Railsplitters, Tailors, and Government Bureaus

Speaking of the CFPB, this is interesting, from The Federalist.

Although the Reconstruction Era has gotten more mainstream attention lately, to most Americans the Andrew Johnson administration is still a part of the dusty past. The CFPB dispute is, as David Harsanyi explained earlier this week, about which employee has the right to occupy the office of CFPB director. So did the dispute that led to Johnson’s impeachment and near-conviction. Only in that case, the office in question was of much greater importance: secretary of war.

In the days following the Civil War, the secretary of war (a predecessor to the secretary of defense, but without jurisdiction over the navy) occupied an important position in domestic politics, as his job included presiding over the reconstruction of the conquered Confederacy. After Abraham Lincoln’s assassination, his successor, Johnson, seemed to be in accord with Secretary of War Edwin Stanton and the Republican-dominated Congress on how to accomplish this.

Things soon changed. Johnson returned to his pre-war Democratic Party loyalty and worked to re-admit the Southern states to the Union quickly, with no other changes than a de jure abolition of slavery. Stanton and congressional leaders saw their task as larger, and wanted to ensure greater equality for the former slaves in fact as well as in law. As Johnson gradually replaced Lincoln appointees in the cabinet, Stanton was increasingly the only voice in the administration for a vigorous scheme of occupying and rebuilding in the South.

Stanton’s allies in Congress worked to protect him by passing the Tenure of Office Act in 1867. The act decreed that any officer appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate could not be removed by the president unless the Senate approved. Johnson saw the act for what it was—a curtailment of executive power—and vetoed it, but Congress overrode the veto and the bill became a law. The president no longer had control over his own appointees.

Johnson initially acted in accordance with the law and suspended Stanton while Congress was in recess, selecting Commanding General Ulysses S. Grant to serve as acting secretary in his stead. Stanton went along with this, as Grant was closer to congressional Republicans in his views than to Johnson. When the recess ended, the Senate refused to concur in Stanton’s removal, and Grant returned the office to him. Then Johnson declared the Tenure of Office Act unconstitutional and said Stanton’s removal was valid. He appointed Maj. Gen. Lorenzo Thomas to the “vacancy” and instructed him to report to the War Department for work.

Stanton refused to accept Thomas’s appointment and declined to yield the office. Thomas took the office across the hall, and both men declared themselves the true secretary of war. Stanton retained the keys to the office and did not leave the room, eating and sleeping there for months to prevent Thomas from seizing it.

Meanwhile, the House of Representatives voted articles of impeachment against Johnson, specifically for his open violation of the law, but more generally for his obstruction of Congress’s plans for Reconstruction. The Senate fell one vote short of conviction, and Johnson remained in the White House. With Grant nominated for president and Johnson on the way out, Stanton gave up the fight and relinquished the office.

Rule Without Consequences

The stakes of the fight over the CFPB directorship are far lower, but the precedents of the Stanton-Thomas affair provide a guideline for how the current quarrel should proceed, both legally and politically.

The Tenure of Office Act of 1867 and the Dodd-Frank Act, which created the CFPB, both aim at the same result: removing the power from the president to control members of his administration. The Tenure of Office Act’s authors were concerned with keeping Johnson from overturning Lincoln’s legacy. Dodd-Frank’s authors had a wider goal in mind: removing politics from government. This fits the general progressive belief that we would be better governed by unelected technocrats than by politicians who must take popular opinion into account.

It is a strange take on a republic, and at odds with the Founding Fathers’ opinions. They knew that the government would contain officers who wished to trample the people’s rights. It has been true of every government, elected or unelected, since mankind emerged from the state of nature. The government of the people, by the people, and for the people acknowledges that the people in question are all flawed. As James Madison famously wrote in Federalist 51:

If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself. A dependence on the people is, no doubt, the primary control on the government; but experience has taught mankind the necessity of auxiliary precautions.

Do read it all.

