Ms. BWR was the key to convincing me to hold my nose and vote Trump on the sole ground of control of the Supreme Court, so I’ve got the bar set quite low for this administration. That said, I like their first few steps so far.
Two of the most corrupt influences on politics over our lifetimes have been Congressional earmarks and the regulator/lobbyist revolving door. As to earmarks, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan demonstrated some real leadership yesterday by shutting down an attempt by three Republican members of the House to reintroduce ear mark authority for Congress:
House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., unilaterally halted a bid Wednesday to restore earmarks, those directives that steer federal funds to specific projects back home.
Sources told Fox News that plans to restore some earmarks were on the verge of being approved by House Republicans in their closed-door conference meeting when Ryan intervened.
“We just had the ‘drain the swamp’ election,” Ryan said, according to a senior House GOP source. “We don’t want to turn around two weeks later and have earmarks.” . . .
Amen. I understand the Congressmens’ desire to restore ear mark authority on the grounds that unelected federal bureaucrats are, in the absence of Congressional specification, directing the spending for specific projects at the state level. But does anyone really want to support reintroduction of ear mark authority to Congress? That is the equivalent of employing Mel Gibson as a bartender, naming Anthony Weiner as CEO of Twitter, or putting Robert Downey, Jr. in charge of the DEA evidence lock-up. At least the federal bureaucrats are limited in the money they can direct up to the amounts voted by Congress. If the House GOP needs to address this, they need to do so by limiting the authority of the bureaucrats to earmark the funds, not returning ear mark authority to Congress.
As to lobbyists, VP Elect Mike Pence banned them from the “transition team” once he took over as head from Chris Christie. Now this today from Fox:
Appointees to President-elect Donald Trump’s administration will be asked to sign a form barring them from being a registered lobbyist for five years after they leave government service, officials announced Wednesday.
Republican National Committee chief strategist Sean Spicer said on a conference call with reporters that the prohibition would help to ensure people won’t be able to use government service “to enrich themselves.” . . .
The rise of lobbyists is part and parcel of the rise of the regulatory state. The solution is to reform the regulatory bureaucracy and restore sole legislative authority to Congress. In other words, do what the plain language of Art. I, Sec. I of the Constitution says.
And I see George Will is thinking partly along those same lines this morning. Put the REINS Act & A Keystone Pipeline Bill On President Trump’s Desk Couldn’t agree more.
Pardon For Hildabeast?
That paragon of good government practices Jesse Jackson has called upon Obama to issue a blanket pardon Hildabeast for her many nefarious actions while serving as Secretary of State. Until three years ago, I would have argued against a new administration going after anyone in the old administration for criminal acts in office. That is what banana republics do and, for much of our history, we have thankfully refrained from that impulse.
But this goes beyond just Hildabeast. She provides the most blatant example of criminal activity while in office over the past eight years, but the reality is that the Obama administration as a whole illegally weaponized government and protected all of its number from paying for their illegal acts in office. The Obama administration followed a pattern and practice of thwarting Congressional inquiry through stonewalling and spoilation of evidence. If that precedent is allowed to stand, our nation’s long term survival will be very much in doubt.
It would not surprise me to see Obama pardon Hildabeast, but just like virtually everything the man has done in office, it would not be in the best interests of the country. Examples, need to be made in this case. Not just of Hillary, but of those involved in stonewalling Congress, those who weaponized the IRS, and those surrounding Hillary who were themselves in violation of our laws governing the handling of classified material and government records.
We live in a world where major private platforms, such as Facebook and Google, are responsible for the majority of news and information that a typical American might see. Thus, they can exert an incredibly powerful influence as gatekeepers of information. If any of those platforms decides to exercise its gatekeeper function in a biased manner, it can have perhaps a decisive influence. But what about if the platforms try to remain neutral, yet the information coming across its platform in the form of news is fraudulent and patently false?
The latest charge from far left field is that Facebook lost the election for Hildabeast by allowing the proliferation of “fake” news stories on its platform. The key question here is, who is defining the term “fake.” If you are following this kerfuffle, you’ll know that the complaint about some patently false stories going viral is not without basis. Whether they impacted Hildabeast’s election chances is a whole other question.
Buzzfeed did a study of the top trending news stories and their shares in the months before the election and, to their credit, published the raw data. Their overall finding was that “top fake election news stories generated more total engagement on Facebook than top election stories from 19 major news outlets combined.” They post their data, including individual “fake” stories here. For but one example, the top viral news story between August and election day was the factually false, “Pope Francis Shocks The World, Endorses Donald Trump For President,” a story written by a site called End The Fed.
For the most part, all of the 60 stories cited by Buzzfeed are in that same vein. Still, two of the stories Buzzfeed claims as “fake,” one by Breitbart, another by a small organization that I never heard of before, stating that Hillary was prevented by law from running for President, were admittedly on the margins, but I would hardly say fake. As to the latter, Hillary, by hiding government records from subpoena for six years, broke a law that, if she were convicted, would have barred her from holding any further public office. So even Buzzfeed’s analysis here is a bit problematic.
I am sure you can see where this is going. There are a host of progs out there who are quite willing to define what constitutes a “fake” news site that should be banned from Facebook and Google. One such helpful list was drawn up by Melissa Zimdars, Assistant Professor of Communication at Merrimack College in Massachusetts, and published by the LA Times. Included on her list are such “fake” sites as Project Veritas (James O’Keefe’s Investigative site), RedState, Twitchy, The Blaze and Independent Journal Review.
We are at war with these lethal idiots. This is an issue to watch very closely.
Odds & Ends:
Ira Stoll: The NYT’s Borking of Bannon
PJMedia: The Environmentalists Versus Trump
And on a related note, from Moonbattery, there is the prog’s left use of the Courts to drive legislative policy. The most ludicrous example of late is the children’s law suit (brought by Jim Hansen) to force our government to take whatever steps the progs want in the ostensible name of climate change.
Victor Davis Hanson: Trump’s Bizarre Winning Formula
Powerline: The Myth of Hillary Clinton’s Competence
Jonah Goldberg: The Left Plums The Depths Of Identity Politics
Ace: Can America Survive The Mass Panic Of The Adult Babies. The post includes a bonus video of Yoko Ono doing a primal scream in response to Trump’s victory. You don’t want to miss that one.
Seen at Instapundit:
I HAVE TO SAY, THE POST-ELECTION PERIOD IS TURNING OUT TO BE MORE FUN THAN I EXPECTED:
UPDATE: Yeah, it’s a parody account, but it’s still funny.
And finally, via Hot Air, enjoy: