Control The Culture, Control The Nation

If you haven’t heard about the controversy surrounding the NFL and the National Anthem, then you must be living under a rock. This weekend, all forms of media and social networking were flooded with articles and opinions surrounding comments that the President made about standing for the National Anthem.

The President’s remarks came at a rally in Huntsville, Alabama on Friday night, where he addressed the topic of some NFL player’s National Anthem protests. “Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that *expletive* off the field right now. Out. He’s fired! He’s fired!'” This, of course, is in reference to the growing number of NFL players who have followed suit with QB Colin Kaepernick to kneel or sit during the National Anthem in protest of “police brutality and racial inequality.”

The President doubled down on his comments over the weekend and into this week with several tweets directed to certain teams, owners, and players who he feels disrespects the country, flag, and soldiers with their public protests during the National Anthem.

Ironically, the business mogul had this to say about the Office of the President meddling in the mascot issue of the Washington Redskins in 2013:

Everyone will have their own opinion on the President’s comments, but what I want to focus on here is more the reason behind the comments, rather than the content. Whether you agree or not, Donald Trump is a master at manipulating the media for his own accord and he has done it again here.

During his presidential campaign, then candidate Trump garnered more airtime devoted to himself by the media than any other candidate. While this was likely partially due to the mainstream media bias against him and for Hillary Clinton, he used it in his favor and fed the fire with comments and tweets that kept him front and center on the nightly news. The mainstream media’s dislike for President Trump actually plays into his hands and gets his name and message out to the public, veiled in a shroud of negative press.

Not only has the President gotten more press through these tactics, he has also controlled what the narrative is going to be. By bringing up the culture and controlling that discussion in the public realm, everyone has forgotten about the failed repeal of the Affordable Care Act. It went almost unnoticed that in the last 72 hours, 2 Republican Senators (Cruz and Collins) came out in opposition to the healthcare repeal bill.

This time last week, all you heard about was if another Senator dropped their support for the ACA repeal, then it would fail. Several Senators were in the spotlight, doing interviews left and right with media outlets about their wavering support for the GOP bill. On Friday, President Trump changed that conversation. For an entire weekend and well into this week, all you have heard about is kneeling, the National Anthem, and the NFL.

This isn’t the first time that this POTUS has done this and it certainly won’t be the last. Many people want to believe that these moves are another sign of the idiocy of the President, when in reality, those people are just another sheep, being herded along by the mainstream media’s selective flow of information. In all actuality, the President is controlling the national discourse to and from whatever he desires.

Anytime you see something that is being waved in your face over and over again, try to look past that obvious distraction and see what is behind it. In this case, the NFL distraction was waved in front of our faces for 5+ days when the media took the bait and ran with it. President Trump controlled the culture discussion and in turn, he controlled the nation.

President Trump isn’t the first POTUS to use this tactic and certainly won’t be the last, but he is an expert at sleight of hand.

Just as a magician uses subtle distractions to divert your attention away from a trick, the POTUS is masterfully diverting your attention from something else by controlling the culture discussion. If you can control the culture, you can control the nation.

Special thanks for my good friend JP on his suggestion for this post.

~Jason – Three Patriots

Let’s Get Uncomfortable

The United States (on both sides) has become too complacent with the status quo. You may be saying, “Whoa, wait a minute; where have you been? Don’t you see the changes happening?” Yes, yes I do, and if the American people don’t step up and do something about these changes that challenge our way of life, freedom, and happiness we will lose these liberties. The nation is divided into two factions (I know you feel it too). Half of the nation is actively trying to change the nation while the other half seems to be avoiding confrontation. This has lead us down the wrong road and has caused us to find ourselves in a corner. Due to the lack of confrontation in the past decade, any action taken on the side of freedom is immediately deemed an attack on the new United States. Thus, we are weary of change and more comfortable with maintaining the status quo whether we agree with it or not. I paraphrase Roy T Bennett when I say, “Change begins at the end of your comfort zone.” Our friends on the left have safe spaces and we have comfort zones. Both are detrimental to the American way of life. We must get out of our comfort zones and confront the issues head on. In recent months, I have noticed a push in the right direction (pun intended) and hope to see some continued change or push. Personally, I hope things continue to get more uncomfortable, because that means we’re doing something right! Some of you may not want the nation to change and think that the nation is in a great spot. I beg to differ. We have currently turned our backs on many of the very freedoms and liberties that were given to us by our founding fathers. I can hear it now “No we haven’t!” Yes we have, by letting these changes happen! Trump’s election was accredited to the “silent majority”.  THAT’S US and illustrates my point! We have been silent! We have been comfortable! In the army, I learned to sleep anywhere. I also learned that the best way to avoid falling asleep was to make yourself uncomfortable. It’s time to WAKE UP!

