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?

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Swamps, RINOs and Trump

Many in the press hope they see a big story developing: a Republican “civil war” between those aligned with the president or Steve Bannon and the “establishment” GOP.  But as one outlet has already realized, the momentum is with the president:

Traditional Republicans fancying the cracks in their party as an opening to primary President Trump in 2020 need to deal with one inconvenient fact: Republican voters aren’t interested.

The brawl for dominance in the Republican Party is certainly remarkable. Former President George W. Bush; Ohio Gov. John Kasich; the chairmen of two top Senate committees; and now Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz.; all have sharply rebuked Trump, questioning his fitness, integrity, and moral authority.

But their resistance, though hardly isolated, is missing one crucial element: a significant measure of enthusiasm from Republican voters. That’s a weak foundation from which to pursue a challenge to the renomination of a sitting president.

Why is Trump’s base willing to overlook his unorthodox presidential behavior? Here the article nails it:

…where Trump’s Republican opposition sees a dangerous political provocateur, the GOP base sees a fighter who is defending them and their values — against the cultural oppression of the liberal elites in New York and Hollywood and against a political establishment in Washington that bends the rules for everyone but them.

Trump’s coalition includes true conservatives (as opposed to the think-tank faux conservatives in D.C.) and blue-collar Democrats who are tired of seeing everything and everyone put ahead of the needs of honest Americans.  The “have you no decency” outrage from the GOP establishment is easily ignored when one remembers how often they have failed to keep their promises to the voters (Obamacare repeal?  Immigration enforcement?  Tax and regulation relief?).  The problem with most Republican members of Congress is they are “Republican In Name Only (RINO).”  The Tea Party movement was a “civil” attempt to protest this repeated betrayal, and the bi-factional ruling party attacked it — the Republicans by painting it unfairly as racist, and the Democrats by illegally unleashing the IRS and other government agencies on the various groups.  In the latter case, no accountability has been forthcoming against Lois Lerner and her helpers, either.

Is it any wonder a large part of the voting population now wants to burn the establishment to the ground?

Not only has the administration outlasted the Democrats’ frantic efforts to delegitimize it, the shoe is rapidly moving to the other foot as:

These stories are far more important than the manufactured distraction over presidential condolence calls to Gold Star families. Those who care about America should not allow the topic du jour to “move on” from them.

The real fight now is not over the survival of the Trump administration (even the NYT admits “he’s not going anywhere“). It’s over whether he will have a more cooperative Congress to deal with after 2018.  Steve Bannon is rallying insurgent candidates* across the country, and even sitting Senators are reading the tea leaves (finally).  The election of Trump represented a bursting point of extreme voter dissatisfaction with business as usual.  “Civil” didn’t get voters anywhere, so they went with the bull in the china shop. Whether that voter anger and focus can be maintained through the next election cycle is the question of the decade.  If it is, the Trump victory in 2016 will be seen not as a fluke, but as a pivotal moment in American politics when the Swamp was finally confronted head on.

* While Bannon rallies Republican insurgents with name recognition, there are also complete outsiders like Tony Monetti in Missouri, who is challenging established Republican candidates in the primary to run against vulnerable Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill.  Be sure to pay attention to ALL the candidates in the races for which you can vote.

Reality check

Though the sources conflict, there is a general sense among historians that ancient Rome did, indeed, have a practice of keeping the subject of their triumphal processions humble.  While being praised and celebrated by the citizens of of the city, a returning conqueror is said to have been subjected to the presence of either a close associate or an assigned slave, who continually whispered into his ear something along the lines of “remember, you are mortal.”

Regardless how the actual practice occurred, this is an imminently practical idea for any nation that desires the rule of law, and not of men.

One of the largest criticisms during the rise of Donald Trump has been that it seems dangerously close to a cult of personality.  It’s no secret many people voted for him despite of his character traits, not because of them, believing (correctly, in my humble opinion) he was still a better alternative than Her Hillariness.  There is always a danger in such a scenario that people become too willing to overlook faults and flaws in “their” candidate.

Yesterday’s runoff election in Alabama should be taken as an encouraging sign that Trump does not quite enjoy such unquestioning support:

Former judge Roy Moore won the Republican nomination on Tuesday evening in the Alabama special election to fill the Senate seat vacated by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, defeating the Trump-endorsed former state attorney general Luther Strange.

