11/21/19

Nunes Should Subpoena General Abizaid

By: Denise Simon | Founders Code

So much has been said in testimonies on The Hill during the impeachment inquiries about President Trump placing a hold on military assistance to Ukraine for various reasons as asserted by Democrats. President Trump has questioned foreign funding going all the way back to his campaign days and still, he continues to question the investment(s) and use of that aid not only for Ukraine but for Lebanon, Pakistan, and Afghanistan. In 2018, Trump delivered a speech at the United Nations on this very issue that for some countries and non-government agencies caused some panic and rightly so.

But for Ukraine we need to travel back in time, a short time, in 2016 when Defense Secretary Ashton Carter along with his Ukrainian counterpart Stepan Poltorak signed a partnership agreement in London that would increase the defense capability of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, promote the defense sector and strengthen military-technical cooperation. This was all in an effort to further Ukraine’s ability to protect its territory. It was during this time that Secretary Carter assigned then retired General Abizaid to be the manager of Ukraine with his counterpart to bring reforms, meet new standards, strengthen democratic civilian control over the armed forces and transition personnel structure making it compatible with NATO standards including corruption.

Now, 3 years prior to this, the Obama White House provided a FACT SHEET detailing support for Ukraine. In the fact sheet, there are some key items:

1. The U.S. government has provided $291 in assistance as well as a $1 billion loan guarantee. The breakdown is described as $7 million in humanitarian aid for those affected by the conflict and $46 million in security assistance for Ukraine’s military and border guards.  This assistance includes the provision of body armor, helmets, vehicles, night and thermal vision devices, heavy engineering equipment, advanced radios, patrol boats, rations, tents, counter-mortar radars, uniforms, and other related items.

2. Obama assigned Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker to lead the US delegation for the Ukrainian government and business leaders to discuss economic reforms to attract foreign investment capital.

3. Obama instructed continued work at the congressional level to seek other opportunities of assistance including other defense and interoperability initiatives with Western forces.

4. The Obama administration was also seeking coordination with Ukraine to strengthen election integrity and security, an inclusive Constitutional reform, public outreach, defend human rights, social protection programs, energy subsidies to increase use among households but most of all technical assistance to restructure Ukraine’s national oil and gas company Naftogaz (Naftogaz is a subsidiary of Burisma).

5. Retool media and expand the reach. The Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) will launch a daily, 30-minute Russian language television news program that will be a joint production of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and the Voice of America. The program will be shown on television affiliates in Ukraine, as well as in Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Moldova, Georgia, and possibly other countries. BBG will seek to make the program available to Russian-speaking news-seekers worldwide via digital platforms.

6. Obama directed U.S. authorities to work closely with Ukrainian authorities to help recover stolen assets, processing activities and evidence collection. Additionally, the Obama administration directed U.S. agencies to aid Ukraine officials to develop laws and regulations to establish anti-corruption institutions to combat corruption more effectively. Further, the United States was directed by Obama to contribute to international efforts including through the OECD and the EBRD to deter bribery and improve the Ukraine business climate. (The OECD = the French-based Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development and the EBRD = European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.)

So, what do we have… the Obama admin plan, read Marshall plan for Ukraine failed. Then they had to rethink it all and send in other plans that sought to bolster military assistance for Ukraine using Secretary Carter and General Abizaid. Still, the military conflict manifested in Ukraine due to Russian forces. Interesting none of the witnesses expressed Obama’s failures.

Looking at Ukraine through President Trump’s view says he was proceeding with cooperation but wanted more reviews given the exceptional events since 2016 and rightly so including all things Biden, Burisma, corruption, theft, money-laundering and especially the change in the country’s leadership.

This brings us to NATO. Yes, President Trump did have some contempt for NATO, not so much because it has been somewhat ineffective with regard to Russia but more due to NATO members not only not paying their mandated dues but member countries were not offering like assistance of that of the United States then or now. In 2018, President Trump with this envoy had a presentation in part dealing with Ukraine in regard to the Nord Stram 11 gas pipeline.

Nord Stream II could cost Ukraine up to $2 billion annually in transit revenues, severely undermining our efforts to help secure an independent and economically sustainable Ukraine.

Ukraine continues its long journey to reforming its economy and achieving faster growth. Progress has been made on improving the governance and profitability of Naftogaz, the state-owned gas company, and improving oversight and resilience of the financial sector. Just last week, the Rada strengthened the anti-corruption process. But, Ukraine’s work – and the work of the U.S. and the EU in supporting reform efforts – is not complete. To grow, further progress is needed, including land reform, de-monopolization, natural gas price reforms, and further measures to counter corruption in the lending system.

Included in the remarks again was Naftogaz, once again it is a subsidiary of Burisma. Lots of corruption within Naftogaz as noted here. It is no wonder VP Biden was assigned the Ukraine portfolio and took advantage of circumstances.

In part from 2016:

“Russia criticizes our support of Ukraine. But Ukraine is an independent state and it asked for support. This is absolutely the legitimate right of every country, to ask for support and receive it. So there is no reason for criticism of the fact that we support a democratic government,” said Stoltenberg.

He recalled that NATO is providing support to Ukraine through a number of trust funds in the fields of logistics, management and reform of the military sector.

“We established a Commission Ukraine-NATO, which is a platform for our political and practical cooperation. But, of course, you can always do more. We work with the Ukrainians [to determine] what kind of support we can provide, policy and practice,” he added.

Stoltenberg noted that one of the biggest achievements of the summit in Warsaw was the fact that NATO formulated its policy towards Russia: a military fortification but also political dialogue.

So, to those Republicans on the Schiff Intelligence Committee, how about calling in General Abizaid for perspective and background to diffuse those Democrats that omit other Ukraine facts? Perhaps that would explain why poor Ukraine has lost 14,000 lives in the hot war with Russia. Add to the list of witnesses, Victoria Nuland, Susan Rice, Tom Donnilon, Ben Rhodes and Goesta Ljungman, the onsite IMF representative in Ukraine. The investigations in Ukraine go way beyond Burisma and the Bidens.

11/21/19

Trump is 100% on His Game

By: Lloyd Marcus

I thank God that President Trump is not like other Republicans.

It truly amazes me that many high-profile conservatives and Republicans still wish Trump would dial it back, not be so confrontational, and behave more presidentially. I feel like saying, “Are you guys nuts? Have you not been paying attention?” Desperate times require desperate measures. Donald Trump is God’s perfect man in the White House for such a time as this.

Do these people who are supposedly on our side not understand what is at stake? If Trump is not reelected in 2020, Democrats will kill healthy babies even after they are born.

Sixteen-year-old girls will have double mastectomies without parental consent or knowledge in absurd attempts to become men.

Democrats will roll out the red carpet to drug dealing, murderous illegals along with illegal alien children carrying strange diseases being admitted into our schools. The Democrats’ Green New Deal promises to stop air travel, kill the fossil fuel industry, and implement a long list of insane job-killing and economy crushing initiatives. You cannot imagine the huge number of jobs Democrats will kill or force overseas.  Trump has our economy booming. Black unemployment has hit a new historic low.  All of Trump’s unprecedented remarkable successes for America will be flushed down the toilet if Democrats take the White House.

Therefore, I do not care if Trump is what some would describe as rude to Democrats and fake news media. These people are arrogant, nasty, and view everyday Americans as their inferiors. Every time Trump fearlessly gets into their snooty faces, a huge smile appears on my face and I say, “Thank you, God!”

It has been revealed that a few days after Trump was elected in 2016, Democrats, the deep state, and fake news media launched their coup to remove him from office. In essence they said, “Screw idiot American voters. We will not allow this guy to interrupt our plans for America’s decline and transformation.”

This is why Washington swamp dwellers are infuriated by Trump’s slogan, “Make America Great Again.” They are obsessed with removing Trump from office by any, I repeat any, means necessary.

Frustrated that every play in their Destroy-the-Republican-Playbook has failed against Trump, Democrats’ and fake news medias’ hatred for Trump and his supporters has grown to pure foaming-at-the-mouth rabid insanity.

For you folks on our side who still wish Trump was kinder and gentler, the truth is that no other Republican could have survived. Trump has the perfect instincts to fight and emerge victorious in this openly treasonous and extremely corrupt political climate.

With all due respect, Republicans like Ken Starr still do not comprehend the levels of evil and corruption that are threatening our constitutional freedoms and rights. Starr said Trump made a mistake “attacking” Yovanovitch in a tweet while she testified in Democrats’ outrageous kangaroo court impeachment hearings. Starr said presidents usually rely on others to defend their position. Again, I say that these are not usual times.

Democrats and fake news media portrayed former ambassador Marie Yovanovitch as a saintly human being, slightly lower than the angels.

Democrats and fake news medias’ heads exploded when Trump dared to tweet the truth about Yovanovitch. She is an Obama loyalist who sought to undermine the new Ukrainian president and Trump’s policy. Acting within his presidential authority, Trump wisely fired Yovanovitch.

