Again, political violence from the Left.

Progressive HateOn Wednesday occurred a tragic shooting of Steve Scalise (R) LA, and three others by progressive activist and Bernie Sanders supporter, James T. Hodgkinson, who opened fire on a group of Republican lawmakers practicing for a baseball game to be played today.  It was yet another violent incident perpetrated by a member of the far-left.

In the name of their cause, which has apparently degenerated into blind hatred of President Trump and by extension all Republicans, they have committed many acts of violence from hitting a Trump supporter on the head with a bike lock, to politically motivated riots on college campuses intended to shut down the free speech of conservatives, most notably an incident at UC Berkeley that prevented outspoken Milo Yiannopoulos from a scheduled speech at that campus.

Trump was not particularly beloved at first even among Republicans, who fought bitter primary campaigns against him during last year’s presidential election season.  Conservatives for their part have long since made peace with the fact that he is our President and have showed support where they agree, but have also pointed out where they disagree on many occasions.  For the most part, they are prepared to coexist with Trump nation.

This hasn’t been the case of the anti-Trump legions on the left. Far from coexisting with him and his fellow Republicans, they have deemed themselves a sort of resistance, fighting, all to often violently, against anything Trump has attempted.  They have called for his opposition, his impeachment, his imprisonment, and his death and the death of other Republicans, both implicitly and at times explicitly. The anti-Trump movement on the left has a particularly vicious streak.  So called “comedian” Kathy Griffin recently released a photo of her holding up a bloody, fake severed head of the President.  Even William Shakespeare has been co opted by the the malevolent Left, with a recent live performance casting a Trump doppelganger in the role of a modern-day Julius Caesar, who at the climax of the play is brutally murdered by former supporters to the cheers of the NYC crowd.  If you’re at all in touch with conservative politics, you know the list goes on and on.  That’s just the problem.

While yes, there have been isolated incidents of violence committed by those on the right, but those sorry displays of misguided fervor pale in comparison both in scope and intensity to those committed by the alt-left.  While those acts of violence are both uncommon and roundly condemned by vast majority of conservatives, violent rhetoric and actions have the tacit and not so tacit support of progressives. Malice towards Republicans, especially Trump, is widely and actively expressed by the left, among them was James T. Hodgkinson, who attempted the mass assassination of Republican lawmakers.  It was the evil act of an evil man who pursued to the end an evil, malevolent path of hate.  It’s a path shared by all too many progressives.  While they might not travel it to the farthest destination that Hodgkinson did, they are firmly on it.  If they have a shred of decency and civility, they should abandon that path. They can still protest, advocate, speak all they want against Trump or any politician, but if they want to call themselves civilized human beings they will let go of their hate.  In short, they need to decide what kind of movement they want progressivism to become; one of malevolence, intolerance and hatred, or one of peace, real progress, and coexistence with those who might disagree with them politically.

Trump’s first 100 days evaluation: Good, with some improvement needed.

trump-1st-100-daysAs past presidents have shown, a president’s term can’t be judged by their first one hundred days, Kennedy had a terrible first hundred days, Carter was highly successful at doing the wrong things during that period.  That having been said, it is a good mile marker, an opportunity for course evaluation and correction.  I give President Trump a “B” for his first 100 days. He’s done as well as can be expected for someone with no previous political experience. He’s maxed-out on what a President alone can do in that period. He’s started to dismantle the regulatory state, and has exceeded expectations in the area of foreign policy.  American is back in the business of leading. His administration stumbled a bit on the initial travel ban rollout. He has yet to make any major economic policy.  He (luckily) has not had to deal with any world crisis of the 9/11 or Cuban Missile Crisis magnitude so those remain ungraded.

He has definite room for improvement though. He’s learned the hard way that the Courts are against him, but that is a fixable problem over the long-term. He’d have done better if certain Federal courts actually followed the Constitution. He made a good start with the appointment of Gorsuch to SCOTUS. Where he’s fallen short is when he’s needed the cooperation of Congress. Not getting the healthcare bill on the first try has exposed a need to add dealing with Capitol Hill to his skill set. Like it or not, he’s a politician now and needs to learn how to herd cats. There are also those things that one can only learn by being President, so far at least he’s shown an openness to growing with the job, which is good because the job’s only going to get tougher from here.

