A feature, not a bug

So Congress has only passed 12 laws so far this year?  Great!  That’s still probably close to a dozen more than are necessary.

Democrats flush with a new House majority after nearly a decade in the minority are sending over a rash of bills most political watchers believe have little chance of passing the Senate, such as universal background checks for gun purchases, net neutrality, climate change, congressional ethics, expanding voter access, raising the minimum wage and more.  ((“a rash of bills,” or “a lot of rash bills?  — Jemison))

The Senate was designed to be a speed brake on ill-considered legislation (of which there appears to be a considerable amount of late). Congress should be judged by the wisdom of its output, not its quantity.  So here’s an agenda I’d offer Congress:

  1. Pass next year’s Federal Budget BEFORE the end of the current fiscal year for once
  2. Repeal the 16th Amendment, abolish the IRS and institute a national sales tax
  3. Confirm or reject whatever nominees remain before the Senate
  4. Go home and let the American people live their lives for the next year.
  5. Repeat #1, #3 and #4 annually

Who’s with me?

Questions that need public answers

The end of the Mueller investigation appears to have answered the main question: there is no evidence President Trump or any of his campaign officials attempted to collude with Russia to sway the 2016 presidential election.  Democrats will continue to point to the handful of indictments handed down, but it’s important to keep reminding them these have nothing to do with foreign collusion, and mostly amount to “process fouls” committed during the investigation.

The investigation lasted nearly two years, during which time many leading Democrats either alluded or outright stated there was direct evidence of collusion driving the Special Counsel’s activity.  We now know that to be categorically false (which should utterly destroy the credibility of those, like Rep. Adam Schiff, who continually dabbled in such statements).  The end of the investigation leaves open more questions than it answers, primarily concerning how the allegations of collusion were made in the first place.  Sharyl Attkison, one of the few professional journalists left in our country, has compiled a list of questions Americans deserve answers to.  Excerpt:

If, in the end, Mueller found no convincing evidence that Americans colluded with Russia, how did top current and former U.S. intel officials supposedly become so convinced otherwise?

In fact, one might ask, were they really convinced, or were they promulgating a narrative they knew was at best unproven and quite possibly false?
And if so, why?

Who thought it was a valid idea to continue to wiretap Page, time after time after time, as if he were a Russian agent, while they apparently turned up no evidence that he was?

Did any Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court judges question the FBI’s relentless pursuit of Carter Page and the dragnet the wiretaps allowed them to secretly cast for those around him, including, quite possibly, Trump?

Who was behind the campaign of anti-Trump leaks—frequently including false information—that became ubiquitous in the news media?

What does it say about the judgment of some of our one-time top intel officials if they really believed Trump colluded with Russia? This includes former CIA Director John Brennan, former FBI Director James Comey, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, former national security adviser Susan Rice, and former ambassador Samantha Power.

What other mistakes did they make, and what actions did they take based on any such mistakes?

Were any of the “unmaskings” of American citizens by these intel officials in 2016 politically motivated?

What did the Justice Department ever do about the criminal referral Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) made against (ex-MI6 spy Christopher) Steele in January 2018?

James Comey, who would be keeping a low public profile if he had any sense of shame, tweeted “So many questions.” after Attorney General William Barr released his summary of the Mueller Report.  While this was a transparent attempt to keep the anti-Trump focus alive, he’s actually correct that many questions remain.  Just not the ones he’s dreaming up.  Senator Lindsey Graham had the appropriate response to Comey:

Graham

Here’s hoping Senate Republicans haul all the Obama-era officials involved in this witch hunt before Congress and bore into the woodwork on these questions.  Perhaps we’ll finally get the real “bombshells” if they do so.  The weaponization of the IRS under the last administration was just the start.  Americans deserve to know just how far that corruption spread.

There must be a reckoning

We finally have the Special Counsel’s report regarding whether the Trump campaign “colluded” with Russia to rig the 2016 election.  As I expected, Attorney General Barr’s summary to Congress reveals the last two years of breathless media hype amount to much “sound and fury, signifying nothing.”  It was, in short, “a tale told by idiots:”

The Democrats and the media (but I repeat myself) MUST face consequences for this unprecedented attempt to use “lawfare” to overturn a legitimate presidential election. DO NOT let them blithely pivot to another talking point to distract you. DO NOT let them self-absolve of any responsibility for two years of hamstringing the president, even as he demonstrably acted in the nation’s best interest on many fronts. DO NOT forget how far the Left is willing to go and who they are willing to destroy to gain and maintain power.

Sean Davis

In 2020, DO. NOT. FORGET. The Left has revealed both their goals and their willingness to use any means, however illegitimate and evil, to obtain them. They must not be simply defeated. They, and the fake media that sustain them, must be destroyed politically beyond any chance of recovery.  Our nation’s continued survival depends on it.

Now that they’ve “struck at the king and missed,” I look forward to the investigation of the Mueller investigation’s origins and conduct.  I suspect that’s where we’ll find the real “bombshells.”  Stay tuned.

“When you strike at a king…”

“…you better not miss.”

Victor Davis Hanson summarizes what we now know about the failed Deep State efforts since 2016 to delegitimize, undermine and remove the duly elected president of the United States.  As Hanson notes, “there are many elements to what in time likely will become recognized as the greatest scandal in American political history…”

In candidate and President Trump’s case that prepping of the battlefield translated into a coordinated effort among the media, political progressives and celebrities to so demonize Trump that his imminent removal likely would appear a relief to the people. Anything was justified that led to that end.

All through the 2016 campaign and during the first two years of the Trump presidency the media’s treatment, according to liberal adjudicators of press coverage, ran about 90 percent negative toward Trump—a landmark bias that continues today.

It’s worth noting this demonization efforts extends to Trump’s supporters.  In its haste to smear Trump and the MAGA movement, the media recently got both the story of the Covington students and a hoax ‘hate crime’ against a TV star badly wrong.  But they wonder why so many Americans are receptive to the charge the corporate news media is “fake news.”  Hanson continues:

At the same time, liberal attorneys, foundations, Democratic politicians, and progressive activists variously sued to overturn the election on false charges of rigged voting machines. They sought to subvert the Electoral College. They introduced articles of impeachment. They sued to remove Trump under the Emoluments Clause. They attempted to invoke the 25th Amendment. And they even resurrected the ossified Logan Act—before focusing on the appointment of a special counsel to discredit the Trump presidency. Waiting for the 2020 election was seen as too quaint.

During the 2016 election, the Obama Department of Justice warped the Clinton email scandal investigation, from Bill Clinton’s secret meeting on an airport tarmac with Attorney General Loretta Lynch, to unethical immunity given to the unveracious Clinton aides Huma Abedin and Cheryl Mills, to James Comey’s convoluted predetermined treatment of “likely winner” Clinton, and to DOJ’s Bruce Ohr’s flagrant conflict of interests in relation to Fusion GPS.

About a dozen FBI and DOJ grandees have now resigned, retired, been fired, or reassigned for unethical and likely illegal behavior—and yet have not faced criminal indictments.

Here’s hoping the key word in that last paragraph is “yet.”

The Crown Jewel in the coup was the appointment of special counsel Robert Muller to discover supposed 2016 Trump-Russian election collusion. Never has any special investigation been so ill-starred from its conception.  Mueller… packed his investigative team with lots of Clinton donors and partisans, some of whom had legally represented Clinton subordinates and even the Clinton Foundation or voiced support for anti-Trump movements…

Mueller’s preemptive attacks offered an effective offensive defense for the likely felonious behavior of John Brennan, James Clapper, James Comey, Andrew McCabe, Bruce Ohr, Peter Strzok, and a host of others. While the Mueller lawyers threatened to destroy the lives of bit players like Jerome Corsi, George Papadopoulos, and Roger Stone, they de facto provided exemption to a host of the Washington hierarchy who had lied under oath, obstructed justice, illegally leaked to the press, unmasked and leaked names of surveilled Americans, and misled federal courts under the guise of a “higher loyalty” to the cause of destroying Donald J. Trump.

…sanctimonious arrogant bureaucrats in suits and ties used their government agencies to seek to overturn the 2016 election, abort a presidency, and subvert the U.S. Constitution. And they did all that and more on the premise that they were our moral superiors and had uniquely divine rights to destroy a presidency that they loathed.

And if there’s any justice left in this nation, their overreach will result in the destruction of an unelected Deep State apparatus that patriots have come to loathe.  I’ve sensed in recent days the administration may be preparing to finally counterattack this network and pursue these traitors.  I pray that is in fact the case.  If our Republic is to survive, a very painful and public example must be made.  Make the rubble bounce, Mr. President!

