Senator DeMint, and Heritage

I’ve been trying to not be quite as driven by the daily news here. I’m sure it’s not all that good for me, and likely is not for you, either, and in any case, it’s certainly not hard to find. So today will be sort of an exception. Last night I (and no doubt millions of others) received an email from Tom Saunders, Chairman of the Board of Trustees, at the Heritage Foundation. It said, in part,

Dave,

The Heritage Foundation’s Board of Trustees, by a unanimous vote, has asked for and received the resignation of Jim DeMint as president and CEO of the organization. The Board elected Heritage Founder Ed Feulner as president and CEO while we conduct a thorough search for his successor.

After a comprehensive and independent review of the entire Heritage organization, the Board determined there were significant and worsening management issues that led to a breakdown of internal communications and cooperation. While the organization has seen many successes, Jim DeMint and a handful of his closest advisers failed to resolve these problems.

This was a difficult and necessary decision for the Board to take. As trustees, we have governance and oversight responsibilities for this organization and our 500,000 members.  We were compelled to take action.

Heritage has never been about one individual, but rather the power of conservative ideas. Heritage is bigger than any one person.

As Chairman of the Board, I wholeheartedly endorse this change. It will make Heritage stronger in the short term and the long run.

Heritage is a permanent policy research institution fighting for conservative ideas, as Ed Feulner often reminds us. We remain committed, as ever, to the principles that have made America great: free enterprise; limited government; individual freedom; traditional American values; and a strong national defense. This will continue under the leadership of Ed and his successor.

Feulner led Heritage for more than three decades and returns to our organization after serving on President Trump’s transition team.

Well, one thing he’s right about, they did a crappy job of keeping this mess of their making a secret. I wasn’t surprised, because a much more credible source, Mollie Hemingway, wrote of it yesterday. in The Federalist.

The narrative Politico offers, supported by quotes from a single anonymous board member, is that Heritage is in disarray as a result of DeMint’s decisions since taking over several years ago. DeMint destroyed the organization’s brand as an esteemed think tank, prioritized politics over research, and mismanaged the institution’s assets after taking control. As a result, according to this narrative, Heritage Foundation’s executive committee had no choice but to remove DeMint pending a full meeting of the board, which is scheduled to take place on Tuesday morning. DeMint’s five-year contract with Heritage runs out at the end of the year.

That’s the public narrative. The narrative offered independently by multiple sources with intimate knowledge of the ongoing turmoil, several of whom are not particularly sympathetic to DeMint, is quite different. According to these sources, the actual story is the exact opposite of what has thus far been peddled in the media, and it all starts with Ed Feulner’s creation of Heritage Action in 2010 and his decision to let Mike Needham, a brash former Rudy Giuliani operative, control the new operation. Contrary to the media narrative floated last week that DeMint needlessly politicized Heritage and turned it into a brass-knuckle political combat group instead of a policy-focused think tank, these sources say Needham bears much of the blame for politicizing Heritage.

Rather than pushing to make Heritage more political and less focused on producing high-quality policy research, DeMint actually tried to rein in Heritage Action in recent years, as the 501(c)(4) group began racking up enemy after enemy on Capitol Hill without actually putting any congressional policy points on the board. Multiple sources told The Federalist that Needham bristled at DeMint’s repeated attempts to assert control over the splinter organization and began plotting to overthrow DeMint once it became clear that the former South Carolina senator had no desire to outsource control of the think tank to the 30-something political operative with no policy background. At one point, a high-placed source told The Federalist, Needham personally confronted DeMint and his team and told them that DeMint was done, that Needham himself would be taking over the organization.

To be sure, nobody thinks DeMint was blameless. Sources indicate he was slow to develop relationships with board members, arguably reorganized the building too quickly, and didn’t see the threat that Heritage Action posed to the Heritage brand until it was too late. While there is much blame to go around for the failure of Republicans to repeal and replace Obamacare, some critics wished Heritage had a successful plan ready to go when the 115th Congress convened.

On Monday afternoon Feulner, who regained effective operational control of Heritage late last week, placed James Wallner, the widely respected head of research at Heritage, on administrative leave after Wallner publicly defended Heritage researchers and the organization’s research projects in the wake of last week’s coup rumors going public. According to a senior official in the Heritage human resources department, Wallner was told to leave the premises immediately and was never given a reason by Heritage brass for its decision.

