Time to alter or abolish

Can anyone make an argument these days that our government does more good than harm? That it actually represents the aspirations of our people, rather than that of a transnational elite that is more interested in personal gain than the public good?

Exhibit A: Congressional leaders finally got around to green-lighting another coronavirus relief package, as part of a $2.3 trillion, 5,500-page pile of last-minute legislation that represents the largest bill ever passed by Congress. The orgy of spending passed hours before the government’s current spending authority was set to lapse. Rank and file members of Congress had only hours to review the final backroom deal before being required to vote on it. I’ve shouted for some time now that this inability of Congress to pass an annual budget before the start of the new fiscal year is simply intolerable, and should always result in them losing their seats. As with everything else, in 2020, this has been further compounded by the coronavirus. I’m not a fan of direct payments to citizens, and I believe this has set a horrible precedent. That said, the $1200 per person earlier this year, plus the $600 just approved, is nothing short of insulting, considering what ELSE was included in all the spending:

  • $500 million of foreign aid for Israel (with a population of 8.9 million, that’s $56.17/Israeli)
  • $453 million to the Ukraine (haven’t we been entangled enough with them already?)
  • $700 million to Sudan (why?)
  • $135 million for Burma (ditto…)
  • $130 million for Nepal (ditto…)
  • $25 million to Pakistan, including money for “gender programs” (I’m sure THAT will make them love us…)
  • Approval of two new Smithsonian museums (wonder when it’ll be “safe” to visit them?)
  • $14 billion for municipal mass-transit systems, airports and AMTRAK (aren’t we supposed to be at home?)

This is but a small sample, but it makes the point:

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Echoes of Cromwell

So the House of Representatives stands adjourned, having failed to transmit the articles of impeachment to the Senate for action.  You know, the articles that were so urgent they were rammed through in a party-line vote.  Mixed messages much?

Perhaps when Congress returns to town they should be forced to listen to this speech from nearly four centuries past:

It is high time for me to put an end to your sitting in this place, which you have dishonored by your contempt of all virtue, and defiled by your practice of every vice; ye are a factious crew, and enemies to all good government; ye are a pack of mercenary wretches, and would like Esau sell your country for a mess of pottage, and like Judas betray your God for a few pieces of money.

Is there a single virtue now remaining amongst you? Is there one vice you do not possess? Ye have no more religion than my horse; gold is your God; which of you have not barter’d your conscience for bribes? Is there a man amongst you that has the least care for the good of the Commonwealth?

Ye sordid prostitutes have you not defil’d this sacred place, and turn’d the Lord’s temple into a den of thieves, by your immoral principles and wicked practices? Ye are grown intolerably odious to the whole nation; you were deputed here by the people to get grievances redress’d, are yourselves gone! So! Take away that shining bauble there, and lock up the doors.

In the name of God, go!”  (emphasis added)

Oliver Cromwell, dismissing by force the English Long Parliament – April 20, 1653

These are no longer merely parliamentary games.  The Democrats are carelessly playing with literal fire.  Confidence in Congress has been in the dumpster since long before the current chapter.  The bewildered reaction of the Left to the 2016 election showed they simply did not comprehend the level of anger in the country — an anger that had only been stoked by their treatment of the earlier, more ‘polite’ Tea Party movement.  The past couple of days show they are either still clueless, or past the point of caring.

Trump is undoubtedly no Cromwell.  But the more the Democrats shred our institutions and precedents in their hunt for his scalp, the more the door is opened for one to appear.  When social and/or governing systems break down, people cast about for the rescuer on the white horse.  Not since the early 1930s has the U.S. been so ripe for such a development.

History will judge Pelosi’s partisans as harshly as Cromwell judged his own miscreant legislature.  Perhaps, like the England of old, the U.S. is due for a reminder just how rare, precious and fragile self-government really is.

What respect for the Founding looks like

If Attorney General Bill Barr approaches his duties consistent with the philosophy of original intent he highlights here, he may be one of the best nominees Trump has put into office.  This entire speech is worth your time, either by reading or watching.

