Beautiful

Because I have a background in professional communication, the Trump administration’s lack of message discipline often causes me to grind my teeth.  I’m seeing signs of improvement, however small.  Over the past several days, the president has been on Twitter, pointing out he’s available to discuss the budget.  Contrast that to the Congressional Democrats jaunting down to Puerto Rico last weekend, accompanied by over 100 lobbyists.  (Way to show solidarity with furloughed workers, donkeys!)

This, however, is brilliant.  Shortly before another Congressional junket was due to leave, using government aircraft, President Trump waved it off:

trump letter to pelosi

Naturally, Trump’s critics are calling this “petty” and “childish.”  But it’s a logical follow-up to the Speaker’s own letter yesterday suggesting Trump forego the State of the Union address due to the shutdown.  Note how many messages are packed into the letter above.  Pelosi sought to use the shutdown to deny the president a forum.  He used it to call out the Speaker for not sticking around to resolve the shutdown and restore workers’ paychecks, and at the same time cancelled a pointless seven-day vacation using government resources.  (I’ve worked my share of Congressional Delegation, or “CODEL” trips… I know whereof I speak.)

Forget the chattering classes.  Who do you think the average American in “flyover country” supports in this exchange of letters?

As for the State of the Union address, perhaps the President should simply deliver it to Congress via a prime-time TV address from the Oval Office, during which he talks with rank-and-file members of the Customs and Border Patrol about what they see everyday, and what they think it would take to secure the border.

Yes, our government is squabbling like children on a playground.  I can both mourn the current state of public discourse and at the same time recognize effective messaging when I see it.  I can also hope the squabbling only ends when there’s a commitment to finally secure our border and discourage the ongoing invasion of our country.

Build.  The.  Wall.

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This ‘n’ that

A few notes to hopefully provoke your thinking today:

I’ve thought for some time that our nation’s enemies use our desire for civility and decorum to handicap us in the culture war.  When the other side says “have you no decency,” it’s usually a dodge to avoid being accountable for their own actions.  It seems I’m not alone in thinking so:

…while appropriate restraint is always a part of this consideration, we go too far when we decide that we must always adhere to every aspect of a dying civility no matter the cost. Failing to openly defy the Left’s blatant aggression does not preserve civility — it only emboldens the uncivil and betrays their victims.

…civility is not a moral absolute and its form is always adjusting along with culture, it’s requirements are determined primarily by social contract — the kind of behavior we all implicitly or explicitly agree to when interacting with one another.   …when one party violates a contract, the other party is no longer bound by all of its terms. If you sign a contract to buy a car, and the dealer refuses to turn it over you, you aren’t “sinking to their level” by refusing to hand over your money. If you contract an employee who never shows up for work, you aren’t “repaying evil for evil” by withholding his wages. The same is true when dealing with people who are deliberately uncivil to civil people — it fundamentally changes what the rest of society owes them.

We need to stop taking the lazy road of “be civil though the heavens fall” and begin being deliberate about when to be civil — and when not to be.  For starters, I suggest the following guidelines…  (read the whole post here)

One of the biggest areas in which ‘civility’ and emotional blackmail is used against us is in the area of immigration.  So it’s nice to see the rest of the world COMBINED recently took in more refugees than the U.S. for the first time in 38 years.  Keep that little factoid handy for the next time your Leftist acquaintance decries the supposed ‘heartlessness’ of the U.S.

Leftists also demand expensive judicial proceedings for everyone who shows up on our borderlands, in order to accord them “due process rights.”  Turns out the Supreme Court has ruled consistently since the late 1800s that non-citizens are not entitled automatically to the same expensive access to our judicial system that citizens have.  Another handy note to have in countering our enemies’ talking points (and yes, I’m calling them enemies now.  Their actions show it’s an accurate term, whether using it is civil or not).

One reason the media are held in such contempt today is the realization they, too, have broken the social contract.  Presenting slanted information while claiming to be impartial is hardly being ‘civil.’  Yet the Associated Press seems to have done it again, trying to tug heartstrings by claiming the military is ‘discharging’ immigrants rather than allowing them to become citizens.  But it turns out there is more to this than the AP would have you know, including the fact that ‘discharge’ is not the appropriate word for someone who hasn’t even been to Basic Training yet.  But remember, kids, “fake news” is only a Trump laugh line…

Finally, for those of us who aren’t tired of winning yet, the economy is strengthening to the point labor is becoming in short supply — and hence, more valuable and lucrative.  Could it be that allowing thousands of people to flow into our nation unchecked each month helped depress wages for decades?  Inquiring minds should want to know…

Spare me the contrived outrage

“How dare we separate families when they cross the border!  Taking children from their families is reprehensible!”

But we separate criminal parents from their children every day — and always have.  That’s the problem: the Left simply refuses to see breaking our nation’s immigration laws as a crime.  But it is, by definition.