The reason I became an email subscriber to Heritage years ago was because of its reputation for solid research, and a non-partisan approach, while maintaining a conservative view. I had noticed in the last year that this was subtly changing, and it concerned me. Well, now it is done, and as far as I am concerned so is the utility of Heritage, it is simply another lobbyist group, run by Trump partisans, not conservatives.

A very sad day.

Trump, the Media, the People, and the Party of McKinley

A horrible, terrible, doubleplusungood video taken apart by the good guys at Right Angle

Yep, I struggled through it too, so you don’t have to. It’s at least as bad as they said. But that’s not all that surprising.

HT: Ace. Yep, it’s true, too

Then there is this:

In the new poll, roughly half (51 percent) of Americans said the national political media “is out of touch with everyday Americans,” compared with 28 percent who said it “understand the issues everyday Americans are facing.”

President Donald Trump, a frequent public antagonist of the press and the first president in 36 years to skip the confab, is also slightly more trusted than the national political media. Thirty-seven percent of Americans said they trusted Trump’s White House to tell the truth, while 29 percent opted for the media.

I’d be inclined to say that an 8% advantage when the press has been bloviating (mostly falsely) about him, for a solid year is not really slight, but I suppose your mileage may vary.

Only 38 percent said they have “a lot” or “some” trust in the media covering Trump’s White House fairly, compared with about half (52 percent) who said they didn’t have much or none at all. Almost half (48 percent) also said they thought the media has been harder on Trump than other past presidential administrations. […]

But the media also scored low marks among independents, with more than half saying they didn’t trust national news outlets to cover the White House fairly and that they trusted Trump more. Roughly half (49 percent) also said the media was out of touch and 43 percent said outlets had been harder on Trump than other presidents.

Trump’s critiques of the media, which he commonly derides as “fake news” also seems to have struck a chord with Americans. A plurality (42 percent) said they see fake news in national newspapers or network news broadcasts more than once or about once a day. About 3 in 10 (31 percent) said they saw fake news from those sources once every few days, once a week or slightly less often than that.

Nothing new in any of that. Any of us that are old enough saw it all happen before during Reagan’s term. By the way, my British friends say the same thing with the added fillip that they are required to pay for the BBC if they watch anybody’s television. Ain’t that special? Yeah, essentially, “It’s a tax,” as our Supreme Court might say.

And that brings up something. I’m not really the type of guy that is likely to support Trump. I never cared for him in the private sector, nor in the primary. Did I vote for him? Yep, but that has more to do with Hillary Clinton than Donald Trump. But now, while I think he’s doing a pretty decent job, I’m finding myself defending him more than I normally would, because of all the unwarranted (and often personal) attacks. I doubt I’m the only one. So a lot of what the left is accomplishing is to make sure that Trump will have a second term. For that matter, if the Republicans in Congress don’t get a clue, they make be looking for some of those lovely, lovely lobbyist jobs, even before the 2020 elections.

And this too may be true, from Scott at PowerLine.

My friend Charles Kesler is a learned and a witty man. He is the Dengler-Dykema Distinguished Professor of Government at Claremont McKenna College and presides over the Claremont Review of Books as its editor. He puts his his historical knowledge to use in postulating a theory of Trump for readers of the New York Times in — hold on to your hat! — “Donald Trump is a real Republican, and that’s a good thing.” Wait, you can’t say that in the Times without preparing readers for some kind of shock, can you?

What the headline terms a “real Republican” is, on Professor Kesler’s theory, a throwback to “the pre-New Deal, pre-Cold War party of William McKinley and Coolidge, with its roots in the party of Abraham Lincoln.” Professor Kesler explains:

Mr. Trump’s policies suggest that what he calls his “common sense” conservatism harks back to the principles and agenda of the old Republican Party, which reached its peak before the New Deal.

In those days the party stood for protective tariffs, immigration tied to assimilation (or what Theodore Roosevelt called Americanization), judges prepared to strike down state and sometimes federal laws encroaching on constitutional limitations, tax cuts, internal improvements (infrastructure spending, in today’s parlance) and a firm but restrained foreign policy tailored to the defense of the national interest. Are these not the main elements of Trump administration policies?

It’s not that Mr. Trump set out consciously to return the Republican Party to its roots. By temperament and style he’s more attracted to President Andrew Jackson, whose portrait now hangs in the Oval Office. “I’m a fan,” he said after visiting Jackson’s home, the Hermitage, near Nashville, in March. It’s more likely that his own independent reading of our situation led him to similar conclusions and to similar ways of thinking.

