The clueless would-be rulers

Today’s must-read, by Walter Mead:

This is not what his critics expected. At 49% overall job approval in the latest Gallup poll, and with 60% approval of the way he is handling the coronavirus epidemic, President Trump’s standing with voters has improved even as the country closed down and the stock market underwent a historic meltdown. That may change as this unpredictable crisis develops, but bitter and often justified criticism of Mr. Trump’s decision making in the early months of the pandemic has so far failed to break the bond between the 45th president and his political base.

One reason Mr. Trump’s opponents have had such a hard time damaging his connection with voters is that they still don’t understand why so many Americans want a wrecking-ball presidency. Beyond attributing Mr. Trump’s support to a mix of racism, religious fundamentalism and profound ignorance, the president’s establishment opponents in both parties have yet to grasp the depth and intensity of the populist energy that animates his base and the Bernie Sanders movement. . . .

That a majority of the electorate is this deeply alienated from the establishment can’t be dismissed as bigotry and ignorance. There are solid and serious grounds for doubting the competence and wisdom of America’s self-proclaimed expert class. What is so intelligent and enlightened, populists ask, about a foreign-policy establishment that failed to perceive that U.S. trade policies were promoting the rise of a hostile Communist superpower with the ability to disrupt supplies of essential goods in a national emergency? What competence have the military and political establishments shown in almost two decades of tactical success and strategic impotence in Afghanistan? What came of that intervention in Libya? What was the net result of all the fine talk in the Bush and Obama administrations about building democracy in the Middle East? . . .

On domestic policy, the criticism is equally trenchant and deeply felt. Many voters believe that the U.S. establishment has produced a health-care system that is neither affordable nor universal. Higher education saddles students with increasing debt while leaving many graduates woefully unprepared for good jobs in the real world. The centrist establishment has amassed unprecedented deficits without keeping roads, bridges and pipes in good repair. It has weighed down cities and states with unmanageable levels of pension debt…

Mr. Trump’s supporters are not comparing him with an omniscient leader who always does the right thing, but with the establishment—including the bulk of the mainstream media—that largely backed a policy of engagement with China long after its pitfalls became clear. For Americans who lost their jobs to Chinese competition or who fear the possibility of a new cold war against an economically potent and technologically advanced power, Mr. Trump’s errors pale before those of the bipartisan American foreign-policy consensus…

…the U.S. establishment won’t prosper again until it comes to grip with a central political fact: Populism rises when establishment leadership fails. If conventional U.S. political leaders had been properly doing their jobs, Donald Trump would still be hosting a television show. (emphasis added)

To reinforce the point, Exhibit A, from the just-passed Senate coronavirus relief bill:

Kennedy Center

The legacy media portion of the establishment is no better, in their deranged hatred both for Trump and those in the country who prefer risking him rather than the proven failures of past leadership.  CBS screamed in a headline recently that a man died and his wife was seriously hurt after taking an anti-malarial drug (hydroxycloroquine) Trump and Democratic New York Governor Andrew Cuomo have expressed optimism about as a possible treatment for COVID-19.  The problem?  What the Arizona couple actually did was notice their fish tank cleaner contained the chemical, and consumed it as a preventative measure, without consulting any medical expert.  Only two-thirds of the way through the story does it clarify the headline: “The difference between the fish tank cleaning additive that the couple took and the drug used to treat malaria is the way they are formulated.”  In other words, despite the headline, the couple didn’t take the drug.  They drank fish tank cleaner!  A factual headline, though, wouldn’t have been potentially damaging to Trump, which seems to be the primary goal of all mainstream journalism these days, facts and context be damned.

We’re supposed to be practicing social distancing.  But the elites in this country are (and have been for some time) so far out of touch with the common person’s daily experience that it shouldn’t be a surprise the latter has had more than enough of the former.

Government by gangsterism

Senator Chuck Schumer personifies the authoritarian nature of the Left: “our way, or else.”

In front of the Supreme Court Wednesday, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer joined pro-choice protesters on the day justices debated the constitutionality of [legislation in Louisiana] titled “Louisiana Unsafe Abortion Protection Act.”

During his speech, Schumer made threatening remarks aimed at Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh.

“I want to tell you Neil Gorusch, and you Brett Kavanaugh, you have unleashed a whirlwind, and you will pay the price,” Schumer said. “You won’t know what hit you, if you go forward with these awful decisions.” (emphasis added)

How inappropriate were these remarks?  His spokesman strained credulity to the limit trying to walk them back:

Sen. Schumer’s comments were a reference to the political price Senate Republicans will pay for putting these justices on the court, and a warning that the justices will unleash a major grassroots movement on the issue of reproductive rights against the decision,” Schumer spokesman Justin Goodman said in a statement.

A plain reading of Schumer’s remarks reveals no reference to the GOP’s political fortunes, only two Supreme Court justices being called out by name.  Nor is this the first time Schumer has engaged in marginally veiled personal threats:

The new leader of Democrats in the Senate says Donald Trump is being “really dumb” for picking a fight with intelligence officials, suggesting they have ways to strike back, after the president-elect speculated Tuesday that his “so-called” briefing about Russian cyberattacks had been delayed in order to build a case.

New Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) said Tuesday that President-elect Donald Trump is “being really dumb” by taking on the intelligence community and its assessments on Russia’s cyber activities.

Let me tell you, you take on the intelligence community, they have six ways from Sunday at getting back at you,” Schumer told MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow.

Former Justice Antonin Scalia, often considered one of the most influential conservative jurors in the history of the Supreme Court, died in 2016 under circumstances that offered plenty of opportunity for so-called ‘conspiracy theory.’  When such public threats as Schumer’s are being issued by a ranking member of Congress, and FBI agents are revealed to have sent texts during the last presidential election worrying about a Trump victory and saying “we’ll stop it,” and a reputed pedophile with links to prominent people “commits suicide” in his jail cell despite being a high-profile prisoner, is it any wonder the public increasingly agrees there is a “Deep State” at work that ensures its own purposes regardless the expressed wishes of the American people?

For the record, the Senate should call for Schumer to resign.  His remarks are wholly inappropriate for a person in his position.  Don’t worry, though — I’m not holding my breath.

Vote fraud? There’s an app for that

The Democrats start the 2020 presidential campaign with a debacle in Iowa:

As hour after hour slid by on Monday night, it started to become clear to anyone paying attention that something was wrong with the Iowa Democratic Party’s counting of the results in the first caucus of the 2020 Democratic presidential race. Something was very wrong.

That there is no winner — or even a single tabulated result — reported by the party early Tuesday morning (or even a time to expect that result) speaks to the depth of the issue in what is the one major job of officials in every election: counting the votes.

As Iowa Democratic Party officials scrambled to explain what had gone wrong — “inconsistencies” in the tally — they were careful to note, in the words of a party spokeswoman, “this is not a hack or an intrusion.”

Then what’s the problem?  Given the shenanigans the Democratic National Committee played in shoving Bernie aside for Her Hillariness in 2016, and the surprise announcement over the weekend that final commercial polling data wouldn’t be published, is it really that much of a stretch to think something underhanded may be going on here?  The party is very clearly in fear Bernie may win the nomination — not necessarily because of policy differences, but because unlike most of them, he’s open about his desire to take America down the road of socialism.  For all they call themselves “democrats,” that party’s leadership clearly believes they know better than the average American.  What’s the saying?  “The voters decide nothing.  Those who count the votes decide everything.”

“It would be natural for people to doubt the fairness of the process,” Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale said in an emailed statement. “And these are the people who want to run our entire health care system?” (emphasis added)

A fair observation, that.

Straining credulity to infinity and beyond

There’s been plenty of memery online about Jeffrey Epstein.  It’s so easy even I can do it:

AP Explains Iran Revolutionary Guard

While all this has done a good job of keeping the story of Epstein alive, it’s really not all that funny when you look closely as his alleged “suicide,” as the CBS program “60 Minutes” did Sunday.  Attorney General William Barr himself said there were “serious irregularities” involved in the case.  There are just too many “monumental failures at all levels,” in the words of former Federal prison warden interviewed by CBS.  As the saying goes, once is chance, twice is coincidence, but three times is enemy action.  So exactly how many ‘failures’ were there in this so-called suicide?

1. After what was reported as an earlier attempt, Epstein was placed on suicide watch… for only a week.

2. Epstein claimed the first incident was actually an attack by his cellmate, a former police officer jailed for a murder believed to be related to drugs and Mexican organized crime. The cellmate’s lawyer obviously denies the accusation.

3. After release from suicide watch, Epstein was returned to a cell and required to have a cellmate. The night before his death, though, his cellmate was released, and no new one was assigned.  Epstein’s lawyers say during their visit the day before his death, their client was “upbeat” and looking forward to an upcoming bail hearing.

4. The night of his death, two guards required to check on him every 30 minutes failed to do so for over 10 hours, and are now facing charges of falsifying logs to conceal the fact (revealed by video) they were web surfing or sleeping instead.

5. Regarding video, however, in response to requests from the lawyer for the inmate Epstein said attacked him, the Feds have now given differing explanations for why footage from the day of the first incident isn’t available. The latest story is that they preserved video from the wrong cell.

6. The camera that should have captured footage of Epstein’s cell door and of the other cells in the block the night of his death was “corrupted,” and no footage exists.

7. Though there are photos from Epstein’s cell showing nooses and other items after his death, there are no photos of his dead body inside the cell, even though such an incident requires preservation of evidence as a crime scene.  Instead, Epstein’s body was taken to an emergency room before any photography occurred.  Did the 6-foot Epstein hang himself by a sheet attached to his bed frame a mere four feet off the floor?  Nobody’s saying, and there’s no photos to explain how he pulled off his own demise in a facility allegedly designed to minimize the chances of such.

8. The forensic pathologist hired by Epstein’s family says the noose sketched in the autopsy report doesn’t match the wounds on Epstein’s neck, which appear more consistent with strangulation by a wire.  The wound was also on the middle of the neck, rather than just below the jawline, as would be expected in a hanging, and says he has never seen the three fractures present in Epstein’s neck in a case of suicidal hanging.  The pathologist acknowledges the public might believe he is biased by working for the family.  But he also says he’s hesitant to make a final judgment until all the evidence is in.

