on the matter, Ford took aim at the European Commission bureaucrats. Ford noted that the legislation was “poorly drafted,” adding that it “needs a lot of work.”

In preparation for the February 23 meeting, the Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee drafted a “Working Document” that offers a number of options for altering the European Commission’s proposal. At the outset, the document takes issue with the European Commission’s lackluster justification for the proposal. A portion of the introduction notes:

It is important to recognise that the vast majority of owners of firearms in the EU do not present any danger to the public. Any changes to the 1991 Directive must be necessary, proportionate and targeted. The absence of an impact assessment is problematic since it is unclear which problems have been identified and what the evidence is for how they should best be addressed.

In addressing the European Commission’s proposal for re-categorizing “Semi-automatic firearms for civilian use which resemble' weapons with automatic mechanisms” from “Category B – Firearms subject to authorization” to “Category A – Prohibited firearms,” the document lists a number of options. Most encouraging is the option to reject the proposed change in categorization.

Another proposed alternative, meant to pacify nations that rely on a reservist or militia system of national defense, is to make clear that individuals acting in such a capacity would be exempt from further restrictions. There was some concern that the proposal could even effect the storied citizen militia of non-member Switzerland. Also contemplated were options to allow for these semi-automatic firearms to be placed into Category A, but then clarifying specific instances where a member state may authorize an individual to possess these firearms, or keeping these firearms within Category B but enacting more stringent licensing, training, or storage requirements specifically for these types of guns.

Another option focused on narrowing the definition of semi-automatic firearms subject to Category A restrictions. The European Commission proposal simply shifts the current Category B definition, “Semi-automatic firearms for civilian use which resemble' weapons with automatic mechanisms,” to Category A. The following definitions were offered as alternatives:

i. "firearms and ammunition specially designed for military use" (cf Art 3(b) of Regulation 258/2012),

ii. "centrefire semi-automatic rifled long firearms specially designed for military use",

iii. "Semi-automatic firearms for civilian use which resemble weapons with automatic mechanisms except in the case of firearms for hunting or for target shooting, for persons entitled to use them",

iv. "semi-automatic firearms for civilian use which resemble weapons with automatic mechanisms, except where specially designed for hunting or target shooting",

v. "semi-automatic long firearms for civilian use which have or can be equipped with a firing capacity exceeding 6 rounds without reloading, or which otherwise are constructed in a way that they are more appropriate for combat than for hunting".

While some of these offer a better alternative than the current language, one might imagine how a creative interpretation of these options would severely burden law-abiding gun owners.

Also explored were the European Commission’s proposals on altering minimum licensing requirements, and the European Parliament’s initial response should give gun owners pause.

The European Commission’s proposed changes noted, “Member States shall provide for standard medical tests for issuing or renewing authorisations… and shall withdraw authorisations if any of the conditions on the basis of which it was granted is no longer met.” The working documents lists the option of eliminating the “standard medical tests” language from the proposal, but goes on to give the alternative of requiring states to “implement continuous monitoring to ensure that the conditions under which an authorization was granted continue to apply.” The document goes on to suggest, “Aspects [member states] could consider for a system of monitoring include appropriate medical and psychological testing, time-limited licenses, in particular for certain categories of firearms, verification of the continued need for possessing a firearm and continued practice in its use etc.”

Moreover, the document suggests exploring several significant gun control measures that the European Commission did not directly touch upon in their proposal. The document invites views on whether:

iii. controls on large capacity magazines would contribute to public safety, e.g. by permitting them only for recognised target shooting organisations, on condition that the magazines are kept by those organisations and only possessed under their control on their ranges,

iv. to introduce minimum requirements for safe storage of firearms (as 20 [member states] already have) and whether such storage requirements should correspond to the level of risk or danger posed.

The document also seeks further information on whether to enact ammunition controls that,

i. introduce a possibility for dealers and brokers to refuse suspicious transactions (e.g. involving quantities unusual for private use) and an obligation to report attempted such transactions,

ii. clarify that only ammunition for the specific firearm/s held can be acquired.

