The battle over the wall is symbolically a battle over boundaries and limits. From James Howard Kunstler at kunstler.com:
The effrontery of Ms. Pelosi, Speaker of the House, in cancelling Mr. Trump’s State of the Union address in the chamber she controls is perhaps the worst insult to institutional protocol since the spring day in 1856 when Congressman Preston Brooks (D-SC) skulked into the senate chamber and smashed Senator Charles Sumner (R-Mass) about the head within an inch of his life with a gold-headed walking stick. Brooks’s attack was launched after Sen. Sumner gave his “Bleeding Kansas” speech, arguing that the territory be let into the union as a “free” state, and denouncing “the harlot slavery,” whom he imputed was Rep. Brooks’s dearest consort.
Many of us — except perhaps students immersed in intersectional gender studies — know how that worked out: a little dust-up in the meadows and cornfields known as the Civil War. We’re about at that level of animosity today in the two federal houses of legislature, though it is very hard to imagine how Civil War Two might play out on the ground. Perhaps opposing mobs (not even armies) meet in the Walmart parking lots of Pennsylvania and go at it demolition derby style, with monster trucks bashing their enemies’ Teslas and Beemers. Throw in clown suits instead of blue and gray uniforms and we’ll really capture the spirit of the age.
Not to be outdone, days after the SOTU cancellation, the Golden Golem of Greatness cancelled a Democratic Party grandstanding junket to the Middle East, led by Ms. Pelosi. A US Air Force bus has just departed for Andrews Air Force Base, where an Air Force jet waited for the junketeers. But then, with impeccable timing, Mr. Trump cancelled the junket — denying the use of military aircraft as Commander-in-Chief — and forcing the bus back to town with its load of elected dignitaries and their luggage — making the reasonable suggestion that they fly a commercial airline instead.
The Democrats aren’t helping themselves with the wall contrversy and the government shutdown. From Tom Luongo at tomluongo.me:
Nancy Pelosi (D – Boomers) has a problem. Scratch that, she has a number of problems, non counting her own ethical and moral shortcomings.
Pelosi is the Queen of Projection. She projects an air of invincibility while also projecting her weaknesses onto her political opponents. So, even though Nasty Nancy just got back her Speaker’s gavel, she does so at the weakest moment in the Democratic party’s history since World War II.
The traditional three-headed coalition of the Democrats has been shattered. The middle class Union guys are gone. By the time Trump is done with her over border security Pelosi’ll lose a bigger swath of the Hispanic vote than she already has.
All that will be left is her warmongering, globalist, shills for the MIC and the Deep State. Bicoastal Smug Liberals.
But, the hollowing out of the middle class is Pelosi’s biggest problem. Betraying the former Bernie Bros was the beginning. The Democrats under her leadership give lip service to bank reform which, in turn, has the hard-core Socialist left fired up.
That’s what rock-star Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez represents. She is the face of what’s left of Occupy Wall St. And she has a strong, knee-jerk, anti-incumbent, anti-establishment momentum behind her.
It doesn’t matter that she’s 28 years old, has little to no life experience or a firm grasp on reality. This is politics and these are chaotic times. She already has an acronym (AOC) and a nickname. She’s important.
Warhorses like Pelosi don’t know how to change their ways this late in their game. They think they can buy off people like AOC and outmaneuver her.
Pelosi faced a serious challenge to her party leadership in the run up to being elected Speaker of the House again. And she paid for that smooth vote with AOC’s appointment to the House Financial Services Committee.
When you’re going for the kill-shot on Trump there can be no weaknesses perceived.
But the big betrayal by the Pelosi Set is on war and empire. The same arguments animating the GOP insurrection against Trump by neoconservatives keeps Pelosi’s Smug Liberal interventionists happy.
The leadership of both parties love the Empire. They work non-stop to keep that gravy train flowing. It’s how they stay in power, amass incredible personal fortunes and why the country at large — left, right and center — hates their guts.
Do you think AOC wins her primary if the DNC hadn’t been so thoroughly despicable to Bernie Sanders’ supporters?
Or such full-throated supporters of questionable foreign interventions?
Pelosi is betting her political farm on border security. She does so because it is the one issue which galvanizes both her corrupt leadership with the populist, socialist Left represented by AOC.
They all hate what they perceive as bigotry.
Gabbard: The Anti-Pelosi
And it is also a distraction from the real issue that Trump put front and center, the Democrats’ weakness on foreign policy.
By announcing the pull out of U.S. troops from Syria and Afghanistan he reminded everyone just how much Pelosi et.al. love spending your money bombing brown people overseas for their profit.
