Quote of the Day

From the always-worth-reading Victor Davis Hanson:

It is easy to say that 2020 seems to be replaying 2016, complete with the identical insularity of progressives, as if what should never have happened then certainly cannot now. But this time around there is an even greater sense of anger and need for retribution especially among the most unlikely Trump supporters. It reflects a fed-up payback for three years of nonstop efforts to overthrow an elected president, anger at anti-Trump hysteria and weariness at being lectured.

A year is a proverbial long time. The economy could tank. The president might find himself trading missiles with Iran.(*)  At 73, a sleep-deprived, hamburger-munching Trump might discover his legendary stamina finally giving out. Still, there is a growing wrath in the country, either ignored, suppressed or undetected by the partisan media. It is a desire for a reckoning with ‘them’. For lots of quiet, ordinary people, 2020 is shaping up as the get-even election — in ways that transcend even Trump himself.

(*) Don’t think for a second the unelected Deep State is above engineering either or both of these possibilities, among endless others that would be bad for the nation but possibly good for them.

Echoes of Cromwell

So the House of Representatives stands adjourned, having failed to transmit the articles of impeachment to the Senate for action.  You know, the articles that were so urgent they were rammed through in a party-line vote.  Mixed messages much?

Perhaps when Congress returns to town they should be forced to listen to this speech from nearly four centuries past:

It is high time for me to put an end to your sitting in this place, which you have dishonored by your contempt of all virtue, and defiled by your practice of every vice; ye are a factious crew, and enemies to all good government; ye are a pack of mercenary wretches, and would like Esau sell your country for a mess of pottage, and like Judas betray your God for a few pieces of money.

Is there a single virtue now remaining amongst you? Is there one vice you do not possess? Ye have no more religion than my horse; gold is your God; which of you have not barter’d your conscience for bribes? Is there a man amongst you that has the least care for the good of the Commonwealth?

Ye sordid prostitutes have you not defil’d this sacred place, and turn’d the Lord’s temple into a den of thieves, by your immoral principles and wicked practices? Ye are grown intolerably odious to the whole nation; you were deputed here by the people to get grievances redress’d, are yourselves gone! So! Take away that shining bauble there, and lock up the doors.

In the name of God, go!”  (emphasis added)

Oliver Cromwell, dismissing by force the English Long Parliament – April 20, 1653

These are no longer merely parliamentary games.  The Democrats are carelessly playing with literal fire.  Confidence in Congress has been in the dumpster since long before the current chapter.  The bewildered reaction of the Left to the 2016 election showed they simply did not comprehend the level of anger in the country — an anger that had only been stoked by their treatment of the earlier, more ‘polite’ Tea Party movement.  The past couple of days show they are either still clueless, or past the point of caring.

Trump is undoubtedly no Cromwell.  But the more the Democrats shred our institutions and precedents in their hunt for his scalp, the more the door is opened for one to appear.  When social and/or governing systems break down, people cast about for the rescuer on the white horse.  Not since the early 1930s has the U.S. been so ripe for such a development.

History will judge Pelosi’s partisans as harshly as Cromwell judged his own miscreant legislature.  Perhaps, like the England of old, the U.S. is due for a reminder just how rare, precious and fragile self-government really is.

Burning down the House

Donald Trump is now the third president of the U.S. to be formally impeached by the House of Representatives.  Today the House, under Speaker Pelosi, is saying they will “delay” sending that Constitutional indictment over to the Senate until they are assured of a “fair trial.”  In other words the House has, by implication, already convicted the Senate of being governed totally by partisanship — a case of projection if there ever was one.

Under the Democrats, the House has been out of control for all of 2019.  Their crusade to fling poo at the president until something kind-of-sort-of might seem to stick is a perfect example of why our Founders created a republic, not a democracy.  Remember that generation later watched the French Revolution unfold.  They saw first hand the deadly dangers of passionate, unrestrained mob rule — which is exactly what this whole impeachment charade has been, complete with armed Antifa thugs in the streets at times.  Not content to merely be in the opposition until the next election, the House Democrats have taken it upon themselves to delegitimize both the Executive Branch and the other chamber of Congress.

