On the edge

Today’s shooting at Republican Congressmen practicing for a baseball game is but the latest (and possibly most worrisome) example of ever-more violent rhetoric leading to more violent action.  Our entire nation needs to take a deep breath and look hard at the road we’ve been traveling to this point.

Nearly a quarter century ago, shortly after Supreme Court Clarence Thomas was confirmed by the Senate, PBS pundit Julianne Malveaux infamously said on air ““You know, I hope his wife feeds him lots of eggs and butter and he dies early like many black men do, of heart disease.”  A number of people on both sides of the aisle considered this sort of statement to be well beyond the pale.

How far we’ve fallen.

Politics has long borrowed military language: campaign, objective, tactic and so forth.  It used to be understood these were metaphors.  Then Sarah Palin put out a campaign graphic putting “crosshair” targets on key districts in the election.  The Left went melodramatically berserk over her “eliminationist” message, trying to pin the shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords on Palin’s activity.  (For the record, Gifford’s shooter turned out not to be a ‘right-winger,’ but rather, a mentally unstable person who had a bizarre fixation on her.)

Now the shoe is tied tightly on the other foot, and hopefully it pinches hard.  The militant vocabulary used today is not a metaphor: there are two broad worldviews in competition in the U.S., and both increasingly see the other as a literal enemy (and for many, one that must actually be destroyed, not just voted out of office).  I’m sure many Democrats were greatly disappointed when Wednesday’s shooter turned out to be a Bernie Bro and Rachel Maddow fan, instead of a militia member or such rot.  (That didn’t stop their automatic pleading for more gun control.)  Facebook apparently was quick on the trigger to take down the shooter’s page, but not before some of the wiser denizens of the web captured it all for posterity.

Trump is easily one of the most questionable occupants of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, and continuous scrutiny is prudent.  That’s not what the other party offers.  They’re trying to nullify the last election by waging an overheated rhetorical war on two fronts: obstructionism in Congress and the courts, and riling up their base to vandalism and worse with some of the most vile language imaginable.  (Note to the Democrats: increasing the frequency of F-bombs in your public addresses might endear you to some of the college crowd, but for the rest of us it just shows you to be a crass juvenile who feeds on emotion, not careful thought.)

College campuses seem out of control, to the degree that self-appointed vigilante groups of students have to be asked by administrators to stop roaming campus with baseball bats and other instruments.  Attempts by conservatives to speak on a campus are now met frequently with vandalistic temper tantrums.  And protestors on both sides of issues like immigration are now showing up suited for battle, not just to carry signs.

Why write all this?  Because I’m concerned our nation crossed a critical line today, and the path we’re on is leading to disaster.  There are plenty of nuts in both camps, and a continuous backdrop of violent rhetoric (particularly on the internet) only encourages them.  As each side looks warily at the other, the mutual distrust leads many ordinary people to wonder if they need to be making preparations for war.  Thus does the divide get wider and more hostile.

We all need to realize that when ballots no longer settle issues, bullets do.  Is that really how we want to go forward?  Do the posturing online ‘toughs’ really want to see their friends and family caught up in the bloodshed of civil war or anarchy?  I spent 24 years in uniform believing I was helping defend America.  I’ve seen firsthand what a country looks like in a civil war (spoiler: it isn’t pretty).  Now it seems we’re determined to destroy ourselves.  If Wednesday’s any indicator, I have a feeling those who are playing with fire to score political points are going to be among the first to get burned.  But probably not the last.

God help us all.

The world needs the U.S.

…more than the U.S. needs the world.  And it’s about time we started acting that way:

Approximately 30 countries are refusing to accept the deportations of illegal immigrants who have committed serious crimes in the U.S., according to Texas Rep. Henry Cuellar.

While these countries are refusing to accept the deportations of these criminals, the U.S. government is still issuing visas and student visas to citizens of those countries, according to the Texan congressman. There is already a law on the books which allows the U.S. to hold visas from a country that is not taking back its criminals, but according to Cuellar, the U.S. is not enforcing it.

“We’re not enforcing it, which is amazing. So now my intent is to go back to our committee on appropriations and affect their funding until they do that,” Cuellar told Sharyl Attkisson, host of Full Measure, in an interview.

Cuellar, a Democratic member of the House Committee on Appropriations, told Attkisson that the Supreme Court has ruled that illegal immigrants arrested for criminal activity can only be held for a certain period of time before they must be released.

