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The Coming Realignment, Part 2

October 19, 2017

We struggle to find adjectives to explain the 2016 Presidential election, but “watershed” comes to mind.  A “watershed” is “a crucial dividing point,” according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary that has been operating since 1828.

That election split the Republican Party into two parts, the Establishment branch and a Nationalist branch. At the time, I suggested that we now faced a realignment of our two Party system. What is involved in that?

The GOP Establishment can be described as “internationalist” in foreign policy, pro-business defined as “big” or corporate business, and “Liberal” in political philosophy. There are no “Tea Party” leaders in the GOP Establishment and none that is inspired by social or religious concerns.

A “Nationalist” faction, guided by a media entrepreneur, Steve Bannon, and led by a real estate investor from New York, Donald Trump, secured the GOP nomination for President of the United states and against all odds defeated the Democrat candidate, Hillary Clinton.

One of my colleagues describes this as a “rescue” of the conservative movement from its capture by the Establishment. That claim requires a bit of explaining since the modern conservative movement reveals three historical moments: the revolt of Western states against the Eastern Establishment in 1964, Ronald Reagan’s successful struggle to become President in the 1980 election, and the 1994 takeover of the U.S. House of Representatives led by Georgia Congressman, Newt Gingrich.

That was the political side of the conservative “movement.”  But movements are Leftist events driven by ideology or political religion and what occurred in 1964, 1980 and 1994 was not a movement. It was a gathering up of a community of political, economic and social “conservatives” who believed that it was now time to put America first.

The history of that uprising has been recorded by Dr. Lee Edwards in A Brief History of the Modern American Conservative Movement published by the Heritage Foundation in 2004. There are some great names in that history including Calvin Coolidge, Westbrook Pegler, Bob Taft, Bill Buckley, Friedrich Hayek, Whitaker Chambers, Barry Goldwater, Richard Weaver, Russell Kirk and Ronald Reagan.

The names of George Herbert Walker Bush and George W. Bush are not included in that history and the reason we face a realignment of the American political party system today is because Reagan’s successors were not political conservatives and because President George W. Bush destroyed the Republican “brand.”

That permitted a committed revolutionary socialist, Barack Obama, to secure election as President of the United States, not once, but twice, and gave Donald Trump the opportunity to step in and engage in a hostile takeover of the GOP.

Against Trump stands most of corporate America, all print and electronic media, organized religion, and the American system of higher education.

Since the French revolution when a revolutionary ideology that Alexis de Tocqueville called “esprit revolutionnaire” destroyed the ancient regime in France and attempted to control not only Western Europe, but the entire world, politics in the West is a confrontation between revolutionary ideology and traditional order.

What Donald Trump demonstrated in 2016 is that there is still an order, traditional in nature, rooted in love of country and its institutions, particularly the Constitution of the United States. Remnants of the historical conservative “movement” can be found in every state in the Union, and in voluntary organizations that heal the sick, feed the poor, and instruct the young. A vast “citizens” media has arisen to combat the Left including Talk Radio, print journalism and electronic, Web-based media. An Australian, Rupert Murdoch introduced advocacy journalism and created Fox News, and a handful of conservative and Christian leaders have attempted to establish a presence in higher education to counter the Left University that dominates  higher education. Jerry Falwell (Liberty University), Pat Robertson (Regent University), the Presbyterian Grove City College, the conservative Hillsdale College and the Catholic Thomas Aquinas College are just a few of dozens of colleges and universities fighting the Left’s control of the minds of college youth. Others have succeeded in establishing Charter Schools and advocating the use of “vouchers” that enable children of every social class to escape the American system of public schools.

My friend asks, “Can Bannon and Trump transform the GOP so it can keep its congressional majorities in 2018 and the White House in 2020?” Much will depend on what exactly Donald Trump believes and what motivates Steve Bannon. Those are open questions. Trump is not a political conservative nor is Steve Bannon, but they are better than anything the Left has to offer.

What enabled Donald Trump to be elected in 2016 will not decide the outcome of the 2020 Presidential election. And whether he will be challenged by indictments for illegal activities during and immediately after the 2016 election is an important, unanswered, question. But, it seems clear, if there is still a conservative movement that believes in traditional order, its leaders must organize themselves beyond the Freedom Caucus of the U.S. House of Representatives. My suggestion is and has been formation of a national Conservative Party.

 

 

Kim Jong Un’s Swiss Prep School

October 9, 2017

The Communist leader of North Korea went to a Swiss preparatory school. Here’s that school’s “Mission Statement.”

