Thursday, December 26, 2019

“Merry Impeachmas!” A celebration of impeachment and Christmas?

That greeting, “Merry Impeachmas,” is a comment from a reporter at The Washington Post, celebrating either the impeachment of the president, or the end of a long day, depending upon whether you believe the Post VP’s explanation.

The impeachment process, so far three months long, is an exercise in futility, desperation, and division. The only good thing about this wasteful exercise is the embarrassing lack of evidence against President Donald Trump.

After the vote last week by the House of Representatives to impeach the president, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., still has not delivered the articles of impeachment to the Senate so it can do its part of the process. She didn’t do that, she said, because she is waiting to be sure the process in the Senate is a fair one.

How interesting. Fairness only became of interest to her after the House impeachment hearings broke records for unfairness. Due process — a major element of American jurisprudence where each side has the same rights — was happily shoved into the corner by the majority party. 

Republicans were denied being able to call witnesses, and Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff, D-Calif., was not the least bit shy about telling witnesses not to answer questions from Republican Committee members.

But even though House Democrats denied due process to President Trump and House Republicans, Pelosi insists on fairness for Democrats in the Republican-controlled Senate phase, apparently believing that she controls the Senate, too.

It is appropriate to ask, if Trump is such a bad president, and if he has actually done anything warranting impeachment and removal from office, why wouldn’t Democrats make sure the process is excruciatingly fair and just to preclude claims of bias and discrimination? Because their case is paper thin. Due process was tossed out to make their job easier.

Contrary to Trump’s insistence, the phone call with Ukraine President Zelensky, a major focus of Democrats, was not perfect. But it was not a quid pro quo, nor was it bribery. Zelensky denies being pressured; he did not know the aid was being withheld until after the call; all of the aid was provided, and all but a little of it was provided on time.

The thing that got this case started, the so-called “whistleblower,” was not in on the phone call, and only knew what he/she heard about the call from others: hearsay. Most Democrat witnesses were unable to provide anything other than hearsay, deeply held hopes and wishes, exaggerations and no real or persuasive evidence. This explains why Democrat leaders are so afraid for the whistleblower to testify. 

They don’t admit that, of course. Instead, they say they don’t want him/her to become a target. However, a whistleblower’s identity is not protected; he/she is protected only from workplace retaliation, and is not protected from testifying, or from criminal charges, if appropriate.

Congress approved the foreign aid to Ukraine. However, most people understand the president has the duty to ascertain that the country receiving our money is behaving appropriately. 

Democrats allege that Trump held up aid unless Ukraine did certain things, including looking into possible corruption involving then-Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter, who had an extraordinarily odd relationship with a Ukrainian company.

Using the fact that Joe Biden is a potential Trump opponent for the presidency, they assert that Trump wanted to investigate a political rival. However, at the time, Biden was just one of 24 Democrats seeking the nomination, not THE nominee, thus not yet really a political rival. Further, being a political rival does not immunize one from investigation of possible corruption.

Biden admitted — bragged about — withholding aid to Ukraine when he was Vice President unless a Ukrainian prosecutor, who was looking into the company that paid Biden’s son millions to be on its board of directors, was fired. The prosecutor was fired. The video of Biden telling this story has been played frequently, and that this occurred is not in question.

Biden actually issued a real quid pro quo, and bragged about doing so. And, the relationship between the Ukrainian company and the Vice President’s son was a legitimate focus of an investigation of corruption in Ukraine involving Joe and Hunter prior to the 2016 election.

This entire exercise appears to be a hard-feelings effort to undo the legitimate election of Donald Trump to the presidency. Its credibility is further damaged by talk of impeachment back when Trump was still a candidate, and again the day after the election, before he was sworn in.

Texas Democrat Rep. Al Green said, “I’m concerned if we don’t impeach this president, he will get re-elected.” The fear of losing again in 2020 is not grounds for impeachment. He also said that if Trump wins in 2020, he can be impeached again. And Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-NY, said: “Our next election is at risk … That is why we must act now.”

Leaving aside for the moment the impeachment, things are going pretty well for our country. Even CNN, a ranking anti-Trump network, acknowledged that the US economy has earned its highest ratings in almost two decades. 

Too much success is bad for the Democrats, and demands impeachment.