If Trump did not use his bully pulpit to expose the real Yovanovitch, the public would be deceived. Democrats and fake news media would have sold the American people their lie that Yovanvitch is an innocent sweet woman, unjustly fired by our mean misogynist president.

Starr is an old-school Washington guy who believes the president must always behave presidentially. The standard rule for Republican presidential behavior is to remain passive and dignified while Democrats and fake news media lies, and implements, every disgusting trick that their sick minds can conceive to destroy a Republican.

God knew what He was doing when He made a Washington outsider leader of the free world. It drives Washington elites insane that Trump refuses to be intimidated into allowing them to dictate his behavior, surrendering to Washington elites’ one-sided rules of engagement.

But folks, what is truly amazing to watch is every time Trump exposes Democrats and deep-state traitors caught with their hands in the corruption cookie jar, Democrats and their fake news media minions try to turn it around on Trump; portraying him as the one breaking the law. The insidious evil and arrogance of these people is off the chain.

Rest assured folks, Trump is 100% on his game. Let’s make sure to have his back in 2020.

Remember the lyric in the Billy Joel song, “I love you just the way you are”? Please Mr. President, don’t go changin’. We love you just the way you are.

Lloyd Marcus, The Unhyphenated American
Help Lloyd spread the Truth
http://LloydMarcus.com

11/19/19

56 Communist Parties Gather in Turkey to Celebrate 100th Anniversary of the Comintern

By: Trevor Loudon | The Epoch Times

People hold a banner picturing Communist figures including (From L) Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels, Vladimir Ilitch Lenin, Joseph Stalin, and Mao Zedong, as they gather in Bakirkoy district as part of the May Day rally, in Istanbul, on May 1, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / OZAN KOSE

The international communist movement just celebrated its 100th birthday at a gathering in Turkey.

Far from using the occasion to confess their responsibility for 160 million to 200 million deaths and their legacy of torture, famine, and oppression, the assembled communists look forward to a bright future, in which Marxism-Leninism rules every corner of the globe.

The “One-Hundredth Anniversary of the Founding of the Communist International: The Fight for Peace and Socialism Continues” was held in Izmir, Turkey, on Oct. 18–20. The gathering drew at least 56 communist parties from more than 40 countries, including most of the world’s major Marxist-Leninist organizations.

The event was hosted by the Greek and Turkish communist parties, which may be significant because Turkey is increasingly also playing a leadership role in the overlapping world Islamist movement.

The Americas were represented by the communist parties of the United States, Canada, Mexico, El Salvador, Venezuela, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay.

Almost every communist party from Western and Eastern Europe contributed, with the notable exception of the French. Three communist parties from Russia graced the stage, as did the Ukrainian party.

From Asia, the communist parties of Vietnam, Laos, Bangladesh, and Tibet all attended. Azerbaijan was there, as were both of India’s main communist parties. The North Koreans were there, but the Japanese were not. China, though now in practice the leader of the world communist movement, skipped the event—but did get plenty of praise from other attendees.

Almost every party from the Middle East was present, including the Lebanese, Bahrainis, Iraqis, Syrians, the Communist Party of Kurdistan, and the Tudeh Party of Iran.

Africa was represented only by the Algerians—the quasi-ruling South African Communist Party was absent.

Oceania was represented only by Australia.

Growing Confidence

Judging by conference speeches, posted online, the general mood was confident and defiant. By all accounts, the communist movement is growing and confident of overcoming its opposition, which in many countries is weak or nonexistent.

The representative of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation was both upbeat and combative:

“Speaking of Russia, we can say with confidence that the left movement, led by the Communist Party, is also ‘on the rise.’ Our party was successful during the elections to many local parliaments. This year was one of the most successful election campaigns for our party.

“The capital international is cracking again – Trump’s trade wars, US and EU contradictions, EU contradictions, etc. Under these conditions, it is important to develop a unified strategy for the communists of different countries in order to use the split of the imperialist international for the triumph of socialism.”

Many in the West believe that because some ruling communist parties, such as in China, Laos, and Vietnam, have adopted some market-based economic policies, they have abandoned Marxism-Leninism. Any real student of Marx will tell you that “market” economics is regarded as a temporary phase to build wealth and military power, and are completely in line with Marxist-Leninist philosophy.

The Vietnamese contribution to the conference affirmed this oft-ignored point:

“On this occasion, the Communist Party of Vietnam would like to express its sincere thanks, deep gratitude to the communist, workers’ parties, progressive forces all around the world for their valuable support, sharing and help in our past struggles for national independence, reunification, as well as in our national construction and defense today.

“We look forward to continuing to receive your feelings, support, encouragement, and solidarity in the new period of the development of our Party and country. We reaffirm our close solidarity with the international communist and workers parties.”

The Venezuelans appealed for international communist solidarity in the face of U.S. pressure:

“Today, the cause of the Venezuelan people demands the greatest levels of solidarity from the world’s revolutionary forces. We trust in the enormous power of the peoples’ solidarity to contain any war adventure against Venezuela and to denounce the criminal measures that the US and the EU impose against Venezuela’s sovereignty and the rights of the Venezuelan people.”

The Iranian communists made a similar appeal:

“The Tudeh Party of Iran would like to state categorically that the people’s movement in Iran needs the support and solidarity of the international communist and workers’ parties in preventing imperialist interventions in Iran and in defense of the people’s struggle for democracy and social justice.”

The Canadian communists have long been at the forefront of pushing for Western disarmament and de-industrialization through the “global warming” scam. Communists have always promoted peace through Western disarmament and surrender. They believe there will indeed be “peace”—when there’s no longer any opposition to communism.

“The climate strike demonstrations in October brought more than 1 million people into the streets in Canada – a larger protest than at any time in the last 20 years.  This is significant, and hopeful. Mass protests will continue and must be expanded to include the fight for peace and global nuclear disarmament.”

The Mexican communist party is a major part of the program to destroy the United States by promoting illegal immigration from Latin America:

“We raise our voice for the migrant question, an issue that must be addressed by the communist parties that we have to find a common intervention in that important sector of the international working class.”

Further south, the El Salvadoran comrades boasted of their efforts to coordinate the communist parties of their region:

“We want to communicate that our party, in the framework of flying the flag of proletarian internationalism, is promoting communist articulation with the sister parties in what we call: ‘Meeting of Communist Parties of Central America, Mexico and Panama’, where the Communist Party of Mexico, the Guatemalan Labor Party, the Communist Party of Honduras, the Popular Vanguard of Costa Rica, the People’s Party of Panama and the PCS converge. The VI Meeting was held in San Salvador, in the month of March, on the slopes of the historic hill of Guazapa, the guerrilla cradle of the revolutionary process that the country experienced.

“The Communist Party of El Salvador proclaims the validity of Marxism-Leninism and proletarian internationalism.”

The Lebanese party confirmed that the West is indeed facing a united movement led by China and supposedly non-communist Russia:

“The US-led imperialist system, along with allies in the European Union, Japan, and NATO countries, also faces serious challenges with the rapid rise of other rival international poles with conflicting interests with the dominant imperialist states… This rise, mainly of two international powers, China, led by the Communist Party of China (CPC), and its tremendous economic potential, Russia, which today regains its military and political power as well as regional powers in Asia, Latin America and Africa, is already posing a real challenge to the system of unipolar hegemony that has been dedicated for three decades.”

The Lebanese communists who played a significant role in the 2011 “Arab Spring” also condemned Israel and talked of uniting local Islamic states under the communist banner:

“We in the Lebanese Communist Party promise you that we will devote all that we can devote to achieve this crucial task by formulating our local and regional program based on confronting capitalism, imperialism and the Zionist movement through comprehensive resistance by all available means, and confronting reactionary, authoritarian and sectarian regimes, seeking to assemble leftist forces, Arab communism, to put forward a secular nationalist resistance in the path of socialism.”

The North Korean Workers party made it very clear that any concessions made to the United States or the West would only ever be temporary:

“We will always hold the initiative in the righteous struggle for peace and security of the Korean peninsula to defend our socialist system and the gains of the revolution, and never tolerate or sit idle by the sanctions imposed by the imperialists but fight against and frustrate their moves.”

The Brazilian communists emphasized their battle to overthrow President Jair Bolsonaro and the need for communists to go on the offensive both locally and internationally:

“The PCB [Brazilian Communist Party] understands that the moment calls for mobilization and struggle in the streets, accumulating forces to confront the Bolsonaro government. … In Brazil and throughout the world, it is necessary, more than ever, (for) the resumption of a counter-hegemonic offensive of socialist and communist ideals.”

The enormous Communist Party of India (Marxist) boasted of the huge numbers they were able to mobilize through their domination of the Indian labor movement:

“In India, the CPI(M) is trying its best to move in this direction of intense class struggles by mobilizing workers, peasants, youth, students, marginalized sections and women. On 8-9 January 2019, a 48-hour National Strike of workers called by 10 central trade unions, in which many national confederations of workers and employees also joined hands, was a historic success. The bourgeois media had reported that over 180 million workers participated in this strike. Taking forward these struggles, trade unions have once again called for a general strike on 8th January 2020, for which preparations are afoot.”

