A revolutionary idea to win the White House and save the world

Trevor_Loudon_2_small[UPDATE:  Because I have some of the smartest readers in the world (and yes, maybe I'm a little biased), may I strongly recommend that you read not just my post, but their comments, which raise objections and suggestions.]

Last night, I got to hear Trevor Loudon, the New Zealander who believes, as Ronald Reagan did, that America is truly a shining city on a Hill and the world’s last, best hope against global totalitarian rule.  It is this belief that has taken Trevor from his once quiet life in New Zealand to America, on an endless round of research and talks, all aimed at convincing ordinary Americans that their country is at risk (as is the world’s security), but that Americans can turn it around and revitalize a constitutional America.

Trevor’s talk was eye-opening and exciting.  He devoted the first quarter of his talk to detailing how significant numbers of Congress people are currently members of communist organizations or were once open communists (who, significantly, have never repented and reformed).  In the second quarter of his talk, Trevor explained the communist long game, one that started in the 1960s or before, which enabled communists to infiltrate and co-opt American institutions. In the third quarter, Trevor got started on amnesty, which is the Left’s single most important initiative. Finally, when we were all completely depressed, Trevor offered the most revolutionary idea I’ve ever heard for winning the White House in 2016 (but we have to start working on it now, or maybe yesterday.)

I’ll never be able to replicate Trevor’s passion, knowledge, or oratorical brilliance, but I can offer you a short summary of each part of his talk. I urge you to read this entire post, because it will inform you and inspire you in ways you may not have previously imagined.  If you can’t wait to see what the idea is, just scroll down, because I’ve marked clearly where I’ve spelled out Trevor’s revolutionary idea for re-taking the White House.

The communists in Congress: It’s become fashionable of late to deny that communism still exists (“Communists? Hah! It’s just a handful of Russian KGB agents and a few old hippies in San Francisco. Even China isn’t communist any more.”)

Alternatively, scoffers will acknowledge that communism is still around, but assure people (especially ignorant, vulnerable young people) that it’s essentially harmless. This latter argument effectively erases the 20th century, along with the murder and enslavement of tens of millions of people behind the Iron Curtain, in China, in Vietnam, in Cambodia, and in Cuba, not to mention large swathes of Latin America and Africa. Modern communists, we’re told, are just nice people who want to save us from the economic depredations of capitalists as well as the moral and social slavery of traditionalists, especially religious traditionalists.

Because we’ve been told for the past four decades that American communism is a harmless chimera, we currently have 51 House members and 14 Senators all with strong, documented Communist ties. As Trevor said, while these people couldn’t pass the FBI investigation necessary to become a janitor at Fort Hood, the fact that they won an election (often through fraud and voter manipulation), means that they were able to walk right through the front door of our government. They now hold the levers of power controlling taxes, the military, national security, the border, education, etc. They dictate government policy and their goal is antithetical to the America created under the Constitution. Rather than being a government of limited powers, they are working to create a government of absolute powers.

Many of the names Trevor recited will be familiar to you because the media routinely gives them a lot of airtime to explain why Progressive plans (which are just re-labeled communist ideas) are good for America: Nancy Pelosi, Barbara Boxer, Charles Rangel, Sheila Jackson Lee, etc. — they’re all on the list. You can read about these people in Trevor’s newest book, THE ENEMIES WITHIN: Communists, Socialists and Progressives in the U.S. Congress. There, Trevor provides detailed evidence documenting Congress peoples’ ties to communist groups, communist front groups, communist individuals, and communist liaisons.

Even Trevor acknowledges that it makes one sound like a conspiracy theorist to call all these serving members of Congress communists or fellow travelers, but the documentation is there. This isn’t a case in which Trevor is trying to convince a room of people wearing tinfoil hats that “Nancy Pelosi was in San Francisco on July 7, 1967, a mere four days after Mr. Communist Bigshot gave a speech in Minneapolis in which he said, ‘July is a great month in San Francisco, because it’s not so hot,’ which was clearly a coded reference telling her to subvert more of America’s youth by selling acid in Haight Ashbury.” That kind of imaginary dots connecting invisible lines is true conspiracy stuff and Trevor doesn’t traffic in that garbage.

Instead, what Trevor offers are verifiable facts:  Membership records and newsletters from openly communist organizations or communist-front groups, decades-long close associations between Congress people and open members of the Communist Party, etc. No imaginary dots or invisible lines here. These are cold, hard, very unpleasant facts. So yes, more than a quarter of the American Senate has strong and documented communist ties, and these Senators, because the Democrats control the Senate, hold powerful positions in our country.

The communist long game: None of what’s happened since 2008, says Trevor, is a coincidence. Every single part of the current Democrat agenda originated, not in small town, old-fashioned American Democrat Party outposts, but, instead, in hardcore communist circles. For example, Quentin Young, who died recently at around age 90, was a physician and an open communist. Indeed, he was so open that, during the Vietnam War, he traveled to North Vietnam and offered his medical services to the Vietcong (those would be the same Vietcong who were killing American soldiers and torturing American POWs).  Young was also Obama’s next door neighbor and his personal physician. Young was also Obama’s adviser on Obamacare. Kind of makes you think, doesn’t it?

The most significant example of the communist long game is America’s unions. Up until the 1990s, the AFL-CIO, America’s most powerful private sector union, was headed by rabidly staunch anti-communists. The AFL-CIO’s platform specifically stated its opposition to communism. That all changed in 1995 when Thomas Donohue took over the AFL-CIO’s presidency from Lane Kirkland. The anti-communist platform went out the window, and the AFL-CIO was suddenly inundated by openly communist members. With that membership change came a push to get communist or communist-friendly people into government.

With the AFL-CIO’s reversal on communism, and its open-door policy for communists, something happened that we oldsters never saw before the mid-1990s: Unions became integral parts of the Democrat election process. More money than ever before went from unions to politicians. Union works devoted themselves to “get out the vote” efforts, handling everything from registering voters (living or dead), to canvasing, to getting people to polls (legal or illegal), and to staffing polls. What this meant was that every Democrat elected due to union efforts owed the unions big time — and what the union leaders demanded were political acts entirely consistent with demands that communist had been making for decades: socialized medicine, socialized student loans, socialized banking, etc.

Amnesty: Today’s communists are interested in socializing this and that, but they actually have one absolutely overriding goal: amnesty. It’s not because communists (aka Progressives aka socialists aka leftists) love Latin Americans more than the rest of us do. Heck, it’s not about love at all. It’s about creating a permanent Democrat majority. Texas is the pivot point: If Democrats can turn Texas blue (which also means that Arizona and New Mexico and other still-reddish Southwestern states will turn solid blue), it will become numerically impossible for Republicans to take the White House, not just in the short term, but in the long, long term . . . maybe forever, because a solid Democrat majority will change the rules to preclude anything but a one-party White House and, if possible, Congress.

Again, this is not a conspiracy theory. Trevor detailed speeches and writings from people involved in the amnesty movement (including Antonio Villaraigosa, the L.A. mayor who turned LA into an illegal refuge), boasting about the 8 million new voters they are planning on having in order to change forever America’s political identity.

When conservatives oppose amnesty, it’s not because they hate Latinos, anymore than the Democrats love them. It’s because conservatives understand that the point behind amnesty isn’t to reward “acts of love” or to be charitable or to preserve human rights or to prove we’re not racists. Instead, its our recognition (based on Democrat admissions) that amnesty is dedicated to a single goal: destroying America’s two-party system through a tidal wave of newly legal, permanently-Democrat-Party voters. Opposing amnesty is about preserving constitutional government, not about discriminating against the illegal aliens that the Democrats (with the president’s cheerful collusion) are inviting into America and into the voting booth.

But . . . but . . . what about the Republicans who are supporting amnesty (a group that includes most of the Republican leadership)? Surely amnesty can’t be so bad, given that it’s not reasonable for these people to commit political suicide, right? Wrong.  The Republican leadership owes as much to the American Chamber of Commerce as the Democrat Party owes to the unions. The Chamber of Commerce doesn’t care about Left or Right, constitution or totalitarianism. It cares about the bottom line, and the bottom line is always better if labor is cheap.

I am absolutely not calling Chamber of Commerce members Nazis, but it’s worth remember from a political,  not genocidal, perspective, that one of the reasons German industrialists supported the Nazis was that they got free slave labor and they got to keep their profits.  The cheapest labor in America is the illegal alien or newly legalized citizen with no English and no skills. Trevor says that it’s no coincidence that the most pro-amnesty Republicans are the ones who receive the most money from the Chamber of Commerce.

That explains the RINOs and GOP’s support for amnesty?  But what about the fanatical, hysterical union support for amnesty? Doesn’t illegal immigration and amnesty hurt union members for the same reason that the Chamber of Commerce likes it, by lowering wages? Yes. And the unions, both leadership and members, understood that right up until 1995. The old leadership’s opposition to communism wasn’t just ideological, it was pragmatic. Open borders lowered wages and otherwise depressed working conditions for ordinary Americans.