And, in fine, that was much of the point of the Constitution, to throw sand in the gears of the government.  The founders knew, even better than we do, the cry of the American to his government, “Leave me alone!”. After all they fought a war, against the greatest empire of the age for that very reason. But as long as men (and women) seek personal advantage from government (and that is until Christ returns) the vigilance of the citizens will always be required.

Ronnie was absolutely right about the most feared words in the language, “I’m from the government and I’m here to help”.

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Net Neutrality? Really?

I suspect you’ve been hearing a bit about ‘Net Neutrality’, I surely have. Mostly from those who think regulation is a pretty good thing. Well, there’s another view, and I think it the correct one. Robert Tracinski in The Federalist lays it out.

But there’s a deeper ignorance of history involved, one that I discussed a while back with technology entrepreneur Bill Frezza. Bill has lived this history, starting as an engineer with Bell Labs straight out of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1978, because “if you wanted to be a telecom engineer the only legal place to work was in the Bell System at Bell Labs.”

The story he has to tell is that the Internet as we know it was born out of the breakup of the AT&T monopoly in 1982. Specifically, the Internet grew out of rejecting the very policies that are the backbone of “net neutrality.”

AT&T gained its monopoly, ironically, from a settlement called the Kingsbury Commitment that headed off an antitrust prosecution. In effect, the government agreed that instead of breaking up AT&T, it would give the government’s backing to its monopoly. In exchange, AT&T agreed to become a regulated utility.

The cornerstones of that deal were universal service—a telephone for everyone, no matter where he lived—and equality. As Frezza puts it, the commitment was, “People will be equal before the telephone. Not only will the guy way out there on a farm in Idaho get a phone, he’s going to pay the same prices as a city slicker, even though the city slicker lives in a 100-unit apartment building across the street from the central office.”

Sound familiar? This same promise of equality is the central principle of net neutrality. Not only will everyone have access to the Internet, but they will all have the same Internet. No “fast lanes,” no conditions, no playing favorites. Sounds great, right?

There was a point to it, without it that farmer in Idaho would never have gotten a landline phone. I grew up in the rural electric coops, and our REA loans had the same deal, we had to serve everyone, and every residential customer equally. Well, when those policies were implemented, in the 20s for telephone, and the 30s for electricity, there was no alternative method. So it may have been justified. That is no longer true, and Mr. Tracinsky is correct.

And further he is also correct that it stifles competition. Surely technology must have improved in electric power distribution since my engineering guides were published just after World War II, yet they are still current, somehow that is not true for my radio guides, I rarely use a 6W6 tube anymore.

Frezza describes how this held back the development of an Internet-style data transmission system. “If it has to be available on every pair of copper wires, including the five-mile loop with the load coils going out to the farmer—well, you can’t push more than 9600 baud through.” For those who don’t remember this antiquated terminology, 9600 baud is 9600 bits per second, which is not just a dial-up connection but a particularly slow dial-up connection. Today, we talk about download speeds in MBPS—that is, millions of bits per second, more than a thousand times faster. But all of that became possible because new capabilities didn’t have to be rolled out all at once to everyone, universally and equally.

That is the great fault with forced equality in anything, it stifles innovation, not always because it means to, although sometimes it does because the costs of doing something for everyone is simply insurmountable. And sometimes innovation doesn’t work. We all chide Microsoft because they have a habit of using us as ‘beta-testers’, but I wonder, would we still be running DOS without them doing that.

As Frezza sums it up:

Progress requires inequality. If you don’t give entrepreneurs the ability to become unequal—not just get rich themselves, but they have to make their customers unequal, they’ve got to give their customers commercial advantage or life advantage. That’s what drives progress. If you take that out of the equation, if you say all traffic has to be treated equal, all customers have to be treated equal—first of all, capital investment in the network is going to go down. We’ve already seen some of that. But so is innovation. Why would you want to give that up?

The exotic, exorbitantly expensive new technologies of a few years ago eventually become the cheap and ubiquitous technologies of today.

This is such a commonplace experience that it’s really astonishing that anyone in the tech industry has let themselves be bamboozled by the notion that we’d all be much better off with the business model of a sclerotic, highly regulated public utility.