As I said, appearance of strength is all that matters in politics at this level. Pelosi cannot afford to look at all weak during a government shutdown she started to oppose Trump and regain the White House in 2020.
So, while Pelosi is focused on being the establishment’s mouthpiece for taking down Trump to regain control over the vast government machinery, rebellions are happening within her own party.
Enter Tulsi Gabbard. Gabbard has real promise as the anti-war/anti-empire insurrectionist within the Democrats. She is a leftist version of Ron Paul in that she’s hated by everyone who thinks they are someone.
Because nothing unites the DNC and the RNC like the threat of peace getting an audience on the national stage.
When “anti-incumbent” is the watchword of the day, Gabbard throwing her hat into the 2020 Presidential race is a big deal. Gabbard will get support from anti-war Republicans, Independents and Libertarians.
They will cross party lines to vote for her in primaries, hurting the anointed ones.
She will successfully fund-raise on ending useless and counter-productive engagements in the Middle East. With her part of the Presidential conversation it forces her opposition to adopt her positions while simultaneously supporting Trump’s struggle against his own staff.
Trump should give her a lifetime membership to Mar-a-Lago.
Yes, she’s a mess economically, but that’s not where her value lies. She’s everything the current Democratic party isn’t: attractive, conscientious, brave and committed to peace.
And that is a nightmare for Pelosi. She’s positioned herself as being against whatever Trump is for. That makes her an easy foil for him.
With Gabbard in the race Trump can go hard on foreign policy and create havoc in the Democratic primaries. As long as he stays in the game, Gabbard is his stalking horse.
Don’t underestimate the political points he scored with canceling Pelosi’s overseas trip. This is the Donald Trump we asked for — end politics as usual.
Confront the banal hypocrisy of our ruling class.
And, most importantly, call out the cheap virtue signaling hacks like Pelosi get a free pass on every day in the media.
Trump made it clear that if Pelosi wants to conspire with foreign leaders against him that she can do it on her own dime.
And having the shutdown as the excuse in a perfect game of brinkmanship made it even more effective.
Pelosi acts like she has Trump dead to rights on petty corruption thanks to Mueller’s songbird Michael Cohen. I don’t discount how hard they are gunning for Trump now. But like Theresa May in the U.K. over Brexit, there is only so much people will take in service of petty party infighting.
Eventually a real political revolt occurs. Just ask Italian Democrats or Emmanuel Macron.
So Pelosi has to be careful how she plays her hand here. She’s losing to Trump on the wall. Every day the argument against it looks both silly and hysterical. $5.7 billion is less than one week’s interest on the national debt.
But, she’s pot committed to her position that ‘walls are immoral.’ What she may find out here is that if you back someone like Trump into a corner and promise to destroy everything he has, then he then has nothing left to lose.
And that is when he is most dangerous to not only her but to everyone she’s beholden to. After that her own people’s knives come out.
The FBI knew full well before it applied for the FISA court warrant on Carter Page that its evidentiary basis—the Christopher Steel dossier on Donald Trump—was opposition research funded by the Clinton campaign. From John Solomon at thehill.com:
When the annals of mistakes and abuses in the FBI’s Russia investigation are finally written, Bruce Ohr almost certainly will be the No. 1 witness, according to my sources.
The then-senior Department of Justice (DOJ) official briefed both senior FBI and DOJ officials in summer 2016 about Christopher Steele’s Russia dossier, explicitly cautioning that the British intelligence operative’s work was opposition research connected to Hillary Clinton’s campaign and might be biased.
Ohr’s briefings, in July and August 2016, included the deputy director of the FBI, a top lawyer for then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch and a Justice official who later would become the top deputy to special counsel Robert Mueller.
At the time, Ohr was the associate deputy attorney general. Yet his warnings about political bias were pointedly omitted weeks later from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant that the FBI obtained from a federal court, granting it permission to spy on whether the Trump campaign was colluding with Russia to hijack the 2016 presidential election.
Speaking of fascism, how about the US’s most fascist president, Franklin Delano Roosevelt? From James Bovard at mises.org:
Franklin Roosevelt did more than any other modern president to corrupt Americans’ understanding of freedom. Last week was the 75thanniversary of his 1944 speech calling for a second Bill of Rights to guarantee economic freedom to Americans. Nation magazine whooped up the anniversary, proclaiming that Democrats now have a “unique—and likely fleeting—opportunity to deliver where FDR fell short” with vast new government programs.
