A spineless Congress

It’s no wonder Americans have such a low regard for Congress, when government officials are allowed to thumb their noses at it with impunity.  In recent memory the worst sanction the legislature has given to a recalcitrant official has been to hold Eric Holder in “contempt of Congress” — the first sitting Attorney General ever to be so designated.  That only has effect if the target has any sense of shame, which few in D.C. Mordor do anymore.  Official designation or not, it’s clear much of official Washington shares that contempt.

But it doesn’t have to be this way.

It’s no coincidence that defiance from Holder, Lerner, Rosenstein and Wray parallels the public’s near-record low approval of Congress, which, according to the RealClearPolitics average, hit a meager 14.2 percent earlier this week.

But Congress has only itself to blame because the Constitution gives the first branch it created “all of the ultimate weapons in any showdown with either of the other two branches,” in the memorable phrasing of professors Willmoore Kendall and George Carey in their classic “The Basic Symbols of the American Political Tradition.”

Here are five of those “ultimate weapons,” whose deployment ultimately depends on the will of Speaker of the House Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to defend the right of Congress to be the people’s representatives…

Put somebody in jail.

Impose a big fine.

Invoke the power of the purse

Cut the workforce.

More political appointees.

It’s worth reading the description of these five options at the link.  Despite the frequency of choreographed televised hearings, Congress has largely abdicated its oversight role with regard to the Federal bureaucracy.  This was apparent at least by the time of the “Fast and Furious” gunwalking scandal and the IRS investigations, during which the agencies slow-rolled Congress’ requests for information with impunity.  True oversight involves exercising the power to compel compliance.  The Founders intended the legislature to be “first among equals” within the branches of government.  They, not unelected paper-pushers, represent the people.

The president has less power than people imagine over employees in the Executive Branch.  While he can fire political appointees, career bureaucrats have created a byzantine disciplinary process that, in effect, prevents nearly anyone from losing their job.  I encountered this while supervising relatively low-level “civil servants” — I can only imagine how much more difficult things are in the executive suites.

With a majority in Congress, however, it should be a simple thing to put entire departments like the FBI on notice: comply with legislative directives and requests, or perish as an agency.  Congress can defund any activity of the government with a simple vote.  Unfortunately, Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell have shown zero interest in actually asserting Congress’ prerogatives.  They are as much a part of the swamp as the agencies running amok, as the recent omnibus bill debacle shows.  That should be a key issue during these midterms — voters need to seek candidates who will support Trump’s “swamp draining,” and that includes pledging to vote in new Congressional leadership.

But for any of this to happen, We the People will need to be more focused than ever this election cycle.  The election of Trump will accomplish little if voters allow the legislature to defend the status quo by resolute inaction.

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Open insurrection

There is a strong argument to be made the Trump Administration could declare both California and Illinois to be in a state of insurrection and respond with the authority such a condition conveys:

Mark the date April 1, 2018, April Fool’s Day, as the day Civil War 2.0 began. On that day, the State of California began to automatically register illegal aliens who have driver licenses to vote. This new law immunizes illegals against any state criminal penalty for registering and voting.

And in Chicago:

Municipal ID cards that Mayor Rahm Emanuel is launching for undocumented immigrants and others will be a valid form of identification for people both registering to vote and voting in Chicago, according to a letter aldermen received…

Article 4, Section 4 of the Constitution requires the Federal government to “guarantee to every state in this union a republican form of government, and shall protect each of them against invasion…”  The facilitation by Gov. Jerry Brown of California and Chicago’s Mayor Rahm Emanuel of illegal immigrants settling and voting in the United States undermines our republican form of government and constitutes an invasion (even if unarmed).  U.S. citizens in California and Chicago have seen and continue to see their voices diluted by interlopers on U.S. soil – and they are not alone in suffering that loss.