Given these circumstances, it’s important to set a benchmark and declare this abuse of one of the Constitution’s most somber provisions as invalid.

Enter the Supreme Court.

The country must decide whether, henceforth, impeachment will be a routine clash between a House of Representatives and White House of different parties over policy differences or acute personal abrasions, as this is, or whether the authors of the Constitution meant, and the national interest requires, that it be reserved for accusations of high crimes on the same plane of misconduct as treason or bribe-taking…

Rejection by the majority in the Senate is not an adequate debunking of this abuse by the Democratic leadership of the House of Representatives of their offices. The country is at a turning point: routinize presidential impeachment or keep it as a last resort in extreme cases of wrongdoing. When the executive and the bare majority of one half of the legislative branch are so severely and antagonistically divided, the traditional tie-breaker is the judicial branch, and it should be consulted.

(emphasis added)

I agree.  Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell should immediately request a Supreme Court ruling on the Constitutional validity of the House’s actions.  Such an examination would have to compare the way the Democrats rammed this through with the precedents of previous impeachment proceedings.  I believe such a public comparison would lay bare the manner in which the Democrats abused their majority to deny Trump and the Republicans any effective opportunity to defend the administration by presenting an opposing view of the issues in question.  As the House Republican Whip Steve Scalise noted during the pre-impeachment vote discussion, the GOP is still waiting for transcripts of interviews in which they were not allowed, or the ability to call their own witnesses.

The American people have a highly developed sense of fairness, and perhaps an unhealthy obsession with achieving it.  That usually gives an advantage to liberals when they propose heavy-handed government intervention in the name of “compassion.”  In this case, however, I believe many Americans have been turned off by what has clearly been an unfair process that demanded Trump prove himself innocent rather than place the burden of proof on the accusers.  That’s just one of many reasons thousands of people waited in freezing weather for hours to hear the president speak, even as the House marched toward impeachment.

There’s just one problem with taking this pseudo-impeachment to the Supreme Court for validation.  In the event they rule the charade for what it is and dismiss it, the Democrats will immediately claim the result is due to Trump having selected 2 of the justices, creating a slim ‘conservative’ (and I use that term loosely) majority.  They will press this hard, and in so doing, seek to damage the legitimacy the remaining third branch of the Federal Government — one whose rulings they used to consider holy writ, when it served their cause.  It really has come to this: if the liberals can’t run the machinery, they’ll sabotage it.  Having burned down the House, they’ll burn the rest of the structure, too.

But only if we let them.  The most significant result of Trump’s election in 2016 may be that the other side has dropped all masks and pretense.  Their agenda and attitudes are clear for all to see.  Come November 2020, the Democratic Party must be destroyed, not just defeated.  They need to suffer electoral loss so great that no political organization will again dare do what they’ve tried.  And we need to be ready for the inevitable temper tantrum that will result in such a case.  As they’re doing in Virginia and other States, keep your powder dry.

Lifting the veil?

Yesterday’s release of Inspector General Horowitz’s report on the origin of the investigations into the Trump campaign brought to official light a pattern of misconduct on the part of the FBI and confirmed aspects that had been publicly discussed for some time.  The report outlines 17 specific ‘inaccuracies and omissions’ just in the requests the FBI made to the FISA Court for warrants regarding Carter Page, one of several Trump campaign officials targeted by the agency.  Inexplicably, the IG concluded there was no ‘bias’ in the origin or conduct of the investigation — thus clearly disregarding already publicized text messages between Peter Strzok and Lisa Page that strongly indicate the opposite.  As others have said online, when established procedures are violated 17 times, all in the same direction (to the disadvantage of the target), that’s not a coincidence or innocent mistake — that’s deliberate enemy action.  The Attorney General, Bill Barr, was more blunt:

The Inspector General’s report now makes clear that the FBI launched an intrusive investigation of a U.S. presidential campaign on the thinnest of suspicions that, in my view, were insufficient to justify the steps taken. It is also clear that, from its inception, the evidence produced by the investigation was consistently exculpatory. Nevertheless, the investigation and surveillance was pushed forward for the duration of the campaign and deep into President Trump’s administration. In the rush to obtain and maintain FISA surveillance of Trump campaign associates, FBI officials misled the FISA court, omitted critical exculpatory facts from their filings, and suppressed or ignored information negating the reliability of their principal source. …[T]he malfeasance and misfeasance detailed in the Inspector General’s report reflects a clear abuse of the FISA process.

