A Field of Rakes

 

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has pulled the trigger and announced the start of an “impeachment inquiry” targeted at President Donald Trump. I’m not really sure what exactly an “impeachment inquiry” actually is. In fact, as of my writing this, apparently no one else is, either. As far as I can guess, it seems to be just sticking a name to something the Dem/socialists have already been doing, from pretty much the day Trump was sworn in.

This may be Pelosi’s method of trying to quell the discord within her own ranks, particularly from the ultra-radical element as personified by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and her “posse”.

As an aside, I have to note that just a very few years ago Pelosi was the face of radical extremism in the Dem/socialist party; now she’s the “voice of reason”? Yet another illustration of how that party has lurched so far to the left that they’re falling off the edge of the map, and has become unrecognizable.

Of course, all this furor of the last two and a half years is rooted in the leftists’ refusal to accept the fact that Trump legitimately won the 2016 election. They’re convinced he somehow “stole” that win from their sainted Hilary, and they’ve been flailing ever since trying to, basically, reverse that outcome. For over two years they were convinced that the Mueller investigation was the sound of the cavalry bugles just over the hill riding to their rescue only to learn it was really the mournful notes of the sad trombone.

I have to scratch my head and wonder how they think this ends well for them, because I can’t think of any way it does.

If the House votes to impeach Trump it will be meaningless because there’s just no way he’ll be convicted in the Senate and removed from office. That requires a 2/3 vote for conviction in that chamber. The votes simply aren’t there.

Even if that were somehow to miraculously happen, Saint Hilary still won’t be President; Mike Pence will be. He’s the Vice-President. Hilary’s nobody, the political equivalent of three-day-old sushi, and she’s never again coming even within sniffing distance of the Oval Office.

If Pence assumes the office, the leftists will look back on the Trump era with nostalgia, as Pence’s conservative credentials are pretty much impeccable, and his life is so squeaky-clean that he’ll be unassailable on that front.

So what’s the goal of this “impeachment inquiry” if actual impeachment isn’t going to succeed? Is it to provide a fig leaf of legitimacy for the Dem/socialists to continue their endless thrashing around in trying to besmirch and delegitimize Trump, at least until the next election?

I suspect that’s the case, and if so I believe that they’re not just stepping on a rake, but doing a jig in a field of rakes.

I believe the leftists have overplayed their hand, and pushed this mess to the point of becoming farce. Obviously, there’s no way they can portray themselves as the “loyal opposition”, the traditional position of the party out of power, since there’s nothing at all “loyal” about refusing to accept the legitimate outcome of an election.

Though this kabuki no doubt plays well to their radicalized political base, I think most normal people have become bored and inured to it, particularly in light of the economic boon that’s taken place over the last couple of years.

In fact, according to a Quinnipiac poll released on 25 September (https://poll.qu.edu/national/release-detail?ReleaseID=3641) “… only 37 percent of voters say that President Trump should be impeached and removed from office, while 57 percent say no, he should not be impeached.”

Think about that. After over two years of their endless shenanigans the Dem/socialists have convinced a little over a third of the electorate that Trump should be impeached, with the remainder either against impeachment or not caring enough about the issue to even have an opinion. Further, my guess is that the third who do want to impeach him have wanted that from election night. I doubt the leftists have moved the needle a single iota in all this time.

If they’ve been hoping to gin up a groundswell of outrage leading to Trump’s repudiation by the populace, I’d say that effort has been a pretty epic failure.

I think that if they continue down this impeachment highway they’re in for a very big and unpleasant surprise. The American people have only a limited appetite for base political opportunism, especially when it’s unfounded and perceived as “unfair”. The leftists have now painted themselves as being extremists, not only with their endless persecution of Trump, but also in light of their obsession with Justice Kavanaugh – more impeachment talk – as well as the clown car of radical leftist candidates they’re fielding for the presidency itself.

I doubt this ends well for them come November 2020. The American people have a tendency to rally behind those they see as being unfairly and baselessly persecuted, which is exactly the perception the Dem/socialists are fostering.

As I said, they’re dancing the jig in a field of rakes.