On March 15, the Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee held a hearing on the proposed revisions to the Firearms Directive. The panels included a presentation on behalf of the European Institute of Hunting and Sporting Arms, the Italian Association of Manufacturers of Sporting and Civilian Firearms and Ammunition (IEACS & ANPAM) and the Federation of Associations for Hunting and Conservation of the EU (FACE). Echoing past U.S. gun control battles, FACE’s presentation correctly took issue with the Europoean Commission proposal to “ban a firearms category based on its appearance rather than on functionality characteristics.” The group went on to note that the current proposal will “trigger a sliding scale of future bans of semi-automatic configurations.”

Following the hearing, the Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee will develop a draft report on the legislation, set to be considered on April 20. As always, NRA will continue to monitor any developments in Brussels and report the latest to our members.

 Europäisches Parlament nimmt erste Schritte auf EU-Gun Kontrollmaßnahmen

Freitag, März 18, 2016

Seit wir zuletzt aktualisiert Leser zu den Bemühungen der Europäischen Union zu erlassen Weitere gun Controls, die transnationale Regierung hat den Prozess des verfügenden Teils strenge neue Restriktionen über die politischen Block. Allerdings haben die jüngsten Entwicklungen zeigen, dass die endgültigen Rechtsvorschriften könnte dramatisch anders als der Entwurf des von der Europäischen Kommission vorgeschlagenen Maßnahmen. Während jede weitere Ergänzungen zu Europas bereits belastende Gun Control Regime ist ungerechtfertigt, einige der vom Europäischen Parlament vorgeschlagenen Änderungen zum Entwurf der Rechtsvorschriften, wenn sie angenommen wird, würde die neue Regelung etwas weniger belastend sind. Leider, in anderen Bereichen, dass das Europäische Parlament scheint bereit zu erkunden verschärfen könnte Probleme mit dem Vorschlag.

Zur Erinnerung: Nach dem November Terroranschläge in Paris, der EU-technokratische Europäische Kommission beschleunigt Pläne zur Änderung des Europäischen Feuerwaffenpasses Richtlinie von den Mitgliedstaaten zu verlangen, dass schwerwiegende neue Minimum zu verordnen, Gewehr Kontrollmaßnahmen. Während die Schusswaffen Richtlinie ist ein Tool, mit dem die EU regelt und erleichtert den Besitz, Nutzung von und Handel mit Schusswaffen legal in der Union, der Vorschlag der Kommission die Richtlinie vorzuschlagen, Verbote auf mehrere Kategorien von Feuerwaffen und die legitime Tätigkeit, in der sie verwendet werden. Diese Änderungen wurden von der Europäischen Kommission am 18. November 2015. Unter den am meisten belastenden Bestimmungen ist eine Änderung, würde beliebte halbautomatische Feuerwaffen in die gleiche Kategorie wie Automatische Feuerwaffen, außer die zivile Nutzung. Einige der anderen ungeheuerlichsten Änderungen umfassen die neuen Regeln deaktiviert Feuerwaffen und der Einführung der neuen Lizenzierung Standards, wie ein Fünfjähriger auf Gültigkeit der Lizenz und ärztliche Untersuchungen für angehende Lizenzinhabern.

Folgende EU-Gesetzgebungsverfahrens, nachdem die Europäische Kommission hat die Änderungen, die den Vorschlag auf das Europäische Parlament, das die Möglichkeit hat, eine Änderung der Rechtsvorschriften, dies anzunehmen, oder ihn abzulehnen. Derzeit wird der Vorschlag ist unter die Zuständigkeit des Europäischen Parlaments Ausschuss für Binnenmarkt und Verbraucherschutz, geführt vom Stuhl Vicky Ford von Großbritannien.

Da die vorgeschlagenen Änderungen der Richtlinie von Schusswaffen sind unter die demokratischere Europäische Parlament die Befugnis, es wurden einige milde ermutigende Entwicklungen. In einem Februar 23 Pressemitteilung, fiel mit dem Ausschuss für Binnenmarkt und Verbraucherschutz "erster Meinungsaustausch" auf die Frage, Ford nahmen bei der Europäischen Kommission Bürokraten. Ford stellte fest, dass die Gesetzgebung sei "schlecht formuliert", und fügte hinzu, es müsse "eine Menge Arbeit."

