“When you strike at a king…”

“…you better not miss.”

Victor Davis Hanson summarizes what we now know about the failed Deep State efforts since 2016 to delegitimize, undermine and remove the duly elected president of the United States.  As Hanson notes, “there are many elements to what in time likely will become recognized as the greatest scandal in American political history…”

In candidate and President Trump’s case that prepping of the battlefield translated into a coordinated effort among the media, political progressives and celebrities to so demonize Trump that his imminent removal likely would appear a relief to the people. Anything was justified that led to that end.

All through the 2016 campaign and during the first two years of the Trump presidency the media’s treatment, according to liberal adjudicators of press coverage, ran about 90 percent negative toward Trump—a landmark bias that continues today.

It’s worth noting this demonization efforts extends to Trump’s supporters.  In its haste to smear Trump and the MAGA movement, the media recently got both the story of the Covington students and a hoax ‘hate crime’ against a TV star badly wrong.  But they wonder why so many Americans are receptive to the charge the corporate news media is “fake news.”  Hanson continues:

At the same time, liberal attorneys, foundations, Democratic politicians, and progressive activists variously sued to overturn the election on false charges of rigged voting machines. They sought to subvert the Electoral College. They introduced articles of impeachment. They sued to remove Trump under the Emoluments Clause. They attempted to invoke the 25th Amendment. And they even resurrected the ossified Logan Act—before focusing on the appointment of a special counsel to discredit the Trump presidency. Waiting for the 2020 election was seen as too quaint.

During the 2016 election, the Obama Department of Justice warped the Clinton email scandal investigation, from Bill Clinton’s secret meeting on an airport tarmac with Attorney General Loretta Lynch, to unethical immunity given to the unveracious Clinton aides Huma Abedin and Cheryl Mills, to James Comey’s convoluted predetermined treatment of “likely winner” Clinton, and to DOJ’s Bruce Ohr’s flagrant conflict of interests in relation to Fusion GPS.

About a dozen FBI and DOJ grandees have now resigned, retired, been fired, or reassigned for unethical and likely illegal behavior—and yet have not faced criminal indictments.

Here’s hoping the key word in that last paragraph is “yet.”

The Crown Jewel in the coup was the appointment of special counsel Robert Muller to discover supposed 2016 Trump-Russian election collusion. Never has any special investigation been so ill-starred from its conception.  Mueller… packed his investigative team with lots of Clinton donors and partisans, some of whom had legally represented Clinton subordinates and even the Clinton Foundation or voiced support for anti-Trump movements…

Mueller’s preemptive attacks offered an effective offensive defense for the likely felonious behavior of John Brennan, James Clapper, James Comey, Andrew McCabe, Bruce Ohr, Peter Strzok, and a host of others. While the Mueller lawyers threatened to destroy the lives of bit players like Jerome Corsi, George Papadopoulos, and Roger Stone, they de facto provided exemption to a host of the Washington hierarchy who had lied under oath, obstructed justice, illegally leaked to the press, unmasked and leaked names of surveilled Americans, and misled federal courts under the guise of a “higher loyalty” to the cause of destroying Donald J. Trump.

…sanctimonious arrogant bureaucrats in suits and ties used their government agencies to seek to overturn the 2016 election, abort a presidency, and subvert the U.S. Constitution. And they did all that and more on the premise that they were our moral superiors and had uniquely divine rights to destroy a presidency that they loathed.

And if there’s any justice left in this nation, their overreach will result in the destruction of an unelected Deep State apparatus that patriots have come to loathe.  I’ve sensed in recent days the administration may be preparing to finally counterattack this network and pursue these traitors.  I pray that is in fact the case.  If our Republic is to survive, a very painful and public example must be made.  Make the rubble bounce, Mr. President!

