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.

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Hating Trump > loving America

The $1.3 trillion dollar omnibus spending bill passed by the GOP-controlled House and Senate last night is a gigantic middle finger to middle America and to President Trump’s stated agenda (upon which he was elected).  It is proof positive once again the establishment Republican party is utterly useless in the fight to regain control of our government and our country by “we the people.”  Consider:

  • A supposedly “fiscally conservative” GOP passed the largest spending bill in U.S. history, after removing the debt ceiling and spending caps earlier this year
  • Despite complaints over procedure in the passage of Obamacare and other legislation in recent years, Congressmen were given just 1,000 minutes to review a 2,232-page abomination.  This comes after the GOP previously pledged to post legislation online for public review at least 72 hours before any vote.
  • The record spending level included $2.7 billion for international disaster relief and $1.37 billion for “contributions to international organizations.”  It even provides the Defense Department authority to “spend what funds it determines” to enhance the border security of Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt and Tunisia.  But in response to President Trump’s $25 billion in long-term funding for U.S. border security, the omnibus provides a mere $1.6 billion, with specific restrictions against building a solid wall, and only targeting 33 out of 1,954 miles of the U.S.-Mexican border.
  • No funding was cut to self-proclaimed “sanctuary cities” and states such as California that are flaunting Federal immigration authority on a daily basis.
  • The bill continues the practice of forcing taxpayers to subsidize the murder of babies by Planned Parenthood to the tune of more than $500 million annually.

Voting on the bill began Thursday, with current budget authority set to expire at 12:01 Saturday morning.  The “Republicans” in the House supported it 145-90, and 23 of 51 GOP Senators also voted “yes.” Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell no doubt delighted in sticking a finger in Trump’s eye, presenting him with an attempted fait accompli — a choice between accepting a bill no different from what Pelosi and Schumer would have produced, or taking public blame for “shutting down the government” (which, really, doesn’t sound like a bad thing anymore).

As I write this, the President just publicly signed the bill, expressing his displeasure, but claiming it was necessary to secure defense funding.  This is ridiculous, and I’m highly disappointed in him for submitting to the blackmail of a jammed-up deadline.  Sure, he said he’d never sign such a hastily prepared bill again — but he shouldn’t have accepted this one, either.  The purpose of a presidential veto is to tell Congress “rethink your actions.”  There is no more appropriate situation to exercise that authority than this one, in which Congressional leadership used procedure to force through folly.  Trump will pay a political price for accepting this.

Make no mistake: there is a war waging in D.C right now.  It is not between Republicans and Democrats (which are simply two flavors of the same poison).  It’s between those who believe this is a nation of laws, run with accountability to the people, and those who believe they can talk a good talk during campaigns, then do whatever the hell they want in the intervening years.  The war is being fought on several fronts: the budget, the special counsel farce, in the courts over immigration authority, and behind the scenes with an attempt to expose and prosecute the corruption of federal agencies accelerated by the last administration.  There is also good reason to believe the GOP leadership is only happy to ensure they lose majority status in this year’s mid-term election, which would clear the way for the Democrats to redouble their baseless efforts to impeach and remove Trump, who, despite his flaws and mistakes, remains more attuned to the dreams of real Americans than just about anyone else in D.C. Mordor.

In short, the GOP hates Trump more than it loves America.  Think about that.

bi-factional ruling party
There is no meaningful difference in how these four set policy.  None of them give a damn what Americans really want.  They all need to go.

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!

No more excuses

Less than a year and a half ago, the entire Republican membership of Congress voted to send a bill to President Obama that would have repealed Obamacare.

But that was just for consumption by the rubes back in their home districts.  Clearly, the president wasn’t about to agree to dismantling his namesake health care takeover plan.

That the Republican party isn’t truly serious about seeking smaller government should be apparent to everyone.  They control both houses of Congress, and work with a President who committed himself to getting rid of the misnamed “Affordable Care Act.”

So why won’t they send the same bill to the new occupant of the Oval Office?

Because they know he’d sign it.  Then they’re not just posturing for the constituents, they’re actually removing an ill-conceived government program riddled equally with incompetence and opportunities for political theft and graft.

This is why I stopped identifying as “Republican” close to a dozen years ago.

It’s time to call their bluff.  Everyone who believes the Supreme Court was insane to rule this health care law constitutional, everyone who wants to see health care costs fall instead of rise, everyone who believes the free market, not the bureaucrats best meets our individual needs, simply MUST contact their representatives and demand they resubmit the previous bill.

No more stalling while “a draft” is written.  There’s no need to reinvent the wheel.

Paul Ryan – your membership in the Deep State is showing.  You best realize the election of Trump was a symptom of patience becoming exhausted.

Congress is acting in direct opposition to the mandate expressed in November’s election. So here’s the deal, Congress:

Lead, follow, or get the hell out of the way.

A prime example

…of why I ceased supporting the GOP several years ago (2004 was the final break, to be exact).  As an organized political force, they are no better for America than the Democrats.  In fact, they are often worse because they still try to hide behind the facade of standing for something different.  Case in point (and remember, this man was the GOP vice-presidential nominee in 2012):

Chief Obamatrade proponent House Ways and Means Committee chairman Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) admitted during Congressional testimony on Wednesday evening that despite tons of claims from him and other Obamatrade supporters to the contrary, the process is highly secretive.

He also made a gaffe in his House Rules Committee testimony on par with former Speaker Rep. Nancy Pelosi’s (D-CA) push to pass Obamacare, in which she infamously said: “we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it.”

It’s declassified and made public once it’s agreed to,” Ryan said of Obamatrade in Rules Committee testimony on Wednesday during questioning from Rep. Michael Burgess (R-TX)

In other words, let your betters in D.C. decide your future, and then you get to find out what it is.  What, you thought the people still had a say in the laws that govern their lives?

Still think we live in a functioning representative republic?  Among the many provisions I’d like to see in an America 2.0 (which I’ll get around to compiling one of these days) is a minimum 45-day public posting of ANY legislation before Congress votes on it.  If they can’t be bothered to read stuff before passing it, at least let the citizens who give a &^%$ do it.  Waiting until another election to express your displeasure at bad legislation doesn’t work anymore.  Best to make them feel the heat BEFORE they sign us up to bad laws and worse policy.  Like the bailouts.  Or the “Freedom Act.”  Or Obamacare.  Or this…