Our Gangster Government

Waste, fraud and corruption are perennial problems in government. Lately we have seemed to move beyond the misdemeanor level nepotism, overtime abuse, stationary theft level of corruption to felonious actions with seeming impunity. The DoJ malfeasance in the various Clinton scandals is dominating the news right now but is only the tip of the iceberg.

  • DoJ declines to prosecute EPA. The EPA routinely prosecutes individuals for much smaller offenses and failure to report spill but gets a pass for a major spill and failure to report.
  • The nation was aghast that Nixon considered using the IRS against his enemies. The Obama administration actually targeted conservatives. Lois Lerner improperly shared confidential tax data but was allowed to retire with a full pension after a sham investigation headed by an Obama contributor in the DoJ.
  • Destruction of records and perjury is SOP now due to the lack of adverse consequences. Witness the deletion of Clinton’s emails while under subpoena; the destruction of Lois Lerner’s hard drive, VA waiting time records, the false statements cited in the EPA story above and continual slow rolling and denial of FOIA requests.
  • Use of personal email and pseudonyms is never sanctioned or punished by the DoJ. We know Barack Obama, Lisa Jackson, Lois Lerner used pseudonyms. Wikileaks provides some reason to believe this was common practice in the Obama administration.

Clearly the Dept of Justice under the Obama administration has been the most corrupt dept. since the 19th century, perhaps in history.

Our appalling media

In May I had a post detailing some of the incestuous relationships between our media and the government officials they purport to cover. Wikileaks however has shown that the press collusion is not limited to the relatively small number of media representatives with direct ties to our government. A number of the Wikileaks’s documents show much more comprehensive ties and cooperation with the media, the DNC and progressive causes than previously documented.

The media bias this election cycle has been so blatantly obvious – over 90% negative coverage of Trump, the performance of all debate moderators except for Chris Wallace and the limited coverage of the Wikileaks, as to demonstrate the collusion beyond any doubt. However we now have extensive documentation of the ties and close cooperation. It is not a pretty picture. Paul Joseph Watson has an excellent rant (language warning) on what he calls The Pressitutes of the media.

As Glenn Reynolds puts it “If you think of the media as Democrat operatives with bylines you won’t be wrong.” The public is tiring of this Democrat firewall. A Gallup Poll released in September before the Wikileaks and deluge of negative Trump coverage showed public trust in the media at an all time low.

Short of buying a major media outlet, unrealistic for most of us, our only recourse is to maintain a swarm of corrections, bias alerts and coverage on the web and social media.


The GOP internecine war

HRC is the worst possible candidate for POTUS in history. She is incompetent, with no history of accomplishments; she is venal and corrupt and puts her self-interest above national security. The idea that she would be awarded the presidency rather than a prison cell is appalling.

Even more appalling is the behavior of the GOP. Rather than unite in opposition to HRC they have split in warring factions, each trying to position themselves for 2020. The idea seems to be that if the GOP holds the Senate and House they can mitigate the damage of an HRC presidency and elect a “better” candidate next time.

The GOP has controlled the House since 2010 and the Senate since 2012. In that time we have seen no effective rein on the Obama excesses. Why would this change in the event of an HRC presidency? McConnell and Boehner were more interested in marginalizing the Tea Party than reining in an out-of-control executive. Ryan hasn’t shown much change from Boehner.

The GOP base and many independents have gotten fed up with the continual betrayal by the GOP leadership. I think this accounts for the recent polls showing large majority of the GOP electorate still back Trump, even as the GOP “leaders” jump ship. The fact is that for most elected officials it doesn’t matter who is POTUS, or even whether the GOP is majority or minority. Individually, they are not accountable for results, they get the same perks and will get the same lobbying contracts post Congress to feather their nest. They see no personal gain in taking a principled stand.

The principled stand is to keep HRC out of the White House. The DoJ and FBI have failed miserably and shown themselves to be hopelessly corrupt. The burden falls to the American electorate. I think Trump is a terrible candidate and have opposed him from the start; allowing HRC the presidency is much worse however than a loud, lewd buffoon.

The idea that congressional leaders can not endorse Trump but still oppose HRC is fallacious since the election is a binary choice between candidates (Binary because Johnson and Stein are not viable). The choice is HRC or Trump. It’s not a choice between HRC or not HRC; none-of-above is not an option. The only meaningful vote against HRC is a vote for Trump. The conservative who stayed home in 2012 because Romney was not conservative enough helped elect a much less conservative candidate, Obama. We can’t stand a repeat in 2016.

