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Congress Is Starting to Take on Big Tech

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After over a year of denial, and donor-induced apathy in the face of the Snowflake Barons of Silicon Valley, a change is finally in the air. By the looks of it, tech could be in for a long, hot summer.

To begin with, last month saw the fierce questioning of Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who was grilled by both parties at a temperature that even George Foreman would think was a bit too high. Subsequently, Zuckerberg’s company was placed in the crosshairs again by Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), who invited Trump supporters and online censorship victims Diamond and Silk to testify before Congress. And while the hearing hit some procedural stumbling blocks, the fact that it occured at at all was a welcome departure from the Republican line that online censorship is the privilege of private companies, no matter how destructive or dangerous it might be to the free exchange of ideas.

But while the Zuckerberg and Diamond and Silk hearings were light skirmishes in Washington’s approaching battle with the Big Tech companies, a much more substantive and serious challenge has just been mounted.

As most of those who follow the world of Big Tech already know, much of the dominance by the so-called FAANG (Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix, and Google) can be traced not to pure Darwinian economic advantage, but often to government help. Google alone, for example, draws over $600 million in government subsidies. Or, more indirectly, Amazon receives preferential treatment from the U.S. Postal Service.

Except, in Amazon’s case, it’s more than just the post office that has been teeing up to offer special treatment. The online shopping giant also has been snapping up government subsidies as fast as it can in the intelligence and defense arenas. It has done this by encouraging government agencies to move huge troughs of their data—including extremely sensitive data—exclusively onto the Amazon cloud servers. Never mind that this gives hackers an obvious single target to hit, or that innovation is harder in such a monopolistic environment: Amazon’s lobbyists don’t care about such things.

And so far, they’ve been both unchallenged and apparently persuasive in their quest for market dominance over America’s secrets. As an example, the CIA has already turned over its massive amounts of data to Amazon, in what the Atlantic termed a “radical departure from business as usual.” Of course, that particular act was done under the supervision of former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and the Obama administration, who were particularly fond of rewarding allies in the tech community, so while it’s alarming, it’s also not particularly surprising.

What is surprising is that Secretary of Defense James Mattis was, until recently, poised to follow in Clapper’s footsteps and turn over all the data from the Department of Defense to Amazon as well, despite serving under a president who is far more skeptical of the shopping giant, and to whom Amazon’s founder seems inclined to return the sentiment. And yet, despite this, Mattis had been lining up all his ducks in a row, expecting to award a massive multibillion dollar contract to Amazon’s cloud computing service known as the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI). How much Mattis himself has directed this is a matter for some debate, however, seeing as the more likely culprits are the committee tasked with awarding the contract—the Cloud Executive Steering Group (CESG). And why are they more likely? Because the group is stacked with Amazon partisans and former employees: a troubling example of regulatory capture if ever there was one.

Given the in-the-weeds nature of the project, one can see where it might slip under President Trump’s watchful eye. No president has time personally to scrutinize every project that his administration agrees to fund. Fortunately, Congress does appear to be interested in why the Department of Defense is forking over all its data to Amazon without—and this is key—even so much as looking at what competitors would offer.

That is the question posed by House Armed Services Committee Chairman Mac Thornberry (R-Texas), who has threatened to cut funding for the JEDI program dramatically unless Mattis explains why his department is engaging in such blatant favoritism. Given the aforementioned regulatory capture of the CESG, and the many, many downsides to putting all of the Pentagon’s data in one easily targeted place, that question could raise a host of others, and potentially shine a light on Silicon Valley’s hold over Washington institutions: a leftover element, no doubt, from the Obama Administration.

So let’s hope Thornberry sticks to his guns. Because if he gets the answers he’s looking for, it could very well be the shot heard round the world in Washington’s decision to police more aggressively the overlords of tech. Or, if not the shot heard round the world, at least it will be heard in Seattle and Silicon Valley.

Correction: The article originally misidentified how much government subsidies Google receives. The correct figure is more than $600 million.

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Yes, NPR: Illegal Immigration Does Increase Violent Crime

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As members of an alien caravan beat their fists at the gates, the experts provide the rationalization for inviting them in.

John Burnett wrote last week for National Public Radio, “four academic studies show that illegal immigration does not increase the prevalence of violent crime or drug and alcohol problems.” But Burnett curated studies that conflate much and misinform plenty.

My favorite among the four is Alex Nowrasteh’s Cato Institute study, because you could tell Burnett pulled it from the top of a pile he kept on hand for just such occasions, to convince Americans that the decay they’re witnessing in their communities is actually “cultural enrichment.”

The Cato study selectively sources data from the Texas Department of Public Safety (TDPS), and it notes that what we’re reading is the “[a]uthor’s analysis” of that data. In other words, Nowrasteh presents data in a way that suits his ends. Data analysts, like those in Cato’s salon, have an interest in producing specific results. Or as one data analyst says, “they know the results the analysis should find.”

Nowrasteh’s study claims that among 952 total homicides, “native-born Americans were convicted of 885 homicides,” while “illegal immigrants were convicted of just 51 homicides.” Setting aside the fact that those 51 killings—like all crimes committed by illegal aliens—were completely avoidable, a few other questions come to mind.

First, how many of those “native-born” convicted killers were anchor babies? That is, how many of those convicted killers have parents who entered the country illegally? How many arrived through chain immigration?

That is a fair question, considering Latino gangs recruit heavily from kids as young as 10 years old, and the fact many of these immigrants come from countries with some of the highest homicide rates in the world.

Mexico is the most dangerous conflict zone in the world outside of Syria, with some Mexican states more deadly than Afghanistan. Looking at mass shootings since 2000 that have left at least four people dead, we find that first and second-generation immigrants account for 47 percent of all such shootings. The anchor baby question, when considering the pervasiveness of  the violent narcoculture in Latin America (that we now import), is valid.

Second, “convicted” is an operative word. The Cato study only takes into consideration killers who were caught, properly identified, and convicted.

Consider that Kate Steinle’s killer was not convicted either of manslaughter or murder. He committed the crime, but he wasn’t convicted. In fact, there was confusion over the killer’s identity as he used 30 aliases, had been deported five times, and committed seven felonious crimes. Federal authorities stated his name was “Jose Inez Garcia-Zarate,” but the criminal alien left a trail through the “immigration system and criminal courts for nearly a quarter of a century as  Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez and Juan Jose Dominguez de la Parra,” to name just two others.

Texas has porous borders and it’s a sad fact that illegal aliens enjoy the luxury of moving relatively freely across the border, whether for trafficking operations or simply for the purpose of avoiding Mexican authorities. A sizable number of illegal aliens work with drug cartels that operate within the United States. Some of them are killers.

“In 2009,” writes Steven A. Camarota for the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), “57 percent of the 76 fugitive murderers most wanted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) were foreign-born. It is likely however that because immigrants can more readily flee to other countries, they comprise a disproportionate share of fugitives.” How many of those were illegal aliens?

In fact, an internal Texas Department of Public Safety report revealed that between 2008 and 2014, 177,588 illegal alien defendants were “responsible for at least 611,234 individual criminal charges over their criminal careers, including 2,993 homicides and 7,695 sexual assaults.” Maybe the Texas authorities didn’t trust Cato with the good stuff. Or maybe Nowrasteh didn’t ask.

One thing is certain: the more substantive TDPS report paints illegal immigration in a much less favorable light than does the report selected by Cato and promulgated by NPR.

But the TDPS report also comes with a glaring caveat. “The 177,588 criminal aliens identified by Texas through the Secure Communities initiative only can tag criminal aliens who had already been fingerprinted,” writes J. Christian Adams, a former U.S. Justice Department employee.

“That means that the already stratospheric aggregate crime totals would be even higher if crimes by many illegal aliens who are not in the fingerprint database were included,” Adams concludes.

Cato, then, is misinforming Americans and perhaps hoping that no one looks below the surface of Nowrasteh’s study. This is not surprising as Cato emphatically endorses open borders, or as I prefer to call it, civilizational suicide. Thus, Burnett chose this specious source because it aligned with his cosmopolitan prejudices. Neither is a good look for a NPR.

A second study Burnett highlighted reports on “50 states and Washington, D.C., from 1990 to 2014 to provide the first longitudinal analysis of the macro‐level relationship between undocumented immigration and violence.” Assuming crime statistics are accurately reported, it stands to reason that if we look at immigration nationwide, lumping all “undocumented immigrants” into the same pool, things might not appear as bad as they actually are.

Crime statistics, however, aren’t always accurately reported—remember that Steinle’s killer won’t be reported as a homicide conviction. Although crime has decreased nationwide, it has risen in certain cities and counties. A “macro-level” glance might miss that.

In counties like Los Angeles, which has a high concentration of illegal aliens, authorities don’t have the best track record when it comes to accurately reporting crime, prompting investigations every now and again. Nevertheless, Los Angeles County has also seen crime rates increase, while they have fallen elsewhere across the nation.

Echoing Burnett, Steve Lopez writes in the Los Angeles Times that concern over sanctuary policies and tying immigration to higher crime rates is baseless. He maintains that it is a bigoted political formula and not much else. Lopez invokes Wayne Cornelius, a UC San Diego professor emeritus, “who has studied immigration for decades,” and “said there is no correlation between sanctuary cities and crime rates.”

Neither Burnett, Cornelius, nor Lopez understand why “14 Southern California cities and two counties have passed ordinances, and in some cases filed lawsuits,” against state sanctuary laws. After all, say the experts, sanctuary policies don’t protect bad guys; and noncitizens—specifically illegal alien Latinos—are less likely to engage in crime than the “native-born” population anyway.

If you don’t believe Lopez, take it from Cornelius. He received the Order of the Aztec Eagle, the highest honor bestowed upon foreigners by the formalized narco-kleptocracy Mexico calls a “government.”

To understand how unethical and fundamentally obscene this narrative is, a look at California’s history with sanctuary policies, crime, and immigration might be instructive.

City of Angels

The beginnings of sanctuary can be traced back to a 1979 Los Angeles memorandum stating: “Officers shall not initiate police action with the objective of discovering the alien status of a person. Officers shall neither arrest nor book persons for violation of title 8, section 1325 of the United States Immigration code (Illegal Entry).”

California progressives, in their brilliance, decided to adopt sanctuary just as the Mara Salvatrucha, or MS-13, was coming onto the scene—although other Latino gangs were already entrenched in California.

Born in the barrios of Los Angeles in the 1980s, the membership of MS-13 was comprised of “refugees” from El Salvador, Guatemala and Nicaragua. This is relevant, considering the origins of the migrant activists demanding asylum from the United States today.

As a token of their appreciation to the United States, these foreigners formed the rank and file of one of the most vicious gangs in the world. It didn’t take long for the Mexican Mafia, or “la eMe,” to incorporate MS-13 into its Latino gang alliance, a coalition that came to be called the “Sureños.” More than a dozen gangs, including Hezbollah, Los Zetas, the Sinaloa Cartel, and the Gulf Cartel, all operate under the Sureños alliance.

In 2007, federal agents discovered businesses in Los Angeles that were peddling cocaine and counterfeit designer clothing in a front operation run by the Mexican mafia that financially benefited Hezbollah.

Between 1990 and 2000, the Latino population of the United States increased by 63 percent—from 22 million to 35 million. Suffice to say, the Immigration and Naturalization Service was overwhelmed. So were prisons. More to the point, this wave of mass immigration meant more recruits for Latino gangs.

Manhattan Institute Fellow Heather Mac Donald recounts how a “confidential California Department of Justice study reported in 1995 that 60 percent of the 20,000-strong 18th Street Gang in southern California is illegal; police officers say the proportion is actually much greater.” The 18th Street Gang collaborated with la eMe “on complex drug-distribution schemes, extortion, and drive-by assassinations, and commits an assault or robbery every day in L.A. County”; and the gang “has grown dramatically over the last two decades by recruiting recently arrived youngsters, most of them illegal, from Central America and Mexico.” As early as the 1990s, Latinos were importing narcoculture to the United States.

“In 1997, the INS simply had no record of a whopping 36 percent of foreign-born inmates who had been released from federal and four state prisons without any review of their deportability,” writes Mac Donald. “They included 1,198 aggravated felons, 80 of whom were soon re-arrested for new crimes.”

Mass immigration also brought with it a violent prejudice all too well known in Latin America: vitriolic hatred directed at blacks.

The Southern Poverty Law Center reports that in the 1980s when Highland Park in Southern California it “fell heavily under the control of the Mexican Mafia . . . eventually becoming fundamentally racist as a result.” As deceptive and dishonest as it often is, even the feverishly leftist SPLC couldn’t deny what was happening, because doing so would mean denying the plight of one of America’s protected minority groups for the sake of another.

Still, none of this seemed troubling enough to cinch up the border at the time. By 2000, “nearly 30 percent of federal prisoners were foreign-born,” Mac Donald writes. She adds that the L.A. County Sheriff also “reported in 2000 that 23 percent of inmates in county jails were deportable.”

Considering how difficult it is for minorities to be convicted of hate crimes, it is impressive that not only did Latino illegal aliens bring crime, they brought prolific amounts of hate crime the likes of which put the Klan to shame. By 2007, 75 percent of Highland Park residents were Latino, while just 2 percent were black.

Latinos developed a singular reputation for carrying out coordinated hate crimes that defied national trends. “Researchers found that in areas with high concentrations, or ‘clusters,’ of hate crimes, the perpetrators were typically members of Latino street gangs who were purposely targeting blacks,” the SPLC reported.

Los Angeles became home to random “racially motivated crimes” perpetrated throughout “the 88 cities of Los Angeles County by the members of Latino gangs.” Among these Latino gangs were “the Pomona 12 in the city of Pomona, the 18th Street Gang in southwest Los Angeles, the Toonerville gang in northeast L.A., and the Varrio Tortilla Flats in Compton.”

But the violence from Latino gangs against blacks wasn’t limited to Los Angeles. The same SPLC report notes that “six members of a Latino gang in Carlsbad, California, were arrested and charged with hate crimes for allegedly hurling racial slurs at a black teenager—who police said was not a gang member—while kicking and punching him.”

Meanwhile in Fresno, California, two Latino gang members “were convicted of attempted murder in what police described as the random hate-crime shooting of a 41-year-old black man.” Police reported that “the shooters used racial epithets and told the victim, ‘We don’t like your kind of people on our street.’”

The viciousness of Latino gangs was matched only by its pervasiveness. Although different in some respects, Latino gangs shared two common characteristics: hatred toward blacks and ranks augmented with illegal aliens thanks to porous borders.

Citing U.S. attorney Luis Li, Mac Donald noted that the “leadership of the Columbia Lil’ Cycos gang, which uses murder and racketeering to control the drug market around L.A.’s MacArthur Park, was about 60 percent illegal in 2002.”

The Cycos gang was controlled by a member of la eMe, an illegal alien, who ran the gang from prison, “while serving time for felonious reentry following deportation.” By 2004, “95 percent of all outstanding warrants for homicide [in Los Angeles] (which total 1,200 to 1,500) target[ed] illegal aliens,” and as many as “two-thirds of all fugitive felony warrants (17,000) [were] for illegal aliens.”

To argue, as Burnett, Lopez, and Cornelius do, that “there is no correlation between sanctuary cities and crime rates” is to offer a bad joke. But the litany of Latino gangs goes on, while the intelligentsia preaches tolerance to the communities that have been terrorized by this nightmare.

In 2009, 147 alleged Varrio Hawaiian Gardens members—that’s a Mexican gang—were indicted “on charges ranging from racketeering to kidnapping and attempted murder.” These crimes, said U.S. Attorney Thomas O’Brien, were motivated by “explicit racial hatred.”

The scale at which these gangs coordinated and mobilized against blacks was terribly formidable. In 2012, la eMe “put the word out for Hispanic street gangs to stop battling each other, to ‘focus on getting the blacks out’ of their territories,” writes Eva Knott, citing a police gang specialist.

The violence hasn’t stopped, and neither have the lies about sanctuary or illegal immigration.

In 2016, the “Eastside Latino gang tried to firebomb black families out of a community the suspects claimed as their own,” to “get the nigger out of the neighborhood,” federal authorities said. One firebomb landed in a room where a mother had been sleeping with her baby, but the family managed to escape.