A spineless Congress

It’s no wonder Americans have such a low regard for Congress, when government officials are allowed to thumb their noses at it with impunity.  In recent memory the worst sanction the legislature has given to a recalcitrant official has been to hold Eric Holder in “contempt of Congress” — the first sitting Attorney General ever to be so designated.  That only has effect if the target has any sense of shame, which few in D.C. Mordor do anymore.  Official designation or not, it’s clear much of official Washington shares that contempt.

But it doesn’t have to be this way.

It’s no coincidence that defiance from Holder, Lerner, Rosenstein and Wray parallels the public’s near-record low approval of Congress, which, according to the RealClearPolitics average, hit a meager 14.2 percent earlier this week.

But Congress has only itself to blame because the Constitution gives the first branch it created “all of the ultimate weapons in any showdown with either of the other two branches,” in the memorable phrasing of professors Willmoore Kendall and George Carey in their classic “The Basic Symbols of the American Political Tradition.”

Here are five of those “ultimate weapons,” whose deployment ultimately depends on the will of Speaker of the House Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to defend the right of Congress to be the people’s representatives…

Put somebody in jail.

Impose a big fine.

Invoke the power of the purse

Cut the workforce.

More political appointees.

It’s worth reading the description of these five options at the link.  Despite the frequency of choreographed televised hearings, Congress has largely abdicated its oversight role with regard to the Federal bureaucracy.  This was apparent at least by the time of the “Fast and Furious” gunwalking scandal and the IRS investigations, during which the agencies slow-rolled Congress’ requests for information with impunity.  True oversight involves exercising the power to compel compliance.  The Founders intended the legislature to be “first among equals” within the branches of government.  They, not unelected paper-pushers, represent the people.

The president has less power than people imagine over employees in the Executive Branch.  While he can fire political appointees, career bureaucrats have created a byzantine disciplinary process that, in effect, prevents nearly anyone from losing their job.  I encountered this while supervising relatively low-level “civil servants” — I can only imagine how much more difficult things are in the executive suites.

With a majority in Congress, however, it should be a simple thing to put entire departments like the FBI on notice: comply with legislative directives and requests, or perish as an agency.  Congress can defund any activity of the government with a simple vote.  Unfortunately, Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell have shown zero interest in actually asserting Congress’ prerogatives.  They are as much a part of the swamp as the agencies running amok, as the recent omnibus bill debacle shows.  That should be a key issue during these midterms — voters need to seek candidates who will support Trump’s “swamp draining,” and that includes pledging to vote in new Congressional leadership.

But for any of this to happen, We the People will need to be more focused than ever this election cycle.  The election of Trump will accomplish little if voters allow the legislature to defend the status quo by resolute inaction.

Trump vs. the “slow roll”

These paragraphs are a very true statement:

Not only are there two Americas. There are two governments: one elected and one not, one that alternates between Republicans and Democrats and one that remains, decade after decade, stubbornly liberal, contemptuous of Congress, and resistant to change. It is this second government and its allies in the media and the Democratic Party that are after President Trump, that want him driven from office before his term is complete.

You think I exaggerate. But consider this: When a former Defense official who teaches at Georgetown Law School takes to Foreign Policy to propose “3 Ways to Get Rid of President Trump Before 2020,” and when one of those ways is “a military coup, or at least a refusal by military leaders to obey certain orders,” we are in unknown and extremely unsettling territory.

Up until now, the more powerful of those “two governments” has been the career Civil Service bureaucrats, who more than once have pretended to go along with a reformer’s agenda, all the while throwing logjams in the way.  Trump’s firing of acting Attorney General Sally Yates seems a positive indication he is unwilling to put up with that longtime practice.  The next question is what he will do with the hundreds of State Department employees who are publicly disagreeing with his policy.  They’ve cowered behind a whistleblower system that is meant to protect actual reporting of malpractice, so the House has warned Trump not to retaliate.  Fine, but I’d say the signatories now bear close watching.  If they are not complying with current policy, that’s grounds for firing with cause.

