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.

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Stealing inheritances

I know of someone whose parents, while he was just a wee lad, broke into several antique stores, amassing a tidy little sum fencing the artifacts before retiring from such activity.  Then the family settled into the quiet life of the “Nouveau riche.”  There was just one problem: eventually the authorities broke the case and discovered who was responsible for the string of thefts.  By this time, my acquaintance was just entering a fairly respectable college, fully expecting to afford the tuition with ease.

That is, until his parents were exposed and all their assets seized.  But since it would be unfair to deny him such a great educational opportunity just because his parents had broken the law, the court ruled the family could keep the money and send him to school. The various antique store owners and their families were astonished.

Outrageous, no?

OK – confession time.  The above is made up, and I don’t actually know of such a case. But there are apparently a lot of people who would agree with the fictional court ruling above.  These are the people who want to allow the children of illegal immigrants to stay in the United States, despite their parents breaking the law to get them here.

“But a child shouldn’t have to suffer for their parents’ actions!”  It’s an easy statement to agree with, emotionally.  And yet children do suffer the consequences of their parents’ actions every day.   Children are fatherless because of “no-fault” divorces.  Children live in poverty because their parents failed to acquire skills or motivation to work a decent paying job. Children are beaten when parents abuse alcohol or drugs and fly into rages. On and on the list could go.

Our nation is being played emotionally yet again to allow people to stay here who never had any right to be here in the first place.  I understand sending away people who’ve lived here their whole life seems cruel.  But is it compassion to allow wave after wave of invaders to break into America, depressing wages and driving up social spending for those already legally here?  Does it serve justice to have an immigration policy that, in effect says, “you have to follow this specific process… unless you can successfully hide out illegally in the U.S. long enough to become a sob story when you’re discovered?” Does it build confidence in the integrity of our institutions when those charged with enforcing the law go out of their way to obstruct it:

The NYPD says the (DACA) protesters arrested outside Trump Tower (Tuesday) won’t have to be fingerprinted if they provide their information willingly — no fingerprints means no arrest information transmitted to Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

After all, we wouldn’t want to deport any of these people who are now so bold as to say “yeah, we broke the law to get here, but we deserve to stay anyway!”

The other heartstring being pulled is “if you enforce the law it will break up families!” This is only because the United States is one of the few nations left in the world where geography of birth confers citizenship (via a grossly expanded reading of the 14th Amendment*, which was dealing with the end of slavery, not immigration in general).  The Founders talked about “securing the blessings of liberty to our posterity.” That means the descendants of Americans.  One should not receive automatic citizenship unless at least one of your biological parents is already an American (even if they themselves are a naturalized citizen).  Our current process created an “anchor baby” loophole through which hundreds of thousands of migrants have put down dubious roots in our land.

And it is our land.  Not just anybody’s.  To state otherwise is to void any semblance of a nation-state or international borders.  It’s understandable that parents want to provide the best life they can for their children.  But they must do so legally.  Allowing the children of illegal immigrants to remain in the U.S. is the moral equivalent of allowing my fictional acquaintance to keep the ill-gotten gains his parents arranged.

So no, enforcement doesn’t mean breaking up families.  It means they should all go back.  Thirty years ago Ronald Reagan was played a fool by agreeing to a deal for amnesty in return for better border security and stricter immigration.  As we all know, only the first half of that deal occurred.  I guarantee Congress will try the same thing again, now the Trump has (properly) put this issue back to the legislature instead of trying to rule by Executive Order as his predecessor did.  We cannot allow our Congresscritters to hold stricter immigration and border security hostage to the demands of people who literally have no legal standing to be in the United States in the first place.  We must communicate to them clearly and loudly that we won’t consent to a second sucker’s deal.  On a tangential note, isn’t it interesting the GOP couldn’t fulfill its promise of repealing Obamacare, but within hours of the Administration’s DACA announcement there is already bipartisan support building to let the “Dreamers” (a propaganda term if there ever was one) remain in the U.S.?  Who, exactly, do these “representatives” represent?

Build the Wall.  Deport the lawbreaking illegal immigrants — all of them.  

This is not a race issue.  It is not a “realizing the American dream” issue.  It is an issue of whether we are a nation of laws, and one that is willing to defend the inheritance intended to be handed down to future generations.  If we fail this test we may as well erase the borders from all maps, because they will have become meaningless.

And our children will watch helplessly as invaders finish squandering the legacy of their ancestors.  