The George W. Bush Administration made some headway in dealing with Latino gangs, but Democrats during the Obama era enabled them to replenish their ranks. Under Democratic Party leadership, California enacted a plan to release 13,500 inmates every month to reduce overcrowding, including those sentenced for “stalking” and “battery.” Early release of “nonviolent, low level prisoners,” coupled with ICE field offices being directed to cease arresting gang members for immigration violations or minor crimes, meant Latino gangs could resupply their numbers. This happened at the same time that California made it even harder for immigration authorities to apprehend and deport illegal aliens. Indeed, from 2015 to 2017, California denied 3,348 ICE detainer requests.

“Progressive” policing meant preventing federal authorities from screening thousands of dangerous aliens, when one in four “MS-13 gang members arrested or charged with crimes since 2012 came to the U.S. as part of the Obama-era surge of Unaccompanied Alien Children (UAC).”

Jessica M. Vaughan, director of policy studies for the CIS, reports that “ICE officers were no longer permitted to arrest and remove foreign gang members until they had been convicted of major crimes.” This resulted in gang arrests plummeting, “from about 4,600 in 2012 to about 1,580 in 2014.”

Vaughan also notes the “location of these MS-13 crimes corresponds with locations of large numbers of UACs who were resettled by the federal government.” MS-13 gang members have been apprehended after entering the country by claiming they were refugees “fleeing the violence in El Salvador.” Indeed, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen last month warned Congress that gangs like MS-13 “recruit young children, they train them how to be smuggled across our border, how to then join up with gang members in the United States.”

This is the insanity that sanctuary, mass immigration, and inability to enforce border security or immigration laws have wrought.

The Politics of Propaganda

Between 2005 and 2012, the Los Angeles Police Department incorrectly classified 14,000 assaults as minor offenses, “making the city’s crime rate look significantly lower than it really is.” Josh Sanburn reports that the LAPD routinely classified aggravated assaults as “simple assaults,” therefore artificially reducing the city’s numbers for violent crime.

“We know this can have a corrosive effect on the public’s trust of our reporting,” said Assistant Chief Michel R. Moore, who oversees the LAPD’s system for tracking crime. “That’s why we are committed to . . . eliminating as much of the error as possible.”

Then, the LAPD did it again. The department “misclassified nearly 1,200 violent crimes“ in 2014, “including hundreds of stabbings, beatings and robberies.” That’s not exactly an inconsequential clerical error. With this correction, the rate of serious assaults during that time would have been around 14 percent higher than what the LAPD reported, while overall violent crime would have shown 7 percent higher. This problem is “systemic,” according to a San Fernando Valley LAPD captain.

Capt. Lillian Carranza says “the department’s systemic pattern of under-reporting certain crime statistics” isn’t just skewering crime data, “it affects the way we deploy resources, the support we get from federal grants, and in my case and in my officers case, who gets the support of discretionary resources and who doesn’t.”

Carranza said she found errors “in categorizing violent crimes that were never fixed” that resulted in LAPD “under-reporting violent crime for 2016 by about 10 percent.” Carranza said she believes “staff members may have falsified information,” or “cooking of the books . . . in order to get promotions, accolades and increased responsibility.”

Progressives love to bash cops, but they avoid connecting the dots between underreporting serious crime and violent crime, with regions where illegal aliens are concentrated appearing safer than they are.

Why should Californians assume Los Angeles is the only city obfuscating the truth about sanctuary policies, immigration, and crime? California is the state, after all, where Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf, an outspokenly progressive Democrat, tipped off illegals to an ICE sweep, claiming a “duty and moral obligation as mayor to give those families fair warning when that threat appears imminent.” She had a duty and moral obligation least of all to American citizens, it seems.

Oakland also happens to be one of the least safe cities in America.

CityRating reports Oakland’s violent crime rate in 2016 as higher than the national average by 259.04 percent, higher than the California average by 220.13 percent. Oakland’s property crime rate was higher than the national average by 129.96 percent, higher than the California average by 120.75 percent. Further, CityRating reports an overall upward trend in crime based on “data from 18 years with violent crime increasing and property crime increasing,” and based on this trend, “the crime rate in Oakland for 2018 is expected to be higher than in 2016.”

When Mayor Schaaf refuses to enforce the law, she contributes to Oakland’s growing crime problem.

Still, why do people like Krishnadev Calamur claim that “[s]tudy after study after study” show “[i]mmigrants largely commit crimes at a lower rate than the local-born population”? Calamur says those “numbers are true even of the children of immigrants.”

Because “study after study after study” conflate the children of immigrants whose parents entered our country legally holding a postgraduate degree, like many Nigerians do, and the children of Latino gang members, whose parents entered the United States illegally. Both are second-generation, both are lumped together, but they are not the same. Sometimes, these studies even conflate legal and illegal aliens.

“Fact Checker” Salvador Rizzo writes for the Washington Post, “every demographic group has its share of criminals, but the research shows that immigrants commit crimes at a lower rate than the U.S.-born population.”

“Fact Checker” may not be an appropriate title for Rizzo.

Like Calamur, Rizzo argues, “most of the available data and research say immigrants are less likely to commit crimes than the U.S.-born population.” But a closer look at Rizzo’s narrative is instructive of other common misinformation tactics.

First, Rizzo makes no distinction between legal and illegal alien crime statistics, when lumping the two together will obviously give a better impression of illegal alien crime alone.

Second, in later immigration “fact checks,” Rizzo uses data that excludes non-violent crimes committed by illegals, such as identity theft, racketeering, arson, most property crimes, drug and alcohol-related crime, grand theft, counterfeiting, fraud, and so forth. Human trafficking involves dangerously transporting vulnerable people, often women and children, against their will, but this offense can be labeled “non-violent.”

Suffice to say, Rizzo’s fact-checking is extremely misleading.

A look at U.S. Sentencing Commission data from 2016, pertaining to 67,742 felony and Class A misdemeanor cases, shows noncitizens accounted for 41.7 percent of all offenders. Further broken down: noncitizens accounted for 72 percent of drug possession convictions, 33 percent of money laundering convictions, 29 percent of drug trafficking convictions, 23 percent of murder convictions, and 18 percent of fraud convictions. Commission data doesn’t report on state and local prisons and jails, but the Government Accountability Office does.

The GAO found that among 251,000 criminal aliens incarcerated in federal, state, and local prisons and jails, these criminal aliens were arrested 1.7 million times, for nearly 3 million combined offenses. Fifty percent had been arrested at least once for assault, homicide, robbery, a sex offense, or kidnapping—around half had been arrested at least once for a drug violation. The GAO consistently reports the number of noncitizens (legal and illegal aliens) constituting 25 percent of the federal prison population. That slice of the pie would require noncitizens to commit crimes around three times the rate of citizens.

Not only do these data show 7 percent of the population accounts for one-fifth of all federal murder convictions, but when Rizzo excludes non-violent crimes, he clearly excludes a staggering lot. Thus, Rizzo deliberately avoids confronting a mountain of data that directly contradicts his narrative.

Like Burnett, Lopez, Cornelius, and Calamur, Rizzo is willing to deny that communities have been and continue to be violently afflicted, while criminals have been given sanctuary, just because it satisfies his liberal paternalism. Minorities must be shielded from criticism, even if that means offering up the very principles that attracted them to this country, particularly those of justice and the rule of law, on the altar of progressivism.

End of the Narrative

The folkish polka tunes of Los Tucanes de Tijuana belie the vile narcoculture they extol in their music. “Somos gente de el cartel de el diablo, Les decían a los federales, De inmediato les abrían el paso, Era mas que se activa la clave, Saben bien que si no hacían caso, Sus cabezas volarían al aire.” We are the people of the devil’s cartel, they tell the federales and they let us through, they know what happens if they don’t obey, their heads will fly through the air.

Los Tucanes are banned from performing in their namesake Tijuana, the consequence of a 2008 concert in which the band’s members gave a shout out to Tijuana’s most wanted men, “El Teo and his compadre, El Muletas.”

Raydel Lopez Uriarte, alias “El Muletas,” ran a drug-trafficking cell known for murdering police officers, numerous kidnappings, and beheading victims. Garcia Simental, known as “El Teo,” helped turn Baja into a place where “soldiers patrolled in convoys and manned bunkers flanking highways. Torture victims’ bodies hung from overpasses, and once-crowded beaches became playgrounds for mob bosses and their entourages.” An insider who wanted to help “clean up [his] country” eventually turned on Simental and gave him up to the feds. Needless to say, gangster rap doesn’t hold a candle to the vicious culture extolled by narcocorridos.

Although banned in Tijuana, the Tucanes enjoy immense popularity in the United States; in fact, you can catch them at the San Diego County Fair, they’re billed as “global ambassadors of Norteña music and corridos and ballads.” They tour throughout the states, playing in Central Park, Dodger Stadium, the Astrodome. They have a massive following in Texas.

The United States isn’t just importing violent crime, it’s importing the culture that has made narcoterrorism acceptable, even desirable, in countries like Mexico—and our media is paving an express lane. When Juan Williams said, “Now is the time to defund NPR,” he might have been on to something.

After California Democrats appointed an illegal alien to statewide office, Lizbeth Mateo sent out an inaugural Tweet to Attorney General Jeff Sessions: “Fuck you @jeffsessions!! You coward piece of shit. You think this is going to change the resolve of these families? You don’t know the strength and courage of my community.”

Apart from the vulgarity and unhinged tone, what stands out are two words: “my community.”

Mateo is not an American. She is a Mexican living in America. Her community is not the American people; it is the Mexican people. The appointment of an illegal alien to state office—who serves on a financial advisory committee, thus directing the use of taxpayer dollars—and the obvious extranational loyalties of that illegal alien are seditious, and the bureaucrat kings of California made this happen. Sessions recently declared, “We are not going to let this country be invaded. We will not be stampeded. We will not capitulate to lawlessness,” while the president has hinted at possibly “closing up the country for a while.”  

I say pour it on. Give California hell, because that is what it has given its citizens. Now, this not a declaration of war against immigrants who came to this country for the right reasons. It is, rather, a declaration of war against criminals and the bureaucrats who are actively importing the heinous culture that has compelled so many to seek refuge elsewhere; now their children will be recruited by MS-13 here, rather than over there.

California is strangling the very society that immigrants once came to become a part of, for no less noble a cause that consolidating political power with an electorate they have cowed into fealty, or shackled to the welfare-state.

California wants to go to war with America—perhaps America should grant California’s wish.

Photo credit:  Irfan Khan/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

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2016 Election • Administrative State • America • Americanism • Big Media • Center for American Greatness • civic culture/friendship • Congress • Deep State • Democrats • Donald Trump • Elections • Intelligence Community • Post • The Left • The Leviathian State • The Media • Trump White House

The Rape Culture of Politics by Investigation

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Former Trump campaign advisor Michael Caputo condemned the Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday following his closed-door testimony. His words, no doubt, resonated with every Trump aide, associate, and family member ensnared in the bogus Trump-Russia election collusion scam.

“God damn you to Hell,” Caputo told the committee—an impassioned conclusion to an emotional statement explaining the personal and financial strain the investigations have caused his family.

Caputo called out a former staffer to Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), who is orchestrating the ongoing smear campaign against anyone in Trump’s orbit thanks to deep-pocketed Democratic activists in New York and California. And he implored the committee to “investigate the investigators.”

Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team interviewed Caputo the following day, nearly one year after Mueller got his marching orders from Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. So, why has Caputo now been interviewed by the House Intelligence Committee, the Senate Intelligence Committee and the special counsel? What makes this longtime GOP consultant who worked on the Trump campaign for less than a year (and not in any central role) possibly complicit in, or a witness to, the yet-unproven crime that the Trump campaign colluded with the Russian government to influence the 2016 presidential election?

Caputo made the egregious error of having once worked for the Russians. In the 1990s. He told New York  magazine in an interview this week that he “studied Russia in college and became a big admirer of Russian literature and ballet. I worked hard in the Cold War to defeat Russia, and after the Wall fell I grew curious about the Russian people. I wanted to see the results.” Of course, this all sounds very fishy now. It’s obvious that Caputo developed an interest in Russia in the 1980s so he could earn the coveted post of Donald Trump’s New York primary election coordinator in 2015 and then work with the Rooskies to strip Hillary Clinton of enough votes in Pennsylvania and Michigan to cost her the election in November 2016 (even though he left the campaign in June 2016.)

Coincidence? I don’t think so.

While it’s tempting to joke about the ridiculousness of federal investigators and lawmakers continuing to sniff out a crime that did not happen, it’s no laughing matter. Caputo said he has incurred about $125,000 in legal fees and he’s not done yet. Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) brought up Caputo’s Ukrainian-born wife during a House hearing with former FBI Director James Comey last year. Caputo claims he and his family have been the target of death threats, all due to a “fishing expedition” into his alleged role in Trump-Russia election collusion. “If you drink vodka, you have Russian dressing in your refrigerator, you’re game for these people,” he told Fox News’ Tucker Carlson.

Caputo is not alone. The special counsel has interviewed 20 White House officials, 17 campaign aides, and 11 people associated with the campaign. General Michael Flynn, Trump’s former national security advisor, is attempting to sell his Alexandria, Virginia home to pay his hefty legal costs. Even though Flynn pleaded guilty in December 2017 to one count of lying to federal investigators, Mueller keeps dragging out his case. After a judge delayed Flynn’s sentencing back in February amid a court order directing Mueller to disclose any exculpatory evidence his team might have withheld during the plea negotiations, Mueller’s team this week asked for another two-month delay before Flynn is sentenced. (It was scheduled for this month.)

There is some speculation that Mueller’s case against Flynn is in jeopardy since the judge who signed off on Flynn’s plea deal also served on the FISA court in 2016 and was abruptly recused from the Flynn case just days after the plea was entered. Regardless of the reason why the special counsel is putting off sentencing another 60 days, this only means more legal fees for Flynn and his family.

Hope Hicks, Trump’s former communications advisor, testified before the House Intelligence Committee in February, then quit the next day. The 29-year-old reportedly was concerned about mounting legal bills. Campaign volunteers such as George Papadopoulos and Carter Page undoubtedly owe their lawyers lots of money.

This is all a source of glee for #TheResistance. Vanity Fair cheered how, “Trump allies who’ve been caught up in the [Russia] investigation’s web have been forced to pony up.” Others mocked Flynn for having to sell his home, calling it karma for his “lock her up” chants aimed at Hillary Clinton.

Fortunately, financial help might soon be available. The Patriot Legal Expense Fund launched in February and is now collecting donations to help ease the legal debt of Trump campaign workers and/or administration officials ensnared in the Trump-Russia investigation. In an open letter posted on the fund’s website, interim manager Nan Hayworth wrote that “many members of the president’s team, in order to have the legal counsel necessary to cooperate with these investigations, have been forced to incur heavy financial costs.”

Of course, Robert Mueller has no worries about how to pay for his legal team: We pay. Not only is Mueller personally unaffected by the exorbitant costs for his probe, the Justice Department won’t release his budget. When he submitted his proposed budget to the Justice Department in July 2017, officials refused to make it public. Freedom of Information requests filed by Judicial Watch to find out how much the Trump-Russia probe is costing taxpayers have gone  unfulfilled.In federal court last Friday, lawyers on the Mueller team also declined to answer a judge’s question about whether they had already “blown through” the investigation’s $10 million budget.

Republicans should not only demand that Rosenstein release Mueller’s budget, they should account for how much this entire charade has cost taxpayers—beginning with the FBI’s counterintelligence probe that started 22 months ago—and report the budgets for the House Intelligence Committee, the House Oversight Committee, the Senate Intelligence Committee, the Senate Judiciary Committee, the Senate Homeland Security Committee, and any other federal agency that has diverted time and resources to this politically motivated, spectacularly failed inquisition that is bankrupting families and destroying reputations.

After all, Republicans should realize this is as much about destroying them and the Republican Party as it is about taking down Trump World. “This is a punishment strategy. I think they want to destroy the president, they want to destroy his family, they want to destroy his businesses, they want to destroy his friends,” Caputo told Tucker Carlson on Wednesday night. “Clearly these lawsuits after the fact are the new Democratic strategy. When you lose, you still win. I don’t think anyone should work on a Republican campaign again unless you’re legally indemnified. If you do, you’re crazy.”