For those with ears to hear

I was impressed by President Trump’s State of the Union address.  It was one of his better public speaking performances, and whoever helped him craft the remarks instilled some great message discipline.  The speech covered a wide range of topics, some of which I thought could have been left for a different venue in order to tighten up the key points.  But those key points shone through, as this analysis by Glenn Reynolds shows:

So one of the interesting things about Trump’s speech last night is how it seemed calculated to demolish all the standard anti-Trump tropes from the media and from the left and to do so with compelling imagery. Consider:

Trump’s a Nazi: Praise for Holocaust survivors, and a touching rendition of “Happy Birthday.” (With Trump waving his fingers like a conductor).
Trump hates minorities: Brags about record low black, Hispanic, and Asian unemployment — while white-clad Democratic women, overwhelmingly white themselves, sat prune-faced.
Trump’s a Russian tool: Withdrawing from the INF Treaty.
Trump’s a warmonger: Without me, Trump says, we’d be at war on the Korean peninsula. Also, I’m looking at pulling out of Afghanistan.
Trump hates women: Except he got even the prune-faced white-clad Democratic women up dancing (and chanting “USA! USA!”) when he talked about record female employment in and out of Congress.

And his rebuke to socialism was designed to strip the glamour that the media have tried to imbue it with by tying it to the abject misery of Venezuela.

In debate, I think this is called cutting across your opponent’s flow. ((As a former competitive debater, I can confirm that term.  – Jemison))  And I think it’s Trump’s opening shot at 2020, as well as an effort to undercut the “Resistance” in and out of Congress. Plus, as Ann Althouse notes, despite the predictions of lefties like Robert Reich (see below) it was all wrapped in optimism and sunny American exceptionalism.

Genuinely Reaganesque.

There’s one Reynolds missed.  While I’m not in favor of the government providing taxpayer-funded family leave after the birth of a child, I was very glad to see him pivot from the “image of a mother holding her new baby” to the horrors of the recent pro-abortion legislation in New York and Virginia.  The contrast was deliberate and well-executed, followed by a call to Congress to outlaw late-term abortion (it’s a start).

Overall I was encouraged by the way in which the speech was an invitation to work together for the good of the country, without retreating from strongly held policy positions.  If the goal in politics is to capture the middle ground, I think Trump did a good job of it last night.

Naturally, many in the country today are dismissing everything he had to say.  Some, like Senator Chuck Schumer, were dismissing it even before hearing it.  No matter how reasonable Trump tries to be, nor how many facts he arms his talking points with, there will continue to be those partisans who refuse to listen.  Not only because they are invested in the Democratic party, but because they abhor the vision of America Trump’s election represents — a return to the roots, if you will.  The most “Reaganesque” moment of the speech in my opinion was when Trump pledged our nation would never be a socialist country.  The fact there were audible boos in the halls of Congress to this rejection of socialism should be a wakeup call to Americans who value their freedom.  It is not hyperbole to say there are members of Congress dedicated to subverting everything our Constitution and our history stand for.  They will not be swayed by reasonable arguments, demonstrable facts or the evidences of history.  They will have to be fought tooth and nail as if the survival of our nation depends on it.

Because it does.

A guy can hope

President Trump sent word this afternoon he will make a major announcement from the White House tomorrow at 3 p.m. Eastern Time.  Were I his speech writer, my draft would look something like this:

My fellow Americans,

For the past 29 days, parts of your Federal Government have been shut down due to the lack of an authorized budget for 2019.  About 800,000 workers have been on furlough, uncertain when they will see their next paycheck.  Essential services like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, on which many Americans depend, are close to exhausting their resources and leaving citizens in danger of hunger and other financial hardships.

This intolerable situation exists for only one reason: the refusal of the Democratic leadership in Congress to approve funding our Border Patrol personnel have requested to secure our nation’s border and maintain our right to determine who may enter.  While the Democrats profess sympathy for those affected by these events, their actions show otherwise.  Last weekend many Congressmen were enjoying sunny Puerto Rico, in the company of over 100 lobbyists.  I was here, in the White House, waiting to discuss the issue.  This week, Speaker Pelosi and other Democrats planned to take a taxpayer-funded seven-day trip overseas, until I denied the use of our military resources for such travel at a time when portions of our government are without funding.  As I pointed out in my letter to Speaker Pelosi, our people are better served if she and Senator Schumer remain here in Washington so we can resolve this issue.