9. The government declines to give the pathologist video and additional forensic reporting, citing the ongoing criminal case against the two guards. ((Convenient, no??))

Given the high-profile nature of the Epstein case, the fact his jet was dubbed the “Lolita Express,” and his known connections to many famous and powerful people, it’s simply inconceivable that his incarceration was just bedeviled by all-around shoddy administration.  Two guards are on trial, but the warden was ‘reassigned.’  Why not fired outright?  What about the psychologist who cleared Epstein off suicide watch?

The day Epstein’s death was reported, I was at a relative’s house.  I was immediately infuriated, saying “they got to him.”  I’ve never even entertained the idea it was a suicide.  Evil is only too willing to hide behind perceptions of incompetence.  It’s said the devil cannot abide being mocked, but he’s happy for you to think he’s an impotent fool — the better to help you drop your guard.  The most aggravating thing about this is the lack of public outcry and demand for accountability.  Sure, Ricky Gervais may have slapped Hollywood with Epstein’s name at the Golden Globe Awards.  But like all the memes online, this is simply acknowledging the public’s not buying the official line this time.

How do we get from joking to justice?

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.

Decorum and Defeat

The Christianity Today news site weighs in on impeachment:

Trump’s evangelical supporters have pointed to his Supreme Court nominees, his defense of religious liberty, and his stewardship of the economy, among other things, as achievements that justify their support of the president. We believe the impeachment hearings have made it absolutely clear, in a way the Mueller investigation did not, that President Trump has abused his authority for personal gain and betrayed his constitutional oath. The impeachment hearings have illuminated the president’s moral deficiencies for all to see. This damages the institution of the presidency, damages the reputation of our country, and damages both the spirit and the future of our people. None of the president’s positives can balance the moral and political danger we face under a leader of such grossly immoral character.

Translation: “yes, Trump managed to put a wedge between Planned Parenthood’s abortion empire and federal funding; yes, Trump has reversed some of Obama’s specific policy targeting of Christian groups; yes, minorities and the underprivileged are faring better economically than they have in ages; yes, Trump is completely reshaping the Federal judiciary by appointing people who respect the Constitution; yes, Trump is resetting trade policy to protect the U.S., and pressing allies to shoulder their share of the defense burden… despite all that, he’s crude, rude, uncouth and must be removed.”

In other words, better to go down to polite defeat than to get dirty while fighting.  What a joke.  I remind this magazine of the personality contrasts between Ulysses S. Grant and Robert E. Lee.  The former was fond of alcohol and cigars (which killed him), was notoriously unkempt, and lacked any political polish whatsoever.  In contrast, Lee was the so-called “marble man,” — the West Point graduate who did four years without a single demerit… the consummate gentleman of refined manners and a personal ethos that inspired others to follow him.

Lee lost.

When confronted after the battle of Shiloh about Grant possibly crawling back into the bottle, Lincoln refused to remove him, saying “I can’t spare him… he fights.”  For anyone who wants to see America safe and strong, the same is true of Trump.  I don’t idolize the man (or any other, for that matter).  But results matter.

I would be remiss if I didn’t address one other part of the editorial:

…the facts in this instance are unambiguous: The president of the United States attempted to use his political power to coerce a foreign leader to harass and discredit one of the president’s political opponents. That is not only a violation of the Constitution; more importantly, it is profoundly immoral.

That is but one interpretation of what happened, and I don’t believe it to be the correct one.  Here’s an “unambiguous fact:” former Vice President Joe Biden openly (and profanely) admitted in a public forum that he withheld U.S. aid from the Ukraine until they agreed to fire a prosecutor.  One who just happened to be looking into a company for which Biden’s son was paid thousands a month to “consult,” despite having no relevant experience.  This is what Trump asked Ukraine to look into — whether the former U.S. vice president had abused his office.  Looking after the nation’s vital interests surely must include investigating possible corruption, right?

To the writers of the editorial, though, that’s abuse of power by Trump.  Sorry, that position is more alchemy than Christianity.  The same people screaming “no one is above the law” are also yelling it’s wrong to look into actions Biden has acknowledged, because he’s a presidential candidate.  So which is it?  Can one now avoid scrutiny simply by throwing their hat in the ring?  The writers of this editorial have swallowed a Democratic talking point without showing any discernment whatsoever.

It’s proper to be concerned about our witness, individually and as the Church.  And it’s a good thing to strive for leaders we can emulate.  We must be careful, however, of allowing the Enemy to use that concern to neuter effective resistance to godless globalism.  I hope Christianity Today is enjoying all the temporary plaudits they’re receiving from people who detest everything Christianity actually represents.  They fell for the trap, creating yet another crossfire that can only benefit the other side.

For all the public fables of Washington and the apple tree, or Lincoln and his log cabin, we never have or ever will elect a perfect man.  I would love Trump to be more Christ-like as a person.  But I need him to be an effective defender of America, its people and its traditions as a president.  I don’t know why that is so hard to figure out.

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.