On the EDge: Welcome 2019 … please be kind

Composite image | Photo of woman by Deagreez, confetti by ComicSans; both via iStock/Getty Images Plus, St. George News

OPINION – If you thought 2018 was a wild ride, hang on tightly because we are in for a doozy.

We’ve got a government shutdown to deal with, heals dug in deeply over hitting taxpayers with the bill to construct a wall along the southern border, the president’s threat of shutting down the border entirely, an economy bouncing around like a table tennis ball during a round of beer pong at a frat house.

Don’t worry, taxpayers will never get stuck with the tab for that ridiculous wall and the president has no authority to shut down the border with Mexico. The economy? That’s a serious concern, with most experts predicting a nasty recession.

We’ve got administration officials spinning through the revolving door at the White House, so look for more books, we’ve got former administration officials either locked up or waiting to go into custody and we are drawing closer to the results of the Mueller investigation.

That revolving door will continue to spin like a food processor in overdrive, where there’s smoke there’s fire so look for more jailbirds moving from the White House to the Big House and the Mueller investigation is sure to create some historic headlines.

And then there’s the house of horrors that The Beltway has become.

The anger that has overtaken Washington, D.C., is nothing compared with what will happen with a Democratic House led by Nancy Pelosi facing down the Republican Senate and president. The lines have already been drawn to a point where it can only go downhill from here.

But, all of that is a given, last year’s hangover.

We’ll pretty much need a hair of the dog today as we enter 2019 and, with what we already know, it’s probably a good idea to get a buzz going so mix yourself another Bloody Mary.

In fact, make it a double.

You see, there’s no sense of normalcy to fall back on.

Things are just as surprising in blissfully disconnected Utah where, usually, the most important thing on the political agenda is a ration of proposed laws to disguise the preparation and distribution of adult beverages.

But, even here, everything is a long shot and the only thing predictable is the unpredictability of our times. How else do you explain the predominantly Republican state of Utah kicking Mia Love to the curb and sending Democrat Ben McAdams to the House of Representatives in her place?

Utah also sent some fresh blood to the U.S. Senate where the youngster Mitt Romney will take a seat in a few days. Now, it may seem odd calling a 71-year-old a youngster, but not when you consider he is replacing Orrin Hatch, 84, who was the longest-serving Republican senator in history. Hatch was first elected in 1976 and finally gave it up when it appeared voters were ready to boot him as well.

At the state level, we could be setting up for a clash between voters and the theocracy that controls the Legislature.

It bloomed just two days after voters passed a measure legalizing cannabis for medicinal purposes, a bill put forward with the blessing of the church was passed and rubber stamped by the governor, nullifying the original proposition and replacing it with a measure that shows little compassion and no understanding of the need or process to dispense the herb without growing the bureaucracy that conservatives say they cannot tolerate.

But, hey, that was ultimately a church decision perpetuating the theocracy and a theocracy by any other name is still a theocracy. That it will continue to dictate to a puppet Legislature is one of the few things we can count on, at least until hell freezes over.

And, locally, one of the last things the St. George City Council did before shutting the door on 2018 was to give itself a hefty raise.

I’ve always thought of New Year’s Day as a time to ponder a fresh start, a reboot, of sorts, to try to fix the flaws, learn a few things, correct the path.

Now?

It’s a time to hunker down because so many chips have already been tossed onto the table and we must be diligent.

But we must remember that we still have lots to be thankful for with the dawning of a new year.

I’m eternally grateful for my wife, my family, my friends, the ages-old belief that we can do it, we can rise above it all.

And, let’s not forget the revelry of the New Year, the resolutions, the traditions – from watching the Rose Parade to the orgy of college football games and that black-eyed pea concoction that promises to bring us luck in this new year.

Let’s be happy about taking another lap around the sun.

Let’s celebrate our humanity, and that includes our differences.

Let’s argue our points vigorously, but with a civil tongue instead of the vitriol that has overtaken the discussion.

Let’s look for joy. There is some out there, you know. It may not relate to our particular politics or other affiliations, but it is still there if we allow it room.

We must be vigilant, of course, in keeping it all under control. It is our responsibility.

But, we also have a responsibility for our own small measures of joy, which for me means enjoying our partners, our families, our friends.