 

 

©Brian Baker 2019

(Also published today in my local newspaper, The Signal)

 

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“Minority Report”: When Movies Come True

From the Bill of Rights:

“Amendment V
No person shall… be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law…”

“Amendment VI
In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.”

 

In 2002, 20th Century Fox and DreamWorks released the Tom Cruise starrer “Minority Report”, which was based on a novella by Philip K. Dick (who’s turning out to be almost as prescient as Orwell).

The story takes place in the near future, the basic premise being that three mutant humans, known as “precogs”, have the power of precognition (foreseeing the future) when working together in concert, which gives them the ability to see murders take place before they actually happen. Based on their visions, the police have the authority to get to the scenes of the crimes and arrest the murderers before they have the chance to actually kill their victims, thereby not only being able to prosecute and imprison the offenders, but also saving the lives of the victims.

But there’s a fly in the ointment. It turns out that very occasionally a crime is foreseen for which one of the precogs sees a differing vision, that vision being the titular “minority report”, and the administrator (and inventor) of the program has kept this fact secret, as it might endanger the validity of any resulting prosecutions of the “future crimes”, and therefore the existence of his bureau. And, in fact, it turns out that innocent people have been snared by this program.

Substitute “red flag laws” for “precognition program” and we bring the plot elements of a dystopian-future movie to our current political discussions.

Red flag laws would allow the authorities to confiscate the guns owned by a person if that person is accused by someone else – and there’s a pretty broad range of acceptable accusers (real-world “precogs”) depending on the jurisdiction – of possibly being a danger to themselves or others. Based on the accusation a hearing takes place – of which the accused isn’t even notified, let alone allowed to attend and defend themselves – after which the authorities can carry out the confiscation.

This is exactly the process that takes place in the movie.

I see all kinds of problems with these laws. To begin with, the accused is being deprived of his gun rights and property (the guns) without being convicted of any crime, nor being medically diagnosed as being psychologically unsound, in clear violation of the Fifth Amendment requirement for due process.

A hearing or other legal mechanism is taking place, in secret, without the accused even being notified or allowed to attend and defend himself, in clear violation of the Sixth Amendment.

Only after his guns have been confiscated does the accused get an opportunity – at some future date which might be months down the road – to appear before some form of tribunal to make his case in defense of his rights, at which point he has to prove his innocence of the accusation, a very clear violation of the presumption of innocence upon which our criminal justice system is allegedly founded.

That raises the question of how one proves that they’re innocent of a crime they haven’t even committed, and prove that they’ll never do what others have said they “might” do. This is all very Kafkaesque.

Notice that these laws aren’t even aimed at acts that people will surely commit; only acts they might commit. I can’t think of anything that’s more speculative than that. Apparently it’s crystal ball time.

Where does this kind of thing lead? Did you ever drink too much at a party? Well, you might commit a DUI at some point in the future, so maybe we should revoke your drivers license until you can prove you won’t ever drive under the influence. Maybe take your car away just to “be safe”.

Why not? More people are killed in car accidents than are murdered by gunfire.

The reality is that anybody can accuse any other person of anything. That’s the principle reason why our judicial process requires actual proof, and the accused enjoys the presumption of being actually innocent absent that actual proof. Red flag laws turn that premise onto its head.

Further, there’s absolutely nothing that prevents people from maliciously manipulating the system with false accusations, based on a host of reasons: personal or political enmity, divorce disputes, feuding neighbors, or even simple anti-gun hysteria, just to name a few.

This entire red flag bandwagon is leading to some very bad law. It’s a case of a movie – “Minority Report” – coming true.

 

©Brian Baker 2019

(Also published today in The Signal)

Some Actual FACTS on Gun Violence

 

Gary Horton seems to have gone on a rampage recently against private gun ownership, as exemplified by his most recent column on the subject, which ran on 28 August and was entitled “Did America Want to Go This Far Out on Guns?” (Link)

Here’s a sample of his histrionics: “Over a decade, American has lost 360,000 people to gun deaths. By comparison, we’ve lost some 3,100 to terror attacks. Gun deaths are 116 times greater than terror-related deaths. That’s 11,600%!”

