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)

Continue reading

Out-Reaganing Reagan

For four decades, Ronald Reagan has been the benchmark against which ‘conservative'(*) candidates have been measured.  Following the misery of the Jimmy Carter years, Reagan posed a simple question during his re-election campaign in 1984: “Are you better off than you were four years ago?”

It would appear President Trump could easily do the same:

3 yr returns

It’s worth noting that FDR’s results followed that of Herbert Hoover (of the “Hoovervilles” Depression-era fame).  In other words, FDR had lots of room to run just digging out of the smoking hole that followed the 1929 market crash.  Truman and Eisenhower both benefited from the post-World War II era, when the U.S. economy was more than a quarter of the entire world’s Gross Domestic Product.  That was the era when “Made in the U.S.A.” took off, while other countries dug out of the destruction of the preceding years.  Trump, on the other hand, has had to renegotiate or abandon bad trade deals (*cough* NAFTA *cough*) and reverse the huge regulatory burden strangling small business growth.

I focused on the stock market returns to this point simply because that’s a common metric the chattering class uses to gauge a presidency’s success.  Given these results, I’m sure they’ll find another yardstick to use over the next year.  But it’s not an isolated marker.  Minorities are enjoying record unemployment rates.  Three years into Obama’s first term, overall unemployment was 8.3%.  Three years into Trump’s, it’s at 3.6%.  Reversing the Democrats’ war on energy production allowed the U.S. to become the world’s largest oil producer for the first time since 1973.

But economics is not the only measure of a president.  Trump’s greatest legacy may be reshaping the judiciary, returning it to a more originalist interpretation of the Constitution.  He has also been willing to confront long-standing arrangements, such as NATO, that may have outlived their utility or else continue to exist only by mooching off of America.

Given all this, it’s no wonder so many of his supporters (including me) are willing to overlook his many personal foibles.  Trump will never be a great communicator as Reagan was.  But what he lacks in polish he makes up for in brash willpower.  And in the end, that might leave him as the new benchmark for successful governance from a traditionalist perspective.

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(*) One has to wonder at the term “conservative,” considering how much America has been remade by ideologies hostile to its traditional way of life.

Showdown

Tomorrow (Wednesday), the House of Representatives will attempt to legitimize their “impeachment inquiry” by holding televised hearings.  Make no mistake, though: this is as much a sham as every other bucket of mud they’ve thrown at the President over the last three years.  It is nothing less than sedition:

Exhibit A: “Sedition is overt conduct, such as speech and organization, that tends toward insurrection against the established order. Sedition often includes subversion of a constitution and incitement of discontent towards, or resistance against established authority.” (Wikipedia, emphasis added)

Exhibit B: tweets in 2017 by Mark Zaid, the lawyer for the shadowy “whistleblower” upon whose anonymous, second-hand statement this whole debacle of a proceeding depends:

Audio-Image-Mark-Zaid-Tweets

Consider that not long before these tweets, Peter Stzrok and his FBI lover, Lisa Page, were texting about putting into place an “insurance” policy in the case of a Trump win.

And we’re told there’s no such thing as the Deep State.  Right…

These people like to claim they’re acting on some “higher authority,” but what that really means is that they refuse to recognize the authority of the American people, who put Trump into office.  For three years they’ve been trying to overturn an election, and even with the 2020 election less than a year away, their efforts continue.

It continues to be my hope that Trump, Attorney General Barr, DOJ Inspector General Horowitz and U.S. Attorney John Huber have carefully uncovered and documented the trail of sedition that has consumed this nation since 2016, and are ready to present their case to the public — complete with multiple indictments, prosecutions, convictions and punishments.  If the source “Q” is to be believed, we’re just about there:

indictments

The current controversies, and next year’s election, are a defining moment for the U.S.  To quote Victor Davis Hanson again:

Like it or not, 2020 is going to be a plebiscite on an American version of Orwell’s Nineteen-Eighty-Four. One side advocates a complete transformation not just of the American present but of the past as well. The Left is quite eager to change our very vocabulary and monitor our private behavior to ensure we are not just guilty of incorrect behavior but thought as well.

The other side believes America is far better than the alternative, that it never had to be perfect to be good, and that, all and all, its flawed past is a story of a moral nation’s constant struggle for moral improvement.

One side will say, “Just give us more power and we will create heaven on earth.” The other says “Why would anyone wish to take their road to an Orwellian nightmare?” The 2020 election is that simple.

And so is the Congressional circus that will begin playing out on television beginning tomorrow.

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Note to readers: yes, it’s been quite a while since I posted.  All I can say is that it’s a challenge just keeping up with the depths of deception and misdirection being thrown around these days, much less trying to synthesize it into commentary.  Thanks to those who’ve inquired about the extended absence.  Several times I’ve started to post, then thought better of it.  I can’t promise this post marks a return to regular writing.  It was born of a sense we may be reaching a crescendo in the near future.  Pray and speak out accordingly.

This needs to stop. Now.

Robert Mueller just announced his departure from the Department of Justice.  While doing so, he had this to say about his report:

“If we had had confidence that (Trump) clearly did not commit a crime we would have said so.”

That one sentence shows everything that is wrong about how this ‘investigation’ has been conducted.   Our system of justice is based on the idea one is innocent unless proven guilty beyond credible doubt.  The statement above, however, assumes that unless Mueller’s team could prove Trump didn’t commit a crime, the presumption should be there was some sort of unspecified wrongdoing somewhere.  It is public conviction by insinuation and gossip.