Friday, December 20, 2019

We should embrace and build on America’s traditional values

Today’s political atmosphere is toxic. It is filled with hard feelings, bad intentions, exaggeration, insults, misunderstandings, and more. People on one side of the political spectrum often automatically write off people on the other side simply because they hold different opinions.

It is difficult to have a calm, rational discussion about the differences, as some are offended or angered with the mere prospect of coming face to face with ideas that are different than their own. In this atmosphere, details get lost in the noise, and the essence of the broad philosophies of each side, which need to be discussed, compared and evaluated, lie there ignored while the battle rages.

Those on the political right, conservatives, hold to a set of principles that should not scare or anger anyone. They are practical concepts to which our country has subscribed for many decades, such as: free enterprise, limited government, individual freedom, traditional American values and strong national defense.

Here, stated more broadly, are those conservative principles:

1. The federal government exists to preserve life, liberty and property, and it is instituted to protect the rights of individuals according to natural law. Among these rights are the sanctity of life; the freedom of speech, religion, the press, and assembly; the right to bear arms; the right of individuals to be treated equally and justly under the law; and to enjoy the fruits of one’s labor.

2. The federal government’s powers are limited to those named in the Constitution and should be exercised solely to protect the rights of its citizens. As Thomas Jefferson said, “The government closest to the people serves the people best.” Powers not delegated to the federal government, nor prohibited by the Constitution, are reserved to the states or to the people.

3. Judges should interpret and apply our laws and the Constitution based on their original meaning, not upon judges’ personal and political predispositions.

4. Individuals and families—not government—make the best decisions regarding their and their children’s health, education, jobs, and welfare.

5. The family is the essential foundation of civil society, and traditional marriage serves as the cornerstone of the family.

6. The federal deficit and debt must not place unreasonable financial burdens on future generations.

7. Tax policies should raise only the minimum revenue necessary to fund constitutionally appropriate functions of government.

8. America’s economy and the prosperity of individual citizens are best served by a system of free enterprise, with special emphasis on economic freedom, private property rights, and the rule of law. This system is best sustained by policies promoting free trade and deregulation, and opposing government interventions in the economy that distort markets and impair innovation.

9. Regulations must not breach constitutional principles of limited government and the separation of powers.

10. America must be a welcoming nation—one that promotes patriotic assimilation and is governed by laws that are fair, humane, and enforced to protect its citizens.

11. Justice requires an efficient, fair, and effective criminal justice system—one that gives defendants adequate due process and requires an appropriate degree of criminal intent to merit punishment.

12. International agreements and international organizations should not infringe on American’s constitutional rights, nor should they diminish American sovereignty.

13. America is strongest when our policies protect our national interests, preserve our alliances of free peoples, vigorously counter threats to our security, and advance prosperity through economic freedom at home and abroad.

14. The best way to ensure peace is through a strong national defense.”

Contrary to the common narrative, conservatives who hold these principles are not racist. They are not xenophobic, or homophobic, or sexist, or white-nationalistic. Those mischaracterizations come from political antagonists who either don’t make the effort to understand conservative principles, and instead react emotionally. Others deliberately twist their meanings in an effort to delegitimize them, hoping to demonize the opposition and generate support for their own rebellious ideas.

Those 14 principles, “True North: The Principles of Conservatism,” were articulated by The Heritage Foundation, and have in their favor ages of proven success. It was upon these steadfast, common sense principles that the United States of America was established, and upon which it became the great nation that it is.

Rather than working to further improve the American system, an opposition force works to tear it down and replace these solid, proven principles with historically unsuccessful and dangerous principles of socialist and communist systems that have failed wherever they have been tried.

Democrat socialists won’t admit that socialism is their goal, saying that they really don’t want full-blown socialism, only certain desirable parts of it.

But socialistic methods are a slippery slope, and once a nation is well down the slope, escape is virtually impossible. For a real life, contemporary example, review the recent history of Venezuela.

During the 1970s, Venezuela was the richest country in Latin America, and one of the most stable democracies in the Americas. Then came the election of President Hugo Ch├ívez, who propagated "socialism for the 21st century," which was about establishing liberty, equality, social justice, and solidarity. 

Today, Venezuela is the third least free economy in the world, ahead of only Cuba and North Korea.