Content created by the Center for American Greatness, Inc. is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a significant audience. For licensing opportunities for our original content, please contact licensing@centerforamericangreatness.com.

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2016 Election • Administrative State • America • Center for American Greatness • Democrats • Donald Trump • Intelligence Community • Obama • Political Parties • Post • Russia • The Leviathian State • the Presidency • Trump White House

What if Mueller Questioned Barack Obama?

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Imagine if a right-wing version of Robert Mueller, backed by a properly pro-Trump legal team, had sent former President Barack Obama the same sort of questions that Mueller allegedly delivered this week to President Trump. The special counsel might dress them up in legalese, innuendo, and with perjury-trap IEDs, thereby casting suspicion with the mere nature of the questions.

If so, the interrogatories might run like the following—

President Obama:

What did you mean when you were heard, by accident, on a hot mic, providing the following assurances to outgoing Russian Prime Minister Medvedev: “On all these issues, but particularly missile defense, this, this can be solved, but it’s important for him to give me space . . . This is my last election. After my election, I have more flexibility”?

Did you and the Russian government have any private agreements to readjust Russian-American relations during your own 2012 reelection campaign? Were there other such discussions similar to your comments to Prime Minister Medvedev?

If so, do you believe such Russian collusion had any influence on the outcome of the 2012 election?

Did your subsequent reported suspension of, or reduction in, some planned missile defense programs, especially in Eastern Europe, have anything to do with the assurances that you gave to the Russian Prime Minister?

Did the subsequent Russian quietude during your 2012 reelection campaign have anything to do with your assurances of promised changes in U.S. foreign policy?

Did you adjudicate U.S. responses to Russian behavior on the basis of your own campaign re-election concerns?

More specifically, what exactly did you mean when you asked the Russian Prime Minister for “space”? And further what did you intend by suggesting that after your 2012 election you would have more “flexibility” with the Russian government?

Would you please define “flexibility” in this context?

What do you think Prime Minister Medvedev meant when he replied to your request for space, and your promise for flexibility after the election, with: “Yeah, I understand. I understand your message about space. Space for you . . . I understand . . . I will transmit this information to Vladimir.”

Did you hear subsequently from the Russians that Prime Medvedev had delivered the message that you had intended for Vladimir Putin?

Subsequently, did Vladimir Putin communicate with you about any such understanding that the U.S. government would modulate its foreign policy during your reelection campaign in exchange for “space”?

Did any such arrangement in 2012 have anything to do with the later absence of a strong U.S. response to subsequent cyber-attacks by Russian operatives, or to the later 2014 Russian invasions of both Eastern Ukraine and the Crimea?  

During the email controversies over the illegal use of a private email account and server by your secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, you stated publicly that you first became aware of her improper use of a private server through press accounts. Yet records show that you yourself communicated with Secretary Clinton over her unauthorized email account. How do you reconcile your public statements with your private actions?

Did you ever at any time improperly transmit classified information over Secretary of State Clinton’s email server under a pseudonymous email account?

Do you feel that you violated federal law by communicating with your secretary of state over an unsecured email server?

Did you discuss in any fashion with your own Department of Justice the ongoing FBI investigation of Secretary of Clinton’s email server and account? Do you know anything about a September 2016, election-cycle communication in which FBI investigator Lisa Page texted to fellow FBI investigator Peter Strzok that “potus wants to know everything we’re doing?” What did you wish to know from the FBI about the email investigation?

When in August 2016 you declared on Fox News that then candidate Hillary Clinton had not endangered national security by the use of an unsecured email server (“I can tell that you this is not a situation in which America’s national security was endangered . . .  she has not jeopardized America’s national security”), on what basis did you offer such a blanket exoneration? Had the FBI confirmed to you such a conclusion?

Do you have any knowledge of the contents of any of the 30,000 emails that were deleted by Secretary Clinton?  

Were you aware at any time—before, during, or after—of a clandestine meeting between Attorney General Loretta Lynch and former president Bill Clinton on an airport tarmac in Phoenix, Arizona before their meeting became public?

If so, what immediate actions did you take to ensure the integrity of the ongoing investigation of Secretary Clinton’s email account?

Were you briefed at any time on the contents of the Fusion GPS so-called Steele dossier? If so, when and by whom, and what actions did you take in response to such knowledge?

Were you aware that members of your Justice Department and the FBI had relied on the purchased Steele dossier to obtain FISA warrants to surveille member(s) of the Trump campaign staff during the 2016 election?

Were you aware at any time that FISA court judges were not informed of the fact that the author of the dossier has been hired by the Clinton campaign, or had been fired from a cooperative relationship with the FBI, or that the dossier itself was unverified by the FBI or that news accounts about it that were presented to the court as verification of its contents, were in fact, based on selective leaks of its contents to media sources?

If you were aware of any of the above, what action did you take?

Have you ever discussed the Fusion GPS/Steele dossier with Loretta Lynch, James Comey, Bruce Ohr, Glenn Simpson, Rod Rosenstein, or Hillary Clinton? If so when and under what circumstances?

Were you aware that transcripts of such subsequent FISA surveillance were made available to members of you own staff and administration, including, for example, Samantha Power, Ben Rhodes, and Susan Rice?

At any time during the 2016 campaign were you briefed on the contents of the Steele dossier by either your CIA director John Brennan, or Director of National Intelligence James Clapper?

Did you speak at any time with former Senator Harry Reid about the contents of the Steele dossier?

Were you aware at any time that members of your administration had viewed classified transcripts of such surveillance, requested that redacted names of the surveilled were to be unmasked, and then leaked those names to the press?

Did you ever approve or know of direct surveillance of the Trump campaign or transition?

If so, what actions did you take either to reprimand such actions or to prevent their recurrence?

At what time where you briefed by either FBI Director Robert Mueller, or Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein on the progress of the so-called Uranium One investigation?

Did Attorney General Loretta Lynch discuss with you the nature of that investigation?

Were you at any time worried about the compromised status of U.S. uranium sources, and if so what did you do about such concerns?

Did you at any time talk with members of the Russian government or those with ties with the Russian government about the Uranium One sale?

Were you aware at any time of massive gifting from Russian-related operatives to the Clinton Foundation?

Were you aware that Bill Clinton in June 2010 had received a $500,000 honorarium for a speech in Moscow from business interests with ties to the Russian government?

Did you at any time discuss with Secretary Clinton either President Clinton’s speech or her own violations of supposed promises and agreements with your office—specifically that both the Clinton Foundation and Bill Clinton would not have commercial relations or receive gifts/honoraria from any interests seeking commercial agreements or exemptions from the State Department?

Were you aware that Secretary Clinton’s personal aide, Huma Abedin, was as a private consultant conducting business with foreign entities, while still employed by the Clinton State Department?

How and when did you first become aware of the hacking of the email accounts at the Democratic National Committee?

Did your administration have any discussions with John Podesta, Donna Brazile or any members of the DNC concerning such data breaches?

Were you aware that DNC Chairman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, did not offer DNC computers to FBI investigators for examination after they were compromised?

Were you told by any member of your administration why this was so?

Were you aware at any time, prior to James Clapper’s false testimony in a congressional hearing, that the National Security Agency and other intelligence agencies had illegally surveilled American citizens?

Were you aware at any time, prior to John Brennan’s false testimony in a congressional hearing, that U.S. drone attacks in Afghanistan and Pakistan had inadvertently killed noncombatant civilians?

Did you take any action to reprimand John Brennan for lying to Congress on two occasions, concerning his false assertions that drones had not killed civilians, and that the CIA had not monitored U.S. Senate staffers’ computer communications?

Did you take any action to reprimand James Clapper for providing false testimony to the Congress concerning NSA surveillance?

Were you aware of the communications between your Justice Department and any local, state, or federal authorities concerning the jailing of Internet video maker, Nakoula Basseley Nakoula on suddenly discovered probation violations?

When and by whom were you first briefed that the Benghazi attacks were pre-planned terrorist attacks and not, as members of your administration had alleged, spontaneous riots resulting from an Internet video?

When and by whom were you briefed about Lois Lerner’s conduct at the IRS?

Did you discuss with anyone Lois Lerner’s decision to invoke her  Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination?

On what basis did you assert that neither Lois Lerner nor her associates were guilty of “even a smidgen of corruption”?

Was your public exoneration based on any evidence presented to you by internal IRS or FBI investigators? If so, when and by whom?

Why in the last days of your presidential tenure, did you suddenly vastly expand the number of agencies and intelligence analysts privy to classified NSA intelligence gathering?

On what grounds did you take such action, and did your decision have anything to do with your knowledge of the classified surveillance of Donald Trump, or his campaign, or information in the Steele dossier?

In the past, were you aware of the circumstances under which the sealed divorce records of both your 2004 Illinois primary and general election Senate opponents, Blair Hull and Jack Ryan respectively, were illegally leaked to the press? At any time, did you view such sealed records and, if so, when and by whom were you apprised that such records were leaked to the press?

*****

The point is not to embarrass President Obama, but to demonstrate that any president, past or present, could be forced to answer questions to a special prosecutor, both concerning his original mandate but also far beyond it, including matters of his own personal and business past.

His answers could then be used to collate both with public or even surveilled presidential statements to find evidence  of inconsistency, false testimony, obstruction of justice, or collusion with a foreign government.

Give a special counsel the man—including Barack Obama—and his team of partisan investigators could find the necessary crime to charge him.

Content created by the Center for American Greatness, Inc. is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a significant audience. For licensing opportunities for our original content, please contact licensing@centerforamericangreatness.com.

Photo credit:  Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

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America • Americanism • Cultural Marxism • Deep State • Donald Trump • Intelligence Community • Post • Russia • The Constitution • The Leviathian State

Whose Constitution Is It, Anyway?

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The leak of what may or may not be (for such is the nature of anonymously sourced leaks) Robert Mueller’s questions for Donald Trump gives the president his best opportunity yet to put an end to the Mueller investigation, the Russian “collusion” meme, the idea of a special prosecutor, and the “Resistance.” He ought to take it.

The questions themselves are not the problem, although they are certainly problematic—transparently so, in fact. They are not designed to elicit any useful information in what was supposed to be a counterintelligence investigation; rather than they are barely disguised perjury trap inquiries, which should come as no surprise to those aware of the favored tactics of this Irish/FBI mafia. They are the same kinds of questions that put Martha Stewart in jail (James Comey, prosecutor) as well as the recently pardoned Scooter Libby (Patrick Fitzgerald, prosecutor).

And let us not forget Mueller’s own sterling record as a prosecutor.

That Mueller isn’t posing these questions in good faith is beyond question. As I have been writing for well over a year, the “resistance” to the duly elected president of the United States was an intelligence operation from the start, engineered by Barack Obama, James Clapper, John Brennan, Loretta Lynch, leading Democrats, rogue Republicans, and using a deeply partisan and thus compromised media as its vengeful Greek chorus.

The origins of this deep state attempted coup can be variously traced, but unquestionably one of its primary components was the Obama Administration’s decision a week before the inauguration, little noted at the time until I posted about it here, to expand the National Security Agency’s raw-intelligence distribution lists to the entire intelligence community, and thus open up many more avenues for “unmasking”—and leaking—the names of Americans caught up in the NSA’s electronic nets; Michael Flynn’s defenestration followed shortly after this rule change. As I wrote at the time: “the genius of the Democrats—something for the GOP to think about next time—is that they were able to leverage the transition in order to change as many rules and embed as many apparatchiks as possible before formally turning over the reins to the new kids.”

If you look at the categories of questions Mueller allegedly wishes to pose to Trump, you will notice they focus on exactly those areas of inquiry made possible by Obama and his henchmen through the NSA rule change. Among them are Michael Flynn and his contacts with Russia’s ambassador to the United States. A second group of questions has to do with the firing of Comey, the man who orchestrated the entire “special counsel” by writing memos and then leaking them to the New York Times through his friend, Columbia law professor Dan Richman—who just so happens to be on Comey’s legal team now. If you want to see real collusion in action, look no farther than the sanctimonious Comey and his rum crew.

By now, it’s clear that Mueller never had any intention of investigating Russian “collusion,” aside from issuing some meaningless indictments of persons over whom he has no legal authority. Rather—as the enemedia breathlessly hopes!—the inquiry has morphed into an “obstruction of justice” investigation into the firing of Mueller’s pal, Comey. And now we arrive at the heart of the matter.

The title of Comey’s book, A Higher Loyalty, gives the game away: higher than what? The Left is always nattering on about an “arc of history” that bends toward “justice,” but an educated populace should be able to see right through this classic example of Marxist cant. The purpose of such a meaningless phrase is to get you to believe that there is some authority—not God, God forbid!—“higher” than the laws of the United States, and that a true patriot’s allegiance belongs not to the Constitution but to some “higher” power.

Since the 1960s, that power has been the abstract (which is to say, unconstitutional) authority of the federal courts, principally the Supreme Court. To make this case—that the Court is the final judge of the constitutionality of just about everything—they’ve leveraged Marbury v. Madison and convinced the American public through a dazzling exercise in circular reasoning, that because the Court itself has said it is the arbiter of all things constitutional, it is therefore, under the Constitution, the arbiter of all things constitutional.

But is this really true? Plainly not.

The purview of the Supreme Court is remarkably limited constitutionally—and still subject to Congressional regulation and oversight. Congress, in fact, can strip the court of any of its non-constitutionally arrogated jurisdictions.

Clearly, this wasn’t good enough for our supreme solons, which is why they engaged in an astonishing power grab in 1803, when the court under John Marshall decided in Marbury v. Madison to grant itself the power of judicial review. The theory was that the justices had sworn an oath to uphold the Constitution—but then, so does the President (Article II) and every member of Congress (Article I). It’s impossible that the Court’s obligation to the Constitution outweighs either the executive’s or the legislature’s, and it certainly does not trump theirs.

And yet the Left loves judicial supremacy, since it allows them to end-run the legislative process, deploy their armies of lawyers, and argue in front of single judges, a small panel, or (in the case of the Supreme Court) nine Ivy League lawyers in black robes. What could be less democratic than that?

The president should tell Mueller—an employee of the executive branch who reports, via a short chain of command, to Trump himself—that he will not answer a single question in this preposterous star chamber. As president, Trump has as much right to determine the constitutionality of federal actions as the Court or Congress. That the Constitution plainly states that executive authority resides solely in the person of the president. That, as president, his constitutionally lawful actions are not subject to obstruction of justice claims brought either by another branch of government, or from within his own branch. And that absolutely nothing in the Constitution references a “higher” authority than the document itself.

In short, there is no “higher” power or loyalty. There is only the law of the land.

A sitting president cannot be charged with obstruction of justice, or any crime, in any court of law. He can only be impeached by the House, convicted by the Senate, and removed from office.

The Constitution does not belong to the Supreme Court. Nor does it belong to the president or even to the branch of government which really is primus inter pares, the Congress. And it certainly does not belong to our legions of judges, prosecutors, and lawyers, who have hijacked it and the entire federal system in order to aggrandize power at the expense of the real owners of the Constitution: us.

The whole point of the Trump revolution was to take back constitutional power from those who have suborned and misused it for decades. Is it any wonder, then, that the deep state is fighting back so furiously? That ought to tell you just how high the stakes really are.

Content created by the Center for American Greatness, Inc. is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a significant audience. For licensing opportunities for our original content, please contact licensing@centerforamericangreatness.com.

Photo credit:  Samuel Corum/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

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America • American Conservatism • Americanism • civic culture/friendship • Conservatives • Cultural Marxism • Donald Trump • Elections • Greatness Agenda • Post • self-government • The Constitution • The Culture • The Left • The Leviathian State • The Resistance (Snicker)

Suicide of the Conservative Movement

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Jonah Goldberg appeared recently on “Conversations with Bill Kristol” to discuss his new book, Suicide of the West. During his chat with one of the nation’s preeminent NeverTrumpers, Goldberg betrayed a serious lack of perspective—one that is indicative of a broader problem in mainstream conservatism.