A strong argument can be made that endorsement by Senate GOP Majority Leader Mitch McConnell did more to damage Strange than Trump’s did to help him.  In the eyes of many (including me), McConnell personifies much of what is wrong with today’s mendacious GOP “leadership.”  That he would strongly advocate (and send significant resources) to Strange after only working with him in an interim capacity of a few months indicates he’d taken the candidate’s measure and decided he fit right in with the business-as-usual crowd.

That is not what the electorate, at least in Alabama and other comparable places, wants. The GOP has demonstrated they are not serious about fulfilling years-long promises to repeal Obamacare, secure the border, protect the American economy or simply put America first.  So it should surprise nobody their conservative base has had enough. That Trump endorsed Strange seems to indicate he was trying to work with McConnell, possibly in hopes of getting the Obamacare repeal or some other agenda item moving forward.  If so, the recent second failure to get a healthcare repeal bill to his desk demonstrates the value of such an effort.  This should be a lesson to the president: the Congressional GOP leadership is less interested in cooperating than they are in co-opting him and his supporters, as they did with the Tea Party.  During the final runoff debate, Strange’s main selling point seemed to be his repetition of the mantra that “Trump picked me.”  That this was unsuccessful is a reassurance the president does not command blind loyalty.

Having been burned too many times by their promises, a large portion of the GOP’s base is now looking to clean house in the party rather than mend fences.  Some — like Tennessee Senator Bob Corker — appear to see the insurgent writing on the wall (Corker announced he will not seek reelection in 2018).  Here’s hoping a number of others–especially John McCain–get the message as well.  ALL of them, not just Trump, need to be reminded that they are mortal.  And since none of them are indispensable to the effort to restore America, they can–and should–be held accountable for failure to support that effort, particularly when the GOP controls the House, Senate, Presidency and most State governorships and legislatures.

Mr. Trump is far from certain to be reelected in 2020.  Yesterday’s special election results should serve fair notice he was sent to D.C. to accomplish specific things.  His next turn at the polls will hinge on whether he does, in fact, accomplish them.

  • Build the wall.  Deport those here illegally.  Period.
  • Return jobs and investment to the U.S. by voiding the globalist drain of disadvantageous trade agreements and corporatist tax policies on our economy
  • Restore American credibility by consistently acting in the best interest of the U.S. in our foreign and military policy.

It’s not rocket science, Mr. President.  Your move.

Saturday Sounds – sham edition

AKA: “liar, liar, pantsuit on fire!”

Because when a candidate’s statements diverge from the record this much, you have to ask: can you trust them on anything?  This isn’t just about emails… it’s about an utter lack of integrity or shame, in the naked pursuit of power.  Don’t forget that, America!

Just die already, GOP

That’s a post title I couldn’t have imagined writing a decade ago, despite the misgivings I was having about our bi-factional ruling party even back then.  But watching the slow-motion thrashing of the establishment GOP in response to a real, grassroots populist rebellion against their utter failures to live up to their own brand is just sickening.  (Note: I’m of the opinion that much of Trump’s support is not so much an endorsement of the man himself as it is a substantial number of the rank and file seeing an opportunity to finally stick a much-deserved finger in the eye of the GOP insider elite.  The anger out there is both real and justified.)

The insiders’ true colors are now showing, and it’s quite ugly.  In case you thought our ruling class even pretended to acknowledge the will of the voters, this videoclip should put that myth to rest.  Excerpt:

Curly Haugland, Republican National Committee Member: “The media has created a perception that the voters will decide the nomination.  …  The political parties choose their nominees, not the general public.”

When asked by the reporter “then why bother holding primaries?” his response:

“That’s a good question.”

That kind of attitude is exactly what has so much of the GOP’s nominal base up in arms.  For years citizens who care passionately about our nation’s future have organized, rallied, donated, campaigned and otherwise given of themselves to try to elect representatives and officials who will implement the policies they believe in.  And they’ve been soundly disappointed time and again, as officials “grow” in office or otherwise compromise on the very issues where their constituents expected them to stand firm.  But rather than figure out how to reconnect with that base by actually changing course, the elites are simply out to reassert their partisan a-thor-i-TIE by any means necessary.  I suspect that will include shenanigans at the convention, even if Trump wins an outright majority of delegates before then.  It’s certainly happened before when a substantial number of voters supported a candidate the insiders didn’t like.