The 1944 speech, given as the tide in World War Two was finally turning, was a followup of his 1941 “Four Freedoms” speech which exploited Americans’ rising apprehensions tosee far more power for the government. Roosevelt promised citizens freedom of speech and freedom of worship and then, as if he was merely enumerating other self-evident rights, declared: “The third [freedom] is freedom from want . . . everywhere in the world. The fourth is freedom from fear . . . anywhere in the world.” Proclaiming a goal of freedom from fear meant that government should fill the role in daily life previously filled by God and religion. Politicians are the biggest fearmongers, and “freedom from fear” would justify seizing new power in response to every bogus federal alarm.
FDR’s list was clearly intended as a “replacement set” of freedoms, since otherwise there would have been no reason to mention freedom of speech and worship, already guaranteed by the First Amendment. The “four freedoms” offered citizens no security from the State, since it completely ignored the rights guaranteed in the original Bill of Rights that restricted government power, including the Second Amendment (to keep and bear firearms), the Fourth Amendment (freedom from unreasonable search and seizure), the Fifth Amendment (due process, property rights, the right against self-incrimination), the Sixth Amendment (the right to a speedy and public trial by an impartial jury), and the Eighth Amendment (protection against excessive bail, excessive fines, and cruel and unusual punishments).
Could the Venezuelan government get away with the garbage it’s gotten with if the citizenry was well-armed? Probably not. From José Niño at mises.org:
Is Venezuela paying the price for adopting gun control?
The shocking nature of Venezuela’s economic collapse has been covered ad nauseam. However, one aspect of the Venezuelan crisis that does not receive much coverage is the country’s gun control regime.
Fox News recently published an excellent article highlighting Venezuelan citizens’ regret over the gun control policies the Venezuelan government has implemented since 2012. Naturally, this regret is warranted. The Venezuelan government is among the most tyrannical in the world, with a proven track record of violating basic civil liberties such as free speech, debasing its national currency, confiscating private property, and creating economic controls that destroy the country’s productivity.
Elections have proven to be useless, as they’ve been mired with corruption and charges of government tampering. For many, taking up arms is the only option left for the country to shake off its tyrannical government. However, the Venezuelan government has done well to prevent an uprising by passing draconian gun control which will be detailed below.
Venezuela’s Lack of a Second Amendment Tradition
Historically speaking, Venezuela has never had a robust history of private gun ownership like that of the United States. The absence of a Second Amendment or check on the federal government’s monopoly on firearm usage is a vestige of its colonial legacy. Its Spanish colonial overlords did not possess a political culture of civilian firearms ownership. It was mostly the military and the landed nobility that held firearms throughout the colonial era. This tradition has persisted even after Latin American countries broke away from Spain in the 1820s.
So, by starving the beast, I at least ensure they’re not squandering my money.
But I think it’s ridiculous that this government posturing is financially crippling the 800,000 government workers (and millions of contractors) who are now out of work – or being forced to work without pay.
To be fair, last night the president signed a law guaranteeing they would be paid for past work – a month into this fiasco. It’s a step in the right direction, as there’s a word for forcing people to work without pay – slavery.
But at its core, this whole shutdown comes down to a disagreement over $5 billion. That is how much money Trump wants to build the border wall between the US and Mexico. And Congress refuses to fund it.
Granted, that’s a lot of money to you and me. And it should be a lot of money to the government, too.
If only Trump were gone, then so too would be the political impetus behind his election. That belief surely qualifies as delusional (see “Much More Than Trump,” SLL). From Finian Cunningham at strategic-culture.org:
The anti-Trump so-called “liberal” American politicians and media suffer from a cozy big delusion. The Democrats and their supportive media, such as CNN and New York Times, as well as the foreign policy establishment, including the CIA, promote the belief that all of America’s ills and problems will be solved if only President Trump could be impeached.
The so-called “liberal-left” in the US – which has nothing to do with leftwing or socialist politics as most of the world would define it – is increasingly warning that Trump is taking America into a dark place of authoritarianism.
Take a recent op-ed in the New York Times by columnist Roger Cohen with the headline: ‘Donald Trump Just Cannot Help It’. It’s a scathing piece which lambasts Trump in very personal terms as a “malignant” conman.
The key line perhaps is when Cohen writes: “The Reichstag Fire was at least a fire. Here, there is smoke and mirrors.” He is referring to what many historians contend was a false-flag arson attack on the German parliament in 1933, which allowed newly elected Chancellor Adolf Hitler to install his Nazi dictatorship by claiming the sabotage was a communist plot.
Many critics of Trump, including Cohen, are concerned that the president is “manufacturing a crisis” over his border wall proposal. They accuse him of using the US government shutdown and the political impasse with Democrats on the proposed border wall funding as a pretext to introduce a state of emergency. Cohen’s mention of the infamous Reichstag Fire has therefore a seemingly radical inference. He, and many others in the American liberal-left, are warning that Trump is a crypto-fascist.
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