Trump has met expectations in some areas, and exceeded them in others, but he’s gone as far as his business skills alone will take him.  He needs to learn how Washington works– not how it should work, but how it really works. He has considerable negotiation skills as we all knew, but now he’s going to have to apply them to a whole new realm of problems and situations that just never occur in the boardroom.  The seeds he sows now with regards to economic policy will take some time to bear fruit, if at all.  It’s too early to judge on that front.  Thankfully, he’s not had to deal with a world-class crisis, although ISIS and North Korea are working hard to provide him with one.  He’s done okay so far but his hardest days are ahead of him.  He’s going to have to continue to grow as a President and he’s not likely to be afforded much time to learn on the job.  On top of that he has many adversaries within the beltway and the media looking to trip him up at every turn, not for the sake of America, but for the sake of damaging his presidency.  That’s not fair, but that’s the reality he faces.  He can and needs to do better despite all that is against him.

Quick Thoughts 7/11/16

Eagle Union Hillary Tesimony

  • If you chant “No justice no peace!” and that’s exactly what you get– no justice, no peace, don’t be surprised.
  • Speaking of “No justice no peace!”, the ‘no peace’ aspect in several instances now has meant the murder of cops.  Do the people shouting this slogan have any idea what they’re chanting?
  • To his credit, President Obama condemned the despicable shooting of Dallas police officers during his visit to Poland last week. It wasn’t with quite the passion and anger he reserves for condemning Republicans especially while overseas, but was appreciated.
  • According to FBI Director James Comey,  Hillary Clinton was “extremely careless” in dealing with our state secrets.  Is that anything like ‘extreme negligence’?
  • Also according to FBI Director James Comey, the FBI didn’t use Hillary’s testimony before Congress in their investigation.  Too bad, they might have spotted a few untruths in her testimony.  Silly Congress, assuming a ‘through investigation’ meant looking for discrepancies between statements made under oath to them and statements made to the FBI, especially since any discrepancy would logically entail a crime.
  • Hillary famously testified for eleven hours before Congress regarding Benghazi and her emails.  If you can’t find at least one false statement after eleven hours of a Clinton testifying under oath, you’re really not trying.

Anti gun lobby relies once more on ignorance of the Constitution

After the tragic shooting in Orlando, the issue of gun control has come to the fore of American politics.  Unfortunately, one popular solution is the proposed ‘no fly, no buy’ law whereby if you can’t fly due to the fact you’re on the government’s no fly list, you would not be able to purchase a firearm.  It sounds completely rational, it even has some Republican support.  The problem is, many of the people on the no fly or terrorist watch lists are not terrorists.  If the gun control lobby were to have their way, anyone on that list would have to prove their innocence before they could be taken off the list and purchase a gun.  There’s just one problem with that plan, it’s called the fifth amendment.

Congressman Trey Gowdy, (R, SC) more than aptly defined the problem with ‘no fly, no buy’ during Congressional hearings last year on Capitol Hill when he took DHS official Kelli Ann Burriesci to school on the topic of due process. You cannot deprive a citizen of their rights without a fair hearing.   Here apparent ignorance regarding the idea of due process unfortunately is representative of that of the general populace. The anti-gun Left counts on this ignorance to get measures like the proposed gun legislation though.  The average person on the street knows no more about civics that the hapless DHS official in that hearing.

The problem still remains:  How do you keep guns out of the hands of would-be terrorists?  If there is an active FBI investigation, and the subject attempts to buy a gun and is denied because he or she is flagged, does that not alert the subject to the fact they are being investigated?  What if the person is innocent?  Would they have to prove their innocence in order to regain their second amendment rights?  That’s not how our system works.  In out system, you are innocent until proven guilty.