In the midst of discussing politics and our current political moment, Goldberg noted there are some conservatives who view politics as a “game”—as just about getting “points on the board.” (He made clear this was a descriptive rather than a pejorative remark, and there’s no reason to doubt him.) From there, however, he went on to compare our politics to children’s sports. If your kid were playing, say, basketball, Goldberg reasoned, and the star player on the opposing team was cheating—throwing elbows, for example—you would be incensed and rightly so. You would be even more upset if the referees failed to stop the play and sanction the offending player.

So far, all true. Then Goldberg asserted many on the Right have in recent years contracted “Alinsky envy” as a reaction to the Left’s “cheating.” In short, the Right responds to the Left’s cheating with their own “cheating.” Since cheating is bad, Goldberg laments our current situation.

But some questions spring to mind. Exactly what do Goldberg and those who applaud this analysis have in mind when they lament “cheating” from the Right? Is it that the Right has stooped to the Left’s level since the election of Donald Trump? What does that mean? What exactly has the Right done wrong? We can note, almost without limit, the Left’s penchant for dirty play. But we have yet to hear exactly how the Right has debased itself. Goldberg is frustratingly short on specifics. He seems more concerned with tone.

That speaks to the deeper problem. Goldberg knows perfectly well that politics is nothing like a youth basketball game. In such a game, there are referees whose job it is to regulate the flow of play and punish those who violate the rules of the game. When someone cheats, the ref—who’s presumed by both sides to be legitimate—has the authority to sort out disputes, decide if there’s been a violation, and, if so, what the punishment should be.

But in politics, particularly American politics, who’s the referee? Who precisely does Goldberg—and those who share his perspective—think is going to step in and regulate real-world “cheating”? The Federal Election Commission? The New York Times? The right answer is: nobody. We are on our own. The two sides have no choice but to regulate themselves. And when one side violates unwritten rules of fair play, or the other side abdicates its duty to regulate its opponent, or both (as is our current situation), things get ugly fast.

When one side in politics plays dirty and violates established rules and norms (which flow from our Constitution and our history as a nation), the solution is not to whine that it’s happening and then get skittish about fighting back—it’s to fight back. Make the other side pay a price for its repellent practices. Impose costs for undesired and dangerous behavior.

In politics, the way you prevent cheating is to be vigilant and make the other side internalize costs for having cheated. Each side regulates the other in the rough and tumble of politics. There’s no neutral third party with the authority to bind all actors to his “right” or “good” decision. God is not coming to save us from ourselves.

The conservative movement is committing suicide for reasons quite similar to those that explain the suicide of the West Goldberg catalogs in his book. Each are, at bottom, choices. Movement conservatism chose for years to be a pliant doormat to the relentless onslaught of the social justice-crazed, progressive Left and its ever-escalating leftward demands. It chose to rehearse an inflexible checklist ideology rather than to be guided by prudential judgments about the common good of the nation in light of natural rights reasoning of the American Founding. It chose to see politics as bean bag, rather than the inherently scrappy contest for dominance that it truly is.

They have, in short, opted to view the public square as a debating society and the nation as a playground—complete with imaginary judges and recess duty patrol. They imagine they can send up their trial balloons and tout their pet ideas in this idealized “fair” and objective world rather than in a real place inhabited by real persons who deserve to be led, respected, and taken seriously as political actors—not dominated against their wishes, condescended to, or ignored.

Conservatives like Goldberg want to see less politics—not more—because politics is often ugly. Conservatism in their minds is elegant and elevated, a belief set that alights upon the earth only long enough to inform the common folk that, actually, we just need to keep up with “free trade” and endlessly bombing other countries even when the people (the only referees worth talking about) are not persuaded these ideas represent the national interest just because the graphs these conservative grandees are holding say so, thank you very much. It annoys them that the people have the power to shoot down their ideas. It’s also why they have chosen to go after Obamacare for a third time in the courts—a sort of sneaky, “back door” approach—rather than to flex their political muscles and just repeal the monstrosity. That would require they do politics. And that’s just not the sort of thing “principled” conservatives care to do anymore.

In this respect, these conservatives are the ones who mimic the Left. The Left has been adept in the last several decades at using the federal courts as engines of a rolling constitutional convention, the outcome of which is intended both to impose upon the country the trendy morality of the Ivy League smart set and to bypass the vagaries of popular sovereignty and rule by the consent of the governed.

Losing gracefully to those who despise what you profess to stand forwho you are, even—is shameful. Pretending that courage demands impotency and restraint in the face of such existential threats is both naϊve and immoral. Better to fight in such a way that brings the other side to the bargaining table to hammer out a workable peace than to plod along toward the ruin of the Right and the country as a whole—all in a misguided and selfish quest to preserve some insular sense of decorum.

A hollowed out America so conservatives can preserve their unearned and perverse sense of moral-aesthetic superiority? No thank you.

Content created by the Center for American Greatness, Inc. is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a significant audience. For licensing opportunities for our original content, please contact licensing@centerforamericangreatness.com.

Photo credit:  T.J. Kirkpatrick for The Washington Post via Getty Images

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2016 Election • Administrative State • America • Conservatives • Cultural Marxism • Deep State • Democrats • Donald Trump • GOPe • Government Reform • Intelligence Community • Political Parties • Post • Republicans • The Constitution • The Left • The Leviathian State

An Imminent Counterattack Begins the Fight of Our Lives

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Unparalleled government abuses of power are about to become public. The question is what we, the people, will do in response to this overt attempt by deep state players to strip us of our freedom. 

Unraveling the Deep State Narrative: Third of a Three-Part Series. Read Part One. Read Part Two.

Four recent developments drive home the unsettling nature of our situation:

First, Charles Lipson writes how Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) “is making a deeply troubling allegation: An official investigation was mounted against an American presidential campaign with no official information to support it. If so, then U.S. intelligence and law-enforcement agencies were weaponized for partisan purposes.”

Andrew McCarthy, on the implications for equal justice under the law: “Too many Trump critics have abandoned all pretense of respecting due process.” Byron York adds: “…the generally accepted standard of justice has been turned on its head. Now, the question is: Can the accused prove the charges false? Increasingly, the president’s critics argue that the dossier is legitimate because it has not been proven untrue.”

Second, a redacted version of the House Intelligence Committee’s final report appeared on Friday, clearing Trump’s campaign of colluding with Russia but describing three troubling matters: First, former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn did not lie to FBI special agents. Instead, what Michael Walsh calls the Left’s “Star Chamber of Horrors” apparently forced Flynn to accept a guilty plea to stanch his financial bleeding, which included selling his home.

Also, Sean Davis reports Obama’s Director of National Intelligence James Clapper “leaked details of a [Steele] dossier briefing given to then-President-elect Donald Trump to CNN’s Jake Tapper, lied to Congress about the leak, and was rewarded with a CNN contract a few months later.” The chronology of Clapper’s and CNN’s behaviors is a damning tale of intentional deep state sabotage of a president. Finally, a group of wealthy individuals has funded $50 million for a new effort by Fusion GPS, Christopher Steele, and a former staffer of Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-California) to continue a Russian investigation.

Think about it. The Clinton campaign funded political opposition research that nobody anywhere has proven to be true, but the same players who generated these unverified tales are going to keep trying for more. Call it what it is: yet another attempt to overturn the 2016 election.

Third, this week also saw the unjustified character assassination of White House physician Admiral Ronny Jackson. The Left’s lies worked again. Neverending “lawfare is how the Left will make things too costly for anyone to affiliate with Trump, thereby neutering the president’s ability to govern. No end is in sight there, either. Ask Scott Pruitt.

Fourth, there was Obama’s CIA Director John Brennan’s brazen threat to Trump in response to the president’s tweet, saying “A highly partisan, incomplete, and deeply flawed report by a broken House Committee means nothing. The Special Counsel’s work is being carried out by professional investigators—not political staffers. SC’s findings will be comprehensive & authoritative. Stay tuned, Mr. Trump….” Stunning words, but not new behavior.

These recent developments feed into an even more frightening bigger picture, as Victor Davis Hanson writes: “We are entering revolutionary times. The law is no longer equally applied. The media are the ministry of truth. The Democratic party is a revolutionary force. And it is all getting scary.”

Dennis Prager describes the underlying differences: “We’re in a fight over basic values . . . The Left . . . is opposed to every . . . core principle of liberalism,” adding “If the Left is not defeated, American and Western civilization will not survive. But the Left will not be defeated until good liberals understand this and join the fight. Dear liberals: The Left is [your enemy].”

Daniel Greenfield outlines the battle lines: “[The Left] wants to rule. Political conflicts become civil wars when one side refuses to accept the existing authority. The Left has rejected all forms of authority it doesn’t control . . . their first and foremost allegiance is to an ideology, not the Constitution, not our country or our system of government. All of those are only to be used as vehicles for their ideology. That’s why compromise has become impossible . . . This is a primal conflict between a totalitarian system and a democratic system. Its outcome will determine whether we will be a free nation or a nation of slaves.”

So now what?

The Possum Stirs
With some factual basis and no small amount of hope, 2018 will prove to be the year that we discover Attorney General Jeff Sessions played possum and fooled many people. Why would he act that way? With weaponized agencies, few to trust in an often-hostile Justice Department, and most likely only one try possible to take down the well-entrenched deep state rogues who are trying to unseat a president, no missteps can occur. Furthermore, Trump and Sessions have known for months now what everyone is only lately realizing: there is nothing to the Russian collusion charges. So if they knew they were clean, then they could set traps and be patient.

Sessions’ recusal from the Russia probe drove many people on the Right crazy. But the timing was essential. It followed the start of the inspector general’s investigation prior to Trump’s inauguration, and so has given Sessions “plausible deniability” for partisan maneuvering until the first IG report comes out in May. Then Sessions will have the credibility in the months ahead of the November midterm elections to root out the deep state with the same intensity he pursued and destroyed the Alabama KKK. It is even possible that Trump’s repeated public criticisms of Sessions have been meant to further enhance Sessions’ perceived independence.

Sessions won’t be beginning from a standing start when the inspector general’s final email investigation report (the first of several remaining reports) appears next month. He greatly ramped up leak investigations throughout 2017, personnel changes have already occurred, and some remaining staff may be cooperating witnesses. In December, Sessions made three important decisions:

The fact patterns behind these various scandals are generally known; it is only a matter of when to pounce.

Sessions recently directed Inspector General Michael Horowitz to expand his investigation into FISA abuses, building on a March 15 Senate request and the January 18 House Intelligence Committee report which cited sources not interviewed by the committee. That suggests prior coordination of efforts and information-sharing.

The inspector general also just began a probe into whether the leak of Comey’s memos disclosed classified information.

We have also learned Sessions appointed two key people:

  • U.S. Attorney John Huber was appointed some time ago to work closely with Horowitz, operating from his home base of Utah. This appointment creates a potentially powerful tag-team able to move rapidly from the inspector general referrals identifying evidence of bad behaviors to criminal indictments.
  • U.S. Attorney John Lausch was appointed to work closely with congressional oversight committees on document production, a longstanding problem in prior times and one that can better be addressed as the inspector general’s work is nearing completion. Lausch’s work will help keep Huber focused on his job and allow indictment-related documents to remain secret until legal referrals and indictments actions are prepared.

If you think Trump is a piece of work now, wait until he has public ammunition about an ongoing soft coup attempt against a legitimately elected president. Part of his power comes from reacting at just the right time and making other people look foolish or worse.

An Action Plan for the Fight of our Lives
Wretchard T. Cat tweets: “The fight for the control of Washington, after a ton of preliminaries and battlespace preparation, is now truly underway.”

First, recognize that we are already in a war for America’s future and, so far, we are losing. The Left’s ongoing refusal to accept the results of the 2016 election and live according to the rule of law, along with their willingness to destroy people’s lives, are irreconcilable with a constitutional republic of self-governing people. There can be no negotiated settlement over such fundamental differences. We must boldly reclaim the righteousness of liberty and equal justice under the law on behalf of all Americans.

Second, winning the war will require unprecedented courage. It is highly likely that the deep state is already engaged in blackmail and bribery to neutralize opponents. We should expect such efforts only to increase and those efforts should be called out. Yet, we know that only a small number of Americans—acting like NSA Director Mike Rogers, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes, and Inspector General Michael Horowitz—can change the momentum and get the liberty flywheel turning.

Winning will also require more people to adopt Trump’s “honey badger” mindset, a fearlessness which will be crucial as the fighting becomes more intense.

Third, frame the 2018 election as an existential moment in our country’s history, as a choice between being a free people who rule themselves versus life as subjects ruled by and dependent upon a rogue ruling class. Openly call the latter out for the evil they are doing—a slow-motion coup d’etat. Reclaiming the promise of self-government will be a multi-generation war.

The definition of winning the short-term 2018 battle is to swing election outcomes by holding the 2016 Trump base and persuading at least 7 percent (1 in 14) of the non-Trump 2016 voters (like Alan Dershowitz and even President Clinton’s pollster Mark Penn) who, regardless of specific policy preferences, place a high value on retaining traditional liberal values such as civil liberties and equal justice under the law.

Fourth, let the American people learn the jarring truth by rapidly declassifying every relevant Obama Administration document that highlights abuses of power by Obama, Clinton, Brennan, Clapper, Mueller, Comey, McCabe, Holder, Lynch, Yates, Rice, Power, Jarrett, Podesta, Wasserman-Schultz, and various other Justice Department and FBI personnel. Take the public debate beyond “he said, she said” talk. Promote the inevitable black hat infighting as they increasingly turn on each other once the spotlight is on their wrongdoing.

Fifth, indict and punish every one of the rogues based on those facts. This, with no plea bargains for any higher-level people, is a crucial step toward rebuilding the confidence of the American people that equal justice under the law can be recovered. Then radically restructure the Justice Department, FBI, and intelligence community.

Sixth, after the IG reports come out, pardon those who have been subjected to prosecutorial abuses. Insist Congress impeach Rosenstein—assuming he doesn’t resign first. All of this will neuter Robert Mueller, eliminating the need to fire him.

Seventh, make a clear case to the American people every week of every month, trusting they will recognize the choice before us is a stark one and rise to the occasion. Trust in their desire to see all Americans treated equally under the law and to live as a free people.

Reinhold Niebuhr described what we face: “There are historic situations in which refusal to defend the inheritance of a civilization, however imperfect, against tyranny and aggression may result in consequences even worse than war.”

Victory over this powerful enemy is uncertain. But we learned from our fight with Communism that evil’s Achilles’ heel is hubris and history teaches us they are vulnerable to the weapons of truth and courage. In these dark times, how can we be anything but Americans, and accept the character call to rise to the challenge and be a heroic people?

Image credit: James Montgomery Flagg

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Europe • Healthcare • Obamacare • Post • Pro-Life • Religion and Society • self-government • The Courts • The Culture • the family • The Leviathian State

Alfie Evans: From the Cradle to the Grave

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Offspring was not reared at the will of the father, but was taken and carried by him to a place called Lesche, where the elders of the tribes officially examined the infant, and if it was well-built and sturdy, they ordered the father to rear it…but if it was ill-born and deformed, they sent it to the so-called Apothetae, a chasm-like place at the foot of Mount Taÿgetus, in the conviction that the life of that which nature had not well equipped at the very beginning for health and strength, was of no advantage either to itself or the state.
—Plutarch (Lycurgus: 16)

Any parent can imagine another parent’s pain. And that imagining, though merely a sliver of the real suffering, is excruciating. I can think of no worse situation than having to choose whether or not to continue treating my child.

Actually, that’s not true. There is a worse situation.

When the state takes that choice away from me and decides, contrary to my own judgment, that it’s time for my child to die. When the state won’t allow me to do everything I can to keep my child alive. When the modern state, the benevolent state, the state ostensibly built on the foundations of altruism and good intentions has decided, in all its wisdom, to kill my child.

That is exactly what happened this week when the British government decided that 2-year-old Alfie Evans had to die. That any attempt to save him would be forbidden.

Like the cruel villain who would restrain parents—forcibly keeping their eyes open while their child dies—the British justice system has decided to impose death onto Alfie Evans and ordered that no attempt be made to keep him alive. Despite not having been able to actually diagnose his illness, they pulled out his breathing tubes. But Alfie didn’t die. So death by starvation it will have to be.