And releasing illegal criminal immigrants puts the U.S. population at risk.

As others have already noted, our response to this intransigence should go beyond refusing to issue any kind of visas to countries that won’t take back their criminals.  We should also halt any foreign aid that goes their way (which we shouldn’t be in the business of anyway), as well as putting a 100% tariff on any goods imported from that country.

The United States has the largest economy in the world and its third-largest population (after China and India).  We have a wealth of natural resources, and technology such as fracking is allowing us to access even more of this potential.  Simply put, the world needs access to our market and economy far more than we need anything from overseas.  Were it not for the debt we’ve recklessly assumed over the last half century (much of it from playing GloboCop), we could stand utterly independent of the world.

Want to make America great again?  Send all known illegal immigrants to Guantanamo Bay (which our last president unwisely all but emptied) until their home nation agrees to receive them.  Let’s stop pretending foreigners enjoy the same Constitutional rights as citizens.  They are endowed with the protection of life, liberty (as long as they are law-abiding) and the pursuit of happiness (subject to being in America’s interest to accept them).  As long as there is a foreign national being held because of their country’s refusal to take back deportees, cut off all access to the United States and its markets.

And while we’re on the subject, killing the H1-B visa is long overdue.

It’s time the American government (all branches of it) put America first.  We don’t need “citizens of the world” running our country.  We need patriotic, hard-headed realists.

The GOP doesn’t seem to have many of those.  Making America Great Again will require action in the 2018 election, too.  Do you know how your representatives are voting?  You should.  Don’t count on Trump to change the direction all by himself.  Even if he did, that way lies future problems with executive overreach.  Punish the globalists in Congress, and give Trump a legislature he can work with.

Then let’s let the world tend to itself for a while.  We’ve been bailing it out since 1917.  After a century, we deserve to shed the role.

The Trump has sounded

I relearned a lesson last night: I’m entirely too old to stay up past midnight watching election returns.  That said, at least I’m teaching a Government class today so I’ll just call that “lesson preparation.”  Sounds more responsible that way.

There’s every reason to believe the next stages of whatever movement this is will be:

  • Democrats will continue to support Executive Orders for their agenda while Obama still has his “pen and phone” the next couple months.  Then they will be outraged when Trump uses the same process to begin undoing the ‘fundamental transformation” of the U.S.
  • The mainstream media, whose stunning lack of curiosity the last eight years means we still don’t know anything about Obama’s college record, and very little about his mentors (Bill Ayers, “Reverend” Jeremiah Wright, etc) unless one has actively sought out such information through alternative means.  (See why you’re dying, corporate media?  Your hypocrisy and double standards for the two parties is a large part of why Trump is ascending to the White House.  Chew on that for a while.)
  • Dissent will once again be considered by Democrats the “highest form of patriotism,” instead of the last eight years where  any dissent from Obama’s agenda automatically meant you were a ‘deplorable, racist, xenophobic bigot.’
  • Any attempt to restart (or continue) the several investigations into Clinton, her Foundation, and other aspects of what is clearly a crime family syndicate will be labeled ‘demonizing your opponent,’ or an abuse of executive power.  But it was OK to say George W. Bush should have been brought up on ‘war crimes‘ charges.

In short, the Democrats will now have to refer to the Newspeak dictionary definitions they use when out of power.  As our current President liked to say, “elections have consequences.

Yes.  Yes, they do.

We now need to hold them to the standards they set the last eight-plus years.  And yes, while I still have issues with The Donald’s tendency toward verbal diarrhea, he’s shown recently that he CAN control his tongue, at least for a while.  So I wish him good luck in using all the expanded authority the Democrats created for the Presidency to smack the Left as hard as he can, all the while remembering that he’s only following precedent they set.

Perhaps a few years in the wilderness under such circumstances will bring the Democrats around to believing in limited Federal authority again.  I have no idea what the next four years hold, but it will be amusing watching the Democrats walk back their positions on activist government now that they no longer control said government.  It will also be interesting to watch a true outsider deal both with the opposition party, and the elements of the GOP who went #neverTrump and now look politically foolish.

As for Hillary: ding dong, the witch is (politically) dead, the wicked witch is dead!

Quote of the day week month

David Brooks of the New York Times belatedly wonders if the mainstream media misjudged the Trump phenomenon because these insulated, pampered, prima donna self-appointed ‘opinion leaders’  “did not listen carefully enough” to the increasingly alienated, economically devastated and politically orphaned former American middle class that now makes up much of Trump’s constituency.

