A slow-motion coup

Pat Buchannan’s column today looks at how government officials are breaking the law to “leak” sensitive information in order to damage the Trump administration, and asks the question — where does this all lead:

Before Trump departed D.C., The Washington Post ran transcripts of his phone conversations with the leaders of Mexico and Australia.
Even Obama administration veterans were stunned.
So, it is time to ask: If this city brings Trump down, will the rest of America rejoice?…

Our media preen and posture as the defenders of democracy, devoted to truth, who provide us round-the-clock protection from tyranny. But half the nation already sees the media as a propaganda arm of a liberal establishment that the people have rejected time and again.

Consider the (Washington) Post’s publication of the transcripts of Trump’s calls with Mexico’s president and Australia’s prime minister.  The Post was letting itself be used by a leaker engaged in disloyal and possibly criminal misconduct. Yet the Post agreed to provide confidentiality and to hide the Trump-hater’s identity…

…there is a far larger story here, of which this Post piece is but an exhibit. It is the story of a concerted campaign, in which the anti-Trump media publish leaks, even criminal leaks, out of the FBI, CIA, NSA and NSC, to bring down a president whom the Beltway media and their deep-state collaborators both despise and wish to destroy...

The Justice Department is now running down the leaks, and the ACLU’s Ben Wizner is apoplectic: “Every American should be concerned about the Trump administration’s threat to step up its efforts against whistleblowers and journalists. A crackdown on leaks is a crackdown on the free press and on democracy.”

That’s one way to put it. Another is that some of these “whistleblowers” are political criminals who reject the verdict of the American electorate in 2016 and are out to overturn it. And the aforementioned “journalists” are their enablers and collaborators.

Read the entire piece hereNot every leak qualifies as “whistleblowing.”  In fact, I’d say that most leaking in D.C. is done out of political motivation of some sort.  True whistleblowing is the release of information a government, business or organization is holding back simply because it reveals wrongdoing.  The classic case of this is, of course, the Pentagon Papers.  The Supreme Court upheld the publishing of the papers because they clearly showed the Johnson administration had lied multiple times to the American people about the progress (or lack thereof) in Vietnam, and because revealing the contents posed no direct national security risk (only a political risk!).  When such a concerted effort is being made to conceal the truth, going outside the system as a whistleblower can be justified.  There are, of course, many other examples of people who took great personal risk to expose wrongdoing.

But that’s not what’s happening today.  Nobody is claiming the release of presidential telephone transcripts reveals devious doings and attempted cover-up.  In fact, most of the “leaks” are more like the National Enquirer’s gossip-mongering (“you won’t BELIEVE what Steve Bannon and H.R. McMaster said to each other today!”).  It’s a scattershot rumor mill enabled by spineless weasels who put their vanity as an “unnamed source” to a reporter above their duty to the country.  The ACLU has it all wrong here.  Cracking down on leaks doesn’t threaten whistleblowing — it protects it from abuse.  Protecting whistleblowing means bestowing that status only on courageous individuals who see clear, unaddressed wrongdoing in a failing system and literally blow the public whistle on it.

Speaking of failing systems, that now seems to include our entire crony-infested government bureaucracy.  The public has a right to know a great many things, but their are legitimate reasons for the government to protect certain types of information.  Those who abuse that trust need to go to jail, period (including Her Hillariness and Huma Abedin, among many others).

The corporate press is also a failing system.  The Washington Post’s new motto is that “Democracy dies in darkness.”  Fair enough.  It can also be murdered in broad daylight by irresponsible officials working with reporters who simply want to delegitimize the last election because it didn’t go their way.

Because once the government is seen as completely and hopelessly illegitimate, it’s only a matter of time before the true “Resistance” begins. THAT’S where the road we’re on seems to be headed.

The rigged game

*Update:  While my original post focused on how a mandarin class in our society has rigged the electoral game, this post focuses on how the concept of representative democracy itself has some inherent flaws and weaknesses.  None can deny that the electorate is complicit in the development of the current mess.  After all, pitchfork parades and tar and feathers are still options.  And far too many voters think they’re “sending a message” by voting for candidate X, when in fact they don’t know candidate X’s actual record or stated positions.  In other words, they’re voting by emotion, not fact and reason:

…as noted above, many people vote as an expressive act. The typical Obama voter knew nothing of his policies, but wanted to be “part” of “something”. There are all sorts of cultural and emotional connotations associated with Team Pepsi, and people want to affiliate themselves with those signals. Team Coke is no better: many Republican voters are in favor of a culture of God, Flag, and Apple Pie, and cast a vote for the GOP as an expressive act, without knowing or caring the actual positions of the candidates they vote for.  ((This, too, figures into the Rise of Trump, since many of his supporters see him as a chance to wave a middle finger at the mandarins, but haven’t taken the time to actually parse what he’s said. — Jemison))

ORIGINAL POST:

Read these two articles, then ask yourself: why is it we put so much faith in elections in this country?