                  Mission Statement Liebefeld Steinhölzli
The company school The school Liebefeld Steinhölzli as a company. This is a basic idea of ​​our new mission statement. As in every company, the production factors form the basis for the processes and thus for the products offered. A special feature of the “company” school is that the students on the one hand are the customers, but on the other hand also belong to the production factors, which can have a significant influence on the processes and products.
layout Production factors and processes of the company’s school are presented without claiming completeness, in the left and middle column. The products are listed on the right.
basic principle “We produce quality” is the guiding principle, a concentration of our considerations and our ultimate goal. Of course, this claim applies to our products. It also means that we work on the production factors or the processes to influence the quality of our products.
Dealing with the mission statement The guiding principle enables us to orient ourselves at all times and to achieve a balanced quality development. Our strengths and weaknesses can be analyzed and networked. Goals can be derived from this.
implementation Our mission statement is to be understood dynamically and remains open for change. A claim, which we also as a school to us. We are convinced that we will come closer to implementing the vision of our vision of being a good school.

 

 

The 2nd Amendment and Vegas

October 5, 2017

Writing the majority opinion in District of Columbia vs. Heller (2008), Mr. Justice Scalia affirmed the “right of the people” to keep and bear arms. That right was not limited to participation in state militias, the Court ruled. That opinion, like all those written by Mr. Justice Scalia, interprets the original intent of the Founders, an approach used to limit the powers of the national government.

Why, here, did the most conservative Justice on the Court expand the Second Amendment by restricting any limitation of the right of the people?

In terms of public policy, the idea that anyone has a Constitutional right to own a firearm unrestricted by the town, municipality or state in which he resides, makes it difficult to control possession of most weapons.

Yet, since the national government is now perceived by a majority of Americans as a threat to freedom, enthusiasm for firearms has a political purpose: to defend us against the state when it morphs into an authoritarian regime.

Certainly, since Lyndon Johnson, Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, the national government has become more intrusive in American life and has given few signs of respecting any limits–except for the Bill of Rights.

Americans took notice when Bill Clinton sent federal troops to capture a Cuban national, Elián González, and force his return to Castro’s Cuba. If the state can do that to a child, what about we the people?

All the same, Sunday’s massacre of 58 Americans at a music festival in Las Vegas reveals the open wounds that possession of weapons can cause. One deranged and spiritually diseased man does not signify that there are ten thousand equally evil men in America.

But, just one is surely enough.

Deep Doo-doo at “State, Pt. 2

October 4, 2017

This morning, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told the President that he had no intention of resigning. President Trump will have to fire him.

As we saw with respect to U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services, Tom Price, the President forced Secretary Price to resign.

The Trump Administration has been disorganized from the start and deformed by the President’s lack of knowledge of government and his belief that he can run the U.S. government like his family business. That makes it unlikely that he will ask for Tillerson’s resignation.

The President and Ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, will have to live with Tillerson.

The danger in all this is, of course, that the President thinks that he can make deals with foreign governments or dispatch his son-in-law and daughter to represent him when he is otherwise preoccupied. Otherwise, the Administration runs on autopilot.

Unfortunately, what the President believes is his ability to make deals is actually openness to opportunities that would have been ignored, if he was guided by long-term planning, delegation of responsibility to professionals, or, quite simply, focused.

An un-focused real estate tycoon can be driven through a community and see opportunity that others overlook. And he can act impulsively. After all, it’s only money.

But American government involves the lives, security and safety of more than three hundred million Americans. A rash statement, military maneuvers that surprise our adversaries, or lack of intelligence and advice from seasoned and loyal political appointees, hampers the Trump Administration and puts us all at risk.

Tillerson is wagering that he will not be fired and that his situation will improve after the poop now hitting the State Department is flung at Paul Manafort, Gen. Mike Flynn, Jared Kushner and Donald Trump, Jr.

Deep Doo-doo at “State”

October 4, 2017

NBC News reports that, this summer, U.S. Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, was near resigning.

And well he might.

Tillerson was ill-prepared to shepherd U.S. diplomacy in any U.S. Administration and especially in an Administration in which he had no previous relationship with Donald Trump.

Moreover, it was clear from the very start of the Trump Administration that former South Carolina governor, now UN Ambassador Nikki Haley, had assumed a vocal role in uttering what seemed to be foreign policy positions.  U.S. Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, over his head in his role as Secretary of State, was placed into situations with foreign leaders without any institutional support nor even one policy guru in his entourage.

President Trump’s recent rebuke of Tillerson’s opening back channel talks with North Korea is probably the last straw and Tillerson will retire to private life upon his return from the People’s Republic of China where he is organizing President Trump’s visit.

