Tories; Then and Now

Maggie Thatcher left office 28 years ago yesterday, after being stabbed in the back by her own party. It put them out of power for a generation. But what is her legacy? Well, CNS had a look at that.

After tending her resignation to the Queen and heading home to south London, many expected her to fade from the political stage.

More than five years after her death, however, she remains a towering and controversial figure, and some of her policies are shared by young voters – in some cases, perhaps without them even realizing it.

According to research released this month, young voters showed more support for some positions held by the former prime minister than older ones.

As part of a larger research project being finalized in 2019, the Economic and Social Research Council last September commissioned polling of 600 British citizens between 16 and 79, with questions on how they viewed Thatcher.

Sixty percent of those aged between 25 and 34 said they were in favor of what the survey called Thatcher’s “economic tenets of low regulation, less tax and reduced trade union power,” compared to between 40 and 50 percent of older respondents.

Forty-seven percent of young adults shared “Thatcherite values on law, order and authority,” lagging only slightly behind those aged over 35, where between 54 and 61 percent shared those views.

Looks pretty good to me, like the British have their heads on fairly straight.

A YouGov poll of British adults earlier this year found that 49 percent of respondents aged between 25 and 39 said they would never consider voting Conservative in the next general election.

However, that poll, which was commissioned by the Center of Policy Studies – a think-tank co-founded by Thatcher in the 1970s – also found that the largest section of this group, 27 percent, also thought the government taxes too much and spends too much on services.

By a margin of 44 to 36 percent, more younger voters thought the government should aim for equal opportunities for everyone, rather than equal outcomes.

Well, that’s as may be. I know quite a few British conservatives, most over 39, who say adamantly that they will never again vote for the Conservative Party, even though they’ve voted for it all their lives. Why? Because they are convinced that Theresa May’s government with the connivance of the Conservative Party are thwarting the will of the people (as shown in the referendum). And thereby selling Britain’s sovereignty to the EU in a deal that is actually worse than either leaving with a clean break or staying.

I’ve read most of the paperwork over the last few weeks, and those people that say that are entirely correct. It’s a horrendously bad deal. And the worst part of all is that there is no escape clause, once in force, it’s Hotel California time. You can check in, but you can never leave. Essentially a colony of the EU, with less control of anything than we had in 1775.

So there you have it, a political party that was led by the greatest post-war Prime minister and stabbed her in the back and now seeks to stab Britain itself in the back.

I’m convinced if this deal that this dreadful Prime Minister has allowed the ‘deep state’, known in Britain as the Civil Service, goes through, the members will kill, without regret, the Conservative Party.

There are some honorable Tories in the Parliament, but whether there are enough to stave off this catastrophe, is the question of the decade.

Too bad Britain doesn’t have a conservative party.

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Kavanaugh, the Tories, and Brexit

If you haven’t heard the FBI report is in, the Senators will be reading it today (or not, given that a fair number just don’t care), McConnel has called for cloture, which vote will happen tomorrow, and the confirmation vote over the weekend. Good. That doesn’t mean we can relax, in less than five weeks, we vote, and we have the option to continue “draining the Swamp”. Use it.

How about some videos today, they just keep on accumulating.

This week, while we have been immersed in the witch hunt of Brett Kavanaugh, the Tory party in Britain has been holding its annual conference. The Tories are quite reminiscent to me, at least, of our Republicans circa 2012. No, that is not a compliment, no matter what Mitt Romney thinks.

But they are what they are, and what they are is the best chance for the UK to again become a sovereign nation. Three speeches: the first from the Attorney General, who, I know little about except he gives a good speech.

Then there was the Prime Minister.

Meh. It’s a good, well-crafted speech, congratulations to her speechwriters. Does she really believe a word of it? I have no clue. My considered opinion of her is that she is an overpromoted bureaucrat, not really a bad person, but well beyond her level of competence. Not unusual here, either, of course. In fact, not far from my assessment of Barack Obama.  Maybe she missed her calling as a backup dancer for ABBA. In short, far better than Jeremy Corbyn, but Britain needs so much more.

Then there is Boris Johnson.

Well, what can one say, he is neither Churchill nor Trump. But Trump did say when he was in England that he’d be an excellent PM. I think so too. My small ‘c’ conservative friends in England keep talking about UKIP. I’m sympathetic, I like what Batten is doing with the party too. But, and it is a huge but, Brexit needs to happen in six months, and likely without a general election.

That means it is up to the Tories, helped by the DUP. In my opinion, May will not get the job done, not least because she doesn’t want to get the job done. Boris likely would. Yes, he lacks gravitas, whatever that chimerical quality is, yes, his past is checkered, yes he’s a bit of a loose cannon. All are just as true of Trump

So what? The mission is Brexit. The mission is not to have a dignified quiet Prime Minister. Nor is the mission to build UKIP, desirable as that might be.

The Mission for our cousins is Brexit.

To resume their proper place in the world.

My advice to the cousins is to ditch May, now, not next week and put Boris in. Along with a team, including Jacob Rees-Mogg, and others who believe in Brexit, and get the job done. And you know, he was a pretty decent mayor of London, not many other Tories can say that.

Long term, I would support UKIP, because unless the electorate has gone as nuts as our left wing has, Labour has had its day, and an opposition party is necessary.

And since we don’t know all that much about it, how about Jacob Rees-Mogg on the European Union at Oxford.

Anniversaries

Seventeen years ago today the World Trade Center was hit. It was a disaster visited on us on the scale of Pearl Harbor, made worse because its victims were civilians. It was also an intelligence failure, the perpetrators should have been easy to catch, all were what we now call ‘known wolves’. Our government ignored the warnings.

And so began the so-called Global War on Terror.

Other than the Kabuki theater of airport security, and the invasion of American’s rights by our government, there have been two campaigns. One in Afghanistan and one in Iraq. Neither has been successful, although Iraq came close before Obama ordered the big bug out.

But it has kept a lot of money flowing from the government to a lot of special interests. Seventeen years is a long time – if we can’t win a war against some 7th-century tribesman (and there are legitimate reasons why that is harder than a modern society) in that time, well, maybe we should just call it a day. We can always blow it up again when they get out of line.

No real shame in that. Alexander the Great couldn’t get it done, neither could the British Empire at its height, or the Soviet Union. It’s a quagmire and a money pit.

But six years ago, we saw the results of feckless leadership, we saw it in Benghazi.  Daniel John Sobieski wrote about it for American Thinker.

The arrogance of the man who lied to the parents of the Benghazi dead in front of their sons’ caskets as they were returned to the country they fought for is mind-boggling.  As he attempted to rewrite many chapters of his failed presidency in a speech at the University of Illinois, he called the accurate and documented reports of the criminal negligence of secretary of state Hillary Clinton and himself during the September 11, 2012 terrorist attack on our Benghazi compound a mere “conspiracy theory.”

Conspiracy theories don’t produce body bags, sir, but perhaps you don’t remember that night all too well because you spent the time four brave Americans were being killed under your command in Libya readying up for a Las Vegas fundraiser.

Kris Paronto, former Army Ranger and CIA contractor who fought with his colleagues on the roof of the CIA annex in Benghazi, remembers that night and tweeted his response to the then-president’s arrogant and dismissive ridicule of their sacrifice and your incompetence:

Benghazi is a conspiracy @BarackObama ?! How bout we do this,let’s put your cowardly ass on the top of a roof with 6 of your buddies & shoot rpg’s & Ak47’s at you while terrorists lob 81mm mortars killing 2 of your buddies all while waiting for US support that you never sent

Obama and Hillary had plenty of warnings that the security at Benghazi was woefully inadequate, that the compound was swimming in an ocean of terrorist training camps.  They ignored these warnings, and when the attack happened, they did nothing when a rescue mission could have been mounted.  Instead, stand-down orders were given to would-be rescuers, and following the attack, the infamous video lie was concocted and spread over the airwaves, with President Obama repeating it no fewer than six times in a speech before the United Nations.