Well, it’s undeniable that so many deaths are tragic, but why don’t we take a look at another number, since we’re comparing different manners of people dying?

During that same period of time, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were 355,429 traffic accident fatalities (NHTSA Report), making them every bit as dangerous as those e-e-e-e-vil guns, again 116 times greater than terror-related deaths.

Well, what’s to be done about all this mayhem? In this particular column Horton doesn’t say, as it’s pretty much an orgy of hand-wringing. But judging from the totality of his columns on the topic I suppose he’d like to wave a magic wand and make all the privately-owned guns in the country vanish. The only thing standing in his way – other than the lack of that wand – is that pesky and “grossly contorted interpretation of a Second Amendment”.

But there is no Second Amendment equivalent when it comes to cars. Thus they can be regulated to any degree. So, if we want to save a boatload of lives, why don’t we mandate breathalyzer/ignition interlock devices on all cars, as well as speed governors that prevent them from going any faster than, say, 20 MPH? That would probably eliminate at least 90% of traffic fatalities since drunk driving is one major factor, and it’s pretty hard for an accident to be fatal at such low speeds. Maybe even eliminate private car ownership altogether, and mandate that everyone use public transportation! How about that? Everyone has to ride the bus!

We don’t do that because as a society we accept the fact that liberty – freedom of choice and action – sometimes has a cost in human life, a sad and harsh reality.

Horton also tries to peddle the clichéd trope that the Second Amendment only applies to “well-organized state militias”. I will very kindly label that statement as “misguided”. In fact US Code Title 10 § 246 defines the militia as having two components: the “organized militia”, which is the National Guard (Horton’s organized state militias); and the “unorganized militia”, which is all other law-abiding adults in the country who are, or who have applied to be, citizens. (US Code)

Of course, Horton indulges himself in the demonization of the semi-auto AR-15, the most popular rifle in this country, calling them “mass killing machines”. Interestingly enough, in Switzerland, members of their militia – which is all males of military age, as they have universal conscription – are allowed to keep their issued weapons at home, including full-auto guns. You’d think their streets should be awash in blood, wouldn’t you? But no…

I think there’s one more issue to address, and I think it’s pretty important. As I quoted him, Horton claims 360,000 gun deaths over a ten year period, so about 36,000 per year on average. However, according to the FBI Uniform Crime Report (UCR) for 2017, the last year for which data are available (FBI UCR), there were 10,982 homicides in which firearms were used, and only 403 of those were with rifles of any kind. If you average out the number of gun homicides covered by the five years of that report you get 9,733 per year. Multiply that by 10 and you get 97,333 for ten years, a far cry from that 360,000 Horton so freely bandies about.

In 2017, rifles – of which the AR-15 type is a variant – were used 403 times, and averaged 316 times per year over the five years covered by the UCR, for a ten year averaged total of 3,160. That means that rifles of all kinds, NOT just AR-15s, were used in only three percent of gun-related homicides. Not exactly an epidemic, is it?

I have no idea where Horton got his 360,000 number, and frankly don’t care. No matter how you slice it, that number doesn’t represent gun use in homicides in this country, as the real data clearly show.

Horton’s column is a very clear illustration of the hyperbolic scare tactics used by those who’d deprive law-abiding people of their gun rights, full of blatant misrepresentations and over-the-top rhetoric and demagoguery.

Don’t fall for it.

 

 

©Brian Baker 2019

(Published 4 Sep 2019 on my blog and in The Signal)

 

 

The Ten Dollar Bill

 

Take a ten dollar bill out of your wallet or purse. Take a look at it. What’s it worth?

“Obviously, ten dollars, Brian”, you’re thinking.

Maybe.

The actual intrinsic value of any object is the cost of its production and/or its rarity. Gold, for example, derives its value from its rarity. But that ten dollar bill isn’t rare at all and is nothing more than a small piece of rag paper and a smidgen of ink, less than a penny’s worth of material. So its intrinsic value is also less than a penny.

But it does have “worth”, a value we as a society agree on as to what it represents. That could be a specific quantity of something that has intrinsic value, such as a rare metal. We saw this when this country was on the gold standard, at which time that ten dollars represented about 1/3 ounce of refined gold metal. You could take the bill to a bank and exchange it for the appropriate amount of the metal.