We are long overdue for civil service reform, and I say that from personal experience.  Whether it’s a twenty-year civilian careerist telling a military commander “that’s just not how we do things around here” or senior executives who don’t actually have the credentials they claimed in order to get hired, or longtime employees who are unable to contribute productively and yet are impossible to fire (I’ve seen all these cases, and more), the system is rife with dead wood and personal fiefdoms.  This is part of the “Deep State” that never really changes, no matter who’s in the White House or Congress.

If Trump can shake that up so that the ENTIRE government is responsive to the people, not just the figureheads, he will have accomplished more than most presidents in the past century.  Here’s hoping.

And as for the leftists who’ve lost their mind and are even entertaining the thought of a military coup to remove Trump before the end of his term, such statements are ***already illegal*** and should land you in jail.  Maybe there they would have time to come to their senses.  That’s one genie we don’t want out of the bottle in this country, so be careful what you wish for.  Political violence has already become far too acceptable to the Left, based on all the rioting before and since the election.  What’s sauce for the goose usually becomes sauce for the gander, and as they say: payback’s a *****.  These people don’t realize the forces they’re trying to conjure up and will later greatly regret.

Abolish the VA… for starters

It’s become clear the Veterans Administration is incapable of meeting the mandate of “physician, heal thyself.”  It is time to dismantle the entire bureaucracy.  Instead of attempting to run hospitals, clinics and other services (something it is demonstrably incompetent and negligent in doing), it would be better for the Department of Defense to have a small administrative division whose sole purpose is to manage retiree healthcare payments that allow them to get care on the civilian market, where the quality is exponentially higher.

Indeed, the VA is Exhibit A when discussing the problems of government-run healthcare.  There is no accountability.  None.

Rima Nelson disappeared from public view after the St. Louis Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) hospital she managed potentially exposed 1,800 patients to HIV, was closed twice for serious medical safety issues and ranked dead last in patient satisfaction.

But Nelson wasn’t fired. Her VA superiors hid her literally on the other side of the Earth in 2013 at the department’s only foreign facility, a seldom-used clinic inside the palatial U.S. Embassy in the Philippines capital city of Manila.

She resides in a government-provided condo and gets the same $160,000 salary she made in St. Louis, which allows her to live like royalty in a country where the average person makes only $2,500 a year.

This musical chairs game for incompetent or misbehaving executives is endemic within government service–and I’ve experienced it firsthand.  Civil Service rules make it so difficult to discipline or fire a bad employee that people simply swap problems, never putting in the enormous effort it takes to generate a system response that actually solved the issue (by terminating its employment).  In one of my last gigs for Uncle Sam, I had a GS-15 supervisor who routinely flouted all the rules and was abusive toward subordinates.  I attempted to upchannel the team’s concerns, but was largely ignored until said supervisor committed such an egregious foul that they finally had to take seriously what was being said.  After a command-directed investigation (no fun for anyone involved), this individual was removed from their leadership role… and transferred to a non-supervisory position with considerably less responsibility.  The kicker?  Under a crazy rule called “save pay,” he continued to draw a GS-15 salary, despite moving to a GS-12 billet.  So after all the extra headaches for those who were willing to jump through the Rube Goldberg machine to generate some accountability, the net result was this bad apple continued to draw the same amount of pay for doing even less work.

Nice incentive system you have there, Uncle Sam.  Don’t get me wrong: there are dedicated people in the employ of the Federal Government — I’ve met a number of them.  But I’m convinced they are far outnumbered by people who could never hope to command similar salaries in the private sector, due to a lack of talent, work ethic, integrity, or all of the above.  The system design subsidizes–even rewards–subpar performance.  And as the cases linked above show, it far too often protects malfeasance and criminal neglect, frequently going so far as to hide the offenders in out-of-the-way places, and retaliating against employees who point out systematic problems.

