Fake News

This week CNN has been documented by James O’keefe in released videos that reveal the network appeared to know there was nothing factual about the Trump Russia collusion story and yet continued to report on it to the public.

For months now, President Trump has been calling out certain media outlets as, in his words, fake news. Evidence seems to indicate he is correct.

There are two possibilities behind this. The most pessimistic view is that CNN wants to take down the Trump presidency. A more reasonable opinion, however, is that the decision makers at CNN are caught up in a push for ratings, and money, and as a result have sacrificed their commitment to reporting the truth.

This makes it an issue of journalistic ethics. The Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics includes four principles:

Seek Truth

Minimize Harm

Act Independently

Be Accountable and Transparent

If these videos are true, CNN is knowingly violating at least three out of four.

It’s more important than ever that, as Americans, we engage. Follow current events. Check facts. Stand for truth. Test everything. Hold on to truth and prioritize it above party and political persuasion.

Nobody is going to do it for us.

-John Anchor


I’ve indicated before in this space that President Trump should not be on Twitter. This is why.

In a combination of Tweets this morning, President Trump said the following:

“I heard poorly rated @Morning_Joe speaks badly of me (don’t watch anymore). Then how come low I.Q. Crazy Mika, along with Psycho Joe, came……to Mar-a-Lago 3 nights in a row around New Year’s Eve, and insisted on joining me. She was bleeding badly from a face-lift. I said no!”

Totally unbecoming of Presidential behavior. No dignity. No class.

A President’s words have a global impact. As the leader of the free world, President Trump’s words should be chosen carefully. This isn’t happening.

Words like these coming from a President are an embarrassment to the United States of America.

Words like these coming from a President are disrespectful to a fellow citizen of the United States.

Words like these coming from a President take away from legitimate criticisms of the way the media has covered his administration.

Words like these coming from a President are completely counterproductive to accomplishing a legislative agenda.

Words like these coming from a President are a distraction from the news of the day.

As the millennials say, I can’t even. That’s correct. I have lost my ability to even.

-John Anchor

Voter ID Laws

Voter identification laws have been controversial for some time now. Courts have struck down voter ID laws in Texas and South Carolina claiming the purpose behind such laws is to intentionally discriminate.

Generally speaking, those on the Left oppose such laws by claiming they are racist and aimed at voter disenfranchisement.

Generally speaking, laws requiring photo proof of identification prior to being allowed to vote are supported by the Right because of fears of voter fraud.

Is either side correct?

Because the term “hack the election” is such a hot topic right now, mostly in regard to Russia, let’s look at the facts about whether it’s possible for either of our political parties to cheat in our electoral process.

As far as the Left is concerned, there are
a plethora of places where photo ID is required in every day life by people of all races and income levels: opening a bank account; applying for food stamps, welfare, medicaid, social security, unemployment, employment; renting a car, buying a car, airplane travel, getting married, buying a gun, renting a hotel room, getting a hunting license or getting a fishing license. And yet, we don’t hear accusations of discrimination in these instances, do we?

What about the Right’s fears?

This week, a man named Andrew Spieles admitted to signing up eighteen dead people to vote. While eighteen is not a large number, it’s still wrong, and it’s proof that this sort of thing is taking place.

In Virginia, according to the Washington times, an audit conducted by a voter integrity group found 1,852 illegal immigrants voted in Virginia elections over a decade. Again, not a huge number but more proof illegal voting is occurring. And if it’s happening in Virginia, it’s likely happening elsewhere, too.

In fact, it seems that is exactly the case. A study, also reported in the Washington Times extrapolated a nationwide figure based on known data and estimated 5.8 million illegals may have voted in the 2008 election.

Confidence in the electoral process is paramount to remaining a free nation. There absolutely must be a focus on truth, fairness, and integrity by both political parties. A peaceful transition of power depends on it.

The idea that it is racist to require proof of identification prior to casting a ballot is ludicrous to me. In my opinion, not only should you have to show proof at your polling place that you are who you say you are, you should also be required to show proof that you are a legal citizen of the country.

Anything less is a disservice to the law abiding citizens of the United States.

-John Anchor

Single Payer Healthcare

Senator Warren said this week that Democrats should campaign on the promotion of single payer healthcare.

As reported in the Wall Street Journal, she said, “President Obama tried to move us forward with healthcare coverage by using a conservative model that came from one of the conservative think tanks that had been advanced by a Republican governor in Massachusetts. Now it’s time for the next step. And the next step is single payer.”

This appears to be an effort to tie the Affordable Care Act’s shortcomings to the Right. It shouldn’t work. The final version of Obamacare was pushed through by the Left without a single Republican vote.