And at that point, whether you support Trump or not, the only conclusion that can be reached is that the GOP has lost every bit of its legitimacy — first by governing differently than they promised, and then by ignoring the voters when they try to hold the party to account.  I would not be surprised if things got extremely nasty in this country after that.  After all, when the people are convinced ballots no longer matter, they will find other ways to express their displeasure at those who continue to put the screws to them.

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Indeed

Today’s read:

“It’s disheartening that an avowed socialist is a viable candidate for president of the United States. Socialism is a dead end. For hundreds of years, it has failed everywhere it’s been adopted. The enthusiasm of our youth for the candidacy of Bernie Sanders is a symptom of our failure to educate them, not only in history, government and economics, but also basic morality…”

Read the entire thing.  Even as our nation reaches $19 trillion of acknowledged debt, too many people still seem to think it’s the best source of lots of goodies.  We’ve reached a point today where in education there is emphasis on science, technology, computing… but not on the lessons learned from basic human experience over 4,000+ years of recorded history.  And we wonder why we’re repeating mistakes that should have been proscribed long ago.

Those who don't study history are doomed to repeat it Yet those who do study history are doomed to stand by helplessly while everyone else repeats it

The West MUST wake up

A tale of three headlines:

Paris terrorist was a Syrian refugee, says Greek government official

Syrian refugees beginning to arrive in New Orleans

Obama Increases Number of Syrian Refugees for U.S. Resettlement to 10,000

 

Nor is it just Syria from which we are likely importing future trouble.

Lots of people have posted “stand with France” type photos online or changed their Facebook profile picture to include the French flag.  When will we recognize that this accomplishes NOTHING except to give people an emotional outlet that vents the steam that should instead be fueling change?  It’s easy to conduct a few keystrokes to morally preen with the masses.  Joining those masses to demand — DEMAND! — our governments change their suicidal policies… well, that requires effort.  Can Americans and Europeans summon the will to bring their governments to heel?

The Pope today referred to a “piecemeal World War III.”  It’s true — our feckless leaders have allowed an ideology that refuses to coexist with any other to grow until it threatens all of us.  Can anyone doubt at this point that if ISIS or one of its fellow traveler groups came into possession of weapons of mass destruction that they would be used to kill thousands of civilians?  Instead of posting pictures online of Paris today, perhaps our time would be better spent imagining Paris today as a radioactive crater… then stopping to consider what needs to be done to prevent that future outcome.

There is an adage growing in prominence online: diversity + proximity = war.  Those acolytes of diversity whose impulses after an attack like yesterday are to shout “Islam is a religion of peace; not all Muslims are terrorists” would do well to realize that immigration plus terrorism is a threat to the ‘peaceful’ muslims, too.  Just ask the refugees in France whose camp caught fire last night.  A former coworker with whom I often disagree politically had this to say:

One gets tired of trying to fight against the impulse to prejudice and war. Everyone draws lines between friends and enemies. Everyone. Some say it’s the essential act of living together, which is the essential act of life. At the very least, it’s deep seated in human (as well as other animal) nature. For how long–how long–in the face of brutality and horror and loss, can people be expected to suspend judgment, make ourselves vulnerable, ignore emotionally compelling generalizations, and pay attention only to the individual, whom we know barely, if at all, without categorizing or assuming in the least? One gets tired.

And then you see that refugees who’ve fled to France to escape ISIS and the madness in Syria are being burned in their tents in Calais. The Socialist president Hollande promises to be pitiless. And terrorist attacks and astounding courage in Beirut or Kobani go completely unremarked, as if they couldn’t matter less. And you remember the pitilessness and brutality of French colonialism in Lebanon, and Syria, and so many other places, much less than a century ago. And you remember this: that people drawing bright lines between friends and enemies always, always, always do it badly, and do it even worse when they’re afraid…

Keep fighting against that ugly, mean, and cowardly prejudice, as well as brutality and horror.