The new union leadership, though, doesn’t care about its members’ well-being. Members are merely cash cows subject to mandatory dues that ultimately pay for the union members’ own slaughter.

There is hope for the future: By the time Trevor finished the first 3/4 of his talk, all of us listening were depressed. I looked around and saw slumped bodies and sad faces. Not to despair, though, since Trevor held out hope and, as I said, offered a revolutionary idea for a Republican comeback. He broke this last part of his talk into three segments: the Tea Party, Reagan’s victory, and what we can do.

The Tea Party: In 2008, all the ducks were in a row for a complete, irreversible Leftist takeover of America’s political system. What stopped it, Trevor said, was something unforeseeable, and that black swan was the Tea Party’s organic and meteoric rise.

Thanks to the Tea Party, the Democrats only got 2 years of legislative victories and, since then, they’ve been on the defensive. At every level — local, state, and national — Tea Partiers roared out their disapproval at this, the greatest flowering of the American communist party.

No wonder that the backlash was so immediate and so vicious (racist, racist, war on women, Islamophobic, homophobic, racist, racist). The Tea Party had to be destroyed and quickly too. Trevor attended a major socialist/communist party event and said it was dead boring. All they did was talk about how terrible the Tea Party is and how it could be destroyed.

Trevor said that we in the Tea Party are feeling demoralized now, since Obama took back the White House in 2012. What he says we’re missing, perhaps because we’re too close to things (unlike a New Zealander, who gets a long view), is how big our victory was. We’re like “Baby Supermen,” he said, because we don’t realize the type of power we have. Instead, we focus on our losses and then retreat to lick our wounds, yielding the floor once again to the indefatigable left.

Tea Partiers also have a problem with the GOP itself, which bitterly resents the upstarts who disagree with the GOP’s “go along to get along” policies and, most especially, with its Chamber of Commerce-funded press for amnesty, cheap labor, and a permanent Democrat majority. There is hope, though.

Reagan: Trevor reminded us that, when Reagan emerged from California in 1976 and strode onto the national scene, the GOP hated him. The Ohio GOP refused to let him speak there. Essentially, the Grand Old Party, which Reagan later owned, blackballed him, denying him the 1976 primary, which went to Gerald Ford. Reagan, however, spent the next four years coalition building like mad. With his sunny personality; his gift for taking complex subjects and presenting them in simple, but not simplistic, terms; and his unabashed love for America, he brought everyone under his umbrella. He won by a landslide that originated with his newly cohesive base, revitalizing America.

Trevor acknowledged that things are different now. Obama and his team will have had eight, not just four, years to pursue their agenda (even with the Tea Party operating as a counterweight and drag). The news and entertainment media are intractably in the bag for the Left and will throw themselves into the breach in 2016, especially for a Hillary/Michelle ticket. And we’re having conservative civil war headed by the GOP’s desire to destroy the Tea Party.

Ah, that GOP.  That nasty, weak, corrupt, amnesty-loving GOP.  We Tea Partiers would like to see it gone, just as the GOP would like the Tea Party to vanish.  There’s an unpleasant reality, though, that Trevor says the Tea Party must acknowledge:  We don’t have the time — just 2.5 years until 2016 — to put together the election infrastructure that the GOP already has. Moribund and corrupt though it may be, the GOP is the only game in town for winning elections. The task, then, is to preempt and co-opt the GOP, just as Reagan did.

The Tea Party also needs to stop trying to convince independents to get on board.  Trevor pointed out what we all know:  You don’t win elections by getting lukewarm support from fundamentally disinterested people. You win elections when your base is incredibly excited and the lukewarm people want to join in the fun (as happened for Obama in 2008).  The GOP, Trevor added, will also want to join the fun, primarily because the institution cannot afford to walk away from the seat of power.  It happened in 1980 with Reagan and it can happen again.

The main problem the conservative base has is this fragmentation and internal hostility, which extends beyond the GOP versus Tea Party fight.  Libertarians, social conservatives, and Evangelicals are also part of this cranky, disparate mix of people who are definitely not statists, but still can’t hang together enough to create a political wave advancing constitutional freedoms.  The big question, then, is How can we bring these disparate groups together, enthusiastically, to win in 2016, which will be our last chance at wresting the country from the communist-backed Democrats?

Here’s Trevor’s revolutionary idea

Trevor has what I think of as a brilliant, inspired, out of the box, crazy, entirely possible idea. To build a coalition, you need to promise something to everyone. That seems impossible when you consider how the various conservative groups have such vastly different issues. One person cannot possible be all things to all conservative voters. TREVOR SAYS THAT ONE PERSON DOESN’T HAVE TO BE ALL THINGS. The next Republican candidate should identify his running mate and cabinet now, to make sure that the GOP doesn’t suck all the money out of the system by 2015 and then funnel it to Romney (part II) or Christie, neither of whom can excite the base and, therefore, neither of whom can win.

Here’s as much of Trevor’s dream ticket as I can remember. It should be promoted, in its entirety, from the get-go (say, starting next month, or maybe yesterday):

President: Ted Cruz, a committed conservative who can talk brilliantly (and a man who happens to be Hispanic).
Vice President: Allen West, a committed conservative, a military commander (and a man who happens to be black and I adore him).
Treasury Secretary: Rand Paul (Tea Partiers and libertarians get their fiscal conservatism)
Secretary of State: John Bolton (the neocons get their national security)
Energy Secretary: Sarah Palin (Tea Partiers — and most Americans — get their cheap energy)
Labor Secretary: Scott Walker (Right to Work across America)
Attorney General: Mark Levin or Trey Gowdy, deeply committed constitutional conservatives
Education Secretary: A strong supporter of homeschooling

And so on, down the line, with the Republican ticket being fully formed from top to bottom.  Every conservative will know heading to the voting booth that the Republican ticket offers something to him or her personally.  That gets out votes.

Someone pointed out that the obvious problem with this list, which is the fact that all of these people want to be president themselves, and will not want to be subordinated to Cruz or West. Instead of joining forces, they’ll simply form the same circular firing squad that they formed in 2008 and 2012, and mow each other down again, with the Democrats cheering them on from the sidelines.

Yes, Trevor, acknowledged, some people are going to have to sacrifice their immediate presidential dreams in favor of presenting a strong united front. While the notion of self-sacrifice isn’t usually high on a politician’s list, perhaps they can be brought to see that a little self-sacrifice now provides long-term selfish benefits in the future.  By following his radical campaign plan, all these talents and egos can win in some way in 2016, setting the template for each of them to strike out on his or her own in 2024.  Alternatively, they can selfishly commit political and party murder-suicide in 2016, forever ending any possibility that a Republican will take the White House.

Trevor emphasized repeatedly that this revolutionary idea — running a president, veep, and entire cabinet in one fell swoop — must be done now. Any delay means conservative money is gone, the circular firing squad forms, GOP money rescues Romney or Christie from the bloodbath, the base stays home, the independents stay home, the Democrats win again, and America becomes a permanent socialized state that has abandoned all of its allies around the world, and serves as a materiels-supplier to the world’s dictators.

If you think this is a good idea, act on it:  Share it with your local conservative groups, put it out on Facebook, make clever posters, contact conservative leadership.  Do whatever you can do.  We have a very small window of time, and very limited resources, to reverse a trajectory that, if not changed by 2016, will be fixed forever.

Is the House GOP leadership being blackmailed into voting for amnesty?

SpyingPeople are asking why, with a potentially successful midterm election coming, the GOP has decided to go forward with amnesty, even though (a) only 3% of Americans care about the issue and (b) the base is strongly opposed to the GOP’s plan.  On its face, this seems like an insane thing to do, since it can destroy the Republican party in two ways, first, by denying it success in the 2014 midterm and, second, by creating a permanent Democrat constituency.

I think that Glenn Reynolds might inadvertently have provided the answer by juxtaposing two posts:

GOP and amnesty

(Links to the two posts referenced are here and here.)

Has the GOP House leadership been threatened into sabotaging the 2014 midterms?  To answer that, consider that the NSA trolls indiscriminately for all cell phone and internet content.  The sheer volume of information means that it’s unlikely that the NSA can review it in real-time so as to prevent an imminent attack.  The best way to use that information is to pick a target and then, having isolated the target, to go back into the saved data and to fined content that damages the target.

Once the NSA has completed its targeting data troll, GOP politicians who have had affairs, used drugs, engaged in illegal transactions, etc., might find themselves facing a government official who says something along the lines of “Nice life ya’ got here.  Shame if something happened to it.  Kinda like the something that happened to Dinesh d’Souza, if you know what I mean.”