It’s abundantly clear we have State and local leaders engaging in a slow-motion insurrection by demographics, by which they mean to fundamentally transform the United States.  They aren’t even pretending to hide it anymore, either.  As I write this, more than 1,200 additional invaders continue to move north through Mexico, bringing yet another very public challenge to U.S. sovereignty and authority.  No doubt the Democrats and media (but I repeat myself…) will do all they can to facilitate these people’s entry into the country.  After all, Democrats can’t even be bothered to do background checks of their own information technologists!

THIS. MUST. STOP.

The President is not able, on his own, to fully address these issues, and the GOPe has shown little interest in aiding him in Congress.  The American people — the legally valid American people — must demand the following of their Congresscritters:

  • As recommended in the first link in this post, refuse to seat any Senator or Congressman elected from California and Illinois until the programs above are terminated and the voting rolls confirmed by the Department of Justice to be purged of illegal aliens.
  • Authorize suspension or repeal of the Posse Comitatus Act in a manner that allows U.S. military forces to patrol the nation’s borders and detain/process individuals attempting to cross it illegally.  While it is understandable the Act is intended to prevent abuse of martial law, it unnecessarily prevents the military from performing its fundamental purpose: the defense of the United States.  Using the military for this primary purpose would free up manpower/resources of Homeland Security (Immigration/Customs Enforcement and Border Patrol) to seek out, detain and deport more illegal aliens already within the United States.
  • Explicitly declare via Congressional resolution that all “sanctuary State/city” policies as null and void usurpations of Federal authority under the Constitution, and direct the Department of Justice to begin arrests and legal proceedings against any State/local official found to be willfully aiding illegal immigrants in avoiding detection and deportation.
  • Institute serious penalties for repeatedly entering the U.S. without authorization.  It is ridiculous that so many illegal immigrants are arrested for serious crimes after multiple reentries into the U.S.  As I’ve suggested before, all illegal immigrants should have complete biometric profiles entered into federal records before deportation.  Upon a second offense, a distinctive tattoo should be placed on their hand or forearm.  And upon a third offense, they should be subject to the death penalty as invaders.  Yes, these are harsh and unyielding standards.  Kicking the can this far down the road leaves little room for half-measures, however.

To paraphrase Abraham Lincoln (who himself was paraphrasing scripture), this nation cannot much longer endure half Constitutionalist and half defiant fifth column.  Liberals are counting on the power they’ve already achieved through decades of demographic manipulation and undermining of immigration law.  But there are still enough concerned traditional Americans (of all ethnicities) to have elected Trump.  If we cannot muster the willpower and Federal resolve to take the measures above it will not be much longer, I fear, before the Union will be dissolved of irreconcilable differences.  The only question at that point will be whether the divorce will be amicable or contested.

History shows the latter to be a tragically expensive option.  That is why serious brakes need to be applied now, via strong Federal responses to the provocations above.

They don’t really represent “us”

Congress has become a place where people entrench themselves practically for life, clinging to power without regard for the actual job of representing their constituents:

PHOENIX — Meghan McCain says she’s “cautiously optimistic” that Sen. John McCain could return to Washington by the summer.

The 81-year-old Republican senator has been battling a rare and aggressive form of brain cancer called glioblastoma. He was diagnosed last summer.

John McCain was hospitalized and treated for a viral infection in December. He has remained at his family’s ranch near Sedona to undergo chemotherapy and physical therapy since mid-December.

The senator had initially expected to return to Washington in January, but was unable to do so.

So for six months–maybe even more–the people of Arizona will only have half the representation in the Senate that is prescribed under the Constitution.  Of course, even when McCain is present in the Senate, one could hardly call his recent track record properly Republican.

Whatever his past services to the nation, John McCain is clearly seriously ill, and unable to perform the duties of an elected representative.  I wish him only well as he and his family battle the common scourge of cancer.  But a true public servant would recognize his inability to perform his duties and step aside.  We have precious few of those in office these days.  Instead, we have the image of an elderly politico clutching hold of his power even as he tries to cling to life, as though he’s permanently entitled to either.