One way, aside from rescinding the fifth and or second amendments, would be to insist that the government either bring charges, or close the case any individual denied sale of a firearm as a result of being on the watch list.  After a brief waiting period, the person would be allowed to complete the sale of their firearm or be in police custody.  Law enforcement would in some cases be made to show their hand, so it’s probably not a solution that the FBI would put forth. It would though force the burden of proof be placed upon the accuser as it should be.

Better for our rights would be to deal with the root cause of the problem, in this case terrorism.  If we could show that ISIS as the inevitable loser in this war, destroy their capital, their mystique would fade, recruitment numbers would dry up.  They would be forced into deciding whether to be a state, or just another terror group with a cool acronym . At any rate, they would be too busy defending their territory to cause much mischief elsewhere.  Fewer terrorists here mean fewer shootings, bombings, and stabbings to contend with, less call for sacrificing our Constitutional rights by those who don’t even know what they are.

 

 

 

 

 

Antonin Scalia, the Constitution, and the Coming Storm

Antonin Scalia copyOn Saturday, we lost a truly great jurist in Antonin Scalia.  Justice Scalia believed in interpreting the Constitution not as we would have it, but as the framers understood it. He was an “originalist”.  He is considered to be a conservative among Supreme Court justices.  It’s strange that a justice that believed the Constitution is an unmalleable document should be considered conservative, as if some other way of seeing it was just as valid.  Scalia knew that the documents power laid in it immutability.  He understood that the meaning of the Constitution could be interpreted, but could not be changed to fit out passions and our prejudices at the moment.  Can what was unconstitutional yesterday be constitutional today simply because we wish it to be?  Scalia knew the answer.

“A Constitution is not meant to facilitate change. It is meant to impede change, to make it difficult to change.” – Justice Scalia 

Justice Scalia’s view that the Constitution is “dead” should be a universal constant among justices, it should be common sense, and sadly it isn’t.  Progressives see it as a living document, one that can change as society’s needs change.  Each decision can take the law farther and farther from the Framer’s original intent until what we have is something that not only is unrecognizable as a constitutional entity, it may even contradict the plain wording of the original document.

President Obama doesn’t share the Scalia’s originalist view of the Constitution.  To him, the Constitution is merely a guide, a series of suggestions to be followed or not according to what is politically desirable.  He has appointed, and would presumably appoint judges to the Supreme Court who share is view.  As many of the Court’s recent rulings have split five to four along ideological lines, it is easy to see that another liberal justice would change the balance of the court in favor the Constitutional destructionists.  What under such a Court would be constitutional?  Whatever the Progressives decree to be necessary to the advancement of their cause.

To those that think that the law should not be subject to the whims of a political ideology, but to our founding principles, the appointment of an activist justice should be avoided at all cost.  Luckily, the U.S. Senate must consent to the president’s pick, and the Senate is controlled by those who tend toward Justice Scalia’s originalist views.  The Republican Senate is not known for always standing steady on conservative principles.  President Obama will likely nominate a candidate with a history of judicial activism.  When the Senate initially rejects this nominee, he will call them obstructionist.  He and much of the media will claim that they are attempting to deny him his Constitutional rights.  Of course, this will be after he has exercised precisely that, his right to nominate a replacement for Justice Scalia.  That right does not require the Senate to rubber-stamp his choice.  The Senate’s right is also clear, they have the authority to consent (or not) to the president’s selection.  Constitutional conservatives must then help them to steel their spines, to withstand the hurricane winds of criticism and accusations.  The stakes are so high, so high—let’s hope they are up to the task.

Congress should declare war on ISIL, and why that’s not crazy.

Vive la France!
Vive la France!

The civilized world stands in shock, sorrow, and anger over the brutal attacks in Paris, France on Friday.  The President of France, François Hollande correctly called it an act of war.  He should now go the next step and invoke article five of the NATO treaty, the clause that declares an attack against one member is an attack against all.  America should commit publicly in the sight of both friend and foe alike that we have chosen our response.  We should do the right thing, declare war on ISIL.