U.S. Contribution

Houstonian Alvaro Rodríguez, the international secretary of the Communist Party USA, addressed the assembled comrades on international resistance to U.S. imperialism and President Donald Trump:

“Efforts to beat back the achievements of the worldwide working-class struggle have reached a high point, especially since the election of Donald Trump, a racist, misogynist ‘white supremacist’ as President of my country. Imperialist interventions aimed at regime change and the imposition of the rule of voracious neoliberal capital are underway in many parts of the world. Economic sanctions have been imposed on progressive and socialist governments in Cuba, Venezuela and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. …

“But the picture is not all bleak. Neoliberal capitalism offers nothing to the working people and toiling masses of the world. Everywhere there is mounting resistance.

“The Communist Party of China, with its 90 million members, is leading the world’s second-largest economic power on the road to socialism with Chinese characteristics. Socialist Cuba is holding out strongly against everything imperialism is throwing against it and continues to provide solidarity and inspiration to the world. In Argentina, the right-wing Macri government has lost the elections.  Elsewhere, right-wing, pro-imperialist governments are on the defensive; in Guatemala, Honduras, Ecuador, and other countries. In Mexico, a new government is giving promise of advances against old inequities.”

Rodriguez was also fulsome in his praise for a new socialist wave building inside the United States:

“In my country, there is a massive youth-led movement to combat climate change and global warming. Important political figures, such as Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Representative Alexandra Ocasio Cortez of New York have taken a leading role in proposing new environmental protection laws, called “the Green New Deal”. This effort is supported by many unions, environmentalists and other organizations.

“There are many new signs of working-class struggle. Under the slogan of fighting for a national minimum wage of $15USD per hour, super-exploited and mostly minority and women workers nationwide have reached a high level of mobilization. Youth are also mobilized behind demands for an end to gun violence, police brutality, and many other things. Unionized teachers have been carrying out successful strikes aimed at rolling back neo-liberal policies in the educational field.

“The fight for the rights of immigrants with or without documents is nationwide, intense and has the support of labor unions, African Americans, other minorities and many others. The indigenous inhabitants of my country are mobilized against racism and in defense of the national environment.

“Communists in the United States are involved in all these struggles and more, as part of broadly-based coalitions. The working-class fightback was seen in the midterm legislative elections of 2018, and the likelihood that it will sweep the extreme-right regime of Trump and his allies out of power in the 2020 elections is high.”

In a sane world, an international gathering of parties sworn to the destruction of the West would probably make it to the 6 o’clock news. Most viewers would probably like to know that the world revolutionary movement is alive and well and is able to mobilize hundreds of millions of people at will.

The communists are now leading violent insurgencies in Sudan, Lebanon, Ecuador, Chile, and Catalonia/Spain.

They are heavily involved in every major trouble spot in the world. They are actively trying to depose the two most actively anti-communist world leaders: U.S. President Donald Trump and Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro.

Yet, they gather together to openly plot the destruction of what is left of the free world, with zero mainstream media coverage.

It’s very easy for the world communist movement to be confident of victory when the vast majority of their intended victims don’t even know that the threat still exists.

Trevor Loudon is an author, filmmaker, and public speaker from New Zealand. For more than 30 years, he has researched radical left, Marxist, and terrorist movements and their covert influence on mainstream politics.

11/19/19

I Just Have One Simple Question for @AdamSchiff

Doug Ross @ Journal

The man who supposedly instigated the “impeachment” inquiry is — amazingly — no longer a concern.

After weeks of promises the “whistleblower” would testify, the Media-Democrat Party and their ringleaders — Pelosi and Schiff — now claim that said testimony is unnecessary.

Which spurred the following graphic:

So let me just reconfirm.

The Media-Democrats are willing to destroy the Executive Branch with an unprecedented abuse of subpoenas, filibusters, Bills of Attainder and endless investigations in search of crimes. As Attorney General William Barr describes it, “the resistance” — a term normally used to describe violent internal conflicts — is doing vast and untold damage to the Constitution.

The actions of Pelosi and Schiff are disgraceful and their names will be forever stains on American history. Irrespective of criminal, civil or political inquiries, never in all of American history has a “defendent” been:

• Prohibited from mounting a defense
• Prevented from calling witnesses
• Prevented from cross-examining witnesses
• Prohibited from even attending the depositions and hearings
• Subjected to an inquiry where the prosecutor is witness-tampering (e.g., alleged “whistleblower” Eric Ciamarella colluding with Adam Schiff prior to his filing any “whistleblower” complaint)
• Prevented from asking questions that relate directly to the complaint (e.g., Joe and Hunter Biden’s various lies about their knowledge of Burisma, corruption, etc.)
• Subjected to endless leaks by career bureaucrats and politicians who have somehow made millions as “public servants”

Anyone who defends this process is just as disgraceful as the leadership of the Democrat Party, which has become a river of swamp filth.

Hat tip: BadBlue Uncensored News.

11/19/19

Looking for Safe Servitude via Socialism

By: T F Stern | Self-Educated American

I read where roughly 52 percent of today’s younger generation believes socialism/communism would be preferable to our constitutional republican form of government; a troubling thought.

What happened that so many of our fellow citizens never figured out what America is all about?

My first thought had to do with an op-ed piece in USA Today written by Marion Smith, 30 years after the Berlin Wall’s collapse, Americans don’t understand communism’s dangers.  Hard as it may be to believe, there’s an entire generation who didn’t learn the lessons associated with the Cold War, the building of/and eventual destruction of the Berlin Wall.

For a quick course in history, one need only watch the movie, Bridge of Spies, which accurately depicts the political tension of the Cold War, one scene, in particular, showing individuals fleeing the oppression of communism

From a window seat vantage point of a train passing over ‘No Man’s Land’, we observe an attempted escape, one that lasts only moments, as border guards shoot down those trying to scale the wall into West Germany.  We watched helplessly as the image disappears from view.

What would make an individual risk his/her life to escape the clutches of communist East Germany?  Was life so bad that such a risk was considered worth it?

A better question might be, why would anyone want to exchange individual liberty under our constitutional republican form of government, imperfect as it may be, and choose to live in servitude under socialism/communism?

Before I answer; there was a devotional talk given last month at BYU Idaho by James Gordon,  Always Remember, in which he brought up the importance of having a firm recollection of the exodus from Egypt.  He brought up the plight of  Israel as they were being pursued by Pharaoh, their backs against the sea and in great fear.

10 ¶ And when Pharaoh drew nigh, the children of Israel lifted up their eyes, and, behold, the Egyptians marched after them, and they were sore afraid: and the children of Israel cried out unto the Lord.

11 And they said unto Moses, Because there were no graves in Egypt, hast thou taken us away to die in the wilderness? wherefore hast thou dealt thus with us, to carry us forth out of Egypt?

12 Is not this the word that we did tell thee in Egypt, saying, Let us alone, that we may serve the Egyptians? For it had been better for us to serve the Egyptians, than that we should die in the wilderness.”

You know the ‘rest of the story’, that Moses parted the sea and they crossed on dry ground. They all made it to the other side, that is, all except Pharaoh’s army who were swallowed up by the sea when it came crashing down on them.

With only a little faith in God, they followed Moses, reluctantly; but they followed and were shown that their God really was God.  The story has survived for thousands of years, a reminder to have faith in God regardless of circumstances.

Fast forward to the present… those pushing for socialism/communism see our circumstances as dire; perhaps they are exaggerating what they see in order to institute their vision of Utopia, the fact remains far too many folks doubt, or never were taught about the divine nature tied with our particular constitutional republic, that would be mixing religion with government and somebody convinced the Supreme Court that schools can’t teach that stuff.

The Founders of our nation understood and referenced our dependence on God at every opportunity.  The Declaration of Independence, Constitution and included Bill of Rights represent an acknowledgment that God is the Author of our Liberty and yet godless historians have been arguing against that very fact for the past two hundred plus years.

In more recent years the public schools and places of higher learning have been taken over by socialists/communists.  We send young minds to become educated and learn how to think; instead, they’re attending indoctrination centers churning out intellectual left-leaning dummies.

There’s an entire generation that thinks we’d all be better off living under socialism/communism.  Everyone would be so much better off if we’re taken care of equally by some perfectly ordered government program.  There would be no income inequality; and besides, property is evil, nobody should have more of it than anyone else.

These young minds were never enlightened or given an explanation as to the divine nature of individual liberty or that we are indebted to our Creator for His having ordained this land to be an inheritance for those willing to follow His commandments.  If only we could impact their minds in the same way the Israelites remember the exodus from Egypt.