Yes, I know that sounds like paranoid wacko stuff.  But consider that just five years ago, we would have dismissed as paranoid wacko stuff all of the following:  IRS persecution of conservative political organizations; NSA spying indiscriminately on email and cell phone, as well as on the House of Representatives and media members; the Department of Justice engaged in gun-running; video makers getting imprisoned as Free Speech martyrs to hide an administration’s failure to prevent a terrorist attack; nuns being forced to pay for birth control and abortifacient pills; deals with Iran that effectively allow it to become a nuclear nation; and a president who uses executive orders, not to effectuate executive duties, but instead to nullify existing law or to create non-existent law out of whole cloth.

Given an administration that views the Constitution as a hindrance, why shouldn’t we believe that it’s engaging in the tried and true communist tactic of spying on opponents, getting dirt on them, and then using that dirt to force them to act against their interests?

A military man’s take on a budget that stiffs vets while enriching illegal aliens

Marines dismounting from an amphibious assault vehicleThe new budget cuts pensions for vets, including those who were wounded while serving this country, while continuing unchecked the flow of money to illegal aliens.  We’re not shocked, because we’ve learned that, no matter how low our government goes, give it a day and it can go even lower.  The absence of shock, though, doesn’t insulate us from anger and disappointment.  I got the following from a friend who serves and I think it pretty much says everything that needs to be said on the subject:

So I signed a contract with the govt outlining what exactly I would get in exchange for my lifetime of service. Now the govt gets to change the deal yet I am expected to continue to hold up my end of the bargain.

The same government who is complaining about military “entitlements” eating us alive has no issue extending unemployment benefits at the drop of a hat. They also feel someone who has chosen a life of dropping fries and flipping burgers deserves a “living wage.”

Illegal immigrants crossing into USIn the end, those who have chosen a life of service and actually have contributed to society get a pay cut while the leeches and those with their hand out contributing nothing get a reward.

Also, John McCain is a dick. I would expect more support from a POW. This is the height of hypocrisy considering his political career is based on his military service, specifically time spent as a POW.

This entire issue smacks of disloyalty and is particularly galling to those of us who have spent a lifetime of loyal and faithful service.

The Democrats’ lawlessness

Charles Krauthammer gets to the heart of the matter:

The violence to constitutional norms here [with the filibuster's destruction] consisted in how that change was executed. By brute force — a near party-line vote of 52-48. This was a disgraceful violation of more than two centuries of precedent. If a bare majority can change the fundamental rules that govern an institution, then there are no rules. Senate rules today are whatever the majority decides they are that morning.

What distinguishes an institution from a flash mob is that its rules endure. They can be changed, of course. But only by significant supermajorities. That’s why constitutional changes require two-thirds of both houses plus three-quarters of the states. If we could make constitutional changes by majority vote, there would be no Constitution.

As of today, the Senate effectively has no rules. Congratulations, Harry Reid. Finally, something you will be remembered for.

Read it all.  I doubt you’ll find a better exposition of the profound damage the Obama administration is doing to the Constitution and to America.

The optimist’s take on Harry Reid’s going nuclear — and why I am a pessimist

nuclear-explosion

Harry Reid has just succeeded in doing what Franklin Roosevelt couldn’t do:  he’s going to pack the court.  Yes, Roosevelt was aiming for the Supreme Court, while Reid’s only going after the district and appellate courts, but the reality is that we’re seeing incrementalism.  Today, the lower level courts; tomorrow, the minority in the Senate becomes utterly powerless.

Daniel Horowitz recommends a hyper-nuclear retaliation:

There is one simple thing Republicans can do to retaliate.  They can start by ending the Democrat super-majority on legislative issues.  They can easily pledge to filibuster every piece of legislation and deny all requests for unanimous consent until the rules change is overturned.

How would Harry Reid respond to a complete shutdown of the Senate?  Would he abolish the filibuster even for legislation?  Let him try.  But for now, he has nothing to fear from just eliminating the filibuster on judges because he knows Republicans will not retaliate.  Reid knows that there is not a single issue where McCain, Corker, Graham, and Alexander will now withhold support simply because they were stiffed with the nuclear option.

On his show today, Rush recommended the Senate equivalent of a sit-down strike:  he said that Republican senators should refuse to vote on anything that the Democrat majority brings to the Senate floor. ending even the pretense of bipartisanship.  It also means that one party will own every piece of legislation, for better or worse.  There’s a certain purity to that.

Of course, both Horowitz and Rush know that the McCains and Grahams of the Senate are constitutionally incapable of withholding the hand of love and friendship from Harry Reid and his bomb dropping pals.  So, the ideas are cute, but unworkable.

There are others who think that Republicans shouldn’t be too worried, because Reid’s hypocritical destruction of a minority voice in the Senate will hurt the Democrats more in the long-term than help them.  Ezra Klein, who’s a partisan hack, but not an idiot, recognizes that Reid may unwittingly have delivered a Trojan Horse to his own party:

There’s a lot of upside for Republicans in how this went down. It came at a time when Republicans control the House and are likely to do so for the duration of President Obama’s second term, so the weakening of the filibuster will have no effect on the legislation Democrats can pass. The electoral map, the demographics of midterm elections, and the political problems bedeviling Democrats make it very likely that Mitch McConnell will be majority leader come 2015 and then he will be able to take advantage of a weakened filibuster. And, finally, if and when Republicans recapture the White House and decide to do away with the filibuster altogether, Democrats won’t have much of an argument when they try to stop them….

William Jacobson thinks Klein is on to something.  As he sees it, the filibuster actually worked against conservatives, because it locked in incremental socialism.  For the past several decades, once Democrats got a redistributionist, nanny-state policy in place, nothing could dislodge it, an effect he calls “the rachet.”  By going nuclear, says, JacobsonReid opened the door to the complete reversal of Democrat policies.  When Republicans get their turn at the majority in Congress and take the White House (which many assume will happen at the end of Obama’s reign), they will easily be able to reverse every bad Democrat policy, something that was always impossible before:

Decades of negative and destructive policies can be reversed with a bare majority. Obamacare can be repealed with a bare majority. True Conservative Judges will not be banished due to a filibuster threat.

Yes, it’s true that the absence of a filibuster could accelerate the destructive policies. That fear is justified, particularly as to the judiciary. But face it, we were headed there anyway unless drastic action was taken.

That drastic action took place yesterday. By Democrats.

Now at least we have a chance to achieve previously unimaginable progress in a single presidential term if we also have bare majorities in Congress and a President with the willpower. It will take only one such term.

The ratchet has been broken. And opportunity created, even if dependent upon future electoral success.

It’s now up to us to seize the opportunity.

Jacobson’s last sentence, however, encapsulates why I do not share his optimism:  “It’s now up to us to seize the opportunity.”  “Us” happens to be Republican politicians.  I think we’re all in agreement that, as I’ve repeatedly said, Republicans have good ideas but bad politicians.  As the song goes, “If there’s a wrong way say it, And a right way to play it, Nobody does it like me; If there’s a wrong way to do it, A right way to screw it up, ha, Nobody does it like me.” That song could easily be the GOP anthem, and they rush from failure to failure without Shirley Bassey’s charm and style:

Here’s the conservative reality in the 2014 and 2016 elections, and that’s even assuming GOP nominees win:  The GOP’s all-out warfare against the Tea Party, which seeks constitutional government, tells you that the guys in the Senate have no interest in rocking the boat.  Moreover, open primaries in states such as California mean that the likelihood of having a principled conservative even take a stand against the Democrat Senate monopoly is not just close to zero, but actually zero.

Also, we’re not looking at Reid having this Senate majority just through the 2014 elections.  First, the numbers game indicates that Democrats may continue to hold the Senate by the one vote even in 2014.  Moreover, even if Republicans get a majority, it’s impossible for them to get the type of majority that will survive an Obama veto.  This means that Democrats have three years to play around with unopposed power.  The damage they can do is incalculable and quite possibly irreversible.

If you’re more optimistic than I am, though, and actually think, as Jacobson does, that the GOP has a prayer of not screwing things up, you may be asking why in the world Harry Reid would deliver this Trojan Horse to his party.  James Taranto thinks he has the answer:

In his book “Thinking, Fast and Slow,” which we quoted in May, psychologist Daniel Kahneman explains the idea of loss aversion:

When directly compared or weighted against each other, losses loom larger than gains. This asymmetry between the power of positive and negative expectations or experiences has an evolutionary history. Organisms that treat threats as more urgent than opportunities have a better chance to survive and reproduce.

That insight is the basis of prospect theory, which posits that people will take bigger risks in the hope of minimizing a loss than in the hope of maximizing a gain. The psychological impact of the loss itself clouds one’s thinking about the risks of magnifying the loss. That explains why the Democrats went nuclear just as the perils of doing so multiplied.

Taranto and Jacobson could both be correct, but I will continue to believe until proven otherwise that the Republicans will take this theoretically golden opportunity and destroy it, because that’s what elected Republican officials do.

Trey Gowdy is worth watching, this time as he reams Direction of National Parks Service

You can see the video at the Black Sphere.  I highly recommend that you listen to it.  He’s on fire, but manages to stay logical, factual, and focused.  (I chose to link to the Black Sphere, rather than to load the video here, because that’s a site I like a lot, so I’m happy to send it traffic.)