It also means looking forward to the new season of “Grace and Frankie” on Netflix; hoping we get to see New Orleans and Kansas City in the Super Bowl; that they find some cool, previously unreleased music by The Beatles or Tom Petty; something called the Super Blood Wolf Moon Eclipse in a few weeks, the arrival of spring, the warmth of summer, the beauty of fall and, of course, another batch of holidays at the end of the year to celebrate with family and friends.

So, even though we are in for one wild ride to be sure, we should find our peace, our happiness, our drive to make this rock a better place.

Happy New Year.

No bad days!

Ed Kociela is an opinion columnist for St. George News. The opinions stated in this article are his own and may not be representative of St. George News.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @STGnews, @EdKociela

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2019, all rights reserved.

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34 Comments

  • Comment January 1, 2019 at 7:09 pm

    The economy may very well be on very shaky ground. Contrary to what Reagan worshipers believe, what’s good for wallstreet is rarely what’s good for a stable and thriving middle class. I’m not sure why nutters fail to grasp this. Wages have been stagnant, the country has been de-industrialized as wall-street sent most of US industrial jobs to communist china in their never-ending greed to find the cheapest labor. GM continually fails to build cars that anyone wants to buy (but their pickups sell well, I hear), so GM auto factories will be shuttered. Our economy has been dictated by criminal bankers for over 30 years.

    Then again, maybe the donald can pull off some miracle and keep things afloat, putting aside some far off chance he can actually improve anything. The R-party seems to be the party of absolute economic failure since everybody’s favorite grand pappy, Saint Ronnie, so I wouldn’t bet too much on things improving. Let’s deregulate everything and have some more tax cuts for the wealthy, since that worked out so well with the Baby Bush collapse of 2008. The next one is predicted to be a lot worse, because nothing has really changed at the systemic level since then.

    LOL /end rant 😉

  • utahdiablo January 1, 2019 at 8:35 pm

    No right to close the Border huh….He has taken a oath to protect America from invaders…that alone will give him “the right” as another 15,000 Caravan of so called “Migrants” are coming from Honduras to the USA….George Soros sure has deep pockets

    • bikeandfish January 1, 2019 at 10:19 pm

      That’s not how the law works nor does the “oath of office” say anything about “invaders”. First the oath:

      “I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States”

      Ironically, if he is to protect the Constitution than he is expected to act according to its balance of powers. Congress has passed several bills that limit the President’s power in regards to the border. For example, any immigrant reaching the border is afforded the ability to apply for asylum. Courts have ruled against Trump explicitly about this issue.

      And more to the point, there is not an “invasion”. That is propaganda. Even if there was our Constitution limits a president’s powers.

      Sadly, if Trump was smart, he would have played this all closer to his chest and never threatened a permanent closure. The POTUS does have emergency powers to temporarily close borders for national security reasons but even then his justification would be highly suspect and likely fail in court. George W Bush temporarily closed borders after 9/11 but we had actually been attacked.

      Its disappointing to see so many conversatives abandoning explicit and important limitations of executive powers. We keep eroding critical checks and balances at the federal level which doesn’t bode well for democracies in general and our republic in particular.

      • Comment January 2, 2019 at 12:06 pm

        “George W Bush temporarily closed borders after 9/11 but we had actually been attacked” First of all: [email protected]

        Secondly, it is an invasion and has been for over 30 years–a slow creeping invasion. It’s time for a wall and time to start deporting. They can send obamas dreamer babies and DACA kids all home as well. You’re a big fan of the rule of law, bike? Why can’t we send these millions of illegals back to their respective homelands?

        • bikeandfish January 2, 2019 at 11:02 pm

          The “rule of law” rhetoric is hollow without context and nuance. Its empty campaign rhetoric.

          Are you asking if we have the right as a sovereign nation to legislate and enforce law? If so, yes. But as I’ve stated before that always involves executive and judicial discretion.

          We have been deporting illegal immigrants in historically unprecedented numbers since the Obama Administration took office.

          Do I believe we should aggressively be deporting every non-criminal illegal immigrant? That is definitely were we diverge hence “discretion”. For example, we don’t police and penalize every American for the crimes they commit. We show discretion at every level of law. Its as much an issue of resource allocation as it is value based policy.