To which Instapundit’s Glenn Reynolds responds:

The Tea Party movement — which you also failed to understand, and thus mostly despised — was a bourgeois, well-mannered effort (remember how Tea Party protests left the Mall cleaner than before they arrived?) to fix America. It was treated with contempt, smeared as racist, and blocked by a bipartisan coalition of business-as-usual elites. So now you have Trump, who’s not so well-mannered, and his followers, who are not so well-mannered, and you don’t like it.

Spot. On.  Glenn.   Trump is essentially the GOP base — including frustrated Tea Partiers who tried to address their concerns the “appropriate” way and were vilified for doing so — quoting the band Linkin Park to their self-proclaimed betters on both sides of the aisle:

The number one question is how could you ignore it?  …

Tried to give you warning but everyone ignores me
Told you everything loud and clear
(But nobody’s listening)
Called to you so clearly but you don’t want to hear me
Told you everything loud and clear
(But nobody’s listening)

I got a heart full of pain, head full of stress
handfull of anger, held in my chest
And everything left’s a waste of time
I hate my rhymes, but hate everyone else’s more

I don’t like Trump, but I like our self-perpetuating mandarin class even less.  And as I’ve pointed out, if the Trump reaction to insider shenanigans in previous elections is met by even more insider shenanigans to deny him the nomination even if he gets the requisite number of delegates, then our political chattering classes are going to like who comes after him even less.

I fear we all will.

Just die already, GOP

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

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

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

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

“That’s a good question.”

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

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

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GOP panic? Good!

The insiders grow increasingly nervous this election cycle:

Less than three months before the kickoff Iowa caucuses, there is growing anxiety bordering on panic among Republican elites about the dominance and durability of Donald Trump and Ben Carson and widespread bewilderment over how to defeat them.

See, that’s most of the problem right there: the goal of the ‘elites’ is to defeat the candidates who are resonating with the public!  Not to take a principled stand on something like, oh, say, limited government, or secure borders, or rolling back the surveillance state.  No, the ‘elites’ are only interested in ensuring their continued hold onto power, no matter what form that takes.

So here we go again with the scare tactics (conveniently inserted into the second paragraph of the story):

Party leaders and donors fear that nominating either man would have negative ramifications for the GOP ticket up and down the ballot, virtually ensuring a Hillary Rodham Clinton presidency and increasing the odds that the Senate falls into Democratic hands.

And that would be different how, exactly, from another ‘establishment’ GOP administration?  Raising the specter of a Democratic win has become the last refuge of a useless opposition party.  It’s emotional manipulation more worthy of an abusive relationship than a national party.  Never forget the original amnesty deal in the 1980s occurred under St. Ronald of Reagan — and we STILL couldn’t secure the borders!  Never forget that another GOP president — George the Second — inflicted one of the largest entitlement programs since the Great Society, expanding the government’s role in providing prescription medication.  The elder Bush squandered the public support generated by a popular war — Desert Storm — instead of using the invigorated Bully Pulpit to demand we get our domestic house (including our finances) in order.  The recent Republican Congress handed Obama ‘fast track authority’ to once again sell our our nation economically.  And those “safe” GOP nominees like McCain and Romney simply ensured one of the worst Presidents in our nation’s history got not just one, but TWO terms in office.  Way to go, establishment!

News flash for the GOP ‘elites:’ an entire generation old enough to remember Reagan has seen that you talk a great game but deliver NOTHING of substance when it comes to true conservatism.  Rather than stay true to the ideals of individual responsibility and minimalist government, you’ve gotten sidetracked with “big tent strategies” and pandering to demographics.  Well, there’s one demographic both you and the Democrats seem determined to ignore: the traditionalist Christian, Anglo-Saxon heirs of those who built this country in the first place.

You feel no need to listen to us anymore?  Fine… that works two ways.

Other nations are finding ways to express their desire to return to their roots.   “God, honour, homeland” — as Vox points out, there are worse causes.  There’s an old saying: “lead, follow, or get out of the way.”  The GOP not only isn’t the solution — they are now a large part of the problem, as demonstrated by their constant attempts to repress the “Tea Party” and any other expression of a desire to claw back the government.  They’re past their sell-by date, and need to get out of the way.