Let’s remember that when anti-American globalists try to play the emotion card.

(*) – The 14th Amendment is by far the single longest amendment to the Constitution, and the various broad judicial readings of its provisions have dramatically changed the way in which our system of governance operates.  But that’s a post for another time…

Attempting to be an art critic

I’ve been seeing this image pop up here and there across the Internet.  It’s by the same painter who did one of Obama a few years back in response to the passage of Obamacare.  The two form something of a bookend set.

jmYouAreNotForgotten 002

I think the original Obama painting was spot on, depicting as it did an aloof and arrogant president trampling the Constitution while all his predecessors (except a few to Obama’s right, or the “left” side of the crowd) looked on with expressions of “what the hell, man?”  The message of the original painting was clear.

As for the one above, I can appreciate that it’s not Trump who is center stage.  We don’t need blind hero worship or the man-on-the-white-horse syndrome here.  Trump’s depicted standing on a snake, which may be more Biblical allegory than I’m willing to extend to him.  That said, D.C. Mordor is definitely snake-infested in our day, and much of the hissing against Trump comes from that serpentine choir.  But the center of the action is a young family watering a plant (perhaps the Tree of Liberty?) in what is very parched soil.  The message could well be interpreted as Trump trying to buy time for the next generation to refresh our nation.  Changing who’s in office won’t matter until the culture itself has been changed.  Politics, it is said, flows downstream from culture.

I’m sure in this era of professional grievance-mongering, others will count faces and point out there are only a few non-white characters in the crowd.  But look who they are: Sheriff David Clarke, an outspoken patriot; an unnamed World War II veteran in a wheelchair who clearly gave to his country; an unnamed black lady and a minority man holding folded U.S. flags, signifying loss of loved ones in service to the nation.

The fault lines in this country today are not so much Republican-Democrat than they are traditionalist/progressive.  As the many “RINO” Republicans demonstrate, the parties don’t cleanly align with the other dichotomy (Sheriff Clarke, by the way, is a registered Democrat).  There are simply those who believe the “bourgeoisie” values that made this nation successful are worth preserving (perhaps “restoring” would be more accurate by this point), and the inaptly named “progressives” who would continue to tear down those values in a vague utopian quest that has ended in tragedy time and again throughout human history.

The takeaways?

  • Don’t expect Trump to solve every problem.
  • Those who love this land and the values that made it must be active in restoring them.
  • Teach your children well.  One generation — the Boomers — left a huge wake of cultural destruction.  This shows how a single generation can change a nation.  Make sure those who are our heirs are prepared to change it again by valuing and defending their inheritance.

One final thought about watering the “tree of liberty” — the artist is optimistic in his portrayal.  Thomas Jefferson warned that nourishing that fragile plant sometimes takes more than water (though his quote is often used without context).  Hope/pray for the best; prepare for the worst.

Land of infinite “second” chances

Last month, the Treasury Department’s Inspector General released a report about the Infernal Internal Revenue Agency.  That Agency, as you will recall, has been shown to have discriminated against conservative organizations trying to obtain certain tax statuses.  Nearly five years after the first revelation of this, there has been NO accountability.  Lois Lerner is gone, but was not penalized in any way for the wrongdoing on her watch (she was allowed to take full retirement).

Now the IG reveals the Agency rehired 200 (that’s “two hundred“) former employees who had either been terminated for cause or left while under substantiated investigation of wrongdoing.  That included four who were fired for “willful failure to properly file their Federal tax returns.”

To be fair to the IRS (…yeah, right…), they’re only following the example of the Veteran’s Administration, whose Human Resources department shuffles failing or criminal employees from post to post rather than letting them go.  (Yes, I know the VA now touts having fired 500+ employees recently… but the list shows these are mostly lower-level employees and a handful of physicians, not the highly paid failing leadership.)

THIS is the “swamp” many people elected Trump to “drain.”  THIS is why people have no faith in their government anymore.  Congress is bad enough, but the various Minions of MordorTM are like an infection you can’t cure.  In fact, much like an infection they seem to become more resistant every time there’s an attempt to fight them.

This permeates the whole of government.  As a supervisor I saw this first hand, as it took me over a year to discipline an employee who was unqualified to be in their position in the first place (and who made no effort whatsoever to become so).  There needs to be a wholesale overhaul of the Civil Service; one that ensures government “service” doesn’t become a lifetime gravy train regardless of performance (or misconduct).