Listen to the politicians pandering for votes, promising the fruits of labor to all, not caring that someone else provided the fruit or that there might not be enough to satisfy everyone’s needs, much less desires. The safety net of servitude promises the basics of life; what else could you want?  Become a servant of the state and all this will be yours.

Of course, those who don’t approve will be forced to go along with it once the constitution is shredded; we’ll be a Socialist Democracy where the majority runs the show. There won’t be any restrictions keeping the state from confiscating everything and becoming all-powerful; a sad replacement for the constitutional republic God had intended.

I can hear the pleadings from those marching headlong into socialism/communism, “Let us alone, that we may serve the state…”

11/19/19

Trump Should Eliminate 2 Agencies

By: Denise Simon | Founders Code

Formed in 1947, The National Security Council is the President’s in-house forum for national security and foreign policy matters. The President also has the President’s Intelligence Advisory Board which is to assess intelligence collection and activities. The operating budget is unknown but it is estimated to be in the range of $18 billion.

The 1947 National Security Act established the NSC in order to “advise the President with respect to the integration of domestic, foreign, and military policies relating to the national security so as to enable the military services and the other departments and agencies of the government to cooperate more effectively in matters involving the national security.” Presidents have latitude to structure and use the NSC as they see fit. In practice, the NSC staff’s activities now extend somewhat beyond providing policy advice. First, as one former NSC official notes, “White House involvement is often needed for precise execution of policy, especially when secrecy is required to perform delicate tasks.” Second, the rise in strategic importance of transnational threats such as terrorism and narco-trafficking, along with post-Cold War military campaigns in the Balkans, Iraq and Afghanistan, have increasingly necessitated “whole of government” responses that leverage diplomatic, military, and development tools from a variety of different U.S. government agencies. The NSC often coordinates such responses, and as the international security environment has become more complex, whole-of-government responses to individual crises have become more frequent, translating into even greater NSC involvement. This is leading many scholars and practitioners to question the appropriate size, scope and role for the NSC.

Much has changed since 1947 especially under the GW Bush administration and then later under the Obama administration where the size of the NSC grew dramatically with approved appropriations from Congress. The NSC appears to have an estimated 400-500 people assigned. With this size of agency heads on the Council, staffers, lawyers, and rotations, how can there be any real control? Are there misguided agendas inside the Council? For sure. What about leaks? Oh yes. At least 3 people assigned to the NSC have been fingered as leakers or whistle-blowers since Trump became President. An estimated 80% of the NSC staff comes from the CIA, the State Department, and the Pentagon.

Image result for national security council

There are competing agencies inside the Federal government, think tanks, non-government agencies, and the entire diplomatic wing as well as the agencies operating under what is commonly referred to as the IC= intelligence community. This agency is simply redundant and has overlapping policies.

Speaking of redundant, the next agency that should be eliminated is the DNI, know as the Director of National Intelligence, created in 2004. It is currently headed by Joseph Maguire. It oversees 16 other intelligence agencies, advises the President and produces the PDB, the Presidential Daily Briefing which is also shared with several other officials that are cleared to receive it. DNI was recommended by the 9/11 Commission report due to intelligence failures leading up to the attack on the United States. The annual budget for DNI is estimated to be in the range of $90 billion and there are over 2000 employees. There are 6 centers and 15 offices where the NIP, National Intelligence Program resides.

Image result for odni

There are four directorates, each led by a deputy director of national intelligence:

Enterprise Capacity Directorate
Mission Integration Directorate
National Intelligence Council
National Security Partnerships Directorate
Strategy & Engagement Directorate
Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity

There are four mission centers, each led by a director of that center:

Cyber Threat Intelligence Integration Center
National Counterproliferation Center
National Counterterrorism Center
National Counterintelligence and Security Center

There are also four oversight offices:

Office of Civil Liberties, Privacy, and Transparency
Office of Equal Employment Opportunity & Diversity
Office of the Intelligence Community Inspector General
Office of General Counsel

For sure many things have changed with regard to national security and foreign relations since 1947 but it can be argued that confusion ensues with all the competing departments. There is the matter of the ongoing Overseas Contingency Operation, cyberwars and now the military frontier of space.

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So the solution is to eliminate these two agencies and concentrate the work on the DIA, Defense Intelligence Agency. The DIA is, in fact, an intersection of the Department of Defense, the Intelligence Community, mobilized warfighters, policy-makers, and force-planners including weapons systems acquisitions. DIA also covers history, doctrine, economics, chemistry, asymmetrical capabilities, cyber and political science.

Do you see the need for streamlining, control, management, and eliminating competing challenges? Perhaps this is but one solution to stopping leaks, draining more of the swamp, and achieving concise intelligence and policy.

11/19/19

Schiff/Pelosi Protecting Hillary’s Channel to Ukraine Inquiry?

By: Denise Simon | Founders Code

How would Nellie Ohr be able to connect with Yulia Tymoshenko, the former Ukrainian Prime Minister that was in prison? This was a woman that had one charge of many that she ordered the contract killing of a parliamentary deputy and businessman in 1996. During the time that Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State, 2013, she was in support of Tymoshenko and worked to get her released from prison. Maybe those missing emails have some clues… gotta wonder.

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Tymoshenko, the heroine of street protests in 2004 called the “Orange Revolution” which overturned the old post-Soviet order, is serving a jail sentence for abuse of office as prime minister.

That charge relates to a 2009 deal with Russia which the present government says saddled the Ukrainian economy with an exorbitant price for imports of Russian gas. She has denied any wrongdoing and says she is the victim of a political vendetta. More here from the Huffington Post.

Perhaps releasing communications between VP Biden and Ukraine are in order as well.

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During her testimony, Nellie Ohr while working for Fusion GPS on two research projects said she got most of her information from open sources. Could it be that since Fusion GPS was hired by Hillary that Clinton was calling in a favor and helped Nellie connect with Yulia? Or did the connection between Nellie Ohr and Yulia Tymoshenko have coordination at the hands of Bruce Ohr her husband and other operatives at the time at the Department of Justice?

Yulia was released from prison and then filed a lawsuit against Paul Manafort.

A collection of open-source information all compiled and with strategic intelligence and thinking can make and often does for a classified report. So, if you are so inclined, much can be gained from the Bruce Ohr 302’s found here.

The House also hosted Nellie Ohr for testimony and at the time, little was either known or asked of her about Ukraine. Towards the end of the interview, Nellie was asked about whether she was asked by Fusion GPS to research all things Paul Manafort. She responded with ‘yes’, stipulating emphasis regarding Manafort and Russia/Ukraine. Fusion GPS suggested Nellie Ohr research Serhiy Leshenko, a Ukrainian. Knowing the impeachment inquiry has centered on the Trump phone call scandal with Ukrainian President Zalensky, perhaps it would be good for the Republicans to request witness testimony from Bruce Ohr and his wife Nellie since Nellie’s testimony did not zero in on Ukraine at the time. You can be assured the questions of both of the Ohr’s would be very different with all that has since transpired but… Chairman Schiff would turn down that request for sure wanting to protect the other Ukraine channel that would snare Hillary Clinton.

Additionally, the Republicans should also request other Obama State Department holdovers that include: Alec Ross, Victoria Nuland. Jonathan Winer, Steven Schrage, Susan Rice, Abigail Grace, and Sean Misko. The last two, Grace and Misko were previously assigned to the White House National Security Council team and have been hired by Adam Schiff to work alongside the whistle-blower.

11/18/19

Hong Kong is Facing Recession due to Protests

By: Denise Simon | Founders Code

5 months of protests and fighting for real freedom has Hong Kong facing a recession. Asian Airlines has cut flights due in part to cancellations by passengers for several airline carriers of up to 13%.

(UPI) — A government report last week projected a recession for the Hong Kong economy in 2019, which would be its first in a decade.

The forecast said the Hong Kong economy will have contracted by 1.3 percent by the end of the year, in no small part due to ongoing political protests that began to reject a proposed extradition law but have grown to include numerous issues.

Meanwhile, at the Polytechnic University where students and protestors were trapped, police fired rubber bullets and tear gas to keep the protestors from fleeing.

Police say 4,491 people, aged from 11 to 83, have been arrested since protests began in June.

Demonstrators are angry at what they see as Chinese meddling in Hong Kong’s promised freedoms when the then British colony returned to Chinese rule in 1997. They say they are responding to excessive use of force by police.

China says it is committed to the “one country, two systems” formula granting Hong Kong autonomy. The city’s police deny accusations of brutality and say they show restraint. More here.

The European Union and the United States have condemned the escalating violence in Hong Kong amid fears of a bloody crackdown as authorities laid siege to a university campus occupied by pro-democracy demonstrators.

Hundreds of anti-government protesters armed with petrol bombs and other homemade weapons had retreated to the Polytechnic University after a weekend of mayhem, which saw roads blocked, a bridge set alight and a police officer shot with a bow and arrow.

Protesters who tried to make a run for freedom were met with volleys of tear gas and rubber bullets.