That is not a bad theory based on what I have seen in the last few months, and if correct, well I think we can live through that quite handily. Nothing new under the sun, and it worked pretty well back then. After all, that’s how we got the Roaring 20s.

Dana Loesch Takes Aim, Ralph, and Sumdood

Make popcorn, make a lot of popcorn, because the United States’ largest and most effective civil rights group, the NRA has decided to take on that gray purveyor of fake news, the New York Times.

How refreshing!

Then there’s Ralph. One of the blogs I enjoy most is The Adaptive Curmudgeon, perhaps because we are brothers from another mother or something, because he so often corrals what I’m thinking, often better than I do. Such it is with Ralph.

[…] There’s a significant portion of the populace that gets frustrated when President Trump’s (he won folks!) ideas are fed into the bureaucracy and emerge with a treatment somewhere along a spectrum from ignored, through mangled, and into misdirected. There’s another portion that thinks “thank God the system is correcting against lunacy” and applaud a spectrum from moderate, through adapt, and into mitigate. Same actions, different point of view. People’s opinions invert with laser-like speed whenever a new party takes the reins. That’s your big tell. It’s not fully real.

Never forget; one man’s “gridlock” is another man’s “cautious and measured approach”. Furthermore “bipartisan” can mean a “widely agreed upon common sense solution” or it can mean “a stampede of lemmings”. Sometimes it means “witch hunt”. Same activity, different point of view.

This all leads to my reaction to dark utterances about the nefarious “shadow government” or “deep state”. There’s less than meets the eye. If you’re worried about that particular evil, let it go.

Yes, of course, there’s internal resistance to a new president. People don’t like change. I get it. I’m still pissed about automatic transmissions and fuel injected engines. Change is hard. […]

Keep going, this is some of the best stuff, I’ve read in years. How do I know? When the story of a fictional bureaucrat inspires comments that range from Hannah Arendt on Himmler, to Chesterton speaking as the devil, the movie Brazil, read this, and I mean the whole thing well your education is not complete until you have, hit the tip jar too, eloquence should be rewarded. And that brings us to the final thing mentioned in that article, the legend of Sumdood. You really shouldn’t go through life ignorant of one of the largest of American legends.

“So what happened, man?” I ask the guy as I shine a penlight into his eyes, checking his pupillary responses.

“Got hit,” mumbles the guy, stating the obvious. With one hand, he’s holding the absorbent gauze pad I’ve given him against the big laceration on the side of his head, as he absentmindedly tugs his shorts up with the other. Not too far up, mind you – just enough to perch precariously on his ass cheeks and still leave about four inches of boxers showing. Scalp wound and abrasions be damned, he has street fashion to consider.

“I meant, what happened exactly,” I explain patiently, suppressing the urge to roll my eyes. I palpate the back of his neck. “What did they hit you with, and did you get knocked out?”

“Hell no!” he blurts indignantly, pulling away. He starts getting wound up, because now he has a story to tell. He gestures animatedly to the porch behind him, and to his buddies currently being interviewed by the police. There is a small crowd gathered on the street. “See, I was just sittin‘ here, kickin‘ it with my peeps, noamsayne? Mindin‘ my own, noamsayne? And then…”

No doubt there were seven of them, far too many for you and your homies to defeat in a stand-up, fair fight.

“Then, dude just drops the brick and runs off!”

Whoa, just one guy! He must have been a baaaaaaaad ass…

“Did you get a look at this guy?” I ask. “Would you recognize him again?” Immediately, his eyes turn shifty and evasive.

“Nah man, I ain’t ever seen dude before,” he lies. “He just some dude.”

Sumdood?” I ask with sharpened interest. “You say Sumdood jumped you?”

He’s close, I can feel it. I knew it when the hairs stood up on the back of my neck when I got out of the rig. Evil lurks nearby.

“Yeah man,” the guy confirms. “Some dude.”

“There he is, over there!” the guy’s girlfriend says helpfully, pointing toward the crowd, “just standin‘ over there like he ain’t did nuthin‘!”

Shhh, don’t point at him!” I hiss, pulling her arm down. “Just be cool, a’ight?”

Aww girl, that ain’t him,” the guy says, feigning disgust. “Siddown and shut yo mouf.” […]

Take the time, read those links, you need this information.

Swamp Status: Undrained

Well, how about some videos on our problems?

or this

This, however, I do like quite a lot

If you’ve never visited our National Battlefield Parks, you really should. These are some of the places where our history was made. Names that ring down history, Gettysburg, Vicksburg, Harper’s Ferry, Little Big Horn, and so many others. If your reflective in these places, you can almost still see the shades of the soldiers. And you know, it’s something uniquely American, nobody else has ever done this. It’s very moving and very cool.