Voters feel betrayed by the GOP, part 87,704

It just amazes me that the GOP leadership in Washington is so oblivious to the mood of the voters and just continues to ignore their ire. I have said for a long time that McConnell and Boehner would do more for the rise of a third party and death of the GOP than any democrat. When the voters elect small government types they are marginalized and ignored  by the leadership. Poll after poll shows the dissatisfaction with congress; Eric Cantor was a more direct message and now the rise of Trump. Never the less they  stagger on like an alcoholic who doesn’t recognize the extent of his problem. This is the just latest Rockefeller gesture from McConnell to the GOP base.

The missing indictment

Although there is some happy talk about how the lack of a Clinton indictment is not all bad news since the facts have been published and this mash-up of Comey and Clinton is getting air time I’m afraid Clinton is still on track for the White House.

An indictment would have ended her candidacy once and for all. Although I don’t think Biden or Sanders is necessarily preferable to Clinton the thought that this venal, corrupt candidate is a legitimate contender for the Presidency is sickening. The only thing between and the white house is the worse GOP candidate in decades. Conservatives may think that Comey’s  litany of charges and facts will prevail in the court of public opinion but I don’t share their optimism. The democrat spinmeisters are already touting her innocence and repeating the phrase “..no reasonable prosecutor..”. The people viewing the video are already not in the Clinton camp. Her supporters won’t watch. In their minds the candidate with the most experience was a bit careless but innocent. We are still in a horse race with an uncertain outcome.

The criminality of the Obama administration and Clinton have never been in doubt. The disappointment is that institutions supposed to provide the necessary checks on these abuses have failed so miserably. The Roberts’ vote on ObamaCare and now the feckless FBI investigation of Clinton are travesties that will take decades, if ever to recover from.

Checks and Balances

Claudia Rosett has an interesting piece on why Obama has not fired Ben Rhodes. I would like to expand on one of her comments

Yes, America’s system comes with checks and balances. But these depend on more than the written codes. They also depend on a basic measure of good faith from the chief executive,

The Obama administration has done a marvelous job of exposing the weaknesses in the American system. The chief flaw is that Congress has limited control of the executive in the absence of good faith actors. The president is not the only one required to act in good faith. The attorney general and members of Congress take an oath to uphold the constitution. When they fail to live up to that oath we have very limited checks on the chief executive.

The other key component in our system of checks and balances is a free and vibrant press, a right so important it is enshrined in the first amendment to the constitution. Although not under oath to uphold the constitution the press must act in good faith as well as government officials in order for our system of checks and balances to work.

Unfortunately very few of this administration, the Democrats in Congress or the press have acted in good faith during Obama’s two terms in office. Its instructive to compare recent Obama scandals with Watergate to see the lack of good faith.

Following the arrest of the Watergate burglars in June, 1972 until Nixon’s resignation in August of 1974 there was almost continuous coverage of the scandal. This coverage included live coverage of the Senate hearings as well as the now legendary investigative work of Woodward and Bernstein, among others. It was impossible for the public to not be aware of the scandal and issues. This coverage created a sensitivity in the public that when Archibald Cox was fired in the “Saturday Night Massacre” a plurality of Americans supported impeachment of Nixon.

Contrast that continuous coverage with the paucity of coverage for recent Obama scandals, particularly the IRS and Benghazi. There are a number of factors that create the differential treatment.

The 1970’s press had tremendous animus toward Nixon. The press was only too happy to keep the spotlight on Nixon and committed significant investigative resources to the scandal. The current media by contrast are heavily invested in Obama and generally support his broad policies. Not a single member of the current White House Press Corps is a registered Republican.

The incestuous relationship between the major media organizations and the Obama administration is unprecedented. The major ties are:

CBS: Ben Rhodes, Deputy National Security Advisor is the the brother of David Rhodes, head of CBS News.

ABC: Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall, currently Deputy Secretary Dept. of Energy and formerly Special Assistant to BHO is the sister of Ben Sherwood, formerly head of ABC News and currently President of Disney-ABC Television group. Jay Carney, former Press Secretary to President Obama is married to ABC News correspondent Clare Shipman. George Stephanopolous, chief anchor at ABC NEws, co-host of Good Morning American and host of the This Week is former Communications Director for President Clinton and a contributor to the Clinton Foundation. Katie Hogan, who has had several roles in the Obama campaigns and White House is currently Head of Organizing for American and married to ABC correspondent Matthew Jaffe.

CNNTom Nides, former Deputy Secretary of State for Hillary Clinton is married to Virginia Moseley, VP and Washington Bureau Chief for CNN.