Membership in Congress has become a sort of nobility in America, even to the point of attempts to maintain “dynasties.”  Of the current 50 senators, 18 have been in office since the Bill Clinton Administration, and the most senior senator–Patrick Leahy of Vermont–entered the body six years before Ronald Reagan became president in 1981.  McCain, a one-time candidate for president, currently is the 7th longest serving senator.

Before the “progressives” added the 17th Amendment, Senators were appointed by State legislatures, not by direct election.  I suspect if we reverted back to the original intentions of the Founders, it would be far easier for Arizona to tell McCain to focus on his health while another is sent to represent the State’s interests in D.C. Mordor.

I’ve said before we have to stop enabling careerism in politics.  No politician should be able to simultaneously run for higher office and reelection to his current seat (thus forcing the taxpayer expense of a special election if “promoted.”)  Politicians should not be able to shop around for a favorable district just by maintaining a second (or third…) home there. I’d even be in favor of allowing States to mandate their senators be drawn only from native-born residents.  Most importantly, Congress should only meet a limited period each year, forced to get the essentials done (like, say, passing a budget on time), then return to their constituencies.  By roosting in Mordor with others like them, it’s far to easy to become self-important and isolated from the people they supposedly serve.

The Greek historian Thucydides once said “of all the manifestations of power, restraint impresses men the most.”  I’d offer a corollary to that: nothing becomes a statesman more than the willingness to relinquish power.  That was the essential difference between George Washington and King George III.  We need to regain that sense of civic mindedness.

What they don’t tell you

The Associated Press runs a story this morning that epitomizes why Americans shouldn’t trust the U.S. corporate media to keep them properly informed:

MUMBAI, India (AP) — Hillary Clinton told an audience in India that the United States did not “deserve” Donald Trump’s presidency and these are “perilous times.”
The 2016 Democratic presidential candidate spoke over the weekend at a conference in Mumbai.

Clinton said the Republican president has “quite an affinity for dictators” and said Trump “really likes their authoritarian posturing and behavior.” But she said she thinks it’s “more than that” with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Russia.

Clinton was critical of the reality campaign tactics of her opponent and questioned whether she should have provided more entertainment to voters who responded to Trump’s brash style.

She also believes former FBI director James Comey’s Oct. 28, 2016, letter to Congress about her private email server cost her support from white women voters.

The White House didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

That’s the entire write-up from AP.  Note that it utterly failed to include these comments, which insult roughly half the population of the United States for failing to elect her:

According to Her Hillariness, the only reasons people voted for Trump were out of racism, sexism and xenophobia.  I truly hope the Democrats are stupid enough to run her a third time in 2020. The campaign ads are already writing themselves. For all those who complain Trump isn’t “presidential,” I’ll simply note he has yet to go overseas and bash Americans for failing to support him.

It’s worth pointing out that the supposedly healthy Hillary also had considerable trouble navigating stairs during her visit to India.  Wonder if she’s seeking too much liquid comfort while nursing her grudges.

As for keeping informed, be sure to include foreign news organizations in your perusing habits.  They offer more insight into what’s actually going on in America than the American press does.

Civil war underway?

This is today’s must-read speech.  It puts into words something I’ve been feeling since the election results in 2016.  The losers of that election have gone far beyond sour grapes.  It feels as if there is a jockeying for position toward a final confrontation.  Given the Left’s utter denial of the 2016 results, there is every possibility that if the housecleaning I’m hoping for gets underway, the struggle could go from backrooms to bullets.

This is not something I write lightly.  Read the entire piece for yourself, because it’s important to understand the nature of the current struggle.  Lengthy excerpt:

Guns are how a civil war ends. Politics is how it begins.

How do civil wars happen?

Two or more sides disagree on who runs the country. And they can’t settle the question through elections because they don’t even agree that elections are how you decide who’s in charge.

That’s the basic issue here. Who decides who runs the country? When you hate each other but accept the election results, you have a country. When you stop accepting election results, you have a countdown to a civil war…

The first time a Republican president was elected this century, they said he didn’t really win. The Supreme Court gave him the election. There’s a pattern here.