Hicks, the last man to speak to Ambassador Chris Stevens, has exposed the video lie, documenting how he told Hillary’s State Department what was happening in real time that fateful night and how her State Department ignored warnings from Chris Stevens and others about the gathering terrorist storm and the woeful  lack of security.

Now retired, private citizen Hicks goes farther, telling Fox News Hillary Clinton broke laws while condemning four Americans to death at the hands of terrorists:

Just as the Constitution makes national security the President’s highest priority, U.S. law mandates the secretary of state to develop and implement policies and programs “to provide for the security … of all United States personnel on official duty abroad.”

This includes not only the State Department employees, but also the CIA officers in Benghazi on Sept. 11, 2012.  And the Benghazi record is clear: Secretary Clinton failed to provide adequate security for U.S. government personnel assigned to Benghazi and Tripoli.

The Benghazi Committee’s report graphically illustrates the magnitude of her failure.  It states that during August 2012, the State Department reduced the number of U.S. security personnel assigned to the Embassy in Tripoli from 34 (1.5 security officers per diplomat) to 6 (1 security officer per 4.5 diplomats), despite a rapidly deteriorating security situation in both Tripoli and Benghazi.  Thus, according to the Report, “there were no surplus security agents” to travel to Benghazi with Amb. Stevens “without leaving the Embassy in Tripoli at severe risk.”

Keep reading, there’s more at the link.

This is the action of at best, a feckless, but more likely seditious, if not actually treasonous government. This is the history of the so-called deep state, and why it must be rooted out. It is not American government as we have known it. I’m not sure what label to apply to it, but I want nothing like it in America.

It is the major threat to the liberty of America, and Americans.

Who’s Fish Is It?

Greg Walcher from The American Spectator wants to know. So do I, So does President Trump. Here’s why.

[R]estaurant owners may know that open-faced sandwiches are regulated by the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA), part of the Department of Health and Human Services. But if a second piece of bread is added on top, it is regulated by the Department of Agriculture (USDA). That’s because the USDA has a very specific definition of a sandwich: two slices of bread with the meat in the middle. So, is a hot dog a sandwich? The National Hot Dog and Sausage Council says no, but the State of California says yes. How about a burrito? Massachusetts ruled that a burrito is not a sandwich, but New York says it is. A cheese pizza is regulated by the FDA, but add pepperoni and it becomes a USDA matter. When you make an omelet, FDA regulates the eggs you crack, but if you pour liquid eggs from a carton, it’s USDA.

Regulations can be confusing, sometimes because of vague wording, but often because of overlapping jurisdictions. It is not always obvious who is in charge. Clean water rules are under the jurisdiction of the EPA, but projects that might affect stream water require permits from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. A salmon or sturgeon swimming in the ocean is under the jurisdiction of the National Marine Fisheries Service, part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce. But if the same fish swims upstream into a river, it becomes province of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, part of the Interior Department.

Pundits have made fun of such regulatory silliness for years. Hillary Clinton joked about the sandwich rules when running for the Senate 18 years ago. At least two presidents have cited the weird pizza rules, yet nobody did anything about the regulatory mess.

That is the impetus behind a new Trump Administration government reorganization proposal, which could have a dramatic effect on management of Interior, Commerce, USDA, and HHS, among others. In some areas, jurisdictional lines would become much clearer. For instance, all agencies that regulate food safety would be consolidated under the USDA, covering virtually all the foods we eat.

The “civil works” programs at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers would be moved to the Transportation and Interior Departments, which would better align those missions and eliminate much duplication. The Corps of Engineers is an unusual creature, a military agency headed by a general, which reports to a civilian at the Pentagon (Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works), and regulates economic activity that has nothing to do with the Army. The Corps owns and operates dams and water infrastructure, exactly like Interior’s Bureau of Reclamation does.