I believe Gowdy is a lawyer by training.  He must be a kick-ass attorney.  Director Jarvis is patently and deservedly deeply uncomfortable.  This is the kind of cross-examination that is one for the books.

Obama vows to veto legislation that would require him to enroll the Obama family in Obamacare

Obamacare is the greatest thing ever to happen to America or to Americans. How do we know this? Because Obama has been relentlessly spreading this gospel since 2009. It’s nothing if not interesting, then, that Obama has promised to veto legislation that would require him and his family to enroll in Obamacare and that would make Congress enroll on the same terms as other Americans.

Okay, we were being super sarcastic there. We all know that Obamacare is a disaster at every level. It’s been a festering infection in America since its enactment, and the disastrous Obamacare exchange rollout only means that this boil is coming to a head. The Obamacare exchanges are certainly an embarrassment, since they are to internet design what the Edsel was to automobiles, but even if they were perfectly designed, Obamacare would still be a disaster.

Obamacare is doomed to fail because it uses insurance companies as the engine for socialism. In this regard, it’s worthwhile remembering that, long before they got around to attempts at world domination and genocide, the Nazis did precisely the same. They were socialists, after all, which meant that they came from the Big Government Left. Since they weren’t communists, though, they didn’t officially nationalize industry. Instead, they allowed the “capitalists” to retain their companies, with the government calling the shots. Ultimately, of course, this helped Hitler create his war machine, but the short term goal was wealth redistribution with a capitalist gloss.

And no, we are not calling Obama and the other Democrats Nazis. We are just pointing out that socialism is fairly predictable and, as the Teacher says in Ecclesiastes, “there is no new thing under the sun.” (Ecclesiastes 1:9.)

But back to Obamacare: the system uses companies that once used to provide actual insurance (risk pool allocation) and has them function solely as conduits by which the rich subsidize health care for the poor. That’s all.

Now Obama is a very rich man. He’s not just in the 1%; he’s in the .01%. That means that, if he and the missus were to enroll in Obamacare like everyone else, he and Michelle would pay through the nose, both in terms of increased premiums and in terms of high deductibles. The same is true for  Congress-people. (Keep in mind that Congress is a millionaire’s and, occasionally, billionaire’s club.) As written, though, none of these people have to enroll in Obamacare the way the rest of us do – none is being called upon to subsidize genuinely poor and sick people, illegal aliens, or slackers.

Incidentally, if asked, all the D.C. political types will say “Of course, we have to enroll in Obamacare. It’s a right-wing wacko lie to say otherwise.”

That’s a true statement in an alternate universe. Here in the real world, the President and his family, the Vice President and his family, and all White House appointees are completely exempted from Obamacare. As for the rest of Congress and other White House employees, they’ve given themselves and their staffers a subsidy to offset any increased rates and deductibles they have to pay. Just as upper members of the Communist party reserved the good vodka for themselves, and gave the masses cherried-up gasoline, Washington, D.C. took care of its own.

Also, if asked, Congress will say that this subsidy is necessary to ensure that White House staffers don’t end up taking home smaller paychecks than before. Think about that for a moment. Apparently it’s okay for the rest of us to end up taking home smaller paychecks than before; it’s just not okay for the People’s servants to do so.

All of which wraps back to the fact that Politico is reporting that Obama, on his own initiative (that is, without anyone else mentioning it first), said that he will absolutely veto the plan put forward by Sen. David Vitter (R., La.) to require Washington, D.C. to enroll in Obamacare on the same terms as everyone else in America. The “Vitter measure,” as it’s called, would eliminate all subsidies for federal employees working for Congress or the White House and it would require the president, the vice president, and their various political appointees to roll in the Obamacare mud with the rest of us.

If you were every curious what life was like back in the Soviet Union, now you know, because you’re living it in real time.

(This post originally appeared in slightly different form at Mr. Conservative.  You’ll notice that I use the royal “we” for Mr. Conservative posts, since I’m writing on behalf of a site, not on behalf of myself.)

In the long term, what will the shutdown theater’s effect be on the political scene?

The shutdown is over — the Republicans caved because no one was willing to face the risk that Obama would jettison the Constitution and allow the United States government to default. I think it’s a bit more nuanced then a total collapse, though, and I think it may still effect future change.

Those who have hung around the Bookworm Room for a long time know that I believe that it was to George Bush’s advantage that the media portrayed him as a loose cannon cowboy.  I don’t think this was a true characterization, but it certainly kept the world’s bad actors nervous.

It’s a little different with Obama.  He’s repeatedly proven that he has nothing but disdain for the Constitution and the free market.  Because we’re trying to predict his future conduct based upon his past actions, people weren’t being unreasonable in fearing that he would cheerfully invite in world-wide economic disaster.

The Left is now celebrating:  Obama won.  The Tea Party was shown to be the party of stupid killjoy spoilsports who tried to undo the law (never mind, please, that what they did was entirely Constitutional).  It’s over.  Close the book.

But I don’t think so….

Here’s what I think (or maybe just what I hope).  In about two weeks, Americans will have completely forgotten the shutdown, as they’ve forgotten almost all of the past shutdowns, except maybe for the clash between Clinton and Gingrich.  That had some high drama and good television, so it resonated a bit.  The other shutdowns, though, are down the memory hole.

There are a few things people will remember, though.  They’ll remember that the president went after the military and spitefully denied Americans access to their own outdoor treasures.  They’ll remember that the Obamacare exchanges had a disastrous debut, with stone-age technology and staggeringly high socialist wealth redistribution.  And they’ll remember that the Republicans tried everything they could to derail or delay Obamacare.  When it comes to the fight against Obamacare, the Republicans now have a record to run on.

What Republicans can and should say in 2014 and again in 2016 is “We tried, but it was an impossible task.  The only thing that can work is if we take the Senate in 2014, and then get the White House in 2016 while still holding onto Congress.  We are your last chance.”

And if that “last chance” shtick doesn’t work, it still makes for funny Fawlty TV:

George Will says that an extremely temperate proposal from RINO Sen. Susan Collins reveals which party is irrational (hint: it starts with a “D”)

George Will has made a very important point here about Democrat hubris.  Sen. Susan Collins, as mushy a Republican as one could ever find, made a proposal that gives Democrats everything they want, including relieving them from the political embarrassment of the “medical device tax,” which even they dislike.  Flush with poll power, however, since Republicans have dropped lower in the polls than Democrats, Democrats refused even to contemplate this offer.  They’re now demanding that, in addition to getting everything they asked for in September, the sequester must also go away, so that they can spend even more.

The problem now is twofold:  (1) How to get Republican politicians and talking heads to capitalize on the Democrats’ hubris; and (2) how to explain this somewhat complex procedural maneuvering to the average voter.  George Will’s article is excellent, but it’s not a sound bite and, while it gets electronic and page space in the Washington Post, it’s not the kind of thing that goes viral on Facebook.

Devastating critique of Cory Booker from people who are his constituents but are very clear that they’re neither his neighbors nor his fans

I don’t know when I’ve ever seen such a devastating video about a Democrat Senate candidate:

It makes for especially fascinating viewing if you pair it with Stella Paul’s rundown of Booker’s lies.

If you have any contacts at all in New Jersey, you might want to let them see the video.

Los Angeles Times decides what’s true and what’s false when it comes to climate change and Obamacare

For at least a couple of hundred years in America, the “letters to the editor” section of any newspaper has been the one place where people can express views opposing a newspaper’s editorial content.  Newspapers felt sufficiently strong in their viewpoints that they figured that a few crackpot letters wouldn’t be enough to damage the paper’s reputation.  Now, though, the Los Angeles Times has announced that conflicting views are a bridge too far:

Regular readers of The Times’ Opinion pages will know that, among the few letters published over the last week that have blamed the Democrats for the government shutdown (a preponderance faulted House Republicans), none made the argument about Congress exempting itself from Obamacare.

Why? Simply put, this objection to the president’s healthcare law is based on a falsehood, and letters that have an untrue basis (for example, ones that say there’s no sign humans have caused climate change) do not get printed.

So the Los Angeles Times has taken it upon itself to pronounce anthropogenic global warming as settled science, despite the fact that even the IPCC is trying to squirm around the fact that all of its earlier data and hypotheses were wrong.  That tells you  pretty much everything you need to know about the drive-by media, which works in an ideologically closed system that makes no allowance for new, and especially conflicting, evidence.

And then there’s that other thing:  the Los Angeles Times also says that it’s false that Congress exempted itself from Obamacare.  That too is a giant leap of fact and faith for the Los Angeles Times.  While it’s true that Congress didn’t exempt itself from Obamacare, it made sure to insulate itself from Obamacare, which is just as bad.  In that regard, I think that Noel Sheppard, of Newsbusters, gives up a bit too quickly on the Obamacare point:

Of course, readers are likely just as concerned that the Times is also not publishing letters claiming Congress is exempt from ObamaCare.