He — and the Pope — have an important point here.  This clash of civilizations has been allowed to go on for close to three decades (it well precedes 9/11, though most TV-absorbed Americans could hardly be expected to realize that).  The longer such a slow-motion struggle goes on, the more it hardens the hearts on both sides.  For the sake not only of the West, but for the ability of non-jihad-inclined Muslims to live in peace, we MUST find a way to end this.  The best chance of doing so would seem to be in separating two fundamentally incompatible worldviews.

What might that look like?  Well, for starters:

  • SEAL THE BORDERS!  (I’ve been saying this for some time, and not just in the context of preventing terrorism)
  • Immediate ban on further immigration from the region of jihad: essentially an arc from sub-Saharan Africa through Iraq and Iran to Afghanistan, Pakistan and Indonesia, including — especially — Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Yemen, Syria, and Lebanon.  That includes ANY kind of visa, including temporary work or student visas.  For those who instantly want to cry out this is somehow unfair, I say this: pose your objections to the dead in Paris last night.  Life doesn’t always resolve into fair and unfair — sometimes it’s necessary to take a mildly distasteful act to prevent acts of carnage.  (Note: see update at bottom of post)
  • Immediate arrest and trial for treason for any figure who has in the past or in the future solicits financial or material support for ISIS, al Qada, Hezbollah, Hamas or the general concept of jihad.  Conviction — in an open courtroom subject to public scrutiny and oversight — should result in death.  It’s time to stop playing around — these people are invoking wanton death and destruction and it’s time that effort redounds to them instead.
  • A ban on any kind of ‘charitable contributions’ or financial support from the nations listed above coming into Europe or the United States.  All too often this is a network of financial support for the spreading of Wahhabism and the funding of terror networks — usually (particularly in the case of Saudi Arabia) with the complicity of the ruling families of the Middle East.  It is no less than active subversion, and should be recognized and banned as such.
  • A concerted effort, on the scale of the Manhattan Project if necessary, to develop fusion energy and other alternatives to fossil fuels, the proceeds from the sale of which end up in the hands of the House of Saud and other royal families who are far too inclined to use the profits to sow seeds of terrorism.  I’m not a climate change alarmist, but if you TRULY want to change the world, starving these groups of cash would be a good start.
  • Deglamorization of Islam in Western academia.  Yes, there have been fine works of art and literature produced in the Muslim world.  But a fair comparison of the fruits of that world compared with the advance of individual human liberty and dignity under Western Civilization should be standard fare in any education.  “By their fruits you will know them.”

In short, despite the emotional outpouring after 9/11, the growth of an unConstitutional surveillance state and the enormous expense of bumbling around in Afghanistan and Iraq, we have as a society been manifestly unserious about combating a deadly ideology that has infested our lands and continues to grow in potency.  That is why despite massive military operations overseas we have had a steady stream of violence at home: the Boston Marathon, shootings at Ft Hood and military recruiting offices, attempted violence in Texas, and the Charlie Hebdo shootings in France (not even a year ago!), just to name a few.

What good does it do to spend more on “defense” than the next 13 nations combined, when we open all the gates and allow our enemies to walk among us?  It’s time to stop worrying about being called “intolerant” for opposing real intolerance.  Our enemies have said openly that there’s only room for one system of belief.  It’s time we took that at face value and acted accordingly.  There is plenty of space in the Middle East for those who want to jihad amongst themselves.  We don’t have to import their nihilism into the West.  If we continue to do so, the day will come where intolerance results towards all Muslims, “peaceful” or not.

None of us should want that, any more than we want dozens to die in a major European capital.  So do we separate and live in peace, or do we allow our “elites” to continue their ridiculous experiment with forced diversity?  Will the next election mark a turning point in Americans demanding action of their government, or will we once again post our sympathetic pictures then hit the snooze button, waiting until a nuclear-fueled act of terror results in a backlash that will forever change the West AND the Muslim world?

Tick, tick, tick…

 

UPDATE: a friend privately messaged me that while he agrees with the overall post, an outright ban on immigration from the countries listed would be problematic because many persecuted Christians need to leave there in order to live.  He’s correct.  But as if to compound the imbecility of our immigration policy, about the only group that DOES have trouble getting access to the U.S. or the West is the Persecuted Church.  I absolutely agree we need to make accommodation for them, but I suspect our ‘leaders’ see that as possibly strengthening the very Church in the West to which they are actively hostile.

We literally live in a hell of a time…