‘Unacceptable’

A spokeswoman for foreign affairs at the European Commission expressed “deep concern” on Monday over reports that Hong Kong first responders and medical staff were being detained by law enforcement forces, preventing them from providing assistance to injured people.

“Any violence is of course unacceptable and any action by the law enforcement authorities must remain strictly proportionate and fundamental freedoms, including in particular the right of peaceful assembly and expression, must be upheld,” Maja Kocijancic told reporters.

Britain also described itself as “seriously concerned” over the violence on Monday with a spokesperson for Prime Minister Boris Johnson saying London continues to urge “restraint on all sides and support the right to peaceful protest.”

The Foreign Office added that “it is vital that those who are injured are able to receive appropriate medical treatment, and that safe passage is made available for all those who wish to leave the area.”

The United States had earlier condemned the “unjustified use of force” in Hong Kong and called on Beijing to protect Hong Kong’s freedom, a senior official in President Donald Trump’s administration said.

‘We need help’

According to Hong Kong’s Hospital Authority, 38 people were wounded during the night of Sunday to Monday.

Dan, a 19-year-old protester on the Polytechnic University campus, said protesters may need international help.”

“We’ve been trapped here for too long. We need all Hong Kongers to know we need help,” he added, bursting into tears. “I don’t know how much longer we can go on like this.”

Police, who have faced an array of weapons including petrol bombs, bow and arrows and catapults, urged protesters to leave.

“Police appeal to everyone inside the Polytechnic University to drop their weapons and dangerous items, remove their gas masks and leave via the top level of Cheong Wan Road South Bridge in an orderly manner,” they said in a statement.

One country, two systems

Recent days have seen a dramatic escalation of the unrest that has plunged the Asian financial hub into chaos for almost six months.

Demonstrators angry at what they see as Chinese meddling in Hong Kong’s promised freedoms when it returned to Chinese rule in 1997. They say they are responding to excessive use of force by police.

China says it is committed to the “one country, two systems” formula granting Hong Kong autonomy, with the city’s police accusations they use undue violence.

Chinese soldiers in a base close to the university were seen on Sunday monitoring developments at the university with binoculars, some dressed in riot gear.

Separately, Hong Kong’s High Court ruled on Monday that a British colonial-era emergency law revived by the government to ban protesters wearing face masks was unconstitutional.

It said the law was “incompatible with the Basic Law”, the mini-constitution under which Hong Kong returned to Chinese rule in 1997.

11/18/19

Coup Plotters Risk War with Russia

By: Cliff Kincaid

In what was called a “strong message” to President Trump, the House of Representatives earlier this year passed the “NATO Support Act” by a vote of 357 to 22.  That’s the template for what follows impeachment – voting Ukraine into NATO, provoking Russia, and sending American soldiers off to fight and die in another corrupt foreign country.

The people testifying against Trump are part of the same group of bureaucratic losers who have mishandled our foreign policy for decades.

Consider the opening statement on impeachment before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence by George P. Kent, the Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs, U.S. Department of State. He declared his admiration for foreign-born bureaucrats opposing Trump and added, “…they are the 21st-century heirs of two giants of 20th century U.S. national security policy who were born abroad: my former professor Zbigniew Brzezinski; and his fellow immigrant Henry Kissinger.”

Let’s recall that Kissinger, the architect of America’s Vietnam defeat, had insisted in 2009 that President Obama could create a New World Order and that he had a good foreign policy team. He made these comments on CNBC during a “celebration” of 30 years of diplomatic relations between the U.S. and China. Kissinger is perhaps best known for convincing President Nixon to establish diplomatic ties with China after insisting that China had abandoned communism, and was no longer a threat.

That doesn’t seem to have worked out so well.

It just so happens that George Kent’s professor, the late former top Carter Administration official Zbigniew Brzezinski, served an administration that achieved notoriety for abandoning Iran to the Iranian ayatollahs and Nicaragua to the communist Sandinistas.

Those policies didn’t work out so well, either.

They had wanted Trump to continue the Obama policies of supporting the Syrian Kurds, most of whom are associated with the Marxist-Leninist PKK terrorist organization. Trump rejected the advice of leaving American troops in the middle of a confrontation with the Turkish Armed Forces. In this case, Trump sided with a NATO member. Still, that didn’t satisfy the Trump critics.

“American Betrayal” screamed NBC News foreign correspondent Richard Engel, in a special Sunday night show on Trump-hating MSNBC. His main witness to this “betrayal” was a Kurdish terrorist wanted for his crimes in Turkey.

Having failed to get the U.S. into a war with Turkey, the foreign policy bureaucrats have turned their attention to Ukraine.

In the name of saving Ukraine, which was invaded by Russia under a Democratic President, Barack Hussein Obama, the Democrats are trying to impeach a president who has done far more than Obama in providing defensive weapons and loans.

Looking at the controversy objectively, it is clear that Trump was asking that Ukrainian authorities investigate the corruption that was making the country weak in the face of the Russian threat. It just so happens that some of the corruption involved Joe Biden’s son. Trump didn’t think their political status should exempt them from scrutiny.

The Obama administration not only failed to provide Ukraine the weapons the country needed for self-defense but was complicit in draining financial resources away from a major Ukrainian gas company to the Biden family. With good reason, Trump found fault with that approach. He couldn’t remain silent in the face of the evidence.

Rather than be impeached over this, Trump should be given an award for helping Ukraine get its fiscal and financial house in order. The Trump pressure campaign is just what that country — and American taxpayers — needed.

By making policy over Ukraine into an impeachable offense, Rep. Adam Schiff, a congressional sponsor of the recent Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation dinner, is making Ukraine’s membership in NATO – and a possible war with Russia – almost inevitable. He understands the stakes, declaring in a Los Angeles Times column,  “The heart of the [NATO] alliance — known as Article 5 — is the readiness to come to the aid of any member state if it is attacked.” That’s why it’s significant that one of his key witnesses, the aforementioned State Department official George P. Kent, said, “Ultimately, Ukraine is on a path to become a full security partner of the United States within NATO. ”

These bureaucrats and congressional liberals want American soldiers to fight and die on behalf of Ukraine against Russia, in a war that could go nuclear. But Trump’s interest in the Ukrainian role in opposing his candidacy for president is something else that must be thoroughly investigated by Congress before NATO membership for Ukraine is even considered.

Practically speaking, NATO membership would be an obvious provocation inviting more Russian aggression, at a time when NATO is weak and most of its members can’t or won’t pay for their own defense. What Trump has been saying about the NATO deadbeats is entirely factual. He has questioned the value of NATO when only five of its 29 members actually pay their way. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted down an amendment from Senator Rand Paul demanding that NATO members spend at least 2 percent of their GDP on defense, which the alliance agreed to in 2014.

On October 22, without any fanfare or even much coverage, the U.S. Senate voted 91-2 to accept tiny Macedonia as a member, expanding NATO to 30 members. The only two “no” votes came from Republican Senators Rand Paul and Mike Lee.

The Democrats’ impeachment campaign, which is destined to fail in the Senate, is likely to be followed up by congressional demands for NATO membership for Ukraine. Emulating the debate over the NATO Support Act, most Republicans are likely to go along with the Democrats, in order to demonstrate their toughness. American troops will then be called on to sacrifice their lives for another corrupt country, part of which is already under Russian occupation, that can’t defend itself.

Many Americans might be surprised to learn that 300 American soldiers have already been in Ukraine training its military, in a dangerous deployment authorized by Barack Hussein Obama back in 2015. Trump’s America-First base of support would be outraged if they knew and would want Trump to bring the troops home. Trump supporters might say that a corrupt Ukraine whose government opposed Trump’s election is not worth one more American dollar and certainly not one American soldier’s life.

For their part, the coup plotters know that a war with Russia will cost many lives and damage the U.S. and world economies. It is a cynical and dangerous ploy that is unfolding before our eyes. But they are prepared to risk war with Russia for the chance to deny Trump a second term.

*Cliff Kincaid is president of America’s Survival, Inc. www.usasurvival.org

11/18/19

ATTORNEY GENERAL WILLIAM BARR: How “The Resistance” Is Shredding the Rule of Law

Doug Ross @ Journal

By Attorney General William Barr

I deeply admire the American Presidency as a political and constitutional institution. I believe it is, one of the great, and remarkable innovations in our Constitution, and has been one of the most successful features of the Constitution in protecting the liberties of the American people. More than any other branch, it has fulfilled the expectations of the Framers.

Unfortunately, over the past several decades, we have seen steady encroachment on Presidential authority by the other branches of government. This process I think has substantially weakened the functioning of the Executive Branch, to the detriment of the Nation. This evening, I would like to expand a bit on these themes.

First, let me say a little about what the Framers had in mind in establishing an independent Executive in Article II of the Constitution.