After reviewing fact checks on this issue published by CNN, the Washington Post, and Yahoo, it appears the Times has a point here.

I respect Sheppard for being honest enough to concede on the facts but the facts actually support conservative complaints.  The CNN link is a good start explaining why Congress has effectively exempted itself:  CNN purports to do a fact-check on the claim that Congress gave itself a pass:

When Obamacare was passed into law, Sen. Charles Grassley, the Iowa Republican, attached language to the bill that mandated members of Congress and their staffers would have to buy health insurance on the newly created health insurance exchanges. What nobody accounted for at the time was that members of Congress and their staffers currently have health insurance through their employer – the federal government. No other employer has been legally required to drop its employee’s health care plan and have them buy coverage on the exchanges.

Like most other large employers, the federal government contributes a portion to the premiums of its employees. In fact, like many employers, the federal government pays most of the premiums for its workers; an average of 72 percent on Capitol Hill. The law didn’t account for the continued employer contribution for these federal workers who would now be buying their insurance on the exchanges. The exchanges were designed to help people without health insurance and people with overly expensive health insurance. It became clear that without their employer contribution, members and their staffers would essentially be getting a cut in pay and benefits equal to thousands of dollars. Even Grassley, the provision’s author, had said the government should continue to contribute to lawmakers’ and staffers’ premiums. What the Obama administration has done is ruled that the congressional workers will continue to receive the employer contribution to help them buy their insurance on the exchange.

All those words!  What they boil down to is this:  The Obamacare health exchange is so expensive, in large part because plans must contain expensive benefits that people neither need nor want, that requiring employees to go into it will cost them thousands of dollars out of pocket which, as a practical matter, decreases employees’ take-home pay at the end of the day.  Therefore, Congress is giving employees (congress people and staffers alike) a stipend to offset that cost.  So yes, congress people and their staffers, unlike other Americans, are being forced into the exchange, but Congress has made sure to insulate them from its devastating economic impact.  This insulation is tantamount to an exemption, because Congress won’t feel the pain.

In this regard, it’s unlike other Americans who are feeling the pain very badly.  The law’s terms mean that they too are being forced into the exchange, but without the nice little stipend to offset costs that Congresws gave itself.  For example (h/t Gateway Pundit):

Across North Carolina, thousands of people have been shocked in recent weeks to find out their health insurance plans will be canceled at the end of the year – and premiums for comparable coverage could increase sharply.

One of them is George Schwab of Charlotte, who pays $228 a month for his family’s $10,000 deductible plan from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina.

In a Sept. 23 letter, Blue Cross notified him that his current plan doesn’t meet benefit requirements outlined in the Affordable Care Act and suggested a comparable plan for $1,208 a month – $980 more than he now pays.

“I’m 62 and retired,” Schwab said. “This creates a tremendous financial burden for our family.

“The President told the American people numerous times that… ‘If you like your coverage, you can keep it,’” Schwab said. “How can we keep it if it has been eliminated? How can we keep it if the premium has been increased 430 percent in one year?”

[snip]

Under the new law, all insurance plans must cover 10 “essential health benefits,” including maternity care and pediatric dental and vision care. Plans must also provide certain preventive services, such as mammograms and colonoscopies for free.

Today, people who buy individual policies often choose plans without maternity coverage, for example, to reduce premiums. That choice is gone, too.

“Now maternity is loaded into everybody’s plan,” Blount said.

That means men will generally be paying more than they did before. But women, who can no longer be charged more just for being female, will probably pay less.

[snip]

Blue Cross spokesman Lew Borman said Friday that large premium increases will affect about one-third of the approximately 400,000 North Carolina customers who buy Blue Cross insurance in the individual market. Some of their policies were canceled because they didn’t meet the new federal standards, he said.

[snip]

Michael Hood, 46, who lives near Winston-Salem, is another of the Blue Cross customers who is suffering sticker shock after receiving a recent renewal letter.

He and his wife, who is expecting their third child, now pay $324 per month for a plan with a $10,000 family deductible. The comparable plan suggested by Blue Cross for next year would cost $895.27 per month with an $11,000 family deductible. Their annual payment would rise from $14,000 to $24,000.

Self-employed as part owner of a medical device distributorship, Hood said he and his wife “try to live a healthy lifestyle and keep our medical costs down.” They chose the high-deductible plan to keep their premium low.

Hood said his income is about $85,000 a year, which would mean he might be able to qualify for a subsidy. He said he checked the online marketplace, which has been operating only sporadically this week, and didn’t think it looked like his family would be eligible.

One of the pluses of any new plan is that it will cover maternity care, which his current plan doesn’t. But “is that really worth paying $1,000 a month more for?”

“I’m angry that legislation has been passed that is forcing me to purchase something that otherwise I would not have to purchase,” Hood said.

“The president told us Obamacare would make health insurance affordable and reduce costs. It is now impossible for our family to afford private health insurance.”

By enacting legislation that protects itself from the pain ordinary Americans are feeling, Congress has indeed exempted itself from Obamacare.  And that’s no lie.

I am losing patience with idio . . . er, progressives on my Facebook page

Normally, when I see the usual liberal talking points on my Facebook page, I try to ignore them lest I damage my blood pressure.  Today, though, I got a wall of stupid.  I’ve already written here about the profound ignorance that lies behind the progressive masses’ repeated claim that Obamacare is the “law of the land” and that the Republicans can do nothing.  Aside from being grossly hypocritical coming from a party that refuses to enforce the nation’s immigration laws, it’s also ignorant.  The House has the power of the purse precisely because, as a representative body with a two-year turnover, it is the best reflection of the will of the people at any given moment.

I probably could have tolerated that stupidity if I hadn’t also gotten a boatload of dumb about the gun shots fired in Washington, D.C. today.  Early reports indicated that a driver who tried to slam into the White House was the shooter.  Instantly, people went on their anti-gun tirades.  Of course, when the dust settled, it turned out that the only shooters were the cops and that the person driving the car had a long history of mental illness.   (Warning:  site has autoplay video.)  When I passed this information on to the Lefties claiming that guns were at the root of this, at least two of them made the identical risible argument:  Even though the gal didn’t have a gun, she’s still a poster child for gun control, because she could have had a gun.

Honestly!  How in the world can you counter that kind of monomania?  It transcends reason and fact, and is an article of faith as profound as the Democrats’ historic belief that blacks are an inferior race who need either slavery or government welfare to function.

Given this type of irrational anti-gun lunacy, I’m sure you won’t be surprised to learn that a Phoenix-area police officer was asked not to wear his uniform when he picked his child up from elementary school, because parents were frightened by his gun.

I love Ace’s take on this story.  The article that originally reported the story presented the school’s point of view:

A district spokeswoman told the station that “some parents” voiced concern about seeing a fully armed police officer on the school’s campus. The spokeswoman apologized that Urkov perhaps took the discussion the wrong way.

“It was not the intent of the principal to offend him,” the spokeswoman said.

To which Ace provided the only response possible:

Yes yes yes yes yes. He took it the wrong way. It’s on him. He didn’t understand your intent. He’s got the problem; not you.

Of course you don’t have a problem. Hysteria is not only natural, it’s preferable.

Shall we ban Cowboy Hats next? I mean: Cowboys. They carry six-shooters.

The House’s refusal to fund Obamacare is entirely constitutional — and James Madison personally approves this message

lincoln-memorial

My stock response to all those liberal Facebook friends who have insisted that the House is “unconstitutionally” holding Obamacare hostage, is that the Founders named it the “House of Representatives” and gave it the power of the purse for a reason.

The House’s members serve for much shorter terms than Supreme Court justices (life terms), executives (minimum 4 year terms) and Senators (minimum 6 year terms).  This means that, if people are not pleased with the decisions made by those more entrenched bodies, they can make their displeasure known through the House, where new representatives can be rotated in every two years.

Making their displeasure known is precisely what the People did in 2010 and again in 2012, when they “shellacked” the House Democrats, which was a clear rebuff to Obama and his “care.”  (It’s also entirely possible that Obama would also have been shellacked right out of office but for the IRS’s unconstitutional, illegal, unconscionable interference with free speech.)

In addition to the short term of office, which means the people can quickly punish or reward legislative conduct, the House of Representatives mirrors population dynamics.  The Senate is fixed at two representatives per state, there’s only one president, and there are nine Supreme Court justices.  The House, by contrast, is reconfigured every ten years to represent accurately the number of people in various population centers and deserts throughout the U.S.

The Founders deliberately gave the power of the purse to the federal branch most closely tied to American citizens, both in numbers and responsiveness:  The House is meant to use that power to put the brakes on schemes cooked up by members of the other branches of government who are elected or appointed in numbers unrelated to the American population, and who have job security unrelated, or less related, to their immediate conduct.  If the Founders were alive today, they’d say the roadblock inherent in the power of the purse is a feature, not a bug — and a pretty damned important feature too.

