How do we honor our dead?

Today – Memorial Day – is supposed to be a remembrance of all those who perished while serving in uniform, defending this nation.  It’s fitting that we have such a day.

But do we really honor our fallen?  This picture captures well the fact that today’s peace is underpinned by yesterday’s carnage:

holding up society

Would you be incensed if the young man in jeans was wearing a swastika armband?  I’d venture most Americans would.  It would show an appalling lack of appreciation how many of the dead represented in the image died to destroy Hitler’s regime.  But what if the young lady were wearing a Che Guevara T-shirt?  Or if the child were dressed in the uniform of the Soviet-era Young Pioneers, complete with a badge picturing Lenin?

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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.

That which can’t continue, doesn’t

The fiscal day of reckoning may be close at hand for the United States:

According to the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Debt Management, the U.S. government is just five years away from the point where every new dollar it borrows from the public will go toward funding interest payments on the national debt.

That is the main takeaway from the Debt Management Office’s Fiscal Year 2019 Q1 Report, which featured the Office of Management and Budget’s latest projection of the U.S. government’s borrowing from the public…

Net interest on the national debt has become one of the fastest growing segments of federal spending. When the national debt reaches the point where all newly borrowed dollars must be used to pay this mandatory expenditure, the U.S. government will have passed the event horizon that marks the boundary of the national debt death spiral.

Cities and territories in the United States that have crossed that crisis point have either gone through bankruptcy proceedings or their equivalent, or they have implemented major fiscal reforms that reversed their fiscal deterioration, wherein the best-case scenarios, they acted to restrain the growth of their previously out-of-control spending to restore their fiscal health.

Interest on the national debt is going up quickly for two reasons.  Obviously, the government continues to spend waaaaaaaaay more than they squeeze out of the economy (us) through taxation, adding to the total amount it owes.  More importantly, however, the many record deficits recorded over the past 10 years were done so at historically low interest rates (engineered by the Federal Reserve, which in the process robbed productive citizens of some of the proceeds they would normally have earned through their savings).  Inevitably, those rates have begun to climb again.  It may seem incremental on a chart, but keep in mind that just one percent of $22 trillion is $220 billion.

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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.”

Removing incentives for invasion

The southern border of the United States is little more than a line on a map these days.  Migrants are flooding across it in unprecedented numbers, overwhelming the Border Patrol and the immigration courts charged with sorting legitimate claims of asylum from the far greater number of people using it as a wedge for entry.

The word is out: if you want to cut the long line of people waiting legally to immigrate to America, just sneak across the southern border and ask for asylum. Every day now, Customs and Border Protection agents stop more than 3,000 people entering the U.S. illegally and the number has been trending upward rapidly. No one knows how many others slip through undetected.

Almost all of these people fail to meet the definition of a refugee, which is someone with a specific and well-founded fear of persecution in the place they are fleeing. But they have been coached to say the magic words necessary for arresting officers to begin a lengthy adjudication of whether or not they are bona fide refugees deserving asylum — which can take years. Thanks to permissive laws and activist progressive judges — especially those on the renegade Ninth Circuit based in San Francisco — the government must often release these asylum-seekers into America, after which most will evade authorities unless they are caught for another crime.

This is ridiculous.  The current broken process is nothing but incentive for more of the same, as people realize once they’re here, they’re here more or less for good, legitimately or not.  But there’s a way to remove that incentive:

We should take a page from the past and transport asylum-seekers to our base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.  The public is most familiar with the use of “Gitmo,” as it is known in military lingo, for detaining high-level terrorists — illegal combatants caught on the battlefield who are awaiting military tribunals (at which the Pentagon has also failed). But Gitmo was used to house two large waves of Haitian immigrants trying to come to America illegally in the 1990s during the administrations of George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton. Keeping them there and repatriating the vast number who were not legitimate asylum-seekers created a disincentive for more to come.

Yes, let’s get the word out that dubious claims of asylum will get you an indefinite stay on Cuba until your hearing, after which you will be returned directly to your country of origin, having never been turned loose within the United States.  To top it off, let’s get a complete biometric profile on everyone we have to process this way, and make it clear that future attempts to enter the country illegally will be met with much more unpleasant consequences.

This is hardly cruel and unusual.  I’ve been to Naval Station Guantanamo.  The weather is lovely, and so is the island.  No need to use the prison facilities – just set up large campgrounds within which they’re free to move around until their case is adjudicated.  There is no legitimate objection to doing this — the only people who would complain are those within our own country who seek to facilitate this invasion under legal cover.  Frankly, I think some of them could use an extended stay in Guantanamo as well.  The word ‘treason’ is thrown around lightly these days.  But actively undermining one’s own nation and its sovereignty would seem to fit the classic definition pretty well.

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.