Nevertheless, we should welcome the opportunity to have a public discussion on the merits and drawbacks of a single payer healthcare system.

Ronald Reagan spoke in the early 1960s about what was then termed “socialized medicine”. He quoted Norman Thomas who once said, “The American People will never vote for socialism, but under the name of liberalism, the American People will adopt every fragment of the socialist program.”

That is what we are seeing here. It was predicted that the Affordable Care Act was designed to be a stepping stone to socialized medicine. Now, the Left is pursuing that next step.

To have a politician come out in favor of single payer healthcare is an opportunity to have a public discussion about whether or not this is a good thing for the country, especially with a large percentage of the millennial generation opposed to capitalism.

According to Wikipedia, “Single-payer healthcare is a healthcare system in which the state, financed by taxes, covers basic healthcare costs for all residents regardless of income, occupation, or health status.”

Ronald Reagan, in that same talk, pointed out that healthcare in the United States has historically been something to be envied – doctor/patient privacy, the right to choose a doctor, the right to switch doctors. He then asked that we look at it from the doctors perspective.

Under single payer healthcare, if the government is paying our medical bills, it’s a very short step to our doctors being considered government employees. From there, it’s a downward spiral. Our doctors lose freedoms. If the government pays the bills, do they gain the ability to control where a particular doctor chooses to practice, or what specialty a medical student is allowed to study? Does the government then gain the ability to determine a doctor’s pay?

The medical profession is roughly one-sixth of the American economy. If these types of things are allowed to happen to our medical professionals, it’s only a matter of time before Socialism creeps into other, or all, aspects of our economy.

These are the types of questions we need to be discussing publicly if we are seriously considering a single payer healthcare system. Let me encourage you to go to youtube and search “Reagan socialized medicine”. It’s ten minutes well worth your time.

-John Anchor

Supreme Court on Church and State

The United States Supreme Court released several decisions today, one of which received considerable attention.

In a win for religious liberty, the court ruled that a Christian school, Trinity Lutheran, cannot be denied materials from the State of Missouri based solely on the fact that it is a religious institution, adding clarity to the meaning of the term “Separation of Church and State”.

A few quotations from the 7-2 ruling, written by Chief Justice Roberts:

“The State in this case expressly requires Trinity Lutheran to renounce its religious character in order to participate in an otherwise generally available public benefit program, for which it is fully qualified.”

“…the Department offers nothing more than Missouri’s policy preference for skating as far as possible from religious establishment concerns.”

“As we said when considering Missouri’s same policy preference on a prior occasion, ‘the state interest asserted here–in achieving greater separation of church and State than is already ensured under the Establishment Clause of the Federal Constitution–is limited by the Free Exercise Clause.'”

“The Missouri Department of Natural Resources has not subjected anyone to chains or torture on account of religion. And the result of the State’s policy is nothing so dramatic as the denial of political office. The consequence is, in all likelihood, a few extra scraped knees. But the exclusion of Trinity Lutheran from a public benefit for which it is otherwise qualified, solely because it is a church, is odious to our Constitution all the same, and cannot stand.”

It is refreshing to see an opinion from the Supreme Court that appears to support the intent of the authors of our Constitution in this matter. After all, and as previously noted in this space, the phrase “Separation of Church and State” originated in a Thomas Jefferson letter. Jefferson then, as President, authorized the use of federal tax dollars to support Christian missionaries.

Therefore, with that information in mind, how can the Court justify the following statements from the dissenting opinion?

“This case is about nothing less than the relationship between religious institutions and the civil government–that is, between church and state. The Court today profoundly changes that relationship by holding, for the first time, that the Constitution requires the government to provide public funds directly to a church. Its decision slights both our precedents and our history, and its reasoning weakens this country’s longstanding commitment to a separation of church and state beneficial to both.”

While the majority opinion focused on the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment, the two member dissenting opinion took issue with the Establishment Clause:

“The Establishment Clause does not allow Missouri to grant the Church’s funding request because the Church uses the Learning Center, including its playground, in conjunction with its religious mission. The Court’s silence on this front signals either its misunderstanding of the facts of this case or a startling departure from our precedents.”


“Within its walls, worshippers gather to practice and reaffirm their faith. And from its base, the faithful reach out to those not yet convinced of the group’s beliefs. When a government funds a house of worship, it underwrites this religious exercise.”

And yet, President Jefferson evidently did not see this as a violation of the Establishment Clause. After all, in the context of his letter to the Baptists in Danbury, the intent of the Establishment Clause is to keep the government from “establishing” a State religion or denomination or becoming involved in the decisions of the Church. At issue in this case is whether Missouri’s strict view of the Establishment Clause is justification for its violation of the Free Exercise Clause.