The Framers and the Executive Branch

The grammar school civics class version of our Revolution is that it was a rebellion against monarchial tyranny, and that, in framing our Constitution, one of the main preoccupations of the Founders was to keep the Executive weak. This is misguided. By the time of the Glorious Revolution of 1689, monarchical power was effectively neutered and had begun its steady decline. Parliamentary power was well on its way to supremacy and was effectively in the driver’s seat. By the time of the American Revolution, the patriots well understood that their prime antagonist was an overweening Parliament. Indeed, British thinkers came to conceive of Parliament, rather than the people, as the seat of Sovereignty.

During the Revolutionary era, American thinkers who considered inaugurating a republican form of government tended to think of the Executive component as essentially an errand boy of a Supreme legislative branch. Often the Executive (sometimes constituted as a multi-member council) was conceived as a creature of the Legislature, dependent on and subservient to that body, whose sole function was carrying out the Legislative will. Under the Articles of Confederation, for example, there was no Executive separate from Congress.

Things changed by the Constitutional Convention of 1787. To my mind, the real “miracle” in Philadelphia that summer was the creation of a strong Executive, independent of, and coequal with, the other two branches of government.

The consensus for a strong, independent Executive arose from the Framers’ experience in the Revolution and under the Articles of Confederation. They had seen that the War had almost been lost and was a bumbling enterprise because of the lack of strong Executive leadership. Under the Articles of Confederation, they had been mortified at the inability of the United States to protect itself against foreign impositions or to be taken seriously on the international stage. They had also seen that, after the Revolution, too many States had adopted constitutions with weak Executives overly subordinate to the Legislatures. Where this had been the case, state governments had proven incompetent and indeed tyrannical.

From these practical experiences, the Framers had come to appreciate that, to be successful, Republican government required the capacity to act with energy, consistency, and decisiveness. They had come to agree that those attributes could best be provided by making the Executive power independent of the divided counsels of the Legislative branch and vesting the Executive power in the hands of a solitary individual, regularly elected for a limited term by the Nation as a whole. As Jefferson put it, ‘[F]or the prompt, clear, and consistent action so necessary in an Executive, unity of person is necessary….”

While there may have been some differences among the Framers as to the precise scope of Executive power in particular areas, there was general agreement about its nature. Just as the great separation-of-powers theorists– Polybius, Montesquieu, Locke – had, the Framers thought of Executive power as a distinct species of power. To be sure, Executive power includes the responsibility for carrying into effect the laws passed by the Legislature – that is, applying the general rules to a particular situation. But the Framers understood that Executive power meant more than this.

It also entailed the power to handle essential sovereign functions – such as the conduct of foreign relations and the prosecution of war – which by their very nature cannot be directed by a pre-existing legal regime but rather demand speed, secrecy, unity of purpose, and prudent judgment to meet contingent circumstances. They agreed that – due to the very nature of the activities involved, and the kind of decision-making they require – the Constitution generally vested authority over these spheres in the Executive. For example, Jefferson, our first Secretary of State, described the conduct of foreign relations as “Executive altogether,” subject only to the explicit exceptions defined in the Constitution, such as the Senate’s power to ratify Treaties.

A related and third aspect of Executive power is the power to address exigent circumstances that demand quick action to protect the well-being of the Nation but on which the law is either silent or inadequate – such as dealing with a plague or natural disaster. This residual power to meet contingency is essentially the federative power discussed by Locke in his Second Treatise.

And, finally, there are the Executive’s powers of internal management. These are the powers necessary for the President to superintend and control the Executive function, including the powers necessary to protect the independence of the Executive branch and the confidentiality of its internal deliberations. Some of these powers are express in the Constitution, such as the Appointment power, and others are implicit, such as the Removal power.

The Progressive Attack on the “Unitary Executive Theory”

One of the more amusing aspects of modern progressive polemic is their breathless attacks on the “unitary Executive theory.” They portray this as some new-fangled “theory” to justify Executive power of sweeping scope. In reality, the idea of the unitary Executive does not go so much to the breadth of Presidential power. Rather, the idea is that, whatever the Executive powers may be, they must be exercised under the President’s supervision. This is not “new,” and it is not a “theory.” It is a description of what the Framers unquestionably did in Article II of the Constitution.

After you decide to establish an Executive function independent of the Legislature, naturally the next question is, who will perform that function? The Framers had two potential models. They could insinuate “checks and balances” into the Executive branch itself by conferring Executive power on multiple individuals (a council) thus dividing the power. Alternatively, they could vest Executive power in a solitary individual. The Framers quite explicitly chose the latter model because they believed that vesting Executive authority in one person would imbue the Presidency with precisely the attributes necessary for energetic government.

Even Jefferson – usually seen as less of a hawk than Hamilton on Executive power – was insistent that Executive power be placed in “single hands,” and he cited America’s unitary Executive as a signal feature that distinguished America’s success from France’s failed republican experiment.

The implications of the Framers’ decision are obvious. If Congress attempts to vest the power to execute the law in someone beyond the control of the President, it contravenes the Framers’ clear intent to vest that power in a single person, the President. So much for this supposedly nefarious theory of the unitary Executive.

We all understand that the Framers expected that the three branches would be jostling and jousting with each other, as each threatened to encroach on the prerogatives of the others. They thought this was not only natural, but salutary, and they provisioned each branch with the wherewithal to fight and to defend itself in these interbranch struggles for power.

So let me turn now to how the Executive is presently faring in these interbranch battles. I am concerned that the deck has become stacked against the Executive. Since the mid-60s, there has been a steady grinding down of the Executive branch’s authority, that accelerated after Watergate. More and more, the President’s ability to act in areas in which he has discretion has become smothered by the encroachments of the other branches.

Contemporary Arguments for Eroding the Executive Branch

When these disputes arise, I think there are two aspects of contemporary thought that tend to operate to the disadvantage of the Executive.

The first is the notion that politics in a free republic is all about the Legislative and Judicial branches protecting liberty by imposing restrictions on the Executive. The premise is that the greatest danger of government becoming oppressive arises from the prospect of Executive excess. So, there is a knee-jerk tendency to see the Legislative and Judicial branches as the good guys protecting society from a rapacious would-be autocrat.

This prejudice is wrong-headed and atavistic. It comes out of the early English Whig view of politics and English constitutional experience, where political evolution was precisely that. You started out with a King who holds all the cards; he holds all the power, including Legislative and Judicial. Political evolution involved a process by which the Legislative power gradually, over hundreds of years, reigned in the King, and extracted and established its own powers, as well as those of the Judiciary. A watershed in this evolution was, of course, the Glorious Revolution in 1689.

But by 1787, we had the exact opposite model in the United States. The Founders greatly admired how the British constitution had given rise to the principles of a balanced government. But they felt that the British constitution had achieved only an imperfect form of this model. They saw themselves as framing a more perfect version of separation of powers and a balanced constitution.

Part of their more perfect construction was a new kind of Executive. They created an office that was already the ideal Whig Executive. It already had built into it the limitations that Whig doctrine aspired to. It did not have the power to tax and spend; it was constrained by habeas corpus and by due process in enforcing the law against members of the body politic; it was elected for a limited term of office; and it was elected by the nation as a whole. That is a remarkable democratic institution – the only figure elected by the Nation as a whole. With the creation of the American Presidency, the Whig’s obsessive focus on the dangers of monarchical rule lost relevance.

This fundamental shift in view was reflected in the Convention debates over the new frame of government. Their concerns were very different from those that weighed on 17th century English Whigs. It was not Executive power that was of so much concern to them; it was the danger of the legislative branch, which they viewed as the most dangerous branch to liberty. As Madison warned, the “legislative department is everywhere extending the sphere of its activity, and drawing all power into its impetuous vortex.” And indeed, they viewed the Presidency as a check on the Legislative branch.

The second contemporary way of thinking that operates against the Executive is a notion that the Constitution does not sharply allocate powers among the three branches, but rather that the branches, especially the political branches, “share” powers. The idea at work here is that, because two branches both have a role to play in a particular area, we should see them as sharing power in that area and, it is not such a big deal if one branch expands its role within that sphere at the expense of the other.

This mushy thinking obscures what it means to say that powers are shared under the Constitution. Constitution generally assigns broad powers to each of the branches in defined areas. Thus, the Legislative power granted in the Constitution is granted to Congress. At the same time, the Constitution gives the Executive a specific power in the Legislative realm – the veto power. Thus, the Executive “shares” Legislative power only to the extent of the specific grant of veto power. The Executive does not get to interfere with the broader Legislative power assigned to Congress.

In recent years, both the Legislative and Judicial branches have been responsible for encroaching on the Presidency’s constitutional authority. Let me first say something about the Legislature.

As I have said, the Framers fully expected intense pulling and hauling between the Congress and the President. Unfortunately, just in the past few years, we have seen these conflicts take on an entirely new character.

“The Resistance” and the Long-Term Damage It is Doing

Immediately after President Trump won the election, opponents inaugurated what they called “The Resistance,” and they rallied around an explicit strategy of using every tool and maneuver available to sabotage the functioning of his Administration.