“It’s a tragedy,” Frezza says, “to see people using the same arguments that were used back in 1913 to try to re-regulate the Internet.” If we don’t learn from telecom history, we will be doomed to repeat it.

Yep, it is. Don’t be one of those guys.

Should The FBI Be Abolished?

Three lies for the price of one?

In The American Spectator yesterday, Steven Baldwin asked a controversial question. Should we abolish the FBI? I think he makes a pretty good case that we should. It’s a long article, and my excerpts will look like looney assertions, they aren’t, read the link. Let’s get going.

For the last few years, the media has been dominated by a number of sensational stories: that Trump colluded with Russia to influence the presidential election; that the Trump team was wiretapped by Obama intelligence officials; that Hillary used a private email server to transmit classified information; that Hillary and the DNC colluded with Russian sources to compile a dossier on Trump, and finally, that Russia acquired 20% of America’s uranium supply during the same time period $145 million miraculously appeared in the Clinton Foundation’s bank account. It all stinks to high heaven but it’s created a confusing array of facts that has bewildered most Americans. They all know something is seriously wrong with their country even if they can’t pinpoint exactly what the problem is.

But there is a common denominator in all these scandals or alleged scandals, and that would be the FBI and the actions they took or didn’t take. […]

On top of all that, former FBI director Robert Mueller — now Special Counsel — is investigating Trump for collusion with Russia when the evidence is now revealing that the only party that colluded with the Russians to influence the 2016 campaign was the Democratic Party. But Mueller doesn’t have the integrity to widen his investigation to cover the Clinton/GPS Fusion/Russian dossier scandal but instead is spending millions on investigating alleged crimes by former Trump campaign workers that occurred years ago and had nothing to do with Trump, Russian collusion, or the 2016 election.

Lastly, when Mueller was FBI Director, he served on the board of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), the agency that approved the sale of uranium to Russia by the Uranium One company only a short time after his own agency had arrested a Russian official attempting to bribe American uranium officials. But there is no record of Mueller warning his fellow CFIUS members about the illegal Russian efforts. It likewise begs logic to believe that Mueller knew nothing about the $145 million the Clinton Foundation received from Putin-connected sources shortly after the CFIUS vote. It is also inconceivable that Mueller, as FBI Director from 2001-2013, was not aware that the Clintons were using their foundation and Hillary’s Secretary of State position to operate a massive pay-to-play scam that went far beyond the Uranium One scandal. […]

However, it has become increasingly clear in recent years that this agency has become so politicized, so corrupt, and so large and bureaucratic that it may no longer be an effective agency. The time has come to discuss its abolition. […]

But note that the FBI did not come into existence until 132 years after the country declared its independence. This was because the founders never envisioned a federal role for law enforcement. It is not one of the “enumerated” duties of the federal government listed in the constitution.

There were reasons for that. Our founders were skeptical of a large federal government and, indeed, not even the “federalist” faction argued for a federal law enforcement role. The Constitution’s authors all assumed that most of the country’s governing would be carried out by state and local governments; the Federal government was created simply to take care of things that states were not well suited to do, such as maintaining a military, minting currency, and negotiating trade treaties. Indeed, for most of America’s first century, the highest law enforcement officer was the county sheriff.

Except for treason, the idea of federal crimes was not even mentioned in the Constitution. Our founders had a healthy fear of America turning into a tyrannical government such as those which existed all over the world at the time. They wanted to maximize freedom; hence the Bill of Rights. They assumed the creation of a federalized police force would make it far easier for the federal government to abuse the rights of its citizens.

Wise men, the founders. Consider

  • Prosecuting Opponents of World War 1.

  • COINTELPRO. This was the FBI’s covert internal security program in the 1950s and ’60s, created to “disrupt, misdirect, discredit, and neutralize” groups and individuals the government deemed to be enemies.

  • FBI Preparations for Martial Law.

  • The Ruby Ridge Murders.

  • The Waco Massacre.