Excerpts:

“…In any age, the so-called progressives treat politics as their religion.  Their holy mission is to use the coercive power of the State to remake man and society in their own image, according to an abstract ideal of perfection.  Whatever means they use are therefore justified because, by definition, they are a virtuous people pursing a deific end.  They are willing to use any means necessary to gain momentary advantage in achieving their end, regardless of collateral consequences and the systemic implicationsThey never ask whether the actions they take could be justified as a general rule of conduct, equally applicable to all sides.  (emphasis added)

Conservatives, on the other hand, do not seek an earthly paradise.  We are interested in preserving over the long run the proper balance of freedom and order necessary for healthy development of natural civil society and individual human flourishing.  This means that we naturally test the propriety and wisdom of action under a “rule of law” standard.  For these reasons, conservatives tend to have more scruple over their political tactics and rarely feel that the ends justify the means.  And this is as it should be, but there is no getting around the fact that this puts conservatives at a disadvantage when facing progressive holy war, especially when doing so under the weight of a hyper-partisan media…  (emphasis added)

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Showdown

Tomorrow (Wednesday), the House of Representatives will attempt to legitimize their “impeachment inquiry” by holding televised hearings.  Make no mistake, though: this is as much a sham as every other bucket of mud they’ve thrown at the President over the last three years.  It is nothing less than sedition:

Exhibit A: “Sedition is overt conduct, such as speech and organization, that tends toward insurrection against the established order. Sedition often includes subversion of a constitution and incitement of discontent towards, or resistance against established authority.” (Wikipedia, emphasis added)

Exhibit B: tweets in 2017 by Mark Zaid, the lawyer for the shadowy “whistleblower” upon whose anonymous, second-hand statement this whole debacle of a proceeding depends:

Audio-Image-Mark-Zaid-Tweets

Consider that not long before these tweets, Peter Stzrok and his FBI lover, Lisa Page, were texting about putting into place an “insurance” policy in the case of a Trump win.

And we’re told there’s no such thing as the Deep State.  Right…

These people like to claim they’re acting on some “higher authority,” but what that really means is that they refuse to recognize the authority of the American people, who put Trump into office.  For three years they’ve been trying to overturn an election, and even with the 2020 election less than a year away, their efforts continue.

It continues to be my hope that Trump, Attorney General Barr, DOJ Inspector General Horowitz and U.S. Attorney John Huber have carefully uncovered and documented the trail of sedition that has consumed this nation since 2016, and are ready to present their case to the public — complete with multiple indictments, prosecutions, convictions and punishments.  If the source “Q” is to be believed, we’re just about there:

indictments

The current controversies, and next year’s election, are a defining moment for the U.S.  To quote Victor Davis Hanson again:

Like it or not, 2020 is going to be a plebiscite on an American version of Orwell’s Nineteen-Eighty-Four. One side advocates a complete transformation not just of the American present but of the past as well. The Left is quite eager to change our very vocabulary and monitor our private behavior to ensure we are not just guilty of incorrect behavior but thought as well.

The other side believes America is far better than the alternative, that it never had to be perfect to be good, and that, all and all, its flawed past is a story of a moral nation’s constant struggle for moral improvement.

One side will say, “Just give us more power and we will create heaven on earth.” The other says “Why would anyone wish to take their road to an Orwellian nightmare?” The 2020 election is that simple.

And so is the Congressional circus that will begin playing out on television beginning tomorrow.

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Note to readers: yes, it’s been quite a while since I posted.  All I can say is that it’s a challenge just keeping up with the depths of deception and misdirection being thrown around these days, much less trying to synthesize it into commentary.  Thanks to those who’ve inquired about the extended absence.  Several times I’ve started to post, then thought better of it.  I can’t promise this post marks a return to regular writing.  It was born of a sense we may be reaching a crescendo in the near future.  Pray and speak out accordingly.

A feature, not a bug

So Congress has only passed 12 laws so far this year?  Great!  That’s still probably close to a dozen more than are necessary.

Democrats flush with a new House majority after nearly a decade in the minority are sending over a rash of bills most political watchers believe have little chance of passing the Senate, such as universal background checks for gun purchases, net neutrality, climate change, congressional ethics, expanding voter access, raising the minimum wage and more.  ((“a rash of bills,” or “a lot of rash bills?  — Jemison))

The Senate was designed to be a speed brake on ill-considered legislation (of which there appears to be a considerable amount of late). Congress should be judged by the wisdom of its output, not its quantity.  So here’s an agenda I’d offer Congress:

  1. Pass next year’s Federal Budget BEFORE the end of the current fiscal year for once
  2. Repeal the 16th Amendment, abolish the IRS and institute a national sales tax
  3. Confirm or reject whatever nominees remain before the Senate
  4. Go home and let the American people live their lives for the next year.
  5. Repeat #1, #3 and #4 annually

Who’s with me?