Now, “resistance” is the language used to describe insurgency against rule imposed by an occupying military power. It obviously connotes that the government is not legitimate. This is a very dangerous – indeed incendiary – notion to import into the politics of a democratic republic. What it means is that, instead of viewing themselves as the “loyal opposition,” as opposing parties have done in the past, they essentially see themselves as engaged in a war to cripple, by any means necessary, a duly elected government.

A prime example of this is the Senate’s unprecedented abuse of the advice-and-consent process. The Senate is free to exercise that power to reject unqualified nominees, but that power was never intended to allow the Senate to systematically oppose and draw out the approval process for every appointee so as to prevent the President from building a functional government.

Yet that is precisely what the Senate minority has done from his very first days in office. As of September of this year, the Senate had been forced to invoke cloture on 236 Trump nominees — each of those representing its own massive consumption of legislative time meant only to delay an inevitable confirmation. How many times was cloture invoked on nominees during President Obama’s first term? 17 times. The Second President Bush’s first term? Four times. It is reasonable to wonder whether a future President will actually be able to form a functioning administration if his or her party does not hold the Senate.

“Oversight” and the Modern Administrative State

Congress has in recent years also largely abdicated its core function of legislating on the most pressing issues facing the national government. They either decline to legislate on major questions or, if they do, punt the most difficult and critical issues by making broad delegations to a modern administrative state that they increasingly seek to insulate from Presidential control. This phenomenon first arose in the wake of the Great Depression, as Congress created a number of so-called “independent agencies” and housed them, at least nominally, in the Executive Branch. More recently, the Dodd-Frank Act’s creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Branch, a single-headed independent agency that functions like a junior varsity President for economic regulation, is just one of many examples.

Of course, Congress’s effective withdrawal from the business of legislating leaves it with a lot of time for other pursuits. And the pursuit of choice, particularly for the opposition party, has been to drown the Executive Branch with “oversight” demands for testimony and documents. I do not deny that Congress has some implied authority to conduct oversight as an incident to its Legislative Power. But the sheer volume of what we see today – the pursuit of scores of parallel “investigations” through an avalanche of subpoenas – is plainly designed to incapacitate the Executive Branch, and indeed is touted as such.

The costs of this constant harassment are real. For example, we all understand that confidential communications and a private, internal deliberative process are essential for all of our branches of government to properly function. Congress and the Judiciary know this well, as both have taken great pains to shield their own internal communications from public inspection. There is no FOIA for Congress or the Courts. Yet Congress has happily created a regime that allows the public to seek whatever documents it wants from the Executive Branch at the same time that individual congressional committees spend their days trying to publicize the Executive’s internal decisional process. That process cannot function properly if it is public, nor is it productive to have our government devoting enormous resources to squabbling about what becomes public and when rather than doing the work of the people.

In recent years, we have seen substantial encroachment by Congress in the area of Executive privilege. The Executive Branch and the Supreme Court have long recognized that the need for confidentiality in Executive Branch decision-making necessarily means that some communications must remain off-limits to Congress and the public. There was a time when Congress respected this important principle as well. But today, Congress is increasingly quick to dismiss good-faith attempts to protect Executive Branch equities, labeling such efforts “obstruction of Congress” and holding Cabinet Secretaries in contempt.

The Irony

One of the ironies of today is that those who oppose this President constantly accuse this Administration of “shredding” constitutional norms and waging a war on the rule of law. When I ask my friends on the other side, what exactly are you referring to? I get vacuous stares, followed by sputtering about the Travel Ban or some such thing. While the President has certainly thrown out the traditional Beltway playbook, he was upfront about that beforehand, and the people voted for him. What I am talking about today are fundamental constitutional precepts. The fact is that this Administration’s policy initiatives and proposed rules, including the Travel Ban, have transgressed neither constitutional, nor traditional, norms, and have been amply supported by the law and patiently litigated through the Court system to vindication.

Indeed, measures undertaken by this Administration seem a bit tame when compared to some of the unprecedented steps taken by the Obama Administration’s aggressive exercises of Executive power – such as, under its DACA program, refusing to enforce broad swathes of immigration law.

The fact of the matter is that, in waging a scorched earth, no-holds-barred war of “Resistance” against this Administration, it is the Left that is engaged in the systematic shredding of norms and the undermining of the rule of law. This highlights a basic disadvantage that conservatives have always had in contesting the political issues of the day. It was adverted to by the old, curmudgeonly Federalist, Fisher Ames, in an essay during the early years of the Republic.

In any age, the so-called progressives treat politics as their religion. Their holy mission is to use the coercive power of the State to remake man and society in their own image, according to an abstract ideal of perfection. Whatever means they use are therefore justified because, by definition, they are a virtuous people pursing a deific end. They are willing to use any means necessary to gain momentary advantage in achieving their end, regardless of collateral consequences and the systemic implications. They never ask whether the actions they take could be justified as a general rule of conduct, equally applicable to all sides.

Conservatives, on the other hand, do not seek an earthly paradise. We are interested in preserving over the long run the proper balance of freedom and order necessary for healthy development of natural civil society and individual human flourishing. This means that we naturally test the propriety and wisdom of action under a “rule of law” standard. The essence of this standard is to ask what the overall impact on society over the long run if the action we are taking, or principle we are applying, in a given circumstance was universalized – that is, would it be good for society over the long haul if this was done in all like circumstances?

For these reasons, conservatives tend to have more scruple over their political tactics and rarely feel that the ends justify the means. And this is as it should be, but there is no getting around the fact that this puts conservatives at a disadvantage when facing progressive holy far, especially when doing so under the weight of a hyper-partisan media.

Separation of Powers

Let me turn now to what I believe has been the prime source of the erosion of separation-of-power principles generally, and Executive Branch authority specifically. I am speaking of the Judicial Branch.

In recent years the Judiciary has been steadily encroaching on Executive responsibilities in a way that has substantially undercut the functioning of the Presidency. The Courts have done this in essentially two ways: First, the Judiciary has appointed itself the ultimate arbiter of separation of powers disputes between Congress and Executive, thus preempting the political process, which the Framers conceived as the primary check on interbranch rivalry. Second, the Judiciary has usurped Presidential authority for itself, either (a) by, under the rubric of “review,” substituting its judgment for the Executive’s in areas committed to the President’s discretion, or (b) by assuming direct control over realms of decision-making that heretofore have been considered at the core of Presidential power.

The Framers did not envision that the Courts would play the role of arbiter of turf disputes between the political branches. As Madison explained in Federalist 51, “the great security against a gradual concentration of the several powers in the same department, consists in giving to those who administer each department the necessary constitutional means and personal motives to resist encroachments of the others.” By giving each the Congress and the Presidency the tools to fend off the encroachments of the others, the Framers believed this would force compromise and political accommodation.

The “constitutional means” to “resist encroachment” that Madison described takes various forms. As Justice Scalia observed, the Constitution gives Congress and the President many “clubs with which to beat” each other. Conspicuously absent from the list is running to the courts to resolve their disputes.

Where is the Accountability to the People?

That omission makes sense. When the Judiciary purports to pronounce a conclusive resolution to constitutional disputes between the other two branches, it does not act as a co-equal. And, if the political branches believe the courts will resolve their constitutional disputes, they have no incentive to debate their differences through the democratic process — with input from and accountability to the people. And they will not even try to make the hard choices needed to forge compromise. The long experience of our country is that the political branches can work out their constitutional differences without resort to the courts.

In any event, the prospect that courts can meaningfully resolve interbranch disputes about the meaning of the Constitution is mostly a false promise. How is a court supposed to decide, for example, whether Congress’s power to collect information in pursuit of its legislative function overrides the President’s power to receive confidential advice in pursuit of his Executive function? Nothing in the Constitution provides a manageable standard for resolving such a question. It is thus no surprise that the courts have produced amorphous, unpredictable balancing tests like the Court’s holding in Morrison v. Olson that Congress did not “disrupt the proper balance between the coordinate branches by preventing the Executive Branch from accomplishing its constitutionally assigned functions.”

Apart from their overzealous role in interbranch disputes, the courts have increasingly engaged directly in usurping Presidential decision-making authority for themselves. One way courts have effectively done this is by expanding both the scope and the intensity of judicial review.

In recent years, we have lost sight of the fact that many critical decisions in life are not amenable to the model of judicial decision-making. They cannot be reduced to tidy evidentiary standards and specific quantum of proof in an adversarial process. They require what we used to call prudential judgment. They are decisions that frequently have to be made promptly, on incomplete and uncertain information and necessarily involve weighing a wide range of competing risks and making predictions about the future. Such decisions frequently call into play the “precautionary principle.” This is the principle that when a decision-maker is accountable for discharging a certain obligation – such as protecting the public’s safety – it is better, when assessing imperfect information, to be wrong and safe, than wrong and sorry.