  • Helping Bill Clinton Collect Dirt on his Enemies. Often referred to as “Filegate,” in 1993-94 […]

  • Project Megiddo. This was another shady FBI project, launched in 1999, created for the purpose of monitoring groups on the right […]

  • Use of Criminals as Undercover Agents.

  • Operation Vigilant Eagle. This FBI program initiated in 2009 targeted anti-government activists such as Tea Party activists and, alarmingly, veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars

  • Targeting Pro-Lifers. In 2010, The FBI held a joint training session on terrorism with Planned Parenthood and the National Abortion Federation.

  • The IRS Scandal.

  • FBI Worked With the SPLC

  • Data Mining Innocent Americans.

  • Raids on Homes of Anti-Government Activists. Repeatedly, the FBI has raided homes on the flimsiest of evidence.

  • Fraudulent Forensics.

  • FBI High School Informer Network

  • The FBI Record on Fighting Terrorism. [Which is terrible]

And so many more.

Conservatives Should Quit Defending the FBI
The FBI has a long history of being used by various administrations to harass certain groups and individuals, or, conversely, to allow certain groups and individuals to commit crimes without fear of prosecution. The FBI is supposed to uphold the Constitution but instead has repeatedly violated the constitutional rights of Americans. This politicization has cost many Americans their lives and their freedoms. The abuse listed here is not comprehensive but it’s enough, one would think, to make conservatives think twice about defending this agency’s police state tactics.

This is what we are paying for. My recollection is that the reason J. Edgar Hoover got the name changed from the Bureau of Investigation was to shed the image of corruption which had grown up about it. He was, of course, a master of public relations (not to mention alleged blackmail). And so we were all sold this bill of goods that the G-men were a bunch of clean-cut, incorruptible, good guys. Maybe it was true once (I doubt it), it certainly is not anymore, as we have seen.

Much more at the link, but I think it is time to end this charade, as we should its cousin the Bureau of Alchohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, which should go back to being a convenience store, for us, not Mexican drug runners. Enough is quite a lot more than enough.

Time to end the charade.

 

Red October

So a hundred years ago, today, the Bolsheviks occupied the government buildings in Petrograd. It was the highlight and climax of the October Revolution, which toppled Kerensky’s government and set the regime of V.I. Lenin on its horrifically bloody course. According to calculations by Professor R.J. Rummel, in the last 100 years totalitarian regimes, pretty much all of which derive from the Bolsheviks have murdered at least 169 million people, that’s more than four times the 38 million (including civilians) killed in all the wars of the Twentieth century. Quite the legacy.

I note with great pleasure that a motion was introduced in the House of Commons this morning. It reads:

“That this House notes, with great regret, that 7 November 2017 marks 100 years since Russia’s Bolshevik Revolution which subsequently demonstrated, time and again, that Communism is a murderous political ideology, incompatible with liberty, self-government and the dignity of human beings, and injurious to the national, ethnic and religious traditions of the world’s peoples; further notes that Communism subjected millions to theft, surveillance, terror and ultimate destruction; acknowledges that the cultural, political and economic legacy of Soviet Communism still negatively affects vast numbers of people today; and accordingly believes that the crimes of Communism, together with those of its mirror image, National Socialism, must forever serve as a warning to humanity of the terrible consequences of totalitarianism in all its forms.”

I also note with great sadness that it is doubtful, that the Labour Party or its leader, Jeremy Corbyn, will support said resolution. Which tells you all you need to know.

Still they try, again, and again, and again. Stella Morabito started a series yesterday at The Federalist about the six phases from freedom to communism. It’s quite interesting, so we’ll excerpt a bit from her introduction.

In a nutshell, communism enforces a privileged elite’s centralization of power. This means it always puts too much power into the hands of too few people. They tend to weasel their way into power as their ventriloquized agitators use talking points like “justice” and “equality” while promoting a false illusion of public support.

So, how would it ever be possible for a free society like America to succumb to such tyrannical forces? I think we’ve spent precious little time trying to dissect and understand this process. So, in this three-part series, I hope to map out six stages that lead us into this dangerous direction. Within each phase, several trends take hold. […]

As Rummel states: “Power kills. Absolute power kills absolutely.” The common thread that runs through communist and fascist ideologies is their totalitarian nature, which means they control people by breeding scarcity, ignorance, human misery, social distrust, the constant threat of social isolation, and death to dissenters. All in the name of justice and equality.