Glad to know I’m not the only one long since done with them.  I may occasionally vote for someone who happens to have an (R) after their name, but it won’t be out of brand loyalty and it certainly will happen only after careful individual scrutiny.  As for the ‘party’ apparatus, they’ll get nothing from me ever again.

Let the voter beware.

Getting Trump’d

I will reiterate: I am not a fan of Trump.  While he has successfully latched onto already existing justifiable anger over the nation’s insecure borders and porous immigration process, in the long run I think his personal association with the issue may prove to do more harm than good.  That said, this commentary is perhaps the best explanation out there for why so many Americans are seeing something they like in The Donald.  Excerpt:

What Republicans are trying to figure out is not so much how to handle Trump as how to handle his supporters. Ignore or confront? Mock or treat seriously? Insult or persuade? The men and women in the uppermost ranks of the party, who have stood by Trump in the past as he gave them his endorsements and cash, are inclined to condescend to a large portion of the Republican base, to treat base voters’ concerns as unserious, nativist, racist, sexist, anachronistic, or nuts, to apologize for the “crazies” who fail to understand why America can build small cities in Iraq and Afghanistan but not a wall along the southern border, who do not have the education or skills or means to cope when factories move south or abroad, who stare incomprehensibly at the television screen when the media fail to see a “motive” for the Chattanooga shooting, who voted for Perot in ’92 and Buchanan in ’96 and Sarah Palin in ’08 and joined the Tea Party to fight death panels in ’09…

What the radical middle has seen in recent years has not given them reason to be confident in our government, our political system, our legion of politicians clambering up the professional ladder office to office. Two inconclusive wars, a financial crisis, recession, and weak recovery, government failure from Katrina to the TSA to the launch of Obamacare to the federal background check system, an unelected and unaccountable managerial bureaucracy that targets grassroots organizations and makes law through diktat, race riots and Ebola and judicial overreach. And through it all, as constant as the northern star, a myopic drive on the part of leaders in both parties to enact a “comprehensive immigration reform” that would incentivize illegal immigration and increase legal immigration despite public opposition.

The writer notes the GOP is a hybrid of two distinctly different groups: upper-crust elites whose status and wealth isolate them from the socially destructive policies they often support (like so-called “free trade”), and the blue-collar working class — the people George Bailey reminded Mr. Potter “do most of the working and paying and living and dying in this community.”  (As someone who identifies with this ‘rabble,’ I can attest they’re also often sentimental about classic movies…)

What all this really comes down to is that this ‘radical middle’ is experiencing a rare moment of clarity, where they realize their interests diverge sharply from the agendas of the self-appointed mandarin class sitting atop the GOP.  So they are looking for alternatives.  That is a good thing.

What isn’t good is that we’ve been here before, and the GOP has a playbook for such crises.  It’s even hinted at near the end of the otherwise fine commentary excerpted above: the boogeyman of a Democratic victory.  Every time a Perot or a Buchanan arises to speak to the unrepresented grievances of what used to be known simply as “the middle class,” the GOP darkly warns that a split in the party will result in “the other side” (i.e. Hillary) winning.  As though there are actually two sides between the established political parties.  What this discontented electorate needs to ask in response to such entreaties is “so what?  What, exactly, would be different about an administration of GOP elites than one of Democrats?”  That card has been played in many elections, and yet Roe v. Wade has yet to be restricted, let alone overturned, immigration “reform” in the 1980s resulted in a second, even larger wave of illegal entries, Federal spending (and power) remains out of control with the national debt 18 times what it was 35 years ago, and now a Supreme Court with a GOP-appointed Chief Justice suddenly discovers the Founders would have been OK with gay marriage or with the Federal Government managing your health insurance.

It’s a classic abusive relationship, where the mandarins tell the plebes “just come back to me and it will all get better.”  Only it never does.  The GOP of the last 20-30 years is just as complicit in the damage done to our nation as the Democrats; maybe more so, because at least the Democrats tell you up front most of the time they’re out to “fundamentally transform America.”

The only “fundamental transformation” we in the ‘radical middle’ want is a return of accountability with some treasonous heads on platters, a return to the rule of law and strict adherence to the written Constitution, and restoration of the ethic of personal responsibility and self-sufficiency.  I don’t see either party offering that, except in vague partisan terms aimed at the other team in the quest for voters they fully intend to ignore after election day.

That’s probably because our political class, regardless of party, doesn’t really believe in any of what I just mentioned above.

So why do we vote for ANY of these parasites?