In addition, U.S. Attorney John Durham, who is known to be conducting a criminal investigation into this and related matters, strongly hinted more information is to come:

I have the utmost respect for the mission of the Office of Inspector General and the comprehensive work that went into the report prepared by Mr. Horowitz and his staff.  However, our investigation is not limited to developing information from within component parts of the Justice Department.  Our investigation has included developing information from other persons and entities, both in the U.S. and outside of the U.S.  Based on the evidence collected to date, and while our investigation is ongoing, last month we advised the Inspector General that we do not agree with some of the report’s conclusions as to predication and how the FBI case was opened(emphasis added)

Durham has broader power to investigate than did Horowitz, so his public disagreement with aspects of the OIG report is significant.  What all this seems to tell us is that we’ve only seen a peek at corruption involved.  Fully lifting the veil — and crucially, holding people accountable — is yet to come.  Continue to pray for our nation.

Request: A weekend of prayer

The next couple of days may prove to be “the deep breath before the plunge.”  Not to be melodramatic, but as Gandalf told Pippin, “the board is set, the pieces are moving.”  I believe the weeks ahead, between now and the 2020 election, are some of the most critical our country has faced.  As many of our past leaders have noted, our greatest dangers come not from external enemies, but rather from within.

So how is the board set, and what pieces are in play?  First, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, in a public statement today, finally publicly directed her party’s committee chairs to begin drafting formal articles of impeachment against President Trump, despite the fact any fair observer of the “inquiry” thus far would note it has hurt, rather than helped, their case.

House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler announced the committee will hold hearings toward that end, beginning Monday morningBut that’s not the only piece moving on Monday.  That same day, Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz is scheduled to finally release the report on his investigation into possibly serious improprieties by the previous administration to justify spying on the Trump campaign in 2016.  These are suspected to include, according to many sources, FBI personnel tampering with interview documentation and concealing potentially exculpatory evidence from their requests to the FISA Court for warrants on various Trump allies.  The IG’s semiannual report to Congress at the end of September noted it had 48 open cases regarding official misconduct by Department of Justice employees.  It’s not unreasonable to think that might be related.  The new report due Monday is rumored to be around 1,000 pages.  As some commentators have noted, it doesn’t take 1,000 pages to say there was no wrongdoing.  But if one is making a detailed case… or in fact has already referred charges to U.S. Attorney John Durham for prosecution, such a lengthy report would be expected.

The release of the report will be followed by an appearance by IG Horowitz before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, two days after the report’s release.  These two dates — December 9th and 11th — have been public for a while.  So it’s likely not a coincidence Speaker Pelosi told her House to get moving with impeachment today.  The Democrats’ own day of reckoning may be imminent, and it’s been clear this week they’ve been counter-programming the public narrative against any potential negative revelations.

What I can’t understand is why the Democrats would formally impeach the president, forcing a trial before the GOP-controlled Senate.  The Democrats have been patently unethical in their conduct of the “inquiry” to date, refusing to allow the GOP to call their own witnesses (with one exception), limiting GOP members’ access to interviews and documentation, and generally riding roughshod over any notions of fairness to the accused.  This, of course, is now standard procedure for the Left (see: Brett Kavanaugh).  Pelosi’s partisans deliberately have presented a warped, one-sided perspective of the issues at hand (much as they’re alleged to have done with the FISA Court), and their allies in the press have been their megaphone.  Representative Nadler’s opening assertion that “the facts are not in dispute” is about as true as “the science is settled” when it comes to global warming climate change climate crisis.