Once the dollar was delinked from gold, its worth became a much more fluid property subject to the fluctuations of governmental policies. The only physical limit to the production of more ten dollar bills is the availability of ink and rag paper, and since there’s no shortage of either the government can crank those bills out in unlimited quantities should it so deem.

But creating physical ten dollar bills doesn’t create more actual “worth”. In fact, the opposite can take place.

Our current ten dollar bill’s actual worth is based on its buying power. How much of a person’s labor or the physical goods they produce – through agriculture, manufacture, or intellectual creation – does societal consensus allow that ten dollar bill to purchase?

If I raise cattle, John makes cloth and you sell gasoline, how do John and I pay you for the gasoline you sell us? Do you have to accept some amount of cows and bolts of cloth, as well as all the other disparate products and services people produce, to sell your product? The ten dollar bill is the method used to assign a universally accepted value to facilitate the exchange for transactions, replacing the need for actual barter.

As our country’s economic base – our ability to produce goods and services – has increased our supply of ten dollar bills has also increased to make those transactions possible. In a perfectly balanced system there will always be just enough ten dollar bills available to accurately reflect the relative value of each product or service.

If our economic base shrinks, it’s also important to remove some of those ten dollar bills from circulation to maintain balance and currency value. But the real problem arises when the government – which doesn’t actually create anything of value itself (government is a “consumer”, not a “producer”) – turns on the printing press and cranks out a lot of ten dollar bills that don’t reflect any increase in societal productivity. Those “excess” ten dollar bills flood the market, and since they don’t reflect an increase in societal productivity, they dilute the actual value of the ten dollar bills that are already in circulation.

This is what is meant by “inflation”, which is a decrease in the buying power of money. The ten dollar bill buys less.

In fact, graphic examples abound of what happens when governments turn on the printing presses with abandon. In a few short years Venezuela went from being the most prosperous nation in South America to an economic wasteland, its 2018 rate of inflation being an incredible 929,789%. Its money is essentially worthless. In 2008 the inflation rate in Zimbabwe was 250,000,000%. Following World War I the inflation rate in Germany hit 344% per month!

Which brings us to the current Democrat party presidential primary. The current gaggle of candidates seems to be in a race to see how much “free” stuff they can offer to the electorate (pretty much legal bribery, in my opinion). The list includes “Medicare for All”, including illegal aliens; eliminating private health insurance; open borders; “free” college; writing off current student loan debts; “guaranteed monthly income” of $500 – $1000 per month depending on the candidate; “free” universal daycare and pre-K, the “Green New Deal”; and a plethora of smaller programs too numerous to get into.

How do they propose to pay for this largesse? It pretty much boils down to “tax the rich”. Sadly for them, the reality is that even a complete confiscation of everything “the rich” own won’t come close to paying for this cornucopia of “free” goodies. Their only alternative will be turning on the printing presses, and cranking out more and more of those ten dollar bills.

Ultimately, you’ll need a barrel full of ten dollar bills just to buy a gallon of milk… IF there’s even any milk on the shelves.

If they win we’ll get to find out personally what it’s like to live in Venezuela. Is that what you want?

 

©Brian Baker 2019

(Also published today in my local newspaper, The Signal)

The Latest Crisis du Jour

 

Another Wednesday, another Horton bleat.

His June 27 entry, “Kids in Cages: Is That the American Way?”, finds him in full-bloomed sob mode.*

“Kids in cages in faraway places, with no soap or blankets and barely room to move. Locked inside fences, in tents, warehouses, for-profit human exploitation machines… The Trump presidential response is to make conditions on our side the wrong side for them to come to. Make it so bad, so miserable, so debilitating, so terrifying as kids are ripped from parents – that they’ll stop coming.”

Lions and tigers and bears, oh, my…

This is apparently the latest trope from the Dem/socialists. They’ve swerved from denying just a couple of months ago that there was any “emergency” at all at the border – countering Trump’s position in pushing for money for border security – to wailing about a looming disaster, especially regarding the kids of border jumpers. Talk about situational ethics! I guess whatever’s expedient at any given moment will be pushed as the crisis du jour.