The above response came off the top of my head.  If I had studied the Federalist papers recently, however, I could simply have quoted James Madison. one of the Constitution’s primary architects, writing in Federalist No. 58 (and a groveling h/t to Tom Elias, of The New Editor, for this brilliant find):

The House of Representatives cannot only refuse, but they alone can propose, the supplies requisite for the support of government. They, in a word, hold the purse that powerful instrument by which we behold, in the history of the British Constitution, an infant and humble representation of the people gradually enlarging the sphere of its activity and importance, and finally reducing, as far as it seems to have wished, all the overgrown prerogatives of the other branches of the government. This power over the purse may, in fact, be regarded as the most complete and effectual weapon with which any constitution can arm the immediate representatives of the people, for obtaining a redress of every grievance, and for carrying into effect every just and salutary measure.  (Emphasis added.)

What the House is doing is entirely constitutional, and we conservatives should be doing our best to trumpet that fact.  Moreover, given the federal takeover of the Lincoln Memorial, we should remind everyone that we live in a nation guaranteed “government of the people, by the people, for the people.”  Unlike a monarchy, the federal government doesn’t own the properties it is denying us.  Instead, we own the federal government.  The government is merely a caretaker, and a pretty damn surly, ineffectual, greedy, and tyrannical one at that.

Some more things to chew on about Obamacare and governmental lawlessness

Still working my way through a backlog of legal and other writing work, so the best I can do is to give you a heads up about a few other articles I found interesting.  All of these came courtesy of Earl, and all address Obamacare.

First, Earl sent me a Reason article saying that, when Obamacare implodes, Republicans should stand ready to give the free market a chance.  I couldn’t agree more.  And the important thing to remember in that regard is that the free market hasn’t functioned in the world of medical care since the mid-1960s, when Johnson introduced Medicaid and Medicare.  Both of those entitlements swiftly perverted the market and created America’s e enormous debt burden.  Indeed, Avik Roy puts a little perspective on things by showing that Obamacare, rather than being an entirely new socialist burden, is simply the icing on the government entitlement cake.  The system was collapsing anyway and Obamacare, rather than “bending the curve,” will only hasten the system’s wholesale collapse.  This means that Leftists are on to something when they say conservatives are being unduly hysterical.  They understand that Obamacare is simply more of the same, rather than a whole new system.

My sense is that Republicans, with their usual knack for snatching defeat from the jaws of victory will be caught utterly flat-footed when the system does break under its own weight.  Rather than having a free-market plan at the ready, they will out-shriek Democrats when it comes to creating yet another government monstrosity to repair the disaster.  Rahm Emanuel may have said that one should never let a crisis go to waste, but it’s the Republicans that have put a spin on it:  never let a crisis be used to advance liberty and the free market.

Speaking of the free market, have you ever heard of Samaritan Health-Care Ministries?  It’s an absolutely fascinating group whereby its members help each other.  It’s predicated on faith, honesty, and generosity, all of which are alien to a government program, and antithetical to a society that causes Disneyland to shut down its line-skipping benefits for handicapped people,  because so many fully-abled people were cheating.  The question is whether Samaritan Health-Care Ministries can survive Obamacare?  This is because Obamacare does nothing to incentivize price cuts in the free market, and does everything to make more people dependent on having others pay their way — without any reciprocating obligations.  It’s those reciprocating obligations that are so important to gratitude, moral fiber, and honesty . . . and that are so at odds with the impersonality of government largesse and the sense that people can demand their “rights” rather than count their blessings.

I have to comment upon all of the liberals I know on Facebook who are complaining that what the House is doing is unconstitutional because “Obamacare is the law.”  They all seem terribly surprised when I point out to them gently that it’s entirely constitutional for the House to have the power of the purse.  Moreover, they are slumguzzled when I note that the Founders probably gave the House this power because it is called the “House of Representatives” for a reason.  It’s members serve for much shorter terms than Supreme Court justices (life terms), executives (minimum 4 year terms) and Senators (minimum 6 year terms).  This means that, if people are not pleased with the decisions made by those bodies that cannot easily be booted, they can make their displeasure known through the House, where new representatives can be rotated in every two years.  Additionally, unlike the other branches of government, the House of Representatives mirrors population.  This is why it’s got the power to put the brakes on schemes cooked up by members of the other branches of government who are elected or appointed in numbers unrelated to the American population, and who have job security unrelated, or less related, to their immediate conduct.

Summed up, the Founders made it very clear that, no matter the laws passed, the ultimate power lay with the body most close to the people.  After all, he who pays the piper calls the tune.

And, on a completely different topic, Qwest CEO Joseph Nacchio is out of prison.  He was sent there for engaging in unethical practices, but he said all along that he was set-up by the government.  His crime?  Refusing to allow the NSA to spy on his customers.  With Edward Snowden’s revelations about the scope of government spying, Nacchio is feeling pretty darn vindicated.  Glenn Reynolds has the perfect coda to this news blurb:  “There was a time I would have doubted that sort of claim, but not so much now.”

Interested in your opinions about the House vote defunding Obamacare

Whew!  I’ve been going straight through since 5:30 this morning, and this is my first chance to sit down and talk politics.

The big deal today as far as I can tell is that the House voted to pass a budget that funds everything but Obamacare.  I’ve already discussed the fact that I like the muscularity of this move, if only the Republicans can keep hold of the narrative.

Cowboy-Chased-By-Bull-Funny-Picture
Here’s what’s going to be interesting:  Once the bill hits the Senate, Ted Cruz and Mike Lee are going to lead the charge against it.  Their problem is that they can’t let it pass cloture.  If it does, Harry Reid can strip out the defunding Obamacare bit, and sent a “clean” budget to the Senate for a vote.

Of course, even if Harry Reid does get a “clean” budget, because it’s not harmonized with the House bill, I believe that it heads right back to the House.  Then, we begin the whole thing again.  The longer this little Congressional dance lasts, the more opportunity the media has to paint Republicans as evil obstructionists.

I was thinking about that, though.  Republicans didn’t just mysteriously appear in the House.  The People elected them.  They elected them to the House in 2010, when they clearly meant them as a brake on Obamacare, and against in 2012, when they presumably meant House Republicans to be a brake on Obama generally.

In other words, Obama is being as dishonest as always when he claims that the Republicans are being obstructionist with regard to a presidential agenda that the people want to see put into effect.  In fact, the House’s make-up, which is the clearest evidence of the people’s will in federal government, establishes conclusively that the American people were looking for obstructionism.  Some of them may like Obama as a person (although I suspect that number is dropping), but the House making is the clearest evidence possible that they disagree with his agenda.

If anyone can talk his way around the mud and other stuff the Democrats and media (but I repeat myself) are slinging, it’s Ted Cruz.  I wish him the best of luck and an extraordinary degree of verbal clarity with this one.

I know a budget isn’t a bill, but I still thought this was an enjoyable ending for this post:

House Democrats stage mass walkout before parents of Tyrone Woods and Sean Smith testify before Oversight Committee

Darryl Issa has tweeted out one of the most appalling photographs I’ve ever seen emerge from the United States House of Representatives.

Today the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee held a hearing about events in Benghazi on September 11, 2012. You remember what happened on that day, don’t you? If you don’t, I’m happy to give you the official Obama administration version:

That was the day that a Libyan movie review got a little bit out of control. Apparently Libyan fighters coincidentally affiliated with Al Qaeda took umbrage at a poorly made seven minute YouTube trailer promoting a movie that was never actually made about Muhammad’s life. Since Libya has no popcorn to throw at the screen, these same outraged movie critics inadvertently managed to overwhelm our under-guarded diplomatic mission in Benghazi, killing Ambassador Christopher Stevens (and perhaps torturing him before doing so), as well as U.S. Foreign Service Information Management Officer Sean Smith.

The same crazed movie reviewers then shifted their attack to the nearby CIA Annex where they engaged in a several-hour-long firefight with former Navy SEALS Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty. Both men died at their stations.

Meanwhile, back at home, some unknown person, but definitely not Barack Obama (even though he had sole authority to do so), told nearby troops told to stand by. Also, after a single phone call early in the attack, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was sufficiently well informed about everything to vanish from the scene entirely. (And really, what difference at that point, did it make?) As for Barack Obama, well, he really did need his beauty sleep before an upcoming Las Vegas campaign stop.

The administration later assured us that, despite a slew of increasingly desperate emails from Ambassador Stevens about security concerns, then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had absolutely no idea whatsoever that an American embassy outpost in a war-torn land riddled with al Qaeda operatives might need more than a couple of local guards at the front door. That’s why the Marines weren’t there to fire any of those “shots across the bow” that Obama suddenly loves so much.

