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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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.

Boo-frickin’-hoo

Democrats, who profess such love for illegal immigrants, are now upset that Trump wants to give them more of what they love:

“Due to the fact that Democrats are unwilling to change our very dangerous immigration laws, we are indeed, as reported, giving strong considerations to placing Illegal Immigrants in Sanctuary Cities only,” the president wrote in a post on Twitter.

“….The Radical Left always seems to have an Open Borders, Open Arms policy – so this should make them very happy!” the president wrote in a second tweet.

It appears not:

“This reflects how much policymakers at the highest level of a government don’t understand what they’re dealing with,” [Rep. Lou Correa (D-Calif.)] said before Trump’s tweet. “When they say they’re going to punish sanctuary states, don’t they understand these workers are needed in this economy?”

If they’re so necessary, then what’s the problem, Congressman Correa?  Why would any Democrat have a problem with the administration placing illegal immigrants in their precious sanctuaries?

We’ve been told for years by these people that illegal immigrants are a net positive. They supposedly commit less crime (they don’t), do the jobs Americans won’t do, and provide valued diversity. The Democratic party believes that so much that they refuse to do anything to stem the tide. The media believes it so much that they run cover 24 hours a day for lax immigration efforts. CNN’s Jim Acosta once quoted the poem on the statue of liberty asserting that it was our duty to allow illegal immigration.

Given that, how is it consistent to now complain that the President wanted to send them exactly what they claim they want? I also think it’s silly for The Washington Post to describe this as “targeting foes,” as Democrats constantly proclaim illegal immigration is a general good. If I give you a something you say is good, no one would say I’m “targeting” you.

Something is off here.

No, we’re on to something here.  It’s the ultimate “NIMBY” (Not In My Backyard): Democrats virtue-signal about bringing in a limitless number of “tired, huddled masses, yearning to breathe free” — so long as they don’t have to deal with them.  That’s for all the rubes in flyover country.

If they were consistent, they’d be begging the President to send buses of illegals to their sanctuary cities. That’s what they exist for right? Why have sanctuary cities at all if not? They aren’t supportive of the President doing that though because they don’t actually want to help these people. They just want to use them as political pawns.

Trump needs to press this issue hard.  Democrats are proving they don’t believe their own bull about the value of illegal immigration invasion.  Time to tear them up about it.

I love having a President who’s capable of hoisting the Left on their own petard!  For all his faults, I look at Trump the way Abraham Lincoln looked at recovering alcoholic Ulysses S. Grant: “I can’t spare this man; he fights!”

Speaking of the Civil War, I’d be remiss if I didn’t note today is the anniversary of the firing on Ft. Sumter.  I frequently wonder these days when and where the next spark will ignite.  The powder is awfully dry.

Today’s readings

Two related readings I highly recommend today.  The first one is a bit long (including helpful infographics), but is an excellent summary of all we know to date regarding the efforts by bureaucrats to protect Her Hillariness, and later, attempt to overturn a duly elected administration.  The second reading places this knowledge in the light of broader trends that show the rule of law is, at best, on life support in this country.

Spygate: The Inside Story Behind the Alleged Plot to Take Down Trump.”  Excerpts:

This article builds on dozens of congressional testimonies, court documents, and other research to provide an inside look at the actions of Obama administration officials in the scandal that’s become known as Spygate.

To understand this abuse of power, it helps to go back to July 2011, when DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz was appointed.  From the very start, Horowitz found his duties throttled by Attorney General Eric Holder, who placed limitations on the inspector general’s right to have unobstructed access to information…

It is against this backdrop of minimal oversight that Spygate took place.

Starting in October 2015 and continuing into early 2016, FBI Director James Comey made a series of high-profile reassignments that resulted in the complete turnover of the upper-echelon of the FBI team working on the Clinton email investigation… Comey is the only known senior FBI leadership official who remained involved throughout the entire Clinton email investigation. McCabe had the second-longest tenure…

In order for Clinton to be prosecuted, the DOJ required the FBI to establish evidence of intent—even though the gross negligence statute explicitly does not require this…

As the Clinton investigation wound down, interest from the intelligence community in the Trump campaign was ramping up. Sometime in 2015, it appears former CIA Director John Brennan established himself as the point man to push for an investigation into the Trump campaign…

During this time, Brennan appeared to have employed the use of reverse targeting, which refers to the targeting of a foreign individual with the intent of capturing data on a U.S. citizen…

Meanwhile, another less official effort began. Information paid for by the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and the Clinton campaign targeting Trump made its way to the highest levels of the FBI and the State Department, with a sophisticated strategy relying on the personal connections of hired operatives…

Most definitely, read the entire piece.  Next, Kurt Schlichter places this labyrinthine conspiracy in a broader context of a two-tiered system of injustice:

The media hacks failed for two years-plus, nonstop and without equivocation, but are they ever going to be held to account? No, they’re just going to gather in a big circle and Pulitzer each other…

Imagine you committed a racial hate crime where you falsely accused people who didn’t look or think like you of a horrible atrocity… Now, what are the chances the DA is going to transform your 16 felony counts into a $10K fine and a couple days community servicing? Your chances of said outcome are poor. They are poor because your pals are neither Mrs. Obama or Willie Brown’s gal pal.