Tillerson’s short tenure as U.S. Secretary of State was to be expected and should not surprise any close observer of the Washington scene.

What may surprise us, however, are indictments by Special Counsel, Robert Mueller, of Paul Manafort, Gen. Mike Flynn, Jared Kushner and Donald Trump, Jr. that will carefully suggest that candidate Donald Trump was also involved in improper negotiations with Russia during the Presidential campaign.

One sign that something like that is possible was the Vice President’s “tweet” offering condolences to the families of the dead and survivors of the Las Vegas attack.

The President’s tweet was sufficient and Vice President Pence’s tweet upstaged the President.

Why would a seasoned politician like Mike Pence do something like that?

Was he not in contact with his senior staff who rushed to issue a well-crafted tweet?

My best guess is that Vice President Pence knew full well what his staff was doing, and knows how damaging Mueller’s findings will be and that very soon he may become Donald Trump’s successor. Lurking in everyone’s mind is suspicion that the President foolishly compromised himself during his Moscow “Miss Universe” pageant or that his company was, and is currently, heavily involved in real estate transactions in Russia.

There are indications that U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis and Chief of Staff John F. Kelly believe that the President is unstable, ignorant of how governments are administered, and too willing to risk going to war. Though both may feel that the Iran Agreement was a mistake, abandoning that Agreement now when the President of the United States is Donald Trump is not good policy.

U.N. Secretary Nikki Haley, a former state legislator and Governor of South Carolina, will succeed Rex Tillerson and peace will come to the President’s family run business–at least for awhile.

Bring Back the Duel

October 1, 2017

Former Cong. Tom Price resigned his appointment as Secretary of Health and Human Services because it was discovered that he abused his office by travelling on charter and military aircraft to the tune of about one million dollars.

These acts were contrary to his reputation as a fiscal conservative, so we must conclude that he was a liar.

Historically, when a public figure was called a liar, he could seek satisfaction by demanding a duel with the offending party.

That there are a great many liars in Congress may explain the election of a celebrity like Donald Trump. So many candidates for the GOP presidential nomination were liars that voters chose a non-politician.

Clearly, the Congress of the United States is due for a good house-cleaning and legalization of the duel is one solution.

If called a “liar,” a member of Congress should be permitted to seek satisfaction by challenging his accuser to a duel.

Rules will have to be established, of course. Calling a politician an adulterer, fornicator or homosexual would put too many Members at risk. Only crimes related to public service may be grounds for duels. Wives of Members should be permitted to challenge their husbands to a duel. That will lower drinking and opioid abuse by spouses. A clean kill is a healthier option.

Nor may a Member challenge a Cabinet or Agency head to a duel–until he or she resigns. And, of course, no one may challenge a sitting President to a duel. Vice Presidents not included.

A school for dueling should be chartered so that Members may practice dueling skills and types of arms should be limited to .38 caliber revolvers, though the Colt .45 may have historic value and possibly pocket pistols like the Derringer. But, this will have to be sorted out by Committee, possibly Ways and Means or Armed Services, but not the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

 

Congress is Not the Solution

September 29, 2017

President Trump’s Cabinet consists of nineteen appointees, each requiring Senate confirmation. Five are former members of Congress. If it is recognized that “Congress is the problem, not the solution,” why so many members of Congress in the Cabinet?

Mike Pompeo, Rep. Kansas, CIA.  Our intelligence agencies operate as exclusive clubs that are dominated by “professional” civil servants. They know, as one CIA executive told me, “how to take care of guys like that.” In other words, what skills–particularly survival skills–does Mike Pompeo bring to the CIA’s shark tank? A more effective appointee might be someone who served at CIA and was fired, or voluntarily left in response to the stupid ways of the CIA’s “professionals.”

Mick Mulvaney, Rep. South Carolina, OMB.  Mulvaney is an interesting appointment because of his fiscal conservatism. But, there is little evidence that he brought his principles to his appointment at OMB.

Ryan Zinke, Rep. Montana, Interior Department.  A hunter and woodsman, Zinke is another former military officer in an Administration top-heavy with former Generals. So much money passes through Interior and GSA that a better pick might be someone in finance and law enforcement.

Tom Price, Rep. Georgia, HHS.  What did former Cong. Price learn about government service when he served in the House? Whatever it was had nothing to do with how a Cabinet officer should follow government regulations.

Jeff Sessions, Sen. Alabama, Attorney General.  Sessions was the first Senator to support Donald Trump and earned this appointment.