The hysteria also serves a practical purpose: obfuscate and misdirect the discussion from factual and legal elements that don’t serve the leftists’ message, and attempt to drape it with humanitarian concerns that have broad appeal to the innate generosity of the American people.

Not only is it cynical beyond belief, but it uses those unfortunate people as mere pawns to advance an unpopular political agenda: open borders.

Here are some realities to consider. Who’s actually responsible for those kids being in a facility in the first place? Did Trump and his minions kidnap them and drag them over the border to lock them up? Or were they brought here by their parents, who were trying to enter the country illegally?

Once here, this country really has no responsibility to provide them any care at all. We could have simply dumped them back over on the other side of the border – which would have been the truly cruel and inhumane thing to do – but we didn’t. Instead, we’re making every effort to provide for them as best we can, given the realities and limitations of the resources available.

Why are those resources so strained in the first place? Because the Dem/socialists, as usual, have for a very long time refused to cooperate – by approving funding, among other things – in addressing the core of the problem: border security. If our border was secure we’d have a lot fewer people coming across, and thus a lot fewer detainees. Further, as it became known that we were serious about enforcing that border, much of the magnetism that draws people to try to jump it would be eliminated.

But then, where would all those future Dem/socialist voters come from?

And that, my friends, is what this entire discussion is really all about. The left, as represented in this case by Horton, will do or say anything to allow hordes of illegal aliens to flow unfettered into this country to disappear into that “underground” they’re constantly moaning about, so they can later benefit from the next round of amnesty – under whatever name at the time, DREAMERS, DACA, whatever – and become “legalized”, and ultimately a voting bloc.

Don’t let yourselves be fooled.

 

©Brian Baker 2019

* https://signalscv.com/2019/06/gary-horton-kids-in-cages-is-that-the-american-way/

(Also published today in my local newspaper, The Signalhttps://signalscv.com/2019/07/brian-baker-dont-be-fooled-by-border-rhetoric/ )

 

 

Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day

Armenians world-wide dedicate this day to the memory of the Armenians slaughtered by the Ottoman Turks in the chaos of the First World War.

This means little to most odars (the Armenian word for non-Armenians), which is somewhat understandable. When I was a kid no one even knew what an “Armenian” was, we were such a small portion of the populace, and usually pretty sequestered in small enclaves scattered into various specific areas, such as Fresno, California and Watertown, Massachusetts. Many of us had weird names most people couldn’t even pronounce (I’m only half, hence the “Baker” – Mom’s last name was Bethlehemian).

That’s changed a great deal as some high-profile Armenians have emerged over the decades as culture figures, Cher and the Kardashians coming immediately to mind.

But a great deal more is at stake than popular acknowledgement of our existence. As we’ve learned throughout history, when major events are ignored people tend to repeat their mistakes. As Santayana noted, “Those who forget the past are condemned to repeat it”.

The Turkish slaughter of the Armenians was the first event of its kind in the modern era. Somewhere between 800,000 and 1.5 million were killed, by a variety of methods, starting with the intelligentsia and merchant class, and working its way down through the lowest peasants. The masses were told they were being “relocated”, if they weren’t just shot outright, and were marched into the desert to their doom. Females of all ages were wantonly raped; children were left by the side of the route to die of thirst and starvation. The horrors were unfathomable.

Their crime? Being an ethnic minority. They were Christians trying to get by in the Muslim Ottoman Empire.

At the time, this barbarity made barely a ripple in the sea of public awareness. World War I was raging, and it was itself a human tragedy of epic proportions. In the overall scheme of things, what was an event in an unknown corner of the Near East, happening to a people no one had ever heard of, going to matter?

It’s alleged that a few decades later, when Adolf Hitler was planning his “final solution” to the “Jewish problem” – the Holocaust – some of his advisors warned him against it because of the potential negative effect it could have on his stature as the country’s leader. His reply: “Who remembers the Armenians?”

That goes to the very heart of why this day is important, not only to us Armenians, but to the world at large. If history can be glossed over – or worse yet, forgotten – then mankind can be tempted to repeat such barbarity.