Now imagine that you studied really hard while the rich kids partied and smoked dope… Now imagine how you feel when Durwood Richguy IV gets admitted to Harvard when he can’t count past 10 with his Gucci loafers on and you get slotted on a waiting list for Gumbo State…

Imagine you handled classified information and you took it home and put it on your iPad. Do you think the FBI would be super-concerned with your feels about it and give you a pass, like Felonia Milhous von Pantsuit got from Jim Comey…?

Our elite is not elite. Instead, it’s a bunch of bums who somehow got a little money and took the reins of power and are now shaking-down our great nation for every penny they can wring out of it. We owe them nothing – not respect, not gratitude and certainly not obedience.

If you still wonder how we got Trump, just look around you. He’s a cry for help, a scream against the injustice we’re surrounded by. This injustice is poison to our country. (emphasis added) This injustice is what makes republics fall apart, when the worthless ruling class pushes its contempt in the people’s collective face so hard and for so long that the population finally screams “The hell with this!”

It can’t continue. It won’t continue.

I hope Schlichter’s correct, and that The Reckoning is about to happen.  A friend of mine used to say “nobody is completely useless; they can always serve as a bad example.”  The underhanded, scheming fifth columnists in government who facilitated the abuses included on the list above, can still serve their country well — if we make a proper example out of them.  Where we find evidence of wrongdoing, we need to be sure to respect judicial process and the presumption of innocence (something that should distinguish us from the modern Left).  But if found guilty, Lock Them Up!

Life and death in America

The battle lines are being drawn ever more starkly in this country, between those who believe in the sanctity of life, and those who believe it to be just another disposable commodity.

Pro-abortion activists believe Ruth Bader Ginsburg is their last hope of protecting the travesty known as Roe v. Wade.  And perhaps they’re right.  Interestingly, the “Notorious RBG” hasn’t been seen in public in over a month, having missed several oral arguments at the Supreme Court due to health issues (out of character for her).  Has anyone done a wellness check on her lately?  Some thought Tuesday’s State of the Union address might confirm whether she’s still an active Supreme Court Justice or we’re seeing a Democrat reenactment of the movie “Weekend at Bernie’s.”  But now we’re told she’ll be skipping it due to a schedule conflict.  How… convenient.

Sensing their time is short, abortionists are moving quickly to emplace laws at the State level that would allow the slaughter of the unborn to continue regardless the fate of the Roe precedent.  In their haste, they are dropping any pretense this is somehow about making abortion “safe, legal and rare,” as the tagline used to go.  No, this flurry of activity is about making abortion available on demand at any time, for any reason…

…including just after birth:

Virginia’s governor has drawn backlash after suggesting that a pregnancy could be terminated after the baby’s birth, as the state debates a bill relaxing restrictions on third trimester abortions.  Governor Ralph Northam, a Democrat, made the shocking remarks in an interview with WTOP-FM on Wednesday, as he attempted to explain a Democrat delegate’s earlier remarks.

Northam, a pediatric neurologist(!), described a hypothetical situation where a severely deformed newborn infant could be left to die.  He said that if a woman were to desire an abortion as she’s going into labor, the baby would be delivered and then ‘resuscitated if that’s what the mother and the family desired, and then a discussion would ensue’ between doctors and the mother.

So does this mean that for a period of time after a clump of cells fetus baby leaves the womb and draws breath it is still fair game for abandonment and death?  How long is that period?  Hours?  Days?  Weeks?  What if an impaired child affects a mother’s “mental health” when it reaches two years old?  The current crush of new laws go to great lengths to remove criminal penalties for killing an unborn child while assaulting the mother.  Activists correctly realized the contradiction in charging “fetal homicide” while still permitting abortion.  Their solution is to completely dehumanize the unborn in the eyes of the law, so they only become a “person” when born to a woman who wants them.  “Women’s rights” do not include being allowed to play God.