Attempts to save Alfie’s life are now criminal acts.

Justice indeed.

That same “justice” is now, through the threat of violence, staying the love of Alfie’s young parents, Tom 21, and Katie 20 and yet forcing them to watch their son starve to death. It is reminding them (and anyone else who may get ideas), at every turn, of their impotence in the face of its power. The Italian government and the Vatican have offered to provide medical care, but that too has been denied—on the grounds that the trip . . . might kill him. People are trying to smuggle life-saving equipment to the boy. They, too, are being forcibly removed from the hospital. It was reported that Alfie’s father tried to administer mouth to mouth to his dying boy. Frankly, I’m surprised that he wasn’t arrested on charges of practicing medicine without a license. Tom Evans has said “This is not justice. This is a cruel bureaucracy.” He was right.

We’ve moved well beyond slippery slopes at this point. We’ve reached the Chthonic valley that lies at their inevitable destination, the foot of our own Taÿgetus—at the intersection of good intentions and ultimate power. This is where bureaucracy has replaced the moral compass; where we’re told by our self-described betters that we are morally deficient if we try to keep our children alive; that there is innocent human life not only unworthy of saving, but that warrants extermination. We’re starting to see, quite vividly, the moral and civic destination of the road we have been on since the turn of the 20th century when, drunk with the hubris of progress and the perfectibility of society, we began to willingly cede our freedoms and identities to the ever-broadening notion of the benevolent and matronly state. To let her care for us from cradle to grave. Mother, after all, knows best. In this case, she thinks its time that you let your child die—the cradle has become the grave.

How truly magnificent must it be to get your broken arm set for free when the only price you have to pay is the possibility of the state determining that your child die.

And what of those who would complain, who would criticize this perversion of good intentions into this ghastly spectacle? They will, of course, be investigated by the police. Chief Inspector Chris Gibson made clear:

Merseyside Police has been made aware of a number of social media posts which have been made with reference to Alder Hey Hospital and the ongoing situation involving Alfie Evans. I would like to make people aware that these posts are being monitored and remind social media users that any offences including malicious communications and threatening behaviour will be investigated and where necessary will be acted upon.

Of course, “malicious” is just broad enough to mean anything the prosecutorial authorities so determine.

What’s worse, is that large swaths of people watch this and determine that the parents, not the state, are the villains. Alfie’s young parents are dismissed as low class (“chavs” being the most common term bandied about by their social media detractors), with some of the more incendiary commentators suggesting that sterilization is best for the likes of them, anyway. I wonder how the conversation would turn if the baby were not born to those in the lower socio-economic strata that Tom and Katie occupy.

Just this week Kate Middleton and Prince William had a baby.  It does make one wonder if, should this advantaged child be so unfortunate as to become as sick as young Alfie, whether he too would be forced to die at the time of the state’s choosing? Would the new Royal Baby be allowed to travel to Italy for medical care? Would this child of privilege be denied access to life-saving care all because the state thought it knew better? Somehow, I think the royals would find a way around that. They always do.  

It’s a good thing then, that we in America—or at least those of us called “deplorable”—continue to cling to our guns and religion. We cling to them because they exist as constant reminders of who we are, the ideals we value, and the things we would stand against. Our guns offering both, symbolic reminders of, and real protections against, this kind of state encroachment on our rights. And our religion that—even to the non-religious among us—affirms the metaphysical basis for our natural rights and inherent dignity, guarding us against the kind of moral and spiritual rot that would allow seemingly good and intelligent people ever to consider that starving a child is ethically superior to allowing his loving parents to do everything in their power to extend his life.

Photo credit: Anthony Devlin/Getty Images

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America • Congress • Deep State • Defense of the West • Democrats • Government Reform • Political Parties • Post • Technology • The Leviathian State • Trump White House

The House IT Scandal

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Russian meddling? Campaign collusion? Forget that. That “did they or didn’t they” story has nothing on the ongoing saga of cybersecurity breaches with the possible involvement of a foreign government taking place in the House of Representatives.

The story has all the features of a political spy novel: stolen servers, access to confidential congressional files, claims of “controlling the White House” and $12,000 in a suitcase.

Compared to the rampant speculation over yet-unproven claims of Russian collusion in the Trump campaign, the events in the House have received minimal attention from the mainstream press (the exception is the impressive level of coverage from the Daily Caller News Foundation). Even President Trump has raised public questions about the issue, tweeting about it as recently as April 20.

The unwillingness of major news outlets to devote significant coverage to the story is all the more noteworthy considering the presence of clear indications of wrongdoing by congressional staff, Members of Congress who are actively delaying the investigation, and a number of critical questions that remain unanswered.

Here are the basic facts. On February 2, 2017, Chiefs of Staff in several House offices were notified of a criminal probe into several House information technology (IT) staffers, for theft of computer equipment, overbilling, and, most disturbingly, the presence of an external email server to which House data was being funneled.

The probe, first raised by investigators in the House Inspector General’s (IG) office, centered around five House IT staffers, all immediate family members—brothers Abid, Imran and Jamal Awan, as well as Imran’s wife, Hina Alvvi, and Abid’s wife, Natalia Sova. All were shared employees of over forty House offices, meaning they were hired by multiple House offices, which split their salaries.

As IT staffers, the group had significant access to the correspondence, emails and confidential files of Members of Congress, with almost no one tracking them. Bizarrely, these IT staff were not subject to background checks— which, given what these staffers are alleged to have engaged in, seems to be a massive oversight.

In addition to working as House IT staff for over forty members of Congress, several on key intelligence and foreign relations committees, Imran Awan and his brothers (two of which had criminal records) ran a car dealership in Virginia. The dealership was reportedly plagued with financial mismanagement, leading to angry investors and unpaid debts.  

One of those owed money, Rao Abbas, threatened to sue amid allegations of deception and theft. A short time later, Abbas mysteriously appeared on the congressional payroll and received $250,000 in payments. The dealership also received a $100,000 loan from a former Iraqi politician who fled the United States on tax charges and reportedly has links to the terrorist group Hezbollah.

In spite of this, the five family members netted $4 million in taxpayer financed salaries as employees of the House of Representatives between 2009 and the present; only 100 of the 25,000 staff working in the House since 2010 made more. All were paid over $160,000 a year—three times what the average House IT staffer makes. When Jamal Awan joined the family business, he was brought in with a six-figure salary at just 20 years old.

Despite making top tier salaries, it is unclear what services the five actually provided. Interviews with Members of Congress suggest Imran was doing the bulk of the work, while his family members existed as “ghost employees”on the payroll.

In the meantime, we do know that the group made unauthorized access to House servers, logging in with the usernames and passwords of Members of Congress, including the servers of members for whom they did not work. Moreover, according to the IG, the access continued after they were banned from the network and, in some cases, fired by the Member offices.

The unauthorized access peaked just months before the 2016 elections, when the server of the House Democratic Caucus was accessed by the Awans 5,700 times over a seven-month period. Authorities believe Awan routed data from over a dozen House offices to the server, where he may have then read or removed information. Awan’s purpose for doing so has not been made clear, though the Daily Caller recently reported claims by Awan’s father that his son transferred the data to a USB drive, which was then given to a Pakistani senator and former head of a Pakistani intelligence agency.

In a spy novel twist, the server, containing all the data in question, has gone missing.

In July, 2017, Awan was arrested attempting to board a flight to Pakistan with a wiped cell phone, a resume that listed his address as Queens, New York, and after initiating a wire transfer of $238,000 from the Congressional Federal Credit Union to the Pakistan. His wife had already left the country with $12,000 in cash hidden in her suitcase.

A month later, the Awans were indicted on bank fraud charges. Remarkably, neither Awan, his wife, nor any of his family members have been charged for their repeated unauthorized access to congressional networks.

The obvious question is why. After documentation of thousands of unauthorized breaches, a missing server whose contents are now unaccounted for, and thousands of dollars in missing equipment, it beggars belief that anyone could still be incredulous about whether or not a crime was committed.

And yet, certain House Democrats remain that way. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fl.), in particular, refused to fire Awan, keeping him on her payroll for six months after he was banned from accessing the House network. According to Capitol Hill officials involved in the case, the Democrats who employed Awan are refusing to press charges. No significant public oversight has been given to the matter, beyond an unofficial hearing held by the House Freedom Caucus in October, 2017. In a hearing held by the House Administration Committee on April 12, 2018, the House Chief Administrative Officer Phil Kiko identified two dozen problems with how the House manages cybersecurity, and recommended eliminating the concept of “shared employees,” which allowed the Awans access to data in multiple offices. Thus far, the proposed reforms have been blocked.

Can we pause for a moment and appreciate how terribly ironic this is? Many of these same Democrats who are demanding the president’s impeachment for unproven collusion allegations have their own cybersecurity scandal —one they refuse to address or even acknowledge.

This is astonishing not only for its rank hypocrisy, but also given the 2016 hack of the server at the Democratic National Campaign committee, which resulted in DNC emails being published on Wikileaks. Many Democrats lament the role those leaked emails played in tarnishing the candidacy of Hillary Clinton prior to Election Day. And yet, these Democrats refuse to take the breaches seriously, or even to implement recommended reforms.

But, politics aside, this issue is beyond mere “whataboutism.” The security of the House has been compromised, and the investigation into how and why is being stymied by Democratic lawmakers who conveniently claim to care about electoral integrity—until it may impact them.

Secure files repeatedly have been breached without authorization, a server and its data are missing, and hundreds of thousands of dollars have been transferred to Pakistan. Yet if you ask any House Democrat involved in this, they’ll tell you nothing is amiss.

As the palace guard succinctly put it in Shakespeare’s Hamlet, something is rotten in the state of Denmark—in this case, in the People’s House.

Democrats must address this scandal, or the House leadership should take the matter into their own hands. Politics aside, no breach of this magnitude should be left unaddressed, particularly when it comes to the scope of the information that may be at stake.

Photo credit:  Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call

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2016 Election • Administrative State • America • Americanism • Deep State • Democrats • Donald Trump • Intelligence Community • Law and Order • Post • Russia • The Leviathian State • the Presidency • Trump White House

The Ever Shrinking James Comey

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It’s amusing to watch the James Comey Self-Aggrandizement Tour stagger along. With every passing day, Comey diminishes himself and solidifies his true legacy: a self-aggrandizing, sanctimonious prig that who somehow thinks he, of all people, has cornered the market on morality.

His carefully cultivated act of “The Last Honest Man, Boy Scout for the Ages” schtick is being shown to be just that: an act. Of course, truth be known, this entire image is a work decades in the making, stretching back to the days when Comey was the U.S. attorney in Richmond and hired a local reporter named Mike Kulstad to become his personal troubadour. And like all personal troubadours, Kulstad has gone with Comey from Richmond to New York and on to the Department of Justice and the FBI to be Comey’s personal press secretary, spinning the myth and legend of Comey’s noble quest for honesty and truth. But again, it’s just an act.

Comey’s press tour and his book show us what he really is. As Meghan McCain told Comey on “The View,” he “sound[s] like a political commentator.” Savannah Guthrie went even further saying that some are calling his bitterness and insulting comments about the president “catty” and noted they degrade the rest of his book. Comey’s “aw shucks” response rings hollow. Comey knew exactly what he was saying and the effect he intended it to have on his audience. Every day that Comey sits in front of a TV camera, caked in makeup, brings us one step closer to understanding his true partisan nature.

As with all facades, especially the very thin ones, they crumble quite easily when exposed to pressure and force. In fact, while Comey has portrayed himself as the honest one and Trump the liar, that’s not quite right. This past Sunday night, in his interview with former Clinton press flack turned “journalist” George Stephanopoulos, Comey acknowledged that he leaked documents, but claimed that none of them were classified.

That’s simply untrue.

All one has to do is read Senator Chuck Grassley’s letter to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein from January 3 of this year regarding James Comey’s seven memos. In that letter, Grassley states that the FBI “insisted that these reviews take place in a SCIF because the majority of the memos are classified. Of the seven memos, four are marked classified at the ‘SECRET’ or ‘CONFIDENTIAL’ levels. Only three did not contain classified information.”

So we know that the majority of Comey’s memos were in fact classified. Later in his letter, Grassley writes that “Professor Daniel Richman of Columbia Law School stated that Mr. Comey provided him four of the seven memoranda and encouraged him to “detail [Comey’s] memos to the press.” Now simply by doing the math at least one of the memos leaked to the press was classified, perhaps more. Yet Comey claims none of his leaked memos were classified. Comey claims to have a “higher loyalty” and insists the president is an incessant liar. So what are we to make of this apparent, blatant, and obvious lie? Unfortunately, it’s indicative of a pattern from the former FBI Director, of manipulating morality to suit his political purposes.

Not only did Comey likely leak classified information, but improperly and perhaps deliberately, he mishandled the Steele Dossier as FBI Director. Comey claims that he was unaware of the nature of the funding of the Steele Dossier, only stating that he knew it was funded by a “Democrat aligned group.” That claim is highly questionable. Of course, we now know that the infamous and discredited work of former spy Christopher Steele was funded by lawyers employed by the Clinton presidential campaign.

Jane Mayer’s piece on Christopher Steele from March of this year in The New Yorker, states that in the summer of 2016 Steele knew exactly who was funding his work: “Several months after Steele signed the deal, he learned that, through this chain, his research was being jointly subsidized by the Clinton campaign and the D.N.C.” Either Comey and his FBI were incompetent, failing in their duties as FBI Director and agents, or Comey is being less than honest. While we know Steele was aware of the funding for his work, there’s never been clear confirmation from Comey’s less-than-forthcoming FBI.

Yet it’s reasonable to assume that the FBI did the most basic level of due diligence and was aware of who was funding the dossier in the summer of 2016 and despite that knowledge still used it as the basis for a FISA warrant application in October of the same year, in fact using it multiple times according to Grassley, Graham, and Nunes.

Comey likely knew the source of the funding, yet in his words failed to inform President Trump of that knowledge because it was “Not part of my agenda.” It’s entirely reasonable to ask what exactly was his agenda? Clearly it wasn’t to fully inform the President on the source and nature of the threats against his administration and the stability of the presidency. Comey’s deliberate actions to leak classified memos, run PR campaigns attacking the president, and hiding valuable information in favor of his “agenda” show the former FBI director’s true nature: that of a partisan hack.

It’s becoming clear that Comey is nothing more than a political operator whose every utterance deserves the skepticism due to any political partisan. His relationship with the truth is questionable at best. It’s hardly a surprise that Trump fired him; the shame of it all is that Trump should have fired James Comey on day one of his administration, hit the restart button and brought in a team committed to upholding the law, not a political party or candidate. Unfortunately, Trump kept Comey only to fire him a few months later and ergo the Mueller mess.

Comey’s actions over the last two years have diminished not only his reputation, but that of the organization he was supposed to lead. In so doing, Comey began his journey down the path of becoming what he is in fact today: a moral midget.

Photo credit:  Drew Angerer/Getty Images

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Administrative State • America • American Conservatism • Americanism • Congress • Conservatives • Deep State • Featured Article • Government Reform • Greatness Agenda • Post • The Constitution • The Leviathian State • the Presidency • Trump White House

Who Will Regulate Our Regulators?

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The New York Times in an article reporting on President Trump’s efforts to dismantle the regulatory state, hit upon a divergence of thought on the Right.

The Times quoted Gordon Lloyd, a professor emeritus at Pepperdine University and a preeminent scholar of the American Founding and the nature of limited government. Rather than defend Trump’s efforts to chip away at the administrative state, Lloyd instead compared Trump’s actions to “Lenin dismantling the institutions.”

The comment likely raised a few eyebrows because, by and large, most on the Right would consider the deconstruction of bureaucracy a positive development; a long sought after goal, even. To reside on the American Right, generally, means you see regulation and regulators have run amuck—and certainly have extended beyond the safe confines of the Constitution.

But Lloyd’s comment points to an area where the minds of some limited government proponents diverge. While we may all agree on the principle that regulations are most effective when they are few, targeted and efficient, the disagreement comes over how we arrive at the sweet spot.