The clarity on this, presented today by the Supreme Court, is very much needed and long overdue.

-John Anchor

Abortion and the Healthcare Bill

Last week, Senator Elizabeth Warren released a video during which she referred to the Republican healthcare proposal as “blood money.”

Senator Bernie Sanders tweeted: “…Thousands of people will die if the Republican health care bill becomes law.”

Chad Kubis (@ChadKubisNC) made an astute observation on Twitter yesterday: “Democrats believe that a GOP healthcare (bill) will kill them yet don’t seem to bat an eye when supporting inhumane abortions…”

It’s true. Both Senators and virtually the entire Democratic Party these days are strong supporters of abortion rights.

When comparing abortion to healthcare comments about Americans dying because of specific policy decisions, one must consider when life actually begins.

Let’s turn to the Bible. In Psalm 139, David says of God, “For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.”

If the Bible is true, God clearly knows us before we are born. Considering this brings the abortion question in line with Biblical truth. One cannot logically be pro-choice, believing abortion is not the taking of human life, and believe the Bible is the true Word of God.

Americans must decide. One cannot live in both worlds.

-John Anchor

United We Stand

We are clearly a divided country and have been for well over two decades. However, should anyone doubt the USA’s ability to endure such strain, let’s look back for a lesson in history on the matter.

We been here before. Multiple times.

The Civil War is an obvious example – and the most severe – so I won’t elaborate here except to point to President Lincoln’s 1958 House Divided speech, in which he states: “A house divided against itself cannot stand. I believe this government cannot endure, permanently, half slave and half free. I do not expect the Union to be dissolved — I do not expect the house to fall — but I do expect it will cease to be divided. It will become all one thing or all the other.”

A key point to remember. We can’t endure permanently a divided nation. But it goes back farther than that.

At the country’s founding, an opinion was circulating that the new country should be made up of several confederacies, each having the same powers as the proposed national government. Essentially, three or four separate countries.

John Jay authored Federalist Paper No. 2 as an argument against this proposal, saying “the prosperity of America (depends) on its Union.” His reasoning? National security depends upon a strong central government.

And yet, political division in the United States goes back even farther than that, so far that it outdates the country itself.

As Jay writes: “It is not yet forgotten that well-grounded apprehensions of imminent danger induced the people of America to form the memorable Congress of 1774. That body recommended certain measures to their constituents, and the event proved their wisdom; yet it is fresh in our memories how soon the press began to teem with pamphlets and weekly papers against those very measures. Not only many of the officers of government, who obeyed the dictates of personal interest, but others, from a mistaken estimate of consequences, or the undue influence of former attachments, or whose ambition aimed at objects which did not correspond with the public good, were indefatigable in their efforts to pursuade the people to reject the advice of that patriotic Congress. Many, indeed, were deceived and deluded, but the great majority of the people reasoned and decided judiciously; and happy they are in reflecting that they did so.”

So, we’ve been divided before, and we’ve been okay. We’ll be okay this time, too, provided we continue to reason amongst ourselves based in truthful information. Facts matter. Truth is not relative. We must continue to honestly debate ideas.

-John Anchor

Election Security

Peaceful transition of power is a unique signature of a democratic republic. A fundamental aspect to this peaceful transition is public confidence in the security of the election process. This is now under attack.

After months of rumors, a report today in the Washington Post claims proof that not only did Russia attempt to influence the outcome of last year’s election through nefarious, electronic means, but it was ordered directly by Vladimir Putin himself.

The Post’s report also claims President Obama was aware of the hacking attempt prior to the election and kept it secret. President Trump’s spokesperson said this week that she doesn’t know if President Trump thinks Russia attempted to influence the election. This raises several questions.

What does “hacking the election” even mean to the average American? Most states moved to electronic voting systems after the confusion during the 2000 election recount process over hanging chads, voter intent, and what does or does not count as a vote on a paper ballot. Are these electronic systems susceptible to hacking?

Two things are needed today: First, open communication from our nation’s leadership regarding what is factually known about what happened, and secondly, we need a voting process that can be audited in a way such that Americans are confident in the voting process.

The ability to audit is fundamental to providing confidence to the world that America’s elections are honest and accurate. Any doubt whatsoever as to this puts the nation on a slippery slope with the potential to affect America’s standing in the world and our President’s ability to lead.

Do we need some form of a paper backup of the process so that each precinct can verify its electronic totals are accurate? Maybe we do. That’s for our leaders to decide.

Both sides should want this.

Democrats have been screaming for six months about election hacking being partially to blame for their loss despite a lack of evidence so far that any vote totals were altered. If the Left truly believes Clinton would have won were it not for Russia, they should want a secure process to ensure they win next time.