And let’s not forget the same Democratic party that wants our country to take in anyone looking for a “better life” had no qualms about taking Elian Gonzalez away from his relatives at gunpoint in order to send him back to Fidel Castro’s Cuba!  Why was he not worthy of being an American “dreamer?”

In short, Democrats, shut the hell up.

Elian Gonzalez

The absolutely useless GOP

It’s clear at this point in history those of us who want a restoration of the characteristics that once made America great — prudence, self-discipline, foresight, statesmanship, to name a few — will have to look somewhere other than the GOP to find them:

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) was hoping his Republican colleagues would be embarrassed by their vote to jack up federal spending earlier this year and support his plan to phase in a balanced budget. Few were.

Paul got 20 other Republican senators on Thursday — less than half of the Senate GOP caucus — to vote for his “penny plan,” which would balance the federal budget over five years by cutting spending except for Social Security by 1 percent every year. No Democrats back the proposal…

“Republicans only care about budget deficits when they’re in the minority,” said Jason Pye, vice president of legislative affairs at FreedomWorks.

Mark Meckler, president of Citizens for Self Governance, agreed, saying, “There are very few sane people willing to have a rational discussion about fiscal responsibility … It’s obscene. These guys are pigs in slop.”

One percent a year should be easy to find in a $4 trillion budget.  But I’m sure the gluttonous swamp would cry the fiscal sky is falling (“Children will starve!  Seniors will be destitute!  Illegal aliens won’t have as much welfare support”).  Well, maybe not that last talking point (they aren’t completely foolish and willing to admit their agendas).  But here’s some perspective:

Paul’s plan would have reduced spending by $404.8 billion in the fiscal year that starts October 1. After the budget balanced in five years, spending would be held to 1 percent increases per year, resulting in a budget that was 14.6 percent bigger in 10 years that it is now.

In other words, even after balancing the budget, the overall size of it would continue to grow.  Don’t overlook the fact in the excerpt above that a mere one percent of Federal spending equals $404.8 billion!  A true conservative would say balancing the budget would be preparatory to starting to trim back the Federal Leviathan.  Yet these GOPers can’t even countenance the first step!

Putting America first, or “making America great again” is inseparable from solving our budgetary house of cards.  You failed once again, GOP.  When you ask yourselves how in the world a man like Donald Trump could get elected, just look in the mirror.

As for us, primary season is upon us.  One of my Senators just guaranteed he won’t have my vote.  How about yours?

But that’s not how He identifies

We’re constantly told in this insane era that we must refer to another person by their “chosen gender identity.”  But apparently this moral imperative doesn’t extend to the Almighty:

…the Diocese of Washington for the Episcopal Church passed three resolutions over the weekend at a gathering at Washington National Cathedral. Delegates to the 123rd Diocesan Convention moved within one hour to adopt proposals titled “On Becoming a Sanctuary Diocese: Offering Sacred Welcome to Immigrants,” “On Inclusion of Transgender People,” and “On the Gendered Language for God.”

The resolution about language for God emphasized replacing gendered references to God with gender neutral language and pronouns wherever possible…

The understanding of God and of language has evolved over time, drafters of the resolution maintained, and current gender roles inhibit such understanding.

Billy Graham once addressed this question, noting the modern tendency to want to blur this distinction is a dangerous one:

The answer to the question about why God is referred to in masculine terms in the Bible really has only one answer: This is the way God has chosen to reveal Himself to us. God is never described with sexual characteristics in the Scriptures, but He does consistently describe Himself in the masculine gender.

While God contains all the qualities of both male and female genders, He has chosen to present Himself with an emphasis on masculine qualities of fatherhood, protection, direction, strength, etc. Metaphors used to describe Him in the Bible include: King, Father, Judge, Husband, Master, and the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

One famous Christian scholar, C. S. Lewis, has suggested that gender is far deeper than our human distinctions reveal. He suggests that God is so masculine that we all are feminine in relation to Him. If this is true, it might explain why the church is referred to as the bride of Christ, though it is composed of both men and women.

As for being ‘inclusive’ of transgenders (one of the other resolutions), it’s worth noting that all are invited to repentance at the foot of the Cross.  But repentance is based on acknowledging God’s authority over ours, and acting accordingly.  In His Word God clearly states:

(Jesus) answered, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’?

So in our National Cathedral, Satan is once again reprising his gambit from the garden of Eden: “Did God actually say…”  Then again, it’s worth noting the entire founding of the Episcopal Church was due to an English king splitting the Church in part because the Pope wouldn’t grant him a divorce.  In other words, defiance of Scripture was built into the denomination at the very beginning.

And we wonder why our nation’s in the state it’s in.