For those with ears to hear

I was impressed by President Trump’s State of the Union address.  It was one of his better public speaking performances, and whoever helped him craft the remarks instilled some great message discipline.  The speech covered a wide range of topics, some of which I thought could have been left for a different venue in order to tighten up the key points.  But those key points shone through, as this analysis by Glenn Reynolds shows:

So one of the interesting things about Trump’s speech last night is how it seemed calculated to demolish all the standard anti-Trump tropes from the media and from the left and to do so with compelling imagery. Consider:

Trump’s a Nazi: Praise for Holocaust survivors, and a touching rendition of “Happy Birthday.” (With Trump waving his fingers like a conductor).
Trump hates minorities: Brags about record low black, Hispanic, and Asian unemployment — while white-clad Democratic women, overwhelmingly white themselves, sat prune-faced.
Trump’s a Russian tool: Withdrawing from the INF Treaty.
Trump’s a warmonger: Without me, Trump says, we’d be at war on the Korean peninsula. Also, I’m looking at pulling out of Afghanistan.
Trump hates women: Except he got even the prune-faced white-clad Democratic women up dancing (and chanting “USA! USA!”) when he talked about record female employment in and out of Congress.

And his rebuke to socialism was designed to strip the glamour that the media have tried to imbue it with by tying it to the abject misery of Venezuela.

In debate, I think this is called cutting across your opponent’s flow. ((As a former competitive debater, I can confirm that term.  – Jemison))  And I think it’s Trump’s opening shot at 2020, as well as an effort to undercut the “Resistance” in and out of Congress. Plus, as Ann Althouse notes, despite the predictions of lefties like Robert Reich (see below) it was all wrapped in optimism and sunny American exceptionalism.

Genuinely Reaganesque.

There’s one Reynolds missed.  While I’m not in favor of the government providing taxpayer-funded family leave after the birth of a child, I was very glad to see him pivot from the “image of a mother holding her new baby” to the horrors of the recent pro-abortion legislation in New York and Virginia.  The contrast was deliberate and well-executed, followed by a call to Congress to outlaw late-term abortion (it’s a start).

Overall I was encouraged by the way in which the speech was an invitation to work together for the good of the country, without retreating from strongly held policy positions.  If the goal in politics is to capture the middle ground, I think Trump did a good job of it last night.

Naturally, many in the country today are dismissing everything he had to say.  Some, like Senator Chuck Schumer, were dismissing it even before hearing it.  No matter how reasonable Trump tries to be, nor how many facts he arms his talking points with, there will continue to be those partisans who refuse to listen.  Not only because they are invested in the Democratic party, but because they abhor the vision of America Trump’s election represents — a return to the roots, if you will.  The most “Reaganesque” moment of the speech in my opinion was when Trump pledged our nation would never be a socialist country.  The fact there were audible boos in the halls of Congress to this rejection of socialism should be a wakeup call to Americans who value their freedom.  It is not hyperbole to say there are members of Congress dedicated to subverting everything our Constitution and our history stand for.  They will not be swayed by reasonable arguments, demonstrable facts or the evidences of history.  They will have to be fought tooth and nail as if the survival of our nation depends on it.

Because it does.

Be resolute, Mr. Trump

Today is traditionally the day people finish compiling their list of “New Years Resolutions.”  Last March, President Trump strongly warned Congress against sending him another hash of a budget that refused to address illegal immigration.  Having thrown that gauntlet, it’s vital Trump stay resolute on the issue during the current partial government shutdown.  It’s won’t be easy, as even his own party (with a few notable exceptions) refuses to give him the support any Democrat in Congress would be expected to provide a president of their own:

Donald J. Trump is hated even more by the Republican establishment than he is by the Democrats. That has become apparent as the “leadership” of outgoing Republican Speaker of the House Paul Ryan has overseen the greatest legislative retreat in history. Given all of the advantages that being in the majority offers, Ryan squandered every single one of them — from repealing the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) to building the wall. Because the GOP could not maintain a decisive record of legislative victories over the last two years, particularly on things that have long animated the Right (such as immigration enforcement), the voters awarded the Democratic Party control of the House of Representatives…

In a recent poll conducted by Harvard University of all places, 80 percent of all voters say the United States needs a secure border — including 68 percent of Democratic Party voters. Meanwhile, 79 percent of voters polled by Harvard want immigration status to be conferred to those who have the “ability to contribute to America” (with 87 percent of Republicans and 72 percent of Democrats agreeing with that claim). Essentially, despite what the punditariat may claim, President Donald Trump is on the right side of one of the most pressing issues of our time…

With just a single week left, the Republicans could have done something to further the cause of immigration enforcement that a majority of American voters clearly support. Unfortunately, though, the cowards have opted instead to adhere to the wishes of the oligarchs who fund most Republican political activities these days. The GOP has decided to allow the clock to run down and Donald Trump, the president that most of them hate with extreme prejudice (more than the Democrats do), to look bad.

Which is why, in 2020, those who support the president must make every effort to provide Congressmen and Senators who will work with him, instead of against him.  If that means cleaning out a lot of prominent names through primary challenges, so much the better.