Some countries formally recognize the Armenian Genocide, some don’t. Turkey itself refuses to acknowledge it, and in some instances even denies that the slaughter – under any description – occurred at all.

Hopefully this will change. I think that if it does we can put the Genocide into its proper historical perspective, keeping the memory alive but letting the event itself become less of the activists’ “cause”.

We’d all benefit from that.

©Brian Baker 2019

TDS and the Border Wall

I must applaud Gary Horton’s column of 26 December, “Border Wall Shutdown Is a Bad Gift for Christmas”. It’s a glorious illustration of TDS: Trump Derangement Syndrome.

When Dem/socialist Obama was President and the Republican-controlled Congress blocked his proposals, leading to government shutdowns, the leftists bellowed that it was the Republicans who were at fault for being obstructionist.

Now that Republican President Trump’s border wall proposal is being blocked in the Senate by Dem/socialists, leading to a government shutdown, to those with TDS it’s still magically the Republican’s (Trump’s) fault.

If Trump were to announce he was on the verge of finding a cure for cancer Horton and his cohorts would demand he stop his “war on cancer”, their TDS is so bad.

As to the government “shutdown” itself… Meh. It’s the boogeyman doll the Dem/socialists like to wave around every time they don’t get their way when they throw a tantrum. I mean, really… who cares?

Have you noticed any effect at all on your own life? Some government workers are going to be having a paid-for-later vacation. A few parks may be shut down for a while, in the middle of winter, not exactly the big tourism season anyway. Big whoop.

The fact is that the border wall was Trump’s signature campaign issue, and he’s finally thrown down the gauntlet. There’s absolutely no doubt that a big part of the blame lies with Paul Ryan and his incompetent Speakership in the House while the Repubs had control until they lost it in the recent mid-term election. Ryan’s now gone; good riddance.

But make no mistake. This particular shutdown lies squarely in the laps of Pelosi and Schumer. They’re the ones leading the charge against funding the wall, all while trying to throw the blame off for their own actions onto Trump.

Not only was the wall Trump’s main issue, but it’s also an effective method of border control. I know the left likes to decry that reality, but all one has to do is look at Israel to see how effective a wall is to control a border.

This is an issue that’s worth going to the mats for. I hope Trump sticks to his guns.

 

 

©Brian Baker 2018

 

(Also published today in The Signal)

Judicial Insanity

In what is quickly and disgustingly becoming a new norm, yet another low-level federal judge has issued a national injunction against one of Trump’s policies. In this case I’m referring to U.S. District Judge Jon S. Tigar’s action barring Trump’s plan to require those seeking asylum to do so at a regular port of entry.

Per the Constitution, the Supreme Court (SCOTUS) is a branch of the government that is CO-EQUAL with the President, not superior. Certainly, no inferior court, such as one at the District level, has status or authority equal to SCOTUS. Therefore I see no constitutional reason why the President, in this case Trump, is bound by any holding of any Court other than SCOTUS.

Secondly, this phenomenon of District courts issuing rulings with national effect is completely new. The only court with national jurisdiction is SCOTUS. Lower courts have jurisdiction within defined geographical boundaries, and their rulings only apply WITHIN those jurisdictional boundaries. Each District covers certain defined areas and each Circuit is comprised of several Districts. The Circuit assures uniformity of the law within its own boundaries by ruling on the conformity and propriety of rulings of the Districts within its jurisdiction.

From there one of SCOTUS’s main functions is to settle conflicts between the rulings of the various Circuits in order to assure uniformity of the application of law throughout the nation.

With that in mind, barring a SCOTUS ruling, I maintain that Trump – or any President – can tell any lower court judge to stick it where the sun never shines.

In fact, I have to stress that even SCOTUS is only co-equal to the President, not superior. A President doesn’t even have to obey a SCOTUS ruling. As a matter of further fact, we have an example of one President who refused to do so.

In the case of Worcester v. Georgia SCOTUS handed down a ruling that Andrew Jackson chose to completely ignore. Though this resulted in the Trail of Tears tragedy, it did illustrate the principle that SCOTUS doesn’t have authority superior to the President.