The Pony in the Manure

Clarice Feldman at American Thinker has an article up summarizing the mess regarding the intelligence community. It’s a good one. If you care about America and/or the world, I’d advise you to read it, and try to understand it as well. Here’s a bit

There’s so much in print and online about the House and Senate intelligence committees and Russian “collusion” with Trump that I can’t blame people with real lives to lead who just throw their hands up and garden or go hiking. Some will assume there’s got to be a pony in there somewhere, as Ronald Reagan used to joke about the kid digging through manure. I think there is, but it isn’t that Russia corrupted the 2016 election, it’s that Obama and his closest aides, including some at the highest level in the intelligence community, illegally intercepted one or more Republican candidates’ communications before the election, circulated them widely to their cohorts and then tried to use this information to defeat and later to hamstring Trump when Hillary — to their surprise — lost the election.

I also suspect that the attacks on Flynn have nothing to do with his Russian contacts which he disclosed, but, rather, to misdeeds respecting the Middle East, particularly Iran, the country he observed as Obama’s head of the DIA.

The Surveillance and “Unmasking” of Trump and his Associates 

We learned this week that surveillance of Trump began long before he was the Republican nominee, and that the names in the intercepted communications were “unmasked” — that is, identified by name or context — by someone high up in the intelligence community.

In addition, citizens affiliated with Trump’s team who were unmasked were not associated with any intelligence about Russia or other foreign intelligence, sources confirmed. The initial unmasking led to other surveillance, which led to other private citizens being wrongly unmasked, sources said.

“Unmasking is not unprecedented, but unmasking for political purposes… specifically of Trump transition team members… is highly suspect and questionable,” an intelligence source told Fox News. “Opposition by some in the intelligence agencies who were very connected to the Obama and Clinton teams was strong. After Trump was elected, they decided they were going to ruin his presidency by picking them off one by one.”

Nunes and Surveillance Reports

The best summation of this week’s distraction — respecting chairman of the House intelligence committee, Devin Nunes — is Victor Davis Hanson’s which I urge those of you interested to read in its entirety. [I do too, Neo]

First, the central question remains who leaked what classified information for what reasons; second, since when is it improper or even unwise for an apprehensive intelligence official to bring information of some importance to the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee for external review — in a climate of endemic distrust of all intelligence agencies?[snip] Nunes also said that the surveillance shown to him “was essentially a lot of information on the President-elect and his transition team and what they were doing.” Further, he suggested that the surveillance may have involved high-level Obama officials. When a reporter at Nunes’ second March 22 press conference asked, “Can you rule out the possibility that senior Obama-administration officials were involved in this?” Nunes replied, “No, we cannot.” Ipso facto these are startling disclosures of historical proportions — if true, of an anti-constitutional magnitude comparable to Watergate. Given the stakes, we should expect hysteria to follow, and it has followed. [snip]

Some notion of such intrigue, or rather the former nexus between Congress, the Obama administration, the intelligence agencies, and the monitoring of incoming Trump officials, was inadvertently disclosed recently by former Obama-administration Department of Defense deputy assistant secretary and current MSNBC commentator Evelyn Farkas. In an interview that originally aired on March 2 and that was reported on this week by Fox, Farkas seemed to brag on air about her own efforts scrambling to release information on the incoming Trump team’s purported talks with the Russians. Farkas’s revelation might put into context the eleventh-hour Obama effort to more widely disseminate intelligence findings among officials, one that followed even earlier attempts to broaden access to Obama-administration surveillance.

She goes on to specify at least most of the major players and their roles. Do read it, it’s the best rational guidebook to this that I have seen.

Nor do I have much to add except that in my experience, the only reason to overcomplicate and obfuscate almost anything is to avoid responsibility and blame. That what this whole thing reeks of. From the intelligence community, especially CIA, FBI, and NSA, from Clinton, Inc, far beyond the campaign, and from the news media, but then I threepeat myself, for they are all interlocked in so many hidden ways. And as a bit of an aside, this is far more important than any scandal in my lifetime, including Watergate.

Time to muck out the stable, and see if the pony really is there. Nothing really new here, though, Sir Walter Scott observed back around 1808

Oh what a tangled web we weave
When first we practice to deceive.

Day late and a Dollar Short

Story of my life. But I had nothing yesterday for April Fool’s day. But this showed up, and I like it. Remy. Enjoy!

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