I guess the Republican Congress could get around to that after finally fulfilling their pledge of many years to repeal Obamacare.  But that, of course, now has to wait until they’ve raised the debt ceiling (yet again). Oh, and a new fiscal year starts October 1st, but there’s no budget in place yet (status normal).  Then there’s the promise of trying for tax reform…   You get the picture: accountability isn’t very high on the list.

It never is…

Why is this even an issue?

And why did it take the Administration six months to enact ANY penalties?

The Department of Justice is cracking down even further on so-called sanctuary cities, saying that cities with such policies are not eligible for a federal assistance program used to help fight violent crime.

According to Attorney General Jeff Sessions, four cities — Albuquerque, N.M., Baltimore, Md., San Bernardino, Calif., and Sotckton, Calif. — have expressed interest in the department’s Public Safety Partnership, or PSP, program.  The initiative was launched in June in 12 cities that the Justice Department said needed “significant assistance” in combating “gun crime, drug trafficking and gang violence.”

Now, in letters to those cities, which limit cooperation with the federal government when it comes to immigration law, Acting Assistant Attorney General Alan Hanson tells the police chiefs they must show a “commitment to reducing violent crime stemming from illegal immigration” in order to be added to the PSP program.

The four cities must prove to the Justice Department by Aug. 18 that they will give federal immigration agents access to jails to question immigrants, as well as provide 48 hours notice to the Department of Homeland Security regarding the release date and time of someone who has been flagged for violating federal immigration law.  The cities must also show they do not block communication between local police and federal immigration agents.

The basic premise of “Sanctuary Cities” is flagrant disregard of federal law.  The Federal government shouldn’t just withhold funding from a new program.  Any such declared “Sanctuary city” should lose ALL federal funding of any kind (not just from the Justice Department), and any public officials who have declared intent not to comply should be removed from office under the Constitution’s supremacy clause.

This is a national security issue — one of the very few areas where I believe the Federal government has the main role.  The costs of our lax and negligent enforcement of immigration law has led directly to the rape and murder of U.S. citizens.  No State or local government complicit in such defiance and mayhem has any legitimate claim to ANY Federal funds of any kind.

I am not a fan of strong Federal government, but where it has been tasked specifically by the Constitution to do certain things it should do them vigorously and well.  To that end, the President should immediately do the following:

  1. Suspend ALL federal funds to any declared “sanctuary city.”
  2. Arrest ALL officials who have openly supported such areas as having knowingly aided and abetted illegal immigration and the crimes that result from it
  3. Refuse to allow Congress to recess until it has passed full funding of enhanced border security (including the wall) and eliminated the H1B and H2B visa programs.

The administration’s current push toward prioritizing legal immigration to those who already speak English and have skills to offer is but a tiny step in the direction we must go.  And it’s good to see an official remind the press that a poem added to the Statue of Liberty 18 years after it was erected does NOT constitute national immigration policy.

Open borders and a welfare state are NOT compatible.  I’ve said it before: there should not be unemployment benefits at the same time we’re importing foreigners to “do the jobs Americans won’t do.”  Close the borders, and the wages for jobs will rise until people ARE willing to do them (cutting off unemployment benefits will be a motivator as well).  The administration is absolutely right to say that immigration policy should be based first on what is good for America and the people already here.

That includes repatriation of all those who are here illegally, no matter how long they’ve managed to “live in the shadows.”  Lawbreaking is lawbreaking, period.

The truly sad thing about the Left’s abuse of the appeal to compassion and emotion is that, for people like me, it’s been worn out.  NOTHING short of full-up globalism will satisfy these people, and that is not in anybody’s interest except for a handful of string-pullers behind the scenes.  Although well-traveled, I am NOT a “citizen of the world.”  I am an American, one who’s worn the uniform to defend my patrimony, and I’ll be damned if idiots like CNN’s Jim Acosta are going to simply give away what I and generations before me have fought to preserve.

As for the Republicans who’ve done all they can to stymie Trump, I’ll simply say this: he’s not our last chance.  He’s your last chance.  A last chance to show the system is in any way responsive to the problems facing real Americans.  And if you undermine that chance, you do so at the very real peril of convincing those who love what America once stood for that our government has become destructive of Life, Liberty and property, and that we need to institute new safeguards for our liberties.

If (when?) it comes to that, it’ll be, in the words of the President, “sad.”  But also necessary.  And probably long overdue.