Republicans, on the other hand, should want to move forward with election security because solving the problem will take away a distracting issue political opponents are using against President Trump and refocus the country on the President’s agenda.

Yet the question remains, why are we not taking steps to protect our voting data and restore confidence in our longstanding tradition of peaceful and fair elections?

-John Anchor

Senate Healthcare Bill

The Senate released its version of the proposed Obamacare replacement healthcare bill today, and the reaction has been as anticipated. The Left hates it, and for the opposite of reasons, several in the Right are reserving support in hopes of changes. Just like the House bill.

What is frustrating to the Right is that the bill does not appear to be the promised repeal of the Affordable Care Act on which they campaigned. Too much of the Obamacare structure is left in place. What is frustrating to the Left is that the bill is not the Affordable Care Act.

Obamacare was not a popular law, and it has not functioned as intended. We know this by looking at the Congressional Budget Office’s estimate of projected coverage numbers versus the actuals. The CBO score missed the mark by roughly 12 million people. We also know this because of the number of private insurers dropping out of the markets over the years due to financial losses related to this lack of participation.

It was predicted back in 2009 by many on the Right that the Affordable Care Act was never intended to be a solution to our healthcare struggles. It was forecasted back then that the ACA would eventually fail because it was designed to do so. It was said at the time, perhaps cynically, that Obamacare was only intended to be a stepping stone to a single payer healthcare system.

Lo and behold, if that’s not what is occurring today. This is the argument of the Left: We don’t need to repeal and replace Obamacare. We need to reform it. Many in the country are already calling for any Obamacare “fix” to come in the form of a single payer system.

I’m here to tell you a single payer system is not the answer for one simple reason: Incentives matter. A single payer system assumes the best in people. It assumes everyone operates efficiently. It assumes everyone is at the highest level of competence. Anything less and the wait times are long and the service suffers, or at least there is no built in protection against such.

A private, free market healthcare system, on the other hand, assumes the worst in people. It assumes that without built in incentives to drive service and quality, performance will suffer because people are fallible.

Such incentives should come in the form of competition. Detach health insurance from employers and let individuals purchase coverage in variable amounts as we currently do with other forms of insurance. The competition of doing so encourages providers to sell high quality coverage at a low cost.

Another incentive legislators can build in to free market healthcare is tort reform aimed at protecting healthcare providers from frivolous lawsuits. The easier it is to sue a doctor, the higher everyone will pay for healthcare. Logically, this is done to cover the cost of malpractice insurance and legal bills.

Changes such as these will do more to bring down the cost of healthcare than a modified version of the Affordable Care Act. Of course, that’s not to say what the Senate proposed today isn’t better than Obamacare. It is, but it doesn’t fulfill the potential of what healthcare in the United States could become.

-John Anchor

Crisis Management – Trump

Yesterday, we looked at two public relations examples of how companies have handled crisis management issues. The positive themes that resulted from the experiences of Pepsi and Exxon involve timely responsiveness, open and honest communications, and proactivity aimed at protecting the public from further damage.

President Trump is experiencing his own public relations nightmare. Shortly after the election, his political opposition began calling for his investigation into collusion with the Russian government in an effort to interfere with the election outcome.

How should President Trump have reacted?

Based on Pepsi’s example from 1993, President Trump should have made himself and others in his administration available to the media early and often to answer questions, reiterate the importance America places on the security of its election process, and to assure the American people that his administration will get to the bottom of whatever interference did or did not happen during the election.

President Trump should have cooperated with the Department of Justice to determine what happened. If anyone associated with his campaign was involved, he should have held them accountable. If no wrongdoing was found, he should have gone above and beyond to communicate full cooperation with any investigation.

He could have even had his communications team issue a video or documents explaining how votes are tallied, certified, reported, and audited in an effort to ensure confidence in the election process.

The transparency of such efforts would have done more than increase public confidence in our elections. It potentially could have taken his opponents’ political criticism off the table and forced the national discussion back on his agenda.

But that’s not what happened.

How did President Trump react?

Via Twitter, he accused former President Obama of spying on his campaign. Weeks later, he fired his FBI director. Then, he told NBC in an interview that he fired Mr. Comey because of the Russia investigation. As if that wasn’t enough, President Trump hinted in a tweet that he might have secret recordings of his conversations with Mr. Comey. And on top of it all, he has repeatedly attacked the media as delivering “fake news”.

When a business behaves this way in the midst of crisis, often it results in the business going out of business. When a President behaves this way in times of crisis, it stalls his effectiveness and hampers his ability to accomplish his legislative agenda.

-John Anchor