          And you aren’t convincing anyone with the invasion rhetoric. Illegal immigration is way down since the beginning of the last recession. And the majority of illegal immigrants are here through “visa overstays” not some incursion on the southern border.

          Until we start dealing with the facts and not extreme rhetoric than we’ll never effectively deal with illegal immigration in the long run. Which is sad as their is bipartisan interest in immigration reform.

  • commonsense January 1, 2019 at 9:02 pm

    Jobless rate is at a historic low. The climate for American companies to stay and expand is good.
    Taxes are lower. The stock market is adjusting to tremendous gains since 2016. Minimum wages are up in most states. If the Fed would leave alone interest rates, the economy would be great because the GDP is the best in years. Trade balance is being addressed.
    As Dems have to actually govern in the House, control will come with responsibility and bitching is going to be counter productive. Writing a budget and getting it passed and signed will keep them busy. There is much to like about America right now despite the reports from the liberal media who demonize Trump to further its political narrative.

    • Comment January 1, 2019 at 10:02 pm

      HYPOTHETICALLY, If trump did some satanic ritual that involved *self censored* on live TV or some… IDK… but I’m confident that you’d find some absurd and twisted way to rationalize it. It’s as if you worship the man as some kind of god. And you view him as totally faultless and holy. Idol worship is a bizarre thing that I truly don’t understand. Just don’t know about you, cs.

    • bikeandfish January 1, 2019 at 10:43 pm

      -Jobless rate: true
      -Economic Climate: mixed bag as shown by real company activity not Trump’s rhetoric
      -Stock Market: spin inconsistent to treatment under Obama. Plain truth is 2018 ended lower than when it started.
      -Minimum wage: Raising in 21 states is not “most”. But still good for lowest income earners
      – Trade Balance: Speculative and ignores massive losses to big American economies like agriculture, soybean in particular
      -Fed: easy scapegoat when things don’t go as Trump promised. Highly unusual for a president to broadside them.
      – GDP: True if you only account for last couple years. 2017 was pretty close to historic norms. Summer quarters were solid this year according to initial releases but they have trended noticeably down when you look at final #s over the last 2 years. Plus, we saw much better quarterly and even annual GDP under Obama, eg 2014. That said its best to judge that over entire administrative cycles and Trump could still prove himself in the next 2+ years

      There are some good things to appreciate. Hard to deny. But the other side of the coin isn’t just liberal spin. There are serious and concerning trespasses by Trump, like Ed has highlighted, that aren’t erased by specific economic gains.

    • Redbud January 1, 2019 at 11:05 pm

      Amen! You hit the nail on the head! Trump is doing a great job, and we all should be proud he is our president! Trump 2020!

  • NickDanger January 2, 2019 at 6:55 am

    What a magnificent load of self-deluded mess.

    Ed reminds me of some masochist pleading “Oh no, please don’t beat me!” while giving non-stop provocation all the while.

    Of course we conservatives should argue our points “with a civil tongue” as we confront liberals, who are meanwhile busy inventing an entirely new language to use against us, featuring words like “mansplaining” and “manspreading” while turning words like “patriarchy” and “gender” on their heads to express their obvious disgust with the traditional values that got them here in the first place.

    Of course we conservatives should “look for joy” as we observe childish liberals celebrating like soccer hooligans because their President might be indicted by a predatory opposition party, a party unconcerned with their country’s plight as long as they can somehow re-claim the 2016 election they lost in such dramatic and, apparently, impossible-to-stomach fashion.

    Look to yourself, Ed. You’re a reasonably intelligent human being, albeit one who has apparently chosen to forget most of what he’s learned in life in favor of holding down the whining-hypocrite corner of the liberal journalism niche market. Don’t forget, Ed, that we intelligent conservatives know exactly who you are.

    Every liberal is either a conservative who hasn’t given the matter enough thought, or an easy liar who needs a job.

    • Comment January 2, 2019 at 11:56 am

      You are aware that actual conservatives don’t have a political party in this country? Cowing to the “religious right” loonies from time to time in order to win votes doesn’t qualify the GOP as conservatives.