In der Vorbereitung für den 23. Februar, dem Ausschuss für Binnenmarkt und Verbraucherschutz erarbeitet ein "Arbeitsdokument", bietet eine Reihe von Optionen für die Änderung der Vorschlag der Europäischen Kommission. Am Anfang des Dokuments nimmt Ausgabe mit der Europäischen Kommission die schwachen Begründung für den Vorschlag. Ein Teil der Einführung Hinweise:

Es ist wichtig zu erkennen, dass die überwiegende Mehrheit der Besitzer von Feuerwaffen in der EU keinerlei Gefahr für die Öffentlichkeit. Änderungen an der Richtlinie von 1991 muss notwendig, angemessen und zielgerichtet. Das Fehlen einer Umweltverträglichkeitsprüfung ist problematisch, da es unklar ist, welche Probleme wurden identifiziert und was ist der Beweis dafür, wie Sie am besten angesprochen werden.

In Bezug auf den Vorschlag der Europäischen Kommission für re-Kategorisierung "halbautomatische Feuerwaffen für die zivile Nutzung, die äusserlich' Waffen mit automatischen Mechanismen" von "Kategorie B - genehmigungspflichtige Feuerwaffen" auf "Kategorie A - verbotene Feuerwaffen," das Dokument enthält eine Reihe von Optionen. Ermutigend ist die Option zur Ablehnung der vorgeschlagenen Änderung in der Kategorisierung.

Eine andere vorgeschlagene Alternative, zu befrieden, Heiden, die sich auf eine Reservist oder Milizsystem für Nationale Verteidigung, ist deutlich zu machen, dass Personen, die in einer solchen Kapazität wäre befreit von weiteren Einschränkungen. Es war etwas besorgt, dass der Vorschlag könnte auch Auswirkungen auf die stockwerkartig Bürger Miliz von Nicht-Mitglied Schweiz. Auch wurden Optionen für diese halbautomatische Feuerwaffen in Kategorie A, aber dann klären, in spezifischen Fällen, in denen ein Mitgliedstaat ermächtigen, eine individuelle, besitzen diese Feuerwaffen, oder halten diese Feuerwaffen der Kategorie B, aber verfügenden strengere Licens

i. "Schusswaffen und Munition speziell für militärische Zwecke" (vgl. Artikel 3 Buchstabe b) der Verordnung 258/2012),

ii "centerfire halbautomatische Lang-Feuerwaffen rifled speziell für militärische Zwecke",

iii "halbautomatische Feuerwaffen für die zivile Nutzung, die Waffen mit automatischen Mechanismen außer im Fall von Feuerwaffen für die Jagdausübung und für Sportschützen, für Personen, die befugt sind, sie zu benutzen",

iv. "halbautomatische Feuerwaffen für die zivile Nutzung, die Waffen mit automatischen Mechanismen, mit Ausnahme der Fälle, in denen speziell für die Jagd oder schießen",

v. "halbautomatische Lang-Feuerwaffen für die zivile Nutzung haben oder kann mit einer Kapazität von über 6 Runden ohne Umladen, oder die sonst auf eine Weise konstruiert sind, dass Sie mehr für die Bekämpfung der als für die Jagd".

Während einige dieser bieten eine bessere Alternative als die aktuelle Sprache, man kann sich vorstellen, wie eine kreative Interpretation dieser Optionen würden stark belasten gesetzestreu Gewehrinhaber.

Auch erforscht wurden die Vorschläge der Europäischen Kommission zu ändern minimum Lizenzierungsanforderungen, und dem Europäischen Parlament die erste Antwort geben sollte Gewehrinhaber pause.

Von der Europäischen Kommission vorgeschlagenen Änderungen hingewiesen, "Die Mitgliedstaaten sehen für medizinische Tests für die Erteilung oder Erneuerung der Zulassung… und widerruft Genehmigungen ist eine der Voraussetzungen, auf deren Grundlage sie gewährt wurde, nicht mehr erfüllt." Die Arbeitsunterlagen listet die Option der Beseitigung der "Standard medizinische Tests" Sprache aus dem Vorschlag geht jedoch auf die Alternative, die Mitgliedstaaten zur "Umsetzung kontinuierliche Überwachung, um sicherzustellen, dass die Bedingungen, unter denen eine Genehmigung erteilt worden war, weiterhin Anwendung." Das Dokument geht auf vorzuschlagen, "Aspekte [Mitgliedstaaten] betrachten könnte für ein System der Überwachung gehören eine angemessene medizinische und psychologische Tests, zeitlich begrenzte Lizenzen, insbesondere für bestimmte Kategorien von Feuerwaffen, die Überprüfung der weiteren Notwendigkeit Für den Besitz einer Feuerwaffe und fortgesetzte Praxis in seiner Verwendung etc."