That is a standard of justice none of us would ever want to face.  “Well, your honor, the accused has an alibi and lacks a clear motive, but if we were confident they didn’t kill the victim, we would say so.”   Forcing someone to “prove a negative” is one of the basic logical fallacies.   This latest comment by Mueller is an attempt to revive the dead horse of his report at a time when the circumstances surrounding the start of said report are themselves under increasing scrutiny.  Unbelievable.

As a person, Trump is no saint.  The electorate who put him into office already took that into consideration, and still decided he was a better option than Her Hillariness.  Everything that has transpired since then has been rooted in the fact the Democrats cannot accept that decision.  Nor can they accept the fact their increasingly hysterical efforts to overturn a valid election have failed to bear fruit for going on three years now.  Their behavior shows they are willing to wreck the Republic rather than concede.

And wreck it they still may.  The House Democrats’ flirtation with impeachment proceedings got a boost from a maverick Republican-in-name-only who now publicly agrees with them.  Note carefully, however, that nobody has laid out a specific charge against the president that would justify impeachment.  This is an emotional appeal, not a reasoned argument.  As such, they are spinning up their base.  And to the extent they try to go through with impeachment, they will spin up Trump’s base, who are already convinced the Establishment they rejected in 2016 will never yield power or pursue the real interests of actual Americans.   So with emotions at fever pitch, let’s say the Democrats pass articles of impeachment in the House.  Barring an unexpected revelation, I don’t see the Senate agreeing to convict and remove the president (and, in my opinion, that would be the correct response).  So what happens next?

Let’s all pray we don’t have to find out.  This clown show has gone on far too long already.

Burn it down

Here’s hoping all the veils will shortly be removed:

Today, at the request and recommendation of the Attorney General of the United States, President Donald J. Trump directed the intelligence community to quickly and fully cooperate with the Attorney General’s investigation into surveillance activities during the 2016 Presidential election.

The Attorney General has also been delegated full and complete authority to declassify information pertaining to this investigation, in accordance with the long-established standards for handling classified information.

There is enough information already in the public domain to indicate that full disclosure will be highly damning to the previous administration and its would-be successor (Her Hillariness).  It’s time to stop the drip-drip-drip and let the dam burst.  Americans need to be confronted with how much their own government has been weaponized against their interests and intentions.

May justice then follow swiftly and surely, not only for the individuals involved, but for the alphabet-soup-apparatus that allowed them to plot in the shadows against those they are supposed to serve.

Tariffs and national self-interest

Patrick Buchanan provides a succinct summary of why Trump’s emphasis on tariffs in the relationship with China is hardly unprecedented.  In fact, one could say it’s a return to the policies that once made a young nation great:

A tariff may be described as a sales or consumption tax the consumer pays, but tariffs are also a discretionary and an optional tax. If you choose not to purchase Chinese goods and instead buy comparable goods made in other nations or the USA, then you do not pay the tariff.
China loses the sale. This is why Beijing, which runs $350 billion to $400 billion in annual trade surpluses at our expense is howling loudest. Should Donald Trump impose that 25% tariff on all $500 billion in Chinese exports to the USA, it would cripple China’s economy. Factories seeking assured access to the U.S. market would flee in panic from the Middle Kingdom.
Tariffs were the taxes that made America great. They were the taxes relied upon by the first and greatest of our early statesmen, before the coming of the globalists Woodrow Wilson and FDR.
Tariffs, to protect manufacturers and jobs, were the Republican Party’s path to power and prosperity in the 19th and 20th centuries, before the rise of the Rockefeller Eastern liberal establishment and its embrace of the British-bred heresy of unfettered free trade.
The Tariff Act of 1789 was enacted with the declared purpose, “the encouragement and protection of manufactures.” It was the second act passed by the first Congress led by Speaker James Madison. It was crafted by Alexander Hamilton and signed by President Washington.

As Buchanan mentions, tariffs were once an integral part of an economic policy that became known as “The American System” — a policy so successful that other nations emulated it.  It’s worth noting the Federal government undertook its first infrastructure projects with almost no other source of funding other than tariffs (land sales being the main exception).  I’ll admit: I’m not a fan of the Federal government doing public works projects.  But the limited revenue stream tariffs provided kept such activity modest in the early republic, and for the most part it’s easy to see the wisdom of such projects as lighthouses, postal routes and the Cumberland Road.

Still, public works projects were controversial, even then.  Many in the South believed tariffs disproportionally benefitted northern industrial interests through protectionism and infrastructure.  Tariffs sparked the Nullification Crisis in South Carolina, and was cited as one source of discontent as States left the Union after Lincoln’s election in 1860.  Sectionalism aside, the nature of tariffs as a voluntary tax that promotes national self-reliance and internal growth recommends it as one of the best ways to fund a limited government.  Certainly, the explosive growth of Uncle Sam after institution of the Income Tax is evidence of that.  I’ve said before that a national sales tax would be preferable to an income tax (provided it didn’t result in both being in effect).  Many of the same reasons apply to tariffs.

Buchanan rightfully points out that abandoning so-called “free trade” for a tariff system that enforces fair trade will be painful in the short term, much like a junkie getting over their addiction.  American wages have been stagnant in inflation-adjusted terms since the 1970s.  The only reason we appear to have a higher material standard of living is the influx of overseas goods that appear cheap on the price tag, but which in reality take a heavy toll on the nation in terms of lost industries, disappearing jobs and a growing economic dependency on outsiders.  That doesn’t even take into account that many of the reasons goods made in places such as China are ‘cheaper’ is that they lack protections for workers and the local environment — impacts we considered so important here that we willingly added them to the economic burden of production.  In short, “free trade” as it’s currently practiced is an apples-to-oranges comparison that hides or downplays the negative aspects of globalism.