  • commonsense January 2, 2019 at 7:12 am

    I don’t really like Donald Trump. His style of leadership and his way of governing are unusual at best but I can separate the flawed personality of the man from the actual results he has produced and I think he has been treated unfairly by the media who are mostly pretty liberal and have entered into a pissing contest with him instead of doing its job of reporting.

    If you are in favor of global socialism, you are not going to be happy until Trump is long gone. If you love America and want the most for this country, then you are going to be able to overlook Trump’s faults and be happy that the awful years of Obama are over.

    • bikeandfish January 2, 2019 at 10:57 am

      You don’t get to narrowly define “who loves America”. I’m a patriot and I don’t fit your ideological boundaries.

      Stop fear-mongering about a largely non-existent “socialist” threat and learn to discern what democratic socialism is and isn’t. I’m not one nor do I think our federal government is an appropriate venue for such strategies but I’m also aware that democratic socialism is not remotely the same as socialism.

      I’m am grateful for the economic gains under Trump but that same adherence to fact requires me to recognize they weren’t “aweful years under Obama”.

      A media antagonistic to the president is the exact reason the founders so vehemently protected the fourth estate. They knew republics fail without “media” that challenges the most corrupt and undemocratic behaviors of the executive.

      • NickDanger January 2, 2019 at 1:06 pm

        And then there’s Bike, who sets his ideological boundaries at…well, who knows where? Anti-conservative for sure, but refuses to self-identify as a liberal; can’t say I blame him for that. Nonetheless he is always ready to espouse any virtue-signaling position that makes him seem like the voice of reason, as long as it’s contrary to the conservative consensus.

        Your coddling of today’s strictly partisan media, Bike, as exemplary of the founding fathers’ vision for the fourth estate, is laughably naive. Media partisanship is a huge national problem we should be seeking to remedy – a solid argument in itself against strict constitutionalism – not the glorious fulfillment of our ancestors’ unerring foresight.

        • bikeandfish January 2, 2019 at 10:44 pm

          Yes, I’m against your fascist and ultranationalist take on conservativism. But your spin isn’t consistent with most of our history of conservative values, ie traditional “liberal” values that founded our country. Those I am strongly in support of. My limited modern day liberalism only exists because its the place in which liberty and equality is afforded to all, not just those in power deploying the”tyranny of the majority” our government was designed to limit. That principled stance is based on the liberties espoused by historically conservative figures in our country. That’s only modernly liberal because so many conservatives abandoned classic liberalism in the mid-20th centuy in their marriage of politics with religious doctrine.

          You never actually support your conclusions though. You just offer up petty right-wing insults ( like the tired and empty “virtue signaling”) with no substance.

          You definitely don’t understand our liberal tenets of the free press as espoused by our founders if you believe they would argue our current situation justifies a “solid argument in itself against strict constitutionalism”. The current partisan divides in media were common then as well. They aren’t new or historically unique. It was from that reality/context that iyr founders argued unequivocally for “a strict constitutional” protection of a free press. They weren’t subtle about their allegiance to it either:

          “Some degree of abuse is inseparable from the proper use of every thing, and in no instance is this more true than in that of the press. It has accordingly been decided by the practice of the States, that it is better to leave a few of its noxious branches to their luxuriant growth, than, by pruning them away, to injure the vigour of those yielding the proper fruits. And can the wisdom of this policy be doubted by any who reflect that to the press alone, chequered as it is with abuses, the world is indebted for all the triumphs which have been gained by reason and humanity over error and oppression” (Madison)

          “The freedom of the press is one of the greatest bulwarks of liberty, and can never be restrained but by despotic governments.” (Madison)

          “This formidable censor of the public functionaries, by arraigning them at the tribunal of public opinion, produces reform peaceably, which must otherwise be done by revolution” (Jefferson)

          When you read the founders words and philosophies regarding the press its obvious they supported its unencumbered harangues against the federal government, especially the executive. They didn’t call it a “bulwark of liberty” and include it in the Bill of Rights on accident. Your statements and conclusions aren’t remotely in line with their wise protections. A republic’s tendencies to eventually lead toward the illiberal tenets you espouse is exactly why they protected speech and the press so vehemently.