In sum, the incompetence of a Democrat administration left a U.S. outpost vulnerable to a terrorist attack; that same Democrat administration could not be bothered to rouse itself to protect Americans fighting for their lives in a tiny outpost of America on foreign soil; and the Democrat administration then tried to cover-up its gross dereliction of duty by lying consistently in the days and weeks following the attack. Other than that, of course, the Democrats have nothing to be ashamed of when it comes to events in Benghazi.

The Democrats’ sordid Benghazi history may explain a shocking tweet that Rep. Darryl Issa sent out two hours ago right before Patricia Smith, who is Sean Smith’s mother, and Charles Woods, who is Tyrone Woods’ father, were to have testified about their sons’ lives and deaths:

Townhall explains what you’re looking at:

The far side of the room, shown empty in the photo, belongs to the Democrats. The only Democrats who stayed were Ranking Member Elijah Cummings and Rep. Jackie Speier.

Absent further information about this mass retreat, it appears that the Democrats, having presided over these men’s deaths, do not have the decency to look their survivors in the face, if only to apologize.

(Cross-posted at Gateway Pundit, where I’m helping out as Jim Hoft recovers from a very scary month, health-wise.)

Ted Cruz understands how to spin a possible government shut down

I have to admit that, with all the ferocity that an anonymous armchair warrior can muster, I like the idea of a House budget defunding ObamaCare while keeping everything else in the government funded.  The Senate, of course, won’t go along with that, and then there’ll be a stalemate.  The easy money is that the House Republicans will blink before the Democrat Senators do.  But if House Republicans don’t blink, then Obama has promised to veto any spending bill defunding ObamaCare, effectively “shutting down” the government.  (It won’t really be shut down, of course.  Essential things will continue to operate, but inessential things will stop.)

Conservatives who oppose the defunding tactic have two concerns:  (a) that the economy will collapse; and (b) that the Republicans will take the blame.

Regarding (a), that was the same concerned voiced about the sequester.  For the most part, Americans didn’t even notice — although I am desperately sorry that the Blue Angels no longer fly and that Fleet Week has been canceled.  For many years, thanks to the Navy League, an organization I cannot recommend highly enough, Fleet Week has been my favorite time of the year.  I know that our military got screwed when it came to pay raises, and I’m also very sorry about that, but at least a “shut down” this time around won’t shut down the military.  It’s also entirely possible that, if the government shuts down, Americans may discover that those who have been saying that we don’t need bloated government were right all along.  (Or of course, we may find that we were wrong all along!)

As for (b), yes, the media will spin any shut down so that Republicans take all the blame if it goes badly.  That’s why Republicans need to strike preemptively.  Ted Cruz, smart lawyer that he is, figured out that Republican spin has to start early and go out often.  I like this:

What do you think?  Is the Tea Party crowd riding for a disastrous fall if it pushes the House to defund ObamaCare?  Or is this the kind of action that Republicans need to take if they actually want to distinguish themselves from Progressives?

One could argue that, now that ObamaCare has Supreme Court clearance, the law is the law, and the House must fund it.  But the constitutionally granted power of the purse is always going to trump everything else.  In addition, while the law may be the law, ObamaCare was passed using chicanery of the worst kind, meaning that it was corrupted from the beginning.  Add to that the fact that the majority of Americans have consistently opposed it, and the House’s refusal to fund it really can be see as vox populi.

Keith Koffler offers an absolutely scathing indictment about Congress’s silence regarding Syria

Keith Koffler has been around Washington, D.C., for a very long time, and he has a theory about Congress’s remarkable silence regarding both events in Syria and Obama’s huffery and puffery regarding events in Syria.  Let me just say that his theory is not pretty.  Indeed, it’s disgusting, and embarrassing, and really supports what many feel which is that, when it comes to Congress, we should dump anyone who’s been there more than one term in the Senate and more than two terms in the House.

Trey Gowdy promises not to let Lucy Democrats hold the football

In my earlier post today, I said that, in the wake of the lies the Gang of Eight told, followed by the Senate’s passage of a 1,200 page immigration bill that will go a long way to destroying the American working class, the Republicans have tearfully promised never to be fooled again.  I doubt that promise.  I likened them to the Charlie Brown scenario where he always believes that, this time, Lucy won’t pull the football.  Having said that, I see that Trey Gowdy, a smart R from South Carolina, isn’t fooled.  Maybe he can educate his fellow Rs. Plus, I like his sarcasm:

And a short anecdote regarding Gowdy’s monicker of “Trey.” When I arrived in Texas, I was overwhelmed by the number of guys I met who were named Trey. What an unusual name, I said. I’ve never heard it outside the South. My friends had a good laugh at my expense when they explained that Trey was a nickname for a guy who boasted the number III after his name (as in, he shared his name with both his grandfather and his father).

The media’s approach to Rand Paul’s filibuster: pretend it never happened *UPDATED*

Yesterday, Rand Paul embarked upon a nearly 12-hour-long standing filibuster.  The filibuster’s ostensible purpose and practical effect was to delay a vote on John Brennan’s nomination to head the CIA.  It’s real purpose, though, was to force Attorney General Eric Holder to answer a straightforward question:  “Does the President have the authority to use a weaponized drone to kill an American not engaged in combat on American soil?”

Paul posed this question because, on Monday, in a letter responding to questions Paul had about the drone program on American soil, Eric Holder had written that the President could order a drone strike on American citizens in America, if there was a 9/11 situation.  Thus, Holder confined his answer to the President’s power in the event of actual combat on American soil.  Eric refused to respond to Paul’s follow-up question about a non-combat scenario.

So Paul filibustered, and filibustered, and filibustered.

During his epic speech, in the course of which he even quoted Alice in Wonderland, Paul came up with some liberty-oriented bon mots that will forever enter the conservative playbook:

“They shouldn’t just drop a Hellfire missile on your cafe experience.”

“If you give up your rights now, don’t expect to get them back.”

[A hypothetical question to President Obama:]  “So you can murder anyone you want, anywhere, any time?”

Paul not only managed to derail the scheduled vote for John Brennan, he forced Eric Holder to answer his question.  Today, Eric Holder issued what is probably the world’s shortest letter ever written by a lawyer:

Rand Paul won -- Holder gave him his answer

During his filibuster odyssey, Paul demonstrated that he is a lucid speaker, who still managed to make sense after almost twelve hours on his feet.  No wonder the Young Gun Republicans in the Senate soon rallied to his cause.  (And no wonder the Old Gun Republicans went off to enjoy an expensive dinner with Barack Obama.)

In one staggering feat, Rand Paul demonstrated he is contender material for the 2016 presidential election.  Those who have been paying attention know that he has been angling in that direction for some months now, both by speaking up for Tea Party interests and by trying to convince both conservative and Progressive Jews alike that he does not share the disdain his father, Ron Paul, seems to feel for Israel.

These plays, however, were inside baseball stuff, with only political junkies paying attention to Paul’s Tea Party and Jewish outreach.  The general public, including the conservative-leaning general public, was not paying much attention.

That all changed yesterday, with Paul’s filibuster.  He really did channel Jimmy Stewart, in Mr. Smith Goes To Washington:  He was boyish look, deeply committed to the cause of truth and liberty, and still making sense after hours of talking.  Moreover, unlike Stewart, who was merely acting, Paul was really doing this.  The conservative side of the internet went wild.  This was Paul’s moment.  This was when he catapulted himself into being a national player.  Now the world — or, if not the world, America — will know that there is someone with political substance aiming to challenge Hillary’s almost inevitable 2016 run.

Except that’s not what happened.

Instead, of reporting honestly about one man’s impressive performance in the United States Senate, the mainstream, drive-by media did what it does best:  it pretended Paul’s epic filibuster never happened.  In some of the nation’s main newspapers, his dramatic stand for individual liberty didn’t even make the front page or, if it did, it was buried within another story about Senate business or was the subject of an attack about his being a dangerous loose cannon.

I hereby give you exhibits A, B, C, and D.  The print is small in all of these front page captures, but it’s still large enough for you to see what’s missing — any mention, especially approving mention, of Paul’s epic stand:

New York Times buries Rand Paul filibuster
Washington Post buries Rand Paul filibuster
Los Angeles Times buries Rand Paul filibuster
San Francisco Chronicle buries Rand Paul filibuster

The above front pages from some of the dominant newspapers in America provide a textbook example of mainstream media control over political dialogue in America. The media’s playbook is simple: For Democrats, elevate good stories and bury bad ones. For Republicans, elevate bad stories and bury good ones.

Because the drive-by media is no longer interested in reporting news, but only cares about obtaining outcomes, it is up to us — the Citizen Information Army, a CIA we hope John Brennan will never control — to offset the media hegemony.  We do this by elevating good stories about the Republicans and reporting on bad stories about the Democrats. We have our orders now. Let’s march!