Darüber hinaus schlägt das Dokument Erkundung einige bedeutende Waffe Kontrollmaßnahmen, die der Europäischen Kommission nicht direkt berühren, in ihrem Vorschlag. Das Dokument fordert Ob:

iii steuert auf große Kapazität Zeitschriften würde dazu beitragen, die öffentliche Sicherheit, Z.B. indem Sie nur für anerkannte Zielschießen Organisationen, unter der Bedingung, dass die Zeitschriften werden von denjenigen Organisationen und nur besaß unter ihre Kontrolle über ihre Bereiche,

iv. die Mindestanforderungen für die sichere Lagerung von Waffen (wie 20 [Mitgliedsstaaten] bereits haben), und ob eine solche Lagerung Anforderungen entsprechen sollte, die Höhe des Risikos oder Gefahr.

Das Dokument soll auch weitere Informationen darüber, ob die Munition zu erlassen, Steuerelemente,,

Ich. Einführung einer Möglichkeit für Händler und Makler zu verweigern, verdächtige Transaktionen (z.b. mit ungewöhnlichen Mengen für den privaten Gebrauch) und eine Verpflichtung zu berichten versucht, solche Transaktionen,

ii klargestellt werden, dass nur Munition für die spezifische Waffe/n gehalten werden kann.

Am 15. März, dem Ausschuss für Binnenmarkt und Verbraucherschutz eine Anhörung zu den vorgeschlagenen Änderungen der Feuerwaffen Richtlinie. Die Panels umfasste eine Präsentation im Namen des Europäischen Instituts für Jagd- und Sportwaffen, dem italienischen Verband der Hersteller von Sport- und zivilen Schusswaffen und Munition (IEACS & ANPAM) und der Zusammenschluss der Verbände für Jagd und Wildtiererhaltung in der EU (FACE). Echo der Vergangenheit US-Waffengesetz Schlachten, Gesicht Präsentation korrekt mit den Europoean Vorschlag der Kommission zur "Verbot einer Feuerwaffen der Kategorie auf der Grundlage seiner Erscheinung als auf Funktionalität." Die Gruppe ging zu beachten, dass der aktuelle Vorschlag "Trigger eine gleitende Skala der Zukunft Verbote von semi-automatischen Konfigurationen."

Nach der Anhörung, die der Ausschuss für Binnenmarkt und Verbraucherschutz wird ein Entwurf des Berichts über die Rechtsvorschriften, die in Betracht gezogen werden am 20. April. Wie immer, NRA wird weiterhin überwachen alle Entwicklungen in Brüssel und berichten über die neuesten für unsere Mitglieder.

 Trump and the Rise of the Unprotected

Why political professionals are struggling to make sense of the world they created.
Peggy Noonan · Feb. 27, 2016 We’re in a funny moment. Those who do politics for a living, some of them quite brilliant, are struggling to comprehend the central fact of the Republican primary race, while regular people have already absorbed what has happened and is happening. Journalists and politicos have been sharing schemes for how Marco parlays a victory out of winning nowhere, or Ted roars back, or Kasich has to finish second in Ohio. But in my experience any nonpolitical person on the street, when asked who will win, not only knows but gets a look as if you’re teasing him. Trump, they say.
I had such a conversation again Tuesday with a friend who repairs shoes in a shop on Lexington Avenue. Jimmy asked me, conversationally, what was going to happen. I deflected and asked who he thinks is going to win. “Troomp!” He’s a very nice man, an elderly, old-school Italian-American, but I saw impatience flick across his face: Aren’t you supposed to know these things?
In America now only normal people are capable of seeing the obvious.
But actually that’s been true for a while, and is how we got in the position we’re in.
Last October I wrote of the five stages of Trump, based on the Kübler-Ross stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. Most of the professionals I know are stuck somewhere between four and five.
But I keep thinking of how Donald Trump got to be the very likely Republican nominee. There are many answers and reasons, but my thoughts keep revolving around the idea of protection. It is a theme that has been something of a preoccupation in this space over the years, but I think I am seeing it now grow into an overall political dynamic throughout the West.
There are the protected and the unprotected. The protected make public policy. The unprotected live in it. The unprotected are starting to push back, powerfully.
The protected are the accomplished, the secure, the successful — those who have power or access to it. They are protected from much of the roughness of the world. More to the point, they are protected from the world they have created. Again, they make public policy and have for some time.
I want to call them the elite to load the rhetorical dice, but let’s stick with the protected.
They are figures in government, politics and media. They live in nice neighborhoods, safe ones. Their families function, their kids go to good schools, they’ve got some money. All of these things tend to isolate them, or provide buffers. Some of them — in Washington it is important officials in the executive branch or on the Hill; in Brussels, significant figures in the European Union — literally have their own security details.
Because they are protected they feel they can do pretty much anything, impose any reality. They’re insulated from many of the effects of their own decisions.
One issue obviously roiling the U.S. and western Europe is immigration. It is THE issue of the moment, a real and concrete one but also a symbolic one: It stands for all the distance between governments and their citizens.
It is of course the issue that made Donald Trump.
Britain will probably leave the European Union over it. In truth immigration is one front in that battle, but it is the most salient because of the European refugee crisis and the failure of the protected class to address it realistically and in a way that offers safety to the unprotected.
If you are an unprotected American — one with limited resources and negligible access to power — you have absorbed some lessons from the past 20 years' experience of illegal immigration. You know the Democrats won’t protect you and the Republicans won’t help you. Both parties refused to control the border. The Republicans were afraid of being called illiberal, racist, of losing a demographic for a generation. The Democrats wanted to keep the issue alive to use it as a wedge against the Republicans and to establish themselves as owners of the Hispanic vote.
Many Americans suffered from illegal immigration — its impact on labor markets, financial costs, crime, the sense that the rule of law was collapsing. But the protected did fine — more workers at lower wages. No effect of illegal immigration was likely to hurt them personally.
It was good for the protected. But the unprotected watched and saw. They realized the protected were not looking out for them, and they inferred that they were not looking out for the country, either.
The unprotected came to think they owed the establishment — another word for the protected — nothing, no particular loyalty, no old allegiance.
Mr. Trump came from that.
Similarly in Europe, citizens on the ground in member nations came to see the EU apparatus as a racket — an elite that operated in splendid isolation, looking after its own while looking down on the people.
In Germany the incident that tipped public opinion against the Chancellor Angela Merkel’s liberal refugee policy happened on New Year’s Eve in the public square of Cologne. Packs of men said to be recent migrants groped and molested groups of young women. It was called a clash of cultures, and it was that, but it was also wholly predictable if any policy maker had cared to think about it. And it was not the protected who were the victims — not a daughter of EU officials or members of the Bundestag. It was middle- and working-class girls — the unprotected, who didn’t even immediately protest what had happened to them. They must have understood that in the general scheme of things they’re nobodies.
What marks this political moment, in Europe and the U.S., is the rise of the unprotected. It is the rise of people who don’t have all that much against those who’ve been given many blessings and seem to believe they have them not because they’re fortunate but because they’re better.
You see the dynamic in many spheres. In Hollywood, as we still call it, where they make our rough culture, they are careful to protect their own children from its ill effects. In places with failing schools, they choose not to help them through the school liberation movement — charter schools, choice, etc. — because they fear to go up against the most reactionary professional group in America, the teachers unions. They let the public schools flounder. But their children go to the best private schools.
This is a terrible feature of our age — that we are governed by protected people who don’t seem to care that much about their unprotected fellow citizens.
And a country really can’t continue this way.
In wise governments the top is attentive to the realities of the lives of normal people, and careful about their anxieties. That’s more or less how America used to be. There didn’t seem to be so much distance between the top and the bottom.
Now it seems the attitude of the top half is: You’re on your own. Get with the program, little racist.
Social philosophers are always saying the underclass must re-moralize. Maybe it is the overclass that must re-moralize.
I don’t know if the protected see how serious this moment is, or their role in it.






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