          • Comment January 3, 2019 at 12:58 pm

            Bike, you sure are trusting of media. You realize the ownership of most large media outlets has become concentrated into the hands of just a few corporations and billionaire oligarchs. We see almost every story reported with some sort of agenda. We also see that investigative reporting for the sake of the public good is dying out and being replaced with nothing but agenda-based reporting. It makes me wonder if you’re naive or what…?

          • bikeandfish January 3, 2019 at 4:46 pm

            Comment,

            You’ve built a strawman from speculation not my actual ideas. Nothing naive about my values.

            I’ve openly critiqued various media sources on this forum. I find cable news to be especially sensationalistic and problematic in tone. I don’t consume it for that reason. But that’s not new or unusual. Before them were AM radio shock jocks like Rush Limbaugh. Before them were the “yellow journalist” of the 1890s. Like the founders I fully recognize there are “abuses” within media. And like them I believe the aparatus to change that is largely with the people, not the government (with the exception of antitrust issues which are genuinely of concern). The government, especiallythe executive, has no place in dictating the terms of journalism to the type of detail we are discussing. Quite the contrary, the press was explicitly protected to be a dogged and determined place of antagonism against government abuses and power.

            And a separate note, the principle idealism I see here is an impossible and ahistoric expectation for all journalist. Our founders didn’t protect just “unbiased” media; they protected speech and press at large. Our founders dealt with biased media at every level and enthusiastically protected it nonetheless. They hated it when it was projected against them like everyone in power does but they chose not to use the tools of government to limit it. But expecting journalism not to have any voice, any bias, any alleged agenda ignores the history of the field and individuals in general. There is an agenda and bias in every form of journalism to some level and its up to us to decide which type to consume. Thats implicit in your ironic and incorrect conclusions about “investigative journalism”. Its alive and well if not more so now than anytime in the past. But its always had an agenda. Why else would you dig past the surface of initial reporting and statements if you didn’t have an agenda to discover something else? And its always been derided in the fashion you employ. Just think back to our long history of muckrakers that had a huge influence on this country.

            So, yes, I recognize the press and speech in general can be abused. I’ve provided 18 months of examples of calling that out here against columnists. That said, I also unabashedly recognize the press is a “bulwark to liberty” in a liberal democracy like ours. They aren’t mutually exclusive and I can hold both views at the same time.

  • LunchboxHero January 2, 2019 at 8:26 am

    Wow, Ed, this is a nice departure from your “everything is terrible, and everyone is awful” narrative. Happy New Year to you, too!

  • commonsense January 2, 2019 at 11:35 am

    Socialism is socialism. When you think the government can solve your every need and someone else will pay for it, your a socialist.
    Europe is imploding as all socialist states will in time because the economic reality of shared misery doesn’t hold up to basic math.

    • Comment January 2, 2019 at 2:11 pm

      cs, let’s be honest, all you really do is parrot talking points from breitbart or foxnews. You don’t have any ideas of your own do you?

      libruls = evil devils
      repubs = angels
      trump = the savior
      deregulation = good
      much socialism = true evil
      much free markets = godly

      I could go on and on, but you’ve just dumbed down and caricaturized every single issue.

      Much of Europe’s problems seem to be caused by rigged “free-market” globalist hyper-capitalism and ultra-corrupt, extremely wealthy and greedy political elitists. From what I gather the french are protesting because of the gov’t’s coddling and special treatment of the ultra-wealthy, while putting more tax burden on people who work. How is that socialism? It would seem to be the opposite, no? And the disastrous free-for-all immigration policies being pushed by free-market globalists with their never-ending quest to import the cheapest of labor–I have no idea where that ends. European states are not “socialist” as you claim, cs.

      I’m very disappointed in you, cs. I might have to just let you spout off your nonsense and ignore you. “Trump’s father was not wealthy”… sorry, but you are just so out of touch with reality. This might have to be my last reply to you.

      😉

      • Canaanite January 2, 2019 at 7:50 pm

        And your talking points come from???