Trump has garnered plaudits with some on the Right for his aggressive tactics toward reining in the regulatory state: an executive order mandating that for every single regulation that is issued, two are repealed; appointment of judges who hold a skeptical view of the agency-friendly judicial doctrine known as “Chevron deference,”and directing his Cabinet heads to simply repeal regulations they deem to be economically harmful or outside the agency’s mission. (EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, for all the unfavorable press coverage he’s received, has been a champion in this regard.)

It is not an understatement to see Trump’s actions as leveling the most significant blows to the bureaucracy that the country has seen in decades.

Yet, as positive as these outcomes are for many, some limited government proponents like Lloyd fundamentally disagree with Trump’s approach.

As Lloyd pointed out to me when I asked him to contextualize his comments, Trump’s actions strike at the very heart of executive power—the nature of which, according to Lloyd, the Founders intended to be limited. After all, regulating is a form of legislating. It is Congress that passes the statutes that initiate regulatory action, and thus, it is Congress that must issue the correction—not the president.

On this, Lloyd has a point. Regulations do initiate in the laws that are passed by Congress. To that end, they are a function of the policy making apparatus. But, while correct in the academic sense, Lloyd’s argument fails to account for the reality of the modern regulatory state: it has exploded in size, power and authority precisely because of the authorities that Congress is all too willing to give away, but far less willing to take back.

The result has been agencies churning out thickets of complex and overly burdensome regulations that are wildly out of touch with what Congress intended. And yet, Congress remains unwilling to do anything about it.

Justice Samuel Alito highlighted this development in his concurring opinion in Sackett v. EPA. The case centered around the Sackett’s alleged violation of the Clean Water Act, which regulators at the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers had interpreted to mean that the federal government had authority to regulate homebuilding activities on dry land miles away from any navigable rivers.

The Sacketts were slapped with fines of $75,000 a day, and given no legal recourse to challenge the agency in court. The Supreme Court found that the Sacketts should, at the very least, be afforded a legal remedy to counter the actions of the agencies. But in his concurrence, Alito clarified that while the Court’s action was “better than nothing,” to truly fix the problem of bureaucratic overreach, Congress must “do what it should have done in the first place: provide a reasonably clear rule regarding the reach of the Clean Water Act.”

In a sense, he is making Lloyd’s point: Congress created this mess, and it’s on Congress to fix it.

Again, for purposes of instruction, the normative solution is correct. The nature of our government and the intention of the Founders was for Congress to be the policy making body, overseeing the process from legislation to implementation.

But what happens when Congress abdicates this responsibility (along with so many others)?

Enter Trump, who has decided, in the absence of congressional application of authority, the most efficient and effective form of trimming the overgrowth of regulatory hedge is by enforcing his executive power and daring opponents to challenge him.

While Lloyd and others argue this is an approach that is out of step with the balance of powers, I would argue that, right now, it is the best hope the country has from being choked out, dominated and ruled by the technocrats. I view it this way for two reasons.

First, there is the obvious issue that Congress has abandoned its duty when it comes to managing regulations. Yes, the executive weighing in with more authority than perhaps he should undermines the balance of powers, but so, too, does the unmanaged growth of unelected regulators. To the latter point, the country is rapidly approaching a crisis of unelected bureaucrats determining the details of how we all should live. This needs to be addressed, and soon, by the nearest and most willing authority available. When your house is on fire, you don’t stop and wait for the correct fire truck from the correct county to show up and put it out; you and anyone else you can find run at it with whatever you can find.

Second, however, agency-issued regulations and actions taken by prior executives are flung so far afield of Congress’ intent and jurisdiction that there is a case for executive action being the appropriate remedy.

To the former point, the Sackett case and others like them are clear examples. The Clean Water Act affords the federal government a modicum of authority over “navigable waters.” The authors of the law did not define navigable, perhaps because they thought it was obvious. But they clearly did not count on the imagination of a bureaucrat, as the EPA has invented a definition that includes dry land miles away from water and ditches that occasionally fill up with rain.

To any rational person, this is not what the original legislation was intended to do. Only a bureaucrat could come up with a definition of “waters” that includes dry land, and create endless justifications for doing so—none of which are reflected in the legislation that Congress passed. As these are executive branch agencies operating far afield of their original statutory mission, the president can plausibly argue that he shares an oversight role with Congress, and thus has a certain amount of authority to amend and repeal these regulations, or, at the very least, roll them back to better reflect what Congress intended.

Moreover, the president has taken a vow to uphold and honor the Constitution of the United States. And the Constitution, not the arbitrary will of legislators (and certainly not that of unelected bureaucrats) is the ultimate voice of the people’s sovereignty.

Trump’s actions to pull the United States out of the Paris Climate Accord fall into a similar category. President Obama unilaterally subjected the country to the accord in 2016, despite many experts  believing that the Accord met the terms of a treaty and thus required the consent of the Senate. Looking at it that way, the United States’ agreement to the accord was an illegal act, and one where it was appropriate for Trump to roll it back unilaterally.

In a perfect scenario, Congress would fulfill their legislative role to the fullest extent—jealously guarding its policy prerogative and checking agencies that overstep their mandate. If Congress wants to overrule any executive action of the president, they are certainly able to attempt this . . . with legislation. This is how the separation of powers is supposed to work.

But reality is messier, and the resulting crisis far more pressing than the intellectual desire to wait around for Congress to show up and do its job. To that end, Trump’s efforts to yield a unilateral axe against the regulatory state may represent an imperfect means to a generally agreed upon—and long sought after—end: a hemmed in regulatory state and more economic and individual liberty as a result.

Photo credit:  Carolyn Van Houten/The Washington Post via Getty Images

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America • Americanism • Center for American Greatness • Congress • Conservatives • Democrats • Donald Trump • Elections • GOPe • Greatness Agenda • Political Parties • Post • Republicans • The Leviathian State

Is Ryan’s Exit the End of the Permanent Bipartisan Fusion Party?

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Paul Ryan’s announcement Wednesday that he is not running for re-election from his hitherto safe district in Wisconsin, coming as it did amidst the media-fueled fires of James Comey, Robert Mueller and all the other Stormy Danielses circling the Trump Administration, was the most underappreciated development of the day. Not necessarily because the Speaker of the House, an odd combination of Eddie Munster and Eddie Haskell, is stepping down to spend more time with his family, but because—no matter what happens to Trump—the real future of the Republican Party is now up for grabs.

I coined the term “Permanent Bipartisan Fusion Party” to describe the unholy bond between Republicans and Democrats in Washington, who have long existed in a kind of incestuous, sado-masochistic relationship in which each of them knows their place and, after a fashion, enjoys it.

On the one hand we have the largely regnant Evil Party, congressionally ascendant during the long reign of FDR and Harry Truman, which has since the 1970s gradually morphed into the anti-American “progressive” party devoted to perverting the Constitution and undermining the foundational principles of the republic in the name of discovering their “real,” if occult meaning. And on the other, the Stupid Party, which never met a promise it didn’t want to dishonor, a foreign war it didn’t want to fight, or a domestic fight it didn’t want to throw.

Despite his promising beginning as a policy wonk and charter member of the “Young Guns,” Ryan had become the face of the BPFP, a man who believed in the correctness of his policies but who never enjoyed being the tip of the spear—much less being on the receiving end of one. With all eyes and hopes upon him in 2012, there he was, sitting calmly by as a gibbering idiot named Joe Biden grimaced and guffawed his way through the vice-presidential debate, showering Ryan with sucker punches and spitballs and getting absolutely no payback in return.

When Ryan reluctantly stepped into the speaker’s chair owing to John Boehner’s sudden retirement, he had another chance to show he had the stomach, if not the appetite, for political combat, not to mention for the third-highest office in the land. But after promising to end Obamacare upon his party’s return to congressional dominance, he failed to deliver. The two wave elections of 2010 and 2014 gave the GOP what it said it needed… and nothing happened. And at that moment, the junior wing of the BPFP was doomed.

Donald Trump’s chain-saw massacre of a field of mostly standard-issue candidates spoiled the Republicans’ chances of scoring the trifecta of ineptitude, and now the 2016 election has claimed its latest victim in the soon-to-be-former speaker. Who saw that coming?

Several Lifetimes
I’ve been skeptical since January about the coming “blue wave,” which still strikes me as a wish-fulfillment fantasy which the Left and the Trump-hating accommodationists clutch tightly to their breasts like blankies. Yes, it’s true that a relatively high number of incumbent Republican House members (46) are opting out, and anything can happen. But the structural nature of the congressional districts still favors the GOP even if—as it often does—it runs Mr. Ed against the Democrat. Meanwhile, in the Senate, Democrats are defending 25 seats against the GOP’s eight, many of them deep in the heart of Trump Country. In any case, the election is still more than seven months away, and in the Donald’s America, that is several lifetimes and a world war or two away.

So who replaces Ryan? The restive members of the House Freedom Caucus, who largely despised Ryan and the rest of “leadership,” would no doubt like to see one of their own with the gavel in hand, perhaps current chairman Mark Meadows of North Carolina. Of the moderate Young Guns, Eric Cantor was unhorsed in 2014 by Dave Brat (now a member of the HFC), which pretty much leaves Kevin McCarthy, currently House majority leader, who no doubt would dearly love the speakership. Another possible candidate is Steve Scalise, who was grievously wounded by the Bernie Bro who shot up the Republicans’ baseball game in June.

Of these, Scalise strikes me as the favorite at the moment, not simply because of his personal grit and heroism in coming back from a life-threatening assassination attempt by a deranged Leftist, but because while he is with “leadership” (he’s the majority whip) he’s not really of “leadership” in the way the ambitious but standard-issue McCarthy is. This assumes, of course, that the Republicans hold the House. But if they do—and if they choose their new speaker correctly—then they will finally have a chance to shake the label of the Stupid Party and destroy the Permanent Bipartisan Fusion Party.

A Failed Model
For far too long, Americans have not really had a meaningful choice of political philosophies; it’s why Sanders did so well in the primaries (and would have won had not the fix been in) and why Trump won. The media have devoted the past 16 months trying to convince Americans they made a horrible mistake in 2016, and Ryan & Co. have done absolutely nothing to disabuse them of that notion—not by their tepid support of the president, but by their only-grown-up-in-the-room demeanor that seemed defiantly at odds with Trump’s let’s-blow-the-damn-thing-up approach to governance.

That “measured” mode has clearly failed; Trump may be a minority president, but he’s rapidly gaining control of the party after his hostile takeover. Only Ryan, for example, could have passed something as important and beneficial to the average American as the tax cut and yet received zero political or personal credit for it; indeed, to hear the superannuated Annunciata d’Alesandro Pelosi tell it, the tax cuts were one of the worst assaults on the average American since George Washington led a militia against the Whiskey Rebellion. Ryan also got tarred with the dreadful omnibus spending bill, which Trump signed and is now repenting of at leisure.

A new speaker could campaign for the gavel by promising the members a clean repeal of Obamacare and getting a grip on spending. He could also clearly delineate—and, hopefully, articulate—the Republicans’ winning stance on tight borders, legal immigration, a strong military, and a booming economy. Those are the things, after all, that got Trump elected. And, most of all, he could stop caring what the Democrats and their media shills think.

Then again, the new speaker could well be Pelosi. In which case, the Republicans would be back in their accustomed position of bottom dog, taking it and liking it as impeachment gets rolling, spending soars even more, immigration increases, and zombie Obamacare barnacles itself ever more tightly to the American political system. The choice will be made this fall.

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Photo credit:  Win McNamee/Getty Images

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2016 Election • Administrative State • Conservatives • Deep State • Democrats • Donald Trump • Government Reform • Intelligence Community • Law and Order • Post • Republicans • separation of powers • The Constitution • The Leviathian State • the Presidency • The Resistance (Snicker) • Trump White House

Mueller at the Crossroads

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Robert Mueller was appointed special counsel in May 2017 in reaction to a media still gripped by near hysteria over the inexplicable defeat of Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election.

For nearly a year before Mueller’s appointment, leaks had spread about collusion between Russia and the Donald Trump campaign that supposedly cost Clinton a sure victory.

Most of these collusion stories, as we now know, originated with Christopher Steele and his now-discredited anti-Trump opposition file.

After almost a year, Mueller has offered no evidence that Trump colluded with the Russians. Aside from former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, a few minor and transitory campaign officials have been indicted or have pleaded guilty to a variety of transgressions other than collusion.

Ironically, the United States has often interfered in foreign elections to massage the result. Recently, Bill Clinton joked about his own efforts as president to collude in the 1996 Israeli election to ensure the defeat of Benjamin Netanyahu. “I tried to do it in a way that didn’t overtly involve me,” Clinton said.

The Obama Administration did the same in 2015, when it used State Department funds to support an anti-Netanyahu political action group.

Since Mueller’s investigation began, a number of top FBI and Department of Justice officials have either retired, or were reassigned or fired.

With the exception of former FBI Director James Comey, all left their jobs due to investigations of improper conduct that took place during the 2016 election cycle. Most were under a cloud of suspicion for lying, having conflicts of interest or misleading investigators.

Mueller is reaching the crossroads of his investigation and faces at least four critical decisions.

One, Mueller can wind up his investigations now. He can write a report affirming that he has found no evidence while conducting his originally assigned inquiry: Donald Trump did not collude with the Russians to throw the election his way.

Two, Mueller might pause and await Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s report concerning possible Department of Justice and FBI abuses pertaining to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) Court. If Horowitz finds credible evidence of lawbreaking, then Mueller might seek indictments based on the IG’s likely actionable evidence.

Three, Mueller could continue to investigate anyone close to the Trump campaign for another year. If he did that, he would confirm that his inquiry has descended into a political cause. If Mueller calibrates the release of his findings to the fall midterm elections, he will be hailed by Trump opponents as a crusading prosecutor—despite finding nothing related to collusion. A Democratic takeover of Congress would shut down congressional investigations of FBI and DOJ wrongdoing and further empower Mueller.

Four, Mueller could more evenly apply his investigations of lying, obstruction of justice and collusion during the 2016 campaign. That way, he would reassure the country of equal treatment of all under the law.

For example, in his search for instances of lying, Mueller might also re-examine the false testimonies given to investigators by McCabe and by Clinton aides Cheryl Mills and Huma Abedin.

In his search for Russian collusion, Mueller might also investigate Steele, Glenn Simpson of Fusion GPS and the Clinton campaign. All used Russian sources to leak unproven gossip and smears to the press in an effort to warp the 2016 election.

In his search for obstruction of justice, Mueller might also investigate whether top DOJ and FBI officials deliberately misled the FISA Court by withholding evidence that the Steele dossier was flawed. Did Justice Department officials inform the FISA Court that Steele’s dossier was hired research paid for by the Clinton campaign? Did they tell the court that the FBI had stopped using Steele as a source for purportedly leaking information to the media? Did they tell the court that Comey was on record as saying the Steele dossier might not have been credible?

In his search for felonious behavior concerning the leaking of classified documents, Mueller might determine:

1) Whether the memos regarding presidential conversations that Comey leaked to the press were classified;

2) Whether former top national security and intelligence officials—among them John Brennan, James Clapper, Samantha Power, Ben Rhodes and Susan Rice—requested that the redacted names of surveilled Americans be unmasked, and whether officials then illegally leaked those names to the media;

3) Whether FBI officials such as Comey and McCabe leaked confidential findings from their investigations to the press during the 2016 campaign and lied to investigators about it.

If the special counsel’s investigation has turned into a political cause, Mueller will no doubt prefer the third option. That is, Mueller’s report (and possibly more indictments of minor campaign aides) would likely appear shortly before the midterm elections. If Democrats win the House, then they will probably shut down all congressional investigations of the FBI and the DOJ—and perhaps all reviews of the actions of Mueller himself.

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Administrative State • America • Americanism • Center for American Greatness • Donald Trump • Education • Post • self-government • The Constitution • The Courts • The Culture • The Leviathian State • Trump White House

University of the Swamp

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Is this just a gratifying dream or a frightful, dangerous fancy: to have a government agency that cracks down on the sources of intellectual and spiritual pollution the way the Environmental Protection Agency treats manufacturers that produce toxic pollutants?