Too many coincidences

Victor Davis Hanson does a good job today summarizing what to date has been a slow but steady drip of information indicating Special Counsel Robert Mueller grossly stacked the deck in terms of staffing his investigation of the Trump team’s activity during last year’s election.  Excerpt:

By now there are simply too many coincidental conflicts of interest and too much improper investigatory behavior to continue to give the Mueller investigation the benefit of doubt. Each is a light straw; together, they now have broken the back of the probe’s reputation.

In inexplicable fashion, Mueller seems to have made almost no effort to select attorneys from outside Washington, from diverse private law firms across the country, who were without personal involvement with the Clinton machine, and who were politically astute or disinterested enough to keep their politics to themselves.

It seems readily apparent from what has been revealed that the investigation is the logical culmination of the Obama administration’s partisan weaponization of government.  Much as the IRS illegally discriminated against Tea Party-affiliated organizations, there is evidence the FBI and other agencies improperly surveilled U.S. citizens during an election, selectively leaking information upon which to base an investigation.  The many media misfires in recent days is further indication this investigation is a conclusion looking for evidence, rather than the other way around.  Ironically (and most likely deliberately), much clearer evidence of mishandling classified information, and improper quid pro quos between Russia and the Clinton Foundation are completely free from any official scrutiny.

Such politicizing of governmental institutions to overturn or thwart the result of a presidential election is a grave and present danger to the health of what’s left of our representative government.  It has further polarized a heavily divided electorate.  Those who support the administration see a partisan witch hunt.  Those who oppose him readily grab onto whatever “bombshells” are illegally leaked to the press from within the investigation in an attempt to further delegitimize Trump and his team–even though many of those “bombshells” quickly turn out to be less than meets the eye.

As Hanson notes, the existence of special counsels is already a poor reflection on the ability of representative government to reach just and fair conclusions in some circumstances.  If that safety valve is itself compromised (which seems highly likely in this case), what options for resolution of the issues are left — short of social unrest and violence?

Our political class continues to lead us down a very dangerous road.

In summary…

Quite a number of headlines over the past few days while I’ve been away, enjoying some time offline.  As I caught up on some of the issues, it seemed appropriate to outline some of the recent developments.

As we all know, Robert Mueller has been appointed to investigate whether the Trump candidacy “colluded” with Russia during the 2016 campaign.  As part of that, Mueller is looking into the circumstances surrounding Trump’s firing of former FBI Director James Comey.  There were already questions about how impartial Mueller could be about the later, given his long personal and professional relationship with Comey.

Now it appears Mueller may have additional conflicts of interest regarding Russia.  You see, Mueller was Comey’s predecessor as head of the FBI.  During his tenure, the FBI had already discovered Russian efforts to influence the U.S.:

Federal agents used a confidential U.S. witness working inside the Russian nuclear industry to gather extensive financial records, make secret recordings and intercept emails as early as 2009 that showed Moscow had compromised an American uranium trucking firm with bribes and kickbacks in violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, FBI and court documents show.

They also obtained an eyewitness account — backed by documents — indicating Russian nuclear officials had routed millions of dollars to the U.S. designed to benefit former President Bill Clinton’s charitable foundation during the time Secretary of State Hillary Clinton served on a government body that provided a favorable decision to Moscow, sources told The Hill.

Despite having this information in 2009, the U.S. government approved in 2010 the purchase of Canada’s Uranium One (which itself controlled 1/5 of the U.S. uranium mining capacity) by Russia’s state-owned Rosatom.  As Investor’s Business Daily points out:

Does it seem strange that an American administration would OK the acquisition of 20% of America’s uranium resources by a hostile nuclear power? How could that be?

It only makes sense if you understand what else was going on, namely Hillary Clinton’s aggressive use of her State Department perch to raise money for the family “charity,” the Clinton Foundation. That Clinton used her office to the foundation’s advantage, there can be little doubt.

The Clinton Foundation took in some $145 million in contributions from Uranium One shareholders, much of it coming at about the time that deal won approval from CFIUS — the investment panel on which both Hillary Clinton and Attorney General Eric Holder conveniently sat. Is that a coincidence? Or that the Justice Department waited until 2014, the year after Hillary left office, to take any action in the Russian criminal matters? Or that details of the Uranium One deal didn’t come out until 2015, the year Eric Holder left office? Was Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s “reset” with the Russian government in 2009 just part of a wider plan to enrich her own family foundation with Russian cash?

We’d sure like to know the answers to these and other questions. At the very least, there is a clear prima facie case to be made for an investigation into the pay-for-play behavior in the Obama administration.

So remember: when Democrats run around screaming “Russia, Russia, Russia,” it’s most likely an attempt at projection.  As for the Clinton’s “charitable foundation,” it’s clear there’s only one beneficiary: the Clintons.  They’ve made a career out of literally selling out the U.S.  For all Trump’s shortcomings (and they are many), he at least prevented Her Hillariness from being in a position to do even more damage.  It would be ironic if the investigation meant to hamstring his administration instead revealed many of the sordid details of the swamp Trump promised to drain.