Is it any wonder that the major media outlets have no interest in providing the same level of scrutiny for the Obama scandals they used with Nixon? Clearly one of the key checks on abusive government, a free press informing the public, is absent.

Other hallmarks of the Watergate scandal that are absent today are an Attorney General acting in good faith and congressional members of the president’s party acting in the best interest of the country.

The Attorney General under Nixon, Eliot Richardson, appointed a truly independent special prosecutor, Archibald Cox, to investigate Watergate. Richardson later refused to fire Cox at Nixon’s command and resigned his post in protest. This series of events is referred to as the “Saturday Night Massacre”. Contrast that behavior with Holder and Lynch’s conduct as AG. An Obama donor and DOJ attorney, Barbara Bosserman, to lead the investigation of the IRS targeting scandal. Unsurprisingly, no charges were ever filed. Lynch as continued this conflict of interest with the Clinton email scandal, again failing to provide independent investigation.

The third significant difference between Watergate and the current scandals is the behavior of the Democrat congressional delegations. The GOP, in the minority in Congress during Watergate provided the bipartisan support needed for the public to embrace the investigation. In fact, the GOP counsel to the Senate Watergate Investigation Committee, Donald Sanders first learned of the white house taping system and informed the committee; counsel Fred Thompson was the first to publicly raise the issue of the taping system. Contrast that behavior with the behavior of democrats, such as Eljiah Cummings who has protested, interfered with and denigrated the work of the House Benghazi committee. We have seen no evidence that current Democrats have the integrity of individuals such as Howard Baker during Watergate.

In the end, our system of checks and balances relies on good faith participation by a number of actors. Congress is relatively powerless against a determined executive with effective media cover.


The logic of Trump supporters

The underlying issue in this election for the GOP has been extreme dissatisfaction the GOP base have with the leadership in Washington. The nation turned the house over to the GOP after only four years of Democrat control. This was an obvious attempt to gain control of the purse. This was followed by GOP gaining control of the Senate. A number of Tea Party stalwarts were elected to both houses. Not only have McConnell and Boehner failed to respond to the wishes of the electorate but have carried out vendettas against the Tea Party supporters. So we arrive at the 2016 election cycle with tremendous anger and frustration from the GOP base.

In my mind this would lead to candidates that are not part of the Washington establishment, responsible to the voters, not the Chamber of Commerce, committed to smaller government and fiscal conservatives prepared to fight for these principles. How we take these criteria and wind up with Donald Trump as the leading candidate escapes me.

Trump is the ultimate insider. The fact that he has not been elected to office does not change this fact. His whole persona is currying favor with political insiders – large campaign contributions, support for the politicians’ causes, such as Planned Parent Hood, golf invitations among other tactics. The recent Boehner comments that he and Trump were golf and text buddies demonstrate beyond any doubt Trump’s status as an insider and part of the Washington establishment. The fact that he is the ultimate insider perceived as an outsider by the Trumpkins is proof of their cognitive dissonance.

I saw one interview with a Trump supporter who said he favored Trump because he was a fighter, he would fight for the little guy. How you can look at his record and believe Trump will fight for anything other than Trump? His record certainly doesn’t support his claim to be a champion of the little guy. You might ask the 300 American workers who applied for jobs at his Mar A Lago club in Florida but were passed over for foreign workers. You might ask the 5000 former students at Trump University who are the basis for the fraud case going forward in New York. There are two other federal cases pending on similar charges. You might ask Vera Coking who had to fight Trump’s use of eminent domain to take her house for a limo parking lot. This belief that Trump will fight for the little guy because he says he will build a huge wall on Mexico’s dime is a triumph of hope over experience.

This cognitive dissonance and hope over experience escape me but this is the logic behind his rabid support.



The Case Against Trump part 2

Inevitability – not

Trump would like you to believe that he has a commanding lead and is far away the peoples’ choice. He should have the nomination by acclamation at this point. The facts are somewhat different.


Trump has also complained that he was penalized by the large field early in the primary process. As the field has narrowed however his share of the votes have not changed significantly. He remains in the 35 – 40% range of the vote. Clearly the votes previously going to Rubio, Bush et al have not gone en masse to The Donald. Trump has not gotten over 50% of the vote in any state, although that will probably change in his home state of NY. There seems to be a ceiling on his support and his negatives are the worst of any leading candidate.

His bluster relies on amnesia of past campaigns to suggest he is the “Peoples choice” and the requirement for a majority of the delegates should be waived for some reason. Facts do not support his claim to inevitability or popularity.