UPDATE:  Don Quixote, who’s more aware of television than I am, told me that the Today Show this morning did do a fairly superficial segment on the filibuster.  Let’s hope it was better than CNN’s coverage.  Ed Driscoll caught the fact that, while CNN did provide some reporting the filibuster, including commentary from Reason’s Mike Rig, it still let its bias shine through.  Check out the chyron CNN applied to the tape of Paul talking:

Media Bias

Although subtle, Ed notes that these things matter: “[T]he Chyron is likely the only thing the now-proverbial low-information voter will take from Paul’s historic filibuster.”

Tipping point idea: Put a sunset provision on all federal laws

(To win over the electorate, conservatives have to be seen as a party with fresh ideas that benefit all Americans. This is the first in a series of Tipping Point posts, promoting ideas that will appeal to all voters, while becoming signature initiatives for conservatives and Republicans.)

United States Code

Did you know that the Code of Law of the United States (USC), which contains all the operative federal laws affecting your life is around 200,000 pages long and that, if one doesn’t count case annotations, it takes up about 6 feet of shelf space?  And did you know that the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), which contains all the rules that agencies have enacted in order to apply thid federal law, occupies four times as much shelf space as the USC itself.  In other words, in the absence of a page count, one can be reasonably sure that the CFR far exceeds 800,000 pages.

Code of Federal Regulations

America’s common law has always held that “ignorance of the law is not excuse.”  That’s all well and good, but do you actually know your federal law?  I didn’t think so and, in all seriousness, nobody else does either.  We all know the big laws — don’t murder people, don’t cheat on your taxes, don’t download music without permission — but the devil for everyone is in the details.  The result is that citizens who believe they are law-abiding, may suddenly find themselves on the receiving end of a federal investigation.

The previous sentence implies that federal employees do know all this law.  They don’t.  They are reasonably conversant with the law in their area of expertise, and therefore do have that advantage over the ordinary citizen who cannot hire 24/7 legal counsel.  Otherwise, no, they don’t know it any better than you do.

What actually happens at the federal level is that a person or business comes to the government’s attention because of citizen complaints, political vendettas, or because the person or business is engaging in a specifically identifiable, but hard-to-prosecute illegal activity.  When that happens, the government looks at the person’s or business’s activities and then, through legal research, tries to see if those activities match anything prohibited under the federal laws and rules.

Al Capone at Alcatraz

Sometimes, this random approach to federal law is a good thing.  For example, back in the 1920s everyone knew that Al Capone was a mobster responsible for all manner of crimes.  The problem was that he was too wily for law enforcement, and they could never make any charges stick.  Some bright person in the federal government suddenly realized that, if the mountain won’t come to Mohamed, Mohamed must go to the mountain — and to that end, rather than trying to mesh Capone’s violent and offensive actions with some criminal law, decided to bring the tax code to Capone.

Capone was duly prosecuted for tax violations, and went to Alcatraz for seven years.  Although this wasn’t a long sentence, considering his terrible crimes, it was long enough that, by the time he came out, his rivals had taken over his criminal syndicate, leaving him with nothing but mental decline from the syphilis he acquired during his glory days.

Certainly we can celebrate laws that bring dangerous criminals to heel.  As often as not, though, the labyrinth of federal laws operates, not to haul in wily criminals but, instead, to trap the unwary.

Buried in paperwork

In addition to keeping a sword of Damocles over every citizen’s head, the plethora of unknown and unknowable federal laws has two profound effects on American society as a whole:  The first effect is that American’s are unable to rely on their legal system when they conduct their every-day activities.  The law, instead of being a reliable framework that allows people to plan for a stable, legal, and profitable future, instead becomes an arbitrary and capricious force, stifling economic activity.

If it will cost me hundreds of thousands of dollars to assemble the legislative information necessary to start a new business that won’t potentially land me in jail, I might decide that no business is worth that kind of start-up cost.  Nor is starting up a new business worth the risk that if, despite knowing the the laws that affect my business, I can still be undone by other areas of legislation and regulation that seem to touch upon my activities only marginally.

Struggling with paperwork

The second effect of laws and regulations that run into the millions of pages is that people lose their respect for the law.  Law should be seen as both the infrastructure for a stable, civil society and the lubricant that enables people to rub along next to each other without resorting to violence.  These basic functions only work, however, if people are capable of knowing the law.

What has happened in America, though, is that federal law has become an impenetrable maze that allows loopholes by the thousand for those rich enough or well-connected enough to exploit all those openings.  At the same time, federal law has becoming a meaningless background buzz for the ordinary citizen, who suddenly becomes aware of it only if he or she is unlucky enough to get trapped by one of its random, unknowable prohibitions or mandates.

What’s really tragic is that so many of these laws and regulations are useless or outdated.  To the extent that they have no current purpose, they exist only as traps for the unwary.  Until the trap is sprung, no one cares about these superfluous laws and rules and, if the trap springs in the government’s favor, the government has no incentive to purge them from the books.

Presidential candidates periodically announce that they’re going to trim back the CFR (I recall Al Gore getting this task in the 1990s), but it’s a boring job, so it never comes to anything — and meanwhile, Congress just keeps passing more and more laws, and the agencies enact more and more regulations.

Sunset

That’s where the idea of a Constitutional Amendment inserting a sunset provision in all federal laws (and their accompanying regulations) comes into play.  The Sunset Amendment would mandate that all federal law and their accompanying regulations automatically expire twenty years (or some other set time) after they go into effect.  The only way to preserve the laws and regulations would be for Congress to act affirmatively to vote on each law and reinstate it before it expires.

Three things should happen:  First, legislators will think twice about enacting laws that they’ll have to review again (and fight about again) in twenty years time.  Second, legislators will take more care writing the laws, since they and their aides will be tasked with wading through them and learning about their effects, along with working on current matters.  (Imagine if a Sunset Amendment had been in place when Obama’s Congress enacted all 2000+ pages of ObamaCare.)  Third, rather than undertaking the tedious work of reviewing patently irrelevant, obsolete, or failed laws, Congress will simply allow them to lapse without any discussion.

Of course, a Sunset Amendment would have to include a clause dealing with those laws and rules that are already on the books.  A practical approach would be to require that a specific number or percentage of laws and regulations would have to be reviewed and, if necessary, re-voted every year after the Amendment’s passage, for a set number of years, until each existing law and regulation has been voted upon or been allowed to expire.

Although cleaning up Federal laws and regulations is an issue that all Americans should embrace, and a burden that legislators should willingly shoulder as part of their job (not to mention a reasonable amount of work considering their salaries and pensions), it especially behooves Republicans and other conservatives to push for a Sunset Amendment.  The whole notion of “smaller government” makes sense only if we clean up old laws, in addition to enacting fewer, and less onerous new laws — and then we make sure that the law books don’t get cluttered up all over again.

If you think this is a good “sticky” issue to help Americans reach a tipping point that turns them towards smaller government, please take this idea and run with it:  talk about it on Facebook or Twitter; post it at your blogs (feel free to reprint this whole post, although I’d appreciate attribution); contact your Senators or Congressman; and bandy it about at the water cooler.  Good ideas make a difference only if people spread them around and then act upon them.

(Thanks again to Mike Devx for coming up with this good idea.)

 

Elizabeth Warren continues to be inarticulate and mentally muddled

Elizabeth Warren

From the first day Sen. Elizabeth Warren showed up on the national political scene, I’ve reminisced about what a dreadful teacher she was.  In post after post, I’ve noted that, while she was very nice (she is a nice lady in a one-on-one), she was totally incoherent as a teacher.  She never could seem to finish a thought before bouncing on to the next, apparently random, thought that popped up in her brain.  Sometimes she didn’t even bother finishing sentences.

She hasn’t gotten any better with time:

New senator Elizabeth Warren was asked by a Boston reporter the other day, “when you mention ‘middle class,’ what numbers are we talking about, in terms of income level?” The next Senate supposed financial-industry wonk first asserted, “It’s not a numbers issue. I know you’d expect a very wonky answer for me, you know, about the percentiles.”

[snip]

The reporter then pointed out to Warren that, when it comes to bills like the legislation surrounding the fiscal cliff, defining the middle class does indeed involve numbers — how, exactly, did the president just supposedly shield middle-class Americans from tax increases if it is not possible to say, on the basis of income levels or percentiles, whom that group includes?

Warren then goes off on a completely unrelated tangent, saying, “When we strengthen education, when we make it possible for kids to go to college, then we strengthen America’s middle class, and that doesn’t need a dollar figure.” This is a problematic statement: If we offer more subsidies to all Americans of any income level who’d like to attend college, and to the colleges themselves (as Warren would surely like, rather than means-testing college loans and savings programs or spending less on university compensation), then that is actually unlikely to “strengthen America’s middle class” — the benefits will accrue mostly to the upper-income Americans who already win most of the slots to America’s pricey private universities and flagship state schools, and to the upper-middle-class Americans who staff them, ossifying, not eroding, America’s inequality.

Pure Warren:  superficial, muddled, obfuscatory, and tangential.  That she’s considered a shining star in the Democrat firmament is scary and depressing.