      • Comment January 2, 2019 at 8:50 pm

        “much socialism = true evil
        much free markets = godly”

        autocorrect must have screwed this up. “much” was supposed to be “muh” in both.

        my talking points come from so many sources I don’t even recall them all. That, and I’m old, so I’ve picked up a lot. I don’t trust BS from the left or right-wing sources. You take their info and try to use discernment to see thru their agendas, twisting of facts, lies, and BS, and that’s usually the best you can do with most media. What I like about small local media like STGnews is they are small and local enough to not have any sinister agendas.

  • Redbud January 2, 2019 at 8:38 pm

    No one can predict the stock market, but I can tell you what will happen for the next several years. The stock market will do very well into 2020, then it will stall but not crash, then when Trump is re-elected in 2020, the stock market will continue to improve until 2024. After that, we’ll have to see who becomes president after Trump finishes his second term as president. There will be some up and down waves during Trump’s presidency, but overall the stock market will only continue to improve, and there will be no crashes. Thank goodness we have Trump as our merciful, all-wise leader.

    • Comment January 2, 2019 at 8:57 pm

      And how does the stock market doing wonderfully really benefit us regular folk who don’t bother to play the trading game? What goes up must come down eventually. The billionaires cash out and become even richer. Everyone else who fails to cash out in time loses. Big banks get bailed out with tax money from the US treasury. Wonderful system, huh? The stock markets are not an indicator of a healthy and stable economy…

    • bikeandfish January 2, 2019 at 9:55 pm

      You do realize you contradicted yourself in that post, correct? I mean why lead with “No one can predict the stock market” if your entire comment is about some ability to predict the stock market?

      Please tell me you are being ironic with your dear leader worship?

      • Redbud January 2, 2019 at 10:18 pm

        That wasn’t a prediction, and I did not attempt to predict what was going to happen. I told you what was going to happen, and it will! Trump 2020!

        • bikeandfish January 3, 2019 at 10:33 am

          Prediction: (noun) : a statement about what will happen or might happen in the future

          You contradicted yourself in your original comment.

          • Redbud January 3, 2019 at 5:18 pm

            When I think of the word prediction, what mostly comes to mind is you are stating what might happen, not what will for sure happen. Even though you did look up an exact definition of the word, I was not basing my statement off that at the time. So I stand by what I said, and don’t believe I contradicted myself.

          • bikeandfish January 3, 2019 at 6:15 pm

            Neither you or your dear leader get to just make up new meanings for words without public scrutiny. Its absurd that you think there is a meaningful difference between your definition and the real one when it comes to the future. Talk about magical thinking.

            The age of truthiness as defined by Colbert: “We’re not talking about truth, we’re talking about something that seems like truth – the truth we want to exist”

          • Redbud January 4, 2019 at 1:24 am

            I know what I meant to say at the time, so I still stand by what I said earlier. You are correct, Trump is our dear leader. At least you got that right.

          • bikeandfish January 4, 2019 at 1:13 pm

            You are taking a fundamentally irrational and unsustainable position. There is no difference between your definition of prediction and the real one. You have abandoned any resemblance of fact and truth and are engaging in the absurd. Your claim and stance is the epitome of “truthiness”. It won’t be treated with respect or seriousness.

          • Redbud January 5, 2019 at 7:12 am

            You have no concept of what truth is, so you won’t be treated with seriousness at all. I still stand by my statement, I know what I meant when I said it.

          • bikeandfish January 5, 2019 at 12:20 pm

            You are really going with the “I know you are but what am I strategy”? Keep digging that hole.

            Once again. Truthiness:

            “We’re not talking about truth, we’re talking about something that seems like truth – the truth we want to exist”

            Your response:

            “Even though you did look up an exact definition of the word, I was not basing my statement off that at the time”

            Which is funny as the exact definition is

            Prediction: Prediction: (noun) : a statement about what will happen or might happen in the future

            That definition is the same as both your possible definitions in your statement:

            “When I think of the word prediction, what mostly comes to mind is you are stating what might happen, not what will for sure happen”. There is no difference between the definition “what will happen” and yours.

            You admitted I posted the “an exact definition of the word” but are now saying, without any sense of irony, that I have “no concept of what truth is”. You contradicted yourself yet again. You make it too easy to expose the mendacity of your public arguments.

          • Redbud January 7, 2019 at 1:09 am

            Again, I know what I meant when I said it, and I don’t need your approval for my statement, so I stand by it.

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