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.

The Enemy doesn’t get to define us

One thing about the Trump era: it’s caused a lot of people to confront the misplaced notion that Christians are supposed to be all about inoffensive sweetness and niceness, and only support politicians of that variety:

There are innumerable examples of people who are wonderful but unaccomplished just as there are many notable examples of people with serious personal failings who nonetheless have excelled in other parts of their lives: artists, scientists, parents, and even politicians.

And yes, I’m not so subtly making a point about President Trump. His private failings have been made very public prompting some Christian pundits to say that not only do those failings disqualify Trump from office, but they are so egregious as to make supporting him sinful for Christians.

It should be obvious that support for a political candidate does not mean a blanket endorsement of every aspect that candidate’s life. It is merely an endorsement of that person’s policies and an assessment of his ability to perform in office. What’s more, it’s often not even a blanket endorsement of that, it’s a practical decision that Candidate A, while imperfect, is preferable to Candidate B…

The question is, by what standard should a Christian judge a candidate or an officeholder? Part of the answer is that the Christian and non-Christian ought to judge in the same way: what can the candidate do to protect the peace and prosperity of the nation and its citizens? Christians would add that they require political leaders that will protect the right of the Church to worship freely and its members to practice their faith in peace.

If personal sin were disqualifying, who could lead? Christians in particular, for whom recognition of indwelling sin is both a predicate and a sustainer of faith, should know this. I suspect what the Frenches really want is a prophet, a priest, and a king to rule in this secular age, a political leader in which they can invest their highest hopes. But in doing so, they are placing upon liberal politics a weight it cannot hope to carry and are headed for disappointment.  The good news is, if they want a prophet, a priest, and a king, they already have one . . . in Christ.

As a presidential candidate in 2012, [Mitt Romney] was weak and ineffectual, letting Barack Obama walk all over him and run away with the race. But vote for him because he’s polite and he doesn’t curse!  Voters, many of them Christians, decided that the time for beautiful losers is over.

Exactly.  As I watch my country overrun by uninvited invaders, beset by hostile ideologies growing within and enemies gathering without, I am really not concerned with parlor games and political pleasantries anymore.  It’s no exaggeration to say our birthright freedoms are in a fight for their very survival.  In such a situation I’ll take a committed patriot with the manners of Genghis Khan over a manicured globalist who’s a disciple of Ann Landers; a Patton, not a Pope.

And as for Christianity requiring a milquetoast demeanor… our adversaries would have us forget that Our Lord’s example includes such pleasantries as flipping tables, driving people with whips, calling deceivers ‘vipers‘ and children of Satan, and calling down woe on feckless leaders more interested in themselves than in those they were called to lead.  Christ isn’t just the Lamb… He’s also the Lion of Judah.  “Not a tame lion,” either, as C.S. Lewis once pointed out.

So despite his many past moral failings, maybe… just maybe… Trump’s on to something here.  I’ll certainly never confuse him with Christ.  But Twitter aside, regarding the manner in which he is governing I’ll say he is more Christ-like than many of the false-faced Wormtongues who surround him in Mordor.  It’s amusing: the Left always screeches that Christian faith should never influence public policy.  But faced with Trump, who has committed the unpardonable sin of actually trying to govern as he campaigned, the Left — which recognizes no restraints of civility on its own quest for power — is more than willing to use a watered-down, denatured vision of the Christian walk to try to shame people out of supporting him.

I mean it literally when I say “to hell with that.”

Save up all your tears

Shocked at Trump’s intention of giving Sanctuary cities exactly what they say they want — more illegal immigrants — Cher cries “what about Americans?”

Cher Tweet

I particularly liked the “(Many are VETS)” part, given current trends:

Democrats in Albany may be having second thoughts about blocking a bill that would help children of injured or fallen veterans go to college…

The committee instead approved $27 million in tuition assistance to so-called “dreamers” – students brought to the country by their parents illegally when they were children.

“Taxpayer money for free college for illegal immigrants… yet struck down a bill that provides free college tuition to gold star families. Absolutely wrong and insulting,” Assemblyman Michael Lipetri of Long Island’s 9th District added.

That a leftist like Cher is suddenly tweeting like a “deplorable” shows how effective Trump is at twisting them like a pretzel around their own politics.  It’s my fervent hope that undecided and independent Americans are looking at the Democrats’ reactions to his proposal to send illegals to “sanctuary” cities and asking “so wait… then why is it OK to inflict that on everyone else?”

We don’t need to just reelect Trump in 2020.  We need to give him a Congress fully prepared to support him.

Boo-frickin’-hoo

Democrats, who profess such love for illegal immigrants, are now upset that Trump wants to give them more of what they love:

“Due to the fact that Democrats are unwilling to change our very dangerous immigration laws, we are indeed, as reported, giving strong considerations to placing Illegal Immigrants in Sanctuary Cities only,” the president wrote in a post on Twitter.

“….The Radical Left always seems to have an Open Borders, Open Arms policy – so this should make them very happy!” the president wrote in a second tweet.

It appears not:

“This reflects how much policymakers at the highest level of a government don’t understand what they’re dealing with,” [Rep. Lou Correa (D-Calif.)] said before Trump’s tweet. “When they say they’re going to punish sanctuary states, don’t they understand these workers are needed in this economy?”

