Where are the grown ups?

So the former FBI Director James Comey testified before Congress about his prior investigations and his dealings with President Trump (it’s still strange to type that).  Here’s how much of a circus this has become:

  1. The Director admitting leaking information to the NY Times via a friend
  2. The leak supposedly contained notes he wrote after meeting with Trump
  3. When asked for his notes, he claims he no longer has a copy
  4. Congress has to ask his friend for any copies he received

Really?  Really?  Either the former Director or the President (or, quite likely, both) is shading the truth considerably.  If it can be shown the Director broke rules on protecting information, or has perjured himself before Congress, there needs to be severe penalties.  Congress also needs to take Trump up on his offer to testify under oath.  And finally, it appears former Attorney General Lynch put more pressure on Comey than Trump ever did… something you likely won’t hear played up in the press.

Meanwhile, both Nancy Pelosi and John McCain are amply demonstrating in a bipartisan fashion how geriatric Congress has become (and how much we need term limits).

Any last vestiges of credibility our government may miraculously have seem to be vanishing right before our eyes.  At this point, maybe an EMP blast from North Korea would be an improvement.  At least then we wouldn’t have to listen to these idiots and their pageantry on radio or TV anymore.  And we’d all be too busy scratching out an existence to care about anything beyond the next town.

Quote of the day

“We have always known that eternal vigilance is the price of freedom. It’s worse now, because capture of government is so much more important than it once was. There was a time when there was enough freedom that it hardly mattered which brand of crooks ran government. That has not been true for a long time — not during most of your lifetimes, and for much of mine — and it will probably never be true again.”

Jerry Pournelle, noted Military-Science-Fiction author and occasional pundit, written shortly after the 2008 election.

Information overload

It’s good that there’s so much discussion of “fake news,” but the problem is that the discussion isn’t focusing on the problem: a lack of discernment and desire to find truth.  Partisans of every stripe grasp onto every little rumor, leaping to conclusions as recklessly as one would leap over the Grand Canyon.  Meanwhile, there isn’t a single major news outlet that hasn’t sold its political soul to one faction or another.  We’ve developed two hermetically sealed echo chambers in this country and neither has the pursuit of truth as its top priority.  We’re told (incorrectly) the First Amendment has exceptions to defend people from being “uncomfortable” or “triggered.”  This is merely suppression of opposing ideas.  I’m concerned this is the first step in our cultural cold war becoming a hot one.  People are no longer “of a different opinion;” rather, they’re evil opponents.  Hostility is projected, received and internalized.  With all the careless talk about impeachment, or obstruction of Trump’s initiatives (which still have a sizable backing in the nation’s heartland), the ability of our political processes to address the issues is coming apart.

What happens after that step is likely going to be very ugly.  What are you doing to prepare?

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Rules? How quaint

This is how “representative” our governments now are: apparently you no longer have to actually, you know, LIVE in the district you’re running to represent:

Democrat Jon Ossoff dismissed concerns Tuesday over the fact that he doesn’t live in the Georgia congressional district in which he’s running for a House seat.

“I grew up in this district; I grew up in this community — it’s my home. My family is still there,” Ossoff said during an interview on CNN’s “New Day.”

If having family in a district is enough to be a candidate, most people would have plenty of options to run.  That’s not how it works, though.  And no, I don’t care that he’s “10 minutes up the road,” and just living there to “support his girlfriend in medical school.”

At least Hillary Clinton had the decency to move to New York and pretend to become a New Yorker before running for the Senate.  (I’m pretty sure she’d have never achieved that in Arkansas.)

Either a rule is enforced, or it’s not a rule.   This is yet another example of how we are no longer a nation of laws.  And that’s not going to end well for anybody, no matter what short-term advantages someone thinks they see.

On a related note, it’s nice to see people reminding Congress they have to live with the laws they pass.  And on this particular issue, it’s about time the rules were applied. Vigorously.

The world needs the U.S.

…more than the U.S. needs the world.  And it’s about time we started acting that way:

Approximately 30 countries are refusing to accept the deportations of illegal immigrants who have committed serious crimes in the U.S., according to Texas Rep. Henry Cuellar.

While these countries are refusing to accept the deportations of these criminals, the U.S. government is still issuing visas and student visas to citizens of those countries, according to the Texan congressman. There is already a law on the books which allows the U.S. to hold visas from a country that is not taking back its criminals, but according to Cuellar, the U.S. is not enforcing it.

“We’re not enforcing it, which is amazing. So now my intent is to go back to our committee on appropriations and affect their funding until they do that,” Cuellar told Sharyl Attkisson, host of Full Measure, in an interview.

Cuellar, a Democratic member of the House Committee on Appropriations, told Attkisson that the Supreme Court has ruled that illegal immigrants arrested for criminal activity can only be held for a certain period of time before they must be released.

And releasing illegal criminal immigrants puts the U.S. population at risk.