As an example, in my home State of Colorado, the Corps has Chatfield and Cherry Creek reservoirs, but Reclamation has Blue Mesa, Granby, McPhee, Ridgway, Rifle Gap, and a couple dozen others.

It’s just silly. Yes, I can understand how it got that way, but just because there is a reason for silliness is not a reason why silliness must go on forever.

And it can lead to real costs, even jail. We’ve all heard the stories about how being forced to comply with one regulation, law, whatever, requires one to break another. Some say that it is a feature, not a big, of the big state, that they can arrest anyone at any time. Well, that might be a feature for the denizens of the stagnant swamp, it is decidedly a hindrance on anyone trying to accomplish anything.

The President has a plan to reorganize government, consolidating a lot of the programs. It probably doesn’t go far enough, and many of them should likely be simply eliminated, and their powers cease, but half a loaf is better than no bread at all. I’m not sure there has really been progress on this front since Coolidge was president.

And the real problem is this, with all the overlapping authority, the ability to hide responsibility and make people spend years running around in the maze has likely done more damage to our economy than China could do in a century. Time to clean the stables.

My grandfathers lived in a world where what was said in Minneapolis was much more important than what anyone said in Washington, at least in peacetime. That was what the founders envisioned, in most things other than defense, government should be close enough to home for the citizens to slap it up the side of the head with a two by four, not so far away that we need an ICBM to get their attention.

The FISA Court and the Dossier

Mollie Hemingway has one of her outstanding “What You Should Know” posts up about the FISA dossier that dropped last Saturday night. As always, it was released then to avoid attention, well that no longer works. Mollie says:

Newly released documents confirm House and Senate investigators’ claims that the Department of Justice and FBI used materially false and misleading information to secure wiretaps on Carter Page, a former volunteer foreign policy advisor to President Trump. The highly redacted documents released in response to Freedom of Information Act requests show how the FBI was able to convince the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to surveil the Naval Academy graduate and energy consultant for a year of his life.

The wiretap was applied for and granted in October 2016, shortly before the end of the presidential campaign. Approved applications last for 90 days. The Department of Justice requested and received three renewals, for a total of one year of surveillance. Despite claiming to the court in 2016 that “the FBI believes that Page has been collaborating and conspiring with the Russian Government,” the government has yet to charge Page with breaking any of the serious laws it alleges he knowingly transgressed.

Here is what the highly redacted FISA applications show us thus far.

She lays out the salient points here with explanations. I’m not going to, read her article. I’m just going to bullet point it.

  • “The Dossier Provided an Essential Part Of Application
  • The Dossier Was Not Verified
  • The Applications Employed Circular Reporting
  • Cites Steele’s Credibility, Despite Overwhelming Evidence To Doubt It
  • The Applications Made Materially False Claims”

In other words, it was an amateurish, even clownish, put up job, that can’t stand the light of day.

As Sens. Graham and Grassley wrote earlier this year:

In Steele’s sworn court filings in litigation in London, he admitted that he ‘gave off the record briefings to a small number of journalists about the pre-election memoranda [i.e., the dossier] in late summer/autumn 2016.’ In another sworn filing in that case, Mr. Steele further stated that journalists from ‘the New York Times, the Washington Post, Yahoo News, the New Yorker, and CNN’ were ‘briefed at the end of September 2016 by [Steele] and Fusion at Fusion’s instruction.’ The filing further states that Mr. Steele ‘subsequently participated in further meetings at Fusion’s instruction with Fusion and the New York Times, the Washington Post, and Yahoo News, which took place mid-October 2016.’…

The first of these filings was publicly reported in the U.S. media in April of 2017, yet the FBI did not subsequently disclose to the FISC this evidence suggesting that Mr. Steele had lied to the FBI. Instead the application still relied primarily on his credibility prior to the October media incident. […]

That’s true. Donald Trump shows up in the application as Candidate #1 and Hillary Clinton shows up as Candidate #2. The Republican Party is identified as Political Party #1. So it would have been easy to note that the dossier was secretly bought and paid for by Candidate #2 and Political Party #2. Instead, a veritable word salad is deployed to hide that significant fact.