It was once well recognized that such matters were largely unreviewable and that the courts should not be substituting their judgments for the prudential judgments reached by the accountable Executive officials. This outlook now seems to have gone by the boards. Courts are now willing, under the banner of judicial review, to substitute their judgment for the President’s on matters that only a few decades ago would have been unimaginable – such as matters involving national security or foreign affairs.

The Travel Ban Example

The Travel Ban case is a good example. There the President made a decision under an explicit legislative grant of authority, as well as his Constitutional national security role, to temporarily suspend entry to aliens coming from a half dozen countries pending adoption of more effective vetting processes. The common denominator of the initial countries selected was that they were unquestionable hubs of terrorist activity, which lacked functional central government’s and responsible law enforcement and intelligence services that could assist us in identifying security risks among their nationals seeking entry.

Despite the fact there were clearly justifiable security grounds for the measure, the district court in Hawaii and the Ninth Circuit blocked this public-safety measure for a year and a half on the theory that the President’s motive for the order was religious bias against Muslims. This was just the first of many immigration measures based on good and sufficient security grounds that the courts have second-guessed since the beginning of the Trump Administration.

The Travel Ban case highlights an especially troubling aspect of the recent tendency to expand judicial review. The Supreme Court has traditionally refused, across a wide variety of contexts, to inquire into the subjective motivation behind governmental action. To take the classic example, if a police officer has probable cause to initiate a traffic stop, his subjective motivations are irrelevant. And just last term, the Supreme Court appropriately shut the door to claims that otherwise-lawful redistricting can violate the Constitution if the legislators who drew the lines were actually motivated by political partisanship.

What is true of police officers and gerrymanderers is equally true of the President and senior Executive officials. With very few exceptions, neither the Constitution nor the Administrative Procedure Act or any other relevant statute, calls for judicial review of Executive motive. They apply only to Executive action. Attempts by courts to act like amateur psychiatrists attempting to discern an Executive official’s “real motive” — often after ordering invasive discovery into the Executive Branch’s privileged decision-making process — have no more foundation in the law than a subpoena to a court to try to determine a judge’s real motive for issuing its decision. And courts’ indulgence of such claims, even if they are ultimately rejected, represents a serious intrusion on the President’s constitutional prerogatives.

The impact of these judicial intrusions on Executive responsibility has been hugely magnified by another judicial innovation – the nationwide injunction. First used in 1963, and sparely since then until recently, these court orders enjoin enforcement of a policy not just against the parties to a case, but against everyone. Since President Trump took office, district courts have issued over 40 nationwide injunctions against the government. By comparison, during President Obama’s first two years, district courts issued a total of two nationwide injunctions against the government. Both were vacated by the Ninth Circuit.

It is no exaggeration to say that virtually every major policy of the Trump Administration has been subjected to immediate freezing by the lower courts. No other President has been subjected to such sustained efforts to debilitate his policy agenda.

The legal flaws underlying nationwide injunctions are myriad. Just to summarize briefly, nationwide injunctions have no foundation in courts’ Article III jurisdiction or traditional equitable powers; they radically inflate the role of district judges, allowing any one of more than 600 individuals to singlehandedly freeze a policy nationwide, a power that no single appellate judge or Justice can accomplish; they foreclose percolation and reasoned debate among lower courts, often requiring the Supreme Court to decide complex legal issues in an emergency posture with limited briefing; they enable transparent forum shopping, which saps public confidence in the integrity of the judiciary; and they displace the settled mechanisms for aggregate litigation of genuinely nationwide claims, such as Rule 23 class actions.

Injunction Destruction

Of particular relevance to my topic, nationwide injunctions also disrupt the political process. There is no better example than the courts’ handling of the rescission of DACA. As you recall, DACA was a discretionary policy of enforcement forbearance adopted by President Obama’s administration. The Fifth Circuit concluded that the closely related DAPA policy (along with an expansion of DACA) was unlawful, and the Supreme Court affirmed that decision by an equally divided vote. Given that DACA was discretionary — and that four Justices apparently thought a legally indistinguishable policy was unlawful —President Trump’s administration understandably decided to rescind DACA.

Importantly, however, the President coupled that rescission with negotiations over legislation that would create a lawful and better alternative as part of a broader immigration compromise. In the middle of those negotiations — indeed, on the same day the President invited cameras into the Cabinet Room to broadcast his negotiations with bipartisan leaders from both Houses of Congress — a district judge in the Northern District of California enjoined the rescission of DACA nationwide.

Unsurprisingly, the negotiations over immigration legislation collapsed after one side achieved its preferred outcome through judicial means. A humanitarian crisis at the southern border ensued. And just this week, the Supreme Court finally heard an argument on the legality of the DACA rescission.

The Court will not likely decide the case until next summer, meaning that President Trump will have spent almost his entire first term enforcing President Obama’s signature immigration policy, even though that policy is discretionary and half the Supreme Court concluded that a legally indistinguishable policy was unlawful. That is not how our democratic system is supposed to work.

To my mind, the most blatant and consequential usurpation of Executive power in our history was played out during the Administration of President George W. Bush, when the Supreme Court, in a series of cases, set itself up as the ultimate arbiter and superintendent of military decisions inherent in prosecuting a military conflict – decisions that lie at the very core of the President’s discretion as Commander in Chief.

The Boumediene Debacle

This usurpation climaxed with the Court’s 2008 decision in Boumediene. There, the Supreme Court overturned hundreds of years of American, and earlier British, law and practice, which had always considered decisions as to whether to detain foreign combatants to be purely military judgments which civilian judges had no power to review. For the first time, the Court ruled that foreign persons who had no connection with the United States other than being confronted by our military on the battlefield had “due process” rights and thus have the right to habeas corpus to obtain judicial review of whether the military has a sufficient evidentiary basis to hold them.

In essence, the Court has taken the rules that govern our domestic criminal justice process and carried them over and superimposed them on the Nation’s activities when it is engaged in armed conflict with foreign enemies. This rides roughshod over a fundamental distinction that is integral to the Constitution and integral to the role played by the President in our system.

As the Preamble suggests, governments are established for two different security reasons – to secure domestic tranquility and to provide for defense against external dangers. These are two very different realms of government action.

In a nutshell, under the Constitution, when the government is using its law enforcement powers domestically to discipline an errant member of the community for a violation of law, then protecting the liberty of the American people requires that we sharply curtail the government’s power so it does not itself threaten the liberties of the people. Thus, the Constitution in this arena deliberately sacrifices efficiency; invests the accused with rights that that essentially create a level playing field between the collective interests of community and those of the individual; and dilutes the government’s power by dividing it and turning it on itself as a check, at each stage the Judiciary is expressly empowered to serve as a check and neutral arbiter.

None of these considerations are applicable when the government is defending the country against armed attacks from foreign enemies. In this realm, the Constitution is concerned with one thing – preserving the freedom of our political community by destroying the external threat. Here, the Constitution is not concerned with handicapping the government to preserve other values. The Constitution does not confer “rights” on foreign enemies. Rather the Constitution is designed to maximize the government’s efficiency to achieve victory – even at the cost of “collateral damage” that would be unacceptable in the domestic realm. The idea that the judiciary acts as a neutral check on the political branches to protect foreign enemies from our government is insane.

The impact of Boumediene has been extremely consequential. For the first time in American history, our armed forces are incapable of taking prisoners. We are now in a crazy position that, if we identify a terrorist enemy on the battlefield, such as ISIS, we can kill them with a drone or any other weapon. But if we capture them and want to hold them at Guantanamo or in the United States, the military is tied down in developing evidence for an adversarial process and must spend resources in interminable litigation.

A Hope for this Partisan Age

The fact that our courts are now willing to invade and muck about in these core areas of Presidential responsibility illustrates how far the doctrine of Separation of Powers has been eroded.

In this partisan age, we should take special care not to allow the passions of the moment to cause us to permanently disfigure the genius of our Constitutional structure. As we look back over the sweep of American history, it has been the American Presidency that has best fulfilled the vision of the Founders. It has brought to our Republic a dynamism and effectiveness that other democracies have lacked.

At every critical juncture where the country has faced a great challenge –

– whether it be in our earliest years as the weak, nascent country combating regional rebellions and maneuvering for survival in a world of far stronger nations;

– whether it be during our period of continental expansion, with the Louisiana Purchase, and the acquisition of Mexican territory;

– whether it be the Civil War, the epic test of the Nation;

– World War II and the struggle against Fascism;

– the Cold War and the challenge of Communism;

– the struggle against racial discrimination;

– and most recently, the fight against Islamist Fascism and international terrorism.

One would have to say that it has been the Presidency that has stepped to the fore and provided the leadership, consistency, energy, and perseverance that allowed us to surmount the challenge and brought us success.

In so many areas, it is critical to our Nation’s future that we restore and preserve in their full vigor our Founding principles. Not the least of these is the Framers’ vision of a strong, independent Executive, chosen by the country as a whole.

Via BadBlue News, my replacement for Drudge.