The dream is reality, at least in part, as evidenced by the recent  intervention and inquiry of the Department of Justice in lawsuits against Harvard and other elite colleges and universities. The real monster here is not expanded powers of government that might endanger free minds in higher education but rather the administrative state itself that, of course, gets its brains from these institutions.

The administrative state, which the Trump Administration intends to “deconstruct,” is a hulking monstrosity of bold bureaucracy and supine elected officials that has replaced constitutional government in the United States.

Harvard and other elite colleges have recently attracted the attention of the Trump Department of Justice. The issues include long-suspected discrimination against Asian-Americans in admissions at Harvard and collusion (that is, a conspiracy!) on early decisions in admissions. To prove this in court, the accusers would need access to admissions committees’ data and decision-making. The universities plead privacy and protection of trade secrets about their admissions decisions and financial-aid calculations.

Might colleges violate “antitrust laws by exchanging information about prospective students who make early decision commitments”?

Early decision (narrower than early application) requires students who are accepted to commit to that institution—and no other. This practice requires an applicant to take an offer without being able to compare financial aid packages. “Early decision programs have afforded some colleges nearly half of their freshman classes”—Duke University, for example. One education consultant observed, “only about 200 schools of the more than 4,000 in the country use early decision. ‘Given that this doesn’t affect many schools, or many students, it’s the ultimate first-world problem.’”

With the threat of litigation, it’s as though this Justice Department was treating the elite universities like grubby, for-profit vocational schools, which its predecessor Obama Administration heavily regulated and sued. It’s a different world from the previous militancy on Title IX (sex discrimination) and sexual assault suits.

These government actions take on great significance in light of the new tax legislation and its provision for the taxation of colleges with large endowments and relatively small enrollments.

Taxation (at 1.4 percent) of Harvard’s $35 billion endowment follows, but large institutions such as Johns Hopkins escape, because of even larger enrollments. “Small liberal arts colleges like Claremont McKenna College, in Claremont, Calif., Berea College, in Berea, Ky., and Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine—all with endowments of about $1.5 billion or less—are likely to pay,” according to the Wall Street Journal.

What may appear to be mere spiteful strikes against an anti-Trump higher education elite take on more seriousness when we view them as a strategy directed against the administrative state. The first step is to treat venerable institutions as though they had to obey the rules other entities, such as steel mills, play by. Rather than their professors lecturing Americans about the injustice of “white privilege,” they should renounce some of their own.

Though a private institution, Harvard University from the earliest years had favored status in the Massachusetts Constitution of 1780 (notable for its connection between the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution’s separation of powers principles and its influence on 19th century state constitutions).

“[I]t shall be the duty of legislators and magistrates, in all future periods of this Commonwealth, to cherish the interests of literature and the sciences, and all seminaries of them; especially the university at Cambridge, public schools, and grammar schools….” But the Progressive Revolution transformed the old Pilgrim elites into secular Progressive ones, with radically different missions. (See Puritan Boston and Quaker Philadelphia for a detailed history of this evolution and descent of Harvard.)

Among the most insightful critics of Harvard is the venerable political theorist Harvey C. Mansfield, Jr., who has spent over 50 years teaching there, with his doctorate and undergraduate degrees there as well.

Just one sardonicism from him, in 1992, on a debate over an environmental studies major, says it all: Was not this focus just the sort of PC thing that the Faculty ought to stay away from, the sort of thing that was gradually transforming Harvard into an intellectual branch of the Democratic Party?” He continued, according to the notes of the faculty meeting, “Professor Mansfield entreated his colleagues to think of themselves as parents and decide whether they would be pleased if their child told them that he or she was majoring in the environment, instead of something solid and reassuring, such as chemistry or women’s studies.”

Heedless of Mansfield, elite universities function in ways like government agencies in the administrative state. Government agencies (including the Justice Department itself) enjoy the deference of other agencies and Congress. In the contemporary debate over “Chevron deference,” the courts are obliged, in effect, to take the agency’s word for its policies. “In that way, agencies can make binding rules—essentially, can make law….”

The Trump Administration questions this Chevron doctrine and would overturn the administrative state.

But why should government agencies—most far less visible than the Department of Justice—govern in the shadows?

Neither should the mother of intellectual elites have such powers, however proudly it proclaims them. Is a private, privileged institution like Harvard more like a government agency or as a legal person, free citizen? The similarity lies not in legal-bureaucratic institutions and the power that they wield but as well their crowning of the intellectual oligarchy they have brought about, with its arrogance, disastrous policies, and political correctness.

As John Marini has pointed out, the administrative state is fundamentally about “delegitimizing the founding’s principles in order to establish the legitimacy of the administrative née rational state. That has yet to occur.”

As a gatekeeper of privilege, Harvard stands as a great unequalizer, the proud source of a society “coming apart,” as Charles Murray has admonished. So what does Harvard do when it is faced with admitting students from a loosely defined identity group, Asian-Americans? Not merely on formal academic grounds such as test scores, they are a meritocratic model minority, perhaps even a kind of aristocracy.

But it appears that Harvard is protective of the racially and ethnically engineered elite it wishes to create (including legacy admittees). Applying affirmative action for blacks and Hispanics and having for the first time a majority-minority entering class in 2017, Harvard College has for years kept a ceiling on Asian-American admittees (22 percent). Indeed, an article from the Harvard Law Review claims that, “[s]tatistical evidence suggests that, in the aggregate, white students have received ‘bonus points’ in comparison to Asians.”

Compare as well Caltech, which does not practice affirmative action and has a far higher percentage of Asian-Americans (43 percent), with affirmative-action practicing MIT, 26 percent (2016).

Yet Harvard’s ”progressive” pull remains strong to adjust the staffing of the administrative state at appropriate ethnic and racial ratios. One Asian-American law professor declares, without explanation, she “would not relish seeing the nation’s most élite colleges become majority Asian.” She goes on, “What is needed instead, then, is race-conscious affirmative action, to address the historic discrimination and underrepresentation of blacks and Latinos, in combination with far less severity in the favoring of whites relative to Asians.”

How white progressive of her! While advocating continued injustice based on race, she seeks less severe injustice for those amorphous Asian-Americans. Such is the moral calculus of the gatekeepers of the administrative state.

Content created by the Center for American Greatness, Inc. is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a significant audience. For licensing opportunities for our original content, please contact licensing@centerforamericangreatness.com.

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America • Center for American Greatness • Congress • Conservatives • Donald Trump • Government Reform • History • Post • Republicans • taxes • The Leviathian State • Trump White House

Trump Needs a ‘Taxpayer Bill of Rights’

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The recent passage of the omnibus spending bill did serious damage to Donald Trump’s presidency. Politically, it harmed his standing with at least half of his base. Thankfully, political crises present new opportunities to make up for past mistakes. And we are still far enough out from the November midterms that disappointments can be forgotten.

Yet the fact is the 2018 midterm will be the election that determines not only how much of Trump’s agenda makes it through Congress, but also whether or not the president is likely to be impeached. So unless Trump wants to replicate the disastrous omnibus spending bill in September (when the government will need another round of spending), he should take account of his recent mistake and learn from it. He should take serious constitutional action.

Beyond a Balanced Budget Amendment
One way he might do that is through a revival of former President Ronald Reagan’s “taxpayer bill of rights.” Such a revival could become an interesting centerpiece of Trump’s political efforts going forward.

Recently, the White House floated the idea that the president wanted Congress to adopt a balanced budget amendment. But perhaps this doesn’t go far enough? Perhaps Trump, in order to regain the full support of his base, should take more drastic steps?

Steven F. Hayward has argued in his history of the Reagan presidency, The Age of Reagan: The Conservative Counterrevolution: 1980-1989, that the 40th president understood all of his great victories might just as easily be undone by his successors if they were not codified in what he called a “taxpayer bill of rights.” Reagan favored a balanced-budget amendment, a line-item veto, a two-thirds vote requirement for any tax increase in Congress, a federal spending cap, and a constitutional ban on wage-and-price controls.

Every single one of these issues is just as relevant today as they were in the 1980s. Further, the country may be ripe for the kind of drastic reform that Reagan could only dream of during the prosperous 1980s. More to the point, Trump should consider: just as he undid much of what President Obama “accomplished” by “pen and phone” a successor might undo much of his agenda in a similar fashion.

Cement the Realignment
While it is true the damage to the debt has already been done with the most recent spending bill, strenuously advocating a Reagan-style “taxpayer bill of rights” today might do more to drain the swamp in the long-term than anything that Trump has managed to accomplish so far. The “taxpayer bill of rights” also would force his successors, regardless of party or disposition, to hew closely to the standard set by President Trump. The passage of even a few points in the “taxpayer bill of rights” could effectively terminate the Left’s grip on the future, and codify the
political realignment that Trump began in 2016.

Think about it: President Trump has governed as the “most conservative” president since Reagan. According to the Heritage Foundation, Trump has effectively accomplished two-thirds of his agenda within the first year of his administration (the omnibus debacle notwithstanding). Trump’s successes have included an unprecedented rollback of the regulatory state; massive foreign policy victories; the embrace of fair and reciprocal trade; the selection of young, constitutionalist judges to the federal bench; and a big, beautiful tax cut. All of these things were badly needed. But, every one of these achievements can—and most assuredly will—be undone by Trump’s successors, just as Reagan’s great victories were ultimately eroded with the passage of time.

The late historian Thomas B. Silver argued Reagan’s presidency failed precisely because he failed to pass the “taxpayer bill of rights”:

Judged by the highest goal he set for himself, Reagan was not successful. It cannot be said that Reagan, in any fundamental way, dismantled—or even scaled back—the administrative state created by FDR.

Hayward contends that had Reagan pushed for the “taxpayer bill of rights” in his first term, rather than toward the end of his second, the country would have been a very different place today. He is likely right.

President Trump has enjoyed great policy victories since taking office. But, these policy outcomes are ephemeral. Plus, Trump is not a technocrat; he is a disruptor.

If the populist revolution is to last longer than Trump’s first term, he cannot replicate Reagan’s mistakes. The omnibus bill is a wake-up call to the president to continue being the bold leader he campaigned to be. Passing a “taxpayer bill of rights” has the potential to ensure that no American leader will ever again forget about the hard-working, American middle-class. Trump’s revolution will be complete only under these conditions.

Content created by the Center for American Greatness, Inc. is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a significant audience. For licensing opportunities for our original content, please contact licensing@centerforamericangreatness.com.

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America • Americanism • Congress • Deep State • Democrats • Donald Trump • Government Reform • Post • The Leviathian State • the Presidency • Trump White House

Trump Won the Schumer Shutdown, Time to Do It Again

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Everyone wants President Donald Trump to “get tough.” Tough with special counsel Robert Mueller. Tough with North Korea. Tough with Russia, and Syria, and trading partners around the globe. Even tough with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).

On any given day, as the mood may move him, Trump does exactly that, whether on Twitter, or via an outside advocate, or on TV. But here is someone Trump absolutely needs to get tough with and not just on Twitter: Senator Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.). Why?

Trump’s presidency depends on how tough and successful he is against Schumer.

Today, almost 300 presidential nominees remain unconfirmed. Many are holdovers from 2017 and have been re-nominated after prior confirmation votes out of Senate committees. The media in general confirms this may well be the highest number of vacancies across a U.S. administration. Senior management positions—deputy secretaries, undersecretaries, deputy undersecretaries—remain unfilled in virtually every crucial cabinet department, with the Departments of State, Defense, Justice, Education, Health and Human Services being the most prominent.

And holding down the forts? Obama-era careerists or less experienced political appointees who have no business managing offices. The vast majority of these appointees are awaiting full Senate confirmation votes. While some are being held up by Republican Senators with some minor axe to grind against the president or the department to which these nominees would go, or perhaps even hold some grudge against the nominees themselves, the vast majority are being held up by Schumer. Why? Because he can—and because Democrats believe there is a pound of flesh to be collected from a president they dislike and who is in dire need of all hands on deck as he enters a crucial period in his administration.

Consider that President Trump has not had even close to a full team that is fully on board his foreign policy agenda at the State Department (never mind that former Secretary of State Tillerson may have fallen into that category). As the White House prepares for Trump’s engagement with North Korea, Israeli and Palestinian discussions, and the ongoing security and economic threats that are Russia and China, he needs a team focused on the priorities he wants to see emphasized at State. The same goes for trade policy. And the federal judiciary, and the rule of law, given that the Department of Justice still has Obama appointees as acting heads in some of the most important offices that set and enforce criminal and civil policies.

So how can Trump break the logjam? By playing the nomination game in a very non-Washingtonian manner.

Since Mitch McConnell has seemingly decided that Chuck Schumer is his joint majority leader, it’s time for Donald Trump to lay down the law with Schumer. Here’s how:

Later this week, the president should announce that for every day his nominees fail to be consolidated on an appropriate Senate bill and brought up for a vote, the executive office of the president, working with cabinet secretaries, will shut down department offices of importance to Senator Schumer and his Democratic leadership.

If the president can’t have his team, Schumer won’t have his. Period. Squeeze Schumer until he squeals.

For example, there are several offices in Treasury that help ensure Wall Street banks are able to safely and securely communicate and transfer funds. Those offices should be shut down, with staff reassigned immediately.

Offices at the Department of Transportation that may be sending federal funds up to New York or to Illinois for road work funding and whatever sweetheart deals Democrats there have cut with their union buddies? Shut down, with staff reassigned or furloughed.

All that staff detailed to work in Democrats’ Senate offices and on Democrat committee staff? Immediately recalled and reassigned.

If Schumer refuses to budge, hey, it’s not that big a deal. If nothing else, this shrinks the size of government. If people on Wall Street or in state transportation departments complain? Hey, call Schumer’s office; this is his problem.

Sure, it’s a high-risk game of chicken, but here’s the catch: Schumer has been playing and winning it for almost 18 months. McConnell is either inept or a willing enabler of Schumer’s obstruction. It’s time the president and his team did an end run around McConnell, identify the offices across the government important to Democrats and start shutting them down.

If Schumer wants to obstruct Trump, Trump can, and should, make it as painful for Schumer as possible and send a very loud and clear message: confirm my nominees or face the consequences.

Photo credit:  JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images

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America • Americanism • Center for American Greatness • Congress • Deep State • Democrats • Donald Trump • Environment • Government Reform • Greatness Agenda • Political Parties • Post • Republicans • The Leviathian State • the Presidency • The Resistance (Snicker)

When the EPA Was Really Corrupt

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Who said this? “The EPA is one of the most toxic places in the federal government to work. If you don’t get rid of the toxicity of the employees at the EPA, we are doing a great disservice to this country. I have serious questions about [the EPA administrator’s] ability to actually administrate.”

No, those remarks aren’t from one of EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt’s many critics on the Left. They’re the words of former House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), who held several congressional hearings in 2016 to investigate egregious cases of misconduct and mismanagement under the leadership of Gina McCarthy, President Obama’s last EPA chief.

Since official Washington is consumed with Pruitt’s every move, perhaps it’s time to take a little trip down pre-Trump Memory Lane—when all was right in the world, according to incurious elite media—and jolt the faulty memories of these hyperventilating talking heads and editorial boards who insist Pruitt should be fired for spending 50 bucks a night to rent a D.C. condo.

Gina McCarthy should share a place of ignominy in the Obama Hall of Shame, right alongside IRS commissioner John Koskinen, FBI Director James Comey, and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Despite extensive evidence of wrongdoing and subsequent attempts to cover up one scandal after another, McCarthy mostly avoided harsh news coverage during her tenure from July 2013 to January 2017. (She barely won Senate confirmation following questions about her integrity and environmental activism.)

Chaffetz led a series of hearings in 2015 and 2016 detailing outrageous—and occasionally unlawful—behavior by EPA bureaucrats, and McCarthy’s failure to reprimand wayward employees. McCarthy was a masterful blame-shifter who skillfully conned a gullible media into buying her excuses, an approach that started before Obama promoted her to EPA chief. (After a top official embezzled nearly $1 million in bogus pay and bonuses while working for an EPA department McCarthy supervised, she blamed a colleague for her failure to act in a timely manner—a delay that permitted the plundering to continue for more two years.)