The court is told Source #1 was told “that a U.S.-based law firm had hired the identified U.S. person to conduct research regarding Candidate #1’s ties to Russia” and that Source #1 wasn’t told about the motivation behind the research. The FBI surmises that Source #1’s boss — Fusion GPS’ Glenn Simpson — wanted information to discredit Candidate #1’s campaign.

On and on and on it goes. And as it does it becomes obvious, that everything Rep Nunes and his associates have said is the truth, and everything that these government functionaries have said is a lie, designed to undercut and remove the duly elected President of the United States.

The ‘Deep State’ in action. Careless, perfectly willing to lie, to do anything, in fact, to protect bureaucrats like themselves from the legitimate wrath of the people. And mind you, if Hillary had won, we wouldn’t know any of this and by the time she left office, we would not have a chance to reclaim our government.

It’s going to be a near run race as it is, but thanks to some very brave people, we do have a chance, so let’s take it in both hands and run with it.

Outside the Philadelphia Courthouse, Ben Franklin was asked what sort of government the convention had given us, here is his answer, as relevant as ever.

A Republic, if you can keep it.

POTUS, SCOTUS, and the Rule of Law

So tonight we’ll know who Trump’s second pick for the Supreme Court is. There is a list of twenty-five names if you’ve been comatose, and four of those are considered front-runners. They are Raymond Kethledge, Brett Kavanaugh, Thomas Hardiman, and Amy Coney Barrett. I’ve read a certain amount about each of them, and while my sentimental pick is Amy Coney Barrett, I don’t really care. They are, each and every one, an outstanding choice. None are really conservative, or liberal, all are originalist and textualist, which is as it should be.

Paul Mirengoff over at PowerLine says that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said that two of them have fewer obvious problems in confirmation, and therefore he suggests either Kethledge or Hardiman. That is a valid opinion, it’s going to be a very noisy confirmation, and it would be very good to get it done by election day, and optimally by the Court’s next term, so what he thinks would be easier for him to ramrod through the Senate matters. It’s not the only consideration, but it is an important one, and with a field so bursting with talent, it matters.

McConnell reportedly believes that Barrett might encounter resistance from Sens. Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski because she is an outspoken social conservative who some observers believe may be more amenable than others on the short list to overturning Roe v. Wade.

Kavanaugh might present different challenges. His role in the George W. Bush administration and in the Ken Starr investigation has generated millions of pages of documents. Senate Democrats would demand to see every one them. This could stall the nomination, making it impossible to confirm Kavanaugh before the Supreme Court begins its next term and maybe before the mid-term elections.

So we’ll find out who the President wants tonight. We can already see what the left will bring to the battle: emotion and prejudice. Neither are valid. What is at stake here is the Republic, and the rule of law and all four of these eminent jurists have their heads on pretty straight.

Steve Chapman in Reason spoke to this point back in 2008.

One of the axioms of American democracy is that we are a government of laws, not of men. We are supposed to follow the requirements of our Constitution and statutes even when they yield results we don’t like—say, freeing a person who appears guilty.

In this format, it actually goes back to John Adams in the 1780 Massachusetts Constitution, but in reality, it is enshrined in Magna Charta, and in King Alfred the Great’s charter. It is one of the main reasons why the United States and (so far) the United Kingdom have remained free and built the modern world.

It’s a lovely feeling, isn’t it, to know that while careers are at stake, we can trust the president to make an excellent choice?

In a related thought, as I was listening to the anguish last night from Britain at the way HMG is attempting to sell out Brexit over the heads of the people (more perhaps later in the week on this) it struck me, as it often does, how lucky we are to have President Trump, untoward Tweets and all. We have a president who understands how to negotiate, how to take the people into his confidence, and other things. But above all, we have a President who puts country before party. Who is quite obviously an American patriot, who puts America first, and after the Obama regime, it is so very refreshing. I hope (and pray) the British can find someone to put Britain First.

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