Lifting the veil?

Yesterday’s release of Inspector General Horowitz’s report on the origin of the investigations into the Trump campaign brought to official light a pattern of misconduct on the part of the FBI and confirmed aspects that had been publicly discussed for some time.  The report outlines 17 specific ‘inaccuracies and omissions’ just in the requests the FBI made to the FISA Court for warrants regarding Carter Page, one of several Trump campaign officials targeted by the agency.  Inexplicably, the IG concluded there was no ‘bias’ in the origin or conduct of the investigation — thus clearly disregarding already publicized text messages between Peter Strzok and Lisa Page that strongly indicate the opposite.  As others have said online, when established procedures are violated 17 times, all in the same direction (to the disadvantage of the target), that’s not a coincidence or innocent mistake — that’s deliberate enemy action.  The Attorney General, Bill Barr, was more blunt:

The Inspector General’s report now makes clear that the FBI launched an intrusive investigation of a U.S. presidential campaign on the thinnest of suspicions that, in my view, were insufficient to justify the steps taken. It is also clear that, from its inception, the evidence produced by the investigation was consistently exculpatory. Nevertheless, the investigation and surveillance was pushed forward for the duration of the campaign and deep into President Trump’s administration. In the rush to obtain and maintain FISA surveillance of Trump campaign associates, FBI officials misled the FISA court, omitted critical exculpatory facts from their filings, and suppressed or ignored information negating the reliability of their principal source. …[T]he malfeasance and misfeasance detailed in the Inspector General’s report reflects a clear abuse of the FISA process.

In addition, U.S. Attorney John Durham, who is known to be conducting a criminal investigation into this and related matters, strongly hinted more information is to come:

I have the utmost respect for the mission of the Office of Inspector General and the comprehensive work that went into the report prepared by Mr. Horowitz and his staff.  However, our investigation is not limited to developing information from within component parts of the Justice Department.  Our investigation has included developing information from other persons and entities, both in the U.S. and outside of the U.S.  Based on the evidence collected to date, and while our investigation is ongoing, last month we advised the Inspector General that we do not agree with some of the report’s conclusions as to predication and how the FBI case was opened(emphasis added)

Durham has broader power to investigate than did Horowitz, so his public disagreement with aspects of the OIG report is significant.  What all this seems to tell us is that we’ve only seen a peek at corruption involved.  Fully lifting the veil — and crucially, holding people accountable — is yet to come.  Continue to pray for our nation.

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.  

When all politics aren’t, in fact, local

Former U.S. House Speaker “Tip” O’Neal is most commonly associated with asserting that “all politics is local.”  As we’ve moved away from Federalism and republicanism toward democratic homogenization in this country, I think that’s become less and less true:

Coloradans are drawing a line in the asphalt when it comes to California’s growing influence on their SUVs, trucks and votes.

The Colorado-based Freedom to Drive Coalition filed a lawsuit this month against the state’s adoption of California’s zero-emissions vehicle standards, arguing that the rules violate state law and would add thousands of dollars to the cost of the heavy-duty vehicles favored by drivers navigating Colorado’s snowy roads.

Meanwhile, supporters of the Electoral College are balking at the lopsided flood of cash pouring in from California to prevent Colorado voters from overturning the National Popular Vote bill, which Gov. Jared Polis, a Democrat, signed into law in March.

Figures compiled by Protect Colorado’s Vote show that more than 98% of the donations to Yes on National Popular Vote have been from Californians, while Coloradans have contributed 99% of the revenue raised to exit the compact.

“Obviously, California is incredibly engaged in getting Colorado’s votes,” said Mesa County Commissioner Rose Pugliese, who heads the referendum campaign.

This situation exemplifies why the Electoral College was put into place.  Without it, just 9 States (California, Texas, Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Georgia and Florida) could elect the president, since they account for just over half the U.S. population.  Other States would become mere subsidiaries of one of these population centers.  Those who want the popular vote to prevail in presidential elections know they face an uphill battle to amend the Constitution.  Thus the “National Popular Vote” bill effort in many states, trying to put together a coalition to lump together a bunch of States to do what I believe to be an unconstitutional end-run around the Electoral College.

As the article above shows, what may work for California (and that’s arguable) may not apply to the conditions of another State, like Colorado.  This is one of many reasons the Founders intended most governance to be local (State and below), with the Federal government largely charged with handling the external affairs of the federation of States.  Too much of the divisiveness in this country is driven by efforts to impose “one size allegedly fits all” solutions from Washington, D.C. (or Sacramento, in this case).  What’s tragically ironic is that the loudest proponents of unitary government suddenly find their inner secessionist whenever the Federal Government goes against their agenda.  States like New York are passing local bills enshrining the legality of abortion, since many expect Roe v. Wade to be reviewed, revised or overturned in the next few years by a Supreme Court with more constitutional originalists on its bench.  The Left will stick up for “States’ rights” in such a scenario, but more times than not, they are happy to use Federal power to bludgeon the entire nation into compliance with their agenda.

Campaign financing has been another insidious erosion of local politics.  Note in the linked article who is funding the two sides of the National Popular Vote campaign.  Why are Californians allowed to contribute to campaigns in Colorado?  Another example is Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortes.  Once she won her primary in 2018, out-of-state money provided the majority of her general election campaign financing.  How does this square with the idea a ‘representative’ reflects local opinion and priorities?  (Spoiler: it doesn’t.)

What this does is turn every Congressional/Senatorial race into a national campaign.  We hear about the outsize influence of billionaires.  Well, guess who has the wherewithal to fund candidates all across the country?  That’s not the vision the Founders had in mind.  Want to reign in the influence of campaign contributions?  Two steps: only allow individual citizens (not corporations, PACs or any other organizational source) to contribute, and require them to contribute only to their State/local races.  As is often pointed out, only the office of the presidency was designed to be elected by the entire nation.  The current campaign financing model undermines that.

A truly federal system allows for variations and experimentation of policy to best meet local conditions and aspirations.  We have moved away from that to our great detriment.  How about some of that magic “diversity” when it comes to letting locals set their own agenda?  Save the Federal power for things that truly matter to everyone — like upholding the “Life” part of “Life, Liberty and Pursuit of Happiness” by protecting the unborn.

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.

___________

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

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.

The value of the vote

Caution: this is a long post; that’s why it has a “jump break” on the front page of the blog.

It’s ironic that Bernie Sanders brought this up while I’ve been re-reading Heinlein’s Starship Troopers:

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders said he thinks every U.S. citizen, even the convicted Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, should be allowed to vote in American elections.  Sanders offered his stance at a CNN town hall Monday when asked whether he thought felons should be allowed to vote while they’re incarcerated, not just after their release.

He was pressed on whether it was appropriate to enfranchise sex offenders or someone convicted of a heinous crime like Tsarnaev, who with his brother carried out the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing that left three dead and injured hundreds more.

“Yes, even for terrible people, because once you start chipping away and you say, ‘Well, that guy committed a terrible crime, not going to let him vote. Well, that person did that. Not going to let that person vote,’ you’re running down a slippery slope,” Sanders said in response to a question about restoring felons’ voting rights.

It appears Sanders is saying everyone should have the privilege of voting, regardless what they’ve done in their lives.  That’s not merely wrong, it’s disastrously dangerous.  Unlike the (poorly done) movie of Starship Troopers, the book discusses in great detail the importance of the franchise.  Indeed, the book is highly controversial for presenting a futuristic society in which the only full citizens with voting privileges are military veterans.  Pardon the excerpt from one of the book’s classroom discussions:

Continue reading

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.