America — not the GOP — first

The past six months should prove, once and for all, there’s no practical difference between the Democratic and Republican parties.  People are beginning to notice:

More than 200 days have passed and Obamacare remains. High taxes, too, continue to burden the economy. With the lack of progress on his legislative agenda, one would think that President Trump – who rode to victory on those issues and carried many Republican lawmakers with him – was facing a Democratic-held Congress.

The inability of Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., to push through a Republican Congress Trump’s key policy proposals is indicative of a problem identified by Pat Buchanan in 2000. The establishments of both parties are more similar than dissimilar…

For years the GOP went to the party faithful begging for money and votes. Why? Support a GOP Congress and when a Republican president moved into 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue Obamacare would face the guillotine.

When it came time to put their money where their mouths were, GOP leaders folded like a cheap suit. Not only was the party unable to agree on replacing Obamacare, they could not even come together to repeal it. Six months in the Trump administration and Ryan and McConnell proved P.T. Barnum right that there is a sucker born every minute…

Trump was elected by voters because he promised to build a wall, end free trade deals that rip off the country, enact a Muslim moratorium, reduce the size of government, normalize relations with Russia, and resist unnecessary wars of intervention. Trump’s positions on these issues are contrary to not only Democrats, but the GOP establishment of Ryan and McConnell.

For the 2018 election, ignore the party labels.  Look to see who promises to support the agenda enumerated above.  And hold them publicly accountable if they then fail to do so.  It’s not Donkey versus Elephant anymore.  It’s American nationalism and independence versus being subsumed by globalist elites.  Enough with the kabuki dancing.  Make this nation strong again, or get out of the way!

Distract and demolish?

While CNN (and many of its fellow travelers) are now caught up in the fact the network essentially threatened to “out” a citizen for exercising free speech, the Trump administration continues to make at least American history great again:

President Trump donated the first quarter of his presidential salary (to the Antietam Battlefield National Park) in early April, totaling $78,333.  The Interior Department said that after Trump donated his salary to the National Park Service, anonymous donors sent money for the agency to use in preserving the nation’s historic parks, which are suffering from a $12 billion maintenance backlog.

On top of this, Trump has reduced White House spending:

There are 110 fewer employees on White House staff under Trump than under Obama at this point in their respective presidencies.  Nineteen fewer staffers are dedicated to The First Lady of the United States (FLOTUS). Currently, there are five staffers dedicated to Melania Trump vs. 24 staffers who served Michelle Obama (FY2009).

The pattern in all of this seems to be that Trump’s seemingly random social media messages are keeping the corporate media in a state of apoplexy while his administration actually has the nerve to do some of the things he promised to do:

Trump scares the media, makes them angry, and distracts them. Meanwhile, quietly he moves from accomplishment to accomplishment. Downsizing the State department and EPA. Getting most of his travel ban enacted. Illegal immigration is down significantly. Exited TPP and the Paris accords. Hiring freeze on federal employees. Revocation of DAPA. Border wall prototypes being built. Handcuffs removed from ICE. Supporting apprenticeships. Reestablishing the Space Council. Establishing an American Technology Council. Establishing the Office of Trade and Manufacturing Policy. Implementing a strategy for “America First” offshore oil drilling. Reducing federal power and increasing local power over education. Revocation of multiple executive orders written by Barack Obama. Directed EPA to revoke “Waters of the United States” regulation (the one that extended federal control of waterways to include non-navigable waterways such as irrigation ditches, flood ponds, and puddles). Revoked Obama’s Social Security gun ban. Revoked DoE Title IX guidelines. Banned administration officials from lobbying their federal agencies for five years, as well as banning them for life from lobbying foreign nations and political parties.

This is only a partial list. And while this has been happening the MSM has been focused on fake Russian collusion and his tweets and his trolling.

I believe that these are effective tactics supporting a long term strategy, and that it is working.

Several of the accomplishments above took considerable time and coordination.  Many of Trump’s choices for key positions seemed solid when first announced (It doesn’t get any better than General James Mattis for SecDef).  If it turns out that he put principled, capable people in charge of executing his promised agenda, then provided top cover by keeping the corporate media focused on him personally rather than what his administration was doing, it’s possible he might go down as one of our more accomplished presidents.  Despite the cringe-inducing antics at times, it seems the president may understand how to navigate and negate our current media-saturated environment better than any Republican president since at least Reagan — if not earlier.

Here’s hoping there truly is a method behind the madness.