She was at the helm of the EPA during two major environmental crises, the Gold King Mine spill and the Flint Water crisis. McCarthy helped push one of the greatest bureaucratic overreaches of all time—the Clean Power Plan—which was so excessive that the Supreme Court stayed the rule in an unprecedented move by the court. She spent nearly $750,000 on international travel in three years.

McCarthy was accused of permitting a workplace hostile to women, and particularly dangerous for young girls. The EPA Inspector General told Congress about instances of employees watching and downloading porn, including child pornogrpahy, on federal computers. During one heated hearing, when McCarthy hid behind her usual “bureaucratese” to defend her failure to fire a known-predator at her agency, Chaffetz shot back, “I’ve got two young daughters. And I would never send them to the EPA, it’s the most toxic place to work I’ve ever heard of.”

Chaffetz also uncovered evidence that a convicted child molester “was on the EPA’s payroll for years, even after the EPA learned of this offense. The EPA knows that this person is a convicted child molester, and yet the EPA put him in a position to interact with the public. This person was found to have police sirens placed on his personal vehicle, lights and sirens, handcuffs, and a counterfeit badge.”

Makes a soundproof phone booth seems tame, huh?

So, while the New York and D.C. media echo-chamber is stuck on repeat about Scott Pruitt’s travel costs and living arrangements, I’ll pop in a mix tape of McCarthy’s Greatest Hits…

Causing the Gold King Mine spill: In 2015, EPA workers destroyed a plug that was holding water at the abandoned Gold King Mine in Colorado. Despite knowing the risk of a blowout (and subsequently covering up the fact they had that knowledge), the work continued at the abandoned mine until a breach unleashed three million gallons of toxic waste into the Animas River, polluting a waterway serving three Western states. While McCarthy apologized for the disaster—calling it a “tragic and unfortunate incident”—her agency declined to accept full responsibility and attempted to deflect any scrutiny from Congress and the media.

Loretta Lynch’s Justice Department refused to prosecute the EPA employee culpable for the breach. (Sound familiar?) Nearly three years later, no one has been held accountable for the man-made catastrophe. Here’s how the Heritage Foundation summed up the EPA’s actions surrounding the Gold King Mine spill: “[The] EPA has obfuscated, misdirected and lied to cover up what were at best implausible assumptions followed by reckless actions and then use of taxpayer dollars to hide the truth. So far, the bureaucrats responsible have gotten away with it.”

Ignoring the Flint Water Crisis: In April 2014, a state-appointed manager switched Flint’s drinking water source to save money. Residents of the impoverished town soon started to complain about the new water’s color and odor: Testing showed it contained high levels of lead and other poisons in violation of the Safe Drinking Water Act. Although McCarthy’s EPA was first notified of the problem in April 2015, she did not declare a state of emergency until January 2016.

That same month, the EPA’s regional director responsible for Flint resigned amid her failure to take immediate action or notify the public about the potential danger. But McCarthy  upped her blame game, writing a whiny March 2016 column for the Washington Post saying, “From day one, Michigan did not act as a partner. The state’s interactions with us were dismissive, misleading and unresponsive. The EPA’s regional office was also provided with confusing, incomplete and incorrect information. As a result, EPA staff members were unable to understand the scope of the lead problem until more than a year after the switch to untreated water.” But her own agency’s inspector general report later contradicted McCarthy’s claims, concluding the EPA had “the authority and sufficient information” to act on behalf of Flint residents in June 2015.

Misleading Congress: There were several instances of McCarthy misleading Congress and flouting Congressional oversight. In September 2015, Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) and 20 Republicans co-sponsored a bill to impeach McCarthy over false statements she gave to Congress about the Waters of the United States proposal. (Another flawed rule held up by the federal courts.)

House Science Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas), a frequent McCarthy critic, accused her of giving “misleading and contradictory” and “untruthful” statements about the EPA’s work on a highly-controversial report about a widely-used herbicide. And around the same time Hillary Clinton was deleting 30,000 emails from her private server, McCarthy was deleting around 6,000 texts from her government-issued phone. (Smith subpoenaed them.)

Violating Federal Social Media Policies: The Government Accountability Office concluded in 2015 that the EPA weaponized social media to promote the Waters of the United States rule. The agency “violated publicity and anti-lobbying provisions” and “engaged in covert propaganda” by not identifying the EPA as the host of Twitter messages related to the rule.

But, Pruitt’s condo!

Smith is not surprised by the media scrum against Pruitt. “They were top cheerleaders for the EPA’s extreme actions under [McCarthy’s] guidance,” Smith told American Greatness in an email. “Despite the embrace of the liberal media, who should champion open government, McCarthy’s legacy at the EPA is her repeated dismissal of transparency.”

Of course, it’s too late to go back in time and make the media apply the same standards to Obama’s EPA that they are imposing on Trump’s EPA. But that doesn’t mean none of it happened.

Content created by the Center for American Greatness, Inc. is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a significant audience. For licensing opportunities for our original content, please contact licensing@centerforamericangreatness.com.

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Administrative State • America • Congress • Conservatives • Democrats • Donald Trump • Elections • GOPe • Government Reform • Greatness Agenda • Obamacare • Post • Republicans • taxes • The Leviathian State • Trump White House

This Monstrosity of a Spending Bill Will Hurt Republicans

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The omnibus spending bill passed in the dead of night and signed into law Friday, on the eighth anniversary of the Affordable Care Act, is bad policy and worse politics for Republicans facing midterm elections. Despite the GOP’s promises and congressional majorities, Obamacare is still the law of the land and the omnibus continues the unsustainable spending imperiling the country’s finances.

As the law’s details become better known, GOP voters’ already strong feeling of betrayal is growing so powerful that it may imperil the GOP majority. Feckless congressional leadership is getting most of the blame, but President Trump signed the bill and spent no political capital advocating his stated priorities. Power unused is power lost.

After the tax-reform package passed last year many of us believed the Republican Congress was finally showing signs of life and realizing why the American people had entrusted them with control of Capitol Hill and the White House. Failure to repeal Obamacare after seven years of pledges left GOP voters disheartened. But the victory of tax reform showed what Republicans could accomplish if they stuck together . . .

Read the rest at the Washington Post

Photo credit: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

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‘Never Again’? Omnibus Bill Is a Product of the Swamp

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Thinking about the $1.3 trillion—that’s “trillion” with a “t” for “terrifying”—omnibus spending bill that President Trump signed on Friday, I wonder who is most unhappy about that incontinent, 2,232-page monument to congressional irresponsibility. (A small token of its irresponsibility—and its contempt for the public—was that the bill had to be signed a mere 17 hours after being passed by the Senate. “Otherwise”—cue the scary voice and Halloween music—“the government will shut down!” Is that a threat or a promise?)

There have been all sorts of lists of winners and losers. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said that “We Democrats are really happy” with the bill, which will stuff enough cash into the bloated congressional gizzard to keep the government wheezing along through September. Many, nay most, on the other side of the D.C. gastrointestinal tract are not happy. “With Omnibus Signing,” as one representative headline put it, “Trump Formally Surrenders To The Swamp.”

I had myself, like other fiscally responsible Americans, hoped that President Trump would veto that bill, as he suggested he might as late as Friday morning. Still, it is well to keep in mind a fundamental truth that some canny tweeter put with pithy conciseness: “Regardless of how you feel about the #omnibus, it’s still a good day when you wake up and realize Hillary Clinton is not our president.”

True, too true. And remember, politics in democratic countries always involves compromise. I was not convinced that the president got enough of what he wanted—a measly $1.6 billion “down payment” for the border wall, for example (he wanted $25 billion) in exchange for the Candyland giveaways to the Dems. But let’s leave the particular budget items to one side. The bill was simply too big. I think the government should spend less money, especially on things unrelated to national security. That Republicans, reputedly the party of fiscal sanity, occupy the White House, control both houses of Congress (as well as a majority of state legislatures and governorships) and that this is is the best they can do suggests how difficult public thriftiness is.

Rot Runs Deep
Or perhaps it merely suggests how wide and deep the D.C. swamp is, and how corrupt most politicians from both parties really are. It is amazing how quickly the power and perquisites of public office transform ordinary men and women into inveterate swamp dwellers, concerned overwhelmingly with maintaining and enhancing their status, not the commonweal.

Did I mention that Congress gave itself a raise of $60 million in the bill? Spending other people’s money is easy once you get the hang of it. One thing Congress never seems to get around to considering seriously is term limits. Can you blame them? Power. Riches. Influence. Social position. All for life if they’re lucky. Who would wish to turn off that spigot—especially when there are millions upon millions of saps (that would be us taxpayers) willing to pay for it all? Nope, most lawmakers, once they get to the promised land of the Capitol, are not going budge if they can help it.

But I digress. I ask again: Who is most unhappy about the passage of the omnibus spending bill?

It may seem ironic, but I think it may be President Trump. He signaled his dissatisfaction with the bill early on and, as I say, talked about vetoing it. “It’s not right,” he said, “and it’s very bad for our country.” When push came to shove, however, he signed it only, he said, because of the robust provisions it made for military spending: pay increases for those who defend us as well as money for new military hardware.

Noting correctly that the president’s “highest duty is to keep America safe,” Trump said he signed the bill as a matter of “national security.” The U.S. military had suffered grievously under Barack Obama. The world is an increasingly dangerous place and yet our military readiness and capability have been sharply eroded. The military provisions of the omnibus bill will go a long way towards addressing that deferred maintenance.

Far-Fetched Remedies
Nevertheless, he said in announcing his signing of the bill, he would “
never sign a bill like this again.” Like many of his predecessors, President Trump asked for an end to the filibuster. He also asked for a line-item veto so the president was not presented with an all-or-nothing choice.

The problem, of course, is that ending the filibuster would remove not only a major opportunity for partisan grandstanding but also an important tool of legislative blackmail. And providing the president with a line-item veto would introduce an element of transparency into the legislative process that would be deeply incompatible with the imperative to feather one’s nest and grease the wheels of politics without the irritating incursion of public scrutiny and accountability. So: I doubt it will ever happen.

This dog’s breakfast of a spending bill illustrates a fundamental fact about the metabolism of modern American politics. Republicans, when they’re in charge, allow Democrats to indulge in massive domestic spending in exchange for money for the military. Democrats, when they’re in charge, deny Republicans money for military spending in exchange for massive domestic spending and tax increases. You see how it works. It’s analogous to the one-way ratchet the Democrats employ on so-called social issues and judicial decisions. As far as is humanly possible, the trend goes in one direction only: towards more and more “progressive”—and expensive—positions.

It will be interesting to see whether Donald Trump will be able to keep his promise not to sign another such example of fiscal incontinence. It will be interesting, too, to see how his battle against the swamp proceeds. Will he be able to maintain—and, perhaps, even improve on—the tax cuts he won at the end of last year? Will he get his wall? Will he stanch the flow of illegal immigration and do something about the thousands upon thousands of alien miscreants who are here now, preying on our communities? Will he be able to keep up the pace of prosperity-enhancing deregulation? Will his economic policies spark the sustained 3-4 percent growth we need? Will he, finally, manage to evade the real collusion story of our times: the collusion between our intelligence and law-enforcement institutions, on the one hand, and the Clinton campaign and deep state operatives from the Obama Administration, on the other, to destroy Donald Trump’s presidency?

The point is, last week’s passage of the omnibus spending catastrophe did not take place in a vacuum. It is part of the elaborate choreography of the swamp. There are already hints that President Trump may be cannier about swamp draining and fiscal responsibility than is widely appreciated. In any case, this spending bill cannot be understood in isolation from the whole package of D.C. initiatives. There are thousands upon thousands of “civil servants” whose daily suspiration adds, drop by drop, to the swamp. Most of them detest Donald Trump. Most of them cannot be fired. That is the hand the president was dealt. Ronald Reagan faced something similar. He did not get everything he wanted, not by a long shot. But he got some critical things accomplished in his eight years. Were I betting man, I’d wager that Donald Trump has some important, some world-changing victories to look forward to in the nearly seven years he has left as president.

Content created by the Center for American Greatness, Inc. is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a significant audience. For licensing opportunities for our original content, please contact licensing@centerforamericangreatness.com.

Photo credit: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

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Administrative State • American Conservatism • Center for American Greatness • Congress • Deep State • Donald Trump • Elections • Political Parties • Post • Republicans • The Leviathian State

Will $1.3 Trillion Blobnibus Devour the GOP?

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In 1958, The Blob appeared in theaters across America. The plot was standard science fiction fare: a meteor lands on the outskirts of a small Pennsylvania town and unleashes a ravenous alien life form that exponentially grows as it devours everything and everyone in its path. Well, it does until—spoiler alert!—teenage protagonist Steve Andrews discovers the Blob’s Achilles heel is cold. So informed, the townsfolk freeze the creature with an array of fire extinguishers; and then the U.S. Air Force transports the Blob to the Arctic.

The end? Perhaps, but in what may the first cinematic plug of climate change, Steve replies, “Yeah, as long as the Arctic stays cold.” Then, on screen appears an ominous question mark. (By the way, “Steve Andrews,” who surmised cold was the Blob’s bane, was the first big-screen role of Steve McQueen, who went on to become “the King of Cool.” Coincidence . . . ?)

Flash forward 60 years: In 2018, a $1.3 trillion spending bill belly flops into a swamp, unleashing a ravenous Blobnibus that exponentially grows as it devours everything and everyone in its path. Well, it does until . . . ?

Uh oh.

Whereas in the movies the good folks can triumph over the Blob, in what passes for “real life” in the Swamp, there is no last second reprieve from the Blobnibus. Consequently, feeling betrayed that a Republican congressional majority supposed to stop the Blobnibus served instead as its enablers, an outraged conservative base won’t be scrounging around for fire extinguishers and Air Force transports to the Arctic.

No, in all likelihood, the conservative base will stay home and say, “screw ’em” while the Blobnibus consumes the GOP majority.

Now, there are almost as many theories as to how and why the Republicans arrived at this pretty pass as there are zeroes at the end of Blobnibus’ price tag; and sundry villains are posited as culpable for a bill Chuck Schumer deemed “the end of the era of austerity”—of which era only the Senator seemed aware.

Yet, as the I Ching instructs, “No blame.” No, I’ve never read it. But let’s give it a shot.

The Blobnibus was spawned by the GOP’s conventional electoral thinking: cater to the center and expect the base to stay true to you. What is to be the appeal to the center that this Blobnibus is alleged to have? District specific spending items; local, state and federal constituency targeted appropriations; and, yes, selling the broader message of being able to “govern.”

Like it or loathe it, this is a rational political calculation under normal circumstances, which helps explain the irrational actual circumstance of America’s $21+ trillion national debt. Regardless, for the sake of clarity, let us stipulate the GOP’s conventional electoral thinking is correct in its assumption the Blobnibus may attract centrist and independent voters to the party’s banner this November. The fatal mistake is assuming Republican voters will turn out for the Congress that produced this fiscal abomination.

Core Republican voters, unlike their elected servants in the Swamp, do not operate with conventional assumptions grounded in an irrational approach to the good of the nation. They actually expect their representatives to govern well. These voters understand that the GOP majority won the last “government shutdown” by standing on principle and exposing the Democrats injurious policy priorities and obstructionism. The GOP’s generic ballot gap plummeted to almost even; and, for an energized Republican base, it was good times. Now, in the slimy wake of the Blobnibus, in which Democrats are tossing each other laurel wreaths woven with taxpayers’ money while taking victory laps around the Capitol, the Republican base is dispirited.

And at the worst time. We have a midterm election coming up. Midterm elections are won by turning out your party’s base. Midterm elections are lost by turning off your party’s base. Ergo, as noted above:

Uh, oh.

“But wait,” say Republican optimists (all three of them), “there will be a new spending bill in a mere six months. The Republican Congress will have a chance to redeem itself by slashing federal spending right before the election.”

Can the GOP majority freeze the rapacious Blobnibus in its tracks before the party is consumed in the midterm election?

To paraphrase the King of Cool: “Yeah, as long as the Swamp gets drained.”

Yep. To stop Blobnibus, forget the fire extinguishers and an airlift. Anybody got a trencher and a sump pump?

Content created by the Center for American Greatness, Inc. is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a significant audience. For licensing opportunities for our original content, please contact licensing@centerforamericangreatness.com.

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