Cleaning house is always an appropriate New Years Resolution.  If Trump stands firm this year, the least we can do is be resolute in return in 2020.

In the meantime, may 2019 be a good year for all those who read here.  Happy New Year!

A turning of the tide?

Leftists are in full meltdown over the announcement Justice Anthony Kennedy will step down from the Supreme Court July 31. This action provides President Trump an opportunity to nominate yet another Constitutionalist like Neil Gorsuch to the court. Should Trump serve two full terms, it is likely he will nominate the replacement for Ruth Bader Ginsburg as well.

The enemies of our Constitutional system are in abject terror over the possibility, now increased, the Court will undo decades of judicial activism. Unable to enact their agenda through the ballot box, the Left sought to impose it instead by abusive judicial fiat. But just as unconstitutional executive orders by Obama could be undone by corrective orders from Trump, the shredding of the Constitution can be reversed by a Supreme Court made up of Justices who respect it.  The impact of these nominations on the next 20 to 30 years cannot be overstated.  It’s vital to elect America First Constitutionalists (sadly, only a subset of the GOP) this fall, and ensure Trump’s reelection in 2020.  Things are going well for patriots lately, but as Glenn Reynolds frequently channels Han Solo, “don’t get cocky, kid.”

On other fronts:

-The Supreme Court, even with Justice Kennedy still on it, has issued a couple of key rulings, freeing pro-life crisis pregnancy centers from being forced to provide information on how to obtain an abortion, and denying unions the ability to force payments from non-members (which usually ends up in liberal political campaigns).

– The reputation of the FBI is hardly helped when Peter Strzok answers a Congressional subpoena to testify in a classified forum, but reportedly refuses to answer the most germane questions by claiming “it’s classified” or declining to answer “on advice of counsel.”  What are the FBI’s lawyers encouraging him to continue hiding?

– A former Hillary 2016 Campaign officer has been indicted for soliciting sexual access to children as young as two years old.  And from the “you can’t make this up” files, he was also chairman of the International Campaign to Stop Rape and Gender Violence in Conflict charity.  As they say, fishermen go where the fish are.

– Without Obama propping them up with pallets of cash, the Iranian regime is suddenly experiencing a popular backlash again.  The previous administration’s failure to support Iranian dissidents was inexcusable.  Worth noting: “Q” indicated a week ago Iran was about to get interesting again… another tick of credibility for those keeping score.

– The GOP seems to have a few more members with spines lately, as the latest attempt to pass an amnesty for illegal immigrants has been soundly defeated.  Eternal vigilance is required on this issue, however.

Keep praying hard!  If God can resurrect His Son or an army of dry bones, He can certainly revive our nation!  Let’s seek daily to have our nation bless Him, that He may show favor to us even at this late hour.

Slowing traffic both ways

Since the 2016 election Americans have been focused on the debate over whether to build a wall on the southern border to staunch the flow of illegal immigrants into the country.  (For those new here, this is a proposal I wholeheartedly support.)  The debate, however, usually fails to note the significance of what is leaving the country at the same time:

Asylum is in large part a colossal scam designed to provide Latin American countries with both a safety valve and a cash cow of foreign exchange.  In 2017, remittances sent back to Honduras totaled $4.33 billion and make up a significant part of the Honduran economy… Remittances comprised 17 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP) in 2011, according to World Bank estimates, the second largest share of any country in Latin America or the Caribbean…

Overall,

Immigrants in the United States in 2016 sent home ((worldwide)) more than $138 billion – a sum that exceeds the entire gross domestic product of Kuwait – according to a new report from the Pew Research Center[.]

This is essentially involuntary foreign aid from the United States — on a scale three times larger than the official foreign aid budget! — to a host of nations that are less inclined to reform their basket-case economies because of this parasitical safety valve.

Since both flows — inward and outward — need to be addressed, today’s linked article makes a solid case for taxing these remittances to build the wall, noting one Congressman has already proposed to do just that:

Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Ala.) sponsored a bill in March that would slap a 2 percent tax on all money transfers from the United States to Mexico, Central America, the Caribbean, and South America.

If Rogers expanded the idea to include all transfers to countries outside of the United States, it would generate $2.76 billion, based on the 2016 remittance totals.

“Over 10 years, there it is… There’s your wall.”

The means to achieve better national security and control of our own sovereignty exist.  The question is whether we will exercise the will to use them.  I don’t support building the wall because I hate foreigners (far from it).  I support it because I love my country, and can see what lawless immigration and economic colonization are doing to it.  I can also see how other nations in the world are less motivated to solve their own problems when they can simply shift their most restless populations to the U.S., all while taking a cut of their economic good fortune.  All of this needs to come to a stop, for everyone’s long-term sake.

 

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.