Trump didn’t really win the election. Bush didn’t really win the election. Every time a Republican president won an election this century, the Democrats insist he didn’t really win…

It means they don’t believe that transfers of power in this country are determined by elections.

That’s a civil war.

There’s no shooting. At least not unless you count the attempt to kill a bunch of Republicans at a charity baseball game practice. But the Democrats have rejected our system of government.

This isn’t dissent. It’s not disagreement.

You can hate the other party. You can think they’re the worst thing that ever happened to the country. But then you work harder to win the next election. When you consistently reject the results of elections that you don’t win, what you want is a dictatorship.

Your very own dictatorship…

Professional government is a guild. Like medieval guilds. You can’t serve if you’re not a member. If you haven’t been indoctrinated into its arcane rituals. If you aren’t in the club.

And Trump isn’t in the club. He brought in a bunch of people who aren’t in the club with him.

Now we’re seeing what the pros do when amateurs try to walk in on them. They spy on them, they investigate them and they send them to jail. They use the tools of power to bring them down.

That’s not a free country.

We’re in a civil war between conservative volunteer government and leftist professional government.

The pros have made it clear that they’re not going to accept election results anymore. They’re just going to make us do whatever they want. They’re in charge and we better do what they say.

That’s the war we’re in. And it’s important that we understand that.

Because this isn’t a shooting war yet. And I don’t want to see it become one.

Again, read the entire piece here (video of speech at the link).

Rules? How quaint

This is how “representative” our governments now are: apparently you no longer have to actually, you know, LIVE in the district you’re running to represent:

Democrat Jon Ossoff dismissed concerns Tuesday over the fact that he doesn’t live in the Georgia congressional district in which he’s running for a House seat.

“I grew up in this district; I grew up in this community — it’s my home. My family is still there,” Ossoff said during an interview on CNN’s “New Day.”

If having family in a district is enough to be a candidate, most people would have plenty of options to run.  That’s not how it works, though.  And no, I don’t care that he’s “10 minutes up the road,” and just living there to “support his girlfriend in medical school.”

At least Hillary Clinton had the decency to move to New York and pretend to become a New Yorker before running for the Senate.  (I’m pretty sure she’d have never achieved that in Arkansas.)

Either a rule is enforced, or it’s not a rule.   This is yet another example of how we are no longer a nation of laws.  And that’s not going to end well for anybody, no matter what short-term advantages someone thinks they see.

On a related note, it’s nice to see people reminding Congress they have to live with the laws they pass.  And on this particular issue, it’s about time the rules were applied. Vigorously.

A few modest suggestions

Life’s been busy lately, so posting has been light.  For some time, though, I’ve been working on a list of “things I’d do if I was completely in charge of adjusting the government.”  They center around limiting the influence of lobbyists, making immigration offenses a serious matter, and reducing the ability of a president to unilaterally commit the nation to war.

It’s an ongoing project.  But I’ll post it here for any comments and input on what’s already there.  Warning: it’s a lot of stuff (roughly 6 pages in a word processor).  But then, there’s a lot of stuff wrong with the country, so that’s to be expected.  Use the page numbers at the bottom of the post to advance to the next page.

Constructive input/critiques welcomed.

REFORM  (Federal Level)

General:

No person convicted of a felony will be eligible to hold elective office at the Federal Level.  Convicted felons may not serve in the Federal Civil Service above the grade of GS-5.

The Legislatures of each State will appoint one person to serve on a Federal Civil Service Oversight Board.  Board members will serve terms determined by their individual State.  This 50-member board will have power independent of Congress to investigate accusations of fraud, waste, abuse, or employee misconduct/failure to meet standards within the Federal workforce.  The board, by a 3/5 majority vote, may dismiss any federal employee below the grade of Cabinet Secretary.  The board will also investigate charges of retaliation against whistle-blowers.  With the concurrence of 3/5 of the board, anyone deemed as having engaged in retaliation will be dismissed from Civil Service.  No person dismissed by the Oversight Board will be eligible for any future Civil Service position or for elected office to Congress or the Presidency.