After the final vote count in Nevada, Hillary Clinton has 52 pledged delegates and Bernie Sanders 51 — delegates required to vote for them at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia. All were acquired in state primaries and caucuses as a result of a vote of the people.

So Clinton and Sanders are virtually tied, right?

Wrong. Clinton is leagues ahead of Sanders in the overall delegate count, 503-70. This is because of “superdelegate” rules that allow 712 Democratic Party insiders to decide on their own whom to support at the convention.

The Democratic Party’s superdelegate rules, devised after George McGovern’s 1972 defeat, are not particularly democratic, reflecting an era when party officials were reluctant to lose control of the presidential nominating process.

The Republicans are little better:

That rule was fortified by amendments made at the Republican convention of 2012, ironically to handicap insurgent candidates in the future. It was a response to the phenomenon of Texas Rep. Ron Paul winning nearly all of the delegates in states like Maine, Minnesota and Nevada, in spite of losing wider initial contests in those states.

What point is there to elections if Elephant and Donkey insiders always get to pick the candidates?  We’re stirred up to resent the influence of “big money” in elections, but Big Political Party shenanigans constrain our ‘choices’ as much or more than does donor activity.  Is it any wonder our government’s policies are so out of line with what the people want?  The bi-factional ruling class makes sure the only “choices” the public perceives are slight variations around a tightly controlled mean.  That way they continue to do what they want, public wishes be damned.  The best explanation for Trump’s meteoric rise is that so many people think he represents a means to say “up yours” to the insiders rigging this game.  (He doesn’t; he merely represents another facet of that rigged game — the face that’s shown when the electorate needs to blow off a particularly large head of steam, as it does this year.  The real function elections seems to serve in our country is pacifying the electorate with the illusion they have some input into what Washington does.

As I’ve said in previous posts, I have no idea where this is going, but I’m pretty sure we won’t like the destination.  Ross Perot, Pat Buchanan and Ron Paul were “insurgent candidates,” to use the term in the article above.  Agree with them or not, they had a developed view of how they would approach governance.  Perot self-destructed, but the other two were deliberately (and in the case of Ron Paul, frantically) marginalized by the party apparatus — and the electorate let them do it.

So, having passed those off ramps, the course our nation is on has led to The Donald and his yuuuuuge ego, Bernie Sanders and the usual “hey kid, want some free stuff?” come on of socialism, and Her Hillariness, who promises to do for Washington what she did for information security at the State Department.  At this point I’m tempted to just write in “George Washington” this November.  I don’t think it would make my vote count any less.

Wake me when it’s time to rebuild from the ashes.

The starting point

There has been a lot of heat and noise, but little light, when it comes to the years of cussing and discussing “immigration reform.”  You want “comprehensive reform?”  It has to begin with this premise:

“The principle that America’s immigration laws should serve the interests of its own citizens” is paramount, said Sen. (Jeff) Sessions.

Our own citizens are not served by a floodtide that undercuts wages by ballooning the workforce and allowing higher-paid Americans to be displaced essentially by indentured servants brought in under H1B.

Our own citizens are not served by a floodtide that includes a disproportionate number of criminals who create mischief, murder and mayhem in our nation.

Our own citizens are not served by an open borders policy that requires nothing of those who come here, but expects the American taxpayer to fund official services in a veritable Tower of Babel of languages.

Our own citizens are not served when there is no assimilation — when immigration results in mutually suspicious and hostile camps vying over the scraps of what used to be the most successful and self-confident country on the face of the planet.

I wish to live out my days in the America in which I was born — not the polyglot “we are the world” replacement that our current immigration policy is hell-bent on creating.  If I wanted to live as they do in other lands, I’d move there — and adapt to their way of doing things.  I expect no less of those who come here, beginning with respecting a process that allows them to do so legally, and in small numbers.  Anything else is the mark of an invader, not an “American in waiting,” as our utopianists would have it.

It speaks VOLUMES that the only candidate remotely approaching this issue in a sensible fashion is Donald Trump — and that every other candidate is running as far from his position on it as possible.  Why is putting America first such a verboten concept in America today?

They say America lags Europe by about 20 years in most trends.  Let’s hope it doesn’t take another two decades for us to have the courage to face what Europe is belatedly realizing: you either control your borders and have a nation, or you don’t.