They cannot abide any checks or balances, particularly checks on government power as reflected in the U.S. Bill of Rights. They fight de-centralization of power, which allows localities and states true self-governance. Such restraints on the centralized power of the state stand in the way of achieving the goal of communism: absolute state power over every single human being. […]

To achieve absolute power, Lenin focused on fomenting a class war, while Hitler set his sights on a race war. Either way, the divide-and-conquer modus operandi of fascist and communist demagogues is pretty much the same, no matter what each side might claim about the other. Their propaganda content may differ, but not so much their divide-and-conquer methods. Attitudes of supremacy come in a virtual rainbow of flavors and colors.

As Saul Alinsky taught and the agitprop of groups like the Southern Poverty Law Center illustrates so perfectly, the goal of all such radicals is to seize power by fueling resentment and hatred among people through various forms of “consciousness”—particularly class and race consciousness. That’s what identity politics is all about. That division is a key tool for totalitarians in their conquest of the people. Once their organizations breed enough ill will, the “masses”—made up of mostly alienated individuals—can be baited and mobilized to do the bidding of power elites, with a rhetorical veneer claiming justice and equality.

Most of today’s enlisted rioters—groups that call themselves things like “Indivisible,” “Anti-Fascist,” “Stop Patriarchy,” “Black Lives Matter,” “Refuse Fascism,” or moveon.org—are pretty much unabashedly communist (or just plain fascist) in their goals and aims and tactics. The chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party of the USA, for example, founded Refuse Fascism. It’s a pro-violence group that planned street theater on November 4, with the stated goal of overturning the 2016 election and taking out the Trump administration.

She goes on to give a quick overview of the phases. And as she rightly notes, America is still a free nation, not least because of the exemplary work of our founders, who bequeathed us a system flexible enough to adjust to most any conditions, but still strong enough to allow is to resist such ideologies. It’s an advantage America has over every single country in the world, and it is why we are closer to our founding than anyone else. That does not mean it is guaranteed. As Ronald Reagan reminded us, Freedom is always only a generation from being lost.

That should scare the crap out of you these days. We are doing reasonably well, but we are watching as the rights that we and the British had restored are being stripped once again from the people of Europe, and in some cases, even in Britain, where these rights were first recognized.

A lot of the difference is perception. We (and the Brits, including the Commonwealth) are aware that these rights are given by our Creator (or are Natural Rights) and that we instituted government amongst ourselves to safeguard them. Most of the rest believe they come from the government. Well, we all know what the government give, the government can take away.

Stella reminds us of Kathryn Lee Bates wonderful hymn to America, America, the Beautiful, specifically this line, “America, America, God mend thine every flaw. Confirm thy soul in self-control, Thy liberty in law.”

She’s right, one of the keys to the success of America has always been our stability, our ability to control ourselves, and to keep the fads of history in check, and combining that with respect for law, especially objective black letter law, has quite simply changed the world, and given an alternative to the dark age that the revolution we note today has attempted to fasten onto the world.

God Bless America!

WHY OBAMA REALLY SPIED ON TRUMP

Daniel Greenfield wrote in FrontPage Magazine a few days ago:

Last week, CNN revealed (and excused) one phase of the Obama spying operation on Trump. After lying about it on MSNBC, Susan Rice admitted unmasking the identities of Trump officials to Congress.

Rice was unmasking the names of Trump officials a month before leaving office. The targets may have included her own successor, General Flynn, who was forced out of office using leaked surveillance.

While Rice’s targets weren’t named, the CNN story listed a meeting with Flynn, Bannon and Kushner.

Bannon was Trump’s former campaign chief executive and a senior adviser. Kushner is a senior adviser. Those are exactly the people you spy on to get an insight into what your political opponents plan to do.