I campaigned in 2016 with a strong promise I would secure our border against illegal immigration and the flow of narcotics.  Our broken border and immigration processes have been political talking points for more than 30 years.  Now, the current opioid crisis and the documented number of violent crimes committed by those who break into our country prove the urgent need for action.  I was entrusted with this office by Americans who expected me to uphold my promise to act.  And I will.

As I speak, another caravan of migrants has been organized and is moving north through Mexico, seeking to enter our country without permission.  The defense of our nation is my greatest responsibility, and I have urged Congress for two years to provide the resources we need to meet these kinds of challenges.  But national security seems to be the only government spending program Democrats don’t like.  Therefore, I am declaring a National Emergency with regard to the illegal entry of persons and illegal substances into this country.  As part of this declaration, I have directed the Defense Department to provide all possible support that may be requested by the Customs and Border Patrol to enable them to detect, detain and quickly return to their country of origin anyone found crossing our border illegally.  I have also directed the Army Corps of Engineers to proceed immediately with the construction of additional physical barriers on our border, prioritizing locations and types of barriers as the Border Patrol believes will best secure our frontier.  I have directed the Defense Department to divert five percent of all previously approved operational funds for 2019 to enable the immediate start of this construction, and to support the agency’s assistance to the Border Patrol.

In addition, the State Department has been directed to cease processing of all immigration requests, including programs like the H-1B work visa, until the current impasse is resolved and the government restored to full funding.

To our hard working Customs and Border Patrol, I offer the thanks of a grateful America for the critical work you do. To our armed forces, I am confident in your ability to mobilize quickly the resources needed to aid our border agents.  To our furloughed Federal workers, I regret you have been placed in this position.  If Congress had passed their appropriation bills on time, and kept in mind my pleas not to leave out border funding yet again, we would not be where we are today.

A nation that cannot control its own borders loses control of its future.  If we cannot protect our sovereignty, nothing else we do will make or keep America great.  It is a blessing to have been born here, and we protect that blessing for our descendants by ensuring those who join us here show respect for the customs and laws that made our land attractive in the first place.  The actions I announced today are only a small start in solving the problem of our broken border and immigration policies.  I urge my counterparts in Congress to work with me in good faith to find long-lasting solutions for this and other issues facing our nation.  When you’re ready to do so, you know where to find me.  I urge you not to waste another 29 days.

Like I said, a guy can hope, right?

Beautiful

Because I have a background in professional communication, the Trump administration’s lack of message discipline often causes me to grind my teeth.  I’m seeing signs of improvement, however small.  Over the past several days, the president has been on Twitter, pointing out he’s available to discuss the budget.  Contrast that to the Congressional Democrats jaunting down to Puerto Rico last weekend, accompanied by over 100 lobbyists.  (Way to show solidarity with furloughed workers, donkeys!)

This, however, is brilliant.  Shortly before another Congressional junket was due to leave, using government aircraft, President Trump waved it off:

trump letter to pelosi

Naturally, Trump’s critics are calling this “petty” and “childish.”  But it’s a logical follow-up to the Speaker’s own letter yesterday suggesting Trump forego the State of the Union address due to the shutdown.  Note how many messages are packed into the letter above.  Pelosi sought to use the shutdown to deny the president a forum.  He used it to call out the Speaker for not sticking around to resolve the shutdown and restore workers’ paychecks, and at the same time cancelled a pointless seven-day vacation using government resources.  (I’ve worked my share of Congressional Delegation, or “CODEL” trips… I know whereof I speak.)

Forget the chattering classes.  Who do you think the average American in “flyover country” supports in this exchange of letters?

As for the State of the Union address, perhaps the President should simply deliver it to Congress via a prime-time TV address from the Oval Office, during which he talks with rank-and-file members of the Customs and Border Patrol about what they see everyday, and what they think it would take to secure the border.

Yes, our government is squabbling like children on a playground.  I can both mourn the current state of public discourse and at the same time recognize effective messaging when I see it.  I can also hope the squabbling only ends when there’s a commitment to finally secure our border and discourage the ongoing invasion of our country.

Build.  The.  Wall.