If they’re so necessary, then what’s the problem, Congressman Correa?  Why would any Democrat have a problem with the administration placing illegal immigrants in their precious sanctuaries?

We’ve been told for years by these people that illegal immigrants are a net positive. They supposedly commit less crime (they don’t), do the jobs Americans won’t do, and provide valued diversity. The Democratic party believes that so much that they refuse to do anything to stem the tide. The media believes it so much that they run cover 24 hours a day for lax immigration efforts. CNN’s Jim Acosta once quoted the poem on the statue of liberty asserting that it was our duty to allow illegal immigration.

Given that, how is it consistent to now complain that the President wanted to send them exactly what they claim they want? I also think it’s silly for The Washington Post to describe this as “targeting foes,” as Democrats constantly proclaim illegal immigration is a general good. If I give you a something you say is good, no one would say I’m “targeting” you.

Something is off here.

No, we’re on to something here.  It’s the ultimate “NIMBY” (Not In My Backyard): Democrats virtue-signal about bringing in a limitless number of “tired, huddled masses, yearning to breathe free” — so long as they don’t have to deal with them.  That’s for all the rubes in flyover country.

If they were consistent, they’d be begging the President to send buses of illegals to their sanctuary cities. That’s what they exist for right? Why have sanctuary cities at all if not? They aren’t supportive of the President doing that though because they don’t actually want to help these people. They just want to use them as political pawns.

Trump needs to press this issue hard.  Democrats are proving they don’t believe their own bull about the value of illegal immigration invasion.  Time to tear them up about it.

I love having a President who’s capable of hoisting the Left on their own petard!  For all his faults, I look at Trump the way Abraham Lincoln looked at recovering alcoholic Ulysses S. Grant: “I can’t spare this man; he fights!”

Speaking of the Civil War, I’d be remiss if I didn’t note today is the anniversary of the firing on Ft. Sumter.  I frequently wonder these days when and where the next spark will ignite.  The powder is awfully dry.

Some vital perspective

In an online forum, a professor asks where to place Trump on a list of world leaders.  Most likely blinded by Trump derangement syndrome, the professor concludes Trump comes in ahead of Stalin.  Another forum participant has a better analysis:

Professor ZZZ asks: “[W]here [would] you put Trump?”

No new, major land war(s) in Asia—so Trump is ahead of LBJ.

No missile crisis risking an exchange of nuclear weapons with a superpower—so Trump is ahead of JFK.

No wars of national conquest—so Trump is ahead of Polk (Texas) and McKinley (Philippines, Cuba).

No move to war after foreign power made full, reasonable efforts to amicably settle reasons for dispute—so Trump is ahead of Madison (War of 1812). Under Madison, we burned down the capital of British North America (York/Toronto), and they returned the favor in Washington. So Trump beats Madison.

No wars against native American tribes—so Trump is ahead of [fill in the blank—many such presidents could be listed here].

No wars based on poor intelligence or to prop up foreign absolute monarchies—so Trump is ahead of both Bush I and Bush II.

Trump has not interned 100,000s of US citizens based on race—so Trump is ahead of FDR.

Trump has not allowed a U.S. state or territory to go into civil war and then allow its government to be hijacked by the brigands who engineered the civil war—so Trump is ahead of Buchanan (Bleeding Kansas).

I still don’t know why President Clinton blew up an aspirin factory or why Secretary Clinton permitted NATO forces and materiel to blow up Libya—so Trump probably comes out ahead of both of them too.

Trump is ahead of Woodrow Wilson: World War I, and his resegregation of the federal civil service. I grant you that being ahead of Wilson is not saying much…but then, the nation survived Wilson, and no one today thinks of Wilson as having lowered the bar vis-a-vis future presidents. ((I do… he was more openly hostile to the Constitution than any president before him — Jemison)) Professor ZZZ seems to be worried about this. He wrote: “Having a POTUS so publicly awful along those lines lowers the horrible bar so dramatically that we will pay for years to come.” Really?—Will we pay for it in years to come, or is this just a shabby slippery slope-type argument? …

If words and pretty speeches are the measure of a president, then Trump comes up short. The question is whether that is the correct standard for measuring presidents in a dangerous world.

This is why knowing history is indispensable — it provides essential context within which to understand the present.  As for the last point in the quote, I remind those who gauge world leaders mainly by their oratory that Adolph Hitler was a rather gifted and mesmerizing speaker by all accounts.  For all his bluster and distracting patterns of speech, Trump has consistently pursued exactly what he promised to do during his campaigning.  In a world rightfully cynical about politicians who routinely fail to do that, this performance counts for a lot among his supporters.  It’s the key reason many voters are willing to overlook the baggage of Trump’s many personal shortcomings.  That our self-professed elites can’t understand that says more about them than it does Trump or his supporters.

A final thought: it appears Trump has survived one of the most nefarious political plots ever contrived against a president.  If that’s the case, and he successfully brings to public account the unelected bureaucracy that attempted it, his administration may well be remembered as one of the most consequential in our nation’s history.

(H/T: Instapundit)