In the past with terrorist attacks, Americans have called for a declaration of war.  The problem has always been, the reason given for not doing so, is that there was no nation per se to declare war on.  The attacks on France are different.  They were committed by members of, and planned by terrorists from ISIL.  ISIL fancies themselves as a nation-state.  They have their own currency, courts, government infrastructure.  They claim to be a country.  We should show them what comes with being a country, being the subject of a declared war.

Some in our government will now likely argue that doing so, will serve to legitimize them as a nation.  That ship has sailed, they are already acting as a nation-state.  They are already legitimate in the eyes of their followers. Does anyone seriously think declaring war on them will make a difference?  Would whatever propaganda value that can be got out of such ‘legitimization’ outweigh the benefits of a public resolution of war have for our side?

France is a member of NATO.  They were attacked; it was a military attack.  A military attack in violation of the laws of war and the Geneva Convention, but an attack with a military objective none the less.  The attacks were committed by agents serving a nation-state, a self-proclaimed country.  Article five of the NATO charter obliges all members to enter into a state of war against their common enemy.  Article five has been invoked once before, after the attacks on September 11th, 2001 in support of the United States.  We should return the favor if asked.

What would be the benefit of a formal declaration of war when we’ve engaged U.S. combat troops so many times without one?  First, it will send an unambiguous message to France and the rest of our allies that we are committed to the mutual defense of all members.  We have an opportunity to do so at a time when no other non-aligned country could seriously pose an objection.  Another advantage of declaring war is to crystallize our goals and commit us to not just containing the threat, but neutralizing it.  A not so obvious advantage is that it will remind other countries (read Russia) that we take our NATO alliance seriously.  What would kind of message do we send countries like Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia if we do not come to the aid of a NATO country?  Conversely, a declaration of war would surely serve to reassure them.

A declaration of war in the end is a symbolic act more than a legal one.  We are, like it or not, already at war.  Though largely symbolic, it would serve to advance our goals by clarifying our purpose and telling the world, friend or foe, that America has made a serious commitment to defending ourselves and our allies.  If ISIL wants to be a state, we should show them what exactly that means.  America needs to publicly commit and cut off any intellectual means of retreat or surrender.  If we very publicly commit to a military action, one that can only be ended with victory, other counties will follow suit.  Counties seeing that we’re all in, will decide to join the winning side. Fiight for Freedom a

Benghazi Select Committee Democrats Waste Their Time with Hillary

US Congress

The Select Committee on Benghazi was created to find out the facts about what happened on September 11th 2012 when four Americans, including ambassador Chris Stevens died in a terrorist attack. The concern most conservatives had before the long-awaited session with Hillary Clinton began was would the Republicans squander yet another opportunity to get meaningful answers on the record from the witnesses they called, or just grandstand in front of the cameras trying to get a sound-bite on the news.  Thankfully, for the most part, they controlled themselves and stuck with meaningful, substantive questions.  No so much with the Democrats, who have renewed their accusations that the hearing were politically motivated, after House Speaker hopeful Kevin McCarthy suggested there was a causal effect between the hearings and Hillary’s plummeting poll numbers.

Again and again, Democrats on the Benghazi Select Committee decried the fact that $4.7 million has so far been spent on the hearings, suggesting it was wasted.  The idea that the Democratic party, they party of Bernie Sanders and his multi-trillion dollars’ worth of campaign promises, and President Obama with his billions worth of “investments” in crony capitalism,  was making a big deal over a nearly 5 million on the committee is almost laughable.  With one of their own in the hot seat, the Democrats suddenly took an interest in fiscal responsibility.  Most of the questioners from the Democratic side spent more time bad-mouthing the proceedings than actually asking questions.

The Democrats spent a lot of time accusing the Benghazi hearings of being political.  They said they were wasteful.  They were right, but it was they who politicized it.  It was they who wasted their and the public’s time complaining about the hearings rather than actually pursuing the stated goals of the committee they were a part of.  Maybe, if they spent more time asking questions meant to uncover facts regarding the incident instead of whining about the whole thing, we might have gotten some more insight into the State Departments failings that left four Americans dead.