Now the latest CNN spin piece informs us that secret FISA orders were used to spy on the conversations of Trump’s former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort.  The surveillance was discontinued for lack of evidence and then renewed under a new warrant. This is part of a pattern of FISA abuses by Obama Inc. which never allowed minor matters like lack of evidence to dissuade them from new FISA requests.

Desperate Obama cronies had figured out that they could bypass many of the limitations on the conventional investigations of their political opponents by ‘laundering’ them through national security.

If any of Trump’s people were talking to non-Americans, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) could be used to spy on them. And then the redacted names of the Americans could be unmasked by Susan Rice, Samantha Power and other Obama allies. It was a technically legal Watergate.

If both CNN stories hold up, then Obama Inc. had spied on two Trump campaign leaders.

Furthermore the Obama espionage operation closely tracked Trump’s political progress. The first FISA request targeting Trump happened the month after he received the GOP nomination.  The second one came through in October: the traditional month of political surprises meant to upend an election.

Not really anything we didn’t know here, and if not proven (and it may never be) but this aligns with what we know, particularly of the people involved.

When the individual acts of surveillance are described as legal, that’s irrelevant. It’s the collective pattern of surveillance of the political opposition that exposes the criminal motive for them.

If Obama spied on two of Trump’s campaign leaders, that’s not a coincidence. It’s a pattern.

A criminal motive can be spotted by a consistent pattern of actions disguised by different pretexts. A dirty cop may lose two pieces of evidence from the same defendant while giving two different excuses. A shady accountant may explain two otherwise identical losses in two different ways. Both excuses are technically plausible. But it’s the pattern that makes the crime.

Manafort was spied on under the Russia pretext. Bannon may have been spied on over the UAE. That’s two different countries, two different people and two different pretexts.

But one single target. President Trump.

It’s the pattern that exposes the motive.

When we learn the whole truth (if we ever do), we will likely discover that Obama Inc. assembled a motley collection of different technically legal pretexts to spy on Trump’s team.

Each individual pretext might be technically defensible. But together they add up to the crime of the century.

Obama’s gamble was that the illegal surveillance would justify itself. If you spy on a bunch of people long enough, especially people in politics and business, some sort of illegality, actual or technical, is bound to turn up. That’s the same gamble anyone engaged in illegal surveillance makes.

Businessmen illegally tape conversations with former partners hoping that they’ll say something damning enough to justify the risk. That was what Obama and his allies were doing with Trump.

It’s a crime. And you can’t justify committing a crime by discovering a crime. […]

If the gamble fails, if no criminal case that amounts to anything more than the usual investigational gimmick charges like perjury (the Federal equivalent of ‘resisting arrest’ for a beat cop) develops, then Obama and his allies are on the hook for the domestic surveillance of their political opponents.

With nothing to show for it and no way to distract from it.

That’s the race against the clock that is happening right now. Either the investigation gets results. Or its perpetrators are left hanging in the wind. If McMaster is fired, which on purely statistical grounds he probably will be, and a Trump loyalist who wasn’t targeted by the surveillance operation becomes the next National Security Adviser and brings in Trump loyalists, as Flynn tried to do, then it’s over.

And the Dems finally get their Watergate. Except the star won’t be Trump, it will be Obama. Rice, Power, Lynch and the rest of the gang will be the new Haldeman, Ehrlichman and Mitchell.

Once Obama and his allies launched their domestic surveillance operation, they crossed the Rubicon. And there was no way back. They had to destroy President Trump or risk going to jail.

The more crimes they committed by spying on the opposition, the more urgently they needed to bring down Trump. The consequences of each crime that they had committed spurred them on to commit worse crimes to save themselves from going to jail. It’s the same old story when it comes to criminals.

Each act of illegal surveillance became more blatant. And when illegal surveillance couldn’t stop Trump’s victory, they had to double down on the illegal surveillance for a coup.

The more Obama spied on Trump, the more he had to keep doing it. This time it was bound to pay off.