Thursday, December 12, 2019

Impeachment effort is falling short of Constitutional standards

Democrats have wanted to impeach President Donald Trump for a long time. Here is some background on the process.

Impeachment allows Congress to remove the President, Vice President or any civil officer of the United States. This is the fourth attempted impeachment of a president in our history. 

The Constitution says the House of Representatives may begin impeachment proceedings when it believes some official has committed treason, bribery, or a high crime or misdemeanor. Treason and bribery are well defined. However, high crimes and misdemeanors are not well defined.

After investigation the House may vote to impeach. If the measure passes, the U.S. Senate holds a trial, and if it convicts the accused, he or she is removed from office and may not hold any such U.S. office in the future. If the Senate does not convict, the impeached official remains in office.

In reality, the House can impeach an official merely by voting to do so, whether or not an impeachable offense has been proved, or even identified. All that is important is whether the vote to impeach passes. Such a situation, however, is not what the Constitution intends. 

Enemies of Donald Trump began calling for his impeachment immediately after he won the 2016 presidential election and before he had even taken the oath of office. Investigations of him and his campaign began in July 2016, when the FBI began investigating Russia’s attempt to influence the 2016 presidential election, including whether Trump’s campaign was involved in those efforts.

Investigations of one sort or another have been going on ever since. The House Judiciary Committee chaired by Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., is now holding hearings on impeachment, following the highly partisan, one-sided episodes in the House Intelligence Committee, chaired by Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif.

Conventional wisdom holds that the House Democrat majority will vote to impeach Trump, but that the Republican controlled Senate will not vote to convict. This means Trump will remain in office, and will run for, and quite possibly win, reelection.

Of the many Trump offenses, real and imagined, the one currently being pursued involves a phone call to Ukrainian President Zelensky. 

During the call, the official transcript shows Trump asking for help in investigating the election irregularities: “I would like you to do us a favor, though, because our country has been through a lot, and Ukraine knows a lot about it. I would like you to find out what happened with this whole situation with Ukraine …”

And later, he asks for assistance with potential corruption on the part of former Vice President, Joe Biden. “The other thing, there’s a lot of talk about Biden’s son, that Biden stopped the prosecution and a lot of people want to find out about that, so whatever you can do with the Attorney General would be great. Biden went around bragging that he stopped the prosecution, so if you can look into it … It sounds horrible to me.”

Congressionally approved financial aid was put on hold prior to the phone call. Democrats think this indicates a “quid pro quo,” a “this for that” arrangement between Trump and Zelensky.

After the term “quid pro quo” failed to get adequate public interest, the charge was changed to bribery. However, in either case, Zelensky would have to be aware that the aid was on hold pending his assistance. For one to be bribed, one must know what the other party wants, and what it will pay for it.

Zelenskyy has at least twice said he was not aware of the aid being put on hold until long after the phone call. Further, the aid was provided, and the investigation of Biden was never done. Zelensky has also denied being pressured to do anything.

During the hearings, witnesses, many of whom had impressive credentials, testified. Like the infamous whistleblower, most were not on the call. Their testimony consisted of what someone told them about the call, or what they imagined had occurred. Two witnesses who were on the call essentially said they didn’t like the content, or were uncomfortable with it.

House Democrats want you to believe that Trump’s behavior as president is impeachable. 

However, a look a history shows that to be a gross exaggeration.

Examples of actual bad behavior include:

* John Adams and Abraham Lincoln suspended habeas corpus, the latter without any congressional approval.

* Andrew Jackson ignored courts and laws and used his power to ethnically cleanse lands that he also sometimes happened to have a financial interest in.

* Teddy Roosevelt threatened American citizens with military intervention.

* Lyndon Johnson asked the FBI and CIA to spy on the Goldwater campaign in 1964, and lied about the Gulf of Tonkin, escalating the Vietnam War. 

None of these presidents faced impeachment.

Lifelong liberal Democrat, Constitutional lawyer and civil libertarian Alan Dershowitz said the following: “There is no case for bribery based on — even if all the allegations against the president were to be proved, which they haven’t been — but even if they were to be proved, it would not constitute the impeachable offense of bribery.”

Democrats, please give it up!

Friday, December 06, 2019

Warnings for America from many years ago are still valid today

In Washington, DC in 2003, there was a conference held on the topic of immigration. The conference was attended by a houseful of great minds, one of whom was college professor, author and presenter Victor Davis Hanson, who had just released his book “Mexifornia.”