The Senate, as the Founders intended, tends to be more sober and dignified about such things, so there’s not likely to be a “payback is a b–ch” approach to their own proceedings when the ball lands in their court.  But I strongly suspect there’ll be a concerted effort to make sure America gets, in the words of the late Paul Harvey, “the rest of the story.”  That possibility alone should make the Democrats think twice about handing off the baton to the Senate.  There’s already enough evidence that’s been made public that puts the lie to the narrative they’re selling.  But as Glenn Reynolds has said repeatedly about the odds of a Trump reelection, “all the Democrats have to do is not act crazy… and they can’t even do that.”  So here’s hoping they try to hand the Senate a lit stick of dynamite, only to have it blow up in their own face, like Wile E. Coyote.

While I could be wrong, I only see two possible outcomes at this point.  One is that the president is removed from office.  Such a result will, I believe, only convince many (including me) who love this country that it no longer represents them and will not tolerate them interfering with the agenda of their self-declared betters.  The Democrats underestimated the anger that helped propel Trump into office.  I don’t think they have any notion of the anger that would result from his removal, either.

The second outcome is for the administration to successfully pull the covers off the Deep State shenanigans that began even before Trump took office, and to do so in a way the public and press cannot ignore.  There is every reason to believe that if a full public accounting took place, the outcry for justice would be deafening.

Either way, the result will occur in a nation that is armed to the teeth.  I generally see that as a good thing.  But given the chasm that has opened among us, it’s also a sobering thing to remember.  Sure, the “side” I identify with likes to joke that we have most of the guns since the Left finds them icky.  I enjoy ribbing the other side as much as the next guy.  But as a historian I also know in 1860 both the Union and Confederates held each other in martial as well as social contempt, convinced the war would be quick and easy over their “deranged” opponents.  How’d that work out for them?  Most wars start with such ill-considered bravado.

The day may come when ballots fail and bullets are required, if we are to remain free.  Americans have faced such situations before, and must be prepared to face such again.  But let no one kid themselves about what that may mean for all we hold dear.

So I ask that this weekend be one of prayer — a deep breath before the plunge of next week.  Prayer for the truth to be fully revealed, no matter where it leads.  Prayer that our country will once again value truth over shading information for partisan or personal advantage.  Prayer for our leaders — on both sides of the aisle — that they will be honest with us, sober, and careful with the governance of our nation.  Prayer that our disputes will be resolved peacefully, rather than in the streets (*).  Prayer that for each of us, God may guide our words and our actions, balancing the requirements of justice and mercy, passion and restraint.  And most importantly, prayer that the Spirit may bring revival in this land, restoring the fellowship and discipleship of repentant believers that was so vital to its founding.  For everything, we are told, there is a season.  May God show us what this season is, and what is required of us in response.

God bless you, and God bless America.

(*) I believe many in our nation fail to realize how the peaceful resolution of the disputed election in 2000 was a historical anomaly for the world, and a testament to the strength of our society.  We should never take such for granted.  

What respect for the Founding looks like

If Attorney General Bill Barr approaches his duties consistent with the philosophy of original intent he highlights here, he may be one of the best nominees Trump has put into office.  This entire speech is worth your time, either by reading or watching.

Excerpts:

“…In any age, the so-called progressives treat politics as their religion.  Their holy mission is to use the coercive power of the State to remake man and society in their own image, according to an abstract ideal of perfection.  Whatever means they use are therefore justified because, by definition, they are a virtuous people pursing a deific end.  They are willing to use any means necessary to gain momentary advantage in achieving their end, regardless of collateral consequences and the systemic implicationsThey never ask whether the actions they take could be justified as a general rule of conduct, equally applicable to all sides.  (emphasis added)

Conservatives, on the other hand, do not seek an earthly paradise.  We are interested in preserving over the long run the proper balance of freedom and order necessary for healthy development of natural civil society and individual human flourishing.  This means that we naturally test the propriety and wisdom of action under a “rule of law” standard.  For these reasons, conservatives tend to have more scruple over their political tactics and rarely feel that the ends justify the means.  And this is as it should be, but there is no getting around the fact that this puts conservatives at a disadvantage when facing progressive holy war, especially when doing so under the weight of a hyper-partisan media…  (emphasis added)

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