So consider carefully, America, just how much you want to be dependent upon these government bureaucrats and their mutual protection racket.  As the saying goes, anyone who has seen public housing should know that public healthcare isn’t a good idea.  And anyone who’s had dealings with the VA should know that government-run means third rate at best, compared to private sector options.  As much as I am absolutely opposed to Bernie Sanders’ agenda on all its particulars, he has said at least one wise thing I’m aware of: “If you can’t afford to take care of your veterans, don’t go to war.”  Our nation goes to war far too frivolously, and all too often tries to limit the bill to the actual fighting, rather than count the true cost of rebuilding the broken participants afterwards.

A final point: Americans have been conditioned to genuflect toward the military (a problem in itself).  “Thank you for your service” comes easily to peoples’ lips these days.

You want to thank veterans for their service?  Demand the government get out of the way and let them get the care they need from the best possible source — a provider they (not the government) choose in the private sector.  Even better — use the freedom veterans thought they were protecting for you to demand better of your alleged “public servants” all across government — not just the VA.  Hold officials accountable, including sending those who can’t or won’t provide value to the unemployment line where far too many veterans already languish.

Otherwise the American Idol act is just cheap feel-good talk.

Government giveth, government taketh away

As if the annual fleecing process known as filing your taxes wasn’t already opaque, painful, and a ridiculous exercise in government control:

Half of the households that received subsidies to help pay health insurance premiums last year under the Affordable Care Act will probably have to repay some of that money to the federal government, according to a new analysis by the Kaiser Family Foundation.

If the Supreme Court ever wanted to earn back some respect from the productive, independent-minded part of the electorate, they would finally kill this Obamanation once and for all during the current term.  It’s bad policy, badly written law, and a prime example of government arrogance run amok these days.

And never forget: even the architects of it admit it only passed because of a lack of transparency and “the stupidity of the American people!”

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Money for nothing

The Washington Post notes the government is just figuring out that getting accused of misconduct is often a way to earn paid leave:

Tens of thousands of federal workers are being kept on paid leave for at least a month — and often for longer stretches that can reach a year or more — while they wait to be punished for misbehavior or cleared and allowed to return to work, government records show.

During a three-year period that ended last fall, more than 57,000 employees were sent home for a month or longer. The tab for these workers exceeded $775 million in salary alone.   …About 4,000 more were kept off the job for three months to a year and several hundred for one to three years.

This is ridiculous.  The rights of employees to be presumed innocent unless proven guilty is rightfully sacrosanct.  But if the investigation into wrongdoing is going to take “one to three years,” there needs to be some way by which said employee continues to earn their keep.  This is a supervisory problem.  I’d venture to say that most of these cases shouldn’t take as long as they do to resolve — given the inherent inefficiencies of government this is likely a case of bureaucracy compounding bureaucracy.  As the article points out:

At many private companies, paid leave is rarely used, if at all, and lasts a few days at most, personnel experts said. An employee accused of wrongdoing either stays at the office and is reassigned, or is suspended without pay.  “The private sector is focused on operating efficiently,” said Kathy Albarado, chief executive of Helios HR, a consulting firm based in Northern Virginia.  … “So they’re motivated to ensure they’re resolving any dispute quickly.”

That, in a nutshell, is the difference between the public and private sector.  So why do Americans keep demanding ever-larger inefficient government?  Government that doesn’t even give them what they pay for?

 

Public School updates

If a single ‘homeschooling’ family is found to have had criminal issues, it’s usually considered an indictment of the entire approach to education.  Well, what to make of these, then?

* Philadelphia school cheating probe widens; more than 100 educators targeted

* City ignored pleas to axe ‘lunatic’ principal

* Six more former Atlanta Public Schools employees admit to test-cheating

* Chicago Public Schools watchdog targets faked school attendance, grades

* Still more questions in case of deceased CPS worker who stole school funds

* Power outage closes 30 Detroit public schools

* Missouri parents may have to report gun ownership to schools

As Glenn Reynolds says on occasion, sending your kids to public school may be akin to parental malpractice