Obama and his allies had violated the norms so often for their policy goals that they couldn’t afford to be replaced by anyone but one of their own. The more Obama relied on the imperial presidency of executive orders, the less he could afford to be replaced by anyone who would undo them.  The more his staffers lied and broke the law on everything from the government shutdown to the Iran nuke sellout, the more desperately they needed to pull out all the stops to keep Trump out of office. And the more they did it, the more they couldn’t afford not to do it. Abuse of power locks you into the loop familiar to all dictators. You can’t stop riding the tiger. Once you start, you can’t afford to stop.

I’m going to stop there, simply because of length, but you shouldn’t; follow that link and read it all. It’s a damning exposition of the old saw, |If one tells a lie one will always have to tell another to cover it”. That’s the great thing about telling the truth, you don’t have to remember what you said, on the other hand, an awful lot of people have talked their way into prison this way. I think if justice even close to prevails, I think there will be a new crop of residents at Club Fed.

Couldn’t happen to a more deserving bunch. And if it doesn’t, America, as we’ve known it since 1789, ends. It’s that important.

The Unobama

In writing about the speech at the UN that is what Scott Johnson at PowerLine calls President Trump. I think he’s correct. There is as we all said, much to like in the speech, but other than ‘Rocketman’, there is little new. Most of the themes are classic American policy, and therefore not what Obama was selling. Obama was an aberration, a creation, mostly, I think, of our troubled race history, or rather how our race history is perceived by many, mostly to their benefit.

There is nothing revolutionary, or even unusual about this, for example:

In America, we do not seek to impose our way of life on anyone, but rather to let it shine as an example for everyone to watch. This week gives our country a special reason to take pride in that example. We are celebrating the 230th anniversary of our beloved Constitution — the oldest constitution still in use in the world today.

This timeless document has been the foundation of peace, prosperity, and freedom for the Americans and for countless millions around the globe whose own countries have found inspiration in its respect for human nature, human dignity, and the rule of law.

The greatest in the United States Constitution is its first three beautiful words. They are: “We the people.”

Generations of Americans have sacrificed to maintain the promise of those words, the promise of our country, and of our great history. In America, the people govern, the people rule, and the people are sovereign. I was elected not to take power, but to give power to the American people, where it belongs.

That’s simple ground truth, although a lot of politicians likely would wish it otherwise. But its not, it’s who we are and who we have always been. So is this:

We cannot let a murderous regime continue these destabilizing activities while building dangerous missiles, and we cannot abide by an agreement if it provides cover for the eventual construction of a nuclear program. (Applause.) The Iran Deal was one of the worst and most one-sided transactions the United States has ever entered into. Frankly, that deal is an embarrassment to the United States, and I don’t think you’ve heard the last of it — believe me.

Or this

We will stop radical Islamic terrorism because we cannot allow it to tear up our nation, and indeed to tear up the entire world.

Or especially this

One of the greatest American patriots, John Adams, wrote that the American Revolution was “effected before the war commenced. The Revolution was in the minds and hearts of the people.”

That was the moment when America awoke, when we looked around and understood that we were a nation. We realized who we were, what we valued, and what we would give our lives to defend. From its very first moments, the American story is the story of what is possible when people take ownership of their future.

The United States of America has been among the greatest forces for good in the history of the world, and the greatest defenders of sovereignty, security, and prosperity for all.

Now we are calling for a great reawakening of nations, for the revival of their spirits, their pride, their people, and their patriotism.

There’s not much in any of that to gladden a Neo-con’s heart. I don’t see him going out into the world looking for a fight. But neither is he going to hide in the basement and wait for the UN. The image we all use so often is correct, “There is a new sheriff in town”. And his job is the restoration of the rule of law, and that is what he was elected to do. America is lucky (although we made that luck, with hard work), we don’t really need the world, we could get on pretty good all by ourselves. That’s not true for almost anybody else in the world, and that too is why America leads.

But in the final analysis (for now), John Wayne, as J.B. Books in The Shootist outlined proper American foreign policy as well as anyone.

I won’t be wronged, I won’t be insulted, and I won’t be laid a hand on. I don’t do these things to other people, and I require the same from them

I think President Trump understands that quite well.

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