Following Hanson’s remarks, former Colorado Governor Dick Lamm warned the crowd of things that will destroy America. 

First, Lamm said, "Turn America into a bilingual or multi-lingual and bicultural country. History shows that no nation can survive the tension, conflict, and antagonism of two or more competing languages and cultures.”

Second, "Invent 'multiculturalism' and encourage immigrants to maintain their culture. I would make it an article of belief that all cultures are equal.”

Third, "We could make the United States a 'Hispanic Quebec' without much effort. The key is to celebrate diversity rather than unity.”

"Fourth, I would make our fastest growing demographic group the least educated. I would add a second underclass [which would be] unassimilated, undereducated, and antagonistic to our population.”

"My fifth point for destroying America would be to get big foundations and business to give these efforts lots of money. I would invest in ethnic identity, and I would establish the cult of 'Victimology.' I would get all minorities to think their lack of success was the fault of the majority. I would start a grievance industry blaming all minority failure on the majority population."

"My sixth plan for America's downfall would include dual citizenship and promote divided loyalties. I would celebrate diversity over unity. I would stress differences rather than similarities. Diverse people worldwide are mostly engaged in hating each other — that is, when they are not killing each other. A diverse, peaceful, or stable society is against most historical precedent. People undervalue the unity! Unity is what it takes to keep a nation together.”

"Next to last, I would place all subjects off limits ~ make it taboo to talk about anything against the cult of 'diversity.' … Words like 'racist' or 'xenophobe' halt discussion and debate."

"Lastly, I would censor Victor Hanson Davis's book “Mexifornia.” His book is dangerous. It exposes the plan to destroy America. If you feel America deserves to be destroyed, don't read that book."

A similar dark prospect was issued by the great radio commentator Paul Harvey four decades earlier. His commentary, “If I Were the Devil,” also dealt with how the United States could be destroyed from within.

Here’s how the devil would do it. “If I were the devil, I wouldn’t be happy until I had seized the ripest apple on the tree — Thee. So, I’d set about however necessary to take over the United States. I’d subvert the churches first — I would begin with a campaign of whispers. With the wisdom of a serpent, I would whisper to you as I whispered to Eve: ‘Do as you please. Do as you please.’”

A little later, he continued, “And then I’d get organized. I’d educate authors in how to make lurid literature exciting, so that anything else would appear dull and uninteresting. I’d threaten TV with dirtier movies and vice versa. I’d pedal narcotics to whom I could. I’d sell alcohol to ladies and gentlemen of distinction. I’d tranquilize the rest with pills.”

And several years before Harvey’s commentary, George Orwell wrote the novel “Nineteen Eighty-Four” that had a similar theme.

“Nineteen Eighty-Four” is not specifically about destroying America, but is still relevant to our country. Orwell tells of an omni-present and dictatorial government which even controls people’s thoughts. This story is the origin of terms like “thought police” and “Big Brother.” Three slogans are engraved in the Ministry of Truth building: "War is peace," "Freedom is slavery," and "Ignorance is strength."

All you have to do is look objectively to see how far down Destruction Road America has been driven. Our government has grown far beyond its intended size and scope. If someone who would turn healthcare over to the government and make things “free” is elected president, it will grow even larger, and control our lives even more.

We already see ideas that millions consider unacceptable, and that run counter to our traditions, being shoved down our throats. We see how the conservative ideas that built America are being treated like a plague. Insults like “racist” and “xenophobe” are tossed around frequently, and recklessly.

One political party favors easy immigration, with its fringe element supporting open borders, sanctuary jurisdictions protecting illegal aliens, and granting them an easy citizenship without needed encouragement for immigrants to become true Americans in thought and deed. 

At the same time, college campuses and schools at lower levels are becoming politically correct indoctrination camps. They encourage students to seek safe spaces that protect them from uncomfortable ideas about being an adult in today’s world, and instructors are encouraged to issue trigger warnings when such “troublesome” ideas are on the classroom agenda. And in many, the fundamentals of America’s founding are no longer taught.

The Left wants us to believe that climate change will consume the world in 12 years, if drastic action isn’t taken. But a true threat facing us is losing our country to subversive ideas.