As others have already noted, our response to this intransigence should go beyond refusing to issue any kind of visas to countries that won’t take back their criminals.  We should also halt any foreign aid that goes their way (which we shouldn’t be in the business of anyway), as well as putting a 100% tariff on any goods imported from that country.

The United States has the largest economy in the world and its third-largest population (after China and India).  We have a wealth of natural resources, and technology such as fracking is allowing us to access even more of this potential.  Simply put, the world needs access to our market and economy far more than we need anything from overseas.  Were it not for the debt we’ve recklessly assumed over the last half century (much of it from playing GloboCop), we could stand utterly independent of the world.

Want to make America great again?  Send all known illegal immigrants to Guantanamo Bay (which our last president unwisely all but emptied) until their home nation agrees to receive them.  Let’s stop pretending foreigners enjoy the same Constitutional rights as citizens.  They are endowed with the protection of life, liberty (as long as they are law-abiding) and the pursuit of happiness (subject to being in America’s interest to accept them).  As long as there is a foreign national being held because of their country’s refusal to take back deportees, cut off all access to the United States and its markets.

And while we’re on the subject, killing the H1-B visa is long overdue.

It’s time the American government (all branches of it) put America first.  We don’t need “citizens of the world” running our country.  We need patriotic, hard-headed realists.

The GOP doesn’t seem to have many of those.  Making America Great Again will require action in the 2018 election, too.  Do you know how your representatives are voting?  You should.  Don’t count on Trump to change the direction all by himself.  Even if he did, that way lies future problems with executive overreach.  Punish the globalists in Congress, and give Trump a legislature he can work with.

Then let’s let the world tend to itself for a while.  We’ve been bailing it out since 1917.  After a century, we deserve to shed the role.

No more excuses

Less than a year and a half ago, the entire Republican membership of Congress voted to send a bill to President Obama that would have repealed Obamacare.

But that was just for consumption by the rubes back in their home districts.  Clearly, the president wasn’t about to agree to dismantling his namesake health care takeover plan.

That the Republican party isn’t truly serious about seeking smaller government should be apparent to everyone.  They control both houses of Congress, and work with a President who committed himself to getting rid of the misnamed “Affordable Care Act.”

So why won’t they send the same bill to the new occupant of the Oval Office?

Because they know he’d sign it.  Then they’re not just posturing for the constituents, they’re actually removing an ill-conceived government program riddled equally with incompetence and opportunities for political theft and graft.

This is why I stopped identifying as “Republican” close to a dozen years ago.

It’s time to call their bluff.  Everyone who believes the Supreme Court was insane to rule this health care law constitutional, everyone who wants to see health care costs fall instead of rise, everyone who believes the free market, not the bureaucrats best meets our individual needs, simply MUST contact their representatives and demand they resubmit the previous bill.

No more stalling while “a draft” is written.  There’s no need to reinvent the wheel.

Paul Ryan – your membership in the Deep State is showing.  You best realize the election of Trump was a symptom of patience becoming exhausted.

Congress is acting in direct opposition to the mandate expressed in November’s election. So here’s the deal, Congress:

Lead, follow, or get the hell out of the way.

I approve this message

From Glenn Reynolds:

During the next four years, the Trump Administration — and Congress — should plan to move at least 25% of the federal workforce located in the Washington, D.C. metro area to other locations around the country: Places that are economically suffering (which will have the advantage of making federal workers’ salaries go farther) and that need the business. Should Trump get another four years, he should do it all over again.

That would mean that in 8 years, the population of bureaucrats in the Washington, D.C. metro area would be roughly halved. That would make Washington less vibrant, but more affordable — and those bureaucrats working out of offices in the hinterland would be brought closer to the American people.

This tracks with my thought that Congress should only be physically in session for three weeks out of the year, spending the rest of their time in their home districts among the people they allegedly represent.  Secure communication is mature enough to allow Congress’ various committees to work together ‘virtually,’ saving the really important matters for the limited three-week face-to-face meeting.  Of course, that would also mean prioritizing action in session.  There wouldn’t be time to investigate baseball or similar nonsense.

After all, a ‘congress’ is defined as a “formal meeting or series of meetings for discussion between delegates…”  Congress doesn’t “meet” anymore.  It resides in the alternative reality known as Mordor Washington, D.C., and its members occasionally go back to their fiefdoms districts to lie to their constituents face-to-face, rather than via the TV news.  The comparison, occurring more and more, of our capitol to “The Capitol” in The Hunger Games, noted by Glenn in his column, is an apt one (and the reason one of the Three Musketeers wears a “Down with the Capitol” t-shirt, complete with mockingjay logo.  I’m thinking of getting one in my size.  People can read into that what they want.)

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Glenn has also suggested that since our leaders are constantly carping about carbon footprints, they should turn off all air conditioning in D.C.  Not only would that save energy, it would motivate people to be in that former literal swamp as short a time as possible, as it was in the early days of the Republic.

However it’s done, get the Congresscritters back home for close observation.  This also has the benefit of making lobbyists work harder, since they people they are trying to buy are no longer located all in one convenient location close to K Street.