The bottom line is that Trump, or any President, can tell a court to pound sand. Of course, there could be political consequences if that court is SCOTUS. It could end up being a “constitutional crisis”. It would certainly be a constitutional conflict. But it may be one worth having, as the courts seem to have lost all sense of their rightful place in the scheme of things.

©Brian Baker 2018

(Also published on 27 November 2018 in my local newspaper, The Signal)

The Kabuki Starts in Three… Two… One…

It was an interesting and emotional mid-term election, and the results were pretty much in conformance with historical norms: the out-of-power party – in this case the Dem/socialists – took control of the House, and the party in power – this time the GOP – retained control of the Senate.

The Dem/socialists eked out enough seats in the House to win a slim majority, but sadly for them it was at the expense of “moderates” who were more likely to “cross the aisle” to find compromise with them than those GOPers who remain. In the Senate they actually lost seats, widening the gap and ceding even more power to the GOP and Mitch McConnell, as well as the newly-energized Lindsay Graham.

In other words, the “Blue Wave” that was expected turned pretty much into a trickle.

The wild-eyed Sturm und Drang we’ve seen coming from the left will now be institutionalized. Pelosi unleashed! Maxine Waters on the prowl! Why not?

To get any proposed legislation actually enacted into law will mean it will have to make it through the Senate and past Trump’s potential veto. But that kind of compromise and moderation isn’t the face the Dem/socialists put on their campaign. This is the party of the “#Resistance”! This is payback for defeating Ms. Pant Suit in 2016! It’s time to get even!

That’s why I think we’re in for a couple of years that promise to be highly entertaining; in fact, I think it will be a spectacle.

Much of Pelosi’s House contingent is made up of hardcore zealots who will consider their new majority as being the sign of a mandate to advance their radical agenda. So I think there’s a real chance we’ll see proposals for much more draconian gun control, universal “free” healthcare and education, and a repeal of the recent tax cuts, along with proposals to actually increase taxes.

Now that they’re no longer facing an electorate that might react adversely to such antics – at least for the next two years – the extreme fringe nuts – yes, Maxine, I’m looking at you – will push hard for “investigations” and impeachments; certainly of Trump, and maybe even others, such as the recently-seated Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

Of course, the political reality is that none of these antics are going to actually produce any tangible results. The Senate and the veto, again. But think of the theater of it all! Great political Kabuki!

Pelosi’s problem is compounded by the fact that she probably doesn’t want the House to end up looking like an impotent joke. So she’s faced with a real tightrope walk. How does she get legislation proposed and enacted into law while at the same time appeasing the far-left base that gave her party the House, all while facing a Senate and President who vehemently oppose the agenda of that base?

What a predicament!

Meanwhile, Trump will be calling her and her party out as being obstructionist – the “party of ‘No’” – as they try to block his agenda. Trump is also a president who isn’t afraid of government shutdowns, as he’s already demonstrated. We’re not talking about a Bush here. This is The Donald.

The upshot is that I think this actually paves the way for Trump to enjoy a casual cruise to re-election in 2020.

He’s a master at ridiculing and belittling his opposition. Like it or not, he does it masterfully, and Pelosi and Company are going to give him plenty of ammunition.

If Pelosi’s House actually does impeach him – which will be a futile gesture since conviction and removal from office will die in the Senate – it will be viewed as the political stunt it is and redound to Trump’s benefit.

Mueller’s eternal joke of an “investigation” will be revealed as the waste of time and money it was, and will be over, gone, and forgotten.

All the while Trump and McConnell will be ushering judicial and other presidential appointments through the Senate confirmation process, the same process that brought us Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, among many others.

The Dem/socialists don’t even have a viable presidential candidate, at least as of now. Who are they going to run? “Lie-A-Watha” Elizabeth Warren? Cory “Spartacus” Booker? “Lunchbucket” Joe Biden?

I have to say, I’m kind of looking forward to the next couple of years. It looks to me like a lot of good material to write about.

Let’s raise the curtain! It’s show time!

 

 

©Brian Baker 2018

(Also published today in my local newspaper, The Signal)