 

Josh –Three Patriots

Powers of Presidents

In my previous post (read it here), we took a journey back to Civics class for a lesson on the powers of the legislative branch of the US government.  Today, I want to continue that series on powers of government, now with focus on the executive branch.  Before I get into all the nuances of the executive branch’s powers, let’s define what the branch actually is.  The head of the executive branch is the President of the United States.  It also includes the Vice President, the Cabinet, and the heads of independent agencies.  In total, this branch employs over 4 million workers (which just shocks me at how large one singe branch of the US government truly is).

Now, moving on to the powers of the executive branch.  Article II of the Constitution sets up the powers given to this branch of government.  It is commonly understood that the executive branch “enforces the laws” made by the legislative branch.  Some of those powers include:

– Commander in Chief of the Army, Navy, and National Guard
– Grant reprieves and pardons
– Make treaties
– Appoint ambassadors, Supreme Court Justices, and others
– Take care that the laws be executed faithfully
– Veto a bill from the legislative branch
– See [3] for a full list

Recently, the term “executive order” has become a common phrase seen in the news media.  This term has been derived from the first section of Article II, where it states: “The executive power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America.”  It is more broadly defined in Section 3 of Article II: “He shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed.”  Neither of these passages explicitly grant executive order power, but it has been widely allowed by the courts and implemented by nearly every President since Abraham Lincoln.

Many argue that almost every president has issued executive orders, but the first numbered executive order came down in 1862 by Abraham Lincoln.  (Side note: the number was assigned in 1907 and did not extend back beyond Lincoln’s presidency.)  The most famous executive order was issued on January 1, 1863, also by President Lincoln – the Emancipation Proclamation, which freed the slaves in every state of the country.

Through almost the end of the 1800s, it was practically unheard of to see a president sign more than 100 executive orders during his tenure.  Theodore Roosevelt changed that precedence when he signed over 1,000 executive orders in the beginning of the 20th century.  Franklin Roosevelt later outnumbered Theodore by signing 3,728 (although this was over 12 years in office).  Since then, no President has signed more than 1,000 executive orders, with all recent presidents signing less than 400.

While the number of executive orders given by presidents has declined in the past several decades, the scope of those orders seems to have increased greatly.  Most of the orders given in the 1700s and 1800s dealt with lowering flags to half-staff or other minor issues.  President Obama’s executive orders have increased the power of his branch of government by enormous margins.  He even went as far as to say,

“We’re not just going to be waiting for legislation, I’ve got a pen and I’ve got a phone… and I can use that pen to sign executive orders and take executive actions and administrative actions.”

He threatened and then followed through with those threats to pass new rules and legislation that, in many people’s eyes, should have been left to the legislative branch of government.

We need to stop here and look at another presidential power—the executive memorandum.  The memorandum carries with it the same power as an executive order, but is not required to be published.  President Obama used a memorandum 644 times, and so far, President Trump has used it 12 times.

A few examples of what many consider to be executive overreach by the Obama administration include: picking which parts of the Affordable Care Act he would implement and enforce, legalizing millions of illegal immigrants (later rejected by the courts), raising minimum wage of federal employees, signing unilateral nuclear treaty with Iran without Senate ratification, unilateral gun control regulations, and many, many more.

In President Trump’s tenure to date, we have seen him sign 23 executive orders (as of April 1, 2017), so he is not shying away from using his pen, as the precedent has been set by his predecessors.  Many of those orders have been used to roll back orders given under President Obama because, unlike laws passed by Congress, executive orders can be repealed with the stroke of the president’s pen.  President Obama did just that with many orders signed by President Bush.  Some have cried foul on President Trump’s orders regarding immigration, travel, the environment, etc., but no one seems to have gotten to the root of the problem here—too much power in one branch of government.  President Obama’s overreach was OK with many in the media and general public because it aligned with their agenda, but President Trump’s overreach is all of a sudden wrong because it does not fit their talking points.

The moral of the story is that government needs to get back to the original process where Congress makes the laws, the president signs the laws, and the courts interpret the laws.  The president should not be making laws and, on the same token, should not be choosing which laws he wants to enforce as part of his constitutional duties.

The problem with putting power back into the appropriate hands is that, once taken, power is hard to regain again.  Congress needs to reclaim their power before the overreach gets more out of hand.  Democrats and Republicans should be worried about the amount of power one individual has taken up himself, no matter the party in office.

Jason – Three Patriots

 

Sources:

[1] https://www.whitehouse.gov/1600/executive-branch

[2] http://study.com/academy/lesson/executive-branch-of-government-definition-responsibilities-power.html

[3] https://www.law.cornell.edu/constitution/articleii

[4] https://archive.org/stream/PresidentialExecutiveOrdersV1#page/n17/mode/1up

[5] https://books.google.com/books?id=wjSieiqLHzoC&pg=PA102#v=onepage&q&f=false

[6] https://www.archives.gov/federal-register/executive-orders

[7] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_United_States_federal_executive_orders

[8] https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2014/12/16/obama-presidential-memoranda-executive-orders/20191805/

[9] http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2017/01/23/obama-executive-orders/

[10] https://obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/briefing-room/presidential-actions/presidential-memoranda

[11] https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/presidential-actions/presidential-memoranda