We’re constantly berated that nobody has the right to tell a woman what to do with her body. But an unborn child is not the woman’s body. It is a distinct individual, with its own DNA, fingerprints, and futureAny person’s choices are limited by society to the extent they impact others, and this, above all, should be no exception.  Aside from rape, every woman exercises her ‘choice’ in this matter by choosing to abstain from, or engage in, sexual activity.  Abortionists like to “what if” all manner of horrific but statistically insignificant scenarios, but the conclusion is inescapable the overwhelming majority of abortions are simply birth control after the fact, at the cost of a human life.

It’s only a small step, not a slope, from this point to arguing that any inconvenient life can be terminated.  The concept of “assisted suicide” already allows people to end their own life if they find it “too painful.”  But last year the Netherlands began an investigation into a doctor who allegedly had family hold a patient down while he inserted a fatal IV drip against her will.

I commented recently on the willingness of political opponents now to say things that would have been considered beyond the pale just a generation ago: “Put the MAGA hat kids in the woodchipper,” “Burn their school down,” and of course an alleged comedian holding a simulated severed head of the president.  Add this to the general devaluation of life that abortion and euthanasia represent, and we have an explosive cocktail indeed.  Earlier generations of Marxists had no qualms about “breaking a few eggs” in the quest for their socialist paradise.  Given the opportunity, I suspect their ideological descendants today would feel the same way.

Still wonder why many of us are determined to protect the right to bear arms?  In a culture of death, the means of self-defense are essential.

Do you know what direction your State is headed on this issue?  Will it protect the first heartbeat, or enable the murder of a person on the verge of birth?  How will you help ensure your State chooses life?

This -n- That

There’s been a lot going on this week.  While I haven’t had time to write a long-form post till now, here are a few scattered thoughts on recent developments:

It’s interesting that for a couple days it looked as though Trump were going squishy on demanding funding for border security (the wall).  But as with many issues in this administration, it often seems the news coverage greatly exaggerates the death of the president’s resolve on key issues (and this may the media’s intent).  It says something that within 24 hours the talk went from Trump being stymied by his own party in the House, to Speaker Ryan very publicly bending to the administration’s wishes.  In short, Trump comes out of this with a stronger hand, not a weaker one, even if the Senate fails to follow through.

Meanwhile, in the tradition of Tocqueville’s observations about Americans self-organizing, “we the people” are making a stab at ‘doing the jobs our government won’t do,’ to appropriate a phrase.  In less than 4 days, a private fundraising effort for the wall has drawn nearly 200,000 donors and, as of this writing, over $12.1 million.  While this large sum is dwarfed by the estimated $5 billion to build the wall, the enthusiasm being shown may well have tipped the balance for the actions in the House yesterday.  There is, after all, more than one way for the citizens to make their point, if they are determined to do so.

The departure of Secretary of Defense James Mattis set many tongues wagging yesterday.  Mattis was a highly regarded Marine general and military intellectual, known as the ‘warrior monk’ before putting on the suit and taking over as SECDEF.  But as others have pointed out, having operational and tactical savvy doesn’t necessarily translate into strategic acumen.  Regardless, it appears his resignation was predicated on disagreeing with Trump’s intent to disengage from Syria and greatly reduce our footprint in Afghanistan.  If they fundamentally disagreed on these policies, the honorable thing was for him to resign, not to backbite the president from the official perch at the Pentagon.  So regardless whether Trump’s policy proves wise or not, I respect Mattis for his action.  I also respect Trump for following through on a campaign promise to stop policing the world.  Unless someone can articulate a very clear, rational vision of what staying in Afghanistan can achieve, it’s time to recognize 17 years of occupation is long enough.  Let Syria and Afghanistan figure out their own destinies, and let’s free America to do the same by extricating ourselves from all these nebulous multilateral commitments.

That includes immigration.  The United Nations lived up to its reputation as wanting to be a global proto-government by creating a “Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration.”  In other words, facilitating the mass movement of peoples into alien lands.  The United States was one of only five nations who refused to sign onto the compact, correctly noting it was an attempt to create international “soft law” that would infringe on our national sovereignty.  The other four refusals came from Israel, Hungary, Poland and the Czech Republic — all of whom have been under pressure for months due to their refusal to allow open passage across their borders.  Instead, they are putting the needs of their own citizens first… and what’s so immoral about that?

The real immorality today is the utter lack of accountability shown by the leaders of these various nations to the aspirations of their people and the requirements of the law. Whether it’s Theresa May slow-rolling the Brexit process, Emmanuel Macron trying to tax his people in the name of dubious “climate change” fearmongering or former FBI Director James Comey showing his utter disregard for legal protocols, the attitude is the same.  The main question today is how much longer will these globalist charlatans escape consequences for their actions.